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location:  Transition  >  Timeline

The kid years:  When I was a girl

I wasn't the typical tomboy. Nor was I a tomboy at all. I was very much my mother's little girl. I loved ballet and didn't really mind wearing dresses, as long as they weren't itchy. I always envied the little boys and wanted to go play with them, but I was a quiet child and wasn't the type to just bust out and join them. Looking back on my actions and what I loved to do, I realize that I never associated a gender role with ballet or playing with My Little Ponies. All I knew was I liked being clean, proper, following the rules, and organized.

1995 - 1996:  Falling in love/Coming out

I fell in love for the first time in summer of 1995. It was with a woman. I didn't have much trouble "accepting myself," and I came out to my parents and extended family the following year. They were all wonderful about it. Everyone always supported me and welcomed my girlfriend-at-the-time with open arms. I also came out at my small high school in Kennebunk, Maine, and for the most part, it went OK. I'd say I had a very unique and wonderful coming out experience.

1997 - 2000:  Hi, my name is Dyke

So I knew I liked girls. I always hated the word "lesbian," because I knew I wasn't one of those. Since I didn't realize it was OK for me to question my gender, I embraced the identity of "dyke." It was the closest thing I could think of to describe my feelings of being more masculine, yet keeping away from being "butch" because I was raised with a negative connotation to that word. Ironically, the one thing I knew I hated about the word "dyke" was that it pointed out I was female.

Fall 2000 - Spring 2001:  Discovering transgenderism

I started my first semester at the University of Vermont, living in the GLBTQA suite with two FTMs in the making. We did a lot of transgender/FTM awareness during the year for our suite programming. We also brought Loren Cameron to campus in the spring. By the end of the school year, I was starting to seriously consider identifying as transgendered. My girlfriend at the time had expressed opposition to the idea, so I kept it inside for a little while longer.

Summer/Fall 2001:  Coming out...again

I came out as transgender to my girlfriend-at-the-time, despite her worry about "losing the lesbian community." I knew it was time because I couldn't keep it in any longer, I knew I wanted to get chest surgery sometime in the future, and I started really thinking about testosterone. I redesgined my website into what you see now and came out to my family. They were less than pleased, and, due to my their disgust over my transgenderism, piercings, and tattoos, they withdrew all financial aide from me, including school expenses. I had not yet asked anyone to change pronouns or names with me, nor was I using the men's restroom. My girlfriend-at-the-time broke up with me for a biological male, and for the first time in my life, I found myself on my own, in all regards, and ready to find myself.

Spring 2002:  Is T right for me?

My New Year's Resolution was to figure out if T was right for me. I began to save for chest surgery, but my new-found financial independence took basically depleated that savings account. I attended the True Spirit Conference for the first time and learned a lot about testosterone and surgeries and other non-hormone, non-op options. I began going by Ethan and male pronouns only with my friends. I wasn't sure how I was going to broach the subject with my family again or how I was going to fully come out at school. At the end of the semester, I started dating a woman who had, in the past, only dated biological men.

Summer 2002:  Transition Step 1 -- Therapy

My new-found "straight" relationship really helped me with my readiness to transition. I realized that the only thing holding me back from transitioning was the fear of "who's going to love me after I'm on T?" She made me realize and accept that whoever I end up with is going to love me for me, not my gender or my genitalia. For the first time, my partner made me feel not like a trannyboy but like a boy. This allowed me break free of the "trannyboy inbetween" and take the first step toward transition. Although I already had 7-8 months of the real-life experience under my belt, no one in the Burlington area would write me the T letter before I went through psychotherapy. So on July 7, 2002, I had my first appointment at the Behavaoiral Therapy and Psychotherapy Center in Burlington, VT.

Fall 2002:  Transition Step 2 -- Finding an Endocrinologist

I used the name Ethan in all my classes, explaining to my professors that it was my preferred name, despite what the roster might say. I had some trouble with my therapist, which you can read more about here, but I finally received my testosterone recommendation letter on November 19, 2002. I began to search for an endocrininologist, preferably one that would take my insurance, so I could start testosterone therapy as soon as possible. After considering all the trans-friendly endos online and those I had heard of through the FTM Forum on LiveJournal, I decided to make an appointment with Dr. Korff in Northampton, MA. Since I was traveling out of town, they set me up with a consultation directly followed by an injection appointment with the nurse on January 8th, 2003. My parents started to slowly come around, and my mom even offered to go with me to my appointment with the endocrinologist.

Spring 2003:  The Waiting Game and surgery

Since the endocrinologist normally tries to bill office visits and such as "hypogonadism," I decided to pursue a hysterectomy first through my insurance. Since all of that needed to be worked out before I started testosterone, I had to cancel my January 8th appointment with Dr. Korff, and had to reschedule after the surgery issues paned out. I also finally decided on a name. The majority of my immediate and extended family had become open to the idea of calling me Ethan, and they were still trying to get the hang of using male pronouns.

Summer 2003:  Transition Step 3 -- Finally Starting T and (more) Surgery

My insurance pre-approved my hysterectomy, so I went ahead and had that surgery on June 11th. Since my gynocologist gave me the go ahead to start T (so that I would already have it in my blood stream after the surgery), I saw Dr. Korff on May 15th, 2003, got my prescription, learned how to inject, and gave myself the first shot that night. I also had a consultation with Dr. Menard at GRS Montreal for chest surgery on June 22, 2003, and, despite my struggle to decide on a surgeon, concluded that he was the best option for me.

Fall 2003:  Transition Step 4 -- Top Surgery

I had my chest surgery with Dr. Menard at GRS Montreal on August 27, 2003, just five days before school started. I developed a hematoma on the right side, which had to be drained twice. Once it stopped pooling blood, it turned into chronic inflammation, which can take a long time to heal completely. For more details on that, check out my chest surgery section. Despite pronoun slip-ups now and then, the majority of my family had become outwardly accepting and supportive of my transition.

Winter 2003/Spring 2004:  Still healing...

My chest chronic inflammation continued to go down, but taking its sweet time. Dr. Menard, a physical therapist I was seeing for ultrasound therapy, and my local RN all said they thought it is only swelling within the tissues, and most likely not breast tissue, that should go down completely in time. Family relations regarding my transition continued to improve all the time; my parents helped me pay for my medical bills and some living-related expenses. I became single again, but not alone this time...I was finally liking who I saw in the mirror. "It feels so funny to be free..."

Summer/Fall 2004: Becoming ever more comfortable

As my chest inflammation continued to go down, I found myself becoming ever more comfortable with my body. I spent a lot of time in the gym over the summer and was beginning to see some great results regarding my chest and body shape changes. As usual, I found myself with no time during the semester to continue going to the gym, and having to start over. Even still, I started working on getting my sex marker change information together for my birth certificate, and felt nothing but pure happiness about my transition.

Spring/Summer 2005:  It's [legally] a boy!

After a very extended process, I was finally able to change the sex designation on my birth certificate, get a new passport issued, and change it with Social Security. I was in a relationship for about five months with a straight-identified woman, which ended mutually over distance considerations. She helped me out a lot by doing my shot for a while, giving me a nice break from self-injecting. I had my last appointment with my endocrinologist (I was moving out of town), and he said my levels were great and need only annual check-ups. I spent a great, final summer in Burlington, the liberal, artsy-fartsy town that was home to me for so long and saw the majority of my transition.

Fall/Winter 2005: Steps towards bottom surgery

At the end of the summer I began having very intense thoughts and feelings about bottom surgery, specifically that I am interested in metoidioplasty with urethral lenghening. I'm not sure why it happened then, perhaps because for the first time I was really happy with my gender presentation in the world and my relationship with the vast majority of my body. I had always been able to focus on things other than my genitals. But now it has crept up upon me, and I must do something about it. I saw someone at the school's Counseling Services to obtain my letter(s) for bottom surgery and tried to set up consultations with a few doctors. I also had my first taste of living stealth (not out as trans) at an abroad veterinary school. I had to walk lightly when talking about my past and even when when referencing the present and my future plans; it was very different than the trans poster-boy I was at UVM.

Spring/Summer 2006:  Steath vs. Non-stealth

The process of living stealth for the year was much harder than I had expected. It was taking such a mental and emotional toll on me that I eventually gave up hiding and allowed my peers access to my website information. I learned that I feel much better and relaxed when people know and it is out in the open. Due to summer travel complications and getting into a school at the last minute, I had cancel my chest surgery revision and bottom surgey consultation.

Fall 2006/Spring 2007: New School, New Life

I started at a new graduate school in the fall, and I allowed full access to my website from the beginning and was completely honest when anything about it came up. This decision didn't seem to negatively affect my friendships or relationships, and I know that I feel much better about it and myself. It was slowly becoming clear to me that living completely stealth is not something I want at this point in my life. I met a wonderful woman, Molly, who truly is my soulmate. We bought a house and got engaged. I scheduled my bottom surgey for the summer and spent my time in school and getting everything together for the trip overseas. Everything I always dreamed about was just seeming to come together...

Summer/Fall 2007:  Bottom Surgery and Recovery (Take 1) + Puppy!

Molly, my mother, and I traveled to Belgrade, Serbia in June 2007 for my bottom surgey, specifically metoidioplasty with urethral lengthening, scrotoplasty with testicular implants, and vaginectomy. A range of irritating complications including urethro-cutaneous fistula, a possible incomplete vaginectomy, UTIs, and chronic bladder spasms had me waiting what seemed like forever for them to heal on their own. Finally, in December 2007, my local pediatric urologist ruled I would need a revision bottom surgery to fix the urethral fistula and remove the remaining part of the vagina. Also, when we returned from Belgrade, we got an 8-week old Goldendoodle puppy and named him Leif.

Spring 2008: Bottom Surgery and Recovery (Take 2)

I had my bottom surgey revision at a local hospital by my local pediatric urologist in March 2008. My entire immediate and extended family was extremely supportive during the entire ordeal, and my dad even came up to help take care of me post-op. Initially, the revision surgery seemed like it worked perfectly, but I began to have the same leaking problems shortly thereafter. At the same time as my bottom surgery revision, I had a plastic surgeon do the chest surgery revision I had wanted for years. Similar to my first chest surgery, I had a hematoma that developed into a hard lump at the surgical site. I decided to just take one day at a time and watch as the slow healing process continued...

Summer/Fall/Winter 2008:  "I Do" and Healing

Molly and I got married in June 2008 on the perfect day, at the perfect place, and with the perfect company. We went on a fabulous European cruise honeymoon that made us both want to move overseas! Being completely stealth on the cruise boat and being seen as "the cute heterosexual couple" definitely felt weird, only further solidifying for me that, at least at this point, I don't need to be completely stealth. My scars from both revision surgeries healed nicely and began to fade. Even though I still sometimes felt like my urethra leaked internally, it stopped leaking externally, making for a much better quality of life. The post-hematoma lump on my chest continued to slowly go down.

Spring/Summer 2009: Bottom Surgery and Recovery (Take 3)

My testicular implants had not "dropped" properly, so I had the implants replaced with tissue expanders (bottom surgey revision #2, February 2009), which were expanded over a number of weeks to stretch the scrotal skin, then another surgery to replace the expanders with new testicular implants (bottom surgey revision #3, April 2009). These two revisions were done at my local hospital by the plastic surgeon who participated in the first bottom surgery revision (to help fix the urethral fistula). At the same time, I had a second chest surgery revision, this time with a drain in place to prevent another hematoma - and it worked! My chest finally became symmetrical, my scrotum became joined in the middle, and I began the wait to see if the new implants would stay in place.

Fall 2009:  Implant Revision Disappointment

Despite using skin expanders and replacing the testicular implants, the implants did not remain in place and one implant still sat way too high. After the original Serbia surgery, the left implant healed too high, which prompted the skin expanders and replacement of implants (bottom surgey revisions #2 and #3, February and April 2009). After these revisions, the right implant healed too high, almost over my pubic bone, the opposite of what made me pursue using expanders in the first place. I knew that scheduling a procedure during the clinical (4th) year of veterinary school would be tricky. I decided to wait it out, to see if they would move any more on their own. I continued my studies in veterinary medicine with the plan to graduate in May 2010 and with Molly began to try for a baby.

Winter/Spring 2010: Bottom Surgery and Recovery (Take 4)

I decided to try one more time and repeat the process of placing skin expanders (bottom surgey revision #4, March 2010), expanding over a number of months, then replacing them again with new implants (bottom surgey revision #5, June 2010). This time the skin was stretched much more than last time in hopes of preventing either implant from healing in the wrong position. These surgeries were done at my local hospital by the same plastic surgeon who performed my other revisions.

Summer/Fall 2010:  Final Recovery and Moving

The new testicular implant replacement (bottom surgey revision #5, June 2010) was more successful than the previous attempts in that at least two implants could be seen, instead of just one. The left side still healed higher than the right, causing some intermittent discomfort, but it was definitely an improvement. I graduated from veterinary school, and we prompty moved across the country for me to continue my graduate education. Moving to a new area and starting a new educational program brought up a whole range of issues around being stealth vs. out that I hadn't had to deal with in a long time. Molly and I also continued to try for a baby, stepping up the aggressiveness by using fertility medications to help improve our chances.

Winter/Spring 2011:  Finally Pregnant...with Twins!

On the 7th IUI attempt, in September 2010, Molly finally became pregnant...with twins! There were up and downs in terms of finding appropriate medical care, and I was incredibly anxious during the first couple of months when miscarriage is most likely. But overall it was a great and unique experience, and both Molly and I were so excited to meet the babies when they finally arrived. My daddy-blog chronicals our trying-to-conceive and pregnancy journeys.

Summer/Fall 2011:  Balancing Birth, Newborns, and School

Our twins were born full term and healthy, and the adventure of parenting began! Trying to balance the time demands of school with the sleep deprivation of (two!) newborns was like no other challange I have experienced. But, it was short lived (at least the sleep deprivation part), and we made it through. It has been a joy to watch our babies develop into little people, and I can't wait to see what the future holds. Being a transdad has not come without challenges, and my daddy-blog Daddyhood Transcribed addresses some of these joys and challenges.