Category: coming out

Questions on being trans, from highschoolers (pt 2)

By , March 16, 2010 11:09 pm
  • How did you know you wanted to be a girl? – what influenced your decision to transition?

That’s a tough one to answer. How did you know you wanted to be a girl, anonymous questioner? (Or wanted to be a boy?)

For me, it wasn’t so much that I wanted to be a girl that I knew I wasn’t a boy. I imagined being a girl was better, I hoped it was right for me, and I wished I were a girl. But I wasn’t positive that it would be until I did it. Maybe a good analogy would be the question, “How do you know you’re hungry?” Well, because you’re hungry! It’s a state of being, something you know you are or you aren’t. I didn’t know I wanted to be a girl because I liked dresses or makeup or dolls. I knew it because it was true.

  • What do your family and friends think?  Did anyone give you moral support in making your decision?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I am spoiled, blessed, privileged, and thankful that my friends, family, and coworkers have been so supportive during my transition. I’ve had people (family, mostly) react in a confused way, but I’ve never had anyone who was important to me act in a negative or intentionally hurtful way.

My experience, however, is the exception. It’s (unfortunately) not the rule. But I’d like to work toward a world where my experience – of the people important to me being supportive and enthusiastic of my transition – is the norm.

Halloween Costumes, and Costumes for Life

By , October 25, 2009 9:45 pm

I just got back from a weekend (well, 16 hours) visiting one of my high school friends in Minneapolis. (I know you read this blog, so hi!) I drove up with one of my roommates on Saturday, arriving around 5:30PM, and left this afternoon at about quarter to one. We had a lot of fun – it was really great to see my friend’s house, spend a little bit of time (far too little!) with her son, and meet some of her friends at a Halloween party she and her husband were hosting. (I was undead – I’ll post pictures when I have some better ones…the ones from my camera weren’t great.)

Inadvertently, the party made me think more broadly about the idea of wearing costumes in our every-day life. First, because apparently queer people are really rare in Minnesota.

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Coming Out

By , October 21, 2009 1:52 pm

This is an excerpt from the script I’m working on for Trans Form, which is going up this December. Enjoy!

I’m fourteen, sitting on the chair in my therapist’s office.

I started going to therapy by choice, because the year before, at thirteen, I still couldn’t get past the panic attacks and separation anxiety that had kept me from sleepovers and overnight school trips and sleep-away summer camp for as long as I could remember. The pattern was always the same: I would get excited about staying at a friends’ house, at an overnight event at the Museum of Science and Industry, at whatever. I would go, convincing myself that this time would be different, that this time I’d be able to make it all night.

But as we started to get ready for bed, the panic would creep up. For those of you who have had a panic attack before, you know how it feels. To everyone else, it was a very physical sensation, a creeping along my arms and legs to my core, to my center. My blood would start to rush, tears would inevitably spring to my eyes, and if I didn’t go home, if I didn’t get away from whatever mundane childhood experience was driving me to a panic, I’d go into fullblown hysterics.

Finally, the summer after seventh grade, when I’d missed most of the seventh grade weekend trip to Wisconsin because of a panic attack, I decided  I would go to the eighth grade trip to Washington DC. So I started seeing a therapist. We worked for months on controlled breathing, biofeedback techniques, ways to divert my focus from panicking.

But the trip to DC is in the past. (I made it, by the way, and haven’t had problems being away from home since.) Now, I’m fourteen, sitting in the chair at my therapist’s office, across from my parents, about to come out to them.

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Social Circles

By , July 18, 2009 2:08 am

I’ve mentioned before that I live in the same city in which I grew up. (Well, the larger city imediately south of the city in which I grew up.) I’m living with friends from highschool, working with organizations where I was involved pre-transition, and so on. So it shouldn’t be a surprise to me at this point that A) I’m going to run into people at parties who I haven’t seen since highschool and B) most of my friends (and their friends) are not queer.

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Middle-Class Codes and the Axis of Support

By , May 6, 2009 2:39 pm

A relative of mine passed away this weekend, and I discovered something at the shiva. Specifically, I was surrounded by a lot of people – family and family friends – who I hadn’t seen in years (in some cases, over a decade). And, as good middle-class-ers, most of them were well-trained enough to know that an event or issue which could lead to a potentially awkward interaction – say, someone you don’t know particularly well transitioning – can only be discussed obliquely. There’s a code for these things; a way to mention them while feeling secure in your ‘tactfulness.’

The middle-class code for “I approve of your transition and support you in it” is “Wow, you look great.”

Now, lets place this on the Axis of Support:

How supportful and tactful are people?

How supportive and tactful are people?

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Do I feel better or worse?

By , April 30, 2009 9:00 pm

So, as I mentioned, I was groped at a work event last weekend by someone, D, who was volunteering (and sometimes worked for us). I talked about it with my coworkers and my bosses, all of whom agreed it was super-creepy, totally unacceptable, and needed some sort of response from the organization.

Well, today the special events director, RW called the guy who did it. She started the conversation something along the lines of, “So I wanted to discuss the…incident…that happened this past weekend at the benefit. Do you know what I’m talking about?”

At that point, D responded, “Wait, are you joking? You mean when I grabbed [male name]’s fake boob?”

The full story below…

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Transitioning Games

By , April 14, 2009 8:34 pm

(Note: This post should be subtitled: “In which our blogstress proves she’s a big theatre geek!”)

A while back, right before I came out to my highschool theatre class, I was speaking with the lead teacher of the class and we were joking about posisble transitioning-related theatre games. Here’s what we came up with, but I’d love any more ideas to help the list grow!

  • Coming Out Tag
    • Spoof of: Scene Tag, where each time someone is tagged they have to go into a brief scene scene before moving on as the new person who is ‘it’
    • How it works: Rather than going into a random scene, every time someone is tagged the tagger has to ‘come out’ to them. To make it really accurate, the person who is ‘it’ – the tagger – always stays ‘it’ and has to come out over and over and over and over and…
  • MTF (or FTM) Machine
    • Spoof of: This requires a little explanation, and is very much an in-joke. Machine is a game where a group (usually 6-10) builds energy one at a time with a repeating sound and motion to construct, as a whole, a ‘machine.’ It can be a generic machine, or a specific type of machine (weather, popcorn, magic, etc).
    • How it works: Basically a normal game of Machine, but the call is to change the energy during the machine from masculine to feminine, or vice versa. (Probably would quickly become very bad stereotypes of “manly” or “womanly,” but sometimes those are fun to play with.)
  • Coming Out Fingers
    • Spoof of: Fingers is a game played by partners, where they agree on three locations or occupations. They then ‘throw’ the locations/occupations at each other randomly and, when they land on the same thing, they go into a random scene prompted by that location/occupation.
    • How it works: The partners choose a location, and each scene is a coming out scene at that location.

Any to add?

“I think I want to be a girl”

By , March 25, 2009 8:01 pm

I was recently talking with my mom about a woman she’s become friendly with as part of a group she goes to for parents with trans kids. We’ll call her Susan. (I have no idea what her real name is, but I get tired of saying “this woman” over and over again.) Susan has two children: a son – lets say Ben – and a child – lets go with the gender-neutral Casey – who keeps insisting that she’s a girl, even though she was assigned ‘boy’ at birth. Both of her kids are pretty young, definitely not yet in highschool, and Susan has been trying to understand Casey but having a hard time. She was apparently retelling a conversation she’d had recently with her children, in which she had asked Casey, “But why do you like the color pink, playing with dolls, wearing dresses, and don’t want to be called a boy?”

Casey replied, “I just think I want to be a girl.”

Now, from what I’ve heard from my mom, Susan has been trying hard to help Casey be happy, but she is still having a hard time accepting that the child she thought was a son might really be a daughter. Indeed,  Susan was holding this response, and specifically the words “I think I want,” as evidence to my mom that Casey wasn’t sure what she wanted. That there was still hope Casey would change her mind and realize she was really a boy.

My mom, in turn, was asking me what I thought.

Obviously I’m not inside Casey’s head. And, as someone who is a decade and a half older than Casey, it’s hard for me to say that anyone can know what they want when they’re 10. But I distinctly remember using the same language in my mind, and even when I came out to my parents. And the use of “I think I want” wasn’t because of any uncertainty of my desire, it was because of my fear of failure.

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Coming out to the landlords

By , January 14, 2009 9:03 pm

My email to them:

Heya. I wanted to let you both know that I’m now using the name R, along with female pronouns, instead of J and male pronouns. I’ve been trying to catch you both when you’re home to let you know, but it’s never seemed to work out. (Although I’m pretty sure [my roommate] A’s referred to me as “R- I mean J” about a million times, so maybe this won’t come as a huge surprise.)

And their response:

That’s cool!  We already knew, so you’re right it isn’t  a surprise. P and I just wanted to respect your privacy until you told us otherwise.

I’m still feeling sort of like I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop… Not a single person has had a negative reaction to the transition. Which isn’t to say family and loved ones haven’t had a hard time, but not a single “What the fuck?”



Sort of surreal…

By , January 5, 2009 9:54 pm

Today was my first day at work as R and, all in all, the experience was sort of surreal. It didn’t help that I had a bad time getting to sleep last night (though I slept fine once I was asleep) and I had a lot of stuff to  get through today (including fighting with the Internet at the office for two hours).

Basically, I think it was the experience of having something that’s been so private and so personal for my entire life suddenly become something that’s not only very public but (fortunately) not really a big deal to the people around me. That is, they’re supportive and they care because it’s important to me, but don’t care because it’s ‘weird’ or anything.

I’m also aware that it wasn’t really suddenly, since I’ve been out to most of these people for months and going by R today was the result of a gradual process and conversation. But still…it felt pretty damn sudden.

I mean, shit…I’m living full time now. I will now be spending more of my time interacting with the world as R than not!

Aaaand now I’ve gotten myself in a panic because I hadn’t thought about things in those terms before. Ah, good…

I should go play some Rock Band 2 that I just bought! Rock on!


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