Monday, June 04, 2007


As you can no doubt see for yourselves, I've added a fancy new header with a picture of yours truly because I saw the words "Add a photo to your header!" on the blogger homepage. Now I can't decide if I like it or nay- it's rather large, since I'm not much for figuring out how to resize photos without mucking up the resolution, but that was such a lovely day last January, when it was 72 degrees out and all was right with the world, that I think I'm going to keep it up there.
Speaking of photos, I received my new digital camera in the mail today...expect photo and video posts to increase in frequency! Nothing like easy digital documentation to add a little spice to this little blog. I'm thinking of doing some kind of Pre-T vs. Now photo comparison post, since it's such a classic of transition journals everywhere, but I might be a little too cynical to embrace that particular trope.

Though I have been thinking lately about my cynicism (and occasional bitterness), particularly when it comes to my transness. I find myself of late being less interested in participating in some of the classic trans undertakings, like posting my own Testosterone Timeline, or going to see trans documentaries. Part of it is reactionary against some of the less appealing narratives of trans identity that are out there- I have no interest in being a trannyboi, or of helping to reinforce some sort of transman master narrative, in which I was a dyke, and then I decided I was a queer guy, and then I changed my name, and then I started T, and then I had chest surgery, and then I started flinching away from everything Trans* because my life is more than just the haphazard letter at the end of those happy homo acronyms, dammit.

Um, yeah. On the other hand, I think part of this is just a sort of weird reaction to gaining a lot of passing privilege in the past...oh, 6-9 months, and trying to figure out what (trans)manhood I really want to shape for myself. This is proving to be somewhat tricky, and while I've been thinking lately about maybe stopping therapy in July when my current therapist leaves, I'm thinking now that maybe I still have some things to talk about, after all. Might be useful to have a new therapist to go along with this new stage of transition- I think I'd call myself "mid-transition" right now, rather than early, and while it's a lot easier in a lot of ways, there are still some unexpected issues to untangle.

Though no more, I'd like to think, than a lot of other people have to deal with, in growing up and deciding how to live their lives. I say that as a reaction to something I've been hearing a lot lately, friends whose families are objecting strenuously to their transition plans, in part (I think, at least) because of some underlying sense of "Oh no, a life of difficulty and freakishness for my child! No way!"
Well, sure, being trans is hard sometimes, but denial and invalidation pretty much doesn't help.
So speaking of being trans, and NOT distancing myself from the trans community, I'm having dinner tonight with two trans folks who are also somehow affiliated with the University where I work- we're going to discuss ideas for building up some trans resources here, since there seem to be none. One thing we've thought of thus far is setting up some sort of mentoring program, where students could get in touch with another trans person at the University...though I wonder if there would be some sort of rules about which directions the mentoring could go in. Could students mentor staff? Would it be available to students only?

Also, what does 'mentoring' really mean? Hanging out? Being friends with? Pointing out resources in the city? Might not be a bad idea to have some sort of NYC specific resource guide put together, including information about the GLBT Center and their Gender Identity Project, at least, to be available whether or not a student wants to request a mentor.

We'll see what we can brainstorm tonight, I suppose!


Anonymous said...

would you be so careful to distinguish yourself from a "common" narrative, if one of the "common" narratives matched your experience accurately?

(I place "common" in quotation marks because as FtMs still remain a relatively small slice of the population, I find it amusing that any FtM narrative at all would be considered old hat by now)

Eli said...

hey anon (same anon from last post? feel free to offer some identification if you'd like!)-

interesting question, since I do in fact match pretty accurately some of the common narratives of transguys: tomboy childhood, lesbian/dyke identified, realized my transness in college over the course of several years of genderqueer identity, came out as trans and began medical transition pretty quickly, obtaining hormones through an LGBT clinic and having surgery with Dr. Brownstein, and keeping an online transition diary the whole time!

I'm not so much trying to distinguish myself as trying to be wary of (and even reject) these common narratives, because I think (as I mentioned in my post today!) it's easy for these narratives to
arise out of non-trans/anti-trans sentiment, and make more people who are not part of that narrative feel more isolated/marginalized than ever.

And I can empathize with your amusement, but at the same time, that's what makes these 'master' narratives more frustrating...we ARE such a unique/individualized community that it's frustrating to run into yet more rigid notions of the 'right' way to do things.

And I know, too, that hierarchy can be in the ey of the evidenced by the continuing (and in no small part amusing in the similarity of each side's argument!) debate between folks who are binary identified and feel they get no respect from the genderqueer types, and the folks who are genderqueer who feel they get no respect from the binary folks!

though I have to side slightly with the genderqueer folks on that one, since they get no respect from the rest of society, either...

Eli said...

and hmmm, don't know that I answered you very well- to clarify, I don't want to distinguish myself from that narrative (because clearly, I do have that story as my history), just that I DO want to question it, and not be stifled by it.

thoughtsonftm said...

sure thing.

I have been following your blog for some time, very thoughtful. we disagree on much, but your responses to my comments are always a good read, sometimes get me thinking.

from the first post on my blog: "I already know that my opinions are unpopular in the greater "transgender" community, but I hope that you will understand that even a boring straight guy like me deserves to be heard. Feel free to leave respectful and engaging comments-- even if you disagree. All I ask is that debate is kept civil and respectful-- we are all entitled to our own opinions, after all."

Eli said...

cheers to that, buddy! I've definitely been appreciating your comments, which have got me thinking, as well. thanks for the good discussion!