Transitions look different for everyone. Often times when trans and GNC youth come out, they have no idea what their transitions will look like. For whatever reason, our society is obsessed with genitalia, and focuses on Gender Confirmation Surgery (formerly “Sex Reassignment Surgery”) as the gold-standard for transitions. While surgeries and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) are not necessities to transition, many trans and GNC folx opt for these procedures and medications to feel more at home in their own bodies.
Gender Confirmation Surgery (GCS)
You can’t get Gender Confirmation Surgery (GCS) in most countries until you are at least 18 and have been living continuously and openly as your gender identity for at least 12 months. There might be a few exceptions, but that is the general rule. There are a lot of other requirements and considerations that go into getting these surgeries, including which types of surgery are covered by insurance, but overall, GCS is never the first step and seldom the most important step. We don’t want to sound dismissive, but there are more important things to worry about when you first come out than surgery.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
Like Gender Confirmation Surgery, Hormone Replacement Therapy, or HRT, will not be the first thing you worry about when you transition. Blockers, or medications used to stop the body’s natural production of estrogen or testosterone, can be prescribed as early as 10-11 years old, and while they halt the start of natal puberty, they have no lasting side effects if a person decides to go off them. In most cases, physicians won’t prescribe estrogen or testosterone (often referred to as “cross-sex hormones”) until a youth is at least sixteen. While both testosterone and estrogen cause physical changes in the body (puberty), the biggest changes tend to be emotional. One prescribing physician described the effects as “feeling more like yourself than you’ve ever felt before.” These emotional changes are unquantifiable and usually go undocumented outside of Reddit chat rooms. Starting hormones is a big decision for any trans or GNC person to make, but should not be the main focus of transitioning.
All That Remains
Apparently, there’s a bro band called All That Remains, but we stole the title for this block of text from that song from the Minimalism documentary. Regardless, transitioning is a total upheaval of a person’s entire life. If you boil it down to pills and genitals, you might as well be talking about a Viagra commercial. Transitioning is a journey, not a destination. The ultimate goal of transitioning is to learn how to love oneself, and pursue every avenue possible for getting there. Reading self-help books, learning to do or do without makeup, and finding ways to mitigate dysphoria are just as important to the process as a name change or bottom surgery. If you didn’t come out to get closer to loving yourself, then what’s the point?
Out of Yer Shell
We started this website to make transitioning easier for trans and GNC kids, their loved-ones, and providers (schools, medical and mental health professionals, etc.). This page outlines the basics of parts of the trans and GNC experience, but pronouns, transitioning, and understandings of gender and sexuality are deep, deep rabbit holes that deserve further exploration. Set aside time to read through all of the website, watch transition videos, read books and watch movies and TV shows, such as Pose or Sense 8, that feature trans and GNC artists, but most importantly, take time to take care of yourself during this process. For kids and loved-ones alike, be patient with each other, but commit to do your best to make this work.
“I deserve and receive massive amounts of love every moment of every day.”Jen Sincero