Going through an FTM transition often has unique challenges at any stage in life. When you're in college, though, you'll have to balance transitioning into a male body with schooling and the social situations that come along with robust campus life.
Yet, transitioning during college doesn't have to be a stressful experience. Below, we'll get into some tips to make your transition during college easier. Keep reading to learn more about how you can successfully transition in college!
What Does Transitioning Mean?
Before we get started, let's define our terms. What is FTM, and why is it an important step to take?FTM stands for "female-to-male." Transgender people use it as a shorthand to describe themselves or talk about the experience of going from a biologically female body to a male body. This is also referred to as "transitioning."
When you undergo an FTM transition, you'll take testosterone. There are several different ways to take testosterone, ranging from injections to patches. Some people even take pills or use a rub-in gel. If you're wondering which will work best for you, speak to your doctor.
Getting Ready for a TransitionSome of the changes trans people experience when they start to take testosterone are permanent. Transitioning will cause you to go through male puberty. For instance, their voices deepen, which isn't reversible.
So, before you start your FTM transition, you should make sure you're ready for the physical changes that come with puberty. If you're not, it's fine to call yourself transgender without going through the transition.
People often find their mental health improving once they transition. Transitioning can ease gender dysphoria and help you feel more at home in your body. So, if you feel ready to start the journey, college can be a great time to start.
If you're not sure if you're ready, talk to a doctor or therapist about the process. Having more information will give you insight into whether this process is right for you at this time. Before you start to take your testosterone, make sure you know how to administer it to yourself in the proper manner.
Consider Whether You Want Surgery
There are a few types of surgery available to people who go through an FTM transition. One of the most common types is top surgery.During top surgery, a surgeon will remove the breast tissue that develops during female puberty. This leaves you with a flat chest. You should expect some bruising and scarring under your pectoral area. This usually fades over time.
Some transgender and non-binary people also get phalloplasty. This procedure creates fully-functioning male genitalia using surgery. There are several types of phalloplasty available to you. These can have similar outcomes, but the skin used to create the penis differs.
Your surgeon should review your overall health. They'll also take your individual body goals into consideration and give you their best recommendations. So, finding a doctor you trust is crucial.
Getting Time Off for SurgerySome people also need 1-2 weeks away from school or work after top surgery. Phalloplasty can require up to 6 weeks of downtime. Refrain from participating in strenuous activity, including school sports, until you're recovered.
So, you shouldn't schedule your surgery during a busy time in your schedule! Some college students prefer to do their top surgery during a break. If you don't want to wait for a break, work with your professors to see how you can keep up your academic performance.
Find a Good Support Community
College can serve as a great space for transgender people because it provides you with lots of potential friends. Choosing your friends is very important during a transition.
First, you'll want to find people who are supportive of transgender people. See if your college has an LGBTQ+ club or chapter. You might have the opportunity to meet other trans people who can give you advice. Your campus's diversity office might have resources for you as well.
As you transition, keep in mind that people will have reactions to your new appearance and life. Some of these reactions will be positive and supportive, but some might not be.
If you're not out to anyone yet, think about the people in your life. Decide who you want to tell. Remember that you don't have to come out to anyone if you're not ready to!
You should also prioritize your mental health during this time. You'll also be going through hormonal changes, which can impact your mood. Most colleges in the United States have free mental health services on campus. Call the mental health center and ask for an appointment with a trans-affirming therapist.
What to Do If Your School Isn't Trans-Affirming?Unfortunately, some private higher education institutions aren't affirming trans people. This is often true for conservative institutions, especially if they're religious.
If possible, you should consider transferring out of these schools. Yet, this isn't an option for many transgender students for a variety of reasons.
Should you decide to stay at your school, the first thing you'll want to do is figure out the school's policies. Knowing this will help you figure out how to best be yourself while staying safe and getting your degree.
You should also see if there are any nearby LGBTQ+ associations or groups. Attending their events can help you make supportive friends.
Legally, in the United States, public colleges and universities cannot discriminate against transgender people. If you believe you have been discriminated against at any institution, consider contacting a lawyer or your school's Title IX office.
You also have the legal right to safety, regardless of the school you go to. If someone is harassing you, that's a violation of your rights. For the best outcome, document everything. Keep anything that your school's administration has put in writing.
Ready to Get Started with Your FTM Transition?If you're ready to start your FTM transition, you've come to the right place.
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