Tuesday, 29 September 2015

befriending your dysphoria

My dysphoria is not about wanting to remove all vestiges of maleness. Instead it’s always been about being drawn to being a woman. Don’t ask me how that idea got there, it's just been present from earliest memory.

Part of my life journey has been about rejecting and then ultimately repatriating this difference of ours. Something I was happy to express while I was little but which was removed via the public shaming that inevitably comes with our socialization.

I don't have the slightest doubt that this draw towards being female will continue to exist in me until my dying days and that it forms part of my intrinsic wiring. The reason I refer to it as dysphoria is because in the text book sense that is what it is: the desire to be the other sex. However that pull can be channeled in other ways and have it serve your purpose.

I am fortunate that despite my stature I do pass relatively well. But even if I didn’t, my age and life confidence compensates for any fears I might have about the fickle public’s opinion.

My attitude now is this: you know nothing about who I am or what my life has been like so mind your own business. If anyone stares at me the wrong way I simply stare back and maybe smile in order to disarm them. The fact this rarely happens is because most people see a person comfortable in their own skin regardless of what gender they see.

Removing every ounce of insecurity about this is pivotal for all of us who grew up during the time when this was deeply frowned upon. Once you have gotten there (if you aren't there already) you will be in a better position to know whether to proceed further or not.


Monday, 28 September 2015

man on a mission

Walt Heyer is a man on a mission.

He is being quoted by right wing publications and conservative Christian groups because he openly advocates against the transgender condition as being pure mental illness.

Mr Heyer was indeed mentally ill at one point in his life. He suffered from depression and multiple personality disorder. At the hands of a therapist who should have known better, he was allowed to transition and ultimately have gender reassignment surgery. Now years later as a repentant man who found Jesus, he writes a blog railing against the folly of changing sex.

I don't doubt Walt Heyer's conviction nor his intentions. He wants to help people not make the mistake he did. The only problem however is that he is trying to generalize what happened to him as being typical when it is not. Having been to his site on a number of occasions, read his personal testimonial and viewed him speaking on television I could see how he could sway the opinion of those who know absolutely nothing about gender dysphoria.

There are plenty of religious transgender people out there who don't suffer from depression nor any form of delusion and I count myself among them. I also don't think he should presume to speak for others who may have transitioned and are well adjusted.

If he were to be less disingenuous, Mr. Heyer would use what happened to him as a cautionary tale about what can happen under the watch of medical professionals who should know better rather than generalize his experience as applying to everyone.

There are enough misinformed or bigoted folks out there and this disservice does not feed the public good nor elevate the discussion on this issue.



Sunday, 27 September 2015

what if there is a misfire

When you strip away the personal agendas, misinformation on the web and invented pseudoscience we must admit we know very little about gender dysphoria. Its wrapped in mystery and despite our best efforts to uncover its origins we have come to a series of dead ends each time.

All brains start off female and are then injected (for males) at the appropriate time with an androgen cocktail that is supposed to turn that fetus into a boy. Conversely, girls do not receive this same injection. But what if this does happen incorrectly in timing and/or in dosage and does not leave the evidence after the fact.

This misfire might be relatively rare but happen enough times to affect a sliver of all babies born.

We have other birth defects. There is Down Syndrome, physical abnormalities of every type, intersex conditions and so on. We also have seen fetuses being exposed to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) as well as to the estrogen infused pregnancy drug DES. It would hardly be far fetched to theorize that some babies were born with a dual gendered or gender reversed brain.

There are also estrogen tinged compounds that end up in our lakes and rivers and are skewing the birth rate towards female babies.

Should we be surprised then that we end up with transgender individuals? I am betting on this theory being correct and if so why can't people correct this disconnect through modern means?

I know I use the argument often here about less being more. Don't jump the gun to transition before you understand yourself. But once having gotten there with a mature mind and a wealth of experience behind you, who is to say you are wrong to do so.

We put dogmatically immovable constraints behind the meaning of man and woman when really the differences are less than our similarities.


Saturday, 26 September 2015

AGP dismantled

Please watch this video where Julia Serano systematically dissects and dismantles the pseudoscience that is Autogynephilia. She summarizes very well what I have been saying in my blog for quite some time now. At 22 minutes its hardly long and will explain everything you wanted and needed to know about this disgraceful theory.

Well done Julia.


Friday, 25 September 2015

two opposing groups argue along same lines

“Radical feminists reject the notion of a “female brain.” They believe that if women think and act differently from men it’s because society forces them to, requiring them to be sexually attractive, nurturing, and deferential. In the words of Lierre Keith, a speaker at Radfems Respond, femininity is “ritualized submission.””

This is a quote from a recent New Yorker article called “What is a Woman” which chronicles the battle between radical feminists and transgender women. Well it’s maybe not a battle but more of a dispute.

The natural differences between male and females have been duly noted in many scientific studies which have measured distinct brain patterns linked to behavior and to the creation of particular skill sets in each gender.

The issue of masculinity and femininity is more up for grabs however. Here we are in murkier waters and we don't know to what extent this is innate in people. I believe its part biology and part socialization.

What is interesting to note here is that radical feminists are using the same type of argument as transgender women. They say ignore biology and focus on how we are socialized. Transgender women say ignore biology and trust us when we say that we are women.

The biological component seems to be inconclusive in both acclamations.

So is there merit to simply going by feel? Yes because people need to feel right in their own skin. In this case emotion trumps facts. The problem is that the radfems want to deny rights whereas transgender women simply want to acquire them.

In the end I'd like to believe that no matter the wrapping, we're all just human beings looking for love and dignity.



Thursday, 24 September 2015

flashback 15 years

The photo below is the oldest picture I have of myself crossdressed. It was probably taken in the early 2000’s.

I don’t have many pictures of myself because I never took many. Maybe once or twice a year I would take one to see how I presented as a female and validate that the overall image was acceptable. That picture was taken at the house where my kids were born and needless to say no one was home at the time.

It would be years later when I would invite my youngest sister over to that same house only to surprise her with me fully dressed. The pot had already begun to boil over.

Not long after this photo was taken, the clothes, the wig and the shoes ended up in a dumpster somewhere along with the promise to never to do it again. Invariably the dry periods between these avowals would get shorter and shorter until I eventually conceded that I needed to check myself in for treatment which marked the beginning of a long period of adjustment to save my mental health. My resolve always having been such an important part of my personhood, I was devastated to see that this was a battle I could not win.

Contrast that with today where a room that used to be my son's is now used for Joanna's things. Its adjacent to my daughter's who pleasantly surprised me the other day.

I said to her as I was stepping out the door “you must find it strange that your dad does this”

She responded without hesitation “no that would be insulting to you wouldn’t it?”

She was right although for the longest time I didn’t allow myself to believe it. That and the fact that I wasn't meant to have a conventional life.