Transitioning early in life: Miranda's advice

[* name changed to protect her privacy]

I had always felt aligned with the female sex since I was very young. I cannot recall many events from my life when I was quite young but I am certain that deep down, my view of myself in the world was always that of a female. I idolised female role models in all form of media from stories of Anne Bonny to Disney Princesses (my favourite growing up was The Little Mermaid). Although I knew that I was a declared a "boy", this information never seemed to conflict with my mental status during pre-pubescence. I was raised by my young single mother all through my adolescents and she was always very supportive of my behaviour and personal decisions however "eccentric" they may have seemed.

My pubescence started a relatively young age for a male at 9, although it was a very gradual one. No major physical changes took place that pushed my body past a comfortable androgynous level, although around this time, I started to realise how socially unacceptable my behaviour and mannerisms were to my peers and other adults and that I was starting to feel very strongly for some of my male friends. This caused me a great deal of distress as I always wanted to please those around me. I originally thought that it was possible that I was just a homosexual boy as I had been solely attracted to other boys around my age or older. I had experimented with a few of my friends around 14 and even though I sometimes had deep feelings for them, I wasn't comfortable sharing the "dominant" position during our romps and didn't like them focusing on my male parts. I quickly became uninterested in anyone that didn't identity as "straight" as the type of physical relations I had with them were more comfortable for me. I fell in love with a few of these boys but was told that although I was effeminate, it was too bad that I wasn't a "real girl" or else they would openly date me.

It was around this time that my body was starting to begin a new wave of puberty. This caused me to become very depressed and awkward. I suddenly realised that my body was moving in a direction that I was not at home with and that eventually it would turn me into a "man" which was something I never really considered. I had always assumed my body would be comfortable for me always. I felt like I needed to stop it somehow but at the time didn't think there was anything anyone could do. After I got my first computer at 15 and a connection to the internet, I was able to explore why I wasn't feeling "OK" with myself. Somehow or another I stumbled onto a transsexual support site which then linked me to TS Road Map. It all seems like a blur to me now, but that entire summer I researched everything I could find about being transsexual and what it meant to transition and actually become legally female and be able to marry and live like any other woman. I also learned I could stop the testosterone production in my body, which I just recently learned was the cause for my discomfort in my own skin, and add estrogen to create secondary female characteristics. I had read enough to know that time was of the essence and by 16 had found a trusted site with which to supply myself with anti-androgens paid for with temporary pre-paid credit cards I could get at my local mall. I couldn't at the time afford estrogen as well but every once and a while I would experiment with patches or sublingual variants to find what worked best for me. I had to keep the majority of this a secret from my mother because I knew she knew little of transsexualism and even less about HRT and I didn't want to make things harder on her as she was dealing with a meth addiction I was currently unaware of but knew something was giving her a hard time. I did however print a story about another young t-girl and gave it to her to read, she said that she read it and if I felt a certain way that she would support me however she could but she lacked a job and couldn't really take care of me and my 2 younger siblings very well as it was.

Also around that time when I was 16, I dropped out of school and moved in with my grandparents as it was becoming too difficult to balance my issues with social ostracism at school and deal with not having a stable home with my mother. My grandparents were much more conservative than my mother and I felt more inclined to hide my status from them. In my mind I thought it would have been hard enough to accept me being gay, let alone something as unheard of as a sex change. Now they know of my status and are very supportive and usually speak highly of me to friends. From there I basically spent time getting my GED and getting ready for college while still keeping on anti-androgens until I reached an age or financial situation in which full transition would be possible.

At 18 I was off to college in a new town away from everyone I knew. I lived in a nicer dorm that had single rooms and a shared shower for 2 other guys but was otherwise completely private. Although I still felt somewhat uncomfortable sharing a living space with what seemed to me at the time as "older men", I was able to manage. I met some great friends and my current bf who I am living with at the moment of writing this. He is pansexual and accepts me for being female, although he was hesitant at first, he realises how I simply couldn't be any other way. I also started estrogen on and off again (bad idea I know) but I still lacked the financial stability to be more consistent in my transition.

We have been together for two years and although I had to leave college early because we had to move, he has helped me significantly in making sure I have what I need to stay on track. I am currently 20 and living 100% full time now as of the new year and trying to find a proper psychologist to help give me the green light for SRS and professionally moderated HRT. I pass pretty much always thanks to good genetics (thank you Mom for the lips and ass :D) and the fact that I have been on anti-androgens from a younger age. I still have a hard time finding any work due to not having many marketable skills and the economy sucking (being trans probably isn't helping my odds either). I have been very lucky in my personal life though and hope that other young people may catch the same breaks.

Sorry for that literal life story. I also have a few points that I would like to make on being transsexual. I notice that there is a lot of emphasis on the psychological and gender aspects of being transsexual, and although I agree that there are many factors including gender identity, I think it is also important to point out that some of us actually do have a biological drive to be functionally or typically formatively female. There is an asynchrony that happens to some people when they know that something is VERY wrong with their body and needs to change, for me that was when my puberty started to reach out of the comfort zone of normal female development. Although I do believe my gender is completely in female range, I also believe I have a very strong physical drive that would exist no matter how atypical my inward gender might seem. I believe, in my personal case anyway, that there are in some cases very strong biological factors that can dominate ones need to transition, for me, I would not have been able to wait to transition post-puberty. I would likely have inflicted serious harm on my body if I hadn't been able to intervene with my development when I did. I know for a fact, that testosterone was a significant cause of depression for me, just as a lack of testosterone causes depression in gender typical men, and that I started to feel most like myself when on T-blockers and estrogen. It is because of this, that I believe a person of ANY age needs the information and resources available to them to be able to realise that they aren't alone, and that it is OK to not want to wait until things become too far out of your control to do something about it. I think trans education needs to take place in most schools and that child psychologists and counsellors be well educated in recognising possible transsexual children and providing both the child and parents with information especially regarding the importance of pubescent intervention. At 16, I had an LGBT group sponsored psychologist tell me I was "too young" to start HRT even with parental consent even though they didn't doubt that I was transsexual. They said I had "plenty of time" and they couldn't see waiting two years for HRT making "much of a difference".

I have a few bits of advice I would like to give to other young potential transfolk.

(1) I think the first thing is to be honest with yourself the people who care about you first and foremost. People may be ignorant and have poor ways of thinking, but most people in your life are out for your best interest and want you to be happy. Don't use fear as a reason to not be yourself. Answer their concerns and questions positively and honestly. People will eventually come around if they love you and not only will you feel better, you will have brought a little more understanding into the world.

(2) Don't put off the inevitable, if you are going to go through with it, you are only helping yourself by getting started early, I am not saying rush into things too quickly, but don't think that it will be easier if you wait a few years. The one thing I would do differently was not drag out my going full time to near 4 years out of fear of being clocked (which I feel silly about now). I also should have tried harder to find a good psychologist earlier (still searching).

(3) Please don't turn to drugs and alcohol to deal with your downs. This is all too common in the trans community, especially trans youth. I know how much things suck sometimes, but you are worth a lot more than the damage you may be doing to your body. I also have noticed that the more harm one puts themselves through, the easier it is to take that extra step and do something they may regret, or may not live to regret.

In closing, some people call early transitioners brave, I personally think I am probably incredibly selfish. My decision to transition was almost out of my control, I am amazed at t-women that have been able to wait until their 30's, 40's, 50's and older to drop the façade of being a "man" in today's society. I think they are the one's who deserve the applause for the hardships they have endured and overcome.

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.