Dear guys and gals,
First of all, I want to say thank you all for the kind words and thoughts that have been shared my way since the day before yesterday - I literally have not had a single negative thing said to me about my situation. That being said, I told you all I'd address your questions and I intend to do just that.
The biggest question I've been getting is how I can personally say that I call myself male yet still identify as a woman. To be blunt, I believe that this ties back into coping with what I was told by several people throughout my life: you will never be a woman, you will only play pretend. I like to think of myself as a realist - albeit a generally positive, optimistic one - and I felt like, to an extent, these people were right; I would never be able to bear children, nor could I change my chromosomes, nor erase my history or legal status as a male.
And I was okay with that.
Just because I realize that, biologically speaking, I'm probably your standard XY male when it comes to sex (I don't technically know for certain, never had that sort of test) that doesn't mean I can't be a woman when it comes to gender, or that every time someone else identifies me as a woman, I think to myself, "yes, but..."
Some people have told me this is something called "biological determinism," and isn't necessarily fair to myself or other transgender people. Hormones are malleable and vary wildly from person to person; I don't actually know my chromosomes; we don't think of castrated men as not men, etc. This brings me to another point I want to be very clear about:
What works for me may not work for you, and that's fine. People have talked to me about how I should be angry with Mike. I'm not, and not just because I believe, like he does, that yup, I'm biologically male. I'm not angry with Mike because I don't believe in being angry with someone for believing differently from me. I have several amazing, hardcore Christian friends, and I know this may shock some of you, so take a seat, but I'm not Christian. My Christian friends likewise have some very close Hindu friends. They in turn have Buddhist friends. Religious beliefs are some of the most tightly-held, personal beliefs and life choices someone can have, and yet this web of people is connected together just fine, no spiders in sight.
In short: we can disagree and still be cool with each other.
I've also received some questions seeking advice. This happened a lot when I first came out at Iowa State as well. While I wish each and every person who has ever come to me asking for advice the best of luck in their journeys, each of these journeys is very personal, and I can't possibly give you the proper advice without knowing you far more intimately than is possible through Twitter and email. That's what therapy is for, and why it's a required part of treatment. The best advice I can give: follow the program, be honest with yourself, and do what you need to do.
Lastly, people have asked me how to approach someone in my position; do you address someone as "he," "she," "ze," "they"? What if you can't tell? It's rude to assume, but isn't it also rude to intrude and ask? Again, this will be different from person to person. Usually someone who falls outside the gender binary will make it clear how they wish to be identified, but if they don't, I feel it's not rude to ask, so long as you're asking "How should I address you?" and not "So.. what are you?" Transgender individuals tend to prefer being referred by the pronouns which reflect their presented identity, i.e. a male who presents as a woman (such as myself) would prefer you referred to them by feminine pronouns.
Both sides must be patient with one another; those of us who stray from what has been the norm for a very long time must understand that people simply may not understand what's happening or what they should do, while those who are seeking to learn must truly attempt to learn and listen.
Thank you all again for reading. Several of you have contacted me offering financial assistance for my transition and I can't deny that's very tempting. Honestly, if someone were to approach me with the money or a funding solution, I don't know that I'd turn it down. If that's something people really want to do for me, then I have to think on it. Right now, I don't feel I really have done anything to deserve it. I don't think of myself as more needing the funds than anyone else in my situation, and I try not to let my ego get too full of itself. I suppose we'll see where that goes.
For now, I thank you again for reading, and for those of you wondering when I'm gonna be getting back into games journalism, all I'll say is don't worry; this blog won't just be here to address this snafu-whatchamacallit, and I have an independent project I'm currently developing and prepping for on the side.