Permanent Body modification to date. Not counting maintenance like food, exercise, tooth cleansing, haircuts or dyes, sunscreen or dilation

Greater than one per year )

And yet I look so square.
I find that I can't open a map on a streetcorner without someone stopping to give me directions. I credit thi this to Boston's friendly attitude.

But [livejournal.com profile] vuge  tells me that I need to get a bra.

Background:

I've been tweaking my estradiol and progesterone levels for a few months now. Normally, you take a given dose of E and P and test your blood for their levels. But instead, the doctor I'm seeing recommends adjusting them until your pituitary emits levels of follicular stimulating hormone and lutenizing hormone in line with cissexed women. The idea is that your pituitary is lying back in a warm endocrinal bath and sighing ahhh... just right. Now let's ovulate.

There's no ovulation, but there is better mood and sleep. The clinic I was going to in Vancouver modeled their trans care after their previous specality: harm reduction for injection drug-users. While tehy're nice folks all-around, they prescribed as little as possible (post-op 50ug patch or 2mg pill of E; no P).

I think I'm sleeping better on the new dose. But my body seems to be completing the puberty that it stalled out on. So I go to goodwill to donate the pants that are too small on my hips and bum, and I buy new ones that fit.


And a bra may be in order. At least if I'm going to go running (ouch!) or to a job interview.

Behind me, vuge says, "no, you should wear a bra all the time."

I'm not sure about this.

"You see those striations on your shirt? That washboard effect running from nipple to nipple?" Vuge asks. "I last saw that in anime."

I don't know how I feel about this. I don't like the idea that I have to cover myself with an extra layer of fabric. An extra layer to wash by hand. An extra layer to shop and spend for, difficult normally, but even moreso due to my insistance on ethical sourcing.

I could cut down my dosage and see if they shrink back, but I'm not sure that's best for my body, my mood.

I like the fact that my body is finishing puberty; that it hasn't stalled out halfway; that it's doing what it should. I'm alarmed and annoyed at how my prior doctor thought this was the end of the line; that no more was to occur; that I should slow down and stop. And since I have trouble remembering that I've changed sex, accidentally knocking one breast with my upper arm now and then serves as a good reminder.

I don't particularly like the extra attention from men. Or rather, I don't like that this sexual expectation, or that it's contingent on the shape of my chest.

I wore a button down shirt to visit vuge in the hospital. When I left, she overheard the nurses respectfully discussing whether I was a boy or a girl. Given this, given how people associate "btuch " with "dyke," the men who cross the street to give me directions that I don't need, then strike up a conversation that ends with "I wish we could spend more time together." would figure I'm gay.

"Yeah." says vuge. "But they're probably thinking, hitting on her is probably not going to work. But if it did? .... Yeah. It's worth a shot."

I'm thinking: sports bra.
I've been off progestin, estradot, proscar and novo-spiractalone for one week.

This is another way of saying "my biochemistry is flipping from grrl back to boy-with-a-y."

Not fun. But necessary.

It is also the last time I will ever have to do this. If I ever need to be cut open, I might have to quietly cut estrogen in the future, but it won't be combined with charging my body with testosteone.

Last time I did this gradually, and only had to be clear for two weeks; this time suddenly, and for three, so I can really feel it.

I have had an estrogen withdrawal migraine for five of the last seven days. As far as migraines go, it's not that bad, but it makes physical exertion painful.

The presence of testosterone has filled the streets with strikingly attractive lasses. They might be in snowsuits, but I can still tell. I do not understand how exactly this works: how it is that T allows me to unconsciously follow sniff out clusters of sexy.

I think my verbal skills are a bit muddled, much as they were when I started this.
Tomorrow is the last day that I'm on Novo-Spironoactalone.

As in "Last Day Ever."

Novospironoactalone (AKA "Spiro" AKA "Mr Agnew.") does the following things:

1 - antagonize androgens, diminishing prostate inflammation if you take a little, shutting down testosterone production if you take a lot
2 - make you pee
3 - make you tired
4 - drop your blood-pressure (which can complicate surgery)
5 - make it a bad idea to drink some potassium-rich artificial sweeteners and that no-sodium table-salt (or so I infer)

I shan't miss it.

I will miss its ability to quash boy-hormones. But only for three weeks. Then my nuts come off, and I will never have to take it again.


Another milestone
I'm not sure what to blame for this fatigue. Or credit it. You see, I don't mind this state of exhaustion.

It could be going back on hormones. Or rather androgen-blockers: upping their dose made me tired before, and now I'm going from zero to full in the matter of a week.

It could be jet lag.

It might be a delayed reaction to anesthesia.

It almost certainly has something to do with recovering from surgery. There are wound cavities in my head, measurable in square inches that are now knitting themselves back together.
Or it could be an end to my work. I walked into my old office and saw someone at my desk. It wasn't until a couple hours after that that I felt truly spent. I don't think this the main cause, so much as the trigger: I have the feeling that I was holding back on resting until I felt my job was done, which it now is.

It is good to take a break.
Another interesting side effects of wild hormonal shifts from the female to the male (adimttedly right after one huge stressor, and right before another) is a change in appetite. I have no idea where I am putting all this food, or how it is that I feel "full" but not "stuffed." None at all.

In totally unrelated news, my pants seem to be getting tighter.

At least the weight seems to be getting added to the right places. Getting chubby less skinny doesn't feel as threatening when, unlike before, it confirms that you are what you say you are.

It's been two weeks since I started cutting down on both the right hormones as well as the blockers for the wrong hormones. And one week since I stopped. I was wondering if I would be able to feel the effects of testosterone. And I can. And I don't like them.


Scary either way: Surgery and hormones don't mix.

Androgen-blockers lower your blood pressure. Estradiol can cause blood clots. Since I need to be off them for two weeks before surgery, I start cutting down today.

There's this spectrum that runs between genders.

Where spectra fail:


sometimes the only way to say the right thing is to use the wrong words.


The deeper problem. The deeper solution.

Another good approach, at least for us overly responsible and self-admonishing types, is to invert the golden rule and do unto ourselves as we would do unto others.


An even better piece of advice, that could have avoided all this if I can just learn to stick to it is:

No one has to justify themselves.

So stop worring about what what you think other people think you should do.

Just do what you want.

Be who you want.

Thinglets.

Dec. 10th, 2007 11:52 pm
1. I am now mostly done my post-bachelor's. I'm taking a grad course next semester, and then any two upper division or grad classes.

2. There's a wallpaper store just West of the Astoria on hastings. It has a giant neon sign that reads "PAINT" on both sides. The "T" on one side is busted.

3. Speaking of the above, some worthwhile things require pain and sacrifice. While blend electrolysis stings like a bitch and drains my wallet, the real loss is this: I will never again be able to even try to grow a goatee. This will remain a dim memory - and a blurry photo. Except when the inflammation from electrolysis forms into a musketeer-beard-shaped rash.

4. Journal mostly locked down until CFS shit is over

5. Results of the experiment with inducing menses are as follows
- feels right - cycling hormones linked to feelings of embodiment and self-comfort (yay!)
- breasts no longer hurt all the time (yay again!)
- PMS sucks (expected)

6. Healthier psychological stage reached. Capable of retrospect without anger. Feel strong need for community.

7. Will not be running for another Executive term at Student Society. May run for part-time at-large position. I will avoid full-time work plus part-time classes or vice-versa in the future.

8. You know what's tasty and easy to make? Potatoes boiled in coconut milk and a bit of yellow curry. What's easy and healthy? Aloo gobi made with canned mashed spinach and potatoes not boiled in yellow curry and coconut milk, plus a little mustard. You know what's a cheap fast-food snack? Veggie "French" sandwiches at either Ba Le Vietnamese Deli (around 700 main and 120 Kingsway). You know where's a good place to go for a meal? The Cafeteria at the downtown campus of Vancouver Community College.

9. Losing your passport and then your citizenship card sucks. I cannot leave the country - and getting a new passport requires a citizenship card. Dammit. Forms printed out.

10. Speaking of healthier states and embodiment, I feel much more comfortable doing exertion now. I enjoyed my time in the weight room. And I want to go dancing - especially somewhere sly* (a Firefly term meaning "Queer"), or maybe kinky, or even better, anywhere with music that's actually to my tastes. I'm not that picky.

11. If you have not done so, register for Phamacare, preferably online. If you were on the lower end of the income scale to years ago, and have spent over $300 on medication, the BC government-people will send you a cheque next Spring - but only if you register before January. You can do this online. All you need is your care-card (which I have not lost) and your taxable income from two years past (which I did, but I phoned in and they were helpful).

12. Dating is now more awkward, as you can imagine. But it's easier now too. Better to get shot down than never know.

13. It's hard to isolate the source of heat-loss in one's apartment.

That is all
I've had a few questions about the cycle plan, so I've posted it below.

WILL
Some people may remember that last year I was "taking gender studies and calculus?" Sounded like an odd combination, didn't it?

Hah! Not anymore!

You see, I have just combined women's health resources, BC biomedical blood-work, transgender information pamphlets, and, of course, calculus, to chart out a planned progesterone regimen that should see my P levels rise, fall a bit, rise again, and fall again over the course of the wax and wane of the moon. I just ran it by my doctor today.

:D
To zap facial hairs with L.A.S.E.R. pulses, you have to grow out your stubble for one to three days first. As you can imagine, this is just fucking wonderful if you're transitioning and presenting as female.

I took advantage of this bearded opportunity, and decided to have a "Sasha is a boy" day - and failed.

My attempts to be in a male role left me feeling like a drag king with a poor work ethic

Did you put that costume together by reaching into your wardrobe? Why not add a tie, and some nice pants?
What's wrong with your facial hair?
What is this, the early 80's in Kinging - where the Kings just went up on stage and slouched  in front of an audience?
And what's that in your pants? It doesn't feel like a packer.


I need a drag king name.

In other news, Estrogen is not supposed to change the shape of the bones in your face, but something is going on with my cheekbones - they're way more prominent than they before, and I'm pretty sure it's not just the changes in body-fat.

It does often change your perception of bodily odors though, and I seem to be smelling other people and myself differently than before.

Sniff-sniff?

Stages

Jun. 30th, 2007 01:30 pm
Quite the party last night!

I'm still posting transgender stuff on my journal, but there'll be another shift in character.


1 - I began in August and September with "holy shit, I think I'm trans - is this right?"


2 - This segued into "Okay.... What does this feel like? How do I deal with it?"


3 - Then came navigating the medical system and starting to fiddle with my appearance.

At present, this involves looking at long-term health issues, nutrition, and surgical options. I'm also getting carry papers (documents stating "yes this person is female") and doing a legal name change.


4 - Following this came the hormones and their effect on me. I'm a little disappointed to know that I'm on or very near to a full dose, and there won't be any other sudden changes in my biochemical-cognitive interaction.

My dreams continue to be shockingly vivid (progesterone). Even when waking, I can no longer ignore my subconscious, and even overlooking it is a feat. I have more energy and am happier - I think this is what it feels like when you're starting to be not depressed instead of fighting depression. It's been more than half my life since I could say that. Trans ain't the only reason for this, but it goes a long way.


5 - Now I'm into a stage of presenting, with or without effort, as decidedly female and noting how this feels - what the reactions are, how I feel about those, and how feeling and perception interect. This is where the sociologist is happy and the shy girl is intimidated.

More to come, of course.



On a side not, I'm thinking of a remaning party in late August that could also serve as a community right-of-passage party.

Done something notable in the last year? Graduated? Changed something important? Want to announce something? Have a request for the community? Comment and we can maybe it can be worked in.
It was good to go to dinner, and be surrounded by life.

I was wondering why the office was so quiet -
Laurine, our ombudsperson died on Saturday night;
I didn't know her very well, but I can see that my friends did, and that they're hurting;
an in-bed heart-attack; sudden; unexpected.

It still does not seem real: I expect her to show up tomorrow;
amicably baffled by this false rumour.
And, in the coming weeks, I will likely be surprised
that I haven't run into her, and then I'll remember.

This is one of life's post-its, it reads,
"you, and anyone you know, could die at any time."
"So act approprately"

New to me was this sudden desire to fuck.
You could explain it evolutionarily: a surprise death spurs the desire to repopulate the tribe...
(it's also the first death I've seen since with the new hormones)
...but that doesn't cut it. Rather, it feels like a way of saying "we're still here, right?"
Q: Is transsexuality a mental illness?
A: Anyone who wants to go through puberty twice has got to be funny in the head.

I just swallowed a 5mg progesterone HRT tab. The pamphlet what comes with says that it may cause an absence of menstruation. I'll remember to look out for that.

(No doctor, it's okay ~ my pants are soaked in blood)

"I now have a lot more respect for 14-year-old boys"

- participant at a transgender support group


I empathize. Both he and I were/are dealing with having the hormonal oscillations of an adolescant member of our preferred gender.

All this crazy hormone shit is good - it's really good - but it's interesting and, at times, six kinds of intense.

It's been too long without a gender update.
Before I begin, I would like to say that I hope I can someday put "changed sex" on my resume. It's a job in itself; one involving a lot of research.


Projects
Ah, yes. This is where some of you may come in.

Queer Sh*t

Feb. 27th, 2007 08:20 pm
1. Out-Out Campus is doing super-cool Queer awareness week stuff. There is a drag show on the 16th. You have to go.
I mean that you actually have to. You don't have choice - we passed it at forum last week. There will be drag kings with fedoras, painted-on mustaches and tommy-guns arriving at your place of residence shortly. Sorry.


2. This gay marriage ad campaigns point out the obvious: a lot of gay couples are pretty straight except for the gay part. Turns out that it had already been done in Canada (it's on the left side of the screen when you scroll down). These ads are funny and accurate and I like them but fall short in two areas.

  a. Gay marriage bills can fail in some areas because gay is seen as a White issue.
  b. Many people, of any sexual orientation, find something alarming about being in a conventional marriage.
(IMDYINGINTHISMIDDLECLASSVANILLAHELL)

I still like them, but I would like to see a multiracial genderfucked six-person bloodplay and the tagline:
Don't worry, you don't have to be a part of this...
but you're thinking about it aren't you?


Just sayin'


3. A few people have been a bit surprised by my gender issues. I've heard that many people don't find me to be that feminine, and that this acts as a source of confusion. Cool.           (and long live Eris, goddess of dischord!)

Here's the short of it: much as trans folk aren't necssarily straight, by which I mean "attracted to the gender opposite their preferred one" (in fact, I think that trans folk are more likely to be non-straight than cisgendered folks), gender identity doesn't always square with mannerisms. There are nelly transguys, who may be gay, straight or bi. I know of one butch translass.

Furthermore, Transgender shit is an intense process of self-blah-blah-blah-blah. In this, and often in transsexual cases of doing awesomely psycho shit to your mind-body with hormones (we must be mentally ill if we want to go through puberty again), people often find that they don't wind up where they expected. There are even trans folk who were homosexual in their old gender and still are in their new one

Changed sex, still queer, sorry dad.


So's you know.
1. That was my third, and most likely final, appointment for sperm storage - this means that I started Spiroactalone late this morning.
It feels as if there was a period wherein a tide of unwanted T had the run of my body, and that this period is now over. A strong relief comes of this.

2. In other news, I dyked it up this week - girl's pants, shirt, vest, my cap, trimmed eyebrows and so on. And today, a fellow I'd not met came into the office, skirted the directors who were chatting with each other and shouted to reach me to ask for directions. I'm pretty sure what he said was.
"Excuse me sir."
(I turn from leaning over my computer)
"Oh, I'm sorry - miss."
Now, he was seeing me at a distance, and I'm pretty sure that my attempt at a female voice didn't work out as well as I'd hoped, but I'm pleased nonetheless.
I really do think that was what he said.
Fucking A.

3. Could it be that the demand for medical intervention in body-gender is driven in part by living in a large, anonymous society? If I lived in a small village or tribe where everyone knew that Sasha prefers to be acknowledged as female and had personal relationships that would encourage them to honour this, then I, or any other trans (or intersex, or, in some cases, cis) person in a similar situation, could live day in and out without having to worry about being read because everyone would be familiar with both my history and what I want in social interactions. This isn't to say that there wouldn't be other problems (like not being able to leave in the face of hostility).

But I don't live in a small village or tribe - not yet anyway: we'll see what the next thirty years of world history hold. This, if I want to be read as female, I have to give off a strong and immediate visual signal to all the people who I meet for all of ten minutes before I never see them again.

Peak oil: solving both global warming and transphobia since 2005.

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