Long distance, age gap, and gender issues, oh my!

Special area for friends and family of transgender people to get or give advice and support.
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Kandei-chan
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Long distance, age gap, and gender issues, oh my!

Postby Kandei-chan » Thu May 23, 2013 3:00 am

Hello all, lovely forum you have here. (:

My boyfriend - I will call him by his pronoun of birth since I asked him if I should do otherwise and he said he didn't know yet - is wonderful, and I treasure him. We have quite an uphill climb ahead of us. We are about 10,000km apart, still learning about each other and the cultures that formed each other; he's in the Philippines and I'm in North America. I am 22 years his senior. We are both dealing with mental illness; I am on disability, being not quite well enough to work. My divorce is finalizing. He has a harem of girls. I identify as bisexual, and he confessed his own gender and orientation identity last night. And yes, unfortunately, he's still underage by Western standards. Have I missed anything? :crazy:

His identity confusion was far more obvious to me than to him. I've been blessed with trans, bi and gay friends and been through my own journey of orientation. He lives in a place where gender and sexual identity can't be openly explored, and he unfortunately inherited some of the closed-mindedness from that culture. Last night, though, he admitted, "I'm... bi, and I want to become a woman."

I think it's a weight off his heart. He described having a dream where himself and his female alter ego are trapped in separate glass cylinders, unable to meet. He was offered no sexual or gender issue education and he has fundamental questions like how he'll go to the bathroom (I answered, "The same way I do.") I love him truly and want to give him all the support and information I can. Despite all these seemingly dramatic challenges, we have a calm and fulfilling relationship where we play, work and argue with love and understanding. Where should we start this journey of his identity?

Thanks all! (:
Supporting my significant other on the long journey.
------
Coincidence is bullsh-t.

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WeWantWaffles
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Long distance, age gap, and gender issues, oh my!

Postby WeWantWaffles » Fri May 24, 2013 2:38 pm

Heya! My name is Sarah-chan! (oh, what >.> I can do that too) My online friends call me Sarahsaurus - rawr! Um, but on here, I'm actually not as experienced as many of the members. I have yet to start hormones, but that is soon to change :) Regardless, I have been actively transitioning for over a year.

It does indeed seem like you have a very steep and tall mountain to climb. While anything is possible, I must say that the tremendous distance is certain to be a terrible barrier - but I'm sure you are aware of that. As the older and more experienced person in this relationship, I hope you will do everything in your power to make sure that your boyfriend is safe and happy. That said, teenagers aren't exactly known for stability - changing opinions and still exploring sexuality, identity, coming to terms with who they are or what they want to be, etc. I -really- dislike being the bringer of bad news / omens, but I feel the need to stress that a love relationship with a teenager who also lives so far away, and you have never had the joy of holding, is going to be very difficult.

I feel like I have to apologize for greeting you with such a negative little intro - but I wrote it out of concern for the both of you, and I've had some experience with things like these in the past (it all ended poorly in spite of our best intentions!). I still wish you all the best with that, of course - and I'd be happy to be proven wrong ^_^

I know you didn't come here for any of that. So I will focus on the last two paragraphs you wrote <3

- Are you really transsexual?
First of all, there are no simple straightforward ways to determine whether or not someone is in fact transsexual. Human psychology is a very complicated thing, and this is probably the reason why many people don't understand homosexuality & transsexuality. Fortunately there are many experiences that transgender boys & girls can relate to. I can list a few of them as an example;

- Are you unhappy with your current body?
- Have you (repeatedly) dressed up as the other gender for fun?
- Do you mind the sight of your own genitalia?
- Would you ideally be treated like the opposite gender?
- Do you mind being called being called 'sir/miss' based on your born gender?

There are several other questions. Typically if someone said yes to all those things, then I wouldn't doubt that they are transgender :) But not everyone minds their genitals, and not everyone opts for hormone treatment. Some enjoy the idea of being a bit of both, others don't conform to any typical gender role, etc! The key is to explore - to try out as much as possible before committing to a .. concept, identity, gender.. unless you're sure of yourself right away of course.

Where to start?
- Professional help
Start with finding a psychologist who specializes in sexology and gender problems. This is ultimately one of the most important steps depending on the country you live in. The waiting lists for these things are -huge-, so making an appointment early is a good idea. I think a total of zero people here will disagree with me on that xD On a related note, it's a good idea not to fuss too much over hormones & surgery just yet, but do learn about what kind of effect they will have on you in the long run. (I added some info on hormones further down)

- Fashion
Try out female garments and makeup. There is nothing wrong with trying things out; you can find a wig online (though cutting it is recommended), buy some female underwear just to see what it feels like to wear them (I recommend boyshorts, omg comfy), makeup doesn't have to be too expensive if you know what to get and where to look. Speaking of makeup, there may be something in the beauty and male grooming section of the forum that you'd like to read about. Lipstick (or lip gloss), mascara and eyeliner would be fun to play around with, and not too pricy either.

- Voice
There are some vocal techniques that you need to learn in order to sound believably female. Hormones do not affect the voice for male to females, so it's all about training yourself to sound like the opposite gender. It is possible, and there are several methods. I have used these videos ' http://acting.wonderhowto.com/how-to/ch ... le-211158/ ', but was told it doesn't work for everyone. Took me 9 months, I practiced 15 mins every day (sometimes more, sometimes less). Finding your female voice is inexpensive, and therefore a good idea to start training every day. There are also professionals who can help with this.

- Name
Think of a nice one :) You should then call him by his.. female name.. At that point you should also call him a her, unless you want to create even more awkward moments ^_^

- Telling people in real life
As much as I appreciate online friends, they are occasionally unable to help you. I have my girl-voice, I have a microphone, and I am happy with my identity online, but there are problems only real life friends can fix. They can give you feedback on how you sound off a microphone, how feminine your demeanor/posture is, how good your hair looks from all angles, what kind of makeup suits you, what kind of clothes are totally your thing, etc etc. There are many common real life social interactions that we take for granted, until we have to learn them over again. Finding someone who will help you with these things is not only incredibly useful, but it is known to help prevent suicide. Naturally, this doesn't have to happen right away :) You can explore all kinds of things in private for weeks/months, but there comes a time where it is better to out yourself - I would do this the moment I feel like I am certain that I am transsexual.

- Real life experience
Is important. This is closely tied to the earlier paragraph. If you have parents who consistently call you a boy/guy, it's tolerable at first. But in my case, after having established a female online identity, it became more and more difficult to accept it when people in real life call me a 'guy, dude, bro, boy, son, brother, and worst of all - a man', or by my name at birth. For this reason, real life experience is important. Once you've outed yourself to friends and relatives you can trust, they will protect you and make life easier for you :) Go out in the clothes you want to be wearing, the makeup you want to be wearing.. style your hair the way you want it, and be the person you've always wanted to be. This is difficult, and often the last step, at least socially.

What hormones will and will not do
If you opt for hormones, you will take a combination of hormones (estrogen) and hormone blockers. These effects are noted in a little book I have, so I'll kind of copy-paste it here.

- Move fat around, also breasts/hips
(changes happen starting 3-6 months, ending after 2-3 years)
- Loss of muscle
(starts around 3-6 months, is done after 1-2 years)
- Softer, smoother skin
(takes about 3-6 months)
- Less desire for sex
(happens quickly, change is felt before 6 months usually)
- Erectile dysfunction
(it all depends, some don't have it)
- Shrinking of testicles
(first notable signs start around 3-6 months, stops at about 2-3 years)
- Decline in sperm production
(takes longer than 3 years)
- Body hair reduction
(anywhere between 6 months and 3+ years)
- NO voice change!
(...never ever! So learn it ^_^)
- Hair regrowth on head
(Tends to happen, limited regrowth and depends on person)

And that's it!
I've spent longer on this than I had imagined. Hopefully this has been useful information and given you some direction as to what can be done to explore your boyfriend's gender identity. I tried to include a lot of information as concisely as possible. Don't be a stranger.

Sarahsaurus says RAWR GOODBYE!! (>^_^)>
- Sarah
And at the end of it all, I just want them to say; "Oh, that Sarah. She was a pretty awesome chick."

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Kandei-chan
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Location: Asbury Park, Noo Joisey
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Re: Long distance, age gap, and gender issues, oh my!

Postby Kandei-chan » Sun May 26, 2013 8:20 am

Rawr to you, Sarahsaurus, for your wonderful help. :D I've sent my sig-other the link. I think it will be a great start to his basic questions. Thanks so much.

As for your opening reality check, yes, I'm painfully aware that the odds are highly stacked against us. The brand of mental illness that we share is a death wish for many relationships, including my former marriage. He also has a "personality disorder" that makes introspection and self-knowledge very difficult for him; he often asks me basic questions about himself and for a split-second I wonder why he is quizzing me until I remember that he truly doesn't know for himself. :( I've done distance before too, and it can tear people apart, but I've developed techniques to deal with and minimize it. Culture shock and cultural and religious differences... add that to the pile. :problem: I deal with it by asking a LOT of questions and talking a lot about my upbringing and personal experience. And then I remember what a precocious little brat I was at his age. :P He actually has his stuff together a lot better than I did at that time, but I recognize he has a lot of personal growth and change ahead and could outgrow me at any time. I can do nothing at this point but accept the risk, and if any of these scenarios come to fruition, grieve as needed and move on. The few things we have going for us, which I'm banking on, are shared communication and respect, mutual open-mindedness, and my personal conviction that we are predestined. Although I admit I got really close to deconverting recently and the only thing that keeps my faith anchored is my personal religious experiences... maybe not the best theo/logically, but it works for me. :-)
Supporting my significant other on the long journey.
------
Coincidence is bullsh-t.

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WeWantWaffles
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Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2012 11:56 pm
Location: Belgium

Long distance, age gap, and gender issues, oh my!

Postby WeWantWaffles » Sun May 26, 2013 1:40 pm

^_^ Always happy to help. Ask stuff anytime. If your significant other decides to browse the forum here, there are blogs with plenty of personal experience and such :) There's also a skype thing on Mondays where you can talk/type to other transcuddles.
- Sarah
And at the end of it all, I just want them to say; "Oh, that Sarah. She was a pretty awesome chick."



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