transition 101: phase five, full-time friend
Please note that this is the fifth post in a series entitled Transition 101.
This is it. The culmination of all your work and preparation. By now you should be getting read as female fairly regularly by strangers, whether you are actually dressed as a male or female. You should be comfortable going out and interacting with the world as a female from your experiences living part-time, and yeah, basically there’s nothing stopping you now, so …
Come out at work, or if you’re still supported by your parents and attend school or university, to all of them. Obviously how you go about this will vary a lot depending on the people you work for and with, but tread carefully whatever the situation may be. Hopefully by now you’ve built up a substantial contingency and learned to live small, so that if the worst happens and you’re out of an income, you can still recover from it while continuing your transition. In fact, I would urge that you NOT come out at work or to your parents UNTIL you have that contingency firmly in place. If need be, delay coming out for as long as you can, but have nest-egg.
Negotiate a FT-schedule with the above people. Obviously you can’t just come out and tell people you’re transitioning, and the next day show up as a different sex. You need to make it clear to the people involved that this is going to happen, but you also need to be flexible in allowing them some time to let it sink in, break the news to everybody else, and figure out the logistics of it – how to deal with customers, clients, co-workers or other students, how to manage concerns around bathroom use, etc.
Of course, if you drew the short straw and got a bad response, none of this matters because you are unemployed and possibly homeless. Don’t freak out. This is what the contingency is for. If you did it right, you have friends who can help you out with a place to stay, you have money in hand for HRT and living expenses, and hopefully you have updated documentation you can use to start looking for work. Also, by now you should be quite passable and comfortable in your new persona, so prospective employers need not even know about your past. Just take it one step at a time.
Come out to everybody else. Friends, family, clubs, religious groups etc. – everybody needs to be told, and how you decide to do this is largely down to logistics and what you’re comfortable with. Some people like to announce it in person and be right there in order to field any questions and manage the gossip, for others, a letter or an email with a bunch of recipients proves to be a better approach. I chose the email, and mailed everybody a documentary DVD to explain the technical stuff.
Schedule surgeries. If you plan to get SRS, FFS, Breast Augmentation or whatever else, now is the time to schedule them. It might seem odd that I leave this so late in the entire process, especially considering how long the waiting lists are at the top surgeons, but until you are sure you have a supportive employer and thus a stable income, it’s a huge risk to take. Granted, you may be fortunate enough to work for a good employer where you were able to come out much sooner, and in that sort of situation, the earlier you can schedule your surgeries, the better. Failing that though, this is the safest approach.
Aaaaand finally … Go Full Time. For better or worse (hopefully better), you’re done. You’ve transitioned socially. Congratulations!
And that’s about it for Transition 101. I’ll be following up with a few additional posts with links to resources, terminology, etc. and hopefully, if I can find guest writers, some transition guides from other perspectives. This is it for Mina Magpie’s (Really Rough)Guide to a (Mostly) Stress-Free Transition (For Girls) though, so thanks for bearing with me!
Just on a final note, this guide simply reflects my experiences and those of people I’ve spoken to over the years. Everybody’s circumstances are different though, and ultimately you have to find what works for you. Hopefully though some of what I’ve said here might serve to give you perspective on your own situation. Good luck with your transition.