Reddit user u/TyDye386 recently posed the question, "Trans people of Reddit, what was the biggest 'culture shock' you noticed after transitioning to your gender?" The thread quickly filled with thousands of comments from trans folks sharing their experiences and perspectives. Here are some of their responses:
1. "MTF here. I pass fairly well a good majority of the time, and something I knew about but never really saw first-hand until my transition was the sisterhood. Women will come up to me and just vibe in dangerous areas. I've gone to the bathroom while on a bike ride only to come out and find that a couple of girls were watching my bike for me. I was recently in a bike accident, and it looks like I have a gnarly black eye (two facial fractures will do that), and nearly every woman I've talked to has checked on me, made sure I'm safe, and offered help. I actually carry menstrual products around just in case one of my new sisters needs something, even if I may not need it."
"I always return the favor. I pay a lot more attention to other women when I'm out and about. If I see a dude being a creep to someone, I'll go talk to her and give her an excuse to leave. If I see that a woman may not be in the safest situation, I'll do what I can for her, even if it's just watching her stuff while she is away to make sure no one takes anything, even if she never knows I was watching her stuff for her."
2. "I'm FTM. I was shocked when I moved to a new job where no one knew me 'before' transitioning; they just knew me as male. In meetings and conversations about work (I'm in a technical field), people tend to listen to me more than when I was female-presenting. And, not only that, they don't even make as much eye contact or open body language toward women to include them in the conversation; it's mostly towards the men. This even happens when someone is knowingly talking to me and a female superior. I've had to intentionally steer them to engage more with the women and not me. What's most shocking is that women do it to other women too. I'm gonna spend the rest of my career making sure people really listen to the women around me."
3. "I am a mostly passable 42-year-old MTF who has been on HRT for two years. In the 40 years I spent as a man, never once did anyone ever call me aggressive, hot-headed, or rude in a professional setting. It’s happened three times this year alone. I also get interrupted far more frequently. Also, I've noticed something regarding the Northeast. My work has me traveling from NYC to Maine and everywhere in between. Most people I run into don’t give a shit that I’m trans. I can probably count on one hand any real transphobic comments I’ve received. I never adjusted my voice after transitioning, so my voice does tend to cause confusion, yet it's rarely an issue. For this reason alone I can’t see myself ever leaving the Northeastern US for warmer climates."
4. "The very first time I went out in public dressed femininely after I came out, I had two other women say nice things about my outfit. I was stunned. In all the previous 30+ years of dressing like a man, I can't think of a single time a man complimented me on my clothes. I've always been pretty fashionable, no matter what gender I'm dressing for. Now I almost expect it. I know what outfits and looks I have that will always get other women to compliment me. It's wild."
5. "I thought I was really close with all my girls when I was a gay guy. It was like 10 times more accepting socially than when I was 'straight.' But it's a whole other level when you transition. Getting to talk to women with zero barriers and the full ability to relate to so many extra things was probably one of the nicest parts about transitioning. Whenever I talk to any women who accept me now, it's by far the most validating, enjoyable part of transitioning. I was never able to relate to others on such a level before because my experience wasn't close enough."
6. "As a passing, almost fully transitioned trans woman, people are a *lot* more concerned about my safety as a woman than they ever were as a man. I've always been a rather adventurous, outdoorsy kind of person, but when you do dangerous stuff as a guy, people just shrug it off. When you do it as a girl, people suddenly get really worried about you. Pre-transition, I could run a 5K in the rain, and nobody cared. I do that as a woman, and suddenly people are all stopping to ask if I'm OK and need help."
"And don't get me started on people freaking out over me being out alone at night. There's also a closer camaraderie among women just for being women, and so many men have absolutely no idea how to interact with a woman. I've been hit on and catcalled, and I never knew before how frequent this all was. On a more lighthearted note, I was surprised to learn that using purses has the side benefit of never forgetting my keys in my pants pockets and running them through the wash anymore."
7. "Many women now see me as a threat or feel uncomfortable around me. That kinda stings. Before transitioning I had more female friends than male. Now I feel like it's really hard finding new female friends. I miss those relationships."
8. "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 volume of dudes who feel the need to quiz me to prove that I'm a 'real' fan. 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."
9. "The women in my family, my female friends, and even female acquaintances now confide every single deep, dark detail of their lives in me, or they openly talk about their every bodily function. I became 'one of the girls' way before I was comfortable with it."
10. "FTM here. People started listening to my opinions and taking my suggestions more often, and now I get treated with more respect and talked to like an adult instead of like a little girl who doesn't know what she's doing. My knowledge and abilities haven't changed, it's just that I present male now. Guess that's male privilege. Also, I've learned how little guys care about what people around them do. I've never gotten even a side glance for going into a stall to pee, never had a man in the bathroom look at me like I don't belong there, and my guy friends treat me like one of the bros no matter how feminine I look that day."
11. "Male here. Suddenly no one gives a shit 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. The pockets are amazing though. They are huge and numerous."
12. "The difference between being friends with people of the 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. It's a lot different than being friends with guys as a girl, or even being friends with girls as a girl."
13. "How much easier it is to navigate the world as a disabled man in a healthcare settings vs. how hard it was when I was seen as a disabled 'woman.' I went from barely any support as a 'woman' until a doctor tested me genetically for certain things. Even then, I just got, 'Okay yeah, you’re disabled. Get used to it.' Now I have a team of supportive doctors who never once ask me questions I was asked as a female. My favorite example of one such question from back then is: 'Did your symptoms start after a boyfriend broke up with you? No? Well, have you had a boyfriend? Could not having one be why?'"
14. "Girls are so nice to each other! It seems so strange that a random woman in the metro might just compliment me on my clothes — just like that. Also, women's bathrooms are dirty!"
15. "As FTM, I have my mental health issues and sexual trauma invalidated way more. Also, there's a lack of platonic intimacy in friendships now."
16. "FTM here. Everyone suddenly expects you to be a hyper-masculine straight guy who drinks beers, talks shit about women, and never discusses or shows emotion of any sort."
17. "Maybe a less common experience, but I’ve been told I have oodles of internalized misogyny. I’m a gay trans man, so because I transitioned and I’m attracted to men, I apparently hate women. I didn’t expect people to assume that I’m being sexist for existing as myself."
18. "I'm a trans dude, and people actually find me funny now. It's fantastic for me, but sad to think about the root cause because my sense of humor hasn't changed. Also, I'm still figuring out the handshake thing dudes do to greet each other. Like, are we gonna fist bump? Are we gonna go for the clasp and hug? Are we gonna just go for the business standard? There's gotta be some rule for it, but I'm still mystified by it and fuck it up every time."
19. "As a man, I could babble on about any number of bullshit topics, and people would listen intently. Now I'm surprised if I can even get a sentence in before I'm getting talked over."
20. "Almost no touching by non-family members. When I was living as a woman, people would give hugs and touch my shoulder or arms. As a man now, they will shake my hand and nothing else."
21. "As a 'passing,' almost fully transitioned male, I've been told to suck up my mental problems A LOT more than when I looked like a female, and I was still told that a lot back then too."
22. Finally: "Men’s restrooms are weird slits in the fabric of the universe where social norms don’t make sense anymore. Do NOT look at anyone. Do NOT speak to anyone. Grunting and moaning (to a gentlemanly degree) is acceptable so long as you are actively pissing or shitting. If you make eye contact with someone, it feels like they’re looking inside your brain at your most tragic secrets and you’re doing the same to them. Also, there’s a fine misting of piss on every surface. Which, in my opinion, is an upgrade to pads on the walls."
Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.