Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Voice Coach

Does any know a good voice coach in the Boston area or advice on masculinizing a voice with out T? I am trying very to pass as a male 24/7 and my voice I believe is my biggest achiles heel. It is effecting my positions in school, internships and jobs.
Thank you!!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Approval from those that will never give it is the most desireable

I am out in Colorado to see my parents for xmas, and I have been doing this since I was 18. I told my parents 4 years ago that I am Trans, plan on transitioning after the 2012 olympic trials and that I will be going by my chosen name and it has been legally changed. As I said in a previous post none of this went over too well. In fact it really ruined what if any relationship I had with my parents at the time. My mom is trying so I am a little forgiving of the mistakes, but my father is the big problem. He refuses to acknowledge my name change and has since I told him, he refuses to acknowledge anything I told him really. He justifies to himself by saying that he has always wanted a little girl and will never let go of the fact that I was his daughter since that was all that he ever wanted as far as children go. That is all fine and dandy but ever since I was born I was never a little girl, I was nothing close to daddy's little girl and everyone in my family except my father recognizes that. While I am home this time it has been very apparent that he will not let go of the fact that I am his daughter, putting me in the kitchen to work and generally treating me like a "dumb woman" something he has done forever and something I have always resented. When I guess you could say his daughter I was miserable and miserable to be around. I was institutionalized most of my senior year of high school for self-inflicted injuries, being gay and wanting to kill myself. When I accepted myself as being trans I finally let go of all the baggage I was holding onto and became a little happier and a whole lot more successful. Being at my parents house has made me realize that my father would rather me be the suicidal, cutting mess of a girl that I was then the happy, successful man that I am becoming. I can't in words explain how much that hurts, I don't think I ever could. I have never been close with my father but I also hate the fact of losing family. I am waiting till after xmas to defend myself and stand up to my father, but at the same time I know once I do I may have to find a place to stay for awhile before I go to Wisconsin. I never once cared if he understood or agreed I just wanted him to respect me but I guess that was too much to ask for.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Educating the Educators

I am debating emailing the head of the Physical Therapy department at my university. I want to discuss there lack of knowledge in dealing with GLBTQA cases aka "students". They need a very direct and concise education on appropriate language, terminology, and needs of students. My experience in my internship that I technically failed because of my "gender issues" has lit a fire underneath my ass. My university advisor who has been handling this case and making sure I don't fail and making sure my next internship has an oh shit plan, while she has been great has not been great as well. My clinical internship teacher specifically used the term "gender issues" and said that is why I failed. My advisor addresses everything we have done as taking care of this issue. Now I want to be clear I don't have a gender issue the only issue are the people around me. There is a need to educate so that the student isn't blamed for others' ignorance and mis-education.

Losing Identity

Recently I have been feeling like I am losing my identity. I find it hard to explain though. I know who I am, I know what I am trying to be, and all that but at the same time I feel as though I am losing my grip on it. It's like my palms are sweating and I can't hold to the bar I am power cleaning anymore. I'm starting to see the facade I have been playing up really hard has been crashing down and I am no longer seen as a guy but as instead as a butch dyke or a tranny. I am starting to feel that I can no longer pass. I don't know what to be seen as a tranny because when I am seen as such then too comes all the ignorant stereotypes and stigmatization's, most of which aren't really me. A lot of my identity comes from sport, really almost of my identity comes from sport. It comes from everything I feel when I compete: the power and strength, the ability to become anything I want, the ability to walk into the circle and know that I am one of the best and I will be damned if I go down easy. Sport also gave me the only place in the world I was safe or at least I could control what I would let touch/affect me. Ever since I had my knee surgery I haven't been able to throw or lift the way I like. This is a much needed time off and surgery and will make me a better athlete but at the same time it is taking a part of my identity away. I am lucky enough to have good genetics for muscle build and so I would go to the weight room to get good at a sport but also to look like a man. I would lift "like a man", I would take great pleasure out of lifting more then most men, I would work my ass off to look like a man over being good.
Not being able to be in my comfort zone at my sport has left me feeling naked with my identity. My sport while being my biggest hurdle as far as preventing me to transition but in a way is my crutch. It allows me to not have to face the fact on who I am. It helps me hide and just be an athlete and not a trans person. I have spent most of my life hating who I am and not understanding what why I was who I am. I came out in college and in a way went back in the closet after college because of what happen when I came out, I just hid in my sport and never denied what I was I just never said. Taking the last month off completely as well as some other things has made me question my identity as in "Did I do the right thing?" I am starting to believe that throwing myself completely into my sport and becoming a student and an athlete and nothing else I ruined myself. I have been debating even going back to my sport right now and just start transitioning but the fear of failure and not being able to throw afterwards prevents me. My identity is becoming more trans and not less of an athlete it is just starting to even out. My disappointment is not being able to entirely be both, the rules don't allow it. That is what sucks about sports sometimes in its exclusion of people to create the best field of competitors there are some left out many of whom were the best.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Privilege of Passing

I was at the Transcending Boundaries this weekend and went to a workshop on the privilege of passing. I found this to be a very enlightening and amazing workshop. There was a great range of age, trans men and women, gender queer, and so on. It was really nice to discuss the difficulty of passing each of have in our given gender and life and how it is a privilege to pass as your gender. I often struggle with the privilege of passing or the ability to pass and how it does and doesn't affect my ability to live and breathe as who I am. I often times am told that if one displays themselves with confidence then one will pass a whole lot better; or not many really people care about your gender expression. While I agree more with the latter, none are entirely true. Yes confidence has a lot to do with, but lets be honest some people as hard as they try and as much confidence as they may have some of us trans folk can not pass, I am one of them. Confidence can go far in queer communities sometimes far in friendly communities but in the rest of the world confidence in my experience mean jack. The biggest theme of this workshop was displaying oneself with confidence, and how that saves all and fixes all.
The thought of passing has always interested me. I find that there isn't just one way to pass and there are both pros and cons for all levels of passing. For instance if you completely pass as your gender identity then quite often you are not welcome in the Trans community because you are not "queering gender" enough. If you don't pass as I don't whether it be for body shape, facial features, voice, etc... the trans community will sometimes take you in it depends and then the non-trans world knows that you are not "normal" Then what about people who don't want to pass, who are gender queer, or FTM or MTF with no desire to transition; should passing matter on the general public? Or should passing matter on the individual's belief that they are passing how they want to? I feel like it should be the latter but I don't know if the world would ever be ready to let go of the dispositions especially on gender.
Passing in my life is a privilege a privilege I don't have. Passing is always a privilege though since it is rather expensive to pay for the medical procedures and therapy in order to pass. Passing effects everything from relationships to jobs. Everything changes based on how you pass, or what you pass as. People aren't ready to let go of the very strong beliefs on gender and how it should be presented and I just don't know if passing is as simple as leaving the house with confidence.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


I began volunteer coaching at MIT yesterday and I always forget when I am not doing it how much I LOVE to coach. I adore coaching, I love watching people learn and get better at things and knowing I had a slight hand in it. I also love coaching because it is one of the only things I have in my life that isn't affected by gender or sexuality. My athletes don't care whether I am male or female or how I represent my gender identity. All my athletes care about are my credentials as a thrower, an athlete, a coach. They care about what can I give them, what can I teach them and most importantly how hard I am going to push them at practice :p . But they don't care about how I look or how I identify they just care about how am I going to make them a better thrower. That is what I love about coaching. It is pure, it is sport and when I am coaching or even when I am throwing everyone around me is just an athlete or a coach they are a member of that sport and that is it; they don't have anything other than what they can and can't do in the throwing circle. Our only flaws are technical flaws that prevent us from throwing farther. I guess that is what makes leaving sports so hard, the ability to either participate or coach and be who I am without the judgment. It has always amazed me that when I am coaching college athletes we are laughing and having a good time and everything but I always catch myself wondering if that is how they would feel if they knew me outside of track or would they only see me for my "flaws"?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Another step back for gay marriage

New York has denied the right for gays to get married. I think a new approach has to be tried since the current/old one isn't working.
Apparently the decency of people is not what we have hoped and that the majority of people don't care about people's civil rights until it is their civil rights being taken away.

Civil Rights should never be voted on ever!

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Relationships have always been really hard for me for numerous reasons. I had trouble trusting people, committing to people, I wasn't comfortable with who I was and so on. I used to date lesbians and had a lot of trouble with finding lesbians that were comfortable with my gender identity so those never lasted long. I always had trouble connecting with people. A lot of that had to do with my lack of understanding of my own gender identity and difficulty putting together an identity and expression that worked for me. It is impossible to connect with someone when you can't even connect with yourself and see yourself as an out of body entity taking this shell as a temporary habitat till a more suitable one arrives.
As with every relationship sex is eventually a big part of it. I found this is what stopped me from having meaningful relationships with women. I was never pleased sexually because they didn't know how to touch me and couldn't touch how I wanted them to because it conflicted with who they were sexually. I also wouldn't let women touch me, I didn't want to be a woman and never saw myself as one and instead of explaining how I want to be touched I just took all the attention off of me so they didn't touch me. A huge part of my gender identity is based around my place in my relationships with my partners and for a long time I lost with them too.
I met a woman that helped me feel masculine and supported my coming out but in return couldn't be seen out in public with me, or with friends unless I was the Trans boyfriend, because she needed to be queer and I wasn't queer enough unless I was telling my story. That was a hard relationship to be in. It is hard as a young tranny and not having felt comfortable in any relationship to leave a relationship with someone that finally started to make me feel the way I wanted to. I stayed in an abusive relationship out of fear that I wouldn't be accepted by anyone else stupidly. Having talked to other trans men and women I now I know I am not the only one, and the fact that there are more is a shame because we should feel and know that we can be accepted and need to leave the abusive relationships to get it.

I wanted to give a quick background on my experiences in relationships but the real reason I wrote this was because of my current partner. I was at the conference Transcending Boundaries in Worcester this weekend and as I was in one of the workshops I was sitting there realizing that I have grown a lot. It sounds really corny and adolescent to say but I really wouldn't be where I am mentally without her. When I met her I was terrified of living as a out trans man, I was still very disgusted with who I was and what I was. My partner brought out a man in me I knew was there but never thought would come out, by only seeing me as her man and nothing else. Her support and gentle pushing to be who I am helped me even show my face in trans communities and then feel brave enough to then go to conferences like TIC and Transcending Boundaries. My Partner's belief in trans rights and her knowledge in Trans history and support of the community also helped me feel more comfortable. She helps give me strength to be who I am. I have been told several times that it is unhealthy to base our identities around someone and I don't. I will always be who I am now even if she was here she helped me find that person. We are all affected by people and especially those closest to us. I still have trouble with my identity in this relationship and it isn't perfect but I never really appreciated till today how far I came because of her.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Transgender Day of Rememberance

This is a link someone informed me of. It is deeply sad, but very much a perfect statement for today.


As fitting for the day it is also Pouring in Boston.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I continuously struggle with my role in educating people, or being out there as a role model. I want to be a role model and a resource for people to use and go to. But I can't always do it in a vocal role such as with the media and what not. I have been asked to do these kind of venues in the past for various things but I can not commit to that. I run the risk of future employers seeing me and then not hiring me because of their personal opinions. I feel guilty and sad every time I turn down people for that matter. I want to be out there but I can't not work. I wish there was a way to do both because I would love to help young trans people because I know how hard it is to not have resources readily accessible and have people not understand. I am always open to questions and discussions, and talking about so many things and I want to get it out there that I would love to start a discussion and safe place even on my blog for people to ask questions, and use me as a resource and help and/or just a complicated trans person that can lend an ear.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Does anyone ever get tired of explaining yourself? Explaining your identity? Explaining your sexuality? Explaining why or why not you present yourself in a certain manner? I know I am. I get very tired of having to explain who/what I am, to professors, to professional colleagues, to other athletes and to coaches. Explaining myself to members of the queer community and straight community. I never understood the importance explaining to others what is in-between my legs and why I do or don't chose to look like it on the outside. I mean really I have always wondered if I represent what is between my legs would it really helped, since back in the day when I had long hair I looked a very un-passing un-comfortable drag queen according to everyone who has seen it.
The explanations get really old when I have to defend who I am so that I can be acceptable to the person I am talking to. When my explanations become apologies for my existence and for how I am sorry for taking up space and being different. My explanations for who I am more recently have been trying to explain why my differences make me who I am and try to make them less offensive to the people I am saying them to. It has been rather frustrating. Especially when it is with fellow queers. I will never understand why queers hate on queers with more hate, force and disgust than straights. I hate explaining why I want to be seen as a guy and not as gender queer, or why I can't be overtly queer because I am trying to work in a professional field. I hate having to explain that I do love being queer and I do want already stand up for trans rights but I also have to get a job and I work in a conservative field. I don't have the luxury of working in queer friendly jobs. I could have if I chose to but I wanted more. Also being an athlete is NOT an un-queer thing, it is NOT against the rules to be a jock and to enjoy and love sports. It is ok for a jock to be queer at the same time. I know that sports are stereotypical heterosexual but what the hell is wrong with breaking the stereotype isn't that queer? I wish there was more of a live let live policy in the queer world, and appreciation of all the individuality within the world and our community. Since until we stop hating each other we will never get others to appreciate us.
Explaining myself everyday is exhausting, I once asked someone to explain themselves to me. They became so offended and insulted and couldn't understand why I asked them. When I explained that is how they made me feel they were still baffled. How ironic?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Knee Surgery

Yesterday I had knee surgery. I had a right knee chondroplasty which is fancy talk for a knee scope. At least that was what the surgery was supposed to be. My knee ended up being in worse shape than both I and the doctor thought it would be. I have a Osteochondritis dessicans (OCD) lesion on the posterior lateral portion of my femur which like having a hole in the bone, on the weight bearing surface of the bone. That hole was a whole lot worse then expected it was the size of a quarter and a few millimeters deep which means it went through the cartilage into the bone. THe doctor also had to do a lateral release of the the lateral compartment of the knee joint. That means the doctor cut the fascia and muscle to release the tension so that the patella will sit in correct anatomical position instead with a tilt. He had to do micro fractures of the bone at the hole in the femur to cause the bone to bleed so it can form a fibrous cartilage callous over the hole to try and prevent it from getting worse. They also did a whole lot of cleaning on top of that. Needless to say I am now non-weightbearing for at least a week and lot more rehab than expected.
The biggest problem is the surgeon was not happy about the state of the OCD lesion in my femur. Apparently he doesn't think the micro fractures is going to help and that I am going to need another surgery. He thinks I need an allograft bone plug to close the hole, or else he is afraid the bone in my femur will die. That surgery is a minimum of 8 weeks nonweight bearing and 6 months rehab. I don't know if it is going to hold. I don't know what will happen as far as throwing if I do it. I know I will most likely need a knee replacement by the my early 30s if I don't do it, but I also don't know how long the surgery would delay the total knee replacement. I am really at a loss as to what to do I never thought my knee was this bad. It pretty much sucks.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Out outside of college

I haven't talked much about being an out trans-athlete outside of college. The adjustment from college track and field to non-colleigant track is rough whether you are queer or not. You have to figure out very quickly how to pay for all your meets, travel and equipment, you have to find a coach, and/or a place to train, you also have to find the right meets and everything else. There is a lot of stuff that you relied on your coach for that is now all in your hands and so it is a big adjustment. It is also an adjustment to compete against the best in the country at all levels rather than just DIII as it was for me. Personally I found all but the funding to be easy and work itself out along the way. Being out certainly made me the black sheep. I was isolated and almost quarantined because of it. I was constantly questioned on my gender identity and whether or not I was cheating and taking T because of my appearance. I found more doors close than open due to being out. I lost abilities to compete at bigger meets not due to lack of talent but lack of blatant heterosexuality. In my sport women are shunned for being more masculine then they are already naturally are due to their high levels of muscle bulk. My competitors over feminize themselves in order to not be seen as anything masculine b/c of their body shape. Any woman not fitting the feminine identity is shunned in order to keep the feminimity of the athletes well set. Most often at meets I am called the tranny the It throwing. I have been asked at big meets if I was aware that I was competing in the women's competition and that I must have misheard. People call me the he-she, she-he and find cute little ways to put jabs in every chance they get.
Being an out trans-athlete I've learned that you have to mentally tougher than all of your competitors, and willing to sacrifice more and work harder to accomplish the same thing as your competitors. I guess that should make my accomplishments mean even more to me but I find it to be a double edged sword in that my accomplishments do mean something but I work and drive myself into the ground mentally and physically for track, and yet I am still seen as a nobody in track and field not because I can't throw but because I'm trans.
There are days where I wonder if it is worth since being an elite athlete you sacrifice your life no matter your identity but when for me I closet my identity again. I continue to live in skin I can't even look at in the mirror to throw. People have asked me if it is worth it or why I sacrifice my identity. That answer is relatively simple. I love to throw. THe only place in my life I feel whole, I feel powerful is in a throwing circle. I feel powerless in the rest of my life and regaining that sense of power feels great. I veered off the topic of being an elite trans-athlete. But for me personally being that athlete I have this debate on a regular if not daily basis. I have a personal struggle of is it worth it? Is losing and sacrificing your identity worth it? Is destroying my body worth it?, etc... When I can't answer immediately or I can't say with 100% certainity that it is worth it, or my love for throwing has died then I will quit, but till then I will continue to have this debate and question every decision I've made, but I will also throw and turn heads while doing it.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

New Poem

So I this is the 1st poem I will post, but as some background I write a lot of poetry. Some will be new some will be old. My thesis in College was a collection of poetry about being trans and life in general.

I'm a hard bodied woman
strength of a God
Power to overcome the barriers of a binary world

I'm a Flamboyant man
accenting with flair
limp wristed
strong grip never mistaken for weak

I'm a femme girl
walking in 4" heels with legs for days
with my short little red dress
all look and no touch
It's what's underneath that's the real surprise.

I'm the male jock
Can crushing biceps, washboard abs
tree trunk legs so I can drop to my knees to lick the boots of my girlfriend

I'm a Stone butch dyke
Got my strap-on on and my motorcycle boots
Can't change my oil but
my girlfriend can

I'm a twink
I'll take it up the ass
only after I've beaten and dominated yours

I'm a tranny Boi
packing and binding
I'll my show my tits since binding hurts
and my piercings are too fun to hide

I'm all these
Stuck in a singular
form the word isn't ready for me

Hate Crimes

So I recently realized in my Facebook tabs of people much to my horror I know someone who believes that any and all hate crime legislation is regression rather than progression. I was so intrigued at this point that I had to read why this person felt that way. Apparently in their mind they see that having hate crime legislation means making all of us queer GLTBQQAI members the so-called "others". While I understand that mindset and the radical thinking of trying to get us to be the same rather than others. I feel as though we have to face the facts and realize that we are the others to all the people making the legislation and trying the criminals in court. I am not saying that is right or that it shouldn't be changed I am saying that is life. I am speaking as a victim of hate crime with real life experience of watching the people getting away that hate crime is a real thing and legislation is necessary.
After reading the opinion piece of hate crime all I could remember were the times I had "die faggot die" was written on my locker, or when my locker was lit on fire or when I had a sports team break my ribs and bruise my internal organs in a locker room before a big game in HS, or the time I was chased for miles in Nebraska my angry truck drivers, or the time a man tried to sexually assault me to make me ungay, or the time the Boston police decided to rough me up all those times they got away. I have seen even worse hate crimes, I have lost people to hate crimes. I once had to try and convince a crying man to not kill himself and to not let the people who raped and beat the shit out of him for being gay win and that someday people will love us for who we are, even though I felt like I should have told him he should have because I don't think the world will ever love us for who we are. Right now we are the others and while that individual is allowed their opinion, queer people everyday are raped, asualted and killed without the offender getting much more than a gentle slap on the wrist without the legislation. Hate crime legislation is just trying to level the playing field that is so uneven.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

"Gender Issues"

I found out this week that my clinical instructor (CI) from my recently completed internship for physical therapy actually admitted to failing me because of my "gender issues" I knew since day one that this was an issue, I was placed at an ultra conservative catholic hospital. I ever so often got sly little comments like "she can't get her work done quick enough" or "She is my student and She isn't doing well" I asked her to respect the fact that I asked her to use male pronouns and that as a professional to respect me and my wishes. Each time being met with a I slipped and so on. I spent just about 8 weeks being told how I was stupid, and will never amount to being anything good, and will fail. My College pulled me out of the site early due to my CI's inability to teach and instead just put me in a no win situation. My advisor later found out all of this was due to my "gender issues" and had to have a candid conversation with me about me. That conversation went well, she was very receptive and made it clear she is hear to make sure I get the same opportunities as my classmates and is willing to protect me. But at the same time she blantaly stated that she doesn't understand why I am having the problem and that I am just going to have to be better than all my classmates. People who have never been hated just because of their mere existence and know nothing of discrimination don't understand. They don't understand how it effects and changes a person, they don't understand how people can just don't know a bad situation. THey may try and may want to understand but don't understand because they have never lived it.
As far as being better than everyone else, I don't know a queer alive that doesn't to get anywhere. As an athlete I have to be better than anyone in order just to be average to everyone. Apparently the same will be true to be a physical therapist. I am trying to write about this in a way that is professional and showing both sides, but I must say that proves to be very hard. I wish I could say that my presentation has destroyed jobs and job opportunities but it isn't. Because of my identity and presentation I may also lose out on my opportunity to work at a neuro rehab clinic which was a dream come true when I found out I got it, but because of my "complicated situation" my college doesn't know if it will be a safe place for me to be. I want to live in a world where there actual is no discrimination against gender identity and not some pretty little law in a meaningless rule book.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Not Transitioning

The decision to hold off on transitioning was one of the hardest decisions I ever had to make. When I decided to initially I was still in College and I was still competing and defending my titles and wanted to graduated with a little complications as possible. I decided to not transition so I could graduate doing everything I wanted to accomplish. Once I graduated and I had two years before the next Olympic trials, I started working with a great coach and knew I had a chance and I just couldn't give up on that shot of possibly making the Olympic team. Now while I was close and did better than anyone expected me I didn't succeed. I still have held off transitioning and I wonder everyday if I am making the right decision. I have mentally decided that I would keep going through to 2012 and then begin transitioning and compete as a man, but as I just posted can I wait that long.
My decision to not transition has slammed doors in my face on job opportunities. It has severely effected my education causing discrimination on my internships because people can't deal with what is called my "gender issues". By not transitioning I have been boxed into the gender queer identity which I have a lot of trouble identifying with. I am by no means trying to be a stereotype of masculinity, I just feel comfortable and myself when I am seen as a guy and being a guy. My decision to not transition has distanced me from sects of the trans community as well. Being seen as wanting the best of both worlds, and not willing to be strong enough to sacrifice things in order to transition. The decision to not transition didn't come without lots of thinking and weighing in all sides of the issue. When I made the decision I made it for my love of sport, and the sport I have dedicated my whole life for. I ruined relationships and lost friendships as well as lost my identity all for track.
I wish there was a feasible way to be me and be an athlete all at the same time but I don't see there being a chance, especially being able to compete at the same level I am competing at. I've lost who I am, I can only see a woman when I am even at my best of passing, despite only feeling like a man. I did this all to compete to be the best at something and accomplish something not many people trans or non trans can say they have accomplished. Instead of finding support my decision to not transitioned has closed doors and exiled me from a community I want to fight for and be a member of.



So I've been struggling a lot recently with track being put 1st before transitioning. I've been thinking about quitting track and transitioning now and then try to get back into it as a guy, but I don't really know if that would work. It is hard to really walk away from something that has been my life for the last 7 years, especially when I am so close to achieving my dream of making the olympic team. But at the same time I have sacrificed so much for track, all at my choice but nonetheless it takes a toll after a while. I live my life as a man (or at least I try very hard to), but then I throw and compete as a woman. I have many times lost track of who and what I am because I am a different gender to everyone you ask and despite asking for the respect to call me he it is not often given. My decision to not transition has hindered my ability to get jobs since I am trying to work and finish grad school in a professional field, people don't want to hire the "It". I have lost sponsership for track because I came out and became the trans-athlete poster child for my college. I have been denied enterance to meets because I am trans but yet I keep coming back for more. I don't even know why I keep coming back, I love to throw sure, but it is loving to do something truely enough to deny yourself who you are? I guess that answer depends on who you are and what it is. For me I thought it was, until recently. I'm starting to watch people around me transition, and being around people who have transitioned, and it is eating me alive. I am so happy for those men and women but at the same time I am the green eyed monster, and it has made me want to transition more and more everyday. I hate being seen as a woman, I Hate seeing myself as a woman. No matter how well I bind, or how big my cock is, still only see myself as a woman. I thought I was mentally tough enough to hold off until after 2012 olympic trials/olympics but I am starting to doubt if I am. A person can only hate themselves so much I don't look in the mirror anymore, I am starting to become a shut in because I don't want the world to see me, so I only am going out for work. But when I throw I feel like a God I feel like noone can touch me. I feel like I rule the world with every turn and when I let go it is a feeling I only have when I throw. So I come back to the question of: Is loving to do something enough to deny your identity and enstill nothing but self-hate?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Locker Rooms/Bathrooms

Here comes the dreaded locker room/bathroom conversation, the conversation that starts with people running the other direction. In my experience locker rooms especially but also bathrooms are two very underestimated and discussed issues for Trans individuals be they athletes or not. In my experience there is an overwhelming assumption that this issue will "work itself out" or "can be dealt with at another time", or is a "simple solution." This is issue will never work itself out, shouldn't be dealt with at another time and is in no way simple. For example I am a female bodied individual with a male/masculine gender identity, and I present as a man in my everyday life, but I still have breasts and a vagina. My physical body makes it impossible for me to go into the men's locker room without dangerous repercussions. My gender identity and presentation are masculine so I can "pass" as a man, which makes it extremely difficult to enter the women's locker room without embarrassing and mentally damaging repercussions. Locker rooms especially is a daily stress that there really never feels to be a simple solution for.
When part of an athletic team for college, high school, elite level or recreational there is a part of team-bonding that occurs in the locker room. Whether it is before going out to warm-up before the big game, or after a long hard practice, a huge part of the team experience, and the joys of having teammates comes from what occurs in the locker room. This is an experience that Trans athletes can't be a part of. Often times the solution for not knowing where to put an out-trans athlete is to create a new space that is their private changing area, as a way to avoid uncomfortable situations whether it is from "mismatching" genitalia or people knowing that this person is Trans.
My College completely moved me out of the women's locker room, and gave me a dungeon cell in the athletic building that was all mine. My teammates constantly asked why I wasn't in the locker room and it seemed stupid. I never really appreciated the amount of team bonding occurred in the locker room until I was banned from it. It was really nice to have teammates there to lean on after a 5 hour practice with your coach screaming at you the whole time. I was lucky enough to be a captain and a senior with a well established relationship with many of my teammates to not have it greatly effect the team feeling. But what about freshman athletes, or people new the team or sport? What are they going to do? Many people may view their "isolation" with a separate locker room as "why are they special?", "What is going on with them?". This isolation will completely skew the team dynamic and the ability for a Trans athlete to bond and build a good relationship with their teammates. But at the same time it is not often safe for Trans athletes to use the locker room of the the gender of which they are competing. So what are Trans athlete's supposed to do?
I have often believed that part of being a trans athlete is being willing to make a lot of very hard and uncomfortable sacrifices, but safety should never be one. And being part of team can't be one either especially if you want to play sports, even in track and field which is an individual sport it is still a team sport all at the same time. Part of the reason I love sports so much is because of the team and the atmosphere the team brings to the sport. When I was separated so much from them by not sharing a locker room it significantly decreased the amount of bonding time I had with my teammates and the amount I could get to know them. I spent so much time training for my individual events that during practice hours I didn't have that opportunity as well. In a way I am happy I am participating in my own event because if I was on a basketball team for instance I don't feel like I could compete with confidence with my teammates. I feel like knowing their personalities on and off the court would help me better know what to expect from them and how to play with them. I really don't think there is a perfect solution to the locker room situation. I always thought let the individual change in the locker room of the gender they are competing in if they feel comfortable and their teammates feel comfortable. Or often times there are separate rooms in a locker room that can be made that athletes to change but the athlete will still be in the locker room.
Bathrooms are another big issue. I have a personal soap box of every College, and university needs to have at least one gender neutral bathroom in every building on campus. This bathroom can be a handicap bathroom so that there are more options that are less public for disabled individuals as well. I can not tell you how embarrassing it is to be physically escorted out of bathrooms by airport security or men using the bathrooms, or to have women yelling about the man in the woman's restroom, and so on. It is demoralizing and humiliating. Single stall bathrooms are not hard to manage and quite frankly I don't understand why they are damn hard to come by. I once was called a rapist in a women's bathroom, I wasn't binding, and was wearing a tighter shirt for me, that situation disturbed being a victim that is last image I ever wanted to portray. I have friends that are self-identified butch lesbians that can't use the bathroom either for the same stigma of a "man in the Woman's room" The men's room are not often that bad, but I don't always pass enough to enter, nor do many other people nor do many other people want to. I think there needs to be a bigger push on campus for single stall restrooms every where, but especially on college and university campuses where there are growing populations of transgender, intersex, and gender queer individuals.


Friday, October 30, 2009

Coming out Part II/Being an out college Trans athlete

When I started my senior year of college one of the 1st things I had to do was have a conversation with the new head coach. That was pretty easy which I was very thankful for and very surprised by. When her and I met she had a list of questions for me which were mainly: "Why now?" "What made you decide that this was the right decision?", "How did your parents take it?", "How can we help make this easier". After that her and I decided that we would both talk to the team, and that we were going to do everything possible to make sure the focus was on the team and not me. I was already a focus since I was one of the best throwers in the country in DIII. We had a lot of outstanding athletes and so we wanted to have an equal focus on them so they could be recongnized for their accomplishments in sports. I thought that was perfect and I always believed in the team before the person. When I told the team, they were pretty much like oh whatever that is now big deal, we still like you. They were awesome and were like we may slip on the name since we got used to calling you by your birth name but other than that no big deal. I can count on one hand how many times my whole team slipped on my name or pronouns. The team was also asked not to talk to reporters so that what got out could be filtered and funneled through to the right people, so the right things were said.
The season went buy with relatively no problems, as far as competition was concerned. I had a couple of sneers of there's the tranny throwing, and what's it doing and what not. I had a forum started on why I shouldn't be allowed to compete in track and field as either a man or a woman. The most insulting moment though came from my own college. They every year award a male athlete and a female athlete athlete of the year award. That year was my year to win, I was put on the back burner so that other senior athletes could win it. But that year, my whole team even was waiting in anticipation of me receiving the award. And honestly that was the only award I wanted, since I was constantly seen as less of an athlete than my colleagues and this was my way of separating myself. At that time I was the most decorated female athlete in the history of the school, and that time they decided not to give it because I "chose" to not conform to gender norms, and they couldn't very well allow me to named female athlete of the year after I came out as being male identified despite the fact I competed as a female and still do. My team was enraged and protested the award, my coaches almost lost their jobs defending me, and my teammates wrote letters of complaint that in the end were used against me despite the fact that to this day I don't know who wrote them. My college decided at that point that they were going to use me as their diversity poster child but when it came to defending me they dropped the ball. They justified their lack of action by saying they already did so much and couldn't justify doing any more, and that the fact that my teammates called them transphobic (without my knowledge) was uncalled for and warranted their lack of support. Much to their chagrin or not, I ended up graduating the most decorated athlete in the history of my college. A two-time national champion, 16 time all-american, as well as holding a national record that still is in place 4 years later.
After that I stopped throwing for my college, I began throwing for me, and said fuck it to everyone who didn't understand or want to. After I made that transition I never threw better. But that was only the beginning of discrimination, transphobia and hatred that I would face as both a Trans athlete, and as a Transgender person.

Transitions are a part of everyday life, they don't always have to physical. The smallest changes are often times the most meaningful.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Coming out

Where I grew up and how I grew up you didn't know what Transgender was. I always knew I was different, for instance I never knew I was gay until I was told by a psychologist that I was gay because I was a woman and liked women, I just automatically thought I was a guy. Once I was in College I took a class that briefly went into what transgender was and all that and it fit so perfectly it clicked. I started telling girlfriends, but they all left because I was ruining their lesbian identity. After awhile I thought it was a bad thing, it was a curse to be Trans, especially with sports. I had no idea what I was going to do, I was an all-american multiple times over, I was starting to get close to having options for continuing throwing outside of school once I graduated. Why did I have to be Trans? THat was all I could think, that was all I kept coming back to, was why was I Trans? I honestly kept asking that question till the last year, when I finally became ok with who and what I am. I was really worried about coming out to anyone else because I knew what the rules were for Transgender people, and I knew the NCAA didn't have any. I was also so afraid that my school would ban me from track, and track was the only thing I had at the time.
I finally decided to come out my senior year of College because I was going down a slippery slope and I didn't think I could pull myself out if I didn't come out. Before I came out I was cutting everyday I knew I had to come out, when I finally really hurt myself because I couldn't live like that anymore. When I came out as trans I did so with the understanding that I was not going to be taking T or having any surgery. I first told the Athletic director, and my professor mentor since the women's track team was getting a new coach and we needed to game plan. Both of them were awesome and helped me cover all corners at the time. That was the spring semester of my Junior year. After that I had to tell my parents.
Telling my parents to date has still been the hardest of everyone. When I told them I made sure I would be able to leave and it was towards the end of the summer. My mother just cried and cried, my father told me I ripped his heart out, and killed a part of him. I left their house shortly after that.