Back on testosterone, yet again

I like to make note of when I’m on and off testosterone, and this time, I’m way behind on mentioning it – I’ve been back on since July 20th. I hit it hard initially with a pretty high dose (100mg per week) and then lowered it to 60mg per week. So far, my menstrual cycle halted immediately (fingers crossed this continues to be the case – it’s been over 2 months so I’m thinking I might be in the clear!)

I haven’t gone to any medical professionals yet, but I do plan to make an appointment with Planned Parenthood very soon. This time around, I’m aiming to also ask for Finasteride for the first time (a drug that helps with hair loss / is a partial testosterone blocker). My hope is that I’ll still get the benefits of testosterone I’m seeking while not continuing to have a receding hairline. Really not sure – just going to try it and find out. If it does seem to be a good balance, I envision myself staying on T for much longer than ever before. We’ll see!

I feel like I’ve finally reached a point where being transgender feels normal. I’ve both hoped for this state of being and feared it, in equal parts. I don’t mean that I feel normal – I definitely don’t and probably never will! I just mean that doing yet another shot of testosterone is no longer an event. It’s rote; it’s routine. I don’t care whether I do it subcutaneously or intramuscular. I don’t have a preference for needle gauge. I’ll do whatever. All that matters is getting it into my body. There’s very little mental fanfare, no ritual surrounding it.

In addition, although I enjoy connecting with other trans-people and hearing others’ stories and journeys, I no longer need it. I don’t specifically seek it out. My journey is probably not even near complete, but I feel like I’ve done everything that I felt an urgency around, and the other aspects will either happen or not happen, at some point down the road. I’m not stressing or planning or strategizing anymore.

A part of me wondered if I’d ever get to this point I’m describing, since I’m nonbinary and still have not quite “settled” into my gender. There is no settling into the gender I feel I am. It’s always a balancing act. Being “settled” and being “satisfied” are two different states, I am realizing. I hope to remain satisfied, but to never settle. I”m sure I’ll be back on and off testosterone for many years to come.

A couple of things I want to note from my most recent time off testosterone (Dec. 2020 – July 2021):
– I regained even more sensation in my chest. This happened in a past timeframe off of testosterone, and I was thrilled it continued. I now feel like my chest has just about fully regained sensation, something I had given up on at one point in time.
– I felt more things, emotionally. Like being able to cry a little bit, stuff like that. Always important to me, to be able to revisit.
– I was less hot, sweaty, oily skin type stuff. It’s not a big deal, but it is preferable.
– I had my period. Blah.
– My sex drive was non-existent. Also blah.
– I did not experience fat redistribution reversal like I have in the past. Maybe that has to do with getting older, metabolism slowing down? Not sure.
– I stopped losing hair / some fine hairs did grow back in along my hairline.

That’s about it for now. I like making predictions about timelines when I make these on T / off T posts. My guess is that if things go well with adding in Finasteride, I’ll be on T for over a year and a half.


Back off testosterone again

The last time I injected testosterone, for the time being, was December 8th. I like to keep tabs of when I go on and off it – I’m back around to off again. The first thing I noticed that was new / different happened today: my co-worker made microwave popcorn downstairs while I was upstairs, and even though she does this on occasion, I actually could smell it today. And as I sit here typing, I can smell my smelly feet, which is so weird! I forgot I’d been missing out an a whole other aspect to our world – things smell strongly, strangely, pleasantly, pungently, amazingly, and everything else amongst those adjectives. It’s pretty bizarre how much hormones affect our sense of smell!

Things I am not looking forward to, based on what has happened before:
– getting my period again
– feeling cold
– losing my happy trail
– diminished sex drive

Things I am looking forward to, also based on what’s happened before:
– less oily skin
– hair growing back
– some minor fat redistribution reversal
– I guess the sense of smell thing? Honestly, I’d forgotten all about that until I was hit with it today!

My prediction / guess is I’ll be back on it by July. Last time I was off it and then back on, I lasted from April 2019 till November 2019. So I’ve been back on for a whole year (my prediction had been 6 months). I went through most of my old, expired stockpile, until I realized why am I doing this when it could be less effective than getting new stuff, which I could easily do now through Planned Parenthood? So I called this past July and got an appointment within weeks (this was all through telemedicine, as many things are these days). I got my prescription the same day. I was on 60mL / week. I was injecting intramuscularly. My period didn’t fully go away until October – note to self: don’t mess around with expired stuff. There is not a scarcity / difficulty in getting more, as I have always feared!

Despite what I just said, I still do plan to do my next appointment with Planned Parenthood in about a month and get my prescription filled so that I have it on hand for the very moment when I want to go back on it. Once I’ve decided, I want to be able to inject that very moment, and not wait around to get more (even though, like I said, it is a quick turnaround.) I guess you could say I don’t want any middle people between me and T, once I’ve made up my mind… Just enough to get started, and then I’ll connect with Planned Parenthood again to get more…


Questions about microdosing testosterone

A few days ago, I got a message from a reader.  They wrote:

Hi…thanks for taking the time to help others have the advantage of your experience to answer our own questions. I’m non-binary…I had top surgery 3 years ago, but I’m interested in remaining in the middle. I’m interested in a more masculine body structure (less curvy, more masculine fat distribution, stronger jaw line), but wanting to keep my feminine traits like smoothness of skin/not markedly increasing facial hair and not wanting to make the changes to my disposition that it seems can happen with a standard dose of testosterone. I’m interested in being able to build muscle (just definition) for both look and to be strong and healthy. I’ve hit 50, so not so easy with menopause underway. I’m also interested in how this could support my libido.

I’m thinking that microdosing may be a good way for me to do this, but interested in your thoughts. Also, to whom does one go to get this? I’m going to be living in NY/NJ area and it would be great if you could provide any medical professionals in that area. I’m finding that some MDs don’t know much about this and aren’t incredibly willing to discuss. Does one have to have a prescription for this? I’m assuming so. In any case, any info you could provide or point me to would be greatly appreciated.

We messaged back and forth a few times and decided this could be the good basis for a post.  Here’s an attempt to answer their questions, and elaborate on some thoughts they put out there:

Thanks for reaching out!  I started microdosing T so long ago that that word was not yet in use – at least not in this context, haha!  We called it “going on a low-dose of T,” which is clunkier, and it’s cool there’s a more straightforward verb now, even if it brings to mind people taking small amounts of acid for therapeutic purposes, more than anything else at this point.  I’m sure that’ll change over time.

I too, had (have) a list of things I do and do not want from testosterone.  Most of those things have worked out for me, even in the long term, which is mostly based in genetics, but I still feel like I lucked out.  (It can feel like a crap-shoot, especially when you want some, but not all, of the effects that testosterone may cause.)  I haven’t sprouted that beard that I never wanted.  I gained a more masculine body structure.  I still have smooth skin.  It’s helped my libido.  Also my voice is lower, my disposition shifted for the better, it was a real game changer in many ways.  It helped me grow into myself, for sure.

Testosterone is a controlled substance, which definitely means you need a prescription for it.  My journey to actually getting the stuff was bumpy.  Initially I went through a primary care physician who I found to be smarmy.  I put up with him so I could keep getting my prescription until I decided I could do better.  My next physician was hesitant and I really had to advocate for myself super hard.  She conceded for a while but ultimately referred me to an endocrinologist.  The endo wasn’t great either.  I hoarded it as much as I could so that I was not beholden to medical professionals, and so I had the freedom to start and stop when I wanted to, as opposed to when I could get access.  I still do this.  It’s not recommended, but anyone who knows me probably wouldn’t be surprised.

Things have improved vastly in some regions of the US, but of course not everywhere.  Many Planned Parenthoods now offer gender affirming care and hormone replacement therapy on an informed consent model.  Generally it’s a matter of weeks, not months, to get in and get your prescription.  I just did a cursory search, and, by region, here are just some of the places where this is possible:  Southwest Florida, Southeast Pennsylvania, Washington and Northwest Idaho, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, all throughout Illinois, Western NY, Massachusetts, NYC, Reno Nevada, one tiny town in Arkansas.  Some of these places are not surprising.  Others are.  What makes a specific Planned Parenthood offer HRT or not?!!  One day, eventually, I think they all will.

If anyone has any specific information about providers or options in the NY / NJ area, please leave a comment.  Hope this helps, and good luck!


Back on testosterone

I like to keep tabs on when I go on and off testosterone, and I’m pretty far behind this time around.  About a month ago, I went back to my stash of Androgel 1.62%.  I had stockpiled it years ago, and at this point, I had 2 bottles left, which had expired 2 years ago.  I figured I might as well use them up (they still seem effective, just not sure if it’s less effective than they once were) rather than throw them out.  I’m doing 2 pumps per day; at that rate, each bottle lasts one month.  So when I run out at the end of January, I’ll probably just switch over to injections – I also have testosterone cypionate 200 mg/ml stockpiled.  Probably enough to last me 6 months.

I’m doing this without going to an endocrinologist, physician, or through Planned Parenthood or some other type of clinic.  I just don’t think that I need to.  I think that I will be on testosterone short term, again, and by the time I’m back off it, seeing a medical professional would have barely been worth it.  I kind of think I might cycle on T for 6 months / off T 6 months, back on, back off, for a while.  And I’ll have to go back at some point to get more, so I can be monitored again at that point.

It seems to be a larger trend that as time goes on, the decisions are more in the patient’s hands anyway, and access is much improved.  More and more Planned Parenthoods are offering HRT, for example, through an informed consent model, and you can get started the same day that you made your appointment.  This is amazing!  No more blood work, no lying about your gender identity to make sure you’re going to get your prescription, no waiting for months for the initial appointment and then weeks after that appointment for the prescription.  Next time I need some, I’m just going to do this.

While I was off of testosterone, some stuff changed.  The best thing that happened was that I gained a lot of nerve sensation back, in my chest.  I am beyond thrilled by this!  I assumed that at the point I was at (3 years since top surgery), healing had plateaued, and that was all I was gonna get.  After a few months off T though, things started changing pretty drastically.  Areas that were numb started to get back more feeling.  Areas that were painful if I touched too roughly were no longer painful.  I would even go as far as to say that erotic sensation has started to return, slightly.  Things still aren’t the way they were, but it’s a huge improvement, especially since I had given up!

Oh also!  My receding hairline had been worrisome – it was a big factor in my decision to go off T last spring.  I imagined it would just halt the hair loss, but in fact, hairs started growing back in the area I assumed was now “bald”!!  I’m talking about my temples – little hairs grew back in!  I didn’t even know that could happen.  Super psyched by that!

Even though these are huge pluses, things had gotten off balance again, and by going back on T, I feel more balanced (until I’m not, again… I know it’ll happen.)  The weather was getting colder, and I just felt too cold.  The joints in my hands and arms ached.  Now that I’m a month in, pain, gone!  The biggest reason for the shift, though, is just much more nebulous.  Somehow I was being pegged as female by strangers again.  I have no idea why: it’s not like my voice or face shape changed back!  It must be an aura or a smell or like, pheromones or something.  Or maybe a way of carrying myself?  Whatever it was, it wasn’t sitting right.  And I’m feeling good with that decision.

Will check back in when I’m not good with it, again.  Probably within a few months, if the past is any indication of the future…


6 recent LGBTQ+ films to check out

My spouse and I just attended the 27th annual LGBTQ+ film festival in our town, and we saw some pretty great films.  Overall, we both preferred the documentaries over the fictional narratives, but we did like all the ones we ended up picking out.  I’ve had a varied relationship with this festival over the years – when I was younger, I wasn’t sure I belonged, and it was just so thrilling to even be there at all.  I volunteered one year, and formed some lasting relationships through doing that.  Then I kind of shunned it for a few years, deciding I didn’t have time for it, and the ticket prices were too pricey.  In the past 4 years, I changed my tune and realized we are lucky to have this festival in our hometown, and we should make the most of it.  We pick out a handful of films each year now, and pre-pay (to get a slight discount).  I’d have to say that at this point, the novelty of being there as a super-fan has started to wear off, but I do still look forward to it each year, regardless…  here are the films we saw this time around (links are to film websites, trailers, or reviews):

Zen in the Ice Rift –  This was a narrative drama from Italy about a transmasculine teenager who is really just at the beginning of their journey into who they really are.  They’re on the boy’s hockey team (only because their town is so small and that’s the only option), are getting bullied, and are acting out a lot in response.  It was pretty hard to watch, but definitely well done – themes of victimization and violence, definitely a trope at this point.

The Ground Beneath My Feet – This one was from Austria, about a workaholic woman who’s sister has suffered yet another psychotic break and is hospitalized.  The woman starts to question her own sanity while trying to juggle all aspects of her super stressful life (a lesbian affair with her superior being only one small tendril of her falling-apart-life).  Really well done, edgy, gloomy thriller-drama.

Label Me – From Germany, this one was about a refugee from Syria who begins an ongoing money-for-sex relationship with a man who seems very well off and very isolated at the same time.  It gets interesting when the two men navigate that line between intimacy, sex, money, and everything else that falls in between.

Leave it to Levi – This was a documentary about a porn star who works exclusively with Cocky Boys.  It was just totally fun, but there was depth too, when the film explored his relationship with his mother and his forays into dressing in drag and going totally against the norm of the Macho Porn Star.

Gay Chorus Deep South – This documentary was full of heart.  The San Francisco Gay Men’s Choir toured 7 southern states in order to raise awareness of anti-LGBTQ+ laws that have been popping up in the wake of the 2016 election.  Along the way, we see some amazing personal stories of some of the chorus members, specifically from people who were born in the south and made it to the (relatively) safe haven of SF.

Changing the Game – By far, this one was our favorite.  So many strong emotions going on.  Between this one and Gay Chorus, I did a lot of crying!  This followed the trajectory of 4 transgender teens from 3 different states (which all have different laws about transgender people competing in sports) and how they navigated what they had to do to keep pursuing the sports they love.  They all came up against so much hate, but also so much love and support, specifically from coaches and parents / guardians.


Happy pride, 2019

It’s that time of year again!  Yep, I know I’m way behind schedule with the pride festivities:  I mention this every year, but yea, this really is when my mid-sized city celebrates pride, far behind the rest!

I ended up having a blast.  Generally, during the days and weeks leading up to pride, I tend to think, dang, not again!  What am I gonna wear?  What am I gonna do?  Maybe it’d be better all around if we were on vacation, and absent all together.  So, yea, there’s some angst there.  But as soon as I get into it, I’m IN IT!!

As far as the parade, we did something new and different – we marched with a group called “Positive Force,” which is a queer gym Caitlin (my spouse) has been training at.  We didn’t know who would be there or what the group would be doing exactly, so we planned our outfits independently, on our own.  I decided to go shirtless!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OK, so this is kinda a big deal.  At the time I got top surgery, 3 years ago, I was known to say, “I’d never go shirtless in public though.”  I’m sure if I looked through my archives, I could find multiple times where I wrote, specifically, that.  BUT!  Since then, I’ve changed my mind and gone shirtless a handful of times.  Not right away.  It took over a year; the first couple of times were when I was abroad,, visiting my brother in Turkey.  I did it first in the Black Sea while my brother was preoccupied with getting a locksmith to help us with the waterlogged electronic key to the rental car, deciding that I was so far from home and the people I know so well and it’s exciting, and here I go!  I did it again, on that trip, when my brother brought us to a Turkish bath, segregated by genders.  I was nervous, but it all turned out fine.

I did it again a year later, at a state park all by myself with no one in sight.  But also at another state park filled with people, and it was pretty thrilling.  And then again this summer, at a hotel pool in Massachusetts.

Which is all to say that deciding to go without a shirt (although I did have suspenders on, to somewhat cover my nipples, because I’m not quite comfortable with them and still plan to get revisions eventually), seemed like a challenge I wanted to try.  When we got down there, I was pleased to see 3 trans-masculine acquaintances already ready to go without shirts on.  And a bunch of other acquaintances too; it seems like we picked the right group!  It was us plus a yoga studio, and we handed out flyers and candy and chanted, on-and-off, “All bodies, hott bodies.”

Saw a bunch of people that we knew, including my mom and her best childhood friend.  Another friend was camped out at the protesters’ corner, holding a sign that said, “My boyfriend is cute when he’s grumpy,” with an arrow pointing right at a protester.  We got a good laugh out of that.

Then we just relaxed for the rest of the day.  Watched Tales of the City (the new one, and now we’re making our way through the old one.)

The next day, Caitlin and I co-hosted an LGBTQIA+ themed electronic music show.  That was a lot of fun.  And then I stayed for another hour for the next radio show, in which the host and I read the piece I have published in an anthology, plus just goofed around.


I decided to stop taking testosterone, for now

Two days ago, I abruptly hit a wall in my transition journey.  But it’s more like that wall had a secret corridor that I’m now turning down, without really slowing down – just taking a moment to look back, and all around me, and then moving on in this other direction.  The decision to stop T for the time being doesn’t actually mean that I’m losing forward momentum.  I was expecting it all along.  At some point.  At the same time, it wasn’t premeditated or planned  I just realized, now is the time, all of a sudden, and then I mentioned it to my spouse, and that was that.

The number one reason to stop, for now, is ongoing concerns of losing my head hair.  And the number two reason is that uncomfortable sensation of feeling overheated, which is much less welcomed as warm weather approaches.

I’ve been here before.  That was, specifically, January of 2016.  I feel so grateful to my past self for so diligently recording where I was at, every step of the way, so that I can get super specific about where I was vs. where I am!  It feels like a coherent narrative, of sorts.  In the fall of 2015, I had been on Androgel for roughly a year and a half, and I had lost sight of why I was doing it and what, exactly, was it doing for me.  I switched doses, I went off-and-on, and then in January of 2016, I just went off all together.  I ended up being off T for one full year.  And then I tried out injections, which I’ve been on now for over 2 years.

And now, again, I’ve lost sight.  I’ve been worried, daily, lately, about my receding hairline, and I can’t make sense of all the numerous products on the market to help that.  Rogaine, Finasteride, DHT suppressants, etc.  Instead of figuring out what might help, it just makes more sense for me to go off T, until I feel differently, which I know I will, again, at some point, in the not-so-distant future.

I do not look forward to getting my period again.  That is going to be horrible.

Other than that though, I don’t foresee any major issues.  Mental health-wise, I feel super stable and good.  I don’t expect that to change much.  Oh, also, I’ll be pretty happy about not seeing more and more facial hairs popping up.  Not a fan of my own facial hair!  I’ll be glad if that stabilizes for a while and I don’t have to think much about it.

I predict (and my predictions have been pretty far off, historically!) that I’l be back on T by November or December.  We’ll see!  Oh, also I guess I’ll have to tell my endocrinologist.  Do I have to go to my upcoming appointment if I’m not taking hormones?!  (Answer:  No.)


I’m a published author!

Hey, I have an essay in this anthology, Nonbinary:  Memoirs of Gender and Identity, which is finally being released by Columbia University Press, officially on April 9th, but you can go ahead and order your copies now!  This has been roughly 5 years in the making, and through that time, I went through lots of different edits and re-writes with Micah Rajunov (genderqueer.me), one of the two editors.  Both he and Scott Duane did tons of behind-the-scenes work to make this happen.  I just sat around, for the most part, and waited to see what was going to become of it!

The time-frame was so long that I pretty much forgot what I wrote.  And I was a little apprehensive to revisit it.  When I first heard news of the release date, I had a mixture of emotions:  excitement and pride, to be sure.  But also a little bit of hesitation, like, would I still identify with whatever the hell I had written?!  Would I be cool with everyone, friends and family, reading it?  I decided not to overthink it; when I got my copy in the mail, I posted this pic to my social media, and just let what was gonna happen, happen.  However, I still hadn’t read it!  I was stalling.  My spouse went ahead for me, and reported back, which helped me get used to the idea.  When I first tried, I couldn’t read it linearly – I just skipped around and tried to get the gist, get a sense before finding out all the details.  Then I went back and started with the anthology from the first contributor, and when I got to mine, I finally did read it all the way through.  Phew.  I’m almost done with the whole book now.  Lots of really amazing, diverse stories.

People started ordering their own copies.  My grandpa and my aunt have already read it and connected with me about it!  I ordered a dozen to give to friends, my therapist, my local Out Alliance’s library, etc.  It’s starting to feel real, and the excitement is growing, now that I can kinda wrap my head around it.

If you wanna order a copy, you can do so through Columbia directly, here:  Columbia University Press
Or, there’s always Amazon:  Amazon


Two years on testosterone

This past Saturday was my two year mark on T-injections, 40ml / week (this was just recently lowered, from 60 – my initial dose was 50).  I still very much look forward to every injection (not the act itself, but the being-on-T part), and I still regularly think about the ways hormones have improved my life; I don’t tend to take it for granted.

My original plan was for this to be a short-term thing.  But I kind of love it.  I think my dose will vary over time, but I don’t anticipate stopping really, probably ever.  (Of course that’s subject to change!)  Not having a menstrual cycle is huge.  Being seen as male 100% of the time is… well, there’s some ambivalence there, but it’s definitely an improvement.   Now instead of getting confused for female, I am regularly getting confused for being very young.  Which can be awkward but mostly is fine.

I’m able to engage socially in ways I really never could have dreamed of.  I look people in the eyes way more.  My anxiety is almost zero, where previously, I was operating regularly with an underlying sense of fear and dread.  Some of these mental health changes can be attributed to finding a medication that actually works well for me, but a lot of it is the disappearance of gender dysphoria.

I’m still legally female, which is on purpose, and I still almost always go into women’s bathrooms and dressing rooms.  I’ve never been stopped or questioned.

I don’t love all of it.  I still daily pluck hairs out of my face because I don’t like them and I don’t want to shave.  I’m pretty concerned about my receding hairline.  And if I were really being honest, I liked the way my face looked before being on injections, more-so than now.  It just so happens that the way it is now reads as “male,” and that works out way better for me.  Oh well…

So here are the face comparisons:

two years

One year

Before injections


The PTWC (Philadelphia Trans-Wellness Conference), 2018

I’m waaaay behind on this post (the conference was Aug. 2-4), but I had a lot of notes and always meant to type them up.  I was clearing off our dining room table and unearthed them, so here we go!

It’s been a couple of years since my spouse and I attended, and this time around, we made it a part of a bigger vacation, which I definitely am going to want to do again in the future – this time, we stopped in the tiny town of Narrowsburgh, NY, for 2 nights and went on a lazy river tube ride down a 5 mile stretch of the Delaware river.  Then we continued on to Philly, where we reconnected with friends we hadn’t seen in a while.  Fortuitously, they happened to be dog-sitting / house-sitting at a really swanky and spacious condo that was only a 20 minute walk from the conference center.  Way more convenient than all those times we walked in the heat and humidity from South Philly, in the past.

The first workshop I attended was called Trans Community in Crisis:  Mental Health and Peer Support.  It was led by IV Staklo, who is the Hotline Program Director at Trans Lifeline.  This was totally worthwhile because before attending this workshop, I never seriously considered volunteering for a hotline.  And in the process of learning about it, I could completely wrap my head around that possibility – I actually do have what it takes.  (All it takes for Trans Lifeline is:  you yourself have to identify as trans, you need access to a phone and internet, you need to have follow-through and accountability and be active in the online group.)  I’ve been going through the online training to become a volunteer operator.  It’s about 32 hours of self-guided slides and webinars; it’s going way slower than I anticipated, but I’ll get there eventually.  The workshop itself was a lot of distressing statistics – things like 60% of trans-clients have had to educate their therapists.  53% of trans-people have avoided going to the hospital when it was necessary because of past trauma and harassment.  88% of trans-people have had suicidal ideations throughout their lives…  (All of these statistics are coming from the 2017 National LGBTQ Task Force Survey – I’m only isolating a few of the more alarming ones…)

Next, I went to Token:  The Role of Trans POC Within the LGBTQ Community.  The presenter was Giovonni Santiago, a transman living in northeastern Ohio.  His style was more of a motivational speaker, full of energy and personal stories to accent his points.  I especially liked the Q and A, where people asked him about burnout and how best to say, “No,” when to know that you need to say, “No,” etc.

Friday, I started out by going to Top Surgery Show and Tell.  It was my third time at this particular workshop – it’s always crowded and full of anticipatory energy.  I didn’t participate (but stay tuned for my summary of another conference, in which I did participate!)  These types of workshops are sooo important because the info that’s out there online is fairly sparse, and this is one of the few chances to take a close look in person, at real people’s bodies.

Then I went to Let’s Talk About Our Junk, led by Dalziel Leone, a transman from Kenya.  He started out by talking about his own path and then opened it up so that it was more of a group discussion.  An older person who just recently started his transition talked about choosing celibacy out of necessity, and how incredibly, he was starting to reassess all of that.  Someone else talked about transitioning within a long-term relationship, and really got into the nuts and bolts of how that played out in his case.  A younger person shared about how their parents are immigrants from Liberia, and they can’t even accept their kid being gay, let alone trans.  They said their parents’ reactions have been that Africans aren’t gay, and maybe you need to get in touch with your African roots, go back to Africa to find yourself, etc.  I found the immediate assumption of intimacy in this audience to be pretty extraordinary – oftentimes people need a long time to gear up to tough and frank conversations like this.

After that, I then went to FTM Bottom Surgery Show and Tell.  I’ve considered going many times in the past, but I always felt too intimidated.  This time I just went for it.  It was just like Top Surgery Show and Tell, but with far less people actually standing up there.  I think there were 5 guys, whereas with Top Surgery, it’s more like 40 or so.  This led to just more time to hear more from them afterwards, as audience members kind of clustered around, asking questions and getting a closer look.  At this time, it did not lead me to feel more motivated to pursue bottom surgery, but the experience was still invaluable.

I ended the day by going to Trans On Set, a panel discussion among trans media makers.  We watched 15 minutes of footage first, film reels and portfolios of sorts, from the panel members.  Then we heard about how they’ve navigated disclosing their status or not, dealing with transphobia in the workplace, stuff like that.  For me, this felt like a more passive workshop, a good way to end.

Then we didn’t go on Saturday at all!  We enjoyed time with our friends more and just had a much less anxiety-inducing time of it, overall!  Another thing that was new – my spouse attended a bunch of workshops in the “professional track” cluster and learned a lot of pertinent stuff for their future career!