Friday, 30 April 2010

A little information can make all the difference...

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.


  1. It sounds like the meeting was well worth while other than the concern that may have been induced into your wife.
    You know people including transexual people come in all shapes and sizes, with differing outlooks and perspectives.
    It can be a little unsettling sometimes as I know it has made me feel on edge in the past, but all you need to do is be true to yourself and dont try to be someone you are not.
    I can just tell with your sensible and open approach you will do just fine.
    With regard to the feminising effect on your appearance that laser / electrolysis will have, it is true that it makes a huge difference.
    But No one at all noticed other than people who had not seen me for some time.
    I used little tricks like waering new glasses and growing my hair a bit (not as long as it is now) to divert attention. After a few weeks your new look is completely accepted and they cant remember any difference.
    And wow does it make a difference to your confidence.

  2. Stace, removing your beard won't feminize your face so much as simply make you look younger. What will definitely feminize your face, is plucking your eyebrows too much. That is something you will have to be careful about, as long as you want to continue living as a male. There is a point you can go to in plucking your eyebrows, that is somewhere in between male and female. Go beyond that, and you will look like a girl, especially with no beard.

    Lisa is right about how transsexuals come in all shapes and sizes, with different outlooks and perspectives. Some people just don't understand what constitutes good taste. Let those other girls raise eyebrows, by dressing and acting in an ostentatious manner. You just be your classy tasteful self, and you will be the one who is taken seriously.

    Melissa XX

  3. The meeting itself was very useful. Quite apart from the stages that I may or may not go into, knowing more information from the first two (screening and diagnosis) really helped settle me somewhat.

    As for the various shapes and sizes. I guess I was just not prepared for just how close some people come to the media stereotype and it most definately got to me.

    I suppose it's the same as not feel a connection with those that I grew up with ona council estate in decline in the 80's and 90's...

    I've promised that I'll speak to the VU before arranging anything re hair removal. But to be honest I was amazed at how strong my reaction was when discussing it with Mrs Stace and her sister. When she mentioned that having the hair removed woulkd remove the blue tinge to the skin that you get even when shaved I nearly cried whilst telling her that I have made my face bleed with an electric razor in the past trying to shave closer and closer to get rid of that same blue tinge. (Getting close now as well...) I never realised just how much this affected me...


  4. Stace, your experience of stereotyped cross-dressers brings up my worst fears of bringing my sweetie into contact with large gatherings, such as conventions or even information sessions.

    She is so upset at the idea that becoming more of who I am is going to make a fool of me, and of her too. This sort of experience would just put her over the edge.

    It seems no matter what the group (experiences with organizational meetings of new political action groups have been the worst), there is always an element there to 'hijack' the event. Maybe I am being too cynical, and the folk you saw just have bad taste in clothing.

    Oh that blue tinge. Three or four passes with a four blade razor might make it feel smooth, but when I look in the mirror, all I see is the guy with a sore face. Sigh...

    Thank you anyway for your account of the information.


  5. Stace, I share the same feelings you do but as everyone else said they come in all shapes and sizes. Understand this and that that is not who you are and just be yourself. You will find that people will respect you a lot more for that then what you are wearing or how you act.

    I can tell you some stories too if you want to hear them.

    However your first priority is you, since this is about you, not them. Let yourself be who you are and things will fall into place.

    Chin up girl you can do it.


  6. I'm pleased to say that my local support group doesn't have any members sporting the "tranny look" which is very good for someone attending with their wife.

    I wish we had a similar level of information provided to us, confronting the NHS monolith sometimes seems rather daunting.

    How lucky am I that I don't get blue face too badly. Surprisingly Mrs. J would not be adverse to my losing the beard entirely, however I'm holding back on that one just at the moment.

  7. Halle:
    Making a fool of myself is something that I think bothers Mrs Stace too. Though she has not said it directly, she is does keep asking if Stacy wants to go out, and was slightly shocked that I want, at some point, during my diagnosis phase, to see the psychologist dressed.

    I've also tried with a wet shave using a Fusion Power - whilst it's a much closer shave I end up trying that hard that I don't so much have a blue tinge as a red one...

    Kelli The only thing I can be is me. I suppose the shock was more the kinship that I feel online I didn't feel in the group. Stupid really - I didn't speak to anyone and was far to nervous, and I was making sure Mrs Stace was as OK as she could be, to even think about engagin anyone else in conversation.

    As for the stories :) Posts on your site or do you need my mail address?

    Jenny Yet again I am thankful I am doing this in The Netherlands rather than in my native Leicester.

    When I first signed on to the clinic I got an information pack with information. That with the information evening has given me as much as I can expect I think without actually starting the process.

    The process sounds a lot more human as well. (Comapring it with accounts I have heard from those in the UK)