Hello ladies and femmes ❤
It took our team a very long time to come up with that.
We can’t say it enough: we’re so so sooooooo proud of you for coming out of your shell (pun intended) and we’re so so sooooooo excited to help you give yourself a (virtual) self-love makeover. That being said, transition looks different for everyone, and we want to be very intentional with how we frame it so it doesn’t exclusively reflect our personal transitions.
Finding your femme identity is a loooooooooong process, and requires a lot of self-care and self-love before we can even start talking about dresses and nail polish. Our patriarchal society criminalizes femininity, deeming it inferior to masculinity, and therefore a frivolous impediment to be silenced. If only they knew how fun makeup is!
But real talk, girlies, it’s hard being femme in this world. Almost all of the bigoted hate speech directed at the trans community is said with transwomxn and transfeminine folx in mind. It can lead to a lot of internalized self-loathing, anxiety, depression, PTSD, and physical violence. We don’t say these things to scare you, but simply to warn you that life in this great, big world isn’t always rom-coms and Barbie dolls.
Aggressively gendered stereotypes and warning labels aside, you are beautiful and wonderful, and if we could jump through your computer screen and give you a (consensual) hug, we totally would. Instead, we want to encourage you to take a deep breath and let it out. Take this breath as a chance to let out whatever anxieties you’ve brought to this website and to the transition process in general. If you’re one of those lucky folx who gets gender dysphoria, don’t worry—we’ve got you covered.
There are a lot of things to consider for femme transitions, and these transitions look especially different depending on a person’s passing privilege. Lucky for you, the internet is rife with resources for changing and adjusting those traits that aren’t your favorite. There are so many transfeminine YouTubers and bloggers out there that they should start their own website. There are videos and articles about anything and everything you can imagine, from surgeries to hormones, to drag in the gender you were assigned at birth.
We’re going to cover a few of the areas transwomxn and transfeminine folx might want to learn about first, but know that this list isn’t comprehensive. If there’s something you want to learn about, Google it (or use Bing if you can’t figure out how to change your default browser).
Remember that you are perfect the way you are, and that all of these resources are just garnishes for your already perfect self. We hope you’ll approach them from a place of self-love and self-care. Be patient with yourself, and don’t forget that YOU ARE QUEER ENOUGH.
Nail polish is something you may have worn in the past or every day or never at all. It seems like a trivial place to start, but it can be a huge step when you first come out of your shell. *Em cried the first time their spouse painted their toes*
If you’re not out at work, painting your toes can be a safe place to start. Some people might struggle at first with colorful pinks or luscious greens, so try starting with blacks, grays, or nude/naked colors. It’ll make adjusting to bolder colors easier.
Click on the picture below for a comprehensive guide to taking care of your nails (it won’t help you get better at painting them—that only improves with practice):
Clothes & Shoes
Just because we’re talking about clothes in this section doesn’t mean we know anything about fashion. We’ve found some cheap and/or discreet ways to get clothes and watched some YouTube videos about feminizing your look, but we by no means know anything about wearing clothes that look stylish. *Em just bought two dresses with monsters and haunted houses (respectively) on them*
First thing’s first, thrift shopping is your friend. Many transwomxn and transfeminine folx struggle with their first attempts at feminine wardrobes—we’re talking the kind of tacky attire that would make Tan scream—so buying pieces that are gently used, and more importantly, cheap, is a great place to start. Also, taking measurements of your bust (boob area), waist, and hips will ensure that clothes fit better.
While some people may prefer/be confident enough to shop in a brick and mortar store, there are online options for those who aren’t there yet.
For those folx who don’t want to/feel uncomfortable shopping online, Target has fairly inexpensive and body-inclusive clothing. They’ve also supported the LGBTQIA+ community in the past, and let’s be real, you probably need something else there anyway.
Many of the same tips apply to shoes. In America, “womxn’s” shoe sizes are two sizes larger than the “male” equivalent (we included quotation marks because clothes don’t have gender, so the gendered shoe sizes are silly). So if you were a 9 in “men’s” shoes, you’d be looking for an 11 in “womxn’s.”
A note of caution: get shoes that fit you. Yeah, big feet aren’t necessarily considered sexy by mainstream society, but feet that are bloody and mangled because cute shoes were too small are even less attractive. Remember, you’re transitioning as an act of self-love, y’all—let that love extend to your feet.
Below are a few videos about clothes, and fashion rules, and stuff:
Hair is a big deal in the trans community because even in 2020, long hair is still an indicator of femininity. That being said, there are a plethora of femme haircuts you can get with most lengths. Pinterest and Google Images are good places to look at hair styles.
For those folx who wanted long hair and already have it, we envy your foresight. For everybody else, be patient and kind to yourself. Many transwomxn and transfeminine goddesses rock wigs (and look fierce AF) or wear hats until their hair grows out to a length that makes them feel comfortable. Play around with your style and see what happens.
While some femmes may have been blessed with hair intuition from the start, the rest of us had to learn how to style and take care of hair from loved-ones, YouTube, or Teen Vogue articles (no shame). Below are a few resources that might help with styling your lovely locks:
Tucking is one of those awkward things that ever trans girl should know about, but might not necessarily do. To put it in non-gendered terms, tucking is the act of concealing external genitalia. There’s a lot more to it than that, but essentially, you’re making your out-y look like an in-y so you can wear leggings and yoga pants without a bulge. Some people tuck every day, while other folx try it, then decide it’s not for them. Like everything else, tucking happens on a spectrum.
There are some medical concerns associated with prolonged tucking, including inflammation and reduced sperm count. For more information, check out Transvivor’s page on tucking, or watch some YouTube videos.
HRT & Surgery
At Out of Yer Shell, we really don’t like talking about hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and surgery too much because we recognize that not all trans and GNC folx are interested in them. We also live in a society obsessed with genitals and secondary sex-characteristics, and want to move away from the perception that trans stories are only valid if they include surgery or HRT. Plus, surgeries and HRT can be costly and difficult to obtain without parental consent.
That being said, transfeminine youth who choose to go on hormones start with puberty blockers, which are usually administered via injection by a medical practitioner, and can be prescribed as early as 10 or 11. As the child gets older, they can switch to a pill form of blockers. Blockers don’t have any lasting effects, but simply prevent the start of puberty.
Estrogen is usually prescribed around the age of 16, but can be taken earlier in special circumstances. Estrogen (and sometimes progesterone) are the medications that cause feminine or “female” secondary sex characteristics to develop, such as breasts and fat redistribution. While there is no quantitative evidence to prove it, many trans folx who take estrogen say it makes them feel “more like themselves than they’ve ever felt.”
For more information about HRT, click on the pictures below:
YOU CANNOT GET GENDER CONFIRMATION SURGERY UNTIL YOU’RE AT LEAST 18. That being said, you also have to have two letters from mental health professionals, one from a primary care physician, and have been presenting as your gender identity for at least a year before you are eligible for surgery. Not to mention that there’s typically a two-year waiting list for surgery.
It’s not a decision that anybody makes lightly.
For transwomxn and transfeminine folx, there are a few options. Top surgery refers to breast augmentation surgery, wherein the person in question has their breast size enlarged. Bottom surgery (formerly Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS)) can include several different surgeries, but the main two are vaginoplasty and orchiectomy. An orchiectomy is the removal of the testicles, while vaginoplasty involves a penis-inversion procedure.
Check out the videos below for more information about these procedures:
“The preoccupation with transition and with surgery objectifies trans people, and we don’t get to really deal with the real lived experiences.”Laverne Cox
Electrolysis and Laser Hair Removal
It’s the age-old question: electrolysis vs. laser hair removal. Permanent and semi-permanent hair removal have become widespread among trans and cisgender folx alike. For the femmes who feel they have a little too much fuzz on their face or in other places, laser hair removal and electrolysis can be helpful in the process of reducing dysphoria. While the results are stellar, they come with a hefty price tag, and for many transfeminine folx, getting lasered hurts.
If you or your loved one decides to get lasered, it’s best to start with laser hair removal, even though it’s marketed as only “semi-permanent.” Electrolysis is more expensive comparatively, and hurts worse (most transfeminine folx only do electrolysis after they’ve removed most of the unwanted hair with laser hair removal). To prevent hair from growing back, regular touchups may be necessary.
The whole process can take several years, and is often more effective in conjunction with HRT and Gender Confirmation Surgery.
Bras look different for everyone, and there’s no right or wrong way or reason to wear them. If you start estrogen, your nipples will chafe, so bras—even cotton sports bras—are going to be your best friend. They’re also easier to hide if you’re not out at work or school.
For traditional bras (or “booby bras” as a friend once called them), you can either measure your bust size at home, or have somebody help you at a store like Victoria’s Secret or H&M. Tomboyx is a great place to go shop if you want more colorful underwear, without the protruding look.
Different strokes for different folx. Everybody has a voice when they start transitioning, and depending on how you feel about your voice, you may decide or choose not to take steps to change it. If you’re starting blockers and estrogen before puberty, your voice will come naturally. For those folx who want to change their voices, there are a series of videos below to help you achieve a more “feminine-sounding” voice:
You DO NOT have to wear makeup to feel valid in your identity. People of all genders can to choose to wear or not to wear (that is the question?) makeup. It is up to you.
If you do decide to wear makeup, just know that it takes practice. Makeup can be great and fun, and can make you feel so pretty, but without practice, it’s never going to look as “good” as you want it to. Be kind to yourself and try to approach mistakes from a place of silliness and fun. Because makeup is not our forte at Out of Yer Shell, we encourage you to check out Transvivor’s helpful makeup page for trans folx or browse through the series of helpful video tutorials below:
We hope this page helps you on your journey—whether you decide to transition or not. As we mentioned before, YouTube has a myriad of resources, including transition timeline videos. We did not include any on this page for fear of making folx dysphoric, but if you’d like to watch people’s transitions, type “transition timeline” in the search bar.
We love you! ❤
“We shouldn’t demonize the womxn who wears high heels and we shouldn’t demonize the womxn who doesn’t wear high heels. We should accept all forms of comportment.”(Also) Laverne Cox