So today was my top surgery! I had it done by Dr. Jeffrey Rockmore - I can't say enough about him, his staff, and the St. Peter's Surgery Center in Albany. Everyone was incredibly friendly, helpful and supportive, and the results seem really good! (they are still wrapped, and swollen, so I can't say for sure yet).
My friend Bryana went with me - we only met in January but she's quickly become such a good friend, and so graciously and enthusiastically took the trip with me (about 2.5 hours drive each way, and about a 2 hour wait while I had surgery). She did so much to relieve the anxiety I was feeling!
There isn't really any pain, just discomfort (I'm on percocet, but after my shoulder surgery last year there was still massive pain even with that).
Overall I feel even happier about this than I had expected, I feel like I took a huge step towards truly being who I want and need to be 😀
I'll follow-up again as the swelling subsides!
I just had my endocrinologist appointment - my testosterone level is at 170 now - yay!!! Typical male level is 270-1200, female level is up to the 60s or so - so I'm in "No Man's and No Woman's Land" currently - but it's progress!
I think the nicest part of the appointment was when he said he wished everyone who came to see him was like me - in this case meaning that he has no qualms about what I'm doing and giving me the HRT prescription, so that was nice to hear :-)
He did say I need to lose some weight - which I knew quite well already, I'm hoping hearing it from him will help motivate.
Well, my name change became official this past Monday (the 19th). I was hoping to get some documents taken care of, but was thwarted by the court, they hadn't recorded the last filing, so I couldn't get the certified copy of the order that I needed. I got that this morning - yay!!! But then the social security office was closed (at noon! what's that about!?!?). I'm hoping tomorrow morning I can get social security and driver's license done, then I'll have what I need to plow through the rest of my list (that'll take a few weeks, but I've prioritized it).
I'm also changing my gender identification for social security and driver's license, they required 2 different certifications (one from a doctor, one from a therapist), but I have both documents now.
As I filled out the payment form at the court I realized it was the first time I officially wrote my new name on something, that felt very good :-)
I went out Monday night with a couple of friends for dinner to celebrate "name day" - we went to a TGIF's in Jersey. The evening started off very nicely as the hostess complimented my make-up (which was especially nice as it was the make-up i had on all day, just a little touched-up before dinner). I'll do something more tomorrow night assuming I get my driver's license.
Ok people, sorry for the bummer of a subject line, but a week of insomnia isn't conducive to optimism
It could be from my shoulder surgery, but as each day passes that seems unlikely - it's not hard getting comfortable anymore, I just stay wide awake.
I think it is, indirectly transition-related. It's not because of transitioning, but because the transition had been so all-consuming for awhile that I had put aside other concerns. Now that i'm acclimating more to transitioning (though not completely yet), i'm faced with the feeling again that so much of my life feels like a vast, empty wasteland, no matter what way I go, or if I don't go anywhere, it's all the same nothing.
Transitioning in this context takes on a new feeling - if i'm going down I might as well go down as me and not a fake
sorry for the downer entry - needed to get it out
So today I almost got kept out from going back to work from lunch!!!
Ok not really. But! We have ID cards to get into the building - mine hasn't been updated yet re my name and picture (for no apparent reason I was waiting until my legal name change went through, but HR confirmed I don't need to).
When we scan into the building our pic comes up on a computer monitor at the security post near the entrance. Usually this doesn't matter as I know all of the security people so I doubt they even look at the screen. Today after lunch I entered through a side door where there was just one, new security guard. AS I waited fot the nearby elevator I saw that he kept looking between the screen and me, looking confused
I don't know what he would have done, a maintenance person I know happened along right then and stared chatting with me, confirming I work there. (Pretty sure I could have convinced him if I had to)
Anyhow, tomorrow morning i'm going to get a new card with corrected name and picture
Just a quick update - on Wednesday my therapist said she would write the letter I need for the endocrinologist, and I have an appointment to see him on August 6 (I made the appointment before having the letter knowing that there would be some lag before I could actually get an appointment, he's apparently very busy). I know there are some tests they'll have to do first, but my medical history at least doesn't seem to have any counterindicators to HRT. So I'm hopeful that by mid to late August I'll have started.
Every thought that I have about it is positive - it makes me feel happy, content, sometimes excited - never hesitation. I think having some time pass since the school-wide announcement went out, and the fact that I'm presenting more and more female, has allayed much of the fear that I felt earlier. It's gotten to the point where it's strange to hear or use my prior name! (I'm also starting to look into a legal name change).
One thing that I'm a little hung up on right now is rest rooms. The schools position is simply that I should use whichever rest rooms I feel are appropriate. The problem is that I still feel like I'm presenting somewhere in the middle, so I think I feel a little uncomfortable using either! (they are planning to add a gender-neutral rest room, which I'd probably start using until I feel that I sufficiently "pass"). Then of course there are rest rooms in other places! Ugh. Interestingly, the bar that I often go to recently moved (and changed it's motif a bit - it's now officially a "drag bar"), and they now have "Men" and "Women" on their restrooms, which they didn't at the previous location! It seems like step backwards to me :-)
That's where I am now - I have a few more days off before going back to work, a little more time for introspection before rejoining the working world!
As I mentioned in my last posting, I had a consultation in Philadelphia on Monday about bottom surgery - it went very well, I liked the surgeon a lot and liked the work that she showed me. So I'm scheduled for December 27 :-)
I had anticipated waiting until spring because of school, but classes finish in the fall on December 23, and there's over a month before spring classes, so this worked out, and financially it's VERY helpful as it lets me get this under my current insurance, and in the same year as top surgery so that I have only 1 deductible to worry about.
I had a "gut check" moment while waiting for the surgeon - this time my gut's response was "leave me alone! this is good!" - so apparently my gut is getting a little annoyed at me checking-in too much. I drove down (hate driving, but it seemed easier), and the drive back was awesome - nothing about the drive itself, just knowing that I'm getting this done, that it's scheduled and before we start 2017 I will be just about as much of a woman as I can be :-) (physically at least)
Now I get to have the conversation with my brother in which I tell him :-) That should be fine, we've already spoken about me being trans and he's totally supportive, just awkward having any medical discussions with him.
First, if any of you haven't heard the Junior Vaquez remix of Whitney Houston's "Step by Step" - you should check it out
This has been a productive week in terms of coming out for me. I've now told all of my closest friends (in person or in writing) that I am transgender. In most cases it wasn't a surprise to them, and the support has been universal. My favorite light-hearted response was from my friend Chris (who is my closest friend among the group) who said "Woo hoo! Does that mean I'm hip?" (he does magic, so I leave it to each of you to decide if it's possible for him to be "hip").
The most substantive positive response was
"This is celebratory news. Please let me know how I can be a friend/supporter/ally/whatever you need. I know there's lots swirling around, and if you need to chat/bounce things off anyone, you've got an ear and a hug in me;) Truly.
Thanks for sharing, and as you continue, please let me know how best to support. There are lots of feelings around pronouns/language. I'm adaptable to whatever works for you. I love you as the person you are and am grateful we are friends."
Followed by an offer to start calling me "Christie" if I wanted (I don't do that in my day-to-day life yet, I don't feel like my external presentation matches that - but the fact that it's now come up probably means it will happen soon, at least in my personal life).
I've also told both of my supervisors at work, and a co-worker with whom I'm fairly close (and found out from her that another person was picking up some hints already - and was positive about it, which was very good considering she is over my 2 direct supervisors).
On the personal side, productivity came in the form of not trying to figure out "an answer" - my initial reaction (to many things) is to think that if I just think about it for awhile, and ask the right questions, I can come up with an answer right away. Well that's not going to happen here, the only way I'm giong to find an "answer" is to keep taking steps until I reach whatever destination is out there for me (or not, there might not really be a destination - as I write this I realize there probably isn't!).
So my approach now is to just look for steps that I can take - take them - see if they feel comfortable - then take another step - repeat...
There was a negative event at work, but one that lead to positive. I overheard several students (overheard is an overstatement, they were talking loud enough that one could think they were trying to talk to me from a distance), they were joking about the idea of a male (I couldn't tell who they were talking about beyond that) wearing a dress to a student event that night.
It wasn't something I could directly address (I'm staff at the school), but I did mention it to my boss, who apparently brought it up with her boss (the one I mentioned earlier), who suggested that they should probably incorporate sensitivity training into student orientation (and I believe she's sincere, she's not the type to just talk about it). So that was good - but the really good part is that it inspired me to try to take more steps to be out at work. It would be inappropriate for me to address the students directly about the issue, but if they ultimately get the point that I am TG it might make them think more about what they're saying.
Well, that's all for now - oh, tonight I'm telling my sister, first family member...
So I just recently discovered this site, and since my transition is still relatively new I thought a blog would be a good idea - to keep track of things for myself and see what others might have to offer
I guess I'll use this entry for a little background. My transition began in earnest about a year and a half ago (it was sometime in the summer of 2013). I started with cross-dressing and discovered quickly that every time I took a step thinking it was for reason "A" it turned out it was really for reason "B." With cross-dressing, I thought I was doing it for sexual/fetish reasons, but very quickly realized that wasn't my reason at all. The first bit of evidence that I recall is that the first time I shopped for clothes (on Venus.com) I went in thinking I was looking for "hook-up" clothing - when my order arrived a few days later I found that I hadn't ordered anything like that at all - what I got was arguably cute and flirty, but not hook-up. So that called into question my reason for cross-dressing.
Even then, it seemed like cross-dressing was just it's own thing - I started doing it at home, and then eventually got up the guts to get dressed at home and actually go out! But still, at that point when I was a boy I was a boy, when I was a girl, I was a girl. The first break in that was my JLo bag from Kohl's (my favorite brand/store combo!). I bought it for cross-dressing as I needed a bigger bag so that I could carry a change of shoes. But almost immediately I started using it every day, boy or girl. Not the boldest, most obvious "statement," but it was a start, it was the first item of clothing/accessory that I used either way.
Now I'm at point where I'm "feminizing" as much as possible - but it's really my thought process that's become more important. I'm hung up a bit on the question of what this - what being transgender - means to me?
More later - thanks for reading!!!!
Happy Monday everyone!
I had my latest endocrinologist appointment last Thursday and he increased my estrogen prescription (to 2 mg from 1 mg), so that was exciting :-)
We're having a reception at work this Thursday for someone who just made a large donation to the school ($5 million), which I'll be working at/attending. So I realized that I needed to get something to wear - something a little dressier than what I have. That lead to a trip to Kohl's where I found a dress, but I wasn't entirely happy with it for this event. So I then tried Le Chateau - a store that I went to several times for men's clothing, but hadn't yet gone to for women's. The experience was great - the sales clerk was very helpful, especially in picking out jewelry to go with the dress I picked out. I also broke another barrier in that I tried on the dress at the store. Since I started presenting full-time as a woman I haven't used dressing rooms at stores. It is partly laziness, and partly not wanting to have to take off and put back on my wig - but given the nature of this purchase I thought it best to do so. It was a little easier in this store as the fitting rooms are individual rooms located at various spots around the store, rather than a single area with a bunch of stalls - that'll be the next challenge next time I'm at Kohl's.
The most important moment of the day came when I got back to the PATH (train) station to go home. I sat down to wait for the train and realized that I was feeling particularly content and happy, so I thought for a moment to see where it was coming from. It was coming from the fact that - sitting there as I was, dressed as I was, having just had the shopping trip that I had - I wasn't thinking that I was "dressed and shopping like a woman" but that I was "dressed and shopping like me." A further sign that I am fully integrating my transition mentally.
I went to a TG support group at the LGBT Center here in Manhattan last night. They meet the first Wednesday of each month (there are 2 groups, 1 for transwomen and 1 for transmen).
I'm hoping that the way it went last night is not typical of the group. We (actually "they," I was pretty quiet) spent the entire 90 minutes talking about Caitlyn Jenner. I'm hoping it's just because it was such a big story, and that the group isn't just a current events discussion group. I was really hoping for an actual "support" group after all. I'll definitely go again next month, and in the meantime there was 1 person there who I already knew (from the Thursday night Stonewall group), so I might get together with her sometime and can find out more about the group (she's been going for about a year).
On another front - I'm meeting today with the Dean and Associate Dean of the school where I work, they wanted to meet to talk about how they can help with my transition. I obviously have nothing to compare to, but I feel really great about the support that I've been getting here! It almost makes me feel bad that I was looking for a new job .
I haven't been able to write for awhile - I started school again in September and that's kept me pretty busy. I'm in the MSW (Masters in Social Work) program at NYU (New York University), which is a full-time program and includes a 21-hour/week internship on top of classes (mine is with a drop-in center for people who are homeless).
Anyway, I didn't come on to write about that, but since the semester is over, and internship is over until late January, I have a little time.
The big update is that my GRS is happening this coming Tuesday! I leave for Philadelphia on Monday morning, then the surgery is at Hahneman University Hospital with Dr. Kathy Rumer. I'll be staying in Philly for a week and coming back home after my one-week follow-up with her.
I've already started pre-surgery prep - including stopping hormones a few weeks ago (that one hurt), and today starting an Arnica protocol (it's to reduce or eliminate bruising from the surgery). Then on Monday I'll be on a clear-liquid diet and have to do some bowel prep (the glamorous side of surgery!). I have to be at the hospital at 10:30 a.m. And luckily this time my insurance company didn't give me a hard time, they approved the procedure (they also eventually agreed to cover top surgery, which they had rejected initially - it's really good that I work/worked in New York where the state requires these things to be covered.
Since July I've been seeing my therapist twice a week - she provided one of the letters that I needed, and requested the additional sessions - which I think is great (I'm actually going to miss going twice a week, but I can't afford to keep doing that). So we've talked A LOT about the process - transitioning generally, the surgery specifically, and now the post-transition period. I used to say that I'd probably be transitioning until I die, but lately I've decided (for myself, others may feel otherwise) that GRS essentially marks the end of my transition - at that point I'll have done as much physically as I'm going to. Now I'm in a period of "evolution" - discovering who I am - both as a woman and just generally. It's already begun, and it's been a great process. I find myself moving away from LGBTQ-specific things - not as a rejection of the community, but as an acknowledgement that I'm straight (as a man I was gay, but not now), so I needed to know that I can function in "straight environments."
So now that I'm more comfortable with school (I was worried a lot about whether I could really do it - now I feel much more confident), I'm going to try to write more. I bought myself a separate journal to keep notes about GRS - I plan to write that first entry on the train to Philly, and then keep track of what happens, how I feel physically, and how I feel emotionally - I'll try to share some of that here as I go along, in case it's helpful to anyone (recognizing that the experience is going to be different for everyone - but there are still going to be similarities).
I also want to write more about my "evolution" - that was something that I (understandably) didn't focus on until more recently. The physical transition is one thing, but as I felt myself living a more authentic existence it also became important to know how I wanted to live my life. The benefits are already huge - I find that the friendships that I had are stronger than ever, and the new people I'm meeting are really good people (mostly social work students) - and none of this would have happened without that recognition a few years ago that I am a woman, and I am transgender.
I'll wrap this up for now - I know my attention flags sometimes on longer entries, so I'll stop taxing people's attention span :-)
I've now been on HRT for 3 weeks - I know the dosage started low, so my expectations of seeing "drastic" changes was set accordingly. Having said that, these are the things I've observed (or think I've observed) so far:
(1) Sex drive - this has definitely flat-lined at this point, and it's been the case for over a week now. Attractions are still there, but desire to act on them is non-existent. Masturbation has also gone away entirely (which frees up a good amount of time on the weekends!) I'm sure this is just an adjustment and will come back, but it's the one impact I can say has definitely happened.
(2) Skin - I'm less positive about this, but I think my skin may be smoothing out. I first noticed this last weekend, I was sitting watching TV and randomly put my hand on my leg and it felt different, softer and smoother. Now I also think it's happening on my arms
(3) Voice - this one i'm almost positive isn't real, but I want to track everything - one of my supervisors said that she thinks my voice is sounding more feminine. I did explain that as far as I know HRT shouldn't have any impact on my voice, but who knows.
(4) Appetite - hard to be specific about this one, but I've noticed subtle changes in my appetite, both in terms of how much I eat (less) and what I eat (better)
(5) Emotional state - this is subtle, but I think present. I feel like I have now left behind the nagging (and depression inducing) question of "who am I?" or "who am I supposed to be?", and now my focus is on "what do I want to do?" and "how do I want to spend my time?" - questions that have always been present, but harder to address back when I was spending so much time and effort faking who I was. It almost seems silly now to think that I could have known what I wanted from my life when I was trying to convince everyone (including me) that I was a gay man.
Good morning everyone,
I've now finished just over a week on HRT, and a full business week with my "Real Life Test."
There's nothing really to report on the HRT front, which isn't surprising. I did start a "chart" that I put on my bulletin board so that each week I can write down what, if any, changes I noticed. This week the only possible change was reduced libido - though I can't say that with 100% certainty yet.
The "real life test" is another story. I broke through and wore my wig, along with breast inserts, to work and pretty much everywhere this week. This morning I had an appointment with a surgeon (about my shoulder) and for a moment I considered not wearing it there, but then decided that this is either full-time or it's not, I can't pick and choose. So I did it, and it went well. I did have to use my old name for insurance reasons, but they picked up on my transition quickly and added "Christie" to their records (the doctor needs a second to catch up - when he took me to his assistant to schedule surgery he alternated between "Miss Cunningham" and "he" - but that's fine :-)
The only time I can see being out and not wearing the wig is to the gym - that may come as well, but for now I won't just because I don't know how wearing a wig on a treadmill would go :-)
One pleasant discovery was a different type of band for holding the wig on. It's a band that goes around your hairline and fastens with velcro, and the wig holds on to that. Far more comfortable than pins, and so far it seems quite secure.
Otherwise to make sure I keep moving forward I just remind myself to "do what I do" - meaning, don't deviate from what I would have otherwise done in order to avoid anyone seeing me with the wig on.
I also went by the LGBT Center this week and got signed-up for their Transgender Resources "system." I have an intake scheduled in a few weeks so that I can hopefully join a closed support group (the drop-in one that happens the 1st Wednesday of each month has been a disappointment to me so far). They're also looking into places where I can donate clothing :-)
After almost a week of playing phone tag I finally got in touch with my doctor last night. I was trying to talk to him about getting a finasteride (sp?) prescription (which he took care of) and a referral for an endocrinologist. When I originally left the message for him I hadn't said why I was asking for these, so on the phone with him was when I told him that I had come out (I don't like using that term for some reason) as transgender.
I've been going to him for a number of years now (10 or so? Maybe many more, maybe a few less - time is hard to keep track of), and I like him alot. Beyond being a really good doctor, he's very friendly, he's ALWAYS on time (my prior doctor was almost always 45 minutes to an hour late for appointments), and he's holistic in his approach. Consistent with all of that, as soon as I told him I'm trans* he congratulated me, and then asked about my support system. He then gave me the name of an endocrinologist, and said that once I'm on the hormones he would be able to do the follow-up, but that an endocrinologist was better for setting the initial levels. He also said that he works with a number of trans* patients, which made me feel even more comfortable.
I haven't officially decided on HRT yet, but I feel like it's going to happen, and possibly quite soon. I raised the question with my therapist last week, to see what her general "guidelines" are in terms of providing a letter. She said she doesn't really have any, she's worked with a number of trans* clients and has done letters for them at all different times. For now she thinks we still need to work a little more through my lingering doubts (which I suspect were really fears, not doubts, but I completely agree with her on this point).
So I now have a pretty decent support system in place - my doctor, my new gender therapist (who I like a lot!), a bunch of close friends who are incredibly supportive, a job that is also very supportive, this website!, an electrologist who I like (and who is also a transwoman), and next Wednesday I'm going to a trans* support group in the city.
As a "side note" this week was the first week when I started to introduce myself as Christie, and be referred to as Christie by a number of people, and it's starting to feel normal
This actually gives me the confidence to send the email to my sister that I wrote over the weekend. I had to spend some time on it to make it non-confrontational.
Hi all, a couple of quick recent anecdotes...
1. On my way to therapy the other day a random guy on the street (a contractor I believe, waiting outside a building) said "hello gorgeous" to me as I passed I smiled at him, said hello and carried on. The downside is that it put me in a really good mood ... on my way to therapy!!! That doesn't help
2. I may have met someone the other night when I was out ... well, I definitely met someone, but it could be "someone" - I may know more tomorrow, we're getting together - the novelty for me is that the person is a she, so we'll see if I really am lesbian (or bisexual)
Ok people, so this isn't technically - or at least not fully - about being trans, but something I need an outlet for. It might be a bit meandering.
I've been going through a difficult stretch, including a series of "endings" that have left me feeling - well, I don't quite know, but I know a thought that has crossed my mind several times is "when will I find peace?"
The endings - (1) I'm applying to grad school and on Friday got a rejection from one of them - the one that was by far my first choice; (2) the drag queen who often lets me guest perform is no longer doing her show at the bar I go to; (3) my 2 best friends are about to move to California; (4) one of my favorite uncles passed away in January; (5) ... I know there are a few more, but I'm blanking right now.
This is all on top of having a job that has gotten progressively worse over the past few months, and there is absolutely no sign of it turning around anytime soon (or ever).
So how do I find peace? I used that line in therapy today and she asked me what that would look like to me, peace. My initial answer was that I would have a job that I didn't hate going to every day and didn't cause endless annoyance and stress. As I thought about it on my way back to work I know that that was too specific an answer, but a good lead-in to maybe figure it out. Because it's not about getting things to be happening the way I want them to, it's about getting me to think about things differently. I think the serenity prayer is always a good baseline - give me the courage to change the things I can, the strength to accept the things I can't, and the wisdom to know the difference.
I think this is related - but keep in mind I did say I might meander :-) Every Wednesday I go to a supervision group for the volunteer organization I belong to, and last week (at our last session) I made a comment about how this group, for those 2 hours a week, allow me to feel completely comfortable with my complete identity. It's not that they accept me being trans, it just is. And I thought afterwords that if I can feel that way in the group, i should be able to feel that way anywhere :-) Just knowing that I'm capable of feeling that way makes it possible.
To relate that back to the broader theme - I'm capable of accepting difficult things, so I should be able to accept any difficult thing. Ok, that's just a starting point perhaps.
One final point on the grad school thing. Being rejected by my first choice school actually hurt me a lot more than I expected. I think that although I harbor some doubts about being able to do it, I assumed the choice would be mine (I'd be accepted and then decide if I want to go). But this really was crushing - I got home from work the day I got the rejection and literally cried for about an hour (and even thinking about it right now almost makes me start again). It became really clear that "coming out" as transgender finally made it possible for me to realize where my passion lies, and to have that set-back on the path to fulfilling it was very painful. It doesn't end things, I have a couple of other applications out still, but those options would be more difficult - but probably worth pursuing.
So thank you to anyone who got this far - and if you didn't, well you're not seeing this now so there's no reason for me to say anything to you - but I understand :-)
I could almost think it's something about me, but it's not.
In my previous position with the school I provided administrative support to the Law Review (a student publication). Under the original faculty publisher I had a lot of responsibility, and it grew over time. Then a new faculty publisher came in and suddenly I found my position gradually (though not slowly) being diminished. She never bothered to even learn what I did and started giving the students more and more responsibility which had formerly been mine (and responsibility that they really couldn't handle given their schedules). So I felt like I was effectively demoted without changing positions.
In September I moved to the Marketing Department and immediately loved my new job, my new responsibilities, and my new boss. At the time I reported directly to the Vice President of Marketing, and she gave me quite a bit of autonomy in my position (maybe too much, who knows).
In December the VP left. In the interim her management responsibilities were split between another VP and a manager in our department (I took on some of her non-management responsibilities). So for the transition period I knew that I was working under that manager. I wasn't thrilled by that - I like her, but she's not a very good supervisor (her communication skills are seriously lacking). But I figured I could survive, and they were pretty quick in finding a new VP, so all seemed good.
Then in early January the Dean sent an email to the entire school announcing the new VP. At the bottom of that email he also mentioned that the manager I had been temporarily working under had been promoted to Assistant VP, and among her responsibilities was supervising some of the Marketing Dept., INCLUDING ME!!! So, I had been once again effectively demoted (adding a new person/position directly above you in the chain of command is a demotion), and only found out about it through an email that went to the entire school.
I decided over the weekend that there really isn't much I can do about the situation except start to develop an exit strategy. I've only been in this position for about 5 months, and it's a new role, so I definitely need to hold out longer and learn more. I'd also like to get through my surgeries while I'm still here rather than having to deal with that with a new employer (especially GRS since it will involve a longer recovery time).
While it's nice to have an exit strategy in mind, it doesn't help much in terms of getting through day-to-day.
So anyway, I just needed to get that out somewhere :-)
Last Thursday I went to Albany, NY for a surgery consultation (Surgeon who does breast augmentation + surgeon who works with transgender patients + takes my insurance = go to Albany). The surgery won't happen until August, I have to be on HRT for a full year before insurance will cover it (they'll cover it if I'm "not comfortable with the growth that occurs after a year on HRT"), so it's tentatively scheduled for August 12.
I got the basics down - it's an outpatient procedure that will take about an hour. He took measurements and photos so that we can work on size issues later.
But most important! As I waited in the exam room for the surgeon I took a moment for a "gut check" - periodically when something is becoming "more real" I like to stop and reflect on how I feel in that moment. This time, as with every other gut check moment so far, the feedback was "great!"
I am still checking around for other surgeons - even if I go with this one I know I should talk to more than 1 (I did like him though)
It's been awhile since I've been able to write - very busy at work, and outside of work (the outside part is all good, but tiring).
In a prior post I wrote about an "exit strategy" from my current job, and that point has advanced substantially. Several weeks ago I had breakfast with my electrologist (her appointment after me had cancelled). I was telling her about my job issues and half-jokingly asked if she knew anyone who was hiring. She replied that I was asking the wrong question, and that what I needed to ask (myself) is what is my passion, and how can I make a career out of that?
It took virtually no time at all to figure it out once I had that question in mind and I've decided to try to pursue an MSW (Masters of Social Work) and try to become a therapist. Long ago I had thought about pursuing that career, but never followed-through. Looking back now and realizing the impact of gender dysphoria, I think that it was impossible (or at least improbable) that I could have figured out what my passion was, much less follow-through on it, until I came out as transgender (which, BTW, was a year ago this month).
Earlier this year I started volunteering with Identity House - a group that provides peer counseling, support groups, and therapy referrals for LGBTQ people in the NYC area. I've never done anything that has given me as much personal satisfaction as this! So at this point I've applied to 2 MSW programs, that might be about it, I had to choose based on some logistical constraints - but one of them is Rutgers University, which has a well-regarded MSW program.
Good morning everyone!
We're having a nice breezy, rainy day in NYC today (which is fine for Monday).
I've been thinking about my gender and sexual orientation a lot recently, specifically as they relate to each other, and wanted to put my thoughts out here to see if anyone has some ideas on the topic
First, I do realize that gender and sexual orientation are different things, and they we do all have both of them. What I've been thinking about lately though is that for quite awhile I've identified and "lived" as a gay man. Given my recent acknowledgment that I am transgender, it's made me wonder if i am a gay man or a straight woman, and what that means in day-to-day terms.
But even before that, I wonder now if the reason I was "came out" as a gay man was because I was misreading the reality that I am transgender. When I was growing up, in particular around the age of puberty, I didn't really have any idea of the existence of transgender people. At best there were stories about people who had sex change operations, but those stories were usually portrayed as freakish, and they certainly didn't explain why the person had done it (at least not anywhere that I saw). Mind you this was the early to mid 70s.
So my theory/hypothesis is that I interpreted my feelings as being gay because I knew what that was, and it seemed like the best fit for them. Even that I covered up for a long time, it wasn't like being gay was accepted at that time either, but at least I knew what it was.
It would also fit with my dating history, which is very, very limited. It makes me wonder if one of the reasons I don't date much is that I don't want to date gay men, I want to date straight men (I hesitated saying that - seems like it could come across as homophobia?). There have also been several straight men who work at the gay bar that I go to and I find myself especially drawn to them - there is the cliche about gay men who want to turn straight guys, but I don't want that, I want them to stay as they are and love me!
I'm going to leave this here for now, in part because I should start working, and in part because I just put something out there that I haven't even mentioned in therapy yet - need to hit "Publish" before this feeling of vulnerability stops me
Well, since last I wrote I have become unemployed – YAY! It was by choice, I had been planning on going back to school part-time when my employer offered a reasonably generous “buy out” package, so I took it – this way I can go back to school full-time and finish in 2 years instead of 3 (I’ll be attending NYU in the fall, going for a Masters in Social Work).
So for the next 2 months, until Orientation on August 31, I am completely free. What I hadn’t considered was the “identity crisis” that would create – let’s face it, most people identify by their job, and I currently have none, and although I’m registered for classes, I haven’t really started being a student yet either.
That brings me to the main point of this entry!!! As I mentioned in an earlier post, I now have GRS (or SRS if you prefer) scheduled for December 27. Because this is sooner than we had been discussing, my therapist asked if we could start meeting twice a week for a while – she’s (hopefully) writing one of the letters I’ll need, so she wants to make sure we cover what needs to be covered. I’m fine with that – I have the time, I like her, and I think it’s important work (I don’t like the fact that the WPATH standards call for more than informed consent for surgery, but I still think it’s important to make sure you know what you’re getting into.
As a starting point, I started a “list” of things that I think I should be aware of, considering, etc., in connection with GRS – I wanted to post that here and seek feedback – either additional items for the list, comments on the things I listed, whatever – and hopefully this can be of some help to others who are planning or even thinking about GRS J
So here’s my list – just bullet-point form, for now without any details on my thoughts - and in no particular order:
· How will peeing be different?
· How will orgasms be different?
· Clothing will fit different
· I will feel more completely – fully a woman
· I’ve had a penis all my life – is it possible I’d miss it?
· What will care and “maintenance” be like?
· Are there new health issues to be concerned about? And are any health concerns being eliminated?
· There’s no going back = unlike other parts of transitioning which are, more or less “reversible”
· I probably have a better chance at a relationship as a gay man than as a straight woman – and this removes being able to “present” as a gay man
· Could I handle regret if it lasted long-term?
And I really, really want to emphasize that these are literally any thought or question I could think of – some of them seem more important to me, some of them barely register in terms of importance, but I think it’s necessary to address everything that you can think of. At this risk of sounding prematurely defensive, I say that just to preclude anyone from saying that “if X is really important you shouldn’t proceed with the surgery!”
It's been almost a year since I first openly acknowledged to myself, and then my therapist, that I am transgender (it was sometime in February). That got me to thinking last night about gender dysphoria.
Early on I had read many accounts of people's experiences with GD, and I was having a hard time relating - most included comments about "knowing from early childhood that I was a girl trapped in a boy's body," etc., and I didn't really have those memories (I also recognized that at 48 years old I don't have a whole lot of any childhood memories). Then I started seeing other stories - including Janet Mock's - that resonated quite soundly with me! It was more about experiencing being the "wrong gender" as opposed to consciously knowing it. So I settled down, and the road has been much smoother since then.
Anyway, on the point of GD. The best evidence that I now have that I had it is that I clearly no longer have it - it's in it's absence that it's most noticeable! On that day last February when I came out, a lifetime of depression and malaise lifted immediately and has not returned (not that i don't have down times, but it's not the same existential crisis that it used to be).
I get really annoyed/angry when i hear about those who question if GD is real, or how serious it is - I know what my life was before and since, and my GD was very, very serious, even if I didn't recognize it as GD (for a good part of my life I don't know if the concept of GD even existed).
Just some thoughts on the approach of my anniversary :-) (well, one of my anniversaries - I just have to figure out what date it was)
(BTW, I'm trying out "Chrissy" as a nickname)
As I walked home today, I was behind a person who ran into someone he knows and said - quite loud - "men trying to become women, that [bleep] burns me up." He was ahead of me, so I don't know if it was directed at me (he may have turned and noticed).
Anyway, I didn't confront him (I don't make a habit of confronting random idiots on the street, seems like a wise course), but my thought was "well that's not right, i'm not a man trying to become a woman, i'm a woman no longer trying to be a man."
I channeled it more "productively" on twitter with the following:
Transgender 101: "Transitioning" isn't going from woman to man or man to woman, it's going from fake to authentic. #GirlsLikeUs
If anyone is on twitter i'm ChristieCNY
It was nice taking a negative and going positive in response. I'm so much better as a woman than I ever could have been as a man
Good morning everyone! Happy Tuesday!
This might be something of a "stream of consciousness" entry, but it's been a few days and I feel like I need to post something.
I just had a long weekend, it's the end of the semester here so I took off Friday and Monday. Over the weekend I did an inventory of my wardrobe to see what exactly I need to buy in order to dress properly on a full-time basis. In hindsight I probably didn't need to do that, I basically need more of everything. I'm quite well set for my casual wardrobe, but not so well set for work. But now I have a list in my phone and plan to start correcting that this week (a lunchtime trip to Century 21 for starters!).
On Thursday at the Stonewall Girls meetup we met a college student who is doing a paper on transgender issues (she did say exactly what it was, but it was a very academic title and I don't recall now the details). She asked several people if she could do one-on-one interviews, so I did that with her on Saturday. It was rather thorough, and very respectful (the one question she said might be "intrusive" really wasn't at all). The interview was probably as helpful to me as it was to her as she asked about a number of things that gave me something to think about, and I found as I was answering her I remembered things that I hadn't been thinking about recently! So I found it helpful in terms of my own journey.
There are still moments when I think "Is this real? Or am I really just a guy and this is just a passing thing?" But more and more as I think that, I have other thoughts that counter it. Most recently was Thursday night with the meetup group (I know I wrote about this already, but it looks like that post was lost to the software upgrade). I've gone to the group before, but this was the first time that I was going as me, and not "me dressed as a woman." It felt good, it felt right.
And then last night, I was doing my internship at a theater and had to go en homme - they have a "uniform" and I can't currently do it en femme. I was rather uncomfortable with it. I usually wear a pair of (fake) red-framed glasses (the uniform is red and black), but last night I didn't want to - I felt like they distracted from other things (my new hair style and the mascara that I was wearing).
But I also know that this isn't all about how I'm dressing. If it was, then I'd just be cross-dressing. It is true that I prefer (and have always preferred) women's fashion to men's, but the more important thing is that I'm now presenting through wardrobe and accessories how I feel inside. I can also see how to some degree wearing women's clothing is becoming second nature, I don't even notice it at times (except in those moments when I catch a look at myself in the mirror, that sometime still pleasantly surprises me).
I'm starting with my new therapist tomorrow, I'm very excited about that! I liked my last therapist, but the new person specializes in gender issues. It's also the first time I'll be seeing a female therapist.
Time to get back to work now!