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Text Articles

Millie's Story

Confessions of a Transsexual

A Self-Help Guide to Transitioning

I certainly DO NO I object to new people writing to me. I love to get e-mail and spend a good deal of time communicating with other TG friends across the country! Let's see, what can I tell you. Of course you may know a bit about me from the postings that I have made. I got a lot of play out of advising people on my experiences with herbal estrogens (Black Cohash, Dong Quai, and Blessed Thistle) and, yes, I do recommend them as an option if you want to start doing something about your body. but aren't quite ready to seek regular hormone therapy. Deciding to go on herbals was my first real step in transitioning after I made the decision to do it. I got some breast development and got a lot of mental (possibly placebo effect) mellowness out of taking them. It is really hard to figure out all the emotional and mental changes that you go through after starting transition. Some dramatic effects for me occurred too quickly to be caused by the hormones, just starting the process triggered massive changes in my behavior and attitudes. For example, for many years Millie and Mike were too distinct personalities which I could switch between at will. Sometime after I started transition I awoke to the realization that I was now only one person, Millie. Mike is gone and I couldn't be male if I wanted to. It was a wonderful feeling.

After 4 months of herbals, I called my family doctor and told him that I was TS and needed his help. He referred me to Dr. Keller, a Psychiatrist here in Greenfield. I went in to see Dr. Keller and in one session had him convinced that I was educated, well adjusted, sane, and definitely comfortable and at ease about changing gender. He game me an immediate recommendation for hormones. I then went to see my Endocrinologist, Dr. Raymond, who evaluated me and prescribed hormones on my first visit also. That was a little over 4 months ago. I started on I .625 mg Premarin tablet and 200 mg of Spironolactone (Aldactone) a day. The Spironolactone will shut down your testosterone production completely in six months and is dirt cheap (alternative is a Depo-Provera shot that will cost $300 a month). The Premarin, of course, is a natural estrogen extracted form pregnant mare's urine that is superior to synthetics. My hormone levels are monitored closely and I was soon up to 2 Premarin tabs a day and then recently moved up to 3 a day. I am still taking a relatively low dosage, but have no side effects and tremendous body changes occurring. I do have breasts growing nicely (they hurt when pressed, nipples are stretched taut and growing, and they get fuller every day (I am definitely at the bouncy stage now and can pretty well fill a 36B bra without pads. I have dated girls with smaller breasts than what I have now -.

Other changes, I lost over 5 inches off my waist (I have one now) and the weight shifted about 6 inches down to give me a rounded feminine belly. I have also continued to lose weight and now weigh 202 (I was 265 when I started working towards transitioning about 2 1/2 years ago and have lost the last 10 pounds since I started hormones. Hips are rounding out and body hair is disappearing rapidly. My skin has gotten dryer and all acne has cleared up. I have to use a moisturizer all the time now. I use to have extremely greasy hair that had to be washed daily. Now my hair can go forever without any trace of greasiness (I still try and wash it every two or three days, but I don't need to). My hair also got thicker and I got some hair regrowth on the top where it had started to thin out a little. It is very important that you start transitioning and get on hormones immediately if you are experiencing male pattern baldness! The estrogen will stop it cold and even promote some regrowth if you catch it soon enough. I have friends who are transitioning at age 60+ who are nearly bald! They all wish they had done it years ago, so don't make that mistake. If you are going to do it, start now or you will regret it later.

If you are my age, you are at a perfect time to do it. I don't think anyone should wait past 50 if they can help it. My life is so filled with happiness now and the transition has come so easily to me. By the way, I have had an exceptionally easy and successful transition by any standards. Part of that is a very positive attitude and the fact that I educated myself about TG issues and procedures (downloaded most of the files in the TGCF info files section) before I started. I talked to people (like you are doing) and got a feel for what I would he facing. I prepared myself to accept all possible adverse consequences and started putting my personal affairs in order (divorcing my wife, telling the kids, telling my friends and co-workers). Other than my wife's nonacceptance and the divorce and custody fight now going on, my life is perfect now as far as I am concerned. My kids are all very supportive as has been my employer and virtually everyone that I know. People are a lot more understanding of TS's than they have ever been before. Women will positively flock around you offering advice and help (at least that has been my experience). Anyway, I'm rambling, the important issue is to put your own "mental house" in proper order. Join a support group, if you haven't already, and meet other TS's in your area (there will be a lot more of them than you ever dreamed of!). When you are comfortable that you know what you want to do then you are ready to seek out a therapist and get your hormone recommendations and get started.

The most expensive part of the change will be your electrolysis. I pay $50 per hour and have over 43 hours in so far (taken in 4 hour sessions). I will need at least another 50 hours to complete the process, but we've got it thinned out enough that I am passable. [Update - I'm at 140 hours now, but still have little white "no see-ums" that continue to pop out - I can't see them, but I can feel them. We are going for the "smooth" face now and I anticipate 200 hours total before we're done].

By the way, I started hormones in October and went full time as a woman right after Christmas. Most TS's don't move nearly that fast, but I have found that people just don't pay you that much attention. I was wearing makeup and bras constantly for over a year and no one noticed (I do wear glasses so it helps to conceal the earth tones eye shadow and brown mascara. It wasn't until I started wearing skirts and carrying a purse that People really started noticing. No one I worked with nor my kids noticed anything until I told them. I have had no bad experiences while out, even when I had to have a 2 day growth of beard for electrolysis - I just went out with the beard. I got some funny looks doing that, but just momentary glances, no laughter, no ridicule, no physical threats - it is really so much easier to do this than you would ever imagine. As I said above.... get you mind together and the question of whether your are passing or not becomes irrelevant. The important thing is to show good taste and don't dress up like a flaming drag queen and start swishing around the mall. No bright violet eye shadow, no micro-mini skirts (unless you have really great legs like I do - I do wear short skirts and pull it off very well (I have been told) I am really pushing it though, since I draw a lot of attention from men checking out my legs and bust. If I wasn't very passable now, that would be really dangerous to do. Check with your friends, if they think you are overdoing it, drop back to more casual and non-sexy clothes (girls jeans, silk blouses etc.)

Getting my hair permed was the deciding thing that really put me "over the top" from a passing standpoint. I was regularly being "read" when face to face with clerks (I was okay from a distance, but at the cash register I got "yes sir'd" with disgusting regularity. I got the perm (my hair is 5 inches past my shoulders) which really gave me a huge head of curly hair, and from that day forward I have been "miss, ma'm, or ladies" everywhere I go.

Of course, I was working on my walk, which also helps. A tip: when walking, lift your thigh and bring your foot down softly and flat, if done right you will feel like your are gliding! Get used to taking short steps, keep your stomach (and genital area) pulled back, keep you shoulders back and your breasts forward. Pretend someone has hold of the hair on the crown of your head and are pulling you upright. Once you get that smoothed out nicely, you will find that swinging your hips a little become very natural as does letting your arms swing in an easy fashion. Practice until it becomes second nature. I can't even remember how to walk like a man (long strides, coming down on the heel very heavily -).

Get someone to give you makeup lessons. I thought that I knew makeup after all those years of CDing, but I didn't. I use Elizabeth Arden cream foundation to cover what beard I have left (it is worth it to get the good stuff). Don't let some one try to push you into "drag queen" makeup like the Jim Bridges videos. Go for soft and natural.

I have recently gotten acrylic fingernails which are very attractive and also had my eyebrow arched. My ears were pierced some time ago (again, it got no notice when I had it done).

I am tall so clothes have been a little problem for me (I'm 5 foot 11 inches), but I frequent Tall Girl shops here and in Canada. I also like Northern Reflections and order from catalogs like Lerners of New York. Lingerie is all Victoria's Secret and I love their Miracle Bra. They all want your money so I had no problem initially buying clothes and just admitting that I was a TS (I don't anymore, of course). You do get mileage out of telling someone you are a TS vs being a TV. People realize TS's are "real" while they still think cross dressers are into a kinky sexual thrill thing. So.... if read... I prefer that they think that I am a transsexual to their thinking that I am a transvestite (just my opinion).

Current Update

Well, the above was written some time ago. I am now at 11 months living full time and have 140 hours of electrolysis completed. Beard is no longer a concern to me although we are still working on getting the little white "no see-ums" to get that smooth feel.

I'm still on the same relatively low dosage of Premarin .62 5 mg X 3 per day plus 200 mg of Spironolactone.

Passing is no longer a concern either. I don't remember when the last time was that I was "read" by anyone who hadn't already known me as Mike. I have finally reached the point where people who knew me do not always recognize me now. This was a problem because I had been wearing my hair long and wearing makeup for so long that Millie was not a dramatic difference from Mike at first except for the clothes. People instantly knew me once I went full time, even store clerks and restaurant people where I went regularly knew instantly. It made for some interesting experiences sometimes. Some said something, some said nothing but I knew they knew (remembered by usual order for example).

I recently joined a new church as Millie, nobody knows about me and I was accepted without question. I've been to the beach several times in a swimsuit without a problerm also and am about ready for a sexy two piece (gotta lose a little tummy first, though, it's feminine but still a little too much for a skimpy bikini.

Religion and Spirituality - I was always kind of an agnostic, but I have also developed an overwhelming sense of "presence" in my life that I am being guided. I am also amazed, but I seem to have found God after all these years. Too many things all came together to make my transition possible for it to be all coincidence. This feeling has been growing for the last 5 years that I was being guided. I firmly believe that I have a mission in life, I don't know what it is, but I'll know one day. Maybe I'm supposed to run for Congress as the first TS Representative? I've thought about it -. Anyway, I'm very close to nature now and even went completely vegetarian about 10 months ago as the feeling developed that I didn't want anything dying for my sustenance and enjoyment. It hasn't been hard to do and I feel much better not to be responsible for butchering animals. I still wear leather belts and gloves though so I'm not completely guilt free, yet.

SRS - I've decided on Dr. Menard in Montreal and plan on SRS this spring hut it depends on my finances after my final divorce hearing on December 4th and on my travel schedule for business since SRS will ground me for about six weeks before I can fly again. Even then, I'm a little concerned about doing dilations while "on the road".

Voice - the hardest part of all in my opinion. I finally got that under control and my female voice is so much a part of me that I have basically forgotten how to use a male voice. I don't try to remember either and don't do demonstrations for curious friends who are positive that the hormones changed my voice. Telephones are still tough, but I finally reached the point where people will call me "miss" or "Madam" without my giving them verbal cues like, "this is Ms Garrett...can you"...etc.). I do have to push my voice up a bit to achieve this on the phone, so I am a bit higher pitched on the phone to compensate for how the circuits clip your higher frequencies and emphasize your bass components. If a friend is still skeptical, I slip into my "sex kitten" voice and really shake them up!

Sexual Preference - the most amazing thing in my transition was the fact that after about four months on hormones, I found myself really liking men and women no longer did anything for me sexually. The moment of truth came when I watched French Kiss and found myself just drooling over Kevin Kline while ignoring Meg Ryan completely. It was a shocking moment of truth as I had really felt that I would be a TS lesbian and had never even considered the possibility of being with a man. Surprise I was heterosexual before I became a woman and I'm a heterosexual now that I am! I am pleased, personally, just very amazed at how that big a change can occur. The mental changes that HRT brings about cannot be overstated. Your whole world changes around you and "nothing will ever be the same" ( Time Warp song, Rocky Horror Picture Show -says it all). I could write a book about what has gone on in my mind during the past year.

Physical updates - I go braless routinely now without fear, I definitely have ample breasts now and they are very firm and youthful. A nice side affect, since I transitioned so late in life I have the boobs of a 17 year old - much better than the saggy busts of my age group :-) and a lot of women have noticed and commented on that. My hips are still widening and I have a noticeably female figure now, although I wish my waist was tinier -I have heard that hormones can never give you that real narrow female waist without liposuction or body contouring surgery. Anyway as you get hip and bust development the waist looks narrower by comparison and I fit into a size 16/18 dress without bursting seams so I am reasonably content.

Size - I am still at 5 foot 11 inches and 200 pounds. My weight loss kinda stalled out at this point no matter what I do. All the women I know though comment that I am "lean" and that I shouldn't lose more weight, but the men all think I should. Interesting thought - the women really like the idea of being my size and looking men right in the eye, while the men all prefer that their woman be smaller and weaker and non-threatening to them. Interesting observation is it not?

And that about brings this little chronicle up to date for now as of November 21, 1998 - I have found acceptance everywhere I have gone and life is happy and joyful for me in a way that I never imagined it could be. My transition has exceeded every expectation that I ever had and every dream that I fantasized. I am a very fortunate girl and I thank God every night for my many blessings.

March 21, 1999 Update

Well, here I am at 15 months living full time as a woman. I don't know what, else to really say at this point. I live life as a woman every day....every moment..... and I love it! My gender is really a non-issue these days. I am concerned about getting the trash out, cleaning house, keeping the kids from fighting -making a living... the usual things a single mom would do.

A few updates though:

Divorce - we finally got through all the delays and hearings and are now awaiting the verdict. We finished the hearings on February 4th and here we are on March 21st! The wheels of justice turn slowly. I expect to win custody of all my children and to be raped financially as compensation to my "ex" for depriving her of her livelihood (the kid's support payments). After 15 months she still hasn't found a job or made any serious attempt to support herself - living instead off the court ordered support payments that I have been making. Well, the kids are the important thing, if I get them all will be well.

If I don't... well, if the court ignores the wishes of the children and the over-whelming recommendation of the psychologists during the custody evaluation just because I am a TS - I will probably be in jail on contempt of court charges for refusing to pay any more support and inviting 60 minutes or anyone else who wants an interesting story to come and witness my "stand" for Transsexual Rights!

I might also snatch everyone and run for Canada (I am employed by a Canadian company so it is a real possibility to do that.

However, everything should workout and I will get the kids, no theatrics necessary.

Hormones? Still on the same dosage. Breasts continue to grow and still hurt, but I love it.

Electrolysis? I quit counting the hours, Everyone who sees me swears that I have no beard, but I can feel the isolated little white hairs so the pursuit of the perfectly smooth face continues at 3 hours a week. I'm probably at about 180 hours now, I think. Fun!

Appearance? I think I'm a pretty sexy 49 year old, thank you! Still get mistaken for around 40 (a couple of guys estimated me at 35!). Still wear skirts that are a bit short and still like to show off too much. Makeup and hair are all second nature to me now.

Voice? Pretty darn good. No problems on the phone and guys who call me say I have a wonderful sexy voice! I do get careless sometimes as I can slip up and let it go too deep. I have passed easily for so long that I just take it all for granted sometimes and I shouldn't as it only takes a moment of carelessness to get "read".

Dating? Yes, I started dating men last month. Haven't found anyone locally that appealed to me and all the on-line friends who seem really great at hundreds or thousands of miles away! I haven't had the nerve to walk into a nightclub by myself and my daughter is too young and my girl friends are too old for going out to bars. The Gay bar scene doesn't really interest me at all. I am looking for a normal, heterosexual guy with good values and in reasonable physical shape. I'm still feeling my way as I can't really get too involved until after SRS.

SRS? Oh yes, the BIG, ONE... I've started negotiations with my insurance carrier to see if they will pay - indications are that they will. I need to know how badly I am going to be hurt in the divorce before I can schedule surgery in Montreal, however. I have decided on Dr. Menard although Meltzer in Oregon would be my second choice. I really thought I would be through this by now, but it became an issue in my divorce over "disposition of marital assets" to pay for "frivolous" lifestyle changes! -So.... it got delayed while the hearings stretched out with constant requests for continuances and other delays. It took two months to get 2 1/2 days of hearings in and then six weeks for the other attorney to submit her proposed decree and findings of fact! And now we wait on the judge!

And that is where I find myself, on Friday evening, March 21st, 1999. Stay tuned for further developments.

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Revised: 11/07/10