Alyssa's FAQ

How long have you known you are trans?

I’ve known since I was about 13 or 14 for sure that I was supposed to be a girl. I prayed every night to wake up as a girl, which I found out much later was NOT normal for cis boys. shrug . I didn’t even know being trans was a option until college though, thanks to my Catholic education. There were probably signs before that – but that’s the first time I remember actively questioning why I wasn’t a girl.

What changed that led to transitioning now?

I was really close to transitioning in college, but the Defense of Marriage Act passed, and the college counselor was transphobic, so I went back into my shell. I may have transitioned in my late 20s, but I met my wife and decided to try to keep faking it. It worked well until my wife was pregnant with our second child at the same time my brother died. His death broken down the emotional walls I had, and the realization that I would never be the person that was pregnant and able to nurse my child cracked the facade. I cried in bed every night for months after my wife fell asleep from that pain.

Do you regret not transitioning sooner?

No, not really. I have 2 amazing kids, that wouldn’t have been possible if I transitioned in college or 20s. I might regret not doing it sooner after the birth of my 2nd child, but it just took me a long time to work up the courage to talk to my wife about it. I was scared of losing my family. Fortunately, it turns out my wife is bi, and it’s all worked out amazingly.

Are you taking hormones?

Yep. My current dosages are 6 mg of Estradiol per day (3 x 2mg), , and 100mg of progesterone (1 time a day). The Estradiol is the main feminizing hormone, while Progesterone is another feminizing hormone that helps with breast growth and fat redistribution.

What are the most surprising effects of the hormones?

I’ve shrunk by 1" in height and lost 1.5 shoe sizes (some of that second one might be related to weight loss though, I’m down 100 lbs since the start of the pandemic.)

Have you had surgeries? Are you going to?

First, unless the trans person says it’s ok, never actually ask this. But I’m willing to share some details. I’m going to spoiler this answer so people can choose if they want the details.

Surgery Info

I had a orchiectomy in December 2021 to get off the anti androgen medication that was causing me issues.

I have a consultation for breast augmentation in March 2022, will have that in June.

I’m in the process to get a consultation for gender confirmation surgery in March 2023.

I’m in intake for a surgeon for facial feminization surgery, with the hope of squeezing it in in December 2022.

What are all these acronyms that I see sometimes?

AMAB = assigned male at birth
AFAB = assigned female at birth
AGAB = assigned gender at birth
HRT = Hormone Replacement Therapy
FFS = Facial Feminization Surgery
BA = Breast Augmentation
GCS = Gender Confirmation Surgery (sometimes still GRS or SRS, gender/sex reassignment surgery)
NB/enby = Non-binary person
GF = gender fluid

Anything else? Let me know in the comments and I’ll answer them.

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Moving from the messages…

Going to answer these one at a time — and there might be a pause in between, because I’m making dinner tonight then my son has an indoor soccer game. :slight_smile:

My mom found my stash of a couple of bras and a dress when I was 15. To put it lightly, all hell broke loose — it was the only time I was physically frightened of my parents. (No serious physical abuse happened, though I did have a bruise on my arm from my dad grabbing me as I tried to run away, which he apologized for immediately.)

They asked me if I wanted to be a girl, and I gave a non-commital ‘I think so’ or ‘maybe’ or something like that, so I went to a therapist for a few months. Sadly, he wasn’t interested in helping me explore my gender issues, but instead spent six months telling me how awfully I would be treated if I was a girl, and eventually I just gave in and told my parents it was fine, I didn’t want to be a girl. That was a horrible mistake I made, and within 3 months of that I was suicidal, and I came really close once. If I had figured out the safety of my Dad’s gun before my friends called me to go out for the night, I don’t think I live to graduate high school.

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Moving from messages:

I gave up on the Catholic Church decades ago. Part of it was the gender identity issues, but most of it was the sexual abuse scandal. My religious beliefs are pretty personal at this point — I believe in God but I’m not convinced that any religious group is valid at this point. They all seem too focused on the accumulation of earthly power than doing God’s work.

My wife and I got married in a Unitarian Universalist church, because one of her ancestors (who was on the 3rd or 4th ship after the Mayflower) was a founding member of it.

So yes, I’m in total agreement that the Catholic Church should be avoided. We explain the religions to the kids, but they are not baptized or anything — that will be their choice.

Hopefully I’ll remember to answer your third question when I’m back in a few hours. If I haven’t replied by tomorrow, feel free to PM me as a reminder. :slight_smile:

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My friends have been, almost without exception, amazing. Part of that is that I generally avoided befriending people that were openly bigoted, but I expected at least some resistance and other than a couple of high school friends that I only interact with on FB, it’s been terrific. The board game group that has started meeting again has been hugely supportive, and the other one I haven’t seen in person yet, but they’ve all reached out multiple times.

The same is true of my in-laws. Other than my wife’s aunt, who is still nice but is much more standoff-ish than before, they’ve all been great. My father-in-law has literally never misgendered me or deadnamed me once after we told him.

My family has been more hit and miss. Most of them are supportive, but my Dad passed away this spring, and his funeral wasn’t really the ideal place for all of them to see Alyssa for the first time. It was overwhelming to me, but hopefully I’ll be able to meet with them in smaller groups and get them more comfortable. I do have a few hard-core Trump supporter cousin that I think are lost to me, but that’s honestly fine. My Dad was fully in my corner before he passed (I got to see him one weekend right after I got vaxxed, about 3 weeks before he died), my Mom is like 75% there. She says supportive things, but at the same time hasn’t used “Alyssa” on a single phone call in the year still I told her my new name, and she sends mail to the “Gambone Family” instead of Alyssa Gambone. I’m trying to deal with it so the grandkids still get to see their grand mom, but it can be trying.

As far as the community at large, it’s been mostly supportive. There are a few people that stare or won’t say hi when my wife and I are out for a walk in the neighborhood, but it’s a minority. Salem is a wonderfully accepting town, and I’m lucky to live here.

The same is true of my office environment. There are a couple of women that are clearly uncomfortable that I get to use the ladies room, but MA law is very clear, as was HR, so that is their issue to work through. I will say that one big thing that has changed, and it was within 3-4 months, is I get interrupted in meetings easily 3-4 times more than I used to. It was quite eye opening to see how different it is, and how quickly it changed, even with people that I worked with for 15 years pre-transition.

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The ability to change our physical appearance like this is some serious sci fi level stuff. All the difficulties aside, we are fortunate to live in these times and have these opportunities.
As for your name, anyone you’ve known since you changed it only knows you as Alyssa. I don’t see you as any other name. And incidentally, I think it’s a very pretty name, so good choice.

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It’s kind of astonishing when I look back at just how much I’ve changed in less than a year and half. It’s easy to lose sight of it when you see the small changes every day, but people that I haven’t seen for a couple of years have no idea who I am, which is kind of a nice feeling when I’m feeling dysphoric about my appearance. (Which is a couple of days a week at this point.)

Maybe i told this story. But a friend told me about a transwoman he knows professionally, let’s call her Sue. Sue was on a big teleconference (before covid) and she made a suggestion that she thought should move the conversation along, except that no one noticed. She got so frustrated that she interrupted, with her male voice, and said, “i think Sue made a good point”. And suddenly, three other men agreed, and in fact, her suggestion was accepted and moved things forward.

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It really is amazing the difference. And frustrating.

(Also, in the spirit of education, and it doesn’t really bother me, but it is somewhat controversial to make trans woman one word. Trans is an adjective. The problem with transwoman/transman is it’s often used by jerks to other trans women to deny that they are women/men. Some people don’t care, some people would immediately be highly suspicious.)

Huh. Sorry. I tend towards compound words. I write “transfat”, too, which i see is also considered incorrect.

(Biochem is where i learned the prefixes cis and trans. Or … Adjectives, i guess.)

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Does estrogen give you amazing skin? I hear that’s one of the things you can notice very fast.

OMG yes! My skin on my face is amazing - at least the side that isn’t covered in electrolysis marks for that particular week. It also has a down side though, it’s almost impossible to shave my legs without cutting them somewhere, which I almost never did for the 15 years before transitioning. There is way less hair overall, though. My arms especially have gone from ‘monkey’ to pretty much only vellus hair.

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I went on estrogen for menopause symptoms, and one of the “side effects” was that my hands stopped looking “old”. My skin regained some elasticity it had started to lose. Good stuff.

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My main question was going to be how your wife handled everything. I’m so so so so glad your relationship after has been great.

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Yeah, it’s amazing how smoothly she dealt with it. The “it’s okay, I like women too” was a welcome plot twist that I hadn’t even considered a possibility. I’m a lucky, lucky woman to have married her.

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You are. But I’m going to guess that it wasn’t totally and completely luck. I suspect that she recognized some of your feminine traits and found them attractive, well before you came out.

I have several friends who have come out as “not cis”, and … it’s rarely a shock. I’d think that would be even more true of someone one was dating, or married to.

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Oh for sure — I told her about my gender issues (while adamantly insisting I wasn’t planning a transition, which was true at the time) before we got married. But it’s still brutally hard for a spouse to have their life partner fundamentally shift their presentation like this, and I’m in awe and so deeply appreciative of how supportive she’s been from the get-go.

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Ha, I can hear that. I started dressing a little differently this year after coming out as bi (just generally a lot more color, including pinks + purples), and my wife… took quite a bit getting used to it.

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A video I watched today that I found interesting https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsF2dQDMc4M&ab_channel=MissPeppermint

You’d know who Trinity and Peppermint are if you watch RuPaul’s drag race, but regardless, I think it gives very interesting perspectives (whether you’re LGBTQ+ or not).

I certainly learned a lot.

If I’m derailing the thread, feel free to remove.

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More Surgical Stuff

December 17th — excited and nervous at the same time. Never had general anesthesia before.

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Oh man. I love general anesthesia.
Recently did an endoscopy. I got so excited for it I was sad when it was over.

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