Wednesday, March 28, 2007


I needed to pick up some hair products, so I decided to run the errand during lunch. Two birds with one stone, as they say. My usual beauty supply store is located right near an awesome little Asian 'to-go' place.

As I was walking across the street, I noticed a few people walking toward me from the other side. One was a taller white dude, an Asian dude, and an Asian woman. I glanced at all of them briefly. It wasn't until all of us reached one another midway through the crosswalk that I realized the Asian woman was Amber.

I didn't recognize her until I was about an arms reach away, so I bumped her arm as we walked by. She didn't recognize me until I did so. We said our hello's and hugged in the middle of the crosswalk, until I walked back to the side with her. We chatted briefly about the same lunch spot and caught up briefly on how things are going.

It was also interesting that neither of us recognized the other until we were so close. I mean, my T-dar is pretty decent...but it was cool that neither of us set off the other's radar. Either I'm losing it, or she's just got it going on.

OK, she has it going on...but I wonder if it isn't pinging that much anymore.

On a different note, I was eating with two coworkers, when I noticed a long haired woman at a another table facing away from me. The group she was with looked like a bunch of programmers, or similar. After a few minutes, the woman stood up and I realized she was actually a he. Ding ding ding. He totally pinged the radar...and even my coworkers thought he was a she from the side.

The world is filled with such different people, though, I guess we really never know if someone is T or not...we simply respect one another as people. Most people really don't care since we all have our own issues to deal with in life.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Make no stray marks

I received a survey from Kaiser Permanente a while back. I finally filled it out tonight. They are doing research on Genes, Environment, and Health. I received the Women's Health Survey.

The initial part of the survey was pretty routine. I answered the usual questions and wrote in 'queer' in the Other (specify): line that allowed an answer other than Hetero, Homo/Les, and Bi. It wasn't until the back page that it asked me at what age I had my first menstrual period. Hmmm. Well, I marked 'Never had a mentrual period'.

The next question asked if I had a menstrual period in the past year. I answered No, but they wanted a reason. Here were my options:

-Natural menopause
-Hysterectomy (Age: )
-Recent pregnancy/breastfeeding
-Medical treatment
-Don't know

The first three really didn't apply, and I know why I haven't had a menstrual cycle in the past year, so I decided to fill in 'medical treatment'. What else was I supposed to say...there was no 'I'm a transsexual' circle to mark and there was not line for 'Other:' If they really want to know, they can contact me and I'll tell them.

It does show, however, one of the bad sides to medical treatment specific to a gender. For instance, FTM's have to worry about their insurance covering hysterectomies for men, and MTF's have to worry about care in case the prostate causes issues later in life. I guess that's one of the things I currently treasure with my doctor...he's cool with the whole transgender thing and I feel he takes excellent care of me. I guess I'm lucky in that regard.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Visited with the good doctor

I had a consult with Dr. O this past Friday. I went in to see him for a jaw line revision consultation. There is a portion of my right jaw line around 20mm long that is not even with the rest of it. I would say that at it's max, it is about 3-5mm lower than the rest of it. My left jaw line looks really good and I see no issues there.

After a short cordial conversation, we talked about the revision. Due to the tools, he'd basically have to have a large incision to get the saw back in there and try to guide it along the bone. He'd have to go by feel and not be able to line it up exactly. He also said that the grinder would not work there. I also have a small recession near the area where he put my chin back together. Again, this falls on my right side and not on my left.

In the end, he wondered if I needed it. I'm not sure either. The reason I went to see him is that I'm looking at a lower face lift. When the skin is pulled tighter, will the jaw deformation be more noticeable? If it were only one deformation, they wouldn't be as noticeable, but since they kinda flow into one another, they make that jawline look worse.

After discussing this issue with him further, he said the extra portion sticking out would be much easier than filling in the small area, and that he would likely not be able to do both at the same time. The best option, it appears, is have him attempt to take off the extra bone.

OK, so, yes, I'm looking at the lower facelift. I'm considering it because of the initial FFS three years ago. With so much bone taken out of the jaw and chin, I have extra skin that had nowhere to go. I'd just like to pull that portion tighter to make up for the bone that was taken away.

The other issue here is that I'd also like to get hair transplants along my frontal FFS incision and the temple recessions. After discussing the facelift with Dr. Meltzer, he prefers the hair transplants be done after a facelift.

So, the order that is preferred: Jaw bone work --> Facelift --> Hair transplants.

The jaw work isn't too expensive since it is a revision, but the other two will probably be between $6-8,000 each. Ouch. And while I'd mainly like the hair transplants, it looks like for best success, they should be last on the list.

I'll likely ponder the jaw work a little longer before trying to schedule the face lift. I'm still debating whether or not to consult with another plastic surgeon, or go with Dr. Meltzer since he is pretty decent at them, has worked on a number of post-Dr. O patients, and is very T friendly.

Decisions, decisions...but, of course, the monetary constrictions will probably limit me the most on having them done.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Trained in the Ways of Men

Shelly Prevost's film, Trained in the Ways of Men, premiered this past weekend at the San Jose film festival. Myself and two friends attended the Sunday showing, while a number of other friends went Saturday night. I was impressed with how many people were in attendance...with the total number for both shows over 1000. The really nice part is about 98% of those in attendance were not transgender.

Anyway, the film is a look at the aftermath of the Gwen Araujo murder. It covers the funeral and court cases from the eyes of Shelly Prevost. She also becomes very close with Gwen's mom, Sylvia Guerrero. Shelly is able to obtain interviews with both prosecuting and defense lawyers in the Gwen Araujo case, as well as discuss a similar topic with counterparts in another transgender murder case.

By far one of the most interesting aspects of the film is the personal interviews with people on the street. The classic question of 'Are you a man or a woman?' followed by 'How do you know?' left a lot of people stumped...including high powered defense lawyers. How do you know you are a man or a woman? Do you just know?

Some people were totally clueless with this. Shelly postulated to one man that if his chromosomes came back as female, would he continue to live as a man, or live as a woman. He said he'd live as a woman, and even went further to tell Shelly he'd probably date men...all while standing there with his girlfriend.

For transgender people that have accepted who they are, these questions are quite easy...we know who we are because we've pondered these questions before. We hope for something telling us we are or we aren't, but there is no clear cut answer. We feel one way, but we see another. For many of us, after realizing that we're not alone in the world, we finally seek the path that takes us where we need to be.

So, are you a man or a woman...and how do you know?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

More from NY

Just a picture from the NY event (me on the left, Tiffany in the middle, and Beth on the right). I guess I should post some of the pictures I took on my sightseeing adventure, as well.

More of these pictures can be seen here.

ps...why do I always have red-eye? Neither of the other two have it. =(