Sunday, September 30, 2012

Employer Exit Strategy

This vacation has made me sure of one thing. I must move beyond my current employer. The atmosphere has changed dramatically. When I started in 2010 I was top of the world. Always asked to move, treated with respect and my hard work recognized. A very welcoming, positive place. Turnover had to have been less than 10% until mid 2011. About when everything changed.

Now I feel like I have been left to wither. No support, no care, and even when presenting the facts and truth I basically get called a liar. My manager seems to always be talking bad, even though I work hard enough to go home with lacerations, blisters, dust that has stained my hand, and exhaustion that it took my first three days vacation to overide. I would say our turnover rate is over 40% now since this time 2011. Not quite a hostile environment, but certainly a negative one.

People are leaving in droves, and just about every time it is the ones that seem to care and are friendly as can be towards me that are leaving. With the rampant favoritism that is going on I can't blame them. It is so telling when someone applies for another store, and gets the spot, yet they applied at their store and got beat out by under qualified, under experienced people. Has happened with just about 8/10 promotions lately. 

Even with my surprise interview last week, my HR was penciling in 2's & 3's before I was even done speaking! I watched the other manager interviewing me, and not only was he taking lengthy notes, he was at least putting in some 4's. (scale goes 1-5). That same day I interviewed this managers attitude towards me seemed to completely change. He had me doing all kinds of things, like he had an epiphany just how awesome I was. 

By the end of October I will be able to count the number of coworkers who are awesome to maybe ten, out of a store of 125. Which is pretty much you on my Facebook give or take one or two. Ya know, I don't think that me being transsexual has anything to do with any of this either. A lot of the changes were pre-me out at work.

There is a coming storm, and I feel the outer bands lashing at me. The one manager I get along with and is accepting of my situation will be gone when I go back Wednesday. I am not sure what will happen next and that is rather scary. For the first time with this company I feel scared about the future. Maybe the interview changed things. This manager has been completely different than the others, and I believe he has taken a much more mature, adult approach to the store, bringing the discipline the store so desperately needs.

This week has been my attempt to move forward. I redid my resume and applied for several jobs, some at other stores, other companies, even out of state places. I researched classes, reapplying to (Francis Tuttle, OSU-OKC, and OCCC).

The rule of the game was to work my way up current employer and try to get my life together. Well it is time to change the rules. When I return Wednesday it will be different. No longer will I sit idly by and put up with things. I will work as hard as I always have but I will not accept the childish bs, not to me, not to anyone else. I will speak up when things are not right and bring a bit of attitude they have not seen before. I am not this nice little loyal pushover they think I am. If they don't like it then F'em. With my vast intelligence and ability to overcome the worst that life can give, I can, have, and will do better.



Friday, September 28, 2012

Vacation Day 3

Vacation Update - Best internet day of the month! A whole $4.05. Mood is better enough I can look up again, this break has been wonderful, stress has not been this low since April. Did some basics today. Now I am down to the junk.

Working the logistics between donating and selling, which the only thing i got so far is donating my christmas tree. As for selling...uh a Gamecube game and some PSP stuff. This is harder than I thought. Last week I was solid on selling my SNES RPG'S @ $30+ a pop. Now I dunno. I have them digitally. It is absurd. Maybe I should just hire someone to sell everything for me while I leave town for a day or two. Still think I have upwards of $1,000 in old games.

Diet took a hit today, apparently McDonalds decided to have the Monopoly game this week. Well I had a medium sweet tea, 9/10 nuggets and half a large fry. Relatively speaking still better. Not trying to win millions, just need 10k or so.

Cannot believe how much my skin has cleared up, no moisturizers, just a morning scrub, even rationing out my hair vitamins has not changed anything. I think there is something in the air at Lowe's. Casual observation - Every time someone comes back from vacation/two days off they have better complexion, hair, everything. Stress? Diet? Time? Air Pollution? Dust? Sounds like a job for science.

Looks like I may go to work with my dad in the morning. Could be interesting. Thursday I plan to make a valiant attempt to recover my old hard drive, redo my resume, and apply for some jobs. Friday I will dive heavily into back to school stuff. This weekend I hope to see Looper & Resident Evil. Maybe get out and get some new shoes, need something better for work, may try something other than tennis shoes.

Hope everyone is having as good a week as I am. Most of these status updates are for reference later but people have been asking how vacation is going so I find this easier. (Plus I found a use for timeline! haha!).



Vacation Day One

Vacation Day One - A Day of R&R. Slept a nice sleep from work last night. Awoke and watched another great Doctor Who episode then had fun computer gaming. Ate at Fazzolis and some ice cream from Marble Slab Creamery. Yum.

Still stayed under 1800 calories, burned roughly 2500. Took a nice nap. Did some cleaning, then some filing and trashing of stuff watching Family Guy. A good day.

Tomorrow is Internet Work & Errand Day. Yay. Fingers crossed for lots of internet work, September has been the lowest month in two years. Posting a pic as an experiment how my appearance improves the less I work...


Saturday, September 8, 2012

My TS Life (rough draft + more background)


To someone with an open heart and open mind:

My name is Corrie Kasal. I am a 28 year old male to female transsexual. 


I am stuck waiting until my 30s for surgery. Wonder if there is anyone else out there in a similar situation. I see so many fortunate young girls, and while I am happy for them, it does hurt knowing I am going to miss out on so much, that they will get to see and experience the next few years. Everything was set to go, my surgery at the latest in 2009 (I would have been 25). 

Unfortunately, between 2006-2011 everything I had was wiped out. I was fortunate to have my electrolysis done, and have been solid on hormones since 2006 (at age 22). Funds ran dry though in 2011, and I have hardly saved up anything since. Most likely it will be 2014 before my surgery happens, I will be at least 30. Trying to overcome this, but it seems so significant in my mind. I have got to let the past go, and stop thinking, worrying about others.

Of course I always knew I was different. I hated being a boy and I did some bad things, some gross things when I was young. Even at the age of 12 I was trying to castrate myself with fishing line, even up to 17 where I hung myself by my genitals to a clothesline. I was trying to stop the incoming storm of puberty. I have worn panties as long as I can remember just like the regular everyday clothing the are.  Snuck them and took a few from Walmart until they had self checkout. Washed clothes in the sink. Simple and weird as it may sound the underwear was the achor to my thoughts until I was able to dress openly now. What I am trying to say is that in many ways, I have always lived as a girl, I just lacked the funds and knowledged to look and express the way I felt inside.

Life was hard growing up. My dad was non existent and my mom had severe schizophrenia. We were poor and did not have much. I ended up having to take care of my mom since after 1996 she took a turn for the worse. DHS placed me with my granny who was 85 at the time. Though she tried her best, I ended up taking care of her into my later teens.

 As I grew older and learned more about myself and the process I stopped, but I still have the thoughts to this day. Infections, Gangrene, and Flesh eating bacteria are the only thing holding me back, but even then I think what if. Thoughts that I cannot keep at bay much longer. So many times have I considered getting drunk, mangling myself up in the emergency room and the thought that just maybe I will survive and be rid of these wretched parts. Rationally this to me is ridiculous but the thought of another year like this is unbearable.

I started hormones courtesy of Inhouse Pharmacy back in 2006, though I had dabbled in 2003 as well. I was 22 when I started in 2006. I had just gone through some horrible times. Between 2004-2006 my mom died, my granny who took care of me since I was 12 died, our house burned up, my dog Mickey I had since kindergarten died, my girlfriend left, I lost a job, and dropped out of school. When my first really serious girlfriend left in 2006 I tried to kill myself. (overdosed on pills trying to get my ex to see me). I lost everything.

During the time with my ex I struggled with the emotions and dressing on the side. Soon as the relationship was over I hit the hormones, I knew what I had to do. I had wasted too much time already. Unfortunately I also went through the worst period of drinking and spending after this. I blew my credit, wrecked a car, and created problems lasting to this day that I don’t think it will be until I am well into my 30s to fix. Life just keeps happening and I don’t know what to do. I save up a $1,000 here something happens, save up a $1,000 there but no matter what something happens. Last it was my teeth, and before that I had to move next to work after my car died.

As of now in ten years I have managed to save up a whopping $3000 for surgery. I currently work for a major home improvement retailer. It is stable but pays the bills and that is about it. I do some internet work but that only tends to range from 10 cents a day to around $10. Typically in between on the lower end. That is where most my savings comes from. If the internet work is good then I am good, but when it is not, I see everything falling apart. I hemmorage my real job money on food, so if I can get that under control then I may have a chance.

I also struggle with hairloss still. By the time I turned 20 it was almost too late, I was stage IV. I think I am back to II now but it is still very noticeable and hard to hide unless I wear a headband or sunglasses up. Also a lot of any extra money I have is going to special shampoos that supposedly block testosterone and extracts, and the $150 I blew on a laser comb.

Another issue is my credit. I would love to just borrow the money I need and pay it back, but I filed bankruptcy in December 2011. I was fortunate to have my electrolysis finished but the debt I accumulated during 2007-2011 was just too much. My minimum payments were more than my total income. I was working a near minimum wage job and living off my then awesome credit. I knew it was wrong but I was so depressed from all the bad things that happened and being transsexual that I gave up hope that I would see the next day. Part of me stayed strong though, I maintained the job and coped somewhat. I recovered a little by 2009 but it was too little too late for my finances. I got notices of being sued and threats of garnishment I had no choice but to file bankruptcy.

Having bad social anxiety hasn’t helped. It has caused me to stress eat impacting my finances and health. I don’t have the friends and family network most have. My dad’s in worse shape than I am. He has bad back and is unable to find a job. I fear I will have to take care of him. I live by myself and just don’t make the income I need to save.  On the brightside the social anxiety helps steer me away from the adult industry. Though it is tempting for money.

I don’t have a car. This last winter I had to walk through the mud and cold through a construction nightmare. Then this summer was the same, only it was 105 degrees. Some people have been generous for rides, but I can’t ask them to help me all the time. They have lives to. It is so scary though. Mostly because that is how my mom died, just walking down the street and was struck. I think about it everytime I walk. Then what about my safety? Projecting as female now, it does bring more attention to me. What if I get mugged? What if someone tries something with me and gets a surprise? At the very least I would probably get beaten, if not killed.

Everyone I know, knows now. I used to work for Hertz, but when I came out there I started getting write-ups and disciplinary action for the most absurd things. I was working my home improvement store part time trying to save . I knew the writing was on the wall at Hertz so I promptly quit, and took this full time position in home improvement.  I waited to tell them, I could not let what happened at Hertz happen there. Eventually I could not contain it though, and changes to my body were very obvious. I came out to my hr manager, who has been extremely supportive. Most the rest of the store doesn’t seem to care.

That said, my day to day work life is miserable. Especially in summer. I see so many women in cute dresses and skirts and I drown myself in jealously and sorrow. Jealous they are so lucky they wear things like that without fear of their own parts, and sorrow that I may never get to fully enjoy those freedoms. I have not been able to go swimming since I was 15. Tucking is horrible and only reminds me of what is down there.

It is hard to checking id's and seeing female on others drivers licenses, when I am stuck with male even though I have been on hormones six years. I even tried to fight it with my original birth certificate saying female. This is in Oklahoma and I do not see that changing.

I am noticing an attraction to certain men (British haha) sometimes but feel like a grotesque freak because I know I could get beat up or worse if they saw what I had in my pants if we were intimate. I think if I was still 18 I could bear longer, but the 20s are so necessary for growing and learning about love and sex and I am missing and have missed so much already. Of course I would tell someone  first in a safe location, but accidents and spur of the moments can happen too. Mostly still am attracted to women though, though I find the thought of vaginal intercourse both appealing and correct.

I can’t sleep most nights, in fact right now I am typing this because I can’t sleep. The thoughts are overwhelming me. Thoughts I’ve dealt with for thousands of days, each day building on the next to the point I do not see making it past the next. My hopes and dreams are crushed.

That dream. Since I was little. To overcome being different and embrace it. Show the world how strong I have become.  To finish college maybe even in genetics. To find someone to love me for who I am. Adopt a child in need. Be a big sister to someone. Help others in my situation. Become the lady I was always meant to be.

Fortunately, with a note from Dr. Dawn Singleton (my counselor), I have been able to get hormones through my work health insurance. I see an endocrinologist (Wynter Kipgen) as well for checkups. This helped a little. I have my letters. Unfortunately I do not see Dr. Singleton often since that takes out of my surgery money. I miss donating blood too, can't do that while on finasteride, and I imagine it would be a year after surgery before I could.

Thank you for reading. 

With Love,
Corrie

*Fun Fact* My original birth certificate says female

Follow Up to Insurance Exclusion

While I am still researching how I plan to get surgery covered by insurance, I did email the human rights campaign (HRC) and they sent me the following links I thought would be helpful.


Thank you for contacting the Human Rights Campaign's Workplace Project.

Our main website, hrc.org, includes information and resources for LGBT employees hoping to make changes within their workplaces.
The following  links to pages on our site includes resources for transgender employees, descriptions of transgender-inclusive benefits for employees and dependents and help on how to advocate for LGBT equality in your workplace.




Hope this helps.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Insurance Specific Transgender Exclusion for Surgery

I recently pursued the avenue of using my employer insurance (Aetna) for gender reassignment surgery. I met all the prerequisites, have my letters and this is the last step in my transition. I have been on hormones for six years, and they are covered through Express Scripts. Name change is done. As for the surgery itself, everything started off great.
The surgeon graciously offered me a discount and initially that would come out of pocket anyway.We filed and initially it came back excellent, all I would pay is the surgery fee itself, transportation, and staying there for one or two weeks to be checked on and part of that would be reimbursed. It was expected to cover the hospital stay as well. Of course later I received a notice saying it was not covered, and that my employer in fact has a specific exclusion in our policy. This struck me slightly odd, as I noticed my employer does have gender identity/expression listed in the harassment and opportunity posters that are posted. This seems to be the next logical step.
Below is Aetnas requirements for surgery. The foundation is there, I just do not understand in this day in age why it is not covered. The arguement seems to be that it is "cosmetic", but when I spend everyday of my waking life miserable because so much time has passed already and I do not forsee having the funds for another five years on my own, because life just keeps happening. WIthout surgery you have to take extra pills, putting you at more risk, you can't wear many things, (I have not been swimming in fifteen years). Not to mention the huge safety risk. It wears on you. Even something like checking an id at work can hamper your day. I would think the reduced medication, therapy, and doctor visit costs over the next 2-5 years would make up a lot of the difference. Could even require employment for a year.
Even it was a meet halfway deal, like I pay the surgery and they pay the hospital/anesthesia less deductible. Trying to be realistic too. Even though I seem to be the only transsexual in the company, out of 200,000+, I would guess there are at least five to ten others, so I cannot see costs expanding that much for these surgeries. I would not mind either if I had to have a higher tier/expensive plan. We have two now as it is, a third with more coverage would not be a big deal. 

Below is Aetnas policy and requirements, which I fit perfectly, as I am sure many others do. 

Clinical Policy Bulletin:
Gender Reassignment Surgery
Number: 0615


Policy

Note: Most Aetna plans exclude coverage of sex change surgery (gender reassignment surgery, transgender surgery) or any treatment of gender identity disorders.  Please check benefit plan descriptions. 
Aetna considers sex reassignment surgery medically necessary when all of the following criteria are met:
  1. Member is at least 18 years old; and
  2. Member has met criteria for the diagnosis of "true" transsexualism, including:
    • A sense of estrangement from one's own body, so that any evidence of one's own biological sex is regarded as repugnant; and
    • A stable transsexual orientation evidenced by a desire to be rid of one's genitals and to live in society as a member of the other sex for at least 2 years, that is, not limited to periods of stress; and
    • Absence of physical inter-sex of genetic abnormality; and
    • Does not gain sexual arousal from cross-dressing; and
    • Life-long sense of belonging to the opposite sex and of having been born into the wrong sex, often since childhood; and
    • Not due to another biological, chromosomal or associated psychiatric disorder, such as schizophrenia; and
    • Wishes to make his or her body as congruent as possible with the preferred sex through surgery and hormone treatment; and
  3. Member has completed a recognized program of transgender identity treatment as evidenced by all of the following:
    • A qualified mental health professional* who has been acquainted with the member for at least 18 months recommends sex reassignment surgery documented in the form of a written comprehensive evaluation; and
    • For genital surgical sex reassignment, a second concurring recommendation by another qualified mental health professional * must be documented in the form of a written expert opinion**; and
    • For genital surgical sex reassignment, member has undergone a urological examination for the purpose of identifying and perhaps treating abnormalities of the genitourinary tract, since genital surgical sex reassignment includes the invasion of, and the alteraton of, the genitourinary tract (urological examination is not required for persons not undergoing genital reassignment); and
    • Member has demonstrated an understanding of the proposed male-to-female or female-to-male sex reassignment surgery with its attendant costs, required lengths of hospitalization, likely complications, and post surgical rehabilitation requirements of the planned surgery; and
    • Psychotherapy is not an absolute requirement for surgery unless the mental health professional's initial assessment leads to a recommendation for psychotherapy that specifies the goals of treatment, estimates its frequency and duration throughout the real life experience (usually a minimum of 3 months); and
    • For genital surgical sex reassignment, the member has successfully lived and worked within the desired gender role full-time for at least 12 months (so-called real-life experience), without periods of returning to the original gender; and
    • For genital surgical sex reassignment, member has received at least 12 months of continuous hormonal sex reassignment therapy recommended by a mental health professional and carried out by an endocrinologist (which can be simultaneous with the real-life experience), unless medically contraindicated.
* At least one of the two clinical behavioral scientists making the favorable recommendation for surgical (genital) sex reassignment must possess a doctoral degree (e.g., Ph.D., Ed.D., D.Sc., D.S.W., Psy.D., or M.D.). Note: Evaluation of candidacy for sex reassignment surgery by a mental health professional is covered under the member’s medical benefit, unless the services of a mental health professional are necessary to evaluate and treat a mental health problem, in which case the mental health professional’s services are covered under the member’s behavioral health benefit. Please check benefit plan descriptions.
** Either two separate letters or one letter with two signatures is acceptable.
Medically necessary core surgical procedures for female to male persons include: mastectomy, hysterectomy, vaginectomy, salpingo-oophorectomy, metoidioplasty, phalloplasty, urethroplasty, scrotoplasty and placement of testicular prostheses, and erectile prostheses.
Medically necessary core surgical procedures for male to female persons include: penectomy, orchidectomy, vaginoplasty, clitoroplasty, and labiaplasty.
Note: Rhinoplasty, face-lifting, lip enhancement, facial bone reduction, blepharoplasty, breast augmentation, liposuction of the waist (body contouring), reduction thyroid chondroplasty, hair removal, voice modification surgery (laryngoplasty or shortening of the vocal cords), and skin resurfacing, which have been used in feminization, are considered cosmetic. Similarly, chin implants, nose implants, and lip reduction, which have been used to assist masculinization, are considered cosmetic.
Note on gender specific services for transgender persons:
Gender-specific services may be medically necessary for transgender persons appropriate to their anatomy. Examples include:
  1. Breast cancer screening may be medically necessary for female to male transgender persons who have not undergone a mastectomy;
  2. Prostate cancer screening may be medically necessary for male to female transgender individuals who have retained their prostate.

Background
Transsexualism is "a gender identity disorder in which the person manifests, with constant and persistent conviction, the desire to live as a member of the opposite sex and progressively take steps to live in the opposite sex role full-time."  People who wish to change their sex may be referred to as "Transsexuals" or as people suffering from "Gender Dysphoria" (meaning unhappiness with one's gender).
Transsexuals usually present to the medical profession with a diagnosis of transsexualism, a sophisticated understanding of their condition, and a desired course of treatment, that is, hormone therapy and sex-reassignment surgery.  The therapeutic approach to gender identity disorder consists of three parts: a real life experience in the desired role, hormones of the desired gender, and surgery to change the genitalia and other sex characteristics (Day, 2002). The most typical order, if all three elements are undertaken, is hormones followed by real life experience and, finally, surgery.
For male to female transsexuals selected for surgery, procedures may include genital reconstruction (vaginoplasty, penectomy, orchidectomy, clitoroplasty), breast augmentation and cosmetic surgery (facial reshaping, rhinoplasty, abdominoplasty, laryngeal shaving, vocal cord shortening, hair transplants) (Day, 2002). For female to male transsexuals, surgical procedures may include genital reconstruction (phalloplasty, genitoplasty, hysterectomy, bilateral oophorectomy), mastectomy, chest wall contouring and cosmetic surgery (Day, 1992).
Due to the far-reaching and irreversible results of hormonal and/or surgical transformational measures, a careful diagnosis and differential diagnosis is absolutely vital to the patient's best interest.  In and of themselves, a patient's self-diagnosis and the intensity of his desire for sex reassignment cannot be viewed as reliable indicators of transsexuality.  A vital part of the long-term diagnostic therapy is the so-called real-life experience, in which the patient lives as a member of the desired sex continually and in all social spheres in order to accumulate necessary experience.  Experience in specialist Gender Identity Units has shown that only about 15% of male transsexuals and 90% of female transsexuals are considered suitable for surgery or still desire it after specialist psychiatric care and a prolonged period of observation used to identify the relatively rare "true" transsexual from the more common "secondary" transsexual.
Hormone therapy and sex-reassignment surgery are superficial changes in comparison to the major psychological adjustments necessary in changing sex.  Treatment should concentrate on the psychological adjustment, with hormone therapy and sex-reassignment surgery being viewed as confirmatory procedures dependent on adequate psychological adjustment.  Psychiatric care may need to be continued for many years after sex-reassignment surgery.  The technical success of sex-reassignment surgery is greater for male-to-female transsexuals than female-to-male transsexuals, and continues to improve as new techniques are developed.  The overall success of treatment depends partly on the technical success of the surgery, but more crucially on the psychological adjustment of the transsexual, and the support from family, friends, employers and the medical profession.