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Trans stories

a trans woman

Real-life experiences told by trans women in their own words.

  1. Jo
  2. Rebecca
  3. Sally
  4. Zoe

Jo

'I first transitioned in 1969. I never knew about hormone level tests, no-one I knew talked about it then and later I didn't have much to do with the trans community. Eventually, when I had lower surgery, I greatly reduced my oestrogen intake over the years. I thought that was the best thing to do.

'It was not until many years later, when I had a few health issues, that I was diagnosed with the beginnings of osteoporosis in my spine. I am now on a very high dose of oestrogen patches to get my levels up, and I have my hormone levels checked with my Endo every few months. I am glad that trans people today are much more aware of having hormone levels monitored - it really is so important.

'When I had lower surgery it didn't change who I am, I have always been me! Sure, I have grown and developed, just as many people do as they grow older. What did change was that I had a sense of relief. It is difficult to explain in some ways, other than “it just felt right” immediately. It was not a sense of “completion”, as I felt complete before lower surgery. But as I say, it just felt right and I also had a sense of calmness, in a way that I hadn't felt before.’

Rebecca

‘I believe in trans people. I believe in us because we have been honest in a way few people on earth have been asked to be. I believe that is what makes us so frightening. That integrity is written all over us. You can see it in the dark. There is no avoiding seeing in us that choice to hold onto the truth, even if no-one else would stand with us and do the same. That is enormously threatening. It is no wonder that so many people and communities claim that admitting us among their number might destroy the foundations of everything they know.

‘Integrity is contagious, see. It is hard to look at the way we know the truth and not be tempted to look at your own truth, and that truth’s consequences. It is hard to pretend, with us in the room. It is hard to make excuses for your own lies and compromises and little self-betrayals. So people try very hard to make us the liars. To make us the fakes. To push us out of the room so we don’t hold mirrors up.

‘It’s not that we’re special. It’s just that, every one of us, whatever we did before or since, we made a choice. We believed. We committed. We moved. With everything mobilised to erase us and keep us from truth-telling, we had the strength of spirit to choose truth anyway.

‘I believe in trans people. I will believe in trans people until there is no more believing to do.’

Sally

‘For me, the best thing about being trans has always been that we have the capacity to experience gender as an adventure of our own making, with the help of our friends and lovers.

‘The conventional stereotyped (and socially constructed) conservative concepts of binary gender – men stand this side, women the other, boys in blue, girls in pink - and the permitted, strictly curtailed scripts and roles (emotional, sexual, psychological) attached to them, so rigidly and unimaginatively enforced, always felt (and still feel to me) like prisons. They attempt to discipline and reduce who human beings can be, and limit how we can love, how we can feel and how we can express that. As a trans woman, having broken out of Pentonville, I have no wish to break into Holloway. I prefer gender freedom.

‘Personally I don’t want our extraordinarily rich and complex gendered trans culture to be predominantly defined by heteronormative medicine and its prescribed “correcting” and “normalising” interventions. After all, medicine only relatively recently, and under sustained pressure, stopped defining homosexuality as a psychological disorder; and, in the 21st Century, it still defines our very nature as transgender as being disordered.

‘I know that my femininity is in my very essence as a person and that it is no more or less because of what genitalia I have. My natural hormone system regulates my body and energy well and gives me a strong and healthy sex drive. This allows me - through connecting with others attracted to this kind of femininity - to experience a deeply felt, conscious and unconscious, emotional, psychological and sensual affirmation as the feminine person I am.

‘Being trans has never been an easy or straightforward experience - there is too much prejudice and too little understanding as yet in wider society; but it’s a wonderfully rich one, allowing a perspective full of insight across gender.

‘All you have to do is accept and embrace it, emotionally and psychologically. After doing that, the choice of props, costumes and supports as to how, where and when to express and enjoy it is up to you.’

Zoe

`I hadn't known since I was 5, I wasn't a classic high femme and I wasn't in a sensational film - Not fitting any of the standard trans stories, no wonder it took me so long to realise that I was trans. When I read other people's experiences, I recognised so much of my own experiences and feelings, and realised that 'trans' described me quite well.

`Even so, gender should be descriptive, not prescriptive and I didn't want to instantly commit to a path. After realising, I tried different things - being treated as female by one friend helped me realise I wanted that from everyone, dressing in the clothes I wanted helped me decide that I wanted to try hormones to move me closer to the body I felt I should have. Trialling hormones helped me decide that I wanted to stay with them - it's been a process of discovery and I've been incredibly privileged to have the options I have.

`The support of friends and family has been really crucial and made my transition much easier, and I was able to get extra support and information from LGBT organisations. Even though coming out was scary, it was worth it and improved all my relationships. Transitioning definitely had difficulties, from waiting for treatment to street harassment, but it was all a lot easier with support. It also helped that a lot of the difficulties faded and everything became easier with time.'

Do you have an experience you'd like to share?

Email us here: info@tht.org.uk - all experiences shared anonymously.

 

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1 comments

  • Thank you for sharing your story Zoe! You are an inspiration to me!

    So awesome! I am so happy I found this site! I am an American trans woman, so new to being open and honest about who I am, recently out and living daily as my gender identity for a year now. What a journey. I have experienced a full spectrum of acceptance, from total active discrimination to total support and love from friends and family. I search news everyday relating to transgender topics and issues and I am simply ecstatic to have discovered this site. I will describe your website section for transgender individuals from a trans woman's perspective: Professional, Informative, and Affirming. Thank you from the bottom of my heart Terrance Higgins Trust, for having the courage to create this amazing section on your website. It is a model for those who follow your outstanding example.

    Posted 15:50 Wed 13 Feb 2013
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