Wednesday, March 25, 2015

3-25-2015 Entry: My Firsthand Experience with Bathroom Policing, a #wejustneedtopee Blog Post





**strong language advisory, read at your own peril** ;)
Oh boy do I have some juicy news for you guys! I probably shouldn’t be happy about this, but I suppose of all the emotions I could feel in response to this situation, happiness is the least detrimental one to my overall mental health. So a few weeks ago I came out to my employer as being transgender and informed them that I was planning to make the transition from male to female (I believe I posted about that here:   ). Overall that meeting went really well, or so I thought. My employer made a lot of comments and promises that they would do everything they could to make my on-the-job transition as painless for me and them as possible. They told me that they really prided themselves on diversity and that me being transgender was just another form of that diversity they found to be so important. Everything felt really good that day and my future seemed really bright here. Sure I was still scared that some complications would arise along the way, as anyone could reasonably expect under such extreme circumstances, but for the most part I envisioned everything going more or less smoothly.


Well, yesterday Emma (transwoman extraordinaire) experienced her very first speed bump along her path to workplace acceptance. Perhaps speedbump isn’t the right word to describe what I ran into. A speedbump indicates a minor delay in progress. What I hit was more like a brick wall with a big “Sorry, vagina holders only” on it! Sorry, I know you are probably like “OMG just tell us already,” but what good would I be as a writer if I didn’t build the suspense a little. If I just blurt it out it makes it less dramatic, right? Well, honey, I have a knack for the dramatic!

Anyways, so Emma hits a brick wall with a nasty sign on it, but what is this brick wall? Where did it come from, what is it stopping her from obtaining/experiencing, and who the fuck put it there? Any guesses? If you are a Facebook friend then you already know but for the rest of you, I was told in no uncertain terms that once I go full time as Emma at work, that I have the amazing privilege to keep using the men’s room! And why was I told that? Because there is allegedly a building policy (more on this in a moment) that states that a person’s anatomy dictates which bathroom they have to use, not gender identity or presentation.

Needless to say I was not well pleased to receive this news from my employer, and I was especially displeased to receive this news from the least trustworthy person in our firm (the HR person; yes, HR is the least trustworthy, let that sink in for a minute) who, when I asked if it was good news or bad news, had the nerve to say it depended on how I looked at it. How I looked at it?! I’m sorry, but what the fuck? How am I supposed to look at this in any positive sort of way? Maybe, I guess, some of my religiously conservative coworkers might be relieved to know they won’t have to tolerate an imposter/sexual-deviant/>insert judgmental words of your choice< in their bathroom, or maybe she felt relief that she didn’t have to take the heat for making the decision about where I get to go potty. The worst part about the interaction, aside from the smug “it’s not in my hands” attitude she had was the fact that she had the gall to compliment my longer hair! “Sorry, we don’t consider you a ‘real’ woman, but your hair looks great!”

So, I left the HR office and went back to my cube dumbfounded. What the hell was I going to do? Was I really going to go through all the pain-fucking-staking efforts to completely transform my body with hormones, train my voice to the female range, and buy a whole new gender appropriate wardrobe to still have to use the men’s room? I sat in my cube envisioning tragic instances of me, wearing a skirt and blouse, touching up my makeup or fixing my uncooperative hair in the mirror while some dude walks in, gives me a “WHAT THE HOLY FUCK” look before reluctantly proceeding to take a piss at the urinal (with a fart, just for that extra gross factor; I’m evil, I know). Or worse still, what if I go into that bathroom, all girl’d up only to have someone accuse me of being in the wrong fucking bathroom! How would I handle that? Would I reply, “tell it to the management, because I fucking agree!”

I just didn’t really know what to do or say, plus I had way too much work to do to dilly-dally in “what if” land too long. A few hours go by, frustration building little by little, until lunch comes around. I go to lunch and tell my close friend what happened, and she cannot believe it either. She then proceeds to ask me what proof of a “building policy” I was shown by the HR person, to which I realize that I was given no proof. I was given just the word of the least trustworthy person at my firm and I was too stunned by the news to ask questions. So, after lunch I proceed to send an email to my HR person asking how she was alerted to this policy and whether or not I could have a look at the specific wording of the policy. I asked if my firm would be willing to change their stance if the building’s policy was changed to a more trans friendly policy instead. I got crickets back all day long and it wasn’t until this morning that there was a response from the HR person saying that she’d been told in an email. That’s it. she didn’t show me the email. she didn’t cut/paste the wording of the email, and she didn’t respond to my inquiry about the company changing their policy if the building changed theirs.

Seems a bit fishy, right? Why withhold the information from me? Why avoid and evade the questions I asked? If the company is so free from liability in this decision, then what is there to lose by giving me the information I requested. If the building says no, and Minnesota law upholds their right to do that, then why be withholding. Now the wheels are really turning for me. My friend alleged that the HR person might be lying and had just made a decision on her own, and now I was starting to think the same thing. So, what did industrious Emma do? Well, industrious Emma approached the building management herself, first in person and then in an email, to inquire about this alleged “anatomy needs to match bathroom” policy.

Just so this post makes sense, I want to explain that everything prior to this sentence was written yesterday, prior to me receiving a response from the building on this alleged policy. Everything that follows is being written having gotten a response back. So what was that response? Well, turns out my HR person, despite her shady method of handling the situation was telling the truth for the most part. She did in fact talk with the building and the building manager did, in fact, give her an “anatomy must match bathroom being used” answer… originally. After my contacting her (the manager) directly and further explaining the situation, she actually changed the tune to her song! Whether my email prompted the change or she’d made the change on her, she wrote back to me explaining that although she’d originally said the aforementioned “anatomy matching” policy stood, she’d spent some time researching the issue further and had come to a decision that the policy should actually be that each individual use the bathroom of the gender they identify as. She explained that she would forward that same information to my HR person just as she had just related it to me. So yay! Victory!! Or is it?

I received this email from the building manager around 2pm in the afternoon and if I read her email correctly she was going to promptly send the updated policy information to the HR person. Have I heard anything back from that HR person? Negative. She has not said or written one thing about this change. Now, she doesn’t work on Wednesdays (must be nice) so it’s entirely possible that she didn’t see the email in time to call me back into her office, but I have a sneaking suspicion I won’t ever receive that call. As of now, she is not aware that I’ve been in contact with the building management or that I know about this changed policy, so from her perspective she has all the power over whether or not I get to use the women’s room after I go full time. She probably believes that she can just not say anything, relying on the previous decision and I’ll never be any the wiser. I am hopeful, however, that when she returns to work tomorrow she will do the right thing and call me into her office again to tell me that the policy has changed. If that doesn’t happen, then I will be forced to take things into my own hands and will go straight to the CEO of the company to alert him to the situation.

I personally believe that my company set a precedent of relying on the building’s policy that they would be hard-pressed to try to deviate from that policy. If, in one breath, they say that they are just following the building policy, and then in another breath say that they are choosing to deviate from the building policy, then I think I might have some grounds to bring an EEOC discrimination claim against them. Minnesota courts have once before said that employers didn’t have to permit pre-operative transgender individuals to use the bathroom of their identified gender, but that decision was rendered several years ago before the advent of what I’ve been terming the trans revolution. Transgender bathroom rights have become a hot topic in the news lately and I’m inclined to believe that under the right circumstances an EEOC claim might be enough to overturn that ridiculous ruling.

We have just as much of a right to use the women’s or men’s room as any cisgender woman or man does, and to deny us access based on a standard that has been all but abandoned by the United States’ federal government (the standard of pre/post-operative) not only jeopardizes our safety and endangers our lives, but also infringes upon our basic human rights by making us out to be lesser than other humans. It wasn’t convenient or comfortable for whites to accept and integrate with blacks (forgive the archaic terms) during the civil rights era, but it eventually worked out. It wasn’t convenient or comfortable for the hetero-normative people to accept and integrate with the Gay, Lesbian, and bisexual community, but we’ve shown that this too can work. Now it’s time to show the cisgender people that they can accept and integrate with transgender people too; they have been all along, they just didn’t know it.

For all my transgender readers out there, I want you to be bold and unafraid of your right to pee where you should pee. If you live in a place where you are told you can’t do that, don’t just roll over and accept that. Argue for your rights! Write letters, post bathroom pictures like the #wejustneedtopee campaign, organize sit in campaigns, do anything besides just accept your oppression! If they see us then they know we exist, and when they know we exist it becomes impossible for them to ignore us. First they ignore us, then they laugh at us, then they fight us, and then we win! Never forget that! The first step is not permitting them to ignore you any longer.

For my cisgender readers out there, you can get involved too. You can start posting bathroom selfies too in the opposite gendered bathroom to show the world how ridiculous these rules, policies, and laws about policing transgender bathroom rights are! Don’t fight the problem, show them their solution so they can see how fucking absurd it is. If you don’t feel comfortable taking pictures, then start writing letters to your representatives at every level of government about this issue asking them to make the world a more equal place for trans* individuals.

Okay, I can put my soapbox away. I hope, if nothing else, I’ve excited at least one rebellious spirit to join the #wejustneedtopee cause. Together we are strong. Individually and in hiding, we are weak. Let’s get up, get out, and show the world that trans lives matter too.

-Emma

Monday, March 23, 2015

3-23-2015 Entry: Enlightenment and the Inherent Beauty of Suffering


Hello everybody! I want to apologize for not posting for a few days. There were some personal life issues going on towards the end of last week that made it rather difficult for me to focus on anything productive, let alone taking pictures of myself to post on here. I plan to take pictures tonight to post in retrospect for my 4 week HRT anniversary which occurred on Friday.

With regards to the personal issues I don’t really want to elaborate too much but suffice it to say that the culmination of the various rejections I’ve felt from the women in my life over the last few weeks/months came to a spearhead and drove me into a rather deep state of depression and feelings of isolation. My mother and her lack of enthusiasm about my transition, my wife and our general marital issues surrounding communication, and a misunderstanding with a very close and beloved friend all came together in a perfect storm of unmet needs and overwhelming feelings of resentment and pain. Add to all of that the fact that I’m making the biggest and most difficult change in my identity that I’ve ever tried in addition to stressful changes at work and my work duties, the stresses inherent in buying a house (figuring out movers and moving plans, figuring out finances to cover moving costs and immediate improvements like paint etc.), and the general stress of living on a hairline budget for over 8 months, and you’re probably getting a good idea of where I was just a few days ago. I wish I could say that I’m immune to such stresses and that my resilience to be who I know I am makes me naturally resistant to being overwhelmed by emotions, but that wouldn’t be true.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not writing this to elicit pity from my readers, I merely wish to document my experience as best as I can. I am acutely aware that all of the above stresses are the consequences of my own decisions. I knew from the beginning that choosing to transition at the same time that we were planning to buy a house was going to be a difficult situation to navigate, and I believe that I have done pretty well given the circumstances, but even the strongest of us have to break down and take a rest. And that’s what I did. For all intents and purposes the last 3 days were my attempt to gather my strength so that I could march on again. Don’t be mistaken, I certainly felt the overwhelming call of permanent sleep or at the very least the call of a monastic Buddhist life where I give up all attachment (and ego) in favor of the pursuit of eternal peace, but per usual, I resisted those urges.

I think I’ve come to understand that it’s okay to suffer, for all life is subject to one form of suffering or another. We can candy-coat it all we want, we can pretend like positive thought is enough to change our entire lives, we can even rely on our conscious effort to change our vibration to more effectively attract favorable life circumstances (which does work, for a time), but none of that changes the simple truth that suffering is an inherent part to life. The key to true and lasting happiness comes when we accept this truth and cease to push against it. It’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to feel angry. It’s okay to make mistakes when you are driven by anger. It’s okay to feel unhappy and to be mired with emotional or physical pain, because eventually it will pass away. I believe that is the thing the Buddha understood above all other things, the impermanence of life. Everything is always changing, always flowing towards some future which will eventually become past. On and on the river of time flows in a great circle, an eternally repeating cycle. We are born, we live, we die, and then we do it all over again, on and on forever. The only escape comes when you let go of the attachment of the mind to how things are supposed to be and simply accept them as they are.

When you can accept things as they are without judging them to be good or bad, something inside of you changes. Instead of seeing a world filled with contrasting experiences, you begin to see a larger truth, a truth that is so apparent, so in everyone’s face every single day that they’ve become blind to it. All that is, simply is. Really think about that for a moment. Let that realization wash over you and find the peace inherent in it. Nothing in this world is just good or just bad, all things are a perfect balance of the two (yin and yang). It is our thoughts about it, our beliefs, our judgements, our evaluations that we practice through rampant thought created by a mind stuck in overdrive, that creates so much of our suffering.

Consider this for a moment, how much of your emotional pain has been the result of a thought, judgment, evaluation, or belief that you had? If you honestly answered all of it or most of it, then I believe you are close to the door and almost ready to walk through it. If you answered some of it or none of it, then I’m sorry but you are far from the door and will be unlikely to be ready to walk through it for many lifetimes. What is this door I speak of? It’s the door to enlightenment, to true harmony with beingness, and the wonderful thing about this door, is that you have it inside of you already. It’s there, underneath your mind, simply waiting for you to silence your thoughts enough to hear its call. It’s the call of love. It’s the call of peace. It’s the call of harmony and ease. It’s that still small voice that whispers to you that everything is always working out for everyone and everything. It’s the still small voice that tells you that your suffering comes from the illusion of permanence.

That’s right, I said it, the illusion of permanence. So much of our suffering comes from this illusion; this misguided belief that things will eventually evolve to a point of perfection and stay there forever (once I have that car I’ll be happy. Once I buy that house I’ll be happy. Once I have that relationship I’ll be happy. Once I become ____ I’ll be happy).

This is particularly important for transgender individuals to understand because it will save them a great deal of pain to know that once you transition, you will not achieve permanence. There will never be an end state of perfect happiness waiting for you on the other side of this identity change, because you are ever evolving, constantly growing and becoming. Right now you may be becoming a boy or a girl or something else entirely, but you will never achieve stasis. It doesn’t matter how many procedures you have, how many changes you make, you will never find stasis or permanence, because everything is always changing, and truly that is okay. It’s a good thing! The purpose of your transition should not be to find an end state of permanent happiness, the purpose of transition should to be joyously explore something you’ve always wanted and dreamed of without giving into fear.

I say that it’s a good thing because could you truly imagine being stuck in one place, in one form, in one identity forever? Think of it this way, would you want to be in your current job or life situation FOREVER? If there is anything you don’t like about your life situation right now, imagine how you’d feel about it in, let’s say, 500 years. 500 years of the dish washer that’s so loud it sounds like a plane is landing in your kitchen. 500 years of commuting to the same job to see the same people for the same pay all for the same rewards. Doesn’t that sound awful? I know it does to me. So, why then do we wish to find some permanent state of happiness? You might say, “well, because we’d be happy forever and that doesn’t sound too bad,” but have you honestly ever found anything that made you perfectly happy all the time forever and ever? Anything that didn’t eventually become somewhat boring or tedious or irritating instead of pleasurable or exciting? Hasn’t everything you’ve loved been a combination of both good and bad? Good sometimes, bad other times.

I love donuts and have always loved them. I doubt I will ever stop loving them, but that doesn’t mean they are a permanently good thing. Sometimes, a donut doesn’t sound good or would actually be unpleasant to consume (After a huge thanksgiving dinner for example). Sometimes donuts can cause major health problems if consumed too regularly or in too great a quantity. Because they are bad sometimes, does that mean we should outlaw them? does that mean we should never ever eat one again? Probably not, and that’s the point I’m trying to make. Everything outside of us is inherently dualistic. It is both good and bad, but there is a bigger truth that’s hiding right in plain sight. If everything, and I mean everything, has the potential for both good and bad (even killing, even rape, even war) then doesn’t that mean that everything simply is? If nothing is truly good or truly bad, then doesn’t that mean that they are neither good nor bad? If everything is neither good nor bad, then what is everything? I posit that It simply is. We are the ones who make things good or bad through our judgments, our evaluations, our beliefs.

We may look upon a bird eating a worm and some of us will say it is a bad thing because the worm is losing its life, while others will say it is good because the bird is prolonging its own life, but the bird and the worm would both simply say, it is the way of all things, it simply is. Should we not, then, find ways to embrace and accept everything for what it is?

This, I believe, is the enlightenment that Buddha found all those years ago, sitting under the tree wrestling with his own inner demons. Everything simply is, and everything is always changing. When we resist what currently is through our thoughts, our judgments, our evaluations and our beliefs, we create suffering, both for ourselves and for anyone we interact with. When we accept things as they are without judgments, evaluations, or beliefs, and understand that they are always changing no matter what we do or say, then we end our suffering and achieve that permanent state of happiness we are all looking for. True happiness does not come from the outside in; it is not dependent on external factors, events, places, people, money, or time. True happiness does not come from achieving stasis or permanence in the physical realm, it comes from the permanent acceptance of impermanence and the inherent neutrality of all things. When we accept that everything is always changing and that those changes are neither good nor bad but simply, then the now moment becomes precious because it will never be here again.

 It will never be March 23, 2015 at 9:57am in Minneapolis, Minnesota again, and I will never move my fingers on this keyboard in this exact way again, which means that if I miss this moment because I’m too busy worrying, thinking, judging, evaluating, or resisting external things, then I am missing the very essence of my existence. When you see that the now moment is precious and that inherent neutrality is also inherently beautiful and magnificent (for it allows for any type of experience or growth possible or desirable, hence the multiplicities of galaxies, stars, planets, species and individual life forms), then you’ve found the door; you’ve found enlightenment. It’s not about miracles, it’s not about glowing orbs around your head, it’s about the peace available to you in every moment, even when you suffer. It is possible to be at peace and to suffer at the same time, because when you cease to resist the suffering by judging or evaluating it as “bad” or “wrong” then you permit it to be what it is, knowing that eventually, it will pass, and under those circumstances, your suffering can become beautiful.

-Emma

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

3-18-2015 Entry: The Sad Reality About Turning in Your "Man-Card"


Feminism. What is feminism? One definition says feminism is: the advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men; but is there more to it than that simple definition? How does a person who was born with all the privileges inherent with being an allegedly white, heterosexual, male fit into the paradigm of feminism when that person decides to change genders?

These are the questions that have been on my mind since last night. Well, they’ve been there since I decided to come out as transgender but these questions have really bubbled up to the surface of my consciousness in response to a documentary my wife and I watched last night called “Miss Representation.” I would highly suggest that anyone who has Netflix looks this documentary up and watches it, but I really suggest it to any American transwoman who might read my words. I will warn you that this documentary will likely drive you to jokingly (or realistically) decide to return your woman card in exchange for your old worn out man card. About halfway into the documentary I literally took of my tiara-esque head band and tried to hand it to my wife, saying, “Actually, never mind. I don’t want my woman card anymore, I think I’ll go back to being a man.” To which she, of course, laughed and said that it was too late for that (oh, I do love her).

Sexism in America is nothing new, and the effects are certainly nothing new to me as someone who spent the majority of their college career studying sociological and anthropological phenomena, but things have gotten so much worse since I graduated 6 years ago and put down the books. The biggest reason things have gotten so much worse is the expansions in media that have occurred over the last few years and the increasing acceptance of women as nothing more than sexual objects. I wish I could say I was exaggerating but seriously spend an hour of your next week truly analyzing every advertisement you see and try to keep a tally of how many of them display women as sexual objects rather than just everyday women. It’s truly staggering when you start to pay attention, but that’s not even the worst part. The worst part is that these images are inundating our young girls with the stereotypes of highly sexualized women, which is, in turn, creating an epidemic of mal-adapted teenage girls who are more prone to depression, eating disorders, and early age pregnancies; not to mention dramatically increasing their chances of being sexually harassed or assaulted (raped) by their peers or older men.

These young girls are literally being shown through the media that the only way a woman can gain any sort of social power is by becoming a sexual object, one that’s so photo-shopped and airbrushed that it’s literally impossible to achieve. As a transwoman who is in a form of adolescence with my own recently accepted identity as a female, I can at least partially understand the pressure these girls face to try to look like these impossible examples of “beautiful” or “powerful” women, and I’m not alone. There are so many transwomen who undergo truly painful and terribly expensive medical procedures in order to look more like that media stereotype of a “sexy” female. True, part of the reason they do it is because our culture is generally transphobic and there is a strong emphasis on being “passable”, but I suspect a great deal of it is a result of the same pressure that drives teenage girls to develop eating disorders. I even suspect that these transwomen (prior to transition) have been so exposed to the same media images about what a woman’s supposed to look or act like, that many of them don’t fully understand the true depth of character a female is really capable of. I know I struggle with it as well, and I’ve even had several strong, independent, and thoughtful women to serve as role models for me (whether they were aware I was looking up to them or not, since most little boys and teenage boys don’t normally admire women as role models).

It is actually for these very reasons that the main characters in both of the novels I wrote were females; ones who put no emphasis whatsoever on their appearance or the pursuit of romance. It’s probably for that reason that I’m still an amateur author because that kind of story doesn’t really sell. I have even had women who’ve read both of my books suggest that I add some romance to the mix, which just made me shake my head and conclude that she’d missed the entire point I was trying to make. The whole series was about the concept of a female protagonist who doesn’t fall into any of the stereotypical roles that 98% of today’s female characters fall into and who was strong enough, smart enough, capable enough, and courageous enough to be a heroine without equal. The only part of love that drives this character is the love she has for her younger sister, who she practically raised as her own daughter, and the love of her people. Why does adding some cheesy romance make that higher quality? We can watch a male protagonist do play that role all day long, but switch out the penis for a vagina and the whole thing breaks down?

Sorry, I know I’m probably rambling a bit, but the point I’m trying to make is that I am, perhaps for the very first time,  truly realizing the minefield of gender I’m willingly walking into by officially revoking my man-card. By choosing to live the rest of my life as a woman instead of a man, I am essentially cutting myself off at the knees in a great many regards, and the current situation in today’s media isn’t helping me either. The more my body changes to the appearance of a female, the more the standards by which I am judged will tilt against me rather than be automatically stacked in my favor. I will be systematically judged by my appearance almost 10 times as often as I have been up to now. My opinions will have a greater chance of being distilled into whether or not I’m being “bitch” or “bossy” than they would be as I am now. My opinions and thoughts will also be ignored with greater frequency than they already are, and the ones that aren’t ignored will be more likely to have someone else take credit for them. If I ever change my career, my starting salary will likely be lower than if I applied as a male. If I ever was presented the opportunity for advancement to a leadership role or management, I will be less likely to get the job, regardless of the my qualifications. The chances that I could ever become a millionaire, a billionaire, or the CEO of a large company will be dramatically reduced. My chances of getting elected to public office will be considerably reduced, and let’s not even talk about my chances of becoming president.

On and on this list can go too, that’s the saddest part. Pretty much take anything that isn’t pregnancy/motherhood, secretarial work/nursing, and/or housework (cooking/cleaning/etc.) and reduce the opportunities and rewards by a minimum of 25% and you pretty much can consider yourself a female in the United States. Don’t believe me, then spend 90 minutes one evening or weekend and watch “Miss Representation” on Netflix and see that I’m not exaggerating in the least.

So, what to do? It’s not enough just to talk about the problem (not without just making it worse), we have to put our focus on doing something. Well, we can begin by being more conscientious about the products we buy or the media we consume. If you can look in a magazine and see the product you want using a woman as a sexual object to sell their product, then don’t buy it. Or, better yet, google their advertising department and write them a letter about how their sexual objectification of women to sell their products actually stopped you from buying. If you are watching TV or a movie, and the female characters are one dimensional sex objects who are only concerned with the events of men, then stop consuming it! If you are reading an online news article that’s about a popular or powerful woman and that article diminishes them by referring only to what they were wearing or how they are looking, then write another letter about how you don’t appreciate that approach and would rather read a story about that woman’s life/thoughts/actions rather how she is looking. Start to question the images you are pumping into your mind on a daily basis and really analyze if you agree with what you are seeing.

Women are more than just sexual objects. They are more than just romantically interested in men. They are complex people with many levels of personality and identity that have nothing to do with sex or romance. If you hear friends of your talking shit about another woman’s clothes, hair, makeup (or lack thereof), or appearance in general, approach them and tell them that they are just feeding into the stereotypes that prevent women from gaining equal footing in every part of our society. Sure, they will probably hate you and start talking shit about you instead, but at least they will be given the opportunity to reevaluate the way they perceive other women. They have almost assuredly never been called out on that shit before, because they do not understand what they are really doing. They’ve likely been brainwashed by male-run advertising and media (seriously like 75%+ of media execs/management are all men, not even kidding. It’s actually probably more like 87%) to think this is how women are supposed to act. They probably hate themselves as much as anyone does for the way they treat their fellow women and are just waiting for someone to wake them up. Be that person! Don’t just accept reality because TMZ says it’s okay to stalk a celebrity woman and make allegations that she might be pregnant because she ate a fucking bagel. Bagels are awesome! And there not just for men, either, dammit! I say bagels for everyone!!

Okay, rant over. It probably didn’t make much sense but what can I say, that’s how I roll. Hopefully my words at least inspired you to watch that documentary… seriously… watch it… watch it…. still not sure? then check out their website and then go watch it: http://therepresentationproject.org/films/miss-representation/ Hell, you could even take the pledge on the top right corner.

-Emma

Trans-feminist Extraordinaire!

Monday, March 16, 2015

3-16-2015 Entry: HRT 3 Week Report


Hello everybody! I know it has been a few days since I last posted and that I haven’t posted any photos for my week 3 of HRT, but I really wasn’t feeling very photogenic over the weekend. There honestly haven’t been any noticeable changes from week 2, so I’m inclined to just wait until this weekend to post week 4 photos (assuming I can manage to get my hair to cooperate with me instead of being a frizzy mess!).

I’m not sure I really feel any different than I have been except to maybe say that I’m learning to handle my emotions a bit better now. That’s not to say that I don’t still get easily overwhelmed or find myself breaking down into tears over otherwise benign subjects/events, but the frequency has dropped some. As far as physical effects are concerned I’m still noticing my hair growth slowing way way down. When I first started shaving my legs a few months ago, I pretty much had to do it twice a week in order to avoid long black hairs from sprouting all over the place. Now, I’m able to go a whole week before my leg hair is even noticeable (less than perhaps 2mm). If I had to guess, I’d say the hair growth on my legs is about 1/5th of what it used to be. My facial hair also continues to slow, although I’d say it’s only at about 1/3rd of what it used to be, so not quite as significant as my leg hair. (Sorry if this is TMI, I just want to document as much as I can for anyone out there thinking about HRT).

I think I can also feel my muscles shrinking somewhat from what they used to be. I don’t have any sort of official measurments to give you, but I have noticed that I feel a tad bit weaker. Objects are just simply more difficult to pick up or move about. I’m not sure if my skin has softened or not, but I’ll keep an eye out for that. I think I might be on too low of a dose of estrogen for that to really be happening yet.

I have my next doctor’s appointment scheduled for two weeks from Tuesday (the 31st), so hopefully they will increase my dosage (I’m on a patch at .1mg per day). I’m not sure if the patch works differently than the shot or pills do, but every transwoman I’ve read/watched has reported being initially prescribed somewhere between 2mg-4mg per day which makes me wonder why I’m only at .1mg but I guess I’ll just have to wait until I see the doctor again to find out what her plan is. I suspect the idea was to see how my body reacted to the estrogen (estriadol) at all before increasing it to a higher dose. I know my doctor regularly works with transgender patients and frequently prescribes HRT, so I’m just going to trust that she knows what she is doing until I see her again and can ask her more questions about the process.

Overall I’m not regretting my decision to make the medical transition, but I have been feeling some anxiety about my transition. I guess those anxieties could be best summed up by saying I wish I could be further along than I currently am. I know from all my exposure to other transwomen that this is a very common feeling that is experienced during the first year of transition, so I’m trying not to take it too seriously. With that being said I’m feeling a strong desire to start spending time presenting as female. What I mean by that is I’ve been itching lately to go find a wig I could wear along with an outfit or two I could easily see myself wearing. Honestly, I really want to buy a bra, and perhaps some inserts to make it look like I have breasts, just so I can see what it’s like and what I look like.

I’m starting to feel a desire to go out to some of the LGBT clubs/bars around the twin cities all dressed up as Emma, just so I can begin to experience what it’s like to be seen as a female by strangers. I’ve experienced that once before at a Halloween party and it was just about the greatest feeling I’ve ever experienced, so I’m eager to relive that experience. Unfortunately my wife and I are still so financially mired in the house buying process that there really is no extra money to spend on a wig or new clothes. I mean, right now even just going to a single happy hour, or splurging on a package of cookies at the grocery store feels like a big expenditure, so buying a wig or clothes really isn’t an option.

I think these feelings of wanting to be further ahead than I am are a result of being exposed to a few transwomen who started presenting full time prior to being on HRT (thanks to wigs/clothes/bras with inserts/etc.), and hearing their experiences makes me wonder if I didn’t put the cart before the horses in some ways. I mean, I’m not going to stop HRT and reverse directions, but I’m feeling slightly regretful that I didn’t consider the presenting route sooner than I did. Oh well, not much that can be done now. I’ll just have to wait another month or two before we can afford to buy me some gender appropriate clothes and possibly a wig (depending on how my hair is doing by then)

Lastly my voice. I am pleased to say that after recording myself and listening to the way I sound on Saturday that I have made some progress with raising my voice towards the female range. I definitely still have quite a bit of room for improvement but the exercises I found from other transwomen have been working and I can produce a mostly believable female voice with some consistency. I do plan to see a voice therapist eventually to maximize my efforts and get a professional opinion on what I can do to improve, but I’m very happy that I’ve made the progress I have on my own. The key is simply to practice, practice, practice, and practice some more. I know I’m probably driving my wife mad when I repeat the same peculiar sentences over and over again:

 

Mia wrote an email.

Mia drove all day.

Mia arrived at night.

My cow ate all the chives.

Is there time for pie?

The calf got caught in the gate.

Write out a fat check.

Pam bought some fake jade.

Ryan thought Bob would botch the job.

The mail is late today.

 

But she seems to be a good sport about it and has actually started saying them along with me sometimes; although, that’s probably to cope with the insanity that’s slowly creeping into her mind after hearing the same nonsensical sentences 10,000 times. Can we say “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” much? I’m secretly just waiting for her to find an axe and start trying to murder me while screaming “Here’s Johnny”, but I digress.

 She’s also started giving me reminders when my voice starts to slip back into its old male-range pattern, which has been immensely helpful. The hardest part about the whole thing is just trying to remember to consistently use the higher range voice, otherwise it’s harder and harder to reproduce the longer you go without using it. I still struggle with it at work, probably because I spend so much of my time there sitting quietly in a cube not talking to anyone. By time I have an opportunity to actually have a conversation I forget how to create the right sound without having to jump back into my nonsensical sentence practice or repeating the same sentence a second time in a different voice (something that’s quite alarming for my coworkers, I’ve found, lol).

Well, that’s about all I have for today’s entry. Things are marching ever onwards and my life continues as it has for as long as I can remember. I’m eager to finish buying our house, I’m eager to move, I’m eager to finally get to dress like the lady I’ve always known myself to be, and I’m eager to one day forever take on the outside personality of Emma for the whole world to see; whether they can stand how fabulous I am, or not >;)

 

-Emma

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

3-11-2015 Entry: Feeling Better Again, and My Decision on SRS


And again there is a huge shift from one day to the next. Again I find myself in a much better mood than the day before with very little explanation as to why today is better than yesterday was. I suppose I did have some discussion with my wife about how overwhelmed I was feeling, how my needs weren’t being met, and what I wanted her to do to help me with that. I believe that my discussion with her was rather fruitful and reminded her, yet again, that things between us are going to require a great deal of attention and emotional investment as I continue through the changes inherent in HRT transition. I suppose I’ve always had the tendency to allow pressures to build up inside of me until they become almost insufferable before I say something, which is something I’m trying to work on (with the help of my therapist, of course). I think that the emotional impacts of estrogen on my system have made it such that pressure builds much more quickly and I become overwhelmed with greater ease than in times past.

I don’t want to give too much credence to the stereotype that women are overly emotional, because I’m not sure that’s fair to say (not to mention dangerous to say), but I will admit that female hormones seem to open the door to an even greater spectrum of emotional experiences than male hormones do, and it is taking a degree of getting used to in order to learn to control those emotions. I suspect that in time, once I’ve become accustomed to these changes, I’ll learn how to temper those emotions and will hopefully not suffer from such amazing mood swings. I’ve always suspected that I was bipolar to some degree, because I do seem to swing back and forth from mania to manic quite frequently. The hormones, I believe, have just exacerbated that underlying mental/emotional issue I’ve always lived with and will take some time to get used to. I had found ways to minimize the drastic mood swings before HRT (meditation, focusing on positive aspects, learning methods of non-resistance, smiling for several minutes to release serotonin, assuming power positions to lower cortisol/boost testosterone) so I suspect I will achieve that again in time.

I do have good news, however. In light of the conversations I had with my wife yesterday I’ve finally come to a decision about bottom surgery. For those who weren’t necessarily aware, I’ve been debating for many months now whether or not SRS was something I actually wanted to do or not. I knew that it would be many years before I could afford to have it, so it wasn’t an urgent decision, but the more I’ve thought about it and the more I’ve watched vlogs from other post-op transwomen I decided that I needed to make a decision sooner than later. Since my wife and I are buying a house and taking our commitment to one another to even higher degree, I felt that it was important for me to be 100% open with her about my intentions. I didn’t want her to buy a house with me thinking that I never wanted SRS If  I actually did.

So, long story short, yes, I have decided that I will eventually have Sex Reassignment Surgery and I have confided this decision in my wife, who was surprisingly supportive of it. Every day she finds new ways to amaze me and this was no exception. While she did express some concerns about the idea of me no longer having boy parts, her concerns were actually almost exclusively about me and my enjoyment of sex. I don’t want to get too TMI so I’ll leave it at that but needless to say I was pretty shocked that she didn’t even really seem concerned about her own needs being met in that regard.

Overall I can say that I have been pretty elated since that conversation because SRS has been something I’ve really been struggling over. A huge reason I was reluctant to realistically consider it was because I was afraid my wife wouldn’t be able to handle being with someone who was 100% physically female (well as close as one can be without being born with XX chromosomes) . I’ve kind of been having these mini “eeeee!!!” moments every time I think about her acquiescence to my desire for SRS and have been so excited to finally be able to be a “real girl” without any fear or worry (aside from the fears/worries inherent in such a major surgery).

Okay, well that’s really all I have for today. I’m hoping this great mood I’m finding myself in lasts longer than the last one did and that I don’t find myself in some pit of despair again tomorrow or the next day. Much love to all of you wonderful readers.

 

-Emma

Transwoman extraordinaire!! >;)

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

3-10-2015 Entry: Meltdown in 3... 2... 1...



So I don’t normally feel compelled to blog three days in a row, but things have been a bit rough lately for me and I’m not exactly sure what the root of my suffering is. I’m kind of hoping that if I write it here that maybe I’ll feel like I’ve gotten it off my chest and maybe have come to a realization about what I need. I certainly haven’t had the ability to really do that lately. My appointment with my therapist last week was almost exclusively dominated by conversation about my wife’s birthday meltdown (which was just an awful experience) and all the time since then I haven’t really had anyone to talk to. One would think that under such circumstances that I might find myself in isolation or solitude, but the exact opposite has been the case. I cannot remember the last time I actually got to spend some quality time just with myself. As a relatively introverted person I really have a need to be alone from time to time to decompress and process my feelings, yet I find myself either in the presence of my wife (never further than maybe a 100 yards away and that’s only when I’m taking the dog for a walk) or I’m at work, surrounded by coworkers and the need to maintain a composed demeanor.


The only semblance of solitude I’ve managed to find has come in the late hours of the night after my wife has fallen asleep and I’m left alone with nothing but my thoughts (AKA sleep deprivation); thoughts which have been rather grim as of late. I’m not sure if it’s the pressures that come from buying a house or if the changes in hormones are really having a huge mental/emotional consequence, but I feel like I’m on the verge of having a full blown meltdown. And when I say meltdown I mean like, leaving my wife, abandoning the plan to buy a house, moving out on my own, and possibly quitting my job, kind of meltdown (total deconstruction of my life back to zero kind of meltdown). I just don’t even know what to do. It’s like I’m constantly surrounded with obligations to other people and am never left with any energy, money, or time to do anything for myself… all the while I’m reeling from the changes I’m experiencing and desperately need someone to just hold me and tell me that everything is going to be okay.


I wish I could say that my wife was that person but she seems so inundated with her own bullshit that she can’t even see that I’m suffering and that I need her. She’s so fucking worried about her own petty goddamn problems that she can’t see how desperate I am for some sense of stability, any sense of stability, and I don’t mean doing the same thing we always do, day after day because we have no money to afford any sort of fun, kind of stability. I mean the kind of stability that comes from a person genuinely being interested in what’s going on with me and offering support when I’m in need of it. I do exactly that for her, constantly, incessantly, and yet she rarely does anything of the sort for me. You know, I cannot remember the last time she asked me how my day was. I cannot remember the last time she expressed any interest in what’s happening with me and my work (I ask her how her day is and listen to her complain and complain about her work every single day, as an FYI). Did you know that she has never once expressed any interest in reading this blog? She probably has no idea that I’ve written 67 posts on here since October of last year.


But how do I get her to be interested? I sure as hell can’t just expect her to show any interest by her own volition. I don’t feel comfortable trying to guilt her into caring because then what’s the point if she’s only doing it out of guilt? I’m just tired. I’m tired of giving and giving and giving, and then not having my needs met. I’ve over extended myself and don’t know how to bring it back in, except by completely disengaging, which is what I’ve been forced to resort to. The sad thing about disengaging, however, is it doesn’t solve the problem; it doesn’t meet the need that’s creating all of these feelings and issues.


I know that I’m probably being horribly selfish, but in my defense, transition is just about the most selfish thing a person can do. It’s a process that 100% about the me, myself, and I, and unfortunately that’s the way it has to be. I cannot always take on the needs of others over my own and successfully take the steps towards change that I need. I cannot completely replace my hormones, completely redefine who and what I am, completely change every expectation I had about how my life is going to be and yet still put the needs of others before my own 100% of the time. Right now I need it to be about me. I need it to be about my desires, my feelings, and my needs, and lately it has been all about everyone else’s needs, feelings, and desires. Whether it’s my wife, my dog, my coworkers, my friends, my goddamn mortgage banker, my real estate agent, my apartment leasing company (they’ve been showing our apartment, which we’ve been to repeatedly forced to clean for) or the sellers of the house we are buying, I’m being pulled in 500 different directions.


I just want someone to ask me how I’m doing and legitimately want to know without me having to pay them money to allot me a single hour a week to be interested. Evidently that seems to be too much to ask, because any time I put my needs before others, I get fucking guilt tripped about how I should have cared about them more than myself. I just want to be alone so I can take care of myself and not have to worry about anyone else for a while, is that so much to ask? I just don’t know how to achieve that without throwing everything else away and starting over. Do I really want to do that? I’m not so sure…


 


I guess I do feel somewhat better now, although, I think that all I’ve done is temporarily release some of the tension that’s been building. Unless I can find a way to solve the actual problem, I know I’m just going to be here again in a few days, wishing I could just burn it all to the ground and warm my hands by the fire. I need help but I don’t know where to find it. Please keep me in your thoughts and envision me finding some solitude and comfort, will you? I desperately need it.


 


-Emma

Monday, March 9, 2015

3-9-2015 Entry: Open Letter to the Congresses of Texas, Florida, and Kentucky

So, I haven’t really written much about these bills being proposed down in a few of the southern states that would make using the bathroom as a transgender person a question of legality. More specifically, if you were born with a Penis and you transition to female (or vice-versa), you still have to use the men’s (or women’s) room because doing so protects the children and women from those sexual deviants and predators! I wish I was exaggerating about the reasoning that is being used to hold up these transphobic bills.
 
 Because there is little that I can do to directly influence these bills and whether or not they are passed since I am not a resident of Texas, Kentucky, or Florida, I’ve decided that I will exercise my influence in the only way I know how, by writing an open letter to the proponents of these bills. Each bill is different in degree and affect, but all three of them are going after the same end result, restricting the rights of transgender individuals to alleviate themselves in privacy. I say privacy because going into a men’s room (or women’s room) after years of HRT, probable gender reassignment surgery (top surgery), and complete transformation of wardrobe and personal appearance in order to look as female (or male) as possible, is a huge breach of privacy; the privacy to keep what’s between our legs our own affair and none of the governments. So without further delay:

 
"Dear Mrs. Debbie Riddle, Mr. Frank Artiles, Mr. C.B. Embry and all the members of state congress for the honorable states of Texas, Florida, and Kentucky,
 
I write to you today as an American citizen who is both heartbroken and disappointed at the state of affairs in our country. There are so many areas of our society that are in desperate need of solutions that can only be provided by the collaboration of governmental bodies such as yours to pass bills for the betterment of us all. We are in great need of improvements in housing, in education, in job training opportunities, in childcare, in healthcare, in tax reform, in prison reform, and in public works. Millions of Americans are struggling with diminishing wages, increasing costs of living and extreme burdens of debt. So many of our nation’s children are forced to attend failing and bankrupt schools that do little to actually prepare them for the world that awaits them in their adult years. Those same children will also be forced to pay the highest costs for higher education that anyone has ever paid if nothing changes from the status quo.
It is with all of these things in mind that I write to you to ask you to end the debate on whether or not a transgender individual has the right to use the bathroom of their identified gender. I understand from the comments that many of you have made that there is a concern for the safety of cisgender women and children, and there is the concern that allowing transgender individuals access to bathrooms of their choice will increase the frequency with which predators prey on those women and children. I am writing to you today to say that I understand your fears and the needs that create them. I understand that you need for the world to make sense, and that the world also be filled with safety and courtesy. I understand that you need to know that your trips into the public restrooms won’t be mired with dangers of sexual harassment, violence, or even murder. I truly empathize with that need for safety in this regard, because I, as a transwoman, know all too well the dangers that lurk in the women’s bathroom when I enter it. The transmen I know also understand the fear you are feeling about them being in the men’s bathroom.
We share a need for safety and a fear of harassment in public bathrooms, but you must understand that the fear that we as transgender individuals face is actually created by the very bills that are being debated in the state congresses of Texas, Florida, and Kentucky. The laws and regulations (and the flawed premises they are created on) that you are considering implementing in your states will create such harsh and unfriendly environments in public bathrooms for transgender individuals that you will only end up creating more hostility than there currently is (aka the opposite of your objective).
I want you to understand above all other things that transgender individuals do not want to use the bathroom of their identified gender because they wish to spy on members of the “opposite sex”. The very idea that these bathrooms would be of the “opposite sex” for those transgender individuals just shows a need for greater understanding about the nature of trans-identity and its roots in genetics. I do not wish to use the women’s bathroom because it will give me the opportunity to spy on other women while they urinate (gross, by the way); I wish to use the women’s bathroom because I have to alleviate myself and I wish to alleviate myself in a place where I will not be harassed by actual members of the opposite sex (men) about my appearance or the fact that I was born with genetic material different from them which predisposed me to have a non-conforming gender identity. These potential laws that you are debating would be similar to a bill suggesting that women with naturally blonde hair have to use the men’s room and men with naturally green eyes have to use the women’s room. Under such circumstances you would be creating extremely hostile and problematic environments. The chances of violence and harassment based on sex would increase dramatically. By forcing a fully transitioned transwoman or transman to use a men’s room or women’s room respectively would be creating the very same hostile bathroom conditions as the example I just gave above.
It is no news that transgender individuals face extreme societal discrimination because of their non-conformity to traditional gender norms about penises and vaginas. In most states in the union it is perfectly legal and socially acceptable to fire a person simply because their gender doesn’t match their physiology at the time of their birth. Transgender individuals suffer from one of the highest suicide rates of any minority group in our nation and it is because of laws like the ones you are considering implementing right now that those individuals feel such hopelessness about their lives. We suffer from greater risk of depression and suicide because we live in a society that would rather believe we are sexual predators or deviants trying to prey on women and children in public bathrooms than to just acknowledge that we may not be the gender we were assigned at birth or that we have the same right to privacy when we use the bathroom as anyone else. We as a group also suffer from a very clear and present danger of violence and an increased chance to be murdered simply for being who we are on the inside. Nearly every single day a transgender individual is attacked, harassed, raped, or even murdered for simply choosing to live a life true to themselves. Forcing us to use bathrooms that do not make sense for our gender presentation will only make these statistics increase in number.
We as transgender individuals do not wish to make you feel unsafe, but we ask that you give us the same respect and decency that you are trying so hard to obtain for yourselves through these laws. We wish to be able to use the bathroom of our identified and presented genders so that we may be afforded the same degree of safety and peace of mind that you want as well. We want to know that we can go into a public bathroom without having to worry that we will be harassed, attacked, raped, or even murdered simply because we were born with different genetics. Are you certain that you want to be responsible for categorically discriminating against and endangering a population of your voters simply because they were born different from you?
All I’m asking is that you leave the bathroom decision up to the individuals. Speaking to the proponents of these bills directly, as Republicans I would think that your typical stances against having too much government would force you to recognize that bathroom privileges should not be a state affair. If you believe that government is already overreaching on our rights to privacy, then how can you, in good conscience, create and uphold bills that are the epitome of governmental overreach into privacy? My decision to medically transition to female in order to better fit the gender I feel and know inside is none of the government’s concern (and certainly not the police), especially if that transition is conducted with complete and total adherence to the law and commonly accepted medical practices. I did not obtain my hormone replacement drugs illegally. I will not be obtaining my feminine clothing and makeup illegally. I will not be attacking or harassing anyone of my same sex (women) in any bathroom that I use, so why should it be a matter of law enforcement when it comes to my decision on where to pee?
This country is in great need of many solutions to problems that only you can fix. My bathroom needs and decisions are not among them. The genitals I was born with and those that I use to alleviate the physical discomfort in my bladder is not the government’s concern. If my home state and the federal government are willing to grant people like me the gender of “female” (or "male") on our birth certificates, social security cards, passports, and driver’s licenses, then what gives you the right to deny us access to the women’s (or men's) bathroom, or to punish us for using it?
No person who wishes for privacy and safety in public restrooms can reasonably stand behind these bills because they accomplish exactly the opposite. Making it illegal for individuals who have been federally and internationally recognized as a female/male to use the women’s/men's bathroom and forcing them to use the men’s/women's room will only create more confusion, more intolerance, more violence, and ultimately, more death (either by murder or suicide).
Transgender people are humans too, humans who deserve the same respect, love, and guarantees of safety as anyone else. Please do not further marginalize an already marginalized group of people simply because you may not fully understand them. Instead, please try to learn more about transgender people and discover the wealth of beauty, intelligence, and kindness that they have.
I am an American citizen. I vote and participate in government. I am married. I am gainfully employed. I have beyond undergraduate college education. I love to write novels and have published two of them on my own. I spend my time volunteering to help others. I believe that humanity’s greatest capacity is born from love, respect and compassion. I believe that we have a bright future ahead of us. I was born with a penis but I also love makeup and nail polish. I love pretty dresses and adorable shoes. I know that I am and have always been a female with as much certainty as any of you know that you are your respective genders. I love being a woman, even if I wasn’t born with the body of one. I am a transwoman and I am proud of who I am. I stand up and write these words for all those transwomen and transmen out there who feel beaten down and broken by a society that typically ignores and discriminates against them. I urge you all to see us for what we really are, human beings with needs and desires. Human beings with fears and worries. Human beings who just really have to pee sometimes. We aren’t monsters. We aren’t sexual predators. We aren’t deviants or lawbreakers. We are people, just like you. We are American citizens granted the same rights and privileges by the same constitution as you. We uphold the same declaration of independence that our forefathers wrote against governmental tyranny 239 years ago:
 
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
 
I urge you to strike these bills down now, if not for the sake of your conscience then for the sake of preserving the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all American citizens, including transgender individuals like myself and hundreds of thousands just like me. To do otherwise would countermand the very principles of freedom from invasions of privacy by tyrannical governmental bodies that we fought the revolutionary war for. It wasn't okay then, and it isn't okay now.
 
Sincerely,
Emma Thrumston"

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Picture Entry 3-8-2015: HRT 2 Weeks

Yay!! It has been over two weeks since I started HRT and I'm happy to say that there have been no further complications. No more swelling of my legs, no more shooting pains in the bits, and no more soreness in my breast-areas. I have noticed that my skin is starting to feel softer and as I mentioned previously, my hair growth has been stifled (both on my face and on my legs).

A few of the pictures below are without makeup on and a few of them include my early attempts at makeup. I have been putting makeup on almost everyday after I get home from work, just so I can get practice without having to worry about going out in public. I don't know that I have much more to say about the way I'm feeling, but I have been more pleased with my appearance lately, especially when I put on my makeup.I know I still look quite male, but I'm beginning to see the potentials with each passing day.

p.s. Please forgive the "How you doin?" naughty-librarian look in picture 3, I'm definitely not trying to come on to you ;)




Thanks again for stopping by. I'll post again in a few days.

Friday, March 6, 2015

3-6-2015 Entry: Feeling Better Today


And such is the nature of the beast. I can go from being horribly frustrated, deflated, and depressed one day, to being chipper and happy the next day. I can go from being completely heart broken and dejected about my physical appearance to waking up and feeling particularly girly when I look at my reflection. Today my confidence is as high as it ever is, but there really is no explanation for it. Nothing about my appearance has changed since yesterday. I’m not thinner, I’m not more feminine, my hair has not grown any perceptible length, and my facial hair is still visible despite me shaving. So what gives?

I suppose I did go out last night and drink with my friends (and boy do I ever feel old today thanks to a handful of martinis) but was that enough to make everything better again? I suppose I was surrounded by people who know me as Emma and who think of me as she/her, which has a tendency to bolster the confidence a bit, so perhaps that’s why I feel better today than I did yesterday.

Regardless of the reason for my upswing in mood I’m happy that it is Friday. I’m happy that my hair is getting so much longer than it has ever been. I’m happy that my face is thinning out as I lose more and more weight. I’m happy that my wife and I haven’t been fighting much lately, although, her birthday last Saturday was probably the worst day of our marriage yet, but I don’t really feel like relating that story. Suffice it to say that we will be taking appropriate measures to deal with her mental/emotional health in the coming months.

I’m happy that my body has gotten used to the estrogen and increased spironolactone dosage. I’m happy that the fish oil pills I’ve been taking seem to actually be helping my achy joints (my knee has really been bothering me lately). I’m happy that my wife and I are still progressing towards the purchase of our first house, although, this has definitely been the most knit-picky, frustrating, and stressful thing I’ve ever done (even worse than transitioning, honestly). I’m happy that I’ve found a perfume that I just absolutely love!! (Elizabeth and James’ Nirvana Black, it’s amazing). I’m happy that I have a good stable job, and that I have found a Masters in Family and Marriage counseling program that is mostly affordable and has flexible class schedules (every class is offered every semester to facilitate working professionals to attend them with ease). I’m happy that I can use that degree to eventually become a therapist (one who specializes in LGBT issues) which will grant me the freedom to do something I truly enjoy while also getting paid more money than I make now.

Overall, today, on my two week HRT anniversary, I am just plain happy. I may post photos later tonight when I’m on my laptop and can use that camera (for some reason laptop selfie comes out much nicer than phone selfie) but we will see how I feel/look when I get home.

Well, that’s about all I have. I know I haven’t written much about trans issues lately but I just haven’t come across anything I felt compelled to write about. I’m sure it is only a matter of time.

 

Thanks for reading! If any of you ever have questions you’d like me to blog about please feel free to email me at rtedwins@gmail.com or leave a comment on a post.

-Emma

Thursday, March 5, 2015

3-5-2015 Entry: ...


God am I in a mood this morning. I am so pissed off I can barely function enough to type right now, but I need to get this off my chest. I am sick, sick, sick, sick, sick, of having to wear men’s clothing to work. Most days I can just push it out of my mind but today it’s just too much to handle. It really all started with my wife (who was probably trying to do something nice) critiquing me on my brown shoes with a black belt and a black shirt. Now, I know that you aren’t supposed to wear a black belt with brown shoes but since I usually sit in a cube all day long and don’t really see anyone who would care about my accessories matching my outfit, I have generally said fuck-it to this rule (also, I really don’t like the way my black shoes look). It’s honestly a rather arbitrary rule that’s only really noticed or commented on by condescending people and I could care less what any of them have to say anyways. But more than this rule being arbitrary, I find it deeply insulting to my personality as a transwoman. I really don’t care what fashion rules exist for men, because I’m not a man!! I’ve never been a man and I am so fed up with having to play the part of a man that I could just throw myself off a cliff in order to never be gender-policed into male-normative behavior or expectations again.

I know that I’m probably reacting irrationally to this situation. My wife meant well. I probably did look tragic, but I made the choice to not let it bother me because I look so tragic already that what does one outfit really matter?

I know what I’m writing here isn’t groundbreaking or probably even very noteworthy, but goddamn if it doesn’t seem important to me right now. Gender dysphoria is just downright awful, my friends. I feel awful. I feel so hopelessly angry and frustrated with my body that I could just scream. I’m too tall, I’m too fat in all the wrong places, my facial hair is too visible (even after I’ve just shaved), my hair just looks like a boy’s haircut gone tragically wrong, my voice is too deep, my face is too masculine, my feet are too big, and my hands are too big. I honestly don’t know how I will ever even come close to passing as a woman, and that’s the source of all of my frustration right now.

I know, rationally, that the effects of HRT haven’t really begun enough to be visibly evident, but even when they finish, I’m still worried that I’m going to be little more than a man-lady, and that just makes me want to cry. I don’t want to be a man-lady. I want to be a woman. That’s the only thing I’ve ever truly wanted in my life, ever since I was a young boy. I just want to be a girl. Not a girl who had to go through so much pain and agony to get kinda-sorta there. I just want to wake up tomorrow morning and be a woman physically.

I hate the way I look. I hate the clothes I have to wear. I hate being seen as a man. I just want relief from my suffering. I want this pain and frustration to go away. Sometimes, I lay in bed at night after my wife has fallen asleep and I pray to God asking if I can just die in my sleep that night. I beg and plead that I won’t have to wake up in the morning and be a man anymore. Obviously that prayer continues to go unanswered, and I’m forced to suffer on through another day in this body that makes no sense. It all just seems so pointless.

I honestly don’t want to post this entry to the blog because I don’t want the surge of pity that will probably come with it, but I vowed to document the process as closely as I could and this kind of gender dysphoric depression and frustration is unfortunately part of that process, so here it is. Do with it what you will.

 

-Emma

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Picture Entry 3-1-2015: HRT 1 Week Picture

I don't think I'll do these pictures every week of HRT, but I'll try to at least post them twice a month. As you can see I've shaved my goatee off and my hair is a bit longer than the picture I posted on the 25th. It's pretty dark in here, so sorry for the dim light.






In order to keep with the documentation of my mental/psychological progress I figure it might be good to discuss how I'm feeling as I post these pictures. First and foremost I can say that I'm not thrilled with my appearance. I am seeing it progress slowly in the direction I want it to go but I have a long way to go, both with the HRT changes and my weight loss program. I've lost about 80 pounds in the last 19 months but I still have about another 40 or 50 to drop before I'm at my ideal weight.

I'm also feeling fearful that people will be surprised in a bad way by seeing me.There is something about the anonymity of the internet that is appealing when you are a writer. Instead of being judged by your appearance you are permitted to be judged by the merit of your thoughts and articulation. I think this is the primary reason I don't want to post these pictures every week. Perhaps after the effects of the HRT become more physically evident and my appearance changes to something that I (hopefully) can feel better about I will increase the frequency with which I pull back the curtain to reveal the person behind the words.

As you might see I'm not really wearing makeup in these pictures. I do have a small amount of eye shadow on (at the suggestion of my wife) but that is it. I still don't really feel comfortable putting makeup on and rarely actually do. I believe that, again, when the effects of HRT are more evident that I'll start to wear it with greater frequency. I think I need to develop the habit of putting it on when I go to work before it's something I really start doing. I'm still many months away from presenting as Emma at work, so it will likely be awhile before that happens.

So, how do I feel after 9 days of estrogen in my system? Well, I do feel different than I used to. I have noticed that my emotions have become even more pronounced than before. What I mean by that is that when I find myself in a heightened emotional state, it's much more difficult to keep control of my emotions. In times past, when I felt sad about, say a famous person I admired passing away, I could usually keep myself from crying. I might feel a bit sad and proceed to quietly mourn for them, but I definitely didn't find myself being brought to tears. This past week, however, when I found out that Leonard Nimoy passed away, I started to cry. It wasn't deep weeping or anything like that, but there were heartfelt tears dripping from my eyes and a deep sense of loss, unlike any I've ever felt in a situation like this (I'm even having to fight the tears again as I'm writing about the dearly departed Spock).

It's not just negative emotion either, even heightened positive emotional states have the power to overwhelm me to the point of tears. I read a story on the internet yesterday about a 7 year old boy who was dying from a brain tumor, and his dying wish was for his mother (who had been recently diagnosed with kidney disease) to take one of his kidneys after he passed away. Not only was his mother's life saved by his willingness to be a donor but two other people were able to live because of his sacrifice. Allegedly the doctors were so awed by the boy's bravery that they bowed in honor at his bedside before they took his organs. When I read this story I was so overcome with emotion that I began to sob tears of joyful sorrow at such a wonderful and kind gesture. And again I'm finding myself brought to tears again as I retell the story now.

I have always been prone to being brought to tears with some amount of ease but this is just... just wow. Before estrogen it was much easier to control my emotions. After estrogen I'm finding my emotions to be overwhelming my self-controls with greatly increased frequency.

As far as physical aspects of the first 9 days goes, not a lot has changed. My chest has stopped being quite so tender and no longer aches.The sickly feeling I had the first few days has also passed. I think I can tell a very slight difference in my face, but that could just be the weight loss. (I've lost about 10 pounds in the last two weeks). My facial hair has definitely stopped growing as quickly as it used to. I used to have to shave every other day in order to keep myself from becoming the itchy-beard-hair-guy. Now, I could probably shave every three or four days before I got anywhere near I.B.H.G.
Well, that's about all I have for this entry. Much love to all of you who read my rantings and ravings.

-Emma