Men’s Washrooms

24 03 2009

As soon as I started to be consistently read as male and started to see that my presense in the women’s room made women seem uncomfortable, I ventured into the men’s washrooms. I haven’t found it particularly stressful. I don’t worry too much about whether other guys can see that I’m sitting to pee by the way my feet are pointing. I figure that even if they did notice, what guy in his right mind would call me on it?

It’s only stressful in two ways. One is when I’m with my son. He knows that he’s supposed to call me Jacky instead of Mommy in the men’s room. I’ve explained to him that some people might get mad if they heard him call me Mommy because it would make them think I’m a girl. But sometimes he slips.

The other stressful thing is when all the stalls are taken. Since I have to sit to pee, urinals are not an option. Men’s washroom etiquette seems to dictate that you don’t wait for a stall. The one time I stood and waited I got tons of weird looks. So I leave and come back. But when you really really have to pee that can be pretty stressful.

I haven’t practiced peeing with my Stand To Pee device very much. I should because I’m starting to see the practical applications  of learning to pee standing up. It’s not that I attach that much value to it as such but being dependent on there being a free stall when there are sometimes only one or two compared to four or five in women’s rooms (as was the case in this particular mall) can be quite the stress. Not to mention that when men use the stalls they take forever. What, do they carry newspapers with them  everywhere?? 😀

That Testosterone Thing

18 03 2009

While I’m not completely against the idea that our biology (genes and hormones, for instance) have some impact on our emotions and reactions, I’m certainly not a biological determinist. Like most social scientists, I think that our emotions and behaviour are influenced by a multitude of factors and that this happens in such an intricate and interwoven way that  it’s impossible to isolate one single cause for anything.So when I started reading about the impacts of testosterone, I kept an open mind but I refused to swallow everything that I was reading about it whole.

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Miscellaneous fun stuff

12 03 2009

Miscellaneous things that make me chuckle:

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There’s nothing special about being a guy

11 03 2009

Back when I first start alluded to the fact that I was seriously thinking of sexual transition to a colleaugue/friend of mine, his reaction was: “What’s so great about being a guy?” We’ve talked a lot in the meantime and he gets it now, but I know there are people who assume that people who transition do it because they think there is something “better” about being of a particular sex.

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Being part female and being a feminist

8 03 2009

So here’s another ongoing funny thing in my life as a guy: the surprised reactions I get to my feminist statements. Both men and women are surprised when I denounce patriarchy and androcentrism, or when I talk about my training in feminist anthropology.

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Life without hips

7 03 2009

Yes, I had read all about the fat redistribution that happens with testosterone treatment. I thought I was prepared for it but YIKES! My main gripe lately (always with a chuckle and tongue in cheek) has been: “No one warned me about how hard it is to live without hips!!”

I used to use them as a sort of shelf to help me carry things. No more. Last time I tried, a few months ago, the box just slid down. Now I get why men carry boxes by holding them up on one shoulder. It’s not macho, it’s just the only shelf they got!

And PANTS! Sheesh. Makes me wonder why, traditionally, men have been the ones wearing pants. Even with a tight belt, I have to pull up my jeans CONSTANTLY. Of course, it doesn’t help that I wear binders made of sleek material that probably enables the sliding even more but still . . . I’m thinking of making a bold fashion move and bringing suspenders back in style! Not slung down under the hips like my butch brethren either, but actually in functional mode!

Oh well. I always like to look on the bright side of life so . . . on a final note . . . it sure as HELL beats having periods. 😀

Reconciling motherhood and being a guy – the epic goes on

7 03 2009

Here and here I wrote about the mental gymnastics involved in reconciling motherhood and being a guy. Now that I’m at the point where I’m very rarely read as female, it’s becoming even more interesting.  Last summer, at a glance, people would read me as male much of the time but could still easily see me as female. If they heard my son call me “Mommy”, then it just confirmed my femaleness for them if they weren’t sure. Now, though, people are honestly confused and get a deer in the headlights look on their face when I’m with him and they hear him call me Mommy. It’s actually pretty amusing. Even the people we already know are subject to mind fucks when he refers to me as “mommy” and “he” in the same sentence. Or when I do something nice and, in that way that kids mimic adults, he says: “Good boy, Mommy!”

One fun anecdote was when I took my son to see a doctor recently for a minor problem he was having. Being the friendly little boy that he is, went up to the doctor and introduced himself. Then he said: “And this is my Mommy.”  The Dr. gave me a quick look, then took my son to the examination table to give him a check up. When they came back to the desk, the Dr. peered at my over his glasses and asked me what my name was. I told him Jacky, which, of course, didn’t answer his mental question about my gender. “Why does he call you Mommy?” he asked. “Because I’m his mother,” I offered, with a sly smile. “Are you female?” he asked bluntly. I replied that I used to be female, not wanting to go into long drawn out explanations. A light bulb went off and he excitedly told me about an acquaintance of his that was going the other way and yadda yadda.

I left amused and confident that my son and I will have many more years ahead of us of amusing anecdotes. But it also left me with the usual thought that, when I’m with my son, it will never be possible to blend in. It’s ok. I’m not resentful. His well-being is more important to me than anything and part of that well-being is the reassurance that I’m the same person for him that I always was – Mommy. I’m willing to pay the price of other people’s confusion to preserve that.