Chicken

 a hen in a barn 

I had an appointment with my physiotherapist and I had to strip in order for her to have a look at the progress of my back (no change). After the exam she pointed out that my sport bra is too tight and may prevent me from getting better. She want me to use something else, more loose fitting, but that sport bra is the most lose fitting thing I have and the only reason I use my old sport bras in the first place is because my back hurts in the binders. Of course the boobs are showing more in sports bras than in binders, so my dysphoria is already more easily triggered without anyone implying that I need to use a bra. I can’t really remember anything else from my session than sitting and watching my boobs in the mirror, I kind of shut down. I was sad, angry, lost and just wanted to run out of her office, but didn’t. When I came out I went to the nearest store in search for something sweet and fatty but I was too distressed to find and buy anything. I just wanted to pick up my phone and call someone who would understand exactly without me having to explain anything. My wife is really supportive and I went straight back home and collapsed in her arms, but she’s not trans and while she is really understanding she does not understand.

I know I should have told the physiotherapist about me being trans, but I didn’t think it would be necessary and when it became necessary, I just couldn’t. I chicken out a lot these days and feel horrible every time. At home I decide that today I’m all in man and that I will introduce myself as Fredrik to everybody I meet, but when I’m actually greeting someone and they ask my name, I chicken out and tell them my given name. It’s mostly because they are people i sort of recognize (it’s more likely they recognize me since I meet a lot of people at work. I usually don’t remember them, but people have a habit of remembering me) or someone I kind of know are within hearing distance/friend with the person I’m talking with. I’m all out by now to family and friends, but since I’m still on sick-leave I haven’t updated my coworkers yet and I don’t want odd acquaintances to out me before I have the opportunity to tell them myself.

I always end up thinking somewhere down the line of “it would all be so much easier being trans if my legal name was Fredrik or if I was already admitted to the gender clinic”. I know it’s about the all so common fear of not being trans enough and needing the validation from “the professionals”, but I know I’m “trans enough” and I know I will transition no matter what the gender clinic tell me so I should really be able to present myself as Fredrik. But I’m chicken.

Cluck, cluck, cluck, cluck…

11 thoughts on “Chicken

  1. It’s always hard starting out. I still struggle and I’m out in a lot of areas, including work. I told my fiancee not to worry about outting me and to just call me Tyler all the time no matter who we were with. It made it a lot easier because in a lot of ways she was helping force me out (my choice though, she wouldn’t have if I didn’t ask). Keep your chin up…you’ll get there, Fredrik. 🙂

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    • I’m almost doing the same thing with my wife – it’s just that I haven’t thought trough all the consequences of outing myself like that. I’m in the middle of the adoption process of our baby, I don’t want to jeopardize that process for anything in the world. And since that process pretty much is up to one social worker, they could really react any way. I don’t think it would be a problem – but just the risk of it…
      As soon as the adoption is legal, I plan to make the same decision you have.

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  2. I just re-read your sentence: “I know I will transition… ” Your victory lies in that determination, Fredrik. Many of us reading your blog, do understand and I hope it helps. You are not chicken. You are cocky Fredrik. Start making small changes in your immediate world (like in your blog – Tea with Fredrik? 🙂 ). Take care, all of you. Pooch sends greetings to the hairless 4 and the puppy with 2 legs. 😉

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    • It sure helps to have you all here, but sometimes I wish I could just pick up my phone…
      Lots of hugs to Pooch from me and my whole family!
      I’m still pondering over my blog name… We’ll see what I might come up with.

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  3. It is hard, really hard, to start telling people who are not friends (co-workers, doctors, random receptionists in offices). You are not a chicken, you are merely human.
    I had at least six really awkward months of telling people that my name was now Jamie, and I had changed it legally, and they had to get with it. I don’t know how it works where you live, but I was able to change my name without changing gender or doing anything else, and I changed my name without knowing exactly where I was going with it (I just knew I had to do it before I figured everything else out). I figured I could go back and change the gender later.
    Doing the name change (legally) allowed anyone who wanted to- to ask me where this was going and for me to reply “I don’t know” or to say I was transgender but I wasn’t sure what form my transition was going to take (I actually used to say I wasn’t sure I was going to transition, but what I meant was that I wasn’t sure I was going to do a traditional binary transition to male).
    If you can find a way to claim Fredrik as a name, before you’ve gone through the whole med/psych assessment it might give you a less awkward opening with people. For reasons I don’t understand, having done it legally made people respect the choice more than just telling people I wanted to be called Jamie.

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    • I have looked up the possibility to change my legal name, but it’s unclear if they’ll let me change to a male name unless I’m going to the gender clinic. I know I could just call them to ask, but for some reason I’m hesitant to do that.

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  4. It’s really hard to reveal your trans status–it puts you in a very vulnerable position. Basically you’re putting yourself in a very stigmatized category and being incredibly honest about the deepest contents of your heart, all in the same sentence. Don’t beat up on yourself. It’s truly challenging, and it really is a bit easier the farther along you are in your “official” transition. Starting out is the hardest; someday it will be second nature to introduce yourself as Fredrik.

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    • Thank you for your kind words! I’m just annoyed with myself because I really want to tell everyone and because I feel really bad when I’m misgendered. I know I wouldn’t have to feel so bad if I just could manage to tell people.

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      • I hear that! I remember about a year into my transition, I resolved to say something every single time somebody misgendered me, no matter how brief the interaction. I simply stopped responding in any way to female pronouns, and if someone called me ma’am, I’d say, “I’m a guy.” It took a long to be able to do this–many months of going by my correct name & pronouns–but I felt so much better once I did!

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      • I’ve never thought about how important that would be. My initial thought and instinct is to avoid all kinds of conflict and rater feel hurt myself than making someone uncomfortable while I’m looking after myself. But as I think and write that I hear how stupid that sounds – and is. The weird thing is that the thought of correcting everyone I meet is liberating. It’s hard, yes, but it’s also like finally standing up to a bully and claiming my own (male) space. When thinking of it it’s not like standing up to a bully, it is standing up to society who has bullied me my whole life by insisting on calling me female.

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  5. I’m reminded of the Seinfeld scene “For I am Costanza, Lord of the idiots.” By which I mean, when I read where you say you’re chicken I immediately thought “In that case I am Mia queen of chickens!” I sit here in a white sundress and pink socks, having just finished a form for the gender identity clinic where I wrote down my male name. All because I’m out to so few people that I worry they’ll send letters addressed to Mia to my parents’ house, where they still have no idea I’m trans. I’ve got an important interview coming up where nobody knows I’ll be transitioning if accepted… But all that said, although I beat myself up sometimes, I don’t think I’m chicken. You surely are not a chicken. What you’ve done so far is really brave! I respect the hell out of you!

    I genuinely look up to you. You’re doing awesome. Go at your own pace, that’s the only right speed to go at 🙂

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