My own social anxiety never made much sense to me. It was so specific and so seemingly-random (pro-tip: it wasn't random; it was when I was treated in a gendered way or segregated from others in a gendered way) that I began to dismiss it.

Years ago I described it, and the stress I often felt, to a GP. I was told, it "didn't sound like anxiety or depression". I mean, she was right, but it didn't help much at the time.

Early on in my transition I used to tell people that my dysphoria was mostly physical. Because that's how I saw it. And while it is in large part due to my body being something I was so uncomfortable with, it's increasingly apparent the effects it had on my ability to be social.

There are so many things that were, I felt, "just me - just things I'm nervous about". Over time, though, as I transition and begin being treated in a way that seems natural, it's been amazing and delightful for me how many of these go away.

To get an idea of what I'm talking about, just the act of walking into a bar and ordering a drink used to make me incredibly uncomfortable.

Same with baristas or wait-staff at cafes.

Any situation where I had to talk to shop attendants? Yeah, no.

In fact it occurs to me that the irony of it was my dysphoria meant that I often steadfastly refused to talk to a shop attendant, wasting time while my girlfriend got understandably upset at how much faster it'd be to just ask. I ended up engaging in some cliched masculine behaviour, for entirely the opposite reasons.

These days, it's amazing to me how much more confident I am socially. That just walking up and talking to someone if I need help with something is now so incredibly easy for me.

I still get the odd twinge of nerves, but it's dropping away so fast it's amazing.

It's as if a constant stress has begun to lift from my life.

It became apparent to me the other day, as I sat nervously in a bar waiting for a woman I hadn't met in person before, that being "nervous at a bar" was actually a rare thing now. That were it not for the specific situation I was in, I'd be quite comfortable there.

So while some of my privileges have sure slipped away as I transition, my ability to enjoy and make use of the freedoms I have in the world are better than ever - and it's the most lovely feeling I've had in a long while.