Transitioning early in life: Lynn's advice

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

Lynn went full-time in her early twenties and had SRS at 25. She sent this to me in July 2001, when she was 26.

Things I did right

For me, the smartest thing I did during transition was stay employed. This is very very important, transition can cost a lot of money. I see too many 20ish and younger t* girls end up in the club scene making their living as prostitutes. Its sad because society turns its back and almost always so do families of young trans girls when they transition.

The second smartest thing I did during transition was to have facial feminization surgery with Dr. Ousterhout. It made an INCREDIBLE difference in my life. I passed fine before Dr. O But now I have more confidence and I have boys bugging me nonstop =)

Finally the third thing I think was a good choice during transition was to have a game plan. Know where you're going. Set goals! I knew when I started transition I wanted to go to Dr. O and get srs before 26. I achieved those goals (Just barely). If you work towards them even if you don't hit your deadline you can see progress, and that's very encouraging. Stay Focused! Remember transitioning requires a lot of sacrifices and time Patience (Something I haven't mastered) Is also important ==) and lastly don't forgot to have fun!

Things I wish I did differently

I wish I had dealt with my family differently. My Father and I are not speaking and I don't think that will ever change. I didn't ease into telling them I let my parents find hormones in my room (not on purpose). This is not the ideal way to have your parents find out. Your family can be your best asset. I know I missed my family during transition and you cant replace the support they can give you. I think maybe trying to coax your parents into therapy and breaking it to them there might be a good choice.

If you do lose your family make your own family from friends. Use them as a support system They might surprise you =)

Think about what your doing before you jump into being fulltime. Consider the consequences. Try to make it go as smooth as possible.

Anticipate the possibility of losing your job or income stream. I didn't do this at one point and it almost halted my transition.

During my transition I have had many boyfriends (Preop) now this is just me but I wish I hadn't gotten involved with some of these boys. They did not know my status as TS and as our relationships got stronger I felt the need to pull away. My advice only date guys who know your status. It makes it easier. Plus its much much safer. I managed to keep them at bay but men can be very aggressive sexually. Better to play it safe IMHO.

Andrea's comments

Employment is absolutely essential to transition. While it is possible to transition while in the club scene, the club scene spits you out around 35 or so, and if you've done nothing but party all that time, you're going to find you are not the most marketable person in the world. Plus most young women I know who are dancers or escorts have a hard time getting out of that scene once they're in. That can lead to unhappiness, which can lead to drugs, which can lead to even more difficulties getting out. I'm not saying this to scare you. I know people who did that scene for a while and then got out. They all say to get out sooner than later, though. If you're past your mid-twenties and doing all that still, you're playing around on borrowed time. Trust me.

As far as employment, I recommend getting into something you love that can be a lifetime career. Anything. I especially recommend creative fields, since people tend to be a bit more open-minded and fun. However, if there's something else you've always dreamed of, pursue it! You'll find that after transition, almost anything else you want to do in life is pretty easy when you put your mind to it.

I completely agree with Lynn on the difference facial feminization surgery (FFS) can have on your life. Check out my section on it!

Goal setting is absolutely vital to a successful transition. You must have a realistic plan that's flexible enough for unseen events that may or may not come up. See my section on prioritizing transition and financing for details.

Telling parents is as crucial for young TSs (especially if you still live at home) as going full-time is. How you handle it will make a huge difference in how smoothly things go. You must prepare carefully. As Lynn suggests, it's better to control that situation yourself, so you're not on the defensive when it comes up. See my advice on coming out to parents in this section.

Before you come out to your family, you might consider coming out to close friends, especially if you know someone who might be able to take you in if you think your parents might try to kick you out. This doesn't happen a lot, but it happens enough that it's a good idea to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

The other big turning point is going full-time. You must do this based on a thought-out but flexible timetable. As Lynn notes, you must be at a point where your appearance will not have an effect on your ability to get a job or make friends. This makes everything go more smoothly.

Before coming out at work, ask yourself: Do you (and be honest) think you could interview and get hired in female mode without being clocked, or at least without your transsexual status being an distraction or a negative for the person hiring you? If not, it might be wise to wait to interview in female mode until you can function in society in a female role. See my section on employment issues for details.

Dating is a highly personal issue, and there are a lot of factors involved. Dating men who don't know your TS status can be extremely validating and can help your self-esteem, but it is also very risky. They might just say really hurtful things when they find out, or they might react violently. Only you can decide when to tell, but I generally recommend telling before things get physical in a public place where you can speak privately, but can leave quickly if needed.

I am a bit ambivalent about dating men who are interested in TSs. Like all men, some are cool, but a lot of them have issues. Some may be conflicted about their sexuality or may be TG in some way themselves. I've had emails from several guys who had the nerve to say they want to date me but they "can't afford to be seen out with me." I tell these jerks to get lost. You don't need that kind of BS in your life. If someone likes transsexuals, they need to be man enough to deal with that. If anyone tries to treat you like you're an embarrassment, leave immediately. No matter how cute they are!

Some men who like TSs only like pre-operative TSs. This is fine for some of us, but it obviously is a problem if that's not what you want for yourself. If you get in a long-term relationship with someone like this, they may subtly try to stop you from reaching SRS. So do this at your own risk.

Bottom line: For long-term relationships, you have two choices. Someone who is interested in TSs, or someone who has never given it a thought who likes you enough that it doesn't matter.

I'll write a lot more about dating later. It's fun and scary and exciting and heartbreaking and all sorts of other stuff! In the meantime, be very careful in the dating scene, OK?

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.