'I don't feel comfortable in my own skin.'
Whoever says this often simply means that he or she does not feel very attractive or finds a certain situation uncomfortable. For transsexual people, however, this saying has a much more serious meaning. “Transsexuality” means feeling like you were born in the wrong body. It means having a vagina, a high voice and maybe even breasts, but secretly not feeling like a girl, but rather, feeling like a boy - or vice versa (having a boy's body, but feeling like a girl). There are also so-called 'transgender', people who regardless of their physical characteristics, do not feel just as men or women. 'Trans' is an overarching term for transsexual people and transgender. Those affected often have the feeling from childhood onward that something is wrong with them. For most, this is confusing and often a real pain. It is also very difficult to talk to someone about it.
Trans-people deal with their situation very differently. For some, it is enough not to behave and dress in everyday life as society expects, but rather how they really feel. In Germany there is also the possibility to apply for a gender and name change in the official identity card. Many of them learn, as they grow older, to like themselves and their bodies and to find their own way beyond traditional body images.
Some transsexuals, on the other hand, want their bodies to clearly match their perceived gender. In some cases, hormone treatment may help them. Hormones are substances that our body produces itself and which, among other things, lead to certain changes during puberty. If we have more female hormones in the body, for example, breasts grow, we get wider hips and form a uterus. Those who produce more male hormones experience their voice breaking, develop stronger hair growth and generally develop more muscles. By changing the amount of the different types of hormones - for example, by regular hormone injections or a special gel for the skin - you can at least partially stop or reverse these physical changes.
There is also the option to surgically change the body. This ranges from rather simple interventions such as the removal of the female breasts, to complicated operations such as the replication of a penis or a vagina. A prominent transsexual who opted for a so-called 'gender reassignment surgery' is Balian Buschbaum, who came out in 2007 as transsexual. His former name was Yvonne Buschbaum, who was a successful athlete.
All of these are very substantial changes that cannot simply be undone. To ensure that an individual is not just going through a difficult passing phase, it is therefore mandatory in Germany to undergo long psychotherapy before a sex change.
If you know the feeling of being trapped in the wrong body and don't (yet) dare to talk to relatives or friends about it, you can first seek help from a counselling center. This can often be done anonymously, for example by phone, or here in the online consultation. The employees who work at such counselling centers usually know other people in similar situations and know how they can support you. This also applies to us from the FeM-Mädchenhaus in Frankfurt.