Thursday, December 10, 2015

Making my own path.

A few months ago I was invited to host a workshop at LICAC (a yearly conference for Guidance Counselors on Long Island) about my story and LGBTQ youth. It was a fantastic experience, and I got to share my story and teach others about pronouns, the need for school groups like GSA, and why gender neutral bathrooms should be in schools. I made business cards for the event, and handed them out at the end of the workshop.

Not only did people love my presentation, but I also heard stories about their schools and issues they are having with paperwork for college applications, etc. I even got a note from one woman thanking me for being brave enough to share my story, and that one of her children is gender non-conforming and of course she loves them and supports them and loves that things are changing for the better. That is the reason I do this. For people who need to know that they are not alone, and that their kids are going to be okay. That they can make it and have a normal life just like anyone else. I want to help create a world that is accepting and equal and supportive.

I'm now working on how to do more of these events, and even turn it into my career. There is something to be said when I don't get bored of something - and I continue to learn and grow and stay passionate about something. This is it right now in my life. I want to educate and fight for these kids who need a voice that can reach administration and boards of education and PTA meetings. They need someone to walk into a room full of school administrators and tell them what "gender non-conforming" or "transgender" means, and why it's important that they cater to these kids, and what they can do to help them feel comfortable and safe in schools, where they often spend more time than at home.

I have a few more events coming up, and I'm excited to see how much of an interest there is for information like this, although I've already had a few people tell me that I can turn this into a real job since my timing is right. Legislation was just enacted recently regarding transgender students, and schools (and parents I'm sure) have questions, some of them personal, and they need someone they can trust to answer honestly.

So I'm interested to see where this goes... I guess we'll find out.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Small victories.

There is something refreshing about NOT being recognized. Don't get me wrong, I never intend on keeping my identity, my life, and my journey a secret. But the look on people's faces when they don't recognize me, is priceless. I'm not making fun, I'm not judging or offended like "how could they not know it's me", I'm just excited to think that with technology and science at the levels that they are, it's possible.

Some trans* people are DESPERATE to pass. They want to change their body image, move far away, and never speak about their past life. And that's okay. If that is what will make them happy, then they should be able to go for it. And it's exciting that people have the opportunity to do that - very successfully. It's reassuring to know that it's an option at all.

I never take my passing for granted. Maybe it's because it's still new, but to this day I get excited when a stranger says 'sir', or if I get a head nod fro another guy. That's still exciting. Maybe it'll wear off, maybe not. But for now, I'll fucking take it as much as I can get it.

On a side note: I have rediscovered my love for TED talks. Here are some of my favorites.

I based my senior paper in high school on this

The octopus gets me every time

This will amaze me until the end of time

And last but NOT EVEN CLOSE to least...
 the closest demonstration of how my brain works that has ever been recorded. (to my knowledge)

          *          *          *

There are some days that I have at least a hundred ideas of something to write about. Or draw. Or create. And almost none of them last longer than a few seconds. I know that I should write them down more, just a quick note for later, but I never do. Maybe carrying around a backpack with a pad would help.... although it might seem rude mid conversation to stop talking, reach into my backpack, jot something down and then forget what we were talking about.....

Until next time!

Friday, July 10, 2015

What's In a Name?

It's official! My name AND my gender marker have been legally changed by the state of New York as well as the Social Security Administration! (Insert confetti)

Now I just have to change it with the DMV next week and then everywhere else that is still using my old name. Hopefully it doesn't take me 4 hours in there to get it done. (Insert laugh track)

I didn't think that it would be so important to me to have the M on my license instead of the F. I mean who really looks at that anyway? They usually just check DOB - but surprisingly I'm really excited about it. I suppose it became more exciting once the SSA passed the policy that no longer required surgery to be a pre-requisite to changing your gender marker. Once they allowed a letter to do the trick I think my excitement started growing from there.

It used to be necessary to have full gender reassignment surgery before a marker could be changed in their system, and now I walked in with a letter from the surgeon and (although there was a bit of debate at the office) all was changed right there.

It's astonishing to think that things are changing so drastically in such a short amount of time. Now that the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage nationwide - we can start working on trans issues and trans rights going forward. I can tell you this, it is a very exciting time to be alive and I can't wait to tell my kids all about how much better it is for them growing up than it was for us just a few years ago.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Things are happening!

It has, admittedly, been too long since I've posted. Two months is too long!

I have been meaning to post since this new opportunity had presented itself but I didn't want to count my chickens...

I was brought into contact with someone who is now identifying as trans* and he had some questions for me about being trans, and surgery, and hormones - so I wrote him a letter. He wrote 5 questions, I wrote 6 pages of personal experience as well as factual information to answer his questions.

My favorite question was "can I wear guys' underwear?" To which I said, "OF COURSE YOU CAN LET'S GO SHOPPING!"

This letter was passed to him through a third party, who read it and shared it among their peers - who then got back into contact with me.

I am now booked for 2 workshops at a conference out east in November! I am beyond excited about this, and have already started putting it together using - of course - some posts from the blog as well as other inspirations.

I have also been contacted about perhaps doing a Q&A Panel for parents at the high school so that any concerns or questions they have can be addressed and perhaps answered.

So maybe I should be looking into how to make this a career path because not only is this something I have experience with, but I am passionate about it and I LOVE teaching others about myself as well as sharing other information I know about Gender and Sexuality in general.

I can't wait to see where this goes...

Sunday, May 3, 2015

An invisible fear...

There is a fear that exists inside of me, which only applies to new people that I meet.

The ones who know me as Aidan only, and don't have a clue about "Aileen".

I get worried that as soon as they find out about my past, and that I used to be a woman, they will no longer truly see me as a man.

Obviously the next question to myself is, how much does that bother me?

I'm torn. Every trans person has a decision to make. Wear it like a badge of honor? Or hide from it and pretend the past never happened? The latter is much harder to do without moving away and leaving behind all of your past.

I'm proud of who I am, but sometimes I just want to pass and not have to explain it all to someone I just met. I will always explain it to a friend, but to someone who is a "friend of a friend" and just met me at an event and immediately starts questioning me and my life choices and when did I know and how did I know and what makes me tick, etc? I don't want to deal with that shit. I honestly don't. I'm fine with explaining myself to someone who I know, and who I've gotten to know - but someone I'm never going to talk to again, I'm not sure if it's worth it.

I will tell people in my own time and I will be a complete open book but if you just met me 5 minutes ago but you've heard about me, I don't want you asking about what surgeries I have planned and how am I going to have kids. As much as I'm excited to teach people about myself and what I'm doing and about others like me, believe it or not I have boundaries too.

That being said, I'm not mad at you about today and this post is not because of you I have been meaning to write it for awhile - you know who you are. I really have wanted to tell you for awhile but the timing never felt right and I really would rather tell people in person. It just seems more personal that way instead of in a group chat. Anyway, I'm glad you know. It's a weight off of my chest honestly. <3 <3 ;-) :-*

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


Sometimes Lynbrook is enough for me. And I can imagine truly building a life here.


However, most of the time it's not where I see myself in five years. I want room. And mountains. I want to be more than a hundred feet from my neighbors. I want a riding lawn mower to be necessary, with long sunsets and mild winters and horses within a ten minute drive from my house so I can ride again. And cowboy hats, and boots, and half chaps.

I want to see stars at night. And fireflies pulsing in July as far as you can see like one big radioactive cloth draped over the fields. Early mornings and cool nights on a front porch. A general store.

Let's be honest. I love what most people deem as "crappy" weather, too. I could be happy somewhere that it rains most of the year, or is defined as "gloomy".

But the idea of living where I've been my whole life so far seems pretty boring. If I'm bored now, I can't imagine how I'll feel in 10 years.

So to sum it all up, I don't think I want to live in NY.

Is this state a HUGE part of my life? Of course it is. I've spent what could be called a quarter of my life here. I was raised here, I love it here. But some days I want more. More than traffic and flat land and cookie cutter houses. It seems that the more time goes by the more of those days I'm having.

I miss Colorado.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

But What About the Children?

I went to my high school today and GSA club. It was an interesting experience to say the least, and not just because I was meeting with a group of kids who are exploring who they are and what it means to grow up as part of the LGBTQIA community - but also because my high school has not changed. Even the teachers (shout outs!) look the same as I remember, and I was there (as it was pointed out) 10 years ago. Something about walking in those halls just made me feel... accomplished. Not necessarily in the way of "I made it out of here alive" but probably closer to "I learned so much about myself in this place" and it was nice to go back and get that feeling of being larger than Lynbrook. Some people I know still talk about high school as a place that was hell for them, and on first thought I might agree. However when I really think about it, I grew into who I really was in high school. Sure, college rounded off the edges and helped me streamline my true self (although by no means have I stopped growing and I'm sure I never will) but I would not be who I am without high school and it's nice to think that it didn't defeat me or traumatize me.

Every school needs a GSA. I should rephrase: every school needs a safe GSA. It's astonishing to know how far this school has come and in some strange way I'm proud to have been apart of it. I remember GSA back in my day in LHS and by no means was it something that people were proud to be apart of. Some were, don't get me wrong. But no kid in high school wants to paint a target on their back, and GSA did that to some of us. Eventually our GSA disappeared and there was nowhere for kids to go and just be themselves.

So I started S.T.A.L (Students Talk About Life) and it was a place that anyone could go and talk about anything. It was nice, actually. It didn't get labeled as the "gay club" or anything like that. It was just somewhere we could go to talk about life, and love, and drama, and abusive parents, and social norms, and... anything. It really was a lot of fun (and I even got a scholarship out of it) and something I would do all over again without question. It was worth it, and it helped a lot of kids just get through high school.

All of this makes me think back to my sociology classes, and that maybe I should be pursuing that. I really do love working with people; adults and kids - especially in schools. It's something I've been looking into here and there, and maybe could be something I volunteer to do to see if I'm truly that interested in it.

Anyway, I had a lot of fun today talking to these kids and hearing what they had to say about their lives. They were absolutely inspiring, and smart, and grounded. It's so different for them and that makes me so excited for them to grow up in a world that is changing. A world that is accepting them and listening to them, and making them feel more safe as time goes by. I cannot even express how amazing it feels to go back to my high school that had slurs and hate traveling the hallways as if they had legs and know that there's a club now for kids who are wondering (or already know) who they are. It's enthralling, and awe-inspiring, and fills my heart with hope.

Things are changing. If I needed proof, it happened today. If Lynbrook can do it, there's no telling how far society can go.

I'm excited to see where things will go from here. The future is bright and I'm just so charged to be a part of it. Society is turning into a place that I would look forward to raising kids in.

A place of love, and acceptance, and an attitude that states who you are is good enough. You don't have to work to be like someone else, you can just be you. Because who you are is amazing. So I guess what I'm saying is: it's nice to be told to "just be yourself" and actually do it.

Isn't humanity fascinating?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

POST SURGERY! The best kind of pain.

Of course I feel different, excited, free, and full of anticipation of what my chest is ACTUALLY going to look like in a few months. Right now it's just bound up like any other day just like the past four years so it hasn't truly hit me yet. Although those few minutes a day that I can take off the binders and let my body chill and breathe are pretty exciting.

My tits are gone.

Holy shit.

Some minuscule part of me is still waiting for the other shoe to drop. Just because that's always how it's been for me. Something great happens - and then - the world says 'oh wait just kidding here's something to wipe you off solid ground and fuck with all your happy shit'. Logically, I know that my chest will never be the way it was. I just function better under pressure and anxiety - so now that the main cause of my anxiety since 2011 is gone, it's like my body doesn't know what it's supposed to be doing.

Don't worry, the excitement wipes all of this off the table. I just have to re-learn how to adjust to this new level of (lack of, honestly) anxiety.

So, who's hitting the beach with me this summer? ;-)

Realistic Goal:
 (who's bringing the whip and cherries? :-P )

Because, let's be serious, no one but movie stars and personal trainers have 5 hours a day (and the willpower to eat chicken and rice and beans 4x a day and a protein shake for dessert) to work out to look like this:

Seriously, I'm excited to do push ups without tits in my face. Well, my OWN tits anyway.

Running is going to be so different.
Swimming is going to be so different.
Summer is going to be so different. (and so much cooler without so many layers)
Changing in the men's locker room at the gym is going to be so different. 
Everything is going to be so different.
Fuck this is really exciting, you guys. 

Here's to a quick and healthy recovery! :-)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

"Just be yourself."

My Dad has always told me to be myself. He would say it to me all the time - in conversation, when talking about other people, when telling me never to hate anyone. It seemed as natural for him to say that as it did for him to say "good morning" or "how was your day". It just flowed from his mouth with a smile and I know that he meant well by saying it.

The problem was, growing up, I didn't know who I was. I had no idea. I was always labeled as the youngest of my family, the golden child, the tomboy, the little girl, the swimmer - I could go on. I was constantly put into groups and labeled until I just became the person I was described as. I never figured out who I was, who I wanted to be.

Now that I'm finally doing what I think is right, and figuring all of this out - my body isn't sure how to handle it. I've always done things for other people. I had to be better than Matt and Mike, I had to clear the family name by not fucking things up, I had to be good and clean and smart and 'don't spit because that's unladylike'.

I feel like every time I tried to be myself as a kid I was told to do something else, when I showed discomfort or dislike towards something - it was done anyway. So I learned very early to just keep my mouth shut and go with it. Telling myself things like 'just be who they want you to be, do what they want you to do, don't make them upset - give people what they want regardless of how it makes you feel, don't make them mad it'll only make it worse' until eventually I became numb to all of it. I was numb to my own feelings - which sounds so strange and yet it fits.

I may have declared who I was a few years ago as transgender, but I'm finally coming to learn who I really am as a person. I'm re-learning feelings, and right and wrong because I've come to realize that right and wrong in society vs right and wrong inside myself are two very different things - and that's okay. I need to keep telling myself that it's okay to feel this way or that way - and not to change my mind based on what other people want or think.

This is very difficult, and it hurts - physically and emotionally - and I'm stressed over it, and it's exhausting. But I have to do this. I have to live my life the way I want to because no one else can make me happy - that's my job. So it's time to step up to the plate - and do this my way, and just hope that I can handle the shit that comes with that. I'm not good at this, but I'm working on it.

I will get better, and it will get easier - but going through it really sucks.

Friday, January 2, 2015

What a day today has been...

WOW! Two blog posts in ONE DAY! LUCKY YOU! ;-)

This is going to be difficult, please know that I am typing on a very small bluetooth keyboard and there may be some typos that I will miss. That being said, today has been emotionally exhausting.

Started off fine, and now it seeems like the blows haven't stopped. Shitty day at work to put it nicely, and then I head over to my parent's after work. To drop off sweaters. That I got them from work. Looking back that was not my best idea. I don't think I should go over there when I'm in a good mood.

Mom wants to come with us for my surgery. She says I've been excluding her. When honestly, I haven't been actively including anyone in any of this. Not in any kind of negative way - just because it's my life and my choices and I have learned over the last 2 years that not everyone is going to be openly supportive of me and I need to do this regardless of who is with me or not. Again, not in a negative way. But if most of the time when we talk about my transition we end up fighting, how am I supposed to assume that you're supportive of me?

I am really, honestly trying to figure out how this is making me feel - and I don't know. She got defensive, and sad, and pulled the guilt card, and I have no idea how to handle any of this. The real question is: is it too little too late? I really don't know.

New year, new me?

First of all, Happy New Year everyone! Truthfully, I'm not big on New Year's Resolutions (even though I make them sometimes). I don't think that anyone should wait to make changes that could better themselves, although it just happens to line up nicely that my surgery is this month. Holy shit can you believe it? I'm excited! 20 days!

Anyway, as much as I don't believe in waiting for January 1st to change your life, the new year does inevitably bring about thoughts of change and the future.

Some people my age (or some at any age, I'm sure) would rather think about anything else besides having kids. I find myself thinking about it a lot lately, I'm not sure why - and not in a negative way. I am so excited to have kids, but of course this brings up some other things that (according to society) should be done first. Such as but not limited to; get married and buy a house (something society and I agree on - shocking) before having kids. I'm not saying I look down on those who don't go about life this way, if it works for them that's great. It's just that personally, I want to go in that order - just my opinion.

I'm not worried about our future, but I do want to plan for it better than some other people have. I don't want to be those people who don't plan anything and then buy a house later in life and are still paying it off when they're too old to work anymore. I know it may sound a bit dramatic, but I don't mean it to be. I just want to have a plan, that's all. Nothing too specific - because we cannot predict the future by any means and something could happen that puts us back in our plans - and we have to be able to roll with that.

And if my family is still giving me shit about my transition that's their problem. I don't have time for that anymore. I'm tired of wasting my breath, so if they call me Aileen and use female pronouns - fine. Even though it still hurts when they do it, I'm letting it go because they'll figure it out or they won't. And when I do have a family, and a house, they don't have to be a part of that life if they cannot get their shit together. It's been over two years. I'm done wasting my time on it.

I guess what I'm trying to say (and failing miserably) is that I'm ready. I'm ready for what's ahead, to do what I have to do in order to be happy - and that's a big step for me. I'm ready to work any job to pay the bills so we can get a house, and have a family. I'm ready to put myself and Sarah first and figure out our shit before I stop to help someone else with theirs. I'm a good person, and a good friend, but it's my turn now.