Monday, 31 October 2016

I meet one of my readers

Although Davina didn't know it at the time, she is the first of my readers that I have ever met in person. She had contacted me quite some time ago signalling her intent to be in Montreal at the end of October and asked if I would like to meet. I wholeheartedly agreed to do so.

For the record she lives in south America and travels quite extensively for work.

I suggested a resto in the downtown core for brunch at 10 30 am. By then I had already attended my church service and was primed to meet Davina and have a bite to eat.

The conversation flowed well and like other trans people I have met there were similarities but also divergences confirming all the more that we are indeed a mosaic.

We spent a nice couple of hours discussing our histories and the time just flew by. Needless to say it will be my distinct pleasure to overlap again. As a side note she has met Stana in person before and confirmed she is just as nice as she presents herself in her blog.

Turns out that Davina is a lovely person with lots of interesting things to say and I thoroughly enjoyed our time together.








Sunday, 30 October 2016

crossing over

At what point did crossdressing just become dressing for you? And what items of clothing constitute that dividing line?

Clothing styles are after all to a great extent based on social constructs and each era has included elements that have been acceptable or frowned upon for each gender. Hence do we wear clothing of the opposite sex specifically because it is considered taboo, because it is more comfortable or perhaps because it best reflects our gender identity?

It is difficult to know since these rules were engrained in us from earliest memory. What we learnt is that to express masculinity or femininity a particular set of clothing was one of the pre-requisites.

Over time, women’s clothing has become for me more comfortable and pragmatic as I have spent more extended periods in it. When I first entered my mother's closet in the early prepubescent years it was to copy what I saw and it morphed into periods of experimentation (amongst the many self enforced dry spells) to forge a feminine image that I felt comfortable with. The early public outings were attempts to blend in as best I could but with a mindset that I had no business being there because I wasn't really a woman. This was many years before the I had heard of the term transgender.

Clothing belonged to one of those cultural taboos that is now breaking down because it was tied to the immovable principle that one is born with a set of genitalia which determines what one does and how one dresses. For people of my generation any deviation from this norm was considered heresy and punishable by ridicule.

Today my clothing is a vehicle which allows me to blend into the background and provides a framework for my gender expression. I have learned (rightly or wrongly) over the decades that embodying femininity requires a certain form of garb and without it there is no equivalency. I have also come to find that particular garments or shoes have greater aesthetic appeal while still being comfortable and have become part of my brand.

If I could explain all this conclusively this blog and my fascination would cease to be but it is because I don’t have all the answers that I continue to ponder. All I know is that quite some time back I crossed the imaginary dividing line between crossdressing and just dressing.

The only thing I can't tell you is specifically when this happened.


Saturday, 29 October 2016

tolerance and respect for diversity

People who are frustrated by their own life and situations will lash out at others. This is something that I have observed repeatedly over my lifetime. When you are happy in your skin you are less likely to find objection with other people and more inclined to live and let live.

Many people have been raised in ways that have encouraged prejudices which they then proliferate in their adulthood until they come to a realization that they might have been wrong to hold them. In some cases that never happens.

The world needs more understanding of diversity than ever because we are living in an era where nothing is hidden any longer. We have discovered every type of behavioral and identity difference that exists which is challenging preconceived ideas of what we thought was reality. This is most starkly being felt by older people who grew up before we opened the windows and let more light shine onto people’s lives.

The truth is that for millennia, societies have operated using oppression as a weapon of control. This infiltrated down to the level of the family structure and any divergences were seen as being shameful and subject to eradication. Dealing with reality was not the objective but rather adhering to an artificial standard.

Religious and social conservatives are being particularly challenged these days but then these are not the type of role models that I grew up with. They represent the alt-right movement which intends on fighting back against what they deem to be the excesses of social permissiveness gone mad. They will put things right by going back to the old model of oppression.

The world I grew up in was still restrictive and it almost killed my spirit. I am so much more heartened to see the youth of today (which includes my children) be able to see reality for what it is and develop a tolerance and respect for it.

Friday, 28 October 2016

the working man's Trump card

Jimmy Dore, whose show I sometimes watch, is just as concerned as I am about the increasing income gap between rich and poor.

Here he makes some very interesting points and calls the problem perfectly. The dissatisfaction with the political elite has helped create Donald Trump and Jimmy thinks that the next version will be improved, easier to elect and might not be such a buffoon.

People wondered how in spite of making mistake after mistake Trump still managed to maintain the attention of the working poor. Yes the disenfranchised who don't see Hillary Clinton as an answer to their problems because she represents more of the same. Note how I am not saying that Trump is the answer but that clearly the electorate is unhappy with the status quo and perhaps for good reason.

America has the largest income gap between rich and poor among the world's top 20 industrialised nations and eventually its going to bite them in the rear.

Please watch...


Thursday, 27 October 2016

your personal tipping point

The existence of transgender people should be predictable with 100% certainty even if one had never met such an individual.

This assertion is based entirely on a logical extension of seeing the way nature operates as there is no living thing on this planet that is left untouched by anomalies, permutations and variations. Yet oddly gender identity is expected to be unflinching and rigid because those whose sex and gender identity align say it should be so.

This denial of reality is beginning to change but only by the sheer force of needing to minister to people who are despondent and in many cases suicidal. The true numbers are beginning to be felt and this disclosure is being described by the skeptical as the “transgender agenda”.

Transgender people are tired of suppressing and living life according to someone else’s rules. Humanity is full of wonderful, caring and understanding individuals but is also replete with agenda-driven half-wits who don’t have two brain cells to rub together. We cannot worry about who loves us or not and just live in the open air like everyone else with the aid of legislative protections.

What needs to happen is that people regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity should be left alone to live life on their terms. It sounds so simple and yet for some who would deny this basic right its analogous to societal treason.

If you haven’t reached your own tipping point you are probably almost there already and once on the other side there is no going back.


Wednesday, 26 October 2016

hormones

Antonia Michelle’s post on hormones (which Calie featured on T-central) really got me thinking.

Do ingesting hormones change your internal gender identity? I think the obvious answer would be no. Your intrinsic identity will not be changed although maybe some aspects related to brain chemistry which the hormones impact likely will. At least this is what I have read and been told when I was in gender therapy.

The vast majority of people have an identity that aligns reasonably with what is expected but for the 0.6% who don’t it can be a daunting exercise in suppressing and hiding the true self. That true self was there before and after the hormones were ingested.

The question then becomes why should I take hormones?

That is a highly personal question that each transgender person needs to weigh. For some it forms an essential part of a full and necessary transition process while for others it’s an aid in "passing" in the eyes of society or perhaps as a way to help curb dysphoric feelings.

We are all different.

But regardless of the way you proceed I don’t think that the administering of hormones is a substitute for the self-acceptance process that needs to be happen before doing anything. I think you need to accept you are transgender, embrace it and heal the psychological scars of your childhood before embarking on a next step.

Personally I don't intend to follow down that rabbit hole and, when the dust settles from your reflection process, some of you just might find they are not for you either.


Tuesday, 25 October 2016

a case of two extremes

First this story from the Hull Daily Mail:

"Melissa Ede, a taxi driver, was raised in the post-war Hull of the 1960s. Born male, Ede grew up identifying as a girl. Aged three, she told her parents she is a girl, to which they told her it was a phase she would grow out of.

The 56-year-old said: "You do not grow out of it. In the end, you're made to conform to what everybody else wants to see."

For the next four decades Ede purposefully had her transgender identity airbrushed out. As Leslie, she married and had three children in an effort to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity. She described how her childhood realization turned into a firm resolve that led to a clinic in Leeds.

Ede said: "The kids, my children, I love to pieces. I wouldn't change anything now, but if I could go back and start again and not know about my children I would do it completely different and I would not do the marriage and the rest of it because all I've done, I feel like, is hurt people throughout my life by doing it because I haven't been true to these people."

Her gender transition was met with her parent's disapproval, physical violence on the streets of Hull and a lack of medical care. But Ede does not wear her tragedies on her skin. She is ebullient and ambitious, with a goal of changing the world.

Ede said: "I want to be remembered that I helped to change the world one person at a time." which is what the note she is holding in the photo below reads"

As a stark counterpoint to the pathos of the above story is a short article on a clearly mentally-disturbed Trump supporter who carries a gun to the toilet in case there is a transgender woman present (I wish I were joking).

At this point I would counsel Melissa that no amount of help is going to change some clearly twisted and malevolent individuals.

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2016/10/24/lawyer-who-carries-anti-transgender-gun-is-backing-trump-despite-sex-abuse-claims/


Monday, 24 October 2016

my 1000th post

This blog is now 4 years and 1000 posts old.

I never originally planned to go this long and beginning it in 2012 was part plea for help and part exploration into a complex subject I didn't really understand and still fully don't. I was depressed and frustrated and it showed as this first entry excerpt will attest to:

“Life will get better again. I know that from experience but I hate feel stuck in the middle like this. I am a man but I am not normal. I am a man who dresses up as a woman and I feel its advancing. Some days I wish it would just go away and let me be. But I know it won't”

I don’t go back to my old entries, but I know there is a huge difference between the person that wrote that post and the one writing this one.

The exploration into my psyche as well as into the published research did the trick for me and I hope to be able to help others in any way I can. I am not so arrogant to think that this blog is in any way a substitute for your own heavy lifting, but I would happy to know that I was able to make some small contribution to your reflection process.

Along the way I have made new friends and learnt so much about their own struggles with gender dysphoria. All I can say is that there is definitely strength in numbers.

This blog would never have existed were it not for my insatiable appetite for understanding myself and why I was made different. What I have learnt along the way is that we are born this way and don't choose this particular path. With that knowledge in hand you can then proceed to make the best of a situation that few people understand and turn it around so that it becomes more advantageous to you.


Sunday, 23 October 2016

repatriation

A transition is not about throwing out the old person you were but instead about repatriating the part that got suppressed for fear of discovery.

How many of you know stereotypically feminine women? I actually know very few and that is because they also have a masculine side; no matter how large or small. Some transgender people make the mistake initially of trying to drown their masculine traits in the bathtub when what is required is a fusion.

Your genuine self resides somewhere between the masculine and the feminine.

Therefore we experiment over the years and at first become facsimiles of extreme feminine stereotypes. I suspect this is a kind of over compensation for all those years of suppression and react like a uncoiled spring that overshoots.

Then over time we learn to fuse the two solitudes which includes toning down the exaggerated clothing and mannerisms. We learn to dress appropriately for the occasion and the setting.

As I have aged this has happened to me and Joanna has become a more balanced fusion as she has been fleshed out in the real world.



Saturday, 22 October 2016

being thankful

There have been darker times when I wanted my gender issues gone because it has not made my life easier. “Just give me cancer and let me go” I would ask God before I drifted off to sleep.

There is no question that living with dysphoria is no picnic and yet I always found a way to find light again. Most of my distress has come from buying into a narrative for so long and now having to write a new one for myself. This is much harder to do when you are in your fifties than in your twenties.

I mentioned this to my mother the other day and she told me it would have been easier if I had transitioned young and to do so now would be too difficult. I agree with that assessment but not because I am afraid but because I am still unconvinced my life would be so much better. If that opinion ever changes then I would consider it.

Life is never perfect for anyone and challenges exist irrespective of what you do. What often happens is that you trade one set of challenges for some new ones. This is why I strive to be happy just as I am and, in spite of living with gender dysphoria, I am a content person.

There is very little that I lack and am fortunate for my education, financial status, health, intelligence and for my family.

Dark periods come and go but if they are part of the minority of your waking hours then we must consider ourselves very fortunate indeed.


Friday, 21 October 2016

high expectations

It's funny isn’t it?

Here are some genetic women detesting the sartorial requirements of their job where some of us transgender people would love to exercise that option.

Many women in the corporate world wear tailored skirt suits and heels and then long to ditch them once at home in favour of a T-shirt and shorts. Men are much the same in abandoning the tie and stiff white shirt which for some is a type of prison. Of course not all of us are the same but my point is that we all to some degree bow to societal and corporate pressure and comply.

The expectations relative to our particular gender role have always been rigid and hence you will see only a tiny fragment of society rebel; such is the pressure of conformance where failure to comply invariably invites ridicule. Beyond clothing are also the behavioral cues which signal that this is a man or this is a woman. Here ambiguity also invites scorn and derision although that is slowly beginning to change.

If today you are a boy who dresses as a girl or a girl who dresses as a boy don't let anyone tell you different because you don't want to look back on your life one day and realize you lived it on someone else's terms.

Think how many people out there might want to escape expectation but are afraid to. Perhaps our own example of pushing the envelope will help provide them the courage to do so.


Thursday, 20 October 2016

Bill kills....

Perhaps I have never mentioned it here before but I dearly love Bill Maher. He makes me laugh at as he points out the absurdities of American politics most especially during this insane presidential campaign. I may not agree 100% with everything he says, but his panache and no holds barred approach is fair game considering the hardening of today's political fault lines.

Bill is a controversial figure. Unabashedly liberal and atheist plus an unapologetic drug user (presumably pot), he doesn't hold back his tongue in addressing Trump loyalists as "knuckle-draggers" or as "deplorables" and in all fairness there is a significant portion that do fit the moniker.

During this interview he points very astutely at the internet echo chamber that has helped create Trump. Instead of cyberspace becoming a resource for truth it has become a place where the like-minded congregate to feed off each other's common hatred of the enemy.

In a setting such as this, objective truth has little value...

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

prejudice disguised as objective rectitude

So here is Professor Jordan Peterson perhaps justly calling out the excesses of political correctness gone mad. But then he extends it to not indulging transgender people the basic dignity of being addressed in their preferred pronoun. To do so for him would cost nothing and to stand on literal principle seems to serve little use other than to send a message of disdain.

If you have transitioned or even live as the opposite gender is costs me nothing to address you in your preferred pronouns. What difference does it make to me and what am I trying to tell you when I don't?

Peterson wants to stand on his rights to call reality what it is except that in this case the exact objective escapes me. But of course the right wing Federalist is in love with him because he calls a spade a spade.

If I see a rock I can call it that but then the rock doesn’t have any feelings. To address a transgender woman "her" and "she" is not undermining my rights as a person in any way but if that individual feels better about themselves then I am glad to do it.

Religious conservatives and others who love to stand on literalism are funny that way. To them the nuance that exists in the issue of transgenderism is trumped by only what they see on the surface and because they cannot relate it is not real. They don’t experience it or feel it's impact and so it is folly.

I understand the point of political correctness gone too far because I have observed it in other areas but here the stance makes less sense to me; most especially because of the pain this issue causes so many. To those who only think in black and white and stand on principle alone I would only ask: what is precisely your aim?

I am also tempted to ask: what is it about Toronto, Canada that breeds these attitudes?


http://thefederalist.com/2016/10/17/canadian-professor-ignites-protests-refusing-use-transgender-pronouns/


Tuesday, 18 October 2016

the slow reveal

Most trans people (especially those from the pre-internet era) rarely get their needs met within the context of a relationship. The answer is simple: we started off as our own worst enemies and often thought ourselves lucky just to have someone who tolerated the way we were. Others hid and hoped it would all go away.

I am saying this because I have read so many blogs of people who have experienced the same thing and because it was that same way in my own marriage. As a result many of us settle for that one outing a month to a support meeting and spend the rest of the time thinking about the next one. This is not much of a life in my opinion.

I don’t blame the partners as many didn’t sign up for this from the outset. Even those that knew may have seen things escalate to a point beyond what they expected. The fact is that we tend to discover ourselves so slowly and then can’t roll things back once at a new plateau. I would never put Joanna back in the box but not only because I don’t want to but because I cannot.

I feel bad for those of you who feel stuck with no pat answers for what to do. You may love your spouse deeply but they may be justified in claiming that they fell for false advertising when they married you. This is the price to pay for a late coming out party when you realize who you really were all along.

I would dearly love to see the day when no transgender person feels compelled to hide any part of themselves from the outset and self-realizes early enough to avoid a gut wrenching revelation in the middle of a relationship.

From what I can see so far, the next generations will do far better than we did.


Monday, 17 October 2016

taking your time

What has helped me far more than anything else is to feel comfortable with my current situation exactly as it is now. I don't feel any self consciousness when out and about and that has cleared my mind to reflect on what I really want and need.
The lack of desperation facilitates the thought process like nothing else.

My transition is in a sense already underway and perhaps even complete because my journey was all about self acceptance and nothing else. How I refine that identity going forward is up to me. Might that include a full-time social transition in the future?

I have not closed the door to the idea.

The next few years will help me eliminate any vestiges of doubt I might have about what to do next. But truth be told, even if things remained exactly as they are I would not be unhappy.

Those of you currently in difficult familial situations might want to wait before trying to take concrete steps until other distractions are dealt with. Because that stress does not help the thought process deal the seriousness of this issue. Believe me when I say that I speak from experience here.

My reflection these days is more about what I want than about what I must do and I would like the rest of my life to be a little less about responsibility; I think I've earned it. However, my priority right now is to help get my son through the turbulent teen years.


Sunday, 16 October 2016

cured

Sophie is in the process of transitioning and is bright and perceptive.

For many years she identified as a crossdresser and it was (at least in part) a sexually charged activity. Now with the administering of female hormones she is noticing that the sexual energy is dissipating.

This is not at all surprising.

What happens to most of us is that the activity becomes taboo early on and takes on an erratic nature which includes periods of purging. This adds to the expectation of getting your next "fix" which only even more builds anticipation and sexual energy.

As Sophie has gone on to a new norm she is noticing that women's clothing has taken on a more pragmatic function and just "feels right" rather than being a turn on.

What this suggests, as I have said here many times, is that treating the dysphoria through cross gender expression and or transition gets you off that roller coaster pattern and mormalizes things.

You will also note that even if the HRT dampens the male sexual drive the identification with the female identity remains completely unperturbed.

Watch her explain....


Saturday, 15 October 2016

am I trans enough?

Am I trans enough? Am I a woman?

These are questions you often see in blogs as transgender people second guess themselves and determine their path forward. The standard narrative of woman trapped in a man’s body is no longer used by most of us because it doesn’t sound or feel authentic. Instead you now read things like ‘something wasn’t quite right growing up’ and this is definitely true - something wasn't. We couldn’t put our finger on it and didn’t understand why we needed to raid our mother’s closet at such an early age.

Some of us like me got derailed by the sexual feelings. For years I couldn’t understand how my pull towards expressing a female identity had been charged with erotic overtones which, in my view, disqualified their authenticity. I have since come to realize that this is not true at all.

What happens is that our psychosexual identity is formed during a period when we are still grappling with this desire to be female while wanting to attract one. That fusion now permanent we are left with an abnormal sexuality which must be dealt with. Our wish to be ‘normal’ must then be abandoned and replaced with self-acceptance if we are to carry on living with a sane spirit.

We don’t have an understanding of what forms those initial childhood feelings but more and more the evidence is pointing to biological causes. We read that “Gender is between the ears and not in our genitals” and increasingly we understand this to be correct. The next question that begs answering is: what do I do about it?

Groupthink here can be a dangerous thing because there are different schools of thought that have formed over the decades. Older androphilics stuck to the medical condition narrative and, in a sense, they weren’t wrong because their dysphoria was for some deeply intense, debilitating and not self inflicted. The mistake some of them made was using that argument to invalidate other’s people dysphoria in order to retain exclusivity of the term "womanhood". For them, failure to transition proved your inauthenticity since the only possible alternative left was suicide.

Today we know it's not quite the way they painted it.

Your identity must be defined by you and you alone and I think that human being should be your first answer. You should also abandon the idea of “normal” because that doesn’t really exist. Instead you should think in terms of statistics because to do otherwise makes your current life situation into an untenable dilemma which is only resolved via trying to shoehorn yourself into a schema that may not suit you.

The fact is that not everyone benefits equally from transition. Some thrive spectacularly while some are left with lingering regret and ambiguity. For others transition has helped soothe their dysphoria but then introduced a whole new set of challenges that has left them despondent.

So yes, being happy can include a set of circumstances that are not normative but then to use blunt and colloquial language: who gives a shit since it’s your life.


Friday, 14 October 2016

my own coming out....

I have come out to everyone who matters in my life. I have even come out to my neighbors because of necessity.

There are other people who I see sporadically that I am not out to yet but that's because they only know Joanna. They will eventually know as well as soon as I muster up the courage and explain the circumstances as to why I never told them.

My friend Lyne and I had a coffee this past weekend. She does know my story and she works at the sexual identity clinic at a French hospital here in Montreal. Her boss, who works extensively with transgender people, told her that she would like to see the day when we don’t feel obliged to transition in order to be accepted by society.

Those who read my blog know I hold that very same opinion. There are those who, due to the strength of their dysphoria, will opt for a necessary transition but many others can benefit substantially by simply being themselves and not needing to hide.

I told Lyne to tell her boss that I couldn’t agree with her more.

ThirdWayTrans makes some very interesting points in this video regarding some alternate techniques for managing dysphoria that some of you might find helpful. For those who don't know him, he transitioned from male to female at age 18 and then de-transitioned at age 38...


Wednesday, 12 October 2016

nobody wins....

American mainstream politics has a problem.

Even as Trump's poll numbers sank further after a dismal debate performance, being abandoned by his own party (Rice, McCain, Ryan and company) and being caught on tape with trash talk worthy of a juvenile, the loyal supporters at his rallies would not be deterred.

But then these are the climate change-denying knuckle draggers who hate blacks, jews and Hispanics and read Breibart News. In other words, truth doesn’t matter to them.

To be honest Hillary Clinton is shrill and annoying and has a spotty track record. She is not likeable and yet is head and shoulders the better candidate but you wouldn’t know it by the poll numbers up until now. Trump may just help her by self-imploding after having yet another "man-child" type tantrum on Twitter.

No matter who wins, the Republican party was allowed to be hijacked by a mean-spirited idiot while the Democrats derailed the campaign of a man who would likely have made a good President. Sanders was deemed too risky a choice for the Goldman Sachs crowd and to other lobbyists who saw the possibility he would be crowned as the ultimate threat.

So instead we ended up with dumb and dumber duking it out for the highest office in the land.

When the dust clears everyone will have some reflecting to do and I can definitely understand why this gentleman feels very compelled to very passionately express his discontent with the GOP nominee. Guaranteed he's not the only one....





Tuesday, 11 October 2016

one more public face

Transgender people are everywhere now and India Willoughby is the latest public face to come out.

For many years she worked as Jonathan Willoughby as an ITV news reporter but gender dysphoria finally took its toll and she felt she had no choice but to transition.

This normalization is going to breed acceptance and eventually everyone will have had some exposure to a transgender person. When they do they will realize that in many respects we are just like everyone else.

It is always preferable when that person is dignified and a sense of normalcy and balance shines through because not all of us are that way. But then there many non-transgender people who aren’t great role models and that is the point: we are just like everyone else.

Public acceptance comes one tiny morsel at a time but it does come.

http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/617585/Reporter-Jonathan-Willoughby-returns-woman-India-five-years



Monday, 10 October 2016

Vernon Coleman

Recently I was reading a page from Vernon Coleman’s website. For those who don’t know Mr. Coleman he considers himself a transvestite and is a member of the Beaumont Society. He is the only member to have joined using his male name.

Vernon Coleman does not aim to pass and he just simply enjoys wearing women’s clothing which is of course absolutely fine. He also wants to make very clear the distinction between himself and someone who might want to have a sex change:

“At the moment the media is definitely not on our side. Much of the media coverage transvestites get is bad. Many journalists (wrongly) regard crossdressers as transsexuals who haven't got the courage to have the operation”

While he is not wrong necessarily in saying this, the content on his site does not recognize that gender identity is a spectrum and that there are people on that scale who reside on a different rung. But like some transitioned people on the other end of the scale, he prefers to view this issue as being more black and white than it actually is.

I am increasingly fascinated by the personal narratives of people who want to explain their own behavior to themselves and I suspect that if Mr. Vernon had been a patient of Harry Benjamin he probably would have been categorized as a type I.

By now I have been to so many sites and have read the blogs of people who are all over the map when it comes to their gender identity proving all the more that humanity is indeed a complex mosaic.


http://www.vernoncoleman.com/thethreemyths.htm


Sunday, 9 October 2016

frame of reference

It took me the longest time to realize that I was free to define myself.

Society wants a label. They want something like deviant, transsexual, transvestite, gender queer, androgyne, gender non-conforming, gender-bender or perhaps crossdresser. But the more comfortable and happy I have become, the less label conscious that I am.

People like boxes because they fear what they can't define or relate to. Because we are intrinsically limited as human beings they buy into fixed narratives but I decided to get off that merry-go-round a while back.

Spend some time reflecting on all of this and then proceed to begin to define yourself.

Don't do it on their terms because that's what they want and expect but instead use your own frame of reference. Think of it this way: reality isn't what mankind has created but is instead beyond the limitations of human frailty. Once you realize that you can truly move forward to fashion your own narrative and define what it means to be you.

To do otherwise is a race to the bottom and asking to be defined by those who have the lowest opinion of us. But I will let you in on a little secret: they don't know any better than you do!

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Double mocha half-caf with caramel sprinkles

I tend to frequent the Starbucks chain (among others) and I am fascinated by the democratization of coffee.

Young adults half my age will order things like “macchiato double caramel pumpkin twist with chocolate sprinkles (I am somewhat ad-libbing here but I’m not far off) and get something resembling what I used to see at the ice cream shop when I was a kid.

Coffee is big business but in order to expand they needed to reach a wider audience and sell more expensive products as they don’t make as much profit on my habitual single long espresso.

Instead of forcing young people to adapt to new things we are infantilizing products (don't forget the sprinkles please).

No I am not deliberately trying to be a curmudgeon here but just making an observation. When I was their age coffee houses served what my parents drank. This phenomenon has extended to alcoholic beverages with hard lemonades and coolers that appeal more to a palette raised on juices and other sweet drinks.

My son asked me if he would ever grow to like beer and, although I didn't so much at his age either, I wonder if he will even attempt it with all these concoctions afoot.


Friday, 7 October 2016

The Case against Autogynephilia

For those of you who have not yet read Julia Serano's brilliant 2010 article "The Case Against Autogynephilia" as a retort to Ray Blanchard's pseudoscience here is the link to the Pdf file.

In my opinion, it is required reading and it pokes all kinds of holes in Blanchard's very feeble attempt at postulating a scientific argument. She reaches all the same conclusions that I did after having done my homework on this subject and I was very happy, upon first reading it, to have found someone who used the same reasoning to dissect it all....

http://www.juliaserano.com/av/Serano-CaseAgainstAutogynephilia.pdf




Thursday, 6 October 2016

fine by me

I can tolerate a very high level of pressure. I've had to all my life and as a result I am not able to recognize what's good for me. Instead I make things work because that's what I learned to do.

The other day one of my sisters thought it might be nice to introduce me to one of her friends. I weighed the idea but then was completely repulsed by it. I feel weary and battle fatigued and increasingly the idea of remaining alone appeals to me.

I don't have to start over explaining how gender dysphoria reacts on my psyche or negotiating for time out while juggling other priorities. I think it's the best option and if I were younger I might be more despondent but I am not. In fact there is some felt liberation present.

Being transgender implies negotiation because it is in some ways a type of prison sentence with no perfect solutions. But at least this way I am in full control.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

a difficult position to be in

I don’t envy Pope Francis.

He is walking a fine line in trying to say that the church needs to minister to all people while at the same time trying to discourage the “colonization” of transgender teaching in schools. He is apparently trying to admonish the normalizing of the idea that one can "choose" a gender identity that runs counter to their birth sex.

Where the Pope gets it wrong of course is that people don’t choose their gender identity. It is chosen for them.

We transgender people have fought hard to stay within the confines of what was expected of us and made every effort to conform. The watershed moments came at differing stages of our lives depending on each set of circumstances where we could no longer continue living a lie. Therefore just like gay and lesbians who may have married to try and be “normal”, we did our best to fit in.

The church policy is “hate the sin but love the sinner” but there isn’t enough knowledge or intelligence on this issue within the walls of the Vatican to be able to speak authoritatively and therein rests the dilemma. I actually don’t think that there is deliberate malice but instead lack of solid information.

Transgender people don’t have an agenda to spread a different gospel but want not to be treated like Pariahs. In that sense there is no agenda other than to be allowed to be ministered to and accepted on their terms instead of being shoehorned into roles that don’t fit them.

Religions of the world seem stuck between whether being transgender is a choice or not and even then don’t seem to want people to act on it. But that’s easy for people who weren’t born that way to say. The church would presume to tell the gay man that its fine to be that way as long as you don’t "act on it"; this is clearly not acceptable policy as there are many loving and stable pairings of same sex couples.

Once again we are dealing with the ways of the world versus the will of God and I am betting on the latter having more predominance and wisdom than the former.

http://www.advocate.com/religion/2016/10/03/pope-francis-says-jesus-would-not-abandon-transgender-people


Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Rikki Arundel positively nails it...

Rikki Arundel gives one of the best TED talks on sex and gender I have ever seen. Absolutely spot on and required viewing.

If, as a transgender person, this doesn't make you want to thumb your nose at the artificial rules then I don't know what will...


Monday, 3 October 2016

conversion therapy

When I first went to get treatment for my dysphoria I thought I was going for conversion therapy. I honestly wanted them to cure me; what they promised to help me with instead was self-acceptance which I earnestly didn't want. Or more appropriately I thought I didn’t want.

They knew something that I didn't: that my gender dysphoria wasn't my fault and I needed to examine it up close. It took several more years to get to a place where I could feel comfortable with who I was.

I used to be in a marriage that I thought would only work if I “fixed” myself. In the process I learnt that there were bigger issues present and my being trans was a ruse. No one deserves to be blind sided with news that wasn't disclosed from the outset but if you are upfront from the start the partner cannot plead ignorance. There is a plethora of information available to them online about what being transgender means.

If that person sees it as perversion or mental illness then you are at an impasse because conversion therapy isn't the solution.

I truly and honestly believe that true love can accommodate a transgender partner most especially if a full transition is not a desired goal. Therefore to be held hostage by an intransigent spouse who thinks you are disturbed is not a good recipe for a healthy and sustainable future.

I wouldn't dare presume to advise anyone on their relationship but would only counsel you examine yours closely to make sure it's not a one way street.



Sunday, 2 October 2016

fall look

Most of this look is thrift store and the whole thing (minus the shoes) was under $40.




Saturday, 1 October 2016

a literal horror show

Donald Trump is an unmitigated disaster of a person. Pompous, arrogant and mean spirited he represents the opposite of the type of statesmanship and class that a head of state is supposed to possess. Yet half of voting Americans are apparently ready to have this man as President.

Pulitzer Prize winning journalist David Cay Johnston has been following Trump’s career for decades and what he finds is even more unappealing than I first imagined. Not surprisingly, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and Trump’s father and grandfather had dubious business practices that included ties to organized crime as well as running whore houses.

When the eldest of the Trump sons declined to go into the family business it was the "The Donald" who offered to learn the trade. What he ended up becoming is not a pretty site and he has left a trail of deceit, lawsuits, vindictiveness and revenge behind him.

But if Americans want this man for a President then who am I to argue. All I can say is that as bad as Dubbya was, he is starting to look good by comparison.

Please have a read...


http://www.cbc.ca/radio/thecurrent/the-current-for-september-29-2016-1.3783556/terrible-terrible-problems-if-trump-runs-u-s-like-his-business-david-cay-johnston-1.3783606