Despite transgender women like Caitlyn Jenner and Laverne Cox bringing the trans topic to the mainstream not much is known about the actual process of transitioning.
That's why Breena Kerr founded Truth Speak Project, a website that allows trans people to candidly talk about physical aspects of their surgery.
Breena spoke to a trans woman called Jessica who recounted her experience with gender reassignment surgery.
What did it feel like to start taking Estrogen as part of hormone replacement therapy?
I finally felt like my emotions had this crystal clarity, like they had a vocabulary to them, and like I could understand and process them without being so caught up in them.
In addition to the chemical changes in her body, Jessica's face became rounder, and fat started accumulating on her hips.
Her sense of smell had also gotten much stronger.
What about vocal cords?
Jessica traveled to South Korea to change her vocal cords, and the doctor fused one side together so that when air passed through her larynx, it would produce a higher pitch.
After that, Jessica received breast augmentation surgery, and a vaginoplasty
One of the many things I learned along this journey is that male genitalia and female genitalia aren’t that different. They’re arranged differently, but the individual parts are really similar.
So Vaginoplasty consists of a re-positioning and folding of all these tissues using the existing tissues. When that’s done, some of the tissues might not get as much blood flow as they did before, so they get starved of nutrients and oxygen.
Lack of oxygen to certain parts of the anatomy has disastrous affects...
That’s when the surface tissue tends to die off — which is as gross as it sounds. It is really really awful.
It’s red, there’s stitches and it’s swollen, you can see the stitch lines. You expect that. What you don’t expect is this yellow-y, clumpy, almost mucus-y, looks-like-someone-sneezed-on-your-p---y kind of residue.
So you might have a chunk of your inner labia just die off, just fall off, and it’ll just grow right back. It’s hard to believe because when you lose a limb or a toe it doesn’t grow back.
And it’s gross and it’s funky and it’s awful and you think, ‘Oh my god, What is happening? My p---y is melting. I’m dying.’ But it turns out that it is perfectly normal.
Your clitoris, which used to be the head of your penis, is positioned in a completely different way.”
Breena then asked Jessica about the difference in experiencing pleasure as a transgender woman:
When I still had a penis, when I climaxed, it kind of had this punchiness to it, this moment of just intense pleasure, hitting you like a truck.
Surgery techniques now are a lot better than they used to be even 10 years ago. Doctors have gotten to a point now where they can make a vagina that allows you to come and really gush from internal vaginal stimulation just like a cis-gendered woman does.
Transgender people are still subject to much discrimination, and this website attempts to break the 'taboo'.