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Christine’s Journey 9/15

| Sep 14, 2015
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road-poemIt’s been a pretty good four weeks.

The week of my last blog I traveled down to corporate. The week prior I had emailed our Vice President of HR, and she responded that she would be out, referring me to the HR Manager one level down. I spoke to and informed her of my situation, and that I would be in the following week.

I met first with our company President. While this was “a new situation” for him, I had his “full support.” After I mentioned my conversation with HR, I was told “you should talk to the Senior VP.” During an initial 20 minute conversation with the SVP, I restated my timeline and rationale for the Dec. 1, full-time date (trade show circuit completion, name change, other legal, etc.). As I suspected, I am not the only trans person in the corporation, however my situation was described as “more unique,” as a result of my visibility in the industry.

I had been working on a “coming out” letter for months, written for my industry customers and the trade association of which I’m a member. Patterned roughly on similar words penned by Jenn Boylan to her associates, and likewise by others in JFB’s books, the letter briefly explains who I am and expresses (hopeful) expectations for the future. My management, HR, and I agreed to work together on the methodology and wording over the coming weeks all toward my Dec. 1 full-time goal.

I also informed our General Manager (supportive); and another very good friend at corporate (another VP). It turns out my corporate friend saw “his” best industry friend transition MTF about 25 years ago. He was therefore “more than cool,” and we’ve had additional conversations since. I’m going to schedule a trip to my home office in Maine the 2nd week of November to address the staff and possibly our whole company.

I traveled to Chicago for my second intensive electrolysis session by About You. All went well like the first, this session (with Belle and Irene working in tandem most of the time) lasted 9-1/2 hours, vs 14-15 hours previously. I didn’t “zonk out” like the first time when the IV was administered, so I felt the slight ‘picks’ in my face and neck as Dr. Z injected additional meds over an approximate 45 seconds.

All went well, Belle said their clear rate is about 40-45% (vs 15% she estimates for traditional electrolysis), so even though hair continues to grow (and get zapped), it is getting thinner and less pronounced. I’ve scheduled one more (I hope) session for early November. After that, local electrologist touchups.

It was my mom’s birthday this past week, she turned 90. We had a quiet dinner out together. Between inquisitive conversation about my meds and my work, she continues to struggle, “I just don’t understand,” and always seems to find a way to throw the word “die” into the discussion. But while progress is slow, it IS progress and we always say we love each other at the end.

A note on a couple of other interesting tidbits I learned/discovered this month. With my name change underway, I picked up a book that my lawyer contributed toward, Transgender Family Law, A Guide to Effective Advocacy. Written by attorneys, for attorneys, the book provides an informative overview to the myriad of transgender issues we may confront, with topics ranging from basic name change and other identification issues, to relationship issues including marriage, marriage legality, parental rights (pre and post-divorce), custody, and legal protection for transgender youth.

One interesting chapter deals with a subject I had never considered, Intimate Partner Violence. This “violence” could be emotional, verbal, physical, sexual, economic, or cultural/identity (the threat of outing one’s partner).

A final chapter discusses Estate Planning and Elder Law (I’m not getting any younger) which includes a variety of topics: Wills, Power of Attorney, Health Care, Housing, and even Postmortem Instructions, all of which interestingly “could be challenged by family members” if not properly planned in advance.

The other interesting subject had to do with both my son and my therapist. A discussion with my son’s mom led to the understanding that the program time with his current counselor/therapist was soon ending, and that we would need to find him a new therapist. I expressed my hope that this new therapist would also be somewhat versed in transgender issues.

Christine in New Hope, Pa. this month.

Christine in New Hope, Pa. this month.

This led to a conversation with my therapist at Mazzoni who made one recommendation, plus provided an informative website. The website helps one locate a therapist in your area for virtually any diagnosis. Once you click “find a therapist,” and enter a zip code or town, the site will display therapists, with a “Refine Your Search” column along the left side. Under “Sexuality” (I know, but listed that way), you click “more” and then “Transgender Identity,” and the local list of transgender aware therapists will be displayed. One can see background and experience, plus insurance acceptance/coverage as well. It can be very helpful.

I also had a somewhat blunt but informative, 20-30 minute conversation with my son’s current therapist that I continue to ponder and reflect upon. The gist being that, even though I may be getting initial positive, understanding, acceptance and support from family and friends, it remains “Very Difficult” for both my kids and ex-wife, and will probably remain so for a long time, and it’s also likely to remain somewhat difficult for all my close friends as well.

Accepting this as I do, it makes me realize once again the importance of everyone in “our community.” No one but we and our transgender friends, can truly understand and relate to our personal experience and journey. That support will never waver. That support remains priceless.

This doesn’t mean I discount all the uplifting words of support of neighbors and friends. Last weekend Christine played golf for the first time with 7 guys on a Sunday morning, and I did my Fantasy Football Draft with 12 guys later that night. My new team name even has a football ring, ‘tranZ-formation” (of course there’s a ‘Z’ in there!). Both day and night went great, with everyone “trying” to get name and pronouns correct.

And (I realize, never start a sentence with “and”) even friends and bartenders at my local watering hole, a small “Cheers-like” restaurant/bar, now know about me. Dropping by for happy hour last week, I received support (“if anyone gives you any trouble, come see me”), amongst laughs and some serious and good conversation. One familiar couple didn’t even know it was me sitting next to them!

Then just this past Saturday, near the end of dinner with friends in New Hope, Pa., I received a text from a neighbor who lives around the corner from me. A couple with whom over 15 years, we have had an up and down relationship, I was aware that “they knew” about me 2 months ago. Not having seen or heard from them however, I was unsure of how they felt. The text had me completely stunned:

The greatest act of courage is to be & own all that you are. Without apology. Without excuses & without any masks to cover the truth of who you truly are.

In a few weeks, the Southern Comfort Conference, I can’t wait! In the meantime, it continues. . . .

Christine xo

For each of us:

“Like a small boat,
On the ocean
Sending big waves
Into motion
Like how a single word
Can make a heart open
I might only have one match
But I can make an explosion.”

Fight Song by Rachel Platten

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Category: Transgender Body & Soul


About the Author ()

Part of the Philadelphia area Transgender community living in Sewell NJ. A Penn State grad, working in TV and FM Radio Broadcast equipment sales. Full time (about time !) since Nov. 2015. My frequent travel schedule allows me to visit TG friendly locales and attend events around the US.

Comments (1)

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  1. GR8LegsNJ GR8LegsNJ says:

    Hi Christine, Wonderful story. It is always nice to see someone close by. I hope all works out well.

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