So I decided that I would make this tab for all those curious about us silly Transgender people and our sillier friends. I know I always say how open I am to answer just about any question you guys have, but that doesn't always get through to people. Or even if they know they want to ask a question, they just don't know how to get it out there (we'll talk about that later...) So I made this for all you redonkulous people out there who are to scared to ask me your questions. Or for those of you who are just a little curious. OR for those of you who this actually applies to and it always helps to have someone elses mistakes to learn from ;) and believe you me, I have a lot of those.
Post #1- 7/15/12 12:40 a.m.
So I decided I would make this after I had a discussion with my mother. I mentioned how the hardest part about coming out is actually coming out (haha, I know right?) What I mean is that the hardest part, is actually getting the words out there. I could be coming out to the president of the worlds biggest LGBT group who happens to be FTM trans (Hypothetical situation here, people), and I would still be nervous. Just because It's so difficult to bring something like that into a conversation, without just blurting it out. "So I saw that new movie the other day, oh by the way I want a penis, It wasn't that great I Thought the plot-" No. It just doesn't work. You either seem dumb and over excited and just make a big deal about it, or you just slip it in there like it's no big deal and the person you're talking to is like "What the fuck is wrong with you?" There's just no easy way to do it.
So, let me start this first post with a topic related to all of that Jazz up there, my coming out. I was fifteen and I had this class (I was still in High school if you hadn't guessed.) that was two hours long (Culinary) and so one day, right before I went to class, I gave my mom (who was dropping me off) my coming out letter. This gave her two+ hours to think about what the hell she had just read, and to kind of take it all in. I can imagine it wasn't easy for her (She was dying for a little girl, and knew she wasn't going to get one. When it turned out she did have a girl, she was crazy excited. Then I kind of ruined it...Sorry mom xD) But she managed to 'Be supportive' I say that with a large eye roll and a sarcastic head shake because her idea of 'being supportive' was not setting me on fire.
Most parents are either one way or the other. They're either supportive and encouraging, or they're just not. She was neither. One minute she would be all gung ho about everything involving me and my transition from Female to male. The next she would refuse to call me by my male name or correct pronouns, and would try to stop me from coming out. It was horrible, and confusing (and it still is).
My point is that not everyone has the cookie cut out of a coming out story.
After I came out to her, I sent out a massive text to all my close friends. (I think that was a total of three. The third one only because she sat next to me and my best friend in Orchestra and I didn't want her to feel left out when we started talking about it >.>) Sure it was a little 'cold' but I had to do what was easiest for me. I had to keep my manly image, after all crying because you're so relieved you finally came out and your friends don't hate you isn't very dudely. I know it's a stereotype, shut up.
After that was my family. I finally caved and made a (Evil evil evil evil wicked evil demonic horrible disgusting poisonous monstrosity of a) facebook account. (For those of you who haven't caught on, I hate facebook with a passion.) I simply added all my family and friends (those who I hadn't come out to yet.) and made a post basically saying "Hi I don't like my boobs." Okay so it wasn't EXACTLY like that, but that was the gist of it.
Things went okay I guess. There were some family members I knew and expected would act like dicks and I was prepared. After all, they are my family and I do actually know them. But of course there's always the odd ball ones who were awesome about it. I went to a college prep science and performing arts high school. So 98% of the student body was as bent as a....bent thing (It's 1 a.m. I'm tired leave me alone.) and the 2% that wasn't bent, were bent supporters. Haha.
Okay, I think I'm getting a little delirious, I'm going to sleep. I'll post more tomorrow.
So I figured I would talk about name changes and what not for Trans people. First things first, picking a name sucks. It's worse than naming a child. Think about all the names you like, go ahead, do it in your mind. Just make a short list of all the names you LOVE.
Now think about which one you like most, a little more difficult but it still might be doable. Now does that name fit your personality? Do other people like it? Is it going to be a name that's easy to make fun of? Is it to weird? To boring? Are you white and wanting to name yourself Enrique? My point is, it may sound easy (and even fun) at first. But that's sooo not true. Once you change your name, you don't want to fuck with it again. It's already hard enough for people to get it right, and to get pronouns right, don't change it right when they're getting used to it because you decide Dick isn't the name for you.
Legal Name changes blow ass, by the way. Here in California, it costs about 300 dollars, plus 100 to print it in the newspaper (It HAS to be printed in the newspaper) There are forms where they waive the fee of the name change itself, but that's a long and drawn out process. If you're as broke as I am, you know that can be a problem.
But by far, the hardest part about transitioning, is getting people used to your new name and pronouns. This is the biggest problem EVER. When you first start out, I can honestly PROMISE you that NO ONE will remember to use your name. You're going to feel like a dick and uncomfortable correcting them every time they mess up, but it's SOOOO necisary! If you don't they're never going to get it. Think about it, especialyl for family, it's so hard to imagine you as a he instead of a she or a she instead of a he. They've known you since you were born and now they have to call you something else? One of the most common things you'll hear from them is.
"I'm sorry, it's just hard." I can't express how much I hate it when people say that. Do they think we don't know it's hard? You know what's really hard? Being born in the wrong body. Not feeling comfortable with your own skin. THATS hard. So bite me. End rant :)
Just give them time, keep correcting them, and try to keep yourself from responding to your birth name. If you're like me, your birth name already sounds super weird to you and your chosen name just sounds so natural.
A good tip for people who know someone who is trans and is trying to get used to the new name and pronouns is to imagine them as a different person. Don't think about it like this is someone I used to know who now goes by this. Think of it as this is ____ and he is just a normal guy (Or woman, for you MtF's out there)
Post #3 1/5/13 1:11 PM
I figured I should update some of this stuff. It's been a long time and a lot has been going on since my last post.
I finally started hormone therapy (okay finally is a little late since it was a couple months ago) Mid October I finally started Testosterone and it sound so nice and easy that I just say it, but the whole process was hell.
For starters, It was a rule that to start hormones you had to see a psychiatrist, they had to diagnose you with Gender Identity Disorder (a mental illness by the way, yeah you had to be mentally ill to get hormones, fuck those guys.) and then they would give you a referal to an endocrinologist, they would run a bunch of blood tests (that cost a LOT of money, btw) they would prescribe the hormones and then you have to continue getting blood work done every couple of months (same expensive price.)
Just to get the letter from your psychiatrist would take a minimum of three months.
So at this point I was kind like 'whatever' on Hormones, it wasn't going to happen in the next couple of years so why worry. Then, a lovely fantastical transguy friend of mine (Aydin) told me that that was no longer the process, and there were two free clinics in Sacramento that would set me up for hormones for free. I just had to get my bloodwork down and mail it to them and then they would send me my scrip for T.
Well I go to a local clinic that was supposed to do bloodwork pretty cheap. I make an appointment, I'm seen on time (that in itself is amazing) and I meet the doctor and he's super nice...Until I tell him what I'm there for. Then he gets all quiet and transphobicy. He says he doesn't know what kind of bloodwork I need done, so he starts GUESSING and randomly fills out the blood work form. I go to get the blood drawn and the guy shrugs and takes out a whole set of vials (about twenty something) and starts FILLING ALL OF THEM, because he doesn't know what they're going to need either so he would rather just take it all now.
So now, woozy and feeling like someone sucked all the blood out of me (because they did.), I call Aydin and ask. He lists four things, and that's it. So I tell the doctor and he talks to his doctor friend (who is NOT transphobic) and I talk to the clinic and the clinic talks to me and then back to my transphobic doctor and his nontransphobic doctor friend and long story short (too late) six and a half hours later they tell me it's going to cost about $1,200 for the bloodwork........
I call the clinic and she says "What the hell? Just come to Sac, we do it all for free."
So next weekend I'm in sacramento for my consultation. I wait for two hours and they finally put me in a room and tell me the doctor will be in in just a second. Four hours later I find out they forgot about me and I was just sitting in a room they didn't know existed. So the doctor comes in, we talk for ten minutes and she tells me to get my blood drawn tomorrow at the clinic down the street, and that I can't eat anything until then. So I go home hungry since I haven't eaten in six hours and still can't. I get home about four a.m. catch a few hours of sleep, drive back up to Sac get there at 9 an hour before the clinic opens and there's a line out the door. so they open and I wait.
I waited while people brought in donuts, coffee, bagels, cream cheese, and right across the street was a supermarket with shelves lined with delicious food. I was starving to death. I kid you not, I was the VERY LAST PERSON. Most of the staff went home before I did. It took three minutes to draw my blood, and then at nine o' clock I finally went home (I hadn't eaten since morning the day before, and it was only an orange.)
They told me my bloodwork should be in the next week and it wasn't and the week after that it was and the week after that it wasn't and then it was and I got my scrip and I went to all the pharmacies in town to see what would be covered by my insurance (Medi-cal which is Medicaid in California for those who don't know, very generic and will only cover me if I'm dying...maybe.) I go to walgreens just to find out if it will work. Long story short (again, too late.) I wait four hours, call the chick and she says she still hasn't gotten to it, I'm on the phone for an hour and a half and she says it doesn't cover it. So then I go to a couple other places, I end up getting the syringes and needles (two different sizes) at Costco and the T at Wal-mart, since Wal-mart wont cover the needles ($20) but they'll cover the T (weird.)
So finally I have my testosterone, now I Just gotta learn how to take the damn thing (it's a shot) so I text Aydin that I finally got my T and I kid you not he tells me to come over so that he can teach me how to take the shot. Which sound super nice, if it was three a.m. I don't even know why he was awake, that weirdo.
So I go over to his place, and there we are. Two guys with no pants on, his girlfriend, my best friend, his two dogs, a video camera, a regular camera, my mom, and anyone else on the block who wants to see us stab ourselves in the leg.
It was a looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong journey, but it was worth it :)
I'm two months in, my voice has already started to change (not fun.) and I'm already growing 'stache (haven't decided if it's fun or not) and a couple of other side effects that are not fun. No changes are supposed to even be noticable until the third month, but what can I say I guess I'm just awesome.
now I'm having problems with my insurance and Medi-cal says they can't cover Testosterone for 'women' unless they have a very specific kind of breast cancer. Which is illegal, so now there are lawyers involved which is no fun. If I don't have it covered by them I have to pay for it myself (and the legal name/gender change) and it's about $100 a vial (a vial is two doses as of right now, but my dosage is being increased sometime this month.)
So there ya have it folks, the long and terrible process of starting hormones :) if you actually read through that then you're kind of awesome because even I was bored like a paragraph in. But I know when I was trying to start this whole thing I couldn't find ANYTHING online so hopefully this will help some people out :D
Post #4 2/21/15
Time for an update!! Wow, two years! That's crazy! Well, I'm still on testosterone (and still fighting with my insurance, ugh) I had top surgery (bye bye boobies!) back in October of 2014. That was fun and exciting and a huge step! It was suprisingly easier to get surgery than it was to start testosterone (Seriously, though what's wrong with this country...) It only took a few hours. I had to drive three hours away to San Francisco, and had surgery mid afternoon, I stayed in the hospital until I woke up (only a few hours) and then drove home the same day. I mean, I didn't do the driving but I was in the car (super not fun), Apparently the surgery itself causes nausea (something to do with surgery in the chest area in general) the pain medication I was on caused nausea, and the anesthesia causes nausea, So I was supposed to be violently nauseous after the surgery, but I was fine. Even had inn and out on the way home (which I was super not supposed to do, but shush). It didn't hit me until about a week later, when I spent all day throwing up, but then I was fine again. Weird.
Besides that, my name and gender have been legally changed for a while now (I believe I mentioned it before) but I'm thinking of changing it again because I don't like what it was changed to (my mom picked it, stupid choice on my part.) Besides that, they've changed the law (at least in California) that you now no longer have to publish your name/gender change in the newspaper so it's completely free if you qualify as low income. If you don't qualify, the court fees are around $300 still, I believe.
Not much has changed and I feel like I've pretty much hit the end of my transition. I do want to get a hysterectomy/oophorectomy (at which point I may or may not go off of testosterone, for various reasons) but other than that, I don't think I want bottom surgery. The rest may be TMI so if you don't feel like knowing about my bits, this is probably the part you want to stop at.
I generally identify as a bottom and have no desire to top at all, so getting a phalloplasty (making a new penis out of a skin graft taken from your arm, leg, or back) doesn't seem worth it (They're expensive and you lose most of your feeling down there, however you are able to achieve an erection and penetration) a metoidioplasty (cutting the ligaments that hold down the clitoris, giving you maybe another inch or two in length, but most likely not enough to penetrate) would be the most likely. But it's expensive (around $25,000) and while I'd still have full feeling, be able to urinate standing up, and have a relatively normal looking penis (although small) the recovery time is VERY long (multiple surgeries are done at once, at least 3 or 4, so there's a lot to heal) and would leave me unable to work or go to school for a few months.
The benefit to getting either surgery would be that it would make it significantly easier to find partners who would be physically interested in me. As a gay man, I look for other gay men as partners, but it's difficult to find someone who identifies as gay, can see me as a gay man, and doesn't mind my having a vagina. I know there are people out there like that, but I feel like there's not enough to go around, lol. So while the idea of being able to find someone more easily sounds great, changing myself and having an expensive and painful surgery done for something I don't really feel I need seems stupid and shallow. I haven't really figured out what I'll do yet, but I'll keep ya posted.