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.
Friday, March 26, 2010
I know we've talked about pronouns before on this blog in the context of MtF. It gets a little messier when we start talking about androgyn's. Everything is gendered. All the time we refer to people by their gender. So much so that it's second nature.
In addition to being able to choose a new name for myself, I've also started to express myself in gender neutral terms. Most gender neutral pronouns are unknown by most people. However there is a great many to choose from! See here:
Chart taken from the Gender-neutral pronoun wikipedia. Great page. See full page here
As you can see, there's alot to choose from! For me...it's more about ease and comfort of the person speaking. If someone is talking to me and they're tripping all over pronouns and stuttering and correcting themselves to the point that we can't function in conversation...well...in my eyes...that's a fail. I'd rather you just call me "she" at that point because that's got the air of comfort for the speaker!
Of course this is all deeply personal. I know a number of people who feel very strongly about their need to be identified with the gender neutral pronoun set of their choosing. Pronouns are a huge trigger of pain for a number of people. I suppose I'm lucky that it's not THAT big of a deal for me verses other things. However when I'm out with my wife and we get the "hi ladies!" I do bristle some.
So what do *I* like? What would *I* prefer? Above all, I prefer to be a person. Not a lady, or guy, or woman or man...just a person. I can even be a "silly person" or what have you!
To my sisters I am their sibling. (or at least would like to be identified as such) My main nickname among my immediate family is "sis" (creative...I know.) and it's a small dagger to me every time it's used.
In the land of type I really like "s/he". However it doesn't translate well into speaking so that doesn't really work. I like "e" because it's already part of existing pronouns (She or he) so it flows in language easily I think. In the same way I use "hir".
The problem with pronouns is that...I never really use them myself! I can't model that to other people because I never refer to myself as "s/he". Of course not!
One hang up that has happened recently is the matter of "aunt". I don't have any children of my own, so we didn't have to come up with any new "mama/dada" lingo (though I put them together to create Mada and I love it...) however i do have one nephew and two nieces. They all call me "aunt [birth name]". So it's part title, and part...my name! It's who I am to them. That's a big deal. I was discussing the matter with my SIL recently and we didn't come to any solid options that felt like it REALLY fit. Aunt and uncle don't combine very easily to make a new word.
A friend suggested "andi" as a short/cute version of androgyn with the bonus of sounding like auntie. I like that. I think it's cute.
Whether intended or not, the pronoun set that you use toward someone shows who you think they are; how you view them. If I'm in the store, and I see a stranger from behind and refer to that person as a woman...but that person is actually a man; that man is libel to be upset with me! Because he's a man and wants to be addressed and seen as such! I completely understand.
My identity as an androgyn is just as valid and real as anyone else's identity as man or woman (this includes MtFs and FtMs as they still fit within the binary)
There is a learning curve, and I definitely understand that. When Cyndi started transition and I had to switch to the female set of pronouns when referring to her, that took time and practice. I do alot of journaling, so writing correct pronouns where I could easily edit myself if I messed up set it in my mind quickly and transferred to my speech patterns relatively quickly. I also made sure to correct myself mentally in any of my self talk. What we think...we may eventuall say. It takes practice, patience and understanding.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
A few things about my body really bother me. I recognize this isn't all together that strange. Most people have issues with "this, that, or the other" about their body. For me, my weight is an issue. I've been exercising and getting stronger, building more stamina and trying to be conscious about what I put in my mouth.
The other issue for me is the size of my breasts. I have a 38DDD chest. There's no binder in the world that will flatten my chest. That makes it pretty darn difficult to ever hope to pass as male.
I've found a local plastic surgeon. I emailed a few different surgeons that are local and then planned consultations with two that I felt comfortable with. After both consultations I've chosen the surgeon I'm going to go with. She's confident that she can get me down to a B-C cup and that I'll heal well. If all goes well with the request that's being put into my insurance I should be under the knife in May sometime!
I've thought a great great deal on the issue of breasts. On the one hand...men don't have them! However I've thought on this issue alot. More than might be considered healthy (lmao...) and I really honestly do like my breasts. I remember liking them when they were smaller. I tried to imagine myself with a flat male chest and I just can't envision that. That feels wrong to me. I thought long and hard about how..."maybe I could learn to be ok with a chest?" Why would I want to do that though? Why would I remove something I ENJOY, and something that's healthy tissue that belongs on my body. The fact that I can not manage to bind them does cause me distress. The fact that I feel they're balloonish and draw all sorts of unwanted attention causes me distress. The fact that I *have breasts* does not cause me distress. If I were to decide to remove them in a "chest reconstruction surgery" it would be purely for societal reasons. That doesn't really fit with me. If I'm going to do things for society I might as well just stop taking T and stop transitioning! Last I checked...I was transitioning to feel MORE comfortable in my body and in my skin. Not less, or equally distressed; just in a different way.
So that is why I'm going with a reduction. I can keep my breasts, and I can (hopefully) bind safely and more easily. They do also pull on my back causing me very real pain that is unrelated to my gender identity. I'll be quite glad to get rid of that pain. I'll also fit into tops, and buy bras from the store rather than online!! Really quite excited about that. Sports bras will actually fit, and exercising won't be as uncomfortable! There are so many reasons to be really excited...and I just can't wait for the surgery to come and go, and let the healing really begin.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Cyndi has been trying to encourage me to write here more often as this is “our” family’s tale…I’ve just not really had anything to say from a “spouse” frame of mine.
I suppose that’s because there has been alot going on internally for me. There are many layers involved in what I want to say which makes it difficult. Its very hard to explain something that is 4D with depth and many angles; in a 1D plane. Which is…this typed out retelling.
For as long as I can remember…I’ve been “weird”. I was a shy awkward child. Lanky and tall, very curious, asked a great number of questions no one had the answer to and wasn’t particularly *good* or *great* at anything.
As I entered adulthood at age 18 I didn’t transition very well from living with my parents; to living on my own. I was vastly unprepared and quickly became depressed and anxious. I sought out mental health in order to find direction and relief.
I remember depression being explained to me as a “chemical imbalance” and I clung to that idea. It just had a ringing of truth for me. All I needed to do was figure out which chemical was out of balance…and fix it! Simple…right? Not so much.,
Fast forward a few years to about age 21. Life circumstances had changed quite a bit in a matter of three years. I went to the doctor complaining of fatigue and weight gain. The doctor wanted to check my thyroid. She explained the hormones that the thyroid controls and wondered if it might be off kilter. Hmmm…maybe THIS was the chemical imbalance I’d been wondering about.
It turned out there is nothing wrong with my thyroid though over the years I’ve had each of my doctors want to check it.
In another couple of years I decided I wanted to finally attempt college. I took many classes focused on the body and how it worked. Anatomy, physiology and pathology; each a few times over. I loved the classes. Especially when we’d discuss the chemical level of the body. It fascinated me in a way I couldn’t really understand, though I didn’t really try to understand it…simply thought I’d finally found something that interested me! One day in my physiology class we went over the hormones that control the female menstrual cycle. It was a very enlightening class. Shortly there after I went off my birth control to attempt a more natural “fertility charting” method.
It became clear rather quickly that my body wasn’t going to do anything that resembled a “cycle”. So back to the doctor to try and figure out this NEW hormonal imbalance. I was met with shrugging of shoulders mainly. No one seemed to understand why it was so important to me.
I’m a big believer in everything being interconnected. I just had this feeling that this “hormonal imbalance” that was somewhere within me was the snowball cause of EVERYTHING else. My energy, my on going depression…possible even more effects than I knew.
Last year I hit a really bad spot mentally. My depression increased to near debilitating levels. If I did have as flexible of a job as I had…I would have lost my position, to be sure. I re-entered therapy with the intention of doing some work on issues from childhood and early adulthood. My therapist urged me to go on medication; if only temporarily to alleviate my depression. I just couldn’t agree to that though. It didn’t feel right for me. Not to mention through out the years I’ve tried a great number of anti-depressants with little to no relief. I wasn’t particularly interested in doing that again.
Therapy was…frustrating for me. No matter how much I talked, was open, was honest and expressive I just couldn’t seem to get to the bottom of my depression. I couldn’t lessen the load.
Fast forward finally to this September (09). Cyndi could no longer continue to live life in the “man suit”. She needed to transition. I supported her fully in this endeavor. It was not new to me, we’d discussed *her* transitioning a great number of times through the years of our relationship. There was something holding me back from being fully present and supportive however. There was a frantic feeling and I couldn’t put my finger on it. It was all internal. All I could think about was my own gender. I questioned it. Alot. However after asking a simple question “do you feel like a guy?”
and answering that question “well..no. Not really…”
You would think such an answer to such a question would alleviate questions and fears over one’s gender! It didn’t however. My angst and discomfort in my own skin became unbearable.
I started searching for answers all over the web. I found the gender identity”Androgyn”. Upon finding it…just finding that word…arose such fear, panic, yet also…a rightness.
Androgyn as a gender identity should not be confused with androgynous dress and style. While many people who are androgyns will dress androgynously (stands to reason..lol) not all person’s who dress androgynously have a gender identity of androgyn.
I started dressing in a more androgynous manner and found short lived relief from that. My clothes did not make nor break my inner feeling of self. After more back and forth than I care to recount here…I made the choice to start testosterone.
Finally I feel I have found the piece of the puzzle that’s been missing this whole time. I have found where my “chemical imbalance” lied. I was missing testosterone in a body and mind that needed it.
So that’s why I’ve been so quiet. I’m not only the spouse of someone who’s transitioning. I’m also transitioning myself. My voice has started to drop from the testosterone. My body hasn’t changed otherwise. I feel that peace that I’ve been craving.
I speak more about my transition in this video: Click here
This has gotten quite long already…so I’ll leave it here.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
So I have been dealing with fibromyalgia and the last few days have been rough but today it is out of control. Anyways I haven’t given up on this project.
I am currently doing rather well for the most part other than the fibro. Having a heavy dose of estradiol is very much agreeing with my mind. I am noticing some filling out in my thighs, hips and buttocks. NICE! My face is defiantly starting to react but it was reacting on the low dose E so I am not surprised there.
So the big thing lately has been the Susan Stanton story on CNN. Saw it. Susan is a human, she fucked up socially with the Trans crowd but that is the fault of whoever thought putting Stanton on stage as a spokes woman for trans issues. Someone wrote about that decision that putting Susan up as a spokeswoman for trans issues the same as trying to have a 14 year old girl stand up for feminism. I know why she did it. She is a 14 year old kid. At least she is socially. They were giving her positive reinforcement, that is until she put her foot in her mouth. CNN I think could have done a better job at the special. They could have followed a poor Latina girl and contrasted her transition to Stanton's.
Anyways I guess thats all I have for now.
Hugz and luv
Posted by Cynthia Lee-Bussell at 1:14 PM
Sunday, March 14, 2010
I have some stuff I am mulling over but I am not very communicative at the time.
I have a serious issue with my neck that may require surgery.
I watched the CNN special Her name was Steve. I give it an over all 6/10. Susan has had a tough row to hoe considering the amount of public attention that is on her. But CNN didn’t exactly do justice to those who’s transitions can be downright deadly due to abuse, rape and murder.
Anyways I hope Susan has nothing but luck in her new carrier.
Posted by Cynthia Lee-Bussell at 1:11 PM
Monday, March 8, 2010
In the last 10 days I have discovered a level of transphobia within myself that is very upsetting.
Not too long ago I was looking at a picture of a super hot and handsome FTM that honestly just took my breath away. I wish I could remember the name of the dude. Anyways as I sat there lusting him I thought 'yeah but he isn't a man for real.' The thought startled me. I have spent alot of time just trying to fix this predjudice then....
...Saturday I met the local suport group of transwomen and cross dressers. My thoughts about them were not what I would call politicaly corect or even nice.
I found myself silently judgeing each gal for passability, and level of male characteristics. Only 1 of the women in the group passes, actually I thought she was a GG. The rest didnt even seem like they cared to try and pass.
I found myself thinking that I would not want to be in a public space with them because I wouldn't want to be considered one of 'them'.
So then the next day the 1 woman in the group who couldn't pass in a room full of blind men sent me an email (I joined thier forum) asking if I would like to do coffee. She has a ton of questions and she is looking for an Endo...
At first I felt very uncomfortable and a bit of a traitor to my transfamily for being so unexcepting of her and her friends.
So instead of ignoreing the request or trying to bail out alltogather, I agreed that we should get togather soon probably in the next week or so...
So we will probably nail down a time and place within the next few days as we trade emails. Now its a matter of details. But I am very uncomfortable with the thought of being seen with her in public.
So I am skum and I know it.
hides her self under a rock.....