Tag Archives: coming out

Why I’m not on testosterone

Or, why I haven’t yet shot myself up with some man.

Disclaimer: I have T-15/20 minutes before the melatonin I took kicks in hardcore, so I hope this is coherent.

I’ve wanted to medically transition since high school, when I found out what “transgender” meant, and what I could do about it. That was about 4 years ago. I could be more or less transitioned right now, but not a drop of T has entered my body.

Why?

I chose instead to continue competing in the women’s division for collegiate running. It was a decision that almost drove me insane. Some who know me would argue that it did. Not even finished with my freshman year, I walked into my advisor’s office and asked for a letter of rec for entrance to another university. I came out to her in explanation, and she helped me get a full ride scholarship at said university. After much distraught deliberation, I ended up staying where I was, for many reasons. I came out to others (including my coach!) that fall.

I’m a senior now, and with only one year (~11 months) left, I find myself thinking back on it all. I stopped blogging/writing much because it was painful and frustrating to even think about sometimes. I tried to stop thinking about it so much. Tried. It’s nearly impossible to think about anything else when every time you look in the mirror you feel like throwing up. When every time someone talks about you they stab you with pronoun knives. When you don’t have the courage to pop a squat in the guy’s restroom, but people stare and/or run out when you use the women’s. The hardest part is feeling trapped, stuck, and knowing you did that to yourself. Pulled in so many directions because the situation fucking sucks and you’re enjoying the hell out of college anyway.

If I could go back, I wouldn’t change anything except maybe come out sooner, especially to my parents. It’s been rough for sure, but undeniably beautiful. I never could have imagined finding so much support and acceptance. Between the professors here, my advisor, my coach, teammates and their parents, roommates, administration, classmates, friends.. I’ve found family here.

I’ve also found myself. I’ve found the strength to truly be myself when everyone is telling me I’me something else. I used to worry that I wasn’t trans enough when I stopped wanting to bash my head into a wall every time someone used she. It really just meant that I’ve found confidence and validation from within. I don’t need T to make me who I’ll grow to be any more than the estrogen coursing through me defines who I am now.

That is what will get me through this next year.

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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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…and then I had pink shoelaces.

Once upon a time I was a freshman in college. Okay, so last year I was a freshman. It was actually this time last year that I was walking to the administration building to pay the balance on my account for the semester.

Blahblahblah. Anyway, my nervous, stressed little self was high-tailing it across campus. I’m sure I only had a bit of time between classes or something and was a bit peeved that I was going to get a rather large sum of money slurped out of my bank account.

I was making a beeline down a section of sidewalk, and a woman was walking in the opposite direction. As I approached her, she collapsed to the ground, and stayed there.

Shit! It didn’t look good. I ran up to her and bent down. She could hardly talk and was kind of curled up, saying something about a stabbing pain. I was worried she might be having heart problems, so I asked if she was feeling pain in her chest.  She said no, that it felt like her back. Another lady ran up, and started talking to her too. Apparently she had put her back out of place when she tripped on the crack in the sidewalk. The other lady said for me to go, and that help was coming. After a quadruple chorus of “Are you sure?” “Yes, go on ahead.” I headed toward the admin building.

A person was leaning out the window yelling “Sir! Sir, young man!” Last year, I didn’t get correctly gendered very often, so it took a sec for me to notice she was talking to me. I looked up. “Is she okay!?” I called that yes, she does seem to be okay.

I went in the building and came up the stairs. The same person calling out the window was walking down the hallway. She looked flustered. “I’m so sorry! I thought you were a guy, but then I saw the pink shoelaces.”

Woah. Hold the bacon. Guys can’t wear pink stuff? The manliest dudes I know wear something pink on occasion. It’s what I was thinking to myself that morning when I was deciding what shoes to wear. In he defense the laces were not just pink, but hot pink. But I liked the shoes, thought they were cool and all. I also thought that morning that I was confident enough in my gender identity that I could sport a bit of pink every now and then.

She continued, “you are a girl, right? are you a girl or a boy?” I felt like sometimes people stress too much about gender. (Irony intended, haha; I’m fully aware I spend 99% of my waking and sleeping hours stressing about gender.) But honestly, in the grand scheme of things, was my interaction with her really going to be that much different if I had a vagina or a penis? Does that aspect of a person really have anything to do with a verbal conversation?

Back then, I wasn’t out. I stuttered, taken off guard. “Er, doesn’t really matter… I mean… whichever works.”

“But you are a girl, right?

“Yeah, um.. well… I have to go.” Kthxbai. Awkward.

Why couldn’t I have taken that moment to educate someone? I could’ve been the person that stole her ignorance, and made it easier for other transpeople she might come across. I can’t changed what happened, or how I reacted, but I can change how I act in the future. And I will handle things like that more confidently.

My coach told me yesterday that I’ve changed in the past year – that I’m more sure of myself. I know he’s right.

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Empty Closets: A support forum for LGBT and allies

So you’ve browsed blogs, watched YouTube videos and maybe stumbled across some writings on the internet, but you might need a different type of support. Maybe you want to ask your own questions, or connect with people like you.

Empty Closets is a forum where you can do that. You might have heard of it, but if you haven’t, you should go check it out. They have different sections for different identities, the ability to participate in discussions anonymously. They have even added a section for parents/family of LGBTQ people that also want support.

This website and the community formed by it have definitely helped me find the courage to cope and come out.

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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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