Okay, maybe I should tell you a bit about myself. For starters I’m nineteen and I’ve been on the medical path towards transition since I was seventeen. I’ve always known that I am female and as a result I’ve faced opinions from people I don’t even know on the subject. To many late transitioners I’m ‘lucky’, to many older people I’m ‘immature and confused’, to people at school I was a target for bullying, ‘gay’ and a ‘tranny’ and personally, I don’t feel I fit any of these descriptions. Let’s list them so far:
Lucky - Apparently because I look more feminine than the average transsexual, I’m lucky. I would say I’m less unfortunate than other transsexuals but I wouldn’t call it lucky. I’m lucky to live in a decent place and not have to search bins for food but I’m not lucky to be a transsexual.
Immature - I can be sometimes when I’m messing around with my friends but I know right from wrong.
Confused - I might have my blonde moments but I most certainly am not confused about my gender and never have been.
Gay - I identify as female and I’m attracted to men. Go figure.
Tranny - Last time I checked I wasn’t a radio….
Anyway, rant over! I should probably continue with a quick overview of early life for a young transitioner. Obviously I can’t describe the early life of every young transitioner but I can describe mine. My earliest memories of realising something might not be right were of going to Playgroup. It was a typical Playgroup with lots of toys and acitivies but I always made a beeline for the dolls. I would either want to be the ‘Mum’ when playing with baby-dolls or I would play stylist to one of the many limb-amputee Barbies that the Playgroup offered. The staff tried to gently nudge me into more male acitivies but I can’t say I took much notice. It was when I asked my grandparents for a doll for Christmas that it struck me that hey, something must be amiss here: “No, dolls are for girls.” Interesting, I had always thought that toys were for children and there wasn’t much difference…. Looked like I’d need to learn some things here.
Over the next couple of years, I learned to keep certain things quiet or do things a particular way rather quickly. For example, I wouldn’t mention that I wanted really long hair anymore and if I went to the toilet, I’d bang the seat to make it sound as if I was putting down the lid after ‘going like a boy’. I kept these things up when I began primary school. Children of this age were as I was, starting to learn the differences between boys and girls. I hadn’t managed to perfect my disguise yet so my drawings of flowers and ‘pretty ladies in dresses’ that were praised by my relatives didn’t go unnoticed in the early years of primary, a time when the word “why” was used like it was going out of fashion.
I’m going to skip a few years now and move on to secondary school. My rather faulty disguise had just got me through primary and I was now in a new environment where everyone was starting to like the opposite sex (or pretend to) and hormones were flying around like bluebottles on the neighbour’s dead cat. I found that even the few oddball friends I collected at primary were starting to get into this new hormonal thing while I remained short, fat, prepubescent and uninterested in anything remotely sexual for the first few years. Of course they eventually drifted away and I found myself stranger and more outcast friends than before and then I found myself being tricked by hormones. Okay, I started to like boys, I expected that but what the hell was that stuff growing on my top lip….I was pretty damn sure I didn’t want that!
Well, I managed to hide my feelings for boys and convince myself that facial hair was kind of cool. This worked for a little while until everything else started to masculinise. I started to get taller, my hair was falling out, my voice was getting deeper, my facial structure was turning into something huge and square. Suddenly I wanted everything back the way it was and my reaction to this was to ditch the masculine cover, grow my hair, go to town on my top lip and eyebrows with the tweezers and start to feel slightly more comfortable regardless of the increasing insults from fellow pupils.
In my final year of school, I told my friends and my close family how I felt and luckily they were all very supportive. I had my first visit to the Sandyford GIC later that year and met my psychologist, who confirmed my feelings for the official medical side of things. The confirmation was nice in a way but I knew already so it was no big deal. It was the year after that that things started to happen. I was referred for vocal therapy and that would be a constant in my life for a long time as well.
Now I’m not one to recommend self-medicating but I was well and truly screwed around by the endocrinologist at Glasgow’s Children’s Hospital for a good, long time and after seeing one too many hairs fall down the plug-hole, I acquired a six week supply of Cyproterone Acetate (Androcur); a powerful hormone blocker to give me some breathing space. As my supply was coming to an end, I saw my GP and he agreed to put me on it anyway and monitor my progress. During the months that followed, I lost muscle mass, my face softened, facial and body hair reduced, my scalp hair grew back and I started to feel happier with myself than I had done in a long time. As a result of this, I stopped stuffing my face and lost a lot of weight too which is never a bad thing!
It was a year after starting Androcur that I actually received an Endocrine appointment and I can honestly say if it wasn’t for the good friend who helped me get it, I very much doubt if I would be here today. At this appointment, he put me on Premarin, a form of Oestrogen. I had been waiting for this for a long time and I was pretty happy about this. It made me go nuts for a couple of months though. This calmed down….slightly.
So here we are in the present! I’ve just started hair removal and once that’s over and I feel my voice is acceptable (others do, I don’t), I’ll be 100% fulltime female and get my legal documents all sorted out, ready for the final surgery. Until then, I’ll just enjoy being me and not being a “lucky, confused, immature, gay tranny”.
Summer 2009:- Eilidh is now living fulltime and in relative stealth and is able to get on with her life fully as a woman.
©E.A. M for Transpartners 2008