When I returned from a trip to Hong Kong last month (December 2012), I was distressed by the fact that in the 3 weeks there, I gained a total of 6 pounds, to an very-unhealthy total of “X” pounds (a girl never reveals her weight), despite the fact that it’s quite strenuous—and therefore a lot of exercise—to get around the city. While this didn’t come as a surprise to anyone, to make matters worse, I discovered that my Dad had lost 35 pounds himself. Admittedly he was grossly overweight, and his doctors ordered him to see a nutritionist. Unlike me though, my Dad doesn’t have any aspirations to be a skinny young woman, so I have even more incentives to start catching up. With my own nutritionist giving me similar advice, I started cutting down my carbohydrate intake, especially during dinner, and I also started eating half of a grapefruit before every meal. I have also ramped up my exercise regime, although cycling is still my main thing. This morning I weighed in at:
Not bad, but my goal is to get to X-15 and to stay that way, so I’ve got a long way to go!
(Note: I was X-3 on January 29 when the entry was first written.)
I am going to Vancouver later this week to attend a friend’s wedding. While I am there, I will also meet up with another high-school friend whom I have not seen for over a decade. He had just recently (i.e. last month) announced to me that he is gay. And over the last few days we have been e-mailing each other back and forth to catch up on the going-ons in life. But e-mail never beats meeting face to face, so I will be having dinner with him on Friday night, at a restaurant on Davie Street in downtown Vancouver.
And I will be going as Kate.
Yup. I told him about me being transgender too. It didn’t seem fair that he spills his deepest struggles with me, and then pretend that everything is perfect in mine. So wish us luck; it’s going to be an interesting evening.
Travelling by myself is lonely. I feel that loneliness every time a go to a conference, or even when I travel alone to friends’ weddings. As I have pretty much expected, this trip to Hawaii was no exception. Aside from the first night in Honolulu, when I was just completely exhausted from all the travelling, every night was a lonely night.
And so, on the second night—after the first full day of the conference, and after giving my own presentation earlier in the day—as I prepared myself to go to bed alone, I occurred to me about how depressing it was that I couldn’t share the excitements of the day with those closest to me. It was very lonely indeed. May be there was something on TV at that time, or may be I was already thinking about something, but my subconscious mind began wandering, and started a little fantasy all on its own. This fantasy of mine was quite simple, actually. Without going into any details, it went like this:
I imagine myself to be a young, beautiful, sexy woman, alone (and lonely) in a hotel room. No longer as a trans woman, I fantasize that I have always been a girl. And I wanted someone in bed with me. So, I imagine myself naked with a tall, handsome, athletic and powerful man. This imaginary man could be my husband, or a boyfriend, or even just a casual lover. He caresses every inch of my body, while kissing my lips, my neck and my shoulder and tummy, and gently teases my breasts with his fingers. And then he pins me down in bed, and I spread my legs open and wrap them around his waist. And we begin making love. From that, I imagine myself fucking wildly with him…
As these thoughts went along, my imagination became more vivid, more explicit and more detailed. I have, of course, left out most of those explicit details. Afterall, this isn’t a pornographic blog! Anyway, I was on the verge of an orgasm when suddenly I realize how completely absurd this is. Here I am, a trans-woman, thinking of myself as another woman that I am not, having an imaginary intercourse with a man that I don’t know, doing things that are physically impossible. Nevermind that there isn’t a single man on earth that I’d actually want to have sex with. It was alarming that all this started merely because I wasn’t patient enough to wait a few hours before calling my wife in Toronto, and all this crazy stuff in my mind snowballed all in a matter of minutes.
I went to the bathroom, and took a cold shower.
I guess this is why the Gideons put Bibles in hotel rooms. I reckon these crazy fantasies happen to more people than just me. Anyway, I was able to pull myself out of thinking about these…things, and it really didn’t take me long to fall asleep. I called home to share the good news of my successful presentation; the time difference made it impossible for me to be asleep after 5am.
I am now safely back in the comforts of my own home in Toronto, although I don’t believe my home can ever be as “comfortable” as my super-luxurious room at the Sheraton Waikiki (albeit the decor was a bit dated). But while coming home means coming back to all my responsibilities here, it’s good to be back to my routine. So Home sweet home indeed. It was a successful trip afterall. I gave a great ½-hour talk, and it was very well attended by some of the most famous researchers in my area. I even made an all-day appearance as Kate at the conference, quite inconspicuously too.
Anyway, my day spent as “Kaitlyn Young from the University of British Columbia” at the conference was more exhausting than I anticipated. Luckily, there were no relevant talks in the morning on the following day, and I spent some time relaxing on the beach…as Kate of course. It also gave me some time to have my pictures taken. That morning, I got up and and went to Waikiki Beach, and spent the morning watching the waves rolling in, and of course, the gorgeously athletic guys and gals surfing on the waves. The nice thing about going there in the morning is that the bulk of the crowd has yet to arrive, and it is actually possible to have some quiet time.
Not that I did…
A man came up to me not long after I sat down, and started chatting up with me. This used to happen more often when I was younger, but now that I am a married (trans-)woman, I have been quite shy about letting people flirt with me. Anyway, he clearly knew that I was transgender—he started the conversation by saying, “you must be the most gorgeous trans lady I have seen all morning!”—but we managed to have a reasonably good chat. He offered to take some pictures for me with my camera, and while most of them turned out poorly—I was always out of focus—a few did turn out well. Continue reading “Mahalo for the Memories”
Exactly 2 months after going to the research conference in Montréal, here I am again, on the road, presenting another paper of the same research topic, this time in the very pretty city of Honolulu. Of course, like all the conference I go to, Kate comes along too. During the Montréal conference, I had this crazy idea of showing up to the seminars as Kate. At the end, I didn’t go through with it, because there were only ~100 conference attendees, and any woman showing up would have drawn too much attention. (It is an engineering conference, afterall.) The Hawaii conference, on the other hand, has more than 1200 attendees. Suddenly, the idea seems much more do-able, and last night, I decided to give it a try.
And it was much easier than I thought.
As I have said before, modifying my name tag to have the name “Kaitlyn Young” is trivial. It only took me a few minutes at the hotel’s business centre. I purposely changed the name of my affiliation to my alma mater, just for the fun of it. So since 8 o’clock this morning, I had been hopping from one half-hour talk to another; the last one just finished a few hours ago. I didn’t have any problems getting up early this morning to make myself presentable either: Hawaii is 6 hours behind Toronto, and of course I haven’t adjusted to the new time zone yet, so waking at 5am is like waking up at 11am in Toronto…
Speaking of the conference, it is much better than in Montréal: the talks are better, the research done is of higher quality, and all the well-known names in my area of research all came. In Montréal, a few small companies presented their “technical papers” that are really glorified advertisements of their products, and that was annoying. No such thing at this big-bad-American conference; the technical committee had done a great job filtering all those things out. As for my own presentation on Monday (given in boy mode, of course), I had some technical difficulties with my laptop: my VGA port for the computer would reset after every slide. At the end though, I stayed calm and everything worked out. I think I’d give myself an A- for the research work, B- for the presentation.
For now, I haven’t had any pictures of myself taken yet, as I have spent the whole day learning, and there is a lot to digest. I’ll be working late into the night reviewing the papers that were presented today. If I get around to take some pictures though, I’ll post them on my blog, eventually.
Yes, I’m going to Montréal. Again. This trip will happen at some point in July. In fact, there’s quite a lot to says about this.
My reason for going to Montréal this time will be a little bit different: I am participating in a charity bike ride called Friends for Life Bike Rally. I’m joining a group of 400 riders and volunteers in downtown Toronto on July 24, and over 6 days, we’ll make our way to Montréal, travelling a total distance of more than 600km. All of this to raise funds and awareness for people coping with HIV/AIDS. As a transgender woman, over the years, I myself have been acquainted with a number people living with HIV/AIDS, and while I often don’t agree with the decisions they made that led to them contracting the disease, I feel that it’s important to be in solidarity with them, and help with their suffering.
When I first registered for the ride online, I had to write down my gender. This is the first time in my life that “transwoman” was listed as an option. At first I was overjoyed: finally, I can sign up for a cycling event as Kate! But then, I remembered that, regrettably, most people I in my circle of friends, and also in the church still don’t know about Kate, and most people who are sponsoring me will probably not do so had they known I was a trans woman. And even if they would, I feel that this isn’t quite the appropriate time and place to “come out” to my friends. It was disappointing, but at the end, I listed myself as “male”, and signed up with my male name. As of this morning, I’ve raised just over $700, but I need to raise $2200 before June 30.
I have to admit that it saddens me to know that—other than a few exceptions, like my wife and a few close friends—most of my friends aren’t ready to deal with transgender issues, let alone knowing that one of their closest friend is transgendered. In that sense, I decided that I’m still very much in the closet. And as much as I can live (or at least pretend to live) a normal as a young man, I know that in my heart, I too live on the fringe of society. Not all transgender people have the luxury that I have.
Interestingly, my friends who would be most offended by a transgender people—and people with AIDS—are devout Christians, and boy, Jesus had a lot to say about how we should show love to them. Over the past few months, I had been more vocal in discussions about transender issues (another post for another day), and I have noticed that this new knowledge is slightly changing the way their see the Gospel and how transgender issues fits into that.
In any case, training for the ride has already began: a 70km ride last Saturday on my own, and a 63km ride this coming Saturday with other riders on the rally. I have some hopes that the rides will shave off some weight off my belly, but so far it hasn’t happened yet.
So the conference is over…and not a minute too soon. In fact, the last keynote lecture ended a full 30 minutes behind schedule. It seemed to be the theme of the whole conference that most people aren’t very keen on keeping track of time properly. Nevertheless, I’m glad that it’s all over now, and that I’m back safely in Toronto.
Finally a bit of good news too: as the conference ended, the sky also cleared, which gave me a chance to change into some nice (i.e. more feminine!) clothes and roam around Vieux Montréal (that’s “Old Montreal” for those who do not speak French). Vieux Montréal is, in my opinion, the most beautiful part of town, and I always enjoy walking along the quay. I also had pictures of myself taken while I was there too. Since I have never been to Montréal en femme before, I thought I’d keep it low key, and go around town with my purple sweater that I’ve worn so many times before. I managed to get a few nice pictures taken, but in the afternoon, the temperature got up to a balmy 23°C, and after awhile, the sweater was too warm. I made it back to my car at the hotel, and got a nice flower dress out of my suitcase instead.
Yesterday all thoughts of being a girl had to be put aside. I had to give a presentation (obviously not giving the presentation as a girl) of my work. It went quite well, although my session was in the biggest room and the microphone I had to used made me nervous. I was also in discussion with some people from a few companies who are hiring. I spent the evening watching one hockey game (Montréal vs. Boston) with my colleagues, and then another game (Vancouver vs. Chicago) with another group of potential colleagues, and there was no time to be a girl. By the way, Vancouver won, but Montréal lost.
Which brings me to this morning. I had planned to go out for a morning jog around town–I even had my tank top and sports bra and running pants ready, but as it turned out, it was still pouring rain all morning. So the plan was scrapped, and I still haven’t had the chance to walk outside. Fortunately, the weather forecast for the afternoon is much more favourable… Continue reading “Montréal: Day 4”
My second day in Montréal (the first full day really) is also the first day of the conference. I’m glad that I haven’t tried to attend the conference en femme, and to alter my name tag, because out of the more than 200 conference attendees, there were no more than 15 women. Everyone would have noticed if one more woman showed up, especially if “she looks a lot like that guy from that university, and how come they’re never seen them together? Oh.” So I dispensed with the whole notion of boy-mode trading place with Kate at the conference, and was happy with just stay being a boy until my free time in the evening. The talks at the conference on the first day had very little to do with my own research and interests, so it was rather boring being there.
Just before I left Toronto, I stopped by the post office to pick up a package: two dresses I bought from eBay. So amidst the heavy rain in Montreal in the evening–no chance to go outside, I tried on the dresses in the comfort of my hotel room. The dresses were of the party/prom/formal/bridesmaid variety by Alfred Sung, and they’re really beautiful. It’s also nice to know that I can wear them without alterations. I got some pictures taken, and also roamed around the hotel with them, taking more pictures. Again, when I have some time to edit the pictures, I’ll post them here. After spending some time editing them, here they are!
I’m in Montréal right now. Today is the first day of a conference that I am attending. As I was getting ready for this trip, I realized that Katie has never been to Montréal before! Okay, so I have been to Montréal many times, just not as Katie. It’s time to take her there!
The original plan was for me to drive to Montréal mid-afternoon, and stopping occasionally to shop for clothes and shoes, and to take pictures along the route. Reality, on the other hand, deviated far from the plan. First, there was the rain…lots and lots of it too, which made stopping for pictures nearly impossible. Then there was the heavy traffic, first from Pickering to Oshawa, then through Brockville, which made shopping shops also impossible—I didn’t want to arrive in Montréal too late.
I did (or at least my car did) finally managed to outrun the rain when I passed through the township of Iroquois, Ontario, at which point I was able to have my pictures taken. By the time I arrived at the hotel, it was very late already, and I went to Schwartz’s for their famed smoked meat sandwich and promptly went to bed. All in all, it took me a very long 7 1/2 hours to drive to Montréal. (I’ve never had to spend more than 5 hours before…)
Tomorrow I’ll see if I can sneak into one of the sessions as a smartly dressed woman attending the conference. Daring, I know, and manipulating my credentials to say “Kaitlyn Young” isn’t even remotely difficult…but this is probably too weird even for me to do. Today I will definitely try my best to go stroll around town, and if the weather stays dry, have pictures taken. Of the pictures that I have taken along the way, I’ll post them after doing some minor edits. some of them are now posted with this post and on my Web Gallery and Flickr after some major digital editing…