Transition: the Real Life Test
by Laura Amato
So you've gone to a Gender Psychologist and Possibly a Psychiatrist. After a few weeks the diagnosis has been made and your told you are suffering from Gender Dysphoria. The solution is the Real Life Test (RLT) and if you can work and live as a woman for one to two years you could be approved for Gender Reassignment Surgery (GRS) to assign you to the female gender. You may also be provided with the name of an Endocrinologist and your first letter of recommendation for hormones. Some though may want you to be in the Real Life Test for three months before prescribing Female Hormones.
This article is about the preparations you will need to make for your RLT. Preparations, you say. Why? All I have to do is throw on a dress and start living the role. Well yes you could but you do want your RLT to be successful don't you? Successful post-op male to female Transsexuals all have one thing in common, planning. Your Gender Counselor can help you a lot with setting up a plan that works.
Some questions to think about:
- Are you going to stay where you are or would you move to some place new and live Stealth (hidden)?
- Are you going to start a new job or transition on the old one?
- Since Electrolysis requires that you have a few days growth of beard how will that impact your passing as a woman?
- Will you have (FFS) Facial feminization surgery before, during or after your transition, or ever?
- What will you do with your hair? If you're thin up top would you use a wig, partial hairpiece blended with your own hair or get hair transplants?
- How will you tell your family, friends and co-workers about being Transsexual?
- How big of a wardrobe will you need to buy?
- Can you transition at work?
- Who will you pick for your GRS Surgery?
- When will you apply for a legal name change and change your identity papers?
Many (MTF) Male to female Transsexuals opt to complete or nearly complete electrolysis first. Don't forget that you'll have to grow your beard a few days in between sessions. Its Hard to pass with stubble on your face. Some also Opt to get Facial Feminization (FFS) and hair transplants before they start the RLT. Of course not everyone can afford this though.
Most larger companies will let you transition on the job. To find out if this is possible ask your Human Resource Department. The biggest issue of course is the bathroom issue. Usually a unisex or an assigned bathroom is the answer.
Coming out to family, friends and co-workers may well be the hardest part of transition. Your human resources department usually will write a letter to employees describing what's going on. Many opt to write an open letter to employees as well. You could use the letter option for friends and family but experience shows dealing one on one, face to face is a good approach before transitioning. The results may surprise you. The ones that you thought would support you may not, and the one you thought wouldn't support you might. There's no predicting the results. Prepare to loose some of them though. Any rejections are usually due to misconceptions about Transsexuality and usually are not because of you.
Picking your GRS surgeon early is important as waiting times can be up to a year. Ask others about their results.
Identification is important these days. You will be required to get a legal name change. You will then need to change all your important papers, driver's license and bank accounts. Make lots of copy's of everything. Use originals where possible.