Archive for the transition Category

One Week, One Day on T

Posted in transition on 06.15.10 by Maalik

I got my first shot of testosterone last Monday. Right now I’m taking 25 mg every other week– I wanted to take a low dose– and I go in next week to learn to self inject. I know my voice shouldn’t be deeper, but it seems like it is. I think it’s because I’ve been talking from a lower place in my throat, but I’m not sure if testosterone has anything to do with it. Physically, that’s been my only change so far (as expected).

I’ve been feeling really great since starting T. I’d been cycling through periods of depression because I hadn’t been going anywhere in my transition and that’s over. I’m also a lot more confident– I flirt with girls more than I ever used to and feel more accepted among other guys. My dysphoria hasn’t bothered me yet, but we’ll see what happens over the weekend because that’s when it gets bad.

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Reflection?

Posted in about me, life, transition, Uncategorized on 05.14.10 by Maalik

Today was supposed to be my T-day. I had an appointment for the 13th, but had to reschedule because of class. I’m obviously pretty bummed about it, but I’ve come so far since this time last year I can’t be upset. My new T-day is in less than a month and by the time it gets here I should have my petition for name change filed. When I see my doctor for T, I’ll also have her fill out a form to get that damned F on my ID changed to an M. With any luck, I’ll have a swanky “Maalik/M” ID by the end of August. And I’ll be a Massachusetts resident.

I’ve decided to start on a low dose of T for my voice. I come from a family of baritones and I think I’ve got a good shot at getting there if I go through my second puberty like most boys. That’s my theory, anyway. God knows if it will work. It will also give my family and acquaintances some time to adjust.

Eliminating my Past

Posted in history, life, transition on 12.15.09 by Maalik

Recently, I’ve begun to identify pretty solidly as male; for me, this identification involves moving away from qualifying my maleness with “trans.” While I feel it is important, especially as a person of color, to speak out about being transgendered, at times I want to be just another guy. Right now it isn’t within my means to live stealth, but I no longer want this fact to stop me from living as a man. Even though I recognize that I won’t always pass, I still introduce myself as “Maalik,” use male pronouns, and behave as I would if I passed all of the time.

As part of my transition from “trans man” to “man,” I went through my Facebook page and purged it of all references to my legal name, sex, etc. I expected the process to be uplifting– my profile would finally reflect exactly who I saw myself to be– but instead I found it somewhat depressing. My past is inextricably linked to the years of it I lived as a girl and to delete references to my “girlhood” was to delete that past.

While this only involved a Facebook profile, it says a lot about my life as a whole. If I want to live as a male without the specter of my past as a girl, I have to eliminate that past all together– awards won, photos taken, etc. And if I want to be able to have and share that past, I’ll always worry about whether I’m seen as a man or a transman or a girl.

I know that living completely stealth and completely out aren’t the only options; eventually I’ll find a balance that works for me. But finding that balance is something I don’t necessarily want to do; certainly, it’s something I wish I didn’t have to do.

10 Things I’m Looking Forward to As I Transition

Posted in about me, life, transition on 12.12.09 by Maalik

I haven’t posted anything in over a month. I have a couple of drafts I would like to post, but I haven’t finished them and I don’t think I will anytime soon because it is finals week. I’ve had a pretty rough week, trans-wise, so I made a list of things I’m looking forward to as I transition. Feel free to add your own.

1. Showing a license with the correct name on it.
2. Not having to choose between not talking or looking wierd while I talk because I’m dropping my voice.
3. Putting on just one shirt when I leave my room.
4. Getting dressed with the blinds open.
5. Facial hair.
6. Going to/from the shower without a shirt on.
7. Meeting someone new and not having to amp up the masculinity so that ze uses masculine pronouns.
8. Writing “Maalik [last name]” on school assignments.
9. Going out without having people say “Thank you sir; I mean ma’am? I’m sorry! I’m so sorry!”
10. Building muscle.

Embracing my Legal Name

Posted in about me, friends, transition on 11.03.09 by Maalik

I stayed with a friend from home while I was in Vermont last weekend. She isn’t great with using my legal name, and that’s okay with me– I’ve known her since I was ten and I don’t mind being that person around her; most our memories are from when I identified as [birthname] so I am not uncomfortable about it.

As soon as I was introduced to her friends, however, that comfort disappeared. It felt awkward to be associated with that name and to have to use it in conversation. I feel the same way when I have to use my legal name day-to-day; I use my credit card as sparingly as possible and only purchase things that require ID at certain places. The general discomfort I have with using my legal name is interesting when compared with how easily I can use it in some situations– I know that it is possible to feel comfortable accepting that name, but I rarely do. Because I have to use my legal name pretty frequently, I’ve been trying to embrace it.

I am reminded of an article I read about a trans man who kept his birth name, Barbara. I don’t remember why he choose to keep his birth name, but I found his approach almost liberating. The fact that I am male means my body is male despite traditionally accepted notions of maleness. The same can apply to my name; even though it is traditionally a girl’s name, the fact that I am a boy makes it, in my case, a boy’s name. 

This mindset is far more useful in theory than in practice, but it can help. Even though I still get tense whenever I have to use my credit card, I have been successful in explaining away my “girl’s” name by insisting that my parents wanted a daughter (it’s amazing what confidence can do). I’m still planning on changing my legal name, but until I do, I have found it possible to embrace.

Taking the First Step

Posted in about me, life, transition on 10.09.09 by Maalik

I’ve been living in Boston for about a month now. Between having the means to begin therapy and a number of therapist who specialize in gender identity nearby, I’m in the perfect position to start physically transitioning. But it’s been over a month and I still can’t take the first step.

It took me a long time to come out to my last therapist. I agonized over it for months; by the time I actually did it, we had developed a relationship so the task wasn’t as daunting. But now the focus of therapy is gender; I don’t get to build a relationship with my therapist, to feel him out, before I disclose. And further complicating things is the fact that being able to transition is contingent on my therapist’s perception of my identity.

It’s frustrating to have to depend on another person for something that is so important to my well-being. To have to expose myself and hope that the therapist is knowledgable and respectful enough that the experience isn’t troublesome. I don’t do vulnerable or dependance well, so you can see the problem.

Part of the issue is the sense of a loss of control. Between Twitter and this blog, I say a lot of personal things– sometimes uncomfortably personal. But I have control over what I choose to say and I don’t have to worry (as much) about the repurcussions for saying them. If I write that I like to get pedicures and paint my nails, no one’s going to say I’m not man enough to transition. When another person has such control over your future, it’s hard for either party to gain anything from the situation.

As difficult as it is, though, I know I have to do it. Everytime I do the ridiculous dance to get into my binder I am reminded that this can’t continue. But it’s really fucking hard to take that first step.

On Death

Posted in about me, family, life, transition on 08.14.09 by Maalik

I was reading the Wikipedia page for Brandon Teena and was struck when I learned that he was buried as “Teena Brandon… daughter, sister, and friend.” I had never considered that my death could be as much a lie as my life.

To an extent, it’s different now. Blogger, Twitter, Facebook, The Men’s Room… I have a presence online that will likely out-live me. Even though the bulk of my offline existence is lived as “[birthname],” online I am able to live and make my mark as myself, as Maalik. But for Brandon and for the thousands of other trans people who died before their identity was affirmed, it’s almost like never existing.

It’s frightening to me. If I were to die today, my tombstone would be engraved with my legal name. My birth and death certificates would also bear that name. At my funeral, they would talk of the woman who died. And though that person never existed, she would be memorialized; not me. For my identity to be erased like that is unimaginable. I live with the hope that eventually I will be recognized as myself; to never receive that recognition seems wrong.

I read somewhere, following the murder of Teish Green, that her family was exploring the possibility of a postmortem name change. I think that’s huge. Even if it’s largely symbolic, to be legally recognized as oneself is important.