Day 355 – Trans University
(Getting breakfast before my first class)
for those of you in school, I hope your first week of classes went well, and for those of you who are older or aren’t in school, I hope the swarms of college students haven’t completely driven you insane. I want to spend most of my time today talking about transitioning while in college, and some of the obstacles you may face, but before I do that I want to give a quick update on everything else in my life.
Last week I didn’t have time to see my electrologist so I am seeing quite a bit of re-growth. Tomorrow I will see her again and hopefully we can take care of most of it. Even though I’ve had 7 hours of treatment it seems to still be coming in at a steady pace which is slightly discouraging. If you need laser/electrolysis, start now. For someone with a full beard it could take upwards of 2-300 hours of treatment. The annoyance of being full-time and having to grow out my facial hair for Monday appointments is starting to set in.
Today I switched my estrogen prescription from CVS to Walgreens so that I could get a 90 day prescription in hopes of saving on my co-pay. Sadly my new Estradiol pills are small round yellow circles as opposed to the cool purple ovals I got from CVS. On the bright side, they seem to dissolve much faster when taken Sublingually.
With all that aside, I would like to talk a bit about my first 3 days of classes after going full-time and what they have been like. Last semester I was living part-time at school and was still going by my male name in most of my classes, but this semester I decided I would go to all my classes as Abbey. Before I get into the details, I just want to say that it has taken me a while to get to this point and to have the confidence to deal with the obstacles I will most likely encounter.
The first obstacle I encountered was the dreaded attendance list. I may be out to all of my friends and family, but the only thing my new professors have to go by is the name on their course roster which happens to still show my male name. If there is a way to change this without a legal name change, I do not know, but you are most likely to face this problem if you are in college. In preparation for this, I emailed all of my professors beforehand notifying them of my trans-status and that I would like to go by a different name. Of my 4 classes, I couldn’t find one of their emails, and another already knows that I go by Abbey, so that leaves me with 2 professors to email. One professor got the message and called me by the correct name, but the other must not have gotten my email and called me by my male name. It was a pretty awkward moment for me, but in reality half the class probably didn’t notice and this is something you need to be prepared for in the case that it does happen. I have since emailed her asking her to call me by Abbey in the future. Professors seem to be pretty understanding people. If you think about it they have seen pretty much every kind of person come through their classroom.
Aside from role call, I haven’t had any major incidents or been outed. Surprisingly I feel like I am being treated and accepted pretty well by other students. Naturally, one of the most awkward times is when I have to use the bathroom. I used the women’s bathrooms on campus on several occasions before, but never on a daily basis. After talking with a few girls in other classes and being treated as female consistently, I am becoming more and more comfortable interacting socially as a girl. It feels easier and more natural.
Sometimes it is the small things that really boost your confidence. Like I said earlier I was in a group with 2 other girls in class, and it felt good to have them refer to me as “her” and not make any inclination to the fact that I may have been male at one point. In another class I got paired up with another girl to work on an assignment and we surprisingly got along pretty well. On yet another occasion I was headed to the bathroom and as I was walking towards it a girl was coming out and she held the door for me to go in. It is extremely subtle, but by holding the door and expecting that I was going to the women’s room, she was in a way, silently accepting me as female. Despite all of these things being small in the whole scheme of things, they all build up to make me feel much more comfortable in living as my true gender.
What it really comes down to is confidence. Obviously there is an element of looking female, but once you have a somewhat androgynous/female appearance, what really determines wether you pass or not is your confidence level. If you are confident that you are female, and act as if you are, people will more often than not, accept you as female. My physical appearance has not changed too much since I started hormones, but my confidence level has greatly improved and so has my ability to pass.
As the school year progresses I am sure I will have plenty more to talk about, so keep your eyes open. By the way, it sucks having to use the women’s room. Half the time they are completely full!
And on that note I am going to leave you with a little something that has been a source of inspiration for me when I find myself in times of trouble.
Congrats on having a good first few days…it totally takes make courage to do what you’re doing while in school! As for names, I know the university I work for requires somebody to officially and legally change their name before the university will recognize the name. But, I also know that some places (that are more trans friendly) may not require somebody to legally change their name first? I’m assuming you’ve looked into this, but if not, it might be worthwhile to see what your school’s policy is.
I talked to my housing director (for a trans friendly dorm) and she was able to put me down in the system as *male name* (Ashley) Belka. Which showed up on my mail from the university and now thats the name on my campus ID. She told me I show up as that on rosters too. Thats great to hear youre being more socialized into your gender, I personally had a janitor (male) ask me to check the female bathroom to see if anyone was in there today.
Good luck to you in your transition.
Thanks Tracy, I actually haven’t looked into my schools policy. I didn’t really consider it a possibility before legally changing my name. I am definitely going to look into it now.
You too Ashley. I know it is possible to change the name on my ID card, and it may also show up on the roster. One of my friends from last semester did that and I don’t think she has changed her name yet.
Good luck, I hope you’re at a trans-friendly place when it comes to the names (and in general too, of course)…I think they’re pretty rare but you never know! It might be possible that in the system for official purposes like transcripts, billing, etc. you might still have to go by your birth name, but when it comes to course rosters, perhaps you can have your chosen name listed? Who knows, but it can’t hurt looking into it!
Thanks for sharing your experiences. I look forward to the day I can transition at uni. Given my current situation I’m not really sure when I’ll get to that point. But anyway it’s nice to read this kind of posts! 🙂
Btw, you look gorgeous in that picture!!
It is pretty rewarding to finally be out in my classes. Hopefully you will get there too! Also, I checked with the registrar’s office at my school and they require a name change to change the name on your ID card.
Loved this post. The video is really inspiring. I’m at that really annoying stage where i’m too scared to use womens toilets cos I don’t pass but feeling horrible using male ones cos it’s just wrong. I usually use disabled ones to save the awkwardness but maybe I just need to say “Fuck it!”
Sometimes you do just have to go for it, I would say it would be best to try it first In a smaller location where the worst anyone could do is ask you to leave. If someone questions you and doesn’t know what you are, you can always be like, I am a girl, what is your problem?
Turn the tables on them.