Be Careful of Depo

Depo Provera is somewhat popular in the trans community. It’s most likely to stop periods, which is a life-saver for trans folk who are highly dysphoric during that time. It’s covered by most insurance and is far easier to get than T, as well, so it’s helpful for those who either don’t want T or who can’t get on it yet. (also, although this is aimed at the trans community, it’s certainly useful information for cis women considering depo as well)

There’s a not unheard of side effect, though, that I not a lot of people talk about. Namely: prolonged periods, sometimes lasting months.

The first time I took depo was in 2010. Fortunately, it did stop my period. I took it again about 8 months post-partum and the results were not the same. For the first few months, I had a regular period. Then it didn’t stop. It didn’t stop for a solid two months. Since it turned out that it was costing me $50/dose after insurance, it definitely wasn’t worth it. My hormones were horrible, my mood took a nose dive, I ended up taking the risk on herbs that are meant to reduce PMS/PMDD symptoms, which you aren’t supposed to take while on hormones, which did help. After missing the shot, it stopped for 2 weeks and then was back on for 10 days.

I’ve looked it up and other people have had the same experience of months of straight bleeding, often that doesn’t stop until they go off depo. Apparently planned parenthood will warn you about this potential side effect, but I had never been told about it.

I find this to be especially irresponsible because I was specifically going on it not as birth control but to stop/reduce my period due to the horrific PMS I was getting. If that had happened to me when I first took it, I’m not exaggerating when I say that I may have killed myself. If I’d known it was a not unheard of risk, I’m not sure if I would have taken it.

I can’t find any statistics on how common this is. Some people claim that it’ll probably stop after 6 months, but I’ve heard of people experiencing 9 months of straight bleeding that only stopped when they got off of it. I wasn’t willing to find out, two months is too much as it is.

I’m not saying to never ever go on depo, but do be aware that there is this risk. I wish I could tell you how much of a risk it is- a lot more people are willing to take a 1% risk than a 50%- but I don’t know. If you absolutely couldn’t handle it, you may want to try other options. Possibly warn your support system about it and to make sure that they watch out for you, especially if you have severe emotional effects around/during your menstrual cycle.

Has anyone else had similar problems with this or other birth control?

(note: I’m still taking  a break from blogging after what happened last week, but I felt this was too important not to publish)

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On my last post (all posts, really)

My traffic has exploded since the last post, and from what I can tell most of it is coming from facebook. While most sites I can see the exact page, the way facebook redirects- I can’t. I have no way of seeing where, specifically, it’s coming from or what people are saying about it. I’d love to think that it’s just universal agreement with what I’ve said, but I don’t know and I don’t want to take the risk that I’m ignoring a really big failure.

As I said in the disclaimer- if I said something really wrong, please let me know. If people are complaining about me and calling me out in a place I’m not aware of, I have no way of knowing, so please don’t take my silence as an intentional offense. I’ve had a few instances of people “calling me out”* in a place that I had no way of knowing about until someone decided to alert me, and I just want people to know that it’s okay to call me out on this blog. If you ask that I not publish a comment and respond privately, I’ll respect that. If you ask that and leave a very disrespectful, bigoted, hateful comment- don’t expect a good reply, but I won’t publish anything when I’ve been asked that it be made private.

*I really don’t consider it a call out if it’s done without making sure the person knows they’re being called out. Part of the purpose of a call out is to let the person know they messed up, if the person isn’t made aware then it’s not really a call out.

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Removed

I am removing the content of this post.

The content is completely saved as a draft on my account. I may make it a password protected post.

This post has gotten an obscene number of views, all directed from facebook. Clearly a lot of people are talking about it and I have no way of knowing what they’re saying. I don’t know if it’s one group or many.  This was one of those posts that actually touched on a very personal subject for me, and it actually really bothers me that people are talking about it behind my back like this. I did not expect such a reaction, even Trans 101 didn’t blow up like this and it got mostly “visible” responses. I wasn’t prepared for it and if I had had any idea, I may have made it password protected from the start. Or I may have omitted the more personal parts. Or maybe I just would have prepared myself for it.

Honestly, I don’t care what people are saying. I actually don’t want to know, I’m not looking to see if this was posted ona publically visible facebook for a reason. I don’t know how it would have effected me to get so many views from “visible” sources, honestly the sheer number of pageviews is unnerving on its own. I should have realized that a lot of people could be talking about what I’m writing without me knowing about it but I honestly assumed I was just not popular enough for that.

I’m not “holding the post hostage” until people own up.  I’m not condemning people for having a private conversation about my work, or for having a public conversation I just don’t know about. They’re well within their rights. This has just shaken me up, I’m not even sure I can articulate why. The situation makes me uncomfortable and I just hadn’t thought about it. I was already worrying about how personal is “too personal” and this has more deeply made me realize how important that distinction is. I’m actually glad it happened on this post, there are much more personal posts I’ve written and couldn’t decide whether or not to publish that it would have been terrifying if this had happened with.

When I published the other post this morning, I was a little uncomfortable but not massively. I thought it was a one day buzz. Not a huge deal. Unnerving, but, hey, 50 pageviews in one day isn’t a huge deal, right? Since then, the post has gotten over twice as many views as it had yesterday and I don’t know how far it would have gone. I don’t want to find out.

I’ve paused all scheduled posts. This is really making me re-think blogging in  general. I’m sorry if this sounds utterly melodramatic, again, I don’t know if I can express why this bothers me so much. I just need to recalibrate with this in mind. I think part of why it’s terrifying is just the thought that I can write something that can get so much attention- that’s a big responsibility. I thought I wanted that, now I don’t know.

I appreciate the attention, I’m glad that what I wrote struck a chord, I meant it to. I just didn’t fully understand what striking a chord can mean, especially when it’s such a personal subject. I apologize for any inconvenience. Thank you for taking the time to read this (and, if you saw it, the original post, which I’m well aware may be floating around the internet now- saved as text or screenshots).

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Non-Binary Social Dysphoria

Physical dysphoria, for me, is easy. It’s painful, but the only person I’m trying to please is myself. It was easy to know I needed to get surgery- getting it was incredibly difficult and nervewracking and I really wish that I hadn’t needed it, that my body had just been what it was supposed to be from the start- but knowing what to do was easy.

Social dysphoria? That’s hard. Being a non-binary with social dysphoria isn’t easy. It’s virtually impossible to ‘pass’, you’ll almost never find people who automatically use neutral pronouns with you. The only time I remember a person doing so, it was a waiter at a restaurant who used ‘they’ to refer to me with no prompting. I almost cried with happiness.  The closest you can get to passing as non-binary is to be androgynous enough that you either get a roughly even male/female split, or people just avoid gendering you at all.

Being androgynous in this world, depending on where you are, can be dangerous. Thanks to transphobia, people respond very negatively to it. They don’t like anything that challenges their comfortable male/female binary. It can get in the way of employment, it can cause problems in social situations, etc. There are many instances of androgynous people being molested by someone who wants to know “what it is”. This happens to cis people who dress androgynously, to binary trans people who don’t “pass” well enough, to non-binary people who try to assuage our dysphoria, to anyone who gets “too” androgynous.

So, trying to go full-androgynous (besides being very difficult) has potential dangers. Going all the way to male has dangers as well, even assuming I could, it may not be any more comfortable and it may even bring up more physical dysphoria. Is it any surprise that so many non-binary people don’t transition at all and try their best to get comfortable in the closet?

I wrestle with whether or not to take T a lot. Sometimes things happen that make it very bad, sometimes I don’t think I need it. I really don’t know what to do. Right now, we can’t afford it and so the choice is made for me. I don’t really know what will happen in the future. I’ll write more in depth about this in the future.

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#YesAllWomen

I started planning this post with the idea that it’d be about how gender effects things, how despite being AFAB I don’t face a lot of the problems women do. That’s what it was supposed to be, until I thought about it and realized how untrue that was. This has actually effected me as well, and I think it’s telling that it’s so normalized that I didn’t even realize it had.

When I was 14, a boy spent an entire year trying to get me to date him. I thought I was supposed to be flattered.  I finally gave in a month before the end of the semester, when he was moving, thinking “what could happen in a month”. Read that again: A boy spent an entire year asking me out while I said “no” until I finally gave in, which I only did because I thought he couldn’t do harm in a month, and I’d been trained to find that flattering.

It was a sexually abusive relationship, which is entirely unsurprising given the giant RED FLAGS he sent up. He forced himself on me despite repeatedly saying “no”, physically overpowering me. When I reached out to my female friends and tried to get support, I was told I was a “bad [partner]” for not just saying yes. This idea of male entitlement is so deeply entrenched that a bunch of 14 year old girls believed that a partner is owed sexual favors no matter how uncomfortable it makes the other person. 14 years old.

The saddest thing about that relationship? I will bet money that this boy didn’t realize he was abusing me, didn’t realize he was hurting me. One time, he saw the cuts on my wrist that he’d caused and just sadly asked me “why”, eyes full of concern. I didn’t answer. We live in a culture that taught him “this is how relationships work”. We live in a culture that utterly failed to teach him consent, instead teaching him entitlement. I’m sure that many abusers don’t realize what they did was abusive.

Yes, I was naive, but, frankly, I should not have had to worry. 14 year olds should not be getting into relationships fearing sexual or physical or emotional abuse. No one should ever get into a relationship with that fear. But that’s not the world we live in.

(I feel like mentioning that my first ever boyfriend was a perfectly lovely, respectful young man who respected both his own boundaries and mine- so it’s not like young folks are just incapable of it)

It happened again when I was 16, a boy started harassing me for a date despite numerous attempts to say no. He made it clear he wanted to have sex with me. It made me uncomfortable, my previous experience was still a very fresh wound and this time I wasn’t so naive, but I still didn’t really know how to get him to stop. Finally I had to block his IM and pray I didn’t have any future classes with him. He asked me about why  he hadn’t seen me online, and I lied. I was afraid of what would happen if I wasn’t always polite.

Another time, a guy walked past me and I thought I felt something on my butt, and assumed he just accidentally bumped into me. He then turned around and complimented me on how tight my ass was- making it clear he’d grabbed it. He didn’t see this as at all inappropriate behavior. It made me incredibly uncomfortable, but I didn’t say anything.

It has seemed to have petered out since I stopped dressing cisnormatively at 17, especially since getting surgery at 19. If I started dressing feminine again, it would probably increase again. People shouldn’t have to totally change their appearance just to avoid harassment, though. It shouldn’t matter how I dress or what I look like, it shouldn’t matter how anyone dresses or looks like, this should not be how our society works.

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Patreon

I’m going to be honest, I feel really awkward writing this, especially so soon since writing the post about paypal. Thank you for bearing with me and I’m very sorry for sounding like a money-grubbing jerk.

As you may or may not have noticed, I switched out the paypal button for a Patreon button. For anyone not familiar with patreon, it’s a way to support creators that also lets you get something out of it. I really appreciate the person who donated with paypal, and I’m hoping that patreon will help people feel like they’re getting something for their money. I considered having it be a “by post” donation, so that you know you’ll only have to pay me if you’re getting something, but because some of the rewards are extra posts- I felt like that wasn’t really fair.

I’ve put it up now because I’ve been updating a minimum of once a week for a solid month and have scheduled posts through the end of August (two months from now) and have a ton of finished drafts that I haven’t scheduled yet for various reasons. Basically, I’m confident that I’ll be able to keep updating and I hope that I’ll be able to continue improving the quality.

I did miss this blog. Maybe it’s a bit full of myself, but I feel like I was able to help make a difference for people and I want to be able to do that again. I really wasn’t able to for the last two years because of school and family and health obligations, but now that that’s lessened I’ve been able to put more time into the blog and I’ve surprised myself with how much I’ve written. Patreon will be able to help me be able to make time for the blog, even if it just means being able to afford a babysitter for a few hours a week so I can dedicate time to this.

I also am really hoping that I’ll be able to work out more ways for reader involvement and to be able to offer as many people support as possible. Again, these things take time and, sadly, time is money.

This blog is still up for free and will be as long as wordpress.com is willing to host it. I know that my target audience is one that tends to be low on funds so I do not expect a miracle at all. And, as I mention on the patreon page, there is technically a way to do one-time contributions so if the idea of monthly payments is too much for you, there’s that.

There is no obligation to contribute. If I get no patrons, then there is the risk that I’ll once again be in a position of too busy to work on this blog, but that’s my problem and not yours. I have it there just so that if anyone would like to and can afford to give support, the option is there.

I appreciate all support- not just financial, I appreciate the people who read and like and share my posts. I also really appreciate commenters and I know I need to figure out how to better engage my readers. I am really hoping that the patreon will work out and I’ll be able to make this a better blog, I don’t know if I’ll get the opportunity to do it otherwise.

So, there’s my spiel which I feel incredibly awkward about. Please consider checking out the patreon here: http://www.patreon.com/binarysubverter

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Bound

I found out about The Binding Health Project. For some reason, it won’t let me take the survey, but I wanted to talk about my experiences binding anyways. I already posted this on my tumblr, but I’m posting it again here.

It says it’s not accepting additional responses at this time.

I was never evaluated for specific problems, well nothing came back showing problems, so I don’t know for certain. It’s possible that in the future I’ll end up having problems brought on by the binding. I bound from late 2007/early 2008 until getting surgery in spring of 2010, many people bind for far longer before they’re able to get surgery.

I tried the ace bandage method but was never able to get it tight enough. It instead just led to a lumpy looking chest and I needed a sports bra to hold it in place.

I don’t remember what company I got it from now, but I got a proper binder not long after  that. Because the binder was too long, if I tried wearing it in a single-layer, it rolled up my hips and seriously hurt them. I was also large and soft, so needed more binding than just the single layer. I doubled it up, pulling it up over my chest. The bottom edge (which was on the top, due to folding it over itself) rolled, creating a very tight line of pressure around the top of my chest and back. I tried safety pins and all sorts to fix it to no avail. I considered cutting it, but they were expensive and I couldn’t afford to throw one away and didn’t know how to re-finish the edge.

This roll hit a nerve and would send shooting pains down my arm. This didn’t start until over a year of binding, worsening as it went. As I write this, I can still feel a twinge of pain in my back where the binder hit. To this day, occasionally a muscle/nerve in my back will twinge and cause incredible pain- even taking in a breath is excruciating, I can’t move. I don’t know for sure if this is due to binding, but given the location I suspect that it is.

When I started working out, the growth in my chest muscles caused my binder to become too small- leading to inhibited breathing and chest pain.The only binder company I knew of at the time took at least a week to get to you, and not everyone could afford new binders. I don’t actually remember what I did, because I’m almost certain I didn’t buy a new binder.

I needed to wear an undershirt beneath it, as the material aggravated my skin. I lived in North Carolina, wearing 3 layers (one of which is a doubled-up binder) in the height of summer was miserable.

I started getting pain in my breasts. I don’t know what it was, the mammogram and ultrasound didn’t show any problems.

I have no idea what would have happened if I hadn’t been able to get surgery when I did. Nothing good.

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It Gets Worse

I’ve never really liked the “It Gets Better” campaign. I’m glad that it mostly seems to have petered out, but boy was it big. This article summarizes a few of the criticisms of it, which I’m really not up to doing myself.

Right now, if I were to look back at my suicidal teenage self, I would not be able to say “It Got Better”. There was a brief period of time where I could. There was a period of time where I was confident things were going to work out, that I could get on my feet, that I was on the right track. I was on my way to graduating, I was working on a project that I was really happy with, I had figured out how to manage my depression and was finally diagnosed with fibromaylgia so I could start doing something about it. I truly had faith that things were going to work out.

Then the rug got pulled out from under my feet. It didn’t get better. Every time I turned around, the situation kept getting worse. Things kept falling through the cracks. What we thought was a good opportunity turned out to be the worst decision we could have made. The only reason I’m not homeless right now is due to the grace of my emotionally unstable and abusive mother. (she is working on it and getting better, we’re starting to cobble together a relationship, but it’s still terrifying)

If I were able to meet my suicidal teenage self, I’d have to sit myself down and say “Child, you have no idea how bad it gets, and I am so so sorry. Also, take your goddamn fish oil.”. (I’m not joking about the fish oil, it is the only thing that’s helped my depression and is the only reason I’m still remotely functional)

And, see, this is why I hate the campaign. Because, sometimes, it gets worse. Sometimes, you get out of highschool and rather than getting away from the bullies, you get into a workforce where the bullies get to decide whether or not to hire you and even if they DO hire you, they make comments and policies that make your life miserable.

What are us queers supposed to do when it gets worse? Just hold on and have faith that eventually, down the road, it’ll somehow get better? Ignore the fact that there are homeless queers dying in the streets for whom it never got better?

I’m trying to hold onto faith. I’m not a religious person, but faith and hope- they’re powerful. Some people find power in giving up hope, because they no longer get hurt when things get worse. But right now, I need to find some shred of hope to cling to that this wasn’t all a waste of time. And it is just getting harder and harder to find it.

So, Dan Savage, it didn’t get better. Now what?

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Hopeless

I don’t know how much of this blog I want to be personal, but it started out as a deeply personal blog and I already talked about our current situation a bit…

We keep ending up in bad situations despite trying desperately to get things to work out and, at this point, I don’t understand how anyone can have such bad luck anymore. We really are trying, as best as we can. We’re happy to work, but we aren’t getting jobs. Which just feels awesome, let me tell you, nothing boosts your self-esteem like a pile of metaphorical rejection letters. I worry that being trans (I have a masculine name and a feminine voice/appearance) is part of why I can’t get a job, prompting a spiral of dysphoria and wondering whether or not I should get on T.

Right now, we’re living somewhere that now no longer feels safe at all and, honestly, I’m sick of it. I’m exhausted. We are trying so damn hard to get things to work out, to get on our feet, and it’s just not working out. We may have to pay way more than we can afford to leave and I just hate being put in this position by someone who swore this wouldn’t happen.

When do things get better?

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Parenting DOES Matter

Note: This post contains references to suicide, parental abuse, and queerphobia.

I read the blog Fearless Formula Feeder from time to time, and sometimes check out the facebook group. Generally, the submissions are personal stories that I don’t really have anything to agree or disagree with- these are people recounting their experiences, and that’s valid. But recently one person said something that really rubbed me the wrong way, it got under my skin. This is the quote I had a problem with:

I have very little control over how my child will end up “being” and I’ll probably serve them and myself better if I accept that from the start. That’s not to say that I planned to be a negligent, inattentive parent.. but basically that kids (and the grown people they turn into) are a lot more sturdy and resilient then they get credit for much of the time. http://www.fearlessformulafeeder.com/2014/05/fff-friday-my-breasts-belong-to-me-and-your-breasts-belong-to-you/

This is a recurring theme mentioned, directly or implied, a few times throughout the post. To a degree, it’s true. There are many things in children we simply cannot force.  Who knows that better than the queer community? We can’t force our children to love who or what we want them to, there are aspects of personality that are innate and not really effected by outside forces. But at the same time, external forces do have a great impact. Abuse and neglect have the most obvious impacts. I suppose you could argue “well, good parenting it doesn’t really matter what you do…”- okay, then you have to be a good parent. What does a good parent look like? We don’t really know.

Well-meaning parents can do damage. Parents who try to do their best can do damage. Again, who knows this better than the queer community? Our youth are being driven to suicide by their own parents, and I’m sure this isn’t the only situation it happens in- it’s just the only one I can find anyone acknowledge this painful reality. These parents often mean very well, care about their children, truly want what’s best for their children- and tragically have very inaccurate idea of what’s “best” for their kids. Parents can still find psychiatrists to tell them that their transgender children should be forced to be cis, and while I haven’t heard of psychiatrists saying it about LGB kids- you certainly can find pastors, teachers, and other authority figures who have this view. Dead Poets Society features a teen committing suicide due to his father controlling his life. Again, the father likely thought he was doing what was right for his son- stopping him from “throwing his life away” on a career that wouldn’t get him anywhere, pushing him to “make something of himself” and to have a life where he’d likely never want monetarily.

Parents trying to do what’s right for their kids can do damage. There is no magic ball that tells us what’s right and wrong, we’re making this up as we go. Experts constantly disagree on what the right and wrong choices are, even the studies aren’t always conclusive. Damage done by parents isn’t always physical violence or extreme neglect. It can be parents desperately trying to protect their children from harm, and going too far. It can be parents refusing to accept their children for who they are, trying to force an idealized life on them that just doesn’t fit.

The damage also isn’t always as extreme as suicide. The damage can be hitting your first real challenge and failing miserably because no one prepared you for difficulty.  The damage can be getting into a loveless marriage to please your parents. The damage can be going to school for something you don’t truly want, burning out and dropping out (possibly with a mountain of debt). The damage can be broken self-esteem. The damage can be mental and chronic illness brought on by the stress.

Yes, people are resilient. We can dig ourselves out of the deepest holes…. with adequate resources. Resources that many people don’t have, especially when those resources won’t come from a family that has disowned them. Is that really what we want, though? For our kids to spend the first years or even decades of their adult life digging themselves out of a hole we put them in? It’s certainly not what I want for my children. And what about the kids who don’t get out of those holes? The ones who kill themselves, the ones who just never get the resources they need to improve?

I know, there’s so much pressure on parents already. But that’s because we have a big damn job. We’re responsible for a tiny, unformed life. We’re responsible for growing and molding it at its most vulnerable and malleable. And if we brush this responsibility aside with “well, kids are resilient, it doesn’t matter anyways”- we’re far less likely to notice the warning signs that maybe we aren’t doing what’s best after all.

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