This year I was over the moon to participate in my first “no shave” Movember challenge. Now that I have been on T for 10 months now, I had really wanted to take it to the next level physically. I really wanted to unleash my mustache-clad hipster man that I know lives inside me.
I wanted the world and myself to finally see me on the outside like I see me. I encountered some unanticipated bumps along Mustache Lane, which is why by the time mid-Movember struck, I made the intentional decision to shave once again.
I’m not calling this defeat or failure. In fact, I’m chalking this up to a personal experiment and an opportunity for personal growth. I ended realizing where I was on this transitional journey and where I had yet to arrive. It also prompted me to finally start the series of steps to get my name and gender marker changed. I even set up my consultation with Dr. Cori Agarwal for the end of December to discuss top surgery. I need to do more right now to help the world see me as I see me and then I’m going to grow one hell of a ‘stache!
Here are my top 10 reasons why I decided to shave once more:
- To Pee or not to Pee. Once I started growing a pretty noticeable hairline on my lip and chinny chin chin, I realized I could no longer comfortably use public restrooms. I didn’t feel comfortable using the Men’s Room with multiple stalls and urinals. I was fine using the Men’s Room if it was a single seater, but it turns out those were hard to find. I found myself either holding it (don’t recommend this) or dining at places I already knew had single seaters or unisex bathrooms. Someone really needs to create a “where to pee” app for trans* folks.
- I Ain’t No Bearded Lady. It turns out I’m not ok with looking like a fuzzy lesbian. It also hurt more when people saw I was growing a pretty nifty ‘stache and still called me she or her or lady or whatnot. I know I’m supposed to embrace this middle place shit, but I found it much harder to do so with a fuzzy face and a giant, smushed female chest.
- Shy Shopper. After a while, my gender and body dysphoria started to get worse. On the one hand, I found I passed a bit more as male; however, when this happened and then I had to show my ID with my birth name (bleh) and birth gender (bleh), then a little part of me died on the inside. I could feel myself cringe with disgust having to show my ID.
- Suddenly Sober. Ok, so it’s not the most crucial thing in the world to complain about but I didn’t think about something as simple as ordering a drink in public before I started becoming Mustache Man. Part way into the month when I was digging my pre-pubescent fuzz, I was out to dinner with my lovely partner. I proceeded to order a drink, but then it suddenly hit me that I would need to show my ID. My heart instantly sank and I clammed up. My spouse asked me what was wrong because she saw it on my sullen face. I confessed that I wanted a drink and I wanted to be seen the way I was finally starting to be seen, but that showing my ID would take that all away.
- Check Mate. I found that it became increasingly harder to get up and drive into work because of the dread of having to go through the military checkpoint. Another mandatory moment where I needed to show an ID and name and gender that I loathed.
- Gimme Me a Break. Two weeks into it, I realized that I was avoiding the break room at work or casually conversing with workmates. Instead, I was a bit curt in passing. I kept my eyes down. I didn’t linger. I just wasn’t really myself.
- I’m not in Drag. Having done a brief stint as a one-time-only DC Drag King (woot, woot), I know what it feels like and what it looks like to be in drag. Watching all my brethren grow pretty sick beards or ‘staches in the same amount of time I was growing my peach fuzz made me feel like I was on stage again. It was exciting when I was home alone or in my community or with my friends, but out in public I felt a little embarrassed.
- Show’s Over. I started realizing that in conservative Utah, I was drawing more attention than I wanted in certain places.
- Microaggressions. In defense of my homeland and workplace here in UT, I will confess that nobody was outwardly or blatantly rude to me. There was an air of increased discomfort and the subtle microaggressions became more and more noticeable to me, however. I’m sure there was even some internalized transphobia at play here too.
- Naked No More. Getting naked during this time period was a new level of hell for me.
(I will still be making a donation in honor of Movember to Point5cc. 💜)