After our peddling and coffee, I went in to the Social Security office right by 9am. Unlike the last time I meandered in, this time it was completely packed with people - so I whimpered internally and grabbed a number. Fortunate for me, the employee who had helped me the first time around was there at her window, so I chose a seat she'd hopefully spot me in. And when she finished up with the current individuals at her window, she waved me over.
I thanked her profusely for making the whole process as painless as possible. She got my name updated in a jiffy and sent me on my way, apologizing again for the SSA's policies on gender and being unable to change it. So, as it is currently, I'm legally male when it comes to my birth certificate and identification - but not so when it comes to the Social Security Administration. And, as the Social Security Gender No-Match Letters and Transgender Employees document put out by the National Center for Transgender Equality in 2008 points out, at least the gender component of something like E-Verify is optional, which I made sure to relay to the SSA employee in the event other trans folk come through there in the future in a similar situation.
After getting that worked out, she gave me a receipt saying that my new social security card should arrive in the mail within 2 weeks. So I headed down to Financial Aid on campus to let them know that things are in motion, stuff has been submitted, I have a new card coming - and that the gender component on E-Verify is optional. I was told to bring in my social security card once I receive it so that they can get it scanned and, hopefully, at this point my loans won't be on hold anymore and will go through!
I also got everything updated with Human Resources in regards to my campus job, but even though I've been working there for a few weeks now, I'm still unable to submit time and get paid until my card comes in the mail and Human Resources are able to re-submit everything.
On an aside, it's really interesting experiencing the world with a concealable stigmatized identity, seeing as most of my life has been spent in a gender non-conforming visibly stigmatized domain. "Coming out" was never a process I had to go through, because I was never "in" to begin with. And, at this point and moreso which each passing day, for anyone to know I'd have to actually conflict with some preconceived notion (cisgender) and come "out". Which, like I mentioned, I've never really had to do.
Back in my read as female 89.6% of the time days, I would just bring my girlfriend to extended family functions, out and about in the world, because I a.) wouldn't have been able to pass as hetero even if I tried and b.) figured that if anyone took issue with it, it was only a byproduct of their own insecurities, phobias, ignorance and homophobia - which, they should deal with and I've never had any interest in catering to. Super simplified summation there, of course - but, I'm trying to bring this in to my trans experience as well, where I'm just me, myself, and I.
In other news, I finally made an appointment with my doctor tomorrow morning after deciding that having non-insured appointment debt is better than no preventative check ups. The last time I had my hormone levels checked was in March of 2009, which means that I'm definitely long overdue.
Then, last night while thumbing through Issue #3 of Original Plumbing, I bumbled across a little article titled, You Say 'Vagina', I Say 'Awkward' written by Chase Ryan Joynt, encouraging trans men to stay on top of the whole gynecological care shindig. I shuddered, and as my eyes skimmed through it I got caught at:
"Without being dramatic: the word gynecology makes me feel like I am going to break out into a rash. I can think of approximately 203,789 things I would rather do than get a pap smear. That list includes but is not limited to: going to the dentist, retaking high school mathematics and licking the bathroom floor."
It's true. I could easily add about twenty awful things off the top of my head I'd rather do, for sure. And then, on to a more motivating point, he writes,
"While being on T doesn't directly help or hinder my chances of cervical issues, it does have a tendency to mimic cell abnormality on the cervix and therefore requires extra attention to make sure everything is in working order."
Then it dawned on me - I had decided back in the day that instead of going through pap-induced agony once a year I'd do it every two years. And, given that probably stupid pap avoiding rule, this December is my two-year mark and when the next one is "due". Which is only two months away. And, for my pathetically poor non-insured self, scheduling another appointment for December would cost me more money unnecessarily - when I could just do everything in one fell swoop tomorrow morning. Ugghh.
I laid awake all night thinking back on the last and only time I've had a pap done, when the doctor had to inject me with pregnancy sedatives that knocked me out for almost two days after just to make it happen. I'm assuming this will also be the case tomorrow. Doubting that I'd make it to my 2pm class after the appointment I e-mailed my professor and have essentially slotted the remainder of tomorrow for a sedative-induced all day pass out planet zot session.
I'm trying hard to just think rational happy thoughts, but they didn't work for me last time. No matter how hard I tried to think positively about the whole thing, my body just subconsciously insisted on flipping out, in inner-map violation mode. I'm hoping tomorrow will be easier than the first time around.
Oooo, but on another trans health note mentioned in #3 worth passing on, there's an article called A Holistic Approach to Trans Health written by Jacoby Ballard, where he writes in regards to protecting the liver:
"Hormones are processed in the liver, so taking exogenous hormones makes our livers process twice as many hormones. As we are often warned, one of the 'side effects' of taking hormones is a risk of liver disease, but there are many ways to protect our livers! ... I recommend Milk Thistle in a tincture form or ground up in food - a liver-protectant and nourishing tonic for the liver... As a tincture, take 1 dropperful 2 times per day; ground up, take 1 handful of the seeds, grind them in a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle, and sprinkle into food.",
but warns that,
"... Milk Thistle is not soluble in water and should not be taken as a tea."
I've heard this before and actually bought some in tincture form from Whole Foods back in the day, but I've been negligent to all hell about actually taking it. I had no idea it was soluble, so this is good to know and I'm all inspired to stay on top of it. Thanks for the info, Jacoby!