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What to do when your genetics are detrimental to the look that reflects who you are?

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Hello, everyone! This is my first post on this forum, so i'll already start by apologizing if i'm breaking any rules by posting this.


The title says it all really, i haven't started any sort of hormone therapy or done anything to transition, for good reason, i look at a few characteristics of mine, and like, i feel like no matter how much progress i make, i'll never actually have the look i want. I want to look cute, pale, small, feminine, fragile, but i'm tall, dark skinned, have wide shoulders, etc...


So that's it really, i feel like if i take hormones, or do anything else to achieve the look i want, i'll only get halfway there at best, and i'll not only not look the way i want to look, a cute girl, but i'll also not look like the man i am today anymore.


So that's it really, i don't know how to fight my genetics, i'm 1,86m, i have really wide shoulders, i have a much darker skin tone than i'd like, and those are things from my genetic code, i had no power over them, that's just the way i am, but i hate that so much. As long as i don't know what to do about these things, i can never see myself realistically starting any sort of transition, because i know that i'll never get to where i really want to be, i'll never have the looks that reflect who i am.


Does anyone else have a similar situation? And if so, what did you do about it? Or if there was nothing you could do, how did you cope with it?


Sorry if i said anything offensive, everyone, if i did, i didn't mean to at all.

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Jackie C.

I... went ahead with transition anyway. I'm OK with my skin tone, but yeah, I'm too tall, I've got linebacker shoulders, no chest, I'm pigeon-breasted and I've got hips like a snake. I've still been told that I positively radiate femininity as recently as yesterday (October 23rd, 2020).


The thing is that dysphoria is like that. On the other hand, nobody gets to pick (well, not exactly because plastic surgery is a thing) what they look like. It's about doing your best with what you've got. Since I've been transitioning, I've learned to love myself. I'm actually happy when I see myself in the mirror every morning. I kiss my fingertips and press them to the mirror to say hello. I hope I never lose that. It's amazing.


The last bit is learning to love what you do have. You really can't see them in my thumbnail, but I've got brilliant cheekbones and cute dimples. My smile is measured in megawatts and we see a lot more of it these days. Well, you know, within reason. Mandatory masks in public and all. You can totally see it in video chats though.


So yeah, transitioning isn't about becoming this perfect goddess. I'm never going to be the person in my head, but that's OK. Transitioning is about being comfortable in your own skin. I've got that now and it shows. Broad shoulders, snake hips and all.



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First of all, thank you so much for replying! I appreciate it very much :3


I'm so happy that the transition worked well for you, and that you're comfortable with your body and with who you are, in the end that's what will always matters most i believe.


1 hour ago, Jackie C. said:

The thing is that dysphoria is like that. On the other hand, nobody gets to pick (well, not exactly because plastic surgery is a thing) what they look like. It's about doing your best with what you've got. Since I've been transitioning, I've learned to love myself. I'm actually happy when I see myself in the mirror every morning. I kiss my fingertips and press them to the mirror to say hello. I hope I never lose that. It's amazing.


Plastic surgery is definitely a possibility, but it's also part of why i made this post unfortunately, i can see myself getting surgery for things like, idk, my nose, which i really dislike, but i've never seen surgery for things like height or shoulders, probably because those are much more complex, it would involve every bone, every muscle, everything, i don't even think it's possible, which saddens me. It really is all about loving one's self, i think that's what i struggle with most tbh, i have no self esteem and hate myself very much.


1 hour ago, Jackie C. said:

So yeah, transitioning isn't about becoming this perfect goddess. I'm never going to be the person in my head, but that's OK. Transitioning is about being comfortable in your own skin. I've got that now and it shows. Broad shoulders, snake hips and all.


I know that becoming a perfect goddess isn't possible, but idk, i feel like i can never love myself if i don't become the person i see in my head, that i wish i was, i don't know why i'm so obsessed about it, but i can't help myself. I struggle to love what i do have, because i hate all that i have, every inch, everything i see when i look into the mirror, i wish i could change it all, and that's what frustrates me, i know that surgery and hormones would only get me so far, but i'll never be able to change everything, there will always be parts i hate and there's nothing i can do about it, it feels so helpless.


Still, thank you so much for the reply and the advice, i really appreciate it!


1 hour ago, Jackie C. said:



Hugs :3

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I was really down on myself when I started my transition. I want to be cute and tiny too but I know that will just never happen. I felt like there is absolutely no way I would ever pass or even remotely look like a woman but I went ahead anyways. What did I have to lose by trying?


My therapist pointed some things I never considered. There are women with wide shoulders, big arms, big  hands, flat chest, no butt, no hips, big brow ridge, tall, big feet, deep voice, ect. Yes a woman having a lot of these traits would probably be gendered as male but she would also make sure to correct you in a heartbeat.


Affirming surgeries can fix a lot of things but not all. So I will off-set as much as I can and work with what I have. It's amazing what a little medical intervention and new attitude can do.


I've also learned not to trust mirrors anymore. Since I've been seeing the same face for over 40 years I don't see much in the way of changes neither do the people closest to me.


If you really feel it, than follow your heart.

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3 hours ago, Jackie C. said:

Transitioning is about being comfortable in your own skin. I've got that now and it shows. Broad shoulders, snake hips and all.


Hi @Lain, nice to meet you. Welcome. Good subject you’ve started.


Jackie stated something above that I agree with all the way. In the earliest stages of confronting gender dysphoria or gender incongruence of any sort, the focus is generally more on the physical aspects of transition. I don’t want to downplay any of that because it is still important for me today...almost as much as it was early in my transition. It has changed as my focus and understanding about what it is to be a woman has changed. Of course as you medically transition, changes will occur with your physical body that help considerably with your gender dysphoria but there will always be improvements you may desire.  Jackie mentioned several that she might like changed. I have a similar list..lol. Some aspects will improve while others may not. That part of transition is always a crapshoot. Your new look can help you eventually become more comfortable with yourself. Your perspectives during transition will change greatly over time. With proper professional assistance, it can even change faster in many cases. But eventually your issues with your physical self will decrease as you start to see your life through a different lens. If you ask anyone who has started transitioning, many, perhaps most will tell you they the changes were internal as well as external. Of those that have seen changes, I bet most would say that their self acceptance with their physical body has improved. There may even be a time in your future when these issues you now perceive to be a liability become irrelevant to your happiness or in rare cases, an asset.


My Best,

Susan R🌷

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This is something I struggled with for a long time and reading other stories, many have as well.

There is a mindset in our beginning which is part of the dysphoria. We don't feel we are the person we believe we are and often any visual image we see hits that button time and time again.

The best advice I have been given was that I want to be the best female version of myself that I can be.

The same height, skin and body shape (although hormones will and do change some of our appearance) but the female version of me.

Transitioning is as much about the emotional and mental changes that occur along with some physical changes.

A therapist is a must to help us comes to terms of how we progress towards our goal of being our true self.

This is a great place to begin as the advice and real world experiences are and have been invaluable to me.

We as people come in all shapes and sizes and nobody is ever 100% happy with how they look, we all get by though.

You didn't say if you have a therapist, if you don't you should get one as they can be so much help now and in the future.




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Struggled with that a long time too, besides all the other struggles. But at some point I thought I'd rather live the rest of my life as an ugly woman than any kind of man. And HRT helped me mentally almost right away, well before any physical changes. Yes, I still don't like what I see in the mirror, but feel significantly better than I used to (and it's only 5 weeks in). 

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Sally Stone
11 hours ago, Jackie C. said:

The last bit is learning to love what you do have. 

Lain, Jackie says it best.  Learn to love what you have.  Yes, it can be challenging, but we all have our beauty points even if many don't align with society's current view of what is beautiful.  For the longest time, I tried to compare my looks with what I saw in fashion magazines - nobody looks like that, so, I realized I should stop trying to compare myself to that unreasonable standard.  Now I focus on femininizing what I was given.  Yes it's harder, but in the end the effort bolsters my confidence and makes me feel just as authentic and just as beautiful as all those fashion models I wasted so much time trying to emulate.  

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@Lain first welcome. You have come to a place of wonder and understanding and women who will listen and provide advice based on facts and experience. I know that I won't look like I would love to look and being you are much younger you have a better chance to look closer to what you want but I remember the words the Jessica Lange character in the movie NORMAL from about 2003. Tom Wilkerson is her husband who is MTF and the least feminine body you can imagine. Jessica finally accepts him and helps him near the end in regard to dressing and make up. She says " you've got to use what you've been given and make it work for you."

Just remember you are beautiful inside and outside and use what you have been given.love the you you are.

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Hi @Lain, welcome to TransPulse.  


Not being [fill-in-the-blank-here] enough is something that bothers many cis women, thanks to

the insidious drumbeat of marketing.  For trans folks, many of whom wrestle with self-doubt, it

can seem like it's a deal-breaker.  But I am in support of all the strong women above (and many

others who haven't replied yet) who articulated why it's not stopped them from fulfilling who they

know they are.


I have read over a hundred trans drama and romantic novels, before ultimately tiring of the genre.

What 95% of them had in common was describing the trans character as "a natural" who, with a

bit of makeup, a redo of their already long and full head of hair, and a killer bodycon dress on their

petite body, wowed everyone and overcame the inevitable one or two anti-trans people inserted

as an element of drama. Well, that isn't reality.  Particularly for those of us who are well past

puberty before we act on who we know ourselves to be.


And, the whole concept of passing doesn't need to apply if, like me, you identify as trans non-binary.

An AMAB, I definitely identify on the feminine side of the gender identity spectrum.  There are plenty

of things I have done on my journey, including HRT, that have helped enormously.  It means I've

been able to pretty much banish the bad old days of self-doubt, anger, and dysphoria.  I wouldn't want

those days back, ever.  My journey is helping me arrive at a far more comfortable place than I could

have imagined.


Keep in touch!  With best wishes,



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Hi, @Lain and welcome!


I think we all start out despairing of ever looking feminine.  I know I did.  But I agree with the advice above: you have to work with what you have got.


One thing I didn't have was the money for facial surgery.  So I knew that I would have to make do with whatever improvements hormones could make.  I knew I would never be pretty.


So, imagine my surprise when I was getting ready to go to my support group, putting on lipstick, and I suddenly realized that I didn't recognize those lips!  And, a month or two later, it was the eyes.  My wife noticed it, too.  A couple of times, we'd be in the car, me driving, and she would stare at me and comment on how much my face had changed.


I'll still never be pretty, but when I catch a glimpse of my face in a mirror, I like what I see.  It is the face of a mature woman.  (I am 66.)


Work with what you have.  Some surgeries are options; some are not.  If you work with a therapist, who can help you with your confidence, that confidence will shine through and people will like what they see.  I hope you will, too.




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Hi @Lain!  Ya know, like @Astrid said, I am not sure I have ever known a woman who was not happy about some part of her appearance.  So, it comes with the territory.


I am not trying to be flippant, but I think the most important part of transition is Self-Acceptance from the inside.  If you find that, everything else will fall in place.

Happy you have joined us here, and already received some great experience from others.

Deep breaths ... one step at a time

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Thank you so much for all of the replies, everyone!


I guess those are the options i have really, use the resources i have to get closer to the body i want, and work on my mentality to accept the things that i can't change, i guess i'll have to work with my therapist on that and the whole self hate thing i've got going on, i'll do my best!


Once again, thank you everyone for the replies, i appreciate the insight, honesty and care that all of you showed me :3

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