Now that my name change is legal, I’m finally able to answer the phones at work as Tyler. And along with that, my coworkers now feel like they’re “allowed” to call me Tyler, so they’re really trying. They’re screwing up left and right, and usually correcting themselves. It’s gotten me to thinking about how frustrated we get when someone messes up our names and pronouns, even accidentally. I’m not quite to the point where I’m correcting people if they get it wrong – they’re human and this is new to them. But you know, the funniest thing happened when I took my first call as Tyler. “Thank you for calling [Department] this is Christina… can I get your ID number, please”. What, what!? Yeah. I messed up my own name. It’s funny because it just illustrates how much of a habit names can be for everyone and how we probably should get so worked up when people accidentally mess up. Obviously, flat refusal to even attempt to call us by our names is a horse of a different color all together, but that’s not what I’m talking about here.
Recently, I’ve been struggling with that point in my transition about whether or not I should stay “stealth” most times or be openly trans. In a lot of regards, there are definitely times and places it’s safer to be stealth – the gym, the south. But for the most part in my day-to-day life, I’m not facing any hard and fast “dangers” from being open about it. It affords me the opportunity to educate people as well, which will hopefully make being trans a little bit easier for someone. For example, a friend of the family has a 4 year old daughter who recently started referring to herself by male pronouns. When we ask, she says “of course I’m a girl, silly”, but has also started to shy away from dresses and refer to herself by male pronouns periodically. I’ve been open with the entire family and the kids about my transition and she’s recently started asking me a ton of questions…why didn’t I want to be a girl anymore, does it hurt to give myself shots, if I thought her mom would still love her if she was a boy. I still use female pronouns at this point because she hasn’t expressed a desire for male pronouns. But with her being so comfortable asking me questions, I feel like I’ve helped open up an opportunity for her to discover and explore herself without worries that she’s “weird”. Her mom has asked me a bunch of questions, too, like “how can I support her best during this time”. You know, the kinds of questions every trans person wishes their parent asked. I told her to let her experiment and that if she wanted to be a girl one day and a boy the next to do their best to honor the pronouns and let her figure herself out. It could be “just a phase”… she’s a little kid that’s just figuring out that there are boys and there are girls and that they are different. And even if it is “just a phase”….she will always remember that her mom and dad were willing to accept her no matter what….and what kid doesn’t need a little more of that in their lives? But by choosing to stealth 100% of the time, I lose those opportunities….and all for what? Saving myself the “hassle” of someone asking me the odd inappropriate question about my genitalia periodically? It’s not like those questions actually bother me that much.
Along those lines, it’s time for my 5 month update. Still no major changes, which is frustrating at this point. My therapist says I’ve bulked up a lot, but I don’t really feel like much has changed recently. My shoulders are still bulking up, but my biceps aren’t really. I’m also finding that the more I do bulk up and trim down, the more I’m noticing and, consequently am frustrated by, my breasts. I have a surgery consult next week to talk options and see what we can do and try to pencil out a time line. My plan is kind of to just take some vacation time off work and go with it. I have a desk job, so it’s not like there’s a lot of intense lifting that goes into my job. Truthfully, I don’t think most people will SEE a difference – even with just a sports bra most people say it just looks like I have really super-jacked pecs, but I know I’ll feel a difference.
Looking at these pictures makes me feel really silly about this irrational feeling that my boobs are always everywhere. So without any further whining…my 5 month pictures, including pictures of my glorious (hahah) beard.
And, of course…