A personal announcement, emphatic thank-you, and cheers to Fedora.

Cheeto1016 wrote:

I do not mean to be discouraging, or counter productive. So do not take this the wrong way, but this makes me sad in some ways. I have spent my 30 years of life battling being more masculine and less effeminate. I was always uncomfortable with my body and no hair and not shaving and not being like all the other guys. I am 30 years old and when I answer the phone to this day I get ma'm.

Just doesn't seem fair.... yes I know life is not fair. Just bitching!

Maybe you two could just swap hormones for a while. USPS still handles hormones, don't they?

Cheeto, you shrill, beautiful, hairless ginger. If you're not happy with yourself, that's one thing and know that if I can ever do anything to help, I'm at your disposal.

But as your friend, I can tell you that you're loved for who you are, strange as that person may be =)

oilypenguin wrote:

Cheeto, you shrill, beautiful, hairless ginger. If you're not happy with yourself, that's one thing and know that if I can ever do anything to help, I'm at your disposal.

But as your friend, I can tell you that you're loved for who you are, strange as that person may be =)

Hear hear.

NSMike wrote:

I would do a lot to never have to shave again. Ultimately though, that doesn't really compare. I hate it because it's inconvenient and annoying, not because I am uncomfortable with gender perceptions.

The answer is easy! Subscribe to the Sean "elysium" Sands School of beard design! No more messy shaving! and today as a special offer just for you Mike, pillow of heterosexuality not included!

Prozac wrote:
NSMike wrote:

I would do a lot to never have to shave again. Ultimately though, that doesn't really compare. I hate it because it's inconvenient and annoying, not because I am uncomfortable with gender perceptions.

The answer is easy! Subscribe to the Sean "elysium" Sands School of beard design! No more messy shaving! and today as a special offer just for you Mike, pillow of heterosexuality not included! ;)

Protip: Don't let Prozac shave you.

Cheeto1016 wrote:

I am 30 years old and when I answer the phone to this day I get ma'm.

I'm 35 and hear "ma'am" on the phone at work, too.

For good or ill, I've had to learn the difference between malice and an honest accident. At our age, 99% of them are thankfully honest accidents.

Problems I wish I had.

And yeah, I'd totally change places with you if I could, Cheeto. Ahh, well. I think Prozac already has dibs on my spare testosterone, though.

Hypatian wrote:

I think Prozac already has dibs on my spare testosterone, though.

Yeah, give more testosterone to the dictator.

Woosh!

Choked horribly two or three times this afternoon, failing to call to set up an appointment for a hair removal consultation. Finally managed to call this evening. Don't have a firm time set yet, but the main electrolysist (is that a word?) is going to call me back when he's done with his sessions for the night.

I got a short dose of "Okay, let me tell you what you're letting yourself in for" from the other electrolysist, who answered the phone. I think I managed to get through the idea that before I called I already expected this to hurt like a ****, and then she seemed less anxious. Makes me think that they have men think "Hey, I hate shaving, I'll get electrolysis done", followed by "Oh sweet Jesus, make the hurting stop!" and they don't come back.

I wonder if it's odd that three men in the thread get mistaken for women on the phone. Is that because people are piping up due to the thread - where it's natural to discuss gender, masculinity etc. - or that such voices are common? (My voice isn't as deep as I'd like.)

I think they're reasonably common. I've known a couple of people personally who were misgendered as female in phone calls, plus the anecdotal evidence on this thread. I think that it's probably because of a combination of things: First, you're lacking any cues [em]other[/em] than the voice on the phone, so that introduces a greater degree of uncertainty: Most of the time we expect more information, so our voice perception is a little more imperfect. Second, I suspect that certain aspects of voice quality tend to be minimized on the phone. Here I'm talking about the difference in resonance in the undertone. Phones flatten things a bit, so that might not carry through, especially on a less than perfect connection. Finally, we often use very short utterances on the phone, compared to normal speech. This makes sense, since the speaker doesn't have body language to know when to stop talking, so they say shorter things to give the other party time to interrupt. And shorter utterances means that the different contonations between masculine and feminine spoken English have less of a chance to be apparent.

All of these things make it much easier for a male voice to be taken for a female voice and vice versa. Male speakers with a higher primary pitch and female speakers with a lower primary pitch will be misgendered, even if in normal everyday speech the other factors would usually add up quite quickly to make the difference. (Even without seeing the person.)

Update! I got called back by the electrolysist. I'll be going in for a consultation on Saturday afternoon. Excited/scared/fluttery-stomach-feeling. This place advertised in a list of trans-friendly hair removal clinics, which is very comforting. And they keep hours that make it convenient for people who work all day, which is very nice. But still, big step!

In some ways, it's not nearly as major as going on hormones, say. But hormones are a fairly low cost thing, even if it's for the rest of your life. Electrolysis is eventually finished, but it's pricey, and painful, and still takes a long time. Still, I'm excited to be getting so close now.

Hypatian wrote:

electrolysist (is that a word?)

I'm going to go out on a limb and say the word is "electrolyst."

Although in all likelihood they just call themselves technicians or something.

Way to go, though. Prepare to say hello to a less hirsute Hypatian!

Hahaha.

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/YMtde.jpg)

1Dgaf wrote:

I wonder if it's odd that three men in the thread get mistaken for women on the phone. Is that because people are piping up due to the thread - where it's natural to discuss gender, masculinity etc. - or that such voices are common? (My voice isn't as deep as I'd like.)

I get this a lot as well, but for me it's when I'm trying to be polite and friendly on the phone or at work. When I'm interacting in an overly-friendly manner my voice goes up and gets softer which then comes off as more feminine. I think for me it has more to do with the way I talk and mannerisms than my actual voice.

I get ma'am at the drive thru all the time. Then it's entertaining to watch the drive thru person squirm as they take my money and give me my food.

Today's progress: I ordered a couple of wigs and some wig care supplies. That felt weird. Which, I guess is the point—to get over the weird feeling.

IMAGE(http://www.wigs-us.com/media/WB/lace/ss_size2/kendra-p57430.jpg)IMAGE(http://www.wigs-us.com/media/WB/ss_size2/mystic-blk.jpg)

A friend of mine has a wig site. Does pretty well and has a huge collection available.

http://gorgeoushairwigs.com/

I am pretty sure she has a large contingent of US customers as well.

Tell her Marc sent you

Best of luck with all of this. It sounds like you are really embracing it and that's wonderful.

Hypatian wrote:

I think they're reasonably common. I've known a couple of people personally who were misgendered as female in phone calls, plus the anecdotal evidence on this thread. I think that it's probably because of a combination of things: First, you're lacking any cues [em]other[/em] than the voice on the phone, so that introduces a greater degree of uncertainty:

I've been growing my hair our since the age of twelve, which didn't help.

When I said for good or ill,.that regrettably meant over a year of bullying and a broken ankle for how I was perceived. Which is to say, terrible words that have no place here or anywhere else on planet earth. My family moved away, or else it no doubt would have continued.

Even through college, my friends made me aware with varying degrees of decorum that I could stand to act more masculine. I was called ma'am to my face plenty of times while working part time jobs in those days too. Even my wife thought I was a woman the first time she saw me.

It's been a battle, and not always one to be jealous of.I keep a walking stick in my trunk for days when my ankle is in too much pain to walk on unassisted. To be fair, there were good experiences too.

To clarify, adults tend to be much more innocent about all of this than children. Mistakes tend to be honest instead of malicious is the point I hoped to make.

I'll cut it short here. This could go on for a while but I'm glad to see people moving into happier places. I do sincerely - again- wish the best and happiest to all of you. And, honestly,I love seeing all the support for Hyp right now. You guys are awesome.

Ouch. Yeah, that's rough. Our society does not allow much room for men with less masculine presentation. Even when it's not a case of a different gender identification or sexual orientation, way too many people perceive it as that, and all of the nasty behaviors we as a society somehow allow to persist come out to punish the perceived "deviance". Human behavior is awfully depressing sometimes.

Hyp, There were some great times, life-changing moments and lifelong friends made through it all too. It certainly has been a wild ride.

This is where I hope your "late start" may hopefully bring you some benefits as well. I'd like to hope it helps you far more than you think.

Yeah. No matter how troublesome things may be, I think being however you are is full of wonderful fulfilling moments. I mean, being trans has caused issues in my life--and I expect that transition will create some really tremendous upheaval. But I could never really wish I [em]hadn't[/em] been trans. It's a part of me, and of my life. Without it, I wouldn't be the person that I am. My relationships with people would be different. My ideas about life in general would be different. I would be someone else entirely, and who wants that?

Today's update: The electrolysist told me a bunch of things I already know, which was fine. Then he did about an hour-long session, down at the bottom of the hair on my neck. So time consuming! Not much area was taken care of, but it'll get there, with time. I decided to start on the neck because shaving there sucks so horribly much. It's the main reason I can't shave every day--the hairs grow every which way, making it hard to avoid going against the grain, and when I do go against the grain my skin gets really irritated and I get ingrown hairs, which is nasty. Also, a bit less obvious a place to start to be hairless than some others.

The price at this place is $95 an hour, if you pre-pay in blocks of four hours. The numbers I've heard average around 200ish hours over the course of a couple of years--with more time starting at the beginning, and less time for finishing things up towards the end. So, like I had mentioned a long while back: It's one of the most expensive parts of transition. Depending on how long it takes for my face, the expected cost from those numbers is just about exactly what I expected. (For women who want to remove just a little hair, it's not too bad. For a heavy male beard, though, major major investment.)

I'm going to see about scheduling more time each week, if I can. Scheduling is tricky. Everybody wants to go outside of work hours, so I may end up shifting my work schedule around a bit to leave early one day a week and go in the mid-late afternoon. I'd definitely like to get more than 1-1.5 hours done a week. And maybe I can talk him into a little more of a discount if I buy a bigger block of time in advance. ;> Where I am right now, I think I'd like to be doing two hour sessions twice a week, if I can manage it. In that context, paying four hours at a time seems kind of small.

Anyway, I have another appointment scheduled for next Saturday. And I'm a step further along the path, having started with one more super-slow process that will take for[em]ever[/em] to finish.

Hypatian wrote:

And I'm a step further along the path, having started with one more super-slow process that will take for[em]ever[/em] to finish.

One of the first to start, and probably the last to finish

So, I've been feeling kind of crappy the last couple of days. Doubts. Stress. Just in general feeling like "OMG, what am I doing?" and so far away, again, from where I want to be. It's only been a week since I had my intake interview for therapy, but it feels like forever. The small steps feel very very small, and it leaves me feeling scared. I know I'll get through this mood if I just keep on going, but it's still a very "meh!" feeling. I'll be glad when I have a regular weekly therapy appointment.

Feeling just a [em]little[/em] better right now, though: On the bus in to work, I came across a reddit post about a lot of people finding out based on pronoun use during a cast that the SC2 player ROOT puCK had announced that she's trans. (And the cast happened to be a game between puCK and Scarlett!)

I guess SC2 is some kind of hotbed of gender variance or something.

I can't speak to being trans*, but doubts about changing how people perceive you are totally natural. One of the harder parts of coming out for me was telling people and thinking, "Why am I doing this? Is there a reason beyond my own satisfaction that I'm telling these people this? It almost seems unfair, and I wonder if it's even necessary."

Nearly a year later, I've got no advice to give other than, those doubts will pass. At least, in the regard that I'm referring to.

NSMike wrote:

I can't speak to being trans*, but doubts about changing how people perceive you are totally natural. One of the harder parts of coming out for me was telling people and thinking, "Why am I doing this? Is there a reason beyond my own satisfaction that I'm telling these people this? It almost seems unfair, and I wonder if it's even necessary."

Nearly a year later, I've got no advice to give other than, those doubts will pass. At least, in the regard that I'm referring to.

Plus, early adopters get to feel extra special, like they Kickstarted something!

I am having difficulty coming up with ideas tiered rewards for my kickstarter that are... tasteful.

Hypatian wrote:

I am having difficulty coming up with ideas tiered rewards for my kickstarter that are... tasteful. :)

Then you're doing it right.

NSMike wrote:

I can't speak to being trans*, but doubts about changing how people perceive you are totally natural. One of the harder parts of coming out for me was telling people and thinking, "Why am I doing this? Is there a reason beyond my own satisfaction that I'm telling these people this? It almost seems unfair, and I wonder if it's even necessary."

Nearly a year later, I've got no advice to give other than, those doubts will pass. At least, in the regard that I'm referring to.

Had to think about this for a bit. What you're saying does resonate with me. I think there are different wrinkles—but they may be more a matter of perspective than anything else.

One is that there's a step past "telling" to "doing". I think that's true in relationships and sexual orientation too, to a great degree: The idea of keeping silent about your relationships when other people are talking about theirs, or of not saying anything when people assume that you're straight... those are painful thoughts. And there are also bad issues in terms of "not talking about it" in certain contexts. I guess where I'm going towards here is that someone who is gay has a few options in terms of how public they want to be about things. Being able to choose how open you want to be is good. Feeling pressured into being more closed about it than you would like is bad. Feeling pressured to be more open about it than you like could also be bad.

I think that trans people in transition have things a little different there, because there's a point at which you absolutely cannot choose anything but to be totally open, or to completely cut yourself off from your old life. There's a potential for things settling down after a period of extreme openness, but... it's scary to think that "I will [em]have[/em] to out myself dramatically to all of my work colleagues, and my family, and all of my friends." Because I want to live as a woman, and I can't do that without people actually seeing me present myself as a woman... which is a bit different from what they're used to.

The other thing... I don't know. How did things feel when you realized you were gay and started opening up about stuff? For me, it's a relief to admit to myself that I haven't been living the life I want to live. But there's also this strain because I [em]still can't[/em]. I can maybe imagine approaching that possibility in a year or so. Probably a bit longer. That sense that I know who I want to be, but it's going to be so long before I can actually [em]live[/em] as that person... it's agonizing. I imagine it's not super easy on the sexual orientation side of things, either. You've got new communities of people to try to meet. New ways of interacting with people to learn. New parts of yourself to explore.

When I first started thinking about this, in both parts, I was like "Well, it's a lot easier if you're gay! Once you realize it, you can just start acting on that knowledge right away!" But, of course, I then realized how reductivist and wrong that thought was. It's not ever easy. The mere fact that people are closeted to themselves or others, in either the case of sexual orientation or gender identity, implies that there are very hard things to figure out and work through for everyone. You don't close off parts of yourself without a serious reason, no matter what parts you're worried about.

So, sorry for thinking that at first.

NSMike wrote:

"Why am I doing this? Is there a reason beyond my own satisfaction that I'm telling these people this? It almost seems unfair, and I wonder if it's even necessary."

That's where I'm at right now. Some of you already know, but I'm also transsexual and am in the middle of making some big decisions about how and whether to transition. What I've found is my biggest hang up is the idea that I'd be hurting people or disappointing them by coming out. I have the full support of my wife, which makes it infinitely easier, but the thought of telling my family (and hers) is very frightening.

But the thing of it is: I could never transition without telling the people I care about. It's just too big and too obvious of a change to hide. But it's hard to tell them before it happens because there will be that awkward time where I'm not living as a woman yet but will be; at the same time, waiting until it's a fait accompli I think would be very hurtful to some of them. (I waffled for a long time about posting here before telling them because of that very thing. I don't want anyone who is important to me to feel like they were the last to know something, but I could also use the support and encouragement of my friends as I prepare to tell my family.)

The reason I posted all this, though, was to respond to this:

Hypatian wrote:

So, I've been feeling kind of crappy the last couple of days. Doubts. Stress. Just in general feeling like "OMG, what am I doing?" and so far away, again, from where I want to be. It's only been a week since I had my intake interview for therapy, but it feels like forever. The small steps feel very very small, and it leaves me feeling scared. I know I'll get through this mood if I just keep on going, but it's still a very "meh!" feeling. I'll be glad when I have a regular weekly therapy appointment.

I've been going through that, too. I'll go along for a few weeks being very comfortable and confident, ready to tell everyone and take on the world, then I'll run into a wall where I'm just not sure at all that I'm doing the right thing. I'll either have a moment where I'm feeling really masculine and so wonder if that means I'm not trans after all, or else I'll just get intimidated by the amount of work and expense required to transition. It's overwhelming just how much needs to be done, how much it'll all cost, and how difficult it will be emotionally while you're between genders.

But while I know it's hard, I know it'll also be worth it for you in the end. It will be so much better and so much more comfortable to live in your own skin in the way you want to. It's difficult and overwhelming now, and wouldn't we all love some kind of private chrysalis transformation that wasn't at all awkward or uncomfortable, but just keep in mind that you're driving toward something better and happier than what you have now.

So here's a socially awkward question that I'll ask here because although I don't think it's offensive (I don't really know the social rules surrounding trans transformations), I hope I'll be forgiven due to ignorance: how does being trans interact with sexual orientation? As a male looking to switch, which gender is appealing to you? Is the end result to be a straight woman or a lesbian, or does that even enter into it? Does orientation (being which gender you're attracted to) remain constant throughout the change?