Dear Dr. Reed, I am a 28 year old male to female transsexual who needs a vaginoplasty. I am writing today because I am not sure what else to do. I am scared I won’t make it to 30 as the thoughts and emotions are overwhelming me. I hadn’t realized how bad it was until last night when I had to leave work early because of an article of a girl who transitioned at 18 and was going to college and living out her life. Perfectly passable, certainly attractive. Awesome for her, and I hope that one day I can help others get there. In the meantime, for the first time in my life, I must take care of myself.
Seeing this article was so overwhelming. It brought up so much regret and sadness I could not contain it no longer. Here I’ve lost ten years of my life, some of the best, and I’ll probably lose another ten more just because the hand I’ve been dealt. Plus another 10 for all the stress and suffering.
I was at that point she was 10 years ago, up 28 years ago. Up until then I clung to religion, and society but I realized I was only hurting myself clinging on to what others wanted.
I knew I was different. I hated being a boy and I did some bad things, some gross things when I was young. Even at the age of 12 I was trying to castrate myself with fishing line, even up to 17 where I hung myself by my genitals to a clothesline. I have worn panties as long as I can remember just like the regular everyday clothing the are. Snuck them and took a few from Walmart until they had self checkout. Washed clothes in the sink. Simple and weird as it may sound the underwear was the achor to my thoughts until I was able to dress openly now.
Life was hard growing up. My dad was non existent and my mom had severe schizophrenia. We were poor and did not have much. I ended up having to take care of my mom since after 1996 she took a turn for the worse. DHS placed me with my granny who was 85 at the time. Though she tried her best, I ended up taking care of her into my later teens.
As I grew older and learned more about myself and the process I stopped, but I still have the thoughts to this day. Infections, Gangrene, and Flesh eating bacteria are the only thing holding me back, but even then I think what if. Thoughts that I cannot keep at bay much longer. So many times have I considered getting drunk, mangling myself up in the emergency room and the thought that just maybe I will survive and be rid of these wretched parts. Rationally this to me is ridiculous but the thought of another year like this is unbearable.
I started hormones courtesy of Inhouse Pharmacy back in 2006, though I had dabbled in 2003 as well. I was 22 when I started in 2006. I had just gone through some horrible times. Between 2004-2006 my mom died, my granny who took care of me since I was 12 died, our house burned up, my dog Count I had since kindergarten died, my finance left, I lost a job, and dropped out of school. When my finance left in 2006 I practically tried to kill myself. (overdosed on pills trying to get my ex to see me). I lost everything.
During the time with my finance, I struggled with the emotions and dressing on the side. Soon as the relationship was over I hit the hormones, I knew what I had to do. I had wasted too much time already. Unfortunately I also went through the worst period of drinking and spending after this. I blew my credit, wrecked a car, and created problems lasting to this day that I don’t think it will be until I am well into my 30s to fix. Life just keeps happening and I donâ€™t know what to do. I save up a $1,000 here something happens, save up a $1,000 there but no matter what something happens. Last it was my teeth, and before that I had to move next to work after my car died.
As of now in ten years I have managed to save up a whopping $1900 for surgery. I currently work for Lowes. It is stable but pays the bills and that is about it. I do some internet work but that only tends to range from 10 cents a day to around $10. Typically in between on the lower end.
I also struggle with hairloss still. By the time I turned 20 it was almost too late, I was stage IV. I think I am back to II now but it is still very noticeable and hard to hide unless I wear a headband or sunglasses up. Also a lot of any extra money I have is going to special shampoos that supposedly block testosterone and extracts, and the $150 I blew on a laser comb.
Another issue is my credit. I would love to just borrow the money I need and pay it back, but I filed bankruptcy in December 2011. I was fortunate to have my electrolysis finished but the debt I accumulated during 2007-2011 was just too much. My minimum payments were more than my total income. I was working a near minimum wage job and living off my then awesome credit. I knew it was wrong but I was so depressed from all the bad things that happened and being transsexual that I gave up hope that I would see the next day. Part of me stayed strong though, I maintained the job and coped somewhat. I recovered a little by 2009 but it was too little too late for my finances. I got notices of being sued and threats of garnishment I had no choice but to file bankruptcy.
Having bad social anxiety hasn’t helped. It has caused me to stress eat impacting my finances and health. I don’t have the friends and family network most have. My dad’s in worse shape than I am. He has bad back and is unable to find a job. I fear I will have to take care of him. I live by myself and just don’t make the income I need to save. On the bright-side the social anxiety helps steer me away from the adult industry. Though it is tempting for money.
Everyone I know, knows now. I used to work for Hertz, but when I came out there I started getting write-ups and disciplinary action for the most absurd things. I was working Lowes part time trying to save . I knew the writing was on the wall at Hertz so I promptly quit, and took this full time position at Lowes. I waited to tell them, I could not let what happened at Hertz happen there. Eventually I could not contain it though, and changes to my body were very obvious. I came out to my hr manager, who has been extremely supportive. Most the rest of the store doesn’t seem to care. The only real complaint I had was from one of the girls about my ear piercing.
That said, my day to day work life is miserable. Especially in summer. I see so many women in cute dresses and skirts and I drown myself in jealously and sorrow. Jealous they are so lucky they wear things like that without fear of their own parts, and sorrow that I may never get to fully enjoy those freedoms. I have not been able to go swimming since I was 15. Tucking is horrible and only reminds me of what is down there.
I am noticing an attraction to certain men (British haha) sometimes but feel like a grotesque freak because I know I could get beat up or worse if they saw what I had in my pants if we were intimate. I think if I was still 18 I could bear longer, but the 20s are so necessary for growing and learning about love and sex and I am missing and have missed so much already. Of course I would tell someone first in a safe location, but accidents and spur of the moments can happen too. Mostly still am attracted to women though, though I find the thought of vaginal intercourse both appealing and correct.
I can’t sleep most nights, in fact right now I am typing this because I can’t sleep. The thoughts are overwhelming me. Thoughts I’ve dealt with for thousands of days, each day building on the next to the point I do not see making it past the next. My hopes and dreams are crushed.
That dream. Since I was little. To overcome being different and embrace it. Show the world how strong I have become. To finish college maybe even in genetics. To find someone to love me for who I am. Adopt a child in need. Be a big sister to someone. Help others in my situation. Become the lady I was always meant to be.
Fortunately, with a note from my counselor, I have been able to get hormones through my work health insurance. I see an endocrinologist as well for checkups. This helped a little. I am sure they would have no problem with an official letter for surgery.
As you have seen, I am in an awful situation. What I was wondering is do you offer any type of aid for someone in my situation? I am so desperate. I am willing to provide any documentation of my situation. If there is some way I can work it off like filing or phones, or deskwork, anything I would be willing to help. For the surgeons I even offered for them to use me to practice a new technique. If it was as simple as moving in with mommy and daddy or living with a friend I would, but my friends and family network is non existent compared to most.
I am aware of the Thailand option but even that is far away (in more ways than one).
Thank you for your time.
Please confer with social services in the county in which you live. Psychological support (therapy) should be available. Next there is one charitable organization, the Jim Collins Foundation that may take an interest in you. You have to realize based on your current employment your efforts to be financially independent, have a decent apartment, perhaps a car are remote.
Perhaps you will socialize with honesty as you have suggested. Hope you will find mutually shared emotional support and help with “two can live as cheaply as one.” Many married women even those who work get financial support in their relationship beyond what they themselves are producing. Others don’t even work but maintain the home.
You need to appreciate in order to have surgery, there are so many out of pocket expenses, even if the surgery is done practically as a give away. You may need to travel to a city where your surgeon is. You’ll have to stay for several days at a nearby hotel. There’s food, medications, having a female friend on the room (in our practice … that’s a requirement), supplies such as medications, ring pillow, anti-embolism stockings, disposable bed pads, followup visits for suture removal etc.
So priority number one is to maintain your sanity, then have a realistic game plan. 50% of our patients come in with a sponsor. Could be a friend, relative, loved one, spouse, business partner, or church group.
Count on us for compassionate pricing once the preliminaries have been addressed.
Be safe out there,
Harold M. Reed, M.D.
The Reed Centre for Transgender Surgery – Miami