Tuesday, April 24, 2007

High Schoolers

I don't normally talk to high schoolers, but the occasional gig does pop up once in a while. It was a few weeks ago, and I was late to class with the morning traffic. Fortunately, the others that arrived before me were able to give their stories in my tardiness.

It was a gender studies class dealing with the varied influences in our world's history and current issues. They seemed unfazed and quite literate in many of their questions.

Unbeknown to me at the time, there was a transgender student in class. There were small hints that she was T, but I guess I just wasn't really focused on spotting anyone.

She looked decent. Afterward, she asked about electrolysis, but she had no facial hair. From my best guess, she was on hormones, but that was about it. Her voice sounded fairly decent. In our brief conversation, though, it sounded like she was having issues with financing her transition as well as being slightly harassed at school. (I think anyone that is different in high school seems to get harassed.)

Recently, I visited a T forum that many of my previous acquaintances moved to after the fall of GP. I looked through some of the pictures...including before and after shots...and I have to say, the power of youth is just amazing. There are a lot of girls out there that just make incredible transitions in their late teens and early twenties simply by the use of hormones. Some may 'need' FFS later in life as that youthful facial fat gives way to the male boney structure, but they will hopefully have been living very fulfilling lives as women by then.

The power of youth can also be seen this coming Friday on ABC's 20/20 when Barbara Walters interviews 3 very young transitioners. As someone recently mentioned, the older transitioner will likely become more and more rare as the conditions surrounding transsexuals are understood, tolerated, and eventually treated.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Dinner bet

JoanB first brought it up several years ago...could we ever have dinner without talking about anything T related? We only get together for dinner once in a while, but when we do, it's usually a T friendly environment and eventually, the conversation leads to something T related.

In a unique set of circumstances, her friend is dating my friend, so we're now related via friends and friends of friends, even though her friend was my friend before my friend met her friend. Got it? Good.

So, anyway, one of the friends has a birthday dinner and both of us are invited. Some in the group have never been told about either of our situations, and there is really no need to disclose. Thus, we went the entire 3 course meal without talking about anything T related....

...well, except for the conversation started by someone else in the dinner party who was going to AsiaSF for a get together. We briefly talked about T stuff then (they wondered how some of the dancers were able to tuck it so well), but it was more from of a different perspective there.

JoanB and I sat at one table with two other women. I think the fact that they were dating one another didn't come up I had disclosed that I was queer in some manner. It's funny how secrets don't really come out until one person discloses something that gives the disclosure it's own sense of security.

Anyway, one of the women seemed really nice. She was sporty and seemed fairly level headed. The other, ehhh...she kinda rubbed me the wrong way. She wasn't that hard to deal with, though.

OK, follow with me here. I'm riding along a few weeks later with my friend who had the birthday party. It's a 3 hour drive to our sporting event. We chat off and on the entire way. One of the conversations leads to the birthday dinner we had, and how the one woman had kinda annoyed me a little. My friend says that isn't uncommon, and that she herself hasn't seen eye-to-eye on some things. She says her and her friend disagree on stuff...like transgender surgery.

Whoa...did you see that coming? Me neither.

My friend says she doesn't believe in transgender surgery, but the annoying one does. Wow, I'd have never thought that. She also isn't into plastic surgery...even though she knows I had a boob job.

To my knowledge, my friend does not know I am a transsexual. I don't think she would have said what she said had she known. I also think her opinion would change if I were to talk to her about what I have gone through. It's very hard to form an opinion about transgender stuff until you actually know someone who is transgender and has gone through transition.

I did let her know that not all transgender people have surgery, and that most insurances do not cover it...so it is being paid for by the transgender individual...but I doubt that changed her mind.

Friday, April 06, 2007

What does the child want?

This legal case sounds a lot like an episode of ER a few years ago. The parents of two children are fighting over custody. The mother currently has both of them, but one of them is transgender. The transgender one is genetically male, but has a gender identity of female. The mother is supportive, but the father isn't.

The problem now stems from the fact the father wants custody. In the area they live, being able to get custody because the mother lets his son wear a dress is almost a slam dunk. From reading over the article, too many personal opinions were thrown into the judgement.

It's too bad, really. Shouldn't the child get a chance to be part of the decision...more so than some close minded judge who doesn't understand GID?

Olympic qualifier

OK, well, I haven't qualified for the Olympics, but I'm now a few months past the 2 year post-SRS requirement the IOC determined transsexuals had to wait before competing in the Olympics.

So, I feel good about playing sports now. Hmmmm.....what do ya think, bobsled or speed skating?

Thursday, April 05, 2007

I think I'm a hypocrite

I admit, I enjoy my anonymity. Sure, I've had a woman at work tell me she read my website before, but I can go most places in the world and not have to worry about someone going, "Hey, are you Kara Flynn?"...and then, even if they did, they would likely be T friendly.

I realized a while back that I have now been a woman longer in my current job than I was a man. Three years and one month versus three years and two months. It's still a pain when someone uses the wrong pronoun, but the people that knew me before grow smaller and smaller with time. Most simply have always known me as Kara...and most people seem to have down fairly well with now calling me Kara and 'she'.

So, now over three years later, I find I like people not really knowing my past. OK, it's not the people who know who are OK with things, it's dealing with the people who somehow have an issue with it. It's only a certain few who are the real troublemakers.

Most of my good friends at work know my situation. They seem cool with it, especially since most of them never knew me as a guy. It's the ones that either knew before and haven't fully adjusted yet, or the ones who never knew me before, who find out, and then start using the wrong pronouns or have an issue with it that bother me.

And, thus, I have found that a lot of people really don't want to know. Sure, there are some people that do want to know, but they are typically very positive about it. So, I guess, it's better to be safe, than to be sorry. If I came out to a large group, sure, I'd get the supporters, but I'd also get the haters or people who have an issue with it.

I recently received a note from one of my teammates. She's set up one of our practices to have a local newspaper come out to interview us and take pictures. Initially, I didn't respond, and then got an email from her saying I was the only one that hadn't responded. She asked if I would be OK with all of it. I told her it was OK, but I'm still cautious. I don't really want my picture plastered all over the local area. I guess I'd just like to have my teammates continue to see and hear me as female...and not as a transsexual (assuming they don't already know). I know, it's bad, but it really does suck when one person has trouble seeing you as female after knowing, even if they never would have known if you hadn't told them. It just takes one to ruin it for all of the rest.

And, surprising as it may seem, sometimes people may suspect the T stuff, but never really care that much to bother asking about it or inquiring if it is true. They'd just rather not know, and, you know, I think I rather not tell unless they ask about it.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Revisiting the Locker Room

My sports team is back in action this year. Our first game was this past weekend...on the road...in the Northwest. If one will remember, I wrote this piece last year about my fear of the locker room. Because of our limited schedule on the road last year, I never had to actually deal with the potential locker room issue.

This time, though, there was no local hotel we were staying in after the game (we flew into a city a few hours away from the game), and we would not be heading home until the following day. After the game, we were also eating out with the other team and the game officials, so I really didn't want to be smelly.

As it turned out, the locker room was just as big an issue for me as it was for some of my own teammates...if not worse. About half the team had no apparent issues, with about 30-40% of the team having such an issue with it that they decided not to shower at all (just washing off with a cloth or something). I fell into the remaining percentage that wanted to shower, but still had some apprehension about being naked in front of others. One woman wanted to shower by herself, so, since I was one of the last in from the field, I let her go alone after the rest had showered. I then went after her. Both of us were still visible to others as we went in and out of the showering area, but it was a little limited.

Was I scared? Hmm...a little, yes. Frightened...well, not really, but I was definitely self conscious about it. As I was showering, I tried to keep my side to the area where anyone could see me...as seeing me from the side doesn't show off my lack of hips as much. I just didn't want too many of my "flaws" showing through.

In the end, though, nothing really happened. I definitely felt like I walked away from the situation feeling a lot better, but I also wasn't under the close scrutiny of anyone's eyes. Seriously, there is enough about me to start to question things...my lack of hips, my small nipples/areolas, the larger frame for my size, etc. Sure, there's no penis dangling around, and I'm actually similar in size to one of my teammates who has larger arms and legs than me. Of course, she was called 'he' by one of our waitresses the night before. I told her about the pronoun issue later on, and she said she used to get that a lot...so much that she started using the guys bathroom more than the women's bathroom.

Anyway, I got a passing grade on the locker room. Let's just hope I don't have to retake the test.