Transition can seem like a daunting journey. So I asked Reddit what they wish they’d known before transition, and the results actually surprised me. Not everyone gave comments that made me feel warm and fuzzy. But they proved a point, transition takes a lot of emotional support and maturity.
First of all, I’d like to thank those who actually contributed to this list. Your input and insight was valuable.
Transition Cannot Cure Dysphoria
Gender Dysphoria takes a severe toll on your emotional and psychological state. Mental Health professionals should address all possible psychological factors concurrent to treating dysphoria. However, with the surge of trans-trending, many of the so-called psychologists don’t address any of the underlying issues. Treating your dysphoria with transition, before addressing anything else, can cause more harm than good.
Transition may unleash a whole new world of problems as you slowly address your dysphoria. Please take the time to find a trustworthy Gender Therapist before you begin your transition. A medical professional with your actual health in mind will help you reach your transition goals. However, they will also help you address the plethora of other issues that might complicate your life later on.
You Cannot Undo Puberty
Many transgender people worry primarily about passing, because they feel like that’s the whole point. However, knowing ahead of time that you cannot change your bone structure, helps manage your expectation. Surgery, hormones, and therapy can only change so much. Understand this fact, because it will play into the other issues that might arise with your mental health.
Transition Changes You Slowly
Many people try taking a selfie every day of their first three months expecting to see everything change overnight. Unfortunately, as I mentioned above, you cannot undo puberty, but treatment will change you. While daily selfies show little difference, an awkward stage starts relatively quickly (within three to six months). During this stage, you will look strange to anyone unaware of your situation. Ignore the stares, and move on. This stage lasts until between your ninth and eighteenth month of transition.
I would take this opportunity to encourage you to document the changes. A picture every couple of weeks, will help remind you of how far you’ve come. I also encourage you to keep a journal and write down your feelings as you change. These will help you so much during the rough patches of transition.
Carefully Choose Who You Trust
One particular user, who unfortunately deleted their account, mentioned trust. You need to trust your therapist, trust your family, and trust those friends you surround yourself with. The poster also mentioned the government, schools, and the LGBT community. Without trust, you cannot function in most social situations comfortably. However, you should also know that not everyone cares whether or not you transition.
Transition Will Expose Your True Friends
As mentioned about, you need friends you can trust. Once you come out to your friends, and begin your transition, they will sort themselves out. Your true friends support you, and continue building your mutual relationship. They will work on using the pronouns you ask them to. And your true friends will always try to help you with your dysphoria.
You will lose some friends. In fact, you can watch on Social Media by taking count of your friends before and after you come out. Many people will unfriend you, and many more may even vilify you. Take that with a grain of salt, as these people were never really your friends anyway. Some people, will claim to support you, but you’ll notice over time that they distance themselves from you. Just like everything in your life, your friendships will transition too.
Not Everyone Will Address You Correctly
As mentioned above, some of your friends will simply not handle your transition well. This may include using pronouns that at one point won’t even make sense. As you change physically, your appearance will notably reflect your transition. Those who refuse to use pronouns that identify your appearance do so out of spite. This rude behavior doesn’t fall on you, and your reaction will determine whether or not they just quit. If they get a rise or reaction out of you, they will continue that ridiculously rude behavior, much like a four year old.
More notably, your family might take your transition the hardest. Your parents and siblings spend so much of their lives thinking of you in one way, that transition may not make sense in their minds. Some parents overreact in a completely negative way, and might even kick their kids out of the house. Unfortunately, little you do can shape their reaction one way or the other.
The only advice I can offer in this realm is not to try and force yourself on people. Free speech means they can call you whatever they want, but inversely, it also means you can walk away and leave them holding the bag. If you keep yourself from saying or doing anything you might regret, you can avoid embarrassment and the like later. However, if they owe you an apology, and you haven’t wronged them in any way, they are much more likely to make reparations to your relationship. When you fly off the handle, then they’ll feel perfectly vindicated in triggering you.
Nobody Cares About Restrooms
If a person walks into the restroom, society assumes that person belongs there. Nobody truly cares about someone who confidently walks into a restrooms, uses the facilities and walks out. That stated. Use a little common sense. If you walk into the male restroom in a dress, you will invoke some strange looks to say the least. But, inversely, walking into the female restroom in male jeans and a crewneck will not earn you any favors either.
Dress the part, and respectfully take care of your business without getting into anyone else’s. If that presents a problem for you, then try using the family restroom when it’s available. That way no one cares if you look male or female.
Take Compliments Lightly
Perfect strangers and your closest friends will all offer plenty of compliments and critiques throughout your transition. Take all of these with a grain of salt. If someone calls a trans-woman pretty, they may genuinely feel that way. They might also just want to seem nice. Likewise, if a girl compliments a trans-man on their looks, the compliment might be genuine, or just kindness. This becomes problematic when someone takes everything they hear to heart and stop caring about their appearance.
No matter how well you present, you can always improve something. Part of growing means knowing that you can spend you entire life doing little things to improve yourself every day.
On the other hand, several people will have nothing but depressing remarks about you. They will exist no matter how well you present, and you can count on them criticizing every little thing. Knowing this, you may decide to confront them, just remember not to act confrontational. If someone mistreats you, and you respond with kindness, you crush their expectations, making them less likely to continue.
Hormones Wreck Your Emotions
Guess what! Hormones change your perception of the world! I know this hardly seems like a groundbreaking announcement, but it’s worth noting that hormones affect emotions. MtF cross sex hormones cause your emotions to dial up to 1000. That means you literally feel the extreme version of EVERY emotion, and none of them stick around for very long. You can start crying your eyes out in a heartbeat, and feel totally upbeat and happy the next.
FtM hormones dial your empathy down a notch, but more notably, it drives your drive up 100%. You will feel an intensity about life that might amaze you. Especially when you realize how few things slow you down.
Aside from emotions, you can expect a million and one physical changes, that I’ll touch on in another article. But you should realize that the reason man and women are different is based a large part on their hormones.
Transition Improves Your Life
Overall, many aspects of transition might seem like they suck. But you should know, if you suffer from gender dysphoria, transitioning can literally save your sanity. The suicide rates in gender dysphoric people are so many times higher than among any other group. Transition cannot fix everything about dysphoria, but if done correctly, it will improve the quality of your life exponentially.
I grew up in Colonia Juarez, Chihuahua, México, where people either owned cattle ranches or fruit orchards. Much of my work ethic came from working on Rancho La Mesa (my family’s ranch). That ranch also sparked what grew into my wild imagination. I read somewhere that you should write the story you want to read, and that stuck with me. My writing began in sixth grade, around the time I began learning to type.