9.27.2011

Three Months Post Surgery


Three months ago I went under the knife to have my breasts removed and while I was less concerned about how it would look than I was about finally getting them off my chest I am excited about how things are progressing. The puckering and swelling has gone down considerably and the area I was most concerned about has definitely healed up  better than I was anticipating. Recovery has been a lot like watching yourself get old...you don't really notice that you aren't 16 anymore until you look back through your yearbook and wonder when you ever looked so young! The scars don't change so much as you'd notice from day to day but looking back over the last 3 weeks I am amazed at how quickly and how well things are going! At the one year mark I will be able to look back and see how much things have changed.

The biggest thing I've noticed over the last month is how much the scars are flattening out. I know it will take quite a bit more time for them to fade but I am happy with how things are looking. The other thing that is really exciting is the amount of chest hair sprouting up! While it is still pretty fine I'm watching it fill in slowly....almost as slowly as my moustache! I have been noticing that I have bouts of itch but from what I understand that is a sign of healing. I continue to use the bio-oil (when I remember) and hope that the dog ears flatten out over the next few months. I am not in a hurry to get revisions and will wait at least a year to see how everything works out before deciding whether or not to pursue revisions.

I am so much more comfortable in my body and finally being able to wear the clothes that I've imagined for my whole life on a body that I'm starting to love is awesome. Shirts and ties are making appearances in my wardrobe and this year I am actually looking forward to winter and sweaters knowing that I won't have to wear a binder underneath. There will be extra room in my parka this year and after another longwinter hibernation a brand new man will emerge in the spring!

9.21.2011

Visibility and the Big Gay Parade

I read a post the other day by Native Son a transguy from Kentucky and he said something that really hit home for me: ...one can either be proud of their identity as a trans person or they can deny it and spend their time enforcing their legitimacy in the binary that brought us here in the first place... 

I am having a really hard time deciding whether or not to be "out" at work. Some days I could care less but other days I am just too tired and worn down to deal with all the cisgender male posturing that goes on in our office. If I hear my co-worker say "that's what she said" one more time I swear I will staple his lips to his desk.

In my quest to become a good man I am trying really hard to be tolerant and patient and kind but it seems that I have come to expect that same behaviour from others as well. I don't know if that is a bad thing but it certainly seems to be unrealistic. Manners and common courtesy have flown the coop and I am rapidly losing faith that others will be consistently considerate. I suppose it bothers me more so at work since I expect a certain degree of professionalism in an office and I feel like I am working in a sports bar. But look, I have gone off on a rant....

Living your life as a trans person out or not is really a matter of personal choice. Expecting everyone to live their life as an activist is unrealistic. Some of us are happy to finally feel comfortable in our own skin and yes, finally feel "normal". While I do hope that the future brings with it more tolerance and understanding, cisgender heterosexuality is always going to be the "norm" by way of majority. That is a fact. While we can definitely hope for equality, tolerance, understanding and eventually apathy at some point, right now we are still in a struggle within the GBLT community for equality, tolerance and understanding. Why have we destroyed our solidarity by placing more and more exclusive labels on each other? Why do we only stand behind the principles of equality when we are fighting against discrimination from mainstream? Why are we not arguing for equal recognition and acceptance from within?

I want to be a role model for those who  are struggling now. I grew up in a time when being transgendered meant you were perverted in some way, that you were sick in the head and there was never any talk about "those people". Here we are today and we have had movies and magazine articles, and now a mainstream television show making transgendered people "real" people. We are no longer the freaks or the butt of all the jokes but are regular people with families and feelings that can be hurt and mended.

So to Kentucky's Native Son I wanted to say thanks. I’ve been trying to remember why I put myself in danger, why I feel so afraid, why I am angry that I have become the tranny instead of a guy with a name. I forgot why I tolerate people talking about me behind my back. I remind myself the reason that  people in this small town gossip. I worry I won’t be taken seriously, I worry I’ll never be a “real” boy in the eyes of others. I worry that I might never find a partner that will really love and understand me.
But I read your words and they remind me to be strong. I see my trans brothers taking risks and standing out front and saying here I am love it or leave it. I admire their bravery and want to be able to close my eyes swallow my fear and walk up to the front and stand beside them.  Every choice I make to be “out” or not affects someone’s future. I had brothers that came before- some who gave their lives and hearts just to be free. I just have to remember to breathe and be brave.

9.13.2011

Clouds and Rainbows

For the last eleven months I have been a single guy. I don't go out much, I stay home and don't really socialize too much. There are a few people who's company I enjoy but for the most part I have become more of a loner. Part of the reason is I don't want to have to explain myself all the time. I don't want to have to answer questions about my genitalia or sexuality or feel like I am satisfying someone's curiosity about transexuals. I feel alone a lot of the time and honestly sometimes the lonliness is unbearable.

I have been trying hard to make new friends but since transitioning my normal outgoing confident self has become a shy and quiet guy who keeps mostly to himself. I am ok one on one or in very small groups or very large groups where I can sort of just blend into a crowd. I have been trying to get out and meet people but as a quiet sort of laid back guy who usually prefers his own company, it's easier said than done.

I volunteer with the local SPCA and I am working on becoming more involved in the Arts Community. Our little city is big on music and performing arts but sucks the big one when it comes to visual arts of any kind. There isn't a single public gallery space in the capital city and funding is only available after you have been a resident for two years. How frustrating. Still, I am making work and attending events. Sooner or later I hope to meet some people that I can spend time with on a regular basis.

I have met a few people here that I hope will become really good friends. I know that the longer I stay the harder it will be to leave them behind. There are things I will miss- the writers festival, Saturday afternoon salvaging at the dump, and things like the bitter cold winter and expensive everything that come with living in arctic isolation. I wish there was a special someone in my life but recently I have been reminded that no matter how lonesome it gets I would rather be alone than with a jerk.

Out for a beer with a few friends one night I met a young man who seemed pretty cool. He was smart and funny and nice looking. I was not interested in dating him but having someone to hang out with would have been nice. He was after a date but after talking with him for a little while I began to hear things that I didn't like. A flippant comment here, a little insult there and then he said something so offensive to me that I basically told him I was no longer interested in spending any more time getting to know him.

I felt stupid, I felt betrayed and I felt angry. It is hard enough being queer in a small city (although I have to say this one seems to have a high concentration of queers in it for it's size) without being gay and an ass. I was pissed right off for a couple of reasons. Saying something offensive and then claiming you were just joking (even if you were) insinuates that you think I should be complacent or participate in your behaviour regardless of whether or not it was serious. You must be too young then to remember the history of pride and the rights that GLBT people are till fighting for today. Participating in that oppression by using the derogatory language of hatred does not help to foster understanding or peaceful co-existence. Thinking it's funny to insult people who are standing up to protect your rights is despicable.

For as much as I would like some companionship, I am not willing to sacrifice my ethics. It has taken me far to long to become the man I've always wanted to begin compromising my beliefs. It's too bad that there always seem to be dark clouds hanging around the beautiful rainbows.