Friday, September 23, 2011


Yesterday, I asked my therapist to help with one of the required letters I need to get Sexual Reassignment Surgery (SRS) sometime next year. Well, I guess I don't remember asking the question specifically, because I just assumed that she would. It's a bullshit practice, requiring someone to have two letters from "licensed professionals" evaluating what they should do with their own body. I figured it'd just be more i's to dot and t's to cross; I mean, who could even take this shit seriously when I'd have been on Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) for two years and full time at least a year and a half by the time I actually had the procedure.

But as soon as I gave her the document the surgeon's office had sent me, she got defensive. She didn't "feel comfortable in the evaluative role" saying she had a "dual relationship" that meant her "objective judgment" would be impaired. I said that was fine, she didn't have to do the evaluative component, she could just write the shorter second letter. But she kept on protesting. She didn't have "training." She was worried about what would happen if something went wrong and someone started calling her office to see who approved the procedure in the first place. She expressed a lot of doubt about people's satisfaction afterwards.

And then she kept going. She said, even if she was trained and felt component, she didn't know if she'd write it for me. I might want to have kids. I haven't had sex in two years and certainly not as Juliet. I'd been acutely suicidal a few months ago, she wouldn't recommend me for "any surgery."

And it was telling people I was transitioning all over again. Because every fucking familial adult I came out to did the exact same thing: "I just don't think you've exhausted your options." "I mean, there are maybe two places in the entire world you can live once you've done this." "There are so many steps and hurdles you're going to have to go through." "In college I dated another woman for like three weeks and we fooled around but it didn't work out and now I've been married to your uncle for ten years." "I was young once, too, and I had some crazy ideas about what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. But you get older and things change and we're just worried that you're rushing into this." Ad fucking nauseum.

And you know, I can get ignorance. I can get fear and concern. Transsexuality is completely new to you, you've just heard about it on Dateline, you never thought it'd happen to one of your family members, etc. Whatever. The part that really hurts, though, every single fucking time is that they don't ask questions. My therapist did not ask me "What are your feelings about having children?" My father did not ask me "Have you talked to any trans women locally?" My mother did not ask me "Do you think this decision is impacted by any of the other stressors in your life?" My uncle did not ask me "How much research have you done about the process and steps involved?"

None of them asked and let my own answers about my own self satisfy them. A year ago, I had a "conversation" with my father. And he said that he didn't trust me or my judgment because of my "life decisions." And I asked him what life decisions he meant. And he said "I mean exactly what I said: your life decisions." And I said that didn't make any sense, to make an accusation about something and not even be able to explain your argument or label your terms. And he said "You're always going to have an answer for everything." And it's been "I can't say why, but you're simply not good enough" for my entire life.

[Cut for length. Suffice it to say, imagine reading about some hard things survived and a few relative metrics of success.]

And I did it these things with intentional humility and, despite some acerbity at times, continued compassion for others. I've tried to understand and forgive everyone around me. I never missed a day of class. Even in college, I voluntarily missed maybe two classes. I always got up in the morning. I've never taken a sick day anywhere. And I don't think I've really asked much of anyone.

I'm not fucking proud of any of this. I'd never mention it, outside of sharing the emotional component for the sake of you understanding me better or perhaps comparing experiences for a knowledge base. I don't consider myself particularly strong, I don't judge anyone for any differences in their own personal trajectories, I certainly do not in any way consider myself superior or special. I did what I did with what I had for whatever my reasons were.

But I mention it here, now, because overall? I think I make pretty good decisions. I think I act pretty respectfully and conscientiously towards others. I'm not particularly kind to myself, but I'm getting there. I think I'm doing fairly well, all told. And it fucking tears me apart to look at all the above and think that my therapist, my family, my whomever would just assume I don't have good reasons for what I'm doing. That they don't trust me or respect me.

Because, I mean, yeah, transphobia. They're projecting their own fears and insecurities onto me. But if they respected me, at least? They'd ask. They'd think "Damn, this seems crazy. But Juliet usually makes pretty decent decisions. Let me see what she has to say first." And then, after I explained, they would say "It's obvious you've given this a lot of thought and know a lot more than we do. We really just want you to be happy. So how can we help you make this work?"

That doesn't seem too hard. Nor does it seem like it's asking too much.

So why the hell does it feel that way?

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