Friday, 31 December 2010

A long weight.....

A long weight
Well, I have shared some minor personal matters with blog readers so far, gender, gender dysphoria, previous thoughts of suicide and the like but now for something REALLY, REALLY personal – my WEIGHT!
I am 6 feet tall, exactly, and I presently weight 13 stone 7 lbs. (That’s 189 lbs for our US friends and 84kg for those for whom ‘The Empire’ is a cinema in Leicester Square.)
This gives me a ‘Body Mass Index’ or BMI of 25.6, just over the line into overweight, which starts at 25.  In my younger, more active days, when I was an out-and-about manager I weighed only 11 stone 7 lbs but I gained a bit when I started my law studies and sitting around in courtrooms is not the best exercise.
I am told that oestrogen tends to promote weight gain.  So I need to be careful.  I am a UK size 16 upper half (that’s the shoulders) and a 14 lower half if I am careful.  I think I want to be about 12 stone (168lbs, or 75kg), as I need to allow a little more for bust and hips than before but I would like to have less around the waist and thinner thighs and upper arms.  Advice seems to be to concentrate on general cardio-vascular exercise and to avoid exercise that would increase inappropriate muscle groups, like the upper arms.  That’s good, because I like walking and cycling, and will be trying to get back to regularly doing both.
It must also be a good thing to sort out general fitness in advance of surgery in the summer.
I will keep you informed as to progress.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

The male-to-female transsexual is the one dressed as a man.

The world is full of paradoxes.  Western democracies have to treat with foreign states with questionable ethics for reasons of security, trade or natural resources.  Another such paradox descended on the Almeida Restaurant in Islington on Tuesday evening.

I had been invited out by a delightful T-Girl, who, llike me, has an associations with both the west country and with London.  The party was made up with two other T-girls, one who is a transvestite rather than in active transition and another who identifies as a transsexual but who enjoys the ambiguity of both male and female roles.  I am the only one actively pursuing transition at at the moment. with my intention to live full-time in the female role from August.

And yet I was the only one who went dressed as a man.  How could that be?  The other three were fashionably and tastefully (rather than flammboyantly) dressed for an evening out in Guardian-reader land.  I doubt the other diners had any idea of their true gender.

The paradox is that the steps I am taking to get ready for August make it harder to cross-dress on an occasional basis.  After my hair transplants on 23 December I have had to be very protective of them and cannot wear a wig or hair piece.  My natural hair may be considerably longer than it was in September but it won't do as female yet.  A further problem was that I have been unable to get together with my electrolysis technician during the recent Arctic weather and so I have had to grow my facial fuzz ready for a long session with her today, 30 December.  Make up and 'chin undergrowth' was a look that only Kenny Everett was able to carry off with aplomb, and that is not my object.

So it was black jeans and leather jacket for me, and standing back for my companions to go first, to have the doors held open for them and for them to order first, and the rather swish Jaeger knitted dress I was going to wear had to stay at home for another time (sob, sob).  Still, it will all be worth it next year...

I should say that the food was delightful, the service attentive and the ambience very pleasant.  So when you are next in Guardian-reader land, do give the Almeida a try.  If it is in the autumn, and there are 4 ladies of a certain age dining together, one of them might just be me......

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

One week on hormones

Yesterday marked the end of my first week on oestrogen. 

For the record, I have 100mg Estradot patches, which release 100mg's of estradiol hemihydrate each 24 hours and have to be changed every 3 days.  You wear them on a hairless unobtrusive patch of skin.  In my case that's just above the waistband.

I have only noticed one change so far, and that is that my nipples are both more erect and more sensitive.  I have some small breast development from 3 months on oestrogen some years ago (I would say that I am a poor 'A' cup at the moment.  I have no desire to become Dolly Parton and a 'B' cup would be lovely, but lets see.  I am told that the full extent of breast development might not be apparent for up to two years.

Life is also all about hair at the moment.

Firstly, I have missed a couple of facial electolysis sessions over the Christmas period (bad) but conversely have not had to be presentable for work, so I have not had to shave (good) so my electrolysis technician will be able to find the hairs easily and EXTERMINATE them!  I have an hour booked today and tomorrow and that should allow me to start the new year smooth-cheeked.  It will be interesting to see if and how being on oestrogen affects the regrowth.

My hair transplants are GREAT.  The front hairline is plainly very different, without the receeding corners, and there is also clearly some more density through the crown of my head.  It is all a bit itchy at the moment, and unpleasant with the scabs and flaking skin coming off around the transplants but that is just as the clinic predicted and so all seems to be progressing according to plan.  It is not very noticeable during the day and hopefully will have settled down before I am back to work next week.  The donor site under the hair at the back still feels a bit like a sword-cut to the back of my head but that is calming down as well.  This all adds to my confidence about making the big change next August.

lots of love


Sunday, 26 December 2010

Clothes and Shoes

There is something particularly wonderful about female clothes and shoes.

I will be living and working full-time as a woman from August, so I have been gently buying for a while, and I am often 'out-and-about' at weekends as the female version of me, which is reasonably passable, so shop assistants dont seem to have any difficulty letting me use the changing rooms.

A short while ago, at the reccomendadtion of a T-girlfriend, I visited a style counsellor who specialises in the legal profession (oh, there we go, I have let that cat out of the bag..).  She diagnosed my colouring as 'deep and cool'.  This seems to mean that I should be wearing dark, rich colours (black, red, purple etc) and without too much contrast in colour.  My skin colour is a little olive in tone (Celtic and Italian blood) so that does seem to make sense, if it does seem rather like alchemy or astrology.  Luckily, I seem to have made the right choices in clothes so far.

As a man I found clothes boring and a chore.  I would often buy 6 shirts the same in M&S and went to Gieves & Hawkes in Bath every spring for a new work suit in a dark grey pinstripe.  Casual clothes - equally boring.  But now....I could (and have) spent all day shopping and been disappointed when the stores start to close their doors.

I went to see the musical 'Legally Blonde' in London recently.  Do go if you can, it is an absolute hoot.  It includes the immortal line that lawyers wear black 'even when no-one is dead!'  Fortunately black is one of my approved colour choices and I have to say that I now have one or two (or six) nice pieces from Hobbs and Jaeger.  (After transtition I will be looking for Mr Right, and where better to look than in the legal profession, so I need to look my best...)  More seriously, I need to look the part as a female lawyer so that my personal circumstances don't distract the judge or the other participants in the case from what is really important - the client's affairs / case.

I just adore shoes.  I am 6 feet tall, so a 2" heel is lost on me.  I also have size 9 feet, so flat shoes do look rather like canal barges.  Nice 4" heels, however....  I have a bit of a thing for open-toed courts, which also shorten the apparent length of the shoes.  Shoes also remind me who I am supposed to be, and I walk so very differently in them.  Transsexuals tend to be tall, and so they (and tall genetic girls, I am told) shy away from heels.  That is SO wrong.  My legs are my best feature, I think, and they are so much better when they end in 4" heels.

Female clothes are lighter, more comfortable and just so much more pleasant to wear than male attire.  (I will leave lingerie for a later post.)  It is such a drag to climb back into trousers and a jacket when my coach turns into a pumpkin.  But not for much longer...

Keep an eye out for me at the January sales.....



Thursday, 23 December 2010

The Pain and Pleasure Principle

Well now, the snowy weather did me a good turn this week.  I called into my GP's surgery on Monday with the consultants letter for my GP in advance of the appointment I was due to have on Wednesday.  And there was the GP helping out behind reception because the snow and ice meant that virtually all the elderly patients which make up the 'stock-in-trade' at the Apples Surgery here in Sherborne were sensibly staying by their firesides.  The GP whisked me off to his consulting room to hear my latest news.  With all due respect to the gereatrics, I know that I am a rather more unusual patient.  30 minites later I was off to Boots in the High Street with my prescription, and a note to the pharmacist, to reassure him that a 47-year old male should indeed be receiving HRT patches.  Transsexuals are not thick on the ground in rural Dorset!

It is hard to describe the sense of calm engendered by that little HRT patch now lurking just above my waistband.  I shall be watching avidly for the changes and rest assured, I will be writing about them here.

That's the pleasure, now for the pain....

Today I was at the Wimpole Clinic in London for hair transplants.  I want to ensure that I have a full head of my own hair in August when my public get to meet me and a combination of this, oestrogen and finasteride should ensure that is so.  The transplants have also latered a male 'M' shaped front hair line to a female inverted 'U' - quite a difference.  It will be a little frustrating not to be able to 'touch, comb, wet or wash my hair for the next 3 days but the effects are well worth it, thanks to the efforts of Dr May and tecnician Biljana (who I cannot praise highly enough for her hard work today).  The pain comes from the planting of the 1763 hair follicles (yes, they counted every one) over about 5 hours and the fact that  the slice of donor skin was taken from the back of my scalp and is now stitched together, making looking down inadvisible and more than a bit painful.

I now have rather longer hair than a few weeks ago, a very different front hairline, and rather thinner evebrows - I wonder who will comment first, and what will I say wen they do?

Oh, and I have started taking a 'head and shoulders' photo every day, which should make an interesting addition to the blog from next August.



Monday, 20 December 2010

The humour of transition

Transition from male to female is undoubtedly a serious business but there is plenty of humour in the situation.  That is often how we English deal with serious matters, war, berevement, illness etc etc.  The ability to laugh at ourselves and our mistrust of those who take themselves so seriously that they cannot, is a defining part of our national characteristics, I think.  A good example is the timetable produced by Southern Vectis on the Isle of Wight a few years ago.  The IoW could not function without SV which provides all the bus services on the island, for both locals and the summer weight of tourists.  Do you remember those summers a few years ago when crop circles were all the rage and it was suggested that they were created by aliens?  SV produced a timetable showing a cartoon of one of its buses on the front and back covers.  The bus was filled with aliens (green skin, aerials on their heads, multiple eyes in funny places - you get the picture.  The aliens are admiring crop circles in the field the bus is passing.  One interpretation might be 'only wierdos travel on our buses'.  The real interpretation is that SV had enough sense of humour to commission a genuinely amusing cover - and I still have the timetable.

Transition offers similar opportunities.  A while ago I was involved in some discussions with an Asian lady who believed that she had not got a series of jobs because of her sex or her race.  It wasn't so - she just wasn't the best candidate, a point she was unwilling to accept.  She got rather angry and shouted that how could I, as a white middle-class male, possibly understand discrimination.  With a wry smile I thought, I could tell you....but it wasn't the right occasion.

Somtimes it is simple things.  A few weeks ago I was cooking and was missing an ingredient.  I rushed down to our local supermarket.  While I was there I decided that I needed to use 'the facilities'.  I was off down the corridor behind the cigarette kiosk and then I had to comee to a shuddering STOP to remember whether I should be using the ladies or the gents.  Check:  skirt and heels - ladies!  I came to such a sudden stop that the poor chap behind me made intimate contact with me from behind (I wish) but he was very nice about it.  I didnt offer a complete explanation.  It had me chucling to myself for days...

Then there is the humour related to transition itself.  I pass quite well in public if carefully dressed and made up, until I open my mouth. (Mental note - voice training starts in January).  On a train recently I was chatting away to a nice couple about a problem onwhich I was able to offer some professional advice.  At the end, the lady asked me sotto voce 'I hope you dont mind me asking, but are you a man?'  My answer? - 'Yes, but not for much longer!'  Well, she found it amusing...

Lastly there is the 'challenging assumptions' category.  Last summer I called in to a local business.  The manager (gay) knows me and who and what I am.  He wasn't there.  The new junior male assistant kept me waiting while on the phone.  When he spoke to me, or perhaps more accurately, when I spoke to him... he blushed pink from below his collar to the roots of his hair, muttered something about the 'stock room' and rushed away.  A minute or two later the manager appeared, highly amused.  It appears that new male assistant has adopted an aggressively heterosexual posture in discussions with / about other staff (and had not picked up on the sexuality of his manager).  Whilst keeping me waiting he had decided that he fancied me (I do have good legs and it was a fairly short skirt).  And then he realised that his assumptions had been challenged when I spoke (Second mental note - definitely must start speech therapy in January).  The manager and I wnet for a coffee and a good laugh.

You have to be able to laugh at yourself.  Life can be very, very long otherwise.......



Sunday, 19 December 2010

Project Moira

It really is like that.  My sister-in-law teaches the 'Prince' project management skills and they might come in handy; critical path analysis, budgeting etc etc.

At the moment I am having electrolysis to burn out my facial hair (an hour each week usually on Saturday mornings) and laser treatment to eliminate leg hair (two hours once a month).  I have the reccomendation from Dr Richard Curtis the London gender specialist, to start oestrogen therapy and finasteride.  The oestogen should soften my skin, move some fat around and help to restrict inappropriate hair growth and promote head hair growth. It should also continue my breast growth from what I achieved by 3 months on oestrogen some years ago,  The combination of oestrogen and finasteride (propecia) should reverse the small amount of male pattern thinning which I have expeienced in the past few years.  My GP is on holiday this week and so I am booked to see him next Tuesday for the actual prescription - hooray!

On Wednesday next I have hair transplants booked at a clinic in London.  This is to fill in the front corners of my hairline to make it more female and to plant some in the crown of my head where male pattern thinning is worst.

All this is aimed at getting me ready for my big moment in August next when I start work as my female self (gulp) !

The big bit of preparation will be the facial feminisation surgery which I have booked with Dr Bart van der Ven in Belgium for early July.  This is now quite a well-developed art as the difference between male and female faces is now well understood.  The procedures for me will be (north to south) brow bossing removal, frown line removal, upper and lower eyelifts, nose reduction, upper lip lift and filling, jaw shaping, chin shaping, mole removal and lower facelift (second and bigger gulp!).  I am told that this will be about 11 hours 'on the slab' (my expression, not the surgeon's) and then about 10 days before I can come home and 4 weeks before I can go back to work.

Quite properly youu have to prove that you can live successfully in the female role before genital surgery will be authorised and I have that pencilled in for Christmas 2012.

Quite a process, then.




Thinking of budgets.  If you enjoy this blog, do click on an advrt or two next to it, as that will provide a little contribution to the cost of all the above.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

So why not just jump off Beachy Head?

 I had thought to start this blog with something easy like the difference between transsexuals and transvestites or my deep psychological commitment to shopping but I felt that something more fundamental would be appropriate.

Why would I spend thousands making largely irreversible changes to a perfectly good male body to turn it into a reasonable approximation of the female, to throw away a comfortable married life and potentially, put my comfortable professional life at risk?  It is hard to explain.

I put the pieces together in my early teens.  How do you describe knowng that you are female, wanting to be female but trapped in a male body?  To feel this every minute of every day but have to pretend to be the opposite.  I went to an excellant county boys only grammar school, where not to conform was pretty dangerous.  I learned to be a very good actor.

I tried explaining how I felt to my mother in my late teens but her reaction was largely fear of how my father would react - no help there.

I have tried, over the intervening 30 years NOT to transition but how did Sherlock Holmes put it?  "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however implausible, must be the truth."  So it is for me.  I have tried hard, so hard, to be what society expects of me but now I am going to be true to myself.

In my mid-twenties I worked at Eastbourne and thought seriously about transition for the first time.  I also thought very seriously about suicide - Beachy Head was, after all, close by!  I decided, after about 6 months of sef-counselling, that I would make the best of life, whatever it had to offer.  I did not think then that I could transition sucessfully, or perhaps more accurately, to an accetable standard for myself.  Now, all these years later, what has changed?

For me it the prospect of the facial surgery I have booked for the summer.  I pass reasonably successfully as female when carefully dressed and made-up but my features are rather male and the postman bringing me urgent papers at 8.30 would be in no doubt that he was delivering to a man.  Facial surgery should change that and allow me to pass with little or no make-up.  I could never have afforded it 20 years ago and the techniques were no-where near as well-developed.

Such a history does give me an unusual prospect on other events.  Things which other people get worked up over do seem rather peripheral....

So do enjoy the journey with me, it should be an interesting trip.



2011 - A year of change

Hello blog-land!

I am Moira. (Or perhaps I should say, at the moment sometimes I am Moira.)  I am a 47 year-old professional planning to transition from male to female in the middle of 2011.  Yes, that's right, I am a male to female transsexual.

I work in a professional field, and am reasonably well-known, at least to my clients and other professionals, so I will be working hard to get this transition right.  I am about to start on female hormones and in July I plan to have facial feminisation surgery to help me make the transition successfully.  A friend or two has told me that my story would be interesting and rather than keep it on a specialist site for transsexuals, I thought you might be interested to read it.  I always did like the sound of my own voice, although here it is more the sound of my own thoughts.

I have been tremendously helped on my journey so far by those who have been along this difficult path ahead of me and have already been of some minor help to those coming after me, so to speak.  Transsexualism is, to some extent, protected by law these days, but understanding and acceptance are still some way behind, so feel free to e-mail me with questions or comments.  I will try to write with the general reader in mind.

Lots of love to all