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That ‘time’ of the ‘month’

30 Dec

I stopped getting a monthly menstrual cycle after three-moths of being on T. I’ve occasionally had period-like cramps, especially when I’ve been late or missed my next shot of T.

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In Pseudonymity Veritas

4 Jun

I’ve had the pleasure to be involved in a new interactive mixed media project titled “In Pseudonymity Veritas”.

 

(Re)framing Gender

17 May

Last night I prepared a short piece for (Re)framing Gender fundraiser and IDAHOBIT event. Originally it must a much larger piece that I had submitted to ‘Letters for my Siblings’, which got turned down. I re-wrote the piece in place of not having had enough time to develop a drag/gender performance for the night.

I wanted to share it on here as I’m needing to shorten my ten-minute piece down to five minutes to ensure no-one is left out. This is what I would have read if time allowed…

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30 Day Genderqueer Challenge Day 20

17 Jan

How has your relationship with the cisgender people in your life changed?

I am not sure that my relationship with the cisgender people in my life has changed that much, then again now I think about it I think it actually has.

Before I started T cisgender people who aren’t queer in my life saw me as a lesbian/dyke, while those who were part of the LGBTI/queer community too saw me as androgynous/tomboy, female.  Now, I feel queer cisgender people see me as trans* or ‘different’ because they hear my voice has changed or that I have facial hair.  Non-queer cisgender people, such as family and work colleagues, see me still as possibly as a lesbian but I don’t really know because I dare not think or ask what they see in me. So in a way I’ve pulled away from some people because they don’t understand and in a way I don’t know what to say or how to explain.

I feel I can’t be genderqueer around my queer cisgender friends or acquaintances because they don’t ‘get’ what it means. I can’t be trans* because in their eyes it means transition from one gender to another. With non-queer cisgender people I feel like a freak. I cannot explain who I am or who I want to be. I shave before I go to work just so they don’t notice my facial hair too much.

I’ve always had a small group of friends, however I feel starting T and changing has caused me to pull away from people who don’t understand. Yet I ask how can other understand when I don’t make a point to stop and explain?

Adapted from the 30 day Trans challenge and the 30 day [GSM] challenge

30 Day Genderqueer Challenge Day 19

11 Dec

Do you feel comfortable answering questions about your gender to friends? Acquaintances? Strangers?

I was just about to say that I am more than happy to answer questions about gender in general, but I guess when it comes down to my gender it depends on who asks.

Sometimes it is easier when it is coming from a stranger, for example when I might be facilitating or running training around Trans* 101 or gender diversity. No one knows me so I don’t really care about other people’s judgements and am more than comfortable challenging inappropriate questions or assumptions made.

Acquaintances, especially people who I might be starting to get to know, sometimes make me feel a little more uncomfortable in answering questions about my gender. A work colleague for example would trigger a mild anxiety attack as I feel uncomfortable as is being ‘me’ at work. I think everyone assumes I am a lesbian and no one has ever asked anything else about me. I’ve told a select number of people at work about my involvement within the trans* community and disclosed my pronoun preference, but that is about it. My comfort level with other acquaintances really depends on many factors like how did I meet this person, do they understand the basic trans* stuff, what questions are they asking and how do they identify.

Very few friends (who aren’t trans* themselves) have asked me about my gender and overall I am more than happy to answer. I have to say one or two people have asked me very personal and possibly inappropriate questions, which at the time I answerd too quickly and honestly. It wasn’t until I was recounting the conversation with trans* friends that they flagged it as not appropriate – even for someone who I consider a friend. I suppose at the time I got caught up on ‘educating’ them about trans* stuff that I didn’t think about what questions were ok not to answered. For this reason I’ve often referred people to the Dude Trans Male Zine section of appropriate and inappropriate questions.

Adapted from the 30 day Trans challenge and the 30 day [GSM] challenge

30 Day Genderqueer Challenge Day 18

25 Nov

What is your sexual and romantic orientations? Are they affected by your gender?

Pre-genderqueer and T I identified as a lesbian/dyke and found myself sexually and romantically oriented to cis-women mostly, and the few trans* guys I happened to glimpse upon.

Pre-testosterone I identified as queer and was sexually and romantically oriented to other genderqueers, trans* and non-binary folk.

Currently my sexual orientation is non-existant, however it has returned back to lesbians, as well as encompassing ‘guys’, genderqueers, trans* and non-binary folk. Romantically however I am not quite sure…

I don’t think my gender affected my sexual and/or romantic orientations – apart from confusing how I identify and what it would make me if I liked ‘a’, ‘b’ or ‘c’. I feel T has affected my sexual orientation, or who I am sexually attracted to, with the most obvious change being cis-guys.

Adapted from the 30 day Trans challenge and the 30 day [GSM] challenge

30 Day Genderqueer Challenge Day 17

6 Nov

How has your relationship with yourself been affected since you realized you were Genderqueer?

I was actually just thinking about this before I started work today. A few months ago I verbally removed myself from the lesbian community, saying I didn’t consider myself a lesbian or wanting anything to do with this part of the community. I think in part I felt abandoned by some of my dyke friends and also felt myself becoming neither one thing or the other, so how could I fit it. In hidsight I wish I hadn’t jumped to conclusions and sat with what had been going on for me internally.

Since realizing I was genderqueer I’ve felt a sense of relief, like it was ok to feel like this and want to start homones but not necessarily have surgery or want to be seen an exclusively male. This however is a difficult path and one I am still exploring and battling against.

I thought after starting T  I would begin to feel more comfortable with myself. In a way I have and a lot of it is about positive changes I was wanting – not having a menstrual cycle, my voice dropping, facial hair and an increase in libido. On the other hand I’ve had moments where I panicked about my voice changing/having changed, being turned off by body hair increasing, seeing my libido turning me away from sex with others, and feeling at times confused with where I am going with all of this (T). I guess you could say that my relationship with myself since strating hormones has been a rollercoaster.

Adapted from the 30 day Trans challenge and the 30 day [GSM] challenge

Started 200mg of T

16 Oct

I’m at work and I’ve just consumed a 375ml of Coke Zero and a snack pack of Barbecue Shapes. I started my 200mg of T today with the thought of trialing this dose for the next nine weeks. My expectations aren’t high, but I am expecting an increase in energy and libido, the energy being my main goal. However I realise there may be some unwanted side effects too and for that I am going to have to wait and see. At the moment however, five-hours after my shot, I feel exhausted and a little spacey. I have another three hours of work and then I am done for the day.

My anxiety levels have increased again, however I have no idea if this is due to the T or other factors in my life. Thankfully I am seeing my counsellor again in a few weeks and go through my thoughts with her. I’ve been a little disconnected from other genderqueer peeps because it’s been one thing after another – first a cold, then facilitating training workshops, another bug/virus, being busy and work. I did however manage a few quick catch-ups and I am hoping to see a few other friends at dinner this Friday.

I’m however struggling a little keeping afloat in what feels like to me a mostly trans* world. Despite people’s best attempts to introduce the topic of gender-neutral pronouns, mine were quickly forgotten, in several circumstances, when I was referred to as ‘she’. There were two events where this happened:

  • I’ve been facilitating a training course for newbie counsellors within the LGBTIQ community where I am amongst two gay men, two lesbians and a trans* guy. At the begining of the course we all stated our preferred pronoun when introducing ourselves. Despite being the only person preferring gender-neutral pronouns (e.g. they, them etc.) I didn’t hear or find anyone slipping up. The next two weeks however was very different. First I heard a member of the training team slip up, so I made an effort to try and speak up. I normally let these kind of things go, so imagine when I gathered the guts and calmed my anxiety by casually saying what my pronoun preferences were. By the end of the day I felt bad because the poor person felt I could have perhaps told them in private (instead of with one person close by), which caused them to be quite upset. Anyhow without going on and on about the situation, I soon found several people started referring to me as ‘she’ and wondered why the trans* guy got to have their pronouns respected?
  • Second occurance was at a social afternoon with friends where I was very aware of being referred to as ‘she’. Now while I don’t mind being called ‘she’ when someone has made the effort to ask me of my preferred pronouns (I really don’t mind but prefer the use of ‘they’) I was suprised that these friends went for the ‘greater of two evils’. Another friend mentioned it at the end of the day as we were doing the dishes and asked if I had noticed and what my thoughts were. It was my own fault for not enforcing it and it’s made me a little more determined to speak up for myself.

Anyhow this weekend we have our second-last training session and I will be co-facilitating with Genderqueer Australia to present about counselling trans* clients. I initially wanted to give my personal story to make people aware about assumptions, perhaps even to stand up and say ‘hey I am not invisable!’. However as soon as I mentioned it to the rest of the training team the trans* guy offered to tell his (not sure who knows and it may also be a bit of a ‘coming out’). I think both stories would be very powerful, actually I think anyone’s story would be, but I am not sure this is the place to do that – at least not while I am presenting to a training team I am continuining to work with. It does however remind me of the incident in NZ, and my heart just sinks a little at how invisable I sometimes feel.

No tears genderqueer

24 Sep

I’ve just finished writing to someone on Livejournal who I’ve been corresponding with for a couple of months. I am so thankful for the few people who I am able to talk openly about taking T and being genderqueer, because in my day-to-day life I don’t talk much about it unless it’s for a workshop or as a guest speaker. It is funny that I am quite open with strangers but don’t really sit down with friends and talk about this kind of stuff. I don’t even know if some of my trans* friends know – or at least it may be known but I have never spoken about it.

I am due to increase my dose tomorrow but I am hesitant because I’ve already found it hard to cry in the last couple of weeks and I don’t feel 100% jumping from 125mg to 200mg – is it me or is that a HUGE jump. Can’t the Dr find a middle ground, like 175mg??? So maybe no increase for now. My main reasons (to increase my dose) were to see if it helped with my energy levels and sex drive – no I am not one of those people who suddenly has to hump everything in sight (thank goodness). As for the crying it isn’t something I am overly stressed about but I am glad I noticed it now. I’ve been fine up until a few months ago when I would find myself crying when upset, scared or watching a soppy movie. A few weeks ago however I bottled up my tears at a friend’s funeral and found myself unable to let the tears out afterwards. I think in general I am bottling a lot of emotions up so it may not be completely T related.

Genderqueer is my lived experience

27 Aug

Interrupt me if you’ve already heard me saying this… I saw my psychiatrist a few weeks to a month ago. It was a catch-up from seix-months ago when I last saw him and not much was said really. I feel pretty much the same about being on T and have no current desire to undergo any surgery. I did however learn that I had spoken to him six-months ago about this ‘tiredness’ that I have been feeling. His suggestion was to take two of my Vitamin D tablets in the morning, which I have done. I also mentioned that I wanted to increase my dose of T slightly to see if it helped with my energy levels at all. I checked with my Dr and should my results from tomorrow’s blood test go well I will be increasing to 200mg. I was going to start tomorrow but I have a busy day and an appointment at the dentist – too much for one day.

I bought myself a beard trimmer, thanks to help of my partner who has had some experience with these things. The electrical item is however still in its package and will probably remain so until I absolutley have to use it. I don’t mind being slightly scruffy and I really dislike having to shave/trim, however I do so I don’t stand out too much as so it’s not too noticable and other people freak out over not knowing what to say.  My shoulder hair however is something I would like to remove completely but again I lack the energy or enthusiasm to do so. In winter it is fine to just let it go, but my remedial massage appointments have created some anxiety for me in not knowing what the other person thinks.

What other people see and think about me is both important and unimportant. I used to desperately need to be seen as trans*/queer/genderqueer in order to feel I ‘fit’ or received some kind of acknowledgement. In a way I still need that, or at least I find myself wanting it when I feel invisable next to someone who is trans*. What I mean by that is sometimes I feel that being genderueer/me, choosing not to bind and keeping my name, my pronouns aren’t respected and I am overlooked when someone might be asking for a trans* opinion. Take for example recently being asked to be involved in a project where the organisation was wanting a trans* perspective. A trans* peer was asked and consulted with one other person, that other person wasn’t me. I admit I find it hard to stand up for myself at times and I do not discount that this plays a part. I knew choosing to take T wasn’t going to be easy and I think in a way it shows how hormones can help, but won’t suddenly change everything and make it better.

Something else that came up for me in the last month is how much I miss friends from overseas and the worry of how they will react to some of my changes. I’ve not spoken or seen some of my friends in more than three years. While we exchange the odd photo now and again they are completely unaware , toether with my family, about my decision to start T and identify as genderqueer. One of these friends is more of a brother and I love him to bits. I was always his little sister and he was my big brother. I still feel the same and still want to be what we are to one another, but I have no idea how he would feel about me being genderqueer. That sense of loss is unimaginable for me.

As I reflect on how my gender identity is part of my everyday life I am sad to be loosing another GLBTIQ ally at work. This person has been of such great support while I suggested changes to our policies and procedures relating to sex and/or gender identity, as well as my own personal disclosures to staff and team leaders about my pronoun and name preference. I feel like I am the only genderqueer in the village/at work, and in a way I think I am.