Acknowledging my privilege

I am sure in the ensuing days that I am going to rant, rave and cry here about my transition. There is so much that sucks, so much that isn’t talked about that you could fill a book (and I probably will).

That being said, with the debt/transphobia/dysphoria and other problems I want to acknowledge my privilege at the outset. I am in a much better place then many of my trans and non-binary people and I don’t ever forget it.

There are multiple areas where I have privilege starting with my skin color. I am white, which starts me at the top of the privilege pyramid when it comes to transitioning concerning ethnicity. It is still absolutely dangerous for me, I could be stabbed, shot, beat up, fired, etc. However, the statistics show that out of all of my trans and non-binary people I am the least likely to suffer that hatred. It still can happen, but I start out with a weighted advantage.

The second area I have privilege is access to credit. I do not have money to pay stuff outright. I don’t have the ability to just buy things and walk away with no consequences. I do however have an education level and a professional field that gives me better access to white collar jobs, and much better access to credit.

I will still have to pay this all back. Right now we are at approximately $32,000 for my face left after paying back almost $8000 already. I have spent more than $10,000 in electrolysis on credit card that I have been able to pay back (and just dumped another $1500 today for flight down to Phoenix). There is an additional $25k I will be spending as we move forward (not counting my portion of the cost of SRS if I get it) for lip feminization/facelift/tummy tuck. I can access that credit right now if I wanted, but I really can’t afford the payments.

That being said I do have to pay this all back, but I am in a much better position then a lot of people transitioning who can’t even get access to credit. In the end maybe they are better off if their not hitting $50k in negative value, but the depression and dysphoria I suffer from is only worse for others who can’t touch it, so no I don’t think they are better off even if they aren’t in debt.

I have another set of privilege, I have insurance (this goes with the white collar work/education privilege). I still have to pay, but having the insurance gives me access to doctors, HRT treatments, surgeons and lab tests along with a very good therapist to work on my childhood PTSD.

Finally, and the most important privilege I have is my husband. I am married to someone who dedicates their life to me (as I do to them). They are devoted to helping me through transition. They are there when I cry, when I laugh or when I am just confused and scared. Wolsey is the highest point of my privilege and without him I would be dead (and that isn’t hyperbole). Too many of my trans people do not have someone else (whether they have class/ethnicity privileges or not). For this last privilege I am the most grateful and without it I couldn’t do this.

I know I have privilege, and I know even with that I am going to have hateful days of crying. I will come here to cry, just understand that I realize this privilege even if I use this platform to vent.

Breast Augmentation Consult

I have been at four consults with different surgeons trying to get a feeling for who I wanted to go with. Last night I saw Dr. Antonio Mangubat and I decided he is the guy. Funny enough, he is the guy who did the FTM top surgery for my husband back in 2016.

The surprise I have had overall is the wide variance between surgeons and how they handle things. They are all good surgeons, but I hesitated at each of the three previous surgeons because it just didn’t feel right for whatever the reason. Now however, I will be getting 800cc implants in April and I am excited. Another great part is the fact that my insurance is going to pay for it.

Wearing an 800cc sizer to see how my new breasts will sit.

I did want to talk about my consultations a little though. The four doctors all very qualified, but very different.

Dr. Javad Sajan – a great surgeon in Seattle did my original consult back in November of 2018. He is a very personable guy, but I wasn’t happy with what his before/after pictures are for trans ladies, and he seemed to want to go with a smaller size on me, which thinking about is probably what I was seeing in those trans ladies photos… implants that for me looked too small for their frames.

Also he was a little too much into self-promoting/instagram/etc. Made me uncomfortable. Also they didn’t like taking insurance (they refuse to contract with my insurance but agree to do it as out of network, meaning it can be turned down by my insurance if he tries and charge too high a price. This does not mean he is a bad surgeon, but that combined with a lot higher prices meant he wasn’t my number one pick (but still in the running until I sat with Dr. Mangubat)

This was from my testing at Dr. Sajan in November 2018, it isn’t bad, but the 800cc at Mangubat seems better feeling to me.

Dr. Ellie Zara Ley – a fantastic surgeon who did my FFS bone work, although the office interaction/after care could use a little touch up. The reason in the end I didn’t go with her was because first, it is in Scottsdale and I don’t really care to stay another two weeks in a hotel in Arizona if I don’t have to. The extra cost of the flight down, the hotel stay, food, etc makes this not my favorite.

On top of that she explained she would decide what looked right for my body frame once I was under and do it with an expander. She is a wonderfully artistic person, but I wasn’t to keen on waking up not knowing what to expect.

I wouldn’t ever change Dr. Ley having done my FFS although it hurt a lot (April 2019).

Dr. Christiane Ueno – a fantastic Kaiser surgeon. She actually walked me through all the questions I should ask, and she was very knowledgeable. The biggest reasons I didn’t go with her was the upper limit on size, she didn’t think she could go above 600cc (which was in the lower range of what I wanted) but especially her equipment only let her go through the bottom of the breast, not through the armpit. This means very visible scars, not the highest on my list, but she is still a great surgeon.

Dr. Antonio Mangubat – The surgeon I am going with and an overall great choice. First and foremost I was experienced with his office (only Dr. Ley scored for similar reasons) and I knew his office was responsive to concerns and were there 24/7 during recovery.

Also Dr. Mangubat is the one that liked the 800cc and explained how it would help camoflauge the center of my chest and give me a proportional shape. He didn’t have any prejudgments on what I was interested in. Also, his before/after photos blew everyone else’s out of the water, and when I look at my husband’s top surgery results I see that he is a good surgeon.

The hubby went through hell, but his results were really good (this is him post FTM top surgery)

Also it helps that he is the second closest surgeon to our home, meaning I will get the surgery done and come home to my apartment to heal. He also didn’t hesitate about FMLA paperwork or taking my insurance.

Dr. Mangubat’s office is going to contact our transgender case manager Raelean today and will arrange the insurance coverage. We talked about possible dates and when I asked about April they said that shouldn’t be a problem at all. This gives my hubby a chance to work a few audits, and me a chance to get ready physically and mentally. Also it is kind of funny that it will be approximately a year after my FFS that I get my breast augmentation (same month, one year later).

I am super excited about this!

2020 – Looking ahead

I will probably post a roundup of 2019, but I figure I will let that digest a few days first. As for 2020 I just wanted to outline my plans overall.

Resolutions are not the same as goals. Resolutions are the things I truly want to task myself with for the year. Things I expect to call myself out on. Goals are a lot more flexible. My life is hectic and I am trying to be ok with not achieving goals. The resolutions though are more important.

This list is mostly for me to work out over the next couple of weeks what I have time for and what I don’t. I will give updates to these subjects as the year progresses.

RESOLUTIONS

The only resolution I am going to try and keep is to be kind to myself. This has always been hard for me to do, and I would use whatever I could to be harder on me than I should. I have a great husband, a great therapist and a lot of great friends who are supportive. I will use that support this year to be kinder to myself.

This kindness also means to be more accepting of how I look. I have anxiety attacks about my transition, about what I look like, and about the fact I am changing shape (and this is good, more feminine). I know my body is shifting and its good. I know I may go up a little bit in weight and that is also ok.

2020 GOALS (NOT RESOLUTIONS)

I have a lot of goals for the year. I am hoping I can keep the majority of them but most of them are not required.

A LOT OF MEDICAL GOALS

  • Engage with as much of the transgender surgical procedures this year as I can.
    • Electrolysis (probably at least three trips in 2020 to Phoenix, unknown number locally for lower electrolysis). This includes the scheduled trip down to Phoenix in two weeks. Senza Pelo are awesome for this.
      • Breast Augmentation, aiming for April 2020. I am currently involved in consultations with three surgeons this January. Very excited by this, as it is covered by our insurance!!! Seeing Dr. Mangubat, Dr. Sajan and Dr. Ueno for the second time. I can go with Dr. Ley as well, but I would prefer not flying down and staying in Phoenix for two weeks, for something as simple as boobs.
      • Voice Work. I want to work on feminizing my voice. I have some resources, I just haven’t had the brain space to start.
      • Lip Feminization. I have consults with two of these same surgeons for lip feminization (probably the next biggest bang for my buck after breast augmentation). Currently considering Dr Mangubat, Dr. Sajan and I have already consulted with Dr. Ley.
      • Tummy Tuck. This is more optional, but I am fairly sure it might be done this year depending on our finances and the surgeons (we are seeing same surgeons for lip feminization as we are for this). I hesitate on this, and if it was only fat on my belly I might try losing more weight, but its a whole hell of a lot of skin from losing 100+ pounds and it sucks.
      • Lower face lift/feminization. This is also very optional. We have found it isn’t very expensive and I may consider lopping it in with Lip feminization (they already will have me under the knife).
      • Looking at possible procedure for Peryonie’s Disease. Unfortunately the side effect of dropping testosterone still hurts in full moments of passion and I may start pursuing “unkinking it”. That way if that fails we can always tap down the other side. I would like this done this year, this is painful, but it depends on everything else.
      • GRS… Gender Reassignment Surgery or the infamous “Bottom Surgery” is still very much on the table. I still have dysphoria, but it is always weighed on the risk of losing orgasm… however now the risk of my penis hurting when erect is also being considered. I suspect no matter what this isn’t even a consideration this year. I am just starting electrolysis for this in February. However it is now a possibility on the horizon.
  • I will have to look into my teeth this year. I need a crown at some point, I do have an FSA as well. I am going to see how much of my FSA I can use to spend on the above transgender items, but if I have enough left over FSA on what I can spend, I may go in and have a dentist do it.
  • I need to have my hearing looked at. It is steadily getting worse and we don’t know if I still have tubes in my ears. The prior ear doctor sucked, so we will have to start with a new one.
  • Get my stomach checked. I throw up pretty much daily, none of my medical questions have been answered and there hasn’t been much concern. I suspect it is a combination of hiatal hernia, greasy/bad/too much eaten food, and my anxiety. I am working on anxiety already with therapist, the rest still needs to be addressed.

NON-MEDICAL GOALS

There is a lot of stuff here, this is all optional and some will be done, some won’t. r

  • Put together my D&D World (2.0 baby)
  • Reassess all my websites, condense where I can and determine what I truly want to continue forward with.
  • Write at least 10,000 words a week. It seems like a lot, but I have done it before with minimal impact. This doesn’t have to be on a specific book, it can just be writing exercises or anything. This is just to get me back into it.
  • Get ahead in my self teaching of digital art.
  • Get ahead of Things You Should Know Youtube channel. For some reason this has been really hard, not in process, I have it super simple, but I am having some sort of anxiety/almost dysphoria about it. Might fall into my concerns with my voice.
  • Do more Photography.
  • Take more time with the hubby. I want to establish a regular weekly date night. We do this on and off, but things get stressed. When I say date night I don’t mean every time going out. I think living room floor picnic works for me, or just holding him.
  • Learn to not care about work when I am not at work.
  • Learn ASL (this falls under my failing hearing above). I am honest though, I have so much transition stuff that ASL is probably not in the cards. However, it is something I hope for.

I am sure I have a lot more goals, but those are all the main points I can think of now, I just don’t want to dig too deep as many of these deserve their own posts.

 

Current News

I realize I have been extremely radio silent lately, and that mostly has to do with me working on my mental health, the holidays, and the numerous small trips I am having to make for transition. All of this has left me emotionally and mentally exhausted. I realized this and I figured I might give you all a little update on what is going on and why.

For the last year or so I have been seeing a therapist for my mental health. It started just as a couple of sessions to appease the gatekeepers in my transition, but my therapist has turned out to be really good with PTSD, which I suffer pretty heavily from. I still don’t go as often as I should, both my husband and I are overwhelmed with work and my transgender related appointments, but it has picked up. That being said I am aware we haven’t even really scratched the surface yet.

The last couple of months the therapy I think I has been building up a strong base, and it has hit me a bit harder than expected. Combine that with me coming out of my depression and the first holidays where I can feel are also the first holidays I notice my parents missing. The hardest part though is dealing with the fucked up things in my younger life.

This has meant it has been really hard to talk about myself, my transition or even day to day things in this kind of format. I don’t know if I was hiding, or just not ready, or what it was. That being said I think I am going to talk more about myself here then I initially intended. Otherwise I end up ignoring huge chunks of my life here, and I really want to just use this as a full outlet about what I am going through.

I also want to be clear that my being transgender identity has nothing to do with the trauma. It did not cause me to be transgender, rather it delayed a lot of my self examination to confirm I was transgender.

I guess this is my way of saying I am going to try and make 2020 a more interactive year for my journey with those around me. I have found for the first 46 years of my life, I had compartmentalized everything, and most people weren’t allowed to know everything… evidently I hadn’t even told my husband of 27 years most of this stuff. So I need to work on that this year.

It is funny, I have to credit Wil Wheaton a lot for my decision to be more open. To watch someone who went through things like he did, be able to talk about it and how much that talking has helped him. So if you ever read this Wil, thank you for being you!

That all being said, I have to thank my husband the most. He has been incredibly supportive even though he is undergoing his own concerns, problems, etc. My transition is incredibly hard on him time wise. He worries about me constantly, now it isn’t even just my safety going out, but all the medical appointments and recovery. He has been my hero!


Also, I will be back posting regularly, there is a lot I have to get you all caught up on ;).

Electrolysis Trip #2 – Day 2 and 3

Another late post, but life is going at a million miles an hour. Then again Day 2 and 3 were remarkably quiet.

The biggest thing of course was a combined 10 hours of electrolysis I got. I sat as two wonderful people worked on my face at the same time for five hours. They got a large chunk of my face done. This included all around my mouth, almost to my chin and all the way up the left side of my face. Even now, two weeks later, I have a lot of smooth skin, especially above the lips (the important spot).

I had planned on going out later that night, but you can see from the pictures that I was feeling rough, I definitely wasn’t feeling feminine and we hid out for the entire day eating grocery store food and door dash Mexican food. It wasn’t a bad night.

The next day was a little better. I woke up feeling ugly duckling, but decided fuck it and I would dress up anyways. I got some looks from the locals, but no one had the cajones to say anything so we remained where we were, ate La Quinta breakfast and then turned in our room key (btw the Tempe LQ SUCKS, it was dirty, loud and at no time did we feel safe).

We then went and saw Charlie’s Angels. I enjoyed the movie thoroughly, albeit I admit it wasn’t “good cinema”. After that we went to Del Agave in Scottsdale and had a wonderful meal. The server/bartender Daniel was a great guy, I felt safe (probably the safest place I had felt in Arizona) and told us what to order that was the best, and he was right (and it wasn’t the most expensive dish).

 

Hubby was happy for real food

We had an encounter after the meal though, walking to our car a guy was walking his two kids. He spotted us and loudly proclaimed the following:

Dad: So kids, who are we voting for in 2020?
Kids: Donald Trump!!!

Yep, the asshole said it as an intimidation factor because he saw I was transgender. I thought momentarily about going over there and handling it verbally, but he had kids and I was feeling fairly vulnerable after the electrolysis, but I decided not to. I thought the hubby was going to kill him though, that is why I love the man.

I was surprised when we boarded the plane that a very conservative lady (with a church group) told her husband to let “her” through so “she” can get her stuff and she smiled at me. I cannot even explain how nice it was to have someone validate me, especially someone who looked fairly conservative, after the Trump asshole. It put me in a better mood.

We then got back to the airport, waiting around for a few hours and flew home. I always forget how much I miss it here until I land in the Pacific Northwest

Electrolysis Trip #2 – Day 1

This post is a little late, but last weekend we went down to Phoenix for 10 hours of electrolysis. The overall judgment is that it is always worth it, but it was really rough. I will break this up so you don’t get a wall of text, so lets cover the first night, Friday November 15, 2019.

The first thing that happened the week before was growing out my facial hair. I haven’t done it since August and it really set my dysphoria off. It was enough that I don’t think I could do it just for 90 minutes of electrolysis, the 10 hours is something I would go through this for though. I just can’t do short visits because I would have to keep my beard long indefinitely, and I can’t do this week after week.

2 days before electrolysis

The morning of the trip was awesome and stressful at the same time. I fell asleep around 10pm and was promptly awake by 1am, but I didn’t feel too tired because I knew we had to be up at 3:30 anyways, so I stayed up and played some video games (Judgment) and headed out very early when my hubby woke up.

Hubby is not happy.

 

Arrival at SEA-TAC with Pre-Check was worth the money for five years of coverage. We got through the system in a record time, and I didn’t even get wanded by the guard, although my bag got “randomly selected”… so no wand for me, but the poor bag wasn’t so Lucky.

Waiting at the airport was a little stressful though. It was the first time I had to grow a beard in three months and I just wanted to hide. Eventually I had to visit the boys bathroom for the first time in 7 months since I was way too masculine looking for the women’s without risking assholes, so the hubby and I both went in to the boys bathroom together, where I took a picture of how I looked.

I didn’t get looked at much, which was great with me, but surprisingly the boys bathroom was a lot more alien to me then I remembered. Not sure what the difference was, except it was quiet even though there were several guys in there. I never imagined missing warm bathrooms with voices. Weird isn’t it.

We arrived in Phoenix with little problems, although the steward was nice and gave me a hard time for “being in a band”. However when we talked (he was obviously flaming) and I told him I am trans, I showed him before and after  and he was floored (as was the other steward). He had a lot of questions, he thought it was funny a lot of people ask him about transgender people, and he would always explain “How the fuck do I know?”

We then landed in Phoenix, dirty, browns and browns, it is not something I would like to live at for the beauty of the landscape. We sat in first class as this other man in first class started taking everyone’s pillows and blankets and stuffing them inside his suitcase… WTF… We then got ourselves a fancy rental car… even had its own AC/heater temperature for each side…

We then checked in to a different then normal La Quinta… and that was its own brand of hell, but at least on Friday night it just seemed a little bit dirty and worn down. From there we got sandwiches at AZ Sandwich CO and hid out all night waiting for my 8am appointment. We watched videos, trying to use Hulu to stream, but that was limited results. Eventually we logged into Youtube and watched videos until we both passed out for our first day.

Tired…

This was originally a Facebook post I posted earlier this morning, so if it isn’t cogent… I blame Facebook.

People make me tired. This is a long rant so please scroll on by if you are inclined.

I was in a line at Safeway yesterday standing behind this older looking guy (but probably not really any older than me). He is a little shorter than me and I am dressed in my blue skirt and a black top (with red under shirt). I am grumpy, but I am feeling fairly good with my look.

He stares at me, looks away, turns back and stares again but this time makes some sort of “hrummph” sound, looks away, looks back and makes a motion with his hand and mutters “what?”
Continue reading “Tired…”

Office Situation

I currently share an office with a pretty cool guy named Tom. He and I get along, he hasn’t had any problem with my transition and it is just a comfortable situation.

Yesterday our boss came in and told us that we would have to move into cubicles. The department hired someone else that would need the office and we will have to move out in about 3-4 weeks to two cubicles smack dab in the middle of a full office staff.

We were both frustrated, annoyed and a little pissed. Our position requires space for a lot of files, and to meet with people. However, it is true neither of us are supervising management. We checked out the cubicles and they aren’t horrible, but they are in the middle of everyone.

For the rest of the day I was annoyed. I felt it was because now it will be loud, and there are others there that I suspect track each other’s breaks and stuff and we won’t have the space we are used to. It bothered me a lot, more then it should. I totally agree its ok to be annoyed but honestly I logically realize it isn’t a big deal.

I got home and the hubby commiserated with me, and he brought something up. He said I am probably upset because I feel safe in my office and now I am in the main area with everyone. I am no longer in a safe spot, with someone I can trust.

I hadn’t even considered that, but he is right. This is the first time I have had to sit in a public space since I fully transitioned and it freaks me out. Partially its irrational, and partially its because I know some of them dislike me (well, that plus its loud and there are break watchers). So now I am anxious and pacing.

I know things should work out, but it is going to be anxious for me, and I am glad my hubby is so understanding. I realize also that most have to go through worse, but that doesn’t change the fact that this is new for me, so I will forgive myself that.

I am going to miss this office.

Sometimes good shows up

I post a lot of stuff that is a little more negative about transition. Today however I have some beautiful stuff to talk about.

I had been out auditing an agency and when I wrapped up I drove the 45 minutes back to town. On my way back I decided I wanted a Costco hot dog, and that is what I thought about the whole time.

I got to Costco and went through my Costco hot dog purchase. The lady behind the counter was super sweet. She called me sweetie like five times and it was a good experience.

I walked back to my car with the hot dog, excited by the bad for you goodness I got to eat when I sat down (it was too packed in Costco dining area).

That is when tragedy struck me…

There was much sadness and gnashing of teeth. I was going to go back to the office and cry when I decided I could afford a second hot dog.

I went back to Costco, walked in and went to pay for another hotdog. All the ladies in Costco food were calling me sweetie, asking how my day was, etc. it helped me some

When I was getting rung up I handed my cash and I mentioned I had to come back because I dropped my hot dog. All of a sudden she stopped and pushed my money away. A second lady was shaking her head and saying “Honey, no money from you, we can give you a new one”. Then they all started yelling don’t pay for it, just take it.

The girl who sold me the original hot dog was screaming from the dishwasher area in the back to give me a free hot dog as well.

I asked them like 12 times if they were sure, they wouldn’t take any money at all. That single unasked concern for me reassured me and made me feel better than I had in days.

I can’t express the good it did for me, except I needed to share it.

Thank you Costco workers for being you!!!

Heartbeat… TERF Fuckery

I will be honest, before my transition I was so shut down that I would see articles like this, they would make me mad on behalf of the target, but it didn’t truly bother me. Now it does.

The short story is that the lead developer’s girlfriend of Heartbeat, a game well loved by the LGBTQA community went on a TERF rampage on twitter. It turns out that the lead developer herself is also heavily TERF and they are both hateful creatures. You can read more about it here: https://www.dailydot.com/irl/heartbeat-trans-suicide-rate/

I won’t go into the whole sordid stupidity. What this post is about is my frustration at people like that and people in general (such as my previous transphobia post). I read too much around the Heartbeat drama and now I am anxious, unhappy and really debating limiting my exposure to certain subjects. This doesn’t do me any good to read this shit at 3am and definitely not be able to go back to sleep.

As a side note, I am not a lesbian (I am sure my husband is relieved to hear that) and I am attracted to both genders. While I have dabbled with boys before transition before my husband, I never had a standard relationship with one and I wasn’t sure if I would seek someone out that was male to begin with. So I assumed when I was younger that if I ever transitioned I would have been a lesbian (this is before my hubby transitioned). Although I think that identity had more to do with my dysphoria and inability to deal with my own penis situation then being actually only into women.

As for the developer and her girlfriend (lesbians), I am ok with people who don’t want to touch me because I still currently have a penis and they don’t want to touch a penis. I can separate my genitals from my personal identity, after all pretty much everyone else has already done that. All I ask is that the recognize me as a woman. Maybe not talk about me, or avoid me.

What I hate is the spiteful rage I hear, and even worse yet the quiet behind the back talking. This is why I hate this at work as well, the silent judging, the whispers at the next table, or the silence when I walk into the room.

I just feel tired all the time from attacks from religious people, then from our government, and the worst… from our own LGBTQA community. I didn’t understand when my husband said he felt tired, or when other trans people said it. I thought I did, but I had no clue. However now I do feel it, a constant picking at me by external sources. I can only imagine this must be what its like (and maybe worse) for people of color or who follow Islam. I always had empathy for that, this just makes it more. It also means I think I would step even further out (even if it endangered me) for the other minority groups.

I just don’t get why TERF’s think my existence is taking away from them. Then again I never understood minority groups who find even smaller groups to pick on, doing the same thing to those smaller and weaker groups that is done to them. I get that it is a power thing, and a way to make themselves feel better, but it isn’t something I have ever done and it is frustrating. You don’t have to date me, but why do you doubt who I am even after science, psychology and myself tell you who I am.

This has gotten me to thinking though, after reading the lesbian TERF hate from the Heartbeat dev and her girlfriend, it dawned on me that the demisexual I thought I was, may have been more of dysphoria reason then I realized. I am not sure why it came to me now, but I think I am less demisexual and my desire was impacted more by dysphoric feelings.

I like boys, girls and nonbinary (or any other combination). What is in someone’s pants doesn’t make me hesitate for a moment. I used to think I only liked people I connected with, but more and more I am thinking I was only interested in people I felt safe with. My gender has always been an issue (as has my genitals), I just hadn’t realized until more recently maybe I am pansexual with dysphoria then anything.

I realize I just mixed topics, and I will explore the sexual identity later, I just felt it kind of dovetailed with the lesbian hate for some reason and I wanted to share both.

Mostly I wanted to say I am saddened by TERF thought patterns, but in the end they are garbage and can go fuck themselves right along with the religious fundies, both are irrelevant and wrong.

FINALLY: