Transitioning early in life: Frya's advice

Frya transitioned at age 22 in 1976. At that time, discrimination almost invariably pushed us to the very fringes of society, where living on the street and doing drugs and sex work were common. Unfortunately, there are still women in our community pushed to these fringes. Frya's advice is targeted at young people who are living on the street, and is more like survival tips than success tips. I hope none of you find yourselves in a position where this information is relevant to your lives, but if you are on the street and using drugs, Frya makes some important suggestions from someone who has seen first-hand what can happen on the street.

I am a Flemish transsexual woman who also transitioned relatively early in life. I transitioned at age 22. I turned 50 last year. I had just finsihed my last go at trying to be a man. I had been cordained clergy in the Oude Katholiek Kerk van Holland (the Old Catholic Church of Holland), where as Relgious was I involved in parish work and very deeply mystical studies of Christianity. I had devoted my heart and soul to Hielige Moeder Kerk, after having had a transcendental conversion experience in Kerstfeêst (Christmas ). Since a child, I had sought help from God to make me a girl. In my early adolesecence, I cried myself to sleep each night praying God to make me a girl. My brother had convinced to go to Kerstfeêstmes because he knew the man which was Prester. I skeptically agreed because he promised that they would not try to convert me. They didn't. My experience was purely internal and set me on the path for the next six year becoming a monk and prester. I tried to sublimate my feelings of wanting to be a woman by offering them to God. It did not ever completely werk and six years later, I left the Kerk in Pasch (Easter) of 1976, I had been on hormones for about a month or so.

I mention this that those who may be troubled by religous guilt as I was since several years aferwards. God , however you may believe does care about your gender, or one can say that God made you this way for God's purpose. Over the years I learned that I can still be a spiritual person without the Church. The Old Testament injunctions against crosdressing do not really apply if you believe as a Christian. Jesus said that if one follows the Laws of loving one's neighbour as oneself and loving God totally, you have fulfilled the Ten Commandments and that these Laws superceded the Old Testament. You need not feel guilty over being transsexual. It does not make you a sinner. But if you need the absolution to feel better, so be it. Below you will find my absolution to you as a priest. For once a prester always a prester. There numerous sites on the web for Christian transsexuals and if you are troubled by guilt seek them out. They are not difficult to find.

This is my absolution to you. Filia vel Filius meus, non est peccatum transsexualem essere. Ego te absolvo in nomine Patris, Filius et Spiritus Sanctus. Amen.

My daughter or son, it is not a sin to be transsxual. I absolve thee in the name of the Father and the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Amen. I do not assign pennance. However, I do suggest that you pray for spiritual fulfillment, enlightenment and strength, for this is not an easy row to hoe. You will need all of your inner strength and faith to guide you and the advice of older sisters and brothers whom you trust and are spirituaal.

So much for the Christian side of things. It is however true that you will all your inner, spiritual strength. People will revile you, for people are afraid of anything that upsets their carefully constructed weireldaonshcang or worldview. Sometimes they react with violence. I have had that happen to me.

As a young person who is intending to make the change, please listen and take heed of this advice or at least some of it. It may save your life. First of all, I KNOW what that pain and longing to have your body match your soul is. However, before embarking on this voyage, try to plan things out as much as possible. Where are you going to live? How are you going to support yourself? What emotional support are you to have? Who will be your friends? If you have few or none, this is still important, for as you go through transition you will meet people who will like you and accept for who you are and those who won't or who only seek to take advantage of your youth and beauty.

If you can, try to enlist the support of your family. Look for a local transgender support group for teens or young people. This is a place to make friends and get good advice. If you end up on the streets, life can be very difficult and brutal. If you turn to prostitution, then be even more carefull to find friends you trust. If you give blow jobs or have people fuck you or you fuck them, ALWAYS ALWAYS use condoms and lubricaant with a spermicide that kills HIV/AIDS; such as non-oxynol-9/ Please, under no circumstances allow yourself to have sex without a codom and protection. It may be tempting if the johns offer more money to you, but I can tell you AIDS is not a picnic. The disease itself KILLS! It does not care how young you are. You can get infected at any age and even just having sex once with an infected partner. I have seen dozens of our sisters die slow, excruciating, lonely deaths because of AIDS. I have visited sisters in the hospital dying form this horrible disease and have known girls and a few guys dying as young as 23. It may hamper your chances for surgery and AIDS drugs are expensive.

If you shoot hormones ALWAYS ALWAYS use a new syringe. NEVER share rigs or and part of the outfit, points or anything else. If you must shoot and cannot get new syringes, NEVER share if you can help it. to sanitize a syringe one may use a rigfull of chlorine bleach, drawn up into the syringe and then squirted out in to a sink, then filll it twice with clean water. However, this will not necessarily prevent you from getting infected, as blood can stay in tiny parts of the syringe and you may not see it. Doctor Barry Zevin, medical director of San Francisco's 'TG Tuseday' Clinic a San Francisco Public health clinic recommends using 1 inch to two inch sized needles of 21 to 22 gauge. Hormones are thick and viscous and do not draw or shoot well from smaller rigs, such as 26 gauge insulin syringes; In fact, you may not even be able to inject from that small of a gauge. Always swab the area with rubbing alcohol first, then choose the injections site carefully in the upper part of your butt, where there is a lot fat. If you can use pills or patches so much the better, but remember using higher doses to speed up the feminisation process is a very bad idea. It doesn't work. In fact, o.d.ing on hormones can kill you by causing blood clots and other problems, as well as have the opposite effect. It can actually impede your body's ability to process hormones. Hormones are just that,űhormones, in fact, steroid hormones. That means that they are in the same class of drugs as the anabolic steroids that athletes use to improve their performance. Now hormones can actually reduce your anxiety, if used right and make you feel calmer. That's because of they create a proper hormone balance, too much, creates an imbalance and can make you feel bitchy, angry, &tc. That's why it's so important to follow a doctor's advice....if you use IV drugs.....buy from someone you trust and have done business....be careful....by trying to rip them off

If you use IV drugs, the same safety rules apply. and be aware that you don't know what you're getting in the way of steet drugs. You don't know what they're cut with or how strong they are. Try using a smaller than normal amount to minimise the risk of harm form impuitites. Always buy from some one you tust and whom you have dine business with in the past, if you can. Be careful, don't play games with dealers by trying to rip the, off or getting into debt with them. I promise you you'll be sorry. If they don't kill you outright, they may disfigure you. Clean injection equipment is available from needle exchange sites. If they don't have hormones needles tell them to get some. Explain that your needs are different.

If you use crack or smoke speed, try to regulate when and where and how much you use. For instance, maybe only use on weekends or every other day, instead of every day. Remember the more you spend on street drugs to get high, the less you're likely to have for surgery. Silicone injections are a no-no; They fuck up your immune systeem and can migrate to different parts of the body. I had a colleague, named Sherry. She worked at an AIDS programme and died of AIDS in 1997. She had had injections in her cheeks when she was younger and working the streets. When I knew her in the early 1990s the silicone had migrated from her cheekbones, to her cheeks and looked terrible. Sherry was good-hearted, caring person who dedicated the last five of six years of her life to helping sisiters and brothers in the sreets. She was my friend as well, and I miss her still.

I was naïve zhen started I transition and made many mistakes and saw the wrong end of a gun too many times. But The Goddess seems to have had a different idea in mind and I beleive that Moeder Kybellê (Mother Cybele) had something else for me in mind. To day, I practice a sprirituality that goes back to stoneage time, about 10.000 years. Transsexuals were pristesses and came to be called Gallæ. I am also a social worker which has dedicated the past 18 years of her life to helping her Sisters and Brothers.

Most importantly, for safety and efficiency of hormonal usage by the body, use them under a doctor's supervision, IF AT ALL POSSIBLE. Hormones are serious drugs and can affect your health in many ways and also using dirty needles can give you hepatitis which will fuck up your liver. If your liver stops working you die. Transplants are expensive and hard to get. However, if you do it carefully, and safely, you can become the beautiful self you were meant to be. You have your whole life ahead of you.

Please excuse my poor English; it is not my native tongue. You may publish this in whole or in part. I include photos to show different phases of my life. Unfortunately, I have no photos erlier than the 1980s except for childhood photos.

Yours most faithfully.
Frijâ

Below:

Fryâ van der Haeghetessan, c. 1981

Fryâ, c. 1999, as director of a large homeless drop-in center and coördinator of the gender programme.

Fryâ has worked as a social worker working with transfolk sinnce the past 18 years. She has recently returned to school, where she is finishing on her MSW and working at getting a master's in nonprofit administration. She plans to found a programme for transyouth. She returned to her homeland in 1988 to visit that veritable artist of the lancet, Den Professor Dokter Heer Michel Seghers, in Brussel. However, her point-of-view is that transition never stops. As she sees it, we are always in a process of evolving and changing. It's just human growth. Surgery, is one more life transition.


Send me your thoughts, links, and advice!

If you transitioned in your teens or twenties and have any advice you'd like to share, please contact me , and I'll give it a permanent (and anonymous) home.