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Transition
[Part 1]

 

Preface to this Page:
I've received criticism that this page it's overly positive.  I contend that being positive is better than being negative but concede that far too many mature transwomen transition expecting to be able to pass as a woman.  Many are deluding themselves and then become seriously depressed when they fail to pass even after extensive and irreversible surgery.  The march of Father Time is particularly brutal for transwomen, and it's vital that anyone considering transitioning takes a long, hard and realistic look at the problems they are going to face.

 

For a male-to-female transsexual (MTF) - transitioning is the period when you stop living your every-day life as man and begin living it as a woman.  It sounds short and easy - what more can be said? Actually, alot of girls have a lot to say, for example, Calpernia Addams: Calpernia Addams

"I did feel like I went through puberty at age 24.  Learning to wear a bra, makeup, date boys, all that - everything other girls learn at age 13.  And we're alone.  Most of the time society hates us - people think we're freaks or whatever - so you're doing all this alone.  And it can be really hard."

Robert Millar, now Phillippa York For the vast majority of MTF's, transitioning is in fact an enormous challenge, and probably the most stressful time of their life.  The former professional cyclist Robert Millar - a married man with a son - is an example of the real-world problems that transitioners face.  Friends became suspicious when the then 40-year old was seen with his hair in pigtails and a suggestion of breasts under his top.  One said, "Every time we meet him he seems to have a bigger chest, but he won't talk about it".  Two years later he - now she - moved town and changed her name to Phillippa York, sadly leaving friends, family and son behind.


Daria Jane records on social media (in particular her YouTube account) her 5 year journey from a
teenage boy to a young woman.  Whilst taking female hormones contributed significantly towards her
much changed physical appearance, she also had major and expensive feminisation surgery. [Romania]

A successful transition - even without "bottom surgery" - is a huge toward step towards mental health as gender starts to align and match with lifestyle, physical appearance. and sexual relations.  The term "Gender Euphoria" is sometimes used to describe a successfully transitioned women who delights in her new ability to wear women clothes, use makeup, have fancy nails, go pink, grow her hair, have a bling phone case, etc.  One newly transitioned transwoman spent 40 minutes at a music festival queuing to use the female toilets whilst the men's were queue free - despite her increasing desperation to pee she recollects considering the best minutes of her life so far.

Ally Rose is an example of how modern medical support can help a 20-something transition successfully:
(Top left) Pre-everything and posting as a "cross-dresser"
(Top middle) After starting hormones and having breast augmentation
(Top right) After facial feminisation surgery and transitioning in 2015
(Bottom) Working as a female model after SRS

She married her boyfriend in 2019.
 

A New Name
One of the biggest considerations when transitioning is selecting a new name.  This will be 'set in stone' as you start introducing yourself with it; ask embarrassed friends and family to call you this; change bank details and documents; and submit it to government bodies.


Emel Aydan, was born in 1951 as Erdoğan Kaşif. 'Emel' translates roughly to 'Desire' in English.  She probably chose this when transitioning to help her career as a singer, showgirl and actress.
Two widely differing approaches are common:
  1. Make it easy for family and acquaintances by selecting a feminised version of your commonly used name, e.g., Jack to Jackie, Charlie to Charlotte, Terry to Terri, George to Georgina, Bob to Bobbie, ... 
    or
  2. Emphasise your new female identity by selecting a common female name that has no relationship to your previous Christian name e.g. Liam to Emma, William to Ava, James to Sophia, Simon to Anne, ...

The first approach helps avoid the embarrassing situation of someone calling you by your new name but you not reacting.  A very possible scenario after a few glasses of wine late at night in the first few weeks after transition!  Also, retaining the same initials can help in the re-use of old documents, and it's credible to suggest that minor differences such as Tony vs Toni are just a typo error.


Alex identified as a homosexual man but took oestrogen hormones for many years.  She eventually decided to transition and have surgery to become a heterosexual woman. 
The second approach has the additional advantage that it aids stealth.  For example, someone searching for you on Google using the name is unlikely to get relevant hits.

A third option is to adopt an unusual or exotic name that you like, e.g. Caoimhe, Eibhleann, Naimh, Orlaith, ...  But the challenge then is getting people to remember how to spell and pronounce it!

 


When Keela became involved in a legal dispute, she was out'ed as born male and pre-SRS.  Documents such as her female driving licence then became problematic as she had submitted false information to obtain these.

Documents
A high priority task in every transwoman's transition is changing as much documentation and as many records as possible to reflect your new name and sex/gender - and as quickly as possible.  But be careful, if your documentation states that you are female then a female appearance helps a lot - whatever the law says.  For example, a transitioning transwoman changed her bank account to her new female identity but when she subsequently visited a branch to make a transaction the staff suspected that she was a man impersonating the account holder and blocked all access to her bank accounts.  It took weeks to resolve the issue.


A still from a Norwegian TV documentary following a transitioning young transwoman, showing her being chatted up by young men.  Obviously staged but relevant.
I've included in a separate page here some information (mostly derived and updated from Adele's original and now off-line work) about how to change your name and documentation during the transition in the UK and Ireland.  However much of the information is became out of date in 2004 with passing of the Gender Recognition Act.  This established a Gender Recognition Panel which makes it immensely easier to get documents changed and re-issued to reflect a legally adopted female name and a change of sex, also the level of evidence and representation required has become less onerous and pre-SRS women are also often accepted.  Basically it involves completing an on-line form, paying a £5 application fee, and posting a certified copy of your birth certificate to the Panel.  In the vast majority of cases you will receive a gender recognition certificate within a month and are now legally female.

It is then possible get a re-issued 'female' birth certificate, which in turn allows changing your passport to 'F;. including as flattering a photo as you can get away with!  Armed with all these documents is it's almost any other documents and records can be changed.


Ukrainian singer Zi FaŠmelu transitioned in 2014 and in 2016 tried to update her official documentation from Male to Female but failed as she hadn't had SRS.  When Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, she faced military conscription as a man!  She then made an epic journey to Germany which deserves to be made into a film.  (Left) Zi's passport, (Right) In Germany, March 2022.
When I married my partner in a church in Ireland, this was nearly a decade before the Marriage Act 2015 legalised what the press like to call "same-sex marriage".  Thankfully I was able to show the Priest my UK passport stated that my Sex was Female.  It would have delayed the marriage but I could have eventually have produced an acceptable Birth Certificate.  But if he had insisted on seeing my Baptism Certificate - well it has the wrong forenames on it and there was no way I could have got that changed.

If for some reason a document cannot be re-issued, it is now relatively easy to obtain or even produce for yourself a very authentic looking "corrected" version - and this is a risk some transwomen choose to take.  However, the same march of technology also means that increasingly official records and archives (including Births, Deaths and Marriages) are readily available on both government computer systems and the internet, and even the most convincing "original" document may be only a few keystrokes away from suddenly becoming suspicious.  Embedded digital signatures are also now used to prevent the manipulation of documents issued in an electronic format.

If you don't pass convincingly as a woman then the likelihood is that responsible staff/officials will check out even the most authentic looking documents that state that you are Female.  If there has been misrepresentation or forgery, this could lead to possible criminal charges.  

Pre-Transition Tips:

When passing as woman (pre- or post-transition), if the name, signature, address and [if present] photo are all okay, then it may be possible to laugh off as a silly mistake give-aways like "Sex: Male" on documents or in records.  But unfortunately confidence and convincing passability is essential when things get to this point.

In practice it's become essential to build-up a financial background and credit history in the years before you transition.   By far the easiest way of doing this is by selecting a female name, she will then become your fictional 'female' partner until you transition.

When choosing your female name, try to keep your initials and surname the same - "Allison Beverley Smith" is a much better name for an "Allan Brian Smith" to adopt than "Jane Helen Monroe" would be.  If you expect to eventually transition, avoid whenever possible using the prefix "Mr" or full forenames on documents, e.g. have "A B Smith" on your cheques rather than "Mr Allan Smith".  Avoid using a forename in your signature, so the credit card of "A B Smith" can then be used by either Allan or Allison.  If you must provide a photo with an application, use the most androgynous picture of yourself that you can find, ideally as unfocused (difficult with modern cameras!) as the issuer will let you get away with.  

It's now very hard in the EU and UK to open a new bank account without good supporting documents such as a utility bill and passport, which may not be available prior to your transition.  However banks will commonly issue a second credit card for a female partner at the same address - in this instance use your female title (prefix) and prenom (first name), e.g. "Miss Allison Smith", and submit an en-femme photo, making it a very useful form of emergency ID.  Note: It also used to be possible to move an existing bank account to a joint account with a female partner based on a completed form with signatures, but this now (2018) seems to be impossible.

Finally, change over a utility bill into your new fictional female partner's name as soon as possible, this will become important proof of identify and residence as you kill off your old male identity and "go solo" with your new name after transition time.

 

There are now so many transwomen in the USA (below) that the lingerie industry has begun catering for them, e.g. sexy tight panties and extra large training bras.  Shown above, from the left, are offerings by Harmonica, Sophie Hines, PACT and AnaOno.


 


Passing in a carefully selected photo does not equate to real life.
 
Beginning to Pass as A Woman
For most MTF women an ability to pass consistently as a woman is essential if they are to enjoy a successful and happy post-transition (and post-SRS) life, with little or no regrets about their actions. 


Monica
transitioned in her mid-20's.  A screen shot from a TV documentary.
IMHO, if a year after transitioning you are still constantly getting strange stares when shopping, and your "friends" and even family obviously don't like going out in public with you, a very hard re-assessment is appropriate before proceeding further and undergoing irreversible actions such as surgery.  The often lambasted one-year real life test prior to SRS does have a very serious purpose.


19-year-old Jamie-Michelle. Despite unflattering clothes and the padded bra, she's still passable due to her young age.
The challenges involved with transitioning are immense, just one small example is that girls practice their make-up from as young as age 2.  By age 16, most girls will have spent thousands of hours on doing their make-up, a male-to-female transsexual transitioning as an adult will have only spent a tiny fraction of that time.  This presents an immense challenge, although most transwomen will have vastly improved the standard of their make-up a year after transition.


A few lucky boys look like a girl before they transition.

But the good news is that you can stack the odds in your favour.  Just fifty years ago only a small percentage of adult men could in truth live and pass convincingly as a woman; nowadays a transitioning MTF transsexual woman can improve her percentages considerably.  Some physical characteristics (height, hands, feet, ...) remain almost impossible to change, but the modern transsexual woman has an enormous battery of weapons that allow her to feminise many of her other characteristics.  For example, good quality silicone breast forms and mastectomy bras are available for as little as £200 ($300) which bestow on a clothed transwoman breasts whose appearance and movement are indistinguishable from a natal woman.


The tall man greatly helps the passability of these two transwomen.
In general, my own advice is if that you can afford them and need them, then use them:- hormones, breast augmentation surgery, a 'nose job', facial feminisation surgery, hair transplants, electrolysis, skin peels, fat transfer, etc.  But a very serious proviso is to always seek good quality professional medical advice, care and treatment - you get what you pay for and skimping is a big mistake.  To the physical changes you can add valuable aids such as voice training, makeup coaching, deportment lessons, grooming tuition... even cookery lessons (really, mine were a great laugh!). 


Make-up presents an immense challenge to inexperienced transwoman.  Poorly padded bras are easier to avoid with the advent of silicone inserts.

Assuming that physically you are reasonably feminine in appearance, then passing then often becomes all about the small things - things that are second nature for someone brought up as girl but entirely strange for a man - and things that Hollywood often has a field day over when a man impersonates a woman in a comedy. 

For example, I physically have too many "male" characteristics for comfort - too tall, big feet, voice.  But as an example of how small the margin between passing and not passing is - when my sister had rhinoplasty to reduce the size of her "family" nose I decided on impulse to join her for the same procedure.  The change was minimal but afterwards I was astonished at how many people now assumed that I was a woman - and this was years before I transitioned.


Sammy posted these passport photos of her before, during and after transition.



Unfortunately learning how to pass is far less fun than this picture of three transwomen might indicate.
In Between Two Stools
My second puberty - the period from when I first took hormones in 1994 (age 29) until I started to live full time as a woman at the end of 2000 - became ever more difficult.  Working as a "man" I knew that my appearance was increasingly odd. 

Examples of just some of the many problems I faced pre-transition when a man included:

  • How long could I grow my hair
  • Realising my eyebrows were too heavily plucked
  • Wearing shorts with shaved legs
  • Half jokes about my "man boobs"
  • The reaction to having my ears pierced
When I went out as a woman, I also faced serious problems and risks from:


Gia and Allanah posing as sisters after after many years on hormones plus lots of surgery!

  • Visible facial hair or a shaving rash
  • Passing a security check in the female queue
  • Using female toilets
  • Being groped
  • My voice

But an upside was express entry to night clubs and often free drinks!

 

Learn Quickly
An adult (over 18) man trying to "pass" as a woman faces a constant and often high-risk challenge and obstacle course.  It is one thing to dream about being a woman, to actually try to live as a woman is quite another.
It's a real "chicken or the egg" situation - you can't successfully pass as a woman until you've lived as a woman, but you can't successfully live as a woman until you can pass as a woman!  It's also very hard to go to work and be accepted there as a woman until "being a woman" - with all its many downsides as well as upsides - becomes at least second nature. 

Before I transitioned I always worked as a man, however there were increasingly periods when I socialised as a woman.  When going to a bar or night club I was constantly stressed as to whether or not I was passing.  An attempted chat-up by a man was both a score and a nightmare.

When I transitioned full-time, every time I appeared in public or had to interact with someone, I initially felt that I was acting" a female role.  However, when under pressure the human being is an amazingly quick learner.  As the months passed my instincts and responses become automatically 'female'.  I still caused slight puzzlement, but it got ever more rarer and more trivial.

Also, post transition, I found that it was much easier for people who had only met me as "Annie" to accept me as a woman, even if they knew that I was a transgender, than people who previously known me as a man.  When I came out to my family it was obvious that while trying to be supportive they had problems adjusting, although the passage of time helped a lot and my mother was always generally supportive.

 

The Covid Pandemic

The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020 resulted in 'lockdowns' around the world.  In the UK and Ireland, for two years people were encouraged or even legally required to stay at home.  Shops and schools closed, offices were empty, socialising was discouraged and long-distance travel became impossible.  Often only 'essential workers' were allowed to go to work, everyone else had to work at home if possible.  An unexpected result of the restrictions was the extraordinary increase in the number of transgender people transitioning.  The pandemic and lockdowns initially had a negative mental impact (like most of the rest of the population) on transwomen, but some re-appraised their situation and realised that it was a unique opportunity to transition without the stress of constantly facing other people.

Kelly in May 2022, age 28.

'Kelly' is a good example of this.  [Link removed at the request of Kelly].  Born in 1994 he knew as a teenager that she was a transwoman but didn't have the courage to publicly admit this.  Age 26, he was a Solution Consultant for a software company when the pandemic broke out.  From March 2020 he had to work remotely, using video conferencing tools such as Teams and Zoom.  He soon realised that he was often being identified on the calls as a woman - aided by his androgenous name.  He encouraged this 'mistake' by letting his hair grow (later aided with extensions) and discreetly wearing make-up.  After six months Kelly moved to another company as "she/her", she simultaneously transitioned and began taking hormones - initially contraceptive pills provided by her sympathetic sisters. 

Although the pandemic effectively ended in early 2022, Kelly continued to work remotely - indeed she had still not met her work colleagues in person by the end of the year!  However, she was now very confident about her ability to pass and had booked GCS for early 2023.  On social media, Kelly said that she was "in a relationship".  This referred to her long-standing friendship with a man she first met in 2011 i.e. 9 years before her transition.  They now have a strong boyfriend/girlfriend relationship.


Elizabeth, born Lee, gained some fame in the early/mid-2000's after her transition and dramatic change in appearance due to hormones and extensive feminisation surgery.  A 2005 documentary in which she featured may still be available on YouTube.

Surgery
Very few transitioning transwomen don't have some surgery.  By a large margin the first surgery sought by all transsexual women is breast augmentation - requests varying from slight augmentation in order to reach a natural looking B cup, to porn star G cup balloons.   

Facial feminisation surgery (FFS) is often the next priority.  Prior to about 1995 this really just meant a nose job (rhinoplasty), but progress since then has been extraordinary.  For transwomen with deep pockets, and willing to stand the pain, an acceptably female - even attractive - face is often only a large cheque away.  When you are trying to pass in public as a woman every day, a cute nose and feminine jaw line matters far than the contents of your panties.


AŽla Chane after her transition.
Sex reassignment surgery (SRS) or Gender Confirmation Surgery (GCS) is sometimes, albeit surprisingly, a low priority.  Reasons for this include:

  • The financial gains from prostitution as a shemale

  • The cost and medical risks associated with the surgery

  • Still enjoying an active sex life with a penis

  • Her partner is firmly against the procedure

  • Sexual libido is so low that she has no interest in having intercourse as a woman


Elle Bradford was born a boy (probably Jesse) in April 1992.  She started taking hormones and transitioned as Elle age 15, and then became one of the first "infuencers" on social media due to her fantastic style and dress sense.  Her ability to pass benefited from a slight stature (5ft 3in, 160 cm tall) and small feet (size 6 UK), but by age 25 she had also had facial feminisation surgery, breast augmentation and gender confirmation surgery. 

 


Part 2


Last updated: 17 January 2021

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