Immediate effects of startin transition

So even though transitioning is a long and tedious process, I have noticed some immediate effects. That is, my depression has lifted for the first time in years. It’s just the knowledge that I’m actually taking action on something I’ve wanted for all my life that has caused me great distress. I’m sure eventually this elation will die down, but for now it’s very nice not to be constantly suicidal and blue. My therapist is very excited, she says I’m doing the best she’s seen me do in 2 years. Also, it’s helped my dad become more accepting. When he saw how happy it made me, he seemed to realize how many of my troubles have been caused by being trans. I think he’s realized that it’s not a choice, because no one in their right mind would choose to be that miserable. I’m not sure how long this emotional high will last, probably until the first time someone I’m not out to finds out and calls me a freak. I plan on coming out to the rest of my friends in the coming weeks, starting with the ones I know for sure won’t have a problem with it. There are just two that I’m afraid of coming out to, and that’s because they’re pretty religious. But they also seem like the open-minded “you are as god made you” types, so my fears are probably ungrounded. I’m probably most likely to get harrassed by a total stranger who doesn’t know me, which I can handle (I don’t like most people I meet so I don’t really care what they think of me… I’m slightly misanthropic that way).

My thoughts on SCUM

So I just added a link to Valerie Solanas’s SCUM manifesto, not necessarily because I agree with it 100%, but because I respect it for trying to insite a true revolution. A lot of what she writes has some elements of truth, and she’s often treated as some sort of psycho survivalist. Being an anarcho-syndicalist and political writer, I know what this feels like. Since I was 10 I have felt that there was something very wrong with society, and as I got older I began to realize that the things wrong with society are mostly the results of men’s insecurities. Men are an opressive force which women must cast off, but the problem is that, as Solanas points out, most women have been brainwashed by men into being completely submissive simps. I certainly don’t think that every man is evil, just that most of them are. Also, I don’t think that every man wants to be a woman like Solanas suggests; I just believe that most men realize on some level that “manhood” is a sham and that they are afraid of confessing to who the really are. A study showed that 100% of men tested who had violent homophobic tendancies show signs of latent homosexuality, so it’s obvious that their “manliness” is some sort of facade to prevent the world from realizing that they’re really fags. I seriously think that the world is in need of a revolution, and I hope it comes in my lifetime. I don’t want to live my whole life in a oppressive power-centric society.

Intersex/trans documentary

I found this 45 minute documentary on Helen Boyd’s blog. It’s about intersex and MTF transsexual people. Basically they show evidence that gender identity has a biological basis not tied to XX/XY chromosomes. (Also known as the “brain sex theory.”) I liked how similar the story of the trans man known as Kevin (I think) going to bed wishing he would wake up male is to my own story (see this post). I also thought it was funny that the young MTF was named Alex, which is my name.

The best movie ever

I have been watching Pink Floyd The Wall on repeat since 4:30. I do this from time to time. Besides 2001: A Space Oddyssey, the Wall is my favorite movie. When I was a kid, it was my favorite cassette tape until my dad accidentally smashed it. (He made it up to me later by buying me the 2-disc CD.) Among my favorite parts is the scene in which young Pink is going through what is presumably his father’s trunk. First he puts on the cap from his father’s military uniform, then he admires his razor, then he opens a box of bullets and gently carresses them with his finger. Next it cuts to him dressing up in his father’s full military uniform. I think this little bit is a glaring statement on gender and masculinity in particular. It’s especially interesting looking at it through a trans lens: Just as I would play dress up in my mother’s clothes and pretend to be a woman, he is playing dress up and pretending to be a man.

I also like the “Mother” sequence mostly because that’s one of my favorite songs (no, I never played voyeur on any of the neighbor girls). Also I like how the woman undresses and her man is more interested in whatever he’s watching and treats her like an obstruction. And I like when Pink goes insane and speaks at the Nazi-like rally (the crossed hammers insignia is going to be my next tattoo once I decide where to put it; one would think the arm would be best but my arms are already taken by far superior tattoos). And I really identify with young Pink in the “Another Brick in the Wall” sequence when his teacher humiliates him for writing poetry. We artsy fags get no respect as children.

A little history

I think I should include a little history about my experiences with cross-gender feelings. It tarted when I was about three and my little sister was born. Until that point, I don’t think I realized that there was a such a thing as gender, but something about my little sister being born and learning about boys and girls made me realize something was very wrong. I don’t know exactly what it was, I just somehow knew I was supposed to be a girl.

For a couple years I went to bed every night after praying that god fix his mistake. Every morning when I woke up, I was gravely disappointed by the fact that I hadn’t been magically transformed as I slept. This caused me to question the existence of god, and eventually my dad won me over to the atheist camp.

Anyway, I eventually got used to being a boy at about age 9. Part of this had to do with the fact that I met my 2 best friends that year (they were brothers who moved from upstate New York; one of them is Josh, who I wrote a post about a day or two ago). At around 10 or 11 I began taking an interest in girls, which also helped to quell the gender identity issues because I figured if I was a girl I’d be interested in boys. This feeling of being okay lasted until I was about 12, when I met my first lesbians.

I was in Colorado at a family reunion. We were eating at Wendy’s, and I had finished so I decided to go to the car and listen to some music. As I exited the restaurant, two beautiful women in their early 20s came walking towards me. As they walked, one of them took the other one’s hand and kissed her. I had heard about lesbians, but I had never seen one. I tried not to stare or anything, but I couldn’t help it; I knew instantly that that’s what I was supposed to be. I longed for them to abduct me into their world.

This lead to a very deep depression during which I contemplated suicide several times in a day. For the rest of the vacation, all I did was lay in bed and mope. One day, my dad left the room with the TV on HBO and an Ellen Degeneres special came on. I was only half-listening because at first I was too depressed to care. Eventually,  though, it dawned on me that she was a lesbian and I instantly sat up and began watching intently. I felt like I had found a role model. I remembered a time when my dad’s girlfriend was watching a daytime talk show with a bunch of beautiful women and I asked her what was so special about them. She said they used to be men, so I knew that it was possible for me to become female, I just didn’t know how.

About a year and a half later, we finally got internet at my mom’s house. Since she didn’t know how to track my web browsing habit like my dad could, I knew it was my chance to do some research. I stumbled across a Montreal SRS surgeon’s website and he had a lot of useful information about gender dysphoria and transsexualism. I had been seeing a therapist for a few months because of my depresion and suicidal tendancies, so I decided to talk to him about it. After spending a lot of time talking about my feelings and other therapisty stuff, he said that he thought I probably did have gender dysphoria.

I knew my parent’s wouldn’t like it. It meant I was a freak. I wrote a letter to my mom about it because I couldn’t talk to her face to face, and she only acknowledged that she read it; she didn’t say anything else about the subject. Ever. My dad at one point asked me if I was a crossdresser, and I told him yes (I had been borrowing girl friends’ clothes and crossdressing at school, changing before my parents picked me up). He threatened to take away my allowance if he ever caught me in girls’ clothes or makeup. That didn’t change much; he only caught me with nail polish on once and he didn’t flip as much as I had expected him to.

Starting at 13, despite the fact that I was exploring my gender identity, I went into a hyper-macho phase where I cut my long hair and began having sex with anything with a vagina that I came across. By the time I was 15 I was doing stuff that most people spend their lives fantasizing about. I’ve done all sorts of freaky scenes. I realize now that this was me trying to prove to the world or maybe myself that I was a “real man”; I had learned from mainstream media that “real men” have lots of sexual “conquests.” I made a lot of stupid mistakes, and I’m really ashamed of that period of my life.

When I moved out to Nebraska, people started tearing me down because of how effeminate I was. They called me “gay” and “fag,” so for a while I tried to learn how to act butch. In my second semester of college I quit all that because I had fallen in with the local feminist and artist scenes, and both those circles embraced gender variance. Then I met a girl and fell in love, and I’m pretty sure I’ve talked about how that ended. Anyway, that’s my story.

Weird interactions

I just had a weird interaction with a stranger. You see, even though I just started my transition, I’ve always been very androgynous (I was big into the genderfuck scene back home), despite being 6’2″. Anyway, a man just walked up to me while I was outside smoking and asked if I had a phone he could borrow. I let him borrow my cell phone and he ma’amed me (it always makes me feel good when this happens). Anyway, he called whoever he was trying to get in touch with and I assume whoever he was talking to asked where he was calling from. He replied, “This strange ma- woma- person let me borrow their phone.” Clearly he didn’t know how to refer to me. This happens quite a lot to me, and it’s always very awkward. Whenever it happens, the person in question always seems quite distressed, as if meeting someone who doesn’t conform to gender norms completely blows their mind. I hope that as I progress in my transition this will happen less, because I really don’t like causing people distress. Although, it really isn’t my fault. I dream of a world in which gender is fluid, and a person’s presentation wouldn’t matter quite as much. That world is probably a very long way off, if it’s even possible.

A note on cultural differences

This will be a quick one. I grew up in New England, and as a kid I was free to explore my gender identity and sexuality without much fear of violence or rejection. Simply put, New England is a more accepting place than most when it comes to gender variance. I was free to show up to school in a skirt with painted nails because I wasn’t the only guy dressed like that, there was strength in numbers.

In Nebraska, where I am now, gender variance is viewed as something that needs to be hidden. It is so hard to meet other TG people here because everyone tries their hardest to go deep stealth. (I personally don’t plan on going stealth because I think that by being out I can draw more attention to the subject.) Even my androgyny and the androgyny of many of my friends (I hang out with a very odd crowd of androgynous sexually ambiguous creatures) illicites negative comments like “fag” or “dyke.” This confuses the hell out of me, as there are so many butch “straight” women in the Midwest!

Also, I’ve noticed in my travels as a young lad that even parts of Europe are less progressive than New England in terms of gnder variance. Once in Munich, I got called “fag” for having bright green fingernails. This blew my mind, as we are fed a story of Europe as a liberal playground. I would never be called fag at my school just for painting my nails!

Anyway, it’s amazing to see all the cultural differences between different parts of the country. Mental illness also has a strong stigma out here in Nebraska that wasn’t present (or at least remained hidden) in New England.

Well, that’s my two cents.

A brief overview on my beliefs regarding gneder

Fist off, let me say that this is not intended to be a scientific post. It is merely my opinion based on observation and some research. I could be completely wrong. This is simply armchair philosophizing.

Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve been fascinated with gender. This started when I was 3 and my little sister was born. I started to pick up on the subtle differences in the ways we treat boys and girls. As I got older, I began to think more seriously about this and started reading up on gender. I have formulated something of a theory on the subject.

I believe that gender is at the very least mostly a societal construct. I’m not sure to what degree it is constructed by society, and at times I doubt that it even has a biological basis. At the very least gender is more of a spectrum than a binary.

For instance, I identify as a “woman.” However, I don’t like clothes shopping, I’m not obsessed with shoes, I’m conservative with makeup, I like things like comic books and video games, I am exclusively attracted to women (I experimented with other guys in high school and found it entirely unpleasant), and I only get the urge to dress up in “cute” outfits every 6-8 weeks and usually think that glaming out is a waste of time. Since I do not fit the stereotype for a woman (or even a transsexual), am I still a woman? Usually, I tell people I identify as a “tomboy” or a “soft butch lesbian.”

To further illustrate my point of gender as a societal construct, think of it like this: pink is a girl’s color and blue is a boy’s color. However, in the 19th century and before, pink was considered “masculine.” And furthermore, what is “gender identity” without someone to confirm it? If someone with a penis, copious amounts of body hair, a receding hairline, who is 6’6″ and dresses in men’s casual clothing identifies as a woman, if s/he really a woman? What if s/he intends to take no actions to modify their body? Even the most liberal of us would be inclined to say no.

In my theory, transsexuality is caused by a hormonal imbalance. The proper treatment for trnassexuality in a gneder-free society would simply be a low dose of hormones. I first concluded this when I saw W Meredith Bacon (a transsexual political scientist at the University of Nebraska in Omaha) speak. She said that before officially transitioning, she was simply on a low dose of estrogen, not high enough to cause any real changes in her body. She said that just being on hormones was enough to alleviate the troublesome cross-gender feelings. (She only transitioned at the suggestion of her spouse after years of hormone therapy.) Because we are socialized from birth to adhere to a two-gender system, when we become aware of our hormonal imbalance, we interpret it as cross-gender feelings.

It’s not an entirely sound theory and there’s no real way to test it as it is impossible to create a gender-free space in this world at this time, but at least it’s an attempt to explain how I feel. I’m open to criticism and expansion.

The inaugural post

Hello, and welcome to my nifty little blog thing. Let me explain what this whole deal is about.

I am transgendered. I was born male, but I identify as female. I first noticed cross-gender feelings at the age of three, and at the age of 13 I began crossdressing and researching transsexuality (I was diagnosed at 13 with “gender dysphoria”). I am currently beginning my transition, and since I am doing it on an extreme budget, I thought it would be nice to try to gather some information on transitioning on a shoestring budget in one place. I’ll also include updates with important milestones I pass, trans- and gender-related news, and whatever the hell else I feel like posting (probably just ramblings from my journals).

I am 23 now, and I tried transitioning once in 2007. I failed miserably, though, because when my girlfriend (the only person I’ve ever loved more than myself) found out I was seriously thinking about transition, she left me. The resulting depression rekindled an old drug habit (I had been 2 years clean) and also lead to alcoholism. This ate up all my money, so I went broke trying to pay for electrolysis. SO I decided to stop and get clean and sober first.

The drugs left a lasting imprint; in April of 2008 I suffer a sever psychotic breakdown, and in June of that year I was diagnosed with both depressive-type schizoaffective disorder (a mix of episodic schizophrenia and depression). I had already been diagnosed with existential depression when I was 10 and depersonalization disorder when I was 18. All of these factors were making it increasingly hard to work full-time and keep up with school. I dropped out and applied for disability, which took 11 months for the government to approve.

I was approved for disability late in 2009, and this is how I am going to fund my transition for the time being (I hope to one day recover sufficiently to go back to working full-time). Each month I recieve about $730 in SSDI, $250 in SSI, $400 from working part-time, and anywhere from $0-$500 from selling my paintings, sculptures, photography, and writing. I have no credit cards and refuse to get any because I think they are unwise.

Since August of 2009 I have been working on budgeting, and I think I’ve finally got it down. It required some doing, because I am a tech dork and a huge comic book collector, but when I thought of my priorities I concluded that transitioning topped the list. I have spent the last few months learning to do with out buying a new Blu-ray disc or video game each week, and in the end I was able to save aout $400 a month, which is just enough for hormones and electrolysis. I started hormones December 28, 2009 and I begin electrolysis tomorrow.

Some other information about me that may come into play in some of these posts: I am very big into philosophy, both contemporary and classical; I am an anarcho-syndicalist politically and very involved in the anarchist movement (this is important because my anarchist leanings flavor my ideas of gender); and I am a deveout agnostic (not to be confused with an atheist, which is a logically invalid belief system).