Retirement

9 12 2015

OK, it seems like this announcement is way overdue. I’ve kind of retired from trans blogging. I left this blog here because I thought that some of the posts about transition could be useful to some folks out there in cyberspace. It turns out I was right! A quick look at my stats shows that this blog has had thousands of views in the past year from many countries around the world!

I’m truly very happy that people find these old posts useful. It seems that a lot of people wind up here looking for information about the impacts of testosterone. Regardless of why you came here, I hope you found what you were looking for. As for me, this blog served its purpose by letting me process my transition and connecting with lots of trans bloggers.

If you’re interested in reading more of my stuff, I now occasionally blog over at Jacky Avec Un I-Grec (which means Jacky with a Y 🙂 . I actually imported all the posts from this blog over to JWAY. I now blog on a wider variety of topics but mostly personal musings that likely aren’t that interesting to anyone but me and people who actually know me. But there are some occasional posts on trans or queer related things, relationships, growing up in an alcoholic home, and basically whatever I feel like writing at the time.

Hope to see you there!





Living Semi-Stealth. Sort of.

16 03 2011

OK, so the whole posting every week thing lasted a grand 2 months. Not out of lack of things to say, just out of a lack of energy. As some of you know, I’m in the midst of doctoral research in a small community in Northern Quebec. Lately, I’ve been more and more involved in the community and have very little time to myself. And the little time I do have I (mostly unsuccessfully) try to keep as Jacky self-care time.

But I thought I would drop a line about how interesting it has been living “semi-stealth.” Back home, everyone who knows me knows that I’m trans. For the most part, it’s because they knew me before. But even knew people that I meet find out soon enough because I frequently like to joke around about “that time when I was in the girl scouts” or “when I was in labour” and so forth. Also, most new people I meet are some flavour of queer, or close enough, so that transngess and GQness is something that is pretty usual to talk about.

Living in a small community where there are few queers and where those who are queer tend to stay fairly quiet about it, it’s not something that has come up very often. People that knew me from prior visits know but, since they didn’t see me through the transition, memories of Nancy are far back enough to be somewhat irrelevant to them. An exception is a former lover who doesn’t really want to communicate too much out of discomfort because “OH MY GOD he had sex with a woman who then became a man, does that make him GAY?!?!” But I knew that this was going to happen before I transitioned, and I decided to transition anyway. I loved him, and still do, but chose self love over his love. So his reaction doesn’t really phase me. Other than that, my son, as always, calls me Mommy, which leads to some confusion, but most people have simply taken it in stride. The few people I’ve come out to, because it just came up, have taken it in stride as well. So…no big deal really.

Now, I don’t really care if people know. But since I don’t bring it up unless it comes up (like if someone actually asks me why my son calls me “Mommy” or the time someone actually mentioned a film by one of my trans idols, Lazlo Pearlman), I don’t wind up bringing it up very often. So most people in town believe that that A) I’m a guy, through and through – as opposed to a blend, which is how I actually feel and identify with people that matter – and that B) I’ve always been one. It’s a strange feeling for me, because I’m not into being stealth at all and I’m not used to people just assuming that I was once a little boy.

I am quite surprised that gossip hasn’t gotten around more…or maybe it has. Two of my students were conversing in their own language one time and I heard the term “sex change” pass between them but they didn’t look at me. So it might be that there have been rumours, but since people (students, their parents, colleagues) like me well enough, it didn’t wind up mattering.

Who knows. I still have a few months left here so all kinds of things could happen in the meantime. We’ll see.


 






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





“I thought you’d be interested in this.”

3 01 2011

Disclaimer: This post is meant as a humourous observation, not a complaint.

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A funny thing phenomenon began to happen at work when people finally wrapped their minds around my transition. To show how supportive and understanding they were, people sent me links to every single article on transsexuals and transsexuality they came across. It’s quite hilarious. I don’t know how many emails I got that were the subject line looked like: “FWD: insert news headline about transsexuality or a transsexual person here” and in which the contents read something like: “Hi Jacky, I came across this and I thought you’d be interested” followed by a link to something like Chaz Bono’s transition or Thomas Beatie’s pregnancy. Even more hilarious were the links to “Trans 101” type articles or articles on how to respect a trans co-worker.

But, since the spirit behind it all was well-intentioned, and since my colleagues were mostly supportive in spite of their difficulties in wrapping their brains around my genderqueer identity, I simply replied “Thank you” and left it at that. I didn’t point out that they were the ones who needed to read the “how to respect” and 101 articles. I just didn’t feel like getting into it. And it’s not that they were disrespectful, it’s that they were SO afraid to just come out and ask me questions in spite of all my reassurances that they could, so long as it didn’t concern my genitals.

The only time I reacted a bit differently, and it was just for fun, was when I met up with a co-worker for coffee. He handed over a magazine that his sister in law had given him to give to me because “she thought I’d be interested in this.” Right away, I spotted a headline for an article about an MTF reporter somewhere in the states and how she transitioned on the job. Yet, I looked at him quizzically and asked why she thought I’d be interested in a magazine about the business world. Anyone who knows me should indeed know better. He opened the magazine to the “appropriate page” with an incredulous look and that was that. He didn’t even get that I was screwing with him.

Oh well. I think I’ll start reciprocating and send all my hetero friends from work clippings from advice columns that specifically refer to heterosexual arrangements and say: “I thought this might interest you” and to all my cis friends from work (which would be all of them) clippings from magazines catering to their specific gender and say: “I thought this might interest you.”

Hey, it’s all in good fun. Cause sometimes, ya just gotta laugh.





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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Privilege and being taken seriously

30 12 2010

Tarald recently wrote an awesome post that I can really relate to. Tarald writes:

I like being the underdog and the outsider. But now it seems like I’m being forced out of this comfort zone of mine. I am not used to being a person of any significance, but now it happens that I am forced to realize that I am, in some contexts, that is.

And:

And then there is the thing about male privilege. I don’t like it. And at the same time I have acted as if I had it most of my life. Being percieved as a girl, this behavior only seemed charming, in a “feminist statement” kind of  way. It was never taken serious, and had a taste of irony attached. Now that I am recognized as male most of the time, this same behavior makes me seem like a dickhead, just like any other man using his privilege.

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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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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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The Stress of Stealth?

5 07 2009

It’s never been a part of my plan to go stealth although I’ve wondered what it must be like. I’m pretty open and, since I want to keep my job (tenure and security for life if I want it!), there is no way that I could have transitioned and be stealth anyway.

However, there are certain quarters in which I’ve tried to be discrete. I haven’t really been that open with my students, for example. Because of the perfect timing of me getting PhD funding and being able to take first, a part-time leave, and now a full-time leave, most of the physical changes necessary for me to be consistently read as male were done before going back to teach. And now I won’t be teaching for 2 years while I work on my doctorate. So there hasn’t been any need for me to deal with students so much.

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A Rant

7 05 2009

Please note: I don’t want advice. I don’t want to be told that I shouldn’t feel this way. I don’t want to be told how I should feel. So if that’s what your reflex is, please abstain from the comments.

I just want to rant to sympathetic ears (eyes?). If you can relate and share in the ranting, by all means. But I don’t want to be rational right now so no advice.

I can’t rant about this on Facebook. Too many people from work on there and some of them are the ones I’m ranting about. I really doubt that any of them read this blog . . .well, I know one does on occasion because he’s mentioned it but he’s not included in the rant because he’s gotten it right from the beginning.

So, on the surface, everything is great at work with regards to my transition. Everyone accepted me, no one gave me a hard time, it was all love and rainbows. A bunch of co-workers even came ot my transition party. So, no harassment, no discrimination. One colleague even said that he thought that it was cool that if anyone in our department did manifest problems with what I am doing, they would be the one to be ostracised. Yes. What a nice, progressive lot.

And, yeah, it’s true that I really can’t complain about that overall vibes.

But.

Fuck.

After ALL this time, when are they going to get the damn pronouns right?!? I was patient for a long time. And lots of them do get it right. In many cases, I don’t know because I’m not there if people refer to me in conversation about work related things. When I’m not there to glare as mistakes, do they even correct themselves if they say “she”?

Anyway, what set this off? I got “she”d by three different co-workers today. Three. 3. Trois. Drei.

In one case, the person corrected herself immediately and moved on. Good move.

In another case, the person corrected himself after I gave him a look of death and said: “What?!?!” But I got that look of “Whatever, it’s not such a big deal, just deal with it.”

In yet another case, the person said “she” to a person I had just met, a relatively new employee who, undoubtedly had read me as male until that moment as 100% of people that I meet have been doing for MONTHS now. Can you say confusion and in need of explanation now?

That’s the thing. When they screw up and I point it out, they don’t even understand why it’s important. I’m the one who is seen as making a big deal out of it but they don’t even realise, or want to it seems, that it’s like they just stuck a knife in my chest, knocking the wind right out of me with their lack of recognition of my gender. And it’s even worse when it comes from someone that I had considered a friend. Someone who has always claimed to “get” me.

Well, if you get me so much, how can you not get that it IS a big deal when you consistently verbalise an identity that is no longer mine, by the same token demonstrating that you can’t see me for who I am?

Why do you NOT get that you complicate my life in relation to new people when you “out” me and force me to have to explain to the new person who I am? When you remove my power to disclose to new people when I see fit?

We, trans folk, are told all the time that we take it too personally when people screw up our pronouns. Most of us are understanding in the beginning, though. And yet after over a year, when people still screw up, you start to wonder.

I understood that when I still had a delicate girly face and a girly voice it was hard to read me as male. I was patient. I didn’t make a big deal out of it.

But christ, I have a fucking beard now. I have a deeper voice. My chest is bound so tight that sometimes it’s hard to breathe. I go through all this shit with the chest binding so that I can present myself to the world in a way that concords with who I feel I am and I’m the one that is taking it too personally, being impatient and making a big deal out of nothing?

In response to that I say FUCK YOU. You’re the one that is losing the privilege of knowing who I am. And I say privilege not because I think I’m any more special than anyone else but because I know that I’m as special as anyone else and that I have a lot to contribute to the lives of people that take the time to know me for who I am.

REMINDER of opening disclaimer:

I don’t want advice. I don’t want to be told that I shouldn’t feel this way. I don’t want to be told how I should feel. So if that’s what your reflex is, please abstain from the comments.