Sometimes when looking for subject inspiration, old pictures help. I came across the one I’m using as the main header picture here while I was creating an online photo gallery, which was taken in my friend Jaz’s apartment in Hove a few years ago, and it just begged me to write a piece about size because size plays on my mind quite a bit and can restrict me physically and mentally if I let it.
With a size 48 foot I’m severely limited with the choice of shoes available to me (especially here in Bangkok) and to find feminine flat shoes that fit is a real challenge even globally. I can cope for a day out in up to a 4” heel as long as I’m not doing much walking, but I learned a few weeks back that it can have some devastating effects. That Saturday my new pair of 4” heels took all the skin off the balls of my feet, leaving me incapacitated for days. (It didn’t help that my friend Teresa and I had enjoyed ourselves a little too much at Wine Connection and as a result I hadn’t felt the pain until I took them off.) The only chance I have without the expense of mail order or having them specially made (which I really do need to explore) is to try to find men’s shoes which look feminine, but most of the time here in Bangkok, shops only go up to a size 45. No matter how good I feel I look when I’m going out, make-up and hair done, I must either suffer in heels which do restrict my mobility, or wear men’s shoes which aesthetically jar with the rest of my ensemble. They’re usually quite chunky, or at least look so on a size 48 foot, and it makes me quite self-conscious.
To a lesser degree, because I’ve had so many years to get used to it, my height and bulk are an occasional cause of turmoil to me, especially as regards presenting myself as a woman. There aren’t many 6’2” women around, and while hormone and testosterone blockers will reduce my muscle mass over time, it won’t reduce my height any. Even models are only an average 5’9” to 5’11”. Think when the last time was that you laid eyes on a woman over 6’.
This presents challenges for dating too. While I don’t mind guys being shorter than me, (there aren’t all that many taller) the difference between me and a guy walking together can get public attention, and it’s a brave man who can shrug off the stares.
Most aspects of realizing my transgendered self are quite daunting, and as it is for every transgendered person, it’s a regular exercise in overcoming fear, embarrassment and self-consciousness. My largeness of size makes the process a little more scary as it attracts a great deal of attention, especially in a country where the population is generally much shorter. Having said that, my advice for the larger bodied person on the road towards transition from male to female would be to spend some time going public in Bangkok, where you will be stared at a lot! While the idea of this may fill you with dread, it will get you accustomed to the attention which standing out from the crowd commands, in a safe environment where there is extremely little hate crime directed towards Western transgendered people and ladyboys are a common sight around the city. Every day I try a little harder not to let the dimensions of my body restrict my freedom and the way I wish to express myself. It takes time but it gets easier as I go along and I will keep setting myself challenges; putting myself in situations which would usually cause me embarrassment or make me very self conscious, in order to get over these limitations and ultimately not have them restrict my life any more. As my body morphs through hormone treatment, I expect to find it easier to carry myself.
On to the subject of size which my header picture suggests, I hear many transgendered people (male to female) have penile dysmorphic disorder, and how I felt about my own appendage was something the psychiatrist at Yanhee Hospital was quite interested in. She wanted to know if I pretend I don’t have it, if I wished I didn’t have it from an early age, if I sit to pee, and if I believe it to be disproportionately small. No I don’t, no I didn’t, yes I do and no I don’t. In fact, I like my averaged sized genitalia and that’s one of the reasons I don’t currently think I’ll ever have Sexual Reassignment Surgery (SRS). I enjoy it being stimulated and although I do not take the active “male” role in sex I very much enjoy it getting attention by my partner. I’m a little sad that over time on hormones with greatly reduced testosterone in my system my penis size will drastically reduce. I also hear and read conflicting reports as to whether hormone treatment will eventually prevent the ability to get and maintain an erection, although doctors have assured me that sexual stimulation can be more mental than physical, and with the right emotional state, erections and orgasms should still be achievable, (while the ability to ejaculate will decrease due to the body no longer producing semen,).
Unlike sterility though, these are not permanent changes but an effect of continuing estrogen supplements paired with testosterone blockers. If I ever was very unhappy with its decreasing size and did find an inability to become erect to the degree that it spoiled my quality of life, this could be reverted by stopping treatment, though nothing is without consequences. While my original size and function should return, so too would my overall masculinity as the testosterone took hold of my body once again.
Maybe my opinion will change during the process of my feminization, but call it what you want (and I’ve heard a number of trans gurls refer to theirs as their clitoris) I remain of the opinion, as conveyed in Monty Python’s “The Penis Song”, that it really is “awfully nice to have a penis”.