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.


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!

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? 

Friday, June 7, 2019

Orchiectomy - Hello Pain!!

Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow.  On a level of 1 to 10, can you describe the pain you are in?  1 is no pain at all and a 10 is the worst pain you have ever felt.  Where would I describe this pain?  Oh, in the 9-10 range.  I don't really think I have ever felt any pain like this before.  However, when I was asked this question yesterday in the hospital, I said, oh I don't know maybe a 5 or 6.  Why did I say that?  Well, I read once that doctors always hear people say that they are experiencing a level 11.  Thus doctors become desensitized to patients thoughts on pain.  I figured that the uncontrollable crying that happened when they asked me to sit up and get off of the gurney was some pretty solid evidence of the amount of pain that I was in. 

But, hey, I'm clearly ahead of myself aren't I?  Uhh.... just a little.  Okay then, let's back up.  I first considered getting an orchi awhile back.  I'm not sure when it first occurred to me, but I do not what precipitated it.  That was difficulties in getting my spironolactone, spiro for short.  Spiro is used to prevent the body from using the testosterone it produces.  When you are assigned male at birth but are actually a woman, generally you get placed onto two medications when you begin hormone therapy.  Spiro to block the testosterone and estrogen to give you what you should be getting. 

Anywho..... I, like most US citizens, tend to use CVS pharmacies to get my prescriptions filled.  Several times over the last two years I have encountered difficulties in getting my scrip for spiro filled.  One particular time the pharmacy I use told me that they would be unable to fill my scrip; they informed me that they were out of that medication.  They offered me nothing and gave me no assistance in finding a place to fill the scrip.  I didn't realize it at the time, but it was a totally anti-transgender move by the pharmacy.  I kind of got a clue when I tried phoning several different locations and none of them would fill my scrip.  I finally just drove across town to a different CVS, and spoke with that pharmacist.  He said, that yeah, they were indeed out of that medication but there were at least 3 or 4 other manufacturers of that type of medication that they could easily use to fill that scrip.  I walked out 5 minutes later with the scrip in hand. 

The thing was though, I totally panicked when I was struggling to get my scrip filled.  It was around then that I realized what a horrible feeling it was that other people were now in charge of my body.  They had the power to determine whether or not I would be on testosterone or not.  That really pissed me off, horribly so! 

It was around then as well that I started noticing the effects that spiro was having on my body.  Yes spiro stops the body from being able to utilize testosterone, but it also can increase the potassium in your body to dangerous levels, thus requiring frequent blood work to be examined.  It also lowers your blood pressure which increases the amount of being light headed and dizzy upon standing.  The other lovely thing is that it is a diuretic which means that I was constantly feeling dehydrated.  I would drink liquid all day but by the end of the day my skin was super dry and flaky and my lips were constantly peeling.  I would wake up every morning with such a super dry pasty mouth that it was painful. 

So, uh, yeah, there you go, oh and let's also throw in that the longer I am in therapy, the longer I am on hormone therapy, the more I am understanding my reality, I'm actually a girl.  And do you know what most girls don't have?  Testicles!  Yup, not so much!  Thus it was, I found a doctor who was willing to accept my cash, as my insurance will not cover such things.  Even though in the long run, it will save my insurance plan money.  How so?  They are paying for my spiro.  If I didn't get the orchi, I would be on spiro for the rest of my life, with my insurance paying for it for ever.  But if they would be willing to pay for the orchi, then no more spiro!  And yes it would have saved them money.  But no, they wouldn't pay. 

Okay, so whatevs..... I found a doctor in Philadelphia that I could afford and specializes in working with trans patients.  Thus it was I arrived in Philly earlier this week, and on Thursday I got my orchi.  The thing that shocked me the most was how much pain I was in when I woke from surgery.  I was not anticipating that.  I thought that I would be numb, but nope, I wasn't.  I was in pain.  And that sucked.  I spent the next hour or so crying trying to come to grips with the amount of discomfort I was in.  I got some food in me, and some soda, and some percocet.  That made it so I didn't care so much about the pain, but I still felt it. 

My doctor had picked me up in the morning, and took my wife and I to the hospital.  Once I was able, he drove us back to the hotel, and that is where I have been since.  I know that I will make it through this, and that it is the best thing for me, but for now, it just plain sucks.  I wish I was home.  I wish I could have had this procedure done at my local hospital and that right now I was recovering at my house, with my own things, and able to stay in my own bed.  Easily half of my discomfort right now is that I am staying in a hotel.  That sucks. 

This is but one of the dehumanizing things some of us trans people have to endure to be able to be who we are.  Kinda sucks.  Kinda really sucks actually.  Well for right now it does at least.  I know I will make it through, and I know I will be happier.  I just wish it was right now.

Love you!

Love yourselves!

Don't love pain so much. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Transition & The Loss of Friends

One of the most challenging questions I have had to deal with is trying to determine if I have lost friends because of my transition.  I am a member of a chat board called crossdressers.com and on that board people are very fond of saying that when you transition you need to be prepared to lose everyone and everything and thus they do not recommend transitioning unless it is a life and death situation.  That sentiment scared me off from transitioning for a long time, and now that I have actually transitioned I don't know if it is an accurate statement.

The humans at that site have other's best interest in mind in telling them that, as there are many who have transitioned and have lost everything.  Unfortunately it is not uncommon for people who transition to lose their family, friends, job, house, kids, everything and anything that you can think of.  I suppose that it is a good idea for people to be prepared for this possibility if they are to chose to transition.

Keep in mind, this is not to say that people are choosing to be transgender, that is something that you are born with or not.  What I am saying is that people can choose to transition or not.  There are many people out there that know they are trans, and that they will always be trans, however, they are not ready, willing, or able to transition.

Okay, so someone can choose to transition or not.  That is factual.  Now what will happen once someone does transition?  That is an unknown.  Nobody can say for sure what will or wont happen once somebody makes the choice.  And as I said, I suppose that people should be prepared for the worst when making this choice, however, it is my opinion that it is a detriment to tell people that it is inevitable that the worst will for sure happen.

One of my favorite shows is Deadliest Catch.  Have you ever seen it?  Do you know what it is about?  If you don't know, it is a show about catching crab in the Bering Sea.  Which is widely known as one of the deadliest jobs on the planet.  Anywho, when they get somebody new on the crab boat they refer to that person as a Greenhorn.  It is quite typical that the Greenhorn gets treated horribly.  And the boat captains encourage that behavior from the other members of the crew.  The Greenhorn gets the worst jobs, the most demanding jobs, and constantly takes loads of verbal and sometime physical abuse from the other crew members.  Inevitably many of the Greenhorns do not survive the entire season or return for more abuse for a second season.

Recently I saw a show where a psychologist was discussing the hazing that takes place aboard crab boats towards the Greenhorns.  The captain's positions were basically one of, the hazing of the newbies is a good thing because it helps to prepare them for the horrors that are crab fishing.  Crab fishing is a tough thing and people new to the job need to be abused in order to understand just how difficult the job is.  The psychologist basically completely disagreed with the methods the captains and the entire industry encourage.  She said that what it does is to make people feel worthless and more likely to not succeed in the profession.  And really, to truly help people become proficient in crab fishing, you need to encourage them, and not haze and berate them.

Hmm..... interesting thoughts.  Can these same thoughts be applied to being transgender?  Personally I think they can.  Is it a possibility that someone may die from crab fishing?  Yes.  But, you don't prepare them for that by treating them like garbage.  Thus applied to transgender humans, you don't prepare them for transition by treating them poorly.  What you may do is scare them off from transitioning.  Sadly some trans humans think this is a good thing.

Ummm..... yeah, I obviously disagree.  People don't need to be discouraged from transitioning.  Nor do they need to be encouraged to transition. What do they need?  They need to be supported in sorting out their own thoughts to determine if transition is necessary for themselves.  Do people need to be aware that there is a possibility that they may loose everything if they transition?  Sure.  But do people need to be aware that they may gain everything they have ever wanted by transitioning?  Yes they do.

Okay, long preamble huh?  Yes just a bit! LOL!  Back to the point of this post, how many friends have I lost due to transitioning?  Ummmm...... maybe two.  A married couple that my wife and I would hang with on occasion.  Yup.  I had my suspicions about whether or not the lack of contact from them was due to my transition.  Recently I met with the wife of the couple and it was pretty much confirmed that they have stopped wanting to hang out with us due to my transition.  Sad?  Yes.  Yes it is very sad to me that both my wife and I have lost them as friends due to me choosing to be true to who I have been born as.

Would it really have been better to not transition, stay miserable, and potentially keep these two people as friends?  Well, the reality is that while they were considered to be friends, possibly even somewhat close friends, we saw them maybe 4 or 5 times per year.  So..... I should have stayed miserable to spend possibly 5 sets of a few hours each per year with these people.  Ummm, big NO!  Nope, that is not worth it.

Besides, the reality of friendships is that they are constantly evolving.  Friends come and go throughout our lifetime.  I once read that within the next seven years you will loose half of all of your current friends.  Wow!  And that is without transitioning.  That is just because lives change.  Interests change.  People move.  People grow.  Friends die.  Things happen!  Should that prevent us from doing things that may cause us to lose people from our lives?

No.  No you should not allow the potential loss of anyone to cause you to be untrue to yourself.

For me, the loss of two people from my world has not impacted me in the least.  Well, okay, maybe it has a little bit.  I am bummed that those two people are so terrified of interacting with me at all that they are refusing our requests to have them over for dinner.  However, at the same time that I have lost those two people, I have gained many more people in my life.  Once I decided to come out, and then to transition, and to include as many people as I could, I have gained many more friends, and reconnected with many people I lost contact with long ago.

There are those who will inevitably say that I am the exception to the rule and people should not listen to me.  C'est La Vie! Don't then.  It wont bother me.  I truly cannot explain my transition, but I really don't think that it is all that unusual or spectacular.  What I can say is that throughout this process of coming out and then transitioning, I have learned much about myself and about other people.  What did I learn about myself?  That I am the single most transphobic person that I have ever met.

Yup, that's true.  I have been deathly afraid of myself being transgender because I was afraid of what that was going to mean for me and my life.  Because see, I have viewed being transgender as a bad thing.  What this has meant for me is that prior to dealing with this issue inside of myself, I thought that I had to deal with this issue in everybody else.  This made it so that I approached most people with a chip on my shoulder and an expectation that people needed to do something for me.  It was their job to prove to me that they were not transphobic.  Yeah, that set me up for lots of disappointment and heartache.  Thus, once I accepted my own internal feelings, I began to change how I interacted with others.  It changed things for the better.  When before I was seeing how awful people were, I began to see how fantastic people really are.  I understand that not everybody is fantastic and accepting, but the vast majority really are fabulous.

So, maybe it is that which has caused my transgender experience to be different than many others.  I truly don't know.  I do know that my transition has been fantastic.  Really I have had nothing to complain about.  Well, except for maybe how difficult and challenging the medical and insurance community has made it for trans people.  When a cis person can get the same surgery as a trans person without having to pass a bevy of hoops placed before them, then that really does suck.  But even that is changing.  Slowly, but it is changing.  Okay, so, other than that, my transition has been great.

No, it's not because I live in California and that is the land of beaches, sunshine, hippies, and happy loving acceptance.  The cities are more that way, but the rural portions, most of California, are highly conservative.  Possibly more conservative than some areas of the US as a rebuttal to the hippy commune cities effects.  I myself live in one of the most conservative areas.  I also transitioned while on the the job as a middle school teacher in a highly conservative school district, which does not offer any kind of insurance for trans people.  Yes I did take my employer to the EEOC, but am still happily employed by them.  My wife did at one time say that if I ever transitioned she would leave me.  My sister once told me that she knew all about trans people but didn't really want to discuss "those" people with me.

So..... I had a few things working against me.  But I did have one certain thing going for me, which is my unflappable determination that this is what was right for me, and that I knew I could do this and have the support from those around me.  And now, being about two to three weeks away from ending my 23rd year of teaching, but the first as myself, I can say, guess what?  I was right.  I could do this.  And in the end, what can I see has happened?  The loss of two narrow minded people from my world?  Wow, huge loss!  Um, no, not so much.

If you are reading this and have yet to take the transition plunge, but have decided that it is inevitable, what should you take from this?  The onus of responsibility to make sure that your transition goes the way you want it to go, is upon yourself, and only yourself.  You can do this, but it will take time, effort, energy, persistence, and dedication.  Notice that I am placing all responsibility for how it goes upon your shoulders?  Well, yeah, that is how I do things.  Basically because guess what?  I can only ever control me.  I can't force anyone else to do anything, but I can force myself to do just about anything.  And you can to.

Love you!

Love yourselves!

Time, effort, energy, persistence, and dedication!

photo credits:

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Today's Outfit - White Skirt

Skirt - White House Black Market -  Similar @ Neiman Marcus@ Amazon
Tank - White House Black Market - Similar @ WHBM, @ Amazon
Wedges - Born O Comfort - Schirra - Similar @ Famous Footwear,  @ Amazon

I love this skirt.  Seriously, I absolutely adore it!  The pleating makes it move so lusciously that it feels like wearing a cloud.  Well, maybe, but I am not sure what a cloud actually feels like.  How about that I say that it is super light, fluffy, and swishes while I walk and twirl about.  Yes, in this skirt I am a bit prone to twirling.

As well, I like this tank.  It is simple, but lovely.  It has small scallop like waves on it that are edges with white fabric.  It has a lovely look to it, but also a great texture to it.  And you know how much I appreciate a good texture, right?  No?  Well I do, so now you know.  Exciting!

A funny little thing lately.... You may know that I am beginning to speak with groups of college students.  I go over much of my life, telling of my journey to finally accept myself as the woman that I am.  Typically I don't like PowerPoint presentations at all, but, and I know I am biased, I like this one!  I love the photos I was able to put together for it..... okay, well I am sure eventually I will let you know more about what my speech is about.  For now, the only thing that matters is that I have a bit of a joke that goes like this......

I am hated for a variety of different things (and it often changes depending on what I can come up with at that particular moment,) one being that I am a math teacher (generally math teachers don't bring up warm fuzzies for humans,) two that I am transgender (you know, because of how terribly frightening we are, yes sarcasm is my good friend!)  Three - that I am a fashion blogger!  (The internetz don't seem to be all that favorable to fashion bloggers!)

So, yeah, that's one of my jokes.  I do say it in somewhat serious jest.  While I do not feel as though I am truly hated, there are groups of people who do hate others.  Some people hate math, and thus math teachers, there are some people who hate duck hunters (something I may include on occasion,) And so on..... so while I don't ever, in the least, ever feel as though I am hated........ I think that is why the joke is funny to me.  My audience seems to get that.

Okie dokie bloggo-sphere, I am off!

Love you!

Love yourselves!

Life is too short to hate!

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Trans Regret & Body Autonomy

Regret is a very difficult thing to deal with, and there is great concern out there about what will happen if a transgender person may regret their decision to transition.  I first encountered this worry when I informed my friends and family that I had switched my hormones. I was actually quite surprised at how many people said to me - wow, okay, are you sure that is what you want to do? And very often that was followed up with - so, what will happen to your ability to produce testosterone if you are on estrogen for too long? Will you loose the ability to produce testosterone in the future if you change your mind?

It is almost as if they don't know me at all. And that is the rub, isn't it? Well for me it is, as it indicates that I hid myself very well. So well in fact that most people really have no idea of the life I have lived and for how long this "transgender thing" has been around. Weirdly, I didn't really understand that either.

Keeping those things in mind, I should have been better prepared for people being concerned about my upcoming surgery. If they were concerned about hormones, then they would be kind of freaked out about a surgery, right? Yeah well, I didn't really think that one through all the way. Maybe before we go any further, I should inform you what surgery I am discussing. People generally think about the surgery when trans people talk about surgery. No, it is not the surgery, however, it is right next door! Hahahaha..... I am scheduled to have an orchiectomy at the beginning of June. Don't know what that is? It is the removal of my testicles.

Why? Well, yeah, that is the question huh? Basically because since I switched my hormones it has become more and more clear that estrogen is a very important thing to me and my well being. Testicles produce testosterone. There, isn't that enough? It really should be. However, there is a bit more. I take spironolactone to prevent my body from using the testosterone that it constantly produces. That particular drug does other things to me besides the T thing. Number one would be that it makes me pee all the time. It sucks. Especially considering that I am a teacher. We don't have the ability to leave our classroom whenever we want. Number two is that it makes me dizzy and lightheaded when I stand too quickly. Besides those glorious side effects, I have unfortunately come close to not being to get my prescription. I had a pharmacy tell me they ran out and there was nothing they could do about it. Yeah, good times!

Basically I have decided to have my testicles removed so that I can have more control over my own body. Such a large, permanent change should be taken seriously, right? And I have. I kind of think that about 30+ years of pondering my gender is probably a long enough time to make a serious decision like this. The tortured days, and nights..... the endless discussions with my therapist.... the annoyingly long (all on my part) discussions with my wife....

Anywho….. I have been fielding questions from highly concerned people about what will happen if I regret my decision to remove my testicles.  It has been strange listening to these people describe their concerns about me and my body. Largely I have been pondering why so many people have been worried about my balls!  It is quite interesting that people are worried about what I will do to my own body.

Do you know what is weird? Nobody has ever said to me, congratulations. Don’t you think that is the appropriate thing to say?  What if you knew somebody who was born with a deformity that limited them in life and they have had to deal with it their entire life?  What would you say to them if they announced to you that they finally received a surgery date?  Would you ask them if they are sure that it is the right thing for them to do? Would you be worried that at some point they may regret their decision to change their body?  Would you tell them that you are excited and happy for them? I know for me, that is what I would do.

Okay, but whatever, you do know that I am NOT a man right? Oh, that's right.... I hid myself too well. So well that throughout most of this blog I have referenced myself as a man. Yeah, I am aware of that. Go ahead, take a look back through my documented history, you can see for yourself, I have referenced myself as a male for most of my history. So, maybe, possibly, I can sympathize with my friends and family who are concerned that maybe I may change my mind at some point.

What I have a harder time with are WPATH suggestions. What is WPATH? World Professional Association for Transgender Health. Yeah, I agree, exciting! Wait, there is a world-wide organization that is supporting transgender health? Well, yes and no. In many ways WPATH is accused of being a gate-keeping organization. What is gate-keeping? It is the practice of not allowing people to have autonomy over their own bodies. Meaning? Well basically it means is that unless you meet certain guidelines you will not be allowed access to that thing.

Vague? Possibly. So let's see if I can clarify a little. WPATH publishes a little something called the SOC - Standards Of Care. On it's surface this sounds as though it may be a glorious set of recommendations that the medical community needs to do for their transgender patients. That way ill informed doctors could reference it and then deliver appropriate care for their patients. And maybe some doctors use the SOC in that way, which would be fabu. However, in my limited amounts of experience, what I have seen is doctors and insurance providers using the SOC to limit access to medical care for the transgender community.

How so? The SOC include checklists that are to be used as guidelines for most things that transgender people want to do. Some of the checklists are:

Criteria for puberty-suppressing hormones (for children)
Criteria for hormone therapy
Criteria for masectomy
Criteria for breast augmentation
Criteria for hysterectomy/orchiectomy
Criteria for phalloplasty/vaginoplasty

Notice how they say "criteria?" Yeah most people do. What most people gloss over is the section of the SOC that say:

As in all previous versions of the SOC, the criteria put forth in this document for hormone therapy and surgical treatments for gender dysphoria are clinical guidelines; individual health professionals and programs may modify them.

Now, if doctors, insurers, therapists, and psychologists, actually understand the English language and can read, they would understand that these are not requirements, but guidelines. As well, people can feel free to modify them. Especially in states that have informed consent laws. Informed consent is when a health care provider does not have to follow these guidelines at all and can perform any procedure they are qualified to, as long as the patient is clearly informed about the risks, consequences, and outcomes.

However, the problem with this situation is that some health care providers make these guidelines become requirements. In my search for a doctor to perform my orchiectomy I struggled with doctors having more strict requirements instead of less strict ones. Here is what the SOC currently states for an orchiectomy.

Hysterectomy and Salpingo-Oophorectomy in FtM Patients and Orchiectomy in MtF Patients:
  • Persistent, well documented gender dysphoria;
  • Capacity to make a fully informed decision and to give consent for treatment;
  • Age of majority in a given country;
  • If significant medical or mental health concerns are present, they must be well controlled;
  • 12 continuous months of hormone therapy as appropriate to the patient’s gender goals (unless hormones are not clinically indicated for the individual.
As well:

Two referrals—from qualified mental health professionals who have independently assessed the patient—are needed for genital surgery. .... Each referral letter, however, is expected to cover the same topics in the areas outlined below.

The recommended content of the referral letters for surgery is as follows:
  • The client’s general identifying characteristics;
  • Results of the client’s psychosocial assessment, including any diagnoses;
  • The duration of the mental health professional’s relationship with the client, including the type of evaluation and therapy or counseling to date;
  • An explanation that the criteria for surgery have been met, and a brief description of the clinical rationale for supporting the patient's request for surgery;
  • A statement about the fact that informed consent has been obtained from the patient;
  • A statement that the mental health professional is available for coordination of care and welcomes a phone call to establish this.
Yeah, so, those are the checklists of recommended items for someone requesting any genital surgery. It says that there are two referrals required, however, doctors and insurers are actually requesting three. Two from mental health professionals and one from the doctor prescribing your hormone therapy.

Now then, let's go back to the "guidelines" for surgery that the SOC says are not mandatory. I contacted about ten different doctors for my surgery. Pretty much every single one required that I meet every checklist item, plus their added items, prior to even scheduling me for an appointment. When I informed them that the SOC are guidelines and not requirements, they informed me that it does not matter, and that for them, they are requirements. When pressed about what appears to be an instance of denying care to trans people, they informed me that it was the insurance providers policy. I told them that insurance is not paying for my surgery, that I am. They said they did not care, that it was their insurance providers insistence.

There are many people I have discussed this situation with, and surprisingly almost everyone has told me that they have no problem with those checklist items being requirements. When asked why, they said, because we need to make sure that the people that have these procedures will not regret their decision.

Wow. Seriously? Is that the bullshit that you're going to hide behind? Apparently yes, they will try. Surprisingly, to me at least, most transgender people also support these guidelines. When asked why, their answer is the same, we need to make sure that transgender people will not regret their decision.

Hmmm..... I am calling BULLSHIT!!! Totally, fully, completely, bullshit!

I do not think at all that people are worried about other humans regretting their decisions for how they may prefer to modify their bodies. But I do think I know what it actually is.... it's just plain old fashioned transphobia. How so? Well, thanks for asking, let's explore the answer to that question. In this discussion we will focus on breast augmentation. Why? It is the number one most performed plastic surgery procedure. In 2017, there were about 300,000 of these procedures done in the United States alone.

Okay, what types of requirements are there for a cis-gender human to get breast augmentation? This is a difficult question to answer as it is different for every doctor and basically there is no universally accepted pre-requisite, and many have no pre-requisites at all. One plastic surgery center I found via Google states:

You may be a candidate for breast augmentation if:
  • You are physically healthy and you aren't pregnant or breastfeeding
  • You have realistic expectations
  • Your breasts are fully developed
  • You are bothered by the feeling that your breasts are too small
  • You are dissatisfied with your breasts losing shape and volume after pregnancy, weight loss or with aging
  • You are unhappy with the upper part of your breast appearing "empty"
  • Your breasts are asymmetrical
  • One or both breasts failed to develop normally or have an elongated shape
If you're considering surgery, spend some time reviewing breast augmentation photos and learning about what to expect during recovery. Preparation ahead of time helps patients have reasonable expectations and a smoother recovery.
Hmmm..... notice anything missing? I do. How about referral letters from your health providers? What about referral letters from your mental health professionals? What about a checklist of items that the surgeon demands that you provide evidence for completion? Those things do not exist for cis-gendered humans for breast augmentation. So, how about for the trans population that would like breast augmentation?

Criteria for breast augmentation (implants/lipofilling) in MtF patients:
  • Persistent, well-documented gender dysphoria;
  • Capacity to make a fully informed decision and to consent for treatment;
  • Age of majority in a given country (if younger, follow the SOC for children and adolescents);
  • If significant medical or mental health concerns are present, they must be reasonably well controlled.
Although not an explicit criterion, it is recommended that MtF patients undergo feminizing hormone therapy (minimum 12 months) prior to breast augmentation surgery. The purpose is to maximize breast growth in order to obtain better surgical (aesthetic) results.

As well, the patient is required to submit one referral letter from a mental health professional describing the same checkpoints listed earlier for genital surgery. They are also kind of lying when they say one referral letter, they actually mean two. One from your mental health professional and one from your medical doctor prescribing your hormone therapy.

Okay, so obviously there are quite a few differences in the "requirements" to fulfill to be able to get a boob job. Some may still say, yeah well, that is important to protect people from regretting a life changing procedure. In 2017 there were quite a few articles running around stating how lots of trans people are regretting their surgeries and are requesting a procedure to medically transition back to the gender they began as. Newsweek published an article:

Gender-confirmation surgeries—the name given to procedures that change the physical appearance and function of sexual characteristics—increased by 20 percent from 2015 to 2016 in the U.S., with more than 3,000 such operations performed last year. Rates are also increasing worldwide. Now, at least one surgeon is reporting a trend of regret.

Wow, so this trans regret thing is pretty serious. I mean, there is even a trend of regret, right? I used to actually think that publications like Newsweek could be trusted. Did you notice that they give a large number, of 3,000 such operations, but never actually give numbers to the supposed "trend" of surgery regret? These days, I don't know if anything can be trusted. It seems as though everyone is just being inflammatory to sell their product. Drama sells. And people are so intrigued by possible regret that trans people may have. So then, what about the trend that Newsweek reported on?

I found some info about this, but not from such an "esteemed news organization" as Newsweek. The info I found is the following:

36 surgical reversals out of 18,000-27,000 trans patients who’ve received surgery is a reversal rate of 0.13-0.2%. This is consistent with existing studies finding that rates of regret following genital surgery of about 2%, and indicates that only a small fraction of those who do experience regret will go on to seek reversal surgery

Okay, so maybe there is not exactly "a trend" of surgical reversals of Gender Confirmation Surgery. That is the whole kit and caboodle by the way, not just a boob job. So the rate of regret, with an actual study, was between 0.13-0.2%, and they report it is consistent with a rate of 2%. Which is ten times what the study showed, but whatever, make it bigger to account for some statistical errors. That is fine. But still, even with increasing it, the rate of regret, leading to a reversal, for a full GCS, is being reported at 2%.

Shall we take just a small moment and compare that rate of regret and reversal to the rate of regret and reversal for cis-gender breast augmentation. This is again difficult stats to find. But I found the following:

The most common surgeries among the survey group were breast augmentations (31 percent) and nose jobs (27 percent). Liposuction came a close third at 24 percent, while 16 percent had eyelid surgery.
Asked how they felt following surgery, two thirds (65 percent) said they "regret having cosmetic surgery" although 28 percent said they "couldn't be happier with the results".

Another source reports on breast augmentation specifically:

The FDA lists 26 potential complications, from rupture and deflation to infection and necrosis, and warns that up to 20 percent of women will have their implants removed within 10 years.

While the first stat is not super official it falls in line with what I have heard, most people who have plastic surgery regret their decision. Looking at the first quote, it says that 65% of Britains regret their surgery. Ummm..... trend anyone?

The second stat, coming from the FDA is pretty darn reliable, 20% of women will have their implants removed. That is a pretty big number of women who clearly regret their decision to have breast implants.

Yeah, let's make sure that we remember the trans stat, 2% regret reported, with the study putting it 0.2%. Okay, so a bit of math says, with 2%, that is one tenth of what cis-women report, and with 0.2%, that is one one hundredth. But hey, we need to make sure that trans people don't regret their decision.

What I am hearing is that people care SO much about the transgender humans that we just want to make sure that as few people as possible regret their decision to transition. And that is with hormones alone, and we especially want to make sure they do not regret any surgical decisions they make. However, with cis-gender humans, we don't really give a shit.

Did you happen to take a look at the requirements for getting breast implants and compare the cis-gender and transgender requirements? The cis-gender requirements are all ones that a single human all by themselves can make. They are making a choice about how they are going to treat their own bodies. For trans people? Yeah, no apparently we are not competent enough to make decisions about our own bodies. To even have surgeons consider you for a breast augmentation, you need to have two letters, a doctor, and a therapist. Did you see what the therapist has to write? I did. My therapist's letter is about 3 pages long. Yup 3 pages.

Yeah, for the orchiectomy, the requirements are even more severe than for breast implants. I actually got into a bit of an argument with a psychologist about the requirements. One of the old requirements for an orchiectomy is that you have 12 continuous months of living as the gender you identify as. So I suppose that one line will put the surgery out of contention for anyone who identifies as non-binary huh? Yeah, sorry, you don't identify enough with either gender to qualify as living full time as either male or female huh? Yeah, sorry, you're fucked.

Okay, but anywho, back to the direct comparison of breast augmentation for trans and cis humans. Now, not for one second do I believe that our society cares so much about trans people that we want to make sure they do not regret their surgical choices as much as the cis population does. What it is people, is straight up transphobia. There is nothing else that you can suggest to me that will make it so that I do not see the discrimination before me. Hell, they even put it in writing! That is what the Standards Of Care show. The SOC show that it is discriminatory in nature to expect different requirements from different groups of humans.

How can it be proven that our society as a whole is not discriminatory? Okay, maybe I am overgeneralizing too much, so let's just focus on the medical community and insurance providers for a moment. How can it be demonstrated that surgeons are not massive transphobes? Ummm..... it is really quite simple. Have the exact same requirements for anyone to get the procedure. As long as there exists a difference between trans-human's requirements and cis-human's requirements, then it is nothing but blatant discrimination.

The thing that really kicks me in the balls about this, (HAHAHAHAHA) is that most transgender people that I have spoken to are in support of these requirements! When asked why, they say that we need to protect our image, and anyone regretting any medical choice they have made is just bad publicity for our group of people. That is quite sad actually. It seriously reminds me of the practice of circumcision. Which, as reported by many men, is frequently performed so that their baby boy's penis looks just his daddie's. Wow, how sick! In other words, many trans people who have survived the inquisition that is this absurd checklist of surgery requirements thinks that if they had to go through it, then everybody else should have to as well.

Fuck! Even WPATH states, that their criteria are recommendations and not requirements! Nobody should be forced to conform to the expectations of a society that cannot clearly see it's way to actually allowing human beings to have autonomy over their own fucking bodies! Ummmm.... yeah, sorry, I am pretty heated about this bullshit.

Sometimes it makes me really wonder if they actually know about the transgender population. Like for instance, are they aware that there is an extremely high suicide rate? Basically it is somewhere between 40-50% of all transgender people will attempt to commit suicide at some point in their lives. I've actually read of some people who will say that statistic is proof of how mentally unstable the transgender population is. That is really sad. Mostly because it is that sort of rhetoric that is causing the problem. Transgender people are more likely to kill themselves because of rejection from society. Yup, pretty simple. People who face harassment, discrimination, and rejection from family and friends for some weird reason want to kill themselves more. So, to help these humans part of the solution is apparently making them jump through hoops, the SOC, to get the procedures that would actually help them to be better accepted by an already over critical society. But we are worried that some of them may regret their decision. Seriously?

I have actually had some contact with a few people who did come to regret their decision to transition, so maybe societie's, and WPATH's concerns are well warranted huh? Because, see if just one transgender person comes to regret their decision, we need to stand up and protect the poor misguided transgender human. Hmmm...... that is still pretty fucked up. As it turns out, the people I know stopped or de-transitioned because of a lack of societal support. Which is what I have also heard from my therapist and my doctor. These people didn't decide they were not transgender, they decided they could not put up with the vast amounts of negativity that they received from their community. Wow. Seriously, wow.

Let's see if I can wrap this up without using the f-word. Uhhhhh........ people should be allowed to do with their bodies as they please. Simple. Easy. You have no right to tell another human being what they can and cannot do to their own bodies. They are our own bodies! How about a simple deal, I wont tell you what to do with your body, and you wont tell me to do with mine. Yes, even if we disagree with what the other one is doing. Yes, even if you think it is wrong to do to oneself. Yes, even if........!!!!


Body autonomy.

Love you!

Love your body!

Even if you have to change it to love it, you love that fucker up!


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