leaving it behind

Identity loss, no matter in what form, will always be hard.

Losing your identity in a trans relationship can come in a number of forms: sexual identity (heterosexual or homosexual), relationship identity, family identity, self identity.

You can lose these things over a gradual amount of time and only realise they are gone once they are gone. Or there can be the impending doom. The sadness….. “I don’t want change”.

Can I really have a lesbian relationship with someone? I like having a man around the house to kill the spiders and earn money! I love his big strong arms! Will people erase our relationship and consider us equals now we are lesbians?

The reality is that you can be in a relationship with someone and not have sex if you are not into it. Some people just like companionship. Is that you?

Do you love change and a challenge? The clothes, the adventure, the new partner? Or do you crave the security of the constant? Do you want to change your identity? And see your partner change?

The crux of this is that no one can tell you who you are. You must look deep inside of yourself and ask who you are and what do you want?

Are you on an exciting journey that you relish? Or are you falling into the pitfalls of hell? Or a combination of both, compromising here, there and everywhere?

It doesn’t matter if you are married. It doesn’t matter if you are pregnant, or have children. It doesn’t matter if you are poor or rich, the swelling of unhappiness and sadness can take over your life in the face of any change.

Be a master of your destiny and be prepared for what’s in store. No one is stopping you except you.

And when you decide the sky may be blue, no matter how bitter sweet or sad it is.

 

 

 

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It’s SRS/ GRS time…..

So it’s finally going to happen. My partner is going to have GRS in 2 months. For the sake of ease I will divide this post into 4 sections. 1) The place of surgery 2) How I feel about it 3) How my partner feels about it and 4) children….

1) So my partner chose Montreal with Dr Brassard for a few reasons. She has already had been to Thailand for a BA and whilst she liked it she was not overly enthused at the treatment of some (not all and this is not by any means dissing surgeons and their facilities in Thailand) of the patients who had complications and the after care procedure. From her FFS experience it is obvious that she needs a lots of after care help. She scars easily, has complications from stitches and does not cope well with pain. I am not in any position to be so involved with her aftercare again as I was with FFS and so to Montreal it is. They provide 24hr after care for the post surgery 10day period and have a suture specialist. So instead of the much famed “Chonburi Organ” she has chosen a more practical less intensive SRS model. Let’s hope it goes well!

2) How do I feel? Well to be perfectly honest I don’t care that much. I really want the surgery to go well for her. I would hate it if she was no longer orgasmic or there were major complications. However as far as penis goes, the truth it we don’t have sex much anymore anyway. That ship sailed long ago. Sure, I miss vaginal penis sex, but I like lesbian sex too so hopefully sex will only get easier. I miss sex. A lot. And also I want to be able to go swimming with her and all that stuff. It is kinda exciting actually!!

3) She feels f#$%%@^ nervous. She says “it’s time for it to be gone, I am ready” but is so very very nervous about loss of sensation, complications and all the rest. She would be devastated if anything happened to her.

4) Children. We just went to a fertility specialist but my GF had sperm banked before so the Dr recommended to just stick with the sperm she has. There is a procedure that can be done before SRS that sucks the sperm out of the testicles with a big needle. OUCH!

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Having Children

So this is a post about the process of having kids with someone who is transgender when they are about to transition/ are transitioning or have transitioned. More specially it is mainly about sperm.

If you are female and your partner is MtF there may be a variety of barriers in your way to having children. The most obvious one is sperm. You have two options: either sperm from your partner or sperm from another man. If it is sperm from another man there are a variety of options to think about including a close relative of your partners, a close friends or an anonymous donor. These options have to be carefully discussed amongst all parties and basically you will go through all the normal processes that any lesbian couple or people with fertility problems will face.

If taking the option of sperm from your partner the basic thinking is that sperm banking before hormones is the best idea, and failing that, within 1 year of taking hormones. Outside of this time frame there is little you can do. Sperm is considered to last only 10years before it is considered to be “no good”. Some sperm banks will automatically destroy the material after this date, some won’t. If you have no choice it is hard because you basically have to have kids within 10years of sperm banking. I have heard of one trans couple who sperm banked but the transitioning partner did not have SRS. After 7 years of being on hormones, she stopped for 6 months and they conceived naturally. How common this is I have no idea. The general thinking is that 1-2 years on hormones will leave you infertile but no research has been done on this to prove it. Don’t get your hopes up though! It is a risky business and no matter what you might want to sperm bank for back-up.

Once your partner has sperm banked the sperm is divided into “straws” which are then frozen. I believe the average amount of “straws” per normal sample is around 8-10 and this is enough for many IVF cycles. IVF is invasive for the pregnant partner as eggs are harvested, fertilised and then embedded. It is also expensive and the only option if you have limited sperm. Another option is the “turkey baster” option; one or two straws is defrosted and injected into you at ovulation time and… voila! Almost like natural. A lot less expensive and invasive but requires a good amount of straws.

Next is medical care. Who will take care of you medically and will you have supportive midwife/ obstetrician? Sometimes to non-gestational mother will get sidelined. Try not to let that happen so you can both bond.

Breastfeeding. Both mothers can breastfeed! Yah! Find a GP willing to prescribe the relevant hormones around 26weeks into the pregnancy and then use a breast pump to stimulate milk.

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Thinking

I frequently receive posts from people that have/ or will have problems with their relationship. Either they are transitioning or want to transition and their partner is not OK with it, OR, they are the partner who is not OK with it (i.e. the non-transitioner).

I have written and re-written this post. I don’t think it is great, but hopefully it communicates what I am trying to say.

All relationships have difficulties. There is no guarantee they will last no matter how much we want them to. Leaving your partner because they are transitioning is nothing to feel guilty about. It is the reasons why you are leaving and how you do it that counts. Being afraid to tell your partner you are transgender is a valid fear. Yes, they may react badly and, yes, they may leave. But then again, they may stay.

In some cases there is nothing you can do. You feel the way you feel and your partner reacts how they react.

However, for both partners, there is a behavioural element in action and reaction that makes situations easier. This is the “why and how” part. Your behavioural actions in a situation can be far more damaging than the situation itself. How you behave, how you speak to your partner, how you physically communicate, your tone, hurtful words, are generally worse than the message itself.

We have all heard the notion of “picking the right time”. Pick the right time to talk about an issue. We can use that as a classic example of the kind of behaviour I mean. A good time is a) one free of distractions (no kids, no phones, no computers, no prior engagements) b) a time when nothing else big or stressful is going on c) you are ready and have the information you need to communicate effectively without getting too upset, angry etc d) you can see your partner is at least willing to sit down and at least listen.  e) you are prepared that your partner won’t listen.

Find the most optimal time to talk about issues. Monitor your behaviour. How would you feel if your partner were doing/ saying/ behaving like this to you?

We can not always help our reactions. That is ok. It is a big shock to learn your partner is transgender or is leaving you. Just remember that it is hurtful for you both. You are both human. Try to play nice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Being thankful and having a laugh

I have been feeling quite depressed lately and it has made me realise that I still have a lot in life to be thankful for. I try to focus on the good things in my life and do things for me. This attitude has helped me throughout my partners transition. Being thankful for a job (even when I hated it, it paid the bills!) or going for a walk in the sunshine. Having some delicious food and sharing it with my partner. Having a loving community and friends and family.

When life gets stressful don’t let go of what makes you enjoy it. Too often we can lose ourselves in stress and worry when we need to focus on what is positive, no matter how hard that is. For me, I write lists of tasks and make sure that I do them. I also try to avoid or limit situations that explicitly aggravate stress, depression and anxiety.

Laughter is also another easy way to be thankful. Having a deep laugh or a good chuckle can really help you become aware of how you feel and relate to the world. The most serious of moods can be elevated by a slight amusement.

Maybe this post seems silly and obvious. But today, for me, it is what I think I need to hear!

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Finding the “right” Treatment

I think my last post was a little depressing and not everyone feels this way. So on to a new subject… Let’s be clear before I start this. There is no “right” treatment for everybody. There is simply on the “right” treatment for YOUR partner.

 

What do I mean by treatment? Everything from professional medical care, counselling, hair removal, voice, surgeons, make-up, clothes etc…..

 

It is really HARD to choose a “good” or “right” professional. There are so many factors; location, cost, personality compatibility, co-morbidity factors, style, availability of services …. and the list goes on. The reason that I am writing this post now is that my girlfriend is currently trying to find a good electrologist (again), skin treatment clinic, hair dresser, scar treatment and SRS surgeon. 

 

All professional people are variable in their abilities to help you. Some hair removal treatments are amazing for some (laser) but don’t work for others. The laser technician may offer you the world only to have it fail because you have lighter hair and skin. Perhaps the electrologist recommended to you gave you scarring? Or the anti-balding treatment just didn’t work. Sometimes you can spend hours upon hours of research and still get no-where or make a good choice or make a “bad” choice.

 

There are some simple steps to helping your partner find a good…. whatever they need.

 

1. Referrals by word of mouth or from TG boards. These can be problematic simply because people have bias, technicians change and simply that technique or technician might not be right for you.

 

2. Research. Your (or your partners) own private research will be your friend. If it is hard to find specific answers then ask around (see points 1 and 2!). For example laser vs electrolysis. If you are informed then you can call BS on bad advice/ promo from a technician. And don’t use them. 

 

3.Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Call or email. Ask… what sort of product do you use? How is it better? What guarantee can you give? How many people have you treated? What is the procedure like? Be an informed consumer because knowledge is power. 

 

4. If the treatment isn’t working for you don’t persist. Find someone else. Sometimes you only have one shot at it (SRS, hair replacement or FFS) so if you don’t like what the technician is saying then trust yourself.

 

5. If you have high expectations an want to be a specific way then try to let go of those expectations. The reality is the more specific you want something the less likely it will be that way and the more likely you will be disappointed. Technicians are not miracle workers. Expect moderate to good success but hope for the best. But don’t be afraid to complain if something goes drastically wrong! 

 

If cost is an issue then it is better to save and go for better quality than go to someone cheaper and worse at what they do. You can go to a bad hairdresser and the hair will grow out. You can’t change something permanent.

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Loss

 

 

It is impossible to describe to people the joy and loss of having someone that you love transition. Whether this is your sibling, child, partner or best friend it will make a profound impact on your life. 

Whilst there are many positive things about a transition, from helping with depression and suicide, to overall improved happiness and being “more pleasant” to be around, it can bring great sorrow as the person you knew leaves. Ultimately this post is about exploring that sorrow. This grief happens to many people, not just me! And it isn’t to say that transition is bad.

 

It has been almost 3 years since my partner started taking hormones. Thinking her transition would never work, feeling so suicidally depressed. “How can it work?”, she would ask herself. All I could ask myself was “How can it not work?” If it doesn’t, I lose you forever. And in a way, through transition, I lost my boyfriend anyway. He is no longer. I was so desperate to hold onto someone in that wasn’t static anyway.

Sometimes I want to tell people that my boyfriend died. Yes! I have a girlfriend now. She is awesome and I love her. But my boyfriend DID die and that is a loss that I will have forever.

 

I told this to my brother and he just simply didn’t understand. He would say but X is still here, it is not like someone dying at all. But there are others whose partners have transition who will say similar things.

 

I met my boyfriend at university and we both liked each other straight away although he was in a relationship at the time. Several years later we got together. I loved “having a boyfriend”. Brave and strong with big muscles, a sense of adventure, super attractive, riding bikes and being independent. Before we even started dating it felt as if we were a couple. 

 

But then depression crept in and it took over and all of that slowly changed. Before she had FFS it came back slowly and it was the last hurrah. After FFS we went out one night to a special place and burnt her old clothes and kept the ashes. They are his ashes. But she owns this identity and I can never offer a sense of loss without potentially outing her.

 

I have been going through a depressed patch lately and the other night I had a dream about all the big strong men I know putting their arms around me before my GF came to collect me. It made me realise how much I miss this. How much I miss him right now because I need something she can no longer provide.

 

Does it mean I don’t love her? No. But it does mean that I have lost something that will never come back.  

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