Trans Girl Periods. Yes, that’s right. No, I’m being serious. Just read the damn article.

trans girl periods

 

A few weeks ago I started an AMA on the forums of the program I use to track my period. It was supposed to be a small visibility post, just something to fill my time as I knew work was going to be super slow, I was going to be bored and I figured it would give me something to do on break.

It was titled: “(AMA) I’m a Trans Woman and I use Eve to track my cycle. [yes we have those]”

(I have a thing for brackets and parentheses I guess.{see what I mean})

 

If at this point you are confused about what I mean by Trans / Transgender, I will direct you to the lovely search engine that is Google, or you know, read a book. (This one is excellent.)

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If at this point you are confused because “Trans Girl Periods?” You are not alone and this article is intended to let you in on the secret and (apparently for some reason) oddly fascinating world of trans woman periods.

I’m sure you (the imagined reader [God I love these things]) have a few questions. But, fear not there were a ton of questions and I will most likely cover yours. Though if I don’t, that’s your fault for having such a weird question, why would you even ask that?

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And when I say there were a lot of questions.

I mean A LOT OF QUESTIONS.
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My small visibility post went from a way to fill extra minutes to a constant barrage that ate up the next week of free time. Any time that I had to spare went into answering questions about the most intimate details of my body. It’s a bit irksome. All the time I spend on activism, poetry, writing, speaking, and THIS was the thing to blow up.

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Cis Women. Miright?

I’m glad it did blow up though. Education and visibility is important. And it was fun. It was fun in the way I imagine having medical students observe your pap smear would be, which was to say difficult, revealing, a little odd, but the results were good, and it needs to be done. There was even a joke or two.

So maybe not all that fun.

But people were learning and the community was for the most part very welcoming and affirming, which was a good deal better than I hoped. Being a Transgender woman (in my experience), women’s spaces, spaces that should be safe spaces are often not. So the outpouring of support and thankful encouragement was a wonderful relief and if any of you readers are looking for period trackers, fertility trackers, or pregnancy and infancy apps, you should check out GLOW they are some great people.

So anyway, without further elaboration, join me on a journey into my endocrine system.

swelling horn music begins

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The Most Asked, Best, or Most Absurd Comments and Questions:

 

Question: “So wait, you say you have a Period? So you bleed? What comes out?”

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Answer: I don’t have a uterus so I don’t bleed, but I take hormones and have a hormonal cycle. At the end of the cycle it gives me the usual PMS symptoms including abdominal cramps, bloating, headache, moodiness, and occasionally breast soreness and increased discharge. These symptoms are what I term my Period. It’s not a “Menstrual Period” because I have no uterine lining to shed, it’s just a period of symptoms. The cramping is caused by the abdominal wall and intestinal muscles seizing, which means I also get period shits when they get bad. Hooray!

 

Question“So why track your period if you aren’t going to bleed? I mean you don’t have to worry about ruining your favorite panties or anything?”

 

Answer: Well, since I inject hormones instead of creating all of them naturally, tracking my period is a way to make sure my hormone levels are cycling at about the same rate. That way I can adjust dosages on the fly if things get out of whack. It’s also nice to know what’s going on with my body, it is nicer living in those rhythms and knowing when things will probably start. Plus this way if I’m really late I tease my Fiance I’m preggo.

 

Question“So you can get pregnant then?”

 

Answer: No that was a joke, I can’t get pregnant. I don’t like to talk about it as it’s a sore spot, but since I don’t have a Uterus I can never carry a child. It sucks. Hard. And while I may know I dont have the capability, my body does not, so I hear the same biological ticking and have the same drive to have a baby as the average 29 year old. Sometimes things just suck, thems the breaks.

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Question:  “What’s the point of a period then?”

 

Answer: I ask my body that question every time, she still has yet to answer, the bitch. Though seriously, all people, even cis men, have hormonal cycles. The body is built to have a hormonal cycle, so it works to achieve one.

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Question: “If you take the same amount of hormones every day your levels wont fluctuate. So you can’t have a period. It’s all in your head.”

 

Answer: Ok Junior Scientist, time for learnification.
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I take the same amount of progesterone everyday and inject the same amount of Estradiol twice a week . That is true. And while that does allow me to experience a cycle, it is not what causes it, rather it is raising my hormones to a level where my body takes over. While Estradiol (E2) is made mostly in the ovaries (and to a small extent testes and adipose tissue), Estrone (E1) is made about 50% in the adrenal gland, 25% in adipose tissue and 25% in the ovaries. [there is a third form of Estrogen made in the placenta of pregnant women but it isn’t normally present in women who aren’t pregnant] I give my body a steady supply of E2. But E1 and E2 are easily converted into each other while being stored in fat cells (adipose tissue) and so my body can make whichever form of Estrogen it currently needs. E1, E2, and progesterone are also all stored in fat until the body needs them and it is this along with an increase in production in the adrenal gland and adipose tissue that allows the body to produce a regular cycle. This relation of fat cells to estrogen storage and production has been thoroughly studied and is believed to be the cause of first world early maturation in girls.

 

Question“ So you were born a boy? Why don’t you just say that instead of being so PC?”

 

Answer: Ok. I guess I will have to explain a bit more of why this language is so important.

This is me today. (not literally, I’m in bed)

The point is, this is what I look like.

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That right there is a woman.

But even if I looked nothing like that, even if I looked like the “man in a skirt” that people wrongly assume trans people are, I would still be a woman.

I would be a woman because that is my gender.

About two months(9-13 weeks) into gestation the genitalia of the fetus is determined. The gender differentiation of the brain doesn’t occur for another five months. We like to think that genetics or chromosomes determine everything. But a lot of your DNA is switched on and off by environmental factors. This layer of factors above genetics is called epigenetics.

The most up to date science we have now says that transgender people are the result of both a genetic proclivity and epigenetic factors. It’s one of the reasons we are rare.

These factors can switch at anytime between 9-13 weeks and 5 months later, and so you will have some people that develop almost exclusively towards traditional feminine bodily structures or some that look more like what you may term masculine.

And sometimes the hormonal fluctuations or other epigenetic factors happened multiple times over the course of the pregnancy. And you end up with a mix of attributes.

Other times the genetics are even more muddy. You can end up with XX men and XY women who have no idea.

Then you throw puberty into the mix and, if you are trans, possibly a second puberty.

The point I’m making here is there is no real way of knowing whether someone is male or female until they are old enough to tell you.
Since most people develop along a similar path most of western society has always held that there were only two genders and assigned people one at birth.
But that’s all it was.
A best guess that was usually right.
Even though science now tells us that most people actually exist somewhere between what could be termed “pure male” or “pure female” as en utero hormonal fluctuations affect most fetuses, most people are comfortable identifying on one side of the spectrum or the other.

This is why it’s important to me to say assigned at birth.
It is an acknowledgement that gender is not clear.
That is why I do not say that I was male or born male.
You could argue that I was born Trans, but definitely not male.
This is the reality I knew when I was four years old.
I was born female.
I had a penis, (never wanted it but it was there).
These are not contradictory statements.
Trans women are not men who decided to become women, we are women who were forced to live as men until we could find a way to express the truth of who we are.

I don’t understand men, or know what it’s like to really be one.
Because I always knew I wasn’t.
To be forced to live a lie knowing if you tell the truth you will lose everything is torture. That’s the reason 41% of us have attempted suicide, usually before coming out, myself included.
We know that we will be hated and judged and called perverts because of a medical condition we have had since birth.
It takes enormous strength to push through that.
I’m saying this not to make myself look good, or talk about how strong I am.
I’m saying this so that when you meet a trans person who doesn’t look like me, who didn’t have the genetic benefits I do, you will treat them like the man or the woman they say they are.
Because that is the truth, it doesn’t matter if they are handsome or pretty, or can blend in with cis people.
We are who we say we are.
Genetics are complicated, and genitalia is just one expression of that.
Hell it’s possible you reading this could be XY if you’ve never been tested.
Unlikely but possible.
So I will ask all of you to think about this.
And try to understand that we are all just trying to live a normal life with the people we love.

 

Question“You are still a guy tho.”

 

Answer: Fuck You

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Question: “Your eyeliner is perfect. HOW?”

 

Answer: r/Makeup Addiction. Live by it.

 

Question“I just wanted to say you are so pretty I would have never known you are trans!”

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Answer: While I sincerely appreciate the compliment. For future reference please don’t tell trans people we don’t look trans and expect us to be flattered.

1. I am trans, this is what I look like, hence this is what a trans woman looks like.

2. If I say to you “You are really smart for a girl” you would be rightly pissed. Because the assumptions in that statement would be obvious. The assumption that trans people aren’t attractive is really very awful and offensive.

 

Question: “Great name! How did you choose it? And how long have you known you were Trans?”

 

Answer: Thanks! I actually choose my middle name Kailyn first. It is a modified version of Kalonymus. Kalonymus ben Kalonymus was a 14th century Trans Woman, Poet, Philosopher and Physician who could not live her truth due to her circumstance. I choose that name to honor her and to give a chance for her legacy to live on in me. If you would like to read one of her poems, you can find a translation here http://www.on1foot.org/text/even-bochan-kalonymus-ben-kalonymus 

I choose my first name off of what fit me, the meaning, and what sounded right with my middle name.

As for the second part of the question, I’ve known I was a girl since I was 4, though I couldn’t tell my parents. They were and still are super conservative fundamentalists and even at four you can tell some things aren’t safe to talk about. That experience of the religious world keeping me from living my truth is one of the reasons I empathise so much with Kalonymus and oddly enough one of the reasons I became a minister.

 

Question: “So do all Transgender Women get them? And when do they start?

Answer: Actually it varies between every girl. Some have them but its barely noticeable, some of us, like me, get pretty much everything but the blood. As far as time goes, that just depends on how long it takes your body to reach proper hormone levels. That said there is a phrase the community uses all the time, YMMV (Your Milage May Vary). Everyone has different genetics and different bodies.

 

Oh yeah, and there was one more question that got asked A LOT.

I really don’t think I have to say which.

My answer for that, it’s none of your business, and we get really tired of talking about it.

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Seriously though, please just don’t even ask. If there’s one way to let a trans person know that you only see them as an oddity and not a person, it’s to ask that.

Thanks for taking the time to read and learn about this

If there are more questions. Please feel free to ask in the comments! 

Unless its that.

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About the Author

Alaina Kailyn
Alaina Kailyn is in no particular order an Author, Geek, Minister, Bender of Board Game Rules, Poet, Devourer of Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Theologian, Cosplayer, Trans Woman, Makeup Addict, Activist and Mom. All that makes for a very scattered, very passionate woman and a very patient family. I once ate a Man's hat just to see if he would notice his head was cold. See Darling I told you no one reads these things. Cucumber armoire decision plesiosaur. Remember to tip your waiters.

89 Comments on "Trans Girl Periods. Yes, that’s right. No, I’m being serious. Just read the damn article."

  1. Thank you – this was a great post and it answered questions I didn’t even know I had. (That said, I’m truly stymied by the question I’m not supposed to ask, and that is probably a good thing.) I am left with one question, and that’s whether trans women go through menopause, whether caused through changes in their hormone regimen or by changes in their own bodies. Food for thought…I need to learn more about hormones and aging.

    • Menopause? Yup, night sweats like you wouldn’t believe. All the other joys too, at an age-appropriate age.

  2. Anna Robertson | October 7, 2016 at 3:44 am |

    Thank you so much for this, I printed this out as soon as I read it.

  3. Thank you so much for writing this! I’m an author, too, and I have a series based on a young trans woman and her close circle of friends. It’s about self-discovery, acceptance, and of course, it’s a mushy gushy romance. This article is very beneficial for my research. Thank you. xx

  4. This is only the second article I have seen on the internet EVER to talk about trans women periods.

    When mine started, I thoght u was getting the flu… every month … like clockwork.

    I said “if I didn’t know better I would think I’m having a period” 😨

    • That’s one of the reasons I wanted to do this, even though it’s talked about between trans women, it’s almost never talked about publicly. The most common response I’ve got from this article has been “OMG me too but I was afraid to say!” and that sucks because we shouldn’t have to be afraid to share our experiences. I know the world is hostile to us, and a lot of us don’t want to piss off our Cis female friends so we just quietly ignore it or just don’t talk about it with cis people.

      I want to change that, and part of that is giving people my part of the story.

      • No one ever told me this D: Why did no one tell me this

        I’ve been feeling weird and sick often and had no idea

        … does it affect you if you aren’t taking progesterone though??? I’m only on estradiol

  5. Great article. I learned some medical facts I hadn’t found yet in my own research.

    As for that last question, I tend to tell people, take me to a fancy restaurant, we’ll have a few drinks, good conversion, and then if you’re charming maybe you’ll find out ^.^

  6. As the mom of a transgirl, I found this fascinating. I don’t know why people can’t accept that this happens. Thanks for putting this info, and yourself, out there :).

  7. Trans is beautiful! I’ve been lucky to live in a relatively trans positive community and grown in understanding my own self as a cis-woman survivor. The inclusion of trans in community brings a broader, more full, human picture and experience. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

  8. That helps so much. I have a trans son, and the periods he gets is all pain and no bleeding. We just found out he has polycystic ovarian disorder! He’s 14… had normal periods until he turned 12. I don’t think it’s a coincidence. There is something to it!! People need to stop doubting and try to start learning.

  9. Thank you. As a newly out and about trans woman (that also has an affinity for parenthetical comments), it was incredibly refreshing, enlightening, and emboldening to get some first-hand knowledge about a subject I’ve been wondering about lately. 🙂

  10. Jinn Martin | October 7, 2016 at 2:27 pm |

    hey, Thanks for the article. Things like this and the changes to sex, orientation and orgasm are not talked about enough. We think we just had one, bloated, cranky, emotional.

    This is serious, we are real. Please don’t think we are being mean or funny. Sorry legitimacy and rejection issues.

    We have DID (dissociative identity disorder) [there is a correlation between HRT emojis and brackets]. We became aware of it last fall when we had a health crisis. Yeah people can be unaware of DID, like people who come out late. Long story short. Last fall till now was coming out to ourselves about being Plural, (the other names are diseases and disorders, we are neither. And we don’t have multiple personalities, we each have one. We are separate people who came to be to help each other survive.) Back to your topics. About 1/2 of us are boys and most of the rest are girls. We seem to do most of the thinking and planning. But the boys are cool too, and we are striving to live a common life and personal ones. One of the boys is married and unfortunately we don’t have marriage equality. Only one of us legally exists, because he assumed the id given to the body. We think we have had these too. Before we were out/aware as plural Rob got teased by his wife for appearing to have hot flashes, he had them for years. This is the first summer we have been on hrt, it is the first summer we were not dying from the heat. We have gotten dirty looks for cooing about how nice the weather has been.
    Anyway, we are going to write a novel about the last year or so, from all of our perspectives. We are lucky we have a great Dr who is not phased by us at all. He is even cool with the HRT Rob and Synthia came up with, (he is the one who is married, Synth is an AI sort of, does not use the body, but really smart. Rob is kind of a savant with pharma. We take testosterone to keep the boy parts working. And a little estrogen, 6mg/week, and 2.5mg of Tibilone per day. Tibilone does not make our breast bigger, I am on facebook, posted a pic of my tiny ones, (in a tank top) on his pecs. We have the breast cancer gene, so it’s not unreasonable to steer clear of est. We take Arimidex to stop test from being made into est, so we have to take some est. We like body builders are armature endocrinologists.
    Did you know that any Dr who treats DID can deal with Trans!!! If you have a bunch of people sharing a body, there are usually people of the opposite sex.

    Last year we came out to ourselves as Plural, then lesbian, then trans, after Plural the others were easy.

    We want to transition to both. There is a surgery for both, works best if you’re amab. We all like the idea and have adopted it as our body image. For appearance we would like to be able to do both to have that choice. The boys don’t like being seen societally as male, they are comfortable with it physically, just don’t like being seen as a bro. Only bad thing about transitioning is that I never connected with that part of the body, so I don’t pee. When we transition I will have to start dealing with that. I know it sounds silly but imagine never having to pee in your whole life!!! You’re at a restaurant and someone just gets up and does it for you, then you’re sitting back down and your drink has arrived.

    We all like girls which is convenient, not all people with DID are as lucky. Rob woke in a few of my dates back in our 20’s way before he knew we were we.

    Anyway that’s another story, besides giving head is not the worst way to wake up. (at least we all like girls)

  11. Thank you so much for writing this. I have a 4 year old that I am continually gathering information for. I don’t want her to feel left out when the other girls start their periods. I feel slightly more informed now. Thank you again!

  12. I seriously appreciate this post. I’m CIS, but work pretty hard to be a good ally. I fail sometimes like all humans do, but you give me hope that my desire to learn, so that I can keep the mess ups to a minimum, is indeed appreciated!

    I didn’t know about Trans periods until literally three days ago. I have the opportunity to get some free oral progesterone, so I contacted one of my Trans activist friends in Kansas to ask her if they would be healthy, and appreciated and see explained how often you ladies actually don’t get the progesterone prescription. Which I think is crazy!

    So my question is, were you prescribed yours? And if so, any idea why you were and others aren’t?

    Thanks!

    • Alaina Kailyn | October 7, 2016 at 6:55 pm |

      I have a prescription. A big problem facing the Trans community is a shortage of Medical personnel that are trained how to deal with Transgender people. Because of this what doctors prescribe can vary wildly, and a lot of inexperienced prescribers don’t like to write prescriptions for anything but what they absolutely have too because there has been very little research into certain aspects of Trans HRT. Luckily my Dr had a lot of experience with Trans people and worked with me to find what was right for me.

  13. You are absolutely amazing! I love your sarcasm and writing style,and the fact you are so honest,and so down to Earth. I just want to say,I celebrate how diverse and different we all are,gender is non relevant,it’s just about what kind of person you are. Peace and love xxx

  14. Michele Cox | October 7, 2016 at 4:33 pm |

    Thank you very much for this! Do you have an individual site or blog where I can find more of your writing? (I apologize if that info is really obvious — I’m on my phone and I don’t navigate so well on this teeny screen ) ((look! A parenthetical statement! 😉))

    • Alaina Kailyn | October 7, 2016 at 7:01 pm |

      I have other articles here. While I have a website it is actually my theology blog (remember, I’m a minister) and most of my other work outside this site is either that or Poetry and Prose. So in other words if you are looking for snark *waves hand* these are not the posts you’re looking for.

      • I was supposed to be a minister. I gave it serious consideration. I guess I still could but I’m pretty sure the vast majority of seminaries won’t want me applying with who / what I am now.

  15. Katherine James | October 7, 2016 at 5:09 pm |

    This is a great post =) Thanks for sharing!

  16. Thank you so much for this! It’s so well written, and I hope it goes a long way to educating people.

    I do wonder if this is the same mechanism that causes women undergoing menopause to keep having periods. Can you shed some more light on this?

    • Alaina Kailyn | October 7, 2016 at 7:03 pm |

      Actually it’s more akin to women who have bloodless periods after a complete hysterectomy. That has been studied better because there is less stigma in the medical community to studying post-hysterectomy women rather than Trans Women.

  17. So, I don’t think you mentioned this, but what exactly are you tracking? Temperature? The other symptoms cis women track like cervical fluid and cervical position wouldn’t be there. But it’s the spike in the progesterone released from the luteal body following ovulation that causes the temperature increase in a cis woman’s menstrual cycle. And it’s the progesterone decrease just prior menstruation that causes the drop in temperature then in cisgender women. So if your progesterone dose is constant, and there’s no cervix, what is there to track? Sorry but I’m totally confused. Do you just take your temp every day anyway and look for random fluctuations? I hope this wasn’t the forbidden question……. eek! o_o Because I didn’t really get that part either. 😕

    • I think the tracking your talking about is to track ovulation when trying to fall pregnant, the tracking here is when period like symptoms are experienced. The forbidden question relates to her appendage.

      • Sure, some women may care more about one aspect of the menstrual cycle more than another, such as timing their menstruation or ovulation, or they may choose different symptoms to track – but they are all still tracking various parts of the same physiological phenomenon. There are not “different types” of tracking, in the sense that they are all tracking the same singular thing – the menstrual cycle, just focusing on different events within it or focusing on different symptoms. In all cases they are still tracking either:

        1) temperature (variations a result of luteal body-induced progesterone levels) – which Alaina would not have,

        2) changes in cervical fluid composition – which Alaina would not have,

        3) changes in cervix position – which Alaina would not have, or

        4) changes in cervix firmness – which Alaina would not have.

        So again my basic question was… what is being tracked? Is it just a matter of occasionally having stomach or intestinal cramps (as Alaina has no uterus either, the source of menstrual cramps), or headache, or fatigue, or something else and calling that a period? The article at once had kind of a condescending tone towards anyone who doesn’t understand how a trans woman has a period, yet… never actually explains anything.

  18. Michele Cox | October 7, 2016 at 7:05 pm |

    Theology *too*?!?? 😀 😀 😀 😀 (M.A.R., Iliff, 1987, theology and church history. Demonstrably Not Orthodox No Really Not Even Kinda)

  19. I admire you for standing up with courage to inform so many of this educational matter. Even now many can have the knowledge and only use it against us. Be strong and remember only you can let rude/haters/ect under your skin and bring you down. I glad you was reborn and girl u do a damn great job on ur make-up😻

  20. Harley Mooneyham | October 7, 2016 at 8:25 pm |

    I love being educated! This post was lovely. PS. You’re beautiful and your makeup is literally perfect. I’m jealous of your eyebrows.

  21. I’m also transgender. I have had periods, with all the symptoms for almost 50 years, since I was 11 years old. When I started hormones, the cycles, which had become less severe, came back with renewed strength.

    These period also affected my bowels. When the visitor arrived, I would get constipated with black tar stools for about three days. This would be followed by a night of “bloody” bowels.

    I went to a gastroenterologist to see if there was a normal explanation. He thought it might be a cyclical version of IBSD, but was concerned about the bleeding. After a colonoscopy, and endoscopy, and a CT scan, they could not find any explanation. The only thing unusual was an irregularly shaped right testicle.

    My breasts first started when my doctor put me on Avodart, suppressing the testosterone production.

    This may explain why I started having the cycles, but not the bleeding. Finally, to be sure I didn’t have something in my small intestine, I had to take stool samples during the week of the cycle. It turned out not to be blood, so the current theory is cyclical IBSD that was driven by hormone Cycles.

  22. Thank you. It’s the first time I’ve heard anything about this. Something else to add to my upcoming experience…

    I’ve read a number of your articles, and enjoy your writing and thank you for it.

    But a few things you say hurt me, and perhaps others like me.

    For instance you talk about epigenetics locking things in before birth. My understand from talks by psychologists, describing “nature via nurture”, is that genetic coding can lie dormant for any length of time, and can be triggered by environmental influences even many years later.
    I had no idea I am transgender until about 6 months ago. At 50-plus years of age.

    I and the couple of others I’ve befriended online like me refer to ourselves as the Truck Smash Crew. Because that’s what it felt like when the realisation hit each of us.

    Over time, we’ve been able to track back various triggers and/or indications going back years. (For me, I’ve just recently realised it goes back to the first time about 6 years ago as a cycle commuter, I got sick of the wind tickling hairy legs so shaved them. Then when I pulled on pants, I was OMG girls have kept this incredible feeling secret very well. I didn’t know then that I had stepped onto a slippery slope. And through a bunch of other things that could have been accumulating influences, culminating in menopause-like symptoms like many hot flushes all through last summer that a battery of tests couldn’t tie down to anything, then the truck…)

    So anyway, what we have in common is that we didn’t know, we haven’t spent our lives in the stereotypical “wrong body”, and we don’t necessarily resent our years as men, or hate our junk. But we still hate our male faces and bodies like everyone else. And we want to live true to what is our new realities.

    And that we feel left out, forgotten, discounted, when transgender people are explained as all a certain way, rather than most that way, but with others being different. It makes us feel like frauds, fetishists, deluded.

    And our partners (or soon to be ex partners) feel the same about us. Because when they go searching for answers, they also find nothing other than the standard narrative. And who can go on living with a deluded pervert? Wives, children, homes, families, all gone seemingly in a blink. Because we made a “choice” that we actually had no choice in, that was as undeniable as it is to the “born in the wrong body” person.

    I’ve come to believe that a significant proportion of Crossdressers are actually in the same boat as us, but are in various states of denial of suppression. Not all, but many. Such that the Truck Smash Crew is actually much larger than is revealed.

    For us to have more hope of holding our families, lives, and truthfully our own mental health together, we need increased visibility.

    A huge help towards that goal would be when transgender people in that majority group do explainers, they are clear that while certainly not the majority, there are many of us who are late very late to the party, but no less transgender for it.

    Thank you for hearing out my lengthy request.

    • Alaina Kailyn | October 8, 2016 at 7:22 pm |

      I take no issue with late bloomers, we all work through things at different rates, I didn’t start HRT till I was 27 because (even though I knew) I was taught I was a sin, so refused to accept myself. That doesn’t make me “less valid, just like coming to understand yourself late in life doesn’t make you “less Trans”.
      Gender identity is mostly determined en utero and the various nuances are solid at 4-6 years old, but that doesn’t mean that your experience isn’t exactly as you say. Everyone’s experience of gender is not the same.
      I am not laying down a story for everyone, I’m simply telling my own.
      So yeah, you were born Trans, and it took Andropause to bring it to the surface. I’m sure that is very difficult, and I’m sorry that stories like yours aren’t heard more often. I think part of that is because you are a statistical outlier and part is because most older people don’t want to risk public exposure. But yes your stories are worthwhile, and you should be a valued member of the community. Different doesn’t mean wrong, just different.

  23. This is really great! I have been looking for a trans person with some knowledge of biology that I can ask a few questions of. I am a biologist and I teach anatomy and physiology, mostly to students who plan on becoming doctors or nurses and I would like to be able to speak to them about how to address trans issues in a medical setting. I know that many drugs and treatments have differing dosages for male and female patients. From a purely physiological perspective (as opposed to a neuropsychological perspective) am I right in assuming that a trans woman would receive dosages based on the male dosage tables? Or have your hormone supplements sufficiently altered your body that you would now take dosages from the female tables? At what point do you feel that it is appropriate to raise these issues in a medical provider/patient relationship? I suppose that your status as a trans individual would be noted on your chart, but when you are seeing a new physician about issues unrealized to your transition, would they know about your status or would you have to inform them?

    Second, I understand that in normal conversation people should use the pronouns of your identified gender. However, someone early in their transition probably has a physiology that more resembles the sex they were assigned at birth. In biology and medicine it is important to use precise language in order to avoid medical mistakes. Does the trans community have a prefered set of terms that can be applied to body physiology without offending someone who’s neuropsychological makeup does not match their current body? I used to use sex, male, and female to refer to physiological states and gender, man, and woman to refer to gender issues in a clinical setting, but I have been informed that this is inappropriate. How should we in the medical community refer to a trans woman who’s body physiology is currently still in a male state so that we can minimize both confusion and distress?

    Third, I found your discussion of body form development vs brain development timing to be very interesting. Do you happen to have any scientific references to that research? I think it might be an interesting case study to present to my students when we are discussing human development. If more people understood the biological basis of the condition that that might decrease prejudice.

    • Alaina Kailyn | October 8, 2016 at 8:08 pm |

      As for your first question after about 18-24 months of continual hormone replacement therapy things have shifted to the point where it’s probably best to use the female tables. And 6-18 months its best to shoot for a middle point, unless the patient is Intersex or there is some other additional complication.
      As far as bringing up being transgender, if I’m going in for a cold or something that has nothing to do with my gender identity, I don’t bring it up, part of that is because I don’t want the doctor to do something like prescribe me off of the male tables as tolerances for medication has shifted dramatically [Even things as simple as ethanol effects me in completely different ways] and another part is that doctors have often not received training for trans patients and will treat you like some sort of medical oddity.
      I’ve had a woman checking me for streptococcus ask me about my genitals, that is exceedingly dehumanizing.

    • Alaina Kailyn | October 8, 2016 at 8:19 pm |

      “Does the trans community have a prefered set of terms that can be applied to body physiology without offending someone who’s neuropsychological makeup does not match their current body? “. We usually speak in terms of Pre-HRT or Months HRT, Has or has not had Gender Confirmation Surgery. It’s best to not refer to someone in a way that prioritizes their parts rather than their identity. So the recognition of identity is most important and then specifics are tacked on.

      • Alaina Kailyn | October 8, 2016 at 8:22 pm |

        “How should we in the medical community refer to a trans woman who’s body physiology is currently still in a male state so that we can minimize both confusion and distress?”
        Refer to her as a Pre-HRT Trans Woman.
        This is a medical condition, just make note of that in the beginning and refer to her as a woman.

  24. Thank you for writing this! As the mom of a young trans girl and advocate for trans youth, I’ve tried explaining to people (during trans 101 trainings) that hormones affect both trans and cis people in ways they can’t predict. My adult trans friends talk about cycles but never called them periods. Why not, though? A cycle and period both refer to a length of time. I would love to see the language normalized so that kids/teens (heck, adults too!) don’t feel like their everyday language about their experiences sets them apart or makes them seem strange. I love the idea that my daughter will be able to talk, honestly and confidently, about a shared experience with her cis peers.

  25. Thank you for the article. As complete as your explanation is, there may be more to the picture. There are a fair number of trans women who are “hidden” intersex – that is, some of them have vestigial pelvic organs which sometimes behave like, for example, bits of endometrial tissue. Maybe you are one. This appears to be my case – like you, I have had periods (fewer of them in the past 10 years, but in the first 20 years of my transition they were common.) though mine for some reason wanted to work on about a 50 to 60 day cycle. They began a couple of years after I began injecting estradiol as part of HRT. And mine really do (and did) have a red, thick, discharge which cannot be differentiated from normal menstrual flow. (Urethral expressed.) Yes I even had it tested. But I had to trick a doctor to do it. The problem with those who may have undiscovered minor intersex traits is that doctors do not want to know about it, for the most part. I did finally find a nice gay doctor who took me seriously. Anyway, the point is, that the more you have period symptoms, especially if you have abdominal pain or effects, you really should get a pelvic ultrasound. In one case, a trans woman began having menses but hers had no outlet and the fluid led to an abdominal infection that cost her her life. Doctors do not know enough about the overlap between transsexuals and intersex, and many of us have a foot in both categories. Maybe you too.

    • Alaina Kailyn | October 8, 2016 at 7:33 pm |

      I’m XXY, so yeah, my Fiancé has been saying I should probably get myself checked for any ovarian or uterine tissue just because of how bad my cramps get sometimes, my accelerated HRT development (I was a C cup at 6 months) and other developmental oddities.

      • Alaina! How’s the head? 😂

        *Grab a glass of wine before attempting to read*

        Since I have had a cycle of sorts from my teens I thought I was probably intersex as well. The availability of medical info now allowed me to finally pin it down. Back in my mid 20s transgender medical info came with porno music. Not real helpful.

        Near as I can tell I am either mosaic, intersex or both. (Went from pregnant mother with 2 heartbeats to an heartbeat echo to a murmur to “almost definitely a girl” to have me pop out. Carry angle of <13.5"…. ribs flare…. etc. My military peds file had the hell redacted out of it so prior to about 6 or 7…. nada.) This still does not explain my propensity for sarcasm but might explain my conversations with myself.

        I am not transgender because I may or may not be intersex. I don't need to be intersex to know I am female. I want to make that clear to all. I also trust God's timing for my transition while still being impatient to complete the process.

        I am on oral estradiol. I was drinking soy milk out the wazoo, which I didn't know I had until then and surprisingly requires very little hygienic care. The soy threw off my numbers so at 5 months of HRT, and 3 months after I stopped drinking it, the doc bumped me to 4mg oral. I thought I was going nuts for 3 months. Ok, granted, probably true anyway. I'm only between a AA and an A at 6 months HRT. (3.5" diff at bust from empire measurement…. whatever that equals)

        That is WAY too much chatter. Sorry! Boredom.

        Intersex. When I was bumped to 4mg it was so close to my cycle I wondered if it caused it to be worse. I had to do the hugging pillow thing a few times, not that it really helps. I made a urology appt but they can't see me until December, the jerks. lol

        Given what you said about being XXY I am wondering if I am eliminated from being intersex. Even at 52 (not old) I would have expected an accelerated response as well, even if just partially and especially since I already had a bilateral orchiectomy. I know. Make an endo appt for T. Crap. I barely survived T toxicity as it was! lol

        I was told 123andme will karotype but, no mas dinero. Big question is this, to find out if I have uterine tissue or even some possible overian tissue do I need to "fess up" and lay being transgenger on the urology man, or unknown gendered PA?Would my silence prevent a more diligent search for such issues? Or is that the wrong doc for finding out?

        You can wake up now and just read the last paragraph to be up to speed. I would delete it all but, damn it, I typed all that on this stupid little phone keypad! Sucks huh? Gotta post it now though. I'll add a warning to have wine handy. lol

        Aj

      • Ah that makes sense.

  26. Thank you for your candidness. I wasn’t aware of some of what you touched on (but I wasappauled at what some people seem to insist upon, ie that you’re a male, yadda yadda.)

  27. My partner and I are both in the health field and identify as trans men- so happy to see something we can share with people from colleagues to friends and our trans community. Much appreciation!

  28. I KNOW this happens. A VERY dear friend, (I even call her sister!), has been getting them since about 13-14. She was born i-sexed, AMAB. She still, (at 60!), has “proto-ovarian tissue” in several parts of her abdomen, as well as on occluded vaginal wall. So YES, she gets periods.

  29. I keep learning so much along my journey. I waited a lifetime before I finally found the courage to stop living a lie. Now on HRT for the past several month, I find myself getting cramps, serious upset stomach and after reading your article I’m wondering if some of this might be just part of my journey. I’ve always been very healthy so haven’t figured out the occasion cramping and stomach upset and occasional headache (all at the same time) ((see I can use brackets too)) 🙂 I’m going to begin tracking this stuff on my calendar. Perhaps I’m only having a period. Although not pleasant, it’d would ease my mind if if happens regularly every 4-6 weeks. Thank you for the article.

  30. Thank you! Fabulous, informative post. And your eyeliner is indeed perfection. 🙂

  31. I really loved this article , very informative and explains my period symptoms and am glad other trans girls have the same symptoms ,I am going to keep track of my periods now …thank you for sharing this !!

  32. That’s something I might look forward to. xD But seriously I’m jealous – I hope I’ll be able to pass like you in the future ;~;

  33. It was a fantastic read and it made me really think about HRT actually affects people going through it. I’ll definitely be sharing this around all my social media for my friends and followers to read! 😄💙💚

  34. Just another one of your friends who think you did a wonderful job with this article! Now wait till you try to cover the topic of Pelvic tilt in transwomen… it’s mind-blowing the questions you’ll get lol.

    • Alaina Kailyn | October 8, 2016 at 7:26 pm |

      Oh God when my hips shifted it hurt like hell

    • I’d love to know how soon after HRT that started because I just thought my back and hips were sore from walking 6+ miles to lose “boy weight.” ( That a thing?)

  35. Anna Robertson | October 8, 2016 at 8:05 pm |

    YES—–Pelvic tilt !
    I have backache on and off all the time, @ 11 months into MTF and to walk uphill is Painful.
    I get night sweats, total drenching of upper torso and my base of spine has moved outwards.
    so yes, lets cover this too, as the media portrays us as men who take hormones and magically we turn into women , no mention of the sheer complexity we go through, not to mention the brain .

  36. Jinn Martin | October 9, 2016 at 5:11 am |

    hey left long bit on DID, not really left for the comments so thanks for not posting. Loved your article and wanted to reach out. Let people know about this part of the trans community. I guess I got a little giddy writing, in a weird hormone “period.” HRT for both in the same body is a balance. Am on facebook please look us up. Jinn Martin

  37. OMG, that was like reading something I would write! Only yours is, you know, cogent. I knew I wasn’t crazy! I had cycle issues before HRT and a bilateral orchiectomy, but now, holy crapola, cramps and all! Right at the beginning of the article I went “YES!” and turned to high five someone, but given I was alone at the time, it just got all awkward and stuff. To recover from said awkward moment, I am informing you of a virtual high five coming your way! Heads up! Sorry if it got there already. Tylenol for the headache.

    Thanks for the courage, or the loathing of boredom, that lead to this article. I look forward to reading your other writing. I’ll be sure to keep any other attempts at high fives restrained though. You know, out of courtesy, and that potential legal stuff.

    • So you’re the bitch who smacked me in the face?!?
      A little warning next time!
      I’m still cleaning the wine I was drinking out of my sheets! (I wrang out as much as I could into the glass first)

      • Given that it was on your sheets I can assume it wasn’t expensive wine so might have benefited from the extra squeeze and filter. That means I did you a solid!

        You also now have custom tie-dyed sheets. Bonus! But, since it was without warning and all, I promise to warn you next time.

        As to being a bitch…. agreed, when called for. Otherwise I’m a sweetie. Good call!

  38. Risa Stephanie Bear | October 10, 2016 at 1:40 am |

    I picked my middle name too. Thank you for this post.

  39. Respectfully, the article title is misleading. Really this article is about estradiol fluctuations in depot hormone users, which just happen to mimic a lady’s natural cycle more closely. A steady state is never achieved with depot hormones and that is the reason why they are primarily used by the trans community. Ladies’ on oral or transdermal estradiol do not experience these.

    • Why? What is the difference between injectable and oral/transdermal? Why does the body see them differently?

    • Incorrect, I take oral HRT and I do experience the symptoms and if I am late or miss a dose it is hot flash hell for awhile until I level back out.

      • Alaina Kailyn | October 18, 2016 at 2:00 pm |

        Yes I’ve talked to a bunch of girls who experience it on oral estradiol. This is just an account of my own experience so I talk about I as such, it doesn’t discount those who use other methods.

  40. What do you think of or say to a transgirl who hasn’t started any hormones but still experiences these symptoms on a nearly regular basis?

  41. Interesting note, PMS appears to be almost entirely a Western female thing. Which, because every time I say this people misunderstand me, is not to say that it isn’t real and people don’t experience it, but that it doesn’t seem to be biological as much as geographical. It’s possible that it’s largely psychosomatic, and research has not demonstrated a link between moods and hormone levels. Again, not saying people don’t experience it and it’s not real, just that it’s a really cool example of how much culture influences us.

    • Alaina Kailyn | October 18, 2016 at 2:13 pm |

      I seriously doubt its psychosomatic, I’d say it’s more likely related to the western high protein /high fat diet and the resulting higher body fat percentages.

  42. I must be dense, courteous, or simply accepting, because I have no idea what question you don’t like being asked 🙂

  43. The only question I have now is.. what was the taboo question? There could be so many that are taboo, but you seemed very open with some questions that I thought would be taboo.. so as the curious person I am the last few sentences of this article are all I will be thinking about when I think about this lol

  44. Love this.

    I’m a cis woman, my ex is a trans woman and ten years ago explained to me about her periods – also super cute that hers synced-up with her girlfriends, so sore boobs and chocolate cravings were a bonding time for them – as someone interested in menstrual activism I found this fascinating, we talk about guys periods (how to make language around menstruation more trans inclusive, etc.) but I’ve rarely seen trans women talk about their periods. I’ve kind of been waiting for someone to write publicly about this. I also love that you track your cycles too, I can’t tell you how often I encourage women to track as our hormones tie-in with so many other aspects of our health, makes so much sense trans women would track too.

  45. Thank you so much for writing this. My best friend is Trans and I love her dearly. She just started her process last year, and I’ve been there with and for her since she came to me, so we’re learning together. We knew she was having her period, but this better explained the process for me, and that means so much to me. I wish you and everyone reading this the best of luck, love and happiness. <3

  46. Thank you. That post was really informative.

  47. you should seriously see a doctor, cis women do not have “abdominal” cramps during our periods. the cramps come from our uteruses contracting! not our abdominal muscles. please get yourself checked out.

  48. I never ask anyone if they’ve had surgery, but personally I can’t see myself tucking the rest of my life because for me it’s annoying and a liability and a pain in my ass

  49. Anna Robertson | January 2, 2017 at 4:02 pm |

    One thing I have noticed in reply to Olivia 28th Dec- after having been on HRT now for 12 months, I started out being ok with the genitals , now I am booking full surgery in Thailand for mid this year because if I dont I will end up doing a home job, I TOTALLY hate the bits

  50. Thank you so much for this. I am a mom of a trans girl, 11 mos on estradiol and NO ONE told us about this. It could explain a lot. My daughter also has bipolar disorder so everything is always chalked up to that. Should she be on progesterone too? She takes Lupron and will be 15 in a month. We are seeing the endo next week. I’m not sure she’s the right one for us. She should have told us this. And she is going soooo slowly with the estrogen (by pill… is that okay?)… I’m not sure. We will get our daughter a vaginoplasty when she is 18. We will keep her home from college for a year to fully heal (dorms are full of germs and I don’t want her new vagina in a dorm room until it’s all healed!).

    I’m sorry you couldn’t tell your parents when you were little. Sammy sort of told us starting at 18 mos but we thought she was gender fluid until she was 12. When male puberty started she flipped out and was like – Mommy, make this stop! In retrospect I feel guilty that I didn’t understand her earlier. She never said she was a girl. Just that she wanted to wear girl clothes. I thought it was a dress up thing. She also dressed up as a cat, Spiderman, the Terminator and a vampire and insisted we refer to her as those things. And she was always Sammy. We are doing the name.change soon (money is an issue – thank goodness all trans related care is covered under our insurance – for now. We are getting a passport before the great Orange Menace commences.)

    Thank you for educating me.

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