Just so you know this process is not easy or always safe (yup I said it). There are always unforeseen risks and costs. There are also different ways to transition. What I will do is go through each type and talk about it. In the end, we will talk about the risks faced. But with all of these types if you are employed stay employed at all costs. This will help keep your mental health in mind. Plus being without money coming in transitioning will make life harder. Yes, I do know that some workplaces can become toxic. But it is easier to find work when you are employed than it is when you are not. The longer you are out of employment the harder employers will look at you and ask the question why? There is also something to be said about waiting for the right time and place. If you know your workplace is not safe don’t do it until you have this resolved.
Social transition is one of the easiest forms. There is limited risk in this but not so much that you can forget about them. Social transition begins with changing your view of being transgender. You can be transgender without ever doing anything about it. It does not mean you are anything less. You can also begin with a name change. Name changes can be a little bit daunting especially when you are not sure about your choice of names. A great way to see if a name works well for you is to order a coffee with the name you are thinking of. If that name is working well for you you will know it when they call it out or bring it to you.
The next step in the social transition is to start looking at ways to change the way you dress. This comes in two very different categories work and every day. We will start with work. Every employer has a dress code and you must adhere to them. If you need help in this area talk to the manager or the HR department they will advise you on the correct attire as well as it is good to let them know that you are social transitioning. *note* if you are in the US certain employers are not safe to transition in. There are now laws being passed that can make this step difficult as well. It might be time to look at moving to a safer place if this is the need. Learn about your voice and treat it like a tool. Learn about makeup and use it to help you pass.
Outside of employment dress codes are in the everyday life. Dressing correctly is important now I know I will get some negative feedback from my suggestions but trust me if you make wise choices you will avoid problems that may arise. Fashion is a bitch that learning to deal with can be hard. You might think that you can just grab your trusted friends or even try it on your own. But trust me clothes lie and your friends see things that they like not always what is best for you. LISTEN TO ME, Pinterest is your friend. Simply type in the search bar “fashion” + “age group”. By doing this you can avoid the risk of mutton dressed as lamb. This means yes you love the look of a mini skirt but it is not age appropriate for you. Using Pinterest will help you avoid those types of mistakes. Which also means it will draw less attention to yourself. Some will say that is a stupid reason but if you live in an unsafe area minimize all risks where you can. Then there is the issue of the general public “reading” that you are Transgender. If dressed correctly this lowers the risk of that. Going Goth is not always the best solution even if you are in your dark phase.
Stage one medical transition. Knowing hormones and understanding that the use of hormones will change your world and the way you interact within it. Hormones play a huge part in our lives more so than most think. If you can spare a moment and look at any stressful situation you might be in for a shock but each hormone causes you to react differently. From the aggressive side of testosterone to the more passive side of estrogen. If you are used to one for a part of your life it will take some time to adjust to the other one. Neither one is good or bad it just is. Your taste, smell, and touch will change. Things that you once liked or even loved might not remain this way once your change in hormones is in full swing. This also is the case with social interactions which might not have set you into overdrive and bring on issues with anger might just now be the case (FtoM). Learn to relax and breathe more, this is a good rule of thumb for everyone regardless of transition or not. Also, note you can stay at this stage of transition if you so wish though long-term use of spiro needs to be talked over with your GP.
Okay, this is for the Transwomen. Medical Transition 1.5, okay if the long-term use of Spiro has you concerned you can have the first stage of Full surgical transition done this is what is referred to Bilateral Orchiectomy. Which is the removal of both Testicles. This is also the first part of risks that you cannot reverse. Once these are removed they cannot replace them should you choose to detransition. Also if you wish to have a family you will need to store some sperm. p.s. There is NOT a way to give you a uterus in place of your missing parts. Sorry, it needed to be said. Once this is done there will be side effects that you will need to talk over with your medical team. Healing at this stage is easier to do if you give time to heal. You can also stay at this stage of Transition and still be valid for who you are. You will also need to be aware that your sexual arousal will change once this surgery is done. If you like having an erection this will be affected.
Full medical transition, this is the hardest part of the transition process. Once this is begun there is no turning back to what you had before. I have had trolls on many of my educational spots try to convince others that a full detransition is possible. I am sorry to say it is not. Once you have made the choice to have the full surgery and parts are removed they don’t keep them for safe storage. You know just in case you change your mind at some point. The reality is that at this point you will be placing yourself in the highest risk area of Transition. This is not a bad or good thing this is however something that you need to be aware of. There are those who for whatever reason will be very negative about your choice. You will lose friends and family there is no way to break this to you softly. It will happen so make sure you have a solid set of those you can rely on. You will need it.
There are multiple types of surgery that I talk about on the Gender Surgeries page. Each one will come with its own set of risks which are listed there. But at the same time when healing is done, you need to understand that the world will change once again for you. Make sure that you have a great mental health provider and good people to talk to. As these changes can be confusing at times.
Let’s talk about risks…
This is not the rosy side of being transgender. People everywhere can be assholes. Being part of a minority is difficult and if you already were one it is going to get worse. You will be giving up your man card transwomen and Cis people will never let you forget that you were not born “This way”. I am not saying that everyone is like that. But the reality is that it is always in their minds if they know you are Transgender. I have a really close female friend who makes mistakes all the time. She does not mean to do it, it just happens. Then I have my sister/friend Bobbie who I would trust with my life, who has never made an error. She also has never made any excuse for being clued in and would kick anyone’s ass if they looked at me crossed-eyed. But even I know that I will never know what she went through growing up as a cis-woman. I never assume to know.
But there is the risk that will sit in every transgender person’s mind “what if”. You cannot plan for everything, trust me I have tried and tried. There will never be that sense of peaceful living without the questions that will pop into your mind. At some point, you will just need to learn to accept that some questions will never be answered. No matter how much they bug you in the quiet times of life.
You will need to be smart about everything from this point onward with regards to Bathrooms, Changerooms, Interactions with the cis-gender community, and social interactions. Yes going to a club is fun but it brings risks that you might not see. Medical services will still ask what was your birth gender. This is not an attack on you it is for them to make sure certain areas of care are addressed properly. If you live in the US – let me be blunt GET THE FUCK OUT. It is not safe and good medical care is at a higher risk. I know that not everyone can just up and leave. If you cannot then move to a safer state. I am so sorry for being blunt on this subject. But with the current trends in the US, the real possibility of a theocracy is being built as a form of government is taking place. This means the laws that govern your existence are placing more risk on you. We would all like to say that things will get better. So stay and fight for them too. But we are talking about your life and hoping for change might just take time and sometimes things get worse before they get better. To me, the US is not a place I would want to run those risks.
Let’s see if we can end on an up side…
Yes, this conversation is difficult to talk about. As a lot of the Transgender community have this idea that transition is the end to the pain and suffering. I am sorry to say it is not. In so many ways it is only the beginning of the end of that pain and suffering. Each step you chose to take in being honest with yourself will lead you to a brighter future. You may not end up rich or even wealthy. But you will end up knowing yourself and no amount of money will do that for you. You may lose like I did a lot of friends and family. But you will make new friends and you can make your own family. You may lose your one true love or that one person you love with all your heart. But love without honesty in not love it is a jail sentence with sex. In time you MIGHT find someone new. You MIGHT be in love again. But if you don’t that does not define you. What does define you is what you do with the tools in that you have. Always remember that the path you chose to walk is littered with those who came before you. If someone is in need of help reach out and offer a helping hand. Let them walk with you and you will make a friend for life.
One final thing, no matter what you do with your transgender life, you are valid. Always remember I believe in you.
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