Monday, February 1, 2016

When I Finally Decided to Change Genders

Changing genders seems like a totally normal thing to me, perhaps because I've spent the last 18 years on the internet researching it, and the previous 17 years thinking about it. But it's really not that normal. Even though half the YouTube channels I subscribe to and web boards I visit are about transgender topics, it's still not a common thing for most people to encounter. So for the general public, and for a few specific people who've asked if I could write a bit on the subject, I thought I'd provide a quick explanation for why, after 17 years reading about transgenderism, thinking about and crossdressing quite often, I finally decided to transition from male to female. Why did it take me so long and why am I now taking that plunge? 

For some people it seems to be such a basic choice, perhaps between a sex change and suicide. It's something they've known they've needed their entire lives. For me it was always a little different. It's something I've always wanted, but I was never really sure it was something that I definitely needed. Honestly, I've never been suicidal or even flirted with the idea. My childhood was fairly normal and I was well within the bell-curve for normal boy behavior. Though I didn't like sports, I had a fascination for trucks, airplanes and war. Mostly I was bookish, and though I felt gender dysphoria, I wasn't depressed. And yet from an early age I wished I were a girl. Every birthday candle, every coin in a fountain, every falling star my wish was always the same.

So why did it take me so long to really decided what I wanted to do?

Like all things, this is best explained via graphs.  
The standard English dysphoria unit is the jorgensen. One generally needs at least 1.3 kilojorgs to consider HRT.
As you can see above, my dysphoria, my unhappiness with my gender role, went up and down for my entire life. For every moment when I knew a sex change was my destiny I had another time when I thought the goal unrealistic, stupid and misguided. I'd be fine. I didn't need hormones or surgery or anything. At least until the next spike occurred and then all I could think about was becoming a woman and how right that felt.  
Currently I'm at 2.15 megajorgs. 
But, you see while there were ups and downs, the general trend over time was of an increase in greater dysphoria levels. Eventually, I came to the realization that while my feelings would sometimes subside, they weren't going away. They would always be there and that they were getting stronger. I recognized that upward trend and realized that transition was something that I needed. Despite my periodic moments of doubt, I am transgender and that's not going to go away. 

There was another thing that finally helped me make my decision to transition. Her: 

That's me at age 28. It was around that age that I first seriously decided to transition. But then I put it off. 

That's me at age 30. That was the year I got even more serious, going so far as to get on hormones for the first time. And I stayed on hormones for about a week. 

And I regret that. 

I mean, I love my life. My life is amazing. Had I flapped that butterfly's wings who knows what my life would be like now, but I regret missing out on those years.

See, I was a babe! And while I'm not exactly a troll now (at least I hope), I look back on those pictures I took over the years and all the time I missed out on being her, on being that beautiful girl in the pictures. There's a lot I've missed out on. Sure, at age 22 I first moved to NYC, away from my family and could have started living as a girl then, but that would have been really difficult and I don't think I was quite ready for the challenge. But at age 30, when I went in to get hormones, I was ready. I quit smoking cold turkey just to get on HRT. For 15 years I had smoked and I put them away forever just so I could take that little blue pill.

And I chickened out. And I regret that. I regret everything I missed in the last five years that I could have spent my life the way I always wanted to, the way I always dreamed about. Billions of people wish for things every day, and I had my wish in my hands and I chickened out. 

But, in the end, maybe it's better. I have an amazing partner who supports me, a great job that offers healthcare for transition and legally can't discriminate against me. I have wonderful supportive friends and I love my life. I feel so grateful every day for my life. 

And here's the thing. I don't want to be 40 and look back on the years I might have lost between now and then. I don't want to be posting up pictures like the one below, with sad captions about how I used to be a babe and how I lost another five years. 

In the end, those of us who are transgender, all of us, have a tipping point; that point where transition becomes something you need. A lot of different factors can influence when that tipping point occurs in a person's life. Does your family accept you, do you have access to insurance or medical care, do you have resources, courage, support? Will you literally die if you can't live as who you really are? Are you afraid of what you might regret? There's a lot of different ways we make our way through this life, but we each have that point where we know what we've gotta do.

And then you go do it.

Wish me luck. I think 2016 is my year!


  1. Faith -

    I hope you live a long and happy life in your chosen gender. This is not something that someone does lightly, and is something best avoided if one can do it. For people like us, we're forced to tackle Disphoria head on. And it sucks until we're on the other side of the decision to live life in the gender we are meant to be in.

    You are a beautiful lady, and I can only see you becoming more so as time gives you a wonderful feminine patina....

    1. Hi Marian,

      Thank you so much for your thoughts. Like you say, it's not an easy decision, but I think that the more transgender people get out there, the more "normal" it will seem for society and the easier it'll be come. Here's hoping to the future!



  2. Hi Faith, This is a fabulous post! The dysphoria graphs have me rolling on the floor laughing so hard. You'd have to cross out 40 and write in 60, but otherwise I would say much of what you do as I've made the same difficult decision to go down that difficult road. You're so interesting and a wonderful story teller. And yes, a babe! Not to worry, you'll age better than I have, and I'm not so bad :)

    1. On a serious note, there is something I want to add... You wrote, "I've never been suicidal or even flirted with the idea." That was true for me too--until I got to mid fifties and had a failed marriage behind me. I became depressed and started having scary such thoughts almost daily. The graphs are funny, but true. I have a little math background. There was a limit, a "constraint" on how much I could suppress. I reached it.

    2. Hi Erica,

      Glad you liked my graphs! If I were more serious, I'd start a spreadsheet so I could present some serious data, maybe even a pie chart next time. Hope you got over your scary thoughts and are doing better now!

      Thank you so much for writing!


    3. How to do it? Let's see, every morning, look in the mirror, have a strain gauge in one hand calibrated in kilojorgs, record daily! I should say, my decision to start a pre-transition, then, after a few months (with therapy) deciding that was right for me has relieved depression and anxiety. I'm very early in transition to full time. It's such hard work to suppress and keep secrets. It's hard to transition too, the problems are huge, but I love to solve problems so this is actually great. My turn-around I'd have to call miraculous. I'm having fun again, my thirst for life has returned, I'm feeling like some of my best times in life are arriving. You're wonderful, you love to live and you show it. Don't underestimate the good you do with your blog. It helps people, thanks!

    4. Hi Erica,

      It's always a good place to be when you can say that the best times in life have yet to come. I feel the same way! There will be some struggles, and it'll be earned, but I do feel like things are getting better! Congrats on your own journey! Sounds exciting!