Special Edition: Sissies, Fetishists, and Kinksters

How often in media stories about MTF trans people using public accommodations for women do we see the same basic narrative: trans people have always felt these feelings for a long time, their feelings are not sexual or fetishistic, this isn’t a way to let sick or twisted men into women’s spaces.  Indeed, for most trans people, this is undoubtedly the case, but the problem lies in saying that there are no trans-identified people intent on using women’s spaces for fetishistic purposes.

You can see the result of this thinking in media coverage the current Planet Fitness case. The “trans woman” at the center of the Planet Fitness situation, “Carlotta Sklodowska,” is a male-identified fetishist who adopted a creepy, racist pseudo-Eastern European woman accent on his Facebook and liked posting objectifying, ultra-sexualized comments on fitness photos of women. Women are portrayed as crazy harpies for daring to warn other women about someone who is a serious creep.  Even though several actual transgender people, including Zoey Tur, specifically said that this person was a fetishistic crossdresser and not trans (and therefore shouldn’t have been protected by transgender protection policies or laws), those trans people have been told to shut up by prominent activists and have had their roles as media spokespeople called into question.

But is the distinction between a trans-identifying person and a fetishist always so clear?  When women are being told worldwide that we must accept XY-chromosomed, fully fertile people with penises in our changing rooms, we need to know whether the narrative of “this isn’t sexual, I just need to pee” is really all there is to it.

We here at Transgender Reality decided to investigate.

In this post, one transgender-identified male asks how he can stop having erections every time he dresses like a woman in public.  The overwhelming response by the community?

fetishist1

Dress as a woman more, and it’ll probably get better.  So this is one thing women can expect to be dealing with in the months and years to come: men dressing as women and entering women’s spaces deliberately to “desensitize” themselves to their sexual feelings.  Is this a service women should be required to provide to men–validation of their “woman-ness” even as they stand there with their erections simply from wearing “female clothes”?  Is the accommodation of these men through their desensitization process something all women and girls should be subjected to?

For that matter, how long is the average desensitization period?  Women need to know these things, since we are now supposed to accept the “trans woman” experience as female.  If this is so normal, talk more about it, trans activists.  How many weeks, months, years will you be getting erections when you put on a bra or enter a changing room?

In case you wonder whether this is common, here are a few links to sort you out.  In each link, the comments talk about just how common this is.  No one says “this is vile, you’re not a real trans person, get out.”  So in case you had any illusions about the trans community policing its own, and making sure that only people who just feel very sad about not having the opposite sex’s body get to use opposite sex facilities, rather than allowing fetishists as well, think again.

Whether you’re too turned on by women’s pajamas to even fall asleep:

fetishist3

Or believe that all women’s vaginas are for is to be “fucked hard” on a “regular basis”:

fetishist4

Or obsessively look at women’s pelvic areas to see if you can determine what kind of underwear they’re wearing, all while feeling jealousy and resentment (bonus: this man’s wife was 3 months pregnant with their first child at the time when he wrote this!):

kink8

Or you wake up in the middle of the night to pee, see your reflection and get hard:

kink3

Note how this person acknowledges that he has a fetish, and feels like he’s being “a girl” for the wrong reasons. What  advice does he receive? That his happiness is the only thing that matters, even when he admits getting “so turned on he’s scared”:

kink4

Being constantly turned on by “wearing pretty girl clothes” is great! And apparently the purpose of pronouns is sexual gratification:

kink5

Keep doing what you’re doing, but keep your penis!

kink6

Or how about  this guy, who wonders if watching “sissy porn” made him think he was transgender:

kink7

Or how about this person, who wants to be “pinned down and raped”, “forced to suck cock”, and “get caged and turned into a sexy little fuck-cow”, and who states that his fetishes are all “directly related to me becoming a girl”.

kink1

No worries though, the commenters assure him, most women have these fantasies, it’s totally common!

kink2

These are the people women are supposed to be okay with sharing bathrooms and dressing rooms with, and if someone complains they must be a horrible transphobe. Disclaimer: nobody is saying that all, or even most, trans people are this way. But some definitely are, by their own admission. And we’re apparently not allowed to point this out, without being called TERFs, transphobic, or bigots. And women are apparently not allowed to be skeptical about sharing private spaces with people who get so turned on they’re “scared” by any kind of “female” items or settings, even by female pronouns.

Learning how to be a woman: take less space, smile, and put on an innocent face

Poster “alwaysaprincess” needs help: “what are the most important body languages, poses, walking, etc that will make you as girly as possible?”

Here is some of the advice given by commenters.

walklike1

Men strut, women walk like they are flinging water balloons ahead of their toes.

walklike2

Women take up less space, point their toes inward and curl into little balls when sitting in chairs.

walklike3

“Smile more, keep your legs together”, and “just think to yourself innocence”. Whatever that means.

walklike4

“Smile more”. Because apparently you aren’t truly a woman if you have bitchy resting face.

This is just one post, and it’s full of stereotypes about how men and women act. This is a recurring theme in these communities, and one that we will be revisiting again and again in this blog. Many people seem to think that trans people are all about breaking down gender stereotypes, and “smashing the binary”, while in reality many of them are extremely preoccupied with conforming to strict gender roles.

As a side note, it’s curious that there are so many of these questions in online trans communities, when the narrative that has become standard in the last few years is that trans people are, and have always been the sex they identify as. If these people are women, why do they need to “practice walking and posing like women?”

Another teen goes from “I’m happy in my male body” to “I am truly a girl” in a few days.

Could I be MtF?” asks a 14 year old male in the middle of puberty:

Before I start let me say that I'm 14 -hormones raging, puberty at its highest, etc. Here goes: Ok, so I'm a self-identified bisexual male (I haven't come out yet though but I know I am. I also took the Kinsey Sexuality Test and got a 1-2 (where 0=straght and 6=gay)). But my real question here is, could I be MtF? I'm not unhappy with my male body but I think I'd be happier as a girl, and I have some memories of times in my childhood when I thought much the same. For example, when I was 4-10 years old I'd have nighttime fantasies about becoming female. I used to put blankets under my shirt as fake "boobs" and so on... and I can remember one particular dream from when I was about six years old, where I went into a machine that changed me from being a boy to a girl. I also find that I can communicate with and understand girls better. The majority of guys my age seem like complete idiots. I've never been particularly interested in stereotypical girls' toys but neither have I in boys'. And I'm happy in my male body; I could imagine living my entire life like this but again I think I'd be happier, if only a bit, as a female. Could I be MtF? Or is this just a "want to fuck them, not be them" scenario? Any advice is appreciated. :)

He’s not unhappy with his male body, in fact he explicitly says he’s happy with it. He reports having thoughts about becoming female as a kid, and of pretending to have boobs. He also notes that he feels like he can communicate better with girls.

You're at an age where you'll question a lot of things about yourself. If it's persistent - and having cases from your childhood provide some evidence that it is - then it's something you'll want to look into. If you think your parents would be accepting, see about getting yourself a dress, or find a tutorial on makeup. If not, find a way to "try out" being female/feminine in private.

User Chel_of_the_sea advices him to look into it, and advises that the childhood memories can be “evidence” that there is something to it.

A few days later, the same kid posts again, stating that “Lately I’ve been feeling dysphoria with varying levels of intensity”, and suggests three possibilities for what this might mean:

1. I’m truly female, and I’m feeling increasingly disconnected with my male self.

2. I’m truly androgynous, and I’m being torn between being male and being female.

3. I’m truly male, and I am taking this harmless questioning too far.

He then presents what he feels is “evidence” for each of these options:

Evidence for (1): I've never before felt so strongly that I'm truly a female. I want to be female. This is a huge one. I've had experience in the past of dressing up as a female and enjoying it. I feel comfortable being referred to as "she" and all corresponding pronouns. My friends as a joke used to refer to me as the feminine equivelant of my name. I secretly enjoyed it. I can completely imagine identifying as a lesbian. Over the past few days I've gone from being totally comfortable in my male body to feeling like I've "pulled off the covers" and realized my true self. From there I've stopped feeling so secure as a male. Not to the point of hating it like many (other?) transgenders have reported, but to the point where I definitely feel I'd be happier living as a girl. I'm generally able to associate and communicate much more authentically with girls than guys, and I find it more fulfilling. In writing the previous statement I was tempted to write "other girls" (I think that says something ;D). I used to knit. KNIT.

Note that he simultaneously states that he truly is female and that he wants to be female. No explanation of what being female means to him. Note also the gender stereotypes: he apparently thinks that knitting is an activity that can only be enjoyed by females. Most noteworthy however, is the statement that he has gone from being “totally comfortable” in his body, to experiencing feelings of no longer “feeling secure as a male”.

He continues with presenting evidence for the second possibility: being “truly androgynous”:

Evidence for (2): I don't feel completely uncomfortable in my male body. I vary in my masculinity and femininity, sometimes feeling more male and others more female. I enjoy lots of non-gender-specific activities such as basketball, video games, playing piano, writing music, maths, reading and so on. I've never been into stereotypical boys' or girls' toys.

“Varying in my masculinity and femininity”, or “having a personality that isn’t a cardboard stereotype” as we could also call it. Again the gender stereotypes crop up.

Finally he lays out what he considers evidence of the third possibility, him actually being male and just confusing himself:

Evidence for (3): Up until a few days ago I could realistically imagine myself living the rest of my life as a male. [note the "up until a few days ago" bit.] I've had somewhat of a yo-yo effect with my "coming out to myself". I started off thinking I was completely female inside. Then that kind of wore off; I started re-seeing myself as more male than female. Now I'm not sure. I would describe the way my mind works as being more masculine than feminine. Masculine traits I have include being good with spatial reasoning, thinking logically not emotionally, and enjoying activities that challenge my left-brain. Feminine traits I have are an aptitude for language, and that's about it. Of course males can have female traits and vice versa, so I'd take this point with a pinch of salt. [I believe the testosterone is responsible for these.] I can look in the mirror and see a male, and not be weirded out by that fact. [yet.] [edit: oh god now I am. :D] I'm not used to acting like a girl, and because of that it feels somewhat weird to me. [I'm sure I would be able to get used to it though.]

Note how he says that he can no longer imagine living the rest of his life as male after being exposed to these ideas, and how he has begun to be “weirded out” by seeing himself in a mirror. And again, a bunch of gender stereotypes, illustrating his immature view of what men and women are like (which for a 14 year old isn’t surprising).

Of the replies he gets, not one calls him out on his blatant gender stereotypes. No one asks him what he means by “feeling female”.  What he gets instead  is this:

 [–]lessendianness MtF jonesing for the right hormones 2 points 1 year ago  It is amazing how much you sound like myself this last week. Give yourself some time to process these new thoughts and feelings. My first few days were pretty rough. I found it helpful to mentally disengage from the incessant questioning and continue your daily routine, albeit with a new perspective. As you go about your "normal" life, take mental notes of how you might feel being female/male/androgynous/etc. I ran into a lot of fear and mental resistance to the idea of "changing" my identity, but it helps to remind yourself that you are really just exploring newly discovered facets of your identity. I've had somewhat of a yo-yo effect with my "coming out to myself". I started off thinking I was completely female inside. Then that kind of wore off; I started re-seeing myself as more male than female. Now I'm not sure. This is almost exactly what I went through, and why I recommend giving yourself time and space to balance out. I will say that for me the "re-seeing myself as more male than female" stage was more like "maybe I can just ignore all this and continue living a male. It would be easier." Maybe you've had those thoughts, maybe not. Finally: I used to knit too, and I am a totally-normal-straight-cis-dude... or not. Okay, maybe there is something to this knitting thing. :D Anyway, hang in there. I can relate to what you are going through.

Someone who vaguely says “you sound just like me”.

Do you think cis people make lists like that and think about it that much? My advice is don't ignore it and don't keep it to yourself.

Another instance of the phenomenon covered in this post, the idea that the very act of being unsure of your gender identity makes you trans.

80% of your listings were transgender sounding ... I don't know you, but what I read from here is that you sound trans to me... Just my opinion though and ofc, your body your choices in life. Do what makes ya happy.

“You sound trans to me”

OK. Yeah, just wanted to make the point that you're really probably not cis if you think all of those things. There's a lot to figure out. I honestly think that many of your doubts are pretty common amongst folks who go on to transition and are ultimately happy with that decision. I think the worst thing you could do for yourself is let your doubts control what you do, and ignore the whole thing and hope it goes away. But I guess posting here is a good sign you're not going that route.

“You are probably not cis if you think all of those things”

Whatever the answer the real question is still the same, what do you want to do about these feelings? So whether you're Female/Androgynous, or Male/Androgynous the ultimate question is: "what do you want to do?" Do you want to take steps to make your body more feminine/female? If so, then your actions should be based on the answer to this question. If you don't want to change your body, then don't. Perhaps there are other steps you could take from here, but that would depend on you. Which one you really are matters less than what you feel you want to do, and is something that can be explored deeper once you start taking actions. Finding answers to what you are comes naturally with time and experience in trying different things, thinking about it can leave you stuck. Since you're almost sure you're female, or at least androgynous, then I'd start considering if you want to transition - take hormones and blockers, grow out hair, stuff like that.

It wouldn’t be a “am I trans” post if someone didn’t mention hormones!

Not long after, he is 99% sure he is trans and wants to tell his parents.

I'll try and make this as quick as possible. Basically, in the past few days I've gone from having a tiny bit of suspicion I might not truly be male, to knowing with 99% certainty that I'm truly female. Problem is, I've only come out to one person so far - my girlfriend - and I'm not sure where to go from here or who else to tell (and in what order). Do I come out to my parents next, and have to deal with the inevitable denial and questioning that will come afterwards? They're not religious, so no problems there, and they're not terrible people, but they get angry easily and often have trouble controlling their immediate reactions to things. With this in mind should I come out to them directly, facing their first responses which will likely be along the lines of disbelief, betrayal and anger? Or should I come out in writing, perhaps by leaving a note on the bench just before I go to school? Or should I just begin to act femininely, and tell them when they bring it up? And once I've come out, then what? Do I start taking T-blockers and/or estrogen? Or should I grow my hair out first, train my voice and experiment with feminine clothes and makeup? What about "that awkward phase" where you're not really a guy anymore, but you're not a girl either? I have a lot of questions. Any advice? Thanks :)

From being comfortable as a male to being “truly female” and asking about body mods.

Then asking how to convince his parents it’s totally not a phase, and being in a hurry to start hormone blockers:

I'm in a bit of a time dilemma here as well, because I know that the later you start on hormones the less effective they become. I want to start taking T-blockers and possibly estrogen as soon as possible, but before that can happen I supposedly have to have been in therapy for at least 3 months with near certainty that I am MtF. Before that can happen though, I need to come out to my parents. And having them not believe that I am trans will not help.

Then, his coming-out letter to his parents:

Please listen to me when I say that this is not a choice, and it’s not something I can change. It is not a phase; it will not go away; it will only get worst if ignored; it will eventually kill me if I keep it in.

I may be biologically a boy, but I am truly a girl.

(…)

In terms of wanting to be female, not just acting like one, I can remember events such as dreams and daytime fantasies from as early as three or four, upwards to about 10 years old. They got pretty intense at times, and I can share them with you later if you like (they don’t translate very well to paper). The reason they stopped at about 10 was basically because gender conditioning that dictated that I must act as if I were masculine got in the way of my real identity. What’s more it made no sense that I would want to be feminine, since I wasn’t gay and I certainly wasn’t biologically female – so I tried to stop. For the most part, it worked, but hiding my true identity was not an act that would last forever. It wasn’t until recently that I realised all this consciously though, so I basically went through my pre-teen years and into the start of my teenage ones believing that there was something wrong with me for wanting to be a girl, repressing the feelings, pretending they were never there in the first place, putting on a phony masculine front, hating myself for it, pretending that everything was okay, and repeating the cycle. I know this may be a bit of a shock to you as I rarely seem truly upset, and when I am it’s usually about something trivial and goes away within a couple of hours at most. This was a different kind of sadness though; one which I was able to hide reasonably well, especially from myself, and pile other feelings on top of to keep it out of sight. But it was always there.

Perhaps puberty helped me come to the realization of my true gender identity, or perhaps it was just that my understanding of my life grew large enough for me to be able to see this pattern, question it, and come to the conclusion that I am transgender. And of course having access to resources about transgenderism, mainly websites by older and more experienced people who have been through it themselves, as well as doctors and medical professionals, only helped accelerate this process.

So what do you do about a transgender child? Just as you cannot “cure” your child if they are gay, you cannot “cure” a transgender and make them happy living as their biological gender. Doing so will not end well, for you or for them. Nearly half of all adolescent transgenders have attempted suicide, and are supposedly eight times more likely to do so if they are rejected by their families, or forced to live as their birth gender as opposed to their true one.

So the real solution, however difficult it may be, is to let them express themselves as their true gender, for life (let me stress that this does not go away). This entails a lot of things, some of which are purely social while others are physical. The checklist varies depending on the person but usually will include for Male-to-Female (MtF) transgenders:

* Therapy

* Voice training

* Buying new clothes and changing their appearance

* Choosing a new name

* Taking T-blockers to limit testosterone levels (this is a must)

* Taking supplementary estrogen (usually only when 16+, depends on the specific case)

* Various corrective surgeries, these are usually only done after 10+ years of living is a female, if they are done at all

Notice first how he twice talks about suicide, which reminds us of this post. Suicide is seen as the inevitable outcome of not transitioning. This in a boy who only days before was happy with his body, who has not even talked to a therapist yet. The only people he has talked to about his feelings are people on the internet, many of them much older than him. And all of them are people who define themselves as transgender. No doubt there exist people who have had these kinds of feelings, but who have realized that they are happy as their birth sex. But such people don’t hang out in transgender websites, and thus this kid isn’t reading about their experiences at all.

He also talks about his childhood experiences with “acting as a female” (remember that this is a kid with extremely immature and stereotypical views of what men and women typically do). Suddenly these memories have become a lot more detailed and he sees them as a much more significant than he did the first time he posted.

His letter also contains a list of things necessary  to “express one’s true gender”, including taking hormone blockers and estrogen, and surgery.

We’ve seen the same type of story before on this blog. Young person who does not fit into stereotypical gender roles starts reading certain trans communities, and within a very short period of time they no longer like their bodies and are planning extensive body modifications and threatening suicide.

“I’ve given plenty of trans girls shots from my supply”: creepy behavior in the trans community

As adults, we know that people on the internet aren’t always who they claim to be, and that they don’t always have our best interests in mind. For young people, like teenagers, who can be both naive and impulsive, this is not always immediately obvious. Predatory males exist all over the internet, also in the transgender communities. We have already seen that there are plenty of young teens posting to these communities, and after being exposed to them for a while, many of them start wanting to take hormones. How convenient that there are older people (males) available to offer their assistance!

The person in the first two screenshots is an adult male, and a moderator of several trans and LGBT subreddits.

ol, my T levels are thru the basement, i dont take any AAs. and i do shots, so if you want me to jab you with a very sharp needle and load you up with two weeks of SUPER GIRL JUICE, then come on over. lord knows i've given plenty of trans girls, plenty of shots from my supply.

The same 42 year old male offering a 13 year old to come to his apartment in exchange for prescription medication.

shit, with the number of trans girls that have come thru my apartment, i need to rename it Drewie's House Of Wayward Trangirls.

Another example of creepy behavior: an 18 year old posts their picture in r/transpassing. An adult male makes this comment:

You are an "exquisite specimen". Are you bi? Even if you are (actually) a female, please say yes.

The poster also get this reply:

I don't care if you have to DIY. I'll send you links on how to do so and get em for cheap. Three words: GET ON HRT. NOW!!!!!!!!!!!! InHousePharmacy Alldaychemist and whatnot. Add me on Steam if you want.

This is the advice given to a suicidal 15 year old desperate for hormones. This commenter is an adult:

You might need to be 18 to get a P.O. Box. Are there any universities in your area? They might have an LGBT group. If you can find another trans woman in your area maybe she can help you. Or any ally.

Other posters try to get the 15 year old to disclose personal information like location: (this commenter is also an adult)

Where exactly do you live in the deep south? If that's too personal for the internet, what's your closest big city?

Here we see a male in his early 20s offering hormones to a 16 year old:

Yah know... If you could spare some of that stuff... Nobody needs to know... Joking of course, sorta... If I weren't going to get in trouble with my therapist and the children's hospital for it, I would totally go DIY. permalinksaveparentreportgive goldreply [–]NordicFairy 21 MtF HRT Jan 15, non-op, Czech 3 points 1 day ago  If you could spare some of that stuff I have excess supply of Cypro and Quetiapin.

This is just some of the behavior that goes on in the open. We can only imagine what goes on via private messages.

“I wanted to know what it feels like to be a woman, or an apple”: Twelve-year-old talks about his reasons for being transgender

This post will only have screenshots and quotes, no links, due to the age of the poster featured here.

A boy who claims to be twelve years old posts to a transgender sub-reddit:

Hi my name is Evan. I am 12, but will be turning 13 in about a month or so. I am currently a cis-gendered male. Recently, I have started to question my sexuality. I started questioning a few weeks ago after I came home from a GSA club meeting in my school. This was the first time I ever went and I was curious to go. I learned a lot about the LGBT community and when I got home, I did A LOT of research on bi, gay, lesbian. I left out transgender because I already new about it and thought I new about most of it. The next week, the meeting had 2 special guests. They were both transgender FtM (and transitioning). Anyways, knowing my normal self and my curiosity, I researched more thoroughly and found out a lot more information. This past meeting was a few days ago. Nevertheless, I started to fit in the puzzle pieces. The first few hours of researching, I thought I might be transgender, then, I thought I wasn't the next day. This repeated until today. I now think there is quite a large possibility that I can be transgender. When I first heard the word "transgender", I knew it didn't apply to me. This was about 1 year ago. The reason I knew this wasn't the case was because I didn't feel like a "girl trapped in a boy's body". Before I go further, let me tell you about me by answering questions I made up, or by making statements explaining myself.

A year ago he was definitely not trans, then after researching the topic online, he is unsure but thinks he might be. He posts a long laundry list of things that makes him think he’s trans:

Do you feel like a "girl trapped in a boy's body"? No, but the more I say it in my mind, and the more I think about it, the more I realize this might be the case. If you had the chance to be 100% female, would you take it? Definitely! I would love to become female! Do you think your life would be better if you were a female? Yes, 100%. I envy every girl in the world for having what I don't. I envy everything, from their body parts, to their nature and characteristics. Do you have depression? I have not been diagnosed, but I am almost 99% positive that I am. I have thoughts about suicide daily, but I know that I would probably never attempt suicide. The reason I am answering this question is because I have realized that a lot of transgender people have had, or are depressed. Does thinking about being a girl make you happy or bring up a good feeling? Yes. Whenever I think about what life would be like as a girl, it makes me happy inside and makes me feel good. I can honestly say that I would enjoy being female. When you look at members of the other gender, what do you feel? I feel envious or jealous. I'm worried that the only reason I even enjoy looking at pretty girls or being "attracted" to them is really me just being jealous. I mean, if I think about it, I don't really find having sex as a man appealing, but as a woman I do.

From not feeling like “a girl trapped in a boy’s body” to “realiz[ing] this might be the case”. Envious of girls, “from their body parts, to their nature and characteristics”. Suicidal.

From an early age, I was always curious about what being something "else" would be like. An example would be "Pokemon" where a ditto can transform into different things. Another example is in animes when people would transform into different people or things. I once watched this anime as a kid and in one episode, this guy started transforming into a dragon into a way. Every time I watched this, it sent a giddy chill down my spine. It felt, weird; an odd feeling that made me feel... good, happy, excited. I always envy these types of characters because I have always wanted to transform, or "change". I wanted to know what it "feels" like to be a woman, or an apple for this case. Anything really, just different.

Fascinated with “change”, whether is’t transforming into a dragon, a woman, or “an apple”.

I would also like to add that while I would enjoy a better life as woman, I am fine at the moment of being male. I just worry that as time moves on, this, craving or ache to become a woman just gets worse (and I'm almost sure it will). I don't imagine myself as being that manly, in fact, I really don't care about how strong I am. I don't care about becoming a body builder. While I do have a lot of hobbies and traits of males, I think I do have a lot of traits that woman have. I also have a hobby that is sort of socially unacceptable for a man to do but I want to do: sewing or knitting. I also secretly love animals and think they are adorable ;)

He’s fine with being male, but, no doubt because he’s been reading a lot of trans stuff online, he feels sure that the desire to become female will get worse. Notice also the naive beliefs in gender roles: thinking that not wishing to become a strong body builder makes him less male. Thinking that wanting to learn to knit and sew and liking animals is in some way significant to his “gender identity”. Thinking that playing video games as a girl is a “major pointer” of being transgender.

What do the commenters say?

“You are probably trans”

You can't gauge something like this. I think you probably are, based on the static perception I have of you from this post.

“If puberty doesn’t sound appealing to you, you should take hormone blockers”. As if puberty sounds so appealing to young kids. The commenters also give specifics on what to say to healthcare providers to achieve this:

I don't know enough about people your age, but, uh, how does default puberty sound to you, as things presently stand? If that sounds like a bad thing you don't want to happen you should be talking to a therapist and your parents and your doctor and getting access to blockers once you're at the proper stage of development. People won't tell you you are trans or not, in general, it's for you to decide. You have access to more information than any other person with respect to your identity. You may find that your questioning goes a lot easier if you dodge "am I trans" for a while and notice instead your feelings about what sort of future you want. This is also sometimes a thing that makes it easier to communicate with people, for example, "I think it is rather likely that I will transition to female, so you should give me access to blockers shortly after I reach tanner stage 2, because this will not harm me and will help ensure I reach the best possible future, regardless of how my gender identity stuff turns out."

More planting of the idea of puberty blockers:

I see a lot of similarities in our experiences, but that might be confirmation bias. I'd say talk to a trans friendly therapist, and if you feel it'd help you, get on puberty blockers.

The next commenter brings upidea that “the more masculine you get the more you get dysphoria”. This commenter, who is only 13 years old themselves, are eager to have more people like themselves to relate to.

You remind me a LOT of myself. People say I talk like a 16 year old, they say that's a compliment but I'm not sure that's a good thing, lol. Additionally, you just described my situation. I just realized a few months ago, actually. Not to make you feel bad, but yes it does get worse. The more masculine you get the more you get dysphoria. So based on what you said, you are in fact trans*. I also never appreciated any kind of male physique, it never appealed to me. Makes

And finally, a 30 year old male chimes in:

Seconding everyone else who says that your answers to 2/3/5/6/9 are big huge honking signs that you're trans. I can tell you right here that I continuously felt this way ever since I was your age (and my answer to 1 was like yours: I never felt like "a girl trapped in a guy's body"). Those thoughts never, ever went away. I finally started dealing with them when I was 28, and I'm absolutely loving my transition. My only regret is that I didn't start sooner.

The next day, the twelve year old makes four new posts, asking among other things if he will look feminine with hormone therapy and whether he will “pass well”, He also say now that he’s “80-100% sure” that he is transgender”.

He gets told again how important it is to take blockers, and that only blockers will let him “make it out unscathed”. The second commenter is an adult male who transitioned late in life, who emphasizes how important it is to transition early.

The results of HRT cannot be predicted. You would have to be able to know (and interpret) your specific genetics. However, if you start blockers soon (as in, within like 3 years) you'll make it out largely unscathed.You can't predict the results, but the more male puberty you can avoid the better. Trust me, having your facial hair burned off with a laser is not fun.

“The younger you start the better”:

Boobs. Boobs extraordinaire. And the younger you start the better. Remember testosterone still affects you even after puberty.

More talk of how vital it is to start early:

You're 12, as long as you're on puberty blockers until you start taking hrt you'll develop normally as a girl going through puberty. That doesn't guarantee anything but not having to paint over testosterone you start the painting with estrogen so it'd be ideal

“As long as you get puberty blockers, grow out your hair, and start HRT when it’s possible, it’s all good”:

Hmm, the link is broken. But from the thumbnail, yes. Your face is still quite mild, only beginning to develop masculine features. As long as you get puberty blockers, grow out your hair, and start HRT when it's possible, it's all good in the hood. P.S. You're cute as hell. I'm a lesbian, meet me in 10 years or so when you've started HRT? haha

It took one day to go from being ok with being male, to being 80-100% sure he is trans. The majority of the replies he is getting focuses on how important starting early is, and some of them feature exact quotes he’s supposed to parrot to healthcare providers with the explicit goal to get prescribed hormone blockers and then hormones. Both serious medications that, if taken without going through his natural puberty, will sterilize him. No one asks him why he wants to be female or why he envies girls. No one talks about how it’s normal to wish we were someone else.

One day later, he posts this:

Hi, my name is REDACTED! I have just discovered that I am transgender MtF!. I am currently 12, but turning 13 in a month or so. I AMAB. I have not been diagnosed with gender dysphoria, but I am almost 100% sure I have it. I am probably going to start anti-androgens after I come out (probably in a few months). I only found out I was transgender about 3 days ago. I can't stop thinking about transitioning. There is a constant hum in the back of my head. I can't think straight. I am also aware that staying on anti-androgens for an extended period amount of time is very bad for you. Isn't 5 years too long to stay on anti-androgens? I can't wait 5 years to get HRT. I'll go insane or kill myself. The best way I can describe what I feel right now is this (Gender Dysphoria): Imagine you're at the bottom of a tall, steep, snowy mountain. There is a snowball attached to a rope which is attached to you. As you walk up the mountain, the snowball gets bigger as it collects snow which means it gets heavier. Eventually, the ball gets too heavy to drag behind you. You stop. And fall. And can't get back up. Up until recently, the snowball has been light, although slowly gaining size and weight. At the moment, the snowball is huge, it's menacing, and scary. I can't run away any further. I'm on the edge of collapsing. This... Is what I feel inside me... How do you guys cope with this because I'm feeling really down...?

He can’t wait 5 years or he will go insane or kill himself. It’s hard to believe this kid would have gotten ideas like these on his own accord. The “helpful” commenters each push a tiny bit, each provide a single drip of “male puberty will ruin you”, “get on blockers”, “the younger you start the better”. And not only in the comments directed at this boy, comments of the same type are all over reddit and other websites, and young people questioning their identity can read them all. It reinforces their beliefs again and again.

To parents whose children tell you they are transgender: GET THEM OFF THE INTERNET! Websites like reddit is full of people reinforcing belief systems like the one we see in this blog. Some are well-meaning, some are creeps. But few of them seem interested in helping kids figure out why they feel the way they do, and none seem to consider that there might be other things going on in the life of kids that make them feel inadequate in their bodies.

“The trans test”: self-medicating in the trans community

We have seen in previous posts that there is a push to “diagnose” people who question their gender as transgender, and there is a pervasive narrative that the only way to treat this condition is through transitioning. In the majority of cases, this means taking hormones: For females, testosterone; for males, some type of testosterone blocker plus estrogen. This is often referred to as “HRT”, “hormone replacement therapy”. For young people who have not finished puberty, it can also mean to take drugs that block their body’s natural hormones, so-called “blockers”.

In many online trans communities, starting to take hormones is seen as a way to decide whether you are transgender or not. The idea is that if you are really transgender, taking hormones should make you feel better. If you are not, it should presumably make you feel worse, or the same as before.

In this post, a 17 year old asks for advice regarding taking hormones, mentioning this idea of the “trial period”.

Im 17 pre-everything possible mtf.I have heard that for a lot of people hormones were the factor that made them sure of their gender identity and was wondering if a short-term small dose trial period of hrt for confused and questioning people was at all common practice. Im a minor so i still need parental approval but would a doctor even give me a referral?

The very first commenter shares their experiences, saying “I did HRT as a kind of confirmation”. Notice how the commenter admits to lying to their health care provider in order to get a prescription.

I did HRT as a kind of confirmation to what i thought i knew. There isn't really a trial dose that i know of, just whatever your doctor prescribes to start. For me it worked out just swimmingly, though im not sure how being a minor would work since ive no experience there. I will also add that i fudged the truth by saying i was in it for the long haul, as i didn't think showing reservations would factor very well into them giving me the go ahead. Know that if you do what i did, no one is forcing you to keep going if you dont want too.

There is discussion about which effects of HRT are permanent and which are reversible. The original poster, who is 17 years old and not even sure he is transgender, shrugs away the possibility of permanent infertility.

[–]PositivelyClueless probably XY, certainly confused 1 point 2 years ago  Correct me if I am wrong, but apart from breast growth, what are the permanent changes? My (limited) understanding is: Fat will redistribute to male proportions again, muscles will again be easy to build and skin and hair will become coarse again. permalinksaveparentgive gold [–]tossaby queen of swords 8 points 2 years ago  Infertility is the biggest one. permalinksaveparentgive gold [–]transjen [S] 2 points 2 years ago  small sacrifice if it is what is right. i just dont know how to tell

He gets encouraged to “do it” by another commenter, who also gives specific advice on which medication to take.

Do it. I did a similar thing by taking a strong phytoestrogen, but estradiol is probably safer.

More discussion of the “trans test” in this post, where a commenter admits that sometimes the commitment to do something about a condition can trigger a placebo effect. However, in the same post they claim that the effects from estrogen couldn’t have been placebo because they “surprise[d] me every single time i injected”.

Trans woman here. Drawing from my experiences, and starting orally with meds, I recall (this was about twenty years ago, so memory is fuzzy) the relief of just making the commitment to start meds was enough of a placebo effect to feel good about things. It was, however, about a year or two later when I was financially forced into not refilling my meds and having to leave them for a spell when I solidly grasped just how much of an impact that an estrogen and anti-androgen did for me — specifically, my brain. At times, I'd be able to return to one or the other until I was able to afford stuff again; during those times, when I'd be on estrogen only, my brain would feel less like an electrical storm than anti-androgen only or nothing at all). When I started IM injectables, much like the guys here, that's when I'd really notice the impact of estrogen arriving to my brain and body all at once. It was no placebo in that it would surprise me every single time I injected. For the remainder of the first day or two, I'd feel incredibly calm, randy and, inexplicably, attractive (n.b., I'm no looker). This would wane until the next injection. I returned to oral after taking care of gonadal removal. So I don't know. I wasn't being monitored with a portable EEG while all this was going on, but I do think that if the stria terminalis[1] in the brain's bed nucleus (BSTc) is what primarily responds to sex hormones, then for me at least, there is absolutely no question that the BSTc in my brain responded very poorly to testosterone and has consistently responded very well to estrogen. As to what estrogen did or did not do for my body, that came secondary (though an important secondary) to this. Hope this helps. tl;dr: To answer your question, I do think a trial of exogenous hormones are an indispensable metric for determining neurological suitability to hormones not produced by your body — especially when this is in doubt for a trans person just beginning their transition.

This commenter attributes a sudden liking of taking care of their hair and skin and being able to “feel colors” to hormones:

Lets see, after HRT: * I could cry for the first time since being a child * I could "feel" colors * I could smell new things * I had much more empathy * I needed to "be" with other people * I became much more comfortable with who I was * I wanted to talk a lot about what I was feeling * I was happy for the first time in my life on a daily basis * I started liking taking care of daily things like hair, skin, etc. * After a while on HRT my sex drive stopped controlling me. The changes from HRT are really profound.

More praise for hormones:

With many of the mental changes I've experienced, I don't know if they're a result of the hormones or a result of feeling so much better about myself by being myself and not letting other people hold me back. It does make a world of difference, for sure, to be taking these pills. I cry more freely (I was always frustrated at being unable to cry pre-hormones) but that's the only mental/emotional change I can pinpoint as almost certainly hormone-related. That being said, my mood has improved enormously and I absolutely place those changes starting at when I began taking hormones.

We see the idea rehashed again and again that taking HRT is a way of confirming your trans-ness, together with the constant praise of how great hormones can make you feel. In fact, the people in these communities are often quite quick to suggest hormones to young questioners.

This poster asks: “am I trans?”

I’m a 17 year old gay human of the male variety. That is, I’ve got a schlong. And that’s where my maleness stops. My behaviour as a child could be seen as a gender identity issue, or just plain old gayness. I used to play with my sister’s toys and dress up in her clothes. I’ve never identified with guys, I hate most male related activities. (Sports, cars, etc.) Through my preteen years I constantly dressed up, always assuming female roles in play. As a teenager, I have dressed in female clothes a few times, and it felt much more natural to me. I’m fairly “straight acting” in that I don’t flap about much when I talk and I’m not too sassy, I’m not like the gay stereotype. Around close friends however I am extremely flamboyant. Anyway, back to the question, am I trans? Reasons why I think I am: •I feel more comfortable in female clothes. •When I visualise my future, I see myself as a female. •I feel like I identify more with females.

Reasons why I don’t think I’m trans: •I don’t have the stereotypical hatred for my male body, sure I have had issues withwith self confidence etc but I’ve never felt like my junk was alien. •These feelings don’t overwhelm my brain. They’re subtle, niggling at the back of my mind.

This is a gay male who is extremely preoccupied with stereotypical gender roles. What do people suggest to him?

Try hormones!

Go to an informed consent clinic, get your blood tested for hormone levels, demonstrate reasonable knowledge of the effects of HRT, get a prescription.

Try hormones!

Then if you're uncertain, maybe seek out a therapist who can help you figure things out. If you're sure, then maybe look into informed consent. MTF hormones don't immediately cause permanent changes, so you can try them out for a couple weeks or a month to decide if they're the right choice.

The problem with using any kind of medication as a diagnostic tool is that there is no way of knowing how much of the effect is due to placebo. And especially problematic is the tendency for online trans communities to advice people to start taking hormones completely on their own, without medical supervision. Since you usually can’t “just try” prescription medications, they give each other advice on how to circumvent the medical practitioners and obtain the medications on their own.

Watch as they tell a suicidal 15 year old how to obtain hormones without his parents knowledge and without medical supervision:

I was in a similar situation when I was 16, and I ended up getting a PO box (and also trying to castrate myself, but I wouldn't recommend it - you'll want that material for GRS, if you plan on having that). I had a friend drive me after school - I think it was $42 a year, and I had to show two forms of ID (school ID counts). A signature is required to pick up the meds, so they'll place a notice in your box telling you to go to the counter (I saw you asking about it). No, they don't know what's in there, and no, they don't care.

They tell him to omit mentioning his suicidal thoughts to counselors:

I cannot say for sure because I have not ordered from inhousepharmacy before. If I had to guess I would say x-small or small. i would think that the canisters are about the size of a canister of ibuprofen. You bring up a good point about the counselors. you might be able to find a gender therapist who will work with youth without the knowledge of their parents. you don't have to tell counselors you're suicidal either. But i think what your parents are doing is very harmful for you and they need someone to make them realize that.

When a 14 year old posts wanting advice on becoming more feminine, this is the advice they get:

Start hormones, grow your hair out, thin your brows, wear makeup, etc... the usuals.

(note to readers: we are not linking directly to this post to protect the poster’s privacy).

“If you really want them there are ways of getting them”:

you have a very feminine face. order your hormones in the mail, if you really want them there are ways of getting them.

They get told they’ll pass once they start “DIY” (do it yourself) hormones:

omg you're adorable To be honest you'd probably pass with a wig + less bushy eyebrows + more girly clothing. Once you get to DIY, you'll look cis in, like...months, unless you can't DIY for several years for some reason.

In another post, the same kid gets told to “DIY secretly”, by befriending an adult transgender person in their area. Just DIY secretly. Make friends with a transgender who lives near your area and ask them to help you get hormones. Even if you can't find any, I'm sure you can find someone who has a credit or debit card, then you can get it online which costs less than $1/day. Your allowance should definitely be able to cover that.

A fourteen year old kid befriending adults for favors. What could  possibly go wrong? Taking prescription medication without medical supervision, what could possibly happen?

HRT is seen as not only necessary treatment for transgender feelings, but it is also a diagnostic tool, and one that people are encouraged to try out on their own. What happens when HRT does not make someone feel better though?  Does that mean the person wasn’t really trans?

This poster reports feeling worse since they started taking hormones:

Before I started I felt dysphoria but now it’s in overdrive. 

Apparently this is normal according to the replies they get. “The further you get in your transition the more dysphoria you feel”.

So, it's not unlikely that the further you get in your transition the more dysphoria you feel. Way I see it is that transitioning is partially about discovering how deep your dysphoria goes and then solving it in a positive, self-affirming way. Well, that and a fresh start, happiness and pretty clothing ;) You can pretty much bet that you'll hit a point where the dysphoria goes away, though. Stick with it, you'll be fiiiiine!!

It gets harder before it gets easier:

 started HRT a year and a half ago. I promise you like anything, it's going to get harder before it gets easier. My good friend is right about where you are now, and her dysphoria has gotten much worse. Just hang in there.

Another poster who feels worse after starting HRT

Feeling like total shit after starting HRT 

I feel almost as bad as ever:

I’m a couple of months into HRT, and I’m feeling almost worse than I did before I started. I look terrible, I hate everything about myself. People keep telling me that I look good, or that they love my eyes, or my hair, or whatever the fuck else, and I don’t believe them, and not believing them makes me feel worse than if they said nothing.

It gets better, right? I’ll stop crying and snapping at my friends? I’ll feel good about myself maybe at some point?

At no point does anyone suggest to any of these posters that maybe they are actually not trans and that maybe HRT is the wrong choice for them. It’s always “wait”, “try more”, “change your dose”, “hang in there”.

The answer is very probably yes to this, at some point you'll feel more balanced and better and be less snappy. I'm only about 8 months in but I recall the first few being kind of emotional times and then I felt a lot more chilled out and less emotionally volatile after about 4 months or so once my body had adjusted a bit better and gotten used to having way less T and much more E (although I was still tweaking the dosage up then). The only advice I've got is do your best to take compliments about the little thing and specific features, and get used to saying sorry to friends of yours, I find people are forgiving for a good few months at least, going through this kind of thing is kind of a big deal really. Good luck with it, hope things even out for you soon.

This is the huge problem with using a medication as a diagnostic tool without medical supervision, and it’s a recipe for disaster. First you create a narrative where any sort of questioning of your feelings about gender roles or your body means that you are trans. Then you plant the idea that being trans is something that needs a specific type of medical treatment, and you actively encourage people to experiment with this medical treatment to “see if it’s right for them”. If you’re truly trans it will make you feel awesome! Then when people feel worse instead of better, suddenly that’s not proof of not being trans at all, it’s just proof that they need to take HRT longer or adjust their dose.

“Being a girl is like playing on easy mode”: jealousy of women

In previous posts in this blog we have seen how gender stereotypes play a big role in the narrative of many transitioners. Liking stereotypically feminine things or wanting long hair is seen as significant markers of internal “gender” rather than aspects of personality. There are other types of narratives that lead to someone deciding they are trans. One we will call the  sexual narrative, the other one we will call the jealousy narrative. The sexual narrative will be described in more detail in later posts.

Being jealous of women and girls is something that comes up often in the narratives of transitioners. Sometimes the jealousy focuses on physical aspects of being female, such as breasts, genitals or being “allowed” to act and dress in specific ways.

This poster even gets angry with women for being women:

easy4

Another poster assures OP that it’s common to feel this way!

easy5

Another jealous poster. (note the abundance of stereotypes in this post)

easy6

Jealousy about pregnancy:

easy8

Another poster asks, “does the jealousy ever go away“?

easy7

There is a lot of anger directed at women:

easy9

Another common cause of jealousy is that women are perceived to have it “better” or “easier”. This attitude, which is prevalent among people who call themselves “men’s rights activists”, is also not uncommon among transgender people online.

Women have it better:

easy10

Being a “pretty girl” is like playing on “easy mode”:

easy1

Male privilege is nothing, when you’re a girl people open doors for you!

easy2

Males are the ones who are oppressed, females have tons of advantages!

easy3

There are many people spending a lot of time in online trans communities who do not have an emotionally healthy or mature perspective on what it means to be female. Regardless of whether one agrees with a lot of the transgender politics, most people would agree that someone who is unable to leave the house because seeing women makes them too angry are not in a healthy place, whether they decide to transition or not.