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If you’re gonna self med, do it safely. (recommendations for trans women) [I AM NOT A DOCTOR, these are just my opinions]

`My recommendations. Don’t do progesterone unless you’re with a doctor, There are too many side effects to worry about.

I recommend starting with pills. Estradiol valerate 2 mg pills. (several brand names and generics are available) common dosage is 2-6mg. (source) Start with 2mg, if that isn’t enough, you can increase. Self medding with injections is a bad idea unless you’ve had them before and know how to do it.  Take the pills sublingually. That way they don’t pass through the liver twice. It’s more effective and healthier in the long run. These are what mine look like. (link) I’m currently on 6mg after 2 years. I started the first month with 2mg, moved to 4mg, then recently upped them to 6mg. I’d have probably stayed with 4 without having a doctor.

Here are the common side effects that can occur. Another tab at that same link has drug/food/disease interactions for estradiol.

I can’t really recommend cyproterone acetate (Antiandrogen) if you live in the U.S. and plan on getting a doctor eventually. It is a better drug, but I have no general experience with it. If you are in Canada or the U.K., ask around, you’ll get better advice from someone there.  I use Spironolactone. This is what it looks like. (interactions and side effects are also at that link) I’ve been on 200mg since I started. 1 pill in the morning, one in the evening. Common dosage is 100-200mg. (source)

Spiro is pretty dangerous. It’s a potassium sparing diuretic. Drink lots of water. You’ll need to make sure you’re getting enough water soluble vitamins and minerals, especially calcium and salt without having too much potassium intake. It’s hard to eat healthy. You’ll start cramping up really badly if you get too much potassium. That’s your warning sign.

I had to lower my spiro dosage temporarily because I was getting dizzy spells. So watch out for those too.  A lot of people start with 100mg. I started with 200, and I’ve been ok, but I’m also a larger person.

It is important to get your hormone levels tested. There are services that will do this for you. Certain labs are walk in, others need an appointment. It costs around $300-$400 usually without insurance. Sometimes more. Here are what normal hormone levels are for treatment.

Additional resources here: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/932389/Trans/Stepping%20Forward%20-%20Clinical%20Protocol%20Guidelines.pdf (some of the links are broken in that one.)

Last thing, please be safe and get your meds from a reliable source. It’s still not legal, but it’s safer.

Let’s talk about institutional trans-misogyny.

Notes: I use trans-feminine to refer to trans women and non-binary camab trans folx I use trans-masculine to refer to trans men and non-binary cafab folx. They aren’t perfect terms, but they’re what I’ve got to work with.

Time to Kick the Hornet’s Nest

Oh HAI there. It’s been a while since I wrote an explicitly political post. Since some people seem to think that trans-misogyny is just trans women being upset about fucked up queer space dynamics (that some folx don’t even believe exist) I thought I’d go on and tell you a little of how trans-misogyny fucks over trans-feminine folx in favour of trans-masculine folx.

for decades, all the big women’s colleges accepted trans masculine folx, but not trans-feminine ones. Most still have exclusionary practices. And some of the few that actually accept trans-women have policies in place to make it extremely hard for trans women to be accepted. One of the least horrible about it has wording requiring trans women to present full time and be accepted as women in their daily lives. Yes, they will be judging us by our femininity, and while they accept non-binary cafab folx without reservations, they don’t allow non-binary camab folx. These schools employed Janice Raymond.

If access to education isn’t bad enough, let’s talk about Planned Parenthood and access to lifesaving healthcare. Many Planned parenthoods all across the southeast US will prescribe testosterone but not anti-androgens and estrogen for trans feminine folx.

Now let’s talk about crisis centers and women’s shelters that allow trans-masculine folx while trans feminine folx sleep on the street. Yeah. Trans women have died in the fucking cold because of this.

I’m not saying trans masculine folx shouldn’t get services. I’m saying trans-misogyny specifically is real on an institutional level and costs lives.

So don’t anyone ever come to me saying I’m whining about dating circles and queer cliquishness when I talk about trans misogyny and the ways in which trans masculine folx are privileged over trans women and CAMAB trans folx.

Surgeries available for trans women and CAMAB non-binary folx.

A 101 guide to get you started.

Not everyone will want or be able to have any or all of these procedures done.

Part 1. Genital surgery

A. Orchidectomy: the removal of the testicles, a surgery that can be done on its own, or as part of another form of genital surgery. It is the procedure with the least amount of risk, and least amount of recovery time. As with any procedure, there are risks including but not limited to chronic pain and infection. If done prior, it can complicate some forms of vaginoplasty, but it will not prevent you from being able to get a vaginoplasty later should you so desire.

B. Vaginoplasty: the construction of a neo-vagina and vulva. Prep includes getting permanent hair removal via laser hair removal or electrolysis from the penis and scrotal sac. Each surgeon will have their own guidelines for this. And each surgeon will have a slightly different proprietary technique.All of these procedures have risks including but not limited to: chronic pain, infection, and death. Typically you will need at least 2 letters from different licensed psychologists and another from your doctor to be able to receive a vaginoplasty. Following are the most common procedures

      1. Penile inversion: The penis is disassembled and parts are repurposed for the clitoris and vaginal lining. The urethra is shortened, and the scrotal tissue is used to form the labia. This is the more common technique used in North America and Europe
      2. Scrotal inversion: Sometimes cannot be done after having an orchidectomy prior due to problems with skin elasticity. In this procedure, the scrotal sac is used to create the vaginal lining and parts of the penile tissue are used for the clitoris and the labia. This is the most common technique used in Thailand.
      3. Shallow canal vaginoplasty: Harder to find, and how it works depends on the surgeon. This is useful if you have certain health problems that won’t allow you to have other forms of vaginoplasty or if you aren’t interested in penetration. Healing is easier and quicker than other forms of vaginoplasty. More commonly available in thailand, but I believe Dr. Marci Bowers performs this technique as well.

Other non-standard genital surgeries are available but extremely hard to find, and usually are more expensive as well. Also they entail more gatekeeping.

Part 2: Breast Augmentation.

Also known as Mammary augmentation. Not recommended for people who haven’t been on hormones for at least 4 years. Your breasts will still be growing in that time, and that can severely mess up the results. Many types of implants and techniques are available, so consult the surgeon you will be working with. The three main materials used for augmentation follow.

      1. Saline: one of the safer materials. If your implants pop, it will be absorbed by the body.
      2. Silicone: much more dangerous but can create a more “realistic” feeling breast.
        1. Multiple types of silicone implants are used
      3. Fat transfer: Liposuction is used to take fat from another part of the body which is then implanted in the breast. Creates a natural feel, but can only be used for small size increases.

Part 3: Other procedures

A. Voice feminization surgery: Raises the pitch of your voice. Voice training is generally more effective, and doesn’t carry the risk of complete vocal loss. Vocal feminization surgery alone will not change the way your voice is perceived. Over half the women I’ve talked to who have had the procedure have regretted getting it done.

B. Tracheal shave: Reduces the appearance of the adam’s apple. Sometimes performed as part of facial feminization surgery. Voice needs to rest for 3 weeks after the procedure.

C.Facial Feminization Surgery: A group of surgeries performed together to increase the femininity of the face. Can include but not limited to

      1. Rhinoplasty: commonly referred to as a nose job
      2. Forehead contouring: removal of part of the bone from the head, eyebrow lift, and a scalp advancement
      3. Cheek augmentation: to create fuller cheeks. Multiple techniques are used.
      4. Mandible contouring and chin surgery: to create a more feminine jawline.

Part 4: sources.

http://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/breast-augmentation.html#content

http://www.supornclinic.com/

http://marcibowers.com/mtf/

all the various trans women I’ve known over the years

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaginoplasty

http://professionalvoice.org/feminization.aspx

http://brownsteincrane.com/facial-feminizing-surgery-ffs/

Is this hell?

CN: christianity, abuse, trans stuff

Like, sometimes I wonder if I’m in hell. See, one of the things I was taught, or should I say indoctrinated into, is that God’s presence is absent in hell. And I’m an atheist. I don’t believe in gods. But maybe that’s because they really don’t exist on this plane of existence and I’m being punished. I mean, like, why else would I have to go thru the dysphoria, intense chronic pain, and all the rest. Sometimes I wonder if all the abuse is just background that’s inflicted upon me as another form of torture.

So, I don’t actually believe this is the case. I’m not that narcissistic. But yeah, I got some mental issues and hang ups left from when I was Catholic. That shit is toxic, y’all.

So, you think we don’t need as much medicine as we take.

Content note: Suicide, medical talk, dysphoria, ablism

Let me tell you about my medical conditions.

1. I have a propensity for esophageal ulcers. I was born with a deformity. The valve from my stomach to my esophagus doesn’t close all the way. On top of that, I have a sliding hiatal hernia. That means the top part of my stomach will sometimes slide up into my esophagus. I have frequent heartburn and acid reflux. Left untreated, I will end up in the hospital or dead. For this, I need antacids.

2. I have hormonal gender dysphoria. Without treatment, my mental state gets so bad that I can’t stand it, and get extremely suicidal. Without treatment, I would kill myself. I came close a couple of times. The knife was on my wrist. I need anti-androgens and estrogen. ( I need additionaltreatment for genital based gender dysphoria, but I can handle that without killing myself for now.)

3. I have migraine headaches that can last 4 to 8 hours and be so debilitating that all I can do is curl up in a ball in a dark quiet room. I need painkillers to treat this. (and I can’t take too many because of the digestive system problems)

4. I have chronic pain from joints, nerves, and muscles. Some days I can’t even get out of the bed to get food. I usually don’t bother taking pain killers, because they are minimally effective, and irritate my acid reflux. I also don’t want them to become less effective for migraines. But I will take painkillers for this when absolutely necessary.

5. I have asthma. Without treatment when I was younger, I would be dead.

6. I have various allergies. Some of these are severe. Without treatment, I would die. For this, I need anti-histamines.

You think we’re taking too many medicines? I have friends with diabetes that need insulin. Friends with PTSD, anxiety disorders, depression, and other medical conditions that they need treatment  for. Do you want us to stop taking the medicines that are keeping us alive?

Guys are flirting with me. IT’S SO WEIRD.

content note: passing•, boys

Yesterday, on my way to therapy, a guy started hitting on me. And he wasn’t creepy, invasive, or harassing. It’s strange the ways that guys flirt. I’m used to girls flirting with me, both queer girls and straight girls (from the before times) flirt so differently from the ways boys do it. This was such an interesting experience.

He asked if I was European because I’m so tall. [5’11″(and I like to wear 3 inch heels, but I wasn’t that day)] He obviously couldn’t tell that I’m trans. (passing is weird) He complimented my perfume. (I wasn’t wearing any) It was so cute. Not my type, but he was kind of  a charmer. ^_^

 

•I define passing as a contextual thing, not a state of being. It describes the way others perceive you at the time, and how they treat you as a consequence. I know some people don’t like the language, but it describes something that is useful to describe. And it’s the language I have to work with.

Questions and Consequences

I’m used to being clocked. It’s a normal affair for me. What I’m not used to is being read as cis. But on the BART tonight, I was approached by a man. He sat down near me, and started asking me things, like what was the book I was reading. It was Redefining Realness by Janet Mock. A book that may have given me away to someone more informed, but he continued to talk to me, until he asked what the symbol on the pin on my backpack was. He thought it was something “Native American”. I informed him that it was a trans pride symbol. He looked startled, and suddenly stopped talking to me, and a minute or two later he moved away. Now, he could have been hitting on me, or he could have been just being friendly, but he obviously wanted nothing to do with me after finding out I was trans.

Which leaves me with questions. How often am I blending in with cis society? Usually the fact that I’m trans is pretty apparent, so I’ve never had to deal with someone suddenly finding out. I’m not ashamed of being trans, which is one of the many reasons I have the button, others being visibility so other trans folx know they aren’t alone, and resistance to cis-supremecy. I don’t want to be deep stealth. But I’m starting to wonder if it’s worth it to deal with situations like this, and so much worse, in every little passing interaction when I don’t have to. I mean, for a long time, I had no choice, but to deal with the laughter and non-consensual picture taking. I guess I feel like I should have a greater ability to disclose when and how I feel like it. On my terms. But I like the visibility, and resistance.  So I just don’t know.

 

Not just trans

I hate it when people follow me on twitter, just because I’m a trans woman. It’s a very peculiar type of microaggression. It isn’t even a part of my profile description. I have other thoughts and feelings. I mostly don’t even talk about being trans on there. Most of the people I talk to, well they respect me for other things, and I like them for who they are too. But sometimes, people just follow me, without ever having had a conversation with me, or with any mutual friends of mine. I’m a poet. Yes, a lot of my poetry is deals with oppression dynamics. But a lot of it isn’t. The oppression is part of my life, as is the dysphoria, and things like needing hrt. So those will end up in the things that I write. But these people don’t follow me because they like my poetry. I’m an artist. I just got my first commission. But are these people interested in my art? No. I like talking nail art with my friends. Are they follow me for that? No. I talk kink, and rope bondage. Are they interested in that? No. They just follow me because I’m trans.

I don’t even talk all that much about it these days. I’m too busy doing things. But all they see is trans woman. The fact that they are around doesn’t bother me all that much. It’s the inherent devaluation of all else I am and all else I do, and just seeing me as the oppressor does, by my status as a trans woman.