November 29, 2007
Why? Alternate Title: Itchy!
Ok, here’s goes – here’s one of the pictures Dr. O (more accurately Tatiana) took last Monday as “before” pictures.
Great, huh? (I updated the Pictures page with a few more, plus the ability to see not just thumbnails.)
(Please NB that the crazy Alfalfa look going here is not at all a regular hairstyle for me. Since my hairline will be impacted, the Dr. wants a “before” shot to clearly show said hairline. There are bobby pins in my hair to create this super groovy effect.)
I’ve been on hormones (estrogen (primary female hormone), progesterone (breast development), finasteride (anti-androgen – helps lower the dose of the other two, and reduces/reverses hair loss)) for eight months – with good effect. My skin is softer. I lost a lot of chest and arm hair (before even the laser death ray was employed). I had some breast development (I liked to think of them as “A Minuses”). I had laser on my face, chest and arms, and I shave my legs. I started electrolysis on my face since the white hairs (I had a bunch) don’t get zapped by the death ray – only the black ones (and even those take three plus treatments to get rid of). (As an aside – and it feels like this whole blog is a big aside- I can’t have electrolysis for two weeks before, three months after facial surgery because of infection risk. This is freaking me out for two reasons. One, I’m not done. My neck and parts of my cheeks haven’t been touched. Second, even the “done” places need retreatment. Over the past two weeks, the little black dudes have been showing up over my top lip again – lovely. Second, to have electrolysis you need to grow out the to-be-zapped hairs for a couple days so they can be seen and zapped. I get the ever-so-lovely C. Everett Koop look from that. We’ll have to strike some arrangement to only do certain parts so I don’t get despondent for those days).
However, even dressed like Megan (I think we have a winner in the middle name contest btw – “Jenna”), I read, no SCREAM “guy in women’s clothes”.
I was feeling pretty good about myself today when we headed to lunch (read the earlier post). I was strong, confident, and ready to face the world. Anh called me Megan, so did friends and fam – wow, this is really working! Yea Me!
As I said before, I went into the women’s room – more than once! Again, progress.
Then, we go to order.
First off, the maitre’d gives me the wine list. Huge tell – especially since we were out w/two other guys.
(Time check: It’s now 12:00 Midnight – I’m now NPO).
Secondly, when it came time to order, the waitress looked at me, said “Sir, can I take your order.” And, in a moment of, well, a moment, I said nothing (as one other person needed to order.) He ordered, then it came back to me. She says: “And what would you like?” It was clear that she was unclear in the pronoun department. Schoolhouse Rock NEVER covered this situation (http://www.schoolhouserock.tv/Rufus.html).
Oh well… not surprising.
As I talked about earlier, post lunch, and requisite “A Frame Hugs” (Paul, you are super buff – clearly you have been working out), Anh went off to the market and I grabbed a cab home. The first side of the hotel that I tried to get a cab from didn’t have cabs or a cab line. I had already put on my jacket, I had on jeans (clearly women’s jeans), and a North Face fleece, which while not tight, wasn’t completely showing nothing either. Without skipping a beat, the doorman said to me: “Sir, the cab line is on the other side, and we’ll have one ready for you when you get over there.” He calls on the radio and I hear him say to his co-worker (very politely) that there’s a gentlemen coming over who needs a cab. So, as you can imagine, when getting over to the other side, “Right This Way Sir!” was the call-out I got.
Now, to be clear, 100% of these people never gave me a dirty look, a sideways glance, or in any way weren’t completely polite at all times. They were great.
I just look like a guy. I get it.
Even with breast implants, and wearing women’s clothes, I look like a guy. Now, I wasn’t wearing a dress, or makeup, or heels or a purse, or any other huge tell… but just as me, it’s no contest. The Y chromosome wins hands down.
Ok, but remember the title of this post – “Why?” and I’ll get to the itching thing in a second.
There are trans-folks who deal with this every day – who present in their non-genetic (non-birth ) gender and who simply do not pass in their true gender. They are 100% stronger than me. No doubt. Sorry, I can’t do it.
I can’t have the first thing that people notice about me is that I’m a guy dressed like a girl.
I just don’t think that I could deal with every time I meet or just encounter someone new: getting a coffee, checking into a hotel, buying groceries – have that be the *first* thing that crosses their mind.
If that makes me shallow, or weak, or somehow less of a person, then so be it (but have you WATCHED “The Housewives of Orange County”?)
This impacts more than just me though. This impacts Anh, Samwich, Peri, John, and the rest of my friends and family. Anh didn’t choose to be married to a woman. Anh married a 6’ 2’’ man. It’s a huge leap to go out in public now, “with” a woman. And, she can do it. Wow. She’s amazing. The kids chose this even less – Anh at least has a choice – but like it or not, I am the kids “dad”.
So… now we get to the nut of “Why FFS?”. FFS (facial feminizing surgery) is the way (that I know of) that I can be who I am, on the inside, on the outside, and in society in a way that’s not first and foremost about me being trans.
I’m a lot of things – a lot of things that I’m proud of – parent, friend, sibling, kid, traveler, engineer, etc. I want to be those things. I don’t want to always be “transgender .XX”.
Now, this is not to say that I’m trying to hide. Which clearly, I’m not. If I was trying to hide, this would be the worst example of hiding in he world history of hiding.
But hiding, and always being transgender first are two different things. I want to be me first. I will always be transgender, and I will always be (and I am) proud of it, but I don’t want to be always “transgender + XXX”.
Hopefully that makes sense.
Anyway, the itching. Right now, I have an ace bandage wrapped around a bra, which underneath has some sort of gauzy, tape stuff in some places (I know because I looked). Basically, between the compression, and not taking this off in three days, and everything else, it itches like hell. I feel like I want to tear my skin off with a garden hoe.
However, I will refrain from that, and I look forward to FFS tomorrow because I know that I get these bandages off. I unfortunately also know they get replaced with even more uncomfy ones, but hey, its progress.
I can’t wait to be home.