Toxic Culture

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Dear Reader,

When did you know your identity or orientation? I feel as though we in the LGBT community have this question asked of us countless times. For some, they knew at an early age where as others didn’t realize until much later in life, but that doesn’t make their identity invalid. When I was 3 or 4 years old, I told my mom that I wanted to be a boy. This was the first memory that I had where I can look back and say it was a sign that I was transgender. But not everyone has that experience. I fought my orientation/gender identity for many years. I wasn’t brave enough to come out on my own.

I first came out as a ‘lesbian’ to my friends at a get together. I can’t remember the conversation, but somehow it got on the topic of ‘Have you ever kissed another girl?’. We were a bunch of 19 year olds hanging out and giggling. But when they asked me if I had ever kissed a girl, I immediately became pale. This started all of my friends freaking out because my response was enough for them. I immediately ran to the bathroom and locked myself inside. I was having what I later realized was an anxiety attack. The room was getting smaller and my vision getting darker.

When I think back on my first coming-out experience, I cringe at the memory. I can still feel the gut-wrenching pain of fear. The sad things is, I was raised by a pretty accepting family. My grandmother was friends with an old drag queen, yet I still was afraid. I was brainwashed by the society I was surrounded with; growing up in the South does something to a young closeted queer person.  I wasn’t alone in those feelings. I had the pleasure of interviewing a guy I’ve been following on Instagram for quite some time, Valen Cole (@justt_valen), a trans man living with his girlfriend in Washington state. They have two adorable dogs that may or may not be the reason I watch his stories. Valen had experience growing up in a toxic culture. He grew up in Utah, which is made up of a religious group know as Latter Day Saints (LDS). He was raised Catholic, which caused him to have another barrier to his eventual LGBT identity.

Like Valen, I was also raised Catholic, as well as alter served to which the both of us can relate. Given that Valen and I ended up transitioning to men, the alter serving can be a pained memory due to the fact of how gendered the Catholic community can be with just about everything. I found out later in my interview with Valen that he actually wanted to be a nun, which I find very interesting given that he now doesn’t identify with religion. When I probed a little as to why he left Christianity he had this to say, “…I do not have any religion in my life. I am 100% atheist. I respect all religions and practices. But I’m just a strong believer in science proof and facts. Which religion has never been able to provide me. My overall experience with Christians has been positive for the most part. I, like many others have had the run around with some Christians that think I’m going to hell and whatnot. But I’ve never really got too worked up over it because I just feel like they’re brainwashed and need something to Believe in which unfortunately drives them in a hateful direction. Ultimately the only thing that has pushed me away from religion is not being able to provide facts and proof. I’ve studied many religions and beliefs. To me, (my belief here) it just seems religion was only created to keep people in line and to give people that sense of meaning. Like they have a reason. To give them hope. Which I think is great because I know-at least for my mom, without religion I don’t even know what she would do or who she would be. I definitely know she would have a lot of issues with depression. Because she tends to leave everything up to God. Sometimes I wish that I could believe the stuff she does and have my head in the clouds. I’ve just seen too much in this horrible world…and I’ve thought, if there is a god …well then he is horrible and I could never worship something that allows so much suffering and pain. So much going on outside of our sheltered bubbles. I definitely believe there is other life forms out there…but as far as someone that watches over us or something happening after we die-not a chance.”

I use to believe exactly as Valen does, I couldn’t find a way to justify the Christian faith with my understanding of science. I do realize that my platform is Christian based, but I feel it is important to show different point of views. Even if we don’t fully agree with each other, how else are we going to be able to learn and grow as people? It is an unfortunate thing that the church has done so many horrific acts that it has pushed so many individuals away. With Valen, this may not have happened directly, but I wonder what the world would look like if people stopped using their faith as a justification to harm others. I appreciate Valen for taking the time to speak with me and discuss his views on this topic. I look forward to working more with him in the future.

Written by Alexander Mason Burchnell

Edited by Christopher J. Burchnell

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Acceptance

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Dear Reader,

Being a part of the LGBT community can be very difficult, especially when your family isn’t supportive. If a person is rejected by the most important people in their life, it can cause depression and potentially lead to suicide. We know the statistics of ostracized LGBT individuals. According to the Trevor Project, 40% of transgender adults have attempted suicide at least once in their lives. Trevor Project’s site also has this to say, “LGB youth who come from highly rejecting families are 8.4 times as likely to have attempted suicide as LGB peers who reported no or low levels of family rejection.”

It is inexcusable that there are so many individuals who are having to deal with families who are so unsupportive that it has driven them to simply not want to live anymore. But what happens when one’s family IS accepting? What can happen to that individual’s confidence and outlook on life? I was able to interview a good friend this weekend who has had experience with family members accepting him. Jacob (Jake) is a straight-transgender man living with his girlfriend. He runs an Instagram account (@officialjaket), where he documents his transition as well as promotes others in the trans community. Jake is attending school to be a personal trainer, so he runs another Instagram account dedicated to that at @JacobTFitness2018. Jake’s story is different than the usual one that we hear when referring to LGBT youth: his family was accepting.

Jake had this to say when I asked him how his coming-out process went, “Well it has been hard for my dad but everyone else has welcomed the change. My grandpa is gay and he was the first person I told and he listened before saying anything to me. Then he said I’ve done a lot of what he would have asked me to do before accepting it. My mother had known for awhile before I sat done and told them. My uncle and his girlfriend knew and accepted it along with his best friend and wife. My granny and other grandpa found out from my uncle and his girlfriend. They all accepted me and said they just want me to be happy, and that they see me happier than I’ve ever been.”

Jake mentioned that his family could see a visible change in his mood due to his ability to finally live as his true self. His family members can see that this has allowed him to live a much happier and fulfilling life. This is what happens when your immediate circle accepts you. You have the ability to simply LIVE.

Despite having acceptance with his family, Jake did say he has had experience with discrimination in the outside world. I asked him to expand upon an experience and he stated, “Yes, I’ve bee discriminated against in a recent job interview. During the phone call before the interview they kept calling me by my birth name, like making a point of it. Then when I got to the interview and came out to him, his whole attitude changed towards me. I knew as soon as I said the words ‘I’m transgender’ I wasn’t getting the job. He just wanted the interview to be done with. ”

Unfortunately, discrimination for those in the LGBT community, and especially for transgender individuals, is very prevalent in the workforce. It is good to know that things are, however, heading in the right direction. According to Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index fortune 500 companies that have adopted a non-discrimination policy is up to 83 percent as of 2018, where in 2002 it was at a mere 3 percent. So while things aren’t perfect, we can feel hope for our future. I hope that eventually we don’t have to tell our stories with a “but” at the end. I want to be able to interview a fellow human and hear about their struggles that do not pertain to the sexual orientation or gender identity. I know we will get there one day. So, while we keep fighting and working our way to that horizon, I will keep interviewing, discussing, and shining a light on these stories.

Until next time!

Written by Alexander Mason Burchnell

Edited by Christopher J. Burchnell

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Is Support Important? #FaithfullyLGBT

Dear Reader,

Last year I was able to get baptized in a non-affirming church. I was happy that I was dedicating myself to Jesus and taking a huge step in my faith journey. Everything was amazing except one little thing: a conversation I had with the church’s pastor a few weeks prior. That conversation nearly had me backing out of the baptism. This conversation consisted of the pastor telling me that being gay was wrong ( he didn’t know I was also transgender), and that Jesus wanted me to be with a woman and not my husband of five years. I was hurt. Not a single person had sad anything to us prior to this conversation, and we had been attending this church for a solid year at this point. The sad part is, the pastor believed that you couldn’t just pray the gay away. He believed it was a mental disorder that could only be helped by celibacy. He spoke of church support and love, but this is NOT love or support. What he was doing was using the Bible to support his bigotry. This was a huge part of why I had no problem finding a new church to attend.

I was so thrown off by this man in leadership. Up until this point I hadn’t fully been confronted by outright prejudice. I was raised in a family that really didn’t care how you identified as long as you were happy. I went to church and everything, but I was never taught, by my family at least, to find shame in one’s orientation. So to be confronted at such a vulnerable time in my life left me spinning into a faith crisis. I felt like I didn’t have the support from the Christian community nor from the LGBT community. It wasn’t fair to my husband that I was crashing, because he grew up with this kind of hate but far worse. I confided in him, but I felt guilty for doing so. I felt like it wasn’t right to ask him to be there for me and support my crisis. But that was wrong of me. I realize he would be there for me no matter what, but during that pivotal point in my life, I was isolating myself. I didn’t know how I could combine both my orientation/gender identity and my new found faith. I did the only other thing I could do, pray. I prayed to God for guidance on what He wanted me to do. I always heard people say that God answered their prayers in different ways, but I didn’t quite know how He would respond to mine. He simply gave me peace. I prayed and He gave me the feeling of love unconditional. He put me on a path to share with others and help them to feel not so alone on this journey.

I recently emailed another individual who is on his own faith journey. His name is Alex, who identifies as gender fluid as well as aspec (asexual) and arospec (aromantic a.k.a someone who experiences little or no romantic attraction to others.). Alex, at just the age of 15, runs an Instagram account, “QueerlyAutisticChristian“, that promotes the inclusion of LGBT individuals in the Christian faith, along with being very open about being autistic. His account, much like mine, is mixed with Bible versus as well as education on the subject. Alex had a similar coming out experience as me, in the sense that his family didn’t have a negative reaction. In fact, Alex had this to say about it, ” I was widely accepted amongst my family. So from my family and now friends, I have support in every aspect of my queer identities. I participate in many LGBTQ+ events as well.”

Having the support of my inner circle was very important to me. My family has been happy for me no matter what path I took in life. I started having my problems when others started stepping in the way and telling me that I was wrong for embracing my true self. I grew up Catholic, and up until my baptism, I was growing a pretty strong belief in Jesus. I held strongly to certain belief structures that I had grown up being taught. This pastor was trying to break everything I knew to be true! Alex, unlike myself, did not grow up in faith. He had this to say about his journey to Christianity, “Unlike everyone else, my struggles came when I decided I wanted to be a Christian, not when I came out as queer…  I started going to my mom’s church, which wasn’t open and affirming but the pastors were. I started to get frustrated with this, (Galatians 1:10 was my frustration) they didn’t advocate for open and affirming in the church.”

Alex mentioned the passage Galatians 1:10 which states, “Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.” To give context to this verse, we must go back to shortly after Paul left the Galatian Christians. A group known as Judaizers moved in and tried to convince the Galatians that they had to earn God’s approval. They tried to teach then that Jesus dying on the cross for them wasn’t enough and that they needed to also follow the law of Moses. They questioned whether or not Paul was a real apostle. They said that the reason Paul wasn’t making them follow the law of Moses was because he was trying to “make everyone happy”. They went as far as to suggest that Paul was altering the facts to please everyone. Galatians 1:10 was Paul’s response to these accusations. I am glad that Alex mentioned that passage in my interview questions to him. It shows how much he takes his faith in scripture seriously. It shows he understands the importance of finding one’s relationship with God over public approval.

Galatians 1:10 is a great verse to show that you shouldn’t try to please others around you; their opinions don’t matter when it comes to you and your relationship with God. The verse does not, however, remove the need to have a support network. The bible itself tells of the importance to have a group to raise you up. Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” So, what happens when you don’t have any support? My interaction with my ex-pastor and thinking of finding a new church left me feeling at a loss for the support I craved. But is support that important? I asked this question to Alex and he had this to say, “It is immensely damaging for someone not to have a supportive network, both spiritually and emotionally. It can drive a person away from God when they feel confident in their identity but not their religion anymore, and can hugely damage a person’s self esteem when they feel solid in their religion but are battling their true selves.” I think Alex summed up my feelings entirely. I felt like I was being pushed away from either God or myself. I was being forced to choose sides, but on something that was so profound to who I was. It was as though he was trying to get me to choose which healthy leg I wanted to hack off. I couldn’t! Today I have a much better picture of who I am in both Jesus Christ and myself. I am a transgender, queer, Christian man who is happy with the way God made me.

I wish I had the guts to go back to that church leader to give him a peace of my mind. When he sat me down to tell me why I was a sinner, I clammed up. I couldn’t really find words to defend myself, I could barely keep myself from crying, let alone give him a coherent explanation of why HE was the wrong one, not me. But I don’t have the energy to go back there and confront him. To finish this article out, I asked Alex what he would say to those who are non-affirming, which he responded, “I really hope you grow to realize the damage you’re doing, I do not hate you but I do hate the harm you’re doing to so many people across the world. If you were interested in learning more, I’d gladly educate you, but seeing as you’re non-accepting not neutral, I see no point in trying to persuade you, but I will keep all of you in my prayers.” I don’t think I could have put it any better myself.

Thank you for reading,

Alexander Mason Burchnell

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#FaithfullyLGBT: Interview with Eric Muhr

Dear Reader,

I was a very spiritual kid growing up. I went to a Catholic school and was always reading about different Saints. My grandmother was happy that one of her grandkids was interested in her faith, and we would spend hours talking about different topics such as angels, heaven, and what we thought it all meant. I will always hold that time as a special place in my heart. I recently interviewed Eric Muhr, who is a publisher at Barclay Press, executive editor at Meetinghouse.xyz, and founder of exploredco.com, who also happens to be gay. Muhr also started young in his faith. He had this to say about it, “When I was born, my parents were working as youth sponsors (unpaid youth pastors) at West Chehalem Friends Church. We moved to Hillsboro Friends Church the summer after my second birthday. I made a profession of faith at age three, and I became a member at age 16. ” I relate to Eric in the sense of having ones upbringing focused on faith. But after coming out things can change.

I came out as gay at the age of 19. I saw how much the Christian community could be hateful towards LGBT people. I didn’t know if I could believe in a God who would allow his people to treat others in such a harmful way. I chose to leave the church in hopes that I could find spiritual fulfillment elsewhere. Eric Muhr said he had a rough experience in his church. Even though they seemed relatively accepting when he came out, it was when he started dating that it became a problem. Here is what he stated on this subject, “After coming out to my senior pastor and also the administrative pastor in my congregation in October 2016, they said I should remain on staff and that they wanted to support me. Things changed when they found out I was dating, and then after I invited a minister from another Friends congregation to speak to our youth group (he was a trans man, and I wanted students to hear his story) the elders at my church began a disciplinary process. I resigned in January 2017.”

I came out as a transgender man at the age of 20 and found it even harder to deal with the Christian community. Whenever the trans topic was discussed among the faith body, it was always in disgust or hushed tones; there was never any representation. I was amazed to find out that Eric, prior to his resignation, had brought in a trans man to discuss the topics that many shied away from. If I had seen this in my church would I have left? Would I have felt such hate towards Christian people for many years following? No, I believe I would have stayed or at least continued practicing my faith and eventually found an accepting church home. I asked Muhr what advise he had for those struggling with their gender/sexual identities and Christian faith which he responded, “The struggle with faith and sexuality is a false duality. Just like the so-called “Culture Wars,” or the religion-science “debate,” there is no conflict between faith and sexuality. Instead, there are faith communities with toxic theology. It is not up to LGBTQ+ people to save the church. Unfortunately, most of us have internalized harmful messages about our identities, our bodies, and our sexualities – messages that must be deconstructed again and again and again. Even when we recognize the “lie” for what it is, the harm and hurt remain.”

Eric’s words are very powerful, and I am thankful I got a chance to interview him. I know that the Bible is a beautiful thing that has been mistranslated and taken out of context, but even knowing that, I can sometimes struggle. I struggle because there are so many out there that tell me I am wrong for simply being, and that I can’t be a Christian because of that. I asked Eric if he had a hard time as I still do to which he responded, “I struggled to respect people who hated me. In high school, confused, I decided that I didn’t have to believe anything that didn’t make sense to me and that I got to define how love felt to me (no matter what others claimed). It took me a long time to learn how to offer this freedom to others as well. But I became convinced in college that there had to be people like me – lots of them – who needed the same freedom I needed. I stayed in the church because it was the only community I had ever known outside my family, and in many ways it was dearer to me than my biological family. In addition, I suspected that the only way to be free would be to find those people who also needed freedom and to align myself with them.” And with that statement, it summarized exactly what I am trying to do with my social media presence. I want to show others that it’s okay to be LGBTQ+ AND Christian. I want others to find something useful in their journey as I have in this interview.

I want to thank Eric Muhr for his time in responding to my interview request, as well as answering my questions so thoroughly. If you would like to follow Eric, you can do so on both Twitter as well as Instagram @EricMuhr. If you are interested in more individuals who are walking both an LGBT and faith based path then I highly recommend checking out the tag #FaithFullyLGBT in all social media platforms. I look forward to discussing more topics and future interviews with you all. If you have any suggestions feel free to reach out to me on any connection listed below:

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Thank you,

Alexander M. Burchnell

Starting HRT

Dear Reader,

Hi again! Last time I talked about how we legally changed our names (click here to check that out) but this time will be about starting hormone replacement therapy (HRT). We (my husband Chris and I) actually started testosterone or “T” twice. I will take you back to the very beginning, a long long time ago in the year 2013.

Chris and I were wanting to get married, but we wanted to start our life together in marriage after we started taking T. We realized that with the short amount of time before the wedding, it wasn’t going to produce any noticeable changes, but it would be a step for us. A step towards our future in marriage vows as well as transition. And so we started looking for a doctor.

I had just started working for a company whose insurance covered transgender related treatments. A friend of ours was seeing a doctor about an hour away from us and recommended we check him out. Since the insurance covered it, I immediately set an appointment. The first appointment was a wellness check such as vitals, blood check, etc.  Then, the magic mixture was given to us.

We weren’t immediately given a testosterone prescription and sent on our merry way. Nope. We had to go back to the endocrinologist every two weeks for the next SIX MONTHS or so before we were given that luxury. He wanted to monitor how we responded to the medication in order to either increase the dosage or slide it down. Honestly, it was a good thing he did that because come to find out I am allergic to the sunflower seed oil used as a suspension in some brands of testosterone. The doctor switched me to Axiron, which is a topical way to receive HRT. I used this for about 8 months until I reached the year marker. I had pretty good results from Axiron, and I highly recommend it to anyone who has the financial means to get it (this medication is crazy expensive).

Then, things hit the fan. I lost my job, good pay, and most importantly the insurance. For the next three years I couldn’t find a job that had good enough pay and insurance to allow us the ability to get back on HRT. I lost my facial and body hair. My body started to soften again. I had some of the worst dysphoria I’ve ever experienced in my life. I still passed for the most part, but it was like I was stuck as an “in-between” and I struggled to see a light at the end of the tunnel. It wasn’t until I found a job in January of 2017 that finally things started to turn around.

I was able to find a new doctor (Planned Parenthood) that took our new insurance. Our old doctor skipped town in the three years we were off. We were prescribed testosterone the first day of our appointments in April of that same year. We have officially been back on HRT for 1 year and 8 months. I finally have some facial hair growing back. My body hair has become ridiculous, and I couldn’t be any happier. Chris never lost his facial hair despite going off testosterone the same amount of time as myself. We aren’t sure if he just naturally has higher T levels or what.

This post was a bit all over the place, but I wanted to put our experience out there. Things aren’t a straight line of expectations when starting HRT. Unfortunately things can block your way and it can feel like your world is falling apart. If there is anything to take from this post, it’s don’t lose hope. Don’t give up.

Until next time,

Alexander Mason Burchnell

Legal Name Change

Dear Reader,

I am making an effort to post on a regular basis. In addition to life updates, I want to post helpful information. Transitioning can be arduous when dealing with legal stuff, so I will be posting different steps Chris (my husband) and I went through. This post will be all about how we legally changed our names.

Our first step to start the process was to go to our county clerks office. We had to file a form that they had there for our request. We also had to pay about $100 each which would cover our court costs. They gave us a court date to appear in front of the judge. Daunting I know.

The day of the court date we were full of nerves, but thankful we got to appear on the same date. Chris got called up first (by his birth name). The judge asked stated why he was there and asked him how long he had been living by his requested name. The whole conversation lasted maybe 5 minutes. The judge then said she will honor his request and grant him legal documentation in order to change all ID’s. I was called next, and my hearing went much the same way.

After our hearings, we picked up our official documents. We each got three forms with the courts seal, it was important since we would have to send off the original document to change some items such as our birth certificates. We immediately went to the DMV to get our licenses changed, which was an easy process. We presented the documents given to us by the court, and the DMV handled the rest. The cost of the new license was $10 each.

Later, we wanted to change our social security information. This was a little more difficult for a couple reasons. They needed a copy of our birth certificates which neither of us had access to. My birth certificate was ruined in a flood (long story), and Chris was born in Florida (we live in TN). I was able to get mine in one day by going down to a local office, but Chris had to order his. So, we waited for the good ol’ postal service. Once we both got our birth certificates, we were able to go down to the social security office to get things finalized. This final step was pretty straight forward. We brought all our documents and the clerks were able to get this done pretty quickly.

Finally, we were able to change other items like our banks, credit cards, and other non-legal items. It tooks us a bit of time to get everything finished, but it’s done. The only thing we haven’t changed was our birth certificates. We could, but we haven’t had a reason to present them to anyone. In addition, since I was born in TN, if I were to change it all they would do would be to cross my old name out and put my new name beside it. Not very helpful. So, we will just get passports.

I hope this was helpful. As always, you can reach out to us via email or other social media all linked below:

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Thanks for reading,

Alexander M. Burchnell

How did we afford top surgery?

December 6, 2018

Dear Reader,

I mentioned in my last post that I would explain how we managed to afford top surgery, and I have returned to do just that. Let me start by stating our combined income would put us in the lower class, so we in no way had the full out of pocket funds available to us. What we did have was access to insurance, over-time at work, and crowd funding.

I work for a bank that has some pretty amazing insurance: Blue Cross Blue Shield. The company also covers same-sex partners/spouses. I obviously put Chris (my husband of 5 years) on the insurance. With a little digging I found out that the plan also covers transgender related medical expenses…including surgery! I called up the help line and got to work. I found out what our max out of pocket co-pay for his top surgery would be, which came out to $3,000. Ouch.

Next, we got a list of doctors within reason from where we lived. Then, we narrowed the list down to doctors who took insurance. After that, we called each one up to discuss options. Once we started talking prices and time-frame, we decided on Dr. Emerson of Gastonia, North Carolina.

Our first visit was simply meeting the doctor, him reviewing Chris’ chest, and getting an idea of what to expect. We paid $80 for the consultation. The office handled all paperwork with our insurance. We brought a therapist letter confirming his gender-identity disorder and Planned Parenthood faxed over documents advising how long he had been on hormones. The documents were going to be compiled from Dr. Emerson’s office to present a case to Blue Cross Blue Shield in order to guarantee the coverage.

It took a couple weeks for someone to get back to us about the coverage, and we waited on pins and needles the whole time. Finally, I got a call while I was at work informing the insurance approved the surgery and now we just needed to decide on a date. November 20th, 2018. I had yet to get a full quote of cost, but that would come a few weeks later.

Dr. Emerson’s office sent me an email with a quote of about $450 of upfront cost. This news sent us into some pretty heavy emotion of relief. I was freaking out not knowing how to cover the cost prior to this. Usually the cost of top surgery can be anywhere from $3,000-$10,000 depending on the surgeon. Luckily, with our insurance coverage, our out of pocket was just going to be less than $500. We were ecstatic.

We still needed to save up money so we got to work. I picked up about 10 hours of overtime each pay period. We had a yard sale which made about $80. And we crowd funded…hard. I blasted every bit of social media I had to raise money. Friends, family, and strangers all donated to our cause. We are so grateful for all the kindness, and there is no way I can express how thankful I am. If it wasn’t for everyone pitching in, we wouldn’t have made it. Thank you.

I do want to mention a hiccup we had at Chris’ pre-op appointment. We gave the upfront cost of $450 to Dr. Emerson’s office, and then headed over to the hospital where he would be having the surgery. We didn’t know prior to that he would be having a pre-op appointment there as well. Luckily, the hospital was across the street from Emerson’s office. We got there and did the paperwork, but there was a small matter of about $2,700 that they wanted before the surgery happened. We expressed that wouldn’t be possible. The lady doing the paper work was surprised and asked us if anyone called us prior to our visit. The only person to call us was a representative getting Chris’ basic information nothing about payment.

She called her boss to ask what she should do. Both of them saw in Chris’ records that no one contacted us about payment arrangement, so she documented that heavily and said someone would be in touch to work this out. We were freaked. I called the billing department the next day to get this handled sooner rather than later. I got in contact with a very nice woman who soothed my concerns pretty quickly. She explained that the cost would be total expenses, including what we’ve paid the doctor and what the insurance paid. This was not the amount we had to pay in full. She advised that once all was said and done, I could call her back and make arrangements for anything else that needed to be paid. She calculated that roughly we would need to pay $800 to the hospital. I nearly cried. We had expected this situation to put a complete stop to Chris’ surgery. We were able to proceed with his top surgery of which he had completed on November 20th.

I recognize how privileged we were to be able to achieve this mile stone in my husband’s life. I wanted to share how we got here so that others could get an idea of options. Feel free to contact us at the email below or on any of our social media. I plan to have my surgery next year, and since my husband went first, we have a better idea of what to expect with me.

Thank you again,

Alexander M. Burchnell

queerchristianfamilyvalues@gmail.com

Mile Stone

December 4, 2018

Dear Reader,

It has been some time since I last wrote but so much has happened I don’t know where to start. If you connect with me on other social media then you know that my husband (Chris) had top-surgery on November 20th. A cool fact is that it happened on Transgender Day of Rememberance.

He is healing fantastically which was something we were worried about. When his surgeon revealed his chest for the first time his right side looked like it may have a hematoma. Luckily, he simply had swelling and some hardcore bruising. We have been putting antibiotic ointment on his incision lines and most importantly his nipples. He is two weeks post-op and we couldn’t be happier.

I want to sit down and explain step by step how we found his doctor, insurance process, and how we paid for his surgery. I will try to do that in my next post if that interests you. But until next time have a good week!

-Alexander M. Burchnell

We are finally here…

October 10, 2018

Dear Reader,

We are finally meeting goal for Chris’ top surgery. I can’t believe it. Last year if you asked either of us if we would ever get here we would have said maybe in a few years. We were struggling financially, mentally, and emaotionally. We didn’t know if it would ever happen for him…for us. You see, this surgery isn’t just about my husband feeling better in his own skin but in a way it’s about me gaining my husband fully and completely. Don’t get me wrong, if he never had surgery I would still love him with every fiber of my being. What I am saying that my husband can finally LIVE! He can be the man that is inside himself. He can do activities out and about without the need to cover up under a baggy hoody causing heat stroke. This will open up so many doors for him to explore. I can’t wait to see his growth. Thank you for reading this and sharing in our joy. My last note to you dear reader…we are still taking donations for his surgery. Yes, we are almost at his surgery goal but we still have pre opp appointments and post surgery bills. Here is the link to our PayPal: https://www.paypal.me/qcfv

Thank you,

-Alexander M. Burchnell

Still Being Misgendered

rant time

September 28, 2018

Dear Reader,

I need to vent. Usually I reserve that for videos on my Instagram page but I wanted to put this in writing. Generally, I don’t get misgendered. I have facial hair, a deep voice, and I bind. I have been back on hormones for a year and a half. I could understand getting misgendered before that because I had to go off T for 3 years due to financial struggles/losing insurance. I lost all my body/facial hair, my voice stalled out, and my body started softening again. I get that I got ma’amed sometimes during that period but now?

Ok, I probably need to explain where this is coming from. There is this girl at my work who is really nice and we get along really well but for some reason she calls me “she”. She corrects herself when I jokingly call her out on it. I don’t want to show my offense to it because I’m stealth and I don’t have a problem with women. I told her I was raised primarily by women so I am not upset she accidentally calls me one. She laughed it off as well. But I thought by me doing it that way she would adjust. But it keeps happening. I don’t know why I let it bother me. Maybe its my OCD that makes me dwell on it? It makes me question whether I look like a man or not. It causes my dysphoria to climb around inside my head.

Another thought, she knows I am married to a man so maybe she is trying to adapt to the gay “sister” culture? Maybe she thinks that all gay men call each other “she”? I feel like that might be grasping at straws. Why do I have to let this get to me? She actually said “she” in front of our boss and he looked confused. So I guess she might be the only one with this issue? Sigh. I realize this will pass. It has just been bothering me since yesterday. Life is good right now but my brain is wired to always obsess negatively on something. I guess she is “IT” right now.

Thanks for letting me vent.

-Alexander M. Burchnell