We still have a long way to go, but as a person with multiple Trans friends, it is great to see the progress the community is making and the level of acceptance that continues to grow around the country. It takes an enormous amount of strength and bravery to reveal your true self to the world, and I applaud all that do just that. That being said, the transitional process can hold many surprises along the way. Take it from these folks, who posted their stories on Reddit.

Dudes, even average/shrimpy dudes, you don’t realize how much testosterone helps bolster your physical strength until you lose it. When I was still pretending to be your average college-age dude, complete with average stature and average strength, I could lift and carry basically anything I wanted within reason. TVs. Furniture. Whatever. Then I decided to nuke my T from orbit. My strength evaporated in a matter of months, to the point where when I moved out of my dorm, my brothers and dad had to do all the heavy lifting of furniture and heavy boxes. Kind of embarrassing, to be honest.

Wasn’t expecting my dad who previously identified as a Republican who went to a Bible college to be the one to accept me and my mom who was liberal and an interior decorator with many gay friends to be the one to reject me. 

As a “normal” guy, when I’d get aroused it would just be “oh I feel my penis getting hard, I wanna press it into stuff!” feeling. On estrogen as MTF it’s super weird when you first get it. Instead of being focused on your genitalia completely, I get like a tingly feeling from my stomach all the way to my butt and it gives you a kind of ‘achey’ feeling. The first few times I thought I just had to pee. When I first noticed it, I was driving around for my job and my mind would wander to something sexual and I’d feel the tingle and be like 'oh I must have to pee’ only never did. Took me several times before I finally pinpointed the difference. When something feels a certain way for so long then it suddenly changes like that, it’s so surreal. Also my nipples went from just feeling like an elbow to feeling like someone touching you 'down there.’

I didn’t expect all the support I got. When I started transition, I was attending high school in a conservative, religious suburban town in the Deep South. I was worried that I’d be bullied or attacked, but everyone was awesome. The administration didn’t give me any problems about bathrooms, my classmates used my new name and pronouns without a hitch, and students I didn’t even know came up to me in the hallway to congratulate me. I was blown away by how positive the whole experience was.

I wasn’t expecting hormones to change my sexuality. I was hot for any gender going in, but now it’s like 99% guys. Getting 2 inches shorter (changes in the curvature of the spine) was also a surprise. Also, my skin produces much less sweat/oil now. I used to smell myself after a few hours if I forgot to put on deodorant, but now it hardly matters.

I was not expecting how very “Boy’s Club” it would be. Old men keep shaking my hand instead of trying to hug me. The hell?

The most wonderful change for me, personally, has been the sort of calming effect testosterone has on my emotions. I feel a lot less intensely now and, as someone who used to cry at every little thing, it’s a serious blessing. I also now can’t really cry–I can feel like I want to/am going to but the tears are non-existent. Being able to kind of keep my emotions in check has been wonderful, and I’ve made a lot of progress maturity-wise because of it.

Also, no one told me I’d one day be comfortable with leaving my house. It’s an amazing feeling to walk outside and go about the day like a normal human being for the first time in my life without any stares or insults or questions. I blend right in and for the first time I can relax.

A few things: People seem generally more eager to help, like when I got a flat tire, or if something technological isn’t working. Guys don’t talk the same way to me. I don’t hear sex jokes, or people talk about “totally banging that chick last night bro”. It made me realize I had lost that “good ol’ boy” relationship with them. Women in general seem more eager to talk about how stupid men are when none of them are around. Old women love to tell me about how I’ll have kids someday. I can actually cry about things. Growing boobs hurt really badly, to the point where I have to leave the front desk sometimes because I can’t even focus.

Men’s socks: They’re so uncomfortable. Especially men’s dress socks. What the fuck, guys? Why do y'all wear those? Why’d you make me wear those?

Friends were concerned that I’d change too much of who I am on the inside. One friend semi-jokingly said “Oh, god, you’re not gonna be one of those bitchy hot girls, are you?” I had to emphasize when I come out to friends that I wasn’t going to change. “I just want you to know that I’m not going to change. I mean, I’ll look different and sound different and have a different name and whatnot, but I’ll still be the same person I always was. I’ll just be happier.

I have to carry pads in my purse even though I don’t have a period because women will ask me for a spare in the women’s restroom, and you’ll get weird looks if you’re the only woman in the restroom who doesn’t carry an emergency pad on her. And they’re far more willing to be open about their period. They’ll just tell me about it being heavier than normal, etc. It’s kind of a huge change.

Post operation stuff: No one told me I needed to learn to pee again. Seriously, I don’t know how this wasn’t explained to me. It’s hard to describe but when you’re peeing with a penis you have to focus your muscles forward. When you have a vagina, you need to focus down. It took me days to get that figured out. Also vaginas require a ton of upkeep. A penis is easy to take care of; wash it daily and keep it away from zippers.