Getting Started

Ask Kalina contains helpful advice for male-to-female crossdressers and transsexuals. Beginners should read Getting Started first. To learn about makeup application and how to dress to look your best, purchase my books and videos. Much of what I wrote here is from 1993 onward, so my attitudes towards certain things may have changed or evolved. The important thing to understand after digesting this page is that nobody has the right answers for everyone. Learn everything you can about yourself and other trans people and don't make hasty judgements on others based on assumptions. Never let anyone pigeonhole you into a box with a label on it. Find your own way and if you happen to fall neatly into a box, then so be it. What many of you will find, though, is that you are your own unique person and that happiness is not about being male or female, but about being you. Only you can decide which gender you fall into. This page is constantly evolving, so before you slay me for saying something you don't agree with, email me and let's generate some dialog so we can make this a better resource for everyone!


Ask Kalina!

You must include a valid e-mail address and be 21 or older to receive a response. Due to the sheer volume of email I get each day, please be patient while I respond to everyone. Click here to ask your questions.

My status - Transsexual? Intersexual?

I am a post-op transwoman. I have lived and presented as a woman full-time formally in 2010, but arguably as far back as 2003. Everyone, from friends, family, coworkers, and strangers, see me as a woman, although some might remember me as a man from years back and may need time to adjust to the change. My children know me as their parent and refer to me in female pronouns. At work, everyone respects me not just as a woman, but as a highly skilled woman. Everyone in my diverse workplace knows about my situation and my children. When I transitioned at my workplace, it was relatively easy for my 550 peers to accept me because my being a woman made a lot more sense to them than if I were someone who looked and acted very masculine to begin with.

My surgeries include rhinoplasty and bilateral breast augmentation in 2011 and vaginoplasty in 2012. I am naturally hairless on most of my body even before I started laser hair removal treatments. I was born with a slender female body, so looking like a woman was easy for me.

I saw a chiropractor in 2013 about my neck and back pain issues. His X-rays revealed that I was born with a "butterfly" shaped female pelvis. Note the round-shaped cavity in my sacrum and the angle formed by the two ischia bones below the pubis is greater than 90 degrees. From 1988 to 1996, I also had five supernumerary teeth removed (three molars, one canine, and one ancillary "fish tooth"). I am hopeful there will be medical articles written relating supernumerary teeth, colorectal cancer (I was diagnosed with Stage II colorectal cancer in 1998), and transsexualism.

In the past, I've been chastised by rotten people from the TS and IS camps. These people boasted and bragged about their newly assigned gender markers on their id cards or medical records simply for the fact that they made these changes before I did. It should be quite evident to these people now after living their "real life tests" that having a gender marker on an id card or medical record doesn't mean much if the majority of the world doesn't believe you are what you think you are. Unlike these people, I remained humble. I received medical treatment as a female in medical facilities typically reserved for cisgender people because I looked female.

I will now present some interesting physical facts about me as potential evidence for intersexuality.

  • My aforementioned female pelvis. The proof is in the picture. 'Nuf said.
  • My overall physique is female from the front, back, and side. When I'm nude, I have a woman's body, not a man's body or a feminized man's body.
  • My head is 9 inches high. My height is 67.5 inches. That makes my body exactly 7.5 heads high, the perfect prototypical female body proportions [source].
  • My band size, the circumference of my chest underneath my breasts, is about 32 inches, smaller than most males and females.
  • My ring finger size is smaller than a 5. The average female ring size is 7. My pinky finger size is smaller than a 3.5. The rest of my fingers are similarly small. My longest finger (middle finger) is 3-1/8 inches. My shortest finger (pinky finger) is 2-5/16 inches.
  • My facial hair was mostly in the mustache area, but it never grew into a real mustache. Except for my pubic hair, I am naturally hairless everywhere else. It took only two sessions of laser hair removal to permanently remove all my armpit hair. I also have a full head of hair with no evidence of male pattern baldness.
  • Compound all of this with the fact that I'm 47 years old. I'm no spring chicken and yet I still look this good.

Some of my trans colleagues used to chastise me for promoting the idea of passability. They never quite understood that passability was just a stepping stone in my philosophy of life. The whole point of passability is you want to be able to work up to the ultimate goal TO JUST BE. You don't get TO BE without first understanding and adhering to the principles of passability. My philosophy goes like this... passability → believability → BE.

I never had a genetic test. If someone would like to pay the money to have mine done, then please be my guest. I just don't understand when someone claims to be 46XX but looks male. I kind of feel bad for them. A genetic test can be a death sentence for some. What if you discovered you're not 46XX or 46XY? What if you're missing chromosomes? What if your genes told you you'd develop Parkinson's some day? Don't worry so much about your genetic test results. Worry more about yourself right here and right now.

As I rightfully surmised over the years, people don't really understand transsexuals and they understand intersexuals even less. Strangely, medical insurances cover "transgender surgery" but not "intersexual surgery." It was easier to just admit to being a transsexual. Whatever the hell I am, I know I'm smaller than the average man and I'm smaller than the average woman. Yay for me, this has made my life much easier in many respects. Unfortunately, my family didn't take the news too well, so I experience many of the same obstacles and hardships that many transsexuals face.

What I never wanted was a life of compromise. I never limited myself to trans-friendly or LGBT-friendly places because I never wanted to feel like an outcast. I never sought out trans-friendly doctors, surgeons, or health care facilities for my medical needs because I've always felt confident about who I am - a woman - in society. While I do wish everyone who is trans or intersexed could do as I do, I know that the reality is most people can't, but this doesn't mean giving up. Some people need to take baby steps to move towards their ultimate goal.

Supporting my work

Not everything can be learned for free on the Internet. Purchasing my books and videos gives you access to a vast encyclopedia of knowledge collected from my years of experience in transformation. For years, I was an educator at two of the finest universities in the world. I love teaching and inspiring people. I applied the research skills I learned as a doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania to male-to-female transformation and wrote eight full-length books as a result. In the beginning, it was an art to me. In the end, it was a way of life. From 1994 to the present, over 4,000 transgender women have purchased my books. Every book contains practical advice that you will use for years to come and every purchase helps this web site grow. Everyone who supported me through the purchase of my books and videos has made me what I am today, one of the leading transgender self-help authors in the world. Thank you for your support!


The Kalina Isato Slideshow (2011)


The Basic Truths Nobody Will Ever Tell You
1.
When you feel like you're living in your own hell because of your gender, then you know you really should transition.
2.
The more beautiful and believable you are, the less people care about the one or two things about you that you think are flaws.
3.
The less beautiful and believable you are, the more society will be against your transition. Don't let that discourage you, but plan your life carefully.
4.
You have to work harder to look like a woman than any genetic woman out there.
5.
Do not transition just because you see everyone else around you transitioning. You might not be like them.
6.
The older you wait to transition, the more testosterone will fuck up your body and mind. It's hard to erase bad male habits.
7.
If you can't transition successfully, help someone else be the best she can be.
8.
Those who say they pass without problems are usually the unattractive ones who would never garner a second glance from strangers. An attractive transwoman never has to praise herself on how well she passes because she has others doing that for her.
9.
Some people were meant to be men. Others were meant to be women. The real-life test will reveal all.
10.
A friend will always tell you what you want to hear. A stranger will tell you the truth.

The Golden Rules for Looking Great
1.
Buy the best products available. Don't settle for less. Listen to and learn from more experienced transwomen.
2.
Don't be afraid to spend money to look great. A bad look is like a person not taking pride in her work. If at first you don't succeed, try again. Every failure is a learning experience. Just be sure to never make the same mistake twice. You must be your own worst critic. The only way you can improve your look is by knowing what you are doing wrong.
3.
Go out in public as much as possible. Don't limit yourself to transgender support groups or Internet forums. You will never learn how to look great by limiting yourself to safe havens.
4.
Be aggressive in your goals. You will encounter plenty of obstacles along the way. Ignore them and pave your own way.
5.
Never allow any hatred between you and someone else grow to something insurmountable. Be mature enough to be the first to resolve a conflict if the other person isn't willing.
6.
Never let anyone say to you "You can't do it." Turn that negativity around into the motivation you need to succeed.
7.
Adversity might come from the people you'd least suspect. Keep an open mind when speaking with someone in the hopes that he or she, too, will have an open mind towards you.
8.
Don't rush your progress. Take baby steps where necessary to practice difficult procedures until you perfect them.
9.
Rely on people you trust to tell you what you are doing right or wrong.
10.
Never stop learning.


TransEtiquette
1.
Never make assumptions about any transwoman. This includes her gender choice, her part-time or full-time status, her sexual orientation, her progress, etc.
2.
Don't brag about or compare your progress to anyone else's.
3.
Respect everyone around you, especially those who've given you the opportunity to be the person you are today.
4.
Never brag about how many boyfriends or lovers you have. Only a very insecure person does that.
5.
Don't break up a girl's conversation with a guy. That's rude. Don't steal a girl's boyfriend. That will make you an enemy for life.
6.
Don't compare your life to anyone else's, especially if your personal, job, and financial situation is different from theirs.
7.
Don't drink like a fish and eat like a pig because you're depressed.
8.
Don't talk someone's ear off. Respect their time.
9.
Don't tell someone your life story if they simply ask you how you're doing.
10.
Tell people how much you appreciate the things they do for you.