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Dearhart

MtF Transitioning in Adult Ed

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Dearhart

So, I've been slowly transitioning at the adult school I teach at. I started pretty much casually and piece meal. In the beginning, I was super worried about each little change I made to my wardrobe. For example, when I lstarted working on my weight and needed new pants, I bought leggings instead. But nobody seemed put off by it, neither my co-teachers nor my immigrant students (I teach adult ESL). 

 

Then, once I got comfortable with that, I experimented with women's tunics to cover the long torso I inherited from my dad, but thank goodness KingsizeDirect now offers longer length shirts that can function more like dresses (selecting the Tall option for these longer length shirts has the bottom hem landing about mid thigh.)

 

Recently, I've slowly experimented with makeup once I feel like I got a handle on it: first some mascara which I like only on my upper lashes, then some concealer/foundation for a random bout of persistent acne, and finally lipstick. 

 

Again, so far no one has reacted at all that I can tell, except for one specific student who already was known for minor disruptions. 

 

I live in Arkansas, which isn't the best for protecting trans people at the workplace and in school, but certainly not the worst.

 

Am I jumping the gun at all, changing how I present before starting any procedures like HRT? Should i keep doing what I'm doing or put a pause on it until I'm ready to transition completely and inform my principal and change my documentation? The therapist I've been seeing hasn't mentioned anything one way or another, focusing instead on my improving self-image and personal confidence. 

20200208_133422.jpg

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Jackie C.

I guess that would depend on what you have to do legally in Arkansas. You're probably OK in the adult education field, but I don't have a feel for what kind of pushback you'd get from your employer if you were to come out fully and present female at work.

 

Hugs!

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Jani

If this is how you present at school, do you think your principal or others don't know something is going on?  You mention putting things on hold until you start transition, but you as you mention in your profile that you're non-binary is there a need?  Can you just continue to mix in the feminine elements you enjoy to the male ones you also like?  I apologize if I am not relating to NB properly. 

 

Jani 

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Dearhart
39 minutes ago, Jackie C. said:

I guess that would depend on what you have to do legally in Arkansas. You're probably OK in the adult education field, but I don't have a feel for what kind of pushback you'd get from your employer if you were to come out fully and present female at work.

I'm looking into that, now, too. From what I know so far, the state law only cares whether I get bottom surgery in regards to changing the sex marker on documents like birth certificate and social security card. 

 

41 minutes ago, Jani said:

If this is how you present at school, do you think your principal or others don't know something is going on?  You mention putting things on hold until you start transition, but you as you mention in your profile that you're non-binary is there a need?  Can you just continue to mix in the feminine elements you enjoy to the male ones you also like?  I apologize if I am not relating to NB properly. 

Oh, I'm sure they know something is going on, but aren't bothered enough to either say or do anything regarding it. 
Also, I only really say non-binary as a kind of placeholder until I figure the ideas and definitions out better. I know I'd like to pass publicly as female, but I have no intention of getting bottom surgery. That's just way too expensive and I've never really associated those parts with my gender identity. 

Honestly, the biggest thing I see preventing me from presenting more traditionally feminine is my voice and bone structure. My current vocal range has my lowest  notes flirting with the mid-low end of Bass, but I can belt out a low baritone like Tennessee Ernie Ford or whoever sang "Through Heaven's Eyes" in the Prince of Egypt movie. And my bone structure is largely unknown due to lifelong obesity, but I feel really self-conscious about what I perceive as a forehead large enough to make Kelsey Grammar's look dainty. I know it isn't, but it still feels like that. 

I may never be "properly" MtF, because I do like mixing things up, but hearing Tony the Tiger's voice coming from someone who's trying to present as feminine may be problematic. Hopefully, though, that'll just end up as more of the "people just don't care as much as I think they do" that I'm still coming to grips with.  

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Jani

OK.  I would suggest if you want to be looked at as female then I might suggest you are not non-binary.  Something to talk with your therapist some more.   You can be transgender and not want or need GCS.  It's all a personal choice.  As to never being properly MtF,  never say never!   

 

Don't worry about bone structure as there are lots of larger women, just as there are lots of men.  Your size could be to your advantage, from several larger women I know.  You can work on your voice to bring it into a higher range but also focus on inflection and cadence when you speak.  IMO this is more important than tone.   Work on making yourself happy, not others.  You're the one who matters. 

 

Cheers, Jani   

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TammyAnne

Hi Dearheart, I'm northeast of you in Searcy County.

Arkansas can be such a mixed bag, mostly people tend to live and let live. Like you I am non-binary (well really gender nonconforming tending towards feminine). While I would love to present as totally female, for me it is a bridge too far.

However, as Jani suggested, I wouldn't be too concerned about your size or bone structure. I've met some farm girls who could easily crush me and I'm not little.

As to voice, that too is a spectrum. Mae West had a very husky voice. No one ever presumed she was male.

I am proud of you, glad you found us, and hope things continue to go smoothly with your classroom.

TA

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Dearhart

Well, I finally got the talk by my principal due to two calls from unidentified females voicing concerns about me wearing makeup while giving GED tests. He said he personally doesn't care how I choose to express myself. But with attendance being as low as it is, he really doesn't want to create any more variables that might threaten the school's budgetary futures by pushing away new or current students. 

 

I knew it was coming, but I let myself think it'd be much further down the line. Yeah, it hurts, and yes, I'm doing what I've taught myself not to ruminate and spiral back into depression. But dang it...I was finally feeling happy about myself. Oh, well....just keep repeating "progress isn't always linear". 

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Jackie C.

Well that sucks. Hopefully you can find another way forward. I don't know what the situation is in Arkansas, but here it's legal to discriminate against trans people. Our colleges are pretty tolerant though. May you find an employer that doesn't suffer from recto-cranial inversion.

 

Hugs!

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ShawnaLeigh

I think you are doing great with your makeup.  I’m very inexperienced but it looks really good to be.  
It amazes me that there are still places that still are homophobic.  
It’s a bit out of your way but the University of Vermont is extremely tolerant and supportive toward LBGTQ and the pay well too. 
Vermont is a wonderful place to transition so we will take you!!!  

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Susan R
8 hours ago, Dearhart said:

Well, I finally got the talk by my principal due to two calls from unidentified females voicing concerns about me wearing makeup while giving GED tests.

This is so sad..I mean absolutely depressing to read.  What in the world does your female leaning presentation have to do with your actual ability to teach?  These “I know what’s best for everyone” anonymous troublemakers have nothing better to do than to stir up trouble to make themselves feel important. What’s also really sad is the fact that your principle’s lack of a backbone to support you as an individual who is just trying to do their job.  I hope you eventually find an employer that can stand behind you and your actual ability to teach rather than cave in to these petty societal pressures.

 

Susan R🌷

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Dearhart
12 hours ago, Susan R said:

This is so sad..I mean absolutely depressing to read.  What in the world does your female leaning presentation have to do with your actual ability to teach?  These “I know what’s best for everyone” anonymous troublemakers have nothing better to do than to stir up trouble to make themselves feel important. What’s also really sad is the fact that your principle’s lack of a backbone to support you as an individual who is just trying to do their job.  I hope you eventually find an employer that can stand behind you and your actual ability to teach rather than cave in to these petty societal pressures.

 

Susan R🌷

Thank you. I think I may have to start aggressively applying to districts in NW Arkansas for any chance at professional tolerance. 

 

19 hours ago, ShawnaLeigh said:

I think you are doing great with your makeup.  I’m very inexperienced but it looks really good to be.  
It amazes me that there are still places that still are homophobic.  
It’s a bit out of your way but the University of Vermont is extremely tolerant and supportive toward LBGTQ and the pay well too. 
Vermont is a wonderful place to transition so we will take you!!!  

I've had my eye on Vermont since the day I actually started paying attention to the news after high school. I also hear Vermont actually gets a winter and proper snowfalls. I think I'll start looking into some districts up there. Thank you. 

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ShawnaLeigh
1 hour ago, Dearhart said:

Thank you. I think I may have to start aggressively applying to districts in NW Arkansas for any chance at professional tolerance. 

 

I've had my eye on Vermont since the day I actually started paying attention to the news after high school. I also hear Vermont actually gets a winter and proper snowfalls. I think I'll start looking into some districts up there. Thank you. 

Sticking close to the Burlington or Montpellier areas are were it seems to be best for services and LBGT folks.  

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TammyAnne

Maine is another accepting place, although incomes tend to be low. In a lot of ways Maine reminds me of the way Arkansas used to be.

If I understood your post correctly, you got an "off the record" talking to, since that's how things like this often go. Agreed that the Fayetteville area is your best bet in Arkansas. Although housing costs are high.

Best of luck to you!

TA

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Dearhart

Okay, so...minor update on my side of things. Today just seemed to come together to be exactly what I needed. 

Last week hit me hard, and I drank and smoked some things I knew better than to drink and smoke (earned me 30 extra pounds...). Like, my coworkers and students were asking if I was sick or angry (mother cried a little while trying to be supportive, which she was). 

 

But today, i got to talk to my therapist for the first time in a month (usually every 2 weeks), and felt better, then I stumbled upon a video of Harvey Weinstein's (the actor with a gravelly voice, not the one in the news) play "La Cage Aux Folles" and got to hear "I Am What I Am". That really felt validating and uplifting. 

 

THEN! Here at the chicken plant I teach at through the school, an older black lady i used to speak to before she changed shifts came up and asked me about the lipstick i wore last week and why I wasnt wearing anything this week. I told her what happened, and this is as close to a summary of what she responded with as I can manage. Still a bit verklempt.  

 

"Baby, my youngest is just like you. He's so flamboyant and just now 16. He knows how to put on makeup and everything. And I'm christian. We're taught to hate the sin, not the person. Ain't our place to judge nobody. So you be who the good lord made you to be and don't listen to anybody else."

 

It's good to get support from friends and family, but it feels extra special somehow coming from someone who's practically a stranger. Which is why I'm so glad I swallowed my social anxiety and joined this forum. 

 

Thanks for all the support, everyone. I think I'm back on track, now. 

 

"Life ain't worth a damn if you can't say I am what I am"

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Dearhart

*Harvey FIREstein, not Weinstein....oy...

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TammyAnne

Good for you.

I'm proud of you, you took a bit of a pounding, but kept sailing on.

Hang in there. You can do this.

TA

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Suzanne1

Chicken plant, huh?  Yeah, that's the AR I know.  Lots of folks including a parent's family members were employed at one of the chicken plants; hard work, but it's a living.  Sounds like for the most part, the OP is handling self relatively okay, without too much impetuousness.  Glad there's a psychotherapist in the picture.

 

Best wishes to the OP.

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