Month: July 2013

This just isn’t my week

And it’s only Tuesday.

Sunday morning, I woke up in a sweat, with a huge headache, and my while body was achy. I got up to take my pup out and was pouring sweat after walking about 50 feet. I also had a case of mild diarrhea throughout the day. Needless to say, I mostly just sat in my chair or laid in my bed for most of the day. I didn’t even have food to eat except for a couple of eggs, zucchini, and rice; so I had to force myself to shower and venture to the store for food. It probably took me twice as long as usual to get my weekly groceries since my whole back was aching and I was extremely hot and sweaty. I felt bad for not taking the pup out for our usual walks, but I just couldn’t mystery up the energy.

I woke up yesterday (Monday) morning with more mild symptoms of the previous day, but decided to take the day off of work since walking was still a pretty difficult task. I’m pretty convinced this is a result of a crappy cheeseburger I had from Dave and Buster’s while hanging out with a couple of friends for the day. The thought of that cheeseburger makes me feel gross inside, and it’s days later now. After two days of sitting around, I was getting pretty bored. I managed to give the pup a bath and take him on our usual walks, at least.

I was cleaning up my mess from dinner and in the process of making myself some tea when I spilled scalding hot water on my hand. My immediate reaction was to turn on the facet and run cold water over my hand. I somehow managed to move myself to the bathroom sink through the intense burning. I couldn’t take my hand out of water without bring in an extreme amount of pain. My skin had blistered and was peeling off. I ran to my laptop and brought it to the bathroom so I could google first aid techniques. I also managed to reach the medicine cabinet that was just within reach with some fancy stretching to grab some Advil. I must have been standing there for thirty minutes, then I read that you shouldn’t soak your burn for more than half an hour or else it will feel worse when you take it out. I took my hand out of the water despite the pain and swung it around to let the cool air run past it. Of course, my dog was staring at me the whole time wagging his tail, thinking it was time to play. I was sitting there worried that I wouldn’t be able to sleep asst a reasonable time to go to work in the morning. And how was I going to ride my bike if I could barely grip the handlebars? Oh, and this is going to seriously hinder my ability to work out. I’m going to loose all my muscle mass that I worked so hard to build!

Finally, by 8:30 or so, the pain subsided to a bearable level. Maybe the Advil had finally kicked in. I quickly took a shower and went to bed. I went to work for an hour this morning, basically waiting for student health to open. I got some ointment and a tetanus shot while I was there. I guess the good news is that I’m not feeling sick anymore. Though, I’m not sure how I will be able to do any work this week since I work in a research lab. I don’t even know if the large gloves will fit over the bandages or how well I’ll be to pipette with my middle and ring finger basically unable to bend.

Another concern of my mine is that I will not be able to wear my binder since it will be near impossible for me to get it on and off without being able to use both of my hands. It’s hard enough getting the rest of my clothes on at the moment. Blah, I guess I’ll be wearing t-shirts a size too large until my hand heals enough.

3 months on T!

First thing’s first, photos!

20130725 Back 3

20130725 Full Body 1-4

20130725 Full Body 2-4

I finally got my legal court order for my name and gender change on Friday. There was even another trans guy there. He was ahead of me on the list, so he went before I did. It was nice to have that happen, so I knew what to expect when it was my turn to go in front of the judge. Then, we sat outside the court room for nearly an hour as we waited for the rest of the name changes to happen and to receive our certified copies. I sat across from him, but a couple of chairs over. I wanted to talk to him, but I wasn’t sure if it would be appropriate, so I didn’t.

I think I’m itching to have others to talk to about experiences in person. It’s nice to have all these internet resources, blogs, and YouTube videos, but there’s something to just having a conversation with someone. I haven’t had the pleasure of talking to another trans person (at least not as far as I’m aware) in person. I know there are discussion groups down at The Center, but they are on weeknights and somewhat inconvenient for me to get to due to work and such. Hopefully, I will be able to make it to a discussion group one of these weeks. I’ve been saying that for months now, but I can continue to hope!

Back to the name change stuff, I went to social security administration immediately after my court hearing. In California, in order to update your driver’s license, your information has to be first updated in the social security database. And I wanted a new ID as soon as possible. I also put my application in the mail for a new birth certificate. Who knows how long that will take to arrive. I went to the DMV on Monday. They took my driver’s license and replaced it with a piece of paper with my updated information (no photo), took my picture, and told me that I’d get my new driver’s license in 7-10 days. For two days, I was thinking to myself, “now how am I going to buy beer for the next two weeks since they took my only photo ID that has my date of birth?” Finally, I realized that I still have my passport, hah! I updated my school records and my bank records, as well. No one seemed to bat an eye, except when I called my bank. The woman on the other end said to me after I said I wanted to change my name and gender, “So, you are changing to mister?” Then, she told me that she needed to call some other people to see if it was within her job scope to make the requested the changes. I think she probably never encountered such a request, but she handled it pretty well, I think.

I finally came out to the lab I work in. I wrote an email to them while I was waiting at social security. It feels like such a relief to finally not have that hanging over my head. I have had very positive responses (or no response at all). Everyone is actually putting in an effort to call my August and use the correct pronouns. I was concerned about one or two of my coworkers reactions, but they seem to be very cool about the whole thing. I finally feel like… I don’t know, myself.

As far as physical changes go, I am finally starting to get in a bit more facial hair, mostly just the sideburns and the chin, but I’ll take it. It’s still pretty sparse and light in color, but it is coming in steadily. My muscles are still growing! I’ve gained nearly 15 pounds from my pre-transition weight. I’m pretty sure this is nearly all muscle since I haven’t seen a change in my hip or waist measurements, but measurements of my neck, biceps, calves, thighs, and shoulders have gone up. I’m still kind of disappointed that I haven’t seen an apparent change in my fat distribution. I intend to increase the frequency of my cardio workouts to at least facilitate fat loss since it doesn’t seem to want to move. I’m pretty pleased with the rate that I’m gaining muscle though. I’ve noticed that I’m had a really huge appetite lately now that I’ve been able to consistently been able to work out. I noticed an increase when I began taking testosterone, but it’s reached another level. Sometimes, I eat a decent sized meal, and within an hour or less, I’m starving again.  Below the belt, I have definitely noticed an increase in size. It’s been 5 weeks and some days since my last period. I’m hoping that continues; the time between the last two was 7 weeks.

Unisex Dress Blues

Dress blues

A friend of mine posted this photo on my Facebook timeline today. When I was in the Marine Corps, I was subjected to wearing the awful female blues.

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The above photo is of me at my Marine Corps Ball in 2007.

I would have killed to wear something that didn’t make females look like a flight attendant, seriously. When most people think of the Marine Corps dress blues, they think of the male dress blues. They are very symbolic, but females get reduced to something that resembles a flight attendant uniform. How does this reflect on the military’s view on women? Not very highly. I think this unisex dress blues is a good thing. I think it will help reduce the sexism that is rampant within the military, especially the Marine Corps. I should have known better, but I read some of the comments associated with this post made by other Facebook users.

“Wtf. What’s wrong with the uniforms we have?! Especially if its tailored more to the females. Why make us look like men? We aren’t men.”

“We are supposed to maintain a “feminine” look and this won’t meet that standard at all.”

The above posts are from females in the Marine Corps. The sexism is so ingrained that even they believe they worth less than men. And then, of course, there is the male macho bullshit complaining about females in the infantry, not being held to the same standards, etc. There is also the argument that traditions are traditions, and they should not be broken. And lastly, that the government is wasting money. Wait a second, last I checked, I had to purchase my own dress blues… so if anything, Marines are wasting their money, but that’s besides the point.

My opinion is that a Marine is a Marine, whether male or female. We don’t wear different combat uniforms, so why have different dress uniforms. We all had to go through the same training. Why can’t we all be afforded the same respect in uniform instead of glorifying one sex while degrading the other.

If I were in the Marine Corps now, I’d jump at the opportunity to wear these, but hey… let’s not get into the fact that I can’t be due to my transgender status even if I wanted to, which I don’t. I served my time and put up with enough bullshit that is still being perpetrated as can be seen through the comments I read on Facebook.

The Dreaded Pelvic Exam

I feel like my last post was a bit dramatic, and I would like to delete. However, in an effort to keep everything real here and not sugarcoated, I’ll let it remain there as it is. It was how I felt at that time. Now, let’s move on to more exciting topics.

It has been a little over 5 years since I’ve had my last pelvic exam, which I think is a bit longer than one should go without getting one of those things. I’d say that probably the only reason I even got one then was because I was in the military and a full physical was required before I was allowed to be on my merry way out.

So, I wasn’t actually dreading it. I just thought it was a fun title for this post. I mean, yes, it’s uncomfortable and awkward (even for cisgender women) having your doctor so into such a personal and private area, but I feel pretty comfortable with that area. It doesn’t cause me huge dysphoria. Sure, I’d like to have fully functioning male sex anatomy, but that is never going to be possible for me. Either way, my doctor knows that for FtMs getting this exam can be extremely uncomfortable, so she was really accommodating and understanding. It was relatively quick and painless.

Besides that, we talked about how the transition was coming along. I complained about the lack of fat distribution (my hips and thighs are still the same size, if not slightly larger in circumference, as before I started T), but also talked about how nice it was to see the increase in my muscle mass. We’re waiting to see if my period is going to come within the next couple of weeks, but I will be meeting with her in a little over a month to talk about a possible dose increase along with getting blood work done to see how I’m adjusting to the recent dose increase.

Other than that, she typed a new letter for my legal gender change that stated that I “have undergone” rather than “is undergoing” clinically appropriate treatment. My court hearing is scheduled for this Friday. I will bring my new letter with me, and I hope that will be the end of it. I plan to go to social security right after my hearing and already have a DMV appointment scheduled for Monday, assuming everything goes according to plan. I also have my paperwork filled out and ready to drop in the mail for my new birth certificate once I have the court order in hand.

Here’s to hoping everything goes smoothly on Friday.

Pride and Dysphoria

I decided to venture down to San Diego Pride this year mainly because I knew George Takei was going to be there. Me being the nerd that I am thought that was pretty awesome. There was a Spirit of Stonewall Rally in which he gave a beautiful speech about the gay rights movement and all the work that still needs to be done. Sadly, he did not mention his trans brothers and sisters. However, after his speech, a Mr. Maddocks (who I believe is transgender) gave a speech on the trans rights movements (making ENDA trans inclusive, etc.). That was really nice to see people cheering in support of trans rights and all that.

After that event, my friends and I went out and ate some really delicious food. We decided to check out the block party that was going on. It actually wasn’t that great, so I slipped out to go grab some yummy cupcakes from a place called Babycakes. I met a friend of mine there; she was with a couple of friends. I was introduced as August, which was nice for me. I think it’s the first time I’ve met new people through another person and was identified by my chosen name. However, without any cues from my friend, they identified me as female and used female pronouns, even though my friend used male pronouns in reference to me.

We hung out for an hour or two, but then it was time for them to go home. So, I met up with my cousin and his gaggle of gay guy friends. They, of course, I identified me as female, which I was expecting. Earlier in the night, I was looking around the crowds of people and began to realize that I just looked like another butch lesbian. It was a really dysphoric moment for me. What sets me apart from these women? They wear similar clothing. They have similar hairstyles. Some have deeper voices. The only big differences I noticed was that I had a binder on; so I had a flat chest, while theirs was very prominent. Also, of the women I happened to be in vicinity of, they had freshly waxed eyebrows and pointy sideburns (or whatever they call them), while I do not have either of those things. My voice is also more masculine than any women that I heard speaking. At this point though, it didn’t matter the differences, I was still identified every time as female, much to my dismay. I suspect that this was due to the fact that I was in an environment where butch and trans tend to blend together, but it still kind of brought me down. In a more hetero and cis environment, I’ve noticed that I’m not usually gendered at all (or even yesterday, the guy who brought my pizza to me called me man. I was pretty excited about that.)

While I was glad to be at pride, a part of me was fighting really hard to maintain my self identity. All I could think the whole time was that I was just like every other butch lesbian walking down the street. That was hard for me to deal with. Even during the time when I identified as lesbian, I was always put off when someone tried to label me as butch. That is not how I felt then, and is definitely not how I feel now. But yet, I am still put into that box. I’m still looking forward to the day when I don’t have to worry about this sort of labeling. (I even purposefully didn’t shave to give the cue that I am male, though… I think I may be the only one who notices the hair on my chin and slight sideburns that have started to come in.)

I don’t want to be put off by the whole Pride experience, but I’ve noticed in the LGB environment, I get labeled as female 100% of the time, as opposed to just out and about. It really sets me back mentally.

“I’ll always think of you as a lesbian.”

I went out to dinner with a couple of friends this evening. The subject of what we were going to wear to pride came up. One of my friends, A, said that she was going to wear some leather outfit with ridiculous spiked heels or something to that effect. I said I’d just be wearing shorts and a t-shirt, and my other friend, B, said she’d probably be wearing the same. A then made a comment about how that’s something that lesbians do. I gave her a look, and she told me that she’d always think of me as a lesbian. I actually feel a bit offended by this comment. First off, I’m attracted to both genders and everything in between, and she knows this. I did at once identify as lesbian, but as I got older, I realized that I was more attracted to who a person was rather than what gender they happened to be. Second, I feel like she doesn’t respect my identity as male.  Needless to say,  I was kind of annoyed, but I let it pass. I’m not one to cause drama. The best response I could come up with is, “I’m sure there will be guys there wearing shorts and a t-shirt.” I’m not really sure what I should have done in this situation, or if there is really anything I can even do to get someone who has known me for a while to change the way they view me.