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.

Highway to Hell and my dad (music/memory)

ACDC has always been part of my life as far back as I can remember. My parents listened to bands like ACDC, then others like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Queen, etc.

My strongest memory of ACDC though is one Sunday morning we were getting ready to go to church. Church was a rare event for us, my father always had issues with religion after going to Vietnam, and this was one of those days where he was deciding he didn’t want to do it anymore.

My dad a year later, still with that rolling cigarette tobacco sitting next to him, and my little brother.

I was 13 years old, living in our Lombard street apartment with my dad cranking up ACDC at 8am. They had been on a party binge and we all knew my dad wasn’t going with us to church (secretly I was hoping I didn’t have to go).

There had been an argument between my mom and dad over this fact, and my dad said “fuck that, I am staying home and listening to music”. This meant he would probably start drinking while we were at service and that Sunday would be a continuation.

We got dressed and were getting ready to leave, with my dad rolling his cigarette and sitting in his chair. ACDC’s song, “Highway to Hell” was blaring out and my dad was singing to it.

Just before we left my mom started yelling at my dad again. Then something strange happened, and I am not making this up, I watched as the stereo system starting making a clunking sound. Within a few seconds the cassette mechanism spit out the tape and Highway to Hell stopped playing as spooling cassette tape was everywhere.

I watched my dad just stare at the tape deck quietly for a moment. Without a word he stood up and got his coat, then he said, “C’mon lets to church” and we went.

This never permanently effected my dad, the religion problems continued, but he never played loud music and told my mom he was staying home to listen to music again either on a Sunday.

For your listening enjoyment, an oldie but a goodie!:

Jessie’s Girl and Wolsey (music/memory)

See bottom of post for pronoun disclaimer (note 1):

Jessie’s Girl has a special place in my heart. It reminds me of my husband and the time before we got together (before he was my wife, or even girlfriend). The song fit pretty squarely as part of the soundtrack of my life. This was because when I first met Wolsey and fell in love, Wolsey was dating my best friend Doug.

I met Wolsey when I was 17 years old and had just moved to Bellingham WA. I was a virgin, going to my fourth high school in 2.5 years and I had just found a group of friends to hang with. My best friends at the time was Doug  and Jay.

We had met in a geeky Dungeons and Dragons game (and this was summer of 1987 I believe). By the end of that school year (so summer of 1988) my friend had shifted from being a geek to being a stoner/punk (I didn’t, I was sort of my own thing… think older brother from Stranger Things but from a biker family but who is a geeky gamer).

The advantage of Doug and Jay shifting from geek to stoner/punk was meeting new people and one of those new people I met was a very beautiful young lady who eventually would change her name to Wolsey after we had been married for decades (original name is classified as Wolsey hates it).

Wolsey was friends with another girl named Colby and they were also in the punk scene. Colby dated Doug for awhile, and I met Wolsey a couple of times. I thought she was pretty cool, and I was attracted to her. The better part though was I felt like we could be friends.

From R to L: Rob, Colby (laying down), Doug, Wolsey. (yes there is a censor line, the photo reveals a little too much).

Fast forward through teenager drama and Doug and Colby broke up and Doug started dating Wolsey. This meant I saw Wolsey constantly and we became best friends. I introduced Wolsey to Dungeons and Dragons and while Doug and Jay would play but fuck around, Wolsey and I both enjoyed the role-play, the story telling. I learned that while Wolsey looked punk as fuck (and hippy sometimes, Wolsey would float between the two) Wolsey liked reading, stories and was super creative.

Doug and Wolsey moved into their apartment together and I was there all the time. Doug would bail on us and a lot of times it was just Wolsey, myself, with others in our social group hanging out. It was fairly soon after we started hanging out with each other like that, that I fell in love with her (him).

It really was angst with a happy ending!

However, Wolsey was dating my best friend and I absolutely would not do something like try and break in on that. Funny enough the next time I was in this type of relationship situation with another woman I went the other way and not sure that it was any better a result.

Funny enough my parents both knew Wolsey well by this point and tried to get me to pursue her (him). I told them there was no way she was interested in me, and both my parents shook their head and said that Wolsey would be perfect for me (they were right in the end… damn them 🙂 ). Although I still to this day wish I had listened to my parents and done it. I didn’t realize they were right and she had a thing for me at the time.

The first time I noticed Jessie’s Girl as a song (it had been out for awhile) was when I was sitting in Wolsey and Doug’s living room. Doug had just been an asshole to Wolsey and stomped off. Wolsey was sitting there looking annoyed and frustrated and the song started playing. That was the soundtrack of how I felt about her for a couple of years. For some reason the song kept playing that summer too, even though it had been out for a few years.

I never wanted to jeopardize our friendship though. Even with how fucked up my childhood was (or maybe because of it and what my dad did try to instill) I tried to remain the paladin, true to my word and to my friend.

The other large part I didn’t act was that I truly truly loved being Wolsey’s friend and I never felt like I was in the “friend zone”. In fact I valued our friendship above everything and didn’t want to jeopardize that.  It is why I can’t stand friend zone people and incels. The other person owes you nothing (and Wolsey absolutely owed me nothing, I was just happy to get Wolsey’s friendship).

That is how it was for nine months as my best friend (well he had sort of drifted away as being my best friend to be replaced by Wolsey) and his girlfriend lived together and I would go over and visit. As a side note, in all fairness Wolsey was interested in me, showed me several clues but I was too shy/resistant I didn’t follow up. My romantic soundtrack for that time period was Jessie’s Girl.

I do realize now as a fully mentally formed adult that the song can be problematic, but I still like it and it reminds me of when my husband Wolsey was a pretty girl dating my best friend before she (he) usurped that spot and replaced Doug as my best friend.

Disclaimer Note 1: Let me get a clarification out here, I do refer to my current husband in historical terms as my friend, partner, etc. I also refer to him as my “wife” or “girlfriend” sometimes when talking about a memory when I was younger that happened before his transition. Sometimes I do this because it gets hard tracking who is who in those stories.

He is ok with this, as I am ok with him referring to me as his husband or boyfriend when recounting memories. It is hard with pronouns, especially when in context memories and of referring to us both as people we no longer are (myself as a boy back then and my husband as a girl back then). Just a FYI, he is ok with the pronoun use.