The pictures in this post try to keep the vast amount of text from being boring. The pictures show my current shape (with emphasis on the muscles in my legs, for reasons I explain in the post) — a shape that is about to change. I can hardly wait!
For better or worse, this post show the consciously reasoned process I went through in making the most far-reaching medically-themed decision of my life, to date. As reading material goes, this is not the most bland stuff I’ve ever written, but the nature of the subject matter tends to require some candor.
The typical transition path of a US transgender girl tends to involve a few major milestones. The sequence of events can vary to some extent, but there’s a general rationale to the main flow of things. Exceptions need to be fairly well-motivated to go against a reason-based conventional wisdom, the principles of which have been forged in a harsh reality and tested in difficult circumstances.
A good analogy for the transgender-girl journey is that of a teenage girl. As a transgender girl, I needed to learn how to socially behave as a girl should. I needed to learn girl culture. I needed to learn how to dress in a way that compliments my looks and without looking like a street whore (not that there’s anything wrong with being a street whore, but that’s not the day-to-day look that I’m going for). I needed to learn how to shop, how to buy make-up, how to put it on, and how to take it off. I needed to know how hair and nails add to the aesthetics, and how to do some of the work myself and when to involve professional help. When putting on make-up, I needed to learn how to balance quality with efficiency. Being bisexual, I needed to interact with guys, in bed and out of it, as a girl. And, ditto for sexually-themed interaction with girls. Even learning how to speak, walk and dance elegantly — as a girl — was a difficult effort, albeit a delicious and fascinating one.
Sometimes when things were particularly hard, I’d go read up on how others cope. I recall reading on a forum about a genetically integrated 14-year old girl who was trying to learn to dance like a female adult role model she liked — and dangit, her hips just didn’t move like they were supposed to. Sage advice from other females on the forum came down to, “for all of us, it feels weird in the beginning, but just keep working on it and it’ll get better.”
Many other similarities fit, as to being a teenage girl vs. a transgender girl: as a transgender girl, I often feel awkward socially and I don’t look as pretty or as feminine as I’d like. I’m clumsy. I make dumb mistakes.
After a lifetime of being unable to experience sexuality as a woman, I now feel giddy about the possibilities of my female sexuality, and it takes discipline to manage that responsibly: choosing quality and quantity wisely, and balancing that with all the other priorities in life.
I’m unusual, literally, in that my brain is more feminized than even those of most genetically integrated girls. To be precise, according to the Stanford University BEM test, my brain is more feminized than 85% of genetically integrated girls. That’s the case even though my particular hormonal make-up is testosterone-based. So, it’s an interesting thought as to how much more feminized yet the test results would be if my thinking were not affected by all that testosterone. The effect of that chemical probably detracted from how feminized the test results showed me as being.
As I understand the effects of testosterone, then all other things being equal, they tend to make the person more angry and impatient, which (when combined with the wrong idea set) makes the person more prone to violence and conflict with the seven billion people on the planet. When I was younger, I was indeed sometimes angry and impatient. If physical clues are any indication, then I still have a lot of testosterone but even so, I’m one of the people around who least fits the adjectives “angry and impatient.” I’m mellow, calm and patient. Were my testosterone to decrease, I might become so mellow, calm and patient that (were the Nobel Peace Prize committee to make a U-turn and become based on rational considerations) then they’d discontinue the competition and just mail me the award every year from then on. I’d win just by being so splendid a personification of the antithesis of “angry and impatient.”
As I discuss things and read things in the transgender girl culture, it’s becoming ever clearer to me that female hormones are a logical and good step in the transitioning process. It’s a huge step towards feeling like, and looking more life, the girl that I basically am.
As to physical aspects, for me, it’s too late for much of that. The biggest timing-related regret in my life is that I had testosterone as the dominant element during puberty. As a result, the bones of my body (including, sadly, my face) have a fundamentally male shape. Surgery can change some of that, and I plan to fund that once I have some debt paid off, but the surgery is expensive. Even when it’s dramatic (e.g., cutting away part of the forehead and replacing it with a better-shaped titanium plate) it’s still limited in its ability to undo the effects of testosterone.
As an engineer, I liken my body to a skyscraper. Given a basic structure, there’s still much variation possible as to what gets placed on and around the structure. And, that’s where feminizing hormones can make a big difference. When I thought I was male, and depressed about my life as such, I lacked the motivation to stay in shape, and I ended up being overweight. Due to the effects of testosterone, the weight was around my middle. After I realized I’m basically female, I became motivated to look good.
One of my priorities has been to get in shape, and I now am. However, there are a few subsequent problems. My legs are now very muscular, to the extent that the muscles show pretty darn clearly through the skin. Female bodybuilders excepted, this isn’t a very feminine look. As I understand things, if I do put on any weight (and I’m planning to) then female hormones will add a layer of fat that’ll smooth out that look. I’d like that. Also, much of the fat that gets added will be distributed to my butt and hips. My hips are way too narrow for my liking, so I’d like that, too. And, I’ve been doing butt exercises intensely. Even though it’s starting to look pretty curvy down there but it’s mostly muscle. With some fat added in, that could become a nicely shaped booty. I’d like that A LOT.
My face is too angular and a little bit of fat there might be an improvement too. I’d like that A LOT too. When I could afford it, I used to fund facial fillers like Radiesse and Juvederm, and it’d be nice to switch to the Mother Nature brand of facial filler.
One of the most exemplary people whom I personally know, is my step-daughter. I met when she was 12, and she’s now a young adult and she is successful in every way that I can reasonably imagine. Spending time in her presence is and has always been a delight, with the very brief exception of the start of her puberty, at which time she became very moody. I’ve been told that switching to feminine hormones is also likely to have that effect on me. I’m ready for it. If I have the self-control to withstand the tendency of testosterone to make me angry and impatient, then I can probably also withstand the tendency of female hormones to make me moody.
I’ve read about safety-related concerns: the moodiness becoming unmanageable to where transgender girls do self-destructive things. I’m not worried about that. I have good self-control, and a good social support structure including a wonderfully helpful and loving romantic partner who is herself a girl.
I’ve read about bones becoming brittle, and an increased risk of heart attacks. All this, I gather, is a function of the person’s lifestyle and how well-managed the mix of feminizing hormones is.
As I understand things, the many variables (testosterone inhibitors, estrogen, progesterone) have been gradually refined over the years to where there are now two main feminizing-hormone cocktails or recipes, either of which basically works well, and doesn’t involve a high risk of bone density issues and heart attack.
I did some shopping for an endoctrinologist, and I found a local doctor who came highly recommended in the local transgender culture. I contacted her office to make an appointment and was turned away and told to first go get a referral from my personal physician. I don’t have one. I used to have an awesome general practitioner as my personal physician by then he moved away. The two doctors whom I chose subsequently (in succession) were so disappointing that I don’t plan to see them ever again. The second of these two was chosen after a careful evaluation process, to try to prevent the disappointment from the first. The relationship was nevertheless a failure, and I honestly don’t think it was due to unreasonably high standards on my part. So, I’m not keen on restarting the shopping process just in order to go get a referral to an endoctrinologist. Besides, I basically have a problem with the sort of authoritarian, bureaucratic relationship structure implied by that requirement.
In the process of learning more, I spoke to a friend who made me aware that Planned Parenthood offers hormone replacement therapy for girls like me. I already have a good, happy and long relationship with Planned Parenthood. So, this was good news. I looked into it, and indeed, they offer this service near where I live. So, I made an appointment, and 12 hours from now, I enter a major new phase of my life: I switch to feminizing hormones. I can hardly wait.
As to sexual fertility, I gather that one effect of this would be a permanently reduced-to-zero sperm count. I see that as a major benefit, not a problem.
As to sexual virility, any sexual interaction I have with males (I’m bisexual) doesn’t involve my private parts in front, just what I sit on. Any sexual interaction I have with my female romantic partner tends to involve a great variety of body parts and commercial sex toys, so the loss of one part of the mix will be noticed but it won’t sink the relationship or doom it to blandness or misery. The same can be said for any sexual interaction I have with any other female (my romantic partner and I have safe-but-open relationship, sexually). So, basically, if I never get an erection from here on, that’s fine with me.
As to orgasm, I’ll try to keep this bland since my blog might have some under-18 readers: basically, a transgender girl can experience this from her front or her inside. Currently I can experience both, and the latter is vastly more pleasurable. So, basically, if I never get the former type of orgasm again, that’s fine with me too.
As to sexual desire, I’ve read that switching to feminizing hormones reduces a person’s sex drive. For me, I’m so sexualized that I could probably lose 80% of my sex drive and still have way more than the average person I know. And, paradoxically, there’s something sexy to me about the process of being feminized. So, I don’t see a problem there, either.
I’ve read that a reduction in testosterone also reduces the size of a transgender girl’s private parts. Mine are, ironically, quite a bit larger than those of maybe 95% of the males I’ve seen naked, so that’s good news also. I get to wear sexier girl clothing without having to worry quite as much about my private parts detracting from the visual effect. I can hardly wait.
A friend of mine lives in Brazil and is savvy about transgender-girl culture and feminizing hormones. She explained to me that many Brazilian transgender girls work as prostitutes, and their clientele tends to be men who like the girl to be the active participant in the sex act. So, the transgender girls switch to feminizing hormones to change their body shape and become curvy, and then they switch back to their natural testosterone so that they can service their clients. From that I conclude that the sexual effects of the switch are to a large degree reversible. So if I am mistaken as to the sexual effects, and I regret that aspect, there’s an “undo” button for that. As a bonus, if I do hit the “undo” button then I still get to keep the more-feminized shape that I got while taking the feminizing hormones. That sounds like a win-win situation either way.
I might still have overlooked something, but at least I’ve done a fair amount of due diligence as to reading and pondering the issue.
I’m ready and enthused.