Sunday, August 28, 2011

Drawing Lines in the sands of Restrooms

One of the concerns that trans people face among the myriads of social, ethical, cultural, and religious issues is "I just want to use the bathroom of the gender I identify with."

In the past twenty years, we have struggled for this and fought tooth and nail for the right to "pee in peace." In many states, this is still a struggle with laws and regulations trying to be passed for or against this privilege.

Many of those find us using the bathroom of a gender in which we were not biologically born into as an abomination. A sexual perversion or an attempt to sexually attack members of the opposite gender.  We find these claims to be absolutely without merit and the bigotry behind it is paramount.

However, I have recently participated in a discussion on a website in which many transsexuals are doing the very same thing against crossdressers. The rhetoric and arguments they use against crossdressers and the bathroom issue is frighteningly similiar to what someone who is narrow minded would say against the trans community.

I've heard it all when trans try to reason why crossdressers should not use the bathroom in which they are dressed as. I even heard that CDs are only using the women's bathroom for sexual perversions. I heard a trans saying they will never let their daughter in the same bathroom with a CD for fear of what the CD may be doing in the next stall. Well, for starters, the CD is probably peeing.

I find it ironic and sad on so many levels how some trans people are doing the very same exact thing that a bigoted society is doing against trans with the restroom issue. The trans community has fought like hell (and still is in some states) to get the right to pee in the bathroom of our gender. And yet, some can easily point the ignorant finger of condemnation against a crossdresser when he or she needs to use the restroom.

Some trans will praise a CD for having the guts to go out dressed to a department store and then try clothes on in the fitting rooms, but these same trans will condemn those CDs who have the audacity to pee in the female toilet.

Have we grown this vain? This hypocritical? Where we cannot see the dreaded irony plastered across our foreheads?

There's an old joke that has lingered about for sometime and it has a hint of truth to it. "What is the difference between a Crossdresser and a Transsexual?"  The answer is three years.

There are some trans when arguing against CDs who uses the bathroom who convienantly forgets that they were once a crossdresser.

And some of us argue that Lesbians and Gays do not accept us? I think we need to work within our own circles first before crying foul.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


The word "Pride" has two really different meanings. On one hand it can convey happiness or being proud and on the other hand it can convey boastfulness or bragging.

The Bible and other texts that teaches spiritual awareness usually uses pride as a sense of boastfulness or bragging as the word probably meant this in ancient cultures; however due to the "evolution" of the word, other meanings came from it.

It can be innocently used for example, "I am going to a pride parade" or "I take pride in my job."

It can be scornfully used for example, "I am better than you" or "I'm in the 'right' religion and you're not."

In the Transgender world, the word "Pride" can convey both polar meanings as well and I want to focused on the bad things that we can consciously and unconsciously act on when the negative form of pride is used.

Since transitioning, I have witnessed the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. It isn't anything uniquely tied to the transgender world but it is tied to any facet of our existence. But since this is a blog for transitioning, I want to focus on transgender.

We need to be really careful on how we present ourselves to other transgender people...especially the "younger" crowd who are either thinking about transitioning or brand new at it. Since I started to transition, I have noticed some trans who are particularly prideful and boastful. Of course, everyone is not like this but I need to focus on the ones who are.

If we are not careful we can present ourselves as "trannier than thou" to other people. If you are not familiar with "trannier than thou" it is a phrase that is used towards trans people who have a type of mentality that they are better than other trans. For example, a trans person who has been at this for years may look down on someone who is just starting as if the "new" trans person does not really have a say unless she or he passes certain types of milestones that the prideful trans person has in their mind. This can be anything from being fulltime, passing, having SRS, etc etc.

There are others who will even state "you're not a real trans because you are not fulltime" or "you're not a real trans because you want to be non operative" Non operative meaning that the person has no desire to have surgery to change their genitals to match their gender identification.

These examples can be very dangerous to a trans person just starting out. It can damage them or give them second doubts about the way they are planning their transitioning.

One example was last July of 2010. I asked in a chatroom if I should come out as Annah at school. One person said "no, you'll never pass" She gave me no explanation or any other ways in which I can take steps in order to pass. If it wasn't for my therapist and my close friends telling me this person had no idea what she was talking about, I probably would have taken her ill advice. To this day, I am grateful I did not take that advice and I transitioned anyways. This girl's pride in her accomplishments had blinded herself to the fact that everyone starts from scratch just like she did and everyone deserves the ability to be treated equally.

Another example was just last week. I was observing another website and a girl who is living part time in her gender was telling the chat room that only girls who were fulltime were true trans girls and the part timers were  crossdressers and men. The ironic thing about her conversation was that she is only part time as well but considered herself as real trans...but when it came to everyone else, they were men. She was so prideful in herself that she did not realize how silly her convictions were and how hypocritical they were. Her comments were very damning for new girls listening in and many of them were naturally very confused. Thank goodness her account was promptly banned.

Pride can happen to anyone if we let our guard down. Everyone has been guilty of it and I have been guilty of it numerous times. The most important thing is to realize the issue at hand and correct them.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Transgender and Dating

When it comes to dating we are about as mysterious as the arguments for the pros and cons that comes with it. Some trans people will say dating is easy for them while others will declare it as an impossibility.

Whatever your own experiences have been, there has been this trend lately that no one can have a meaningful relationship....especially if you identify with as a straight trans female. Now, of course, many people who say this may have had a rough or tragic experience but it does not necessarily mean it is true. On the other hand I know first hand that there are many people who will only date us because they see us as a fetish and not as a real person with flesh and blood and feelings. I've lost count with how many men I dated who wanted to sleep with  me on the first date....women too.

However, you have to look beyond that and realize there are wonderful people who will date you for just you and not because of some type of fetish that they see in you. I have dated some very wonderful men who saw me for the girl I am. I had to look beyond the stereotypical confinds that men want only one thing in order to see the man who is bright, intelligent, funny, and have many wonderful attributes to offer. If we fall into the stereotype trap that all men are scum then we are just as bad as the stereotype that all trans are just freaks and perverts.

Here are some advice I want to give:

1. Tell the man (or woman) you are dating that you are trans before you go out with them. To me, not only is this fair for the man to know but it also safe. Many girls think "yeah but do you always tell your dates about a birth defect?" Well, truthfully, Gender and Sexuality is a little more complicated than a cleft palette. Getting this out of the way is much easier for both you and your date. I would even recommend this for post ops. You can live in stealth all you want but when it comes to dating, your past will be discovered eventually. Better to work it out with him now than months or years down the road if you fall in love.

2. Go to a public place. This is good advice whether you are trans or cis gendered. The first date with someone you do not know real well should always be in public.

3. Stay away from sex on the first date. I never had a date that worked where sex on the first date occurred. I believe you should discover each others assets and personalities and wants and desires before going right to the bedroom.

4. No matter how badly one date goes, remember, not everyone is like that!

Sunday, July 10, 2011


If anyone were to ask me "So, what is the most important attributes to blend in as your chosen gender identity." I would respond "Voice, then hair, then face."

You can be the prettiest thing that ever walked out of transdom, but if your voice fails to emulate your physical features then you will be clocked.

Some girls are fine not wanting to train their voices and they are fine with getting clocked. However, I really had no desire to get clocked everytime I opened my mouth. So I started to research the topic of voice even before I started to think about transitioning.

At first, i thought this could only be achieved through some expensive operation where a doctor would re position your voice box. Now, some doctors do this line of work, but i really do not recommend it. I seen too many girls end up talking like Mickey Mouse.

And if the voice pitch is fixed to a higher pitch, that is still only 10% of the way still have SO many more factors to work on such as resonance, reflection, melodic patterns, etc. Surgery does not fix that.

I tried "Finding your feminine voice" by Andrea James but it really did not do anything for me. Now, I know some girls that the DVD really helped them. But, for me, it did very little.

So I started to dive back into the research. Based on what I found, this is what I did...and hopefully it can help you too.

1. I downloaded a spectograph. This free download will measure the frequency pitch of your voice. For example, a typical man's voice is around 100-170 or so. A female range is around 200-250. I practiced until I at least got the pitch somewhat in working order.

2. I bought a 15 dollar digital recorder from Target and used that to really hear what I sound like. A digital recorder is painfully honest because it records what you really sound like versus what you think you sound like.

3. Then to really tie my voice into a nice bow I downloaded Kathe Perez's CDs. If you do not know who Kathe Perez is, she is one of the better TG voice coaches in the US. Seriously, youtube TGvoice and you will see some awesome results.

I had the awesome opportunity to be interviewed by Kathe last week. Here are the videos in three parts. I do apologize for the voice being out of synch. Kathe had to use a program on skype to record the session and a side effect is the synchness.

Video one:

Video two:

Video three

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

HRT: The wonderful steps to feminine enlightenment!!!

Today marks the 15th month of being on Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) for me. I decided to make a video based on my experiences on how HRT had effected my body during this time and I also wanted to place it here in this blog. The video will be at the end if you wanted to take a look at it.

I was given the OK for HRT earlier last year and I could not have been happier. I decided to make a "diary" of things that were changing in me based on the time I had taken HRT.

First Change:

The first and immediate change that occurred in my body was my mental well being. The sheer fact of knowing that estrogen was now coursing through my body while testosterone was slowly beginning to dwindle was a very peaceful and blissful state of affairs. While, I am sure estrogen had yet done anything worthwhile in my system with that very first shot, it was the mentality of knowing that I have biologically started my journey.

Second Change:

My Emotional state of affairs.  I noticed this within the first couple of weeks. When your body starts to deal with the introduction of estrogen as well as the loss of testosterone, you become very emotional. I had started to cry over any and all commercials that was sad or had love in it. It was a unique situation to cry over a Wal Mart commercial considering how much I dislike the company.

My doctor told me these emotional changes were normal and it is comparable to PMS considering I had the estrogen levels of a few women the day of my shot. After awhile, these symptoms had lessened but I still go through some bouts of crying shortly after my estrogen shot and right before it.

Third Change:

The third change I notice was my skin. My skin had become noticeably smoother around 6 to 8 weeks. Some girls will say they notice their skin becoming smoother around 1 week but I think that is actually tied to my first change...which is emotional awareness of yourself changing while there is no actual physical development yet occurring.

The smoothing of the skin was a wonderful change for me. Not only did it make me feel more feminine with the smooth skin and round features, but it also took years off my appearance. Before my transition, I looked to be around forty years old. My transitional video in two blogs prior to this will show you how older I looked. Testosterone made my skin stretched, wrinkly and just plain nasty. When the layer of fat was introduced to my body, I went from looking like i was 40 to looking like I was in my 20s. My co workers all think I am 25ish. I have no plans on changing their opinion on that! :P

Fourth Change:

The fourth change I began to notice was breast pain and itching. This took about 8 weeks for me to really notice it where it really began to hurt. I wont go into the medical details of my past but I had breasts before my transition but they were only A cup.

Since taken HRT, my breast tissue had grown and now my breasts are around C to D cup. Now, remember, Your mileage may vary (meaning every girl is different). Genetics, family history, medication, etc all has a role to play in your breast development. The general rule of thumb is to wait 2 years while on HRT to see what your full breast potential will be. I know some girls who jumped the gun and got Breast Augmentation a few months into their HRT because they thought they would never grow breasts. Sadly, they say their breasts are abnormal as their breasts continued to grow underneath and around the implants which gives their breasts a weird look.

Also, while we are on the topic of breasts....and this doesn't necessarily relate to HRT, but please...if you get Breast Augmentation, please get breasts that fit your body type. I've seen so many girls who got those BIG BOOBS put in and now they look ridiculous. They think it will help them "pass" or "blend" in easier but all it is doing is causing attention to themselves and it almost always get them clocked. A good Breast Augmentation plastic surgeon will tell  you what Breast Cup is best for your body. Please listen to them!

Things that HRT will not change (MtF):

1. HRT will not change any emotional disabilities you may have (MtF and FtM). HRT may help ease some mental discomforts and anxiety issues you have about yourself presenting in the wrong gender but HRT will not cure Bipolar, Manic Depression, and other symptoms.

Please continue to talk to your therapist if you exhibit these symptoms and please have a realistic approach to HRT and Mental Health.

2. HRT will not change your voice (MtF). No amount of HRT in the world will change your vocal chords. Your voice will change through practice, practice, practice!  This is what I did to change my voice:

a. Download a Spectogram. It's free and there's a lot of them if you have a PC. If you own a Mac, its very hard to find a free one. A Spectogram measures your voice in frequencies. A male voice is 70-150 mhz or so and a female is usually 175 to 256 mhz. My first step was to get the pitch that high and your program will help you get it there.

b. Buy a digital recorder. I got mine at Target for 15 dollars. By using a digital recorder, you can practice by hearing your voice and then making adjustments.

c. Practice your intonation and resonance. This is one of the most important steps for me because this is what gives your voice a feminine quality to it. This takes practice...well your whole voice will take practice. The best thing is to practice practice practice.

d. Avoid Falsetto. It's not good to sound like Mickey Mouse plus it damages your vocal cords.

When I did voice training, I used CandiFLA on youtube. She had some really good tutorials on her youtube and they really worked for she is free.

If you have money, then I would recommend Kathe Perez. She is a voice coach in Kansas City, MO and she can do personal face to face lessons or through the internet like skype. She is wonderful and you will get results. But she charges.

3. HRT will not change you! You are in full control of your destiny. While HRT will help develop you into the person who you always knew to be, HRT will not make you into a different person than you are now.

Here is my video:

Monday, June 13, 2011

From the Death of One brings about Life to another

One day I took a walk through a densely covered forest and during my walk I came across the remains of a deer and noticed various plant life and mushrooms growing from within it. It took me back to my classes of biology where life can be born through death. I had another experience of this phenomena on a more personal level last year.

As I transitioned, I was full of happiness and euphoria. However, there came a point in my transition where I collapsed on my bed and wept. It wasn't the process of transitioning or the wrong mix of Hormone Replacement Therapy or some bout of depression that overwhelmed me. Rather, it was the fact that I was mourning the death of myself. Let me explain.

For the last 34 years of my life I had presented male and naturally I was Rob. Rob had a wonderful life with many wonderful memories. His high school experiences were second to none, his social past was very active and his personality was as such where he only desired to help others. Rob also fathered three of the most wonderful and beautiful children you could ever meet.

With everything going for him, he had to transition. I had to transition. There was simply no question about it. While I presented as Rob, I was only confining my true self. Transitioning was simply an evolutionary step for me that required courage and faith.

During my transition I became more and more Annah. My inner self had began to envelope my outer self to the point where any vestiges of Rob was completely gone.It was during this time when I realized Rob was no more. The experiences I went through was the same as mourning the death of someone you were very familiar with.

I know there are some trans guys and girls who will think "when I transition I will say good riddance to my fake self" however, for me it was not that simple. I did not hate my life as Rob. I simply understood that my gender was incorrect. Living as Rob was like living a lie to myself and others but that isn't to say I hated my prior life.

So, I gathered pictures of Rob. I went back into my older facebook and downloaded every picture of Rob that I could find and I saved them in a very special folder.

From time to time, I browse through those photos and you can see them too in my transitional video (the blog prior to this). It is like a little memorial for me. To say goodbye to an old friend and a wonderful father and to greet the beautiful morning sun that comes after the night.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Transitional Video

When I became curious about actually transitioning to female I would often go to various websites to look at other trans girls to see their progress. As I browsed more and more sites, I would become more and more depressed knowing "I will NEVER look like that!" In the end, I did myself a real disservice. I remember looking at these websites back in 1997. I waited another 15 years until I decided to transition!

Sometimes, we get too caught up on trying to convince ourselves that we will never pass (and I really don't like that word "pass" but that's for another blog) that we end up creating our own self dreaded prophecy of either having a very rocky transition or no transition at all!

You have to try to go beyond your own perceived self image and realize there is a wonderful person trying to get out. Mirrors are a horrible thing when you know you are presenting in the wrong gender and your mind can be an equally horrible thing if you keep on putting yourself down than you will never transition successfully like the other girls and guys out there.

I remember seeing a website shortly after I made the conscious decision to finally transition. I don't remember the web address and good lord, if I did I would never share it with you all! The website was a very long page of how awful her transition was and is. She talked about the misery, the pain, the loss, the hurt of transitioning. She "tried" to dispel the rumours that transitioning was a positive experience and made it sound like it can only be this gut wrenching "storming the beaches of Normandy with high causality" destination to cross genders.

The site was so bad I sat there in grief and shock. If I was not rooted in my foundation to transition, that website would have scared me away from being really me for another 15 years!! That poor website author was miserable when she presented male and she was miserable now she was presenting female. I am sure her horrible transition experience had other "co morbid factors" involved.

There is never a sugar coating to transition. I need to say that. Transitioning will present it's own challenges and possible heartaches but it is no different than any other life changing task you may take on in life. It has its ups and downs and its twists and turns. Sometimes transitioning is like walking on the beach with a lover and other times it is like tripping over that obscure twig as you run away from a zombie hockey wearing ax murderer! Other times transitioning can feel like a curse and other times it can feel like a the heavens had parted and Goddess herself has touched your lips.

The process of transitioning and the method in which you do it is completely up to you and you are in control of it. As long as you are following the good graces of your therapist, there is no wrong way to transition. If you try to do it without any support whatsoever you may end up being another webpage author who writes a 24,000 worded essay of how horrible the transition is.

You can approach that mirror and say to yourself "I can do this! I deserve it! This is right for me!"

I recently made a video of my transition and I want to show it here to all of you. I made this video solely on the issue that I want to help girls and guys realize their true potential of transitioning to the gender you were meant to be. If I can do this as a 320 pound bearded man with XX chromosome disorder, anyone can do this if they have the conviction and heart for it!