The goal is to live full time, and to achieve a gender presentation that allows me to pass as cis when I need to. Not because I necessarily want to hide that I’m trans, but because in some cases I’ll need to, just for safety’s sake. The Human Rights Campaign (not exactly known for its sterling record of handling trans issues) has estimated that trans women have a 1 in 12 chance of being murdered. This is about 4.7 times the combat mortality rate of US servicemen during World War Two. I’ve heard that others have disputed this claim, and said that the transgender murder rate is “only” 8 out of 1000, or approximately ten times the national average. So while I intend to live openly as a trans woman and not hide it from collages and friends, I would like to be able to hide it from, say, people on the bus, which if you think about it is a metal box that you lock yourself inside of with a bunch of strangers, any of which may be carrying hidden weapons.
To achieve this goal I have two main projects I’m working on: hormones and voice lessons.
My endocrinologist appointment is on March 18th. I don’t know exactly what will happen on that day, but I expect I’ll get blood drawn for some tests, maybe have a physical, consult with the doctor about what will happen when the hormones kick in, and then go home and wait. I hope that they’ll run the tests quickly and bring me back so that I can start treatment right away.
I need to be more diligent about my voice lessons. It is possible to train a masculinized voice to sound feminine, as many of the simply amazing trans women on YouTube demonstrate. It takes a lot of practice and fine muscle control. I’ve bought a CD+DVD set of voice lessons to do at home, but they’re a bit awkward to use, and the lady who gives the lessons is frustrating to listen to (fucking narcissist! I don’t care to listen to you pontificate, just get to the goddamn lesson!), so I don’t practice as much as I should. But I will slog through it and I will get my new voice. I’ve finally started to figure out how they’re supposed to be used (the lady on the DVD says they come with a booklet, but mine didn’t, and there are no instructions), so I hope that I’ll be able to make more progress in the months ahead.
Another hurdle a lot of trans women have is figuring out what they’re going to do about stubble. I’m extra lucky in this regard: my beard has never been very thick. I can shave once a day and it isn’t noticeable at all unless you rub your hand across my face later in the evening. This is wonderful news because I don’t have the cash for electrolysis and probably won’t for some time.
I feel optimistic about my chances of being able to pass when I’m done transitioning. I’m only about six feet tall, and I’m blonde, so aside from my slightly receded hairline, I could pass as a Scandinavian chick. The hair will be dealt with either through haircuts, hats, a scalp advance, or (and this is what I really hope for) new stem cell treatments for baldness that I’m following the progress of.
Fashion and girls clothes are another hurdle. My transition buddy took me to Ross the other day to get myself a pair of girl jeans and I was horrified to learn that most girlpants have teeny tiny little pockets, unsuitable for anything. There’s a lot I don’t know about dressing like a girl, and while I think that I’m into the sort of formless androgynous nerd girl look, I don’t know for sure. I need to learn to dress myself again.
I used to have this really clear image in my mind of who I wanted to be on the other side of this. She was a strong, responsible, disciplined woman who didn’t have any of my faults and was just super duper awesome wonderful. I’ve since realized that such an image is setting myself up for failure. Some of my faults will carry through the transition. That’s okay. If I let myself get trapped into a mindset of obsessing about the parts of me that I don’t like and don’t think are good enough, while dismissing or ignoring the parts of me that are pretty neat, then I will always hate myself. It much more important to me that I become a person I can be proud of despite my flaws, and transitioning is only a part of that process and is not a silver bullet. From now on I will try to focus on what makes me happy to be me, not what makes me sad not to be some figment of my imagination.
But if I could still be the head bitch in charge some day, that’d be pretty cool, too.