In the beginning there was a little girl [ten years old] who wanted to be a boy... The little girl would go to bed and pray "Dear god, please let me wake up as a boy, even for just a day! Please! Amen." But her prayers were never answered, each morning she woke up as she was.... A girl. Now the little girl did have some luck, she looked JUST like her brother [but younger] and so people often asked her if she was a boy... Her reply was always "Maybe..." or "What do you think? When she went into middle school, people called her 'It' because she had short hair [which was an effort to rid her of head lice] but the little girl LOVED the short blond hair she was given, made her look even more like a boy. Never the less, the nickname 'It' made her sad... If she felt like a boy, why couldn't she be a boy? She only ever shared her feelings with her closest friends, who all seemed okay with the idea.
As the girl got older, the feelings remained, but femininity was starting to kick in. Her longing to feel normal turned into an act of hiding what she felt; she felt that if she was born a girl, then she must be a girl... She didn't look like a boy anymore, even with short hair, and it made her sad. In High School the feelings surfaced one day, and she asked a friend if it was normal to feel she wanted to be a guy... Her friend said "I think its okay, if that's how you feel, then why can't it be normal?" This made the girl happy, so when she got home, she looked up 'Female Sex Change' but only found stuff on men turning into women, so she tried a few more things like 'male sex change' but came up dry..... Coming up empty, the girl gave up... she didn't try to ask god for help, she pushed all her feelings of wanting to be a male aside, because for all she knew... Girls didn't turn to men.
On September 28th, 2007, I had moved from Montana to Seattle, to attend college. About two weeks after being there, I became aware of a group called Into The Living Room, which is a LGBT group held by my school, the Art Institute of Seattle. Now, I can't get into too much detail of Into The Living Room because it's confidential. But my first meeting there, I learned there were others out there like me. I finally learned the name of my feelings, what the world called it, as being Transgender.
I was so overjoyed that I didn't have to hide those feelings and desires of wanting to be a boy, of feeling I should have been born one, and now I knew it was possible to be one. That was that, I came out of the closet, and vowed that I WILL BE A BOY! A MAN!
Coming out is one of the hardest things most Trans and gay folk can do. You worry about being cast off by friends and family, that you’ll love their love and respect, or worse. For me, coming out to my mom was what worried me, anyone else who didn’t accept me for me didn’t belong in my life.
I came out to my mom the first day I attended Into The Livingroom, and it didn’t happen the way I wanted it to… It was one of those ‘Oh shit!’ moments. I was so emotionally disheveled about all this time that I could have gone through the transition, and been the boy I wanted and knew I had to be, but wasn’t educated enough to know any better. So, to vent, I wrote a text message to my mom, but wasn’t planning on sending it….. Oops, I just hit sent! It read “If I told you I wanted a sex change, would you love me as your son?” I was sooooooo scared, as I always thought my parents were VERY Homophobic. Mom quickly called me, and bottom line, told me she didn’t want me to do ANYTHING on the lines of transition or body changes until AFTER I graduated college. I told her that I wanted to leave college as, or well on my way to being, the man I would spend the rest of my life as. After all, college is about becoming that person you will be for the rest of your life, right?
Of course, Mom took it personally, and refused to talk about anything Trans related without bringing up my medical history of being “Bipolar” and “Emotionally unstable” as reasons to why I felt this way. She wanted me back on meds, and assured me “Maybe if you got on meds, you wouldn’t feel this way anymore” and I told her “Back when I was on 15 ½ pills a day, I still felt like I was supposed to have been born a boy.” It’s taken her the two years of transition [on year of me going over the past and assuring myself of it being the right thing to do, and the year of medical/physical transition] for her to come to enough terms to call me by my CHOSEN name of Vincent, and address me as HE to my friends.
Now, please note that my mom is not for this transition what so ever, but she has vowed that she loves me and that it will NEVER come into question. She still has her moments of not respecting my choice to physically transition, and using my feelings of it being a choice [which it is… Not all Transgenders feel the need to transition by way of medical means] that I am not a transsexual. It’s not her fault…. She’s a Shrink, uneducated in the ways of Transgenderism/Transsexualism, and too closely connected to me to reason anything beyond me being anything other than confused. She tries at least.
I don’t mention my dad for two main reasons, he is 100% against it [though he shares the sentiments as mom about loving me], and I don’t really care about his opinions. I love my dad, but I don’t really have a strong bond to him like I have with my mom.
Coming out to friends should be the easy part. Unlike family, friends are replaceable, and you shouldn’t have to deal with fakes. If a friend is a fake, they will make a point to either hate you, try to tell you that you’re confused/wrong/or sick, and generally won’t want anything to do with you. DO NOT CONFUSE FRIENDS WHO ARE REAL BUT UNEDUCATED AS FAKE FRIENDS. If a friend is truly a friend, three possible things might happen. One, they won’t be surprised at all about you wanting a sex change. Two, they will be confused, but willing to learn and of course remain friends. Three, they will get weirded out, and leave, but eventually come back when they can wrap their heads around it. Don’t hate them if the last part happens, because you have to realize that this may be a rather big shock to them, and conflict with ideas or morals they may have about people. Not everyone is educated about these sort of things, especially in smaller rural sort of places.
I came out to my friends, and one friend revealed herself to be a fake by trying to TELL me I was confused, there is a difference between telling and suggesting. She was convinced I was confused and didn’t know what I was talking about. The other friend, who later on went off to surgery with me, started out confused but stuck by my side. She is a TRUE friend, through-and-through, and I wouldn’t want to lose her to anything.
Be patient with the confused friends, but this is where it’s easier than dealing with parents. Most people have friends who haven’t known them their whole life, so it’s easier for them to change pronouns and names. GENTLE reminders for slip-ups are okay, and make sure you tell them that you appreciate the effort, and that it’s OK to make mistakes. My policy was “I don’t care if you mess-up and call me by the wrong pronoun, as long as you’re making the effort.” because my friends would get really frustrated with themselves for the slips.If you are in a school environment, the best way to bring the attention to a teacher on the first day is this. Write a note saying “My Legal name is “Fill in the blank”. I am a female-to-male-transgendered, and I would like to go by the name of “[fill in the blank]” and be addressed as HE not SHE. ” And hand it to them before ROLL. This worked quite well for me, as all the staff at my College was understanding and polite. The same sentiments about slips should be used here too… they are only people too, and will feel bad for messing up, unless they are dicks.
Before you can start Testosterone, or get ANY surgery, you first have to complete up to a MINIMUM of three months of therapy with someone trained in transgenderism/transsexualism. You can get therapy with someone who doesn't specialize in this spectrum, but often times the process will take longer, and uneducated actions/feelings may prevent you from starting at all. Some therapist, Trans specialists or not, will ask for up to a year of 'Real Life Training/Testing' depending on which state they practice in or personal feelings. RLT is a way, though flawed, to seeing if you can hack it in the gender specified life you want before things get too dicey, and consists of you living in your gender role, dressing, going by proper pronouns and name for a year. This is usually for bottom surgery only, though some will request it for Top surgery as well.
I got the letter from my shrink on January 12th, 2009, and boy oh boy, I was so happy! It wasn’t long after that that I was able to get my first shot. One January 25th I had my first shot, I was scared it would hurt, but it really didn’t… No worse than a bee sting, and less painful than getting your blood drawn. Instantly after the shot, I remember getting an adrenaline rush so bad that I had to take a moment after standing up off the exam table thingy.
Some changes started VERY quickly, genital changes for example. The changes below the belt took only a week. I was able to see that my JUNK went from nil, to half an inch. It really was fascinating to watch, but it was uncomfortable as all hell in my underwear. I found out that if I did not TRIM to like ¼” hair that it would feel very tender and sore. I also found out that the seams of most boxers and briefs will rub you wrong, so flip those puppies inside out to avoid the pinching and rubbing of the seams while walking.
After two months my vocals had dropped enough to classify my voice in that ‘teenage boy puberty’ sort of stage, low breaking point and all. I also noticed that some already existing hair on my face was starting to darken… Unfortunately it was only along my upper lip and the space between my brows.
Many other changes started to happen after two months, and you will be able to follow them in my videos.
After a year of wanting it, thinking about it, and trying to save for it, it finally happened. On August 25th 2009, roughly two weeks over the year marker of having my name legally changed [8/12/08] I had my top surgery. I had saved my money, and was desperately trying to collect the money for both a plane ticket and hotel. I had booked my plane ticket, and made my appointment.... I was to leave for Florida on the 23rd, have my pre-op evaluation on the 24th, and have the surgery done on the 25th.
It was an amazing feeling. I was constantly worried the days before the surgery, scared to death that for some reason I would never see Florida. I think I drove most of my friends nuts, with all the "It's gonna happen soon!”, “My surgery is on the 25th!!" and "I'm so excited!" and what not.
When the 23rd came around, I was ready to go, having packed my stuff the night before and laid out the outfit I was to wear on the plane. It was a GRUELING flight, departed Seattle Washington at 10:23pm, made a very short transfer in Charlotte North Carolina, and then touched down in Fort Lauderdale at 9:20am on the 24th. I went right to the motel on SR 84, got a room. Took a nice shower, and got the bus directions to Dr. Garramone's office at the Sawgrass Mills Mall, and was on my way....It was a two hour bus ride. A nurse was nice enough to pick me up from the bus stop and bring me to the office, she even got me coffee as I did all my paperwork.
The staff was wonderful! Everyone was so cheerful and genuinely concerned about me. They wanted to know if I was happy, ready, worried, anything. Dr. Garramone was a gentleman, and though he isn't the best when it comes to talking slower for the lesser inclined medical minds... or medically DECLINED minds, he was wonderful.
After lying in bed, TRYING to get some sleep, I finally awake by the sound of my alarm... 7am. Another shower, and ignoring the fact I was not allowed to eat or even drink water, I was ready. The hospital came to pick me up at 9am, and then I sat in the waiting room. Not a second when by that I felt nervous, I was calm, collected, happy, and excited. 10am, they brought me back, had me pee in a cup, then they brought me back to where I would then be hooked up to an IV. Dr. Garramone came in after 20mins or so and marked out his surgical lines, and was off.
I waited there, in a cold as fuck room, in a medical gown, and IV in hand... [ I would like to add that I kept freaking out every time I saw a bubble in my IV, in fact, I saw one about an inch long and I actually stopped my IV and called a nurse, who promptly got mad at me for having fucked up the flow of the IV, lol She had to spend ten minutes bleeding it, and making sure it was working right, then told me to freak out if the damn bumble was like more than three inches]..... It hit me how lonely I felt, waiting for the HAPPIEST thing to go underway, alone.... I wasn't sad in the least that I was there alone, but I would have felt better if I had a lover by my side, while I waited, or just outside the door. But soon enough [like 2 hours later] they gave me some Valium substitute, and wheeled me into the operating room.
When I woke up, I saw my friend beside me, who kept telling me to stop talking, and then I fell asleep again.... They kicked her out because I wouldn't stop talking, but then she came in the second time. No pain has come of my surgery, and I'm almost 2 weeks now and haven't taken a single pain killer. I love the work and the results are more than just physical. I haven't been called she or been questioned of my gender, and no longer immediately assumed as female.
Thank you Dr. Garramone.