Chrissy

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Everything posted by Chrissy

  1. Chrissy added a comment on a blog entry New Medication Plus School   

    Accusing you of lying was very unprofessional. I'm sorry that you had to experience that. Unfortunately psychiatrists are more medically trained so sometimes they aren't as good at actual therapy.
    I agree with Emma about speaking with the psychiatrist privately but realize that your age and guardianship status might make that impossible. If it's not possible then I just encourage you to remember that you will reach a point when you can act by yourself for yourself! It might seem far off, but it will happen.
    In the meantime at least you have some outlet for personal expression at school and you have this community here ūüėÄ
    Xoxo
    Chrissy
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  2. Chrissy added a comment on a blog entry Therapy   

    I know you said you can't afford to change, and I don't know all of what your therapy involves, but if there is any way to make a change I would do it. Not respecting your gender and name is simply unacceptable. What kind of professional background does she have? I can't speak to other professions, but if she is a social worker she's violating professional ethics.
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  3. Chrissy added a comment on a blog entry Introduction   

    Welcome to TGGuide! It sounds like you have some real challenges, I'm sure you'll find a lot of support here
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  4. Chrissy added a blog entry in On Being...Me   

    Socializing Steps
    Hi everyone,
    Since I took another step in socializing today, I thought I'd post something about that topic generally.
    Before coming out and transitioning, I had identified as a gay man. As such, my social life was largely built around the "gay community." I hadn't thought too much about that initially, since coming out and transitioning are pretty time-consuming for a while, and it was generally easier to do that while staying within a familiar social environment. But I knew it was going to have to change - although I admit to having some thoughts in the past about seeing it being Lesbian could work for me, I knew it wasn't right (I was leaning that way because (1) I have a little bi-sexual tendency, and (2) I thought it would be easier to meet a woman who would accept me as a woman in a romantic relationship than a straight man).
    Anyway - since I would like to date at some point, and even be in a relationship, I knew that I was going to have to break out of the LGBTQ "bubble" that I was in, and I have taken some steps. It helped that I did have a couple of straight female friends. And then of course I started school so I started meeting new people, many of them straight. Then, for after-school relaxation I started going to a little jazz bar in the Village.
    Today I took an even bigger step - at least in my head - I had joined a new tennis league (I had already belonged to an LGBT tennis group), and today I had my first match with someone from that group. I'm in a women's division, so initially that's who I'm going to meet, but that's a good starting place. It made me a little anxious since she had no way of knowing that I'm transgender going in, and not knowing how she might react. Well, she didn't. There was absolutely no awkwardness, it was great - and it was a really good tennis match (we had to play all 3 sets, and we were going point for point most of the way).
    There are still temptations to reach back and cling to the social world that I knew - but I have to give up some of that (not all of it, I'm not just ditching all of my friends!)
    xoxo
     
    Chrissy
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  5. Chrissy added a comment on a blog entry Missed resources   

    When I did my legal name change last year I had a count of 50+ places that I had to make the update (then I stopped counting, it was too stressful), but you're right, it does keep coming up. I haven't even thought as much about who has records of my gender! (Aside from the obvious ones, drivers license, birth certificate, etc.).
    When I contacted North Carolina State Univ. (where I did my undergrad) to change my name they actually asked if I wanted to update my gender as well - it hadn't occurred to me that they would even have that, but it makes sense. I throw that story in partly to show that even in North Carolina not everyone is transphobic :-)  (Of course my sister lives there now, and she is transphobic, oh well)
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  6. Chrissy added a comment on a blog entry Trying It All On For Size   

    That all sounds great :-)
    I can definitely relate to the fear and exhilaration- personally I didn't consider it to be a line between the two, I just saw it as both things happening at the same time. There is a lot to be excited about, and a lot to be afraid of - but overall living authentically is worth it all!!!
    What is Gender Odyssey?  I'm planning to go to the Trans Health Conference in Philadelphia again this year, this time on the professional track (since i'm a social work student it seemed right)
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  7. Chrissy added a blog entry in On Being...Me   

    "Wonder Woman"
    I cannot believe I haven't written about this yet!  Last Friday I saw "Wonder Woman," and it was truly amazing.
    There are things I could be critical of (the messaging in a few spots was a little heavy handed and the effects in a couple of areas a little cheesy), but overall I think it's a truly great movie (and I'm not really into superhero movies).
    I won't say much about the movie because I don't want to do any spoilers - but there were moments when I was moved to tears, and moments when I felt more like a woman than I ever had before. I don't know if I can explain what that second one is about, but it happened.
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  8. Chrissy added a blog entry in On Being...Me   

    Being "out" at school
    Hi all,
    On Saturday I had lunch with a friend from school - and then we hung out for a few hours. I know him well, we were at the same field placement during our first year and we share a love of Taco Bell :-)   A discussion we had along the way on Saturday was about being "out" in class. With me it's about my transgender identity, with him it's about being a military veteran. On the surface for both of us is a desire to not be "the ___ student" (me "the trans student"). For him that might really be it, for me I think it goes deeper, I think it's a real desire to maintain my identity as a woman and the fear that being open about being trans undermines that. Even deeper is that internally I still see being trans as somehow making me less of a woman.
    The result of all this was that during my entire first year I had never said anything about my gender identity in class. I had said things about it individually to other students, but never during class - and it is a social work program, so there were many, many opportunities where I could have - and should have - said something. We both agreed that not sharing is both bad for us individually (it's hiding something) and we miss the opportunity to add something to the educational process for others (leaving out a major part of our life perspectives).
    That changed on Tuesday. We did a quick in-class exercise where she gave us each a short scenario, something that was designed to generate a negative response (mine was that I had applied for an apartment, and although I was fully qualified and the only person who was applying for it, the landlord rejected me). My initial response was confusion and assuming that it was because of my gender identity. I had a minute or 2 to think of an alternative, but I didn't. So for the first time I openly acknowledged my gender identity in class :-)
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  9. Chrissy added a comment on a blog entry Being "out" at school   

    I actually had more for my original post - but I was writing it at school and some other people came along so I decided to be social and cut the post off there.
    An observation I made later (after class) was that my initial thought ("I was rejected because I'm transgender") was paired with confusion. It seems like that's a move forward for me in that I think earlier it would have been hurt or anger that would have come up. And those would no doubt come up if this had really happened, but the initial response is confusion. I think that reflects that this has become a part of my identity that I'm more comfortable with, so my response when people reject it is to not understand why they would have a problem with it.
    As a quick follow-up - the professor in that class during the next session gave me contact information for a friend of hers who is prominent in the area of social work with LGBT individuals, particular dealing with trans issues. She's in Albany, so it's a little limited in terms of networking, but it is still a connection, and one that I probably wouldn't have made without coming out (I doubt any professor would risk suggesting that contact if I wasn't open about my gender identity)
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  10. Chrissy added a comment on a blog entry Being "out" at school   

    I came across a quote today - it was the quote that Janet Mock got the name of her new book from:
    "And at last you'll know with surpassing certainty that only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth. And that is not speaking." Audre Lorde
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  11. Chrissy added a comment on a blog entry Charlotte Sometimes   

    Charlotte,
    That's a great start! And I like the detailed nature of your diary, it can help give others (me!) ideas :-)
    Emma - I use the Libra app (I have an Android) which does what you talk about as far as giving you a moving average for weight - it's definitely helpful!  Also use Myfitnesspal app to track calories.
    xoxo
    Chrissy
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  12. Chrissy added a blog entry in On Being...Me   

    Reflection on the past year
    Hi everyone,
    I recently finished my first year of school (I'm doing the 2-year MSW program at NYU) and decided that I needed a little get-away (emphasis on "little" - I don't really like traveling all that much, and can't afford much). So I decided on a day trip to the shore - my goal going into the day was to not think backwards or forward, just to try to be in the present. Of course, as I mentioned to a friend later, it was a little weird that I chose to go to a place that we used to go to all the time when I was a child if I didn't want to think backwards - but it still worked out.
    On the train ride down it occurred to me that through everything that's been going on in the past year I hadn't really taken any time to just reflect specifically on transitioning. It makes sense, I was in school  and recovery from GRS, while it wasn't ever particularly painful, is still distracting. But now, school is done for the year and the recovery is very well along - so I did reflect. In that moment I just felt really, really happy about all that had happened.
    But here's the bigger thing. Either that night or the next it was very warm - it got up to the 90s here and didn't cool off over night. Since I've been too lazy to put my a/c in and only had a fan, I ended up sleeping au naturel. With the lights out and a jazz radio station playing, I closed my eyes. Without really thinking about the fact that I was doing it, one hand came down from a stretch, landed on one of my breasts, and then down to my lower regions - nothing erotic going on, just a casual stroke if you will. But the sensation was wonderful! Again, not erotic, it was just that I actually felt a woman's body - my body was now a woman's body!
    Just wanted to share that :-)
    xoxo
    Chrissy
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  13. Chrissy added a comment on a blog entry Reflection on the past year   

    ‚ÄčIn a way that I can't put into words, yes ¬†
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  14. Chrissy added a comment on a blog entry A Wonderful Experience   

    Emma,
    You look so good!  You also look very comfortable with yourself, which is ultimately the important part :-)
    With the wig(s) being hot, I wonder if it's something about the type? I was actually surprised that the ones I've been wearing aren't very warm (which is great in spring/summer, it would be nice in the winter if they were a little).
    And yes, make-up is not easy! I was fortunate to have a good friend/co-worker who loves make-up and was very into helping me figure it out. It's also been nice getting to the point where I wear as little as I can :-)  (ultimately a quick pass with an eyebrow pencil, mascara and lip gloss are the "minimum" that I need to feel ok going out).
    Best of luck as you continue to explore!
    xoxo
    Chrissy
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  15. Chrissy added a comment on a blog entry One Door Closes, Another Door Opens   

    Emma,
    I wish you all the happiness you can find on this journey! It's not an easy path, but it's well worth it and it seems like you've really thought through a lot and have a good vision of how to get started. Between that and the courage you've already demonstrated I have no doubt you'll find your authentic self.
    I also admire how you managed things with your wife. It was no doubt tempting at times just to leave (I say that from experience, having been married so many years ago), but you stayed and took care of what needed to be done. So add persistence to the strengths mentioned above :-)
    I'm looking forward to hearing about your travels - literal and personal :-)
    Xoxo
    Chrissy
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  16. Chrissy added a blog entry in On Being...Me   

    long time...
    It's been awhile since I've written anything here - that was partly (largely) because of school and recovery. My recovery from GRS is going well, I've now been cleared for everything (including tennis and sex!), and I'm down to dilating twice a day (until the end of June). There was some granulated tissue, but that's been taken care of. And I've now had the delightful female experience of having my feet up in the stirrups for a medical exam! It doesn't make you feel at all vulnerable (sarcasm). I'm glad that my surgeon's staff is entirely female, I suspect that part of the process would have been a little more uncomfortable if her PA who was checking me was male.
    I recently finished co-facilitating an 8-week support group for transgender people, this one was focused on those who had recently come out and/or were in the early stages of transitioning. The most interesting part for me personally was that going in I saw myself as in a very different place than the group members (since I've pretty much come out everywhere, and my physical transitioning is largely done), but there was definitely a common thread that made me very much part of the group (since it's a peer-run support group it was fine that I was sharing as well, thought I always made sure it was after anyone else had shared, I never took a priority position for myself). Specifically, the sense of alienation and rejection that people felt because of their gender identity, that's still definitely a very big part of my life - especially now that surgeries are done and I'm thinking more about the prospects of dating :-(
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  17. Chrissy added a comment on a blog entry On "Tolerance"   

    Emma,
    I know I'm late to the game on this one - but first, I think your response was perfect, I think it's important to point out that there isn't a "choice" involved (except the "choice" to live authentically!).
    I also agree that "tolerance" is definitely NOT the goal. Personally, I think mutual acceptance and respect is what's generally called for in life - "acceptance" feels a little off too, but that's why I put the "mutual" in front of it. It's about accepting that people are different from each other in many, many ways, and we should accept that and respect everyone for who and what they are (within reason of course - I'll never accept or respect Trump).
    I would also consider that you probably have a much more nuanced understanding of what "tolerance" means than your friend - that may well have just been the first word to come to mind, and if they haven't been in a position where they were rejected for some part of their identity they might not fully appreciate the meaning. With friends I've always gone by motivation - as long as I know that they're being supportive, I don't take any incorrect terminology badly from them - though I do correct it!
    Has anything further happened with this friend since February?
    xoxo
    Chrissy
     
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  18. Chrissy added a comment on a blog entry In Which Emma Starts Liking Herself   

    That sounds great! Introspection can be a scary thing, but it is the only path to authenticity ūüėÄ
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  19. Chrissy added a comment on a blog entry Struggling with Labels   

    Emma,
    There's a lot packed into this post - let me start by saying that I think everyone should be free to identify as they will (within reason of course, if I tried to identify as black for example I would expect to be challenged or flat-out mocked). 
    I think it changes the conversation a bit to look at identities vs labels - it feels to me a little more substantive and whether we like it or not identity differences do exist and they do matter (they may be social constructs but even a social construct is real). I could, for example, claim that my being white isn't important - but since white is a "privileged" identity I would be wrong.
    Anyway, being trans is obviously different (since there is no such thing as "trans privilege") so I agree that we are each free to incorporate it into own lives as we want. Personally I've gone from highlighting it ("trans woman") to burying it ("woman") to pushing it back ("woman who is transgender") - and I generally only mention it to people as we get closer.
    One other thing - to one of Monica's points - to me being transgender is part of me body, mind, and soul - for some it may be primarily in the mind, but I don't think that's universal by any means.
    Xoxo
    Chrissy
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  20. Chrissy added a blog entry in On Being...Me   

    Update
    Hi all!
    So my recovery seems to be going well. I had my follow-up with the surgeon and they removed the packing and tubes. That felt so much better! They showed me how to dilate - wasn't too bad.
    Yesterday I came home - I've never been so happy to be home! Recovery is easier in my own place with my own stuff.
    For 4 weeks I have to dilate 4x a day for 20 minutes each. I'm still working on my positioning, it gets a little uncomfortable and tedious, but I'll survive :-)
    Otherwise for now it's a lot of TV and reading. Barring complications I should be able to go back to school and my internship the week of the 23rd.
    At a more fundamental level - as swelling starts to recede it's easier to see what I have now, and it's pretty awesome ūüĎĮ¬†
    More later!
    Xoxo
    Chrissy
     
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  21. Chrissy added a blog entry in On Being...Me   

    GRS Part II
    Hi again,
    I wanted to post some more now that I've actually had my surgery (YAY!!!!), especially for anyone thinking about or planning the surgery themselves - everyone's experience is different, but this might give some things to consider:
    Monday, Dec. 26 - I arrived in Philadelphia and checked-in to my hotel.  Went to a Target Express nearby to load up on food and beverages for the days after surgery when I'd be at the hotel, knowing that getting out for food would be tough.  Around noon I started bowel prep (Magnesium Citrate and Dulcolax, and a couple of other prescriptions).  That went on through the day, culminating in an enema at 4 a.m.  I unpacked and tried to set things up as much as I could to be ready for when I got back - then I packed my bag of stuff to go to the hospital (including Cinnamon, my new stuffed bear).
    Tuesday, Dec. 27 - I had to be at the hospital by 10:30 a.m., and it's only a few minutes away from here.  I was still up early - nerves no doubt.  My brother called to check-in and asked if someone could call him when the surgery was done.  Around 9:30 I got a call from the hospital asking if I could show up early, Dr. Rumer was running early.  So I left and got to the hospital before 10 a.m. (Hahnemann University Hospital - it's affiliated with Drexel University).
    I went through check-in - a bunch of questions standard for any surgery.  Got changed into the gowns they gave me.  Then the anesthesiologist came by and put in the tube (or whatever it is they put in). I saw Dr. Rumer and her PA quickly - people kept asking if I had any questions, but really I didn't.
    Got taken into the operating room at 11:09 a.m. (they call it when the patient is brought in), and got moved to the operating table.  Next thing I know I wake up in another room.  They had called my brother at 1:40, so I know it took about 2.5 hours in total.  I called him around 4:00 when I was more coherent
    I spent the next 2 days in a hospital bed, unable to get up or move much at all.  My only real complaint is that the bed had about a 2" mattress, which I think is way too small for being on bedrest for 2 days (I told the PA about that later).  The nurses were nice, but it took a long time to get almost anything.  I do know that I couldn't do their job, and they don't make enough money (I don't know how much they make, but it can't be enough).
    So my new vagina is still packed, and has 3 tubes coming out of it - 1 going to a Foley bag (urine) and 2 going to smaller containers collecting blood.  The nurses periodically emptied them.  I had no hunger, which was good because the food was truly awful (how do you make scrambled eggs not good!?!?).
    Thursday, Dec. 29 - I got discharged - yay!!!  It took forever, but it finally happened.  Before that I had to actually get up and start moving, which was so much harder than I expected - I did fine with it, but there was light-headedness and nausea.
    They sent me back to the hotel in a taxi - and I've been here since.  Pretty much staying in bed except to go to the bathroom (including emptying the bags) and getting food.
    I don't really feel any pain from the surgery - the biggest pain is my butt from the hospital bed, that's the main reason I've been taking the percocet since then.
    On Tuesday morning I got for my follow-up, which is when they'll remove the tubes and packing.  Then I stay one more night (to make sure everything is ok after they take the stuff out) and go home the next day.
    Emotionally - I won't lie, on Thursday I had moments when I thought I might be feeling regret, but it was entirely about how I was feeling and knowing that the surgery caused that - as I've started feeling more normal any such thoughts went away and I'm getting back to feeling thrilled about this :-)   (I think that will be complete when the packing comes out and I can actually see it)
    More later!
    xoxo
    Chrissy
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  22. Chrissy added a comment on a blog entry Looking back on 2016   

    Karen,
    Thanks for sharing this!  I've thought a lot about assimilation in the past few months as I've basically been trying to do it myself.  Ultimately I agree with you that it's important to be available to help others as we can - for me it was (is?) driven by a desire to adjust my social life - for about 20 years of living as a gay man I had built a social life around that, so it was important to me to shift that now that I'm (authentically) living as a straight woman.  Especially since I would very much like to be in a relationship (that would be hard to come by at gay bars).
    Having said all that, I'm definitely not trying to leave behind the LGBTQ community  :-)
    xoxo 
    Chrissy
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  23. Chrissy added a blog entry in On Being...Me   

    GRS (or SRS if your prefer)
    Hi everyone,
    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 :-)
    xoxo
    Chrissy
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  24. Chrissy added a comment on a blog entry GRS (or SRS if your prefer)   

    Thanks for that information!  The timing matches up pretty well with mine - surgery is scheduled for Tuesday morning, I was told to be at the hospital at 10:30 (originally 6 a.m., but it got moved).  Then I should be out on Friday, with a follow-up appointment with Dr. Rumer next Tuesday, then home on Wednesday.  They suggested staying overnight after the visit to make sure there are no issues with dilation.
    I'll be staying at Homes2 Suite (or Home 2 Suites) tomorrow night and then after the surgery - the rooms all have kitchen facilities and it's pretty close to the hospital (an 8 minute walk - obviously I won't be walking back, but I can walk to the hospital on Tuesday).
    I got some unscented feminine wipes, but they didn't mention the KY - that is something I should probably get, and the donut pillow is a great idea!  I'll try to get one in Philly when I get down there tomorrow.  My train ride back next week is about 2 hours, that's probably comparable to what you had in terms of your return flight?
    I don't know if I ever mentioned that I saw Marci Bowers speak when I went to the Transgender Health Conference last year?  It was a full room and a good presentation!  The fullness of the room was partly because they only gave her 1 time slot this year, not the usual 2, so she had to cover M2F and F2M in the same session.
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  25. Chrissy added a comment on a blog entry GRS (or SRS if your prefer)   

    I'll make every effort :-)  My surgery is Tuesday and I'm in Philly until the following Wednesday morning - hopefully I'll have the appetite by then!
    If I can ask, did you have to stay in the hospital for any period of time after surgery?  I'll be in for 3 days which is probably the thing that makes me the most nervous as I've never had to stay in a hospital (past surgeries were all outpatient).  Just wondering what your experience was like?
    It is sometimes an awkward fit - the "T" in the "LGBTQ" - particularly if you're transgender and straight (I have some bisexual inclinations, but in terms of an actual relationship I could only see that happening with a man).  For lesbian, gay and bi individuals (cis or trans) the community represents political, social, and relationship connections.  Being straight and trans I feel the political connection, but I know that if I want a relationship (and I do), I need to be outside of that.  I'm certainly not cutting all ties - right now I'm probably focusing more on straight things, but that's to compensate for years of being away from that.
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