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Showing posts from July, 2013

going forward

N and I are making a go of it. We want this relationship to work long term and, in order to do that, there needs to be trust and understanding on both sides.

We love each other and that’s a good start. I am a gender disphoric and she knows and accepts this and I come with responsibilities with my children in tow.

She wants to be respected and treated as an equal in this relationship and she wants no more silent treatment and no more verbal abuse. I am working towards this goal very diligently to make sure that does not happen again.
I am also starting to re think the sessions with Helene in the fall.

Will they add value? because, as God is my witness, I have absolutely no intention of doing anything to my body. No one can really help me with my management of my disphoria so I am not certain that I will gain from exposure to this group other than to impart my own particular viewpoint on to its members. Maybe I am wrong but this is the way I feel at the moment and I may change my mind a…

deception

The search for the origin of my gender disphoria now effectively over, I am focusing on my management techniques.

Joanna is a known entity. I am a divorced woman in her late forties and have a network of friends and merchants who are happy to see me and talk with me in that form. It's my pleasure to oblige them as it feeds that part of my soul that I had been trying to starve.

Many of these relationships were inadvertent. I wasn't originally trying to decieve but simply blend in but in succeeding beyond my wildest dreams, I found that I was able to tell the truth about my life and only lie about my birth gender.

By doing this I avoided the potentially awkward trans conversation that would ensue and with people who really need not know. I suppose a parallel example would be the stealth transsexual who, rightfully, decides to omit that she was born male.

Her objective is not to deceive but to live as normal life as possible in her chosen gender. In the same way, I find my ap…

.....no foul

Apologies if my last post insulted anyone's sensibilities.

I was trying to touch on the idea of avoiding transition through more liberal gender expression for those of us who might not be full transsexuals.

I would never presume to speak for those for whom there is no choice in the matter of whether they should or should not go all the way.

At a certain point you do need to make a choice what gender you will inhibit, unless you are an artist or employed in some field where your gender presentation and it's fluidity is not an issue.

I was perhaps being a little Utopian with my ideas but indeed it is sometimes nice to dream...

do no harm....

As AQV reminded me, the world would indeed be a better place if everyone accepted themselves for who they are and if society just let them do it. The latter of course is the biggest hurdle and some of us spend decades trying to come out from under the weight of expectation. The lucky ones are able to do it early but, for the rest of us, it becomes a struggle until we come to full self realization often decades later.

Such was my problem and the problem for many who grew up under very dogmatic rules tied solely to convention. Boys must wear this and girls must wear that we were told; end of story.

By the time we realize all of this, some damage is already done and the price of suppression is often high. Marriages are lost due to concealment of something that, for other women, could be at worst benign behaviour. But we hide because disclosure is seen as the ultimate unthinkable in light of this horrid perversion of ours.

In retrospect I now think: was I hurting anyone through my cross g…

freedom of expression

“So much of gender, I'd say most of it, is just that -- a display. A set of very small, disconnected behaviours that give the illusion of a whole identity. Sure, you'll never know what it's like to have a cis female body, but you can certainly own your femininity in the same you can own your taste in music, your sense of fashion, etc. Not to trivialize gender issues or imply that people don't have an innate sense of bodily sex, but I'm just talking femininity in terms of behaviour and the feelings that come with that behaviour”

Lindsay sent me this comment which was posted on crossdreamlife and I admit that it did strike a chord with me because much of my own history is coloured with the shame of needing to express my own brand of femininity.

Although the above statement is something you may agree or disagree with, it does try to convey feelings which are more tied to gender expression than to identity and, while I understand fully that I am a man and can identity…

no it's not quite the end....

My need for this journal is waning a little bit.

No I don't have all of the answers but with the reduction in angst is coming a proportionate disinterest in posting as frequently. This does not necessarily spell the end for this blog but I have no interest in chronicling every banality that I encounter in my daily experience either. In other words, don't look for me to describe in great detail the colour and shape of my latest Joanna purchase because it just won't happen.

I am coming to terms with the fact that, with the demise of my guilt, I am now left purely with the more pragmatic managenent issue of doling out my dressing in measured but frequent proportions.

Having acknowledged to myself that this is something I need to prevent me from slipping into a pink depressive fog, I need not beat myself up any longer over it.

Like Popeye very succinctly said: "I am what I am".

The overlap with all of you being so buoyant to my spirit, will almost guarantee that…

what the doctor ordered....

It's starting to feel like my work is almost done.

It's the homework that I should have done many years ago but refused to undertake perhaps for fear of finding something sinister hiding underneath. It's the treatment of a scab that was left dangling and uncured until I came back to tend it to it properly.

If I had not spent the last year in a figurative purgatory trying to understand myself, I would be a lot worse off right now.

The timing was as good as any.

What remains now is to dose out a guilt free application of cross dressing to prevent my gender disphoria from reducing my quality of life. The more I have given validity to this important tool, the more I have begun to feel better about the idea of never transitioning.

My refusal to accept that my disphoria was real and that my instincts were leading me in the right direction all along was causing my suffering. The elimination of the guilt that was behind it all, was what the doctor ordered.

I believe I can do…

you shall overcome.,.

It's funny how my outings as Joanna have markedly improved due to the elimination of two major obstacles: lack of confidence and guilt.

When I was younger and as recently as a few months ago, one or both of these monsters would conspire to rob me of my ability to feed my disphoria in a positive way.

It was like trying to drink orange juice from a partially plugged straw thus never benefiting from the experience in a full and satisfying way. This has now dramatically changed and I can not only relax fully without worrying about what others might think but also bask in the calmness of a guilt free experience.

I know this took me many years to achieve and yet it seems so obvious in retrospect. The simple act of doing what comes natural to you has a power like no other and for the first time ever I am able to draw life from this source.

I have overcome my two worst enemies and I could not be happier for it.

perhaps a way forward..

I am fairly certain that the best approach is to view or, perhaps more appropriately, trick myself into thinking I am both a man and a woman. If I can have that fluidity present where, in the absence of guilt, I can move freely between gender presentations, then I can make a go of it without any form of physical transition.

N and I exchanged a series of emails today over these questions. We still love each other and want to make a go of it as a couple.

What had scared me in the beginning was that, upon seeing me dressed a few times, she started to express that it was beginning to affect the way she saw me as a male. That confirmation made me recoil into hiding mode where I would avoid contact with her as I was entering or leaving the house as Joanna. I began to feel scared and perhaps a little bit rejected.

I misunderstood her because she reiterated today that I should not underestimate what she is capable of. I take her at her word that she means it.

I know that over the last year I …

one foot in front of the other...

This morning I went to the passport office very early as my son needs to have one if we are to enter the States for a few days in early August.

As I waited in line, a transsexual woman who I estimated to be roughly my age, walked past. She looked self assured and comfortable in her own skin and if it weren’t for slight vestiges of facial and corporal masculinity, she might have escaped my detection.

I admit to feeling a slight pang of jealousy as she walked by and I could not help but imagine that, as hard as getting there must have been, her demeanour showed a self assuredness that I found quite admirable. She had (at least on visual inspection) arrived at a place where I had not: complete internal peace with her gender identity.

It made me realize that there remains work to be done for me as the ebbs and flows of my disphoria continue to have me think different things on different days. This is why I know I am not yet there. I want desperately to settle into a permanent state wher…

solving your conundrum...

Gender presentation and identity are extremely important to society and it is mandatory that you choose a gender role in order to adhere to expectation. The higher you are in the echelon of that society the tighter this rule will apply.

But there are people who are not entirely comfortable in either gender role and are perfectly at ease saying so. They call themselves gender queer and they leave you with an impression of androgyny which often confuses those who interact with them. It is a deliberate blurring of the lines to send the message that they subscribe to neither camp entirely. They dance to the beat of their own drummer so to speak.

People like me, who have had trouble espousing any type of gender variance or fluidity, have a history that is chequered with quasi schizophrenic behaviour. The reason for this is our natural instincts to express ourselves outside the gender norm were met very early on with rejection from our peers, educators and families. From there it had to go…

disclosure

I was not able to stay away very long.

I think I need this blog and it’s become my main source of therapy. I have also been greatly bolstered by the feedback I get from all of you.

Yesterday, I was at my youngest sister’s house and we were able to converse a little after not having seen each other for several weeks. She has been my biggest confidante among my siblings over the last five years as I have battled with my gender issues. She also helped get me through my divorce by always lending a friendly ear and being a sounding board when I needed to vent.

She knows I am a borderline transsexual and so does my brother in law.

It has been good to be so OUT within my family and friends and I cannot think of a single person who has outright rejected me over the news that I am transgendered. In fact most people have told me that they see me as the same person irrespective of the news. In fairness however, most have never seen me dressed so the information they possess about me remains ver…

thoughts on a Friday morning....

I hope this blog does not appear to be only about navel gazing, because if it does I certainly don't mean it to be.

I started it as therapy and the only reason I made it public was because I wanted to get feedback from those who might be in the same situation as well as helping others by sharing my own struggle with gender disphoria. This blog would not exist in the absence of my gender issues.

Without trying to be critical, I have noticed that some in the trans community write blogs which chronicle their life as it happens. They talk about the people they meet, the parties they attend and the clothes they have purchased.

I wanted this blog to be a little more existential and get more into the meat of where this brain disconnect between physical and perceived gender comes and how to grapple with it.

On another note, I have noticed that as my disphoria ebbs and flows, I am sowing seeds of doubt whether I can be with N or with anyone else for that matter. After all, why would I e…

what the heck IS normal anyway?

I was thinking about my situation last evening. There is no known cure for what I have and if I am, as I am starting to suspect, a type IV transsexual (according to the Benjamin scale) that puts me in a precarious situation; but one which I am trying to work out within the confines of my present reality.

This means no hormones and no surgical intervention of any kind.

But then I thought about what becoming “normal” would really mean for me. Type V and VI would get surgery and live out their lives as normal women (hopefully in stealth). Types 1 and 2 could hopefully get by with their cross gender expression and go back to happily feeling like (at least somewhat) normal men.

With type III and IV thinks get a little murkier.

In order to be normal this would presumably mean that I would no longer have a need to express any cross gender behaviour, ie. no more dressing up and no more pretending to be a woman in public.

But who gets to decide what normal is? There are so many variations in…

transsexual versus transgender part 2

I was at a blog called “Transsexualism: A congenital disorder” and came upon this comment from an anonymous poster in agreement with the transsexual woman who authored the blog:

“What a 'spot on' blog. I suggest this should be 'required reading', for anybody and everybody looking for a clear and reasonable understanding of the clear and present distinction between a real yet treatable, medical malady and what is demonstrably a lifestyle choice”

This is an example of the kind of comment I was referring to where someone who is transsexual feels the need to disparage transgender people as exercising a lifestyle choice.

This is clearly an error in judgement and lack of knowledge about the other camp.

The transsexual has no choice but to transition however the transgender equally has no choice but to express who they are. There need not be any reason for these comments but there they are.

It seems ludicrous that these two separate groups should need to be in a battle at all…

The difference one year can make...

At the end of the day it has really always been about gender presentation.

I don’t hate being male and have only ever wanted to have more fluidity of gender expression. It’s part of who I am and to achieve it I need not do anything to my body.

It was something that came naturally to me right from the very beginning and had I always been able to do that freely and openly at the outset there would have never been an internal conflict. There is something feminine in my nature which draws life when I am cross dressed. Where that comes from I have not a clue but it does not matter.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with it.

I think for many people currently labelling themselves transgender in our society, this is their true dilemma. Males have traditionally had a far more restrictive set of rules placed on them as to how they can dress and behave and, when that criteria does not fit the individual, there can be psychological damage done; especially when their natural inclinations are sacri…

transsexual versus transgender

The transsexual versus transgender arguments that I sometimes encounter on the web have always baffled me. I never saw a need for them and I still don’t.

There are likely people out there who are really transsexuals and have never transitioned and we certainly know of people who were really transvestites, crossdressers or disphorics who transitioned only to later realize that they had made an error. Some maybe adjusted to their reality but if they had it to do over they may not have carried through with the operation.

The fact is that science is not currently able the make the distinction between them.

The main driver seems to be the personal conviction of the individual who is suffering often debilitating disphoria and, because changing your gender is so inconceivably horrific to most people, there has to be something there far beyond personal whim driving this directive.

This is why I so strongly support the idea of transition for those who feel there was no other option for their…

Acceptance and balance is key...

N and I went out for a bite to eat last evening. Once again it was very pleasant and we talked at length.

At one point she looked at my fingernails and said: “you still have bits of nail polish on them”

She then looked me straight in the eyes and said very earnestly: “that’s not why I left you know”

“I know” I said assuredly to show I was acknowledging she was being genuine.

In the end it was not my being who I am that’s ever been the problem but the combination of my personal battle with my disphoria coupled with the other issues of her pets and my kids. When things threatened to spill over the stress manifested itself with my outbursts of verbal anger.

There is no cure for being transgendered. I know this because I have tried everything and, other than ending my own life, I know of no other remedy for this condition. There are however methods to curb and control the disconnect that exists in your brain and to espouse your nature in a positive way.

There is also nothing wrong with be…

whole and balanced

One of the major changes that's making things work for me has been getting Joanna out and about and social with people. I believe this is a pivotal element that had been missing from my outings.

My escapades were starting to feel very empty and boring and since my overlap with the trans community has been less than stellar, meeting new people has boosted my female identity tremendously.

I know it sounds and feels strange to have another identity but it seems to be my only way to make peace with my disphoria.

What's left now is how to fit Joanna into an even more constructive way into my life without her needing to necessarily take over.

I am already seeing signs that this may work because as each outing becomes more valid and constructive to me, the faster I can satiate the beast that is my disphoria. In other words, by drawing more protein I can shorten my time out as Joanna and thereby balancing her presence in my life.

There is also the issue of distraction.

When I am out w…

coping strategies...

I am on to coping mechanisms and strategies now and moving away from "origin" analysis. The former will be helpful while the latter will be futile and serve no purpose.

AQV quite rightly reminded me of this in an email.

I plan to attend Helene's group in order to find coping methods for my disphoria and possibly learn how others manage theirs. I already know that for some the answer will lie in transition but I have decided that this path would be unwise for me.

Even if I am already far more emotionally balanced than I was regarding this issue, I suspect there is still more work to be done than I might now estimate. If the result produces a better me, then I am all for engaging in the process.

Next thursday morning I have an appointment with a psychologist to discuss my verbal abuse. I promised N that I would do this and it can only be helpful if it gives me additional strategies to cope with emotional stress when and if it returns at the level I experienced in our darke…

what's next?....life I suppose...

Understanding oneself can take half a lifetime. It certainly has been the case for me.

I remember as a very young child putting on my mother’s heels and playing with my sisters and then very swiftly having the carpet pulled out from under me by my well meaning mother trying to avoid the catastrophe of her son being different.

From there it went underground and the privacy of my room. When no one was home the first thing I did was go into my mother’s closet.

It would have been helpful of course to understand where these emotions and the drive to the feminine were coming from but I would never find any true answers. I was able to piece fragments together but my research did not really begin in earnest until my mid forties. I delayed it all due to my total denial about my condition.

I believed I was a flawed and perverted person and was easily led to fall prey to the ideas of Anne Lawrence, Ray Blanchard and Michael Bailey. For a time, it seemed to fit my behavior until I started readin…

the Benjamin scale

Here is the definition of a type IV transsexual on the Benjamin scale:

TYPE IV - Transsexual - Non-Surgical

• Gender "feeling" : Uncertain Wavering between TV and TS. May reject "gender".

• Dressing Habits and Social Life : "Dresses" often as possible with insufficient relief of gender discomfort. May live as man or as a woman.

• Sex Object Choice and Sex Life : Libido low. Generally asexual or autoerotic. May be bisexual.

• Conversion Operation (SRS) : Attractive but not required.

• Hormone Therapy/Estrogen Therapy : Needed for comfort & emotional balance.

• Psychotherapy : Only as guidance, most often refused and unsuccessful.

• Remarks : Social life dependant on circumstances. Often identifies as "transgenderist".

This describes me almost perfectly.

As far as estrogen therapy goes I am not sold on the idea because it would tamper with my brain chemistry, make it harder for me to pass as a male. My saving grace here has been my abil…

progress..

In spite of the discrimination that still exists, its never been a better time in history to be transgender or transsexual.

I know I can see a dramatic difference in how we are treated today by society at large and by the media and it's a far cry from when I was growing up in the 60's and 70's. Back then men either wore dresses to instill laughter or were portrayed as lurid and decadent transvestites or bizarre drag queens in films and TV shows.

Young transgender kids are being diagnosed early and, in many cases, allowed and even encouraged to be themselves by sensitive and caring parents.

By contrast, in the Catholic Spain of the 60's being a trans kid was virtually a prescription for exorcism.

I dared not ever divulge a word about my penchant for dresses and make up to my parents even as I understand now that they might have been far more sympathetic to my situation than I estimated.

Still, my own understanding of what I had was far from what I know today and the sci…

we talk some more....

I have been greatly bolstered by my blog followers of late and have received some wonderfully supportive comments that are helping get through this critical period in my life.

I say critical because I need to put to rest the idea that I will ever transition and I am closer than ever to entrenching that idea in my head.

I understand very well that Joanna is not going anywhere and that she represents my only lifeline in keeping myself balanced and in control (in as much as one can exert control) of my GID. The trick is going to be finding just the recipe of cross gender expression.

Yesterday, N and I took a walk in the old part of the city and we talked about a potential future together. We talked about the things I said in my blog and I explained that a lot of the statements I made were accurate but were also peppered with spur of the moment emotions and impressions. They are reflections of reality or sometimes wishful thinking which allows it to be my vehicle for personal therapy. If…