Monday, 27 January 2014

Phase II?

I surprised myself by adding a new post only a few days ago; something I had not intended on ever doing again.

I suppose I had thought of my blog first and foremost as a form of self therapy and, since my life of late has become very stable if not entirely devoid of issues here and there, I simply stopped writing.

My dysphoria is no longer causing me mental anguish. It is simply something I manage and live with.

Will there be a phase II to this blog? Perhaps yes but the posting frequency will certainly diminish.

I have learnt a lot about myself and others in writing my thoughts publicly through this blog and the feedback I have received has allowed me to heal myself while hopefully helping others who might be questioning their gender.

Over the last many months I had been exclusively contributing to Jack Molay’s “Crossdreamers” website which continues to be one of the premier places on the internet to discuss and examine gender research and human sexuality in all of its forms. What has been confirmed for me even more there is that there is for some of us a certain fluidity in our self perception as one gender or another and that there is no “one size fits all” branding for all of human kind.

I continue to believe strongly that there is a biological predisposition for gender incongruity in certain individuals; most especially if the behaviour is observed very early in life. The key is to try and understand the behaviour and put it into context so that it fits into your life rather than control all of its aspects.

Gender self perception appears to be hard wired as can be seen in the cases where male babies exposed to botched circumcisions, for example, have been re gendered only to have these children strongly identify as male later in life; in spite of their female socialization there was something rooted in the biology of these children that was clearly hardwired. The Canadian David Reimer comes to mind as a poignant example of what can occur when the wrong decision to undergo genital reassignment surgery is made.

There is no known cure for gender dysphoria (other than outright transition) that I am aware of so one is left to find his or her own solution. What will be most helpful is that the self analysis be conducted in a personal state devoid of guilt, shame or religious bias. This is the only way you will be able to come to terms with who and what you are.

However, transition is not for everyone and if you are one of those people, then you will need to find your own way to cope. If you fit into a Benjamin type III or type IV category, then a gender reassignment procedure could be a fatally bad decision.

The aid of a qualified therapist is often a good place to start but the opposite is also true if you find a bad one.

Recently the preeminent potter Grayson Perry, who is very public about his transvestism and has an alter ego known as Claire, received an award from Prince Charles for his 30 years of work in his field. He showed up to receive his prize garbed in a tasteful dress and heels appropriate for a woman his own age. In the audience were his wife and daughter who beamed with pride for the occasion.

Perry has always said that he has been a transvestite as long as he can remember and the fact that he was able to receive the award without ridicule says something about how far we have come as a society.

It made me think that not everyone is going to like you or the way you speak or dress but first and foremost you need to be yourself and that very simple thing can, for many of us, take a lifetime.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Epilogue

I hadn't planned on adding more entries here. Things are going well and I've got this management plan in place that is helping me deal with my dysphoria.

To all who are facing this beast my heart goes out to you because it's not an easy road.

It took me a long while to love myself as I am and to realize that there is no shame in being transgender.

It's a disease of the mind but it can be tamed and managed and it need not lead to transition. Think long and hard before going down that road because it is filled with many obstacles and, for some, deep regret. You need to be rid of all your demons and be more lucid than you've ever been in your entire life to even attempt going down it.

N and I are very happy together and we love each other as we are; wrinkles and foibles and dysphoria aside. We love each other in spite of everything.

To those who haven't read Harry Benjamin's "The Transsexual Phenomenon" I strongly urge that you do. If you are gender dysphoric you will find your life story within its pages. It is a timeless work devoid of gender politics and utterly brilliant in its simplicity and wisdom; written by a man who made it his life work to study people such as myself in order to try and determine what makes us tick.

No one has come close to his personal patient history and to this day it is still unrivaled as a work of scientific analysis into gender confusion.

Dysphoria is somehow rooted in biology and of that I am virtually certain. Please seek therapy for yours as it is essential that you find someone who understands the subject and can guide you through your thought process in coping with it. Don't settle for just anyone and make sure this person has treated many others like you before heeding their counsel.

Most of all have internal balance and peace of mind and know that your are loved by your creator.