Sunday, January 4, 2015

Frequently Asked Questions

So, what's your deal? 
I'm a trans woman, meaning that I was designated male at birth, but my gender identity didn't match up with that designation. It took me a long time to figure out what what going on. I knew I was "different" around age 8 or 9, and that sense of difference intensified at puberty. Something was wrong, but I didn’t have a name for it. I battled severe anxiety and depression for years. I tried therapy, I tried Zoloft, etc. Nothing worked. Around age 30, I came out as trans to myself. I kept muddling along for 7 more years, but once I finally started taking steps towards transitioning, I wasn’t miserable any more. For the first time, I had real hope for the future, rather than a nebulous hope that following the social script handed to me from birth would work out somehow in the end.

What steps have you taken in your transition?
I started Hormone Replacement Therapy in July 2012, and then laser hair removal a few months after that. I "went full-time" in December 2013, and I got my name and gender markers changed in April 2014 (though I've since decided to go by my new middle name, and I plan to legally change my name again to Ramona Jillian eventually).

What changes have you seen?
I finally have a body that matches my identity, thanks to HRT. I've seen spectacular breast development, and I've developed curves where they're supposed to be on a woman. My skin and hair are softer, and my face has taken on a more feminine appearance. I'm more sensitive to cold temperatures, and I get bruised/cut more easily than I did pre-transition. I was emotional before I transitioned, but it's gotten bumped up from a 7 to more like a 9. I'm MUCH happier overall, and my depression and anxiety have all but evaporated.

Two things that hormones won't do? They don't get rid of your facial hair, and they don't change your voice. I've had decent (but not perfect) results with laser hair removal, and I haven't taken major steps to change my voice (though many other trans women do).

Have you gotten "the surgery?"
First of all, you REALLY shouldn't ask a trans person about that. It's deeply personal and private. As far as I'm concerned, I'm comfortable saying that I have no interest in any surgeries at this point.

Have friends and family been supportive?
Yes. It's been much better than I could have imagined. I had shaky moments with my immediate family at first, but the negative experiences in that sphere have been minimal. Overall, I have more friends now than I've had at any point in my life since college.

Are you gay? 
I like lots of girls, and some boys. I identify as pansexual.

Are you married?
Nope. I am divorced.

Do you have kids?
Yes! The two brightest, kindest, most beautiful children in the universe. I came out to them in July 2014, and while there are occasional awkward moments, they are adjusting quite smoothly.

Are you in a relationship?
I am in an open but deeply committed relationship to a wonderful, intelligent, funny, sexy, caring woman.

Wait, what?
Yes, we are poly. We are free to both date additional people. I'm sure I'll talk more about being poly from time to time.

Where are you from?
I grew up in Eastern Washington (in the Tri-Cities area), and went to college at Western Washington University in Bellingham. I moved out to Columbus, Ohio for graduate school, and I'm proud to call the 614 area code home now.

What are some of your other interests?
The main obsession is for my beloved Seattle Seahawks. I write a blog about the team. Check it out. But I also am a huge pop culture geek (particularly about film and TV), I love to go to Columbus Crew matches and Columbus Blue Jackets games, I love to stroll about Columbus' many parks and shopping malls, and I love to get out and try new things (like writing a blog about my transition).

What are some of your favorite films? 
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Pulp Fiction, Brazil, GoodFellas, Blade Runner, Inception, Her, Lost in Translation, Scott Pilgrim v The World, Fight Club, Boogie Nights... And on and on and on.

What about television?
Hannibal, The Americans, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Bob's Burgers, Archer, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Office (both versions), The Simpsons, Orange is the New Black, Transparent...

Sleater-Kinney, Radiohead, Wilco, Guided By Voices, Nirvana, R.E.M., The Postal Service, etc.

Any books about trans issues you'd recommend?
Yes! Whipping Girl by Julia Serano. It's my trans bible. It helped get me to finally take the leap into transition.

That's good for now... I will update this as needed.

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