Atlas Sailer

It was a couple of months into the pandemic, in the middle of the night, when a small part of my brain asked a very troubling question: “What if I’m not a girl?” From knowing several trans and non-binary friends over the years, I was fairly confident that I was a cisgender girl, and a really strong ally. The more I questioned it, the more I felt the overwhelming need to solve the puzzle. No matter what thoughts I explored, something in me didn’t feel as confident and real. Several of my friends had already experienced this and figured themselves out fairly quickly. I longed to have the same confidence in my gender identity. The question nagged at me. I was fairly new and impressionable in the field of gender identity so I didn’t want to ask my friends for fear of being swayed to a decision I wasn’t entirely comfortable with, as well as the fear of telling them I was something that I might later discover was false. On the other hand, the only other people to talk to were my family, but this wasn’t exactly something they were experts on.

I was fully ready to bury the subject deep down. I was confused and frustrated that the answer hadn’t hit me yet. However, everything leveled out after I finally logged onto social media. Before quarantine, I had hated social media, thinking that it was toxic and dangerous for teenagers. But after being isolated for so long with nothing but my idiot brothers to entertain me, I had a new perspective. And, contradictory to every bit of common sense I had, it was surprisingly good for my situation. There was an increase of positive LGBT representation in the media, and I saw several people sharing similar experiences to mine.  It relieved me knowing I was not alone, and it was nice to feel seen in a world where I couldn’t step outside my house.

It ended up taking me over a year to come to terms with my gender identity, finally coming out as transgender in September of 2021. It took a while, but that time was all we had during COVID –  eventually I learned that I didn’t need to rush into making a decision when I have my whole life ahead to discover more about myself.

While the pandemic may have caused me to be isolated and alone during one of the most stressful periods of my life, it also caused me to think and explore possibilities I would have never seen if I hadn’t been given the time to think.