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Posts Tagged ‘names’

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 am a parent of a teenager who just last year, at the age of 17, shocked me with the announcement that she was transgender and would be starting the transition from FTM as soon as she turned 18.

“Up to that point, my husband and I had no idea her gender identity was in question. She was definitely a ‘tomboy’ (as was I most of my life), and never played with dolls, etc., but we never put two and two together. We did think she was a lesbian, however, but even that we were unsure about, because she had gone from one phase to another over the years (emo chick, athlete, etc.).

“So I am trying to find a place where I can be educated that will help me not only believe this, but accept it, embrace it, and eventually advocate for my child. I am having a very difficult time ‘transitioning’ my own mind to believe that my daughter of 17 years is not a female. I cannot get the word ‘him’ out of my mouth, and I cannot get myself to call her (him) by this new name.

“Does this make me a mean, closed-minded, unaccepting parent? I just tried to call my husband ‘babe’ or ‘honey’ the other day (something I’ve never done), and that felt so incredibly awkward coming out of my mouth. How in the world will I call my child ‘he’?

“I cannot seem to find good information on how to change myself, and my husband and my 12-year-old son’s mindset on the fact that ‘Jane’ is now ‘John.’ Not to mention, my husband is not at all willing to change the name. He does not even believe that this is happening. Knowing nothing at all about transgenderism and totally unwilling to educate himself at this, I am at a loss!”

Let’s get the most important thing out of the way right up front – you are not mean, closed-minded, or unaccepting. You wouldn’t be writing to me if you were. So stop beating yourself up about that, and let that one go.

Next, let’s put your husband on the back burner for a moment, because it’s not your job to make him accept his child. Don’t worry – we’ll come back to him later. Right now, we are going to focus on you, because how you deal with this will likely eventually influence how he does, and how your 12-year-old son does. (more…)

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Question MarkBelow we have three letters with a common theme: a desire to medically transition, the inability to do so, and the problems that can create. Each is a little different, so I’m hoping that readers will have some thoughts about one or more of these situations.

A reader writes: “I’m writing because I went to my Kaiser trans specialist yesterday. She said that they now offer SRS and breast implants to trans women who work for certain companies. I replied that it was fine, and I’d happily take a genital reworking once my company was among the fold.

“However, to meet the requirements of WPATH, I would need (and want!) to live full-time for a year prior. To facilitate that, I asked, could I get electrolysis and/or facial changes that would enable me to live comfortably as a woman. She said that Kaiser won’t cover those procedures. My PCP added that she remembers when they didn’t offer ANY trans surgery.

“So I feel caught in a Catch-22. I can get bigger boobs, but not a chance to live comfortably in my skin, relatively free from harassment. And I should be grateful. Argh! I have a small income and no savings. What do you think? I just feel frustrated.”

It is frustrating, because some of the very basic procedures that trans people need – sometimes more than extensive surgery itself – are not considered medically necessary. Things such as electrolysis and facial surgery are considered “cosmetic,” although they can be the foundation of living socially in the gender that matches a person’s identity.

And social presentation can be just as important – and sometimes more so – than parts of our physical body that are generally private. How we are seen by others, and how others interact with us, can be essential to how we see ourselves.

In my opinion, the things that allow for appropriate and successful social adjustment in transition should be considered just as necessary as any larger medical procedures that trans people might need. However, my opinion has yet to be taken into consideration by the powers who make these decisions. (more…)

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Question MarkA reader writes: “I am a 17-year-old FTM. I know my first and last name choices to change, but I am having a hard time on a middle name. I wanted to know how you decided on yours, and do you have any suggestions for me?”

Middle names are interesting, and they can be just as important as first names, depending on how you intend to use them. I chose my middle name (and my first name) based solely on what my parents were going to name me if I had been born a boy. But there are plenty of other ways to choose a middle name.

If you have one name that you absolutely love, then go with it. But you sent me a list of several that you were considering, which I’m not printing because it could identify you. However, here are some things I would suggest thinking about when choosing a middle name:

1. Preference: When you give your friends a list of the names you are considering, is there one that you secretly hope they will not choose? If so, eliminate that one, then give them the list of remaining names. Is there another one that you secretly hope that they will not choose? Then eliminate that one, and so on. If there is always one name that you secretly hope they will choose, then there’s your middle name.

2. Timelessness: Will your middle name stand the test of time? For example, Kanye West is huge right now, and maybe he is your favorite artist. But in twenty years, will you still want the middle name of Kanye? (Kanye will likely be happy with his name for the rest of his life, but he is Kanye West.) Think about how your name will stand up in twenty, thirty, or fifty years. Of course, your tastes will probably change, and you don’t know right now what they might be, but try to project yourself into the future. What name might you want? I would recommend avoiding “fads.” (more…)

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Question MarkA reader writes: “I am legally and anatomically female and 43 years old. I have presented as fairly gender-neutral for most of my life, and have always been bisexual in orientation, but relatively recently realized that I am really dissatisfied with my birth sex and gender.

“After extensive research on available options, I’ve decided I’m very unlikely to undergo surgery or hormone treatment, especially as I identify more as gender-neutral or possibly transmasculine than male. (I do intend to consult a therapist who specializes in trans issues for guidance in this area.)

“I am currently trying to figure out if it’s possible to have a viable gender-neutral identity. Fortunately I live in San Francisco, where all manner of gender expression is tolerated and even celebrated, but in some ways that makes it harder to show people that I don’t consider myself female; dressing more like a man will likely cause me to read as a butch dyke. As I’m much more sexually attracted to men, particularly bi and gay men, than women, that reading is problematic for me.

“In any event, I’ve decided that whatever form my gender expression ultimately takes, I do want to change my birth name, both first and last, to one that is gender-neutral and personally meaningful. I want to do this legally rather than just adopt a nickname, as my given first name is clearly feminine and I’ve had issues with my last name for years. I am 99% decided on what my new name will be, but I’ve run it by only my spouse so far as I want to be sure.

“I am struggling with how best to go about the announcement and process of my name change. I think it might be confusing to tell only a few close friends to call me by this name first, and then tell others later. I would rather do it all at once. But how to go about it? I’ve never had to reveal something of this magnitude before. When I came out as bisexual, and later as polyamorous, it was hardly a big deal, considering my social circles. This, however, is a momentous change, and that’s before even considering the legal aspects, with all the documents that must be changed and the associated expense. Any advice?”

First of all, yes, it’s possible to have a viable gender-neutral identity. You will probably run into the occasional “Thank you, ma’am, I mean sir, I mean ma’am” kind of thing, but if you have a strong self-concept and good self-esteem, you should be able to weather that. You will no doubt also run into some pronoun confusion, where sometimes you’re referred to as “he” and sometimes as “she,” but since you have presented as gender neutral for a while, you have possibly already experienced this. (more…)

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Question MarkA reader writes: “I am trans man well into my transition. My problem is with my parents. They have been very opposed to my transition all this time, even going so far as threatening to disown me if I carried it out and kicking me out from my home.

“As I informed them about my intention to make my name change legal soon, they suddenly contacted me, telling me quite plainly that they expect to be the ones that get to choose my new name, despite the fact that I already have a name I have gone with years and that all close to me are familiar with.

“While I see this as sign of them maybe wishing to fix the rift between us, I do not honestly believe they have earned the right to choose my name. I would have loved them to do it early into my transition, but as stated earlier, they were not really supportive at all.

“My question is: How do I tell them I am not going to let them choose my name without crushing this promising, yet fragile, chance to mend things between us?”

I agree with you – the fact that they are now suddenly butting in after all this time is actually promising. It sounds as if they are trying to reestablish contact and mend the relationship. But they are trying to do it on their own terms.

My guess is that they have finally come to the realization that you are going to do what you want to do, regardless of what they want, and they are now trying to regain some semblance of control over their child. Their demand to choose your new name shows that they are now at least willing to accept your transition, but it also reflects their need to maintain their parental power, which you have rejected by going against their wishes.

As you say, it’s unfortunate that they waited so long, but even if they had been supportive, there is no guarantee that you would have wanted the name that they want for you. As an adult, you have the right to choose your own name – and you already have.

So I think that what you tell them is something like this: (more…)

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Question MarkA reader writes: “I’m just starting the process to get my name and gender marker legally changed. I was born and live in Colorado. I’m going to use the court system in a county that hasn’t seen a petition of this type, at least that I’m aware of. I will not be using a lawyer due to finances, so I’ve been asking everyone to help prepare.

“I currently have the name/gender marker petitions on separate forms. Do you think that would be considered as two separate filing fees? Should I combine them onto a single form? In regards to the name change petition, what would you recommend I put as the reason for a name change? Can you recommend any documents and/or reference materials I can include with the forms to help educate the judge and increase my chances of having my petition granted? I’m more worried about the gender marker, as I don’t believe the name change should be a problem.”

I got my name and driver’s license changed in Colorado a long time ago (before 9/11, which changed a lot of stuff), so my experience is not current. I am going to enlist reader help here, and not just those readers living in Colorado, because this question comes up a lot for people in other states as well. So if you live in Colorado, please add your experiences for this state, and if you live somewhere else and want to respond, please identify your state and let people know of your experience there to help others in your state with the same questions.

My understanding is that the state of Colorado does not legally change gender (through the court system), so if you are talking about getting your gender marker changed on your driver’s license, you do not do that through the court, but through the DMV. There is a form that you must fill out at the DMV and have your physician complete as well. Information about that form is here. (Thank you, Crystal Ann Gray and Karen Bachman!) (more…)

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