Practical considerations about transsex transitioning

“Am I trans?”

A common question in trans venues is “Am I trans?”. This question is always mislead. Being transsex is defined by undergoing a treatment to alter one’s sexually dimorphic traits towards the other sex. This is a decision one makes, not something one discovers (except for a few possible but very far-fetched scenarios). However, one may discover one’s desire to be or look like a girl/woman. One may also may discover that one has sex-based dysphoria, that is, the dislike of one’s sexually male dimorphic traits.

We will refer to sex-based dysphoria as “dysphoria” for short. Dysphoria is neither a sufficient nor necessary condition to be transsex. One could have sex-based dysphoria and choose to not to transition (that is, repressing), being dysphoric but not transsex. One could strongly desire to look like a woman or be a woman without having any particular dislike of one’s current sexually dimorphic traits. One could choose to transition because of rationally arriving at the conclusion that female sexually characteristics are preferrable.

“B-but I do not feel like a woman”

One does not need to feel like a woman or in some loose sense “be a woman on the inside” to be transsex. If taken as a descriptive statement, it is factually incorrect, as there are many trans women who did not feel like a woman pre-HRT and the vast majority of trans women were males with the usual male anatomy and male physiology previous to transition (that is: had primary and secondary male sexual characteristics). If it is taken as a prescriptive statement, the author strongly disagrees with it. The physical aspect of transition is body modification. It is one’s body what is at stake, so it is one who has the moral right to decide freely on it. We do not require that bodybuilders have a history of feeling dysphoric for not being muscular since they are kids, nor a diagnosis for “wimp dysphoria” before they are allowed to bodybuild. All the justification they need is “I want to be a bodybuilder”, and they only have to justify this endeavor to themselves. Why would physical transition need any more justification? It doesn’t.

All that is needed to transition is to want to transition. The belief that physical transition should be a decision taken by other people based on their opinions instead of taken by oneself based on one’s own judgement is merely a product of brainwashing by the medical establishment (see Gatekeeping and DIY below).

Physical transition and social transition

Social transition is the process of presenting as a woman to society (here “presenting as a woman” means following some or all the customs specific to women). It must be distinguished from physical transition. Many MTFs choose to socially transition but note that it is possible and perfectly fine to physically transition without any type of social transition. The converse is not true.

A few very lucky biological males pass as women without HRT, but those people should take HRT or else they will masculinize in the spawn of a few years, losing their natural femininity. Men that present as women without physically transitioning are not trans women, even if they pass; they are transvestites.

Trans people who do not pass should not socially transition nor present female in any way. First, there is nothing to be gained in demanding that people refers to one as a woman if one does not pass. Being referred as “she” does not make one a woman. Second, there is no point in wearing women’s clothes if one does not look female or at the very least, female-leading androgynous. Women’s clothes are for people with female bodies (i.e.: cis women and passing MTFs).

Women’s clothes complement the person’s femininity but do not compensate for a lack of femininity; they can be thought of as salad dressing: they only make what is good, better. A non-passer wearing women’s clothes or demanding to be referred to as a woman is an extremely unsightly abomination, like foul smelling and tasting food that has a lot of dressing to try to compensate and like an unclean bathroom that has a lot of deodorant added to try in vain to mask the foul smells. Non-passers who present as women contribute to the public perception that trans women are gross transvestite men and thus to transphobia. Worse, they make some people who want to transition, repress, because they infer that this is what they would end up as. For these reasons, trans communities and individual transsexuals should disavow non-passers who present as women.

Gatekeeping and DIY

Imagine you want a particular wall in your house painted green. You hire a painter. He tells you that first you have to pass a test that the current color of your wall causes you distress. Then, you can only have a green draper put over the wall for 1 year as a “real life experience” and only then, grudgingly, he finally paints your wall green, but it is the shade of green he wants, not the one you asked for, even though you’re the one paying and supposedly it is a service for you. If you dare object and say that you can paint your own wall, the painter will get indignated and admonish you for contemplating doing such a thing. “I am a painter, I know what I do and I know what is the best color for this wall; panting your own walls is dangerous. You should only have your walls painted by a painter.”.

Isn’t the above history absurd? Most health care workers are exactly like this hypothetical painter. Every other professional knows that if you hire him, it is to do a job that you have determined you want done, and not to question your motives. Only health care workers wrongly feel entitled to override your decisions and to treat you like their subordinate. Thus, it is generally better to do it yourself (DIY) i.e.: self-medicate and oversee one’s own physical transition. All the required information to physically transition is available in the Internet, mostly in web sites dedicated to sharing academic information. This web site contains various links to such web sites and a compilation of relevant scientific papers and books as a starting point. In any country with sane legislation (which is very few), HRT medication is over the counter. Where that is not the case, HRT can be bought without prescription in many online pharmacies (see links in the main page).