A Boy Razed, A Girl Raised

I grew up with a subconscious hatred of everything that I was.

I hated the facial hair, the receding hairline, the thinning hair, and my voice.

I felt like an alien in my own body, trapped in a puppet that I had no idea I wanted out of.

A figure lost in the matrix, consumed by society’s demands for a boy and for men.

 

Keep the facial hair, it lets you look more mature.

Keep your hair short, it slims your face a lot.

Keep that behavior, it’s more masculine.

 

Kill the girl inside of you because it is an abomination unto humanity.

Drown your feminine side in a flood of testosterone and anger.

You will never be the girl you needed.

 

It wasn’t until I actually left home for good that I finally discovered who I am.

Now, I can consciously call my inner hatred of my body what it is: dysphoria.

I am changing my body because my body is not a permanent state of matter.

I am a river, changing my path and what I look like through my own will and force.

 

My chest isn’t flat anymore and I don’t have as much hair in places I didn’t want it.

My hair is coming back, thicker and healthier.

I’m finding it slightly harder to fit my hips into my pants at times.

 

I am a garden that has come back from the dead after several harsh winters.

A field of flowers in the irradiated wilderness of nuclear disaster.

The person in the mirror isn’t the alien in an uncomfortable meat suit,

The figure in the matrix without a map and no sense of direction.

 

I have flung myself into a new freedom that I never thought possible.

 

There’s parts that will always seem off for me, but the off parts aren’t what I see all the time in the mirror anymore.

 

I erased the facial hair, tearing it to the ground and drowning it beneath my feet.

I grew my hair, the waves cresting along my head like an ink-drowned field on a windy day.

I destroyed the behaviors, the toxins slowly purged from my body in hormonal antivenom.

 

I resurrected the girl, my personal phoenix emerging from the ashes of long burned boyhood.

I rescued my feminine side, scorching the flood of testosterone as she emerged from her well.

I am the girl I needed now, safe at last from the live burial in my subconscious.

 

And it’s all because of moving more into the love part of the love/hate relationship with my body.

 

I see me. I am me.

Reflections on One Year of HRT

A lot can change in a year.

Sometimes things can go so wrong that things don’t really seem like it’s worth sticking it out anymore.

That’s what happened to me last September. I had been approved for my first doses of HRT back in September 2017 – shortly after my birthday, and despite my lack of job prospects and a rather complicated living situation, I was happy.

Then, after a few days, I ended up getting a phone call from my doctor in Minneapolis. He advised me to stop taking my HRT immediately due to a severe concern regarding my liver. Over the next few weeks, I kept going back to do testing before the doctors were able to determine that I had a fatty liver due to a Vitamin E deficiency, and I was put on a vitamin regimen to combat any potential damage.

Those were the longest few weeks of my life, and probably the worst my mental state had been in quite some time. A friend of mine had taken the steps to hide anything that could be harmful to myself, sometimes at my request. I was stuck in a severe depressed state due to the thing I wanted the most and the only hope for my future taken away from me with no guarantee that I would get to go back on HRT. I was, at the time, trapped in a dead end job with every single job prospect turning up nothing. I honestly felt like I didn’t really have much to go on with my life at that time, and I do feel like I was extremely close to deciding I didn’t want to deal with anything anymore.

Things changed, though, starting November 11. That day, my friend rescued a stray cat from outside of our apartment complex, and I ended up adopting her after trying to locate her owner(s). I couldn’t come up with a name, so I named her Pounce, after our college mascot.

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The fateful first meeting with Pounce.

A few days after that, a phone call came back to me from my doctor in Minneapolis. My liver function tests had come back and I was given the go ahead to start HRT again! With that bit of news, November 15, 2018 marks my one year anniversary on HRT.

I have successfully made it to a point that I wasn’t 100% sure that I’d have made it to last year. I’m even considering possibly doing some sort of bottom surgery down the line and looking into possibly getting laser hair removal for what exists of my facial hair.

Despite the fact that I’ve still struggled with my depression over the past year, I’d like to think that things are getting better for me. I’ve gotten back on antidepressants lately and they’ve been helping me out immensely when I combine it with my regular visits with my therapist.

The biggest thing that’s coming for me is the impending court date for my legal name change in December. As of writing this, I have a little over a week until that fateful moment when the courts will determine whether or not I will still be known under my deadname.

I didn’t think I’d have made it this far, and I’m honestly still in some form of shock that I’ve successfully reached the one year mark. I thank everyone that helped me along in that time period, and I’m hoping that after my name change, things begin to look up even more. Hopefully by this time next year, I’ll have made even more progress, because as I said in the beginning:

A lot can change in a year.

Becoming Jaded With Pride

I attended Twin Cities Pride this past weekend. I could just be severely jaded, but I felt very conflicted feelings towards the event itself. Not every feeling was negative, but the negatives were very strong and I feel the need to air my thoughts.

I severely dislike how much corporations seem to have taken over the general feeling of Pride, and how capitalistic it all has become. I hate how my friends protested the police presence and were threatened with physical violence and public mockery at a movement that was started by queer and trans people of color inciting a riot. I felt severely uncomfortable seeing more cops this year than any other Pride I’ve attended, especially after hearing that they had shot yet another individual on Saturday night.

I feel uncomfortable that this has all just sort of become yet another state fair, but with more rainbows. I don’t like it when I feel like corporations – namely, ones that I don’t really see fighting for equality for their queer customers – are showing off to the queer community that they’ve been on the same level that Target has been. I hate feeling like my community is being pandered to by the city, when things are only sunshine and rainbows for the queer community in the month of June. I dislike seeing groups charging different prices for the same kitschy junk that you can find online for so much less than what you’d pay at Pride.

I felt sick seeing the Log Cabin Republicans at their tent, almost blissfully unaware of how angry and fearful people of color were passing by their tent. I felt uncomfortable seeing the FBI doing a bit of a job recruitment.

I didn’t like that there was little to no POC representation in the booths or in any of the Pride swag that people were selling. I felt erased because there didn’t seem to be any fellow Two Spirit individuals out there, besides a person I know to be very toxic.

And I feel helpless with all these seeming to be a cemented part of the Pride experience now.

Now, with all of this off of my chest, I do have some positives. I don’t want to just come off as an extreme pessimist.

I loved being surrounded by hundreds of fellow queer and trans individuals and being seen (for the most part) as who I am as an NB trans gal. I loved getting coded as female by numerous restaurants and even getting that nightmare known as glitter on my arms. I loved seeing old friends, old classmates, current and former University of Minnesota, Morris students in a place where they felt comfortable to be themselves. The animal rescue tents were amazing and made me, for a brief moment, reconsider being a cat person in favor of a velvet rabbit or a greyhound owner. I felt empowered by seeing the large counter protest against the whole “God will judge you” crowd that tried to form outside of Loring Park. I loved seeing people smile in these trying times. I felt happy that Target was only there to showcase fun things instead of trying to get people to buy their stuff. I felt great inspiring friends in wardrobe decisions. I felt absolutely giddy seeing a design that I gave to UMM’s LGBTQIA2S+ Programs Office two years ago being used and being so popular amongst the crowds.

I don’t really know how to end this little stream of thought, but I do know that the positives were worth going to the Twin Cities despite all the negatives I had. I might go back, but only for the opportunity to see friends in the region, and maybe do more gay karaoke at a bar.

A Label By Any Other Name

By my count, I’ve officially only been part of the LGBTQIA2S+ community for about 4 years. In that time, I’ve gone through label after label in an attempt to find words for who I am. I’ll admit that labels have always been present in my life, from my identity as an Oglala Lakota and Sicangu Lakota individual to the slightly more laid back label of “college graduate,” but my years in college helped cement a lot of my current labels. It took a solid time of reflection after graduation to finally cement who I wish to be and what labels come with that.

My main journey has been throughout my gender identity, which might fit the stereotypical trans woman narrative in some aspects. I started out my life with the label of “boy,” which I just always assumed was the right label for me because of the fact that I had always been known as that. I started to question that label in a subconscious manner when I had turned 13 or 14 and began to question whether or not I should have been a girl. However, I buried that in my mind until I reached college and started to talk things through with Kain. After some talking, I identified primarily as genderfluid for a couple of years, although I did lean further into the feminine aspects of the identity more often than not. It took my last year in college to come to the realization that I was more of a non-binary trans woman, which has been the label that has stuck internally.

The non-binary aspect mainly comes from the fact that after beginning HRT, I’ve been okay with my facial hair some of my body hair, as well as my deepish voice. I do still have struggles with trichotillomania when my facial hair gets too long where a beard would grow, but I’ve grown to appreciate my facial hair on occasion. I feel at peace with the aspects of my masculinity that I had always struggled with growing up.

As for my Two Spirit label, it’s mainly a way to reclaim my Indigenous identity. I had always struggled with the label that my tribe has had for people like myself: “winkte.” That word, meaning “to be like a woman,” was always used as a derogatory word for gay and feminine men. However, I don’t use the word as a label for myself, despite it technically being what my tribe uses. Two Spirit, to me, has a positive connotation mentally and hasn’t been used to degrade and humiliate people in my life. I may change my mind after more personal growth, but Two Spirit remains my label for my own reasons and as a way for more people to understand both my Indigenous and queer identities. In fact, I thank college for introducing me to the concept and label, because without it, I’d have forever had “winkte” as what I’d associate myself with.

If I were to revisit this topic at a later date, I’d want to focus primarily on my sexual identity. The main reason why I’m not choosing my sexual or romantic labels for this round mainly has to do with the fact that I’m still figuring things out. I also want to spend more time with a nuanced rant regarding the gatekeeping that I have experienced primarily with that aspect of my life. I’ve mainly been waiting for more ammunition for a post like this, and while there is some good ammo that I’ve gotten in the past couple of years, there’s still more to gather. So for lack of a better word, I will wait until I kinda get things together on my sexuality and then get gatekeeped out of either the L or the B of LGBTQIA2S+

– Evelyn