Elias takes the DEC to court – Please help!

24 01 2011

From my friend Elias:

Hi friends, community members and allies,

As some of you already know, I’ve been in a battle with the Registrar of Civil Status of Quebec over my legal sex designation for the past few months. There are many serious problems with this department, including arbitrary/inconsistent decisions due to bureaucrats interpreting articles 71 and 58 of the Quebec Civil Code however they want – therefore getting to decide what consists an appropriate sex change for trans men, getting to decide whether to add a first name to a birth certificate instead of granting an actual change of name to trans people, general ignorance about trans issues and surgeries, unwillingness to dialogue with the community and medical professionals, hostile attitudes towards trans people from some bureaucrats, long wait times, barriers for non-citizens, and more. It’s a serious nightmare.

I have undergone a bilateral mastectomy, am on hormones and have paperwork attesting that I meet the criteria for GID – I submitted all of that info to the department. I was initially refused a sex change on the grounds of not having undergone phalloplasty. I contested this in writing because it has already been established that they cannot ask it as a prerequisite. They then revised their decision to state that I could not be granted a sex change because I had not undergone a total hysterectomy – as I type this, it is mandatory for trans people to be surgically sterile to be granted a change of sex in Quebec.

I am now going to court to challenge the constitutionality of the Civil Code article that dictates what conditions must be met to access a change of sex. Coercing trans people into getting surgeries that they might not want (or cannot get) is a gross violation of our human rights, and and I have witnessed the devastating consequences that having mismatched paperwork can have for some trans people. It is necessary that compulsory sterilization be abolished in order to comply with the Canada and Quebec Charters and to insure that trans people are granted their full citizenship. This is an unprecedented opportunity for Quebec to amend it’s Civil Code to ensure that it doesn’t contradict itself by protecting against unwanted medical treatment while simultaneously enforcing compulsory surgical treatment against a segment of the population.

Despite the fact that my lawyer is doing this at a reduced rate, significant costs are being incurred. I am willing to put as much of my own money into this while it is ongoing, but my monetary resources are limited – it wouldn’t be possible for me to do this without some financial help. In addition to throwing a few fundraisers over the next year, I have set up a donation page at http://tiny.cc/eliasdeanfund in order to cover fees incurred on my behalf during litigation.  This case is important for our community and could change the grounds of legal sex recognition in Quebec – if you can afford to contribute, please consider doing so. I make a living as an artist, and donations of 25$ or more will get you an original drawing or a print of your choice.

The outpour of love and support I’ve been receiving has exceeded my wildest expectations – I wouldn’t have the strength to do this without you and I want to express my deepest gratitude to all those who have reached out to me. A website (www.eliasdeanchallenge.com) will be up shortly to provide updates about the case for those who are interested.

In love and solidarity,


Why I will go out of town for top surgery

7 01 2011

Trigger warning: fatphobic and classist incident.

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My hysterectomy – March 25, 2010

4 01 2011

Don’t worry, nothing graphic! Just thought I’d describe my hysto experience for the benefit on anyone who is planning on getting one. I won’t go into whether or not a hysto is medically necessary for trans guys. I know there’s some debate out there. The majority medical opinion is that a hysto is necessary because of the increased risk of ovarian and cervical cancer caused by testosterone treatment. However, there are dissenting voices out there who believe that it’s not necessary, or that there isn’t enough proof of the necessity. I respect everyone’s choices in this regard. For myself, I didn’t feel like taking the risk. Also, I was getting the worse cramps of my life, especially when my girlfriend, L, was on the rag. I had some pretty bad period cramps in my day – the incapacitating kind. But these brought me to tears. They reminded me of labour pains.

My endocrinologist, when I saw him in November 2009, said that I should think about getting a hysto in the next couple of years. He gave me the name of a gyno in the same building but, on the advice of a trans bro in Montreal, I went to see Dr. Tulandi at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal. I cannot be more grateful for that advice.

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Transition and non-binary identities

2 01 2011

S.E. Smith over at This Ain’t Livin’ wrote something that hits very close to home for me (and I’m betting for a lot of people in my social circle):

One very widespread perception about nonbinary people is that we don’t need to transition. Nothing could be further from the truth. While every nonbinary person is different and not all of us need or want to transition, some of us do, and we cannot access support for transitioning without lying and prevaricating; to transition, we need to lie about our gender, because transition for nonbinary people is not recognised. As a result, those of us who want access to medical transition, to hormones and surgery, must pretend that we are binary and must be able to do so effectively enough to be ‘approved’ by the gatekeepers.

In the early stages of my transition, I remember reading very scary accounts by trans people where they were denied letters approving hormone replacement therapy by their psychologists because they weren’t able to demonstrate that they were “woman” or “man” enough to warrant medical transition. I heard of trans sisters who were bluntly told that they weren’t “feminine” because they always wore pants and no make-up and of trans brothers who were denied because they were attracted to men. I also read about all the lines one should feed the therapist to “prove” that they adhered to their chosen gender identity so that they could get their HRT letter. In addition to proving that they conformed to their chosen gender, the idea was also to prove that one was in a horrible amount of distress and needed to be “cured.”

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Sore throat after testosterone

14 12 2009

Looking at my blog stats, I see that about every week or so, people find this blog after running a search online for “FTM sore throat” or “sore through testosterone” or other similar variations. Since I remember not finding much information out there on this topic back when this was a concern for me, I figured I’d clarify my experience here.

I started T on May 26, 2008. Less than 2 weeks later, I had this very strange sensation in my throat. It wasn’t sore in the same way that it is before or during a cold, or after the first day back teaching when one has spent a summer not talking and projecting so much. It wasn’t really painful as such, just this kind of  . . . almost stretching sensation. I looked around and hardly found anything online about it. I asked my bio male friends if they had gone through this at adolescence but none of them recalled anything similar. I figured that it was the physical change to my vocal chords that I was experiencing. Soon thereafter, my voice took on a subtle huskiness and I often felt like I needed to clear my throat. When I discussed it here, a couple of brothers chimed in and shared their experience. In my case, it only lasted a few of months then my voice started to staiblise.

So, if you found this blog looking for info, I can’t give you any scientific explanation for it but I CAN reassure you that you’re not alone and, from comments I’ve had and the quantity of people who type that kind of search, it seems pretty much like stadard procedure. Best of luck to all my bros, old and new.

Pain in the . . .uterus?

3 08 2009

Any trans guys reading this who are on T and pre-hysto get menstrual-type cramping on occasion? It’s been happening to me more and more. Started a few months ago but was very infrequent. Lately, it’s been happening more. A week ago, it was so bad that I was in tears. I was actually having contractions like when I was in labour for a couple of hours. And, like when I used to have period pains or labour pains, I felt it in my lower back too. I read up a bit and some sites mention cramping in passing as a result of an accumulation of endometrial tissue in the uterus that is not being discharged by menstruation. But that’s all I found.

I will be making an appointment for a consultation with a local trans-friendly gyn-ob next week for sure. But in the meantime, I’d be interested in hearing if any of my bros out there have or have had this happen to them before their hystos.

A year + on testo

5 07 2009

I’ve been a very bad blogger. I know I could post more frequently and write shorter posts but I always wind up with a lot to say and I hesitate to start posts when I don’t have a lot of time to spare because I know I will wind up taking more time than I had intended.

So my one year testosterone anniversary on May 26th came and went with no commentary from me. The Saturday before, I had a multi-purpose party to celebrate my anniversary, the end of term, two friends’ birthdays etc. Other than that, it was pretty uneventful.

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On the phone

21 04 2009

I’ve been told that my phone voice is now unmistakably male and that it has been for a whole. Indeed, when credit card companies call (because they always have to call) looking for Nancy, I have to pretend to hand the phone over to Nancy for them to believe me.  And when I’m “being Nancy”, I revert to a voice that is as feminine as possible . . .I probaly sound like Nancy with a cold. But I “pass”. And it hurts my vocal chords.

Soon, I won’t have to pretend to be female anymore . .. if this bloody name change paperwork can finally come through!

Stubble! And sideburns!

14 04 2009

The last time I shaved all my facial hair off was in August 2008. Since it took about 3 weeks for it to grow back to a respectable (by my definition) length, I avoided shaving again. I got a trimmer nad have kept it trimmed, and only shaved the hair that grew higher up on my cheeks. I mean, not even a year on T and I have facial hair 2/3 of the way up to my eyes!! Haha. But that part that I would shave had been taking a while to grow back too.

So last Sunday morning, I shaved off those two small sections again and trimmed the rest, except for the sideburns. Two really cool things happened as a result:

  1. I now have visible sideburns and have noticed that the hair there is getting more rigid and less fuzzy, like real man hair.
  2. A day later, the hair that I had shaved off was already starting to grow back! Three days later, I feel the stubble and I can see the darkness underneath the skin where the hairs are starting to poke through.

sigh (Happy sigh, that is.)

Jacky hearts facial hair.

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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