In a Canadian first, Morgane Oger became the first ever transgender woman to be nominated by a major party as the chosen candidate to run for public office in British Columbia. In this case it was the New Democratic Party of Canada.
I know a little bit about people like Denise Shick because my own sister is involved in a right wing religious organization that has nothing better to do than pronounce themselves on things they know nothing about.
Not surprisingly, Ms Shick has no personal experience with gender dysphoria other than at some point in her life her father transitioned and she never forgave that particular indiscretion. For the record, The Federalist is another right-leaning website that also loves to pontificate on issues they know nothing about.
At this point I would like nothing better than to let Ms Shick have a taste of what gender dysphoria feels like for a few months and am certain she would change her tune awfully quickly. But such is the way the world works where more often than not it is the people least qualified to speak on a subject that are the most vociferous.
She somehow cannot see the connection between a releasing of social stigma and transgender people coming out of the woodwork and prefers to label it as fad. Blaming Alfred Kinsey and others for instilling sexual liberty is nothing short of moronic as is using the term "craze" to refer to the gender incongruence that spurs suicidal thoughts in some young people who feel helpless.
I could spend about an hour in room with her and set her straight but I have learnt that nothing can be done for the dogmatic believer who will not be confused or deterred with facts. For people like Ms Shick live within the monochromatic belief system that doesn't allow for the natural variances that a restriction-free society would bring. Instead she would rather see people suppress to her own heart's desiring in order to bend to the prescribed rules that work absolutely just fine for her but not for everyone else.
It is precisely these types of people that would get a mouthful were they unfortunate enough to meet up with me. They might not smarten up but I'd sure feel better about bursting their hot air balloon.
After reading literally hundreds of narratives from transgender people over the years, I have come to two undeniable conclusions. First, no one asks to be transgender and second, for those that are heterosexual, it is unavoidable that the dysphoric feelings will become sexualized at puberty.
I have pondered the second one at great length and I feel it is impossible for the conflict of wanting to be female while simultaneously being drawn to one sexually, to not affect the psychosexual development. Puberty is the point at which our sexual identity is being cemented and the dysphoria simply tags along for the ride. How many of you have had the experience of looking at a beautiful woman and simultaneously desiring her but also to be her? for this is a universal theme that I have read over and over and have of course experienced first hand.
Understanding this mechanism is important because we grew up in a time of sexual repression and with little to no access to reliable information. The result was to blame ourselves and consequently suffer because of it. With that process now better understood, we can realize that there is little use in feeling guilty about something you had no hand in creating.
The old discredited Blanchard model sought to accuse us of indulging in a type of aberrant narcissism which then created a false female identity. While this model may have worked well for guilt-ridden individuals like Anne Lawrence it didn't resonate with many of us who had experienced a gender incongruity since earliest memory. Blanchard's work (which is now almost 30 years old) is all but on life support and discarded by modern activists as well as millenials themselves. Only enemies of male to female transgender people, which oddly includes some older androphilics, still hold on to it in an attempt to discredit.
Transgender people have traditionally denied or downplayed the existence of sexual longing in their dysphoria but there was no good reason to since it simply formed part of the package that fed the dissonance we felt but couldn't explain even to ourselves. Transgender activists like Julia Serano don’t shy away from this reality and, once past the stigma, you can start to really examine what to do about your situation.
Of late I have taken a keener interest than normal in politics. The Trump election has been a big reason but also there are signs that even internationally we are headed into dangerous waters.
The alt-right (or alternative right) movement has been gaining ground in some parts of the world and, emboldened by internet anonymity and an appetite for rhetoric, they have found an audience among some disgruntled white men who view the encroachment of foreigners into their territory as anathema.
Make no mistake in that these are white supremacists who pine for a society devoid of visible minorities, jews or any other group that threatens their vision of a “Leave it to Beaver” world that no longer exists. Most are not religious and in fact their viewpoint contrasts sharply with the idea of love of neighbour which forms an inherent part of most faiths.
Trump’s adoption of Steve Bannon (of slimy Breibart news fame) as a political advisor has certainly not helped matters and there are videos online showing people doing hand salutes to Trump (a la hail Hitler) which will give you the shivers. Somehow his election has sent them the message that this new administration is on their side.
It's not so much that Trump went looking for these trolls (I don't think he's that well informed) but by simply basing his campaign on inflammatory rhetoric it was enough to embolden them....
Sorting yourself out after many years of formulating shifting narratives about what causes your gender variance and how to grapple with it can be a daunting task. I am also not certain that there is a perfect resolution to dysphoria in every case. Yes some people transition but it doesn’t go equally well for everyone. Hence there are those who you would think should be deliriously happy with the results and yet are left with ambiguous feelings while others thrive.
This is why I maintain here that creating a unique formula for yourself is superior to following a narrative that doesn't fit you. Life isn't a on-off switch analogous to an all or nothing proposition and the hardest part of the puzzle seems to be embracing that you are different from the rest of the world.
What makes this task a little easier today is that society is, on the whole, more tolerant and educated on most topics than its ever been. So while it’s no picnic to be transgender it is a better time than ever and so are your options in grappling with it.
The universal theme for me is that bucking any trend isn't easy no matter what your circumstances and the sooner you accept your situation the more readily will you be able to fashion a viable solution that works. I think the trick is that you also need to block out the opinions of the well-meaning whose own approach might not ultimately be to your liking. That includes other transgender people whose formula might be best suited just for them.
The old thinking was go all the way or suppress. But now gender variance may be a saving grace that many of us have always been looking for as an answer to our earliest prayers.
I have mentioned before that I have a lovely young couple living above the unit next to mine. Well the other day as I was getting in the door, she and I overlapped for the first time with me dressed as a woman.
We had a nice conversation and at some point I mentioned the obvious which was that I had told her future husband that they might see me in a different guise from time to time so they wouldn't wonder about who the strange woman was. She just looked at me almost rolling her eyes while smiling from ear to ear and said:
"Oh Please it's 2016!"
For the record she was also very complementary regarding my choice of attire.
I could care less at this point in my life what people think but it is still lovely to see the millennial generation's freedom of spirit and acceptance so lacking in previous generations. Yes they have their own foibles, as does every generation, but this area certainly isn't one of them.
Yes I know I am on the election again but God how I love Jimmy Dore and now Bernie Sanders even more.
These corporate media drones interviewing him are blaming Bernie for running an honest campaign and doing his best to fight for his principles. Watch this video and see how corporate media obfuscates and does its best to ignore the elephant in the room which is that Hillary Clinton lost to a misogynistic blowhard who had no business even being close to the White House if they had run a better candidate against him.
They do everything but throw the kitchen sink at Bernie who stands his ground and sticks to his social justice mantra. Good for him!
If you are going to manage your dysphoria without transition you need to develop a tolerance for an almost schizophrenic type existence. This means fully embracing gender behavior that clearly falls outside of the norm (which I now have by necessity). However, in spite of my high level of self-acceptance, there are still times I distress at how difficult this can be.
I don’t need or desire transition however my level of dysphoria will not be quenched with a once a month or even once a week outing. This has meant doing away with the idea of having a normal life and permitting the management of my dysphoria in whatever way works. This has been the price of being caught in an uncomfortable middle.
On my bad days I wish that I could push a button and have it all go away. But then on the good days I think that being this way has helped forge my character as a person. This is what I told my friend Lyne the other day over coffee as she struggles with some work and personal issues.
I always remember that I had to come from so far back and overcome fervently religious instruction in a traditional household that also extoled discipline from me. So it has been a longer road back because I aimed to be a pleaser even if I had an independent and analytical mind.
The only other recent example from this era I have found to compare to is Abby Stein who was a Hassidic Jewish male growing up without access to social media or television and realizing there was something different about his gender identity. She is now transitioning but clearly, except for these rare cases, having a childhood like mine is almost impossible today unless you live under a rock.
You cannot run a country where the platforms of the political parties are based primarily on wedge issues because it’s a recipe for implosion. Guns, religion, abortion and immigration have been allowed to dominate the political landscape in the U.S.
For historical examples I need to look no further than Europe in the 12th through 18th centuries for dangerous alliances between the church and governments as well as provisions for special interests which felled imperial powers over that time. My own rigidly Catholic Spain suffered a blow from which it has yet to recover.
This is a dangerous period for the current global power as divergences among its own electorate threaten to aggravate wounds which could escalate an already healthy level of mistrust. The rural and working classes pitted against an urban and professional class who increasingly lives in a different world. Trump somehow managed to sell the disenfranchised blue collar white males that he was going to bring them prosperity by cleaning up Washington which is a deception of the highest order.
Perhaps politics based on pragmatic governing is already a thing of the past as both sides become entrenched in their ideas. The GOP seems hell bent on selling a small government individualist approach that promotes a “trickle down economics” model that never existed while extoling its "Core Family Values" image to a rural class that votes against its own best interests. For them there will be no easy road to the American dream in this new global economy where the prize is more amassing personal wealth than about caring for your neighbor.
The establishment of the Democratic party sold out to special interests and a comfortable Wall Street which likes its status quo just the way it is which is why the youth vote abandoned Clinton. The millennials crave true progressives and they wanted a candidate that reflected their values. That could have been Bernie Sanders.
Therefore as long as this stalemate persists there will be no resolution to a situation that threatens an increasingly unsteady empire and, if we have learnt anything from history, its that empires crumble from within instead of from outside forces. Let's hope that doesn't happen.
Meanwhile President-elect Trump is already off to a roaring start by building a cabinet full of deplorables....
You need nerves of steel to face society when you attempt to transgress their rules and regulations but that is the price to pay for being transgender. At a certain point the urgency to address your gender issues supersedes your fear and you must act or face health consequences.
4 in 10 of us attempts or succeeds at suicide but this should never be what we need to resort to in order to lead genuine lives.
I was one of the lucky ones in that the strength of my dysphoria coupled with a solid upbringing with 2 loving parents likely made the difference. However living in silence for over 40 years almost crushed me. Therefore I worry about our community in this reversal of fortune in the United States for there are many forces at play.
You have TERFS, Evangelical and conservative Christians plus the exclusionary and racist elements of society conspiring to erode the rights we have gained. I would be greatly despondent to see suicides go up among the young due to this emboldening of the lunatic fringe. The Blanchardians and HBS crowd are all but relegated to geriatric irrelevance with no takers to take up their flawed cause, but the others are lining up to take their place.
Trump’s election will prove disastrous but could ultimately invigorate the grass roots movement and spark a renewed interest in social and political change. At least I take solace in the fact that the Y generation is far more progressive and tolerant than the baby boomers.
Sometimes it takes a drastic series of events to wake the sleeping giant.
Erica Elizabeth Ravenwood does a magnificent job of explaining the types of gender dysphoria. She describes so well the false persona syndrome that most of us go through until we come to self acceptance. Also the errors that we can make in downplaying our dysphoria by for example thinking "I am only a crossdresser".
I have applied much of what she says to my own life over time although this is the first time I found this video.
Denis Villeneuve has created a little masterpiece.
The Quebec director has made a highly artistic and moving work wrapped in the guise of a science fiction film unlike any I have ever seen; save perhaps for Stanley Kubrick's 1968 classic "2001 A Space Odyssey".
This is not standard fare and I left the theatre moved and affected by the atmosphere he created. I am predicting a best film nomination for "Arrival" as well as a best actress nod to Amy Adams who does a stellar job here.
Life is a constant series of compromises and adjustments and it’s never perfect. We think we know what we want but we often don’t and many of us try to make a life for ourselves that is a reflection of our mind’s eye.
I think the secret to life might be to live with imperfection and accept our limitations as human beings.
I have made some mistakes in my life and continue to make them but I am striving more and more to forgive myself for my frailties and even find comfort that in them I have learnt something. I need to let go and just continue pushing forward without struggling too much because life will sometimes just take you places you didn’t think you would end up in.
I thought my life would take a different direction and I have ended up surprising myself.
Very little of where I am today was deliberately planned but perhaps a result of a series of adjustments; much the way a sailor might adjust to the prevailing wind. Eventually he gets to his destination but with a series of maneuvers that were not all precisely calculated.
As we age we learn that we have far less control than we ever imagined.
You have to feel for Roxy as she tried her best all her life to conform to family expectation only to be rejected once she transitioned. It was a case of conditional love in her case which is so unfortunate. But wouldn't you know there was a silver lining where she least expected it....
We are all different as is the strength of our cross gender feelings but the transgender movement has been big on promoting the idea of transition as a cure-all panacea. However, many of us including borderline transsexuals like myself, could manage by incorporating a healthy dose of gender non-conformity into our lives and be relatively happy.
One of the historical obstacles to this approach had gender non-conformity being seen as an unacceptable solution to dysphoria. We associated it with sexual deviance and even saw fit to arrest people who dared to crossdress in public. Therefore before surgery was possible (and even after) many transgender people chose to live as the other gender in stealth rather than risk unacceptable gender behaviour and the persecution that inevitably came with it.
As we have expanded the acceptability of a wider range of gender expression, it should be logical to assume that less people will opt for a complete transition and by freeing the person to be themselves we will remove the hard constraints that have traditionally plagued gender non-conformity. This does not mean that transitions will disappear, far from it, but only that there will be more options for those who don’t need, wish to or cannot do so.
Gender and its expression is that last taboo territory that limited people to a restrictive set of rules not truly representative of reality. We wrongly assumed that being born with a particular set of genitalia exclusively governed gender identity and expression which has been proven to be patently false.
People of my generation bought into the sexual perversity model and caused our own pain and suffering when all that was required was the loosening of the reins that today’s youth currently enjoys.
I used to be very disconcerted by the stares of people. This goes back to when I was very young and painfully shy. I always assumed that they were finding some fault with me when in fact it was the self-consciousness which invited attention.
Today I go about my business and stare anyone down who has a problem with me. But as it turns out it almost never happens because people can detect the self-assuredness. Growing up is not easy even when one is not transgender but I somehow managed to do it. I didn’t take anxiety pills and grinned and bared myself through to adulthood. I can look back now more dispassionately but it was so stress inducing for the longest time.
I tell my son now that the human spirit can take more than we think and I know I am right because I am living proof of it. In truth is that there are far bigger problems in the world than being gender dysphoric and that helps keep things in perspective.
I listened to the radio the other day and heard the story of a young epileptic young woman who has up to 20 seizures per day and nothing can be done about it. She simply drops to the floor for a minute or two and then gets up once it’s over. This also happens at night and interrupts her sleep but she has the most wonderful attitude about it and gets on with her life.
There is always someone with bigger challenges than you.
Henceforth demagogues are going to have an easier time of it because we live in an era of subjective truth. Whatever you believe will have you find your kindred spirits out there in cyberspace.
This is what allowed Donald Trump to win the presidential election and will embolden the more subversive elements of society to think his victory represents approval of their ideas. Immediately following the election there was reporting of random acts of violence against muslims.
We are entering dangerous territory here and it’s driving a bigger wedge between progressives and regressives (read GOP here or other right leaning party). You don't believe in climate change? Don't worry you will find a pseudoscientist willing to endorse your position.
In the early to middle part of the with century we suffered from the lack of free propagation of information which allowed people like Mussolini or Hitler to control the masses by feeding and withholding in order to advance their agenda. Today it is too much false and misleading information that holds us captive.
I hate to sound elitist but a huge segment of the world population is under educated and more prone to be led by the nose than free thinkers. This is why when despots take power they typically jail or dispose of the intellectuals who are more prone to lead dissent. The world needs to develop strong and independent grass roots media to combat this trend. No place more important than the United States where the big outlets are owned by special interests.
Speaking of intellectuals, here is Noam Chomsky on Trump and protectionist hysteria...
I've known for quite a long time now that I fit Harry Benjamin’s type IV non-transitioning transsexual almost perfectly. This individual is described as someone who does not desire surgery but remains with a level of dysphoria that must be managed therefore dresses as often as possible and lives in both gender roles.
While this used to be distressing to me it no longer is because I have embraced my identity completely. I am an example of someone who can make it work and not transition.
Finding out who you are can take a long time particularly if you live in that grey zone like I always have. So while I fully support transition for those who need it I am convinced that it is possible to live without it; at least for those who fit my typology.
I have tremendous will power which has helped me to manage my dysphoria for 54 years and I strongly believe I am going to continue to live this way as long as God allows me to draw breath in this world.
1) You caused your own dysphoria
2) The dysphoria is pre-existing
If you believe that number 1 is true then you should be able to exert some measure of control and even eradicate it completely perhaps through therapy. However if you believe that number 2 is true then your approach becomes one of managing a reality that you have only partial control over.
After studying this subject for many years now and getting to know myself I know that number 2 is correct; at least for me. This is why I have so stridently fought the sexual depravity model which aims on putting blame on us for causing our own problems.
Two posts ago, I wrote about understanding your value and if you believe that number 2 is true then you must accept your reality, embrace it and not feel sorry for yourself. If transition is what will make you happy then go for it but know that there are a myriad of options that can also work.
I used to believe that number 1 was true and so I prayed to God, held my breath and suppressed until my carotid artery dissection came close to ending my life in my mid forties. I was fortunate to have survived and the reparation both mental and physical has given me a new lease on existence.
Remember that there are only 2 scenarios possible and if you aren't dysphoric then enjoy crossdressing to your heart’s content if it makes you happy. It doesn't matter what people think of you but only what you feel about yourself.
Enjoy your life because it is short and because it belongs only to you.
I wasn't going to write another post on Trump but I couldn't help it because there was simply more to say. You see, Michael Moore hit the nail on the head and you can read his reasoning in the link below.
Clearly the "Angry White Man" vote came out in droves plus the people who didn't trust or like Hillary Clinton and perhaps were disenthused with Bernie's derailment stayed away or voted third party. That is why this man-child is going to be president for the next four years.
But I do still have hope that there will be reform ahead because the American people are resourceful, intelligent and decent. I think they just have to stop making elections about things like race, religion, abortion, guns and immigration and they need to go back and focus on infrastructure, health care and the economy. The hatred that has built up over this election is greater than anything I have ever witnessed and is akin to a type of social war built along rural-urban lines which reflect the lifestyle and beliefs of the relative populations. But this is no way to run a country or vote for a president.
Voting for change is all well and good but would you switch mechanics and have your car repaired by someone who has never done it before? For this is what Americans have ostensibly done. The fallacy is that Trump is a successful businessman when in fact he leaves a trail of failed ventures and settled lawsuits that number in the thousands.
No this was clearly a protest vote and rejection of the way Washington is run. The downtrodden don't like elitists telling them things and not delivering and they are unhappy with what the global economic downturn has done to their lives. Donald Trump has only helped their ills by doing his business abroad like everyone else.
Once people realize this is not the man to do it, the sleeves will be rolled up and the real change must begin. They might want to start by reforming the electoral college.
Instead of "Making America Great Again" let's settle for a new slogan in "As Little Damage as Possible Please!".
Michael Moore and Jimmy Dore were correct: the disenfranchised wanted a populist but instead they got Donald Trump.
The Dems did this to themselves when they didn’t pick up the signals from the population and saw fit to derail the Sanders campaign. I know Bernie well because Vermont borders Quebec and over the years I saw a hard-working, honest and intelligent man who cared deeply about fairness and correcting injustices.
Americans voted instead for an opportunistic narcissist who promised to “Make America Great Again” without actually specifying what that means and he was spurred on by an internet echo chamber where one gets the news they want to hear and where fact-checking is optional if not outright discouraged. Most of what Trump said over his campaign was replete with false hoods.
Half of America now hates the other half because they have turned elections into referendums on social wedge issues instead of concentrating on sound fiscal policy and helping to bolster the downtrodden that are increasingly dotting the landscape while the top rung gets richer.
The people with the little red Trump hats are in for a rude awakening when he isn’t able to deliver what they need but if nothing else now Bill Maher will have 4 years of very rich material to work with for they have just allowed a man with the temperament of a 12 year old to lead the country.
I have read so many stories over the years and have come to understand the particular circumstances that each of us lives with. You can literally group the narratives into categories because so many are eerily similar.
The most important thing I have retained from all of them is that not every one of us understands our value within your relationships and it’s not hard to see why. You love your partners deeply but are conflicted with just how much of your transgender nature is allowed to peer through.
Some spouses are kept entirely in the dark and disclosure would mean certain divorce. Others know but don’t want to acknowledge it. Another group lets their partner have their outings and doesn’t participate while the next level up actually tags along. Finally there is the accepting spouse who stays even after transition whether surgical or not (this case being the rare exception).
Yes our situations are different but the one I find most unfortunate involves the transgender person being indulged whereby their activities are seen as being a pastime akin to playing golf. This viewpoint is more common among our generation and the millennials are far more advanced and enlightened which makes me very glad.
Most of us married with partial or no disclosure hoping for a cure or that repression would work but those who were fully transparent should have more leeway in being who they really are. Otherwise why be with a person who sees you as an aberration? Is it because you agree with that assessment yourself?
At my age now I would not settle for anything else but full acceptance of everything that constitutes my personhood and want, with my remaining years, to be truly happy in my own skin with the knowledge that my identity is not a negotiable thing. I am alone and not obliged to compromise because that would involve stifling my spirit and suppressing who I am and, as far as I'm concerned, tacit acceptance that it is somehow wrong to be trans.
Yes that transgender opera singer whose video I featured 2 postings ago was among the lucky few but the vast majority of us are not.
I just want to point out that it's up to you to set the bar from the outset in permitting yourself to be who you are. If that self image is already damaged to begin with it doesn't bode well for an honest relationship. There may be very few women who accept your transgender nature but if we exist then they do as well.
I don't know about you but I don't equate my identity with a pastime for it is a far more valuable thing than that.
No matter who wins on November 9th it’s been an ugly, infantile and embarrassing debacle of a campaign. In my lifetime I have never seen a race for the presidency of the United States reach this low level of discourse which has reveled in xenophobia, sexual innuendo and juvenile statements more at home in a middle school than the political arena.
Donald Trump represents an embarrassment of astronomic proportions and is now resorting to saying that he doesn’t believe that humankind can impact climate with carbon emissions. All this for the pleasure of accomodating his extreme right wing base.
Even if Clinton manages to get in by the thinnest of margins the country is more deeply divided than ever along urban and rural lines which mirror the wedge issues that Republicans decided to go with approximately two decades ago. They have picked up all the gun nuts, racists and extreme right conservative Christian types who sit in their shelters waiting for the next Rapture. Its almost a reversal of the age of enlightenment that Voltaire helped Christen centuries ago.
True that Clinton represents more of the same Washington establishment that the disenfranchised love to hate. But her shrill and charisma challenged personality should not detract from her huge advantage in competency to lead public office above a man not fit to run for even civic politics. The race shouldn't even be close and yet it is.
How I would love to have a sit down tea with Noam Chomsky and hear what he has to say. Undoubtedly he is shaking his head in disbelief.
All I can say is that when you have the likes of David Duke gloriously singing your praises it can't possibly be seen as a good thing and, when the election is over regardless of who wins, there will surely be much reparation and reflection ahead as the level of hatred and mistrust of the other side has simply risen far too high.
But it must be said that the checks and balances that exist in the system and the need for Congressional support will oblige a Trump presidency to play nice and all of that bluster will calm down by necessity. No matter how much he has pandered to the lowest common denominator, should he win, he will need to work with the Washington establishment to get things done.
I am now in my eighth year of coming out as trans and yes I am aware that this is a long time. It is also the only way I know how.
A colleague and friend I have known since 1990 was told two Saturdays ago that a few years ago I had made initial inquiries with HR about how a possible transition might be viewed. Their response back then was that it was up to me and to their knowledge my company of over 6,000 didn't have any other transitioned people although I know that statistically there must be some in hiding or simply in stealth.
My friend was a little taken aback because although he knows about my dysphoria he was surprised I would make such an inquiry. That option is now off the table but it felt good to disclose it. Such has been my experience with the people I trust in that my friendship with them has been validated. In my wildest dreams would I ever have foreseen being able to do this in the past.
There has been such an organic flow to healing my psyche and reinventing myself that it has not encouraged taking shortcuts although I can see how the young generation tends to proceed much quicker. Perhaps it's because their world is not as daunting as ours was.
The urgency that took hold of me upon first coming out had me spring from my stasis after years of suffocating suppression but then things settled down. When the dust cleared and I found my footing again I discovered that I could think more clearly and had a different plan in mind altogether.
Every Sunday before mass I see a banner near the altar which translated from French reads: "Let us allow ourselves to be surprised by God".
This post is prompted by the recent featured post on T-Central from the blog of someone who identifies as a healing crossdresser. It is not about making judgments or trying to separate us into groups but there are differences in our respective histories that bear pointing out and one of them is the age at which we first realized that there was something not quite right with our gender identity; or perhaps more appropriately: how it clashed with expectation.
I remember being 3 or 4 years old and having my mother scold me about wearing her shoes and up until then not realizing that I was supposed to be a boy. That incident marked me for life and will forever be forged in my memory. Henceforth my dressing went underground and was relegated to times when I would not be seen.
I have always had gender dysphoria and don’t know what it is like to exist without it. Had I not been dysphoric I would have had little interest in seeking out crossdressing as a coping mechanism and I did my utmost to discard my feelings over the years all to no avail. Dressing is now the main management technique for my dysphoria without which I would be despondent and dysfunctional.
There are others who began dressing post puberty who may have done so strictly as a sexual interest. There is nothing wrong with this and if they can stop because they desire to perhaps they should try. It is possible to have sexual addictions that can be treated.
Most of the blogs I read belong to gender dysphoric people who have a long history of dealing with their situation. They live in varying stages of transition from no medicinal intervention to full GRS because there is no perfect formula and because we are all constrained by our life decisions, family situations and economic realities.
I just never want to see another person confuse crossdressing interests with gender dysphoria because they don’t belong in the same sphere. Those who are gender dysphoric have known since earliest memory and it is up to them to deal with it in their own manner. Ultimately, however, it cannot be ignored because failure to do so could result in a perfect storm which will completely ravage your life when you least expect it.
When I was young I would go to curing crossdressing websites thinking that this is who I was. I had been a practicing Catholic and still am today and hoped for a solution for my affliction. Well it turns out that you can't pray the trans away anymore than you can the gay. We are born this way and must deal with it I which ever manner we are best able.
But I swear I am going to bitch slap (very kindly of course) the next religious fundamentalist that gets these two subjects mixed up.
I feel that it is very important that the transgender gynephilic person recognize and take ownership of the sexual component that has adhered itself to their gender dysphoria. Why you ask? Because without doing so you cannot resolve the anxiety you may have built up around it and get to the bottom of how you need to proceed.
The fact is that our sexuality has been impacted and there is no getting around it. Our earliest desire to be female piggy-backed onto our developing psychosexual identity during puberty and hence we cannot be conventional because simply put: 99% of males don't have gender dysphoria.
Now I don’t need to explain to my usual readers that Ray Blanchard spectacularly failed to conclusively prove his theory because to do that you would need to firmly establish a causal relationship. His intellectual dishonesty came in making a claim to science while not clearly acknowledging that the dysphoria could easily have preceded and have been the cause for the establishment of an erotic relationship which merged identity with orientation. In fact only Anne Lawrence makes this honest admission in her writings (see my previous post on this).
Regardless, coming to terms with my abnormal sexuality has helped me put away the idea of transition and accept that its now a permanent part of my psychosexual identity. Hence I now think of our situation in terms of statistics and know that we are in good if albeit small company.
Before I discovered the internet I languished in the certainty that I was an abomination. Comprehending the mechanisms that contributed to creating my particular situation has made for a world of difference because it allows for more dispassionate and lucid thinking. It allowed me to accept that your identity is fused by puberty it cannot be undone anymore than a person can change their sexual orientation in mid-life. You are who you are and accepting that fact makes dealing with gender dysphoria just a little more bearable.
Back when our outdated definitions strayed no further than the terms "transvestite" and "transsexual" many of us were petrified to be either but even more ashamed to be the former because it was associated with perversion and aberrant sexuality. Our prudish Western culture could not understand either strain but somehow the narrative of "woman trapped in a man's body" could be seen to be more palatable under the wrapping of a condition. In their writings Benjamin and even Blanchard mused about a possible common root origin for both but of course never had their answer.
This apparent clear cut distinction led many gender dysphorics to fear being abnormal males and to think of themselves more as women in waiting because it was a far better scenario than being a pervert. The word crossdresser was invented as an attempt to soften the terminology.
The truth is that the etiology of gender dysphoria completely eludes us and many decades after the publishing of the Transsexual Phenomenon (arguably the best book written on the subject) we are not much further ahead in knowledge. Therefore it is up to you to accept your reality and forge ahead with a plan that respects your identity with the goal of keeping you balanced and as content as you can. If that plan includes transition then only you can know but it is clear that for some it has been a good option.
Yesterday I had lunch with a colleague and I could tell something was wrong. He started to tell me that he had a bad day at work the day before and a bad evening at home to boot. He started to choke up a little bit and was hard pressed to talk about it.
I didn’t push further but said he could tell me anything as I have known him for 20 years.
Finally he told me it was regarding his daughter who had come out as a lesbian some time back but now was suddenly identifying as transgender. He had only found this out last night when he and his wife accidentally stumbled upon a webpage she had been viewing when closing her tablet (at least this is what I was told). She had finally divulged to them that she was thinking about binding and possibly looking into hormones.
His daughter and mine are only weeks apart and I have known this man since before both were born. He was on the verge of tears so I came out to him and told him my own story.
I told him she needed support above all and to be listened to and that they should seek out a licensed program or hospital gender clinic (I suggested the Montreal General) that deals with gender dysphoria. Most importantly I told him not to panic and to let this digest a bit. They should both listen to her and not be judgmental and because she is so young to not assume there is a definite path ahead. Things could change but then if they don’t after the therapy then they may need to prepare themselves for a process that will allow their daughter to be who she (or he) is.
This fellow is a fine person and wants to do right by his daughter but what will always stay with me is how thankful and relieved he was after I shared my story with him. Just a little bit of outreach can sometimes do so much and I was so glad to be able to help him in my own small way.
Today I am 54 years old and I have never known myself better. It is what allows me to come out to people and say: this is who I am take it or leave and not really care about their opinion.
I may have mentioned here before that I have been an amateur musician for many years. Well this past week I went into the mini recording studio in my basement and laid down the tracks for this song I wrote called "Move Aside".
Its about not being affected by prejudice no matter what your status in life and finding your way past the non-believers. It could apply to the LGBT community or to anyone who has ever come to odds with society's judgement.
Hint: it will sound better through headphones than through the tiny computer speakers on your laptop!
Note that singing is not my forte nor my favorite part of the song creation process and I normally work with a more seasoned expert. This was an exception.
I also made an accompanying video....
everyone in this life must decide
everything that we feel deep inside
All that moves you and alters paradise
garden of eden dreams that you knew
simpler days when all stories true
we believed them and held them up to you
Hey don’t you worry and let those non-believers Move aside
seeing the stars and all things divine
sitting beside you all now seems fine
it beguiles you and finds you lost in time
Hey don’t you worry and let those non-believers Move aside
even in darkness
when all the majesty of human revealed
I carry the scars of a life fully lived
but nothing ventured nothing ever gained
would you believe the things I had said
nothing is lost when you are ahead
all familiar we end up where we're led
Hey don’t you worry and let those non-believers Move aside
Now that I'm older know what to do
nothing is free in this world we're born to
all the lessons that marked us are not new
Hey don’t you worry and let those non-believers Move aside