Tuesday, 21 February 2017

you will get what you think you deserve

I had already prepared this post but then it became even more relevant upon reading Jack's latest Crossdreamers post on finding love.

It’s very common to see trans people feel they are lucky to be with someone who tolerates them and for some this may be very true. For example if you have pushed the envelope into transition after not announcing you were trans from the outset, you should consider yourself very fortunate.

Conversely I think some set themselves up to get only what they think they deserve. What do I mean by this? That our natural self destructiveness conspires to set the bar very low and some of us are prone to settle for someone who is at best not repulsed by the idea that we are transgender. This is not exactly an earth-shattering gold standard.

Yes we represent a needle in a haystack but if we exist then so do they and I am certain that there is statistically a larger group of women who would welcome a transgender partner than our actual percentage in society.

Setting the bar low from the outset will only ensure that both of you will suffer should you realize later into the relationship that you want a freer range of expression than she is prepared to accept. I understand this is hard for people already in existing relationships but for those open to engaging in something new, here is your chance to be who you really are.

Take the time while you are alone to really understand yourself and, once there, be open to possibilities without bending one inch of your identity.


Monday, 20 February 2017

Wilmore to the rescue

I need to apologize to Whatever, Yeah because not having watched the entire episode of Real Time on HBO I had not realized that Breibart's Milo Yiannopoulos had come after transgender people during the show. It does not surprise me however since he is a disgusting piece of work.

This is one area where Bill Maher himself is also confused and actually agreed with Milo over transgender bathrooms which is deeply disappointing.

Comedian Larry Wilmore comes in to the rescue and rightfully tells Milo to go you know where....

http://thehill.com/blogs/in-the-know/in-the-know/320234-feud-erupts-between-larry-wilmore-and-milo-yiannopoulos-during



Sunday, 19 February 2017

it happens first in the mind

Before anything else transition must happen in the mind.

That little switch must go off when you realize who you are and how you need to proceed. Barring that there is no sense in changing anything because it is too dangerous when you are conflicted.

I know that some people transition because they know themselves and hence do enormously well. Others, perhaps mired in the insecurity that they must fit into the binary, might opt for a process they may regret later.

I think your mind should be clear of doubt and you should be absolutely certain that this is right for you. Otherwise just be a happy trans person and find your own place in a spectrum where there is plenty of room.

I will write about my two lovely dinners with Rhonda Williams in a forthcoming post, but one thing we both touched upon numerous times was finding your own place as a unique human being who must by necessity play by their own rules.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

something smells rotten

Breibart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos is irreverent and funny but he is also dangerous. He is disarmingly witty, unabashedly and flamboyantly gay and yet is strongly white nationalist, Catholic, anti-feminist and pro-Trump. He is also hard to pin down and uses humor as a way to disarm and avoid being cornered.

Watch how Bill Maher tries and then grudgingly finally agrees to disagree. Kudos to Bill for having him on regardless.

Like many in the alt-right they don't come out at you as blatant racists but instead spin things around to say that the political correctness has gone to far and that white people shouldn't be made to be apologists for the suppression of other races.

Milo is smart and dodges questions with jokes but just watch one of his talks and how he puts people in their place when they criticize him and his platform.

Like Steve Bannon and Richard Spencer they form part of a dangerous movement that tries to wrap white nationalism in a another guise only that at the end of the day you can only use so much air freshener to no avail on the smell of rotten fish.

Friday, 17 February 2017

understanding the erotic component

I have written about crossed wires before in two separate posts. The idea is that one cannot pass through puberty and the development of sexual feelings for females and not have your pre-existing gender dysphoria be impacted through your psychosexual development. The hormone responsible for your libido is testosterone which is present in much stronger concentration in males and is why gynephilics are most likely to experience erotic overtones as the conflict between romantic external feelings and their pull towards the feminine become permanently intertwined.

Because I came from a deeply religious family where sex was not discussed much at all, I grew up with little access to information and was very much ignorant of matters relating to the subject. With no firsthand experience in intercourse until I married I was then faced with the reality that my ability to perform sexually had been deeply impacted by my dysphoric feelings. This began years of turmoil and self-deprecating thoughts where I was certain to be some sort of deviant.

What would have helped me and, many others who grew up during the dark ages, was a more frank and open environment that would have allowed us to understand what we were facing. I now understand the mechanisms at play but it took many years of suffering before I arrived there.

Having reflected on this issue at great length, I am now hard pressed to understand how one could possibly avoid the fusion of dysphoria and burgeoning sexuality since your transgender nature forms part of the comprehensive package you came wrapped in as you entered puberty. Hence it will be the strength of your dysphoria that will ultimately dictate how you will proceed and not whether you experience erotic feelings to the idea of feminization.

One of the litmus tests we know quite well is the administering of HRT which when given to conventional males has them become despondent. When given to transgender people however and, despite the quashing of the sexual libido, it helps bring them peace. This is just one of the ways we know its not all about sex.

"But wait a minute" you tell me "if Harry Benjamin saw so many more patients than Ray Blanchard why didn't both come to the same conclusion?"

Well the answer lies in the following quote I featured recently from Benjamin: "Transsexualism is both a sex and gender problem". For Blanchard, who built upon the wacky work of mentor Kurt Freund in measuring penile stimulation in pedophiles and homosexuals, it suddenly became exclusively a sexual problem.

It turns out that neither Benjamin or Blanchard could conclusively prove their case, but what made Benjamin head and shoulders superior is that he refrained from the pretense of a solution via dodgy science.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

finding contentment where we are now

We are rarely 100% satisfied of where we are in life.

There is always someone else who seems to have it better than us. They have more money, a nicer and more attractive spouse or a bigger house. It might just be the natural state of human affairs.

As I have aged I realize more and more that whatever state your life is in you will find something that you think you want. When you end up getting it the results can sometimes be less exciting than you expected.

We know money doesn’t do it because once you get past the basics that a person needs to survive all the studies show that the level of happiness does not increase. In fact it could be argued that having a lot of wealth adds complexity to your life in terms of worry about how to grow it or spend it wisely as investing firms, family members and friends vie for your attention.

It might just be that the best approach to this life is to find joy exactly where you are at every junction for there is beauty there. If you are alone you have more freedom and can reflect on your life and improve yourself. When you are accompanied you can draw from your partner’s wisdom and bask in their company and friendship. But many people want to get out of their relationship as fast as others want a new one thus precipitating a process that should be more organic.

I tell myself this more and more and am using this junction in my life to remake myself and build on what I have achieved so far. I have come a long way and learnt much but still have things to correct.

There is little point in trying to be somewhere else because where I am now has a purpose.


Wednesday, 15 February 2017

should we be surprised?

Well the "reality show" president has reversed course once again and allowed the nutty Conservative Christian contingent to get their away and remove fundamental liberties given to transgender people by the Obama administration.

Trump doesn't have his own mind and listens to his handlers on these matters. So if it isn't Steve Bannon it's Jeff Sessions doing the work behind the scenes to take us back a century or two. Good Lord these people are idiots.

I hope all this blows up in their faces...

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/donald-trump-lgbt-rights-transgender-jeff-sessions-white-house-bathroom-law-mike-pence-a7580201.html

my political stance

Those who read my blog know that I find objection with the political right.

The other day my son and I had a discussion about this and he asked me what my political stance was. He wanted to know how to develop his own thinking on defending his own views to others.

I told him that I use a basic formula.

Every person has basic dignity and is entitled to self-determination. This means that they have a right to gainful employment which then gives them shelter and enough sustenance to lead productive and fulfilling lives. When that is threatened people get understandably upset.

People also have a right to hold their own personal ideas and beliefs and as long as they do not harm anyone they can practice whatever religion they wish. They should also have responsibility over their own sexual practices (provided they are consensual) and to do with their bodies what their conscience permits them to.

The political right has tended to align itself with policies that undermine these basic concepts. They tend to discriminate based on religious beliefs, race and issues like abortion have become political hot potatoes. The reason this has happened is that the right wants to mix politics with religious morality which is a historically dangerous Molotov cocktail. When you go beyond fiscal policies and governing infrastructure you are asking for trouble.

I can find no better examples of the caustic results of politics mixing with religion than the Spanish inquisition or the Crusades. These debacles are the result of overlapping two spheres which should remain apart.

Using my model I then explained to my son that Trump’s illegal travel ban went against the notion that people are innocent until proven guilty and cannot be discriminated against by virtue of the country from where they originate or the religion they practice. Using this same twisted logic, this asinine order could equally have been extended to prohibit residents of Chicago from travelling to other States by virtue of the threat they pose given that city’s high murder rate.

I vote knowing that all parties and politicians are flawed because humanity is flawed but I will not align myself with white nationalists or discriminatory policies which seek to enrich the few at the expense of the many.

Upholding human dignity and personal rights and freedoms is paramount and those of who are transgender should want that all the more. Given the right's modus operandi we are then not at all surprised to learn that they are the ones who find most objection with us.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

my daughter's art part 2

My daughter continues her professional development as an artist and I am very pleased with the discipline she puts into her work. If all goes well there is a career waiting as a digital animator.

Here is one of her recent profile sketches...


Monday, 13 February 2017

well said

My friend Clare Flourish has written a lovely and very lucid post which deserves much attention. I love it because it’s about defining yourself.

You are who you are but you need to figure that out for yourself. She grew up trying to be someone else like I did.

Clare transitioned fully and she is challenging you to ask yourself the right question: who are you?

The answer should be to ignore everyone else and look inside.....

https://clareflourish.wordpress.com/2017/02/12/the-pink-fog/

Sunday, 12 February 2017

when I look back

When I was getting married I knew deep down that something was wrong.

It didn’t feel right but I also recall thinking that it was time to get on with my life. My father had died of cancer the year before and I was in my early thirties. After all, this is what normal people do right?

It was a decision I made which although not the best conceived still ended up yielding positive results. I have two children whom I love deeply and an ex-wife who I get along with just fine today. If there are any signs that she regrets our marriage she has yet to show it to me.

I can’t look back to the past and can only look forward and deal with reality which is that I am a borderline transsexual. What I do with that reality is up to me. I don’t see transition as a negative thing in the least but I don’t feel in my bones that I must in order to continue living. It is difficult to live with dysphoria no question but then I have done so for many years with the vast majority of that time using little crossdressing binges to get me by.

My internal discipline is exemplary because I was raised to be that way.

Thus when I compare my ability to grapple with my dysphoria today with what it used to be there is no direct correlation. It is head and shoulders better which is why I can breathe.

My solution may not be optimal and where I to transition I could look back and think why I didn’t do this sooner. Conversely it might not be what I truly need after living over half a century as a male in society and needing to do a complete about face on my history.

One thing I do know for sure is that every path we take in this life comes with a series of obstacles. This cannot be avoided and in that light I see transition as being best undertaken young when those obstacles are prone to be smaller.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

it doesn't get much better than this

Bill Maher completely nails it here and bemoans some people's love of fake news and disdain for actual knowledge.

Let's hope that his message gets through to the people who get their information from "alternative fact" websites...


Friday, 10 February 2017

Harry Benjamin's legacy

Emma forwarded to me a very interesting article written by Richard Ekins from the University of Ulster in the U.K. titled “Science, Politics and Clinical Intervention: Harry Benjamin, Transsexualism and the problem of Heteronormativity”. It was published in a periodical called “Sexualities” in 2005.

It is a fascinating read and covers Benjamin’s history of publishing on transvestism and transsexualism from 1948 through to 1979 when he wrote his last publications.

Benjamin believed wholeheartedly in a biological explanation. He wrote in 1967:

“Most satisfying to me is a working hypothesis based on the experiments of brain physiologists and psycho-biologists . . . Their possible explanation for the transsexual phenomenon would be neuroendocrine in nature . . . If something interferes, perhaps an abundance of the mother’s estrogen or lack of response of the neural target organ, this particular center (a hypothalamic brain center) remains female, determining the later sexual behavior and possibly causing gender role disorientation”

But he also believed causation could be influenced by childhood conditioning which could possibly help reinforce it.

In the very beginning of his writings, Benjamin made clearer distinctions between transvestites and transsexuals but as time wore on he began to see a type of progressive disconnect from one's birth sex which led to his fashioning a six type SOS scale:

Group 1
Type I - Pseudo TV
Type II - Fetishistic TV
Type III - True TV

Group 2
Type IV - TS, Nonsurgical

Group 3
Type V - TS, - Moderate intensity
Type VI - TS, - High intensity

In 1953 he wrote:

“The most disturbed group of male transvestites are those who want to be changed into women, even anatomically. They are the transsexualists.’

The term gender dysphoria was not yet in existence and Benjamin stuck with his disorientation terminology. He also noted that his high intensity patients (types V and VI) were in his words “invariably homosexual”

From 1955 through 1966 Benjamin treated approximately 350 patients at the end of which he produced his magnum opus “The Transsexual Phenomenon”. During this phase he also began to make the clear distinction between sex and gender where sex was the libido and gender the internal identity. He stated “transsexualism is a sex and gender problem” and noted that the origin of the condition was still largely an obscure one.

From 1967 through 1979 he saw an additional 1,200 patients and further consolidated his position on transsexuality and, once again, emphasized its biological etiology by stating:

“Gender identity is so firmly established by the age of four that traditional psychotherapeutic approaches have been quite unsuccessful in resolving adult gender identity conflict"


He also described the principal distinction between transvestites and transsexuals as:

"....the degree of gender discomfort and the measures necessary to relieve that discomfort”

Ekins concludes the article with a fascinating text stating that Benjamin worked within the hetero-normative framework of his time and, since transgender people are today pushing against that envelope, it might open up varying options for clinicians:

“Psychiatrists and other health professionals work very much from the center. They are engaged in what might be termed a socio-practical activity in the world as it is, rather than as it might be. More specifically, they are in the business of trying to relieve individual distress in an imperfect world. If, in doing so, they reinforce an allegedly outmoded binary gender divide, so be it, they might well reply.

Perhaps, the most radical intervention that can be expected from clinicians is that if transgender people choose to put themselves on the front line by living daily in ways that challenge the binary divide, then it should be the work of any clinicians whom they consult to help them. Clinicians at the forefront of transgender clinical intervention are now beginning to articulate that standpoint (Bockting and Coleman, 1992). Furthermore, these same clinicians (Bockting, 1997a, 1997b, 1999) are beginning to detail something of the complexities of transgender sexualities ‘beyond’ the ‘heterosexual imaginary.

As this line of development gains momentum, it will become increasingly necessary to revisit Harry Benjamin’s legacy, but a legacy shorn of its heteronormative cast, if his pioneering work is to maintain a contemporary impact. This article is offered as an initial contribution to that enterprise.”

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Trump's America

There is absolutely no doubt that Donald Trump is a narcissist. But you don’t need to trust me on this as plenty of noted experts have already weighed in on this issue and consider him a textbook case. I would find it amusing when, on national television, he extols his proficiency at every known subject were it not for the fact that it scares me to death that he leads an entire nation
.
However, the more pertinent question at hand is whether his pathology is as dangerous as Adolf Hitler’s or Idi Amin’s and could put America at peril. I for one think that it potentially could were it not for the checks and balances built into the American constitution.

Trump isn't a dyed in the wool conservative. He is all over the place politically but he is ambitious and his ego has no boundaries. He proved to be a formidable foe to GOP candidates who couldn't deal with his television showmanship as he sold himself as both traditionalist republican and Robin Hood to a beleaguered working class which used to be the territory of the Democrats before they sold out to Wall Street.

Dubbya wasn’t the brightest president but at least he was surrounded by a less radical and more capable cabal. One could argue that Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice were a good counterbalance to the more Machiavellian Dick Cheney who now looks awfully good compared to the likes of the extremist Steve Bannon.

Trump’s base is not composed of intellectually gifted souls and they have been shown in recent polls to be as gullible as preschoolers; he could tell them anything and they would swallow it hook line and sinker. The ones who are smart are using Trump to leverage their own agendas such as Bannon’s alt-right group, the Christian Conservatives who see this as a chance to move us back to the middle ages and an assortment of one issue voters such as those who think everyone should be armed to the teeth.

These are not the best of times for America or for the world.

In my own Province xenophobia runs rampant as that Quebec mosque shooter turned out to be a Trumpist with a rabid hatred of all Muslims. A friend of his stated recently in the media that he never thought he was actually capable of opening fire on a bunch of innocent people.

The Americas were invaded by people who came from predominantly Christian nations who then used their power to enslave and destroy the native populations and then pillage Africa in order to find a cheap source of labor. This may not be a convenient reminder to many but the fact is that humanity is full of awful people who will do terrible things to each other. My native Spain did a wealth of damage in Mexico, Latin and South America and used the profits to build gold encrusted Cathedrals.

Seeing people with different customs and manner of dress offends some people and the new caustic environment where a radical group known as ISIS who purports to speak for Islam but is nothing more than a bunch of terrorists is having dire impacts on innocent Muslims who only want to live in peace.

But in Trump’s America it's about getting vengeance on convenient targets to cover for their own ambitions and goals. In that light its politically expedient to call Mexicans rapists and see Muslims as radicals intent of imposing themselves on a Christian nation.

After all its easier to find straw men than to look in the mirror and solve the real problems at hand.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

PS: as a side note, Trump would do well do rid himself of Sean Spicer who recently tweeted out an article in the Onion clearly lampooning him as a purveyor of misinformation. Spicer proudly distributed the article clearly not comprehending the intent by stating "You Nailed it. Period!" proving he suffers from mental laziness or is an idiot. Mind you, Trump would then have to find someone with enough cheek to stand in front of the press corps and lie through his teeth while keeping a straight face.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

masks

I wanted to address something that popped into my head after one of Kati's comments.

Every Sunday I see a young usher at Mass wearing a suit and tie just like all the others except that this one happens to be a young woman.

We all need to wear masks sometimes.

Certain jobs require a unisex uniform or that no jewellery be worn. It doesn’t make the person any different on the inside.

It gets even more complicated if the person is transgender and they would like the option to present differently. But then imagine yourself being employed in a fortune 500 company, being a male and wanting to wear a dress and heels to work. Some things just aren’t done because we are considered to be a distraction or deemed to be going too far. It changes nothing about who you are except that you are now confusing others and that is not allowed.

Gender and it’s expression are sacrosanct to many which is why everyone looks like a carbon copy and few are brave enough to bend the rules.

But then what if you never crossdress like my friends Calie or Jack Molay. Does that make you any less gender dysphoric? I for one don’t think so.

I am trans and am always going to be regardless of the mask I am wearing at the time. The key is accepting and repatriating what used to be an unwelcome appendage and working out our internal mechanics in order to achieve our liberation.


Tuesday, 7 February 2017

a state of rest

Self-acceptance deprives you of the need for armaments.

Living comfortably with the knowledge that I was trans was something that I thought was impossible but I have discovered that it very much is. There is no further need to posture for fear of discovery and as a result your body and mind come to a natural state of rest.

I grew up anxious because I was transgender.

It is not natural to fight yourself constantly and it exhausts your body and your mind. Sometimes people would see me and ask what was wrong but I couldn’t tell them for I was afraid to even tell myself.

Those of you who are where I am now can understand me. It doesn’t matter whether you have transitioned or not; it just feels so much better to have a closer understanding of who you really are.

Now I am beginning to see how others feel who knew who they were all along and never doubted it.


Monday, 6 February 2017

an unnatural fit

Reading the recent T-central featured post “Just When I Thought Things were Fine” written from the perspective of a partner brought up familiar memories: the transgender person and the spouse both doing their best to manage in a situation that is less than ideal for either.

The female sees her male partner as needing his “fix” while he begins to realise that there is more to this than a fetish, habit or "hobby". In this scenario no one really comes out a winner. I am not saying that it cannot be done only that both need to add a generous dose of water to their wine to make things work.

I understand and feel for both sides completely which is why I would never enter into that type of situation again. She wants and deserves a normal man and he has the right to honour a transgender nature which isn’t going anywhere and is not particularly welcome.

The only way this partnership can truly work is if she is more than just tolerant and he is not going to transition (presuming of course that this is a make or break limit) and can move back and forth between presentations easily and readily without being made to feel guilty. This ideal situation necessitates that the woman be bisexual or at least can look beyond the clothing and see a whole person.

All other scenarios are variations of both sides tolerating which I will personally never accept again as I don't just want to be tolerated and shouldn't expect anyone to. I would rather be permanently alone.

Let's be clear: absolutely no one is at fault here but the reality is that you have an unnatural fit taking place where potentially one or the other will tire of the situation and leave.

I have been in that scenario myself and have read enough about the situations of others to know how this works.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

cognitive dissonance

Its only been a month and much more horror show to come.

Trump: "I can be the most presidential ever"

You couldn't make this stuff up....

Saturday, 4 February 2017

contentment

I think we can make a conscious choice to be happy.

It is a given that life is, by its very nature, extremely complicated and if it isn’t we will find a way to make it so. The trick might be to accept that despite your best efforts you will constantly be dodging obstacles.

Probably the hardest thing to decipher in this life is how much of the instruction you are given is actually useful and beneficial to you. We are all either privy or victims to parenting that depends on a luck of the draw and we sometimes spend years undoing damage. I don’t think anyone has it easy.

Contentment comes from within and radiates outward allowing you to filter the blows you receive from life. The perspective you gain then allows for more personal growth to add to your arsenal of weaponry.

At the end of the day I have very little to complain about and I know it. I can also look at the glass half empty or half full and that is a deliberate choice I make.

For some strange reason, accepting that suffering forms part of the natural state of existence helps soften the blow.


Friday, 3 February 2017

where I am now

I have boiled down my gender issues to one thing: self-definition. It is that simple but also that complicated.

If you have spent most of your life being conditioned to live life as a male using a mold that doesn't fit you there is no point trying to shoehorn yourself into it; believe me I tried. At a certain point in time you just come to a complete self-realization and become yourself.

I am 54 years old and more than half my life is over but I don’t say that with the least bit of despondence for it is merely a fact. Fortunately my failed marriage yielded my pride and joy which are my two beautiful almost grown children whose company (as limited as it is at their age) I very much enjoy.

Those of us who are older often need to go to therapy to undo the baggage we have amassed along the way and for me it was writing this blog which helped save me. Those who helped contribute to it and also challenged me (yes that includes you AQV) were instrumental in my journey towards healing my psyche.

Now I have found a formula that works and also takes into account the life commitments which includes working in the same challenging sphere for a few more years.

But at least my load is so much lighter and I have a spring in my step which makes the world of difference.

Madeline Wyndzen has a wonderful website and in one of her personal reflection essays she writes the following:

"As you've read my questions and comments to help you clarify your choices, you may have decided you really are a transsexual or you really aren't a transsexual. But I hope you'll consider rethinking about your decision in another way. It's doesn't really matter if you are or aren't a transsexual. You are you! And people can redefine transsexual so it means just about anything! There are even many psychologists who define transsexual solely as somebody who transitions. That's it. And it's possible for people to get caught up in debates about if they "really are a transsexual." But the real question, and the only question, you need to answer is this: what path for your life will let you be happy?"

Thursday, 2 February 2017

pragmatic while stylish

Shoes are particularly an issue for larger and smaller feet and once you step out of the Payless store you are hard pressed to find the bigger sizes.

As a result I sometimes shop online to find the size I need which is a woman's size 12.

Block heels are back which I am very happy about since they provide both balance and comfort over prolonged wear.

Recently I bought the Naturalizer Keeka pumps pictured below which in my opinion are both stylish and comfortable and happened to also be on sale.

My purchases are more pragmatic than ever because it's not fun being in shoes for hours that hurt.


Wednesday, 1 February 2017

come on in the water is fine

I sometimes see the same people downtown in both modes of presentation and am usually not recognized but this time the young woman working behind the coffee counter looked at me and said “oh hi!”

She had switched to a new location I frequent over work hours and there she was smiling at me like a Cheshire cat.

I knew that she had recognized me as she has seen me far more often as Joanna. I was amused by this and we chatted briefly.

She told me I was very convincing as a woman and she wouldn’t have made the connection had she not seen me as a male. She also added that her best friend since childhood had recently transitioned from male to female. This young woman is not older than 25 years old.

I am way past caring either way but it wasn't all that long ago that I would have been horrified at being recognized. She was matter of fact about the whole thing (as are most millennials) and thought it was all very cool.

If you are not already out there you should because the water is fine.