You may, as I have in the past, have boasted about the number of "eggs" you've "cracked". You look at guys who are sort of fem and call them eggs. Hell, you yourself may have been an egg and refer to your past self as that.

The day this releases (hopefully) is March 31st 2024, which happens to be both Easter Sunday, Transgender Day of Visibility (and the night we switch from CET to CEST here in Europe). So you're going to hear a lot about eggs. A lot of very unfunny jokes about hunting guys and turning them into girls. It's going to feel fairly unpleasant.

There is a non-insignificant portion of the transgender community which despises the term egg. For those not in the know, an egg in modern trans lingo is a term for a person (although typically a guy) who either does not know or denies the fact that they are transgender or non-binary. That term comes from the old joke that what comes out of an egg is a chick. The ambiguity in the definition will be important later.

The main argument I have heard over time is that the usage of the word "egg" feels prescriptivist, like pushing an identity on someone. At first, I disagreed. Then, time went on, and I changed too.

Eggs as Self-Denying Transgender People

My first exposure to a transgender subculture was r/egg_irl, circa end of 2017 and beginning of 2018. I did not actually join the subreddit until some time in 2019, but I was exposed to the memes, and feeling the terrible sinking feeling that something was relatable. EggIrl was mostly, at the time, a community of people who were all deeply in denial (or at the tail-end of said denial), about being transgender. So was I! People in deep denial who only needed the comfort of community to come to accept the realization that they're transgender flocked from a lot of places into that subreddit (and the discord servers, let's not forget the discord servers).

So at the time for me and the people around me, "egg" was simply us. It was the comfort zone between cis and transgender. A little nook between normality and transgression. In retrospect, it's the coward's position. It's where you want to stay when it does not feel good to be transgressive. My opinion, as me from 2024, is that you should be transgressive. I believe this is how I escaped the egg phase, by learning that it was, in fact, okay to not be normal and assert yourself as such.

So now I was a transgender young adult, mostly around transfeminine people who had also stopped denying themselves. Still, we talked about eggs. All the time.

The Egg Prime Directive

Despite no longer caring about the uncomfortable in-between where you readjust your sense of self, I found myself thinking about eggs a lot. Other people too. Occasionally, one of my friends would act a little suspicious, and me and other trans friends would think "oh my, what an egg, give him two years, lol".

It's a little creepy, isn't it? I have no idea what's going on in the mind of other people, let alone what their reflection on their own gender identity is, nor should it really be the place for me to argue about it.

But it's funny. We think, maybe we're not as uncommon as we think? I mean, we know there are many more transgender people out there than we think we know. Maybe, often, we're right. Maybe that twink you saw at the grocery store starts dressing fem and growing tits. Maybe that butch at your lesbian bar starts growing a beard and his voice cracks. We do a little gender fuckery, as a treat.

Yet, sometimes it's blurry. Maybe you know that "egg", and you keep telling them. They know about trans people (I mean, they know you), but maybe you try and push them a bit, nudge them a bit. Perhaps, you think, if you push them just a little bit, you can take them away from the metastable state of eggness. You've been there, it's miserable. You don't want anyone to suffer through that more than they have already. Perhaps they're uncomfortable about it, and you push through that. So, don't do that.

You will attract the ire of someone at some point who will tell you to remember the egg prime directive. That term describes the unstated-but-has-to-be-stated-frequently-enough rule that you should not tell an egg that they are an egg, because forcing someone to come out might lead them to identify as something they are not, or doing so too early, and they will just recoil and refuse even harder. Or they might be cis, you know.

I generally agree that the egg prime directive is a good principle. However, I wonder to what extent the egg prime directive exists to be an actual rule followed by people, and to what extent we use it to make ourselves feed good about how we talk about questioning people behind their back.

Eggs as Not-Knowing Transgender People

Nowadays, "egg" has a bit of a different connotation. Oddly enough, it feels like it is reflected in the content you can find on EggIrl (well, could, since Reddit's enshittification sort of broke the community apart). Nowadays, the memes are mostly by people who have sort of already admitted that they are trans, or are questioning but not particularly inclined towards denying that they are trans. Eggs are mostly what you say of someone who does not know that they are transgender yet.

There is a problem however, because calling someone an "egg" already assumes something about their identity. It was already a problem before, but it's even starker now. By calling someone an egg, you're making a definite statement about knowing someone's gender identity better than them, or at least better than they are willing to show you. The egg prime directive cannot protect you from that fact, especially if you are talking about someone to other transgender people.

No More Hunting for Eggs

Recently, the "final boss of eggs" came out. I'm talking about twitch streamer F1nn5ter, who'd been cross-dressing as a joke and for community donations since at least 2017. Once the trans community found Finn, we absolutely lost it (especially the girls). There were many attempts to try and convince him that he was really trans, that he should think about it more, maybe try HRT and such. All failed. In reality, as Finn stated, the pressure from people in his audience to identify one way or another contributed to a lot of confusion around his realization that he was genderfluid (hence why I'm still using he/him for him; at the time of writing, he still states he's fine with any pronouns).

I do not think we should have eggs. I think the whole concept should be left aside. We do not need a term that assumes that an identity is a fixed point that should be investigated and uncovered, or that it is anyone's job to go do that for someone else. I come from a perspective of thinking that there is no such thing as a fixed, perfectly binary gender identity for anyone that's fully solid in time and space. Ascribing that quality to someone's gender identity, and turning it into a riddle that they yet haven't solved (but you have!), sort of prevents the full breadth of expression you can have once you figure out that gender is constructed and expressed within a given social and cultural context at a given time.

Maybe, instead of figuring out who's an egg or not, we should create spaces that are welcoming of people who are questioning. You should help them fulfill their needs without assuming anything about them, about who they are, and about the fluidity of their identity. Such spaces would naturally attract people who are more likely to be transgender, of course, but that should not be a stated fact, so as to minimize the pressure people find themselves under. I myself would rather rethink the time I spent in denial as just that: I was in denial. I had so little material and emotional support that constantly denying myself the right to admit my identity and transition felt easier, more safe. Once you have that in mind, it's easier to analyze why people deny themselves, why people do not know, why people refrain themselves from doing what's good for them. Not because it's a phase we all go through, but because the world around us makes us act so.

Maybe we should all stop hunting for eggs.