Lara Rae: my journey through trans 'puberty'

Lara Rae lived her life as Al Rae for 53 years before deciding she was ready to transition. But first, she had to confront the dreaded "p" word. Not prejudice but... puberty.

Three months ago, I began hormone therapy. Today, I'm happier than ever.

Lara Rae, artistic director of the Winnipeg Comedy Festival: "my life-long sadness has left the building."

Lara Rae, a frequent contributor to CBC Radio and the founder of the Winnipeg Comedy Festival, lived her life as Al Rae for 53 years before deciding this summer she was ready to transition. She's sharing her journey with us in a series of blog and radio pieces.

Knowing I was female is my earliest memory.

I was about four when I began putting on my sister's dresses and closing my eyes as tight as I could – hoping and praying something would change. 

Long before I'd learned the words estrogen, testosterone, weirdo and shame, I just knew something was wrong. So wrong that I couldn't even dare to talk about it.

But now, more than a half-century later, not only am I talking about it: I'm doing something.  

Three months ago, I began hormone therapy. By taking both estrogen and an anti-androgen, my doctor and I are using my endocrine system to correct this problem once and for all.

It sounds complicated, but it's not. If I was a car it would be like I had the wrong gas in my tank. I get around, but the car doesn't seem to run without a whole bunch of problems. It's never been a smooth ride.  

So we're putting the right gas in my tank: estrogen. But my car has been running on testosterone for a very long time. So before we fill 'er up, we need to clean out all the those pipes and clear out that boy gas. To do that, I take an anti-androgen which kills the testosterone in the body. Then the estrogen can swish happily around the tank. 

I am very happy with the effects so far, mostly. Women's skin is looser and more sensitive, and this, combined with me being 40 pounds lighter than I was a year ago, means I am freezing all the time. 

Also, once the day is done, I like to find a nice quiet corner of my apartment where I can ball my eyes out for about 10 minutes for no good reason.  

On the plus side, I have much more breast growth than I should so far and my skin is very smooth, youthful and feminine. 

But the biggest positive? My lifelong sadness has left the building. I have happiness and well-being for the first time.

Recently, my doctor doubled the levels of both my medicines. Now puberty will unleash hell, and if the levels get too out of whack, I'll go through menopause at the same time.

Batten down the hatches friends, Hurricane Lara is heading to shore!

Lara Rae is charting her journey in a new syndicated column, airing Mondays on CBC Radio One. 


Lara Rae


Lara Rae is a stand-up comic, comedy writer and the former artistic director of the Winnipeg Comedy Festival.