Tuesday this week there was an information evening at the VU on the treatment process for MtF transexuals. It covered a few topics from diagnosis, RLE and hormones, hair removal to surgury.
The first topic was by for the most useful to me as I have been quite scared by the diagnosis process. They didn't go into extreme detail, but gave enough to put my mind at rest. They are not there to catch you out and send you packing, they are there to help you live your life in the best way.
As far as whether they would recommend the RLE stage I was suprised at just how many criteria they use. As well as the basic diagnosis they look at the level of dysphoria associated *and* how strong the person is. As the psychologist said there is no point in leading someone through the whole process if you are going to turn agrophobic as you are too afraid to leave the house. I can see that.
The hormone discussion was also quite useful. What to expect, what not to expect, how long to give the hormones to do there job before looking at other options. What is realistic and what you have to put up with, and what you can expect longer term.
As he pointed out full body hair removal is not covered as they take the view that women also have to shave their legs, and to give the hormones a chance to reduce body hair growth (he admitted the amount of reduction differs per person, and per hair growth to begin with) before spending a lot of money on other methods.
He also gave an explaination of what hormones are and how they work, and gave a circuit diagram for a small section of the human hormonal machine. Christ it's complex!
After the break they started with hair removal. Exactly how it works and why skin colour and hair colour is important. The technical difference between laser and IPL and again what to expect, and again what is realistic. I have to say whether I transition or not I want to have this on my face - Mrs Stace is not so keen on me doing this as she thinks it'll femanise me too much if I am living as a man. Something to think about.
Finally surgury. Both GRS and breast augmentation. Again what to expect, what not to expect, the limitations of possiblilities etc. I think that one of the best things that the surgeon went through there were the dangers. What can go wrong, along with quite graphic examples. What the main danger is with the operation (damage to the bowel).
All in all the evening was full of very useful information - I'm pleased that I went.
However... And this may be contraversial...
I am me. When dressed as a man or a woman. Always me. I don't put on a show when dressed. As I put to a friend in an email:
With the girls online I feel very much at home, and very much part of a group of inteligent, grown up, rational women who know *who* they are. We all have our crisis', and we all offer support to each other. But what always remains is *our* personality. We do not perform for the crowd, so to say.
That was not the case at the VU. There were a lot of people there. Most people, like me, faded into the background (my natural state). However there was a very vocal, loud and, err, flamboyant group that played into the media stereotype of what a transexual woman is. They were trying so hard to prove to the world that they acted as women act that I am sure I did not see a trace of personality. Clothes that would not be out of place in a town center at 3am on a Saturday morning (I may sound like a boring prude here, but this was supposed to be an open, inclusive evening for transexuals and their *families and friends* - and as such I think that little decorum in the dressing department would not have gone amiss).
I hate to say it, but I did not feel comfortable around this stereotype - it's not who or what I am. Poor Mrs Stace was also a little less than comfortable. I feel really guilty for thinking that and for feeling uncomfortable - but it kind of just lent weight to the worst that people think about trans people. Sorry...
But that was a small part of the evening. Once the speakers started there were only three people in the room. me, Mrs Stace sitting next to me and the speaker. I'm much less afaid of the screening and diagnosis phase of the process now, which can only be a good thing.