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Monthly Archives: July 2013

The ‘Girl’ Card

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vector-card-girl8A lot of people going through transition will at some point experience what has been called “getting the ‘girl’ card” (MtF).  This is that magic moment when the friends around you (usually women) display some sort of public acknowledgement and acceptance of you as a woman.   This happens more than just once of course, but it’s that first time that is very special and memorable.

This happened in a big way for me today:  we had an all hands meeting where the lawyers from UH came to give us training in sexual harassment and work place violence.  About half a year ago I had requested they include something about transsexualism and was asked to write a couple of slides (Click this tab to see those slides).  But because this training was to address problems in the workplace they decided keep the focus to the current issues.

Just before we started, the presenter that I had been in correspondence with, recognized me and we had a huge hug!  She then quickly showed me that she did incorporate some points from my slides into her presentation.  About 1/4 of the way through the training, she purposefully asked the ‘audience’ if anyone knew the difference between birth sex and gender and what gender presentation and expression meant.  She told me later she had asked that just so I could answer!  Wow!

All the women from my department (plus a few others) sat all around me (they did that on purpose – they knew I had submitted those slides for this presentation).  So after I had answered her questions – suddenly there were 4 or 5 people all patting me (on my back, my arms) – just absolutely awesome.  What support and caring – not just for patting me but for purposefully sitting all around me.  Afterwords, the presenter mentioned the awesome support she witnessed by those around me.

Then later in the training, the woman behind me was picking something off my back (a hair or something).  When I turned around and smiled and thanked her – the other woman next to her said “oh, we were just snapping your bra” (this was in the crowded training room)!!  Both are woman I work closely with (one is my ‘sister’ that helps me with womanly issues that I face while transitioning).  Afterwords, I told another woman that I work closely with about the bra snapping and she said “oh, turn around let me see” – and then ‘she’ snapped my bra too!!

That – is what I call being given ‘the girl card’ …..

And:  the ‘alpha’ male in our group came up to me and politely asked which personal pronouns I would prefer and that he would try hard and please forgive any lapse he might make.

Plus:  the overall manager in charge of everyone on this site came up to me just before this meeting and asked what name I should now be called.

Ecstatically in tears,

Sifan

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Month 2 Summary

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50This is going faster than I anticipated !

Well, what was a maybe last month is a definite this month.  There is no doubt about it: my breasts have grown, there are real and at times they are very sensitive and sometimes they hurt!  Growing pains.  I really did not expect anything for a few months at the least, so I’m surprised and happy.  I’m even showing cleavage.

My endocrinologist had originally placed me on 1/4 the spiro dosage (25 mg) due to my marginally low blood pressure and of course the normal starting estrodiol level (1 mg gel, higher efficiency).  I had my second appointment with him and the blood tests were remarkable.  Total testosterone dropped from 401 to 73, free testosterone is down to 9 and estrogen is up to 159.  That is more estrogen and less testosterone than a postmenopausal women has and is where I was targeted to be at in 6 months!

At the end of the doctors visit, my partner asked if he would be upping my dosages —– I responded first with a ‘why’ … I’m there already”!  So now it’s just allowing the body to catch up and judging from the growing pains – it is.  It’s great to have these results with this low a dosage – these hormones are very powerful indeed.

You hear a lot of warnings about not doing this yourself with black market drugs etc. – I can sure support that.  From my support group (many of them also see the same doctor), we learned that everyone is different – different dosages, different hormones, etc.  Judging from myself – one really has to be monitored and appropriately prescribed.  This is powerful stuff and getting it wrong has lots of bad consequences.

A few other firsts this month:  first time en femme in a restaurant, shopping, and at a formal 5 star restaurant for my birthday.  With the help of my partner, I have found a ‘look’  that both suits me well and allows for a more comfortable (less stress that is) experience.

I submitted my name change and that was approved.  Now I am waiting for the official ‘order of change of name’ to proceed with changing all my documents.  I also obtained the paperwork, signed by my doctors, to allow the gender marker to be changed on my drivers license, social security and at work.  All of that should be finished this next month.

My concerns going forward are that I am now entering what I call the ugly duckling phase.  My breasts are growing and it will be harder to hid that fact.  At the same time my hair is not long enough yet, my face has not changed and I still have a lot of weight to lose.  It is going to take a lot of months to get through this phase.

Even though everyone at work knows about my transition, I still feel that I do not want to ‘push it’ so to speak, until both my body and myself (being comfortable presenting as a woman) are ready.

At least I am past the stage of having to be ‘ultra-femme’.  In a way, I see that was necessary to break out of the role or facade of life as a male.  We all have to rebel in order to transcend and find ourselves.  I would classify where I am now as a settling down in who I am – finding myself, my style, my ‘normality’.  Things are settling and because of that a lot of pressure, disphoria and discomfort are gone.  All the dreams and wishing and intense scrutiny and drive are now replaced with a contentment and a relaxing into finding and just being myself.  There is a long way to go – but there is tremendous progress and a joy in seeing and experiencing the reality of ‘me’ coming through.

We will be getting married next year and are starting our planning.  It will be a small wedding but that does not diminish the planning that is involved.  I am thoroughly enjoying sharing and planning this together with my love.  I started a wiki page to collect our thoughts, plans and track progress and decisions.  Its exciting and difficult finding a dress that will match my expectations and realistically a style that will suit me.  So much is starting to come together!

One happy trans camper ….

Sifan

Explaining MtF for the Cis-Female

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urlJust listened to a great interview with Lieutenant Colonel Cate McGregor on the Australian show One Plus One, in which she describes coming out as a transgender female.

In the quote below (link is below as well – this piece is at 14:50), she explains being a transsexual woman to the host.  She addresses one of the conundrums a natal woman has with understanding this.  This is something I have struggled to explain properly to many of my woman friends that I have come out to and is something I addressed in previous posts here on my blog site as well – although not nearly as eloquently as Cate does.

Umm, a quick refresher: “natal female” refers to someone who’s birth sex is female, “cis-female” refers to someone who is both a natal female and has a gender of female.  I am a transsexual: I’m a natal male with a gender of female – I’m not cis, I’m trans.

I hope this will help a cis-woman understand and grasp a transgender woman. For me the main point is the congruence of having one’s self being consistent:  mind/body/soul.

Cate’s outlook does resonate strongly with me.  Making it through mid-life (well for me a ‘wee’ bit past that), “before the intense need to live authentically.”  It’s great to hear someone else in the same situation but who has a wonderful tack for expressing this.

Cate’s addressing of authenticity of course riles some of the transsexual community:  “I don’t consider myself a woman, I’m transgendered”.  But in coming out to a fair number of the cis-women in my life, this was one of the issues almost always raised.  I like how Cate addressed this – “of course I do not have nor will have all the experiences of a natal woman” – but the main point is – that is ‘not’ the point!  The point is that she is congruent  – mind/soul/physical body, as she said “transition brought the reward of feeling that I was me at last”.

As my partner so aptly stated, for a cis-female, this addresses and I think answers or perhaps makes clear a basic conundrum, as it most certainly has for my cis-female partner.  As she puts it, being a woman is like a rainbow, there are all types – you can not tell where the red ends and the orange begins …  She does not think womanhood is divvied up into separate groups.

To say that you are natal/cis/trans is just a description, not a division, we are all women.  Like I stated in my other posts here – it’s equivalent to having red hair, it’s a description of part of the broad range of the human experience.  I’ve heard religious zealots declare a woman is someone who can give birth – excuse me – so females that are postmenopausal are not women?  Time for reality.

This is Cate’s quote from One Plus One: Lieutenant Colonel Cate McGregor:

“The grammar for transgendered feelings just does not exist. It’s incredibly difficult to explain what it feels like to be boiling over with the sense of being trapped in the wrong body and identity.

“There is a feeling that you are in a straight jacket, an unfolding nightmare.  I was sleepless for months on end, I was experiencing nightly panic attacks. I couldn’t see a way forward that offered any level of contentment.  It was a nightmare and ya, at some point I wondered how much more of it I could have endured frankly. It seems like a dimm memory now, it’s really interesting that once I actually surrendered to this and decided that I would do what I’m doing, I felt a real calm.  And as I’ve transitioned and been able to express myself as female, I have felt a baseline level of contentment that nothing can rob me of.

“I also need to put a caveat on this too, that I don’t consider myself a woman, I’m transgendered.  I’m living as a woman and that’s a capital AS, upper case AS.  I have to express myself as female – I have no other way of existing that feels authentic to me.  I haven’t been gendered the way other women have been gendered.   I’ve not lived with the constant threat of physical violence, I can’t bear children and there are women who can’t as well.  There is a whole range of experiences that I shall never have.  But, as a trans male to female woman I’m in a highly delineated group, so I don’t consider myself a woman in the sense you are.  But for me, it’s an expressive aspect that I need to live as female and I guess that is a long winded way of saying the transition brought the reward of feeling that I was me at last – whatever form that is.”