(UPDATE: More evidence has been provided, almost certainly came from Wu)

Tribute to John

Galaxy greetings, Spacekats! This is Brianna. I’m a Journalism major at the University of Mississippi and tonight marks my sixth month since starting HRT. A lot has happened in sixth months – I’ve finished laser, I live full time as a woman and I almost always pass quite easily. I’m considered legally female by United States jurisprudence.

This is not a work of fiction. I thought that the denizens of Fictionmania might enjoy reading a true story of what it is like for a man to become a woman. I have come to understand, the stories that I admired here get so much of the process wrong.

It was important to me to celebrate by writing you my story. I wanted to celebrate the person that got me to this point – John. He wasn’t a bad person – well meaning but dealing with a lot of anger. It wasn’t really his fault. Living as a boy when you know that you were supposed to be a girl is just the pits, you know?

I have known for every second of my life that I was supposed to be a girl. I remember being separated into play groups as a child, and attempting to socialize with the boys that seemed like aliens. Occasionally, when allowed to play with girls, I would enjoy greatly their games of make-believe. These were to be my happiest memories of childhood.

I’ve always watched women with an apt fascination of the world to which I was being denied. It seemed so enchanting, all of it. But when I attempted to emulate the behavior that seemed so normal, I was socially ostracized. I rarely had close friends as a child, I was just different and strange-an exogenous factor that didn’t compute with the system.

I discovered Fictionmania in 1998 with the advent of the Internet. In
hindsight, I can say that I wasted many years that I could have been
living as a girl by visiting that site. It all seemed to be so impossible
for so long – but here is the story of how I beat my fear and got the
courage to transition.

On July 6 of last year I broke up with Heather, ending the worst
relationship of my life. I was 25 at the time. Heather was in interesting specimen to be sure. A grouchy and emotionless diabetic finishing up her PhD in Exercise Science, Heather was someone that eschewed femininity almost completely. If I were to be truthful, I would admit that I loved her because I deemed her fucked up enough to love me back.

It was an interesting relationship because in many ways I was the girl. I enjoyed cooking her dinners as she finished her dissertation. It was a very bad relationship in that I rarely felt respected – Heather rarely cared to put any mind into our conversations, and she generally ignored me unless it was convenient for her.

At the end of the relationship something was very clear to me – I had
stayed with Heather because I was a closeted transsexual. I felt like I
was too fucked up for anyone to ever love – I knew that I needed to deal with my feelings. Facing my fears, I made an appointment with my school’s counseling center.

Therapy was slow going at first, and looking back at it I am amazed at how much fear I had. After a year of therapy, I had become to accept myself as a transsexual much more easily. I was left with a great decision, to transition or not to transition? That was the question. I had so many fears then – I feared that my friends would treat me as freakish. I was scared of employment discrimination, I even feared that the HRT would make me act erratically.

Transitioning transsexuals must follow a set of medical and legal
protocols known as the Benjamin Standards of Care. Named after Dr. Harry Benjamin, they are a source of consternation and comfort for transsexuals. To be brief, they require a transsexual to have at least three months of psychotherapy before starting hormone replacement therapy – known colloquially as HRT.

Typically, HRT is done with an endocrinologist. Endocrinology is among the newest sciences. After sex hormones were discovered in the twenties, greater understanding came about that, that virtually all the differences in men and women are as a result of the differences in their endocrine systems.

My endocrinologist was reluctant to treat me at first, but like many
transsexuals, I had spent a lifetime voraciously reading the medical
literature. My research of scientific endocrinology journals to determinemy best course of treatment eventually swayed him.

On February 14 of 2006 I found myself in possession of my first round of hormone treatment. I was beyond terrified at the journey I was about to start. My mind couldn’t grasp the complexity of the journey I was about to start. By coincidence, I made contact with a long lost friend named Lucinder starting HRT on the same day. We deemed to make it a holiday to be known as “Fuck you” Day.

If I had known as a child how drastically estrogen and anti-androgens would affect my mind and personality, I would have done it years ago. Testosterone is a cruel master – and to keep it in check a wonder drug called spirolacetone is used. Although it’s originally meant to lower blood pressure, it wipes out testosterone in a wonderful fashion.

Estradil Estradiol, a member of the 17b estrace class is another wonder drug. When I take these pink pills four times daily I thank them deeply for the access to new feelings and emotion they allow. Estradiol makes it possible to feel deeply, to experience emotion as a woman does. It makes it possible to cry, to sympathize and even to burn with righteous anger.

Progesterone is an interesting drug to take. The research is unclear, but many believe that it leads to increased breast development and sexual feelings. Because I’ve used them in conjunction, I can’t claim to know how much breast development I would have without it – but I am quite pleased with my pair of A cup breasts at six months.

The thing that I cannot communicate strongly enough to potential
transsexuals considering this journey is how much more happy and normal I feel with HRT. I would never, ever go back. I used to wake up feeling normal until the realization would hit me that I wasn’t a girl, which would lead to thoughts of depression. Now I wake up feeling peachy and in tune with myself. Sometimes, I remember that I am a transsexual.

I pass extremely easily for a TS – I feel quite blessed. Although I am
quite tall, I’ve always been extremely skinny. I discovered running after I beat Ambien, and I run 45 miles a week. So the tallness just works with my look as a hardcore athlete. I feel blessed in my facial features as well – I have high cheekbones and no chin. And because I’m only 26 I have not lost any hair. I will never be considered beautiful, but at least I can easily live life in the role of the gender I have always known myself to be.

Something that has really shocked me about transition is that nothing happens. What about all those fears that I obsessed about for my entire life? None of them came to fruition. My friends were almost universally supportive-and many admired my decision.

“You’re really brave to go through that,” is a common comment I get. One of my favorite comments was from my friend Rima. “To be honest,” she said, “it’s not that surprising. You’ve always been really girly anyway.”

Female friendships are a truly wonderful thing – they are the most
rewarding aspect of transition. It turns out, girls really admire a boy
with enough common sense to chop off their penis. I gave a lecture to a speech therapy class recently, and the all female class looked on me with wildly fascinated eyes – they were eager to ask questions about what it was like for a boy to become a girl.

I am sure you are wondering the same thing, and it’s an extremely
complicated question. Generally speaking, girls are nicer and much more cooperative. I find myself obsessed with the importance of always being nice to people, even people I disrespect. Part of female communication is coming to consensus rather than being dominant. This becomes second nature with estrogen.

Also, estrogen makes you live in your own world. I sometimes find myself oblivious to my immediate surroundings concentrating on something as insignificant as a hair on a desk. Estrogen, also makes me more reticent to say what I am thinking because I understand more deeply how important it is to get along.

If I can say a word or two about what estrogen does to your sexuality – it is a mindfuck. I never considered gay relationships even remotely before HRT because I found women so overwhelmingly fascinating. But after HRT, after beginning to feel like a woman all the time, I found myself strongly attracted to boys.

I shouldn’t have been surprised, I knew from the science that my odds were one in three of this happening. I find myself in constant wonderment of what it is like to kiss a boy, or to pursue a sexual relationship with one. I am certain that my next relationship will be with a boy, and I look forward to being the girl in the relationship.
Removing one’s beard is an extremely painful part of being a transsexual. I opted for laser treatment, and I would describe the experience as deeply spiritual. Every zap is a painful gut check that asks, ‘How important is it for me to become a woman?’ To me, it’s like earning the right to be feminine by enduring great pain. I wonder how few women could tolerate 200 hours of electrical torture for the right to be themselves.

For me, voice wasn’t hard to get the hang of. It was mostly practice with my friends, but formal speech therapy was also useful. It helped to understand all the technical aspects of it – pitch, resonance, easy onset and the like. It also took me a while to understand that much of the male profanity would need to go. This came easily enough with HRT – the reason women don’t use profanity is because it really jars you out of your own little happy world.

Regarding John, he doesn’t exist anymore- let me say, he will be missed. I really appreciate that you were recusant enough to get me through this. I don’t think of you as gone – I am quite like you, only stronger. I am happy, whereas you were not. I can easily smile, which is something you were rarely capable of.

When I think of all the things that I we had to overcome together, it’s
quite a list. The five year crippling Ambien addiction, the splatter-movie mugging of 2002, and the 12 years of religious indoctrination in the guise of schooling – thinking through that alone is an impressive accomplishment. We are tough as nails, Space cat – and no one can take that from us.

That said, you don’t exist anymore, legally or nominally. And today is a day of celebrating what you were able to accomplish – becoming strong to let me become Brianna.

It’s important to me to not allow the fact that I am a transsexual to
overwhelm my life – and from here I’ve got some pretty important things to accomplish. Our government has become openly corrupt, and it is my destiny to be part of a new generation of reporters to make a difference. I’ve got a few books that I need to write, and I need to finish learning Spanish. As I accomplish these things I am sure, being a girl will become more and more tertiary to my thoughts.

And although I might dismiss it, being a girl is a lot of fun. Makeup,
nails, fashion and exercise were all things I took to easily. It is fun to
wear skirts, and to have long hair – but it’s also important to remember, that’s not what being a woman is about. It’s also about the standards you hold yourself to. It’s about your capacity to be weak when it would be easier to be strong.

I don’t know where my life will take me from here, but I do know that I have fulfilled my biological destiny by transitioning. For that alone,
conquering my intense fear – I consider my life to have been an
overwhelming success.

With great pride,
July 14, 2006