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Difficulties a trans person might face
by TeenHelp January 5th 2015, 10:34 PM

Difficulties a trans person might face
By Nicole (Pug Princess)

The definitions of sex were created to be composed of two simple labels in order to categorize society, however for many people it is a very complicated process to figure out how to define oneself. Some people grow up thinking that they were born the “wrong way” because they don’t like the opposite gender which is what society deems is “correct.” In other cases, people feel that they were not born as the right gender, and that is what causes them to take steps to transition to the other gender, hence the term transgender, which is actually just defined as "the state of one's gender identity or gender expression not matching one's assigned sex". This means it is not a requirement to have actually transitioned first to be trans.

Problems prior to transitioning
Many people feel confused as to whether they fit more under the girl category, or the boy category. What makes this more complicated is that gender roles can vary. For example, gay men may act more feminine, and gay women may act more masculine. This leads some people to wonder whether they should transition, or if they are just fine the way they are. The answer to this problem is that it depends on each person.
Ultimately, it is up to each individual to decide whether they are comfortable as their own sex, or if it would benefit them to transition.

If an individual decides to transition, they have two options: hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or surgery.

Hormone replacement therapy, when transitioning male to female, includes taking estrogen, which is the most common form of hormone doctors prescribe. This is the hormone found in cis females, which replaces the hormones in a male when taken. It can be taken in combination with progestins, another type of hormone which produce breast growth. When transitioning female to male, androgens are commonly prescribed by doctors to replace the female hormones. Testosterone is taken to promote growth of facial hair and to stop menstruation. Hormones typically can come in a patch, be taken orally, be injected, and can even come in topical creams. It’s best to speak with your doctor about what regimen would be best.

The other option is surgery, called sex reassignment surgery. It is important to remember that there isn't anything wrong with having this procedure done. If this option is chosen, it is likely that after the procedure, hormones will be prescribed to influence the growth of breasts for male to female transitioning, or androgens to influence the growth of facial hair for female to male transitioning, for example. It is difficult to find accurate statistics regarding sex reassignment surgery, however the National Health Service has estimated that about 6,000 sex reassignment surgeries have been done. The procedure is not particularly reversible because it involves removing testicles for men, and removing breasts for females. It is a complicated procedure, but can be very effective in making people feel more comfortable with their preferred gender. Your insurance agency may help cover the costs of surgery, so be sure to check with them if you decide to have the surgery done.

Of course, whether you decide to take hormones or have the surgery is up to you. There is always the option to just change your preferred pronoun(s).

Problems after transitioning
One of the first problems that may arise after transitioning is how friends, family, and the public will react. This tends to be fearful enough for the individual that it prevents people from ever transitioning. In reality, many people will be generally supportive of transitioning. People usually disagree with what they don’t understand. That being said, talking about wanting to transition with loved ones beforehand will reduce the shock factor and may give them time to get used to the idea. Often, parents have trouble coping at first because they raised their child to be a certain gender. If after transitioning your parents aren't as supportive as you hoped, give them time. They may just need to get used to it first.

Another problem a trans person may face is not just gaining acceptance from loved ones, but also gaining acceptance when meeting new people. Transitioning may feel like it should be kept a secret when you first meet someone, however it is best to be honest and proud of the decision you made. In regards to seeking out people to date, being transgender can also make it seem like an even more difficult process. The truth is, many people will not care if a person used to be a different gender.

Overall, the best way to cope with transitioning is to be proud of who you are. If you exert confidence, people are more likely to feel comfortable than if you are uncomfortable yourself. Transitioning is not unnatural in any way, and you’re not alone in the process. If you or anyone you know is in need of support regarding transitioning, PFLAG National (Parents, Friends and Family of Lesbians and Gays) is a great organization in the United States. They have over 350 groups across the nation that you can get involved with, including one in Alaska and in Puerto Rico. If you live outside of the United States, chances are there are transgender support groups near you that you can get involved in too.
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