Saturday, November 30, 2019

Ally?


I am going to try this post and see how it goes.  My mission is to try and retell the events, without making too much of a judgement.  That is going to be hard, as I am clearly judging this person, and what happened, however I'd really prefer for it to be a learning experience instead of a ripping experience.  I honestly don't know if that is going to be possible.  So then why try?  Well, I am an educator and this is an opportunity to try and educate.  I am wishing myself luck. 

Recently I have connected with someone on Facebook that lived in the same town I grew up in, and he went to my wife's high school, and happened to be in her same graduating class.  So, if you, that person, happen to ever actually read my blog posts, then you are now probably aware that this post is going to be about you.  Yup, this is happening. 

I was happy enough to send out a friend request to this person, even though I had never met them.  Which is something I generally rarely if ever do.  I tend to be very picky about who I am FB friends with.  Sorry if you have sent me a request and I have deleted it.  I don't accept all requests and frequently find myself un-friending people often.  As I said, I'm picky about FB.  However, I am not picky about you choosing to follow my on Instagram.  That feed is fully public and anyone can follow me if they chose. 

Okay, so I sent a friend request, they accepted, and we exchanged a few DMs.  We discovered how we had the collection of mutual friends that we had.  It was actually very unexciting truth be told.  Super boring, and I didn't think much of it.  I did see them in person actually a little bit after that.  One of those times is what prompted this post. 

We had an event for our local LGBT+ center.  Both this guy and I happened to go.  It was a fairly small event.  An activity was occurring and there were some vendor booths around.  I began to peruse the booths when this gentleman approached me and started up a conversation.  I found the conversation interesting for a bit.  We chatted about our lives growing up in Danville.  We chatted about a bit of bullshit as well and things turned boring for me. 

This is around the time that this guy turned to me and said something along these lines:

"I finally realized who you were while growing up, before your transition, and I must say that truly, I am shocked and amazed, at how absolutely wonderful your wife is." 

How does that sound to you?  Innocuous?  Maybe.  Maybe.  Maybe. 

And that is what I have been debating ever since.  I totally understand where he was coming from.  I think I understand the intent, however, it is a nagging feeling and one that I am not clear about in the least.  As well..... how often, as a trans person, do I make people aware of how they have made me feel when they have hurt me?  Generally never.  Wanna know why?  The few times I have told people how their statements have made me feel, caused those people to respond by showing me that I am too much trouble for them to figure out.  They have stopped talking to me.  I basically lost friends by telling them how they have made me feel.  Which has been bothersome, but also, not.  If it is too troublesome for some to care about how I feel, how much of a friend were they to begin with?  Not much of one actually. 

So..... how did that statement make me feel in that moment?  As though I was a super freak. 

First off, who I was before my transition is irrelevant to who I am now.  To think that somehow who I was pretending to be in the past could somehow help one to understand who I am now is absurd.  It is called a dead name for a reason, that person is irrelevant and I am not interested in the least about being connected with them. 

Secondly, and more importantly, I do indeed understand just how wonderful my wife is.  However, when you are expressing that to me, you need to be aware of the corollary statement you are making.  When you tell me just how wonderful you think my wife is, you are also saying how freakish you think I am.  Why?  Because often in expressing how great my wife is, your example is that she has stayed with me.  Not because she is a fabulous teacher who can interest any human in her subject matter.  Not because she is a talented artist who paints from her heart.  Not because she is an amazing animal lover who rescues animals all of the time.  Nope, none of those things are why you are saying that my wife is amazing.  You are saying she is amazing in relation to staying with me.

My friend talks often about normalizing the trans experience.  Hearing people go on and on about how amazing my wife is for staying with me through my transition certainly does not make me feel normal.  In fact it makes me think that you feel I am totally abnormal. 

Trust me, I get it, my wife is great.  She is a super amazing person.  She impresses me every single day.  But she is a great person all on her own, not because she has chosen to stay with me.  Imagine going up to any married couple you know and saying to one of them how amazing you think they are for staying with the other one.  That is pretty darn clear how you view the situation.  So..... please be careful when you express just how amazing you think it is for someone to stay married to a trans person.  On occasion we trans people also actually offer up some things to our relationships.  We are not just massive burdens and drains upon our partners. 

Really what most are missing is how amazing my wife is for staying with me prior to my transition.  That was truly the crazy part of my life.  Now it's actually fun and enjoyable. 

 I know the person who said that statement had no ill intent.  And I know they are an ally to the community.  I do appreciate the support this guy gives to our local LGBT+ community, even though they are a cis-het human.  We within the community would not have anything if it was not for straight ally support.  So, I do appreciate the support.  I hope that you can appreciate a trans perspective and I truly hope that I have been able to be educational and not confrontational. 

Love you!

Love yourselves!

Appreciate what you have!










Sunday, November 10, 2019

Supporting Local LGBT+ Youth


Sweater - Michael Kors - Similar @Amazon
Tank - Mossimo - Similar @Amazon
Pants - Liverpool Kaylee Skinny Jean - Similar @Amazon, @Liverpool
Shoes - Asics - Similar @Amazon

Goodness, not the best expression,
or look for my eyes, but my outfit is cute!
This is what I wore to a local LGBT+ event.  I live near Visalia, Ca and our main resource center is The Source.  For the past few years they have been doing a fundraising event called Over the Edge.  People pledge to make so much money in donations and if they meet their goal, then they repel off the highest structure in the city.  I personally do not want to repel off the building, no matter what, so I just go to cheer on my friends.

On this particular day a young trans male from our transgender group meetings was going over the edge.  He and his mom are spectacular.  He is 12 years old, in middle school, and living and his true self, with the love, help, and support from his mother!  Wow, right?  It is a fabulous thing to be able to see and gives me tremendous hope for what the future of being transgender means.

So cool.

After seeing this young man accomplish his goal, I was off to complete my daily goals.  First was Lowes, then CostCo, Target, and finally Save Mart, our local grocery store.  I arrived home, unloaded all of my purchases, and grabbed the camera. 

I know, I know, I am very remiss in my blogging duties!  Alas, such is life, and if you may recall, long, long, long ago, in a land far, far, far away, I did mention that I make no promises as to the frequency of this blog.  In fact, I think I went so far as to say, don't ever expect any sort of regularity from me here at this site.  Hmmm...... I think I doth protest too much!!!  Hahahaha!

Seriously, life is good, but busy.  I've added things to my already overloaded system.  They are fun, but filling! 

Love you!

Love yourselves!

Love supporting each other!

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Electrolysis Reality Check


June of 2018 I went to my first electro appointment. They started on my face. It took over 20 hours to fully clear my entire face 1 time. Yesterday they cleared my face in 2 hours. It will probably take an additional 6 months of full clearings and then it will be gone for the entire rest of my life!

Now we are slowly working our way down my body. 6 hours was spent on my upper bikini line. I hate the process, it is shear torture. The cost is outrageous, $125 an hour per electrologist, plus $50 an hour for the nurse to do lidocaine injections. So yesterday it was 4 hours, 2 techs, 1 nurse, $1200!!

The results are truly priceless though. Well, my belly doesn't look like it right now, but I just need to hold steady, be patient, and maintain this heading.

Love you!

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Advocating


Okay so the photos are horrible. Apparently my wife and I specialize in blurry photos! Ha!
However, the day was not horrible. I spent the morning teaching my middle schoolers and then we jetted up to UC Merced. I gave my TG presentation detailing my decision to transition and afterwards we both fielded questions from the students.
The professor there is amazing and he sent me a link to his student responses to our discussion. Here are a few of their responses (there are 7 pages of them!) :

"I found it very surprising that it wasn't more of a sudden realization. The decision to decide that kelly was trans was a culmination of most of her life. It was very surprising to imagine not feeling yourself most of your life."

"I believe what I found most memorable about Kelly's story that she was able to make it out of the hardest parts of her life, and is still smiling. She went through so much and faced so many difficult obstacles but she did it all and I find her really admirable for that."

"I found most memorable how supportive her wife was throughout the years. That must of been a great thing to have a great social support. I was surprised that it took her years to finally know how to identify herself after years of dressing like a woman."

"I just think its so amazing how loving they are... just like any "regular" couple. ( heart emoji)"

"The fact that it took Kelly years to not be afraid with who she truly was was the most surprising to me. It has made me realize how hard it must be for every transgender person to be out & happy with themselves. I think she's an amazing & inspiring person. The world definitely needs more people like her & Jodie."

"It was surprising it was more beneficial to hear her story. In the past I had an ex girlfriend who transition into a man and at the time it was difficult for me to understand what it was like for her and the emotions that came with it."

"I enjoyed the realistic lecture that she gave. Having her being open and unapologetic with how she felt made it easier to understand how different everyone's journey can be."

"i was suprised that so many people face this issue and feel like they're going through it alone. Transgender issues can be really complicating but i hope people can learn to accept them for who they are instead of what they look like."

"I think what was most surprising is Kelly not changing anything other than her hormones. I have personally never met a transgender person or know their stories so I always assumed that they needed many surgeries and pills and all. However, it's amazing realising how she was simply being herself."

"Her partner has known her since she was 8. It's so cute how she stayed beside her transition ! :,)"

"The most surprising to me was the fact that she felt obligated to deny that she wanted to be a woman. It was really heartbreaking that she had to make herself feel horrible in order to please society. What I found really powerful was when she mentioned you can easily change your body but not the gender in your mind."

"The fact that she knew who she was at such a young age. I was surprised kids at that age are even thinking about themselves"

Okay, I gotta stop....... there are so many comments that mean so much! There are about 64 student responses. All of them positive, loving, and supportive!
Um..... am I glowing much this morning? Yes, yes I am!
I think I'm doing this advocating thing pretty darn well!
Thank you for the help and gentle pushing Jessica LynnCarol Montgomery Brosnac, Dr Julie Nicole. Thank you for seeing something I struggle to see.
Love you!
Love yourselves!
Love telling your own story!


Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Being a Transgender Teacher


People often ask me what it is like to be a transgender middle school math teacher, this is what it is like.  Not enough of an explanation?  Okay..... I'll give you a bit more info on the card above.  This was a card that some of my students gave me about two weeks ago, on my birthday.  

The card was special in and of itself, but it is even more special when one understands the back story.  So, the back story..... last year I had a student who told me that they considered themselves to be transgender, but that was about it.  They were a seventh grader last year.  Luckily, I got the same student again this year.  They happen to be a very enjoyable student, however, I do have a soft spot for anyone who indicates they are transgender, especially when they are a middle school student.  

This year I was so proud and impressed with this student.  They approached me at the start of the year, and told me they are transgender, and that they are male, and that they would prefer to be called Leo!  I was so excited for them!  Wow!  How cool to understand such an awesome thing at such a young age.  

Fast forward a couple of months into the school year and we get to a couple of weeks ago and my birthday.  Leo and some of friends got together, they created this card, signed it, and then gave it to me.  Wow!  I was floored!  This was most likely the best birthday card I have ever received.  It was one of those rare special gifts that will be with me until I die.  Pretty frickin cool!

The photo of me is from a recent school event.  I was helping another teacher with a Saturday field trip to CSU Fresno.  There was an engineering event taking place there and we took a group of students there for the day.  How did the day go for me, a transgender teacher?  Great!  Not a hint of an issue from any student from any school, and they pull kids from all over the Central Valley.  That is also quite cool!

Okay, love you!

Love yourselves!

Seriously, love yourselves so that other can rain down love onto you!

Friday, September 20, 2019

My Outfit - Yoga Dress Pants

Top - White House Black Market - Similar @Amazon, @WHBM
Pants - Tribal - Similar @Amazon, @Zappos
Shoes - Unisa - Similar @Amazon, @DSW

Wow, the last time I put up an outfit post was back in July.  That is a bit unusual.  I am still wearing post worthy outfits, it's just that I'm too pooped upon arriving home to haul out the camera and grab a few shots.  Oh and as well, when the temperatures are as ridiculous as they are in the Central Valley, it is far too hot to look even half way decent in any sort of photo.

This outfit though needed to have photos taken, so much so, that today when I got home, I took off the outfit that I actually wore and put this one back on.  This was yesterday's outfit.  When I got home today the opportunity was there to take some shots, so I had to change.  Why?  Well, it is the pants and the short top.  It may not seem like much to you, but to me, they are an entire new way of being able to dress.

You may remember that I was hoping that my recent surgery would allow for some different configuring of certain bits.  I am happy to report, that yes indeed, things are improved and I am able to place things in a far better position for certain clothes.  As far back as I have been dressing as myself, I have worked hard to find clothes that I could comfortably wear without tucking.  Camouflage was my main weapon in this endeavor.  Thus most of my tops are tunic length to simply cover that area.  It has worked very well, but it has limited my clothing choices, especially for work.  Pencil skirts, most dresses, and waist length tops have all been off limits for work.  I could wear those items, but for work, running around for nine to ten hours a day, I was never comfortable. 

Now that I am comfortable in being able to effectively hide the bits I don't appreciate having, my work wardrobe has greatly expanded.  This prompted me to change my shopping style.  Generally, as many of you long time readers know, my shopping has consisted of spending days at outlet malls, hitting up just about every store I could.  Now though, I made a deal with myself, I would stop outlet shopping, if I signed up for Stitch Fix.  I went for it, and I'm super glad I did!

I wrote to my stylist that my main goal was to stay with my current style, but to have someone gently push those boundaries by picking out some things I wouldn't.  So far, I love the results!  Two of the items that I would have never even tried are a pair of jeggings, and these lovely yoga dress pants.  I really like these pants.  They are so super comfortable that they are comparable to wearing my most comfy LuLaRoe leggings.  Which if you know LLR, that says a lot about these pants.  If you have not tried pants like these yet, I highly recommend them.

Okay peeps, I gotta run. 

Love you!

Love yourselves!

Love yourself enough to wear comfortable clothing.


Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Friends, Mis-Gendering, and Warm Fuzzies

My friend has an amazing filter on her camera, it removed about 20 years!!
I had a fascinating set of interactions with some friends recently.  One of them was with three different teachers I worked with for a few years, the second one was with a college professor who I work with in helping to teach teachers, and the third was one of my employers. 

While they will certainly recognize themselves in this post, I will change their names.  My employer, let's call her Emily, I met about ten years ago, obviously when I was presenting male.  The college professor, umm..... Matt, I met at the same time as Emily, though at that time he was teaching me how to better teach math.  The three teachers, Shelly, Mable, and Tom, I met about five years ago, I was their math coach, employed by Emily, and assisted by Matt.  Okay, so if you followed that, you know the players.

I worked with the teachers for about two to three years, all while presenting male, though I did share this blog with several of them.  Anywho, the job ended, life moved on, I stayed in touch with Shelly through Facebook, and I happened to transition during this time period.  Uh, yeah, that happened.  Earlier this year, I thought it would be fun to meet up with them for lunch.  We made plans, and all arrived at the selected destination.  Tom was clearly unaware that I had transitioned.  In fact that moment was the first that he discovered anything about my gender variance. 

I naively assumed that Shelly would inform everybody about my transition.  Her version of events is that it was not her business to share. Wow, so cool!  That is not what the expected norm is that most trans people dread.  However, when Shelly shared further that she also had not updated my name in her phone, I was acutely aware that I had not done my due diligence.  Here were three friends that I clearly neglected to have the conversation about my transition with.  And now they were in the dark and just barely catching up, and I am left feeling uncomfortable about my lack of communication.  The lunch went very well, and it was enjoyable.  We did catch up.  Many mis-genderings occurred, and a few mis-namings, but effort was made, and we had a good time.

A few weeks later, I met up with Emily and Matt again.  Emily is employing me again to continue trying to teach other teachers, and Matt is doing his math-guru thing, teaching teachers, teaching coaches, teaching the world.  Matt is actually very familiar with the teachers I met up with, and Shelly in particular.  I mentioned to him that I saw them for lunch.  He was happy and we reminisced.  Later that day, Matt said he would call me to meet up in the evening for a drink of wine.  I joked with him about whether he still had my phone number and if he had been like Shelly and had not yet updated me in his contacts.  He informed me that he already did update it and told me he would give me a call. 

We never did get a chance to meet up that evening, however, the next, Matt made a point to come up to me.  He said I want you to know that, even though I met you ten years ago, and you were clearly presenting male, it feels as though I have always known you as a woman.  As soon as you told me your real name, I immediately updated it in my contacts, and that is the only person I ever think of you as. 

Ummmm..... WOW!   Wow, Matt, you hit that one out of the park baby!  That was one hell of a home run statement!  When I re-told that story to my therapist, she got goose bumps.  For me, I have had warm fuzzies every since. 

Okay, so later that day, after speaking with Matt, I found myself chatting with Emily.  She was letting me know how bad she has felt for all of the mis-genderings she has done.  She has done quite a few, but she is working on it, and getting better.  The other thing is, she often calls herself on it, which is nice.  She said to me, that she is sorry, but that she is also super thankful about how kind, polite, and forgiving I am towards those who may make a mistake.  I told her, well, but of course, it is understandable that it can be difficult for some.  She thanked me again, and mentioned that many trans people she has known have not been nearly as gracious as I have been.  I told her that I appreciated her speaking to me.  And I really did appreciate it, especially when later that afternoon she did properly gender me. 

So there ya go.  That is a nice summation of what it has been like since coming out to one of my employers.  In short, it has gone fabulously!  And did you notice what I did there with the three teachers?  I blamed myself, not them.  Sure I could blame them, but what would I be proving?  That I can be petty and bitchy?  I didn't go there, and I'm not going to go there.  That's just not me.  It does indeed hurt being mis-gendered, and mis-named, but I believe in being kind, and being optimistic about the future. 

Sure it would be great if everybody thought the way that Matt does, it's actually quite impressive, but that is just not reality.  Reality is, if I want to continue meeting these teachers for lunch, every now and then, and to have them properly name and gender me, I choose to be nice now when they are taking the time to learn.  I'm a teacher.  I'm very forgiving in the face of those attempting to learn.  In fact, I'm going to be, helpful, kind, and nice. 

Love you!

Love yourselves!

Love learning and growing!


Sunday, August 11, 2019

In the Closet and In a Wedding??




You may remember that recently my friend Dana and I began a podcast.  We have been having lots of fun recording it, and sharing out bit of weirdness with the world.  We recently received a great question from a listener.  I was emailing her back today and thought, hey, maybe I should share this with a larger community to try and get more opinions.  So I'd encourage you to reach out and give me your thoughts.

Hello!

My name is J, and I'm a hetero cis woman who absolutely loves you two. Your podcast is wonderful and I truly enjoy listening to your conversations. 

A little background on why I'm asking this question, I live in a very conservative area of the Midwest and there is not a lot of exposure for the trans community here. My former roommate and current best friend is a trans woman but due to our environment and personal struggles, she has not been able to openly present herself as a woman to society. I'm the only girl friend that she really is herself with and since we're so close, we both really want her to be involved in my wedding this fall as a bridesmaid. So here's my question: what advice would you have for us to help make her feel more comfortable being in front of a large group of my friends and family in a dress when she struggles with her body dysmorphia and fear of being vulnerable in public? 

Thank you so much for sharing your friendship and closeness with your listeners, I hope to hear back from you!
J

Thanks so much for writing to Dana and I, and for listening to our podcast.  You are super kind and sweet with your compliments towards us, so thanks for that.  In regards to your friend, wow, you are super sweet for wanting her in your wedding!  That is so nice of you to put yourself out there to help her! So cool!  

Dana and I will be recording again late this next week and we will for sure discuss this.  Dana has lots of experience in speaking with many trans individuals and I'm sure she has her own thoughts on this matter.  Being as it may be at least a couple of weeks for our discussion to make it live on our podcast I wanted to try and write to you personally now and attempt an answer to your question.  

To that end - in general, in order to become more comfortable being in front of people dressed as oneself, your friend would need to begin doing it now.  Over time, comfort, joy, and relaxation can come about.  I personally began by going to the movies, museums, and other locations where no one knew me.  I was also super fortunate to have my wife by my side most of the time.  I would encourage you and your friend to get out together and begin exploring if the realities of doing such a thing is what both of you actually want.

For me, when I was fully in the closet, the idea of being a bridesmaid in a friend's wedding would have been amazing!  It still is actually! But when I was closeted, actually being that bridesmaid was a minefield of terrifying unknowns.  How would I actually look in a woman's dress?  Would it work with my body?  Would anyone who saw me ever really take me for a woman? What if someone I knew saw me?  What if my family found out?  What if my work found out?  What if people got mad at me?  What if people tried to hurt me?  Would dressing as a woman at my friend's wedding take away somehow from her day?  

The reality is, I would have never felt comfortable in actually being in that wedding until I had transitioned, or at least had come out to my circle of humans.  There would have been a terrific desire to do it, and an extreme sadness if I didn't, but I would never have felt comfortable doing that while I was closeted.

There may have been some things that have helped me to feel more comfortable though.  As you stated in regards to your friend, she has two main issues, 1 - body image concerns, and 2 - social concerns.

For issue number one, body image, that can be combated in a few different ways.  The first way that I dealt with my own body insecurities was learning how to dress it.  Clothes come in many different cuts, fabrics, styles, etc.  By trying on vast amounts of different clothes one can eventually find something that actually looks good.  I have found this to be true, regardless of one's personal body "type."  Thus for a wedding, the right bridesmaid dress can make all of the difference.  Many AMAB (assigned male at birth) humans have wider shoulders, thus a dress that shows more shoulders is often not flattering on their bodies, for example.

Another helpful tactic is realizing the vast variations that exist in bodies.  Not every AFAB (assigned female at birth) human has shoulders and hips at the same width.  Not every AFAB has greats breasts that show their decolletage.  Not every AFAB looks undeniably like an AFAB.  Variations happen, and are totally natural and expected.  Not everyone looks like that standard female image that media tosses in our face on a regular basis.

My personal body image issues have also been helped by working with my therapist for the past two years and bugging her constantly about the evil voices in my head that try and convince me that I will never be seen as anything but an AMAB desperately trying to pass as an AFAB.  In addition to talking to her about my own body image issues, I have tried to talk to many other people about it.  I have spoken to college classes about it, my wife extensively, my sister, my coworkers, my friends, and total strangers!  I believe that insecurities are wounded by being brought into the open, and that they thrive in the darkness of our minds.

Another small, but powerful, thing I have done to help with my body image issues is to take a large number of pictures of myself.  This may seem counter-intuitive as humans with body image issues tend to not like their images at all.  But, over time, with lots of practice, and learning about the medium of photography, I have been able to see myself in a totally different way.

Lastly, the largest thing I have done to help with my body image issues, is to have changed my hormones.  That has helped the most as that has actually changed my body to be better aligned with what my brain thinks my body should look like.  Thus I am beginning to feel like me, and not like I am playing a version of me.

 Okay, so, for issue number two - social concerns, I have a harder time in coming up with more options.  The first, and by far the easiest, is to dress in one's preferred presentation and go to locations where it is all but assured that you won't see anyone who knows you.  That limits the potential side effects of your entire world discovering your secret.  But it also allows one to begin to interact with other human beings while dressed in a manner one is not familiar with.

Another option to transgender people is to come out of the closet.  It does not mean one has to transition.  People can open up about their gender variance even when they are not sure what it may mean.  I came out to my sister as a transvestite about fifteen years ago.  A few years after that, I came out to some friends and described myself as a cross dresser.  After that, I came out to some other friends as gender non-conforming and non-binary.  It was not until a few years later that I began telling people I am a transgender woman.  Anywho..... when you begin to open up, and come out of the closet, it helps to ease the social pressures.

Coming out is not an easily undertaken event.  It takes large amounts of bravery, and support.  It can lead to horrible rejection and large amounts of ignorance.  But, it can also lead to freedom.  The freedom to actually be able to be oneself, in front of anybody, and everybody.  It can lead to a deep sense of closeness and belonging within a community that most transgender people have never felt.

In short, I don't know of anything that can guarantee your friend will be able to be in your wedding and be totally comfortable, however, there are lots of things they could begin to do that would allow them to be in your wedding and feel more comfortable about it.

I hope that in some small way my words will help you and your friend.  You truly are an awesome human being and a fantastic friend.  Thank you so much for being so kind and caring to others.  Your friend is very fortunate to have you in their lives.

Thank you!!!

Love you!

Love yourselves!

Love others!












Tuesday, July 30, 2019

The Writing is on the Wall


Well, no, not actually.  Really the writing is on the label on the lid. 

A year and half ago or so I realized that I was going to legally transition and most likely end up fully transitioning.  It was sometime around then that I realized it was time to start working on my handwriting again. 

It's interesting to see what transgender people end up not liking about themselves.  For many of us it is obviously body parts that we don't like.  That is probably not something that even really needs to be mentioned.  Gender confirmation surgery kind of confirms that many trans people have a very hard time existing with bits that they don't identify with.  But, sometimes there are other things besides body parts that bring about grief. 

Maybe surprisingly, my handwriting is something that I have always hated due to my perception that it has always been extremely male.  Male handwriting you ask?  Yes, male handwriting.  I understand that it may appear to be weird to think of handwriting as exuding a gender, but it does.  Well, maybe it itself does not, but we as a society interpret handwriting as having gendered characteristics.  Do many men place little hearts as dots above letters such as i?  No, most do not.

My personal issues with my handwriting began very early in my life.  My mother would describe my handwriting as chicken-scratch.  Which is apparently a very common way to criticize handwriting.  Anywho, possibly more damaging were various teachers who would examine my handwriting and then calmly explain that it was clearly not something I could do, because I was born as a male.  Having been born with a male identified body, meant that while I had good gross motor skills, my body lacked the appropriate muscles to perform fine motor skill tasks well.  Thus when I went home, I was not really motivated to practice my handwriting. 

My issues with my handwriting began before I was ever told that it was something I would never be able to do well.  It was simple, I never actually practiced.  Yup, that simple.  Handwriting is an art form that I never cared about.  I was lost, confused, and alone.  My household was a classic 80s dysfunctional mess.  Practicing my handwriting was not high on my priority list.  Hell it wasn't on my list at all. 

When I began teaching and seeing massive amounts of other human beings handwriting that I began to finally understand that people's gender was irrelevant to the quality of their handwriting.  Actually what I noticed was that people who practiced more had better handwriting.  So practice was the key.  And occasionally I did practice.  But they were all really half-hearted attempts.

It wasn't until I chose to transition that I began to attack this problem in earnest.  The first thing I had to learn was a new signature.  That was weird, but cool. I super enjoyed creating a new signature.  What has been harder is learning the intricacies of this art form, such as letter spacing, letter size, slant, staying on the line, and going from line to line.  All those little lovely pieces of things that combine together to create good looking handwriting. 

I'm not done.  I think I am somewhere in the middle.  I have improved, but I have improvements that can still come about.  With time, effort, practice, determination, and persistence, I know that I can get it to be what I want it to be. 

Sometimes to change all that is needed is practice.  Not a medication, not cognitive behavioral therapy, not hours of pondering, not being born in the "right" body, just simple practice. 

I'm going to go continue practicing.  I know I can do this.  I know this is possible.  I believe in my ability to learn and change and grow. 

What do you believe in?

Love you!

Love yourselves!

I hope you believe in yourself.  I really do.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

To Shade or Not To Shade


Apparently that is the question.  Confused?  Possibly.  Well, the other day on Insta I received the following message:

When you pose in a car, may I ask a favor? Please shed the sunglasses for the time to take a selfie. As a lesbian, I want to see your whole face.

I went back through my Insta feed and noticed that there are probably about 35 or so pictures with me with sunglasses on and about the same with them off.  So.... it is about even.  But this issue of sunglasses or no sunglasses and the public's reaction to me with them or without them has also been an issue with this blog.  A few comments that I have received over the years:

Love your cleavage and really like the picture without your sunglasses. You do have pretty eyes and a pretty face. 

I know you're reluctant to take your pictures outdoors without sunglasses, but these photos are proof positive that you certainly don't need them in the shade. They are a lovely testament to the woman within.

Its so nice to see your eyes.

I appreciate the support, I really do..... at one point I was terrified to post any photos of me on the net as I was sure that someone would be able to recognize me.  My sunglasses were my wonder woman mask that kept me safe from harm.  Eventually they became a security blanket and I became afraid to be seen without them.  Thus it was an unusual sight to see me without them, especially in photos.  I mean at one point I wouldn't even show my face here!  Yikes!

That is so craze-balls that I wouldn't even include my head in my photos.  I went back right now and checked to see when I started showing my face but I got too annoyed trying to find it, but I want to say that it took me years to show my face.  So yeah, at one point I think I needed to encouragement to show my face without my sunglasses. 

However..... have you seen my Insta feed?  As I said, there is about half and half, sunglasses and no sunglasses.  Personally, I think the internet has now seen plenty of my photos without sunglasses.  Even here, where most of my photos are with sunglasses, I try and post up one non-sunglasses photo with every outfit post.  Occasionally you will even get a close-up of my face, like when I got my lashes done. 

But even if you are a lesbian, it is not going to sway me much to post up more non-sunglasses pictures.  Why?  Well for one, I'm a lesbian also, so I am immune to other lesbian's super powers.  And for another, who am I now trying hard to dress for?  Me. 

I have spent too many of my years on this planet wearing or not wearing items due to what other people thought I should or shouldn't be wearing.  I'm kind of over that.  Wait, back up, I'm not kind of over that, I'm totally over that!  At one point I needed support to show all of who I am, but now, not so much.  Thus I am going to wear or not wear my sunglasses, depending on if I feel like wearing them.  If I think I look cute in a photo with or without sunglasses, I will share it. 

I think the difference is at one point I wore my sunglasses to hide, now, if I have them on, it's probably because it is super frickin bright, or I'm taking photos in my dirt covered driveway and I don't feel like setting my glasses down in the dirt. 

So, um, yeah!

There ya go!

Love you!

Love yourself!

Love sunglasses!!!


Thursday, July 18, 2019

My Outfit - Cool Dress

Dress - Max Studio @ Amazon
Scarf - no idea - Similar @ Amazon
Shoes - Born O Concept. Schirra - Similar @ Amazon@ DSW

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!






Friday, July 5, 2019

2 Year Estro-Versary!


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!

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

TransCisTer Radio - My Podcast!


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.

Alrighty then!

Love you!

Love yourselves! 

Love facing your insecurities!

Love educating!

Love you!

Seriously, are you sure you're taking the time to love yourself properly?