Monday, September 27, 2010

Tweetcloud Overview



I recently did a tweetcloud of all of my tweets on twitter in the last year or so. I found it quite interesting.

#1 word - Girl - I think that's funny considering this last year has been my first real year being able to be a girl. And yet the reason that's the number one word is because when I talk to other people, I often refer to them as girl at the end of every tweet or so lol.

#2 word - Thanks - I guess I say thank you a lot. =) I suppose I receive plenty of compliments and feel like I need to say thank you....and try not to let them get to my head. ;)

#3 word - hehe - Yeah, I giggle a lot and 'hehe' is one form of that. =)

#4 word - hugs - Yes I give virtual hugs LOTS. In real life, I give real hugs LOTS too. =)

#5 word - time - Right off, I'm not sure how this one relates to each individual tweet but it kind of has a lot of meanings for me in the last year. Being impatient about how time is going slow (body development, parental acceptance, etc). Being reflective about the past and the time I've lost, etc.

#6 word - love - This one's pretty obvious. I say love a lot , 'Oh I love your pic!' etc. But it kind of also reflects the love that I want in my life and yet the love I want to give friends, family, and those in the transgender community, esp those who are in need and hurting.

#7 word - awww - Yeah I say that lot, what can I say. =)

Well I will stop at 7 words but I thought that was interesting

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Gender-inclusive Dormitories

Last night, I was sent an article about gender-inclusive dormitories at Western Washington University. (see http://westernfrontonline.net/news/12503-gender-inclusive-housing-a-go).

Surprisingly I'm kind of torn. While it may be a great thing for many , especially those that don't consider themselves male or female but somewhere in between, I feel like if I had transitioned at college or even if I went back to college and lived in the dorms, that I'd have wanted to stay in the women's dorms. For binary transsexuals like myself, we want to be accepted as a woman in every way. Yes we understand we are transgender women, but still women.

I wonder if transgender women applying to western (pre-op or post-op) would still be allowed to stay in the women's dorms or if they will now only be allowed to stay at this gender-inclusive dorm. I would hope for the former unless they would prefer to stay in the special dorm.

Either way, Western definitely deserves some positive recognition for this new dormitory.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Singles Night in Seattle

Last night, I journeyed out to a single's meetup in Seattle. I have been a member of this singles meetup group for a couple months but had not ventured out to any of their meetups yet because I didn't know anybody and felt a bit shy when seeing how many people were going to show up. I figured it was something I should be taking another single friend along with me but I don't have many single friends.

What changed? Well this meetup was special in that it was meant for only newbies, or people that had not been to 3 or more meetups with the group yet. So I felt if there was ever a time to go, it would be then. Be introduced to how the group works and how each meetup probably works.

I had RSVPed for this about a month ago and when I looked at it the day of, I realized for the first time that it was in Seattle. Seattle at 6pm? How the heck was that supposed to work. I did NOT want to be stuck in traffic for an hour. I was tempted to call it off and just not go but near the end of the day, I decided I would just do it....but I would take the bus. There happens to be a bus route 5 blocks down from my apartment that goes straight into downtown Seattle. So I got some cash out for bus fair and headed out, book in hand.

On the bus, I mostly read my book or looked out the window but more than once, I noticed different people looking at me with a look on their face that said they might know I was trans. I just ignored it though. When I got off the bus, I walked a few blocks (thank God I changed out of my heels and skirt) to the pub where the meetup was taking place. I had arrived right around 6pm. Yay for buses!

I walked in, unsure of where to go. I didn't see any signs so I continued into the bar and found a section of the bar with a sign that said "Seattle Singles". I breathed a sigh of relief. I had found it. The lady handed me a drink ticket and I used it at the bar to get a glass of pineapple juice. Then I went over to the name tag table and made myself a name tag. I looked around, there were probably 15 or so people there at that point in time and they were all sectioned off in groups of 3 and 4, talking. Some were at tables, others were standing at the bar.

I made my way to one of the tables and asked if the empty seat was taken, they said not at all and motioned for me to join them. I was briefly introduced to 2 guys and 1 girl and I introduced myself. We chatted for a bit about my name because they hadn't heard it before. They asked me where it came from and I said I didn't really know but that I knew it was fairly unique and I liked that. I of course couldn't tell them that I picked it out myself lol. I made a mental note to look up what my name meant (and I did: "Strong and gifted ruler").

We chatted for a while, getting to know each other, what each person did for a living, etc. One guy did tech support, the girl was in the mortgage industry, etc. I explained that I was a software developer and of course everyone was surprised....they always are surprised to meet a female developer. It's just very rare in this industry. I do usually make the comment that I am the only female developer at my work. And I did mention (and I think only the girl at the table heard me) that I was thinking of going back to school for psychology or maybe cosmetology. She said she had gone to school for cosmetology too but never used it but she thought it was great.

Apparently there was a game planned that half the people (including me) didn't know about where you bring a picture of yourself as a baby and then people have to guess which one is you or something. I only bring this up because at one point during the conversation, a lady from another table leaned over and held up a picture of a baby boy and asked the guys at our table if it was either of them. At the time, i hadn't realized she wasn't asking everyone at the table (babies look sometimes genderless) so when I said "no" to the lady, she said "of course not you, hun. it's a boy!" . That kind of made me smile to myself.

We continued conversation and one of the guys left and an older guy sat down and started talking to me and the other girl at the table. He kept chatting it up with the other girl while the food was brought out (free buffet). I glanced at the food and didn't see anything gluten free so I didn't consider going over there. Then the girl at my table turned to me and said "do you want to get something to eat?" and I said, sure. We walked over there and got in line and she mentioned that she had just wanted to get away from the older gentleman that was chatting her up. We both giggled at that and made slight comments to each other here and there. I ended up getting a "slider" burger and just eating the burger portion (ditching the buns) when we got back to the table.

The older guy left at some point and the other guy at the table left and came back with his roommate who joined us at our table. When I first met him, the look on his face was the one I'm used to when someone has read me. We continued talking though but periodically through the night, I felt like the look on his face was one that showed that he knew.....it wasn't one of disappointment or even dread...something else, but it was there. But his roommate and I continued to chat it up a bunch and even got into talking about the "Wheel of Time" series (a fantasy series by Robert Jordan). The guy I was talking to said something about how he hadn't met many other people who had read it and I think the unsaid thing was "many girls that had read it".

So the night was winding down and yet the place was getting packed. There were at least 100 people there and if you didn't have a table, you were standing up pressed against people, talking to other people. I was content to just stay at the table and chat with the people I had met, rather than try to go meet more people and the guys at the table felt pretty much the same. The girl finally went off to meet more people and I continued chatting with the same guy, the only guy that I thought I'd be interested in seeing again. At some point, I mentioned i needed to find out where my bus would pick me up and when and he pulled out his iPhone and pulled up the transit app and found for me where I needed to go and that it would be there in 11 minutes. I felt kind of funny, knowing I had my iPhone and the very same app on it in my purse but I let him do it. =)

I told them I had better get going then. Him and his roommate kind of looked at me disappointed that I was leaving, as I put my hoodie on. I said goodbye and walked away thinking I should have asked for that guy's number or given him mine.

The bus going home was much less crowded and there weren't really enough people to even consider anyone looking at me. I just got back to my book for the trip. When I arrived home, I logged onto meetup.com and found the guy I had met (by his first name) and sent him a message. We exchanged phone numbers later on and might meet up again sometime, just us.

Overall, I was not very comfortable in the environment where I knew literally nobody. I am comfortable around a lot of people I know or maybe even kind of know but in a room full of people I didn't know at all, I was a bit on edge. I was glad to have found the table I did when I did and found some friendly people there. In truth, I probably will never go back to a meetup like that, too nerve wracking. But at least I met some cool people and for the most part felt comfortable as myself.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Autotransography: Part 6 - More Teenage Years

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Autotransography: Part 5 - Teenage Years

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Ex Dreams

Over the past few days, I've had some interesting dreams about my ex-wife.

One of the dreams began with my ex-wife and I still being together but I had transitioned. She seemed ok with things and we were enjoying being around each other but I had a bad feeling about something so I asked her if she used my real name and female pronouns around her parents and my parents. She didn't answer, she just looked at me with a look on her face that told me that she didn't. I was very upset and told her we couldn't be together then.

It was weird being with her again in the dream but ironic I eventually found myself in the same place I did, in real life.....no longer a part of that union.


Then last night, I had another dream about my ex. This one was quite different. We were getting remarried to each other. It was like wedding prep all over again. It was so weird too because I don't remember wedding dresses or tuxes or anything. I don't remember if I was a man or a woman in this dream. I was less concerned about that.

I was actually very torn about remarrying her. Part of me still loves her deeply and loved the idea and yet part of me felt like I was trapping myself, putting myself behind a wall, a facade....of someone else. Like I would be drowning in somebody else's life, clawing to get out......again.

It's just so interesting to me that the dream was so genderless and more about who I was in general when I was with her.

With my transition, a lot of things have stayed the same and yet a lot of things have changed, even in my personality. I mean I went from introverted to extroverted. That alone is a HUGE change. And yet going back and trying to be who I used to be....even without thinking about the gender....ended up being too painful to bear, even in a dream.

Autotransography: Part 4 - Becoming a Teen

Autotransography: Part 3 - More Childhood

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Autotransography: Part 2 - Childhood

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Autotransography: Part 1 - Childhood

Monday, September 13, 2010

Bittersweet Moment

I had a conversation with my ex-wife last week where she told me she had a boyfriend. She told me that she had run into someone she had known in high school and they had really hit things off nicely. She described him and how they had talked for hours and I found myself being so completely happy for her. In fact instead of feeling jealous that she was with someone that was not me.....I found myself being jealous that she had met such a nice guy and I hadn't met that guy for me yet. At the same time, I am really overjoyed that she has found someone special.

When we had split up, I had hoped for this. I had hoped that she would be able to find a nice guy that could treat her like she should be treated and love her. Since our split almost a whole year go, I have cried for her, cried missing her, cried remembering our 8 years together. It was not without a lot of pain and grief that I began moving on myself, dating other people.

By the time our divorce was finalized, I dare say at least part of my heart was over her. That said, there may always be a side of me that will always love her and cherish the memories we made together. But I was able to see early on in my transition that she would not be able to accept it and we both would be miserable together. And so we both learned how to move on.

A bittersweet moment in time.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Some hospitals get it right

This was an email forwarded to me by the Washington Gender Alliance. I thought it was something that needed to be shared because we do often hear horror stories of how transgender individuals are treated in hospitals but we never hear the good stories.


Hi Everett-area gender variant folks and allies.

It seems like I'm always hearing stories about trans people getting mistreated by hospitals and other medical facilities. Because of what I had heard from around the country, as a transgender person, I was expecting to be treated as a second-class (or worse) patient when I was admitted to Providence Hospital (Colby Campus) three weeks ago. I was very surprised when this isn't what happened. I've asked the Washington Gender Alliance to pass along my story to you because I thought it might be refreshing and even personally relevant for other trans folks to hear about the care the hospital provided.

I was in the hospital for 14 days total, 5 in Critical Care. My stay involved some pretty intimate procedures, including a pelvic area ultrasound and catheterization. But never once was I called by the wrong pronoun. Anyone - from the nursing staff to radiology technicians to the team of doctors that worked with me - who had a question that related to my transition in some way asked me their questions very respectfully, always letting me know that they understood if I didn't want to answer if it made me uncomfortable to discuss it.

Not only was I treated respectfully, but in many situations, I actually felt encouraged and supported as a transgender person. One RN told me about one of her FTM family members and how proud she is of him for completing his legal transition. Another, who had never worked with a transgender patient before, politely asked if I would mind helping her learn more about how medical transition worked so that she would be more knowledgeable when working with trans patients in the future (I was happy to oblige.) A transport aide told me about his hope to one day quit his job at the hospital to become a full-time LGBT equal rights activist. One of the surgeons on my team even spoke with me about my plans for future medical transition and offered to pair a transition-related surgery with an emergency life-saving surgery I may have needed during my stay.

In all, the treatment I got there was above and beyond what I could have hoped for. I had originally gone into the Emergency Room expecting to be made to feel self-conscious and that my trans status would be treated as a roadblock. Instead, I wound up extremely impressed. Hopefully, this level of care will continue at the Colby Campus of Providence Hospital, so that fears of discrimination will not need to play a part for any of us when disaster strikes.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A life worth living

One year ago today, I was not myself....in more than one way. I had been dealing with a deep depression because I had chosen not to transition even though I knew the truth of who I was inside. As I started to see a flicker of hope that transition maybe was possible and that it wouldn't be this horrible, ugly thing, despite the sacrifices, the men in my bible study took it upon themselves to call me out and tell me every reason why becoming my true self was wrong.

They threw bible verses at me, in raised voices and told me I would destroy my wife. They said the church would excommunicate me, they said I would be no longer welcome there, and they also said I would lose my salvation....that God would take away his love.

In my head, all I heard was "God would rather have me dead as a man than alive as a woman" and I knew I could not go on living as a man, it was too painful now that I knew the truth of who I really was.

The result of course was a suicide attempt, which failed, thanks to my ex-wife. I don't blame those men in the bible study for my suicide...it was still my conscious choice, even if very misled. I do often wonder if my parents actually wish I had succeeded because they no longer acknowledge me as their child and never want to see me again. And how is that much different from me being dead?

But this suicide attempt was a huge turning point for me, one that I would never look back upon. I would venture out a new person, one ready for living a new life, with all of it's challenges, sacrifices, and yet also it's joys and rewards.

So today, I'm not celebrating an anniversary of a suicide attempt but instead, one more year of life I never expected to live and not just that, but the first real year of life where I've been able to live as my true self, instead of some subconscious facade.

Everyday brings new challenges and hurts and reminders of sacrifices but among those are also feelings of peace and joy like I've never experienced in my past 28 years. And that's a life worth living.

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