Insert Witty Title Here
Greetings and salutations my fine denizens.
I’ve been AWOL for a literally 5 days short of a year. Honestly things have been up and down pretty frequently but I am in a pretty positive state right now. Aside from work and the occasional social engagement I have been spending much of my time playing video games. There really isn’t time for much more when you work in theater. The good news is I am making several dollars more than I was last year and that means a lot when the owner is kind of a scrooge.
But I digress, I just wanted to let y’all know that I am still alive and kicking, I hate to make empty promises but I am going to try try TRY my hardest! *fingers crossed* To make more frequent blog posts. I think it will help get the thoughts out of my head and relieve some of my stress.
In conclusion here is the most recent Ask Abbey question I received, I think it addresses some legitimate concerns many of us face/have faced at some point in transition.
Q: So as we all know you get constant messages, I just wanted to ask a couple questions which I feel no TRANS chat site have answered or anything, I am currently going through electrolysis on my face, I’m about 20 hours in, I too am a red head so laser didn’t work and I wasted 10 months doing it to have little effect and it has put me at a broken point as now I am doing electrolysis 3 – 4 hours a week. I don’t have the confidence to present fully female like I used to due to my facial hair having to grow for treatment.
I have been on HRT for 7 months now so in my mind I feel I’m falling behind and it will affect my chances of SRS on my one year mark of HRT incase the Doctor feels I am talking steps backwards due to dressing in less feminine cloths for electrolysis but still present as SHE and BROOKE etc, if that makes sense.
I feel I’m in a bad state of mind. Will the hair go away? Will I be hair free? Am I going to be able to go back to presenting full time as myself?
A: Hello Brooke,
Those are all understandable concerns in your current position. First off since you are on HRT and actively going through your transition, there is no falling behind, When I was doing electrolysis I was only doing 1 hour per week. it is okay if things don’t go as fast as you expected them to.
When I started HRT I was gung ho to get on a full dose. As you may or may not know I had a set back and had to go off estrogen for a number of months and it felt like an eternity; but I got through it and looking back it really didn’t make that big of a difference. I also wanted to have had breast surgery, an orchiectomy, changed my SS, and change my passport by now but I still haven’t done those things. I get really upset about it and beat myself up for not motivating myself to get these things done but it is scary to make those unknown steps. It really is. Lately I have been trying to push myself and move forward with my goals, one step at a time.
Fact of the matter is I think having SRS after only one year of being on HRT is a bit soon, especially with all the changes you are going through. Waiting a little longer is not going to hurt your quality of results. But regardless of time frame you will absolutely be able to present and be yourself. Nothing can stop you.
Honestly it took me a long time before I was confident enough to present as female when I was alone in public. Hell, I still get nervous going into public restrooms and it’s been over 5 years. I don’t think you need to worry about falling behind.
I hope this gives you some peace of mind!
p.s. I really don’t get that many emails 😛
A new face, A new life
Welcome! God bless everyone!
And as she began typing that overdue post, she looked up and it was no ordinary post she was writing…. It was….
Can you tell I’ve been listening to and seeing musicals? I recently helped load in A Christmas Carol at the theater where I work and it really is a great show. The theater has been showing it every year in December since 1989 (the year I was born). It has the most set pieces, automation, theatrics, special effects, & Pyro than any other show each season. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Anyways, I have been spending most of my time working on myself and setting goals for the future. Since I am not taking classes I am going to start working and putting some money away to put towards surgeries. I am really not sure I can get insurance to cover anything, so I have decided to take things into my own hands. It won’t be too hard for me to save enough for a breast augmentation. That is one of the first things I am going to get.
My consultation with Dr. McGinn went well. I will just run through how the meeting went. We talked about FFS, GRS, and of course breast augmentation. Most of it was going over basics and expectations as well as the risks. I was impressed by how down to earth she was. I could easily see myself hanging out with her like any other person. She was impressed by how feminine I already look, which was pretty humbling. She also took photos of my various features as a reference for any surgeries I do get with her. The area her office is located in, New Hope, PA, is a beautiful quaint little town right on the border of PA and NJ, split by a river. I was really comfortable in the area and it reminded me of the area I live in New England.
As for my face the only things she would suggest is rhinoplasty, trachea shave, some brow bone contouring, and possible a lip lift with Juviderm injections. There really isn’t a whole lot I need, just a little bit here and there. The biggest thing I think will be my nose and brow. I already have a great natural hairline and she seemed to think it would be a mistake to mess with it. I already have a fair amount of tooth show already so a lip lift isn’t necessary, the Juviderm would give them more volume though. She does not do any jaw or chin surgery because it is a very risky area to be cutting into. Some surgeons will shave the angles down on your jaw/chin bones to lessen the sharp angles. I admit I do kind of want to have my chin rounded out a bit. I have a dimple in the middle and it is fairly wide; I am very self conscious about it. The main risks are A: damaging your jaw, and B: ending up with an uneven chin.
We talked about the different options for breast augmentation. Over the muscle or under the muscle, silicone vs. saline, incision location, size, etc. Dr McGinn suggested that I get high profile silicone implants places above the muscle via an incision in the crease beneath the breast. She said I would need about 600cc in my left breast and 550cc in my right to account for the difference in size and the be roughly a C cup. Having had a breast reduction when I was younger I do not have as much breast tissue in my left breast which will make it difficult to have a perfectly symmetrical result. Her reason for choosing above the muscle is that when you place it below the muscle they sometimes get pushed up to an unnatural position on your chest. If you have limited tissue surgeons tend to put them below the muscle to give a more natural look.
Once I got home from my trip I did a little experiment (for science!) by making mock implants using dry rice and two balloons. I filled one with 600ml of rice and the other with 550ml. One cc equates to the same as one ml. The size isn’t exact due to the air gaps between the rice while measuring, but for all intensive purposes it did the job. I then proceeded to put them in my bra and walk around with huge boobs. They seem pretty large, perhaps a little too large. I am undecided though since they will obviously fit & flow with the contours of my body with actual implants. I intend to consult with at least one other surgeon in MA for augmentation to get a second opinion and perhaps have the surgery up here. It doesn’t make much sense driving to PA to get a boob job when there are dozens of them in every major city. The important thing is finding one with experience in treating transgendered clientele. The frame of a biological male body IS different than that of a biological female body, and experience will lead to the best result.
Dr. McGinn charges $6,000 for the procedure + $1,400 for the implants bringing the total to $7,400 for breast augmentation. A good BA seems to be running between 5k and 8k so I believe it is a reasonable price.
Now, onto the pictures!
As you can see they are of moderate size and do look pretty good.
They look a little big in profile.
And finally the rice implants themselves (complete with nipples!)
I think the experiment was a success, it gave me right understanding of the potential size. Chances are I will end up somewhere between 450cc and 600cc.
Bottom Surgery (aka Vaginoplasty)
(Graphic surgical descriptions below)
This part of the consultation was the most in depth. We talked about the procedure itself as well as the risks, results, and preparation involved. It would be hard for me to describe it in my own words so I will transcribe the description she gave in the appointment summary the office gave me.
“We do a one stage inverted penile technique using the scrotum as a skin graft to make the back of the vagina. We reduce the glans penis to make a sensate clitoris. The nerves of the clitoris are in the Mons pubis. The labia are made from the penile foreskin. The urethra is shortened and wrapped around the clitoris to make a clitoral hood. The hood provides protection and lubrication to the clitoris. The areas that have the most sensation are the mins, clitoris, and the g-spot inside the vagina. The surgery takes about 3-4 hours.
Logistics: Vaginoplasties are generally done on Tuesdays. We operate out of Lower Bucks Hospital in Bristol, PA. We ask that you come into the area the day before surgery in order to complete informed consent and a bowel prep. You will be in the hospital from Tuesday through Friday. Please be prepared, you are on bed-rest for 48 hours. Friday you are discharged from the hospital to New Hope, PA. You will have a Foley catheter and vaginal packing in place. You will return to the office for two visits the following week prior to going home. You should plan on being in PA for 2 weeks total.
Hair removal: We recommend a full clearing for 5-6 months of genital electrolysis or laser hair removal. it is not required, but highly recommended.”
Dr. McGinn covered much more than just what is here, but the rest is more specific to the patient. You are required to stop taking estrogen/progesterone 2 weeks before surgery and remain off it for several days. I think that genital electrolysis will be a must for me because I am very particular. Having any sort of hair INSIDE would both annoy me and skeeve me out.
The cost of Vaginoplasty is $19,500 and covers all hospital fees, your hospital stay, surgery costs, anesthesiologist fee, as well as your new dilators! That is another thing, dilating. Dr. McGinn has her patients dilate more often than other doctors because it is crucial if you want to maximize your depth. Her average depth is around 5″-6″.
For most procedures they require a $2,500 deposit when you schedule a date.
It is quite a lot to take in isn’t it? I am pretty confident that Dr. McGinn would be a great surgeon for bottom surgery and at the moment she is at the top of my list. One of the most important things I feel next to skill is the level of comfort you have with your surgeon. That way you will be more comfortable asking questions and expressing concern. I tend to be more comfortable around women (it seems many transwomen are), and there happens to only be a handful of female GRS surgeons including Marci Bowers and Christine McGinn. There may be several others I haven’t hear about, but those are the two big names.
I have started rambling and I am running out of things to say, so this seems to be a good place to stop. I have pictures to update my breast timeline that I keep forgetting about, I promise to get to it soon. I also let my facial hair grow for a week to get an updated reference for electrolysis effect. I will be updating that soon as well.
In case I don’t post before the holiday,
I hope everyone has a wonderful wintersday and new years! 🙂
Day 485 – Updates, updates, updates!
Good news everyone! I have some big updates for my transition section. I have this new comparison to show how much my facial hair has changes, as well as an updated breast development timeline over in the breast development section. They are developing quite well and I am glad that are starting to have some mass of their own. I had been discouraged with the progress of my electrolysis as it continues to grow back time, and time again, but after seeing how much thinner and lighter it has gotten, I really am pleased.
The next thing I need to update is my development and weight chart. I keep putting it off because in order to do it I have to photoshop two excel charts together to show both sets of data. If anyone knows a better way to do this, please don’t hesitate to let me know!
Anyways this was my first week back in classes and things are going well so far. I overslept and missed my first day of class but luckily one of my teachers was out sick so I only missed my figure drawing class. My internship has finally drawn to a close and I kind of wish I had a little more time in the jewelry studio. I missed a lot of time during finals and I wish I knew it would only be a 3 month internship. That aside, I enjoyed it thoroughly and Jade Gedeon (the owner) is a wonderful woman.
There is not much new for me to say about living full time, things have been going great and I haven’t had any issues for a while. There is still some social anxiety, but more often than not, I am just over thinking things. Also, It has been quite a while since I posted any ask abbey questions, I’ve made sure I answered them all but I just haven’t found the time to put them on here. I will try and go through them this weekend and post my responses to the ones I think others may benefit from.
I hope everyone has a great weekend!
Day 410 – Transgender Equality
The past week has flown by. Between classes and my new internship I really haven’t had the time or energy to think about posting. My internship is going well and I am enjoying myself. I get to park in a parking garage and walk through a giant office complex to get to our work space, it makes me feel all important. It is quite a stark contrast to working on the farm.
Yesterday I emailed the woman who owns the company and told her that I was transgendered. This morning I received an email from her saying that she had no issue with my being trans and that she actually has several close friends who are transgendered. I am relieved and happy that more and more people are becoming familiar with and accepting of transgendered individuals. If you want to check out some of the jewelry I will be making the company is called We Dream In Colour, the picture above is of some of their amazonite necklaces. Who knows, if you buy something maybe it will be something I worked on. 😉
I have noticed that It is much easier to cry now than it was before I started hormones. I was watching an adorable anime about a wolf and a lamb who become friends and at the end I just started bawling. I hadn’t cried like that since I was a little kid. My skin tends to get dry a lot more than it used to, it is incredibly soft but I need to make sure I use a moisturizer or else it can begin to itch.
It has been 2 or 3 weeks since I had my last electrolysis appointment and my facial hair is growing noticeably faster. I am having to shave every 1 or 2 days to keep up with the stubble and it is a little disappointing that my reduction isn’t as noticeable after stopping treatment. It seems I am not as far along as I had hoped, but that is something I need to talk to my electrologist about.
Something that recently came up in discussion at my university’s lgbt group was the topic of the Massachusetts transgender equal rights bill. Often referred to as the bathroom bill. Up until this point I have steered clear of political topics but today I am going to give my opinion on the bill.
Bill H.502, An Act Relative to Transgender Equal Rights, focuses on amending previous anti-discrimination laws to include transgender individuals and prevent discrimination based on gender expression and identity.
You can read the actual text of the bill here on the Massachusetts legislature website.
The part of the bill that has been the center of attention is section 18 which states the following:
SECTION 18. Said section 92A of said chapter 272, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting the following sentence at the end of the second paragraph:-
Notwithstanding the provisions of this section or any other special or general law to the contrary, all otherwise lawfully sex-segregated facilities, accommodations, resorts and amusements shall grant persons admission to and the full enjoyment of such facilities, accommodations, resorts and amusements consistent with their gender identity or expression.
You may not understand the legal language of this section but it basically grants transgendered individuals access to the private facilities of the gender they identify as. In other words, a male to female person would have the right to use a woman’s restroom, locker room, or any other female-only facility. The opposite goes for female to males.
The primary argument of those who oppose this bill is that it would allow men who were not transgendered to dress in feminine attire and enter the women’s restroom, shower, or locker room with the intent of harming the women or children inside.
I wholeheartedly agree that we should consider the safety of biological woman and children, but this bill will make it no easier for predators to enter the women’s room than it already is. As it is now, should a male predator wish to enter the women’s restroom with the intent of harming others, no amount of legislation would deter them from entering. Nothing is stopping them from dawning female clothes and using the women’s room under current legislation, so why would giving protection to transgender people have any effect on the likelyhood that a non-transgender male would enter the women’s room with ill intent? Furthermore, granting protection to transgender individuals would give no protection to predators in a court of law because any privilege they had would be irrelevant upon violating another persons rights.
The reason why section 18 is in the bill is that some transgender people are being forced to use the bathroom of their birth sex in public or in the workplace. This can be extremely embarrassing and traumatizing for the individual. If a person identifies as female, takes hormones to change the chemistry of their body, dresses in a female manner, and looks completely female, does it make sense to force them to enter the men’s room to go to the bathroom? That would expose them to an unnecessary amount of danger and undoubtedly cause more disruption of the peace. If you were to enter the men’s restroom and see a person that looked completely female, how would you react? would you continue on with your own business thinking nothing of it? Or would you feel uncomfortable and potentially question them on why they are in the men’s room. Likewise, if a predator were to enter the men’s room and see a transgendered female, what are the chances that he would potentially attack her?
I think the reality of the situation is pretty clear in that this bill should be passed in one form or another, even if section 18 needs to be revised to discourage abuse of the law. The reason why I am talking about the bill is that I recently emailed one of my state representatives with a brief message stating that I wanted his support in passing the bill. I received a sizable email detailing his stance on the matter in which he cited the common argument that it could endanger women and children. In response to his email, I composed a message detailing my stance on the issue and included a variation of the points I’ve stated here. I went on to profess a desire to personally meet with him to discuss the matter of transgender rights and to gain a better understanding of each other’s standpoints.
Whether or not he actually considers meeting to discuss the issue, I hope that my argument will have some impact on him.
I think that is enough political talk for one day,
Have a good evening!
Day 385 – National Coming Out Day
I hope everyone else is having a good National Coming Out Day, maybe you even came out or know someone who did! For those of you who don’t know, today is a day observed by the LGBT community celebrating the simple act of coming out, Obligatory Wikipedia Link. I will admit I didn’t know what day it was until I saw a friend had come out on Facebook. I was later reminded of the fact when my girlfriend came out to me as being Panssexual. Initially I was a little surprised, but I already knew she was attracted to men, women, and hybrids (COUGH). Regardless it makes no difference in our relationship and I lover her and I am happy for her.
Anyways, I’ve been mostly occupied with school lately. I’ve gotten to the point in the year where all of my classes have their first big assignments due, ironically they all fall within a week of each other. I had my first speech and Organic Chemistry exam last week and this week I’ve got my first photo assignment due. I’ve got some nice landscape shots and I am enjoying the class quite a bit. Maybe I will scan some of my photography and post it here. I should probably post some of my art as well so you know a little more about me than the fact that I am trans.
Now to talk a little bit about how my transition is going.
This week marked my 12th hour of electrolysis. I can’t believe I’ve endured 12 hours of electric shock therapy! The hair on my upper lip is starting to get extremely fine and 4 days after I shave it is still hardly visible. The hair on my chin is still a bit thicker but they are all soft and blonde. By the end of 45 minutes she has to hunt for the smaller hairs to treat. I think I have at least 5-10 more hours of treatment before I get down to needing a very minimal amount of maintenance.
HRT is going well, it’s been over a month since I doubled my estrogen and I still feel fine. Breast development is coming along nicely, I think my right breast has passed the point of looking like a moob and actually looks like it belongs on a female. My left breast on the other hand, is still a little lacking. It is definitely filling out, but it is noticeably smaller than the other. Goes to show how uneven they grow. Though I can say that they itch and hurt quite a bit. You can feel any little think you brush up against, let alone bump into.
I am really starting to feel comfortable being full time at school. I haven’t had any incidents in the past month and a lot of the things I used to worry about really aren’t an issue. At this point I have no problems walking into the women’s room and that is a major step for me. Not only because of the controversy over trangendered people and bathrooms, but also because of the fact that it is a safe haven for women that I am being accepted into without refutal.
All in all things are going pretty well for me. I hope everyone else has a wonderful week and until next time,