Hello friends! Sorry I haven’t posted. It’s been a difficult week. I went on hormones back in December, which was actually great: I immediately felt a strong reduction in dysphoria–so much so I no longer needed to put on makeup or wear my wig just to go on a walk. But then a week ago I developed a blood clot in my leg! We caught it early (my wife, who is a doctor, made a clutch diagnosis based on nothing more than a muscle ache and slight swelling), and now I’m on blood thinners and probably won’t die of a pulmonary embolism!
But as a result, I’ve stopped estrogen (which increases risk of blood clots). It was really emotional for me–in part because the hormoness did things to my emotions, I am sure, but also because it seemed to represent a potential hard stop to my trans journey. Or at least that’s how I felt at the time. I cried. A lot.
I’ve since spoken to my doctor, who is a trans woman herself, and she talked about getting me back on estrogen therapy once my course of treatment for the clot is over in three months. That made me feel better. So did the cessation of the splitting headache that I got from estrogen withdrawal.
Through this all, I’ve been so wonderful to have the support of my wife. She’s one of the most amazing people I’ve ever known, and it’s kind of nuts that I happen to be married to her! Like what are the odds? I would’ve settled for a person a lot less awesome than her, so it’s really just complete good fortune (rather than high standards) on my part.
I’ve been reading Torrey Peters’s newly-released novel, *Detransition, Baby*. It’s really good. I’ve gotten into trans women’s literature recently. One think DB discusses is the way that trans women are sometimes not kind or forgiving when it comes to each other. For a long time, I saw other trans women as potential competitors–I was worried they would steal my ability to write about these experiences. But lately I’ve come to realize that they are actually a source of tremendous strength. Not to mention my natural audience! It literally makes no sense to be afraid of the people who are most capable of understanding my work. But in a way it’s also scary: when you know you’ll be read by other trans people, you’re held to a higher standard, somehow. I dunno, I can’t explain it, because you’d think the opposite would be true: trans women would just be happy to see any representation of themselves and not care how good it is.
Oh well. I’ve been loving DB. It’s been an insanely emotional experience, only slightly tinged with envy (Peters’s agent turned down my book without even requesting the manuscript!) The book is made with the pieces of my life. I’m like, wow, is this what it’s like to be cis-gendered? Like, you just intuitively get what the characters are going through? It’s really wild.
It’s also made me reflect on my own life. The thing is, life is really difficult for trans women. At one point in the book, one of the characters reflects on how trans women don’t even get to have normal woman problems: "Can I have it all? Can I juggle a baby and a career? Am I being overtaken or extinguished by domesticity?" Most trans women aren’t in the kinds of relationships, nor do they have the kinds of careers, that allow for those concerns. And, to be honest, it’s largely because of prejudice. I’ve heard countless stories of trans women in the professions who’ve essentially been bullied out of their jobs. When you come out, the most likely result is that you’ll lose everything.
You don’t have to believe me when I say that. I honestly don’t care if you do. But this is a book that gets it. Trans women, even when superficially comfortable, live very precarious lives.
None of this applies to me, though. A persistent theme in this book is how many trans women long to be mothers. It’s odd to read this book with a baby in the house–a child who I love but still never regarded as an essential part of my life plan. In that way, I am a lot like the cis women who had children just by default–the women that the trans characters scorn and resent.
I’m also financially stable, and my marriage has survived apparently intact, which is a highly unusual occurrence (which I hope will last!) My career has suffered from coming out, but if I could’ve chosen to lose one thing: my income, my relationship, or my career–I would’ve chosen the career. It’s hard to sell a book about trans women to a major publisher! But everyone finds it difficult to sell a book to a major publisher. It is what it is.