Sometimes you hear frustrated trans people who are pre-diagnose, pre-surgery or pre-hormone treatment saying that they are “pre-everything”. Some say that they are “early in their transitioning” or that they haven’t even started transitioning yet. I don’t feel like that. Even if I’m currently pre-everything mentioned above, I’m not pre-everything. I like to think that I’m in charge of my transitioning, not any team of doctors and psychiatrists I might meet in the future.
Sure, I’m waiting to get in contact with the special trans care-team, but it is more empowering to think of the things I can do for myself every day. I feel that my transitioning is an active process that started long before I was even aware of it, years ago. I’m now post decision, post name-choosing, post coming out. Everyday I actively do lots and lots of things related to trans. Almost every aspect of daily life is somehow influenced of my transitioning and in this post I will go in to a few of them.
Meeting my reflection in the mirror is a transitioning experience every time as it has to do with my self image, how I build gender. I can also see many of the little things I do to make myself more androgynous.I transition when I get dressed in the morning. What I’ll wear is based on two questions; how comfortable verses how representative for myself do I want to be today? That settles if I’ll wear my binder or a sports bra or neither. Then; am I going to change clothes in the girls locker room at the gym later that day? In that case, no boxers and no packing, that’d be to embarrassing.
Every shirt I buy, I have to alter a bit before I can wear it. Nowadays men’s shirts fit just fine over my shoulders but the sleeves always needs shortening. I also have to shorten the bottom hem or else the shirt will be to long and to narrow over my hips. It took me a while, but now I feel that I’ve really gotten the hang of how to adjust men’s clothing to my size without making them look feminine.
After dressing I’ll have breakfast. Back when I was a “she”, I’d have spent >20 minutes in the bathroom first, doing all sorts of stuff to tidy myself up, like braiding my hair, picking eyebrows, going through a serous skin care routine and putting on make up. Now, I just wash off and go for a less tidy look. 😉
When it comes to food, I try to stuff in as much as I can manage in order to get good result out of my intense training routine. I want to gain muscle weight, but I have trouble eating enough to make that happen. Therefore I drink full milk instead of the less fat one I used to prefer. I have extra meals when I can and always gainer after training. For breakfast I try to eat a large portion of porridge rather than a few sandwiches as before. The texture of the porridge is absolutely disgusting and I really, really hate it. But because of the texture I can spoon in more of it before I feel full.
That brings me to health issues. Being trans affects how I feel about myself and how much energy I have (there is a lot of work with the transitioning stuff, that is what this post is about). I eat a few health supplements for supporting my training and I’m cutting down on some medications in order to gain weight and grow. I do what I do with my doctors support but every time I talk to him or anyone in the health care system, there is a huge gender confusion from their side. They simply can’t get it straight.
In school or among other people I watch my voice so that I keep the pitch down as much as I can. After all, I’m studying to be a speech and language pathologist – voice matters to us! I also try to monitor my way of speaking and behaving so that I make sure not to take to much or to little place in conversation. I’ve noticed that people tend to give more room to me now. They ask for my opinions and listen in a different way to me when I use a more masculine model of speech. That is a male privilege, if you ever saw one. I don’t want to take advantage of that on someone’s expense if I can help it. Also, to some extent I try to monitor how others speak to or about me. Sometimes people who don’t know me to well need to be informed on what’d be the right pronoun.
Suddenly, sometime during the day, my cell phone rings. I always freeze for a second when it happens. Every time. I’m not comfortable speaking in the phone any more. I have a male name and a distinctive female voice. When my only mean of communicating, (my voice, language or way of speech) is deceiving me in how I want to be gendered, I feel uncertain and uneasy.
Is it a relative calling, someone that I haven’t come out to yet in person, someone that’s worried about talking to me or unsure of how to adress me? How am I to make this person feel more at ease? Is it a stranger calling? Is it some bureaucratic issue regarding my gender where I’ll be held responsible for a missunderstanding or for being “missleading” in some way? Am I going to have to come out as trans or do some awkward explaining about my name or voice or pronoun now? Is a conflict or insult coming up when I take the call? Usually, everything is fine. But this panic reaction just keep coming.
After school I either meet up with friends, go to work or to the gym. The two later activity’s usually means confronting issues of taking or not taking conflict abut my gender identity. When having to choose gender/locker room, that is a conflict to me, I don’t feel welcome in neither.
And on work, well, I work with mentally disabled grown ups that have no idea about non normative gender expressions and identity issues. I started to work there before I came out as transgender and I have only outed myself to my boss. That went well but later she seemed to sort of accidentally have happened to slip information about it to my co workers. I feel that it is to much for me to educate both clients and co workers on the matter and because of that also to much to ask for to have them using the right name and pronoun. That is somewhat depressing to say the least and I consider changing workplace so that I don’t have to waste energy on constantly holding myself back.
But I’m very lucky when it comes to how my family, friends and close relations have handled my coming out as transgender. I’m so proud of my parents! They have been more supportive and understanding than I ever had hoped for, even if much of what I’m going through is new to them. My friends have also turned out to be genuine super allys and I feel truly blessed to have such a strong network. ❤ Thank you all.