Posts Tagged ‘employment’

Question MarkBelow we have two letters having to do with transition issues. The first is about the effects of hormones on mood, and the second deals with changing names and gender markers on transcripts. Here we go:

A reader writes: “I started ‘T’ (testosterone cypionate) one week ago at 100 mg. every two weeks, then will go up to 200 in three months. I started feeling a bit more agitated and quick to anger two days ago. I also feel sort of flat emotionally and a tad depressed.

“The first two days after injecting I felt calm, more peaceful, and good (probably because I was starting the process). I’m older at 53. Do these feelings settle down after a while? It’s becoming sort of a drag.”

They should settle down. Hormones can cause rapid mood changes and other feelings that you are not used to. Testosterone and estrogen can both affect mood, emotion, and feelings of general well-being. Your body is not used to this hormone. It has to adjust.

Testosterone can make some people feel agitated and angry. Strong agitation and anger is what body builders who are on steroids mean when they refer to “roid rage.” Not every trans guy experiences this, but it is not uncommon, and it should either lessen over time or you will adjust over time. It also should fluctuate as your body cycles through each dose (if you are injecting).

I personally think that testosterone suppresses some emotions, which could be why you feel emotionally flat. I am not able to cry as easily on T, and it’s not because I think that guys shouldn’t cry. I know a few guys who have gone off of T just to have a good cry once in a while. I also know a trans women who became very confused about why she was bursting into tears at the smallest provocation, because she had never done that before in her life. She had recently started estrogen. Aha! (more…)


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Question MarkA reader writes: I’ve never felt like I fit in until I started to dress as a male at University a few year ago. Before I left University, I threw away my small collection of male clothes because I was scared of what my parents would say/think.

“When I was 16, I was forced by my sister, in particular, to wear a dress. I did tell my sister at the time (who is three years older than me) that I didn’t feel right in a dress, but she said, ‘You’re a woman, so act like one.’ Now I’m settled in a job I really enjoy, I feel it’s time to start to transition, but I’m scared of my parents’ reaction.

“A few years ago, they found out I self-harm, and my Mum didn’t know what to say, but one morning my Dad suddenly wrestled me to the ground and shouted and spat at me, saying, ‘Do you want someone to talk all simple to you? Do you want a straight jacket? Just stop it.’

“I never sought professional help, because I felt like I needed my parents’ support. I stopped self-harming a couple of years later. I want to start to wear male clothes again, to begin the transition, but I’m scared that my parents won’t support me, especially after their reaction to the self-harm.

“I try to dress as androgynous as I can, and I’m being read as a male a fair bit already. Dad keeps on lifting my top up to see how many layers I’ve got on. I feel humiliated, but if I tell him to stop, he still does it.

“My other worry is work. If I suddenly wear male clothing, people may ask questions. Would it be better to make an announcement before I dress as male, so everyone knows what’s happening?”

I don’t know how old you are or whether or not you still live with your parents, but it sounds as if you might be out on your own. You have graduated and you have a good job. If you’re not out on your own, you might consider saving the money to do that fairly soon, if that’s possible.

You do not need your parents’ support to start therapy if you are able to pay for it yourself or have some kind of health coverage that will pay for it. I suggest you start therapy, regardless of what you decide to do. Even though you say you stopped self-harming two years ago, there is a possibility that this could start again as you become more stressed, and some professional support might be able to prevent a setback.

A therapist can also help you make decisions about how to come out at work and what to do about your parents, as well as helping you deal with any negative repercussions that might come from coming out or transitioning in any way, if that’s what you decide to do. (more…)

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Question MarkToday we have two letters that are only semi-related (I figured out a way to make them go together), and I would really like some reader input on the first one, so let’s get started:

A reader writes: “I am a 32-year-old trans woman. I’ve been living in San Francisco for almost a decade now. I was wondering if you know of any small towns, say under 7-8,000 people, that are trans friendly or at least very liberal/open-minded. I have tried looking online and have yet to come up with anything.”

I thought this was a good question to put out there to the readers, because every so often, I get a question about trans-friendly towns and where to live. I am really not aware of any very small trans-friendly towns, other than possibly Trinidad, Colorado (population 9,096), but now that Marci Bowers has moved her practice from there, I don’t know if it’s changed.

The good thing about any town in Colorado is that our state has public accommodations and employment non-discrimination laws that cover trans people. The bad thing is that, even with laws in place, you can’t guarantee that they’re followed.

But I know there are readers out there looking for trans-friendly locations, and not everyone is looking for a small town. So I’m hoping that I can throw this out there and get some good feedback on cities and towns of all sizes that are trans-friendly or good places for trans people to live.

Readers, what would you recommend with regard to trans-friendly small towns, medium-sized cities, and large cities, however you define that? It would be nice if we could get a little list going, with some towns and cities of various sizes. And although the reader was asking about locations in the United States, I get readers from all over the world, so I would be interested in hearing about trans-friendly towns and cities anywhere. (more…)

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81st Academy Awards® Press Kit ImagesThe idea of trans people playing trans characters on television, in films, and on stage comes up time and time again, and will probably continue to do so as more trans characters are appearing in mainstream story lines and more trans actors are moving into the mainstream entertainment world.

When Boys Don’t Cry came out years ago, my first thought was “They couldn’t find a trans man to play this part?” The thought came back when Transamerica graced the big screen and I wondered if there really weren’t any trans women out there to play this role. But the truth is that if they had found trans actors to play Brandon Teena and Bree, the films would not have taken off the way that they did.

Hilary Swank and Felicity Huffman were box-office draws. At the time, and still today, no trans actor would lure mainstream audiences to theaters the way that Swank and Huffman did. Since the benefit of both of those films was letting mainstream audiences learn a little bit about trans and gender-diverse experience, the impact would be lost.

On the other hand, wouldn’t trans actors have been a better fit? Wouldn’t trans actors be able to legitimately portray these experiences so much more realistically than non-trans actors who had to learn the ropes from the ground up? And wouldn’t casting trans actors in roles like these give them the exposure that they needed to gain some traction in the tough and competitive acting world?

Yes and no. (more…)

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Question MarkWhat follows is a variety of unrelated questions, but I put them together in hope of reader thoughts and suggestions with regard to these various situations:

A reader writes: “I am a 21-year-old transguy who’s been on T for nearly a whole year so far, and recently started to think about working as an au pair, because I’d like to move into another country. I’d like to improve my language skills and see the atmosphere of a new country to decide if I like it, and if I can gain money while doing that, it sounds like a perfect opportunity!

“However, I am aware that families can be picky in these cases. Being bisexual, a guy, and a transsexual one, too, I know maybe I am not an ideal candidate for a regular family. For this reason I was thinking, since in other countries gay marriages are becoming legal and I’ve heard several stories about families with queer children, wouldn’t it be cool if I could work as an au pair for LGBT families?

“I know that if my child was gay, bisexual, transsexual and/or gender nonconforming, I would want someone who can understand them and show them that there are others like them, or if I was trans and/or in a gay relationship, I’d prefer to host someone who knows what it’s like not to be straight nor cis.

“However, I have no idea of how I could find a LGBT family interested in something like this. Do you or your readers have any advice about this? It would be great if anyone knew of a website specifically about this, of course, but even just some general advice on the topic of LGBT au pairs would help.”

I have absolutely no information on this. Based on my limited (non-existent) knowledge, the one thing I would suggest is that you figure out what country (or countries) you might be interested in, maybe even narrowing it down to general areas or cities within that country, then finding the websites specific to LGBT life in that country.

If there are websites, or even print publications, devoted specifically to LGBT parenting, so much the better. But, for example, if you’re interested in going to Paris, I’m sure that there are general LGBT organizations in Paris that would have websites. Then contact those organizations and ask how you might advertise yourself as an au pair. (more…)

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Question MarkA reader writes: “I work for a defense contractor (a heavily conservative field) in one of the most conservative states in the U.S. and am in the process of transition (I’ve been on hormones about eleven months). Couple this with the fact that I’m still just a consultant, not an employee, and can be let go at any time simply because my coworkers don’t like me (something I’ve struggled against already). As you can imagine, I still have to work in guy mode.

“However, I’m in that limbo where I get called ‘ma’am’ in guy mode and ‘sir’ when presenting as the real me. I’ve found that I hate wearing the mask that is guy mode so much now that it takes me a couple of hours to decompress from the masquerade I spend all day doing. I don’t want to lose my job, but I want to be true to myself.

“I’m reaching my wit’s end where I’m beginning to snap at my cis ally friends who are trying to be supportive, simply because they don’t understand what it feels like and how hard it is for me. I’ve tried discussing this with my therapist (a cis lesbian), who just suggested listening to music that ‘makes me feel feminine’ on my way home from work, which is no help.

“So I come here, asking you and your readers, my trans brothers and sisters, what to do. How do I reconcile my identity with my desire to keep a decent job in this economy? If I can stay with it a couple of years, I could save up enough money to pay for all of my transition, including surgeries. The pay is just that good. What can I do?”

I think that one of the most difficult places to transition, particularly from male to female, is within a “good-ol’-boy” environment, which is what I would imagine a defense contractor in a conservative state to be. I didn’t have this experience, but I’m sure some of my readers did, so I’m hoping that we’ll get some opinions and tips from those with first-hand knowledge.

There are people who will tell you to wait (and that might be the best option), because in two years, you will be able to afford everything that you want. But this is one experience I have had – being told to wait (in my case, just for a couple of months) before I started presenting as male because of a major event that I had to host for my employer. I did wait, but it was agony. People don’t understand this. It doesn’t make sense to anyone who hasn’t been there. (more…)

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Question MarkA reader writes: “I am a 48-year-old transgendered woman. I had a sex change operation at age 25. I am unable to get a job, go to school, or rent an apartment. There are laws against discrimination against transsexuals in this state, but they do not enforce the laws.

“I used to have a career as an EMT, but now I have nothing. I feel sad how my life is. I wanted a family, a career, and a nice home. I have nothing. I am not treated very well by society. I have no friends or family.”

While there’s no direct question in this letter, I think that there are some unspoken ones. I also think that it reflects part of the trans experience that the non-trans public is probably most unaware of.

Trans people are most often in the headlines (at least in the U.S.) for being on a TV show, protesting a TV show, or getting assaulted or killed. Once in a while, we’ll see a news story about some blatant discrimination that has occurred or some blatant discrimination that’s about to occur (such as a pending public accommodations bill in some city or state that will probably be voted down). But we rarely see or hear about the ongoing effects of discrimination in the lives of average trans people.

Rejection by family and friends, denial of housing and employment, and a sense of helplessness about ever changing things can lead to isolation and loneliness for people whose lives were stable and “successful” prior to transition. And regardless of the cautions that most of us hear before transition, we often don’t realize how negative the negatives can be. Sometimes the old stable and successful life of the past starts to look pretty good – in retrospect.

But things often seem better than they were when we look back on them, particularly if we are unhappy in the present. The ease and simplicity that we remember about our former existence weren’t really there – at least not in the most important aspects of our life. (more…)

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