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.
- Written by Super User
- Category: Transgender Information
- Hits: 8
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.
- Written by Debbie Lawrence
- Category: Transgender Information
- Hits: 162
I originally posted this on Facebook Jan 13, 2018
There are many dimensions of transgender. I created the transgender matrix to help identify the different needs. Different people have different needs, and are at different places in terms of where they are currently, and where they want to be.
The cross-dresser still in hiding, the tom-boy fighting for acceptance, the drag queen who cries when she takes off her makeup, the girl taking hormones on the internet, and the transsexual getting her GRS all have one thing in common. The gender they were ASSIGNED AT BIRTH, based solely on what the doctor or midwife saw between the legs seconds after we were born, does NOT match the GENDER we actually are inside.
Many of us could prove that the doctor got it wrong. DNA tests, CT brain scans, and even body chemistry and internal MRI scans may show that the soft tissue between the legs doesn't match the brain or the genetics, or the overall biology.
In some cases, we were even surgically modified at birth, and all records destroyed. A "boy" whose penis was to short was turned into a girl, a girl with a penis had her vulva sewn shut because daddy wanted a boy. Often the surgery was followed by high doses of hormones, testosterone to masculinize the ovaries into testes, or estrogen to shrink the clitoris. About one in 100 births exhibit one of about 30 forms of "gender ambiguity", one in 50 people have gender ambiguity biologically. 1 in 15 exhibit gender ambiguity behaviorally before they are 7 years old.
In elementary school, there is often a "forced normalization", boys are kept together, and separated from the girls. Ambiguity results in teasing, verbal abuse, rejection, bullying, violent assaults, even group assaults by large groups of boys. Much harder to suspend, expel, or arrest 15 boys when only one sissy was attacked, even if they ended up in the hospital.
Often the bullies are encouraged by parents, preachers, Sunday school teachers, and athletic coaches, to even escalate the abuse. Since many principals and school administrators started out as coaches, they often side with the bullies, saying "boys will be boys".
Years of daily cruel and unusual punishment, without knowing anything other than that they called you a "sissy" while beating you, can lead to a LOT of emotional problems. PTSD, depression, isolation, distrust of others, and general anxiety are common.
Then comes puberty, slamming the door on any hopes of escape. Trapped in bodies we hate, terrified to let anyone know how upset we are, we act out. Many of us turn to booze, drugs, sex, and self mutilation to escape the pain, even if only for a few hours. For many of us, suicide seems like the only permanent solution to a permanent problem.
If we survive, we begin to build a mask. We create an image that is "accepted". We might be funny, or tough, a tom-boy might dress more sexy, whatever it takes to survive.
Our mask helps us win. We succeed at school, date, make friends, and even succeed at work.
The problem is that the more we win, the more uncomfortable the mask gets, each win is like another jagged edge, a spike, a nail. Meanwhile, others are perfecting the mask. Putting a pretty smile on it, decorating it with praise and awards, making it tighter, and worst of all, those close enough to see the real person underneath, add locks, to make sure we can't ever take it off. Children, property, house, career, all locks to make sure the painful mask can never come off without losing everything.
Only 1 on 10 transgender people are able to take the mask off. For the great majority of those still locked in their iron masks, seeing us transition, and blossom into our true selves, is just another nail in the mask.
- Written by Super User
- Category: Transgender Information
- Hits: 658
In a completely uncivilized society, the weakest males would have been killed off before they could reproduce. Male aggression would have been similar to other mammals where only the strongest men and the best hunters were allowed to SURVIVE let alone reproduce.
Yet even in ape and monkey cultures, the omega males survive by emulating the behavior of females. They help with the children, they act subservient, and they REPRODUCE by having sex with a female while the alpha males are fighting it out.
India has had Hajiri, boys who become women, often running away from home to join the Hijri before they go through puberty.
In many cultures, those who voluntarily had themselves castrated were considered mystical, magical, and wise. Many of the Oracles in various cultures may have been castrati, transgender people who had themselves castrated. Much easier to guard the virginity if she is incapable of having vaginal sex.
The magical and mystical characteristics may have happened because they would help the women gather food and plants, learning which would be good and safe to eat, and which could make you sick, and which could kill you. With such knowledge, it would be easy to put a bully in his place by making him deathly ill with tainted food prepared by others, then to "Cure" him, because only you know the antidote.
On the flip side, alpha males, in civilized societies, often were quick to go to war. They could fight and kill each other, and the result would be a shortage of alpha males. Even beta males would be killed because they were less able to fight in wars. This would result in a few alpha males, and many omega males who were clearly unfit to fight in a war.
Given 20-30 thousand years of this kind of evolution, the omega males would reproduce more often, with their sons being even more feminine. The violent and aggressive alpha male would be considered a criminal. United States prisons are full of alpha males who could not control their aggression and their anger.
Even the hormone therapy was possible. For many years, transgender women used to take a medication called Premarin, which actually stand for PREgnant MARe urINe. Castrati who wanted to grow breasts and live in a harem, usually as servants, would drink the urine of pregnant animals to enable themselves to grow breasts, because it was extremely high in estrogen. This may also have been used to prevent pregnancies - the earliest version of what we now know as birth control pills.
We know that there are genetic conditions such as XXY chromosomes, Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome, and a few other genetic disorders that can produce an omega male, which would most likely prefer life among the girls to life among the boys.
In addition, modern medicine has also been a contributing factor. From the early 1950s until the early 1980s, many women who were at risk of miscarriages were given an extremely strong dose of estrogen known as DES. The medication flooded the mother's bloodstream with estrogen which got passed on to the baby. If the baby was a girl, no problem, except a higher risk of breast cancer, uterine cancer, and ovarian cancer. If the baby was a boy, the body would be so flooded with estrogen that the baby would form not only a female brain, but a female skeletal structure. Many transgender women had the biological characteristics of women even though they had male reproductive organs.
Transgender Girl Biology
The male reproductive organs are formed late in the pregnancy, and many of those with any of the biological indicators have smaller than normal penis and the testicles are still up inside, sometimes not even in the inguinal canal. in some cases, the doctors may not even know, without an MRI or CAT scan whether the reproductive organs are ovaries or testes.
The shocking part is that there are about 100 different forms of "gender ambiguity" with almost as many different causes, often a combination of factors. As many as 1 in 15 males may have been born with some version of gender ambiguity.
The biological brain of a transgender woman very similar to the brains of MOST cisgender women. They have a smaller limbic system, which means they are more calm, more observant, less inclined to fight, less violent, and less competitive.
This can be a big problem for a transgender girl who is still living as a boy. Because they don't fight back, they are often the target of ALL of the other boys in a group. The alpha considers him an easy target, someone who can be easily intimidated. The beta male considers him an easy way to gain rank within the male hierarchy. As a result, as omega males, they are often violently attacked on a very regular basis.
If it's just slapping or taking a toy, it's not a big deal, but often the damage is far more severe. Ruptured spleen, damaged kidneys, damage to liver, intestines, and other vital organs are entirely possible. Examine school records and you will often find that transgender girls living as boys have been to the nurse's office, doctor's office, and hospital far more than normal. Often they are sick more often and for longer periods as well.
Most transgender girls living as boys don't tell their parents or teachers or other authorities anything about the attacks. The other boys make it quite clear that any attempt to report them will result in even worse violence. Furthermore, because the attacks usually involve a large number of boys, many of whom have influential parents, the school authorities can do very little to prevent such attacks or to prosecute the group of violent criminals.
Transgender girls living as boys often prefer the company of other girls whenever possible. They prefer the games the girls play, and often act like girls even though they appear to be boys.
ALL of this is biological, not social. The irony is that trying to make the transgender girl look more like a boy, by shaving his head, putting him in over-sized pants and flannel shirts, just makes the problem worse.
During this pre-transition phase, which can last anywhere from a couple of years to several decades, transgender girls become very isolated. Parents often don't like that their daughters are playing with a boy, the girls often "close ranks" and exclude transgender girls who appear to be boys.
The result is that transgender girls become very perceptive. They are keenly aware of what boys do (they hate it but have to participate due to social pressures) and what girls do (they love it but are usually forbidden), and they struggle to understand this strange world that treats them like a boy.
When a child in 3 or 4 years old, she might say "I'm a GIRL", but if adults try to correct them, to humiliate them, or to punish them, they may change this to "I wish I was a girl", wishing on stars, wishing on birthday cakes, wishing for Christmas, going to church and praying, yet publicly saying "I want to be a girl"
With enough negative reinforcement, they will stop talking altogether. They may even appear slightly autistic, avoiding people, avoiding eye contact, reading intensely, writing, music, computers, technology, a variety of hobbies, sciences, and so on. They may even become a bit like Sheldon Cooper on Big Bang Theory, intellectual and full of factoids, so they can keep people from finding out the secret they are forced to keep.
Often, as puberty starts, a transgender girl who has been repressed will become self destructive. They may try to castrate themselves, they may start drinking and drugging, often to the point of overdose. Only their closest few friends will realize how close they come to killing themselves or having someone else kill them. Police investigations of teen suicides suggest that more than half are gay boys or transgender girls who have been bullied and harassed.
To a transgender girl, the prospect of growing hair all over, of a deep voice, of erections and ejaculations, is a nightmare, a fate worse than death, because it could mean spending the next 50 to 60 years in the horrible isolation they have already experienced.
The more severe the dysphoria, and the more repressed, the higher the risk of suicide. A transgender girl who secretly would castrate herself, living in a Fundamentalist Christian home where there is zero tolerance for any LGBT issues, has nearly a 100% chance of being dead before their 30th birthday.
Those who do find support, even if only from a spouse or one parent, have a better chance. Often, a mother will encourage the feminine expression in socially acceptable ways, doing housework, helping with shopping, and encouraging socialization through music, theater, dance, and other non-threatening environments.
The transgender woman living as a man is more likely to suffer from obesity, alcoholism, heart conditions, stroke, and cancer, because he is living in constant stress.
Transition can reverse many of these issues. Once they are perceived as being girls, they will tend to be happier, more socially interactive, they listen more, they laugh more, they care about their bodies, so they may exercise more and eat a healthier diet . I've seen 60 year old men transition and literally get younger and younger, medically as well as physical appearance.
- Written by Super User
- Category: Transgender Information
- Hits: 653
- Written by Super User
- Category: Transgender Information
- Hits: 1176
Hormones reduce the size of penis and testicles to the point where even finding them is difficult. Ejaculation is no longer possible. Orgasms are possible, but very different, more like those of a woman. Some trans-women find that they aren't in that much of a rush to get surgery once they are living full time on hormones.
As you can see, the treatment protocols are vastly improved from the days when Johns Hopkins would just perform surgeries on any woman who requested the procedure, paid for it up front, and met minimal screening criteria.
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