Excuse me if I’m all over the place in this post–I’m still suffering from post-GRE brain fatigue! I took them earlier today, and killed it, but was focusing on the big event of the week. (Drumroll please!)…
Tomorrow, or well, today, I will depart Phoenix to travel around Southern Arizona, sharing my story and the story of others with one goal in mind…Equality. The equality walkers will walk 99 miles in 110+ degree heat. Last year, blogging was essential in processing the events and feelings I had throughout the walk, and I plan on doing the same thing this year.
As some of you may or may not know, this year will be a little different for me. I am not just walking as an openly gay activist, but an openly gay man. I took my first shot of testosterone on May 9th, 2011, and haven’t looked back. The transitioning process has been simply amazing, and I’ve learned more about life in the past few months than I ever could have imagined. Even small things are new experiences–learning the social “rules” of a mens bathroom, learning how to shave, dealing with “puberty” and my voice cracking at 22. Living life in both genders has taught me so much about our culture and the role that gender plays in everything we do.
The walk also feels a little different, and is a little more anxiety provoking, due to changes in my medical needs in the past year. Moving to Arizona did wonders for helping manage some of the joint-pain associated with my Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome; however, my allergies skyrocketed since I moved here. I’ve always been an allergic person, but in the past year I’ve been diagnosed with both solar urticaria (yes, an allergy to the sun) and over a dozen food allergies (wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, coconut, mussels, clams, crab, oysters, scallops, lemon, strawberries, watermelon, peaches, celery, carrots, green beans, green peas, and chamomile). These issues present unique challenges, both in remaining nutritionally healthy while eating on the go and remaining prepared for allergic emergencies while in strange environments. I’ve come up with a solid plan, stocked up on staples at The Gluten Free Country Store, and will most definitely be wearing my EpiPouch on me at all times. At home, I have the luxury of knowing that my partner is versed in Epi-pen administration and could use it in an emergency. This is not always the case when I am traveling, and I was anxious about it for a few weeks, until I decided to reach out and ask for help. I’d like to thank my fellow Awesome Friend/Equality Walker/GradOUT Co-Director Emily McLinden for so kindly helping me out and learning how to inject both my hormones and Epipen, so that I can stay safe and have peace of mind while on the walk.
So here’s to my second Right to Marry “Walk” (it’s more like a pilgrimage, if you ask me). Out of everything, I’m most excited to hear the stories and pull inspiration from my fellow Equality Walkers. The group has grown this year, and I’m sure, just as last year, each and every one of them will be incredibly special.
And of course, the walk is always special because I’m walking for the right to marry my fiancee, the wonderful Tray. My partner has also recently started transitioning, and I am oh so excited to be a part of her journey. I will return from the walk on the 14th, and on the 16th, we’ll celebrate our anniversary; it has been one year since we were engaged. I’d like to thank Tray for all of her love and support. As I said, two days after I return, we will celebrate our anniversary, and just two days after that, I will begin the final year of my Masters program. While this is exciting, it means I’ll be spending the last weekend of my summer, and the one I would usually spend celebrating my anniversary, traversing Southern Arizona and sharing my (well, our) story. Thank you for everything, Tray. I wouldn’t be able to do it without you–I love you, my baby bear.
Follow me on here for updates every day or so. I’ll also be tweeting, so you can follow me on Twitter (@LetitBAlex).