M@ to N@ FAQ

(Natalie's (ex-Matthew) Transition Frequently Asked Questions)

What's this FAQ all about then?

Questions for people who new me before

Questions for people who have met me since

Questions about surgery

What's this FAQ all about then?

This Frequently Asked Questions page is about me, Natalie Vincent, and how I have changed my "outward" gender (that's the one you all know me as) from male to female. For those who don't know, I used to be known as Matthew Vincent till I was about 27. The process of changing ones gender is known as "transitioning".

Below are some of the questions I have been asked frequently. They are in no particular order. The section for "people who new me before" is the oldest, and you'll probebly find some of the questions weird if you've met me since my transition. The person that is spoken about is not really in existence any more. If you have any questions, please email me.


Questions for people who have met me since

(updated 6/1/2003)

Q: I've just met you, and I'm a little freaked out by all this. What does it all mean, exactly?

A: OK, basically, I used to be male. Well, as far as everyone else was concerned, anyway. I'm not any more, since I have been living as a woman since I was 27 (at the time of writing, I am 30), and I have had the operation. I am now anatomically female and I look, act and sound like any other woman.

Q: Wow, you had me fooled, I thought you were a woman.

A: There's no "fooling". I am a woman. I'm not out to deceive anyone about who I am, what you see is what you get. Nothing more, nothing less.

Q: So, can you have sex like a normal woman?

A: Yes, I can, and do, and it's nice! :-)

Q: Do you like males or females?

A: I consider myself as a Bisexual. In other words, I like both. I lean towards liking men more than women at the moment, probably because of the newness and because sex with men is very fullfilling (when it happens).

Q: Do you have problems finding partners?

A: Yes. It's a pain, and can be quite upsetting at times. Most men I meet that like me just can't cope with the fact that I used to be male. Sometimes I feel angry "why can't they just see me as me?" other times it's depressing "I simply can't do anything about this problem".

The men so far who have liked me and have coped have been just a little bit unstable, and tend not to be the sort of people that you have long term relationships with. Bummer.

One solution is to lie to people about my history, but I feel that it's deceetfull to do that, and it can also lead to some very dangerous (sometimes life threatening) situations if people find out some time afterwards.

The solution I have settled on, and I suppose it's one that all women settle on, is that I will just have to wait. I won't be sitting back though, I will be out there, meeting people as often as possible, giving myself every oportunity.

Q: Do you feel different to how you did before?

A: Very, very different. It's hard to explain all the differences and where they have come from, but the change for me has been quite dramatic.

For example, I am more emotional and empathic, I cry more. My body reacts to cold differently, and wow, if I could describe the difference in how my body feels when I am aroused! :-) I also simply can't imagine in my minds eye what my body and genitals used to look like. I wont go into any depth, but just imagine it's like being in a totally new body, which finally "fits" properly.

Q: You don't look or act like a boy at all, you must have been pretty effeminate before?

A: Not really. I put on a very good male "front". You would have just thought that I was a normal, if sensitive, bloke. I have been told that I was quite good looking before the change, and I did have an (annoyingly) good male physic.

Q: Can I see a picture of what you looked like before?

A: If you *really* want to take a look, I have uploaded one picture from before I transitioned. It can be found here. I'll probebly upload some other pictures from even before that time, but you'll have to wait until I've scanned them in (they where taken with an old fashioned "film" camera).

Q: Are you Italian or Spanish?

A: No, not as far as I know! I seem to get this question now from everyone I meet. Apparently, it's the pale skin, dark hair and large nose. To set the record straight, my Dad is English, from a Geordie background and Mum is 6th generation Australian from an Irish background. There are pictures of them on my photos page.

Q: What's with the footy.com.au domain name? I wouldn't have thought you were interesting in football.

A: Well, I'm not really. :-) The reason why my email address and site is hosted at footy.com.au is because I work for a company called Footy Tipping Software as a programmer. We provide software to run office and promotional tipping competitions. You can see what we sell by going to our main site. My employer has graciously allowed me to use space on his website for my website.

When I do care about football, which isn't that often, I barrack for Essendon.

Questions about Surgery

This was written pre-surgery.

(Updated 23/1/2003)

Q: Are you going to have the surgery? Why?

A: Yes, I'm definitely having it. There are a number of reasons, the biggest being that I don't feel complete yet, things still aren't right and I don't look like "me" when I look in the mirror. It's quite an unusual sight, I can tell you!

I am also growing in to my new body, going through a second puberty, if you like. It is a very frustrating experience to be able to feel these amazing new feelings that my body has, to be maturing as a woman and a person, to feel very attracted to men, and yet not being able to have sex. Not that I'll be rushing out to have immediately, mind! It's the principle. Also, I want to look right so that I can have a relationship with a man. I don't want to be with a man who wants me for having "male genitals"!

Last but not least, I am sick of tucking! It's quite uncomfortable, and doesn't work well with all types of clothes. It's very embarrassing walking around in a nice skirt with a bulge!

Q: What's involved in the surgery?

A: Do you really want to know? :-) Basically, it is as you imagine! If you want some information about it, the procedure used by my surgeon is basically the same as the ones described here, with a few very minor variations. Feel free to look, there are even photos of surgery and surgery results.

Q: That's major stuff... you do realise this is irreversible?

A: Yes, I know that. I am fully aware of it's finality, and all of the risks that are involved.

Q: Do you know when you are going to have it?

A: I'm booked in for the 13th of June. And yes, I will be having a party 3-4 weeks before.

Q: Are you sure you want to do this?

A: Yes.

Q: Positive?

A: Absolutely!

Questions for people who new me before

(Updated 1/03/05 )

Q: This is a bit sudden isn't it?

A: Not really, I've been thinking about it pretty well non stop since I was 7.

Q: Well, I've known you for X years, why haven't you ever said anything?

A: It's not an easy thing to talk about. I've struggled to even tell my closest friends (before now, that is). It's extremely hard to judge how people will react to this sort of thing, and I have been afraid of loosing my friends.

Q: So you like boys then?

A: Hmmm... Interesting question. It would appear that my sexual preferences have changed. I still like girls (a lot!), but now boys are equally as interesting. If you think this is weird, spare a thought for poor little me! I was totally straight before, and didn't have any attraction to men at all, not even a repressed one. I had always been open to being attracted to men, because I had always thought "I want to be a woman, why don't I want to be with a man?". But there just wasn't any attraction there. Now, both men and women stir feelings in my body that I have never felt before. It's quite nice. Only problem is, it makes you reevaluate all your friendships, even if you don't want to.

Q: Your going to look very different after all this aren't you?

A: Well, yes. To me, I'll look like I'm supposed to look, but to everyone else (especially at the beginning) I'll look like the "boy" me in a dress. The aim is to look as feminine as possible, so that I am taken as a woman without anyone having to think about it.

If you would like to have a peek at what I am looking like at the moment, I have a photos page.

Q: You are going to be a very different person after all this, aren't you?

A: Not really. Just more like the me inside. I wont have to stop myself acting in certain ways that would be strange for a boy, but essentially I will be the same. I still like the same things, like computers and reading and the like, but I'm now able to like things like shopping and women's fashion and stuff.

Q: You know, you don't much look like a girl to me, you're hairy, for example. How are you ever going to pass as a woman?

A: I epilate the hair of my arms, legs and chest, using one of those "hair removal devices, mine's a Braun SilkEpil. I have been on female hormones and an anti-androgen (testosterone blocker) now since 2/10/01, which is reducing my body hair growth and changing my fat distribution on my body, making it look more feminine. I am also developing breasts. My face is changing, that fat is being redistributed to accentuate different parts of my face. I am also getting laser treatment on my face to reduce facial hair, which is being fairly successful. At some time in the future I will get electrolysis to get rid of the stubborn facial hair...

(Updated 01/23/2003)

I have been having electrolysis for a while now... the results are good but the going is very slow since it's quite expensive. Oh, and I am now a C cup.

Q: You've got a pretty male voice too. What are you going to do about that?

A: (Updated 2/9/2002) Well, I've been having lessons, and although there are times that I still sound a bit male, I pass on most occasions. My speech therapists think that I have the intonation down pat, only my pitch is a bit low. Interestingly, they suggest that the pitch is not the important thing, it's the intonation. So I'm happy. Most importantly, my "phone voice" is good enough that I don't get called "mate" any more!

Q: Why wait this long if you've been thinking about it since you were 7?

A: Well, for one thing I was terrified of what other people would think... would I lose my friends and family? I was on the path most people in my position go down, trying to reinforce my "boyness" so that the "girlness" would go away. I doesn't work like that though, and the "girlness" is so much a part of me that it can't be made to go away. Indeed, the more I tried to pushed it away, the more it was evident it wasn't going anywhere.

Q: You've got kids, and an ex-fiancee, what do they think?

A: My kids have been introduced over time to the "new me". As of 19/1/02, they have seen me is makeup and female clothes, and this is the only way they will see me from now on. They have also grown used to calling me Natalie, rather than Dad. Managing how to introduce this to the children has caused me the most amount of pain and anxiety during this process, and will continue to for years to come.

My Ex has now seen me as Natalie, and she is tolerant of me at the moment. She has already moved on to her new life, has a new baby girl to another man (who has since moved on), and seems to be happy at the moment.

Q: How long does the process take? When will this all end?

A: Well, I have to live as a woman for 1 and a half years (starting from 19/1/02) before I am a candidate for GRS (Gender Reassignment Surgery), so that is a minimum period. Hopefully by that point I will be passable enough that I wont have to worry about passing as a woman.

(Update 2/9/02) Well, I think I can safely say that I pass as a woman OK now. I've talked to the psychiatrists that I need to and the current timetable is for me to have surgery just after mid 2003. As you can imagine, I'm ecstatic!

Realistically though, there is no "end" to this process, and I will still have to live with being an "ex-boy" for the rest of my life. I have accepted that, and am not ashamed of my past. It will lead to some interesting situations, perhaps with future partners and the like. I'll have to deal with that when it happens.

Q: You are pretty active in your "Nerd Groups", like ADUG and Melbourne Patterns group and the like. What are you going to do about those?

A: I have been to all of my "Nerd Groups" now as Natalie, and I am extremely grateful for everyone's acceptance and understanding. I am lucky to be in a community that is full of fantastic people. Thank you all.

Q: Why did you choose Natalie as a name?

A: A good friend of mine suggested it about 6 years ago, because the nick names "Matt" and "Nat" are very similar. It means that (at least, initially) people can say "Nat" across the room and I will recognise it. Besides, then I can still use that "@" in my name! I would miss it, since I've been using it since about '91 (Yes that's before the Internet was even heard of!). Oh, and my full name is Natalie Elizabeth Vincent, which is officially my name from 20/11/2001. I have changed it by Deed Poll.

(2/9/02) Oh, and I chose Elizabeth for my middle name because I have known a number of girls/women who have had some impact on my life with that name. It's been my favourite girls name for a long time, and if it wasn't for the whole Matt/Nat thing, I might have picked it instead!

Q. How are things going, are you coping with things? Has it been easy or hard?

A: Things are going well. The changes to my body are progressing well. All the specialists think that I am doing great, and most of all, I can say that I have never been happier. Oh, sure, I get down, even depressed. But the downs are not as low, and I have a good outlook on life now. My friends think that I am happier, and I seem to be more outgoing and smile more!

I am lucky that I have a loving family, beautiful and loving kids, a great place to work and great friends and peers. This has made the "hard" bits much easier to cope with. Essentially, all the hard stuff has been dealt with, and things are settling down to normalcy.

So, it's not been "easy", but compared to some other people's experiences of transitioning, it's not been "hard".

(2/9/02) I think the greatest challenge for me into the future is loneliness. Partners are hard to come by at the best of times, and my transitioning is only going to make it harder. Whilst I accept on an intellectual level that I'm going to have to get used to things being this way, emotionally, it isn't easy.

Q: Wow, you must be pretty brave.

A: I don't feel brave, just desperate.

If you have any further questions to ask, feel free to email me.

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