CDL classes and truck driver training as a trans woman

Back in April, the day after my last blog post, I did indeed start living fulltime as a woman. I dressed as such, went to work in a skirt, and followed up on the process I started the previous week, to have Wal-Mart recognize me as female. I had a meeting with the store manager and co-manager, and came out of it with the company’s acceptance of my transition, and specifically, a requirement that, when I use the restroom, it must be the women’s.

When I got home from work Friday, my stepmother had a gift for me: a cute outfit from Cato. :D

It was good practice, but ultimately had little lasting effect. Three days later, on Friday the 4th of April, I quit Wal-Mart. Sunday, I boarded a bus to Georgia to begin a month-long CDL training course. I wore my new outfit from Cato for traveling, but otherwise didn’t take any skirts with me. I also didn’t take any men’s clothes, aside from socks for my ginormous feet; I had some women’s clothes I bought myself, some more that I got from online friends, and my stepmother gave me some of her old clothes that fit me. (side note: Firefox’s built-in spell checker flagged “men’s” but has no problem with “ginormous”)

In Georgia, I met my classmates and instructor on the first day of class. No one had any improper comments, and the instructor took the position of making it not a big issue. She assumed the class simply followed her lead on the matter. Soon enough, Friday 4/11 came around and the whole class (save those who has quit or washed out) hopped on a bus to Nashville, the first leg of a trip to Salt Lake City.

The bus encountered road work, heavy traffic, and an unruly rider, any one of which would have delayed us enough to miss the connecting bus. This set off a chain of events that turned a trip with a grand total of about two hours of layover time, into a 60-hour fiasco of a trip with at least 24 hours of layover time and a splitting of the group halfway there.

It was in St. Louis, near the end of a many-hours layover, that I encountered my first incidence of transgender discrimination. I went to the restroom, where a female janitor was standing outside with her cart, halfway blocking the entrance. I asked her if the restroom was closed, and she said it wasn’t, so I went in. At that point she ran and fetched station security (or more likely used a radio), and two officers, one male and one female, responded. The female officer came just inside the restroom and spoke to the janitor about the issue. I was in the first stall at this point, so I finished my business and came out. The security guard grilled me on my gender and then basically told me that unless I got my gender marker changed on my ID, I was not welcome in the ladies’ room at that terminal.

Throughout the trip, people talked about me behind my back. These people were quickly shut down by my classmates, something I didn’t find out about later. In once case that was related to me about a month later in a chance meeting with a classmate at a company terminal, a group of about 5-6 people started talking about me after I walked away. They were immediately shut down by my classmates: a group of nearly 20 guys, all of whom are imposing in one way or another. The classmate of mine most outspoken in my defense was a man we nicknamed Martin, for his uncanny resemblance to comedian Martin Lawrence.

Upon our arrival in Salt Lake, Martin decided to get his training from a rival company. The rest of us boarded a van and went to the terminal in West Valley City, where we dropped off our stuff and went to the DMV to take the written test. Note that I didn’t mention anything about getting a hotel, or a night’s rest, after the fiasco of a trip. By the time we got to the DMV, only a few of us had a chance to get to the testing before they closed it. I was one of the few who got to test; I passed every test on the first attempt, and got my learner’s permit. A couple others did as well, the rest had to come back the next day. We all got hotel rooms and a good night’s rest.

The next day, Tuesday April 15th, hands-on training began. On April 22nd, I took my road test and got my CDL. Orientation began Wednesday, April 23rd and ran through Friday. Part of orientation included paperwork, of course. Two forms in particular caught my eye, at least as far as the subject of this blog is concerned. The trainer preference form basically has three questions: what gender am I, would I prefer a same-sex trainer or no preference, and am I a smoker. I put Female/Same/Non-smoker. The other form basically allowed me to define which gender I would be considered as by the company, irrespective of my legal gender.

Despite my preferences listed, the training department set me up with a male trainer. I had a trainer lined up for Saturday, so I called him in the morning, and found out that he was shut down for 30 days, and thus would not be able to be my trainer. So I had to get my stay in the hotel extended for another day, and then the next day get it extended a few more (the guy who handles extensions on Friday and Saturday would only extend me one day). On Monday I went in to talk to the training department. On Tuesday, I got a call from them; I was to be on a bus to Reno to meet up with my new trainer, “M”, rather than the typical procedure of waiting for him at the terminal. Side note: the training department ignored all of my preferences for a trainer, putting me with a male smoker.

So we traveled the country, though not as much of it as I had expected; as far Northeast as Ohio, as far southeast as Georgia, up to the Pacific Northwest, and Southwest as far as Las Vegas and Phoenix. I learned that he’s an immigrant from Nicaragua, a military veteran – he learned to drive a truck in the Army – and he almost always remembered to gender me female. He did call me “man” and “dude” a lot but I didn’t make a big issue of it since he called his wife “man” and “dude” a lot, too, when he spoke to her on the phone. A lot of people say “I call everyone ‘dude’” but this guy actually does.

M seems like a very good trainer. He’s also very generous, buying me food and other necessities, and hooking me up with several necessities and useful items for the road, as my training time came to an end. He nearly made me cry several times – I probably would have cried, if I was on estrogen already, as I hear that estrogen helps with breaking down blockages in emotional expression – but in the end, I’m confident that I’ll be able to pass the company road test and upgrade from a student to a company driver. That’s tomorrow.

On trucking and full-time, pre-HRT.

So as it stands right now, it’s looking very likely (99.96%) that I’ll be a trucker, and start driver training inside of a week. I also intend to go full-time living as a woman at the start of April, which, as I’m typing this, is 45 minutes away. This means that, as I train to be a truck driver, I’ll be a woman who looks like a man. But this is my life and this is how I want to live. I won’t allow anyone or anything to take this away from me.

I hope. I’ve been known to chicken out of stuff in the past, but nothing has ever meant as much to me as being a woman does. I’ve gone at what seems to me a frenetic pace compared to others, and I think the driving force (no pun intended) behind that is the feeling of time slipping away. I only have so many years in which I can live as the correct gender, and at the age of 36, those years are a lot fewer than most women.

I am extremely grateful for the wonderful friends I’ve made online and in person throughout the years, most of whom are accepting of this new aspect of my life, and many who are outright supportive, expending their own money, and in some cases considerable time as well, on my behalf to give me the things I need to feel feminine. I don’t know if I can ever repay their kindness, but I can try.

The pitfalls of being transgender in the South

So I’ve been seeing a gender therapist for a few weeks now. I won’t go into many details, but she’s said that for Hormone Replacement Therapy, the only endocrinologist she trusts is in Atlanta, GA. Which is a 4-hour drive. Which makes an appointment an all-day thing, if not a two-day trip (leave out, appointment, spend the night in Atlanta, drive back the next morning).

She has tried other doctors. Her other patients have reported that the doctors have either turned them away and refused to make an appointment, have made and appointment but then refused treatment or refused to even call them back to be seen, or have made the appointment and treated the patient like total crap. We don’t need that, we get enough crap as it is.

Money’s a huge issue for me. I work retail for below a livable wage. I’m being forced to “sink or swim” for reasons unrelated to being transgender, that is, I’m being forced to move out of my Dad and stepmother’s house where I’ve been living for almost three years. I’m trying crowdfunding through PayPal and through GoFundMe.com but it’s too soon to tell if anything will come of that. I’ll post the links in another blog entry if you’re interested in donating.

I’m trying to find a second job, or a replacement job that’ll allow me to make ends meet. It’s hard to find one, though. I’ve already applied and been auto-rejected at so many places without ever speaking to anyone in person.

A life of dissatisfaction

Those of us who are dissatisfied with or lives or our selves often fantasize, non-sexually, about how things could be better. This doesn’t just apply to trans* people, but anyone. I’ve about being many things: a character from a video game our even IN a video game; a force of nature, human in appearance but immortal, invulnerable, and powerfully magical; a child, lost, alone, and vulnerable (until kind strangers come to my aid); I’ve even fantasized about being violently transformed, sometimes painlessly, sometimes not, but usually publicly. However, a common thread runs through those fantasies: in each one, I’m female, or I’m transformed into a female. I think that’s pretty telling.

Therapist & stuff

Today has been an interesting day. First, I finally broke down my internal barriers and contacted a therapist to possibly set up an appointment, so that’s good. I was given a deadline to find my own place to live, but it’s not until May first, so that’s good. And I got my new glasses today, three days before the estimated date they would be ready. So all in all, a somewhat good day.

An update for January

It’s been a month since I posted anything. I really have nothing new to say. I came out to some longtime offline friends that I now live too far away from to see in person. I’ve been spending time in a transgender chat room. I’ve been trying to eat healthier and lose some weight. I may be getting a new job soon, but that’s still up in the air.

My mother

The other day, I sent my mother a message on Facebook. I said, “what would you have named me if I had been born a girl?” She replied back “Kristine” which is what I plan to change my name to, so I asked her about middle name, expecting some “J” name, but instead it was “Rose” which is her middle name, as well as her mother’s. I found that middle name odd, because all of us kids have names that start with “K” and middle names that start with “J”, except my youngest brother who has a different father, his middle name is his father’s, which starts with “E”.

Anyway, she didn’t reply until today, and I was at work, so I really didn’t want to come out to her via Facebook message and/or while at work. So I asked her if her phone was working again and asked her to make sure I had her phone number, and then as I was getting ready to drive home I called her and came out.

I was a lot calmer than when I came out to my Dad and stepmother, and I’m not sure why. I had no script to go by like I did with them, I just, said it. And it felt great. But what felt even better was her response. “I don’t care if you’re my son or daughter, as long as you’re happy.” That specific phrasing? That, I think, was the best thing I could have heard.

She did say that her first guess as to the “why” for the question about my name, was that I’m transgender. So there’s that. I just feel REALLY good about how it went. I talked with her for half the drive home, until I approached an area where cell reception cuts out, so we said goodbye before the call dropped.

Random roundup for December 5, 2013

Since I last blogged about my own transition experiences, a few things have happened that wouldn’t warrant a post on their own. First, I’ve started wearing some feminine clothing, though discreetly (where no one can see them if they see me). It helps, a little. Spent some time in a chat room on Steam, made some more internet friends, people like me in all stages of transition. And I came out to my brother, we talked about it, he didn’t really seem to have much to say about it. He did say that he thought our mother would be accepting of my being transgender. I haven’t told her yet.

Hmm, this barely qualifies as a blog post as it is… I just wish I had more to say, more to talk about, but there’s really nothing going on in this arena. Certainly a lot less than I would like there to be.

Effects of Gender Dysphoria

Years ago, I was working for an apartment building. I was talking with the manager (J) on a couple occasions where he mentioned a guy (R) who used to work for him. Real tech-savvy guy. But the story wasn’t about that, but rather about the time he had to be taken to the hospital (from his home) because he mutilated his own genitals – in other words, he cut off his balls.

Now, J referred to this guy affectionally as a “wingnut” – his term for people who are ever so slightly crazy. He mentioned that after this incident, R started dressing and acting like a woman. He clearly didn’t understand (and back then, neither did I) about the transgender condition. I now recognize that this “guy” was like me, a transgender woman, and was suffering from gender dysphoria on a scale that I can’t even imagine. J went on to say that (and from this point on I’ll use the correct pronouns for R) she still works for the company and apparently lives full-time as a woman.

My gender dysphoria has never driven me to such an extreme of action. I may not even experience it at all, but if I do, it’s just vague uneasiness/unhappiness with my body, and perhaps a healthy portion of apathy. Everyone is different when it comes to that.