How to Be an All-Inclusive Gender Thread

Probably not, no. Going out to clubs isn't the kind of thing I tend to do all that much. Maybe that'll change some day, we'll see.

Oh, and important detail I left out: I had to show my state ID (with old beardy me) to get my package. So, you know, that probably makes my "something is going on here" status pretty obvious, anyway.

My legal name annoyed me today when I got a form letter with "Dear :" in it. "Personalized", you know.

So I decided to look at the name change procedure here in Pennsylvania. It's not a giant hurdle for me, but for trans* people with less money, it definitely could be. You have to complete a form, then have an announcement published in two newspapers, one of which ought to be a legal paper of record (a couple hundred dollars). Then you have to have a court appearance (another few hundred). If you're low income enough to be on public assistance, there's some relief. And, you could probably get away with not publishing in a legal paper of record (cheaper). If you're in fear of harassment, you can petition to have the publication requirement left out completely. Time from start to finish should be a few months.

Interestingly, getting your gender changed on Pennsylvania state ID is way cheaper and less painful. Fill out a form, have your doctor or therapist sign it to affirm you're not likely to want to change it back any time soon, and pay the normal (~$12) fee for a new ID/driver's license. No love for non-binary people, though: it has to be either "M" or "F".

Anyway, I don't feel ready to have my name legally changed yet. It's just an ongoing annoyance so far, and I haven't even asked people to call me by Kat--although a number of people at work have started doing that anyway. (I was surprised that they wanted to, but now I'm :). They're lovely people.) I feel like the stress of having to deal with possible comments from strangers in situations where I need to present legal ID would be a much bigger problem. I [em]am[/em] kind of annoyed at how long the process takes, simply because it means that when I do decide that I'm tipping over, I'll have to wait a good long time before it happens.

*sigh* Electrolysis, work faster. Faster faster. (That's really my big blocker: major stubble. *sigh* Lingering echoes of internalized transphobia's past nightmares.)

That seems like an awful pile of fuss...is there a reason they make it so difficult? Are they worried about fraud of some kind? I changed my last name legally here in Canada when I was 19 and it required only paperwork, surrendering my original birth certificate, and paying a big gob of cash. It was all done and official in about a month or so.

I'm really happy that the people you work with are being so awesome and lovely, and really, it makes sense - you ARE Kat, so it seems only right to call you so.

It varies from place to place--some places require a court appearance, some don't. A lot of it is just the weight of already established procedure, I think. California recently (last month) passed a law making it much easier to get a name change (no court appearance, no publication required) and a birth certificate gender change, for example. And yeah, the court appearance here is to affirm that you're not doing it for fraudulent purposes, and signs that you're trying to escape debt, etc. are the main things that can hold things up.

There's also a potential step of having the gender changed on my (Washington state) birth certificate. That might be a good idea if I'm ever tempted to move to a state that requires the gender marker on ID to match that on the birth certificate. (Unlike both Pennsylvania and Washington.) (Some states don't allow birth certificates to be changed, period. Some require state ID to match the cert. Some mark the certificate as changed. Some issue a replacement certificate and do not consider the old one valid for any purpose. A recent case in Texas involved a court [em]not recognizing the California cert as valid[/em], even though California is one of those latter states. That case is in appeal, and may very well make it to the U.S. Supreme Court. Messy.)

If I were planning to move somewhere which requires ID to match birth certificate and had not made that change, I'd probably get a passport as emergency ID, since the federal government has sane procedures (similar to PA) for gender markers on passports.

(And of course, all of this complication leads to potential trouble with the new voter ID laws that have been getting passed all over the place in the U.S.)

(Additional fun historical complications: Until quite recently, the Social Security administration used to flag an "error" if the gender submitted by an employer didn't match the gender encoded in their Social Security number, which could result in automatic outing of trans* people to employers. They don't do that any more.)

Wow - I had no idea just how complicated the procedure could be; and how the rules in one place could complicate things further if you want to move somewhere else that has different rules. I didn't realise that one state could refuse to recognise ID/certs given in another state as invalid. That must have a huge personal effect on the individual - essentially saying, "We don't agree with who you know you are. The paper says X, so you must therefore be X, and we will not recognise anything else - including your own knowledge of yourself - as being true or valid."

It makes my head hurt to even think about it.

Mimble wrote:

Wow - I had no idea just how complicated the procedure could be; and how the rules in one place could complicate things further if you want to move somewhere else that has different rules. I didn't realise that one state could refuse to recognise ID/certs given in another state as invalid. That must have a huge personal effect on the individual - essentially saying, "We don't agree with who you know you are. The paper says X, so you must therefore be X, and we will not recognise anything else - including your own knowledge of yourself - as being true or valid."

It makes my head hurt to even think about it.

It's complicated enough in Illinois that it's been a deciding factor in whether or not to change names when people get hitched. And then there's the financial side once the legal side's done.

I've decided to seek therapy to try and untangle my gender stuff. I've had occasion to reconsider whether or not transitioning is something that I want, and I'm kinda lost in the woods here.

*hug* Hope therapy helps you work things out. Good luck.

*hugs* and support from friends, regardless the decisions!

Wishing you happiness, SocialChameleon.

Whatever else you find, hopefully you will find happiness and genuine love for yourself.

SocialChameleon wrote:

I've decided to seek therapy to try and untangle my gender stuff. I've had occasion to reconsider whether or not transitioning is something that I want, and I'm kinda lost in the woods here.

You and me both, pal. I wish it were easier.

I went out to a cafe last night presenting as femme as I reasonably could, and I had a lot of time to walk around and process things. This is probably going to be disjointed since I'm typing it in short bursts between work tasks.

Preparing was an exercise in pushing through waves of dypshoria. Since I was running late, add unrelated stress to that and I'm amazed I got myself out the door.

I'd recently sprained my ankle, so heels were right out. I didn't think what I have would be entirely appropriate to the setting anyway. Realized I had no feminine shoes that weren't heels. Went to Target, got a couple weird looks shopping in the women's shoe section, grabbed a pair of black flats, some tights and a scarf. Noted that I don't own any femme tops and reminded myself to take care of that in the near future. Also need normal non lacy non thong underwear, but I didn't have the nerve to start browsing that section in a crowded store just yet.

Head home and get dressed. Throw on a webcomic t-shirt and a light hoodie, black cotton skirt, purple tights and the flats I just bought. Tell myself that my gut isn't helping my presentation any, but there's nothing I can do about it right now but hide it. Throw on some nail polish with my very non-steady hands. Go into the bathroom and get as much foundation on as I feel comfortable with. It's not quite enough but I live with it.

Actually being outside was fine, albeit with some cold legs since I'm in New England in December. Nothing terribly notable about it except I probably rubbed all my makeup off from incessantly touching my face.

Facial hair/body hair: Major source of dysphoria regardless of how I'm trying to present. Need to set a budget and put money aside to solve this regardless.

Eyebrows: Source of dysphoria but easily fixable.

Weight: Source of dysphoria but fixable.

Hair of the head variety: Its long but somewhat stringy and I feel like I'm losing it, even if I'm not. Need to see a person who specialized in this.

Makeup: 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)

Overall: I feel like if I am actively trying to present femme then I desire all the primary and secondary sexual characteristics that go along with that, and not having them is annoying if not actively stressful. If I'm not trying to present that way then I'm less bothered. However, I enjoy presenting femme so it feels like that stress is delayed. I suspect I don't feel as strong dysphoria as some (maybe most) trans people do.

Once I was alone with my thoughts I was doing my best to let my rational mind chill out the part of me going 'oh god oh god you're 30 years old you are OUT OF TIME get hormones and an orchiectomy go go go'. Thankfully, rationality is winning out here.

If I don't pursue HRT or surgery I'd at least feel better getting to a more androgynous body image. On the other hand, this is the first time I think I could say to 'I think I'm trans' or 'I could probably be happy/happier if I was a woman' and not sound ridiculous to myself.

I need to take action on starting therapy, like, today. Need to review my insurance coverage first and generate that plan.

So. There's that.

Wow! Thank you for sharing!! Out of a bundle of nervous energy and sources of anxiety, feeling something like this:

On the other hand, this is the first time I think I could say to 'I think I'm trans' or 'I could probably be happy/happier if I was a woman' and not sound ridiculous to myself.

And having something about yourself that you can be more secure in saying and just being and trusting in yourself is a huge thing. I hope I'm not out of line in saying so.

SocialChameleon wrote:

Also need normal non lacy non thong underwear, but I didn't have the nerve to start browsing that section in a crowded store just yet.

*actually on re-reading what I wrote I'm not sure if this is a bit over-flippant so I'll remove it.

I think the jist of it true though - this is probably the best time of the year to wander around a store without feeling like you're drawing too much attention since you could easily there buying gifts for someone else.

Honestly, I think all times of year are just fine for that. It's the feeling in your head that freaks you way the heck out when, in actuality, people mostly just either don't notice or get kind of confused, shrug, and move on. At least, that's how it's been for me. Repeated shopping has cut way down on that feeling of paranoia. I still get a little bit anxious shopping some places, but I'm sure I'll get over that eventually.

Specifically, looking for bras. Which is like the stupidest thing ever, but... you know. I think some things like this are extra stressful for me because there's not only that male socialization thing going on that's a big hump to get over, there's also the further obstacle of sort of self-imposed aversion therapy... when things are that much of a symbol of what you don't believe you can ever be, you kind of teach yourself to pretend they just plain don't exist.

--

In other unrelated news, I've been re-watching Veronica Mars lately. I had forgotten that an early episode of the show has an OK inclusion of a trans woman. It's still clearly meant to be a "shocking revelation!!11!1!", and the story about the character is fairly stereotypical... but it's also a reasonably positive portrayal. I'd totally forgotten about it. Unfortunately, in season two there's a gratuitous trans sex worker scene in which some rich jerk kids hire someone as a prank on a friend. It may be more pointed at the asshole rich kids, but it's still just chock full of negative tropes. Season 3 doesn't have any trans things that I've seen so far in re-watching or can recall, but has some unfortunate straw feminism. *sigh* Still, I love this show. I really hope the movie is all of the best and none of the worst.

My former therapist is working on a "travel letter" for me right now, as something to have just in case I run into any issues while traveling to visit family over the holidays. It irks me that even though I'm comfortable with being open about being trans, I feel I need to have this as extra security in case of overzealous TSA people. *sigh*

So my insurance research did not produce good results. Anything related to a sex change, including behavioral therapy and HRT is specifically excluded.

I guess my options are a) save money to pay for treatment out of pocket (and I have no idea how expensive that's going to get, probably really expensive) or b) Find another job with better insurance, which I was trying to do anyway.

Maybe you could check to see if it is cheaper in another country?

The thought had occurred to me, but I'm not quite ready to be an ex-pat yet, and I do have relationships in Boston that are important to my support structure.

I'm fortunate in that I don't have dependents and make decent money, so at least in the short term, paying out of pocket for therapy won't break the bank.

SocialChameleon wrote:

So my insurance research did not produce good results. Anything related to a sex change, including behavioral therapy and HRT is specifically excluded.

I guess my options are a) save money to pay for treatment out of pocket (and I have no idea how expensive that's going to get, probably really expensive) or b) Find another job with better insurance, which I was trying to do anyway.

waaayyy back when, I used to analyze health insurance plans as part of my old job, before I became a teacher. unfortunately this was a standard exclusion. so don't feel like it's your insurance plan and what you're stuck with. It's pretty much all of them.

On the other hand...I don't know if I can put into good words how grateful I am that we all have this amazingly supportive place to go, here in Goodjer Land. SocialChameleon...you are so brave to take the steps you're taking, however small you might feel they are. I wanted to write something when you wrote above that you've decided to seek therapy. Just that step. Just sharing that with us. That's not a small step, really. That's huge.

I hope you feel safe to keep sharing your journey here, one pair of black flats at a time.

SocialChameleon wrote:

The thought had occurred to me, but I'm not quite ready to be an ex-pat yet, and I do have relationships in Boston that are important to my support structure.

Would you necessarily have to move out of country? I'm not sure how HRT works, but is it possible to go to Country X, get the hormones, then come back home to get them administered?

Thanks, everyone. I don't want to get long-winded but I'm very thankful you're all here. I underestimated just how much having a supportive community means, and I don't think I have the words. If it weren't for y'all, taking these steps would have been orders of magnitude more difficult.

Just got off the phone with Fenway Health, who specializes in treating LGBT patients, and found out I need to be a patient in their medical umbrella in order to access behavioral health services. Since I needed a new PCP anyway I signed up.

I'm preparing myself for them to be out of network and I'll have to shell out $$$ but as far as I'm concerned it's worth it. Initial appointment is tomorrow afternoon. I'm kind of shocked I actually went through with it.

sometimesdee wrote:
SocialChameleon wrote:

The thought had occurred to me, but I'm not quite ready to be an ex-pat yet, and I do have relationships in Boston that are important to my support structure.

Would you necessarily have to move out of country? I'm not sure how HRT works, but is it possible to go to Country X, get the hormones, then come back home to get them administered?

From what I understand, most are self-administered. I have a vague estimate of what HRT costs per month and I think travel to/from the nearest border for me (Canada) would be more expensive than getting the medicine in the US. I have no idea about the customs issues involved either.

I'm probably getting ahead of myself, though. I have no idea if HRT is something I'm even going to do, although I feel somewhat inclined towards it.

Roo wrote:
SocialChameleon wrote:

So my insurance research did not produce good results. Anything related to a sex change, including behavioral therapy and HRT is specifically excluded.

I guess my options are a) save money to pay for treatment out of pocket (and I have no idea how expensive that's going to get, probably really expensive) or b) Find another job with better insurance, which I was trying to do anyway.

waaayyy back when, I used to analyze health insurance plans as part of my old job, before I became a teacher. unfortunately this was a standard exclusion. so don't feel like it's your insurance plan and what you're stuck with. It's pretty much all of them.

FWIW, this may be changing. My employer (the largest in my city) announced this year that HRT and other expenses related to treating gender dysphoria would be covered by their health plans.

Some notes:

First, estrogen and spironolactone are pretty inexpensive, and it's possible to get it via Internet mail-order from outside the country. I'm not 100% clear on the legality, but a lot of people do it with no problems, and possession is not a crime. (Reselling to others would be, though.) Testosterone is, however, controlled, so people who need T shots have it harder. Progesterone, should you wish to take it, is a bit pricier.

Second, even if your health care plan excludes all trans-related care, they may not actually enforce that for therapy and HRT. My health care coverage has language excluding everything:

Sex Transformation Services, Procedures, and Medications: All services, procedures, and medications related to transsexualism, including those leading to or related to transsexual surgery, except for sickness or injury resulting from such treatment or surgery.

I have to admit that this makes me a little stressed out sometimes. However, I have at no point been denied coverage for therapy or for hormones. My doctor does, however, note my condition as "unspecified endocrine disorder", and my therapist can't legally tell them what we talk about, so... *shrug* Given that he's the go-to doctor for trans people in the city and it's clearly HRT medications and tests... I dunno.

I was more stressed out at the idea that my insurer might refuse coverage for unrelated things because I had the pre-existing condition of being transgender. This is something that has happened in the past. I specifically asked my doctor if he'd ever heard of trouble with this insurer, and he said he'd never heard of that happening here. HOWEVER, starting January 1 that's completely illegal, anyway, so it's no longer something to worry about. (Thanks, Obama!)

If I ever were to be refused, I'd definitely be talking to HR about why this is excluded, even though the cost of including it in the plan is minimal (like 17 cents a year or so per plan-holder, on average, and including coverage for surgeries) and my employer claims to be supportive of trans employees. I'll probably talk to HR about the question no matter what in a little while, because I think it sucks to have that exclusion in place. Even if it's not being enforced, just seeing that it's there makes you think "my employer is not actually supportive of trans people". And if I weren't able to afford the therapy and HRT on my own, it would have been a different situation.

I feel kind of ashamed I haven't talked to them yet. Just... Ugh. Talking to HR in a big organization is stressful.

In reality, a lot of employers just sort of default to this exclusion. They don't realize that they have to ask for it intentionally, or how much it matters, or how little it costs. If your employer has a reasonable anti-discrimination policy, then when you're comfortable talking to them to explain the situation, they might just say "Oh, of course!" and fix it.

It sounds like you have a solution going... I hope it works out, and good luck.

The employer angle is something I hadn't yet investigated. I just took a look at our non-discrimination policies and they don't mention gender identity, while explicitly protecting sexual orientation or 'other legally protected classes'. This could be an oversight, and if I proceed with changing my presentation I imagine it's going to come up and I'll find out sooner or later.

e: Fast googling seems to indicate discrimination based on gender identity is illegal in MA, so yay?

Yup, this is what I found regarding MA gender identity protection:

1. For an employer, by himself or his agent, because of the race, color, religious creed, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, which shall not include persons whose sexual orientation involves minor children as the sex object, genetic information, or ancestry of any individual to refuse to hire or employ or to bar or to discharge from employment such individual or to discriminate against such individual in compensation or in terms, conditions or privileges of employment, unless based upon a bona fide occupational qualification.

Looks like the law adding trans protection was passed on 2011 and became effective in July 2012.

So that's good. It's always good to have the law on your side, even though it's not perfect protection.

This isn't the appropriate place at all (or maybe it is?), but...

Would anyone be interested in a nail-polish swap? Does anyone else love to paint their nails and collect nail-polish like I do? Tumblr tells me that it's possible but tumblr is also a bizzaro internet vacuum.

I'm thinking stuff that isn't too old but you've tried a few times and now it's just sitting there wasting away in a hoard when it could be making someone else's hands feel pretty. Any interest? Any interest at all? If there is interest I'll of course start a different thread.

I could get with that down the line. As it is, I just got on this train.

Rails.