By any other name...

After a long weekend made longer by waiting for referrals, I finally got some good news: I have an appointment to see a plastic surgeon about my top surgery in July!! I have to say that after starting T this makes me feel like things are moving forward and that sooner than later I will finally be at home in my own skin.

I did have a little trouble communicating with my endocrinologist though. The pharmacy where I filled my prescription is unable to find a supplier for the 200mg/ml testosterone in cottonseed oil. When I called his office to see if I could get the prescription changed and get it faxed to my pharmacy in Yellowknife, I was told by his secretary that they don't accept that sort of information from patients. That a new prescription had been mailed out to my BC address (helpful) but they would have to forward it to me I would have to take it to the pharmacy in Yellowknife and have the pharmacy there contact the dr.'s office in Calgary to change the prescription....this is all while I am on the phone with the doctor's office!! How utterly silly, no wonder the health care system is losing money if they can't even complete as simple a task as changing a prescription. Transfer the prescription? That would be too easy...I can't transfer the prescription I have now to the NWT because Testosterone is a controlled substance.

One step forward....three steps backwards and down a couple stairs

I am now officially out on my own and I am kind of glad too. All of my friends have been absolutely awesome in supporting me and making an effort to remember to call me Marcus and use the male pronouns him, his, he, etc. I know it will take more time for my family because they aren't used to it for one and they have a more ingrained pattern to try and break. I read something interesting from another blog (http://www.ravenkaldera.org/activism/index.html) and I am going to re-post it here as a little something to think about because it sums up my feelings on this issue to a tee:

  [This] is about courtesy and consideration of another human being's needs. If your best friend Jane from high school shows up one day and announces to her friends that she's always hated the name Jane and has now changed it legally to Megan, and she'd really like it if you could all call her Megan from now on, and you burst out that she'll always be Jane to you, and you'll never, never call her Megan, you are being discourteous and inconsiderate. You are showing that your own resistance to change is more important to you than her feelings and needs, and you will probably lose her as a friend, and look like a jerk to boot. You can even keep calling her Jane in your head, but it's rude and callous not to at least publicly address her needs. 

To do otherwise is a blatant fuck-you, saying that you don't care whether or not you ever have any kind of meaningful communication with that person. Deliberately using a pronoun that you know will offend someone is no different than using a racist or sexist term to describe them. Either way, you are telling the world that they have no say in your public definition of them and the marginalized group that they belong to.  

I know it is hard for  friends and family who have known you for a long time, understand that they will forget and screw up sometimes. Be prepared for that but try to forgive and be understanding when someone is at least making an effort.

For me, it is embarrassing and awkward to be called Marcus (which is now my legal name by the way) in front of someone and then have them look at me up and down all confused as she and her are coupled with my obviously masculine name. But know that when you call me Marcus and use the correct pronoun and make the effort I feel good. It makes me happy and it in a really simple way shows me how much you care.


Passing Frustrations

At this point everything is changing. Not only have I finally started testosterone, graduated from university for the second time, and packed up everything for my move north, I am looking for a job, trying to get moved in, and hoping to get a consult for top surgery this summer. Life is moving fast it would seem but time is not my friend. I am stuck in a vortex of slow waiting for my next t-shot, waiting for any visible changes, waiting for my official change of name certificate to come in the mail, waiting for the movers, waiting for doctors to call me back, waiting for a job interview, and waiting for a time to feel like I have control over something!!

Yesterday I went and got a new windshield for my car. Probably not the BEST idea before a long road trip as I am sure I will have at least one rock chip before I reach the border. But in my defense, I did need a place to put the rear view mirror... I made the appointment as Marcus, talked to the guy there a couple times and when I got there the woman called him up (he forgot he had scheduled me and had gone out on a job) and said she, she, she. I felt my heart drop like I had been betrayed and wondered  what is up with that?

Depending on where I go these days, passing is totally random luck.  Sometimes I pass with no problems, sir and he the whole bit. Other times I get none of that, I get she, her, or ladies if I am with a female friend or my girlfriend but rarely do I ever get ma'am, thank God. I am frustrated that there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to where I can pass and where I can't. It seems that only place I haven't had a problem is the men's room which is completely insane since public washrooms/change rooms have terrified me ever since I can remember.

Now it's true to a certain extent that the company you are in or the public space you inhabit will influence your ability to pass. I always felt comfortable in a situation where I know the people around me were queer but now that seems to be the place in which I feel the most alienated. Gay or Lesbian waiters, retail clerks, or service people see me as butch lesbian not ftm which was fine before I started my transition. Now, it drives me crazy! It doesn't matter how "male" I present, I still get labeled with the feminine pronouns. In public, surrounded by random and average people, I can get she from college guys or housewives and he from little old ladies (who seem to be the most consistent in their assumptions of my maleness). I guess my point is I was hoping that once I started down this path, legally changed my name, believed enough in myself, and lived as Marc for a while that other people would see me as him. But no.

Unfortunately, I wasn't born with the power to control people's thoughts any more than I was born with the ability to spontaneously change my gender.

(and in case you were wondering there was no jello)


Fourteen Hours and Counting

First off, I have to give a huge HUG to my partner for being so incredibly patient and loving and kind. She was a star last night talking me through all my fear over the phone (we are currently separated by 1811km) reassuring me that everything was going to be ok. I am such a very lucky boy to have such a supportive and loving girl! Darlin' you are the best.

It was a bit of an ordeal this morning learning to give myself an injection. There is just no way to feel confident and fearless when you are sitting in a room with two nurses,  pants around your ankles... I have an allergy to sesame oil and was unsure how I would react to the cotton seed oil suspension. I had to stay put and hang out for about half an hour to make sure I wasn't going to choke and die all the while wondering if the dry mouth was just cause I was thirsty or if I was in the process of losing my airway.

Needless to say, all is good I am alive and well. The only major change so far is my therapy schedule & dose.  Instead of having the 200mg shot every two weeks, I am on 100mg every week because there is some difficulty getting the 200mg/ml testosterone cypionate in cottonseed oil...so we'll see how that goes... better one 1mL shot every week than two 1mL shots or one REALLY big 2mL shot every two weeks!!! I am hoping this will keep the hormone level more even and avoid the high and low spikes of a two week injection cycle.

So it's been fourteen hours since I had my first T shot. I am considerably more relaxed than earlier and the fear and jitters have given way to excitement and anticipation. The only noticeable physical change so far is that I have a scratchy throat. I feel like I need to clear my throat a lot, a bit like the onset of a cold but without the rest of the crappy feeling. Who knows maybe I really am coming down with something... 

Nothing else to report so far, although I am wondering if I am going to have weird dreams about hot naked girls jello wrestling tonight or if I will sleep soundly through till morning...


First Injection Jitters

Well, I have my first T injection scheduled for 9 am tomorrow morning....I gotta say I am a little more than nervous. Don't get me wrong, I am excited too but tomorrow marks the day I begin my journey into the unknown.

There are no guarantees with T so I really don't know what to expect or when to expect it. I could break out in wicked acne, go bald, get fat, get a hairy back, the voice of a twelve year old boy, and feel more isolated than ever. OR I could be more in control of my emotions, put on some muscle, grow a fabulous moustache, actually have some shoulders, and finally feel comfortable in my own skin. I am at the mercy of testosterone.

It is bittersweet to leave behind all the aspects of myself that I have longed to change but at the same time I am afraid to lose those that have made me who I am. I have identified as a lesbian for so long, been a part of that community, made my friends within that social circle. I am afraid of becoming lost in pursuit of my true identity. I am moving from one uncomfortable social space to another. I am apprehensive to exist in the world as a man and not have any idea how to be a man, interact with men, how to socialize with them, how to make friends with them, how to not get my ass kicked.

I had come to a place where I was happy with both parts of me; the girl part and the boy part. The trouble is I only have one body and I really hope that testosterone will shape it into a vessel that is more comfortable than the one I currently inhabit.  Now after reading and researching the world of FTM I still feel like I have had to choose between being a man or being a woman. There really is no place for someone who feels stuck in the middle. Maybe this will change. Maybe testosterone will make me feel normal. Maybe all the doubts I have will dissolve...

I have read a lot of blogs and most trans guys haven't said anything about being nervous, having doubts, or fearing losing a part of themselves that they might never recover. Everyone seems to have known since they were little that they were in the wrong body. I never realized that there was an option of changing this until I was in my twenties. I thought I was a boy when I was a kid but so much shit happened back then that I tried for years to be someone I wasn't. Now I put all my faith in that little kid who knew exactly who he was and was never afraid or ashamed. I trust him.

I don't know what tomorrow will bring or how fast it will get here. I am looking forward at the long road ahead while keeping an eye on the familiar scenery fading away in the rear view.


The Coyote

Well, here it is. The story of my transition. I am writing this for you. You, who are questioning your gender, who are curious, and for those of you who just don't understand. This is for you. I am a female to male transgendered individual or FTM. I was born female and will be undergoing treatment to become male and this will serve as a record of my experience.

The thing that breeds hate the most is fear and the thing that breeds fear is ignorance. Here is your opportunity to learn what it means to be transgendered. It really isn't such a scary thing. Astrophysics can be scary and intimidating too if you don't know anything about it. Once you take the time to ask questions and listen to the answers, to learn about what you might have been afraid of you will soon see that there was never really anything to fear in the first place.

When I began thinking about transitioning I was looking for information and stories from other guys who felt the same way as I do. I needed to see if what I felt was what other guys felt or if I fell somewhere in the middle. I have always wanted to be a guy, ever since I can remember. Now as I transition, you can share in this journey with me and hopefully we will learn something together.

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