National Board of Health and Welfare

Today I got a letter from the National Board of Health and Welfare and its legal council. They are responsible for approving application for sex change here in Sweden. They have got the full contents of my medical file and will decide if the process I have gon through now have been conducted according to their guidelines. In practice that means that they will assign me my “new” legal status as a woman as well as giving the permission for sex reassignment surgery. In the letter they also told me that I had the opportunity to meet the head of the council for a brief discussion. I don´t really know why but it feels natural to go to the meeting even though it is not mandatory in any way. I guess I want to see who the people deciding this are and maybe give some input to my political work.

The only bad part is that we have a process rehearsal for the upcoming experiment at work that day and the meeting is appropriately scheduled for 1300 hours.

Obviously not obvious…

So far I have most of the time written about fun things but of course my life has its problems too. Somehow I find it much more difficult to write about them here. However, I will make one try now. It is about things that I guess are not that obvious all the time. It is mostly work related and it has to about me and my transition. I enjoy my work very much and I think my transition at work have gone really well so far but I have realized that on the outside I appear to be ready and done with my transition. In reality I have come on half-way since I have been on hormones for less than a year and still have my surgery left to do. Even though I want it (a long for it) I am not “just like any other woman yet”. It hurts to remind people of that and still I seem to want them to think about that.

I am still “fighting” with my body everyday to look as feminine as like it too (and what the world around me expects). That means it does take much longer for me to “get ready” than both my female and male collegues at work. I sometimes complain about having work-related activities to start at 7.30 och 8 o’clock but that is just because I need to set my watch at 5.15 if I need to be a at work at 8 in the morning (50 min drive included).

Another thing is being on time. I now I have a problem with that sometimes. The thing is that I still have a bit of unsecurity related to my appearance and want my look to to be “just right” to feel good about myself and that can sometimes take an extra bit of time if I am standning before the mirror that morning “when everything goes wrong”. Early on in my coming out process I also developed a fear of waiting alone somewhere and feeling that everybody was staring at my. I managed that by coming exactly on time or a bit late so I would not have to stand there alone. These habits have a tendency to stick unfortunately even though I no longer feel that way very often.

Public dressing rooms is another thing I don´t do nowadays. I just don´t now which room to go to. So before my surgery is done I just stay away from them at all instead. That means that doing sports where there are public showers is not something I do. I also have not taken a public bath in 5-6 years I guess. At my work we have a requirement to do sports three hours a week and that becomes rather hard to fix as well. My male collegues can just set off an hour or so to change clothes, go jogging and get dressed again. For me that “operation” would take at least three hours. This will of course gradually change as my body gets more feminine over the next years but for now that is the situation. The worst part is that me being naive and believing people know that probably led to the fact that I missed my application to the Defence College this year. So being transsexual in the Armed Forces definately has its costs.

Gothenburg – Liseberg

This evening we ended up at the Liseberg amusement park in central Gothenburg. Both me and my collegue are theme park buffs so we thought this could be nice. I must admit that Liseberg is not that far from a real theme park – maybe because it does not have a real theme associated with it. However, it has some interesting attractions like the roller-coaster Balder and The Cannon (Kanonen). Balder has been selected as the best wooden roller-coaster two times in three years but I must admit that I don´t fancy wooden coasters. They are simply too shaky in some ways and this one has two many bumps with negative G:s. Makes me motion-sick.

Medical evaluation finalized

When I came home from work this day there was an envelope in the mail from the hospital. I was a bit surprised to find a letter telling me that the medical evaluation part of the transition process is done. My doctor and his team had the so colled step 2 conference and everybody had apparently agreed that I was ready for a sex change now. I had expected this message to come in June or so but it was really great to read! It feels good to know that the final formal obstacles have been passed now. Attached to the letter there was a printed form for applying for sex change. It almost felt a bit unreal to look at the field and se the two checkboxes “male” and “female” in the lower part of the form. Like there is anything to choose between!

(Swedish) Den medicinska utredningen är alltså nu avslutad och min ansvarige utredare har tillsammans med resten av teamet på könsbytesmottagningen på Huddinge sjukhus haft den s.k. steg 2-konferensen. Under denna konferens tittar man igenom min journal och diskuterar mitt fall för att se om man ska gå vidare och rekommendera ansökan till Socialstyrelsens Rättsliga Råd. Med i brevet var också själva blanketten för ansökan om “Fastställelse av ny könstillhörighet” som det formellt heter. Känns lite absurt att man längst ner på blanketten kan kryssa i “man” eller “kvinna”. Som om man som TS har nåt val…!

To the US again

AGT Ride to main terminal
Time to go to the US again…this time to Orlando, Florida. Had a wonderful flight from Stockholm to Chicago this morning. The plane was not even half-full so after a while I was rather tired and needed some sleep. Found an empty row in the back of the plane and went to sleep for a few hours. Arrived in Chicago in a good mood. Never been to O´Hare before so that was interesting. Immigration went just fine but I guess it helps to have a government visa 🙂 However, this was the first time I entered the US with my new legal name in my passport and VISA. As far as I can tell I did not get any special attention from the immigration officer.

My and my collegue was kind of hungry so we found a place to eat in the terminal and the waitress asked us “Inside or outside?”. We choose outisde and ended up in the main hallway of terminal! Started our stay in the US with a cheeseburger in a basked…Next we had a few hours of flight down to Orlando and arrived on time. After that came the first attraction of Orlando – the pilotless train that takes you from the aircraft concourse to the main terminal. Since I do like themeparks it always makes me smile to ride the train and see Florida-sun baking on the tarmac.

Female chemistry…almost…

Estrogen molecule
Today I went to see my endocrinologist (a doctor specialized in hormones) and we talked about how my hormone therapy is going. He showed me the test result and apparently I have already more or less the same levels of estrogen as a born female. For some strange reason it felt good to hear that, like some kind of scientifc evidence that my body is really changing the way I want. I have felt good about the small changes I have seen during the past months and this confirmed that. My skin is a little bit softer, my sex drive is considerably lower (which feels good), have a noticable breast development, my facial features seem a little bit softer and I kind of think the veins seem to be a little less visible.

Speech therapy

Today was my first session of speech therapy (logoped på svenska). No matter how you put it – the voice is important for us. It is a significant part of how we are and we all relate to voices. Even though I think I do not have voice that is way too dark, it is still very much an issue for me. Maybe not so much in face-to-face meetings but I really don’t like using the phone sometimes. It is so hard when someone on the other end just assume you are not a woman. And sometimes it is not possible to do anything about it like in the morning…

Recently, I have been using a lot of audio-chat software as well and it is the same thing there, especially when talking to people I have never met before. It felt much better to text chat only in the beginning. Anyway, the aim of this therapy is to make me use my existing voice as good as possibly and also doing that in a way that does not harm it. So she made me do some excercises today where the aim was to make me aware of my breathing and how to properly use the stomach area when speaking. I imagine it is not that far away from taking singing lessons 🙂 I think I did rather good and it was interesting to find out (again) that I can take rather high tones and still being powerful. In the end we did another recording to profile my voice as a reference. Looking forward to the next time.

In America….

Alexandra outside the hotel
I think I had my most comfortable trip over the Atlantic ever. Me and my collegue had a row of four chairs for ourselves and it was so nice to be able to “spread out” your things and not feeling crammed in the seat. I was not that tired and managed to read a lot in my Dan Brown book, see the latest episode of my favourite TV show 24 and do some work.

Today was also the day when I was about to see what the multi-national military environment is like for a transsexual woman. I have been a bit worried about this for the past weeks but I actually was not as nervous as I thought today. I guess the early morning and the exictement of being there made me somewhat forget that. Anyway, I wore my nicest black Karen Millen suit and felt really well-dressed and everything worked just nice. People were very nice to me and used my new name and everything. Felt really good!

Now I have watched SG1 on the SciFi – channel and is using the free broadband access at the hotel.

Today it happened. During the last weeks I have been to the uniform shop a few times to figure out how to get the proper pieces together for my new uniform. It turned out that there were more clothes that had female versions than I expected and there was a new skirt model I had not seen before. Before I have always felt that the clothes did not fit me that good but now when I got the new skirt, jacket, shirt and trousers everything looked much better. I have also been worried about the hat/cap thing. Since I use some “extra hair” everyday I did not really think I got my cap to fit properly. Fortunately I have found a wonderful wigshop here in Stockholm with some really nice staff. So I went there with all my different hats and we tried different hairdos. I was surprised by the result we had after some professional advice from her. I looked very smart in a tight knot and my caps on top of that. So today I made a nice tight hairdo with a black ribbon and choose the skirt and the wolly-polly sweather with ranks together with black high heeled boots. By the way, my uniform is dark blue. It may seem a bit superficial to talk so much about this but all this are small but very important steps for me. Also, to me it is important to not feel “dorky” about my looks and being able to be proud for who I am. Getting comfortable with my look at work is therefore important.

Now, I have just got hand of a second battery to my PowerBook. Hopefully I can borrow it from a friend so I can use my computer all the way to the US tomorrow.

Laser treatment

Today I had laser treatment again. The cold weather made it a bit more difficult to get my car up and running but it has a soothing effect after being burned by a laser 🙂 However, the treatment starts with an hour on the bed with a special cream to reduce the pain in my face. After that it was time for the laser and today we tried a another machine which blow really cold air with one nozzle and the laser in the other. Strangely enough it was more painful to get so cold than the actual stings from the laser. In the end, it seem to have a good effect and I was less sore than the other times.