This week by chance, I have encountered not one but two individuals close to my age strongly considering following seriously their feminine gender urges. Perhaps you noticed I didn't use the transgender word to describe either because they didn't. Both were so new in their explorations, I think they were involved in the brave new world of gender exploration, they didn't know where they were on the journey.
One discussion was involved with how my initial results went when I first started hormone replacement therapy. It seemed, the person had started some sort of hormones without a doctors guidance by obtaining non prescription meds. Of course I passed along my usual warning concerning starting the HRT without medical guidance could be hazardous to one's overall health. Secondly, she wanted to know how fast the effects of the hormones showed to the point of not being able to hide my gender changes any longer.
In my case, although everyone's case is different, minimum dosages of estradiol and a testosterone blocker within six months produced effects which were hard to hide. My skin and face softened, my hair grew long enough for a pony tail and of course my budding breast growth was getting harder and harder to hide. There was a definite difference for me of having "man boobs" and the feminine set of breasts I was magically growing. To make a long story short, I was forced out of my male closet and into my authentic self faster than I ever imagined. At this time, after my wife passed away, I was living by myself and my two dogs didn't care what I looked like. So, I didn't have an un-supporting spouse to worry about.
The second person, is local and seemed to be very impressed she had found a supporting group of individuals who are transgender, questioning or cross dressing folk. Ironically, she was drafted into the Army nearly the same time I was in 1971. At the time, the problem of going into the Army seemed as if it would be the worst possible move as I tried to deal with my mis-understood gender dysphoria. Years later though, I still reap the benefits of my service by taking advantage of Veteran's Administration health.
Overall, I was able to provide a positive look into what a transgender life can look like if certain factors come into line. At least, that is my goal.
I'm very comfortable pointing out to people too, the whole gender transition process I went through was no walk in the park and I went through my share of doubts and dark days.
The whole process of discovering my true self proved to be very satisfying for me. The alternative of cross dressing and acting like a man would have led me to an early grave.