PLEASE DO NOT SHARE THIS TOO WIDELY, I’M STILL FEELING OUT COMING OUT TO EVERYONE IN MY LIFE
Yes, I know it’s a popular public site and has a wide audience, just let me pretend I’m not leaping out of the closet so my anxiety doesn’t strangle me. This also means it’s ok to share, fuck it. It’s not like I’m going to have any local repercussions.
So you may have noticed there have been a few bills floating around, about 350+ across 36 states as of February. And you might have noticed the stunt in Missouri as well. And you can pretty much guarantee that suck ass idea is going to spread beyond Missouri like a grass fire. Now as a trans man of over 30 years experience I do think that therapy is a vital part of the journey, to help you figure out the person you are and want to fully realize. But therapy is often out of reach of people financially, and isn’t always covered by insurance. More than that, most gender specialist therapists are centered in cities, and there just aren’t that many of them yet — another barrier to the 15 therapy sessions over 18 months to *begin* care means a percentage of trans people will not be able to medically begin their transitions. They say that these rules expire in 2024, and that it won’t affect people already on hormone therapy — we’ll see.
I started my transition in Missouri, but it was a long time ago and things were a little easier until now, but not as easy as a lot of people think. I did a year of trans group therapy at $100 a session (that was a shit ton of money at $3.15 an hour) and then the therapist wrote me a letter AGAINST hormones to the community endocrinologist. She believed that transition cured gay people, and I wasn’t straight — but I was not going to smoke a pipe and wear tweed sweaters to fit into her 1950s image of being male.
Luckily for me, I had passed for most of my life already without hormones, so much so that the endocrinologist asked me why I stopped hormones. When I told him I’ve never been on them, he ripped the letter out of my chart, showed it to me and trashed it (this would be a small issue later on)— and said, “well, you should have been.” Then he told me the nurse would be in in a minute to give me my first shot, there would be a prescription at the front desk, and I should make an appointment to come back in two weeks for my next shot. And weirdly, that Oscar winner Jamie Lee Curtis and I now share a doctor. Dude was name dropping I guess.
I learned how to give my shots to myself, (very carefully) had a job at a gay bar watching the door, and went through puberty in public. Some guys flirted with me, some guys were asses, over all it wasn’t bad with the men, because I had something like 35 older brothers all eager to teach the baby boy how to gay. Over all it was pretty fun — however those men are all dead now from AIDS. I miss them.
The women on the other hand were an entirely different matter. I was spit on, called gender traitor, removed from my position as Co-Chair of the local NLA chapter because I could “no longer represent the interests of lesbians into kink” and generally not welcome in the women’s bars, even with friends.
Several years and several jobs later, I decided to go back to school, now that I could get student loans on my own tax and financial history. I got a scholarship, grew a beard and headed down to Memphis.
Now, I needed a new driver’s license, so I went to the DMV with the one I had from Missouri. It had my male name on it, but the sex was female. Made for awkward traffic stops. Anyhoo — I get up to the front of the line, turn in my license have my picture taken and wait for the inevitable questions when it’s ready and handed to me.
“Mr. Mortifyd! Your license is ready!” Here we go. I get to the desk and she looks at me and says “I fixed your driver’s license, hon. They had YOU down as a girl. And I laughed and tried to keep it from going hysterical, said, “I never even noticed. Thanks so much! Have a nice day!” And that was how I legally became a man.
The next step was navigating the Social Security office. I had a driver’s license that is male, all my bank cards and so on are in that name. I have a beard, and look like an orthodox Jew. And when they pull up my number, the most boringly lame white girl name comes up. Literally the only thing I had with me was my immunization record in my childhood name.
“You could have stolen that. I need something else. Is there anyone beside the people with you who can vouch for you?” Uh. Oh shit. I flail a bit and hit on the only person I can think of who can verify who I am — my mum. He called my mum. He said my new card with my real name would be in the mail. He also told me she loves me, and I should call her more often. Step two accomplished.
I lived all over the US, east, south, northwest, southwest — and some places were easier than others to get my hormones, but none of them were too hard. I made ok money, I lived my life, but top surgery was expensive, only a few doctors did it at that time, and it would cost about 1/3 of what I made in a year to pay for it as no insurance covered it. So I suffered the “heartbreak of gynecomastia” until I was in my….late forties. I lived in a blue state, and insurance paid for it.
Oh look at this shit! I found a diary when I was young and hopeful and naive as FUCK. See me slither to the floor as I show you where I “came out” previously on DKOS, and defended Caitlyn Jenner in 2015. I managed not to remember that. Most of that decade was a blur though.
But there are some other truths about me in that diary. I got to be a boy in all but certain activities that were off limits, name and pronouns — I was a boy scout, I was on the JV boys soccer team at away games, my dad cut my hair super short, and let me borrow his dress shirts. Those things kept me going until I could reach adulthood and get the help I needed to be me.
So now we come to the shit after all that — trans people are in trouble. You knew that of course, and you want to help, and maybe you ARE helping — vigils with your church, supporting trans people you know, giving money to groups fighting for trans rights, speaking out. We need all of that.
Because right now there are places getting ready to legal and medical us out of existence. They are collecting data on trans people in Texas from the DMV. Missouri just made sure that no one under 19½ will get trans care. Missouri also had a state government portal where you could report your concerns about trans people that has since been spammed to oblivion. Trans girls are banned from sports from K-college in Arkansas. We know that will spread for sure, many states have that on their agenda right now.
They use words like "eradicate"and pretend they don’t mean the trans people — just the “ideology”. There is no trans ideology than be who you know yourself to be. That’s it. And for some people, that person they know themselves to be takes hormones, or has surgery to make us feel more comfortable in our skin. They call us “demons” in government chambers. And it’s only going to get worse.
This is about bodily autonomy and social control, similar to the overturning of Roe for women. Note, I said similar not identical, because the number of women affected by Roe is FAR higher than the 1.6 million trans people (including kids) in the US. Of that 1.6 million, only about 300,000 of them are between 13 — 17. That’s when kids might need blockers for a while or start hormone therapy to make sure they go through the puberty that fits their identity. Without it, some of those kids are going to die. That’s a guarantee, sadly. Some of them will die.
So what can you do?
National Center for Transgender Equality
100 Organizations Supporting Trans People In All 50 States
Transgender Law Center
Here’s a place to start, if you want to do something new, or add to what you already do.
I’m lucky to have had this long to be myself, I’d kind of like to keep at it a little longer without being herded into a “reeducation camp” somewhere in Arkansas.
Edit — WOW this kind of blew up. Thanks everyone for you kind words and well wishes, it means a lot.