Monday, May 24, 2004

Getting the Go-Ahead

My Visit to the Callen-Lorde Counseler:
Last week I had my appointment with the counselor at Callen-Lorde. I was admittedly nervous. I wasn't sure what I was going to be expected to do or say there. Would I be explaining myself and be expected to prove that I knew what I was doing or simply prove that I wasn't crazy? After 25 years of trying to explain it to myself I doubt my ability to find a convincing explanation in one appointment.

Thankfully every concern was put to rest immediately after I sat down. I was told I was simply there so that he could make sure I was getting all the services and support I needed. I was given a mental health seal of approval and can start hormones on June 6. After that I was sent to the Gay and Lesbian Community Center to join one of their support groups.

At my initial interview I was asked what gender I identified as? I thought this was a strange question to ask someone at a place called the Gender Identity Project. I answered Male, no trans identifiers, for the first time and it occurred to me what I was really doing. I wasn't crossing gender boundaries to exist on the other side, I was crossing so I could make my home on the border. Until I know what it's like to live as a man I can never know what it's like to live as both or neither. Sometimes you have to travel beyond yourself to know who you really are.

Friday, May 7, 2004

Begining Hormones

My first trip to the doctor: 7 May, 2004

I made my first concrete medical step towards beginning my transition this past Thursday. I went to Callen-Lorde heath clinic in Manhattan with my mom and my girlfriend. It was an interesting experience I must say. The doctor was helpful and very matter of fact. I was just happy that my mom came along. They did a health history and took blood for some general health tests. Next week I meet with one of their gender counselors and then in a month I see the doctor again. If all goes according to plan I can begin T that day.

I didn't realize it would be so fast. I thought getting to a point of being able to start injecting would take longer and involve more red tape. Its kind of scary. I know I have a very supportive family and girlfriend, but they are just as confused and concerned as I am, probably more. I'm scared. I'm scared also that if I let my fears be known people will question my decision to do this. When I think about the practical issues I do begin to wonder. I think that's normal. I would like to have kids, but I'd have to freeze and store my eggs and I doubt I can afford that. I am scared of any personality shifts I may experience. I know that's my girlfriends greatest fear as well. I don't want to be a different person. I like who I am. She doesn't want me to be a different person and I understand that. The hardest part for me about this whole thing is that I don't live in a bubble. This is affecting so many people around me that I love and care about. It makes you wonder how far you can stretch people before they snap. My mom doesn't want to see me get hurt. I don't want to see her hurt. Everyone is kind of mourning. I understand that. I'm mourning too.

However, the other side of all these fears is excitement. When I don't think about the unknown, about the bad things that could maybe happen, when I don't think at all I'm excited. I'm excited to look the way I will. I'm excited to feel more at home in my body. I'm excited to feel like I know who I am. This whole process reminds me of when I first told my family I was queer. I stepped so gingerly. I wanted to make sure I wouldn't one day decide I like boys again and have to take it all back. The funny thing is looking at me now you'd never even think I would question it. The truth is you can never know how well something will fit until you try it on for size. You can only be so sure before you just do it. I've done everything I can to lead up to this moment. It's time to just do it.