Good News and Awesome News

So, I found out a few weeks ago that there is a way to unofficially change my name at my school, so that I can get my name changed to my preferred name in most parts of the system without a legal name change. I was really excited about this, because it would mean not having to deal with things like my teachers calling the wrong name when taking role on the first day of class, or talking to all of my teachers individually about going by a name completely different than my legal name, or having the wrong name be attached to every single email I send using my school email address. I waited a few weeks on filling out the form, though, because I wanted to be sure that I was happy with the name I put on it. Also, I was hoping to maybe get my parents involved in the discussion of what my name should be, although that’s less important for an unofficial name change than for a legal one. Well, my parents did come around sufficiently fast to already be having a conversation about names. For my middle and first names, I ended up deciding to use the name I was already going by and one of the names that my parents would have given me if I had been assigned male at birth. This works both to give my parents a little say in what I should be named and to not confuse people who are already calling me something else.

Anyway. I took the form in today. The office had a bit of trouble figuring out how to do it since they haven’t had to do an unofficial name change in a while (not surprising), but they were courteous and respectful. I’m hoping they’ll figure out how to get it to work with the computer system in a day or two. Mostly, I’m just incredibly excited. No more having to see that awful wrong-gendered name in reference to me when dealing with official school channels that have to use my name as it is in the system.

I’m also excited because I might be able to go on hormones pretty soon here. I finally figured out the right people to talk to and decided that I’m sure I want to do this and that I want to do it soon. I’m having last minute doubts, of course. It’s a big decision and a big change, and it would mean that I really am committing to this whole transition thing (not that I wasn’t before, but even more so now). I’m 99% sure that I want to do this, but actually saying I want to do it now is really bringing all those little nagging doubts to the fore. What if I decide it’s the wrong decision later? What if my gender is really just a very unfeminine non-binary gender and I decide I hate facial hair? What if I’m wrong about stuff? I guess it’s pretty natural to have a few small doubts about a major decision. I’m really glad that one of those doubts is not “What if I’m actually female?” I am most definitely not female, and I do not want to be seen as such, and if I were going to be happy even being androgynous, I should have noticed that by now, because I’m already pretty androgynous. Being sort of in between genders as far as how people perceive me is mostly just really uncomfortable for me. When I can actually start passing consistently and people just automatically gender me correctly most of the time, it will just be such a huge load off my mind. Then maybe I can just be me and stop worrying so much about, say, dressing in the way that will be most likely to be perceived as male.

And then I feel bad because passing is a fairly large part of this decision, and I hate feeling like I give a damn about what other people think. It’s not so much what other people think of me, though, as not having people see me as something that I am not (which is a constant stress for me). And it’s not just about passing. It will help a lot with certain physical things that I really hate, and maybe being on the right hormones will just feel right. All in all, I feel like the potential benefits range from great to spectacular, and the potential downsides are small risks that I’m quite willing to take. And there’s risks for not doing it, too. Dysphoria is no joke, and neither is being harassed for not looking male/female enough (although I’ve been lucky not to have to deal with too much of that, so far). And it’s hardly like I’m making any sort of decision on a whim. I’ve probably been at least vaguely considering hormones for the better part of a year and assuming that I’ll go on them if/when I can for several months. I’ve been considering it as something to do very soon for maybe a couple of weeks, and it’s going to take even more time just to start the process. And if I decide I want to slow down, well, that’s easy, all I have to do is nothing.

Maybe I’ll take it a little slower just to keep from freaking my parents out. I can get things going on my terms, now, since I know who to talk to, and I have a therapist who is willing write me a letter if I need one. And being able to say I can get this started when I choose to makes me feel much less anxious/frustrated/impatient/desperate, which is how I start feeling when it seems like I’m not making any progress or when I can’t make any progress. Plus I do need to keep in mind how this is all working with my depression. I am mostly back to normal, I think, and being able to make progress with my transition and finding out my family is supportive seems to be doing wonders for me, so continuing to make progress, but trying not to rush, is probably a very good plan.

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6 thoughts on “Good News and Awesome News

  1. Well, if you end up hating the facial hair, you can always get laser hair removal or electrolysis, like us trans women have to get. Almost everything is reversible, up until surgery. Congratulations on the paperwork. Moving forward without rushing sounds like a great plan.

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  2. Yea, I was thinking I could always go with electrolysis if that ends up being the one thing I can’t live with in what is otherwise an awesome package deal. I don’t think I will hate the facial hair… but if I do, it’s not like I won’t be able to deal with it. Basically, it’s not nearly enough of a potential drawback to call the whole thing off, and if that is the biggest potential drawback I can think of, that’s probably really a good sign.

    Ironically, with surgery, I have zero doubts about what I want. I hate having to bind all of the time, and these lumps on my chest bother me even when there is no one around to see them, so I end up binding half the time when I am just home alone, anyway. They are one of the biggest sources of dysphoria for me, if not the biggest, and I have never seen them as anything more positive than an inconvenience. I am without doubt that my gender is some variety of not-female, and those bits are unambiguously feminine. I can’t imagine ever regretting having them removed, and if I could somehow magically make it happen tomorrow, it wouldn’t be too soon.

    Too bad I can’t afford surgery (although I should probably check what my insurance covers, just in case my insurance company doesn’t hate trans people).

    Anyway, thanks for the feedback and encouragement. It is totally helpful to talk this stuff over with other people and get practical advice and feedback to let me know if I am being reasonable or if I am rationalizing too much.

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  3. Good luck with your insurance, but I highly doubt that they cover anything, the bastards. My two biggest sources of dysphoria are the voice and facial hair. I have plenty of others, but those two bother me the most.

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  4. Congratulations! Recognition of your identity and name is a huge step for the world! Again, I admire what you’re doing so much. Sometimes even a morsel of positivity is what you need to know you’re going in the right direction. This’ll be an adventure for sure, but what a story to share!

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  5. it’s wicked that (some) schools do that, yeah? i found out my school did unofficial name changes a couple years ago and i was stoked! since then, i’ve changed my name legally, but that unofficial name change at school really helped with my social dysphoria. so, congrats!

    let us know how hormones go, too!

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