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Showing posts from November, 2012

telecon with Helene...

Helene called me back today after receiving my message regarding my not pursuing the therapy. She wanted to understand my reasoning which I was only too happy to explain. After I had gone through the same series of points I outlined in my previous post, she understood and agreed with my logic. Interestingly near the end of our discussion, she described me as being gender variant which is a description I use in my blog title but never really took overly to heart. Perhaps it’s a good fit because I am not so disphoric that I need modify my body but just female enough for that side to require a substantial outlet. However, I don’t need to define myself to such a degree in order to be satisfied.

She reminded me about the lawyer Micheline Montreuil who lives as a woman but has never undergone surgery or even taken hormones. I suppose that would be more of a role model for a person like myself.

Change of strategy

I have been reflecting about the prospect of entering therapy and last night I made a conscious decision to forego it. It was based on the following thinking:

• I don’t need to have SRS or even take hormones
• I can live as a female without doing either.
• I want to continue to provide a male role model for my son.
• My disphoria is not debilitating enough to propel me to change anything.

Plus what would the therapy do for me at this point? Probably not that much with the additional challenge of sitting in group sessions with aspiring transitioners who might tempt me to do something I would later regret.

The rethinking was also prompted by a meeting I had a couple of nights ago with Ana Alva, who is a transsexual woman barely over 30 years of age. She works at a trans drop in center run by the government and helps others in their struggles. She actually had some reservations about the program run by the hospital and during our conversation I began to realize she might be right. Leavin…

first therapy session

Yesterday's meeting with Helene (my new therapist) went well. I find her kind and inviting. She was also, not unexpectedly, well versed in the latest literature on the subject of AGP, GID et al. and is more up to speed on the latest thinking. She actually told me that Ray Blanchard has progressed in his ideas since his early 90's writings - something which surprised me. She also (quite rightly) told me she was not there to decide anything or convince me of anything and that I should not trust her until she has earned that trust. She was also shocked that I had progressed to where I was with little to no help. Helene thought I had been on hormones for years but I quickly dispelled that while taking it as a distinct compliment.

So I am there for group and individual therapy and that's all; I know I need to clear up my thoughts and to do that I need help so that's good.

By now I feel that my crossdressing is a symptom of a desire to be feminine and, as jingles commented r…

the way forward....

Today I meet the gender therapist and, depending on how the discussion proceeds, I may embark on a 2 year journey to find gender congruence. There is a cost for this because while Quebec pays for surgery, the treatments preceeding SRS are not covered by the health system.

However, my aim is to come to a point where the disphoria is more manageable. That could imply living full time with limited hormone usage and no need not proceed any further. I am hoping this is a worst case scenario so that I can continue to play a male role in the life of my son who incidentally is having strabismus surgery this coming Friday to correct a slight misalignment of his eyes.
He is my primary concern in my gender struggles. He is sensitive and has already displayed discomfort at the idea of my crossdressing. I had not intended to divulge anything at this stage in his life, but my well meaning ex-gf urged me into candor in front of both my children. In some ways I dont regret their exposure to this issu…

something that needs addressing

Let's be clear. I have never been a fetish transvestite. The reason I think this is because the innocent crossdressing of my early youth was so completely devoid of any sexual overtones. It was only as I got older and it came unannounced that I became horrified and disgusted. There begins the cycle of embracing and purging that so many of us are familiar with. Other people just like me have transitioned or at least lived full time: Virginia Prince. Anne Lawrence, Susannah Valenti and others who may not have fit the mold of the classic TS model.

Maybe I should just be satisfied with this scenario and deal with it as I must since I think given my age and my life situation, it would be best to leave my body alone.

What is left now is to get just the right amount of professional help to aid me in my own thought process towards a measure of mental peace around this issue. To be happy somewhere between the closeted crossdresser and the transexual.

I am indebted to the treatment I under…

the tipping point

What is the tipping point? What is the trigger that tells the trans person: that's it i'm a woman and it's time to do something about it. We have all known people who lean heavily towards the opposite gender both in mannerism and affinity of thought and yet they have neither the forethought nor the inclination to tamper with their bodies. Must there not be something in the trans brain that is unique; something in the wiring? Because in the end no human being is exclusively male or female but a mixture of both. Therefore it is possible there is some faulty wiring in the brains of people like myself. Whatever it is, it does not let us rest until we've dealt with it. We crossdream, crossdress and we have SRS in an attempt to deal with this disconnect.

Has nature made a mistake? After all we are born either genetically male or female (i am discounting intersex). I was also born with a combination brain of male and female so why should not that be good enough?

I have pro…

confiding in my mother

I had a conversation with my mother today over the phone. I had called her last night and left a message so she was calling me back. We spoke for a few minutes about my kids and my ex-wife and then the focus turned to me and how I was doing. I confided that i've been struggling and that I needed to see my doctor about my disphoria.

She really does get it now my mother. After the initial shock of 4 years ago wore off, she started to see that this is a deep and complicated issue. She's also seen enough Dr. Phil shows et al. to get a sense of how families struggle with this unwelcome gift. How sometimes the stories turn sour and in others everything works. Mike Penner became Christine Daniels only to revert back and then commit suicide. Lots of ugly stories like that one. Sad also because they could be prevented with the right amount of social education and putting the right systems in place to allow more seamless transitions in the workplace.

So as we talked and I mentioned the …

got disphoria??

I read the following on a gender disphoria board discussion and it freaked me out ever so slightly:

"I figured out my GID around 44. Before then, I just knew that I was "different" in some way, I did'nt fit in with a lot of people, and I was'nt like most men. After 44, I was able to finally put a label on it - GID. Since then, I have experienced the ebb and flow of GID. Some days it's not even on the radar, some days it's almost overwhelning. I identify as androgyne, but I've also allowed for the possibilty that my GID may come to a point where I have to do something about it. Even though I've dipped my toe in the estrogen pool, for now I can quench my GID with crossdressing"

Except for the estrogen reference, this is me exactly! even right down to the age. I am increasingly certain now that I do suffer from GID and from everything I have read it's only going to get worse with age. I need to address it post haste. My doctor has already …

hell bent on self destruction....

Perhaps some of my posts talk about my female persona in a way that might give the impression that I am putting on an act when I'm being Joanna. In fact quite the opposite is true in that I am being myself in the purest sense by lifting the mask that I've learned to wear over my lifetime. I become less inhibited and open up to people more and feel a true sense of freedom. I'm not being an actor in a play but simply letting my inner femininity shine through. It's been very liberating to do that.

On the other hand there's something not right. I can't put my finger on it yet but this is all too compulsive. So I'm either a woman in denial or a compulsive crossdresser. Either one of those choices suck because I want to be neither. I want not to need to crossdress. But I've tried everything and living alone and giving myself permission to dress has created a monster. Women don't need to crossdress, they just get dressed.

And meanwhile I'm stuck in a T…

my public identity as Joanna

Irrespective of my internal turmoil, I am relishing the public persona that is Joanna. The merchants and friends who only know me as a woman are helping me to bring validity to my female side. This morning as I arrived at the cathedral for the 8 am mass I was greeted by a lady who stands outside asking for some help. She has seen me elsewhere but now knows and expects that I will be there on certain Sundays. She sees me coming and calls out my name. We have a little chat and I give her some change from my purse. She's just one of the people who don't know there's a male underneath the clothes and makeup.

Then after the service I go to a little Starbucks closely where the barista asks me about my kids and my husband. She's very pleasant and I appreciate the banter realizing how different it is between two women.

I don't ever want to take that for granted. Today I prayed that I will find some peace and balance, for the my father whose been gone for many years and f…

beyond dressing up

There was a time when my dressing up was just about that; ie. going through the exercise of putting together a presentation so that I could go about my business undetected and unread. But with the purge that followed there was no afterword, no attempt to figure out where it was all stemming from. What's been revealing about this period is that in allowing myself to dress I can move past the mechanics of the clothes and makeup and into the feelings that impel me to present as a female. It is a movement away from the surface and into deeper exploration.

After all, our psyche has a lot to say to us if we listen. The problem lies in moving past the static of our upbringing, prejudices and programming and examine the pure thought underneath. Not an easy task because a lot of elements are virtually hardwired at this point. Like a painter removing old layers of paint we can begin to lift off layer by layer all of this baggage.

This has been for me the biggest challenge and the reason why…

the battle rages

There's a battle raging for control of my gender identity. I am increasingly feeling like a woman and may come to that conclusion. That need not change my plan of attack since for me it's more about what's between the ears than the plumbing between your legs. I can live my life honestly as a female without surgery. I no longer care about what a potential life partner might think as it is my life. As I have said, there will be no search so why worry about it? Best to be true to myself and come to a happy equilibrium.

There is one thing though that makes me curious. Might the blocking or elimination of testosterone in my body make me feel more like the person I was meant to be. It's not about breasts either, it's about feeling grounded and content and in congruency between mind and body.

dinner with the crossdresser and his wife

I am not in the habit of meeting a lot of trans people in person. My history with such encounters has been mixed but since this is someone I had corresponded with (albeit sparingly) over the last 6 years or so I decided to accept an invitation to dinner. I had met this couple once before accidentally in a dress shop last summer when I was still with my gf and we made loose plans to meet up at some point in the future. Last night was to be the culmination of a few weeks worth of planning.

I met them at their hotel and we walked over to our restaurant which was within walking distance - a very modern looking continental tapas bistro.

The conversation flowed and as we compared notes on our experiences and the childhood origins of our crossdressing, I began to realize just how different we are. If there is a spectrum to the transgender world then she is near the beginning whereas I seem to be somewhere between crossdresser and transsexual. She was more drag shows and clubs and I was June…

more work to do

I was on a crossdresser board this morning and read the following passage in response to a query about managing and controling crossdressing desires:

"the only way to control is to make it a conscious choice instead of letting it remain a compulsion. To do that you need to get in touch with yourself and your feelings and not be ashamed or afraid of them. Once that happens you control the reins of the process"

I think there's a lot of truth in that statement even if does not offer a perfect solution. I suspect that I may not really be as accepting of myself as I think I am. My worry about a mythical future partner being critical of who I am instead of embracing all of me - crossdressing included - is clouding my thought process. Until I can rid myself of all vestiges of my shame, I won't be truly free and able to become perfectly whole. I have come so far that I sometimes lull myself into thinking that I have arrived at my target when clearly I have'nt quite gott…

all about the tone

Readers of my blog will undoubtedly note that I am in a period of questioning and flux. Therefore the tone can be rather negative a lot of the time. I don't mean for this to be the case but I am hard pressed to find positives at times to the self acceptance that I'm trying to adhere to. Each step forward brings a new series of questions and trepidation about what to do next. It's like tiptoeiing through a minefield and hoping that you still have all your limbs on the other side. How far does one take this and what should be your limit.

Today I found myself staring at a woman in human resources. Her name is Therese and she's quite striking. But then a feeling of hopelessness went through me when I thought the better of what I was thinking. It was an exercise in futility knowing full well the uphill battle I would be facing were I to enter into anything resembling a relationship. So the desire must be stripped away completely and be quenched with something else. Because …

scratch that previous post...

Sometimes this situation has me thinking stupid. I'm messed up and tend to get ahead of myself. There will be no living full time as Joanna. What WILL happen is just the right amount of crossdressing which keeps me from jumping off a building. I've got an illness and I need to treat it as such. Fantasy scenarios happen when you don't have your head screwed on right. What I'd give to be normal and get rid of this infernal bullshit problem.

Sometimes I wish I could go back to the days when I didn't accept myself and could hold my breath and not cave in. Thank God I've got something bigger than myself to worry about. Without my kids I'd really be in a pickle.

revealing year coming...??

I feel (rightly or wrongly) that the following year will be pivotal for me in putting everything in perspective. Already only 4 months on my own has taught me a lot about myself and how my trans nature fits into the grand scheme. Hormones and certainly surgery appear to be off the table, however my living full time as Joanna could (and that's a big could) have me working as Joanna. The advantage being that I can still be a dad to my kids but also be true to the woman I am.

I would have to be certain and do my homework way in advance but it could be feasible. After all people at work need not know how far I would go in the process but merely respect that I'm transgender. I would have a private consult with HR and gauge the company's receptiveness. I do work for a very professional firm that values my experience but I would take nothing for granted. I would need a very clear green signal that all would be fine.
Alternatively, I could approach a new firm with the express idea…

guilt as cancer

When I think about all the years I spent feeling bad about myself I get depressed. The simple fact of following my nature and dressing up as a woman became this huge deal. There's no doubt in my mind now that guilt is one of the most insidious killers of the spirit. The negative feelings that threaten to drown your sense of well being are like a shroud to your sense of well being and happiness. I am only now beginning to remove that veil of negativity.

What an incredible waste of energy.

don't search. just be happy...

I used to search for love and understanding. To my own detriment,I never really received what I needed because I never offered the entire truth to anyone. I am entirely to blame for this because I now know that my parents would have been receptive if not a little bewildered by a son who should have been born their daughter.

Years later I was not forthcoming with my wife either. Not her fault if she did not have all the information. The fact she divorced me over this is par for the course for many of us, but other issues were present that would have tipped the scale regardless.

My recent 3 year stint with my gf also proved to me just how complicated things can get even before one adds the trans issue to the mix.

So I sit here today with a better understanding of myself and of how the world works. Not only am I more sure of what I don't want but also painfully aware of what many genetic women don't want - it's safe to say most would not choose a gender confused male. To make…

sometimes it's heart wrenching

I sometimes go to a blog called calie's chronicles written by a MTF who though clearly transsexual has opted not to transition due to family and career concerns. It's often a tough read and I greatly admire Calie's resolve in her attempts to deal with the sometimes very severe disphoria she experiences. I was struck by a recent post of her's in which she decried the gang mentality of some members of the trans community. She outlined the following 4 axioms that some of these members adhere to:

1) there is no link between crossdressers and transsexuals
2) all crossdressers are perverts
3) if you don't transition early you're not a true transsexual
4) late transitioners are men without penises or testicles

These axioms are not espoused by calie (nor by yours truly) and it's facile to categorize all trans people into set categories for the sake of branding. I also greatly admire her altruism as it is clearly he'll for her not to have succumbed to the tempta…

of crossdreamers and crossdressers

We are cousins; we belong under the same transgender umbrella. Although if my understanding is correct most crossdressers crossdream while few people labelling themselves crossdreamers seem to crossdress. The common thread being that our masturbation centers around self visualization as women.

I cannot imagine myself not crossdressing because it is my outlet for the internal feelings I have. Without it I would be truly frustrated and lost. So I can scarcely imagine how crossdreamers who don't dress up manage their feelings of attachment to the feminine. This is not meant as a critical statement but just an observation. The mind searches to connect to something that it aspires to even if that desire is unattainable and fleeting.

For me this has been the clothing, the shoes and the makeup. This has been my escape valve and giving it up at this point (much as I might want) appears to be wishful thinking. I have found it more therapeutic to accept and practice it in order to make life…

my aunt's visit

My mother's sister is visiting from Europe. I had not seen her for well over a decade and having her here for 15 days has been great. She reminds me of a calmer version of my mother. Back when I came out to my family I sent her an email explaining things and she was very matter of factly about it all. It did not faze her in the least. I was always very appreciative of that and it made me admire her all the more.

So when she, my mother and I were having coffee today, the topic of being transgender came up. I was able to discuss things openly and honestly in a way I never imagined I'd ever be able to do. In my discourse with my aunt, my mother was also able to learn new things about my being trans and get a new perspective by watching me explain the details of my childhood to another person. My mother understands more than ever that it was a difficult thing to keep hidden but that I also held no blame for my parents as I myself chose to keep silent for fear of their judgement. A…

learning process

Going from the occasional crossdresser I used to be to 'woman in training'(?) has been very illuminating and interacting with other women by being taken into their social circle has been extremely helpful; not only because I am feeling welcomed but also because I am being offered an up close glimpse into the relationships that women form with each other. Even something as simple as an interaction at a store cash is radically different between 3 women than between the same number of males. That privilege has been very affirming and also allowed me to see just how comfortable I am as Joanna.

My last jaunt through a mall I regularly visit had me exchanging dialogue with other women merchants in a way I had never experienced as a male; and I must admit that I like it and value the lessons it's teaching me about myself and others. That coming out of my shell as Joanna has given me a boost of confidence which is spilling over into all facets of my life. Even in my male mode at …

of androgyny and courage....

Yesterday I followed a link that Stana over at femulate put on her latest posting. It led to a radio interview with an androgynous model named Van Burnham who tried to transition back in 2009. Although she appears much more female than male (likely the combination of her genetics and any hormones she may have taken) she talks about belonging to neither gender and is clearly comfortable existing in a netherworld between both. She passes for a woman in a heartbeat and (in my humble opinion) would have trouble passing for a man.

What I like about the interview and my brief viewing of a couple of her YouTube videos is how much herself she is. I think this is so critical for a gender non conforming person since the world can and will make your existence difficult at some point. Being this young and so much your own individual is exemplary and I for one admire her for that.

I wish I had been as self assured at her age and more able to understand and accept my own gender variance. I am not s…

Obama wins

I'm not going to try and insult any of my American sisters of the republican persuasion but I'm pretty glad that president Obama is getting a chance to finish the work he started. It's obviously a very divided electorate between the rural red and the urban blue and the gap seems to be widening. The democrats are at least more embracing of social change and acceptance of diversity. Let's hope there are more advances for the transgender community but also a coming together of the two factions. White rural America is getting smaller and they need to get with the program.

An unfortunate problem for this president is that in 2012 there are still people out there who still have trouble with an African american in the white house.Scary stuff from where I sit in this day and age.

becoming whole

I am realizing more and more what I need to do now: which is to find a true balance and become a truly whole person. For many decades I was not able to feel whole due to a denial of the female side of my nature. Keeping that side at bay took enormous effort and led to deep dissatisfaction. The more I tried and failed, the more guilt and shame I felt over being weak and powerless. The part of me I now call Joanna, was to be destroyed and denied any existence because she represented an abomination. She was keeping me from leading life as a normal male. The gender therapy and reflection that ensued allowed me to come to a better understanding of myself and to achieve a higher degree of self acceptance.

Now, in spite of embracing my nature, I am increasingly aware that there may be a limit to that acceptance; that being my coming to the slow and deliberate conclusion that I may not be a true transsexual. I don't have body disphoria, don't hate my genitals and can function as a mal…

being ME

Funny when I think back to 20 years ago: a time when I was nowhere near admitting that I was transgendered. I kept it buried deep in the recesses of my mind, holding back on the crossdressing for months at a time only to have it return with a vengeance. Eventually the pressure would build and I would be compelled to indulge it, feeling terrible afterwards and then throw the clothes in the trash. That cycle is something a lot of trans people are very familiar with. I now realize that this was my way of dealing with the repressed feelings I had. Since they had to go somewhere they were channelled into the equivalence of a couple of weeks worth of crossdressing per year. It was all very tame as I would go out to public places and enjoy the feeling of being an imaginary woman for a few brief hours.

Yesterday I reflected on this as I spent an entire day as Joanna. I went to a few shops, tried on a few things as I interacted with sales ladies and spoke to coffee merchants as if it were the…

realizing you're really a woman

The book that quiet voice pointed me to has been nagging at me over one issue in particular. Aside from it's harsh tone the writer subscribes to a bulldozer "my bell has wrung therefore I must transition" mantra. She also insists that women are born and not made (which I don't necessarily agree with) but if you have lived your entire life to date as a male, have a spouse, kids and a career it's not that obvious. Do you proceed exclusively on the basis that you are a TRUE woman?

I admit I have a problem with that. How about the idea of thinking of others before yourself? A few posts back I wrote about the website of an early transitioner who thought that late transitioners were basically men in dresses and how once you had a family you were being selfish by expecting the world to stop revolving and accept you as a woman. I am not sure about the men in dresses bit, but I do agree with her about the second part. So if the writer's litmus test for really being a …

the doldrums are subsiding

It's been 4 months now that I've been on my own and I am finally starting to feel normal again. The breakup was difficult and I was even doubting whether I had made a mistake by not trying to get her back. I texted her recently to see if there could not be some potential continuation without living together but during the exchange of texts I realized we'd be going back to where we left off; ie. a bad situation. Plus I need to get to know myself and in order to do that I need alone time. My kids, friends and job will fill any void I might feel. I needn't worry about that. Example:I was treated to dinner on Friday night by my ex wife and kids and then last night by a long time work colleague and friend so a very pleasant way to celebrate turning 50.

So in finally starting to feel really positive about life again I will try and indulge in less melancholic thoughts. My transgender nature is always going to be there so her and I just need to be better bedfellows. Instead of…

those subtle changes

Years and years ago when I first took my first tentative steps into the world dressed as a woman I was painfully self aware but also fascinated by what I was able to accomplish. I was actually out there dressed as my own feminine ideal - wow!! But then slowly but surely it began to morph almost imperceptibly into just feeling normal. It has been continuously doing this without fail since the beginning except that over the last few years it has gone into exponential mode. The changes have been markedly noticeable.

I know this is tied in part to self acceptance and maturing but also by my repeated forays into the world and reflecting on why I need to present as a woman. Slowly the puzzle is unraveling I feel and it is telling me that perhaps being a woman is MY normal. And while that titillating excitement is now gone it is being replaced with incredible, peace, comfort and sense of rightness that I'm having trouble ignoring. I will now be moving to the next phase of testing the no…

birthday girl

Well it's my B day and I must say in spite of the confusion in this little head of mine I feel pretty darn good. I will be going to dinner and my ex tonight; something that has not happened since we got divorced. I think it will he good for my kids and good for our future cooperation as parents to our 2 great kids.

playing house

Quiet Voice made me me think of something when she responded to some of my posts. She made me feel like this is a game and I'm playing house the way little girls do; only I'm playing woman. She makes a valid point in that if I am not a woman then I am trans and I should just learn to make that work for me and celebrate it.

And this indeed could be the end of the discussion for me except that something still feels wrong. I'm too advanced where I am now and yet falling short of being a woman. I am indeed in no man's land. This is leading to dissatisfaction in the sense that 'playing house' is not a workable solution. It's playing pretend every night and in the long run will likely drive me insane.

And yet I am not going to go for transition mostly because I'm scared. I have read chapters 2 and 3 of the book she referred me to and I did find one thing that irked me: it's intransigent tone. Mind the barricades because I'm storming through because I …