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Everything posted by Chrissy

  1. Christy and Monica, Just an addition - depending on the type of group, making friends isn't necessarily the main consideration. If it's an actual therapy group there are usually rules against socializing outside of the group (which are necessary to achieve the therapy goals), if it's a support group then there aren't usually those same restrictions, but still the main purpose is to have a safe space to share experiences. It doesn't sound like that was happening, but there are groups out there that do it. It depends very much on the particular members - I've done one group that really did not work out, it was smaller and had a couple of toxic personalities. As facilitator you try to screen that out during the orientation process, but sometimes it doesn't come through that quickly. Another group I recently did went really really well - the members were truly supportive of each other and over time became "self-correcting" (so if one member started in on something inappropriate for the group others would jump in and correct it, but still in a very supportive manner). I also wouldn't focus too much on the "why" people or groups are the way they are - people are complex, certainly insecurity drives a lot of maladaptive behavior, but then there's the question of why a particular person might be insecure, and we often have no way of knowing that (even working one-on-one with people in therapy it can take time to get to those answers). I don't know how many options are available to you in your area - but if you're looking for a safe space to share then I think the best option would be to find a closed rather than an open group - a closed group is one that typically screens in members, and members are expected to attend each week for a certain number of weeks. Open groups will usually happen weekly and anyone can show up whenever they want. In a closed group you have the best chance for group bonding to happen. xoxo Chrissy
  2. Christy, I'm curious, you said you had been to this group before, had the experience been very different? I'm wondering if something was just off at this particular session? Having said that, it was clearly VERY off and I can see what it would be so disturbing. I've facilitated several trans support groups over the past year and I would never introduce political topics - if they come up we let them happen, just reminding people to "speak from the I" to avoid people feeling targeted. I did attend an "open" trans group in NYC several years ago and had a bad experience with that - it was 35-40 people, and there was a lot of aggression going on there. In that case the person running the group was taking a very hands-off approach. I never went back to it (that was what prompted me to look into facilitating groups myself). I agree with Emma's idea though, see if you can gather some people for a less formal "group" - Meetup is a great resource for that. xoxo Chrissy
  3. Chrissy

    Pics from a recent lunch

    Hi everyone! I haven't posted in awhile, but I recently had these pics sent to me and wanted to share them - also to observe that I do want to share them! That's been one of the more amazing parts of transitioning, before that I didn't want my picture taken, if it was I didn't want to see it, and I certainly wouldn't have shared it. These were taken at a lunch that we had after the completion of a recent round of supervision with the volunteer organization I belong to. The person taking them is one of the group members and was just taking lots of pictures, so I had largely forgotten that he was even doing it :-) (clearly I also didn't realize that he was occasionally zooming-in, as in the first picture).
  4. Chrissy

    Having doubts.....

    Christy, It seems like you have a sense of some things that might be generating these feelings, which is awesome (not the feelings, but the awareness). I think it's also important to keep in mind that this isn't always a linear process - you'll try some things, have some doubts, maybe overcome the doubts and move forward or maybe start moving in a different direction. It's confusing, and can be scary, but in the end it's worth it to see where it goes. I also noticed that you said expectations might have been high in Orlando - is it also possible that being somewhere different had an impact? I'm not sure if you go there often or if it was a first time, but being in less familiar surroundings can also play into insecurities. I hope you're feeling better now! xoxo Chrissy
  5. Chrissy

    As the Pink Fog Clears

    That is indeed what it's all about :-) When you mentioned not wearing foundation every day anymore I thought about my decision last July to stop wearing wigs - it was such a liberating experience. I don't regret having worn them, I think it's what I needed to get where I was going. But more broadly I like the idea of not everything being about gender - lately more of my activities at school have centered around criminal justice reform, which is a more important issue to me (not that gender isn't important of course), and I like that fact that I get to do those things and feel comfortable doing them as myself - things that I wouldn't have even considered doing back pre-transition
  6. I'm a little troubled by the title though in relation to the video - it still seems like she might be saying that Gender Dysphoria is a "mental illness." GD is very likely on its way to being included as a medical diagnosis and removed from the DSM entirely, which would be awesome (it has to be in 1 or the other in order for insurance to cover medical transition costs). The DSM is also problematic because it makes it seem like it's all about internal distress, when so much of the issue for most people is the external distress - the bigotry and rejection that we face as a result of our gender identity.
  7. Chrissy

    On Coming Out

    Congrats :-) It's funny, I came out to my therapist first too - well, I came out to myself first, then the next day to my therapist. We were talking about that in the support group that I facilitate, the idea of coming out in concentric circles to people - starting with those closer, and who you feel will be supportive, and then moving outward from there. So far my sister is the only relationship "casualty" that I've experienced. xoxo Chrissy
  8. Hi all, I've probably mentioned her in blog posts, but I thought I should do a post here under recommendations - particularly now that I'm 6 months past my own GRS (6 months!!!!). Anyway - I had my surgery done by Dr. Kathy Rumer in Philadelphia (her office is in Ardmore, PA, a suburb of Philly, she does the surgery at Hahnemann University Hospital). I don't know how long she's been doing this but clearly she is very experienced. She also recently started a transgender health fellowship at Hahnemann (the hospital is affiliated with Drexel University in Philly). With only a couple of issues, my experience with her and her staff has been really good. The most important part, the surgery, went without incident. Apparently it took about 3 hours in total (maybe less - it's hard to tell since it takes a couple of hours to reorient from being under that long). But it was quick, and the work is really good, I'm very happy with the appearance. They asked me before we started if they could contact anyone for me when it's done, so I gave them my brother's number and they did reach out to him right after the surgery was completed (I called a little while later, when I was reoriented). I think he actually thought it was Dr. Rumer who called him, he hasn't worked with surgeons so much :-) It recently occurred to me that I've probably only been awake in a room with Dr. Rumer herself for about 15 minutes - 10 minutes the first time I went to her office, then maybe 5 minutes in the OR. Otherwise it's always been her staff. Tomorrow is my 6-month check-up, which will be the 4th since surgery (they happened at 1 week, 1 month, and 3 months - the 3 months one I just sent pics and we talked on the phone). I'll have one more at 1 year, then I assume others only if needed. The staff has been great every time - and I realized after the fact that I'm glad her entire staff is female. When you're actually in the chair getting checked, it's a pretty vulnerable, exposed feeling, so I feel better that it's women doing the checking (really only 1 woman doing the checking, but another in the room with us). I'm not sure how I'd feel about a man doing that. I mentioned earlier that I had just a couple of issues: (1) they lost my "reservation" for a hospitality room at their office (she has several rooms upstairs that are available for the first week after surgery). In November I found out that I didn't have a room. On the plus side, the hotel was very near the hospital and they had a deal with the hospital, so I didn't spend much more than I would have with the hospitality room, and it was probably a nicer room (being at a hotel) which was important since I was pretty much stuck there for a solid week. The other issue was (2) the "bed" in the hospital, where I had to stay for 2 solid days after the surgery (no getting up at all) was a glorified cot - I didn't really feel much pain from surgery, but my butt was seriously hurting from the bed (I think most of my morphine use was to compensate for that). That one is on the hospital, and I did report it to Dr. Rumer's office. So that's my experience - one of the reasons I went with her was that she is under contract with Cigna, which was my insurance at the time. But I have been really happy with her and her staff overall. For one thing, in the many times I emailed in the first couple of months after surgery (when you're sure that every little tingling sensation is something horrible happening), they were very quick and very friendly in responding, including over the weekend.
  9. Hi Christy! I offer this with the qualification that this was my experience, things will vary from person-to-person, including based on the surgeon that you use. I'm now over a year past surgery and there is nothing that I have to do on a daily basis, the only thing left relating to the GCS is that I have to dilate once a week (that will be forever). Dilation schedule varies based on the surgeon - my schedule was 4x/day for the first month, 3x/day for the following 2 months, 2x/day for the next 3 months, 1x/day for 6 months, and then 1x/week after that - it was 20 minutes per session.
  10. Chrissy


    Was your friend bothered by any of this?
  11. Chrissy

    And away we go!

    I think we need to clarify a point here though - being trans does not mean that one was "born" a different gender. I was not born a male, I was born a female with some wrong parts. There are differences of opinion on that fact, but I think it's generally safer not to suggest that trans people were born one gender and "changed" into another.
  12. Chrissy

    I Don't Care Much for Myself Tonight

    it'it's definitely true that transitioning doesn't fix everything that might have been "wrong" before, but I think it's also true that living authentically can make it a lot easier to work through those things. I thought back over 2017 myself and realized that where before I just felt "not right" I can now see more clearly what things I need to work on, and also to recognize my strengths, all of which makes me more confident in my ability to grow as a woman and as a person ☺ Happy new year!!!! Xoxo Chrissy
  13. Chrissy

    I Don't Care Much for Myself Tonight

    Emma, I'm sorry you're feeling down 😞 I certainly don't think you have anything to feel guilty about, moderator or not. Hopefully sharing helped a little, and it will no doubt help others to see the full range of experiences that we go through in transitioning (and life in general!). Having a divorce finalized is tough - I went through that awhile back too. In my case the divorce was prompted by my coming out as a gay male, it left me with a lot of guilty feelings. I hope you're doing ok! Xoxo Chrissy
  14. Chrissy

    Feminist Event - follow-up

    Last night the feminist group I belong to had a discussion about trans issues in the feminist movement - I was the organizer/moderator of the event. The event was titled "Are Trans Women Real Women?" (the title was intentionally provocative with an obvious "YES" answer). I was pretty nervous going in - public speaking isn't really my thing, or at least hadn't been - the group organizer asked me, before anyone else was there, if I was nervous - I said "Yes." But I also said that it would pass as soon as I started talking. I realized later what a change that was - in the past I would have been nervous until it was over, not just until I started talking. But that is what happened, my anxiety peaked right as she introduced me, and then passed immediately. The rest of the way was pretty easy going. We played 4 short videos, the first was from a TERF (just so that they're perspective was shown) and then 3 trans people (the video links are below - the 2nd one is so incredibly moving, I still can't watch it without crying). They we had people pair off to discuss the question "What is a woman?" Then we came back together as a group and talked for about an hour. So that put me in an interesting place - I was the only trans person present, and I was the moderator. So early on in particular I tried to hang back and let other people talk, even when I had a clear answer to a question or point. That worked nicely, there was a lot of value in letting the group work through issues that they hadn't before. The question proved particularly good as it was one that most people hadn't thought about before ("What is a woman?"). One person acknowledged that she probably had always gone through life without a definition but with a "I know it when I see it" belief. It's a really good group, we always have good discussions, and I think some good came of this, particularly in terms of people having a better understanding of trans issues and cisgender privilege. They even came to recognize that by even having to have this discussion suggests that the feminist movement is largely a cisgender movement (in addition to being a white movement). On a personal note, I'm thrilled at having done this. It's one more thing that I would never have thought about doing pre-transition, and now not only did I do it, but I want to do more of it. xoxo Chrissy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLG6rqN8vjU (Jenni Murray)https://youtu.be/E0v_idyvjco (girl with cards)https://youtu.be/S8DwxjDrNNM (Lee Mokobe)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsowxKx_-_c (Janet Mock)
  15. From what I understand, pretty soon GD is going to be added medical diagnostic manuals and it will likely be removed from the DSM at that point, which I think is the way to go. That way, doctors can work with trans-identified people who want to pursue medical transitioning. On the mental health side we would then deal with the depression, anxiety, etc. that comes along with it for the individual. Those things are all caused by a host of issues, GD is one of the only ones that gets separated out which adds to the stigmatization. They also separate depression that is caused by substance use and by other health issues, but they don't individually break them out (for example, if you are depressed because you have cancer, it's depression linked to a medical condition, NOT depression linked to cancer).
  16. Looks like a good resource - though they do the same thing with Gender Dysphoria that the mental health profession loves to do so much, which is to disregard the impact of discrimination. They frame it as if the depression, anxiety and other effects are all caused by the internal dissonance when it's how you'll be received if you mess with traditional gender norms that causes so much of the problem.
  17. Chrissy

    Karma DOES Indeed SUCK!

    That was the most entertaining drivers license application story ever 😛 Possibly also the only one I've ever heard, but still!!! Well told! Bummer about the full name part though 😞 I hated my middle name growing up too, ironically it's now my first name.
  18. This program is being started by Dr. Kathy Rumer, who did my gender affirming surgery. She and her staff are really great, excited to see that she is doing this! http://www.philly.com/philly/health/hahnemann-training-program-transgender-affirmation-surgery-20171120.html?mobi=true
  19. She does both, so I assume the program covers both
  20. Chrissy

    the ocean or the beach

    Kitrah, I'm so sorry that you have to be going through this without a social support network - it is certainly still very possible, but I understand how much more difficult it can be. And being on a job search at the same time just makes it that much more difficult. Perhaps you already have, but have you looked around for any support groups in your area? They can be hard to find, even in NYC they are few and far between, but a good support group can be really helpful. In the meantime I hope you find some support on this site! I'm also totally with you on the idea of being "gender fluid" - I fully identify, and am, female, nothing fluid about it :-) xoxo Chrissy
  21. Chrissy


    Hi all, So I wanted to throw this out for discussion - I've been thinking recently about the term "transition" as it relates to the trans community. For starters, I hope nothing that I say here will suggest that I think everyone needs to use the same terminology, particularly for their own experience and journey - it's our story, it's our terminology! But in a broader perspective, I have some concerns about the term "transition." Transition is defined as "the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another." Put simply, my fear of it's general use, with respect to trans-identified people, is that it perpetuates the narrative of being born X and "transitioning" to Y. In my view, I was NOT a man who transitioned to a woman, I was born a woman with some wrong parts. My "transition" therefore was essentially a medical correction along with a change in my personal presentation. And of course that does reflect a transition, so the word works. The problem is that there is an entrenched history of believing that we were born one gender and changed to the other - and I think that the term transition is linked to that narrative. Perhaps it's time to look for a new word, or stop using the word entirely? I think back over my process and wonder if I could have gone without it - in what circumstances did I need the word? For people who knew, I could say that yes, I'm getting some medical support to correct some things, and I'm working towards living my authentic self. The "trigger" in this case was discovering that my field placement location uses the initials "CGHT" (cross-gender hormone therapy) for HRT that is being prescribed to trans-identified clients. I'm working on that issue, but I realized the big problem I had with it is that it reaffirms that same narrative with staff who see and use that terminology - I DO NOT take "cross-gender" hormones. I am by no means sold on all of this, it's a thought I've been having and wanted to share and see what others in the community think xoxo Chrissy
  22. Chrissy

    Saturday Night Quiet

    Michelle, I think it's to be expected that your interest in the chat room - and in other areas - will fluctuate depending on where you are in your own journey, or even how you feel that day. Earlier this week I went to a bar (gay bar) that I hadn't been to since July. I went because a drag queen who I love so much was back, with a show again. She was the one who used to let me guest perform pretty much whenever I wanted which helped SO much in my "transition." I loved seeing her again, but at the same time felt like being there wasn't right for me anymore. As a member of the trans support group I facilitate said yesterday, even good change is an adjustment and can be difficult. I may have gone away from responding to your point ☺ Xoxo Chrissy
  23. Chrissy

    10.31.17 Tuesday

    You both really do have a lot going on, that can be really taxing (to say the least) - and personally there is very little that I'm happy about at 8:15 a.m. :-) (unless it's Sunday, then I'm good). I'm wondering - for both of you - if you have people to talk to? I mean therapy would be great, but difficult if you're going on the road, but even just close friends who you can talk to individually. Working together through all of this is great, but you do both have individual needs as well. And with HRT, typically they'll do blood work first, so you'd have to wait a little anyway. And my own experience with it was that I did feel it, but it wasn't very disruptive. As I recall I just started noticing that I felt all emotions a little more than I had been (happy, sad, angry, etc., they were all just a little stronger). They also start you slow. I did accidentally double my dosage once - the pharmacy had changed the pills so that they were double what they had been and I kept taking the same number - once I realized (about a week) I went back and realized it had been having a pretty big impact - so the moral of the story is "stick with the correct dosage!" :-)
  24. Chrissy

    Feminist Event - follow-up

    I've definitely moved around on that one - from being fine with transgender woman, to trying to ignore the transgender part - where I am now is that I am a woman, and I am transgender. I personally don't want to have the transgender or trans put in front of the woman. To me I think it suggests some "other" type of woman in a way that other modifiers don't do (like talking about someone as "white woman" or a "black woman" is never thought of as suggesting that they aren't women, just a particular intersection - putting "trans" in front feels like it suggests that we are somehow less than a woman - and people like Jenni Murray reinforce that feeling). I think that's reinforced by the idea that - as opposed to "white woman" or "black woman," you don't hear people talking about being a "cisgender woman" (I mean you do hear the term, but few people would just randomly say it). I was actually going to use that very point in response to her comments too - the fact that I don't want to be referred to as a "transgender woman" doesn't mean that I'll object to an organization using that term where it's appropriate - I might ask them not to refer to me that way, but I understand that it is an accepted term. One of the better responses in our discussion to JM's complaint about language - and this applies to other (usually conservative) people who complain about new terms, is that "that's what language does! It evolves!" Which is so very true, language changes and adapts to new situations or new ways of thinking, and that's a very good thing, even if it gets a little confusing sometimes :-)
  25. Chrissy

    Feminist Event - follow-up

    Emma, I have to say I disagree in part about Jenni Murray. I don't disagree about her specific point about the language, but she was being a little deceptive with what she was doing. The point started with talking about the BMA using "pregnant people" instead of "pregnant women," and she made it sound like she was being expected to refer to herself that way, but that simply wasn't the case. The BMA was trying to find language that would cover everyone they were working with, they were mandating that all pregnant people be referred to that way. So at best her point was simply stupid, at worst is demagogic in that she probably very well knew what she was doing right there. I agree as far as the vicar, she might very well have been in an early stage of transition in which - some/many - of us do focus a lot on clothing and make-up. Her thoughts on women's place in the church were really unrelated to her own gender identity - which is true of anyone, the fact that I'm a woman doesn't mean that I now understand every issue relevant to women. A bigger take-away for me, in watching the Jenni Murray video and then immediately the little girl (Tuesday was the first time I actually watched them back-to-back) was thinking about how happy the girl is now and how JM would want to take that away from her. Beyond any specific thing she said that makes her overall commentary very cruel. xoxo Chrissy