Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The odds

I wish I could turn my T-dar off.

OK, maybe not.

I’ve mentioned it before, but there is this almost instant bond between many T’s. It’s a life connection that exists between similar souls. Sure, we come in all different flavors, but there is something...like two ships lost at sea in a turbulent storm...that can cause many of us to hold on tight to each other.

This past Friday, my company decided that I needed to assist a colleague in Chicago this week. Sure, there is a technical aspect to this, but I almost feel like I am babysitting.


At least they pay me well...and I won’t have to change diapers. Well, I hope not, at least.

Eastward travel, though, makes it difficult to get in and get out fast...so, I’m flying in today for work on Wednesday and Thursday, before flying back home Thursday evening.

OK, I’ll admit it...I’m a big people watcher. As I was in line to check in my suitcase, I saw a woman. She had nice calves. Too nice. She looked nice, and I doubt I would have seen the other signs had I not seen her calves.

Yeah, she was T. Wide shoulders, brow ridge, no hips, no femme waist, although she had a decent figure that no one would likely suspect. I thought I saw a little 5 o’clock shadow, too. I forgot to look for the apple, but there were too many other indicators. I don’t think anyone else around her knew as there were a number of guys chatting her up...which wasn’t surprising with the short dress she had on.

If I see one T, I wouldn’t typically expect to see another out in the “plain world”. The odds, you know.

Further down the terminal, though, I spot this punk rock girl. She was short and had spiky hair. She looked good, but something caught my eye. I wasn’t sure exactly, but certain facial features just set off the radar. I think what really did it for me was her jaw bone. Yeah, yeah, I know there are plenty of women with strong jaw bones, but her’s was just a bit too strong.

OK, so how can there be two other T’s in my terminal. The odds, remember?

Hmm...well, let’s think. It’s Tuesday.


The day before Wednesday. The day after Monday.


Oh wait.

Dr. O has most of his consults on Monday. Both of the girls looked great, outside a little facial work, which likely would have taken them off my radar. Hmm...maybe they were here to see Dr. O yesterday and were just heading home today. That’s gotta be it.

Well, anyway, they both looked great, and I’m sure no one else even noticed what I noticed.

Open ocean. Sunny skies. Three ships pass.

And everything seemed OK.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

56 MPH

So, I have a friend who has season tickets to the 49ers, which just happened to have their practice open to the public this morning. So, at 9am, we were there to watch all the boys strut their stuff. It was a bit too early for me, but I managed through all of it, especially with a lot of really big athletes.

My friend also invited me along to the softball league's day at the Giants game. When we arrived, my friend talks me into seeing how fast we can throw. We get in line with a few kids at the section with the radar gun. You get three pitches. My friend, who has a really strong arm, but hurt it pretty seriously last year, manages a 47 MPH fast ball. I think she can throw faster.

I get up to the little mound and take a wind up. Back in my 20's, I think the fastest I threw was about 67 miles per hour. I figured I'd still be kinda close to that, but I only unleashed a 56 miles per hour fastball. The amazing thing is I thought it was moving way faster than what it read out on the radar gun, but you know, I'm not surprised that I throw a lot slower. I'm older, and weaker without the testosterone.

Of course, both of these events were on opposite sides of the Bay Area, which gave me a lot of time to listen to the radio this weekend.

I listened to a bit of KCBS this weekend with all of the driving. One interview (The almost 6-minute interview is in the bottom right of this page)involved San Francisco Supervisor Bevan Dufty in a discussion about HRC's dinner in San Francisco last night and the snubbing by many pro-gay/pro-united ENDA big wigs. I believe there was even a transgender protest of the HRC dinner.

As I was driving to the baseball game, I heard there had been a fatal shooting at a Unitarian Universalist church in the Midwest. The UU are known for being very LGBT friendly, and I wondered, when I heard this, if the shooter did this because of who we are. It was a somber reminder that there are plenty of people out there that hate us for what we stand for...hate us for being ourselves...hate us for simply being.

I mean, just the other day, I was playing on my coed softball team when the son of the girlfriend of one of our players makes a remark in our dugout about the opposing team's 3rd baseman wearing pink socks.

"That's gay!"

"What's wrong with being gay?" I ask.

"That's nasty."

The boy is about 11.

"I'm gay."

"Ha ha...you mean, like happy?"

"No, I'm gay."

"Oh....that's nasty."

He didn't say it in a joking manner. I mean, this kid expressed some serious hate and disgust at anyone being gay."

After he left the dugout, and his mom's boyfriend re-entered the dugout, I told him, "Dude, you're little man is a serious homophobe."

"Yeah, E, he's a big homophobe. If he's gonna grow up in the Bay Area, he's going to see a lot of gay people...so he better get used to it," a non-gay teammate says.

I love my teammates.

Monday, July 21, 2008

High School Reunion

Things actually went better than I expected.

Sure, there were wrong pronouns and perhaps a slip or two of the old name, but my old classmates did well. Most everyone came up to say hi and a number of them told me I seemed a lot happier and more comfortable as me now. A few also said I was really brave.

I told them it wasn’t bravery...it was survival. I don’t think I would have made it much longer without transitioning, or I would have gone bonkers.

It’s kinda weird, as time has gone by, I’ve built up this little tolerance to stuff. I used to stare out that peephole in my door to make sure no one was outside. Then I would take a few steps out to see if anyone was around between my door and the garage. And of course, once I started going out more, I looked at the people around to see who was staring at me. Gradually, I just stated settling into who I am, and just going wherever I wanted and doing whatever I wanted to do. Sure, there was that lingering question in my mind of “can they tell”, but even that question stops ringing so loud.

So, I brought along three dresses, two of which were new. One was a low cut little black dress. Another was a more conservative black dress that still fit me rather well. The third was this amazing blue dress that had it all...low cut, eye grabbing, and, yet, very tasteful. I modeled all three for my mom to help me decide, and although she thought the low cut black one was best, I still wasn't sure I wanted to show that much cleavage. I told her it was labeled as dressy casual, and both of us thought the blue one would be way too much. I eventually decided on the conservative black dress.

My high school reunion activities kicked off with an evening dinner. I had a hair, mani, and pedi appointment in the afternoon. Whenever I go to anyone other than my usual hair stylist, I usually get a question or two...especially if they are brave enough to ask or if they see my scar. One woman in the past commented about how I had really thick hair on the side and less dense on the top...part of the male hair pattern that started to kick in before I really started losing hair. I suppose my sides will always be thicker than on top, but when you look at it, I just have a lot of hair around the sides.

This time, she didn’t ask. And I didn’t supply anything. I just enjoyed her doing my hair. And she was doing a great job of straightening it. I’m betting they underestimated the job required to straighten my hair, because soon I had two other people pulling on my head getting my hair straight. Yeah, I guess it is pretty long right now.

Anyway, the hair styling was followed up with a pedicure and my first ever manicure. Yeah, I’d never had my fingernails done before.

OK, OK...I have this weird claustrophobia with fingernail polish on my nails. I can tolerate it for a while, but soon it just starts to bug me...and I can literally feel it on there.

The price tag for all of that was under $70. My jaw almost dropped. I guess I am so used to California prices.

My parents still live fairly close to where I went to high school, but I decided to get a hotel room since we'd all be out fairly late...and I could simply get ready there. On my walk from the hotel to the dinner, I got a phone call from Laci about something. I don't actually remember the reason why she called me, but I told her I was about to walk into my high school reunion.

...and, yes, I was a little nervous.

As I turned the corner down the stairs, I saw my old classmates. I hung on the phone with Laci a little longer before finally saying goodbye and heading to the sign in table.

I had a few people come up to say hi to me as I was signing in. One was the girl I kinda dated in high school.

After saying a few hello’s, we grabbed some food and sat down as our organizers started the evening off. They started with the general stuff, then passed the microphone around for everyone to say what they have been doing or where they are. Not everyone had to, of course.

When the microphone made it to me, I stood up and said, “Hi. My name is Kara...” and rattled off what line of work I was in now and briefly about what I had been up to lately…and then passed the microphone on.

When I sat down, one of my best friends from high school taps me on the shoulder and says hi. He’s been a lifelong military man since high school…fighting in both Gulf Wars. It was actually a very warm smile. I had previously contacted him a few years ago about my journey, and although he mentioned that it was important for me to do what I needed to do, he also said he didn’t agree with it. But now, that he saw me face to face, things seemed different...as though that fear of the unknown was gone, and, perhaps it was the best thing for me.

The rest of the night was similar. I had two older friends on the wrestling team who both went to state my junior year, their senior year. I saw them at the 10 year reunion and had emailed with one of them a while back. He was fine with it, and mentioned it again at the dinner. Both were still very cool with stuff, and I caught up with their lives. Yeah, they had a lot of stuff going on in high school, and they didn’t follow all of the rules, but deep down they were good guys…and I looked up to them.

...and I still do.

Of course, once the alcohol was flowing, I had more people say hi and be a little more outgoing. Maybe it was the alcohol, or maybe it was everyone had seen others come up to me. Who knows? One guy in the organizing committee was one of the first to say hi to me actually mentioned later on that I “seemed to be a very popular girl tonight” and that it was hard to get spare time with me.

OK, yes, I did make it around to say hi to people, but if I didn’t get the warm and fuzzy feeling, I didn’t approach.

And, of course, when I first stepped foot in the bathroom, I was worried. A few women were in there, but things went well, and one woman actually asked me if shopping was more fun now.

“Of course,” I said (but shopping is still a pain…trying to find clothes that fit – with the shoulder, chest size, waist, and boobs to consider).

When all was said and done, I’d say I conversed with probably 90% of the attendees and had a crowd to talk to for most of the night.

I didn’t really have too many questions about transition, and if there were, they weren’t too personal. One person asked if my hair was real, and when I said it was, they seemed to just express a bit of jealousy. Of course, they saw it when it was straight and not with the full curl factor 10.

We had a school tour and picnic the following day, followed by adults-only at a local bar.

Word had made it around to some of the locals about the reunion (apparently some of them either didn’t know about it or didn’t worry about attending), so we had a few new faces the second night. One guy was from a few grades behind me, but looked hella older (which my sister says is from him doing too many drugs). His older brother showed up later (who I knew) and the little brother said things were cool. Well, apparently, the little brother only told him there was a surprise when he got there, so when I introduced myself, he asked, “When did this happen?” I always want to say something like, “yesterday,” but just say “a few years ago.”

Another classmate brought his 22 year old bisexual girlfriend who later came up to me and said there was “going to be a lot of hair pulling, titty squeezing, and ass grabbing.” I asked her to be gentle. She later came through on the ass grabbing during one of the pictures being taken.

Again, with the alcohol flowing, people seemed very friendly. I swear I started getting some mixed signals from some of the guys – but it’s really hard to say. I mean, I seriously wouldn’t expect anyone in my class to hit on me, especially since it is the middle of Oz and a lot of people couldn’t expect to confront that type of security in their sexual orientation in two nights.

Overall, I had a really good time. I even got to spend some time with the family…including dinner out for my birthday. It’s strange still – now that I look back – that I didn’t make a birthday wish. Perhaps I’ll make one tomorrow on my actual birthday, or just be glad that the whole high school reunion thing went so well.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

High School Reunion approaches

I have been looking around on the internet a little about other post-op / post-transition transsexuals that might have attended their high school reunions. Donna Rose has a little bit and I chatted with JoanB a little about her high school reunion a few years ago.

My mom offered to go with me as a chaperon in case anything happens, but I think we’re all adult enough to remain civilized through a night, I hope. We also have at least one classmate that is a cop, so he’ll hopefully be able to keep the peace (if he is there). And, from what I have heard from other cops, they see it all, so nothing should be a shock to him. I also have a few friends from high school that have expressed their support via online conversations...so I tend to feel OK about this coming weekend.

JoanB had some good advice for me over the past few weeks. When I got an email from our reunion organizers about our senior pictures on the name tag, I took her advice and asked that only my name be listed, and not my old picture. I’ve come out to a number of them over the past few years, and I know the reunion committee must know since it was an obvious topic. Also, when I helped track down a few classmates, I came out to them once I found them. Yes, there will obviously be some surprises, but I hope most of them will see how much happier I am now.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

That glimmer in their eye

Every once in a while, I meet a new transgender person that has read my journal or seen my old website. They are usually a friend of a friend of a friend, or so, but when I first meet them, they often have this little glimmer in their eye like, "Hey, I think I've seen you online."

It doesn't happen very often, but it does happen here and there. It's kinda funny, though, watching people try to place where they might have seen me before.

And yet, I know a few people in the area that show up here and there on the internet in all different types of news. Donna Rose and Cecilia Chung are everywhere. So is Mikayla, Aejaie Sellars, and Julia Serano.

The Friday night after the Trans March, I ate dinner with a number of people. As we sat down, one girl in our party points at me and says, "I think I saw your website. It was pretty good."

All I can say is thanks.

Claire mentioned before that her and a number of us all went through transition together, and we have this very close bond because of it. Sure, we run into a lot of others that transitioned either before or after us, but our group was sort of like a group that went through high school together.

I remember when a number of us had our intertwined lives blogged out for everyone to read. Claire, Amber, Anne.

None of them really post anymore, although Anne will throw something up once in a while.

We hung out a lot together.

I kinda miss that. I miss hanging out with my girls.

But we all moved on after high school and college. We found jobs. We found new friends. We found new lives. We found...ourselves.

But we still get together once in a while...like our own little class reunion.

I recently visited a recovering friend at Cocoon. I met Meghan and her close friend, Laci, at the Transgender Leadership Conference earlier this year. Both of them are from Southern California. Of course, I also ran into Charlotte and Carissa at Cocoon, as well. They are the latest class to be going through transition.

With this newer group of transitioners, I see another group of high schoolers filling the hallways. And when I run into them outside of the old school, I kinda feel like that school girl that never moved away.

There were a few others that showed up to see how the latest Dr. O patient was recovering. Charlotte had a few friends in tow and after the exchange of introductions, one of them mentioned he’d read my website before.

The old website was my pet when I was going through transition. I threw my heart into it and had fun putting it together with Dreamweaver and throwing in the little HTML that I knew. When transition no longer became my focus, I moved on to blogspot when I was able to emerge from my hibernation and finally explore the world as me.

Ironically, I ran into Kris Davidson on a flight back to San Francisco earlier this year. She was a photographer I ran across many years ago on craigslist that was looking to do a project on transgender people. When I saw her in the baggage claim area, I said hi. She said she saw me before we boarded and that she knew me from somewhere, but that she couldn’t quite place me (since I had since had FFS). We chatted briefly before each of us headed our own way.

I don’t remember exactly how I pulled up her pictures recently, but I ran across Kris Davidson’s flickr spread. She took a number of photos during my transition at a few different events. I won’t post the pictures here since she is an artist and has the copyright on them, but the links are posted below. I actually hadn’t seen any of them up until now, but wow, they bring back a lot of memories. All of these were prior to my going full time, so I still looked very male...and very awkward, but, they are, in essence, pictures from my high school yearbook.

Kris Davidson photos: