As 2018 opened, I was settling into my new, finally completed self. In 2017, I had every transition surgery so that my body would be aligned with my brain, and that they would confirm my legal name, Gina Joy.
As 2018 closes, I am printing the same forms I filled out three years ago, for the purpose of getting my name changed back to Gregory John.
I contemplate how this might proceed in court. When I did it the first time, I had lots of info from other trans folks on how the process goes. Going to court on May 2 2015 I was properly equipped, including having a letter from my doctor verifying my transition.
I won’t have a doctor’s letter this time—at least, I don’t think I will. If the judge hesitates at approving my petition, it seems to me enough that I can say, “Look at me, your honor. Do you see a man or a woman? This is how I live. Do you need a doctor to tell you what your eyes confirm?”
While I am anxious to get my credit cards back to reading as Greg, there is one positive about having a drivers license for Gina, a female: I am one very careful driver, not wanting to get pulled over by the police. “Well, you see, officer, here’s the deal . . .”
Hopefully, by springtime I’ll have my court-approved name change. Then, I can do what I did three years ago—or rather undo all of it—and once again be Greg everywhere my name appears.
I’m still a numbskull
When I had facial feminization surgery in November 2017, I was told that the worst numbness would ease in a few weeks, and the rest would resolve in six to twelve months.
The numbness was bad. It was everywhere, from the top of my head, down my forehead to my eyebrows, along the sides of my face, around my lips, and across my neck.
Though I have seventy percent of my facial hair removed via electrolysis, I still need to shave every few days. My numb face made shaving a miserably uncomfortable chore. In three weeks, enough sensation returned to make shaving easier, but I am not back to full feeling. My neck still is perhaps ten percent numb, while the sides of my face are probably twenty percent numb.
Thankfully, numbness is not the equivalent of pain. Feeling across the top of my skull has barely returned. It’s perhaps fifty percent better than right after surgery. My forehead is barely better than that. It feels tight, which I especially feel when I raise my eyebrows.
Tightness is the bugaboo with my lips. They are the only area that truly annoys me. Most of the time, I can feel the outline of my lips, which were stitched all the way around. It doesn’t hurt. It’s just there, an almost constant sensation of tight, taut tension.
Because I have passed the one year mark since surgery, I fear that I’m done healing, that I will be living with this numbness and tightness for the rest of my days. Rats. Thankfully, it’s not painful. Thankfully, it’s mostly an annoyance—as are my too-large breasts, which gotta go.
Friends gained . . .
We have lived in Merrymoss, the house we bought in 2015, for 3½ years. In 2018, I met more neighbors than any previous year. And it was way easier to do so.
I hesitated to meet neighbors as Gina. I encounter folks when jogging, walking by their house, or when I’m working in my front yard garden. Dressed for running and yard work, I looked like a guy. I never came up with a smooth way to introduce myself as Gina.
Oh, I did it. I said something like, “Hi, I’m Gina. I know, I don’t look like a Gina. Here’s the thing: I’m transgender . . .” The conversation always felt clunky. Uncomfortable. Way too much for a casual introduction.
But, this year? I gladly introduced myself! And it seemed that as yet unmet neighbors came out of the woodwork and into my path. I love being able to say, “Hi, my name’s Greg. I’m the guy with the front yard garden.”
One man, whom I already knew, truly became a friend in 2018. Mac lives across the street. He’s married to Alice. They are a bit older than me. Mac’s lived in this house for decades, but he and Alice married only two months before we moved into Merrymoss.
I can’t say that Mac is more comfortable with me as Greg—he and I always waved and had done plenty of brief chatting—but this year we found ourselves having longer conversations. On Labor Day, I knew I was truly in with him when he was with another man, who was getting into his car to leave. I was in the garden. Mac hollered for me. Arriving in Mac’s driveway, he said, “I want you to meet my brother.” We gabbed for ten minutes. Walking home, I beamed.
The most profound meeting of 2018 came late in the year. A man contacted me, who is battling gender dysphoria. He’s a young guy, married, children, and a Christian in my former church body, the LCMS. He is a good example of someone who, if he were to transition to female, would freak out a lot of people.
While he’s not a pastor, much of our lives match up. We have found in each other a natural kinship. We’ve talked several times, always long, emotion-filled conversations. He is hurting badly, aching to be female, striving to live as a male, having a difficult time seeing himself long term as a guy. Right where I was in 2013, when I was trying to figure out how I was going to survive.
I ache for him. I commiserate with him. More than anything, I make sure to end every phone call with the assurance that the Lord Jesus loves him with all His heart. Always.
. . . and lost
In 2015, when I announced online that I suffered gender dysphoria, even though I was striving to remain male some friends and fellow Christians unfriended me on Facebook, without saying a word. One of them was one of my oldest, closest friends. Man, that hurt.
That August, when I revealed that I was living as a female to see if it helped me, I lost even more. Only two people let me know they were unfriending me, because I was an offense to them.
In 2018, resuming living as a male, what should I have looked for in the friend/unfriend venue?
I am pleased to report that a nice number of folks have friended me, including some which I would not have expected when I was online as Gina.
I am sad to report that several transgender folks have unfriended me. And not one of them told me why. I’ve had to discover it when wondering why I had not seen them for awhile.
They just left.
Did I offend them by detransitioning?
A common theme among trans folks, as it long has been with gays and lesbians, is to be accepted. “Acceptance! Tolerance!” is the cry across the globe. At many a meeting of the local trans group, one hears a newcomer declare, “You people understand me. I love you because you are totally accepting.”
Accepting . . . except when they are not.
I learned long ago there is no group of people in which the persons of that group—be it a religion, a political persuasion, a nationality, you name it—are one hundred percent like-minded.
When I transitioned, I could not be the online friend of some because I was transgender. Having detransitioned, I can’t be the online friend with some because I am no longer transgender.
From trans persons, who long to be accepted—who harshly criticize those who do not accept them—I am especially hurt for their rejecting me. I am sad they felt they no longer could be connected to me.
I bet, if the roles were reversed, they would long to continue to be accepted.
I’ve been writing my life story for five years. In 2018, completing it has been my biggest project. I finished the first draft in September. Since then, it’s been edit, edit, edit.
As the year ends, Julie is busy reading it, providing me important improvements. Most don’t know that Julie holds her bachelor’s degree in journalism, wrote for newspapers for a number of years, and is an excellent writer. Her expert eye on my text is giving it real polish.
I asked my son, Alex, to create a cover. He took my ideas and wowed me. I presented it on Facebook, seeking feedback. Many folks provided excellent insights. Julie, Alex, and I discussed them and implemented a few of them. We’ve arrived at the final cover.
Here the cover. Below it is the original version. Look for the book to be published soon!