Monday, September 14, 2009

Apologies for the Month-Long Hiatus

It's been one of those long stretches where I don't blog anything for a month, and I'm sorry for that. I also haven't been very good at making and posting videos either. Oops.

I realize that not everyone may be incredibly interested in my navel-gazing around the actual physical changes of transitioning. I totally get that, so I'm gonna start putting stuff like that at the end of posts. I'm still going to include it because I want a record for the future, and it's important to me to mark something that's fairly monumental in my life. In addition, before I started hormones and was first thinking about transitioning, I went online and read other transfolks' blogs like crazy to see what taking hormones was like. Hell, I still search out other transguys blogs and videos to see how fast things change. So if reading about my voice changes, acne, and all of that isn't exactly your cup of tea no worries.

I finished up my year with LC/NA, my Lutheran Volunteer Corps position, on a very strong note. For those of you living outside the Lutheran bubble, the ELCA Churchwide Assembly voted to change policy and allow people in publicly accountable, life-long, monogamous same-gender relationships to become rostered clergy. It was a pretty incredible moment to witness.

Aside from my job, the end of my LVC year was good. I really enjoyed living with my housemates, and I'm pleased that four of the five of us are in the Twin Cities this year. Over the course of the year they became more than just roommates and friends, and we built a strong community together. I'm pleased to count them among people I call family. Frankly, in some ways the end of the year felt anti-climactic. Moving out of Beth Shalom almost felt more like going on a vacation. Going back to lead snack and yak was really one of the first moments that it sunk in on a more visceral level that my LVC year was done. Even so, it wasn't sadness or disappointment or nostalgia. It was more a feeling of a closing of one chapter of my life and the beginning of another.

I do have a job, but frankly, I don't like it. It's at a company that does third party administration of benefits for companies. I don't totally know what's going on and what I'm supposed to be doing. It seems like I push a lot of paper. In addition, I'm having a hard time on the pronoun/gender identity front. I get tired of correcting the same people. I also get tired of the general sense of unease that my coworkers have when I join conversations and talk about Becky in the same way they talk about their spouses. The closed off body language, the refusal to make eye contact with me, the silence when I enter and the buzz of conversation when I leave a room. It wears down on you. And I haven't even been working here for a full pay period yet.

Needless to say, I'm looking for another job. I've set a deadline and if I don't find a job by then, I'm going to resign. It's not worth it for me to continue in a job that I don't care about, in an industry that sustains unequal access to healthcare, around people that don't share my values and aren't open to conversation, and that I come from completely drained emotionally. I want a job that I can work hard at and feel good about.

I'm feeling incredibly stressed and nervous about health insurance. I've been putting off going in for bloodwork because I can't pay it out of pocket, I also can't fill my prescription out of pocket. I won't be out of T really soon, but I'm still getting anxious. The prospect of potentially being slammed with a pre-existing condition is bad enough, but worrying about what happens if I am actually ill and can't get coverage for something unrelated to being trans has also been haunting me. Granted, a lot of that is me worrying about the worst possible scenario. Even so, insurance has been complicating my relationship with my job/job search.

On the transition front, I'm about to finish up my 15th week on testosterone. Changes I've noticed:
- My voice is continuing to drop, and I feel it more in my chest when I'm talking. It's this really pleasant feeling of the sound vibrating more through my chest, just like there's a lot more space.
- I'm growing a lot more body hair. In particular, I've got more underarm hair and more leg hair, and I'm starting to grow more hair on my lower belly.
- I smell more, and not always in pleasant ways.
- In a related vein, I need to be really diligent about washing my face because I am getting acne that is worse than what I had the first time around. Puberty 1.0 I had a few whiteheads and mostly blackheads that were easy to get rid of. Puberty 2.0 I'm getting that annoying angry red acne on my cheeks and along my jaw.
- More muscle mass in my shoulders/arms, which is nice, and helps me feel better about my body.
- More physical energy, and also mental/emotional energy.
- I generally feel better about life, and I feel a lot more stable internally. I'm happier, even with the crappy job I have.

Changes other people have commented on:
- My voice, which is good to know it's not just in my head.
- My face is starting to look more angular.
- My hips are becoming less curvy, more angular. This is really extremely exciting, and after it was pointed out to me I definitely noticed it more, and with great excitement.
- Becky pointed out to me (in a very tactful, nice way) that while I haven't been getting angry or short with anyone else, I've been a lot harder on myself. If I can't get something right the first time, or quickly, I've gotten frustrated by it. This is something I want to be mindful of and correct. I'm glad I haven't gotten short with anyone else, thank goodness, and I want to keep it that way. I want to continue practicing patience and calmness.

Here's my most recent video, it's from my 12th week on testosterone, you can definitely tell there my voice has been dropping, exciting!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Monday, July 13, 2009

Video Update!

Youtube was being incredibly slow on Friday. However, I finally got my videos to upload.
I've got my 5 weeks on T update first, then a rambling little video I made on Friday that covers a lot of the same topics.

Friday, July 10, 2009

hibi no neiro

This is one of the most delightful music videos I've seen in a very long time.

This music video was shot for Sour's 'Hibi no Neiro' (Tone of everyday) from their first mini album 'Water Flavor EP'. The cast were selected from the actual Sour fan base, from many countries around the world. Each person and scene was filmed purely via webcam.

Directors: Masashi Kawamura, Hal Kirkland, Magico Nakamura and Masayoshi Nakamura

Thursday, July 2, 2009

new video updates

2, 3 and 4 weeks on T updates. Bonus shots of goofy hair in week 3 update.

Monday, June 15, 2009

New Blog Shout Out

Any of you familiar with my musical endeavors, or my intentional family from Decorah (aka "the fam") may have heard of or know my dear friend and fellow musician Sumner. Sumner has just started up an awesome new blog about eating and living sustainably and locally.

The first blog post is thought-provokingly excellent. If you're interested in sustainability, local living and activism, it's bound to a be a good read. Even if you're not particularly interested in sustainability, help support queer blogging and check it out. Sumner is a great writer and I promise it'll be an enjoyable experience.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

one week on T update

I haven't really noticed any physical changes at all. Which isn't surprising. My throat has been a little scratchy, but I'm almost 100% certain that that is due to the cold I picked up Saturday at the dog show. I was dumb and only wore a sweater instead of a jacket, and thus got thoroughly soaked and chilled.

Anyways. The shot process itself went fine, I'm slowly shifting the shot to Sundays, so I actually did it last night in the evening. I don't want to deal with bringing a sharp and the vial of T with me to New Orleans when I go in July, hence shifting the day I take T.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

First Shot

So puberty 2.0 has officially started!
I went to the clinic yesterday and was taught how to do the self-injection. I did it, all by myself. And then I made a video about it when I got home from work later that day. You can check it out at the bottom of this post.

The first shot was surprisingly really easy. I sat there for a bit, syringe in hand, not sure if I could do it, but the nurse told me to just go for it. It didn't really hurt, and I think I'll get the hang of it really easily. I do need to go buy some alcohol swabs. But other than that I'm all set. I have another appointment in 6 weeks between shots to get blood drawn, then another appointment 2 weeks after that to see the doctor again.

Today I've unfortunately been menstruating. But, according to the doctor, this should be my last one, which is some really fantastic news. If anyone knows how to recycle a used diva cup, let me know, I have one that is gonna be out of commission soon.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

phone tag

After playing phone tag for a few weeks, I'm in the system at the place I got referred to for hormones. She's a really great doctor and all, so I'm glad I'm in the system. However, no free appointments until July when I'm gone on a trip for work. So I'll get bumped back into August. They don't even have an August calendar yet.

So I'll call back next week and get an appointment in August. Then I'll probably call every two weeks to see if someone cancels.

I'm excited to finally have my letter and be in the system for hormones, but I'm just really sad that it's a three month wait. I was expecting a 4-6 week wait, not a 12-13 week wait.

Negatives that keep weighing me down:
- I've waited a long time already
- I am terrified of losing my insurance coverage and thus my ability to pay for hormones
- summer is hard enough as it is

Positives that I'm trying to focus on:
- more time for my family, immediate and extended, to adjust to the idea
- I have my letter, I am in the doctor's system, it will happen
- three months isn't that bad in the long run

Maybe will do a video while I'm cooking dinner tonight. Maybe not. We'll see how I'm feeling.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Derailing for Dummies

I was over on Feministe this morning and came across a link to a wonderful little page called Derailing for Dummies.
Here's an excerpt.
You know how it is. You’re enjoying yourself, kicking back and relaxing at the pub or maybe at the library; or maybe you’re in class or just casually surfing the internet, indulging in a little conversation. The topic of the conversation is about a pertinent contemporary issue, probably something to do with a group of people who fall outside your realm of experience and identity. They’re also probably fairly heavily discriminated against - or so they claim.
The thing is, you’re having a good time, sharing your knowledge about these people and their issues. This knowledge is incontrovertible - it’s been backed up in media representation, books, research and lots and lots of historical events, also your own unassailable sense of being right.

Yet all of a sudden something happens to put a dampener on your sharing of your enviable intellect and incomparable capacity to fully perceive and understand All Things. It’s someone who belongs to the group of people you’re discussing and they’re Not Very Happy with you. Apparently, they claim, you’ve got it all wrong and they’re offended about that. They might be a person of colour, or a queer person. Maybe they’re a woman, or a person with disability. They could even be a trans person or a sex worker. The point is they’re trying to tell you they know better than you about their issues and you know that’s just plain wrong. How could you be wrong?

Don’t worry though! There IS something you can do to nip this potentially awkward and embarrassing situation in the bud. By simply derailing the conversation, dismissing their opinion as false and ridiculing their experience you can be sure that they continue to be marginalised and unheard and you can continue to look like the expert you know you really are, deep down inside!

You know you want to read the whole thing. Go find it here.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

therapy news and SFO news

exciting news in the world of dylan.

i had a therapy appointment yesterday, and it went really well. we talked about the MMPI (minnesota multiphasic personality inventory) that i had taken a week and a half ago. i was really ticked after my consultation with the dude that analyzed my test results because i felt extremely pathologized. realized when i was talking to my therapist that actually the guy didn't find anything dramatically wrong, just that when the test comes back pretty level, they need to report something about you. so yeah, basically what came out of that is that i show high levels of stereotypically masculine interests and behaviors, and that i could potentially work on developing an "appropriate level of selfishness."

end result, i need to make an appointment with dr. thorp and let my therapist know and he'll mail me a letter. so.. ideally i'll be starting hormones by the end of the month. i'm really excited, but it also kind of hasn't hit yet. it's been such a long time that it doesn't completely feel real.. that and i'm paranoid that something will happen with insurance and i'll be fucked and have a ton of medical bills to deal with. i'm nervous about having to switch insurance policies, that whatever i end up getting on will call it a pre-existing condition. but.. things to worry about later.

in other news, last week i was in ohio visiting sumner. we recorded pretty much straight through the week, finishing strong with an all-nighter saturday night, and we emerged with a really nice 5-track EP. we still have a few little changes we want to make after listening to the music once we slept, but once we are done tweaking, i'll put up further information. we're thinking about having a small cd release party in the twin cities in june-ish.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

nifty new transman mapping project

Through the magic of the internet, it's come to my attention that a wonderful new transman mapping project has been started at It looks like a really cool little map, and actually led me to mess around with Platial, the website that generates maps like that.

It reminds me of, and is already growing pretty quickly.

So if you're of the transmale persuasion, even if it's only one facet of your identity, please feel free to sign up. Or just pass this on to anyone you know who might be interested in checking it out or adding themselves.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

"lost" youtube video

Video I found on my camera that I had forgotten to update. It's from October.. oops.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

phone voice

When we were little, my brother and I noted something interesting about our mother. She could be irritated, sad or tired yet without fail when she answered the phone she summoned up this bright, enthusiastic "Hello! This is Sally" followed by an "oh hi!" when the person on the other end identified themselves. We jokingly called it "phone voice" and being the delightful little children we were would mock her for it. Please note the heavy sarcasm. I'm trying to remember to apologize to my parents when I remember some of the things I did as a child that were really extremely obnoxious or rude.

Nonetheless. I work in an office, and many of my friends don't live close enough that I can have long conversations with them in person so I've been talking on the phone more this year. And I realized that I've developed "phone voice." I inadvertently pitch my voice higher, especially when I'm talking to my family, people I don't know very well, or people I haven't talked to in a while. I do a better job staying within my "normal" voice when I'm on the phone with close friends.

There's a couple things that I've been chewing over about this.
1) The fact that I unconsciously pitch my voice higher on the phone sometimes.
2) The fact that I consistently to pitch my voice lower intentionally.
3) The fact that I let it bother me.

Does it really matter what my voice sounds like in the long run? I've done my fair share of transgender navel-gazing. I self-criticize the way I walk, the way I set my shoulders, tuck my butt, minimize hip swaying, try to wear certain types of pants a certain way, layer shirts, choose shirts based on how they fall from the shoulder. I am almost constantly aware of how I hold my hands, cross my legs, tilt my head, suck in the gut. I will stand in front of a mirror and deliberate on different ways of walking to see what hides my hips most. I'll observe my posture, from different angles.

Yes on some level this is what almost all of us do. We all pick out clothes that we feel good in, we observe what we look like. Sometimes I feel like I take it a little overboard and I try to let go.

Back to the "phone voice" then. It bothers me that I do it, because I feel like the phone is one of those places where the only thing people have to go on is my name and my voice. And Dylan isn't really all that feminine of a name, I feel. I know it can be a boy or a girl name but still. Not like Amy. I guess it wouldn't bother me if I didn't pass on the phone in and of itself. I think what is frustrating is that I hear myself modulating higher than I typically talk and I have to sometimes constantly think about my voice.

Anyways. It was just an interesting observation. And won't really be pertinent for long since my estimated start time for hormones is April. In the meantime, if I'm on the phone with you, please don't bring it up. I'm just trying to ignore it.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

leviticus international

Just a little joy to brighten your day...

it's definitely worth clicking on the link..

Thursday, January 8, 2009

New Song up on Myspace!

I completely and totally forgot to mention this. Sumner and I hung out over break, and got some stuff recorded. Well, the bass line and my vocal part for one demo, and a complete demo of the song "Decorah, IA." If you're interested in taking a listen, or watching a video we recorded of the song "Good Things," go check out I look rather odd in the video, but honestly, what are you supposed to do when you're not singing!

We wrote Decorah, IA this past summer in the backyard of the house I was living in. So its pretty much brand new since we're still living in different timezones.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

First Therapy Session

Therapy has begun! I had my first session on Monday afternoon. I ducked out of work early, went home and changed and had some lunch, then hopped on the bus. Stopped at the library to return some books and pay my library fines so the SPPL book police stop chasing me then went to May Day Cafe for fortification in the form of tasty scone before heading over to the appointment.

My therapist's office is in the basement of the house he and some other people live in. You go down the stairs at the side entrance, fill out a form sitting at the bottom of the stairs, then wait for him to show. I was a little early to fill out my insurance information. I'm still a little nervous that insurance won't cover, however I think that's a little silly. I got the necessary permission prior to having the appointment, so it should all go through. I think in general I'm just a little skittish about insurance.

Anyways. We did general first therapy session stuff, talked about how I was feeling, how I was doing in general. Talked about my living situation, my family. Any medications I was on, any hospitalizations. We talked about whether or not I had ever been suicidal or had tried to commit suicide. Talked about the times I've felt most depressed in my life.

Then went on to talk about sexuality and gender identity stuff. When I first noticed gender and sexuality. I talked about my childhood, how my brother and I were really close when I was young and that changed at puberty. How menstruation and puberty sucked in general. How I hated having to wear a bra in 6th grade and how my mom would make me wear one to school and I'd take it off and shove it in my locker in the morning and put it on again before I went home and would wear baggy clothes. How in 8th grade I would completely break down and cry in department stores because of all the mirrors and having to look at myself. Fights about wearing dresses to church. Then the session came to an end.

I really liked him. He is very easy to talk to, and I am comforted that he has experience doing therapy with trans people. I don't feel like I need to educate him about the issues, which is a big relief. I have my next two appointments already scheduled, so hopefully I'll know soon what the general time line for hormones will be. I'm excited, I feel like I'm actually making progress and finally doing something tangible to get rid of these damn breasts and start living in the world as I want to.