Friday, December 14, 2012

Sorry we have been busy.

We haven't forgoten the Corner. We have been rather busy lately.

I will try and cook up a real post soon.(ish)

hugz and luv,
Cynthia Lee

Sunday, October 14, 2012

TDoR planning ~Sevan

This year is the first year that my support group is heading a “Transgender Day of Remembrance” (TDoR) event.  We’re working hard to make it a community involved event. We've come such a long way in such a short amount of time. Just a year and a half ago we didn't know anyone in town and had no connections to the LGBTQ community. We started our support group and have worked hard to be a presence and a part of the larger community. I tried to get the group to create a TDoR event last year but since we’re somewhat democratic, the group didn't really want to create one. I was upset at the time because I feel it’s our duty to remember those that we've lost, and lead the way in such an event. Looking back however; I’m really glad that we didn't plan an event last year. We didn't have any connections with anyone, and didn't have a large enough group (or funds) to create a successful, well attended event.

This year we've been planning and thinking since PRIDE back in June. Not “officially” but really thinking about it critically and working toward it. Yesterday was our first planning meeting and while I wish we didn't have to plan any such event…I’m excited for the opportunity to step up and create something that will bring awareness and education. We've gotten some great support from local organizations and I’m so happy that they want to help create this event, and work with us to make it successful.
We will have some speaking, a reading of names of those we've lost and then some educational games. We’re planning to have food and drinks and hopefully people will mix and meet each other. There’s often so much segregation between schools, different organizations, different orientations and genders…and I really seek to bridge that. I believe this event can work toward that goal. At least help us take one step. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Gender variant acceptance ~Sevan

As an androgyn/gender variant/non-binary type person; I’m used to having people “not believe” in my identity. What I am often shocked by, is when I hear people’s identity come into question even in trans* spaces. I’m shocked to hear someone else; who has been fighting for recognition of their own identity turn around and do the same thing to someone else.

I thought that gender identity was in our minds? That’s what I teach at my presentations and that’s what I talk about here.

I have had people tell me that they accept gender variant identities…but clearly I’m male, and should come out as such. I've had people tell me that they accept my gender variant identity….but that other person over there…not so much.

I think the whole thing comes down to perception, and expression.

I can’t speak for other gender variant folks (though I’d REALLY love to hear from them on this topic!!!) but for me; expression of my gender is a funny thing. It’s HARD! It takes far too much work and forethought. Since there is no “gender variant” section in the clothing store…I have to make it up as I go along. I can’t ever take for granted that my presentation and my intention will be read correctly or as I meant for it to come across.

If I dress in men’s clothes without binding, it doesn't usually read as “gender variant” it reads as “dyke”. If I dress in men’s clothes and bind…I may be read as cis-male. (this never ever happens. I usually still get read as “dyke” but it’s within the realm of possibility…)

If I dress in woman’s clothes then I’m read as cis-female. (even though such attire is sometimes just as uncomfortable and unfitting of my gender identity as male clothes)

You see!? I can’t win!!! How can I possibly dress in a way that would express to you, the general public…that I’m androgyn? When I dress in skirts and men’s shirts with a nice tie I’m viewed as just…somewhat strange. It still doesn't read as what I’m going for.

As such… I've given up trying to be “read correctly” because this identity…it isn't about you. It’s all about me. Being comfortable with myself, being my best self, being comfortable in MY skin.
On the flip side of that…personally I don’t want to be a “gender warrior” every. Single. Day. Of my life. It’s exhausting. It’s tiring. I can’t do it. I just can’t. I commend those who are able, those amazing people. So you may come across me on a day where I’m wearing one of my other passions on my sleeve. Love, Equality, Bi rights, HIV advocacy…when my gender is on the front; I often can’t talk about anything else. Just like the rest of you; I AM more than my gender.

Sometimes going out to a restaurant or new space with new people I’m not familiar with; I dress “female” because I may not want to come out via my dress and attire. It might not be safe, it might not be appropriate. (ie: Work. Mainly.) Most often; it’s not understood without me explaining.

I have searched myself, gone through hours and hours of therapy, I have TRIED to fit within the binary. Don’t you think it would be easier for me to do so? I sure do!! I've tried. Believe me I've tried. I've thought ever awful thing possible about my own identity. Then I came to terms with myself, and did what I needed to do to express myself, feel comfortable within myself and present to the world as much “me” as I can.
This was not an identity I came to lightly. Transition; especially at a time when gender variant transition wasn't even written about…was not easy. My gender identity is no more about clothes and style than any other. That’s only what you can see. There’s FAR more to me than what’s on my skin, or how I interact with people, or what my energy might express.

Since I can’t wear my entire wardrobe every day; you’re not seeing the whole of my self expression on any given day. Same goes for any other gender variant person. Step back and look at everything you know about the person. Then; take them at their word. We do the same for the rest of our community. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Why we use the asterisk ~Sevan

So, if transgender is an "umbrella term"...what's the need for "trans*"? 

Simply put; there shouldn't be a need for it. However; there is. Transgender is often shortened to trans and can be interpreted as trans-male or trans-female, and many gender variant/non-cis identified people feel left out or unsure if their identity is included and being thought about. 

When I see a blog post, article or other written materials that don’t have the asterisk I wonder if they are including me and those like me. If I see a support group, brochure about transgender identities or an advertisement about a presentation that doesn’t use the asterisk I wonder if I’m welcome in that space.

My understanding is that the asterisk came from internet search structure. When you add an asterisk to the end of a search term, you’re telling your computer to search for whatever you typed, plus any characters after. Such as: trans*-gender, -queer, -sexual, etc. No idea if that’s the truth of the matter…but that’s the general “mythos” behind where the asterisk came from.

So if you, or your organizations is trying to be open and accessible by all trans* people; make sure to use the asterisk to verify to all people that you have taken the time, and intention to invite and welcome all trans* people.

Even within my local trans* support group; our name has “trans*” in it; Spokane Trans* People. All of our educational materials and presentations have trans* in it. We are committed to being open to all in the umbrella. 

Sam over at posted about this, and created this awesome graphic.  Click it to see his take on it.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Coming out pt 4 Hearing it ~Sevan

We've shared personal stories in part one and two; we've talked about steps involved in coming out in part three; now it's time to talk about how to handle someone coming out to you.

Similarly to our “part 3”, there’s no way I can speak to every individual circumstance. Though I’m hoping I can keep it broad enough to cover as many experiences as possible.

In no way is everyone who’s trans* like me. So they’re not necessarily going to respond how I would…keep that in mind as well.

When someone comes out as trans* to you, it may come as a complete shock. Many trans* people try very hard to fit within binary ideals. Being “big strong men, who don’t cry, might have military background, etc etc” or being “very feminine, girly, home-maker, etc” (though this is less likely thanks to the wide acceptance of “what is feminine”)

If you take one thing from this blog post; please hear this: They did not do this to hurt you. In fact, this isn’t about you at all. They love you, might look up to you, respect you and genuinely want to keep a relationship with you. Otherwise, they wouldn't come out at all; they’d just leave your life.

They may have already come out as gay or lesbian, or may be married and/or have children. You may have long history with this person; might be their spouse or parent! Everything you already know about this person could be in direct opposition to what they’re now telling you about themselves. You may want to argue with them, and try to tell them how you see them. Try to avoid this, if possible.

For transsexual adults; they have usually done everything in their power to keep from transitioning. So asking if there’s something more that could be done to keep from transitioning will only be met with the answer “no” So keep from asking that, if you can.

Hopefully, the person who is coming out to you has read my last post, or similar information about coming out. They've thought long and hard about how you might react. Fear of you reacting poorly could have had a hand in them not coming out much sooner. Parents, friends, family and spouses are very important to trans* people. As much so as anyone else.

I don’t want to put too much emphasis on “what not to do”; because I don’t prefer to be negative. Whether your friend or loved one sits you down for a face to face, a phone conversation or sends you a letter/email; they have thought through this; and chose the method that made them most comfortable, and hopefully thought through the method you would respond best to.

When I came out to my parents; I did so via email. I feared this wouldn't be the method they’d respond best to; but it was what I needed to fully express myself, explain myself, and include some links that I thought might be helpful. I wanted to be able to express myself fully and correctly. I thought they would likely respond best to a face to face, but when I thought over that at great length…I felt there was no way I’d be able to hold my own in that conversation and get all of my thoughts out. As my anxiety rises, my ability to express clearly dwindles. This was a situation where I needed to be perfectly clear. That’s why I chose email.

For my sisters, I did find a way to sit down face to face. There was far less anxiety for me in talking to my sisters than talking to my parents. So each person in my life was unique, and the way I approached them was unique.

What you say first will set the tone for the future. Watch your words carefully. If you can’t think of a kind response; it is ok to say “This is a lot to take it. I need some time to process before I talk about this again.”
That might be rough for your friend or loved one to take in, but it’ll go far better than what could quickly escalate. Emotions run high when coming out. Of course if you’re supportive and happy for your friend or loved one, share that information right away!

Learn all that you can about what it is to be transgender. Find support for yourself if you need it through PFLAG meetings or transgender support groups that might be open to SOFFAs (Significant Others, Friends, Families, and Allies) Find books on the topic, documentaries or local educational presentations. Seek out a therapist to talk to about your feelings if you need support. Your trans* loved one is dealing with quite a bit, and it would be a huge stress relief to have you educate yourself and not rely on them solely for your education about all things trans*.

Be honest about your boundaries. If your friend or loved one is talking about nothing but transgender topics or transition; you may need to gently say,

“I need some space from that topic. Can we have a “transition free day/group of days?”
Those around the trans* person often go through a process of transition themselves. New name, new pronoun, new look. It can be a lot to take in. Be honest about your needs, but if it’s support you need, find online venues; such as or Trans Family Spouses yahoo group. Both are in the side bar. There is also SOFFA* Support online:

Or local support groups or therapists; sometimes it’s good just to be able to talk to someone openly. Try to avoid going to your trans* loved one to provide you support.

If you are unable or unwilling to be there for your loved one through their transition, it is best to be honest about that. While I hope that relationships can always be maintained, that’s not always possible. I believe its best not to drag such things out. It just elongates pain. That’s not to say that you should throw your relationship away at the first sign of difficulty; but sometimes it really is best for all people involved to just, walk away. Only you can know if you’re at that point.

Above all, be honest about your feelings and your process. Let your friend or loved one know where you’re at. There’s nothing worse than being in the dark about where we stand. Fearing that we’re going to lose someone from our lives; when really that person just needs some support and some space; is a pretty terrible feeling. They've been honest with you about who they are, and where they’re at. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Coming out trans* pt 3 Saying it ~Sevan

Cyndi and I have both told our personal stories around coming out. Now comes the most difficult post in our four part series. Suggestions and thoughts about the process of coming out. 

Let me first say that there is no possible way I can account for every unique I'm going to do my best to keep this broad. There's no one right way for every person to come out. There just isn't. Since my experience is primarily with transsexuals/transitioning…I think my focus will be there. Not because I’m trying to ignore the rest of the umbrella, but because I want my advice to be sound, and based on personal experience/ knowledge.

The first thing I would to understand what transgender identity is for you. Those who you come out to will want to know if you intend to transition, what that might look like for you, what surgeries or hormones you might undergo, etc. While "I don't know" is a perfectly reasonable response, it tends to upset those you're coming out to. So either be prepared for an afterthought to your "I don't know" or prepare an alternative. 

*Nothing* is ever set in stone. Ever. Especially not transition! It's a path, it's a journey, and minds can change along the way. Prepping those around you for these potential changes is highly advisable. You may decide early on that SRS is required and very necessary, but along the way may decide that it's either not desired, needed or affordable. You may be against top surgery (especially trans woman, much more so than trans men) but find that hormones don't offer what you wanted/needed; and suddenly top surgery appears very likely. 

Some, (such as families) can have a very hard time with transition, and they may need support as well. Knowing where to direct them can help them to help you. Such as:
There are also books on the topic, but I'm much more for personal conversation than reading myself. I'm sure you can find some books if the person you're coming out to is a reader. 

While many would say “Be prepared to lose everyone and everything” to transition…I prefer to be a little more hopeful. I think when we go into conversations with a defeatist attitude…we end up losing. We have already gone through the loss in our own heads and I do agree that one should be prepared for every eventuality; that includes success and support!! That *is* a very possible outcome!

I think that coming out takes some soul searching as preparation. Many don’t do this. I know I didn’t…I waited until I was backed into the wall, mid transition; with my voice already changing…that’s when I came out to my parents. It should come as no surprise that that didn’t go very well! I left them out. I expected them to be unhappy, and they met that expectation.
Take some time to remember what it was like when you *very first* discovered you were trans*. What did that feel like? What did you want to hear? What would help you through that? I know for many (if not most) that this is a painful discovery. Of course we want unconditional love and support. I know some people who have gotten that reaction; and what a blessing! For most though; just like for us trans* people, it’s a process. It will take some time for those you’ve come out to; to come around.

Boundaries are a difficult thing for majority of trans* people. (It’s even mentioned in the Standards of Care!) If you are working with a qualified gender therapist; coming out should definitely be a topic to go over with them. As you will likely be the only trans* person your friend/family will know…they are pretty likely to bring their feelings and process to you. (or if they’re like my parents, the exact opposite and bring nothing to you.) They need to find other places to express their feelings about your transition so that the process doesn’t damage the relationship. This is where strong boundaries come in. Being able to encourage them to take those feelings to a support group, or trans* mentor (if your area has such a program) online forum…somewhere. Especially if they’re having negative feelings they need to process.

With that, accept some boundaries that your friends/family needs to set. I know that early on (heck…often times; still!!) Cyndi and I talked about transition pretty much to the exclusion of all else. That’s taxing for many people. There might need to be some boundaries set around that. I think that compromise can be healthy and contribute to and strengthen relationships. Some compromises are unreasonable and would be harmful. Your therapist can help with these unique and important issues.

Transition can be lonely…but it doesn’t need to be. Support, friendship and family is important to anybody but definitely important for trans* people navigating in an often times cruel world.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Gendered language ~Sevan

We will get back to our discussion on coming out soon, but I just created this graphic and I wanted to share:

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Coming out Part 2 ~ Cynthia Lee

Coming out take 2 ~ Cynthia Lee

My coming out as Trans* to my friends and family was met with a collective ho-hum. I got many people who reacted in a way that indicated they were not surprised. One of my friends said to me “I knew this about you for years, I was afraid you didn’t know”. Another friend said, “That makes sense. This explains a lot.” Another friend asked, “What took you so long?”

I was rather stunned by these reactions. I thought I had done a fine and dandy job of being manly and macho. I really thought that I had been successfully portraying a man to the world. Now that I have had time to reflect on my life pre transition I see clear as can be that I was dropping hints to my true gender my entire life. All my life I was actually playing the part of a man and doing it very poorly it turns out. I had expected them to attempt to defend my ‘manhood’ and try to convince me I was nuts. I expected the same treatment that most transsexuals deal with. Rejection and transphobia were what I expected but I was given love instead.

In the end I have lost no one to my coming out. All of my family and friends accept me as Cynthia. This was anti-climatic. I had prepared for ultimate rejection and being challenged, or dissuaded from my transition. I had not prepared for being accepted and loved unconditionally. It was very wonderful and awesome that I have kept my friends and family, but I had not prepared myself for this outcome. Person after person that I came out to were ok with me transitioning. In a way, it was a tad aggravating. What do you mean my portrayal of ‘man’ was so lousy that no one was buying it!??! I was so sure of the excellent job of role-playing ‘man’ that when I discovered that it was not excellent it kinda miffed me a bit. Nevertheless, it should come as no surprise. Women are not men and they do a lousy job of being men full time. Sure, some women can play the part of a man for a while, but no woman can live as a man 24/7 and not let her guard down and let the woman inside out on occasion. Turns out that I was showing the inner woman, I was letting her out on a daily basis.

Therefore, my gentle reader I want to boil it down to this: You have no idea if your friends and family will accept you or reject you until the moment of truth. It is worth the chance you take and it just might end with acceptance.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Coming out trans* pt 1. It's personal ~Sevan

This is a tough topic for me to cover because of how vast and individual and unique each person, and each coming out is. It's going to vary depending on what state (with what rights) you're in. How old you when you start coming out you are; will play a role. Plus many other things will come into play when we talk about coming out. 

I think I’ll be splitting this up into a few different entries because otherwise this large topic will be either far too long, or not properly covered. So I want to start first with my personal experience with coming out.

I was asked once which was easier; coming out as lesbian or coming out as trans*. (I've done both, and that had come up in this conversation.) For *me* it was easier coming out as trans*, and while difficult, I feel that there are many things that helped my coming out to be successful when I compare the two experiences. 

When I came out as lesbian I was in church, all my friends, all my music...were church. All my social events were through the church. So when i came out as lesbian (back in 2000) and was given the choice to "apologize to the whole of the church for your sins against the church, and move out of the apartment I lived in with my spouse to save me from "sin" and "temptation. Or, I could leave. I chose to leave. I felt, and still feel; that I had committed no sin. Especially against the church. Once I left, all of my Christian music brought pain of being kicked out of the church. All of my friends who were part of the church immediately stopped being friends with me. All my social events were gone. I was alone. I had not sought LGBT support because I didn't expect to need it...and once I did need it, I didn't know where to turn. 
Shortly after, I lost my job because of the stress of being proselytized at work by my co-workers, being shunned by co-workers. My father once showed up at work screaming at me about my "fruity life". My partner showed up at my work suicidal a few times, and needed me. 

My anxiety was through the roof.

At only 18 years old and in my first apartment; having a strained relationship with my parents, not able to see my sisters, friendless and jobless...yea; that was REALLY tough. 

After coming out lesbian to my parents our relationship was severed. For many years after  I had no contact with them. Almost never saw them. We patched things up after I left my partner of three years but under the patches were some scars left behind. I have had a very difficult time being open about most personal issues and pieces of my life.

When I came out as trans* I chose carefully who I would tell. How I would tell them. I had the support of my local LGBT center, and trans* support group. I had online support and read how others had come out, what had worked, what hadn't. 

As 28 I had a much better idea of how people might possibly respond. I knew myself much better; I knew what I needed in order to give voice to what was going on in my life. Has it gone well? Not really. My parents haven’t accepted my gender variance and don’t recognize my new name. I didn’t have that many friends, but those that I did have I was very very close and honest with, and it was easy to tell them. Luckily for me, they took it in stride and it wasn’t that big of a deal.

With my parents I sent them an email. That may not work for everyone, but I was fearful that if I tried to tell them over the phone, or in person, that I would stutter, or stumble over my words, or not say the hard things and not tell my full truth. Writing an email allowed me to do all that. I was able to save it, edit it, think about it, re-word things and include links that might help them to understand from sources outside myself.

When a person comes out (as anything, trans*, lesbian, bi, or gay) they often are exposing something they’ve kept secret. Something so integral about themselves, something they’ve buried and hidden; sometimes for many many years. To expose that piece of themselves, to bring it into the light when it has been buried for so long is to show you – the person we’re coming out to; a core part of ourselves that has no protection around it anymore. We had to tear that protection away in order to bring it to light. It’s altogether freeing, scary, amazing, and terrifying.

At the start of coming out, this piece of ourselves (at least, for me it was this way) it was as a new born baby. It is naked, exposed, and without much defense. Something that is so important, but has remained a carefully kept secret.

When someone close to me rejects this about me, they have struck out at that new born baby who is lacking any defense. That hurts in a huge way.

In the next few blog entries Cyndi and I will be talking more about coming out. More personal stories, more information for the trans* person who wishes to come out, and some information for those who might have someone come out to them. How to behave in that moment, what things you might consider saying, and how to follow up with that. This is a huge topic as I said at the top. Hope you’ll stay tuned. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Bisexual and Pansexual..same thing? ~Sevan

I've noticed an issue that seems to be coming up to a fever pitch lately...and it's an issue between two sexual identities. Bisexual

 and Pansexual.

What I'm hearing so far...the argument goes a little like this:

Pansexual: Since Bi means "two" it's binary, and not inclusive of trans* and other identities.

Bisexual: That's not true!!! How dare you tell us what our identity is! Bi can mean two..sure, but as in "same as, and different than...which includes everyone!

Pansexual: Dude...chill out. It's fine if you don't dig trans* people...every gender/sex isn't for everyone. It's fine. Don't sweat it.

Bisexual: Why are you being insistent on Bi-erasure!!!!

Ok so that's a SERIOUSLY over simplified version, and only from my perspective...and I'm pretty sure I'm missing some of the information since this whole disagreement really makes no sense to me at all. The way I'm seeing it is that many Bi people seem to feel/believe that Pansexual IS the same as Bi, and therefore, there's no need for the additional sexuality.

Also, bi-erasure is in there somewhere...and trans* politics being put above bi politics is also in there somehow.

Now that it's all clear as're on the same page as me.

As a trans* person, let me tell you about some of the relationship types I've seen. I've met a couple who was straight. One was pre-everything trans woman, and a cis man. His sexual identity never changed to encompass his trans wife, because she's a woman regardless of her body.

I know a few couples that are gay men that are with trans guys, and they felt no need to change their sexuality due to dating trans guys...because trans guys are GUYS.

As a genderqueer person, who's married to a trans*woman. I personally identify as pansexual. In LGBT spaces I often identify as Queer because it's easiest...I'm genderqueer, I'm pansexual, I'm polyamourous...I'm Queer!

If someone's identity is bisexual, and they feel they can and/or have been attracted to trans* people and feel their identity is bisexual. Awesome. That's great for them. I would never presume to tell someone what their identity is.

To me, looking at a word in a literal means two=binary man/woman system. That's what it means to me which is why I don't feel it fits me. If it doesn't mean that to you, that's ok. We don't have to use just one word at a time to understand each other. We can, in fact...have whole conversations with many words in order to get our point across and see eye to eye.

Once again I'm so happy for the community I'm a part of. The organizations I interact with actively seek out participation who are gay, lesbian, bi, and trans*. All are equal and important. I don't understand why it seems to be this way elsewhere, or at the very least...just that some seem to feel it to be this way. We really really can get alone and work together for better visibility. Honest.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Pronouns (yes...again.) ~Sevan

Let me first say....that yes, even *I* have gotten rather tired of thinking about/talking about pronouns. However...the more I express myself, the more I speak about transgender issues and genderqueer life...the more people have started to ask me "so then...what pronouns do you use?"

And I've been grateful, happy, thankful, and frustrated all simultaneously. Grateful, happy and thankful because "wow! You're asking me, and that's so respectful and awesome that you thought to ask!" and frustrated because..."Wow...I don't like the words I've got available to me."

So humor me, if you might...and let's walk through my process and it's gone thus far.

My line of thinking started with "Well, men and woman don't get to decide; Hey! I hate the pronoun he or she! I refuse to use those!!" That's never happened. (I don't think...maybe it has. That'd be interesting..) and as such, I decided that maybe ze/hir just felt weird because it was new, and that maybe instead of reinventing the wheel...I'd just stick it out, and surely I'd get used to their use and all would be well!

Yea...hasn't happened. In fact, I've grown increasingly unhappy with them. Particularly hir. I hate that every time I say "hir" I feel the need to follow that with "and it's spelled h-i-r." or if I write it down, I feel the need to follow it with "and it's pronounced hear".

I don't like the way it feels in my mouth. I don't like the way it feels in my ears. I thought I'd like it. I thought I'd come around with use and normalcy. I've not. Ze is ok...I don't struggle with that, though it's odd to me as infrequently as we use the letter "z" in almost feels like "Z's a weird letter that we never use...let's assign it to those weird people over there! How fitting"

And yea...likely that's just my mind. But that's what we're talking about right now isn't it? *My mind*, my process.

A non-binary acquaintance of mine has created the pronoun set "jhe/jher" but to my mind it sound...french. Or...something. I know it doesn't sound like it fits in English. I don't begrudge jher, and have no problem using jher set in reference to jher. I just don't like it for me. (though I would very much prefer ONE set that is for everyone...I have very little hope that's likely to actually happen...too many "hands in the pot" it were.)

In addition to this thinking process, and dislike of the words I've chosen to go with thus far...I'm rather unhappy to go back to all those people who have asked me what pronouns to use, and have done their best to use them, to please...switch.

That's what needs done though. That's what exploration is all about, isn't it? Going down a path to try it on, see if it fits, finding it doesn't, and trying something else.

So what do I propose instead? Why, I'm so glad you asked!

He She Ze/Ne
Him Her Per
His Hers Pers

As I said, to some extent; Ze doesn't bother me. The "Per/Pers" set does have "phe" that goes with it in place of He/She, but I can't really work with that so much. There was a time that I went by Phoenix, and Phe was the short "nickname" for that...and so in my mind it just hearkens back to that, rather than being a proper pronoun.
Ne is a set I just recently came across and it fits nicely and easily into English, plus it doesn't have words that sound like it already in existence, (such as hir, hear, here) however oddly...when I read it: ne went to the store. My mind tries to make an "h" out of that "n". The mind is a tricky thing!! Also I'm a geek and I keep hearing in my mind "We are the knights that say NEIH!" Yea yea...I know. I've warned you, my mind is strange! Strange I tell you!! *hem*

Per/Pers has it's base in Person. Which I love! I'm always saying that I'd like to be seen as a person, rather than a gender...and bottom line, this set fits perfectly into that ideal. That base structure of the word also puzzles me as to where "Phe" then comes in...that has no base in Person. Hmmm. Then again...who wants to be refered to as Pe....No I. those who have walked with me, and used Ze/Hir in reference to me...thank you so much for that!! If you would work with me as I experiment, and walk down this new path that's barely worn, where few have walked before; I thank you for your understanding, and respect as I find what works best.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Gender expression examined ~Sevan

We've talked about many things about gender here on our blog. I think it's widely understood and accepted that gender identity center's in your brain. (as seen in the genderbread person)

Property of 

What I don't see discussed much is gender expression. In the picture it shows expression as being what's on the outside; clothes, piercings or no, make up or no, etc.
I've been thinking about expression alot lately and rolling it over in my mind. It's a tougher thing to tackle I think. In part because the way we express ourselves, how we present ourselves isn't just about gender. It's about you like clothes to fit. What types of materials you like, what colors you like, how modest you are, or aren't.
There are many things that go into how we express ourselves.
Not just gender. 
I have heard or seen folks judge trans* people based on the way they dress or look and deem them "not trans* enough" but that's wholly unfair. A. There's no such thing as "trans* enough" and B. How can you judge someone's innate sense of gender by the way they express themselves? Expression is rarely a full complete picture of a person! Ever heard "Don't judge a book by it's cover"? 
Let's step entirely outside of trans* people for a moment and look at the broad spectrum that is gender in general. 
Everything from women who enjoy skirts, dresses, make up and all things "girly" expression; to women who prefer men's clothing and more masculine pursuits. Then of course, everyone between those two points, and the many who like all of these things depending on mood and day. 
A "butch woman" is no more trans-man than a trans-man is a butch woman. Her butch expression has nothing to do with her gender, and everything to do with other parts of herself. I can't attempt to describe what this would I'm not her, and I'm not trying to paint anyone's identities. (which is pretty hard to do, and still use examples!) 
If we look at the broad spectrum of men's expression; from muscular "jock" expression, to t-shirt and jeans, white collar/suit expression, and drag queens. All of these men identify as *men* in their gender. I have heard a number of drag queens bristle and become upset that it's assumed that they are or, want to be women. 
So if we turn back to trans* people and the vast vast identities and expressions of those identities...any, and all expressions that you might see in cis-gendered people; you would also see in trans* people. 
Let me paint a picture for you. A trans* woman, who is also butch. I've met such people. I've also heard it said of such a person that "what's the point of transitioning?" This is an old way of thinking! The point of that in this person's mind, soul and heart of hearts...she's a woman. The secondary. We don't transition for presentation or clothes!! 
I have seen trans* men who enjoy being drag queens after they've transitioned. 
Expression is also not just a way of expressing gender. Many express their religion through their clothes and jewelry or tattoos. Many people use their clothes and other expression to represent their tastes in music, political affiliations, causes that are important, veganism. The list goes on and on. Many androgyn/non-binary/genderqueer identified people don't always enjoy the androgynous style of dress. I know I don't care for it. 
I'm not sure I can properly explain all of the layers that go into an individuals expression. Their gender is only a fraction of what you're seeing when you look at any person. While gender and transition is pretty important to most trans* people I know, it's still not the whole of them. They are more than the sum of their parts. Just as any other person would be. 
I've heard Cyndi say that even though she loves skirts, and prefers them, but worries how her expression of self will be received. I know I've worried more than once about how I'll be viewed. Especially when I dress up in a skirt along with a men's button up shirt and tie. 
It's really difficult sometimes to allow yourself to bring your expression in alignment with your gender identity, when those identities and expression doesn't match with social expectation. It's a tight rope walk sometimes.
I used WeeMee app to create my male and female an example of how I can vary from day to day. (though obviously...regardless of my expression, my favorite color is still blue. lol) 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Buddy's recuperation ~Sevan

We took Buddy to the vet for his surgical follow up and the vet said everything was looking great so far. His incision has closed up very nicely. We talked about the pros and cons of getting him a custom knee brace from OrthoPets. The vet wasn't familiar with the company or braces that fit properly for dogs and don't fall off. She said she'd look into them and we'd talk about it more as an option to further support his knee and hopefully help him move better and live without arthritis for longer. (I have no illusions that he'll be arthritis free for life. Not possible considering how much cartilage he lost in surgery)
We left with a bucket of glucosamine condrodien supplement (chewy treats) and instructions to help him work out more and more to build his leg muscle back. He'd been refusing to put his foot down for the longest time until I actually helped him and showed him it wasn't going to hurt to walk on it. He started limping a bit after that, but he preferred to hop.
We have been taking him up to the lake to go swimming as the vet said that was the best thing for him to rebuild muscle. My dogs have never been swimming and I wasn't sure he'd be much for it. The first time I took him he wasn't at all interested. Once he found that he could swim he became more interested. I let him swim against my hand in the shallows (I put my hand against his chest so he was just swimming in the same spot) and then let him get out, shake off and walk around a bit. Then I brought him back into the lake to do it again and he was more willing the second time.
We've been walking him on short walks to get his strength up. We've also got to watch him where weight is concerned. He's never been a fat or over weight dog, but the vet wants him to stay on the lean side. He builds thick muscle easily, and we have to watch that so he's not over heavy. He used to weigh 96lbs, and now he weighs 86. I told the vet I was shocked he'd lost so much weight, and she told me he shouldn't weight any more than he does now. Which I was shocked at because, as I say, he's not a fat dog...but he's usually much more muscular than he is now. So I'm not sure how I'm going to help him to keep weight off, but we'll try.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Gender Dysphoria ~Sevan

To my trans* readers...I'm sure you know exactly what Gender dyphoria is about, and you don't need me to tell you. light of the new changes to the DSM 5 that is switching from "Gender identity disorder" to "Gender dysphoria" many people outside of the trans* community are starting to talk about it, think about it and come to me and my community; to ask about it.

That made me realize that while I go and do speaking engagements and tell people about being trans*; I never bring up dysphoria. In my attempts to normalize and express myself, I leave out the pain my gender incongruity brings me.

So...let's attempt to bring light to it. Shall we?

First...let's define gender:

  • One's sense of self as masculine or feminine regardless of external genitalia. Gender is often conflated with sex. This is inaccurate because sex refers to bodies and gender refers to personality characteristics.
  • A socially constructed system of classification that ascribes qualities of masculinity and femininity to people. Gender characteristics can change over time and are different between cultures. Words that refer to gender include: man, woman, transgender, masculine, feminine, and gender queer.
(as always with are free to agree with these as stated, or disagree. This is my best attempt to define that which is pretty darn tough to define!) 

It's my feeling that dysphoria stems from being incongruent in both or either/or. So I'm going to attempt to tackle the first one. 

Gender dysphoria; simply put is the pain and discomfort/depression that comes from your body(sex) looking/feeling different than your brain (gender) tells you it should look/feel. For example many trans* people experience a "phantom" outline of their body as it "should" be. Cyndi (prior to breast augmentation) used to have phantom sensation of where her breasts should be. I have had phantom sensations in my genitals that don't match up with what's actually there. It's alarming, it's disarming and it's a reminder of what's not right...often in moments when you're not otherwise thinking about your gender. 

There is an inner sense of "wrong". I don't know that I can even fully express what goes on inside my mind and body when I'm in the worst of gender dysphoria. It comes and goes in waves. Often I don't see it coming. It sneaks up on me and pounces as if I am but a field mouse to be consumed. 
Thankfully transition and hormones have helped me escape the worst of my personal dysphoria, but this isn't enough for all people. Everyone is different, and experiences this pain differently. There are triggers, and they're like landmines that are nearly inescapable. If you are friends, or someone who's interacting with a trans* person, please don't blame yourself should you trigger a trans* person's dysphoria. Unless you knowingly did so, this isn't your fault. 

So if we take the knowledge of internal dysphoria; the incongruousness between mind and body and then layer on top of that the social constructs and ideas about gender/sex/stereotypes. 
Gender/sex is the base of the pyramid that informs almost all other things. What colors you "should" wear or like. What pronouns we use when referring to you. What familial terms we should use. (mom/dad, sister/brother, girlfriend/boyfriend etc) What bathroom you use. What toys you (as a child) are "allowed" to play with. Even our sexuality (terms) are informed by our gender/sex. A person who is "gay" is usually a man who likes other men. "Straight" is gender neutral enough, but pretty much all other terms are based on who you are first, then followed by who you like. There's a changing tide in those terms, which is fantastic...but they're not broadly used quite yet. (Gynophilic-someone who likes women, Androphilic- someone who likes men, Pansexual- someone who likes people regardless of gender. Etc) 

As a trans* person who goes through simple daily tasks gender comes into play. Going to the store and interacting with people; they will gender you. Often for a trans* person, the assumptions strangers make can be hurtful. Especially when piled on top of many other such mistakes through out one single day. It adds up. Then day after adds up. It's small stabs in already delicate, raw skin. 

When a person takes the steps to correct the incongruencies, and tries really hard to change their body and first they likely will not pass. The public doesn't see, nor understand just how HARD many try. How many hoops we must jump through. When society shames trans* people, or continues to gender us incorrectly...on top of trying SO HARD...that really hurts. I can think of a day early on in transition where I scrutinized myself up and down. Hat, face, binder, shirt, pants, shoe choices, movements, walking style, speech patterns....feeling finally confident that I'd pass, that I could do it...and not a single person I interacted with that day saw me as male. Not. One. That hurt. That just added up into my pile of past pain. As a non-binary person who doesn't really lean all that male...that was painful, but not such a big deal. Ok, if I'm not going to pass male...I'm just not going to go into public as male. Simple (for me) but for those who ARE binary, and try their hardest to pass, to be included as the gender group they are, to be gendered correctly...when that doesn't happen they don't have the choice to just not present that way anymore. That's WHO they are! 

I think some of the worst pain is when you have internal doubts, fears and pains be "confirmed" by outside sources. This is the point at which internal gender incongruence meets up with societal and outside incongruence. When someone "confirms" your fears about's sometimes very tough to recover that wound. 

Just the writing of this blog post dug into some of my old wounds and has left me a little raw. Though even in spite of that, I do hope that it brings some understanding of what dysphoria is about and maybe how we can all be a bit more sensitive, because we never know where someone is at in their internal process. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

He's home!

Buddy's surgery was successful! We just got him back after he spent a day at the vets rehabilitating. After surgery was complete they gave us a call to tell us how it'd gone. He'd also ruined %75 of one of his knee cartilage...which makes me so sad!! They have two cartilages, one on the left half of the knee joint, and one on the right half of the knee joint. So the right half is completely fine, but the left cartilage is the one that was we'll be doing our best to stave off arthritis, but it's pretty likely it's in his future. :(

He's home now and resting on the couch (his favorite!) he needed some help getting up here, but then decided to snuggle some. :)

He came and said thank you :) Such a sweet boy!!!

His incision. He's not messing with it so far, which is good because he's definitely a stress licker. We're actually having a hard time keeping Lily away from it! Silly girl.

Thanks to all who donated we were able to cover his full surgery cost! We do have just a little bit of credit card to pay off, but that's fine, no big deal. Thank you so so much!! I can't express how much it means to me.

The vet did warn us that it may be a breed deficit that makes it easier for these ACL injuries. As such, he may blow out the other ligiment. We're looking around at ways to protect him from this happening...and I've found a company that makes dog orthotics. I'm really considering such a thing for him, especially when he goes to the dog park, or wants to really play. I want him to have that option...and live his best life. We'll see if that's an option for him or not.

He's on the road to healing!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Tomorrow's Buddy's big day!

Tomorrow (Tues 8/13/12) is Buddy's surgery, so today I finished his crate. He's sleeping in it now, and thank goodness doesn't seem to mind it too much.
I cut up an old memory foam mattress topper that we had laying around and stacked two layers of that to fill the whole crate. Then I put his familiar bed (which is a bit smaller) on top of that, and covered all three layers in an old sheet (that I don't care about, so if he messes it up or tears big deal.)
We've got a nice new bed coming in the mail that I found online, and while it's big enough for this crate, it's meant for a dog that weights less than Buddy which is why I intended to keep these memory foam pads under it so he doesn't just sink to the ground.
I put it in our bedroom for the time being so that he's in the quietest part of the house. After about a week post op I think I'll move it into the living room so he can be around everyone.

Just for size's Lily in the middle of the crate:

And here's Buddy in it. He's not panting or seeming stressed to be there, so that's a good sign. I only plan to have him in for a few hours at most today, just so he can get used to the space. We'll put a small food and water bowl outside the back wall, and it's enough space for him to stick his head through for water or food. That way he won't knock it over inside his crate.

He'll go in first thing Tuesday for surgery and stay at the vets for observation for two days. I'm so nervous for him. He doesn't handle medicine or medical treatment very well...or hasn't in the past. I'm hoping he'll do fine! I have never been without him in this house...this will be very weird. (I've been without him when we travel, but never at home.)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Buddy's new crate/kennel

Yesterday and today I worked on Buddy's new crate. He had a metal one as a puppy but he out grew it very quickly, and he's such a mellow guy that we generally trust him to behave at home and not need to crate him. We tried to see if he still fit but...nope. He's too big, and can't turn around in that crate. So I had to buy or make him a new one. I had wood laying around and didn't need for it make the most sense to make one rather than buy one.
I intended it to be big enough for him to lay completely stretched out on his side, and be able to turn around easily; as he'll be limping or hopping post surgery.
I had to rearrange the house a little bit because our home is very very small and the crate is 46in x 33in. I also can't finish it until it's time to use it, because it won't fit through the doorway! Thank goodness I thought of that before finishing the front and the top. Here it is in progress:

I wanted to give Buddy a chance to get used to it some...and as soon as I saw him start stress panting I remembered how much he hates being crated. Oh boy. I can only hope it's somewhat better for him post surgery as he'll have been kenneled at the vet for 48hrs before coming home. I'll also have plenty of treats ready to stuff his kong with and crawl in and snuggle him. The slats on the walls are actually wide enough that he can stick his head out and get water or food. So I don't need to keep those in his crate with him. I'm also hoping to get him a new large bed that will fill the whole space, and be much fluffier and nicer than his current bed.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Buddy update

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all who were so generous and gave to our dog Buddy. We've got all the money we need for his surgery! He goes in on Aug 14th, and will stay with the vet and recover for two days, then comes the long hard road to full recovery and healing.

We have some wood at home that I intended to make a garden trellis, but I'm going to use that to make him a suitable crate instead. (rather than spend over $130 to buy him a new one that's large enough for him)

His healing time isn't going to be fun, but we're going to do everything we can for him to heal as well as possible.

Again, thank you so much for all the help!!!

I'll update his status again as we get closer to surgery, and keep everyone in the loop. He's been getting plenty of massage to keep his muscles less tense. We've been trying to keep him as mellow and quiet as we can as we get closer to surgery date.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Buddy update -Sevan

Oh my goodness!! What a (wonderful) whirlwind the last two days have been!!

First I wanted to thank, thank, thank those 62 people who have reached out and helped us. We've raised 7/9 of the money we need for Buddy's surgery! Most of that has been in $5-$10 that is ALOT of love for my sweet boy!

While we're almost there...we're not there yet. So if you have any money that you could spare to help Buddy get a surgery to repair his left ACL tendon and help him walk without pain...that would be amazing.

Any extra money we get will go to a local charity to help families who need assistance getting medical bills paid for their pets.

*Thank you, thank you to all who have helped us!! I've removed the donation button because we've met our goal!!!**

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My buddy needs your help ~Sevan

Cyndi and I don't have any children...we were both sterile before starting transition, and we're certainly sterile now after years of transition hormones. 

We do have fur babies though. Our oldest is Lily (dog) and she's been through just about everything with us. She's our therapy dog...always helpful, always happy, always cuddly. 

We've got two cats; Mo and Meep. Funny as cats always are. 

Then there's Buddy. Buddy came to us by accident. Running around a busy street. We took him in and started to find his no avail. We looked around for a foster home, or shelter that might take him. None would without putting him to sleep because he's part pitbull. We couldn't let that happen. He was such a sweet adorable guy...friendly, smart and playful. He didn't deserve to die!! 

So we kept him. He's been a great pal to me in my darkest times and in my happiest times. He's my hiking pal, he's my snuggly guy, he likes to sit in people's lap (all 95lbs of him!!) he'll lick your face and he's a gentle giant. 

We never planned to add him to our family...but the Universe has provided for him, and we've loved him. Now he's gone and wrecked his body a bit as he ran around in the sun....he's completely torn his ACL ligament in his knee. He needs surgery...and soon.

I know that these are tough times right now...and everyone is hard pressed for money. We're selling what we can, and saving where we can to afford this surgery for my boy. The sooner we can get his surgery taken care of, the better. It will cost us $900, and we're about 1/9 the way there so far. He's in pain...and it breaks my heart. That money will cover the cost of his surgery, his stay at the vet after surgery and his post op visit.

If you can find it in your heart to donate anything...even just $5 we would be eternally grateful.

It's so hard for me to ask for help. It's not like me. However, one can never expect help if one can't swallow pride, and ask for help. So this is my plea. For my boy. 

*No more donations are needed! I've removed the button because we've met our goal. Thank you, thank you to those that were able to help us!!!*

Soon I'll also be offering "Friends of Buddy" patches that I'll make and offer in my Etsy shop. That way, you can have something for your $, if you wish. I'll put a link up for them as soon as I'm done with them.

Thank you for reading, please share this so as many people can see it, and hopefully we can get Buddy taken care of as soon as possible!

Any funds we recieve above and beyond Buddy's needs will be donated to ASPCA

*EDITED* I just got a call from the vet and Buddy has surgery scheduled for Aug 14th. I really hope we can raise enough funds by then. Thank you so much to those who have already donated, and/or shared this post!!!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Shaving done right!

To get a really close shave: before you shave do a hot moist towel pack over your face for about 3-5 minutes. If the towels are cooling down before you feel a distinctive tingle in the skin then have an extra hot towel ready. After the tingle starts (feels good doesn't it?) then apply your shaving cream/gel/oil or whatever you use and start shaving. Men's facial gel is meant to keep the pores open and "masculine" which certainly is not the look our ladies are going for. I like Aveno because it keeps the redness down and does not open the pores.

After the shave, use some witch hazel. Yes, there is a very mild sting on the places you have nicked yourself. (don't nick yourself, use a good razor)

5 minutes after you have used the witch hazel you should start to feel some dry tightening in the skin. This is the time to apply your moisturizer. Wait until the drying tightening before moisturizing, as this is your pores all closing up, which is good because you do not want to moisturize with the pores open as this leads to zits and black heads.

If you plan to use make up wait 10 minutes after moisturizing before you put on your face.

If you do all this, you will get the closest shave of your life.

Now let us talk your razor should be a man’s razor as women’s razors are crap, designed to be only good for a couple of shaves and they dull fast. It should be at least a 3 bladed razor. The Gillette Mach 3 is a good disposable that will last a number of times before you throw it away. The Gillette Fusion and the Shick Hydro are both good razors that will provide many uses before they crap out on you.

Hackers suck

Seem that someone tried to hack this blogger acount last night and failed.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sorry I haven't been posting

I am sorry that I have slacked off on posting here on the corner.

I will try and cook up a new post soon.

Just life has been busy. Pride month, Sevans birthday coming up, support group meeting, online advocacy and mentoring, and counsiling a mom of a 10 year old MTF that recently came out of the closet and my days have been full.

Hugz and luv,

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Facilitating ~Sevan

Let me first say...that I'm in no way posting this because this is the *only* way to do things. Some of these ideas are just things that are working for me as a facilitator...and I want to shed light on some of the "background" things that are involved for me, as a facilitator.

The first, and I think most to cultivate relationships with the people you facilitate. Get to know what they like, what they're about. The larger the group...the more difficult this really becomes. can always try.

Our local group has a facebook group that's attached, and I always make sure to "friend" everyone that's part of our facebook group so that I can see what they post about, and get to know them better. If I haven't seen them for a while at the meetings; I'll message them on facebook, or email and just check in with them and see how they're doing.

When you know the people in your group that you're facilitating then you know their strengths (or can try to..) and play to those strengths to get them more involved. When they're involved they can feel like they have partial ownership of the group and contribute to the outcome.
Who knows tumblr really well? Who enjoys photography and can create pictures of events? Who's good with Html and can help with any web presence? Who's warm and inviting and can act as greeters at meetings?

One thing that I try to do...and it may seem very small but I think it's important...and that's to show your own humanity. I never pretend to be perfect. I never even try. If I feel like I'm being put up on a pedestal...I try to take that with grace, but remind them all that I'm human. I fail. Plenty. I think that's important because if you're up high on a's a long hard fall when you do fall...and you will...because that's being human!!

Networking is very important. Getting to know other facilitators and leaders of other similar groups in your area is really important. As facilitator of a trans* group we've gotten to know the board of the LGBT center quite well, the board members of OutSpokane (the organization that puts on PRIDE, among other events) etc. We've also created relationships with other trans* groups around our state so that we know how they do things.

I've created a sign in sheet that includes birthdays. I make sure to remember when birthdays are coming up, and bring that to the attention of the group so that we can celebrate, or at least get a card and recognize their important day.

Look forward to events. Make sure to plan ahead with plenty of time. We started planning for our first Pride booth about four months ahead of time. That gave us time to create educational materials, posters, a banner etc without stress. It also gave us ample time to slowly accrue the cash for those things. Transitioning isn't cheap and I never want to add financial stress to group members (if I can help it..)
As not all trans* people are gay/lesbian/bi it's a good idea to look for events that aren't LGBT geared. There's a diversity celebration in Aug locally that we're planning on participating in.
We're also planning to invite other organizations to join with us in creating our own event for Transgender day of Remembrance. Our local community is supportive and accepting and welcoming them to help us create an event gives them the opportunity to show that support in a visible way. I think it will likely go very well. :)

I'm sure I'm missing a number of things but that's a good enough list for now.

Above open, be present and be available to listen and encourage people to share. Giving people a chance to feel really heard is sadly's a gift.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Trans* flag ~Sevan

I know I mentioned how our trans* group had been working on a new flag to represent our community. Well we worked on it further and finally came to a solid conclusion for a design. I'd love to see it spread! So frequently I"ve heard complaints about the most well known trans* flag:

The complaint about that flag is the colors. They're "baby colors". I think the creator of the flag was trying to express that most trans* people were born in the wrong body. I can't know I don't know the flag's creator. What I can do though, is make my own version of a trans* flag that might resonate with people more. I enlisted the help of my local trans* support/social group and we came up with this:

The top two stripes represent male (blue) to female (pink). The purple represents non-binary and genderqueer people (as the genderqueer flag colors are green, white and purple) the thin white stripe represents all people as well as the "line" trans* folks cross during their transition. Then the female (pink) to male (blue) along the bottom.

We've made a banner to march with for Pride and we've got small 5x7 flags that we'll wave as we march.

If you like this flag, if you feel that it represents you; then please share it widely! I'd love to see this flag gain ground and take off!!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Visit to the ER ~Sevan

Monday was a rough night. :( I'm really out of shape; so Monday afternoon I went for a long bike ride. Much longer than I guess I should have...and I was breathing really hard and really fast. Five  miles of hills. I was pretty proud to have done it, and all without getting off my bike! 

We went to the awards that evening; and so when we got home from the awards my chest was  hurting. I figured it was heart burn from those spicy meatballs. So I took some tums and went to bed. The night was so awesome that I  literally fell asleep with a smile on my face. 
I was up and down all  night and the pain got worse and worse and started going into my back,  my jaw and down my right arm. I started to panic and freak out I woke Cyndi up and told her what I was feeling. We were  both afraid I was having a heart attack (no matter how unlikely that  was...) I actually knew about pleurisy and kinda thought that might be what was going we headed to the ER. I was so afraid I was going to just be told it was indigestion and sent home and I'd be so embarrassed for wasting everyone's time! (not to mention the cost of an ER visit...I JUST finally got all paid off on my last visit. Dang it!)

When the doctor came in they checked me out, checked on my heart, breathing and tapped around on my tummy. After he did that he looked at me and asked "are you a sex change patient?" 

Um...what?! o.O I was tired, in pain and confused...I have never heard anyone put it that way. My first thought was "no. I'm an androgyn. I don't plan on having sex change operations..." but I just literally didn't know how to answer his question! He must have seen the confusion on my face and asked a follow up question, "Are you genetically male?" 

To which I responded "Oh!" he explained about estrogen having cardiac risk. So...ok. Makes sense...I guess. 

This doctor has treated Cyndi before, and Cyndi was there with me (and he knew Cyndi's trans*. She's open about that.) I was wearing jammies, a tshirt and have been growing out my facial hair. I never bind my breasts...and most certainly don't bind to go to the ER when I'm feeling so crappy! 

We hung out, and watched videos on Cyndi's kindle. They brought in this numbing liquid to see if the pain was indigestion, but it didn't help. 

So they assumed it must be pleurisy and gave me an anti inflammatory shot and that totally worked. My hands have never tingled that bad ever. It was really horrible. We came back home around 4:30am and went back to bed. I slept until noon  and then just relaxed on the couch. 

The doctor didn't explain  pleurisy very I googled it and the first thing I saw was  it's connection to RA and Lupus. Hmmm. So I called my GP's nurse to  tell her about the night's events and she said that my bike ride totally could have caused it...and that people can get it from having  colds where they cough too much, or pneumonia where they cough and  wheeze too much and that it's not just RA and Lupus related. *whew*  She told me I've got to take it easy for the rest of the week and to  be sure to take deep breaths even if it hurts so that I don't get a I'm not sure where this leaves me for Pride parade...we'll see. One  day at a time I guess.

The doctor's question "are you a sex change patient" will be with me for quite a while!! What a way to ask if someone's transgender...

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

2012 Rainbow awards ~Sevan

Every year Spokane holds the Rainbow awards. They're given out to an LGBT individual, an ally, a group, and the "over the rainbow award". (which I believe is akin to a life time achievement)

First there was a spaghetti dinner and we had so many people from the group show up that we had to steal seats and place settings from other tables. :) It was so wonderful to eat such a yummy dinner with my trans* family.
We moved from the dinner tables to the seating area to see the presentation of the awards. It came as a total surprise that those who were nominated also got certificates saying so! I was nominated for the individual award and especially after seeing who else was nominated I was so honored to be in such company. Here's me walking up to receive my certificate. I decided to go with a mens dress shirt and nice tie, paired with a long flowing skirt. One of my favorite :)

One of my friends was also nominated and got her certificate. Then it was the ally award. After that was the group award presentation. Once again, those who were nominated were really great groups and organizations that do AMAZING work locally. Hearing who was nominated it just stunned me that our little group won.

I went up and gave a speech telling the audience about our group, our achievements this year and how thankful I was (on behalf of the group) to receive such an honor. When I told the audience about how we'd grown from 3 people to 50 people in a matter of a year they all cheered and applauded! It was wonderful. :)

The "Over the Rainbow" award was handed out, and then they also recognized a wonderful volunteer who's really gone above and beyond the call.
After the awards were handed out, we stood around as a group and talked about how amazing it was to be recognized. I asked everyone what we wanted to do with the award. A few of my friends insisted that the award was for Cyndi and I. They recognized the work we do and that the award was for us. I was so touched!!
One of the women from the audience came up and congratulated us on the award. She also told me that she'd recommended *this* blog to her friend! I'm often amazed who reads this, or visits!!
A little while later I got a chance to chat with one of the LGBT therapists who used to lead a trans* support group. Cyndi and I had visited the group once but didn't really connect with the style. Nice people, just not a setting that suited me. Well as we caught up she told me that she didn't do her group anymore, and had been sending people our way. She also said that in all the time she's been coming to the Rainbow trans* person or group had ever been honored. That we were the first. That she was so proud of what we're doing, and she trusts we're doing great. Wow. That was amazing to hear.
We left the awards smiling ear to ear. We took a few of our friends home so they didn't have to ride the bus. Conversation was good and more affirming about the work Cyndi and I do.

I literally fell asleep smiling.

Here's my certificate of recognition.

Here's our certificate of award for the Group. :) They even made sure to include the asterisk! :)

The award itself. So pretty! It's hanging at our house. I'm beyond happy and honored. Yea. Honored. That's the perfect word to describe how I'm feeling.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Cyndi and Sevan on the radio!

An hour video ended up fitting into five videos. Please excuse the crude edit job...I've never made videos before and we all talked so fast in the radio show there was nearly no breaks or pauses that would fit into editing nicely! Anyway. Here's the first video:

The second video:



And the final video:

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Spokane Trans* People documents ~Sevan

Hey all!
So I'm the facilitator of my local trans* support/social group. I think I've mentioned that a time or four. ;) So in prep for Pride we've been creating many documents for us to share, as well as our own version of the Trans* flag! I'd love to see our hard work shared and used to educate and bring people together.

Here is a PDF brochure that's aimed at educating allies.
Here is a PDF brochure that's a 101 introduction to MtF identity.
Here is a PDF brochure that's a 101 introduction to FtM identity.
Here is a PDF brochure that's a 101 introduction to Genderqueer/Non-binary identities.
Here is a PDF hand out that's a glossary of terms for transgender concepts.

Last but most certainly not's our version of the trans* flag.

From top to bottom the colors represent MtF (Blue, to pink) Non binary identities represented by the purple and white stripe, and FtM (pink to blue)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Finally a new transition update! ~Sevan

:) Enjoy! Sorry it took so long for me to get back to videos...eesh!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The double standard of trans dating.

There is a double standard in the trans community when it comes to our lovers.

If a woman is turned on by a trans gender persons body and is happy to be in a relationship with a trans person she is hailed as progressive, a paragon of virtue with an open mind.

If a man is turned on by a trans gender persons body and is happy to be in a relationship with a trans person he is labeled a deviant, a predator and the ultimate 'insult' a chaser.

Just pointing it out.
It looks like an ugly thing to me.
Whats your opinion?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Let's be clear. ~Sevan

HIV is a managable *chronic illness*. It is NOT (for most people, hopefully me included) a *terminal illness* any longer. used to be. And we grieve those people who lost their lives in horrible ways thanks to this disease. However...thanks to the many wonderful strides we've made in health care and medicine; and our understanding of the disease; it is no longer considered terminal by most medical practitioners who deal with this disease.

It is chronic, and managable.

Does it suck? Yes. All chronic illnesses suck. This is no different.

Do I think about it every second of every day? No.

Do I even think about it most days? No.

Do I think about it when I must consider other secondary infections/disorders that I have? Yes.

Do I have to consider my HIV meds when thinking about adding new medicines into my regiment? Yes.

Is it going to kill me? I really don't believe it will.

Did you know that a cure is being worked on and is functioning very very well in mice? Read more here

I can't be all down trodden about this diease. I can be an advocate. I can educate people about how different it is now from the disease it was in 1985. It's not the same.

Then again, lepersy isn't the same...but people still assume it is. (Did you know lepersy is curable? if you actually get it, there are simple cures for it!)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

In which I talk about paps. ~Sevan

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Dr. Oz "Transgender Families" ~Sevan

Today's Dr. Oz show dealt with transgender issues. I was nervous when I first saw the title "Transgender Families: When my husband became a woman" but I have always been of the mind that "any press is good press" if it's presented in even a slightly positive light. This show left me very sad however.

I understand what a vast and huge issue it is to tackle gender and transgender issues in a 101 setting. I just spoke to the youth at a local LGBT center about transgender identities and it's definitely a challenge!
As someone who's not surgically tracked I was very dismayed that they portrayed "the surgery" as the end all/be all. Calling it "the point of no return" and not even MENTIONING all the hard work of therapy, hormones, hair removal and social transition that precedes bottom surgery.
Also there was not a single mention of FtMs or the other vast variety of identities that the Transgender umbrella encompasses. Literally not one sentence about FtMs. Amazing! Based on the title I knew it was going to be trans-female focused. I was prepared for that. I don't even think it's a bad idea to par down the overwhelming topic of transgender identity/life. To not even mention it once though? I was surprised. Even Dr. McGinn; who preforms surgery for transmen didn't mention them.
I am impressed by the three women who bravely shared their lives with us on this show. They answered the questions with grace and kindness. They were well spoke and I really appreciated their stories. I'm so glad that we can see such pillars of our community represented. I just wish Dr. Oz had done a bit more, and stretched a bit further rather than sticking to the "the surgery" line of thinking.
Not everyone can afford surgery. I feel as though his presentation shows the masses that you are a man until the day you enter the surgical suite. That "the surgery" is what makes you a woman. This is false and incorrect! This is bordering on harmful. All three of the women profiled were lucky enough, and had the ability to work hard enough to afford that surgery and healthy enough to go through with bottom surgery. Not every woman is so lucky or able! Are they any less of a woman? No. They are not. Their identity should be just as valid, and in my eyes...*is* just as valid.
Thank you Dr. Oz for tackling such a topic, however you fell short of what I thought you could do with this. I know that many people listen to you who might not hear anything about transgender people at all and so I appreciate the attempt...but I'm sad at all that was missed, avoided, or shuffled under the rug.