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with apologies to Renee Richards

When I am out and about as Joanna I enjoy very much the feeling of being a girl. I revel in my own vision of what it might be like to be female but that is not the same thing as being one.

I read an old New York Times article recently about Renee Richards, who I mentioned recently as being a sex change regretter. It turns out that I was only partially right.

She does not actually regret her transition because she says the pull was so incredibly strong that she could do nothing to stop it. The kinetic energy of the desire was an unstoppable force.

What she does regret is that no pill, no treatment existed at the time existed to stop her from fully transitioning. Had there been such a solution available to her she would have taken it. However nothing of the sort existed in the early 1970's. She has said that it's better to be a perfect woman than an imperfect one.

Now in her 70's and partially estranged from a non accepting son and living in a platonic relationship with her caretaker, her life has perhaps not turned out the way she planned. Some of this is no doubt tied to her early notoriety as a world of sport transsexual pioneer and to her failure to have had facial feminization surgery which, at the time, was not even in its infancy.

She is not the only such regretter but admittedly they run small in numbers since the screening process is structured to be vigilant and rigorous. It is made to screen out improper diagnoses and false recommendations for advancement into surgery.

Certainly it is not a process for the faint of heart and one which you feel you have no choice in entering. I doubt anyone who enters it honestly does so before having explored all other options before them.

So my apologies to Renee if I misquoted her.

The treatments for gender dysphoria are more varied today but in the end people will do what they must. The only thing that is demanded is deep introspection and complete honesty because inherent in such a major life decision will come the good and the not so good.



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