Five Things Not To Say to Trans People

You would think people would have some common sense, or at least that they would reasonably keep up with the times? No, not really. I think the title speaks for itself, doesn’t it? Here’s a list of five things you should generally never say to transgender people, especially trans people who you have just met or barely know.

“Have you had the surgery?”

What surgery? What the shit are you talking about? Surgeries for transgender people don’t just boil down to one session of going under the knife and waking up as the opposite sex in the recovery room. It doesn’t work like that. And there are many surgeries trans people can have. Top surgery. Different kinds of bottom surgeries (there’s by far more than one option for bottom for FtM individuals). Facial reconstruction surgeries. And the list goes on.

“So what’s your real name?”

My real name is Kane. Even before I had it legally changed, my real name was Kane. Are you talking about my birth name? I have no obligation to tell you about my birth name or any other aspect of my past, unless I choose to do so. It’s my own personal, private details and you are not entitled to them. Plus, I don’t ever want anyone calling me by my birth name anyway. That just feels demeaning.

“So. . . how do you have sex?”

Once you launch into an intimate 20-minute explanation with full info-graphics and slides on how you have sex, I’ll tell you about how I have sex. Sounds fair?

“But why would you do that? You’re just fine the way you are!”

To be honest if you say this, I’m not even going to dignify it with a response. I’m just going to glare at you and then walk away. But for the sake of this blog post I will say. . . I do not care if someone else sees me as “fine” in my gender assigned at birth. I’m the one who has to live in this body. And I’m the one who isn’t “fine”.

“Can’t you just change the way you dress? Do you have to change your name? Go on hormones? Get surgery done?”

Not all trans people choose to change their names and/or medically transition. But a large percentage of those that do find great relief from their dysphoria, and are generally satisfied with their transition. Also, see above: my body, not yours, your opinion literally is irrelevant to me.

From Gel to Shots: My Experience With Testosterone Administration

I was the child who hid under the table at the doctor’s office, screaming and crying, when it was time to get my vaccines. There was no way I fathomed being able to handle giving myself shots of testosterone. Therefore, I decided that Androgel was the way to go, and would be the perfect solution for me.

So in the almost sixteen months I have been on testosterone, why have I been giving myself shots for almost the past fifteen?

Androgel just doesn’t agree with everyone. I found that out the hard way.

I first started using it, applying it as directed. I had the little packets, not the pump. And at first, some things seemed great. My libido was super charged, and I had more energy and felt better overall. But my anger levels seemed to be really unusually high, too, and I didn’t know why.

Then, I started not feeling well and getting sick. Before I realized it, I saw an omnious red rash covering my chest. I had a terrible allergic reaction to Androgel, and it’s marked in my chart that I cannot take it at my doctor’s office. I also looked it up and found a lot of stories from cis men who had taken it for different reasons, and also had negative health reactions to it.

So. . . I chose shots as the next option.

And a lot of people choose shots over gel because they claim the changes happen “faster”, but for me that wasn’t even a factor. Anyway. . .

Despite being pretty scared of needles. I mean, I have tattoos, but that’s different, isn’t it? Tattoo needles only go into the skin. Whereas shots? Well, they go further. And to have to give them to myself? I was terrified. I had never known anyone as phobic of getting shots as myself.

I even chose to stop getting flu shots when I was 8. In fact, the last time I got a flu shot? I bit the nurse. I’m sure that she was also thrilled that I didn’t come back for any more after that.

Initially, I decided I want to do sub-Q injections instead of intramuscular. My research showed that they worked just about the same, and actually could be a little safer. After all, I really don’t want to hit a blood vessel or artery. And when I got everything to do my very first T shot, the plan was to have my friend give it to me. Unfortunately, when I went to her place, I had a panic attack so bad that she had to take me to the emergency room right away.

Needless to say, I did not get my first shot of testosterone that day.

A week or two later, I got some lidocaine (which numbs the skin) and got myself a little drunk (disclaimer: do NOT drink before giving yourself a shot). Then, laid there on my bed, my hands shaking, nervous and tense and panic stricken for about an hour on and off. When I went to put the needle it, it seemed like it took forever to go in, and then it felt funny once I pressed the plunger down.

But after the shot? I felt very proud of myself. And no, it has certainly not been smooth sailing since then.

There have been times recently where I still stared at the needle, nervous, and wanting to cry. I break out in a nervous sweat every time I give myself a shot, still, to this very day. I’ve gotten my girlfriend to give me my shots many times. And I’ve even said to her, “Someday I want to look into pellets, because I’m so beyond tired of giving myself these shots all the time.”

I have, however, long ago gotten to the point where I can give it to myself without numbing the area and without drinking (neither of which I recommend. Don’t do these things!). And I still can’t imagine that I have to stick myself for a needle every week for the rest of my life. But the progress I have made with my transition has made it so completely worth it. And actually doing the shots has gotten easier for the most part.

Seven Things I Wish I Knew Before I Changed My Name

Like a large number of other transgender individuals, I pursued a legal name change earlier this year in my home state of Pennsylvania. Luckily, it was granted and I now live free of the chains of my birth name. Or at least, I’m trying to. . .

Here’s a list of seven things I wish I had known or thought of a little more before having my name changed at the legal level.

Renting Or Buying A Home Outs You

Earlier this year, my girlfriend and I were looking to rent. Now, we’re in the process of trying to buy, but both processes come with a snag — verifying my identity means verifying my identity past when my name was changed. In order to check my job history for two or more years, my credit score, and even checking my tax returns shows potential landlords and home sellers that I am trans. Especially since my name before was very feminine and my name now is generally masculine. Renting was harder, as I got a lot of raised eyebrows as soon as I brought up the name change. However, buying seems to be a lot friendlier and I’ve even been correctly gendered more often in this process. It still outs me, though.

Everyone Hears “Name Change” And Thinks You Got Married

Six months after the fact, I am still changing my name at doctor’s offices and various places. When I approach someone behind the counter, it usually goes a little bit like this:

“Hi! My name was [birth name], but it’s now Kane, as I’ve had my first and middle name legally changed. I need to change it in your system.”

“Okay. . . all right. . . let me pull it up in the computer here. . . All right. . . Hmm. . . Let’s see. . . Okay, now, what’s the new last name? And your marital status has updated, right?”

“. . . I said first and middle name.”

And Believe Me, There’s Lots Of Places To Update Your Name At

More than you even realize. I even considered taking off of work for a week at one point just so I could make phone calls to update my new name at places. There’s Social Security, health insurance, auto insurance, work, PayPal (which was a HUGE pain in the butt), Amazon, the dentist’s office, that one gas station you have a rewards account with your name in the account, and more and more and more. And each one of these is an opportunity to out yourself if you weren’t ready. Fun, right?

Your Mail Is Gonna Be Interesting For A While

Here’s the thing, I get my health insurance and dental insurance from the same company. For four months, I would get two bills per month in the mail — the health insurance one was in my new, correct name. The dental one was in my old, incorrect name, despite the fact that I had been calling and calling and calling them to demand they change it. They knew I changed my name, after all. I still get tons of junk mail in my birth name, and it’s become a way now of knowing whether mail is important or not.

Scumbag Gmail Doesn’t Let You Change Your Name On Your Email Address

This one is pretty self-explanatory. However, if I had known it before I changed my name, I wouldn’t started using a new email address a long time ago. Now, too many of my important contacts are in my Gmail account to abandon it at this point. If you work at Google and you’re reading this: I hate you.

Changing Your Name Doesn’t Mean You’re Going To Get Gendered Correctly

This one was a pretty crushing blow to me, as it is to many trans people who find despite becoming a “Steve” or a “Max”, they are still called “ma’am” over the phone. Even over a year on hormones, I am still frequently misgendered. I cringe when I am in public and someone refers to my girlfriend and I as, “ladies”. But interestingly enough, recently, someone said to me, “Oh, I guess I didn’t realize Kane could be a girl’s name, too.” Meaning they really thought I was a girl who’s parents had named me Kane.

After A While, You Start To Forget Ever Associating Yourself With Your Birth Name

I honestly didn’t think this would happen. But after using my correct, chosen name everywhere for six months? It is a striking, startling response inside when I hear my birth name, even if it’s just someone else with that name. I used to answer to it for over twenty years, despite always hating it. But now? It’s no longer a part of me, and I’m pleasantly shocked by how I’ve distanced myself from it thus far.

In spike of the ups and downs, I am thrilled with the freedom that a legal name change has given me. 10/10, would do again!