Feb 29, 2008
The air is crisp this morning, a cool 5 degrees with a major snowfall due this evening. This seems to have become the norm this season. Up here in New England there is a saying about March. In like a lion out like a lamb. It refers to the storminess at the beginning of the month and the onset of springs warmer temperatures towards the end of the month. While I love the changes of seasons in New England, I’ve had enough snow for this season already!
A few days ago the Tyra Banks show did an hour segment on some Transgender people, specifically male to females. The first girl that was interviewed was on the day before her surgery and then the show was set to come back 3 weeks after her surgery. She was a very pretty blonde haired girl that oozed feminine charm. As she was being interviewed she mentioned that she had already been through several surgeries (Facial surgery, Breast augmentation) but not the big one. At the end of the show she was being questioned about what advice she could give people just starting, her answer rung a bell close to home. It’s an answer that I would resonate to anyone just starting and was actually part of my early counseling sessions. Start with small changes first. Start with the most temporary moving towards the most permanent.
For me that was something as simple as emotionally working on self-acceptance, something I’d always had a hard time with. I couldn’t accept my inner feelings because I knew it could present a life of financial hardship. The next was self-empowerment. The idea that no matter what I had the power to make decisions that were right for me regardless of what other people around me might think. Then came the start of changing clothing. My counselor told me I needed to give myself that time to get used to wearing things and making them part of my normal day. For me as stupid as that may sound was to start wearing some jewelry. On my right hand since the first counseling sessions I have worn a thumb ring, pinky ring, and one the ring finger. Seems kind of dumb doesn’t it? No big deal? Being wrapped up in my own guilt I could never give myself permission to do anything that might reveal my secret. It took many months for me to overcome that feeling and I would often hide my hand early on as to not being attention to the fact that I was wearing some girls rings.
On my pinky is a tiny gold heart ring (I have a thing for hearts)given to me by my wife. My ring finger is again another heart ring but the hearts are cutout and the wrap all the way around the band. My thumb ring now is a sterling silver ring of the musical staff with notes wrapped all the way around the band. These things a very dear to who I am and it helped set the first baby steps to who I am becoming. It all starts with giving yourself permission to embrace your inner feelings. All of these small changes could be construed as either permanent or temporary I suppose, but they are the founding steps.
The next was HRT (Hormone replacement therapy). This was a decision that was not to be taken lightly. This was something that would only be made available after meeting certain criteria in counseling as well. Initially the changes are subtle and can be thought of as temporary. Slowly they become more and more permanent. The first thing you will start to notice is the emotional changes. Chances are if you are transgender that you will start to feel a more even tone to your emotional base. I know this sounds crazy as emotional as women can be but in my case I now understand that testosterone kept me on the edge of an out of control state. While I can cry more easily now or make decisions base more in an emotional state I am certainly much more even toned with my temperament, something the people around me love to point out when I’m having a tough time with things. LOL
Slowly buds in your breasts will start to develop and they will get tender. While the changes can possibly be reversed at this point the more permanent changes are taking effect. By this point you should be aware whether or not this whole process is right for you. Anything further and you are permanently altering your body. As the effects of hrt are setting in you become sterile so if you were hoping for children at some point you need to make sure you worry about that before you make the jump. Your skin will start to soften and redistribute the fat underneath, allowing the layer of skin to thin with more fat bed underneath. Erections will subside and the amount of blood that circulates to that region tends to slow and you have a feeling of less mass.
The testicles will start to shrink as well. The normal thing to expect is that you will probably no long have the ability to have erections as things progress. If this is an issue then hrt is certainly not for you and you probably aren’t a target of full transition. For me I started hrt on the 3rd week of Jan 2006 and while I was scared to death at the changes that were ahead of me I will admit there isn’t one that I would want to give back. For me I know the changes to my body are more permanent and I welcome even more of them. While I am still able to function down below I am not unhappy with the changes I’ve been through and I know after all this time that it is right for me, it simply works.
Obviously other things will become more apparent and just as important as your outer appearance starts to change. Again from a psychological point of view this is a major change to go through, especially if you a lived in a certain roll for a long time. While I wanted to be perceived as female, addressed as a female when it started to happen there was still a period of adjustment for me. It amazing how much the soul needs to follow the exterior at times.
Obviously the final steps are name changes, full time test and ultimately the big surgery, none of this should be your immediate goal in my opinion. By taking your time, working on thinks as you can absorb them naturally you are ensuring every step is the right step for you. Please remember it isn’t a race, this is your whole state of being you are playing with.
Today, I am who I am. I have some better days that are better than others and I’m moving forward. Even in my worst of moods now I’m still happy to be alive to enjoy the people that I love. By taking those measure steps I’ve never once taken on more than I can handle even if at times it can feel overwhelming. I’m happy that the inner girl is finally over riding the outer boy that I have seen in the mirror for so long. I know this is what I needed to do to be right.
One of the last things that I would give as my advice would be to embrace more positive energy. Understand that we cannot always be positive as life throws us curves, but we can achieve to make everything the best it can be. When we project ourselves in a positive light then other people absorb that and become drawn to it. In doing so we show the people around us that this isn’t something to fear but something we empower within ourselves. I’m a firm believer now that the more positive energy we emit from ourselves, the more positive energy that will return to us from others. It is the best way to take hold of who we are. I’m not perfect, I still have negative time but now that negative time isn’t every moment of every day. Life is good ..
Hope your weekend kicks ass ..
Feb 26, 2008
I wanted to start by discussing an issue that's happening in Maryland currently. Several areas of the country recently have passed anti discrimination laws for gender variant people (IE covering gender identify) A group of people have circulated a very large petition to have this law over turned citing the privacy and safety of women and children in public bathrooms. They are stating that by allowing gender variant people in the bathroom you open women and children up to safety issues because by definition it means men can enter the women's room.
Currently to my knowledge there are no laws segregating men and women in public restrooms, it is taught to us as we grow that we use the correct facilities. Just look a the stick figure on the door. In circulating this petition these people aren't being forthcoming about the intent behind it and are suing the guise of "Do you want to keep women safe, please sign this"
I'm sorry to say people as I previously have that gender variant people are already there without issue and have been for a very long time. They blend in as they wish to not draw attention to themselves. I'd be willing to bet that with all the discrimination that gender variant people deal with, the last thing they are looking for is attention in the bathroom.
By stating you don't want these people in the so-called wrong restroom you are essentially telling them that their class of people have no claim to basic human rights. Think about it this way, A male to female tans person in transition isn't allowed in the women's room, what happens to this person using the men's facilities? You can sure as hell bet that they aren't wanted in there either and now their safety is put in jeopardy for being there. So what alternative are they provided? The public is against spending tax dollars for a minority and build unisex bathrooms, why should they have special privilege. Lets face it, there is no easy answer to this problem and it gets further complicated
One of the things that Gender Variant people in transition are expected to adhere to are certain standards of care, Harry Benjamin standards of care to be precise. This is a standard set forth me the medical community to have set parameters and assure that anyone transitioning needs to do it and meets the criteria to do it in a successful manner. Lets face it, changing gender isn't something that is taken in to consideration lightly, it's a completely life altering event.
In putting forth the standards of care there are tiers to be met that allow a transitioning person certain care. For one you need to be evaluated for a set period of time just to meet Hormone Replacement criteria. One of these standards of care is cross living 100% of the time in the target gender for a period of at least 1 year. As this happens the person is continually evaluated and at some point the decision is made if they meet the criteria for a referral for surgery.
In essence what happens is that we give our lives fully over to our Dr's and follow their standards of treatment just like any other medical issue. In doing so and being required to live to these standards means full time, not fulltime unless you need to use a restroom. The very society that binds us to these standards (for good reason) ridicules us for having to follow them. Let's face it, I no more want to be in a restroom with men than any other women, yet I'm sure the men feel the same about me. I do have some funny experience with this
At times being out in male attire I've had to use public facilities. Not wanting to cause an issue I would go to the men's room but even in male attire I would still illicit odd looks form the guys coming or going from these facilities. This happened to me on our trip to Chicago in the airport bathroom. As I entered the room the urinals were all full so I headed for a closed stall. The look of some of the men in the bathroom was almost laughable to me. When I got out of the bathroom I told Dee we needed to get out of there just in case someone complained. So given
what's happening in Maryland under the premise of overturning that law I would have been questioned for being in the very restroom they are telling me that I have to be in.
Not long ago Dee and I went to see a movie at a local theatre. After having a little too much to drink I found I needed to use the facilities. Every time this happens to me at this point in my transition I stress over not only which restroom to use but also what happens if someone complains. After entering the men's room and doing what I needed to do I walked out with a young boy of about 10-12 years of age walking in. I caught him looking at me as I walked by and he turned and followed me back to the restroom entrance. I wasn't sure why he had turned around but it became apparent as he had taken a second look at the restroom stick figure. Could a parent have caused an issue thinking that I didn't belong in there?
These aren't easy issues for the public to have to deal with but they are necessary ones. We aren't second class citizens by any means and we deserve the same privilege any other person deserves. Time and time again I read that we should not be making a majority uncomfortable for the rights of a minority. By this very definition "Slavery" would have never been abolished. We as a society cannot yield civil rights to the vote of a majority in this manner, it just isn't right and so many things that we have come to realize as a basic right wouldn't have happened if we were allowed too.
C'mon people, we are finally making ground in being just people, lets not fudge it up in the process.
Last up I wanted to talk about television for a second. If you have the chance today, Tyra Banks is doing a show on a Trans M2F form beginning to end. This is to say that they follow this person all the way through the process and documented it. It should not only be interesting but it should be very educational. At one point without showing this girl Tyra Banks exclaims how beautiful this girl is. If you get a chance to watch please do so. I may blog more on the subject after I see it.
I hope you are all well, I wish I was but at least life itself is good
Feb 19, 2008
hateful response by some people who felt it should have never been published. It's sad to think people refer to it as a choice or a deviant lifestyle without ever once educating themselves on what they are talking about. How these people can justify violence, intolerance and discrimination against a class of people simply for being different than they are is beyond me. In the past week I've been referred too as sick, disturbed, a sexual deviant, someone with an agenda and some other not so nice things. What pisses me off is the fact that these are the same people who spew their view of intolerant control are some of the first people that want my tax money to further their own agendas. I'm good enough to foot the bill for them and their families but not to exist in my own right these people need to grow up.
In the past week there have been 2 major headlines about people of gender variance being killed. One story is of a little boy in California that was shot in the back of the head at school. The person who completed this hateful crime was quoted by a friend as stating that this would be this young mans last day alive, he would see to it..
The second story was of a Trans woman in Detroit who was stabbed to death in her apartment. The sad part is that with this poor girl being a victim the press still finds ways to strip dignity from us even in a case of a heinous death. Where is the sympathy for the victim here? She doesn't' deserve any because you don't agree with who she was so you stereo type her?
Again ..how sad.
There's been another story of a young 8-year-old boy in Colorado who has gender dysphoria and will be returning to school as a girl. Again this is another story that seems to have a sharp divide. The rights of a majority vs the well being of a trans child. People have even taken to calling the parents of the child abusers for allowing this. That this child could have no idea of sexuality … Jeez .. And better yet .. How do I explain this to my children .. Another cop out for an adult to say, I'm not comfortable talking about this stuff so my child id my scapegoat. Children are more accepting than adults, they aren't born with prejudices, they are taught them at home. If you tell a child the truth they will grow to be more informed and more open. KIds aren't preprogrammed to discriminate .. it's a product of the enviroment ...
Gender isn't so defined as we wish to believe it. It is not determined by who we are attracted to or even who we are physically, it is defined by our brains and how we thing. Gender is a defined box with a label constructed by society. It's a defined rule and as we know, rules are meant to be broken. Society isn't at ease and comfortable with anything unless it has a proper label and is in its proper box. Only then does life have flow to it and if something mistakenly goes in the wrong box, the space-time continuum gets disrupter and the planets stop spinning..
I'll never understand how we can view life as a series of colors and yet anything considered taboo is either black or white. I'm sorry to report to the narrow-minded folk that sometimes there are shades of gray, Those shades of gray keep life diverse and evolving, otherwise we would all be the same. A binary society just doesn't work and as much as we believe that's how it is, it simply isn't.
Is it so hard to believe that all the things that can happen to the human body in birth, life or even death and then step back and say that it is totally impossible for their to be a difference in brain development? Is it totally impossible to believe that we are born this way and that things happen? That these things could even have a basis in our genetic code?
So, I'm a bit different than someone else but the fact is simple.. I'm a decent human being. I'm able to function and contribute to society. I've loved and raised a family and now have a grand child. I've never been arrested. Never done any drugs .no not even marijuana. I've been working since I was 16 and never milked the system once. I pay for my own health
insurance, prescriptions and therapy sessions. I pay taxes and have dreams like any other red blooded American … yet someone in a use of their rights calls me a sexual deviant .. I fail to see the connection. I hold my hopes that hateful people will eventually be drowned out by the caring more tolerant population.
I received and email a few days ago. It was from my counselor and she was forwarding an email sent to her from a local business. This lady saw the series in the newspaper and decided that she wanted to be of assistance to the community. She has a husband that is Transgender. It went on to read that she owns an exotic pole-dancing studio that gives classes. It is designed for women to tap into their inner femininity and eroticism. She made it a point to let us know that it is available to ALL women and that she was even willing to even have private lessons to help people become more comfortable in their transitions.
I wish we had more businesses that were that open and understanding. granted she has experience with the issue but at least she isn't afraid to do something about it.
I'm sure Dee would love me to do pole dancing for her. Somehow I just don't see me being anywhere close enough to be graceful … I have no rhythm ..for now I'll stick to my own art ..Music ..
Keep on Rockin..
Feb 12, 2008
As I previously posted last week was Dee's birthday and we have a tradition between us of going out to dinner for each others birthday. Usually whomever birthday it is gets to choose where we eat and this year Dee chose the Macaroni Grill. She loves this restaurant because they do something called make your own pasta bowls. You chose your sauce, pasta, vegetables and even meatballs or sausage. In an effort to not only move forward but make her birthday special I wanted it to be the first time Karyn was "fully" out. I figured that this would be a
special way of celebrating.
From the time we walked into the restaurant everything went well for me. Never an odd look, never an off comment and it was exactly what I needed. Dee loved every minute of the fact that this was her night and I had done this. After dinner Jess, Dee and I went over to Marshall's shopping and then home. Things are slowly getting into a groove for me now, I'm feeling more comfortable out in public and beginning to realize all my fears were unfounded.
I'm finally at the point now that I'm slowly purging myself of male jeans and wearing my new jeans most of my off time (Off from work) I'll still need to start finding less expensive jeans for my job so my good ones do not get ruined.
This past week there were a few stories that made news that were worth speaking of here. One story is about an 8 year old in Colorado boy that wants to attend school as a girl. This was being done at the advice of Dr's and her parents. This seems to be coming out more and more now with the onset of Transgender people in the news and 20/20's show on TG children last year. I honestly think it's great that we are getting to a point that kids who are born this way will not have to suffer the way I or some of my peers had.
The sad part of this story is that some people are coming out accusing the parents of child abuse for allowing it. They are saying that this child doesn't have the experience to make up its own mind at such a young age. These things tend to really bring conservatives out as it doesn't fit into the binary box society expects us to be in, therefore it must be B.S
I can assure you that as an adult living this life that I knew somewhere between the ages of 5 to 8 and in some instance I have at least 1 old memory of it at an even younger age. It is not inconceivable that a child of these age understands that there is something that is different
about them. What saddens me is the judgement put upon these parents for doing what the Drs say and making the tough choice for the best of their child. I am of the belief that when it comes to our children, there is no decision that is taken lightly or even easily ..
If you would like to read more the story is here. If you want your eyes opened to how some people think then please read the comments.
Next up is a series being run in my local paper in an effort to educate people about this issue. The current article is actually centered around my therapist and the support group she has. I'm happy to see this getting exposure on a local level, even if some people feel it isn't news worthy. Hopefully someday it wont be but for now it needs to be
The last newsworthy link I'm going to provide is actually one that astonishes me. Several places in the country have added gender identity to the list of protections. What amazes me is that people are jumping on petitions to take away those rights. They don't apparently feel they
should be allowed to discriminate against a class of people and they use the guise that they don't want "men" in the women's restrooms. They are afraid that this will allow sexual predators access to women in this manner
Sorry people, they are already in there and there has never been a listed issue. Chances are at some point in your life, you have washed your hands standing next to one of us. You didn't realize it because other than being born wrong, we are just like you and we blend in. We aren't in there for anything more than the same reason you are and lets face it.. The guys would beat us for being in the men's room. It's tough living with something that you aren't welcome in either place to do your business and yet, that's all it is about.."The right to use a public "restroom".
I guess it takes little steps to climb a hill and we are slowly getting to the point where we have a bit of balance. Hopefully someday none of this will have to be an issue and no one will have to suffer either with this ..or from it ..
Hope you're all cool ..I know I am ..