Tuesday, December 26, 2017

IV. TransGirl, Epilogue: The red-haired, green-eyed girl returns.

Reprinted and re-formatted from: https://medium.com/athena-talks/i-girl-begun-why-my-mother-raised-me-as-a-girl-3005132df0b8

That was the end of girlhood, and the end of this story, but I cannot leave her — me — lying there, on the cold locker-room floor. That wasn’t the end. She got back up, but it took another 17 years.
(Sometimes I write in the first-person. Sometimes she can only bear to tell her story in the third-. If you’ve just arrived, you probably want to go back to the beginning.)
There were OK years, and there were grim years. After that first, hideous year in the States, she found a refuge, and things were a little better for a while, but it was always complicated. A few years after the end of this story her mother died and her father threw her out. She was homeless for a time; let strangers take her home in exchange for a meal, a shower, a warm place to sleep. Alcohol and drugs and gender and hopelessness played their parts. She ended her life, several times, but continued nonetheless.
Eight years after being sent away, she found her way back to Europe, back home (but not); ballet and an Englishman played their parts. She found herself a stranger, a foreigner, lost her way, lost her man, everything; again. She relocated, again, hid, masked herself in society’s image, a ‘family man’, became ‘successful’; a Frenchwoman and a child played their parts. Thus she lost herself; again. Abandoned herself, really, as her mother had. She ended her life, but continued nonetheless.
But — she found her way back, eventually. Cast off the mask and became herself; again. In the end, the red-haired, green-eyed girl came back.
And here she is, at last: Seventeen years after being kicked to the floor, a girl no longer, but a woman —

Now, 56 years after her mother applied that first lipstick, she blots her own with a tissue, closing her mouth over a fold, just like her mum used to. It’s about the same shade, she thinks. Her green eyes have faded to hazel, and her red hair has thinned and darkened to brown; grey is beginning to appear at the temples.
Like that 12-year-old girl, she occasionally has that anguished dream, though rarely now. When she does, momentarily anxious upon waking, she checks herself, touches her vulva, cups her breasts; and begins her day with the most profound sense of relief. Sometimes she imagines herself sheltering that little girl in her arms, brushing the long, strawberry-blonde hair back from her shoulder, whispering in her ear —
‘Don’t worry, little one. It will all be OK. The dream came true, after all.’

III. TransGirl, Discontinued: How I was forced from my gender.

Reprinted and re-formatted from: https://medium.com/athena-talks/i-girl-begun-why-my-mother-raised-me-as-a-girl-3005132df0b8

I certainly couldn’t appreciate it at the time, but in retrospect I can imagine my father’s consternation upon my arrival in his house at age 14. The ‘son’ he had last seen as hardly more than a toddler must have seemed almost alien: a lithe, diminutive creature* with green eyes and red-blonde hair down her back and a distinctly foreign accent and vocabulary.
For my part, I did not know this man. He must have had very little interest in me when I was small; I had virtually no memory of him. Nor did I understand why my mother had sent me away. That she was leaving Norway, I knew, and also that it had something to do with her break-up with her then-boyfriend (it usually did; whenever we changed countries there was often a man involved). But this time we did not leave together, and this I never understood. Nor ever forgave her for. I felt abandoned, exiled.
Naturally, I assumed it was my fault. And perhaps, in a way, it was — whilst the changes in my body were mercifully late in coming, coming they were, and my insistence on continuing to present myself as female was no doubt causing my mother considerable anxiety. She probably felt guilt at having ‘allowed’ matters to go so far, uncorrected, and probably had no idea how to resolve the coming crisis. With the disruption in her own personal life, it was probably just easier to tell my father it was ‘his turn’, and pass the problem — me — off. As kind as she was to me, in so many ways, my mother was never one to face up to consequences head-on. I doubt she gave my father any warning as to what exactly was arriving on his doorstep. When he first laid eyes on me he must’ve wondered who this girl was. And what on earth to do with her. Him. Whatever.
I arrived only a couple weeks before the start of the school year. He took me to buy school things. And to cut my hair. Which I adamantly refused to allow. He drove me to the barber, but I would not get out of the car. He slapped me, but I would not give in. My hair was all I had left.

At my new school ‘physical education’ was a requirement. I was terrified. I had never spent much time around boys, and the gymnasium was nothing but boys. My father had bought me the required ‘gym clothes’, but I ‘forgot’ them the first few days, and got written up for it. The thought of changing clothes in front of dozens of boys was unbearable.
Unable to escape the inevitable, I thought to go early and change before anyone else arrived, but someone saw me enter the locker room, and boys followed me in. I stood petrified, clutching my things.
‘Hey, look who it is.’
I’m not sure how many of them there were, maybe four or five. I had already been teased about my name and my voice and my hair, mocked and shoved around in the hallways. This was going to be worse.
‘What it is, you mean.’
‘What is it?’
‘Hey, let’s find out.’
I was grabbed, hard, many hands; shoved and pinned to the wall. I felt my trousers and underwear being yanked down, my ankles tangled. I was tossed onto the cold concrete floor.
I tried to get up but was shoved down again, someone had hold of my hair and was using it to pull me down, a foot pressed into my chest. Someone kicked me, then brought their foot down in my crotch.
‘Well, now we know, I guess.’

‘Do we?’
Now many feet were kicking, stomping. My hair was released and I curled into a ball. The kicking continued, on my back and buttocks, another final blow aimed between my legs. The laughter receded and I heard the door slam closed.

In a few minutes other boys would begin arriving. I recovered myself and fled.

I arrived home from school, far too early. My father looked me up and down with what seemed to be mild interest. I must’ve looked a sight.
‘What happened to you?’

‘Boys. Gym class.’

He looked disgusted, maybe amused, I couldn’t tell.

‘Well, what did you expect? Cut your hair.’

But I never would. It was all I had left.

II. TransGirl, Disrupted: How my body betrayed me.

Reprinted and re-formatted from: https://medium.com/athena-talks/i-girl-begun-why-my-mother-raised-me-as-a-girl-3005132df0b8

Except for certain awkward moments (and two horrific and blessedly brief school enrollments), I didn’t really think about my gender much. For eight years I was schooled at home by my mother and occasional tutors. I was ‘she’ and ‘her’, and so long as my mother plaited my hair and the neighborhood girls skipped rope with me, I didn’t worry about it too much. If my mother worried, I cannot say.

That is, until age 12, when I began to worry about it very much.

It was summertime. We were recently moved to Norway, and the weather was glorious. Children and ducks swam in the nearby lake, and girls my age were now covering themselves with shoulder-strap swimsuits, under which a few were beginning to ‘show’. I felt increasingly out-of-place, self-conscious. I wore a tee-shirt to swim, which made me stand out a bit. For the first time I was really beginning to feel ‘other’. I stopped swimming.

I became hyper-aware of my genitals and my chest. I began having an intense, recurring dream in which I would awake having been magically endowed with a vagina whilst I slept. It was so vivid that, when I did actually awake, I would immediately check myself, then start my day off with the most profound sense of loss. I became so obsessed that I developed a ritual each night before dropping asleep: I would press with my fingers on the spot where I knew my vagina should be and wish for the dream, wish for it to really work this time, wish for relief and a way out of my hideous predicament.

Needless to say, I discussed this with no one: I knew there was something horribly, horribly wrong with me.

Summer ended. After several months of intensive tutoring sessions to gain literacy in Norwegian Bokmål, and with great trepidation, I joined other children in school, essentially for the first time.
I was ashamed, certain that the teachers knew I was ‘really a boy’, but never really sure who knew what. It seems that there would have been painful pronouns, but I do not remember this; perhaps I blocked them out, or perhaps I was not mis-gendered — people tend not to question an appearance that meets norms, and in Norway my long blonde plaits were pretty normal. Mercifully, there were no school uniforms and no gym classes in the school I attended; no activities which separated boys from girls — here, even in 1969, girls took wood shop and boys took home economics. Girls now commonly wore shorts and jeans, so my clothing didn’t stand out. In all, I continued to pass as a girl, and was well treated.

My body was beginning to change, there were stirrings, my strawberry-blonde hair was beginning to darken toward red, and a few months into the school term my body did something odd: my nipples became very sensitive and hardened, and my chest began to grow — I, too, began to ‘show’. I find it difficult to describe the mix of emotions this brought up in me — the most extreme hope combined with extreme embarrassment. My chest drew comment and I took to wearing bulky pullovers. In any event, my magical wishing seemed, at last, to be working.

Despite my best efforts, my mother eventually noticed, insisted that I show her my chest, and became very concerned. She took me to a doctor. Who was quite perplexed.

We are in the doctor’s exam room. At my mother’s instruction I remove my top and the doctor looks me over. I am humiliated.

‘Madam, this is perfectly normal.’

My mother looks put-out.

‘How can this be normal?!’
Now the doctor looks put-out.

‘She is what, twelve years old? She is developing normally.’

My mother is struggling with her next words. She is looking straight at me and our eyes are locked and I am telegraphing my thought to her with all I have.

Don’t say it.

She says it.

‘She is a boy.’

‘Pardon, madam?’

‘She, is a boy.’

I am utterly mortified. I start to put my top back on, but the doctor recovers, with an odd look toward my mother, and inspects me again, more closely. Touches and squeezes where I want no touch and certainly no squeeze. I cover myself as soon as he pulls back.

‘Well, this is uncommon in boys, especially to be this far advanced, but not really abnormal. It will pass.’ *

My mother looks unconvinced. I am horrified by the thought of such a betrayal.

Mere weeks later the swelling subsided, as if my mother and the doctor had colluded to snuff out my last remaining hope. My nipples became less painful, softened, and shrank away, leaving me disconsolate. I refused to go to school, eventually refusing even to leave my room. My sleep cycle became disordered, so that I read books during the night, often till sunrise, and slept during the day. For the first of many times, I wanted out of my life.

My mother was now very concerned indeed.

I. TransGirl, Begun: Why my mother raised me as a girl.

Reprinted and re-formatted from: https://medium.com/athena-talks/i-girl-begun-why-my-mother-raised-me-as-a-girl-3005132df0b8

I said it was complicated. I said I was raised as a girl, but there was more to it than that.
Yes, I grew up as a girl, but not like Avery, on the cover of National Geographic. In my girlhood there was ambiguity, uncertainty, a certain stealth, and, inevitably, an end.

From age four, when my mother first began to appreciate the nature of my gender, and for the subsequent eight-plus years, my life floated within the norms of girlhood, albeit with occasional, painful caveats: a couple ill-advised and abortive attempts to enroll me in school, sometimes-awkward statements blurting from my mother’s mouth, strange looks when passports came out…
It wasn’t like she had a plan. She didn’t ‘understand’, in the sense that some parents today do. She didn’t have a name for my circumstance, a diagnosis to attach to me, any guide to follow. 

She was, herself, a free-spirit of a coming age, as evidenced by the made-up, vaguely feminine name she’d blessed me with at birth, in the way she allowed me to express myself through my appearance and behavior, and by our itinerant lifestyle, shifting from country to country as year by year we made our way across Europe; Spain, France, UK, Norway.

It is around three or four years of age that we become aware of our gender,* aware that we are more like one of our parents than the other, and that boys and girls are divided into separate lives. It is then that we make our move, or are moved. If there is a disconnect, it is then that we first make our stand, if we can. And it was then, just a couple years before my parents’ separation, that I made my move.

‘What are you doing, honey?’

‘Being a mommy.’

‘Are you, then?’

I was at her wardrobe. I had put on one of her blouses, which made for me a floor-length gown, and was clomping about in her red high-heels and a string of pearls. She gently lifted the pearls — a legacy of her great aunt — from me and replaced them with a faux-gold chain; surveyed the result. She took matching clip-ons from her jewelry box and attached them to my earlobes. They pinched a bit.
‘Wait there.’
She returned with her purse, from which she retrieved her lipstick. Her hand on my cheek to hold me steady, she applied color to my lips, blotted it with a tissue. She added a bit of blush to my cheeks from a compact. With her silver backed, boar-bristle brush she swept my strawberry-blonde hair past my shoulders, then handed me the matching hand mirror.

I distinctly recall the rush I felt upon seeing my reflection.
That was my mum.

It would be foolish to think that, in 1961, my mother understood that I was female in the most fundamental sense. It is unlikely that she ever completely understood this, and certainly not when I was four. But there was always something odd in the way she treated me, at least given the culture of that time: note my already long hair. A decade later, my father blamed my mother for what was ‘wrong’ with me, claiming that she’d always wanted a girl and that this was why she had raised me as she had, allowed me to be as I was, corrupted me. Perhaps he was right.

There was a precedent. Where my mother was odd, hyper-feminine, gentle, flexible, indulgent, and had wanted a daughter, her mother had also been odd, but opposite: masculine in appearance, harsh, strict, rigid, had wanted sons; a fact that she had impressed upon her three daughters. My grandmother was a strange, cruel woman; if, indeed, woman she was.

They were estranged, mother and daughter, and had been since my mother’s teen years. She rarely spoke of her mother, but did share a few, rather horrible stories; and a few of the facts were filled-in by my aunt, her sister, decades after their deaths. I never met my grandmother.

Evidently, grandmother had always worn trousers, and had done since she’d attended engineering school in the 1920s, where it was men-only and the dress code was suit-and-tie. She held to that dress code throughout her career as a civil engineer, she wore her hair very short, even for a man of her day, and certainly never a bit of makeup or jewelry. She had a pocket-watch.

This is not to say that grandmother was trans-masculine — clothes do not make the man — and there is, of course, no way to know. If she was, then it seems odd that she married and had three children, but this is not conclusive either. And she would not be the first woman to cut her hair and wear a suit to pass in a man’s world. She secured for herself a university degree and a career in a time when this would not normally have been possible.

And she was very cruel to her children. She gave her daughters crew-cuts and sent them to school in overalls, in America’s South, during the 1940s. She reminded them constantly that they should’ve been boys, and horse-whipped them when they crossed her.

My mother escaped her mother by deliberately getting herself sent to boarding school at age 14, whereupon she learnt to sew, acquired dresses, and grew her hair out. It is little surprise then, that a mere decade later, I had long, strawberry-blonde hair to go with my green eyes, and two simple dresses, of plain white cloth, which she had sewn for me.

As I said, it was complicated.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Am I Transexual?

Introduction: Trangendered or Transsexual?
First of all, there is a big difference between being transgendered and being a transsexual. Transgender folk feel like the opposite sex mentally. Transsexuals desire to change their bodies to become the opposite sex physically.
You might think these always go hand and hand, but they don't have to. I met a transsexual once who went from male to female physically, but continued to live as a male. He was completely happy with his identity as a male, but plain and simply couldn't tolerate his male physical self.
I also know a transgendered person who lives and works as a woman with complete success, but absolutely never wants to have sex reassignment surgery. She was born male and loves her male sexuality but feels completely female of mind.
I bring these examples up to illustrate a well-known psychological distinction - the difference between gender dysphoria and genital dysphoria.
In plain language, "dysphoria" means "can't tolerate." In the real world, it means you are so unhappy with the way things are that you are nervous, anxious, and may even consider suicide to end the mental anguish.
"Gender" is not about what's between your legs. It refers to your gender identity, and that is best described not as male or female but as masculine or feminine. In the real world the term "gender" is bandied about as if it were a synonym for "physical sex." You see it when filling out applications -"Gender - M or F."
But gender is really all about your emotions (and, as we shall later see, also about the way you think logically too!) In short, are you happy and satisfied with the way society treats you on the basis of gender or are you not?
If you like some parts the role society lays out for you, but don't like others, or even if you like all of the role you are assigned, but yearn to experience some aspects of the other, you are not alone!
In fact, there are very few people who are one hundred percent of one gender and nothing of the other. Laying it out flat: everyone is transgender to some degree or other.
It is when that degree is very large that the feelings of dysphoria become very strong, and that is when people begin to question their gender identity.
If society allowed and completely supported any individual acting and dressing any way he or she wanted, there would still be two genders but they wouldn't be based on physical sex. But society isn't like that. Even today, society expects men to act like men and women to act like women. And so, since just about everyone has some degree of transgenderism, just about everyone feels at least a little constrained in their assigned gender role.
Think of gender not as a binary choice of one thing or another, but as a spectrum or range with "Masculine" on one end of the line and "Feminine" on the other. If you had to class any given person on that scale, you would place them somewhere along the line between the two.
But in reality, that just sums up all of a person's traits, averages them together like making a smoothie in a blender, and then describes what the whole thing tastes like.
A better way to think about gender is as a collection of distinct traits, each of which has a range from masculine to feminine. For example, does liking to watch football mean a person is masculine gendered? Of course not. Like me, you probably know a lot of women who enjoy football, though most, it is true, do not.
Does enjoying knitting prove someone is of a feminine gender? Nope. My daughter is an award-winning knitter, and her fiancée has taken up the craft with great enthusiasm. He's a masculine dude, but finds it a relaxing hobby.
Still, do real men not eat quiche, as the book title states? Society would have you think so. Just look at television commercials and you'll see that 98% of them cast men and women in masculine and feminine roles based on their physical sex, as if the two attributes were tied to each other.
How did it get like this? Simple, really. Society is like a living machine. It doesn't care if you are happy; it just cares if you do your job. It assigns jobs to those best equipped to handle them - that's how society keeps itself strong.
Due to differences in the brains of men and women and also due to the effects of testosterone vs. estrogen, adult men and women are not equally equipped, mentally and physically.
For example, if have a need for big strong people to help lift heavy loads, you'll find more men than women. There aren't a lot of women working on moving vans, for example. Men, in general, are just physically bigger and stronger than women.
But, when it comes to handling electronic components on an assembly line, you'll find almost only women. Women's brains (and hormones) make them far more patient with repetitive tasks then men for whom it is almost torture.
So, society keeps itself efficient by creating unspoken boundaries between the sexes that guide men and women into activities for which they will be most efficient overall.
Though just about everybody is transgender in at least a few small ways, there are so many different kinds of jobs, activities, and lifestyles available that nearly everyone can find a niche in society where they perform a function and fit in with others who are attracted to that niche.
Think of all the stereotypes - the computer geek, the debutante, the football player, the housewife. There's a job, activity, or role for just about everyone - just about. But for some of us, no matter which niche we tried, we found the fit a little too tight, like a pair of jeans a size too small.
Can you still squeeze into them? Sure. But are you comfortable? Not hardly.
Suppose the jeans were two sizes too small? Or three? What if they were so small you couldn't get into them at all? Well, this describes the varying degrees of gender dsyphoria.
Most people have such a mild case of gender dysphoria that they can forge a happy life, even if the jeans don't exactly fit in all areas. After all, how many of us can't buy off the rack and need tailored clothes instead?
But if the role is too tight, we live uncomfortably. The worse the fit, the more we chaff and fidget. Eventually, we may become so uncomfortable that we think perhaps a different role would fit better.
But how can we tell without actually trying it on? And therein lies the rub, as it were. How can we go about sampling the other role without destroying everything we've built in our current role - relationships, seniority, perhaps career recognition?
For males seeking to explore the female society role, the first step is often cross-dressing. For women , the tendency is to explore being a tomboy. Why the difference? In society, the male role is a lot more restrictive. So, any outward expression of feminine traits brings immediate ridicule. In addition, men are not "allowed" by society to wear anything pertaining to the opposite sex. So, alone, at home, men exploring their gender identity will try on female clothing as an aid to imagining themselves as women, so they can act, move, and even practice speaking as a woman.
Now there's an important differentiation here. So far, we've said nothing about sexual stimulation, essentially, what turns you on? Does cross-dressing turn you on? If it does, does it mean you are a transvestite rather than a transsexual. Naw. Not that simple.
What turns us on is as unconnected to any other traits as gender dysphoria is independent of genital dysphoria. For example, gay men come in a whole range of varieties from very feminine to very masculine. But, they all like other men. Some like women too. And some are auto erotic.
Some who like women also are really bisexual. Some straight men to also like men a bit are bisexual. But like everything else, it is a matter of degree - do you find both sexes equally attractive? Do you find one more than the other? Are you attracted to one of the sexes but also to just one attribute of another?
Many gay men who would never want to make love to a woman find themselves oddly titillated by female breasts. Go figger. In a phrase, anything goes. So, when trying to figure yourself out, don't box yourself in.
If you are turned on by cross-dressing, you might just be a cross-dresser who gets off on the experience. Nothing wrong with that at all. As we used to say in the 70's, "Whatever turns you on."
But, a lot of true, majorly dysphoric transsexuals also started by cross-dressing and were also stimulated by it. I can tell you for a fact that a little known secret is that many 'true" transsexuals who started out men but whose minds are totally female still get turned on by wearing women's clothes everyday, even decades after having sex reassignment surgery. What's more, a lot of born women get turned on by their clothes as well. Why do you think lingerie is so popular? You think women do it just for the guys?
Any time anyone enjoys some kind of activity sexually, it is a normal reaction. When a lot of people do the same thing, society either condones it or looks the other way. For example, men and women can kiss in public, but look what happens if two people of the same sex kiss in a shopping mall in most parts of the world.
Whenever less than a majority of people engage in a particular form of sexual gratification, it is branded a fetish by society, which frowns on "aberration" because it threatens the efficient operation of the social machine. But there's really nothing wrong with it per se - it just gums up the works of the Great Engine of Society.
Not all transgendered or transsexual folk start by cross-dressing. Some bypass it completely. Those are the ones for whom gender dysphoria is really strong but genital dysphoria is weak. In other words, they like their bodies but want to express themselves femininely.
So what about this "genital dysphoria" anyway? Some clever person described genital dysphoria in born males as "venus envy." In short, they want to swap their genitalia for the other kind.
Again, this can simply be a comfort thing where you feel as if you have some sort of alien growth between your legs, feel unclean, and have to change it to the other kind. Or, it can be a sexual thing where you have no particular attachment to what you've got, but would really enjoy wearing the other sex as your body.
Once more, a lot more women than men get off on their own bodies. Women's brains and hormones tend to make them feel more like the bait wiggling on the hook than the fish looking for a quick lunch. Who do you think enjoys mirrored ceilings more? (And speaking of mirrors, how often do you see women checking out their reflections? In men it is seen as vanity, in women, well, "Woman, thy name is vanity." In other words, its normal for girls.
Okay, I've dumped a lot of information on you, especially if you are a beginner just trying to understand yourself.

So how can you find the answer to the question, "Am I a transsexual?"
While there is no single test you can take or single activity you can do to answer this question objectively, I've listed a number of smaller questions and tasks below that will enable you to answer this question for yourself with confidence.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Transsexual Success Stories


10 Things I Did to Feel Like a Girl

From: http://www.teenvogue.com/story/how-to-feel-like-a-girl-before-hormone-replacement-therapy/amp

10 Things I Did to Feel Like a Girl When I Couldn’t Transition

The day I started hormones was the best day of my life. It was also a day I had to wait almost two years for, due to waiting lists here in the U.K. Sadly, the struggle to get onto hormones and begin transitioning is something many transgender people face — whether it's due to waiting lists, financial issues, or unsupportive families, this can be extremely detrimental to our mental health. As Jay Stewart, PhD, the founder of Gendered Intelligence, explains, “It is so important for young trans people to express their gender in the ways they feel is right for them."
Before I started my hormones, I felt depressed, but what got me through it was finding ways to make myself feel more feminine (at least, according to what my own definition of femininity is) and like I was progressing in my transition. Of course, everyone’s transition is different and everyone’s idea of femininity is different. But here, I share some of the things that helped me, as well as some of my top tips if you're going through a similar time.
I grew my hair!
This was the easiest and cheapest way to progress in my transition because it cost no money at all and I could do it without even thinking. (Of course, I realize that not every girl wants to grow out her hair, but this was something I wanted to do.) Caring for your hair with nourishing treatments and oils can help to make it grow, but the best part about this extra hair care is that I was able to give myself some self-care, too.
Body hair removal
On the topic of hair: As well as growing it, there may be hair you want to remove. Everyone has different preferences to body hair, but my body hair always made me feel dysphoric. So even though I wasn’t living full time, I’d still do things like shave my legs so I felt more feminine. If you want to also have your hair removed, you can consider laser hair removal on your face (and consider that it's a process that can take time).
Moisturizer is everything
I took time every day to moisturize my body from head to toe, and I don’t mean just slapping it on in a rush! I really took time to connect with myself — massaging it into my skin, showing my body some love. This really helped me battle my body dysmorphia and it improved my skin; win, win.
I painted my nails
Similarly to the moisturizing routine, this was a way of showing my body and myself some love. Looking down and seeing a feminine hand is a small but significant way I would affirm my gender to myself during this period where I wasn’t allowed or able to express it to the rest of the world. I wasn’t confident enough to go for a bold color during this period, so I’d just keep them filed and buffed with a coat of clear gloss, but this was enough to keep me feeling feminine during this hard time. Try it!

I practiced my voice
I began working on my voice. Sadly for us transgender girls, unlike transgender guys, hormones don’t do anything to our voices, so if you want a more feminine one (not everyone does!) you’ll have to train it yourself. There are loads of YouTube videos that will teach you how do this. It takes time and practice, though, so if this is something you want for yourself, get on with it as soon as possible. Alternatively, if this is something you don’t care about, good for you — that’s one less thing to worry about.
I practiced wearing makeup
Firstly, let me say that no, you don't have to wear makeup to be a woman. But if makeup is something you want to use, it does take some practice! I've realized that this waiting time is the perfect opportunity to perfect the craft. One way to start learning the basics is to look up "morning routine" videos, where makeup artists show you their daily makeup routine.
I started my wardrobe
I started building up my female wardrobe, which helped me feel like I was progressing. If you're tight on money, I suggest making a Pinterest board of clothes you want to (and will!) wear.
Eat well and exercise
Eating well and exercising is something we should all be doing (I ain’t judging you, I can’t talk!), but it's extra important to do so during this time period. There are certain exercises you can do to create a more feminine figure if this is something you want. Squats, for example, will give you the ass of your dreams, no hormones required. Exercise, as we all know, is great for your mental health, too — so that's an added bonus.
Started saving money early
I started saving my money. Transitioning can be expensive, especially if you want any surgery (though not everyone does, which is totally OK). But even the things like laser hair removal, makeup, and a new wardrobe add up. Saving money means you’re still progressing toward your goal and not staying stagnant during this period of waiting.

I learned to love myself.
This is the hardest, but most important, tip on this list. You don’t have to be on hormones or living full-time to start learning to love yourself. All the tips on this list have focused on changing yourself physically, but if you don’t learn to love yourself first, you will keep changing yourself until you’ve lost yourself — and even then, you still won’t love yourself. Start from within. If you tell yourself you’ll only be able to start loving yourself once you’ve transitioned, that’s not truly loving yourself. To love yourself means to accept yourself, wholeheartedly, as you are. Loving yourself doesn’t mean you necessarily like everything about your body, but it means you wholeheartedly accept everything about your body, and there’s nothing more beautiful, powerful, or important than that.