Anonymous said: I'm ready to begin my transgender process & I have no clue where to begin lol I've done some research but I figured it would be easier talking to someone who is actually going through the transition about it
Because you are asking this through anon, it makes it difficult to help you. I don’t know if you are a trans* woman or trans* man or what your current situation is. If you could come off anon or provide more information I could possibly help set you up with someone who could provide you with advice and resources that better fit to you.
Let me know what you’re comfortable with talking about.
Why do so many of us struggle with the notion of not wanting to be transgender? For some it’s society’s way of portraying us as sexual deviants or freaks. The two number one causes of society’s way of thinking are religion and the porn industry. Media comes in third believe it or not. The other, is not wanting to be alone, wanting a boy/girlfriend. That has made most of us fearful of coming to terms with whom we truly are. Another reason is the word Trans itself. Upbringing and our parent’s societal beliefs including their circle of friends also play a role in the fear that is instilled in us.
Whether you’re a transsexual man or woman or a cross-dresser, being transgender is hard, but it is a beautiful journey. You experience a higher level of self-consciousness that few people on earth experience. To help deal with the emotions of not wanting to be Trans for whatever reasons you may have, you should learn as much as you can about what other transgender people are up to, this can help you figure out what is going on in your own life.
Let’s talk about the girl/boyfriend aspect. If you are fortunate enough to be with someone when you begin to transition and they support you whole heartedly, you are blessed. We all know few of us are that lucky. And often times, those significant others that say they support, truly do not.
I chose to stay alone through my transition, though I did date briefly, I quickly realized and learned a few things which, later in therapy and in my coaching classes, truly sunk in.
First, as you begin your transition, you may or may not experience a period of some maturity regression and by that I mean, that you become like a child in a candy or toy store. You become mesmerized with all the new aspects that are coming towards you. The shopping, the new friends, experiencing things as the gender you were meant to be. The other part is that as you begin accepting yourself, you start to discover those things you long denied about yourself. Including things you truly like, such as music, but denied liking. The typical things you were not supposed to like as your physical gender because of fear. But as your true self comes out and is born, you start to want those things.
In order to transition, and this is something most never think about. I myself didn’t until I took a coaching class and realized that it is true. In order to have a truly successful transition, you must become selfish. And by that I do not mean in a materialistic fashion. I mean, emotionally and financially. Transition isn’t cheap and while you begin transitioning you have to live a dual life. So often times, most decide to keep clothes from both genders for a while. And that’s fine, but it can get expensive. Becoming this kind of selfish is something that unfortunately many individuals think is wrong. Taking care of your needs is not wrong. It is society who deems it so. You will go through many emotions and that roller coaster is not an easy fun ride 100% of the time.
I’m not saying to not be with anyone or to not look for that special someone. What I’m saying is this: Your emotional maturity will regress for a time while you get your bearings. And once you do, your emotional maturity will blossom and grow exponentially. That growth is important in many aspects of your transition. Especially when it comes time for SRS, doctors and therapists will look for that emotional maturity and if not present, they can delay your surgery.
The selfishness that you will need to have will not be easily understood and neither will your roller coaster of emotions if you seek someone who is not mature emotionally to handle it. And for this reason it is important that if you choose to start dating, you disclose your transgender status early in the relationship. You time will be wasted on trying to explain an emotionally immature person what you are going through. Having to explain yourself all the time to an individual who has not matured emotionally will hinder you. Someone who is emotionally immature, is a jealous person, a flip flopper, someone who supports you in one breath and in the next they hate you. Someone who cannot and will not accept your friends, selfishness, time consumption with appointments, work, support groups, shopping for yourself, new things, new friends, new likes and dislikes. Keeping their friends from meeting you and vice versa. Someone who cannot accept that there will be days when you want to do nothing but watch TV, or hang with a friend. And the most immature of these are the ones who cannot accept the physical changes that will happen to you should you choose to start HRT.
And while they act and continue to act like children, you have now put yourself in a position of constant arguments and disappointments for both of you and that is not fair to either person. Most importantly, having to constantly battle with an emotionally immature person does nothing for your continued emotional growth or stability and the inevitable part of that is, you will hit an emotional road block and find yourself in a rut.
For these reasons, I chose to stay alone and I am more the happier for it. I am now at an emotional stable part of my life and the growth I’ve had have opened my eyes to see the immaturity and negativity people have in relationships and not allow it to hinder me in anyway.
The next reason is the word Transgender/Transsexual itself .
It’s just a word, it’s a label. Be who you are inside and when someone asks, I am who I am. In my case, I am a strong, youthful, intelligent, confident and vibrant woman. Let go of the word and be the man or woman you are in your soul, it is truly that simple, just release it.
Dysphoria is the next reason most of us get stuck and begin to let fear take over.
And it can be there when you wake up or pop up as the day progresses. I’ve come a long way in this regard, however, I still get those days. First thing you need to realize is, that a lot of those feelings associated with the dysphoria you’re already used to. The general sadness or discontentment with your life or things going on right now. You just need to take a step back and focus on the good things that are going on for you. And you’re not alone. A lot of us have hit rock bottom and a lot of us walk away from the life we know in order to begin transition.
Begin a journal, let those bad feelings come out of you and as you do, you will realize that you are in fact making them bigger than they are. Once you put them on paper, you’ll start to feel better. You don’t have to actually write; you can type, as I do. On the days you wake up feeling dysphoric, get dressed. Take a shower and get dressed, take your time. Look at your clothes and how you’re doing things. Focus your energy on getting dressed. You don’t need a reason, just get dressed and pamper yourself any way you can that day. Make yourself your favorite lunch, watch your favorite movie and just let that good feeling come over you. The more often you practice these things, the less frequently you will feel dysphoric.
There are moments when I realize that I really am being myself and a feeling of euphoria is comes over me. And although I still have my days of dysphoria, those are becoming less and less with each passing day. No more pain, no more sufferance, just pure joy. So when I let this feeling grow, I realize that I LOVE MYSELF. That’s the bottom line. I do.
How did I get here? First, I forgave myself for all the aggression I felt for life, others and myself. And I forgave myself for not loving the girl I now I love. The beautiful girl/woman who just wanted to exist and to express who she is, will be and wants to be.
After forgiving myself and letting go, I began to realize that being myself is the most precious and beautiful gift I can have in this life. Living an authentic life, true to myself and only myself. I realized that very few people on this planet are able to live an authentic life. Those of us fortunate enough to be able to live our authentic life are a small percentage of the population on Earth.
The anger I felt was killing me, I had my nervous breakdown and afterwards I realized, I could forgive myself or live my life as the woman I truly am and take this journey as a gift. That was the start of my transition. And with the bad days I still encounter, I feel pure joy, happiness and contentment. And as soon as I forgave myself and started living my life as the woman I am, my brain just started to click and show me that, in the end, I am and will be a beautiful woman.
But I quickly found out that I also had to let go of the idea of what beauty is, the beauty I and society inflicted not only upon me. I had to learn to love myself. My brain, this beautiful machine used to format me since I was born. I learned early in my transition through the help of writing in my journal, therapy, the life coaching classes and mostly importantly, ridding my life to toxic people, that I was blinded by all the standards that society still wanted to make me accept. Many, many times I laid in bed crying and silently asking myself, “Why me? Why am cursed?” The day I decided to see a little bit more than that I decided to let go of everything I knew, of all the ideas, of all the standards and facade I trained myself to live with, that was the day I saw the woman in me in a different light.
I recently told my best friend Arrietta that Native Americans have this belief that we are two spirited people and that they believe we are to be revered. Androgynous or transgender persons are seen as doubly blessed, having both the spirit of a man and the spirit of a woman. Thus, they are honored for having two spirits, and are seen as more spiritually gifted than the typical masculine male or feminine female. So look at your life as doubly blessed. Take the best parts of the facade you’ve lived and merged them with the new life you are beginning. The best of both worlds, how many people out there, if asked, would jump at the chance to have the best traits of a man and the best traits of a woman entwined in one spirit and body?
It is not a curse, it is a gift. All you have to do is open your mind, heart and your eyes!
Yet, when you start to realize this, you get scared. Mostly you get scared of leaving the life you’ve come to know. And at this point many of us that we want to draw back, we change our mind, where the old fears rear their ugly head and where we wish we hadn’t started in the first place. The letting go of everything familiar is always fearful. And once you let fear take over, negativity sets in and you get entwined in a vicious circle of asking why, negativity and fear. You begin to once again let fear of the uncertain control you. Well, staying where you were didn’t bring you any happiness, joy or peace. So why not embrace who you truly are, jump into the unknown, from which there is no return, and live the life you’ve deserved all along?
The beauty of transition is that at some point soon after you let go and forgive yourself, you become aware of the beautiful soul you have. And when you see that, everything becomes natural, simple, a flow emerges and it begins to consume you.
No more sufferance, no more pain, no more curse. :)
Below are some coping skills I use to help me stay on course and minimize my bad days.
1) Accept it. Based on experience, you have probably known about your gender identity since you were young: female, male, or maybe not within the gender binary at all. You know what your gender identity is better than anybody else. Don’t let anybody tell you that you aren’t transgender, or that it’s just a phase.
2) Realize that you are not alone. No matter where you are, you can find other transgender people. Find a support group and if possible a mentor.
3) Read. Check out books from the library. Jamison Green, Kate Bornstein, Leslie Feinberg, Mattilda, and Louis Sullivan have written some great books that are really informative. Find out everything you can.
4) Tell someone if you’re sure it’ll be safe. Don’t hide it; it feels like a huge weight on your shoulders and it hurts. Come out to someone that you’d trust with your life. Write a speech or notes beforehand unless your memory is very good. Go ahead and cry, if you need to.
5) Be yourself. Don’t feel ashamed of being who you are. If transition is what you want to do - do it.
6) Seek resources. If there’s a transgender support center or group in your area, consider going to it - many have anonymous help lines you can call if you have questions and don’t feel comfortable going in person. If you can, meeting somebody who’s already spent time questioning their gender and is further along in the transitioning process than you are can be extremely helpful. If there’s nothing in your area, there are online support groups who can provide help, advice, and a listening ear
7) Write. Pour out your feelings into a journal, write heart music, poems and, in general, yell with your fingers.
8) Visit a doctor. Discuss this with a physician who has has experience in this area. If the doctor does not believe you or take you seriously, go to another one. Don’t let an ignorant health care professional question your identity.
And remember these key facts and points:
- You are not alone. There are people out there like you, who have gone through many of the same things (though everyone’s experience is unique.) You are not a freak.
- There is more to being transgender than transitioning, and more to transitioning than the medical process. Don’t lose sight of who you are because people tell you that you need to see a doctor.
- Sexual orientation is not gender. Feeling like you are somebody of the “other” gender does not mean that you have to feel like a ‘straight’ person of that gender. However, LGBT organizations often have resources for transgender people.
- Don’t let it define you as a person. Act however you want whenever you want, just know when to be smart. If you’re hiding in a shell, it’ll just overwhelm you much more.
- Everybody is different. Not every transgender person is transsexual. Hormones and surgery are not for everyone. Some people are happy simply dressing in a more masculine/feminine way; some people don’t feel comfortable in their bodies until they have surgery. Only you know what’s right for you, but a good therapist or doctor can help you work things out
I am looking for more trans* related posts that have to do with trans* women and trans* women of colour. I get a lot of people asking me to post their transition blogs but 100% of them are white trans* men.
I am also open to serious articles, etc.
tw: reality check
On July 19th, 2009, Scott Loren Moore, one of the lead editors of Trans Bodies/Trans Selves, smacked me around pretty bad. At the time he was my boyfriend, and what occurred on this night was part of a larger pattern of intimate partner abuse. He has consistently sought to avoid any accountability for this behavior.
Scott is currently raising $50k via some kind of crowdsourcing scheme which will *allow* Trans Bodies/Trans Selves to be published by Oxford University Press. Why? It is unclear.
The original Our Bodies/Ourselves was published for $0.38 per copy. The point is, it might be worth it to give some thought about where your money is going, and whose ideals it is supporting. Read more about this ongoing conversation here.
There are a lot of really smart people involved in this project, and I’m not trying to shade them. I’m just sharing my part of the story. Decide what you want to do for yourself.
I’ve noticed that there’s a lack of transition diaries, resources, etc on tumblr catering towards trans women. They exist, of course. But I figured I’d jump on board. For anyone interested in following my journey- Charlotte Chronicles (I am also more than willing to offer my own insights upon request)