Trans People Share Their Biggest 'Culture Shock' Experiences After Transitioning
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Gender transition is a lot more complicated than pop culture usually makes it out to be (there is no such thing as a single "The Surgery", for example [and don't ask trans people about their surgical history if you're not their medical provider. That's a really weird thing to do.]) and not all transgender people will choose to, or be able to, transition. Sometimes transition looks like simply asking the people around you to use a different name and different pronouns to refer to you, and sometimes it might look like starting hormone replacement therapy or seeking gender-affirming surgeries—or any number of other things.

People who do transition tend to notice big differences in the way that the people around them act, and not just the people who knew them before and during their transitions. A lot of the ways strangers treat you are based on split-second judgements based on the way you look, dress, or behave, so changing those things can significantly change the way you're treated.

If you're interested in some of those often drastic and fascinating changes people noticed in others' behavior throughout their transitions, keep reading.


Reddit user TyDye386 asked:

"Trans people of Reddit, what was the biggest 'culture shock' you noticed after transitioning to your gender?"

Personal Space

"Almost no touching by non family members."

"When I was living as a woman they would give hugs, touch my shoulder or arms, even strangers when it wasn't always appreciated."

"As a man now they will shake your hand nothing else."

- Dutch_Rayan

One Of The Guys

"The difference between being friends with people of same and different genders is shocking."

"Now that I'm out to my friends my guy friends treat me much differently. I'm one of them now, and it's a lot different than being friends with guys as a girl, or even being friends with girls as a girl."

- MyChemicalFoemance

"I’m curious how did they treat you differently if you could elaborate? I’m fascinated on what changes you noticed from them."

- tylrss

"They (my male friends) have been much more relaxed around me, they've been considerably more comfortable making fun of me (jokingly) and also when it comes to like physical contact and stuff my female friends are much less touchy with me now that I've transitioned socially where as the guy friends are generally more touchy with me, both in roughhousing and standard like platonic affection. So that was interesting."

"They're definitely more open around me, they tend to talk about their girlfriends more around the other guys vs with the girls. The girls still talk about their partners with me though so that hasn't changed lmao"

- MyChemicalFoemance

"Sorry, Bud"

"People weren’t joking when they said Canadians use the word “bud” a lot when talking to boys."

- nightingalegrey15

"Congrats on your transition to Canadian!"

- Error707

"trans-can"

- miami-architecture

"On the flip side, as a recently out, currently transitioning, and in almost no way 'passing' trans woman, getting people to not call me that is a challenge and a half, especially if they knew me before."

"I literally want to get a soundboard of that clip from Hamilton where he aggressively says 'CALL ME "SON" ONE MORE TIME!!'"

-Secretly_Pineapple

"All I can think of is Terrance and Phillip though."

"'I'm not your buddy, pal' 'I'm not your pal, guy!' 'I'm not your guy, bud!'"

- rainshadow425

friendship buddies GIF by South Park Giphy

*Nods*

"male here. suddenly no one gives a sh*t about me, i feel totally anonymous. No one makes any comments about me or double takes or smiles or anything. I’ll get a nod but that’s it."

- Bonesaucer

"Nods in agreement*"

- Mango Weasel

"Welcome to being a man. We have jackets."

- FrostyByte62

"More importantly, we have pockets."

- Zenki95

"The pockets are amazing. They are huge and numerous."

- Bonesaucer

"You Should Wear..."

​"People telling me what I should be wearing. Like I was at work one time in a super market a customer was like. 'So when are you going to start wearing a dress.' 'I worked on the freezer aisle so ... never? There are literally other women here right now, none of them are wearing a dress?'"

"Honestly the biggest surprise for me when I came out to all my friends. They were round for RPG night and I told them. They were all like 'OK cool' apart from one who yelled 'CALLED IT!' I had it in my head that there was going to be this hugely negative experience. That bit happened when I told my family. But you know what they say. You don't get to choose who you are related too."

- Artsygem87

One Of The Girls

​"The amount of women in my family, my female friends, and even female acquaintances now confiding every single deep dark detail of their life in me, or just openly talking about their every bodily function."

"I became 'One of the girls' way before I was comfortable with it."

- O_My_Goshness_No

"Yea one of the big parts of sisterhood- and why female friend groups are so vicious to one of their own being hurt- is because we know everything about each other."

"There are very few boundaries drawn between women, family members especially."

- h0n3yst

My Behavior Didn't Change

"I'm an autistic man mid-20s."

"Not being perfectly polite (like, down to the non-autistic standard I guess) and even a little blunt is now considered 'honesty' rather than 'rudeness' or 'talking back'."

- tollthedead

A Spectrum Of Reactions

"I'm a nonbinary trans man. I think the biggest culture shock for me has been how personally some of the women around me take my transition."

"I have been pleasantly surprised that most people of either gender are chill with my trans-ness."

"But I've found that of the people who take issue with it, women are much more vocal about it. Like, men will just pointedly not use my pronouns if they have an issue, but some of the women in my family literally try to guilt trip me about it and women who barely know me tell me not to "mutilate" my chest. Which made me realize fully that women actually do see their breasts as part of their body and losing them would be a loss like losing a leg whereas to me my sense of self starts underneath them to the point that lying on my stomach is frustrating because I feel like my chest can never actually touch whatever surface I'm laying on. So despite the comment being rude, it's surprisingly validating."

- anarchomoth

You Like That Thing? Prove It.

"I'm a game developer and probably know more about video games than most people. As a guy if I said I was a fan of this or that series it would basically be taken uncritically. Now, as a woman, in groups of mostly men when I say 'I really like Metal Gear Solid' there's a weirdly high incidence of dudes feeling the need to quiz me to prove that I'm a 'real' fan."

"I mean catcalls and generally not being as safe in public also sucks, but we all knew about that stuff. The weird part was just not being taken seriously anymore on stuff I'm actually quite knowledgeable on."

"Edit: The handful of replies to this doubting these experiences are a case study in irony. Way to prove the point."

- brainwarts

Finding Community

"Honestly the transgender/nonbinary culture on its own is so much cooler than i expected. transitioning turned out to be a treat when it allowed me to make friends with all these gorgeous, stylish queer people that support me and let me be who I am."

- Mysterious_Bite_7394

Do you have similar experiences to share? Let us know in the comments below.




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