1 year without a beard

Today is the 1 year anniversary of me shaving off my beard. It was a big scary leap for me to give up something that had been such an important part of my identity for 12 years and accept that I would have to deal with more dysphoria for awhile as I dealt with the facial hair. But I’m so glad I did.

I’ve now had 5 sessions of laser hair removal on my face and spent over $2,000 in the process but all the pain, time, and money paid off because now I’ve gone a week without shaving and my face is still smooth! I have no more stubble or that dark shadow on my face and the amount of hair I have left to pluck isn’t any more than many cisgender women have to deal with.

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In other news, I’ve conquered two of my biggest fears around bathrooms so far. I’ve used a women’s room at a mall (with my spouse), and I’ve had a conversation with a coworker in the women’s room at work. Both things that I never would have felt safe doing with a beard.

This transition has been expensive and I’ve managed to make it this far with the help of my spouse but I still need to raise another $5,000 for my bottom surgery next year. If you are able to contribute I would really appreciate it. https://www.gofundme.com/f/haven-gender-confirmation-treatments¬†

What it takes to change your government gender

I received my new Drivers License today which means that I’m officially a doctor certified, government recognized woman! It also means I’m done with phase 1 of changing my name and gender marker. But you wouldn’t believe how complex the steps to get there can be. Here’s what it takes in Washington.

First I had to research the process and figure out which dependencies were built in so that I could get the necessary documents at the correct government office in the right order. Then  I had to go to my doctor to get the required letters and signatures.

Step one was going to the local County Courthouse and filing a Petition for Name Change which had to be submitted by 11 am if I wanted a same-day hearing and I had to pay $215 in cash to get the 4 certified copies I would need later on. Then I had to come back at 1:15 to have a judge have me attest on the record that I wasn’t changing my name to commit fraud or escape debt. Then I waited around in the lobby while my documents were processed.

Once I had the name change, I was able to submit my passport renewal in the same office but I nearly made the mistake of filling out the renewal form because that’s what the online steps indicate if you say you are changing your name. In order to find the correct steps you have to find the deeply hidden page on how to change your gender which tells you to submit the application for a NEW passport (Form DS11) in person and means you can’t use the online wizard completely (you have to tell it you don’t have a former passport and then correct it by hand after you print) or submit by mail. I also had to be prepared with a new passport photo which cost me $15, a letter from my physician certifying that I had medically transitioned, and pay $145 in the form of 2 checks to submit along with my previous passport which means I can’t fly abroad until the new one arrives.

Then I proceeded to the local Social Security office where I waited for an hour in a crowded lobby full of armed officers to submit my Application for a Social Security Card showing the correct gender which required me to show my court order along with another copy of the letter from my doctor certifying my medical transition. Luckily that process was free.

Then I proceeded to the Department of Licensing to update my Drivers License only to find out that to update an Enhanced ID (necessary for flying soon), I needed to wait for the new Social Security Card to arrive in the mail. So I came back a week later and waited in line a second time to submit yet another Change of Gender Designation Form with my physician’s signature along with another copy of the court order and a $10 fee.

Luckily for my Birth Certificate, I was able to mail in the Request to Change Sex Designation on a Birth Certificate for an Adult which had to be notarized but luckily doesn’t require a doctor to sign anything now in Washington. I did have to pay another $20 by check if I wanted to get a copy however.

All told, this is how much effort it took:

  • Research Time: 3 hours
  • Number of Offices: 4
  • Wait Time in Lobbies: 2 hours
  • Cost: $425

Now I get to move to phase 2 where I contact all the various places that have my old name such as banks, medical providers, online accounts, etc. to get them to update my name and gender as well. I’m exhausted just thinking about it!

If you would like to help support my transition costs, you can donate at https://www.gofundme.com/f/haven-gender-confirmation-treatments

Fundraising for surgeries

It makes me so sad that trans people have to beg for money from friends and strangers in order to have live saving treatments for gender dysphoria. And that we have to have our identities pathologized and our daily existence diagnosed in order to get access to insurance coverage. But this is the reality that we live in.

Transition is a very expensive process with exorbitant costs everywhere you turn. If you want to change your name, you have to pay $400 and spend most of a day in government offices getting a judge to approve it and other offices to accept it. If you want to treat dysphoria around body hair and have any hope of being seen as a trans woman, you need to spend thousands of dollars on hair removal that most people consider a luxury and insurance won’t pay for. And if you want surgery, you often have to travel out of state like I am doing to find someone trained in what you need which means the expenses snowball with housing, airfare, meals in a strange place, etc.

It is absolutely terrifying to be looking at my budget for surgery next summer and realize that I need to come up with $6,000-$9,000 for my out of pocket costs. And as much as I hate asking for money, that’s what I’m doing now. I’ve launched a GoFundMe campaign to start saving up.

So if you have ever benefited from my writing and how openly I share about my path to self actualization, please consider donating. Every little bit will make a difference in making this life saving surgery a reality. https://www.gofundme.com/f/haven-gender-confirmation-treatments

The costs of being trans

Being trans is so damn expensive! Who in their right mind seriously thinks we do this just for kicks?

I just budgeted my out of pocket costs for bottom surgery and I’m looking at between $6,200 to $8,800 since there are no surgeons near Seattle and I have to travel to San Francisco to do it. I also just spent $400 on my name and gender change documents. And I’ve already spent $3,000 on hair removal with at least another $600 to go.

If you would like to help contribute, please donate to my transition fund: https://www.gofundme.com/f/haven-gender-confirmation-treatments