Monday, September 24, 2007

Things I DIDN'T Expect About Transistion

When you start a gender transition, there are some things you have a basic knowledge about or some assumptions that you go into it with.

You expect to lose a few friends and relatives along the way. You know that your body is finally going to morph in the feminine direction with the accompanying gender characteristics. You're aware that you're going to lose some of your male strength level and your breast size will be the roughly the same cup size as the biowomen in your immediate family. Your emotions will get scrambled in the early stages as your mind and body get adapted to the hormones. You anticipate that there will be some awkward moments, some humorous ones, hurt feelings, joy and pain as you get adjusted to living on the other side of the gender fence.

But there are some things about a gender transition that catch you off guard because you didn't expect it.

For me, there were a few.

One of the things I didn't expect was an increase in the frequency of my bathroom visits. The spironolactone that I take as a testosterone blocker is also a diuretic. Translation: It makes me go to the bathroom more often.

I was stunned at how fast my breast development occurred once I started on hormones. I had breast buds and nipple expansion growth within days of taking my first hormones.

I discovered the reason for it when I did followup blood work a month into my transition and it was compared to my baseline numbers. I had a low testosterone count. The testosterone level is measured on a 0-900 scale by your endocrinologist. Biomale testosterone level is usually on the upper end of that scale in the 700-900 range. Biowomen also have small amounts of testosterone in the 50-100 range that basically govern a woman's sex drive.

Mine was at 400 when I started in 1994 and its around 120 now. Slightly higher than what a biowoman would have in her body yet significantly less than what a biomale has in his system. I didn't expect to hear from my endo that my risk for prostate cancer would dwindle to almost zero.

However, my risk for breast cancer has doubled.

Another medical surprise was revealed to me during a subsequent check up as well. My blood pressure and stress level dropped dramatically despite being in a high stress airline job. That one's easy to explain. I wasn't living a double life anymore. I was finally becoming on the outside the person I was on the inside and was damned happy about it.

I discovered by accident that my reflexes and hearing improved. One day I knocked a half full cup of Kool-Aid off the edge of my dining table in my apartment and without thinking quickly snatched it in mid-air. Saved me from cleaning the spill out of my carpet. My guess is this might be a biological thang because mothers have heightened sensory awareness in order to protect their children from approaching danger.

I didn't expect to gain the ability to have multiple orgasms or realize just how good they feel. ;) That was a wonderful surprise. Another interesting discovery was that some biowomen desire to have intimate relationships with pre-op transwomen. I found it ironic that I got hit on my more women after I started transition that I did before as The Twin. I wasn't in gay clubs either when these propositions happened.

Oh well, you never know what people like when you get them behind closed doors.

One of the other surprises was also in a social setting. It's one I chafe at and it took me awhile to get over. Being interrupted when in a converation with a man, having to explain myself and having my intelligence questioned or dismissed. It was a frequent occurrence in business situations as well.

I sarcastically lamented one day to my sistafriends that I lost ten points on my IQ when I transtioned as far as men are concerned. My sistafriends replied that I got it wrong. I didn't lose points, I GAINED twenty points when I transitioned.

I also discovered that some African-Americans have a long way to go in terms of being 'ejumacated' on transgender issues. Despite long time exposure to trans issues thanks to articles in Ebony and Jet, drag shows, balls and pageants and famous crossdressers in our midst such as Flip Wilson (Geraldine Jones), RuPaul, and Tyler Perry's Madea, I quickly found that some of our peeps are WORSE than white fundamentalists. I felt that my brothas and sistahs, given our own civil rights struggles would be more tolerant of transgender people.

Despite those surprises, I adapted and now happily thrive in my life as a Phenomenal Transwoman.


Mes Deaux Cents said...


That was very informative.


Monica Roberts said...

Glad you enjoyed it.

There are multiple layers to being transgender beyond the simplistic ones that some peeps fixate on.

Jackie said...

Very informative. Monica, do you mean that your natural testosterone level was only 400?

Monica Roberts said...

That's correct. I also had a very skinny body build.

There's a pic of the teen me on the Jackie Robinson post.