From as far back as I can remember my school years; my thought and behavior patterns did not fit those of the boys around me even though in genital terms, which were all that folks at the time considered, I was a boy. The girls and boys in my class soon picked up that something odd was going on with how I thought and behaved. As their vocabulary improved over the years, the most precise word that they used to describe me was “sissy.” The girls were mean by teasing me; the boys tended to beat me up physically.
Every day, going to school involved getting mentally ready for half a day's worth of combat. I hated the violence and being ostracized, and I hated the name too, but years later, I found out that it had been accurately chosen. As an adult, I can't begin to relate to the cultural things that men tend to like -- whereas the culturally typical female pastimes are enjoyable to me. In contrast with the men whom I know, I am vastly more sensitive and thoughtful with far more empathy. I finally concluded that the common theme in my thought patterns could be summarized nicely by classifying them as, generally, feminized.
I saw a gender counselor and she considered all this to be sound reasoning, and she encouraged me to explore looking (physically and aesthetically) as I felt mentally. The effect was like "coming home" emotionally. I liked looking feminized and it came naturally to me. Until then, my health had gradually been declining; I was putting on weight, my blood pressure was increasing, and I didn't really care. The idea of aging as a male seemed unpleasant and distasteful and the details didn’t really matter to me. The possibility of becoming physically feminized energized me.
I started working out and watching what I eat. I lost weight gradually, in all the right places. Recently I went to a health fair and my body fat & and blood pressure are now perfect. I have started privately modeling lingerie part-time and I make between $100 and $200 an hour by looking good enough to always get paid, even though the client always has the option of not paying afterwards, if it was not worth it. Life is exciting, challenging and I love it.
The key aspect for me is integration. I could, two years ago, have gone to Thailand and come back with a vagina instead of a penis and I would probably have felt no more feminized than before. Being feminized is a highly integrated process that involves surgical procedures and non-surgical procedures for the face, body and / or genitals -- and a lot of mental work in order to speak and move in a feminized way. I'm clear on the legal and stereotypical definitions as to what makes someone a male vs. not, and they have their reasons for being there. However, my approach to the issue of gender is primarily focused on my mind is wired, regardless of whether my genitals happen to be an "innie" or an "outie." If it comes to that, maybe I’ll have that operation too, but it’ll certainly not be the only aspect on which to focus. Recognizing my mental wiring as the essential aspect was for me a catalyst and an inspiration to wanting to look, speak and move in a way that's consistent with how I think. If the mind is the essence of a person, then essentially, I’m female regardless of what my driver’s license says.
My personal journey is multifaceted, as I suspect to be the case with most transgender / transsexual folks. In the hope that it will be of value, I plan to make updates on this site from time to time as I progress on this delightful journey. My first surgery will be to make the front of my neck smooth. I chose Dr. Ousterhout in San Francisco after meeting with him and his team in person. They made an exceptional impression.
My life experience has given me ample evidence that my approach to gender makes some people uncomfortable. If you disagree with me, I don’t really need to hear about it; I’m not here to debate the social aspects of transgender or transsexual life or to accept commentary on that subject. I do consider my approach to be well pondered and logical but that doesn’t make it open to general public dissection. I appreciate RealSelf’s initiative in making this forum available to people like me. I hope my particular story will provide others with guidance, comfort, strength and inspiration.