It’s not that I regret the decision. It is, I recognise all I have lost.
Plastic surgery can do wonderful things. Your skull can be reshaped for facial feminisation; with the tiniest scar under the nipple you can have silicon inserted, to make full, feminine breasts. Don’t use cheap ones- “they felt like boulders” said a disappointed heterosexual male I know, of someone’s. Laser can take away your face and body hair. Moisturisers can make your skin soft. There’s an operation to tighten your vocal cords, which didn’t work in the one case I am aware of, but hormones don’t raise your voice, you have to do the practice.
For passing, a lot depends on how tall and broad you are.
What do hormones do? I have grown my own breasts, though that took ten years. When the levels alter suddenly, my emotions go very intense, which has been distressing and embarrassing at times. Testosterone suppressors and oestrogens are the usual treatment for my condition; we give them up six weeks before the Op, possibly for one last taste of T before all is irreversible. That treatment can render a person permanently impotent and infertile, and there is no particular rule on how quickly that might happen. Writing as I think, the downside seems much greater than the upside. I would like better options given to people.
What have I lost? It is more difficult to have sexual relations, though not impossible. I am starving: I want to be touched, I want to be held, I want to be brought to climax. I want not to feel so alone-
Ah. I wrote down that first line because it was a good line. What have I lost, exactly? A penis is not a necessary or sufficient requirement for a good social life.
I don’t know that you can transition socially, and retain a functioning penis. This does not prevent people from trying. I don’t know what I feel about this. I don’t think I felt I could transition without transitioning physically. When I transitioned, there was no doubt in my own mind that that required hormones and GRS. International human rights law says different. I wanted GRS, and simply cannot answer whence that came- internal Real Me or social pressure. Social pressure was certainly there, though: felt grudging acceptance for transsexuals, who had GRS and hormones, but not for other transgendered people.
Round and round the same old stuff. What have I lost? What have I gained?
I feel battered, bruised and broken. What have I lost? What have I gained, exactly? What have I been trying to achieve?
Given what I knew at the time, I am proud that I transitioned. I could be more authentically me. It was a necessary step to take. This may be a better way of putting that first line:
It’s not that transition wasn’t the right thing to do in the circumstances, at the time, it’s that I contemplate, with amazed horror, five decades of misery. I haven’t lost anything, I never had it. I have made my life as good as I could. I am miserable now.
[T]he world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.