A form sits on my desk. It is titled, “Petition for Adult Change of Name.” I’ve filled it out, and plan to file it sometime in the next couple weeks. Line 5 asks, “This application is made for the following reasons:” I thought of a few lighthearted responses I could put in the box, but opted with a simple “gender change.” Sometime after filing this form I’m told I’ll be called in before a judge to testify that I am not changing my name for purposes of fraud. An ironic question given how it has felt living as a boy my whole life. Nevertheless, it’s all but guaranteed my petition will be granted and my name will be changed without objection.
During the summers my dad used to grow tomatoes out behind our house on the Oregon Coast. It wasn’t really the ideal climate for growing tomatoes, but he had figured out how to do it in a greenhouse. Calling it a greenhouse I guess is a little bit of a stretch since it really was just a box made out of recycled plywood, green fiberglass, and clear plastic. But during the summer you could reach into that box and pull out the most amazing tomatoes your mouth has ever tasted.
Transition has me looking back on my life quite a bit in addition to looking forward.
One of the things I was thinking about recently is all the times growing up that those around me complimented me for being an attractive man.
A strange thing happened to me as I came to acceptance with my path to transition from male to female; I became a hypochondriac. What? Yeah, basically I did, and it really surprised me.
At first I didn’t really know what was going on. But I found myself making sure I was putting on my seat belt whenever I was in the car, double checking intersections when I was driving, making sure I was washing my hands really well so I wouldn’t get sick, and hoping I didn’t catch some sort of illness. I also became hyper-aware of sensations and feelings within my body, you know, like the little twitches you feel here and there, or the little pains you get every once and a while, or the ‘tingly’ feeling you get after exercising or whatever. I became hyper aware of all of this.
On April 4 I started Estrogen.
That means that I’m in my 4th week now of HRT including the female hormone. My doctor started me out on a very low dose, along with continuing the testosterone blocker medication I’ve been taking for the last couple years. It’s such a tiny pill, and yet popping that pill represented a really big step forward for me.
The older I’ve gotten, the more experiences I’ve had with people, and the more I’ve thought about God – the more I realize how much energy I have spent in life worrying about judgement.
Not God’s judgment; human judgment.
It’s such a strange feeling living kinda in between two genders at the moment. On one hand I’m not really out to that many people that I associate with regularly. With exception to my support group, one friend locally, and my therapist and doctors I’m not really out.
But I’m also moving forward in transition, and moving on with my life as Madelyn. That means that over the last few months I’ve been going out more in “girl mode” and meeting more people for the first time as “Madelyn”. This week that was taken to a whole new level as I enrolled and started classes at a local community college as a part-time student.
For me, coming out has been a long process, really starting with coming out to myself some years ago (self-acceptance), then coming out to a therapist when I felt near a mental breakdown, then to my girlfriend, and finally a few years later to my parents, brother and sister, and one family friend. Recently I came out three others; a friend who has only known me for a few months, and to two other friends who have known me for nearly two decades.
I’ve been fortunate in that all the individuals I’ve come out to so far have been supportive, compassionate, and understanding (as much as is possible). This has deeply moved and inspired me.
Does someone decide to transition?
Many trans people that I’ve talked to or read about have said that it was never really a “decision” for them; that it was either transition or die (kill themselves, or die emotionally at a minimum and lose the will to live).
I can certainly identify with the deep despair, and even sense of being disconnected from this life as a result of feeling a gender incongruence. But I can’t necessarily say that I’ve been within inches of ending my life. Why is that?
Tonight I was given the opportunity to be in public in “girl mode”. And like the first time I went out, it was a really nice experience, but I didn’t expect what would happen when I got home. First, some details.
Last week I attended a meeting of the Washington Gender Alliance for the first time. As I wrote previously, that first meeting gave me a lot of courage to go out of my home for the first time this last weekend in “girl mode.” That first experience was so natural, and felt so good to me, that I decided I would attend this week’s WGA meeting also in girl mode.