Sunday, October 15, 2017

Married Life Update and First Definitions

Hello all!

Update on married life: Actually, it's the same. After being together for 9 years, and living together for 4 of them, there's not much to change. Of course I'm happy that it's legal and we had a celebration, but day to day hasn't really changed much - except now I get to call her my "wife". 😉

A new blog section that I've been thinking about for a bit is regarding definitions and education. I want to do some definitions in my posts, and maybe one or two per post will get me to blog more often. This topic also came up in our PFLAG meeting today so I figure it was as good a time as any to dig into it.

IT'S TIME TO LEARN, PEOPLE! 😃

Let's start with the basic: "transgender"

Merriam-Webster states the definition as: "a person whose gender identity differs from the sex the person had or was identified as having at birth"

Trans Student Educational Resources states the definition as: "An umbrella term for people whose gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth. The term transgender is not indicative of gender expression, sexual orientation, hormonal makeup, physical anatomy, or how one is perceived in daily life. Note that transgender does not have an 'ed' at the end."

Both definitions are correct, however, the TSER version is much more elaborate and expansive. Someone who is transgender, simply, does not identify with the sex they were assigned at birth. This can mean anything from Male to Female, Female to Male, Genderqueer, Gender fluid, Agender, and more. The term "transgender" is an umbrella term to include many different gender identities. It is a good word to use, I feel, since gender is on a spectrum and someone's gender identity can vary over time while they can still remain under the transgender umbrella.

Since we're doing transgender, let's also review one that is often confused to mean the same thing - which is - "transsexual".

Merriam Webster states: "a person whose gender identity is opposite the sex the person had or was identified as having at birth
**NOTE: Transsexual people may or may not undergo surgery and hormone therapy to obtain a physical appearance typical of the gender they identify as."

Notice that although these two terms are similar, they are NOT the same.

They key difference between these two terms is one basic concept.

-Someone who is transgender identifies differently than their sex assigned at birth.
-Someone who is transsexual identifies with the opposite than their sex assigned at birth.

More often than not, someone who is transsexual will utilize medical methods to physically align with their desired gender identity. Those who are transgender do not always use hormones and have any type of surgeries, but they can. Another great note regarding someone who is transsexual from the TSER website is as follows: "Unlike transgender/trans, transsexual is not an umbrella term, as many transgender people do not identify as transsexual. When speaking/writing about trans people, please avoid the word transsexual unless asked to use it by a transsexual person."

Hope this helps clear up some things, and if you have any requests for definitions or ramblings, let me know!

As always, if anyone has any questions or wants to chat more about anything, you can reach me via email or Facebook messenger.


Sources:
Merriam-Webster "Transgender"
Merriam-Webster "Transsexual"
TSER Definitions


Sunday, September 24, 2017

Married and Honeymooned

I'm a husband. That is still so strange to say and think.

We were married officially on September 6th, 2017 (our 9 year anniversary) and then drove up to PA to celebrate for the long weekend at Lacawac Sanctuary. We cannot say enough amazing things about the location and the staff (Craig was phenomenal) and can't wait to rent out the place again for our anniversaries and probably family reunions.

The weekend was full of great friends, fantastic food, and fun times. It will be a weekend that will live on in our memories for years to come and we want to thank everyone who was involved. We love all of you!

The honeymoon in Costa Rica was full of mostly happiness, relaxation, and celebrating. Note to future self: we don't drink enough to make 'all-inclusive' worth it.

The first half of the honeymoon in Arenal was amazing. Next time, we will stay at Tabacon in Arenal for the full week and do excursions during the day, and the hot springs at night. Even though the price only included breakfast buffet, (it was authentic costa rican food btw) it was worth it to adventure in the mornings and then nap to skip lunch, and pay for dinner because the food was amazing and absolutely worth it.

The 'all-inclusive' at Secrets Papagayo was not worth the money to us. It was full of drunk Americans who were happy eating penne alfredo and broccoli slathered in cheddar cheese. The view from the room was great, but the food and ambiance was NOT worth it. The spa was underwhelming and the excursions were at least double the price of the ones while we were at Tabacon. The best part of the few days at 'Secrets' was when we hired a taxi to take us to Coco Beach for souvenir shopping and authentic chifrijo (which was fucking delicious).

All in all, we made the best of it and really enjoyed the week off - so it was a success for us.

Bonus! I got promoted and a raise the day before we left, so that was another cherry on top of the whole week in general.

Thank you again to everyone involved with the wedding, we had an amazing September, and are looking forward to the brunch reception in October!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

One Month to Go!

One month until we get married and even though I'm feeling it a little bit (stress and anxiety-wise), I'm honestly just excited to finally have it all be legal. Now I just have to get my updated passport and we'll be good to go!

Time has been flying which is why I haven't posted in awhile.

We've been managing and planning everything week to week so it's been hard to keep track of time overall - I can't believe our wedding is in a month...

I hope everyone has been having a great summer - we got to attend opening weekend at the NY Renaissance Faire yesterday which is a tradition we shall miss if we end up moving too far away to come back for it. It was fun seeing everyone again, having a Bee Sting, and seeing what was new around the faire - which was quite a bit actually.

Sarah's parents are in the final stages of closing on the house and will be heading to Florida soon after the wedding. It's nice that they decided to stay around until post-wedding, it's going to help a lot in the week or so leading up to it.

Mostly I think I'm just excited for Costa Rica and a real vacation with just the two of us for the first time... it's going to be amazing.

Also, Dream Daddy has taken over my life. Between that, Game of Thrones later, Destiny 2 releasing on OUR WEDDING DAY OF COURSE, and Nicole buying Overwatch - we're set for a bit on games.

I also have to finish Horizon.

And Dishonored 2. Damnit.



That's about it for now but I have a few topics that I'm working on to write about, so hopefully I'll have some time to post here before the wedding. If anyone has topics to suggest, please do so and I will work on it!

Until next time!




Saturday, June 17, 2017

Pride Month and Other Warm Holidays

As always, Pride month so far has been great. We marched in the parade with PFLAG at Long Beach, and I have been asked to write a piece for Moxie Media regarding my work with PFLAG and the LGBTQ+ Community - very exciting!

I won't be able to make NYC Pride this year, as I'm finally going camping with my Dad, after years of not going, and we'll be gone all of next weekend.

Also, I got fancy PFLAG business cards, which are super cute and I love them.

We're wedding planning, and crunching numbers, and making things work - but it's all very exciting. It's hard to believe that in 3 months we'll be on our honeymoon in Costa Rica! Speaking of which, I mailed in what is needed to change my name and gender on my passport, and here's hoping that it all goes off without a hitch. I am, of course, nervous about it - and played in my mind over and over what was in the envelope hoping that nothing was missing. Now, we wait.

Sarah's parents sold their house!! They accepted an offer and will be staying in an extended stay hotel until after the wedding, so who knows maybe we'll be in Florida this year for the holidays!

On the topic of house hunting, Sarah has been checking out architectural plans for houses so that we can choose a house for it's size and layout and then just find a plot to eventually build it on, no matter what state we end up in. Folks, I cannot stop daydreaming about this house. It's going to be glorious. I can't wait to be a work from home Dad and raise kids in it with her. Seriously, this daydreaming is becoming a problem during daily activities...

That's about it for now, I have a few topics that I want to get to but it's late and I've been writing for a few hours now on the wedding questionnaire for our small ceremony in PA, and the article for Moxie Media.

Happy pride everyone!



Sunday, May 21, 2017

I'm a PFLAG Long Island Board Member!

Hey all! I know it's been awhile, and I say this every time, so I won't drag on about it. I'll just jump right in.

I was working 50-60 hour 6-day weeks in February and March since my team got a lot of work thrown at them, so needless to say I wasn't really functioning much on my one day off enough to get on here and update. Other than that, Zelda on the Switch has been (understandably so) taking over my life. Side note: it is better than I could have even dreamed.

So here are some updates: As of today, I am the Co Vice President of PFLAG Long Island, we had the board votes today at the monthly meeting and I am absolutely honored to be on the board. Pride month is swiftly approaching and this year it is going to be a whole weekend (June 9-11) in Long Beach with a carnival, a 5K, dinner and drink specials all weekend, and a huge parade on Sunday. Cannot wait to be a part of that, and to have fun on the boardwalk. If anyone needs more info please reach out to me via email (akircheim@gmail.com).

We booked our honeymoon for a week after the wedding, and we're going to COSTA RICA! Very excited as we have never really had a vacation together with just us, and the idea of staying near a volcano hot spring and then an all inclusive resort just sounds glorious.

I've been getting back into working out, slowly, a little bit at a time - and I think it's really done a lot for my mental state. Not that I was depressed or on a down slope - but my self esteem has always been lacking and with the wedding coming up it really helped my motivation to get outside and start moving. It's been over a month so I really hope I stick with it!

*          *          *

Food for thought: Someone's gender identity and sexuality (more referred to as sexual orientation) are not correlated. I find that this is something that people often don't fully grasp, so let me explain. Gender identity is where someone identifies themselves on the spectrum of gender (yes, there is a spectrum and a variety between what is traditionally thought of as male and female). A person can identify as fully male, mostly male, some male, some female, mostly female, fully female, or anywhere in-between. There are even people who consider themselves both male and female, neither male nor female, or some variation of the two. That being said, their sexual or romantic attraction does not depend on their gender or expression (how they express themselves to others by way of hairstyle, clothing, gait, language, etc). For example, if someone is AFAB (Assigned Female At Birth) and transitions to male, that does not mean that they are transitioning because they are attracted to women and want to be a man for that reason. They could still be attracted to men and identify as a gay male. Just as someone who identifies as female can be attracted to women and consider herself a lesbian. People do not transition to conform to social norms, they are just doing what they need to in order to feel comfortable in their own body.

TLDR: Gender identity is who you go to bed AS, sexuality is who you go to bed WITH.

That being said, there are people who feel no sexual/romantic attraction (sexual and romantic attraction are different so perhaps that should be explained in another post) or are completely repulsed by any sexual activity as well as many more types of asexuality (if you are interested please check out this website regarding asexuality and it's own spectrum).

As always, I'm available for any questions or clarifications, open discussion, or just someone to vent to. Feel free to reach out, and let me know what else would be good to see on the blog!

Hope to see some people at the Long Beach Long Island Pride Parade on June 11th on the boardwalk!






Saturday, January 21, 2017

Missing Michael and Drump's First Day

I've been thinking about my brother Michael a lot lately... maybe it's because of all of the cool things that I've been experiencing and am excited for. Funnily enough, I'm not even talking about my wedding.

He would have been more excited than anyone I know about the Nintendo Switch. He'd already be talking shit to anyone who would listen about how he's going to destroy them in Mario Kart, especially since Battle Mode is back; or how he's going to get every star in Mario Odyssey before some people even own the game.

I think I miss him more now than I did a few years ago, and maybe deep down I knew that it would be this way, I just didn't know when it was going to hit. Well, it's hit. Maybe it's a worse because our birthdays are coming up, or new Nintendo games just make me think of him and I playing Super Mario in the basement until 3 am, or maybe it's just because I'm at such a comfortable place with myself and who I am as a trans man that my brain is finding something else to pick at...


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Karen got me a drawing tablet for Christmas - a Wacom Intuous - and it's probably one of the coolest things I've ever owned. I can't remember the last time I didn't want to go to sleep because it would mean that I'd have to stop playing with a new toy.

Right now I'm just finding other people's fan art that I'm tracing and coloring, just to practice using it and figure out more about drawing in general - but it's fantastic and if anyone is even slightly interested in digital art, get one. It's a lot of fun, and very easy to use - which is great for me because I'll be 97 in July (hehe) and technology and I are not great friends.


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I'm currently struggling with the idea of coming out to everyone at my job that I started in April of this past year. As much as I like blending, I want people to know and come to me and learn. I'm struggling between wanting to tell and educate everyone, and worrying that it will change any established dynamic on my team - because I love my team. We are doing well and I don't want to throw any kind of wrench into it that may cause a rift anywhere. Not to mention if we ever talk about politics in the office, which we don't, and I hope we continue not to....

Yesterday was the first day of the next four (hopefully only four and not eight) years.

Drumpf was sworn in, executive orders were signed, and riots ensued.

We're all going to have to be stronger than ever for this.... I hope we're ready.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Typical of my body to rebel against me....

I'm sick.
Again.

I had the flu a few weeks ago - which was absolutely awful, wow, no thank you - and now I have something that eerily (yet negative when tested) resembles strep throat.

It started on Thanksgiving at the soon-to-be-in-laws' residence because they have 3 cats and I doubled up on allergy pills which did next to nothing and was completely expected. I always know if I spend more than a few minutes there I will absolutely feel like crap for at least 8 hours. Only this time, nothing got better. Not after 8, 12, or even 24 hours. I had off of work Friday, and we went shopping because we are insane and it's the BEST people watching day OF THE YEAR, and felt worse as the day went on. I slept on the couch, sitting up, Friday night and woke up on Saturday morning a complete mess. "If I have a fever, I'll go to the clinic"...... BEEPBEEPBEEP..... "Damn." I came home with Vitamin Water, enough tissues for what I thought would last a weekend (I was sorely mistaken), a bottle of nasal spray, prescription cough medicine, and Augmentin (regardless that the strep test was negative). No partridges or pear trees, sadly.

So of course, on a 4 day weekend, my body completely shuts down and I do nothing. Which is GLORIOUS when I'm not hacking up phlegm and using 2 boxes of tissues over the course of a day with aches, pains, and consistent post nasal drip.

My immune system is really just terrible. Allergies, asthma, crappy immune system, vitamin D deficiency - it's no wonder my friends call me Steve.



Just a quick update for now - more when I don't have a headache and can get my thoughts together...

PS - I'm on the new laptop, YAY Black Friday!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Thoughts and updates - trying to stay positive

So. Trump is going to be our next president.

Of course I am afraid. Many of us are. I've been thinking a lot about what I should write here, and how to express what I'm feeling. However there have been so many others who have written, and expressed, and done such a damn good job doing it that I think it might be best if I just pass on this one.

Plus, there are other things that I want to talk about. Positive things. Like wedding planning! Still in early stages so I won't bore anyone, but I just want to say that regardless of what happens over the next few months with laws and marriage and rights, etc. I'm still very excited about marrying my best friend.

Some updates!

Northwell Health's Transgender Clinic is not only up and running, it is THRIVING. We needed to prove that services for trans* individuals was necessary in the community by fulfilling the grant promise of 40 patients within the 1st year. It is now less than 6 months and we are at 47 patients, with more intake appointments already scheduled. Negotiations are now underway to get a new grant, this one for 5 years instead of 1 year. VERY EXCITING!

PFLAG's Transparentsy Group was very intimate today, as it was only myself and 2 members who split to the other room - however I think it was fantastic to have a more intimate meeting and be able to address very specific questions that the members had. Not only did we get to address the fear and anxiousness associated with this past week's election results, we also got to discuss Gender Identity vs Gender Expression which I could talk about for hours - so it was a nice decompression from the crap that's been flooding me emotionally this week.

Gender Conference East 2016 in NJ was such an engaging experience, and it was so energizing to see and meet people who truly believe that this is important and are willing to fight for it on a daily basis, or even just learn something that they didn't know about before they got there. So many people seemed to genuinely interested and willing to learn and help, it gave me a lot of hope about not only the youth and our distant future, but also for the next few months (and years) while Trump is president. Many people understood the fear of those that are trans* or gender non confirming and what their future could look like. I made contacts with lawyers, teachers, health professionals, and analysts that will help us all move forward and fight for what we know is right. Okay, getting off of the soap box now.

Anyway, at the conference I met someone who works in a law office in NYC that has contact with 40 or more lawyers that are ready and willing to do PRO BONO name changes and gender marker changes so if anyone needs (or you know someone who may need) any assistance with that, please please please reach out and I will connect you. I also learned a lot about where the community is, and where we're going, how to help, and new terms to use. Example: the terms "supportive" and "non-supportive" are being replaced with "affirming" and "non-affirming" since people may be acting in a way or saying things that they truly believe to be supporting and are only doing it out of concern and love. This relates to the argument that I make about the difference between tolerance vs acceptance - which I would love to address in a later post.

Okay sorry that was a bit long but it's been awhile. I will do my best to update more frequently (I know I say that a lot, but I'm setting a reminder in my phone RIGHT NOW to try and get me to come on here more).

Be safe out there friends.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

I finally did the thing

Hello everyone! I've been working average 10 hour days lately, so I haven't been around much, sorry about that.

WE GOT ENGAGED ON JULY 6TH!!!

I finally popped the question where we had our first date. A tiny hole in the wall, sushi restaurant, the only people who were around were the sushi chef and his son - and they were very happy for us. It was perfect.

FAQ:

1. We have not chosen a date yet - shooting for Fall 2017.
2. We have no idea where we want to have it.
3. It will not be a huge or expensive wedding so pinterest DIY projects are appreciated
4. Yes, I got on one knee.
5. No I didn't ask her father for permission.
6. No, I will not be wearing a tux.
7. Yes, it will somehow involve superheroes.
8. We don't know where/when the engagement party will be yet.

That about covers it.

Next time: The condescending letter and check from my grandfather! (Yes, the one who wrote me an 8 page letter about fiscal responsibility and that I'm ruining my parent's lives by transitioning - it's great, you won't want to miss it)

I will try to post again soon, we are working at the NY Renaissance Faire Saturdays from August - October. So here's hoping I get some time in to write, it's been so long!!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

NYC Pride Parade! A week late, sorry....

I know I'm a week late but it's been crazy this past week and I wanted to have enough time to really write about how Pride went.

IT WAS AMAZING!!

We marched with PFLAG Long Island (after some begging Sarah agreed to join me - worth it), and even though we had to wait over 2 hours before we got to march, it was such an amazing experience. The parents were excited, the kids who marched with us were excited, and the crowd was unbelievable. The love that we felt coming from the sidelines of the parade was nothing short of impressive. It was amazing to see all sorts of people turning up to show support, love, and camaraderie.

I wore a new tank-top that I bought from https://whattranslookslike.myshopify.com/ that says "This is What Trans Looks Like" and I got a bunch of compliments on it.

Something strange happened, however, and it's very interesting to me.

People were using female pronouns. At first I was confused, and a bit upset - and then it hit me. They assumed that I was born male. I was passing harder than any day of my life - at the pride parade - because people were trying to be supportive of someone who they knew was trans from the shirt, but assumed was trans female. Once that hit me I couldn't stop smiling about it.

Sarah wore a shirt that I bought for her that says "Hearts not Parts" with a rainbow heart on it. It's the cutest thing ever - Here's a picture

It was a long walk, and it was tiring, but it was worth it.

One of the best parts of the day was when we got back to our local train station, and a man saw us coming down the stairs, and tapped me on the shoulder - said "happy pride, guys" while smiling at us and then he head up the stairs to the train. It was so heartfelt, and genuine. We had been hearing the crowd cheer all day, and waving to us - which was great, but this was different. This was from one human to another, not for a crowd or waving a sign or for anyone else's sake. It was just for the sake of support and love.

Overall, it was a great day. Now Pride month is over and as fun as it was - it will be nice to have lazy weekends for a bit before Faire season.