Glow-up

When I first started my transition, I looked pretty awkward. I was deeply uncomfortable in my body and finally had language to name it what it was – dysphoria. I tried a lot of things in my early days including some ill fitting thrift store clothes. I heard later that my ex got a hold of those photos and was mocking me for them with her mom.

But the joke’s on her because she didn’t get to stay around long enough to see me become the beautiful, confident woman I am today. The last few years the combination of estrogen, surgeries, and hair removal have really worked their magic and I’ve had a serious glow-up. I finally feel like myself and I’m so much happier (especially without her transphobic energy in my life).

I have three lovely and affirming partners and more love and support than I could ever have imagined in my life. I often wish that I could go back in time and show myself what I would become when I finally shed all the shame. I would have made very different life choices if I had known my worth and not listened to my ex that I was so weird that no one else would love me.

I still have a long way to go in healing and personal growth but I know that I am on the right path and I’ve surrounded myself with good people to keep me there. Thank you all for your love and support that brought me this far.

Sexual Adventures

Content warning: Explicit discussion of Sex

This week I decided to have some adventures and sleep with a couple cisgender straight men. In retrospect, Pride Month was probably a weird time to suddenly choose that but as a friend pointed out, exploring my bisexuality is a form of Pride too since I usually only sleep with women and other trans people.

Overall, I’m glad I tried it and it was really affirming to quickly and easily find non-fetishizing straight men who found me attractive. But the sex was kinda “meh” for me. Like it was fun to try something different but it didn’t get me even close to orgasm. I was really hoping that it might kick on my G-spot but I think instead, it solidified for me that I like the kinds of sex I’ve been having better. This may be something I try again in the future every once in a blue moon but mostly to add variety rather than fulfillment.

Straight sex

As I’m thinking about potentially having sex with cis men soon, it’s really weird to think that this is now considered straight sex. And how different that meaning is for me now than what straight sex meant for me 5 years ago. Really makes you question the whole concept of straight vs queer sex and the idea of that as a dichotomy. But at the same time, I think it is important to be clear that a straight man can have sex with a trans woman and that doesn’t mean they’re gay. It’s all complicated and hopefully someday no one will care but here we are.

The Braces are off!

Last Monday, after almost 3 and a half years, I finally got my braces off! And while it has been exciting to finally be able to eat without spending the next hour getting pieces out of my teeth, the most surprising thing for me has been how significantly my facial dysphoria has been relieved.

When I first got the braces, I went through a week of intensive dysphoria so bad that I was dissociating completely out of my body and it felt like I was seeing my life from the bottom of a deep well. It was the worst. And while I managed to pull myself out of that well, the dysphoria for the last 3 years has been bad, enough so that I was afraid to smile completely, especially in photos. I’ve also been seriously contemplating whether I needed facial feminization surgery (FFS) because I hated my face so much.

But the last week has been so much better! I keep glimpsing myself in the mirror or my zoom screen and smiling instead of cringing. Even with my retainer on, I look so so much more beautiful! My face has changed so much, even in the last year, and it is nice to finally be able to see that.

Reflections on Trans Day of Visibility

Today is the annual Transgender Day of Visibility. A day dedicated to celebrating trans people while we are alive and appreciating trans excellence.

But for many of us, this year feels particularly hard. While we have recently enjoyed many of the benefits of being more visible in media and politics and the allyship we have gained from intersecting communities, that visibility has also come at a high cost. Violence against trans women of color is at an all time high. And the political right has chosen to make our identities a wedge issue, pushing forward hateful and harmful legislation across multiple states and at the federal level. The horrendous laws in Arkansas, Mississippi, South Dakota, and Tennessee have targeted trans teens in particular, excluding them from sports and gender-affirming care.

If you are cisgender, I encourage you to take some time this week to read about the issues facing our community right now such as the scientific evidence supporting trans youth in sports and find ways to act to support your trans colleagues, friends, and trans youth across the nation. As a starting point, I recommend reading this brief article from The Nation about how Visibility Alone Will Not Keep Transgender Youth Safe. I also encourage you to find transgender-led advocacy groups to donate to such as Seattle’s Gender Justice League and the grassroots Trans Women of Color Solidarity Network Fund.

Missing the old days

Today I’m really missing the days back before I realized how much dysphoria I had where the sex with my factory installed equipment was still good. Once I started estrogen, the sex was just never the same. But my brain and body were so much happier that it was a worthwhile tradeoff.

I’m glad I have what I know are the right parts now, but I am also sad to be still stuck in this period of time where sex is ultimately just frustrating. I know it will probably get better but the waiting is so hard!

Looking back

Sometimes it’s helpful to look back and realize how far you’ve come. I ran across some photos recently of a vacation I took in 2016 and I was shocked at how hairy I used to be and how different my face looked. It is really a testament to how well laser hair removal works that I don’t really have to think about that much anymore. I used to have a very full beard and now I have shaved once in the last 2 months. It is such a relief to not have the constant dysphoria-inducing shadow on my face from stubble. And I’m so thankful that I had the resources and support to make all this expensive hair removal happen.

2016 me
Me today

A hard reality

I know I probably shouldn’t be writing when I’m tipsy but here I am anyway. And it’s time for me to say some uncomfortable things about surgery.

Right now I’m kinda regretting having bottom surgery. I know this period of no orgasms is supposed to be temporary but it’s been 4 months since I’ve had that release and I’m beyond frustrated. I really wish I still had my old parts so I had a reliable way to get off. Instead I just have to keep throwing different toys against this clit-less vulva and hope something finally happens.

I don’t know if things would be different if I still had my clit but I am terrified that this anorgasmia will last forever, especially with its loss. It has always been my biggest fear and this waiting game is wreaking havoc on my anxiety.

Anyway, that’s where I am. Hopefully I won’t be there forever and someday I’ll unlock the magical orgasms I’ve always dreamed of. In the meantime I’m going to try to keep focusing on the wonderful reduction in dysphoria and hope the rest catches up.

3 Month “Graduation”

I had my final post op appointment in person today and got some confirmation and a little reassurance.

I was correct. The tip of my clitoris did in fact fall off. My freak out was totally warranted and it wasn’t normal.

The good-ish news is that my nerve bundle is still intact just under the skin and I should still be able to orgasm, though it may take another 6 months to regain enough feeling for that to happen. The lack of sensation at this point is completely normal. Eventually I’ll just have an erogenous zone there where a clit usually is, it will just be harder for people to find.

I am definitely disappointed. I feel simultaneously like I haven’t fully processed it and that I kinda did process it several weeks ago when it happened. But as long as I can eventually orgasm, this surgery will still have been worth it. The reduction in dysphoria and the euphoria I get from being able to pee properly are a significant improvement. I just wish I didn’t have to be the one with the weird complication.

Otherwise I’m healing well. They treated the granulation tissue spots with silver nitrate and sent me home with a cream that will clear them up so they stop bleeding. I’m making good progress with the dilators and hopefully it should be smooth sailing from here other than waiting to have orgasms. Crossing my fingers that those eventually work right.

What is it like to be cis?

I’ll admit it. I don’t understand cisgender people. It’s hard for me to imagine what it’s like to have an uncomplicated relationship with gender and have a body that doesn’t need extensive modification to work with your brain. But just because I don’t understand doesn’t mean I go around villainizing all cis people and telling you you’re invalid.

Yet that’s what it’s like being trans. Everyone from children’s authors to radio personalities think they can attack us without repercussions. They tell us we can’t possibly know what our experience is and that we are somehow anti science for just existing.

I’m thankful for all of you who take the time to read my blog posts or educate yourselves about trans issues. It means a lot that you try to understand.