Saturday, November 04, 2006

happy halloween

Last weekend my roommate and I went out to a Halloween party dressed as Adam + Eve, and looked adorable, as you can see. We went to a party at the house of some dear friends of ours and had mostly a very excellent time, until one unfortunate incident at the very end.

Part of the reason I was so excited to wear this costume is that it was so skimpy...I made a conscious choice to wear it to a party with a lot of friends, but also a lot of strangers. It was an act of deliberate disclosure, and a bit of vanity. As one of my friends put it, a fun costume and a chance to show off my new chest all at the same time. I felt good about it, because I want to make sure that I remain realistic and down to earth about my self and my body...this is what I have, wide hips, chest scars, and all, and it's a great body, and it's masculine, and it's mine. My kind of masculine.

Anyway, those good feelings were what made such a contrast to the crappy feelings I had at the end of the night. Long story short, another party guest, whom I'd never met before that evening, was sitting next to me on the couch when (with neither invitation nor provocation) she decided to reach over and pinch my nipple. Hard.

I don't know if I'd have been so upset if it hadn't been so a) surprising and b) painful! My nipples are still very much healing, and I don't have a lot of sensation in them yet, but most of what I do have is pain reaction. Her pinch hurt a lot, and kept throbbing for several hours afterwards, besides feeling very invasive and inappropriate. It was crappy because it reminded me that my nipples are definitely still second class nipples at the moment- surgically reconstructed, and not healed, and in a new place on my chest. It was the first time that I've been made to feel bad about my new chest, and that hurt almost as much as the over-zealous tweaking.

Discussing the episode with one of my friends, he suggested that it could be a function of my evolving presentation as a gay guy. I'm still my usual fey self, and now that I'm no longer so ambiguously gendered, gay dude is the immediate and natural conclusion that most folks come to. And I'm fine (nay, happy!) with that, though I'll leave for another time the in depth discussion of my complicated queerness. Anyway, my friend reminded me that gay guys are often overtly sexualized by (usually straight) women, as a sort of "safe target" for sexual flirtation and interaction, especially since gay guys are seen as so hypersexual anyway. Doesn't excuse her behavior, but perhaps explains it?
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Other than that irritating incident, life has been pretty good lately. The shots keep coming every two weeks, and my six month milestone bloodwork came back with nothing remarkable on it. We're going to go over specifics next week, but it seems like I'm falling in a normal range on all parameters. I'm looking forward to the spring, and the possibility of learning to self-inject and give myself my shots for two reasons- it'd be nice not to have to schlep over to Callen-Lorde every other week for what should be a 10 minute interaction but for which I often have to wait over 30 minutes. Also, I think my body might do better on a 1 week cycle...I'm beginning to suspect that my acne is related to peaks in my T cycle, and my mood swings related to troughs, as both of these maladies seem to be cyclic in their intensities.

However, I'm not looking forward to actually having to be the one to stick the needle in my butt. I'm a pretty tough guy, and I don't have problems with these shots I get now, but I'm getting a little squeamish just thinking about having to jab myself. We'll see.
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I finally got the last piece of paperwork from the courthouse about my name change, and I should be getting a letter in the mail from Dr. Brownstein any day now certifying that he performed "irreversible gender reassignment surgery" on me, so I'm hoping on Monday I can embark on the complicated treasure hunt of getting all of my documentation changed. I need to go to the courthouse and pick up certified copies of my name change order, go to the DMV for a new license (trade in my old Oregon one for a NY one with Elliott on it and M in the gender category), go to the Social Security Office for a new Social Security Card, go to the bank and request new cards (though not new checks, since I had them put just my first initial and last name on the last batch), call my student loan company and update them, and go over to the Human Resources office here at Columbia to update their database and get a new ID card. phew. I think that might be it. maybe fax something to Simon's Rock for their records. Don't know yet what order I'll do this all in, since these places are variously located all over town, but I'm gonna dedicate all of Monday to the endeavor, so hopefully I can get it all done in one exhausting day. Better bring a book and some comfortable shoes for the undoubtedly endless line-waiting I'll have to endure.
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Plenty of other things swilling through my brain that I never seem to have the time to post. I'm still sporadically attending the TransMasculine drop-in group downtown, though I missed last week. I am of course grateful and delighted to be part of a trans community here in the city, but also worried about being subsumed or assimilated somehow into what is surely a new and vaguely radical box, but a box nonetheless...and along what are often essentially arbitrary lines.

In other words, sometimes I wonder about hanging out with other transguys just because we're all trans. Identity politics can be dangerous, even though there have been innumberable benefits to connecting and strategizing with other transguys. Ending the isolation is awesome! But I worry about, as a fairly brilliant friend put it the other night, all of our narratives blending into each other and losing distinction. There's plenty of ways to pursue one's own masculinity, and having out at group can sometimes feel like TransMan 101: How to Do It Right. I know we try to avoid that, and honor all perspectives and paths, but it's a hard trap to avoid.

And on what feels like a related note, I've been feeling a little silly lately when I remember that I'm not the only person doing this transition thing. If that's the right way to put it. Basically, this has been feeling very natural and normal (of COURSE I'm growing a beard and don't have breasts any more), and it's easy to forget that it's a path I set myself on very deliberately, and worked hard to stay on. When I see other of my friends transitioning, and notice how different they look/sound than they did when I met them, it reminds me that I, too, used to look and sound different. This is such a personal journey, but so public, too.

2 comments:

roses said...

I agree whole heartedly with your friend about straight women treating gay men like easy targets. There's this one girl in my program who was basically harassing my friend who is a gay man just based on the idea that she could. They were "friends" but her definition was that she could slap his ass whenever she wanted, remind him of how he could basically sleep with any girl in the program if he wanted to, and endlessly flirt with him because it was "okay". To say the least it wasn't the best of situations and I think a lot of times straight women needs to realize that if a gay man started doing that to them they wouldn't be very happy about it.

I'm really sorry to hear that that happened and seriously all unpacking of how straight women treat gay men aside I cannot believe someone did that.

Anonymous said...

Eli-
I thought of you and your struggle to get your name changed officially today when I read an article on CNN during class about NY's new more progressive laws about transgendered individuals being able to change their documentation.

I hope all goes well, though it sounds as though in general it is. Say hi to Jen for me.

Elise