Everyday things I do to transition

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.

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Is today a boxer, binder and packer day or not?

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.

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My phone makes me uneasy.

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.

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I work out at the least four times a weak. That is eight visits to the locker room were I feel unwelcome and frowned upon .

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.

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Transitional thoughts

I have to start writing somewhere, I can’t keep on spamming Facebook with my trans related experiences and thoughts like I’ve been doing lately. I mean, it is fine to write about trans on Facebook, but I don’t want to be the guy who only post trans related stuff all the time and sometimes I want to be able get deeper into some subjects. Here is the place where I will do just that, in my personal trans diary.

What’s new is the fact that I have accepted that I actually am in some sort of transitional phase or process. I’m not becoming someone else or something entirely different, but I express myself differently and I enjoy to explore what being trans means for me. I spend a lot of time thinking of how I am perceived, how I want to be perceived by others and how I am to achieve that.

For instance – I just started a new class at the university. That means that I study together with new people that don’t know my old female name. I think that they view me as trans –  I certainly don’t pass as a guy, my voice is an instant givaway. But they don’t seem to have any problem with that, I’m pleased to notice how they treat me with respect and curiosity, no questions asked.

I just love that moment when I am to present myself to someone for the first time: I look them straight in their eyes and smilingly tell them with my clearest deepest voice “I’m Emil”, not leaving any doubts about the name. I’m not Elli, Emelie or Emile. The smile tells them that everything is all right and I hope that it makes the other person feel more comfortable, this is after all a situation that some people find confusing. The eye contact leaves no room for misunderstandings and our handshake seals our agreement upon my name and how I’m to be spoken to or about, no matter my how I look. Most people take the hint really well and use the right pronoun after that introduction.

Other transitional thoughts:

Is there a masculine way to speak? And if it does, do I want to adapt to it? Isn’t that just a way to limit yourself and to validate stupid ideas about how men and women are to behave, as if we are so different from each other? The same thing goes for body language, is there a masculine way to express yourself and how far do I want I push it? Also, I suspect that many things “masculine” works oppressive towards more “feminine” ways?

My body. Motivated by the opportunity to transform my body without hormones I’ve started to work out like crazy. I also think of it as a way to free myself from negative stress and to prevent SAD (seasonal affective disorder). Every other day I spend a few hours at the gym. It makes me feel amazing and already after a few weeks I can both see and feel the result! I hope that I can keep this up and wonder how far it will take me. Hormones or not are a subject for an entire post, so I will not discuss it today.

The trans community. I’ve heard that there is a solid one where I live. I know a few other trans- or intergenderd people, some of whom are close friends. But I’ve never dared to go to their monthly get-together at RFSL. Not until recently when I’ve started to feel more secure about my trans identity have I felt ready to go there, even if I know it is open to everyone who’s just curious or have trans friends or whatever. So next Wednesday, it will be my first time. I’m looking forward to it!

I wish coming out as trans could be as easy for everyone as it was for me. When I have a bad day, I like to think of it, how well I’ve been treated and how lucky I am to have such a supportive network of family and friends. I’ll be writing more about that another day. Now I have to get ready for tonight’s party, we are celebrating my new name and my best friends birthday, it’s gonna be a blast! 🙂