Hyprocrites Surrounding ‘What Is Natural’.

Here comes one of the most dreaded questions a transwoman can deal with?   Are you pre-op or post-op.  And of course there are so many people that are fascinated with someone’s genitals.  That alone is a topic that boggles my mind, and might be of a future blog, but for now, I want to focus in on the question, and more importantly people that have a problem with transwomen that get SRS, GRS, GCS, or whatever you may prefer to call the process.

Whenever a trans person is brought up in main stream media, and comments can be made on these content pieces, you will always find some idgit that is stuck on the idea that someone would want their undesired penis converted into a desired vagina.  Often people will state that this is not right, or this is not natural, or what have you.  To those people, I want to present the few things to consider.

Most of the time, comments like this come from men.  That is, cisgender, male identified individuals who could never imagine harming their penis in way.  Furthermore, a lot of those men would most likely be attracted to women and identify as straight.  Now, how many of those men would complain if a woman they are attracted to has breast implants?  I am going to guess not very many, and that would woman would have some eye contact issues with those guys.  If this is the case, those men have become hypocrites.  In one case a woman has desired to enhance her bust, and will most likely leave guys with a small puddle of drool at their feet.  This is considered acceptable in those individuals’ eyes.  On the other hand, there’s a woman that is trying to correct a birth defect where her chromosomes told her body to put her genitals on the outside of her, instead where they belong.  Just because this is something those guys would never consider doing to a body part they are comfortable with, they deem this unacceptable.  How wrong is it to think that way?  I believe it’s quite wrong.  After all, one surgery is no more natural then the other.

Another argument regarding what is natural would be other products that become parts of our lives?  Hair color, food, make-up, push-up bras, bodies with no body hair, shaped eye brows, glasses, braces, medical prescriptions, and many more are all parts of peoples’ lives, and these are NOT natural by any means of imagination.  But surely for corrective purposes; glasses, braces, casts or splints, prescriptions, and more are used to correct an issue with the human body.  These things are not only accepted, but encouraged to correct whatever may be wrong.  Even other surgeries such as an open heart surgery is strong encouraged to fix a broken heart.  Yet a surgery to correct a disfigured genital area is wrong in the eyes of these people.  Make up, hair color, push-up bras, shaving, eye brow trimming/shaping, are also not natural!  But these are done to enhance a person’s appearance and is considered acceptable.  Hell, the food we eat can be processed, grown on commercial farms, or mass produced.  This nourishment is not natural, but again this is acceptable.

S0 unless you are a person who grows/raises their own food, goes not groom, doesn’t use cosmetics, doesn’t use anything beyond herbal remedies that’s recommended by a apothecary, and will not under go any type of surgeries to correct anything that is broken in your body, using the argument that GRS, SRS, GCS is not natural is a hypocritical, piece a garbage that should be thrown out with your McDonald’s food wrappers.

Lastly, if someone considers the surgery to be cosmetic, so be it.  Are you going to live it, most likely not?  So why should you care if someone else finds it necessary?  It doesn’t affect your feeble little life in any way.  That unless you’re too chicken to admit that you can’t do what a post-op transwoman had the proverbial balls to do; be themselves, and get what they want fixed.

Did You Know ‘Insert Comment’?

“Do you see her over there?  Did you know she wasn’t born a she?”

What an odd thing to say, but did you know that happens more often than you think?  It does.  Transgender individuals tend to get this type of statement directed to them on a regular basis.  What could be worse is comments like this might be made by that individual’s friends.

Amazing isn’t it?  Friends and supporters will do this when a transition has gone really well for some people.  It’s still wrangling our born gender into who we are, and despite it not seemly like it, it’s very much the case.  Friends might say to someone how proud they are of how well a transition has gone, how well so-and-so can pass and it’s hard to tell they weren’t born the gender they identify/present as.   When comments like this come up, it can be part of a first interaction between a new person and that trans-person.  Talking about possibly pushing a boulder up a hill.

Some times these conversations have to occur.  The example I will give is with my sister.  She has been involved in a long-term relationship, and things over all are pretty serious.  When she met him and his family, if she spoke about her family, there was her brothers, mom and dad.  Now if family comes up, there is conversation about her brother, sister, mom and dad.  Clearly there was change to someone in the mix, and outing me as trans in that case isn’t under the same circumstance, as meeting someone for the first time.  Now, people that are met I am simply, sister, and everything is harmoniousness.

Another question that may arise from this discussion then is, “Well who should tell ‘new person’ that you’re trans.”

First off, that is up to the transgender person, don’t you think?  Trans-identity can be a rather deep secret for trans-people, and there are some people we just don’t want to know about who we use to try and be.  If we feel that a person should know we are trans, typically we will tell them when we are ready, and it shouldn’t be any other way.  It’s our right to tell someone that about ourselves.

Secondly, who gave anyone else the right to take it upon themselves to possibly make difficulties?  Believe it or not, even if a person is a supporter, and that supporter reveals the trans-identity of someone, that new person that’s being interacted with may not be as understanding.  If trans-person is being treated as the gender we identify as by someone, and suddenly that trans-person is outed, it can change the way they are treated by the people they’ve been interacting with.

My personal experience so far is I know I have been outed, it’s happened right in front of me.  Other times, it has happened behind my back.  Needless to say, when it does, I grit my teeth.  I know in the cases where it did happen right in front of me, the person that did it meant no harm, but it doesn’t change that I was outed right on the spot, to people that would have never known otherwise.

When that happens, we can be treated, maybe not as male, but not entirely female either. (Vise Versa for transmen.)  We then aren’t getting the full experience to live as worked so hard accomplish.

What this simply means that, outing someone as trans does more harm then go in smaller situations.  Let that person decide if s/he wants other people to know about them and what they’ve gone through.
After all, you wouldn’t want people to know things about you that you’d prefer to reveal yourself.

Going Back To Work, Expectations VS. Events

There are so many stories a trans-person can tell about their transition.  When they knew they were different, when they came out to friends or family members for the first time.  We get into our first adventures into the world as our identified gender, going to seek out a therapist to begin transition and starting hormones.  Another adventure that some trans-people get to do is transitioning on the job.  I got to partake in that adventure.  I think of no better way to put that statement then an adventure.

Shortly after starting my therapy, I knew that transition to some degree would occur.  To which extent was to be determined, but change was in the works for me.  Because of my position as a sales rep, I knew that I had to bring to the attention of my manager why somethings will begin to change in my appearance.  I scheduled a ‘One With One’ meeting with my manager in a setting that would be private and would not be interrupted.  This would be the first of many meetings with staff of our location that caused a minor anxiety attack I am certain.  After sitting down, the first thing I asked for was to have an open and accepting mind to what I was going to reveal and discuss.  I remember exactly what was said to get things rolling after I received a nod from Art to let know he was ready.  I said to him as I could feel the sweat in my palms, “Art, since you came to our store, I’m sure you’ve noticed a small change in my appearance and presentation here.”  I was referring the the goatee and bushy eye brows I had shaved and trimmed since his arrival.  Acknowledging that I moved on, “I have been going to a therapist for a condition called G.I.D.”

I was already a little shaken by that statement, so we let that settle.  Art asked if G stood gender.  I could only nod.  Art sat way back in his chair, which triggered a response in my mind, “what did I just do!  I completely screwed up my position here!”

What happened next was what surprised me that most; Art looks me dead on and replies, “Mike, you are a hell of a sales rep and great person.  If you can do your job, that is all I am concerned about.  Whatever you decide to do, I support your decision and will help you the best I can.”

I think that was the point I melted.  A conversation that so many other trans-people I have read and listened to dreaded and regretted, just went with out a hitch.  At this point, I have also had similar conversations with a couple co-workers that I would also consider my friends.  Their acceptance was also given to me, with the ability for them to come to me with questions so I could answer them.

Months passed and my therapy continued.  Work turned into a mess of sorts, only a few months after I outed myself as transgender to my manager, he was promoted and moved on in the company.  The holiday season came and went and we were presented with a new store manager.  About a two months passed with my new manager settling in.  I knew that I had to do this meeting again, and once again I was unsure how my manager was going to react to the news.

I scheduled that One With One again, and when meeting time arrived, I started to have flash backs to what had just occurred months earlier.  As I sat down with Jason, I could feel my heart start to race.  I knew I had done this once, I had an idea how to start this.  I started, “I had this meeting once with Art, and I was quite nervous going into that one, this one is no different.”  I was reassured that things will be fine.  I took in a deep breath of air and put it out there, “I have been in therapy since last spring for G.I.D. and sometime in the unforeseen future.”

It was at this point, I got to explain what the initials were for and explain that I would be going through transition at work.  To my surprise again, I was told that so long as I can do my job, that’s all that mattered.  I was quite relieved and opened the forum again to allow questions and me to be able to educate if there was uncertainty as to how to handle issues as they arise.  The meeting ended with a comment I was more amused by then anything, “I just assumed you were Gothic, I don’t think I would have guessed otherwise.”

Time passed once again, and as different point developed with conversation, I made sure to keep Jason in the loop about things that the company would need to know about my transition.  June 9th, 2011 came and went as the day I started HRT.  This was a big day for me as I knew this was the big plunge of no return.  Co-workers I felt I had a good relationship with were brought in the know of my transition.  The tool I used to judge reactions to my news was a video of an amazing singer from Thailand.   What I knew, and they didn’t; the singer was a trans-woman who could sing in her old voice in and new one.  The singer started in a feminine voice, and for the second verse her voice drops to quite a masculine voice.  As reactions were positive to how impressive she was, I felt it was safe to go back and simply say, “It’s amazing who can do this and where they are.”  I would then reveal myself to these people.

Summer went by and as Autumn arrived, I had to start wearing my usual work uniform with the addition of a fleece vest I had from an old position I held.The layers started to become a necessity as the hormones were working their magic.  When it was noted I was wearing layers in even the warmest of days, the next meeting was scheduled.  I got to drive to the regional business office to have a meeting with our HR representative.

In my HR meeting, I got to explain where I was in my transition. This was the first time I got to explain why I was telling people now instead of closer to the date.  “Transition is change from one point to another point.  This transition isn’t just my transition, it’s everyone who is involved in my life.  I was going to be asking a lot of my teammates when my time came when I would be presenting female at work.  I couldn’t expect that to be sudden.  So as I make my journey to being the true me, I need everyone on that journey with me.”  This was the center point of how the rest of the meeting went.  I was asked what was needed from HR , and set up plans on how to handle certain situations if they were to arise.   The last thing was, if that was my point on transition, I would have to go back and talk with the rest of my team.

Within two weeks, I had met with everyone who I did not reveal previously that I was trans.  The responses from everyone was positive, anything from well, I had a good idea, to I respect you that much more for willing to put yourself through this to be yourself.  Thinking of all the responses simply makes my eyes water in the belief that my teammates were that great, and understanding.  As I approached the date I set for being full-time I kept people who were interested in the know, I got my name changed, I have PTO ready to go to let it sink in once and for all, Mike would not be back.

Independence Day was scheduled as my last day before a vacation from work.  I decided to take an extended paid vacation that I saved up for to set in that I was indeed coming back with change.  As I was leaving that day, I realized that the 4th now had a second meaning to me.  My own independence to allow myself to no longer be restrained by a fake presentation.  I wrote a lengthy e-mail to all my co-workers, thanking them for their unbelievable support and understanding.  I put out there what I expected when I returned, and left the lines of communications open.

July ’12 was my time to just let me settle in as living as a woman, it was this time a couple team members added me to Facebook, and was showing some interest in my time off and my adjusting.  About three quarters of the way through my vacation, I had a call come in from Jason for a small One With One at a location remote from our store.  There, we caught up a little then set a team meeting to talk about store operations and after that concluded, I would have the floor.

Nervous to arrive to the meeting, I arrived to where I talked to everyone who came at some point in chit chat, my expectation was some type of reaction to my appearance. To my relief, that didn’t happen.  Conversations were asking about vacation, and just anything else that would be normally discussed prior to my vacation.  Our meeting occurred, and when I got to speak, I could feel that same nervousness return.   I got to thank the whole store, for being such an incredible team.  To take something that isn’t completely ordinary and not make it in anyway uncomfortable, and not just that, but their on going support.

Leaving that night from the store, I so glad to know I could walk into my store, with my teammates and interact with them like I had previously with nothing out of place.  The true test would come a week later (I know, this is the part a lot of you readers were probably hoping to get to.)

July 31st, 2012; I arrived to work about half an hour early.  I parked my car, and my heart was racing like nothing else ever felt.  I was walking in that day knowing I had to interact with customers, and what would could possibly come of that scared me to death.  I walked in, said hi to the reps of the floor, and made my way to the back room and sat at the break table with a glass of water, trying to relax.  My team mates came to the rescue again, as they passed me in back room they welcomed me back, talking about how it would be a good day.  What stood out that most, I was at a point close to start time, and my hands were trembling , and Alesha, a senior rep and friend that’s know from the very start about my transition, looked right at me said, “You are going to be fine, if anything happens, all of us are right behind you.”

That reassurance helped a lot, and I made my way to the sales floor.  It is now a week plus since I made those steps out the floor,  but I have had nothing more then a couple looks.  So many of interactions were positive with my customers.  The best interaction on that first day was a sale where I sold a device to a couple, and I got to team up with the woman customer and give her boyfriend a hard time.  It was also where I had people that sit there and as they spoke about me, referred to me as ‘she’ and ‘her’, which I am holding onto as simply amazing.

I’ve had other interactions with people who made it clear they knew me, but nothing negative.  One conversation was about how long my hair has gotten since I started to grow it.  Another was a lady who had remembered an interaction she had with me months ago, and thought I was exceptional.  She made it a point to thank me by my name.  One of my regular customers was talking to me like nothing was different, telling me about how she tried to come in while I was on vacation.  When I flat out said, “Well, we know why I was gone now,” and gesturing to my presentation.  The reply I got back blew me away, but made a lot of sense, “You act like a lot of us didn’t realize what was going on.  We could feel that about you.”

I remember how dumbfounded I was for a moment, but made complete sense.  As she left, she wished me “the very best as I continue my journey.”  I’ve had so many interactions with so many other people.  No bad reactions, simply treating as the person that was presented in front of them.  I really do believe that because of the way I handed my transition, bringing so many people along for my ride, my journey; it allowed me to give off the aura that everything was right, and was the way things out to be.  After the sweat dried, and the shaking nerves calmed, I was able to be out there, as confident as possible.  With teammate behind me, I know that even if I have that one jerk to deal with, everything will  be alright.

I understand that not all transitions can be like mine at work.  But I want to point out what was different about mine from so many other transition-on-the-job stories.  Where so many people a couple weeks, to a month before they go full time, go “oh, by the way.  I will be coming to work as the gender opposite of what you know me as.  I expect you to call me by proper pronouns and this name.”  I did not do this.  I took the line I used at my HR meeting and applied it the whole way, “Transition is change from one point to another point.  This transition isn’t just my transition, it’s everyone who is involved in my life.  I was going to be asking a lot of my teammates when my time came when I would be presenting female at work.  I couldn’t expect that to be sudden.  So as I make my journey to being the true me, I need everyone on that journey with me.”

Because I allowed people to adjust as I did, it was a lot easier for everyone involved to simply, transition as I did.  I was told more than once by the management team that, “the way handled my transition has been amazing.  Adjusting is so much easier then we could have expected.”  This statement is more true than you could believe.  Time to allow for large adjustments lead to adjustments being taken easier then expected.

This entry was posted on August 10, 2012. 1 Comment

Insecurites, We All Have Them

Insecurities, something that comes up in every person’s lives which must be dealt with.  As a person that is transgender, it would be an understatement to say that I have insecurities.  I can pick on myself about quite a few things.  In fact, I am going to go through all that I am insecure about.  (There is a point besides the apparent whining that is implied.)

Height – This is no secret at first site of me.  I am a towering 6’2″ and even in the gender I was born into, I am considered tall.  My identified gender I become quite the figure, being a head taller then other women in the the crowd.  This can be found to be quite discouraging.  Though, this isn’t unheard of, one of my closest friends is as tall as me (if not an inch taller.)  The difference is that she was born into a body that matches her identity.  She has been able to rock this height and has allowed me to be less discouraged by this insecurity.  As a lady that who likes her heels, I know I can be allowed to wear them in not fear, but to go out use this to my advantage.  This goes as far as to have friends who have encouraged me to take on a different role in a photo shoot.  It would be odd not to be behind my camera, but I can’t say that I’m opposed to it.

Shoulder Width – Again a feature that goes well with my born sex.  At a 41″ shoulder, tops and some dresses become discouraging.  Part of this I realize comes from my height and I can play into that luckily.  Other measurements become tease to desires versus what fits.  There are times when I forced into a large piece of clothing when most other measurements allow for a medium.  One can easily blame a their gender-variant body on having to fit into clothes this way.  But in discussing this pain with other people, this again does not limit just women of trans-identity, but can befall cis-women too.  This issue, though can be an insecurity, is one I do share with my cis-counterparts.

Hair Line – Let me first clarify I don’t have a lot of room to speak on this one, as my head of hair is flowing!  But, what I do not like is where the hairline recedes at points on my forehead.  This falls in-line with a masculine hairline. If you note my hairline, right now, it recedes back to where it’s a flat line.  I do what I can to hide this tell of mine with the ways I wear my hair.  But if I pull back into a pony tail or any up-do, it becomes apparent what I am hiding.  I am happy to report here that there is baby hair growing in those tiny areas which will give me a rounder hairline which I am happy about.  Other than that, I can say that a widow’s peak hairline is similar to where it ends.  With that I again become less unique and I am not alone in this one.

Adam’s Apple – This is apparent if you ever hear Grethade’s character voice.  Normally a deep voice would be discouraging to any person going through transition.  On the other hand I have embarrassed this trademark of mine and focused it where it could be used.  A voice can be trained to sound the way you want, in doing this my Adam’s Apple is less evident.  I have even been asked how it shrank.  As far as I can tell it hasn’t, it’s just how it’s held using my voice.  You have to look for it when I do this and I am fairly certain this is not true to just me.  Not only that, there are  cis-women who have respectably lower voices and they too have a larger larynx.  Don’t believe me, find a female singer who’s known for having a lower tone singing voice and just peak at her throat.

Cleft Chin – I have cleft chin which I use to hate!  Words can not describe how often my eyes would go to this and scream, this makes you stand out.  But then I must review with a few of my friends, whom of which are models.  I have seen cleft chins there as well.  I am gifted with a jaw line that isn’t square and that is a bigger issue to make me stand out and be read.  There isn’t much I can say to this feature of mine, but again I am not alone in this.  In fact, there are some rather attractive people with cleft chins; those people roll with it instead of dwelling on it.

Brow Bone – This one gets me the most.  There are times I feel my orbital bones are so apparent.  This is something I seem to pick up on more than others, but it can drive me nuts.  But again it could be worse.  There are men born with a brow bone that is fit for a caveman, women who have pronounced brow bones as well.  I am on the side where cis-women are fighting the same battle. Pronounced, but not overwhelming, brow bones despite being an issue for me can be down played by make up and hair styles.  Guess who is working on her make up to reduce this appearance.

Now this comes back to why would I share this.  These are my tells to tell I am trans.  How evident are they to me?  The answer is quite evident.  For those people who are looking for these tells it is evident.  For those who aren’t and are looking at a presentation, you can never tell and it’s better to not know.  Just the same, it’s just as good for them to see some tells and never know.  I share this with you so you can look at what you are insecure about and look at other people that have that same feature.  There are several folks that hate and despise these tells that belittles their self-esteem, then there are those who say, “screw it” and rock it.  To the latter, it is quite amazing just how many of them are referred to as simply, “beautiful.”

“Being Emily”, How It Felt Like ‘Being Michele’

When story creators try to create the trans-experience, a lot of them run into a major road block.  Creating the trans-experience and not being transgender themselves, it leaves a lot to the imagination.  This can be evident is several movies, and or books.  This past week, Being Emily, was released, telling the story of a 16 year old girl from rural Minnesota named Emily.  Emily isn’t the average girl though; she, despite knowing she is a girl, was born as Christopher.  Rachel Gold takes us through the turning point in Emily’s life where she can no longer bear trying to act like a boy, and become the young lady she is.

Now, as previously mentioned, someone who isn’t transgender trying to create the trans-experience has to leave something to the imagination.  Or, in Gold’s case, you can take insight from people whom lived the same situation and imagine from there.  Let me say that, Gold’s method of creating this story was dead on.  The book starts in the dead of winter early one Minnesota morning, where Emily starts another day.  It was a morning where, she could imagine her body to some degree, matching her internal image.  She, though not physically at this point, starts to get ready for school and the last swim meet of her junior year. On her way through another school day, an assignment given in psych class turns her world upside down, and now the desire to be herself becomes nearly unbearable.

In Being Emily, we experience her reaching out through online communities, coming out to her girlfriend, making a friend with another girl further into the journey.  Other parts of the story, we go with as Emily goes out into the world as herself for the first time, going to the women’s restroom (and getting caught!), having a girls night/slumber party, seeing a conservative doctor.  All of these come from Emily’s point of view, so relating to her and feeling what she feels can easily be done.

In so many ways Being Emily hit so close to home, of course there is the gender dysphoria Emily experiences through out the book which is so much like my own.  I remember several times laying on my bed wishing I could grow up and be female.  Much like how Emily talks about wishing how she could grow up to being a woman.

After knowing that nature by itself would change her in ways that we wouldn’t want, Emily started to have an automated response system, for a lack of better terms, to blend in as ‘a guy.’  The book represented this as a simple computer program running in MS DOS.  I found these automated responses rather amusing it seems so much like a method I had used to do the same thing.  But the idea is that these systems that are developed by some trans people to try and blend in as the gender they were born as and not let on to people what exactly what’s going on, on the inside.

So many chapters in which you read through the eyes of Emily, Gold conveys so much emotion, I could not help but feel those emotions with Emily, the times of triumph, being scared for her in times of first time exploration, and unbelievably happy with how her journey turned out.  As a transgirl myself, who grew up an hour outside the twin cities (just like Emily), the challenges and everything else about the beginning of the trans experience seemed so much like my own.  The difference is this girl was so much braver and I can not help but admire it.  I never enjoyed shedding tears as much as I did with the ending of this book, I reiterate this point as it inspires other trans people m2f and f2m to be true to themselves and things work out.  Even now as I say that and think of the end of the book, I can feel my eyes well up to the amazement of the story that is Emily Haase.

Being Emily gets a 4.75/5 in my opinion, I feel that perfect is near impossible to get, but near perfect is certainly attainable if done properly.  This is not earth shattering for anyone going through this themselves, but it’s a great story or overcoming obstacles and inspires people to be themselves.  For cisgender folks, this book brings you into the minds of some of us and hopefully provides a little clearer idea of what exactly occurs in our minds.

This entry was posted on June 30, 2012. 2 Comments

Thankful For People Around Me In Transition

Transition can be difficult things a person could do in their life.  Changing their body and image of the gender they were assigned at birth to become more of a person on the exterior that matches their interior.  What can make it even more difficult is being alienated from friends and family, the possibility that their employer will not support the change and find a way to terminate them.   For those folks, transition is extremely difficult and can be bitter sweet.

I on the other the other hand have been beyond fortunate.  I don’t mean this to brag, but to take this opportunity to thank everyone in my life that effects it regularly.  When I finally started to come to terms with being transgender 3 years ago, I was terrified to know what my friends, family would think.  I shutter the thought that, if I did transition, would I still have my job?  Then after my first public outing, Halloween, it wasn’t as bad as I thought.  How was it that I found it to be safe to do this, with the help of my friends Kate and Leah. You were my first friends to know of my internal struggle and accepted me for it.

Two and a half months later, I was outed to two people.  They were very meant to know, but I am eternally grateful that these two came to know more about me.  Mistique and Amanda, you two got me out into the world and gave me my first experiences as a woman.  You let me grow, learn and adapt to who I really am.  Through you I have met a plentiful amount of people who accepted me and again allowed me to explore and experience a role and a life I was growing accustom to.  Now, the girls, Monday night is always a thrill.  No matter what happens during our ventures out to the bar, each Monday getting dolled up with you is always a highlight of my week.

My family  of course was another concern.  The first person to know was my sister.  Then father, mother, then brother.  Again I was surprised and fortunate.  Despite difficulties, my sister said she would always support me, my mother who said I would always be her child.  My brother who said, it was not his burden, so then not a problem.  Now my mother is learning to adapter to a second daughter, and a sister who is adapting to having a sister.   The fact my family chooses to support me and love me still is amazing, instead of giving up hope and alienating me.  Now, even an uncle and cousins are learning about me, and once more, they are pulling through and surprising me, supporting me and still acting as family.  Sam, thank you for being a great cousin.  Mom, you have done so much, listened, allowed me to cry.  There’s a saying a girl’s first friend is her mother, and as I could come to say I am a girl, you are my friend.  Kris, you have gone to a level that astounds me.  To know that I will be a bridesmaid brings tears of happiness nearly each time I think of it.

My co-workers and manager are also among the people, whom after learning of my trans-identity, accepted me.  Instead of angry, hostility, or punishment; I was met with understanding.  As I transition on the job, I’m met with difficulties, as are you guys.  Getting questioned regularly about being a man or woman, hostilities of the less-understanding can be a pain in the ass.  But not just that, each person as gone to some degree of learning.  All of your instead of turning, instead asked questions, desired to learn.  What’s better is each question I’ve been faced with are GOOD QUESTIONS.  I’ve enjoyed answering all your questions and allowed you to at least understand my trans-identity.  The fact that we’re at a point where we can even crack jokes, (No, I don’t throw like a girl…but nice try Brenna.) is a level of acceptance and comfort that few trans-people are greeted with.  Thank you for your acceptance, and I hope that when I return to work as Michele, that does not change.

My point of sharing this is to first, thank everyone that has touched my life positively in the past 3 years.  If I went through and listed off everyone, this blog would be the size of a book.  Secondly, I wanted to put it out there, that if you are transgender, and you’re struggling through this coming out part.  I can say that not all people are bigots.  A lot of people are great, it’s a matter of finding them.  If you did not have the same results as I did, I may not be surprised as I have been beyond fortunate.  But, you can rest assured that people are out there that would accept you.  Just don’t be afraid to find them.

Trans-Individuals in the Public Eye

It seems that news headlines are filling with a lot of scandals, controversy and celebrity gossip.  Some of frequent gossip involves celebs who come out of the closet and admit they are homosexual.  A new trend has started though, one that involves the coming out of people who are transsexual.  It seems to become more and more known that transsexuals are indeed already around us and are more abundant then previously thought.

Despite the spot light being on individuals like Chaz Bono, other people are making it known we’re not alone.  The most recent trans out of the closet individual is Tom Gabel.  Gabel, for those that don’t know who this person is, is the lead singer of Punk Rock group Against Me.  Gabel told Rolling Stone Magazine that medical procedures are starting (most likely HRT) and will be change her name to Laura Jane Grace.

Well, Ms Grace, welcome to transhood!  This lead singer is not the only person that has come out as a transsexual, EA Sports producer John Worrall became Kelly Worrall and recently was published in the Vancouver Courier and later made it to Kotaku.

“That time leading up to the actual transition was very important to me,” Worrall told The Vancouver Courier. “It was a time where I felt reassured because I could see the steps that [the human resources department] was taking to build the environment where I would be protected, and that was my big concern.

“Am I going to be laughed out of every meeting?” Worrall wondered. “Is everyone going to be staring at me the whole time? The answer to that] is yes, by the way. There’s nothing you can do about that.”

Despite the reputation that EA has as a publisher, the way that the company handled a personal issue with an employee was exemplary.  Other companies can fall inline with those coming outs and how its handled and though a lot of public figures are free-lanced to some degree, the fact those people still are still seen in the work force, a kudos must be given to those organizations to forgo the taboo and allow those people to work.

Since we are speaking of the public eye, let’s throw my name in the hat as well.  Now anyone that made their way to this blog by normal means will say, Michele, we already know your trans.  I would agree that its common knowledge at that point.  But what a lot of you don’t know is I commonly use my male name, Mike, as pen name for a lot of work since its associated to previous editor positions and awards.  I currently work for a UK based site under my male name, I am also the editor of www.newbcastgaming.com which a state-side based video game website/podcast.

That’s right, in the public eye I just made it known that the personality known as Grethade, the deeply sounding voice on that podcast is the same person as the lady like sound of Michele that appeared on the Game on Girl podcast and my own video blog.  I can tell you that my teams at both websites are supportive and have been great going through the steps of my transition with me.

Now, because of that reveal that doesn’t mean I am going to be all en femme, all the time in publications.  I like to think that persona, if you would, is a way to hold onto a part of who I was and actually enjoyed about myself.  So I am going to keep acting out that persona, despite who I truly am and becoming.