“History is written by the victors”, attributed to Winston Churchill, but of unknown origin.
If you haven’t heard the term retcon, it is a shortening of retroactive continuity. Here is the definition from tvtropes:
Reframing past events to serve a current plot need. […] A good way to get away with a Retcon is to reveal new implications or motivations for events that have already been established. […] Most competent writers achieve a Retcon by relying on a less-obvious but still perfectly valid interpretation of what was previously seen.
It’s not just in the world of fiction that people retcon. We are all revisionist historians of our own past. When couples break up acrimoniously, it isn’t uncommon for one of them to say “I never loved you!”, taking every moment of doubt that they had and letting their focus lie there, and retconning loving moments into brief episodes of self-delusion.
We see it in others when they say that they “loved Firefly from the first episode”, when we may remember just how skeptical they were for those first few episodes even if they do not. They conflate how they feel about that first episode when they see it now with how they saw it then; they forget that their perspective now is so very different from what it was then.
Because transsexual men and women are human, it must be the case that they retcon their past to maximize its continuity with their present, because everyone does. That doesn’t mean that everything is retconned, just that as in good dramas, you can’t tell the retcons from the plot elements that were carefully set up from the beginning. And that means that in life, when anyone talks about their past, you can’t suppose you’re looking at any kind of objective record. If someone says “I was always a girl, just hiding it”, neither you nor they know how much of what they’re saying reflects how things objectively were, and how much is heavy retcon.
Back before I transitioned, I worried about how selective I was being and the extent to which I as being revisionist historian of my own past. I used that to leave myself drowning in “how do know my feelings are real” spiral. Eventually, I got over that and realized that I could search for justifications and then vivisect them forever, and that what I really needed to do was follow the blatantly obvious path to happiness, even if every feeling and justification I had could be invalidated as possible self-delusion and retcon.
If I have retconned things (and as a human, I must have), on the one hand it’s sad because I’ll never know with absolute certainty who I really was, way back when, but quite possibly the right thing to take way is that it speaks volumes about who I am now, and maybe that’s more important.