“Can I know I’m trans and still not transition” – search term
Simple answer? Up to you. There’s no rule that says you have to transition (socially or physically) as soon as you know you’re trans, just like there’s no rule that you have to run out and have gay sex immediately upon figuring out that you’re gay.
Of course, if it was that simple it wouldn’t be something people ask. Question is, what does being trans mean to you? Some people have very little dysphoria, they don’t feel the need to transition. I liken it to having a very mild form of depression and being able to handle it with journalling or good friends instead of medication or therapy. Different people just experience their dysphoria in different ways.
So how do you feel? Are you ok with the world seeing you as a girl (or guy, if you’re MtF)? Do you feel fine in the body you have? If both of those are the case then go for it. I couldn’t do it, but I’m not the one who has to live your life. Everyone’s different. I’ve had more than a few guys tell me they could never transition to be an effeminate man and that’s fine. It’s not for them. Maybe transitioning isn’t for you. Maybe you’re cool to just know in your head that you’re a guy and let everyone else keep thinking of you as a girl. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that as long as you’re happy.
There is a warning though. Often “choosing” not to transition is more a form of denial than a well thought out decision to maintain happiness. Transitioning is scary, it means changing everything you know. You have to worry about what happens if you end up changing your mind (which always seems so much more common than it actually is), how people are going to react, and, if you have kids and/or a partner, how it’s going to affect them. It often seems easier to just ignore any dysphoria you may have and pretend everything is fine how it is. Sometimes that’s true, but if it’s not, well then you end up in a situation where you’re miserable for no good reason.
It doesn’t all have to be transition or ignore. You could decide to tell a few close friends and relatives, create yourself a sort of gender oasis. Maybe you wear guy clothes and use a gender neutral name, but let everyone except your friends and family consider you a girl. Maybe you’re happiest being a girly girl in public and a manly man at home. Whatever it is, it’s your choice. No one can tell you how to handle your gender except you. Sit, think, maybe experiment with a few different options. If something works that’s great. If not try again. Eventually you’ll figure out what makes you happy