Suddenly all you're hearing about is Bruce Jenner turning into Caitlyn and stories about trans discrimination that you never even knew was a thing before now. We've written several articles with transgendered sources about the horrible bullshit they have to put up with and the less obvious realities of their lives, hopefully to start to counteract the education we were all given on the subject by Jim Carrey movies.
Our source for today's article, who we'll call Nora, went through a multi-year course of hormone replacement and surgery, culminating in a vaginoplasty which turned her penis into, well And, once again, it's nothing like what you're expecting What if they get all this done and then change their mind?
What if it's just something they're doing on a wacky dare? Gender reassignment surgery is a massive, totally life-altering process that we'll cover in just It's such a serious procedure that the first step involves proving you really, really, really, really want it.
The World Professional Association For Transgender Health advises patients to spend at least a year living and dressing as the gender they'd like to transition to. This is called real-life experience. Nora lives in the Netherlands, where gender reassignment is covered by government-mandated health insurance, and an extended period of RLE is mandatory there: For those who were hoping to hop right on the hormone train and hit the secondary sex characteristics cart before they make their public debut, it can be devastating.
At first, Nora felt extremely uncomfortable presenting herself as a woman when she still felt she looked like a man: Again -- plenty of time to change your mind if you're just a "confused" guy going through a phase. Only delay indices from here on out. We discussed my childhood, how I experienced my life, my gender. What my thoughts were on hormones and the surgery, and what I expected from them.
But also whether my life was stable enough, did I have a support network in place? What were my hobbies, my goals and ambitions, professionally and personally? If you have any lingering doubts, just see if they can withstand this news: Like I was having so much fun with it before and totally didn't want to cry after. But it's a major surgery in a very difficult area; complications like infections or fistulas aren't unheard of.
For the hormones, there are different side effects. They increase the risk of developing deep-vein thrombosis and require careful monitoring. I met a woman once who had self-medded; she had a stroke that left half of her face paralyzed. She was only 30 years old. It broke my heart. Did we mention that close to half of all trans people will attempt suicide at some point? The second part of the cocktail is estrogen pills, which shrink your penis and redistribute fat to the butt and hips.
It all seems pretty straightforward -- you learned in school that hormones are what make men look like men and women look like women.
What she was not ready for was how profoundly hormones affect behavior. Continue Reading Below Advertisement "They had warned me that after a period of five months or so I might experience a very emotional time. That was certainly true. Crying all the time; getting catty or simply furious. Now this is just the hormones affecting your moods, sort of like PMS for some women or menopause.
You have to adjust to it, and after a month of this, it started evening out. It's different for everybody -- some have it sooner, some later, for some it's worse I don't envy them; I had it pretty badly , and some hardly notice it at all. I'm more patient, I'm calmer, I feel less driven than I did before I had testosterone blockers. My emotions may be stronger, but I'm more in touch with them as well. And if you were thinking it's just a matter of the doctor going in, sawing off a dick and tossing it over his shoulder into a little trash can full of them, you're not realizing how much cutting it takes to actually look how society says a woman should.