AI: Celebrating Changes


When you’re trans and you’re just figuring out what to do about it, it’s sometimes hard to believe that anything will ever actually change for the better. If you suffer from physical dysphoria, the idea of not hating your body sounds pretty far-fetched. Even when you’ve set yourself on the course and taken steps in the direction you want to go, the process is agonizingly slow.

And then, one day, you realize something. For me, it was “I haven’t cringed at the sound of my own voice in weeks.” I knew my voice had bothered me, but I hadn’t realized just how much hating what I heard every time I opened my mouth affected me until that pressure was lifted off my shoulders. I know that when my girlfriend realized that every time she looked down she saw breasts she had a similar experience of relief.

In the grand scheme of things, it’s pretty small. It certainly hasn’t solved all my problems, or gotten rid of all my dysphoria, by any stretch of the imagination. But it feels like a major turning point. I feel like I should have a party or something.

Have you had a dramatic change for the better? Did you celebrate? Would you like to come to my party?

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  1. Oh, yes. Without a doubt yes!

    Which I first started taking action, pre-everything, I was varying intensities of of kaleidoscopic miserable.

    After seeking help and deciding to take some minor action – in this case taking some tax-refund $$ and buying experimental clothes – I mean, up to this point nothing I tried was mine, fit to me, something I choose. The first positive wasn’t so much the close-inspection reaction. I still saw my old self in the mirror, or when I looked down. I could feel my own stubble. Every once in awhile, however, I’d catch a glimpse of real self. It’d only be out of the corner of my eye as I turned around, or it’d be in the reflection of the small mirror on the other side of the room, some 50 feet away, but I’d see me.

    I’d see myself and I wouldn’t recoil. I’d feel recognition, and as long as I didn’t look too directly, or get too close, all those negative feelings would stay away. After a while I realised that it was at least plausible that other people might see that version of myself as well. That I might be able to see myself more directly, and expressively. That transition was possible.

    That was enough to convincement that HRT was something I not only wanted to do, but COULD do. The first thing I noticed took about 3 weeks after starting, which was that my last few weekends were, surprisingly enough, pretty okay! Normally, when out and about, something would trigger the dysphoria and put me in a funk for a long while. It wasn’t so much euphoria as a lack of dysphoria.

    It’s been over 5 months now, and my body is starting to slowly change. I can see myself in reflections more often now. I feel more comfortable in my own skin.

    It occurs to me that I can compare my personal reactions to both gendered puberties. The first time around, I started to grow hair on my face and I felt profoundly ashamed. Buying a razor was a shameful as buying condoms: it was a tacit admission about my body and needs that I found profoundly uncomfortable. I could never shave in front of a mirror. Always did it eyes closed, in the shower, by touch. I lied about being able to grow a beard to friends – for some reason it didn’t occur to me that they might find that odd. It was better than admitting to myself that I could.

    This time around, however… I was walking in a grocery store and realised that the way I was carrying my bag across my chest was emphasizing the small developments there. At first I thought I should move the strap, because what if people saw? Then I thought: f*ck it. This is me, and I’m happy with the changes. I’m not ashamed; I’m glad.

    Complete 180.

    A day or two of reflection after that and I realised that there was no way I could go back. There was no way I would stop HRT. Being able to express myself, being able to see myself reflected back at me both literally in mirrors, but also in the interactions with the people around me.. nope, not going back.

  2. Realised I didn’t answer the other two questions:

    1. Yes, see above.
    2. Only inside my own head from time to time, but maybe if I change my name and transition socially at work that will change.
    3. Of course! I’m always up for a party, even it it’s just raising a toast at my computer at an appointed time in solidarity.

  3. You know the classic “but I can’t feel my gender” thing that cis people often reply with when they fail to understand how trans people feel? … and what some use to deny it is even possible to be trans?

    Well, after actually having transitioned and things having calmed down a little and life is converging towards a normal (seeing that I was lucky enough to gain passing privilege), I have discovered for the first time since I was an oblivious child that I no longer “feel my gender”. As in I do not feel there’s an inconsistency any more. It’s like having a hurt shoulder. I can’t really feel my shoulder when it’s fine, but when it’s injured it’s all I can feel.

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