Living While Trans

I thought of three things that will happen, may surprise you and even potentially annoy you while you’re transitioning. These things have happened to me and will likely happen to you – maybe not in the exact same way but in some form or fashion.

The Voice

This one is hilarious and terrible. When your voice starts to drop it doesn’t happen over night and it often changes at the worst times. I didn’t have the highest voice before I started testosterone but the change is very noticeable. I sort of hate hearing my old voice on videos but in my mind it just sounds like me as a kid.

So when it starts, there is a lot of cracking – you’ll be having a conversation and then your voice will crack – sometimes nothing comes out and sometimes a really weird, higher-pitched sound emanates from your face.

It affects EVERYTHING – I am a BIG-TIME karaoke-er and the voice change has really put my performances in jeopardy. I can’t hit the notes I once could and I tend to lose my voice quicker. YIKES ——–>

Early on, at about month 4/5, I would be in meetings and someone would ask me a question and I could never be sure whether my normal, (deeper), voice was going to come out or if I was going to sound like a boy going through puberty with different tones and pitches with every word. I got through this part by kind of just making fun of it and accepting it as part of the process.

It is a really cool thing that happens though – I like my voice a lot more now overall. It is deep enough and fits. It’s sort of raspy but hey, that’s in right? Almost to the two-year mark and I think my voice has been the same for the last few months; it might be settling in. It hasn’t really cracked since late 2017; the only real change is that it’s gotten deeper. It’s also likely that once it starts to change, you will notice it way more. I often felt like my voice was being broadcast in my head through a large microphone – it definitely takes some getting used to.

Being outed IN PUBLIC to people that don’t know

This one happens a lot, especially early on in your transition. The worst thing about it is that it likely isn’t intentional but does just as much damage as if it was. I came out to my parents before my first shot in February 2017 and publicly in October 2017. It feels like people have had enough time to adjust. Not so much. In my mind it’s like I have a BEARD – how can you not use the right pronouns? I learned about something called Cognitive Dissonance; that makes it difficult for people to separate what they “know” from what they “see.”

At this point in the transition, I pass with ease in almost all social settings. If you didn’t know me before, all you see now is a black guy walking around. That’s one of the best things about transitioning – when nobody knows. (Not that I’m ashamed of it, that couldn’t be further from the truth, but that is the result I was trying to achieve. To “pass” as who I actually am).

Unfortunately it’s the people that knew you before that complicate things.

Here is how it usually goes. I’m talking to someone I’ve never met and everything is going well. Enter person who knew me before who starts talking or telling a story and wrong pronoun (awkwardly) in 3…2…1….. That simple mistake is a BIG problem. People are confused and you have a choice to make:

  1. Let it go as if the person accidentally said it and it happens to everyone all the time (it doesn’t).
    1. You know how we all accidentally use “she” when talking about a guy friend. :/
  2. Correct them and make it SUPER weird for everyone.
    1. This choice can go sideways quick and it’s kind of dangerous.
  3. Ignore it – give them a death look – and keep talking.
    1. Be prepared for the person that did it to apologize while also expecting you to make them feel better/ok for messing up.

There are other choices but those are the top three for me.

Public Bathrooms

I’ve touched on this before in terms of the good and (really) bad but it does get old and knowing what places have more accessible bathrooms is key. Going places you’ve never been is always a risk. It’s annoying – you’re kind of like I just want to go pee.

There are items you can get to solve the urinal issue and even the backwards feet issue – I haven’t gone there yet. I’ll talk more about this in a later post but real quick – during my first year on T, I was really gung-ho about everything being the way it should be. I was self-conscious about the bathroom and wanted to be “normal”. I bought a thing and practiced at home – the first time I did great. The second time, I might as well have been my four year old nephew – pee was everywhere. I haven’t tried it again. Can you imagine being out with friends and peeing all over the floor, your leg, jeans etc? Ha – not ready to risk it.

I went to a high school basketball game last night and it took us forever to get there so when we finally did arrive, I needed to use the bathroom. Surely a high school would have an easy to use bathroom right? NOPE. Walk in, there’s ONE stall and three urinals. The first time I walked in everything was full – and the guy in the stall was doing a wardrobe change so didn’t look like that was going to come available any time soon. So I walked out.

The second time I went in, the person in the stall had HIS feet the “wrong” way so I knew that was going to be awhile and one of the urinals was open. This is one of those think quick on your feet moments because you know you aren’t using a urinal and you don’t want to just be the weirdo in the bathroom when there is something open for use. So I quickly surveyed the scened and walked over to wash my hands (because OBVIOUSLY I needed clean hands). And then I walked out.

Now mind you, it’s been an hour or so. It is not good to hold your pee. The third time I went in, the bathroom was empty so I walked in and went. Third time’s a charm.

There are so many things that happen while living trans. So many things that happen that are out of your control and are dependent on the actions of others. I try to be the kind of person that takes things in stride – sometimes it’s easier than others.

Either way, I Can Only Be Me.


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