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Trans People Share Their Biggest 'Culture Shock' Experiences After Transitioning

Trans People Share Their Biggest 'Culture Shock' Experiences After Transitioning
Elevate on Unsplash

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.




Bizarre Historical Facts They Never Taught Us In School
Photo by Austin Lowman on Unsplash

We can't learn everything in school, and maybe that's a good thing—because these bizarre historical facts are too weird for a textbook. Like Abraham Lincoln's other assassination, Thomas Edison's little-known dark side, or Mozart's obsession with butts...and that's just naming a few. Strap in for this VERY strange ride.

1. Queen Elizabeth Had A Nasty Mouth

Although dental hygiene was not necessarily at its peak in Tudor England, Queen Elizabeth I’s fondness for sweets gave her pearly whites an even darker tone...in fact, her chompers were probably very black. More than that, since sugar was a luxury, some women then blackened their teeth both to emulate their queen and show off their wealth.

2. Thomas Edison Was Evil

The famous inventor Thomas Edison had a huge dark side not many people know about. For example, he used electricity to publicly kill animals. He wanted to show how alternating current was more dangerous than the "direct" current that he used. On one occasion, he used A/C to execute a rogue circus elephant named "Topsy" in front of thousands of people.

3. Alexander The Great's Mother Was Scary

File:Cassandre et Olympia-Jean Joseph Taillasson mg 8223.jpg ...commons.wikimedia.org

Queen Olympias was Alexander the Great's mother, and she was even more ruthless than her son. On one occasion, she sent a captive enemy queen a cup of poison, a noose, and a sword...then told her to choose how she would die. According to history, the woman chose to hang herself, though she cursed Olympias to the very end of her life.

4. Napoleon Used His Wife As A "Womb"

Napoleon Bonaparte famously adored his wife Josephine, but few people remember the dark end of their love affair. Tragically, Josephine couldn't have children, so Napoleon made a hard choice: He divorced Josephine and took up with Marie-Louise of Austria. Napoleon reportedly told his blushing bride straight off, “It is a womb that I am marrying.”

5. Ernest Hemingway Almost Died In Back-To-Back Plane Crashes

In 1954, the macho writer Ernest Hemingway got into a plane crash. He miraculously survived, but that was just the start of the nightmare. When he tried to take another plane to get medical help, that plane exploded upon taking off. Hemingway managed to survive again. Talk about bad luck. Or wait a minute...actually, is that good luck?

6. King Edward VIII Was A Colossal Jerk

King Edward VIII and Mrs Simpson on holiday in Yugoslavia,… | Flickrwww.flickr.com

King Edward VIII lost his brother Prince John at a young age from a severe seizure. The boy had suffered from epilepsy and other ailments for years, but Edward’s response was so disturbing, it’s impossible to forget. He referred to John’s passing as “little more than a regrettable nuisance.”

7. The FBI Knew About Pearl Harbor

The FBI ignored compelling evidence about the attack on Pearl Harbor because they didn’t trust the Serbian double agent Dusan Popov, who was apparently a gambling, lustful lush. Dusan's nickname around town was "tricycle" because of his infamous love of threesomes. Unsurprisingly, he was one of the inspirations for Ian Fleming’s James Bond.

8. There Were Original "Siamese Twins"

Two Siam natives, Chang and Eng Bunker, were American twins joined at the sternum. During the American Civil War in 1865, Eng’s name was drawn in a draft lottery, but not Chang's. There was little the conscription officials could do: The brothers were not only joined at the sternum, but their livers were also fused. Neither twin served in the conflict.

9. Ben Franklin Had Bodies In His Basement

File:Joseph Siffrein Duplessis - Benjamin Franklin - Google Art ...en.wikipedia.org

While renovating his home into a museum, researchers made a horrific discovery at Ben Franklin's house. They found 10 bodies in the founding father's basement. This led to speculation he may have been a serial killer. However, the bodies were more likely cadavers used for the anatomical studies of one of Franklin’s friends.

10. You Can Use Honey For Some Messed-Up Activities

King Herod, the tyrant king of Judea, had his wife, Mariamne I, preserved in honey after her death. Herod ordered her execution, but found her too beautiful to bury and so kept and preserved her body for seven years. Herod suffered from paranoid delusions, rage, and arteriosclerosis, but his death in 4 BCE came at the hands of a mysterious and agonizing illness that modern doctors are still not able to identify.

At one point, the pain was so excruciating, the king attempted to take his own life. The illness came to be known, among the Judean people, as “Herod’s Evil.”

11. Abraham Lincoln Cheated Death Once

Abraham Lincoln was almost killed two years before he was assassinated. Late one August evening in 1863, Lincoln rode alone by horse to his family’s summer residence. A private at the gate heard a shot ring out and, moments later, a bareheaded Lincoln clinging to his steed galloped into the yard. Lincoln explained that gunfire at the foot of the hill had sent his horse into a frenzied gallop, running so fast that it knocked his hat off.

The two men retrieved Lincoln’s hat, which had a bullet hole in it. Lincoln asked the guards to keep the incident quiet because he didn’t want to worry his wife...

12. Public Beddings Were A Thing

File:Catherine de Médicis - entourage de François Clouet.jpg ...commons.wikimedia.org

Catherine de Medici was only 14 when she married Henri, the son of King Francis. And although she was young, the King and other older men insisted on watching the consummation of the marriage.

13. The Most Ruthless French Queen

The Tour de Nesle affair was a scandal in the French royal family in 1314. In it, Queen Isabella of England accused her sisters-in-law of adultery. The scandal led to the imprisonment of the women and the execution of their lovers. The lovers were then executed. Most histories agree that they were first castrated and then drawn and quartered.

14. Marie Curie Slowly Killed Herself

Marie Curie, the chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity, was completely in the dark when it came to the dangers of radioactive materials. Though she and her husband both suffered from chronic pain, neither considered that it was their radioactive substance-handling that was the cause. It was. Some of their original lab equipment is still so radioactive that we cannot safely view or study them.

15. George Bush Coined An Unfortunate Word

File:George H. W. Bush presidential portrait (cropped 2) (a).jpg ...commons.wikimedia.org

After George Bush Sr. vomited on the Japanese Prime Minister, the Japanese invented a new word: Bushusuru. This means to “do the Bush thing” or to “publicly vomit.”

16. Gandhi Liked To Tempt Himself With Young Women

Today we see Gandhi as a figure of peaceful protest and understanding. But there's a side of him no one knows. At the age of 36, while married, Gandhi became more and more obsessed with lust. In order to train and “perfect” his control over his desires, Gandhi would sleep undressed with young women. But one night, he committed an act so heinous that it made his own staff member quit on him forever.

Gandhi had performed this sleeping act with his own grand-niece named Manu. His stenographer left in disgust.

17. The Most Notorious Hollywood Eccentric

Howard Hughes was one of the most successful men of his time, producing many famous movies and dating Hollywood's most beautiful women. However, later in life, he became a complete hermit. Hughes spent his days in hotels, refusing to make eye contact with his aides. He also stopped bathing completely. Even more gross? He only cut his hair and nails cut once a year.

18. Nero Hated His Mother

File:15-07-05-Schloß-Caputh-RalfR-N3S 1528.jpg - Wikimedia Commonscommons.wikimedia.org

According to one ancient historian, the mad Emperor Nero tried and failed several times to kill his mother Agrippina the Younger, each time trying to up the ante. First, he tried to poison her on several occasions, but she always took an antidote each time. Then, he constructed a machine that would collapse her bedroom ceiling on her while she slept, but she caught wind of the plot and escaped.

Finally, he—seriously—invented a collapsible boat that would drown her while she was on a pleasure cruise. Reader, SHE STILL SURVIVED.

19. Grace Kelly Was A Homewrecker

Grace Kelly has a pristine, princess-like reputation in Hollywood, but nothing could be further from the truth. She had affairs with, and I quote, "everybody." She fell for so many of her older male co-stars that multiple biographers have wondered if Kelly had some daddy issues. There was Gary Cooper, Clark Gable, and Ray Milland, just to name a few. Milland's wife even called Kelly a "home-wrecker."

20. Victorians Had Impossible Beauty Standards

Although the hourglass figure has always held a special appeal across Western cultures, the Victorians took their obsession to a whole new level in their use of corsets. These waist-cinching devices, while successful in achieving a "wasp waist," had some major health repercussions. Besides causing fainting spells, which the era’s ladies unsurprisingly became famous for, the restriction on women’s lungs likely worsened potentially deadly ailments like pneumonia and tuberculosis.

21. Sweden Wasn't Always Peaceful

File:Verwilt - Erik XiV DSC6824.jpg - Wikimedia Commonscommons.wikimedia.org

Erik XIV of Sweden was super paranoid. It wasn’t unusual for people caught laughing, smiling, or whispering within Erik’s earshot to find themselves on trial for treason. Somewhat ironically, he passed in 1577 when someone poisoned his pea soup. We guess just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.

22. Mary Shelley Kept Her Husband's Heart

Frankenstein author Mary Shelley had a pretty gross secret hidden away in her desk: her dead husband’s heart. When her husband, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, drowned in a boating accident, he was cremated, but his heart remained intact. Mary eventually took possession of it, and researchers discovered it in her desk when she passed a few years later.

23. King Henry VIII Had Royal Bottom Wipers

The infamous King Henry VIII employed four Grooms of the Stool, men whose job it was to wipe the royal bottom and attend to his other private needs. It was a position of great honor, but also—as one Groom soon discovered—incredibly grave danger. Henry VIII executed one of his bathroom staff, Sir Henry Norris, on trumped-up charges that he was sleeping with Henry's second wife Anne Boleyn.

24. Versailles Wasn't As Glamorous As We Think

Château de Versailles (Yvelines) | Le château vue depuis le … | Flickrwww.flickr.com

The legendary Palace of Versailles had everything—except enough toilets for everybody. Despite the villa’s luxury, Versailles simply didn’t have enough public water closets to accommodate Louis XIV’s huge court. It wasn’t uncommon for courtiers to pay each other for access to those precious commodes…or else, they simply went in the corner.

25. Mozart Loved Poop

Mozart was surprisingly obsessed with bathroom humor. Two of his songs actually talk about analingus. He also wrote letters to his family where he described his bowel movements in great detail.

26. King George IV Got A Brutal Revenge

King George IV hated his wife Caroline of Brunswick. When their only daughter perished in childbirth, George didn't even tell Caroline. She had to find out by accident through a courier.

27. Joan Crawford Once Gave Her Crush A Disturbing "Gift"

File:Joan Crawford in Humoresque, 1946 (cropped).png - Wikimedia ...commons.wikimedia.org

Actress Joan Crawford once came on to her co-star Henry Fonda by making him a red sequined jockstrap.

28. A King Of Egypt Had A Disgusting Appetite

While many of Egypt’s citizens starved, King Farouk of Egypt reportedly ate 600 oysters a week. Not content with this, he also bought a candy red Bentley, then demanded that no one else paint their own cars red.

29. Jack The Ripper Might Have Been A Royal

For a long time, people thought Queen Victoria's grandson Prince Albert Victor was Jack the Ripper.

30. A Famous Comedian Hated One Color

File:Peter Sellers at home in Belgravia, London, 1973.jpg - Wikipediaen.wikipedia.org

Comedian Peter Sellers hated the color green. He claimed it gave him “strange vibrations.” He not only refused to wear the hue, but he also refused to act opposite of anyone who did.

31. Russian Tsarinas Had A Naughty Addiction

Foot tickling was used in the Muscovite palaces and courts for centuries as a means of arousal. Many of the Czarinas (Catherine the Great, Anna Ivanovna, and others) loved it. It was so popular that eunuchs and women were employed as full-time foot ticklers.

32. The Royal Mistress Who Was A Dominatrix

Dancer and royal mistress Lola Montez carried a whip around wherever she went and lashed it out on anyone who displeased her, including members of the public, bored theatre-goers, and critics who gave her bad reviews.

33. Dracula Had A Dirty Little Secret

File:Bela Lugosi as Dracula.jpg - Wikimedia Commonscommons.wikimedia.org

Dracula actor Bela Lugosi once had an affair with starlet Clara Bow, and commissioned an undressed portrait of the actress. He then displayed the large painting prominently in all of his homes from 1929 until his passing—including in the houses he shared with his last two wives.

34. Einstein Was Stupid In One Way

Albert Einstein's secretary once got an anonymous call asking where Einstein lived. The secretary declined to respond. The caller then admitted he was Einstein himself, and that he had forgotten his address.

35. Isaac Newton May Have Been A Virgin

Though Isaac Newton lived to be 84, he never married. Some even believe he never lost his virginity.

36. This Medieval Queen Was A Grave-Robber

File:Joanna of castile with her children.jpg - Wikimedia Commonscommons.wikimedia.org

Shortly after her beloved husband's passing, Queen Joanna of Castile ordered his body exhumed, had the casket opened, jumped to his side once again, and kissed his dearly departed feet. She then carried his casket everywhere with her.

37. Cleopatra Had Wild Parties

Cleopatra wasn’t just a powerful queen; she was also a party girl. She created a drinking club known as the “Inimitable Livers” with her husband Marc Antony. The club would feast and drink heavily and then go out to play pranks on unsuspecting citizens.

38. People Actually Slept In Coffins

Actress Sarah Bernhardt had a peculiar obsession with death, and from the tender age of 15 onward, she sometimes slept in a custom-made, satin-lined rosewood coffin.

39. Caligula Loved His Horse WAY Too Much

File:Antonio Tempesta (1555-1630) (after) - Caligula (AD 12–41 ...commons.wikimedia.org

The Roman Emperor Gaius Caligula made his horse a senator.

40. The Prince Who Was Raised Like A Girl

Philippe, Duke of Orleans was the brother of King Louis XIV. To prevent Philippe from threatening his famous brother, Philippe's mother Queen Anne of Austria raised him to be very feminine, calling him “my little girl” and even urging him to dress up in frilly, feminine clothing as a child.

41. History's Most Shocking Sideshow

Tarrare was an 18th-century French showman. His party trick? He obsessively ate everything, and lots of it. His circus act had him eating, among other things, whole live animals, a basket of apples, and even rocks.

42. A "Huge" Claim To Fame

File:Porfirio Rubirosa, circa 1954.jpg - Wikimedia Commonscommons.wikimedia.org

1950s international playboy Porfirio Rubirosa had such an infamously large "package," Parisian waiters used to call their 16-inch pepper mills "Rubirosas."

43. Tsar Ivan Really Was Terrible

When Tsar Ivan the Terrible saw his pregnant daughter-in-law walking around in clothing that he didn't approve of, he absolutely snapped. He viciously attacked her, causing her to miscarry. When his son came into the room, Ivan also ended up killing him in a fit of rage.

44. But He Wasn't The Only Mad Russian

Anna, the "Mad Tsarina" of Russia, once tormented one of her hated courtiers by locking him up in an ice palace for the night. Before that, she made him pretend to be a chicken, sitting in her ante-chamber and "laying" eggs.

45. King Tut Was The Product Of The Siblings

File:King Tut Burial Mask (23785641449).jpg - Wikimedia Commonscommons.wikimedia.org

King Tutankhamun passed at the tender age of 18. Some researchers believe he died from genetic disease, due to the fact his parents were brother and sister.

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