Thursday, January 10, 2008

Looking back on the first months of medical transition

I remember crying to my aunt on this day as I showed her photos of transguys online, and explaining that I needed to find a way to start transitioning asap. I needed to find a doctor desperately, and was at the point where I think a lot of us realize it's do or die, when the "choice" to transition stops seeming realistic, because it's become impossible to "choose" to continue living a lie.

A couple months later and I had started taking T, found a community of transmen who I lived with and around. For the first couple months we did our shots together, getting together for "shot night", a sort of boys night celebration, with intramuscualr injections thrown in for good measure.
Summer continued and with each month passed my voice got a bit deeper, and all the hair on my body began the slow creep to meet up and become a continuous manrug. I was starting to really confuse folks in queer circles, which didn't seem too weird, since I had been turning heads for years as a queer, butch, strong, tall woman working in jobs such as bike messenger and greasy spoon diner cook where folks like me were not as common as we may be in womens studies department or radical organizing circles. I think one of the things that threw off a lot of queers was my openness and upfront attitude to do with everything. I have always been comfortable voicing what I felt was important, and my transition and trans politics were not going to be an exception.
By fall I was working for the first time in jobs with people who had no idea about this huge part of what makes up who I am. It created a strange feeling for me as I had been answering questions and explaining myself constantly for the past 3 years. I find ways to balance sharing my values of gender diversity and transpolitics in a very general sense without always feeling like I am explaining myself. I have discussions on gender in which sometimes my own gender is not brought up at all. For the most part I can't keep secrets and the only personal relationships that I maintain without that disclosure are those with the children that I work with, not because I don't think that they would understand, like I said, I had 3 years of explanation period, where I didn't live with the luxury of non-disclosure. I have met and discussed gender (generally and personally) with many very understanding kids, but I know that sometimes they have questions that they bring to other trusted adults (parents), and I honestly don't want to have to explain myself, or have my employer stand up for their right to employ me if some parents' homophobic/transphobic prejudices get in the way of a peaceful day to day.

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