Hormone replacement therapy (also known as HRT) is a difficult, lengthy process.
No one really knows how intense it truly is until they see it for themselves.
An Ohio student, named Selgal, decided to share some intimate photos of her transitioning journey.
1. The photos provide a glimpse into what exactly happens to someone’s body during HRT. Segal has documented 17 months of the process, providing personal comments about how she felt in each photo. Hormone replacement therapy, specifically made for males who wish to transition into a female, involves taking sex hormones, among other hormonal medications, for the purpose to change your secondary sexual characteristics. In this case, it’s to grow larger breasts and widened hips among other things. Essentially these are characteristics that develop at puberty but aren’t involved in reproduction. Seagal’s story gives a taste of reality for many of us who might not understand what it takes to transition.
Segal described her journey, saying “It’s never too late to change who you are. Happiness is real, you just have to be willing to risk anything to find it.” The first photo that Selgal shows is a before and after shot. Before she has a pretty serious facial expression. In the after, Selgal has a complete smile on her face, relieved to finally be the person that she’s always wanted to be. She wrote on this first photo, “Transitioned from this to this in 17 months.”
2. The before and after photo is then followed by a photo of Selgal two years before she started HRT. She wrote, “2 years pre HRT: Aged 16, total pothead (get it?).” Though looking pretty serious as well, at least Selgal had a sense of humor while going through something so difficult. I’m talking about the difficulty in living in a body you feel you don’t belong in.
3. “1st-month HRT, just started college. I always kept checking the mirror to see if I noticed any changes. But it turns out it takes a pretty long time for anything major.” I can’t imagine how excited she felt when she finally started her journey. I’d also be checking the mirror every moment I could to see if any changes were happening!
4. “3 months HRT, starting to feel better. Still depressed but finally starting to feel like me.” This is such a long process, it’s no surprise that the suspense grows more and more as the months go by. But regardless, she kept strong, kept focused and continued keeping a positive state of mind throughout the entire process.
5. “Trying to be cute when I really wasn’t lol, this is around 9 months HRT.” This isn’t exactly a smile, but hey, at least she’s getting a little less serious and a little more playful in her photos. Growing out the hair also adds a lot to a girl’s confidence so that might have had some effect on her mood as well!
6. “I look like one of the dudes on Dateline in this pic lol, this was 11 months HRT.” Alright, her confidence is still fairly low at 11 months, but hey, at least she could still bring out her great humour, right? For the record, she definitely does not look like a dude on Dateline, at all.
7. “11 months, the first picture I took of myself that I actually liked.” You can just tell by her pose that Selgal was feeling good about herself that day. Just by her pose and her facial expression, it’s clear that she’s coming into her own now. But her journey is not over…not yet.
8. Okay, I might have spoken too soon. In this photo, Segal wrote, “Still one ugly person though :P.” But I think deep, deep down she’s starting to like how she looks without being too cocky about it. Again, she definitely seems as though she’s able to stay positive throughout this process.
9. “Starting sophomore year of college, 12 months HRT.” Looking at the photo, there’s not a significant change in the way Selgal looks compared to her 11 months into HRT photos. But the expression on her face is what really counts. Without knowing too much about how she’s feeling, the photos do say a lot with the help of her captions.
10. “Looking good in class (I started wearing baggy clothes for some reason), 12 months HRT.” Having a change in your body, you start feeling self-conscious even if you’ve been working hard on achieving that look. Regardless of what changes those may be. So it’s no surprise that Selgal started wearing baggier clothes. Understandable.
11. “Starting to see something, 12 months HRT.” I don’t know about you, but I can actually see a change in Selgal in this photo compared to the others. But what I’m really wondering about this photo is why does she have the saddest look on her face? This just continues to show how difficult and mentally tiring this entire process is.
12. “Still looking like a grumpy dude 13 months HRT.” Even if she still thinks she looks like a guy here, I can honestly say that the change is finally happening and she’s looking good. But again, until you see the full results for yourself, I don’t think anyone will be satisfied. That’s just simple human nature.
13. “Sitting in class-13 months HRT.” Is that…makeup I see? Seeing Selgal looking pretty with makeup can put a smile on your face. Knowing that perhaps finally she’s at that stage where she feels confident enough to put on some mascara and blush makes the long process totally worth it.
14. “My mirror is dirty, 14 months HRT.” Looks like Selgal is slowly getting more and more comfortable doing all things girly. In the previous photo, she’s wearing a bit of makeup, here she’s rocking more feminine outfits. Her hair is also getting longer and longer. She’s looking more and more like the person she wants to become.
15. In this photo, Selgal is rocking an anime shirt. Though she’s still not looking the happiest in this photo, she wrote, “Sorry for the anime shirt 😛 14 months.” The change in her clothing-tightness and more girliness definitely says a lot about her transformation!
16. Posting three photos during her 14th month on HRT, shows that even within the span of a month her appearance can significantly change. Here she writes, “Starting to get cute-14 months.” I don’t know about you, but Selgal looks even more like a female in this photo than in the last!
17. “Waking up from a nap looking cranky-14 months.” There are a number of side effects of taking hormonal medications. They take a huge toll on your body, but regardless of whatever Selgal is going through she’s looking graceful and pretty in this photo!
18. By 15 months, Selgal is starting to dress more and more like a girl! Here we see she’s rocking a dark pink t-shirt and taking cute photos just chilling in her room. She captioned this photo “Laying in bed, 15 months.” We’re getting closer and closer!
19. “Walking home from class, dressing more feminine- 15 months.” I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been to go to school, focus on studying, and sit in a classroom while going through such a difficult, long process. But I guess as long as you are surrounded by the right people, and stay strong you can get through a lot!
20. “After a much-needed haircut, 15 months.” Anyone feels good when they get their hair done…especially girls. So I’d be pretty shocked if I didn’t see Selgal smiling after she got a fresh new haircut…completed with some gorgeous bangs! This transformation is getting more and more real for her.
21. “Another classroom selfie, really liking the way I look, 15 months.” If you remember her other classroom selfies (one was taken at 12 months the other at 13) it’s like night and day. Everything from her hair, makeup, clothes and especially facial expression is different and it’s so nice to see!
22. “Hanging out in the hallway before class, 16 months.” Almost there! The bangs, the jacket, the smile…everything is looking great for this girl. She’s not done the process yet, but judging by this pic she is so close to becoming who she always wanted to be. Almost there!
23. During the transitioning process, it’s difficult to wear makeup and dresses in public. A lot of those who are transitioning from male to female tend to wear all things girly in the privacy of their home…it takes time to feel comfortable in your own skin. Segal wrote, “Started using makeup and wearing dresses in public, 16 months.”
24. “Bathroom selfie, 16 months HRT”. I have a feeling this photo was taken almost towards the 17-month mark! Her style sense is great as well, choosing an adorable striped basic t-shirt while taking a selfie in the bathroom. According to Daily Mail, Selgal was fully aware that this process takes time and she knew she had to remain patient.