gender, hormones, transgender

When you can’t calm the waves, ride the storm.

There are always going to be low points, really low points, in anyone’s life.  Transition is a neon bug-catcher around the neck, the buzzing swarms of fear, anxiety, stress and panic crackling away, dying and brought back to life in never ending attempts to torment.  What matters is what you can do now, even if in screaming and crying through the whole process you can do what you need to do, it shows not weakness, but the highest level of courage imaginable.  The harder the process is, the braver you become.

Through it all, remember and celebrate each little success, for they are beautiful, and incomparable to what most people will ever know. Rejoice in your unique experience, the quality of self-knowledge, and the enlightenment of your understanding of the world at large.

At the moment, I only really know three emotions – stress, anger and panic.  In the past year I’ve developed somewhat of an anxiety disorder, mostly through the stress of work, cruel betrayal and heartbreak by loved ones and feelings about my situation in life. At times it is greatly exacerbated by the sheer weight of the transition process.  I dealt with depression for a long period in the distant past, but anxiety is a different animal; it doesn’t make me unhappy, rather it makes me feel like I’m not in control of my shifting emotions and how I express them.

I have a bad habit of comparing my life situation to that of others’, and being trans for me unfairly highlights my shortcomings in a more profound way than ever.  This way of thinking can never work, one is only ever comparable to oneself and what I need in life is relevant only to me.  If you’re also just a regular Jane, you probably notice that many people consider their lives sucky to an extent – working for just enough to pay the bills; having problems with partners; watching as friendships are lost to the realities of adult responsibility, work, marriage, kids.  All the things teenagers say they’ll never do; how we’ll never lose touch or ‘be like that’, yet we follow the exact same path each generation does.  Life goes on, as we either grow closer to ourselves, or further away.

‘It’s not the load that breaks you down…it’s the way you carry it.’ – Lena Horne

I used to pride myself on being able to deal more effectively with more difficult problems than those I would try to help; now I see myself on the other end.  I want to be stronger, I need to be stronger.  In a lot of ways I am ashamed of my attitude, I see videos of little kids in hospital beds waiting to die and I bawl my eye’s out at their simple insurmountable strength in the face of doom.  I read about a woman who didn’t know she was born with XY chromosomes who had to suffer serious medical and social indignity through puberty and developed osteoporosis amongst other ailments just for being born with the condition, whilst I complain about a bit of facial hair and a masculine voice.

I’ve spent the last year preparing to build my life back up from scratch after losing everything – my apartment, my job, what I mistook to be a loving relationship.  It’s only now that things are picking up for big positive change, and there are a lot of big changes coming.  An opportunity has arisen to move into an apartment in the capital city (Belfast) without having to sign a contract, with a good friend. I’m taking the risk with my savings to move up at the end of this month in the hope I can find work and stay there.  The plus to this is that most of my trans related appointments are in the city anyway, but the downside is that I have so many appointments a day job would not be sustainable.  By moving up with the money I have, I’m basically putting myself on a timer to find a reliable source of income or I’m screwed, but if it somehow works, possibility can bloom.

Also in a month’s time, I’ll be off to Barcelona for nearly a week, my first holiday in a long time, and I’m trying to prepare for it in consideration of my place in transition, which is pretty stressful.

‘What do you mean, every month?!’

The crux in this is the appointments.  Gender therapy, laser therapy, voice therapy, fertility appointments, and soon endocrinology appointments, each of these building pressure on top of each other and taking up massive chunks of time and money trying to get there and back.

Voice therapy is humiliatingly embarrassing and feels like no progress is being made, so it’s important to take as much humour as possible, and to realise that the only way to get there is to persevere, to never give up because it will take a long time for any of the progress to feel like progress. The constant daily practice is incredibly draining. Keep going though, it is the only way.

I had my first fertility appointment, where it was explained to me the various risks should I ever get the opportunity to have a child.  Waiver after waiver was signed, informing me that freezing could irreparably damage the sperm, that the machines could break down, and that IVF will be my only method of having genetic offspring.  These are huge risks for me and enough to unsteady my commitment to the medical pathway, because having my own kids is more important to me than my gender.  The catch-22 is to show those future children the way to live in fear of themselves by not being resolute in myself.

This first appointment was only a consultation, at which I gave blood to test for hepatitis and HIV.  At the second appointment I will have to give a sperm sample to check for viability before freezing and then I assume a third appointment to give the sample for freezing.  Two words I never thought I’d hear together ‘Ejaculation Timetable.’  It will be interesting to work on because my sex drive is still basically non-existent. Another stressor is that these appointments are normally attended by couples, and the whole sperm sample thing generally by cis-men, not transsexual women, so it’s not a fun waiting room.

Hormones on the way?

All of this is in anticipation of Hormone Replacement Therapy.  The minimum wait for diagnosis in Northern Ireland is six months, with the Gender Identity Clinic here apparently notorious for making people wait at least a year.  I got diagnosed at exactly the six month mark, I wonder why.  I think it’s because I’m very clear, rational and unwavering as to what my transition goals are: to abate so much as possible the impact of dysphoria, and to be able to get on with my life.  I’m not doing it to have boobs or a cis-normative seeming body; I don’t need hormones to be a woman, I don’t need to label myself; I’ve been through enough crap in my life to hopefully be able to deal with it; I’m aware of the risks and limitations.  Hey, it would be nice to blend in flawlessly, but I accept that it will never happen, no matter how amazing I may look, no matter if I ‘pass 100%.’

Now is the time for deep research.  When the decision to take oestrogen is made, life branches off on a new path and the old paths close forever.  The clock starts ticking, with initial decisions for bottom surgery in my opinion needing to be made concurrently.  You can jump on this ride, but you can’t jump off and hope for things to be as they were.  This decision for me has never been ‘OMFG I’m finally getting ma hormonez!!’ No, it’s come to Jesus time, honey.  This isn’t someone else’s body; this isn’t watching transition videos on YouTube or meeting with other transgender successes.  What this definitely isn’t, is the ideals in your mind dysphoria have created about how you would hope to be.

Hormones will not change you in the ways that you dream, they may do a lot, but they will never do enough.  My hope is simply that hormones are a hammer with which to beat down dysphoria effectively.  This is the process of attempting to align our bodies with our minds, not our minds with our bodies, so no amount of modification on its’ own can beat dysphoria, you will only ever be able to ultimately cage (not vanquish) it with your heart, your soul and your mind – not medicine, not surgery.  Being a woman is not a special achievement, having boobs and a vagina is not a special achievement, this is a normalization process, not specialisation.  Being a woman will only get you as far as women go, and if you are trans, it quite likely won’t even get you that far. However, remember always that we are all equal and we can all go as far as our determination carries us.

I’m not trying to be brutal, but you have to understand the likelihood of realities here.  Medical transition can and does make unbearable lives into exceptionally amazing lives for some whose lives are unbearable because of extreme dysphoria only.  It is not a perfect treatment, is extremely risky and requires lifetime maintenance.  If you are quite unlucky, oestrogen will give you deep vein thrombosis, a stroke, or a pulmonary embolism.  The hormonal shifts might drive you to madness or worse, the surgery may leave you inorgasmic and feeling mutilated creating a new nightmare of intolerable suffering.  You don’t have to do any of these things to be the gender you experience yourself to be.

Please note that I haven’t done my research to the level I feel comfortable discussing intricacies, and I’m not trying to instil fear, I’m just saying there are some fatal scenarios and that whilst for some there is no choice, if there is a choice, be aware of the negative possibilities.

Life doesn’t wait.

Another thing that is holding me back is simply the lack of real life support.  Yes, I have plenty of amazingly supportive friends and family, and while I don’t expect them to understand exactly what I’m going through, I worry for their knowledge of what I’m about to go through.  The attitude I get is usually ‘Good for you, I’m so happy you are finally getting the chance to be yourself, I’ll do whatever I can to help.’  This is beautiful, I love and appreciate it so much, but what it feels like to me sometimes is a template, that they don’t understand these dangers, that they don’t challenge my decisions, that they don’t ask me about transition unless I bring it up, and even then I can tell they know basically nothing about transgender people, and for me that’s dangerous, especially for my decision making since I cannot do it alone. I understand their reticence, it is my issue, my journey, and they do what they can, and they do so much for me.  I need their help because I trust them, I rely on them.

One of the stressors I have is that my friends are all isolated from each other; they don’t meet up or talk to each other so the only thing that is holding my network together is me.  Because of this I find myself running around like crazy trying to maintain these individual friendships and it takes too much energy on top of everything else.  I feel like they support, but they are unable to help. I totally understand; everyone is busy with their own lives, they don’t want to be offensive, they don’t know what to say, they expect me to educate them, and I maybe expect too much. One thing I am is completely grateful for the impact they have on my life in general, how I am accepted and cared for, and I know I am so lucky to have just that simple acceptance, when they could so easily have abandoned me. If anything, I have to try harder for them, to be more open, more vocal, because they know I don’t like being made a fuss of.

The best thing for me would be to have some real life support from other trans individuals, yet every time I reach out in my community my confidence gets raked.  Each time I build up the nerve to speak to a trans-person in this country, or a support group, I’m met with overawing awkwardness, coldness, misery and most generally silence which really impacts on my confidence and emboldens the idea of feeling like an outcast within the community and instilling an unhealthy lone-wolf attitude.

The most reasonable transfolk I’ve knowingly encountered have been through this blog and on YouTube, and I am indebted to those who so freely share their stories and encouragement. I’m hoping when I move to the city I’ll be able to foster some new vital bonds.

However, currently without this feeling of help, taking HRT now is going to be a difficult path, yet with therapy rules in the UK, I could put myself back by months or years if I fully indulge in my issues which will have the ironic impact of extending the duration of the difficulties that impact me daily. Problems like this can’t be let lie, so I’ve arranged for a regular counsellor to help through these issues. Never be scared to talk to someone if you have to, and if you are, do it anyway.

You’ve got male.

One struggle I have noticed is that of testosterone and male anger.  I feel I can distinguish between regular anger, and the anger brought on by testosterone, though it’s only hyperbole.  When I get the male anger, I want to be violent, I envision scenarios in my head where someone might say or do something disrespectful or dishonourable enough that I would get to inflict damage upon them, a seething rage to hunt, kill and screw.  I have to do some serious exercise and mindfulness to help abate these feelings as they have always been scarily abhorrent to me, but they are getting harder to control.  Indeed, I’ve often considered the sign of a strong man to be his ability to quell these very natural emotions and inclinations.  I’ve spoken with male friends and many accept they have these same impulses and agree they must work to supplant the urges to conquer, to destroy.

The anxiety has been brutal, I am not myself, in some ways I am less of a person than I was before my realisation, but at the same time I can’t say that I wouldn’t have felt like this anyway if I weren’t trans due to how I feel about my position in life.  Going through transition however is basically like trying to maintain the workload of two lives within the space of one.  For everything I think of, note down and try to do, I can think of about a dozen other things to do.  When I write my daily to-do list, it ends up becoming non-exhaustive and it can be very difficult sometimes.

Still, persevere.  There is a lot to do and there will be lots more to do, with ever more life changing decisions to be made.  Cisfolk don’t understand the nature of how transition impacts almost every aspect of life.  Every time I open my mouth, I’m transitioning; every time I get dressed, I’m transitioning; every time I leave the house, I’m transitioning; every new situation I introduce myself as female in, I’m transitioning, whether it’s relevant to the situation or not; any time I think of where my life is going, I’m transitioning.  Any time I do any of these things, I am facing fears, both new and entrenched.

Feed. Me. More.

I have a list of simple fears, and I am going to eat them, fears that a cis-person would generally never even conceive of as a need for concern. Things like using a public bathroom; shopping for clothes; getting my makeup done; going swimming; going to a support group; wearing clothes that show any of my skin other than my face and hands; using a changing room. I embrace the challenge, even if I am not up to it yet.

There is great strength to be earned through all this – the more fear we face, the less fear can impact us;  the more pain we endure, the less that can hurt us; the more we commit to our understanding of ourselves, the less we need to question who we are;  the more we do, the more we can do; the more we surprise ourselves, the more we realise how deep the wells of our capabilities are; the more we decide to take care of ourselves and our dreams, the more we realise what we are individually worth.

Doing it through pain, tears and fears, is still doing it. The toughest journeys make the best stories. Life is a battle that can never be won but must always be fought. We learn that when times get tough, we can be tougher, and that when we can’t always calm the waves presented by both our internal and external lives, we certainly have the ability to show our true resolve and ride the storm.

Amy Xx

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gender, identity, transgender

Use my third arm

I will never give respect to the cage but to the captor.  Shifting faces, but why must you hide behind so many different kinds of masks?

Look back, look in, see yourself, with the key to bring your freedom.

Give up, give in, let go to your own strength that won’t let fear dictate who you are.

Deceptive mirror.

Gaze upon a darkened form, reflected by the ever present light of your truth, there’s no escaping what your heart is.


Phew.  This is going to be the first week I’ve had to myself in over three years, so much gruelling work and responsibility now come to an end.  Now I can totally relax….Not going to happen, right?  It’s tough when every time this year I’ve searched the word ‘transgender’, I am greeted by a trail of death.  Too much death, fight back by living.

What does the dysphoria actually want?  Does it get paid for every time I reference it?  Disparity still abounds, a war rages between gender identity and personal identity.  The concepts of gender, terms of expressions and traits melt away into mutually inclusive nothingness.  It’s all just words, a philosophical debate on truth to try and ascribe meaning to what is called a ‘condition’ or a ‘variation’.

I read too many comments and opinions on news-sites etc, pseudo-science.  Any argument can be battered back, and generally it all gets lost, confused, and nasty.  My political mind firmly switched off as soon as I had my revelation, and thank goodness for it.  Hence this blog is a discussion of the heart, not science or ideology.

I’m kind of glad I chose to wait a day to write this, my therapist had her rotten way with me a dozen times, she kicked my ass.  Good, challenges deep to the core of the psyche.  Here’s the problem, I spend a lot of time trying to rationalize, legitimize, intellectualize the nature to the extent of which I should medically transition based on my concepts of gender; my male body and life; and my ‘female’, or dysphoric mind.  I rail against these arguments simultaneously by explaining that my disparate experience as a transsexual is simply an unavoidable condition of my nature.  I do this by intellectualizing about it.

She called me out about that.  But how do you feel?’  She asked.  Well I was taken aback.  Guh. (Huh, Iuh, Juh, Kuh…).  It’s just weight, weight on the psyche.  Instead of an angel and a devil, it’s a man and a woman, and the man is a woman too.  I anticipated that acceptance would have to come several times and in several forms on this journey, but that’s what it comes to, how do you feel?

I feel that having inhabited myself unknowingly as male for so many years, the pull is strong.  This is how the argument for gender traits falls apart for me.  Theoretically I could present as I do now, heck I could fully transition, surgery and all, and if I wanted to, I could still call myself a man.  This isn’t radfem bait, I’m just saying it’s possible.  Born natal female, I could dress how I have my whole life, ostensibly wore a daily beard, bound my chest and called myself a woman.  If I was born female I would wear a shaven head, because you can keep gender presets, these invisible restrictions.  Indeed, that’s exactly why I grew out my hair, getting into a heavy metal crowd was perfect cover, and heavy metal is awesome.  Maybe one day I will shave it all off and prove myself right.

The point, if there is a point, is that not one element of social transition can change a person’s ‘gender’, I think it’s all about the brain.  It is disparity between mind and body, one is incorrect, and to change the mind in this case is to erase the person, so, it’s the body.  Like I’ve said before, if there was a pill that removed dysphoria, would you take it?  It’s not like an illness, it isn’t harmful to be another gender.

Saying this shows how deeply ingrained the trans mindset can be, because the answer should be, yes, of course I should take it, why would I want to be trans, make my brain like my biological sex!  Life would be so much easier.  But the pill doesn’t exist, and I imagine some transpeople would not want to sell out a defining feature of their lifetime identity.  That all comes down to how psychologically phenomenal you believe your mindset to be, or whether it is viewed as a mental illness.

I can’t describe what maleness or femaleness is, I just know there has always been a block in my brain that irrevocably claimed that I’m female, not male.  I argue even against life experience causing this, merely that it shapes the perceptions and coping mechanisms we have when dealing with our innate personal dysphoria.  Using all these life skills, people from all walks of life still come to meet at a similar foreign destination, which shows how the experience of being trans can trump everything you may ever know.

All this thinking, seemingly never ending, how nice would it be to just let go.

Cross-sex hormone therapy, seemingly by no coincidence can realign this balance, and even though I’m not psychically scrabbling at the walls to get HRT, I am willing to try it, even if it turns me describably female, which would be fine because that’s what I am.  I feel less desperate because I see this as more of a medical decision than the holy-crap-I’m-a-girl condition.  That being said, I don’t underestimate how much I feel I need them, which is completely odd. I guess it’s like a brain hunger, my body cries out for a nutrient it was designed to have but doesn’t get.

The hormonal, medical, surgical, transsexual treatment is as much a racket as each other part of the globally controlled megaplex.  Hormones mimickers and chemicals cause interesting sexual dysfunctions in the animal world and no doubt has effects on people.  Vaccinations, GMO’s and all that stuff could be messing all our brains up in unique and incredible ways, as much transfolk as the angry and imbecilic.  Of the two trans people I have had real interactions with, two of them are on the autistic spectrum.  There’s a lot of messed up stuff – maybe it’s the New World Order theory to feminize the male population so we don’t fight back against our global enslavers.  How misogynistic!  Transpeople have been around since way before all that.

In a perfect world, I believe if I could pass perfectly and non-judgementally as [trans]female I would still not feel right without medical intervention.  Maybe it is a product of the modern world, it would be very useful to know the experiences of those in cultures past who were able to fully integrate without medicine, how did they feel?  Were they content, or like those who may pass pre-HRT and still really need something that wasn’t there?

So one last time, am I trying to forget my maleness? Am I trying, unconsciously or not to disconnect of disassociate from myself?  No, and it doesn’t matter!  Again this is attempting to use logic and reason to assuage a biological condition, like telling jokes to a depressive expecting them to be happy, or asking a wheelchair user to walk because God gave them legs.

I remind myself, that anytime I feel like I may be in denial, I am a female in denial, I would ask the exact same questions, because that’s what I’m doing.  Concurrence.  If I don’t want to be a woman, it’s because I’m a self-hating woman [read: individual].  If I don’t want to be a man, all I have to do is be myself.

Fudge your expression.  Fudge your traits.  Fudge your gender constructs.  They, I believe, are mutually exclusive from the biological nature of trans-identity.  Much everything else is a product of personal identity moulded by some inescapable adherence to our society and to its extent, physiology.  Wanting to express notions of perceived masculinity and/or femininity is not a reason to transition, it is a reason to express beyond generalisations.

At the GIC today I passed an older transwoman (tough to be stealth coming out of the therapists waiting room) and said hello. She tutted at me, I think at my pink hair….in pigtails, or my purposely crappy makeup. It just shows people may come to chastise your expressive choices no matter what you do.

Transition doesn’t make me anything, it confirms who I am.  I am still early on my journey, and I warn myself and anyone else with doubts – labia made from scrotal sack is to be considered a positive outcome.  Having a vagina made of colon is a possibility, if you want this, be prepared to be ok with things like that.  ‘Wow, I’m really enjoying this two week camping holiday, but please excuse me for a while, I have to go dilate again.’

I can’t say I feel like a woman, because I don’t know what that is, physiologically.  My cis-girlfriends don’t know how it feels either, apart from that it is annoying. Aside that, I believe people are people, not ‘brain sex’.  It’s about making weighed medical decisions, and considerations for all future well-being, thinking about it is important. It’s better to be having these cyclical discussions now, because I can imagine it may always remain somewhat of a battle, and some sort of peace must be made early, transient though it may be.

And it’s through all this I miss the point entirely, still.  It’s all just deflections from self-acceptance.  Not the self-acceptance I should have for the body and life that I was blessed to be born with, but from the self-acceptance that the part I’m missing is a part of myself I should embrace, and that it’s ok.  It happens. At any point something unexpected could happen and chance everything. It’s just life.

As much as one may need to…[alter]… on this journey, remember you are already awesome while you are doing it!  It’s not a contradiction of the need to transition; it is a continuation of the unique brilliance of each consciously-wrought individual.

Rock on,

Amy Xx

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gender, identity, transgender

How to Snore Like a Girl

Phew, times flies in such a way it feels like being strapped to the front of a ruthlessly chugging train. Sometimes it can feel like the train was left at the depot.  Already it’s that time to reflect and look forward, the past is done and a hard year can still be a good year.

I had my first full laser appointment at a clinic last week. I’ve decided to pay for this myself rather wait for NHS treatment which could begin around the same time as RLE and hormones, which would be unacceptable for me. I’m not sure which it hurt most, my face or my purse.  Who am I kidding, it is flipping painful!  This was an Alexandrite laser to compliment my light skin and dark hair, not even electrolysis so we’re not even at full scream yet.  Imagine an elastic band with a drawing pin through it constantly snapping: it’s a sharp, immediate, very annoying pain.  However, the hurt only lasts for a second, then it’s gone forever, so what is most important in this situation is to just take it, because one minute after the 50-minute treatment, I felt ready to go again.

I got my hands done as well, as a comparison I can see how truly resilient male facial hair is.  My hands have shown about 2mm growth only in a week with some nice closed follicles, whereas there is barely a noticable effect on my face, though it is growing slightly more slowly as a whole.  Upper lip is the biggest killer and the most important, visualization techniques can help…imagine a nice soft face. Ok, it doesn’t help, but an hour of pain every few weeks is better than a lifetime of moustache.

Second GIC appointment was an interesting back and forth which left me feeling somewhat dissatisfied, yet more resolute.  I’m not trying to play devil’s advocate with my identity, I know there is little true certainty, but I need to be challenged.  It doesn’t satisfy me to say ‘I’m trans’ and have it so easily accepted.  I’m not being transphobic, I’m just saying, if you are the doctor for this case, maybe try to seek out reasonable doubt?  The potential effect on individual well-being is too enormous take it so seemingly lightly.

She’s playing her game though (i.e. doing her job), and I wonder if she is trying to help me or if I’m seeing things wrong.  Something did make a big impact on me though, when discussing transition, she asked ‘What’s stopping you?  What’s holding you back?’

Uh.

I don’t know?  Everything and nothing?  Looking into it, the things I think are holding me back are life issues, not trans issues.  Fear of lonliness is rightfully exacerbated but it is still more a life issue than a trans issue for example.  My problem is not how the outside world may view it, but how I view myself.  Maybe you know what it’s like, some days it feels like the most natural thing in the world, other days moods get in the way.

I have a sense of embarassment, but only because I didn’t have that female upbringing; I don’t know what goes with what or what looks good together yet, and that makes me feel more like a fraud than the worries of public presentation. Sometimes I sense those ingrained male traits, but it’s important to not be too harsh, this is a learning process with a steep curve.

So, nothing really is holding me back.  Still, transition for me is a process, not an event, I’ve decided to take another big step forward.  I’ve told my mother and friends that they can call me Amy exclusively and use the pronouns, and that I appreciate their efforts.  Comfortable as this is for me, I have to continually present an acceptable image for us all to progress, no aesthetic gender-flipping. Especially with a male voice, it’s not fair to present as male and expect to be referred to as female, because of my body – this is not an afforded luxury as it is for cis-folk, and is probably the most difficult part about being trans.  Many clothes are needed.

When I go back to work I’m going to inform my manager that the transition is on, then tell my grandparents and that will be that, the first in a new series of intensifying anti-climaxes.  I’ll transition at work, but I’ll still be just as busy so no-one will have time to make a big deal out of it.  Indeed, it’s something I discussed with my therapist, what is the big deal?  Like many things trans, a dangerous dichotomy exists.  It’s as big of a deal as you want it to be.  Just please don’t drown me in a toilet, or cook me and place my body parts under the floor boards.  I used to be offended through my ignorance of trans issues, but just because I’ve gotten over it, doesn’t mean there aren’t nasty bigots out there waiting to ruin lives.

Yet, I wonder, was the therapist seeing through my pragmatism and offering me the best help of all?  In amongst our session, she said the long wait for treatment was to ensure a consistent gender identity incongruity and a consistent wish to transition.  I can argue with myself all day, and I can sneakily go see other counsellors, but this is the doctor who keeps the gates for me.  As much as I can reap the psychological benefits of these sessions, I get it now – I have to present clearly my female identity, not my doubts about it, in order to progress.  I need to help the doctor feel more comfortable, to make her job easier when she writes the reports to justify her decisions.

From now on, I will go into these appointments and say ‘My name is Amy, I suffer from perennial gender dysphoria and have done since I was a child.  It exists to such an extent that I am not able to lead the rest of my life in an acceptably regular fashion. I understand that these feelings may never alluviate unless I take steps to balance out this unconscious incongruity.  I find that assuming the female identity I have in my mind in my external life diminishes these feelings.  I wish to spend the rest of my life living in this female role, as I am female, and am here seeking treatment options, specifically hormones and eventually surgery.  I am of sound mind and I will present this case to you in each appointment until I reach the point through treatment where my dysphoria has abated to the extent that it is no longer a disabling factor in my life.’

I’ve went out presenting fully femme rather than androgenous femme more often of course, I’ve even went to the bar in heels, just casually, trying to go by the philosophy of ‘I don’t give a f***’.  I know what I look like, I know what I sound like, I get what I am.  Sure I’ll still get called by male terms, but like I say, it’s a process, it starts off at the most difficult and hopefully gets a little easier as time goes by.  Simply, I didn’t much look at strangers when I was out as male, certainly, I don’t look at people to gauge their reactions of me, so when I’m out being myself, why should I change how I view the world?  That is not the goal here.  Don’t listen to ascerbic little me though, I find the entire process arbitrary, though it can feel fantastic. [EDIT – I should be careful, as trans it can be very important to be aware of your surroundings, for safety’s sake.]

To be honest, folks were more interested in what animal my hat is supposed to be.

It's.  A.  Husky!

It’s. A. Husky!…?

If you wanted to put it a certain way, you could say my transition is tragic.  My make up is low power, facial hair shows through, I have the voice of a man, and my fashion sense leaves much to be desired.  Yet, it is not tragic, it is confident.  I am finding my own style, I am accepted by people, I feel good.  It’s easy to look and sound stupid, just talk to a few people and they will prove it for themselves too, being trans is just that large bit more obvious, and it’s from here that I think some of the biggest worries and insecurities come from.

I try not to think about being trans, my brain does that automatically, so I am a pretty cynical transitioner.  It’s too easy to over-think and convolute things, and no-one will have a more convoluted opinion of trans identites than the trans people themselves.  As much as the process moves ever forward, I find it important to keep stepping back.  In times when thoughts begin to get carried away or become too painful, the effect is pronounced and it’s no use mentally self-flagellating as punishment.

The title of this post ‘How To Snore Like A Girl’, is about limitation. Understanding of limitation is a strength, it shows us we understand our own power level and how to get the most out of our abilities, and what parts of our lives to not waste time on.

It may sound trite, but count your blessings. Each life has little things taken for granted that make big differences, things which when taken away show how fulfilling they were. Even in loss, one can understand that while not full, one need not be empty.

I deeply want to thank all my readers and followed bloggers for the kind comments and inspirational, insightful posts this year. We transfolk have our place in the evolution of humanity, for human nature is the greatest impediment to its’ own progress. Once we can move past the petty qualities of the human condition, then we can embrace the greater truths and loves of the universe.

Let’s make 2015 an amazing year! Let me see the passion in those eyes flare up once more!

With unquenchable hopes,

Amy Xx

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gender, identity, transgender

An end to justification

A mantra –

‘All is not lost, it’s never hopeless,

I will never give up, I am broken but,’

I had my first trip to the Gender Identity Clinic (GIC).  They had me sit in a waiting room with other people at different stages of none-of-my-business.  What endured was a two and a half hour, one on one, non-stop psychological strip down by someone who introduced herself as Doctor.  In depth topics included:

  • A break down of history with parents, family, siblings
  • Traumatic events and memories
  • Relationship and sexual history
  • School and work history
  • Gender variant experiences
  • Discussion of goals, wishes and expectations
  • Explanation of services and treatment options (laser, wig fitting, voice coaching, fertility preservation, hormones, surgery, therapy etc)

I felt pretty good afterwards, but didn’t realise the toll that comes from expounding many intimacies to a stranger with a badge.  For a few days afterwards I felt totally emotionally drained with no time off work to recover, so it can be difficult even with a positive mindset.  Six months minimum of ongoing assessment for hormones and RLE, that’s not so much a goal as a time-frame to make decisions.

I met a transgirl I have been speaking to online, more a testament of how talking to people online skews individual realities.  Nonetheless we went out and had a very nice time.  She bought me dinner, which was new, so that was pretty nice, though I did feel awkward at having nothing to offer, girl wouldn’t take my money!  For as feminine as she is online, it seemed I was more overtly feminine in my action and attire in public.  Everyone has their own ways and methods, I just found that interesting since I’m more resistant to the entire process.

I’ve been asked to stop seeing my independent gender counsellor so there are no crossed wires with the GIC, though I would not be the first to skirt that advice to have an ally to bounce feelings off that may be wrongly received or interpreted at the GIC, potentially setting back treatment.  I admitted to her that I am an awesome guy, she countered that then I should be an awesome girl if I decide, and furthermore that I could be successful on whichever path I choose, reiterating the previous cases I remind her of who transitioned ‘effortlessly’.

Maybe my dysphoria is just less strong, less desperate, or maybe I’m just used to dealing with the casual betrayal of my emotional brain. It’s a tough decision to make and come to terms with. I already have a man’s everything, I could live easily enough as a man, it would just be a lie, and it would probably feel quite sucky. Or, there’s the alternatives…six months will creep up quickly my dear.

No idea, been way too busy with work and getting through to focus on the unending nagging compulsions that demand I change.

One major success worth noting, I’m no longer trying to justify who and what I am.  I’m transsexual, woopy-do, it sucks, woopy-do.  It’s a step further than acceptance.  I carry a purse, I’m not going to justify it, I just have it, even though I hate the word ‘purse’.  Yes, my posture and mannerisms are what they are now, I don’t feel the need to explain it like I’m acting strangely, in a way that me acting normal merits an explanation to people who didn’t ask for one.

Trying to justify changes takes up both physical and mental time and effort, and I just can’t be bothered.  Even if I were a man and I wanted to dress up like a woman, or like a Smurf, my balls wouldn’t shrink because someone doesn’t like it.  My ovaries don’t quiver at my own doubt.  Just accept it, good and bad, it’s coming for you anyway – doubt, fear, elation, loneliness, overwhelming love.  You don’t need to justify or validate your experience as an individual and unique human being. Even if you aren’t confident in yourself, remember you don’t have to justify it, you need that energy to achieve your personal goals, to justify days well spent!

I know first hand, still dealing with my ex- who said our relationship is ‘void’, because I didn’t tell her I was trans.  The truth is I didn’t know I was trans until after we broke up, I just thought myself a sick man, but she sees it all as a lie, and I am a liar.  I can only imagine the pain families go through when so deeply entrenched.  We had years of epic love, I don’t have to justify that they were real, I just have to accept and get over the hurt.  Love ends, at least once if we are lucky.  Once again character is how you deal with difficult situations, not easy ones! It will take time, it always does…worse things have faded away.

Whilst going through this process, I find it easiest to identify as female, but to think myself as agender, non-binary, whatever.  Just because my brain tells me to take hormones and cut off my penis doesn’t mean that’s what is necessary…necessarily.  Just because my brain tells me I am female doesn’t mean I have to do everything it tells me.  The process of change is maybe not a case of a means to an end, but part of the general eternal balance, intensified, yet still seeking that same equilibrium.

Bring on the Lasers!!!

Amy Xx

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