Archive | October 2014

Send Your Name To Mars!

Up until now, I’ve been semi-anonymous here on my blog, but today you’ll see my name. And the reason for that is that NASA is allowing our names to fly on the various missions preparing to go to Mars.

cara-mars-boarding-pass

 

You can send your name on missions to Mars by visiting this NASA link!

I think this is pretty cool! I’ll never get to set foot in space, despite that being one of my biggest wishes since I was a child, but my name can go with the astronauts who will be leaving earth. And that small thing, just knowing my name will go out there, makes me smile.

Submit your name too!

Two Weeks

There’s something different, even liberating about finally having legal identification that confirms that you are you. It took me a few days to realize that this and I am still having trouble verbalizing this but society at large has confirmed that I am me and not some defensive shell any longer.

Part of it is the realization that should anyone directly challenge me (it hasn’t happened so far!) I can pull out my driver’s license and a credit card and say, hey, this is me. Got an issue with that?

I discussed this with my therapist last week and yes, I’ve been thinking about this blog post since then but wasn’t ready to write. That lifting of weight has allowed my mind to go elsewhere now. Exactly as my therapist predicted, certain other things have begun to happen that I would not have been ready for had she not warned me and discussed this with me.

Without getting into too much detail, I’m attracting notice and it’s been positive notice so far. I don’t want to get into too much detail here (I have with a few friends in email), but this notice coupled with a lot of exploration of my true self with my therapist has led me to understand some things that I repressed for a long time. So let’s just say that I am noticing back at some of those doing the noticing. 🙂

All of this makes me very aware of the fact that I am sort of “mid-stream” in the medical process and still have quite a ways to go before I’m “done” as I envision things. But these unexpected results also have me feeling very positive about how far I’ve come at this point, regardless of how far there is yet to go.

This is all food for thought as I remember that in 24 days a dear friend will be arriving and the day after that another will as well. And this year, unlike last year when I faced our annual gathering of friends with a little trepidation, I have no such worries.

First Day At Work

Gee, I’m finding a lot to say this month, but I suppose there’s a lot going on that deserves noting.

Monday, October 6th, was the first day that Cara was present in the office. I completed the legal name change last week but since I work mostly from home anyway, Monday was the first day at the office as me.

HR paperwork was done, with an enthusiastic congratulations from the HR rep who helped me correct the relevant forms. My new health insurance card should be available to me within a few weeks. If there are any issues, she said she’d be sure to notify me.

New photo for ID was taken. They’re all mug shots but I have to say I like this one better than the old one.

IT began the process of changing my email and user ids. We seem to have gotten most of it, but not quite all yet. My contact there wants me to wait 24 hours to be sure all the changes to the Domain Controller are propagated outward to the secondary controllers before we investigate any anomalies.

My team mates all apparently had similar reactions. I walked in and “Who is.. oh! That’s Cara!” 🙂

Got home from the office just a few minutes before my spouse, who pulled up having stopped at the grocery store after her classes were done. So still wearing my “power” suit (black blazer, black knee length skirt, white button down blouse, black hose and black shoes) I walked out to help bring things into the house. My neighbor, who is a strange old coot who also happens to own a strip club not too many miles down the road, was getting out of his truck. He stopped and stared. 😛 That’s the third time he’s seen me as me in the last week and it won’t be the last. I suspect he wants to wander over and ask a question but hasn’t done it yet. Color me amused.

I do have to say though, that my employer, being a Norwegian company that has strong and explicit corporate language protecting all LGBT people, and which has apparently fired people for breaking their zero tolerance policy on those issues, has been superb. Every step of the way, they have been helpful, and I was even able to get them a few answers they did not yet have since I am apparently the company’s first transitioning trans employee.

I made some PF Chang’s for dinner (hate the restaurant – too pricey, but love the frozen meals at the grocery), and spent the evening chilling out.

An excellent first day at work for Cara. 🙂

 

P.S. Today I saw my new company photo propagating to correct locations and more and m0re of the corporate IT domain controllers appear to be getting my updates. It’s nice seeing my name and correct photo showing up where it should. 🙂

Rationalizations, Exploitation, and Selfishness

Today I read a discussion elsewhere that attempted to rationalize the decision to not transition when someone clearly wanted to transition. Excuses included relationships with people who could not accept the truth. This specific argument bothered me greatly.

The argument that “I can’t transition because [insert family member here] can’t accept it” is a rationalization. It marks someone who is in a dependent relationship, not a healthy relationship. It also marks someone who knows very well that they are not loved unconditionally as a human being but instead is “loved” very conditionally. This is called being in a codependent relationship. It’s not healthy.

I experienced all this and looking back on it, it was pure and utter nonsense. How do I know this? How would these same family members react if I said I had cancer? Well, I know the answer to that question because I had and beat cancer eighteen years ago. And for that medical problem, people constantly urged me forward, to not give up, to have hope, to get well. The exact same people who today openly, viciously, and cruelly condemn me for addressing this health issue supported me when it wasn’t a health issue that challenged their own world view.

And you see, that is the height of selfishness.

“Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live. And unselfishness is letting other people’s lives alone, not interfering with them. Selfishness always aims at creating around it an absolute uniformity of type. Unselfishness recognises infinite variety of type as a delightful thing, accepts it, acquiesces in it, enjoys it. It is not selfish to think for oneself. A man who does not think for himself does not think at all. It is grossly selfish to require of one’s neighbour that he should think in the same way, and hold the same opinions. Why should he? If he can think, he will probably think differently. If he cannot think, it is monstrous to require thought of any kind from him. A red rose is not selfish because it wants to be a red rose. It would be horribly selfish if it wanted all the other flowers in the garden to be both red and roses.”

― Oscar Wilde, The Soul of Man and Prison Writings

Oscar Wilde’s comments ring true today too.

It’s not the person transitioning who is selfish. That person is simply addressing a verified medical condition as per the American Medical Association and American Psychological Association. Transgender people aren’t mentally ill. It’s a treatable medical condition.

And yet the exact same people who urged me forward, who supported me as I sought treatment for cancer to become well again, have treated me with deliberate, cruel, vicious disdain for seeking treatment for gender dysphoria caused by an accident of birth.

I do not question those who choose to not transition out of fear of reactions of “loved” ones. I understand that fear all too well. But what I would question is whether those people truly love you or whether you are a mere convenience in your current form for them who would become an inconvenience in another form.

Because, having lived this, it sure looks to me like a lot of people who claim to “love” their transgender relatives do nothing of the kind and instead are selfish individuals who are using their transgender relative for their own purposes, whatever those might be and who fear losing whatever convenience that relative currently provides.

Those of you who are trans need to ask yourselves whether you are really loved or whether you are just being used. I suspect that you’ll find that you’re just being used. I certainly discovered that sad truth and I sacrificed hugely for what turned out to be nothing in the end.

So It Is Done

On September 29th, early in the morning (this judge was an early riser!), I and three other transgender persons received our court orders affirming our legal name and gender change. I am not going to discuss details of this, due to the extremely transphobic nature of so many of Texas’ radical right wing religious bigots, but I can and will recommend my attorney, Phyllis Frye, if you should need such legal services in Texas.

Frye, Oaks and Benavidez, PLLC
3315 Mercer
Houston, TX 77027
Phone: (713) 227-1717
FAX: (713) 522-2610
Email: info@liberatinglaw.com

Phyllis did a super job, handling everything professionally but with kindness and consideration as well. And so my legal name and gender are now correct in state records. I now begin the long process of updating financial and other records. I’ve updated one bank account already and I need to get copies made of my court order to send to credit card companies, the mortgage company, etc.

Phyllis and her law firm handle all aspects of transgender legal needs. Need a new will? Divorcing? Other legal issues? They handle it all. They’ll even go to bat for you with your employer if there are problems on that front. (Note: My employer has been super supportive, aside from being unwilling to alter the corporate insurance policy for GRS. And I expected that so am planning to go to Thailand for mine.)

If you are trans, in Texas, and need legal representation, I recommend Phyllis Frye and her firm.