Archive for December, 2008

Protected: On 2009 (aka I’m Not Dead Yet)

Posted in about me, coming out, family, life on 12.31.08 by Maalik

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On Coming Out (Part Duex)

Posted in coming out, family, life on 12.07.08 by Maalik

I realize I’ve posted a lot on this subject already, but it’s something that’s really been bothering me lately and something I know I need to do soon. That said, I believe this will be the last of my posts on coming out for awhile because *drum roll* I have a plan.

I was talking to my counselor about this yesterday and had decided to write them a letter and leave it for them when I came home from break. But what occurred to me was that realistically this isn’t something I’m going to do. There’s no way I have the balls to write them a letter saying I’m transgendered and then leave it there to have to deal with once they’ve read it. Far to stressful.

I’m pretty sure my mom knows what’s going on. She’s seen me so much and is involved enough in my life to have some idea. She brought me friggen She’s Not There for Christ’s sake. The biggest hurdle for me is my dad. It’s not that my dad doesn’t love me or would be disgusted by my decision- quite the opposite. The problem for is that he loves me and he would have a hard time allowing me to do something that’s going to have such an impact on my life. Because dad’s never personally been challenged by this, for him it’s just something I’d be voluntarily doing and would eventually come to regret. And I can understand and respect that, for his seventeen year old kid to come to him and say “I want to permanently change my body” has to be hard to accept and his resistance to it would be him trying to protect me.

The obvious way to combat my dad’s reservations, then, would be to have some medical support. If I come to my parents with a medical diagnosis and say “I have a legitimate disorder and here’s the treatment” then they’ll both be much more willing to comply. Instead of it just being their seventeen year old making a decision on a whim, I would have the medical community affirming that this was the right thing to do. And my parents don’t generally argue with medicine.

So then getting to a diagnosis becomes the difficult part. Getting a diagnosis requires me to see a psychiatrist and I’m one foot in the door to that step- a counselor. My genius idea is this: I go to my parents and tell them “The reason I can hold a conversation and answer the phone without wanting to die these days is because I’ve been seeing a counselor for the last few months. She thinks that I should start seeing a psychiatrist to continue to progress and I want to go to so-and-so.” A bit of a lie by omission, certainly, but there’s no way my parents would object to this and it would eventually lead to a diagnosis that I can present to my parents to come out to them. Genius.

Hope

Posted in life, queer, videos on 12.06.08 by Maalik

I’m not dead. I had two finals this week and I have two next week so I’ve been doing a lot of studying. I’m not in the mood to write anything long or deep so I present you with this.

I’m supposed to see Milk with my friends today but I’m not sure if it’s going to happen.

Epiphany, Barriers in Coming Out to Family

Posted in about me, coming out, family, friends, life, transition on 12.01.08 by Maalik

I was sitting on my bed reading Just Add Hormones by Matt Kailey while watching a documentary on Jeffrey Dahmer and I had bit of an epiphany. In the book, Kailey was talking about how when a person says “I didn’t choose to be transgendered. I was born that way. It’s not my fault. You should feel sorry for me not hate me,” the underlying message is “I didn’t choose to be transgendered and if I had the choice I would choose not to be. I was born that horrible way. It’s not my fault that I’m a freak. You should feel sorry for me, not hate me because I’m a poor, pathetic victim.”

While I’m reading this, in the background Dahmer’s father is talking about how he feels about his son and how he reacted. I wasn’t paying much attention to this, but what stuck with me was during the interview Dahmer’s father was right there next to him, holding his hand at times. And as I’m reading/watching these things I had an epiphany:

I didn’t choose to be transgendered, but I’m not upset that I am. I love the perspective I have from being trans and, regardless of the obstacles I face because of it, I like being trans. If I could go back and have been born male- I wouldn’t, because it gives me purpose. Living happily and openly as a transguy is one of the greatest things I can do to make change in society and to help other transpeople. There is nothing wrong with being transgendered. Nothing. Many people believe there is, but the problem lies with their beliefs and not with my gender identity. It’s not anything to be ashamed of, it’s just another variation in life like red hair and extra toes. Just because something isn’t common doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

I didn’t choose to be transgendered, but I will choose whatever I do about it. Most people will concede that just being trans- just having an inconsistency between ones sex and gender identity- is not in and of itself wrong. What makes people uncomfortable, what they view as wrong, is when a person chooses to act upon their transgenderism by taking hormones, having surgery, etc. And of all the things a person could do in his life- of all the paths he could choose– deciding to transition is certainly a good, moral thing. If I were a parent, I would be proud of my child for choosing to be true to himself despite the opposition. Even if I couldn’t get over the social stigma, I would support my child as he pursued the thing which made him happy.

So I’m having these thoughts and feeling positive and thinking maybe I’ll come out to my parents soon so that I can really start to transition. And then I am again struck with the thing that makes me really dislike being trans and wish I could just be a “normal” person- the feeling that I’m letting down my parents.

It’s especially hard for me because I’m my parents only “daughter” (I really hate identifying as that). I don’t know much about my mom’s pregnancy with me, but I can imagine how thrilled my mom was when she learned that she was going to have a girl. I can picture the happiness on her face as she imagined a little girl to go shopping with and buy girly things for. As she thought of me walking the isle in a white gown and thought of the little grandchildren I’d give her. I think of my dad’s similar joy of having a boyfriends to harass and prom dresses to buy. And when I think of transitioning the thing that really makes me want to stop is the feeling that I’m disappointing them. I literally feel as if I’ve killed the person they thought they had and I think it might be easier to be less fulfilled if it means that my family would be happy.

One of my cousins had a baby recently, a girl, and I’m constantly reminded of this “failure” of mines when my family talks about her. My mom always talks about her “little girl” and muses about the dolls and outfits she’ll be able to buy for her. Maybe I’m just imagining it, but I can sense the disappointment in my mom’s voice when she says this, wondering why I couldn’t have been a “real girl.” I mock my mom when she talks about her and mom says it’s because I’m jealous. And the truth is that I am. Because she reminds me of what I could have been, what I sometimes feel like I should have been. She reminds me of how much I feel like I’ve failed my parents.

I guess in this observation I’m admitting that my parents already realize that I’m not the girl they imagined. That telling them that I’m transgendered and transitioning wouldn’t actually change things because, based on this feeling that they already feel they’ve “lost me,” they’ve already dealt with this. This is certainly true, I don’t change my behavior to act more feminine and the only real transition I’ll be undergoing is physical. That said, I feel like physically transitioning is the last straw. As long as I look female, my parents can hold out hope that this is just a phase and will one day turn into the girl they wanted. But as soon as I take testosterone and get top surgery, I’ve basically pulled the trigger on that girl. And as much as I want to transition, as often as I think about how comfortable and happy I’d be if I could do it, I always feel guilty and think that maybe I could just continue to live as I am if it makes my parents happy.

I think I’m still dealing with some internalized transphobia and I think that part of my hesitation to coming out has to due with me not wanting my parents to think I’m “that way.” But I think my parents love me enough to accept me and support me regardless of what I do and I think, even if they were uncomfortable with it, they’d be affirming when I came out to them. The biggest barrier to me in coming out is not wanting to disappoint them. Not wanting to be the one who pulls the trigger on their only daughter.

Side note: Writing this was actually really good for me. I think part of the obstacle for parents is trying to understand something that they themselves didn’t experience and aren’t much exposed to. For parents trying to do what’s best for their kid, it must be hard to see why they would want to pursue something that can be so dangerous- especially when parent’s don’t see the payoff. To someone who hasn’t felt this way, it must seem like a rebellious phase that a person will eventually come to regret. And I think I’ve touched a lot of issues in this entry that when I tell my parents will help them understand.