Is a transperson more likely to identify as trans, or as their new gender? Can/should it be both? I ask conceptionally that the "trans" state is one to embody, or simply to pass through as quickly as possible.. even if this could be a lifetime for some.
So I’m just going to call attention to this when I see it, it’s not a knock on you, but the term is trans [space] person. Trans is an adjective which specifies a particular group of people, just like black people or Catholic people or gay people might. Making it one word implies that we are being cordoned off as a totality in a distinct and separate category. Which for us in particular is anxiety-inducing, as a lot of the hateful and harmful behavior done against us is premised on defining us as a distinct category, meriting separate (often dehumanizing) treatment. Not saying that’s what you’re doing, but for your erudition, when I see someone use transperson or transwoman as one word, I have to play the “is this a bigot or is this a well-meaning but ignorant person” game in my head, and I don’t like playing that game any more than I imagine you like me playing that game about you.
To answer the question: it depends! One of the biggest pieces of advice a lot of elder (as in been out longer) trans people give to the newly hatched is to not make your transness/transition your whole personality. This is because there will come a point in your transition (typically after a number of years) when you clear all the major milestones you’ve set out for yourself and all that remains is to live the rest of your life. This can leave you feeling empty or unmoored if you’ve spent those past years devoting your whole self to reaching that milestone.
Nevertheless, for a lot of trans people, the early stages, and the first year or two especially, are very much about celebrating your transness. I can’t speak for others, but for me I’d spent 28 years of my life living negatively. I was so afraid of being clocked, that I’d oriented my entire life, all my likes and dislikes, my goals, etc, around passing as a boy, choosing things based on what I perceived would arouse the least suspicion. Transness was really the first thing I had authentically chosen for myself, and that made me joyous in a way I’d never been before in my life. It was like I’d been trapped in a chest of toys, and everything suddenly had been violently tossed on the ground, and I had to sort out what *I* liked versus what “he” liked. This is of course a very terrifying process, especially for the people you’d built a life with while “he” was helming the ship. In those times, your transness is the light that keeps you moored. It’s the one sure thing you can cling to as the tornado rages around you, so a lot of people celebrate that. I did.
Eventually, things start to sort themselves out, and you reassemble your personality. At least for me that personality was pretty similar, I’m just a lot more emotionally honest and genuine, less insecure, much more sensitive, and comfortable in allowing myself to be sensitive. At this point my womanhood and my sexuality began to emerge, and their discovery began to take center stage. I remember playing Gone Home
for the first time around this time (a year and change back), and I found it to be one of most affecting experiences I’ve ever had across any artistic medium. I started noticing and appreciating much more the nuances in storytelling and perspective when stories are told with a more feminine eye. I learned to be and feel much more comfortable and at home in women’s spaces, and to see things designated as “for/about women” as being *for/about me*.
I’ve mentioned before how the early early stage of coming out as trans is like the plot of the Matrix, where there’s the period through the second act where Neo understands intellectually that he’s in the Matrix, but doesn’t know it as a fact internal to the self. The third act is all about Neo developing this knowing, and culminates in the climax where he sees the world as code and can freely bend it however he sees fit. This analogizes to transness, where there’s a period where you’re out and understand intellectually you’re trans and there’s no going back, because denying that was actively killing you, but haven’t yet internalized that truth, until one day it just “clicks”. I found I had a similar process of self-internalization after that first click with finding my womanhood and my sexuality.
But as that second click comes into focus, for me at least, it doesn’t mean that my transness goes away. I really like being trans. I said upthread that when I first came out, my one wish was to press a button and become a cis woman. Even at the time I recognized this wish as a farce, evident in the way I would tie the wording of my desire into increasingly absurd and convoluted knots of “everything exactly as it is now, same personality, same life experiences, same people in my life, just woman.” One day that tension snapped snapped and I finally realized that that wish was just *me*. I already had it. My transness was intrinsic to and inextricable from the woman I wanted to be, and likewise my womanhood was intrinsically and inextricably linked to my transness. I already was a woman, and the life experiences, personality, and people in my life were precisely what had made me one.
So the answer to the question is yes and. Yes I am a woman AND trans. They are inextricably bound up in one another, in the same way that, say, jewishness and womanhood might be inextricably bound up for a Jewish woman. I could no more easily cast off my transness as I could cast off my womanhood.