Transphobia Never Wins (part 1)

So, after a long absence that saw my wife and I move to a new apartment, I’m back.

I’ve had a hell of a couple weeks, work-wise. You see, I have this coworker… She got me the job where I’ve been employed for two years now. We were friends before I got the job there. She also knew me pre-transition. I guess, for some reason, that allowed her in her mind to say things she shouldn’t, like call me “she” to customers and call me “girl”. Or out me to other employees.

It stopped for a good year because I had made a complaint to my boss about it. But recently, we hired a new woman in the cosmetics department who happens to be transgender as well, and there were some transphobic things that went on, which ended up starting this woman on her transphobic tirade towards me again. Asking to see photos of me as a girl, asking if I still had my tits, etc. All while on the floor, in front of customers. I absolutely lost it.

Then, I found out about a complaint put in by a separate coworker about the treatment of the transwoman in cosmetics. My boss came up to me and asked me to put what I went through in writing. So I did. I talked about all the times I got outed (with a coworker backing me up on that), all the times she misgendered me in front of customers (with another coworker backing me up on that), and all the shitty things she said or did to me. I sent it off in an email on Monday, which caused me severe anxiety because this coworker has been complained about so many times, and has had so many write-ups, we deemed her ‘unfireable’.

Yesterday, my boss came up to me and thanked me for the email. He then told me that this coworker is no longer with the company, due to breaking company policy. I don’t even think I could put into words what I was feeling at that moment. I felt like it was a huge win. Not just for me, but for the agender cashier I work with that was also mistreated by this awful woman. Not to mention the other cashiers, who she was generally horrible towards, and all the customers who she ignored or was rude to for absolutely no reason at all.

But then I found out just how shitty this woman really is…

So Much Surgery!

So, recently I’ve been scrolling through my Facebook feed, and since I belong to a bunch of groups, it makes sense that I mostly see that. However, recently, both the Graves’ group and the FTM group have mostly been about surgery. In the Graves’ group, it’s people getting thyroidectomies to remove the thyroid instead of getting RAI. In the FTM group, it’s chest surgery and hysterectomies. I’m jealous.

I’m jealous that I couldn’t get a thyroidectomy because RAI causes a higher increase for cancer. It also gave me all the symptoms of Graves’ that I was actually avoiding. I never had increased fatigue, or random hives, or anything I get now. I never felt this sick, dizzy and itchy before this. I’d give anything to reverse it.

I’m also jealous I can’t get my chest surgery sooner. I know I’m on the waitlist for the surgeon now so it’s just a matter of time and patience but I’ve been waiting 3 years. I’m just sick of waiting at this point and want it done and over with so I can get on with my life. I’ve been delaying getting my passport done because I don’t want to change my gender marker before I get the surgery done, and I already get weird looks with my health card, so I’m assuming a passport with the “wrong gender” would get a lot of weird looks, and potentially would screw up travel.

As it stands, the only surgery I’ve had is dental surgery, and that’s because I’m working towards getting dentures so in order to pull multiple teeth with my anxiety, they put me under for it. Which I recently learned is really bad for me, but that’s for another time.

The Unpopular Opinion

So, about a week back, I was scrolling an FTM group that I just joined on Facebook. I tend to join groups about being FTM and having Graves Disease (though clearly not together because I honestly don’t know anyone with both of these as well)… I found this one post. 

The post was by someone I didn’t know was underage at the time but it basically was something to the effect that he was upset his girlfriend wanted to sleep with a cis man. Most comments said she was a whore and to drop her. But I had a separate opinion. 

I commented that not everyone that craves something else once in a while is a whore. I said maybe they should sit down and have a conversation about it instead of dropping her like dead weight. I compared it to “having chicken all the time but craving a steak”… 

I was met with a lot of insults. Saying I clearly wasn’t good enough for my wife. That my wife was a whore. That my wife is super disrespectful. That she doesn’t care about me at all. And that I was inadequate. All because I said maybe not everyone who craves something different once in a while is a whore. 

Then, suddenly, a lot of things started making sense. All the people who express opinions online, when they have unpopular opinions, get tons of hate. It’s clearly just the way they think. I mean, to have an opinion that gay people should die or be in concentration camps like what’s going on in Russia is clearly not an opinion someone should have. But it’s their opinion. As much as I may want to hate on someone for having a horrible opinion, I don’t think I would ever say something again. 

Bottom line, I’m going to keep my mouth shut on things like this from now on. I don’t think my stress levels can handle it. 

“Transtrenders”??

So, I have this ex. This ex who told me that nobody could ever love me because I’m transgender. An ex who has dated 3 FTMs in a row, who forced me to open up our relationship to another FTM, who’s two best friends are trans (one MTF, one FTM)… An ex who now is transgender themselves. WHAT.

Ok, when I say now… Said ex has been in transition for about two years now. Only reason I know this is because said ex came into my old work and started talking about it. We aren’t friends, said ex just liked to brag to me about their life and how good it is after being with me. How they found the love of their life and how everything is fantastic. Except, I don’t care.

And why should I? Said ex also said the only reason I’m on hormones now is because of them… Except it was all me. I went to the walk-in clinic to get a referral, I got the appointment, I did the therapy…. It was me. It irked me at the time three years ago but now I just think it’s sad.

Anyway, point of this whole backstory: Not once in that almost-two year relationship did they ever mention they were trans to me. I’m not going to mention how they were specifically but it looked incredibly cisgendered to me. I also know that some people do that to compensate for not being internally ok with being trans. But honestly, with the things they said to me when we broke up, it’s extremely hard for me to believe they just decided to come out like that, right after our break-up. And almost immediately be on hormones, like they somehow didn’t have to go through the therapy and all the other hoops necessary.

That’s when I learned about this new “transtrender” craze. One that makes me very glad I live stealthy. Because other people I know have talked to me about this person, saying they’ve seen them around town and that they’ve “transitioned poorly” (which I honestly find to be rude, transtrender or not).. But these transtrenders seem to transition VERY publicly, just for the attention… Then decide they’re not into it months or years later and go back. Except, that’s a horrible idea because some of these changes are irreversible.

I recently saw a post on Facebook about a transtrender, saying they were transitioning, used a stock photo online of a bottle of testosterone, then made a post 6 hours later saying they were “going back to being a lesbian”…. Like being trans is a sexual preference. It blew my mind. I can’t even imagine doing something like that. I had to watch something similar in the Graves’ Disease Facebook group I’m in, but I’ll save that for the next post.

But yes, transtrenders exist. They give actual trans folk a bad name. And I can’t wrap my head around it…

The Wedding

So, last August, my wife and I finally got married. However, it wasn’t as easy as we thought it would be.

We had everything set up: It was taking place on my parents’ lawn, we got the tent, the tables and chairs and all the decorations, the photographer, etc. She had her dress, I had my suit, the maid of honour and the best man both had their wardrobe and the rings were present. The caterers arrived and served food, and everything was going well…

… until the Justice of the Peace didn’t show up. Turns out, she decided she was going to do another wedding and took off. She claims it’s because we didn’t call the day before, but my mom had confirmed it with her two days before, so it didn’t make sense. my thoughts turned to “well, maybe she saw I hadn’t changed my gender marker yet and that means it’s technically a gay marriage, so she didn’t want to do it”… But Justice of the Peace isn’t a religious thing, which is why we went with them to begin with.

My panic grew. Graves Disease makes it so that I react HORRIBLY under stress, and being on testosterone misplaces that stress as anger. I freaked out. I punched the punching bag for a while, while my soon-to-be wife stayed calm and mingled with the guests. Meanwhile, both my best friend and cousin decided to get ordained, so they were both on their phones, doing that. Two hours later, one of the caterers actually got another Justice of the Peace, and the wedding was back on!

The rest of the day went off perfectly (minus some family members getting wasted and ruining the rental tablecloths), though when we got home from the wedding, I passed out immediately instead of us going to a hotel like planned. Stress knocks me out. I don’t normally have the best sleep but falling asleep that night was easy and I stayed asleep for almost 8 hours, which is a miracle.

Travelling in Transition

My wife and I had decided to travel across the country, since she hadn’t really been anywhere more than around Ottawa, aside from a couple times, and even then wasn’t very far. I secretly brought her out there so I could propose as well, but she didn’t know that.

The bus took three days so it was pretty intense, but we both got to see so much of this beautiful country. I had never been further west than Niagara Falls so it was really cool to see the Prairies, and then the Rocky Mountains. We got to Vancouver, checked into the AirBNB, showered (because no level of deodorant can get off 3 days worth of stench) and passed out.

Now, during this trip, I met her mother. Her mother has no clue I’m transgender (ans still doesn’t). I live pretty stealthy so there was no point in time where I would want to tell her. But I know some things I do sort of make it a huge giveaway sometimes. That, or people just think I’m seriously odd. But the visit went off no problem, and it was a lot of fun. The week of travelling came so suddenly (and I did end up proposing and she said yes, obviously) and it was time to go back home.

Now, on the bus, I didn’t wear my binding shirts because it didn’t make sense to. On the way home, however, I wished I had because during the section between Regina and Winnipeg, a gentleman got hammered and started wandering up and down the aisles. He ended up rubbing my chest after drunkenly exclaiming “I’m…. going to touch you.”… Which obviously didn’t sit well with me but I’m glad it was me over my wife! He ended up touching a girl behind me as well and warranted a booting off the bus and a police visit. Which was fun. But we were back on our way after that.

Case of the Ex

So, for those of you that don’t really know how Graves’ Disease works, a lot of it is triggered by stress. Too much stress can send your thyroid out of whack, and it’s never good when it happens. So when Bone started realizing something was going on between The Wife and I, it wasn’t a happy time.

First off, we were still living under his roof (though at this point, we started searching for our own place because we had trouble with roommates). Then, he started randomly declaring that she was HIS woman, and I couldn’t have her. Which…. If you have any respect for a woman at all, she is never YOURS. You mutually decide to be together. She is never your property, and you are never their property. Just some gentlemanly insight. But we had decided to be together, so she wasn’t HIS anymore regardless.

Finally, when he decided it was finally time to let her go, he made a last-ditch effort that unfortunately worked to some degree. Fortunately for us, we were able to move past it all but the stress from it just set my thyroid into hyper mode again. I felt sick for so long. I couldn’t sleep well, though having her beside me helped immensely. There was a point during the winter where she stayed with her grandparents because it was easier for her to go to work, so there were a lot of sleepless nights then. Having him tell me fake “horror stories” about her while she wasn’t around didn’t make it any better, though I knew they were all fake.

Finally, after a year of this mess, we finally found a place to move to and did that as quickly as possible… Then took a little vacation.

Meeting My Wife

A month into starting my transition, my girlfriend at the time dumped me. She said a lot of hurtful things, including that I would never find anyone to love me because “I was transgender… Nobody would love such a freak”. As heartbroken as I was not, because we went through a lot of crap and I was honestly over it, it really hurt me to hear those words. When I read up on trans individuals, a reoccurring theme came up where people couldn’t find someone to date because they were trans. So I became depressed. I went into the hospital due to a suicide attempt, and ended up having to stay in a group home for two weeks while I was being medicated with tranquillizers. Those two weeks were hell.

The second I got out of that group home was when my best friend went into the hospital for the same thing. He was miserable. So he moves home at the end of March, and I moved into our friend Bone’s place. One of his roommates had just moved out and it was perfect timing. So I started moving my stuff in. That’s when I met her.

The second I met her, I felt… Something. I didn’t know what because of the aftereffects of the tranquillizers but when a beautiful ginger lady walks into a room, apparently my head turns to look. Especially when the first thing she says to me, aside from introductions, is “Oooooh, video games, can I see which ones you have?” She then saw I owned You Don’t Know Jack… And the rest is history.

Well, it should have been. Complications arose. See, she was dating Bone. Well, that’s what I was made to believe anyway. And she was told by Bone that I was female, though looking at me, she could tell that wasn’t entirely accurate. We ended up discussing it later, so she understood. So we started hanging out. Slowly we got closer and closer. One night, three weeks after I met her, we went to Bone’s restaurant where he works, and she told me that not only was she not dating Bone, but she liked me. I panicked. I didn’t want to lose this chance. The thing that came out of my mouth? “….. Uhhh….. Do you like… Bread?” Clearly I’m the most romantic person on the planet.

It was then that I realized my ex-girlfriend was wrong. People could still like me. People could still date me. In fact, she thought it was really cool that I was trans. She had dated a MTF transgender person before but never a FTM. She’s pansexual so it never bothered her.

What DID bother her was Bone’s reaction to this revelation.

Trans Day of Visibility

You know, I usually live my life pretty stealthy. I usually don’t mention the fact that I’m trans a lot. Mostly because I like the fact that people see me as male, and that’s really all they need to know. My anatomy has nothing to do with them, and that’s that.

However, yesterday was the Trans Day of Visibility. As stealthy as I am, I’m proud to be transgender. I feel like the 25 years I experienced as a woman shaped how I am as a man. I mean, I understand women when they talk about periods, I get the mood swings, and I can understand stupid pain with bras and that. I also understand some of the social stigmas that women go through. There’s more, but my “Graves’ Brain” isn’t really allowing me to think, and I really was looking to post this today, haha.

I’ve wanted to get a trans-related tattoo for a while, though I don’t really have the money. I would also want it in a place most people wouldn’t see it, so I’m struggling to figure out where on my body that would be. I’m sure once I figure it out, I’ll save up and get it. However, that time is not now.

I know the majority of my friends are well-versed in trans-related stuff, as I know a lot of people who are trans, or with other trans friends or family members. But I’d like to think of myself as an open book to anyone who needs random questions answered on the subject, or even in general.

Tying the Two Together

During my medical leave, I decided I was going to pursue going on testosterone. I had told my girlfriend at the time, and my parents, which apparently wasn’t a surprise to them. My dad took it a little better than my mom (though they were both supportive, and are extremely supportive now). As I slowly started coming out to everyone, it got easier. My whole family wasn’t surprised. The vast majority of my friends weren’t surprised. Everyone was very supportive. I think I may have lost maybe one friend over it, but that’s it.

I finally was able to meet with a gender specialist in June of 2013. Unfortunately for me, he told me we needed to figure out how it would work with my Graves’ Disease, as he had never treated someone with it before. So, in the meantime, I did the 3 therapy sessions that was required of me (though the therapist told me 10 minutes in that she was confident in giving me a referral already… She wanted me to work through some traumatic events that had happened in my life first but she could tell I was ready to transition). I informed my endo about my decision to transition, and even she wasn’t surprised. She actually told me she was surprised I hadn’t told her sooner. Things were really starting to work themselves out.

In September of that year, the doctor told me he was retiring soon. So we got the crazy amount of bloodwork done (9 vials!), and they came back good! So he started prescribing testosterone in pill form to see how it would react, and I took my first one on September 28th, while hanging out with my friend Brian. After the next batch of bloodwork came back and it showed that the testosterone was actually helping my thyroid recover from RAI, he upped the dose of the pills. Unfortunately for me, the pills don’t quite start changes fast enough. But we still needed to make sure it wouldn’t screw anything up, so I was stuck on them. In the meantime, I got my name legally changed in January 2014, and started working out to burn the bit of excess energy I started feeling. Unfortunately for me, my girlfriend broke up with me (but I’ll get to that next post)

Finally, in March, the doctor switched me to injections. That actually allowed me to get past my fear of needles. That same month, my best friend went into the hospital (which was a major event leading up to him moving away) so we moved out of the apartment we were living in. I moved in with my friend Bone… Which was both the best and worst decision I ever made. But I’ll get to that next time.