I am transitioning, but I am confined to one locker room as there is not a family locker room at my gym, thus I change in my car.
The gym is my home. You can often find me there between lunch and mid-afternoon hours unless it's the weekend then I tend to go later due to the elderly weightlifting club. You think I am kidding? But when you live in a small city such as mine, you would think there is an elderly weightlifting club as they all move in a pack. Don't get me wrong, I love the elderly, but honestly, the early morning workouts just aren't my thing; I like my sleep so it works out..no pun intended.
I was a Fitness Supervisor for two years at UNC Charlotte. I was not used to touring gyms or even going to the gym before I began college because I played sports year-round and that was a work out enough. Too, I didn't have to pay for a gym membership (or that is what the University wants you to think since its secretly added to the tuition costs). Thus, I have never toured gyms or had the option to choose one until I moved home after college. Since moving home, I found a gym that was on the cheaper end as I was still jobless at the time and it was on the closer end to my house. Lastly, there aren't many gym options as I live on the outskirts of a rather decent sized city and my gas mileage is down the trash chute (2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee problems).
Before starting testosterone, I did not have much underarm hair, nor facial hair, and I had the body of a twig. Thus, I went into the female locker room without much problem as far as other individuals go. Since starting testosterone, I have noticed notable physical changes such as my very slight facial hair that I get way too excited about when I am all but an inch from the mirror looking at, greater underarm hair and leg hair, and the KT strips I use for my chest. Due to these changes, I feel uncomfortable changing in the female locker room. Not that I didn't before, but now I feel completely awkward headed into that locker room. Yes, there are stalls that I can change in, but I am finally looking at the person in the mirror for who I am, and I'm excited about it. So, why should I hide this person?
After several slow, drawn-out walks into the female locker room with my head down by passing any female in sight, I decided to start changing in my car. It does help that I work somewhere where I can wear athletic apparel, but I do not always want to wear the same shorts or shirt before working out. If you work out, you know the athletic apparel "look" opposed to the athletic apparel "feel" and some shirts or shorts are just better for working out. Thus, I change in my car because I do not feel comfortable going into either female or male locker room.
Although I do wish I could go into the male locker room, I do not have the chest that most males have, and I wear KT tape across my chest as a form of binding. Thus, taking my shirt off and showing two pieces of tape across my boobs makes me happy because my chest is held more in place opposed to using a bra because the idea, look, and feel of a bra makes me rather dysphoric. However, I am unsure the reaction by others as KT tape is not known to many individuals as a form of binding. One could say I am prejudging or assuming the worst but legally, I am not allowed to go into the male restroom or the male locker room due to the controversy of HB2. So, I am left in limbo and limbo meaning my car because that has become my changing room. All I hope is I don't have to use the restroom while working out because then I do take that long walk with my head down through the female locker room.
While I have yet to talk to the gym staff about my concerns regarding the locker rooms, I do plan to before the end of the year. It makes me happy to go to the gym and I do know I can confide in some of the gym staff that I see on a regular because they know me by name..at least my biological name. However, one staff member has greeted me by my biological name countless times until this past week when I introduced myself to her as Ian. She still smiled at me, looked at me as a human that I am, and reached out her arm to shake my hand. I asked to change my name in their computer system and without any hesitation, she changed my name and said, "I will now call you Ian". I have never been so grateful to be accepted, talked to, and seen still as a person. Now, when I swipe in Ian opposed to Erin will be "welcomed" by the automatic system response and by the staff members that have gotten to know me by my gym routines.