Stages of Transitioning | Transgender / Transsexual

Many steps are required to transition as your birth sex to the sex you feel you should be, male to female, or female to male. But, with dedication and patience, you can succeed and finally live the life you were always meant to have.

—CHAPTERS—
1:23 – Discovery & Research
3:58 – Therapy & Coming Out
5:37 – Hormones
8:57 – Living Full-Time & Passing
12:42 – Name Change
15:22 – Surgery
17:36 – Living Your Life

—LINKS—
Trans Support Groups – http://www.lauras-playground.com/support-groups
Finding a Therapist – http://www.lauras-playground.com/gender-therapists

—RELATED VIDEOS—
► My Transition Story – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHsK_K-IZQI
► Coming Out Trans – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmQhnsb7Kig
► Hormones – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fbvP4Tea_jA
► Passing as Female – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLTcwqfDKXE
► SRS – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVzwI7b0nNY

Table of Contents

    Introduction

    Hi everyone! This video is going to be about the stages of transitioning as transgender / transsexual. Such as when you first begin starting out, to your desired end result. There are a lot of steps that will need to be taken in order for you to successfully transition. As well as a lot of money, time and dedication that will be needed in order for you to be able to get to where you want.

    So, some of these steps are:

    • Discovery & Research
    • Therapy
    • Coming Out
    • Hormones
    • Living Full-Time & Passing
    • Name Change
    • Surgery
    • Living Your Life

    Now please note that not all trans person will take all these steps, and definitely not in this order. These were close to my personal steps I followed and your experience could be completely different. If you are interested in my transition story, be sure to check out my video on it. [My Transition Story]

    It took me about two and a half years from step one to post-surgery. And, only a year and a half from hormones to surgery, and most of that was being on the waiting list for the surgery. I’ll have links to most of these and my transition, surgery and other things in the description so be sure to check that out including other additional resources.


    Discovery & Research

    So the first stage is discovery and research. Perhaps you are considering the possibility that you may be trans. You may want to transition, thinking about how you want to be after you transition. This is the phase that depression can really get to you. You look at yourself and don’t see how it would be possible to transition and be who you really want to be in your mind. But, it’s not impossible.

    It’s also very common during this stage to feel jealousy, envy, of the sex you want to be. For instance, if you are a male to female, seeing other females may make you jealous because you want to be them and have the body they do. This is not abnormal by any means and is something I experienced.

    But, you need to learn to love and accept yourself. By trying to be someone else, dissociating from who you really are, perhaps even being in denial about being trans, you are going to run into problems and have an even more difficult time.

    This is why I recommend doing tons of research. Perhaps reading books, articles, reading about other trans individuals, mainly in the direction you are going, whether it be male to female or female to male. Perhaps even talking with other trans individuals and learning their experience. There are so many online support groups. Just do a search for transgender support group and you’ll find many, including some that may even have in-person meetings. [Trans Support Groups] This may help you significantly learn who you are and what you want to really do.

    What helped me tremendously was YouTube. I watched tons of male to female trans people during this stage in my transition. I learned how they went about things, hormones, surgery, all that. It was very nice hearing someone else talk about what I wanted to do. It made me realize that I was not alone. That’s something you have to remember, you are not alone. There are plenty of other people out there that have been through similar situations, or have embarked on the journey you want to by transitioning.

    But, coming to terms with being trans can be a difficult task. Love and acceptance of oneself is difficult for many, even those who are not trans. But, transitioning opens the door to self-love and acceptance. So, what’s the next step?


    Therapy & Coming Out

    Next is therapy and coming out. You may still be on the fence about what you really want to do, which I why I always recommend therapy. Particularly therapy with someone that is trained in dealing with transgender individuals or is an active participant in the community in some way. I actually did a search for transgender therapists and found a site that lists tons for any state you are in. So be sure to check the description to see if there is a therapist near you that deals with transgender patients. [Find a Therapist]

    Once you have identified what you want, and perhaps have been in therapy and discussing how you want to transition, it’s time to come out to the people that can aide you in your transition. I have a video dedicated to coming out, so be sure to check that out if you like. [Coming Out Trans] Anyway, always be prepared because some people may not accept you. Your friends, maybe not even your family. So definitely be cautious.

    Additionally, always discuss what is troubling you with your therapist. If a family member is having a hard time accepting you, talk about it to your therapist. Perhaps the person that is having a hard time accepting may even come with you to an appointment to understand your feelings for wanting to transition. Education is crucial since many people may not understand what it’s like or even know what being transgender is all about.

    After that, what’s the next step?


    Hormones

    Next is hormones. I have a video dedicated to my changes during the first two years of hormones, so check that out if you are interested. [Hormones] But anyway, this stage can be very exciting for a trans person. Finally, they can get their hormones levels to that of the sex that they desire to be, as well as experience the physical, emotional, and sexual changes that come with it.

    Male to females can be excited about some breast growth. It may not be much, but there will be some. As well as less body hair, more hair growth on the head, changes in skin and fat on the body, less muscle, as well as a very quickly diminishing sex drive which may be good or bad depending on the individual. As well as the emotional roller-coaster that comes with estrogen. Very fast fluctuations of emotions, especially in the first few months of taking hormones.

    Female to males can be excited about a more masculine body image, ability to gain muscle easier, facial and body hair, deepening of the voice. Though, with that also comes the effects of testosterone. Increased sex drive, as well as emotional fluctuations as well. Anger and aggression being linked to testosterone. But, it’s all usually a welcome sign since the body and mind is finally changing to that of the preferred sex so it finally feels right.

    In order to start hormones, usually you will need to be seeing a therapist for a period of time. This could be six months or longer or shorter. It depends on several factors and how ready you are to start hormones. Usually the therapist will refer you to a clinic that specializes in transgender care to prescribe you hormones, or an endocrinologist is just fine. A letter of recommendation is usually required to start hormones, but this is with good intent.

    I know the wait may be long, and you may be very excited and eager to start hormones, but be patient since you will soon be on them and things will finally feel right. You more than likely will start at a low dose, then work up to the maximum. This is to give your body time to adapt to the drastic changes.

    Also, as a word of caution, I do not recommend self-medicating. Everyone’s body is different and what may work for one individual, may be too much for another or not enough. This is very serious. These things can kill you if you are not careful. So, see a professional and get routine blood work. Mine are checked several times a year just to make sure everything is where it should be. Especially after surgery, having a doctor monitor your levels is crucial. And, we’re not just talking about hormones levels. But, also liver, kidneys, thyroid, cholesterol, vitamins, etc. since all these can change and be impacted by hormones.

    So what’s next?


    Living Full-Time & Passing

    The next stage is living full-time and passing. Many times you will want to transition and be living full-time as your desired sex. This means getting clothing that you like, makeup if needed, all sorts of things. You basically have to find your style. What style works for you? It may take some time and experimentation before you finally find what you like and feel comfortable in. Personally, it took me about six months living full-time to find my style. The style I like, despite what anyone one else may say, is what I prefer and feel comfortable in.

    Then brings up the topic of passing. Do you want to pass? Do you care about passing as the gender you are living as? [Passing as Female] I think for a number of trans people, once they get to this stage they can either freak out because they do not pass, be joyed that they do pass, or don’t care if they pass or not. Personally, I do pass, and have since the first time out as a female. I’ve never even been questioned by anyone and most people I’ve told in person were shocked and said that they couldn’t tell.

    For me, passing was crucial early on in my transition. I needed to look my best. Make sure my makeup was perfect, and making sure everything was feminine and passible because I didn’t want people to know I was once a male. However, looking back on that now, I realize that this was also caused by me not finding my style yet. Once I found my style, I said forget about the effort to pass, I don’t care any more. Of course, I like to look female, and want people to view me as such. I don’t want to be seen as a male because I am not, I am a female. But, if someone sees me as a male, that’s not an insult to me passing, but rather upsetting to me in that it would trigger those negative emotions associated with my previous life as a male.

    Anyway, as a male to female, in order to pass you need focus on things like your voice and mannerisms, body language, and facial hair. As well as breasts and your genitals to make sure it’s not obvious what you have, especially when you’re wearing tight clothing.

    For a female to male, a major concern is the breasts. I couldn’t even imagine what it must be like to wear breast binders, especially if you have large breasts. But also, body shape, voice. You may have a difficult time if you are shorter and have a very female figure.

    But, hard work in these areas may allow you to pass, but more importantly build your own self-confidence. Your own views about yourself are the only ones that should matter and you should care less about the negative things people can think or say about you.

    But, if you really do want to pass and you are not able to, you may need some hair removal or surgeries to accomplish this. That is a sad fact that many older trans people may need these things if they want to pass. If you are a male to female, you can have a very masculine looking face that hormones are just not going to really do much. You may need facial feminization surgery.

    So after this, what’s next?


    Name Change

    Next is the name change. Finally, you can legally change your name from your birth name to your desired name and you can use that on legal documents, driver’s licenses, insurance, bank. Definitely choose a name that you like and would want for the rest of your life so you don’t want to have to change it again. Think about it for some time. Have others call you this to see if you like it before legally changing it.

    The process of a legal name change is not too difficult. Certain factors vary depending on what state you live in, and especially if you are from a different country, I only know the US name change process I went through.

    But anyway, just do an internet search for a name change in whatever state you are in. For my state, it had all the documents online that I printed up and followed the steps. I needed to put the name change request into the newspaper once a week for a few weeks. I picked the cheapest paper and it was under $100 I believe.

    Then, after it ran, you send the affidavit you get for doing it along with your completed forms to the court. The filing fee varies state by state, but it is usually around $100. Then, you show up to court, usually with a group of people and the judge will call you up and say your old name and your new name. I was the first one so everyone that was waiting heard my name being called and it was kinda scary since I had a male name. But, it went quickly and after that I got the documents that I had legally changed my name.

    Then, I needed to change my license. Not just the name, but also the gender marker. I was able to go online to my state’s DMV site and find a request form for gender change on my driver’s license. I needed part of it filled out by my therapist, so she did and I went to the DMV and got my ID changed to my new name and female.

    Afterwards, I went to social security and changed my name on there. I wasn’t able to change my sex because I hadn’t had surgery yet. They said they needed a document from a surgeon. And, I still haven’t changed it. Don’t know if I even will since it doesn’t seem to really affect much. I never did my birth certificate, don’t know if I even really need to.

    So after that is all done and over with, what is the next step?


    Surgery

    The next step is surgery. This stage can be optional or required depending on the individual. If you are a male to female, you may want facial feminization surgery, breast augmentation, and/or sex reassignment surgery. If you are a female to male, you may want a mastectomy, or even sex reassignment surgery. These things can be expensive. But, the good news is that insurance companies are starting to cover these things now. So, that is great news. And, hopefully that will continue.

    Anyway, there is no going back from surgery, especially SRS. There are many risks associated with it, including scarring. There are complications that can occur and no surgery is perfect so be prepared for that. Do plenty of research and pick a surgeon that you want to go to. Consider their work, look at their work, and consider the expenses and travel distance after you make your decision. Don’t settle just because one surgeon is cheaper or closer. Also remember, any photographs on the surgeon’s website are most likely going to be the best results.

    Another thing you have to consider is post-operative care. Do they follow up and are they good about it? A surgeon that is not too far away will be able to see you more frequently, so consider the location as a positive thing if they are close.

    If you would like to know about my SRS, I do have a video dedicated to it so be sure to check that out. [SRS] I wasn’t going to be overly picky with the surgery I chose. Nor do I have any complaints about her or her staff. I just hate the horrible dilation, revision surgery I had at the seven month mark, and granulation tissue that I am still having problems with even after a year. I also had a trachea shave done. Other than that, I have not had any other surgeries, and don’t really see the need to have anything major done.

    After all that is done and over with, there is only one stage left.


    Living Your Life

    And lastly is living your life. This is your reward phase. Now that you have transitioned, now that you are complete and done with the gender dysphoria, which there may still be some residual that won’t go away, but now that you are done with at least the bulk of it, it’s time to live your life. You are finally in the right body and living how you prefer, again maybe not 100% but look how far you’ve come, how much progress you have made, how much effort you put into being your true self. That deserves a reward right there.

    All the time and money you spent, as well as the stress and depression you had to go through to get to where you are today made you a person worthy of finally expressing who you really are. It’s the ultimate reward. You are finally living your life free from all that. Go out and accomplish your dreams, whatever they are, and finally be who you were always meant to be. Happy, confident, and successful.


    So, please feel free to share your experiences or how you went about your transition, or if you are just starting out. And, I hope this video was informative and helpful. Thanks for watching!

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    Notes

    Many trans individuals, especially younger ones, have contacted me asking where do they start. What steps need to be taken to achieve the body and mind they desire, to be themselves. Well for trans people, this is no easy task. In fact, it takes a lot of time to get to a healthy, stable, happy place. And even when there, many times it’s just not enough as many trans individuals are still unhappy with their body. Regardless, I think this video was one of my most important ones for trans people that don’t know the steps that need to be taken to transition.