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,

Elias





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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On adjectives

25 12 2010

For the first time ever, after I started my transition, I had to get used to changing the way I used adjectives in reference to myself when speaking French. Unlike English, French adjectives are gendered according to the gender of the noun or person that they describe. So, for example, the “green” in “green apple” is different from the “green” in “green curtain.” Pomme, or apple, is a feminine noun so a green apple is une pomme verte. Rideau, or curtain, is a masculine noun so a green curtain is un rideau vert.

It follows then that a feminine identified person would refer to themselves, when expressing fullness or certainty, for example, with a feminine adjective, as I had done all my life up until transition when saying Je suis pleine or Je suis certaine. Suddenly, as with the signature issue, I would catch myself about to use an adjective with a feminine ending rather than with a masculine ending. It took a while for things like Je suis plein and Je suis certain to come naturally. But eventually they did. As did referring to myself as my mom’s son rather than daughter and my siblings’ brother rather than sister.

Things wind up working out eventually.





On signatures

25 12 2010

There is a lot of stuff out there on various aspects of life during and after transition. Ya know, hormones, surgery, getting letters, changing names and sex designation, how to deal with family, colleagues, medical practitioners. All that stuff. But as with anything, there are things that you don’t realise you will have to deal with until they come up. Lots of little things.

For example, it struck me early on that I would have to re-learn how to sign my name! When I started having to sign Jacky XXXX instead of Nancy YYYY (HA! Ironic association of letters with genders there!), it felt so . . . weird. I hadn’t put any thought at all into my signature until my early teens, when I “naturally” adopted my own unique individual way of signing my name. Before that, I had experimented with different ways of “fancifying” my signature, with froo-froo ways of adding little twists and curls to the first letter of my first and last names and so forth. At some point, I wound up signing with a block letter (non-script) version of the first letter of each name, with the rest of each name in non-fancy script form. It stuck and, when I think about it, my signature reflects my general character: somewhat plain and straightforward looking on the surface, with ideosyncracies that become more apparent upon examination.

In any case, my signature remained unchanged for over 20 years. And as lots of us know, when one does the same thing over and over again on a nearly daily basis for that amount of time, it becomes second nature. Changing it on account of having to *think* about it can feel a bit unnatural. So, like the mistake many of us make in any given January when we write the previous year on our cheques, I started many a signature early in my transition with Na—. Then when I would cross out the mistake and start signing Jacky XXXX, it always felt a little like I was trying to commit fraud by signing someone else’s name. It took quite a few months before signing my new name felt natural, but eventually I was able to ease into signing with the same style that I had signed my old one for all that time. But even now, after a couple of years, I sometimes double check because I wonder if I accidentally signed Nancy YYYY!

So note to people embarking on this exciting journey of officially changing one’s name, for whatever reason: start practising your signature as soon as you pick your new name : )

I’d love to hear about other people’s experiences with changing their signature in the comments section!





I’m not dead …

23 02 2010

…just REALLY REALLY busy. There was that whole business with the show and now I have s bunch of conference presentations and workshops to prepare, and ethics review to get done before I can do fieldwork, and 4 events that I’m involved in planning. Then there are personal projects like a comic book zine and some videos and a web site to market my presentations.

So . .. yeah . .. not much time for blogging.

A couple of updates: my testosterone increased to 0.30 ml per week a little while ago. I hadn’t had an increase since I started in May 2008. My endo decided to up my dosage since I’m on Proscar to decrease hair loss. My bloodwork is all good, he says.

Speaking of testo . . . from May 2008 to December 2009, I never missed a Monday injection. In December, I finally missed a Monday. So I shot up on Tuesdays for about 3 weeks. Then I missed  Tuesday and did Wednesdays for 2, then . . .yada yada. This last injection was on Saturday after 2 Fridays. When I finally get back to Mondays, I wonder how long I’ll be able to stay there?!?!

In other news, ALL my cards now have Jacky on them. All I’m missing is a passport but I can’t afford it right now. And my name needs to be changed with the federal and provicial revenue offices. Then that’s it!

I have a date for a hysterectomy on March 25. After that, I will have the option of getting the M. I had decided against it for personal reasons but now I’m reconsidering. I’m really annoyed by having to explain myself everytime I need to show my driver’s license or health card anywhere.

There are tons of other ways I can blatantly genderfuck.

So we’ll see.

In local news, most trans surgeries are now covered in Québec. If I wanted to, in the next year or so, I could get top surgery and bottom surgery (either a meta or a phallo). But I won’t. I’m not interested in bottom surgery at all. Nada. As for top surgery, I’m not there yet.

And if I was, I sure as hell wouldn’t go to the one surgeon that performs trans surgeries in Quebec. I went to see him for a consultation last year and found him to be an elitist, arrogant prick. He treated me with contempt when he thought I was “just another working class joe” because of the way I dress and he became super “fake nice” – you know, the kind of nice like in the toothpaste commercials with the glinting teeth – when he found out I was an academic. All of a sudden, I was worth treating like a human being. But before that even happened, he wanted to look at my chest to give me an idea of the type of top surgery he could give me, depending on the size of my breasts. When I took my shirt and binder off, he got a look of disgust on his face. He said: “You’re way too fat, it’s ridiculous.” And he went on to say that he wouldn’t even consider me for surgery since he’d have to leave some fat under the breasts to match my torso. As though I were there for a “perfect” body.

As far as I’m concerned, he’d a write off. A lot of people like him but I know (and some other people that I know, also know) that he’s a class A prick. An elitist. So I will pay to go to Toronto or New York when I’m ready for top surgery before I put myself at his hands, even if Quebec would cover it. In any case, I’ve seen pictures of his top surgeries (and others) and am TOTALLY not impressed.





A letter I will be sending to a local clinic

6 01 2010

Hot on the heels of my previous post about medical treatment of transsexuals, here is a letter I will be sending to a local medical clinic after some horrific treatment I received today.  I have removed the name and address of the clinic to avoid any legal issues.

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100th post!

22 12 2009

So it took two years for me to get to my 100th post. Of course, a couple of my recent posts have been reposts so one could say this is cheating. On the other hand, if I count all the posts on my other blog, which I’m in the process of merging with this one, I’m probably at 115 or so. So there!

So here are some stats:

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Trans and dating non-trans?

21 12 2009

In my last post, I discussed some of the concerns that may arise for someone who is dating a trans guy. Lots of the points I dealt with are applicable to all relationships of course. But the point of the post was to respond to all of those people who find this blog by running a search for “dating a trans man.”

Since I posted though, it occurred to me that there are all these posts out there in the blogosphere full of people complaining about the lack of respect their non-trans partners show toward them. In many cases, I’ve wondered what kind of respect the trans person was showing their partner. I’ve read a lot of things that made me go “hmmmm.”

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Dating a transguy?

20 12 2009

Another common way that people find this blog is through running searches such as “dating a transman” and variations thereof. Most of them wind up linking to my post “How to date a transman” which, in turn, linked to an article by Raven Kaldera. (The original link was no longer working so I just replaced it.)

Anyway, I thought I would say a few words on the topic. I appreciate that there are so many people out there who are willing to read up on things that they might need to consider when they are dating a trans person. I think that reading various perspectives of trans people on dating can help you consider things that the person in question might be hesitant to bring up, especially if they are in early transition and still discovering for themselves what it means to A) be in their chosen sex/gender and B) to experience love, lust and sexuality in this sex/gender.

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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.