Trans Conference

This past weekend I had the great joy of attending the first annual Transpride Pittsburgh National Conference. There were about 30 to 50 trans people in attendance and we heard speeches and were education on topics from passing on a budget to trans laws. I met a whole bunch of trans people and grew a lot from the experience. Notably I have begun fully embracing my trans identity and have started identifying as a trans woman, including going by my new name and female pronouns (as I did the whole time at the conference).

The education sessions were fun and educational. One of the most relieving things to find out was that I cannot legally be fired for being trans. The EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) in a landmark case has extended the definition of sex to include gender and gender identity. I can be fired for being gay, but not trans. I also learned all about gender confirmation surgery. They are doing some cool stuff, especially with making penises out of clitorises or even thin air.

I also met a lot of trans people and felt very comfortable in the space. It was cool to get to know the community and very cool to go to a drag king show afterwards with Big S (her first drag show). I’m even hung out with one of the trans women from the conference outside of the conference. Spending an entire weekend with trans people really made me feel at home. We all know what we’re all going through and make a huge effort to support one another instead of question one another. Though I can’t say I haven’t felt an equal amount of support from almost every person who I’ve come out to (just more questions, which is understandable).

The most exciting part of the whole conference was coming into myself and feeling more comfortable being me. I love going by my new name, it makes me smile every time I hear it. If I could I would walk around saying my new name constantly (I figured that’d be a little weird). I just love hearing that name. I’ve begun getting over what other people think and I’ve begun to realize that I can be a trans woman without doing anything. All I really need is myself on board. I’m very excited about living as a trans woman and excited about now.
Before I was eager for the future when I passed more or had breasts, but I’m excited about everday. I’m at trans woman now and I’m out and I’m proud. It just feels really good.

I’ll leave you with the best speech from the entire weekend.

http://transperience.tv/i-am-real/

And feel free to ask me any questions. As Brynn said, I am your trans ambassador, probably one of the only ones you’ll ever know. We are great people I would say we are even more accepting and understanding that most.

How to get there

As I mentioned on my bike trip post I had the joy of telling everyone I was going to be transitioning. I told everyone I was going to get electrolysis to get rid of my beard hair and I was going to go on hormones. I since have become less sure of how I’m going to get to where I want to go, but am no less sure of where I am going.

My quest has me figuring out how far to go to become who I feel like I am. My roommate Jamie identifies more with masculinity and struggles to be themself through dress, dreams of breast removal surgery and fights the gender binary. While on the opposite side hero Andreja Pejic recently got bottom surgery and is very happy with herself. She took androgen blockers starting at a young age and passes fairly well as a woman, and a gorgeous one. Now the question for myself is how far do I want to go. With surgery available to change everything from my breasts and butt to my vocal chords, what is a lady to do?

As you know I have been taking steps, slowly working on getting breasts, dressing and acting more femme. And quite recently I’ve begun going by different pronouns: they/theirs/them and among some people she/hers/her. This slow forward movement has helped me realize that the largest part of transitioning is transitioning your mind, accepting yourself for the gender you are.

But when you get out in the world, people are always staring, confused and sometimes downright rude. I’m been told by strangers numerous times that I’m a boy and some have even told me I’m a gay boy. I’ve even been harassed by a gaggle of 5 year olds. While the battle is internal it is also very external. Being comfortable with yourself makes the external battle easier to handle, but it doesn’t make it go away.

This stress of being in public and harrassed got me caught up in trying to convince society I was a woman and forgetting about convincing myself. That is why I wanted hormones, I just wanted to be accepted for who I am, but doesn’t everyone? I will never say that I’m never going to take hormones but I will say I’m not going to take them now. I don’t want to, I want to be me I don’t want to be what people think I’m supposed to be. I want to live somewhere in the middle right now and I desperately want to live and be accepted as a woman.

This struggle and tension between these two sides stresses me out but there are many people in my life to remind me to not get caught up in it. A very sweet person who reminds me is Big S. She doesn’t care that I have stubble, no breasts, wide shoulders and no butt. She sees me as beautiful lady I am, which confuses this previously straight cis-woman quite a bit. Reactions of supportive and accepting people catch me and remind me to be me and to feel like me and not fight to have others see me as me. Others will never see me how I do, but I can see myself how I am and my close friends can and then and only then will others begin to see me for who I am.

My current plan is to get electrolysis on my face, chest and stomach. I plan on going to therapy to talk to someone about all this. I don’t plan on taking hormones, or getting any sort of surgery in the close future. Instead I plan on being happy with myself. My shoulders are to broad, but so are other women’s shoulders. I have no butt, and so do other women. I am hitting second puberty and my breasts are begining to bud. And like every lady out there I am not perfectly beautiful and never will be, but I can be happy who I am – that’s all you can ask for.

Recumbent Bike Tour 2014

A lot has happened over the past month and a half. Most notably I quit my job at the bike shop and went on a 3 week bike tour from Pittsburgh to D.C. to Philadelphia to State College and back to the burgh. I visited lots of folks on the way and told them about the amazing journey I am about to embark upon and remembered the amazing places I have been. The trip was humbling and showed me who I was and who I am. This was an amazing experience to have prior to going on a journey where you become the person you have been on the inside on the outside too.

I’ll touch briefly upon that too. I’m going to be taking steps to get electrolysis to remove my face hair and begin going to counselling. It will be 3 months of counselling before I can go on hormones. I am truly honored and deeply appreciative to all the amazing people in my life who love me and support me so thoroughly in this journey. Special call outs to people who have made a huge impact recently: Mother and Savages who both helped right me after I told my parents (they took it hard and are still trying to comprehend and come to terms with it). And Big S, who is a friend, ex-coworker, ladyfriend and truly loving inspiring person who has helped me feel comfortable and reminded me of who I am.

Finally here are the pictures and some choice ones below


Big S and I standing next to our bikes

Matthew Silver

Matthew Silver, The Great Performer, is a street performer in NYC. He plays the roll of a town clown or joker and tries to reveal the hidden truth behind the world. He tries to make people know we need to live in the now we need to free ourselves of stuff. We need to be free and we need to have fun, we need to love and we need to enjoy life.

His video reminded me a bit of an earlier version of me and the share-it-blanket. Those weirdos giving out free stuff on Penn State’s campus while having a blast doing it. Breaking down barriers of consumerism and society and pushing people to have a great time. I’ve gotten lost on this and tried to be a normal person but now I’m beginning to return to what I know and who I am. One of the inspirations is Matthew Silver:

Why PRIDE is important

Pittsburgh recently had Pride and the following weekend there was the annual Dyke and Trans March. This was my first time going and my first time going out as a trans person. I was truly amazed at the feeling of it. It was a feeling of comfort wearing the femme clothes I like. It was the feeling of being looked at not as a freak but as an awesome and attractive human being.

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I sadly worked during Pride and missed the parade but I enjoyed wandering around at the street party. I also had the joy of having a couple of people appreciate my outfit and appearance. The first was a gay guy who bumped my arm and simply say, “hey girl.” A nice friendly hello and introduction to pride. The second was another gay guy who looked at me and simply and softly said “You’re beautiful.” I was already feeling it and hearing someone say it out loud made it even more real. I felt so beautiful and so proud. I held my head high and walked the streets of Pride knowing I was finally me and that alone was truly beautiful.

One week later was the Dyke Trans March. This was one of the most prideful moments I’ve experienced. I marched towards the front of a march with well over 100 people. We marched in the streets escorted by police walking and on motorcycles. People waved, people honked. And everyone I saw was happy to see us, with only a few confused onlookers. We even walked past a weird yinzer bar to see everyone outside and one of the people working there asked excitedly for our permission to take our picture. The entire time I had a smile on my face, I was so prideful I was almost brought to tears. I was out prancing around in a skirt for the first time to people cheering us on as we marched by.

This has led me to me accepting myself more as a trans person and the desire to take myself further into the trans person I want to be. While I started out wanting to still pass as a boy, I now am considering going quite further. Quite soon I plan on going to a gender therapist and may even go on Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). I’ll leave this post off here but in the next one I’ll walk you through my current thinking on where I’m going and who I’m going to become.

Current Summer Plans

I’ve been frustrated and over worked at my job at the bike shop, and now I’m doing something about it. I’m currently saving $3000 for travelling and life expenses after I quit bike world for good! Plans are going well so far and I should be quitting in the end of July. Then I can work on finding myself and being myself and seeing so many great friends all over the country!

Right now my plan is to ride the Greater Allegheny Passage (GAP) on my bicycle down to D.C. and then up to Philly. There is a USAS Alumni event so I’ll go back down to D.C. for that and then I suppose I’ll shoot up to State College and back to Pittsburgh before my longer distance car trip. I’m guessing this trip should take me most of August to complete.

The car trip is much more tentative. I may or may not being going with Captain Andiris. And the trip will first go to Ann Arbor, Michigan where a friend recently moved, then to visit Majesty on an Iowa farm. Next stop is Colorado where Beer and Malibu live as well as the Intern. I’m hoping to borrow one of these people for a short side trip somewhere. After that I have no plans.

I don’t need to look for a job until at least November. And I hope to use that time to transition into a job that fits me more and a job that I enjoy quite a bit more. I’m currently thinking about doing working in the LGBT community. That would also encourage me to truly embrace and learn more about my trans self. But that’s not at all what I’m thinking about.

Instead I’m thinking about biking down to D.C. and thinking about visiting friends, exploring pittsburgh and lolly gagging around. I’ve had responsibilities for over two years now time to have none for a few months. Just pure unadulterated freedom.

Juxtapose

Through out my time at and around the casbah I made a host of collages from material that I dumpster dove. It was a time that I spent looking through the thin façade of all the lies and conditioning that we are indoctrinated with to make the world around us seem normal and sane. It was a way of of expressing how disturbing and absurd I saw the world.

 

My method was to spend hours looking at images from national geographic, life magazines and any thing that appealed to me from sorting through the dumpster. I would take images that struck me and put them into a suit case. Eventually and idea would form and images would come together in a way that evoked some kind of emotion I was trying to express. Sometimes a sole picture spoke for itself (Like Mao playing Ping Pong) other times they were massive 6 foot long tables but  most of the collages are in a notebook.

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“What is a Ghost?”

“What is a ghost? A tragedy condemned to repeat itself time and again? An instant of pain, perhaps. Something dead which still seems to be alive. An emotion suspended in time. Like a blurred photograph. Like an insect trapped in amber.” -Guillermo del toro

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“Manifest Your Destiny”

This is from an outrageous cover of a self help book I found in the dumpster with images from “Heart of Darkness” in the back ground.

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100_3345The picture on the right is a young model that committed suicide. I share it only because  a long time after I put this picture in my notebook, I was in the Andy Warhol Musem and walked into a room where this very picture was blown up in a pieces of his that covered a massive wall.

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A Massive table that was at the Casbah.

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The_Money_Shot.JPG2The Money Shot

Last equinox I hit the reboot button. I did not feel I needed to express the same emotions any more. I took all of the pictures I collected to make my collages to the top of a mountain and burned them.