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Showing posts from April, 2013

Foreword to Anne Lawrence's new book by Ray Blanchard

I include the opening remarks to Anne's new book without commentary:

"One day, around 1987 or 1988, I spent the afternoon in a reference room of the Robarts
Library of the University of Toronto. I was trying to find a word—or failing that, to
invent one—to denote a phenomenon I had gradually apprehended during clinical
interviews with many biologically male patients interested in sex reassignment surgery.
That phenomenon was the tendency of certain males to become erotically aroused by
the thought or image of themselves as females. The word I finally invented, after fruitless
searching through various kinds of dictionaries, was autogynephilia . I could
scarcely have imagined, on that long-ago day in that quiet room, that I would be writing
the Foreword to a complete book on the subject 25 years later.

My early writings on autogynephilia were published in specialty journals with
limited circulations. They were intended for a small readership of clinicians who
specialized in th…

Why suffer?

Why suffer? Indeed that is a good point and I think I have addressed it in many of my blog posts.

Firstly, to address AQV’s comment, a 3 year old cannot be a paraphilic so this is one of the main reasons I absolutely refuse to buy into the autogynephilia arguments that Blanchard and Lawrence use to explain late transitioning non homosexual transsexuals. I, as a very young child, had a connection to something which was innate and natural to me and it won’t be cheapened with sexual arguments of paraphilias and target error. That’s a blind alley which does not compute with me at all and never will. Whatever the source of my gender confusion, it is not grounded in abnormal sexuality akin to pedophilia or sadomasochism – sorry. The research backs me up in that all transsexuals fantasize about feminization whether they admit it or not and the tendency in front of therapists has been to deny or downplay this aspect in order to appear more legitimately suited for transition. I am 100% with J…

Easy does it...

I received a series of comments from Robyn P, AQV, Marian and Pat that had me reflecting today and yesterday. Thank you all.

I know I take everything much too seriously and am the worst kind of self critic. It is my nature.

How does one come to terms with their transgender nature and make it work for them? This is my challenge. The internal conflict has been showing up in my blog postings as I go through my thought process of how to settle into a comfort level with my gender identity.

On the one hand I enjoy every minute of my time as Joanna. The guilt is gone and I can bask in the internal peace that it brings. On the other hand I am still conflicted of how that new reality of feeling should find a practical and permanent role in my life.

This conflict sometimes has me thinking I must choose one life over the other; ie. live as a woman or live as a man. Shit or get off the pot because you can’t do both. But isn’t that what being transgender is? Having a foot in each camp in some sens…

perhaps clarifications are in order...

Perhaps clarificatons are in order.

I am not a casual crossdresser. I have a rather advanced case of GID and as Anne Vitale and others agree its not about anything else other than gender disphoria. By their definitions I am a transsexual because I suffer from GID and have for my entire waking existence.

I was attracted to girls from the age of puberty but was sensitive, intelligent, creative, shy and a bit of a loner. Sure I do not fit the androphilic early transitioner model that some people refer to as a classic transsexual.

Plenty of people like me have transitioned: Jan Morris, Kate Bornstein, Chloe Prince, Anne Lawrence, Kay Brown, Jennifer Boylan.....the list goes on. All of them have lives as women; whether successful or not I can't say but they didn't transition for fun. Whether you label them transitioned AGPers or not it does not affect their daily reality so it becomes almost a moot point at this stage.

But I do not base my destiny on other people.

I struggle e…

facing reality

It is no longer much of a mystery to me that I am actually a repressed transsexual. I have come to this conclusion very slowly and very deliberately and I now know it to be true. The only question that remains is what if anything to do about it on a practical level.

Kay Brown, an advocate for the Blanchard model, defines an autogynephilic transsexual thusly:

“The prototypical autogynephilic transsexual was accepted as a boy as a child.  She was often a “loner”, finding her hobbies and reading to be more rewarding, but still willing and ready to participate in rough & tumble play.  She often envied girls and observed them more often than most masculine boys.  As she entered puberty, she began erotic cross-dressing in private, often masturbating while dressed, usually with lingerie.  She found this shameful and hid her cross-dressing as best she could.  She entertained thoughts of living as a woman, often in very idealized situations.  As a young adult, she dated women, often findin…

The taste for life....

It’s funny how I am becoming more emotional these days. Everything has been magnified.

I cry more easily but I also anger more easily. But it’s not anger from internal rage or depression it’s just that life tastes fuller to me because I experience it with a fuller palette which is available to me now.

When you have disphoria it’s like living life under a cloud which dampens everything. Simply dealing with it in more concrete ways has made all the difference in the world to me.

The freedom to cross dress without shame or guilt has freed me as a person and literally saved my life. The pressure to limit myself was simply too much to bear for all those decades. Eventually something had to give and, ironically, it ended up being a stroke which became my saving grace.

So everything tastes fuller and better and now I can concentrate on living life to the fullest.

The initial need for co dependence which I was experiencing after my break up with N is finally gone. I now realize more than eve…

How I feel inside...

Robyn P sent me some comments so I thought I would address some of them in this blog entry:

I try and analyse how I feel when I am out as Joanna. I try to put my finger on why I want to present as a woman and why I enjoy it so completely.

There is comfort and there is joy and it’s undeniably a positive experience for me. Yes I enjoy the clothing: the earrings, the heels but there is more to it than that; and certainly more than a sexual experience.

I don’t think it rests in my having had a bad childhood either. I had a normal childhood with loving parents who encouraged me to behave as a boy. I don’t recall being dressed up or emasculated in any way. I always felt an affiliation to the feminine although I was not effeminate per se. I knew how to behave as a boy but I was more sensitive than most boys.

I am an artistic person and there is a creative aspect to creating a feminine presentation.

Why do I need to present as a female when I am her and she is me? Because part of feeling fe…

living alone

Living alone really does have its advantages.

You get to do things when you want and how you want to do them. You grab meals when you want (with less prep time and clean up) and you can pick up or drop something at a moment's notice. You are on your own timeline.

There's also a lot of time to think.

You reflect on what you want to do with the rest of your life. What your goals and aspirations are and what you really value going forward. You get to truly know yourself.

Had I not had this opportunity, I would not have been able to heal my damaged psyche. What I thought was already repaired, was actually still very much in need of tending to.

I also get to truly decide how much of my life spent as Joanna is important to me. What is my balance point and will I want to live full or part time.

Without the solitude, I would not be able to truly reflect on these things and so I am grateful for what I thought I would be afraid to experience. Fear has been replaced with curiosity …

thoughts on a Friday afternoon...

There’s no more origin analysis left to be done. Once you have eliminated the guilt and shame there is only management left.

I am no longer interested in the source of my disphoria because I realize that it can only now become a futile academic exercise which, in this particular case, has very little to go on in terms of hard evidence.

As I learn to adapt to my new life both as a single person and an accepting transgender person, I am finding with the passage of time some peace finally settling in.

The last 9 months have brought me much gut wrenching self analysis. I have often talked aloud to myself during this period; wrestling with both my emotions and my intellect. There has been some “why me” self pity but along with that much needed growth.

The fog of denial that we live with daily invariably stunts our growth. In the absence of truly facing the truth there is a constant hurt and confusion and loss of self esteem which perceived failure often brings. If you are to blame for how…

a nice experience

Yesterday I was at the local mall getting a couple of things when one of the girls employed at the luggage shop stopped me in my tracks. I have seen her smile at me before and I had greeted her a couple of times in the past. This time she smiled again and I stopped to comment on how nice the day was.

She smiled and leaned over and said “do you mind if I tell you something?”

I responded “not at all please go ahead”

“I think you’re really cute and so much more feminine than regular women. My cousin works at the food court and she also finds you very cute!”

For a second I was taken aback since I know I pass with the other ladies I deal with in the mall but apparently not with her and her cousin. In the past I might have tried to cover up and say she was mistaken and that I was a woman or take offense and blush but this time I smiled right back and said to her:

“Thank you so much you are so nice”

I then proceeded to give her the shortest possible mini education on transgender people; bas…

Blown away again....

Brilliant analysis and writing and more evidence that we should not be looking at transsexual classes but instead only gender disphoria period! thanks Anne! (this is my last post from her brilliant site):

"It is with dismay that I continue to encounter individuals with gender identity issues using the terms Primary and Secondary Transsexualism as diagnostic indicators. The terms show up repeatedly in Internet chat rooms, in the Internet news groups, in my email, and by individuals presenting to me in my private practice. The individuals who self-identify as Primary Transsexuals are usually using the term to mean that they are "Benjamin Type VI, true transsexuals." Those who self-identify as Secondary Transsexuals are usually trying to diminish their condition and to find some way to deal with their gender dysphoria without having to face the possibility of transitioning. As we shall soon see, neither term has ever had anything to do with severity or prognosis. There is n…

More from Anne Vitale...

I am fascinated by Anne Vitale' essays and I quote here again from one of them. It really pin points to exactly where I am these days most especially in the closing sentences:

"Gender Identity Disorder is a real and serious problem. Although we don't know all of what may be the cause or causes of the disease that these individuals feel toward their assigned sex, we can be reasonably certain that it is connected with either a congenital irregularity, an irregularity that occurs in the first few years of childhood or some combination of the two. We also know that every individual's sense of gender, once established, is unchangeable over the individual's life time. Men do not suddenly think they are women and women do not suddenly think they are men. This is true for transsexuals as well as those whose sense of gender does correspond to their genitalia. Most transsexuals report being aware of their condition from the age of four to seven. The only variable is the ind…

more experimentation and work required

I am in an interesting place these days. Now plainly aware that I never really was much of a crossdresser, if I add up all my time spent in a dress over my fifty years of life it would all amount to less than a year which is 2% of my time on this planet.

Over the last 9 months that frequency has increased to 30 to 40% of my waking hours. So the exploration of my gender has truly begun.

Through my formative years I repressed and tried to think of other things besides my disphoria. I tried to be as male as possible and never conceded much to my natural pull toward the feminine which was present from the very beginning. Much like other disphorics, I manned up as much as I could and to a great degree succeeded.

I remember a few years ago telling the priest who married my ex wife and I that I was transgendered and he revealed to me that he thought I might be gay. This was surprising to me at the time but in retrospect I suppose he was picking up on a vibe that I was unconsciously communica…

the evil twins...

Anne Vitale is PhD who has dealt with over 500 disphoric patients in her over 30 year career as a therapist. She posted this 1996 essay on her website about guilt and shame – the evil twins which kept me enslaved for the majority of the life I have lived to date. I just had to post it!

“My handy, online edition of the American Heritage Dictionary (3rd Edition, 1992, Houghton-Mifflin, Softkey International, Inc.) defines guilt and shame as follows:

guilt n. 1. The fact of being responsible for the commission of an offense. 2. One that brings dishonor, disgrace, or condemnation. 3. A condition of disgrace or dishonor; ignominy. 4. A great disappointment.

shame n. A painful emotion caused by guilt. 1. The fact of being responsible for the commission of an offense. 2. (Law) Culpability for a crime or lesser breach of regulations that carries a legal penalty. 3. a. Remorseful awareness of having done something wrong. b. Self-reproach for supposed inadequacy or wrongdoing. 4. Guilty conduct;…

Chris Pagani speaks...

I wanted to literally post a section of Chriss Pagani’s website where she deals with disphoria because I agree with what she says. She also suffers from GID and lives somewhat more of the time as a female than I do. I consider her text on gender disphoria and transsexualism one of the best I have read on the web and one of the most blunt. She writes:

"Discussing therapy for Gender Identity Disorder and gender dysphoria in and of itself raises the hackles of some. First, there are sincere but misguided religious people who don't understand the difference between a medical condition and a behavioral choice. I can't help these people much: If a person wants to think a baby born blind or with cancer is punishment from God and not a victim of a medical condition, they are likely to think Gender Identity Disorder is a behavior instead of biologically based, too. They want to see the world in black & white and they aren't really interested in facts.

But they aren't th…

rejoicing in ignorance...

Despite being a practicing Catholic, it never ceases to amaze me how much my church (and for that matter most churches) affiliate themselves with positions on issues which often border on ignorance or outright stupidity.

I was recently viewing a website where GID was being discussed in the context of healing disphoric children before they became dreaded transsexuals, crossdressers or other such deviants. They made references to studies which pointed to approximately half of gender disphoric children having other illnesses such as OCD, depression or anxiety. The site was affiliated with a center for Catholic support for the family.

I had a normal childhood with good parents and I have tried all my life to rid myself of feelings that were always there. I don’t believe I ever suffered from emasculation trauma or forced feminization by an adult. Today I am a high function and well educated adult and yet I suffer from GID.

These well meaning therapists blinded through their religious convi…

an interesting Sunday...

I ended up meeting two people for coffee yesterday.

The first was Sabrina who I met when I frequented a Starbucks in the old part of the city. I would go to Sunday Mass and I would go over and get my coffee immediately afterwards. She was the barista and we ended up having some nice chats; one of them extremely informative as she shared her bout with teenage anxiety. When I learnt she was leaving that location we exchanged cell numbers.

Yesterday we met and had a very nice talk. She is a very mature girl who, besides dealing with anxiety, has suffered from some parental issues and has come out of it stronger and I would almost say the better for it. Sometimes in life we need adversity to allow us to grow and she has had her share by her tender age of 25.

I almost feel like a mother to her and she has told me as such. In fact she texted me after meet up: “I hope I can turn into a strong woman and devoted mother like you one day” which touched my heart enormously and validated my identi…

blaming God. ..

As a practicing Catholic I will speak on a subject that some of you may bristle at. If you don't believe in God or have always had a more lucid vision growing up you probably won't relate to my words.

My formative years were spent in a very religiously observant family. Being gay, for example, was seen as something aberrant and even as a choice by the individual. I did not know better because these were the messages I was receiving and ingesting. I knew I was different and I became increasingly frustrated at my inability to conform and be "normal".

I think I blamed God.

How could this happen to me and why was I not being assisted in eradicating this anomaly. Why was I not strong enough to defeat this desire to be a woman? So I fought hard. I fought and ignored and purged and purged some more. I pushed back as hard as I knew how. God was not helping me in my efforts to comply and be normal; all the while the feelings getting stronger and harder to ignore.

It all bl…

a brief respit from self analysis....

Its interesting how my brain is bouncing about from day to day as I figure things out slowly. There are days when I'm thinking that I may eventually end up fully transitioned and others where I am certain I will not. The only difference being that one scenario involves physical transition but not the eradication of my female identity.

I am coming from a position of massive prejudice against any body tampering on religious grounds. That bias which is rooted in my strict Catholic upbringing is being removed so eventually I will be able to make a more objective assessment. This is why for example I delved very masochistically into AGP theory.

But its proven to be a dead end.

In the end I need to go by feel. I need to search my feelings and decide how to proceed. My life is about emotional happiness and is not a course in pop psychology.

additional AGP observations and thoughts

I’m going to return to the subject of AGP again briefly....

Over at Crossdreamers site, I was participating in a thread where the blog posting centered around transsexual versus non transsexual AGP behaviour.
For reasons I have explained before, my GID for me is certainly more than about sexual eroticism but what struck me is that some AGPers are only interested in the phenomenon as a purely psycho sexual experience with the disphoria coming as an adjunct.

My belief is that that my disphoria was present first (and very early on I might add) and upon entering puberty I first experienced sexual overtones in my identification to the female. In my desire to be like any other normal boy and in conjunction with the societal message that being male is a good thing, I experienced guilt over my arousal and the guilt-purge cycle began in earnest.

Now for some AGPers their female identity remains entrenched in a psycho sexual experience and is never expressed in any physical form such as cross d…

More thoughts on life as a part timer...

I read recently on Femulate.org about the experiences of Rhonda - a married MtF living part time who now, in a second life after retirement, is working full time as a woman. She has undergone no physical transition but she looks very passable and dresses age appropriate.

It got me thinking about how my own life has been morphing and giving breathing space to Joanna and how I trying to make that work for me as I explore this important side of myself that was suppressed for so very long.

My recent overlaps with other women have been paying off exceedingly well and it turns out that when I thought I wasn’t passing as a female I actually was. Upon discovering this I have relaxed all the more and am now passing far better. It should be noted that I define passing here as being treated and addressed gender appropriate even if you have seeded doubt in the mind of another person. But I do remember the expressions of people once they had read me when I was younger and this is now a thing of t…

plain old bad science...

The bad science of Blanchard, Lawrence and Bailey has been discredited in my eyes. It took me a while to sort through it but two critical issues and their treatment of them did the trick. Namely:

• Apparent sexualisation in prepubescent boys as young as 3 or 4 years old
• Continued identification with the female once sexualisation has waned or is wholly absent

I have read papers written by Anne Lawrence who postulates thusly:

• Points to supposed penile stimulation in very young boys as proof of sexualisation with thoughts of feminization
• Sexualisation wanes in AGPers much like the love between a couple becomes less erotic and more comfortable over time; ie. Love grows but sexual activity is reduced

On the first point:

I was once 3 years old and my memories of wanting to be feminine had nothing to do with sexuality. I enjoyed playing dress up with my sisters and wanted to wear my mother’s shoes (much to her chagrin I might add). Sexualisation came with puberty and once my lessons i…

coming to terms with everything...

I have now come to a point in my personal struggles with my gender disphoria when I am at peace with it. I no longer have anything to prove or legitimize to myself and hopefully my way forward will be filled with a more positive outlook as I now have an identity as a woman that I am pleased with.

My demeanour, confidence and level of contentment have dramatically improved as I have begun to solve the riddle that has been my life.

I am dealing with my reality as it is now. If I were 30 years younger and with the same knowledge I have today I might be very tempted to transition. I am happy as Joanna and I feel often that I would enjoy my life as a female. But the present compromise works.

I have learnt more about myself in the last nine months than during the previous 49 years combined. The introspection and the solitude have permitted me to wrestle with my personal demons.

I have even almost solved the riddle of wanting companionship but this one will be the longest to come to terms w…

I bring an olive branch

I have no quarrels with fetishists, transexuals, autogynephiles or anyone else.

I am just trying to be comfortable now in finding a method to deal with my disphoria. If my posting has insulted anyone's sensibilities then I apologize. Part of my soul searching required to try and analyse myself and delve into the literature.

However in the end there is no perfect diagnosis and no perfect solution that covers all cases. There is only the solution that works for you and allows you to live with the least amount of brain dissonance. There is presently no genetic marker or test that predicts disphoria or transexuality.

We have in the end the word of the sufferer who, in the more extreme and clear cut cases, will scream from every mountain top "I am a girl!!!" There is a whole other group that struggles with their education, socialization, religious dictates, etc in order to finally arrive at a compromise that makes sense to them.

The other day I visited the website of a de…

a delicate balance..,,,

Its a delicate balance my life. I am juggling parenting, gender presentation and work.

I must keep an even keel and not let my disphoria get the best of me. Whether I would personally be happier or not is not the issue. For me its about what is the best solution given my existing situation.

Sure I could uproot my life and the life of my children but at what cost? And what guarantee do I have that my quality of life will remain stable or improve?

Make no mistake in that I am having trouble managing my GID. There are days when I just want to give in to it. On those days I think of Renee Richards and other regret stories for comfort. My understanding of her case is that she was very similar to Virginia Prince; another autogynephilic male who was allowed to transition fully.

I may be one of those cases and unless I feel literally feel suicidal, I will not embark on a transition path. Mind you, I am already following one in that I am living part time which is something I never would hav…

let's get something clear....

Over at Jack Molay’s crossdreamers site there is a new article on the love lives of non transsexuals.

http://www.crossdreamers.com/2013/04/the-love-life-of-non-transsexual.html

The article deals with the complexities of finding acceptance (or at least tolerance) of crossdreaming behaviour within the context of a relationship with a woman.

This is of course the dilemma of every autogynephilic who is both attracted to women and to the idea of being a woman. Where Jack and I both agree is that there is more than eroticism at the core of people like us that draws us towards the feminine. I am personally convinced that there are both nature and nurture components at play.

At the end of this article there is the usual commentary from people who only identify with the purely erotic nature of their cross gender behaviour and do not draw a personal connection to any inherent transgender feelings (whether caused by nature, nurture or combination of both).

For me it is clear that there are two …

closure almost...

No matter what happened between N and I, there is only my desire for the best for her. You can't build a relationship on chemistry and very few elements in common. In addition no one needs the extra burden of gender disphoria to boot.

So now that the fog is lifting and I can see beyond my own nose I really hope that she finds someone to love her in the way that she deserves.

It's taken me 9 months now to get to a point where I almost don't think about her every day.

So my healing process has really started to take root. I am focusing on my mental health and catching up on my passion for music to help me in my reparation. People can live alone for long periods and I am starting to understand this first hand.

I think I will be able to adjust even better as time goes on and replace a relationship with many friends and activities. I hope Joanna gets to click her heels here and there too and start having some fun.

Anyway N is a smart, talented and beautiful woman who deserve…

complete honesty?

I am virtually fearless now. There is no dress shop, shoe store, restaurant or coffee shop where I won't present as myself. There is the soothing comfort that comes with being true to yourself that acts as a shield against your previous fears. Once the tigress has been uncaged she must run and be free. Suppression will not be allowed to win the day.

It feels odd to say that - "as myself"..... I've been petrified of owning that phrase because it previously was synonymous with failure.

But does "myself" mean eventually living full time? Can I make it to retirement as a hybrid? I am going to do my best to make that happen. Firstly I love where I work. I have been there almost 11 years and making such a radical transformation at this stage would be very hard on my psyche. Secondly and more importantly I don't want to upset the apple cart for my kids. Their life to date has already been challenging enough with the divorce. My son's recent bout of anxiet…