Posts tagged: transitioning

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.

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.)

Continue reading 'Questions on being trans, from highschoolers (pt 1?)'»

The metaphors for transitioning?

By , March 4, 2010 5:06 pm

As I look forward to continued writing and performing, I’m brainstorming about interesting metaphors for transitioning. I previously worked with the constructed myth of Ares and Aphrodite, about a child who was assigned the wrong gender by the gods. Likewise, in my most recent piece, Trans Form, I used a physical box full of costumes and props as a metaphor for the emotional weight of pre-transition life, and of the complicated and confusing natrue of transitioning. I’d like to play with both of those metaphors more, but I’d love to find some other avenues to explore, too.

Things that spring to mind, or that I’ve used in the past:

  • Caterpillar/butterfly (a bit obvious)
  • The Little Mermaid (from Trans Form)
  • Cooking – a recipe for transitioning, with instructions on ingredients/baking time/etc
  • Being trapped or constrained
  • Puppetry or being a puppet

Anyone else have some interesting transition metaphors? I’d love to hear ’em!

Agency

By , February 26, 2010 2:04 pm

Why do I continue and continue to beat myself up for not transitioning earlier? For not speaking up louder? For not being more insistent, more forceful? In the past week, I’ve been told by both my doctor and my therapist that I really couldn’t have transitioned much earlier. That, starting hormones at 22, I was pretty close to starting them as young as I possible could have. That very few people start hormones at 18, and that very very few doctors will prescribe hormones younger than that.

That, realistically, there’s a very slim chance I possibly could have transitioned earlier than I did.

And yet, I keep beating myself up about it. Regretting that I don’t live in the fantasy life I constructed for myself, of going to school as a girl, experiencing adolescence as a girl, growing up into a woman. And I realized it has a lot to do with my own sense of agency, or lack thereof.

Continue reading 'Agency'»

Killing Voldemort

By , February 2, 2010 1:33 am

Once upon a time, I wrote about how my old name may or may not be like He Who Shall Not Be Named. I had said to a friend, jokingly, “You can say my old [male] name! It’s not like it’s Voldemort.”

I’ve been thinking about that idea since then, and of the power of names. And I realized that I don’t want people saying my old name. A coworker of mine, who met me after I was living full-time as Rebecca, knows my old name because she gets the office mail and random catalogs and things occasionally arrive in my old name. I was telling a story to a friend that needed to use my old name, and felt uncomfortable when I got to that point in the story.

I’m starting to feel a bit claustrophobic in my current job, where I’ve been since before I transitioned. And in a building that I’ve been coming to for classes and to teach and work since I was nine. In the city where I grew up. Surrounded by people who knew me before I transitioned.

I also don’t want to totally cut myself off from pre-transition life, from the friends and family and memories. But I’m floundering right now, having a hard time keeping my head above water, and I’m wondering how much my surroundings have to do with it.

Composed of clockwork

By , January 31, 2010 3:27 am

I am a clockwork woman, wound up by pills each morning, rundown and empty by the end of each day. I feel nothing but rough textures of transitioning, nothing passes my lips but bitter tastes of transitioning, my sight is filled only with desolate views of transitioning, my ears echo with discordant sounds of transitioning. My movements only mimic those of laughter and life.

I am stuck in myself, trapped between a history I don’t want and a future I can’t see.

Life branches out in front of me, and every opportunity must be taken. None can be missed. Every missed opportunity is a mark against me, of weakness and laziness and lack of strength. Because I am still chasing down the opportunity I did miss: a chance at transitioning younger, quicker, more gracefully.

And so I chase and I chase and I chase. And so I try to catch something lost forever. And so I wind myself up, let myself loose, and fail. Again. I hold myself up to standards impossible to meet.

No opportunity satisfies, because I could have should have would have done it better. I should have committed more fully. I should have given it more of my time. I should have started earlier, procrastinated less, given more of myself. I should have. I should have. I should have. Whatever ‘it’ is, it’s always the same.

Every day is doomed to failure, from the start.

I. Can’t. Win.

Continue reading 'Composed of clockwork'»

Trans Form – Clip Two

By , January 18, 2010 12:18 am

Finally sat down tonight and put together another clip from Trans Form. Enjoy! (The video is after the jump and, in case you missed it, the first clip is here.)

Continue reading 'Trans Form – Clip Two'»

The stuff of nightmares

By , January 16, 2010 12:16 pm

Trigger warning. (A link explaining what “trigger warning” means.)

Earlier this week, Little Light posted is a dream a lie if it don’t come true / or is it something worse. The post is now behind a password but I did have a chance to read it before it was password protected. The thoughts behind password protecting the post are here, and no, I don’t have the password, and don’t know how to get it. I’m going to write about the post anyway, as  best as I can remember. I apologize if any of the details are wrong, but the general gist is accurate.

The post was about someone Little Light knew, a trans woman we’ll call Alice, who suffered a serious injury and was hospitalized. Alice had been on hormones for a few years, and was living full time as a woman. She had not undergone The Surgery, but was happier for living as Alice, as herself. After being injured, Alice ended up partially paralyzed, unable to care for herself, and unable to communicate without extreme effort.

Alice’s doctors decided – despite clear evidence that Alice identified and was presenting as a woman – that forcing medical staff to use ‘she’ around someone with a penis would be too confusing. They instead used ‘he’ and Alice’s former, male, name.

Likewise, Alice’s family decided – despite clear evidence that Alice identified and was presenting and as a woman – to take her off her hormones.

Continue reading 'The stuff of nightmares'»

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