Chris Interview #5, January 2017

“When I went on my wilderness trip in Colorado I feel like I did a total 180. I did a lot of things I had never done before. I had never been hiking or backpacking and the first thing we did was a five-day backpacking trip. I had to be comfortable not taking a shower, and just sleeping and getting right back up and hiking again. I was one of the faster ones, which is cool.

The trip was through a private program called the High Desert Center. One of our main responsibilities was cooking. We were in little groups and had to cook for 20 people. I had always liked cooking and had thought I might want to be a chef, so I was really gung ho about cooking. But I kind of lost it for awhile there; it was hard having a set schedule all the time and having to cook for so many people. But then it got more fun, more creative, and I got excited about it. When it started getting cold, especially in the morning, it was really tough. Outdoor showers, outdoor kitchen. I had to learn to live without some things. Which is good because I am now more comfortable within myself and know that I can live without certain things.

I chose the program because I just wanted to have more adventure and grow as a person. I learned that I am a lot more adaptable than I thought I was and that I could just go with the flow more. I also learned that nothing in life is set. For example I didn’t expect to break up with my girlfriend while I was there, and I was okay with that. She wanted to open up the relationship because of my transition. It was hard on us. Just like going from having a girlfriend to now having a boyfriend. She didn’t know how to identify anymore. Was she bisexual or queer? She said she didn’t know what her identity was anymore; she felt kind of lost.

The biggest challenge was breaking up with her while we were away together and still seeing each other constantly. I am glad I stood it out. We were both willing to talk about it and resolve it. Everyone in the group was super supportive. I felt like I was completely me. I could be as flamboyant as I wanted to be, and not feel like I had to put on a macho façade like I sometimes do with the people at work. Everyone in my program accepted me; loved me. It was great!

Everyone there knew I am trans and there were other people there who were trans and some queer people too. It was actually by chance though; I didn’t deliberately choose the program for that reason. Well, we had outdoor bathrooms and that made me think about how I used to be female and now I am male. For peeing we just used the woods. That was the main time where it was in my mind that I wasn’t a cis man. In those moments it was a little tough but then I got used to it. Everyone was super supportive.

During the trip I started to think about how I wanted things to be when I got back and in my future. I feel like I have more freedom and can really focus on me right now. I want to go to school for architecture or engineering.

Since I came home I have been working for about a month. It is a company I worked at before. They knew I had transitioned, and they were really considerate. They called me Chris and used the right pronouns, so it was nice to be in a work situation that wasn’t stressful.

I feel like now that I am presenting more masculine physically, I have more confidence just being me in my mannerisms and the way I walk.
I wish there wasn’t such a focus on having to read as the gender you present as, or always thinking about passing, but it is reality. Physically I feel strong, I feel happy. But I do feel, around the time I need my weekly shot, not exactly moody, but that I am getting more emotional. I feel like I am going to cry.

If I stop testosterone, I will get my menstrual cycle back. But if I wanted to take less testosterone, I could get a hysterectomy and my body wouldn’t need as much of it. I may do it eventually but I am not planning to do it now.

I think from now on I will be seeing more minimal changes. I will probably get more hair and my voice may lower a bit more. The fat around my body will continue to redistribute.

I feel that I am not so much at risk for being attacked for being trans since I already had my legal documents changed and I had the top surgery that was really important to me. But I feel scared for other trans people, what might happen to them. I want to be in the fight.”