Every Sunday, I inject estradiol, a synthetic form of the female hormone, estrogen. I just hit the two year mark since going on a low dose of it.
After completing my transition from male to female, I stopped hormone therapy. After a few months, my bones, muscles, and joints hurt. My doctor said it was because my hormone levels were too low.
My sex hormone levels resemble those of a genetic female. Indeed, at the last check of my blood, my estrogen was high, so my endocrinologist had me reduce my dose by twenty-five percent. See the tiny bit in the syringe? That weekly dose keeps my bones, muscles, and joints strong.
Because I no longer produce anything but a tiny bit of testosterone, my sex hormone levels are reverse from what they should be for a male. Yet, I feel completely male. I’m nearly at the three year mark since it started.
It was the day before Thanksgiving in 2017 that I completed the last of my operations: facial feminization surgery.
I spent the final five weeks of 2017 with a splendid case of euphoria, feeling absolutely giddy. I’d done it! The seemingly impossible! I’d completely transitioned and I finally felt right. I was done with the years of seeing a therapist, figuring out how to navigate my inner turmoil, taking every step in transitioning—medical, social, legal, surgical—and I was ready to finish my life as Gina.
My euphoria didn’t make it seven weeks. The second week of 2018, I couldn’t figure out what was going on inside me. Within days, I knew what it was. I’d returned to the old fight, a male and female striving for dominance in me.
Soon, I realized it wasn’t that—it wasn’t a fight between the two, but rather that I felt completely male and I couldn’t believe it. I’d just completed my transition, and now I feel male? Now??? I was angry, confused, and lost.
How long would it last? That was the big question. I didn’t trust it. When I experienced it in 2013, in the first months after I started hormone therapy, it endured for six weeks. And when, in 2014, I stopped and restarted hormones two times and it returned, it remained fewer weeks. Would this be like those times?
Did I want it to last? At the time, I did not. (It wouldn’t be until the end of April that I finally felt I could trust it and embrace feeling exclusively male.)
I hesitated telling Julie. The end of January, I finally did. She was so flummoxed, she said almost nothing. The look on her face said, “Are you kidding me?”
Unlike in 2013 and 2014, this time it remained. I came to realize it was because my hormones finally settled into place—no more fluctuation of my testosterone—reverse for a male, but perfect for my messed up endocrine system.
By April, I was living more as a man than a woman. In May, I was back to male all the time. In July 2018, I went public.
And it stuck. I am thoroughly and completely content that I am a male.
These days, it’s hard for me to look at photos of me as a female. Though I lived as Gina for three years, and it only concluded in 2018, those years seem a lifetime ago—as if they were someone else’s life.
That’s an interesting observation, because it is how I felt when I experienced myself as a female. In those days, my entire previous life—fifty-seven years!—seemed like the life of another person. It was as if I was looking at the photo album of a different person.
And, now? Looking as me as a female is surreal, that it can’t possibly be me, but has to be a different person.
It doesn’t matter that I have the surgeries to prove that I transitioned. They don’t affect my feeling male.
I can’t avoid the surgeries. They affect me, every day. Indeed, all I have to do is smile. There it is, the numbness I continue to experience in the top and sides of my head.
While I wish I hadn’t had to go through all I did to get to this point—who wouldn’t avoid the years of struggle, the rejection and strife, the surgeries, the cost?—I believe I had to. Therefore, I regret nothing.
I learned so much—and now have substantive proof that my condition is hormonal—and have put it to good use. Last year, I published my memoir. This year, I published Ministering to Transgender Christians. With those books and this blog, I’ve been blessed to help many people—transgender persons, family members, pastors, and more.
After fifty years of gender conflict, I finally experience and enjoy inner contentment.