Pre-Transition VS Now – Interests

I seem to be in the trend of making personal posts lately. I’m going to try adding some images to my blog this post πŸ™‚

This post is going to address an issue I have been dealing with a lot lately. Over the past few months, I feel like I have truly begun living as a woman, not as a transgender woman, just as an ordinary woman. I addressed this issue briefly in my last post, but I wanted to expand upon the idea a bit more.

I liked a huge range of things when I was younger; I loved anime, some music bands, and especially video games. During this period of.. what I playfully will refer to as intense transformation, a lot of my priorities shifted. Some people claim it is entirely hormones or entirely situation, but I think it is a mix. I’ve been in my first committed, living together relationship, with new priorities like activism and education, rather than my previous goals of video game design. However, I do feel like estrogen has played a major roll in my tastes and interests.

This whole train of thought began a week or so ago when I was watching one of my all time favorite animes again (For any otakus reading, I was watching Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket). There is a still frame in the anime of a boy from behind, with a bunch of ‘toys’ shoved in his back pocket; a swiss army knife, a razor blade, and a toy missile.

Gundam 0080

The still frame from Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket (Excuse the art, it was drawn in the early 80's in Japan!)

As a teenager on testosterone, this image barely phased me. When I first saw this last week though, I felt sick. I stared at this image for several minutes, unraveling why it disturbed me so much. This image is of the main character, a ten year old boy caught up in vicious war. This kid gets sucked into the war, and ends up witnessing the people he viewed as a brother and a sister killing each other. Knowing how this kid would have suffered, how his innocent little games of playing war became twisted and all too real. Part of it might be that I am older, that I understand more what it is like to lose, but I feel that estrogen played a huge part in how this affected me.

This change in perception has been obvious in my tastes in entertainment in general. When I was younger, bloody, violent movies didn’t phase me very much. Seeing people suffering was uncomfortable, but I mostly ignored it. Now, the blood, the hatred, the violence in some of the movies I used to enjoy can make me nauseous. However, the romance that before was just a side story (though an important part) is now the main attraction to me. I love romance movies, and even in action films, I feel like romance can be such a powerful driving force. And when there is a sad part of a movie, I cry almost all the time.

When I first watched Rent, I thought the ending was very sad. I watched this movie several times during transition. Each time, the ending made me more and more emotional. Now, I cry absolutely every time I watch this part of the movie.

When I was living male, I listened to a lot of angry music. I loved screaming to Rise Against, crying out My Chemical Romance, AFI, very dramatic music. I listen to them now, the anger and emotion is sometimes too much to deal with. Now I like music that tends to be softer; I like Two Tongues more than Say Anything now (Two bands that have the same singer), because the songs are more about relationships and share complex harmonies, rather than shouting and anger. I like more relaxing music now, but sometimes I do like going back and listening to my old music.

There are even more subtle differences I have noticed in my tastes. Walking through a beautiful meadow now makes me feel things I never did before, the beauty of something can have a deep emotional impact on me now. I never thought I would understand the sensation of seeing something so beautiful you have an urge to cry. There have been several times where the scenery will be so beautiful I will have to stop just to admire it. Before hormones, I knew these things were beautiful, but they seemed to be more in the background. It felt like there was a driving force to move forward, so much so that I couldn’t stop to enjoy things like flowers and landscapes. Now, I can enjoy these simple things, see the beauty in things I missed before.

I wish I could stumble into a place like this.

In a lot of ways, I have become more and more stereotypically feminine. I can’t say for sure whether it is because of hormones or developmental changes, but I feel like it must be some mixture. I feel like estrogen has brought me down to a more rational level. Before I felt a constant urge to do something, a drive to struggle and achieve, to compete and be the best. Now, I feel like I am in control of myself, I can express myself freely without having to think about whether my reactions will be judged or ridiculed.

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  1. The ‘change’ is different for everyone. According to my endo, my T levels are BELOW that of a cisgender female, yet I remain mostly the same person, physical changes aside, as before.

    There was a time, for about 3 months, immediately following my decision, when I no longer felt the need to play WoW. That passed, and the addiction returned πŸ™‚

    Now, I take pleasure in speaking on Ventrilo, and not have to worry about my voice ‘giving me away’.

    Another woman I know like us loves her “Saw” series, and other horror / torture films.

    However, I’m very happy you’re experiencing such positive emotions! ❀

  2. Another friend

     /  May 9, 2011

    This is why sometimes I get a little upset at myself. As a woman, I have a slightly deeper voice and sometimes even a more muscular appearance. I have hormonal issues that lead to me having more testosterone than most average females. I have an extra sporty side, I love action movies even though I still cry at the mooshie parts. I love gore and many things the more feminine females probably would have not interest in. Metal music soothes me the most and only because it lets me feel angry for a while and after I feel that way, I can calm myself down. I tend to be a dark person, I tend to be very forceful when I fight for what I stand for or what means the most to me, I’m having a lot of changes of my own at the current time which make for a lot of emotional changes and feelings. More acne, more deep, but beautiful feelings, more sensitivity and sympathy. I don’t fight for what means the most to me like I used to. I cry and I have the tendency to give in when things get rougher. I have less of the ability to fight through the stresses in my everyday life. Even simple things such as “will you buy me something” from my fiance makes me cry and get upset versus yell, fight and tell him no. It’s the increase in estrogen that I feel I can attribute to these changes and I know that I won’t be the same afterwards, even if I was born and will always be a woman. I just want you to know that I know how even just the slightest hormonal change can effect even the proper sex that just has a hormonal imbalance. Having more testosterone for 99% of my life makes the added estrogen spike changes my life too. I’m glad everything is starting to fit into place with you.

  3. Ashley McLaughlin

     /  May 9, 2011

    Thank you both so much for your replies!
    This entire topic is somewhat subjective, really. During this time in people’s lives (during and post college), we all change a lot. It’s our phase of “going out into the world.” So I think we would all change, but I know hormones have effected me in many ways.
    I actually want to do another post talking about how I have begun reclaiming the lost parts of me, my interest in anime and games, things I loved my whole life but I shut out post transition. I think it is a tendency most trans people have, but we learn to come to terms with our past and reclaim the things we have left behind.
    To the second commenter (I have a guess who that is πŸ˜‰ ), I feel like your condition puts you in a unique situation to understand both genders in a way many transgender people do. Hormones definitely contribute largely to behavior and tastes. I think this emphasizes how important hormone replacement therapy can be for transgendered individuals. The changes hormones allow are so important and numerous; they allow an individual to feel, to think, to see the world through the eyes they have always lacked due to their physical condition.

    Also, if that first person is who I think she is, I want to know what server you play on!! I want to get back into WoW!


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