Updated on November 29, 2015
Choice To Transition
Choosing to transition is a very important life changing decision. But where do you start from?
Acceptance of oneself- This is a key step when starting the process. You might have known for long that you are different. Many of us know early in our childhood but hardly know the term used to describe our situation until in our teens or adulthood. For most of us knowing that the term used for us is ‘transgender’ is an amazing experience. With a sense of awe we realize that there are other people out there like us, that we belong somewhere. It validates our experiences; As most grow up fighting what they feel. For others, the story is different. Whether an awful or awesome experience, embracing who we are open doors for what steps we take next. Know that you are not alone and it’s perfectly okay to be who you are. Let no one convince you otherwise.
Talk to someone about it- It’s difficult to handle all these on your own. Growing up being different or ‘feeling trapped in the wrong body’ as most would call it has some detrimental effects to our mental health. A large population of trans people suffer from anxiety, depression and suicide ideation and attempts. This is mainly as a result of lack of support from the people who mean the world to us; our family, our friends. Understanding and acceptance doesn’t come easy when you don’t conform. I would personally recommend a professional; a psychologist or therapist. And not just any therapist. Choose someone who understands gender diversity issues, or else you’ll end up more damaged than ever before. The reason why I recommend a profession, more than just a friend is psychologist are trained to handle this. Though in some instances a friend can listen more than anyone else. Your therapist will guide you through the available options of transitioning making sure you know what you are getting into.
Transitioning is a choice. You can choose not to transition or stop whenever you want. But you have to be aware of the effects of medical transitioning as when done, some effects even with the best application of science can’t be reversed. Your body can’t go back to how it was exactly before. Have all the information before you take a step Research all it takes. Knowledge is power.
Most choose to transition socially first. This involves dressing and presenting as the gender they feel they are, asking friends and family to use their preferred names and pronouns. A lot of people feel more comfortable and confident with this step. Others feel the need to move further.
Another step of transitioning is legal name change. This can be done at any stage depending with the laws of your state or country. Most trans people change their names after they start medical transition.
Medical transition involves different stages and varies for transmen and transwomen. In many cases it starts with Hormone Replacement Therapy(HRT) which induces secondary sexual characteristics. For transmen it involves testosterone; which brings about secondary male characteristics, while for transwomen estrogen; which brings about secondary female characteristics. It’s just like undergoing puberty for the second time, though for those who are lucky, start the process in their teens. Hormones take some time to effect changes in your body, so don’t expect abrupt results.
Another stage in medical transitioning is surgery. Surgeries are costly thus others opt not to, or they might opt not to because they are just not comfortable. It’s a personal choice. For transmen it involves chest reconstruction surgery(mostly known as top surgery), hysterectomy and finally genital reconstruction surgery etc. For transwomen it involves genital reconstruction, facial feminization surgery, breast augmentation and much more depending on the person. Others do just one surgery, others do two, others all of them, others none. It’s a personal journey.
Not forgetting legal change of gender marker. This can be done in any stage just like name change depending with your state or country. Some country require you to do the bottom surgery while others just require you to be on hormones and be seeing a therapist.
The bottom line is, it’s your journey. No one can tell you how to walk it, people can advise you, walk with you but you are the only one to walk it. No one can do it for you .
Sending love your way
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