hrt, identity, transgender

Wait, I was transitioning? (15+ months HRT)

The Prostap Nightmare

I spent the first 14 months of HRT living a nightmare.  The T-blocker I was on (leuprorelin acetate sold as Prostap SR) crushed and suppressed my already failing mental health.  I have read stories of people who take it for endometriosis and other ailments who have had their lives destroyed on it as I have.  Some people react fine to it, all things considered as a t-blocker it has less side-effects than the others.

Now I am on Spironolactone, a 100mg tablet, twice a day.  All of a sudden the dark clouds have been lifting around me and I begin to reassert a sense of personal identity.  Some people conversely react as badly to Spiro as I did to leuprorelin, so I am saying to you now, if you have a blocker and your mental health is failing for no discernable reason, please look into it.  Furthermore, I already pee quite a lot, and Spiro exacerbates this to the extent that I can barely make a 90 minute car journey without having to stop at least once to pee.  In my case it seems I’m actually allergic to Spiro as evidenced by the rashes and hives I’ve been getting since starting.  Anti-histamines help but I’m asking a lot from my body to process all these drugs.

Changing a male bodied physiology in terms of removing testosterone is asking a lot of the mind.  On top of the depression, my libido was castrate – let me clarify, it wasn’t a low sex drive, it was a complete removal of a sex drive.  If you know unfettered male bodies then you’ll know that quite regularly it will make sexual demands and get frequent erections in anticipation of the natural release. This is much less likely to happen on HRT, as such one’s neurology has to play catch up to the new information it is being fed against the template it was set at birth.

On Spironolactone, my sex drive is coming back, very slowly.  It’s different now, visualization is an insufficient fantasy – there has to be a story, there has to be a connection.  When it comes to sexual activity I can no longer just get ‘up’ and go.  This works fine for me because as a demisexual I am only attracted to people I have a close connection with.  This experience is not universal, some trans women experience a significant increase in sex drive as they are now free to experience sex more honestly.  Pleasantly my infrequent erections have ceased to become as painful as they were a few months ago, though not necessarily from any change in my behaviour that way.

Surgery as a stick where the carrot should be

The grossest impediment to gaining a healthy sexual functioning (aside recovering from personal experiences of abuse and betrayal) is the configuration of my genitals.  Not long ago I had my pre-op consultation with Mr. Thomas from Nuffield Hospital in Brighton.  This process involves filling in a lot of forms, and speaking with a nurse who will be offering first hand care, who provided information sheets about the many things that must be done for GRS to be a success.  She showed us the dilators which aren’t as big as I feared, although try telling me that after the operation.

Next, a meeting with the surgeon himself.  He makes a brief explanation of what will happen in surgery and the likelihood of complications.  He offered an 80% of things being fine, 15% acceptable, and 5% of something going wrong.  For 100% of people, things can and will go wrong randomly, especially if you don’t follow procedure to the letter.  He asked me to lie on a bed, take my trousers and pants down, put a sheet over my genitals and left the room to allow me to do that.  He came back in, removed the sheet and handled my genitals so he could know what he was working with.  We continued our conversation as he was touching me, so be prepared for that.

Then came the hammer blow.  Because I am circumcised there is less material to work with in creating a vagina, therefore I need laser hair removal on my scrotum to give him more material.  Those who are uncircumcised may not need any hair removal at all.  As a consequence these women already have dates for surgery less than 6 months later and I am back in limbo after thinking I was so close to getting this whole process over and done with.

As much as anything it’s my own fault, I should have known, I should have been privately getting hair removal for the past two years and this wouldn’t have been an issue.  See, the GIC won’t sign off on funding for hair removal until the surgeon makes his assessment, and when the surgeon makes his assessment he is ready to operate as soon as his conditions are met.  Since, I have liaised with private laser therapists and electrolysists.  The woman who lasered my face at a private clinic as I was waiting for NHS facial hair removal was happy enough to zap my scrotum, however she needed to know what the surgeon wanted. ‘Three fingers from the base of the scrotum’ Mr Thomas said, although he has pretty thick fingers so I’m saying four.

Now I’m on the NHS pathway and counting down the weeks. 6 weeks until consultation, followed by 6 sessions of laser spaced around 6 weeks apart. 42 weeks. Then, most likely a further 12 weeks with an electrolycist to clear up the remaining hairs. 54 weeks.  Another YEAR of waiting.  If you want to be sure you are smooth down there, electrolysis alone will take two years.  Some time can be saved however.  Mr Thomas said to get in touch with his secretary for setting a date when hair removal was ‘nearing completion’ and I know some people try to set the date so that surgery comes just a couple of weeks after the last hair removal appointment and the area has had time to heal.

I really have always hated my balls, they’re disgusting things, and to feel held hostage by them, to feel my destiny is in limbo because of hair on them is extremely frustrating. More people have seen my genitals in the past few months than lovers do over years, although it’s only uncomfortable if you make it uncomfortable.  Getting my balls lasered was nowhere near as painful as getting my face done, in a sick way it felt a bit nice, and for a change I could have a conversation with the consultant without screaming due to the big laser in my face.

This is the biggest miscalculation I have made in my transition so far, so if you are circumcised and want GRS then you may want to consider starting genital hair removal no sooner than 2 years before surgery is anticipated.  Be wary though, some women have had GRS and been left with patchy hair patterns because they removed too much hair.

As a result of all this I’ve had to be a little more forward with the GIC, because it’s not just the waiting, t-blockers are poison.  I let them know of my anger in putting trans folk though so much unnecessary medical treatment.  The general health of a trans woman is considered to be better post GRS due to not having to take extra daily medication (I actually think that a large part of the elation after GRS is the rejuvenation of health from not having to take blockers).

I told my GIC therapist that ‘a friend’ who attended the clinic had been feeling depressed and was scared to bring it up in case they were denied service.  She reassured me and I was able to then admit that it was me who had the problems.  For any stories I’ve heard of her stopping medication she informed me that this mostly happens when a patient is clearly in a place of extreme distress.  In explaining my situation calmly she had no reason to deny me.  The next appointment I admitted to her that it’s possible I have Borderline Personality Disorder and she has offered to help me with it, because it is separate from my experience of being trans.

The medical stuff is hard.  It’s important to put the fears of ‘transition takes years’ into perspective.  Yes, this all takes a long time, slowly chipping away at the physical characteristics and growing into a new way of being.  Throughout all that is a comfortable window in which to come to terms with your situation and take care of whatever legal issues you have as well as figuring out how you feel you want to socially transition and then doing it, in earnest.

Oh yeah, wasn’t I supposed to be transitioning?

So, what does that social change look like after over two years out and 15 months on HRT?  It’s not what you likely expect, it’s much much less than that, depending on perspective.

You are already you.  First you let go of what you’re not, then do you on a radical scale.  That may or may not look like very much internally or externally, but for an adult trans person there is a body of work that will take years even if it just simmers.  Understood and cherished concepts may go completely out the window as you come to learn about the experiences of life as another gender in a world where men and women are kept separate in the extreme.  For non-binary and some intersex people comes yet another layer of awareness to the complexity of our gendered constraints.

Personally, I still don’t get the whole thing.  I’ve been in too vulnerable a state the past year that I haven’t actively done anything to ‘transition.’  The good news is that regardless of HRT, transition happens automatically as you gain lived experience; every day brings a new experience, lesson or challenge of belief that locks you further into your identity, if you so choose.

When I buy clothes, I’m not transitioning anymore. When I put on make up I’m not transitioning anymore.  Transition may last forever but there is nothing I’m actively doing aside allowing the concrete to set on my identity.  Honestly, I just don’t care that much about presentation, I mostly wear jeans and a t-shirt – I can’t afford lots of female fit clothes and I still have plenty of good male clothes.  Obviously I look more masculine wearing the male clothes but it doesn’t seem to be an issue because people are looking at my face and hearing my voice.

When I speak I am very much still transitioning.  By all accounts my voice seems to be ‘good enough’ – I’m trying to be objective here…I can deduct that it’s not a male voice even though I kept my masculine parlance; it’s not really a gender neutral voice, because people’s brains assume gender automatically and the brain is seemingly only wired to say ‘male’ or ‘female.’  I work passively with my voice – through simple awareness of speaking – as an option because I spent 8 long months of intensive daily practice working on it and there is still a lot of fine tuning to do.  The fun thing is, as soon as someone has that automatic assumption of your correct gender, it can take quite surprising amount of obvious male gestures to get them to question it.

I am constantly carrying out overt and covert social experiments to understand the boundaries of layman gender understanding.  Maybe it’s a dangerous game but I seem to get away with it.  I am often quite cocky in public (I’m a total poser), even alone, I walk often with a masculine gait, and I think that confidence deters people who are determined to involve themselves in my day.  That and wearing pretty scruffy clothes that leave little room for extreme gendering.

I can do this because I know how lucky I am.  HRT has done wonders to feminize my face, and since it is many people’s first identifier I have an advantage for an easier life until society catches up with the notion that a woman, or a trans woman, shouldn’t be judged for her looks (see Mia Violet’s article Transgender Liberation Means an End to “Passing”).  Also 15 sessions of laser hair removal over the last 2+ years has made a massive difference.  If so inclined I could count problem hairs on my face and they would number less than 100, which is more than enough to make my face smooth.  When I finish laser some hair may eventually start to grow back, then it’s either top-up laser or electrolysis.  I can go a couple of weeks without shaving, even then it’s only because of those few little hairs annoying me.

To illustrate these changes I took a photo of my face every day for my first year of HRT. For your awareness I already had 7 laser treatments when the first photo was taken.  Here are the results:

1yearhrtmonthsv2

Attractiveness isn’t exciting

Around 14 months HRT I had to make the conclusion that in general I look like a woman, and it’s a pretty good feeling, though it is relative.  It doesn’t do anything to improve my life however, in fact I find it quite annoying at times.  My looks have become a focal point of praise for who I am, and I just don’t think my looks are an interesting topic except as a study into human behaviour.

I ‘pass’ most of the time now, in fact I haven’t been misgendered in quite a while, somehow.  The infrequent odd looks I would get from people don’t happen at all really, although people stare at me for acting weird the same way they did whilst living as male.  What I have noticed though, is that the rare times I do go out wearing a dress or a little bit of make up it’s almost exclusively men, not looking, but staring at me…if I was more confident I’d say they were checking me out.  On the one hand I can strongly assume I’m passing at that time but on the other I have all these guy boring their eyes into me.  I can totally see why some women get annoyed at the sense that these men are not just objectifying, but almost trying to impose ownership on women’s bodies.

Aside from a blatant sexual assault over the summer (a story for another time) I have guys coming up to me in bars and other public spaces.  I forget that I’m not being seen as a guy; they aren’t coming up for a chat or a fight, they’re coming for a woman, and if they can get away with it, to impose on my personal space.  It’s jarring to have to live this experience I’ve seen from the outside with apoplectic anger since I was a teenager.  Women aren’t oppressed? Try being one.  I’m still waiting for the first decent man to come and talk to me, aside friends of friends.  I was imposed certain principles of what a man is growing up – it was somewhat misogynistic but with honourable intent, as in respect for all people, especially women, to protect women, and to not touch them without consent.  Even in general, you don’t get into someone’s personal space ever without their permission.  Just another perspective on the puzzle that is people.

Body changes happen also in the mind

On a more pleasant note, I have been noticing the changes on my body more and more.  Now it’s my body I look at in the mornings rather than my face.  My breasts, though still not ‘dropped’ are much bigger than I ever expected they would be and I actually feel a weight behind them.  They look very small but they feel much bigger, and personally I’m satisfied, all I have to do is wear a bra and there’s no dispute that’s they’re probably breasts.  I’m almost pushing a C cup, surprising since both sides of my family have pretty small boobs.

They don’t look great but they work for me, the same as when I do look at the changes in my body I do it with the affirming knowledge that I have a woman’s body, on a male frame.  That’s what being trans IS.  You must, at some point, come to a place of acceptance of your born state.  Even though I envision myself as looking indistinguishable from a (certain kind of, cis-) woman naked, I still allow myself the peace of what I am, what I have strived for, rather than what I can’t change.  My hands will always be suspiciously large, my shoulders will always seem a little broader, my feet may seem larger than is expected of a woman in the cis world.  Again, we’re talking centimetres here, that is the difference between male and female bodies, not whole worlds.  In reality this isn’t something I think about often, I’m just trying to explain what can happen; I’ll give my breasts a little squeeze at the end of the day and glow in the light of my determination.  Regardless of how much you may know you need to go through all this, it takes a special human grit, and we all have it in us regardless of circumstance, remember that!

I am in the market for a slimmer waist, a fairly unreasonable goal.  As much as it hasn’t gotten slimmer at all, my hips continue to grow, further creating the illusion of a narrower waist.  That said, some mornings when I look at my body before eating I become shocked by the extent of apparent changes.  With the presence of my breasts it creates a figure that I would find attractive in a woman, so I concluded as humbly as possible that therefore I can be attractive.  Sometimes I still don’t like my body, especially with, you know, a penis in the mix, but that’s totally normal.  It means I’m at the point where my sense of body image is dependent on my self-confidence, not the sense of my own inevitable masculinity.  I could compress my waist with a year or more of corseting, but corsets are deeply uncomfortable and remind me too jaggedly of the aspects of transition I don’t really need to achieve that badly through struggle.

With so long to wait still until surgery I’m trying to put it out of my mind for now.  Soon will come a time where I must get stronger, healthier, fitter and happier to maximize my chances during recovery; quit smoking, come to terms, prepare etc, but that isn’t now.  All I can really do now is keep working on my voice and keep learning, every day.

Misery doesn’t have to stop transition

Finally, I know I don’t post much, I have a lot of topics aside these general updates that I really want to write about, but to be honest, I’ve been in a very bad emotional state for a long time.  A large part of it was down to the t-blocker I was on.  I thought it was just how HRT worked, that I could tough it out, and I have no idea how I coped with it for so long.  However the root cause is personal experience, a really horrible dragged out ending to a relationship with my first love over two years ago, and foreknowledge about losing the best job I ever had, coalescing to become the catalyst for me to realise I am a transsexual all happening within a few weeks.

Transition ironically became moot to me, it was something I had to do that I have invested the minimum amount that dysphoria directs me to do – by that I mean I have been assertive in organising transition related appointments for as soon as possible and going to every single appointment no matter how inconvenient, whilst letting every other aspect of my life fall apart – but I’ve been dying inside throughout the whole process with a broken heart and broken dreams.  My mental health is improving, but I still don’t have any reason in my life, and while that is the case transition just hasn’t been a priority.  I’ve still done all I could to speed up the process because I just want to clear the path to deal with these more pertinent issues.  Being trans isn’t everything, it’s one thing.

Transition has never been the top priority in my life, and I’ve done it with a constant intense feeling of hopelessness for the fate of my life that severely depressed people go through.  I’m trying to be kinder to myself, and I have a better chance on the new t-blockers, but the life I want to rebuild isn’t as a woman, it’s as a successful person.  What I’m saying is, you can still feel awful through transition, you can be totally broken, and you can still do it as well as you want to.  I haven’t had the motivation or the reason to do anything for over two years now, there’s no joy in it for me, but somehow I just kept allowing my dysphoria to push my journey and it has worked out.

I was lucky enough to have a relationship with a woman this year – it didn’t last because frankly I’m just too messed up (we’re still on good terms), but she showed me that I really can meet someone who treats me right, who respects me, who listens to me.  For all the shock of transitioning, it’s such sweet solace every time something or someone grounds you back to reality in a way you thought was lost, to the point now where I consider myself as secure and unconcerned with my identity as a woman as I was with being a man before I had my realisation.

On top of everything, I have a fantastic network of incredibly supportive cis and trans friends, and my immediate family are amazing.  I’ve spent my life investing in my personal relationships so much as I am able, and the payoff is loving friends who stick by you, regardless of the adversity you face together as transgender person, and public ally.

I’m a very lucky woman.  And if you’re preparing for this journey, or on your way, you can feel this way too.  Just keep going and it will come, in your own way, for you, to share with the people you love, and who love you.

Amy Xx

P.S. If you would like to see some of the physical body results, or are just a pervert, feel free to visit @wrathoftran on Twitter.  Here I post about body and sex issues, so it has a few nude photos of me that I have posted for education and my own satisfaction.  Be warned this feed has a lot of swearing and potentially undesirable content on it. Or visit my main Twitter @unexpectedamy for trans information, experiences and affirmations almost daily.

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gender, identity, transgender

Absolving the Void

Peel back the layers like the painful scabs they are.  All those layers of dead skin built up as defences throughout life that bring us farther from ourselves.  Creating a solid foundation whilst aware of what is already built.  The mixer drips and overflows whether it is preferred or not; one can build upon concrete, or one can build upon frittering dreams made from ashes tinier than sand.

I am the only person who can give me what my life wants.  I’m the only person who can find out, the only one who can do it, and the only one who cares enough [to make it happen].  Just words, conjecture, yet we are individuals, same as everyone in every position, rich or poor, totally equal and deserving in every single right.  It is wonderful to find the value and strength of the human spirit, but what about a human spirit?  To whatever degree one transcends gender, it is looking inwards that counts, not outwards.  Society is this, people are that, opinions fly with an invisible sludgy density.

For myself, since coming out, I’ve come closer to myself in some ways, yet grown further in others.  With such jarring self-realisation it can be difficult to hold onto the connectedness which binds our own values.  There must be balance, without a sense of selfness there is no scale upon which to weigh burden.  See not yourself through the eyes of others, for their worth is not determined by how they imagine you see theirs.  Only a heart will let another heart inside’ its realm.

I had the wonderful opportunity recently to spend a few days in my grandparents’ country house whilst they went on holiday, the sort place where a wi-fi signal makes 56k seem tolerable.  Good.  The overwhelmingness in general of technology and seemingly insightful ‘5 Reasons Why…’ articles resonates too loudly with the online trans experience, it’s just too much information, and how much of it is really helpful when reading about self-help overtakes actually helping oneself?

Such was my greeting view –

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A little stream rolls under this picture. So tiny, yet still unstoppable in it’s flow.

In my reflections I had some a couple of important moments of clarity.

The first was to finally let go of my last relationship and first love for real.  I read an article on closure where it just clicked, or more accurately on how sometimes there is no closure, and the light brightened in my heart.  I’ve had to accept that sometimes, with some people, there are no avenues to receipt of empathy, understanding, compassion, conciliation etc, no matter how I could try or yearn.  I still got left being called a liar and a void, and must accept there is nothing I can do to alleviate this.  I think if anything, I was simply naive, just as I was naive about her. I am aware that some trans-folk have or hold onto their revelation whilst in a committed relationship and hold it in for whatever reasons for however long, but that wasn’t me.  It was the ending of the relationship that spurred me to look at my life and to finally see that which has perennially invaded my unconscious.  I was never given the chance to rebuild trust enough to try to explain how I came out so soon after the breakup, I’ve just received a continuation of the insults and abuse I’ve tried to carry for the past year.  I think this would have happened whether I was trans or not, I have spoke my love, prayers and devotions, retaining the positive memories and experiences, but now I can never look back.  We could have helped each other, and we should have been good friends at least. It is a sad ending. It is a new beginning.

Indeed, I was naive for over 28 years that so called gender issues were such a pivotal issue in my life.  Without the emotional upheaval and final unclasping I can only wonder how long it may have been before I started asking myself such serious questions.  And to be true, after those first few weeks of screaming and crying, I started telling people straight away, because I had no choice it hurt so much to have it all hit me at once.  Mais c’etait et c’est la vie.  The pain from all that is gone now so I know it is over, and in forcing myself to write this it allows my acceptance to breathe, to let go of the hurt, and mostly to let go of the hope it can be resolved.  It hurts me a lot to be thought of as a source of pain for others, I truly hope she can come to understand one day, to let go of her hurt, to forgive the grievances she feels.

‘Forgive people in your life, even those who are not sorry for their actions.  Holding onto anger only hurts you, not them.‘ – Source unknown

I’m sorry.  I forgive you.


The other release was of course related to trans issues, you know, that whole thing where breath is castigated by binders and corsets, for fun…  I’ve seen the struggle in myself and many others who in finding ourselves wish to put a name to that which takes us [from a past] to a future.  I understand how important personally, socially and politically it can be to use the names and terms, but I think I am moving past gendered terms, past binary, past non-binary, for now.  I’m sure I’ll proselytize yet through a few more terms of thinking.

I’m not trying to raise myself above, or come up with a new term; I just feel sometimes that all the questioning is like leaving the tap on, all that precious energy cascading into a black hole where answers are echoes.  I’m concerned with my individuality, not my gender, and though they are concordant, even thinking about thinking about a name for whom or what I am seems counter productive.  This is not a rejection of trans identity, it is more a showing of my growing comfort and acceptance in a self-actualized role.  One’s role is to be oneself.

Please forgive the impertinence, I’m just a babe when it comes to actually dealing with this stuff, but for me it is liberating.  No longer do I have to read trans-critical information, nor trans-affirming information and try to apply it to my own situation.  I hope that I have a more highly prioritised sense of self than sense of gender.  As trans, with continued self-awareness I would like to believe one can release the unfettered nature of oneself without bond – yet when dysphoria calls, does thon us ask to lie our identity on a line, or between the tracks?

When trying to explain all this stuff, I’ve found it essentially comes to sound contradictory in many ways, but to other trans folk, these seeming contradictions evoke understanding and empathy, and no doubt it confuses the fudge out of most people.  This shared connection however helps us understand the realities of our incongruities.

I posit to not lie on a line or between a track, but to ride ‘gender’ like a wave, take control of dysphoria like it’s a surfboard, become an expert dysphoria surfer, expect the waves to crest and crash over you sometimes, expect to fall into endless possibilities for choices of direction.  Think of these things for a time, but remember why you came, to find peace, calm, a true smile upon your face as a blazing sun of energy reflects its’ light and the spray blinds you to all but your focus.

Gender happens.  You don’t find it.

Gender is the word used to differentiate whatever it differentiates itself from.  It is an aspect of an individual, more innate and deep than most.  Gender, I suppose, is also a sufficient distinguishment between individuals in certain ways, though not necessarily through distinguishing features.  Gender is not the word ‘gender’, I find there is a serious language barrier which makes it very difficult to engage the precepts of discussing transgender issues from the basis of our awareness. For ourselves, moving on from the traditional sexed values of the words ‘male’ and ‘female’, ‘man’ and ‘woman’, to using those words to describe what we are.

What I mean is, I find myself by unconscious design to deign myself a woman, though I [supposedly] have a man’s everything.  For me, even having to attach those words creates a restriction, for me.  I’m not trying to write New-Speak, I’m just trying like I always have to eradicate those concepts like I try to eradicate any other pre-conceived assumption on human beings based on physical identifiers.  I guess it’s like wanting to talk to someone on a phone with a before meeting them, knowing a mind before attaching bodily traits, like I would hope for others to know me before imparting physical judgement.

This is my current, narrow, not at all serious interpretation. I do not deny, nor am I deluded from biological probabilities. There is too little psychophysical information for anyone to speak with authority. All I know is, trans people exist.

Ok, so the questions are always there, just like the…sigh….dysphoria.  However, I seem to have found a nice calm for now, things are a lot less overwhelming, less mind heavy.  So much anxiety, confusion, and all those things that lead one downhill from getting so single-minded on gender business.  It happens and it’s ok, though we have to take time to step back, we can begin some of the healing at any time.  Part of that is letting go of the past, another part is embracing the present.

Calm water days prepare for rough seas ahead.


In embracing the present, I personally have been trying to cool off on hyperactive transition mayhem, so much as I can be willing.  When trying to eat a mountain this big, the days go by and it seems like nothing can make enough of a difference, only crumbs when it may seem like progress is a spectre, but crumbs are still crumbs, even if few singles bites will make any noticeable difference.  However, it is not a Sisyphesian task, all those little bits matter, they really do bring us closer to our goals, but trying to do too much at once I find can totally jam the system and I personally just end up panicking.

So, I’m trying to tone down the demands.  I’m in a place that is comparatively acceptable for now.  My make-up and voice hasn’t improved, though I have been getting to wear some pretty nice clothes.

My voice is what holds everything back.  I’ve accepted the necessary horror and hard work, and it is a vital factor for me long term.  I don’t want to improve my looks because it feels pointless when I sound like this.  I’m not so much worried about the self-expression aspect so much as the grinding mental incongruity so this is how I do it.  I winged an appointment at a hospital voice clinic next month, and I really think it’s up there on the list of horribly embarrassing things for me to do in transition.  Gonna sound sooooo bad, and I just know I’m going to have a break down afterwards. I have to be honest, if I become aware of my voice in a conversation I can feel pretty uncomfortable.  Ears shall come to bleeding one day, when Amy is around.

I’ve started wearing hip pads and breast forms, even though I said to myself I wouldn’t.  It’s not nearly as internally humiliating as I feared, in fact it felt more appropriate than I would have liked, but hey, whatever works.  I’m pretty self-conscious about it, but not enough to not do it.  I mean, if I grow breasts or get chest surgery they’re going to be there, so may as well get used to it.  Palm to face initializing,  Palm to face engaging.  Palm to face complete.  Not fun, but whatever, it’s fine.

Overall, beyond little trinkets the best thing for me has been being outside, sensing who I am in the world, learning what not to wear, gaining confidence.  Each mistake now is one less to make in the future, and wow there are some really embarrassing mistakes to be made!  With good friends, it can be a lot of fun, and it can be alone too, if you are prepared to laugh at yourself.  I dunno, I must be crazy, because still when I walk into town I seem to be one of the very few ones with even the faintest of a smile.  Do smile!  Other people?  ‘Some folks would try and tell you how to butter your toast.’  Some people want what they want for themselves for you, but what do you want for you? I want your smiles, gimme gimme gimme! 😀


I’m aware this blog is just a big block of writing, so here are a few photos of beautiful Westeros:

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And one of me, cause I love ya 😉

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Spread the happy times people!

Amy Xx

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gender, identity, transgender

The smooth is the rough

All these constant little battles.  Who you are versus who you should have been;  what you could be versus what you’re not; the potential physiological loss of one set of positive/negative gender traits for the gain of positive/negative traits for another gender.  A very unique set of issues, the question is, are you fighting against yourself, or for yourself?

It’s tough to express a part of yourself that has been forced away for so long.  It’s not like I’ve ever not been myself, but some parts…some parts I knew just felt very far removed from what I should be expressing in the narrow rubric, a specified cause for ridicule.  In fact, ever since early childhood, I’ve known these issues weren’t solely about expression, it was something much deeper.  When I was six, I needed to be a girl, even though I didn’t know any girls,  I searched for ways to make it happen, rather than laying in bed wishing.  I remember bouts of what I now know to be dysphoria, looking in the mirror disgusted, spending hours, days, weeks scouring the house during any moment alone to find the elixir that would change me so I didn’t have to deal with whatever was hurting me.

One day, when I was around 7/8, I thought I had found what I was looking for.  I had looked at it on several other occasions and wondered how dangerous it might be.  Industrial super glue.  Yeah, less painful than the scissors or elastic bands, maybe it would work for a while.  It took several more days, maybe weeks of building courage, and then I tried to super glue my penis behind my body, away from sight.  Obviously it didn’t work, I was just left with my genitals and hands covered in the stuff, sticking together.  Later that evening I came to my mother and explained I had an accident….an accident that leaves a fully clothed 7/8 year old with glue on hands and penis only.  I remember as my mum peeled super glue off my raw little bits how much I had to repress telling her why I did it, and how for a further 20 years I would repress telling anyone about events like that.  I reminded my mother of this when I came out to her, even she had repressed it and denies it ever happened.  I can’t say for sure that I was trying to become a girl, I was just trying to become what my experience told me I was, which just happened to be a girl, though I did not know the words.  All I knew is that the feeling would not go away, as I searched aimlessly for relief.

It was so much repression.  I knew there was a part of me that was very wrong, very different from anybody else, that certain parts of me had to be buried, deeper and deeper, not because I was scared of my expression, but because I was scared of my identity.  The term ‘gender identity’ I feel is only useful to a point, because what it actually seems to be is just ‘identity’, gender being a consequence of biological variation that has little bearing on the identity I have, rather it is through repression that a ‘back-up’ identity is created to which dysphoria demands the truth of actuality be heard.

More and more I remember times throughout my life when I wanted to react flowingly to situations, to be myself, but I didn’t.  I am an only child of early divorce, I was trained early to be quiet, to just get on with things, not ask questions, to be alone and just deal with it.  These experiences carry through, reinforcing themselves over the years until the truth is just buried in submission to the dour grind of work, conformity and death.

I don’t think I can deny there is a difference between transkids and later transitioners.  The AGP model is highly flawed and fetishised, but there are young ones who have no choice but to express because there is no other way for them to be but themselves, repression is impossible, acting up to natal sex is impossible, and they are made pay a sickening price generally in bullying from other kids, teachers, family.  Like everything else, dysphoria and levels of transgenderism run on a spectrum of intensity.  Still, I think life circumstances play a part for some, individual personality and life experience cannot be denied; when inhabiting a foreign body with no knowledge of why it feels so wrong, people react in different ways.  Certain traumas can bury one’s identity entirely, not just their gender, perhaps forever.


Me-She

Now, for me to forget how to be ‘male’, it is like asking an aeronautical engineer with a 29 year career who re-realised her true calling was in marine biology to forget everything about aeronautical engineering.   She couldn’t, nor should she, experience is still experience.

So, gotta work with it.  I grow painfully aware of how ‘unfemale’ I’ve become, all those years of male training to try and find a way to fit.  Nobody put a gun to my head to make me do it, but hey, when you know intrinsically who you are in a world where every single identifier tells you that you are not, various coping mechanisms evolve in learning how to get by.

I’m usually in a bad mood, and while we may not know what constitutes maleness and femaleness, we generally make the distinction fairly easily.  Take a grey lump of clay, give it the vocal tone and mannerisms of a certain sex and I imagine it would be fairly easy to guess which it is a large degree of the time.  The argument I keep hearing is ‘sex is not gender’, so as trans I feel I must admit my gender and my sex.  Not that I ever denied it, that would be a bad idea.  I can barely hold in this truer side of myself, yet I don’t really get what it is, or is supposed to be.  Sincerity without ego, it will take time to peel away the decaying shell of faux masculinity.

You see, as a male, brought up as male, living as male, subject to male physiology, it’s not difficult to portray as male…square peg, square hole.  Simple delusions, lies for a back-story.  It makes you the perfect spy, like the Englishman  raised in Germany called to serve his motherland in the World Wars – he speaks German, lives like a German, acts like a German, but he is English, and must stand for his truth, rather than the life forced upon him when his pregnant mother set forth from Dover.

Speaking of battles, I notice the fragmentation of the trans world.  The young folks, the older folks, the AGP crowd, the radfems, trans-extremists(!), the regular ignorant, the well meaning ignorant, the folks just trying to get on with it, however many more little subgroups.  It’s good to read all this stuff, it can be pretty painful.  I’m not saying disregard it, I’m saying it’s too personal a journey to let the views of everyone else play too large a part.  Don’t make comparisons, it’s easy to feel invalidated, or ‘not trans enough’, the topic has been covered extensively, and is again irrelevant to the immediate problems facing each transperson.

I watched some informative videos on youtube by Kaylee Johnson, and wondered why she hasn’t put up a video in sometime.  If you don’t already know why, can you guess?  Yup, she jumped off an overpass and killed herself, yet she seemed so inspirationally on top of things.  You would do well to convince me that people struggle their whole lives, become aware, pluck up the courage to transition, turn their lives and bodies upside down, then die so unceremoniously because of a fetish.  She was strong and she still died by suicide.


Where’s my medicine?

Taking time now to work on transition, I realise that there’s not actually an awful lot to do.  Most of it is a series of constant learning processes and adaptations – voice, style, face, mannerisms, specific mtf/ftm horrors, whatever folks outside that binary need to do.  Personally I just want to get to a point where I am consistently showing myself for who I am, to a point where my voice doesn’t freak me out, and I can get a job without worrying about making additional dramatic outwardly changes early in employment.  Otherwise, yup, gotta get on with life, especially when the wait for treatment can become that grind you read about in blogs and try to estimate how long you might have to wait 😉

I’m 5 months into GIC therapy with the minimum 6 month wait before they can sign off on hormones.  I don’t think anything is going to happen next month.  I’m signed up for gamete storage, which will take months, then I imagine an initial endocrinologist appointment, a second appointment for blockers, then a later appointment to begin the new grinding wait for full power HRT.  So even when the light turns green, there is another red light, a small advance to dig another trench to duck from the mental gunfire.  I’m getting an advance on voice lessons though I’m told I’ll be turned away after initial consultation until I begin HRT, same goes for laser.  I was told the private laser sessions I’ve been getting don’t affect my eligability for NHS (Northern Ireland) laser fun.  The argument is that being on HRT will make these additional services more efficacious.

Of course, my argument is that HRT will make my life more efficacious, so get to it.  I reiterate that I don’t have forever to screw about with this, at my age I’d rather be worrying about kids and mortgages, not trying to justify medical treatment.  That said, as trans, treatment is a privilege, not an expectation, you are still you without medical intervention.

My whole life I’ve made myself least important, putting education, work, others and love before my own personal issues; now taking life into my own hands it is obvious what is important and necessary to me.  That being said, I still need to be in the position to work again, I’m in the prime of my life, as much as I’m happy to embrace my true identity, I don’t feel I have a lot of time for it!  More self-care required.

I got some homework which I’ll share because I think it could be a useful exercise. Simple cognitive behavioural questions, but can you answer them honestly?
•What are the advantages of transition?
•What are the disadvantages of transition?
•What are the advantages of not transitioning?
•What are the disadvantages of not transitioning?

‘What do I need to consider before I start to live my life full time in my identified gender?’
•Myself
•Family
•Work
•Society
•Other

I met my first knowingly transitioned transsexual woman before the appointment at a request.  She had transitioned a fair bit later than me, though it was a good opportunity to ask questions and hear confirmations face to face.  It all sounds horrifyingly lovely.  Tears and chocolate.  She said depression is part of being trans, I didn’t like that.  Depression is part of life for many these days, being trans doesn’t have to mean being depressed – yes, it increases the chances simply due to the added mental pressure, but it does not have to be a given.  There’s a reasonable chance HRT could turn you into a blubbering wreck as you finally get to experience how much it actually sucks to be female, pulled into estrogen station with a grating shunt of difficult to control new emotions, but that’s just what it is, the smooth is the rough.

This is what you want, this is what you get,

this is what you want, this is what you get,

this is what you want, this is what you get.


XX-XY-ZX Spectrum

I’m still looking, not for an excuse, but for an alternative.  My issue is still not about how I present, I feel pretty lame either way, it’s all internal.  However, I notice the difference in myself in public.  One day I went into town wearing male clothes because frankly my proper clothes were all in the wash and I was near bent double,  it sucked.  As I stood bent over moaning I saw people, faces, male people, female people, people I just couldn’t tell, me, eugh.  The wrongness I have felt for so long amplified now knowing why I’m not at all like them.

Compare that with having a more updated wardrobe which allows me to present full time, I still feel sad, I feel incredibly self-conscious of course, but not quite so dysphoric.  It’s a trade off, I feel more confident expressing that way, at least I can hold my head up, it sounds ironic, but I find it easier to go about my business.  I don’t have to pretend I’m this man man, I don’t have to pretend to be a woman woman, I simply just get to be me, squared, halved, with better things to do.

‘Gender is a spectrum’…’gender is not sex’  Knowingly or not, gender is an individual, subjective experience, shaped mostly by biology and society.  I’m trying to take away even the entire gender spectrum, there is only the personal spectrum, a band which exists somewhere with a range of self-identification that is tolerable to the individual. Existing anywhere within your own range is entirely fine, it can be as wide or as narrow as you desire, or as is forcefully imposed upon you.

Taking away labels, one can exist at and between the x and y of who they natally are and never have to justify it, or give it a name.  However, the issue is not the inability to express oneself within a gender spectrum, it’s spending one’s life so far isolated from from the demands of a biological/mental process which is not being met by our lives and bodies.  Apparently.  Thus I call myself a male-to-female transsexual based simply on the knowledge of the demands of my biology as a means of explaining my medical position rather than an explanation of my being.

I have a worry that I must admit, the lack of affection I received as a child, an only child, accounts for many of the needs I desire which could contribute to my experience as trans, giving credence to the nurture side.  The love and attention I needed crenellated into needs or desires which could stereotypically be labelled feminine.   Indeed, it is a reasonably reliable trans trait.  More worrying is the feeling I get sometimes that as a woman I’m transgender also.  To meet in the middle, I would nearly have to consider myself the same as I have my entire adult life ‘gender-neutral’.  Fudge your genders, but also, fudge my male genitalia and hormone supply.  Maybe it would be better to be smooth down below, sexless, hormone negative, but again it defies reality.  Stop looking around and getting distracted, the truth is there, in front of you, look forward, it doesn’t lie, only your conscious process lies.

Bleh, dysphoria can’t be forced, it is a catalyst to existing insecurities, it creates new insecurities, and it is difficult to find a place of content against the potentially crippling incongruity.  I don’t understand how it works though, I put on the clothes and make up and my dysphoria dissipates a little, even though after a while I’ve forgotten about how I look.  I am allowing my inner processes to be shared in the outer world, which is mentally healthy.

Furthermore, I figure that our bodies are crying out for certain nutrients, salts, vitamins and so on, we feel lethargic and sick without knowing why.  Just because we aren’t getting them doesn’t mean our bodies don’t know we need them, or how to metabolize a new chemical process hitherto unprocessed yet innate in design.  Same could go for hormones in combating the deficiencies that cause dysphoria.


This-for-I, ya?

Fun story.  So, I’ve been living close-ish towards full time for only three months now?  For the first time in my life I got chatted up at a bar by a woman.  She was bi-, had apparently been with trans friends before (whom she frequently misgendered), and she thought I looked good.  Anyway, one thing led to another if you know what I mean.  It was certainly a unique experience, as I’ve never had a one night stand before, and I didn’t have to pretend to be a man (or woman?), which was nice.  It was a worthwhile experience, sex has different parameters now, dysphoria certainly played it’s part, but I don’t regret it.  Very strange that this situation could have presented itself like this, when whilst as a man?  Nada.  Not that I would have been interested then.  But of course, I’m not allowed to be a sexual being, because it makes me an autogynephilic trans fetishist, having a one-night stand makes me a slut, doing this only while as a woman is misogynistic.

Truthfully, in freeing myself from the restrictive codes I created throughout my life, I am simply going after the things I wanted but was too principally scared to experience.  I transition, not to be a woman, but to be free.  Could I do all this as a ‘man’?…Maybe, but I wouldn’t be being myself and therefore would still be wearing a tourniquet around my own neck to keep some sort of grey homogeneous peace for others.

Ah, life is interesting.  Acquaintances and strangers, the looks in their faces, how they turn away, or stutter when they hear my name.  My sense of humour finds it hilarious, I like making people uncomfortable anyway, pushing boundaries and buttons, because evolution is what we make it, by evolving ourselves in general, we evolve the future.  Quick example waiting for service at the bar, a guy I haven’t seen in years ambles up:

P: ‘Alright man, long time no see, how’s it going?’
Me: ‘Heeey, not too bad thankya, gonna get drunnnnnk.  How’s you?’
P: ‘Aye, I’m grand man…but like….what have you been up to?’
Me: ‘Oh, you know, keeping busy, having fun, working on a few interesting projects, keeping smiling.  How about you?’
P: ‘Aye but like….are you alright man?  I heard…..er…..I heard that ah….that….’ (I love the squirming)
Me: ‘You heard that I’m a transsexual?’ (Well I am wearing a dress and make up)
P: [Nervous but somewhat relieved] ‘Yeah…aye….um….well…..just like…….’
Me: [Laughing] ‘It’s ok hun, don’t worry about it!  How are the little ones?’

And so the conversation goes.  Once the awkward sting is taken out, we can talk about everyday stuff again, as decent folks will realise ‘oh, it’s just a person/dude in a dress/transperson/man/woman’.  People generally don’t get to meet a lot of transfolk, the media has fairly distorted who we are, but on the whole people don’t care enough to make it a problem, they want to understand without being rude, and then they have other stuff to do.  They don’t understand which is why they casually misgender and think we have mental problems or a fetish.  There are plenty of difficulties where it is obvious I’m not seen as a woman but it’s early days, for now I’m only interested in seeing myself, showing myself and changing legal documents.  I am what I am, not what others claim.

I find that my doubts are as relevant as my understandings.  I can make moot most theories of my personal gender just by waiting.  I may convince myself of this, convince myself I’m not that, and it will work intellectually for a few minutes, hours maybe, but then dysphoria always comes back to say ‘Hi’.  I don’t think dysphoria is trying to hurt us, same way circumstantial depression isn’t trying to hurt us.  It’s a mechanism for the body to tell us something is wrong, that something needs to change for the body and mind to survive at its fullest power.  Issues grow when they are not confronted, turning the mind into a hateful gristle, yet when we meet head on the reasons for our discontent we find we can overcome adversity in understanding and by showing active love to ourselves, and the world around us.

Amy Xx

P.S. UK folks, do NOT use legaldeedpoll service, the one with Eamonn Holmes on it.  I got scammed by them, and I encountered quite a few others who have been screwed by them too, neither their phone numbers nor emails work and they don’t provide the service at all.  I have printed free deed polls and I’ll make an update as to whether the UK government sectors accept them.  I had to get a signed letter from the Gender Identity Clinic to be able to change my passport and driving license, so please bear this in mind when attempting to update documentation.

Standard
gender, identity, transgender

Embrace the Cure

A broken form, held together by the sinews of lost regret

Queer lament, still no sign of heaven sent

Tear myself apart as I realise that it’s watching me, that cracking haunted mirror

Shards of it come crashing down and I see my face

I replace the scattered remnants with my skin to reflect the bloody truth that I know

It is a brand new dawn, light grows and flickers from the rising sun

I’ve begun a journey of a thousand steps

If I take just one, will the weight of your gazes make me succumb?

I don’t think so.  I don’t think so.

Did you hear when the glass finally shattered?

Constant voices that have grown so loud

I’m drowning out the facts against the tide inside my broken mind

To find my soul is battered

I take all my pain, live it all again, go insane

So tell me who is to blame, for this natural evolutionary consequence?

If God were here and said that we all mattered

Would you turn your cheek and give in to His grace?

The price of love should surely rise above the space you’d have our ashes scattered

So get on your knees, let the prayer appease

Where is sin? It’s under your own skin

All I’ve got is life on my side, I let it in.


Reading trans blogs is so illuminating, subjective perspective of such personal and intimate stories, shared.  Together we seem to swirl around a crystal of energy that represents truth without answers.  Every so often one of us grabs it, only for it to appear in another place.  Like all things in life, it is transient.

Here is a riddle – How can the truth be a lie?  The truth is not there to come to be known, it exists regardless of awareness, though the spirit calls for it to be found.  If one’s essence has been found in truth, how human that we err and convince ourselves it must be wrong.  Truth is neither right nor wrong, simply it is.

I’m so grateful to share in the empathy of those in the early days of transition, the typecast whirlwind of self-exploration, emotional reconstitution, stress, fear, revelation and joy.  Repeat.

Through this I am struck once more by greater personal understanding through concise concepts and an ego-less attempt to get to grips with this whole gender incongruity issue.

Dysphoria is not going to go away on its own, that’s established.  It may always exist, in fact it may be more intense but less frequent post-transition.  So, uh, do something about it.  I find it difficult to accept the brain wants certain conditions to be met for dysphoric feeling to go away, yet I know that living freely in a non-repressed, self known gender identification alleviates some of the symptoms.  However, it is going to take a lot more to really quell that voice.

It is dangerous to say definitively that HRT will abate any of these automatic thoughts, in fact I will go into HRT expecting absolutely nothing to change, because if the hormones didn’t work, then I would have to find another way to combat the dysphoric grind.  In assuming nothing will change unless I personally come to terms with it in my heart of hearts and express myself without quarter, I hope it will mean less emotional pain in the long run.

It’s about trying to get past the perceptions and aesthetics.  In transition, of course you are probably going to be a dolt, make a lot of mistakes, feel hopelessly lost and confused in a seemingly new world. Each screw up is a better lesson learned than a constant pass without question.  Of course you will look, sound and act stupid, people look, sound and act stupid all the time.  But you will learn.  ‘Character’, styles, mannerisms, that stuff will all come in the ways that are wanted and needed in time, practice and experience.  It will take years.  Anticipate and accept all the mad horrors. Revel in a future of concepts not yet dreamed of. This is the plunge.

The other thought I had was so dumb I just have to shake my head – I want this.  I’ve spent this whole blog arguing from the perspective of needs, from medical pragmatism, from self-affirmation of unquenchable human spirit, but I’ll say it again – I want this.  I want to be whoever I am.  Yeah, the ‘who I am’ who isn’t dysphoric, but mostly the ‘who I am’ that I am. I want it all just as much as I need it, perhaps this is a product of the same voice with different tones.

I’m not ready yet to scream from the rooftops about my feminine graces, for now I attempt to carry myself with as much candour as I can to stave off the full brunt of constant embarrassment in my transgirl form. Who I am as a woman is the product of the attitude I’ve always carried minus the unavoidable effects of male conditioning. I find explanations usually get blurry and contradictory after a while, even when cutting out traits and expression as specific gender identifiers. It is not understood with words.

Rightly I’ve been reading a lot of posts about getting these labels out of our lives, or sticking with the ones that give us a feeling of security.  ‘Female’ is a label that works comfortably for me, but I won’t be so rigid that I will let that term define who I am.  I want to embrace the cure, to be a self-loving person, before I am a self-hating woman.  Then a self-loving woman too.

I don’t think I’m the only trans person who has stayed up until 2am screaming and crying at transition video’s the same way those people screamed and cried at the one’s before them.  It’s normal to think you aren’t going to make it, plenty of others have succeeded where they thought they would fail, why should you be any different?  You can’t be expected to appreciate the view from your final stop on these first tentative steps of the journey.

Is that why you are here, to go on your journey?  You’ll have to leave a lot behind, and you can never come back.  How do you know you are ready to go?…You’re here aren’t you?


At the moment, I have been prescribed two weeks of unwinding by my therapist before I look forward.  I already know the plan.  I’m taking several months off for ‘medical leave’ to transition more ‘fully’, because that’s what this is – medicine, therapy, whatever.  I’m going to transition hard, whatever that is, upturning stones and baring my soul fully to the world, to get to the place I need to be.

I’m being clear with my therapist, I’m 29 years old, I’m not a student, I’m not older and more financially secure with family stuff.  No, I’m in my prime, I need employment.  I need to transition to a point where I can feel confident in myself to present adequately enough to actually land a job.  I don’t have time to screw around for another year to get a prescription that could make or break my future.  I’ll find a way regardless, nothing can stop that of which its time has come.

I’m also going to Barcelona for a week in July and I’m absolutely petrified about so many aspects, especially safety and airports, but it yet another test to overcome, whatever doesn’t kill me… I figure it’s easier to deal with transition terrors if I work backwards in pain. SRS is worse than top surgery, is worse than electrolysis, is worse than hormones, is worse than going full time, is worse than coming out etc. Knowing the big difficulties to overcome in the future make each other difficulty on the way smaller and more bearable by comparison. Makes going outside at all a lot less insecurity laden.

Anyway, I plan on getting some better video equipment and maybe upgrading my blog, make it clearer, more precise, so as to benefit greater anyone who does so from these kinds of narratives.  Anything I can do to help, any suggestions or insane public gender experimentation projects, video’s, tips, tricks, hacks, anything really, get in touch, because I am in!

Initiate! Bring it onnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!!!!!!!!!!

Oh, and I changed my name, so let me say this legally…

Love,

Amy Xx

Standard
gender, identity, transgender

Use my third arm

I will never give respect to the cage but to the captor.  Shifting faces, but why must you hide behind so many different kinds of masks?

Look back, look in, see yourself, with the key to bring your freedom.

Give up, give in, let go to your own strength that won’t let fear dictate who you are.

Deceptive mirror.

Gaze upon a darkened form, reflected by the ever present light of your truth, there’s no escaping what your heart is.


Phew.  This is going to be the first week I’ve had to myself in over three years, so much gruelling work and responsibility now come to an end.  Now I can totally relax….Not going to happen, right?  It’s tough when every time this year I’ve searched the word ‘transgender’, I am greeted by a trail of death.  Too much death, fight back by living.

What does the dysphoria actually want?  Does it get paid for every time I reference it?  Disparity still abounds, a war rages between gender identity and personal identity.  The concepts of gender, terms of expressions and traits melt away into mutually inclusive nothingness.  It’s all just words, a philosophical debate on truth to try and ascribe meaning to what is called a ‘condition’ or a ‘variation’.

I read too many comments and opinions on news-sites etc, pseudo-science.  Any argument can be battered back, and generally it all gets lost, confused, and nasty.  My political mind firmly switched off as soon as I had my revelation, and thank goodness for it.  Hence this blog is a discussion of the heart, not science or ideology.

I’m kind of glad I chose to wait a day to write this, my therapist had her rotten way with me a dozen times, she kicked my ass.  Good, challenges deep to the core of the psyche.  Here’s the problem, I spend a lot of time trying to rationalize, legitimize, intellectualize the nature to the extent of which I should medically transition based on my concepts of gender; my male body and life; and my ‘female’, or dysphoric mind.  I rail against these arguments simultaneously by explaining that my disparate experience as a transsexual is simply an unavoidable condition of my nature.  I do this by intellectualizing about it.

She called me out about that.  But how do you feel?’  She asked.  Well I was taken aback.  Guh. (Huh, Iuh, Juh, Kuh…).  It’s just weight, weight on the psyche.  Instead of an angel and a devil, it’s a man and a woman, and the man is a woman too.  I anticipated that acceptance would have to come several times and in several forms on this journey, but that’s what it comes to, how do you feel?

I feel that having inhabited myself unknowingly as male for so many years, the pull is strong.  This is how the argument for gender traits falls apart for me.  Theoretically I could present as I do now, heck I could fully transition, surgery and all, and if I wanted to, I could still call myself a man.  This isn’t radfem bait, I’m just saying it’s possible.  Born natal female, I could dress how I have my whole life, ostensibly wore a daily beard, bound my chest and called myself a woman.  If I was born female I would wear a shaven head, because you can keep gender presets, these invisible restrictions.  Indeed, that’s exactly why I grew out my hair, getting into a heavy metal crowd was perfect cover, and heavy metal is awesome.  Maybe one day I will shave it all off and prove myself right.

The point, if there is a point, is that not one element of social transition can change a person’s ‘gender’, I think it’s all about the brain.  It is disparity between mind and body, one is incorrect, and to change the mind in this case is to erase the person, so, it’s the body.  Like I’ve said before, if there was a pill that removed dysphoria, would you take it?  It’s not like an illness, it isn’t harmful to be another gender.

Saying this shows how deeply ingrained the trans mindset can be, because the answer should be, yes, of course I should take it, why would I want to be trans, make my brain like my biological sex!  Life would be so much easier.  But the pill doesn’t exist, and I imagine some transpeople would not want to sell out a defining feature of their lifetime identity.  That all comes down to how psychologically phenomenal you believe your mindset to be, or whether it is viewed as a mental illness.

I can’t describe what maleness or femaleness is, I just know there has always been a block in my brain that irrevocably claimed that I’m female, not male.  I argue even against life experience causing this, merely that it shapes the perceptions and coping mechanisms we have when dealing with our innate personal dysphoria.  Using all these life skills, people from all walks of life still come to meet at a similar foreign destination, which shows how the experience of being trans can trump everything you may ever know.

All this thinking, seemingly never ending, how nice would it be to just let go.

Cross-sex hormone therapy, seemingly by no coincidence can realign this balance, and even though I’m not psychically scrabbling at the walls to get HRT, I am willing to try it, even if it turns me describably female, which would be fine because that’s what I am.  I feel less desperate because I see this as more of a medical decision than the holy-crap-I’m-a-girl condition.  That being said, I don’t underestimate how much I feel I need them, which is completely odd. I guess it’s like a brain hunger, my body cries out for a nutrient it was designed to have but doesn’t get.

The hormonal, medical, surgical, transsexual treatment is as much a racket as each other part of the globally controlled megaplex.  Hormones mimickers and chemicals cause interesting sexual dysfunctions in the animal world and no doubt has effects on people.  Vaccinations, GMO’s and all that stuff could be messing all our brains up in unique and incredible ways, as much transfolk as the angry and imbecilic.  Of the two trans people I have had real interactions with, two of them are on the autistic spectrum.  There’s a lot of messed up stuff – maybe it’s the New World Order theory to feminize the male population so we don’t fight back against our global enslavers.  How misogynistic!  Transpeople have been around since way before all that.

In a perfect world, I believe if I could pass perfectly and non-judgementally as [trans]female I would still not feel right without medical intervention.  Maybe it is a product of the modern world, it would be very useful to know the experiences of those in cultures past who were able to fully integrate without medicine, how did they feel?  Were they content, or like those who may pass pre-HRT and still really need something that wasn’t there?

So one last time, am I trying to forget my maleness? Am I trying, unconsciously or not to disconnect of disassociate from myself?  No, and it doesn’t matter!  Again this is attempting to use logic and reason to assuage a biological condition, like telling jokes to a depressive expecting them to be happy, or asking a wheelchair user to walk because God gave them legs.

I remind myself, that anytime I feel like I may be in denial, I am a female in denial, I would ask the exact same questions, because that’s what I’m doing.  Concurrence.  If I don’t want to be a woman, it’s because I’m a self-hating woman [read: individual].  If I don’t want to be a man, all I have to do is be myself.

Fudge your expression.  Fudge your traits.  Fudge your gender constructs.  They, I believe, are mutually exclusive from the biological nature of trans-identity.  Much everything else is a product of personal identity moulded by some inescapable adherence to our society and to its extent, physiology.  Wanting to express notions of perceived masculinity and/or femininity is not a reason to transition, it is a reason to express beyond generalisations.

At the GIC today I passed an older transwoman (tough to be stealth coming out of the therapists waiting room) and said hello. She tutted at me, I think at my pink hair….in pigtails, or my purposely crappy makeup. It just shows people may come to chastise your expressive choices no matter what you do.

Transition doesn’t make me anything, it confirms who I am.  I am still early on my journey, and I warn myself and anyone else with doubts – labia made from scrotal sack is to be considered a positive outcome.  Having a vagina made of colon is a possibility, if you want this, be prepared to be ok with things like that.  ‘Wow, I’m really enjoying this two week camping holiday, but please excuse me for a while, I have to go dilate again.’

I can’t say I feel like a woman, because I don’t know what that is, physiologically.  My cis-girlfriends don’t know how it feels either, apart from that it is annoying. Aside that, I believe people are people, not ‘brain sex’.  It’s about making weighed medical decisions, and considerations for all future well-being, thinking about it is important. It’s better to be having these cyclical discussions now, because I can imagine it may always remain somewhat of a battle, and some sort of peace must be made early, transient though it may be.

And it’s through all this I miss the point entirely, still.  It’s all just deflections from self-acceptance.  Not the self-acceptance I should have for the body and life that I was blessed to be born with, but from the self-acceptance that the part I’m missing is a part of myself I should embrace, and that it’s ok.  It happens. At any point something unexpected could happen and chance everything. It’s just life.

As much as one may need to…[alter]… on this journey, remember you are already awesome while you are doing it!  It’s not a contradiction of the need to transition; it is a continuation of the unique brilliance of each consciously-wrought individual.

Rock on,

Amy Xx

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gender, identity, transgender

How to Snore Like a Girl

Phew, times flies in such a way it feels like being strapped to the front of a ruthlessly chugging train. Sometimes it can feel like the train was left at the depot.  Already it’s that time to reflect and look forward, the past is done and a hard year can still be a good year.

I had my first full laser appointment at a clinic last week. I’ve decided to pay for this myself rather wait for NHS treatment which could begin around the same time as RLE and hormones, which would be unacceptable for me. I’m not sure which it hurt most, my face or my purse.  Who am I kidding, it is flipping painful!  This was an Alexandrite laser to compliment my light skin and dark hair, not even electrolysis so we’re not even at full scream yet.  Imagine an elastic band with a drawing pin through it constantly snapping: it’s a sharp, immediate, very annoying pain.  However, the hurt only lasts for a second, then it’s gone forever, so what is most important in this situation is to just take it, because one minute after the 50-minute treatment, I felt ready to go again.

I got my hands done as well, as a comparison I can see how truly resilient male facial hair is.  My hands have shown about 2mm growth only in a week with some nice closed follicles, whereas there is barely a noticable effect on my face, though it is growing slightly more slowly as a whole.  Upper lip is the biggest killer and the most important, visualization techniques can help…imagine a nice soft face. Ok, it doesn’t help, but an hour of pain every few weeks is better than a lifetime of moustache.

Second GIC appointment was an interesting back and forth which left me feeling somewhat dissatisfied, yet more resolute.  I’m not trying to play devil’s advocate with my identity, I know there is little true certainty, but I need to be challenged.  It doesn’t satisfy me to say ‘I’m trans’ and have it so easily accepted.  I’m not being transphobic, I’m just saying, if you are the doctor for this case, maybe try to seek out reasonable doubt?  The potential effect on individual well-being is too enormous take it so seemingly lightly.

She’s playing her game though (i.e. doing her job), and I wonder if she is trying to help me or if I’m seeing things wrong.  Something did make a big impact on me though, when discussing transition, she asked ‘What’s stopping you?  What’s holding you back?’

Uh.

I don’t know?  Everything and nothing?  Looking into it, the things I think are holding me back are life issues, not trans issues.  Fear of lonliness is rightfully exacerbated but it is still more a life issue than a trans issue for example.  My problem is not how the outside world may view it, but how I view myself.  Maybe you know what it’s like, some days it feels like the most natural thing in the world, other days moods get in the way.

I have a sense of embarassment, but only because I didn’t have that female upbringing; I don’t know what goes with what or what looks good together yet, and that makes me feel more like a fraud than the worries of public presentation. Sometimes I sense those ingrained male traits, but it’s important to not be too harsh, this is a learning process with a steep curve.

So, nothing really is holding me back.  Still, transition for me is a process, not an event, I’ve decided to take another big step forward.  I’ve told my mother and friends that they can call me Amy exclusively and use the pronouns, and that I appreciate their efforts.  Comfortable as this is for me, I have to continually present an acceptable image for us all to progress, no aesthetic gender-flipping. Especially with a male voice, it’s not fair to present as male and expect to be referred to as female, because of my body – this is not an afforded luxury as it is for cis-folk, and is probably the most difficult part about being trans.  Many clothes are needed.

When I go back to work I’m going to inform my manager that the transition is on, then tell my grandparents and that will be that, the first in a new series of intensifying anti-climaxes.  I’ll transition at work, but I’ll still be just as busy so no-one will have time to make a big deal out of it.  Indeed, it’s something I discussed with my therapist, what is the big deal?  Like many things trans, a dangerous dichotomy exists.  It’s as big of a deal as you want it to be.  Just please don’t drown me in a toilet, or cook me and place my body parts under the floor boards.  I used to be offended through my ignorance of trans issues, but just because I’ve gotten over it, doesn’t mean there aren’t nasty bigots out there waiting to ruin lives.

Yet, I wonder, was the therapist seeing through my pragmatism and offering me the best help of all?  In amongst our session, she said the long wait for treatment was to ensure a consistent gender identity incongruity and a consistent wish to transition.  I can argue with myself all day, and I can sneakily go see other counsellors, but this is the doctor who keeps the gates for me.  As much as I can reap the psychological benefits of these sessions, I get it now – I have to present clearly my female identity, not my doubts about it, in order to progress.  I need to help the doctor feel more comfortable, to make her job easier when she writes the reports to justify her decisions.

From now on, I will go into these appointments and say ‘My name is Amy, I suffer from perennial gender dysphoria and have done since I was a child.  It exists to such an extent that I am not able to lead the rest of my life in an acceptably regular fashion. I understand that these feelings may never alluviate unless I take steps to balance out this unconscious incongruity.  I find that assuming the female identity I have in my mind in my external life diminishes these feelings.  I wish to spend the rest of my life living in this female role, as I am female, and am here seeking treatment options, specifically hormones and eventually surgery.  I am of sound mind and I will present this case to you in each appointment until I reach the point through treatment where my dysphoria has abated to the extent that it is no longer a disabling factor in my life.’

I’ve went out presenting fully femme rather than androgenous femme more often of course, I’ve even went to the bar in heels, just casually, trying to go by the philosophy of ‘I don’t give a f***’.  I know what I look like, I know what I sound like, I get what I am.  Sure I’ll still get called by male terms, but like I say, it’s a process, it starts off at the most difficult and hopefully gets a little easier as time goes by.  Simply, I didn’t much look at strangers when I was out as male, certainly, I don’t look at people to gauge their reactions of me, so when I’m out being myself, why should I change how I view the world?  That is not the goal here.  Don’t listen to ascerbic little me though, I find the entire process arbitrary, though it can feel fantastic. [EDIT – I should be careful, as trans it can be very important to be aware of your surroundings, for safety’s sake.]

To be honest, folks were more interested in what animal my hat is supposed to be.

It's.  A.  Husky!

It’s. A. Husky!…?

If you wanted to put it a certain way, you could say my transition is tragic.  My make up is low power, facial hair shows through, I have the voice of a man, and my fashion sense leaves much to be desired.  Yet, it is not tragic, it is confident.  I am finding my own style, I am accepted by people, I feel good.  It’s easy to look and sound stupid, just talk to a few people and they will prove it for themselves too, being trans is just that large bit more obvious, and it’s from here that I think some of the biggest worries and insecurities come from.

I try not to think about being trans, my brain does that automatically, so I am a pretty cynical transitioner.  It’s too easy to over-think and convolute things, and no-one will have a more convoluted opinion of trans identites than the trans people themselves.  As much as the process moves ever forward, I find it important to keep stepping back.  In times when thoughts begin to get carried away or become too painful, the effect is pronounced and it’s no use mentally self-flagellating as punishment.

The title of this post ‘How To Snore Like A Girl’, is about limitation. Understanding of limitation is a strength, it shows us we understand our own power level and how to get the most out of our abilities, and what parts of our lives to not waste time on.

It may sound trite, but count your blessings. Each life has little things taken for granted that make big differences, things which when taken away show how fulfilling they were. Even in loss, one can understand that while not full, one need not be empty.

I deeply want to thank all my readers and followed bloggers for the kind comments and inspirational, insightful posts this year. We transfolk have our place in the evolution of humanity, for human nature is the greatest impediment to its’ own progress. Once we can move past the petty qualities of the human condition, then we can embrace the greater truths and loves of the universe.

Let’s make 2015 an amazing year! Let me see the passion in those eyes flare up once more!

With unquenchable hopes,

Amy Xx

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gender, identity, transgender

An end to justification

A mantra –

‘All is not lost, it’s never hopeless,

I will never give up, I am broken but,’

I had my first trip to the Gender Identity Clinic (GIC).  They had me sit in a waiting room with other people at different stages of none-of-my-business.  What endured was a two and a half hour, one on one, non-stop psychological strip down by someone who introduced herself as Doctor.  In depth topics included:

  • A break down of history with parents, family, siblings
  • Traumatic events and memories
  • Relationship and sexual history
  • School and work history
  • Gender variant experiences
  • Discussion of goals, wishes and expectations
  • Explanation of services and treatment options (laser, wig fitting, voice coaching, fertility preservation, hormones, surgery, therapy etc)

I felt pretty good afterwards, but didn’t realise the toll that comes from expounding many intimacies to a stranger with a badge.  For a few days afterwards I felt totally emotionally drained with no time off work to recover, so it can be difficult even with a positive mindset.  Six months minimum of ongoing assessment for hormones and RLE, that’s not so much a goal as a time-frame to make decisions.

I met a transgirl I have been speaking to online, more a testament of how talking to people online skews individual realities.  Nonetheless we went out and had a very nice time.  She bought me dinner, which was new, so that was pretty nice, though I did feel awkward at having nothing to offer, girl wouldn’t take my money!  For as feminine as she is online, it seemed I was more overtly feminine in my action and attire in public.  Everyone has their own ways and methods, I just found that interesting since I’m more resistant to the entire process.

I’ve been asked to stop seeing my independent gender counsellor so there are no crossed wires with the GIC, though I would not be the first to skirt that advice to have an ally to bounce feelings off that may be wrongly received or interpreted at the GIC, potentially setting back treatment.  I admitted to her that I am an awesome guy, she countered that then I should be an awesome girl if I decide, and furthermore that I could be successful on whichever path I choose, reiterating the previous cases I remind her of who transitioned ‘effortlessly’.

Maybe my dysphoria is just less strong, less desperate, or maybe I’m just used to dealing with the casual betrayal of my emotional brain. It’s a tough decision to make and come to terms with. I already have a man’s everything, I could live easily enough as a man, it would just be a lie, and it would probably feel quite sucky. Or, there’s the alternatives…six months will creep up quickly my dear.

No idea, been way too busy with work and getting through to focus on the unending nagging compulsions that demand I change.

One major success worth noting, I’m no longer trying to justify who and what I am.  I’m transsexual, woopy-do, it sucks, woopy-do.  It’s a step further than acceptance.  I carry a purse, I’m not going to justify it, I just have it, even though I hate the word ‘purse’.  Yes, my posture and mannerisms are what they are now, I don’t feel the need to explain it like I’m acting strangely, in a way that me acting normal merits an explanation to people who didn’t ask for one.

Trying to justify changes takes up both physical and mental time and effort, and I just can’t be bothered.  Even if I were a man and I wanted to dress up like a woman, or like a Smurf, my balls wouldn’t shrink because someone doesn’t like it.  My ovaries don’t quiver at my own doubt.  Just accept it, good and bad, it’s coming for you anyway – doubt, fear, elation, loneliness, overwhelming love.  You don’t need to justify or validate your experience as an individual and unique human being. Even if you aren’t confident in yourself, remember you don’t have to justify it, you need that energy to achieve your personal goals, to justify days well spent!

I know first hand, still dealing with my ex- who said our relationship is ‘void’, because I didn’t tell her I was trans.  The truth is I didn’t know I was trans until after we broke up, I just thought myself a sick man, but she sees it all as a lie, and I am a liar.  I can only imagine the pain families go through when so deeply entrenched.  We had years of epic love, I don’t have to justify that they were real, I just have to accept and get over the hurt.  Love ends, at least once if we are lucky.  Once again character is how you deal with difficult situations, not easy ones! It will take time, it always does…worse things have faded away.

Whilst going through this process, I find it easiest to identify as female, but to think myself as agender, non-binary, whatever.  Just because my brain tells me to take hormones and cut off my penis doesn’t mean that’s what is necessary…necessarily.  Just because my brain tells me I am female doesn’t mean I have to do everything it tells me.  The process of change is maybe not a case of a means to an end, but part of the general eternal balance, intensified, yet still seeking that same equilibrium.

Bring on the Lasers!!!

Amy Xx

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