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Showing posts from February, 2016

one of our biggest challenges

Reading Stana’s post from this morning got me thinking about one of the main problems that we transgender people face when our brain gender identification does not line up with our orientation. Most of us don’t marry thinking that we are going to try and deceive our spouses in fact quite the contrary; we think we can eliminate the feelings or at least manage them through periodic crossdressing or in some other manner.

The problem is that as we age the feelings seem to intensify and we are tired of fighting back the tide. The urge to live truly honestly as close to our mind’s ideal can become almost overwhelming.

For those who want to save their marriages there are no simple answers. Gender dysphoria is a powerful beast that demands our attention and doesn’t seem to care about our existing life situation. It has a mind of its own at times.

This is one of those areas where there are no right answers and you are up against the reality of making a decision that is less than perfect. The o…

more pseudoscientific secrets revealed

Ray Blanchard’s acolytes love to impress us with statistics. They show us graphs which point to how many people got sexually excited by imagining themselves as women.

But then I say: “Ok you have shown that gynephilic pre-transition transsexuals have abnormal sexuality. I accept and know that from personal experience and for that matter so do their claimed other group the androphilics before they transition since they have the wrong equipment to fulfill their fantasies”.

But their statistics are analogous to throwing a ball out the window and exclaiming: “look every time I do this it falls to the ground!”.

Do it over and over and you will get the same result.

Enter Sir Isaac Newton who exclaims: "I have the governing equation for what is going on and it is thus....."

F = ma

Where the force on the object F is equal to its mass times the gravitational acceleration constant of 9.8 m/s2.

The Blanchardians are still stuck at throwing the ball out the window and thinking they hav…

new study on trans mental health

This story about a new study which studied the mental health of transgender children won't surprise transgender people or those who support them. It clearly shows that if you love them as they are and allow them to be themselves they don't have higher rates of depression than anyone else.

Depression and despondency come when we do the opposite and try to heal them of something they were born with.

http://www.king5.com/story/news/local/2016/02/26/uw-study-challenges-assumptions-transgender-mental-health/81014682/

another analogy

Science is based on facts backed up with concrete and experimentally verifiable evidence.

The Autogynephilia theory states that the presence of arousal to their own image as females in gender dysphoric men is the main cause of their desire to transition. The problem is that I could just as easily counteract this proposal by saying that the presence of arousal is part and parcel of a bigger and more complex picture and instantly arrive at a stalemate because no further evidence could be put forth substantiating the original claim.

Further complicating matters is that not everyone who experiences arousal chooses or even desires transition. Remember that its not whether the arousal is there or not but more about attributing your entire motivation to it.

Allow me to illustrate with an analogy:

Suppose you associated rain with directly being the cause of lightning and thunder. After all we frequently see them together and could be forgiven for assuming a direct causal correlation. In actu…

no regrets

I had a very normal childhood.

I had two loving parents and we had a conventional family in every way. We went to church every Sunday and we were taught to be honest and respectful of others.

By the time I was 5 years old I knew I was different and knew well enough to hide it.

I would end up in my room alone using some item of my clothing as a skirt and pretend to be a girl when I was sure no one would barge in. As I got older and could be left alone at home I would raid my mother’s closet and try on her things always being careful to put everything back as I had found it.

Most of us cannot explain this desire and most of us did not ask for it. It simply was.

As I got older and became interested in girls I tried so hard to suppress it and succeeded for long periods but it caught up to me in my 12th year of marriage when everything came undone.

I know now with every fiber of my being that this is something you are born with. The best thing to do is to accept and not fight because doin…

the filter of lived experience

Among the things I have learned over the years in reading about this interesting topic is how incredibly complex the human species is. We think we see everything at the surface but we actually know very little about what makes people tick. When I was younger I assumed that what I was seeing I could take at face value but this was far from being the reality. What made things worse was that I thought I was virtually alone with no internet to guide me and only a scattering of books as reference.

The true portrait of humanity is varied and complex and made even more so by the myopic filtering that personal experience brings each one of us. In order to gain true perspective you almost have to scrub your mind of personal bias which cannot be truly accomplished because it forms part of your lived experience. Ideally we would learn while being able to park the biases that sneak into our belief system.

Turns out I am not nearly as odd as I used to think myself to be or as exceptional and there…

a clear lack of empathy

I have been trying to understand for the longest time why and how the desire to express oneself as a female so early in life becomes sexualized and where the dividing line between transvestism and transsexualism lies. Now that I have divested myself of the emotional weight this issue once held for me, I can examine it and myself more closely in order to glean some understanding of the phenomenon. Because at the end of the day, I have yet to read anywhere a plausible explanation as to how the connection between gender identity and sexuality becomes misaligned.

Harry Benjamin was aware of all this when he treated his numerous patients but he did not overly focus on it because his causal hypothesis rested in biology. If one had this condition from birth then everything that one experienced was a direct result of its existence.

In 1989 Ray Blanchard took the opposite approach in that this so called condition lay in abnormal sexuality which then prompted the creation of a false female iden…

becoming jaded

When I was young I did not question authority very much although I possessed the intellect to do so I took the approach that things must be structured this way for a reason. My religious instruction helped to solidify that idea and it took me time to begin to question my black and white world.

Now I have the opposite problem in that I tend to see through things easily and my life experience has given me the toolkit to be able to quickly dissect through camouflage.

This is both good and bad as one tends to become jaded with age and even cranky. I know N accuses me of this sometimes and she isn’t entirely wrong. I tend to downplay and criticize things sometimes and need to stop myself for fear of becoming too cynical.

Some of that cynicism was forged in my early years when I saw behavior of people that did not fit with the kind of charity that I was expecting. Perhaps as a way of making up for my silence back then I now overcompensate with snarky commentary where maybe saying nothing mi…

the information age

The most important and valuable asset to have in this life is to be your own person. To have the ability to shake off criticism and be true to you is nothing short of miraculous strength. Not everyone possesses this ability and many of us acquire it only later in life. But this is the best tool in your arsenal that will allow you to survive in the world.

I was a dutiful pleaser, shy and self-conscious which only helped prolong my discomfort. Add to that a deep secret and I had a recipe for much grief. But I look back at that as part of my formation of who I am today and I am not sure skipping any steps would have been beneficial because it helped form my character as a person.

Those of you who grew up in the 60’s and 70’s (or earlier) know how hard it was for people like us. There was little information and no place to turn for help for fear of ridicule. There was no internet where you could find a kindred spirit.

So when I see today’s transgender youth having the kind of resources I …

out for all to see

For most people biological sex and gender identity are closely aligned. They don't experience any disconnect between those two realities. Even if some push the envelope of what is accepted male and female behaviour they never flinch in their knowledge or understanding of who and what they are.

Today we recognize more than ever that these two aspects can also be misaligned in certain individuals; the most extreme example being a complete reversal leading to a need for correction.

So what constitutes male and female apart from biological sex? The most obvious answer would at first be the animas of masculine and the feminine. But these qualities can be almost entirely reversed in some persons with no apparent confict or discomfort.

Some women are entirely comfortable adopting masculine attire and behaviour which comes natural to them and it is likewise for some men towards the feminine. Strangely, the people most comfortable with their existing bodies who sometimes exhibit gender ro…

Mr. Caitlyn Jenner

This what being a Republican gets Caitlyn Jenner: the courtesy of being addressed in male pronouns.

Now admittedly this site is more right leaning than some but it strikes at the heart of the challenge that people who transition face in front of Biblically literalist evangelicals and very staunch right wingers who cannot see past the DNA issue. They are still stuck on the garden of Eden so you're not going to get them to budge.

Gender dysphoria may be recognized by expert clinicians and researchers who treat and care for the transgender but for a great many people this comes down to pure folly.

What is funny is that while some transgender and transsexual people themselves can't get their own house in order (Blanchardism versus biology) the rest of the world could care less and either embraces or wholeheartedly rejects.

Ever since Republicanism became less and less about fiscal conservatism and more about traditional (dare I say backward) positions on wedge issues like homosex…

watershed

Up until the time I accepted myself for who I was, my life before that seems in retrospect to have been an attempt at avoidance at any cost.

I distracted myself with activities and caved in to crossdressing just enough to relieve the pressure on my psyche. All to no avail. The best analogy I can think of is putting your finger in the hole of the dyke in hopes all that water behind it doesn't break through.

It did of course.

Now I look back to realize that everything transpired the way it did for a reason. I had so much to undo and so many misconceptions to dispel that my journey back was going to be a little tougher than most.

I didn't give myself an inch of wiggle room to breathe and I was slowly being stifled by my own intransigence. The only way I was going to come around was in a watershed moment of realization where you say "I can't live like this anymore".

I think that it's true that we learn to live life as we move within it. The cockiness of youth mor…

here we go again....

Walt Heyer keeps showing up on conservative websites which run his story alongside the familiar rants on gun control, traditional family values, taxes and how Obama is ruining the country.

God knows I wish Walt well but he seems to be the only poster child for why anyone who has had gender reassignment should immediately recant.

Everything I have read about him is that he had a very troubled period where he was cleared for surgery before being properly being screened for mental health issues.

Except that Walt uses the “throw the baby out with the bath water” approach of smearing the entire transgender movement by stating that his story applies to all others; a leap which is nothing short of disingenuous. The best he should say is that this decision was not for him and finish there. But he doesn’t and in the story I am linking to he states that he “used to be transgender”.

Except that you are or you are not. It’s not a multiple choice question.

I am on the record here many times as st…

a whiter shade of pale

If ever there was an advantage to ageing it's the natural elimination of the beard shadow. Not that I have much left because after 6 laser treatments to my face it has very significantly been reduced.

As my temples begin to grey it is a sure sign that in the future I will be using foundation even more sparingly than I am now.

Back before I began the treatments I had to cake foundation on with a trowel (yes I'm exaggerating a bit) and felt very self concious about having the beard be visible underneath.

Combining this increasing advantage with lots of practice over the years, a very functional female voice and a heap of confidence there is still hopefully lots of living for me in this improved format of myself.

Who says ageing is all bad.

And not that's not me in the photo!


the sexual equation

I wanted to elaborate a little more on yesterday's post.

How does the presence of arousal invalidate a transition? Actually it doesn’t. Not one bit.

Somehow the notion became prevalent that in order for someone to be a transsexual one must apparently be some sort of asexual or not have any fantasies about wanting to become a woman. But then when pre-transition transsexuals have sex what do they fantasize about? Well being a woman and having sex as a woman.

Even androphilic transsexuals reported a degree of what Blanchard terms Autogynephilia although reported in lower proportions than gynephilics. Go and read Anne Lawrence’s own statistics for validation of this.

The truth is that it is exceedingly difficult to remove sex from the equation because we are essentially sexual beings. Somewhere along the line, pre-transition transsexuals started to downplay the role of sex in their narratives to their reassignment gatekeepers.

But there is a simple explanation for this: many of us we…

disproving the unprovable

Some of the more analytically minded among us have been actively working to disprove the work of Ray Blanchard; one the most noteable example being Julia Serano. My question would be why?

I am among the loudest critics of his work but I don't need to disprove it, I only need to point to its gaping flaws. His hypothesis is that presence of a phenomena is a driver for something else. The hitch of course is that he lacks conclusive proof. I as the defense lawyer need do nothing because the onus is on the prosecuting attorney.

If I use my own life as an example, I credit the presence of any erotic overtones with being one of the primary drivers in preventing me from transitioning instead of directing me towards it. I am a borderline transsexual and if you read the early days of this blog and this was the aspect that terrified me the most. I just wanted to be normal.

Has Blanchard failed to provide the burden of proof? absolutely. There is nothing to disprove then.

I make a counter p…

getting past the fraud stage

There is a stage I had to get past before I could truly be myself. That period could be termed "feeling like a fraud".

I would dress and go out but internally feel like I had no business trying to interact as a woman. I felt like was deceiving others as well as myself and I was embarassed that my nature compelled me to need to even go out at all.

But I can tell you that as a transgender person you cannot advance to a healthy you without moving beyond these feelings. I know I am not the only one who's had them because I would read other people's sites and marvelled at their ability to have moved beyond this phase.

If you permit the comparison it is almost like the real life test that pre-transition transsexuals must undertake in order to be sure they are doing the right thing; only mine involved getting to a different rung in the ladder.

I can now go to my auto mechanic, do my banking appointments, meet coffee acquaintances and do my grocery shopping as Joanna and not…

more on Kenneth Zucker

A number of blog posts ago I mentioned the ouster of Kenneth Zucker from Toronto’s infamous CAMH institute which was also the former stomping grounds of one Ray Blanchard.

Before I direct you to New York Magazine's very comprehensive story about his dismissal, I wanted to express some further thoughts on the subject of conversion therapy and the diagnosing of very young children with gender dysphoria.

Firstly, I think that children should be left alone to express themselves and in this way I feel what Zucker was trying to do was incorrect. In the article there is reference made to a very effeminate boy who Zucker attempted to “cure” ultimately ending up as a gay male. In essence this boy could have been left to his Barbie dolls and dresses and he likely would have ended up in the same place save for the strife of having his toys taken away by force. One of my own nephews would scoff today at his penchant for barbies and princess dresses during his early childhood.

Conversely the n…

understanding yourself

Over time I have come to realize that a key prerequisite for self-understanding involves a certain degree of dispassionate detachment. What do I mean by this?

Well when I was mired in my worst moments I was not able to think clearly or make full use of my cognitive skills because I was debilitated by my own emotional investment. Even if I don’t go back to my early entries here, I remember very well the conflict that raged within and I have chosen to keep that reflective history there for those who might want to see the progression.

When you truly feel free from shame, guilt and fear you will feel it and it’s not something I or anyone else can give you. It has to come from deep within. The best way I can describe my "before" would be emotional constipation driven by the fear of being found out. This was no way to live and it caught up to me eventually.

My only message from me to you is that I was an extremely tough nut to crack so if I can do it you most certainly can too.

Tr…

my city

I live in one of the oldest cities in North America and 2017 will be our 375th anniversary. Montreal is a vibrant and multicultural city with a strong French and English background now accented with other cultures which have helped create a very unique mosaic.

Many of us speak three languages as we have come from other from parts of the Americas, Europe, Africa or Asia and have added English and French to our mother tongue.

In case some of you were wondering, Montreal is a very open and accepting city when it comes to transgender people and I have never had any issues moving about as Joanna.

I have lived here most of my life after moving here at the age of 10 and would be hard pressed to leave. In spite of the inconveniences of our winters, I am so glad to be able to call this beautiful city home.














through simple deduction

Using nothing more than simple deduction one can arrive at the conclusion that gender dysphoria is positively real. How do I know this? I need only observe biology and the natural world's inner workings.

Reflect on an area in our natural world without any anomalies and you will genuinely hard pressed to think of any. Eventually you will arrive at the inevitable conclusion that perfection and uniformity are not possible. So why would sexual and gender identity be the only areas untouched by this variability? It would be possible to predict on that basis alone that people like us exist even if one had never met or heard of the concept of transgender or transsexual individuals.

Those who read my blog know that I am absolutely sold on the idea of gender identity as a continuum. You have intersex people who identify as one gender or the other or both and they are easier to believe since they carry the physical signs of difference but what is inside the brain is not as simple to diagnos…