Without doubt, one of the biggest barriers to accepting myself as a transsexual was having a misconception of what a transsexual was.
I would compare myself to this notion and come to the conclusion that I couldn't possibly be a transsexual because I didn't fit my concept of what a transsexual was.
If I had done some research I would have discovered a whole lot earlier that transsexuals aren't a one-size-fits-all species!
Being a transsexual does not define your sexuality, the way you want to look, or even whether or not you want to have surgery to correct your sexual organs!
The only one true definition of a transsexual is someone who identifies as the opposite gender to that which they were recognised at birth.
So being transsexual doesn't even define what gender you are - the idea that transsexual = "cock in a frock" is a total myth! Transsexuals can be both male AND female!
But research isn't only useful in defining your gender, it's useful in every aspect of your life.
For example, when I get an invite to a job interview, I research the company I am hoping to be employed by. Doing so helps me tailor my interview presentation to fit in with what I believe the company is looking for and so, logically, improve my chances of landing the job.
Research even helps me when I am buying the groceries. I look around the kitchen and see what I require, write myself a list and then refer to that list when I am in the supermarket. Doing so helps me to avoid buying things I don't need and thus save myself money.
So I find research incredibly useful and there's only one thing I can guarantee if I don't do my research - I remain ignorant.
Although ignorance is useful sometimes - there is a danger of knowing too much - in most cases ignorance leads to you looking foolish. So, when it came to putting together an image that I hoped would look sufficiently feminine for me to be understood as female, I made damn sure I did my research!
I didn't just assume that all women wore make-up, high heels and dresses. I recalled the fact that my own mother very rarely wears any of those things!
Neither did I assume that my mother was a typical woman. I did my research and realised that there is no such thing as a typical woman!
The result of which was that I had a blank canvas with which to work with.
I could wear make-up if I wished but I could just as easily decide not to wear make-up. Make-up does not maketh the woman!
I could wear heels if I wished but I could just as easily decide not to wear heels (which is jolly fortunate considering my feet!) as heels don't maketh the woman either!
I could wear dresses if I wished but I could just as easily decide to wear separates or jeans and a t-shirt or even a suit if I so wished! Because clothes don't maketh the woman either!
And on and on and on...
So what I was left with was the freedom to decide what I wanted to wear - which is what I have wanted my entire life! - but without the research, I could never have come to this realisation.
So, as I say, research always pays off.
Or, to put it another way, having a questioning mind liberates us - whereas having a closed mind imprisons us.
It's shameful then that we are often encouraged to have the latter.