Note from N.A: The next few posts are all set to a timed schedule as it’s Prom, graduation, wedding, and Pride season so there’s no guarantee that I’ll have time to sleep until at least July. Apologies if it takes me a bit to respond to your comments.
Those of us who decide to physically transition tend to get a bit obsessive about it after coming out. There’s this giant rush of name change, hormones, surgery, holy crap do I pass? I’ve already talked about not making your entire life about transition (because, in all honesty, it’s annoying even to those of us who’ve been there), but I’ve never really touched on what it’s like to be past that phase.
See, for most of us physical transition eventually ends. Either you’ve done everything you want to do or what you want isn’t currently available. You’re a guy. You’ve been a guy for years and no one questions it anymore. If you’re on T you see your doctor once or twice a year like anyone else and that’s about it. If you want a lower surgery result that isn’t currently available you may keep checking out research, but it’s no longer the center of your life. You’re just a guy.
Problem is, physical transition can take years. I know guys who spent the whole of their twenties working toward their next transition goal — after all, surgery costs money and in the US isn’t generally covered by insurance. By the time we’ve met all of our goals we’re almost entirely different people from when we started out. So what do you do when all of a sudden this huge part of your life is ending?
Really it depends on the person. I want to finally get braces. Other people realise they’ve been neglecting their non-trans related physical or mental health. I’ve noticed a number of the younger guys looking at how to start families. Many of us put off educational or career goals because our dysphoria was just that bad. Even more put off travel until we could get our passports straightened out.
One thing you shouldn’t do is start getting bitter about all the things you may have missed out on due to being trans. I admit, I’m guilty of this myself from time to time. It doesn’t help anyone though, all that happens is that I get depressed and frustrated. Instead focus on all the things you still can do. Maybe you’ve always wanted to go scuba diving or hang gliding. Maybe you want to give back to the community somehow. I want to learn how to play bagpipes. Whatever it is, go for it. If you’re not saving for some form of surgery any more you have extra cash, may as well put it to use.
Speaking of extra cash, what do you do with all the money you’re saving from no longer having to worry about paying for surgery? I suggest saving and investing a portion only because so many of us focus on trans-related issues to the point of completely neglecting everything else. I have absolutely no savings other than my top fund. I didn’t realise this until I finally hit my goal (in January) and went so crazy spending that an older friend pulled me aside and asked what the hell I thought I was doing. I’m still pretty young and I come from a family where there isn’t money left at the end of the month so it didn’t even occur to me that I should probably start saving for retirement or a home or any of those other things that middle class Americans dream about. He was right though, just as there came a point where I’m no longer focused on transition, there’s going to come a point where I’m no longer in my 20s. If you don’t have savings and you don’t know where to start, find someone who can explain the basics. It’s not the most intuitive thing in the world, but it’s not impossible either.
There is one thing that quite a few trans guys who transitioned in their late teens and early 20s want to know, but that I know nothing about: kids. I’m sorry about that, I’m not really the guy who ever made starting a family a priority. I know I might want one some day, but we’re talking about 10-15 years down the line. Even then, I’ve always known that if I ever wanted kids I’d adopt. It’s still such a new idea for trans people to have kids after transition that there’s not really a whole lot of information out there. The only advice I can give you is to run a few Google searches. I know different GLBT community centers have seminars on starting a family when you’re trans, if there’s one near you that’s as good a place as any to start.