Here is what to plan during a gender change. Young people who start before they are adults may have some other things.
Most of transition is social. Some people also make legal changes, and some make medical changes.
Research is the key. Look into as many books and films as you can. Look at social media, video channels, forums, audio, and news. Read what the main gender advocates say. Look through the models of care that many people use when giving us healthcare. Get advice from those in your area who are doing well. Contact people whose work you like.
The internet has been a big part of the history of our community. It gives us an easy way to get and share information. Still, you must think about your online safety. Some of us have had problems from things we said or did online.
Self-acceptance is the hardest part of transition. It is the first thing you must work on. Many people find therapy can help them with their hopes and fears. It can help you see how important this is to you. Many people have wrong ideas about transition at first. Therapy can help you with the good and bad parts of a gender change. You are going to feel hurt sometimes as you transition. You must have a way to deal with this. You may also need to work out how your faith fits with your feelings.
Coming out to family and friends is different for each of us. You must think very hard about when and how to tell people about how you feel. For young people who live at home or who get money help from their families, coming out is the biggest step in your transition. You must plan very well. For older people, it is also important. If you are married or in a serious relationship, you owe it to your partner to let them know how you feel. You may lose them because of this. Some of us do, but not all of us. It is not fair to keep something like this from them, since it can change their lives almost as much as yours. Talk with your therapist about your family issues.
Employment is very important. You must choose if you will transition where you work now or not. I feel the best thing to do is to transition at a job or in school. If you want to “start over,” get all your legal and financial records changed first. Starting a new job and transitioning at the same time can be much harder. You want to have the money you need for transition, no matter what. I recommend not coming out at work until you have to.
Money: Transition can cost a few hundred dollars, or hundreds of thousands of dollars. For this reason, your timetable must be made after carefully laying out your goals and spending plan. Insurance can save a lot of money, but there may be limits to what is covered by your policy. You must have a realistic money plan in place.
Legal issues: You will need to deal with these sooner if you are married or own a business. You may be facing a divorce and custody case. If you work for a company, you should talk to a lawyer before you come out at work. This can give you a good idea of how not to be fired. It can help you be ready if you need to sue your employer. Seeing a lawyer should be done as a way to keep your job. You should get a legal name change as well as state and federal identity documents switched right before you come out at work. This will allow your employer to do your name change quickly after you come out. Often they will not begin until they have certain types of legal documentation.
Choosing a name may sound like a pretty easy thing, but you should think hard about it before making a legal change. Your choice can affect how you are accepted and can even make it easier to be outed in the future.
Hair removal, and most of all facial hair removal, can often take the most time and money in transition. You should begin as soon as you can. Get permanent hair removal. You should have as much permanent facial hair removal as you can before you go full-time.
Voice is one of the hardest parts for some, but it can be quite cheap. Voice practice takes time and practice, often over 6 months. You may need to work with a voice therapist for the results you want. Some people choose voice surgery if the other options fail.
Hair loss is something you also may need to think about. If you do not have hair loss, you should begin growing it now, since it takes a long time. If you have some hair loss, you may want to consider correcting it surgically. If your hair loss is moderate to severe, you must determine how to deal with that through wigs or hair systems. If you choose this, spend the extra money for the best kind.
You should think hard about your reproductive options before hormones or bottom surgery. Hormones or bottom surgery can change your body so you can’t ever make children.
Hormones can change a lot of things: skin, where you have body fat, your face, scalp hair, body hair, and even how you feel. Most of these are slow and not easy to see. Hormones are not a magic pill that will change you overnight. They will not change your voice or get rid of existing facial hair.
Facial feminization surgery (FFS) can cost a lot, even more than bottom surgery, but it can be a big help each day. If you want to blend in with other women, face surgery may do more to help than top or bottom surgery. Having a feminine face and hairline can help with safety, work, and social things. In my case, I feel face surgery was the best thing I did. For others, it is not worth the high cost.
Clothing and accessories: You need to plan carefully when to start wearing things you prefer, especially at work or school.
Going full-time will go well if you plan well. It makes it easier for others to accept you if you have planned well.
Breast augmentation is a choice some people make. There are risks you should think about.
Some people choose bottom surgery early in their timeline. This can help with many things. You won’t need hormone blockers, and it helps some people with dysphoria to do this before they are full-time. Options include orchiectomy (removal of testicles), vaginoplasty (creation of a vagina), as well as labiaplasty and vulvoplasty (shaping of outer genitals without a vagina). There are also other options. Genital hair removal is often needed before bottom surgery. Once you choose a surgeon, ask if you should get it. This should be started one year before surgery if you can.
There is no “right” way to transition. You can choose what you want to do, and you can do it at your own pace. The goal is to be happier with each step you take.