Pasupatidasi's Blog

thoughts, poetry, life as it is…


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waiting to exhale

it’s been a whole month since my daughter and i ventured west to california, an annual pilgrimage for us –  not just because we still have a place in the northern mendocino mountains, because these days we kill two birds with one stone, merging this ‘vacation’ ritual with appointments at the UCSF child and adolescent gender clinic.

but this year was special!  this year ziona reached the inevitable  ‘tanner level 2′.  that means that she was ready for the next step in her journey to her true self.

in the months leading up to this visit, ziona had been very distraught over the increasing ‘pop-ups’ of the part of her anatomy that betrays her.  the level of pain this caused her psyche apparent in the renewed threats to simply ‘cut it off’.  all day long that unruly and incorrect member beset her young mind with the constant reminder that things are not as they should be.

now it has been a month since the magickal implant was placed in her arm.  and the difference this has made is amazing.  tho results are individual, the relief of her ‘symptoms’ is already huge!

the first week was horrible! she kept on expecting that she would be free of the erections and the growth of the testes would be immediate.  she accused the implant of being a dud.  she cried every time a ‘stiffie’ raised it ugly head.  she begged me just to bring her back to the clinic and insist that an orchietomy be performed.  her anxiety that nothing would stop the onslaught of male puberty nearly consumed her.

i explained to her that it would take some time for the vantas implant to get into her system and shut down testosterone producation.  and altho i had faith that this was the case,  i found myself as on pins and needles as she seemed to be.  so i held my breath, hoping i would be proved right, the sooner the better.

so here we are now, a month later.  the testes are visibly retreating.  the horrid erections are nearly non-existant any more.  my beautiful daughter is far less anxious about the process and protocols that we are following, far more convinced that we will be able to make sure she doesn’t grow a beard, or develop a deeper voice.

on our way back home we visited with a good friend of mine, one whom i’ve known for eternities i’m sure, one who just happens be transgender.  altho dropping in on her had much more to do with my self wanting to reconnect with Candy after all the years, it served as further evidence that surgical gender transformation would eventually liberate ziona to become fully female as well.  it felt almost like a part of her was reassured in a way that simply telling her how this whole protocol worked could never quite do!

we skinny-dipped in a pond at my friend’s house.  so ziona saw a beautiful transgender woman, who had shed the cocoon of her former self and become who she was always meant to be.  the visage wasn’t wasted on her – she almost seemed to breathe a relieved sigh.

as for me, after feeling as tho i’ve been holding my breath for many months, i can finally rest a bit easier.  we have put one foot in front of the other on the path that is unfolding before us, and i’m no longer suffocating…no longer waiting to exhale!


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the right gender

a person, whose blog i regularly read, posted a wing-dinger  the other day.  everything from political correctness to language policing and beyond made up part of the excellent read.  as usual the blogger did a very good job slicing through the subtleties of how acceptance is doled out or withheld to those within their own sub-culture. but the first paragraph really got me going.  because in it, this tidbit came to light: some transgender folk actually dare to wish they weren’t trans.

apparently, in today’s “oh so politically correct” world, not only is it frowned upon to make a difference between transgender or cis-gender, but if one is a member of the former it is abhorred to long to have been born into the latter!

my transgender daughter spends most of her days NOT thinking about being trans, (in fact she doesn’t much identify with the term) but wishing she had been born the girl she is.  and it seems that is taboo by some within the T community.  it is abhorrent and worthy of a severe reprimand from some.

but here’s the thing, i find it rather disingenuous to be up in arms, as it were, against those folk honest enough to to admit that they wish for an easier time of being who they are.  don’t we all who struggle, for whatever it is that we want so badly and don’t have, wish for an easier way of getting it?  people who are very poor might wish they’d been born into a family with wealth.  is that loathsome too? is it wrong, when life seems to have wronged you, to wish it weren’t so?

my daughter wishes every single day that she’d been born in a girl’s body!  is that really a reason to be hated?  should she have to be ‘trans and proud’ in order to garner the respect and support of others?  because she’s not proud of having the ‘wrong parts’…she’s horrified!  she lives for the day that modern surgical techniques can make right the wrong done her by her very own body,  its betrayal of who she really is!

if assimilation is wrong, why do so many transgender women and men do so much to ‘pass’ as the gender that is between their ears?   must transgender folk all be card-carrying members for life, wearing the “T” on their sleeves in order NOT to be set upon by other transgender types?  after all, in my daughter’s mind,  being transgender is a temporary condition.  one that will be a landscape in the rear-view mirror someday.

even after ‘the surgery’  i know that she will need cross-hormones for the rest of her life, and that no matter how much of a girl she looks, behaves or identifies that there will be those in the lgbt community and society at large who feel it their place to judge and criticise her.  under these circumstances, who wouldn’t wish they’d simply been born ‘the right gender’ to begin with?

 

 


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a light in the darkness

amidst the very mixed news regarding all things transgender came the awesome news this week, that medicare will begin to pay for treatment of gender dysphoria, including surgery.

this is awesome news for us! we are at the place as of this month, where such things as puberty blockers and much more counseling are the reality.  and since ziona receives medi-caid, this means i won’t have to wrangle and threaten lawsuits to get them to pony up the dough.

it is good news for every transgender person!

so altho there are still small minds out there that don’t understand what it means to be trans, at least the rules have been changed in favour of those who must put up with small-minded folk.

of course, there may exist a few more battles in acquiring this treatment for minors.  but it just got much easier to care for and support the needs of our transgender children.  if one cannot be kept from having a life-saving and time proven, non-experimental therapy as an adult, the same treatments cannot be withheld from pre-adults…i hope.

so we are on our way as of the end of this week.  ziona will be seen by her team at the ucsf child and adolescent gender clinic.  she has already been assessed as ready for the puberty blockers, and her psychiatric therapist has already deemed going forward as absolutely necessary to her health, and well-being.  and now, the expense will be covered as well!

so despite the nay-sayers, the small minds, and the previous reluctance on the part of medi-caid to cover expenses, she will as of this month begin drawing closer to the goal of being ‘all girl’, as she calls it.

a light shining through the darkness, for ziona….and many others!


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if tears could but heal

as loving parents, the pain our children feel is our own in a way…a deep way.  my daughter is going through pain i wish no child ever had to feel.  and there’s nothing i can do but stand by and hurt right along with her…

except i can’t really know how hard what she is going through is for her.  she has a body that every day tells lies about her.  that says, ‘you’re not what you think you are’.  the part of her she most wants nothing to do with seems to have its own mind…it has its way with her.   it jumps up and slaps her with the most unkind reality.

entering into tanner level two means that we can move forward a bit now.  we can get the puberty blockers that will stop her from developing the irreversible male traits testosterone would cause. and that’s a good thing.  but this level has also made her acutely aware of her helplessness in the situation.  every morning and often throughout the day, the penis she wants no part of makes itself hard and even harder to ignore.  she is crushed every time it happens.  she wants so much just to cut it off of her body.  i talk her through it with the same words every time.  that cutting it off would injure, maybe even kill her.

the problem is that she is in such pain that death seems an option for her.  she would rather be dead than have to go through what she is dealing with.  she threatens suicide.  i watch over her closely,  remind her that the problem of her having the wrong parts is temporary, fixable but that death is forever.  the words echo and clang around …so many empty cans kicked down the alley.

lately she sleeps, way too much.  i know why.  when i was in prison i wanted to sleep until my release date.  this is what she is doing.  she even admits that she wishes she could slip into a coma until   “after the surgery”.  she is every bit as much in a prison as was i.  though mine was only steel bars, walls and barbed wire fences, and mine was one i had earned.

her prison is far more constraining.  and she committed no crime justifying the sentence against her.  how i wish i could free her this moment! how i wish i could wave a magick wand and change her into the girl she will be.  how i wish it were possible to get the surgery done yesterday!

but i am as much a prisoner as is she in all of this.  my hands are bound, and i have no power to open the gates that will set her free.  there are protocols that are in place for good reasons.  there is a prescribed way forward that unfortunately must include time.  time so unkindly slowly passing between now and the day she can be under a surgeons blade.  time that doesn’t speed up no matter how much we want it to.  circumstances that depend upon time for their resolution are always most unkind!

this is a depressing read, i know.  and if anyone is still with me by this point please understand, i will get her through this.  i will keep her safe.  but how can i alleviate the pain she feels?  my own heart sinks below the horizon of a future that seems so far out of sight!  i am torn apart!  whereas she can temper her sadness with anger about the situation, i haven’t the benefit of this.  instead, feeling every bit as frustrated that so much of her being made whole depends solely on the passage of time and the reaching of a certain age,  standing helplessly by without remedy that can soothe her, i bleed from every pore of my being.

if these tears could but heal.


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if only i didn’t love her

today we, ziona and my self, spoke to her psychiatrist for gender dysphoria in advance of our trip out to university of san francisco for her appoint at the child and adolescent gender clinic.  dr. giamattei asked me something that i almost never hear: “what are you doing for you?”

having a transgender child is worrisome enough. there are hurdles and protocols, expenses that often one must fight to have insurance or medicaid pay…there is the pain of watching the child’s pain about something beyond our power to reconcile.

it’s not like when they’re sick, and feverish, … so that an over the counter pain reliever or febrifuge will suffice.  it’s not like when they’ve fallen down and skinned their knees, when a bit of healing salve and a kiss to make it better helps.  it’s not like when someone at school has been mean or unfair to them and you march right down to wherever to stand up for them and demand an apology.

there’s no one to speak an apology for what has happened to ziona.  there’s no medication to alleviate her pain.  and all the kisses in the world from ‘mom’ or anyone else can’t make it better.

things like puberty blocking implants are only a first step…the one we are at these days.  then it’s down to waiting again. for time to pass, for the magickal age at which she can start cross-hormones. and then another wait. it will be at the very least, five whole years before she turns 16, when a surgeon who has already agreed that ziona should get the reassignment that early given her level of dysphoria, can give her the rest of what she will need to feel whole.

because ziona is also autistic, and has issues with self-calming and ocd, this whole transgender thing, this condition, is even harder on her than on a child who is able to ‘take a breath’…to let this ‘wrong part’ not be an overwhelming thorn in the side,  one who is at least capable of  avoiding a melt-down when the unavoidable pop-ups (erections) occur.

yes,…it hurts us as parents when we must stand by, with nothing whatsoever that we can do to alleviate our children’s suffering…it hurts…and i don’t know what to do for me.  for the frustration i have that time doesn’t go faster, that i can’t wave a magick wand and change her into the girl she is. i don’t know what to do for me, to make me okay with the pain i see her going through every day.

if only i didn’t love her…


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on pins and needles

there are few things that hurt a parent more than bearing witness to their child’s pain.  the depth of love we feel for our children touches us to everything they must endure…a fever, nightmares, hurt feelings when another child betrays them, bullies them…the frustrations they encounter are our own, the diseases they contract we’d gladly take upon ourselves to spare them pain.

my daughter was born under a sentence…one that was unfairly imposed upon her…one that only grows more painful with the passing of time…the words: “it’s a boy”.

she’s not a boy.  altho it took 3 1/2 years for her to be able to tell me, and another couple of years for me to hear it, she is really a girl…

since 6 years of age she has been living as the girl she is, dressing in the clothes she chooses, her hair down to her butt almost, everyone using the proper pronouns in referring to her…even the name she has chosen as her own…all add to her identity as a girl. but of course, there are body parts that aren’t a girl’s parts.  and lately these have been causing her mountains of pain.  you see, she has reached an age where erections have become frequent, and the testicles have begun to fill out.   i can’t imagine how much this must bother her, how unfair it must seem to her.

so she has once again, as she did when she first found out that the ‘boy parts’ (her words) wouldn’t just fall off some day, begun verbalising a desire to ‘cut it off’…and verbalising how she’d rather die than have these parts.

her dysphoria is intense!  no matter that she knows there exist some transgender females who are not opting for surgery to change them, who know they are girls no matter what parts they do or don’t have,  she is adamant that for her surgery is a must…she wishes we could lie about her age so that she could have it done yesterday!  no matter how much she understands that these ‘parts’ are really her ‘girl garden’… one day to be used to fashion her new and more fitting parts.

she is into tanner level 2 now.  a magickal assignation for transgender girls because at this stage she can be placed on testosterone blockers, or puberty blockers…she hopes that these will stop the ‘stiffies’ (again, her words) that she so hates for the reminder they are to her of that sentence she is under…the one spoken when she was born.

it means she will either get an implant or have monthly injections to stave off any testosterone changes,  hair growing where girls shouldn’t have it, voice deepening, bones lengthening, hands and feet getting large, an adam’s apple…all the things which that hormone would do to further rob her of her identity as a girl.

so in just under a month, we will be at the child and adolescent gender clinic at ucsf discussing which method we will use for delivery of the gnrh…and when to begin the subsequent cross hormones that will usher her into puberty as a girl.

i hurt for her, but i can’t really know her pain…i’m a cis-gender woman, i’ve always had the parts that affirm my identity as female.  still, i am as anxious as is she to get this show on the road, so to speak.  to take the first steps to move her toward a goal she knows she must attain if she’s to feel completely ‘good’ about herself.

until then we’re both on pins and needles!

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