FAQ

You have ques­tions. I will endeav­or to answer them. But feel free to ask more ques­tions if I haven’t, or you can’t find the answers below. I’m very open about this, I just like to be sure how much the per­son I’m talk­ing to wants to hear. This doc­u­ment will be revised as the answers change. Expect that, I guess.

There have been some more changes through­out, and see the sta­tus update at the bot­tom.

Let’s get start­ed. I’m queer: non­bi­na­ry and transfeminine.

Yes, that’s right, I am iden­ti­fy­ing as trans­fem­i­nine where my gen­der is con­cerned, which is an aspect of being non­bi­na­ry. It’s a big thing, as things go, I agree. Still me, though. But more so.

Quick catch up: When I was born I was assigned male, and lived that way for about fifty years. I had all the boy stuff: beard, bald spot, gut, lais­sez-faire atti­tude. Then this. And now you’re up to date!

Yeah. I wish I had a real­ly con­crete answer to this. It hap­pened in June of 2020, and was some­thing of an epiphany. I’ll prob­a­bly write about it at some point. The gist is that there was­n’t a point where I made any kind of deci­sion. Rather, it was a cas­cade of dis­cov­ery, once it had occurred to me to ask the ques­tion. There was a sud­den­ness to it that took my breath away.

And yet, also, it feels like it was a long time com­ing. I keep think­ing of events, or feel­ings, or mem­o­ries where I say to myself, “Oh! I see now…“

I don’t have a lot of answers, there’s a lot going on in my head, a lot I still don’t quite under­stand, but I’m giv­ing myself the grace to be a bit of a mess right now.

Through it all, though, I’ve nev­er wavered in my cer­tain­ty that this is me. 

I’m not entire­ly sure, to be hon­est. I do know for cer­tain that I don’t iden­ti­fy as male. 

When I first dis­cov­ered this, I thought I might be non­bi­na­ry, with a fem­i­nine bent, and that’s what this FAQ answer used to say. Then I thought maybe I was a woman, with a tiny scootch of non­bi­na­ry. Now, that’s shift­ed back again towards the nonbinary!

What you should get out of this is: I don’t know, exact­ly. But right now I’m call­ing myself queer, and trans­fem­i­nine.

This will con­tin­ue to change as I con­tin­ue to explore, imag­ine, and iden­ti­fy what the fuck is going on with me. 🙂

This is also part of a process at the moment. Since start­ing to explore my gen­der iden­ti­ty, I’ve also been explor­ing how I might express that. I’ve had an ear­ring for decades, and been shav­ing my under­arms for about as long. For this, though, I start­ed by shav­ing off my beard of thir­ty years (yes, that’s why I did that). I began keep­ing my eye­brows trim. I shaved my shoul­ders once and can nev­er go back. I grew my fin­ger­nails out. Noth­ing I tried felt wrong.

I tried grow­ing my beard back and that felt real­ly wrong. I last­ed a week.

I think my gen­der expres­sion is like­ly to be “confused/confusing” for a while. Some days I feel more fem­i­nine. Some days I don’t. Some days I want to paint my nails and shave my legs. Some days I want to be tall and strong. Those aren’t incom­pat­i­ble! But it’s a process.

All that said, it is impor­tant to note that gen­der iden­ti­ty and gen­der expres­sion are not required, by you, me, or any­one, to match up in some stan­dard algo­rithm. Women (trans or oth­er­wise) do not owe us fem­i­nin­i­ty. Men do not owe us mas­culin­i­ty. Non­bi­na­ry peo­ple do not owe us androgyny.

Yes. I’d love it if you would refer to me as she/they.

It took me a lit­tle more than a year, but I’m final­ly at the point where I feel unhap­py being referred to with male gen­dered words. I spent 50 years as he/him, and it’s been hard to extri­cate myself, but the last month or so it’s made me feel uncom­fort­able being called Dad, or father, or him.

Of course, being referred to as she/they makes me uncom­fort­able, too! Ha! But oth­er trans peo­ple say it starts out hard and gets eas­i­er as you get used to using new pro­nouns and hear­ing oth­ers use them.

I know that she/they is kin­da weird, but it just means that I’m kin­da non­bi­na­ry, and don’t mind either set of she/her or they/them.

Still like women. Can’t see that ever chang­ing. I have no inter­est (less even than before?) in man parts play­ing any part in my rela­tion­ships, my romance, or my sexy sex.

I guess that makes me a lesbian.

I know!

That said, to me it feels more like rec­og­niz­ing a real­i­ty that has always been there, rather than a whole­sale change. Still, I see how it might seem like a big change to you all, and I do want to acknowl­edge that.

For me, it’s been a long process of explo­ration with not a few set­backs. Over the past year+ I’ve vis­it­ed with a ther­a­pist, a psy­chi­a­trist, two psy­chol­o­gists, and an obg­yn. I’ve had long, heart­felt talks with my jour­nal. I’ve had longer, emo­tion­al but warm and mutu­al­ly affirm­ing talks with my wife-part­ner-best friend. As of this writ­ing, it’s only been eight eleven four­teen months, but it feels like a life­time (that could be the pan­dem­ic speak­ing).

This FAQ, and oth­er things I plan to do, will hope­ful­ly help my friends and fam­i­ly ease into it. Just as writ­ing, plan­ning, and think­ing about it (just about every wak­ing moment) has helped me ease into it.

In the past, when I enter­tained thoughts of what I would think/do if my chil­dren came out to me as some vari­ety of non-cishet, my num­ber one con­cern was always for their hap­pi­ness. How would they nav­i­gate a soci­ety that still (fuck it all) does­n’t accept peo­ple regard­less of who they are?

It seems a lit­tle out-of-body to think about myself that way. I’ve spent 50 years on easy mode, as Scalzi puts it. I find it hard to wrap my head around my life being dif­fer­ent than that.

I’m not wor­ried. That may be naive.

I’d love it if you would call me Dani.

Pick­ing your own name is a real­ly per­son­al project, and it’s been a long process for me. I’ve tried out a lot of names in my head, and one or two online and in a sup­port group. I’ve even reserved a few domain names I won’t be using now!

In the end, all the peo­ple who love me already call me this, and it’s love­ly and fits me. They just have to spell it dif­fer­ent­ly now.

I’m not at the point where I’m chang­ing my name legal­ly though. The paper­work of that process gives me a headache. I’ve been an adult for a long time and there’s a lot of stuff in that guy’s name. Ugh.

That’s a legit­i­mate ques­tion, and it real­ly deserves a longer answer. Let me just say that I have spent a long time being most­ly unhap­py, and most­ly unaware of that fact, and that since I came to this real­iza­tion, I am excit­ed to be me.

I have a lot of respon­si­bil­i­ties, to my wife, my chil­dren, my fam­i­ly and friends, and to myself. I am doing my best to live up to those respon­si­bil­i­ties by being empa­thet­ic, care­ful, and lov­ing as we nego­ti­ate these changes togeth­er.

I can see where some­one might argue that liv­ing up to those respon­si­bil­i­ties means not doing this. To put it suc­cinct­ly, that’s bull­shit. I’m a bet­ter per­son when I am being me, a bet­ter par­ent, a bet­ter part­ner, a bet­ter friend.

A friend asked me why I was being so… pub­lic about this. The short answer is, I don’t want this to be a secret.

I’m putting this in a FAQ because I want peo­ple to know what is hap­pen­ing to me. I don’t want to hide it. I don’t want to sud­den­ly appear in their lives as a dif­fer­ent per­son (because I’m not a dif­fer­ent per­son). And, frankly, I don’t want myself, or my fam­i­ly, to go through it alone. We need our com­mu­ni­ty.

So then, why the anonymi­ty? Why isn’t my name on this? Because as much priv­i­lege as I have, this is not just my jour­ney. What I am doing affects the peo­ple I love. We are nav­i­gat­ing it togeth­er, and this is one of the deci­sions we’ve made.

May 8, 2021

It’s going pret­ty well. I’ve come out to most of the peo­ple in my cir­cles, and have yet to have a bad reac­tion. I’ve got some inter­nal stuff I’m work­ing through, but it’s not about my gen­der iden­ti­ty. Last week I start­ed gen­der affirm­ing hor­mone treat­ments (com­mon­ly called hor­mone replace­ment ther­a­py, or HRT).

You might have noticed above where I men­tioned I had an obg­yn? Yeah, she’s part of a whole team at a hos­pi­tal here who make up a gen­der diver­si­ty clin­ic. She’s the one pre­scrib­ing these hor­mone drugs.

In short, I’m tak­ing some­thing to block testos­terone, and I’m adding estro­gen to my body. You can learn more about it here (and if you want to read some of the oth­er stuff there that’s cool, too).

This is… well it’s a step you take when you’re sure, because sev­er­al of the changes are not reversible. I’m sure.

July 29, 2021

Big step this week, decid­ing on a name and pro­nouns that fit me. My name’s Dani, and I’d love it if you referred to me as she/they.

It’s tak­en me over a year to get to this point, and I freely admit I’m not 100% used to it, but I also won’t get used to it if I nev­er start. It almost feels big­ger than com­ing out.

Com­plete­ly expect­ed, so do I! If you already know how to get a hold of me, then I’m very like­ly to want to answer your ques­tions. Let’s chat!

If you’re a stranger, well-mean­ing or oth­er­wise, I’m not tak­ing ques­tions or com­ments at this time.

Last Updat­ed on July 30, 2021 by admin