How to Be an All-Inclusive Gender Thread

Ryoko, I think your face is feminine and you come across just fine, although I see a bit of the masculine jawline and that could be very accentuated by small amounts of body language. I think the haircut and classes are cute and look good on you.

yea still having removal

It takes so long. T_T I knew that starting out, but still...

Well, it's the final run-up to scarytown, now.

I fly out to see my family on Monday morning. It will be my first time seeing my mom and sister since coming out to them over the phone. As I've said before, my mom is reasonably accepting and trying to be supportive despite her worries about me. My sister is a bit freaked out, but trying hard to be accepting. My brother-in-law is cool. My dad knows nothing.

I'm looking forward to being able to talk to my mom and sister about stuff in person, although I kind of expect that they won't want to talk about things until after I've talked to dad. So, I'm going to keep stuff low-key until after Christmas.

I'm planning on trying to talk to dad alone on the 27th or so. That still scares the bejeezus out of me. Over the years, I've kind of gotten an attitude with dad of "yeah, whatever" about his critical attitude towards people. But... in this case, I feel more vulnerable. In this case, I'm going to be exposing a central, personal piece of myself to his criticism. And if he rejects it, he'll really be rejecting [em]me[/em] and not just some imagined inadequacy. And... I really do care what he thinks of me, no matter how much I try not to. That, of course, is why his criticism has always hurt in the past, even after I realized how unreasonable it is and learned to brush it off.

Aside from the specific parental approval issues, I'm also extra scared because this is the first time that I'll be coming out to someone I [em]expect[/em] to react negatively. Every time coming out has been scary, because you never quite [em]know[/em]. But everyone I've come out to, it was partially because I expected them to be okay with me. This time... not so much. In some ways, that makes it easier. I'll go in with shields up and all of my knowledge and speculation about the biological origins of transsexualism ready to explain what's going on rationally, with all of my knowledge about the legal and social situation for trans people ready to explain what's going to change about my life situation, and with all of the self-reflection I've done helping me explain what this all means [em]to me[/em]. I'll go in expecting things to go poorly, but hoping they'll go well. And... then I'll figure out how to deal with what happens next.

That last part, about what this all means to me, is what I hope to talk to everybody about after that. I know I won't be able to help my family fully understand what it's like to be me, but... I'll do the best job I can. Everything from getting my life together, to how it feels to just be [em]happy[/em] once in a while, to the knowledge that I absolutely cannot imagine going back to living the way I was before.

Sometimes I think about "what if transition was an available realistic option--everything as it is today, but there was some outside force that was preventing me from taking it", and I'm very glad that no matter what I try to conceive, I can't imagine [em]any[/em] force that would do that... because I don't think I'd survive very long. I think I'll try not to share that with family, because there's just no good way to say "my choices are transition or suicide". Connected to that is the thought that if I had to choose between transition and losing my entire family, I'd still have to make that choice the same way--because I'd rather be alive and hope for future rapprochement than disappear in the night.

All of that is a lot more negative than anything I want to talk about, but it is something I think about when I think about my family's acceptance, and what they might try to ask of me. My sister, in particular, has said things that are rather confusing, but when I parse them apart as well as I can I'm left with "I won't stop you, but I don't think you should make this choice." I just don't know how far I can go in explaining how [em]very[/em] much that there is no choice here at all. "I understand that this upsets you, but I really don't think you'd be happier if I were dead, and that's the only other possibility" is not something you can say to someone. It's so extreme that they're likely not to believe it. And if they do believe it, it's [em]way[/em] too harsh.

So... I'll try to focus on the positive side--on how much better it is to feel right in your own skin. On how much better it is to have dreams of the future. On how much better it is to not be [em]hiding[/em] this from the people I care about any more. And when "do you really have to do this?" comes up, as I'm sure it will, I'll do everything I can to stop short of the ultimate argument.

Oof. Okay, that was kind of dark. I guess that's why I'm sharing tonight, though. To get my darkest feelings off of my chest and clarify them so I understand them better and don't feel the need to share them with the people who might be hurt by them.

--

To lighten things up a little bit: I'm going to be very interested to see how everybody reacts to how I've changed so far. It's so hard from a position of seeing me every day to really get a feel for how different I am, but I think the changes are more dramatic than are obvious. How I look. How I dress. How I move. How I talk. How much will those things be apparent to my family, who only sees me once a year and therefore only sees where I was last year and where I am now? How much will they disappear in the haze of memory from it being so long, and neurons firing on the things that [em]are[/em] the same, from way back when I was a child? I bet my sister's boss, who knows about me being trans and has seen me at about the same frequency but not nearly as far back in time, will really notice. I bet my dad, who doesn't yet know that I'm trans, will see that I'm different but not how. And the others, well... it'll be interesting.

I'm going to be wearing pretty much the same things on my trip that I've been wearing here. Women's jeans. Women's coat. A new women's fleece, because Spokane gets [em]cold[/em]. All of those are pretty unisex, but have a slightly more feminine cut. The biggest thing is probably the jeans, because they're [em]much[/em] more shape-conforming than the baggy pants I've been wearing for many years. (They're streeetchy, but boot cut. So they're tight on my thighs and calves, but looser around the knees, ankles, and kind of middling around the (lack of) hips.) The fleece is obviously cut for someone who has hips--but that's a lot more obvious to me, I think, than other people. The coat, too, although it drapes more and so the cut is less obvious. (I feel a lot less stressed about the coat since wearing it to work all this week. Although I do think I detected a double-take from a couple of women who noticed something, though they didn't say anything. I might just be projecting my paranoia there, though. :D)

My patterns of movement have definitely changed, although I don't really have any idea how much or how obviously. With both that and the voice, I think my expression has changed a lot more than I tend to notice. I was talking to my therapist on Wednesday, and he said that I didn't have to worry about my voice, since it's pretty high pitched already. I know from my point of view, it kind of goes up and down a bit depending on how much I'm paying attention--but it's definitely higher and clearer without thought than my old everyday speaking voice. I had to work at it for a little bit to drop it back to my old speaking style for him to demonstrate that my speech had in fact changed (and then even further to do a Johnny Cash impression. He was kind of freaked out by that one.)

So, anyway, both of those are things that could be more or less apparent, and it will be kind of neat to find out. I'm betting that movement changes will be noticeable to people who know what's going on with me, but that nobody who's known me for many years will notice the voice changes--particularly people whose brains already include models of what I sound like that go all the way back to before I went through puberty.

--

In the end: I'm ready. Ready to talk about things, to explain. Ready for drama. Looking forward to being one big step closer to true expression of myself. Even though things like hormones are bigger in a lot of ways, being [em]fully[/em] out to my family feels really major. The steps that are about me personally are just... obvious, natural. The steps that are about my relationships with other people are big and scary and demand my full attention.

I still have a couple of days to marshal my thoughts and my reserves to prepare. And then... into the breach.

I'm sure I'll share a bit during my trip, if only for the stress release.

Thanks for putting up with my rambliness and such.

And thanks for being here. You are absolutely the best most wonderful community of people anyone could hope for. I wish the best for all of you and your families over the holiday season.

It's clearly not going to be an easy conversation, but I wish you the best as well. I really do hope things go over more smoothly than expected.

Do you have someone there to be on your side or get your back should things go south? I'm not trying to make any gross mis-characterizations about anyone you know or are related to, but do you have an exit strategy if confrontations come to a head? As you know there's still a lot of ignorance and misinformation about trans issues. If someone overreacts and says/does something rash, hateful, or dramatic, the mother hen in me wants to make sure you have some kind of emotional/physical safety net or escape. People get weird when they get emotional.

No matter what happens there, you have a support network should you need it. **hugs!** and good luck : )

Hypathian, it's been amazing going from your earlier posts that transition wasn't possible for you because of how masculine your body, voice, ect were to where you are now. I wish you the best of luck with you visit. The relief that will follow coming out is huge even if you get the negative reaction you're expecting.

Good luck, Hypatian. I hope your fears are groundless, and we''ll be here for you.

Bonus_Eruptus wrote:

Good luck, Hypatian. I hope your fears are groundless, and we''ll be here for you.

This. Even if the worst scenario happens, at least you'll have taken another step forward on your path to being you.

Amoebic wrote:

Do you have someone there to be on your side or get your back should things go south? I'm not trying to make any gross mis-characterizations about anyone you know or are related to, but do you have an exit strategy if confrontations come to a head? As you know there's still a lot of ignorance and misinformation about trans issues. If someone overreacts and says/does something rash, hateful, or dramatic, the mother hen in me wants to make sure you have some kind of emotional/physical safety net or escape. People get weird when they get emotional.

For all that my sister's feelings are mixed, I know that I can stay with her family if my dad did something absolutely crazy like demand I get out from under his roof. I don't see things coming to that point, but I'll be fine in any case. (And I usually spend at least half the time over the holidays staying there in any case, so it's not a huge deal.) I do think I may try to spend more time with my dad before the Big Day than I usually would, just in case I need to spend the rest of the trip elsewhere. I have no doubt that even if he reacts really poorly, he'll eventually come around. Just maybe not for a while.

I do think things are going to be... okay. But, well, it's always good to be prepared.

(Random: OMG, I lost a button off of my coat somewhere last night! Annoying! I don't know where my sewing supplies are, and it's been ages and ages since I've even sewed a button on--but I dropped it off at a tailor shop just up the street, so emergency averted. Whee.)

Unrandom: Thanks, everyone, for the words of support. It really means more than I can adequately say. *hug*

This is just a post from another person wishing you luck and courage

Phishposer wrote:

This is just a post from another person wishing you luck and courage :)

Likewise!

We're all here for you Hyp.

Phishposer wrote:

This is just a post from another person wishing you luck and courage :)

What he said. Keep us in the loop as you can, so we congratulate and/or commiserate. And I hope things go better than could have possibly hoped.

Whee. Mixed feeling of the day: My corset is now too big for me. When I first got it, well, I couldn't lace it up tight. And then I could, but it really hurt if I kept it there. Now? It still tweaks my waist a little bit--but not much at all. I think that, over all, I'm pretty happy about that. Whenever I look at myself, I still feel like I haven't changed *that* much. But... wow... I've really lost a lot of weight.

--

Phew. The day is over (-ish).

(Note to self: DO NOT FORGET CHARGERS! I did that on my business trip the other week, and it kind of sucked. On the plus side, I know there are plenty of "iThing" chargers where I'm going, but still. (My nephew's word for them when he's shouting across the house to his older sister to get her to distract mom and dad so he can get them ).

I let hair build up for a couple of weeks and then epilated everywhere last night and today, because I figure I won't be doing any of that on the trip and being super hairy freaks me out these days. (It takes a few hours. I really really hope some of my hair growth backs off after not too long on hormones.)

Last laundry is done. I've hung and folded stuff and am ready to pack it up and go. I think this is the first time I've traveled in a really long time when I had clothes that I didn't bring with me. I've rarely had enough clothes to go more than a week without washing everything, if that. Doing a little better on that front now, although I'm still taking a couple of the too-big-but-not-tooo-too-big shirts with me.

I bought some new underwear today because things were not fitting so well any more (TMI?) While I was at it, I got a couple of sports bras. I've decided that I'm going to be taking them along in case I need to wear them under my clothes to help stay calm. Which... is kind of weird. But, well. Yeah. We do what we need to do. And I'll probably need them to keep sensitive areas from hurting some months down the line, so it's all good.

(And I am super happy that I no longer freak out in the slightest at going over and picking up a couple of sports bras and taking them to the register.)

I was going to wear a T-shirt on the plane, because I'm feeling pretty happy about how I look in it now. But then I thought "OMG, epilated arms, I wonder if my sister would notice? I wonder if my dad might be at the airport when I get there and notice?" So I might not, or I might wear something layered over the top to cover my arms. Still deciding.

What else... Oh! I signed up at myfitnesspal to help me keep track of what I'm eating on the trip, because I really really don't want to blow my diet too much, and that would be super easy over the holidays.

I talked to my sister last night on the phone, and she sounded pretty positive about things. More positive than I've heard her be. I think she may have kind of adjusted and now is really just worried about how my niece Isabelle is going to react. I think Isabelle will be fine, but then I don't see Isabelle all the time, so... Who knows?

--

Anyway, I've been playing through a sort of fairy tale explanation in my head. I don't know if it will help me explain to my niece, but... well... she likes princesses. And I like the story. So maybe something will come of it.

Once upon a time, an evil witch was very angry with a princess who had defeated her, and cast a spell to turn the princess into a prince and take away her happiness. But the witch died before she could finish the spell, and the princess was spared, and lived happily ever after.

A long time later, by accident, the spell went off by itself... and a prince was born when there should have been a princess. He grew up seeming just like any prince, liking the things princes like, doing the things princes do. Sometimes, he would have a strange feeling of envy when he saw little girls playing, but he didn't really think anything of it. But, when he was just about to turn 16, the feelings became stronger, and the prince grew more and more confused about those feelings.

He knew that something about his body wasn't right. He felt more and more every day that it was changing in ways that it wasn't supposed to--that he was turning into somebody else. So, he found a magic mirror and asked it a question, and it told him he should have been a princess, and that he was feeling strange because he was growing up into a prince. The prince wasn't sure what to think about that--it sounded reasonable, but he'd heard that magic mirrors sometimes try to trick people.

He learned that if it was true, then the curse couldn't be broken, since the witch had died long ago. Instead, it would take a lot of powerful magic to change him into a princess, over many years. And, well, he would never be exactly like the princess he was meant to have been.

He also knew that his parents didn't really believe in evil curses, and that they'd be confused and heartbroken at the thought of having their son become a daughter. They might grow accustomed to it in time, but he really didn't want to hurt them. And, he knew that their kingdom was not a very rich one, and that it would cost more than they could really afford to cast all of the spells that would be needed. They could probably manage, but he didn't want to be a burden.

So, he decided to try to just go on being a good prince. And mostly, he was. Sometimes he felt a strange longing when watching women at work. Sometimes he looked at himself in a (perfectly ordinary) mirror, and cried at what he saw there. Because he'd grown to know, in his heart, that what the magic mirror had told him was true. He felt, deep down in places that he could not explain, that he should have been a girl. Every night, he would go to bed wishing to wake up and find that everything had changed. He would have dreams of what he might have been like--in some ways, that wasn't so very different. His spirit was noble and kind and brave and everything he believed a princess should be. But in other ways, it was very different, because princes and princesses look different and act different, and nobody ever looks at a prince and sees that inside he's a princess.

Over years, the prince grew increasingly sad, and retreated to live as a hermit in a cave on top of a mountain. When he was needed, he would come riding down and do what needed to be done, but then he'd retreat back up to his cave alone. When his family would gather, he would join them--and laugh, and smile, and do all of the things that he needed to do to show them that he was happy, so they wouldn't worry. He loved them dearly, but behind it all he always knew he had a secret that he could not share with them. And after every visit, he would go back up to his cave alone, and weep at what he saw in the mirror.

Then one day, a songbird came to his cave, and sang to him a story much like this one. About a princess who was made a prince, and chose to have all of the magic spells cast to change her into a girl, and who... was happy. Things didn't go perfectly for her--her family was hurt and confused, for a while. People who knew her didn't know what to say sometimes. People who didn't know her were confused when she came riding to save them when they expected a prince. And she was always a little bit different from other princesses. But... she was happy.

And when he had finished listening to the story, the prince broke down in tears, because he realized that life could be better for him than living in a cave. That for him to be happy again, he needed to find the magic that would change him into a princess.

And then she looked into her mirror, and instead of seeing everything she hated about herself, she saw what she could be like. And so she smiled. And she cried. And she began her journey to reclaim herself.

And once upon a time, as I sat in my apartment alone, I heard a story much like that one. And I also smiled. And I also cried. And I also knew what I had to do. And that's when my journey started.

Now we have to send a request to Certis asking if we can change your tag to Fairy Princess.

Beautiful story Hypatian, dusty too.

Hyp, not sure what you did, but you made it really dusty in here.

Definitely very dusty in here.

I know you'll get your happily ever after, Hyp, and I know it because from everything I've read here, your sprit IS noble, brave, and kind.

We're here if you need anything, esp. over the holidays as you talk to your family. I hope that will all go better than you expect and that people will simply just love you for you, and want you to be happy because they love you.

Lots of hugs and support from here in rainy Vancouver!

Had a pretty good conversation this evening with my dad. Talked about a lot of things, and varieties of intolerance came up. My standard "be thoughtful" approach. Various feminism and racism things that have come up on these forums. Dad is, in his own hindsight, always very tolerant. In the moment, he often comes across otherwise. He talked about being annoyed when he puts his foot in his mouth in social situations and doesn't know how to dig his way out of it. We talked about how misunderstandings often grow in a larger group conversation because there are always people involved who are tangential to the core of the conversation and miss context. (And I'd say the same holds for forum discussions, although in different ways.)

I'm glad to be getting some good talking in with him now--we usually end up having a couple of good talks towards the end of my stay.

And I really hope he remembers this conversation next week. If not, I'll certainly draw his attention back to it. I'm feeling more hopeful now, but still kind of worried. When he saw how I had lost weight, he said something about how I was looking more like my old man, and I winced inside a bit at the thought of how that feeling on his part might interact with coming revelations. Also kind of felt awkward not really saying anything when he wondered if I was or was going to start working out or something.

So--awkward, but good, with a side helping of ironic stress.

P.S. Getting Christmas presents for people is as hard as ever. :D. You'd think it would get easier over the years. Nephew's taken care of with a Lego ghost hunter train thing, though. So that's something.

Phishposer wrote:

This is just a post from another person wishing you luck and courage :)

What the phish said, plus hope scarytown isn't feeling quite so scary now you're there...

Lego+Nephew=Win

The Dad talk is good news too. Maybe your Mom/Sister got the ball rolling in that arena ahead of time for you, who knows, either way, great timing/good ground work.

Talked with my dad tonight. (Today?) More or less all night, about all sorts of things. It's been better than I imagined, and I really feel kind of ashamed of my worst worries. Anyway, he's still processing, I think, and he's not sure what to think... But I'm pretty sure he's more or less in the same camp as my mom: wanting to support me, but worried I'm getting in over my head in something that I've somehow "talked myself into".

Will have to see how he approaches things after sleeping on it a bit. I don't think the worst possible outcome from there goes any worse than "no, really, what are you *thinking*?"

Not perfect, but... I'll take it.

Really glad to hear that.

Woo-hoo!

WOOHOO!

Sounds like "plan for the worst, hope for the best" worked on here, Hyp

If only "prepare for the worst" weren't so terribly stressful.

It's not all coming up roses, by any means--but yeah, phew! It's a tremendous strain that's gone now.

And now that I'm up, off to do all of the dishes to partially thank my mom for going out to my sister's house last night to give me space to talk to dad alone.

Hypatian wrote:

If only "prepare for the worst" weren't so terribly stressful.

It's not all coming up roses, by any means--but yeah, phew! It's a tremendous strain that's gone now.

And now that I'm up, off to do all of the dishes to partially thank my mom for going out to my sister's house last night to give me space to talk to dad alone.

Congrats on popping the pimple!

(Gross, I know, but I can never come up with a better metaphor for potentially unpleasant talks like that)

*thumbs up*

Good job on the fairy tale. It's just what is needed.

Well, things have been more strained today, after dad had time to think things over. His attitude is pretty much heavy denial, ranging from suggestions that I'm deluding myself or being manipulated by someone into thinking these things to disbelief that transgenderism is even a real thing and not just something invented by psychologists.

It's also really not a great experience (on top of being told that I'm deluded and can't possibly be feeling what I am feeling) to be compared in as many breaths to a meth addict or someone who has joined a cult.

I'm thinking now about trying to sit down, and as calmly as possible ask him what evidence he would require to at least allow the idea that I might be correct about what I'm saying. I can't ask for straight up acceptance on that basis, because the critical piece of evidence is how I actually feel, and that's not easy to poke with a stick. But, it would at least give us a basis for discussion.

I kind of feel like it would be appropriate at the same time to say "and here's what I need evidence of to be convinced that I'm deluded or somehow being misled". But, I'm hesitant to suggest that because I know there's some crazy crazy stuff out there, and I'm not sure he's equipped right now to reject ex-gay-therapy style claims.

I'm close to my wits' end, and I think I may have to head out to my sister's place tomorrow for a while to hope he works through things.

*sigh*

Hang in there Hypatian. *hugs*

You have a lot of support here in this community, including me, I've been reading this thread regularly and have been sending good thoughts your way. We support you unconditionally and instantaneously, but then again, you aren't our child, brother or sister. I have to tell you, I don't understand what you're going through and even though I want to accept it and support you unconditionally, I often find myself thinking about it and just ... not understanding. Wanting to change one's gender is a huge deal, you know that better than any of us. Most of us will go through life never having to make a decision that extreme. I don't think anyone who hasn't been through this can easily understand it. Some people will be able to accept it without understanding. I see you as a good, caring, thoughtful person and I just want you to be happy. You deserve to be who you are and not be held captive to what others think you are or should be. I can only imagine that your family, your father in particular at this point in time, wants to support you too, and wants you to be happy and well. But, they just are going to need some time and patience to get to the point where they accept the situation without questioning it. They've known you one way for a long time, and now you're telling them you feel like someone else. You are the same person underneath it all, that's what you have to let them come to realize. You might have to field lots of uncomfortable questions. All I can recommend is to answer every question honestly, and try your best not to be offended by their ignorance or possible insensitivity. Don't let your own pride get in the way. As CSN&Y say "just look at them and sigh, and know they love you".

Big hugs from me, I think you're on the right track and things are going to work out. I hope nothing I said here is out of line and is taken in the spirit it was written. Hang in there and don't try to force them to accept things on your time table. You've had a lot more time to sort through this than they have. At the same time, don't let their objections or questions rattle you. Follow your plans and give them time to catch up. <3