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Showing posts from August, 2015

parenting

When I examine my own history with my mother and father, I realize that their mix of personalities likely contributed towards the development of my gender dysphoria.

As I have often repeated here, I am from the Harry Benjamin school of genetic predisposition, but it’s important to note where the sociological aspects contribute in the development of the child.

Having a strong and controlling mother and caring, bookish and slightly distant father was probably not the best combination; neither was having two sisters immediately follow me in the birth order. I have a brother who is 5 years younger and he is as conventional a male as you can get. He was even dressed up by my sisters repeatedly with no ill effects on his gender identity.

Each person’s set of circumstances is entirely unique and, having read so many narratives over the years, I see no clear patterns emerge that would clearly point to why someone develops gender dysphoria. But there are likely some elements that carry more we…

correcting misconceptions

Julia Serano has had to start moderating the comments on her website. All because people who have never experienced gender dysphoria deem themselves worthy of pontificating on gender and how things are supposed to be.

Well I would gladly trade places with those people so they could experience dysphoria for themselves. They would clam up awfully quickly.

We don't get this type of willfull arrogance elsewhere. People don't argue with those suffering other conditions and yet some deem themselves qualified to weigh in on this one. I read many comments ranging from those on the hateful dimwit fringe to the relatively educated but its astounding how much this issue perturbs and excites people.

Transgender people don't ask to be this way so if the general public takes that as a starting premise it will be that much likely that they won't be so cavalier with their opinions regarding something they cannot possibly understand.

Recently I had to explain to a friend I have known f…

becoming more visible

Finding a practical comfort zone as a transgender person is not simple. Even if we say to ourselves that we should just not care about what others think we do because we are human. We seek approval and want to be loved and accepted; ideally while being able to present in a way that we are comfortable.

The world naturally and viscerally rejects the concept of a transgender person. Why? because it is confusing, to some visually disturbing and a foreign experience to most people. They simply cannot relate to the feelings that have always been part of our lives.

These constraints force us into a situation where we must literally ignore what people think of us because (simply put) a lot of people are going to disapprove of you. Many in your own family and circle of friends will not understand why you are doing this to yourself (and to them).

Therefore what is going to need to happen is that enough transgender people live openly thus becoming an unavoidable fact of life. People need to see …

"Don't forget the broccoli"

Yesterday my daughter saw me dressed for the first time. No nothing exploded and no one (to my knowledge) rolled over in their grave.

I was just going to step out and grab a coffee and in the process get a few groceries as I am prone to do. I normally do that after work and always in Joanna mode. She was in the process of re arranging her room as she will be staying with me a couple of nights a week while she attends a local college.

She peered up from the her activity just long enough to look at me and say: "don't forget the broccoli!"

As previously stated I needn't even have concerned myself in the least but, as someone who years ago would have been horrified at the prospect of disclosure, I can't but help marvel a little at how unfazed she was. Makes me wonder how I ever thought there was ever anything to worry about.

It might just be that the world that I grew up in no longer exists.


sex and gender

Gender non-conforming people have always been with us and yet it was only really beginning in the 20th century that we began to try and truly attempt to analyse what made them tick. This began with the work of people like Alfred Kinsey and Magnus Hirshfeld as well as Harry Benjamin who tried to put some form of scientific rigour and categorization to try and explain behaviour that had existed as long as people have been on this planet.

The results were mixed and what we ended up doing was akin to putting a harness on a wild stallion. The lack of scientific evidence for an origin of the desire to express one’s gender in opposition to one’s birth sex led to dead ends everywhere. However what we also discovered is that the range of expression was actually more varied than we had imagined. Kinsey found much the same thing when he began to study the sexual tastes (through very private questioning) of people who on the surface looked to be normative in every sense. Behind closed doors, peop…

relationships

There seem to be so few winners when transgender people come out after years of secrecy and nowhere is the impact more keenly felt than on relationships. Even when entering into one with pre knowledge, there are no easy solutions. This is especially true for the gynephilic male to female.

The vast majority of genetic females are genetically wired to sexually desire a man. We can explain to them and to ourselves that gender identity and orientation are not always related but doesn’t do anything for a woman who thought she married a normal man.

When the transgender person enters into a marriage early in his life he often thinks he can drown that part of himself in the bathtub; I know I did. So the marriage is entered into with an earnest belief that he is not deceiving anyone. Once the dysphoria reaches a fever pitch (typically after the age of 40) something must be done or risk a mental breakdown.

The transgender person once self realized suddenly wants to expand the exploration of wh…

we the tedious

A lot of people out there in cyberspace are commenting about how fed up they are of reading stories about the transgender. I suppose I can understand but at the same time I am disheartened at the intensity of the antipathy expressed.

To those who are so fatigued I apologise if you find us tedious.

However I and a host of others were fed up of hiding. I think those complainers will have to tolerate our stories for just a little longer because we are now witnessing the next great social revolution and it was long overdue.

As a long misunderstood and discriminated against group, coming out into the daylight could not come soon enough. Doing it in this dramatic and whirlwind fashion was maybe a bit much for some but that is sometimes the price of social progress.

Those who don't want to read about us don't have to. Maybe just keep your prejudice and ill will to yourselves?



an interesting series

There is a series of videos on YouTube by Transline Hollywood that I find interesting. They focus on specific issues facing transgender people and is hosted by a genetic woman who, most of the time, interviews Suzanne - a transgender male to female who lives part time as a woman.

One particular video which caught my attention dealt with the subject of transgender dating. The guest on that segment was a transitioned woman named Leigh who looked to be in her late fifties. In her previous life she had been living as a gay man.

If you watch the video you will see Leigh explain that she transitioned in her early fifties which is somewhat unusual for an androphilic transgender woman. She states in the video knew she felt she was a female very early on and told her parents but after being counselled against it by a therapist, she decided to continue living her life as a man.

Contrast Leigh with Suzanne who was married twice to women who knew about her transgender nature.

Leigh is now marrie…

a question of faith

My religious upbringing has always had me pondering the legitimacy of modifying one’s body in order to align it with our self image. I am fortunate that I have not had to face a level of dysphoria so extreme that I could not survive another day as a male but it makes me wonder about those who feel that way.

I was watching a program where a religious school denied a 10 year old transgender girl from attending class as her chosen gender. Her parents had not encouraged her in any way and from a very young age she had been firm in her identity as a female. Finally and somewhat grudgingly her parents accepted her as a girl and allowed her to live that way. They were shocked when the school denied what they had allowed their own daughter to do.

These are not easy questions because they go to the root of what fundamentalist Christians believe: God does not make mistakes. If you were born a male then that is how you should live.

Clearly there are people who transition who perhaps should reco…

sticks and stones...

For decades people who felt neither perfectly male nor female have lived the best way they knew how in societies that ran the gamut between openly hostile to wholly tolerant. This meant that some lived entirely in the closet while some were accepted as a third gender.

Our western society has moved along on the spectrum of acceptability. Since the days of the Phil Donahue show where perplexed audience members struggled to understand what heterosexual cross dressers were all about, we have moved forward in our understanding and tolerance of gender variance.

The new cross dresser of today has more latitude than ever but they don’t call themselves that. The under twenty five year olds see themselves as either androgynous, gender variant, non-binary or perhaps use no terms at all because they don’t need to. Their behaviour is increasingly being seen as part of a mosaic that stretches beyond what we used to think was acceptable.

That need for definition was more relevant when people were de…

our newest challenge

We have come to a fork in the road where we never imagined we’d be. People are asking themselves what makes a man or a woman and the ensuing opinions sometimes fall along political lines.

Very broadly, conservative people tend to think of birth sex as the determining factor whereas liberals tend to be more in tune with the idea that the identity in our brain is what determines our true gender.

This is an issue that is increasingly coming to the foreground as transgender people are more visible and enter into our mainstream existence. They want to join the scouts or enter a beauty pageant and suddenly we are faced with a dilemma. This will only be happening more frequently as transgender people, because they don't desire to or cannot, do not begin their new lives in stealth.

But what should be the right answer?

I think the common sense approach would be to let people be who they are. Already we suffer enough discrimination along gender lines without the transgender question being …

a clear ruse

Before I explain what this post is all about, I will provide some personal background.

I am now and always have been attracted sexually to women and have never been interested in men. My gender dysphoria has been present for as long as I can remember and prior to being married I had never had sex with a woman. I had come close but Catholic guilt would have eaten me alive but it was certainly not for lack of desire because just holding a young woman's hand that I fancied would give me an erection.

When I got married I was 32 years of age and I was already damaged goods. My dysphoria had fused itself to my sexual being since, by the age of puberty, I had been having spontaneous ejaculations while crossdressed. Before puberty my cross dressing had no sexual overtones to speak of.

The only way I was able to help conceive my children was by imagining myself as a woman which was something which greatly confused and perturbed me. Since I had not had sex with a woman before marriage, I di…

seeking professional guidance

When the DSM changed the nomenclature from gender identity disorder to gender dysphoria the psychiatric community was acknowledging that they no longer considered the condition to be a mental disorder. This was good in that the stigma was removed for those who care about such things and I think most transgender people should.

Having it remain a mental disorder left one with the impression that this was the product of a delusional mind and that despite its offer of treatment, the psychiatric community was saying it could provide a solution without necessarily standing behind the patient’s claims.

After all, this was the same method used by Ray Blanchard who, while recognizing that his patients benefited from transition, wrote about them much like the man who thought he was Napoleon. They were to be pitied and helped but not necessarily to be believed.

This is why my scepticism of the psychological community remains strong and why I think it’s important to act as your own healer while p…

We have the conversation

My daughter and I spoke on the phone last night and I brought up my lifestyle and how I crossdress on a daily basis. She was basically fine with it all as I expected.

The only thing she mentioned was that it might take a little bit to get used to seeing me dressed. In answer to that I reinforced the point that I would never push this side of myself on her and she need never see me. However with her staying with me two nights a week, the chances of her not are somewhat slim.

But then she said something that impressed me. She told me that it would be insulting to me not to have that part of myself respected. She found it to be a strong and valid part of who I am and she was going to support it.

My daughter is part of that generation for whom these issues are far less important and traumatic. Two of her close friends already identify as gender non-conforming and they have no trouble expressing that openly.

As it turns out, I needn’t have been the least bit concerned about how our conver…

"She has caused me far too much grief"

When I look at my own life long battle with gender dysphoria, I credit two things with keeping me from doing anything about it: my strict Catholic upbringing and my willingness to want to please my family and conform to expectations. It was really not something I ever questioned until the pot started to boil over in my early forties and I had to face it head on.

Jack Molay wrote something recently in a comment on someone else’s blog that really made me think. He wrote:

“I am not in love with my inner woman. She has caused me far too much grief”

I cannot argue at all with those words because they very adequately describe my own life experience. Gender dysphorics don’t go looking for their condition but rather it happens and they deal with it in the best way they know how. If the world were devoid of prejudice this would not have been a problem but the fact that it is means that most of us suffered greatly for being different and we did so from a young age. We also learnt to be deceitfu…