faithfulimage: A photograph of a button displaying a symbol of queer women—namely, an inverted black triangle. (Default)
I have ended my hunger strike. Last night I started having difficulties apparently as the result of having my electrolytes out of wack. As the one health risk I was trying to avoid was electrolyte imbalance, I decided it was time to eat again.

This is not how I was hoping my strike would end, but I am not despairing. While it is true that my strike has not led the Chicago Dyke March Collective (CDMC) to make any policy changes, I have had a few small victories. For one thing CDMC finally got in touch with me. Granted, its response left a lot to desire: The collective failed to so much as acknowledge that its actions have been in any way sexist or misogynistic or that I have and need boundaries. However, CDMC did admit that it had once again disregarded my privacy, which is more than it had done over the previous three months.

It is also encouraging to see some of the community discussion that has come about as a result of my open letter. This is the first time many of the participants have talked about Shame Weekend or the surrounding incidents. What’s more, some of the participants have been people who do not readily identify as activists.

I am grateful for all the people who have supported me or expressed concern for me. This includes anyone who e-mailed me to say, “Don't fast.” I was putting people into a situation in which two principles—“Respect the autonomy of the oppressed” and “Preserve health”—came into conflict. I strongly believe that the former principle trumps the latter, but I know that the people who were acting in accordance with the second principle did so, because they cared about me. I am also thankful for the people who have supported my cause, understanding that the past two and a half years have been hell for me, and have written to CDMC or eaten with me at the last meal before my strike.

When I began my fast, I felt sorrow in part because I felt that there were few other people in Chicago who cared about all that has happened. I see now that this is not true, and this gives me hope that one day CDMC will be held accountable for its actions.
faithfulimage: A photograph of a button displaying a symbol of queer women—namely, an inverted black triangle. (Default)
One day before I begin my fast.

When I started doing research on fasting, I ran into a problem: There did not seem to be any information on how trans women can fast in a healthy manner while on hormone therapy. While the primary purpose of blogging about my fast is to attract attention to my cause, I hope that I can also contribute words that will be of use to other trans women who are considering fasting. Of course this does not mean that anything I write should be taken as medical advice. Indeed, depending on the outcome, what I write here may end up being a cautionary tale.

So how does hormone therapy raise concerns? My regimen currently consists of taking 4 mg of estradiol and 100 mg of spironolactone per day. As far as I know, the estradiol will not present any significant problems. (I will be taking it sublingually, which should reduce the risk of stomach upset.) Spironolactone, on the other hand, has been known to cause electrolyte imbalances. In particular it increases the risk of hyperkalemia (i.e., too much potassium) and hyponatremia (i.e., too little sodium). It also seems worth mentioning that when I first started taking spironolactone, I experienced muscle pain and stiffness. After talking to other trans folks I started taking calcium supplements, which seem to counter this side effect.

Taking all this into consideration, I have decided that in addition to tap water I will drink Glacéau Smartwater, which contains potassium, calcium, and magnesium compounds. (I was hesitant to ingest potassium compounds while fasting, but after talking to a nurse practitioner I have decided that I should be fine, so long as I drink plenty of water throughout the rest of the day to flush excess potassium out of my system.) If I find that Smartwater does not provide me with enough calcium, I will take Caltrate Gummy Bites. (A friend advised me to take chewable supplements to prevent upset stomach.) In addition to calcium one serving of the Gummy Bites contains 50% of the RDA of Vitamin D3; less than 50% of the RDA of phosphorus, carbohydrates, and sodium; and 35 calories. I will also supplement small amounts of iodized salt, as needed.

Is this cheating? Well, if I were fasting for religious reasons, it might be. My fast, however, is a hunger strike; I believe I will be denying myself enough to have the desired effect. According to the web sites I have found a “female” my age should get 1100–1800 calories per day. I will be getting less than 4% of this, and the question remains whether I, being male-assigned at birth, should be taking the higher amounts recommended for “males”. I will be getting 0% of the RDA of most vitamins and minerals. If a purist refuses to call this a fast, that is fine, but it is no mere diet.

Profile

faithfulimage: A photograph of a button displaying a symbol of queer women—namely, an inverted black triangle. (Default)
Veronika Boundless

Donations

If you like an article you have read here, please consider donating. Many thanks to my trusted friend Bing who is accepting donations on my behalf.

If you like an article you have read here, please consider donating.

Like Faithful Image on Facebook

November 2011

S M T W T F S
  123 4 5
6 78 9101112
131415 16171819
202122 23 242526
27282930   

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated 2017-07-23 12:46 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios