January 23, 2008

What Was Up with Your Crazy Outfit on the Last Video?

Posted in transgender at 8:59 pm by Michael

Ok, lots of people asked about what I was wearing, and gave feedback on how I kind of looked like crap (my words, not theirs) in the video on Sunday night.

Here’s the deal… those were my running clothes. I hadn’t taken a shower (hair issues), and I hadn’t changed. I was also wearing my running watch.

I did mention that I was somewhat disappointed that I didn’t *pass* more often. I wasn’t referring to *that video*.

This whole “Passing” thing is not only hard, but it’s a series of pretty significant tradeoffs. For me, obviously, I’m certainly not trying to hide my past, and in fact, I’m trying to embrace it.

As a result, I’ve intentionally decided that there are at least three things from my past that I’m not willing to change on this adventure. Call me crazy, FFS is okey dokey, but the following things, not okey dokey.

Wedding Ring: My wedding ring is very special to me. As I’ve said, Anh is my partner till we are dust. I very fondly remember our wedding day. It was an amazing day, and a great party. My wedding ring is made out of titanium, symbolizing both strength and persistence, but also because I’m a pilot, and planes are made of titanium. After my first surgery, Anh got me an additional diamond band that I wear outside/stacked with my wedding ring. I love it. A lot. Getting a new wedding ring would seem not right. I love that day, love the ring, and most of all love Anh.

Watch: I mostly wear a watch that my parents gave me as a college graduation present. Its not huge, but its not feminine either. I got another watch from Anh as a wedding present that’s bigger and more masculine that I haven’t really worn yet, but I do plan to wear it when I fly (it’s a pilot watch). When I run or hike, I wear an inexpensive digital plastic watch. I don’t plan on getting a new watch….

Voice: Some TG folks either do voice training or even some attempt surgery on their vocal cords to change the pitch of their voices. I *could* do this, but I choose not to. I like my voice… I’m not interested in changing it.

Fundamentally, I realize that I’m in neither camp right now… I’m not in a checky box… I’m in the whitespace between them.


It is what it is…


January 21, 2008

How Did You Know?

Posted in transgender, Video at 12:17 am by Michael

January 20, 2008

18-0, One to Go!

Posted in NE Patriots at 10:12 pm by Michael

Touchdown Samwich!

Notre Dame has “Touchdown Jesus“. The Patriots now have “Touchdown Samwich”. Here he is, post one of the three New England touchdowns today!

For the record, since he was born, the Patriots have not lost, and the Red Sox won the World Series.

Coincidence? 🙂

Go Pats!

January 18, 2008


Posted in coworkers, transgender at 10:28 pm by Michael

In my 11 years, three months, and fourteen days working at Microsoft pre-transition, not once did somebody compliment me on my clothes.

Not Fashionable

(Who is this guy, and what is UP w/the Tinkerbell hats?)

There could be many reasons for this:
a) I didn’t dress myself well
b) Men don’t compliment each other on their clothes
c) Anh didn’t buy my clothes

I’m sure there are others. In fact, the only comments that I heard directed at men regarding the way they were dressed was if someone “overdressed” (e.g – Suit/Tie).

Ok, so this week, every day, all from different people, I got compliments on something I was wearing – shoes, sweater, shirt, jeans – something different each day.

Office 2007

I attribute this to a number of things:
a) Differences between men and women in how they interact. One person who complimented me said (when I look surprised) said “Get used to it! This is what girls do!”
b) Anh has bought most of my clothes. She’s got way better taste for either men or women than I do.
c) I ask for feedback from Anh about what I’m wearing, to try to understand better what looks good together and what doesn’t.

I don’t mean to stereotype – and I don’t think I’m doing that. This has just been my experience – maybe it was random, but I don’t think so.

So, for all of you complimenters from this week, thank you! I appreciate it!

Yesterday Redux

Posted in Identification, transgender at 9:40 pm by Michael

Ok, I think yesterday’s post got a little misunderstood by a few folks, and I’d like to clarify.

First thing… I know that I get “read” as TG often. More often than not. Honestly, I think at this point, I’m not at the point where I get read strongly male, but I think honestly that I generate uncertainly.

To be clear, things that I realize that generate this:
– Hair: Still short-ish
– Height: I’m 6’ 2’’
– Makeup: None
– Facial Hair: Mostly gone, but still a shadow
– Voice: Still my original voice – no changes. On purpose. There’s a FAQ about that.

Now, I thought that being read would have negative effects. If you had asked me on November 25, 2007 (the day before my first surgery) what the “Crappy Look Counter” would be like two months out – I would have guessed somewhere between 50-100. Its 7 – four of those in one day. I thought that because of that, it would be that when people saw me, they would see “TG Me” first, before seeing me.

You know what?

I underestimated people – dramatically.

Instead, it’s been remarkably uneventful. In public in general, traveling, at work, wherever. After nearly three full weeks at work, it’s back to normal. Yes, people who haven’t seen me for a while have questions still – no problem. But the people who I work with on a daily basis, it’s just not an issue. Fantastic!

Now, why do I post about the “Ma’am” v. “Sir” thing then?

Part of the “fun” of transitioning is the sheer sociological aspect of it. Observing humanity, a.k.a. “people watching” is a pretty common human endeavor, no?

So, the “Crappy Look Counter” – honestly, people ask “How are you getting treated?” I write about that.

Also, “Ma’am” v. “Sir” – lots of questions! I have questions! This is an interesting idea – take something as fundamental as gender which is generally thought of as binary and then decide to intentionally blur the lines. Why did people care about David Bowie or Annie Lennox in their androgynous phases? It was uncommon, and an exploration into a space where not to many people tread.

So, when I get “Ma’am”ed, it’s interesting. When I get “Sir’ed” its interesting. I try to notice what I was wearing, general circumstance, etc – in either circumstance.

To be clear, I don’t *expect* to be “Ma’am”ed by strangers. Really. I get it. Damn, I wrote a whole POST about it when it happened first….

I have talked to friends about this – because they ask! And, surprisingly, more than a couple female friends and acquaintances have talked about getting “Sir’ed”. Generally, they are taller, don’t wear as much makeup, and have shorter hair, or will get “Sir’ed” with their hair up. Honestly, I hadn’t realized that this does happen frequently to women. Maybe I’m naïve, but I didn’t.

So, then yesterday, randomly listening to NPR, hearing Tilda Swinton say the same thing, well, I thought it was interesting. So, not having posted for a few days, I thought a post was in order. (Interesting, I got mail from a few friends who heard the same story, and thought of me!)

Now… what is up with the video?

Well… it was an experiment. I was really interested to see what would “work” and what wouldn’t. Not sure I’ll do it again. I’m not sure it worked. I’m not sure it communicated what I wanted….

January 17, 2008

Tilda Swinton Gets Sir’ed Too! (Video)

Posted in Identification, transgender, Video at 11:30 pm by Michael

Tilda 1 Tilda 2

Click here to go to YouTube to watch it there.

Would love feedback on the video v. written version of this.

Tilda Swinton Gets Sir’ed Too!

Posted in Identification, transgender at 10:05 pm by Michael

Tilda 1  Tilda 2 

Was listening to NPR tonight on the way to dinner (“Kasbah” in Ballard, which is Moroccan – very fun, and the kids loved it (all of ‘em)), and Tilda Swinton was being interviewed about her latest project. I was half listening, and I heard:

“If you wear trousers and short hair, in most hotel lobbies in the world people will call you sir.”

Now Tilda was “Orlando” in the same titled work, and isn’t unfamiliar with gender-bending, but come on, look at her face! Not super manly.


January 14, 2008


Posted in family at 10:31 pm by Michael

Anh and I get lots of questions about how we made it through this as a couple.

Here’s a few of our “Rules” that have helped.

A couple caveats: We make mistakes, just like everyone else (see rule #2) – so these aren’t always followed. Second, this is likely not a complete list.

In any case, here’s our list.

1    Honest. Brutally Honest.
2.   We all make mistakes. Admit them, and fix it.
3.   No Wallowing
4.   Solutions not Problems
5.   If you aren’t ashamed, don’t act like you are ashamed
6.   The middle sucks. Don’t be in the middle any longer than you need to.
7.   Be yourself. Yourself isn’t the TG part, it’s the “self part”.
8.   Find time to be a couple. Date night is great. We run 4+ days a week and talk. This is huge.
9.   Admit what’s hard.
10. Say when you are in love and happy. You are together for a reason, right?
11. Know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Delegate the right problem to the right partner.
12. Be happy with yourself first, everything else will follow.
13. Treat and evaluate everyone (family included) as they are, not as you want them to be. I.E. Don’t take any shit that you don’t deserve.
14. Strategize, talk and scheme. Be willing to talk through how to solve problems.
15. Explicitly talk about who is responsible for what (e.g., how to deal with an awake baby at 2am)
16. As Feynman said “Why do you care what other people think?” (it wasn’t actually Feynman, it was said to him by someone serving him tea when he asked for milk AND lemon – but, you get the point.)
17. While you may disagree on stuff – thats for private. In public, let there be no daylight between and betwixt you.
18. Honest. Brutally honest.

Samwich Update

Posted in family, Samwich at 9:45 pm by Michael


Six weeks ago, Samwich was Typhoid Samwich. His victim count was ~20. They suffered. Damn rotavirus!

Luckily, he’s over that.

Here’s some positive Samwich news…


One: He’s standing – max time is ~ 5-10 seconds. Not bad one day short of his 10 month birthday.

Two: He’s “walking” – two to three steps, he can do. He gets so excited, he falls forward. Classic toddler walking failure mode – self inflicted loss of balance.

Three: He can do “Touchdown”, aka “So Big” aka “Yea Samwich”. I think of it as “65 Yards, Brady to Moss! Touchdown!” He can do this while standing without support.


One: He says “What’s That?” However, when you answer, he repeats said question. He’s “speak only”.

Two: If you say “I love you” he can work out “I luh”. Close enough. He says “I love you”.


He gets hugs, and will give you “kisses”. However, his kisses include grabbing both sides of your head (hair, ears, whatever), and pulling you in to bite you in the chin, jaw or lip. This was cool, except for the hair pulling part, until he got a tooth. Now, he uses the tooth as a puncture weapon. Its a shiv in disguise.


He’s the frigging terrorist. No negotiation. He’s killing us.

However, we love him.

This morning, Anh said that he went to the corner of the kitchen where my laptop is when I’m not working, and started crying. She interpreted this as “Where’s my maddy?”

He was very happy to see me when I came home tonight.

It was all good. Slobber and all.

January 13, 2008

Human Maintenance

Posted in transgender at 9:36 pm by Michael

Today was my day for two minor but significant human maintenance activities – eyebrow waxing and ear piercing.

Here’s the result.

1/13 Front

I had waited this long for both for different post-surgical reasons.

The eyebrow stuff I had held off on because I was still having nerve/feeling issues with my forehead/eyebrow area and plucking was oddly painful (way more painful than before). However, recently I’ve gotten back the vast majority of the feeling back, so I thought this would be ok.

Ear piercing I had been cautioned not to do until my ears had completely healed from the “tucking” procedure.

As an aside, “Tuck” is a word that I generally associate with shirts and sheets, and its generally a painless exercise. However, getting your “Ears Tucked Back” involves an incision from the very bottom of the back of your ear, all the way to the top, and removal of cartilage, and then dissolvable sutures to put the whole mess together. Only the nose job was more painful than the crazy ear tuck.

As a result of the complexity (and due to the fact that I had a little infection behind my left ear about three weeks ago – easily taken care of with a round of antibiotics) and the risk of infection, I waited.

In addition, when Peri found out that I was going to get my ears pierced, she wanted to go with me.

Last night, she had all sorts of advice for me.

“It will hurt, but they will let you hold a teddy bear if it makes you feel better.”

“You get to pick out your own earrings, but they can’t be the dangly kind.”

“Make sure you clean them three times a day!”

“Do we have cotton balls? We need cotton balls.”

“You should have them do both at once, it hurts less that way!”

“Make sure you really LIKE what you pick out, you CAN’T change them for SIX WEEKS!” (six weeks is really a long time when you are nine)

Peri recommended that we go to “Claire’s” at Bellevue Square Mall. All the cool girls from her school go there, and her best friend had it done there too.

So this afternoon, after the Chargers stunned the Colts and Manning #2 (Archie, Peyton, Eli) made the sourpuss whiner face (surprised?), we ventured out.

First stop, eyebrows. There’s a good nail/wax place on top of Queen Anne, so we went there – walk in. This took literally two minutes. Zip Zop, Eyebrows Done! $8.

As we were driving over to Bellevue, Peri was reiterating how much it might hurt. I told her that it was ok, I was prepared! It was cute.

We get to the mall, and we walk in (longish walk), and Peri reached over and held my hand as soon as we got out of the car. We were just chatting about one of her games and the deal she got on a dotted shirt – bought it for 3 bells, sold it for 30! I wish I could eBay that well!

Anyway, as we were walking, I noticed that her hand was getting sweaty. I asked her “Are you nervous?” She gave me a little smile and said “Yes Daddy, I don’t want it to hurt too much!”

We got to the place, and started look through the choices. Peri really wanted me to get my birthstone, or a little flowery thing, but I choose big fake-o CZ stones. Right until the moment the gun went off (had to do one at a time – only one person was there who could do it), she was trying to convince me that a little colored purple stone would be better.

Click, Click and I had earrings. Electrolysis is worse (as is Laser).

Big smile from Peri, and she says “Those are PRETTY Daddy. I like them!”

Me too!

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