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Sophie Watson

Socially Transitioning

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Sophie Watson

So I made a video about my worries about socially transitioning on Youtube. About easing my way into being a woman out in public not just in the comfort of my own home. 

 

The more I spoke about it the more clueless I felt I was as to what would be most comfortable for me and for other people. 

 

Like, it will be super scary going out dressed as ME. Not because I'll be uncomfortable but worried about how people will look at me and treat me. 

 

What are your experiences? Did you ease yourself into it? Or did you just turn up to work one day with full make up and dress. 

 

My video is here where I speak more on the topic - 

 

 

I wish I knew how to stop link's I post from making a huge deal of it. How do I make it stop showing a giant pic of my ugly face? 

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Carrie

Hi Sophie

To my family and a few friends I told before I came out.  At work they had noticed the changes before I came out so about 9 months after being on HRT I changed my name legally and into work on Friday as I was then Monday came in a dress.  As they already knew about me and I would look exactly the same I wanted something to make an impact.

It is different for many of us and we come out differently.

As for the big picture when you first post the link it will come up like it has for you before  you post it look at the bottom and you will find an option to post as a link only.

Take care 

Carrie

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Carrie

Hi Sophie

Know one thing you are very brave.  I guess we all are as we have little choice.  As time go's by it will get a little better and and little more better.

Stay strong and remember we are here for you.

Lots of love 

Carrie

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Carolyn Marie

Good topic, Sophie.  Of course every situation and every person is different, and we all do what we think is best.  In my case I worked in a large office.  After coming out to my colleagues i waited about 10 days before coming to work dressed en femme.  i did have a wig and makeup, but I dressed in slacks and a blouse and flat shoes, so the transition was a little less jarring (I think).

 

It was the same in most other social situations.  I think it was a couple of months before I went anywhere in a skirt or dress.  If you have the luxury of growing your hair out that, at least, will be less of a shock than what I had to do.

 

It is a scary time, no getting around that.  But with understanding people around you, you will be fine.

 

Carolyn Marie

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Sophie Watson

@Carrie  Yeah, sadly in the  UK before we're allowed to touch hormones we have to live as a female first for 2 whole years. And it's very backwards too the way they treat it as (in my experience from 2011) they dictate how you should dress and act. Despite me not being a flowery dress type girl. Would be nice to start HRT straight away and then slowly progress onto clothes and do it that way I agree. 

 

@Carolyn Marie How did it feel when you eventually came into work wearing a dress? Did it feel freeing? I also work in a large office so I admit I'm more than a little concerned about how people would react around me when I come into work with my tight jeans and long shirt.

 

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Jackie C.

Bleah. I guess the NHS hasn't caught up to the current WPATH standards yet. They used to insist that you "live as a woman" for a year before they'd consider you for HRT. I'm going to guess that somebody snuck that provision into the UK's system to "Weed out people who weren't serious because they're transitioning on the taxpayer's dime." What it amounts to is an extra few years of slow torture for trans folk. That reasoning still exists in some states in the US, though it's an even thinner excuse because we have to pay for everything ourselves. Doesn't stop the transphobes though. 

On the plus side, there are plenty of products available to help you with your presentation and, if I'm being honest, they're fun to play with. They're also harder to wear while you're on HRT. For example, my breasts are WAY too sore right now for breast forms and I had to give my good attachable set away to a good home.

 

So the way I came out to my friends was to tell them, "Hey, this is happening. If you have a problem, this is your last chance to speak up." Nobody did, so the next time I saw them I was presenting fully female. The only question that came up was, "How are you talking high like that? It's murder on my throat."

The answer was complicated because voice training, but the short answer was, "Practice."

 

That was my big hurdle by the way. Voice training. I didn't go out full time until I had that under control. I find that even if people are looking at you a little askance, when your speech sounds feminine, they relax and just accept you as a woman.

 

Hugs!

 

I'll go give your video a like in a minute. I've got to run down to the pharmacy before the laundry needs to get to the dryer.

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Carolyn Marie

@Sophie Watson it felt pretty good, actually, and people seemed OK with my appearance.  But I was overweight back then and I always wore loose fitting dresses and tops that hid as much of my stomach bulge as possible.  Some folks are never going to get used to the change, and that's OK.  As is often said around here, it's their problem, not yours.

 

Carolyn Marie

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Jackie C.

OK, so having watched your video. As far as transitioning at work goes, you should talk to your HR department first. There's probably paperwork. There might even be a procedure already in place to handle trans employees. 

 

Secondly, you got somebody to say, "Blargh!" at the end of a sentence? I haven't had that happen to me since... gosh, grade school? (I think that's primary school for you. Years 1-6?) I got a, "I find your appearance disturbing," but that's the worst of it. I think you'll find that most people are pretty accepting. I'm honestly humbled by the amount of support I've found in the community. None of them are trans (hey, we're 1 in 200 or so, not easy to find), but they're still friends.

 

Finally, once the plague is done stalking the streets you should be able to find a support group. I just today got pinged by Meetup about a new trans and NB support group. They're virtual at the moment, but that's only prudent. I might go in person if they're close. Once the specter of death is passed, obviously.

 

Hugs!

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Mary Jane

for my case well i do think im at least a little transgander but all i can do right now is just socially transition basically just the pronouns and name online right now which pronouns im fine with both he/him and she/her and if i really am trans (which we'll see in at least 2 years) ill ease into it first the pronoun 2nd ill start telling some people to call me Mary Jane (or a better name if i can find any) 3rd is clothes 4th is voice. the hormones might be in between the 2nd and 3rd and if im transexual then ill go for the surgery 

 

buuut... other genders i might be is bigender and genderfluid so yea not all of those are going to apply if im bi or genderfluid

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Susan R

Hi @Sophie Watson I watched your video and want to let you know that most of us are forced to deal with haters on some level. Some get it worse than others. The best thing you can do is stay the course and don’t let these people affect your goals. The one thing that helped me coming out socially was knowing that while it may be a huge topic of gossip for a short time, it doesn’t last long. Eventually, people get tired of hearing the same old news over and over. Yes, it’s hard when you know others are taking behind your back but I can tell you, the difficulties with presenting female around your neighborhood and work will level off in short order.

As @Jackie C. mentioned, talk to your HR dept., union rep or steward, and maybe your boss if you think they might have your back. It’s their job to make things run smoothly and work out kinks in the workplace. Like many things though, starting out is the biggest obstacle especially when fear and doubt is in the equation. I know you can do this though, Sophie.

 

My Best,

Susan R🌷

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KayC

Hi @Sophie Watson .. I have very much similar concerns as you, but my plan (as of now) is HRT first ... then decide what level of presenting/transition I choose to go through and how to do it. 

Will it be jump into the freezing cold water (to just get it over with) or slowly .. maybe small changes, androgyny at first and then allow others comfort levels to adjust (obviously though, I am putting others "sensitivities" above my own .. I hope therapy can help me with that)

I'm sorry your country is still forcing you to present before HRT and even declare before coming to work?  I just don't see why HRT should be tied to social transitioning.  Talk about discriminatory!! 😡

 

I want there to be a rule that cis-gender need to "declare" in public and wear a warning tag .. "Caution! I am a self-absorbed, transphobic/homophobic, idiot, -censored-" ... IF only we knew up front instead of having to discover that when we are forced to "come out" socially.
it would be a much better world don't you think 😁

Thank you for posting and the topic.  We'll get through this .. that's for sure❣️
 

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Susan R
3 hours ago, KayC said:

Will it be jump into the freezing cold water (to just get it over with) or slowly .. maybe small changes, androgyny at first and then allow others comfort levels to adjust

I chose to go slow and steady with incrementally small changes over a six month period but I chose that method mainly because I had the help of HRT. How backward it is to force a trans community anywhere to try to do transition and/or come out without such help.

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Beverly

Thanks for sharing, Sophie! It's okay to ease into it a bit. For me, it lessened the trauma and allowed me to build confidence over time. I guess the first clue I gave out was having my ears pierced, then dressing a bit androgynous, a subtle touch of jewelry here and there, and then adding eye makeup and things like that. Being gay any way, this wasn't a stretch. Before coming out, I'd buy women's slacks, shirts, shoes and so on that could pass for men's clothing, just to make myself feel better without shocking anyone yet. So, yeah, that worked for me. 

 

After a while, I began to choose my times to go out as fully me, as the girl, you know, like shopping or jogging in the park and so on. The more comfortable I become over time, the more ready I was to present as my authentic self full time. When I was ready, I disclosed to family first, then friends, with mixed reception, of course, but mostly positive. Then, I announced myself to the world via an open letter on Facebook and Instagram with mixed reaction, though mostly supportive. I started blogging, but I've let that slide for a while. My employer was supportive - I worked for a large, progressive news media company at the time, so naturally they were.

 

Shortly thereafter, I decided to change careers, got my legal name and gender markers changed, went back to college as a female student, became a nurse, and actually started living the stealth life professionally as one of the girls on staff. I currently wear dresses from time to time when appropriate or put on the sexy to go clubbing (before COVID 19), but I'm mostly a conservative feminist dresser, though a bit girly casually at times. I never go all "Tootsie" or "Mrs. Doubtfire" over the top (you may have to Google that). Early on there was the temptation to over-compensate to ensure I "passed" the eye test, but sometimes this can be a dead giveaway. Granted these are all external, superficial things, but I found outward cultural expressions important for affirming the genuine inner me. In short, if it makes me feel good, I do it, LOL! 😜

 

Expect mixed reactions as you disclose further, some will need time to process your news, most will come around, but you will be the better for it in the end as you live your truth even with a few bumps and bruises along the way. Don't pressure yourself to hurry through things, if it doesn't feel comfortable yet. It's okay to take your time and enjoy the journey. You might say I spent a few years transitioning before I transitioned. It feels like it's been a long, long journey as I prepare for top and bottom surgery next month, but it has all been worth it as I finally know a happiness I didn't think possible. By the way, my ancestors are from the UK (England and Scotland). You are amazing and all the best to you girlfriend!

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DeeDee

Hi Sophie, when uploading youtube videos you can choose your thumbnail picture and either have a frame from your video or an attached picture from elsewhere as the thing everyone sees at the start/end.

 

As others have mentioned you should challenge the suggestion to present as Sophie socially before starting HRT if it comes up, the meds are often used as a diagnostic tool, and being on them short term does no likely long term damage and social dressing as your actual gender beforehand is absolutely not set in stone - Covid does mean that many clinics are not starting new patients becuase of the inability to suply the drugs and have regular check ups but I would trawl through ytour local GIC services FAQ's and guidelines.  I was terrified of being asked to do this, but it clearly states in the Scottish NHS guidelines that this is not needed for HRT, but is required before GRS is signed off on, which makes sense. Seeing how my body reacts to the chemical change will help to confirm the diagnosis for me, whereas walking around as Dee all the time without any changes at all is just asking to increase my stress, depression and anxiety levels into dangerous territory. Something they should consider. So definintely double check that.

x

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KayC
7 hours ago, Susan R said:

I chose to go slow and steady with incrementally small changes over a six month

Thank you Susan and @Beverlyfor providing your experience.. That's very helpful to me (and I hope Sophie)

 

 .... and, I'm so sorry I let my "censored" word slip in there 🙃  I'll try to do better 😇

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Tori M
14 hours ago, KayC said:

I want there to be a rule that cis-gender need to "declare" in public and wear a warning tag .. "Caution! I am a self-absorbed, transphobic/homophobic, idiot, -censored-" ... IF only we knew up front instead of having to discover that when we are forced to "come out" socially.

 

LMAO.... I love it, Kay!  Sounds like something I would say. I don't hate the haters... I almost feel sorry for them... so ignorant, closed-minded and growth-stunted.  Their stagnant life must really suck.  Can't imagine living like that.  I just see them as people who don't matter.  They're like a rock in the river of life, the river keeps on flowing right around/over them, slowly eroding them into nothingness.

 

Another great video, @Sophie Watson.  I don't see how anyone would not know you are a woman inside that male shell.  I agree with the others that those process rules are ridiculous and I would challenge it till my last breath.  I know what it's like not having local trans friends to talk to, but maybe I will meet some in my area soon if I attend a support group.  In lieu of that, I have made a couple of cis women friends who are extremely understanding and are happy to listen and discuss my issues and feelings.  They're super wonderful.  They're like me in that they believe life is about learning, so they ask good questions and they listen intently.  It's a great experience for both of us.  Keep telling people and hopefully you will meet some of those, too!

 

Btw, I don't use the phrase "coming out" any more.  I say, "becoming my real self".  I've told a couple of folks that I am tired of hiding myself for everyone else's convenience.  I got super supportive responses to that.

 

Hugs,

Tori

 

 

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Rorelai

Hiya Sophie!

 

For me, I came out when I was at a crossroads in my life. I had just graduated high school, I was working a part time retail job in a difference city than my high school, and I was about to start college in the fall. I had pieced together that I was trans when I was about 16 or 17, and I finally decided it was now or never for to start transitioning socially. At my job, I asked my boss to put Rory on my name tag, as my "nickname". Even though I was still presenting male, this was a nice way to start exploring my identity. By the time I started college in the fall, it felt natural that people call me Rory, and although it took a while for Rory to become a girl, I found that my school was a really chill environment for me to get comfortable with my femininity. 

You may not be in the same type of situation as me, but I would recommend easing yourself into your social transition. I know that being misgendered can be agonizing, and feeling like you don't pass as the gender you are really blows. However, transition is really playing the long game; you've got the rest of your life to work it all out. Embrace the weirdness of this point in your life, and figure out what makes you happy. Try and find the little things that make you feel at home in your skin, and it'll help you feel more confident when you do start presenting femme full time. If you're not confident wearing a full face of makeup, a frilly dress, and killer pumps, it's harder to make other people take you seriously too. Take your time, and little by little you'll realize that you're passing more and more. Even if it doesn't feel like it in the moment, when you look back you'll see the progress you've made. 

 

~Rory

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Siobhan
On 7/3/2020 at 9:11 AM, Sophie Watson said:

The more I spoke about it the more clueless I felt I was as to what would be most comfortable for me and for other people. 

 

I spent too much time in my life worrying about what was comfortable to other people, and I'm not speaking just about trans-related stuff. You can drive yourself mad trying to make people feel comfortable/happy/pleased. I didn't really focus on how I might make other people comfortable with my transition. But I've been a 'If you don't like it, you can go stuff it' type since I was a kid, which helped.

 

On 7/3/2020 at 9:11 AM, Sophie Watson said:

What are your experiences? Did you ease yourself into it? Or did you just turn up to work one day with full make up and dress.

 

 

I worked from home when I transitioned, but would run into the office once a week for materials and stuff. It was a pretty liberal industry in a sense, so I wasn't super concerned with losing my job. Really though, I was presenting kind of andro-femme (which is an oxymoron I guess, but I hope it makes sense), so they weren't terribly shocked when I told them I was officially transitioning. I mean, I was already wearing makeup to a degree and painting my nails and such. They didn't know I was trans (it's not something commonly assumed back then) so I think they just thought I was queer. When I did officially tell them, they weren't terribly shocked. The next time they saw me, they saw me 'as me' and outside of the occasional teasing, it went pretty well. The new name thing was hard for a while but after about a year it was like they'd never known I had a name other than Siobhan.

I know that not everyone is that fortunate. I know that not everyone has the same background or experience as me. I recognize the privilege I had from the way I was raised, which was in a poor but liberal family with parents that promoted an interest in the arts and an appreciation for diversity.

I don't know how things would have played out had I come from a different background, or had more of a conservative job. I like to think that I'd still more or less be the same person and do what I have always strived to do, which is to be myself no matter what. But who knows?

I may have painted a picture of me gliding down easy street, but that's not really accurate. I still had to deal with the public and a few non-accepting friends, external family members, and a brother who I ended up disowning. There were very hard days. I may have a tough attitude, but it doesn't mean I liked being stared at by everybody in restaurant when I walked in, or having to deal with that look people give when they are trying to figure out what exactly you are. It was like that in the beginning until  HRT really kicked in and I began to acclimate to a different life. But I knew at the beginning of this that it would not be without significant problems and pain, so I was prepared as much as I could be.

I wish you well on this trip. You are doing the right thing in that you are really thinking about how best to approach it and analyzing how you will handle things to come. Maybe try not to get too hung up on how people will perceive you though, because for good or ill, none of us can really control that. What you have a better chance of controlling is how much you let worry or fear determine your course. Be safe, be sure, and focus on the end-goal and the people who love you when things start to feel heavy.

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