Inspired by how well the AIDS question and answer went, I invited my community to ask any question they might have about gender.
Of course I first must put in the obligatory statement of “This is only my perspective and no one else’s” (though I did get Cyndi’s opinion on a few of these.) I can only speak with confidence for my family…no one else. Quite possible that no one in the world outside of us feels this way, or would answer these questions this way.
Please also know…that the transgender/transsexual brain is INHERENTLY different than standard male/female brain. It just IS. MANY trans people would likely not agree with me on that….and that’s fine. They are entitled to their opinions as well as me. There are so many things that are…seemingly little…or trivial, or not worth mentioning as we go through our day. There’s so much that causes great emotional PAIN in being trans…that those things often aren’t mentioned. Not even in a diary.
Sometimes…I actually hide behind my extreme honesty. If I fill my blog with lots and lots of seemingly intimate things…well, you feel like you know me pretty well…right? Makes it easy to leave out some of the REAL and DEEP pains of life. Don’t we all do that somewhat?
Onto your questions. Which…by the way, I’ve ordered how I want. I really appreciate your questions and the thought you put into them.
~Just what is an androgyn?
An androgyn is a rather loose catch all term for anyone who doesn’t fit into the male/female binary. There are MANY words for this…. Genderqueer, third gender, bi-gender….there’s more and more and more. All people have their preferred term for self.
~Now that I’ve really thought about it and you said ANY question.. well, it just seems that when Cyndi started her desire to become a woman it just kinda seemed like overnight that you wanted to change your sex as well, like you almost felt you had to or something. You always made and wore pretty skirts and you wanted a baby so badly at THE moment Cyndi made her choice. your writing doesn't seem different, I mean you sound like the same person inside... I don't know, I guess what I’m trying to ask is how it all came about, and so quickly.
I’ve been trying to figure out how to answer this shortly…and I can’t. *sigh* Well…ok. Um…we could take it back as far as childhood but I don’t see the need in that. Just know that I COULD pull from childhood…and am choosing not to. Cyndi and I have know the other was trans for as long as we’ve been together. We named my male side “Kyle” but it quickly became painful. The more I opened up…the more I needed. The further down the rabbit hole I went…the longer I saw it got. It came to a head a few months into my relationship with Cyndi and it was too much. I saw exactly who I wanted to be. I saw exactly who I was. Androgyn. Only…I didn’t have that word yet.
When I’d ask myself “Are you a guy? I mean…are you? Really?” and the answer really was…no. I’m not. As far as I knew…that makes me a girl! It was so so so confusing. I applied the word “freak” to myself quite a bit. I became obsessed with thoughts of surgery so I could have a penis. I was sure and convinced that no doctor would do such a thing, and even if they would…how on earth would I afford it!!! So I closed the door. I shut it aside and did my best to throw myself as FAR into femininity as I could. I wore skirts and refused to wear pants EVER. I became obsessed with pregnancy…just sure that becoming pregnant and having those hormones would clear up any “wayward” thoughts of gender.
When I was seeking support as a spouse of a transperson I stumbled into the word androgyn. It was….the most…momentous…and extremely scary thing I think I’ve felt in recent recollection. The door to the vault I’d stuffed all gender related thoughts into…flung open and DEMANDED I deal with it. RIGHT. THEN. I knew what I was. I was an androgyn. And I wasn’t alone.
I know the timing looked….concerning from a distance. Our therapist even admitted as much. But…if you are a cigarette smoker…and you’ve quit. Can you live with a smoker and NOT smoke? If you’re an trying to avoid something…anything…(perhaps an addiction is a poor analogy but I can’t think of anything else particularly relatable. Forgive me please..) So if you’re trying to avoid something with all of your being…while simultaneously NEEDING that thing…and someone you live with is DOING that thing…there’s just no more running from it. There’s just not. You can’t hide…it’s IN YOUR HOME. I had to face it. There was no waiting.
~Do you believe there are inherently "male" or "female" characteristics? Or, are "male" and "female" merely socially constructed?
Easy answer would be…yes. I think that there are many male/female characteristics that are inherent. There are also equal that are socially constructed. The idea of the “Stoic male” for example…I believe has its roots in truth and nature…but it’s been taken to a place that’s…constructed.
Most of my experience and what’s been really really eye opening for me is the inner working of the male mind. (as I perceive it…obviously.) I really really really honestly thought that men were just…the exact same as women. That we all were *the same* and that men just DIDN’T act like women simply because of society.
That’s SO unfair!!! We are NOT the same. We’re not. Omg. Men and women aren’t at all the same. There are some things that are just…human, rather than gender based… but I think it’s a really huge injustice done by the feminist movement.
I’m not sure I could really express the differences…except for when they come up so…keep reading my journal I suppose ;)
~Could you share your opinions and/or factual differences between some commonly used terms. For example, that cross-dressing compared to being transgender. Or there's another, do you use transgender & transsexual interchangeably- why or why not?
Well…cross dressers are men (or women…though commonly men) who are not trans of any form. They simply like the clothes of the other sex. Which to me…just speaks to a need to break out of “gendered clothes”. I think anyone of any gender should be able to wear whatever color, and whatever fit they want. I do not understand why we have “women’s clothes” and “men’s clothes” aside from fit and shape.
The word Transgender is the huge umbrella that encompasses MtF, FtM, Androgyns and all else. People who choose to take steps and transition and those who don’t. Pre-ops, post-ops, non-ops and everyone else. Transsexuals are people who are actively taking steps to change from one sex to the other.
Which…brings me to a point that I don’t have any better spot for. (lol) Cyndi is often upset when the topic of transgender comes up with non trans people…and conversation immediately goes to genitals. That bothers her because it’s not about bits for us. I’ve had to remind her frequently that…if you’re not trans…your genitals basically ARE your gender. It just doesn’t go beyond that really. Why would it? Where as transgender people talk about their “gender” which differs from their “sex”. Your sex is about what’s between your legs. Your gender is what’s between your ears. What’s in your brain and your heart…who are you *truly*? So when we say transsexual we are talking about someone who is actively changing their sex. Cyndi and I…by definition are transsexuals. The word has “sex” in it…which leads people to think it’s a sexual orientation which is forever frustrating. It’s nothing to do with sexual orientation…that’s about how you use your body and who your attracted to. Being part of the GLBT movement isn’t really doing us any favors in that vain…but I digress.
~I also have a personal question of etiquette. What is the correct way to refer to a trans person when referring back to a time when he or she wasn't out. Not sure if that made sense, so for an example- let's say I was at your wedding & now I was telling someone about it. Should I say "At Sara & Pete's wedding..." or should I say "At Sevan & Cyndi's wedding..."
That one’s deeply personal to the individual and the situation. If you’re talking to someone who knew me as Sara before…well then it makes sense to refer to me as Sara which would denote a time. “Ya know, the wedding they had…long ago, before transition.”
If you’re talking to someone who’s never known me as Sara, never knew there was any such person and didn’t know I’d transitioned or am transgender…well…that’d out me and be considered rude.
The simple answer would be to backdate the name. Most transgender people…if they’ve changed their name they feel they’ve always been “new name”.
I find that I still refer to “Pete” from time to time. Particularly if I’m speaking about when we first got together. As a couple, we’re ok with this. Most aren’t.
~Do you and Cyndi have a better understanding and empathy for each other now that you've both experienced both ends of the 'hormonal' spectrum?
Oh good god yes. Lol. We also have a lot of empathy for the confusion that this transition lends. So many things that as a woman I took for granted and just…knew…because I’d been raised to be a woman…that Cyndi has to actively learn. I will also admit that there were many things in her early months of transitioning that drove me a bit batty. Then I started T and felt quite sheepish because…oh. Yea…no real control over some things. Taking new hormones comes with mood swings. It just does.
~I like [the last questioner’s] question. Plus it (and something you said in the last entry) suggests a follow on, which is having moved around on the gender spectrum, what parts of your personalities have turned out to be gender based (and therefore changing as you've changed) and what parts are fundamental?
For me personally…I found that my depression was gender based (or gender dysphoria based..) I cried REALLY easily, I hated exercise, I multi tasked really well, and I could take or leave sex. All of those things have changed.
My love of crafting and sewing are integral part of myself. I do feel far more rounded. I feel gifted in what I now know about gender and some of the things that motivate us. Cyndi really wants us to write an advice book for couples based on what we know about men and women.
Hormones effect everything..from what smells we like to how food tastes.
I really think everyone should have the chance to cross hormones..just for a month or something. Though that likely wouldn't work so well. Men who have been put on estrogen often get depressed and such. I've only had the experience I've had with T comes from it being *right* for me. Same goes for Cyndi. We would know right away if it were wrong. It would have felt wrong. It is a shame that more people can't experience this though.
I don't know how to fully describe it...it's just been so all encompassing. As painful as it can be to be trans...it's a gift.
~Are there traits that you consider feminine or masculine that you are attracted to in Cyndi?
This is something that I've been just...stuck on. I can't really pick and parse what I'm attracted to about Cyndi and then apply gender! So since these three attraction questions were asked together I'm just going to jump to the last bit...
~Are there other things you are attracted to that transcend gender? How has your attraction to Cyndi shaped and changed as you have both gone through transitions?
Our love has deepened significantly. Our respect and trust of one another has just...bloomed. We thought we were unstoppable before but now...we're unbreakable. When I first started looking into androgyny she was actively skeptical and didn't care for it. She didn't think anyone could live out of the binary. We've grown, we've fought and we've come to a deep place of understanding. I couldn't begin to tell you what I love specifically. There's very little she does that even annoys me. Some things...of course...but they're so small in comparison to our love and commitment.
It was pointed out to me by someone who read this that I use the word "Transgendered" quite a bit when I'm writing. That's true. I do. (though I've corrected that in this entry.) Never really put much thought into it really. At her suggestion I did a bit of reading. There are many things I am aware of when it comes to advocacy. Cyndi spends her whole day reading blogs, articles, studies ect ect ect...and looking at trans forums. I personally....don't. However, gender based conversations are frequent in our home. This happens to be something that's never come up. We've had discussions on how people want to get rid of the word "transsexual" and create some new better discriptor. That seems to come up every few months in our circles. People don't like the word because it has "sex" in it, and thus people who are unfamiliar equate transssexuals with a sexual identity. I digress. I pulled this from an article I found:
"The word transgender never needs the extraneous "ed" at the end of the word. In fact, such a construction is grammatically incorrect. Only verbs can be transformed into participles by adding "-ed" to the end of the word, and transgender is an adjective, not a verb."
I'm not trying to excuse myself from using an inaprpriate word...but anyone who's known me for more than a min knows grammar isn't my strong point. I put this here because many of the questions contained the word "transgendered". (again, I altered this entry..) So clearly, I'm not the only one unaware. Since the point of this entry was education...I figured I'd add this correction as well.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Inspired by how well the AIDS question and answer went, I invited my community to ask any question they might have about gender.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
In another community I'm part of I was asked a few questions about AIDS. That prompted me to open it up and elicit more questions. Here I've answered them. I found the questions so well thought out that I wanted to share this entry on blogger as well.
This isn't an easy thing to write. This is actually really difficult for me. Finding links worth sharing, making sure I'm passing along correct and factual information when I know full well most of you aren't going to click the links that back me up...nope. This comes down to "Well Sevan told me.." and so...that's pressure. I do my best to be correct. I am adding links in...so you can read those. HIV is something that's always changing, growing, we're always learning more things. However thanks to the Internet...if you go looking about...you'll find articles that were written in the early 90s still up and available! Still appearing to be "facts" and you have to sift through those to find the more CURRENT facts. It's tough. So take that with a grain of salt. I'm human, I'm doing my best to provide you with as much information as I can...and I'm going to try to keep too much of my feelings and personal story out of this. Though that's impossible on the whole. My story does weave in. How can it not?
I want to thank you guys for asking adult questions that were free of hate, full of respect and kindness. I'm honestly surprised. I suppose I shouldn't be. I opened up about HIV a few years back and people were childish and cruel. Not everyone...of course. This time around though I didn't get one. single. hateful question or comment. Not one! Thank you!!
With that...your questions.
I guess I'm wondering what your particular interest in AIDs is.
Great place to start. My interest in the disease...is that Cyndi and I both have it.
What are the ways to get tested?
Getting tested couldn't be easier. Planned parenthood offers full STD testing including HIV tests. Your local health department offers free and anonymous testing. You can even buy a home kit and test at home by yourself!!! HIV testing looks for *antibodies* that your body makes to fight HIV. The tests don't look for HIV itself. Because of that we're able to test orally or via blood. I think that the oral swab test gives off the impression that we would find HIV in saliva and that's not the case. Saliva does have antibodies though. The oral swab test is totally pain free and comes back in 20mins! There's also a finger prick test. Little drop of blood that also comes back in 20mins. If those tests come back positive the testing location you've gone to is required to do a full blood draw and send that to the lab to confirm the results. (or at least...that was the way of it in 2004 when I tested positive)
Cyndi and I were tested via oral swab and when that came back positive a vial of blood was drawn and sent off to a lab. We got the results from the lab back two weeks later. I'd like to hope that's been expedited since I was tested...because waiting that two weeks SUCKS.
What's the difference between HIV and AIDS?
They are the same disease, same virus. However AIDS is defined as anyone who has under 200 tcells (per mL of blood). HIV is anyone who has more tcells than that. Tcells are the immune system cells that HIV attacks. HIV virus takes over these Tcells and turns them into HIV replication factories. So they no longer fight the disease...they instead create more of the virus. Nasty thing that. It is possible to dip into AIDS "territory" and spring back to HIV status.
How did you find out that you were positive?
How did you (specifically) get AIDs?
I had sex with my fiance. Simple really.
Are you and Cyndi both HIV positive? For how long?
Yes. Cyndi and I are both positive. We've been positive for the same amount of time. Well...we've been diagnosed for the same amount of time. We don't know when Cyndi contracted HIV but based on our first visit to the dr to check our HIV blood labs it was clear that Cyndi gave it to me and I can just about pinpoint at what time I got it. They say that when you come down with HIV there's a large spike in the disease which causes really nasty flu like symptoms. Not always...but sometimes. I had such symptoms. I was really really run down and we were worried I'd actually gotten mono or something. I broke out really bad in sores, my throat hurt, I was exhausted and achy...it was no good.
HIV doesn't necessarily show up in your blood for up to six months after contracting it. (though likely within 4-6 weeks after the risky behavior) I tested negative in Aug 2004 and we both tested positive in Dec 2004. We weren't doing anything risky to really warrant these tests...just thought STD testing was an important part of any physical.
When Cyndi and I first started dating (since this is public I'll make clear...Cyndi is a transsexual woman. She used to be "he" when we first got together. Thus...to put it shortly...we were having straight sex.) we were using condoms. We were committed to each other and didn't want to use condoms anymore. We went down to Planned Parenthood to discuss birth control options. Sadly...it wasn't recommended to us that we get STD tested before stopping condom use. *sigh* The nurse half heartedly suggested we keep using condoms even with the birth control in place and I was naive enough to not even put 2 and 2 together and understand what she was talking about or why we'd still want to use condoms. I'm very very sad that she assumed we knew about STD testing and were just turning it down. That's not the case. The thought truly never crossed my mind. My only previous adult relationship was lesbian. STDs were kinda the furthest thing from my mind.
We got together in spring. We had a very rocky time...were homeless living in a tent. I would frequently get lunch at a youth center. They were advertising HIV testing for $20. As in...they'd PAY me $20 to get tested. Well...hell ya! I needed $20. So I was going to get tested. ONLY because I wanted $20. They never showed up. It was on my mind after that. We moved around alot, got into some trouble. In the summer I got a UTI and had to go to the doctor for antibiotics. I asked to be HIV tested since it was still kind of on my mind. Cyndi didn't get tested at that time...since I was the only one seeing the doctor. It came back negative. I felt good about that. We must BOTH be negative since we'd been having condom free sex for quite a few months.
December is HIV awareness month and the city we lived in was plastered in "Know your status" billboards, posters ect. Cyndi really felt it appropriate for us both to get full STD screening since she hadn't had any testing done for a few years. That's when we found out we were both positive.
When you were diagnosed, I'm sure you had expectations of how things would be and the doctors must have given you some more guidance. My question is what have you discovered, that you didn't get warned about, or the warning didn't make clear? What surprised you?
When I was first diagnosed....I was sure we were dead. Just dead. We were diagnosed 12-16-04 and we didn't get in to see a doctor until Feb 05. Talk about a hellish wait. We didn't have insurance so we had to wait until we could get insurance and then the waiting list to see the doc was long. We had no idea where to get services, where to turn, who the dr was that we could see...it was a long process.
The HIV center that we finally ended up getting services at required a sit down with a therapist the first visit. They split Cyndi and I up and talked to us individually. The lady I saw was bright and shinny and assured me that they were catching it very early in me and that it's be AT LEAST 10 years before I'd require meds! At least!! She should have never said that. I clung to that number like my life depended on it. Then we were sent for blood work. They drew the most blood I've EVER had drawn in my life. 16 vials. I walked out woozy.
Our doctor wanted us to get rid of our animals...advised us not to have cats because of the liter box...THAT was horrible advice. Telling me I had 10 years was an awful thing to say. Never give someone such specific time line!! Also...it's not a death sentence. I was sure it was.
I always wondered how someone HIV+ could do things publicly, like going in community center pools. Isn't there risk of spreading that through blood or other fluids in a pool setting? Or is that really not a concern? Do you know?
Nope. That's the quick and easy answer. The long answer would be that HIV is surprisingly easy to kill. You wouldn't think so...but outside of the body HIV is susceptible to UV light, can't live in dried blood, is very susceptible to bleach, chlorine and general soap. If a drop of blood were to get into the pool it would quickly dilute and the virus would be killed by the chlorine. Plus...I don't spontaneously bleed. That's not in jest...that's the truth. There is a risk of me cracking my head open or harming myself in some way that would cause lots of bleeding....but then we would just use universal precautions, get people out of the pool, let the water run through the filters for about a half an hour and then we'd be ok to get back to swimming. These are universal precautions. This is what would happen if ANYONE bled into a public pool.
There seems to be a rather common misconception that because I've got HIV I must just randomly bleed more than HIV- people. I don't think people actively think through that...but I've been asked similar questions before. For example...when I was in massage school my mom (who's an RN...) asked me one time if I would be wearing gloves to protect my massage clients. No. That wasn't necessary. Even if I DID have some sore or opening in my skin that touched a client (I ASSURE you I was very careful to keep my skin well moisturized and I checked regularly to make sure I didn't have so much as an exposed popped zit.) they would have to also have an opening in their skin.
How common is HIV, and AIDS?
Now that is a good question! And I have no idea. No one knows. It's guessed by scientists that it's WAY higher than we currently know though. The problem with HIV is that it's often symptomless. It can go on like that for many many years before you become very ill. It's also rather easy to just brush aside any symptoms you may have as something else. One of the highest risk places that HIV is spreading is actually in elderly residential facilities. Viagra has helped people...have fun longer and later in life..and they aren't accustomed to condoms nor do they want to wear them! Since HIV symptoms mostly mimic common aging complaints...it's missed frequently in the older populations.
There are many people who just don't go get tested because "HIV isn't going to effect me." but one thing I know about HIV is that it simply doesn't care who you are. It doesn't matter if your rich, poor, black, white, tan, female, male, gay or straight. It just doesn't matter. Anyone who has sex...could get HIV. Just because YOU are committed to your partner doesn't mean that they are as committed. You also have no idea where your partner has been before getting with you. There's no way to know...without getting tested.
So sadly I can't say how common it is! Much more common than we currently believe I think.
Does HIV shorten a person's lifespan? If so, by how much?
Hard question...but it's thought not. Depends on when the person was diagnosed, what strain they've got and what they do with themselves. Taking good care and having good doctors goes a long long way. Sad but true. People who don't seek help, don't take their meds on time...well...they're gonna have a really really tough time. People who adhere to their meds, have a good working relationship with their doctor team and keep their numbers up have a good chance at living as long as HIV- people.
What annoying or debilitating symptoms are exhibited by AIDS sufferers? You know, day-to-day crap that has nothing to do with the moment you contract the disease, other diseases, or meds you have to take. Unless most of those things are medicinal side effects.
The symptoms range from none (lucky bastards...lol. I kid..kinda.) To diarrhea, neuropathy (pain and tingling in the feet and/or hands), IBS (Irritable bowel), poor sleep, secondary infections, pain, odd fat distribution (not seen as much anymore...but many people used to have sunken in faces, thin thin arms and legs and pregnant looking belly's Particularly difficult to deal with in women....) confusion, "HIV related dementia"...and now we're seeing many people who are over weight and dealing with diabetes as a co-infection!!
It's really really hard to say what symptoms are from the HIV itself and what symptoms are from the medicines. The meds are nasty. No ifs ands or buts about it. That therapist told me I had 10 years before I needed to start meds. That was vastly wrong. I had to start meds three years after being diagnosed. I was on the couch with extreme fatigue, nausea, stomach woes and a touch of dizziness. For MONTHS. I finally started acclimatizing and have been able to get back to work and really not suffer much from any side effects. However...we believe the meds are to blame for some of my pain (and alot of Cyndi's) perhaps some of my confusion (though fibromialgia has the whole "fibro fog" issue...it's very difficult to say what's fibro and what's HIV) and definitely the nueropathy both Cyndi and I deal with.
If you are HIV+ does the medication you take stop it from spreading to other lovers you may have?
If you end up with a non-HIV partner living with you how will you protect them from the disease?
Condoms work!! They really really do. Promise. When used correctly...they work! They don't just break because a person is HIV+. They don't. They really do protect against HIV! I'm not saying that to be trite or insult the question asker. Not at all. I actually get this sentiment quite a bit and it just...it's so frustrating. Somehow knowing that I'm HIV+ means that a person should avoid all contact with me? Please oh my goodness no!
Also we've discovered something in the last few years. The purpose of taking HIV meds is to kick the virus down to a place where it can't mutate, can't replicate. We prove that that's happened by getting blood drawn every three months. We can see that the meds are working if the blood work comes back at an undetectable level of HIV virus. That means it's so low that they can't even count it in your blood. That means your risk of transmitting is very very very low.
Studies have been done about this...because we want to know...just how undetectable IS undetectable? Does that mean cured? No. Does that mean non transmittable? The studies are saying...yea. Looks like it. Looks like in these very specific circumstances...the *sexual* risk of passing HIV on is very very low. There's always other risks. Blood risks are still in place somewhat. Any loving couple needs to have this talk. Needs to be frank and communicate and research together, visit with the doctors and discuss the risk of the individuals. How adherent is the HIV person to their meds? What other risk factors are in place if any? What other infections does the HIV+ person have if any? All of these things need to be discussed in very honest ways. Through commitment and honest communication people can remain safe and HIV free. Link to article about that study
For quite a while I considered only dating HIV+ people. I thought that the possible risk of transmission was just too much. I thought that no one would love me with HIV. I now think that I just need to keep my mind open and keep educating people and that the right person could possibly come along. HIV+ or HIV-.
I've heard that i should start taking antivirals even though I'm still negative since we are trying to get pregnant have you heard about woman doing that, and do you know if i should start now or once I'm pregnant (if i can :o( )
It is possible that I could answer that...but I feel that I would be taking on some responsibility regarding your choice. I believe it's between the individual and the doctor. We as patients must educate ourselves and do what's best for ourselves. We have to fight to be seen as individuals. This disease....is one that mutates. It's one that effects people extremely differently. We all get different secondary infections which has greatly different effects and interactions. We all respond to meds differently. We *must* be seen as the individuals that we are. We must demand individualized care. As such...we must take control and responsibility for ourselves.
You need to look at your spouse and his ability and likelihood at remaining undetectable. You need to think about your own immune system. You need to become partners with a doctor you trust. Emphasis on the *trust*. I believe many doctors suggest anti virals during pregnancy and not attempting to get pregnant until the HIV+ partner has obtained undetable status. I'm pretty sure there is another camp that doesn't find it necessary to have a pregnant HIV- person on anti virals. Again...it's individual and I don't think I can answer that in a broad kind of way.
I am curious about HIV treatments these days. I know (or at least my understanding is that) people who respond well can live quite healthily (omg I don't think that's a word) for a very very long time.
as far as the current science, what is the future for treatments? I've heard of a vaccine, but I don't know anything else.
Vaccine talk will pop up with frequency. Never too firm...and always FOREVER away. *shrugs* They are doing some great things with meds. Lots of new types of meds, lots of one pill combos...so you can take your entire cocktail in the form of one pill...that's awesome. We used to only have three classes of drugs now there's five (I think) so we are coming along with new stuff all the time. The newer drugs do have better side effects. We've seen the fat redistribution almost completely wiped out. That's an older drug issue. So we're doing some good things...
what is your opinion on the fact that it is believed that a vaccine is actually ready to be marketed, but that pharmaceutical companies are in cahoots with governments to not release it, as it is more profitable to sell all the meds long term instead?
*sigh* Oh vaccine talk....link to article about vaccine process Let me just tell you how much my meds come to. I've got one medicine that's $1200 a month and two others that cost $700 a month. That's JUST for my HIV meds. The whole "cocktail" method is highly lucrative. The cocktail is how we keep things under control. We need to take three different medicines from three different classes of meds for optimal effectiveness. They all attack the virus in different ways.
I have heard about different natural methods that are HIGHLY effective against the disease but they never gain any ground. For example...there's a method of taking your blood out of your body and running it under a UV light, then streaming it back into your body. HIV is killed by UV light. I do not know if this is a *CURE* or simply a valuable treatment. HIV virus does have a really awesome way of hiding itself for later. I know that I have HIV virus in my bones and my marrow. I can't get it out of there. I can clear it from my blood and my sexual organs but not my bones. Too deep.
Compare the cost of tubing and running that machine vs the cost of my meds. Oh good god yea. It's not even funny. Also add in that the religious right that feels they should be able to control what EVERYONE does in the privacy of their own home...legislate sex ed, legislate who can legally have sex with whom...AIDS being around and being scary TOTALLY lends itself nicely to less orgys!!! *rolls eyes* If we get rid of HIV...well...my god!!! Women will just be dropping their panties everywhere!!! Do you remember a few years back when the HPV vaccine came out? Senators were up in arms because this would mean that our young girls wouldn't fear sex and they'd be out having rampent sex because of the lack of fear of HPV anymore!!!! Yes. I FIRMLY believe that a vaccine and cure is being kept from us. I firmly believe that.
Ok..*whew* It's interesting. There's some things that I'm sure I'm missing. It's such an all encompassing issue. I didn't even TOUCH stigma! No one I directly work with knows. There are a great number of people walking around with this disease...and they've told no one. You could have friends who are living with this..and they don't want to tell you. Mondo from the most recent "Project Runway" has been HIV+ for 10 years and has never told anyone. Not even his family. He came out on the show. The shame runs deep. Makes it rather...uncomfortable that I recieve services from social workers who know I'm HIV+....and they're also my co-workers. I've got to hand it to them...they take HIPPA very very seriously. For that I'm EXTREMELY thankful. I don't know how to express the DEPTH of that "I feel like a leper". I can't tell you my own ingrained fear of bleeding. Completely irrational.
The day I recieved my diagnosis....was traumatic. It was such a big deal...that the dr who gave me the news...cried. She was in such shock she didn't know what to say. She didn't know how to say it. She had to call another doctor and ask advice on how to tell me.
However....there was a time that I knew everything about this disease. I was up on all the latest drugs, all the interactions...I read the studies, visited the forums...there wasn't a single day that went by that I didn't think about HIV. I was sure that was going to be life. I couldn't concieve of a day when I could relax and actually forget what my most current Tcell results were.
I'm proud to say that last year for the very first time my diagnosis anniversay went by without me noticing. I do not currently know what my last Tcell results were. I know I"m doing good, I know my viral load is STILL undetectable as it has been for close to a year. And I do have days where I just don't think about HIV. I really really hope for a day when I can put it entirely behind me...and talk about "That time when I used to be HIV+, but I'm cured now". Yea. I HAVE to look toward that. When I can throw away my meds and move on with life. It may be better than it was in the late 80s, early 90s....but we've still got a ways to go.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Recently I walked by a mirror and I was so stunned and happy to see how female I am starting to look that I went into tears.
Joy, and sorrow.
Joy that I am finally here and a deep and abiding sorrow that I had not adressed this issue a long time ago.
Before I started to transition when I looked in the mirror every male trait I had stood out like a beacon. I didn't see the less than masculine dude others saw. I saw a face very much ravaged by T poisoning. I saw ubber male, even though that was not the reality of the matter.
Now I hope I am seeing a little more clearly. Honestly I can not know, my eyes have lied to me before and I believed it.
Sad when you can not even trust your own testimony to yourself.
When I look in the mirror now I am seeing a girl most the time. Sometimes I see a guy but nowhere near as often as before.
It is mind blowing how a simple hormone can change everything.
When I see Cynthia in the mirror instead of Pete I see myself as I always should have been. But when I see myself in the mirror I am also reminded of how long it took me to come to terms with being me and that hurts.
Friday, October 8, 2010
One year HRT. Wow.
I defiantly should have done this 25 years ago. …hindsight 20/20
No sense crying over spilt milk. Yet I do just that plenty often enough.
I have grown more in the last year as a spiritual and social creature than all the past years before it combined. Great and small insights into the condition of human life have seemed like a daily occurrence. Every day seemingly offering a chance at deep insight…..
HRT has been nice to me. Lately most folks see the girl when they see me. That man is becoming more and more the figment of my imagination. I know I am that person that was Peter but it almost seems it is a practice in role playing to summons that man. I didn’t think I would be so disassociated with the male incarnation a year ago. I seem to have played the part of the man I like. But I am not the mask known as Peter I am a woman known as Cynthia Lee.
My brain has rewired 4 or 5 times due to the HRT over the last year. Each time the changes are deeper and more complete. Each time I have thought I couldn’t change anymore only to have more changes become apparent. I find myself anxiously looking forward to the next change with a taste of fear of the unknown.
My body is only recently shifting fat to where it should be, but not fast enough damn it. lol But I do have small boobs and a feminine face.
So anyways I am defiantly a woman. Regardless of my body config I am female. I always was, it just took me some time to be sure of it 100%. (The HRT pretty much removed all doubt on the 2nd week. :) )
To this day I am giddy when I get my HRT. I get silly happy when I get my shot ready every time. So I am pretty sure I am on the right path.
The next year of HRT is what I am really looking forward to. I should be able to get an orchi within the 3-6 months if my cardiogist will take me off plavix…. **fingers crossed**
Anyways I have rambled on enough.
Have a wonderful day,
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Hi folks!! I wanted to make sure you knew about my buisness. I'll make it quick, I promise. It is (of course) trans friendly and we'd love your support. You can see my most recent here: "What is soap?". Please add it to your feed reader! We make skirts, soap, bags and purses. We'd love your support!
Posted by Sevan Bussell at 1:58 PM
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Oh my my my. Ok...so a TON has happened since I last wrote here...however I kinda want to ignore all that and focus on one thing in particular. Getting my hormone levels right.
I first started testosterone via gel applied to my shoulders every morning. The gel had to be applied at the same time every morning or I would start to feel the dip in my hormones and become cranky and lethargic. Putting the gel on required me to shower first and scrub my skin well...and I needed to work out before my shower so I didn't end up sweating my gel off later in the day. I found it to be a pain in the rump...and talked to my doctor about switching to injectables. I'd heard that was a better way to go...and I felt it would free up my mornings and give me more freedom. Well..it did that..but I was SO TIRED!!! Omg so tired. I stayed with it for a little over a month and then I just couldn't take the fatigue. I suppose it's up for debate if the injectable testosterone was to blame for my fatigue or if it was environmental....and my Dr did try to argue that point but I just wasn't liking it. My shots were weekly but I still felt like I'd get a big dip in energy and mood a few days before the shot and I wanted to go back to the energy and steady moods I had on the gel. (Turns out...grass isn't actually greener on the other side! Who knew.)
When I was on injectable T my blood work came back in the 620 range. My doctor was very happy with that level but I felt it was a bit too low for me.
Let me back up and say that a frustrating part of hormones is that there is no *right* for everyone. There is only right for each individual person. That "right" is found based on how you feel and how your body reacts. There's nothing else in medicine like it! You have to listen closely to your body and your mind to find your "sweet spot" as it were. For me...620ish wasn't it.
We put me back on the gel and I felt good. My voice kept dropping, my energy returned and I started feeling pretty good. I was happy, I felt balanced, I started gaining a bit of muscle, my appetite was balanced...I was good. When we checked my T levels I was up in the 800s! Holy cow!! I didn't think that was possible with the gel...but there I was. That was a fine place to be for a person in hir 20's and I had no issue with that. My Dr did however. He thought it was WAY too high and accused me of taking too much T! Oh heck no. I was taking it as prescribed. I had an appt with him to discuss this and I brought three different articles which all said that 800's was a fine place for a person of my age to be at. He apparently had done a bit of research himself and was fine with me being in that level.
A few months went by and last week I went in for my normal three month check up. We drew blood to check my hormones and I just got the results back yesterday. Now my T is up in the low 1,000s! Now THAT...is too high. That may be just right for some people, but for me...after I checked in with myself about that, and looked at my moods, my behavior, ect..nope. This is too high. Well crap. Now I've got to go back in to discuss this with my doctor. Again. The odd part is...I'm doing as I've always done. The correct amount of T I've been prescribed. The gel is measured out in daily dose sachets so I can't screw it up. I've never ever heard of anyone having such high T on the dose I'm on. I've been feeling very...aggressive, anxious, jumpy, I've not been sleeping well and my appetite has been nil.
I'm not sure what we're going to do about that as I felt it was too low on the injectable and the trough (the time when T is low before the next shot) was difficult for me...but clearly my T keeps rising on gel. I seem to really be holding onto it!! You'd think my body really really likes it or something ;) lol.
I wish there was an easier way to find just the right hormone level...but it appears that's not to be. Here's hoping my Dr. feels like being creative!
Friday, September 3, 2010
My wife and I are polyamourous. Problem is we are living in a monogamous relationship. We would be 1000% willing and ready to accept another lover but alas it is not to be it would seem. (there are some serious complications involved)
Last night I received wonderful news that is somewhat of a bitter pill.
One of the couples my wife and I hold very close and dear have entered into a poly relationship. The wonderful part is that they are in a poly relationship the bitter part is that the woman in this relationship has spent years denigrating and casting doubt on the validity and stability of polyamoury. Suddenly she has what I have always wanted and what she has always talked poorly of. In a way I feel like I am owed an apology for all the times poly was down talked and dismissed, I highly doubt I will get it. For all her wonderfulness I have never seen this woman say sorry or admit she was wrong for any reason.
So I am sad and bummed out. I see friends having poly relationships and I want that also but it will never happen.
I am so bitter I could just die.
Monday, August 9, 2010
Today while I was at work Cyndi texted me to say that she thought she might be having a heart attack (don't worry...that's not the funny part). Now...she had a heart attack and actually CODED before my very eyes only just a few weeks ago so this is no laughing matter. None at all.
I was stuck at work until I found out where the ambulance would be taking her. (we live between two small towns and both towns have their own hospital. I work in the more northern of the two towns) The ambulance came to our house and she was to be taken to the souther town. They called me and I was off.
I rushed the 25mins to get to the southern town's hospital. I got there just moments before Cyndi did in the ambulance. I walked in and was greeted by a very kind female nurse. She introduced herself and then as she was pointing me in the direction of the check in counter. As she did she apparently got a whiff of me and just....took a step back! She breathed in again and said with a flourish "Oh my!! You smell GOOD! Yummy!!" and she bounded off cheerfully.
Now...that's the funny part....but why. Well...if you saw me today you'd see...a girl. Nothing more, nothing less. Today I'm in a white poofy blouse and a long simple purple skirt. Yes, my hair is short and my voice is deep but...out here in the country...I appear all woman! So...again...why is this funny?
It's funny because I don't apply anything to my body....except...testosterone!!! That's it. I didn't even use body wash today. I used water and a loofa scrubby. I didn't wash my hair today because it didn't need it, didn't apply any lotion, no perfumes and...I'll admit..I think I even forgot my deoderant. The only thing I applied to my body today was my testosterone gel. hehehehehe. I find this quite humorous because this isn't the first time that's happened. Women will comment on how I smell at least once every couple of weeks. Often they want to press me as to what they're smelling because they never can put their finger on it..
"Is it your shampoo maybe? I bet it's your shampoo!! Wait...what laundry detergent do you use? I bet that's it. Must be. Yep. That's it."
Endlessly funny to me. Women know the smell of men...but on my body and apparence it throws them. They don't realize they're smelling...*man*. Thankfully today the nurse just complimented me on my smell and was off to care for my ill mate...it's always uncomfortable when they get stuck on it and try to figure out JUST what it MUST be...
So in a rough day that's otherwise sucked....that was my highlight.
Posted by Sevan Bussell at 6:39 PM
Sunday, August 8, 2010
I know it has been a long time since I wrote here. Mostly nothing had changed until the last 2 weeks.
Recently I had a pair of heart attacks and as a result my doctor has substantialy reduced my E.
I feel like I am at a stand still in my transition although this is not true in reality. I am still on spiro and I am still on estrogen just not a high enough dose to maintain my sanity. I am emotionaly a wreck.
As a result of lowered E I am becoming depressed.
I have been trying to talk my doc into an orchidectomy. That would solve some of my medication issues and assit in my transition big time.
Have a good day folks.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Radical honesty to me is kind of a complicated thing.
It means being open and honest 100% about anything that may impact your relationship. It does not mean that one has to volunteer information that is unasked for but also it does not allow for withholding information that may be germane to your relationship.
Let us go through some situations that have come up in my life and others I have known:
You have a mild interest in someone outside of your relationship. There is zero chance that you would act on these feelings and you know in your heart you would not accept advances from this person. Now we have an attraction outside the relationship and that could be very detrimental. Yet the interest is passing and of no consequence. Personally I would withhold said information. There is no need to unnecessarily worry a spouse with such a trivial matter. Unless of course: your spouse asks you outright if you have interest in said person. This is a brilliant opportunity to provide honesty. Just because you think that your BFF’s brother is hot as tamale this is no cause for alarm for your spouse. So what? It is what it is. Everyone has interests outside the relationship. That is natural human curiosity
You have a moderate interest in another person outside your relationship. You have no intention to move on this attraction but you might cave if they made a pass at you. This case it is time to come clean. You have an interest in someone that could potentially consummate. Your spouse needs to know this and as gently as possible. This is not an emergency that needs to be blown out of proportion. This calls for a calm and civil discussion of why there is an interest and how to deal with it maturely.
Any other situations involving interest in another person in a potentially romantic way should obviously be discussed.
Is it ok to lie about diner? No it is not. This small moment is an opportunity to display honesty in the relationship. Besides if you lie and say the lasagna is good when it is not you will be served the same dish sometime in the future.
Is it ok to lie if she asks if her dress makes her ass look fat? This depends on the woman. (he he got to have exceptions to every rule!)
Is it ok to lie about your mate’s friends and family? No, but, be wise and temper your statements with some tact and social grace. You do not want to start a fight and this is delicate territory. Maybe you do not need to bring up that the uncle who shows up every holiday is an ass. But say there is a friend that lives next door you simply cannot stand…Time to fess up, you need space and time away from this person.
Living in a relationship that practices radical honesty requires an agreement between parties to always approach a truth you do not like with dignity and respect. Be honest to a fault as a general rule. But do not go around making a point to talk about every thought or feeling. If there is no chance that something can impact your relationship, then just do not bring it up. If it might have an impact or it will you must communicate truthfully. But keep in mind a poorly spoken truth can get you into almost as much hot water as a devious lie.
I think the key to this is not asking each other questions we do not really want answered.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
There's something we practice in this house...and that is radical honesty. Let me first define what that means to me. It's never ever intended in any kind of malice or harmful intent. Radical honesty helps us to truly know and trust that what is said, is what is meant. It is a tool we use to get over rough spots or bumps in the road.
That's not to say it's a tool that should just be jumped into dear friends!!! Oh my no. Trust, real REAL trust must first be established between partners. You must KNOW without a doubt that your mate would not say what he/she/ze is saying if it were not meant and true.
Cyndi and I would have had a much rougher time getting through the initial pain of each other's transition without this level of honesty.
As a spouse of someone who is trans there are worries about other things that might be hiding in the closet. Trust is broken to some degree. Worries about what transition will look like, feel like, what changes will come first? Where will it stop? What about family, work? Ect. ect. ect. The "what-ifs" add up QUICKLY for the spouse of a trans person.
These are often not questions that the trans spouse can answer right off the bat. Often...they don't know either! Practicing radical honesty meant that I could trust Cyndi when she said "I don't know" and mean it. Not worry that there was something behind the words, not worry that she was hiding something from me.
Now..."I don't know" isn't that hard to get out. Some of the things that *I* had to say to *her* were far more painful. They were things I had to get out though. I NEEDED her to hear how much of a struggle this was at first, how much I REALLY don't like change. (yea...go figure) I can't think of any specifics to share with you here; but I do remember about a month into Cyndi's transition there were tears, near break ups, fears, hugs and ALOT of pain.
Yep. All that happened even though *I* am trans as well. Yep. All that happened even though I knew she was trans from the get go. I honestly can not imagine what non trans spouses (who never knew until well into their relationship) go through. I can however, understand that it must be very very difficult.
Radical honesty saved us and repaired trust. Yes, sometimes it really hurts to hear the truth. However...knowing that your mate is speaking their heart in hopes to connect with you further and repair any pains...it's worth it.
Which hurts worse? Ripping a band aid of quickly....or slowly? What does it feel like to wonder if your mate is telling you the truth vs. KNOWING that they're telling the truth, that they mean it and that they're saying what they're saying from a place of love and honesty.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Anyone that's known me for more than five mins knows I'm a bit of a control freak. Like..."Hi...my name is Sevan...and I'm a control freak" kinda thing. It's like that. Or at least...it was.
I don't know if it's transition related, Saturn return related, or just plain growing up. (perhaps a mix of all three?) I just really feel like I'm settling into my stride.
Last weekend was my birthday. I turned 28. I don't feel 28. Heck, sometimes I feel down right in my 70's. Due to only being five months into testosterone I also often feel like a fumbling bumbling teenager. Awkward and unsure.
It's amazing what will happen when you let your true self shine. We keep it in, bottle it up, just sure that no one will accept us. Refuse to come out of the closet, maybe just dress on occasion...hiding in our own shame. For me, I came out of the closet kicking and screaming!! I did. not. want. to. do. this!! Not one bit! I was sure I would be even more ostracized that I already was! I'd have even less friends!!! (which...is pretty difficult to do when certain you have no friends..) Yet the opposite has really been true. As I've been authentic and honest...it's allowed those around me to meet me as their authentic and honest self. And my goodness what a BLESSING!!
This past weekend we did something we never do. (because I never allow it) we took a trip and flew by the seat of our pants. I don't know what stopped me from trying to control the heck out of everything...maybe I was just too darn tired from the culmination of health, work, stress, money, blah, blah, blah...that I just didn't have it in me to control this trip. And THANK GOODNESS I didn't!! We'd planned on leaving home on Saturday morning...but decided last min to leave Friday and spend the night in Seattle. (which is where we were headed)
We packed up, grabbed the dogs and everything they needed and headed off. I text a friend to see if she was available to get together. She was! She even had some floor space we could occupy that night! How awesome!! Previously I would have had a hotel all booked and already paid for...and I would have kicked myself and stewed that someone would offer but I wouldn't have taken it because of money already spent. Not this time though! Cynthia and I hung out and just soaked up the good conversation. Really wonderful. Hanging out with a friend I haven't seen in over a year is just good for the soul.
Cynthia wanted to know what time breakfast would be and when we would leave in the morning to meet up with the person we'd planned this whole trip to see. I blissfully replied that breakfast would be had when everyone was awake, and we'd leave when it was time to leave. How freeing!!
That's exactly what we did too. Lovely. We had lunch with a dear dear friend whom I've never met in person and Cynthia hadn't seen in 12 years! Far too long. We headed back home from there and the energy has just carried me.
There are plenty of things I could stew on, stress about, chew my nails over...but those things will work themselves out whether I stew or not. The funny thing is...I feel more in control than ever! I'm in control of *me*. How I act, and how I react! It wasn't particularly easy to get to this point...and I'm not saying I won't slip back into the "control monster" again...but for now I'm happy to go with the flow and follow bliss.
Monday, June 28, 2010
Hey folks! It's Monday again. My dreaded enemy. It's no secret that I'm *not* a fan of Mondays. Ah well. Such is life.
Sunda (June 27th) was National HIV testing day. To get the word out, I made a little video:
As I've gone through my transition a number of people have asked me about pronouns. I think it comes up when the image of me changes in their mind...and it no longer feels quite right in a person's mouth to say "she" in reference to me. I know that I went through that with Cyndi. Something just clicked and it no longer felt right to say "he"....though sadly there are some people in our lifes that we're not out to, so birth pronouns are still in use and it feels foul in my mouth. I digress. Here's a video about gender neutral pronouns, and how i feel about them:
The pronouns I use in the video are spelled "ze" and "hir"
Posted by Sevan Bussell at 11:14 AM
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Hi all, it's me...Sevan. You remember me right? lol...I know it's been a while since posting. I'm sorry about that. Life kinda...flipped the fruit basket...if ya know what I mean.
Anyway...something that's been stewing in the back of my mind that I've really wanted to get down on "paper" is my thoughts now about transition and what it's really *been* vs. what i *thought* it would be for me. I talked this out in therapy and I figured it'd be good here too.
Before I ever started T I thought mostly about my identity as an androgyn and what transition might look like to bring the body into alignment with my mind/identity.
My only experience with testosterone was when Cyndi was prescribed a T gel for "chronically low T" (yea...go figure.) She'd not come out to our doctor yet, so our doctor did not know that he was prescribing testosterone to a trans woman. He didn't know the harm that could cause...because we didn't quite tell him the whole story. Honestly...we didn't know what harm adding MORE T to a trans woman's brain would do either. So Cyndi was on this gel for over a year I'd say. She applied it on schedule ever day. The doctor couldn't quite understand why she wasn't getting into the male range. I came to believe that perhaps the drug just wasn't strong enough. Obviously once Cyndi needed to start transitioning she stopped the testosterone.
Taking that into account; when I was considering taking T I thought (wrongly..) that this "low dose" gel drug would be perfect for me! After all, if a natal male can't get into "male range" on the blood work with this drug, surely *I* wouldn't be able to either! It would be perfect. My identity was somewhere in-between male and female, so my hormones should be too. Right? In my mind I thought this would be the perfect balance.
Thankfully I did have the knowledge of YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary) So I talked myself through a bunch of "what-ifs" before embarking on my transition via hormones. I decided that while I was SURE those "what-ifs" were unlikely and even if they were to come to pass...I NEEDED this.
I thought that what was most likely to happen would be that I wouldn't really change on the outside at all! Putting my hormones in an intersexed ranged (not fully female, not fully male) wouldn't change my voice...if it did...then maybe just slightly. Surely not noticeably. I didn't think I'd get a beard or much body hair, I just thought that perhaps it would bring some mental peace.
Now that I'm four and a half months into my testosterone use I can say....BOY was I ever WRONG! Turns out that "peace" only comes for me when my hormones are in FULLY male range. Not even particularly low within that range! Nope. So my voice has dropped quite a bit, my body hair has increased, my beard is growing in and I'm already shaving twice a week, my mind feels rewired, I respond to emotions differently and I FEEL emotions differently. Basically; everything that could change...did.
We can never know how the body will respond to stimulus. My thoughts about what I needed were totally off. Thankfully I was able to listen to what my body needed, rather than force myself to adhere to the "numbers" of the labs. The few times I lowered my dose of T to try to keep it "low dose" it didn't work so well. I was cranky and surely and so tired! It clearly wasn't what my body or mind needed.
This did lead to a crisis of identity for a little while. It's very easy to jump to the conclusion that "fully male hormone levels=male identified" but that's just really simplifying an issue that isn't that simple. I can no more fit myself into a fully male identity than I can a fully female identity.
I was looking for my hormones to be in between, and be in balance. What I found instead is a female body, with male hormones. For me, right now, that's the balance. It's precarious...to be sure. There's is still a TON of processing yet to do....but I'm in a good place. For the most part. If I shut out all the stimulus of the world and life and just tune into my body and mind...I finally feel much more at home. It's not perfect; nothing is...but it's much much better in this body than it's ever been. There's something to be said for that.
Thanks for coming along on this journey with me friends. Till next time, Sevan.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Yesterday we marched in Spokane's PRIDE march. Well I got wheeled around in my wheel chair by a friend and Sevan. (I am disabled and need a wheelchair whenever I will be forced to be out for a long time.)
I had fun and from what I could tell Sevan did also.
We marched with our local trans suport group. Spokane Transpeople.
For all the fun I had I do have one issue that I am surprised I have.
Every other time I have been to a festival and the PRIDE I went to in Pheonix had ALOT of vendors. Our PRIDE did have some vendors but there were not enough vendors around. We only spoted 3 food kiosk. The funny thing is when I went to Pheonix pride they had too many vendors! Seems I can't have a happy medium.
We didn't stick around to watch the awards ceremony or any of the stuff they planed. We just went around the park and had fun.
I think if you are LGBT and have the time and are willing to be public, you should make your way to your local PRIDE this year. The more of us that show up the more we demonstrate our combined economical power. Individualy we may have varying levels of resourses, but combined we are an entity that spends enough money to draw attention.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010
Seems no one has questions or they are unsure how to respond. Just click on the coment link after the post and pose your question. Simple really.
Meanwhile I would like to direct peoples attention to Zoe Brains recent blog post.
It is not generaly spoken about but not everyone fits neatly into the girl or boy box. There are people all over the world who fit somewhere inbetween, yet they are kept invisible by stigma and medical eradication of intersex traits of infants with invasive surgeries that are often in adulthood reported as a mutilation or assault by those who where altered.
Look it up.
It is a facinating subject and the rights of IS and TS/TG people are closely intertwined by the myopic ideals of society at large. Also there is mounting evidence that trans is a result of nueral intersexing, where the brain is one sex and the body anouther. It really would explain alot. Like why transition is the only sucessful treatment for being trans with the highest rate of success of any medical intervention. (in the 90%'s)
Anyways there is a starting point for you.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
I'm boring myself with my video blogging! So I'd like to spice it up. I've seen plenty of "formspring-ask me anything" kind of pages, so I thought I'd put it to you here dear reader. What do you want to know? What would you like to ask? The question could be for Sevan or Cynthia.
Posted by Sevan Bussell at 5:54 PM
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Monday, May 10, 2010
...or trans issues are pealed out of the version of ENDA that does pass...
We need to flood capitol hill with activist transpeople. Use the bathrooms the conservative asshats say we should. Do it in large groups so we are safe. See how fast the lackeys of the legislators get on board when they have to fight for bathroom space with a bunch of transwomen.
Do the same to the ladies room. Fill the Capitol Hill womens bathrooms with transmen. Screw um. If they want to do us dirty we can fight back. We just need to brave up and do it. It won’t take too many upset powerful women to get the ball rolling!bThe people that oppose our rights say they are afraid of men in the women’s bathroom...Some of the most macho, hot and manly dudes I have ever seen are transmen. How many bearded men who are just doing what the bathroom fear crowds want will it take to make them end this madness?
And imagine the capitol hill staffers trying to find mirror space to wash up but can't because transwomen are doing their makeup there and talking about orchi's. But for squirm factor use the word castrate to refer to said ... etc I can imagine it wouldn't take too many incidents of serious discomfort amongst the powerful to get some results.
Doing it the Barney Frank, GLAAD, LGBT HRC way gets no results. The entire structure of an organization like that is designed to fail. If we get equal rights the gay elite are no longer 'oppressed' and no one will buy their books that describe the struggle they go through. If they are not an oppressed class who will listen to their lectures on the circuit? The old elite gay crowd has a vested interest in keeping us as second class citizens. Only through direct action that brings discomfort to the elite can we hope to win this struggle.
Time to change tactics. Hit em below the belt so to speak. We need to stage a toilet protest in D.C.!
Monday, May 3, 2010
Oh my my my. How time flies. I have been on Testosterone for three months now. Wow. I've done a whole heck of alot of growing, thinking, musing, and looking back during these three months.
I've remembered times of strife that didn't make any sense in the moment, and I've been able to piece the puzzle together now that I understand my gender identity. I've remembered painful times of extreme dysphoria and angst, and I know now those times for what they were. Goodness I thought I was beyond bonkers...before I had the word "androgyn" that all important, very powerful word. To know that there are others who experience the world in a similar way as myself; through similar eyes!! It's brought me such a peace that I can't describe to you. Only that...it's like the sun streaming through a large window....bright, and warm...but not hot. That perfect day.
The body and the mind continue to astound me. I had in my logical mind a picture of what it would take to bring this peace. I thought it might take just a small dose of testosterone. Not enough to change my outside, only enough to bring the peace I was so desperate for. I was sure, utterly convinced that i could find it...in just a small, little dose of testosterone. I was in for the shock of my life when I found out....nope. *My* body needs more than just a little bit. A little dab, will NOT do. My doctor gave me the freedom to explore, armed with information and a limit so I didn't over do it, but within his guidelines I was free to find what worked for me. Seems that what works for me is a full on "transition" dose of testosterone. My voice is dropping weekly, my beard is already growing in (though patchy and pathetic...but still firm enough to need shaving weekly.) my mind has become far more logical and less emotional, my sense of smell has changed and become more acute, my sense of taste is sharper, my muscles are growing and are more ropey and firm.
I was talking to Cynthia about all of these changes. Musing...particularly on the point of smell. She'd mentioned that her sense of smell was more acute a few months ago. I wondered how could this be? How can she have a stronger sense of smell on estrogen, and I'm experiencing a stronger sense of smell on testosterone. She expressed that perhaps it wasn't the hormone itself that caused the shift; but the right hormone running the right body. The mind and body working together harmoniously, instead of being at odds.
This week I did the hardest thing I've yet done in all this transitional mess. I came out to my parents. I thought about...next to nothing BUT the email I was going to write them...for about a week straight. Finally on Friday I sat down and wrote it out. When I'm nervous I have a tendency to "over-share" so I wanted to make sure I said the right thing, the truthful thing and not too much blathering. It was by shear force of will that I was even able to hit the "send" button. I physically shook nervously thinking "what have I just done!?" I had done the right thing. That's what.
Last weekend they were up visiting (they live 8 hours away) and they noticed my voice. While I wasn't TRYING to hide it from them, I wasn't trying to lie about who I was...I just wasn't really ready to come out yet either. However...my voice gave me away. I didn't honestly expect my voice to shift that much...I already had a pretty low voice to begin with and naively I thought to myself "Well...it's not going to happen over night! I've got plenty of time to sort this out, and figure out a way to come out." I thought I had close to six months to a full year before any changes would be obvious! Not three months! Ah well. Three months it is.
I haven't gotten a response from them yet. That's ok though. I'd much rather they take their time, gather their thoughts and come to me level headed instead of going with their first thoughts. (whatever that might look like.)
After telling my parents I changed my name on facebook! Now that may not seem like such a huge deal....but seeing as nearly everyone who's online is also on facebook...I feel kind of like I've hung a flag outside my door!! (in a manner of speaking...) It was so freeing!
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Over the last 2 months I have added to my diet/HRT regimine 1 quart of very strong spearmint tea, (with black tea added for flavor) on a nearly daily basis. I manage to do so at least 5 days of the week.
The idea is simple Spearmint seems to have a chemical that inhibits the androgen receptors on body hair. Basically the stuff is supposed to seriously slow down hair growth. As this is messing with hormones on the cellular level this is totally a YMMV situation.
I have come to the conclusion that in the case of myself this plant does infact do what it is said to do.
Before I started drinking the stuff I would shave my legs and I would be prickly in hours. Maintenance was impossible so I just let it go and shave once in a blue moon.
Anyways.. I shaved my legs a few days ago and my legs never got to that aggravating prickly stage and it took me less than 5 mins to touch up both legs and be smooth.
My beard has slowed down allot also. Not as much as the body hair but still. Also hair on the abdomen in reduced to about a 1/3 of its old state.
I did notice a slight change in hair growth when I started HRT, but when I started drinking said tea I really noticed a major difference.
Seems that women have used the stuff as an old wives remedy for hirsuteism forever. Look it up, pretty neat stuff.
I call Spearmint tea my HR Tea...
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Last night Sevan and I went to a local trans get together. I figured we wouldn't be able to fill the 3 hours we have allotted, yeah right. Gather a room full of trannys and the conversation only stops when someone puts down their foot and reminds everyone of the time. LOL They are trying to get something off the ground on a local level. Regular meetings and social events would be cool for me, I never get out. The LGBT center has offered us space. Only 8 of us there. Just a drop in the bucket when we figure how many transpeople are in the region based on simple statistics. Spokane itself has over 400,000, and it is the medical service hub for surrounding comunities out to about 100 miles or so. I would guess about 700,000 or more people who are in this population pool. So we should have around 23 to 700 trans identified people in my region. My money would go on the higher number.
It was interesting. 3 FTM, 3 MTF, 1 Androgyn, and 1 non-op transman who is on the board of directors for the local LGBT. It was the first time I have met a FTM face to face. They pass completely I am so jealous. 2 of them look so male that I was wondering if they were spouses or questioning when I first saw them. OMG!! One of them was sooooo scrumptious. He looked 18 but he is 29, he has been in transition for 2 years. Buff and lean. Bragged about doing a 10 mile run not too long before the meeting. **panting** So handsome,... he got my blood flowing. (I just have this thing for hot FTM's... )
The evening was nice although we got in late. I was so tired I fell asleep with my makeup on. I looked the mess when I woke up.
Friday, April 16, 2010
So it's been a little while since I've done any kind of updating...been feeling very internal, pubescent and...awkward. lol.
Ok so...I'm on T, it's going well. I'm now doing injections instead of gel and there's something about having to do weekly injections vs. daily gel that just makes this process feel more natural. I don't think about how I'm "transitioning" I feel more like..."I am". However *I am* in puberty at the moment! lol. My voice is dropping and that's cool. My muscle mass is increasing which rocks…I'm starting to get some very faint body hair and increase hair on my arms and face. Now...I suppose I should back up and quantify my point...
My leg hair/body hair has always been very very faint and nearly invisibly blonde. Unless your staring at my arms you wouldn't think I have ANY arm hair. My legs never get shaved and most people can't tell. However my face has very light hair, but it's all across my whole face and under my chin. Not localized on just my upper lip as some women. Again, l nearly invisible...but totally there.
So now..just over two months on T..my cheeks still basically have peach fuzz and it's super soft, though a tad longer than it used to be and pretty noticeable (at least in the florescent lights in my bathroom!!) My lip, chin and under my chin however…the hair has shifted some. It’s courser. (though not by a whole heck of a lot..I am only 2 months in!) I’ve shaved it a few times (which I’m guessing is contributing to it’s coarseness) I’m finding I don’t want to shave. It’s still blonde though it’s got some actual color to it..it’s not invisibly blonde anymore. I find myself with my hand up on my chin A LOT. I like it.
The main “manly” attribute that I’ve always wanted is the beard. I used to dream about being bearded, I’ve lusted men’s beards in the past…So now that it’s growing in some…I’m rather elated. I find myself pouring over my face in the mirror…looking at every last little strand of hair, looking my face over for any color shift…(ya know..just like a teenage boy!)
It’s a little long and I was anxious that maybe it’s time to shave again for fear that people would see my “unsightly woman’s facial hair” but *I* don’t want to shave it! I want to see what it’ll do.
Thoughts about a beard and what sort of facial hair I might like to wear (goatee, full face, ect) drew my attention to my breasts. Every step I take toward androgyny and *my* ideal body brings my thoughts back to “what will *they* think?” I wish I didn’t care. I really really wish that. However I *live* in society. I go grocery shopping. I have to have a job. Thus, I worry. (that…and I’m just a worrier.)
So my thoughts went to “Well…if I wear a beard I’m going to have to bind…right?” and that frustrated me because I don’t see WHY the two have anything to do with each other. I very very much wish that I could fit into the “male or female” box. I do. I feel that this would be SO much easier. Having to blaze my own trail (as it were) is sometimes…well…a pretty darn scary place to be!
Do I need to come out as androgyn to every single person I come across? That may get exhausting. Do I need to just…keep my beard within the confines of my own home? Society expects us to be either male or female. If I present male to the broad society (what..with my beard…) then I feel like I will be forced to bind every day. Which…honestly…I don’t really have any desire to do. If I refuse to bind and present female…then the beard must be covered, and well shaved at all times. (not to mention covered in foundation to make sure the shadow is well covered…as it stands currently I never wear make up. Ever. However I do know how to cover a beard shadow. I often do Cynthia’s make up)
The answer seems easy enough. Lofty enough…”be yourself”. That’s what we tell the small children…right? In theory that sounds perfect! It doesn’t seem to alleviate my fears, and my frets and my concerns over society/work/life. *hmf* I guess I don’t really have answers for myself at the moment…this is a grey spot I’ve not yet figured out. I’m hoping I’ll get it figured out soon because the T keeps doing it’s job!
There is nothing stagnant about life. That’s for sure.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Search monogamy gene. Go ahead I will wait for you to do a bit of reading.
Old news, and I am just now finding out about this?
Seems males are either hard wired for faithful behavior or to cheat.
If one is genetically predisposed to be unfaithful, can his family hold sexual indiscretions against said individual? I would have to say no. We do not hold other conditions of genetic origin against the individual.
Scientists were able to treat unfaithful mice with gene therapy to make them be nice and monogamous. That begs the question, if a drug is developed to predispose a person to be monogamous will it be used on males? With or without their knowledge? Might a woman someday require her husband to submit to such treatment if he is found to be genetically predisposed to infidelity? Is that even ethical?
Perhaps there is a solid genetic reason that some men are faithful and others are not. We do not know what the ramifications of messing with mother nature can be.
Personally I think that we should not go down this road of research. It is going to lead to forced monogamy on entire populations.
Why do I feel like we are living the prologue to a 'Brave new world'?
Thursday, April 8, 2010
I am most definitly in my second go 'round of puberty. There's no denying it now. There's also no turning back!
My voice has been deepening for weeks now but the cracks are getting more difficult to control and gosh are they ever embarressing! I can't seem to sing without losing control of my voice, if I get excited, talk too fast or am really animated; my voice makes an ass of me. Every morning (or so it seems) it's dropped more. I had a low voice to start with so I was pretty sure it wouldn't go much further down. HA! Little did I know.
My face has always had hair on it. I used to wax my upper lip and chin but have switched out to shaving. So now my lower lip and chin constantly feel like sand paper. Very very fine grit sand paper...granted..but sand paper none the less! Cynthia keeps catching me running my fingers along my chin. As excited as I am...and for as long as I've wanted a beard...now that it's here it's kinda scary!
My muscles are getting ropier and I'm becoming stronger. I'm finding it easier to work out longer and harder. My stamina is definitly increased; which could be due to my focus on working out!
Some of the changes I'm feeling I can't even put into words. However it wasn't my desire to come here and just make a list of changes; let's just say...EVERYTHING has changed.
The sum of all the parts have left me feeling awkward and unsure of myself. For as much as I want people to notice that I look or sound different; I also dread that! I fear it as much as I want it. Oh how fun. Seems that's par for the course for a person going through puberty.
On the flip side of that awkwardness I'm finding new found confidence. Now if I could just remember to show it more often!
Sunday, April 4, 2010
I want to talk about...extremes and how it pertains to transition.
If you try to speak with a southern accent, or a British accent...how does that sound? (assuming your not naturally from those places) We go for the most extreme, because it's easier. If you have a low voice and try to talk really high...we go for extremes. (also works in reverse..if you have a high voice and try to go lower) It's much much easier to find those extreme points, rather than sutle nuances.
How does this apply to transgendered persons or transition? Let's start out with a picture:
That's me Feb 2008. For years I never wore pants. No shorts, not even t-shirts! I wore flowy tops and skirts. Always. I even went through a time where I wore head coverings. (as in this picture) not really for religious reasons...but for deep set gender reasons. You see I tried to force myself into the extreme of female gender.
Around our house we have this type of grass. I'm not sure which one, there are many different grasses...but one in particular I'm allergic to. If I go for a hike, or walk around our yard in my skirts...my legs brush up against the grass and I break out in hives. Cynthia urged me to please buy some pants for hiking so I wouldn't break out. I couldn't. I simply could not do that...even expressing to her that "women don't wear pants!"
Obviously, a great number of women DO wear pants. That's ok even! It wasn't for me. It was not ok for me to slip into those nuances because part of myself worried it might be a slippery slope from "just pants for hiking" to "transition".
Not every person who's transitioned has this same story of extremes, but it's a familiar story to many. I have a few MtF friends who used to be body builders! Cynthia herself had many gender rules that she had to operate under back in "man mode" though I'll save that for her to share should she choose to do so...
As I've come out; something I hear alot is "But your such a girly girl!! Your so feminine!" and this brings doubt into their minds about what I'm saying in regard to my gender identity. I may have smiled in pictures...but I was *not* happy. I was depressed, I threw myself into obsessions, never allowed myself quiet time to sit by myself with my own thoughts...I was not happy.
A common thread amidst friends and particularly spouses of trans people is that they feel the trans person lied to them. That once the "cat is out of the bag" the trans person completely changes into someone...who does not sound, look, or seem like their former self. So in my example...that frilly, fem person...was a lie. I would disagree. I wasn't actively lying. Not on purpose anyway.
I can tell you that the person I am now, has changed no more than anyone else going through life. We *all* change and grow. True, we don't all change in this same way...but we are forever learning, growing, and evolving. I like the same shows on TV, do the same crafts (even have more time and interest in those crafts now!) read the same books, listen to the same music...I am still the same *me* that I have always been, and will always be. I feel more authentic, more open, more present and more grounded.
The idea of "you lied about who you are" is a very serious issue. Trans people who are married, come out, and start transition have a %90 chance of divorce. That's...that's STUNNING. That *this* change is such a huge deal, that it can't be lived through. I do understand that sexual orientation plays a roll. That number just shocked me.
I'm sad for those of my brothers and sisters who have lost people in their life because of their need to be authentic, present and open.
Saturday, April 3, 2010
When I was Peter.
I never perfected being manly or even a man really. I was lousy at every male endeavor save one. Sex and sexuality. Perhaps it is the fact that I am dual wired that provided me with the ability to seduce practically anyone I so chose to. The social insight that being Trans affords can be a great asset, in our pre-transition years. So long as we are closeted and no-one knows all is well. This dual nature affords serious advantage. One merely need look at the computer science field to see this in action.
Back to sex.
Like I said the only thing male I seemed to be able to perfect was male sex. I literally cannot count the amount of women and men….multiply whatever the number of women is, by 2 and that is how many men. That short span of time during the orgasm completely washes away every problem for a few seconds. Dysphoria and angst do not co-exist with an orgasm. Also the moment of orgasm would for that fleeting moment let me feel like a man. My orgasms at the time were of course fueled by T and I would have that intense OMG moment of bliss. (Now on E I get those longer body shaking ones, much nicer.) I could verify in that moment my masculinity, it was as obvious as the male orgasm I was having.
I have always used male and female tricks to seduce. If a woman is into men I would be male, if she was lesbian I would become very femme. For men, gay men got a gay man and strait guys got a dude so femme that they couldn’t say no. [ Sevan has picked up many of my man tricks and has been using them either with intent or from the sub-conscience on me to rather good effect. ]
Sex was the only thing in my life that I could compete with the other men. Of course it would be easier for a bisexual, dual gendered person to get laid than the average guy. Such a person has a lot more potential sex partners.
Of course measuring ones manhood on the amount of sex one has is building a house of cards. Women have sex also. In our modern society women are becoming just as capable of seeking sexual conquest and seduction as the men. As I grow older I see the fallacy of my youth. The flaws in myself, delusion of manhood attained. At least I am no longer in the place of life when one looks back and cringes in shame at the foibles of the past. I see pretty clearly now the assumptions and self imposed false reality.
The big kicker is that all these years it never left my forebrain that I was indeed Trans. Or as I would say to self in parrot mode of society, ‘I am a girl trapped in a boy’s body’. Not exactly it turns out, but close enough that we will go with that. In between the delusion of maleness I would relish the way I could be a secret girl. I would drop hints in my mannerisms and accessories at all turns but very few seemed to pick up on it. A few did over the years. I was even asked point blank a couple times but I would get panicky and say no. I did say yes to my Ex Megan when she asked. It was a sweet moment, when I said yes, suddenly I was in tears. She promised to never betray that part of me. She broke my heart, stole my property, and married my best friend but she never betrayed me in that way. I think that she did do me a great service in that. During the breakup period she very well could have thrown that in my face and the towns. By not betraying me I didn’t get wounded by her in that way and it gave me time to grow and nurse old wounds.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
I try to do video blogging about once a week. I'd slipped a little and hadn't done a video this previous weekend. Lots of processing and frustration over being denied coverage for surgery by my insurance. Plus no real desire to discuss it. The reasons the insurance gave didn't leave any wiggle room for appealing. So...I won't be appealing.
In good news though....I just got the results back from my blood work to check on my hormone levels! They're perfectly in male range!! Woohoo!! (Male range being 350-1050) I'm sitting at 617. Nice. My doctor said he's never seen that high of results in someone who's having to supplement T. Hehehehe. I'm not surprised.
This brings me alot of peace because...people who go on cross sex hormones (meaning a man taking estrogen, or a woman taking testosterone) will usually have some sort of freak out, or not feel right, or become depressed, lethargic ect. Transgender people who truly SHOULD be taking these hormones...don't freak out. They instead feel peace, and a rightness. That's how I feel. I'm definitely not freaking out, I'm definitely not having adverse reactions....I just feel...like me. Nice.
Something else that's curiously cropping up....my desire to craft and sew!! I thought I'd lost that for good. Nope. I'm working on a skirt for Cyndi. (it used to be mine, I just have to shrink it) After that it's back to work on Cyndi's tu-tu...and I just got the fabric I need to make my kilt!! I've been thinking about making myself a more "messanger bag" style...ermm...bag. That way I don't have to carry a "purse"...I've also started thinking about a new style of patchwork skirt!!! ooooooo! Stay tuned ;)
It just feels so good to have transition under control to the point where I can start thinking about OTHER things! It feels really good.
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Monday, March 29, 2010
When I first became aware of transgender identity issues within myself I took on the name Kyle. I never imagined actually ever *using* the name....so I didn't put much thought or consideration into it. No one was ever going to know, because I was never going to come out, and never going to transition so there wasn't much need to put value or thought into the name.
A number of years later (Sept 2009-ish) I started thinking more and more about names in general, and how would I feel about the name Kyle. At the time I was operating under the belief that there were only two choices when it came to gender. "Man" or "Woman". I didn't really feel comfortable in my skin as a woman so I was thinking about transitioning. I wasn't so sure I would be comfortable as a man either....but I chalked that up to self doubt and fear. So I started looking at names. I fell in love with the name Evan. It just...it had such a sweet sound and warms my heart. I'd found my name. I even picked a middle name that I felt fit perfectly with it!
However...the fact still remains that I'm not a man. In my search I discovered androgyny and it fit! *Eureka!* I told Cynthia about the name "game" I was playing and was thinking about keeping Evan as an androgynous name. I've met women and men both named Evan...
I was kind of sad to give up my birth name entirely. It's served me well, I became a married person with that name, my mother cherished it and lovingly bestowed it upon me...Sara. If you look up the meaning of the name you'll find "Sara. A princess" and while the idea makes me blush a little to admit...it's me. I was named after the book "A little princess" and the character Sara is just like me when I was a child. Or rather... I was just like her. One thing that does bother me about the name Sara is just how common it is! All through out my childhood I was surrounded by at least one other Sara(h). In my circle of friends in high school there were two other Sara's. In my core classes Freshman year there were three other Sara's! That gets old...let me say.
One night Cynthia was playing with words as she's known to do and she combined Sara and Evan in a few different forms...one of those was Sevan. It stuck. It was perfect! I thought...it's unique, it's special, no one else is going to have this name!! YES! It's mine!! Oddly enough the number 7 has actually always been my favorite number. As a child playing sports 7 was my uniform number through out the years. I find that funny now.
On a lark I decided to google "Sevan"....little did I know..it IS a real name! It's of Armenian origin and it means "life giving sweet water". The name comes from Lake Sevan in Armenia. Humorously I am clearly NOT Armenian! I'm a blond haired, blue eyed, fair skinned European mutt.
So just how is it pronounced? I don't know how anyone else pronounces it. Seeing as I thought we'd made it up....I prefer for it to be pronounced like this. Say the name "Evan" now put an "S" in front of it. "Sevan". See..kind of sounds like the number 7, but it's got that slightly soft "a" in there.
It's not legally mine yet... which is growing frustrating for me, but I decided to change my name legally this summer when I switch jobs. That's not that far off. I can wait.