Thursday, April 29, 2010

Controversy: Post-op, should you be up front about being TG when dating?

I usually use my blog for telling everyone about my life and my transition but today I wanted to ask a question that isn't necessarily something I need to worry about for another year and a half but I'm still curious.

Over the last few months, I've had the chance to experience the dating life of a transgender woman. At first, I began by not posting my transgender status on my online profiles and I seemed to get a LOT of guys interested in me. I figured I could get to know a guy and then before we actually met in person, I'd have to tell him.

Well, I found that this helped weed out so-called "tranny chasers" but still posed a problem when I finally had to "come out" to somebody I'd been talking to. Most men seem to have a problem with being involved with a transgender woman even after they get to know you. The most common response I got from accepting guys was: "Oh that's cool.....well do you have any single friends?" Essentially, showing they were not interested in me any longer.

At some point, I decided to just start posting my transgender status on my profiles, therefore weeding out the guys that would not be interested in the first place. The problem of course with this is that the tranny chasers start sending messages instead. I've found that the majority of responses I now get are guys that want a girl with male genitals....which I of course don't want anything to do with.

Anyway, the point of this blog post is to ask a question and get feedback from everybody. The question is:

Whether you were up front about your transgender status Pre-op or not.....Post-op, should you still be so up front about it? I mean the physical anatomical parts are no longer a concern but of course your male past will still most likely have to be delved into at some point if you get close enough to somebody.

What do you think?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Absence makes the heart.....

Over the last week, I've been staving off some major sadness. A special girl I had been getting to know suddenly stopped talking to me with no explanation as to why.

Well, it's not quite so cut and dry as that.

On Monday, we had spoken some, but not much, because her work was still crazy. Well, my laser appointment ended up taking much too long to make it to PFlag. So on the way home from laser, I called her to see how she was doing. Her ex-wife (and current roommate) picked up and I asked for her and she said she was in the shower so I just said to let her know that I called. I wasn't surprised (but slightly disappointed) that I didn't get a call back because I figured she had just gone to bed.

Tuesday afternoon, she sent me a facebook message saying that her work was crazy right now and that it was too hard to think about anything else so she asked that I be patient with her.

I guess I didn't realize she was asking me to leave her alone to her own space for a while. I assumed that despite the craziness her work was bringing her, she was still going to put forth some effort in getting to know me and spending time with me, just as we had already been doing. I responded in kind that I understood.

Wednesday came and went and so did Thursday. No contact whatsoever from her. Late Thursday night, I sent her a short facebook message asking how everything was going. Sure I didn't want her to think I was being too needy but I also thought she would have at least sent me another note by then. I also gave her a call again at some point and it went to voicemail. I didn't leave a message. I was still annoyed at myself for being so upset about this, I barely knew this girl and yet I was being so emotional over nothing. Of course it didn't feel like 'nothing'. I cried myself to sleep that night. A crying point was telling myself that she was worried about her job when we first met just like she's worried about it now....the only difference is she was still talking to me back then because she was really interested....and now, she definitely wasn't talking to me and that definitely showed she wasn't interested.

Friday, I hung out with my mom some and she of course told me not to worry. I ended up calling this girl up one more time and talking to her ex again. This time, she wasn't there. I asked her ex 'is everything ok?' and she acted confused or maybe even like she knew something but didn't want to say....she asked 'about what?' and I said 'with work' and she said 'Oh yah, it's just been stressful, we're going on a new venture.' And that's all that was said. Something about that call just made me feel even worse though.

You know, this whole time, I was really trying to keep hope up that this girl was really just too busy to talk to me for whatever reason. Then when I told a friend of mine that I had called her twice that week and that she hadn't contacted me all week.....the look on her face told me that I was an idiot to think that she wanted anything to do with me still.

I was crushed.

Usually, I might have a drink or two or even get a little tipsy but that night was one of those nights where I was determined to drown my sorrows. I was so sad, hurt, and humiliated. I felt so stupid for having feelings for a girl I barely knew and now that girl was essentially saying (with her silence) that she didn't want anything to do with me. It was like experiencing my parents disowning me all over again. And the alcohol made the two blur together in a frightful elixir.

During the week, I had been trying to get to know a couple new guys from match.com as well which was very hard because I guess my heart has a hard time juggling like that. One of those guys ended up turning into a real jerk in one of his messages and that just added to my sorrow.

I kept seeing my mother's face in a permanent scowl of disgust at who I am and it tore at my heart like a knife. My parents and now this girl I had felt close to, no longer wanted me in their lives and it was overwhelming.

Note: I don't regret transitioning at all. Nothing will ever make me go back to my old life. The only other option is death. I am thankful that I have close friends that were with me that night. They of course both consoled me and told me how much I meant to them and it made me cry even harder.

The next morning of course sucked. Worst hangover in a long time. Such is the repayment for stupid acts of overdrinking.

I still have crazy wondering thoughts like maybe she is getting back together with her ex or maybe she went on a long business trip. But whatever the reason, it definitely seems like she is no longer interested in me and I just need to come to terms with that and move on. At this point, I still don't know what to think. it probably doesn't matter because I'm probably going to post this publicly and she can read this and that just might fuel the fire of her sudden disinterest in me. But that's who I am, open and honest, maybe too much so. If she can't deal with that then it wasn't meant to be anything anyway.

I don't think that tiny glimmer of hope in my heart will go away until I hear it from her though.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Consternating Composure

Beauty in bloom, artful allure
a tulip so teeming, practically pure.
Stunningly stabbing, excitement ensues
but wariness waylays, referring to ruse.
Images inked and marked over miles
astounding affection from staggering smiles.
Questioning queries bring dazzling delight
pacing the pulchitrude, flowing in flight.
Gratitude given and friendliness found
caring concern brings upheaval unwound.
Precious perception, exalting embrace
masterpiece more than a fine fairing face
Effulgent emblems block vision in view
shattering sparks feed a need not so new.
My heart is so heaving, digressing distress
usurping unknowns try to make it look less.
Awestruck amazement and more when we meet
for physical presence will rightly replete.



Just a poem for a special lady I've been getting to know of late.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Questioning Sexuality

Along with exploring my gender identity, I have also been exploring my sexuality. When I first began to realize I was a woman, I right away accepted the fact that I might very well be attracted to boys but I knew in my heart I would always be attracted to women too.

At some point during my transition, I did notice a change in my attractions to boys. It was mostly how seeing pictures of men with their shirts off or in their tight fitting underwear made me feel inside. It was like a giddiness of some sort. Since that happened, I began saying I was less bi and more straight.

I think a part of me did this for a lot of reasons. I was afraid of being put in a masculine role in a relationship and wasn't sure how that would work if I chose to be in a relationship with another woman. I saw many lesbians as being butch and I was not attracted to butch lesbians, only feminine ones like myself. Sex with a man seemed enticing (and still does) and yet sex with another woman doesn't really make sense to me. I think I was also intimidated by other women, especially natal women because I felt like maybe they would not think I was woman enough for them or maybe they would want me to be in the traditional masculine role in a relationship. At the same time, with boys, they seem much easier to please. And what about competition? Especially with two trans girls together, wouldn't one think the other is prettier and wouldn't that cause a mess of problems?

All of these concerns are very valid but I think the main reason I have leaned towards boys since coming out is this:

I'm afraid that other women will invalidate me as a woman because I like other women. If they know I'm transgender and am attracted to other women, they might not want to hang around with me or treat me like just another women....they might compare me to a guy who's just dressing in women's clothes just so 'he' can hang out with other women. Isn't that the ultimate thing portrayed on TV and in movies? The guys always want to meet new chicks and what a better way then to dress up and get close to them as one of them? The thought of this haunts me and is very painful. The other thing about being interested in guys is that it's a common thing to talk about with other girls.

People have told me not to get wrapped up in being in a relationship with a guy just to validate that I'm a woman and yet I find myself doing just that because I'm afraid. Not afraid of guys but of women! When I hang out with other women, such as at Zumba class, I find myself not wanting to mention that I'm bi or lesbian for fear that they might think I'm only there to 'hit on' them or something.....or even worse, fear of them being the kind of Christians I grew up as and condemn me on the spot. I have grown up my whole life trying to have real friendships with women but failing miserably because they could only assume that my motivations were always going to be romantic because I was male.

On a side note, I think a part of me knows that if my parents do ever accept me as a woman that they would have yet another hurdle to get over if I was a lesbian too. But if I was with a man and they accept me as the woman that I am then they wouldn't have that extra hurdle to get over.

And so I've reached out to guys and of course the ones that have actually acted interested have been either unattractive, wrongly motivated, or out of state. I think part of the problem is that I've always found women attractive and that has definitely not changed. I can definitely see myself in a relationship with a woman or a man...it would be more about the person than anything....but maybe the hard part for me is getting out there and meeting people.

One thing I realized recently is that I dont hang out with guys at all anymore. It kind of just hit me....all my friends that i see on an everyday basis are girls. That kind of makes it hard to meet guys unless I want to go out clubbing or bar hopping which I have no desire to do.

I'm beginning to get involved with other women's groups so I'm hoping to make more friends and maybe more can become of that but I think I still have a lot of fears that I need to work through when it comes to my sexuality.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Email to my coworkers

I thought I'd finally post the email the CEO at my company sent out to my coworkers to let them know about my transition. It has 2 parts. The first is written by the CEO and the second is written by me.


***ers,
Although we do not usually make formal announcements about our employees’ personal lives, a matter has come up that has the potential to impact the workplace. We believe it is important to inform everyone and openly address any concerns that may arise in conjunction with this change.
As you all know ********* is a Software Engineer and has been with *** for 4 years. ***** has a medical condition known as ‘transgender’. Outside of ***, ***** is Debra; over a period of time Debra has been and will continue to go through the process of gender reassignment. A couple of Debra’s colleagues here at *** have been aware of the ongoing process and we are proud of the support and consideration that has been shown by them.
Debra will be on vacation from February 8th thru the 12th and on the 16th she will come to work to continue the excellent job she has been doing for the past 4 years.
We understand that gender reassignment is not something that many of us have been exposed to and that some people may feel uncertain or curious, which is why we have invited a consultant to speak to the company today. Debra herself expects that some colleagues may be curious and she has expressed a willingness to respond to genuine queries. She has kindly put together some information about her experience, which can be found at the bottom of this email.
We have appreciated how Debra has communicated with us during the process and assisted us to better understand her circumstances and gender reassignment. If you would like to learn more about this medical condition there is a report about recent research on the BBC News website.
This is a significant event for Debra and as a coworker and an employer we want to provide a supportive environment for her and all our employees. Our expectation, of course, is that Debra is treated with the same consideration and respect that we all expect in a professional working environment, this includes using her chosen name and using the appropriate pronouns ‘she’ and ‘her’. While we don’t forsee issues or concerns, I want to remind everyone that *** has policies in place to provide a workplace free from discrimination and harassment.
We welcome Debra back into the team and thank you all for your understanding.
If you still have questions after the presentation during the All Company meeting please feel free to contact myself and/or Sharon.
-Dave

From Debra:

Dear Trusted Colleagues,

Now that management has sent out an official announcement, I thought I should add a personal touch.

The decision to go through with this difficult and enormous transition was not easy to make. Amongst many people's negative opinions and lack of understanding, I've also endured my own self doubt at times. Years of trying to be someone I'm not, have taken a definite toll on me and I didn't understand what was wrong until more recently in my life.

Growing up, all I knew was being the boy and later, man, everyone around me needed me to be. It was at a young age, about 10 years old, that I started to realize something was different about me. Since then, there have been lots of signs and I not only ignored those signs but also over-masculinized myself to compensate for the differences I found in myself from other boys and men.
A plethora of research has shown that this is most likely genetic. It's theorized that in the womb, different hormones (female, in my case) can flood the brain, compared to ones that act on the rest of the developing baby’s body (male). So it is possible to end up with a brain that’s been arranged for a female, within a body of a baby male.
This condition seems to occur for about 1 in 30,000 births to both male and female babies. This rate increased in the 1950s and 1960s where some mothers were given a drug called DES, which was prescribed to reduce the chances of stillbirth. It was later found it also had the effect of making this condition even more likely to occur.
It wasn't till fairly recently that things were brought to my attention I could no longer ignore. Full awareness of what this change would mean for my life came rushing in like a hurricane and I went from denying the fact there was something wrong to fighting against it with every ounce of my strength. But the more I fought, the more depressed I became. I was no longer ignorant to what was wrong and I knew there was a solution, I was just too scared to follow through with it.

Since October 2009, I've been living as a woman outside of work. I'm not sure if anyone has noticed any differences in those last few months. I've done my best to not introduce big changes until an official date was worked out with management. It's been difficult living a double life, being able to be my true self outside of work, only to come to work with an image that is only a facade. I did this as a way of making sure it was really what was right for me and to make sure I was truly ready for such a life change.

With all of that said, I'm going to be taking a week's vacation next week and I'll be back in the office on Tuesday, February 16th, no longer D***** but Debra. What you see or hear might be very different but I am still mostly the same person that will be accomplishing the same tasks in a professional manner.

Also, I realize that calling me by my new name will be something everyone will have to get used to and in the same way, using female pronouns (she, her, etc) will probably be even more difficult. I understand there will be many slip ups, especially in the first few weeks, so do not worry.

I know that there can arise many questions from a change like this. I hope the All Hands meeting scheduled for today will help you all in understanding and also put you at ease by answering most of your general questions. Note: I will not be present at this meeting so you may feel comfortable to ask anything.

Come next Tuesday, if you have any other questions for me, feel free to ask me. I have been at *** for almost 4 years now and look forward to many more good years to come.

Thank you,
Debra

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Financing Woes

Over the past couple weeks, I've been looking into my options for financing my Gender Confirmation Surgery (GCS). Loans and medical coverage.

Note: I cannot have the surgery until at least February 4, 2011 but I wanted to see if I could get financed now so everything could start getting ready for that. Marci Bowers reserves dates between 6 months and 1 year ahead.

Anyway, I looked into loans and even had the nerve to ask a couple friends if they would cosign for me. All of that aside, I've had the bank tell me even with a cosigner, they would not give me such a loan because of the impending foreclosure of my house and the havoc it's already wreaked on my credit score.

If I had really been thinking ahead, I would've applied for such a loan back in December when my credit score was still good. Ah well, regrets are never a good thing to dwell on. Another thing I was wondering about was possible supplemental medical insurance coverage that would cover the surgery. I mean, I would pay $600-$1000/mo for such insurance from now till Feb or longer if it would mean being able to have the surgery next year. It would be similar to paying a loan payment anyway. But alas, I was not able to find anything that would work like this.

So I am back on the saving bandwagon.

In May and June, I still have a few hurdles to get through, financially...such as foreclosure, finalization of my divorce, getting into an apartment, and alimony payments. Once those are finished though, I should be able to start saving a good chunk of change every month.

If you hadn't noticed, I added a widget to my blog today that will allow others to donate to my surgery if anyone might have the desire. I realize that a lot of people who peruse my blog have their own surgeries to fund so please don't take this the wrong way. If you want to give, great! If you don't, it's very understandable. But thank you very much if you do.

Somebody told me the other day that if I got 20,000 people to donate $1, I'd be set. Or even 4,000 people to donate $5. Funny how that would work but I'm definitely not going to sit on my butt and hope everyone donates. I am hoping the new widget will be yet another tracker to see how the fundraising / saving is going. I will update it myself as I save.

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