Update: Since a few people I know have asked for it, I’ve created a new blog as a space to talk about my transition. Check it out.

Many of my friends already know this now, but for those of you who don’t, I have something to share with you:

For a long time, I’ve been dealing with issues surrounding my self-identity. It’s taken a long time, but in the last half of this year, I’ve come to the realization that I can no longer hide who I really am, from either myself or anyone else:

I’m transgender.

This means that while I was assigned the “male” gender at birth, I identify as “female.”

Surprising, I know (except maybe for those of you who know already). If you’re not transgender, it can be hard to understand what it’s like to know that your body just isn’t right.

I know this may be a sudden change for many of you, but I’ve been coming to terms with it for years. As a teenager, I was deeply depressed and angry at the world because I couldn’t reconcile my feelings with who I felt I was expected to be on the outside. As an adult in my twenties, I managed to convince myself that I could accept being the gender I was assigned at birth, even if it didn’t make me happy.

But now, at age 31 (I thought it was fitting to make this announcement near my birthday), it’s come to a point where I can’t hide that part my myself anymore, from myself or anyone else.

Back in August, after talking with a therapist for a few months, I started taking female hormones. Within about a week, I knew it was the right decision. It was maybe the first time in my life when I was truly happy. Since then, things have only gotten better.

So let me (re-)introduce myself:

Hi! My name is Amy Lane. Starting today, that’s my new name. It won’t be my legal name until sometime in the summer, but I’m going to start using it publicly now. I also prefer the pronouns “she,” “her,” and “hers,” which I’ll ask you to respect, along with the new name. I’m going to leave my name as is here on Facebook for a few days, just so everyone has a chance to see this, but after that “Amy” is here to stay.

I won’t go into all of the medical details here, but I’m happy to answer almost any questions that you might have—as long as they come from a place of genuine curiosity, respect, and trying to understand. Feel free to comment here, or message me privately if you prefer.

I’m incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by family, friends, and coworkers that not only tolerate or accept, but celebrate and champion LGBT people of all stripes. If you don’t feel that way, I understand. I just ask that you keep any negative comments to yourself or, if you feel the need to, go ahead and unfriend me now. I won’t mind.

Even though I’m making a huge change in my life, I’m still the same introverted, awkward, sarcastic, geeky, over-enthusiastic person you’ve always known. I’m lucky to have encountered each and every one of you in my life, and I hope those friendships can continue without much interruption.

Thanks for reading,

Amy Taylor Lane

PS: Wondering where the new name comes from? It took me a FREAKING LONG time to decide, but it turns out looking to my geekiness was the answer. Amy is short for “Amelia,” or the “girl who waited” on Doctor Who. I thought that was an appropriate descriptor for me, too.

The middle and last come from my mom’s grandmother, who she called “Nanny,” a moniker that she now uses with my two little nieces. I wanted a family connection with someone that had an influence on my life.

I never met Nanny. She was born in the late 1890’s, and died long before I was born. But even so, I wouldn’t be who or where I am without her. Her influence turned my mom into the thoughtful, caring, accepting parent that raised me. Nanny probably wouldn’t have understood all this “transgender” stuff, but my mom believes that, in her heart, Nanny would have accepted would have accepted me for who I am, just like my mom does.