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Late transitioning

The entire concept of late transition baffles me. I am stumped how someone waits until their forties or fifties to decide they were always a woman and need to do something about it.

How does this process happen? Why are they not consciously aware of this much sooner? And conversely, why are early transitioners so sure at a young age that they need to act fast.

How much of this is true biology and brain chemistry at work and how much is socialization and particular family situation? How much is related to morality or religion? How much to the child’s ability to verbalize their angst or to deny it even exists?

I am truly confused.

I know that some will argue that late transitioners are not true transsexuals, but if they are not then what are they and why are they willing to risk EVERYTHING on swapping genders midway through life?

It is truly mind boggling.

I have always known there was something wrong with me. I was fidgety, nervous and shy with some gender incongruence thrown in for good measure. It’s always felt like hard work to present myself as what I am supposed to be.

Does all this work like water building up pressure behind a dam until finally there is a breach? Is this what they call your bell going off and when do you know it’s not a false alarm?

It’s all very confusing to me and unfortunately there is no manual and no handbook.

You are left to your own devices.

I am trying to understand why in my twenties and thirties I was able to live the way I was because in retrospect I don’t understand it. I no longer relate to the person I was and how he was able to function.

I have lost communication with who I was so I am afraid I will never know the answer.


  1. Hi Joanna,

    For me it just didn't happen overnight when I turned forty. I've known I'm TS since I was a little kid. Family and social pressure kept it mostly bottled up until my teens.

    At some point you have to make decisions if you're going to survive and a therapist gave me some great advice: You have to look at all the options and decide which ones will make you happiest. Would SRS make my happier? I couldn't convince myself that I would be. I still wouldn't be a genetic woman, I still wouldn't have grown up as a girl and I wouldn't be able to bear children. Those would still weigh on me no matter what I did. Not transitioning still gave me the option of having my own genetic offspring that I could raise in the most nurturing way possible.

    And I always have the option to transition. As my children are now growing up it seems more and more possible.

    I can't be the only TS who has made this decision.

    Also, the options to todays young people are much more open than when I was their age (not that I'm an old fogey :-) ). And things seem like they will only get better. Because of this, in the future there should be a lot fewer late transitioners.


  2. Thanks for this lindsay. Yes that makes perfect sense to me. I've known a long time too probably but it was very suppresed. I do not think transition would be good for me for much the same reasons you state but I do get very tempted as I get older.

  3. You make a lot of sense lindsay. I really appreciate your input....thank you!

  4. I think if you would like some real insight from a real, late-in-life transitioner, you might look here.....

  5. Interesting excerpts:

    "As you approach 40 and all the things combine... the lack of testosterone, your age and mortality, your biological duties fulfilled, your feminine side screaming at you to explore and live the way you were meant to... your bell goes off... you have to live as a woman or put a bullet in your head.

    When your bell goes off, you simply shut down. It is very similar to a nervous breakdown where all systems fail at once. You are helpless, it is not a choice. You realize that you can no longer function in society as a male, at all. You can no longer function as a male physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, sexually, or financially... all maleness disappears, all the years of pent-up femininity explode, and the conflict completely and totally shuts you down. It is agonizing, it is real, and it is NOT a choice. Your body tells you... your bell goes off, and you run. You become a woman or you commit suicide. It is not something you hope for or want, trust me.

    So, here you are... what it is to become a woman. Most of you are here because you have this choice to make, you want more info and you think it would be cool to be a woman. I hear it all the time, how it must be wonderful to be living as I always hoped, how great it must be to wear women’s clothes all the time, how proud they are of me for my courage, how great I am for handling it so well. And I am sick to death over all the comments about the "choice" I made. It is not a choice... there is no wonder to be found in clothing, and it has nothing to do with courage. It’s genetic and hormonal, your bell either goes off or it doesn’t, and if it does, you either run or you hang yourself. Read on.

    The Choice

    Most of the transgendered have a choice, but no transsexual does. As a CD, a TV, or a she-male, you can choose when and where, what and for how long. You can decide to go out Saturday or to date some guy tonight... as a woman or a man. A transsexual has no such choice. Listen closely...

    "You hid who you were your entire life, you overcompensated to hide who you were, you fucked up and got married and had children. You binged and purged, bought and threw out your clothes, hid them in boxes and bags in the closet, attic, and office. You had secret meetings in hotels and the back of adult video theaters and your own bedroom where your wife sleeps... but now, now you can see the light at the end of the tunnel... your testosterone level approaches zero, you realize that life is short, and your children are almost grown... your bell is about to go off. You are about to start your transition. "

    "....Transsexualism is like a tornado. The tornado is the only force in nature that is entirely destructive. Fires destroy everything, but they clear away dead underbrush and fertilize the soil... it even is required for many flowering plants and trees to germinate. Hurricanes, rains, floods, mudslides, wind, earthquakes, all destroy but build... marshes and wetlands, mountains and valleys... all violent forces of nature in effect are required for life on this planet. But not a tornado... it is just a violent force of nature which destroys and leaves behind nothing but desolation. "

    "Transsexualism is like that... it destroys everything. It takes away wives from husbands and husbands from wives, children from their fathers... It destroys families and friendships, it takes away all jobs and sources of income, your life insurance, your medical and dental insurance, your eyeglass insurance, your retirement, your house, your home, your everything. Everything you knew and loved, were once comfortable with, were happy with. It takes it all. "

  6. You wont get any arguments from me on that AQV!

    I dont want that to be me and I will be very happy if I am in the end just a plain old transgender believe me.

    I do express fears here on my blog that may or may not be unfounded but until there is an imperative calling me to action I will continue to manage my disphoria as best I can using my existing methods.

  7. What Caroline's describes could apply to some TS's regardless of age. She describes gender dysphoria quite accurately and how it differs from other transgender conditions. But I don't think her experience represents all TS's. I've chatted with and read stories of others who haven't lost friends and family, or their jobs. Most never contemplate suicide (when did thoughts of suicide become a requirement? I know some do but for most it's unthinkable). The important thing is that you have to consider what she says and weigh whether transitioning is worth the risk.

    Two other things, I don't think a drop in testosterone is the major trigger for a mid life transition. I think it's the realization that becoming a middle aged woman is a lot easier than becoming a young one. Also, at middle age it can be easier to finance.


  8. Lindsay I suspect that I have probably had a sharp drop in testosterone levels since I hit forty. No doubt that has amplified my transgender feelings but to what extent I cannot say. I do agree that not everyone contemplates suicide but I think there is likely enough impairment that makes transition almost mandatory because you simply can no longer live with the extreme disphoria.

  9. Hi Joanna,

    My experience with testosterone blockers (anti-androgens) is that they almost totally eliminate my GD, much more than estrogen. Granted I'm just one case and other peoples bodies may respond differently, but I've chatted with others who say the same thing. For me, what would drive going into transition is:

    1. I've sacrificed for others my whole life, it's time for my own happiness and peace of mind.
    2. My parents are gone and I don't have to worry about their feelings.
    3. Todays kids (and society in general) are much more accepting of other lifestyles, so I don't have to worry about my kids rejecting me.
    4. I no longer care what anyone else would think.
    5. I'm financially secure.

    I don't think any of these have anything to do with testosterone levels but are just things that come from being middle age and society becoming more accepting. But this may just be for my case. Everyone's different.

    I agree that it's the impairment of GD. I suppose that for some people it can lead to depression and thoughts of suicide.


  10. Are you on blockers now and if they have eliminated your disphoria then why not be happy just as you are now? My only discomfort comes from my disphoria and how to treat it so I don't experience it any longer...

  11. I'm taking some herbal estrogen and anti androgens. Have you ever tried any?

    I think they are partially responsible for my much lessened GD. I'm mostly satisfied with my condition the last few years but transitioning will always nag at me since I've always known I was suppose to be female.

  12. I have never no. What are the anti androgens doing to your body?

  13. The main thing they do is let the estrogens work better. I also noticed my GD getting better. I started with just estrogens for several years before I started the anti androgens. I thought the estrogens had done as much as they would and was surprised to discover that they hadn't.

  14. So are you planning to transition or go full time? Or are the feminizing effects sufficient to manage your GD?

  15. Yes I am curious too. My fear about taking estrogen or anti androgens are that they will start me on that slippery slope...

  16. It's true it might make you feel great. It sure worked for me. I think testosterone was like a poison to me. Getting it out of my system was wonderful. Before the anti androgens and estrogen I felt totally out of sync that there was some thing terribly wrong. After it was like I was finally home after a long arduous trip.


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