Walk Your Transgender Path

I am sitting outside the local Walgreens in my car holding the pill in my hands. The sun is gently breaking through the clouds as if to create a boundary around which my world would pivot. My heart is beating a nervous tune infused with melodies of contentment.  As I swallow the pill the next stage of my journey to womanhood begins. Thursday September 9th 2010 at 4:30pm.

Coincidentally it was many years ago at this same store I had begun an earlier leg of my journey. I made my first admission to a checkout clerk that the feminine paraphernalia I had gathered for purchase were mine. But today the questions and consequences were different.

Then I had feared rejection, embarrassment and ridicule. Today my thoughts lingered on the fuller consequences of gender transition, and the irreversible changes that will be created.

One month on testosterone blockers. Slowly ramping up to give my body a chance to adapt. They will allow the estrogen I start taking next month to work to it’s fullest potential. I’ll take testosterone blockers until bottom surgery is complete. I’ll take estrogen for the rest of my life.

Over time my body hair growth will slow, fat will redistribute throughout my body and I’ll lose muscle mass. Breasts will grow, skin will soften and I’ll become infertile. I won’t dwell on any unintended side effects – I’ve long pondered what could go wrong physically and chemically. The risks cannot compare to the interminable pain of spending the rest of my life as the wrong gender.

Step Softly

As I pill disappears inside to work it’s magic I’m left with a deep sense of contentment. It’s impossibly soon for even a thought of physical changes, but my emotional changes have already begun. ‘Will do’ has been replaced by ‘doing’. Intention has been replaced with reality. The world around me moved on as if nothing happened – at most someone spied a woman taking a water bottle from her lips and thought nothing of it. Softly she took her first step.

Walk Carefully

Getting to this point in my life has itself been a marathon journey of self discovery. Regular readers have shared in my journey through acceptance and first steps, mishaps and learnings. Yet my inner journey was only part of my careful travel. Before hormone therapy can begin you need to see a counselor for at least three months. Once they write a recommendation letter your doctor then runs a battery of tests – blood work, physicals  and anything else needed to satisfy safety’s caution. Blood tests and regular monitoring will become a regular diet.

I feel blessed that this portion of the ‘standards of care‘ has gone so smoothly for me. My counselor and doctor have been partners to help me, not gatekeepers to stop me. I know that others are not as lucky. Despite all my years of working through being transgendered, I am happy so far with the pace prescribed. 3 months seemed like an eternity, yet the decision is so large that it will affect my eternity. 3 months is a small price to pay.

The Narrow, Untrodden Path

I’m not the first transgendered woman to walk this path. So few have traveled it I can barely see the trail through the overgrowth.  Yet I am grateful to those who forged ahead before me – transgender care is light years ahead of where it was just fifty years ago. Despite all this progress, and even though optimistically we number in the hundreds of thousands, drug treatments for transgender woman are still classified as experimental. And health insurance benefits to cover surgery are still few and far between.

To you, my dear reader, I thank you for reading this far and for sharing my journey. It feels like I’m just started, but when I look back I can see how far I’ve come. I pray that your journey is fulfilling, and leads to the destination which is right for you.

Hugs and blessings,
Vanessa

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Dedicated to creating a safe, supportive and welcoming environment for everyone in the transgender community.

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9 Comments
  1. Michelle Hart 5 years ago

    Thank you Vanessa for this inspiring article. It is truly words of wisdom and experience for all those that follow us on the narrow, untrodden path. As you stated the “standards of care” and treatment have jumped light years ahead than what they were prior the 90’s. I feel that if the medical community had understood more about the condition that we have back then, many of us would have fulfilled our quest to become who we are.

    I thank you again for sharing your journey, alone with the trials and tribulations that accompanied it.

  2. Brett Blatchley 7 years ago

    Oh, I think I should also mention, that I am firmly convinced that our God does not have a problem with transition per se, only that in my case, my family depends upon my remaining in (mostly) male form and role. I married Judi as her husband and she needs me remain that way, and we could not remain married if I transitioned (though I would still love and support her: she is chronically ill).

    Our situation *is* quite odd, because my wife Judi is transgendered too: she is a predominately male soul clothed in a female body. Her path with God and her gender “stuff” is different from mine, and the point of this comment is that I recognize that God doesn’t have just one way to bring us to healing and to polish us into greater reflectors of His glory: my sex and gender do not match, His healing me does not involve Him making me into a “man.” He has made it poignantly clear that He will complete me by adding to me rather than subtracting (my femininity) from me.

    For some people, I am firmly convinced that His path will take them through transition and SRS.

  3. Brett Blatchley 7 years ago

    I *so* understand this…to this day I want hormones again…I will not take them again while my wife lives, it is a oneness issue for her.

    Poetically, I am a predominately female soul clothed in a male form. Bluntly I am a male to female transsexual who has chosen to remain in male form out of love and commitment to my wife and the vows I made to her and God. Christ gives me the strength to endure my gender dysphoria, and each day I have to abandon this to Him…

    I made the decisions to give up my “right” to sexual reassignment surgery and female hormones about a dozen years ago. In the last two years, our Heavenly Father has helped me to understand more about who and what I am and that He understand me, and He’s OK with me as I am. So here is where I am, and why I found this site in my search:

    …I am one who has chosen to walk as a female soul *clothed* in a male form.
    Transition to female-form and identity was my first choice, but I have
    accepted God’s challenge to live content in this blended-form. My task now
    is to remain committed to this challenge, accepting it as a gift, learning
    to express my femininity in the context of a male body: I want this to be
    a winsome and comely expression, unique to me, with the force of feminine
    beauty, grace and sensibility, yet not unbecoming of the male form, nor
    denying the masculine parts of my soul.

  4. Carol 7 years ago

    A month from now, my surgury will be over, and Ill just want to blend in, and get on with my life. I have given deep thought to what is different, what is it about being a woman… what is it… what is it?….. Well Years ago I was on hormones, but had to drop away from transition due to job issues. Now, I have my letters and plane ticket, and am ready for the big adventure. Now back to the question,,, what is the difference. I can truthfully say NOTHING. Yes nothing you can see, sure Im changed a lot now to look at, except inside Im finally me. That intangable something, that spark that says this is right, and all those years of being wrong are in the past. Ill eat lots of chow mein when Im over there in Phuket! Bye, carol

    • Vanessa Law 7 years ago

      Best of luck with the final chapter in this journey, and the start of the rest of your life!
      I'm finally me. Is there a more hauntingly beautiful phrase tinged with satisfied desperation and peace.

  5. Amanda 7 years ago

    Vanessa,

    Such an earth moving blog (for me personnally), the feelings came straight from the heart straight to my heart. We all love you so much for putting self out there like this. To be such an inspiration. My own journey still in the fledgling stages itself, I look to you and your website with all of the lovely ladies as a guide to understanding.

    Best wishes and much love,
    Amanda

    • Vanessa Law 7 years ago

      Thanks Amanda, for your wonderfully kind words. It's a blessing to share my journey. I pray that your journey blossoms into a wonderful experience.

      Hugs,
      Vanessa

  6. Vanessa Law 7 years ago

    Hi Claire,

    You're welcome hon, thanks for the kind words and well wishes.
    Figuring out the path is a long process, and I'm sure that you'll discover your own path – keep loving yourself and looking optimistically to a brighter future.

    Hugs,
    Vanessa

  7. claire 7 years ago

    Vanessa,

    Thanks for being brave enough to share your journey so far with the world. I am 30 years old and married myself, and still trying to figure out my own gender issues. It's great to have so many thoughtful blogs like yours and others out there to help us all realise that we are not the only ones going through these things. I have no doubt that your blog has been a comfort for many, many people. Best wishes for a smooth transition!

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