My Transition Journey

Since I get all these questions all the time, I thought I would put it all down as a post on my blog. TMI disclaimer applies!

“When did you Know?”

At some point, I always knew! But I guess I was really sure when I was in 3rd or 4th grade. The word “Transgender” was not really known back in the 80’s the way it is now. When I was 11, I was told by my teachers that I was “gay” and for the next 6 years that was my identity. I was always “out” – I was always way too flashy to hide it! But deep inside, I always knew that was not it! I was NOT Gay!


My teens were indeed a traumatic phase! I was trapped in a situation that I could never explain! Surrounded by people who either did not understand, did not care or preferred to turn my Trauma into humorous anecdotes! My grades suffered as did relationships with family! My folks didn’t believe in Mental Health or Psychiatry as a profession. So it was only in college when I started working that I went out and found a Mental Health professional. She treated me for Depression, but I also noticed a word scribbled on her notes and underlined – Dysphoria! I had to go home and Google it. Or rather “Altavista it”!

I don’t think Gender Dysphoria was really understood by Therapists in a small town like Pune back then! My therapist advised me to focus on my work since I had a bright career ahead of me! I am sure she meant well but I don’t think that was appropriate at all!

Relationship with my Folks was always testy and Toxic. But it completely broke down after I told them! I left College midway and moved in with a Film School friend in Mumbai and took up a job teaching C/C++ to College kids.

Life kind of took over after that! All ambition of being a Script writer for Bollywood films went out of the window along with the idea of getting a College degree! Focus was now on survival! Making rent and groceries and living pay check to pay check! Couldn’t even afford therapy! But in a way, I kind of followed my Therapist’s advice. I was focused entirely on survival. A year later, I started selling my self-developed Accounting Software – a Tally clone for Medical Stores and made a decent living. In 2002, took up my first Software Development job and moved back to Pune. It was private hell, but survival was still the focus. I could afford therapy, but it didn’t help! Coming back to an empty room at the end of the day was not something I looked forward to! Lonely and dealing with dysphoria that no one could understand, I immersed myself into work and got involved in a dozen hobbies – Traveling, Trekking, Photography, Touring on Motorcycles and so on! Anything to distract from the core issues. Keeping constantly busy was like a painkiller. Temporary fix but the only fix available at the time! It was in 2012 that I finally met a Therapist in Bangalore who educated me on Transgender issues and guided me towards dealing with it. I researched into Transition – a process that would take another 4 years!

Coming Out”

I was not really closeted in that sense. I was always out as “Gay” because that was the word everyone understood! When I first came out to friends as Trans, people around me were initially very supportive at least on the outside. But in the long run, I found myself being “ghosted” on all activity groups. Earlier, I was invited to pot-luck dinners, movie nights, pub-crawls, road trips and stuff like that. But over a period of 2 years I was just phased out of their lives! Just like that! I understand where they came from! And I have let that go! No hard feelings! I decided to begin my Transition process in 2015. But there was a lot of prep that would be required. Get the money and work situation worked out. Transition is just a lot harder when you are in your 30s and all alone with no family or friends! Lots of hoops to jump through before it even begins!

Transition Steps

Hormone Therapy (HRT) is the first step in Transitioning. But before that I had to get something called a GID certificate from a therapist certifying that I have Gender Dysphoria and am fit for HRT treatment. After one year on HRT, I have to get another certificate from another Psychiatrist certifying that I am of sound mind and meet the criteria for Gender Confirmation Surgery. This second round required a battery of tests including a Psychometric Test and I have no idea why these were required! Lots and Lots and Lots of hoops to jump!

Phase 1 – HRT

HRT involves introducing Gender specific hormones, in this case Estrogen along with an Anti-Androgen that would eliminate the effects of Testosterone. Hormones are taken for life while AA can be discontinued after the Big surgery! Neither HRT nor Psychiatry is not covered under Insurance in India! I finally got my first GID certificate in February 2018. It took another 6 months to find an Endocrinologist willing to begin my Treatment! Hoops! One genius Endo even shouted me out of his clinic telling me I should not Transition because I was not pretty! 😒 I think he meant “passable” but he used the word “Pretty”! Again – Letting go! I was put on a small dose initially. I had to do some tests measuring Estrogen and T-Levels every 3 months and the Endo would adjust my dosage. The idea is to get Hormone Levels in the Female Zone – 80-400 pg/Ml. Trans girls will typically hit 150-200pg/Ml after 2 years of HRT. Results vary based on genetics etc but the changes begin to get noticeable within 3 months.

Phase 2 – Surgery

Was planning to get the big Surgery in India. Researched and met up with atleast 4/5 doctors in Delhi and Bangalore and chose one! But then politics came in the way – the regressive so called “Transgender Rights Bill” got pushed through Parliament and Doctors advised me to wait till there was “more clarity on the rules”. I just couldn’t wait So I chose a doctor in a different country. Then COVID happened and everything got pushed by a year and a half! FINALLY got my surgery on 9 August 2022!

Post Surgery Recovery

I was discharged from Hospital 3 days after surgery. The Surgery included a Hotel package where you stay in an affiliated hotel for 30 days. Nurses come visiting for a check-up once a day and medical assistance is always available. The packing comes off after 5 days and the complex dilation schedule begins. Most girls had family or friends staying with them during the recovery period. I however was all alone. This was the hardest part. But there were other girls in the Hotel also recovering from their surgery so I had some company!

Stuff that no one warned me about

I was initially given the impression that Dilation has to be done twice a day for 6 months after surgery. After surgery I was told that dilation has to continue for atleast 1 year post surgery! If you have a partner, you can discontinue dilation. But no “activity” is allowed for 6-8 months after surgery! Dilation can be a major time management problem if you have a busy work schedule! Doctors tell you that you will “adjust” to dilation but honestly you never do! This is the biggest con! The biggest advantage of having a Boyfriend / Husband would be that I could skip dilation entirely! Sadly not a choice! So you do what you have to do! The process of Transitioning in India is easier if you have family and friends by your side through the process. Easier to find a place to rent, easier to move around in society. Without family and friends, it is hard to find a place to rent even in a place like Bangalore! Life post transition is also easier if you are “passable” but that is something you live with! Do I ever regret getting Surgery? Hell No!! This feels like my second chance at life! Infact, I wish I had gotten the access to Professional Help when I was 11 instead of 32! Thats 21 years of my life I will never get back! I could have healed and had a proper education, career and maybe even love! It is easier to find love when you are 19 rather than at 45! Dating can be a major issue at my age. But that should be for another post! Focus now is to move to a safe place, find a job and begin the Healing!

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