Thursday, September 22, 2016

Gender Rebels Podcast Episode 11: Industrial Thong


As transgender women, crossdressers and others want to look their best they've got to do something to hide their male-shaped bits. In this episode the Gender Rebels discuss different methods, theories and products to help you get the absolute perfect tuck. So get out your duct tape, gaffs, and pantyhose and give a listen. Of if you have another method that you like, why not drop us a quick line (photos not encouraged). 


Check out Gender Rebel host Faith's own Guide to Tucking (NSFW).


And for those interested, you can read more about KT Pro Tape here

Check out all our other episodes at www.genderrebels.com 

For all our shower thoughts and other musings be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A Friendly Little Chat with HR

So, I'm going to write this post in little spurts as I go through this. There might not be pictures involved. This will be a weird post, okay, that's all I'm saying. It might just be text. I don't know yet. Think of it like a mini-blog within a larger blog. Meta as hell, right? Okay. Anyway. Here goes.

This is the story of me coming out to HR so that I can come to work as a woman.

My meeting with HR is scheduled for 3:30pm today, Wednesday, September 21st, 2016. 


Wednesday, September 21st, 2016. 1:42pm, EST. 
Mostly I'm hoping I don't cry in the meeting. At lunch the Lorde song "Bravado" came on my random mix. That actually made me tear up a little bit. Especially this bit: "I was frightened of  / every little thing that I thought was out to get me down / To trip me up and laugh at me." 

It's a good song.



And I need some courage right now. My hands are shaking a little bit. I'm definitely reminded of the time I went and flew on a plane for the first time as a woman and took a trip, living as a girl for a while. I was nervous as hell but it worked out okay. It was a fun experience and I'm glad I had it. It was an important step and yes, it made me nervous as hell.

That's where I am now. Nervous as hell. I hope I don't cry. And I also hope I don't throw up.

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016. 2:03pm, EST. 
Right now I'm trying to remember that I'm out as transgender to many former coworkers. When I'm a job it seems like the most terrifying thing ever for people to know I'm trans. Then when I leave the job it suddenly doesn't matter any more. Trying to remember that.

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016. 2:32pm, EST. 
You know how before an execution, you sit there in the Walls Unit next to the execution chamber and you just wait. I bet that's a weird feeling.

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016. 2:52pm, EST. 
Time to go for a walk around the little mall in my building's lobby. The sight of woman in professional outfits will get my jealousy raging and give me a little courage and motivation. 

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016. 3:13pm, EST. 
Head of HR strolled past my desk and asked "You got time now?" Sure. Well, here goes nothing.

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016. 4:03pm, EST. 
Well, I had my first meeting with HR. It went, in a word, well. 

So, this might be disjointed because I didn’t have a plan and also because I’m writing down things as I remember them. 

As I went in I was shaking and I could barely stop my own nervous laughter. I really hate my nervous laughter. It's something that I just can't help. In really tense situations I crack up and I hate it. Yes, I laughed and couldn't stop for a second. Then I managed to overcome it.

The whole time the HR lady was like “It’s okay, it’s okay.”

Finally, managed to stammer out “I’m transgender, and hoping we could start a dialogue about my coming out at work.”

“Okay,” she said in a cool, reassuring manner “It’s not the first time I’ve had this conversation.” 

We talked about my plan, which is something I didn’t really have thought out well. That kind of made the meeting a little haphazard. I probably should have come to her with a detailed plan worked out. It’s so not like me to fail to have a plan. I’m fairly meticulous when it comes to planning. It’s more like me to have had a spreadsheet ready. Ah well, chalk that up to nerves. But, life pro tip for people who plan on having this conversation with HR; have a plan ready. Makes the conversation go more smoothly.

She asked if I was having surgery and all that, to which I replied “eventually, probably.” She explained that there would need to be conversations with staff, training about how to act and treat me. She asked about bathrooms which is one big thing that makes me nervous. I said “I didn’t want to make anyone uncomfortable,” because that’s true but also because I didn’t want to declare “I’ll pee wherever the hell I wanna pee!” I’d love to have single use restrooms.

And she said “we’re all New Yorkers, it’s 2016, this won’t be a big deal to people.” And I hope so. There will be training for staff, and things like that, and that’ll involve the EEO people. It’s just gonna be a thing for a while. At least for me. She said this will be to help stop the stupid questions, since people will ask stupid questions. You can’t, she said, come in with a new haircut and not get stupid questions.

I told her that I was in the process of physical changes and that I was also in the process of changing my name legally and changing the gender marker on my driver’s license. That’s my next stage and she said she’s going to talk to my boss and to the big boss about this. That kind of scares me, but I’m going to have to be coming out to everyone soon, so I guess that’s unavoidable. At least I don’t have to have that conversation. 

And she reassured me that I was a respected employee who did a good job and people knew that. And that they’d respect Faith and treat her the same way.

And I said I wanted to start coming in as me, around mid-November, which would give me time to get all my paperwork in order.

I showed her a pic on my phone and she said that all the women in the office are going to have to step up their game.

So, I’m still terrified. But at least one step is out of the way.
 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Stumbling Toward Full Time


Perhaps one of the scariest moments in transition is looking at the Transition Timeline you put together over a year ago and realizing you're right on target.

On Friday I went to court to go get my name legally changed. As I was walking there I felt myself go into auto-pilot mode. I just shut down my brain and let my body take the lead. If I actually stopped to think about what I was doing then my anxiety would come back with a vengeance. Just keep walking. Just keep walking. Go through the motions.

It didn't really matter in the end though, because I didn't bring proof my address. Nope, the address printed on my drivers' license wasn't good enough. It had to be a bill. Plus, it turns out that I need my spouse to notarize that she's okay with the name change, even though we're only domestic partners. And I'll need originals of her documents (copies aren't okay). Isn't bureaucracy fun!

So, we'll go back another time and go together to keep it simple. Also I'm terrified that if I bring her original passport I'll lose it. I'd much rather her carry it.

These photos have nothing to do with this particular piece of writing, but what? Did you want to look at a wall of text?
Now the other part of this is coming out full time at work. I was waiting for my annual performance review before I mentioned anything. I knew the performance review was coming up sometime soon, but I couldn't be sure exactly when. My plan was that if I got a good performance review, I'd schedule a meeting with HR and come out at work. You know, just so if there were issues I'd be able to have proof showing that I was good at my job. If I got a bad performance review, I'd put together my resume and start looking for a job and go to interviews as Faith. That way I can start a new job and everyone would just know me as a woman.

Well, early last week I got my performance review. It was glowing. "Exceeds expectations!" My boss is rather happy with my performance and wants to give me more responsibility.

Shit.

Guess that means it's time to come out out.

So, I late that day, just before I left, I emailed the head of HR and asked if she could meet early next week. Why wait? Because I had taken a long weekend to try and get some court stuff done (see above) and thought having a new name would be a great way to kick off that meeting.

Well, I don't have that. And the meeting is tomorrow. And I'm terrified. When I talk to HR I'm guessing it'll be up to me when I want to come out. Do I delay it? Or do I just go ahead and start full time immediately while there's still good dress weather?


My hair is growing out. In fact, on Friday it was a beautiful day and I styled my own hair to the point that it looked feminine enough and went for a walk. It felt absolutely amazing. I think it'll probably be three or four months before I'm able to go to a hairdresser/stylist and get it cut/colored/styled in a way that'll look decent. That means three or four months of wigs. That's not a lifetime of wigs. Just a few months. Is it doable? Yes, it is. Am I ready?

Phew. That is the question.


Mostly, I'm just scared. I'm scared that I'm not ready for full time, that I'm not really transgender, than I'm too lazy to keep it up, that I look like a ridiculous joke and no one will take me seriously. I worry people will object to me using the ladies room. I worry that people will talk behind my back and make me the butt of jokes. I worry that I'm deserving of jokes for how ridiculous I am. I worry that I'm crazy. I worry that at best I will be some sort of joke ersatz woman and that's it. I worry that I'm crazy and making a big mistake.

My partner and I had a long talk about it tonight and she says all my fears are normal. But all this weekend has been spent with my insides twisted and my thoughts in a deep, dark place. There are so many things to worry about and the one I worry about most is myself. Right now I'm not in a happy place transgender wise. I reminded of my own post from a while back about how sometimes I feel like quitting.

My partner reminded me of my own chart from this post.

Right now, I'm all anxious and feeling depressed. I'm in one of the little dips but the dysphoria isn't going anywhere. And I know what I know. I know what I wished for on every single birthday candle, every dandelion, every penny in every fountain. And now that wish could come true. And that terrifies me. 

And now if I had a dandelion, I'd wish for some courage and certainty of conviction so like many other transgender people seem to have, but that I lack. 





So I'm reminded of an episode of Gilmore Girls. You know, in the second season when Lorelai is thinking of starting her own business and is asking Luke, the small business owner, about it. It spoke to me. Right now, I totally feel like Lorelai. Here's the dialogue:

Lorelai: Oh Luke, do not underestimate the complete and total lack of confidence I have in my abilities.

Luke: You're just scared. Just like everybody else when they're taking on something big.

Lorelai: Well, then what does everybody else do to get through this feeling?

Luke: They run in the back, throw up, pass out and then smack their head on the floor.

Lorelai: What?

Luke: That's what I did on the first morning I opened the diner. Look, there is no button to push to get you through this. You just gotta jump in and be scared and stick with it until it gets fun.

Lorelai: How long 'til the diner got fun?

Luke: About a year.

Lorelai: Wow. And there's no button?

Luke: Nope.

Lorelai: How about a lever, can I pull a lever?

Luke: Nope.

Lorelai: Turn a knob?

Luke: Nope.

Lorelai: You just jump?

Luke: You just jump.

Lorelai: I wanna do it.

Luke: You should do it.



Well, let's see if this girl can jump.

Nothing worth doing is easy, I guess.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Gender Rebels Podcast Episode 10: Beyond Gender Rebels


We are super excited to share our very first Gender Rebel's guest, Caleb Arring from the Beyond Gender podcast. Caleb helped us understand the experience of transgender men and is also just a cool, funny guy.

 Beyond Gender podcast is a wonderful resource for transgender, queer or non-binary people as well as allies. Super cool host Caleb Arring does weekly interviews with different LGBTQ people from all walks of life. Plus there's always news provided by the seriously well-informed Dorian Michelle Vrenden.

Check out all their amazing episodes at Beyond Gender Podcast.

Check out our website for all the latest episodeswww.genderrebels.com

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

 Let us haunt your feed on FaceBook

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Celebration


Recently, I came out to my sister. By mail. A letter seemed like the best option because it gave the person time to think about a response. Plus I wouldn't be instantly bombarded with questions that I didn't quite want to answer (you know, like "Are you gay?" or "Why do you hate Jesus?"). Now, the only problem with a letter is that it is slow. If only we had some sort of electronic letter or "ePost." 

Well, I sent the letter and waited for a response. First I waited a couple days for the letter to get there. Then waited for my phone to ring or for an email. But there were no calls. There were no emails. There were no texts or Facebook messages. No owls. 

Every day I came home from work and immediately checked the mail. Seriously, I was like a little kid waiting for their prize to come in the mail. On weekends I'd check twice. I'd go in my building lobby to see if a letter were in the little stack delivered mail. But there wasn't any. I did this for a month.

Then, the other day I was walking home and I got a text from my partner. "It's here!" she wrote. I raced home to find a greeting card envelope addressed to my female name! Exciting!

In the letter, which I'll probably detail later, she said that she would miss the guy me, but accepted me for who I was and hoped we could be closer now. 

Now, the funny thing was I had already decided to send her a birthday card and had wracked my brain to pick the exact right one with the exact right message. You know, something that couldn't me constructed as too needy or too dismissive. So, I went with neutral. Then I got her letter and I wish I had picked a different card. Ah well.

Honestly, her letter filled me with mixed emotions, I'm not sure why. But, my partner was super happy about it and up and declared that we were going out celebrating.  Luckily I'd just gotten a lovely new dress, the weather was perfect and so a fancy night out seemed like the best idea ever.  

Aren't I such a fancy girl? 
Of course, we captured a few photos. My partner decided she liked the idea of snapping random shots of me when I wasn't aware of it. Sometimes this worked out (though for the most part it really didn't). She likes candid shots rather than posed and I do too. When they look nice at least.



We went to one of our favorite neighborhood spots, Clover Club. Sometimes we call it Kanja Club. Because we loved The Force Awakens. We also love Clover Club. Their cocktails are always delicious and their food is heavenly. Like when God orders Brussels sprouts, these are what she eats. Also their mac & cheese may be the best on the planet. I'm literally not kidding or exaggerating there. I consider myself something of a connoisseur when it comes to mac & cheese and this is probably the best on the planet. 

If you're ever in Brooklyn, I seriously recommend this place.

Plus look - exposed brick! How much more Brooklyn can you get? 
With celebrating, social life and work it's been so busy this past week that I really haven't had any time to breathe, much less to really process all my emotions. Of course I'm happy that she responded and in such a positive way, but I'm also a tad upset that we've not been that close in these past few years. And of course, I'm apprehensive at all the other coming out letters I'll be sending soon. 

It's gonna be a crazy ride, these next few months. Coming out to family, coming out at work, starting full time, changing my name, all of it. I wonder when I will get a chance to breathe at all. 


Thursday, September 8, 2016

Check Out My Interview on Beyond Gender Podcast


Hey everyone! I'm so excited to announce that the new episode of Beyond Gender podcast features the interview that they did with me.

Listen to my interview here.

Beyond Gender podcast is a wonderful resource for transgender, queer or non-binary people as well as allies. Super cool host Caleb Arring does weekly interviews with different LGBTQ people from all walks of life. Plus there's always news provided by the seriously well-informed Dorian Michelle Vrenden.

And listen to all their amazing episodes at www.beyondgender.com!

Gender Rebels Podcast Episode 9: Where Are All the Transgender Men?


Is this episode we answer the question of why the media and popular culture (and even some LGBTQ people) seem to not notice transgender men. Where are all the FtMs? 
Check out our website for all the latest episodes www.genderrebels.com 

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

Like us on FaceBook so we can haunt your feed. 
For those who are interested, we already live tweeted The Danish Girl. But, stay tuned because we'll be live tweeting some other LGBTQ films soon!