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Showing posts from May, 2016

all bets are off

I think that these days all bets are off regarding gender and its presentation.

I have read stories of people transitioning with full HRT and then continuing to present androgynously because that is where they are comfortable. Not all genetic women are very feminine so why some transgender women not be the same?

The options are very variable and you get to make up your own rules and for me living part time is what works and likely will for the long term.

The other day I ran into another Walt Heyer interview where he keeps saying that being transgender is actually a form of mental illness. But then here’s the rub: if people are happy living the way they are after years of being miserable, they function well in their jobs and in society how is that mental illness?

You cannot speak for others only for yourself and that is where he errs.

Don’t worry yourself too much about labels and proceed slowly and organically to a resting point that works for you. There is pure magic in that. There …

be free

There's never been a better time in history to be yourself. Never before has there been so much opportunity to show the world who you really are and have them listen. Think about how far we have come in the last 5 years. There has been more progress than in the previous 100.

I gained my liberty in my late forties but so many young people today have it early on. They understand what makes them tick and they don't waver. No matter what anyone thinks they brave taunts and sneers and present their unique face to the world rather than shrinking in fear.

Ivan Fahy is one such example of a gender nonconforming gay man who knows himself.

As I watched this TED talk I couldn't help but admire the courage I wish I had possessed at his age.

Ivan went to his high school graduation wearing his beloved high heels which he also wears here...


way back then

It seems entirely intuitive and even logical that the more energy and years one has invested in their male identity the harder it is to adopt the female role. This whether you transition or not.

In that sense my journey has been long and laborious but I don't look back in disdain because that was all I knew at the time. I thought I was supposed to buy into the official script for my life.

So after my father's death I married and had children and for a few years lived the atomic age lifestyle of living in the burbs. It came undone in time because I was not living my reality but instead someone else's.

Today young people get more understanding and support and that's an amazing thing. I don't blame my own parents because they themselves were the product of their own education and socialization. We just didn't know better then.

God knows I tried so hard to fit in. I struggled with my identity all the while and put off the questioning as crazy delusions. Now I look…

get over yourself

Right wing fundamentalists keep getting confused and talk in terms of not being able to change sex or gender. Indeed you can’t but as Anne Vitale says you can change your gender role.

Gender role transitions allow people who feel they are transgender to live more authentic lives but somehow by allowing that little 0.3% of the population the dignity to live the way they want we are somehow doing the rest of society a huge disservice.

Recently some African American pastors protested that comparing the transgender cause with the black civil rights movement was a mistake. In wades Attorney General Loretta Lynch by saying:

“Where people are victimized because of a physical characteristic over which they have no control, that is exactly what the civil rights laws are meant to cover,”

She isn’t wrong.

But transgender people butt up against fundamentalist beliefs of some that God doesn’t make mistakes and people like us are instead delusional and mentally ill. Of course we are neither and h…

a must watch...

This video dates back to last year but could have been made just yesterday.

You might just laugh hysterically at sections of John Oliver's brilliant exercise in mockery of ignorant people and how they discriminate against the transgender. But not only is Oliver funny he is bloody well spot on!

Please watch....


like it was yesterday

The first time I ventured out of my parents house fully dressed as a woman was 1979. I remember it like it was yesterday.

My entire family was out for the evening and as soon as they left I ran upstairs and raided my mother's closet. Back then she even owned a wig and, although it didn't really suit me, I perched it on my head regardless. One of her dresses, a pair of her heels and one of her fall coats were also borrowed for the occasion.

I remember stepping out into the crisp autumn evening and walking for several blocks with mixed feelings of excitement, dread and freedom that would have me repeat this again and again. These little adventures would remain secret and sporadic for the next 25 years.

Looking back it was all so dramatic and as I write this I almost can't relate to why it had been such a big deal. Sometimes it just takes a long time to learn. I don't have the photographic evidence but the memories will remain etched in my brain until I leave this earth.

Renee Richards: a life in both genders

In many ways Renee Richards is a contradiction. She transitioned many years ago and has a first hand and pragmatic understanding of all this that few could ever relate to. It was much harder back then and her notoriety did not help her to make a successful stealth life she had hoped to embark on.

I can understand the bittersweet nature of the words because it must not have been easy to do what she did at a time when few people understood this. Being transgender or transsexual is not an easy thing and her statements in an Esquire article show it.

There is both resignation and sadness in her words:

"In my day, of course, everything was done secretly and quietly, and if somebody went through the transformation, they did it privately. It was called 'woodworking': You merged into the woodwork after your transformation and you tried to lead a new life without people knowing what your previous life had been. And that's what I tried to do. I changed my name, I moved three tho…

Blanchard and the androphilics who support him

I find it a bit surprising when I see some androphilic transsexuals espouse the work of Ray Blanchard. One only needs to read the work carefully to understand that they are not doing themselves any favors by doing so. I suspect that they like the part about gynephilics being attracted to their own image and conveniently ignore the rest.

But just read this statement from Blanchard acolyte and CAMH sexologist James Cantor:

“Autogynephilic transsexuals tend to transition later in life (typically in their 30s or 40s), are externally unremarkable in childhood, are attracted to females, and having a more mixed adjustment after transition. Autogynephilia is extremely controversial within the transsexual community, because of the unfortunate myth that only androphilic transsexuals are "true" transsexuals, while the autogynephilic ones are just wannabes”

I have seen Blanchard’s work being defended by androphilics and they have tended to focus on what they want to hear. They consider …

its never been better than now

If you read the entire excerpt I featured from Lynn Conway's website, you will have noted that she very much advocates you go your own way. There are no hard and fast rules here and your objective should be to deal with your dysphoria and whatever works. In this way she is very much an advocate of Harry Benjamin's ideas.

The good news for the rest of us is that in the current climate you only need react in a level consummate with your situation. Be happy and proud of who you are regardless of your standing on the spectrum and never view a full transition as a goal but only as a possibility. The goal is internal peace and stability and nothing else.

Perhaps full, partial or social transition is for you or maybe dressing once a month works. You get to decide and define what you need. You are not dysphoric you say? Fine then dress to your heart's content if that gives you pleasure.

Thinking this way will secure and embolden you because people don't need to know what it…

time to settle this

As expected the whole bathroom debate has turned into something bigger. This is no longer about allowing 0.3% of the population to pee but more about fundamentalists drawing a line in the sand against the Obama administration.

Remember these are the kind of people who think homosexuality is a choice and a sin against God and they don't think much better of transgender or transsexual people. The actions of the federal government are getting their backs up and they are ready to fight. Not surprisingly it's states like North Carolina, Texas and Oklahoma leading the charge because this is wholesome family value, GOP-friendly territory.

Ultimately these states will lose just as they lost in the civil war over emmancipation of African American slaves but I suspect it will take a while.

We are now seeing poorly educated people storming into Target stores yelling that they don't want their daughters or wives molested and even genetic women getting kicked out of women's bathro…

did I mention how much I like Lynn Conway?

Most of my readers know that I am a huge fan of Lynn Conway. Not only is she brilliant but she deeply understands this subject and was one of the early transsexual pioneers of the 1960’s having been a patient of Harry Benjamin’s.

Here is a wonderful section taken directly from her extensive website on the transgender condition:

"Contrasting Transgender (TG) transitions and Transsexual (TS) transitions:

There are many different paths that MtF transgender people may travel on their way to becoming women.

Over the past few decades many transsexual women have undergone transsexual transition, including both a social change of gender and a surgical "sex change" of the genitalia, and have then gone on to live successful lives in their new gender. Many media stories about these cases have helped society gradually become more aware of, tolerant of and accepting of the notion of transsexual transition. Most states now have well-established procedures for changing public reco…

the chicken or the egg

Which came first the chicken or the egg?

This is an analogy for what has become the essential dilemma in trying to understand how sexual orientation and the desire to be a female overlap. Most male to female gynephilic transsexuals knew they were different very early on in life.

Transgender people question their gender identity well before they have developed a sexual identity and what later transpires is a conflict between this internal identity and the sexual being which is slowly emerging. This is not the same thing as being attracted to your own image as a female but does take the form of sexual fantasies that juxtapose who we aim to be with whom we want to love.

This very confusing time causes an inherent contradiction which we need to sort out.

Some would have you believe that we create a false gender identity as a product of a paraphilic sexuality but that only makes sense if the desire to be female originated hand in hand with the sexual identity. The fact that most transsex…

the young and the knowledgeable

Here is a young and bright transgender woman explaining the 5 things she says she was wrong about before deciding to transition. The power of internet and the dissemination of information helped make up her mind. This video was made early in her transition and she is much further along in her journey today.

She even offers a concise dismissal of Blanchard's Autogynephilia theory in her testament because she doesn't recognize herself that in a piece of pseudoscience.

These 5 questions are the same ones I asked myself and desperately needed to answer. Except that she resolved them much earlier in her life than I did.



those bumps and bruises

We cannot control our lives.

I am learning more and more to let go and just let life happen because every time I have tried to think I know where mine is going it changes once again. Living one day at a time is really going to be my way forward from now on.

As we get older we become more philosophical about life and the bumps and bruises we receive are, if not easier to bear, then at least part of what we have seen before. We understand that all will be better in time.

During my mother's 80th birthday celebration, I sat down with my 21 year old nephew . He felt so alone amidst the commotion of cousins and aunts and uncles because he has a very hard to treat strain of schizophrenia. He had just returned from a Caribbean cruise with his parents and siblings (along with their significant others) and while all were having a good time he spent much of the trip hearing voices.

He understands that he is not well and he looks at you with a hollow stare that betrays that something is not…

conservative Christians versus the LGBT community

Here is an article which explains exceedingly well how conservative Christians are continuously disconnected from reality. They focus on concepts instead of people and ignore science time and time again in favour of a world view that contradicts facts. While I am a religious person myself this is not the type that I espouse.

I urge you to read this very well argued and presented article.

http://religionnews.com/2016/05/14/3-reasons-conservative-christians-will-lose-the-transgender-debate/

out and about

being your own free thinker

I now know that I am a woman but then I am also a man. It wasn't until I firmly understood and accepted this duality that I became truly happy. I didn't have a choice in the plumbing I received or in the education as a boy. That was decided for me but I knew that something was different about me very early on.

To understand me you need to know that my life has been a lot about doing your duty and conforming but those days are over. I have made a resolve to follow my heart.

Gender is one of those things we don't really understand. Sex and reproduction we do but what is in those complicated litte brains of ours is still very much a mystery. It's easy to dispel the insistence of a child who feels different and only now are we truly listening.

What clothes a person wears and which of the sexes they are attracted to is their business. For far too long we allowed misguided religion in conjunction with societal forces to tell us how to live and how to think.

It feels good to …

the decreasing importance and strength of the erotic component

I have reflected many times on how the erotic component in my desire to express myself as a woman has waned in importance and intensity over time. I used to read about this regression in the narratives of older gynephilic transgender persons but had not experienced it for myself. Now I have.

While this aspect is most definitely not driving me towards transition I acknowledge that it simply exists and no longer causes distress. To be frank, removing it altogether would have made my thought process far clearer and simpler.

Think of it this way: if it were the only driving element at play then gynephilics who transition should immediately regret their decision since they have removed the engine that drives the desire. The fact this does not happen should be proof enough that there is much more going on.

Consider also that satisfaction rates among gynephilics and androphilics who transition are statistically comparable. It’s like two sets of people arriving at the same location via diffe…

living for me

I am really coming into my own with my life. While not everything is perfect, my living a dual identity has helped solve the dilemma of accommodating my need to express a transgender nature which was kept in check for far too long.

Living on my own has made that easier of course and now that my two are fast approaching the age of autonomy it makes it that I can finally live for me.

When your kids are young you sacrifice much for them and you do so happily. Now I am glad to see the sacrifice pay dividends as both are doing well in school. My son’s anxiety is something that he will hopefully learn to manage and trust it won’t hamper his ability to function as an adult.

Living as both man and woman has its challenges but I am drawing inspiration from some drag queens that seem to do it so well. Just be yourself and express who you are both inside and out. They may have a different motivation for their expression but the end result is the same in that they are out and proud.

When I am out…

you could see this coming a mile away

I knew this would happen now here it is. The idiots over in North Carolina now have a butch lesbian fearing that she will now be stopped from using the woman’s bathroom because she could be confused with a transgender person.

Presumably we are going to conduct genital inspections as well as check whether people are masculine or feminine enough to meet the criteria for entry.

North Carolina is suing the feds for overreach and now the feds are suing right back by claiming human rights have been violated. The result will undoubtedly be a victorious precedent that will protect transgender people

You can read Sally Kohn's story here.


still some work to do

I am a tough nut to crack. I have a quick Spanish temper which flares like a pop bottle that’s been shaken and then subsides as fast as it came.

We are all victims to our pride and we suffer the consequences of sticking to our guns until we remember what is most important. I am trying to work on that aspect.

When I was younger I didn’t always see the best side of people and I was made fun of either because of my ears or because I was too thin. It didn’t help my confidence.

As I got older I discovered that I had a good intellect and I used to it to my advantage. In its worst moments it has been used in derision of people who I deemed were lacking in some measure.

What didn’t help was that I wasn’t completely happy with myself for the longest time until I removed my own anxiety over being transgender. I couldn’t see the positive in others first and would often choose to focus on the negative if they did something I didn’t like. Perhaps this was a method of self-protection going back to …

the unattainable dream

Noam Chomsky is one of the great intellectuals of our time. The MIT professor emeritus has been active in important social and economic issues since the 1960's and has written countless papers, articles and books critiquing his own government as well as others.

Chomsky believes in justice and fairness for all and decries how the United States has fallen increasingly into an Oligarchy instead of being a democratic nation.

Of course true democracy is an ideal that works well on paper but not in reality because it would involve the powerful giving fair voice to the powerless. The founding fathers made sure that there was still a ruling elite in place to guarantee that the rabble didn't mess with their wealth or power.

The world has always been about the strong controlling and exploiting the weak and if you have doubts I strongly urge you go to Netflix and see the film "Requiem for the American Dream". It is Chomsky at his most brilliant and insightful. He gets it rig…

what the fuss is about

Transgender people are everywhere in the media now and while this means greater exposure it also means opening up ourselves further as targets of derision. In the end it’s probably better that we are out there than not.

North Carolina’s controversial bathroom bill has now seen the federal US government considering suing the state over infringement of human rights. Those people who worry about women being assaulted by a transgender person have never known one personally and, if they did, they would understand that all we want is to be accepted and to be as safe as the woman in the next stall. That still hasn’t prevented the crazies from trying stunts like dressing up and trying to use the ladies’ bathroom in order to make a point. Thankfully they are being viewed as just publicity stunts and are backfiring.

The next few years will be about normalizing things and as people realize that we don’t have horns and breathe fire. Many will undoubtedly come to grudgingly respect us if not entir…

just something I found

a little debunking

There is a myth being propagated by the Blanchardians but also by some androphilic transsexuals that gynephilics cannot be innately feminine and are actually more akin to deluded men in dresses. According to them we are driven by our own sexual interest in the woman in the mirror and have no internal female identity to speak of.

Of course this is not true and I am but one example among many others who can dispel this notion.

Not only have I always had androgynous facial features which have allowed me to pass rather well but I am able to easily and readily express myself as a feminine woman without much effort. It’s just that I put on a cover for many years and suppressed those tendencies in order to blend in.

I am now known as a feminine middle aged woman by a whole host of people who don’t even know that I am genetically male and have been complimented on my comportment, dress and makeup style on a great number of occasions.

Of course there are some gynephilics who are not naturally …

just one layer

I have come to view the sexuality of gynephilic transgender people as another layer of a larger and more complex picture. I think of it as a transparent film that forms part of many others glued together such that it cannot be separated from the rest.

Human sexuality is already complex enough but when you add having a desire to be female to the mix it becomes all the more so. What I have realized is that while this aspect is not driving me to transition it has adhered itself to my gender identity and wanes in significance with the passage of time.

People like us cannot naturally follow the prescribed rules of the binary because we were never equipped to do so. For whatever reason we were born with a difference that seemed to demand we go our own way right from the outset. Once you understand and accept this it makes it easier to function in life.

I was speaking to my mother yesterday and I mentioned that it might be a possibility that I could fully or partially socially transition o…

of genitals, identity and expression

There are three key aspects to gender: biology, identity and expression. We may be born with a particular set of genitalia but how one identifies and expresses gender can be independent of this reality. Biology may be of the body but identity and expression are sourced in the mind.

We all have known people who blur gender expression but not all feel that their identity is in complete conflict with their birth sex. It is only when the core gender identity is felt by the individual to be in direct opposition to birth sex that the person will typically seek a corrective measure. The combination of these three factors makes it that we are clearly dealing with a kind of continuum.

Here are some examples we all know:

• Drag queens are male and identify mostly as male but use exaggerated forms of female expression
• Butch lesbians are female yet identify strongly with maleness and express it without needing to resort to transition
• Crossdressers identify as male but express themselves as fe…

transitional thoughts

Life is a transition.

We age and we change and our mindset morphs from decade to decade. Thus my understanding of who I am as a person has come a long way over the years.

I used to think of transition as going from one gender to the other but that is not actually true; at least it’s not true for all of us. My transition has been to go from a scared individual to one who has embraced self-acceptance and no longer worries about labels.

My concern about what category I fit in has melted away to reveal a broader and more expansive understanding of my own gender identity and expression. That process has taken many years and I now understand very well those blogs that described transition as a prolonged affair. It is not like going from man to woman in an instant but more about developing a new mindset over time that takes into account many aspects that go beyond just clothing.

Being transgender is not easy and there is no guiding document where you can find answers. Therefore you seek them…

grass not always greener

I'm the oldest in a family of six and between us we have 22 children. It's a large Catholic family and we grew up in a safe and middle class home with two loving parents. Of course nothing is perfect and my parents argued as we did amongst ourselves but all of us turned out to be relatively successful in our lives and careers.

I have tended to be a loner within my own family and as they live typical suburban normal lives mine has tended to be more complicated. I am the only one divorced and sometimes wish for my children that things had turned out differently. They have not enjoyed the same perks that their cousins have although this generation tends to be spoiled compared to when I was growing up. That may not be such a bad thing.

My life is certainly more complicated than my siblings' and in the past it sometimes became a source of frustration for me. I also tend to have little in common with most of them; the one sister I was closer to lives across the country and is i…