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over the summer i did a lot of thinking about my life, and i finally came to terms with my being trans (something i've supressed/lied about for a while) and decided that when i went to college in the fall i'd start transitioning.

 

now i'm at college and i've started trying to pass as a man. most of my clothing is already fairly masculine to begin with, as are a lot of my mannerisms, etc, but the problem is that the pitch of my voice is pretty high and i have a fairly large chest. i spent the last of my money buying small sports bras and tank tops, but even when i layer all five of them on top of each other i still get read as female.

 

as a result, my physical appearance is gender non-conforming, or at least i fear that it is. while it bothers me that i'm getting read as female rather than male, i have appointments with a bunch of different pdocs and tdocs to discuss my plans to transition, and even a doc who specifically just does hormone therapy, so some time in the future i will probably be able to pass as a man. what really bothers me isn't my dysphoria, but a fear for my safety.

 

some days i look like a butch woman, other days like an effeminate man, and other days i guess i'm just kinda androgynous. i'm constantly terrified that people are going to realize that the awkward looking bulge under my shirt is my attempt at binding, and that they'll, i don't know, do something.

 

i tense up every single time i see a group of (what i assume to be) hetero cis women walking in my direction, and i am almost paralyzed when i see a group of (again, making assumptions) hetero cis men walking towards me. even after they walk past if i hear them ay something vaguely negative, ie "that little pervert", i'll assume they were talking about me.

 

i know it probably sounds like an irrational fear. and i am currently taking meds for psychosis, so maybe this is just paranoia or anxiety? but i don't think so. my hallucinations and other symptoms have decreased drastically over the past two weeks and my overall happiness and mental health has improved greatly. also, it's not like my fears are entirely irrational. there have been countless incidences of violence against trans people just because they were visibly trans. the harrassment i've personally experienced has just been verbally, though, such as strangers yelling "faggot!" when i walk past them, which at first actually made me happy because i assumed it meant they were reading me as male.

 

has anyone else who is trans ever felt the same way? if my fear isn't psychotic, does it eventually go away, or at least get better over time? there are some things, like using public washrooms, that i fear will always be a terrifying ordeal for me. is this just because i never openly expressed my gender identity before, or is being visibly trans in a public space always a scary thing?

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your fears are legitimate

 

you are right - there have been MANY crimes against Trans people

a lot of them and everywhere

 

I believe you live in Canada? Ontario??  I don't know what the climate is there - whether it is a liberal progressive city

or more conservative

 

However violence against a Trans person or anyone who does not present as gender normative in the states it is certainly more dangerous in....Texas for example is more dangerous

and San Francisco is obviously less dangerous - but still homophobic crimes occur

and most homophobic crimes are due to the gender presentation

 

My husband is an FTM, and when we met he was pre transition and binding

Binding in the Arizona heat

it took more than a sports bra.....some sort of elaborate elastic bandages plus a tight tee shirt

with spandex or something

if you google FTM binders there are three or four companies which make binders for FTM guys

 

So, you are going to be in a challenging position while you are in this early, awkward phase

it is hard - but you will get through it

 

I was VERY concerned for my boyfriend's (now husband) safety when he presented in a very gender queer manner

the bathroom issue when we traveled was huge

I remember some sort of issue (security was called??) in a Walmart when we were on the road

It was over 15 years ago and my memory has sealed the details away

 

Are you getting support from an FTM group?  a Trans group?

 

have you checked out FTM International?  They have all the resources and can help you

 

http://www.ftmi.org/

 

Personally, it might be a good idea to carry some pepper spray if that is legal where you live

Also, carry yourself with confidence and pride

 

Just be careful about dark alleys, walking alone late at night when the drunks are out

just general safety steps which you probably practice already

 

You will get through this initial phase fine

while you experience some inner relief and happiness to accept and understand your true nature

there is also this awkward early transition phase

 

Have you read any Leslie Feinberg?  I highly recommend him/hir 

 

http://www.transgenderwarrior.org/

 

Be safe, be happy, be proud of yourself for your courage

When your voice changes, and you grow some facial hair it will be much easier

 

a piece of unsolicited advice - if you think you might want children some day

then have some eggs frozen just in case you want to use them

perhaps in a partner........hope that suggestion did not freak you out

 

TG passes totally - he often grows a beard - no one can read him

even young trans guys at public events are shocked and can't read him

we look very much like a middle aged middle class couple 

 

(not the queer radicals that we are!!)

 

he birthed two children prior to his transition

 

He takes T and had chest reconstruction surgery in 1998

it was romantic, he gave me a diamond ring, I gave him top surgery

 

we pass - However, safety concerns linger still in my mind

 

if he takes a road trip alone and uses the men's bathroom in truck stops

well that scares me

 

Welcome to CB - I am glad you found us

Edited by bpladybug
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thanks for the advice

 

my city is kinda weird, apparently we have the largest trans population in the province and there's lots of queer and trans organizations who are very active, but we also have one of the highest rates of hate crimes.

 

i just moved here for college, so i don't really know what it's like. i've been put into contact with a few different trans support groups, which so far have been really helpful. i can't afford a binder, but i think i might ask my trans friends if they have any they don't need anymore. i'm also hoping they can give me advice on how to do it "properly" since right now it makes me dizzy and lightheaded and i have trouble breathing, and i don't think this is healthy or sustainable.

 

i hadn't thought of carrying pepper spray or some sort of weapon, you're right that it would be a good idea. i've spent most of my life fearing harrasment/violence from strangers based on a history childhood abuse. as stupid as it sounds, i've always had this victim mentality and it never occurred to me that i could defend myself or fight back.

 

one day i hope to get top surgery, i don't know about anything else. the idea of not having to worry about my safety is something i really look forward to.

 

and thanks for the links to ftm international and leslie feinberg. i've been meaning to check them both out for a while.

 

it helps just knowing that others have been here before, and that eventually things will improve.

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I bought my binding gear from underworks.com., and they were very reasonably priced at about $30 US each. I made do with one for ages, and eventually got a second.

There is also this site http://www.thetransitionalmale.com/BBUB.html where transguys donate their old binders for folks like you who would like to bind but can't afford gear.

I live in a rural area in a conservative part of the midwest. I've never experienced anything more than the occasional crass remark, but I really relate a lot to the discomfort you're talking about. For what it's worth, I've struggled with paranoia for years, but I think these are legitimate concerns. Like Ladybug said, normal precautions, like choosing your routes carefully, going with people or carrying protection when you're out at night in unfamiliar neighborhoods, etc., are a good idea. That's more prudent than paranoid, unfortunately.

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i have thought about starting a blog, i am busy as a student, but then again it's not like i'm not already finding plenty of time to do things that aren't in any way academic.

 

on the one hand it makes me quite happy to know that my thoughts are more rational than paranoid because the last thing i need right know is to relapse into psychosis, but at the same time it makes me sad and angry. the kind of fears i have about my safety as a trans person are only different from paranoia i've had in the past in that it is actually reasonable and not at all crazy for trans people to assume that random strangers would and could do them harm, which indicates to me that something is seriously wrong with society

 

hopefully one day i won't have to worry about my safety not just because i'll pass as a man, but because the world will be more tolerant of gender non-conforming individuals and less tolerant of transphobic bigots.

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So, just so you know, in Toronto (and likely the rest of Ontario) it's illegal to carry pepper spray. Please don't consider that as a safety, because it'll just land you in jail or paying a fine that you can't afford. 

I don't know what city you're in, but the Ontario University that I went to has gender-neutral bathrooms. That was pretty nice. I liked them a lot.

I think that it's a really good idea to network with trans* friendly folks. You'll learn where the safer areas are, and where you should just steer clear from. 

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I was also going to suggest a whistle.

Blogland is a great place. If you want a blog, but can only write occasionally, or briefly, that's okay. Or bear it in mind for a later date. :)

For me, I notice that I'm getting paranoid rather than just suspicious, or having ideas of reference, when I start taking the really extreme precautions, like sitting sentry at the living room table whenever I'm home alone, or staying awake all night because someone accidentally left their headlights on. Having some sensible security measures in place, like carrying a whistle or what have you, is smart. I do agree absolutely that the fact that we need it at all is distressing, though, and that it would be nice to not have to deal with it.

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well that's annoying about pepper spray, but i guess whistles and (in my personal experience) screaming really loudly achieve a similar self-defense effect ...

 

my university did have gender neutral washrooms, and they still do, only it was "making some people uncomfortable" so they put gendered signs up. they washrooms are still EXACTLY identical, though. it's not even like one of them has urinals or anything. a few were left neutral, but i'm stuck on an all-female floor (which could get problematic when i start taking hormones in a few months) so it's out of my way to use the neutral ones. i was talking about the situation with my trans friends the other day and we agreed that as nice as it was that when i brought up how this could be problematic for me with an appropriate authority figure their response of effective and supportive, it is still really sad that in making the decision to gender the washrooms it apparently occurred to no one that non-cis students exist and would be impacted by this policy in ways far exceeding discomfort.

 

i'm trying to balance staying safe with not being overly paranoid. my campus is pretty queer-friendly, so if something happened to me on campus and i reported i'm pretty sure there would be disciplinary action. i try to remember this when i get worried or scared, and hope that most people will leave me alone if only out of a fear of being punished. but i don't really feel the same assurance when i'm off campus.

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