Their are no myths when it comes to transitioning ,you either go for it or stay perhaps that person who only wishes ,they might have chased that pot of gold at the end of the Rainbow.
In my case I knew from the word go I was Transsexual and that sticking a pair of heels and a short skirt on just did not float my boat ,and that I needed a lot more to satisfy my inner needs . Transitioning is not everybodys cup of tea and frankly you need to be 100% sure before you take this journey.
Its certainly no Myth to think that its going to be easy to do ,because in most cases a person will encounter some sort of difficulty in this journey ,and in my case it cost me my job and lots of other things. But wait ,surely I knew this before I started . well I sort of had an inkling things might get bad ,but as to what level ,I could not evan contemplate this ,and how it would effect my life .
Any transition needs careful planning right from the word go and not doing this is a sure route to possible disaster .
In 2004 when I started my transition for the second time ,the internet came along and this brought with it a lot of information that could be gleened from visiting websites ,and in my case this ment that I had what I wanted to start the journey I was about to take .
It soon became obvious to me that maby I was doing things wrong and that going it alone ,was lets say a little risky to say the least . While visiting a local support group ,I met a person who told me about Russell Reid in London ,and a phone call later I was on the right path . As it turned out it was the smartest move I would ever make . So lets recap. from Transsexual person tries to go it alone ,then realises ,its a stupid thing to do . Ok so now im getting myself legal and monitored and starting to pick my way through the tangle of the hoops you need to jump through to take this journey.
Anyway the purpose here is to try and point people in the right direction if you choose to take the transitional journey your selfs .
Anyway sooner than keep going on about what is right and wrong because im sure many that visit my website wont like what they might be reading at this point . So what im hoping to do here is lay out a set of instructions for guidance to fellow transitioners in the hope it might keep you away from some of the pitfalls that kind of engulfed me at the start of my transition ,and to do this I needed away of trying to put this over on this web page . So how might I go about doing this ?
I decided to create this list of things that might help you pick your way through it and give a little guidance.
So here we go ,this is the STEPS OF TRANSITION .
Step one " The Realisation"
Its no Myth that a person will realise in early life that they are different to other boys and that playing with Tonka toys is not the thing at all ,and that the shame of preferring to play with dollies instead is what you really want . In my case I was probably 4 or 5 years of age and I did not know what up evil this would play on my life . So assuming your pretty much the same as I was then I assume you have probably struggled through life with periods of almost desolate isolation and possible depressive moments and bouts . Its probably in later years that your mind starts to realise that you might have something wrong with you and that you must not disclose to others these shameful feelings . As the years go bye and you start to understand things and also learn about things that have been affecting you badly then the realisation that you might be like this because you are in conflict with the mind and body . In my case I just went to bed at night ,wishing I would wake up the next day as a female instead of what my body indicated I was a man on the outside . If your lucky enough to be at this stage in early life then this will certainly pay dividends to you as a person and make for a much more successful rebirth with a transition .
Its quiet possible at this stage that you may have been suffering for quiet a few years and as your knowledge of what is going on starts to fall into place ,this is wear the word REALISATION comes into play. At this point you may or may not know about Gender Dysphoria and its effect it can have on human being and certainly reap havac on a persons life . This I suppose hit me the worst as I left my teen years and you sorta reach puberty and you start to see changes in the body that happens and simpley hate what your seeing . This is a difficult time to get through and especially if your keeping all this frustration bottled up in side you .
Step Two " Doing Something About It "
There is several options here ,and one being you decide to just bottle up your feelings and let it take your life over and perhaps in some cases maby evan try to commit suicide . Hmm ,that's a stupid thing to do . Why because their is help out their you just need to know how to go about getting it ,and have to courage to go and get some help . In my case this took many years and really it was stupid on my part because if I had sought out the proper help when I was in my 30s life might have been a lot sweeter and infect would have probably made for a better transition in the end , but the only problem their was this ,the level of understanding back in those days was very little and on my occasions of trying to get help ,most just frowned upon it and told me I was crazy and that I should go away and be a man . Obviously that was in those days and thankfully things have changed a lot now . So obviously I need to get back to explaining this step ,so here goes . Your next best move is to go and see a doctor ,hmmm your thinking that sounds tough ,well yes it probably may be ,but lets face it its the best route to take . So you go and see a doctor and this person chooses to laugh at you and tell you its just a phase your probably going through ,well at that point its probably better to go and find another doctor ,and keep doing this till you find one that's sympathetic to your needs .
Step Three " Explaining Your Feelings "
So assuming you have plucked up enough courage to go and see a doctor or psychologist to get some help ,you really need to put your feelings over to this person. I did this many years ago with Russell Reid at the London Institute and was more than surprised at the level of help he offered.
Remember that a doctor is probably not an expert on gender issues so he really needs to refer you to somebody that is ,and this may mean a long wait to get into a gender clinic if your in the UK or if you do what I did ,short cut this system by paying privately to see somebody. This can be a very traumatic time and its best gotten out the way. It is really hard trying to express yourself ,but in the end worth it. If the person you find is sympathetic then they will try and help you.
In my own case 20 years previous I did find support eventually and did a couple of sessions with a councillor ,but with my mother coming down with a massive attack of bad nerves I made the decision to shelve things for quiet a number of years ,well 20 to be exact.
So assuming you have found a person that takes you seriously ,their next step is to probably refer you on to the correct person or people who specialise in these matters ,and as explained all this could take a while. So at this point you've decided to bite the bullet because your certain about what your doing with your life . At this point if all has gone well your probably waiting to be seen by somebody that is expert in the field of gender specialist and it might be worth looking at one or two things you can do in the mean time . Obviously the facial hair can be quiet a problem and its probably worth looking into either Laser or Electrolysis to deal with this because the electroligist will probably need many hours to clear the facial hair growth,and its also a costly business.
Step Four "Planning Your Route Before And After "
Obviously at this stage in your transition you need to make provisions and these are steps to be able to survive in this world once you have come out ,and if your unlucky this might mean the loss of certain things in your life . The PLANNING is crucial at this stage because its no good transitioning if doing this is going to submit yourself to a life of totally misery . Planning covers a lot of diferant areas and obviously if your employed it means coming out at work ,and this can be a really difficult harrowing time for a person to get through. If your not employed you need to be able to at least find a way of supporting yourself ,and again this all needs Planning and looking at because this is a really serious step in this journey . Also the step four PLANNING needs to cover after your main transition is dealt with and over . Far to many people don't look at this stage and it can be a persons downfall if not properly implemented at this stage .
Step Five "The Real Life Test"
Ok so now your on your way and may be under supervision of a gender clinic or other medical professional . To proceed on from hear they will probably ask you to do what is known as the real life test ,this certainly happened with me . In my case I was starting to get all my new documentation together and start living in the role of a female. Obviously if your in full time employment ,it might mean coming out at work to be able to do this . In my case I had to do this and try and explain to my boss and co workers what was happening ,and asure them that I would be assuming this gender role from now on . Usually the REAL LIFE TEST is in place for 1-2 years and is there to prove you can actually live in this role you have now chosen to live in . Many people choose to shirk this test and don't actually live full time as its known at all ,only choosing to live in a femi role when visiting places like gender clinics and truthfully this is stupid.
Step Six "Coming Out"
Its no myth that coming out is a difficult thing to do ,and for many this can cause much heartache with friends and family and can lead to the loss of security and family members who refuse to accept and understand the massive up evil you are going through with your life
Obviously if you are employed again this is a difficult task to achieve and is worth planning ahead to give plenty of thought on how you are going to do this . In my own case it all happened by mistake at work and my coming out happened sooner than I had planned . Its certainly worth evan maby drafting a letter to give out at work explaining whats happening and about your transition ,and asking in this if you might be addressed in the future with your new name and also addressed in a manner that only uses the correct pronouns .
By now your probably well on the way to getting all your legal documentation in order and that means things like banks and pensions ,insurance and all your other documents including notifying your doctor so he or she can get your medical records updated with hospitals and other bodies .
If you are married and haven't split up ,then obviously coming out to your partner or spouse is again going to be a traumatic time and very often leads to break ups and separations and divorces
In my case I lost my partner of 10 years because despite her loving me , she could not get her head round what I was doing .
Step Seven "Hormones And Blockers "
Sex hormones do most of the work of physical transition. Indeed, many people may simply use hormones, and never deal with surgery at all. They may do this for a variety of reasons, such as a fear of surgery, a desire not to risk losing sexual function, or that they find that they are comfortable where they are after the hormones do their work. It is never correct to have surgery first, and then to take hormones. Hormones first, then surgery. Understand this. Accept nothing less.
Hormones change all the soft tissues of the body. They change the look and feel of the skin, they change the shape and curves of the body. Hormones grow breasts where there were none, or in the Female-To-Male, grow beards and bulky muscles where before there were none. Know that these changes are permanent. Breasts do not go away with hormones, and beards do not disappear with hormones. Hormones can give to the body, but they cannot take away. Only surgery can take away from the body. If you have no breasts but want them, hormones can do that. But if you have breasts but do not want them, you will need surgery. The same is true of sex organs, too.
Sex hormones cannot change the skeleton. You cannot become taller or shorter with sex hormones. You will stay the same height, but not the same build. You may lose or gain weight, and your body will change shape amazingly.
"The Inns and Outs Of Self Medication And The Dangers Involved "
Self Medication is a tricky subject to broach on really ,its the sort of subject that can upset a lot of people especially if thats what your doing . I know many years ago i was guilty of starting off doing this myself . When i first started my transition i did actually do this myself . It wasant long before i quickly realised it was not going to get me wear i needed to get quiet frankly and it wasant long before i was on the phone to london ,to Russell Ried and booking an apointement at the London Institute ,and this was the best move i ever made . I knew that on a long term basis if i ever wanted to fully transition and complete my gender reasigment surgeries ( srs ) this was somthing i needed to do to get my referal letters so i might fly to bangkok ,thailand in january 2006 and do my srs their.
Lets look at the facts with self medication ,its easy to pick up a credit card get on line and log onto a site and by eostrogen and ant antiandrogens from a place like inhouse pharmacy ,because these people dont actually care about a persons physical well being ,they are a buiseness that earns money selling drugs to people . So this might satisfy your needs right now ,but remember takeing drugs like this may be dangerous to a persons health if they arnt getting propper medical supervision while doing this ,with things like blood clots and deep vein thrombosis,because hormones can alter the consistancy of the bloods thickness ,and for some people couple this with smokeing and bad diets that already may block arteries in a person ,its a dangerous thing . Also look at this as well anybody that hopes to eventually move on the doing srs will need referals to do this stage of their surgical transition . So remember hormones need reglar blood check ups with hormone levels done by an endrocrinologist. ,or some other medical body really .
Ok i expect by now if some people are reading this you may be thinking ..hmmm ,im ok ,but are you really if your self medicating ,obviously its your choice and your life but frankly if i were offering you some good advice ...GET LEGAL ....get your self a good medical person either a psycologist or councilor or other body to help you with what your doing its worth it in the end ...i did it was the best dicision i made in my life ..
So anyway your probably sick of me prattling on at this stage
So assuming you are getting the hormones and blockers legally and being monitored by a doctor who is getting blood tests done to check your levels in your blood for oestrogen and testerone ,you are getting on well with your transition and doing it the correct way .
The Effects of hormones can be quiet dramatic and alter a persons temprement totally ,and you might well find that it causes plenty of emotions at first until your brain learns how to handle the hormones in your system . The effects of hormones happen gradually and obviously work better on young people than older ones ,so if you transition at an early age the results are ten times better . Hormones effect people depending on a persons genetic makeup and the effects of things like breast growth can differ a lot from person to person and can go on working for up to ten years ,so don't rush off for a breast augmentation ,give them chance to work on you . Hormones cant alter certain things like boney matter and size of your hands or feet or how tall you end up ,but they will soften the skin and stop any male pattern hair loss to a certain degree .
At this stage you might want to be thinking about doing Gender Reasignment Surgery ,well this normally is a case of being evaluated by a health care professional because to do this surgery you will probably need two referals now because of the changes in the law regarding this .
Step Eight "Preparing For Surgery "
Their is no myths that Gender Reasignment Surgery is a massive undertaking and a person should be totally 100% sure that this is right for you before you evan concider it .
In the UK wear I live you wont be able to do this surgery if you have not got the appropriate referral paperwork from your gender councillor or therapist and you will probably need a second evaluation from somebody else as well ,so you in fact need two . Im not to sure about the law in other countries to be honest ,but evan in Thailand now with the new laws introduced you will need two referrals their as well.
Ok so you've jumped through all the hoops so far and made it to this stage
You now have your referral letters and have been doing full time for at least a year maby two .
Its time to start thinking about a surgeon .
In my case I didant choose to go through the NHS in the Uk preferring to go abroad to Thailand to do SRS surgery ,but if you are not doing this and live in the Uk I think that you may be given certain options ,but I do know that their is not many people here that do this surgery and with surgeons like Tim Terry stopping doinf SRS surgery and James Bellringer retiring the choice is limited so it might be a matter of having to take whats offered in this respect with clinics like Charring Cross in London. and sometimes this surgery is farmed out to other places like the Nuffield Hospital in Brighton. Again each persons case is individual do to your cercumstances .
Step nine "After Surgery ie SRS .GRS."
Ok so assuming you've made it this far and have completed your SRS surgery .
SO WHATS NEXT
Its a misconception to think that doing Gender Reasignment Surgery will solve all your problems because if you cant live before it ,you probably cant after . Doing SRS is about completion of bringing mind and body together as one living entity and by removing that nasty appendage that you were born with between your legs ,and this has probably put paid to this problem .
Ok ,so you really should be looking at what was in step FOUR of this transitional journey and assuming you have done that ,then you have probably gone through the biggest thing you will ever do in your life.
Being post operative can be a wonderful experience and for me this chased away those demons that nagged me most of my life and tried on many occasions to destroy it .
If you have put into place step FOUR then you should be very much sorted socially , and maby psychologically ,but some people are known to go into periods of depression after doing this surgery ,and I myself suffered for a brief period with post operative depression that only lasted a couple of months after doing SRS . Their is no set rule because everybody handles this their own way and on my travels to Thailand over the years I have personally met lots of others who took this surgical route ,but at this stage of meeting them it was all to early to evaluate what their lifes would be like in five years on .
Being a woman is wonderful...if in fact you actually are a woman. It would destroy a man, which of course, is why Female-to-Male transsexuals are as driven as the Male-to-Female sorts. To finally fit in both body and social expression is without question wonderful. That only gets better as the years go by.
Hiding my past only became more painful, as time went on, and caused me to feel repressed and silenced, invisible and full of self loathing. Hiding my transsexuality seems to hurt, despite the dangers and problems of being Out. I would not choose to be Out to everyone, all the time. That would be horrible. But neither can I stand living in fear of discovery. Somewhere there is a balance, between the honesty of my life and the benefits of safety and acceptance.
Social limitations are just part of life. They must be fought when it is appropriate, and endured when there is nothing to be done.
The sadness of a lost childhood, of never being able to birth a child, of never being able to be a mother or to experience a 'normal' life, is a sadness that does not magically fade away. Nothing really cures it, and it will forever shadow me.
The wisdom of the experience of the transsexual's journey is of supreme value. It can bring awareness and understanding, and appreciation of that which others take for granted.
Eleven years post operative, but not post transition...in a very real sense transition never ends, because change never ends.
In the final analysis, taking into consideration all these things, and my own responsibility for my own choices and life, I regret nothing that I could have realistically controlled. My only regrets are of things that were always beyond my ability to affect, such as time, and birth, and the bigotry of society.
I am grateful that I live in an age where I could get the hormones and surgery I needed, and that I could become what I am today.
Yes, twelve years later, I am absolutely grateful for my transition. I am more grateful every year that passes.
It was worth the prices I paid, and then some.
That is how I feel, eleven years post-op.