Friday, 31 May 2013

guilt as cancer

Guilt is a type of spiritual and emotional paralysis. I know because I lived with it all of my life.

First it was guilt about dressing then it was guilt about having orgasms and then it was guilt for overindulging once I had almost reached acceptance.

I have never truly been clear of it until quite recently and with its disappearence, things started to fall into place. If the guilt is not removed your entire thought process is filtered through it and you don't reason correctly.

When Pat sent me the link to the website lightinthecloset.org one of the things that stood out for me was that the site proposed strongly the elimination of guilt in order to move forward.

I have been in a guilt loop for the longest time and even when I thought I was free of it, I clearly was not. God cannot come and reach you in your guilt because it blocks all of the light trying to get in.

 Its a step process and its like unraveling a package with too much scotch tape. You need to keep working away at it until every piece has been eliminated.

No question that it is the worst and most insidious form of mental cancer.

better defining transition...

Even as I increasingly ponder the idea of transition in this blog, I will concentrate more on the idea of mental instead of physical transition.

There is good reason to resist physical change for the following reasons

- Despite not functioning normally as a male, I am heterosexual
- I don't despise my genitalia
- I currently pass relatively well as a woman
- There is too much risk involved in affecting my children adversely.

Living as a part time woman over the last year has been extremely pleasing. Perhaps I can extend that to full time living by retirement unless I decide that working as a consultant in my field is a viable option.

Physical transition is not off the table but it would require that my disphoria be so incapacitating that I must proceed accordingly. Since right now I don't foresee this ocurring I will continue along my aforementioned strategy.

I have come to terms with the science, the pseudo science and the religious road blocks are being rapidly removed. What is left is how I truly feel and how that feeling ties into a lucid and workable life plan. So the only person I seek permission from is myself and I am happy to finally begin to view things in this light.

I never dreamed I could ever get here but somehow I did. I made choices I might not have made all those years ago if I knew then what I know now but thank God for my beautiful children. They shall have first and foremost consideration above all.

an interesting post...

Here is an entry from Natalie Reed's blog that I quite enjoyed and agreed with. I simply attach a link....

http://freethoughtblogs.com/nataliereed/2012/04/02/harry-benjamin-syndrome-syndrome/

Very well said Natalie.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

A good place

It’s been a good period of late. I feel content and although I am uncertain about the future on the gender front, I am truly over my previous relationship with N and happy to be on my own.

It takes a while to regain your bearings and your self esteem after a tumultuous breakup like the one we had. I had 3 years full of ups and downs during which my previous understanding of what it meant to be with another person was tested. I came away exhausted and defeated but I learned some hard lessons.

For a time you get very down on yourself and think that no one will ever love you again but this is a temporary phase punctuated by the rejection you have just experienced. It so colors everything that it percolates its way into every aspect of your life. Shaking it off and moving on has taken me almost a full year.

Interestingly I have grown more as a person during this period than during any previous year of my life. I have become truly autonomous and any desire for codependence is gone. That little yearning that you get while you are still adapting to being alone has been eradicated. Sure I still get a bit lonely here and there and this is normal as we are social animals but I am trying to fill that void with my children and my friends.

As things stand now, I no longer think that a relationship is a viable alternative for me.

I am a proud transgender person who is finally free of guilt and shame and I will be pursuing my life with balance in all things. Seeking counseling here and there for my gender issues will from part of that balance.

For the first time in many years I am in a very good place on the inside.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

a return to innocence....

There has been so much progress for me that it’s hard to keep up. My psyche has been repairing itself ever so rapidly and I have removed a lot of “thou shall nots” from my vocabulary.

Last night I had a nice heart to heart with my mother about where I am these days and at one point she said that if I knew I would be happier as a woman then perhaps I should do what I needed to but then in the same breath she expressed trepidation. I know this is not easy for her but she also wants to see me happy. I made sure she knew last night that I loved her and that I had two great parents who made my life easier and not more difficult. Without them I would be in a far worse shape today.

Helene called me back around 5 pm and we set up an appointment for June 10th during which I am going to basically pour my heart out to her about how I’m feeling these days. I want to pose her a series of questions about my mind set and assumptions and see how she answers them. She has the measuring stick of experience and it will come in handy here.

First and foremost on my mind is the realization that my disphoria seems to be gaining strength. I am drawn to the idea of melding myself into one true person for the first time in my life. But the question is does that mean being a woman full time? I do not know yet but I know that when I get up in the morning I think about getting into women’s clothes to go to work. I am starting to think that this is how things are meant to be for me and is truly my normal. That excites me and scares the hell out of me all at the same time.

My part time life as Joanna has given me a taste of something truly wonderful and comfortable and I want to live that all the time. I need to make sure that I NEED to live that way and that living as a pretend male is something I can no longer do.

I pray on it and ask God to give me guidance. I want to know what the right thing to do is and I want to base it on need and not some flighty desire. But as I have said in my recent posts, I think the next couple of years will be pivotal for me in this decision process and I should hopefully have my final answer by then.

The issue of arousal has become a moot point now. I understand that the excitement of being the woman I aspire to be sometimes brings this on. In the past it would bring me down into negativity and doubt but its playing much less of a factor in my thinking process. I can now put it into context and not let it bother me since it’s not a motivating factor in my decision process.

How interesting that I remove the layers of psychological built up grit, I seem to be slowly re-becoming that innocent little boy who secretly aspired to be a girl.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Excerpt from Madeline Wyndzen's site on Autogynephilia

I wanted to paste a section from Madeline Wyndzen’s great site and how she treats autogynephilia and many fallacies engrained in it as a theory. In particular I like how she describes arousal as a symptom of the disphoria (which has always been my own personal feeling about my own arousal) which then causes one to transition or to seriously consider it. In other words Autogynephilia (or arousal to dressing or crossdreaming) does not cause the transition but is instead a symptom of something much deeper. Here is the full excerpt:

“Part of the problem with distinguishing autogynephilia-as-phenomenon and autogynephilia-as-theoretical-construct has been the word "autogynephilia" itself. This is because the word has the theory embedded into it. Consider how the Greek suffix "philia", meaning "affectionate regard for", has been used in the past within the fields of Psychology and Psychiatry: as a direction of sexual arousal. A "paraphilia" is a direction of sexual arousal to an "other" target. Consider how paraphilia are named. "Necrophilia" uses the Greek prefix "nekro" which means "dead"; consequently necrophilia means a sexual arousal directed at death. Now take the term "autogynephilia": "auto" means "self" and the root "gune" means "female." From its very structure, "autogynephilia" means a sexual arousal directed toward the self as a woman. If transsexuality is not a paraphilia and, for example, those fantasies are a compensation-mechanism for dealing with gender dysphoria, then the term "autogynephilia" is misleading. The word's structure makes it more than a phenomenon. The term is theoretical because it conveys Ray Blanchard's theoretical claim that "autogynephilia" is a mis-directed sex-drive.
Most often, J. Michael Bailey emphasizes autogynephilia as a theoretical construct. He endorses the theoretical meaning when he, for example: (a) discusses types of transsexuals, (b) treats transsexuality as a sexual deviance, and (c) characterizes autogynephilia as underlying transsexuality rather than as a consequence of gender dysphoria. There is one notable occasion when Bailey emphasizes autogynephilia as a phenomenon: when asked for evidence. Consider the following example from his web page about the controversy:
Even if autogynephilic transsexuals exist, aren't they rare?
No. Every indication is that autogynephilia is a common motivation for male-to-female transsexualism.
In a recent review by Anne Lawrence of 11 studies with requisite data, the median percentage of transsexuals who acknowledged a history of sexual arousal to cross-dressing (a hallmark sign of autogynephilia) was 37%. In her large survey of SRS patients of Dr. Toby Meltzer, Lawrence found that 86% of respondents had had at least occasional autogynephilic arousal ...
The question in Bailey's FAQ is about a type of transsexual rather than a type of fantasy, so he is answering a question about autogynephilia-as-theoretical-construct. He begins his answer by discussing autogynephilia as a motivator of transexuality. That is, he summarizes his answer while using the theoretical construct, but also note how he simplifies Blanchard's model. More importantly, look at what evidence he gives as "every indication" for the truth of his belief. It's all about the occurrence of a type of fantasy, it's autogynephilia-as-phenomenon. In short, though Bailey cites extensive evidence that transsexual women have fantasies about the women they hope to become, he does not provide any evidence for the existence of autogynephilic transsexuals.

Scientific writing can be very dull. One reason for this is that we always try to be as precise as we can in our use of words. There are two reason for this. First, the way we define our terms can often have consequences for the results of our studies. Second, making good scientific theories requires solid logical thinking. Ambiguous definitions are an easy way to make logical fallacies. One of the more common informal logical fallacies of ambiguity is called, "equivocation." It's when you flip back-and-forth between different meanings of a word using whichever happens to be best for your overarching argument at the time (e.g., Copi, 1972). Michael Bailey equivocates on his definition of autogynephilia. It's unlikely that he is purposely trying to mislead you. Logical fallacies are, by their nature, things we can very easily find ourselves making. It takes effort not to make fallacious arguments. This is precisely why good science requires we precisely use language. Most scientists write precisely because we feel advancing our understanding is more important than writing in a provocative way".


Bravo I say!

Time for a bit of guidance

Yesterday I went to genderpsychology.org where Madeline Wyndzen (not her real name) provides extremely valuable information for those questioning their gender. She herself transitioned I assume relatively young and because she is also a trained psychologist she provides a very thorough treatment of the subject on her site.

I know that I am a gender variant person and not a transsexual and because of this transition is really not the best option for me. I do mull it over but if I can find better ways to manage it then I will do so.

Madeline basically says on her site that if you don’t need to transition you shouldn’t – which is very wise advice. Whether you are gender variant, gender queer, androgynous, etc; find your comfort zone within the gender spectrum and stay there.

This is what I am trying to do and sometimes I need to go to a site like this that confirms what I am thinking – that transition is not the best way to go for me. It is certainly an option if things get bad enough but I won’t go there unless I absolutely need to.

This brings up an interesting question my close friend J (who I confide in with all this) had for me yesterday morning when we were talking on the phone; why is it that at home I don’t often dress in women’s clothing? He asked me this when we were discussing my future options including the possibility of transition.

It is a fair question because in truth I do separate when I go out as Joanna from my life at home. It’s as if I have reserved my alternate gender expression for only my outings. It’s true that I don’t sleep in a nightie and the most I will do is wear ballerinas when at home.

Some of this is just logistics of course. When I go out I wear a wig so why would I put that on at home? I also wear makeup when I go out (part of the reason is to cover my light beard shadow) which again is not needed when I am home alone. But still it was a fair question which had me reflecting a bit.

Yesterday I called Helene (the psychologist with the hospital program) and left her a message. I feel that I am due for a refresher discussion as to where I am these days and try and realign myself. She deals with so many transgender people on a daily basis that she represents for me a sounding board that I can use to test myself and my thinking. At this stage however I won’t allow myself to be talked in or out of anything and she knows this as a professional. We only met once before but I liked her and she encouraged me to see her whenever I needed to even if I decided not to re enter the hospital run program.

I had been trying to go it alone but I think I need to get some feedback and she fits the bill quite nicely for me.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

more thoughts on transition

I suppose that living the way I am can appear to be a little schizophrenic. It's becoming more and more of a double life which, in the long term,may not be sustainable or even desireable.

I am not going to stress about it mind you but my thought process goes towards the solution of transition as a way to achieve stability. I could be out to everyone and in every aspect of my life.

One thing that's clearer than ever is that I'm not a crossdresser and joanna is tied to my identity.

Pat and Marian have suggested I look at it as "girl time" but its starting to be more for me which is why I reflect on it daily.

But where I sit now it's not the time for me to do anything. Even if my kids were not in the picture the timing is still wrong.

One of the interesting things I am noticing is that my sense of confidence has taken a huge boost. Whether in male or female garb, the improvement has been markedly felt. This is because I have embraced who I am instead of shunning it.

But do advanced gender disphorics like me benefit from full transition? The anecdotal evidence I have is that they often do.

One thing that is clearer as I age is that with declining testosterone levels my body has become slightly more feminized and accompanying that has been a desire for more of the same. And it makes sense that taking my body where my psyche wants it to go would produce a sense of well being.

However on the flip side my history and learned biases barge in on a regular basis to bring me down to earth to remind me that what I think I want is wrong and of questionable morality. God made you a male and you are not to tamper with His will. So it becomes a tug of war of sorts for your heart and soul.

There are days when I am certain that I would be happier as a woman and until that thought disappears I won't be able to permanently put aside the idea of transition.

Friday, 24 May 2013

never is a long time.....

Even as I repeat to myself the mantra that I will not transition the truth is that I don't really know the answer.

 I have lived long enough to know that in life there is no certainty except for death of our physical body which in the end is only a vessel which contains our being. It appears that my vessel tends towards wanting more to be female than a male.

I am not trying to talk myself into anything but simply stating what I have experienced all my life.

There has been so much change already and my living part time is offering me the chance to see what life might be like full time. Truth be told I am happier when I am Joanna. But I need to make cetain that this is not just novelty talking. Of course I have now been living this way for almost a year and it feels liberating and right for me, I like it very much.

 So without preconceived notions I will continue to test my feelings and challenge myself. By nature I am a very methodical person when it comes to big life decisions and that extra level of caution will prevent me from rash movements. So you can never say never but the timing is definitely not now.

I need to get my son through this critical period in his life and then we'll see. In 3 years or so I should be in a better positon to know and in the meantime the exploration will help me get to a solid decision either way.

I came out to a long time friend yesterday and he didn't bat an eye lash. He was undertanding and extremely interested in my story. We came away even closer friends than before. So far this is the way its gone with every family member and friend save for my religious sister.

I never would have imagined doing such a thing only 5 short years ago. Which is why I cannot say never with certainty regarding transition.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Rebuilding

In order to build a new house you need to demolish the old one. The demolition must be complete in order for your new project to be sound. But in demolishing you need to make sure that some essential elements you still want to retain are not swept up in the chaos.

I am now in the final stages of demolishing and getting ready to lay a new foundation which will support the remainder of my life. I am also trying to keep those parts of me that I value and want to retain. It has not been easy to identify everything up to now but I am getting ever closer to segregating the pieces.

It has been an incredible almost year of discovery thus far and I am looking forward to more growth and self discovery as I peel away the layers of the life I built for myself over all of those years. It has brought me closer to a place of personal internal peace than ever before. It's what has been required but I was afraid to let happen.

Tonight my son called me to talk about girls and how he felt about one in particular in his class. The conversation shifted to other topics and at one point he asked me if I ever thought about having a sex change. Reflecting for a moment I said that although I had weighed it in my mind I had finally decided against it. He was very glad to hear it and I was glad to be able to reassure him. I did need to add however that some people need to do this and we need to respect this.

I am pleased to be able to talk to my son about anything these days and to know that he trusts me with his private thoughts.

Monday, 20 May 2013

our community

Our online community has saved me; there is no question about that.

Without the precious input from others who are like me, I never would have made it this far in my life journey without severe impairment. Those of you who have given me insight and the benefit of your own experiences have contributed immeasureably to my being able to put things in perspective.

I know what is was like in the dark pre internet days and I shudder to think what young trans kids today would do without this important tool.

I hope my own little blog helps in its own way to provide the benefit of my own experience. I want to contribute to the discourse and to help other questioning people to find their way towards internal peace with their gender issues.

If I have helped even a little, it will mean everything to me.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Joanna coming into her own...

Had my kids yesterday and will again tomorrow as its a holiday weekend here in Canada but today was a joanna day for yours truly. I was hoping to get together with Sabrina but she was really ill and she had to opt out.

I texted it her that it was an order from her alternate mother that she stay in bed. She roared at that.

So I spent a relaxing day as a woman and had a lovely time doing it. Its so natural and peaceful and sometimes beyond words. I am living my life in a way I never dreamed I could ever do. All the elements that I worked on are converging: makeup, voice, clothing, comportment, poise and femininity.

It all feels organic and natural. With the added bonus of female friends to socialize with its becoming even more natural and a lot less lonely. I never liked outings solely on my own and always wished for company.

But I was insecure and less brave that I could be out there doing what I do now. It took me the last five years to take those last steps of presentation security to finally break that feeling of fear about being myself.

That last important step of making Joanna a known entity with her own personality and sense of herself has been instrumental. I can now focus on continuing to merge myself into a whole being; something I could never do with a hanging appendage that I was attempting to amputate.

This morning in the quietness and solemnity of the mass, I thanked God for helping me come to terms with everything and truly begin to love myself and consequently others even more.

With time, things will fall into place even more.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

slow and steady

Allowing myself to feel and react in a way that's always been normal for me has been cathartic. One can only stiffle and suppress for so long. Has letting the genie out of the bottle produced an excess of feminine expression and freedom that i'll want to put back later?

That I cannot answer.

Like Marian who tries to balance an alternate persona in order to keep the male side somewhat unscathed, I am currently trying to figure out how to balance Joanna's existence and keep her in proportion.

The good thing is that thus far I have not lost control of my responsibilities when it comes to my job or parenting. I do spend a lot of time alone and so the frequency is not bothering me all that much. I won't allow it to because I spent too many years fretting and stressing.

I have come to a place of acceptance but don't yet know where the journey will take me going forward. I just want to tread lightly and evenly and hear myself breathing evenly and deeply as I go.

Friday, 17 May 2013

More on abominations...

Here is something I found on Bibleknowledge.com that shows what some so called christians are all about. What is interesting here of course is that none of the people writing this have any idea of what its like to have any sort of gender confusion. They just simply state to suck it up for God. Well I’ve been doing that all my life but still you need to read it to believe it.

My sister who is highly devout, originally thought that my condition was a choice. She tried everything to persuade me to change but that would involve changing the way I was made. She now understands that I have a cross to bear because of all the reading she has done.

Still the fundamentalist bible belt thumpers are even worse:

In addition to the increase of the gay population, there has also been a corresponding increase in the number of transvestites and transsexuals.

Transvestites are men who like to dress up in woman’s clothes, along with putting on all of the makeup that women will normally use. Transsexuals will go one step further and undergo a sex change operation in order to literally try and become a woman.

Believe it or not, the Bible also has something to say about this issue. Again, it is back in the Old Testament, and many Christians are not even aware this verse exists on the subject. The verse is very specific and once again God says that this kind of activity is an abomination in His sight and that He will not tolerate or accept it. Like many homosexuals, I believe that many transsexuals and transvestites are operating under heavy demonic influence.

As in the case of homosexuality, there is freedom and full deliverance for all of them if they are willing to confess their sin before God, accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, and then allow the Holy Spirit to do inner surgery on them by casting out this unholy desire and any demons who may be operating behind the scenes giving them this unholy desire.

The Scripture Verse

Here is the verse that will give us this direct revelation from the Lord:

“A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman’s garment, for all who do so are an ABOMINATION to the Lord your God.” (Deuteronomy 22:5)

If God is telling both men and women they cannot dress up in each other’s clothes – then I believe He is also implying they cannot go to the next step and try to get a sex change operation to try and change the gender they were born into this world with.

If wearing clothes from a person of the opposite sex is considered an abomination in the eyes of God – can you imagine what God must think about someone trying to undergo a full sex change operation in order to try and completely change the gender they were born into this world with?

Again, if God should ever arrange for any of you to witness to someone who is either engaging or thinking about engaging in this activity, show them this verse. At least they will have been warned by God Himself as to what His direct opinion is on this matter.

If the Bible says that homosexuals will not be entering into heaven when they die and cross over, then this verse may also be implying that this particular sin may keep some of these people out of heaven – especially the sin of transsexualism where a person actually undergoes the full sex change operation. If God the Father is calling this kind of activity an abomination in the above verse, then I would not want to be tempting my eternal fate with Him on this issue if I am a Christian.

I have to believe the sin of transsexualism may be one of the highest abominations in the eyes of God since you are tampering with and trying to change the very nature of who you really are by the gender that God Himself has created you to be in this life.

For those of you who ever run across a Christian who is thinking about undergoing a full sex change operation – explain all of the above to them, and tell them to go direct to God the Father and ask His direct opinion on the matter. I have to believe that God will come through loud and clear for them on this issue if they are really open to receiving His direct Word on it”

Why did’nt I think of all this before? Well that makes all the difference to me now that I've read all this. I will be on the straight and narrow from now on. Thanks guys for showing me the light.

I wonder what God thinks about all this really.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Diane Arbus

Recently online I discovered the photography of Diane Arbus and was struck by the frankness of her pictures. There is almost a grim mood to the photos and yet there is empathy in the way she captures her subjects.

She was known as a photographer who took photos of misfits and society’s outcasts which included transgender people as subjects.







Solitude

I feel that living alone is almost an imperative thing one should do at least once in their lives; if for no other reason than the growth it affords us.

I have never truly lived alone and I am now doing it at 50 years of age.

It has been illuminating and has forced me to learn much about myself. In the stillness and quiet that being in our own private space brings the issues I've had to face have been handled more deftly than if I had not had this time to myself.

God has interesting ways to work in our lives.

I have also discovered that I am getting used to the liberty of choosing what I do, when and what I eat and how I come and go. This has been a definite plus for me.

Also the instinct to want to pair up is dissipating. The openness to do so is there still but the need for company based solely on loneliness is gone. I think that this is important because in order to know what kind of person is good for us we first need to know and love ourselves. This was certainly a missing element in my life.

I am now more receptive to what needs to happen rather than what I want to see happen. There is an important distinction to be made between those two things.

I keep going back to the term organic because this is how I want to live my life henceforth. I want to be malleable and open to surprises. I want life to open me up and present things and people to me and let things gestate on their own. In order to let God work in your life you need to be open to letting go of the reins.

I am more ready than ever to do just that.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

a sin?

I definitely want to stabilize at where I am now. The only issue is that I seem to enjoy being Joanna every day. So coming home for me in the evening is a automatic change into my female clothing and step out for a bit. That want seems to have become a need and I do fret sometimes that it seems to be compulsory. Of course I do live alone and have no one to report to so it’s that much easier. However there have been many days when I have told myself I will not dress that evening only to find I will break that promise. Does it matter that much? Not really.

On another note, one of my well meaning sisters sent me a link to a website that talks about 12 steps to curing crossdressing. I took it well and it made me laugh a bit as I read it because this is the kind of site I would go to years back in that attempt to find that elusive “fix”.

I now know that I am not a crossdresser but use my cross gender expression to manage my disphoria. This is an important distinction because right now without my crossdressing, I would almost certainly transition.

When I was younger, I did not know I was gender disphoric, but also did not dress at all that much since I was trying to suppress it as much as I could. Sites like this one gave me food for thought then but of course were of no help to me.

I did read through the entire post and it clearly was more aimed at people who are sexually addicted to crossdressing but have no gender disphoria to speak of. These are people for whom crossdressing as a purely sexual activity and they are impaired somehow by their addiction.

But I was disappointed at the lack of nuance since there was no distinction made as to what the objective of the site was. In other words, they talked about curing crossdressing in general but were a young confused transgender to stumble upon the site they would be further confused by their insistence that crossdressing equals sin.

I was once one of those confused transgender youths looking for answers and a site like this one brought only more frustration. Their “pray the gay away” suggestions were completely useless for a person like me. So I posted on their page to please be careful to make a distinction about their audience. Saying crossdressing is a sin in every case is the same thing as saying being transsexual is a sin which make absolutely no sense to me. Why would God make you a certain way and then chastise you for being yourself?

Someone responded to my remarks and asked what I thought about what Deuteronomy said about crossdressing. At times like that I just scratch my head and think: “faith without intelligence”

Sunday, 12 May 2013

wondering aloud on a sunday morning...

As comfortable as I currently am in public dressed as a woman, I feel I still have a little ways to go. However the remaining shortfall has less to do with how others perceive me and more how I perceive myself. My internal comfort could be still better and I am working on removing the last vestiges of that of anxiety relating to the stigma in my history that says that what I'm doing is undesireable in the eyes of society and God.

I feel that going to a complete comfort will all the more entrench me in the idea of leaving things as they are (ie no transition). I want to be ok with permanently seeing myself as a transgendered woman who cross dresses as a man in order to retain her life stable and minimize the impact on others.

I know its a nuance and it changes nothing for me but it helps me to frame things mentally.

But my exploration as Joanna is a daily experience and since I am now in a happy place with a distinct view of living life one day at a time, I will simply stay the course with internal peace as my primary consolation.

That being said, I still wondered to myself as I awoke this morning that if my kids were both to give me their approval, would I be tempted to transition?

I am not sure what I would do in that scenario but I would have to reflect long and hard about whether this happiness I feel as a woman would be permanently instilled in me and enrich my life even further. That as of now remains unanswered.

However, I am not anytime soon about to propose that question to my kids. I will instead test the concept of spending my life as a full time woman by seeing if longer periods in that mode produce a requirement for more.

After mass this morning I met sabrina for a chai latte and we had a good long talk about her life. She sees me a bit as a surrogate mother I think and I enjoy giving her the benefit of my life experience to her. I am after all twice her age. Because it's mother's day she insisted on paying - God bless her. It's a relationship that works for both of us as her mother and father both have some problems. She thinks I'm a strong fascinating woman.

The feeling is mutual.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

affirmation

I took the day off yesterday because it was really quiet at work and I wanted to reduce my overhead. Since I pick up my kids only on Saturday morning, I got to spend the entire day as myself.

I started off downtown at the cafe depot where the kind and lovely Mexican girls know me as Juanita. We chatted a bit and during the conversation they asked me if my kids were going to take me out for mother's day on Sunday. It reinforced my female identity but also reminded me I need to do something special for my mother.

Since there are so many of us in my family, I will try and set something up for Saturday with her and my kids.

I also took Denise's cell number because the three of us may get together for a drink during the summer. Would be my first real girls outing since all my others to date were just me and one other lady.

Later in the morning I met my friend Leticia who is a lovely person. We had a very nice time together for about an hour before her shift at Sears began. We left off with her promising to have me over to her house this summer. That will be a nice little challenge for me and I will make sure to be extra presentable as a woman.

A short trip to the cosmetics department and another pleasant converstion earned me a happy mother's day wish from the lady I know there.

Its funny how comfortable being in the role of a woman is for me these days. With the reinforcement coming from being treated and accepted as a genetic female by other women, I feel I have joined an elite club where I truly belong.

So this type of transition is the one that truly counts for me and the one that most satisfies. My own self identification has the seal of approval from the group that matters most.

I am increasingly happy with this compromise where my woman's soul can fluorish while I tend to my kids and leave their lives as unscathed as possible. After all a real mother sacrifices for her children.

A Joanna mini vacation is hopefully still in the works. I am going to reward myself for all those years of gender struggles with a few days in a hotel and pamper myself just a bit. The real vacation of course will be with my kids towards the end of summer.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

what now?

I now know that my cross gender behaviour has always been about internal identity instead of arousal. This is all the more apparent as I age. As any elements of eroticism wane, the identity gains increasingly in strength. The identity was strong in the early years then became confused during the turbulent middle years but of late it is back with a clear focus. That identity, in fact, never left me but I merely decided to ignore and suppress its existence in order to try and “fix” myself.

In fact it was never about eroticism but I allowed its mere presence to justify killing my natural instincts towards the feminine and I allowed the guilt and shame of a teen boy’s inadvertent orgasms to stifle everything. Suppression came at a high price however.

With a clearer vision about my past I can see why it was always about emulating my mother and wanted to dress in her clothes. I wanted to be like her from earliest memory and to this day favour the shoes and earrings that I remember her wearing when I was a child.

Over the last five years, I have been adopting a female identity which feels comfortable and right. This is why I think have been confused about the idea of whether I am or am not a transsexual. I feel that at my core part of my true identity is female and that my suppression of this part of myself has been so deeply rooted that I had been denying any connection to it.

Living as a part time woman has given me insights that I never dreamed I would experience while also relieving the tension that I lived with when I was suppressing all. During those years, the tension was at times almost too much to bear.
So I have asked myself recently in the quiet hours of the evening: “God why give me this desire to be female but not give me a female body to begin with? am I then wrong to desire something which my spirit seems to want and appears natural to me?”
Keeping things slow and deliberate has been the correct way to go. This way I feel that I won’t be swept up in a wave of emotion which could lead to disastrous circumstances. Transition of any sort will be used as an absolute last resort when I feel I am in a situation of sheer mental impairment. I have read too many regret stories and they are gut wrenching to say the least.

My saving grace has been my ability to pass. In building relationships with other women I have been able to express my femininity in a way that makes me happy and tames the appetite for any hormonal or surgical intervention. Thank God for my feminine features.

Last night I came home and got dressed. I went to a local cafe where Christine (the barista) knows me as a woman. A young lady who used to also work there entered and before long the three of us were nicely chatting. It felt inclusive and it felt right. I was being addressed in the right pronouns of “she” and “her” and it felt wonderful. I was once again privileged to be a woman if, once again, only for a few hours.

That will have to be good enough for the rest of my days and I think I can live with that.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

combine sexual desire with gender variance and....

I really like Jack Molay's latest posting over at crossdreams

http://www.crossdreamers.com/2013/05/misfits-gender-swap.html?showComment=1367954550235#c5733321056872502512

He essentially encapsulates an idea that I have in a very long form and roundabout way been proposing. Namely that:

SEXUAL DESIRE + GENDER VARIANCE = CROSSDREAMING

I used to think that transsexuals never exhibited eroticism of any sort and that I must suffer from some sort of sexual deviation. If you were to believe Blanchard that might just be the case for disphorics like me.

However studies clearly show that both gender disphorics and pre transition transsexuals crossdream. So in a way its almost a universal theme.

Thanks for the great post Jack and kudos to British television for pushing the envelope once again.

calming things down....

While it may not the end of my blog, that’s really it for me with the research because the literature has finally given me a big headache. The search that started slowly back in 1995 with my personal explorations into the web pages of transsexuals, transgender and gender variant people and finally culminating in technical articles and books has now come to an end. It does not mean I’ll never read another article mind you just that it won’t be associated with a massive search for self understanding.

The theories of Blanchard and Lawrence are wrong. There was an attempt at trying to categorize transsexuals in order to explain both early and late transitions. But the fact that heterosexual transgendered men end up as paraphilic perverts clearly shows a complete lack of understanding of the condition people like me face.

What remains now is to look inside myself to find for balance in living with my gender disphoria.

Interestingly, I took the COGLIATI test yesterday and came in with a score of 10 (otherwise categorized as androgyne). This result pretty much reflects how I view myself these days but as with all gender tests I take it with a grain of salt.

Therapy is also not on the horizon because I am not looking for anything other than adapting my life to my new reality as a completely self accepting transgendered person.

Sunday I spent the entire day as Joanna. It felt comfortable and right but I doubt I would want to live as a woman 24/7. That uncertainty will keep me sitting just where I am now for the foreseeable future.

The relationship door is not closed but I am not doing anything to open it any wider. The more I understand myself and human nature in general as I age, the less I am willing to settle for less. What I mean by this is that it is rare that I encounter truly interesting people who not only embody the physical traits that each of us is first drawn to but more importantly, possess a truly fascinating personality, soulfulness and true sense of self that would make couple life more rewarding. I have never found this and both my relationships suffered from some missing elements that would make life more enriching than less so. Adding the additional challenge of GID makes it all the more daunting.

In the end I feel that many of us partner up because we are more fearful of being alone than to be with the wrong person.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

can't leave well enough alone...

I'm probably just stubborn and a glutton for punishment but there's something that does not fit in this little scientific head of mine.

If I am to believe transsexual exceptionalists like AQV, I now have to explain not one but two types of transitions. One valid and early and man loving; one invalid, late and woman loving. Apparently there is no connection between them. Scientifically this makes no sense.

Firstly, transitions like AQV's have no actual scientific explaination. There is no genetic marker, brain difference or DNA evidence to support the idea their claim that they are actually women. They are women because every fiber of their being tells them but that is hardly proof of anything. Where does this compulsion come from? We do not currently know.

It should be noted that what i have just stated, applies to both ETs and LTs.

But let's follow this through. Should there in theory be any difference between gender disphorics in prepubescence? I don't believe so. In other words, it is the onset of puberty that helps you determine your sexual orientation. So here you are with a severe disconnect between your physical body and your mental perception of your own gender. To make matters worse you are all the more convinced because, lo and behold, you fancy boys. It then becomes all the more imperative to fix this problem.

I repeat: SEXUAL ORIENTATION WILL PLAY A CRUCIAL ROLE IN WHETHER YOU TRANSITION AND HOW EARLY YOU WILL DO SO.

What I have just stated is not just my opinion, but the latest in current thinking among gender researchers.

I can't speak for others but given the severity of my disphoria and if I had been oriented towards men by grade 6, there is no question in my mind that it would be a fully transitioned woman writing these words today.

I held off on my marriage until I was 32, all the while knowing something was wrong. I envied and wanted to be like other women but also was attracted to them. Oops! In the pre internet era of the 1970's and burdened with severe Catholic orthodoxy, I had a problem. It was really hard to make sense but not knowing anything about even the possibility of surgical and hormonal intervention, I suffered in silence.

In addition, due to my disphoria I had enormous difficulty impregnating my wife. I married and fathered children because I was expected to; not because I decided to take on male priviledge. How many heterosexual men line up for sex change surgery every year? A mere pittance. Why not? because they are perfectly content in their male identity.

From day one I never have.

This will be among the last of my posts addressing the science of gender reassignment and will just focus on my personal life.

Until such time as I see much more compelling evidence to the contrary I will continue to believe in the disorder known as GID as the unifying condition which afflicts all transsexuals. It is an unexplained abnormality for which science currently has no explaination. I continue to strongly support transitions on the basis that I understand through my own suffering how debilitating it can be to live with this condition and I applaud all efforts to deal with it as early as possible in life.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

the next and hopefully last phase....

If it helps me to resolve things in my head I will downgrade my self description to cross dresser. This has a less meancing connotation to it and helps to settle things into an area of certainty. It puts me in a safer zone.

Yes I have gender confusion but it need not go beyond where I am now. I'm getting my ya yas out now and tackling all of my pent up frustration. I'm crossdressing with reckless abandon and, maybe just maybe, arrive at an equilibrium where there is not the slightest doubt as to my status.

Do I envisage this hapenning? Yes I think I do.

I may be turning a page because one cannot live in utter constipation for decades without the cork popping out and all of the contents spilling out over God's green earth. My contents are spilled and I'm gathering them up slowly.

The thought processes have ended up as confused blog entries and desperate self questioning. But when all is said and done, I may be able to say: I figured out how to encapsulate my alternate gender expression into a container that fits its need

It need not be an unsatable monster that looks for more nourishment and in so doing has me mulling over irreversible surgery. I am happy but will be happier when the final pieces of the puzzle are inserted and I can see the final landscape image.

I am certainly closer to what I seek than I have ever been and these months alone in reflection mode have proven to be instrumental.

Friday, 3 May 2013

no surgery ever for me...

Just to be clear on my previous post, I will jot down my feelings and inclinatons but won't act on them necessarily. There will never be an operation for me. No matter how tempting it might appear at times it just isn't going to happen period.

happy but of course work remains...

Why does it appear that happiness equals femininity for me? and if it's not a natural state for me why does my brain go there. Why is that a personal endorphin and not for other males or at least a more significant portion of males.

Intetestingly, the more comfortable I am in my skin as Joanna, the more the idea of transition appeals to me. But of course that would require a full transformation because when I come home I don't change back anymore. I want to just slip into comfortable jeans and a t shirt but I'll still be Joanna and that would necessarily involve having a female body.

As I age I am also less interested in intercourse. My sexual driver in bed with a woman is seeing myself as a woman and in this way I am cagegorized as autogynephilic by Blanchard. I am increasingly less caring about having a relationship and more and more about being internally at peace.

So even as I am now happier than I have ever been and will concentrate on remaining so, something is still unresolved. The drive towards something more is there even as I desperately apply the breaks. The timing is terrible right now and I will do nothing.

My sense is that in the future I might.

I am not tied to my body - its just a vessel. But this vessel I inhabit is cross wired and there's something wrong. Like a car that needs a tune up in order to operate properly. The mental peace that I require is tied to this body somehow. My guts tell me living as a woman is a stop gap measure because I have been advancing so rapidly over the last 5 years.

Some early transitioners like AQV shake their head and tell me I have other issues but I beg to differ and less advanced disphorics like Marian want to strike a balance between having a relationship with a normal woman who, if she does not celebrate occasinal crossdressing outings, at least tolerates them. You have both challenged me in different ways but neither of you intrinsically understands where I am since we are all in the end individuals.

I seem to have crossed a threshhold and as I still bask in the radiance of having eradicated my shame and guilt, I still look at other women with envy and think:"I want to BE you". How long I can keep that at bay remains to be seen.

I remember sitting in that neighbourhood cafe as an 11 year old and hearing the comment addresed to my mother:" is this your daughter?" feigning indignation, I secretly beamed with internal satisfaction.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

final acceptance

Even though I read and participate in the transgender community through the internet I have deliberately avoided actual physical contact with others in recent years. The reason is that, other than our trans connection, I have tended to find very little in common with the people I have met in the past.


So I have remained in the regular world befriending people who either know or don’t know that I am biologically male.

With regards to the gender therapy it has been the same. As soon as it was proposed to me that I re enter the hospital gender program (which includes 1 hour of group therapy a week) I realized that I needed to opt out; my fear being that I might feel coerced into the idea of transitioning.

I have no mental problems to speak of. There is no depression present and other than the challenges that being transgender brings, I think I can make it on my own through the use of cross dressing. I won’t stress about frequency any longer as I have no one to report to but myself.

I tried for decades to stop and my life was less fulfilling and bleaker so I know that what I am doing is the right thing. It does not matter anymore that this represents an undesirable aberration for others.

It makes ME happy.

I have placed too much emphasis on choosing a side perhaps because the way I live now is perhaps like living in limbo. You are neither normal male nor normal female. But for better or for worse it’s MY normal.

The search for an elusive answer is over because there is none. It is how I am “point finale”.

I now move on to living with a fuller acceptance of myself. I will focus on getting my children through school and finding happiness in the music and the art I love to create.

The struggle I have lived with most of my life is coming to an end.

The personal growth over the past 10 months has been nothing short of remarkable. I now see how people feel when they accept themselves for who they are.

And I must admit that it feels pretty good.

Life Choices...

By posting my thoughts on all of the literature I have read I do not mean to make value judgement on anyone. It was my attempt to understand how the variables of sexualisation and orientation play their roles in people with gender disphoria. This is very much what researchers like Blanchard and others are doing (whether you agree with them or not). It’s almost like finding the unifying theory of the universe.


I needed to try and understand myself within whatever science we have.

While I know that early transitioners have had a very different experience than people like me, that does not invalidate the experiences of late transitioners.

Late transitioners are sometimes painted as men with a choice because we are not given credit for the suffering we go through on the grounds that we took on male privilege and married and fathered children. The fact of the matter is that this task is often monumentally difficult and we often feel like frauds. We play roles that we are expected to fulfill and we learn to play them well. Keeping everything bottled up explodes gloriously in our faces in our forties and beyond is not the least bit surprising to me. Less than 3% of the male heterosexual population cross dresses regularly and an even smaller percentage suffers from gender disphoria. Some of us are putting ourselves through transition and risking losing families and jobs and friends. This makes no sense but then whatever causes these feelings is compellingly strong and it’s not a sexual whim that causes it -believe me.

From our beginnings we do not want to be different so we play along. Then when puberty comes we find we like girls and we think: “Yes I am a boy and I can do this, I can forget about these feelings”

They never go away. They are just parked in the garage out back. Sometimes, as in my case, it takes a stroke to bring them all out.

They get progressively stronger as we age and bubble up to the surface when you can no longer hold them back. I fought as hard as I possibly could and I am a person with incredible resolve and self discipline. The oldest of 6 children and the dutiful son who did what he was told. I was part of a devout Catholic family for whom homosexuality and transsexuality were considered life style choices.

But I paid the price in living my life in a state of mental constipation.

I still fight today against the idea of transition because the plight of the late transitioner is that he has already built up a life as a father, husband and employee. There is a history there that cannot be undone. So as the pressure mounts you find ways to deal with your internal struggle.

My way is to live part time as a woman in order to relieve the pressure.

This will have to suffice and, until such time as my disphoria gets to a fever pitch and I can no longer stem the tide, I will continue the status quo.

I am highly functional and intelligent. I have two university degrees and I practice in engineering. I am also well read and highly analytical. But I cannot solve the riddle that is my GID.

But I have come to accept that this is the way I am and, instead of fighting upstream like a salmon, I will focus on the positive as best I can.

Would I be happier if I transitioned? Maybe yes but it’s not always about your own happiness its sometimes about doing the right thing; the right thing for my children and my ability to put them through school and holding on to my career in order to do so. Transition is also brutally hard and likely all the more so later in life.

When I was young I kept silent and did not know I had any choices. That was then and this is now.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

my final thoughts on the literature

It’s easy to see why Blanchard, Bailey and Lawrence have angered many in the transgender community. They had the audacity to suggest that gender identity and sexuality are not that distinctly separate and that there is more similarity between the two types of transsexuals that they propose, namely started out homosexual and started out heterosexual.

The homosexual transsexual is angry because they insist that they are women based solely on gender identity with no eroticism involved.

The heterosexual transsexuals are angry because they are virtually painted as paraphilic wankers who are essentially men with a sexual abnormality.
Firstly let me say that I agree with the basic findings of Blanchard that namely:
• There is not that much difference between transsexuals other than original orientation
• There is fantasy and eroticism present in both groups (whether admitted or not)
Some in the TS community claiming to be “true” transsexuals have little basis for their gender identification since their only proof lies in their insistence that they are actually women. The problem with this claim is that there is not a single shred of proof in either the DNA or in brain studies (size of the Bsc region may be tied to female hormone ingestion over time) that proves that in absence of HRT or SRS they would be anything other than normal males.

But let us bring GID into the picture for a minute. If gender disphoria is the common thread that ties all transsexuals together things start to make more sense. I don’t have an explanation for what causes GID but it can be used to explain things.

Let’s take a fictitious case study of 2 sets of boys; one group with gender disphoria and one group without. Each group consisting of one boy headed for heterosexual orientation and the other boy headed towards homosexuality.

The group without GID would produce one heterosexual male and one homosexual male.
The group with GID would produce what we normally find with transsexuals:

• The homosexual would be typically more feminine and more likely to be identified as girly. This type would today be identified as a trans kid and, given the right family circumstance and support structure, would be allowed to transition relatively early. This would eliminate the disphoria and produce (in the ideal case) a normal well adjusted woman instead of a disphoric gay male.

• The heterosexual would be more likely to find dissonance between what society tells him and his internal GID struggle. This boy would be more likely to ignore or battle against his gender issues in order to conform to societal expectation until everything explodes in his face; usually decades later.
It’s obvious why the former group wants to distance itself from the latter in the Blanchard model. By association with the second group, homosexual transsexuals feel that they are being treated as being less legitimate than they are. After all, who wants to be associated with paraphilic perverted men right?

But here is the problem. All transsexuals routinely downplay or lie about their erotic and fantasy aspects in their desire to be women; this is irrespective of original sexual orientation. The work of Blanchard and Lawrence and other studies routinely show this. In order to appear more legitimate most transsexuals will omit any sexualisation present in their desire for transition.

So do gender identity and sexuality exist in complete isolation? I firmly believe the answer is no. This is where I think Blanchard has it right.

Where I believe he has it wrong is that in an attempt to explain his theories at all levels, Blanchard stretches out the model of paraphilia to an absurd level. He argues that it’s possible for children as 3 or 4 years old to experience sexual eroticism related to their gender exploration. This completely runs counter to my personal experience and is counter intuitive given that sexualisation normally begins at or just after puberty.

Interestingly, Anne Lawrence states in her new book that she is not opposed to autogynephlic transsexuals transitioning solely on the basis of their sexual abnormality as long as the end result is a well adjusted woman. She has done that herself. Even if the person can delude themselves with other reasons for the transition, the result is what matters.

Anne Vitale has a more elegant approach in her work. She sees no distinction between transsexuals and only sees individuals who suffer from gender disphoria. The severity of the disphoria will determine how likely the person will require a process of partial or complete transition.

This model makes sense to me because not only does it make all transsexuals completely legitimate but it deals exclusively with GID and not how early or late an individual transitions or even whether eroticism was present or not. In the end sexualisation does not matter and does not make the claim for transition less worthy.

Do we know where GID originates? No we do not. What matters is that it exists and it must be dealt with. The milder the disphoria, the more likely you are to a cross dresser or gender variant person. The more severe the disphoria, the more likely you will transition.
I have a contact over at Pinkessence who is an archetype of the early transitioning homosexual transsexual that Blanchard describes. She has read Michal Bailey’s “The Man who would be Queen” and she found it rings true for her; including her experiences with eroticism and fantasy in feminization. I must admit that I have found much solace in our email exchanges given my own struggles.
In the end none of this will have an impact on how I live my life but I needed to come to some conclusions in order to feel comfortable about myself and my identity as a gender disphoric. I needed to understand myself through the literature.
I believe that I have now done this to my satisfaction.