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!


Picture Credits:

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

My First One Woman Show

It has to be at least a year ago that I met the amazing and fabulous Jessica Lynn.  If you don't know Jessica travels the world giving speeches about her transgender life experiences.  She is helping to educate the world that we transgender folk are just regular people trying to navigate this thing called life.

Anywho.... I met her at a group therapy session with my super cool therapist.  Jessica came to talk with us about what she does.  During that time she encouraged us to get out there and do the same thing that she is doing, talk with the general public about what it means to be transgender.  It intrigued me immensely.  I mean I love to talk, and I am proficient at speaking with large groups of humans, so it seemed like it was right up my alley.

The only issue was, I had no idea bout what I would say.  Jessica's story is heartbreaking.  It is filled with lots of ups and downs, immense drama, and mega injustices happening during her transition.  Myself, my story is not nearly as drama filled.  I told my therapist that while I wanted to get out there and speak, I didn't really think that I had anything about my particular story that would be all that interesting for anyone to listen to.

That was at least a year ago.  During this time in between, much of the writing portion of my brain has been locked in on the idea of writing a speech for a presentation to college students.  I started writing it last summer.  I got about 75% of the way there and then stopped working on it.  I had lost inspiration and it was hard to look back on my story without becoming lost in the emotionalism of it all. But it bothered me that I couldn't seem to finish it.  I began worrying about it and pondering what it was that I wanted my message to be.  It weighed heavily on me.

During this past winter break from teaching I became determined to finish my speech so that I had at least something to work with.  I figured out how to end it and with glee I began emailing professors at colleges around me.  Happily one teacher wrote back super quickly and inquired about my speech.  We agreed to have me come in to his class in the middle of March.  I was thrilled.

And then the speech sat.  I had done my jobs so far.  I wrote the speech and had a class to go give it.  Near the beginning of this month, I went back to the speech and began trying to practice the speech I had written.  I hated it!  It bored me!  That was not good.  I quickly set out to write another more interesting version.  I finished that one in a day or two.  I thought it was okay, but then I had the opportunity to go see my inspiration, Jessica, give her speech.  It was then that I realized what both of my speeches were missing, heart.

I sat down for a third time and wrote another speech.  Now when I say, wrote a speech, it really is not quite that simple.  In writing these speeches, what I was really doing was to create three different PowerPoint presentations.  Really, nobody wants to sit through an hour long speech that someone reads from a typed page of text.  And, even if they do, that is not the speech that I wanted to write.  I wanted to write a speech that would pull people in and allow them to see a glimpse into what it means to be transgender.

I gave the beginning parts of my two second speeches to my wife and asked her thoughts.  We both agreed that the third one seemed to be the one to focus on.  I worked on it throughout much of last week and finally ended up with something that I thought was doable.  I began practicing my presentation and thought I had it down pretty well.  It is fascinating in giving an ad-lib speech, meaning not from a typed text.  With an ad-lib speech, it changes every time it is given.  Thus I simply wanted to be confident that I could flow with it and make sure that I covered the key points.

Yesterday was the day.  I was super nervous and unsure.  But I made my way to UC Merced and found the teacher's office.  We sat and chatted for a few minutes before heading over to his classroom.  I got my computer setup, he introduced me, and off I went.  The next hour passed in a blur and it was over before I knew it.

They all clapped and praised me for my efforts.  So far I have gotten some great feedback from the teacher and a fabulous letter from a student.  Apparently, they like me, they really like me!  Which is great.  But my largest hope is that I can help educate the non-trans population.  People need to see that we are just like any other human being.

My hope is to be able to continue contacting college professors and to be able to continue to go in and do my thing.  This is not an effort to get rich or famous.  This is an effort to help educate.  At my core, that is what I am, an educator.  If I can use my skills and talents to help educate the world and make it a little bit easier for trans and cis alike, then I have truly won.

Love you!

Love yourselves!

Love educating!

Monday, February 25, 2019

My Outfit - Flashy Red

Dress - Calvin Klein - Similar @ Amazon @ Nordstrom
Leggings - WHBM - @ WHBM, similar @ Amazon
Shoes - Unisa - Simialr @ Amazon, @ DSW
Sweater - WHBM - Similar @ WHBM, @ Amazon

I really like this dress!  The red color is so deep and rich, it just looks yummy!  Color is not my forte, I mean I wear it fine, however I am color blind.  I think I may have mentioned that once or twice here, but it is worth another mention, at least when I am discussing color, right?  Well I think it is.  Now then, with that being said, I do love the color of this red dress.  It is a super deep red.  A red that has a bit more blue in it that leads it more towards an almost purple hue.  But, hey what do I know about colors!  I'm dying inside with laughter at how my wife may respond to that color description above.  Hmmm....

Anywho, I do really like the dress.  It has a super nice fit around my waist and a nice flare out at my knees.  As well, it has super cute details around the waist and the hem.  Though you really can't see any of that detail in this super shitty photo I have of the entire outfit.  The dress got super washed out. 

I'm pretty bummed about that.  The dress is seriously cute.  And the photo does not show it at all.  Curious why?  Maybe, maybe not, but I'm going to tell you anywho....  Typically people look best in photos when one uses a flash.  This erases little wrinkles and fault lines and caverns!  Hahahahaha, yeah not so much, but it does help give a filtered bit of an appearance.  So I generally use a flash for my photos.  This will work okay if I am in shadows when I take my photos.  On the day I took these photos, for the beginning of my shoot, we had mega clouds covering the sun.  It had in fact just stopped raining.  Then I started taking my photos and within a few minutes the sun comes glaring out.  Yup, right when I was taking the full body shots.  Lovely huh?  Uhh... no!  Not when your wanting to get decent looking photos of your fabulous red dress.  It actually really bummed me out when I went in, took off my makeup, changed into my super comfy clothes, and checked my photos.  Hmmm........

Okay.  Well anyway.  There you go.  You get my lovely little story of the pictures of the fabulous red dress.  Some photos look okay, but some make the dress look like a sick, pale shade of pink!  Ugh!!!

I think I'll probably get over it sometime soon. 


Love you!

Love yourselves!

Most likely I'll get over it when I wear the dress again and get good photos of it!

Most likely.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Flashy Lashes!

One may have thought that on a morning like this I would wake with a smile on my face and a spring in my step.  Today was after all going to be the day that I got my lash extensions done.  However, I did not wake all happy and exited.  I woke nervous and scared.   In fact I woke with my neck bugging me.  I used to think that meant that I slept on it wrong.  These days I understand myself a bit better, and I knew that I was concerned about my upcoming appointment.

A dear friend offered to do my lashes for me.  She is super into makeup and beauty products and such and she has taught herself to do lash extensions.  I am trying to be a bit more outgoing and adventurous in regards to doing things, so while in the past I would have declined, this time I accepted.  We setup the date and time, and that came around this morning.

I was surprised at how nervous I was about doing it though.  I wasn't concerned about the person who offered to do them.  I had confidence in her.  I wasn't nervous about hanging out with her either, she's a total doll and fun to be around.  I was nervous about two things really 1 - could I actually sit and allow someone to do this to me?  And 2 - how would it look.

The first thing was pretty minor.  But I do remember my first time or two of having someone else putting mascara on me as going fairly poorly.  In general I also really suck at using mascara.  I can generally use it but I frequently lament to my wife that I smacked myself again with the mascara stick!  Having done so many hours of facial electrolysis at this point made sitting for this lash work easy peasy!

The second issue is kind of a big deal.  I mean it is a big deal to lots of people, but to trans people it is a really big issue.  Most of us are quite insecure about our looks, as many people are, but when trans people's looks are not on, it can affect how people gender us.  And that really sucks.  What often sucks more is that it can affect how well people will perceive us as being able to do the gender we are wanting to.  I know trans men who worry their look is not male enough, and many trans women that worry their look is not female enough, and non-binary humans who worry that their look is not "in-between" enough.  It really sucks when someone judges you to fail at being your gender because you somehow don't match up to their expectations.

Hmmmph!  So yeah, I was quite worried about what the outcome of the installation of my very first set of lash extensions would prove to be.  In the end?  As with most things, my worry was for nothing, I LOVE my new lashes!  I think they are a great way to help feminize my features and they will be there regardless of makeup.  In the photo, all I have on is my sparkly pink lipstick.  And that rocks!

Alrighty.  I hope you all are well.  Thanks for visiting.

Love you!

Love yourselves!

Love long luscious lashes!

Ooooohhhh----- I just realized, you can get a good before-after shot with the photos I posted with my last post.  Fun!

Sunday, February 3, 2019

My Awesome Electrologist

The photo on the left is from one year ago.  The photo on the right is from today.  This is to show what 7 months of facial electrolysis has done for me.  I don't have makeup on in either photo, well except for my obvious pink lipstick on the right. 

Why am I appearing so bare??  This is an advertisement for Dana Elise Solutions in Beverly Hills.  Well, it is for sure going to come off like a commercial, however, it isn't really a commercial because I'm not getting any sort of compensation for this endorsement.  Which for an honest assessment that is probably a good thing huh?  Probably.  At least there is a hope of honesty. Hmm.....

Anywho..... point at hand - Dana's electrolysis services are amaze balls.  I somewhat reluctantly agreed to go for facial electrolysis back in July.  Which makes it about seven months now since I have been going in.

The nitty gritty:

- I have worked with Dana, Karen, and Gladys.  All three of them do great work.  Though my personal fave is when I get to work with Dana and Karen together.

- The rates are very in line with everyone else.

- Expect for the hairs to be flying when working with them.  They are super concerned with speed, accuracy, and being thorough.  I happily shake off the stray hairs every time I get up. 

- The basic policy about what hair they can remove is pretty simple - if they can see it and get to it, they can zap it.  So they will do hairlines, faces, arms, legs, backs, chests, genitals, inside noses, ears, you name it, they've probably zapped it!

- They have a nurse on-site who can administer lidocaine injections - a mandatory thing in my never to be humble opinion.

- The office is super clean, with a highly sanitary work environment.

- Parking is super easy even with it being in Beverly Hills - it is right across a small street.  You park, go down an elevator, hop across the street, go up 1 flight of stairs and boom you're there.  I frequently pass nobody, and at most it may be four or five people.

- Scheduling is a challenge, because they are SO good at what they do.  Currently I am scheduled until June!  So, they are worth the effort and wait!!  Obviously, because they are so busy right?  Well duh!  Anybody who is going to fit you in tomorrow when you call today is probably not someone you want to go to.

- They will do marathon appointments, with two electrologists.  Which is great for out of town folk.  My longest appointments have been 6 hours with two people, which equals 12 hours of work!!

- With the photo on the right, from today, I just had my last treatment last weekend.  The swelling took about 4 days to go down.  This was the 4th time my face was fully cleared.  In about two weeks or so, I will have some of the hairs return for another round of zapping.

Okay.  So, I think that is the basic lowdown.  Other than that, the ladies working there are super friendly.  They make a tough day a very enjoyable one.  I am super appreciative of the hard work that they do and the high quality of work I have had.  How many issues have I had with scabs and scarring, ummmm, NONE!!!!  None at all, not one issue.  And they are using some super zapping equipment as well.  I have no idea what it is, but apparently their machines are the bomb!

What else can I say????  How about some personal tips???

- Don't expect to go in, have your hair zapped off, and then to go out on the ton later that night, or even the next few days.  I have been going now for eight months, the last time was a full face zapping, my swelling lasted for about 4 days.

- Find a licensed electrologist.  Do not skimp on quality.  Especially if they are working on your face.  You want the best!  Some states do not require electrologists to be licensed, anyone can do it.  Ummm.... yikes!  That is scary.

- Be willing to pay for and wait for experience.  You want someone who knows what they are doing.

- Treat your electrologist well!  I know it hurts, but they are doing you a favor!  It is hard work that they are doing, and you being an emotional basket case makes the experience worse for everyone involved.

- Be prepared for the long haul.  This is not a quick road to travel.  Electrolysis is the only proven method of permanently removing unwanted hair.  But it will take you about one to two years to get it all done.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Female or Transgender Female??

Recently I received a comment from a  dear reader that I think deserves to have it's own post.

Hello again. I hope my compliment didn't take away from the gravity of your post. The story you shared is an important one. As a mother and as a teacher, I want all of my children/students to feel safe at school. And you have set such an amazing example - I bet you have no idea how many kids you've touched just by being authentically you. On a personal level, I have not met any transgendered people. That I'm aware of. So I appreciate your blog as a way to learn and understand. I don't ever want to say something or do something that would hurt or belittle any person, therefore what I've learned from you is so valuable to me. Now I have a question that is not meant to offend or upset anyone, I'm genuinely asking because I don't know the answer. If it's the wrong question to ask, please let me know, as I have stated, I certainly don't intend to offend. My question: why do we say "transgender woman" or "transgender man". Why not drop the "transgender" bit? If you want to be a woman, but were born male, why not be a woman....and vice versa. I understand what transgender means, but once one has made the change, isn't that it?

First off, let me start by saying, do you know that you are awesome?  Well, you are!  Seriously.  You are finding my blog to be educational?  So cool.  Cool for me, but really cool for you for being willing to be educated.  I'm impressed.  They do say that teachers are life long learners, don't they?  Well, we say it around my parts.  But the truth is that not everyone cares right?  So, again, good for you for caring. 

Next...... your compliment (if you didn't see it, check it out here) didn't take away anything from my post.  I love reader comments and often view them as an add on to any post that anyone writes.  They often add depth.  Your initial comment was sweet and much appreciated.  The post I wrote stands on it's own as an attempt to capture a bit of a touching moment.  Really, there has only been 2 comments submitted by readers that I didn't like and chose not to publish.  Of course, it was hate mail, and besides, she said I had bad legs.  I mean really, bad legs?  Have you seen my legs?  I have glorious legs!  So yeah, 10 years of blogging, lots of comments, and only 2 that bugged me! 

Okay..... now onto the meat of your comment - why call oneself a transgender woman or man?  Why not simply drop the transgender portion?  Well, honestly, in real life, I do.  I go to a local support group for transgender people, and when I say local, it is 1 hour away!  Ha, yeah, real local right?  Okay, whatevs, so we say our name, our pronouns, and how we identify as we introduce ourselves.  I've taken to simply saying that I am female.  Nobody else that is trans does that, just me.  It also deserves to be said that in real life I never introduce myself as a transgender female.  How often does one need to actually state their gender anyway?  Ummm...... never!

What does my license say?  How about my birth certificate?  The SSA?  Just about everything right now except for my passport and!!!!  They all say female.  Not transgender female, just female.  So yeah, I see where you are coming from, and many other people also agree with that and just go with the gender they identify with and drop the trans part.  In fact, for many (dare I say most??) transgender people, all we want is to be totally, and only, perceived as the gender we identify with.  It holds a special word in the trans community - stealth.  That means nobody knows you were not born as the gender you are presenting as.  Sadly being able to be stealth is often a matter of genetic luck, or lots of money, or an early transition.  Actually, this is part of the concern for trans children.  Most children are not given hormones early on.  Through much struggle and often unfortunate begging, they can go on hormone blockers, and then eventually, years later, begin hormones.  Those fortunate, but growing, few will generally never be detectable as being trans.   

Alas, many trans people will never achieve this elusive state of being.  For many of us, the resultant effects from our initial hormones are very hard to overcome.  Some things are easy, some are not even possible.  If you are male but born with a female body and you develop very wide hips, that is an item that you will never be rid of, the same goes for those who develop super wide shoulders on females born with a male body.   Some people will not ever be rid of the public looking at them and seeing a transgender individual. 

But that still doesn't really answer the question of why call oneself a transgender female/male now does it?  It says how we may be viewed, but not how we choose to self describe.  Yet, in a way, it does describe how some of us inevitably view ourselves - we will never be able to be what we truly wish we were.  We will only ever be stuck somewhere in the middle of gender-no-man's-land! (Albeit non-binary and non-conforming people embrace that space.)  While I can mostly come to grips with the fact that I am a woman, it is undeniable that I was born with a male body.  Sucks for me!  Hahahahaha, hur!   

So.... maybe?  Possibly?  Maybe.

How about this thought - I should be proud that I am transgender!  Hmm.... maybe?  Well, I know for sure that I should not be ashamed of being transgender.  Recently, I have been encouraged to get out there and start talking to people as a member of the transgender community.  I have yet to make mention of it here on my blog, but I made an appointment for my first personal presentation at a college - UC Merced!!  Woohoo!!!!!  Anywho..... I will go speak as a transgender woman.  Why that and not just a woman?  Well because I want to be a proud member of the transgender community, and I want to help people to be better informed on what transgender peoples lives are like, that you know we are just regular people. 

So..... hmmmm...... let's try and recap this succinctly.  I never introduce myself as a transgender woman in real life, and if ever asked, I simply state that I am female.  I use the word transgender to help people to better understand me.  I think of myself as a transgender woman as I see a distinct difference between me and those who were born with a female brain and a female body.  I will refer to myself on occasion as a transgender female to help educate the public on my transgender story. 

Okay, hopefully that helped explain MY thoughts on the matter.  I've heard similar from my therapist when I have asked her about this very thing, however, I have not personally asked any other transgender human why they do or don't use the label.  I do know some who hate it and some who embrace it.  Hmm.... humans, go figure! 

In no way was I the least bit offended by your question, but I'm pretty hard to offend.  The leg comment from the hate mail mentioned earlier was offensive, but really it is hard to offend me.  Somehow I have survived 20+ years of middle school and you really can't do that if you're easily offended.  I will mention that there is some debate about the proper use of the word transgender.  Commonly it is accepted that transgender is an adjective.  So according to my wife, the English teacher in the house, one cannot be "transgendered."  You can't have "transgenders." Nor can one be "transgendering."  Hahaha - I don't think I've ever actually seen that one.

Lastly, I want you to know that it really touches me that you read my blog and cared enough to take the time to write to me.  Thank you.  You really are cool. 

Love you!

Love yourselves!!

You're cool too!!!!!

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Outfit - Grey Dress

Dress - White House Black Market - Similar @ WHBM @ Amazon
Leggings - WHBM - Similar @ WHBM @ Amazon
Sweater - 89th and Madison - Similar @ WHBM @ Amazon
Shoes - Unisa - Similar
Scarf - ?? - Similar

I like this outfit.  It is pretty simple, but super comfy and casually cute.  Do you know what I get the most compliments on?  The scarf.  By far and wide it is the scarf.  And the bummer?  I have no idea where I got it.  I do know that I adore it.  It is soft, warm, purple, ombre, and sparkly!  What's not to love?  I have had the pleasure of wearing it for quite some time now.  I used to wear it all the time last year with my more plain and boring work outfits.  Now it gets to come out and play only when I think it goes well with the outfit. 

The most amazing thing happened on the day I chose to wear this.  I'm pretty sure it was either last Monday or Tuesday.  Probably Monday, my first day back after winter break at work.  One of the administrators at my school has asked for all teachers to go over the district's sexual harassment policy with our students at least once per quarter.  I've decided to also include a brief discussion on what it means to bully and harass people in general.  This particular time I included a brief discussion of LGBTQ+ issues.  Things like the high rate of suicide, that most people will not say anything due to deep seated fears, and how we probably have 1 to 2 students in our own class who identify that way and have yet to let anybody know even though they know.

It was a fairly usual speech for me.  Nothing all that out of the ordinary.  However this time I did have a few new students in my classes.  A student that I have only had for a month or two waited around after class while everyone else left.  She came up to me and said something along the lines of "Mrs. Denithorne, I just wanted to say thank you for having that talk with us today.  Especially the part about the LGBT community.  So thank you very much because now I feel a little safer at this school.  Can I give you a hug?"  To which I said yes while choking back the tears. 

Oh my god!  Really??  Some part of me thought that just by seeing me, students would get the message that they can be safe, but that is not really true now is it?  It needs to be explicitly explained to them before they really understand the issue.  For both sides.  The kids who are being harassed don't think anyone will care.  And often the kids harassing really do not understand what they are doing. 

So, I thanked her for speaking to me, and wished her a good day.  She smiled and went about her school day.  I took several deep breaths, savored the moment, and went outside with a huge grin and tears in my eyes to welcome in my next class and repeat the whole speech. 

Damn teaching middle schoolers can really blow your socks off sometimes.

Love you!!

Love yourselves!!