kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
Two clinicians at CHX GIC have approved me for top surgery, no-hormones, in spite of everything that's physically wrong with me, even though I have been absolutely clear and explicit and unflinching about being genderqueer and having retained my given names as forenames despite their being gendered and my mental illnesses and autism.

If I'd been definite about which surgeon I wanted to see I think they might actually have referred me today, after my second appointment. As it is I get to go away and think about it, and let them know where to send me after my third appointment.
kaberett: Blue-and-red welly boots on muddy ground. (boots)
Item the first: insofar as context permits I reject gendering of clothing and presentation, helped in large part by being extended-family-of-a-sort to [tumblr.com profile] stammsternenstaub, who are pretty much never-endingly fabulous.

Item the second: context, unfortunately, is often not terribly permissive. (In the land outside this social scene/the streets are filled with the gender police/I guess the streets are no place for kings and queens...)

Item the third: up until I was about sixteen I thought I gave no shits about clothing qua style (as opposed to practical considerations) and mostly used it to hide in, as disguise and camouflage (at which I was not very good). Between sixteen and eighteen I got one of the best compliments I've ever had, presentation-wise, from a school friend: there's masculine, and there's feminine, and then there's you, and it's kind of disturbing when you cross over into either. Aged 18 I started binding regularly, and also began developing what has (slightly to my horror and definitely to my confusion) morphed into An Aesthetic, or possibly a set of styles.

Read more... )
kaberett: a patch of sunlight on the carpet, shaped like a slightly wonky heart (light hearted)
First Charing Cross appointment survived as of Wednesday lunchtime! Barrett did an excellent job of walking the line of the non-actionable; he was determined to tell me lots of incredibly irrelevant anecdotes about his time working with youth offenders, but fundamentally I treated him like an incompetent and irritating supervisor who considered me incompetent and irritating, and this worked well. (Case in point: I successfully rendered him temporarily speechless by telling him very politely that naturally I understood that he had to take a conservative approach...)

Outcomes: I now ~understand~ that ~gender neutrality~ is like ~anarchism~ in that it is inherently unstable and will inevitably collapse into one of democracy or dictatorship (YOU'RE WELCOME); I note that "people find it too difficult to present as gender neutral in ~~~real life~~~" is not in point of fact an argument that gender-neutral identities don't exist, and you position yourself uniquely to believe that in fact they do not; "but what if in a decade's time you don't feel comfortable taking your shirt off on a beach!!!" is not in fact an argument against giving me top surgery now; etc etc. Not dreadful, nothing I couldn't cope with, and next time I possibly get to see Lorimer.


My mental health has improved markedly since starting the vitD, which is extremely pleasant. I am so, so much better; it's a great relief - I'm back down to PHQ-9 score of 8 (from 18 when we tested my bloods). (8 is operating-within-normal-parameters for me -- I am scoring quite highly on the fatigue questions because I've had a long lab stint, and have been in work every day yes-including-weekends since sometime early last week.)


The rest of the ten good things! )

[rec!]

Oct. 9th, 2014 01:22 am
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
So I was proper impressed by cliniQ when I swung by this evening as a walk-in patient after a sexual health screening. Actually finding the clinic was a bit confusing - the numbering on Dean Street didn't make a great deal of sense to me and I was initially directed to the first floor where I had a rather confusing conversation with a receptionist before making it to the second floor - but once I was there they were great. I was seen quickly - I think I was in and out inside half an hour - and people were calming and lovely and really just brilliant, and there was step-free access throughout.

Details! )

It was really really good; I was, as I say, impressed (enough to want to give them some of my time); strongly strongly recommended if you're ever in London (you don't have to be a London resident) and they're relevant to you.
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
Content note for "real names" bullshit.

There is someone I have known for about a year. She's been working at a different site due to lack of lab space; she moved here last week and has been assigned a desk behind mine.

Half an hour ago she asked me if I was coming down to beers. "Maybe, I've got some labwork to do," I said. She looked over my shoulder at the paperwork spread across my desk.

"Oh!" she said. "Your name's not Alex!"

... whereupon I realised the uppermost page just happened to have my full name on it. My full name, about which I'd been feeling gently pleased ten minutes earlier.

"Um, yes it is," I said, covering my first two names with one hand and pointing to the "Alex" with the other. In desperation, I gave her a string of examples of other people I know who use their second or third names. "Oh," she said, "I suppose I do know someone who's really called [name] but uses Ash."

... yeah. Her having-been-gone-for-half-an-hour later, I am rapidly hitting the point of "relaxed enough again to actually cry at my desk."

:-(

fuck. yes.

Sep. 3rd, 2014 03:41 am
kaberett: Grinning emoticon. (:D)
my hands and shoulders hate me - as well they might, I spent most of yesterday pipetting and a startling amount of today typing - but I have DONE THE THINGS. Or at least first drafts of the things. And I think I found something out earlier this week at around this time of the morning. And I have an alarm going off in four hours in order to get the next batch of chemistry done so I can keel over without feeling guilty tomorrow evening (seriously if I am not in bed by 8pm local PLEASE shout at me) before, um, Thursday + Friday on the mass spec. (which if I feel proper rotten tomorrow morning I will convert to friday+saturday, saturday's currently free, so I can do that no penalties).

i am the human being of only-wanting-to-set-CHX-on-fire-about-twice, probably-has-an-appointment-before-2015, holy-crap-the-wait-for-phlebotomy-was-preposterous.

BUT. I have lunch ready to go for tomorrow, i have washed my water bottle so it's usable, I should... really put my wheels on to charge, wow, no way am I walking anywhere worth a damn tomorrow, I can still write terrible code when half-asleep, I've tamed the work inbox to some degree, head of group apparently likes the short piece of writing I have done on thallium+lead=bffs???, and I have SENT OFF A FIRST DRAFT OF THE POSTER. Which, er, I need to print on Monday. did I mention my supervisor's on a boat somewhere off the coast of Taiwan working 12-hour shifts with fuck-all internet? yeaaaaaaaaaaaah. did I also mention I was supposed to have this two her by the 21st of August? yeah, well, medication happened, it was a bit shit, this is kind of why I'm thinking about going part-time. on the upside, I wasn't supposed to have the lead+thallium doc to her til the 11th, but that's already happened...

... and it was sunny and I ate fantastic food with [personal profile] sebastienne and geeked gender and reading and brains and life goals and fanfic and shit and it was pretty awesome, and i made pasta bake for dinner, and I should really do the washing up again one of these weeks before my housemate entirely justifiedly stream-of-consciousness glib metaphorical murder??? ) (either my s key' gone very sticky or my hands are even more fucked than i thought) (wrist braces + antiinflammatory gel tonight OH my) and I read a bunch of tiny bit of fiction by queer PoC so that was pretty awesome

and i have taken bedmeds and, via hand-care, SLEEP.

ps i still really like Scribus

also feel free to place bets on how long it takes me to disappear into avoidance and pretending i don't have a work e-mail address again
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
Via the Lioness (as so much else...), I've just realised how much I like "fem" for describing my ideal gender presentation; cf "dom/me" for the kind of distinction I'm getting at.

Thoughts? :-)
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (swiss army gender)
I didn't really understand or like or have any interest in clothes until I realised that I wasn't female.

I've got very clear memories of my siblings - both male-identified, as far as I know - saying they were going to be women when they grew up; I don't remember saying anything similar myself. (I also remember a family friend saying something similar. She was right.)

But I didn't know that was a thing that could be true until my early teens. I already knew I was queer; I started playing with the idea that maybe I was a dude. I definitely had days where I felt a lot like a dude, but they weren't common, and in general, that felt wrong, too.

In sixth form, a friend said - on my having dressed up a bit - "... no, but you see, there is masculine, and there is feminine, and then there is [you], and it's REALLY DISTURBING when you cross over into either," which... was way more accurate than I realised at the time; I mean, I was just pretty chuffed.

Somewhere in there, I found out that non-binary was a term and genderqueer folk exist, and I started thinking really hard about myself. Almost exactly five years ago, I started binding regularly. Four years ago, I decided was genderqueer but couldn't face social transition; but I started thinking about handles, and changed my name online from something derived from my given name to... well, something still derived from my wallet name, but derived in a way of my choosing, without gender (and in fact in the German it's nodding to is neuter). Three years ago, I took a very deep breath and decided I was going to change my wallet name, and I asked people to change what they called me, and then, oh then, I began to realise that actually, I like clothes and I like dressing up and I like presenting femme and I like cufflinks and I like jewelry and perfume and make-up and drag, and it was glorious.

Which is a very bare-bones accounting: for all that it says that genderqueer felt right, that's oversimplified and doesn't explain what wrong means.

So: progesterone makes me really obviously really ill. Really, really ill. When I was nine I stood and stared at myself in the mirror and thought, I need to remember what this looks like because soon I won't be flat-chested any more. And my chest -- well, okay, look, I am seriously a dead ringer for Botticelli's Birth of Venus, like, partners have been really weirded out by how easily that could be a painting of me. (Occasionally I will turn a particular way when getting dressed around That One Lady, and she will darkly mutter down to the nipple placement..) So: a body type considered objectively attractive and praiseworthy, and one I am eminently capable of finding attractive, it just doesn't belong on me. My proprioception is wrong for it - there are some things I can't do, or can do only with revulsion, because of how they cause parts of my body that Shouldn't Be to move. The physical dysphoria is, for me, a pervasive low-level unease, a something is wrong: my body is in the uncanny valley relative to my bone-deep sense of what it should be, and it is only my chest that causes this, not any of the disability or whatever. (Well, and sometimes my face and my voice, but those I am learning to make peace with in a way that I am not so much with my chest, because anything else would be more wrong.)

There's social stuff too, of course - the delicate duality whereby misogyny is wrong, evidently and clearly, but there is additional grating unease when I experience it arising from you're treating me in a way congruent with your perceiving me as a woman, distinct from the way you are treating me is wrong because politics and humanity.

Somehow, though, I appear to have muddled through. As I say above, "genderqueer" isn't actually quite right, but it's the best term I've got so far: and so perhaps in time it's home to strength I'll come.

By all means ask me questions - I am happy to educate in this specific instance, for people I already know - but be aware that this doesn't necessarily mean I'll answer all questions about my life, because - personal, and so on.
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
Read more... )

Thanks again, all, for cheer-leading, hand-holding and advice. <3
kaberett: Euphorbia cf. serrata, green crown of leaves/flowers central to image. (spurge)
But I was going to list good things, but then I got into a conversation about why incidence of diagnosed autism spectrum conditions (ASCs) is higher among trans people than among the "general population", so now I'm going to brain-dump here.

Content note: Simon Baron-Cohen. )

Heartsick

Aug. 23rd, 2013 10:17 pm
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
I refuse to be grateful, because
each and every word of thanks
that leaves my body
takes with it a scrap of my humanity
stripped from my skin, my flesh, my heart.
I will not beg upon my knees, nor
bow my head, because
on days like these, I know
I might not make it back onto my feet.
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (swiss army gender)
... Wikipedia continues a cesspit, and I continue glad I stopped contributing to it very nearly two years ago. Because good gods I do not want to be part of a community that doesn't consider me worthy of respect.
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
Women who change their name on marriage do not get asked their "real name". One's mother's maiden name is presumed to be secret enough that it's reasonable to use it as a security check - but it's also utterly innocuous, and typically public knowledge of a woman's maiden name will not cause her any harm.

Compare and contrast: the experiences of trans people.
kaberett: a dalek stands at the foot of a flight of stairs, thinking "fuck." (dalek)
As it is I have improved it with Pimms, Lashings, and an imminent Lashings performance.

Most of the details are tedious and involve buses and racists and ableism. The following, however, is what actually spilled the day over into FLAMETHROWER.
... as per all of my previous e-mails - see the reference number - I was unable to pay online because of the obligatory title field which *does not list my title* (which every other member of customer support has managed to use: "Mx" is NOT a typo).

When I phoned up I should NOT have been unable to pay for the item: it is a customs item NOT tracked, so should have been held for 21 days, not 18 days.

I am really, really unhappy with the service I have received from you collectively. I appreciate this is not your fault but I do think you should do something to make up for the fact that:
* the delivery card was originally misdelivered to X [Name] Mews rather than X [Name] Street
* the tracking number was illegible
* I was unable to pay online because of your appallingly bad (and transphobic!) form implementation required me to use a title but did not offer my preferred title
* I was unable to collect in person because I am disabled
* I was unable to phone immediately because my combined disabilities
make phonecalls incredibly stressful for me, even without all of the above
* when I DID phone, I was unable to pay *even though I was calling
within 21 days* because your phone structure doesn't take account of the fact that I was calling about a Customs item, with no option to talk to a human who might have been able to sort things out
* I immediately e-mailed you and have spent over a week waiting for
responses, during which time you have returned my item to sender.

I have given you ALL of this information SEVERAL times.

I am really, really unhappy.

-a.
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (swiss army gender)
This is a screenshot of the "Fee to Pay" page on the Royal Mail website. Titles are obligatory. They offer six options, which are given (in order) as: Mr, Miss, Mrs, Ms, Dr, Sir.

This is a screenshot of the Contact Us form to which you are directed if you tell them that you have a problem with a Redelivery or paying a fee. Again, title is an obligatory field. It offers ten options, which are given (in order) as: Mr, Mrs, Ms, Miss, Mx, Dr, Lady, Rev, Lord, Sir.

I. CANNOT. EVEN.
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
  • At our point of arrival, they went round the group quietly handing out sticky labels with our names and hospital numbers on. Except that, just like every single other interaction I've had with the NHS since changing my name, they used my first forename rather than my third forename. My third forename bloody ought by now to be recorded absolutely everywhere as my preferred name, but it took Asserting and Not Meekly Backing Down to get them to rewrite it with my actual used name on. On the plus side, I did actually Assert? I had a brief moment of vertigo, of the "do I just grit my teeth and go along with it, or do I calmly and politely insist that they treat me like a human", and they briefly tried to insist that my name badge had to "be consistent with my hospital records", but... we worked it out. And I got a badge with my used name on it. (I want to flag up that this isn't "just a trans issue": my mum and I frequently commiserate over using our third names rather than our first names and the ways people are crap about it, and there are regular stories about wallet-names rather than use-names getting currency in hospitals and causing people confusion and upset.)
  • There had been miscommunication with several patients: they'd been told, when booking in to the education session, that they'd be allowed carers with them. On the door, they were told that the (four-hour) session itself was patient-only, but carers were welcome to wait outside. Now, I can see the arguments for having the session be patient-only, but I think it's a kind of awful breakdown in communications that people were only told this after having travelled to the hospital, arranged to take the time off, etc.
  • I was using my wheelchair. There were two rows of chairs set out in the room, occupying almost the entire width. There was no obvious space for me to sit. I ended up sitting the aisle at one end of a row. Nobody offered to move one of the chairs so I could slot in more easily and be less peripheral. Even if they hadn't known in advance that I'm a wheelchair user (which, er, given the consultant's disparaging comments about same I am slightly surprised about), they did have us sitting outside the room for 15 minutes before going in, and it would not have been beyond the realms of human achievement to, um, make a space for me. Or to offer once we'd got in.
  • The one big useful thing I took away from the session actually had nothing to do with pain, and everything to do with why I wake up at two-hourly intervals for my first week or two sleeping (solo) in a new place.
  • Quite a lot of the things they recommend I am already doing, so I suppose that's reassuring?
  • I have possibly worked out some of the miscommunication with the consultant, in that when he asks "what is your pain like" I am going to give a full catalogue of everything related to endo, including acute stuff, and then he tries to tell me that it's all chronic, and things explode. This does not excuse everything he did and said, but possibly lays ground for future interactions being a bit more helpful
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (swiss army gender)
Content notes: cis-centrism, well-meaning cluelessness, gendering by the medical system.

I want to start out by saying, here, though I haven't to them - this is the person who taught me how to use my words, who taught me how to not take it personally when someone was having a bad day. She taught me all of this by example, and I am grateful to her, and so she gets time and effort put into answering this question, whereas most of the time, when people ask me this question, I'm likely to ignore it because I can't face wading through it again. But part of this is also that I want to get it right, and so I am very open to suggestions for improving clarity - particularly if you're not very familiar with trans stuff, or I'm the only out trans person you know, or whatever (I... think there are a few of you reading this? probably not many, though ;) - please do weigh in (but please also bear in mind that this is a difficult conversation for me to have, which is why you're getting quite such a scrappy first draft). Additional context: my interlocutor has an MSc, and her mum's a nurse - she's got a high level of background knowledge/understanding about pretty much everything except trans stuff.

Read more... )

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