Friday, 30 September 2016

tolerance in unexpected places

Geraldine Roman is a smart and dignified lady who just happens to be transgender. Elected in a very conservative country, she saw rural people not particularly versed in gender issues elect her and when you see her speak you will see why. They must have just seen the person and nothing else.

If you watch nothing else make it the first 7 minutes which contains her speech touching on tolerance of diversity which is something the world needs more of.


Thursday, 29 September 2016

the overlap of sex and gender

Both genders are aware of which physical characteristics promote and exhibit their sexuality. Hence women know their breasts, buttocks or legs have sexual power as men also know that features such as their musculature or height can also promote their sense of being desirable. Both sexes also know an attractive face has much to do with this and hence will do what they can to accentuate the features that nature has given them.

But if you ask women why they might dress in a more sexually suggestive fashion they will tell you it’s more about making other women jealous than trying to attract men. They might also do it to attract one particular partner which makes a lot of sense because most of us are not trying to gain the attention of the general public.

Both sexes also understand how to promote their sexuality via more psychological aspects such as behavior, breeding, mannerisms and education.

Sexuality is about finding and pleasing a partner but also about pleasing oneself through self-identity and power. People can feel more sexually attractive in certain forms of clothing. Hence women understand the power of high heels or a fitted skirt and men know that certain suits or a more fitted T-shirt can bring certain traits to the forefront.

Many transgender people have attempted over their lives to be attractive in both gender roles. Their dysphoria has seen them go from investing energy into fitting into their birth sex and perhaps later making a permanent or part time change to be seen as acceptable as the opposite gender.

Part of that achievement has involved adopting dress or behavior that is generally deemed to be sexually attractive to others. My point here being that sexuality cannot be entirely unbound from gender identity because, without entirely defining it, it forms part of its basic structure.

As I have aged, the sexual energy is being depleted but the identification continues unaffected. So in a sense I am coming full circle where I am starting to resemble how I felt as a young child when the pull towards being the other gender was at its purest.


Wednesday, 28 September 2016

we don't need permission but....

It's important to have skin like an elephant; in fact it's mandatory.

People are supportive or people are repulsed and nothing can be done about it. You cannot convert and educate everyone but you need to live. That takes resolve and courage.

Despite everything I've been through in my life I consider myself very fortunate. I can go about the world and not be bothered but not everyone has that flexibility. My aim is not to preach but to thrive in spite of the challenges.

A good start is by not being our own worst enemies.

On the other hand I become troubled when I see someone pop up and suddenly announce on social media that they are a woman and leave wife and children in utter bewilderment . It makes the rest of us who are trying to do the right thing look bad and I take my responsibilities seriously.

Gender dysphoria is not kind that way and it demands attention. It is like a car with no breaks but it can be steered at least. Those of us who are more conventional don't make the headlines as much but we represent the silent majority.

I no longer seek my family's permission to be myself I only ask for their understanding which I am lucky to have.

But then here is one of those frightful train wrecks that the media loves....


Tuesday, 27 September 2016

not quite so simple is it?

I had prepared a slightly longer blog post on Gigi Gorgeous but Jack Molay beat me to it.

Previously Gregory, he was a young gay man with a YouTube channel who talked about hair and makeup styles. He was effeminate and would sometimes wear women's clothing.

About 3 years ago Gregory began to identify as a woman instead of a gay man and started a transition process. The surprise is that now she has suddenly come out as a lesbian woman which of course stands the Blanchard, Bailey and Lawrence androphilic pattern on its ear; thus proving that reality is more complex than theoretical models.

Recently I wrote about Kimberly Reed who doesn't neatly fit the late transitioning gynephilic model either. Just these two exceptions alone throw a big bucket of ice water on the BBL pseudoscience which doesn't at all like loose ends. Their fall back at this point would be to accuse both these transwomen of lying.

I can't help but find all this a little satisfying because once again reality has the upper hand over conjecture.

You can read Jack’s well written article here....

http://www.crossdreamers.com/2016/09/when-real-life-gets-in-way-of.html#more


Monday, 26 September 2016

the resting point

I have exceeded my own expectations of where I would go with my trans identity but I am fine with this now. One cannot struggle indefinitely and I will cite a concrete example.

I tend to frequent certain stores and while my buying habits have been greatly reduced over time I have become friendly with some of the staff.

In one such establishment I met two young women (one under 30 and one over) and it got to the point that every time they saw me they seemed very happy to talk to me. I think they see me as a kind of role model because I would speak to them seriously about life issues and having confidence in yourself.

This led to meeting them both for coffee a few months back which was very pleasant.

Not too long ago I was in the store when one of them suggested an evening out and suddenly I had some trepidation. I had never gone this far with Joanna before and I began to doubt that I could pull it off.

For the record I know the difference between people knowing I am trans and when they don't. I know by how I am treated, the facial expressions and the questions I am asked. I know with certainty that for these young women I am a genetic female.

So once again I surprised myself in that we had an early dinner together and a couple of drinks and all went very well. I am just an older woman to them whose life experience and personality they like. All of us had a nice time and it may be repeated at some point as they are nice people whose company I enjoy.

My experiences meeting trans people here have been less rewarding but I attribute this to our tiny numbers which turns the exercise into finding a needle in a haystack.

Which brings me back to the issue of living part time. Yes it is not a perfect solution but it works and I don't plan to change it. Being accepted by other women is that much more validating and helps me confirm that I don't need to go further. This is very reassuring to me because all I’ve ever wanted is to find that elusive resting point and it appears I am already there.

Dysphoria doesn't always allow for perfect answers and even those who successfully transition by all accepted standards can sometimes still be left dissatisfied. In the end all we can do is try to find the best in a series of imperfect solutions.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

of autumn past and present

Yesterday Montreal welcomed the sobriety of Autumn and I for one was happy to see it. I rejoice in its briskness and after the humid dog days of summer there is a lucidity that the cooler air brings.

My son and I walked among the crowds at the Jean Talon market and took in the espresso laden air and the sounds of shoppers mixed with buskers singing their songs to a half attentive audience.

This season has always held a fascination for me even as it meant a return to scholastic discipline in my youth; the drier warmth peppered with a bracing wind could always be counted to wake and invigorate the senses and inspire the creative juices.

I turn to him and see him in his Halloween costume suddenly: the mental image fading as quickly as it came. I make mention of it and he reminds me his trick or treating days are long over and while I have never enjoyed his company more, part of me grieves the passage of time.

How much faster it moves as we get older.




Saturday, 24 September 2016

true self-acceptance

There is nothing that has more intrinsic value than accepting yourself as you are. Think about this for a moment.

If you did not care one bit about what people thought and were completely immune to their opinions you would have achieved something few people in this world possess. Yet this is the kind of fortitude that is required to be a truly content person.

I believe that most transgender people suffer from lack of confidence at some point in their lives and that is not surprising. After all we are aware very early that we have to hide in shame from this difference and this only encourages the building of insecurity that is hard to overcome. But it must be defeated at all costs.

I was debilitated by shyness when young and this was exacerbated by needing to hide a part of myself that I dare not divulge to anyone. This made the building of confidence more difficult and while from the outside I may have appeared to have everything under control it was far from being the case.

I still see much pain among our community as people struggle with the challenges of being different and the rejection that they face every day can seem insurmountable at times. Our best shield is the knowledge that we have value as human beings and that being different does not mean being inferior no matter what conventional societal wisdom may say.

By now I have witnessed enough human stupidity to last me a lifetime and I will be damned if I am going to let just anyone affect me at my age.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome

Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (AIS) is a rare condition that affects a tiny portion of the population. It basically produces an individual that has the XY chromosomes of a genetic male but one who is either fully (CAIS) or partially (PAIS) insensitive to androgens which serve to masculinize the body at puberty. As a result AIS women do not have a uterus or fallopian tubes and cannot conceive children.

In the cases of full blown AIS (CAIS) the woman looks perfectly female albeit with a shallower than normal vagina, taller than average body proportions resulting in an almost Amazonian appearance in some cases. As a result some of the modeling and sports females have been accused of having AIS due to their exceptional height and above average beauty.

In the lower grades of PAIS the genitalia can be ambiguous and even produce a child that appears intersex or is more male than female.

AIS women do not menstruate which is why typically this condition is discovered at puberty. These young women typically go through a stigmatizing period where they must adapt to the reality that they are not conventional women and must adjust accordingly to their reality.

What is fascinating about this condition is that once again we see that nature does not correspond to the wills and wants of the doctrines that humankind has created. As a result anyone who does not fit the prescribed model of normalcy must hide for fear of persecution and prejudice. In the past and even today very few AIS women would publically admit to their condition and some have lost relationships upon disclosing this information.

It is also interesting to note is that a male to female transsexual that begins prepubescent treatment (via blockers for example) would be indistinguishable from an AIS woman from a genetic testing point of view as their body would also not have been subjected to androgens.


Eden Atwood (AIS woman) and her mother

Thursday, 22 September 2016

the volcanic isle

Iceland is a country that I might not have visited if it weren’t for my profession but I am glad I did.

It was a difficult and challenging project for my company and yet over several months I managed to go there 3 times and enjoy some of the touristic merits of this island of approximately 300,000 inhabitants.

My first trip was in February so the sun rose at 10 am and set by 2 pm but as spring approached the days were virtually 24 hours long.

The capital city of Reykjavik is charming and boasts a wealth of fine restaurants while the landscapes in the countryside are almost surreal due to the volcanic nature of the soil. In fact the entire country is powered on geothermal energy which makes certain industries attractive due to the low electrical generation cost.

If you decide to visit (and I strongly urge that you do), The Golden Circle, the Blue Lagoon and the drive to Hellissandur are particularly worthwhile visits.


Reykjavik


Hellissandur


The Blue Lagoon

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

all or nothing

I was recently Googling "dysphoria management without transitioning" and one of the hits was a thread from the website Susan's Place.org. I had not been there for quite some years and this particular thread had been started by someone who desperately wanted to eliminate their dysphoria and live 100% as a normal male. It had received over 18,000 views to date.

I lived with that hope for many years but then I realized I was trying to do that for everyone else instead of considering what I needed. I have since come to the conclusion that the "all or nothing" proposition is fundamentally a non-workable scenario. The reason for this is simple: you did not create your dysphoria and it requires attention.

The original post was about 3 years old but what I would have advised this person to do is to find some way to soothe the dysphoria by finding a compromise. In other words, don't feed completely into its demands but find middle ground if at all possible. The alternative is to live in a constant state of unresolved anxiety which will only encourage a building of pressure and a potential crisis down the road.

I know all too well that I am in good company with others who don't see transition as a cure-all pill. In fact, during my consult with Helene Cote she told me that even some of her fully transitioned patients still have unresolved dysphoria.

Experimenting with what might help you before resorting to irreversible tactics is probably the way to go. However denying yourself a treatment is asking for the type of crash that I experienced which is not too much fun.

Having said all that, after trying every option you may just discover that transition is what is best for you and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Accepting that truth however, is not always an easy pill to swallow.


Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Tula

Caroline Cossey (aka Tula) was a Bond girl who was outed as a transsexual sometime in the 1970’s.

At some point in the early 90’s she met a young Canadian engineering student 10 years her junior while on holiday. They married some time later.

The interesting thing of note about the video below for me is that I went to engineering school with this fellow (Dave Finch) in the 1980’s. In this video he says he’s 27 years old (I was about 3 years older than him) which would put him approximately in his early 50’s today.

For the record I was surprised when I got the news that an old classmate had married Tula and I found out of all places on an entertainment news program at the time.

Monday, 19 September 2016

overheard in a Payless store

I was in a Payless store briefly yesterday when a man walked in wearing his full cycling regalia; the helmet, the suit, the right shoes, everything. One of the sales girls came up to him and offered help.

I couldn’t make out what he said but he was going into the ladies section. Then a few minutes later I heard the sales girl exclaim:

“Are they for you or for your wife?”

“They’re for me” was the matter of fact reply. I gathered he was looking at some ballerina flats.

Then I remember when doing such a thing stirred such great conflict for me. Something I don’t today give a second thought to and certainly always do in Joanna mode.

It just took me back to those days.

I would pretend to buy shoes for someone else and then nervously pay for them trying to not look too conspicuous. Of course I did and then was relieved to leave the store with a purchase that would invariably end up the trash a few days or maybe weeks later once the guilt had overtaken me.

A few minutes later the cyclist was walking out apparently not having bought anything although his feet looked like size wouldn't have been a problem.


Sunday, 18 September 2016

the crumpled paper

People who don’t know what gender dysphoria is like might be tempted to think:

"what’s the big deal you’re just blending two genders"

or

"you are just crossdressing so what!"

But that’s not it at all is it?

Those simplistic answers might work for people who just got up one day and decided they were going to be gender variant just for the fun of it. Nothing could be further from the truth for the gender dysphoric person.

Our problem is that most of us are taught to fight our natural instincts from day one so when we caved in to them in any way we felt absolutely terrible. For the longest time I felt like a complete failure for simply being myself.

The programming we endure is pervasive and unrelenting. It follows you everywhere and you are told how to behave, how to sit, how to dress and what toys you are allowed to play with from the moment we are waking human beings.

Undoing all of this takes a long and arduous battle of deprogramming. Add to that religious orthodoxy and it’s a small wonder I am not locked up in a padded room today.

I look at my life now as un-crumpling a piece of paper that has been compressed into a tight ball over time. Removing the wrinkles of damage is a slow process and has taken me years but I am finally succeeding at returning to the roots of who I always wanted to be as a person but wasn’t allowed to.

With each passing day that paper starts to slowly resemble something closer to the pristine.


Saturday, 17 September 2016

sometimes they know early

Emma sent me this link in an email. It is a story from the New York Times about a child and parents and how to handle a gender issue. Here is an excerpt:

"The things I imagined happening fell into opposite categories, but both transpired. A lot of children didn’t notice, didn’t care or stared briefly before moving on. But there were a few who pestered him on the playground and in the hallways, who teased or pressed, who covered their mouths and laughed and pointed and would not be dissuaded by our carefully rehearsed answers."

It's about a boy who wants to go to first grade in a dress and what happens next...


http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/18/fashion/modern-love-transgender-child-identity-parenting.html

Friday, 16 September 2016

honesty

Let’s face it: you as a transgender person aren’t going to change and your partner deserves to know the truth.

My ex-wife should have been told from the outset but I honestly and truly believed that I could defeat my dysphoric feelings and lead a normal life. When you don’t come clean both of you suffer. She gets a person who is hiding and not truly themselves and you cannot divulge your true identity thus wind up living in fear of discovery and repression.

But I was brought up during a time when we had little knowledge of what dysphoria was and how to treat it. So I bought into the nuclear model of the family and married, purchased a house and had children. There were other options but I wasn’t ready to know about them until my life crashed.

I have often said here that I don’t regret my life and my marriage, although far from perfect, yielded two children that I love dearly. She and I are able to get along today and discuss things without arguing but of course all the emotional attachment is gone.

I can honestly say that everything I did in my life utilized the best knowledge I had at the time. Over the years I have learned so much not only about this weighty subject but about myself. So much so that I can hardly recognize the person I once was.


Thursday, 15 September 2016

the Wright way to do things

Charlotte Wright impresses me.

She doesn't recite the standard trans narrative and we are similar in that I knew something was up early but I was able to deflect it and move forward regardless. Her boiling point came at the more tender age of 31 instead of at 45 like mine did.

Now she seems to have beaten the odds and was not only able to keep her girlfriend of 8 years but is now living a more authentic life. I cannot be happier for her.

You can see that Charlotte is a shy and likeable person who has done what was right for her all the while prepared to face the consequences no matter what they were which is a very admirable thing.


Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Does this woman look like a pervert to you?

When you watch this video of Kimberly Reed the first thing you will note is how comfortable she is in her own skin and how normal she seems.

Born Paul McKerrow he was the all-star quarterback of the high school team except you would be hard pressed to make that connection from watching this video. She also made her transition relatively early in her college years bucking the "late-transitioning gynephilic" stereotype.

Here she is as a self assured, feminine and attractive woman who some would accuse of actually being a perverted male in love with his own image. Of course Ms. Reed radiates none of that nonsense in this segment.

Kimberly isn't unique and there are other gynephilics who have followed in her footsteps on successful transition paths. Just for the record she has a female life partner so her orientation has remained unchanged post surgery.

The myth is that all gynephilic transsexuals are basically transvestic fetishists with no real female identity except that Ms.Reed clearly doesn't fit that profile.

You could definitely do a lot worse than using Kimberly Reed as a role model of a gynephilic trans person who resolved their gender dysphoria via a full transition.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

you get to write the manual

Yesterday I went to see Helene Cote and I am glad I did. She has a friendly and relaxed style and the fact that she deals with the transgender on a daily basis helps me to bounce ideas off someone who knows the situation well. I just wanted to verbalize where I am these days with my dysphoria management with someone who understands.

No one knows one bloody reliable thing about what causes gender dysphoria. We are absolutely 100% in the dark. So the entire infrastructure built around the condition has been transgender people making up their own narratives or conversely skeptics inventing reasons for their illegitimacy.

People need to explain their own motives to themselves. It is fundamental fact of life. Why was I born this way? Why do I think I want to be a boy or a girl? Why do I think I need to reflect on transition?

Precisely because we are in the dark is what has invited charlatanism as well as explanations that people hold personally dear to explain why they are this way. If someone transitions and has that motive questioned they are going to get angry with you and for good reason: they have made a dramatic life-changing decision that may have cost them friends, family and maybe their career.

Being in the dark need not be a bad thing because for one thing it means that there is no right or wrong way to proceed. If there is no official handbook for dysphoria, how does one know what the right thing or wrong thing is? The objective then becomes mental stability and happiness because that is all we can measure.

We know for a fact that transgender people are not mentally ill. How do we know this? because the vast majority are high functioning and intelligent. So we are once again left with a situation in which a tiny sliver of the population has a gender identity ambiguity that we cannot explain.

Much of the solution for the treatment of dysphoria may rest in the loosening of the social programming that we have been exposed to. The "boys do this" and "girls do that" is clearly a recipe for enslavement for the gender dysphoric. But the key rests in your hands since no one can force you to conform.

Failing to question these social absolutes we might be tempted to think: I cannot be an abnormal man hence I must be a woman. Well maybe and maybe not since the measuring stick you are using for normal is a set of mostly artificial rules.

Many of us have been living in self-created prisons for perhaps decades. We stayed because we were afraid to buck the trend and stand out. The question you need to ask is what is stopping you from breaking free now? After all, you get to write the manual.

Helene told me that most of her patients stop the process at a point where they are comfortable and the majority do not go on to a full transition. Their goal ultimately is to find peace.


Monday, 12 September 2016

consult

It's been two years since I consulted anyone for my dysphoria and this past Friday I decided to call Helene Cote. She gave me an appointment for this evening at 7 pm.

Right now I just need a person to talk to face to face with who understands this subject.

It is going to be more than anything a status report of where I am in my life and to maybe vent a little.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

grace under pressure


You have to hand it to Christine Jorgensen. She was dignified, cultured and patient during a time of extreme ignorance on this subject.

Just get a good look at Joe Pyne's face when he discovers that "transvestites" are heterosexual.

If you think we are in the dark now imagine 1966 when Harry Benjamin had only just published his famous book.

That first patient of Hirschfeld that she mentions but doesn't name is likely Lili Elbe. Also John Hopkins no longer performs the surgeries and you might have seen Paul McHugh being quoted in articles for Christian Conservative sites.

Note also how Ms. Jorgensen does not even wince when Pyne States that she was "sexually disturbed".

Saturday, 10 September 2016

a moral panic

I was listening to CBC radio recently and the topic was on the subject of moral panics.

A moral panic is essentially a type of urban myth in the form of a warning to the dangers of exposing ourselves to certain situations. This is mostly often used on the young to teach lessons.

For example recently on the internet there have been reports of clowns in the woods of South Carolina showing up out of nowhere and scaring the bejesus out of people. This particular story is unsubstantiated but it has been propagated extensively. Its veracity is less important than the fact that it is being taken seriously by parents worried about the safety of their children.

Clowns just have that history of instilling joy as well as fear in children and they represent an almost paradoxical figure.

Well wouldn't you know that the right in North Carolina has been using a similar technique to scare people into supporting the HB2 bathroom bill. By showing the public pictures of very masculine and gaudily dressed men in women’s clothing (looking very much like those clowns) they warn parents of the impending doom of allowing trans people into women's bathrooms.

With the lightning speed that social media spreads these stories whether true or not have more likelihood of being accepted as being genuine. In other words, the quick access gets the largest number of uneducated and susceptible people to buy in to a myth in order to instill the maximum amount of fear.

Turns out that clowns have just that right effect on people.


clown transgender

Friday, 9 September 2016

the suit of armor

I had already prepared this post before I saw Calie feature Jodie Dawson's excellent write up on late in life transitions over at T-Central. Jodie's post only reinforces what I wanted to say in mine.

We hide our true selves to fit in and repress until we can repress no longer. When we are growing up there is no barometer for normal and you think that the feelings you have inside are just part of your growing pains. Only when you begin to get older do you realize your dysphoria is something that other people don’t have.

I was very good at suppressing; in fact I was excellent at it.

It allowed me to build my mental discipline but it also took its toll because I could never let my guard down, relax and be myself. You have to try that much harder and that effort encouraged a level of self-consciousness that might not have otherwise been required.

You don’t have words for gender dysphoria when you are small. I just knew that I was different and that people would reject me for it. It is all I needed to know. The way back to finding me has been long and arduous and has cost me countless hours of the type of reflection that is being regularly expressed in this blog.

I sometimes don’t know what being myself is anymore because I have fashioned a suit of armor to get me through life. Yes it deflected harm but it also restricted my movement and stifled an expressiveness that was screaming to get out. After all these years of wear it has fused itself to my person such that I don’t know where it stops and the rest of me begins.

Trying to understand yourself after years of denial can be like unraveling a tangled cord; you almost don't know where to begin. But after a while it gets easier and if you are very fortunate you might discover the person you always should have been all along.


Thursday, 8 September 2016

Waltz for Debby

This week I helped a friend purchase a piano.

I am an amateur musician and my father (who was one himself) started me off by giving me piano lessons when I was 11 years old.

When I see a master like Bill Evans with his fluid and beautifully expressive style I am mesmerized. I first heard his playing on Miles Davis's "Kind of Blue" which is the best selling jazz recording of all time.....

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

"you rock it"

Marie couldn't have been older than 25. She was a petite black woman with a very genuine smile and we exchanged pleasantries as we entered the same subway station after almost bumping into one another in the hustle and bustle.

A few minutes later she walked up to me on the platform:

“I just wanted to say that you rock it and you look great”

"Have we met before?" I asked genuinely puzzled.

“I've seen you in this station before” she answered

I asked her name before the subway arrived and told her to say hello next time. She gave me a nice smile and said she definitely would.

I don't care whether I pass or not but regardless I suspect that people see I am confident when I am out. This is the lesson that took me so long to learn: just be yourself and people will see someone who is comfortable in their skin.

And whether Marie saw a trans person on that platform or not is less important than the fact that she simply saw ME.

Oh and as a side note: 84% of Canadians now support trans rights. I love my progressive country...

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/canada-transgender-rights-1.3750829



Tuesday, 6 September 2016

TERFS and Conservative Christians team up

I used to think that a Christian was a Christian but actually a Conservative Christian now stands for someone who purports to follow Christ but is intolerant of the things Christ wasn't.

No surprise that these strange bedfellows would tag team to suit a common purpose...

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/09/04/radical-feminists-and-conservative-christians-team-up-against-transgender-people.html


Monday, 5 September 2016

Just what the doctor ordered

This is a reset period for my life no question. It is a time to focus more on my self after years of putting others as priority.

I have spent the last few months really analyzing my modus operandi. I do things for others even if it goes against my grain until the pressure valve goes off in a rush of temper which dissipates as quickly as it came.

I need to change this pattern.

Last week I learned an ex-colleague was diagnosed with terminal cancer; he is in his early sixties. It reminds me once again how fragile and short our lives are and we have no way of knowing when our time is up.

My kids are almost grown and I am on my own and while this may not be a dream scenario it is mine and I am going to own it.

Oh yes and living part time has been just what the doctor ordered.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Time bomb

Free market capitalism only works within a restrained box and even then only in theory.

When the United States negotiated NAFTA with Mexico and Canada it was supposed to open up markets for companies, facilitate cross border movement of goods and services between Canada and the States and help stabilise a failing and fragile Mexican economy and government. It seemed a relatively good deal for al and even helped raise the wages of very poor Mexican workers.

So when Donald Trump rails against Mexicans and threatens to build a wall he negates to mention that net movement between the United States and Mexico is for all intents and purposes zero. This is because some Mexicans are going back to their country to find better job situations. In other words it's a smoke screen.

Trump’s base is mostly composed of white, less educated males who are receptive to xenophobic hysteria but the real message to take from the failure of the U.S. economy to find balance is income inequality.

When U.S. companies began opening up shop in places like Bangladesh and Indonesia it created even more unbalance since the American worker was now facing even more global competition. Let's also not forget that by allowing cheap Chinese goods to enter the west it allowed for more job loss because people just couldn't get enough cheap stuff that they didn't need. As a result we increasingly became a culture of consumers.

The other elephant in the room has of course been technological advancement where far less workers are now needed to build things. When you couple that with a trickle down economic myth that went bust, Republicans are faced with having to explain why that top 1% keeps getting richer.

Meanwhile we continue to sit on a ticking economic time bomb which that 1% doesn't seem all that concerned about.


Saturday, 3 September 2016

two worlds

It’s striking the difference between the male and female worlds. Although I am not privy to having been raised as a girl I have been out in the world as Joanna long enough to observe the differences in treatment and approach between the sexes.

Women are kinder and more respectful towards each other. They smile more readily and are more complimentary while men tend to be competitive and more abrupt ( and yes I know I am aware that I am generalizing here). Some of this cannot be helped because aside from the biological differences there have been decisions in rearing that have crafted these distinctions into people and they are hard to undo.

In some ways I prefer the way that women relate to each other than men. This does not mean that I don’t value male friendships but they tend to be more distant and difficult to be open inside them.

The other day a woman walked up to me and said to me in French:

“Madam I find that you are very elegant. I was watching you from a distance and thought I would let you know”

She was being sweet and genuine and we had a nice exchange but no man would walk up to another man and compliment them on comportment or even on what they were wearing. They simply weren’t raised that way.



Friday, 2 September 2016

shouldering the blame

The inability of some people to fit comfortably within the gender binary has resulted in their persecution. It is a population as old as humanity which still experiences attempts as being branded as mental defectives or sexual perverts even today.

The motivation is simple: the concept of male and female is immovable and perfect in the eyes of religious bodies and organizations that depend on the binary’s supposedly static nature. The idea that “God created man and woman” must be unflinching and rigid in order for our institutions to function as they should. This is most especially true in societies founded on religious ideas which require that this model not vary. The problem is that this is not so much based on reality but on ideals in a world where nature does not work in such absolutes.

Therefore societies tend not to favour outliers and the best solution has been to attempt to marginalize and place blame directly on the shoulders of these transgressors. This has implied being accused of choosing a "lifestyle" or conversely of being mental defectives in need of reparation.

The studies show that transgender people suffer most from the stigma of society’s judgment and not by virtue of their natures. This means that if they were publically allowed to be genuine reflections of themselves they would have far less emotional and mental problems than they currently face.

In my generation it was about hiding and suppressing or transitioning in stealth whereas today it is about being in the public eye but more directly suffering the slings and arrows of intolerance. But in older native cultures where transgender people have been allowed to form part of the fabric of society, they have fared much better. This has proven to be the answer and will ultimately need to happen in our Western culture in order to accommodate the needs of our community.

This accommodation will not happen without a fight because there are still strongly resistant factions which cannot or will not easily let go of their fixed ideas.

The 1920's through to the 1970's witnessed true scientific curiosity via the work of Hirschfeld, Kinsey and Benjamin. But beginning in the 1980's we saw a shift where the transgender person became a type of deviant which culminated in the invention of utterly stupid terminology such as "target location error" marking the beginning of a new shift in our society towards arriving at predetermined conclusions without proper data.

But now for some good news: even if public opinion on transgender origins seems to be mixed depending on who you talk to, the latest survey data seems to suggest a swing in favour of more tolerance especially among women and the young. Why doesn't that surprise me.


http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-lgbt-poll-idUSKCN0XI11M


Thursday, 1 September 2016

born and not made

There is absolutely no question in my mind that a transgender person is born and not made. I know this in my bones because I tried to kill off this part of myself for so many years to no avail and some who read my blog may have tried to do the same.

Still there are those in society who would accuse us of adopting this “lifestyle” by choice and I would pose to them one simple question: Why would one choose something that was potentially going to get them rejected and scorned by their families and the rest of society?

The good news is that once you get past the difficult self-acceptance part the rest is far easier especially as we age and begin to care far less about what others think. That feeling of liberation is priceless and after having jailed yourself for years it will feel amazing when you get past the caring stage.

Some of you are in the process of transition whether it is social or full while others may be making their first tentative steps towards allowing themselves a freer range of gender expression. But whatever the formula you cannot move forward without acknowledging that this is a permanent fixture of your identity and not some self created fetish.

That dreadful self-consciousness when taking your fledgling steps becomes replaced over time with a normalcy and a sense of well-being that must be experienced. The closest way to describe it is like feeling like a fraud versus feeling genuine and the nerves become replaced with self-certainty and peace.

Once you understand that you are a leopard that can’t change its spots everything becomes wholesome and real and perhaps for the first time in your life you begin to feel what it’s like to feel respect for your own nature.

You simply stop fighting your instincts and become you.

As a postscript: my post on Julia Serano and AGP is now up to 686 views.