Sunday, 6 June 2010

Pulling at the threads...

Going on from my post yesterday:

The comments played on my mind throughout the night – did I word my thoughts badly (serious possibility, I am not the best writer in the word and struggle to get thoughts from my head onto paper), or am I being naive and foolish; or somewhere in the middle.

About the diagnosis from the VU, let’s see if I can get this coherently out of my head.  I know what I am, and I *think* I know what I need to do to move forward with my.  But this is a life changing decision – and if it’s not the right one I am going to be in so much more trouble than I already am at present.  Ergo I will listen to what is said during the diagnostic phase at the VU, but I am not just going to transition because the doctors tell me too.  I think I have worded my decision the wrong way around though - maybe because I am afraid of the impact of the other wording or maybe because I am still thinking everything through.

From what I understood at the open information evening the diagnosis is only a part of the decision from the VU on whether it’s a good idea to go forward.  There is also the consideration of your personality type, psychological strength and ability to deal with the fall out of transition.  If they believe that you are not going to be able to cope with life after transition they tell you.

With that in mind I think that this is more accurate: If the VU tell me they feel I do not have what it takes to cope then I will listen to them, they don’t just close the door and leave you to struggle, they open doors to other therapy to help you.  If they tell me that they think I will be able to cope and that it would be a good idea to transition then I may go down that route.

Hopefully over the course of the next 12 months, with the therapy that starts this week and with the VU, whenever that starts, I can join the dots in my head and know what the right path is.  I am not going to rush into anything blindly.

As for telling my company (my boss and HR), I guess that there are a few reasons. 

First and foremost my performance has been awful for the last 6 months.  60% of what I can do at best.  I love my job, it’s the only job I have had where after 2 years I didn’t feel the need to get out and where I have lasted longer than 2 ½ years (just had my 4 year anniversary in fact).  When waking up at 5:40 every morning the only thing that makes me groan is the fact that it is 5:40, not that I have to go to work.  I would rather that they know why I am performing badly at the moment, than guess at reasons that would not look good for me on my yearly review.

I’d never thought of it as testing the waters to gauge the reaction, but I guess there is an element of truth there as well I guess.   And yes it is a great company to work for – on all counts.

Melissa noted that my colleagues have suspicions and still seem like me.  I had not thought of it that way since I heard the information on Friday night.  Thanks – that has helped me a lot :)

To be honest there is another reason I have told more people now:  I’ve grown tired of hiding.  When someone is asking you seriously what’s wrong and you can’t tell them it just adds to the weight of the problem in my mind, I spiral a little bit further down, and the person asking see’s that I am being cagey and they get either more concerned – which doesn’t help me at all.

Plus I am an ex-pat.  I have two groups of people that I know: in laws and (ex) colleagues.  The colleagues that I have told (with the exception of HR) are the ones that I also see outside of work, which I invite to my yearly summer BBQ.  If I start to transition outside of work those that know about it will be my colleagues.  Those who I trust and who I speak to when I am having issues are my colleagues.  It’s difficult to separate the two unfortunately.  When I was in the UK it was quite a different situation.  I saw my colleagues 9 till 5, Monday to Friday.  I saw my friends in the evening.  I think that’s a very different dynamic to what I have now.  How much of an excuse or how valid that is I am not sure.

I am not sure that is as coherent as I was aiming for, but it felt good to write it down and work it though it in my head.  Thanks to everyone who commented yesterday, thanks for both the support and the questions that have continued to make me think about what I am doing and feeling.

And thanks for caring enough to spend the time writing them.



  1. I am not understanding the difference in the reasons for so much 'gatekeeping' from your therapist. I and sure that trying to figure things out as to transition and if or when you would take the step is mind bending to say the least. What ever decision you make you need to find the one that you will be happiest with, if Mrs. Stacie joins you, that's even better. I am hearing the pain of your struggle in jumping over hurdles that the VU is setting in your way. I am not sure why so much pushing back from their side, if it's not to identify your conviction to complete transition.

    I went to two therapist who either resisted or was utterly clueless about how to help people who exhibit gender dysphoria. My third therapist, who is lesbian picked up on all my clues and told me that I was definitely a transsexual, I saw her for 5 months and she kick me out of therapy with my letter for HRT and transition. I very perceptive person.

    My concern is if you complete all their exercises and decide not to transition for reason of your own, will there be counseling for you after that? You had said that it is taxing to switch back and forth during the day playing the feminine man at work, as people see you and as your true self on your own time. It was the switching back and forth that finally wore me out. Before I was downsized at work, I had gradually shifted my appearance to more female at work, longer hair, ear rings, women's jeans and some tops and being more 'butch' than anything else since I worked at the warehouse doing repair work on woodwind instruments. Problem was by the time I told my supervisor, the decision to close down my work site had already been made. But they never said anything to me about transition and I never asked my boss.

    That was the way I handled my transition

  2. Thanks for explaining some more :-)
    I guess...I was just concerned...
    I still can't reconcile the telling of so many people against a timeline you describe of maybe 12months figuring things out, and of course maybe not transitioning at all. That makes the telling unecessary, and I suppose I wonder what *exactly* you did tell them all, and how that story might change? I know that my story did, and I'm glad I held back telling my employer until the last possible moment. seem to be getting good support. I got nearly none therapeutically, it was an open and shut case of struggling with dual-role. Living as male in work, female elsewhere screwed up my brain, and made me feel schizophrenic. However, it *is* possible to reconcile that, very much so, just not for me or my partner, who wanted me to be "male".
    I guess I'm sorry I, amongst others, gave you so much to think about, when it've got it all covered...
    Warmest wishes xxxx

  3. I know how hard it is in a blog to explain things. You have clarified quite a lot with this blog.
    The important thing is that you are seriosuly thinking about this and going through your options.
    It is good to keep your options open and keep thinking things through and maybe testing the waters while you work things out.
    I know it is harder when you have a wife and other family to think about as they do come into the equation as to what is best overall.
    You are in control of what happens from here. The therpaists and others are there to help you.

  4. Again thanks for the comments all. I have to say that the gatekeeping from the VU doesn't bother me. They are not throwing up obstacles (except the waiting list - but then I don't suppose there is much that I can do about that) and if I decide not to transition they can / do arrange therapy for the path you choose. As they have with therapy for whilst I am on the waiting list - which I start on Thursday.

    I guess I don't know why I have told so many people (last count there were +/- 12 in the know, with 50% being close family. I just had the compulsion to do so. Will it come back to bite me? I don't know - but I hope not...

    My life, and story, has changed beyond regocnition in the last 11 months since starting this blog. It would be extremely naive to think that it won't change further. But with all the change comes stress, and possible impact on my ability to do my job - this is one of the things that scares me, as I said I love my job and is probably the reason I told my boss / HR sooner rather than later.

    Thanks again all for the comments (they really do help me try to get some order in my head), and Nicky please don't appologise for making me think :) All covered? Probably not - I'm driving blind at the moment, just trying to do the best I can and hoping that I find the right way...


  5. Hi coming to this late having been away, and just catching up.

    Not much to add, except to wish you well whatever direction it takes, and to say that I liked the honesty and depth of your recent threads - they are a good read.

  6. Thanks for your comment Jess - I'm pleased that they are readable, let alone a good read :)

    Hope you had a good trip!


  7. Even later. I've been catching up.

    I'm glad you clarified what you wrote in your last post about whether to transition. Only you know whether you really are transsexual, and only you know whether transition is right for you. What happened with me was that I realized how much I wanted to transition, but wasn't yet sure if it was right for me. I got the go from my therapist and doctor, but we proceeded cautiously. And what happened was that every step made me more sure that it was right.

    It's funny now to think that I ever thought it might not be right for me. :)

    I'm not in the office, so I'm in a different situation than you (and most people) are, but I never told anyone there until I was already transitioning -- boss first (very understanding), very close colleagues next (people I'd worked with for a long time), and finally HR when I went full time. Back when I wasn't sure that was actually transsexual, I told almost no one. Very few people would have wanted to know that I was "transgender." It was much easier to tell people when the changes were visible and not just how I felt.

    But you're the one who knows best how to deal with your situation! At least we hope so, right?

  8. Thanks Veronica,

    I think what you say covers it well. Yes I know what I am, and I know what I think I want (that sentence does not read well does it?) but is it the best option, and are there other tings that I can do?

    I think that I am lucky in that I work for a very open company - since the discussion I have had my review which came in better than I would have given myself so I don't think that they are going to be a problem.

    As for telling them... My boss is basically an old hippy (as someone described it to me) and I pretty much knew he would be OK (I had done some probing questions before hand). HR, I guess the time just felt right. With it being not a huge company and with it being so open everyone knows everyone it wasn't like going to corperate HR with all the associated stress - we just went for a walk in the neighbourhood. I have to say it is also nice having two people totally outside the my personal sphere being able to give their thoughts, and being a souunding board for me if I need someone to speak to.

    Or it could be just as Mrs Stace says... That I have always had a thing for having to tell people things (even before she knew).

    So far so good...