Once a Man, Now a Woman (Gender Swap and Feminization)
My identity is strongly tied to my body. After giving the advice that identity is paramount and hormone therapy unnecessary, all those old doubts resurfaced. I can just take estrogen and maybe get dressed up once in a while, but still be a man.
Thankfully, I was able to once again work through those doubts by reminding myself that men do not take estrogen and would not be pleased to see their bodies become more feminine. My transition continues, and my female identity grows a bit stronger each day. The truth is, we all come to understand ourselves in different ways. Her experience is valid, and so is mine. I was glad to have this reminder about my own journey as well. Sign in Get started. When we first met, I assumed Farrah was much like me in how her dysphoria manifested, but I soon learned I was mistaken.
I found myself wanting to provide some guidance and give her advice, but in doing so I had to confront some of my own doubts. In this conversation, Farrah was saying she feels out of place among groups of women even though she identifies as a woman. A female identity is all she needs to feel comfortable right now. I asked her if she does, in fact, identify as a woman.
💖 Turn Me Into A Girl! 💖
She said yes. She loved hearing that. I came to accept myself as transgender in a completely different way than Farrah.
I hated my body and wanted it to be more feminine, but I identified as a man and was fine being treated as such. Rather, I was constantly called a girl as an insult to my masculinity, and my bullies used my femininity to degrade me on the basis of my assumed male gender. I was gay, according to every source at my disposal.
It never crossed my mind that I had a choice about my body, my name, or that I could self-identify gender. When I first came out as trans when I was 23, I struggled to accept whether my experience was authentic. In those early days before I made the dive into transition, I called a trans woman I knew and talked to her for two hours, trying to explain why I wanted to transition—as if I needed to justify the decision. Really, I was trying to convince myself that I was making the right choice. LGBTQ centers specialize in issues related to the queer community.
It was this sort of facility that helped me when I began transitioning six years ago. Working with a doctor and a therapist with experience treating trans clients made the process feel less scary, and it was a relief to know that my physician had done all this before when, for me, it was totally new. In large cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Boston, there are major gender identity clinics that provide rapid, affirmative transition care.
Many places, like Callen-Lorde in Manhattan, will treat patients regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay. Planned Parenthood also offers transgender medical care. Working with a doctor and a therapist with experience treating trans clients made the process feel less scary. It can be tricky to find someone, but there are resources that could help you. Psychology Today offers a search engine for mental health providers who list care for transgender people as a speciality, and sites like Trans Health and MyTransHealth offer lists of gender-affirming and trans-focused medical care.
The National Center for Transgender Equality has compiled many similar resources for people seeking help. If you have gender dysphoria, transitioning may be the right choice for you, and you deserve to talk with someone who is both knowledgeable and compassionate as you make that serious decision. Transition is notoriously expensive, and for most trans people, many of our basic medical costs are prohibitively expensive. Surgery, hormones, clothing, name changes—they all cost money, and while there are ways to get these things paid for through insurance or with the aid of nonprofit programs, you may find yourself in a situation where you can't afford everything you need.
That's one reason that knowledge is so powerful during transition—we need to know what our options are in order to take care of ourselves.
Otherwise, the whole thing can be overwhelming. The only reason we do is because heterosexual cisgender society pushes us into invisible subcultures, then feigns shock when we wander out of the underground. Just one day after I realized I was trans, I decided to call and tell them anyway. Fortunately, they totally accepted me, but not everyone is so lucky.
This is really personal, so work with people you trust to figure out how to best navigate coming out. Be safe, take care of yourself, and know that part of taking care of yourself is being informed. In getting ready to tell my family I am trans, I found it useful to do a lot of research, ingesting articles, forum posts, pamphlets, and books about transition.
The Many Paths of Gender Dysphoria
Many trans people I know have benefited by sharing these resources with their parents. PFLAG is one organization that is known for helping families of trans and other LGBTQ people be supportive of their loved ones— they have reading lists, movie lists, and more. The Human Rights Campaign has also compiled resources for people who have a transgender person in their lives. Lots of trans people change their name and their legal gender marker. Sometimes, that name change happens a few times—I went through, like, three names before I chose Diana.
Changing your name and legal gender ID marker is easier in some states than others. The National Center for Transgender Equality has a superb search engine to figure out what your local laws are around document alteration.
It can be a bit expensive to change your name, but that also varies by state. That sounds pretty intense, but it can be easier than it might seem. The court will then give you a legal order of name change, which you can present to places like the DMV to make them update your ID. You usually need medical letters to get your gender marker altered.
You can look into this process using some of the resources mentioned in the section above about where to go for help as you transition. Then you have the joy of visiting the bank, or whatever else has your old name on it. Good luck trying to get PayPal to do it. Good luck. When I had my documents changed, it was really rewarding. Seeing my chosen name and true gender on government issued identification made the whole thing feel real on another level. And it was a big fuck you to boring cis society, which is always a plus in my book.
For a lot of us, the whole thing can be really triggering and difficult, but the results are often surreal and validating. As with all of this, you may encounter ignorance out there. Hormone replacement therapy HRT is closely associated with the healthcare of transgender people.