Trans women have a lot to handle. After going through the trouble of changing your name, shifting your presentation, potentially taking hormones, and battling back all kinds of transmisogyny, there are the small, everyday challenges of living as a woman.
Here are some of the little problems (and ridiculous gender expectations) you might not have anticipated early in transition:
1. Needing to keep a tampon in your purse.
Thing is, you didn’t want cis women to get all nosey about your trans status, so you had to do as the Roman cisgenders do and keep a tampon or pads in your purse at all times. That way if one of your friends ran out, you had one in there if they asked you. (Just be sure to brush off the dust first.)
2. Speaking of purses, you couldn’t have just one.
Not every trans woman rocks a purse, but according to those pesky gender expectations, you were supposed to have a bunch of them — and coordinate them with your outfit. This meant not just expanding your closet, but constantly needing to move your belongings from one purse to another, losing important things along the way. Oh crap, where’s that tampon?
3. And speaking of periods, you kept quiet when cis women talked about them so things wouldn’t get too awkward.
Nothing could disrupt a period convo among women like, “Oh, I don’t get periods. I take 0.2 mg’s of estradiol plus 150 mg of spironolactone.”
4. Also, you found yourself resigned to a life without pockets.
Women’s clothes assume that you care more about looking good than being practical, hence no pockets — not ones that you could actually put things in, anyway. Who needs keys when you look sexy, right?
5. Oh yeah, and then there’s having to deal with long hair.
Unless you’re one of the uber-confident trans women who has always presented more on the butch side, you’ve had to deal with long hair at some point. You grew up without having to handle hair ties, barrettes, pins, braiding, split ends, and everything else that comes with long hair, so the work was so much harder than you anticipated.
6. And the worst thing about long hair: It takes forever to dry.
This was an especially big problem in winter when you just wanted to leave the house after your shower, like you used to. You realized that you either needed to do a lot of blow-drying or you’d end up looking like this woman.
7. Invisible makeup was suddenly a thing.
Early in transition, you might have used makeup to cover up facial hair and overemphasize your femininity, so you got used to slathering it on thick. Not every trans woman wears makeup, but if you ever have, after transition you had to tread this fine line between wearing makeup to look pretty and not making it TOO obvious that you’re wearing makeup. It was, like, so weird.
8. You realized it’s not just what you wore, but how you acted. Suddenly, you couldn’t burp too loudly.
Men can burp as loud as they want, but women are supposed to do it cutely, and even then we’re expected to daintily excuse ourselves.
9. You also couldn’t poop with your boyfriend in the next room (or around anyone whose opinion you cared about, for that matter).
When you gotta go, you gotta go, right? Not when you’re a woman, apparently, lest your significant other figure out you’re an actual human being with bodily functions.
10. There was also a bunch of stuff you learned you couldn’t talk about without it getting awkward, like your pre-transition life.
Talking about early experiences like childhood or high school is hella weird. Either you present yourself as having grown up living as a girl (then people accuse you of lying if they find out you’re trans) or you stop the conversation cold. Talk about a double bind!
11. But you figured out one of the all-time most awkward moments is when people ask you when you’re planning to get pregnant.
There’s nothing more uncomfortable than the topic of conversation turning to childbirth or pregnancy when people assume you have ovaries.
12. The absolute worst was when people started thinking you were dumb just because you’re a woman.
It was like your IQ dropped at least 30 points just because you transitioned!
13. And then, of course, we have…MEN’S EGOS.
You could not have possibly anticipated the lengths many men go through to feel like they have to be the best until you have lived as a woman yourself. You were especially unprepared for men to be more competitive with you just because of your gender, since they could deal with getting beaten by a man, but not a woman. #MasculinitySoFragile