Posts tagged: questions

Unintentional Derailment and Imposing Identity

By , December 14, 2010 12:13 pm

EDIT 12/18/2010: Jamie, the author of the link provided in the below-quoted comment,  has responded in the comments, clarifying a few things. It looks like I misunderstood her position, and I apologize for misrepresenting what she said. Everything else I said, about derailing a conversation, still holds true; I think the original comment that prompted this post was off topic.

Chapter I: In Which A Question Is Asked

One of the comments on This chick with a dick is exhausted caught my attention, to the point where I removed the comment from the thread (something I rarely do). However, I do want to respond to the comment, and explain why I removed it from the original post. Here’s the comment in question:

DISCLAIMER:  This is an honest question, NOT a ‘snarky’ remark.  There is absolutely no disrespect intended.

I am a relative new comer to “T-Land” and/or the world of the transgender.  I have some opinions but these are based from living in the main stream as a “privileged white woman”.

Nevertheless, I do understand your discomfort at the way you feel you were “dissed” by your “friends”.  So…This is my question?  “Does the incident described in the following link describe you?  Does it describe a “gender queer”?  Does it describe a “gay/homosexual transgender”?

Thank you in advance for considering and thoughtfully answering these questions.

I wanted to open up the discussion to a larger audience, which is why I’m responding in this public fashion. I don’t want this response to become an attack, and will remove any comments that seem tilted that way. Skip down to Chapter IV if you actually want to get to my response…

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A Desert Island

By , December 7, 2010 1:09 pm

One of the questions asked during a talk-back for Trans Form was “What would happen if you were on a deserted island and couldn’t take hormones? what would happen if you stopped taking them?” I think of this as the “Lost” question (what would happen if I’d been on the plane in the TV show Lost) and here’s my answer:

There are two issues to consider if I stopped taking hormones. First, and most simply, the physical effects. Right now, I’m taking testosterone blockers (to help negate the testosterone my body is producing) and estrogen (to help push my body toward the hormonal norm for women). As such, blood tests taken on me right now would show a hormonally normal and balanced woman: lots of estrogen, a little testosterone. The effects of that have been physical and emotional: I grew boobs, lost some muscle mass, my body hair thinned out a bit, and I’ve become more emotional.?????

Were I to stop taking those pills, my hormone balance would slowly start shifting toward typical male: mostly testosterone, some estrogen. My breasts would ‘deflate’ a little – though not a ton – and I’d regain some of that muscle mass I lost. Likewise, my body hair would become a bit more aggressive, and my emotions would swing back from easily expressed to slightly more difficult to access. These are all pretty objective measures, and something I’m comfortable stating with some certainty.

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Questions on being trans, from highschoolers (pt 6)

By , June 29, 2010 8:23 pm

Just when you thought it was over, there are a few more questions to answer!

  • Did you dress like a girl before you considered yourself transgender?  (Dress in drag, I guess?)

Occasionally, but not a lot. And that’s due in large part because of that language: it felt like dressing in drag. And the last thing I wanted, the last thing I ever wanted, was to feel like a boy in a dress. So while I did experiment every so often with sneaking something from my mom’s wardrobe, it was never that satisfying. (I denied taking her clothing the one or two times she confronted me about it. Maybe, in retrospect, if I’d come clean – and talked about my desires to not be a boy – my life might have turned out very differently.

Once I was able to put a name on my discomfort – I was trans, not a crossdresser – I was able to start experimenting with ways of feeling more feminine. Things like growing my hair out, shaving my legs, and so on. That eventually turned into buying women’s clothing, but by that point I’d say I was actually transitioning and not just experimenting.

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Questions on being trans, from highschoolers (pt 5)

By , April 26, 2010 2:28 pm

It’s been a while, I know, but I figured it was time to finish off some of these questions. Lets go!

  • Do you want to have “bottom” surgery?

“Bottom” surgery usually means sex reassignment surgery (SRS) and I think “want’ is a tricky word to use here. If the Vagina Fairy came through my window (no, not that one) to wave her wand and give me a pussy, I’d say “Yes!” in a heartbeat. I’d also say that I do want to have had SRS, in the same way I want to have learned a foreign language: I want the results, but don’t want to go through the pain and suffering to get there. But do I want to have surgery at some point in the future?

I’m not sure.

Continue reading 'Questions on being trans, from highschoolers (pt 5)'»

Questions on being trans, from highschoolers (pt 4)

By , March 24, 2010 12:23 pm

The saga continues!

  • Are there advantages to being a woman as opposed to being a man?

Advantages for who? For me, yes: I’m happier with myself and with my body, enjoy wearing clothing and makeup, enjoy being perceived as a woman.

For someone who identifies as a man? Probably not. I think women – in general – have more clothing and presentation options today than men. That is, a woman can present from relatively butch (even going so far as to wear mens clothing) to super-femme, and still be a ‘woman.’ Men, on the other hand, have fewer options for clothing/makeup/etc without having their ‘man’ status questioned. But those are all subjective; being a woman isn’t “better” than being a man, just different.

But it is better for me.

  • Are there advantages to being trans?

Being trans gives you the opportunity – hell, forces you – to think much more in detail and at length about your own identity and gender than being cis. I feel like the choices I’m making about presentation and how I gender myself are a lot more conscious than for many of my friends, and I’m doing so with more intention. They haven’t had to think about their own gender, and so many of them haven’t. (Or, hadn’t until I forced them to by transitioning and talking about it at great length!)

Being trans has given me the opportunity to dive into the trans and queer communities both on- and off-line, this blog being a big example of how I’m doing that.

Is all that worth the pain and difficulty of being trans? I’m not sure yet; I’m still too much in my transition to make that call. But I’d be lying if I said there were no advantages to being trans. At least, I’ve had a few places where I’ve been able to make lemonade out of lemons. I’m just hoping that I’ll ultimately feel that way all the time, not just every once in a while.

Talking to high schoolers

By , March 20, 2010 12:26 am

High School MusicalI spoke to a high school health club on Friday – the one who emailed me the questions I’ve been answering the last few days – and had a really good time. They weren’t too knowledgeable about queer/trans issues, but I much prefer well-intentioned and open-handed ignorance to feigned understanding… And they were all willing to learn, which counts for a lot in my book.

Most of the chat was pretty expected, with me going over my (abridged) life story and transition, talking about how hormones have changed my experience of emotions and sex, and so on. I did have one student ask, “So, if you did get…the surgery, and you like women…how would you have sex after?”

One of the other students waved her fingers in front of his face, which made me laugh. I also directed them to Early to Bed, which is actually only a few blocks away from their school. I hope, for the sake of his current and future partner(s), that he learns about the options available beyond penis/vagina.

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Questions on being trans, from highschoolers (pt 3)

By , March 17, 2010 11:14 pm
  • Do you feel like your personality has changed at all?

Yes and no. The important things have not changed. I still find the same things funny, the same things sad, my politics haven’t changed, my taste in music hasn’t changed, and so on. At the same time, I think being more emotional – presumably a combination of hormones and being more comfortable with myself in general – has let me be a little more open and  a little less closed off.

Specifically, I used to think of myself as someone who could do a great poker face. That is, if I didn’t want my emotions to show, they didn’t. But on Monday of this week, one of my coworkers asked if anything was wrong (I was, indeed, stressed). I asked it if was that obvious, and she replied, “Yeah, you kind of wear your heart on your sleeve.”

I ultimately think this change is a good thing, but it’s taking some getting used to. It’s difficult to think of yourself, and the image you project to the world, as one thing and realize it’s really something else.

  • How do you feel about transgender persons getting married?  Do you want to get married?

I’m not totally sure what the first part of this question is asking. I think any two consenting adults of sound minds should be able to get married. Or, hell, more than two: I don’t think polyamory is for me, but I don’t see why I should tell others they can’t practice it. So I don’t think someone being trans, (or pre-, mid-, or post-transition) should have anything to do with it.

As to whether I want to get married… Yes, I think I do, eventually. Hopefully the right gal will sweep me off my feet. 🙂

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.

Questions on being trans, from highschoolers (pt 1?)

By , March 15, 2010 9:37 pm

I’m speaking this Friday to a high school GSA in my neighborhood. One of the students at the class I spoke to in October is leading a group at the high school, and they were interested in having a trans speaker come.

She just sent over a list of questions the students had compiled, and I figured I’d answer some of them here, as a way to think about them before Friday. I think I’m gonna single out the easy questions in this post, and may cover some of the more in-depth ones later… It’s interesting to see what issues and topics high school students think are worth asking about.

  • What restroom do you use?

I use whatever bathroom fits with how I’m presenting. For over a year, now, that’s been the womens room. Before that, for about a two year period, it was either the mens room or the womens room, depending primarily on what I was wearing and how I was thinking about myself. Before that, it was the mens room.

  • Are you attracted to men or women now?  How is sex different as a woman than as a man?

Still attracted to women! And the protected posts are mostly about how sex has changed over the course of the transition (see the ‘About Me’ link at the top for info on getting the password.)

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There are no stupid questions?

By , June 30, 2009 11:28 pm

For once, this is about my stupid questions, rather than those I’ve been asked by others. I’ve been slowly-but-surely assembling a wardrobe, and have compiled a list of the top “I’m embarrassed to ask the cis women in my life” questions for your reading pleasure:

  1. Where does one purchase leggings? I have some dresses I’d conceivably wear to work or more casually, but don’t quite feel comfortable without something covering at least part of my legs. This feels like it should be a ‘duh’ type item, but I’m obviously not looking for the right thing since I can’t seem to find ’em…
  2. What’s the deal with layering tops? Why would I possibly want to wear two t-shirts if the function of the t-shirt underneath is only to peek out the bottom for an inch?
  3. How do I know what bras are appropriate for what tops? As a recent example, I got a nice summery dress with spaghetti straps. Is it uncouth to have my bra straps showing? Is it a fashion faux pas to have the corners of the bra itself peeking around the edge of the dress by my armpits when I move?
  4. Continue reading 'There are no stupid questions?'»

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