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Feb 10th, 2015
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  3. Tribute to John
  5. Galaxy greetings, Spacekats! This is Brianna. I'm a Journalism major at
  6. the University of Mississippi and tonight marks my sixth month since
  7. starting HRT. A lot has happened in sixth months - I've finished laser, I
  8. live full time as a woman and I almost always pass quite easily. I'm
  9. considered legally female by United States jurisprudence.
  11. This is not a work of fiction. I thought that the denizens of Fictionmania
  12. might enjoy reading a true story of what it is like for a man to become a
  13. woman. I have come to understand, the stories that I admired here get so
  14. much of the process wrong.
  16. It was important to me to celebrate by writing you my story. I wanted to
  17. celebrate the person that got me to this point - John. He wasn't a bad
  18. person - well meaning but dealing with a lot of anger. It wasn't really
  19. his fault. Living as a boy when you know that you were supposed to be a
  20. girl is just the pits, you know?
  22. I have known for every second of my life that I was supposed to be a girl.
  23. I remember being separated into play groups as a child, and attempting to
  24. socialize with the boys that seemed like aliens. Occasionally, when
  25. allowed to play with girls, I would enjoy greatly their games of make-
  26. believe. These were to be my happiest memories of childhood.
  28. I've always watched women with an apt fascination of the world to which I
  29. was being denied. It seemed so enchanting, all of it. But when I attempted
  30. to emulate the behavior that seemed so normal, I was socially ostracized.
  31. I rarely had close friends as a child, I was just different and strange -
  32. an exogenous factor that didn't compute with the system.
  34. I discovered Fictionmania in 1998 with the advent of the Internet. In
  35. hindsight, I can say that I wasted many years that I could have been
  36. living as a girl by visiting that site. It all seemed to be so impossible
  37. for so long - but here is the story of how I beat my fear and got the
  38. courage to transition.
  40. On July 6 of last year I broke up with Heather, ending the worst
  41. relationship of my life. I was 25 at the time. Heather was in interesting
  42. specimen to be sure. A grouchy and emotionless diabetic finishing up her
  43. PhD in Exercise Science, Heather was someone that eschewed femininity
  44. almost completely. If I were to be truthful, I would admit that I loved
  45. her because I deemed her fucked up enough to love me back.
  47. It was an interesting relationship because in many ways I was the girl. I
  48. enjoyed cooking her dinners as she finished her dissertation. It was a
  49. very bad relationship in that I rarely felt respected - Heather rarely
  50. cared to put any mind into our conversations, and she generally ignored me
  51. unless it was convenient for her.
  53. At the end of the relationship something was very clear to me - I had
  54. stayed with Heather because I was a closeted transsexual. I felt like I
  55. was too fucked up for anyone to ever love - I knew that I needed to deal
  56. with my feelings. Facing my fears, I made an appointment with my school's
  57. counseling center.
  59. Therapy was slow going at first, and looking back at it I am amazed at how
  60. much fear I had. After a year of therapy, I had become to accept myself as
  61. a transsexual much more easily. I was left with a great decision, to
  62. transition or not to transition? That was the question. I had so many
  63. fears then - I feared that my friends would treat me as freakish. I was
  64. scared of employment discrimination, I even feared that the HRT would make
  65. me act erratically.
  67. Transitioning transsexuals must follow a set of medical and legal
  68. protocols known as the Benjamin Standards of Care. Named after Dr. Harry
  69. Benjamin, they are a source of consternation and comfort for transsexuals.
  70. To be brief, they require a transsexual to have at least three months of
  71. psychotherapy before starting hormone replacement therapy - known
  72. colloquially as HRT.
  74. Typically, HRT is done with an endocrinologist. Endocrinology is among the
  75. newest sciences. After sex hormones were discovered in the twenties,
  76. greater understanding came about that, that virtually all the differences
  77. in men and women are as a result of the differences in their endocrine
  78. systems.
  80. My endocrinologist was reluctant to treat me at first, but like many
  81. transsexuals, I had spent a lifetime voraciously reading the medical
  82. literature. My research of scientific endocrinology journals to determine
  83. my best course of treatment eventually swayed him.
  85. On February 14 of 2006 I found myself in possession of my first round of
  86. hormone treatment. I was beyond terrified at the journey I was about to
  87. start. My mind couldn't grasp the complexity of the journey I was about to
  88. start. By coincidence, I made contact with a long lost friend named
  89. Lucinder starting HRT on the same day. We deemed to make it a holiday to
  90. be known as "Fuck you" Day.
  92. If I had known as a child how drastically estrogen and anti-androgens
  93. would affect my mind and personality, I would have done it years ago.
  94. Testosterone is a cruel master - and to keep it in check a wonder drug
  95. called spirolacetone is used. Although it's originally meant to lower
  96. blood pressure, it wipes out testosterone in a wonderful fashion.
  98. Estradil Estradiol, a member of the 17b estrace class is another wonder
  99. drug. When I take these pink pills four times daily I thank them deeply
  100. for the access to new feelings and emotion they allow. Estradiol makes it
  101. possible to feel deeply, to experience emotion as a woman does. It makes
  102. it possible to cry, to sympathize and even to burn with righteous anger.
  104. Progesterone is an interesting drug to take. The research is unclear, but
  105. many believe that it leads to increased breast development and sexual
  106. feelings. Because I've used them in conjunction, I can't claim to know how
  107. much breast development I would have without it - but I am quite pleased
  108. with my pair of A cup breasts at six months.
  110. The thing that I cannot communicate strongly enough to potential
  111. transsexuals considering this journey is how much more happy and normal I
  112. feel with HRT. I would never, ever go back. I used to wake up feeling
  113. normal until the realization would hit me that I wasn't a girl, which
  114. would lead to thoughts of depression. Now I wake up feeling peachy and in
  115. tune with myself. Sometimes, I remember that I am a transsexual.
  117. I pass extremely easily for a TS - I feel quite blessed. Although I am
  118. quite tall, I've always been extremely skinny. I discovered running after
  119. I beat Ambien, and I run 45 miles a week. So the tallness just works with
  120. my look as a hardcore athlete. I feel blessed in my facial features as
  121. well - I have high cheekbones and no chin. And because I'm only 26 I have
  122. not lost any hair. I will never be considered beautiful, but at least I
  123. can easily live life in the role of the gender I have always known myself
  124. to be.
  126. Something that has really shocked me about transition is that nothing
  127. happens. What about all those fears that I obsessed about for my entire
  128. life? None of them came to fruition. My friends were almost universally
  129. supportive - and many admired my decision.
  131. "You're really brave to go through that," is a common comment I get. One
  132. of my favorite comments was from my friend Rima. "To be honest," she said,
  133. "it's not that surprising. You've always been really girly anyway."
  135. Female friendships are a truly wonderful thing - they are the most
  136. rewarding aspect of transition. It turns out, girls really admire a boy
  137. with enough common sense to chop off their penis. I gave a lecture to a
  138. speech therapy class recently, and the all female class looked on me with
  139. wildly fascinated eyes - they were eager to ask questions about what it
  140. was like for a boy to become a girl.
  142. I am sure you are wondering the same thing, and it's an extremely
  143. complicated question. Generally speaking, girls are nicer and much more
  144. cooperative. I find myself obsessed with the importance of always being
  145. nice to people, even people I disrespect. Part of female communication is
  146. coming to consensus rather than being dominant. This becomes second nature
  147. with estrogen.
  149. Also, estrogen makes you live in your own world. I sometimes find myself
  150. oblivious to my immediate surroundings concentrating on something as
  151. insignificant as a hair on a desk. Estrogen, also makes me more reticent
  152. to say what I am thinking because I understand more deeply how important
  153. it is to get along.
  155. If I can say a word or two about what estrogen does to your sexuality - it
  156. is a mindfuck. I never considered gay relationships even remotely before
  157. HRT because I found women so overwhelmingly fascinating. But after HRT,
  158. after beginning to feel like a woman all the time, I found myself strongly
  159. attracted to boys.
  161. I shouldn't have been surprised, I knew from the science that my odds were
  162. one in three of this happening. I find myself in constant wonderment of
  163. what it is like to kiss a boy, or to pursue a sexual relationship with
  164. one. I am certain that my next relationship will be with a boy, and I look
  165. forward to being the girl in the relationship.
  166. Removing one's beard is an extremely painful part of being a transsexual.
  167. I opted for laser treatment, and I would describe the experience as deeply
  168. spiritual. Every zap is a painful gut check that asks, ‘How important is
  169. it for me to become a woman?' To me, it's like earning the right to be
  170. feminine by enduring great pain. I wonder how few women could tolerate 200
  171. hours of electrical torture for the right to be themselves.
  173. For me, voice wasn't hard to get the hang of. It was mostly practice with
  174. my friends, but formal speech therapy was also useful. It helped to
  175. understand all the technical aspects of it - pitch, resonance, easy onset
  176. and the like. It also took me a while to understand that much of the male
  177. profanity would need to go. This came easily enough with HRT - the reason
  178. women don't use profanity is because it really jars you out of your own
  179. little happy world.
  181. Regarding John, he doesn't exist anymore- let me say, he will be missed. I
  182. really appreciate that you were recusant enough to get me through this. I
  183. don't think of you as gone - I am quite like you, only stronger. I am
  184. happy, whereas you were not. I can easily smile, which is something you
  185. were rarely capable of.
  187. When I think of all the things that I we had to overcome together, it's
  188. quite a list. The five year crippling Ambien addiction, the splatter-movie
  189. mugging of 2002, and the 12 years of religious indoctrination in the guise
  190. of schooling - thinking through that alone is an impressive
  191. accomplishment. We are tough as nails, Space cat - and no one can take
  192. that from us.
  194. That said, you don't exist anymore, legally or nominally. And today is a
  195. day of celebrating what you were able to accomplish - becoming strong to
  196. let me become Brianna.
  198. It's important to me to not allow the fact that I am a transsexual to
  199. overwhelm my life - and from here I've got some pretty important things to
  200. accomplish. Our government has become openly corrupt, and it is my destiny
  201. to be part of a new generation of reporters to make a difference. I've got
  202. a few books that I need to write, and I need to finish learning Spanish.
  203. As I accomplish these things I am sure, being a girl will become more and
  204. more tertiary to my thoughts.
  206. And although I might dismiss it, being a girl is a lot of fun. Makeup,
  207. nails, fashion and exercise were all things I took to easily. It is fun to
  208. wear skirts, and to have long hair - but it's also important to remember,
  209. that's not what being a woman is about. It's also about the standards you
  210. hold yourself to. It's about your capacity to be weak when it would be
  211. easier to be strong.
  213. I don't know where my life will take me from here, but I do know that I
  214. have fulfilled my biological destiny by transitioning. For that alone,
  215. conquering my intense fear - I consider my life to have been an
  216. overwhelming success.
  218. With great pride,
  219. Bree
  220. July 14, 2006
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