I’ve been living full time as a trans woman for around three years now. I changed my legal name and got the gender marker on my passport back in 2014 and since then have lived every day of my life, without exception, as Laura Dale rather than anyone I might have been previously to the world.
For the vast majority of those three years, I’ve had to make a conscious effort to get gendered as female. With my hair down, face shaved, foundation and concealer, traditionally feminine coded clothing like skirts and tops that showed off the impression of breasts, I would still have a hit and miss track record getting correctly gendered in public.
I had to make an effort all day, every day, to still routinely get read as male in spite of my own efforts to present as female.
A few months ago, that seemingly changed out of nowhere. I’m not entirely sure why.
So, a few things have changed in my life since I started transition. I’ve started taking hormones, then hormones with testosterone blockers, then I had lower surgery and cut out the testosterone blockers. Most of these are things that will not be visible to the world around me.
As of right now, my body does not produce testosterone, and gets a daily dose of oestrogen.
My breasts, previously a bra stuffed with mastectomy breast forms, are now small but existent tissue of my own.
I don’t think I really look any different to when I started transition, but maybe that’s just seeing my own face every day.
The first time I realised something had changed was a night out in London where, trying to get home from a train station, four separate men tried to proposition me for sex.
It wasn’t a positive experience, it was honestly rather terrifying, but it was a night where I was clearly being clocked as female enough to face repeated creepy advances.
A few days later, I found myself getting catcalled more than I had before.
A few days later I ran to the shop in a baggy hoody, jeans, with my hair tied up and a bit of facial hair because I had not shaved yet. No makeup.
I got correctly gendered as female by store staff.
I found this starting to happen more and more frequently, I could make a “lazy day” trip to the shops making no conscious effort to signal myself as female, and still get clocked as female properly.
I’ve not had someone use male pronouns to refer to me in months. That includes days where I have made no effort on my experience and am bracing myself, expecting the reality of not being clocked as female.
I don’t know what turning point I hit, but from talking to other trans women, it seems like they hit this mystery point to.
There’s some point in transition where, even without making an effort, something changes and people start to clock your gender correctly in spite of non traditional aspects that would usually be considered “tells”.
I wish I knew what changed, but knowing this mystery turning point has been reached makes me feel infinately better about myself.
I feel like I can now explore non traditional femininity, the kind of varied experiences of valid femininity often promoted within non trans feminist circles, without worrying about my status as female being quite so scrutinised.
It’s a nice place to be in life.