Since there’s no blood test, no Rorschach test, no chromosome test, indeed, no test of any kind other than one’s own feeling of not fitting with one’s own body, how do I know I’m transgendered?

How do I know this feeling isn’t simply a cultural, social oppression from being able to dress or act however I want? What if we lived in a society where you could wear anything, do anything, talk any way you wanted, gesticulate any way you pleased? Would I still be transgendered?

How do I know about myself at all? Isn’t self-knowledge suspect at all times?

These are questions I have of myself, and other transsexuals have of themselves, all the time, and while it’s frustrating to say it to loved ones and skeptics, I think the only answer is “I just know — I’ve felt it all my life.” This self-knowledge is the kind of epistemological category that lies outside logic or numbers or empiricism, but lies instead in self awareness, perhaps the kind of epistemological categories that Mary Belenky, et al. discuss in Women’s Ways of Knowing.

I suppose it’s the kind of knowledge that an equestrian might give you when asked “How do you know you like to ride horses?” Or to a parent, “How do you know you love your children?” We might strap EEG’s and other monitors to these people and discern a little flutter in their hearts, a change in brain patterns, a shift in the skin’s temperature when they thought of horseback riding or their children, and I would hypothesize that you’d get the same kind of feedback from a young transsexual who was asked to mull on their sex and gender.

If these feelings don’t count as knowledge, then my answer to the question of “How do I know?” is “I don’t.”