Written by Michele Nastasis
Transsexual people may know their bodies are wrong for their gender from a very early age, or it may take them until middle age or later to figure it out. Some may cross-dress to feel better about themselves for a time. Eventually, however, many transsexual men and women find the conflict of living in the wrong gender to be so painful, they must either transition to their true gender or die.
As part of their transition process, trans people may choose to use hormone therapy and sex reassignment surgery (SRS) to change their bodies to conform to their true gender. Others live in their true gender without changing their bodies. After transition, trans men and women usually blend into society, looking and acting just like any other man or woman.
Medical care for trans people is governed by the Harry Benjamin Standards of Care. They recommend that trans people should work with a therapist for three months before going on hormones, and that they live in their true gender roles for a full year and receive letters of recommendation from two therapists before being cleared for SRS.
Transitioning (changing sex) can be both an exhilarating and terribly difficult journey. On the positive side, after transitioning trans people feel in touch with their authentic selves as well as with their bodies. They can make closer connections with friends and loved ones, and live happier, normal lives. On the negative side, however, they may be rejected by some family members and friends. They may also face job discrimination, loss of employment, divorce, and restriction or loss of visitation rights for children.
Being transgender is a natural condition, not a physical or mental illness. Although it carries many challenges, it is also a wonderful opportunity to experience the world in a unique way, to make dear friends in the transgender community, and to become a magnificent human being