This is a style blog and yes I am aware that I am transgender! I am a married, 40 something male, that enjoys cross dressing. I am a man who likes to dress in women's clothes. I like to call myself Nadine while dressed as a woman. On my blog I will be exploring women's clothes and men being able to wear them in a fashionable manner and other various topics that interest me. Follow..
I wore this outfit about a week ago when my wife and I were able to go to a local college, COS, and give a talk on gender. I am so super thrilled to be able to go to colleges and try and help educate about the transgender community. The classroom that we went to this time was for one of my favorite teachers, Debra Hansen. It was about two years ago now that I first contacted her and inquired about speaking in her room. I was not able to speak for her class at that time as it was just a quick inquiry. We connected though and the next semester there was an opportunity so I jumped at it.
Super terrifying was the way I might describe how I felt the very first time I spoke, and it was only a panel discussion. A panel talk is when several transgender people are there, the students ask questions, and if you feel like offering up some information, then you can speak. If you don't want to say anything, then you don't need to. It is a super easy and relaxed way to speak with college students.
This last time though, it was a bit different, it was only my wife and I. Wow! Exciting. I have done a few speeches since that first talk I gave in Debra's class, but that was with my powerpoint showing my life. This talk was no powerpoint, no reference materials, just my wife and I, and some time. I was a bit nervous about doing this talk as I only found out what was happening upon walking into the classroom that morning. But, I'm an educator at heart, along with my wife, and so we totally just rolled with it.
We each gave a brief overview of who we are and why we were there to speak to the students. After that, the students got to ask any question they wanted to. I love answering their question, but honestly they are a bit tame. I keep expecting some sordid taboo subjects to pop up, like how does a cis woman and a trans woman have sex! That would be a wild question that I'm not sure I would even attempt an answer. Alas, no student has yet to ask me anything that I have been unwilling to at least attempt an answer.
They question came, and my wife, Debra, and myself tried our best to provide good answers for the students. We had a good time, the students seemed to respond well, and Debra super appreciated us being there to speak with her students. What did I appreciate? Being able to be there with my wife. She and I compliment each other very well. I really think that she and I should do most of the transgender presentations I coordinate. Hopefully in the future we will get that opportunity.
Oh, right, this is supposedly an outfit post! Crap! I totally got sidetracked! I just love my wife, presenting, and educating! Okay, well, anywho..... I love this dress! It is super light and flowy, a perfect dress for these hot Central Cal summers. What else? Well the sandals I have on are some of my faves. I have two pairs of them. A dark brown pair, and a black pair. I think they are still available and have provided some links for them. I highly recommend them. They are super cute, comfy, and I have gotten many compliments on them.
Okie dokie, that's about it! Love you! Love yourselves! Love, love, love!
Wow, really, it has been two years? Hmmm..... how did that happen? In many ways, it is surprising to me that two years have passed since I first changed my hormones. It feels as though the time has flown by and that it can't possibly have already been two years. I have felt great and it has done nothing but cement in my mind that this trans stuff is totally real!! I know, little Mrs. me, forever doubtful of the reality staring back at me in the mirror.
Something that has made it seemed as though the last two years have super dragged by though is the few amount of physical changes I have bee experiencing. As I am becoming much more clear on my realities of actually being a woman, I am also becoming far more aware that my body is not that of a typical woman's. It's a hard thing as I don't hate my body, I don't feel as though I was born in the wrong body, and yet, I'm not thrilled by having a more typical masculine body. Clothing makes me feel awesome as I can use it as camouflage. Nudity, yeah, not so awesome feeling. Not horrible feeling, just not awesome feeling.
Though..... having changed my hormones has for sure affected my brain and my body for the best. Mentally the changes have been profound. My life finally makes sense to me. Okay, maybe not entirely, but enough so, that it has allowed me to feel the best I have ever felt. Being able to look back on things that have occurred and finally understanding them is so empowering and relaxing, I love it!
I also do love all of the physical changes that I have experienced. Few as they may be, they are all super appreciated. What sorts of changes have I experienced? Drum roll please......... well, can we chat about the photo at the top of the page? Wow! I could not tell you at all what has happened to me, but something sure as shit happened! I am shocked to see those three photos together. Okay, so in my opinion at least, I think that my face is appearing more feminine, and for that I am eternally grateful. I really am.
Okay, what else..... small amounts of breast growth. I definitely have breasts, though they are little. That is the word my wife and I have decided on for their current descriptor. It is hilarious though as back in 2015, I was actually able to create better "fake cleavage" than I am able to create real cleavage now. It has something to do with how breasts sit on the chest wall compared to pectorals muscles. Yeah, funny. Well, I find it kind of sad funny, but hey let's stick with funny! That'll be more fun, right??
Other than that there has been some fat redistribution to my butt. My butt is currently the largest it has ever been. And yes, I know. I have been keeping body measurement records since I was about thirty. Weird huh? Maybe. However my wife and I lost quite a bit of weight back then and I stuck with measuring my body ever since. It has been super handy in being able to see if any physical changes have actually been occurring. So the measurements don't lie, and blue jeans don't lie either as they are definitely to fit my butt into!
Hmmm...... anything else I can think of?????? Uuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhhhhmmmmmmmmmm...... oh, skin softening and less body hair. My skin is slowly becoming thinner and softer. It is also drying out a bit. It has always been super thick and oily, all over, but that is no longer the case. My chest hair is basically gone. That could be due to the home IPL I used for a bit, and I know that some of it is from my most recent electrolysis appointments, but I think most of the loss was from changing my hormones.
In asking my wife, she reminded me that I have had muscular changes also. My muscles are far less defined than they were before. And they are far less capable! Maybe it is just me and my lack of knowing how to properly work this new endocrine system, but wow! I really notice the lack of testosterone acting as a steroid upon my muscular system. My muscles are less big, less strong, they have less endurance, and a longer recovery period. So, yeah, that happened.
Okay, so.... I am thrilled at what changes I have had thus far. It is way better than I could have ever hoped for by simply changing my hormones. But...... did you feel the but coming???? I have some concerns. I actually already stated that I have some doubts about what's been happening with me physically. Not doubts about transition, gads no, doubts about if something more might be able to happen.
I explained my concerns to my therapist and coincidentally she happened to have lunch with a well known hormone providing doctor in Southern California about a day or two before. I actually got my initial doctor because of my therapists referral, the two of them are friends. And while my therapist and I both adore my current doctor and consider her to be a friend, she describes herself as a baby-catcher. Meaning, she is first and foremost an OB/GYN. Secondarily she also enjoys and is knowledgeable with working with the trans community. My therapist and I both came to the conclusion that maybe it might be best to try and work with a hormone provider who has that as their primary focus, and are not quite so distracted with baby-catching. She suggested that I call the doctor she had met for lunch and just see what she had to say. Thus it was that I setup my appointment towards the end of June.
The doctor was great and had easily garnered my trust within the forty five minute appointment we had. I basically told her my life story, I know, how did I manage within a 45 minute period? It was rough! Especially with Jodie in the room to color the story as well. Anywho...... by the end of the appointment I had decided to change my hormone provider to her.
She had a couple of appointments to do online and asked us to wait around, to which we gladly agreed. Within about thirty minutes, her appointments done, I was laying down on her exam table with my hip exposed. She was preparing to inject estrogen pellets under the flesh of my butt. Scary! Well, for me it was terrifying for sure! But, I had just had my orchiectomy at the begging of this month and talk about a pretty terrifying and major body modification! Ha! With the pellet implants I will eventually only have them injected 2 to 3 times per year. Which is far better than replacing an ineffective patch every four days.
Oh, did I say ineffective? Yeah, I did say that. Well....... in my new doctors opinion, I have been a bit estrogen, and progesterone, starved. For one, I have not been on progesterone. This doctor's research is that it will either help, or not, but you don't need to wait more than a few months to begin taking it after starting with estrogen. Speaking of estrogen..... her preference, what has been shown to work best with her vast number of trans clients, is to have estrogen levels vastly higher than what I have had thus far.
She suggested that all of the physical changes I have had thus far could possibly be due to simply not having testosterone. It is a fascinating thought to think that maybe everything that has happened to me has had nothing to do with estrogen. Her suggestion is to basically give me about five to six times the amount of estrogen I have been getting. Which is a huge increase and quite intimidating to someone who has been listening to her previous doctor extol the vertues of a low estrogen treatment plan. But over the last two years estrogen has become my best friend! Which is why, I allowed her to place the estrogen pellets into me. At the very least, I won't have to remember about patch-day anymore, and at the most....hmmmm...... who knows? I do know that right now, a week later, I feel great! And I have no patches on!
I find myself, on my two year Estro-Versary, happily reflective and thoughtful about the future. Two years ago, I was not ready to be where I am today, I had not learned enough. Now, I'm thrilled about the choices I have made, and I am a better person because of them. Regardless of what does, or does not, happen, I am thrilled with who I am.
As well, I am so thankful to my community. At one point that was only my wife. Through putting time, effort, energy, persistence, and dedication into myself, educated me about who I really am. That knowledge gave me the strength to be brave, despite my doubts. Bit by bit, person by person, I slowly came out, and lovingly, my community grew. Family, friends, acquaintances, therapists, doctors, bosses, coworkers, students, parents, college professors, total strangers, and vast groups I am sure that I am forgetting have all been folded into my community. The level of support I have received from all has been shockingly amazing and I will forever be eternally grateful.
So, uh, yeah, there ya go!
Love you! Love yourselves! Love each other, it matters!
I don't remember when my friend Dana first mentioned to me the idea of she and I doing a podcast, though I do know what my response was, sure! I didn't really know a whole lot about podcasts, as I don't generally listen to many of them. I understood the basics, it is like a radio show, and I have listened to plenty of talk radio in the past. What I didn't know, was, how exactly does one produce a podcast. No matter though, I so appreciate my friend Dana, and I'm always trying to find new ways to help educate the populace, thus the idea of one day, putting on a podcast appealed to me.
My friend Dana is an awesome human. I met her at my somewhat local LGBT+ resource center in Visalia, called The Source. Dana runs the transgender support group at The Source. She is a fabulous human who wanted to help bring some resources and support to the trans community of the Central Valley of California. It became very apparent to her about the lack of transgender assistance in our area when it was obvious that her oldest child is transgender. Life certainly changed when he transitioned at around fourteen or fifteen. Yeah, as I said, she is an awesome human being!
I certainly admire her, and thus I felt super honored when she asked me to do the podcast with her. The one thing we both knew would be an issue, is when exactly are we going to find the time in our crazy lives to add in one more thing to do. We were both super interested in doing this, but the reality of our lives is that they are truly super busy! Both of us have full time jobs and then we tend to pile other various bits and pieces on top of it. But I don't really think that to my loyal blogging community members I need to explain just how busy my life is. You may notice from my super slow amount of blogging that I already have too much going on to possibly add anything else. And you may possibly be right.
Be that as it may, I am not going to let a little thing like not having enough time, dictate whether or not I am going to try and do a bit more for the transgender community. The older I am becoming, and the longer I go into AT (after transition, as opposed to BT) the more I am understanding that I am an educator. I've always understood that I have had a job as a teacher, but I have not always understood my relevance in the world as an educator. Recently I have been able to have several opportunities to try and help educate about the transgender community, and possibly reach cis-gender humans! That is faboo! I mean, I love having so many readers from the trans community, it is truly quite lovely! However, the trans community is super small, last estimate I heard was about 0.6% of the population. Being so tiny, if we want to have equal rights, we need to have allies! So, yeah, when I am presented with another opportunity to try and help educate about my favorite topic, then of course I will go for it!
Eventually Dana and I did find some time to record ourselves. Of course we had no idea of what we were really doing. We did have a computer, a microphone, recording software, lots to say, and some time with each other to just chat. And chat we did. We babbled on for about two hours! Thankfully, with some help from the fabulous Brian Poth, also from The Source, we were able to create a few episodes out of our blather. Dana recorded some bumpers, and picked out some music. I learned how to do editing and mixing. And hey, what do you know, the next thing is that she and I have our very own podcast!
Welcome to TransCisTer Radio! Do you like the word play within that? Brian and Dana came up with the name and graphic to go along with our show title. Personally, I love it!
So..... with all of that being said, I would truly appreciate you going and checking out our show. It is also available through: Stitcher, Google Play, Spotify, and iTunes! Wow, it feels so official! We currently have four episodes up. The first three are the first time Dana and I recorded ourselves. Surprisingly it works as three separate episodes. Episode four is the first one where we tried to follow a somewhat standard format, with actual timed segments! Wow!
Things are moving along with this podcasting thing, apparently. What type of schedule are Dana and I going to attempt to keep with this?? That's funny. Schedule? Ha! She and I? Yeah, probably not going to happen. Unless we get famous, then maybe we could stick to a standard schedule! Haha.
As with most things that I find myself doing, I want you to know just how vast my insecurities are about doing it. I have about ten years of blogging behind me at this point, but when I first put up this blog, I was terrified! Now though, not so much, even with the increase of blog readers I have. With podcasting, what am I the most insecure about? Uhhh..... my voice. I feel the best I have ever felt about my voice. I currently am gendered properly over the phone, and even when I am not putting Herculean efforts into my appearance. So, how I feel about my voice, and the realities of my voice are two different things. Apparently the realities of my voice is that in hearing it, others take it to be feminine. But, when I hear it, it does not sound feminine enough. Which is where pretty much all of my insecurities lie, in that I am just not female enough, in my opinion. Which basically means, I am unjustly, a super hard-assed bitch to myself, as most women are. Ha-ha, her.... point being, is that even though I am super insecure about it, I am still trying to put myself out there.
Love facing your insecurities!
Seriously, are you sure you're taking the time to love yourself properly?
Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow. On a level of 1 to 10, can you describe the pain you are in? 1 is no pain at all and a 10 is the worst pain you have ever felt. Where would I describe this pain? Oh, in the 9-10 range. I don't really think I have ever felt any pain like this before. However, when I was asked this question yesterday in the hospital, I said, oh I don't know maybe a 5 or 6. Why did I say that? Well, I read once that doctors always hear people say that they are experiencing a level 11. Thus doctors become desensitized to patients thoughts on pain. I figured that the uncontrollable crying that happened when they asked me to sit up and get off of the gurney was some pretty solid evidence of the amount of pain that I was in.
But, hey, I'm clearly ahead of myself aren't I? Uhh.... just a little. Okay then, let's back up. I first considered getting an orchi awhile back. I'm not sure when it first occurred to me, but I do not what precipitated it. That was difficulties in getting my spironolactone, spiro for short. Spiro is used to prevent the body from using the testosterone it produces. When you are assigned male at birth but are actually a woman, generally you get placed onto two medications when you begin hormone therapy. Spiro to block the testosterone and estrogen to give you what you should be getting.
Anywho..... I, like most US citizens, tend to use CVS pharmacies to get my prescriptions filled. Several times over the last two years I have encountered difficulties in getting my scrip for spiro filled. One particular time the pharmacy I use told me that they would be unable to fill my scrip; they informed me that they were out of that medication. They offered me nothing and gave me no assistance in finding a place to fill the scrip. I didn't realize it at the time, but it was a totally anti-transgender move by the pharmacy. I kind of got a clue when I tried phoning several different locations and none of them would fill my scrip. I finally just drove across town to a different CVS, and spoke with that pharmacist. He said, that yeah, they were indeed out of that medication but there were at least 3 or 4 other manufacturers of that type of medication that they could easily use to fill that scrip. I walked out 5 minutes later with the scrip in hand.
The thing was though, I totally panicked when I was struggling to get my scrip filled. It was around then that I realized what a horrible feeling it was that other people were now in charge of my body. They had the power to determine whether or not I would be on testosterone or not. That really pissed me off, horribly so!
It was around then as well that I started noticing the effects that spiro was having on my body. Yes spiro stops the body from being able to utilize testosterone, but it also can increase the potassium in your body to dangerous levels, thus requiring frequent blood work to be examined. It also lowers your blood pressure which increases the amount of being light headed and dizzy upon standing. The other lovely thing is that it is a diuretic which means that I was constantly feeling dehydrated. I would drink liquid all day but by the end of the day my skin was super dry and flaky and my lips were constantly peeling. I would wake up every morning with such a super dry pasty mouth that it was painful.
So, uh, yeah, there you go, oh and let's also throw in that the longer I am in therapy, the longer I am on hormone therapy, the more I am understanding my reality, I'm actually a girl. And do you know what most girls don't have? Testicles! Yup, not so much! Thus it was, I found a doctor who was willing to accept my cash, as my insurance will not cover such things. Even though in the long run, it will save my insurance plan money. How so? They are paying for my spiro. If I didn't get the orchi, I would be on spiro for the rest of my life, with my insurance paying for it for ever. But if they would be willing to pay for the orchi, then no more spiro! And yes it would have saved them money. But no, they wouldn't pay.
Okay, so whatevs..... I found a doctor in Philadelphia that I could afford and specializes in working with trans patients. Thus it was I arrived in Philly earlier this week, and on Thursday I got my orchi. The thing that shocked me the most was how much pain I was in when I woke from surgery. I was not anticipating that. I thought that I would be numb, but nope, I wasn't. I was in pain. And that sucked. I spent the next hour or so crying trying to come to grips with the amount of discomfort I was in. I got some food in me, and some soda, and some percocet. That made it so I didn't care so much about the pain, but I still felt it.
My doctor had picked me up in the morning, and took my wife and I to the hospital. Once I was able, he drove us back to the hotel, and that is where I have been since. I know that I will make it through this, and that it is the best thing for me, but for now, it just plain sucks. I wish I was home. I wish I could have had this procedure done at my local hospital and that right now I was recovering at my house, with my own things, and able to stay in my own bed. Easily half of my discomfort right now is that I am staying in a hotel. That sucks.
This is but one of the dehumanizing things some of us trans people have to endure to be able to be who we are. Kinda sucks. Kinda really sucks actually. Well for right now it does at least. I know I will make it through, and I know I will be happier. I just wish it was right now. Love you! Love yourselves! Don't love pain so much.
One of the most challenging questions I have had to deal with is trying to determine if I have lost friends because of my transition. I am a member of a chat board called crossdressers.com and on that board people are very fond of saying that when you transition you need to be prepared to lose everyone and everything and thus they do not recommend transitioning unless it is a life and death situation. That sentiment scared me off from transitioning for a long time, and now that I have actually transitioned I don't know if it is an accurate statement.
The humans at that site have other's best interest in mind in telling them that, as there are many who have transitioned and have lost everything. Unfortunately it is not uncommon for people who transition to lose their family, friends, job, house, kids, everything and anything that you can think of. I suppose that it is a good idea for people to be prepared for this possibility if they are to chose to transition.
Keep in mind, this is not to say that people are choosing to be transgender, that is something that you are born with or not. What I am saying is that people can choose to transition or not. There are many people out there that know they are trans, and that they will always be trans, however, they are not ready, willing, or able to transition.
Okay, so someone can choose to transition or not. That is factual. Now what will happen once someone does transition? That is an unknown. Nobody can say for sure what will or wont happen once somebody makes the choice. And as I said, I suppose that people should be prepared for the worst when making this choice, however, it is my opinion that it is a detriment to tell people that it is inevitable that the worst will for sure happen.
One of my favorite shows is Deadliest Catch. Have you ever seen it? Do you know what it is about? If you don't know, it is a show about catching crab in the Bering Sea. Which is widely known as one of the deadliest jobs on the planet. Anywho, when they get somebody new on the crab boat they refer to that person as a Greenhorn. It is quite typical that the Greenhorn gets treated horribly. And the boat captains encourage that behavior from the other members of the crew. The Greenhorn gets the worst jobs, the most demanding jobs, and constantly takes loads of verbal and sometime physical abuse from the other crew members. Inevitably many of the Greenhorns do not survive the entire season or return for more abuse for a second season.
Recently I saw a show where a psychologist was discussing the hazing that takes place aboard crab boats towards the Greenhorns. The captain's positions were basically one of, the hazing of the newbies is a good thing because it helps to prepare them for the horrors that are crab fishing. Crab fishing is a tough thing and people new to the job need to be abused in order to understand just how difficult the job is. The psychologist basically completely disagreed with the methods the captains and the entire industry encourage. She said that what it does is to make people feel worthless and more likely to not succeed in the profession. And really, to truly help people become proficient in crab fishing, you need to encourage them, and not haze and berate them.
Hmm..... interesting thoughts. Can these same thoughts be applied to being transgender? Personally I think they can. Is it a possibility that someone may die from crab fishing? Yes. But, you don't prepare them for that by treating them like garbage. Thus applied to transgender humans, you don't prepare them for transition by treating them poorly. What you may do is scare them off from transitioning. Sadly some trans humans think this is a good thing.
Ummm..... yeah, I obviously disagree. People don't need to be discouraged from transitioning. Nor do they need to be encouraged to transition. What do they need? They need to be supported in sorting out their own thoughts to determine if transition is necessary for themselves. Do people need to be aware that there is a possibility that they may loose everything if they transition? Sure. But do people need to be aware that they may gain everything they have ever wanted by transitioning? Yes they do.
Okay, long preamble huh? Yes just a bit! LOL! Back to the point of this post, how many friends have I lost due to transitioning? Ummmm...... maybe two. A married couple that my wife and I would hang with on occasion. Yup. I had my suspicions about whether or not the lack of contact from them was due to my transition. Recently I met with the wife of the couple and it was pretty much confirmed that they have stopped wanting to hang out with us due to my transition. Sad? Yes. Yes it is very sad to me that both my wife and I have lost them as friends due to me choosing to be true to who I have been born as.
Would it really have been better to not transition, stay miserable, and potentially keep these two people as friends? Well, the reality is that while they were considered to be friends, possibly even somewhat close friends, we saw them maybe 4 or 5 times per year. So..... I should have stayed miserable to spend possibly 5 sets of a few hours each per year with these people. Ummm, big NO! Nope, that is not worth it.
Besides, the reality of friendships is that they are constantly evolving. Friends come and go throughout our lifetime. I once read that within the next seven years you will loose half of all of your current friends. Wow! And that is without transitioning. That is just because lives change. Interests change. People move. People grow. Friends die. Things happen! Should that prevent us from doing things that may cause us to lose people from our lives?
No. No you should not allow the potential loss of anyone to cause you to be untrue to yourself.
For me, the loss of two people from my world has not impacted me in the least. Well, okay, maybe it has a little bit. I am bummed that those two people are so terrified of interacting with me at all that they are refusing our requests to have them over for dinner. However, at the same time that I have lost those two people, I have gained many more people in my life. Once I decided to come out, and then to transition, and to include as many people as I could, I have gained many more friends, and reconnected with many people I lost contact with long ago. There are those who will inevitably say that I am the exception to the rule and people should not listen to me. C'est La Vie! Don't then. It wont bother me. I truly cannot explain my transition, but I really don't think that it is all that unusual or spectacular. What I can say is that throughout this process of coming out and then transitioning, I have learned much about myself and about other people. What did I learn about myself? That I am the single most transphobic person that I have ever met.
Yup, that's true. I have been deathly afraid of myself being transgender because I was afraid of what that was going to mean for me and my life. Because see, I have viewed being transgender as a bad thing. What this has meant for me is that prior to dealing with this issue inside of myself, I thought that I had to deal with this issue in everybody else. This made it so that I approached most people with a chip on my shoulder and an expectation that people needed to do something for me. It was their job to prove to me that they were not transphobic. Yeah, that set me up for lots of disappointment and heartache. Thus, once I accepted my own internal feelings, I began to change how I interacted with others. It changed things for the better. When before I was seeing how awful people were, I began to see how fantastic people really are. I understand that not everybody is fantastic and accepting, but the vast majority really are fabulous.
So, maybe it is that which has caused my transgender experience to be different than many others. I truly don't know. I do know that my transition has been fantastic. Really I have had nothing to complain about. Well, except for maybe how difficult and challenging the medical and insurance community has made it for trans people. When a cis person can get the same surgery as a trans person without having to pass a bevy of hoops placed before them, then that really does suck. But even that is changing. Slowly, but it is changing. Okay, so, other than that, my transition has been great.
No, it's not because I live in California and that is the land of beaches, sunshine, hippies, and happy loving acceptance. The cities are more that way, but the rural portions, most of California, are highly conservative. Possibly more conservative than some areas of the US as a rebuttal to the hippy commune cities effects. I myself live in one of the most conservative areas. I also transitioned while on the the job as a middle school teacher in a highly conservative school district, which does not offer any kind of insurance for trans people. Yes I did take my employer to the EEOC, but am still happily employed by them. My wife did at one time say that if I ever transitioned she would leave me. My sister once told me that she knew all about trans people but didn't really want to discuss "those" people with me.
So..... I had a few things working against me. But I did have one certain thing going for me, which is my unflappable determination that this is what was right for me, and that I knew I could do this and have the support from those around me. And now, being about two to three weeks away from ending my 23rd year of teaching, but the first as myself, I can say, guess what? I was right. I could do this. And in the end, what can I see has happened? The loss of two narrow minded people from my world? Wow, huge loss! Um, no, not so much.
If you are reading this and have yet to take the transition plunge, but have decided that it is inevitable, what should you take from this? The onus of responsibility to make sure that your transition goes the way you want it to go, is upon yourself, and only yourself. You can do this, but it will take time, effort, energy, persistence, and dedication. Notice that I am placing all responsibility for how it goes upon your shoulders? Well, yeah, that is how I do things. Basically because guess what? I can only ever control me. I can't force anyone else to do anything, but I can force myself to do just about anything. And you can to.
Time, effort, energy, persistence, and dedication!
I love this skirt. Seriously, I absolutely adore it! The pleating makes it move so lusciously that it feels like wearing a cloud. Well, maybe, but I am not sure what a cloud actually feels like. How about that I say that it is super light, fluffy, and swishes while I walk and twirl about. Yes, in this skirt I am a bit prone to twirling.
As well, I like this tank. It is simple, but lovely. It has small scallop like waves on it that are edges with white fabric. It has a lovely look to it, but also a great texture to it. And you know how much I appreciate a good texture, right? No? Well I do, so now you know. Exciting!
A funny little thing lately.... You may know that I am beginning to speak with groups of college students. I go over much of my life, telling of my journey to finally accept myself as the woman that I am. Typically I don't like PowerPoint presentations at all, but, and I know I am biased, I like this one! I love the photos I was able to put together for it..... okay, well I am sure eventually I will let you know more about what my speech is about. For now, the only thing that matters is that I have a bit of a joke that goes like this......
I am hated for a variety of different things (and it often changes depending on what I can come up with at that particular moment,) one being that I am a math teacher (generally math teachers don't bring up warm fuzzies for humans,) two that I am transgender (you know, because of how terribly frightening we are, yes sarcasm is my good friend!) Three - that I am a fashion blogger! (The internetz don't seem to be all that favorable to fashion bloggers!)
So, yeah, that's one of my jokes. I do say it in somewhat serious jest. While I do not feel as though I am truly hated, there are groups of people who do hate others. Some people hate math, and thus math teachers, there are some people who hate duck hunters (something I may include on occasion,) And so on..... so while I don't ever, in the least, ever feel as though I am hated........ I think that is why the joke is funny to me. My audience seems to get that.
Regret is a very difficult thing to deal with, and there is great concern out there about what will happen if a transgender person may regret their decision to transition. I first encountered this worry when I informed my friends and family that I had switched my hormones. I was actually quite surprised at how many people said to me - wow, okay, are you sure that is what you want to do? And very often that was followed up with - so, what will happen to your ability to produce testosterone if you are on estrogen for too long? Will you loose the ability to produce testosterone in the future if you change your mind?
It is almost as if they don't know me at all. And that is the rub, isn't it? Well for me it is, as it indicates that I hid myself very well. So well in fact that most people really have no idea of the life I have lived and for how long this "transgender thing" has been around. Weirdly, I didn't really understand that either.
Keeping those things in mind, I should have been better prepared for people being concerned about my upcoming surgery. If they were concerned about hormones, then they would be kind of freaked out about a surgery, right? Yeah well, I didn't really think that one through all the way. Maybe before we go any further, I should inform you what surgery I am discussing. People generally think about the surgery when trans people talk about surgery. No, it is not the surgery, however, it is right next door! Hahahaha..... I am scheduled to have an orchiectomy at the beginning of June. Don't know what that is? It is the removal of my testicles.
Why? Well, yeah, that is the question huh? Basically because since I switched my hormones it has become more and more clear that estrogen is a very important thing to me and my well being. Testicles produce testosterone. There, isn't that enough? It really should be. However, there is a bit more. I take spironolactone to prevent my body from using the testosterone that it constantly produces. That particular drug does other things to me besides the T thing. Number one would be that it makes me pee all the time. It sucks. Especially considering that I am a teacher. We don't have the ability to leave our classroom whenever we want. Number two is that it makes me dizzy and lightheaded when I stand too quickly. Besides those glorious side effects, I have unfortunately come close to not being to get my prescription. I had a pharmacy tell me they ran out and there was nothing they could do about it. Yeah, good times!
Basically I have decided to have my testicles removed so that I can have more control over my own body. Such a large, permanent change should be taken seriously, right? And I have. I kind of think that about 30+ years of pondering my gender is probably a long enough time to make a serious decision like this. The tortured days, and nights..... the endless discussions with my therapist.... the annoyingly long (all on my part) discussions with my wife....
Anywho….. I have been fielding questions from highly concerned people about what will happen if I regret my decision to remove my testicles. It has been strange listening to these people describe their concerns about me and my body. Largely I have been pondering why so many people have been worried about my balls! It is quite interesting that people are worried about what I will do to my own body.
Do you know what is weird? Nobody has ever said to me, congratulations. Don’t you think that is the appropriate thing to say? What if you knew somebody who was born with a deformity that limited them in life and they have had to deal with it their entire life? What would you say to them if they announced to you that they finally received a surgery date? Would you ask them if they are sure that it is the right thing for them to do? Would you be worried that at some point they may regret their decision to change their body? Would you tell them that you are excited and happy for them? I know for me, that is what I would do.
Okay, but whatever, you do know that I am NOT a man right? Oh, that's right.... I hid myself too well. So well that throughout most of this blog I have referenced myself as a man. Yeah, I am aware of that. Go ahead, take a look back through my documented history, you can see for yourself, I have referenced myself as a male for most of my history. So, maybe, possibly, I can sympathize with my friends and family who are concerned that maybe I may change my mind at some point.
What I have a harder time with are WPATH suggestions. What is WPATH? World Professional Association for Transgender Health. Yeah, I agree, exciting! Wait, there is a world-wide organization that is supporting transgender health? Well, yes and no. In many ways WPATH is accused of being a gate-keeping organization. What is gate-keeping? It is the practice of not allowing people to have autonomy over their own bodies. Meaning? Well basically it means is that unless you meet certain guidelines you will not be allowed access to that thing.
Vague? Possibly. So let's see if I can clarify a little. WPATH publishes a little something called the SOC - Standards Of Care. On it's surface this sounds as though it may be a glorious set of recommendations that the medical community needs to do for their transgender patients. That way ill informed doctors could reference it and then deliver appropriate care for their patients. And maybe some doctors use the SOC in that way, which would be fabu. However, in my limited amounts of experience, what I have seen is doctors and insurance providers using the SOC to limit access to medical care for the transgender community.
How so? The SOC include checklists that are to be used as guidelines for most things that transgender people want to do. Some of the checklists are: Criteria for puberty-suppressing hormones (for children) Criteria for hormone therapy Criteria for masectomy Criteria for breast augmentation Criteria for hysterectomy/orchiectomy Criteria for phalloplasty/vaginoplasty
Notice how they say "criteria?" Yeah most people do. What most people gloss over is the section of the SOC that say:
As in all previous versions of the SOC, the criteria put forth in this document for hormone therapy and surgical treatments for gender dysphoria are clinical guidelines; individual health professionals and programs may modify them.
Now, if doctors, insurers, therapists, and psychologists, actually understand the English language and can read, they would understand that these are not requirements, but guidelines. As well, people can feel free to modify them. Especially in states that have informed consent laws. Informed consent is when a health care provider does not have to follow these guidelines at all and can perform any procedure they are qualified to, as long as the patient is clearly informed about the risks, consequences, and outcomes.
However, the problem with this situation is that some health care providers make these guidelines become requirements. In my search for a doctor to perform my orchiectomy I struggled with doctors having more strict requirements instead of less strict ones. Here is what the SOC currently states for an orchiectomy.
Hysterectomy and Salpingo-Oophorectomy in FtM Patients and Orchiectomy in MtF Patients:
Persistent, well documented gender dysphoria;
Capacity to make a fully informed decision and to give consent for treatment;
Age of majority in a given country;
If significant medical or mental health concerns are present, they must be well controlled;
12 continuous months of hormone therapy as appropriate to the patient’s gender goals (unless hormones are not clinically indicated for the individual.
Two referrals—from qualified mental health professionals who have independently assessed the patient—are needed for genital surgery. .... Each referral letter, however, is expected to cover the same topics in the areas outlined below.
The recommended content of the referral letters for surgery is as follows:
The client’s general identifying characteristics;
Results of the client’s psychosocial assessment, including any diagnoses;
The duration of the mental health professional’s relationship with the client, including the type of evaluation and therapy or counseling to date;
An explanation that the criteria for surgery have been met, and a brief description of the clinical rationale for supporting the patient's request for surgery;
A statement about the fact that informed consent has been obtained from the patient;
A statement that the mental health professional is available for coordination of care and welcomes a phone call to establish this.
Yeah, so, those are the checklists of recommended items for someone requesting any genital surgery. It says that there are two referrals required, however, doctors and insurers are actually requesting three. Two from mental health professionals and one from the doctor prescribing your hormone therapy.
Now then, let's go back to the "guidelines" for surgery that the SOC says are not mandatory. I contacted about ten different doctors for my surgery. Pretty much every single one required that I meet every checklist item, plus their added items, prior to even scheduling me for an appointment. When I informed them that the SOC are guidelines and not requirements, they informed me that it does not matter, and that for them, they are requirements. When pressed about what appears to be an instance of denying care to trans people, they informed me that it was the insurance providers policy. I told them that insurance is not paying for my surgery, that I am. They said they did not care, that it was their insurance providers insistence.
There are many people I have discussed this situation with, and surprisingly almost everyone has told me that they have no problem with those checklist items being requirements. When asked why, they said, because we need to make sure that the people that have these procedures will not regret their decision.
Wow. Seriously? Is that the bullshit that you're going to hide behind? Apparently yes, they will try. Surprisingly, to me at least, most transgender people also support these guidelines. When asked why, their answer is the same, we need to make sure that transgender people will not regret their decision. Hmmm..... I am calling BULLSHIT!!! Totally, fully, completely, bullshit!
I do not think at all that people are worried about other humans regretting their decisions for how they may prefer to modify their bodies. But I do think I know what it actually is.... it's just plain old fashioned transphobia. How so? Well, thanks for asking, let's explore the answer to that question. In this discussion we will focus on breast augmentation. Why? It is the number one most performed plastic surgery procedure. In 2017, there were about 300,000 of these procedures done in the United States alone.
Okay, what types of requirements are there for a cis-gender human to get breast augmentation? This is a difficult question to answer as it is different for every doctor and basically there is no universally accepted pre-requisite, and many have no pre-requisites at all. One plastic surgery center I found via Google states:
You may be a candidate for breast augmentation if:
You are physically healthy and you aren't pregnant or breastfeeding
You have realistic expectations
Your breasts are fully developed
You are bothered by the feeling that your breasts are too small
You are dissatisfied with your breasts losing shape and volume after pregnancy, weight loss or with aging
You are unhappy with the upper part of your breast appearing "empty"
Your breasts are asymmetrical
One or both breasts failed to develop normally or have an elongated shape
Hmmm..... notice anything missing? I do. How about referral letters from your health providers? What about referral letters from your mental health professionals? What about a checklist of items that the surgeon demands that you provide evidence for completion? Those things do not exist for cis-gendered humans for breast augmentation. So, how about for the trans population that would like breast augmentation?
Criteria for breast augmentation (implants/lipofilling) in MtF patients:
Persistent, well-documented gender dysphoria;
Capacity to make a fully informed decision and to consent for treatment;
Age of majority in a given country (if younger, follow the SOC for children and adolescents);
If significant medical or mental health concerns are present, they must be reasonably well controlled.
Although not an explicit criterion, it is recommended that MtF patients undergo feminizing hormone therapy (minimum 12 months) prior to breast augmentation surgery. The purpose is to maximize breast growth in order to obtain better surgical (aesthetic) results.
As well, the patient is required to submit one referral letter from a mental health professional describing the same checkpoints listed earlier for genital surgery. They are also kind of lying when they say one referral letter, they actually mean two. One from your mental health professional and one from your medical doctor prescribing your hormone therapy.
Okay, so obviously there are quite a few differences in the "requirements" to fulfill to be able to get a boob job. Some may still say, yeah well, that is important to protect people from regretting a life changing procedure. In 2017 there were quite a few articles running around stating how lots of trans people are regretting their surgeries and are requesting a procedure to medically transition back to the gender they began as. Newsweek published an article: Gender-confirmation surgeries—the name given to procedures that change the physical appearance and function of sexual characteristics—increased by 20 percent from 2015 to 2016 in the U.S., with more than 3,000 such operations performed last year. Rates are also increasing worldwide. Now, at least one surgeon is reporting a trend of regret.
Wow, so this trans regret thing is pretty serious. I mean, there is even a trend of regret, right? I used to actually think that publications like Newsweek could be trusted. Did you notice that they give a large number, of 3,000 such operations, but never actually give numbers to the supposed "trend" of surgery regret? These days, I don't know if anything can be trusted. It seems as though everyone is just being inflammatory to sell their product. Drama sells. And people are so intrigued by possible regret that trans people may have. So then, what about the trend that Newsweek reported on?
36 surgical reversals out of 18,000-27,000 trans patients who’ve received surgery is a reversal rate of 0.13-0.2%. This is consistent with existing studies finding that rates of regret following genital surgery of about 2%, and indicates that only a small fraction of those who do experience regret will go on to seek reversal surgery
Okay, so maybe there is not exactly "a trend" of surgical reversals of Gender Confirmation Surgery. That is the whole kit and caboodle by the way, not just a boob job. So the rate of regret, with an actual study, was between 0.13-0.2%, and they report it is consistent with a rate of 2%. Which is ten times what the study showed, but whatever, make it bigger to account for some statistical errors. That is fine. But still, even with increasing it, the rate of regret, leading to a reversal, for a full GCS, is being reported at 2%.
Shall we take just a small moment and compare that rate of regret and reversal to the rate of regret and reversal for cis-gender breast augmentation. This is again difficult stats to find. But I found the following:
The most common surgeries among the survey group were breast augmentations (31 percent) and nose jobs (27 percent). Liposuction came a close third at 24 percent, while 16 percent had eyelid surgery. Asked how they felt following surgery, two thirds (65 percent) said they "regret having cosmetic surgery" although 28 percent said they "couldn't be happier with the results". Another source reports on breast augmentation specifically:
The FDA lists 26 potential complications, from rupture and deflation to infection and necrosis, and warns that up to 20 percent of women will have their implants removed within 10 years.
While the first stat is not super official it falls in line with what I have heard, most people who have plastic surgery regret their decision. Looking at the first quote, it says that 65% of Britains regret their surgery. Ummm..... trend anyone?
The second stat, coming from the FDA is pretty darn reliable, 20% of women will have their implants removed. That is a pretty big number of women who clearly regret their decision to have breast implants.
Yeah, let's make sure that we remember the trans stat, 2% regret reported, with the study putting it 0.2%. Okay, so a bit of math says, with 2%, that is one tenth of what cis-women report, and with 0.2%, that is one one hundredth. But hey, we need to make sure that trans people don't regret their decision.
What I am hearing is that people care SO much about the transgender humans that we just want to make sure that as few people as possible regret their decision to transition. And that is with hormones alone, and we especially want to make sure they do not regret any surgical decisions they make. However, with cis-gender humans, we don't really give a shit.
Did you happen to take a look at the requirements for getting breast implants and compare the cis-gender and transgender requirements? The cis-gender requirements are all ones that a single human all by themselves can make. They are making a choice about how they are going to treat their own bodies. For trans people? Yeah, no apparently we are not competent enough to make decisions about our own bodies. To even have surgeons consider you for a breast augmentation, you need to have two letters, a doctor, and a therapist. Did you see what the therapist has to write? I did. My therapist's letter is about 3 pages long. Yup 3 pages.
Yeah, for the orchiectomy, the requirements are even more severe than for breast implants. I actually got into a bit of an argument with a psychologist about the requirements. One of the old requirements for an orchiectomy is that you have 12 continuous months of living as the gender you identify as. So I suppose that one line will put the surgery out of contention for anyone who identifies as non-binary huh? Yeah, sorry, you don't identify enough with either gender to qualify as living full time as either male or female huh? Yeah, sorry, you're fucked. Okay, but anywho, back to the direct comparison of breast augmentation for trans and cis humans. Now, not for one second do..
It has to be at least a year ago that I met the amazing and fabulous Jessica Lynn. If you don't know Jessica travels the world giving speeches about her transgender life experiences. She is helping to educate the world that we transgender folk are just regular people trying to navigate this thing called life.
Anywho.... I met her at a group therapy session with my super cool therapist. Jessica came to talk with us about what she does. During that time she encouraged us to get out there and do the same thing that she is doing, talk with the general public about what it means to be transgender. It intrigued me immensely. I mean I love to talk, and I am proficient at speaking with large groups of humans, so it seemed like it was right up my alley.
The only issue was, I had no idea bout what I would say. Jessica's story is heartbreaking. It is filled with lots of ups and downs, immense drama, and mega injustices happening during her transition. Myself, my story is not nearly as drama filled. I told my therapist that while I wanted to get out there and speak, I didn't really think that I had anything about my particular story that would be all that interesting for anyone to listen to. That was at least a year ago. During this time in between, much of the writing portion of my brain has been locked in on the idea of writing a speech for a presentation to college students. I started writing it last summer. I got about 75% of the way there and then stopped working on it. I had lost inspiration and it was hard to look back on my story without becoming lost in the emotionalism of it all. But it bothered me that I couldn't seem to finish it. I began worrying about it and pondering what it was that I wanted my message to be. It weighed heavily on me.
During this past winter break from teaching I became determined to finish my speech so that I had at least something to work with. I figured out how to end it and with glee I began emailing professors at colleges around me. Happily one teacher wrote back super quickly and inquired about my speech. We agreed to have me come in to his class in the middle of march. I was thrilled.
And then the speech sat. I had done my jobs so far. I wrote the speech and had a class to go give it. Near the beginning of this month, I went back to the speech and began trying to practice the speech I had written. I hated it! It bored me! That was not good. I quickly set out to write another more interesting version. I finished that one in a day or two. I thought it was okay, but then I had the opportunity to go see my inspiration, Jessica, give her speech. It was then that I realized what both of my speeches were missing, heart.
I sat down for a third time and wrote another speech. Now when I say, wrote a speech, it really is not quite that simple. In writing these speeches, what I was really doing was to create three different PowerPoint presentations. Really, nobody wants to sit through an hour long speech that someone reads from a typed page of text. And, even if they do, that is not the speech that I wanted to write. I wanted to write a speech that would pull people in and allow them to see a glimpse into what it means to be transgender.
I gave the beginning parts of my two second speeches to my wife and asked her thoughts. We both agreed that the third one seemed to be the one to focus on. I worked on it throughout much of last week and finally ended up with something that I thought was doable. I began practicing my presentation and thought I had it down pretty well. It is fascinating in giving an ad-lib speech, meaning not from a typed text. With an ad-lib speech, it changes every time it is given. Thus I simply wanted to be confident that I could flow with it and make sure that I covered the key points.
Yesterday was the day. I was super nervous and unsure. But I made my way to UC Merced and found the teacher's office. We sat and chatted for a few minutes before heading over to his classroom. I got my computer setup, he introduced me, and off I went. The next hour passed in a blur and it was over before I knew it.
They all clapped and praised me for my efforts. So far I have gotten some great feedback from the teacher and a fabulous letter from a student. Apparently, they like me, they really like me! Which is great. But my largest hope is that I can help educate the non-trans population. People need to see that we are just like any other human being.
My hope is to be able to continue contacting college professors and to be able to continue to go in and do my thing. This is not an effort to get rich or famous. This is an effort to help educate. At my core, that is what I am, an educator. If I can use my skills and talents to help educate the world and make it a little bit easier for trans and cis alike, then I have truly won.
I really like this dress! The red color is so deep and rich, it just looks yummy! Color is not my forte, I mean I wear it fine, however I am color blind. I think I may have mentioned that once or twice here, but it is worth another mention, at least when I am discussing color, right? Well I think it is. Now then, with that being said, I do love the color of this red dress. It is a super deep red. A red that has a bit more blue in it that leads it more towards an almost purple hue. But, hey what do I know about colors! I'm dying inside with laughter at how my wife may respond to that color description above. Hmmm....
Anywho, I do really like the dress. It has a super nice fit around my waist and a nice flare out at my knees. As well, it has super cute details around the waist and the hem. Though you really can't see any of that detail in this super shitty photo I have of the entire outfit. The dress got super washed out.
I'm pretty bummed about that. The dress is seriously cute. And the photo does not show it at all. Curious why? Maybe, maybe not, but I'm going to tell you anywho.... Typically people look best in photos when one uses a flash. This erases little wrinkles and fault lines and caverns! Hahahahaha, yeah not so much, but it does help give a filtered bit of an appearance. So I generally use a flash for my photos. This will work okay if I am in shadows when I take my photos. On the day I took these photos, for the beginning of my shoot, we had mega clouds covering the sun. It had in fact just stopped raining. Then I started taking my photos and within a few minutes the sun comes glaring out. Yup, right when I was taking the full body shots. Lovely huh? Uhh... no! Not when your wanting to get decent looking photos of your fabulous red dress. It actually really bummed me out when I went in, took off my makeup, changed into my super comfy clothes, and checked my photos. Hmmm........
Okay. Well anyway. There you go. You get my lovely little story of the pictures of the fabulous red dress. Some photos look okay, but some make the dress look like a sick, pale shade of pink! Ugh!!!
I think I'll probably get over it sometime soon.
Most likely I'll get over it when I wear the dress again and get good photos of it! Most likely.
One may have thought that on a morning like this I would wake with a smile on my face and a spring in my step. Today was after all going to be the day that I got my lash extensions done. However, I did not wake all happy and exited. I woke nervous and scared. In fact I woke with my neck bugging me. I used to think that meant that I slept on it wrong. These days I understand myself a bit better, and I knew that I was concerned about my upcoming appointment.
A dear friend offered to do my lashes for me. She is super into makeup and beauty products and such and she has taught herself to do lash extensions. I am trying to be a bit more outgoing and adventurous in regards to doing things, so while in the past I would have declined, this time I accepted. We setup the date and time, and that came around this morning.
I was surprised at how nervous I was about doing it though. I wasn't concerned about the person who offered to do them. I had confidence in her. I wasn't nervous about hanging out with her either, she's a total doll and fun to be around. I was nervous about two things really 1 - could I actually sit and allow someone to do this to me? And 2 - how would it look.
The first thing was pretty minor. But I do remember my first time or two of having someone else putting mascara on me as going fairly poorly. In general I also really suck at using mascara. I can generally use it but I frequently lament to my wife that I smacked myself again with the mascara stick! Having done so many hours of facial electrolysis at this point made sitting for this lash work easy peasy!
The second issue is kind of a big deal. I mean it is a big deal to lots of people, but to trans people it is a really big issue. Most of us are quite insecure about our looks, as many people are, but when trans people's looks are not on, it can affect how people gender us. And that really sucks. What often sucks more is that it can affect how well people will perceive us as being able to do the gender we are wanting to. I know trans men who worry their look is not male enough, and many trans women that worry their look is not female enough, and non-binary humans who worry that their look is not "in-between" enough. It really sucks when someone judges you to fail at being your gender because you somehow don't match up to their expectations.
Hmmmph! So yeah, I was quite worried about what the outcome of the installation of my very first set of lash extensions would prove to be. In the end? As with most things, my worry was for nothing, I LOVE my new lashes! I think they are a great way to help feminize my features and they will be there regardless of makeup. In the photo, all I have on is my sparkly pink lipstick. And that rocks!
Alrighty. I hope you all are well. Thanks for visiting.
Love long luscious lashes!
Ooooohhhh----- I just realized, you can get a good before-after shot with the photos I posted with my last post. Fun!