Sunday, October 31, 2004

Trick or Treat?

So, I’m picking up a California Club at my favorite deli tonight, when the woman who’s making my sandwich is talking to another woman who is working on another item.

“My son dressed up in drag last night.”

My ears perked up.

“No way.”

“Yeah, he looked pretty good as a girl.”

“What did his father think?”

At this point, it was hard to hear, but I think she said that he didn’t really care. That’s good. Hopefully their son does not have GID...which is most likely the case. However, there might be some young children who dress up on Halloween because they do have Gender Identity this potential case, a young boy...simply because it’s a lot easier in everyday life for a girl to dress as a boy than a boy as a girl.

Happy Halloweiners

“Don’t do it,” Courtney whispers over the phone. Why does she do this to me?

“It hurts like crazy. Don’t do it.”

“But Court, the pain goes away with, that’s why they give you plenty o’ pain killers. Amber hardly had any pain at all.”

“Amber doesn’t know shi....”

And so went a conversation with Courtney earlier this week. She’s been in Canada having her SRS with Dr. Brassard. She had the one stage SRS (vaginoplasty and labiaplasty together) unlike Amber who just had the vaginoplasty when I went with her. Courtney is still in considerable pain, so much that she still enjoys telling people, “Don’t do it.” Unfortunately, SRS is the only option for those of us that do not associate with having a penis. The pain goes away, the GID doesn’t.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

I talked Amber into going to the Five For Fighting concert last night. I’m a pretty big fan of John Ondrasik and totally enjoy his music, especially renditions of Superman (It’s Not Easy) and 100 Years. I’m not exactly sure why his music hits a chord with me...perhaps it’s the romanticism, the poetry, the emotion....dunno. One thing both Amber and I noticed (at separate times, of course - must be the difference in straight and bi women) was that there was an exuberant amount of women in attendance. With the show in The Fillmore, we stood only a few rows back of the stage, so we were able to enjoy his onstage antics.

Unfortunately, the concert prevented us from seeing the eclipsed moon and the Boston Red Sox’s breaking of the curse (a definite sign of an impending apocalypse). John was kind enough to not only tell us a little more about some of his songs, his life with children, how small changes and a song he thought someone else could sing (Superman) would help him break out in the music industry, but he also told us of the Bosox win. He said he was glad he wouldn’t have to play 100 Years for them in another 14 years.

I also spent yesterday at a midday therapy session. Typically, I usually spend about an hour with my therapist chatting about things on my mind or asking her questions concerning transition in general. This time, though, I was with a different therapist for about an hour and a half. Why? I have to have a second evaluation from another therapist in order to obtain a second letter for SRS. Yup - the second letter. She’d asked me to kinda summarize my life up to this point in order to hopefully speed things up during the session, as well as provide her information for when she later writes the letter. Luckily, I’ve attended a few younger transitioner support group meetings that she has hosted, so we’ve known each other for about a year. Anyway, things went well and she sees no problem writing the letter. So, although transition isn’t easy, sometimes it can be. I guess it just depends on the setting.

Monday, October 25, 2004


Time really seems to fly. Days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months, months turn into a year, and a year turns the outie into an innie.

Let's just say that I've been busy.

I was in New England this past week for work, and was fortunate to spend one night hanging out with Reise and Elisa. We grabbed a nice bite to eat, sipped some hot chocolate, and played pool to the sounds of cheering fans rooting for the Red Sox to crush the Yankees in game 7.

I flew back to Cali. Worked. Dance class. Worked. Electrolysis. Slept in. Worked. Slept in. Worked. That took me up to Sunday afternoon for a meeting with Gwen Smith and company working on the details of the Day of Remembrance that rapidly approaches. After that, you guessed it, more work before finally turning in last night.

This week promises to be just as busy with dance class, an appointment for my second letter for SRS, a concert, and the grand transgender holiday of all holidays this weekend - Halloween. Now, I just need a costume.

Monday, October 18, 2004


Pulled from the pages of my written journal. Pardon the length of this entry - it was a long flight.

I'm on yet another flight - San Francisco to Chicago, then on to New England. It’s an emergency run to a vendor that continues to cause problems. Luckily for me, though, an online friend or two live fairly near to the area I am visiting. Reise lives just outside the airport I’m flying into, and Elisa, who I met in Chicago and again at Meltzer’s, lives about an hour away.

Anyway, I’ve been meaning to get some thoughts down concerning SRS and life. When I visited with my therapist recently, I told her my biggest hang-up with SRS deals with attraction. I think I’m still attracted to women, but yet, I know that I’m also attracted to men - but it’s in an entirely different way. I’m attracted to the beauty of women - their curves, hair, hairless skin, warmth, and their softness. There is also a societal connection of some sort - something, possibly just friendship. In men, I’m attracted to their strength, muscle, firmness, roughness, a clean look - yet unkempt to some sort. The attraction to them is also a completeness - key to lock, pen to paper, peanut butter to jelly - one doesn’t exist well without the other.

So, my biggest hang up comes down to the attraction to women. If I end up with a woman, it would be nice to have penetrative sex - sex in which both were able to experience it at the same time. But yet, the times I did have sex with a woman, I dunno, it just didn’t quite seem right. Yeah, it felt nice, but it didn’t quite feel right. Sometimes I wonder if any lesbians wish they had a penis just to have simultaneous sex with their partner. I bet there are a few (who aren’t FTM’s). Anyway, that’s my hurdle. If I end up with a guy, SRS is no big problem, and really, lesbian sex, from what I hear, is still quite fun - even without a penis. And come on, sex is such a minuscule part of our lives, yet many of us think about it all of the time. Why create so much pain over the remaining dysphoria when I can have SRS and worry about the sex part of it later?

Another little fear about SRS for me is getting past the feeling of no longer being “special.” I’ll just be another girl - one that....cannot have children; has larger hands and feet; has larger shoulders, smaller hips, and a larger waist; and will be creeping up on 35 by the time she’s healed.

Believe it or not, I have a small garden - very small. Actually, it’s more of a remnant of a garden. A bell pepper plant survived from last year. A while back, I saw a huge green pepper on the lower section of the plant. The hard part about the pepper plants that I’d planted is that I had green, yellow, and red - so it’s hard to know if it’s a regular green pepper or one that hasn’t ripened from green to yellow or red. When a slight red tint appeared, I knew I still had a little time before I should pick it. Gradually, though, it ripened into this really nice red pepper. Here was this half dead pepper plant trying to survive, and yet, there on its lower branch was this remarkable, pristine red pepper. The thing is, I almost didn’t want to pick it because it was so beautiful. It made the plant special, and if I took its sole pepper, well, then, the plant would no longer be special. It would just be a plant without any fruit. But then I thought, “It’s still special to me” and “It’s not the fruit that makes it special, it’s the amazing ability for it to survive that does.” It will still be an amazing pepper plant to me. With that, I reached down to the pepper, grabbed it firmly, and ripped it away from the plant.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Battle for the Planet of the Kates

I visited with Kate one last time before she flies out tomorrow. We had dinner in the Castro at a nice little restaurant that had some soft pasta for her to eat. She has all of her bandages off and is looking pretty good. Her nose/forehead profile looks great....and is very close to the shape I was actually hoping for. Now she just has to battle thru the psychological trauma of saying good bye to San Francisco and the Cocoon House - places that have become her safe haven for recovery. She’ll also be saying good bye to Dr. O and Mira, two people that have helped change her life in ways many of us will enjoy for as long as we breath. The main part of her battle, though, will be dealing with the possible depression that follows such a momentous event in a person’s life, as well as the “coming down” part of it as she readjusts to her regular life.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Like a Book

Joe and I flew down to LA for a day trip to deal with some business problems. We had a conversation on the plane discussing his ability to “read” a person after talking to them for 5 minutes. He said it worked really well with women in bars. So, I asked him to read me.

He said I was strong willed, as evident in my job, and that I was very opinionated. He said he actually didn’t see me as an engineer, but as more of a chemist or a teacher - possibly 5th or 6th graders - teaching science. Hmmm....I have to say that he was hitting some good points. For a long time, I kinda wanted to be a teacher, but the money just isn’t really there. He said he also saw me wanting to be a coach since I was pretty athletic. I told him he read me pretty good, except 5th or 6th graders kinda annoy me, and that I’d probably work better with high schoolers.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Conquest of the Planet of the Kate's

After watching a little football and talking with Joe, I visited with Kate a little more. She has one last night with the nose packing in and she will be home free on that aspect. She’s made it past the hardest part of FFS - the first three days out of the hospital - but she still has the long term effects to deal with. Although most of the physical pain has subsided, the psychological pain will continue for a little while.


I’m traveling for work tomorrow with another co-worker who works out of Texas. He was flying in tonight and I figured we’d meet up after work to chat about tomorrow. Since Mikhail and I, along with L recently, usually watch football on Monday night, I invited Joe to watch with us. We decided to watch the game at one of the local hotel’s dining areas with huge screens. I got there a little early to secure a decent table, and the bouncer working the front door asks for my ID. At first, I thought I misheard what he said, but, I thought, “OK, they must check everyone as they come into the bar area.”

I sit down and wait. Soon, Mikhail shows up. We chat for a little while, and then order some food. As we are waiting, I ask him if the bouncer carded him. He says no.

L shows up and he orders something that he can eat according to his South Beach Diet. As we are sitting there watching the game, I ask him if he was carded. He says no as well.

The game proceeds further with my Packers totally getting trounced. Since I’m mainly there to talk with Joe about tomorrow, I turn around once in a while to see if I can spot him when he comes in. On one turn, I spot this blonde haired woman walking in. The thing is, though, instantly, I knew she was T.

So, because my Packers are getting killed and I need to pee, I head to the bathroom. I get a better view of the T and confirm that she’s definitely T. As I exit the bar area, I stop by the bouncer and ask him why I was carded and my two friends weren’t. He points to the sign across from him that says anyone looking 30 or under should be carded, and he guessed me around 29-30.

When I walked back in, he says, “Plus, I really wanted to talk to you.” Well, I’ll give him credit for trying, and for being honest.

When I returned to our table, I found that the T had moved spots and was now sitting at the table directly behind me. I almost wanted to say hi, but in the T world, you learn that you just don’t out someone even if you know that she’s T. You just don’t know how someone will react. Sure, if someone came up to me, I’m sure I would be fine, but most people can’t pick me out of a crowd. This girl was wearing a blonde wig, a froo-froo skirt, and a classy semi-tank top. She had male musculature, similar to mine, although she was a bit taller. L thought she looked quite nice.

Once half time rolled around, we all started making our way to the exit. I finally found Joe, who was in a booth on the other side of the bar and sitting by himself. He hadn’t seen me when he came in because he “didn’t expect me to have my hair up like I had it.” The T, however, had left shortly before we all decided to leave.

Funny thing, though, is that hotel was the first place I ever basically went out dressed in girl mode, besides the few late nights I did it in the Midwest. I’m sure this T looked way better than I did that first time, and all I did was walk from my hotel room to my car, never even pondering the courage it would take to go in the bar in girl mode. It’s wild how far I, and most who travel a similar journey, have come.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Escape from the Planet of the Kate's

After the workshop, I visited Kate at Cocoon. She’d escaped from the hospital earlier that morning and was now resting in her upright position. A very pretty girl answered the door for Kate, but disappeared into the back room once I was in.

Kate was very swollen. Duh, huh? She was only 2 days post-op and had the usual chin bandage, nose cast, and nose-base bandage. Despite the surgery, Kate was still surprisingly quite talkative.

I showed her how to make a smoothie, which for something that I actually made, tasted really well...probably courtesy of the excellent food items that Tricia and Mary-Lou stock the frig with. I also showed Kate where the bandages and tape were for changing the nose dressing. Otherwise, it was just a nice afternoon hanging out in the Cocoon House.


Awhile back, a few of us from TGSF were invited to attend a workshop being presented by Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons who were holding an international conference in San Francisco. They asked if we would talk a little about our transitions as well as have a question and answer session after that.

So, after Roxy, Dawnne, Alli, Tyler, and I had breakfast at a diner near the Castro, we spent a little time chatting with a few interested souls. We’re all a bit different ranging from Roxy who’s in her mid-50’s and transitioned at work, but doesn’t plan on SRS; to Alli who is a few years younger than me, but like many T’s, doesn’t quite have the financial resources for SRS; to Dawnne, also in her 50’s, who used to be one of the most homophobic right-wing religious Texans in the south, but who has now embraced who she is; to Tyler, our only FTM attendee who likes where he exists within the gay male community. Oh, and me, too.

They had some interesting questions including how we came to self acceptance and what our sexual orientations were...and everything in between...although it was hard to answer questions relatively fast with 5 panelists and a variety of backgrounds.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Beneath the Planet of the Kate's

I stopped by the hospital tonight to check in on Kate. She was garnished with the usual bandages when I arrived at her room, but surprisingly, she was quite conscious.

She was in the same room that I was in; the same room that Claire stayed in. When I dipped into the bathroom to get out of the way of the nurses, I spotted myself in the mirror...the same mirror I looked at myself post FFS for the first time. I hadn’t looked in this mirror since then. It was eerie revisiting a path I took what seems like ages ago - yet, just 8 months have passed.

To be honest, when Spock, Captain Kirk, and Bones debated if “life is but a dream” throughout the quite horrible Star Trek 5, I always kinda thought it was sort of a stupid conversation. But the more I live my life, I’ve come to realize that life is more a dream than anything else. We only exist in the present which comes and goes, leaving only our memories as a record of the past. The past tends to fade, and soon, it becomes simply a dream.

FFS almost seems like a dream now. It’s sorta weird seeing old pictures of me, simply because I have become used to seeing me now...and not as someone that I wasn’t. The memories of what I went through - of staying in the room that Kate now resides in, of seeing my new, yet very swollen, face for the first time - seem distant. And one day, this entry will be but another dream. And then, one day, my whole life...just a dream. And then someone else will dream until all of the dreams are dreamt. Row, row, row your boat......

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Planet of the Kate's

Another Kate is in town...this one from the UK. I swear, it’s an invasion...not only from the UK, but one from the Planet of the Kate's. Run for your lives.

We chatted over a little pasta, with a chocolate souffle a la mode for dessert. Although all of our stories are different, they are, in a way, very similar. After watching Nip/Tuck the other night, they mentioned that the TS community is leery of outsiders poking around into the personal life of other TS, but yet, one TS and another TS can almost create a bond as soon as they first meet. It’s a different type of bond, separate from friendship or love, that’s almost indescribable. We’ve shared a view, a vision perhaps, of life that many people will never see.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004


Tonight’s episode of Nip/Tuck had yet another sensational fictitious story of a TS. And, of course, she was super hot with the only way anyone knowing she was TS was if they had a really long large penis. gotta love Hollywood. OK, yeah, I know a few hot T's that you’d probably never guess were once men, but these girls still have very small things that give them away to the trained eye. The two TS characters in the episode that had speaking roles (that were obviously played by genetic women), though, were flawless.

What wasn’t flawless, however, was some of the research for the episode. Although they did well with pronouns, threw around a few transgender words properly, and talked about some of the issues, they messed up with some of the basic stuff that T's would know.

For instance, the TS character was taking Spironolactone but was also 17 years post-op. Normally, once one is post-op, spiro is no longer needed...especially 17 years after SRS. In fact, sometimes testosterone in very small dosages is administered simply to increase libido.

They also had an FTM character who was describing his trip to the open-trough urinal and peeing with the rest of the guys, having had a newly constructed penis, of course, yet he had no physical sign along either forearm - the typical donation area for penile tissue.

One day, though, we can hope to have just a plain-ol’-boring normal-looking TS character on some TV show...but then again, would we even watch it if he/she were that boring?

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Co-worker Mark

Ahhh...yes, Mark is still around. He, and a few others, have started loosening up around me instead of being so rigid all of the time. As JoanB told me recently, “They start to forget.” She’s right. I’ve felt it lately as people start to joke with me and have warmer conversations.

Anyway, I have been totally swamped at work lately. I’m fixing a lot of problems, and they continue to come in, it seems. Problems left, problems right, problems all around - problems which I get to solve. Fun.

So, I’m working later than normal this past Tuesday - so is coworker Mark. He walks by my cube and we chat for a few minutes about why each of us is there so late. He then mentions that he is still screwing up the pronouns but that he is trying to get them right. We chatted for a little longer, and then he asks me when the BIG surgery is. I cut him off as he stumbles for the right words to describe his inquiry, and tell him that it’s scheduled for early next year. He asks if it is a long surgery and I say that it’s typically only 4 hours or so. Then I ask him if he wants to see pictures.

“NO HO HO!” he says, and cringes as he shuffles off. I, though, sat there chuckling for a few minutes.
I was driving along the freeway into the city today when I spot an Eclipse, a car similar to my own, coming up along my left side going pretty fast in the fast lane. As the car zooms past me I notice that it’s velocity slows until it’s not longer going faster than me, and slowly drifts back to my position before matching my speed for a few seconds. Through the corner of my eye, I can tell the passenger is looking at me, so I look over just briefly to see him wave at me. As they slightly increase their speed to get in front of me so I have to look at them, I see the guy looking back at me with one of those innocent friendly smiles. They then move over into my lane and as they drive off I see the passenger wave at me through the sun roof. Ahhhh...thanks guys, you made me smile.

So, I was headed to the city for a meeting with SF TEAM, a group I initially started with several years ago...although we were called something else then. I haven’t participated lately with my surgery and everything else that has kept me fairly busy. I figured it was time to get active again.

As I sat waiting for the rest of the people to show up, it was just myself and another in the room. Feeling the silence to be way too awkward, I finally strike up a conversation. I recognize her, but don’t fully remember which of the two people she is. Unfortunately, I guessed wrong, but recovered quite nicely by asking some questions on how things are going for her. Her name is Theresa Sparks - San Francisco police commissioner, 2003 California Woman of the Year, and Civil Rights lobbyist who just happens to be a transsexual.

It also happened that a friend named Mikayla, who has previously been on a Discovery Channel program, had been contacted to do a follow up program on where she was now. She has recently started working with the SF TEAM group, and the Discovery Channel people wanted to film some of our interaction. She’d also put out an invite to some of us about having a round table discussion last night, but I told her I had electro and figured I should probably address that instead of worrying if I am on TV or not. Plus, they already had an excellent representation including Gwen Smith and a few others.

Once we changed rooms and settled into the relative seating, the cameraman decides that the best shot for about 30 seconds is less than a foot from my head. Hmmm..he must be a Dr. O fan. Seriously, though, he was parked on my interaction with Mikayla for, although short, too much time at an uncomfortable distance. I didn’t think they would start filming so fast as we all filed into the room. And as soon as I sat down, he was right there. Anyway, Mikayla mentioned that they did some similar stuff on her previous taping session, but it was all cut for the hour long presentation. Most likely, I see them doing the same with our meeting.

After the meeting, I went upstairs in the LGBT Center to say hi to Molly, one of the people heading out on the Marriage Equality caravan. They’re traveling from San Francisco to DC, making stops along the way to talk about marriage equality. Along for the ride are several couples who were married in San Francisco who had their marriages voided when California’s Supreme Court nixed all of the ones that were performed earlier this year. Wish them well, and if anyone is near their route, they might try to catch them...or visit their website to read the blogs.