The Day Came When the Risk to Remain Tight in the Bud

Was More Painful Than the Risk it Took to Blossom

Hear Me Roar

Hear Me Roar
Bio
I am a woman with a past. You would probably think of me as a transsexual or transgender, which is why this blog is anonymous. I don't want you to think of me that way. But I do want a forum for expressing my history and the issues that still surround it. Those who know me, know me only as an ordinary woman. And I want to keep it that way, for that is how I know myself. Here, though, you will hear my secret herstory.

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Salon.com
Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 21, 2009 12:34PM

I Changed Sex and Died

Rate: 146 Flag

I changed my sex and then killed myself on Thanksgiving Day.  Thanksgiving has never been the same since.

The day dawned cold and rainy.  I woke when it got light.  These days I wasn’t getting much sleep; a few hours here and there – that’s it.  Discomfort and stress kept me from getting a good night’s sleep.  It’s not easy living in a car.  I was living in my car where it ran out of gas, under a freeway overpass in West Los Angeles.  Though I woke feeling bleak and depressed on that rainy Thanksgiving day, I had no idea it would be my last.

Changing sex isn’t something that can be done in private.  You have to do it right in front of everyone in your life: family, friends, coworkers, boss, neighbors, the grocery checker.  And it’s not instantaneous; it takes a very long time.  Years.  And all the while, people watch with fascination and horror and sometimes revulsion, as you struggle to find yourself.  When people think about transsexuals, they don’t think about stuff like that.

Going from one gender to the other requires jumping through myriad hoops.  First, you need lots of psychotherapy, because it is taken for granted that any man who wants to whack off Hootie and the Blowfish must be crazy, right?  We hear it all the time.  “What kind of man would want to cut off his own penis?”  The answer to this question is supposed to be a crazy man.  But the real answer is that a man would never do that, but a woman would.  Eventually, after months of tests and therapy, your shrink – who acts as a gatekeeper to the Holy Land – pronounces that you’re probably sane enough to take the first physical steps toward changing sex, which are living in the “target gender” and starting on female hormones.

See, they have this rule.  Once they determine that you’re really transsexual and not just a crazy person, you can’t just get sex change surgery.  No, you have to go through the seven levels of Hell, first.

Your first task is to announce to everyone in your life that you are going to have a sex change.  This isn’t an easy thing to do.  You find out that people who are supposed to love you unconditionally – parents, children, siblings, best friends – don’t.  You start to lose people as you tell them.  Some transsexuals suffer nary a loss; others suffer substantial losses.  I lost everyone.

I told my parents.  They expressed love and support.  Then three weeks later I got a call from my mother saying I shouldn’t come around anymore.  What would their neighbors think?  How would they explain things?  How could I do this to them?  My entire family followed suit and disowned me.

I told my spouse.  Naturally, I lost my marriage.  We’re good friends now, though, which is great.  Then I told my friends, each of whom expressed their undying friendship, and each of whom then disappeared.  I told my boss, with predictable results.

All told, I lost everyone in my life, my home, my job, my family, and my income.   My creditors stayed with me, though.  Changing sex cost me over $150,000, which was a good three years’ income.  It would have taken me 20 years to save that much money, so I did a lot of it on credit.  And though I lost my income, I did not lose my debts.

My therapist declared that I was now ready to embark on the Real Life Test.  That’s where you live for at least one full year in the “target gender,” after which – if you’re still alive and can afford therapy – you may (or may not) be approved for sex reassignment surgery.  The idea is that you live for a year as a woman to see if you like it, or whether you come to your senses and decide to keep your penis and live as the man God meant you to be.

I had never so much as put on a pair of women’s shoes before.  Now I was required to dress as female (and how was I going to afford a whole new wardrobe?), adopt a female name, and live my whole life as a woman.

Only problem was, I still looked like a man.

It turns out that the Real Life Test is not, after all, about seeing if you can live life as a woman.  It’s about seeing if you can live life as a man in a dress.  It is the most humiliating, terrifying, soul-killing exercise one can perform in America.  The result, for me, was homelessness and becoming unemployable.  I couldn’t even get a minimum wage job.  I guess I must really have been a sight.

Of course, I was warned.  My therapist told me – so kindly and with great sadness – that I might never “pass” as a woman, and that I might forever have to live in a ghetto of fringe people, always on the periphery of society.  She reminded me that 75% of transsexuals are chronically unemployed, and 40% die, either at their own hands or at the hands of those expressing their disapproval.  Did I really want to do this?

After much soul searching, my answer was that I didn’t have a choice.  I could no longer live another day in a lie.  I had to be me, whatever that was, and whatever the consequences.

The consequences brought me to a rainy Thanksgiving, living in my car under a freeway.  I had run out of money.  I could no longer afford food or gas, much less therapy, doctors or hormone treatments.  I was hungry and cold.  I hadn’t eaten the day prior, and my stomach complained all day.

Finally, I swallowed my pride and walked more than a mile in the rain to a pay phone, where I called my parents, collect.  My mother answered, and when the operator was asking if she would accept the charges (before the process was automated), I could hear my family laughing and talking in the background.  Surely, I could explain and on this day, of all days, my family would take me in and feed me.  But when my mother was asked if she would take my call, she spat “No,” and unceremoniously hung up.  That was it.

My pride was gone and I was hungry.  I begged for food.  You’d think that Thanksgiving would be a day of generosity, but the few people I encountered in the rain didn’t hold that view.  One gave me a sad look and a shrug of the shoulders, as if saying he would like to help me, but he simply was not allowed to.  I stood outside restaurants (what riches lay therein!) and didn’t get so much as a dollar or a leftover biscuit.

It got dark.  Restaurants wound down.  My hunger ramped up.  I was soaked to the skin, depressed, hungry and running out of ideas.  Finally, I did something I swore I would never, ever do.  I went to a street where I knew that people like me rented out their bodies to passersby, and I did my best to entice some man into stopping and paying me money for sex.

Eventually, a man walked up to me.  He questioned me.  What was I doing out here?  What was I waiting for?  Did I want to sell my body for sex?  I freaked.  I don’t know if he was a creep or a cop (or both), but I ran away.  He didn’t follow.

Later, a man with a beard and kind eyes pulled up in a brown Lincoln, and asked me if I needed a date.  I did.  He invited me into his car.  I have told this story so many times before, it has lost its power.  I tell it almost by rote, now.  I had visions of a warm bed, a meal and a few dollars to feed myself and buy some gas.  But that’s not what I got.  Cut to the chase: We negotiated a price for sex.  We went somewhere dry.  I tried to look sexy, be sexy.  God, it was awful.  He became angry and started roughing me up, calling me nasty names.  I was scum, I was an abomination before God, not fit to breathe the same air as normal people.  He was violent now.  I tried to fight him off.  He hit me, hit me again, knocked me down, and raped me.  Then he suddenly became remorseful and apologized to me.  Offered me a ride.  I begged off, which insulted him.  He insisted.  I gave him directions to an intersection not far from my car.  When he stopped to let me out, I asked for the money we had agreed upon.  He said something mean and hit me again; told me to get out or he would kill me.

I got out.

Back in the cold, the rain.  Bleeding.  Walking to my car.  My face hurt and so did my body.  It turns out my nose was broken, as were three ribs on my left side.  I made it back to my car.  Sat inside and shook.  To calm myself, I turned on the radio.  There was some football game on.  Two college teams I didn’t know.  I don’t like football, but I listened, picked a team and tried to care what happened.  Then the battery went dead and the radio died.  And so did I.

Hopeless, desperate, hungry and hurting, I began to sob and couldn’t stop.  I wailed and cried for an eternity.  Eventually, it stopped, and a bleak calm settled in.  I knew what I was going to do.

Three weeks earlier, my mentor and best friend, another transsexual named Christina, had taken her own life.  Hung herself in her mother’s garage.  She had been so pretty, so successful, and she was showing me the way.  And then they took away her daughter and her job, and she took away her own life.

That cold, rainy Thanksgiving night, I took my own.  Another statistic.  One of the 40% of pathetic transsexuals who lose their lives, proof that we’re all sick, immoral, lost souls.  There were pills.  A lot of them.  I had horded them, saving them as my escape hatch.  And now it was finally time to escape.  I could see no path that would lead to a happy, productive life.  I could see no way out, except one, and I took it and slipped away.

I am told that a policeman happened by and wondered what this car was doing parked, at night, under the freeway overpass, and he investigated.  He saw me inside, could not rouse me.  Broke the window when he couldn’t jimmy the lock.  Called for an ambulance.  Performed CPR on me.

When I woke in the hospital, it was the worst feeling I ever felt.  Not only was I not allowed to have a life, I was also not allowed to die.  They told me about the cop as if he had done something wonderful, but the only thing I felt for him was hate.  Why hadn’t he minded his own fucking business?

They kept me there for three days, during which time they found someone who would take me in.  A friend of mine, who hadn’t spoken to me in months, said she and her husband would let me stay on their boat in the marina for a while, while I “got back on my feet.”  They gave me food and some money, and transported me to see the social worker who had been assigned to me.

My body continued to live.  And I cut my hair, donned men’s clothes and got a job as “him” again.  But I remained dead inside.  Eventually, I took an opportunity and moved thousands of miles away, to a different country.  There, I hoped, I could simply breathe in and out, day after day, until my life mercifully came to an end, without anyone bothering me.

But after living there for three years, something happened.  I started to wake up.  I started to care about life again.  And after six years, I was fully alive and ready to try again.

This time, I didn’t follow their rules.  I didn’t do a Real Life Test.  I went to Thailand and got surgeries without their tests and their therapy and their letters of approval.  I had my face feminized, my breasts augmented, my vagina given to me.  I had my identity and my sex legally changed.

Then, and only then, did I return to the United States, a whole, brand new, complete person.  A woman.  Me.

I moved to my old home town and started over.  No one knew – or knows today – my old identity, my old history.  I have had long talks with my closest old friends, and they never had a clue whom they were talking to.  Once, I ran into a man I adored and admired, who was my friend and professional mentor for 15 years.  We had a 20 minute conversation, during which he stared at my cleavage and talked about what a beautiful young woman I was.  He’s something of a celebrity, so just for fun I got his autograph.  And he never knew that he was talking to the guy he used to hang out and smoke weed with, who helped rescue his wife when she became a cocaine addict and ran off with a drug-addled movie star’s wife, who saw him through his darkest days.  And I never told him.

Why should I?  That guy died on a rainy Thanksgiving night, years ago.

It happens that I have his soul and memories, but I am not him.  I am a smart and attractive career woman, with a great life.

And that’s just the way I like it.

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Your story is so heartbreaking and brave. So compelling. Thank you so much for sharing.

A dear friend of mine is an F to M and when he was about to official 'switch' and started living as a man, we had a party for him the night before. We all brought gifts. I gave him cufflinks. He can't afford all the surgeries either. I hate that for him.

Back to you.... you're a great writer and I am now one of your biggest fans.
What an incredible story, and so well told.

Congratulations on becoming who you are.
I hope that the cop who found you is reading this, were it not for him such happiness and fulfillment you have now would never have been yours. You tell your story so honestly and well. I am glad the Thailand option existed. I too have thought all of the hoops one must jump through prior to reassignment must drive many transsexuals over the edge.

Live well.
I hope that the cop who found you is reading this, were it not for him such happiness and fulfillment you have now would never have been yours. You tell your story so honestly and well. I am glad the Thailand option existed. I too have thought all of the hoops one must jump through prior to reassignment must drive many transsexuals over the edge.

Live well.
Wow! What an incredible story. The way we treat transgender people right now just sucks. We need to hear more stories like this so things will change. Congratulations on surviving and becoming who you are.
You are very brave. I have a question out of curiosity: I understand why you hated the cop at the time, but are you grateful to him now? Thumbed heartily.
@RickyB - Hm, good question. I'm not sure how I feel. I still feel animosity toward him. But every Thanksgiving I toast him and thank him for what he did. Feelings aren't always rational, I guess. Does that make sense?
Thank you so much for sharing your powerful personal story. I cannot begin to fathom how much anguish you endured - you have some kind of internal strength that kept you going during all those many dark years. Sounds as if life is way way better now. I see in your profile that you are concerned about being thought of as "the transsexual" so you want anonymity and I certainly respect that. I do think that your writing conveys your human feelings so well that a lot of people wouldn't notice or care. Well done my friend.
Thank you, Grif. The "internal strength" you mention did not lie in having the strength to change sex, but in having the strength to withstand the desperate urge to do so for so long.

I think of it as being like having your hand in a pot of boiling water. You are told that as long as you leave it in there, you get rewards: family, friends, a job, a home. But if you take it out, you'll get hit with a baseball bat.

Naturally, not being a fool, you keep your hand in the water as long as you can. But eventually the day comes when the agony is so great you simply must remove your hand from the boiling water, no matter the consequences. The inner strength lies in keeping one's hand in the water, not enduring the consequences of taking it out.
Amazing story. I'd give it two thumbs up if the platform allowed for it. Well done, Hear Me Roar. Sounds like a hell of a trip. In the end, was it worth it? Also, you ever talk to your parents again?
Hear Me - I put you on my Friend's list but I would appreciate it if you would let me know when you post something else. Thanks for elaborating on my internal strength comment.
thanks for sharing your story. it's really amazing. and well told. blown away. there's starting over, then there's starting over. lots of happiness
As I read your story I thought of all the hoops anyone less than wealthy needing medical care must jump through and how much more people having a gender crisis must suffer. I thought about listing them all but now all I want is to have you know that you and your struggle to have the outside show the inside are cared about. It may be corny but hugs online style: {{{{{Hear Me Roar}}}}
Thank you for sharing your story. I have never really understood some of the things involved with people who want to transgender. Thanks for the insight.
Great writing! Amazing story! I'm so intrigued that your old friends don't recognize you.
I cannot imagine going through what you have, to reach where you are now. Thank you for sharing your life with us.
Your writing is as powerful as your story is. I think this is the most mesmerizing thing I've yet read here on OS. Thank you so much for sharing it.
What an incredible tale. Amazing. I'm so grateful that you were a "failure" at suicide, and that you found a way to become yourself. This is a gift to the world.
I'm usually a lurker here on this site. I keep thinking one of these days I will write something, and become known among some here, for better or (my fear) for worse. I keep putting it off because I feel inadequate. But every now and then I read something that compels me to log in and post a comment. This is one of those times. I am so sorry you have had to go through so much, to become who you really are. Thank you for sharing this. I'm very happy to know that you have a good life now, but it's sad that those who used to know you (or thought they knew you) are missing out on being a part of your life now, missing out on knowing you as complete and content. Really sad, their loss.
Highly rated. So glad you have found peace.
Sometimes we have to let go of everything to get to what's next. I'm glad you did.

Rated.
An incredible story; fabulously written. I am happy for you that you can be yourself.
Good for you :) I hope you give hope to others.
I am so glad you are where you are now. I am very close to others who are struggling with the same issues who want to be able to lead a life as a transsexual but who are terrified of losing their families and their jobs.

I am grateful to that cop who saved your life and am relieved that you get to head the life you want. I wish that could be true of so many others who were born into the wrong sex. Hopefully one day it will be.
Brava. An amazing tale from and obviously amazing woman.
Wow...
I am so sorry that your friends and family (especially them) abandoned you like that. That is unbelievably heartless and cruel... that they would rather you die in a car under a freeway than talk to you.

Thanks for telling your story... I have a M to F friend from high school... I'm glad she was able to find a way to have the surgeries, and was living in NYC when she was transitioning (where people are somewhat more tolerant of such things!)

Keep writing....
Your story is amazing. I am proud of you and glad that you have found some peace. You are a beautiful person.
I am sending you lots of love on your journey.
I don't think most of us will ever be able to grasp the depth of your struggle, but your articulate account has given us all the opportunity to see the world through your eyes, to the limits of our compassion & empathy. Each day we're bombarded with tales of the world's cruelty & indifference (by the world I mean humanity's). Once in a long while a story comes along that speaks of the ruggedness of the human spirit. Even though you had given up on yourself, it seems the universe hadn't given up on you. You are a phoenix... and proof that - however rarely - things work out. I wish you a happy, mundane life. You've had enough drama.
I am a fan too. This is an absolutely amazing story. It also points up the fact that we live in a country and a society that is primarily judgmental and vicious toward anything outside the narrow band of acceptability. We are not a tolerant nation. I am sorry to say this, but I am glad you have been able to achieve your passion and your need. The irony of meeting old friends who cannot recognize you is touching. I hope things will improve in the future for everyone who wishes to tread their own pathway.
I am a fan too. This is an absolutely amazing story. It also points up the fact that we live in a country and a society that is primarily judgmental and vicious toward anything outside the narrow band of acceptability. We are not a tolerant nation. I am sorry to say this, but I am glad you have been able to achieve your passion and your need. The irony of meeting old friends who cannot recognize you is touching. I hope things will improve in the future for everyone who wishes to tread their own pathway.
Heart wrenching and inspiring.

God speed, gentle woman.
Hear Me Roar, thank you for your story. I have a cousin whose story must be very similar. She is off the radar now, not at weddings. Nowhere. So if you had an aunt everyone called Sister....
Good fortune to you.
Thanks so much for sharing your story; you expressed beautifully what so many people go through to varying extents, depending on how much or less of a stake they feel in their society's view of what is acceptable. Your story was more extreme of course, but I remember the day where the mental anguish of denying my own gayness (13 years) got to the point where feeling right, being at peace with myself became more important than believing what I thought I should. Isn't it amazing how much we absorb, to the extent that we can't trust our own deepest knowledge of ourselves? That point comes and we do what we have to do; the alternative becomes worse than the thing we were afraid of.

I think of a friend who was exposed as gay to his parents at the age of 16. His dad gave 120 dollars and put him on a bus to L.A. because "that's where the faggots go." Of course he was out of money in no time, had no work, no place to go. He was pulled into prostitution, became addicted to heroin. And one day, he saw himself. He realized it couldn't go on that way. Pretty much singlehandely he turned himself around and was getting his life on track. One night he was mugged, his attackers slit his throat from ear to ear and shoved him under a bush. Luckily the dirt caked and stopped the blood, he lived. In the hospital, he met a male nurse who became his partner of 20 years.

Okay, "happy ending," but what's more important to me is that where you might expect someone going through so much to become bitter, he was just the opposite. He "was" all those things, and could take them down off the shelf, examine and talk about them, but he was much too focused on how right things were in the present. He was tough of course, he could, in his own words, "de-bone a face in five seconds!" But what was really outstanding about him was that he always left everyone who talked with him feeling a little better about themselves. As long as you didn't get your face de-boned. ;)

I hope you continue to post. I'm sure your experiences will inspire people struggling with many self-image and acceptance struggles. I wish you love and peace.
This is a heart rendering story of transformation. As all true transformation is, it is wrought with despair, rejection, loneliness and hopelessness. Your inner resilience is what shines through this story for me over and over again. Welcome to OS. It is an honor to read your life.
I am so sorry for the bigotry and hate that you've been subjected to. I am happy that you are doing well now and think it is important for other people to hear your story.

Keep yourself safe, happy and healthy.

Peace!
OMFG OMFG OMFG OMFG. Salon should pay you for this. You're a dope chick, grrlfriend. Word.
I'm breathless. Brilliant survival and sharing. Thank you so much.
Wow. I just can't figure out where the bigotry and intolerance in the world gets off? You deserve to be happy. I hope you are. I hope you write more too. I know you are preaching to the choir since most of us on OS are "open" to the differences in people. But I hope we get to read more. Your stories are riviting. Blessings to You.
Heartbreaking, breathtaking...we describe the joys of life as breathtaking, but the worst pain is that way, also...when life feels as though it has literally stolen your breath. Thanks for writing this. I hope you will say more about what it means for you to now be fully yourself.
Thank you for sharing this. Those who didn't support you were fools for that. I'm glad you found happiness. You deserve it.
Wow. Powerful stuff. And kudos for one of the best openings of a piece I've read in some time:

"I changed my sex and killed myself on Thanksgiving Day. Thanksgiving has never been the same since."

That's what openings are all about, right there. A Hook.
"...eres mucha mujer."

Peece,
David
Your story is amazing and painful, but ultimately a story of triumph. It is at once frightening and beautiful. Thank you for telling it so well.
"It wasn't until I lost everything that I became free."
I honestly forgot who said it or even if it is an exact quote, but it rings true hear.
Whenever I read about one of my sisters going through the lifelong hell of living with gender dysphoria, and the complexities of finalizing ones transition, the loss of family and friends, the daily challenges of simply surviving as who you really are, I am moved to tears, and rage, and loving compassion.

Your story is one of oh so many similiar existences, yet each is different in its own right.

I mourn the loss of your dear friend who ended her life.

I salute your strength and courage as a fellow sister who went all the way, but not without flirting with my own demise.

You've a flair for writing. Perhaps one day you will share more of your story.

http://www.lulu.com/content/1076765

Stay strong dear sister.

Stay beautiful

j.a. puffington
I don't think I have ever heard a story so succinct and accurate. I have not lost all of my family or job nor all of my friends but life has not been easy. I cannot even afford the Thailand option but I continue to live my life as a woman despite what is between my legs. I appreciate your honesty and hope it will help others see the righteous attitudes they adopt only hurt others. And so many of them think of themselves as Christians. I will nver be able to completely pass but I no longer care. I am who I am. My heart aches for all the trouble you have had to endure. Thankyou for such a thoughtful piece.
hey there,
a friend of mine sent this article to me b/c i am a fiercely strong allie to the transexual movement. i have friends, you know!!

when i first read the title i got inwardly upset- b/c i thought this was going to be another piece on how/why one should not pursue their true core. but what an article it turned out to be! this world needs you grif- you make this place more evocative and i thank you for your details...every drop.

i only wished you had named it- 'i died and changed sexes' rather than the other way around. at any rate- hurrah for you and for every single person who is/has/or will be transitioning i love you all.

you folks truly-truly know what living is about and i only wished dominant culture were not so scared.

signed your allie,
kristin jones
los angeles
This is an incredible, amazing story. I'm so glad it all worked out for you but, just wish you had had the support of family and friends. You persevered and are happy, making it all worth while. Best of everything to you!
Thank you for sharing. You are such a brave soul and I admire you so much for it. Not only for having the courage to live your life on your own terms, but also by sharing your story with others.
What incredible COURAGE! You are amazing! Best wishes.
What a story!

Wow!

Thank You!

I Wish You the Very Best That Life Can Offer You!

XXXOOO
Great writing. You described your ordeal with such clarity. I found myself quite relieved at the end to know that you're happy, but it's unfortunate (maybe) that your family chose to reject you. I guess I'm naive, but I haven't been able to figure out why people reject family and friends when they vary from some pre-fabbed idea of what's "normal."
your story is heart-wrenching and gripping. What courage you have and what an example to us all. Good luck to you.
I relate to what you must have felt. I wonder if I would ever return to living as a man to get money for a trip to Thailand and surgery. Right now I don't think that I would. I worry that if I did that I would loose heart and have no hope of ever being able to achieve the change that I so desire. I realize that I was never very financially or socially successful as a man and I don't think that a return to manhood would gain me the income that I need.

So now I take hormones and study psychology to get a PhD. Sometimes I worry that I am headed in the wrong direction, rather than gaining income I gain debt. I also worry that it didn't matter that I had a masters degree. Some of the problems were unrelated to my gender identity but some were. I wonder if the future will hold more trouble and rejection.

I have to agree with you about professions and the Standards of Care (SOC). I hope that I will be able to make a difference and depathologize what I see as a normal human condition gender varience. I am writing a dissertation about the SOC and wether they are of any benefit to the people that they claim to be written for. Clearly you don't think that helped you. If you want contact me I would love to confidentially include you in the study I am doing
What an incredible heartwarming story! It brought tears to my eyes.

You are truly an inspiration to others.

God bless!
Nora
Oh my goodness. This story is so emotional.

I am crying as we speak.

I am a Trans Woman, and know many Transsexual, Gender variant friends.

I know how hard it can be, yet, as I am only seventeen, I hope I will be able to have an easier transition.

Yet, I applaud you for telling your story, and I congratulate you for not letting the man get you down, and being yourself.

I wish you good luck, on the rest of your life's story.

_Katherine V. London.
Your strength is absolutely amazing, even for a woman :) Because of the job I used to have, I'm acquainted with several TVs and TGs; I've heard some of their stories, but even those didn't begin to prepare me for yours. I don't think I took a breath all the way through. I'm adding my vote to all those to insist that you keep writing - about anything - just write.
Hugs
It is rare for me to be without words.
This is one of those moments.
Count me as an admirer of you as a person and as a writer. I would say I can't imagine what your ordeal was like, but you painted such a clear picture I almost think I can. Almost. With enormous respect, I wish you peace, love and happiness.
First, I am overwhelmed by the sheer number of readers and comments. I am also stunned by the support and heartfelt content of them. Wow. I am blown away by the response.

Even more than the expressions on the content of my story, I am flattered by those who thought my post was written well. I wrote it stream of consciousness style, in Starbucks, while drinking a latte, eating a banana and waiting for my significant other. No editing, no rewriting, no spell check. Just quick and dirty. I guess even a broken clock is right twice a day. Perhaps the next monkey over will pen Shakespear.

I will be writing more. I have a LOT more to say. There is not a single gender variant or other person in my life whom I can talk to about these issues, so this is going to be my forum for getting off my chest all those things I've been keeping inside for so many years. Fortunately, most of it is more joyful than the initial post, and I have found that in a life like mine even the trivial can be profound.

Again, thanks to those who have rated and commented so far. You have stunned me.
Your story brought tears to my ears. The pain and rejection that you have experienced is shocking.

One of my first assignments as a young reporter put me in touch with a young man who wanted to become a woman. He as working as a prostitute to pay for the medical procedures. He kept in touch with me and I would occasionally get tearful calls from him when he'd been beaten up or arrested, or when he was desperately lonely. Then one day I heard over the police scanner that a body had been found in a dive hotel on the street where you worked and I just knew it was him. The next day, my worst fears were confirmed. Later that day I received a package that contained the heartbreaking story of this young man's life and why he decided to kill himself. Somehow the reporter on the story caught wind of it and a huge fight ensued because I would not let him use this very private material to write his mocking, finger-pointing piece. This reporter said some hateful things about my friend and I nearly lost my job for refusing him. It was the very least I could do to give my friend the dignity and respect he never experienced in his short real life.
What a story - redemption at such cost! 'My body continued to live.' I am so glad that you are able now to live with your body, not despite it. I wish you many years of enjoyment and satisfaction as 'an ordinary woman', you extraordinary person.
I'm not sure I have anything poignant to say that all these other people haven't already. Just wanted you to know I was here reading a brilliant story.
Rated.
Amazing post. One of the real problems with the current sex change procedures is inadequate support for people during their transition; your boss discriminated against you, medical insurance wouldn't cover your treatment, there was no place for you to go when you became homeless. If we really believe that it's a good idea to make people live as their target gender for a year and make a slow transition, we need to put policies in place that will actually allow them to do this without suffering the way you did.
Thanks for helping me understand. \
Kudos for finding a way to survive and thrive.
As much sense as a situation I've never quite been in can :-) but actually I think so. There's a literary corollary that's very apt, but I'll only bore you with it if you say you're into fantasy. :-)

Thanks and keep on getting the best revenge of all (living well, of course).
Obviously you do want people to think of you as a transsexual or you wouldn't have mentioned it. You could have just said, I am a woman from ...Or I enjoy musicals and have eyebrows by Sharpie.
Jimgalt, I'm not inclined to answer comments like yours, but it strikes me that my post would have made no sense whatsoever without mention of the reason I was in that situation. I'm surprised you didn't see that.
It turns out that the Real Life Test is not, after all, about seeing if you can live life as a woman. It’s about seeing if you can live life as a man in a dress. It is the most humiliating, terrifying, soul-killing exercise one can perform in America.

Nice summary of the process, I don't know how anyone gets through it - a ridiculous sadistic hoop.

Don't worry about jimgalt, on this subject he's a ignorant bigoted troll.
I rated not only for the great story but also your pic. I love tropical birds!! :)
Please keep writing. You are a treasure. I know it is tragic and cruel to lose your family and friends, but when you rebuild your life, you have the option of replacing them all with people capable of loving and not judging. I would be honored to be a chosen Mom for someone as amazing as you.
I'm sorry for what you've had to go through. You've told your story very well.
I can't even find the right words.

Thank you.
What a well told story, but heartbreaking until the end when it got better. Sometimes it doesn't make sense to do things any way but our own. It sounds like you knew much better than the experts.
Good for you, for not giving up. I must say, not following the transgender rules sounds like a much better deal than following them! Better results and far less heartbreak. I'm glad you're living happily as a woman rather than unhappily as a man, now.
This is everything everubody else said, and for me, also very educational.

I knew the process, but I had absolsutely no idea of its impact on the person. It would seem that this process needs to be changed. Trans-gender is a biological problem and it should be dealt with as such. Perhaps some psych evaultion is prudent, but this process seems incredibly burdensome for those who desparately need the medical procedures to be themselves.

I wish you luck and I wish you lived in a more progressive environment. Yes it is a shocking physical change- at first - but aren't you still YOU? (or wouldn't you still be YOU if 'they" hadn't so poisoned the real you?)

Keep writing, keep educating, and enjoy your new life!
Wow. That was so moving and powerful, completely devoid of sentimentality. I'll remember this for a long time.
Being a M to F myself, I am appauled at your "family" lacking love and compassion for you. That's not family! I feel thankful for the love & understanding of my family despite their bewilderment, my employer's support, and after 40+ years of discussing this with God, it's OK. I believe it is in the book of Mark; "If it offends thee, then cut it off".

My therapist hasn't insisted on RLE and my hormone doctors haven't either. I'm waiting for my FFS when I do. I feel for you and hope all works out. Your strugle is an inspiration.
There has developed a certain transsexing vocabulary. Allow me to translate Ceeplane's post for those not changing their gender.

M to F = male-to-female transsexual.

RLE = Real Life Experience, the new name for the Real Life Test.

FFS = Facial Feminization Surgery. This surgery, while not of the genitals, makes all the difference in being able to walk around in the world. For a "before and after" example of FFS, see this link: http://www.transgenderzone.com/library/fg/images/FFS.jpg
Wow! You write beautifully. The seven steps sound brutal and I am glad you found a way to circumvent them.
Wow. That's all I can say, wow. You're lucky to have the chance to be a different person in your own life. That would be something incredible to experience. I'm glad you didn't die.
What a powerful, compelling story. I am so glad you have been able to transform your exterior appearance to match your true self.
Simply remarkable story.
I met a transsexual once.

I asked what the most painful part of turining a woman was. Was it when the plucked your beard one hair at a time?" "No." "Well, was it when they put in the breast implants?" "That wasn't so bad either." "Was it when they sliced off your lob?" "Not realy."

I said, "Tell me what was the most painful part of switching from a man to a woman was!"

She said, "When they drilled a hole in my skull and sucked out half my brain!"
It’s about seeing if you can live life as a man in a dress. This time, I didn’t follow their rules. I didn’t do a Real Life Test. I went to Thailand and got surgeries without their tests and their therapy and their letters of approval.

just those lines alone were enough for me, rated. of course the rest is ...the rest. the you that you are today, the self and gender you fought for - and i'm glad you won.

i've been privileged to know and care for some transfolk, and this reminds me that i've been living without that depth for some time.
thanks for the reminder.
Fantastic story of death and resurrection. Metta.
Yes, I too transitioned and became homeless and unemployable. I too lost my friends and family. I too ended up in Thailand (Dr. Suporn) for my surgery. So far, I've lost 4 other TG friends to suicide and a few more to murder. Even though I pass flawlessly, I can't go stealth. I can't somehow kill everyone who knew me before. I can't hide every photo and document that might reveal my history. Also, I can't condemn myself to a hell of wondering if the person I love or wish to be close to would really like me if they knew it all. My history - all of it - makes me the wonderful woman I am today. It isn't any of my business what others think of me; rather, it is my job to let go of fear, shame and guilt in favor of holding true to what is beautiful in the human heart: truth, compassion and courage.

I empathies greatly with your story and than you for it. I wish you well!
I have transitioned, it doesn't have to be this way. The truth is not everything is done with for me, but comparitavely I had an easy transition. I transitioned young and unmarried though.
Did I lose my family: Yes. I found real family is relative.
Did I lose my job: Eventually. I got a better one.
Did i get married or have kids before transition: absolutely not.

The truth is I was never dumb enough to get married or have children before transition, I never lived trying to deny who I was. I was not one of those trans people who knew when i was young, set a plan when i was 18, and followed through and went full time when i was under 30. It took 10 years, but i had other things i needed to do.

1. Get Educated: Get a graduate degree or be in a high specialized field, this really should be a requirement. It saves you alot of long term pain. Make yourself so valuable they have to hire you. You will always have your education.
2. Establish a career in a friendly field, with good contacts. Yes there are friendly career paths. Advocacy, Law, Medicine, Government, Information Science (archivist/librarian),and sometimes Technology.
3. DO NOT get Married, and especially, do not have kids.
4. Live in a friendly region with legal protections (note to people from the south, yes, the northern and western coastal states ARE friendlier places to live. )

It is a tough process, but it is easier if you start under 35, and preferably, under 30.

I think alot of trans women lack common sense in general. You can avoid alot of pain with planning and good decision making. Did I lose my family, yes, I was disowned to, but i never had a friendly relationship with them.

The thing is I did the smart thing, I transitioned young in a city that has great legal protections in a very liberal region. The hardest part was the parents. But I got over that. One thing you realize is birth families are pretty meaningless. REAL Families are those you make, those who accept you for who you are, not what they want you to be.
My education helped me out. I will not go into too many details, but my highest degree does say DOCTOR. Education brings mobility. The value of a higher degree for a trans person cannot be understated.

The truth is transition is difficult, but alot of pain can be avoided with long term planning and transitioning young. I would say the best advice is avoid marriage before transition, its the single biggest mistake that can be made. Thankfully, one I did not make.

I would say the cost varies significantly. For me the total cost will be close to $50,000, not cheap, but well...within reach.

In all, transition has been very rewarding to me. I have been successful because I planned for contingencies.

As it stands I am a pretty successful woman. I have a great relationship with a wonderful guy, a great job, and well a pretty great life. What sacrifice I had made were for the better in the end.

I will have to note, one thing that the author does mention is Facial Feminization Surgery. This is a very useful surgery, even if you do pass, it eases social transition. I never had a man in a dress phase, but I did have a little FFS. Even though it was probably comparitively minor, it did help.
I did go through the typical medical process in the US, though on a pretty quick timeline, i was on HRT in a few months, went full time almost immediately afterwards. The process is much quicker when you transition as a young unmarried professional as supposed to older and married.
I should note, I have a naturally feminine voice so it was an easy adjustment to me, I was mistaken for my mom on the phone since my teens. I never had the trans-ghetto experience because I am still relatively young and have a decent voice. Yes, the voice does make a world of difference.
Welcome to the world of womanhood. Proud to have you as a member.
HMR, one thing about your post puzzles me: why did you move back to your home town? Another thing strikes me as suspicious, but I don't know you or a lot of background: how could your ex-wife, who knew that you were going to undergo sex change surgery, not recognize you once your reestablished your relationship with her? Even if you look very different, I'd expect your mannerisms and use of language would be similar enough that somebody who had the intimacy and familiarity of marriage would be able to see it. Did the experience of metaphorically dying change you that much? But if it did, why go back to where you had your old identity? I hope you'll post about that decision and if you think it was a wise one.
I don't call this bravery. I call it cowardice.
Thank you so much for sharing. I have a good friend who is transitioning and as much as I want to love and support him, sometimes I just don't have a clue what he's going through. Thanks for helping me see a bit of the inside.
Specular wrote: "HMR, one thing about your post puzzles me: why did you move back to your home town?"

I don't have a great reason for that. I just like it here, better than anywhere else I've been. It's really just that simple.

"Another thing strikes me as suspicious, but I don't know you or a lot of background: how could your ex-wife, who knew that you were going to undergo sex change surgery, not recognize you once your reestablished your relationship with her?"

I guess I wasn't very clear on that. I kept in touch with her the whole time. We were always best friends, and we continued to be friends throughout, even though there were some difficult times.

But I will say that facial feminization surgery, together with the effects of hormones, drastically alters a person's appearance, such that people simply do not see the "man" who was there before.
In my original comment, I said thanks for helping me to understand. The background for that comment was that the only person I had known personally who went through this (and I did not know him well) was the parent of three children (two boys and a girl). His wife left him after an amicable divorce, and eventually remarried someone else who had several kids of similar ages. I know that as hard as this was for his wife, it was even more difficult for the kids - especially his eldest son, who was 12 -13 at the time. I appreciated your comments about not getting married and not having kids in light of what I observed. When this was happening, I wondered, why he couldn't have waited until his kids were grown as I thought that might have made it less difficult for them, but when I read your post, I began to understand why he may have felt that waiting was not an option.
I have to note. I made an error in my post. I meant to say I was not one of those trans women who waited after 35 and got married and had kids. As stated that is probably the biggest mistake made by the author and many trans women. Rather I knew when i was very young who I was, at 18 I made a ten year plan, and followed through and went full time before 30. I have noticed there is a very big age and education gap with regards to transition and successful integration. Basically if you are young (under 30), college educated or higher, unmarried and living in the northern US or west coast, and already have a pre-existing queer or alternative identity, the chances things will turn out well are high. You may lose your birth family, but a social network will be easier to establish and more than likely you will have supportive friends. I state this for a very clear purpose, the adjustment process is not as hard for example when you are young, bisexual, and highly educated, than waiting later in life or doing this without an education. For me I already had friends who transitioned. Planning for contingencies helps too. I am not saying there is not a cost, but for me the long term benefits outweighed the short term problems and losing my family.
Thanks, HMR, for clarifying about your ex-wife. I do hope you'll post more about what drove you back to your old hometown. From the end of your post, I get the sense that part of it is revenge: being able to go back as a gorgeous new person, accepted where you were rejected; fooling those who had hurt you. But that, again, is me reading into something I don't really know enough about to speculate fruitfully. If you don't feel it would give away too much of your identity, I'd also love to learn more about how old you were when these things happened. Not to mention having you turn your obvious writerly gifts towards describing the new life you're making for yourself: the new relationships and how your sense of yourself evolves through them.
I was commenting on your profile, not the article. As for the article, it sucks that you lost so much in your journey. As for doctors, part of that is legal. Being irreversible they don't want a lawsuit for doing something they can't undo. I used to have a joke that regret is realizing you never should have had that sex change operation. The point being, it is really burning your bridges, so doctors want to make damn sure you are absolutely certain about it. As a Libertarian, I support people's right to live the way they want. As long as the government doesn't pay for it. It is elective surgery.
Your story was compelling and thought provoking. I salute your raw courage. I printed your tale and tucked it away for a day when I need some of your grit. I'm amazed you composed this story so effortlessly at Starbucks. Perhaps it was divinely inspired as a message of compassion for us all. (An artist, I recognize my best work happens in creative bursts, with seemingly the least labor, and at odd moments, too.)

This might be a strange commentary, and I apologize for the wee meander, but your story took me on a thoughtful path this morning as I ponder the notion of spirit in each living being, and the idea of sex change at this moment in history as well as the larger framework of the universe. I think it's relevant to the discussion in both a historical and metaphysical sense.

No subscriber to organized religion, I've developed my own belief system that works for me. Your painful journey led me to wonder about the origin and essence of your being, considering the notion of human bodies as short term vehicles for the soul. My nagging, (and yet untested!) belief is that our 'spirit' or 'soul' or some form of our unique energy continues transformed within the universe (as positively and negatively charged ions, etc.) once the physical body dies. You changed your body outwardly-- yet inside, your essence, your 'soul', the complex combination of brain waves that constitutes YOU remains exactly the same. Your resilient lifeforce lived on despite enormous challenges, even when you attempted to end your own life. Perhaps your soul has a particularly strong survival instinct!

How tragic that some of us (in the name of God, no less) make life so difficult and painful for others when we all struggle and rejoice on essentially the same path. Consider the painfully judgmental among us and the shame they might feel if, in the end, we evolve to learn all beings are vital souls, or energy within the framework of the universe--and our bodies were merely irrelevant vehicles, unimportant in the greater scheme. So, who cares what your soul is driving? Maybe blonde, brunette, male, female, fat, thin are just paint colors and chassis styling.

Considered in a historical context, maybe in a hundred years, a sex change will be as newsworthy as a nose job or breast implants. Less than hundred years ago, women were considered brazen and shameful to color their hair or redden their lips. Men were sniggered at for adding lifts to their shoes. I am not making light of your situation and know that changing your sexual identity is far more complex and psychologically grueling than injecting collagen into a few wrinkles, but it's all relative according to what society deems acceptable at the time. We cannot allow others to trample our souls.

And in the end, who really cares what your soul is driving? I appreciate your heart and your intellect. Change yourself as you wish and enjoy your life as uniquely as you can. I'm glad you found a form which allows you to experience a happy harmonious life that finally makes sense for you. Thank for taking me on this thoughtful journey. I send you love and acceptance.
That is an amazing, horrifying, and wonderful story.

I am trans, too, and I'm pretty much out to everyone I know. Hopefully, the more people who meet us and hear our stories, the more they'll understand. Maybe someday, the world will be more accepting of us and then things won't be as hard on the next generation of transpeople.

Good for you for finding your way out of an impossible situation and for having the courage to see it through. I wish you all the best. Brava!
My apologies to jimgalt, I mixed him up with someone else.
Interesting, I'm happy that after every nightmare that could happen it worked out for you....
too freaky... I've heard that t-s/t-g's have the highest suicide/mortality rate of any bracket of society/lifestyle that exists
(except maybe for fishermen... they say the guys that go out on fishing boats, especially the smaller ones have the most dangerous and hazardous career that's possible to choose... of course, gender-sexuality issues aren't the same but it's interesting to note the similarity....
I've heard that can happen to prostitutes... it's been the topic of a movie or two, anyway... any kind of prostitute... t or otherwise
they say this is a time of heightened sexual enlightenment but I don't believe it really.... I don't think the world is very enlightened at all when you get right down to it... as far as transexuality is concerned, I'm sure it has a major amount to do with the religious foundation of life and culture as we know it... the concept of gender reassignment making an abomination of the human person... and the historical aspects of the satanic sabbatical goat... t-s pre-op's have too much symbolical similarity to the representative imagery and iconography going back to the time of the Catholic dominance on earth and, of course, the Inquisition.... even these days the main and typically 'only' place such things are glorified are in clique's of a satanic or... prison... where the glorification of satan and the sabbatical goat aren't considered bad things but status ideologies...
of course, that's me from the 'outside' of the entirety of the issue...
.... In reality, what conditions 'Inside' prison in relation to such things exist I actually wouldn't have concrete knowledge... but it makes nothing but a very solid connection underneath the current of 'why' people are so adverse to such things.... and that's tough as hell and anyone could see that, I guess...
ostricism... persecution... oppression... suffering as a result of these things... the cultural environment... all founded on religion...
I really don't think that human society has grown enough to get past all those issues of it's own construction just now... the spirit within isn't actually accepted... only the flesh which has been 'despoiled' of its Natural form is seen and thereafter reviled... so much talk of sexual enlightenment from the 70's and there hasn't been enough development in human society for that to have occurred... and spirituality, well, in Any given Christian/Catholic founded person insofar as their own upbringing and background is concerned (which is everyone alive when you get right down to it, given our societal history back to the very beginning of time as recorded and understood in all written records whatsoever that are given to us to know, believe and base our lives on)..... the only underlying factor is the satanic issues of that icon of the Dark Age's living on in satanic religion and homespun cult... the devil as sabbatical goat... and I don't think humanity in general can look past that, given the very Nature of it's own existential socio-cultural evolutionary development which has created everything gone before and everything that exist's now that we call human society and civilization... just one of "Those Things".... in the old Hebrew society-mythos of biblical 'tradition' and heritage... satan was an angel sent to put before Mankind an obstacle to overcome which would prevent Humanity from growing unless it could be understood appropriately in 'god's estimate'... the unfortuanant truth is the satanic goat was a creation designed to blaspheme local religions of the ancient area's where the fertility religions were still currently being observed culturally when the Roman legions conquered them... assimilating and 'demonizing' the local faiths and like the Greek predecessor's before them the Horned God and the Goddess were fused into an infernal as the Old Ways were obliterated to the best effort of the Roman Church... to create the satyr-like infernal goat... it could very well be that the whole thing is not for this Age of Man to overcome at all...
we might never see a day like that simply due to the fact's of life as they are... simply because Life IS As We Know It...
at any rate....
congratulations on the happy ending...
'crickett"
Needless to say, you write beautifully. I am glad that you are here to share with us your you! Too bad that your family and friends have missed out on this magnificient person you have always been. I wish I knew what binds human beings to their petty fears and judgements? We all struggle in life...and obviously in your case you have struggled more than anyone ever should. Revel in your newfound life and may happiness and security always be your constant companion.
Geez, your story is incredible. I read it this morning and then thought about it quite a bit at work. One of the things that kept running through my mind was the cruelty that you experienced when you were hungry and no one would help you. That is so horrible and then what happened next was very disturbing. I’m so glad you are okay and going back to your hometown is amazing. You must be constantly entertained by that. What an experience. I can’t imagine how interesting it must be to encounter people that you’ve known in the past as a new person. It’s almost like being invisible, which is one of my personal fantasizes. Thanks for sharing this. I’m still digesting it and may comment again. You totally blew my mind. I like that. What courage you have!!!!

Please share more. I find you totally fascinating!

Thanks,
This was painful to read. And uplifting. All I can say is "you go girl!!!!"
I'm going to do something that I hve never done here on OS. I am not going to bother reading the other comments before writing mine. I read them only out of curiosity anyway... but not this time.

I don't know where you found the courage. Your writing clearly depicted the depth of your agonies, but you found a depth of inner resolve that somehow brought you back after going over the falls!!! I think that if you can find the will to live given your story... then there is a path to follow for all of us. These are the days of depression and in coping we must all consider change. Your change was physical to align the woman inside. Others must change financial, emotional, social, relationships, etc., but the changes can be achieved. You are living proof. This was a powerful post to read.
HMR:

Thank you so much for posting this incredible story. Words cannot express the shame that this society and the individuals within it should bear for the kind of treatment that transgendered and transsexual people receive. I am a 22-year-old FTM, my family is relatively open-minded, and it has still been an incredibly difficult journey, both emotionally and financially. My family is affluent and they had always supported me throughout college and for all my health costs and so on, but my coming out to them as trans conveniently coincided with the moment they decided that I needed to become, without warning or preparation, financially independent while a full-time college student. Obviously this is nothing compared to what you went through, but I have also been to many of the places you have: I've been to the place where you realize that something in your life has got to change, or you have no choice but to kill yourself. Luckily I am stubborn enough to go for what I want regardless of the reactions of people around me... and even more luckily, most of my relationships have only grown as a result of this.

But above all, this post highlights what, for me, was an extreme frustration that triggered clinical depression, and for others, like you, is nothing short of life-threatening: The system that you accurately describe as the circles of Hell. It is intolerably cruel to force people to live as freaks, to base this process off the clinical assumption that transsexuals are mentally disturbed, simply so that they can prove that they are "worthy" of receiving the care that will enable them to live in their own skins. Even clinics specializing in gender issues feel compelled to follow the Standards of Care despite the complete lack of evidence that these Standards do anything but promote increased social and mental suffering of their patients.

But in any case.. thank you very much for sharing this powerful, if horrifying, story.
@ Rosenkavalier: I apologize for posting this from a strictly MtF perspective, as so many things are considered. We leave our brothers out of the discussion far too often, which I think is (ironically) the function of the penis obsession in medical and psychological treatment for G.D. Thank you for the comment, and I'm sorry about your parents. Neither of ours will win parents of the year.
Welcome, Woman. Your roar is imbued with humanity. How did you manage to demonstrate horror and humor and intrigue and profound alienation and, ultimately, triumph, in one life story? And you've only just begun!
I am incredulous that no one recognizes you in your old home town. Amazing story.

What a roar.
(1) You are a talented writer.

(2) You are a brave soul.

Thank you for sharing this story, which has great educational value for our society. I wasn't aware of the extensive protocol that is imposed on transgendered people seeking a sex change procedure.

You must continue to share this story so that it reaches the right audiences-- the standard of care is obviously too destructive and counter productive.

I will pray for your mother's heart, that one day she will be overcome with compassion and understanding for you, and will seek out your forgiveness while there is still time for reconciliation. I am certain if she knew how you had suffered she would feel terrible regret and pain for rejecting you. I will pray for her enlightenment and understanding. And I will pray for your continued happiness and that you might find a network of good people to give you love and companionship in your reborn state of life.
This is a great story. I look forward to more of your writing. I have a family member and many friends who are trans. I know there's a lot of prejudice out there, mostly due to ignorance, and I believe that people telling and writing their stories will do the most to educate people and reduce ignorance. Thank you.
I take it this is fiction. Why? Thai SRS clinics (there are only a couple, and they are all well-tied to Western counselors) require referral letters for foreign patients. Transgender people utilize these clinics for their cost effectiveness, a kind of medical tourism, and for the social acceptance of their condition in Thailand - not as a roundabout way of transitioning. According to the transition guidelines, FFS, voice training, and HRT can be done before and during the real-life experience. I seriously doubt any MTF would undergo surgery before HRT. Other than that, good story.
Whew! Awsome story. Keep writing.
As one who has always lived an ALT lifestyle I loved your story. Not your actions but you outcome. I don't think ending your life would have made the world any better.

One of the things in my life I'm glad is in my make up is the ability to see people as their mind makes them, not as their body is.

If I may ask one question. There are lots of comments about age. May I ask the time line of your life story?
kaiheitai wrote: "I take it this is fiction. Why? Thai SRS clinics (there are only a couple, and they are all well-tied to Western counselors) require referral letters for foreign patients. Transgender people utilize these clinics for their cost effectiveness, a kind of medical tourism, and for the social acceptance of their condition in Thailand - not as a roundabout way of transitioning. According to the transition guidelines, FFS, voice training, and HRT can be done before and during the real-life experience. I seriously doubt any MTF would undergo surgery before HRT. Other than that, good story."

Well, that's not entirely correct. Dr. Suporn did my surgeries, without a referral letter. Check his website and you'll see the conditions under which he does that.

You also talk about the SOC and order of things, but you talk about them as they may be today. I never said when I transitioned. It was more than a decade ago. Things were slightly different then.

For the record, this post is NOT fiction. I told another commenter in PM that I find it somehow insulting that the most difficult moments in my life are termed fiction. So forgive me if this response isn't as friendly as it might otherwise be.
I'm speechless, this is beautiful. You are an inspiration not just to the transgender gay/lesbian community, but to all human beings. Everyone should be as brave & simply fearless as you.
Thank you for writing this, it moved me a great deal.
Much love & light.
xxx.
h.
I am so glad you came out of the otherside of your ordeal complete and whole.

RATED for excellence.
How's PMS from the other side?
It's a bitch. Don't piss me off!
As a transwoman myself, I'll have to say that your story was like, so touching. Myself, it is hard to relate to the ' not able to become employed ' part ' as I was Un-employable even long before I went on hormones. in fact I've been on SSDI+SSI since oct 1989 when , down in FL , I just could not hold down any job for more then 6 months at any time ; mostly due to my ADHD and my anger living as the " M" thing in a world full of women[ " straight" ones ] I , at the time; saw as hostile bitches [ but now am fairly okay with ] . that and automatically being " expected" by bosses to do all the heavy-lifting type, blue collar shit based upon " gender" role . College also never worked for me then, as I was there more for the " singles' bar" atmosphere than to actually learn anything , along with the ADHD. mostly due to that " raging libido" and a mind that never followed. that and being " uncomfortable" with using that male restroom in colleges/workplaces where I felt I had to " pretend" to be something different then who I could be at home or in unisex public restrooms- " sitting" being my first clue into being a transgender woman since 1988-89. so I never had the great career, marriage to a woman [ to whom I was always sexually attracted and now am much more emotionally, as trans-lesbian, post HRT] . yes , it is fucking ridiculous as to how those psycologists/psychiatrists judge who they see as " woman" or not . this if even one can afford all the surgeries and even the laser " shadow" removal , or manage to get that passport without having to get it under the " lie" gender and go off to Thailand. with me, I never had a lot of friends , ones I did were nearly all guys whom saw " something wrong" with me more then just emotional, as in " girly" . Women saw me, pre HRT, as the angry misogynist, now sort of like one of them. I think much of transsexual's problems come from a society which refuses to accept people for whom they are INSIDE , not what they appear to be physically. I thought CA, now OR, was fully transgender-friendly [ CT/NY's that with therapist's letter to DMV only] as in jobs, housing? I know right now CT's transadvocacy / LMF is fighting for our gender identity/expression bill to pass , and myself, I am faced soon with having to move out of my mom's condo when sold. my mom has mostly accepted me , as my sister-sort of , whom sometimes says " you'll have to dress [ It] as in order to find housing and work" . as for when I will ever be able to become more then half "passable" ? financially, I have no clue ; as I'm thinking about moving west to CA or OR - states with full rights?? but probably not any more "tolerant" then southbury, CT is where I could barely afford on SSDI+SSI [ Yreka,CA/Roseburg,OR? ] . But I no longer hate myself like I did as " It" and in some ways; feel that I'm more equipped to figure things out from the perspective of wearing that "dress " [ or capris] on the women's room door!
Extraordinary story. Thank-you so much for sharing it with us.
It's very easy to see transsexual people as "freaks" until you hear their stories and see them as people and friends with honest struggles to be authentic.

I'm so sorry that you have had to experience so much pain in your life but I'm glad this place is a release to you. It also helps us all to understand.

Take care!
Thank you for sharing your story. I'm going through the "man in a dress" process myself right now. I am fortunate to live in a somewhat queer-friendly city, but it still seems odd to describe this as a real life test. I'm a long way from passing. The stories of the mistreatment by the ignorant are often mentioned. I'd like to take the time to recognize all the people who have been quite respectful toward me. These people are not activists, and I'm sure seeing me lumbering around town is a strange site, but many many times ordinary people have greeted me with a smile and made the effort to address me as they would any woman. There is a lot of human kindness left out there. I am optimistic the next generation will see even better days.
I can relate only to well!
Your story is very Honest and Compelling. Well written, in a concise and thoughtful manner. Kudos!
A testament to the Human condition. The phrase, 'URNaotAlone' is pretty descriptive afterall. I look forward to reading more of your essays.
I've been a huge fan of your courage in Salon letters without knowing any of this! I'm glad you're here and letting us know all of these things. I would help you any way I can.
As a T-Girl (as MTFs who get surgery in Thailand sometimes refer to ourselves) who got her surgery in 2000 ( see http://hunter.apana.org.au/~gallae/QueerStuff/gender/index.html) I'm surprised to read that Suporn no longer requires references. He did for me when I went. I wonder if that means he's added this requirement since you went, or dropped it since I went?

The post you wrote is certainly gripping. Been suicidal myself though conditions were perhaps easier for me. Oddly enough I found that most pressure came not from ignorant cisgendered folk, but from other trans people. Others just accepted me for who I was or didn't, and that was that.

Has moving back to your old home town made you happy? The way the text reads you've enjoyed being in total stealth, but is that fulfilling in the long term? Have you re-made old friends there, or only new ones who never knew you before? Or have you remained an isolated and undetected observer?
What a brave, proud woman you are. Thanks for sharing this story. I look forward to reading more.
An inspiring, tough story of resurrection. Brava!
Astonishing story. Heartbreaking account of despair under the bridge. I feel such anger at the people who cut you out of their lives. "Hear Me Roar" - what an appropriate OS name for a powerful writer. Echoing Ablonde - Live well.
Astonishing, Inspiring. Humbling. I hope your New Year is filled with good things.
What a truly amazing story. I am so proud of you that you had the strength and courage to come out on the other side of your trials so successfully. I do not know if I would have had the courage to do that. Rated for truth and impact.
Like everyone else, I'm glad you had the guts and the stamina to make it through, finally. However, there is a big hole in your story. Where did you get the money to get away to a different country? How did you support yourself while there? How did you get the money for the surgeries in Thailand? There are big holes in this story and I am confounded by this mystery since the last thing we know you were given food and some money, probably not much, and refuge on a boat - that doesn't take you out of the country and to Thailand. BTW, have you thought of writing a book?
The answer to the riddle lies in the quote that the OS editors put on the front page. I cut my hair, went back to dressing and presenting as "him," and I was able to get a job right away. In fact, they gave me a better job than I was applying for.

When that job presented an opportunity to go work in a different country (almost right away), I took it. And I saved money like crazy. When I was finally psychologically whole and financially able, I quit the job, went to Thailand for surgeries, changed my legal identity, and then returned as a new person.

That new person had no job history, but I was still able to land a good job right away, and I used that job to springboard me to a successful career.

Not a big mystery, after all, I'm afraid!
An inspiration and an amazing story of rejuvenation, one that will stick with me for a while. Thanks for sharing.
Let me guess- Helen Reddy, I Am Woman Hear Me Roar?
You go!! And keep writing.
As a trans ally, thank you for sharing your powerful story.
I wish, oh how I wish, that I could rate this more than once. Thank you for writing this. I am not trans, but I am queer, and I am your ally. This story is far too common, and far too often goes untold. You have lost so much, and yet you have gained yourself in the process. Thank you for being you, and let no man say you don't have the right to be who you are.
GOOD FOR YOU ! A wonderful and inspiring story!
Thank you.
Kim
I am in awe of your courage and strength.
There are no words to describe how your blog touched my heart.
Blessings to you!
You're story, I cannot stop crying. I love my MtF sisters, I loved them before I even knew I was a FtM myself. I'm going through all that crap right now, I have to get some special therapist and travel three hours to see the guy... It's the only thing that keeps me living to know I might be able to be me, though. I am so lucky to have my friends supporting me. So, so lucky. Though, I think the only reason my parents support me is because I'm under their roof... Bless you. You've crushed my spirit and lifted me beyond belief with hope. I just keep hoping and praying once I get through this, it'll be a new beginning. I'll be Dani and not Desiree for once. I wont' be a teenager binding 'her' breasts, I'll be a teenage boy. Thank you and bless you, you're such an inspiration. I'm so scared and I still am. I was never afraid of this decision, I knew what I wanted. I was afraid of people hurting me for it. Bless you.
It was a fascinating story. After reading it, I (also an MtF) feel like a godless cheater. I never visited a therapist. I bought forged medical papers needed for the SRS. I had six months of HRT that I prescribed to myself before it. I didn't work to earn for the surgery, instead I sold my apartment, which also means I had money for the whole of 2006, the year of my transition, without needing to work. I started the transition at 21, never married (being also an asexual helps :) ). All this resulted in me flying through all the hoops like on rocket fuel, skipping the "man in dress" phase altogether. Of course, the "sell the apartment" shtick backfired the next year, when I ran out of money, but it's a different story, not TS-related.

Now I live a normal life, study in a university and am going to become a political scientist. It helps that I live in Russia; to a low-pass transwoman life here is hell, but no one suspects that a normal looking girl is a TS because it's "such an aaaawful thing" (tee hee). By the way, obtaining fake papers for the surgery is also much easier here than in America.

All that is fine. But when I read your story, I feel like I didn't deserve all this easiness and quickness...
Thank you for sharing this story on a night that I forgot completely who I am and who I want to be... a night that if I had a shot gun wouldve taken the option... My entire life has been one sad story after another... I try, I fail..try fail so and so on.... I have lost almost all my family starting with my parents dying on me too early...the rest of the family couldnt care if I died or not without even telling them about 'ME'... I wish I could talk to you even email you..as I prefer not to tell my story further more here...

Point is I hate my shell (F to M) I wish I was dead... Im distraught and No-one can really understand what I am going through... Its the loneliest life and sadly no-one gives a shit :( Please email me...contact me.. I really need that...