Phew.

•November 6, 2010 • 3 Comments

Phew.

As I wait at home, Flo is off with hir mother to tell her about the surgery date. I’m anxious and wishing I could be there but glad that I’m not. Thankfully, the cat makes good company as she investigates all the smells of my freshly clothes-swapped sweater.

It was a timely clothes swap, and a welcome distraction. Flo was particularly stressed; they weren’t getting the alone time they needed with hir mother, and then one of our roomies dropped the bomb that she is most likely leaving. They had a little freak-out in the car, but then once we were in a room of queers and genderqueers and transgender folks, all of whom we count as friends, swapping stories and t-shirts, they were able to decompress and, hopefully, they will be able to talk with their mother from a much better place than they were in a few hours ago.

Wish hir luck!

UPDATE!

People can amaze you sometimes, can’t they?

This whole experience has been a lesson in the human capacity for understanding. This is the second time I’ve been amazed with the people Flo has surrounding them. I’m not sure whether I mentioned the vetting process I went through when we first started dating. Flo hadn’t exactly been dating peaches, and hir friends took it upon themselves to make sure I was a good egg. So I suspected this of hir friends when they first came out to one of their oldest friends.

This happened on the night that Flo and I made our drag debut. I had done my first number and was watching Flo with a bunch of our friends when I looked at this girl and she was crying! Not just crying, but bawling her eyes out as she watched my baby dance. I asked her what was wrong and she told me that she was “just so happy to finally see Flo doing what made her happy”. So, really, the intermission was as good as it was going to get. And, well, she cried. You know, happy tears.

But I was scared when Flo left to talk to hir mother. I told them that I couldn’t support her fully until hir mother knew, yet I couldn’t help feeling like I was sending a lamb to slaughter. I didn’t know what I would do if hir mother broke hir heart. But… it was amazing. Best you could hope for, if what Flo says is to be believed. And thank goodness.

The dreaded BRECRU.

•November 4, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Going out. Debuting as a drag king with my sweetie. Working full time. Celebrating birthdays and holidays. Supporting Flo as they booked their top surgery and came out to our roommates. Cooking, cleaning. Painting the Manor from “brecru”(or, as I called it, “dirty-bandaid-brown”) to just about every colour in the rainbow (Our living-room is parakeet green and purple, Flo and my room is a bright grey and orange combo).

Going to the bank, the grocery store, the doctor, the sex shop, all those little places prerequisite to the smooth and happy running of ordinary life.

These are all the things that have kept me from blogging the last little while. Not that I haven’t been thinking about you guys, no sirree. Especially with the one-year anniversary of She Called Me Superman coming up this month. The truth is, though, I’ve been thinking a lot less about me. I’ve been kind of using this space to sort things out as I got used to being out. But I’m getting used to it, and other things are overshadowing what used to be go-to topics whenever I had a quiet moment. Butchness used to be it: my butchness, how to get myself recognized as such, my not-butchness, modeling myself after people with the qualities I admire, wondering where on earth I would find a butch brotherhood beyond the internet when it seemed there was no-one else like me here. And, while the process is still ongoing, it’s not so all consuming as it has been.

SO what have I been up to?

Well, um, my computer died. So that really limits th time I can spend writing on here. I was initially planning on doing a NoBloWriMo, but perhaps that will come once I replaced my faithful laptop. For now, posts will probably remain sporadic. Other than that?

I did the last big purge of clothes. The first time around, though I got rid of a lot, I kept some, too. I wasn’t sure if that “coming home” feeling that I got from being masculine was going to stick around. If, in six months or so, I’d be desperately searching for skirts. So I put a few things away in the drawer just in case, and there they stayed, untouched, the drawer unopened, for an entire year. More than that by now, actually. So I gave it all away, something I couldn’t have done without heartache last year. Now they’re being paraded through the house on a girl who revels in them and on whom the look about 150% better than they ever did on me. Apparently I had been buying clothes for redheads, and in my redhead-roommate’s size.

I’ve — well, we’ve, Flo and me — found something of a butch brotherhood. We’ve both made a lot of great new friends in the last few months, and being back in the big city has opened up the ability to attend events at the local queer youth group. In addition, a “transmasculine” group has started meeting at a coffee shop not too far from our place and we’ve been going. Flo is also helping at the Women’s Centre, and is helping to start a queer society at her university that has been sorely lacking one. And, though I haven’t yet really found any other “butches”, as such, I’ve got people who see it in me, and think positively of the word.

And the last thing that has been eating up a lot of my psyche is this: Flo booked their top surgery. No, I am not dating a transman; at least, not as it has been explained to me. A trans person? Certainly, but I knew that. This is something that has come up for over a year now, but the solidified date has only been in place for a few weeks. Truly, I am excited for them. It means, however, fundraising, planning, getting time off from work. It’s going to be a disruption, and an expensive one. We have to fly to Toronto and find somewhere to stay there. And, while Flo is in surgery, I’m planning on getting a tattoo, so I also need to find an artist. It’s going to be a lot of work, but I think it will be well worthwhile to have a happier, more harmonious Flo. More on this to follow.

All around, I’ve been busy, and I’ve skipped over so much. But! And I keep saying this, I’m going to try and post more often, and with more pictures. To that end, I’m participating in Sugarbutch’s Symopsium, so watch out for that November 15th.

So, how’ve you been? Did I miss anything important?

Chocolate and some kind of Pink

•August 28, 2010 • 4 Comments

This is it. The Big Day that she’s been waiting for since the day I met her. My straightest, whitest, middle-classest, vaguely-protestantest, bestest friend is getting married. K, the practice girlfriend, on whom I first polished my gentlemanly manners. My own Kelly, the Grace to my Will (let’s be honest–the Karen to my Jack).
And guess who’s the Maid of Honour?

Yes, you can have a moment to stifle your giggles. My co-workers sure did.

Done now? Good. They have a pretty natural understanding that I’m not a big one for, say, bridesmaid’s dresses. And the thought of me standing in a shirt and tie among swaths of what I’m sure will be tulle is still pretty funny. That, and the thought of her homophobic mother surely having some sort of aneurysm.

Because this is a fairly anonymous blog, I feel safe to say that I’m not… thrilled. The guy she’s marrying is nice enough, treats her the way she wants to be, and he doesn’t cause me any concern. I just… worry. I hoped she’d get out and see some stuff, do some things in the time left over from school before settling down. But this guy’s exactly what she asked for. He’s nice, he’s done all the right things, he’s got a job that pays steadily, they’re going to get dogs and a condo together. Those are the big plans.
But then again, if I had to pick a husband from the lineup of beaux she’s had, I’d pick him. And, you know what? If he’s what makes her happiest, then I’m content with that, and my aspirations for one of my oldest friends were misguided. And I know that if she feels anything close to what I feel for Flo, then they’ve made the right choice. Truthfully, I’m honoured that she wants me around for her wedding in some capacity, and I’m going to try my hardest to make sure she and her fiancee have a great time.
Right now, I’m helping her deal with the physical logistics of the wedding. This stuff I can manage; the make phonecalls, talk money, make sure she’s not getting screwed, put stuff together for her type of stuff I’ve been helping her with for years. Have I ever told you about the time I helped her move to Ontario? Totally earned my boxers. When, where, how many, what colours? (she’s changed her colours three times in the past week.) Do I get more jail time if I order a hit on her mother, or just take care of the problem myself?

That being said, what the hell do I dooo, guys? I’ve only been to weddings of family members, which are pretty riotous, informal, enjoyable affairs. What’s a normal wedding like? I have no idea what a Maid of Honour does. Has anyone done this before? And what the fuck am I gonna wear!?

Don’t stretch my shirt!

•August 27, 2010 • 3 Comments

I’ve been sorting through my closet with a more meticulous eye than simply the “Sally Ann truck is here” fashion. I’m moving, and only have so much space and desire to carry clothes to my new place. I’ve noticed two odd and contradictory forces at work throughout my teenagerdom that have come to the surface as I peer into the dusty corners and unopened drawers of my closets.

“Don’t stretch my shirts!!”

was the common refrain whenever I caught my younger sister in my closet. No one got to borrow my shirts, not without a meticulous judgement on the size of their chest and whether this would impact negatively on the elasticity of their shirt of choice.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned that I’m pretty damned flat. Like, eggs-on-a-wall type flat. Don’t-really-have-to-bind flat. It doesn’t take much for my pecs to outgrow my boobs in a minorly freaky champion-female-bodybuilder kind of way.

Hence, because so many of my shirts were elastic and so many of my female contacts were, you know, female-looking in the chestial region, I fought to stop my shirts from sagging and wrinkling in the front. My sister only got to borrow cotton tops. No one borrowed my a-shirts.
Old habits die hard.
Flo likes my clothes, and wants to borrow them, and, of course, has cleavage that actually requires support. Every time I find she’s taken one (I have a very ‘mi casa, su casa’ approach toward my partners with my stuff) my first thought is “But she’ll stretch it!”

No, no she won’t. Because, for one, they tend to fit her better than me, and if they stretched, you couldn’t tell and it wouldn’t matter. Contrasted to this is my old stash of boy-clothes, some of which haven’t completely disintegrated. I used to think I looked amazing in them. Wrong. I looked like a 12-year-old hobo. Because they were all several sizes too big. How do I know this? I know that I’ve gotten taller (a little… okay, probably not, but I can dream) and generally filled out since I got many of these clothes and, to wear them now, they don’t fit my shoulders and most of the sleeves of the shirts and jackets go to my fingertips. Oh, that, and they look AMAZING on my broad-shouldered, longer-armed and taller beau.

I still haven’t quite outgrown the pull between tight and too big. I’m getting used to actually, you know, seeing my body, actually seeing it’s shape rather than the distorted image I worked off of for so long. Now I’m liking what I see, and dressing it so that it looks good, rather than so I have something on that doesn’t cause too big of a fuss. Depending on what I’m wearing, I tend to get clocked as either a young teenage boy (like, 14–haha! I should tell you about the Toronto cop!) or a young gay man that probably isn’t quite legal yet (FYI, “legal” is strictly enforced at 19 where I live; I’m 22, almost 23).
I used to draw my own face regularly–I have sketchbooks full of self-portraits, none of which can anyone else identify as me. They’re just some girl with a look of concentration on her face. Come out, cut my hair off, one portrait later and there I am, staring back out at myself. Flo knows it’s me, my father wrinkles his nose but he can tell it’s me too. I don’t draw myself any more. I don’t have to; I know what I look like.

Oh boy!

•August 24, 2010 • 2 Comments

I feel like I’ve progressed a lot over the summer, gender-confidence-wise. It’s getting to the point that I feel a lot more “natural”. Being butch, or masculine, or whatever doesn’t feel so new and exciting. It’s taking up a more permanent residence in a less prominent part of my mind. I just.. don’t have to try so hard. I get ‘sirred’ on a regular basis, even though I don’t need it to validate me and I don’t hold it as a goal like I used to. What is starting to impress me, however, is that I’m starting to have to tell people that I’m not, technically, male. For some reason, they’re not getting tipped off by my smile or my voice.

One of the latest stories:
I was at a fundraiser during Pride here at home for a local trans activist group that buys binders and gaffes and things for the needy. On the same night in the bar next door was “Boylesque”, an all-male burlesque troupe, getting ready for their first-ever performance. I was outside with a few friends at intermission when a fella with a well-trimmed beard approached me, and it took a bit of small talk before I began to understand that, not only did he think I was a guy, but he was hitting on me! What can I say? I’m a little thick.
“Are you in Boylesque?” he asked, his hand resting gently against the back of my arm.
“Uh”, I laughed a little, “no, I’m not.”
“But why not?” or something along these lines.
“They wouldn’t let me in.”
“Oh no? How come?”
“Uh.. because I’m female.”
“Oh.” A beat of silence. “Oooooh! Oh my gawd, I’m SO sorry! I had no idea! But you’re–! Really? Omigawd, sorry.” And so on. He left quickly, bright red.

Another:
I was in Berlin with Elise, at the post-Pride Parade concert in front of the Brandenburger Tor. We were hanging out in the crowd, when I was approached by a very tall, slightly tipsy German. We exchanged greetings before something tipped him off. His eyes bugged, and he went “UUUUUUUHH” for what seemed like a solid minute, before he turned on his heel and disappeared once more into the crowd.

But then, what do you do when this happens?:
We were in France and, unlike most of the rest of Europe, public toilets are generally free. So after a few weeks of tranny-bladdering it, we were happy to take advantage. I decided to make a pitstop in a subway station, leaving Flo and her brother outside to wait for me. The washroom was a reversed “L” shape, with stalls taking up the long part of the L and urinals in the short part. I waited in the line with the women, when one of the washroom gremlins approached me and politely redirected me to the urinals.
“Men’s room is over there,” she said politely. “Yes”, I replied, returning my attention to the line. “No, the men’s room is over there”. “No, thank you”, I said. “Sir”, she takes my arm and spins me around, “there’s the men’s room!” Obviously thinking I was an American tourist and, naturally, a little stupid, she tried to lead me toward the urinals as a patron waved me toward him. A little panicked image of me standing in front of the urinals trying in vain to pee flashed before my eyes. “But I’m a woman!” I cried, and the gremlin released my arm. Turned. Squinted into my face, looked me up and down. “No you’re not.” “Yes I am!” She squinted into my face again. Then she started to smile! She called the other gremlin over, “He says he’s a woman!” She repeats the same procedure as the first, squinting into my face and looking me up and down. “No you’re not.” “Yes, I am!” The pair of them burst out laughing, and one leads me to a stall: “This way, mademoiselle“. I do my business and open the door to the pair of them, arms folded across their chests, their eyes on my feet. They follow me to the door of the washroom and peer after as I leave and incredulously tell my tale to Flo.

People misread my gender all the time. Gay guys are starting to hit on me regularly. I can see them cruising me in bars and on the street, and often they’re brave enough to talk to me. I’ve received countless looks of shock, some of disgust. I’ve had plenty tell me it’s a pity I’m not a man, or a sin that they’re not straight. But they all end up dismissing me. And, of course, now that they’re up close, it’s “obvious” I’m female. Not once has one ever said “that’s all right, you’re cute anyway”.

Dear Dysphoria

•August 23, 2010 • 2 Comments

Note: I wrote this early in May and, reading it over, it seems worth posting as the unedited snippet that it is. One of those things that sticks out for me is that I generally consider what I experience since I’ve ‘come out’ to be “body dysphoria” rather than “gender dysphoria”.

I know I’ve mentioned before that I had some struggles with what was, at times, pretty severe gender dysphoria.
This past week was probably the worst bout I’ve had with it since my relationship with Z ended over a year ago. I want to write about this so that I remember. I keep thinking whenever I’m not in the midst of it that it’s a self-esteem thing. Next time, I say to myself, I’ll remember my body is beautiful. Next time I won’t let running out of men’s underwear bother me. I’ll quit calling it men’s underwear. I’ll tell my dad I like not looking pretty. I won’t let transmen make me cry.
But it doesn’t start on the outside. It can be awful, the power your mind has to make your body feel so alien.
I feel like I’m too big for my body, like my clothes are too heavy and too tight. My skin feels electrified, oversensitive. It’s like looking out from inside someone else’s body, this skin that you don’t fit within. It gets hard to get undressed, or I stop caring if I’m wearing anything. I remember at the end of last week when I was at my worst, standing in Flo’s tiny bathroom, trying to take off my binder from under my t-shirt and just being frozen. Unable to make a move. Staring at my unrecognizable face in the mirror.

Add New Post

•August 23, 2010 • Leave a Comment

A quick aside just before the post I scheduled yesterday:
Check out First James, Then Jamie, link located in the sidebar. Really fab blog that’s just new. Get in on the ground floor!
Read “5’6″, Medium Build, Brown Hair.” I can’t help but relate, particularly given the upcoming post–he talks about transition in a way that I imagine I would if I were to have chosen to.