A journey to San Francisco to become no less than Me. (BLOG REBOOT: Former site of Hairy Legs.)

Archive for December, 2009

6 months of gender EUphoria!

As of yesterday, on the 24th, it’s been 6 months since I began my transition journal, and it’s flown by unbelievably fast.  My life has been so full since coming to terms with myself, and bringing those around me to be on those terms.  So much has changed- mainly, my respect for myself and my own standards.  I’ve dropped the practice of hiding behind the wrong gender and pretending to be what I’m not just because it’s easier, or because I was afraid.  I’ve gained more friends and more respect for coming out than I would have kept by keeping it all inside.  Most importantly, I’ve gained a father who knows me- not just someone who looks like a girl verson of me- and my father has gained the son he didn’t know he had.  The richness of life this has brought has made my life an unbelievable dream come true.

Just six months ago, I probably would have still worn makeup and even female garb if the situation called for it.  Today, I wouldn’t put those things on if someone told me they would reject be forever if I didn’t.  And on top of that, I’m comfortable enough with my gender that, if I wanted to put on a girl costume just for the fun of it, I could probably do that without any serious emotional injuries.  The point of all this, as contradictory as it seems, is that I don’t wear what I wear for anyone else’s approval, because of fear, or because I believe that what I am is unacceptable.  What I look like in any given situation is now my choice and mine alone- nobody can tell me what to be.

I’ve learned that people in general are very, very stupid.  The 95% majority of them are not educated in the least on the problems that people like us have, and the ones who are usually are misninformed, ignorant of the more important subtleties, insensitive, bigoted, or just plain prejudiced.  A lot of people will go out of their way to let me know that what I’m doing is wrong, but that they still love me anyway, even though I’m going to burn in Hell.  Others will tell me that they’re very sorry that I feel the way I do and that it must be very hard, but as long as I still haven’t had surgery, still sound, smell and look like a girl, I will be a girl in their eyes and there’s nothing they can do about it.  Even the people who do accept and support me 100%, put in the effort to educate themselves, and do their very best to make people like me comfortable in a harsh and cruel world… are simply not equipped to deal with something this complex.  Most of the people in my life are not college graduate gender theorists, majors in psychology or left-wing social workers.  I have to keep in mind that even I have such a hard time sorting everything out, and I’m steeped in this information and situation day in and day out.  There is nothing about this that is easy for anyone.  I have to be grateful for the people in my life who at least don’t make a big deal of it, and certainly for the ones who don’t want to kill me.  There are certainly enough of those in the world.

I’ve also learned that people are very, very different and very unpredictable.  There’s no way to know how they’re going to react to my situation until I tell them.  Some of the people I thought would reject me, hurt me or try to fix me have turned out to be the people who are most supportive- the ones who try the hardest to get the name and pronouns right.  And sometimes, the ones I thought would be behind me 100% all the way turned out to be most resentful of my transition, if for no other reason than I “killed off” the person they thought they knew.  I’ve had to learn to accept and work through the feelings of betrayal that some of my friends have had since this started.  It can be just as hard for me to understand the way they feel about this as it’s hard for them to understand why my female aspects are abandoning them forever, but we all have to work together if we want to get through this in one piece.

I’ve learned that there are places in this world that are surprisingly accepting of people like us, all evidence to the contrary.  I’ve learned there are places that are suprisingly dangerous, all evidence to the contrary.  I’ve learned of the unbelievable bigotry and ignorance in the LGBT community, the place I was convinced I could turn, the people who should understand gender issues more than anyone.  There’s a big difference between queer and trans- in the eyes of the world, queer people LOVE the wrong gender, and trans people ARE the wrong gender.  But we all fall under that same umbrella: the world rejects us because of some relation to the wrong gender, and if we can work together to dispel the gender stigma, then we’d all be better off.

I’ve learned that my own issues run deeper then I thought they did.  Since I’ve developed a healthy sense of self respect, I’ve learned there are things I’m not okay with.  I’m not okay with being touched in certain places, or used in certain ways.  I’m not comfortable with wearing long hair while I still have the soft, round features indicative of the sex my body still is.  I’m not comfortable with being dominated most of the time- I’ve learned of the delicacy of the male ego and the paradox that comes with that.

And of course, I’ve learned all the logistical facts and skills, like how to bind in a matter of a few seconds, use an STP, shave my face, walk and talk like a dude.  I’ve tasted the victory of being “sirred” in public, being read as male at least until I opened my mouth, and being told by some people that my being male “really does make sense of a lot of things” with me.  I’ve been told to put the toilet seat down, to stop being such an insensitive Guy, and to sit with the dudes.  I’ve been called by Tommy at least as much as by my legal name these last couple of weeks, and that, I know, is a huge improvement and a sign of respect and of being taken seriously by those who care.

I have a long way to go.  I still have to get back on medical insurance so I can get consultations for getting on T, but the paperwork is in the system.  I’ve worked out that I will just barely be able to afford testosterone with the paycheck I get now, but I’m prepared to put a lot of other things on hold so I can get my life going in the right direction.  I have to quit smoking before I can get on T, but so far I’ve cut so far back that, when the time comes, it will be a piece of cake.  I still need to buy a real binder, but I think I’ll have that in the works by the time I get back from San Francisco.  I have yet to come out to any of my extended family, but I’m sure they’ll figure it out once I start showing up with facial hair.  I still look female, but my genetics dictate that the T will have a nearly catastrophic effect on my body- my father and mother both grow hair prolifically, and both had very male, broad physiques.  I’m not exactly built with the most feminine structure as it is.  Quite frankly, I can’t wait to get the stuff in my body- it’s going to feel great!

The new year will bring a lot more revelations, to myself and to the world, or so I hope.  I would hate to remain static in this state, either physically or mentally.  I have a lot still to learn.  My opinions on what I may have done surgically, for example, are not the same as they were 6 months ago, and they probably won’t be the same in 2 years.  I’m sure that the effect the T has on my mind and body will direct that.  But to put it all in one sentence:

I’ve walked further on this path than I thought I had, I’ve got longer to go than I thought I would, and over all, I’m just happy to know that I’m finally on my way home.

Merry Christmas to everyone!

Finally getting it chopped off.

My hair.  What did you think?

Anyway, I’ve been running a discussion over on the TransQueer Nation forums (which, if you don’t have an account, you need to register for because it is an absolute wealth of information, support, and fellow Tguys).  It was based on good haircuts for heavy guys, and after a lot of… well, what I considered to be slightly… off suggestions, I finally owned up to having something completely different in mind:

Well, I’ve taken all your suggestions under advisement, but I’m going to roll with my gut and get this classic cut:

I wanted something conservative, but not too short, and I think Ewan McGregor has enough of a round, innocent face to sort of mimic and give me an idea of what I might look like with this cut, especially after I get on T, but before I start growing facial hair. I know how fast my hair grows and it should be past my shoulders in about a year, which, if anything about my what my genetics tells me is true, should be about when my facial hair starts to darken and come in. I want to have long hair again once I have enough male gender cues to indicate that I’m a guy with long hair and not just a chick with long hair and some facial hair problems. 😉
Anyway, I did a little research and found a barber’s joint in San Fran that I really want to visit- I’ve read TONS of reviews and 98% of them gave 5 stars, and on top of that, I read a few by trans guys who said they felt welcomed there!
LET ME REPEAT THAT:
I’ve found a barber shop that’s friendly to trans guys.
Joe’s Barbershop

Apparently the rate is $25, which is pretty damn good for a safe experience with nice (and talented!) barbers. Spread the word; I know I’ll be crossposting this to my blog. I’m probably going to be down there getting the cut the morning of the 28th; I’ll be sure to post some before and after pics and my own review of the place.

Wish me luck!

So yes, I feel that making this find may be my biggest contribution to the trans community so far- at least, the trans community that lives in the Bay Area and wants their hair professionally cut by someone they don’t already have rapport with.  Wow, that’s actually kinda pitiful.  Oh well, we do what we can.

In other news, I’ve just told my dad tonight that I’d prefer to be called by Tommy.  After he realized the significance (a hint: “The dog was called Indiana!”), he actually said that he’d be proud to call me Tommy.  I told him I’d give him a lot of leeway and not get dramatic if he forgot to use the right name, because my friends who have known me less than 4 years now have trouble, and he’s been calling me by my birth name for 21 years in a row.  He seemed to really appreciate that.

In fact, he made a hell of an effort just this evening- he was talking to someone and said he was “proud to have K_____ as my daughter.  No, proud to have Tommy as my daughter.  As my CHILD.”  I couldn’t help but beam with pride at his obvious efforts.  He’s taking this more seriously than I ever could have hoped, and catching on real fast.

Finally, about that San Fran trip-

We’re going on the 27th and it’s going to be a rabble rousing, gut busting two-night affair of escaping the humdrum, pretend-to-fit-in existence of living in East Jesus Nowhere.  I plan on going in drag EVERYWHERE, the first night Sunday the 27th, we’re going to a techno club or something-whatever and that’s when I’m having my Severance Ball.  Then on Monday morning, I’m getting my hair cut, and I plan on going as masculine that day as possible, possibly even to the point of costume.  Not sure what we’re doing that night, but we’re leaving for home some time Tuesday afternoon and I’m sure we’ll find something to do.

So, if any of my fellow transguys live out the Bay Area and know a good joint to hang, hit me up and maybe we can meet up and have a drink or something.  Frankly, it would just be nice to know I’m not the only one that exists.

Severance.

I’d like to say right now that I’ve passed a milestone.  Just a few minutes ago, I had the first female in my life ever to tell me to put the toilet seat down.  Aside from the slight embarrassment (and huge flush of relief that came to realize that she saw it up before her mom did), I felt a sense of… becoming– not quite pride, but accomplishment; the feeling of passing on into being not just a boy, but maybe even a man.

My 21st birthday is in 3 days.

I’ve been thinking about it for about 5 months now, and I’ve finally decided that I am, in contradiction of everything I’ve said before, going to cut my hair.  Yes, I’ve said before that I don’t:

1)  go around wearing what I wear or looking what I look like just to make things easier for everyone else.  I do this for ME.
2)  follow gender stereotypes, because if I think that’s what makes me a man, then I might as well just pack up and go home.
3)  want to go through transition for the sake of being a man, I do it for the sake of being MYSELF.

I still hold to those standards, but the funny thing is, I feel like a completely different person today than I did five months ago.  I feel that short hair would suit me better as I am, that I’m really not trying to live up to that scruffy biker/metalhead image anymore, that I want a softer, shaggy, more boyish cute faggy look as I settle into my male self.  (Plus Hilary Swank looked awfully cute in short hair in Boys Don’t Cry.)  In fact, I could go on listing a thousand reasons I’ve changed my mind- it doesn’t matter.  I will never abandon my resolution to be myself, and if I tried to hold to an image that I was before but not now, just to prove something to anyone else, then I’ve lost sight of that.

This cutting of my hair will also mark the passing of another landmark, no matter how I try to downplay it.  I’ve had long hair for my entire life, as long as I can remember, and losing it will almost be a point of no return.  I may grow my hair long again, in the future when my features have masculinized again, but for now, this is my aggressive visual act of manhood to those around me.  It says, “this isn’t just something I’m saying, or a phase.  I’m serious about this.”  If nothing else, I hope that it will be a constant reminder of what pronoun to use.

So, I’ve decided that, the night before I get it done, I’m going to make almost a ceremonial gesture, an act of severance to the female life behind me.  My friends and I are going to go out for a night on the town, and I’m going in full drag as a female.  There will be nothing questionable about it- I’ll be gussied up in every way possible, from corset to makeup and hairdo, head to toe.  It will be very symbolic as the last time I ever don the female garb, and at the end of the night I’ll remove every piece and say goodbye to the life behind me.

I’m calling it my Severance Ball: my rite of passage from a female body into a male one, and I feel that at the end of that night, I will have no regrets and will never look back.

I came out to my dad last night.

It was unexpected, unplanned, and exactly the way it was supposed to be.

Well, sort of.  It took some weird complications to make it happen, but I think if it weren’t for those, it wouldn’t have gone as well as it did.

See, last weekend my dad and I went up the hill to shoot his shotgun and hit a couple golf balls after I’d had some serious relationship issues (more about HIM later.)  My dad seems to think it’s great therapy to blow off steam by blowing up paint cans, and he couldn’t have been more right.  It was the golfing that got me.

On my last swing, I lost track of my form and swung not just my arms but also my back, throwing something out of alignment.  It wasn’t a HORRIBLE injury, just enough that I was done goofing off.  But all that accumulated in my back seriously giving out on me last night.  I was trying to get the baby in her high chair when my back went SPROING, and all of a sudden I couldn’t move my arms, couldn’t lift my head, and I was completely immobilized and panicked.  Good thing my best friend was there helping me watch her or it would have been me stranded and helpless with a screaming 2-year-old for 2 hours.

Anyway, I tried to get comfortable, took my last two Vicodin from my old knee injury and waited on the ‘rents to get back.  I won’t go into the gory details of those two hours, but let’s just say that 1000 milligrams of hydrocodone should have worked better than they did.  I was in humiliated tears before the night was up.

And when they got home, things just got better.  My stepmom the nurse gave me another 1000 milligram and said that was enough for the night, which did little other than to make me drowsy and nauseous, but hardly touched the pain.  My dad, pious believer that he is, decided to get out the holy anointment oil and try to pray the injury out of me.  He sent everyone else out of the room, and I just sat there, with nothing to say.  When he asked if I was alright, I looked him square in the eye and said, “Do you really think I would still believe in a God who would make me this way?”

Once I started, I couldn’t stop.  Everything just rolled from there, but even in my drugged stupor and excruciating pain (probably the reason I didn’t have any reservations about saying what I said,) it couldn’t have come out better.  Everything I’ve been struggling with figuring out how to say for months flowed out like water, and at the end of it, my dad said he would love me forever, no matter how much I decided to surgically mutilate myself.  Well, it was funny at the time.  You have to get my dad’s sense of humor.

No matter how he put it, I knew he was behind me 100%.

Whole new worlds have opened up to me.  Of course, I’m still stranded here at the house with my back busted and it’s going against my better judgement to even be sitting here at the computer instead of lying down and resting, but I had to share this.  Yesterday, it was 2 weeks until my birthday and I still had the burden of trying to figure out how to tell him before I turned 21.  Last night, all of that went away.  Today, I’m free.  My dad still cares about me, he won’t try to change me or preach at me, and he knows everything there really is to know about me.  I feel like we’re really friends now.

One other thing- as soon as I can afford it, I really want to get on Minoxidil (or Rogaine, see the minoxidil discussion on the Beard Board for details) for my facial hair growth.  I don’t feel nearly so awkward about it now that my dad knows I’m FTM.  Everyone else can just figure it out for themselves, but now that I have my dad’s blessing, I feel free to express my gender and really start the ball rolling towards true transition.

It’s time to start planning my coming out party!

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