Monday, June 20, 2016


I've hesitated to post the thoughts I've had until now because I haven't been able to figure out the most tactful way to say them at a time like this. But it's weighed heavily on me since shortly after I learned about what happened in Orlando. I have seen so many posts from cisgender gay people--predominantly men--whose lives may never be the same, who now must live in constant fear, even in spaces that are supposedly "safe". I do not intend to diminish anyone's suffering, but it is worth mentioning that this fear--the fear of always needing to be on guard, of needing to know how to protect yourself, of having to check on your brothers and sisters to make sure they are still alive, of hearing people hurl words at your community that make you wonder if you're next--is not new to trans people. 

The walls you feel compelled to build in light of this recent tragedy have been heavily fortified for trans people, who cannot even be safe in gay clubs where members of our own community now feel safe enough to hurl slurs and show us what they really think of trans and gender-non-confirming people, where we still wonder if being outed means dealing with ignorance in one of its many forms. But our fear, much as theirs does now, has extended to other spaces too. If you now feel scared to hold your partner's hand in public, to wear that tight pink shirt walking home at night, to go out for a drink this weekend, imagine that you have to feel that same or an even greater level of fear when you need to change in the locker room, when you are taken to a hospital, when someone gropes you in the club and finds something "missing", in the bathroom, when walking home and not passing, whenever you meet a new person, etc. Imagine feeling that every time you hear the news that another one of your trans brothers and sisters has been murdered or attacked. The safety you have lost has never been guaranteed to us. We begin to carry around the weight of all of this the moment we realize who we are. We have been screaming this whole time for our LGB brothers and sisters to understand the reality of this fear. We have been met with silence all along too, and we have become angry because of it. 

The pain of the past week or so is an amplification of the pain that has been and always will be a part of the trans experience, rather than a new development. I wish the understanding did not come at so high a cost, but I hope that some of you will recognize this, further understanding that the first of us to be targeted in the future will be those who fail to meet society's expectations of gender. 

We do not have to act, to hold hands, to be in a gay club, etc. We merely have to step outside our doors. I am not shaming you for the privilege you have had up to this point. In fact, I have envied it. I have longed for that kind of comfort in public spaces all my life. When you want to know why transphobic rhetoric hurts so much, why displays of ignorance provoke anger and panic, you now have your answer. I hope that this tragedy marks a point where we can begin to rebuild our spaces as truly safe and inclusive for all members of our community. You want that back. We've desperately needed it all along.

Sunday, June 12, 2016


Even though I have some answers, they may not be answers at all, and the very worst is still a possibility. I hate everything about the way I look and feel these days, and I can't do anything I enjoy. I'm missing out on Pride. I've spent so much time just lying here doing nothing, and I hate every minute of it. But I can't function like this, so most things are off limits. I felt hopeful for a day or so. I guess that counts for something.

I don't know what to do. I wonder how few people who have stayed in my life have managed not to walk away. On top of everything, I feel like that is only a matter of time. It'll happen when they can't tolerate any more from me. It's almost happened so many times. I'm always afraid that next time, there won't be a next time. I have to struggle to hide everything even more knowing this. 

I've been trying to get myself out of this mental trap for so long. I get pretty close sometimes, but I know the only thing that will fix it to the point where I can function and be happy again will be getting rid of this pain and these limitations. If you think that's a stretch of that I can just learn to be happy without any of the things that give meaning to my life, then you don't know that much about me, it seems. 

I feel so different. The world feels different now that I am this way, like we aren't meant for one another. Nothing is comfortable, physically or otherwise. 

I'm having trouble saying it all. Sometimes familiar words and phrases are easier, even if they don't quite fit what's happening. 

Happy pride, everyone. This is what mine looks like. This is what my entire life looks like. And being strong is not easy anymore.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Pain Update: Answers!

It's been about 16 months since this pain began, and I finally have some answers, though I worry there still may be more to the issue, but I'm always the one to think the worst. For the past 3 months or so, the pain has been at its worst, and most days I can do no more than sit up in bed without wanting to scream in agony. (I say wanting because, if you know anything about chronic pain, you know that, after a while, you learn to stop screaming and suffer in silence: Your body adapts, but the pain doesn't necessarily lessen.)

Anyway, my fiance essentially had to drag me to the emergency room this time because, after my last hospital experience during which I was accused of seeking narcotics and sent home in pain with no hope of relief, I didn't want to put myself through anything like that again. However, since I couldn't lift myself or even turn over in bed, I figured it needed to happen.

After a horrible experience of being repeatedly outed by no fewer than 7 staff members--even though we told each one about the issue--the doctors decided to do something different. Now, I've been pointing to the same spot for the past 16 months and explaining exactly what the pain feels like and which positions are most agonizing, yet no one thought it would be a good idea to take an x-ray of that area. And I wanted to cry when I heard what they found.

I have a protuberance at the right anterior femoral head/neck junction that is causing femoral acetabular impingement, which actually could explain all of my symptoms. They also found mild degenerative changes in both SI joints and my pubic symphysis, though they don't believe the arthritis is severe enough to result in pain like this. But this news is a hell of a lot better than what I had been thinking.

I still need to follow-up with someone, but I'm no longer fumbling around in the dark hoping to stumble across an answer. Given that this has been going on for over a year, I worry that I will still need surgery to correct the issue, but 4 months or so of recovery from a minimally invasive procedure would be well worth it if i could actually enjoy my life again. Maybe by next pride I'll be able to go out and participate instead of watching videos from my bed.

I'm ready to be myself again. Here's hoping that, one year from now, I will again feel at home in my body--that it will no longer feel like a prison due to these limitations. Though I've learned a lot about pain and disability from this experience, I'm ready for it to be over, though that alone seems selfish, given that many people do not have that option. I have too many thoughts right now!