Tag Archives: Transgender

One Year Full-Time

It occurs to me that I’ve been full-time for a little over a year now, so it’s time I shared the story of how I decided to switch over to living as Anna 100% of the time.

I had a plan for my transition from the beginning.  I started hormone therapy in April 2013, and I wanted to give the hormones time to work before going public.  The plan was to make an announcement at work right before leaving for the Christmas holidays, giving my coworkers a couple of weeks to let the news sink in.  That was the plan … for about four months.

I had a camping trip with some friends that August.  In the weeks leading up to it I managed to convince myself that I should spend the entire weekend as Anna to get some experience around other people.  I had a lot of fun that weekend!  I got over my initial fears on the first day, and some of the people I met that weekend had no idea that I’m trans.

That camping trip was a huge confidence boost for me, but it came with a side effect:  I didn’t want to go back to a life where I had to pretend to be male.  I delayed as long as I could, but I eventually had to go back to work.  My mental state started falling apart during my walk to downtown, and I ended up complaining to a group of friends that all my male clothes were big, baggy, and uncomfortable.

The day got worse from there.

I was just beginning to bring my attention to my work again when a group of people returned from lunch and greeted me with a friendly “Hey Bryan, how was your weekend?”.  This was an innocent question, and in any other context would have been fine.  Unfortunately, the reminder that the camping trip was over and I was back to presenting male felt like a huge slap in the face.  I spent the next hour trying really hard not to cry at my desk in front of everybody.

Later that day one of my friends pointed out that if presenting male was causing me problems, then why continue doing it?  The idea of switching to “Anna-mode” publicly and permanently made a lot of sense but it scared me at the same time.  Was I ready for full-time so soon?  What about my plan?  By the end of the day I had decided that relying on “the plan” was just a stalling tactic, and that I really needed to make a change for my sanity.  So I talked to my friends, I emailed my coworkers and by the end of the week I was full-time!

I haven’t regretted my decision one bit.  This past year was absolutely fantastic, and I’ve had a lot of fun.  I want to give a huge THANK YOU to all the people in my life who are there for me.  The whole transition process would have been way scarier if I didn’t have your friendship and support through all of it.  Here’s to year two!

Name updating status

I had my name legally changed a few weeks ago, which is a relief because my old drivers license basically stopped working.  When I went to adopt my cats the woman at the Humane Society took one confused look at my license and immediately told me “this isn’t you.”

I’m honestly surprised at just how easy the entire process has been.  I was in front of a judge for a whole 30 seconds, just long enough to verify my old name, age, and that I’ve been living in the county for at least a year.   Easy!

I’ve heard that the difficult part of a legal name change is updating everything afterwards, but that part hasn’t been too bad (so far).  The Social Security Administration office took about 45 minutes to work through, and there were only 3 people in front of me at the Secretary of State.  In a little over an hour I had updated my Social Security card, drivers license, car title and car registration.

I have been visiting as many places in person as I can, and showing my court papers in person.  The longest part is usually waiting for my turn in line and actually talking to a representative to update my account takes less than 5 minutes.  This was way better than I was expecting, but I suppose it helps that I am doing all of this over the holidays when I have extra time.

I can already tell that updating the deed to my condo is going to be more challenging.  The county Register of Deeds told me that I would have to find a title company and have the deed redrafted, which hopefully won’t take too long.  I am not expecting this change to be free.

I am going to tackle updating my name at work (and therefore with my health insurance company) after New Years.  I hope everything goes smoothly!

Why I can never be “stealth”

For many trans-people, one of the biggest goals after transition is to go “stealth”. This means hiding your past from everybody your interact with so that nobody knows your true history.

I don’t think I can ever do this.

First, putting yourself into a situation where nobody knows your past is very challenging. Packing up and moving to another town where nobody would know me is a big decision to make, especially since it would mean leaving behind all of my friends. My friends were super-supportive of me during my transition, and I could never just abandon them after everything they have helped me through. So even if I was to move to a new place, far away from the people that know me, I would still have an issue with all of my identification that declares me to be male. The state of Michigan requires reassignment surgery before I can fix the gender marker on my ID, and that is a huge step that I haven’t even begun to wrap my brain around yet.

But there are other reasons I could never be completely stealth, as well. I like to joke about my transness with the people I’m close to, for example: just the other day I proudly declared that I’m a Time Lord on her second incarnation (and regeneration in real life takes way longer than it does on Doctor Who!). If I was ever stealth, it would mean I’m no longer able to speak the amusing comments that sometimes pop into my head, and that just wouldn’t be fun.

Just because I’m not completely stealthy doesn’t mean I go around broadcasting my history to strangers. I don’t introduce myself to somebody with “Hi, I’m Anna and I’m transgender!” since that would just be awkward. I know I pass well, and that gives me the freedom to choose who I want to reveal my past to. Sure, it’ll require some basic trust building when I make friends with somebody new but that’s okay. My new friends will get there eventually.

What has been the hardest part?

I was asked an interesting question about transitioning by a friend last night – “What has been the hardest part?”  The first answer that popped into my head was coming out to my friends, especially the first few.  I took a night to sleep on the question, and I can better expand on my answer now that I’ve had more time to think about it.

So what has been the hardest part?  Learning to open up about myself.

I spent years convincing myself that one day the dysphoria would go away, and nobody would ever have to know about it.  I made a habit out of dodging questions and flat out lying to keep people from knowing what really goes on in my head.  I feel bad about that know, but avoiding talking about anything related to the transgender world was a defense mechanism.  I was completely terrified of how people would react if they knew.  Would I be fired?  Would nobody talk to me ever again?

Somewhere along the line I realized that if I couldn’t talk about my issues, then I couldn’t transition.  I had to be able to tell people what was going on, why I was changing and what that meant.  The last thing I wanted was to abandon my old life and start fresh as somebody else.  I love my friends, I love my job and I stubbornly refuse to give anything or anybody up.

I’m a geek, and I reacted the way any geek would during a crisis:  hop on Google.  All my “why do I think the way I do?” kinds of questions kept leading to the same trans support site, so I made my own account thinking that I could post and ask questions anonymously.  It took almost two months before I made my first post.  I had a cold a few days before, and I had told my brother that rather than taking medicine I would just ignore it until it goes away.  He reminded me that I should know better than that by now, and that the last time I ignored a serious issue I ended up in the hospital with a massive infection on my intestines.  Two days later I made my first thread.

Everything started “snowballing” from there.  Scheduling my first gender therapist appointment took a couple of weeks to force myself to do.  Telling my first friend?  Only a couple of hours.  Coming out to people got easier and easier as I got used to it.  And the things I was afraid of?  They didn’t happen.  I still have my job, I still have my friends.  Unsurprisingly, now that I’m not withdrawing in on myself anymore I feel like I’m much closer to everybody in my life than I ever used to be.