Friday, April 28, 2017

A Note about my Past

A year ago today, I was so fed up with the bathroom bill stuff in my state that I decided to speak up about it on my facebook, outing myself. I don't usually speak in ultimatums but I was serious about unsupportive people unfriending me.

I did only surface this to friends (not acquaintances) and then eventually made it private again so only I can now see it. I figured I could share it with all of you.

A Note about my Past

I don’t usually like getting political or into activism but I have to admit that all the ‘bathroom bill’ talk has gotten me a bit worked up. Such that I feel I need to air something I haven’t brought up in a long time and frankly, don’t like to talk about anymore. But here it goes: 

  I have a transsexual/transgender/‘trans’ past. (however you want to word it) 

 For those of you that suspected but never said a word or asked a single question, I thank you. That’s how I’d prefer it…even now that you know, I’d prefer it stay that way. Those of you that really had no clue. I’m glad. I’d rather that be the case anyway.

The rest of you have been with me for at least some of it. The truth is, I don’t want to be known or loved because of something so basic: simply being who I am. I’d rather be loved or praised for things that I do, such as making costumes or writing apps or being friendly and loving…..not the fact that I was born with incorrectly matched parts. I don’t consider it a secret to hide…..but merely a piece of my medical past that’s nobody else’s business. I moved on from it years ago. That being said, people always have questions so here’s some quick answers: 

 1. Yes I was born with male ‘parts’ and now have female ‘parts’. As far as the law is concerned nowadays, I was born female. (yes, that includes my birth certificate and all legal documents) 
2. No I cannot bear children, just like countless other women with fertility issues. 
3. No I will not tell you my old/dead name and it’s rude and hurtful to ask about it or intentionally call me by it. (even in past tense) 
4. No I do not want to talk about any of this so please don’t bring it up in conversation. It’s not unlike bringing up a birthmark that someone has on their face; they know it’s there so unless they bring it up, leave it alone. 
5. No I am not ‘the best of both worlds’. I am and always have been a woman. It’s just that for the first part of my life, I spent it trying to be something I was not: a man. 
 6. Yes my husband knows and has always known and doesn’t care. He’s attracted to women and loves me. It’s a non-issue….and it should be such for everybody IMHO. 
7. No I am not ‘brave’ or ‘courageous’. This wasn’t a brave thing for me to do. It was a thing I HAD to do to survive. To live. To go on. To be who I am, authentically. 
 8. Yes my parents disowned me when I transitioned and even after many years, they continue to ignore who I am and hope for the old ‘pretend me’ to come back to them; this, all based on religious counsel they’ve received. 
 9. Yes I choose to try to live a ‘normal’ life instead of being ‘out and proud trans’ because society DOES treat you differently……and I don’t want to be treated differently……good or bad, I want to be treated for what I do and how I treat others….not because I managed to work through an issue I was born with. I don’t want special treatment. Don’t treat me any different than any other woman. 
10. Yes I support the trans and LGBT movements. Equality for all. No person should have to be treated like a second-class citizen (or worse) because of who they are or who they love. It’s no different than race or sex or anything else. We’re all humans. I don’t care what your religion says, the greatest of all teachings is love for all people. Period. So all of that being said:
  • If after knowing this information, you consider me to be ‘a man’, unfriend me right now.
  • If you’re a woman who feels like with this knowledge you cannot share a bathroom or locker room with me, unfriend me right now.
  • If you’re a father or mother and feel like trans women (including myself) shouldn’t share the same bathroom as your daughter, unfriend me right now.
  • If you feel that transgender people are merely sexual predators, unfriend me right now.
  • If you support bills like i-1515 which seek to bar transgender individuals from using the correct restroom in WA state (something that’s been in effect for years), unfriend me right now. 
 Trans people die every year due to suicide and murder because of simply not being allowed or afforded the privilege to be who they really are…..something anyone born in the right body takes for granted everyday. This includes being fired for being trans, bullied for being trans, becoming homeless for being trans, and yes, using the bathroom that matches their gender identity. 

 Now that we’ve been through that, let me ask you something from the bottom of my heart: 
  Please just let it go….and know that there are many of us among the population that just want to live our lives normally. None of us are out to harm anyone; criminals will do that. If you have sincere questions and want to read more on it, this page has a LOT of resources: . Please don’t bombard me with questions. Thank you.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

My voice, then and now

Some of you remember that for the first 6 months of my transition, I went through voice / speech pathology / therapy with Sandy Hirsch. It was one of the best things I could ever have done for myself when it comes to 'passing' or just being able to live my life without being questioned about my past or treated differently because of it (for better or for worse).

In fact, it was because of my voice changing accidentally at work that I finally transitioned at work and started living full time as a woman.

I wanted to share my old voice (2010) vs my new voice (2016) to show what the possibilities are.

So where am I at nowadays?

Over the years, I've noticed my voice tends to drop when I:

  • get upset
  • talk about technical things
  • get haughty / arrogant
  • after a few drinks of alcohol
  • feeling safe/casual with girlfriends

Last year, I had a couple quick appointments with my voice therapist to talk about and adjust things. Her conclusion was that she had taught me everything she can teach me and the reality is....when I'm paying attention and aware, my voice sounds great! It's just in the cases listed above, I often lose awareness of it and let it drift. It never gets to male levels again but it does drift into androgynous zones.

I also recently started seeing a therapist again and he happens to also be a hypnotherapist. After beginning to try some mindfulness to be better aware of my emotions and voice in the moment, he and I have been working through some actual hypnotherapy sessions that are meant to reinforce my voice and awareness of my voice within my subconscious mind. It's pretty interesting and I do think it's helping.

So that's where I'm at. Voice therapy is really awesome and helps a lot for MTF transition but even with that, nothing's perfect and there's still a lot of other work involved.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Why I stopped talking about being trans

Today I heard about the survivor contestant who was outed on TV about being transgender. He apparently did an interview about it to give his own perspective and I was taken aback at how much I was able to relate to his point of view.

When I first transitioned, many of you might remember that I blogged and video logged with my face and legal name. I spent that first year up through vaginoplasty surgery living and breathing transition. Being public and very much 'out and proud' about it really helped me channel that energy. I feel like it's pretty common for trans individuals when we come out. We're telling those who know us that this is who we are and we are very much learning how to be that person, often after many years of trying to be something completely different.

After that first year, I kind of moved on. I wanted to do something more with my life and not be defined by the label : "transgender". You'd be surprised at the backlash that can come with that however. Many people will tell you you're just trading one closet for another or they get upset that you're not 'out and proud' and fighting the good fight with them. Well there are other ways to 'fight' for rights such as donating money to organizations that do so and spreading knowledge around like I try to do here on my blog.  And while I have kind of treated my 'trans past' like a secret therefore making it seem like 'just another closet' to come out of again (or hide in forever), I'm getting to a point where it's less about hiding and more about brushing past it.

"So if it's not a secret then why not talk about it?" you might ask. Well as Zeke states in his article:

Many gay people consider coming out a moment of liberation, because sharing their sexual orientation with the world causes them to be seen more authentically.
Often, the opposite is true for trans people. When we share our gender history, many see us less authentically — doubting, probing or denying our identities.

The reality is I have a lot of privilege with both where I live and how I look. I'm able to navigate through my everyday life without people asking or bothering me about being trans anymore. And it's great. It's allowed me to move on and concentrate on other things. I transformed myself and I'm glad I did but now I'm doing other things with my life and it's amazing!

And now that I'm doing those things in my career and free time, I'd rather be known for those things rather than being 'that trans girl'. Not only do I not want others putting me down for being trans or mis-identifying me on purpose but I also don't want to be defined by it at all. I know that most of the people I surround myself with would be very supportive if I was 'out' about it but that's not completely why I don't talk about it.

Interestingly enough, when you stop talking about being trans in your everyday circles, when relevant issues arise, you kind of don't have anywhere to talk about them anymore. I've found some solace online, in therapy, and with some very close and trustworthy friends for such occasions.

Outside of that, I aim to live a 'normal' life as a woman and want to be appreciated for the skills and accomplishments and personality that I have without having to add the word 'trans' to everything.....or to even have that outshine things.

Yes I am a trans woman but I am more than that. Until being trans isn't such a fantastical thing, it will always outshine who I am when it's mentioned alongside those other things.

Just one woman's point of view. This is not meant to be the viewpoint of anyone other than my own.

Someday I could very well be outed in a major way. I'd like to say I'm somewhat prepared for that with posts like this explaining my mindset.

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