As most people here know, I’m about 90-99% stealth.Â That is, there are only a handful of people in my metro area who both know who I am offline and that I’m trans.Â About half are people I’ve slept with, maybe a third are doctors or other medical personnel, and the rest are friends or random people who needed to know (for instance, the financial aid counselor at my university).Â Obviously this means I use only the men’s restrooms, locker rooms, etc.
There are just a couple of problems.Â First off, I come from a family where even the non-trans men get called “ma’am” until about 30.Â When I started T I figured I’d have to wait until at least 40 to pass easily and I’m fine with that, one of the advantages to coming from a gender-ambiguous family is that I know just how common feminine looking guys are.Â The bigger issue is that the, uh, monthly horror didn’t stop until about a month ago (and I’m still not 100% sure).Â So what do you do when you want/need to use the men’s room, but have to deal with female cycles?
- Tampons are your friend.Â I had intense dysphoria until the T started kicking in so I couldn’t use them until a year or so ago, but if you can stomach the idea I highly suggest it.Â They’re easier to get rid of than most alternatives.
- Also useful, but something I could never in a million years use: divacups/other reusable tampon-like things.Â They freak me the fuck out (I’m afraid of it getting stuck, sue me), but I know guys who swear by them.Â If you’re comfortable, go for it.Â I would’ve if I ever worked up the balls.
- See if you can find a single stall.Â I know, basic Trans 101, but I tend to forget things like this when I’m nervous so I thought I’d remind everyone.
- Don’t panic.Â For god’s sake, don’t creep into the bathroom like you’re trying to take naughty pictures or something.Â Nothing makes a person stand out more than trying not to stand out.Â Unless you’re in a gay setting, the guys aren’t looking at you.Â It’s a thing, no one wants to be the one caught checking out another dude.Â Just pretend it’s the ladies’ room and walk in as if you’ve been doing it your entire life.Â Worst that happens is some guy tries to be nice and point you in the direction of the “right” bathroom (at which point I suggest acting really offended or embarrassed — embarrassed tends to work better if you often get called “son” and want to go for the pretty-boy-adolescent thing).
- The vast majority of guys will never notice the sound of you unwrapping whatever protective measures you decide to use.Â However, if you’re concerned (I still am sometimes) you can learn to unwrap things in your pocket with a bit of practice.Â Backings get a bit of pocket lint on them, but they stay well enough.
- If you have to toss something in the trash, carry a bag with you.Â Wrap item in toilet paper, put in bag, and dump on the way out.
- Packers can be placed in front of maxi-pads if you’re so inclined.Â The sticky backing actually really helps them stay in place.
- Yes, pads do work with most men’s underwear.Â I’ve heard boxers are a problem and I can guess why, but I don’t wear them so I’ve never tested it out.
- Find a coping mechanism.Â For me that week was always the most dysphoric time.Â Until recently I was barely functional, it was that bad.Â If you have the same issue, try to find something that makes you feel more manly.Â For me it was drag performance, being around a bunch of guys in gowns made me feel like I fit in.
- By the same token, avoid your triggers.Â I absolutely refused to watch any porn during that time, it just reminded me of what I don’t have.
So now you know, it is possible to deal with the more annoying aspects of having a uterus while not giving up your life as a guy.Â It takes some practice and a certain amount of confidence, but it’s possible.
Note: If you’re still cycling after a year or so (some would say six months) you should talk to your doctor.Â Same goes for breakthrough bleeding after not cycling for several months.Â It’s not always a problem (in my case it was just a reproductive system that refused to die), but with this sort of thing it’s better to be sure.