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zirconia

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Real life experience... yes. Where I'm undergoing treatment this refers to the period between the diagnosis and recommendation for SRS. And its purpose is to let the patient know how living as the opposite sex feels like. To try it out before anything irreversible is done.

The goal is to dispel any fantasies. To allow those motivated by a fetish to realize that it has no bearing on real life. To give those who simply can't fit in a chance to fix things or reconsider.

And to show everyone else that life just goes on...

After the psychologist explained what lay ahead I asked whether she or the others had any specific changes in mind for me. She laughed and said that to experience a change I'd have to try to assume a male role. But that it would of course defeat the purpose.

Which is pretty much true for every girl who's just been born with this horrendous but fixable birth defect.

And... it definitely has been just a continuation. Although it has given me an opportunity to further distance myself from the very concept of ever having been anything but a woman. And to acclimate myself to a future of freedom from feeling wrong. And to prepare for the surgery...

Life just simply goes on. Because nothing about it or me has changed—as of yet. What will soon change both is being made whole.

It is only then that real life truly begins.
 

Linde

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Germany has very similar requirements, they want to do the real life test prior to even allowing hormones.  This is very hard for some of the trans women there, because they have sometimes very masculine features, and going out as a woman, is a challenge (and a hardship, in my opinion).  They are not forced to go to work as women, just in their off time.  How is this with you, are you force to go to work during the life test?

I don't have any experience, because I went as a fulltime woman already prior to even seeing a therapist, or getting any medication.  I could do this because my body allowed me to do it, so I have no idea how it would be, to go out as a female, if no bodily features jive with that roll?

Hugs
Linde
 

OzGirl

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Linde, I agree that RLT before people are ready can be dangerous, not only from external influences, but the destruction of self image. In Australia, the RLT before GRS seems to have been relaxed to 1 year HRT. I have seen RLT written as a prerequisite here, but I think that might be non current. To be sure, I went full time just ahead of the year before my planned GRS. Though I was terrified to go full time, for me it was an anticlimax. Virtually nothing in my life changed. I was totally accepted, and as my lifestyle has been that of a typical woman for decades, nothing has changed in what I do day to day. Well except for a few routines at the start and end of each day.

After my psychologist assessed me, she asked why I hadn't already transitioned. She knew my life had little in the way of changes ahead, except me being myself. I guess I am not the typical case though.

Hugs,

Allie
 

Lexxi

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I'm really glad that WPATH came off the requirement for real life experience before GCS. It can be really dangerous for some people to get outed that way. From what I understand in the U.S. they only require you to be on hormones for a year now. That's much safer.
 

Stephanie

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Unfortunately, for many of us, at least in the USA, it isn’t the WPATH standards per se, or even the surgeon’s requirements, but the insurance companies that drive the standards. Their requirements (assuming they cover GCS at all) are based on outdated publications or their own arbitrary decisions. I may have been able to get surgery earlier if my insurance company hadn’t had the requirement of 18 months continuing therapy.

Interestingly enough, while my insurance company required one year of RLE, they never asked for proof. My surgeon’s staff handled most of the communication with the company, and I was required to write a short bio for them, so maybe they shared it.

If you can self-pay, not an option for most of us, most surgeons know what’s going on with the latest recommendations, and are more up-to-date on their prerequisites.


- Stephanie
 

Linde

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Lexxi said:
I'm really glad that WPATH came off the requirement for real life experience before GCS. It can be really dangerous for some people to get outed that way. From what I understand in the U.S. they only require you to be on hormones for a year now. That's much safer.
They required me to show that I lived as a woman for one year, before I even were seen by he surgeon. They told me that they have to submit the papers to the insurance, and he insurance wants to have 100% compliance with WPATH, and WPATH wants the RLE.  My therapist confirmed in her letter that I was living as a woman for way longer than required.
So, I think the life test is still there, but can be in parallel with HRT. 
In some European countries you have to do the life test prior to even get HRT, and this seems to be a big hardship for me.

Hugs
Linde
 

Stephanie

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Linde said:
In some European countries you have to do the life test prior to even get HRT, and this seems to be a big hardship for me.

That always seemed like far more than a hardship to me. It seemed downright cruel. I’m not sure if I could have handled going full-time without the emotional and physical support of HRT. I can’t pin a specific date on when I went full-time, but it was four or five months after starting HRT, and misgendering was still common. Without the new calmness and (minimal) self-confidence that HRT brought, I might not have made it through those tough times.


- Stephanie
 

Linde

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Stephanie said:
That always seemed like far more than a hardship to me. It seemed downright cruel. I’m not sure if I could have handled going full-time without the emotional and physical support of HRT. I can’t pin a specific date on when I went full-time, but it was four or five months after starting HRT, and misgendering was still common. Without the new calmness and (minimal) self-confidence that HRT brought, I might not have made it through those tough times.


- Stephanie
I know that Germany allows them to go as men to work, nd do official function in which not passing would be really bad for them.  I was lucky, and did not need HRT to live as a woman, I had to do the entire stuff to meet WPATH requirements, cause intersex is more or less not existing for the insurance business of the US.

Hugs
Linde
 

zirconia

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Hi Linde

Linde said:
They are not forced to go to work as women, just in their off time.

My sisters are women. I don't think it's something they can turn on and off at will. Can anyone?

Linde said:
How is this with you, are you force to go to work during the life test?

What is there to force? I resisted seeking help for a long time because I feared my destination would be transgender. Being a woman, on the other hand, is what I needed to be.

It was a relief to finally realize I'd just been born with a congenital disorder—and to no longer have to pretend.
 

Linde

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zirconia said:
Hi Linde

My sisters are women. I don't think it's something they can turn on and off at will. Can anyone?
As I wrote Zirconia, some of those trans women still look very much like men, and having to go with very strong male features to work in woman's clothing, could be rather negative for some people's mental condition.
It is very hard for me to even imagine, and I am glad tat I never was forced to do this!  I don't know if you were in such a situation?
What is there to force? I resisted seeking help for a long time because I feared my destination would be transgender. Being a woman, on the other hand, is what I needed to be.
Force is thereby having be dressed up as a woman if the body is not nearly ready for it, and those people would rather have taken estrogen first to hopefully receive some of the changes from it prior for having to dressed and ct lik fmles in public.
It was a relief to finally realize I'd just been born with a congenital disorder—and to no longer have to pretend.
You probably were as lucky as I was, to be finally able and allowed to go out as the person you are in reality, because our bodies were already there to be presented in female grab.  However, I know for my person know that I am different.  But most trans women do not have the advantage of an intersex condition when they change from men to women.  They are dysphoric, because of the condition of their body, which does not jive with their brain that wants to see the body as that of a female.
Again, for me that was not a problem, cause my body was pretty much all female already, I don't know about you?
We have to allow other trans women to live like they need to live without judging them, or put a qualifier in front of their transness!  We should not be the trans police!

Hugs
LInde
 

Lexxi

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Christine said:
Lexxi                  23 March 20

Don't know where you are, but I have to disagree with your blanket statement. I was on hormones 18 days and had my surgery. I had my first counselor meeting 08 March 2018 and had my surgery Friday 13 April 2018, 5 weeks and one day from start to finish. Be careful making blanket statements; they're seldom accurate. I had my surgery in Plano, Texas, a Texas city in the United States.

Christine

Oh I'm sorry Christine I didn't realize that you already had your vaginoplasty performed. You must have been the luckiest person in history to have that done so quickly. We'd all be very lucky if we had your luck. Ha ha

But in all seriousness I'm not sure what blanket statement you're talking about though. The conversation we were having is about WPATH standards and what they recommend before having GCS.

For the record I was wrong when I said that WPATH dropped the one year of real life experience recommendation...they still recommend being on hormones for one full year and also a full year of real life experience. I'd venture to guess that both of those can be fulfilled in the exact same year though.

However WPATH did recommend dropping any real life experience just to get on hormones though, and that's what I got mixed up. To force someone into publicly presenting the opposite of their birth gender can be quite dangerous at times, and thankfully WPATH finally realized how wrong they'd been.
 

Linde

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Lexxi said:
For the record I was wrong when I said that WPATH dropped the one year of real life experience recommendation...they still recommend being on hormones for one full year and also a full year of real life experience. I'd venture to guess that both of those can be fulfilled in the exact same year though.

However WPATH did recommend dropping any real life experience just to get on hormones though, and that's what I got mixed up. To force someone into publicly presenting the opposite of their birth gender can be quite dangerous at times, and thankfully WPATH finally realized how wrong they'd been.
Lexxi, my time as full time female was excepted during the same time I was on HRT, so you are right with your statement.  i don't know what Christine is talking about, cause as much as i know, she had no GRS yet, but just an orchi, which is commonly done by urologists, and in her case, she found one who accepts patients without a medical indication for this procedure, but she paid ot of pocket for it.

Sadly, it seems that most European countries require trans people to do their RLE prior to being accepted for receiving hormones.  The reasoning is that they can test if this is the right thing for them before getting hormones which, after a while, result in non reversible changes.

Hugs
Linde
 
M

MadameDuFromage

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Stephanie said:
Interestingly enough, while my insurance company required one year of RLE, they never asked for proof. My surgeon’s staff handled most of the communication with the company, and I was required to write a short bio for them, so maybe they shared it.

That's more or less how mine was as well.  They wanted a letter from a therapist stating that I had been a good little girl for at least a year but never bothered to follow up, so anyone could have forged it.


I understand why they're doing it.  They don't want to spend more money than they have to.  But they definitely don't want to deal with being obligated to help someone out if they get SRS without being ready. 
 

zirconia

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Linde said:
As I wrote Zirconia, some of those trans women still look very much like men, and having to go with very strong male features to work in woman's clothing, could be rather negative for some people's mental condition. It is very hard for me to even imagine, and I am glad tat I never was forced to do this!  I don't know if you were in such a situation?

Hi, Linde

I thought trans women are real women? If so, aren't clothes irrelevant? How about the shoe store proprietress I wrote about here? She's not a whit womanly. But she "passes" as a woman.

Or... actually she doesn't. Because she is. And she can't switch it on and off.

I myself have pretended to be a man. Since forever. But I never could truly be. And finally knowing and admitting that was a relief.

Linde said:
Force is thereby having be dressed up as a woman if the body is not nearly ready for it, and those people would rather have taken estrogen first to hopefully receive some of the changes from it prior for having to dressed and ct lik fmles in public.

I guess it's different in Germany, then. The doctors here do accommodate individual needs.

I needed real life experience to start instantly after my diagnosis. But one can choose to start later. Whenever one wants. Until and during which time one does have access to HRT and other non-surgical treatment. And psychiatric and psychological support as well.

Also, while one year is the official minimum, one can extend it—and some very successfully assimilated women have felt they should, and done so. After all, it is one's final opportunity to contemplate the rest of one's life. To acclimate, adjust... or reconsider.

As I've said, to me this whole evaluation and treatment process has been a truly wonderful, enlightening experience. And knowing I'm still in the hands of people who truly care about me feels safe and liberating. I believe it all to be incredibly worthwhile and beneficial to anyone willing to be completely honest and objective about oneself.

Linde said:
You probably were as lucky as I was, to be finally able and allowed to go out as the person you are in reality, because our bodies were already there to be presented in female grab.  However, I know for my person know that I am different.  But most trans women do not have the advantage of an intersex condition when they change from men to women.  They are dysphoric, because of the condition of their body, which does not jive with their brain that wants to see the body as that of a female.
Again, for me that was not a problem, cause my body was pretty much all female already, I don't know about you?

LOL... I'm not like you. I did very much hope to be intersex but my karyotype turned out to be "normal, XY." That crushed me because I felt even XXY would have felt closer to what I needed to be. But... the doctor wisely told me it made no difference. That the treatment was the same. That what mattered was the way my brain is wired.

Unlike yours my body did not smoothly, comfortably and autonomously transform itself to female. What it did do was make me tremendously dysphoric. Enough so that I drove needles through my genitals and researched ways to give myself cancer. I'd stop eating completely for over a month at a time trying stave off and reverse puberty. And engaged in many other forms of "pain control." 

Perhaps partly due to that I did end up slight of frame, and people did eventually and gradually begin to see me as female. However, until I actually was safe in the knowledge of what I was, I dressed androgynously (...although since I had worked in the industry that probably went pretty far.) Any "exclusively female" garb would have made me feel like a masquerader. Or an impostor. A fake. A freak.

Because it's always been my body that's wrong. Not the clothes.
SRS is the only thing that will make the pain go away. Or at least alleviate it.

Linde said:
We have to allow other trans women to live like they need to live without judging them, or put a qualifier in front of their transness!  We should not be the trans police!

As I told Lexxi here, being different is not better. Nor worse. Just different. Sometimes very different. Do you feel that makes me judgmental? If so, in what way?
And what qualifier were you thinking of?

As for "trans police"—on every forum I've been, everything and everyone seems accepted and warmly welcomed. But ONLY as long as one agrees with the majority's feelings and beliefs. Feelings and opinions that deviate from that common narrative do get attacked. And those attacks are almost invariably lauded. Very rarely is anyone who attacks someone different denounced.

Yet, at the same time, the message is that these ones ostracized and shunned due to their divergent experiences and feelings are actually just like everyone else, and merely hold mistaken and hurtful opinions.

I've known all my life how being an outsider feels. I don't like it. But I'll no longer discard, dismiss and deny my own thoughts and feelings. I am what I was born as, and don't wish to lie, pretend and make compromises in order to be welcomed and accepted by those who can't accept the way I feel. Or what I am.

It is the girl group I've always needed to belong to.
I am a girl—a woman with a physical deformity that needs to and can be fixed.
I need surgery in order to become and live as a normal woman.
Not a third sex.

And since I would now appear to have become the only one left on this forum who feels the way I do, I confess that I feel very alone.
 

Kiera

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zirconia said:
And since I would now appear to have become the only one left on this forum who feels the way I do, I confess that I feel very alone.

    zirconia you are NOT "alone" I usually browse very early AM and, just this morning, noticed 4 members "registered" yet 35 guests? It's just that if no reason to "post" then why "log" at all?

    Am curious why SRS is so important to you? Is it because you crave, miss the attentions of men OR or is it simply a locker room thing, feel it would be better to help you more properly "belong"? And as far as us "older folks" is concerned surely doctors/therapists couldn't give a hoot what we choose I mean "what changes of life" can such old dogs expect and, best case, we ain't gonna live long enough to experience any new "regrets" anyway?

Been posting ALOT of late just no taste for here, or Susans, at all.
 

Linde

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zirconia said:
Hi, Linde

And since I would now appear to have become the only one left on this forum who feels the way I do, I confess that I feel very alone.
Zirconia
I don't think that you are the only one here who is different, don't forget, I don't  fit into many molds either.  And in reality most trans women are different from each other.  some requirements of the American health care system press them into the same mold, no matter whether they fit or not (I had to follow the entire WPATH requirements to get the system to pay for my GRS).  So, there may be way more persons here on the forum, who feel similar to you.  They either are not very vocal, or do not want to talk much about their feelings.

Hugs
Linde
 

Donica

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Kiera said:
    zirconia you are NOT "alone" I usually browse very early AM and, just this morning, noticed 4 members "registered" yet 35 guests? It's just that if no reason to "post" then why "log" at all?

    Am curious why SRS is so important to you? Is it because you crave, miss the attentions of men OR or is it simply a locker room thing, feel it would be better to help you more properly "belong"? And as far as us "older folks" is concerned surely doctors/therapists couldn't give a hoot what we choose I mean "what changes of life" can such old dogs expect and, best case, we ain't gonna live long enough to experience any new "regrets" anyway?

Been posting ALOT of late just no taste for here, or Susans, at all.

Kiera! I suppose all of the things you mention can be legitimate reasons for wanting GCS. I believe they all fall under the category of wanting to be whole, as the person we all know deep down we are, to correct natures mistake, to finally feel alive, and no longer have to live in a numb pointless existence for the rest of our lives. As for longevity, If I only had a day to live as my true complete self, I would be happy. Admittedly that's coming from a person who is 100% certain and who has never questioned since I was old enough to know what was wrong with me.

Kaiser follows WPATH and is very strict about their standards. I will say, I've seen time frame and hormone level changes in their standards over the passed few years. I chose to start RLE 11 months after starting HRT but there was no reason I couldn't do both at the same time, other than the desire to be as feminine as possible before going full time. RLE means different things to different people and it would be difficult to prove that an individual was actually living full time. Which is probably why they don't ask for proof of RLE. We all actually do have some proof though. We each have very necessary therapist/physicians to get us through the process that we must visit from time to time, if not monthly or weekly. This is the proof that satisfies the insurance companies and any one else with a need to question authenticity. My truth of authenticity is I don't think I would still be here if I wasn't allowed to be myself.

I have said before I believe this is a necessary evil to help evaluate individual before making such life altering changes. I say evil because for me it just gets in my way as I've known who I am for a very long time and I'm not getting any younger. But for those who may not be as certain, I would say it's essential. One thing I really disagree with is the many differences in coverage from region to region, but perhaps that's a whole nother conversation.
 

zirconia

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Actually the sentence quoted by Linde and Kiera was just an afterthought. A side remark.  LOL

But... since that's what seemed to catch people's eye rather than the main body of text, let me clarify.

I don't at all mean I feel forlorn. My life is growing ever more distant from the transosphere, and here in the real word I don't feel at all alone. Once I dared see transition as a door instead of a destination the switch was natural and easy. I can be a woman because my body can and  will be fixed. And I am happy to pay any price to leave the pain behind.

It's in the transosphere—on the forums and at the support groups I've visited—that I feel... isolated, I guess. I seem to live in a completely different universe. Take e.g. the evaluation and treatment process. (Because it's less likely to provoke censure and ire than some other things that I've found hard to understand.)

For me it was like a coming home. A safe haven. A beacon of hope. The doctors were unbelievably caring and understanding. And very much wanted to help me.

But... in general it appears to be seen as a negative thing. A barrier. An unnecessary and antiquated relic.

The questions I found to sharpen my focus are seen as probing and intrusive. The opportunities to think as a chore. Where I saw and felt a sharp and friendly scalpel that helped me cut through scarred tangles of thought  others saw hostile aggression. Where I cried with the relief of finally being allowed to expose the depths of my pain, others speak of the anger they feel at rude and ruthless demands to divulge things they feel to be private.

When at a support group I timidly tried to say I liked the doctors, one of the organizers dismissed my words in a softly spiteful tone with "Some have no problems."

I find it very improbable that a special, kind and gentle team was established just for me. So whence the difference?
All I can say is that I went to seek help, and got it. In abundance... Not one word of the horror stories I'd heard was true. For me.

But... anyway.


Linde... "may be" is not the same as "is." Neither is "different" the same as "alike."

If there is someone like me here then what do you suppose makes her hesitate? Or prevents her from speaking up? I certainly would welcome her. Warmly. And would love to discuss the simplicity of what we need to do. Despite the incredible pain that it entails. And the need—the drive—to reach the goal regardless the price or extent of the agony. Which did make me cry once again today. And the peace of knowing one needs to live so much that nothing can stand in one's way.

If there is someone who feels the same and is not yet complete, I'm sure she'll also want help. Need it like I did. The help I finally found in someone whom others here don't find welcome. And while I also am not yet complete I'd be more than willing to offer what I'm able to.

But I doubt there is. Because the moment I saw what I needed I called out. And found a safe, slender, firm and warm hand that pulled me out of the quicksand. I believe anyone who feels like I do would want the same.


Kiera...

Thank you... yes. It's funny, but I do think that it actually may be some random guest who may eventually find some solace in something I've written. I only joined the other forum because someone urgently needed some information I had, and the only way I could offer it was by becoming a member. I'm sure there must be other similar seekers somewhere out there.

As for SRS... LOL ❤️

I doubt you seriously won't have guessed—especially since I've said it explicitly before—but I'll reply anyway. My body is not a trinket or an ornament. My need to be whole is no mere "locker room thing." I want and need what nature intended the female body to be capable of. Just the memory of the faint foretaste I've had to date is enough to make my body smolder with ecstasy. Even now. When I described it to my New Elder Sister™️ over tea at her house she smiled and told me I was still just a blossom—but in time would know what it is to truly bloom.

So. For anyone who maybe didn't get that... I want Sex Reassignment Surgery to have sex. With men. It is a need. An urgent, instinctual desire.


There. I hope that clarifies that issue... LOL ٩( ᐛ )و

Now... please ignore the last sentence of my previous post, and reread the body. It's there that I said what I really wanted to convey.
 

Michelle_P

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Each of us has to follow our own path, and there is never a need to justify one’s own path or otherwise feed the prurient interests of others. 

Our deeply held feelings and needs are something we should never allow to be treated as light entertainment, or to while away a few minutes for the nosy, casually curious, or those who get their thrills attacking others online.  What I personally need to do to address my own discomfort, my problems, are never something that someone else is permitted to critique, or engage in proscriptive behaviors.  They are mine alone.  That said, I DO work with a very good therapist well versed in gender issues, not to be told what to do, but as someone to bounce my own thoughts off of and clarify my reasoning, my desires, and my needs.  I have found this very useful

My own path, is one of personal recovery and rediscovery.  It involved my coming out while young, being medically and socially corrected through what would be called conversion therapy in the style of Clockwork Orange today, a decade or so of trying very hard to adhere to what I was told I should do, and several decades of resignation, depression, and anxiety.

I was re-launched on my path to coming out when the depression and anxiety brought me to the point of suicide in March 2016.  I designed a protocol that should produce an easy death, a combination of carbon monoxide and prescription medications I had collected.  About 30 seconds before I initiated a one-way path to the exit an odd thought  crossed my mind about what I would do afterward.  There was no afterward, of course, as that was supposedly the whole idea.  Instead I called a hotline number associated with my HMO, and they talked me dow and got me one of the quickest appointments I think  I ever got with them.

At my first appointment I came out to the psychologist, although I was presenting as a male.  The initial visit was an intake session, but I got good advice on basic coping mechanisms.  I had already done some meditation practices for a number of years, and some suggestions were made on how to best use mindful  meditation techniques to stay calm and centered, and recognize when runaway suicidal ideation was happening and needed to be let go.  The second and subsequent appointments I switched to female presentation, wig and crude makeup, but enough to surprise the therapist a bit. 

I had to maintain a male presentation at home (family issues around acceptance) but would change and be out in public as myself.  The first couple of sessions I just went from home to the session and straight back home.  The therapist challenged this, and suggested I go to the chain coffee place after a session, and order something.  I did this, and to my surprise, the world did not end.  The sky did not fall.  Instead, I got a latte and sat there, sipping it while life went on around me.  The next week I did grocery shopping after my session before heading home.  Again the world failed to end.  The next appointment was an attempt at a joint session with my (now ex) wife, and I had to present as male.  This one was rougher, and ended any possibility of further joint sessions or any hope of near term acceptance.

Once the psychologist and I were sure I was past the suicidal depression I switched to seeing a gender therapist. Due to issues at home I had to go to my first appointment presenting as male, but all subsequent visits I was able to be myself.  Over the next few months I would start to leave earlier, perhaps go out to breakfast before or lunch after the appointment, do some shopping, maybe go to a movie, essentially going to being myself full time on the occasions where I was out of the house on my own.

I arranged to start facial electrolysis, as I could not stand having a beard, and found myself with regular two hour weekly appointments, for which I presented as myself.

After about three months I felt sure that I was really, honestly a transgender woman, and requested to start a medical transition with Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). This was quickly done, and after some issues involving a little prolactinoma  my HRT was up and running in the summer of 2016.  In my own case I felt better about three or four weeks in, as testosterone suppression started working and I lost a sensation of alarms constantly going off in my head.  I had longer and longer periods of calm until that became my normal state some two months in, and my estradiol dosage was run up to transition levels.

HRT with Kaiser NorCal is a ‘modified informed consent’ program, by the way.  One intake session and one endocrinologist visit is needed.  I took my time about this to make sure it really would be the right path for me.

That October I was asked to leave the house and relocate, and divorce proceedings were started.  I moved out, finding an apartment in a walkable community, and set up housekeeping in what is still my current neighborhood.  I finished moving in on a Sunday afternoon, and by 5 PM I was back to myself, the last of his old clothes in a couple of boxes, which I dropped at Goodwill that evening.  I was full time, on spiro about 4 months and Estradiol about 2 months, no surgeries and minimal makeup skills, and a pretty damn spotty wardrobe.

I did some shopping, filed for my name and gender change, and generally set up housekeeping.  My ex and I agreed to do a mediated divorce, and I tried to be androgynous for the mediation sessions to avoid triggering her.  The divorce was finalized about a year after I came out to her.  I got a court date in January 2017 for the name and gender change.  The laws have since changed so no court appearance is needed now in California.

My therapist connected me with the Multi-Specialty Transitions Clinic of Kaiser NorCal, and I went to a huge intake session, meeting with surgeons, social workers, a nurse practitioner, and a psychologist to discuss my needs and desires.  My gender therapist and I had thoroughly  discussed this and I had a good idea of what I needed.

I was pretty much ‘on the binary’, a strongly feminine personality with a desire to match that, with an orientation towards other women.  With the MST panel, I discussed my strong desire for Gender Confifrmation Surgery (GCS), and Facial Feminization Surgery (FFS).  I had severe dysphoria around my genitals and face, including facial hair.  Kaiser immediately approved coverage for facial electrolysis with hair photos sent to a dermatologist for screening.  I was scheduled for consults with the GCS and FFS surgical teams.

In my own case, I really did not like the genitalia I was born with or the changes induced by the testosterone injections I got in my youth, part of the treatment to ‘correct’ me.  I had set up the bathroom in a remodel of my old home such that I would never see myself below the waist.  Heavy use of ‘dietary supplements’ and soy milk had produced some shrinkage and breast growth over the years, but not enough to relieve the distress.  Similarly, my long and angular face, with prominent nose and brows very much bothered me, as I saw it as the greatest encumbrance to my being able to just live my life as a woman.

In my rental, I just covered most of the huge bathroom mirror ‘wall’ with a matte plastic film, leaving a small opening over the sink to see where I was (ugh!) shaving.  I used a magnifying makeup mirror to get ready for the day, so I didn’t have to see all that much, and a full length mirror adjusted and placed so I wouldn’t see my face or unclothed body, to check my appearance before I went out.

I just kept living my life, taking my patches and pills, doing electrolysis, and waiting for things to change.  I did a lot of people-watching, studying wardrobe and presentation, movement and social behaviors, and practicing as best I could to catch up for those lost decades. 

My electrolysis authorization happened to be worded to cover both facial and genital clearing, and my electrolyst started in on bottom work.  Early summer of 2017 I had my surgical consults, with definite agreement on what I needed to change on my face and genitalia.  I asked for a full depth vaginoplasty, as I felt I would be incomplete with a shallow depth version, and had no partner to please or object to this.  Because I had the bottom cleared already, in the usual pattern for this surgical team, they offered me an early date, late October 2017 for GCS.

This was a tremendous relief for me.  Facial work would eventually be done in August 2018.  A labiaplasty revision and breast augmentation happened in February 2019, and a second round of FFS including a trach shave, mostly not necessary but cosmentic, was done in early March of 2020. 

After some four years of being full-time in public, and having completed both a social and medical transition, I feel both relieved and happier than I have ever been in my adult life.  The last few years have had far more good times than bad. 

I find that I don’t fit in well with the old Tri-Ess set or even many of the folks who attended Kaiser’s group sessions for transgender women.  Most of the older LGBTQ folks don’t really have much to do with me, or I with them, particularly as many in those communities engage in strong identity policing among older folks.  Most of my friends are straight cisgender women, actually, although I am hardly straight.

If you need more details, look here: https://michellepaquette.blogspot.com/2017/01/biography.html
On my identity: https://michellepaquette.blogspot.com/2019/09/my-identity-ive-recently-been-told-by.html
 
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