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

Posts tagged ‘Dad’

Still in the closet?

I wanted to crosspost this over from a reply I made to a thread over at TQ Nation this morning.  It wound up running way longer than I intended, and it seemed like it’d be a shame and a waste of time if I didn’t record it in my blog.  I feel like this post pretty much sums up how I feel towards my gender these days, even though it’s not the update on my life stuff that I’ve been promising.  I’m pretty sure I’ll get to that this weekend.

In the mean time, sexy crossdressing goodness.  😉

*****

When people ask me if I’m a boy or a girl, I answer, “Yes. I am certainly one or the other.”

If you want the long answer, here it is. I know in my heart of hearts that I was meant to be a dude- to have a male body, a male voice, and male hormones interacting with my male brainwaves (male patterns of thinking + female hormones = not the most stable of situations, psychologically.) But if you were to ask me what KIND of guy I am, that’s where it gets confusing, because I know that if I had been born with all the right fixtures, I would crossdress a lot of the time.

I like the feel of a female presentation interacting on top of a male base. I like theatrics and big musical numbers and drag- I like the feel of foundation smoothed over the closest possible shave, just barely concealing the stubble waiting to apring up underneath; I like the sound of a velvety female voice coming out of male vocal chords. But when there’s not a physical male base beneath these things, it all just feels pointless. I don’t know if this makes me a horrible person, but there’s nothing about female presentation that feels attractive (at least, on me) if it “passes”, if it doesn’t have at least some physical maleness lurking around underneath. In any case that I feel people would look at me and say “that’s a chick” and not “that’s a gay man in a dress”, I would rather just present as male.

So, I have been. I’ve been presenting as male for one and a half years, 24/7. I’ve been trying to get on testosterone, waiting for my voice to drop and my stubble to start coming in. I’ve been a closeted crossdresser for all this time. Where some people in my situation (still stuck, living with my family) would be more inclined to hide their transgenderism, I proudly display my Axe body spray, my Old Spice deodorant, my suits and ties and all the trappings of maleness that visually root my surroundings to my identity and say “A Man lives here.” And in the background, I stuff away all the old flowy scarves and lace gowns and mom’s old jewelry and makeup and I hide it away in my closet and I whisper to myself, “Some day.” I become mortified at the thought of my dad stumbling across it all. It’s another gender paradox- my dad would be thrilled to find out that I still entertain thoughts of dressing as a girl. I know it pains him to see my hair cut short every couple months and see me go to formal functions in that old suit I stole from him and not that Easter dress he got for me the last time before he gave up on it. I beg to go fishing with him, follow him to the garage to get him to let me help work on the car, try to keep up when he’s talking sports, knowing all the while that each little thing like this might be helping to build my “male cred” with him, but at the same time wanting nothing more than to be on that stage in the spotlight, dripping with jewels and lipsynching “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend.”

I know it would destroy my chances of ever being seen as his son- even little things, like expressing pain when I get a papercut, earn reactions like “A boy wouldn’t act like that.” For him, my every action is now filtered through whether or not it makes me a man. I know if his best friend Monty got a papercut, my Dad go “Ow man, that sucks.” Is it just because he can grow a beard, Dad? Is this where the difference between commiseration and discrimination lies? The ability to cultivate facial hair?

It goes deeper, it gets more complicated. I hide my relationships from him. I know that if he sees that the guy who comes over all the time is not only my “best friend”, but also my lover, he’ll have that same reaction that everyone else has. “If you’re dating guys, then isn’t it just easier to be a girl?” The answer is no, because the guys that I like to date don’t go OUT with girls. It’s the cross any gay son has to carry, if maybe there’s a little more at stake for me (because no matter what most born-male people do, their parents still probably use male pronouns- to some people’s disadvantage!), but all in all still the same- the status of your masculinity is threatened if your dad finds out you bone other guys. I don’t feel alone on this one.

It sucks that so many people still link preference to gender identity, but such is life and we all have to deal with the ugly truths. But since so many people still judge based on the kind of tail you chase, and how people in the real world judge me factors into how I feel about myself and interact with others, I might as well go into that too.

Of course, “gay” is also hard to define with me. I’ve dated girls before, although none of them were lesbians- if anything, they were bi (which is cool with me, because if you’re not bi, you’re either going to have a problem with my body or my mind, and not minding either one is always a bonus.) You have to be a really special kind of girl to catch my eye, though- it’s hard to pick the pattern out of all the girls I’ve been attracted to, but I guess if I had to say, they weren’t gender binary, either. They were none of them very butch, but never really feminine- I guess you could say, they were female bodied HUMANS. The packaging was never what drew me in, but their personality.

My preference for guys, on the other hand, is very specific. They have to be willing to bottom, they have to be comfortable with their queerness to the point that they can acknowledge they are dating a guy with a cunt, and they have to have at least a little passion for crossdressing, of course. When it comes down to it, if we were to get married and I wore a tux, if he didn’t want to wear a wedding gown, then he doesn’t make the cut. It’s a weird standard by which to measure, I know, but there’s something about a guy in a wedding dress that just tickles me up and down and all over.

Of course, everything else in between is on a case by case basis. I have a special place in my heart for the transgendered, NOT because of my crossdressing fetish (because if you’re wearing what matches up with your internal gender identity, then it’s not crossdressing to me) but because we fight a long hard battle every one of us, and the idea of having a mate who can relate to that on something more than an abstract level appeals to me.

I guess I’ve been rambling, but in summation, I’m simply this:

1) A fabulous guy with a crossdressing fetish
2) who is pretty much gay but not definitively
3) and also happens to have a cunt.

[Note the order- 1) me, 2) what I like, 3) physical. The physical bits come last out of that order, always.]

In a word?

Queer.

Day 14: Name time, part two.

Last month, I discovered it’s a bad idea to try and live with a name given to you by someone who you might wind up hating down the road.  I’m glad that I didn’t get anything done legally about it and all I have to do is change it on places like my blog.  (I’d almost forgotten that even needed to, except I clicked the “Random Blog Post” button for a blast from the past year and some inspiration, and found the post where I talked about how I decided on my name.)

Anyway, my ex was the one who decided on the name Calvin, and I kept it in my name even though I never really used it.  Now, any time I see that name, it reminds me of him and what he did to me, and a whole sequence of bad feelings come rushing back, so I’ve decided to drop it, move the “Thomas” back around to the first name spot, and go with my legal last name.  Now my name will read Thomas Jack H______, and it’s considerably less clumsy and more comfortable.  Besides, now that I’m becoming a lot closer to my dad, I’m a lot more comfortable with sharing his last name.  I kind of wanted to change my last name originally because I was afraid he might not want to be associated with me, but he’s become a lot more accepting of it all since then.  Now I’m ready to get my legal name change when that’s ready to happen.

***

I’m also thinking about starting my youtube channel soon.  The computer with the camera doesn’t really work all that well and it doesn’t have much in the way of editing programs, but I figure if I don’t start now then I never will.  I’m having a hard time coming up with an opening topic, though.  I’ll keep looking and when I get it posted, I’ll put a link up.

Peace!

Day 13: I have defeated sleep.

Just felt like informing you all that this is the first time I’ve ever gotten on the computer after a long day, sat down and stayed on it until the sun came up the next morning. Feels weird, man. Without the sleep in the middle, I feel like I’m still in yesterday.

In 21 years I’ve probably never gone 24 hours without at least 5 hours of sleep, and that’s skimping- my usual runs somewhere around 9. And yet, I really don’t feel tired- I just kinda feel like I’ve somehow crossed the threshold into the Twilight Zone.

***

Seeing as that’s completely unrelated to gender and I promised I’d spend this entire month forcing myself to talk about gender every day and hopefully get it out of my system, I guess I’ll go into what happened yesterday.

Um, I got to hang out with my dad a lot.  And there was, like, father-son bonding and shit.  This has happened a lot recently and I find that it’s very cool that I don’t have to go to someone else to learn how to be a man.  Yep.

What else.  Uhhh…  I guess the lack of sleep is making me more likely to spell out what I’m muttering as I try to come up with something.  We’re now going to try not to do that because it looks stupid.

…I actually just had to delete an “Errrrrm…”, which is brilliant.  It’s like I’m on chat or something.

Anyway.  Oh, yes.  My sex drive is definitely returning.  For a few months there, I was completely turned off the idea of sex in general.  I was really worried when it became the case that pictures did nothing for my libido.  I was getting to the point where I’d be looking for something, anything, to turn me on and I couldn’t find anything online, even the sort of stuff I knew used to get me going.  It all kinda just looked like art to me.

But then tonight I happened to run across a little gay porn in the forum I frequent, and I felt that old familiar sproing.  Maybe I’ll be able to enjoy sex again in the future.  Meanwhile I have to deal with wanting it and not really having the option…

…Which somehow seems like it’ll be easier now that I have all these new things along with my genital dysphoria, such as shame and anxiety.  All I really want right now from anyone is a bj, I think, and it’s not going to feel quite right until I get at least a little growth going on.  It seems like sex with other people might just serve to screw more with my dysphoria, so it’s easier not to rush into things and appreciate the solitude.

Still, though, I do miss the intimacy.  That’s one thing that makes me feel like less of a dude.  I ALMOST, not really, but almost like snuggling better than the sex itself, and it’s hard to ask that of someone you’re not intimate with, for some reason.  Hell, it’s hard even to admit to.  Sometimes I feel just… hungry, though, and physical contact of any sort is enough to start filling the void- the more skin contact, the better, in that holding hands is like a granola bar and naked snuggling is like a buffet.  It’s like sleep and food and water all at once and I feel so energized and yet relaxed afterwards- just replenished, I guess is the word.

This blog has kind of taken a weird, non-gender related turn, but whatever, it’s all about keeping it real, I guess.  The point is, women are “supposed” to want intimacy and so they trade sex to get it, and men are “supposed” to want sex and therefore trade intimacy for it, and right now I guess I’d trade a certain amount of sex if it meant I could have someone to hold.  I’m getting lower on energy by the day, and paradoxically, sleeping at night gets harder because of it.  You’d think I’d sleep more, but no- well, unless it’s during the day, I guess.  My sleep schedule gets all screwed up…

So, I’m starting to feel that my pride may have to take a back burner to my health, because I just feel like my eyes are becoming sunken and gray.

Or maybe I just to finally go to bed.

(Im’ma write about something REALLY embarrassing tomorrow!)

Random bits and pieces.

I’ve developed this weird little rash on my neck where my Adam’s Apple should be.  Yesterday, it looked like a hickey, which is weird because nobody’s been kissing me there.  Today, it feels bumpy and weird.  I don’t like to make a big deal out of unrelated events, but it just kinda tickled me- as if my body is going, “Look here.  You see this?  This here?  This is where this lump should be, and it’s not.  What the fuck.”

Also, I’ve been pumping, so “little friend” (as I call it) has been growing, I think.  I don’t know how much bigger, to be specific, or if anyone out on the interwebs needs to know the details, but my partner said it looks bigger, and he’s not the sort to say things just to make me feel better.  So that’s kind of exciting.

Insurance is being a dick.  I keep doing something wrong, or sending something in the wrong date, or etc. etc., and all I really want is to be able to go talk to a doctor about getting a T prescription.  I’m not asking for insurance to pay for it, I’ll pay for it myself, cent for cent.  But this is taking FOR-FUCKING-EVER, this red tape.  Plus, social services screwed me over for food stamps last year.  They said that when I was trying to cancel food stamps, THEY made a mistake, some sort of clerical error, and need ME to pay them back $200.  Are you kidding me?  I’ve been trying my damnedest just to hold on to $200, let along the $500 I need to get my car fixed- and yes, I’m in a situation where I don’t need help with food, but I AM ALSO in a situation where I DON’T need to owe people money!  This sucks azz, bro.

It just seems like the world is trying to hold me back from medically transitioning, because it’s taking forever to get this freaking ball rolling.  I’m going to be filling out the paperwork, AGAIN, hopefully for the last time, today.

I think my body’s catching on, though, in lieu of the ability to get testosterone in my body.  For instance, I’m noticing hair growing on my back and shoulders and all kinds of areas where I never really noticed any before.  Also, apparently my voice is deep enough for me to at least pass as a 15 year old boy.  I think it might be more of an inflection thing, and some of the voice stretching exercises.

Although I quit the minoxidil a little while back (read the comments on “Quick update: Minoxidil” for the reasons why), my eyebrows have been growing in a more male shape, which may or may not be due to the minoxidil.  I’ve been shaving my face a lot more often lately, too- it was kind of hard to let go of the tiny bits of peach fuzz at first, but then reading that it can actually incriminate more than having a clean shaven face (because men either have stubble or nothing and only women have peach fuzz), I reluctantly picked up the razor.  I’ve read both ways- that it’s an old wives tale that shaving makes your hair grow in darker, or that it’s just because the ends are more blunt when you shave off the tips, but either way, I think it’s been growing a little faster.

In order to give me more incentive to shave it off, I went to the store and bought this totally badass razor that has all these metallic bits and functions, and it came in a set with a bunch of guy-smelling soap and deodorant, all for $8, too, so I felt really good about that.  I was getting low on my shampoo.

All these little things and everything else coming together, plus just relaxing into a male identity and being more confident about it, I think is contributing to the amount of people reading me as male lately.  It was funny- at Faire, that group who initiated me, they were first a lot more awkward trying to tell me that they’d decided amongst themselves that I looked way better as a dude than as a chick.  They couldn’t imagine how epic it was to hear that!

I think it’s when you travel back, you can see how far you’ve come.  Last night, I was practicing one of my theatrical makeup techniques (specifically, how to make your eyebrows disappear without shaving them off) and it worked so well, I wound up turning it into a celebrity impersonation photoshoot for my makeup portfolio.  If you’ve ever heard of Amanda Palmer, you know it’s necessary to have no eyebrows to dress as her.  But you’ll also understand why, dressing as her, it was the first time in a long time I felt that comfortable wearing a dress.  She tends to defy gender boundaries, and that makes me happy.

Anyway, I noticed something in the pictures that jarred me a little- I didn’t look female when I put on makeup anymore.  I looked very distinctly like a drag queen!  That tells me how far I’ve come- I can’t look completely female anymore, even when dressing as one.  I knew that day would come, but I didn’t expect it this soon.

Family issues- my dad’s was trying at first, I think, to be accepting, but something’s going wrong here, because I don’t think he’s taking me seriously.  I’m pretty sure he thinks I’m going through a phase, and his latest hobby has been dropping little hints to remind me “what I really am.”  I think that he thinks he’s doing me a favor.  It feels like shit.  Like, every single little time I let my front of masculinity down the slightest bit, he’s there to catch me and remind me that “men do this and this,” or “you wouldn’t get it, it’s a guy thing.”  I have to conform to every single binary to get my dad to take me seriously, and it sucks ass, because I know he thinks I’m fake, and the way it’s going, he’s basically making me act fake so he’ll think I’m real.  He’s the only person who has power over me this way.  With everyone else, I can flaunt the gender binary and laugh when they look confused.  I don’t much care what people think.  With my dad, I really, really want him to think of me as his son… and he’s making me jump through hoops to get it.  It doesn’t help that I’m going out with a guy, either.  I’m sure that if I’d been born completely male, and if I were going out with a guy, he’d think I was a sissy-boy, too.  I don’t know how to resolve this.  He needs to understand that I’m not a traditional, cut-out male, but I’m not female, either.  I’m just his kid, hopefully his son, and if I’m not perfect, then too bad, because I’d be really boring if I were.  I’m doing the best I can to reconcile the two sides of my gender, and he’s not making it any easier.  In fact, he’s making it harder than anyone else, because I actually value his opinion.  I wonder, if he saw that, would he try to hurt me like this all the time?

Onslaught.

So I’ve been feeling really great about everything.  Last night, my lovely boyfriend and I finally managed to pull enough money together to order a good binder so I can stop using the backbreaking one I’ve been using, my insurance is about to go through so I can see about getting a gender therapist, everyone’s been seeing me as a guy, and people are slowly but surely figuring out the name.

I feel like I’m sitting on a go-cart that I’ve been trying to make go for months now, and finally some deity descended from the heavens and gave me a gentle push and now I’m finally, slowly, starting to roll down the hill.  But suddenly, my stomach is lurching because I’m looking forward and the hill gets a lot steeper from here, and I’m just about to pass that point where, if I wanted to, I could stick my legs out and grind to a halt without any major injury, get up, and walk away.  Things are About to Happen, and if I don’t stop before the Point of No Return, then there’s absolutely no going back and I’m going to have to ride this cart for the rest of my life.

It’s unbelievable, because I never thought I’d have these feelings.  I know it’s only natural to have a little bit of apprehension before the point of no return, but now I’m having this internal critic hit me with a real onslaught of all the really hard questions, things like:

– “Everyone’s going to look at you and say, ‘Why did you even transition, if you’re a gay man?  Gay men are basically just women anyway, wouldn’t it just be easier to stay in a girl’s body?'”

– “You never fit in as a girl, but suddenly you think that if you transition, you’ll fit in as a boy, and you KNOW that’s not true.  If anything, you’ll fit in less!”

– “You’re using this trans thing to explain all your boy tendencies, but once you cross over, how do you explain away all the girl ones?”

– “What if you’re not really a guy?  What if this IS just another phase, another obsession with being different, one that could get you KILLED?”

– “You say this explains everything- the abuse, the dissociation, etc., but what if you’re just making connections that aren’t there so that you can make your life make sense, and when the novelty of being trans wears itself out, it’s just another layer of fuck-up on top of the pile?”

These are the kinds of questions that have been killing me, the ones that have been keeping me up at night, really personal questions that only I would know.
I have answers for all of those questions, and when I remember the things that can’t be explained away with a “what if” scenario, like how only wearing a strap-on makes me feel complete and how being on top is the only sex act that entirely works for me, or how I really only feel attractive and not-deformed when I bind up and have a flat chest, or how I’ve been lusting after facial hair since I was six, and how I’ve always felt gay with boys and straight with girls, even long before I knew I could possibly be trans-

When I remember all those things, and how being trans makes my life complete, and how my mind has been at more peace in the last 6 months than it’s been the entire rest of my life-

When I remember how accepting that I was trans made the voices stop, made the dissociation fade and made me stop seeing things at night, and made my mind finally healthy, and some semblance of normal-

When I see how my friends and family are finally more happy that I’m less crazy and upset and irritable and generally screwed-up these days than they are sad to see the old me go away-

Then I know that everything’s going to be alright, and I can keep going.

My little insecurities and fears are not nearly enough to turn me away from the one thing that has made my life finally worth living.  I have been more afraid to die in the last six months than I even was when I was a child, and I take that as a good and healthy sign that I finally love life enough not to want to leave it.

Once again, no pics, but Things are Afoot.

I went fishing with my dad Friday morning.  He was to meet one of his old friends from church, Lon, so he asked me the prerequisite question- “How are you going to explain your haircut?”

(I find that a lot of stupid questions, like “What did you do to your HAIR?!”, are best followed with a stupid answer, i.e., “I got a haircut.”  Somehow, this ridiculously redundant answer- explaining nothing at all of my trans status, of the tiny black shadow on my upper lip, of my distinctly male profile (thank you, backbreaking binders) or of my starkly male dress code- seems to be enough for anyone asking the question. They shrug and go back to business as usual.  Why?  Did they really find the information they were looking for in that simple, obvious answer?  Couldn’t they have gleaned that from their own question?  Do they ever WANT to know more, or were they just asking for the sake of acknowledgment?  If they wanted to acknowledge, couldn’t they have asked in a manner that wasn’t so directly reminiscent of “OH MY GOD BOTH YOUR LEGS ARE IN CASTS, what did you DO to yourself?!”  I wasn’t in a car wreck, people.  I walked into a barbershop and paid someone to do this.  Nobody stole my hair in the night.  (Although I have considered, without following through, answering something to the effect of “I have cancer.”  It would be an appropriately dramatic answer to their dramatic inquiry.)  But why not something like, “Nice haircut,” or even “I see you got your hair cut, how’s that treating you?” instead of acting like I’m a chemical burn victim?

Or maybe they did want to know more, i.e., “WHY did you get your hair cut?”, in which case I would be stumped for a simple answer.  But that question, “What did you do to your HAIR?!” seems to be the most common question and my standard answer is the one that leads to the least possible drama in any given situation.  Maybe the short curtness of it turns people away from asking any more, as if I were saying this- “I cut my hair off for personal reasons that I obviously don’t want to go into because if I did, I wouldn’t have said something short and stupid like ‘I got a haircut.'”  Who knows what goes through the heads of the Inquisitors.  They’ll know all too much soon enough.)

Anyway, back to the story at hand.  I was dressed in my fishing finest, my uniform since before I can remember- blue jeans, plaid flannel shirt, baseball cap, army boots.  I’d never really cared about how it was assembled before, I just threw it on and went, untucked and looking more like I’d climbed out of bed with a hat on.  But I’ve found that male dress isn’t always about what you wear, but how you wear it.  The addition of the binder made for a flatter chest, of course, and now I knew to tuck my shirt into my pants and let the belt ride below my gut, not across my bellybutton and above the rise of my hips like I’d been more inclined to do as a gut-conscious female dresser.  The short hair brought the dapper, mountain-man look all together, as though I were a 15-year-old version of my father (in spite of being the age of 21).

My dad looked me up and down and remarked, “He probably isn’t going to recognize you.  How do you plan on handling this?”

Excitement filled my limbs.  “Oh, dad, can’t we tell him I’m your nephew or something?  That’d be so cool.  I could be your nephew Tommy…”

He narrowed his eyes.  “I’m not going to lie.”

My heart dropped, and I tried to salvage the situation.  “Well, you don’t have to keep it up.  It could be like a joke.  You could introduce me, and we’ll see if he remembers me, and if he doesn’t, then we’ll let him believe it for a little while, just for the fun of it, and then tell him later, and if he does know it’s me, then obviously it’s just funny-”

“I’m not going to lie,” he repeated.

And that seemed to be the end of that.

I didn’t care too much.  I knew it was unlikely that he would think I was my own long-lost nephew or something- after all, he’d seen me in pants and a binder before (kind of a no-no for a Pentecostal follower, but he hadn’t said anything).  The only difference was the haircut.  Besides, not everything had to be a gender experiment.  I really just wanted to go fishing with my dad.

When we got to the lake, it took a little while to find him, but he came waving and all smiles up out of a boat ramp, with one of HIS friends.  This was unexpected.  My dad looked him up and down, looked at Lon, looked at me, and shrugged.  “Hey Brother Lon, it’s great to see you.  Have you met my son, Tommy?”

I looked up from the ground with lightning eyes and looked back and forth at my dad and Lon, and grinned.  Lon said, “Hey, Tommy,” and we both laughed.  I’m pretty sure he recognized me, and I’m pretty sure it was just a joke to him, but something significant had happened.

I remembered my dad saying, twice, “I’m not going to lie.”  This meant that he acknowledged me, truthfully, as his son.  I couldn’t stop smiling.  I didn’t care what anyone else thought, this was what really mattered.

My biggest surprise came later in the morning.  Lon’s friend looked over in between the long moments of silence and asked my dad, “So how old is he?  Your son?”

I think he asked something else too, but the excitement at hearing someone use the right pronouns, someone who had been in my presence for more than a few minutes, someone who had even heard me talk a little, and this someone wasn’t even thinking about sidestepping female pronouns for my sake- I was just a person, just this kid- well, anything else he might have said flew right out the window.

I tried to answer as sanely as I could.  “Yeah, I just turned 21.”  I had to to try not to let my voice jump up a few dozen octaves.  The joke had gone right over his head- I was just my dad’s son, nothing special about it.

This is saying amazing things to me.  This is like the world opening up to me and going, “Yes, things aren’t going to be as hard as you thought.  Yes, you’re actually making progress on your journey.  Yes, you’re on a downhill slant from here.  Maybe you’re even closer to the end of this particular journey than the beginning.”

It reminds me of a quote from “So Long and Thanks For All the Fish,” one book from Douglas Adam’s fabulous Hitchhiker’s Guide series.

“For Arthur, who could usually contrive to feel self-conscious if left alone for long enough with a Swiss Cheese plant, the moment was one of sustained revelation. He felt on the sudden like a cramped and zoo-born animal who awakes one morning to find the door to his cage hanging quietly open and the savannah stretching grey and pink to the distant rising sun, while all around new sounds are waking.

He wondered what the new sounds were as he gazed at her openly wondering face and her eyes that smiled with a shared surprise.

He hadn’t realized that life speaks with a voice to you, a voice that brings you answers to the questions you continually ask of it, had never consciously detected it or recognized its tones till it now said something it had never said to him before, which was ‘Yes’.”

Some shade of awkward/awesome is happening under my roof.

I’m not sure why, because I’ve had the haircut for a couple weeks now and I’ve been binding for over 6 months now and I haven’t worn makeup in probably a year and haven’t shaved my legs in two, but for some reason it all came together a couple nights ago, because the eight-year-old we adopted turned around when I walked in the room, looked me up and down, and asked, point blank, “Are you a boy?”

Now I wasn’t sure how to handle this, because yes, it would be awesome if everyone I lived with started acknowledging my gender, and I know that young children happen to be some of the most easily accepting people out there, without any huge gender strings attached.  But I also know that they can’t keep their traps shut when needed, and also, with my stepmom who can never really accept this and her religious outlook on raising these kids, it would just be asking for trouble to come out to them.

So, hardly skipping a beat, I went with the “casual, no big deal” attitude approach and said, “Sure, why not?”

She inspected me a little more closely.  “Because you look like a boy in that shirt.”

Later that night, she started to call me Tommy.

The funny thing was, I was wearing what I considered to be about the dykiest stuff in my wardrobe.  I’d taken this attitude that, no matter what I do with myself right now, until I get on T and my voice drops and so forth, I’m pretty much going to look like a dyke to everyone who sees me, so I might as well roll with it for now, call it a cosplay, and at least be sexiest dyke that I can be.  To that purpose, that day I was wearing one of those black t-shirts with a tuxedo front printed on it (so 80’s!), a pair of hand-me-down pants I like to call the “Pretencha-Pants” (because they were factory-ripped and bleached to perfection off the rack, hence dripping with pretension, and my boyfriend frankly couldn’t bring himself to wear them since he got them for christmas last year) and also army boots, a leather jacket, and a fedora with a pinstriped band.  Oh yes, I had looks to beat the dykiest dyke out there, and in my moment where I was embracing that everyone couldn’t see me as anything but a girl and therefore I might as well look like the kind of girl I wouldn’t mind looking like, someone snapped me out of it and pinned me as a boy.

The next day, of course, I was called to jury duty.  That morning, I went relatively dress-casual, with black jeans and a grey dress shirt (no tie) and also, my leather jacket because I couldn’t find the other one in time.  I figured, if there was anything in my outfit that would pin me as a dyke, that was it, but I just shrugged and rolled with it.  I didn’t really care what people saw me as- I was just there to do my civic duty and so forth.

When I was getting ready to leave, 8 y.o. decided to make a big deal out of it- “You look like a boy again.  You look like you have a mustache.”  I leapt to the mirror to look at my tiny fuzz- not much, I’m afraid, but just enough to give me a little tiny shadow in the right lighting.  She thought I had put shading there, but I had her look real close, and she saw that it was real hair.  And that was when she really started to freak out- “She’s turning into a boy!  Quick, glue your hair back on!  Shave your mustache!  We have to stop you from turning into a boooooy!!!”  It was actually pretty funny, because I obviously didn’t want her to take it seriously, and I don’t think she was.  (Also, my dad called her an idiot.)  Mainly, I just took it as affirmation.  But at that point, I figured I still looked like a dyke and an 8 year old couldn’t really tell the difference, not having been part of queer community and whatnot.

So imagine my surprise when, going though the metal detectors at the courthouse, I had the guy who checked me say, “You’re all clear, sir.  Move along.”  It was the best moment EVAR.  He didn’t even double-take and say “Sir- I mean, Miss, sorry,” like has been said before.  It was the first unquestioned “Sir” I’ve ever gotten.

Better still, when the Judge was doing her cross-examination of the jurors and she got to me, she looked at me and said,
“Mr…”
(glance down at paper)
“…Harbor*…”
(glance back up, then double-take at paper)
“…Excuse me, MISS Harbor.”
(commence slight tittering throughout the courtroom)

My first legal name is unmistakeably female, so the Miss was understandable.  I didn’t even get bummed at being outed as female in front of a courtroom of about 80 people.  It was a pretty cool test, saying that, with a little effort (and without opening my mouth), I can be read as male, even by someone as observant and sharp as a justice of the court.  (And yes, she was very sharp- I liked her a lot.)  Everyone seemed to read me as male before she unveiled me, too, so it was pretty intense.

Hopefully later tonight I can post pics of my transition progess and haircut.  I’m just glad I’m becoming visibly male.  The next step is a proper binder, which my partner is actually offering to pay for because I’m so strapped for cash lately.  The other very vital step, to me, is getting on T so I can fix my voice.  Everything else feels secondary- I’d just like to be able to communicate without being read.

*name changed to protect the not-so-innocent

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.

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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