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Please excuse my absence

Hello everyone!

It’s been far too long since I’ve posted on here. Overall, I’ve felt there isn’t much to share with you all, but I’ll give it a shot today.

Since my last post, I’ve had one more session with the counselor on campus.  Though she’s a wonderful woman, I still feel like I’m not getting very much from it.  I don’t feel that I have many internal conflicts to work through, I just want to get the ball rolling! My therapist gave me the number for an LGBTQ counselor in the area… I called the number the second I left her office and left a message, stating that I had a few questions.  When she called back, I asked about her experience with gender therapy, and what kind of experience she had with transgender patients and writing letters for hormone therapy and other treatments.  She told me that she had very minimal experience with trans patients and had never written a letter before, though she said she was willing to learn the process and work with me.  I thanked her for her thoughtfulness, though I was admittedly disappointed.  Since then (about a month ago) I haven’t done much research on area counselors.

I recently talked to a fellow transguy on campus, which was a great experience.  He is stealth, presenting himself as male and going by a male name, though he told me some people know he is trans due to being outed.  He had noticed that I’ve been binding, and told me it looked pretty realistic.  We swapped a few stories, but since then I haven’t talked to him.  He’s pretty shy, so I don’t feel comfortable striking up lots of conversations with him, as I don’t want him to feel overwhelmed or pressured.

Other than that, I’m just cruising along with school and life.  I’ve turned 21 since my last post, so many new social opportunities have been presenting themselves, which I’ve enjoyed.  Though I haven’t been posting, I think about my identity constantly.  I wish daily to be more masculine, and constantly do what I can to present myself that way.  I’ve really been considering talking to more people about how I feel about this (so far only 4 know, including my counselor), though I’m not sure how they’ll react or if they’ll talk to others about it.  The last thing I want is wildfire rumors like when I came out about liking girls… So I’ll let you know if anything happens.  I’m also still considering posting pictures of myself, but I want to be 100% sure before I make the leap.

I truly hope all of you are doing well.  I apologize again for my writing hiatus, and thank you always for your readership and support.

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F*&# Bill O’Reilly

Though I hate to even bring attention to him, this video infuriated me.  You can find the video and article here, via the advocate.com.  In the video, Bill makes a mockery of transgendered children, jokingly asking the woman on his show what she would want her male name to be and discussing the story as “crazy” and “madness.”

Though Bill pretends that his only problem with the issue is not telling the parents, his disgust with the whole concept is apparent.  His emphasis on gender stereotypes is awful and ignorant, and he completely ignores the concept of confidentiality.

I’m normally a calm person, but this makes me pretty mad.

Also, I’ve never been on this website before, but it seems like it has some pretty awesome articles!

*anonymous*

HELLO

source

I’m weighing the pros and cons of remaining anonymous on this blog… I could use some help!

Pros of remaining Anonymous:

  • The chances of my family and friends “discovering” this as my blog is very slim (though the chances of them finding it regardless are probably rather low as well)
  • Safety from harassment, both for myself and others in my life
  • Virtually no chance of being “outed” (kind of goes with the first point)

Cons:

  • People like me shouldn’t have to hide behind a username.  I don’t like the messages I could be sending by doing so.
  • I feel like my appearance is part of my story. I want to share everything I can.
  • I want to be able to show everyone how beautiful my girlfriend is, and how happy we are together.  While this isn’t directly related to me, she means a lot to me and has proved an immeasurable support through all of this.
  • Perhaps being more open on my blog would encourage me to be more open to those around me in “real” life

I’ve been really considering these options lately due to a Facebook message I had the other day… I sent Skylar (of skylarkeleven YouTube fame) a message thanking him for his videos, and letting him know that I had mentioned him in my blog (I felt like I should at least make him aware, because I don’t want to say anything against his wishes).  He asked for the URL, then replied a few days later, saying I should post on his Facebook page’s “wall” so others in my situation could read this.  Initially I was super excited, and couldn’t wait to post.  I told my girlfriend about it, however, and she mentioned something about how Skylar now knew who I was, as I had sent him the message via my personal account.  It clicked that posting to his page would require posting with my actual Facebook name, thus exposing myself and putting my anonymity at the mercy of those involved.  Though I want to share my story and connect with even more guys in situations similar to my own, I’m not sure that being so “open” about this online is such a great idea.  Advice/input would be greatly appreciated! Still lots of deliberation to be done.

Looking Forward to…

Since investigating and learning the many options available for those who wish to transition, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what I’d want to see from the process.  Numerous situations trigger these thoughts, from working out to donning a sweatshirt.  I want to share my daydreams, my “ideal” as I imagine it.

Though I’m fairly certain I’ve explained parts of this before, I’ll try to lay out my entire plan and elaborate on the steps I want to take and the changes I’m excited to see (and perhaps those that I’m afraid of).

To begin, I want to see a Gender Therapist.  I want to talk to someone who’s familiar with situations similar to mine.  Someone who has more resources to offer me.  Someone who can eventually steer me toward the road to my next step, which is…

Hormones.  This is in close contention with top-surgery for the position of number one on the List of Things I’m so Fricken Excited For (LoTIsFEF).  Stemming from hormones is a massive list of things I’m super pumped for… Though I know the changes induced by testosterone often vary from individual to individual, according to the “overall” effects that I’ve gathered, here’s what I’m most excited about:

  • Deeper voice: I would love to have a deeper, more masculine voice.  I’m always pretty uncomfortable with how high my voice can get (though it’s not super high, it’s definitely not quite in a masculine range), aside from when I just wake up and I have a nice deep frog voice 😛 . Maybe I could even sing better eventually? I love singing, but hate actually “trying” to sing around other people because I’m so self-conscious about the range/pitch of my voice.
  • Energy: regardless of how much I sleep each night, I’m usually pretty tired for the majority of my day. Even a slight overall increase in energy would be spectacular.
  • More muscle!!!! Building muscle easier/faster would be SO awesome. This, coupled with the related fat-redistribution, would make my body look much more masculine overall.  Also, as I feel very protective of my girlfriend/friends/family, being a bit stronger would do wonders for my self-esteem.
  • Consistent facial hair: somewhere down the road, this would be pretty nice 🙂 though my face/neck are already much more…furry than the average female (my hairs are pretty dark and thick, so much so that I’ve taken to shaving at least once a week), it would be nice to have a more balanced coverage.  Hey, even a nice 5 o’clock shadow wouldn’t hurt 🙂
  • Jaw/facial structure changes: I’m hoping that changes in my jawline, accompanied by a bit of facial hair, will help make my face look more mature.  Right now, I look like a fairly young boy (people have expressed surprise that I have a driver’s license…I was so excited when a cashier believed that I was over 18 a few weeks ago) so I’d much prefer a more “manly” appearance to the “boyish” look I seem to be working right now.

As I mentioned above, top surgery is also amongst the things I’m looking forward to.  Being able to wear a tighter-fitting shirt without worrying about how my chest looks, and without needing a breath-restricting, sweat-inducing compression shirt… I can’t even imagine how happy this would make me.  And maybe at some point, I could go without a shirt at all? Holy crap.  The concept is mind-blowing.  To actually possibly enjoy being partially naked? I can’t even imagine.

Overall, I’m not really looking forward to the possibility of losing hair and dealing with the transition from female to male restrooms.  I’m also still concerned with the legal aspects of changing, as well as the doubtlessly awkward situations to come with those who already know me as female… though I’m sure that will all settle itself in the end and I’ll come to look upon this whole process favorably.  And after being used as an example of the “she” pronoun in my History of the English Language class today… I can’t wait to get started.

Stuck in Neutral

Hello folks,

I realize I haven’t posted in a while… I haven’t felt too motivated lately.  There are a few things I would like to share now, however.

For one, I had my second appointment with the general counselor on campus.  Though it didn’t go badly at all, I ended up leaving early because I simply ran out of things to talk about.  I feel like I’m at a static point in this process; I understand what I need to do, but I’m not sure I have the means to do so, right now.  There’s not really much I need to “talk out” with my counselor.  I understand that I need to talk to my dad about everything.  I understand that I need to see a Gender Therapist in order to get this process rolling.  I understand that being educated on the risks, benefits, side-effects, costs, etc. of hormones, surgery, and transitioning in general is wildly important.  I understand that this process is not one to capriciously rush into or treat lightly.  I also feel that I already possess a fairly comprehensive understanding of what’s ahead, though I still often attempt to learn more.  I have another appointment about three weeks from now, so we’ll see if I can come up with things to discuss.

I’m not too comfortable with telling my dad and other friends yet, but I don’t see this as immediately necessary.  If taking hormones and surgery isn’t going to happen soon, there’s no rush in telling them.

The problem now is money. I still need to do some insurance research, but chances are nothing will be covered 100%, if at all.  Like most college students, money isn’t something I possess in excess.  I’m aiming for some high-paying summer jobs to remedy this situation… but then again, who isn’t.

Right now, I would just like to get out of this “middle” stage.  People that know me are aware that I’m biologically female.  People that don’t know me aren’t so sure, and tend to guess either way (though guys I don’t know usually perceive me as male more often than not).  Today, a girl walked into the bathroom just as I was walking out.  She looked extremely startled when she saw me, saying “Oh, Jesus!” She muttered something and started to turn back towards the door.  She then paused, and proceeded to walk back into the bathroom.  While I don’t think she thought anything negatively, it seemed pretty obvious that she had initially thought she had entered the wrong restroom.  I don’t want to do this to people… I don’t want to create situations that make others feel awkward or uncomfortable.  I just want to be who I feel I should be.  I don’t want to be stuck in a halfway point.

Perhaps this is a good thing, however.  It gives me more time to process everything.  If I ever decide transitioning is no longer something I want, I will certainly have plenty of time to halt the process, though I don’t anticipate this happening.  It also gives my mom more time to think everything over.  And, as I won’t be graduating until next Spring, transitioning may be easier when starting at a new school in a year and a half.

In addition, I’ve been wearing my compression tank top more often lately, and I can’t believe how much more comfortable it makes me.  Yes, it’s tight, it’s hard to breathe sometimes, and I spend 80% of the day tugging the bottom down because it keeps sliding up… but I feel so much more confident when walking down the halls at school, talking to friends, etc.  Nobody’s mentioned anything (not that I expected they would) because my chest is fairly small as it is, but it still feels incredible.  I can wear all of the shirts that I felt uncomfortable in before, because they no longer show my chest.  Overall, it feels so right.  I can’t wait for the day when I won’t need a stretchy shirt to make me feel that comfortable.

feel free to send questions, comments, criticism, or anything else you can imagine to my email at maxcooper.blog@gmail.com.

As always, thank you for reading.

Good Sign

dialoge

Yo!

Lots of posting today, but I have lots to talk about!

So I decided earlier today that there’s really no reason to further delay talking to my mom about everything.  I talked to her on an instant messenger, so we’d be able to process on our own time and not feel pressured to respond right away – and because I’m a big chicken.  To begin, I sent her the quote that I posted earlier today.  I typed this quote from a YouTube video (the first to appear on my “resources” page) because I thought it really explained my thoughts well.  I followed the quote with this:

I can’t believe I’m talking to you about this, but I figured it doesn’t make any sense to put it off anymore. I showed you this because when I watched this video and heard him say that, it was like he was reading my mind. I don’t know what I’m going to do about this. I just wanted to talk to you about it.

No, this wasn’t very elegant (too many vague terms like “this” and “that”) but I think it helped her understand. Though it took her a long time to respond, she basically said she’ll love me no matter what happens, and try her best to be supportive.  She seems quite concerned about side effects, cancer, people beating me up, etc., but that was nothing unexpected.  I got the feeling that she’d prefer me to stay how I am, as a very masculine female, but she didn’t seem completely against the idea. I lost track of how many times she told me not to rush into things, though I promised her I wouldn’t.

We’ve both come to find that a lot about me growing up makes sense now.  Our battles about my clothing and appearance were largely due to neither of us understanding one another.  Or rather, neither of us understanding me.  I didn’t ever recognize that I literally wanted to be male, and she didn’t recognize that it wasn’t looking nice that I opposed, but rather that looking like a female bothered me.

I was most surprised when she mentioned that my grandma had asked her if I felt this way in the past.  I guess at that point mom had responded that she wasn’t sure.  It’s kind of nice that there was already some background conversation happening – and that my appearance is quite obviously masculine – because she definitely wasn’t surprised by what I told her.

I guess the hardest part with mom will now be convincing her that actually taking steps to transition will be more beneficial to me than “staying like I am.”  Though she didn’t completely oppose transitioning openly, she kept saying that some people already see me as a guy, and I could be comfortable with just wearing men’s clothes.  While wearing men’s clothing does make me more comfortable than not, this doesn’t mean I’m truly comfortable, because I’m not.  It feels better, but not ideal.  I’m still uncomfortable with my body, because it still feels like it isn’t who I am.  Dressing masculine doesn’t solve the problem, it just better masks what I don’t like.

All in all, my mom was quite supportive.  I don’t foresee any huge problems with her and transitioning.  Still not sure if I’m ready to tell my dad, but we’ll see.

Also, I’m dying to post a picture of my girlfriend and I, because she’s so amazing, but I still feel that anonymity is best.  Someday, maybe 🙂

Much thanks for reading, hope all is well!

Baby Steps

Hello again,

To begin, I followed my own advice from my last post and made an appointment to see a counselor, despite my fear.  They counseling center on campus surprisingly had an appointment slot available the next day (I’ve heard they’re usually quite booked), so I took it!

My appointment was yesterday, and I think it went pretty well overall.  I went to the center straight after class, so I was too occupied to really think about it before I went.  That changed quickly, however, on my walk there… I started getting really nervous and scared, because I really couldn’t imagine talking to a stranger about this.  In all honesty, I’d never “came out” to someone in person before – the handful of times (if 2 is a handful…) I’ve done this have been over Facebook chat, because I couldn’t even bear to hear myself say it over the phone. I texted my girlfriend like a maniac while I sat in the chair in the waiting room – not an easy task with shaking hands.  I had a sudden sinking feeling in my stomach when I realized I wasn’t sure who my counselor would be, which meant I might be meeting with a male… while I certainly don’t have any problems with males (I mean seriously, I want to BE one), I DO have a rather difficult time talking to them about personal things.  I prefer my friendships with males to be more superficial, especially about something like this.  I couldn’t imagine telling a guy that I wanted to be a guy. It just feels to awkward, at this point.  My nerves settled slightly when the receptionist kindly said “[obviously female name] will be with you in a moment.”  At this point I rested my head against the wall behind me and stared at the ceiling, trying desperately to calm down.  I remember trying to distract myself, and started thinking about how awful fluorescent lights look.  To me, they just seem sterile and unwelcoming.  I remember thinking that if I were ever a counselor, I would leave the fluorescents off and bring lamps in, in order to make everyone more comfortable. 

The moment of truth came when she walked out of her office to come get me.  I shook her hand nervously, apologizing for my ice-cold palms (my hands do this when I’m nervous).  She led me to her office – which, to my immediate excitement, had LAMPS! – and told me to sit down.  [Side note: I did mention my thoughts in the lobby concerning fluorescent lights, and told her I was ecstatic to see lamps in her office. She laughed and agreed.]  We went over basic client confidentiality and cancellation policies, etc.  She then asked me why I sought therapy… I took a deep breath, and went into my story.  She listened closely, offering her input at times and agreeing with  many things that I said about the obstacles I foresee.  We talked about everything from society’s views on gender to telling my parents, from my relationship with my girlfriend to how I’m uncomfortable with my body.  While she admitted to not knowing much about the options for transgender individuals, she said she planned to research in preparation for our next meeting.  She was very supportive, interested (I’m guessing I’m her first transgender patient) and realistic, and I really look forward to meeting with her again.  I have another appointment scheduled for next week, so I’ll let you know how that one goes too!

Another thing… I’m really considering talking to my mom about all of this today, or very soon. It just seems right.  I’m terrified, because we’ve spent the majority of our lives butting heads about how I present myself, but I know she will love me regardless.  Still trying to decide how to approach this with her… will provide updates on this soon too.

Thanks for reading, as always. Questions or ideas for future posts can be sent to maxcooper.blog@gmail.com !

Quote

“It was that sa…

“It was that same year that I met the first trans person in my life… I just got wicked excited, so stoked about it. I didn’t realize that there was actually the opportunity to actually make your body be a male’s and feel comfortable with that. And I knew, and I KNEW, that that might be something I wanted to do. So that’s when I started talking to my mom about… my gender dysphoria, about feeling like I didn’t belong in my body and how it was hard for me to wake up every day as female, especially now that I knew there was the option to transition. See, I thought I was just going to have to live as female and I was like, I’m not going to make a big deal about it to my friends and family, I’m not gonna talk to them about the fact that I wish I was a boy, because it’s not going to happen anyway, so why wish for something that can’t happen? However, it CAN happen.” –Skylar (from YouTube channel Skylarkeleven, video “how I knew I was transgender [and some advice on coming out]”)

Reality

Maybe everything isn't so black and white.

Maybe everything isn’t so black and white.

When exploring the videos, news, and stories of transguys on the internet late at night, I always feel so optimistic and so… ready. I feel like I could tackle any problems, that all I need to do is set my mind to it and strive to be my own person.  It seems like it would be easy to shrug off those who disagree with my decisions, because I want to be accepted for who I really am.  After all, I’ve already played this whole “coming out” game when I began telling people that I’m attracted to girls (I started that when I was 12, so I’ve been at it for quite some time).

But then I wake up in the morning. I go to school. I go to work. And I realize that, sadly, reality just isn’t going to work that way.  This is not going to be easy.

Sure, I can try my hardest to be confident. Sure, some things may come easily.  But others will be difficult.  I will likely lose some people in my life, because they don’t agree, don’t understand, or don’t want to.  I will probably have to deal with countless painfully awkward situations. I could even alienate myself from members of my family.

My biggest fear is that maybe I can’t even imagine the worst.

I really started realizing how difficult even starting this process will be today, when walking down the hallway on campus.  As I headed toward my next class a bit early, I realized my path lead me right past the Counseling and Health Center.  This was incredibly convenient, because I have determined that talking to a general counselor is a great place to start my process, get feedback, and perhaps get some simple questions answered.  Stopping in to make an appointment would take nothing more than a few minutes, and it the appointment wouldn’t cost me a dime.

However, as easy as this sounds, I just couldn’t bring myself to walk through those doors.  I didn’t think I would be afraid of this, as I had helped a few friends start taking to counselors and I’ve had a handful of sessions myself.  I had anticipated fear and nervousness later down the line, perhaps when I get a first shot of “T” or start appearing more masculine.  But this? Stage one, right from the starting line? I didn’t see this coming.

This isn’t a note of defeat, or of complete helplessness.  This is a recognition of personal weakness. This is an acknowledgement of the obstacles that lie on the road ahead of me.

I plan to give my fear the middle finger tomorrow and make an appointment.

How it Started

Hello friends.  For today’s post, I plan to give a quick (hopefully…) recap of my life up to this point in order to demonstrate how my new-found identity (as a transgendered person) has been a lifelong process.

Though always raised as a female, I remember constantly resisting my family when they pushed me to do “female” things.  My first recollection of a stereotypical “gender preference” is quite simple: I avoided pink like the plague.  My younger sister always wanted pink, but I opted for purple or blue when I had the choice.  Though this sounds rather ridiculous looking back, I remember it being a big deal when I was little.  I also remember playing “house” (or similar role-playing games) with my younger cousins or friends at school and always electing myself as the family dog.  I was extremely uncomfortable with playing the part of the mom or sister.  Again, while this sounds fairly humorous, it allowed me to be called “he” (as everyone seems to assume dogs are male) or to completely avoid gender pronouns at all.

I also recall that I always desired to be what I termed “cool.” Looking back, it’s easy for me to see that the things I identified as “cool” were masculine: sports, short hair, backwards baseball caps, being “tough,” etc.  Given this, it’s probably not at all surprising that throughout much of my time at home my mom and I argued about my clothes, particularly when I had to look nice for parties or concerts.  I hated wearing dresses, skirts, tight-fitting clothing, jewlery, nail polish, etc., all of which she tried her hardest to get me to wear.

Here’s a brief list of a few other “trans” indicators that I’ve identified recently, to save you from reading more disconnected paragraphs:

  • preferred my Wisconsin Badgers winter coat in 2nd grade, always felt exposed and uncomfortable in my “girly” black coat
  • always chose male figures in video games, board games, etc.
  • loved coming home after soccer when I was little and swimming only in soccer shorts (no shirt or swimsuit, I was so sad when I grew “too old” to do this anymore)
  • though it seemed like I was supposed to like guys (from seeing nothing but straight relationships), I never did. In sixth grade, I realized that instead, I liked girls. A LOT.
  • never ever ever wanted to shave my legs, only did it because mom insisted upon it and my gramma bothered me constantly until I did (I stopped this when I was 16 and basically told them I didn’t care how they felt about it anymore)
  • felt horribly uncomfortable when I had to start wearing a bra
  • always preferred baggier clothing
  • ecstatic the day I brought home my gym “uniform” for middle school because the shorts were long. Wore them all night (:
  • I’ve had girlfriends pretty much constantly since 8th grade
  • clothing style became gradually  more masculine. upon entering college, I started wearing only men’s clothing
  • freshman year of college I got rid of my long hair, in favor of a short faux hawk.  Haven’t regretted it for a second (:

On a side note, it feels like my appearance is more masculine than normal today, and I’m diggin’ it! The compression tank and recently-cut hair combined with a sweater and jeans is working quite well!

On an additional side note, today I discovered the alias I’m using to blog is also the name of an electronica musician, so here’s one of his videos, just for the hell of it:

Sorry today’s post isn’t very well written, today feels like an off day for writing.

As always, feel free to send me emails at maxcooper.blog@gmail.com!

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