Hello Lea. To add some to what DeeAnn said, most but not all transgender people have known their whole life that they should be a girl even if they had no words to describe it. For instance when I was young in the late 50’s I lived in a conservative family in a conservative town. I had heard nothing about transsexuals’ or transgender (that name did not exist then) but when I was 4, I was running around the house in my sisters princess clothes asking my mother if I was pretty. Four year old’s have a limited perspective of life but apparently I was adamant enough that my parents sent me to aversion therapy when I was five and it pushed me deep into the closet for the next 55 years. It did not keep me from dressing but it did make me deathly afraid of getting caught.
As I said there were no words to express what my true gender was and it was only later in life that I learned I was not the only person like myself. In 1960, they were putting adults in prison for being trans using pervert laws. Children were either placed in mental institutes or they were sent to aversion therapy.
Despite what society did to me, I never gave up on the idea that I was female.
When you wake up in the morning who do you think that you are? If you were free of societies expectations on you who would you see yourself as. If a girl then you are probably female. If you like the silky feel of ladies undergarments and think that you look better with longer hair then you may need to determine if you are maybe a crossdresser.
And that is why before you can start HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) gender doctors will require you to see a therapist familiar with gender issues. If you are still exploring your gender then you may have lots of visits to the gender therapist. I knew I was a girl most of my life and so when I went to see the gender therapist I already had my trans life story written out and I saw the therapist for two visits and I thought that was one more than enough.
After several years on HRT you can determine if you will need upper surgery (breast enhancement). I started with a 44A bra and after 15 months I am a 44D, so I will not need breast enhancement. I may or may not have the money to do bottom surgery when I retire in 2-3 years. Vulvoplasty is approx $7000.00 and vaginalplasty is twice that not including cost associated with recovery. When you transition it is often hard to get a good paying job, so not everyone is going to be able to afford the surgery.
We look forward to you being part of this group and helping you to determine your true gender. Many of us have transitioned and so there is a lot of experience on this site and so if you have a question and you have not been able to find an answer by searching the internet ask away.