Archive for March, 2010

The trans attraction to sameness as a form of inspiration and aspiration

March 20, 2010

This note is in reply to Bleedingembryo’s YouTube Post:   Great News! Also, What Do You Wanna Know?

http://www.youtube.com/user/bleedingembryo#p/a/u/0/Bp8i8NQFtU0

Hi Kaleb-

So I gotta question for you…

I just had top surgery 5 weeks ago. I am aware that a component of my FTM transition is my own raised consciousness of the male anatomy. As I heal, and I look at my own chest, and compare it to other guys for muscle tone, nipple placement, contour, etc, I have actually becoming quite infatuated with the male chest (and the male form), I find myself staring at photos of topless Abercrombie & Fitch models, studying the nuances of a guys pecs, shoulders, biceps, and ab muscles, etc. I think this is mainly because I so want to look male and I am gathering visual information as queues to my own aspirational goals. But I also think that as part of my transition, I am becoming more interested in guys. Where as before, as part of the queer community I found that my “attraction orientation” was towards being with women, now I am shifting a bit, I am realizing a new kind of awareness of my own attraction for guys. It’s probably always been there, but in my own brave new world, it’s like all my systems are being re-calibrated and I am open to seeing and feeling with out constraints.

This fascination with “what defines what a boys looks like” is not totally new to me, from an early age (8-9 yrs old), I was passing as a boy with short hair, boys clothes, and putting a sock in my underwear so I could have that bulge. So being of boy energy as a youngster, I of course looked to the idealized male form by carefully observing other kids who I admired, movie stars, athetes, etc, for information on how to dress, stand, talk, gesture, who to date, how to treat a woman, etc.

Now that I have had my top surgery, it’s like I am returning to this great place of my youth, before I became so aware of how much my family and larger society couldn’t accept my true gender identity, and I am tapping into an energy and a joyful freedom that I learned to hide (for basic survival).

My question is, have you, or other transguys you know, had a similar experience? Do you think this attraction to sameness is something many transguys feel? Does this looking and appreciating the male form make us more open to feeling gay/liking bioguys & transguys? I have no problem with what kind of person I am attracted to on the gender spectrum, but I think the discussion of where we draw our attraction and appreciation and infatuation from is very interesting.

I also really appreciated your vlog (16 Days Post-Op & Other Fun Things) where you mentioned Brokeback Mountain and sexism. I wonder how the dynamics present in that film (and in the book by Annie Proulx) plays into this whole attraction phenomenon as well.

I’d love to know your thoughts.

Thanks.

~ jasper

Envision a world with out a gender binary (FTX)

March 19, 2010

I hope and wish that the world will soon evolve to a place where there is less and less need to define gender as a binary. No more commanding our children to subscribe to be either /or, this/that. Where a person as the freedom to choose their clothes with out pressure to conform to any specific gender.

Imagine a level of acceptance that transcends definition, and allows people to be appreciated for who they are, in context of a more fluid space of existence. Where gender neutral pronouns are accepted as familiar, normal, and with out prejudice. Where not knowing a person’s gender is not grounds for a reaction of insecurity, apology, or violence.

How long will it take until we will live in a world that allows for the wonderful and wide spectrum of gender expression? 5 years? 10 years? 30 years? If we keep working hard as activists, and educators, it can happen sooner.

Should I be taking the time and the rist to explain “it” to my brother’s kids, to my employers, to my parents and grandparents?

It would be nice if the general population appreciated that there was a gender continuum, but at the same time I don’t want to feel obligated to define myself at some location on said gender continuum.
Can’t we exist on all keys of the zylophone, and move around on it as we feel inclined? That is how music is made. That is how empathy is created. We try on different perspectives, it is part of how we evolve into more humane people. An enlightened, evolved human being understand others as they allow themselves to feel a wide range of emotion, a wide range of perception, see through the many colored lenses.  Looking at life from above, and below, from the dominant and the submissive, from the perspective of privilege and the the perspective of needing means we are truly multi-spirited, we are closer to becoming one with all that is.

So, here is my challenge to myself: I would like to always allow myself and others to be as fluid with their gender as they would like to be. To be free to move around with their gender day to day, week to week, year to year. To do this I imagine I/we all have to become more aware and conscious of the ways in which I/we judge people especially at first glace.

Imagine a gender ambiguous person such as myself, going into a bathroom with out stress of being condemned or attacked. Where security isn’t being called and a guard is not knocking on the stall. Where women noticing (me), are not clutching their children tightly and exiting quickly. Where there are no angry silent glares.  Or even when people don’t walk out to make sure they are reading the sign on the door correctly.

Where it’s all good…

Callen Lorde – An Excellent Health Center for Gender Queer People in NYC

March 19, 2010

I went to Callen-Lorde Community Health Center for the first time yesterday.  As an FTM I have found that most doctors struggle to understand my gender identity. Although I find most doctors well intended,  I have experienced several doctors displaying a high level of general ignorance to gender queer issues. Those doctors who are not downright hostile, seem more curious to examine me as an oddity than interested in really hearing me and helping me out.

So going to Callen-Lorde was amazing – in a good way!

I was NOT treated with the usual form with check box questions of: male or female. They totally acknowledge “gender queer” people and were very respectful about it. I found the whole experience quite pleasant actually despite being nervous about having to pay for it with out any insurance. (The fee was more than reasonable.)

This Health Center exists really to help underserved populations. For that reason if you have some form of decent health insurance they probably won’t take you. They are really there to serve those who have no health insurance.

My Doctor was Irina Linetskya, MD. She was excellent.  She was unusually kind and friendly to me, unlike most doctors who seem mildly angry at my existence. She was smart, respectful, and well informed. I highly recommend her and all the health care professionals I was lucky to meet at Callen-Lorde.

http://www.callen-lorde.org

Here is the info from their website:

Callen-Lorde Community Health Center is New York City’s only primary health care center dedicated to meeting the health needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities and people living with HIV/AIDS,
regardless of any patient’s ability to pay.
We are welcoming to all, regardless of sexual orientation or insurance coverage.

4 weeks Post Op – Top Surgery FTM

March 19, 2010

Okay so now that my seroma has been drained (which was indeed painless) things are looking better. I feel like it’s taking forever to heal, but apparently it’s actually all looking good according to my surgeon, Dr. Fischer (Timonium, MD).

Scroll down for photos from Week 4 Post Op– Note photos are graphic in nature and not appropriate for viewing in public spaces. Might be gross and make you queasy… View at your own risk.

The soreness under my arms is getting better…. slowly. The swelling has gone down a LOT. Thank goodness. My chest is starting to look a bit more like a guys chest now, which is a HUGE relief. I was worried it was just going to look like a freaky flat chested girl, with saggy flat boob skin.

I started to work out a bit (mainly elliptical machine to get some cardio which is probably good for my circulation), but I couldn’t resists stretching my arms a little bit which I really should NOT have done! I stretched my arms too much and caused a little tear in the scab (it doesn’t hurt because it’s numb so I didn’t even notice until a couple hours later when showering), now I am concerned I created a little hole at the edge of the nipple, where the scab and the areola meet. It’s not good. I used a butterfly bandage to pull that seam together, hoping it will heal up and not open up into a major problem. Yikes.

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24 days post op

24 days post op - Free Nipple Grafts

24 days post op

24 days post op

24 days post op

24 days post op

Photos of Top Surgery at Two Weeks

March 19, 2010

The healing is coming along slowly but surely..

Scroll down for photos. Note the photos are pretty graphic, and may not be suitable for viewing in public spaces.

My biggest issue is the binder (compression vest) does not fit well. I am told I have to wear this for at least 3 weeks, and maybe up to 6 weeks. Ugh…

I am 6ft tall and the nurse intentionally fit me with a size SMALL, so that it would be nice and snug and compress my chest well post surgery, keeping my nipple grafts under pressure is important so they heal properly.

I don’t mind it being tight around my chest, but the arm holes are not big enough to accommodate my shoulders. It’s cutting into my skin under my arms. So my underarm area is quite sore and feeling bruised. This bruising could be partially from surgery, but the vest is really making it worse. Lymph nodes are super sensitive and inflamed (feel like they are popping out). I am told that is normal for several weeks, as the lymph nodes are doing their job and working to fight infection.

I cut the arm holes a bit to lessen the ache. I also bought a roll of “absorbent” cotton from the pharmacy, which I use as padding in that area. It’s really soft and helps a lot. I recommend using this in any sore areas you might have relating to the compression vest/binder.

I currently have a “seroma” on my right side, which is where serum (not blood but a clear fluid) that is building up under my right pec. Note the saggy area. I am going to have this aspirated tomorrow. When they aspirate it, the Dr sticks a fine needle  into the area with the fluid and draws out the fluid into a syringe to drain it. Apparently it doesn’t actually hurt much… which is probably because my chest is still pretty numb at this point.

The sensation in my chest is pretty absent all around my pectoral muscle area. The numbness extends in about a 7 inch radius around (and including) my areola and nipples.

Nipples look pretty scary with all that black scabbing, but that is normal. The scabbing will slowly dissipate and reveal fresh pink skin underneath… if all goes according to plan. I have been warned NOT TO PICK… so I am not picking it AT ALL… actually I have no desire to pick. I just put some antibiotic ointment on them and put non-stick gauze like pads on them and then the cotton padding, and the compression vest/binder.

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The Seroma - Yucky