Definition: the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another.
That’s helpful, we know what a transition is. What does it mean for a person to transition from male to female or female to male? That’s more complex. There are at least three different things people talk about using the same term, and it is confusing, not least to the person involved:
- The social transition: The person’s relationship with others changes over a period of months and even years as they “come out” to family, friends, community and coworkers. The bulk though tends to happen after some degree of counselling and a decision has been made to permanently present as the inner gender.Those who don’t need this kind of full life experience will have decided to make some less invasive change like going to certain events “en femme”, just being themselves at home or perhaps living in duality and just coming out to friends and a select few while keeping work as a separate space.
- The physical transition: This is the one that most non-trans people, and many transitioners focus on, and that really is a sad, sad thing. The biggest issue in my mind for the transitioner is mentally finding yourself and accepting yourself, and the medical interventions, while helpful in a number of ways are more about finishing touches and less about laying solid footings.But hormones, facial surgery and eventually srs can all be helpful depending on someone’s needs. Hormones will soften skin, round and feminize and face and reduce body hair. Depending on many factors including genetics, age and what seems like luck there can be anything from just a little to a B cup’s worth of breast growth.
For people whose face is still firmly masculine after HRT has had a chance to work it’s magic, or who still see their old self in the mirror and are desperate to eliminate that link to the past, facial surgery can be an important option. For those who’s face clearly marks them it can be a real game changer or even life saver if they need to avoid notice.
Lastly, SRS is really done for personal reasons. It doesn’t change the ability to present as female unless one is in a female only area like a shower or group changing room. It is a truly invasive step, but can be well worth it if that is what you need, as I did, to feel genuine.
- The mental transition: This is really the most important an essential change to me. If you take hormones and dress wonderfully and adjust the tone of your voice and walk with that perfect sway but still talk like a guy and project guydom, you will be perceived as a guy. Maybe not walking by, but certainly in social interactions.For me this part was largely about mental acceptance and compromise. Coming to grips with being trans and for there to not be a proven measurable scientific theory that could be tested on me to prove or disprove my transness. Accepting that becoming an imperfect woman was sufficient and was much better than staying a depressed unhappy man. Even now, still occasionally seeing little bits of “him” peek out. It almost would be more surprising if he didn’t peek out now and then.
Why is the mental transition primary? My viewpoint is that it is the first one that you embark upon and the last to end, if it ever does. It is in the mental transition that we accept our female self. It is there that we accept or attempt to deny our male history and reconcile them as best we can.
It was in my mental transition where I had to finally find acceptance that ultimately it did not actually matter why I was trans, that it was simply a fact about me and one I needed to deal with or suffer.
Your mental transition is where you experience what some call a second puberty. You may attempt to live through some moments that have been denied to you to the chagrin or embarrassment of family or friends. If you’re really lucky they won’t take pictures to remind you later of the leather mini skirt you wore (nope, that wasn’t me).
You figure out what kind of woman you are and maybe you figure out that she was always waiting there patiently telling you how to be compassionate and kind, or maybe vindictive and catty. Are you a girly girl, sort of average or sort of butch? Do you still like contacts sports? Do you love sewing? Hate nail polish? There isn’t a single right answer in the bunch and it takes a long time to investigate the landscape.
You discover that you’ve lost your membership card to the brotherhood, but have a brand new one to the sisterhood. You make piece that guys all want to bed every woman on the planet, even you.
This doesn’t even count figuring out what your sexuality is now. Who are you attracted to? Guys, girls, both, neither?
So you see, where the physical changes are bounded and the social changes are bounded, the mental changes are virtually limitless.
It’s a grand adventure, it’s best to just wear your seat belt and enjoy the ride.