Category Archives: trans/lgbt stuff

Unchained

The needle: silver, gleaming,
tapering down to nothing,
a tiny funnel for gold
sliding into my leg.

I can feel it!
a tickle in my throat
a lower voice
a few tufts
fall from my head,
I don't mind a new hairline.
My muscles strengthen,
my shoulders widen
suddenly everything is lighter.
fat moves, smaller hips
making a little tummy
that I will run off tomorrow.
My face changes,
slightly but enough.

I look in the mirror,
finally seeing myself
for the first time.

I imagine this
again.

everyday for another
two years.
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Filed under poetry, trans/lgbt stuff

New year, new semester

Disclaimer: I’m definitely a nerd. I really love school.

For me, the year starts with a bang. Practice, work, classes, groups all starting on the same day, which makes me grateful for the three day weekend.

I e-mailed professors ahead of time about pronouns again. I try not to be in people’s faces about who I am, but it if I want to be called the right pronouns, I have to vocalize it. Both professors were good about it. A couple professors I’ve had before misgendered me in the first couple days. It’s frustrating, but with one prof, I know she doesn’t mean to, she just has trouble with it and is sorry about it after. At least she doesn’t make a big deal in class, which is good. The other prof kind of hurt because he went the entire last semester without misgendering me at all. Actually I think he went the whole semester without gendering me at all, period, haha. In the end it’s okay because I know they are both supportive.

Another one of my professors was awesome about it. I’ve had him before for two classes. In the first, neither of us really knew how to address it since I knew most of the people in that class. The second class, he just used the right pronouns, and one kid in the class thought I was a cisguy for a couple months. This class is even better! On the first day he used the right pronoun, and commented that there were almost all guys in the class before the two girls joined. It was an incredible way to nudge people’s perceptions along and I’m really excited to have a possibility at being stealth in a class. It just feels good to be perceived like I want to be perceived, and it not be a big deal.

I also went to a PFLAG meeting this week and met a lot of parents. They don’t run into youngish transpeople much so it was good to meet them, represent and be there as a resource for their kids. I’m getting in really good shape running and I can tell it helps me pass better. I think it helps calm people down about their kids when they see that transpeople can look “normal” and not be harassed in public. I’m pretty lucky that even though I’m pre-T I never get a second look in public. I think if I work on my voice a bit I’ll generally get gendered right (even if it’s as a 14 y/o boy!)

I feel pretty lucky to have worked for the past 7 years running so I could have a body I feel pretty comfortable in. We started arm weights and core workout so I know that’ll help my confidence too, working on my scrawny bits. I’m thinking about posting pictures of how I dress and progress working out because it’s working out really well. Not sure yet though.

How has your year started?

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A body behind Barrs

I think in terms of science. I think I even feel in terms of science. Usually I have trouble making connections to humans, but connecting to an idea, theory, thought causes me to stop thinking and start feeling. I can’t say I’ve ever experienced love in the romantic sense; this is the closest I know, so sharing this profound experience is like sharing a deep, hidden part of a relationship. I’m gonna talk science, and 99% of you all are probably going to click away, thinking

Last year I had a class called cell biology. Basically, we studied cells – the tiniest reproducing units of life. Thousands and thousands of proteins, lipids (fats), DNA/RNA, organelles float around each one. More than thousands. There has to be at least millions, maybe billions. I’m not really sure. But the point is there are an unreal number of things in each one, but only a few we can see with a light microscope. Maybe you did the ol’ swab your cheek and see the miracle that is life when you were in high school. For some reason I never had.

Anyway, I took a good hearty scrape of the inside of my mouth with a small wooden stick and slapped it on a microscope slide. I added some dye and waited for the magic to happen.

I looked at my worksheet.

Question 4: Pair with a partner of the opposite sex. What structure is visible in female students’ epithelial cells that is not visible in males’?

Cell Male Female

A Barr body is a darker dot on a mostly translucent field of view. It’s the duplicate X chromosome, condensed to a tiny dark dot and silenced because we only need one to carry out functions.

I stared down the microscope at my own cells, each with their own tiny dark blue dot.

You know, I never really listened to the trolls in the comment section of every trans-related article ever, insisting that chromosomes never change, once an XX, always an XX.

Somehow I had convinced myself that, yeah, maybe my body looks like a female, underneath all the patterned shirts and binders and sweatshirts and just loose enough pants and short hair, but I’m really truly a guy. My body might look female, but it doesn’t feel female. I’m really a guy. I’m sure if I just sequenced my genes everyone would see that I’m a guy. XY, all the way. If I just had the money to do a sequence I could collect the paperwork from the doctor’s office and wave it in everyone’s face. See?? I told you. I’m really a guy. No need to call me “she” anymore! It was all just a bit of misunderstanding on my birth certificate. Yeah, I know, crazy, right? How could they mess something so basic up. And I didn’t even notice it was wrong for so long. But I can get it fixed now, see?

Only I don’t need money to get my genes sequenced. With a toothpick, a piece of glass and a drop of water I can see those second Xs. And if I look long enough I think I can even see them waving, saying “we only made you feel like you had bars on your body so you could be like us, forever stuck to the side of a nucleus.”

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Filed under school, trans/lgbt stuff

A new year, new profs

I’m lucky enough that I only have a couple professors this semester that don’t know I’m trans. In this case though, both professors are for Spanish classes, and in that language, more words than pronouns have gender. Adjectives do as well. On professor hasn’t replied yet, but the other one simply said:

Estimado señor Transiteration,
No hay problema!
Hasta martes,
-Profesor

This translates to “Dear Mr. Transiteration, No problem! Until Tuesday,”

I’m excited about that class (and the other Spanish one) because I think it’ll have pretty much all people that I don’t know. It’ll be a possible opportunity to go stealth, which I haven’t really done before. I guess it just depends on my voice. I’ve been working on it. I’m pretty sure my voice is pretty low for a biologically female voice, but pass-ability is iffy. I haven’t worked on it too much before though, so I’m hopeful a bit of effort will help.

Either way, people are gonna have to use the right pronouns/adjectives in those classes because otherwise it’s gonna be grammatically incorrect. Muahaha. I’ll let you know if the correctness actually happens.

Have you ever had to come out to professors? Have you ever been able to pass just based on working on your voice alone?

 

 

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Trans issues in the workplace… (Update!)

Last week I wrote about a conversation I overheard at work about trans healthcare and medicare.

The next day, one of the two coworkers that was sitting at the desk with the woman that defended trans people asked me about the note I left.

“Hey missy, what was that note about?”

I ignored the missy. Really? One look at me pretty much yells not-a-missy. “Oh, yesterday?” Laughing nervously, “I guess I was too vague.”

“Yeah, I asked he if she knew what it meant, and she didn’t know.”

“Oh, I guess I’ll have to explain more.”

I built up the courage for the next day and a half to leave a another note with a better explanation. I didn’t have time on any of my breaks, but I still wanted to say something.

Believe it or not, this transguy actually talked to her instead!

As I was on my way out, I went by her desk and made some small talk and then got into it.

“Er- sorry that my note was so vague.”

By the look on her face, she knew it was what I came to talk about. The funny thing was, she didn’t ask what I meant. She said “what did you hear?”

“I heard-” I quickly lowered my voice, “- you and James talking about.. medicare.”

She definitely knew what I was talking about then. “Yeah. He’s… weird.”

Satisfied that she knew I was grateful, I dorkily replied “Yeah. But it’s all good,” and high-tailed it out of there. Based on her expression and how she talked, I think she knew what my note meant the whole time. I think she just said she didn’t know so didn’t have to explain to my other co-workers, protecting me from any awkward questions. I guess I’ll never really know, but it feels good on know of one sane person in my ultra-conservative workplace.

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Sunday Flashpoint: Kevin Ogle talks same-sex marriage with guests Sally Kern & Scott Hamilton

Major changes may be happening in Oklahoma. This is worth a watch, and I have so much respect for Scott. He is such an articulate person on and off camera, and keeps his head in frustrating situations.

KFOR.com

FLASHPOINT: Earlier this week, when a federal judge ruled Oklahoma’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional – it set off a firestorm of controversy.

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Today on Flashpoint Kevin Ogle brings up this topic.

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Our guests on the show are State Representative Sally Kern, a well-known opponent of the gay lifestyle and gay marriage.

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Our other guest is Scott J. Hamilton, the Executive Director of the gay advocacy group The Cimarron Alliance in Oklahoma City.

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Coming out to professors as transgender

Even though I haven’t had a great deal of luck with my peers, I decided to ask my professors this semester to use my preferred pronouns. I think the reason I am telling my profs is because I respect them more than my peers. I have four profs – one I told last year.

One professor I’ve already had a class from so I decided that I would do it in person, instead of e-mailing. I hung around after class and asked a benign but necessary question about the class. Then I asked about the preferred pronouns. She said “yeah, I will… well, I can try.” I voiced my appreciation and said that know know it’s a bit difficult. Then she said, or I could just use your name. I couldn’t really talk right, I was stuttering over my words and was like, “yeah, that’s what some people do, it sounds good.” Basically, she said she would and walked out. I dunno if I expected her to ask me any questions. I guess I just didn’t expect it to be that nervewracking and I don’t know why I had to make it so awkward. I don’t know why I have to be such an awkward person, but I guess that’s just who I am. I regret not telling her sooner (I almost did last year) but I don’t even know how it would’ve gone. I trust her and look up to her, and I think when I don’t tell people sooner it tells them I don’t trust them offending them. That seems to happen a lot but it feels too vulnerable and obnoxious coming out to everyone that I know.

Anyway, to my other two professors, I sent e-mails. One I’d met briefly a few times before, and the other I hadn’t met at all.

I sent them this:

Hello Dr. ______,

I hope your holidays were wonderful and this year is starting off well for you.

I’m excited to be in your ________ class this semester!

I am writing to ask if you wouldn’t mind using male pronouns while referring to me in class and outside of class. I identify as male, rather than the female designation that shows on my records. It would meant a lot to me if you were willing to do this, and if you have any questions or want to talk further I’d be happy to. 

Take care,

Transiteration

My given name is gender neutral, so that’s why I didn’t make any mention of it.

I was nervous, but I sent them. The next day I got two replies!

Absolutely, and I think the whole class should be on board with this as well.  What you are asking is right and good.
See you in class.

and

Absolutely! I am pleased to honor your request.

I’ll see you tomorrow – have a great day!

I’m relieved. Sometimes it’s hard to deal with people messing up or not knowing the right pronouns, but if I have my professors on my side, things will be just that much better.

Did you ever come out to teachers or professors? How did you do it? I still feel bad about not coming out to other professors in the science department, as if I’ll offend them also for not trusting them, but telling some professors. How do you know when the right time is to come out?

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