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Ask Jane, Column 21

URNA Community:

Greetings. I have been remiss in writing my Ask Jane column for the site and for this I apologize. I talk about transition in the letter below; I've been through a transition of another sort during the past year: a heart-breaking divorce, purchase of property of my own, falling in love anew, and a move to Barbados. Like many of your transitions, mine has been jam-packed with emotion, drama, great sadness, and renewed happiness. Please accept my apologies and my gratitude for the many notes and invitations to become Friends that you've sent me. xx Jane


"Where Do I Begin?"
Dear Jane,

I am a not-so-young cross-dresser who has finally gotten herself in a position to say goodbye to "brother" and be who she is full time.

This in itself has been am exciting and at times stressful process and when I finally made the commitment to change, I started with a new name, similar enough to "his," that will make the legal change easier.

I have been in therapy off and on for years, but have never addressed the gender issue with a therapist. I have found from casual questions I've asked and comments that they've made that the therapists I have seen are not the most gender-oriented.

I am not afraid to find and start talking to one. I am not sure that any would allow me to start the one thing I am definitely wanting and ready for: HRT (hormone replacement therapy)!

I am so ready to start this with the goal of having a more feminine body before I start living full time as a woman, which I understand is a requirement to sexual reassignment surgery (SRS). I do feel SRS is something which will occur, but I truly want to have the hormones in full swing and even facial feminization surgery, before the SRS.

No matter how I try I can never NOT see "him" and "his" body, face and all. The most stress free and at ease with myself I have ever achieved has been when my female persona is in charge.

I have had some great makeovers and I am steadily working at my presentation and makeup skills. But I still see him and his masculine body structure, regardless of what I wear or how many compliments I receive. It has gotten to where I truly hate his physical features.

I have looked at and come very close to buying and using the feminization products available at some vendors, but have always stopped myself from wasting my money and time for things I know won't do what I desire and need.

Can you give me any guidance or help in getting started on the HRT so that when I am ready to get the facial feminization surgery, I will be well on my way?

Hoping to hear some good news,

J.

Darling one,

I admire the your courage to honor and finally embody the woman you feel you're ready to become. Many TGs will identify with your struggle as you straddle the gulf between the male self you feel ready to jettison and your emerging female self.

I hear in your letter an urgency to move on to the physical changes; I urge you to proceed with care. A change in gender is so much more than deportment and appearance, love. Please find a good therapist who understands the issues you'll be facing through this exciting and often problematic transition. In addition, therapists who specialize in MTF transition are often able to make referrals to physicians who can help you with facial and other surgeries.

It's an exciting time for you but don't gloss over the immense challenges that lie ahead. These include how others perceive you and the reactions and levels of acceptance and support you'll receive (or not) from family and co-workers.

You will also require monitoring of your hormone levels as you go through the process. Hormonal fluctuations will rock your moods in unpredictable ways, cause changes you're not sure are "normal," as well as body changes that may puzzle (even as they excite) you.

Your inner life also needs tender loving care as you transition. The psychological and emotional changes that arise as a result of taking hormones and changing your appearance surgically are as profound as the physical changes you'll see in your skin and secondary sex characteristics.

Don't go it alone. You'll find a community of kindred spirits at URNA who can hold your hand as you trudge the happy road toward coming into your own. TGs in your area of the country will be able to refer you to therapists and others who can also help.

Good luck, sweet soul.

Jane

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