After almost four-weeks since my last injection of T, while thinking about ‘quitting’ and wondering how my body was going to react I relented and went to the Dr’s. It was a pain as I had to drive into the city, on my day off , for a 10-15 minute appointment. I’d been having cramps for approximately a week and had stopped taking the Finasteride because it seemed to be causing a rash/outbreak of pimples on my forehead. I saw another doctor at the clinic as mine was not due to be back from leave until 10th August. I managed to have a good talk about the Finasteride, thoughts of stopping T, cramps and the anxiety of having to re-experience monthly periods.
I went to this month’s Genderqueer Australia (GQA) gathering, which was small but cozy. I chatted a while about my physical and mental health, reason for starting T and thoughts about stopping, and ended up with feeling a little lighter for sharing but still unsure about my decisions. The highlight of my day was discovering Janitorqueer’s blog and Tumbler.
I was advised to re-visit Neutrois Nonsense who touches on low-dose testosterone and being hypothyroid. I have to say what an amazing blog/resource it is, I wish I had discovered it 3+ years ago when I was starting on my own hormone journey. I find it a challenging read however as it talks about hysterectomies and top surgery – both things I have thought about but chosen not to do at present. I am find it really difficult to think about stopping T (see previous post for reasons why), and while researching online can be helpful it doesn’t provide me with a forum to talk it out face-to-face with someone [who understands my particular journey]. There are people I could talk to over a nice cup of Chai, but I don’t because a) they are busy, b) there’s a personality clash or c) I don’t know the person well enough to approach them.
I did however have some success over the last few weeks. For starters my Sleep Apnea is slowly being managed and monitored, which will hopefully mean a gradual increase in energy levels and a decrease in fatigue. Secondly, my current GP confirmed that I may in fact had been misdiagnosed with hypothyroidism and to stop my current medication for a month so we can do a comparative blood test. Lastly, I was prescribed a quarter dose of Finasteride per day to see if that helps with the hair loss. Small victories.
Lately I’ve been thinking about changing to T Gel, reducing my dose or stopping all together. The reasons for this are mostly to do with recent health issues and the anxiety I feel about hair loss/thinning.
Write a poem about being Genderqueer (if you struggle, try a haiku, acrostic poem with your name, or just a stream of consciousness paragraph).
I am a genderqueer
Nor boi grrl but in between
Pronoun “they” not “she”
*with thanks to http://writeahaiku.com
Yesterday I was approached by one of my work colleagues, who happens to be a gay male, wanting to discuss my recent email. He wanted to know why I sent it, what gender neutral pronouns were and how on earth you would expect someone to use ‘they’ while you could just use their first name (ok valid point). He then progressed into asking me if I was a hermaphrodite… At that point I was caught between thinking “what the… did he just say that?” and wondering if I should explain to him how:
a) that term is perhaps not appropriate;
b) explaining the difference between intersex and trans*; and
c) that is none of his business (which I didn’t in fact think about until this morning).
Throughout the last week several counsellors have thanked me for my email, asked me about it a little further and also helped educated others who have not felt comfortable enough to approach me. I however, wrongly, assumed that some of the queer staff at work would have some idea about gender diversity. By the end of yesterday I actually felt quite upset and angry that I allowed myself to be so vulnerable and didn’t have my wits about me to say how that question was both inappropriate and non of his business.
Overall however I had over 15 emails acknowledging my request, congratulating me and supporting me. One person asked, via email, if I could clarify whether I would like my preferred name and gender neutral pronouns to be applied only when dealing with clients who may refer to me by name and/or in general. Thankfully my response didn’t reflect my thoughts and feeling of ‘what part of preferred name and pronouns do you not understand!?’.
In my last Team Leader meeting I asked if it would be ok for me to request for my preferred name to be used in all IT systems at work (e.g. email correspondence, case note records and within the programs we use to manage client information). I also asked if I could send out an email to staff to let them know about my preferred name a pronoun change. Here is the response I got after it needed to be discussed with the Team Manager: Continue reading
Discuss how your clothes do or don’t reflect your gender.
I am so pleased I got asked this question because it has been on my mind since I had a discussion with a friend about gender, clothes and femininity. We had begun to talk about starting T and I talked about my own experiences and how initially I felt I was trying to be ‘seen’ as genderqueer, which meant changing what I wore and binding my breasts. Now I dress less masculine, however I am still not 100% comfortable with wearing dresses or skirts again, unless it is for a fancy dress event. As we were talking my friend mentioned that they had a female jacket that they didn’t feel comfortable wearing yet because it was too feminine. Somewhere between them telling me about the jacket and my brain mulling it over I realised how sad it was that clothes were being perceived to have a gender.
Your first queer crush or relationship?
I cannot remember exactly who my first queer crush was, but the following names come to mind:
– a queer person I met online who I later met and now know personally
– Hilary Swank in “Boys Don’t Cry”
– Veronica who used to catch the school bus with me in Rome ( I have no idea if she was queer but it was her androgynous look that I liked)
As for my first queer relationship, that would have been someone who I met online through a website called Mogenic. It was a brief relationship, solely due to my own stupidity, but it was one that taught me a lot about myself and who I wanted to be.
My first queer crush was probably on a few drag kings that would perform at the Star Hotel on Hoddle Street on Friday nights back in the day. In those days there were many drag kings that would then become men and genderqueers, making me wonder if it was a crush or a secret knowledge that I wanted to be like them in some way.
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.
Yesterday I had my first negative experience with a GP around my gender identity and choice to be taking Testosterone.
I went to my local GP, who I’ve seen a handful of times, to try and get to the bottom of my extreme fatigue. I normally travel into the city to see a trans-aware GP at Northside Clinic (and I can now understand why one might be unable to see their local/normal GP). My local GP would have most of my records since 1995 and I still utilise them if I have a bug/virus or other concerns not relating to taking T.
A few month back I visited another local clinic where I go to the physiotherapist and who share their records with the other medical clinic, and started seeing a new GP. Dr R, who I had explained everything to, was initially surprised by me informing him that I was on T and asked questions like “Why do you take testosterone?”, “Was this done though a reputable GP?” and “Where do you get your prescription for T from?”. Although he wasn’t too up to date with individuals who transition or are taking T, he was friendly and willing to explore this ongoing tiredness that I was experiencing. Just recently Dr R left the medical practice and I was left to try and find another GP to continue these investigations with.
So yesterday I made an appointment to see a GP I felt I could open up to and talk to about this fatigue. I got in to see the Dr at 10am and from when I sat down I felt something was a little odd – he wasn’t making eye contact with me or seem to be very interested. I explained why I was there and that I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism since approx 2012 and have been on the same dose of medication for the past year or so. His first question was to ask about my diet, “Do you eat meat?” he asked, to which I replied that I am mostly vegetarian and had a balanced diet and no history of anemia. The second question was about my menstrual cycle, which I explained I haven’t had for the past two years. Well that set him off on a tangent of “Well that isn’t normal! What do you mean you haven’t had a period?” etc. I was of course quick to explain that I have been on a low-dose of T for the past 2.5yrs and that my menstrual cycle stopped shortly after that. I had obviously said the wrong thing as he began to become very agitated and stated that “That shouldn’t happen, even on a low dose” followed on by “Why would any GP prescribe a normal health woman with testosterone?” and how over time it would have masculinising effects, which is where I said “Yes I know, it is what I am wanting”. From there the GP didn’t settle and seemed unable to hear anything else I was saying. It was then when I felt this huge wave of panic, wondering why I hadn’t just gone to Northside and avoided being treated like an ignorant person with no common sense.
Throughout the consultation I explained that I had gone through a GP, seen an endocrinologist and had regular blood tests. He eventually got up from his seat and rather exasperatedly stated he had only seen me a handful of times and knew nothing about this kind of stuff. After a quick poke and a listen to my lungs he seemed to focus onto my sleep and suggested that if after blood tests, an ECG and X-ray there was no clear cause to my tiredness that he would order a sleep study. Here I was inquiring about my Thyroid levels, wondering if I could tweak my medication and all this GP is obsessed about is my sleep, not having a menstrual cycle and taking T!
I did some investigating today and received some very useful advice via some of online blogs I visit and post to. I will be getting all my results yesterday and will raise the possibility of me changing my Thyroid medication dose a little – even a small tweak could help.
Posted in Health, T, Thyroid