Skip to main content

measuring up

One of the biggest lessons I have learnt over the last few years has been to abandon artificial measuring systems; to stop gauging myself against some normative standard that I cannot meet.

We humans love categorization, structure and to be able to compare themselves to others; we like to identify with behaviour that will gain approval.

We will sometimes lie about personal things for fear we will fall outside of a norm. For example, a man who has very infrequent sex with his wife will have a tendency to exaggerate the truth in order to appear less abnormal. If he hasn’t had sex for 6 months he might say it’s only been 3 months. Such is the nature of human affairs. We all want to feel like we fit within a statistical norm and are accepted for who and what we are. The more we deviate from expectation the more uncomfortable we become and the more we might try to brush aside or downplay the areas where we do not conform.

Some behaviour is neutral; it is neither right nor wrong but simply is. Conflict only comes when that behaviour clashes against the sensibilities and wishes of others. Having too much sex or too little is neither right nor wrong but it can become an issue between a couple with different sexual appetites.

The same applies to cross gender behaviour; it simply is. But the transgendered person often feels like they are letting someone down because they are not measuring up to a standard; not measuring up as a male, as a father or as a husband.

If your partner, sibling or parent do not accept you, there is nothing to be done. The answer is not for you to cave in to their demands because you won't be able to meet them. This was the hardest pill for me to swallow because in my mind I was letting somebody down. By measuring my behaviour against an impossible standard I was doomed to feel disappointment and guilt for what I was doing. First it was at home with my parents and then it was with my wife and children.

But you can only beat your head against a brick wall so many times. Therefore, the barometer you set for yourself should be about bigger issues; issues that have substance and meaning.

For those of you experiencing rejection, there is not much that can be done. However, rather than rail against your nature you can view it as a way to see life differently and with a new perspective. You can have experiences that others will not and find joy in them.

When I presented myself at the gender clinic seven years ago I earnestly believed I could be cured. I wanted to be cured because I thought I should desire to and spare everyone important to me the grief and embarassment of knowing I wanted to wear women's clothes. This was a huge fallacy on my part and since then I have slowly come to terms with who I am. I have done so at a pace that was consummate with all of burdens and barriers I had placed on myself over the years.

In the process, I have made sure to throw that wretched measuring stick out the window.


  1. As we go through life we encounter all sorts of people who seem compelled to measure everything. They keep a strict account of everything to that they have the advantage in every situation. I agree that life becomes much more pleasant when we toss out the measuring tape. Someone will always be richer, thinner, younger, cuter, etc. The less we get trapped in the measuring game the freer we become from envy.

    That is not to say that we should not be inspired by others or to use the advances that others make to guide our own actions.

    When I was responding to your post yesterday I wrote and then deleted a sentence about a vague plan that I had to try to attend a Thursday night Mass. I had read your prior posts about your own experience going to Sunday Mass and while I was not measuring or equating my outings with yours I was inspired to want to be in church while dressed. I deleted the sentence because I did not want to establish a written goal that I may not have reached because I may not have had the time to dress and get out or because I lost my nerve.

    About 6:30 I finished what I had to do with calls and reports and showered, shaved, applied my makeup, hose, wig and a knee length brown, beige and white print dress along with a light jacket and headed out of the hotel. I arrived at the church a few minutes after the service began and figured it was now or never. I parked, walked across the lot and walked into the back of the Church. I had seen a small add in a Rochester alternative paper that this church was "A Catholic Community Where All Are Welcome".

    The service was wonderful. There was a musical group with a guitar, bass, drums and several singers. The priest was friendly and open. There were about 70 worshipers. Most were older but some were younger and some could have been same sex couples and others were on their own. I sat by myself on the side near the back.

    At best, I consider myself a lapsed Catholic. The priest invited everyone to the altar for the consecretion. I chose to remain in my seat. After singing the "Our Father" all were offered the sign of peace. I stayed in my seat but about a dozen people came to me to offer me a sign and a handshake. I felt very welcome.

    While the priest invited all to the Eucharist I again chose to stay away since it has been over a year since my last confession. I regret that decision.

    The thing that made my uncomfortable was when I realized that I was wearing a wig. Men's heads were never covered when I was a kid going to church and I just felt wrong being there with a wig on my head. I also left quickly as the service ended to avoid engaging others.

    If the opportunity presents itself again for me to be in this town on a Thursday night I will surely go back to that church and this time I hope I will participate with the others and not feel so self conscious. During the ceremony the priest baptised a little girl and he also had a couple renew their wedding vows for their 10th anniversary.

    After Mass I went to a coffee house and had a cup. I was then hungary and thought about looking for a place to eat and settled on a nearby pizza parlor where I had a few slices. I then drove around the city a bit and ended up in the LGBT bar I had been to earlier in the week. When I was there Tuesday the kitchen was closed. It was open last night so I felt compelled to order a burrito so I had too much to eat.

    Sorry for using too much of your blog space for my tale.

  2. Wonderful Pat! I am very glad for you, I find going to church as Joanna to be very validating and spiritual. The more you do it, the more confortable and natural it will become....

  3. And don't worry about the blog space!!

  4. My church experience was wonderful and I really hope to be ablel to do it again. I still think I need to figure out how to be in church with a wig on when the guy part of me senses that men do not cover their heads in church.

  5. ha ha... good point. Keep on doing it pat!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

"Oh please its 2016!"

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.

the pseudoscience behind gender dysphoria

The real science as to what causes gender dysphoria still awaits.

Harry Benjamin was on to something except he didn’t have the scientific evidence to back up his suspicions hence, like a true scientist, he negated to draw conclusions. His hunch, based on treating so many patients over his lifetime, was that one is born with a predisposition to be gender dysphoric.

However, with inconclusive brain scans and no DNA marker (as of yet) we are left with believing the word of people who need help and only want to lead happy and productive lives.

The best we have been able to muster since Benjamin's death in 1986 was to amass statistics on who gets a boner imagining themselves as a woman which is in equal parts pathetic and disappointing. For this is not really science at all but is instead playing with interview data that doesn't point to anything definitive or conclusive. I have dealt with this problem at great length in my blog.

The whole thing started with Kurt Freund's obses…

looking past cross gender arousal

Jack’s latest Crossdreamers post got me thinking about cross gender arousal and how it could be avoided; also whether it even matters. This with particular focus on the inability to relate of someone on the outside looking in.

You see, sexuality is a very complicated thing to begin with and when you then add gender identity ambiguity it becomes a recipe to really confuse someone.

So imagine that you are a little boy who identifies as a girl but then along comes puberty and short circuits everything by having the sex you identify with also be the sex you are attracted to. For in essence this is what happens to all all male to female gender dysphoric trans persons who are attracted to women.

So I ask myself: can I imagine a scenario where this inherent contradiction would not produce sexual confusion? The answer is that I cannot.

I am in the unique position, like many of you, to have experienced an early identification with the feminine become sexualized later on. This brought confusion…