aidenonymous: (gender)
I had my second consult with Dr. Fischer today and wanted to post something quick, even though I've got a couple drafts of actual content floating around that I should finish.  The good news is that I'm still borderline for peri, but now a slightly better candidate than I was last year, so we are going ahead with the surgery!  I was scared because my chest is kinda inflamed right now due to the whole cycles not stopping thing.  Dr. Fischer was very confident about it, which helped put me at ease.  She said there was really no benefit to building a bunch of chest muscle now, although I'll still try to get to the gym some time soon.  My pecs are already well-defined enough that she didn't think I'd have any problems with nipple position, which is kind of hard to control with peri.

I got all the pre-op instructions and clarified some details.  After I explained my history of a bleeding disorder, they're not going to force me to stop T but did recommend I discontinue it for the week before surgery.  Normally they'd recommend stopping for two weeks before and at least a week after, and going to a half dose four weeks before (ha, joke's on them, I'm on the lowest metered dose and couldn't halve it if I tried).  They were happy I warned them that my medical clearance would have that on it before they saw a red flag like that.

The bad news is that they billed my insurance for the out-of-network rate even though we went through a ton of trouble to get it counted as in-network because my insurance company is tiny and doesn't have anyone who does FTM top surgery in their network.  So they quoted me three times what they should have for my contribution, which is about $1000 more than I can actually pay right now/  I have until mid-June to pay it, so that's enough time to save up some more if necessary, but I'm still hoping I'll be able to convince my insurance company to cough up the rest given the paperwork we painstakingly completed.  My partner's still out of work but will probably have a job by July, so I'm hoping I'll have secondary insurance to help with whatever's left over.

I hung out with three friends from college afterwards.  Two did not know about my transition, and one of them figured it out and was cool about it.  But those two obviously weren't people I'm especially close to, so the stakes were low.  I have a big meeting with my thesis advisor tomorrow about my qualifying exam and the status of my work (which was going really well until a few weeks ago when things kinda fell apart), so I should go to sleep.  I mostly wanted to squee about how this is actually happening!
aidenonymous: (gender)
I've had a roller coaster of a week and really didn't want to write this, but I'm hoping I'll feel better getting it out.  tl;dr I've once again blown an opportunity to have gender not be a big deal in every aspect of my life and am not happy about it.

cut for abusively negative self-talk )

I did a lot more self-care today though.  I cooked two (vegan) meals for myself with enough leftovers to get halfway through next week without spending too much money and eating things I said I wouldn't.  And I got a new binder that's a lot more comfortable for long days and looks like an undershirt so I don't need an extra layer under my grown-up clothes in the heat.  I'm going to go to work tomorrow because I know being a badass at science will make me feel better about myself.

EDIT: update )
aidenonymous: (gender)
I had an endo appointment today.  I finally spoke up about this cyclic mood swings nonsense.  I'm ashamed that I can't just rely on stoicism to get through it, and I wish there were another way to solve the problem because I otherwise like the pace of changes on my current dose.  My endo thinks switching to shots with an equivalent dose won't make a difference.  She said that with compounded cream, the minimum dose necessary to stop periods is twice what I'm currently getting from gel.  She wanted to just have me double my current dose of 12.5 mg, which is what she prescribed when we met for the first time, but I talked her into switching me to AndroGel 1.62%, whose smallest metered dose is 20.25 mg, a tad lower.  The fact that I can negotiate my prescriptions with my endo is really cool, BTW.  She questioned my info about the effective dose being different for the new concentration, so we simultaneously looked it up on our phones.  It was pretty funny.

In any case, I hope this is worth it.  My insurance covers any AndroGel, so at least it'll be worth it in terms of cost.  I don't feel like I really need any more changes, but I'm not willing to add female hormones to my body if they come with a risk of breast growth.  I can deal with more masculinization (wouldn't complain about it in most regards), just don't want to get changes fast enough that I feel dissociated from my body.  I wonder if I should have advocated more strongly for shots, because then I'd have more of an ability to fine tune my dose instead of taking whatever Abbvie offers me.  Gel is pretty fantastically easy though, and this is still lower than what my endo calls a "low dose" for trans guys, so maybe I'm making a big deal out of nothing.  I think I have enough AndroGel 1% to last until I move, so I'm going to wait a bit to start on the new stuff, at least until I figure out what I'm doing about top surgery.  I think my endo would be okay switching me to shots if I called and asked, but then I'd have to learn how to do it on my own when things are pretty crazy anyway.

This appointment had some other notable moments.  My blood pressure was totally normal.  It was a relief because at Dr. Johnson's office, my blood pressure was actually high.  The only other time I've ever had high blood pressure was when I was having an asthma attack in a hospital.  So now I know for sure that the culprit was indeed car sickness and I am not in earnest developing high blood pressure.

My endo was really concerned about my lungs though.  It was an early morning appointment, and I had a productive cough from when I woke up until a couple hours after the appointment.  It's been like that for over a week.  I told her I thought it was from binding too much at PTHC, since I've otherwise been cutting down substantially by working from home whenever possible and obviously not being very social outside the house otherwise.  She took a listen and kept coming back to the lower part of my right lung.  She asked if I was binding and tried putting the stethoscope under my binder in the back because it sounded "muffled."  I wasn't even binding very hard, just wearing a sportster.  Anyway, after asking me to breathe ten different ways, she concluded that my chest is not truly congested, but she can hear my asthma.  It wasn't really on my mind because I use my inhaler once or twice a year just for emergencies, usually triggered by cigarette smoke.  She expressed approval over the news that I'm in the process of making top surgery happen but didn't tell me I absolutely needed to do it, something that would have been preferable because it would take the decision out of my hands.

To lighten the mood, I'll end with the fact that my endo said my voice was definitely deeper than it was the last time we met (in February?).  [livejournal.com profile] alifjiim also said my voice was deeper than he expected when he visited last week.  (I have a couple half-written posts about PTHC and meeting super-cool internet people a couple weeks ago, swear I'll finish those up sometime soon.)  I also met a few people at PTHC who said my voice was deeper than they would have thought given my low dose.  I don't remember if [livejournal.com profile] theirearlystuff said anything about it though.  Did I ever mention that my father is a contra-alto?  My voice might be the deepest of all living males in my family, and it's a bit lower than my cis male partner's voice.  I'm pretty satisfied with that.  (-:

Bias

May. 19th, 2014 06:18 pm
aidenonymous: (gender)
Last year, I judged a science fair, and the experience made me doubt my own sanity.  I judged the same fair this year, and it to some extent restored my faith in humanity, or at least in middle school science teachers.  At the same time, it made me question my own misogyny.

The way this fair works is that all the students have qualified in a local fair so they all get a prize, 1st, 2nd, or 3rd at this fair.  There's no limit on the number of students who can get each ranking, and they're not judged against each other; rather, they're judged by their adherence to objective standards.  They get 1st if they exceed the standards, 2nd if they met the standards but were no better than that, and 3rd if they really didn't meet the standards.  There were five girls and four boys in my morning session of 16-year-olds; the boys all got first, and the girls all got second.  There were five girls and five boys in my afternoon session of 13-year-olds; one boy and one girl got first, but the two who got third were both girls.  Small number statistics, I know, but something isn't right here, and I'm not comfortable with my role in it.  Also, not sure how relevant it is, but the two first place 13-year-olds were the only two in the bunch who clearly hadn't even dipped a toe into puberty.  I wonder if being a late bloomer contributed to being a science whiz because I wasn't distracted by sexuality.  That being said, I wasn't nearly as far behind my peers as those two were, just very small in general.

I had a nice chat over lunch with a graduating senior who wanted to be a middle school science teacher.  He thought I was another contestant but accepted me as male even after knowing my age.  I encouraged him and generally felt like a good person.

I expressed so much optimism in therapy.  I've been more outgoing at work since coming out.  I scheduled a meeting with a speaker to talk about science.  Career advice in my field often includes something about initiative, especially the suggestion of making appointments to chat with speakers as a way to be remembered as having come up with some ideas they'll take with them or possibly making a connection with a collaborator.  I never did it before because I was shy and felt that I didn't have anything to contribute or that my questions were stupid or because they might remember me as a girl.  I didn't let myself worry about that this time.  I scheduled the meeting and talked for half an hour back and forth about some crazy ideas for science that could be done with this guy's data, and potential problems with some applications of it, and how we could collaborate in the future.  He even told me some of my ideas were really good and that he hadn't heard them before, and I promised to send him the draft of the paper I'm working on when I submit it in a few weeks.  So, yeah, lowered inhibitions at work can be a good thing.

Bizarre

Apr. 6th, 2014 11:40 pm
aidenonymous: (gender)
I think I just got hit on by a guy as a guy for the first time.  I don't really have any hard evidence, but I'm pretty sure that's what happened.  I didn't like it any more than being hit on as a girl to be honest, but maybe it was the context.

In other news, I've been applying my T on an every other day basis since Thursday.  My voice was really ridiculously low on Thursday night, so I didn't apply it Friday.  I did apply it Saturday, and both Saturday and Sunday my voice felt really strangely deep.  Have I said "really" enough yet?  Anyway, it's not that I don't like where it is, but I'm kind of concerned about it changing so much at the inauspicious time of ten-ish months on T after previously seeming to settle down.  I know there's no "right time" to come out, but it will be a significantly better time once the semester ends.  I've already reached the point at which I can no longer pass for female at work, and my voice going into overdrive is not going to make the next month any easier.  I am not, however, considering taking a break again.  That was no fun at all.  So, ummm, awkwardness?
aidenonymous: (genderqueer)
I kinda fell off the internet again.  I was really burnt out and barely made it to Spring Break.  I restarted T the week before break because I was a nervous wreck.  By then, I'd been having negative effects from stopping for about two weeks, and I couldn't cope anymore.  I'm going to make a T update kind of post about the whole thing, but the short version was that it was not pretty.  I basically got to the same point I was at when I started, unable to function without it.  I'll admit though, the first ten days or so were a valuable and hardly excruciating experience (that I have no plans to repeat any time soon).

I slept through most of the break and basically got nothing done but felt somewhat refreshed at the end.  I'm pretty much abandoning the project I've been working on for the past six months, which puts me at risk of not being able to take my comprehensive exam at the end of the summer, but I don't feel like I have much of an option.  Right before break, I made an appointment to talk to the head of the grad program and explained the problem.  It's not that I don't have time for research.  It's that I have only a few hours each day of peak mental productivity, and I can hardly get anything done like that, at lest not on something so abstract.  At our meeting, he told me that my advisor had just contacted him asking if I was alright, and he'd told her to go easy on me.  It's not what I want, but it may be what I need.  I don't know if this is awkward or expected given how I came out to him, but we have not said a word about it IRL and barely a reference has been made in e-mails.  Related: I need to write a coming out letter to my advisor and have been putting it off for almost two weeks. . . another thing I need but don't want, apparently.

words about my chest )

Anyway, I don't want to go into this unless I'm confident I won't regret it, even if my regular doctor, endo, and therapist are falling over themselves to write me a letter.  I don't know what I'm going to say to the surgeon when we meet, but I have six weeks to figure it out.  Maybe the surgeon will turn out to be a really good salesperson and totally win me over.  In the meantime, I should do that work I was doing before it occurred to me that I'd think better after getting this out.  I'm hoping I'll have enough spoons to catch up with folks here a bit this weekend.

Fear

Feb. 15th, 2014 04:17 pm
aidenonymous: (gender)
I've got far too many half-written posts to be starting another, but I guess this is kinda important.  I pulled an all-nighter on Wednesday-to-Thursday and forgot to apply my T the next day.  That was actually the first time I forgot to do it at all.  "No biggie," I told myself.  I got home late and decided to apply it at midnight and let that be the dose for Thursday and Friday.

Last night, I looked at my face in the mirror and saw dark hairs growing on my upper lip and got scared.  When I woke up this morning, the dark hairs were still evident in the mirror.  I didn't want to dose myself, so I didn't.  I haven't had T in my system for about 18 hours.  Since 7 May 2013, I haven't spent more than 12 hours without any added T in my body.

Apparently I really, really don't want to shave my upper lip.  I know there are women, plenty of them, with more substantial mustaches than what I've got, and some of them shave, too.  That's not what this is about though.  I don't care if other people see my facial hair and make assessments of my gender that are in any way influenced by that.  I love having sideburns, but I'm somehow deeply afraid of both shaving my upper lip and having a tween's 'stache.  This is one of those internal dysphoria things that's independent of what anyone else thinks, and I'm more comfortable heeding those feelings than those I know are responses to something external, like how people interact with me.

What does this mean?  I don't know if I'm taking a break or stopping or what, although I suspect I'll cave and apply a dose for Saturday and Sunday at midnight tonight.  I'm sorta glad my partner's out of town right now because I don't think talking to him would clarify anything for me.  While I think it's important to leave evidence of my doubts where I can't deny them, I don't think this is something for which I should make myself accountable to others, especially those who are invested in my choice.

How does it feel?  I haven't been really self-conscious about my voice or unable to interact with people socially.  I don't think I can go a week without T, not now anyway, because I'm starting to feel anxious about all the stuff I have to do this week.  I have some public speaking lined up, among other things, and just feel like I need T in order to face the world.  But I'm going to need to get over my fear of shaving my upper lip first.  I don't know who to ask for help.  I really wish I had a big brother right now, preferably a non-binary one.
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.
aidenonymous: (gender)
It feels really good to be writing this now.  I've had a rough few days.  I've spent so much time on the phone sorting out things for my upcoming travel that I haven't gotten anything done for work.  My passport was finally mailed out today and should arrive tomorrow, and it will have a male sex marker.  And it will expire in two years, giving me that much time to get my name changed and update it without any additional fees, and I'll have at least some ID to use for everyday things in the meantime.  When the State Department called me to give me the update, they referred to me as "Mr. LastName," something that's never happened to me before and hadn't come up in previous conversations with them or anyone else in this process.  I was happy but unsure exactly what I was feeling at first.  Even though I write about it a fair bit, it still took some thought to determine it was recognition.

I've been considering whether this will be my last T-versary.  My plan was to stay on T through the summer and re-evaluate things before classes resume in the fall.  I'm not entirely sure what I was looking for, but I wanted to check in with my mental and physical health, my partner, and to what degree it was needed, because I delayed starting when it was only wanted.  It took a couple months before the novelty wore off enough that I could focus on other things again, my health has if anything improved aside from the acne, and my partner's had no trouble going with the flow.  The last thing I wanted to check is a bit more complicated.  I'm so pleased with the changes so far.  The biggest thing is obviously that I hear my own voice when I speak (though I still hope it keeps deepening, ha!), but there's more to it than that.  In my daily voice recordings, I've described it as stability and steadiness -- it just feels right.  For the most part, I don't think about changing my dose anymore, and at this point, I can't imagine discontinuing T in a month -- that would definitely be more of a disturbance than quitting when I'd vaguely planned to (derp, wrote the reverse of what I meant) continuing even when my ambient stress level increases.  I don't care whether that means it's needed or wanted because I've finally internalized that I am free from that condition.

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. 

Grounded

May. 17th, 2013 11:12 pm
aidenonymous: (sulu)
Okay, that really good feeling is coming back.  I just saw the new Star Trek and am feeling euphoric again.  Yes, it exceeded my expectations and was actually really good (and sufficiently nerdy), but what was really good was hanging out with someone from work that I have not been getting along with lately because I think we moved past our problems and can almost maybe be friends.  And that was enabled by me functioning socially at a level I rarely achieve.

I'm no quicker to find words, and I'm not much better at knowing when to break into conversation.  I don't exactly feel more confident, but something is different.  The word that comes to mind is "grounded," and I've never felt it this strongly before.  The last time I felt anything like this was when I stopped shaving my legs and underarms in 2008; suddenly I was connected to the immediate surroundings of my brain, namely my body.  My limbs became an extension of my head, and then I felt like I could do things with them, and that's when I started doing yoga, because I had posession of a body capable of it for the first time.

Now, it's more than just an immediate connection to my body, and in fact that's not really consciously part of it at all.  I think it might be a connection to my voice, and since hearing is an entirely different sense and making sound is its own sensation, I guess that's why I'm experiencing groundedness in a new way that's manifesting socially.  I'm not really feeling much social anxiety anymore, even though I'm still perceived as female among most people.  I honestly don't know if it's because I no longer care how I'm treated. . . I'll have to think about this more.

My roommate made a reference to me being on T to a housemate and her girlfriend, in my presence, and I didn't mind at all.  I don't know when people from work will notice my voice, since it's changing remarkably fast, but I'm not feeling anxious about it.  I mean, I should have a plan for what to tell them, but I'm not sure I want to do some kind of formal coming out.  I already go by a gender-neutral name, and I've all but disappeared.  I don't think I'll necessarily mind feminine pronouns if, if, if I'm not sure what, but I think I'm approaching it on this path, although I don't know at what distance.  I just feel right in a way I can't recall feeling before, and I'm okay with other people knowing.  How to get that knowledge to them in a way I'm comfortable with is something I really should think about, because I'm pretty sure it's not going to be easy.  But that's a problem for another night. 
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: (freddie mercury)
I just wrapped up a session with my health coach, and since we talked about gender things a lot, I wanted to write something here before I forgot everything (though I did take notes, as always).  Obviously things are a lot more complicated than what I said in our brief phone conversation, but it was more than I'd gotten to say with my therapist over the last month, and I feel like it was a good start in the sense that I can now tell my therapist, "Hey, I got help from a health coach in these ways, and here's how it was useful, can we talk like that, too?"

Therapy has been going really slowly, and I find that immensely frustrating.  I initially said that what I wanted to get out of gender therapy was a decision about what aspects of transition were right for me, but upon taking that apart a bit, I think what I really want is more certainty about what parts I've pretty much already decided to pursue in the nebulous, distant future.  I think I already know what I want, but I want to be confident that I'm doing what I need to, not just indulging something optional or something that I could regret.  And I feel like I really need to decide soon, so that it's easier to just be Ilan, not Ilan who used to be [birth name] when ey registered here, when I head off to grad school in June.

We talked about what changes I want from T.  I really, really want my voice to be lower and for my face to look more masculine.  I'd also like the changes to face, body, and head hair (though I worry I might regret those later on).  Ease of gaining muscle and body fat redistribution would be fantastic, but I'm not sure if I'm even thinking about being on T long enough for that.  And we talked about changes I'm less enthusiastic about, too.  I don't know if I want downstairs growth.  What if I can't ignore things as well then and spend more time being dysphoric about my crotch?  I'm also concerned about my hormonal acne worsening. 

I got to talk a little about why I've waited so long to get started on medical transition.  I felt so comfortable at school where everyone important knew I was genderqueer that the issue wasn't really forced.  Dysphoria regarding my crotch was mostly isolated to one week a month, and as long as I didn't have to wear a bra, my chest didn't bother me because I rarely left campus.  I talked about wanting facial hair and a deeper voice, but I didn't feel like I couldn't live without it. . . now that I'm not surrounded by supportive people who will take my word for it regarding my gender, I feel like I can't be perceived the way I should be without changes from T.  The health coach asked if I wanted to pass, and I said I wasn't sure, because it just seems so impossible and far away.  If I really wanted to pass, I should have already done a bunch of things like cutting my hair, right?  It was another one of those things that just wasn't an issue when I was in college and has been painful on a daily basis since I graduated and moved away, but I haven't done anything to fix it yet.

I also opened up about questioning my motives for transition -- am I just a misogynist? am I doing this for me or for other people? -- and its effect on my health given my other problems.  I'm concerned about being on T for the rest of my life.  I don't like being on medications, and I'm on several that will probably be life-long commitments due to chronic illnesses.  It seems counterproductive to sign up for more of that if less is an option.  But I can't see myself continuing to let my body be dominated by regularly fluctuating female hormones for much longer, and there doesn't seem to be an option to not have sex hormones.  I really don't know if starting T soon will help me resolve this.

I got some useful medical-type information, too.  Though genes control a lot of the hair distribution type stuff (face, head, and body), apparently voice isn't quite like that, because I won't be getting voice changes like a cisguy would during puberty, which makse sense because I know my voice has "matured" in some ways since I hit puberty the first time around.  This means that while I can probably count on not being able to grow a beard, my voice is not doomed to be the same as my father's bizzarely high voice.  It's also possible that my hormonal acne could improve on T, that I might have problems because my hormone levels are currently between the femle and male ranges, and my skin might stop rebelling if given the correct dose for either sex.  Obviously some testing is in order, but it's an option I wasn't really aware of before.

However, there was a lot that I didn't talk about that I would want to discuss further with a counselor.  One of the changes I'd really like from T is an end to the monthly reminder that I have female reproductive organs.  I feel bad about this because there are other ways to stop it that are perceived as "less drastic,"  and I've never pursued any of those for what seem like weak reasons, plus I might want to be on a low dose that only makes things wonkier.  I'd also be overjoyed to see my chest shrink further, so maybe I could get surgery by a method that's less likely to result in loss of sensation.  (EDIT: I just spent the afternoon looking at Transbucket, and I think I've got a real shot at peri if I ended up going for surgery at all, moreso if I get just a bit more shrinkage.)  One of my unsaid fears about starting T is that the changes will make my long-term partner stop being attracted to me.  He's not making any promises, but knowing that he's trying not to have to break a promise that our feelings will never change doesn't make me feel any more confident in possibly putting our relationship at risk. 

I also didn't go into my non-binary identity at all, which is a bigger deal than I generally let on.  I want people close to me to see me as Ilan, who isn't a woman or a man, but I want those not close to me to just see another guy, because if I have to choose, and I very much feel that I do, I need to be perceived as not-female, which means transitioning to male, at least on the surface.  I guess I didn't mention it explicitly to the health coach because I see him as being part of the not-close category, and I guess that makes sense since we've only met once and talked on the phone three times, but I feel like this is something I should be able to talk about more in counseling.  And because we didn't go into my non-binary identity, we didn't talk about my alternatives to T, namely more exercise, voice coaching, and other things I can do to be read as male and feel more comfortable with my body.

Anyway, we talked a bit about what I can do about getting T if therapy moves too slowly and I end up having to move before starting T.  I think that was really important to consider and not something that would have come up with my therapist.  I'm going to be making an appointment for shortly before I move with one of the sliding-scale informed consent clinics here in the Bay Area. If I get a "T letter" (probably just a referral to an endocrinologist?) before the appointment, I'll cancel and someone with an emergency will get my slot.  But if therapy never gets off the ground and I feel like I need to get going before introducing myself to my new department, I can still make it happen. (EDIT: I called the Lyon-Martin Clinic but got lost in a maze of automated voicemail subroutines.  I'll try again tomorrow with a script for what my message will say and a stimulant to back me up when it comes to following the instructions.) 
aidenonymous: (sulu)
I haven't been on-line much since I went to New York, first because I was traveling and had intermittent Internet access, and then because I was focusing on my grad. school applications.  But I got a lot done yesterday and today and can take a few minutes to update and read my friends page (and post a few things that got lost in transit using the nifty "Date Out of Order" option).  Anyway, I was really in the dumps before my trip back east, and I've had a lot of energy basically since I got there, minus a few days when I had a cold since getting back.  I'm surprised that that positive energy carried over upon my return to the Bay Area, but I actually want to do things and advance my life now.  Crazy, huh?

I'll be buying a gym membership (rock climbing and yoga) later today and am so psyched about it, in part because my health insurance will cover half the cost.  And I've scheduled counseling at the local LGBTQ space for the New Year, and I'll be going to a local FTM support group to boot.  Plus I'm finally on the last attempt to cure my acne before I can try Accutane and maybe stop worrying that T will make my skin even worse than it already is.  Oh, and I found out that my current insurance covers voluntary sterilization, which I may try to wrangle into a hysto.  Progress, fuck yeah!
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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