I have struggled with what to say, what to write about that could possibly be of interest to those that have read my previous writing. As I have written almost exclusively about experiences as a Transgender Woman transitioning late in life, or about the impact of policies and regulations on the wellbeing of transgender people in general, I thought writing about my career in fire protection would be a rude and also a somewhat boring shift.
You see, I am now a post-GCS (Gender Confirmation Surgery) woman by more than 3 months. I am cleared for any activity, subject to listening to my body. In other words, if it hurts, slow down and take it easy! I am back to work. I am reunited with my family (surgery was out of state). But most of all, life is pretty ordinary.
I realized this and sat with it. I savored it like a hard lemon drop candy flooding my mouth with juicy tartness that just goes on and on. I kept wondering what on earth I could write about that was interesting? After all, my life seemed pretty ordinary. Then, it hit me. That is a big deal for a transgender woman transitioning in her 60's!
Let's face it. YouTube is full of young 20-somethings becoming hot in Cleveland (only younger). They have youthful skin, often slender bodies due to starting blockers and then hormones well before their growth plates have fused. They are living my dream, or so it appears on screen. They have beautiful hair, makeup, and wear the most daring of outfits. They look gorgeous and they know it.
But transitioning in my 60's, I had to realize that I would not emerge a 19 year old hot girl. I think I look pretty good for my age, but I will always have the frame of a cisgender man. I am fortunate with my hair, and I have kept reasonably trim, but to the gender critical crowd, I have way too many tells. You could tell time from how often I get clocked!
Even so, something changed post-GCS. I look in the mirror and I see the woman I am. The part of me that caused the most dysphoria is not gone, it has transformed into the right "plumbing". It feels natural and complete. As it continues to heal, I marvel at the brilliance of my surgeon in giving me such a natural and functional appearance. I am sensate, I have a feminine, ahem, biome (with appropriate pH and wetness). Should I have given you a trigger warning? If you are reading this you probably want more detail than I will write here. But, that is not all!
Post-GCS, other bodily changes have continued, perhaps even accelerated. My breasts, that seemed to have settled in as modest B cup (on my frame) have become incredibly tender again and growth seems to have resumed. My derriere can actually be called that. Photographed out of context with the rest of my body, I could qualify for nude in a girly magazine. Of course, my hips are still fairly narrow so I might look a little too young (get that image your of your mind)! Even my facial features have continued to become softer and rounder.
Why is this happening now? I am not certain. My testosterone was always well controlled by estradiol alone. But now, without the major T-Source testicles, my testosterone level is consistently lower (not zero by a long shot but a reasonable 12 ng/dL, which is well within the cisgender female normal range of 2-45 ng/dL).
More significantly, I am more confident and comfortable than I ever have been before in my body. I don't pretend that people want to see me naked, it's not about that! It's that I feel normal and natural the way I am.
Dysphoria before? It's hard to explain. I never felt wrong. I had been raised to believe that the way I was is completely natural. Still, I dreamed. I yearned. I prayed to transform into a woman until I finally resorted to seeking medical help. Medical intervention performed a miracle for me!
I am happy, comfortable, and more productive than ever as the woman I am now. Not a real woman? I don't give a shit what you think. I feel right in ways that you may never understand let alone accept. But the point is that you don't need to understand.
These changes were for me.
What am I doing with these changes? Well sorry to disappoint, but I have not become a sex crazed sex worker plying my trade on a shady street near you. I play bass guitar. I work at vocal practice and sing in a choir. I work full time as an engineer (not boring to me but I won't subject you to the details). I go hiking in the wilderness and birding with my wife. This Spring, we will start kayaking again. We travel together and separately exploring different worlds of language, music, and cultures extraordinaire!
So, in many ways my life is ordinary. But that very ordinary is extraordinary! This is why affirming care is so important. If someone in their 60's can achieve this, imagine how much someone younger can achieve if they no longer have to fight being the person society demands them to be. They can just become, live, create, and, love.