#1  
Old 01-18-2019, 09:33 PM
Ronald Raygun Ronald Raygun is offline
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Ask the trans woman.

I haven't been on these forums since Una posted her "Ask the" thread, and a lot has changed in those five years w.r.t trans visibility.

I'm 33 years old. I started estrogen therapy last March (so about 10 months ago). I have no reason to believe that I am intersex. I've been in a longterm relationship for eleven years, married for five. We live in Los Angeles.
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Old 01-18-2019, 09:42 PM
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OK, let me get the laundry list of standard questions out of the way... after saying "thank you", sorry. So, first of all, thank you.

And now:
married to?
when did you realize you were trans?
when did your spouse learn about it? What was their reaction? I mean, given you've been together for 1/3 of your life they clearly didn't run out of the room screaming, but there's a difference between "O...K..." and "oh, OK!".
how have other relatives, friends, coworkers, employers prospective or actual, reacted?
what changes have you noticed in how people treat you as you presented differently?
are you super-femme or not? If not, did you have an ultra-feminine stage? (I'm one of those women who never had one)

Last edited by Nava; 01-18-2019 at 09:43 PM.
  #3  
Old 01-18-2019, 09:48 PM
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Any kids? How are you accepted at work?
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Old 01-18-2019, 09:56 PM
purplehorseshoe purplehorseshoe is online now
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I'm curious how - or if? - the estrogen therapy has affected you mentally. I read an essay years ago by a woman who had to take testosterone (not for gender dysmorphia issues - it was temporary IIRC) and the changes she described in her mental state were fascinating. Not radical Jekyll-and-Hyde but subtle stuff that really did align with some of the most common gender-based differences we all observe.

... dang, now I wish I could find that essay again.

Anyway, thank you for starting this & for sharing with us.
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Old 01-18-2019, 10:03 PM
UCBearcats UCBearcats is offline
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Are you still able to get erections and ejaculate?
  #6  
Old 01-19-2019, 12:13 AM
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Thank you for being willing to open the thread and face all these questions.
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Old 01-19-2019, 12:24 AM
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Do you identify as a straight woman, lesbian, bisexual or...?

Any plans to change your username?

And thank you for the thread, I'm looking forward to reading more.
  #8  
Old 01-19-2019, 02:10 AM
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Thank you for being willing to open the thread and face all these questions.
And lord knows there are going to be some really dumb and inappropriate, some on purpose, questions.
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Old 01-19-2019, 02:19 AM
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Are you considering surgery soon?
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Old 01-19-2019, 04:34 AM
Ronald Raygun Ronald Raygun is offline
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OK, let me get the laundry list of standard questions out of the way... after saying "thank you", sorry. So, first of all, thank you.

And now:
married to?
when did you realize you were trans?
when did your spouse learn about it? What was their reaction? I mean, given you've been together for 1/3 of your life they clearly didn't run out of the room screaming, but there's a difference between "O...K..." and "oh, OK!".
how have other relatives, friends, coworkers, employers prospective or actual, reacted?
what changes have you noticed in how people treat you as you presented differently?
are you super-femme or not? If not, did you have an ultra-feminine stage? (I'm one of those women who never had one)
My wife is cis. We were in the same dorm together as undergrads -- the "queer druggie" dorm. My fourth year of college (it took me six to finish), we were living together on campus. I started having some initial electrolysis work then, and my upper lip swelled up to maybe three times its size. I hid in the dorm room for about a week while she brought me food. At some point, I showed up with some Premarin (conjugated estrogens extracted from mare urine) with the intent to start self-administering, and this did not go over well -- not because she's anti-trans, but because she was worried about what this meant for our relationship, my safety, and my future. I didn't bring it up again for about a decade. At the end of 2017, my dysphoria got significantly worse. This was exacerbated by the much increased visibility of trans people. Previously, I had resigned myself to living in the closet with a moderate level of anxiety. It seemed preferable to the alternative of being a social pariah. With increased media coverage, I began to feel an incredible amount of shame for not having come out ten or fifteen years ago -- as though I were guilty of living a life inauthentically. In November of that year, I got shingles from the stress, and my wife was essentially like, "You're thinking of gender stuff again. You should probably transition."

I'm not really sure how my wife and I got together. When she was an undergrad, she was out as a lesbian -- buzzed hair, cargo pants, an occasional mention of a past girlfriend, and a rainbow flag pin that she wore always. I catch her checking out other women on occasion. I don't question the good things that happen to me. Heck, she once got me a private lunch with Kate Bornstein. Our first date was to a drag show in the basement of a Mexican restaurant. There's a reason I married her.

Most of my friends are some flavor of queer. Homophobia and transphobia have always been absolute deal-breakers for friendships, so I didn't have any problems. I used to work in academia. I lost my job a few months after coming out. I'm told it was due to a lack of funding. My coworkers were predominantly undergrads, grad students, and postdocs -- all my age or younger. My generation doesn't care. The PI is only a few months older than I am, and he was working on getting tenure. His priorities were elsewhere. I have not attempted to find another job.

I'm not close with much of my family. I'm not even sure how many of them know. My grandparents are all dead. My father is coping with his mortality; some of his older siblings are on their death beds. When I came out to him, his response was essentially, "You've always been unhappy. Do what you need to do. I'll be dead in five years." My mother is, according to her, "very supportive of the trans community", but did not take my coming out well. She has a remarkable tendency to say something thoughtless, like "Well you're not going to make a very attractive woman", or "How are you going to be a woman with no hips?" Again, everyone in my own generation doesn't care.

How femme am I? Not terribly. Just kidding. Actually, that picture is very atypical. I simply don't have the time. Putting on makeup makes me highly distressed because it means I have to stare at myself for long periods of time. I'm still working on beard removal, and my beard shadow is so dark that I need plenty of makeup to hide it. It's just not worth it to me. I usually dress like a goth Diane Keaton who moved to Santa Fe and became an art teacher. A lot of Helmut Lang, Alexander McQueen, and All Saints. Big, chunky jewelry and geometric prints. Being 5'9" with a 25" waist means I fit into a lot of fashionable clothes off-the-rack. I understand that this is atypical for most trans women, so I just count my blessings. My wife likes to exclaim, "I'm the butch one!" -- and I guess that's very true. Honestly, despite not wearing makeup, I can tend to be a bit draggy -- I mean, I carry a designer hand-fan that I snap open for dramatic flair. I wouldn't call that "femme"; no cis woman does that. It's more an acknowledgment that, if people are going to stare at me, I'm going to give them something to look at.

Straight (and I use the term to mean cis-hetero) men are usually oblivious to how I present unless I go very over-the-top. Occasionally someone will sneak a peek at my breasts and then get a look of panic. Lyft drivers see a feminine name when they come to get me, and when they see that I'm trans, they shut down. Absolutely no communication. I see no difference in the way gay men treat me. Some still want to fuck me. Women are now much more open. Sometimes, particularly among younger women in the service industry, there's a great deal of "ma'am-ing", which feels forced and performatively woke. Maybe they're afraid that I'm going to explode in a fit of rage if they don't gender me correctly. Older people give me the stink-eye. I'm threatened with violence maybe once every two weeks, always in broad daylight. I feel safer at night, surprisingly, because no one can get a clear view of my face. Usually, someone will come and restrain my would-be assailant -- which is fortunate because if someone were to attack me, I would have no choice but to roll over and let them wail on me. I have had to fire off some warning shots from a stun device a few times.

I first started feeling dysphoric when I hit puberty, maybe around 12 or so, although I have memories when I was much younger of seeing gender-bending folks in public -- I didn't have the understanding to parse whether these people were drag artists or crossdressers or just dumb college kids having fun -- and thinking that that was incredibly cool. It took me until college to realize that, yes, I was likely trans. A big stumbling block was a preconceived notion of what a trans woman "should" look like, and this idea that dysphoria meant I should be desperate enough to do something like cut off my penis with a steak knife. As my therapist recently pointed out, 9th grade cis boys do not regularly crossdress at school, nor do they research trans surgeries in their spare time, particularly in 1999. My introduction to trans people was also when I was 12, through the Internet -- back when no one older than say 35 knew what was on it. I identified very strongly to the "weird" ones -- Reverend Chris Korda, Genesis P-Orridge, Amanda Lepore. There's nothing inherently "female" about founding a suicide cult, or replacing all of your teeth with gold casts, so I just assumed I was a weirdo. Most of my friends will tell you that I am, independent of my transness.
  #11  
Old 01-19-2019, 04:37 AM
Ronald Raygun Ronald Raygun is offline
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Any kids? How are you accepted at work?
No kids. Psychiatric problems run in my family, and on balance I think life is pretty shitty. I don't think it's moral for me to bring another life into the world. We can always adopt.

I'm currently unemployed.
  #12  
Old 01-19-2019, 04:43 AM
Ronald Raygun Ronald Raygun is offline
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Originally Posted by purplehorseshoe View Post
I'm curious how - or if? - the estrogen therapy has affected you mentally. I read an essay years ago by a woman who had to take testosterone (not for gender dysmorphia issues - it was temporary IIRC) and the changes she described in her mental state were fascinating. Not radical Jekyll-and-Hyde but subtle stuff that really did align with some of the most common gender-based differences we all observe.

... dang, now I wish I could find that essay again.

Anyway, thank you for starting this & for sharing with us.
My hormone regimen differs from the standard WPATH recommendations. I'm not on any sort of anti-androgen. Instead, I'm on *massive* doses of injectable estradiol, which is enough to completely nuke my testosterone. My estrogen levels are much higher than those of a typical cis woman, though.

I was never able to cry before starting E. On E, I involuntarily cry to very stupid things, like top-40s radio. It is embarrassing. I recently started taking Effexor, which eliminated my ability to cry again, so it was a good 9 months. My sex drive is completely gone. Thinking of sex makes me physically ill, in the same way that being offered a slice of cheesecake when you've already eaten too much will make you sick. No thank you. Aside from those effects, not much has changed, to be honest. If I'm late for a shot, I start getting crabby and lethargic.
  #13  
Old 01-19-2019, 04:53 AM
Ronald Raygun Ronald Raygun is offline
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Are you still able to get erections and ejaculate?
If you want to maintain your erections, you have to masturbate regularly. That doesn't sound like a problem for you dudes, but on E, your sex drive vanishes, and masturbation seems like a terrible chore. If you don't masturbate, your penis atrophies. Most dudes have enough spontaneous erections where this isn't an issue. If I were to get an erection now, since I rarely have them, it would be incredibly painful. I do not ejaculate when I orgasm. I fire blanks.

A lot of trans women that I follow on Twitter seem to be fucking *all the time*. I don't understand why or how. One of them who is a sex worker posted a video of her injecting TriMix into the base of her penis, and that cleared up a lot for me. For being stereotyped as some sort of sexual deviant, I find my lack of libido to be pointedly absurd.
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Old 01-19-2019, 04:57 AM
Ronald Raygun Ronald Raygun is offline
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Do you identify as a straight woman, lesbian, bisexual or...?

Any plans to change your username?

And thank you for the thread, I'm looking forward to reading more.
I've always identified as bisexual. If "pansexual" were in common use when I was younger, I'd probably identify as that. I first had sex with a man at 14, and with a woman also at 14. Most of my relationships with men have been out of the public eye, although my bisexuality was always an open secret. I once asked my wife, "Why does everyone assume I'm bi? I don't explicitly tell people that I am. Do I give off queer vibes?" and her response was, "Oh, it was probably all those guys you fucked."

I don't know how to change my username. I recall having two accounts is against the SDMB rules, so I guess I'm stuck.
  #15  
Old 01-19-2019, 04:58 AM
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Thanks for starting this thread. I'm a parent of a transgender child: well she's now officially an adult, I suppose.

I have no specific questions, but am interested in following this conversation.
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Old 01-19-2019, 05:19 AM
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I've always identified as bisexual. If "pansexual" were in common use when I was younger, I'd probably identify as that. I first had sex with a man at 14, and with a woman also at 14. Most of my relationships with men have been out of the public eye, although my bisexuality was always an open secret. I once asked my wife, "Why does everyone assume I'm bi? I don't explicitly tell people that I am. Do I give off queer vibes?" and her response was, "Oh, it was probably all those guys you fucked."

I don't know how to change my username. I recall having two accounts is against the SDMB rules, so I guess I'm stuck.
As I recall, PM TubaDiva and ask her.
Rhonda Raygun? Ronnie? The Magnificent Gerbil? The last just to be silly...
  #17  
Old 01-19-2019, 05:41 AM
Ronald Raygun Ronald Raygun is offline
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Are you considering surgery soon?
I'll get an orchiectomy as soon as I'm able. I've never felt any genital dysphoria, and so have no intention to get a vaginoplasty.

I'm getting three facial surgeries over the next two years. Usually, facial feminization is a one-and-done procedure, but I sat down with my surgeon, and he just stared at my cephalograms for a good minute before exclaiming, "Well you're an interesting case." I currently wear braces in preparation for surgery #1, which will involve a modified Le Fort 1 osteotomy, where they split my upper jaw into three pieces and reposition them. I'll also get my jawline tapered and a mandibular setback. Surgery #2 will be primarily a browbone reduction. Surgery #3 will be a nose job and a tracheal shave.

I don't need a breast augmentation. I think it's sorta fun to see what I grow on my own. I wasn't expecting anything at my age, and my low expectations were very much exceeded.
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Old 01-19-2019, 05:43 AM
Ronald Raygun Ronald Raygun is offline
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As I recall, PM TubaDiva and ask her.
Rhonda Raygun? Ronnie? The Magnificent Gerbil? The last just to be silly...
I honestly don't care. You're all a bunch of strangers on the Internet.
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Old 01-19-2019, 06:14 AM
Ronald Raygun Ronald Raygun is offline
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I've always identified as bisexual. If "pansexual" were in common use when I was younger, I'd probably identify as that. I first had sex with a man at 14, and with a woman also at 14. Most of my relationships with men have been out of the public eye, although my bisexuality was always an open secret. I once asked my wife, "Why does everyone assume I'm bi? I don't explicitly tell people that I am. Do I give off queer vibes?" and her response was, "Oh, it was probably all those guys you fucked."

I don't know how to change my username. I recall having two accounts is against the SDMB rules, so I guess I'm stuck.
I'm going to update this, because you asked how I "identify". When I came out, a number of people excitedly told me, "So you're a lesbian now!", and my response has always been, "I guess...?" I didn't grow up particularly attuned to lesbian culture. I snuck into gay bars when I was young, I slept with gay men, and I got called a f*ggot growing up. When my wife mentions the lesbian literature she read growing up, I am very clueless. So, definitionally, I suppose our relationship is a lesbian relationship. I don't think of it in those terms though. I will say that, after eleven years of being in a "straight" relationship, we're both happy to be visibly among our people again. Bi erasure sucks.

I can only speak for myself, but I don't think I have a gender identity. I don't even like talking in terms of sexual or gender identities. The "is-ness" of it seems too private, in a Wittgensteinian beetle-in-a-box sort of way. I rarely mention this, because these views run counter to typical trans thought, and they're very similar to arguments used to deny trans people their genders. I much prefer to think in terms of actions and desires. I sleep with these sorts of people. I find that person attractive. This part of my body distresses me, and I would like to alter it in this way. I wish to be treated socially in this manner. I suspect that in ten years, I'll be seen as a relic, in the same way as when I talk to people who transitioned in the 90s and I hear the stuff that comes out of their mouths. Wow!

Despite my philosophical heterodoxy, when people tell me they "identify" as X, I make the mental adjustments to see them as they wish to be seen. We all want to be taken seriously as who we say we are, and we're just making the best out of the hands we've been dealt.
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Old 01-19-2019, 06:25 AM
Ronald Raygun Ronald Raygun is offline
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And lord knows there are going to be some really dumb and inappropriate, some on purpose, questions.
I have a reputation for being very dumb and inappropriate. That's OK.
  #21  
Old 01-19-2019, 06:50 AM
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Mean Mr. Mustard Mean Mr. Mustard is offline
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...I'm threatened with violence maybe once every two weeks, always in broad daylight...
This is what most jumped out at me. Can you elaborate a bit? Total strangers regularly make it their mission to threaten you?

It's not that I don't believe you, not at all. I am just astonished and saddened that this happens so regularly.


mmm
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Old 01-19-2019, 07:20 AM
Royal Nonesutch Royal Nonesutch is offline
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That doesn't sound like a problem for you dudes, but on E, your sex drive vanishes, and masturbation seems like a terrible chore...
"Timmy, have you masturbated yet today?"

"Aww, Mom, can't I just clean up my room, mow the lawn and then take out the garbage instead?"
  #23  
Old 01-19-2019, 10:21 AM
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Looked at your picture, and I think you are pretty. Really basic, dumb question. Does trans woman mean transitioned to female/woman?

Last edited by peedin; 01-19-2019 at 10:21 AM.
  #24  
Old 01-19-2019, 04:29 PM
Ronald Raygun Ronald Raygun is offline
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This is what most jumped out at me. Can you elaborate a bit? Total strangers regularly make it their mission to threaten you?

It's not that I don't believe you, not at all. I am just astonished and saddened that this happens so regularly.


mmm
Recently, I was walking down the street, and up ahead were a group of homeless people drinking on the sidewalk and taking up quite a bit of space. One of them was like, "Whoa whoa, make some room. There's a lady coming through." and they stepped out of the way. I replied "Thank you", and my voice was the giveaway.

"What the fuck? That's a man? Hey, are you some kind of f*ggot?"

He started advancing on me and his friends had to hold him back. I usually make the assumption that I don't pass, particularly in this case. Two of the guys there I walk by regularly, and I'd given money to them periodically both pre- and post-transition, so I'm "known". Most of the terrifying encounters I get involve me being read as female and being ogled, and then suddenly being read as male. That frame-shift offends people *a lot*. I rarely have problems (aside from some muttered comments, which are frequent) if I simply don't pass from the get-go.
  #25  
Old 01-19-2019, 04:54 PM
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And lord knows there are going to be some really dumb and inappropriate, some on purpose, questions.
I hate this mentality. This ia fucking "Ask the..." thread on a subject that many people still have difficulty fully understanding. Comments such as yours only serve to keep that lack of understanding to persist.

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Originally Posted by Ronald Raygun View Post
My hormone regimen differs from the standard WPATH recommendations. I'm not on any sort of anti-androgen. Instead, I'm on *massive* doses of injectable estradiol, which is enough to completely nuke my testosterone. My estrogen levels are much higher than those of a typical cis woman, though.

I was never able to cry before starting E. On E, I involuntarily cry to very stupid things, like top-40s radio. It is embarrassing. I recently started taking Effexor, which eliminated my ability to cry again, so it was a good 9 months. My sex drive is completely gone. Thinking of sex makes me physically ill, in the same way that being offered a slice of cheesecake when you've already eaten too much will make you sick. No thank you. Aside from those effects, not much has changed, to be honest. If I'm late for a shot, I start getting crabby and lethargic.
This is interesting to me. Why is your hormone therapy such a departure from the "mainstream"? And are there downsides/health concerns to having massively above-normal E levels, especially with negligible/no T? My conventional understanding has been that everyone needs both hormones, just in different ratios. Men still need estrogen, just in very small amounts (low to no E will kill erections just as little to no T). Conversely, women need testosterone, just in very small amounts (sex drive being one aspect).

Last edited by Ambivalid; 01-19-2019 at 04:55 PM.
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Old 01-19-2019, 05:00 PM
Ronald Raygun Ronald Raygun is offline
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Looked at your picture, and I think you are pretty. Really basic, dumb question. Does trans woman mean transitioned to female/woman?
I am wearing drag-queen levels of makeup in that picture. That was like a two-hour job. Of course I'm going to look pretty. I also curate my photos.

Yes, that's what "trans woman" means, although I would clarify that it doesn't imply anything about transition. I thought of myself as a closeted trans woman for a very long period of my life. Because I was first exposed to this in the late 90s online, and then subsequently messed around in the scene in the mid 2000s, I'm more comfortable using "MTF" (which was more common then) or "Tgirl" for myself. Both of these can be considered offensive depending on who you're speaking with. "MTF" implies that I used to be male and am now female, and emphasizes the transition rather than the gender. Many trans women would claim that they've always had a female gender identity, and so the term "MTF" is inaccurate. "Tgirl" I associate with club lingo, and many trans people don't have any association with that world. If I heard "Tgirl" from a random cis-hetero person on the street, I would assume that they were a chaser.
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Old 01-19-2019, 05:36 PM
Ronald Raygun Ronald Raygun is offline
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This is interesting to me. Why is your hormone therapy such a departure from the "mainstream"? And are there downsides/health concerns to having massively above-normal E levels, especially with negligible/no T? My conventional understanding has been that everyone needs both hormones, just in different ratios. Men still need estrogen, just in very small amounts (low to no E will kill erections just as little to no T). Conversely, women need testosterone, just in very small amounts (sex drive being one aspect).
The typical regimen is to prescribe two medications, estradiol to directly raise E levels, and an anti-androgen to lower T. In the US, the anti-androgen of choice is spironolactone. My endocrinologist personally feels that the side effects of spiro are not worth it. It's a diuretic. Trans people spend so much time dealing with public restroom shit, and the last thing they need is a medication that makes them need to pee every few hours. Spiro can also cause electrolyte imbalances; I would have to avoid high potassium foods. There's also some literature claiming that spiro raises cortisol levels. I have moderate anxiety problems, and don't need additional stress hormone. If you hear trans women joke about salt cravings, it's from taking spiro.

Many trans women take oral estrogen pills. I don't think I could safely raise my E to their current levels orally. There would be risks of liver damage and deep vein thrombosis. Those risks are greatly diminished with injectable estradiol (as well as with transdermal patches or implantable pellets). There's also a risk of estrogen dominance, where you have too much estrogen relative to progesterone. I take oral progesterone to combat this.

Low T primarily results in me being lethargic and experiencing a sort of brain fog. My endo has recommended pregnenolone, which is a precursor to testosterone, but only in the pathway used by the adrenal glands. I haven't felt the need to do this.

For reference, typical female estradiol levels are around 200 pg/mL to 300 pg/mL. Mine will fluctuate between 500 pg/mL and 1200 pg/mL. Female testosterone levels are around 10 ng/dL to 30 ng/dL. Mine is either undetectable or in the single digits. (Before hormone therapy, mine was 800 ng/dL.)
  #28  
Old 01-19-2019, 08:54 PM
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Nm, already answered.

Last edited by Beckdawrek; 01-19-2019 at 08:56 PM.
  #29  
Old 01-19-2019, 10:06 PM
Ronald Raygun Ronald Raygun is offline
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how have other relatives, friends, coworkers, employers prospective or actual, reacted?
With regard to how my friends have responded, like right when I told them, the responses really depend on if they're LGBTQ or not. Straight folk:

"Oh... OK. What pronouns do you use?"
"Wow, you're so brave."
"Wait, so you were born a woman, and you became a man?" (this is the best response I get from straight folk)
"Congratulations!"
"Oh, I had no idea!"

LGBTQ folk:

"YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY"
"Yeah, I always figured."
"You're one of us! If you need anything at all, let me know! *trans stuff trans stuff trans stuff*"
"Oh, excellent... wait... um... you didn't know I'm trans, too? " (this is the best response)
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Old 01-20-2019, 09:08 AM
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This thread is fascinating and you present what seems to me a very factual an apolitical point of view.

A couple questions

With no/very little sex drive will you be able to enjoy sex if you chose to engage in it?

Are you offended if someone refers to you by masculine pronouns? What about after all your surgeries when you would presumably be passable (this assumes the person speaking to you only knows you are trans through hearsay and is making a point by using male pronouns)?

You mentioned a history of mental health issues. Would you comment on your experience in the trans community and the prevalence of similar issues with others.

Thank you.
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Old 01-20-2019, 09:40 AM
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If you had to pick one, what's the one thing you wish everyone knew about trans people?
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Old 01-20-2019, 04:02 PM
Ronald Raygun Ronald Raygun is offline
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Originally Posted by Baka View Post
This thread is fascinating and you present what seems to me a very factual an apolitical point of view.

A couple questions

With no/very little sex drive will you be able to enjoy sex if you chose to engage in it?
I don't know. The rare occasions where I've experienced a frisson of sexual arousal have been the result of long periods of flirtatious conversation. (I believe you call this "foreplay".) I can easily be brought back to a baseline state of blah, at which point we'd need to start all over. I've had one or two orgasms in the last six months. They feel like unsatisfying and interrupted penis orgasms. I see some trans women online talk about full-body estrogen-fueled orgasms. I haven't seen any personal evidence of this, although I'm willing to believe that I need to relearn a lot of things about my body.

Quote:
Are you offended if someone refers to you by masculine pronouns? What about after all your surgeries when you would presumably be passable (this assumes the person speaking to you only knows you are trans through hearsay and is making a point by using male pronouns)?
I'm mildly annoyed when people refer to me with "he/him". I don't correct people. I've had people use "she" followed by a huge eyeroll. That's obviously not any better. I mean, I understand that my physical appearance is what it is, and having ones brain override its perception of my patchy beard shadow or my browbone can be difficult for some. I deal with this every day when I look in the mirror. To be honest, I dislike confrontation, and I'm trying to cope (in therapy) with a deep-seated belief that my transness is a huge societal burden that I impose on others.

I don't know how I'll feel in the future. I'm told I'll get more fed up with this as time goes on.

Quote:
You mentioned a history of mental health issues. Would you comment on your experience in the trans community and the prevalence of similar issues with others.

Thank you.
Well, I'm personally not close to many trans people, at least to the point where any but a few would divulge mental health issues to me. I do attend a group therapy session, but that's a self-selected pool of trans people. The trans people I know outside of therapy, well, I don't assume people's inner mental state on the basis of their outward appearances, for obvious reasons . Personally, I've suffered from eating disorders in middle school and high school, and have always been depressive. I currently take Effexor to cope with PTSD resulting from sexual assault in my early 20s. I know several other trans women in a similar situation. A few of my trans friends (men and women) are openly suicidal. I try my best to help them.
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Old 01-20-2019, 08:29 PM
Ronald Raygun Ronald Raygun is offline
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If you had to pick one, what's the one thing you wish everyone knew about trans people?
I had to think about this for a while for two reasons. The first is that I've been adjacent to trans spaces for almost half of my life, and I've been considering transition for such a long time, so I have no idea what y'all outsiders know and don't know about trans folk. The second is that I'm always hesitant to ascribe characteristics to trans people as a whole. If you talk to a good number of us, you'll realize that we're all very different. There's a pretty consistent narrative in the media about what it means to be trans, and how to interact with trans people respectfully. It's a good default if you're talking to a complete stranger, but there are some pretty deep fissures within the trans community. I have two anecdotes:

My mother-in-law was talking to my sister-in-law about something I had done pre-transition, and she used my deadname (that would be my male name), because it had happened before I was out. My SIL responded with something like, "Don't call her that! She'll be offended!" In general, yeah, you wouldn't do that, but I personally am much more comfortable using he/him for my pre-transition self. Then again, I made the decision to transition very obviously and openly. (I would not have dared ten years ago.) A lot of trans people don't have that luxury. My electrologist, who transitioned in the late '80s, thinks I am absolutely bonkers. I don't have any intention of starting my life over, and I have papers published under my deadname. If people want to know it, I'll tell them. It'll save them a Google search.

Shortly after I came out, I was walking home from a bar, being escorted by one of my friends. He's cis and gay, and he very sheepishly asked, "So... um... can we... interact... before the changes set in?" (I was a strikingly attractive dude.) And I had to be like, "Look, I'm flattered, but I'm in a committed relationship, so of course the answer is no." I was recounting this to a co-worker over lunch as a funny aside, and her response caught me by surprise: "Oh my God! Are you OK? He said that to you and he knew you were a woman? That is so disrespectful!"

People seem very eager to be offended on my behalf on the basis of what I'm assumed to believe as a trans woman, and it makes me extremely uncomfortable. Trans folk are not a monolithic bloc. We have different beliefs, and our dysphoria (if we even have it) manifests in different ways. Even our relationship to gender varies. Get to know us as individuals. I'm always surprised to learn that I'm the only trans person that people know. I usually see two or three on any given day I leave the apartment.
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Old 01-21-2019, 08:08 PM
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In this thread I opened
https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb...ghlight=tannen
I linked to the work of Linguistics Professor Deborah Tannen: specifically, how the difference between boy talk and girl talk is how boys essentially try to out-do each other, whereas girls try to prove they AREN'T better or different, but are THE SAME.

Which way were you like?
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Old 01-21-2019, 09:36 PM
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You may want to specify which age you're talking about, Enola Gay: preschoolers. By the time they start using decent grammar, girls are perfectly fine with escalating talk so long as it's socially acceptable and boys are doing sameness bonding talk like nobody's business. And the escalating talk that's typical of boys is "my dad will beat up your dad"; other kinds such as "I will beat you up" are found in all little kids.
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Last edited by Nava; 01-21-2019 at 09:38 PM.
  #36  
Old 01-21-2019, 10:23 PM
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I hate this mentality. This ia fucking "Ask the..." thread on a subject that many people still have difficulty fully understanding. Comments such as yours only serve to keep that lack of understanding to persist.
I hate that you misunderstood my comment. I was talking our trolls that are going to troll.
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Old 01-21-2019, 10:57 PM
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Thanks for sharing RR. I have an old friend who just a couple of years ago transitioned publicly. I had no idea he was always holding something in. Now she's doing fine, I hope. I will reach out to her again.
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Old 01-21-2019, 10:57 PM
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My biggest question is how the hell can you afford all these multiple surgeries, hormones, electrolysis if you are unemployed? Are you independently wealthy or does your spouse pay for it all? I've had orthognathic surgery to correct a malocclusion of my teeth, man that shit was not too much fun.

We all have moments of self-doubt, existential dread, whatever you want to call it. When you've had moments like these did you ever feel that you made a huge mistake going through with all this, or once you made the initial steps was all the doubt gone?
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  #39  
Old 01-21-2019, 11:21 PM
Ronald Raygun Ronald Raygun is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Enola Straight View Post
In this thread I opened
https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb...ghlight=tannen
I linked to the work of Linguistics Professor Deborah Tannen: specifically, how the difference between boy talk and girl talk is how boys essentially try to out-do each other, whereas girls try to prove they AREN'T better or different, but are THE SAME.

Which way were you like?
I don't know. I have very few memories from that age. I also don't think I'm a reliable narrator when it comes to just how feminine or masculine I was or am. I don't believe I was particularly gender-nonconforming as a child, certainly not enough for my parents to say anything.
  #40  
Old 01-21-2019, 11:27 PM
Ronald Raygun Ronald Raygun is offline
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Originally Posted by pool View Post
My biggest question is how the hell can you afford all these multiple surgeries, hormones, electrolysis if you are unemployed? Are you independently wealthy or does your spouse pay for it all? I've had orthognathic surgery to correct a malocclusion of my teeth, man that shit was not too much fun.

We all have moments of self-doubt, existential dread, whatever you want to call it. When you've had moments like these did you ever feel that you made a huge mistake going through with all this, or once you made the initial steps was all the doubt gone?
Neither my wife nor I graduated with any college debt. We also don't have kids. That helps a lot. Losing my job was a huge blow; my finances had worked out to just covering everything with the assumption of steady employment. The latter surgeries may have to wait. Not wanting a vaginoplasty helps. Orchiectomies are cheap, and are an out-patient procedure.

We are not independently wealthy. This will wipe out my savings. Insurance will cover part of my jaw surgery, as it's also correcting a bite problem.

As far as regrets or existential dread, regarding the actual act of transition, no. My only regret is choosing my initial electrologist, who left me with significant facial scarring.

Last edited by Ronald Raygun; 01-21-2019 at 11:30 PM.
  #41  
Old 01-22-2019, 12:28 AM
Ronald Raygun Ronald Raygun is offline
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I'm reading the rest of that thread you linked to, Enola Straight. There was an article a while ago about some fMRI research that could possibly aid in diagnosing "transgenderism". Some of my friends were offended, as though it would be used to separate us into two groups: those who were "truly" trans and worthy of care, and those who were mistaken. What if I'm dealing with crippling dysphoria, but my brain isn't sufficiently "feminized" or whatever? This reminds a lot of us of gatekeeping in the medical practice, where we either had to perform our genders convincingly enough for care, or granted (denied) care based on how well we would blend (not blend) into cis-hetero society.

Gender dysphoria is such a weird and unique sensation that I don't really think it needs external confirmation. I used to read case studies when I was younger, and every other one would have me muttering to myself, "Ugh... god damn it. I really have to deal with this?". Similarly, when I would talk to other trans people, they would just know things about me which felt impossibly intrusive. Given the increased visibility over the past decade, trans people will figure it out sooner rather than later.

Regarding trans people who experience no dysphoria, I can't say I understand what that's like. I think there's a minority of dysphoric trans people who believe that their own suffering is somehow delegitimized by the non-dysphorics' existence. I personally can't bring myself to care.
  #42  
Old 01-22-2019, 03:38 AM
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Would "trans with no dysphoria" mean "oh, I'm actually [gender] but I'm fine with my body" or would it mean "I chose to become a [gender]"? I've heard both, with very different accompanying behaviors and expectations.
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Last edited by Nava; 01-22-2019 at 03:40 AM.
  #43  
Old 01-22-2019, 06:32 AM
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Out-of-left-field question: how do you put heavy makeup over beard shadow without having your face break out massively? It's all I can do to manage ingrowns from regular shaving.
  #44  
Old 01-22-2019, 09:15 AM
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What's your take on truscum folk?

• Do you think they have a point about the dilution of what "transgender" (or even "transsexual") used to mean, and that expanding it to cover all kinds of gender-identity variations is going to detract from the understanding and recognition afforded to original-model transgender (now referred to as "binary transgender") people?

• And what about those other types of gender-variant people and the truscum folks' attitudes towards them? Do you agree that "either you're trans, in which case you seek to transition or you've done so, or else you're cis, there's nothing else"?

• Do you think that people who consider themselves gender-variant but aren't transitioners have political-social issues that are worth people paying attention to, or are they just transtrenders trying to be edgy and socially relevant?

• If you do think they have relevant social-political issues, do you think they should pursue them from within the transgender "big tent" or should they go form their own groups or movements since their concerns are different?

Last edited by AHunter3; 01-22-2019 at 09:16 AM.
  #45  
Old 01-22-2019, 09:48 AM
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RR, thanks for being so open. I've learned so much this morning!

I'd like to hear your take on this, if you think it's relevant: A couple I know has a child born with male characteristics who is far more comfortable identifying as female. This child is only 9, but the parents are considering hormone therapy now to prevent the child from developing male sexual characteristics at puberty.

At first I thought this was nuts. We learn so much about ourselves during puberty. How can anyone truly know who they are and how they identify without letting those changes kick in? What if these early hormone treatments only serve to make a confusing time even more confusing?

On the other hand ... if the child somehow absolutely knows she needs to be female, why let her develop male sexual characteristics that run counter to that identity?

I'm a straight cis guy (if you hadn't guessed), open to everyone but still learning. Thanks again for your insight!
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Old 01-22-2019, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Akaj View Post
A couple I know has a child born with male characteristics who is far more comfortable identifying as female. This child is only 9, but the parents are considering hormone therapy now to prevent the child from developing male sexual characteristics at puberty.

At first I thought this was nuts. We learn so much about ourselves during puberty. How can anyone truly know who they are and how they identify without letting those changes kick in? What if these early hormone treatments only serve to make a confusing time even more confusing?

On the other hand ... if the child somehow absolutely knows she needs to be female, why let her develop male sexual characteristics that run counter to that identity?
Most of the time, the child doesn't absolutely know that.
Quote:
There are 12 such studies in all, and they all came to the very same conclusion: The majority of kids cease to feel transgender when they get older.
Cite. And puberty blockers are not necessarily innocuous. Nor are the long-term effects of administering such drugs known, especially on those who later decide they are no longer transgender.

Maybe your friend's child is going to stick with the female identification for life, but the likelihood is pretty far from absolute. And there are potential risks no matter how the parents proceed.

Regards,
Shodan
  #47  
Old 01-22-2019, 12:22 PM
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Most of the time, the child doesn't absolutely know that.

Cite. And puberty blockers are not necessarily innocuous. Nor are the long-term effects of administering such drugs known, especially on those who later decide they are no longer transgender.

Maybe your friend's child is going to stick with the female identification for life, but the likelihood is pretty far from absolute. And there are potential risks no matter how the parents proceed.

Regards,
Shodan
Cantor is hardly an unbiased source, and there's a messy but effective response to your cite here: https://medium.com/@notCursedE/do-tr...ns-ca65647e5d1
So is Cantor’s conclusion fair? Is it really true that most with dysphoria will desist and become gay or lesbian? Well… no. The actual conclusion we can draw from looking at this and other studies relating to this area of study is that this area of study is an absolute mess.
But I don't really want to get into a debate -- I want to hear what RR thinks.
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  #48  
Old 01-22-2019, 01:00 PM
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Cantor is hardly an unbiased source, and there's a messy but effective response to your cite here: https://medium.com/@notCursedE/do-tr...ns-ca65647e5d1
Messy, yes. I am not so sure about the other part, especially since the author mentions not actually having read the studies in question, pleading poverty. Nor is the author an unbiased source, if it comes to that.
Quote:
So is Cantor’s conclusion fair? Is it really true that most with dysphoria will desist and become gay or lesbian?
Being gay or lesbian is not the same thing as being transgender, as I assume you will agree. So that is not quite the question being discussed.
Quote:
Well… no. The actual conclusion we can draw from looking at this and other studies relating to this area of study is that this area of study is an absolute mess.
A conclusion we can't draw is that children are "absolutely" sure of their gender identity, and that puberty blockers should be the treatment of choice.

Regards,
Shodan
  #49  
Old 01-22-2019, 01:04 PM
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Has your physical strength changed? If so, how do you feel about it?
  #50  
Old 01-22-2019, 01:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shodan View Post
Messy, yes. I am not so sure about the other part, especially since the author mentions not actually having read the studies in question, pleading poverty. Nor is the author an unbiased source, if it comes to that.
Being gay or lesbian is not the same thing as being transgender, as I assume you will agree. So that is not quite the question being discussed.
A conclusion we can't draw is that children are "absolutely" sure of their gender identity, and that puberty blockers should be the treatment of choice.

Regards,
Shodan
This is not an “Ask Shodan” thread. If you want to ask the OP questions go ahead. If you want to give your opinions or debate the issue do it in another thread. Do not hijack this one.
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