Saturday, August 27, 2016

Wonderful and Frustrating Passing Moments

The other day I took the day off of work and lined up three different doctor appointments throughout the day, all around NYC. I did my best to dress professionally and while I'm still learning how to do more casual makeup, I tried to do a no makeup/light makeup look. Apparently it worked.

I got up early, got ready and then headed to the train to start my day like any other woman in the city.

First stop - the dermatologist.

I went to a new dermatologist (my old one didn't take my insurance) and had him look at a mole. Then he was asking me some various questions, including what medications I was on. I had put E and spiro on my forms. Had a fun conversation:

Doc: Why are you taking estradiol?
Me: It's for hormone replacement.
Doc: Okay, yeah. But for what? What were your symptoms. Are you having hot flashes?
Me: (thinking to myself- I was born wrong? Is that a "symptom?") I'm transgender.
Doc: OH.......oh.....okay.

It was nice to realize that I passed with a doctor who had actually examined me!

Then I headed off to my second appointment. For those of you in the Southern Hemisphere or in more gentle climes, I will take this opportunity to remind you that NYC has had a hot, muggy, humid miserable summer. It's been awful. And guess who took a day off work and scheduled three appointments all over town on the hottest day of the year? Yep, this girl. I was sweaty, I was gross and in constant fear of my makeup getting ruined.

So, the first thing I did when I got to my second appointment was to use the restroom. I saw the men's room door but not the ladies' room and took a few steps over to the men's room just to investigate where the ladies' room was.

"That's the men's room, dear." One of the receptionists pointed out. "Ha ha ha ha ha." they chuckled, laughing that I had almost accidentally gone in the men's room. "The ladies is over there." she pointed out. Win!

Got myself cleaned up and of course took the opportunity for a selfie. Then, my overcautious scheduling got the worst of me. While I'd given myself plenty of time for doctors' appointment (knowing that they often run late and make you wait), I'd managed to breeze through mine in less than an hour each. I ended up with a five hour block with nothing to do! So I headed back to Brooklyn and did some shopping. 

I hit LOFT because they were having their usual 40% off sale. I managed to snag a skirt I really liked but gave a pass back when it was at full price of $59.99. With the sale and markdowns I picked it up for $25. Over half off! Not bad. I loved this skirt because it's sort of A-line and some great movement and it feels fantastic. I liked it so much that I even switched skirts. 

Then I went to my favorite diner for lunch and got a rather different experience than in guy-mode. Not only did the waiter carefully explain my entree (a hamburger) to me; what it was and what it came with and what the various cooking temperatures meant. He actually insisted on pouring my ketchup for me. You know, because girls don't understand hamburgers and can't pour their own ketchup.

Lastly, because I'm desperate to come out at work and start being full time (I plan to come out as soon as my next performance review and raise discussion happen - sometime before October), I went and did a stupid thing. I decided that, since I was in the neighborhood and had a little time to kill, I'd go stop by work!

Actually, all I did was walk through my building's lobby. It's a skyscraper with a kind of mall area in the lobby with shops and things. But, I walked right past one of my coworkers, whose desk is like ten feet from mine. She didn't recognize me, didn't react, just walked right past me in her own little world. Phew- but also good to know people are oblivious to me! And people I know well can walk right past me without noticing at all!

In the evening I had planed to go to a transgender meetup at Stonewall Inn. I'd gone a couple times a few years ago and met some fun people but at the time my work schedule made it hard to attend many meetups. Since I had a chance now I thought I'd check it out again. Because I had time to kill I ended up early. 

And the meetup was pretty bad this time around. Only two or three people were there and they busied themselves playing pool. As I'm not even remotely interested in billiards, it was kinda boring. Especially since the pool game made conversation nearly impossible. The worst thing was the groups of lesbians around the bar. I really wanted to hang out with them instead. I longed to hang out with them! I think I feel more comfortable identifying as a lesbian than as a trans woman, I guess. I need some more lesbian friends I think. 

Does Kate McKinnon need new friends? 
Ah well. I ducked out early and did an Irish goodbye. My family is from Tipperary. I'm allowed to say that. I headed out into the night, time to go home. 

It was an amazing day and I felt like a normal girl all day. Sure, it was hot and muggy and gross but I'll have to put up with that when I'm full time. And I had to have an awkward conversation with my doctor's billing agency as to why the name and gender I put don't match with my insurance card. But, ah well. These minor frustrations will pass.

Also, at what point in your transition do you stop taking lots of selfies? I hope it's never.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Gender Rebels Podcast Episode 7: From Fabulous Crossdresser to Normal Girl

We now turn to listener mail to answer Petra's question; When a transgender woman who once identified as a crossdresser transitions and begins  to spend more time presenting in preferred mode, do they lament the loss of dressing "up"? How does it feel trading heels and skirts for jeans and flats? Petra writes "Thing is, really, normal would require me to learn how to walk in flats, wear simple jeans and t-shirts and go without smoldering eyes. I just do not feel ready for that. The heels, the skirts, the make-up, the everything is a big part of me.Thing is, I am running out of environments where my "normal" dressed up is the norm." So how does one handle that part of transition? 

Check out our website for all the latest episodes 

Follow us on twitter for all our shower thoughts and other musings @TheGenderRebels 

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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

We're Live Tweeting The Danish Girl

So I've never seen a transgender themed film. Okay, cards on the table, I once caught part of the Rodney Dangerfield vehicle Ladybugs on TV on time. Also I watched three episodes of Orange is the New Black but I hated Piper so much I couldn't watch another episode. But I've never seen Girls Don't Cry, TransAmerica, Transparent, or Girl Meets Boy.

So, for my first real viewing of a transgender movie, join me and my partner as we watch The Danish Girl and live tweet our thoughts!

Sunday, August 28th, 2016, 8pm EST. Follow along with @TheGenderRebels and hashtag #DanishGirlLive. 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

A Transgender Girl's First Time at the Beach

Oh my gosh. I totally did it. Yes, I totally went to the beach as a girl. It was way more amazing than I ever thought it could be. 

It's been a rough summer beach-wise and this was literally our fourth attempt at going to the beach this summer. Every other time was ruined by weather. In June our beach day was ruined when the temperature suddenly dropped to the high 50s that day. In July it rained twice and each time, with heavy heart, I put my brand new tankini back in the drawer. I was seriously starting to worry I might never get to the beach and might never get a chance to wear my new swimsuit, my carefully chosen swimsuit I was so excited about. With August already a week in, that meant there were literally only three weeks of beach left this summer.

On a side note, why do they insist on closing NYC beaches on Labor Day? It's in the 90s all September. Can we not start accepting global warming in our parks' schedules?

For years I'd looked at other transgender girls' pictures on the internet. I'd be amazed that they managed to go out in public or managed to hang out with friends just casually at a restaurant or something. Then when I had been out about and with friends like normal routine I started being amazed that some transgender girls were hanging out on the beach like it was nothing. The beach, for me, has always represented something of a level-up (to use a gaming metaphor).

This is apparently the key to my transition:

  • See Transgender woman do awesome thing
  • Get insanely jealous.
  • Wait two years.
  • Copy her!

It's worked thus far. All I needed for the beach was some decent weekend weather.

All week we watched the weather forecasts. At first it was supposed to rain, then it was supposed to be cloudy, then it was supposed to rain again. Then low and behold, the weather gods were with us and it was clear on the weekend! Woo hoo! I was actually, finally, going to get to girl up on the beach!

On Sunday we hopped on the train and headed out to Rockaway. The last time we were there it was almost empty. On that day last summer we and our friends seemed to be about the only people on the beach. I was hoping for that again. The idea of a super insanely crowded beach like Jones or Coney Island scared me. I wanted as few people on the beach as possible. The fewer people there the less chance I'd have of getting weird looks or having someone make a comment indented for me and everyone else to overhear.

The beach was crowded. It was crazy crowded. It's been a hot, humid August and I guess we were not the only ones looking to cool down a free public beach. We found a spot, put our blanket and other items out. No one seemed to be paying me any attention at all. That made me feel a lot better. So, I stripped down, taking off my jean shorts and shirt I'd worn over my tankini. Thus far it was all good. No one was paying any attention to me. That's exactly how I like it.

There were a couple things that helped me at the beach. Maybe I'll expand my How-To Guide page with a special "How to Not be Noticed on the Beach" section. It's easy. First off, make sure that two topless women sit down and take the spot next to you. That helps quite a bit. Secondly, be sure and get your partner to bring her mermaid tail.

Like this. 
Every time she wears it she becomes a movie star or a Disney princess. Every little kid wants to get a picture with her and some creepy dudes also want to get a picture with. The important thing is, one she looks amazing in her tail, and two whenever she has it on no one pays a tiny iota of attention to me. It's the ultimate way to blend in as a transgender girl. Stand next to the mermaid.

Pictured: Invisible transgender girl.

Honestly, I was almost instantly amazed by how confident I was and how normal it felt to be on the beach in a tankini. We brought a picnic, books to read and I just lied there on the blanket like any other girl and enjoyed the sun. Also I reapplied sun screen twice because I'm not stupid. I subtly tried to spy other girls on the beach to see how they were sitting, how they were laying, what they were doing. I even went down to the surf to wade a little bit and get my feet wet.

But, I was rather concerned about going any deeper than my knees. Not only did I worry that it would ruin my makeup, but I was also wearing a wig. I shuddered at the thought of a strong wave knocking me under and leaving me wigless and humiliated. And speaking of embarressment and humiliations galore, I was also using tape for tuck and wasn't totally confident that it was waterproof.

For those of you who've read my Guide to Tucking (which based on analytics seems to be everyone), you'll know I think that KT Pro tape is fantastic tool for when you need a serious tuck. And even better, I learned that they now have KT Pro Extreme, which they advertise as water-proof.

They might as well have a picture of a transgender woman on the box. 
Well, firstly I  must say that since starting HRT nine months ago I haven't really had a need for a serious tuck. So, I was happy to learn that with HRT's wonderful effects the tape works even better. While I didn't notice a difference in feel between the regular and the extreme versions, I was happy that my own sweat didn't wreck the tape or loosen it on the way to the beach. And and at the beach it held really well and helped me look perfectly feminine.

The ultimate test though was whether it was really water proof. At first I was rather hesitant to try it. Even though I had brought along a couple extra strips of tape in my bag, the idea of having to run to the public restroom and stand there in the stall trying to retape myself did not appeal to me. But, with the August sun beating down heavily on me, the cool waters of the Atlantic ocean kept calling out to me. Plus my partner had gone for a long dip and talked about how great it felt to be in the water. So, I figured, why the hell not? If worse to worst I could tie a towel around my waist. Let's go swimming!

Yep, I went in. Up to my knees. Up to my thighs. Up to my waist. It was cold and refreshing and after a bit I was right up to my boobs. I was boob deep in the Atlantic ocean. It felt so nice. Since it was underwater and out of view, I did a quick check on my tuck just by feel and it was holding. I wanted to dunk under but in a wig that was a bad idea. Luckily though, I figured out that I could face the waves and let them come toward me. Then at the last minute, I could turn my back to the wave and let it break over my shoulders.

Okay, I did end up having a couple difficulties. A couple of times my bottoms got pulled down by the water, but not too far. Thankfully I had some serious tape to help me avoid any embarrassment. And it was all underwater so no one could notice. My wig didn't get pulled off, but a particularly strong breaker did knock my hat off. And despite my attempts to keep my makeup good and pristine there was quite a bit of splash around with the waves. In the end I got a good amount of water on my face and did some serious damage to my makeup. So I survived the water with my feminine look more or less intact.

Well, more or less intact. After our serious swimming, we packed up our stuff and headed to the bar. I was soaked from head to toe, covered in sand and feeling utterly gross all over. Though inside I felt utterly rapturous and elated. I'd been to the beach! I'd worn a tankini out in public! I'd been swimming as a girl! I felt like I had jumped up so many levels in my transgender status. And maybe even earned a little more trans street cred.

We hit a bar nearby, one of our favorites, a little Irish pub, with a fantastic and refreshing selection of frozen drinks like strawberry lemonade and pina coladas. It was so nice to get in the shade (especially for pale girls like my partner and I) and be able to chill out with a nice intoxicating beverage. It was perfect. Plus, I was able to duck into the bathroom and clean myself up a little bit.

There were public restrooms at the beach but I'd skipped those. The idea of trying to get changed and cleaned up when there's an inch of cold, sandy saltwater mixed with God knows what on the floor and small children screaming. No thank you. Though the bar bathroom wasn't single use (I really wanted to some privacy but ah well) it was a thousand times better. So I was able to fix my hair and touch up my makeup just enough that I wouldn't look like a boy. At least laser has erased my beard to the point where I could lose the makeup and still be okay.

As we waited for the subway so we could start our long train ride home, I snapped a couple selfies just to see how I was looking. Surprisingly, I felt I still looked okay. My hat was soaking wet, my wig was basically wrecked but still looking okay, and though my make was basically gone, I still looked okay. Basically. I've looked better.

A good angle and the right Instagram filter really helps.

I'd done the beach! I'd had a wonderful time. I'd fit in and felt completely normal. No one gave me weird looks. No one made mean comments. No villagers with pitchforks and torches chased me away. I felt fantastic. I felt beautiful and courageous. And I was exhausted and sunburned and ready to go home and take a long shower to try and get all the sand washed away.

Gender Rebels Podcast Episode 6: Titty Skittles & Acronym Soup

In this episode we answer the age old questions that have bothered humankind since time immortal: 

  • What are "titty skittles?" 
  • What the heck do all these trans-related acronyms really mean? 

For more information about The Neon Demon check your local internet. Also, NB stands for Non-Binary. Despite what Faith may have told you, she does not in fact know everything. 

Check out our website for all the latest episodes 

Follow us on twitter for all our shower thoughts and other musings @TheGenderRebels 

Like us on FaceBook so we can haunt your feed. 

Friday, August 12, 2016

Coming Out to My Sister

So it turns out this is going to be my actual 100th post. And while announcing my podcast The Gender Rebels, is a fun thing, I'm glad that 100 (or C in Roman numerals) will ultimately be a little more personal. Here it is. This is moment.

I've officially come out to my sister as transgender.

Okay, that may not sound like much, but for me it is. As many of my regular readers may know, I grew up in an evangelical, republican, military family in the Deep South. It's not an environment that's highly conducive to coming out as LGBT. And that's putting it lightly. For most of my life I've lived in shame, terrified that someone would discover my secret, worried about what would happen if my family ever found out I was transgender. Coming out to my sister is the first step.

My sister and I were the only two kids in my family. As we were a military family we tended to move around a lot. There was always a new town, a new school. So our family grew kind of insular. Some people thrive in that environment. Me not so much. But my sister and I were always close, even into college. As we are so close, I think she's always known I was transgender (or whatever people thought before transgender became a household term). Despite this, I've never officially come out to her. Until now.

I mailed her a letter yesterday. I know some of you are thinking "a letter, Faith? Why not a call?" Well, firstly I hate talking on the phone if I can avoid it. The other day I was trying to call my doctor's office about something and it took me a minute to remember how to place a phone call on my phone. Plus a letter gives the recipient a time to process, to digest. A call sort of seems to put the person on the spot. That doesn't seem fair. Also it's easier for me and my lack of courage too so everyone wins!

Well, it's been mailed.

Here's some edited highlights I thought I'd share. The actual letter was much longer because I tend to be a little wordy sometimes.

"You’re someone who’s been there for me my whole life and you’re important to me. Plus we never actually ratted each other out to mom or dad when we were teens and for that I will always eternally owe you. We’ve had our shouting matches through the years, but you’re my sister and that’s important to me.

So, yeah, you’re my Face Book friend, but I should probably come out and tell you that I’m transgender. You may already know. You might have guessed. You might have heard rumors. But I wanted you to know straight from me. You deserve as much for putting up with me all these years.

This isn’t anything new. In fact this pervasive feeling of dysphoria, of not being right, has been with me literally as long as I can remember. I’ve been dealing with being transgender all the way back to those early days. You’ve met our parents and you know our upbringing, so you know this wasn’t the kind of thing I ever felt safe bringing up as a kid. It wasn’t even until I moved to NYC that I was ever comfortable expressing myself in public or with friends. It’s only now, with transgender topics on the front page of Time Magazine and in the public eye that I even have the courage to really come out. My whole life growing up I did my best to hide my transgender feelings. I thought they were shameful and made me unworthy of love or even eternal salvation. Heck, there wasn’t even an internet then, so I was completely lost, confused and ashamed. All of that is the reason I’m only courageous enough to come out now. 

You’re the first person in the family that I’m even talking to about this. Hopefully I’ll come out to them too soon enough. Mom, I think, will be okay. Dad will no doubt threaten to disown me but then be too lazy to actually do so. I think he’ll eventually learn to deal. And the rest of the extended family - well, perhaps you now know one of the reasons I’ve kept to myself all these years instead of being involved in family. I probably should come out to them at some point, though honestly I don’t really care that much what they think. But, I’d like the next generation to know they at least have an LGBT ally in me should they ever need it. So yeah, eventually. But you first. I hope you feel special! 

So, I’m still me. I’m still the same person I always was. I hope you’ll accept me as your little sister. Your support in this is insanely valuable to me. I take the older family rejecting me. I can take dad disowning me, but I’m not sure I could take it if you did. That’s not to put any pressure on you obviously. I mean, feel what you feel. But I hope you can accept me. 

As I said, this is something I’ve dealt with my whole life. I’ve still got miles to go on this particular journey, but I hope I can have my big sister along with me. 

PS- Sorry about borrowing your makeup and clothes without asking. 

It's been a day or so and I've not heard anything. It's probably still not even in her mailbox yet. Of course I'm a little nervous, but not that bad actually. We'll see how it goes. Hopefully well.

I'll post an update once I hear back. Wish me luck!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Gender Rebels Podcast Episode 5: The Transluminati

In this episode we tackle the questions that everyone wants to ask about the transgender community Is Caitlyn Jenner the queen of all transgender people? Who are the famous transgender serial killers? Is Caitlyn Jenner the Zodiac Killer? Is the Transluminati really a secret society of LGBT people bent on global dominance? And what's up with the Michigan Womyn's festival? 

As always, please email us your questions!