Rukshana Kapali/Pahichan- As a transwoman, I have been sharing my experiences of life. Experiences in society and experiences with the world. Today, I would like to share my internalized experiences. Experiences of a transwoman with her own body, with she herself.
The day we start to realize that we are different from other male children, we start to have some different look towards our own body. It seems a bit uneven. As puberty hits, so do mental, emotional and physical changes hit. With its hit, some feelings hit trans people very hard. Not all transgender people go through it. But many of us are hit with these tempting feelings called gender dysphoria. It is a feeling that you are not comfortable with your own body.
Gender dysphoria ranges from person to person. The day you notice the changes of puberty, is the day you feel it. dysphoria is very personal and private, perhaps difficult to articulate and maybe even uncomfortable or emotionally painful to talk about.
The days were normal for me. During Grade 7. My regular routine was think why I am feminine all the time, go to school, get bullied, get laughed at, made fun of, and all. This was how my days spend. Well it was as usual, but a day came that brought me bizarre feelings. I touched my penis. Oops I felt that there are hair on that. I was so curious that I went to toilet and then started to look at them. It was new. Everyone told me boys are gonna have some set of puberty changes. As a male child, I would also have to face them I know. But when it happened, the feelings were new.
With the growth of pubic hair, arrived small hair particles in my body. Down, I saw. Small hair developing on my legs and chest. Once I saw mirror, I could notice a swollen part in my throat, the adam’s apple. The days when my voice started to change. Alaas! It was a nightmare. I always had received comments from people for sounding so feminine and sweet. But with growth of that adam’s apple, I knew I would not sound sweet anymore. It was a sad part of my life. Just with body hair grew on, I saw the mirror. What else, it was black lines below my nose.
The day I saw them was probably most tearful day. Actually, gender dysphoria is something which people who have not experienced it can never understand. The incongruity between what the brain expects the body to be versus how the body is actually configured. I know, how hard I explain, the emotions it creates will be limited only inside me, and these thousand languages, million dialects, trillion vocabularies are not enough to truly express them empathically. We all carry some degree of self-blame, ways we accuse or condemn ourselves.
Face is something that matters a lot. That shows your appearance, that makes your look. It was everything you did not want to have. It was combinations of feelings and discomfort around the absence of breasts and the desire for a vagina, and a feminine body attire.
What I wanted was a simply admired woman figure. But everything was opposite. It was “no I don’t want this, No I don’t want that. I want this”. You know when a woman simply gets a pimple that irritates her a lot. When a woman is having her body fully the way she does not want it to be, life is difficult. And changes happen, I cannot stop them. I could do nothing but watch myself grow more masculine.
Already I was in stress and frustration with my internal feelings, transphobia adds fuel to fire. Cisgender people cannot understand what sort of emotions we go through. I was expressed myself as woman. And came the school mates who keep on telling me, see you can yourself woman, but you are growing beard. See you call yourself woman, your voice is deep. What more? Bullying and being offended, hated, made things more worse.
I deliberately wanted to change. I wanted to be feminine. I was too tired. I cried. I cried at my own body. I think three things affect me here:
1) My own internalized feelings. Mismatch between the way my brain is and the way my body is. Since I am a woman, I need a female body was what I think.
2) Society pressurizes a lot. Beautiful and ugly. I was an ugly. A joke, matter of fun. Kta le kt ko luga lagauxa.
3) I wanted to be admired my men ?? Hehehe
Centering the narrative of transgender people around what they do to their bodies is typically a phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought. The bodies of trans people have long been sensationalized because they are aginst the binary, heteronormative mainstream. But while many rightfully use this argument to shift discourse away from trans bodies, the reality of the trans bodies are nevertheless important. It disrupts conventional and harmful ideas about intrinsic and unalterable sex differences. The experiences of some transgender women who are taking hormone therapy may provide much needed insight into the human body’s potential, while also challenging dumb ideas about fixed and unchangeable gender.
Then a day came, when every newspaper’s headlines were covered with a person’s news. Santosh Panta, a renowned TV Actor. Santosh Panta ko xora aba xori. Santosh Panta’s son becomes daughter. I was amazed first. This was a hot burning issue that time. I was in Grade 8. I read her interview in Saptahik. There got a word called “transgender”. It was a keyword in my life. With the help of this word, I searched in internet a lot. I surfed almost everyday. Then I got enlightened of what I was. I got knowledge on things called LGBTI. Similarly, I got to know about Hormone Replacement Therapy.
It was a hormonal course where your testosterone hormones are suppressed and estrogen as well as progesterone are added. I researched about it a lot. I came to know a lot of things. But I was not prepared socially and economically for that. Then a day, through the medium of internet, I contacted Blue Diamond Society and got connected with much of LGBTI people. Although I usually did not visit the organization. All I wanted was to get rid of daily issues in my class. I frequently got absent in school. Most of the times, I was on Facebook. In the end days of Grade 9, I wrote a post on my Facebook coming out to all people. I soon received calls from all relatives with a lot of negative comments. They accused me of pretending to be a girl, or calling something unnatural. Also the day came when I came out to my parents. Well through the medium of internet, I had come to know much about Hormone Replacement Therapy for transwomen.
When I was in Grade 10, I got contact with endocrinologist. It was difficult for me to consult for my HRT with parents. However, I did. I begun with estrogen conjugase and sprinonolcatone as prescribed by the doctor. Estrogen is one of the two major sex hormones in women (the other being progesterone), and is responsible for the development and maintenance of female secondary sexual characteristics, such as breasts, wide hips, and a feminine pattern of fat distribution. Progestogen plays role in breast development and in regulation of skin and hair, and progesterone specifically may have positive effects on sex drive, sleep, and levels of anxiety. First days were really difficult. It was bit expensive one. The day I started taking those pills, I noticed a different kind of feeling in my body, tired and meek. The experiences of transgender women on male-to-female hormone replacement therapy disrupt the conservative notion of intrinsic sex differences. But the results were too late. It again gave me more stress. Time was spending. I thought, it was magical pills, as I wanted to come out of my own trap. But it was not what I expected. About half a year passed and experiences was the same. I only experienced was side effects. Weight loss, appetite loss, and getting more skinnier. Everyday I woke up I felt like vomiting early morning and dizziness as well. It was every side effect that a woman who is using contraceptive pills have. I was again frustrated. Then I came up with mind of self-medication. My Grade 10 board examinations were near. I was too curious. I just kept on spending time asking other transwomen and surfing on google, I was not having expected changes although 6 months passed.
Then I jumped off to self-medication. I knew it was risky. But it was also economically sound for me. I started to take spironolactone twice daily and just bought a packet of common contraceptive pills called Sunaulo Gulab. At first, the taste was yuck to me. I felt like vomiting. Same side effects. But this time I grew fatter and lazier. I became so lazy that I went out of my house. I became fat that I could see stretch marks on my body. It was also about a depressing month passing, I notice sensitiveness on my nipples. That was a great experience. From that day I saw gradual changes in me. I noticed enlargement of my nipples, along my breasts. I was very happy that I was growing boobs. That feeling to have them was awesome. However, I lost significant amount of body hair, although feet hair has remained somehow. My facial appearance to my skin and muscles pattern as well its texture became feminine significantly. I did not have much facial hair grown, therefore it was not so clearly visible. However, it requires laser hair removal treatment.
As soon I noticed my internal changes, my external world also changed in many aspects. Today, a person walking beside me on streets cannot figure out that I am trans so easily as they did before my transition. Different parts of the body seemed to activate after hormone therapy. Nipples and breasts got sensational. I noticed that my sexuality became a lot more sensually focused. Along with these, I also started having mood swings. I have started becoming more high tempered. I have not fully transitioned. I still feel need of having more feminine changes. I feel like the water became clearer, and my sexuality became more honed and defined. Meanwhile, there are something that cannot be revered. The shape of bones, adam’s apples and shoulders. We can do is voice therapy to make our voice more feminine, but I was not needed for that. Also more significantly, I am happy for being admired by men. Lol. That was a naught side. But people simply take this one in negative way, what I hate.
People also ask that if I want a vagina or not. But I feel, I love and enjoy my penis. The binary view of sex is oppressive to people who identify with concepts beyond it. I don’t want a vagina and am fine with what organs I have.
As a transwoman struggle with own body is another worse and difficult part to face.