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


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?

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.