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i’m getting gender affirmation surgery, that’s pretty cool, right? Right‽

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Focus.

I am realizing that part of my anxiety is that I’ve barely had a chance to think about what happens after recovery. In my fundraising post (which went $1,804 past the goal!), I noted that there was a price to having surgery at the end of August, part of that cost is that the last few months of the fiscal year (fun fact: the fiscal year for the federal government goes from October 1 to September 30) are often the busiest times. And so even as I’ve been reorganizing my home, budgeting and organizing recovery care, and living under a pandemic, I’ve also been working double time trying to make sure I hit some pretty big deadlines before wrapping up next week.

And that means that I’ve barely thought about what happens after I ditch this penis for a vulva and vagina. I’ve been so focused on trying to make sure I have my basic needs—food, medical support, shelter, covered for the three months...

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[Interlude] My brain is preparing for surgery is like it’s a term paper

I rarely pulled all nighters in college. I’d stay up late the night before a paper was due and get up early to polish and finish, but I’d usually let myself sleep for a few hours. I’d do that because I’d often dream about the paper and wake up with it fully formed in my head, then sit down at the computer and finish writing it all out.

Now my brain has been doing that with surgery for the last two weeks. Every night I’d dream about another aspect of surgery prep, each night getting a little bit closer to the operating room.

A few nights ago I dreamed about figuring out who would visit me at the hospital. Last night, I dreamed about how how my girlfriend would take me to the hospital and how another friend would wait with me. I dreamed about whether I should pack some congee to eat after I wake from surgery (thank for that idea, Tina) and the logistics of keeping it insulated and warm...

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Maybe it’s time to admit defeat when the third doula falls through

One time when I was six or seven, I asked my parents how to spell a word. Their response was “look it up in the dictionary”. I distinctly remember feeling helpless, my response was “How do I look it up when I don’t know how it is spelled?” The way I knew to navigate a dictionary was using for definitions, not figure out spelling. I didn’t have the right framework to figure it out. Honestly, I’m still pretty terrible at figuring out how to spell things with dictionaries, spelling and editing aren’t my strengths as a content strategist.

That experience and countless others at home, school, and elsewhere taught me two things: first, is that at the end of the day I can only rely on myself (I didn’t say these were good lessons). The second I learned much later: when you can’t figure something out, it’s often because you don’t have the right framework.


Caregiving is hard. Especially if...

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Getting surgery approved, one subtask at a time.

(Content warning and top notes: I go into detail about the insurance process as well as a breaking down a few of the steps for vaginoplasty—well more the medical coding rather than the surgery itself, but still.)

You would think that planning for major surgery—especially one that requires three months of downtime—would require a bit of preplanning for things like payment, recovery care.

You’d be right, it does. But the entire system set up to approve, cover, and pay for surgery is not at all conducive to it.

Because that would be smart. It would make sense. Something that is totally against everything the US’s profit-driven medical system is set up for. So if you stumble across this blog because you’re trying to figure out what navigating the whole process is like, this post is for you.

A couple weeks ago, I got a letter from my insurance company saying that surgery hadn’t been...

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Let’s play minecraft

A screenshot of Bill's farm in Minecraft

I won’t be able to leave my apartment during recovery for at least three months. Normally, folks would be able to come and visit, but a lot of y'all live outside of New York City. Or there are multiple raging pandemics and indoor hangs are outside of your risk budget. All of that can be pretty isolating.

So my friend Bill set up a modded Minecraft server for us to play together! If you’re worried about never playing Minecraft before or never installed mods before, that’s okay—I’ve never played before either, so we can totally figure out how to be bad at this game together!

I have another post coming about this, but one thing I love about all y'all is how many different amazing people and communities I’ve become a part of, I’ve always wanted chances to bring people together to bump and do creative shit together, maybe this can be a catalyst. And in good ole’ OpenNews/SRCCON...

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It feels weird to be finding joy at the end of the world, but I’m glad to be sharing it with you.

Y'all.

Y'ALL.

Six days.

People say we shouldn’t let them steal our joy—the fascists, the white supremacists, the TERFs, the Republicans, and everyone who would rather see a queer polyam trans woman of color gone. Joy is what we live for, people say, joy reminds us of what we are fighting for. A joy shared is doubled and a sorrow shared is halved, people say.

I hope you are feeling the joy that I feel because it only took six fucking days for the fundraiser to reach and pass the $20,000 goal.

And I was not prepared for the outpouring of all the amazing and kind things everyone said about me! I don’t know that I saw everything because I wasn’t even tagged in many of people’s tweets and messages, but I will be remembering them and holding them close to my heart in hard times.

I feel so very loved.

Thank you.


I have three other requests during recovery:

  1. Let me know if you’re...

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It takes a village to build a pussy.

tl;dr: this is a fundraising post—my friend Chris started a GoFundMe to fundraise for my surgery! There are many ways you can help out (more on that at the bottom of the post!) but if you haven’t yet but can give a little money, it would help defray some pretty significant costs.


It feels scary to write this. It feels so scary that even I started thinking about writing this piece months ago, I’ve barely started even though the GoFundMe has already gone up. It’s so scary that even though it’s three-quarters funded even though it’s only been up for two days (cordelia, you can’t hide from the fact that your community loves you).

When I started transitioning, something that I didn’t even know felt wrong suddenly started feeling right. I remember the first time I put on a skirt and the first time I put on a dress. I remember laughing in joy. I remember something just clicking. It felt...

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Y'all, congressional Republicans really fucking hate civil servants.

(Hey, if you have financial anxiety maybe skip this one. This post goes into a bit of the financial details of getting surgery and a bit of the stuff around it. If you’re waiting for a fundraising post, it will be coming shortly.)

The Affordable Care Act required that all health insurance plans to cover trans-affirming healthcare. Sort of.

The good news is that it means that my maximum cost for vaginoplasty—bottom surgery—is the annual out-of-pocket of my insurance plan—probably around $5,000. But almost everything else—facial hair removal ($4,000), facial feminization, breast augmentation—things that many trans femmes need to feel at home in our bodies—are not considered medically necessary. Neither is fertility preservation, so many (including me) have to pay to freeze (about $500) and store ($1200/year) sperm entirely out of our own pockets.

And it gets worse because surgery...

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A kitchen full of Taiwanese grandmas.

A couple of my friends here in New York had babies recently, and while getting ready, they found Chen Mommy Kitchen in Flushing (which in my brain is the Taiwanese Chinatown), which is a meal delivery service that makes traditional Chinese/Taiwanese post-partum and surgery recovery foods.

It is literally a kitchen full of Taiwanese grandmas making culturally-appropriate healing foods for new parents and people recovering from surgery. Healing foods from my culture. Delivered daily.

I fucking love New York. This is what I’m going to eat for my first month after surgery.

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Stuck.

I have four posts for this blog that are already beyond 300 words. All of the are talking about different parts of the journey to getting surgery but none of them are about what I actually need.

Along with those posts, I’ve also started two pieces for my newsletter and maybe a post for my professional blog. But again none of those are about what I need.

The problem, I’m realizing is that while I know what my goals are, I don’t know how to get to them. While several of y’all have offered to help, I don’t know how to ask for what I need because I don’t know what to ask for. What I need is someone to help me figure out what’s next. And the last time I tried to ask for help, it went poorly. Terribly poorly, actually.

The reality is that I’m afraid and I feel terribly alone.

And I’m so afraid of saying more than that because I’m learning that there are so many of these things that should...

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