My Vagina Monologue

Today I went to an Alternative Vagina Monologues. Inspired to speak about something I don't often speak about and what others around me were talking about, I got up and improvised. Here's the gist of what I said, in full of what I wish I had said, but it still turned out well:

I get up and talk in front of people all the time. I tell them really personal things. I tell them my life story as a trans person. There is one thing that I don't talk about, though, and that's my vagina. My vagina and I have had a complicated relationship. When I first really become aware of it, when I got my first period, right before Halloween in 7th grade (which was the worst trick-or-treating experience ever), I despised it. I was so...something, a feeling that I don't have a word for...about having my period, that I hid it from my mom for two days. Eventually I told her by slipping a note under her door. As the rest of puberty continued, I hated all of it.

When I became sexually active, I liked my vagina a little more because, well, it made me feel good. But I still didn't like to talk about it. Or think about it. Or acknowledge that it was there.

When I began to question my gender, I hated my vagina a lot more. For what it represented and for what me having it made people think I was.

But as I stand here today, as I have gotten this far in my transition, and the voice I hear coming out of these speakers back at me is a voice that sounds right for one of the first times in my life, I'm really comfortable with vagina. I don't talk about my vagina, now, however, because instead of making me uncomfortable, its existence makes other people uncomfortable. And I'm finding that the more I continue my life as a guy, the more important it is to me that people know I have a vagina and the more important my vagina has become to me.


Shorter Posts...

I've been on T for six months now. It's crazy that I'm passing all the time now at work and most of the time at school. I was in Boston today and every single person addressed me as sir. It was kind of surreal. Anyway, I have a lot of random thoughts but I haven't had much time to compose a topic to write about even though I've been thinking about it for a while.

Anyway, I've been working on this paper about Gender Identity Disorder in children and I came across the quote that really stuck out because it reminded me of, well...me!

Jonah was 2 when his father, Joel, first realized that no amount of enthusiasm could persuade his child to play with balls. Trucks languished untouched. Fire engines gathered dust. Joel says Jonah much preferred girl toys, even his stuffed animals were female.

"Like, I would always say, 'What's that guy's name?' and the response would always be, 'Oh, she's bunny, she's, you know, this or that,'" Joel says. (link)
Every single one of my stuffed animals was a boy. Even my beloved Chuck, who is a bunny wearing pink plaid and used to have make-up before it was loved off. There was one that I acquired later in my childhood (the ripe old age of 10...) that I really wanted. She was a big huge rabbit and had a huge bow on one ear. I had no choice, I couldn't make her a boy because of that bow. Maybe my parents influenced that, I'm not sure.

It is always revolutionary to me when a part of my story falls into the "typical trans narrative." Like anyone, I often question if I'm really trans enough. As my gender variantness is moving from almost total androgyny to effeminate guy, it is sometimes hard to deal with. I'm so used to sticking out and not fitting in. But at the same time, I am so undeniably comfortable when I used to be so undeniably uncomfortable I can't help but know that I'm walking the right path.


Changing Times

Well, that doctor's appointment didn't work out. Neither did the engagement. The boyfriend, however, did. And continues to work out.

I did, however, start T the beginning of September. My singing voice, as a I pondered about earlier, is holding up. I've currently got the range of a baritone and am enjoying figuring things out. Every time I get used to something, my voice changes again. But that's okay. I really like that my voice is no longer as much of a huge obstacle to keep me from passing.

I've got a lot more facial hair (or fuzz, as the case may be) than I expected. Granted, it is mostly on my neck. I've got almost no mustache but some sideburns are starting to come in. And they are growing down from my hair which makes me really happy. I have some stray dark hairs high up on my cheeks so I can only assume that means when it finally gets here, my beard will be fucking awesome. There's a lot more hair on the rest of my body. My stomach is getting pretty furry and it's really weird to look down and see the hair on my arms. And downstairs...well...things are...developing ;)

The single most jarring thing has been the increase/change in sex drive. It really has become a constant, driving need. Which is all well and good if I'm good or if the boyfriend is in town to help out. But if I'm unhappy (and with everything else going on my life, that's far more often than I'd like to admit), or anything is the least bit off, it is kind of a disaster. Sex only magnifies the body issues I have.

I had more to say right now, but then I accidentally deleted it. I'll get back to this later.



There are a lot of things going on in my brain today. I've just moved up to live with the girlfriend, now fiance. I suppose I can give her a name, or a letter, now - Z. Moving up here meant leaving the new addition to my love life, the boyfriend, (let's give him a letter now) A. I get to spend a lot of time by myself here, as I don't have (m)any friends. I'm only here for 12 days before I got on an adventure to my parents' and then visit the boy and go to a wedding. Then I'm back and I think it's time for me to make some friends.

I have been looking forward to this summer for a long time for a number of reasons. The one relevant to this blog is that it was my goal date to start T. In order to achieve that goal, I did some research and made an appointment with a doctor to, hopefully, get a prescription for T. The doctor, according to the Mass TPC's resources, does not ask for a letter or anything. I'm fairly certain I could procure a letter if necessary, but not having to think about it is nice, too. Now that I have an appointment, I am suddenly overwhelmed with anxiety.

I guess the positive is that I am getting better at dealing with my anxiety. I realize that most of it is ridiculousness. The rest of it is a fear of the unknown. There is a tiny part that is concerned that I am making the wrong choice.

I have learned a lot of things about myself the past couple of months as I've been doing a lot of gender related introspection. One is that my gender is very static. Two is that I am a lot more male than I think I give myself credit for. Or a lot less female. One or the other. I know that the absence of one does not necessarily indicate the presence of the other.

I was talking the other day how sometimes I feel like I'm playing pretend. Like soon the lights will come on and I will be forced back to being a girl. When I was talking, I had the realization that I don't think I could go back to being a girl. Not after slowly learning to feel comfortable in my own skin.

And T is just another step. For months, I have been thinking, "When I start T," "When my voice changes," "When I grow facial hair," or "When acne takes over my life." All of those things have been knowing that it was something that was GOING to happen. Yet now that it is that much closer...I am like "wait, do I want this to happen?"

I will let you all know how Thursday goes. Part of me just can't believe it. I've been doing a lot of things that my brain hasn't caught up with yet.

Let's get these teen hearts beating. Faster, faster
So testosterone boys and harlequin girls,
Will you dance to this beat, and hold a lover close?


Some Rambling

Normally I like to be all methodical and set out with a topic in mind. I don't have one here, so forgive me.

I have a lot of errant thoughts running around in my head. It seems like ages ago I wrote that Gender Lineage. It was little over a week ago. I have settled into my life with male pronouns well. I am finally getting to the point where I am comfortable talking about myself in the third person with male pronouns, but I struggle with telling stories of when I was "still" a girl. I stammer as I decide whether changing the name is useful or hurtful to the story. Changing pronouns in the story is nearly impossible.

I struggle with the idea that no one actually sees me as male, except for my trans friends who are used to dealing with a conflicting body and gender presentation. There is only one major person in my life who has known me ONLY as Ryan and ONLY as he. I am anxious to move where at least everyone will know me only as Ryan. That previous statement was a lie. There are a lot of people who I've met this semester who theoretically know me only as Ryan and as he but nearly everyone in my life is terrible at pronouns. Yet, how can I expect anyone else to be good at pronouns when I am terrible at them myself. Having spent an increased amount of time with my trans friends lately, however, I am finally starting to get more comfortable as opposed to self conscious.

I never used to think my chest was a problem. Then I started binding regularly. At an event last week where I was wearing a suit (for the first time while binding), I was amazed at my reflection. It is so relieving to see myself in the mirror that way. I like the pictures of me that get put up on the internet now. If I am binding, I don't look at the pictures and search for the curve of my boobs. Well, I do. But it's not there. I also like that it pulls in my hips some, which were also annoying. When I went out clubbing last night, I was binding under a muscle shirt. Despite being terribly hot, it felt so good. I am NEVER comfortable in a tight shirt, let alone a tank-toppy one. This week, remembering the terrible hot sweatiness that was wearing my binder, I opted for the muscle shirt over a sports bra. I couldn't stand looking at myself in the mirror at the club. I think any of my return trips will involve a binder...

I cannot wait to start T. I am hoping to start it at the beginning of June. I hope that my voice begins to change by the time I start school. That would be ideal, although it probably won't work out that way.

I am worried about losing my singing voice. Which is stupid, because right now I hate my singing voice because, well, it's so damn feminine. I am curious to see where my new range will fall.

The idea of top surgery scares the bejesus out of me. And if you know me, I don't ever say things like "bejesus." The thing that is killing me is that I know that I could probably pay for my transition if I weren't continuing on with school. I know that that is not a reason to stop going to school and, in fact, continuing onto school is one of the few things keeping me sane. I cannot imagine transitioning in the workplace, especially as a teacher.

I think that is all that is on my mind right now.

Don't suppose I'll ever know
What it means to be a man
Something I can't change
I'll live around it


My Gender Lineage

Introduction: Born Female.
Scene 1: As I am tying my Little Mermaid shoes, I ask "Mom, did you ever want to be a boy?" The answer: No.
Scene 2: Temporarily crippled by a drunk driver at four, the same girls who wouldn't let me play daddy in house gather behind my tiny wheelchair and we chase the boys.
Scene 3: My friend convinces me to play pregnant bunnies. I feel physically ill while I shove ten pink stuffed rabbits up my shirt.
Scene 4: I marvel at Mary Frances' amazing breasts held back by only her white sports bra as she changes in my room. I am dreading the day mine appear.
Scene 5: I convince my mom to buy me boy shorts to conform to the school dress code. This my first step towards freedom.
Scene 6: My heart is broken when my first girl love tells me I cannot comfort her because I am not a boy.
Scene 7: I explore my boyfriend's body, intrigued, only to figure out years later, I was envious, only to figure out years later that it didn't invalidate my attraction.
Scene 8: I try my hand as a butch top. No success.
Scene 9: I find the girl of my dreams. I confess to her that I have too much gender. That's okay, she says, I have too little.
Scene 10: We have found a third. We marvel at each other's duct taped chests while the first watches feeling like we are finally right together.
Scene 11: The third leaves, breaking both of our hearts, but not after setting the wheels of gender turning in my head. I decide to try my hand at male. Success.
Scene 12: I come out to my parents. I stammer as I try to explain trans to my father. "I am a guy" is a lie, but that is what he understands. A week later, I baffle my mother by coming home wearing eyeliner.


Written in a Gender Theory workshop with the Salt Lines Tour.


Originally Written 2.17.04

I thought I'd put something in here about when I first started figuring out my gender problems. As you'll see, I've come a long way:

So, for all the world to see, I'm griping around with gender issues. And, quite frankly, I wish I weren't. Because, like everything else that involves me, it's not simple. I would be fine if I came to a realization that maybe I was transgender. I mean, as fine as...well, you get my point.

However, I think, that when it comes to that, just like everything else, I'm stuck in the middle.

I've always had this uncomfortableness with my body. But it wasn't enough to send up any red flags in my head or anything. When I was little, I played the Dad in house, but mainly because he went to work and came home and didn't do much. The mom had to cook and clean. And the kids had to be all baby-like, and I was taller than most the kids anyway. It wasn't an issue of me wanting to be a guy. Going through puberty - what girl doesn't wish she was dealing with random erections instead of monthly bleeding and cramping?

I came to terms with my sexuality at the end of 9th grade. And the discomfort with my body lessened greatly. Mainly because it explained how I could look in the mirror and think that I was sexy in the way that I saw it. That if I saw myself on the street, I would go "Wow, she is hot."

That was all fine until I got involved with Jim. I'm just generally uncomfortable with myself - not the situation - when things get intimate. Something about me just feels...off. And it was a bit of a hurdle. And Jim is just amazing to deal with it, because it still comes up occasionally.

Maybe I would feel more comfortable in my body, were I a guy. But honestly, I don't think so. Emotionally and mentally, I am very female. So why is that a problem? Were I a guy, wouldn't I be saying "Well, I feel like a guy, but I'm emotionally a girl, so where does that put me?"

Where does that put me?


Body Image

I've been thinking a lot about whether or not I'm "worthy" of being able to transition. This was on my mind a lot last night as I was having an interesting Friday night spent with one of my good friends and also the singer of my band. First, we did a workout video entitled "Ballywood Booty." This is a video that not many men, gay or straight, comfortable or uncomfortable, would ever do in their lives. Here is my favorite lesbian hanging out with Hemalayaa to give you an idea of what I spent my evening doing:

Of course, I couldn't just enjoy the ridiculousness of the workout, I had to analyze everything. I was wearing a ridiculous outfit (my gay.com muscle shirt and white gym shorts) and had a lot of fun. But while I was swerving my hips around (and getting a little hard watching Hemalayaa do the same), I was caught up in how much I would like to look like her and be able to move like that (and by that, of course, I mean a girl). I have often wished that I could just fit into the girl half of the world. I mean, I like girls. In general, I dislike guys. I never wanted to be a straight girl, just maybe a tomboy who was more in sync with her body. In fact, a lot about being a guy scares the crap out of me. The thing about that is, however, that as scary as it is...that's still how I feel I should be.

After the workout, I went upstairs and put my jeans back on and looked at myself in the mirror in the jeans and the muscle shirt. In my head, I would look smoking hot in that outfit. It's not too tight, but just enough to show off my body. I looked into the full length mirror, however, and that image was shattered. My (thankfully) small chest is just big enough to throw off the whole illusion and scream "LESBIAN." Later, we went to a show where there were a bunch of older, somewhat butch lesbians dancing and having a great time. There was a very cute couple. As I was looking at them, as cute as they were...that is not how I see myself in thirty years.

After my shower this morning (and after shimmying into my new underworks compression shirt), I put the muscle shirt back on. Suddenly, when I stood in front of the mirror, I looked like I thought I would (well, minus the sideburns, but that can come later). All these little moments are adding together to say that transitioning would be the right decision. I'm glad that it's not working the other way around.

The more I stay in here
The more it's not so clear
The more I stay in here
The more I disappear
As far as I have gone
I knew what side I'm on
But now I'm not so sure
The line begins to blur


Same Name, Different Pronouns

As I try again my hand at this whole blogging thing...I thought I'd update from last time.

The most recent post was about how I had started going by Ryan in April. That went amazingly well. A little too well, one might suppose, as it forced me to deal with so many things. Mainly, that it suddenly became completely unbearable to continue to use female pronouns with myself. Evey "her" and "she" grated on my ears like an obvious absurdity. About two months ago, I started using male pronouns with a couple close friends and that very quickly spread like wildfire. After my initial test period and acclamation (getting over the "who the hell is 'he'?"), I was suddenly so much more comfortable that I came out to my college activist group and the lgbt discussion group. Also, I got an internship at an lgbt organization, and immediately started going by male pronouns. Almost too quickly (I probably should have waited a little bit for this, but too late now) I came out to my parents.

I guess I should explain that besides just switching pronouns, I more or less decided to transition. It is something I only touched on briefly in this blog and usually with great trepidation, but it is something that I had slowly come to accept as an eventuality in my life. The trick to it being an eventuality is that eventually I would have to deal with it.

A trip to the ABC store is what triggered the whole avalanche of thought processes. I just wanted to buy some rum to make truffles (although those truffles never got made...), so I picked up a bottle and got in line. The cashier said "I can help you here, sir," and I flinched and walked up to the counter. I normally would have been ecstatic to be sir'd, but in a situation where someone is about to look at my license, I would rather it didn't happen. I showed him my ID (with long hair and all), and he didn't believe it was me and said as much. I grabbed my student ID and handed that to him too. In the process, I said five words, and he suddenly "realized" I was a girl. He proceeded to give me a long-ass explanation, that quite frankly, I've since forgotten because it was so aggravating, as to how exactly he knew I was a girl and pointed out all my features that told him.

I suddenly realized that I just didn't want to be a girl anymore.

I facebook messaged a friend of mine and we got together to talk over some coffee. He asked me what it was that was keeping me back from transitioning and I realized, besides fear, nothing. There was nothing in being a girl that I wanted to hold onto. I had coffee with another friend a week or so later and he had pretty much the same thing to say. Over the terms of the next couple of weeks (full of sleepless nights), I realized that it was something that I could see myself doing. That I could see myself being happier as. That I could see my future in a much clearer picture.

In my head, I always imagined myself male. It was not that it was a conscious choice, but more the subconscious knowledge that I could not be an older woman. The word "woman" makes me sick to my stomach as it is. That is NOT me.

Today, I became frustrated with my counselor. I am seeing him through University Counseling Services. I think I am one of his first transgendered patients. I like him overall, although I always end up defensive when talking about anyone but myself. Like when I talk about the conflict with my family in high school, he always points out what was wrong with how they acted. Clearly, I know he is right, but I feel like I should justify their actions. I became frustrated today because he very suddenly became alarmed that I was moving too fast. Firstly, I don't need him to be alarmed about how fast I'm moving because I already thought of that. It is alarming me. Everything is happening too fast to process, but at this point, I've done everything I'm going to do for like six months at least. I have tried to explain to him the complexities of my gender identity. He seems stuck on the fact that I don't identify 100% male. That I said in a perfect world, I wouldn't have to choose. I know he is just trying to make sure that I don't make poor decisions, but at the same time, it seems like he is trying to get me to change my mind.

I haven't touched upon sex with him, which I suppose would make a big difference. I also realized as I read back on this blog, that I have gotten increasingly uncomfortable with my body as I become more entrenched in figuring out my gender identity. I still agree with genderqueer, but there is more to it. This is why I feel like that humurous identity of "lumberjack" fits me so well. Lumberjack is inherently masculine. It involves flannel, boots, and facial hair, but our infused meaning into it is an element of gender bending. I will never fit cleanly into a box, but I want to at least make an attempt to find a box that I am physically and mentally most comfortable in.

In my counseling sessions (I hate the word therapy), I have expressed an exhaustion with fighting the world. It is true. I am tired of fighting. Obviously, that is the wrong reason to change my body in irreversible ways. But that is only half the story. I wouldn't be quite as tired if I didn't feel like I were fighting for something that wasn't true. It's not that I don't fit into society's idea of "girl," it's that I flat out am not a girl. Am I 100% boy? I don't think so, but I'm some percent.

I should have facial hair. I should have a deeper voice. I should have a flat chest. I should have a penis. When I look in the mirror or at my body, these things are not there and it makes me sad.

I am tired. I am tired of convincing myself that my body is the one that I am okay with.

But I know that someday,
someday, I'll offer up
a song I was made to play
until even the mocking birds
don't know what to say


Name Change

So four, maybe five, people are starting to call me Ryan. Starting to go by Ryan has been something that I have been considering doing since my senior year of high school. I am about to hit my senior year of college, to give you some perspective. I had planned originally to start going by Ryan when I got to college, starting fresh with a new name. I wouldn't have to explain it that way. I could just say that I've always gone by my middle name. It makes sense. I chickened out. I didn't bother saying anything and I let it slip to the back of my mind, always using the excuse to myself that, well, it is too late now.

I shouldn't have passed up that chance to not have to explain it. At that time, however, I was worried about someone calling me Ryan in front of my parents and then having to explain it to them. I don't know why I'm so afraid of explaining it to them. My dad just gets me. He probably wouldn't even ask. My mom and I talk about trans stuff all the time. We haven't talked about genderqueer stuff but she is extremely open minded and I don't think she would actually have a problem with it.

I am not changing my pronouns, however. I don't pass very well. The fact that Ryan is my middle name makes it so much easier. All I have to say is that I've always hated my first name and I finally decided to go by my middle name. Ryan is gender neutral, obviously, it's my middle name.

Now the thought of telling people scares the shit out of me. What if someone calls me in my lie about hating my first name. I don't hate it and I've come to identify with it but it's so girly that I am starting to feel uncomfortable telling people my first name when they first meet me. I always dread roll call in classes when professors call Felicia on the first day and I raise my hand, terrified that they will act awkwardly if they had assumed I was male before. I mean, I'm not gonna change it on my roll call, so I guess it doesn't matter. I will be going by F. Ryan. Well, if we get this non-discrimination policy passed, maybe I can change my roll call. That would be fantastic. Either way, I am terrified of having that conversation with people. What if they ask too many questions? What if they become uncomfortable with me? I mean I'm not sure what else I could throw at my good friends that would surprise them.

I have no reason to be very nervous. I know it will all be okay in the end. I had hoped to figure some of it out in writing this but I still have no cause. I guess it is the conversation. The what-ifs that are eating at me. That is the part that scares me the most when I think about whether or not I want to transition. Right now I don't think I do. But the thought of having to come out if I decide to terrifies me.

I don't want to have that conversation.

I just want to be me. No explanations necessary.

You know how it feels
You read between the lines
And know me better than I do