My XY Chromosome

Someone interacting with me is acknowledging that I call myself a girl with “outie” plumbing but her point is that no matter what I say, my DNA says I’m male.

How I responded to her might be useful to some trans girls so I cleaned up my email and made this article. I’m not claiming to be the expert, just explaining how I understand things.

* * *

I AM a girl with “outie” plumbing. It’s not just semantics. To elaborate:

My brain is what’s most fundamental as to who and what I am. For example it’s the main organ with which you’ve been interacting all this time. Focusing on you as an example: you have an amazing physique and you’re very pretty but it’s still your brain that makes you who you are. 

My brain structure is female based on the available body of evidence, the counselor input and the tests I’ve had done.  So we won’t really know 100% until I’m dead and someone does an autopsy but the best available conclusion is that I’m a genetic mutation born as a mix of parts: male sex organs and female brain.

As I understand things, the only two groups of organs that have sexed development in the fetus are the sex organs and the brain.  Everything else like liver, pinkie, nose etc. is gender neutral at birth. 

But then during puberty the sex organs typically make either testosterone or estrogen and that shapes the body from there on. By that time and beyond, my DNA was and is XY but the role of the sex chromosome in DNA is like the launching pad for a rocket.

Its job was to make the sex organs and the brain develop in the fetus as male. In my case, half of that worked and half didn’t so I was born a strange mixture. My DNA tried to make me male and it succeeded only in the less-fundamental aspect: my sex organ. It failed to make my brain structure develop as male. 

So my DNA it had its chance to make a difference as to my brain and now it’s too late to have any further effect because I’ve already developed my brain as structurally female, and I can’t undevelop or redevelop that. 

I have 23 chromosomes.  The sex chromosome (which is type “XY” for me) will never play a role again unless I were to impregnate someone. In all other cases, it’s in retirement doing nothing at all. It’s the other 22 chromosomes that are guiding my cellular development every day, as influenced by the prevailing hormones in effect.

To phrase it differently, if I have my DNA sequenced then it’ll always show as “XY” under the microscope but that’s not something anyone can see in daily life. unless looking through a microscope — and then even so, all they can see is something that’s the launching pad for influencing (or not) sex organs and brain structure in fetal development. Without detouring the development of these two organs into a male structure, they develop naturally as female in the fetus.

What you CAN see looking at me is the unpleasant-for-me shaping effects of what testosterone did during puberty for me, and the pleasant-for-me shaping effects of what estrogen is currently doing for me.

* * *

Now that I have pondered this all, as to the phrase “my DNA says I’m male” … actually, my DNA says I’m a trans girl. It’s my DNA that caused the fetus (that would later become me) to develop male sex organs and a female brain structure. So in the same way as it’s an oversimplification to consider every body part of a person to have a consistent sex, it’s an oversimplification to consider DNA to be just male or just female.

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One Gentleman’s Type of Christianity vs. the Concept of Trans Girls

On social media I was exchanging pleasant posts with someone who made it clear he’s a Christian. He seemed to get some value out of the conversation with me, and he mentioned that that was by far the longest conversation he’d ever had with a trans girl.

On the subject of me being trans, he said he respects me and my right to define how I feel. He also said that as a Christian, he disagrees with me.

I chose to respond.

This article is made up of my stream of posts on this subject (with some typos cleaned up, and with some terse & obscure wording cleaned up and abbreviations expanded) … indeed a monologue.  The gentleman hasn’t responded.

* * *

As to “As a Christian I disagree with you” … the premise that I assume you disagree with is me saying I’m a trans girl. I’d like to gently separate those two issues

[1. As a Christian

2. I disagree with you]

… and address each one, to your intended benefit. If you learn something useful from it, great. That’s the ideal.

Re you as a Christian [emphasis on “Christian”] disagreeing with me saying “I’m a trans girl “… I can think of two ways of interpreting it:

  • a). “I’m a trans girl” is a valid claim someone can make but I, Tanya, personally cannot validly make that claim
  • b). “I’m a trans girl” is never a valid claim for anyone to make

As to option a), I assume we can dispense with that out of hand [since you hardly know me and have no basis for an informed opinion] and focus on option b) so I’d like to analyze it.

The cleanest definition I know as to a trans girl is that it’s someone born with predominantly “outie” plumbing “down there” to where she’s legally classified male at birth but her brain structure is predominantly female. [I’m choosing this definition over the oversimplified XY vs. XX chromosome premise since a trans girl friend of mine has Klinefelter syndrome and thus XXY chromosome. I use “predominantly” as to plumbing since some trans girls are born intersexed. I use “predominantly” as to brain structure since there is a small group of people whose brains are neither typically male nor typically cisfemale nor typically trans female.]

So Christianity weighing in on the subject would require medical insight in the context of a biological mutation. I used to do a lot of Bible-reading and went to a Christian church, and whatever my conclusions, they’re not that Christianity can claim insights into medical science.

Trans girls, as a subject, are not discussed in the Christian Bible at all. Neither the Old or New Testament mentions trans girls nor am I aware of the non-Biblical accounts noting Jesus’s opinion on trans girls.

Many things (handguns, canned food, continental drift) exist without being mentioned in the Bible or the teachings of Jesus. So the lack of mention doesn’t imply non-existence. So lack of mention of trans girls doesn’t imply non-existence of trans girls.

An essential part of what makes a trans girl a trans girl (or a gay person, gay) is brain wiring. If something is based on brain wiring, then the doctrine of any particular church can arbitrarily deny it and claim it’s nonexistent but that doesn’t make it so.

It’s sound logic that anyone claiming something to exist has the burden of proof , but (I mean this as nicely as possible) when it comes to discharging proper responsibility as to the burden of proof, as to the key premise of the Church, it falls fundamentally short. Faith rules.

As to the two things that make a trans girl a trans girl, one is being born with “outie-shaped” plumbing.

I can write my name just fine in the snow, and I have been able to do so ever since I can remember, so I assume that this half of the definition isn’t the problematic part.

The “female brain” wiring is presumably the issue. As such I find it useful to refer to studies that have found female and male brains to be structurally dissimilar, explaining why a guy cannot think like a girl or vice versa. Genders show a physical, brain-structure difference.

Not to oversimply a complex issue but nevertheless that’s why regardless of cultural issues, typically females strongly tend to have certain traits like empathy and being verbose and typically males strongly tend to be the opposite.

Some Dutch scientists were curious as to trans girls and, once the time came, performed autopsies & saw these trans girls had a brain structure that was a good match with non-trans females — and very different than a male brain structure. Hence the feminine behavior.

It’s hard to do this issue justice in a series of posts. I’m not enthused to start debating anyone on this point, I’m just giving information in case it’s useful to someone sincerely trying to learn more. On that premise my article titled “One Drop of Blood” might also be useful.

To put things in context more, here’s another article titled “Supercharged Femininity in Trans Girls” that might be useful.

One point I’d like to emphasize is that at some point the Christian Church saw a heliocentric solar system as incompatible with its doctrine, yet nowadays it’s a non-issue. Similarly currently many Christian churches consider trans girls as incompatible with their doctrine.

However, some Christians and several Christian churches have no issues with the basic concept of someone being a trans girl. Somehow I suspect that as general culture becomes more accepting then so will more & more Christian churches.

Meanwhile life has to go on for trans girls.

Too Late?

I have some great guy friends who, I have no reason to doubt, are guys. I also have a sensitive, kind, thoughtful friend who presents as a guy but … might be a trans girl.  That’s for my friend to figure out; I am just making some benevolent observations.

I visited my friend today.  My friend is perhaps 75 years of age, and on the walls are mini-posters with various witticisms, including one that’s maybe not funny at all: “This is not the life I ordered.”

My friend was encouraging and positive toward me while, over the years, seeing me transition from presenting as a guy to living openly as the girl I fundamentally am.  Recently, my friend opened up conversationally about childhood, specifically about being ten years old or so, and socially preferring to avoid boys of that age, and playing with girls instead, and playing with dolls.  My friend’s brother confronted the doll-playing with angry ridicule and scorn, and a lecture to the effect of “No! You’re a boy!  Boys don’t play with dolls. Go play baseball!”

The story matched something in my own past.  At a young age, I, too, enjoyed playing with dolls, and my mother recently told me that when my father found me doing so, my father furiously grabbed the doll out of my hands and scolded me.

My friend sounded sad, telling me the story, and on two occasions during my visit, made reference to it now being too late to start something new that, given enough time, would grow into something enjoyable.

Preferring to play with girls, and with dolls, and voicing fundamental regret about life, and being gentle and kind … that doesn’t mean someone is a trans girl.  But those items do make for, at least, a tiny pile of circumstantial evidence in favor of that hypothesis.

What if the hypothesis were true? What if my friend really is a not-yet-out trans girl and wants to come out? The first few years of transitioning are the hardest, so it would perhaps mean my friend will be 80 years old before things start to integrate fairly well.

If I didn’t realize I’m trans until age 75, would I then still then have come out? Probably so, yes.  But I’d certainly lament all the decades in which I lived a life that was fundamentally sub-optimal, for me.

 

Status: First Day of Fall, 2018

Pink_DressI’m a trans girl. Initially, I didn’t like how my brain was female and my body was male. At the time, I disliked how I think. I wished I could think like the boys around whom I was growing up because I was born with “outie” plumbing so everyone took it for granted I’m a boy and so did I. I tried hard fit in, to think and react like a boy but I just couldn’t. As part of trying, I did macho things, some of them harmful to me, like smoking cigarettes. I tried hard to be more macho than anyone else so I smoked 3 packs a day when I was 14 (for one day).

As an adult, I started realizing there’s value in being emotionally sensitive and communicating like a girl does. Also sex and relationships with girls were great because we would have an amazing mental connection. So things changed to where I liked how I think. But I felt freakish thinking like a girl and looking like a guy. I wish I didn’t look like a guy. I felt conflicted and wondered why I was such a crazy individual that I’d have girlish thought patterns so strong that femininity was fundamentally dominant.

One day I saw a counselor versed in trans girl issues, and she explained that being trans is a known and fairly common (though culturally suppressed) biological mutation, so a simpler and more likely explanation for me thinking as a girl isn’t that I was crazy but simply that I’m trans. I though the news too good to be true, so I insisted on tests and I took the Stanford Bern test and then was satisfied that, wow, I’m indeed a trans girl.

Then began the journey to unlearn everything macho. From trying to be as guy-ish as I could, I had to learn to walk, dance, talk, move and dress like a girl. It was hard but I rejoiced in my femininity. I wore 6″ stilettos until I could walk a mile in them easily. I wore stripper dresses out in public even before my boobs grew. I was screamed at while I walking down the street. I heard death threats. When people ridiculed me I’d turn and walk to confront them in conversation. I wasn’t phased when people disapproved or were mean to me. I didn’t need their permission to live openly as myself. I was finally fundamentally happy. I would wear a sexy blonde wig because my hair was still too short for my liking. One day, however, all the adversity got to me and I bought a mousy-colored wig, and when my girlfriend at the time heard of it, she gave me a speech to the effect that she understands I’d like to become invisible and hide, but I can never hide because I’m a 6″ tall, muscular trans girl and for me, blending into the background isn’t an option and will never be. She was right. So from then on, I lived my life all-out.

I started taking hormones. I SO wanted to look more like a girl. I would look at pictures of cellulite on a girl’s thighs, and I’d fantasize about that, wishing I looked like that. I didn’t like my plumbing. I paid a deposit and made an appointment to go to Thailand and have Dr. Suporn change me “down below” to look and function more like a typical girl. I felt I needed to do so, to be fully a girl.

I then realized I’m a girl based on what’s most fundamental to me: my brain. I think like a girl, so regardless of my plumbing, I am a girl. So I canceled the Thailand trip and got my deposit back. I still didn’t love my private parts in front, but they ceased bothering me. And they’re useful for writing my name in the snow.

* * *

Today is September 22nd, 2018. I looked in the mirror and saw a happy, tall, blonde with long hair and nice-enough natural boobs, and hard nips. I have a layer of fat below the skin and the backs of my thighs are just barely not perfectly smooth in a way I love. I still don’t have cellulite but almost. I haven’t shaved my face or body in months but except for a few fine, stray hairs around my nips, I’m smooth all over. My legal paperwork has my new name and my gender marker is F on my driver’s license and passport.

My mother used to be mean to me about being trans and now she’s cheering me on. Wherever I go, almost everyone calls me “Miss” or “Ma’am.” Some guys still get confused, but they’re nice and it’s OK. What they think of me doesn’t affect who and what I am. Almost everyone is always nice to me. When I go out, I just wear eyebrow pencil as makeup and I still often get complimented. I love my life.

 

 

Good Times … Based on What Matters, and Transphobia Doesn’t

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Choosing a Focus

Someone near and dear to me has a father who dispenses wisdom that she would mention to me with mixed feelings, as in “my dad is annoying but it’s hard to argue with his logic.”

One example was when there was a complex mix of things going on in her life, and she was very much focused on the negatives. Her father observed this, then asked her to imagine a lovely sunset yet nearby there was also a pile of doggie-doo. Both were part of the picture, in this mental exercise. She could choose to focus on either, or both.  His point was that it might be more in her interest to focus on the positive: the pretty sunset.  She and I both found it hard to argue with that premise.

You can’t help how you feel, but you can help what you choose to focus on.

Choosing to Tune Out

I have exceptionally good hearing. I’ve picked up barely-audible comments or conversations that others, much closer to the dialog, didn’t figure I could hear.  Later, when I repeated what was said, these people were amazed that I was able to hear so well. It’s true; when I focus on things, I hear uncannily well.

Part of what I focus on involves things of potential danger to me or to whomever I’m with.  As to negative comments from guys, I no doubt hear those too, as in: the sounds are audible, but it’s become my habit to tune them out psychologically.  It’s a very useful habit.

Puzzling Negativity

When I was a trans girl in stealth mode, and looked officially like a guy, guys as a rule were very nice to me. But, after I came out as a trans girl, much negativity started to be focused on me.  I initially figured that it’s because I looked freakish at the time, too androgynous and bitter by my standards. By implication, I also figured that, once I look more feminine, happier and prettier, things would improve.

In significant ways, they got worse instead.  There’s a certain mindset of guy who responds to me more and more negatively, the better I look.  This used to puzzle me until someone wise and wonderful explained to me some wisdom that her grandma had shared with her when a boy in elementary school was being mean: little boys are rarely pointedly mean for no reason. Oftentimes it’s because the little boy secretly has a crush on the girl and is excruciatingly embarrassed and tries to hide it from the girl, and also from his friends, his family and in a peculiar sort of self-denial, from himself too.

Homophobia

I read some more about that phenomenon, and I learned that oftentimes, the guys who are most negative to gay guys eventually show themselves as being gay themselves. For them, being mean to gay people is basically a defense mechanism intended to hide that they’re attracted. For an intense dramatization of this sort of mindset, I recommend watching the movie American Beauty.

By contrast, guys who live their lives confidently and aren’t bothered by gay guys any more than by anything else that’s value-neutral in their lives … odds are that those are probably guys who don’t feel the need for a defense mechanism, either because they’re straight or because they’re simply confident in who they are.

The word “homophobia” describes this mindset; it’s not the fear of gay people but the internal terror triggered in a person when faced with a gay person — internal terror because he realizes he’s feeling attraction and that’s anathema based on his peculiar value structure, and so he feels a tidal wave of self-disgust, which he then projects onto the gay person.

I’ve been told by someone with a Master’s in Counseling that disgust is the emotion that hate-crime violent people tend to feel right before they initiate the violence, so homophobia can be the prelude to a very dangerous situation.

Macho Behavior

The situation is exacerbated when the psychologically fragile person is among peers, and it’s worst when the prevailing culture is macho, which is a mindset that celebrates superficial symbols of masculinity  — the biggest truck, the most expensive car, the biggest engine, the loudest car exhaust, the most expensive rifle, the loudest sound system.

The courting behavior of this mindset is so lacking in heterosexual persuasiveness that sometimes the macho guy’s best notion as to wooing a girl is to make his car’s tires squeal loudly and his engine to rev loudly. By what stretch of his imagination this is attractive to the typical female, I can’t imagine.

There’s often a huge culture gap between macho guys and the girls that they’re supposed to be so obsessed with …  as yet another element of macho culture.  Ironically, though, spending social time with a girl tends to be alien and bewildering to macho-culture guys, who actually feel much more at ease spending social time with their buddies, in spite of their loudly proclaimed obsession with girls.

Transphobia

As to macho guys who are mean to trans girls,  the situation is more complex, yet still similar to homophobia. I’m a trans girl, and the body part I can use to write my name in the snow is the least interesting part of my physique, in my opinion. Not so, as to the vast majority of the guys who hit on me. Often they approach me in great secrecy, deeply ashamed of their obsession with my frontal plumbing.  If I’d made that available in a pay-to-play arrangement, then by now I’d own a different-colored Bentley for every day of the week.

Then again, my announcement that a great many guys are obsessed as such is hardly newsworthy to anyone tabulating the statistics as to the sort of porn that, no surprise, guys watch the most, by far: trans girl porn.

This sets the stage for transphobia, which is parallel to homophobia but typically aimed at trans girls instead.  The hotter the girl looks, the more intense the effect. So, as I’ve gradually started looking better over the years, I’ve gotten to experience more and more transphobia aimed at me – -and the less secure the guy feels, the more blatantly transphobic he is, and the more dramatic a public demonstration he makes of it. He’s even willing to behave in a way that’s utterly ridiculous, even in public as long as it soothes the excruciating discomfort he feels psychologically.

I’m no psychologist, so quite possibly, I am mistaken. Maybe I trigger this intense negativity for other reasons.  Maybe  I remind the guy of his most-hated niece, or most-hated movie character. Maybe he just behaves in a goofy way, at random. But, I don’t think so.  Human behavior tends to look a lot less random once the principles of scientifically validated psychology are applied.

Do transphobic comments and the antics of insecure macho guys bother me? No … because unless they’re a danger to me, I tune them out.  They don’t register.

Transphobia at the Rib Cook-Off

Macho-culture events are the ones where I observe the most transphobic behavior.

An example of a macho northern Nevada event is the annual rib cook-off held every late summer in the area by the Sparks Nugget hotel-casino. I tend to avoid the festival because BBQ pork isn’t my thing — but if it were, I’d go buy it at a local restaurant instead of going to that festival, since it’s Macho Guy Central for that week.

Guys from the American South tow their pork-BBQing contraptions and special sauces in trailers for thousands of miles behind their shiny, high-lift pickup trucks just to compete in this festival.  As such, there’s a large contingent of macho guys around, with many of them coming from east of the Mississippi and south of the Mason-Dixon line.

I don’t keep track of when such macho festivals occur; they’re basically noise in the background as far as I’m concerned.

So, a few years ago, when a not-yet-out British trans girl friend came to visit me, and I wanted to show her a pretty place with lots of white marble and elegant decor, I took her to the Sparks Nugget, even though on that particular weekend, the place was overflowing with macho guys. Reason: her arrival coincided with the annual event of the pork-BBQing macho-guy crowd.

I didn’t care. As I walked cheerfully through the lobby of the hotel-casino, I enjoyed seeing all the happy people around, and I seeing the pretty decor.  My friend didn’t seem all too happy, though.  Once we were back in my car, she confessed to barely not slugging some of the macho guys who had been saying some very rude things about me.

I expressed surprise at the rude comments because I’d totally tuned them out. I had been enjoying myself, and rude comments hadn’t registered. She was surprised that I could do this, and I assured her that it’s a very handy skill.

Transphobia at a Classic American Muscle Car Show

Classic American muscle car shows tend to be another macho-guy event. Problem is, I really like these cars. I like 1960s culture, and that isn’t limited to me playing Simon & Garfunkel music on my guitar and watching 1960s TV shows.

My fascination includes 1960s car culture, including 1960s American cars, to the point where I can tell you the difference between a 1965 Ford Mustang and the 1966 model.  I can discuss cubic inches as to the various engines used, and I could probably tell you a 10-minute story about almost every model of American muscle car made in the 1960s.  I personally enjoyed owning a high-performance Plymouth Barracuda at some point. Part of the reason why I like my Ford E-150 van so much is that it has a Windsor 302 V8.  I could go on and on …

So, today, when there was a classic car show in the small town where I live, just east of Reno … of course I went. I enjoyed it very much.

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Were there macho guys there? I don’t doubt it, but I didn’t notice any. I chatted with a nice lady who came up to me and said hello — and apart from that, my focus was on enjoying the pretty cars.

If I inspired any macho-guy insecurity and thus goofy behavior, I didn’t notice any– neither by seeing nor hearing anything.

I’d just bought a nice new dress today, and I was feeling especially elegant, and so I set up my camera and took a few selfies. When I came home later, I processed these pictures, as in: cropped out irrelevant things around the periphery, and straightened skewed shots.

To my surprise, in the picture that I placed at the top of today’s article, in the lower left corner, is a guy behaving in a rather undignified way, with his focus clearly on me, and with his macho buddies nearby. Here are the enlarged views:

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I have no idea who this guy is. Perhaps he just randomly behaves like that sometimes, or perhaps it’s a photo-bomb mindset. The latter had to be explained to me since I didn’t grow up in US culture. I gather that part of the macho mindset is malice reserved for someone taking a general picture, and the agenda is simply to ruin the ambiance of the picture.  So, could be that this guy is just generally being rude, not targeting trans girls.  Who knows …

If it’s transphobic behavior perhaps he’s just outed himself … in which case: thank you, Sir. I appreciate the compliment. I did indeed look quite nice today.

Either way, it was nice to not even be aware of this person until much later, and then only by coincidence..

 

 

Voice

Phone call, today.

“Hi, this is Tanya.”

“Oh. I thought you were a woman.”

“I am a woman. I’m a trans girl.”

Awkward …

* * *

As time goes by, many of the trans girls I mentor gradually look better and better, as well as more and more feminized — but voice feminization tends to lag far behind. That’s the case with me too. I no longer look like Rambo …

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… but nowadays I wish that I’d started retraining my voice years prior and with much more commitment. I used to be called “ma’am” until puberty came along. After that … well, here’s an example. When I was a teenager, post-puberty, I called a girl on whom I had a crush. Her dad answered, then handed her the phone and said: “it’s that guy with the deeeeep voice.” Ouch. So, yeah, it’s been an uphill battle for me.

One of my businesses sells used auto parts, including for the 1980s BMW 3-series. I like to make sure that what I sell is good, so before I sold a power antenna to a gentleman in Texas, I tested it personally. Yes, it works: apply power, and it extends. Remove it, and it retracts.

I tend to work late (as in REALLY late) so last night I got to bed around 5 a.m. and so mid-morning, I didn’t see the gentleman’s email or hear his text message or get his call, saying, essentially: “yes, the antenna works but not well enough. It doesn’t extend far enough.” He wasn’t happy.

So when I woke up around noon, I saw what had happened. Normally I prefer email since I dislike how my voice sounds but I figured I’d better call him pronto, and the conversation started as described above.

This is a genuinely nice gentleman, so the reflection is on me. I know that.

After he’d processed the “I’m a trans girl” information, he responded with “that’s cool, man.” He explained that he’s from New York, he’s open-minded and whatever people want to be is fine with him. All in all, I wish everyone on the planet were as nice. Even so, the problem with his premises are:

1. I’m a girl, not a guy
2. I didn’t wake up one morning and decide to be a trans girl. I woke up one morning and realized I’ve been a trans girl all along.

Anyway … those are cultural problems for another day.

I’ve spent enough time in guy culture to know that from then on, he classified me as a guy, and the conversational style went along accordingly, from his half of the dialog anyway. I left it at that. If I wanna be treated like a girl, it seems to me that my best recourse is to sound like a girl.

This is no small change, for me. For the first 1,000 years of my life, or so it feels anyway, I always felt inadequate in the guy culture that I was told I should assimilate with. I think like a girl, and I never could think like a guy and fit in. I always wondered “what’s WRONG with me?” and I tried extra hard to behave as guy-like as I could. I was the bravest pretend-guy I could be. I behaved as if I were a cat with nine lives. I was more daring, more macho, and more gung-ho as to guy things than most guys around me. I tried to chase down a robber in LA. I faced down a violent guy in a road rage incident that he’d started on an LA freeway. More than once, I faced down a mean & dangerous guy who was harassing my girlfriend at the time. I could pull an engine block out of a car by hand. I could pick up and carry around automatic car transmissions. Bad neighborhoods didn’t phase me. I went everywhere I felt like going. In Africa, I went into black neighborhoods where white people were discouraged to go plus it was illegal. In LA, in the period before, during & after the race riots, the house I owned and lived in was in Sun Village, making mine the only white-owned house around. The day the LA riots broke out, I was the only white person around, as far as I could tell, in South Central LA because I was socializing with a girl who preferred to meet there, and so we met there, simple as that. When I had a dry socket after having my wisdom teeth pulled, I didn’t take painkillers. I just powered through it.

Girls tend to be at least as brave as guys are, but I was brave with a strictly pretend-as-hard-as-possible-to-be-a-guy style. In addition to that, I walked and talked as guy-like as I could. So, ironically, now that I realize I’m not a guy who thinks like a girl — I fundamentally AM a girl … I have to unlearn all my guy-style behavior, which means going from one extreme end of the spectrum to the exact opposite.

Voice control basically involves muscle memory, since the voice-related aspects are under muscle control. Problem is, there’s a mental block too, for me and many of the trans girls I mentor. It’s not viable to easily go from sounding like (in my case, Arnold in the Terminator, Germanic accent, wooden enunciation and all) to sounding like … silver bells tinkling. Sounding in-the-middle, like some blend of male and female, sounds so freakishly weird to me that regardless of how nice people are to me about it, to ME it sounds horrible. So, as to strangers, I prefer to just not talk over the phone.

I realize that delaying my voice transition just makes me remain in limbo-land longer, as in it prolongs the most-miserable place for me to be, and the prudent thing for me is to power through it. It’s just … difficult.

Facial Electrolysis Progress Report

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This article provides a status update as to my own personal journey specific to facial hair removal, and it draws a parallel to girls going through menopause. I’m starting with the latter aspect.

Romantically, I’m only attracted to girls. I have fun with guys, including in bed — but the guy could never break my heart or give me butterflies in my tummy. The girls I date cover a wide age range. One lovely example is currently in her mid-60s, and she and I were in a romantic relationship for eight years, plus we were friends for many years before and after that romance too.

During that time, menopause was part of the relationship dynamic, and the same can be said for my relationship with one other romantic partner, too. As a trans girl, I can’t personally experience menopause, but my point is that I have sympathetically observed it at close range.

The lives of trans girls tends to be difficult and it’s tempting to feel sorry for ourselves. We so wish that we could be like genetically integrated girls, and we forget that every life has its pros and cons — and that the life of a genetically integrated girl is inherently no picnic. Menopause is part of the reason why.

Probably every reader of this article understands the nature and causes of menopause, so I’ll just summarize my understanding of it as being a set of biological changes that superficially appear to decrease femininity, with an emphasis on “superficially” because the fundamental brain structure of the girl was feminine when she was born, and remains so during her entire life. Menopause doesn’t change that. Fundamentally, she’s as feminine as before. But, along with other changes she experiences, her facial hair typically becomes more noticeable.

Ironically, trans girls tend to approach the facial-hair situation with the story line being played out in reverse. The process of transitioning (to living openly as the girls we fundamentally are, as in brain-wise) tends to start with lots of facial hair and tends to end with little or no facial hair.

Some aspects of biological femininity are the consequence of having female hormones, and taking them changes a trans girl’s body as such. Trans girl facial hair, however, doesn’t stop growing vigorously just because the girl starts taking feminizing hormones.

What does help, long-term, is waxing, laser hair removal, and electrolysis. I started my own transition when I was very broke, so lasering wasn’t viable even though I’d scraped together enough money to pay for one or two limited-coverage laser hair removal sessions. As far as I know, that did very little for me, and since I’m blonde, that’s not totally surprising. The darker one’s facial hair is, the more effective laser hair removal tends to be. So, that left only two options: waxing and electrolysis.

Waxing involved putting some hot sticky wax on my face, and then a strip of strong cloth over it, and ripping the cloth away, removing the hair all at once. That hurt so much that I once chipped a front tooth while biting down from the pain. But, at least the pain spanned a large amount of hair follicles, and it was short-lived. Over time, waxing caused my facial hair to thin out somewhat, and it did wonders to make my body hair thin out, including “down there.” However, at the rate that waxing was thinning out my facial hair, I might be a hundred years old and still trying to wax my facial hair into oblivion. I had to find a better way. Electrolysis was the answer.

It permanently destroys the hair follicles by super-heating each one, individually. The heat is so severe that it causes a searing pain that I, having been stung by a bee more than once, would equate to approximately the intensity of a bee sting. Until recently, that was more pain than I wanted to experience.

However, when my feminizing hormone-pill regimen was starting to show noticeable results as to reshaping my body, I also started to get acne along my jawline. My teenage years had been plagued by acne, so I really wasn’t looking forward to a re-occurrence of that. A friend of mine opined that, in her experience as a beautician, acne that’s concentrated along one’s jawline tends to be caused by hormonal issues. I also heard that acne tends to be focused on infected hair follicles.

So, it seemed logical to me that, if I get rid of the hair follicles, I’d also prevent acne from occurring. My dermatologist had already prescribed two not-that-cheap acne medications, to be taken over a long period of time. I decided to opt for electrolysis instead, and I’m glad I did. My acne vanished and it’s never come back.

When my electrolysis sessions began, I felt like there was a massively long period of pain, with very little appreciable sense of progress. The journey of a thousand miles might well begin with a first step, but I’m the sort of person who’d prefer to count the steps, to track progress. So, I asked my electrolysis lady to count out loud, as she was doing each follicle. That provided me with a sense of of progress.

The first hour and a half or so, she did just my upper lip, and counted 800 follicles or so just in that area. I was dismayed and very unhappy about the pain. Imagine, if you dare, the pain of a bee sting, every six seconds or so, spanning most of an hour and a half. I hated it, but I decided that if pain was reason to stop then I would simply stop then and there, and never start again. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who experienced that temptation.

My electrolysis lady has many stories and a good sense of humor, and she would sometimes tell tales of other clients, albeit anonymously. In the process she also taught me more about my own nervous system, including that the center part of my lips are serviced by two separate nerves, and twice as sensitive as a result. By implication, any hair follicles that she removes right by the center of my upper lip … they hurt much more than follicles not close to the center.

She told the story of a client whose upper lip she had been treating. The lady could barely stand the pain from having the sides of her upper lip done, but when it came to the center of her upper lip, it was just too painful. She said “no more” and so she left, essentially with a tiny mustache remaining on her upper lip. somewhat reminiscent of the mustache of a very unpleasant person who dominated German politics in the 1930s. Honestly, I could relate to the temptation to get up and leave, regardless of the aesthetic consequences.

There was the option of numbing cream, but I simply couldn’t afford it, so I just endured the pain. I also couldn’t afford to go every week, but even so, progress was steady. About eight months into it, the hair on my upper lip was down to less than a few dozen.

The reason why the hair count diminishes as opposed to dropping immediately to zero once and for all, is that hair follicles grow in cycles, and electrolysis is only effective on hair follicles during a particular part of their growth cycle — and it’s not evident which growth cycle is applicable. So, every follicle gets treated, and causes pain, but not every follicle dies. So, it’s a battle of attrition, over time.

In any particular week, my electrolysis lady might focus on part of my face, such as my chin, and the next week she might focus on my neck, in front. I asked her to focus on the aspects that most bothered me personally: my upper and lower lips, and my chin. Soon, I didn’t need to shave those areas between sessions. It felt wonderful.

Next came the area near my ears and the front part of my neck, then my cheeks and my jawline, and the sides of my neck. But, every visit, it was always a question of picking one or two — or a few — areas on which she would focus. There wasn’t enough time or money to focus on anything more, because there’s a limit to how many follicles she can remove in an hour, and there were simply too many.

And yet … things kept improving.

So, by now it’s mid-January 2018, and this week saw a milestone: my session was only one hour long, and yet my electrolysis lady was able to cover my entire neck, jawline and face, because there were so few hairs remaining, because so much had been permanently destroyed. I’m delighted to report that!

I plan to be back every week, to win the battle decisively over the next few weeks. New hair growth is less painful to remove, and the process is almost certain to be effective, so that’s the best time to destroy the follicles – just as they’re coming out, and we know they’re just coming out because a week ago, there was nothing to be seen. I’m happy!