There’s a great post by filmmaker Ashley Altadonna about the things she’s learned as a result of transition. I’m going to do a brief series featuring some of her observations as I think it’s useful for those who are about to transition to read the perspectives of those who just have.
Here are a few examples:
Before I started taking estrogen, I read online from other trans-women about how wonderful it was. Colors seemed brighter, sounds were clearer. It sounded like turning into a vampire in some YA paranormal romance. That was all bulls**t. In reality, my body hair thinned, my fat moved to new locations, I got breasts, and my skin softened…all changes I was hoping for. As an added bonus, what little acne I had at the time cleared up.
However my voiced cracked from speaking in a higher register and there were mood swings, hot flashes and insomnia. One of the most interesting things I noticed about being on estrogen was an increased sense of smell. (Note to guys: That why girls dig dudes with good hygiene habits!)
When I recently went off estrogen for a few months, all those wonderful girl attributes started to reverse themselves. More body hair, acne, my skin became rougher feeling, more mood swings and hot flashes. It was like being a teenage boy puberty all over again complete with an embarrassing overly active libido. I’ve never been so glad to be back on estrogen again.
I love when anyone calls bullshit, but I particularly love the way she shuts down the Technicolor Trans Hormone Dream and then outlines what hormones actually DO.
This next piece I found interesting because it’s not something we hear very often. Instead, trans people are constantly reminded of the risks of hormones (which exist, of course), but that there is a difference between the way you might care for a body you like living in and the lack of care you might have for one you can’t stand… well, DUH, but it’s a point that I’ve never read from a trans woman before.
#8 TRANSITION HAS MADE ME HEALTHIER
When I was ready to begin my hormone replacement therapy I hadn’t been in a doctor’s office in nearly a decade. Now I go at least once a year for my annual check up, though part of that is to keep my HRT prescription. I knew I wanted to take my hormone treatment seriously. I quit socially smoking, and cut back on my drinking due to estrogen’s effect on the liver.
Since going fulltime I’ve also tried taking better care of myself in other ways. I exercise more often and try to eat better. Being female and paying more attention to my appearance, I also take better care of my skin and have tried to improve my posture. I’m not always successful at these things, but I have noticed an overall improvement in my general wellness the past few years. Sometimes it just takes the right motivation.
I’ll feature a few more in upcoming days.