Tag Archive | FFS

Authenticity and “Passing”

I originally wrote most of this as a comment to another blog I follow. But I realized it’s useful and wanted others to have the chance to consider this as well.

I really really dislike the term “passing” but I’m going to use it here because so many people in the community understand it. I prefer to think of it as just acceptance of who I am.

One of the things about “passing” seems to be a lack of effort. And I don’t mean that in the way some people might think. In fact, perhaps I mean it the opposite way.

When we’re unsure of ourselves, when we’re not authentically ourselves (which I agree is hard!), we start to “act”, and our role in society becomes performance art rather than just who we are.

But the funny thing is that people seem to be able to detect performance art versus authenticity. Maybe we try too hard. Maybe we make subtle mistakes or maybe we’re acting so hard that we don’t make mistakes. Maybe we “act” too hard and it sends signals to others.

I’m not really sure. But what I do know is that as I acquired personal inner peace, as I began to simply “be me” as opposed to someone society thought I should be, my issues with “passing” vanished.

Yeah, I admit I’ve had medical help along the way as an MtF trans woman but that help, while it definitely helped, wasn’t the final piece of the puzzle for me.

It was when I finally found a way to “be me” that I stopped acting. And almost as soon as I stopped acting, I stopped getting misgendered, etc. I know it’s not that easy for everyone. I know that hormones need time to work. I know that there are other aspects. But regardless of all those things, it does seem to me that “passing” includes being authentic, just “being you” rather than a construct.

NOTE: Part of finding that inner peace, for me at least, did come from surgery. Once I completed GCS, then I began to finally, for the first time in my life, begin to feel positive about my own body. So surgery played a role there too, but only a role.

Looking Forward To July

FFS is now behind me. I’ve left the tape behind, a few days early, but my nose feels great and reading other rhinoplasty recovery guidelines, a full month of taping was a bit on the overly cautious side anyway.

So now it’s preparing for July, for GCS and BA, and to try to enjoy Thailand a bit before and after the surgery, as conditions allow. I’m planning to buy 3-4 Kaftans, I think. Loose, flowing, easy to don and remove, these should make most days after surgery much more bearable. Bangkok’s weather sounds a lot like Houston’s – hot and humid. I’m hoping there’s plenty of shade outside because I’d like to sit outside the cottages and enjoy the fresh air.

I have another facial hair removal session for early July,  Thursday, July  2nd, since businesses are closed July 3rd to celebrate July 4th, which falls on Saturday this year. That’s a couple weeks before I fly so by the time I leave for Thailand, I’ll have some idea of how much facial hair is still left. I plan to make the next appointment for early to mid September, then another possibly for early November but we’ll see what the schedule allows.

I’m considering going home to visit my siblings this Christmas. I’ve not been there since we buried Mom, in 2012. A lot has changed since then, obviously, and I’ll have to ask if I’m wanted back there or not. I don’t expect any negativity, but we’ll see. I’ve been sadly surprised before. Plan for the worst, hope for the best, they say.

Trans people are becoming more and more visible each day in the US. And we’re winning more and more legislative battles, even while Republicans try to throw more and more legislative obstacles in our way. Yet now we have high tech companies backing us too, threatening and actually following through on those threats to take business elsewhere if Republican states openly enact bigoted laws. Indiana got a rude shock and is now spending tens of millions of taxpayer dollars trying to repair their idiocy. Personally, I hope they continue to fail and people remember what Mike Pence and the Indiana GOP actually did until they are driven from office, and state wide LGBT protections are implemented there.

I know that Texas is sweating bullets too.  Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and several Texas businesses, Apple Computer in Austin, Dell Computer in Austin, and others are threatening to cancel Texas business expansions and even consider relocating should the Texas legislature enact anti-LGBT laws. Suddenly many anti-LGBT legislative proposals are getting tied up in committee. The GOP won’t openly oppose them, just quietly kill them, which will have to be enough for now. But make no mistake, Republicans will try this again and again and again unless we remove them from public office.

So the “transgender tipping point” from last year into this year seems real, and it’s a good thing too. More and more children are being diagnosed and helped at young ages. My therapist and I mused together that within a century there may not be any adult transitioners left. That getting the “wrong” socialization may stop happening, as children are diagnosed early, allowed to socially transition young, placed on hormone blockers, then allowed to complete transition medically at the age of 18. Those children will never suffer biological development that fails to match their inner selves. They’ll never have to unlearn one gender role and relearn a new one. In fact, they will nearly be as “stealth” as might be possible in a high tech society, with only trace information about their earliest years hinting they were ever anything other than the man or woman they show to the world. It gives me hope for trans kids tomorrow. Assuming the religious Christian Taliban doesn’t take over first, of course.

And finally, I need to find a real tablet, netbook, or notebook computer to take to Thailand. My phone was sort of trying to use for 10 days in Guadalajara. I’ll want a bit more convenience than that for a month in Thailand.

In a sense, I am now approaching the medical end of my transition. The facial hair may be done by year’s end or early next year. The other medical procedures will all be complete. The legal steps have been taken. I live and work day to day as myself finally, and I am happy doing it. I still think about losses I’ve experienced but those people made their own choices. All that I can do is go on living my life, and I plan to do just that – living finally, instead of merely existing.

FFS Done, Back Home, Musings and Preparing for July Now

I’m back home from Guadalajara, still pretty swollen and bruised, but the surgery went fine. I’ll be taping my nose every four days until May 22nd, when I can stop. The bruising and swelling should be mostly gone by then.

Dr. Cardenas and I chatted and he suggested I give this 12-18 months to fully heal but that I may want to consider a facelift at my age to go along with the FFS work that was done. I could see even before surgery where that  might work out well for me, and given that we did some jaw and chin contouring, there may be a bit too much loose skin on the lower face for the long term. We’ll see.

I can tell how much the lower face is still swelled just by trying to smile. I can’t smile a completely wide smile because the swelling just blocks it from happening, but it’s getting better each day as the swelling continues to go down.

I did a profile pic just for myself today. I think the brow ridge is much improved, though he might have reduced it a tiny bit more. In any case, it looks a lot more feminine to me now. And I can see the difference. My old brow jutted forward enough that I could see the brow just by looking up hard. Now that’s not an issue at all. I think my eyes look more open and I even with the tape, I can tell the nose is much improved. I’m eager to see everything once the swelling is cleared up and I can remove the tape finally.

So now I need to begin preparing for July and GCS. That’s the next big thing. I’m going to rest for one more week then begin stairs 4-5 nights per week as my exercise routine for preparing for July. The bike is comfortable but the stairs really push me and that’s what I’ve done in the past to get ready for mountain hikes with my brother. It really is challenging but definitely makes a difference in a few months time.

I saw the Bruce Jenner interview while I was in Mexico. I felt it was handled very well, considering where transgender knowledge is for the majority of people, and probably for Diane Sawyer as well. I think the support from family was very important to express. When they said “There’s another way”, I almost cried. So many families simply turn their backs on transgender family members or even reject them, sometimes violently. For Jenner’s children to be so supportive and accepting is a wonderful example. Let’s hope that people take it to heart.

And, in a stunning statement (stunning to me), Rick Santorum made the following statement:

“If he says he’s a woman, then he’s a woman,” Santorum said to reporters Saturday at the South Carolina Republican convention. “My responsibility as a human being is to love and accept everybody. Not to criticize people for who they are.”

Given Santorum’s harsh anti-gay and anti-marriage equality stances, this surprised me. Most right wing “Christians” reject transgender people as part of the overall “LGBT agenda”. I’m always amused by that claim as I have no idea what that is. Can one of you conservatives mail me a copy? I seem to have missed the handouts.

The EEOC keeps moving forward, including transgender people under “sex discrimination” lawsuits and handing out fines and other punishments to businesses that insist of mistreating transgender employees. This is good, so far as it goes, but we still need a trans-inclusive ENDA for other areas of life, such as medical care and housing.

I’m in a good place right now as the pains of the past continue to recede. I know that I didn’t close certain doors, others did, so it’s their problem if they want to reopen those doors or not. As for me, I continue to move forward with my life. If someone wants me involved in their life, that’s their choice. And if not, their failure to include me won’t deny me my happiness or satisfaction with my own life.

It’s March and Everything is Coming Together

My FFS is now set for April 22nd, in Guadalajara, Mexico, with Dr. Lazaro Cardenas at TransOp. The bill is paid in full and includes ten days at the recovery residences with all meals included. I’ve gotten some helpful tips from other women who’ve gone to TransOp as well. I’m excited.

The last facial hair clearing session took me over a threshold. There’s clearly a lot less facial hair now and it’s a lot patchier than before. The right side of the face is far more clear than the left side. The left side under the lip, the bottom of the chin, and the left jawline are still exhibiting noticeable hair growth. In comparison the right side is far far spottier at this point.

I’m guessing that I’ve got 3-5 more sessions to go now, but that’s just a guess. I also can’t do another session til early July because I have to allow the face to begin healing from FFS before resuming facial hair removal, so that process may extend beyond the end of this year. We’ll see but clearing my complexion coupled with FFS is going to give me a whole new appreciation of myself each morning in the mirror.

And my GCS date is set for July 22nd at the Chettawut Plastic Surgery Center in Bangkok, Thailand. I’ve made that payment (in full) and airline reservations for both surgeries are complete. My passport is in hand. A dear friend and I will be traveling to Bangkok together on July 17th, arriving later in the evening on July 18th, total flight time about 22 hours with a 2 hour layover in Seoul, South Korea. We return on Sunday, August 16th, leaving just after midnight (really late Saturday evening) and arriving in Houston at 8:50am (the joys of the international date line) after a flight of about 24 hours with another 2 hour layover in Seoul, South Korea.

I’m excited. My closest friends are excited and we’ve discussed this. There’s a little trepidation too, about both surgeries. Can anything go wrong? Will it turn out the way I hope? But there’s a lot of excitement and I know I’ve chosen two of the best surgeons in the world for their respective specialties.

And as for appreciations in the mirror, after July, getting out of the shower in the morning, I expect to feel a lot more at peace with what I see than I do currently.

There’s also the matter of some hair restoration work to schedule in there at some point after FFS. Once that is done, I can look into these bonded, integrated hair systems that I can wear for weeks at a time. I’m looking forward to that too.

By the time my close friends see me at the next Ren Fest, I think they’re going to be surprised.

And to Elizabeth, remember what you said you’d do if I did for Ren Fest? It may be time to start planning your “princess warrior” costume!!

Odds and Ends in February, 2015

A recent study was published showing that long term HRT is safe for transgender persons when properly medically supervised. I highlighted that last phrase for a reason. Please do not self medicate! It’s potentially dangerous and could kill you if you don’t understand what you are doing.

People get upset claiming I pick on Republicans. No, I don’t. I pick on batshit crazy barbarians who want to take us back to the 13th century and inquisitions. More Republicans today reject evolution than accept it. And a clear majority of Republicans today, when asked, would overthrow the US constitution and make the US a right wing fundamentalist evangelical theocracy. You won’t find Democrats saying that sort of crazy. Not 57% of them.

And the reason I pick on Republicans is they are, across the country, now trying to turn my mere existence into a crime. Sound familiar? It should! That is exactly what the Nazis did to the Jews and LGBT people. And now here we are with Republicans playing the same exact theme, wanting to criminalize our mere existence, for simply going to the bathroom or something like that. Worse, these ignorant Republicans are going to criminalize XY females (yes they exist), XX males (yes, they exist), and Klinefelter’s females and males both. The ignorance and scapegoating is breathtaking in its scope and the danger it represents to human beings that the GOP clearly hates.

In personal news I am now arranging for FFS to be done in Guadalajara, Mexico with Dr. Lazaro Cardenas in late April. Once those details are finalized, I can begin arranging the scheduling for GCS with Dr. Chettawutt in late July to early August.

And my facial hair removal continues apace. It’s getting less and less. I do believe I will finish this process this year also.

This is going to be a huge year for me. There are a lot of challenges ahead but I am looking forward to them. The final medical steps should all be done, except for considering voice surgery, which I may yet do in 2016 at some point.