Tuesday, May 27, 2008

from whence?

Interesting statement about the definition and cause of transsexuality, according to an organization based in the UK.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

apparently, the appropriate gift is cotton

Well, two years on T slipped by faster than I'd have thought possible. I didn't make much of a fuss (in fact, I made zero fuss) last month when my "maniversary" went by. It's three years since I decided to transition, and two years on T (April 10th, to be precise), and you know...the more things change, the more they stay the same.

I talked to my doctor last time I saw him about maybe switching to a different form of T. Two years of getting a shot every week will take the shine off the process real fast! I can still do my shots, they haven't become hard or traumatic for me (knock wood) but it's just tiresome to have to keep track, and wonder if I'm going to have a cramp this week, and deal with the needles and syringes and alcohol wipes. I'm going to the Trans Health Conference in Philly later this month and will hopefully be able to find out some more info about some of the new T alternatives being introduced in the U.S- pellets (testopel) and slow releasing shots (Nebido). I'll keep y'all posted.

My rapidfire bodily changes have slowed down considerably- hairline appears to be staying put (for a few more years at least, I hope!), my voice hasn't changed noticeably in a while, my acne is finally settling down (not that it was that bad to begin with), etc. I am continuing (I hope!) to gain more facial hair territory, and fill out a bit in terms of muscle. That's due in no small part, though, to working out and also, I think, just to getting older. I think I'm reaching the point where my changes aren't due to My Transition so much as they are my growing up. I imagine I'll have a fuller beard in two years because, well, 25 year olds often have fuller beards than 23 year olds. Particularly when they're late bloomers, like me!

I've spilled plenty of ink (or pixels, I suppose) already about working out and how satisfying it is to see visible changes so quickly. I know that I'll never have the same physique as, say, certain other guys who went to my high school and now live in New York. Even if I were willing to put in the insane amount of time/attention required to work out enough and restrict my diet enough to get the right combo of muscles and itty bitty body fat percentage, I'm still short, and I've still got wider/narrower-than-usual-for-a-dude hips and shoulders, respectively.

And I'm fine with that, but it leads me to admit that part of the reason I jumped back on the workout bandwagon recently, besides the onset of nice enough weather that I can run to the park to do my chin-ups, push-ups, whatnot, is that Trans Health Conference I mentioned early. I'm going to be leading the chest surgery show and tell, and I want to look good for the 90 minutes I'm going to have my shirt off while I run around making sure everything's going smoothly.

There's plenty to be said there, about my desire for masculine legibility even [especially] in a space where ostensibly we're coming together to shake off gender regulation. There's the rub, though. I've come a distance from my "smash the gender binary!" days. I no longer want to smash the gender binary. Some of that is coming, I'm sure, from that fact that I'm on the 'right' side of it now; instead of being limited and marginalized by society's perception of my gender, I'm being validated. (and boy howdy, that still feels good.) But I think I've also got a more nuaunced understanding, one that was, understandably, harder to grasp while I was still dealing with being misgendered and made to feel in[visible][valid] every day. And that understanding, helped heavily by reading Julia Serrano, is that I don't want to smash the gender binary, just smash the RULES about it. There's nothing wrong with adhering the gender binary (as it stands now) and being a feminine woman or masculine man as long as we keep working to effect a cultural shift so that it's no longer REQUIRED to adhere to the binary, so that we get away from a sense of "normal" vs. "invalid."

Anyway, this probably isn't revolutionary for most folks reading this blog, so I'll leave you instead with a bunch of half naked pictures of me, taken this morning post-workout (I threw that in there to explain the sweaty hair, and also to admit that I'm not always quite this, er, 'pumped' in terms of muscle definition.)

Last but not least, here's a little video update. You can compare it with my previous videos, if you'd like.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

jailhouse tears

As I've mentioned, I don't cry very much these days. There are still some things that cause me to tear up, and others that, while they don't prompt actual moisture, still give me that tight gut feeling of "awww!" (In a similar vein, if I ever need a surefire tearjerker, I can always head over here.)

But getting teared up over that softball player got me thinking about my emotional instincts. As time goes by, one of the few aspects of my transition that I'm still actively dealing with is the ongoing process of readjusting to my re-shaped emotional and mental reflexes. I often say that I'm no longer dealing with my transition on a daily basis, which is true in a variety of ways: I'm no longer constantly defending my gender identity to the people I interact with, I'm not currently saving for expensive and much-needed surgery, I have all of my identity documents changed, so I'm not stressing about what ID is in my wallet, or when my next court date is, etc. Most of what I have to worry about is whether I'm due for my next shot, and all that takes is a quick glance at my calendar.

But the subtleties are still unsettling me, I think, in ways that I'm not always aware of. Easy enough for me to say "oh, I don't cry as much, and I get frustrated more easily" but I haven't fully adjusted to the reality of what that means, and I think I need to do some more conscious work around that.

It's much like what I've heard about some trans guys inadvertently straining their voices over their first few months on T. As our voices drop, we (unconsciously) try to keep our voices in the higher registers that we're used to speaking in, and feeling resonate in our heads. While we mostly adjust sooner or later, sometimes vocal cords can be stressed/damaged by being strained while trying to stay the 'same.'

Not being a voice specialist, and hearing all of this anecdotally, I obviously can't evaluate the physiological basis for such a theory. But it makes sense to me, and it fits in with what I've been thinking about my emotional state. I haven't (yet!) made a conscious effort to try to adjust my actions or thinking based on my new emotional instincts, such as the increased intensity of my impatience in frustrating situations. I'm not sure what such a conscious effort would entail, but I think it's worth looking into. Where's Amy Jones when I need her?