What is a transgender egg and is it okay to identify as one?

For every transgender person, there’s a time before you identify as trans and start to transition. Someone in this phase of life is what trans folks call an “egg,” a reference to the idea of not yet having hatched or still being in your shell: it’s a metaphor for not yet realizing you’re trans.

It’s not quite the same thing as being closeted. Closeted trans people know that they’re trans, but feel unready to publicly identify as such, while eggs by definition don’t yet realize their own identity — or if they do, they’re not ready to accept it. As one trans person put it on social media, being an egg can be the phase between self-identifying as cis and self-identifying as trans, or “after denial but before acceptance.”

Taking all that into account, an egg isn’t something you self-identify as, but something you later realize you once were (or something that other people think you might be). Still, some people do identify as eggs themselves, either out of fear of publicly identifying as trans or due to delaying their transition for some other reason.

But is self-identification as an egg okay? Trans folks are debating the topic, sparked by a post on X (formerly Twitter) by trans internet personality @thefemiurge.

“Can’t stand self-identified eggs. Sh*t or get off the pot!” she wrote, encouraging anyone who knows they’re trans to take the leap and claim the identity.

@thefemiurge’s post was met with mixed feelings. Some thought her attitude was too hostile and would only drive eggs further into the closet.

But @thefemiurge insists that sometimes tough love is necessary to get people to take action for their own self-improvement. She even gave examples of trans people who were grateful for her anti-egg attitude, which drove them to transition.

Ultimately, no one ought to police one another’s gender identities. If identifying as an egg is comfortable or feels right for you, there’s no reason you can’t claim the label — but if you’ve realized that you’re trans and it’s safe for you to come out, embracing your true self is never a bad idea.

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