5 March 2019
I started therapy on the 18th of April 2016. Within 3 months I had been officially diagnosed with gender dysphoria and had started seeing an endocrinologist to investigate the medical side of transitioning. By then I had come out to my mom and then to my immediate family. It was just the beginning. There was so much ahead of me on this journey and at the time it felt as though it would never end. My friend Chloe, who had become a sort of guide for me on my journey, had said to me on a number of occasions, “One day you will no longer be in transition. You’ll just be you.” I wasn’t prepared for time to move so slowly in the moment, and yet seemingly so quickly now that I’m at the end.
Yesterday marked four weeks since I underwent bottom surgery. Yesterday also turned out to be my last therapy session. I hadn’t planned it to be when I scheduled my appointment, but at the end of last night’s session my therapist said that she thought I was done. I can’t even remember what she said exactly. I know we talked about how I have incredible support all around me. I was kind of overcome with emotion. It’s not like I can’t call her for, as she called it, “a tune-up.” I’ll definitely miss talking with her on a regular basis. I guess I’m just stunned by the fact that I’m done.
This is it.
I’ve gone through a failed attempt at hormone therapy. I’ve endured 11 months of laser hair removal on my face. I’ve had facial feminization surgery to “soften” my features. I’ve attended therapy sessions for 35 months. Lastly, I’ve had gender affirmation surgery. And while I’m still recovering from that last one, bottom surgery, I’ve finally come to the end of the “transition” part of this journey.
Many people have, with good intentions, said, “No, it’s not the end. It’s just the beginning.” But, no, this is the end of my transition. I NEED this to be the end. Pregnancy doesn’t begin when you deliver your baby. It has been three long years of medical complications that I thought would end my hopes of transitioning, of fighting with insurance policy and coverage, with hurdle after hurdle. It’s over and I can finally celebrate “just being me!”
Recently, a friend asked me if, now that I’ve had bottom surgery, I will still refer to myself as transgender. The answer is that it depends on the situation. For many transgender women they want to only be known as a woman once they’ve transitioned. The way I look at it is that in medical situations I will still refer to myself as transgender because while I now require some routine female health tests, I still also require a prostate exam. I can’t change my DNA or biology. But, to everyone I meet, everyone that perceives me as the female I am, I am Tiffany. A woman.
I guess, if this is the time when I roll credits, I would like to thank some people.
First and foremost I need to thank my wife, Ann-Elizabeth. She’s known about my feminine side since we first became friends. It has never become an issue in our relationship. When people ask how she is doing with my transitioning we tell them first and foremost that we married another person and not another gender. We’ve been together for 20 years and we enjoy sharing every aspect of our lives with each other. We know that ours is a coveted union. In many cases, when one partner in a marriage comes out and transitions it causes a split. I think we both underwent such a transformation of self before we met, that when we befriended each other we had already shed the skin of our old selves and were available to being true to ourselves and each other. I love her with all of my heart and soul and can’t imagine ever being without her.
I need to thank Chloe and her husband Jon. Chloe has been in my life since 2005 and we’ve helped each other grow. At times we’ve traded roles of teacher and student. When Chloe met and eventually married Jon it was just like an extension of her. Jon is equally caring, compassionate, and nurturing. While I’ve always had the support of my wife, I think that if I had never met Chloe I wouldn’t have transitioned. I can’t quite think of the word that best describers Chloe’s role in my life. I think of her like a combination friend/shamaness/sherpa/guide. There is the mythical holy person that doesn’t preach but walks with you on your journey, sometimes engaging you in conversation, sometimes asking you questions to engage your own thoughts, like a therapist but able to reach in your chest and cradle your heart. That’s Chloe.
I want to thank my 86 year old mother, who was not prepared for her 46 year old son to eventually become her daughter. I’ve had a long time to discover and accept that I was born a transgender woman, but in three years she has grown to accept who I am. She now uses my legal name and mostly uses the correct pronouns. Sometimes she slips but she never does it out of malice. It’s always from habit. My Father and Mother-in-law have also been so wonderful and accepting, even from the start. On one Father’s Day after I had come out I thanked them for their support. My father-in-law said that he admired what I was doing. I had met and married his daughter as a man and yet he was accepting me now as a woman. I’ve been very blessed with my family. I come from a family of seven kids. All of my family has been gracious in accepting my transformation. I have two teenage nieces who have been exceptionally wonderful.
i want to thank my Aunt for her counsel in the very beginning. She and her wife have been a sounding board for a lot of doubts. Their love and reassurance were a beacon before I gained any sign of a path.
I am so very grateful to my mental and physical care team; my therapist Carolyn, my endocrinologist Dr. Javorsky who maintains my transitional changes as well as my diabetes, Dr. O’Quinn, my family doctor, Dr. Toby Mayer in Beverly Hills, CA, who tweaked my features and gave me my beautiful face, and lastly Dr. Gast, my plastic surgeon and Dr. Block my assisting surgeon who performed my bottom surgery. These people, some of whom I will continue to see and some that have come into my life only to aide in a specific part of my transition, have changed my life immeasurably. In 2015 I was headed for disaster by continuing to hide my true self and allowing the stress in my life to increase to the point that it was manifesting physically. This group of people saved my life.
Thank you so very much to the close friends who have driven us to appointments and watched our home and precious kitties while we’ve been away for surgery.
Thank you to my employers, who hired me as Tom, and have kept a place for me as Tiffany.
I want to thank all of my friends from “The Boys,” my three steadfast mates of the past almost 30 years, to everyone who has supported my journey, those that contributed to my fundraising efforts for my facial feminization surgery, those that shared my social media posts, the folks that have messaged, called and emailed, the transgender people world-wide that I’ve met and whom I’ve shared advice, information and support with. and lastly to you, everyone who has read and continues to read my chicken scratch. I set out to share my journey. Thank you for coming with me. I wish for you a most authentic life.
I started this blog to journal my transition and to share my story. I wasn’t sure when or how it would end, but then again, I couldn’t fathom ever getting to the end. The last sentence of my very first post was ,“I can at least guarantee, someone WILL get the girl!”
And do you know what? Someone did get the girl.
I still have more to say though, so if you’ll listen I’ll still be talking (or typing). So, if this is the credits you’ll just have to stick around for the DVD Extras.
But for now, I guess this is the first day that I’m no longer in transition.
Finally, I’m just “me.”
I’m just Tiffany.