Welcome to Debbie Ballard's Transgender Information Site.
Deborah Ballard aka Debbie Lawrence is a transgender woman with nearly 40 years of IT experience, nearly 40 years of transformational programs including 12 step programs, leadership training programs, open source support groups, transgender support groups and websites. Debbie has written 6 books on transgender issues, so far.
This is an excerpt from my book "Solitary - Religious Liberty on Trial"
The Jury was smiling and giggling. The guys were even looking a bit envious. The defense had lost the jury.
That night, conservative talk radio hosts were trying to paint Tina and Alice as a couple of lesbian perverts who were trying to dishonor an Air Force Cadet to discredit the military. It seemed that the Senator was calling in some favors.
The next morning, the defense was supposed to start. There were hundreds of protesters outside the courtroom. They carried signs like "Die Faggots!", "Kill the Sissy", "Abominations should be put to death", "Queers must Die", and a hanging effigy of a girl with a huge penis with "Tina" on the chest.
As Tom and Betsy walked in, they were greeted with cheers. The mob chanted "Christians live, Faggots die"
Other signs saying "Religious Freedom", "God Hates Fags", and "Christianity Rules."
Tina's parents had taken her to the court. As soon as she got out of the car, people started throwing rocks and fruit. Four police officers formed a human shield to protect her as she went in. One man tried to hit her with a baseball bat, he was arrested by one of the officers who was following behind.
As Tina went to the top of the court-house steps, reporters tried to get her to turn around and face the crowd so they could interview her. She turned and saw that the crowd had grown to about 3,000. She looked at the reporters, and smiled.
A reporter from Fox stuck a microphone in her face "Is it true that you're a transsexual and baited Thomas into groping you?"
Tina smiled "I am transsexual, and Thomas didn't grope me. I told him I was transsexual and he got someone else to grope me. Just like he got someone else to beat me up."
Another reporter from the Christian Broadcasting Network asked "Isn't it true that you have been attacked like this before, and that many of your injuries are not new?"
Tina nodded "I've been attacked hundreds of times and have scars of many injuries from those attacks, which is why the doctor was able to identify the injuries caused by this attack!"
A reporter from ABC said "Is it true that you were pronounced dead at one point?"
Tina nodded "Yes, I was legally dead for about 2 minutes, after which I made a miraculous recovery. I'm very grateful to God for that little miracle."
The CBN reporter said "Are you a Christian?"
Tina nodded "Yes, I'm a Presbyterian, I am ordained as a deacon and an elder, and I sing in the choir."
"How can you consider yourself a Christian when you flagrantly violate God's laws?"
Tina smiled "Which laws do you think I'm violating?"
"A man should not wear a woman's clothing. A man should not lie with a man like a woman"
Tina smiled "I've read about 15 different translations of the Bible and found those verses to be concerning. To begin with, I'm not a man, I'm a Eunuch. The Bible has LOTS to say about Eunuchs, none of which is bad, other than we can't enter the Holy of Holies to offer sacrifices. A eunuch helped Esther win the heart of the king so she could save the Jews from genocide. A eunuch was the first gentile baptized as a Christian. Many wise ones were eunuchs, it's possible that some of the prophets, possibly Daniel, Shadrak, Mishak, and Abednego may have been eunuchs."
"But what about the laws against homosexuality?"
Tina raised a finger "Keep in mind that women were to be married within two years of their first period, so around 13 or 14 years old, and usually to an older man. The marriages were arranged through the families, and the girl had no choice in the matter."
"What does that have to do with the law against gays?"
Tina smiled "It's quite possible that the law was designed to prevent parents from selling their 10-12-year-old sons in arranged marriages. Leviticus is the directives to priests, and was based on actual disputes between the people. What was the dispute here? A man who had paid a bride price for his son to marry the first daughter of a fellow landowner? Did dad try to pass the son off as a girl? Did he offer his young son as a consignment to the other man, because he had no daughters and couldn't pay the man back?
The reporter countered "Paul condemns homosexuality in Romans."
Tina smiled, "yes there was a particular activity he found especially offensive. Tax collectors took the daughters of delinquent tax-payers and prostituted them to soldiers. The prostitutes were often forced to work in the temples of other gods. Was Paul offended by the Rapes? Was he offended by the idolatry? Was it some combination of the above?"
The reporter was frustrated "But it's a SIN, the Bible condemns it."
Tina smiled "How many verses in the Bible?"
The reporter admitted "I don't know"
Tina smiled "There are roughly 30,000 verses in the Bible. How many condemn homosexuality between men?"
The CBN guy was stuck "The bible has hundreds of references that condemn homosexuality."
Tina laughed "Actually, there only 8 verses, and most of those are in the same section that says we shouldn't eat pork, cheeseburgers, egg drop soup, and pie with whipped cream."
"But the Bible says that homosexuals are an abomination and should be put to death."
"Actually, it only mentions male-to-male sex, not female to female sex. How many verses condemn lesbian sex?"
The CBN reporter was getting upset. "I have no idea!"
Tina smiled "None that condemn." On the other hand, one possible translation of the role between Hagar and Sara was that Hagar was her lesbian lover. The King James Version translated it to "Handmaiden". You know what Jesus hated most don't you?"
CBN got smug "Sinners!"
Tina smiled "No, Jesus loved sinners, and even forgave tax collectors who continued to be tax collectors. No, Jesus had a special hatred for self-righteous religious fanatics who placed unrealistic expectations on people, to exploit their guilt. Matthew 23 and Matthew 25 are excellent examples."
The CBN reporter pulled back his microphone and tried to leave quietly. The reporter told the cameraman "Is there any way we can chop this up to get some damaging sound bites?"
The camera man shrugged, "I doubt it, not without it being obvious.
Meanwhile, the NBC affiliate reporter turned to her camera man "Did you get all of that?"
He nodded "Every single word!"
The defense started. First they tried to discredit the forensic evidence, but on cross-examination the witnesses admitted that since the car had been wiped clean before the rental, and the rental agency had held the car and not detailed it, any prints on the car would be the occupants during that rental. Since Tom's prints were the only ones on the steering wheel, he was obviously driving and therefore part of the conspiracy.
Defense turned to the Judge "We would like to change our defense to Gay Defense Panic. We will show that my clients were so upset by the deception and immorality of Theodore Clark, and they were acting based on their strongly held religious beliefs, and simply exercising their Religious Freedom!
Prosecution objected "Your Honor, this last-minute Hail Mary pass seems to be an attempt to put Miss TINA Clark, the VICTIM on trial, and evade legal responsibility for the crimes committed."
The Judge pounded her gavel "Chambers Now!"
Once in the Judge's chambers, the Judge was livid.
"What kind of circus are you running here, it looks like a KKK rally, and as a black woman, I can tell you now, I do not like to see this kind of hate speech directed at anyone!"
Defense countered "Your honor, we intend to prove that Theodore's behavior at the time was incendiary and offended the morality of the defendants to such a degree that they felt compelled to act out of their religious duty!"
The prosecutor leaned forward "Your honor, we have proven that the act was committed, that it was planned, that it was organized, and that it was done with criminal intent. Religious freedom can't be used as an argument to grant carte Blanche immunity for any religious fanatic who goes on a killing spree. We'd have members of the KKK blowing up black churches based on their religious freedom."
The Defense attorney stood up "We can prove that the reactions and the violent attacks were not only justified, but were reflected in the actions of others involved in the case. We have revised our witness list. Here are our additional defense witnesses."
The judge looked at the list, then handed it to the prosecution.
The prosecutor huffed "Pastor Grey of Calvary Baptist church, Pastor Blair of Calvary Temple, Jim Dobson of Focus on the Family, and Pat Robertson of CBN? The defendants attended ALL of these churches and were directly influenced by these ministers?"
The defense nodded "We can prove that the Senator not only attended events for these organizations, but that he knew them personally, and that he helped raise funds for these organizations as well. Furthermore, we will have these religious leaders describe some of the teachings which motivated Thomas and Elizabeth to defend their religious liberties and to save their immortal souls by not allowing an abomination like Theodore to corrupt good God-fearing Christians."
The prosecutor folded his arms "Your honor, I would first like to ask that the defense desist from using inflammatory language and use ONLY Miss Clark's current legal name. It's obvious that he intends to try and smear Miss Clark by painting her as a pervert and religious heretic merely based on her masculine status at birth and her gender identity disorder."
The Judge nodded "This is beginning to look more and more like a witch hunt, and more and more like an attempt to smear the victim. You are on very shaky ground here counselor."
Defense countered "If you refuse to allow us this defense, you know that I will appeal on the basis that my client's first amendment rights were violated."
The Judge nodded "No doubt you would try to push this case all the way to the Supreme Court, and get your clients off on appeal. So, I'm going to allow this little circus, but I have a few conditions."
She leaned forward in her chair "I will sequester the Jury; they are not to be exposed to these mob scenes and they are not to be allowed contact with anyone and no media contact. Any further demonstrations and I will hold you personally in contempt of court. Understood?"
She turned to the prosecutor "I realize that you will need additional time to prepare your case, interview witnesses, and that you must call additional rebuttal witnesses. You have one additional week to prepare."
She turned back to Defense "I see you plan to call Miss Clark to the stand as a defense witness. At no time are you to refer to her by any pronoun other than she or her, and at no time are you to even mention her previous name! Furthermore, she will NOT be treated as a hostile witness. She has been honest and respectful to both prosecution and defense, and deserves to be treated as the victim of a crime, not a defendant on trial for her life."
Defense nodded. "Yes your honor."
She raised her finger "One more thing. At no time are you to make any statements regarding interpretation of the law, and especially the First Amendment. I will be the ONLY one giving direction on how to interpret the constitution."
Defense started to object but the Judge gave him a stern look.
"Yes your honor, we understand."
The judge smiled at the prosecutor. Both realized that the Defense was hoping this motion and strategy would be rejected so they could win on appeal, but now, Defense was going to have to convince a sequestered Jury to acquit based on a religious liberty argument that was shaky at best. Furthermore, if he lost, there would be no basis for appeal."
The defense attorney went into a local payphone booth and closed the door. He dialed "Senator, we have a problem."
The prosecutor had his team interview all the witnesses, including the celebrity preachers. He also had to meet with Tina and Alice.
"Tina, I need tell you that the defense wants to try and claim that the defendants were exercising religious freedom. They are going to try to paint you as the devil incarnate, and an abomination, that had to be killed or at least punished."
Tina laughed aloud "OK, I'll give you the name of my minister, and the names of some adults who have known me for years. I'm surprised he's going that route. Did you know that I was ordained as a deacon, an elder, and taught adult Sunday School? I wonder if they knew that?"
The prosecutor started to laugh loudly and slapped his knee. "This is going to be fun. You see, they will be admitting that they attempted to kill you, based on THEIR Religious beliefs, but they don't realize that you have some strong religious beliefs that are consistent with their own."
Tina nodded "I suspect that they will try to focus on their own religious teaching. We might have a few surprises. Will I be treated as a hostile witness?"
The prosecutor shook her head "No, in fact the Judge forbid the defense from doing so. Of course, you must be respectful and polite, and answer truthfully and directly. He will try to get you to refuse to answer or lie. If you do, he will go after you like I would go after the defendant."
Tina nodded "I understand. I can also help you with some approaches to help during your cross. They are trying to base their justification on only a few verses of the Bible, but if you ask the right questions, you can show that their selective enforcement of these few verses has been distorted to incite violence. They can preach that their own members should not do something, but when they tell their members to violently attack or even kill people who are not members of their conversation, what does that amount to?"
"Inciting a riot, mob rule, like yelling fire in a crowded theater. They could even be charged as co-conspirators."
"See how many people who are members of their churches have been actively engaging in violence against Gays and Sissies. See if you can get them to admit that they were doing it based on their religious teachings. I have some history and experience; I can give you names of some of my bullies in elementary school and middle school."
"Oh, that's good. They plan to call the pastors of several churches."
Tina smiled "I hope one of them is Calvary Baptist and another is Calvary Temple. There were lots of members who liked to bully. Some of the attacks were pretty brutal."
The prosecutor almost burst!
"I'll give you the names of about 30 people who actively engaged in violence against me and others. They even used the Bible language. I used to attend their youth group functions."
The prosecutor spoke with glee "Oh my God, I think you might be able to completely blow up their case."
"I'll also give you the names of my pastor and members of the session as well as members of the congregation. I can also give you the names of youth groups of other churches that I attended as a visiting deacon, learning how improve our youth program."
The prosecutor smiled "The defense has no idea what kind of shit-storm they have just kicked up. They just kicked a hornet's nest and they have no idea what they just did."
Tina smiled "By the way, shortly before the attack, I started medications that chemically castrated me. So, I was a Eunuch. Many of the biblical passages they want to use, don't apply."
Tina smiled "I'll sign a release to have my medical records from Children's hospital released as well. You will find interesting things there too.'
The prosecutor nodded "Could you also sign a statement stating that those medical records contain evidence that can be used in this case?"
Tina smiled "Of course, do you have the forms?"
The prosecutor picked up the phone "Could you bring Tina's forms in please?" He turned to Tina "I was hoping you would sign the releases, but I didn't expect you to volunteer them."
Tina smiled "Don't forget to talk to my parents. They have a little surprise that could be a shocker."
The prosecutor nodded "You do realize that I have to give the defense all of the evidence, including witness lists, medical records, and the defense will be interviewing these witnesses as well?"
Tina smiled "Yes, but will he know which questions to ask?"
The prosecutor smiled "I don't know how to thank you."
Tina smiled "Use the testimony of these hate preachers to hold them accountable. Let's see if we can make sure this never happens to other people like me, or people who are gay."
The prosecutor smiled "I think that's going to happen anyway."
Tina nodded "Then all of this witch trial will be worth it."
The prosecutor smiled "It's going to get ugly and rough."
Tina nodded "I'm taking on some big religious leaders and exposing their criminal activities. I'll be lucky if I live through the trial, but maybe we can make sure that they don't preach hate and violence and murder to their congregations anymore."
Referring to a Video posted on Facebook by
This video shows complete ignorance of the WPATH treatment protocols.
WPATH protocol for Transgender Health provides a number of processes to screen which transgender girls are transsexual and need to transition.
Real Life Experience (RLE) is required for extended periods, with specific milestones and checks before the child goes to school in target gender, before they start blockers, before they start blockers, and before they get surgery.
- 6 months living half time (evenings and weekends) in target gender.
- Entire summer vacation living full-time in target gender.
- During this entire RLE period, regular therapist assessment to confirm socialization, assimilation, role acceptance, and satisfaction. Watching for secondary issues (such as I have to be a girl or mommy won't like me).
- Blockers are ONLY used when a child is approaching puberty - usually after first period, ejaculation, or a growth spurt.
- Blockers can be stopped and normal puberty can resume if it is determined that transition is not medically necessary.
- Hormones are carefully monitored, a qualified doctor monitors hormone levels before, and during hormone treatments to use the lowest possible dose to reach normal hormone levels for the target gender. They usually start with oral medications and regular checks, then switch to alternate methods only when necessary. Shots and implants are only when the doctor has a specific dosage identified.
It was well documented by 1990, that transsexuals forced to go through birth sex puberty and forced gender conformity - had an ACTUAL suicide rate of over 90%
In 2006, a survey showed that 25% of the respondents had attempted suicide. Subsequent surveys of much larger populations, even thousands of respondents, has shown the suicide attempt rate to be 41-45%. A suicide hotline that follows up on it's callers has stated that over a THIRD (35%) of those who actually attempt suicide will eventually succeed. When you add those who were unable to respond because they were already dead, this puts the total suicide attempt rate at over 50%
Furthermore, in depth analysis of these empirical studies has shown that the majority of those who attempt suicide have been rejected or unsupported by their families. Suicide attempt rates for kids who have support of families and friends is lower than for overall population.
Kids are at the highest risk during the period they are going through the wrong puberty. Furthermore, many will die of drug abuse, overdoses, "accidents", or untreated illness.
Kids who are denied treatment under WPATH protocols will often resort to mail order medications, underground distribution networks, or even deadly procedures such as injecting cement or silicone to create breasts and butt.
Kids who are thrown out of their homes by intolerant parents usually end up forced into prostitution, even if only in exchange for room and board initially, and are at the highest risk for HIV and due to lack of money for treatment - the highest risk of developing and spreading full blown AIDS before they die.
Parents who reject their kids for being transgender, whether it be physical abuse, emotional abuse, or literal ejection from the home, are essentially signing their child's death warrant, the only question is when.
Doctors and therapist who try to convince a child that they are NOT cisgender, trying to force gender conformity - is guilty of malpractice. The parents could actually sue the doctor when the child dies.
Religious leaders who tell the parents of transgender children to force them to be gender conformant are conspirators to murder.
Religious leaders who advocate violence or the deaths of LGBT children - are accountable for the activities of their followers. If any of those followers engage in violence, the whole organization is a terrorist organization.
Response to article posted in LGBTQ Nation
There has been more and more research that shows a similar trend. Transgender girls, even though ASSIGNED male at birth, have genetic and developmental characteristics of females. This includes such things as Index finger to ring finger length, size of hypothalamus, amount of white matter in the brain, even skeletal traits.
A common theory is that during the first two months of gestation, there isn't enough testosterone, there is too much estrogen, or there is androgen insensitivity that causes the fetus to masculinize. We all start out as female. During the first 8 to 12 weeks of gestation however, the male infant produces large amounts of testosterone which cause the formation of male traits. The hypothalamus gets larger, along with genitalia and even the skeletal structure. However, there are genetic traits that can cause the male to fail to produce enough testosterone, there are also genetic traits that disable the male body's ability to process the testosterone that is produced.
There are also things that can happen during this stage of pregnancy. The mother may have a history of miscarriage. From the 50s through the 80s, many women were given DES, which contains exceptionally high dosages of estrogen.
Transgender girls often have similar issues. Perhaps because of the nature of life on the frontier, homesteading, and need to be self-sufficient, many strong masculine women may have genetic markers that cause them to produce small amounts of testosterone which gives them a more masculine brain. There are also ways that the mother can end up with testosterone in their bloodstream, and there may be genetic traits that make transgender boys more sensitive to the small amount of testosterone they get.
The penis is the least reliable indicator because it takes the least amount of testosterone to produce soft tissue changes anytime during gestation. At one time, doctors would simply measure the penis and if it was too short, they would emasculate the baby (much like a cliterodectomy, and perform vaginoplasty. If there is too much clitorus, the vaginal canal would be routed into the bowel and the labia sewn shut. These surgeries, often performed at birth, under strict nondisclosure agreement, were followed by weekly injections of the appropriate hormones in hopes of making a "fixed" boy more masculine or a "fixed" girl more feminine, but this did not alter the nature of the brain.
Several studies have shown that transgender people of ALL ages tend to have brain characteristics that make them more like their gender identity than their anatomy between the legs. This is even more pronounced for children because they haven't yet produced the hormones associated with puberty.
This may also be part of evolution as a result of several factors. Urbanization and several wars fought with firearms would have caused more of the alpha males to be killed off during the wars, often before they had any children. In addition, urban culture made it easier for more feminine men to survive and thrive in professions such as accounting, investing, and crafts. Conversely, alpha males in an urban culture may have become too violent and aggressive to thrive in the tight social communities. The would end up in prisons or jails with criminal records.
Conversely, the death of so many men in these wars, meant that women had to support themselves through hard work and effort. Mothers who couldn't cut the hard physical labor and long hours would be unable to bear and raise children. This would have been especially true during the 19th century when women had to plow fields, chop wood, gather food, wrestle livestock, protect their farms from predators, and so on - all on their own.
In urban cultures, a feminine woman could survive for a while as a prostitute, but would quickly die of sexually transmitted diseases. In addition, common viruses would have killed more frail women, leaving the more tough and resiliant women to survive.
From the article:
A Republican candidate has filmed herself confronting and lashing out at a transgender woman using the woman’s toilet at a restaurant in Los Angeles.
Jazmina Saavedra, who is currently running for Congress in California, misgendered the trans woman and branded her a “stupid guy” in the Denny’s diner.
Ms Saavedra, who is campaigning for a seat in California’s 44th district, documented the incident in a Facebook Live on Tuesday.
“I’m trying to use the ladies’ room and there is a man here claiming that he is a lady,” Ms Saavedra said as she entered the bathroom.
I was forced to use the men's room by a manager at Denny's when I was transitioning in 1991. I was blending in with the other women, nobody knew that I was anything other than a woman, except the women I was dining with. When I went to the bathroom, three boys followed me in, and confirmed the high heels while I was seated in the stall. I waited for them to leave, they waited outside the bathroom to see what I looked like and where I was sitting and what else I was wearing.
When we were finished eating, I walked out with the women, and got into my car. By the time I got it started, there were a dozen guys. several were pounding on the car windows, demanding that I open the door, and others were sitting on the hood and trunk, meanwhile, there were two other guys coming toward my car with tire irons to smash the windows.
I drove out of the parking lot with 8 of them on my car, and lost the four on my trunk with the first turn. I finally slammed on the brakes to get rid of the four on the hood, and revved my engine get them to move out of my way and drove off.
Two weeks later, another transgender woman was murdered a block away from the same Denny's.
Transgender women want to live as women 24/7 for the rest of their lives. The hormones they take make it impossible for them to have erections and give them real breasts that would have to be removed surgically to revert back.
Before transitioning, most transgender women were brutalized in bathrooms, locker rooms, and playgrounds by boys who beat them up for being too feminine, calling them "sissies", "queers", "fairies", or worse. Often these assaults include aggravated assault so severe they have to be hospitalized, sexual assaults ranging from being groped in the shower to being gang-raped. All of this BEFORE they are 18 years old.
Puberty causes severe damage that takes more to correct the longer it persists. Many transgender women get rid of facial hair using laser, electrolysis, and waxing. They have to take hormones that block their ability to get erections and give them breasts, and their voices drop requiring vocal training or surgical correction, all of which must be done at personal expense BEFORE becoming eligible for Gender Correction Surgery.
MOST of those who unable to afford what is necessary to transition to that stage - commit suicide. The suicide rate for those forced to accept their birth ASSIGNED gender is 80%, at one time, the suicide rate for those who were given "conversion therapy" was 95%. Most of those treated had to be lobotomized to keep them from killing themselves.
I have two cousins who killed themselves. Both before they were 15.
Please repost this ANYWHERE you see this harassment video or references to it.
Keep in mind that most transgender people know they are transgender at a very young age that they are transgender, that their REAL selves are not the gender they were ASSIGNED at birth.
Unfortunately, most of us had to keep the real person hidden. Transgender girls often experience a great deal of harassment and ridicule from parents, from adults, and from kids their own age.
By the time they are in first grade, forced segregation of boys and girls begins, and transgender kids hate being put in the wrong group. The tomboy wants to roughhouse and tumble and mix it up with the boys, and the sissy lives in fear of being severely physically assaulted, sometimes so badly they end up in the hospital. These are a DAILY experience, with the most dangerous places being bathrooms, playgrounds, and outside school.
By the time they reach high school, most transgender kids who haven’t come out are terrified to do so. They are acutely and painfully aware of the “girl inside” or the “boy inside”, but often they are terrified to let anyone know. They begin to develop the mask that lets them pass as the gender they were assigned at birth, but it’s very unnatural for them.
Puberty has done a lot of damage, and they often struggle to SURVIVE those changes, hoping somehow that they will be able to find some way to live with those changes caused by puberty. Puberty through early twenties is often a time where they are at VERY high risk of suicide or self destruction.
Drugs, alcoholism, and suicide attempts are common. Transgender men often get into fights, street racing, and other ways to prove their man-hood by doing dangerous things. Transgender women often struggle to find themselves, trying to date women or men and having difficulty with both as the mask. Love is very elusive because their partners are aware that something is being hidden. Many end up being loners romantically, finding ways to fit in socially, within a niche crowd, but few real friends.
Coming out is incredibly difficult for both Transgender women and transgender men.
For transgender men, the most difficult is going from “toe in the water”, wearing men’s clothes and hair style, but still being perceived as a woman, learning that they have to conform to the same strict norms that men aren’t even aware of, or settle for a more gender fluid identity with confusion of others.
For Transgender women, the biggest challenge is overcoming their own fear. The fear is based on some intense reality, lots of PTSD, living with nightmares fueled by real memories of real violence, verbal abuse, bullying, and ridicule. They have grown up knowing that their parents would reject them, throwing them out on the street if they were to come out, they have been unable to communicate with doctors or therapists who refuse to accept that they are transgender, and coaches and church leaders act like a boy who is a girl is the lowest form of life on earth, an abomination.
For the transgender woman, there is often a point where they try to “settle” for being a cross-dresser, dressing up in private, often keeping their secret from friends, family, even spouses and children for years or decades. The cross-dressing gives them minimal relief, enough so they don’t just give up on life entirely.
At some point, many transgender women finally get the courage to get fully dressed, learn to put together a good presentation that will allow them to go “public”, often dressing up to go to gay bars or other “safe” places, usually on Friday or Saturday night, but only 1 or 2 nights a week, sometimes on the road. If they haven’t done so earlier, this is when they give “the girl inside” a name. This is necessary for social reasons, but also so that they can talk about their true selves with people who have met the girl, without drawing attention to themselves.
Initially, during the early public cross-dressing stage, there is often the perception that this new person, with the new name, is the costume, the mask, the identity. Often this is because during this early “transgender puberty”, they tend to dress very sexy for clubs, with little or no wardrobe for normal activities like shopping on the week-end or going to the grocery store. In this “Cinderella” stage, they even enjoy being the center of attention, being admired by others, and a personality that had been so hidden and repressed for so long comes bursting out.
Soon, especially if they start seeing a therapist who knows ANYTHING about treating transgender people, the transgender person begins to realize that this other person they thought was an act, a mask, is who they REALLY ARE! They start to realize that the person they were assigned at birth is actually the mask. The boy is a mask they have learned to wear, no matter how painful or uncomfortable, because they have to wear the mask to survive.
This is when the therapist follows WPATH standards of care and recommends that they start spending more time as their true selves. The lucky ones have wives who love them enough to want their happiness, and will support them. Too many find that they have to confront the fact that their spouse fell in love with the mask, and will leave them rather than get to know the real person underneath. Others find that their wife becomes a friend, but the intimacy and romance they once shared has been gone for a long time, and won’t be coming back.
The “Real Life Experience” phase is probably the hardest part of the entire transition. They have to learn how to BLEND in with other women, dressing appropriate to age, size, and situation. The club wear was great for the clubs, but now they have to learn to dress less sexy, more like most of the other women in the rooms they are in. Jeans or leggings instead of dresses or short skirts, a C-cup bra instead of a Double-D breast form, and bare legs with shorts or skirts rather than sheer energy panty hose. Fortunately this is a relatively short period, a few weeks to a couple months.
Then comes the transition process in earnest. Having a 5 o’clock shadow removed with laser or electrolysis, having arms, legs, and other body hair waxed off, having eyebrows shaped, and growing out hair. Many therapists want to see these processes started before recommending hormone therapy.
Hormone Therapy (HRT) is often a three phase process. First, the doctor needs to get natural blood levels of testosterone and estrogen before starting anything. Many transgender women already have low testosterone levels, either part of the same biology that made their brains feminine, or attempts at self-castration during early puberty.
Then the doctor will start the “Blockers”, these are medications like Spirinolactone or Finistride, also used as diuretics and for prostate reduction. These blocker lower the amount of testosterone in the system. Doctors use blockers on younger trans-girls if they are near age of puberty, but often wait until 14 or 15 to start the estrogen.
One of the important things about blockers is that they also function as chemical castration. In fact, these same medications are given to sex offenders to prevent them from being able to be sexually active.
For adults, the doctor will start the estrogen within a month or two, as soon as he can determine how much the estrogen levels increase. Estrogen levels have to be very carefully monitored. Too much can cause blood clots, heart attacks, and strokes. Too little can result in stunted feminization. In most cases, the doctor will try to monitor testosterone, estrogen, and prolactin to make sure that they are the same levels as a muenstrating woman, often a girl going through puberty.
By this point, the trans-girl is living at least half-time as a woman, pretty much only living as a man during work hours. She has already planned her transition at work, often making sure she understands the companies diversity policy, especially their policies toward LGBT issues. Often, they have already contacted the LGBT community contact, as well as LGBT centers in their area.
Female coworkers are often the first to notice the subtle changes. The thinning eye-brows, improving complexion, and the budding breasts. This is a period when trying to continue as a man gets awkward, wearing compression shirts or binders to protect the breasts and keep them from showing at work.
Often, the transition at work and the name change process are closely coordinated. It’s best to tell your employer LGBT contact that you are planning to transition so they can plan the transition with you. The legal name change requires that you publish your name change in the local paper, but it has to be a major paper. Many of us by this time have already established e-mail accounts and other accounts in our planned name, and when the name change is approved by a judge, we begin the process of getting our name and gender legally changed on all our documentation, including driver’s license, passport, credit cards, bank accounts, and credit agencies.
The day we transition to full-time, is often a very happy day for us. We finally get to live authentically. We can finally stop pretending to be something we never wanted to be, and start being who we really are. We may have to learn new rules and codes of conduct, for example, when to start speaking in business meetings, how to guide a man to the right decision or action without direct confrontation, and so on. Ironically, for many of us, it actually comes quite naturally. In fact, it was a struggle to do it the “man’s way” and we only did it because we would be perceived as “wimps” if we did it as men.
The final stage, which is often optional, is getting the Gender Confirmation Surgery (GCS). Keep in mind that GCS very expensive, as much as $30,000 including everything, and often it’s a challenge to get it covered by insurance. Many insurance companies only cover half because it’s “out of network”.
GCS is not “chopping it off”, it’s actually turning the tip into a clitoris and turning the shaft inside out. Bringing up a second problem. Many transgender girls are not well endowed to begin with, so the simple surgery may involve grafts of skin, colon, or paratineal tissue that is used to provide functional depth. After the surgery, it is necessary to dilate regularly, at least once a day for the rest of our lives.
Other trans-girls opt for an orchiectomy. This is necessary because at some point, the blockers become less effective, and there is the risk of going through male puberty again. This is a MUCH less expensive procedure, costing about 10% of the cost of GCS. The orchiectomy essentially makes us eunuchs. The chemical castration has eliminated the ability to have erections or ejaculations, but not orgasms, in fact, the orgasms are more like female orgasms and possible in a number of different ways. The orchiectomy just makes this permanent.
Some transgender girls, a small minority, like to become she-males. They often get breast enlargement surgically and discontinue or reduce blockers and maintain lower doses of estrogen. They are often gay and enjoy being “tops”. Even so, these women are very careful not to put their junk on display for anyone other than their lover. As a transgender woman, she wants to be accepted as a woman in her regular life.
This was probably more than you ever wanted to know, and it’s long. I have written several books on the topic and my web site debbieballard.org has a bibliography of transgender fiction and non-fiction to give you a sense of what is involved and the thinking and feelings we experience as we are going through the various stages. I strongly suggest you look at a few of them.
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