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how we label ourselves

I need to be careful about nomenclature but then I come from the generation when the terminology of transvestite and transsexual for example had very particular meanings. We saw them as boundaries that we are a little less certain about today.

For today’s generation these terms have less meaning. They use words like gender queer, non-binary, gender non-conforming or gender variant to describe their lack of adherence to prescribed gender roles. Even the term transsexual is no longer used by gender therapists and I was reminded of this when I went to see Helene Cote at the Montreal General Gender Identity clinic a couple of years back.

The problem with strict definitions is that they are made to be broken and recast. Some people start off with an understanding of themselves and years later take a different path they did not expect to take. Does that mean that their original label was incorrect or did their mindset shift over time as they began to truly understand what made them tick?

All people learn and grow with time and shed the restrictions placed on them by society. They do so at their own pace with some being more rebellious and some more conservative depending on their nature and life circumstances.

Maybe we should be careful with labels and allow ourselves a looser grip with how we move forward in honouring what makes us who we are. What I thought I understood about myself a few years back has changed and I have a different mindset now.

Such is the complexity of the human experience.


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Recently I had lunch with one of the young estimators who occasionally works with me here in Toronto. We were chatting about work and our respective lives when she queried about my love life:

“So how is it going on that front. Meet anyone interesting lately?”

I reflected for a moment and then said:

“My situation is a little particular and if you don’t mind I can share something about myself”

She leaned in a bit and told me to please go ahead.

“I am trans” I said matter of factly.

She looked at me and smiled and said:

“Really? That’s so neat”

She is 35 years old and a lovely person which is why I knew I could confide in her. I then added that I had been reflecting on whether I would switch companies and begin working as Joanna and although she is totally open she also knows how conservative our business can be. So I told her that if I did decide to it would definitely be under a different umbrella.

Then yesterday I was coming back to my place and the lady who rents it to me, who is abo…

feeling sexy

Here are the results of a recent survey of genetic women:

“A new hairdo, walking in heels and a glowing tan are among the things that make a woman feel sexy. Freshly applied lipstick, newly-shaved legs and a little black dress also have a positive effect on the psyche”

Are you surprised? I’m not because it is exactly the same list that makes transgender women feel sexy.

For a long time the idea was pandered about that transsexualism was rooted exclusively in aberrant sexuality. But of course you cannot separate the sexuality from the individual because that forms part of their overall makeup and the fact that genetic and transsexual women overlap here surprises no one.

We should also add here that women aren't always thinking about sex and neither are transgender women.

Pre transition transsexuals would not readily admit they found these things sexy because they were afraid to be seen as perverted men in front of gatekeepers who understood nothing about their condition.

Today we kn…

Being transgender isn't exclusively a problem of aberrant sexuality

If being transgender were exclusively a problem of aberrant sexuality, then I would seem to be an exception to the rule.

To date I have lived my life like a choir boy and have had low libido throughout. I have yet to ever see a porn film and both my ex-wife and ex-girlfriend complained about my lack of sex drive. I also knew I was different from a very young age.

This is why the accusation that male to female transgender persons attracted to women are perverts doesn’t hold much water with me. I was mortified when I hit puberty and realized that my desire to be female had taken on sexual overtones and I ended up, like most of you, repeatedly throwing things in the bin as a repudiation. In fact, accepting that my sexuality has been permanently impacted was the hardest pill to swallow in my journey to become a fully realized transgender person.

That is why I say to those who are still concerned about what outsiders who haven’t lived your personal experience have to say about you should l…