aidenonymous: (sulu)
I changed my legal name in New York City last week and wanted to publicly share the experience.

cut for long and boring )

I'm not sure if I was really ready for this, in spite of the fact that I chose and began using my name years ago.  I didn't expect to have completed this process until March or so since I wasn't planning to start until December, so I feel like I'm rushing even though there's only evidence for being ahead of schedule.  I'm postponing getting a new government-issued ID until March to make sure I'm emotionally keeping pace with this, but I plan to change my name with my bank and workplace ASAP.
aidenonymous: (gender)
Well that was easily the most thorough groping I've ever gotten before.  I dealt with it, but there's no way they didn't know what was under my clothes.  My hopes of avoiding the scanners so that at least the results of the pat-down would be unshareable between unprofessionals were also dashed.

When I asked to opt out of the scanners (everyone at that check point had to go through them), Agent 1 asked for a male assist on his walkie talkie.  Agent 2 waited a bit and then said something inaudible to Agent 1.  Agent 1 had a brief, inaudible exchange with Agent 3 behind him and repeated his request into the walkie talkie.  After some waiting, Agent 1 waved me through the scanner and met me on the other side.  He introduced me to Agent 4, who was responsible for the actual groping.  The groping was everything I feared, lots of attention on the chest and crotch (in spite of my request that they be sensitive there), almost entirely using the front of his hands, and running his hands under the collar of my T-shirt as well as the waistband of my pants -- he could see my binder, feel that I lack male external genitalia from both the front and back, and could feel that my chest was lumpier than could be excused.  This was the first time in years that I wished I'd been packing; I don't even own a soft packer, so it's pretty significant if I feel like I need something in my pants to be male enough.  Anyway, I'm glad I asked for it to be done in the open, because the only thing that could have made it more uncomfortable would have been to be alone with Agent 4.

When we were just about finished, Agent 5, the manager, walked over and shook his head and hands and stopped Agent 4.  He asked to see my passport and asked me to pronounce my name and then started chastizing Agent 4 for giving me a pat-down, asking who authorized it.  Agent 3 was implicated -- she was the one on the other end of the walkie talkie telling Agent 1 that I should get a male assist when he was unsure.  Agents 3 and 5 argued and several times checked against my passport, Agent 5 insisting that my name was clearly female and Agent 3 countering that "she presents herself as male so she is male."  (This is actually TSA policy, despite what the manager seemed to believe, although I suspect I could have gotten out of it by pretending to be a butch woman.)  He repeatedly asked me if I was male or female, and each time I pointed to the sex marker on my passport and said male.  I offered to give them my therapist's letter but they didn't seem interested.  When they finally stopped arguing, I had to endure a bit more groping and then could leave.

That was actually not the first gender-related incident of the morning.  When I checked in, my passport wouldn't scan, so a ticket representative had to verify that the information I entered matched my passport.  She didn't notice the sex marker, although I believe it would have been flagged if my passport did not match the information associated with my ticket.  She asked me to pronounce my name, I believed because it was difficult to accept that my appearance could be associated with it.  I asked if it was necessary, and her tone changed to be more interrogative, and I grew frightened, so I just said it.  She said it was very pretty and let me go.

After that first incident, I wasn't feeling too confident gender-wise and really had to pee, so I just went to the women's, although I did hesitate in deciding which door to go into.  Luckily the restroom was totally deserted, and I didn't run into anyone.  I did use a men's room later on before my flight (stupid coffee!) and didn't interact with anyone there either.

Ugh, so that pat-down, still preferable to the scanners?  Perhaps not.  I will request a female agent from now on and ask for it to be done in private if I am originally assigned a male agent.  It wasn't so much more traumatizing because the agent was male rather than female, but the nature of the pat-down was what I had feared.  I'm grateful Agent 4 was professional about it, since he must have known almost immediately that something was up, and he didn't say anything about it to me.  At the same time, I don't know if my more thorough pat-down was an expression of the agent's curiosity about my unusual anatomy, or something sexual directed at a female, or if it was just standard procedure for those perceived to be male.  I'm inclined to complain to the TSA about it, but there's nowhere quiet in the airport and my phone won't work in Canada, so it will have to wait until I return.

Blur

Jul. 1st, 2013 12:03 am
aidenonymous: (gender)
I rudely walked out of playing games with people today because I couldn't handle them referring to me by my birth name (there are exactly three people in this town who do that, due to meeting them before I decided to go to school here) and making jokes about me not having a dick.  I am in a weird place right now where I'm wallowing in isolation, but taking every action to isolate myself further.  I've been having recurring dreams about my dead friends.  Why are so many people I cared about dead?  I'm sleeping a lot but not really aware of feeling depressed.  I feel a lot of pressure related to my research and a lot of fear of having to teach again, but I can't identify other sources of stress in my life right now.  I'm just more interested in escaping real world problems than facing them head on.  It's like the better I feel about my body, the worse I feel about everything else.  I got drunk two nights ago, for the first time ever, just to see what it was like -- a balance between fun and uncomfortable -- and am glad no one but my partner was there to see it happen.  That was the day after I made the conscious decision to indulge irresponsibility and flake out on a commitment without reason or warning; no one called me out on not cleaning the kitchen on my assigned night at the house, but I apologized today nonetheless.

EDIT: I can't honestly claim I was drunk, just drunker than I've ever been before.

Shockers

Jun. 14th, 2013 02:38 pm
aidenonymous: (gender)
I talked with my endo on the phone today.  (She's actually going to send me the letter for my passport, this time.)  My free testosterone level a couple weeks ago was 180 ng/dL, quite a bit less than my hopeful guess of 300 ng/dL.  The real shocker was what my pre-T level was, 21 ng/dL.  I mean, I knew it was supposed to be in the female range, but I can't believe that I was at the low end of it.  I thought for sure I had high T levels because of the facial/body hair and low body fat.  Not sure what to make of it.  In any case, based on this information, I would have guessed my on-T level as 271 ng/dL, still higher than what was observed.  I don't know why I'm getting hung up on the number when I'm happy with the rate of changes, probably some macho bullshit about wanting to be in the male range.

Oh, but there's more!  My best friend outed me to his parents.  He told me over text, and I didn't indicate that this was a major problem then because I wasn't sure how to say it.  After letting it keep me up all night, I'm ready to start thinking about productive ways to tell him that was not okay.  He was so good about stuff that I didn't realize he didn't know that was a no-no.  I'm upset that I let down my guard, even if it was for my best friend.  I don't think he understands that other than medical providers, he is among four people I don't sleep with who know about my medical transition.  I consider myself to be close to his parents, and it was my secret to tell them on my own terms, not because he felt like telling them how his week was going, oh, and by the way [girlname] came to visit but now he goes by Ilan and takes hormones. 
aidenonymous: (sulu)
I just got back from my second endocrinologist appointment.  I would have gone to work this afternoon, but I scheduled an optometrist appointment right afterwards because the offices are right next to each other, and now my eyes are too dilated to get anything done.  q-:  Good thing I can touch type and have set my screen to an insanely large font size.  Though my vision insurance is too crappy for me to get new glasses (and I have used zero benefits previously) and I still had to shell out $100 just to get lenses with my new (and still pretty weak) prescription put into an old set of frames, my appointment with the endo went well.

She immediately noticed that my voice had changed!  (-:  Okay, so I guess this is an edge case on someone noticing without being prompted, since she obviously did know I was on T, but still, I spent the whole time trying to suppress the enormous grin from taking over my face (althought that started before she said anything).  She said it sounded like it was cracking, and giggled about me being a 14-year-old boy.  Only 11 years too late!  She asked about other changes, too.  No downstairs growth, no additional body hair, still getting periods, I think that was it?  She laughed at my comparison to being a puppy (hyperactive, lots of energy, also sleeping a lot).  She didn't know anything about ADHD getting worse on T but liked my hypothesis.

I was able to be honest about giving myself half of the half dose, and she was totally cool with it.  I've got a prescription for the 1.25 g metered pump instead of 2.5 g packets, so I'll be producing less waste and getting a more consistent dose.  She asked why I did that, and I didn't have a good answer, just chalked it up to last-minute jitters about changing too fast (which isn't really what was going on, but it was early and I was inarticulate), and she wasn't critical of that at all.  I am actually satisfied with the pace of changes and am unlikely to increase my dose especially soon, but it's good to know I can whenever I want to.

Also, when I got there, the staff used my legal name, etc., but I didn't get worked up about it because I'm used to it.  My doctor however, was angry on my behalf .  Incidentally, she is trans, too, and this was the first time her new name appeared on various forms of paperwork I got.  So, the staff screwed up pronouns for us both, and she had the manager-nurse-person talk to us about it; apparently I'm the first trans person from the school to see the endo at the new site in town (last time I had to travel a couple hours in each direction), and she wants to make sure they're better about it.  We had a nice chat, and I was taken super-seriously, which felt a little funny because I don't always take myself seriously.  Anyway, I was assured it wouldn't happen again, and I felt good about helping them improve service especially for other trans*folk from my school who might be more sensitive (so, probably all of them?).  My doctor said that there would be 3-4 trans patients from my school there each time she was at that office (once per month), so that means there's about a dozen trans people currently using the school insurance.

I asked about a letter for my passport, and she said she'd get right on it but that it would take a while.  She told me that getting a gender marker changed on a driver's license/state ID is actually really easy here, and she could write me a letter for that whenever.  I'm going to make another post rambling about that because I'm not entirely sure what I want out of this and need to figure it out soon due to upcoming international travel plans and a lack of valid ID of any kind.  Anyway, I'll be getting bloodwork some time this week, and this time she'll tell me what my levels are.  When I get the e-mail about that I'm also going to ask about my pre-T levels because I'm curious.  I'll be sure to share that with the internet when I find out.  (-;
aidenonymous: (Default)
It's been five days since I got here, and I have to say, I'm a lot happier than I expected to be.  I love love love the house and the people in it.  I had really high expectations, and they've pretty much all been met.  The other folks like me, too, and they're working on finding a way for me to continue living here next year. . . but I'm still not sure what's going on with my partner, whether he'll want to move here at all if he can't live in an apartment with me.

I know the town is different in the summer when no one's around, compared to during the year when it's swarming with drunk undergrads, but I've found a lot to like.  There are lots of locally-owned coffee shops, restaurants, and grocery stores, and the downtown actually feels like a real downtown in terms of density.

Work is another story.  After dealing with a bunch of administrative bullshit (which I believe is normal for a school this size, no hard feelings, really), I'm finally starting to run into problems with my name on departmental stuff.  I'm okay with the government, doctors, and banks knowing me by my legal name, and I thought I'd be okay with my department being in that category, too, but I was wrong; in essence, this place is too small for me to isolate work from everything else, and I don't want to have to cave and give up being myself the rest of the time.

There are still a couple social issues I need to work out at home, namely that everyone seems to have made up their mind to use feminine pronouns for me, and I'm going to have to make some kind of announcement to get them to stop.  Aah, I knew there were drawbacks to not having an unambiguously male name!  Anyway, the name itself is somewhat of an issue because two people who work in my department also hang out at the house, and I've been failing at having an actual conversation with them for a couple days.  What I want to do is ask them to call me Ilan in the house and by my birth name at work, should it come up.  The real answer, I think, is to just be open about things at work, letting the faculty and other students know that I'd prefer to be called Ilan or that I may go by either name depending on the situation. . . so I'm going to talk to the director of the Pride Club here and ask for advice tomorrow.
aidenonymous: (Default)
I've been thinking about making this post for about a month, since cutting my hair short, and to a cut I liked, but I didn't get off my ass to do it until now, after my first trim turned into my first bad haircut.  I'm sure I'll recover as it grows out, but I have to deal with a couple weeks of hating the reflection of my own goddamn face and doubting the decision to cut off three feet of hair all in one go.

Anyway, I had a short haircut that I loved for the last month, for the first time since I was a kid.  I started being read as male pretty much all the time and felt enormously confident compared to when I had long hair.  I started feeling very strongly like my presentation was a good representation of who I actually am and something I was happy to see in the mirror.

As I adjusted to being seen the way I want to be seen, I started feeling like my name, Ilan, may not be the best fit.  I still hate being called my old, feminine name, but I'm leaning more and more toward using a gender-neutral name.  Basically, now that I feel more secure in my masculinity, I don't feel like I need a 100% male name anymore, the way I did when I had long hair and was constantly misgendered.

I'm transmasculine, but I'm also genderqueer, and I feel like I've let myself forget the significance of my non-binary identity in pursuit of passing, with the short hair, the male name, and masculine clothes.  I don't think I'm going to change the way I've dressed my whole life, and I like my hair short for reasons other than gender, but this isn't the first time I've considered going by a different non-birth name.

As I've said before, Ilan would have been my middle name had I been born with "boy parts," and my first name would have been a common, gender-neutral name.  My parents frequently told me this story as a child, and when I came out to my mom, she apologized for not giving me that name in the first place.  I guess I'm making this post to say that I agree with her now and am seriously thinking about going by that other name.

I'm about to move to a new place where I don't know anyone, so I have a good opportunity to try it out.  Awkwardly, I know there are several other people (all male, I believe) with that gender-neutral first name of mine who I'll be working with on a daily basis.  However, I'm mostly worried that I'll want to go back to being called Ilan, since I've never had a common name before, and then I'll have to navigate asking people to call me a different name, something I've almost entirely avoided in transition.
aidenonymous: (Default)
Damn, it's that time of the year again.  This is the first year I've remembered in a long time, mostly because my mom and two old friends reminded me yesterday.  Birthdays were never a big thing for me or my family, so I tend to ignore them.  But today I'm really feeling as old as (or older than) I am.  

I'm 23.
I just moved in with my partner of 7 years.
I'm still in college but am graduating in 4 months.
And then, I don't know what I'm doing, besides applying to grad. schools next year.

Life's weird.  I can't believe I've made it this far.  I remember when I was utterly shocked that I survived to 18.  I hate that I still don't really know what I'm doing, but at least I have some idea of what I'd eventually like to be.  For one, I'm sick of my old name, and seeing it on every "happy birthday" I've gotten on Facebook is making my brain itch.  I'm rambling.  Over and out.
aidenonymous: (Default)
I think I accidentally came out as masculine-leaning genderqueer to my mom yesterday, and it went really well!

Some background: I'm home for a couple days for jury duty and am staying at my mom's place.  We got called for jury duty at the same time, so we spent all of yesterday and will be spending all of today together.  My folks have told me since forever that they didn't know my sex until I was born because they wanted a surprise (and boy did they get one).  They picked out a gender-neutral, common name for if I'd had boy parts and a feminine, uncommon name for if I had girl parts.  I've really appreciated my unusual name, but I hate how it's immediately recognized as female, and I always wondered why I didn't get the gender-neutral name that would have been a better fit.

And yesterday during our shared lunch break, I found out why.  My mom didn't know that the "boy" name could have been a "girl" name, too.  English is her primary language, but apparently at the time it wasn't used much for females even though it is now.  Come to think of it, all the girls I know with that name are my age or younger, or from Europe, so it's possible the trend hadn't reached her yet.  Anyway, now I know why.

The topic came up because she said she should have given me the "boy" name.  She's apparently picked up on the fact that I haven't worn girl clothes since I stopped playing dress-up games, and she might have noticed a couple times that morning in the court buildings when people (in bathrooms, checking IDs) were puzzled by my apparent gender (or lack thereof). 

My response was to tell her that I would have appreciated the name, but I won't hold it against her.  However, I'm now thinking that if I change my name, I'll use Ilan day-to-day, but the name she would have given me will be a middle name.  It would nearly allow me to preserve my initials anyway. 
aidenonymous: (gender)
In response to a post in the community regarding how to choose a trans name:

It's never too late to have a fresh start because people will give you a lot of slack to experiment and "find yourself" in college. I'm actually in just about the same phase of transitioning as you are. I've been slowly coming out as genderqueer for the past couple years as I've been learning that there are words for all this stuff online. I actually decided to make this LJ account when it occurred to me that I'd already picked out a name, so it was time to take myself seriously when it came to exploring my gender identity.

I thought about using the same name my parents told me they would have given me had I not been born female. Oddly, they chose a religious, unusual, and feminine name for if I'd been female and a non-religious, common, and androgynous name for me if I'd been male. As a kid, I wished that I'd gotten the other name. I've been cringing at the sound of my birth name for a long time, and not just because of the confusion with spelling and pronunciation that most people have with it. But I do appreciate having an unusual name. I feel like I wouldn't be true to my own experiences, especially that of rejecting the religion I was raised with, if I just erased the name and started off with a new one without the same connotations. So I'm experimenting on the 'net with a masculine form of one of my birth names. So far so good!

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aidenonymous

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