Some Same-Sex Suggestions

I love scrolling through my Facebook feed during pride month, because I get to see loving pictures of trans kids and their parents, queer couples, and just generally happy posts in a time filled with discrimination. So obviously I’m going to nitpick.

I have been encountering joy-filled post after joy-filled post of articles titled something like “Same-Sex Wedding Photos That Will Bring You Joy.” I would like to push back that those are not the photos I’m looking at. I’m going to say that I am actually looking at pictures of happy cis gay and lesbian couples. Yes, of course, that is so joyous and we need to see more of it. But the term same-sex is way more than that. 

When same-sex marriage was legalized, it also legalized same-sex queer + trans marriage, along with same-sex straight + trans marriage. Let me see the photos of two trans women, or a cis woman and a trans man, or of two same-sex non-binary folks. Don’t just show me the cisgender people. I know that they were the more visible targets of same-sex discrimination, but trans people aren’t being talked about at all. I, a trans male, love my cisgender, straight female partner and I want to see pictures that I can relate to.

To summarize this, call these amazing, loving posts “Gay Weddings” or “Queer Weddings,” unless you are going to include the spectrums that lie beyond those.

Peace,
Andrew

 

 

(In)visible

Here is a conversation I had this weekend in regards to my name change:

“I have only known you as Linden for 6 months.”

“The world has only known me as Linden for a year and a half; you aren’t that far behind the curve.”

The kid I was talking to stopped talking and just stared at me. He had a “what in the world?” expression on his face, but I didn’t clarify. It only then dawned on me that the boy I was talking to probably didn’t know I was trans. That’s a weird thought, honestly. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t need everyone in my life to know I’m trans. It is not the most important thing about me.

However, it’s weird to think that now, ten and a half months into testosterone, people look at me and assume “boy.” That was the secondary goal, right? Behind feeling more comfortable in my body, it was also a goal to be accepted more fully as male. But at this point, I’m just used to making trans jokes. All the time. What do I do now that not everyone knows I’m trans, so making a joke like that will either out myself or heavily confuse the person I’m talking to?

I want to stay visible, but it’s not a necessity anymore. I don’t have to correct strangers’ mis-pronouning me, and my name is legally Linden Andrew. For those who’ve known me, it is just one of those facts about me, but for those who don’t, they might not even know! Especially after top surgery. How bizarre.

So I have to make a split decision when I meet new people. Do I out myself? Or is it just not relevant to my relationship with this new person?

It’s pretty cool that I am just seen as male now, even by complete strangers.

Peace,
Andrew

P.S. HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHANDLER! THE BIG ONE NINE!

I Tried Drag When I Was Little So People Thought I Was A Girl

I expressed my masculinity in non-traditional ways when I was younger. For example, from an early age, I wore a lot of dresses. Contrary to the usual narrative, this struck absolutely no one as out of the ordinary. Not just the more liberal minded accepted me, but so did the more conservative. Why? Because to an untrained eye, I was a cute little girl wearing a red velvet dress, who loved lip gloss and eye shadow. That wasn’t the truth of who I was, though. I was simply a little queer boy, trapped in the wrong body, experimenting in drag for the first time.

I distinctly remember back to when I was eight, wearing my friend’s dress and standing next to her in a mirror. As we stared at our reflections, I remember thinking how she was the prettiest girl I’d ever seen. I somehow twisted that into thinking that in order to be loved, I had to be a pretty girl. I couldn’t be the gangly thing staring back at me with awkwardly broad shoulders. I wore dresses more frequently after that.

By the time I was fifteen, my once innocent love of dresses had completely died. My love had been corrupted into this all-consuming need to be a perfect representation of a cisgender woman. I couldn’t ever feel at home in my head as this imperfect not-girl, but I didn’t have the knowledge to bring myself any inner peace about it. So I instead tried to warp myself into the perfect woman. I still loved looking at dresses, but when they were on my body, I instantly hated them. I would lash out as myself for not being that pinnacle of feminine perfection. Self-harm and starving myself became as natural to me as breathing. But still, I wore them. I had to. I had to prove to myself, day after day, that I was a woman.

The last time I wore a dress, I was seventeen. It was Halloween 2015, a few days before I came out to myself as transgender. It was a dress handed down to me by my sister, and I loved it on her. I was so excited to put it on. When I did, though, I hated it. I started crying, smudging my carefully applied eyeliner. Why did I look so wrong? Why did I feel so wrong?

When I came out, I made myself a promise: I never have to wear a dress again, unless I want to.

Two years later, I still love dresses. I love picking them out and fantasizing about people in them. I just don’t wear them, because they still feel wrong on me. I can’t fully embody the person I am in a dress. One day, maybe I’ll wear a dress again. Maybe I never will. I really don’t the dress is the important thing. I think it is more of a catalyst. A catalyst to tell me that even if I love dresses, it doesn’t mean I’m a woman, and the fact that I’m not a woman doesn’t mean I have to hate dresses. I don’t have to hate them anymore, because I don’t give them the power to.

Peace,
Andrew

Lindsay and Linden and Andrew

We all know that names have power. From moms using full names when they’re pissed to when soon-to-be parents go back and forth on names for months before landing on the perfect one. But what happens when you give your child the wrong name?

I was Lindsay Anne Huffman for the first 17 years of my life. The thing was, of course, that I was not Lindsay Anne. I was a caterpillar, and I needed to get the fuck into my cocoon. I entered my cocoon when I became Linden. It felt not perfect, but close enough.

But recently, I’ve been feeling trapped. Chafing within my shell, I needed to break free.  Linden was purposefully neutral, and an obvious homage to my former name. But whenever I tell people my name is Linden, it gives them pause. Linden? Is that a boy or a girl? I look, act, walk, and talk like a boy, but sometimes my societally-trained feminine mannerisms come out and then the neutral name Linden helps people come to the conclusion that I’m probably a girl. I’m so tired of being misgendered that I decided something: it’s time to be a butterfly.

I am ten months on Testosterone, and I have top surgery in a month. There is no time like the present to completely embrace myself and my masculinity. Thus, I’m going by my middle name now: Andrew. Linden was a transition name. Maybe I’ll identify with it again in the future, but now I think I just need Andrew.

Now to the education part of my blog posts. To the several people who asked me why I changed my name from Linden to Andrew: this is why. However, you should not have asked me. If my sister wanted to suddenly go by Louise, people would feel entitled to ask her why. I don’t think they would have the right. And you don’t have the right to ask me now. Change is healthy and natural, and of all the scary things one could do to implement change in their lives, I think changing one’s name is relatively harmless. Especially with trans people, who have been forced with a misgendered name their whole lives, and finally have the chance to find something that feels right to them. I get that it will be mildly inconvenient for a while, but I think you can probably find it somewhere inside yourself, deep down, to get past that.

Thanks for everyone for being so great and welcoming for me asking to be called Andrew<3

Peace,
Andrew

My Gravest Doubts on the Subject

40 days. There are 40 days until I have top surgery. I think it’s finally starting to hit me? Don’t get me wrong, I am incredibly excited and have been since we scheduled it in August 2016. But there’s a lot of complex feelings around it. These include my questions, fears, and hopes. I’m going to share some of them, so if another trans person feels a similar way, they won’t feel alone.

  • Fear: What if I regret it?
  • Hope: I won’t be misgendered again due to having to wear a sports bra because I want to breathe that day.
  • Hope: I’m getting top surgery soon enough that my ribs won’t have suffered permanent damage from binding, which is a valid fear because for the first 6+ months I bound with the incorrect sized binder.
  • Question: How long will it take before I can look in the mirror and accept my new chest as fact, not just a desperation-induced dream? Immediately? Months?
  • Hope: I will get to swim at the beach without feeling ashamed/embarrassed of my chest or afraid that I will be misgendered.
  • Fear: I can’t reverse a surgical removal of my breasts, at least not easily. What if this a big mistake? What if my gender identity changes again and I wish I had breasts again?

These are thoughts that have been taking over my brain lately, and it’s exhausting trying to reassure myself that I can do it, should do it, and am going to do it. So, to the 90% of people who know I’m having top surgery who have asked me if I have doubts and if it’s really what I want: yes, I have doubts. I have doubts every goddamn day. And I’ve never been surer of a decision in my entire life. Top surgery is something I need with my entire being. It’s something my mind needs to feel at one with my body in a way I haven’t since pre-puberty. I need it so fucking bad. Doubts are natural, but as Gwendolyn Fairfax in the Importance of Being Earnest put it, the idea of me not having top surgery is “clearly a metaphysical speculation, and like most metaphysical speculations, has very little reference at all to the actual facts of real life.”

Peace,
Linden

Dear Cis People

This is an open letter to all the cisgender people in my life.

Dear Cis People,
Thank you for being accepting of me! Most of you use my pronouns, almost all of you use my name, and I’m pretty sure at least 90% of you see me as a boy! I am so appreciative of the way I have been normalized into our community. That being said, I have a few suggestions that I would like to bring up so that they will not be problems in the future.

  1. Please do not ask about my sex life.
    • I don’t understand how so many people think this is appropriate. I don’t ask you how you have sex, why do you? I don’t ask you the mechanics of what you do in the bedroom, please don’t ask me.
  2. It is not appropriate to bring up my past presentation as female in front of people.
    • Yes, I do it, but that does not give you the right. For one, I have a much better read on the situation in regards to my safety and the person’s reaction than you do. Another reason is that maybe that day I’m not in a place that I can handle it. Maybe I’m super dysphoric that day and discussing a really painful era in my life is not something I take pleasure in discussing. While we’re on the subject, when you talk about me in the past tense, still use he/him pronouns. I was a boy, am a boy, and will continue to be a boy. The pronouns that I used to use are not relevant anymore. 
  3. I do not speak for the whole trans community.
    • Just because I am more comfortable discussing my old presentation and my dead name does not mean every trans person is. Also, do not tell me how touchy some trans people are. That is a) an unfair position to put me in, because I will not speak unkindly of other trans people, and b) completely dismissive of the hard and sometimes traumatic experiences a lot of trans people go through.

Ok, now that I’ve lectured you, don’t take this the wrong way! I appreciate you, I do. I just get frustrated sometimes, and I just want to prevent that frustration in the future.

Peace,
Linden

Contemplation

I have a lot of things going on in my life that put me at more of a disadvantage that the average Joe. Mental illness is basically the top dog I’m talking about. They don’t know quite how to diagnose me, which I had a problem with for a time. I felt like I was just spinning my wheels without a firm diagnosis, even though I was being handed all these coping mechanisms. Now thay I know that a diagnosis has not, does not, and will not define me, who cares?

That tangent wasn’t important to y’all, most likely, but writing out those words brought me a reassurance that I am in a healthier place now. A place where answers are not as important as solutions. Now that I don’t prioritize answers, I have more energy towards getting to a place where breathing comes easier, and the dips I have aren’t as all-consuming.

I hope y’all are well!
Peace,
Linden

Positivity List

I am having a rough few days. That being said, I refuse to give it any attention. Instead, I will talk about positive things in my life. Side note: something you will learn about me is that I am a huge fan of lists. So here’s one:

  • I’m going to London over winter break!
    • I’m doing a fall semester course where we read plays and then at the end we go visit London for 2 whole weeks. I fell in love with London when I went this past summer, so I’m really excited to be going back. Also, I’m high key pumped because Chandler is coming too!
  • I’m writing not one, but two articles for two different magazines!
    • I’m writing one article for Inter, the Interfaith Youth Core online zine, and another for Rainbow SIG, which is a part of NAFSA.
  • I’m having top surgery in 84 days!
    • That’s pretty neat. It has been about a year and a half since I first came out as trans, and in 84 days I’m having top surgery. That’s incredible. My girlfriend, Chandler, is coming to spend a few days with me for support during the days immediately before and immediately after surgery. She’s A+.
  • My girlfriend!!
    • Chandler is nifty. We have hit a groove, which is really indicative of what our future together will be going forward. Also, she is exceedingly pretty and kind. I’ll talk more about her in future posts.
  • My voice has dropped in the past few weeks!
    • Today, a friend of mine told Chandler that my voice has dropped significantly in a short period of time, which was a huuuuuuge ego boost. Being on testosterone is a really slow, but significantly rewarding process.

So, there’s that. If you are feeling down, make a positivity list. That just then really helped me.

Be positive and power through this week!
Peace,
Linden

An Introduction

I have a long history of started and abandoned blogs. I don’t have an intention to abandon this one, but it’s never my intention to abandon them. I should probably introduce myself. Hi, my name is Linden, and I’m 18 years old. I am a freshman at a small school in North Carolina studying history and religious studies. I like dogs, theatre, my Chacos, my girlfriend, and he/him pronouns. I started this blog with the thought that I am about to be going through a lot all at once and I want to document it. A quick schedule of major live events in the next 6 months.
May 16: Classes end, and I’m officially a sophomore in college.
June 18: I see John Mulaney in Baltimore, MD.
June 20: I have top surgery.
July 18: I celebrate my 1 year on T.
August 18: I turn 19.
August 28: I start my sophomore year of college.
September 12: I celebrate 1 year with Girlfriend.

And that’s with me having narrowed it down. So, here we are. We don’t really know each other yet, but that will change, I’m sure. I’ll try to upload fun pictures, tell stories and just keep this blog semi-active.

Have a safe rest of your weekend!
Peace,
Linden