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Monthly Archives: February 2013

10 Fun Little Ways to Avoid Transition


As a rabid procrastinator by nature (I know, I resolved to discontinue this practice in my New Year’s resolutions along with that other stuff I haven’t touched yet. Go on, throw it in my face. I’m not afraid to cry you know. Jerk.), I applied my philosophy that tomorrow doesn’t really exist to recognizing my gender identity. It’s not such an easy thing to do, but one does find ways when truly motivated walk in circles around an issue that is much better once confronted. Be that as it may. Today’s list is therefore dedicated to ways one employs to avoid admitting they are trans and doing something about it. Some apply to me, and some don’t, and remember, I only do these little lists when I’m in a tongue in cheek mood, so reader beware. And so…

1. Join the Scouts: A great way to surround yourself with wholesome young men with nary a hint of homosexuality around is to join the scouts. Well, so the handbook indicates with the Rockwell painting of strong boys and men in the wilderness in crisp ironed uniforms and not a minority even on the horizon. Yeah, even at 11 I thought that was weird, but signed up anyway. Aside from learning knots only useful for hardcore bondage enthusiasts, I also learned what it looks like when you cross ‘Lord of the Flies’ with ‘The Hunger Games’. It was pretty clear, I was just never going to get boy culture.

2. Join the Team: Nothing in the world so manly as running around with a bunch of other boys, getting good and sweaty with a lot of ass slapping camaraderie, showering together, and whipping each other with towels to make one appreciate having testicles. I suppose if I had been a latent homosexual man, this would have been super, but I’m reasonably sure any woman, cis or trans, would find this deplorable, as did I. Plus it didn’t help that I generally warmed the bleachers next to the cheerleaders, and had season record of total points scored of 2.

3. Grow a Beard: Any latent ideas that you might be just a tiny bit feminine seem easily conquered simply by putting down the old razor for a while. Looking in the mirror each morning it’s easy to see yourself transformed by the various stages of beard-dom: recently unemployed, rescued hostage, terrorist, Uncle Jesse, and finally mountain man. The added bonus to growing a beard is that you have zero temptation to dress how you would really like because nothing is more ridiculous than a person with a douche-bag beard in a dress. Eventually, however, the Gillette ads get the better of you and the heartbreaking shaving routine begins again.

4. Join the Marines: If anyone can make a real man out of you, it’s definitely the Marines. Semper Fi and all that jazz (they never add that last part, but should). How on earth can being sent to Parris Island to be broken down, built back up, have a second penis installed (the one for fighting, not for fun), and be put on a ship with men in white sailor suits to compare yourself against fail to make a no-shit man out of you? Actually I don’t know, possibly very well, but I joined the Air Force and that failed miserably, but at least I didn’t end up with a neck the size of a Sam’s Club size jar of mayo as a result.

5. Join a Biker Gang: I never tried this myself, but a good friend did, and never a more feminine woman trans woman have I met. While wearing more dead cow than a leather daddy and scooting around with a big hot machine between your legs intimidating people has its charm, it may not be right for you if you find yourself constantly resisting the urge to paint it pink to match your nails. Where we all live in fear of discovery, it somehow seems much worse to have to fret about your little secret coming out in a dingy bar surrounded by angry, beer guzzling Haystacks Muldoon look-a-likes. She said they were much sweeter than one might think, but still.

6. Be a Stud-Muffin: Yes, I did resurrect that term from the late 80’s. I’ll be perfectly honest; this was never going to happen for me. Some latent trans women are able to capitalize on what they were born with and parlay that into an endless stream of promiscuity that allowed society to label them as real studs instead of the usual labels for their true gender such as ‘slut’ and ‘whore’. Unfortunately constant contact with body parts one secretly envies for themselves in no way alleviates this condition in the slightest and leaves former partners wondering if they had a faux-mosexual experience or not.

7. Get Married: “Son, there is nothing like the love of a good woman to set you straight.” Wonderful advice if you have a son instead of a secret daughter. Anyway, we buy it hook, line, and sinker. Whatever feelings I may have had in past were nothing more than the idle musings of a lonely soul and will be burned away forever in the fire of endless love, companionship, and perhaps even fatherhood. Oh, it works for a while, but before long you realize that the itch of wrongness is back beneath your skin, but now with someone essentially up your ass 24/7.  Any attempt to utilize ‘Freaky Friday’ type methodology such as wishing on stars, seeking out bottle trapped genies, or futzing around with creepy old electromechanical coin operated wizards will not only fail, but likely initiate the mother of all fights.

8. Develop Wacky Distractions: Nothing you do may ever make you feel like a man for more than a few months, so the in-between time needs to be filled. Personally, I went with somewhat manufactured obsessions. Comic book collecting, obsessive eBaying, time capsule construction and internment, finding new and useless ways to categorize my digital library of 8000 songs, finding and reading books about Siberia, and blogging (not this one, my old blog). Having a good obsession is an excellent tool for procrastinating what appears to be an exceedingly unpleasant task.

9. Chow Down/ Go Diet Crazy: If you aren’t comfortable in your body, it seems like a good idea to start playing around with what you have and see if you can’t make your accommodations more bearable. I started with food and lots of it. Very hard to feel too bad while in the process of cramming a huge cheese steak hoagie with a side of loaded fries down your gullet every night. Close to 100 lbs later, it finally dawned on me that I was actually more uncomfortable arriving out of breath and soaked with sweat just walking up a flight of stairs to my bosses office. I went in the wrong direction! So, I focused everything I had (see obsession) into taking it off by meticulously calculating everything I stuck in my mouth. I got in the best shape I’ve ever been in, with a growing sense of unease that I was still totally uncomfortable.

10. Hit the Gym: Many manly men like to affirm their masculinity by donning tank tops and way too tight bike shorts and pumping iron at the local gym or California beaches. After all, what says ‘dude’ like ripped biceps and lycra covered bulges, right? It’s natural to lack confidence in this area, so setting up an expensive home gym to avoid the recurring cost of a gym membership seems like a good idea. You may even end up utilizing it until you look in the mirror and realize that bulging upper body musculature is totally, totally not you. Eventually this expensive equipment will be sold at a fraction of the value on Craigslist, but not before it takes up much needed space because your significant other likes the never to be exercised options it presents.

11. Go To Therapy: If anyone can get to the bottom of this general malaise, dysphoria, and body issue downward spiral you found yourself in, it’s a good therapist. You quickly discover that avoiding your gender identity becomes increasingly, ridiculously complicated when you are subjecting yourself answering deep, introspective questions that all seem to land in areas you have made every effort to avoid. Game over chica.

Survey for CSA Survivors

Today I’ve got a fairly out of the ordinary post, but on the chance that it applies to some of you, I wanted to put up the link to further the body of knowledge in this area. I will be honest, it was developed by the mother of my child, whom I still don’t know  what to call. As a result however, I’m happy to advertise that contrary to most surveys, the gender  choices are not natal/ binary exclusive.

Without further ado, except to urge anyone for whom this may apply, to please take it (completely, 100% anonymous).

An Online Study for Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse
You are invited to participate in a clinical research project that examines your experiences of child sexual abuse and related issues concerning that abuse. Your participation is completely voluntary, and this study will take about 30 – 40 minutes to complete. Most of the questions will be about your experiences of child sexual abuse, your memory of the events, and related issues. The results of this study should help to further our understanding of the effects of child sexual abuse on memory. This understanding will help researchers and therapists to develop more effective intervention programs to assist survivors of child sexual abuse. The link to the study is:

The Terror…Or What Trans Call Life Before Transition


Have you ever noticed that any time you read a trans persons personal account of the time of their life prior to transition, the word ‘terrified’ pops up again and again? Yeah, me too, which stands to reason since I’m writing about it now. While I’m sure they exist, and that we will no doubt hear from them below, I have yet to talk to anyone who identifies as trans who doesn’t describe soul crushing, pants wetting, nightmarish cold sweat style fear regarding their condition. Let’s talk about that.

I’ll raise my hand and go first here, since I brought it up and everything. I was terrified about the very idea of someone suspecting I was different in the way I actually was, much less being caught. Yeah, the idea of being caught really took the cake as worry numero uno. Something like that would be smoking gun evidence of my innate femininity. Any excuse would be immediately burned though under the intense light of razor honed interrogation. I would be undone and probably die, or worse. Actually in that instance dying would have been the preferred outcome to being paraded through the streets in a torn dress while weathering the onslaught of spoiled vegetables hurled by disgusted Buffalonians. OK, fine, I had a little streak of drama, but I was pretty sure if it wasn’t that specifically, it would be just as heinous.

Nearly every nightmare I ever had pre-transition that wasn’t some tragedy befalling a loved one featured me being discovered. Spiders, monsters, aliens, serial killers, dread diseases, being lost, fired, deported, ha! None of these had any teeth as far as I was concerned. Keep ‘em coming so long as I don’t have that one again where I’m at church with my parents and suddenly realize I’m wearing a skirt and make up. I’d awaken with a scream of terror, bathed in sweat. “Sounds like you were having some bad dreams last night?” “Uh… yeah, someone was holding me down and sawing my legs off before making me eat them.” “Oh you poor thing! That must have been horrible!” Ha, I should be so lucky.

The funny thing is that now I’m living what used to be my darkest, most terrifying nightmare and it’s pretty freaking great. In the past I had highly realistic dreams about coming to work dressed, going to the mall, having my friends and family find out, and even being stared at like some kind of freak. What used to have me hyperventilating, clawing for a belt of Nyquil just to get back to sleep I now call any given Tuesday. So why? Why do so many, if not all, of us have this exact same story?

For one, I think it’s bred in the bone and bound in the flesh to have a desire to conform to our surroundings. True, many people rebel against this at some point, which explains the once proud proliferation of Hot Topic locations, allowing teens to both rebel and enrich a suit and tie corporate entity at the same time. I think it comes down to when we begin to discover ourselves. For those like me who understood we were different at age 4, the idea of rebelling was inconceivable. I said that in the Wallace Shawn ‘Princess Bride’ way, just so you know. Our “rebellion” was inherent to our nature, competing against our conformity urges while still in a stage of absolute powerlessness and dependence. I think this is bound to breed strong survival instincts for repression and deception while producing the terror and nightmares such an internal conflict is bound to foster.

The terror lasts long after there is any rational reason for it simply because it was instilled so early. Eventually, however, it has to be faced in some capacity; no one can live like that indefinitely. Many poor souls simply cannot take it and end things the most expedient way possible. Most of the rest of us finally come to the conclusion that we want to live, and to do so must face the terror head on and allow that any and all of the things we are most afraid of really may happen. For some they do, and others, only some of it. In the end though, we are far better off having left it behind.

I think the best thing we can do, those of us who have crossed the line and living more comfortably on the other side, is give our support to those who aren’t there yet. Much like the ‘It Gets Better’ campaign, telling our stories and validating that the terror is a real and prevalent thing, while highlighting not only the possibility of abandoning it with our childhoods, but how good it feels to be free and alive. To ironically quote malevolent bastard President Snow from ‘The Hunger Games’, “The only thing stronger than fear, is hope”.

For Shame, ‘Shameless’!


I’m a little ashamed of the show ‘Shameless’. I really shouldn’t be given the name, plus the fact that it’s about a family of criminals headed by a severe alcoholic who surprises me every episode with his depravity. In case you don’t watch, he’s been cashing his aunt’s social security checks since he buried her in the backyard 14 years ago, blocked a woman from getting a critical heart transplant and then sex’d her to death to take her pension, and left his own 3 year old as collateral with angry drug lords. Tip of the iceberg, but somehow I love it. And then they introduced a questionable trans girl.

A couple of weeks ago one of the characters went with his girlfriend to rescue her half-sister Molly from being shoved into the system. Molly appeared to be a young and pretty girl, which we never questioned, until she is caught peeing standing up. This immediately brings on the third degree, to which Molly replies that she has a ‘girl penis’. I was delighted at first. A trans girl on a show I love! Yay! Score one for us. I didn’t stay excited for too long.

The first problem I had was that most of the rest of the characters, including the most respectable and lovable one, Fiona, start calling Molly ‘he’ and insist on describing her as a boy. It’s true; this is a family of uneducated criminals from the very worst part of Chicago, but the speed with which they conclude that Molly is a boy and nothing but upon discovering a physical feature is disappointing. Even more so when you look at it from a high level and realize a writing and creative team decided to go in this direction when they could have easily gone in the one much more favorable. I cringed of course, but kept and open mind that they might be going somewhere with this. After all, they quickly turned the frightening ugly bully of the ginger teen into his bottom in a surprise homosexual twist.

Then the second hit came. Apparently Molly’s now deceased mom had a strong hatred for all men and thus decided to raise Molly as a girl. I think you can see where I have a problem with this. Anyone watching who may at one time or another, wondered, “Gee, where the heck do transgender people come from anyway?”, is going to immediately have a light bulb go off. “Ah ha! Their parents like girls or boys better, so of course they are going to want to be that! And all this time I just assumed it was because they were molested.” I’m just waiting for that furry little new nugget to start popping up in the old debates. Seriously, I could not be more annoyed.

The piss of it is that the character of Molly seems to be very happy about being a girl. Yeah, she stands up to pee, but given that she lives in a house with 11 people, most of them of questionable filthiness, with just one bathroom, I can’t say as I blame her. Other than that, she appears to love her identity, her clothes, experimenting with makeup, and even her name. Raised that way or not, it seems awfully atypical of someone with a male gender identity, equipment or no.

As Molly has only appeared in two episodes so far as I write this, I still have hopes that the writers take the opportunity to tackle this in a good way. Well, as good as they can given the overall depravity of the show. So far they have handled rough trade homosexuality, extreme S&M addiction, death, cancer, alcoholism, agoraphobia, child abuse and endangerment, and a host of other looming social issues with good cheer and warm heartedness, so I don’t see where this would be any different… We are screwed here, aren’t we, ‘cause that was not exactly a list we want to be inserted into.

Time will tell on this. It can go either way. Molly might suddenly appear as ‘Mike’ with short hair and wearing a hand me down pair of patched old dungarees and help the older boys sell frosty treats, joints, and illegal fireworks out of the family ice cream truck at the playground. Molly also might continue happily on as Molly and take to helping the 11 year old run the most insanely dangerous day care centers off all time out of her living room. I’m not kidding – just last episode the kids helped out trying to locate the buried aunt before the sewer authority came across her when doing upcoming maintenance. That’s actually what is going on in the picture with Molly on the right. I’ll keep watching, but with just a teensy bit more shame.

And You Thought Telling Them You No Longer Went To Church Was Hard


It just occurred to me that I never talk much about the coming out process in transition. This is mainly because I was already mostly done with that when I began this blog, and because it really sucked and wasn’t ready to be reminded of a highly difficult year. Actually that was the easy part – the self-discovery, the death of a parent, a huge health crisis my ex went through kind of bumped coming out down to a lukewarm 4th or 5th spot.

Coming out as trans is much more difficult than coming out as gay, at least in my opinion. When my gender specialist, in performing his formal assessment of my condition, told me that sometimes gay people delude themselves into thinking they are trans because it seems easier, I laughed in his face. People know what gay is, even if they’ve been indoctrinated into thinking it’s a whimsical lifestyle choice rather than a bona fide status of being. Either way, most people have a good idea what it’s about as it’s pretty straightforward unless you are Dwight Schrute. I love, by the way, when he asks his HR rep where gay men’s vaginas were. When he was told they don’t have them, he followed it up with, “So what determines which of the two penises will open up to accept the entry of the other?” Silly stuff, and totally unrealistic.

Coming out as trans is a bit different. Expect a long conversation as most people only have a dim idea of what trans is to begin with, so a lot of explanation is needed. Also expect a lot of inappropriate questions. The same person who would never dream of asking a gay man who came out to them, “So, are you like a pitcher or a catcher?”, have no qualms freely asking about your genitalia, surgical plans, and sexual orientation. I do suppose many gays encounter push back; questions intended to really make them think about why they are suddenly making this up. We get the same of course, question after question regarding how sure we really are followed by a nice brainstorming session about what might really be wrong with you. I got some of this, with the most common one being that this was just stress from my father passing away. Um, sure, if I correctly predicted this happening when I was 4 and developed a ludicrous plan for coping with it. Not to mention most people don’t attempt to escape stress by diving into one of the most arguably stressful endeavors of all time.

Coming out is super difficult if you are not prepared for it. It sure helps to have talking points lined up and well rehearsed so you don’t stumble through it like an inebriated jackass like I often did. I found the best way to tell people is one on one, which for me reduced the performance anxiety and avoided being ganged up on in the event the group hearing the announcement was determined to make me understand I was going bananas. Now I think the worst way to tell people is to show up at your nieces bat mitzvah dressed as Elvira after huffing paint fumes. Really hard to come back from that one.

My coming out went much better than expected. No one I told in person rejected me out of hand. Now I know some of you are going to think I violated the trans code of conduct with this, but I decided to leave nothing off the table for discussion. Rude and not their business, sure. Being up front and open about everything made it easier for me, and I have to argue that takes priority. Sure, I might have fucked it up for the super unlikely next person to have to come out to them, but chances are it was not going to happen before I got the chance to explain in follow up conversations, providing they were open.

The easiest way to come out of course is remotly. The phone totally sucks for this because not only do you not get to see facial expressions, but there is a good chance the word is going to spread rapidly ahead of you. By the time you call the second person, 12 others will already know. Snail mail letters are the best, except it’s much easier for people to think you are joking or have gone insane. Nothing more deafening than a lack of reply, so try to reserve this for people you really hardly ever see, or are only on your holiday card list. It’s less stressful sure, but remember that it’s much harder to hate you to your face.

The most passive aggressive way to come out is to start a very wordy blog rife with your personal information, and jam packed with information about trans and a light, humorous tone. When rumors start to spread that there is a tranny afoot, someone will find it and hopefully read enough to understand you as a human being and not just some creepy weirdo looking to pull off a fast one. I would not do this, however, if you are the paranoid type because you will only drive yourself crazy wondering when the shoe is going to drop.

Just for fun, here are some openers to a coming out conversation I would probably steer clear of:

1. I have to confess, your wife and I are having an affair. Psych! No, but I am transgendered.

2. Guess what kind of underwear I’m wearing right now!

3. Let’s just say I never get that ‘not so fresh feeling’ down there, but…. eventually I will.

4. Boners, right? Lord what I wouldn’t do to get rid of them forever!

5. So, like imagine my head on your girlfriends body.

6. Sweetie, I have a great idea to save money! Share one wardrobe! Huh?

7. Next summer when I take my shirt off in front of you guys, you are going to get soooo horney!

8. You know those ‘chicks with dicks’ pornos you are into? Welllll…..

9. Wouldn’t it be so cool if you could just carry your testicles around in a jar of formaldehyde?

10. Mom? Dad? Before you react to what I have to say, just remember that you made me this way.

Yeah, just keep it to the facts Ma’am, and you’ll do just fine.

Puberty for Trans Folks

2nd puberty

Any 14 year old kid can tell you that puberty pretty much sucks. Awkward voice changes, faces full of acne, surprise periods, and newly activated anatomy that decides to come to life just as the bell signaling the end of algebra is about to ring. All this while having to endure the brutality of quadratic equations and yawn fests like ‘Pride and Prejudice’ before it was retconed with zombies. For all the soul crushing humiliation that makes for great teen movies, puberty is generally regarded as a good thing because those who are experiencing it are excited at the prospect of being real men and women. You see why the experience for trans kids is not so nifty keen.

Aside from clothing, and genitalia, the pre-pubescent physical experience is pretty androgynous. Physical – not social; that is a whole different conversation that involves dolls, wanting to be Batgirl, and lusting after an Easy Bake Oven. Before hormonal Armageddon kicked in, it was easy enough to just put on a dress and at least look female without going through a whole lot of trouble. In my day long hair wasn’t much of an option once we kicked into the 80’s. There was the ‘rocker’ look, which in my community was associated with ‘the bad kids’, and the mullet, which even back then I found to be fairly ridiculous. Besides, monthly haircuts were mandatory, even after I graduated from my dad with a pair of kitchen scissors and a bowl (I’m not kidding either) to the posh environment of the local Fantastic Sam’s. Once that first crack in the voice comes, so does a lot of unpleasantness. It was not a good time. I pretty much checked out.

I think all trans kids who understand they are different have to find some way of coping with the catastrophic changes overcoming them. Far too many turn to suicide, and just as many turn to addictions to numb their reality that their once smooth cheeks are now bristling with coarse hair that comes back every fricking morning. For me it was nearly complete dissociation and I have to wonder how many others went down this path. Now I wouldn’t characterize this as the pathological dissociation experienced by trauma survivors, but more of a somewhat chosen means of taking the mind off of what is really going on.

In my case I invented an incredibly complex fantasy world that I lived in almost full time between the ages of 12 and 16. I’m not even going to give describing it a shot because it spanned a multiverse of disparate parallel worlds, an infinitum of characters, events, histories, disasters, victories, etc where my role was pretty much a featureless omnipresent observer. The beauty of it was that every single thing in my life translated into this seamlessly, which aside from my frequently zoning out, made it pretty much undetectable to everyone. Besides, as the weird kid I had a lot of latitude there, so no one really questioned the purposes behind the complex structures and ecosystems I created in the backyard or basement. I probably would have stayed there happily for much longer, but I was eventually pulled out once I needed my mental energy for attempting to understand and navigate sexual politics and failing spectacularly.

Now here I am again, a forty-ish trans woman going through puberty a second time. I can hear all you non-trans people shuddering at the thought. Really though, not the same at all! So far no acne, no chance of a hormonally triggered embarrassment below the waist, and not a single quadratic equation in sight, although I did read ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’, but felt they failed to excise enough of Jane Austen’s influence from the work. Oh, and no teenage bullshit whatsoever. This time I have no need to dissociate because I’m happy with the way my body is changing, even though I’m riddled with impatience for it to happen faster already.

I would love to hear some of the more creative ways others managed to cope with first go, actual teenage puberty, especially if you have something other than suicide or getting shitfaced every day. Both of these are critically important discussions of course, but deserve to be treated on their own. I’m curious about the off beat stuff like obsessively trying to recreate the perfect Peanut Buster Parfait, or writing Star Trek fan fiction. However you managed to get through it and made it here today clearly worked, and I couldn’t be happier.

Trannier Than Thou

Super Trans

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good contrived and meaningless yardstick for measuring some issue of personal comparison that has no reason to be made. Really, I do! My team is better than your team, I can get a higher score on Galaga than you, my street boasts 2 pizza places to your streets’ one, I sneeze bigger blobs of phlegm onto my computer monitor than you can, and it goes on. All harmless fun because none of these things really means anything. I won’t lie, I love to tout my ability to make the “best” chicken parm, but I also know it’s pretty bullshit and subjective. So what’s with people taking the ‘trannier than thou’ stance anyway?

We all know this is a real thing and one I’ve discussed at length with other like minded bloggers like Becky and Dianne. We have all encountered it. That one person who seems to feel that there is some sort of ranking system along the transgender spectrum, and that one place is decidedly better than another. I’ve noticed these ranks seem to always be in these particular individuals favor and generally center on either time in or past transition or what degree of medical intervention is required to get to that comfortable place.

Before we go further, I’d like to differentiate these folks from others who might appear the same on the outset, but are of completely different motivation. I’m speaking of those among us who have fully transitioned and stick around out of an innate sense of good heartedness to provide information, guidance, mentoring and general support to those of us beginning or in some stage of our journey. These people are treasured resources and tend to speak strictly through personal experience and out of desire to help rather than pull some sort of rank to increase their own standing or to fortify their position. They are godsends and we all benefit from this.

A ‘trannier than thou’ is one who will either remind you that you have not been on hormones as long, or worse, those who fling derisive shit at cross-dressers or those who found their comfort zone without having to take the train to the last stop. I covered this a bit when I talked about the surgery a few weeks back. I would like to take a moment and explore the potential root cause of this somewhat infuriating phenomenon.

The most obvious cause is self esteem issues. It would stand to reason that someone who doesn’t really regard themselves very well would seek the means to make comparisons that worked in their favor. Lord knows the trans* population has more than enough challenges to give anyone all kinds of personality issues: self-hatred, body dysphoria, and even post-traumatic guy syndrome. OK, I kind of made the last one up, but still. For people suffering any of these maladies, it must feel pretty good to establish themselves as a contrived authority of sorts and put themselves up at the top of the pecking order. What probably isn’t helping them much is are the negative feelings so many of us have toward people who declare themselves Grand Poobah on invention alone.

Another potential cause is the intense competitive nature some people naturally come by. You know what I’m talking about. You mention how a trip took you 4 hours and they immediately chime in with the fact they have done it in 3. You got your first compliment as a female ever, and they deluge you with stories how they can’t check the mail without being propositioned. I think you can see how easily this translates into you just started on 2 mg of Estrodial, they are now on 8. You are contemplating GRS, they have their appointment booked. God help you if you are not planning transition at all, for this makes them Danica Patrick to your 91 year old gramma barely looking over the wheel of her Chevy Celebrity. I can’t believe I just used a car analogy. Ugh! Sorry, the name stuck because for a while I was mistaking her for that other Danica who played Winnie Cooper on ‘The Wonder Years’. “Good for her!”, I thought, “She found a career after acting.”

To date I have not discovered the means to dissuade a ‘trannier than thou’ individual from continuing on in their belief system as it’s like arguing with young earth evangelicals. The only effective way to deal is to either ignore them completely, or take it to a public forum where they are unable to sway a majority opinion. Oh, they will still believe in their own inherent grandiose status, but at least they are way more likely to shut up about it for a while. The vast majority of us will continue on with the understanding that our journeys are  individually tailored to our needs as we make them, no better, no worse, and that comparison for any reason other than fellowship and sisterhood are meaningless and unquantifiable. My chicken parm is still the best though. Just sayin’.

A Bout of Baron Von Funkhausen


I’ve come to notice that one of the fun little effects of hormone treatment is something I like to call Baron von Funkhausen syndrome. Yes, it’s a whimsical little way to dress up what amounts to a sense of profound dreariness and depression that seems to pop up out of nowhere, last for a few days, and then quickly evaporate. No, no, you can’t say, “I think that’s only you Michelle”. I’ve talked to enough other people who have the same thing from time to time. Yeah, I’m still not quite used to that.

I’ve noticed it almost always begins upon waking up. I mean sure, nobody likes to roll out of bed at 5 in the morning, especially in the winter, and more so when one sleeps with the heat turned way down low and the ceiling fan on high. Like my mom I’ve become an ice box sleeper, but that moment between throwing the covers off and grabbing my robe before I turn blue is not the most pleasant part of my day. Most days this is fine. I either go down and exercise, or drink tea as I bang out my constant stream of drivel feeling just positively chipper. On these day though, ugh. I end up hitting the snooze 8 times, each time necessitating the rush from my bed to the other side of the room, which leaves me 50 shades of grumpus by the time 6:00 rolls around and it’s time to wake up the boy. It only gets worse from there.

I’ve tried to figure out what exactly bring this sort of thing on. Tiff with my ex the night before? A particularly shitty day of work? The precursor stage of a dilly of a cold? The fact that it has been exactly 25 days since the last time this ferkakta thing happened? That last one seems little bit more on the money. The problem is that during these few days I generally feel like a cats ass in a full tub and really don’t feel like writing anything down. When it finally lifts, I’m so happy to be rid of it, I like to pretend it never happened so I don’t have to think about it. I really should start to though so I can plan ahead and stock up on Swiss Cake Rolls and Cool Ranch Doritos. I know, I’m trying to get off the Big Mama train again, but a few days a month can be planned in.

I have to be honest, it kind of baffles me why this happens. Yes, we are operating on a different set of primary hormones now, so of course we expect changes. The hormonal fluctuations, however, should be static if the intake is a steady line. A monthly type cycle simply doesn’t make sense without the organs present that drive extra production at different times. It might just be the appearance of a cycle that is in fact driven by external sources, which is really why I need to start tracking this. It occurred to that it might be the presence of my ex going though her cycles and pairing to her emotional state at the time. This makes sense because my mood has always taken on the color of my surroundings. It may also be that my brain has always been primed to be more affected by estrogen in different cycles all along, and now I’ve simply got the right juice flowing through it. This is all pure conjecture of course, excepting for the fact that this keeps happening and never did before.

Although now I know enough to just wait it out and it will pass, some things do help. Getting out of the house is always a good start because it’s hard to be Miss Mopey on a beautiful sunshine day. Not always so easy though to get the energy, and winter in Buffalo makes it all the more likely that brushing off the car on a 10 degree day in a snow shower will simply blow it all up into a full depression. The one sure fire thing, temporarily anyway, is to listen to ‘Call Me Maybe’ in my car and sing along like ditzy doofus on my way to work. Like a charm every time. If you see me rolling into the parking lot belting out Carley Rae Jepson, rest assured it’s probably a bad day to be asking me about the cover sheets on my TPS reports.

Thanks For the Provocation, But I’m Good


There is nothing so sweet as having your own words used as ‘evidence’ to support a half-baked claim that attempts to invalidate your existence. Nice, right? The other morning I received email notification that one of the newer RadFem blogs took some of my wording, as well as those of Becky and another blogger, to construct yet another tired and fallacy ridden argument against us. You have to love that sort of thing. Yes, I was a little irritated. I mean I wrote this as a result, right?

I’m not going to spend much time on her post as it’s simply not worth it. I’ll get to why in a moment. She appears of the opinion that by taking a miniscule sampling of blogger opinions and highlighting the disparity in explaining a very complex and somewhat subjectively understood condition, she can invalidate the premise that transition is necessary. Um, yeah… I don’t know what the worst flaw in this even is to be honest. A ridiculous statistically insignificant sample size? Presenting as evidence words from blogs taken out of context? I mean seriously, bloggers as hard scientific evidence? Finally, the strange presumption that there is some world governing body of official trans opinion that dictates the expression of our personal experiences. Yes, she engages in the typical misgendering, which is really nothing more than childish name calling. You are probably wondering if I zinged her with a witty set of rejoinders rife with pith and vinegar. Nah.

Simply put, I don’t have anything to gain by making an effort to even acknowledge the opinion. It simply doesn’t mean anything in the grand scheme of things. Whether I engage these anti-trans folks or not is inconsequential. I attempted once to start a polite discussion and quickly understood this group is not interested in any form of mutual understanding, much less work toward a common good that would actually benefit and empower women. When someone is determined to be all pissed off and contentious, there is simply no reasoning with them. On those grounds enough it’s wise to disengage and ignore.

The good news is that we can afford to do this. The current trend shows that the RadFems don’t have anything nearly resembling a majority opinion on trans issues, much less appreciable political clout to ram their ideology through anyway. Our main obstacle remains religious conservatives and the opposition we face from them. This is weakening as we continue to make strides in educating the population at large. Religious conservatives are also highly unlikely to spend much time listening to any group that brands itself as “radical”, so the notion of an alliance there is almost comical, even though both are driven by dogma and ideology over plainclothes reality. Ignore them and eventually they will fade to background static until inevitable generational changes relegates them to historical curiosities.

Instead of focusing our energies on unreasonable people determined to hate us, we are much better served promoting our general personhood. We do this every day by simply living our lives, interacting with co-workers, fellow students, and our communities at large. Some of us feel the need to do more and word at advocacy, outreach, and education. I am never surprised by the fact that by being open and honest about my condition, I find that individual perceptions of trans people in general improves. Imagine, just being a person having greater impact than standing on a soapbox denouncing others on trumped up flim-flam! Well, it takes some longer than others to realize that being big nasty pants to a minority slice of the population is now out of vogue.

To sum it all up, I wish them well in their fervent and hate fueled mission to ultimately discredit themselves entirely. You won’t hear another peep out of me on the matter. I would like to invite my sister and brother bloggers and activists to do the same. Don’t bother answering them, ignore them all together at public events (just like you do the crazy Pride Protestors with the shitty painted signs), and push forward as respectable members of the community. In doing so we invalidate all sophomoric claims that we don’t exist by simply living our lives.

We will win our equality in the end simply because we are more motivated. We live this every single day. It’s not a thing or a shtick, but a condition that affects every single moment of our lives. It’s not our words or arguments that validate us, but our actions and passion with which we live, work, play, and love. The energy we put into the world to not only simply be, but gain equality and live normal and productive lives from the time we come out to ourselves and society simply cannot be equaled by those who, for whatever reason, insist on standing in our way. They will tire and have other things to occupy their attention where we never will, because this is core to our fundamental selves. Don’t fret over the opposition; we got this.

Spousal Abuse? When We Aren’t The Only One’s Who Have To Come Out


One of the great overlooked problems about transition involves coming out. Yes, yes, we have talked about coming out already many times, but I’m talking specifically about our spouses for those of us who were married when the truth came to light. I was talking to my sister Dianne recently specifically about this, as she was helping me come up with something to call my kinda-sorta-really-but-not-really-spouse that was a lot shorter than that string of babble I just coughed up at you. I had been using ‘ex’, but it’s not accurate and comes across quite dreary.

A side note on that little endeavor. Just as I went through a hell of a time figuring out what to have my son call me (Maddy, thanks to Jenny Boylan), I’ve been having trouble with this one. We have acknowledged the marriage is over in the traditional sense, but we remain legally married, cohabitate, and are raising our son together and plan to do so for the foreseeable future. The love is still there, it’s just that things are different. I know it’s my own hang up, but calling her ‘wife’ makes me feel too mannish, even though I know lesbian couples do this. I certainly don’t want to be called husband. Dianne suggested ‘paraspouse’, so I might try that on for size until she reads this and vetoes.

Back to spousal coming out. Where there is ample material to help LGBTQ personnel come out to friends, family, co-workers, and the shitload of friends on Facebook you have but don’t even know, there is hardly anything for spouses. This is a real gap because their lives are every bit as affected by this change as our own. True, in many cases the spouse makes like a shepherd and gets the flock out of there and move down to Florida with the kids and reverts back to her maiden name, just as many stick around, at least for a while. Either way, it’s rare that they can get away with not telling anyone anything about it, unless the marriage was such a deep secret that everyone would be flabbergasted to find out that it existed to begin with.

Where we have the terror and excitement of sharing with people that we have truly discovered ourselves, they have to figure out how to communicate this unwelcome news without feeling like a ridiculously obtuse moron for getting into the situation to begin with. In the telling, no matter how well they spin it or chose just the exact right wording, nearly everyone is going to hit them with the old, “Surely you must have seen some signs of this? No? Really? I mean really?” Suddenly they are on the defensive for something terrible that happened to them simply because everyone at heart believes they have Sherlock Holmes detection ability and there was no way the same thing could happen to them.

In truth no one is really that good. My own paraspouse is a certified master of detection and although she flat out asked me on several occasions in the course of discussion about other issues, I was able to allay her anxiety simply because I believed 100% what I was telling her was true. It just isn’t where people’s minds go, because chances are, they never even met someone like us and have a seriously skewed perception about it all. There is also the very powerful reality that when people are heavily invested in something like a marriage, no one really wants to believe such an out of left field deal breaker is lurking in the near vicinity. As I’ve often said, if I couldn’t know, neither could you; such is our fantastic chameleon ability to hide in plain sight, even from ourselves.

As much as it really, really sucks and isn’t even right, they have to do it and suffer the inquisition. Aside from that, it’s also incredibly juicy gossip and bound to travel far faster then they or we can get ahead of. It’s rare, scandalous, and fascinating, so conversations and speculations will happen, and probably for a long time. Because of this, they now have to also contend with a period of time where their primary identity, no matter how successful and well respected, is supplanted with ‘being the spouse of a trans person’. Not exactly what anyone aspires to in life, and probably doesn’t feel much better than being the unsuspecting spouse of a serial killer or superhero. You think Lois Lane is real anxious to have Clark go public?

The moral of this story is to keep in mind that coming out is by no means a one woman show. The same thing goes for close family as well. I’m dead certain that every parent of a trans person is asked a thousand times over, “Weren’t there any signs when they were growing up?” Nope, because we go through insane lengths to keep it that way. Our loved ones need just as much support and compassion as we do in this process, if not more, especially in the beginning. While it may be too late in my case, I’m wondering if arming our loved ones with letters that absolve them of all culpability would be a good idea; that there was no way at all they could have known and there is no reason whatsoever than any of this should reflect on them.

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