Personally I had no idea about my own transgenderism before joining the gay straight alliance at my high school, and it was only after spending several months with them that I fully realized the truth. I got very lucky to have excellent company with them.
So that’s my first piece of advice, surround yourself as best you can with the LGBT community. Look into GSA’s, maybe go to a few parades to meet people etc.
What thoughts actually specifically made me know for sure I was trans? Growing up I was afraid of people in general, I would flinch big time if someone so much as tapped me on the shoulder. But with the exception of my friends, I was always perfectly comfortable in the company of girls. I chalked it up to being a guy and therefore attracted to them, but looking back I just wanted to be one of them. On the flip, whenever I was in a group of guys it was usually very uncomfortable, because I got to see what they really were and I didn’t want to be that.
That’s the social aspect, in brief detail, if you want to know more about that let me know but I’ll move on for now. The next thing is similar, but instead of social, it’s sexual. Don’t worry, I wont go into nsfw territory.
But I will, again briefly, explain myself. A big hint to my desire to be a woman were fantasies that involved me being a woman, instead of a man. That was probably my biggest hint. But that’s all I can say here I think.
So that makes my second piece of advice; look as deep into yourself and your feelings as you can. Take time to explore your mind and figure out what would make you the happiest. This goes for all aspects of your life, social, sexual, etc.
This leads me to my third point; if you can, talk to a professional. Not only is it required for hormones anyway, but they can offer you insight that I never could. (And the better you know your own feelings before going to one the better they will be able to help you.) Personally, I went to Fenway Health ( http://www.fenwayhealth.org/site/PageServer ) in Boston, and started by emailing Ruben Hopwood about my desire to look into hormones. FH is a fantastic facility, it gets a 10/10 from me. Less than two months after my first email I was taking my first estrogen pill.
If Boston is too far away don’t worry, there are plenty of other places. But I wouldn’t be able to help with that without a general location, something you might not want to give as an anon.
I’ve begun to present more as a female recently, such as wearing my preferred name tag at work, and I got myself a bra. It’s made me so happy with myself I can’t even say. For someone who definitely is trans making the transition can be one of the best things to happen to them, so it’s great to have this reassurance. But on the flip side, you can’t make rash decisions like taking hormones on the off chance you might seriously regret it someday, so even after you see a professional, take another look at yourself to make sure it’s what you want.
That’s all I can think of right now, at… holy crap 3am. But if you’d like me to go into more detail about any of this please let me know and I’d be happy to respond. I can even also point you in the direction of some of my other friends that it may help to talk to.
Thanks for asking, best of luck!