So I if go with Plan A and continue long-term dual living (a man at work, a woman outside), I probably have a better opportunity for doing so than many others.
At work a lot can be chalked up me being a performer. I already have long fingernails that are usually painted, and wear stud earrings that are larger than the tiny ones that men usually wear — albeit not nearly as big is the fashion for some younger men. My hair is starting to get long, and if I continue to grow it out, it’ll probably be shoulder length by the end of the year. OTOH, there’s guys with long hair.
I thought I was leaking gender all over the place, but when I came out to a co-worker, she had no idea. Fortunately Silicon Valley is a pretty casual work environment with more than a few eccentrics anyway.
This holiday season I didn’t bother to shorten my nails, albeit I did remove the polish and no one seemed to notice at Christmas dinner, even my uber-conservative relatives.
Since I’ve already got jowls, the increased facial fat from hormones probably wouldn’t be too noticeable. Likewise, even some breast development would be chalked up to man boobs. Obviously if I grew to a D-cup, which is about what I’d need to be proportionate with my body size, hiding them wouldn’t be practical. But everything I’ve heard suggests that I’m unlikely to have anywhere near that much growth, especially if I only do a low dose of hormones. OTOH, I’m not wild about wearing baggy clothes in guy mode, since I’d still like to look put-together as a guy.
Plus as a friend mentioned, there’s a number of people who’ve continued to work in guy mode after starting HRT —including another friend, with whom I might compete for the world’s slowest transition.
One thing that I’ve notice is that my voice is doing some interesting “code switching.” Outside of work, even in guy mode, it’s become higher and more expressive. Not in the stereotypical “gay accent” sort of way, but definitely a quasi-woman-ish kind of way. More of an effusive gentle guy, albeit admittedly, it does probably make me read as gay to some folks. There is often a slightly different undertone with interactions with women — baristas cashiers, etc. — not the “woman to woman” kind of changes I get when I’m in woman mode, but subtly different than the usual guy-mode interaction.
Whereas at work, I find my dropping and becoming a bit more resonate than previously — it is my “authoritative professional” voice, just even more so. Part of it may be that I’ve switch work groups, so I’m having to establish myself with a bunch of new people.
But both at work and outside work, the changes in voice are totally subconscious.