Why More People Are Coming Out as Trans in the Pandemic

Trans experiences of isolation reveal what it really takes to come out

Bax J Ferguson
Elemental
Published in
6 min readFeb 3, 2021

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Illustration by Mojo Wang for Elemental

It has been years since my egg cracked.

In community parlance, an “egg” refers to a transgender person who doesn’t quite yet realize they are trans. We “crack” when that first realization happens — oh wait! what if?…

Getting out of that shell takes work. I came out as nonbinary five years ago. I didn’t immediately claim the title trans, thanks to internalized transphobia. The process of setting offline boundaries on pronoun use took several years more. And it was only the isolation brought on by a global pandemic that finally allowed me to acknowledge my dysphoria and seek out gender-affirming health care.

This is not to say that the pandemic has been easy on trans people, or even on me personally. We experience higher rates of depression and anxiety, economic insecurity, and social isolation even during “good” times. We know that the consequences of pandemic isolation, schools closing, medical procedures postponed, job loss, and housing insecurity are disproportionately felt by trans people, especially trans youth and BIPOC trans folks.

I have struggled with my freelance income and mental health, as have many of the trans folks I spoke to for this story. But something about living through this time has opened up space for our genders to expand, to clarify and complexify, to become really real. And if Twitter is any indication, we are far from alone. In addition to the multiple friends and peers I connect with there who have come out in recent months, massive threads have made the rounds receiving engagement confirming that thousands of others are experiencing the same shifts.

Ryan Mason, 31, a corporate investigator for a Fortune 500 company, was working in an office with hundreds of other employees prior to the pandemic. She had started her medical transition but was not yet out to her colleagues, though the time had come. “The inflection point was already long past due,” she said. “I look like a woman. My body has changed.”

“Time spent alone… has created this ability to really live each day from your soul, from…

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Bax J Ferguson
Elemental

Bax is a journalist, essayist, content marketing writer, fiction author, emerging photographer and aspiring illustrator. (Pronouns: they/he)