Transitioning early in life: Lana's advice

(ed. note: I've changed her name to protect her privacy-- A)

I would like to say that you have put together a very helpful website for people in the TS situation. The reason I came across your website is that I am doing a walk down an interesting memory lane. A bit about me first.

I am a 48 yr old M2F TS. I transitioned at age 20 during college in Jan. 1979. So basically I have been a woman all my adult life. Since you seem to have an interest on TS's who transitioned early I will give you a bit of my story. As a young child I felt different from others  and thought it had to do with my self identity and the differences between boys and girls.

As a teenager in the early 1970s I had read articles on transsexuals in newspapers and magazines and recognized that was my situation. I was not per se a classic TS early on as I was not much of a cross dresser. There would have been severe consequences if found by my parents. But having great blond hair, my real focus was on my hairstyle, my parents thought it should be very short I thought I should have long hair in a ponytail style.

I graduated high school a semester early and started college this gave me a bit of breathing room from my parents. I was able to grow my hair out a bit and have pierced ears. At the college library there were psychology books on the TS subject area which I read. but being in a midsized Midwestern city and the centers of TS help were on the east or west coasts, I had little chance at professional help as I also had little money. By 1977 (age19) my parents were pressuring me to conform which was causing me much distress, I decided to seek prof. help.

In 1978 I went to the Stanford, Palo Alto Gender Clinic and had an evaluation done. They gave me a lettter to to proceed and start living as Lana which I did in Jan. 1979 (age 20). I was fortunate enough to pass relatively well early on as I was 5ft 7in tall, 118 pounds, long blond hair, little facial hair and a quiet polite demeanor. (as a teenager I went thru a low level male puberty). I did tell my very conservative parents in 1978 but it did not go well, I was pretty much disowned for the next several years.

1979 was I guess a real life test though I never thought it was a test ,just the rest of my life. So in Jan 1979 I changed all my documents over including my birth certificate. I moved to another Midwestern city and started college again, got a fulltime job in my female role, purchased a new small car and moved on with my life. By the end of 1979 the psych distress all washed away and I felt 100% better. Also after Jan 1979 I had little prof psych help. I did have a hard time finding a doctor for HRT. By the end of 1979 I had progress on the facial hair electrolysis and hormone therapy. In March 1980 I had the adams apple surgery. In April 1981 I had the breast implants done. In April 1982 I had the SRS in Trinidad CO.

The reason  this surgery transition took so long was that I had very little money and I was also in college. The total cost from 1978-82 was $12,000. I was also very happy just living socially as Lana, a young woman during this time. Considering this TS situation is quite severe and difficult, I had very little psych help and problems associated with it compared to the many other TS women biographies I have read on the internet.

This major life TS transformation was by far the best thing  that happened to me. I feel that my mind and are as one now. I am so glad I transitioned early as my whole adult life has been as a woman. I never agonized over any decision on being a woman, it was more difficult to disengage from my parents.

My life has been very  good since 1979. I have been with the same employer since 1980 and own my own home since 1985. I have also become a published author. I am amazed that during the yrs 1976-82 I earned two separate BA and BS degrees, worked nearly fulltime and went thru a major life transformation and survived.......If you have any questions feel free to ask them.........Regards, Lana........

PS Back in the 1970s there was not a whole lot of information on the TS area ,the internet sure has helped in this area.

I asked her what things she felt she did right and what things she wished she had done differently.

A few things before I get to your questions on transitioning. Canary Conn (notable 1970s TS) was my hero in the late 1970s . I still have her autobiography. What ever happened to her? I heard she  passed away  about 1984, but internet  searching seems to turn up a blank , she was very active in the media but  nothing after about 1984 shows up. I checked the social security death index but her name is not there.......

If you are interested in more information on  my published books ,check the Library of Congress book catalog website, plug in my name [edited for privacy] as the author and a description will come up.......

I recently talked to my mother on the subject of my transsexualism, the first time in many years .My mother is still very conservative (She is a bit to the right of Rush Limbaugh). I asked her if she thought I could get married. She said " Well I guess so, you are a woman", this is amazing  progress for her............

I would have transitioned earlier (teenage years) if I could. By age 20 I was having a mental meltdown over my TS situation..........

The 3 Smartest Things I Did During Transition

1. Update, correct, and change all my identification/personal documents  and records as soon as possible. You never know when you will need them or if not updated if they will cause problems. In my case I was able to change the name and sex  on my birth cert right after the start of transitioning. A year later I secured stable long term employment with benefits with a large employer, they did review my drivers license and birth cert.

2. Get a good education!  A good education helped me make better life decisions and get better jobs. College was an ideal place to transition. I learned a lot educationally and socially in my new role there.

3. Develop and maintain a stable and dependable work and personal life. Live in a safe  neighborhood........

3 Things I Would Do Differently

1. I would seek and ask for professional help early on. Hopefully you can find appropriate therapy and work on your issues before you get to the mental health meltdown stage (I was in great mental health distress when I  sought help) .

2. I would have liked to get my economic and personal affairs in order sooner. Transition took several years I needed more money and time to do it successfully. Start hormones and electrolysis sooner. It takes 2 years for this to fully work out. Save up money for the extensive costs. Develop a new wardrobe and start to grow out my hair sooner. The better prepared you are ,the  easier your transition phase will be..

3 . Transition Earlier. The earlier you transition the better. Your body will be less developed and will accept the new hormones to better build your new body. You will have less old baggage and more new self! Your new self will enter into better relationships vs your old self. This TS problem does not go away unless you develop into your true inner self, so why not start on today.

Send me your thoughts, links, and advice!

If you transitioned in your teens or twenties and have any advice you'd like to share, please contact me , and I'll give it a permanent (and anonymous) home.