Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Wedding Plans in Mormon Central

"Work it harder, make it better,
Do it faster, makes us stronger;
More than ever, hour after,
Our work is never over."
 -- Daft Punk, Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

Lots happening lately, which is good!

This morning, Erin and I finally managed to go order wedding invitations. We've been procrastinating, like we do with everything, but we're getting down to the wire at this point, so we figured we'd better get it done.

On the way to the printer's, we got pulled over for an expired registration-- another thing I've been forgetting/procrastinating for far too long (yeah, I know, it's dumb). As nervous and annoyed as I was, the officer was actually very nice and professional. He gave me a ticket (which I deserved), but didn't once mention my male ID, other than to ask if Davin is the name I prefer to go by. Yay!

Erin picked out Jaffa Printing, and the lady there was very helpful. We ended up choosing a cute polka-dot patterned border, which I'm sure I'll post a picture of later. The design is very fun, less formal, and very us. At one point, the clerk asked for the groom's name, then blurted out "You're the groom!?", but after I nodded, she quickly recovered, and didn't mention it again.

Everywhere we go, I'm constantly surprised at the lack of overt discrimination by businesses in conservative Utah. I have to think it's a combination of people coming around and realizing they want our money anyway, and luck. Some people even seem more enthusiastic about helping us out once they realize we're marrying each other.

The Bed Bath and Beyond in Jordan Landing is another great example. When we got registered there a few days back, they didn't seem to be thrown off by it at all. Employees kept coming by as we were scanning to congratulate us and ask if we needed help, and the main girl helping us asked cute questions, like how we met. She also asked, out of curiosity, what my legal name was, and seemed genuinely surprised by the answer. All in all a great experience.

In other news, I also finally managed to get a hold of my dad today. Apparently the number I've been calling for weeks is a work number that he doesn't answer. -_-  I can't keep track of his many cell phones any more.

Anywho, I hadn't actually talked to him since I came out to him in December. Somehow I managed to push through the conversation, and let him know that Erin and I are getting married, that nobody calls me Davi anymore, and that I'm switching my middle name to my last name. Whew! Apparently it all went over ok, because we're planning to get together for dinner this Saturday. It should be interesting having him see the new me for the first time.

Last, but not least, I went shopping today, and I think I've finally figured out what I'll be wearing to our wedding! Erin has ordered a very beautiful dress, but I've never been a fan of fancy clothes. Growing up, I hated the idea of getting married in a tux, but since anything else was out of the question, I also didn't dream of wearing a dress. At the same time, I don't want to look silly next to Erin, so today I picked up some slacks, new shoes, a white button-up shirt, and a cute black business-type jacket, open at the collar (all for around $100!).

I'm pretty proud of myself for putting together a cute outfit on my own (though I'm going to have a harder time with accessories), and for getting so much that we've been worried about out of the way. Hopefully I can ride this high for a while; we've still got a lot to do!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Blending in, For Better or Worse

"I'm just a face in the crowd,
Nothing to worry about,
Not even trying to stand out;
I'm getting smaller and smaller and smaller."
 -- Nine Inch Nails, Getting Smaller

I've been passing a lot lately, which is nice. Everywhere I go, I get "miss"ed or "ma'am"ed by strangers, including on the phone and voice chat (which was my original voice goal- w00t)! I'm so happy to be talking online again, even if I still get nervous that I'm talking too much, or that I may slip back in to my old voice when I get excited.

Passing is pretty important to me, mostly because I like being able to blend in. Being perceived as female also means that I don't get harassed in bathrooms, and puts the control of when, how, and if I tell people I'm trans in to my hands.

I once read an interesting question: "If you were the only person left in the world, would you still need to transition?" My answer would be a definite "no." To me, transition is an act of moving from one social box to another. If I were the only one left in the world, I wouldn't need to fit in to either box, but I'd still look/talk/act a lot closer to how I do today than how I did two years ago.

Unfortunately, we live in a society that is very focused on the gender binary. I've learned to walk a fine line, as I think many people do, between what's truly me, and what's societally acceptable for my gender. The difference between trying to do this as a male, and trying to do this as a female, is that I feel much more comfortable now.

Over the last year, and especially the last few months, I've continually tried on new aspects of appearance, personality, speech, etc. I try a trait to see if it feels like me, if it's passable, if it's sustainable, then I either adopt it, or toss it in the bin. I like to think that I'm speed-learning the things I may have learned growing up, had my life been a little different. I also know, of course, that I have a long way to go, and that my presentation will always be improving.

It's interesting, all the subtle differences in how strangers look at me and talk to me since I've started presenting as female, but there are two changes that stand out the most.

First, people open doors for me everywhere I go.

And second, random people give Erin and me dirty looks at the slightest sign of PDA. Erin has no problems with it, but it's taken me a long time to get used to. Of course, when I appeared male, nobody had any problem with us. Now, the only thing that's really changed is my appearance, and suddenly they don't approve. If they only knew. >=D

Showing my ID is also getting more and more awkward. Sometimes I warn people that "it's the wrong gender". Most people just furrow their brows a bit and move on, but a few weeks ago at a bar, the server declared "This isn't you."
I replied that it was indeed me, though "I know I looked a little different with the goatee."
"Oh. It is you."
Of course, the fun part was then explaining the confusion to the friends of friends I was with.

I've started figuring out all the paper work for a legal name change. (Thanks Dexter for helping me out!) The first step is to get certification from the sex offender registry that I'm not in it. From there, I basically just fill out a whole bunch of forms, and schedule a court hearing. I'm excited, because it will take a lot of worry and hassle out of life, but at the same time, I'll miss those opportunities to bring attention to my trans status.

I feel like I'm reaching a turning point. Just as I'm learning to like identifying as trans, and beginning to consider how much I have to offer the T community, even just by being out and being me, I can also see how easy it would be to put this behind me and be a "normal" girl. I can understand why a lot of transsexuals choose to move to a new place and start a new life. Even though I knew from the beginning that I couldn't do that, I don't blame them in the slightest.

Personally, I hate keeping secrets about myself, and I'll probably always be out, but how active I want to be as an advocate is a question I've yet to answer.