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Exchanges

December 20, 2008

This was an eventful week for me. I want to stay positive, so I’ll tell one good thing, one frustrating, and end with another good thing.

CONTEXT. The whole Diversity Commission was invited to meet some international visitors who came to Argentina through an LGBT-organizations exchange program. It was a unique experience: we got to meet people from Germany, Brazil, Russia, Turkey and Ghana, as well as people from around the country.

ONE. During Pride I met a transman in person for the first time, but we hardly got to talk. This week, I spent two whole days with another FTM person! We didn’t get to speak much this time either, though: he knew only Turkish and German. Ich spreche kein Deutsch (okay, I know a few words, but not enough to carry a meaningful conversation. And I know even less Turkish).

Still, it was an amazing experience. I thought I could spot another transman; I actually thought another guy from the exchange contingent was trans –one of the Argentinean organizers– because he was short and worked at a trans clinic. It never occurred to me that this muscular, hairy dude could ever have looked like a woman. I stand corrected.

TWO. At one point I decided to ask the trans-clinic guy about his work; specifically, how the legal system is in his province, trans-wise. While I was talking with him, several other people came over to listen to us. I didn’t mind: I don’t usually hide my trans identity and I don’t always pass, anyway. But no one understood our conversation until I clarified I was FTM: nobody had realized I was trans! So I outed myself, but I didn’t really care; I was among LGBTQA people, after all.

But everyone started treating me differently afterwards. They started messing up their pronouns without even realizing it or apologizing: they started seeing me as a woman. I felt that their whole attitude towards me had changed, although pronouns are the only thing I could pin down clearly.

What the fuck? I know it’s hard for old friends to see me as male, but these people thought I was cisgender man! Maybe they started seeing my feminine features when they learnt I was born female?

Perhaps I should avoid coming out in the future. I enjoyed being “one of the guys” so much: for nearly the first time, I felt truly comfortable in a group of people. I wish it could have stayed that way.

THREE. Enough ranting. So I talked with this man who works at a trans clinic. He told me that where he lives –in another province– you don’t need a gender dysphoria diagnosis for hormones. It might even be possible to start treatments while under 18! I don’t plan to do anything before clearing things up with my parents, so I’ll probably have to wait anyway; but it would be nice to receive testosterone without getting diagnosed as identity-disordered. Even if I have to travel to the next province.

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