Ask a Transperson | Adjusting to transition
- Published: April 20, 2023
This is the second entry of “Ask a Transperson,” a temporary blog by News columnist Iden Crockett slated to run through the end of April. Crockett announced the blog in her regular News column, “My Name is Iden,” as a “space dedicated to answering your questions” about what it means to be trans — from Crockett’s perspective.
Check this space on Thursdays through April 27 for future entries.
From a little distance, I have watched you grow up, marry, have children, work as a
paramedic in the community. I applaud your self expression and self-exploration, and I am
happy for you that you can do that without financial worry.
I understand the need to shield your family from public exposure, and to limit the physical details of your transition in a community newspaper — yet these are my questions. As a member of your
parents’ generation, growing up at a time when gender transition was rare, I wonder:
Have you had lower surgery? Do you plan to?
Do you take hormones — injections? Are they painful? Expensive?
Are you and your wife able to enjoy physical/sexual intimacy?
How has your transition affected your marriage? Your wife?
How have your children adjusted to losing a father and gaining a second mother?
How has your transition impacted your children’s own gender identity?
In appreciation for your vulnerability and courage — wishing you and your family all the best.
Phew! That’s a lot of questions, but I’m up for it. Let’s go!
So first, let us talk surgery. At the time of writing this, I have not had any surgeries — however, I do plan to. This is a great time to briefly touch on the topic of gender-affirming surgeries. I think there are a lot of misconceptions about transpeople and surgery.
When most people think of surgery in the context of gender transition, they are probably thinking of what we colloquially call “bottom surgery.” This is what maybe would have been called a “sex change operation” in the past. There are many variants of bottom surgery for people seeking masculinizing, feminizing or gender-neutralizing transitions and the details are beyond this discussion. What is important for people to know is that not all transpeople are interested in having bottom surgery.
Many transpeople, myself included, do not suffer strong dysphoria around their genitals or only experience dysphoria around a part of their genitals. People who do not plan to have surgery are often referred to as “non-op,” versus people who plan to but have not yet had surgery, who are sometimes called “pre-op.” Of course, there is “post-op” as well, which is self-explanatory.
There is more to gender-affirming surgery than bottom surgery. “Top surgery” refers to the removal or augmentation of breasts. And there is an entire slew of facial procedure procedures available.
As far as my personal plans go, I am currently researching surgeons to perform what is broadly called “facial feminization” surgery, which will include reshaping of the brows, temples and nose, as well as moving my hairline. I am planning on having breast augmentation and an orchiectomy, which is the removal of the testicles.
OK, hormones. Yes, I do take hormones. This is usually called hormone replacement therapy, or HRT. I have been on HRT since August 2020. There are many ways to administer hormones, including via transdermal patches, via intra-muscular injections and orally. Oral administration is by far the most common, and the route that I use. I take estrogen, progesterone and two testosterone blockers. Costs vary pretty widely for folks, but I spend around $50–$100 per month, plus the costs of regular blood tests.
HRT is a great segue into your next question: SEX! My wife and I do still enjoy having sex with one another. For many trans girls, HRT can lead to impotence. I have not encountered that, but I no longer have any spontaneous erections.
For those of you who have never owned a penis, erections happen All. Of. The. Time.
This is a natural phenomenon that serves to keep the tissues flexible. The consequence of not having these spontaneous erections can be that your erections, when you do have them, are very painful. This can be avoided by just, you know, exercising her a bit.
Sex is very different for me now. My skin is much softer and more sensitive; my orgasms are much stronger and more full-bodied as opposed to being centered in the genitals. There are many many other differences, but the bottom line is: Sex as a trans girl is pretty great!
My transition has affected much more in our relationship beyond sex. It is important for people to realize that this isn’t just Iden’s transition. Everyone close to me has had to realign their relationship with me and themselves.
I realized things were truly different between us when I came home from a trip to find a perfectly mown lawn. That was a job she had always left to the “husband.” It’s a great example of how we have changed as a couple. We are more equal partners than we have ever been.
The kids have taken everything in stride. I felt very guilty about taking their father away. Watching my kids adapt has taught me two important lessons.
The first is that it really is not a big deal to use the name and pronouns that someone prefers. The adaptability of children is incredible to see in action and I believe they can do this because they haven’t been loaded up with society’s nonsense. To them, a name is a name. It isn’t a challenge to a historically repressive social institution.
The second lesson has been that kids do not need to be loved by a woman and a man. They just need to be loved. Taking hormones hasn’t changed my love of “Star Wars,” my ability to play Xbox or throw a baseball. I’m there for them in all the ways I was before, I just have a new name.
So those answers just brush the surface, but I hope this helps.
Until next time,
Know yourself, Be yourself, Show yourself, Free yourself.
3 Responses to “Ask a Transperson | Adjusting to transition”
Thank you for sharing. There is nothing more inspiring than to see someone simply being their authentic self. I am only just learning how to do so at the age of 55. It’s never too late – or too soon – to understand that we are not here to be pigeon-holed by anyone else’s expectations of us. I also think part of human evolution will be continued dismantling of old-fashioned notions about sex, gender identity, and dang, may be even race.
And I must say, I feel you are doing the best thing for your kids in demonstrating self acceptance, self respect and self love. This alone will take them far! That’s being a good parent.
(MTFR 883, 2007-2015 – just after you and your sister, I think)
thank you for the support. it means so much.
I look forward to a day when people, trans or otherwise, can just be themselves by whatever route–educationally, medically or spiritually–they choose to feel that they truly are themselves, and they have to answer to no one, but themselves concerning their own gender identity (unless, of course, they want to).
Best wishes to you, Iden, and love to your family. Always.