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bravo

I have been to Dr. Kelley Winters blog before and she is a lucid and helpful ally of the transgender community so when I was reading some comments on Amazon regarding her book "Gender Madness in American psychiatry" which is a critique of the highly conservative psychiatric profession and its tendency to discredit transgender people as mentally ill, I happened upon one which I found particularly spot on:

"Dr. Winters is the last person I know whom I would consider either narcissistic or rageful. Her book is well thought out, and flows in spite of being built from a number of blog posts (as if that would discredit the facts and analysis within). Her blog posts generated feedback which she used to create a more holistic work, one which puts the lie to the canards of the Toronto/Northwestern axis of transphobia.

Yes, Ms. Farmer, brain sex is important, even though Dr. Winters doesn't delve into that field. The medical profession, which five years ago scoffed at the conc…

my dad Susan

It helps when we are finally at ease with ourselves and our children accept us to boot...



Rose

Rose sat at my table when someone next to me didn't want her sitting at theirs.

She was friendly and talkative and complimented me on my hair. She was exactly my mother's age with 4 grandchildren and one son who she loves very much. Rose was an open person with a lovely disposition who admitted that she likes talking to new people and I was very happy to oblige.

I learnt a little bit about Rose during our time together and after about 15 minutes of overlapping I had to go to the ladies room. So I thanked her for the lovely discussion and she squeezed my hand, smiled at me and wished me a lovely day and I did the same.

I was very glad for the little impromptu chat and was once again reminded how much more interesting life can be when we overlap with strangers.

As an added note not 10 minutes before meeting Rose I had a young woman not older than my daughter ask me what brand of lipstick I use which I thought was very cool.

two solitudes

Fox News doesn't want the truth on its airwaves and its less than stellar intellect conservative audience only sees platitudes about what a good job Trump is doing but then Shep Smith goes for some honesty and during Fox News Sunday points out the obvious. No doubt the right wing fanatics are calling for his head for this.

The David Pakman Show rightfully has a field day with this of course but kudos to Smith for being a straight shooter and admitting that Americans are being lied to by this incompetent and malevolent man currently sitting in the White House.

Its a shame that it has come to this where everyone needs their own tailored and air tight media where the truth is not allowed to infiltrate which is pretty much what the Russians have now.


a new environment

I am in Toronto for work through the rest of 2017 and flying home once a month. I also have a lovely place which is rented and paid through the monthly living allowance I am getting from my company.

It is an interesting period in that it has taken me out of my routine back home and introduced me to a new environment that has pushed a kind of reset button in my life.

Outside of work I am living as a woman which has meant spending three weekends out of four as Joanna. My confidence has taken a distinct boost while here for some reason although I cannot explain why but my friend Sherry who transitioned many years ago suggested it is specifically because I am in a foreign environment free from the normal routine. It also might be that the groundwork done at home over these past years is working like using muscle memory and I have found a new parish, cafes I like and preferred shopping areas where I can get what I need. But in the end it's about feeling right in my own skin as a transg…

feminine

Reading Clare Fluorish’s latest post got me thinking about the idea of innate femininity. Transgender male to females possess it in droves (at least the ones I know) and yet in order to sell the idea of transgender as a perversion the possibility that innate femininity could exist in gynephilics was said to be absurd.

Some insisted that a gynephilic transgender woman was no different from a man who gets turned on by wearing women’s underwear. We saw it in Alice Dreger’s laughable 2013 article (which Calie was kind enough to feature on T-central) and it is still propagated by radical feminists and older androphilic transsexuals who have used Blanchard’s damaging attempts to discredit woman loving gender dysphorics.

In order for that innate femininity to exist it should show up in childhood but the problem is that many of us were not demonstrably effeminate because we learned very early to conceal it from the public eye. To show any signs would have meant ridicule and I saved mine for …

what is it about Twitter

Jack Molay sent me an email regarding Ray Blanchard’s Twitter feed which I had never visited.

Lo and behold I was not surprised to see tweets advertising one of Anne Lawrence's books, quotes from Camille Paglia, attacks on Kenneth Zucker being admonished and even an article from The Federalist (one my favorite right fringe websites).

Blanchard supports gender reassignment of course but only in the way that a pill helps a deranged person because transsexualism is a mental/sexual disorder which benefits from treatment. The focus of the feed shows he is a little removed from other researchers who have tried to help the transgender community in more positive and reinforcing ways. But still, if the amount of followers is any sign, transgender people have little to worry about as he also doesn’t have extensive support even among his peers.

I won’t be visiting again any time soon but if anything it reinforced the opinion I already held after having read his work and selected interviews w…

the hardest lesson

Be confident and be yourself and if you don't do it now when will you?

As a shy pleaser and adherer to what I was taught, this was one of the hardest lessons I've had to learn in my life. Something which for others was incredibly natural was painstakingly difficult for me.

What you have been told about presenting in public in any form is absolutely correct; namely that your success hinges on what you believe inside and is intrinsically tied to your confidence. If you see yourself as a man in a dress then that is exactly what people will perceive. So fix the insides first by coming to a deep understanding of who you are.

After that get out there and live your life regardless of what your plumbing looks like or what others think of you.


master of none

I really like Aziz Ansari's Master of None series for Netflix and, after just finishing watching season two, I like it even more. Its slice of life dramedy style really hits home for me.

Whether its the awkwardness of online dating, dealing with aging religious parents, coming out as a lesbian (as one of his best friend does) or trying to decide which career path he should stick with you feel for Dev as he tries to find his way through life; his pleasant and affable character seeming to smile through every situations he is put under.

This is the kind of show that doesn't seem to go anywhere and yet it does. It mines the little moments of life that we recognize as Dev's friends and family members deal with the little challenges we all face and need to maneuver around in our lives.

If you haven't already seen the show then you owe yourself the favor of seeing both seasons.



looking back at my life

This picture was taken when I was 16 and has only mildly been doctored through adding earrings and coloring the lips slightly. I was easily able to pass and when I dressed up there would have been no doubt that I was a girl.

There was no such thing as transgender back then and the whole idea that I might be a transvestite (which was the only term I knew) embarrassed me greatly because being an abomination was something I needed to distance myself from at all costs. However that pull towards the feminine, present from earliest memory, refused to be ignored.

Now I look at that period of my life with the kind of fondness that can only come from hindsight. My big secret had to not yet been exposed and had not exploded into something which would one day command my immediate attention. What I find remarkable is how infrequently I was able to dress as the house seemed to be always full of people which is why I so looked forward to the rare quiet times when no one was home.

In the Anne Vital…

Ralph Nader speaks the truth

Here is Ralph Nader (as quoted by Kyle Kulinski on his show) speaking truthfully about the corporate sellout of the Democratic party and with that their soul.

You now have poor working class people in the red states voting against their own interests for a GOP party that does not give one whit about them. All this within the context of the reality that half the population of the United States lives with a yearly salary of $30,000 or less...



getting off the merry-go-round

Your brain holds incredible power and the difference between having a stable and happy life versus a miserable one lies largely within its boundaries.

Your thought process can hold you captive and have you see the world through a filter where you are a permanent victim and many of us rely on thinking that sees us remain in prisons that we hold the keys to.

If we take it as a given that life is naturally complex and unpredictable all we can control is how we process that reality hence you can choose to suffer from that variability or use it more to your advantage.

The other day a young writer was being interviewed on CBC radio during which she stated “one day we’ll be dead and none of this will matter” which simplified everything down to one universal truth which is that much of what we do here is biding time. Seeing things in that light is actually liberating because it helps you focus on what is real and what is important in your life and, when you wipe away all the distractions and …

sometimes I need to pinch myself

In a few days this blog will be exactly five years old and it occurred to me that during that time our advancement as a community has been nothing short of extraordinary.

My own personal progression has followed with it and my life made infinitely better as it climbed back from the low reached in 2007 when everything came crashing down after hitting the wall.

We now have the reassurance of knowing that young children won't need to suffer in silence for years like we did. There is help for them now with the only caution being that they not be put on hormones before they themselves know who they are. Still the landscape after just five short years is almost unbelievable and sometimes I need to pinch myself.

You may have noticed that the transgender headlines in the media need to be that much more sensational as people are bored with the old one of "man becomes woman". This is just one measure of the progress we have made.

To those who might be tempted to roll their eyes a…

Anne Vitale on Primary and Secondary Transsexuals

My readers know that I am a big fan of Anne Vitale and in this essay from 2000 she laid out her views on the work of Ovesey and Person which predates Blanchard's by 10 years:

"It is with dismay that I continue to encounter individuals with gender identity issues using the terms Primary and Secondary Transsexualism as diagnostic indicators. The terms show up repeatedly in Internet chat rooms, in the Internet news groups, in my email, and by individuals presenting to me in my private practice. The individuals who self-identify as Primary Transsexuals are usually using the term to mean that they are "Benjamin Type VI, true transsexuals." Those who self-identify as Secondary Transsexuals are usually trying to diminish their condition and to find some way to deal with their gender dysphoria without having to face the possibility of transitioning. As we shall soon see, neither term has ever had anything to do with severity or prognosis. There is no hierarchy of transsexual…

who are you?

Who we are can be a difficult thing to answer for many of us because we are scared or because we want to please others and be “normal”. But normal is not something many of us ever were.

I am transgender and I am much more comfortable with that knowledge than I have ever been in my life. It is something I had been running from for a very long time but now I can really see myself without distorted or preconceived ideas.

Self-understanding is also hopefully accompanied by the freedom to define oneself outside of the confines of the rules we were brought up with; most especially those which made our lives unnecessarily more complex than they needed to be. These were often about pleasing family, friends and society in general before ourselves.

Over its span my blog has devoted a lot of space to dealing with escaping restrictions and finding one’s own way because I think that is what is required here. Even the transgender community has developed its own do’s and don’ts which may not suit u…

masks

Well here is Alice Dreger comparing men who get off on wearing latex female masks with the transgender population which she she seems to suggest is mostly composed of Autogynephilic men. In this 2013 article from the Pacific Standard, she does her best to make sure that gynephilic gender dysphorics are lumped in with what was previously labeled transvestic fetishism. In essence she equates wearing a female mask for sexual kicks with a transgender woman having electrolysis or FFS which, according to her, is just a more elaborate version of the same mask.

Once again Autogynephilia is described here as sexual orientation which is odd since so many transgender people form real and long lasting relationships in which cross gender arousal (which is a byproduct of dysphoria) happens to co-exist. In my opinion this is not exactly the same thing as having a fetish.

Dreger is part of a persistent but very small group which is not picking up any new converts and here she uses old standby Anne La…

I can relate

I know that India Willoughby made that slip up recently regarding the use of bathrooms but here she makes me relate to her struggle with dysphoria, living a double life (as she was for a time) and telling her son about being transgender and having him accept. This all really hits home.

Unfortunately the quality of this video is not great because the person who made it was directly filming their television...


you can't make this stuff up

As Donald Trump has yet another brain fart on Twitter this time his cruel mocking of Morning Joe's Mika Brzezinski may have just brought his presidency to yet another low. At least he is giving Bill Maher more comedic material than he can handle.

Trump can of course always Tweet in defense:

"Oh yeah? Well I'm president and you're not!"

Happy fourth to all my American friends and hang in there!



no excuse

I never go to Victoria’s Secret but then I walked in just for fun. I also wasn’t looking for a sports bra but then with a big liquidation sale why not browse.

The young sales girl gives me a big smile and says "Hi what is your size?"

"38 DD” I responded and before you think that is high I must tell you that it really suits my frame.

“Oh we have some right here in your size”

I rummaged around in a pile and sure enough I settled on a colorful and well assembled bra that was priced just right at a whopping $14. Later at the cash I chat with the sales girl who asked me who helped me and then I told her I was so glad to find one at this price.

“No excuse not to go running” I said whimsically

“No that’s right no excuse” she repeated after me while flashing me a big smile and handing me my bag.

I have never done any sports as Joanna but you just never know. When I got home I tried it on with my forms in place and it fit like a glove.


be calm

I have always been wound tighter than a drum.

Things are always expected to go according to plan and even today i get physically affected when I am late which is why it never happens. I will leave extra early to make sure it doesn't.

Up until not that long ago being stuck in traffic was all I could bear but I am working on it. I tell myself that there is nothing I can do and distract myself with happier thoughts as my engine idles.

Sometimes there is no explaining ourselves and we suffer as a result of the conditions we have mandated to respect. Even if the world will not end there is something almost primordial that drives our compulsions.

Introspection can be positive yes but can also feed self blame when you don't perform to a standard. It is this internal makeup that made my road to self acceptance that much harder since someone like me shouldn't fail and certainly shouldn't be transgender.

It has been a hard but necessary lesson to become more maleable and forgiv…

few things are as mysterious

My ideas on couple hood have firmed up with age and the benefit of hindsight.

We create patterns for ourselves which are modelled after a personal style branded by childhood baggage which in turn affects our attachment style. What we expect of our partner and of ourselves is a unique formula that not even we comprehend because that would require the kind of introspection that could lead to findings we might not like.

Some of us are motivated by abandonment issues or through the influence of invasive parents. That colors the kinds of demands we make on the person we are with and not always by deliberate intent but by an almost automated subconscious approach we can falsely attribute to our personality instead of on flaws we can attempt to correct.

If only one person does the heavy lifting to work out their modus operandi there will be a shortfall since it requires equal engagement to make for a healthy couple. I now see the trials and tribulations of the marriages and relationships aro…

inspirational Pearl

You will notice how collected and sure of herself this transgender woman is. I think she impresses with her resolve and class especially in light of the challenge she has been through in not only being transgender but also a visible minority.

You go Pearl..


the puppet master

There is very little doubt from anyone that Steve Bannon has a big hand to play in the Trump white house. His views on terrorism, immigration and the treatment of minority groups are well documented and as former head of the odorous Breitbart news he is no stranger to controversy.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump is the equivalent to Chauncy Gardinder, that character so brilliantly played by Peter Sellers as an intellectually challenged man who manages to fool a whole host of people with phrases taken directly out his penchant for watching television. That Trump is more malevolent than the Sellers character is well documented and his actions are not those of a mature or balanced individual. The bar keeps dropping for what qualifies someone for public office and we will hopefully one day see a return to a higher standard based solely on the outcomes of this presidency.

Bannon is the modern day version of Rasputin who will eventually have his downfall but not before he has done what is hopefully…

desire

I think that the Buddhists have it right and that the elimination of human desire is actually a gift we can give ourselves.

No it is not about missing out on the pleasures of life but rather about letting life bring you things and appreciating them with the proper measure of importance and sense of perspective.

Chasing things that may or may not be right for us doesn't seem to work for many of us who sometimes realize that what we thought we should pursue does not bring us fulfillment. It might just be that being open to being surprised by life is the true gateway to self discovery and contentment.

As my children naturally detach themselves, many years of responsibility are giving way to an opening where I can allow an organic process to occur with no particular goal other than to permit a natural redefinition of my life. While that may seem like a rejection of clear objectives I see it more as an understating that everything we try to grasp here in this life is made of sand and d…

writing

I don’t need to write but I enjoy it. Therefore I have decided to keep the blog active without feeling the pressure to write every day.

If I do that’s fine but I won’t hold myself to that as a requisite.

As my gender conflict has subsided I have begun to morph this blog to include observations on society in general, politics, religion, philosophy and any other topic that motivates me to express my thoughts.

I thank all of you for your sincere comments and emails regarding this blog and have used that as motivation to continue.

Of course gender will continue to form part of my writing because I have spent countless hours reflecting on it since I was young. When you are different much energy is spent trying to determine why your inclinations rub against the grain of society and that conflict eventually and hopefully resolves itself into self definition.

So the theme here will continue to be social justice and shining a light on the dark places of our world where people are kept in phy…

princess jack

five rules to a happy life

During a graduation ceremony at Tulane University Helen Mirren gave the keynote speech during which she gave her personal 5 rules to a happy life.

This video is an excerpt from her address but I guarantee you will appreciate what she has to say which can only come from someone who has lived a little...


winding down

This blog is slowly winding to a logical end because with it I have accomplished everything I needed to. It was a deep dive into my own psyche which necessitated an exploration of the literature that would help explain why I am this way.

With my self-acceptance has come a calmer version of myself and as I enter into my latter part of my life I can say I have done everything to try and unravel the mystery that is gender dysphoria.

Much of what is written on this subject is necessarily false because so much is contradictory and there can only be one truth. What I do know is that most of the people who are very vocal on it have an agenda and are trying to sway others. At my age this has zero impact on my life but deliberate deceit bothers me and I feel it should be corrected. Were the science on this subject matter solid we could all just sit back and say we had an answer but we really don’t.

I am not done just yet but I am certainly done writing on a daily basis and maybe this blog will…

a sense of humor

It's important to have a sense of humor about ourselves.

Being transgender for me was for the longest time a matter of great seriousness and concern and now I can look back on my history and laugh a little. Having that sense of whimsy can relax you and make you realize that there is a lot of potential to laugh at ourselves in a good way and we can enjoy the way we are all the more by removing obstacles through the gift of laughter.

If only I knew then what I know now but it is not too late at my age to reap the benefits of what I have learned about myself and about the world.

So the next time you feel really down about being trans try and look at the positive side and see the inherent humor that our situation has put us in over the years. I know I have had many and they form part of my formation as a human being who was born just a little different.

Grayson Perry meets Tschan

We all suffer until we figure things out.

Whether you are a self-identified transvestite like Grayson Perry or a beautiful transgender model like Tschan we all need to figure things out and come to a place of reconciliation with who we are.

The one thing you see in both these people is that they have come to that place of self understanding and as Tschan struts her stuff down the street her long slender body is poised and her head held high as if to say " this is who I am take it or lump it"...



observance

I can only explain my path away from religion and towards spirituality as a journey of rejecting pageantry in favor of a purer form of thought.

From a young age I was never able to accept doctrine at face value and I railed against what I perceived to be my father's insistence on regimented prayer and observance. That I still attend a Catholic service has more to do with tradition than absolute necessity and it may be rooted in the idea that it is the least I can do to retain a bridge to my religious instruction.

I now sit in a beautiful building and more often than not allow my brain to drift away from uninspired homilies by repetitious clergy who seem to treat us like children. Still that convention remains as a reminder that I need not entirely flush all ceremony despite it often grates against my desire for simpler and more streamlined thinking.

The church as hospital analogy is perhaps useful here as the priests who we thought should be held to a higher standard proved thems…

Canada passes Bill C-16

Well we have done it and with an overwhelming majority to boot. Canada has passed a law that protects the rights of transgender people and more specifically the rights of freedom of expression and identity.

It was only voted agsinst by a handful of conservatives (surprise, surprise) who thought they would be forced to use gender neutral pronouns which was more a ruse to vote against it as well as some feminists concerned this would facilitate men posing as women gaining access to their spaces (sound vaguely familiar?).

This is a historic day for my country and I am proud to call myself Canadian.

http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/politics/transgender-rights-bill-senate-1.4163823



smug

I have trouble with smugness and arrogance.

It seems to work for some people and they will use it to advance their cause of establishing dominance or perceived status. I am dealing with one such person now on a project and I am finding it best to not let that get to me or at least be sure to make it not show. By doing that you give the smug person more power.

Learning to cope with people is that hardest thing about my business which involves a large amount of interaction and coordination. People’s egos and styles get in the way and their personal ways of communicating impact their core message. They may want to send a clear statement but their method affects its effectiveness.

Over the years I have had to adjust to these types of people but it doesn’t get any easier when you encounter one. The only thing you can control is your own attitude to them as nothing you will do will change them. Sometimes they want to get a certain reaction or are used to being listened to intently and hate…

the idiot defense

Trump may be an idiot but according to legal experts the “idiot defense” would not fly in a court of law. So those GOP politicians coming to his side by saying he didn’t know what he was doing and that he is a newbie president don’t understand the law.

All you need to prove is bad intent which by clearing the room and telling James Comey privately to seeing his way to letting this investigation slide was clearly there. Most lawyers never get that much red meat and, by actually admitting it via Twitter, it is only icing on the sundae for them.

Impeachment is in no way certain however with a Republican house and senate so unless the Democrats win in 2108 things won’t likely change. Mueller would have to find a real smoking gun which would then raise the public outcry all the more for justice.

too old to suffer fools gladly

Most people are lovely but it is always good to get a little reminder about passing. Not every transgender person passes and even those who have been on hormones for years and have had surgery do not always do so successfully all the time.

The point is that passing is not your goal but just being happy in your skin is.

So when I when to buy a fan for my place I wasn’t expecting to deal with an overly curious and slightly smug person but by now I have enough confidence that I do not suffer fools gladly. That same day I had a lovely older couple ask me how I got my wonderful height and that I was an attractive lady. This salesman at the fan place had another idea.

He thought it was polite to ask things in an offensive way. So he said:

“So is it okay to ask you a question?”

I said sure expecting something reasonable like I usually get.

“Are you a transgender or a transvestite?”

I was a little gob smacked because the question was so direct and so smugly stated. It immediately rubbed me th…

a feather in the wind

I watched Forrest Gump the other day after not having seen it for many years.

The film has aged relatively well and its slice of life style reminded me how much our existence is a combination of tragedy and comedy interwoven into what can seem like a randomly designed tapestry.

Tom Hanks gives a powerful performance here as the intellectually challenged man who still manages through his innate goodness and loyalty to find the best in all those he meets and they in turn are better for having known him. His wisdom lies in his ability to find the little things in life that truly bring us happiness as he exercises the simple values instilled in him by his mother.

The movie both begins and ends with a feather being impacted by the wind and it meets obstacles along the way as analogy for our lives and, to punctuate this, Gump theorizes near the film's end that our lives are comprised of both random chance and fateful interventions as we interact with others and our existences touch ev…

going down with the ship

Regardless of whether you believe in the two type model of transsexualism or not (which for the record I don't) you must admit that there used to be some pretty heavy-handed stereotyping going on to substantiate it.

Homosexual transsexuals were supposed to have lower IQs, be exclusively attracted to men and tended to come from lower income backgrounds. Gynephilic transsexuals were supposedly more likely to come from scientific backgrounds (engineering, etc.), be exclusively attracted to women or be asexual as well as being prone to fetishism.

Now I have already given examples here of transitioners who completely break that model and in fact the whole thing reaks of the kind of bias that was rampant around the period that Blanchard was cooking up his pseudoscientific baloney. Since then we have seen gynephilics start to transition much sooner and note that transitioned people cover every possible profession that exists. In fact there is literally nothing left to substantiate this f…

my daughter gets a bigger eyeful

My daughter wanted to attend a faith service at her boyfriend's church and asked if she could stay over on Saturday night. Of course I said yes and reminded her that I attend the 8 am mass as Joanna while her service was at 11.

On a Sunday the bus and metro schedule is slow and it would be easy for me to simply drop her off and he would then just take her home. But then the rub was would I change clothing just to do that.

For the record my daughter has seen me dressed before but this would be 15 or 20 minutes in close quarters in the car and I hesitated. As much as she reassured me that it was no big deal to her I hesitated because my whole life has been about shielding everyone from my being transgender.

So I explained my state of mind and she assured me that taking public transit was no big deal for her. So we left it at that and I stewed over it for a while before calling her back and telling her I would drive her.

Two things changed my mind: I am tired of shielding people from…

the credibility gap

Trump shot himself in the foot.

When it comes to credibility it’s no contest and former FBI director James Comey was resolute, calm and credible during his testimony. As a contrast not long afterwards, the man child president was back on Twitter spewing his garbled and dim-witted retorts.

They have him and it’s only a matter of time now.

The constitutional experts are even stating that all the elements are in play for impeachment charges and, even if this Republican congress doesn’t act, their own re-election bids will be put into jeopardy; all the more when one considers the disastrous health care bill which is now in play.

What matters most now is to understand how the United States got here; that magic combination of echo chamber made to measure news along with disenchantment with the status quo must be repaired lest the country gamble with another populist incompetent. Maybe the next one might not be as visibly buffoonish.

Whatever attempts he makes to discredit Comey will only ap…

a private matter

So Caitlyn Jenner has had gender reassignment surgery. Somehow she still looks the same and whether this occurred or not it changes nothing for the rest of us. Yet the speculation kept the tabloid media machine humming.

Has our opinion of her now changed as a consequence?

This interest in genitalia is coming from a curious public that barely comprehends what being transgender is all about because they have never questioned their own identity. It makes sense that it should reside between the ears and as transgender woman Julia Serano states:

“These are problems trans people often have to deal with in our day to day lives, if they haven’t had surgery, there’s something wrong with them.”

To which she adds:

“The most important factor that affects someone’s experience of gender is whether people perceive us as male or female and how they treat us and outside of the bedroom, it is very rare that a person’s genitals come into those split-second judgments one makes countless times a day”

It t…

social media isolation

Social media can actually instill loneliness.

Once past our maximum circle of 150 contacts, we cannot focus on any more. This is why humans tend to stick to smaller groups where we can be ourselves and offer candid testimony without the benefit of editing.

The less we see reality the less that interaction offers us anything tangible and worthy of our time. We also don't get to share our pain and joy with others in a beneficial way. Our dependence on social media instead breeds more isolation as we water down our human interaction to a series of sound bytes.

Those of us who didn't grow up with these platforms may be less likely to become addicted and yet we have all been exposed to them and have fallen for their spell in varying degrees.


playing God

CRSPR is a DNA editing tool which allows scientists to alter DNA strands in order to cut out mutations or add missing elements which would theoretically render the coding of that plant, animal or human to be free of imperfection or disease.

The ethical implications are of course evident as, besides the correction of human diseases and deformities, you could envision a scenario where designer cattle, pigs or even babies would be handpicked by parents who would be eager to have that perfect offspring with blue eyes and blond hair.

Human nature being what it is, you are almost guaranteed to see the use of this technology test the limits of what is moral and ethically desirable and, even as nations introduce measures to control its use, there will be those who will wield its power for their own ends.

We are entering a brave new world where the human appetite for extended youth and beauty could supersede the implications that could ensue and gratifying an individual’s vanity or search for …

how aging can help us

I like the way I look as a female at almost 55 years of age.

I have learnt from experience over the years to craft an image that allows me to deal with my dysphoria more effectively than ever before. I know how to speak, how to dress and how to behave in public and I don't give a hoot whether people like what they see or not.

What matters is what I think.

Its a combination of mind and body that comes together and you finally settle down to become who you are.

The little things that I have done over the years like the laser treatment on the face and the thinning of the eyebrows have helped me but mostly its the work I have done on the inside to craft the person I have needed to become.





manning up

Felix Conrad once again brings a thoughtful discussion to the fore in treating the subject of the non-transitioning dysphoric male.

To what degree does he, who at times desperately longs for transition, deal with the feelings and the very real possibility that it might not be the best option?

How does he cope when there might be another way forwards and how does he frame his identity in a world that has no place for him?...

http://transcendmovement.com/what-does-it-mean-to-be-a-man-who-wants-to-be-a-woman/


my mortality

My mortality is comforting to me.

It puts things into perspective and, just when I fall into a trap of thinking that something in this life is complicated, it brings me back to the reality that it is not so important as my finite time on this earth.

I think that as we inch closer to our own end we gain this focus that hopefully allows for priorities to be better aligned and for dependence on material things to fall by the wayside. What used to be daunting in our thirties becomes an issue we can put into perspective far quicker.

My work is like this sometimes and as I get tired of the politics and the ladder climbing tactics of others, I find solace in the fact that its main objective is to make more money for some company whose primary interest is its bottom line.

I am at age where colleagues are suddenly diagnosed with tumors or cancers and I have prepared myself that I might be next. Instead of depressing me it brings everything else I do into more clarity and diminishes its importa…

peak superhero

If we haven’t reached peak superhero yet we are close.

The Marvel and D.C. universes fight it out for dominance on the big screen for our attention spans and our cash.

Last night my son wanted to see Wonder Woman which I thought was great. The movie was far superior to the cheesy 1970’s Linda Carter version and it showed me how far we have come in terms of featuring a strong female lead. Not only wouldn’t this have made the silver screen back when I was his age, but even if it had been we might have been criticized by our peers for wanting to see it.

This is escapism with a message and it plays well to an audience who isn’t remotely aware of the origins of these characters. For me it was a 15 cent purchase at the local corner store which resulted in amassing a little collection in a cardboard box; my last addition was probably made at age 12.

We have changed comic books to graphic novels and I see twentie-somethings reading them on their tablets or in hard copy on the subway. I haven…

it makes one shake their head

We are all baffled when people are faced with hard facts and they choose to ignore them.

This latest Republican health care bill which will knock approximately 23 million people from being covered by insurance companies is being defended on the basis that it is providing Americans with more choice; yes, more choice to those who can afford it.

They don’t even bother hiding the fact that this choice also means another tax cut for the wealthiest Americans who form part of the Republican faithful. Conservatives don’t believe in handouts and if you can’t afford something it’s not their problem.

So I ask the basic question: is basic health care coverage a basic human right or a privilege? The GOP has clearly already answered that question with the lower end voters who opted for their party the ones who will be experimented on. The United States is the only industrialized western nation with a for profit health care system thanks to a visceral aversion to any form of governmental interventio…

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…

my kind of transition

Transition late in life brings a whole host of challenges all of which I have weighed in my mind at great length.

This is why I have decided that were there to be such a thing for me it would be social. I don’t want my son or daughter affected by a sudden and drastic change in my presentation. Plus I have lived almost 55 years this way and my formula works if imperfectly.

The time for a full transition would have been before children and before marriage.

This doesn’t mean that I cannot make the best of the life I have made for myself and honour my transgender nature the way I have been doing increasingly well over the last number of years. There may even be a full or part time job at some point for me working as Joanna although that remains to be seen.

I have also decided that the best way to leave myself that flexibility is to forget about a relationship of any kind. At this point in my life I am happy living alone and whatever person entered my life would only introduce a whole host…

"Joanna do you have a hormone problem?"

“Joanna do you have a hormone problem?”

Asks Grace who has known me for about 5 years and works at a department store cosmetics counter apparently and has always wondered whether I was born a boy but only today finds the courage to ask. I told her to be perfectly at ease.

It must be said that I did not present quite as well back then as I do now and occasionally would miss stray chest hairs. She must have seen those and just never said anything.

“Clearly you are a woman but you are large and you have hair”

She mentions my voice and my demeanor as bolstering her confidence.

Later when I got home I noticed one or two strays on my chest I had missed and made a mental note to never let that happen again. I chalk that up to declining vision and need to wear my glasses and make sure. For the record I have very little chest hair to begin with but that is no excuse for laziness.

I didn’t go into my history with Grace as I rarely see her but I probably should have. She is a middle east Christ…

friendly banter

Suddenly the young woman sitting across from me on the metro asks me for the time.

She noticed my thrift store bag with the purse I had just bought and I noticed her blouse which was a very funky pasley pattern and suited her perfectly. Turns out it was also a second hand find.

"Very nice" I said as I pointed to her choice of garb and gave her the time. She then pointed to my bag with the same thrift chain logo where we had both scored our bounty.

I bought my purse for a whopping $8 and it was genuine leather to boot.

We bantered back and forth across the aisle about what a great deal each of us had made and then suddenly it was her stop and we wished each other a good day.

Later that afternoon waiting in line at the dollar store the woman in front of me turns around and smiles and tells me remembers me from the Salon des Metiers d'arts which is the annual gift show at Christmas. She was a merchant and thought about asking me to try on one of her bigger dresses and tak…

victims to the caricature

To varying degrees we all suffer from the caricature that society has created for men and women. Men are strong and women are weak. Men are stoic and women are emotive. Men are more single minded and women are good multi taskers. While this may be true for some it doesn't apply to others but once the rules were made we were expected to follow suit.

Breaking these norms takes some courage because you become the object of ridicule, the butt of jokes and even a victim to violence. For the first time in my lifetime and maybe in history we are starting to see a slackening of the noose and witnessing a new respect for the diversity that actually exists out there in the world.

What this means for some men is the chance to define themselves outside of the macho, stoic provider and for women to be the natural leaders that some of them are. It will be about allowing our capabilities and not our gender decide what we can or cannot do.

For those of us who are gender dysphoric it has also ope…

the starbucks lady

Besides taking to hoop earrings I also have also recently started wearing drops that I bought at Claire's a while back but had only worn a few times.

This picture was taken during a recent visit to a Starbucks....


learning to be ourselves

My mother has always been a natural lefty. When she was young the nuns would slap her left hand with a ruler in order to force her to write with her right hand. Every time she was caught disobeying that left hand would get a swift reminder.

Many trans people have had much the same conditioning and whatever natural inclinations we had were shamed out of us until we learned to comply.

I am now deeply embedded in the process and getting to know the person I could and maybe should have been. It is at once a complex and rewarding undertaking except one now devoid of the shame or guilt which muddied any attempts I made towards clear thinking. As a result it can now be afforded the kind of introspection it deserves.

Some posts ago I featured Lizzie Velasquez whose life has been much more challenging than my own and yet she maintains a wonderful and positive outlook that focuses on where her strengths lie instead of feeling sorry for herself. This is what I had to learn as well.

When I began…

sometimes on the cusp

There are always more pangs of jealousy in the summer.

The dresses and the shoes are almost tempting you to run home and change and come back as you want but then reality brings you back. I am on that cusp where sometimes I ask myself if I am living a lie or whether I am just kidding myself to ever think I could transition to full time living.

There is no right or wrong answer of course and in Quebec it only takes filling in a form and having a witness who knows you attest that you are serious and your gender marker is on its way to being changed.

Many of us have been on that cusp where we are sure and then suddenly we are not and another 6 months go by. But I am on my own timeline and no one else’s.

I have 5 years to go before reaching 60 and then something will happen or it won’t as I don’t intend to rock the boat before. But then there is that call from a headhunter that has you reflecting on a new job with a different identity and the possibilities linger on. I then ask myself if …

home of the whopper

a problem for our times

I clicked on one of those videos that pops up on your YouTube homepage.

It was a TED talk on how to cope in a sexless marriage; what happens when one doesn't have the same libido as the other partner and how to deal with the frustration and hurt feelings that inevitably follow. It reminded me how intrinsically complicated human relationships are.

In fact I don’t believe there is anything more steeped in mystery than a couple trying to wade through life with a coherent vision that allows for their marital longevity. At least I cannot claim any personal understanding.

This woman, who professed a certain expertise in dealing with marriages that were faltering saw her parents' disintegrate after 23 years of never fighting; her mother surprised the family one day by saying she wasn't happy and wanted a divorce. The TED talk audience was told that this had helped her decide her life calling where she could deal with these marital problems of communication and had a certain succ…

not thinking things through...

I pass better than some transgender women and have been using the ladies room without incident for many years except according to India Willoughby I shouldn’t be doing that since I don’t have female parts. India would rather I use the men’s room instead.

Ms. Willoughby conveniently forgets that some trans women start off identifying as crossdressers and that some don’t have GRS for years if at all. But she would rather they risk bodily injury or simply hold it till they get home. By doing so she is aligning herself with conservatives who already see all transgender people as mental defectives.

Way to go India. Now that you have transitioned you have become elitist and apparently also obtuse.

If we remember our history bathrooms were not divided by gender in the US until the late 19th century and somehow society survived and, until we start seeing physical attacks on women by crossdressers, we can then debate the merits of Ms. Willoughby's grand idea which only helps fuel the enemi…

"To One in Paradise"

Music and lyrics by Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson

IF I could see the sky above
And my mind could be set free
As wild white horses reached the shore
I'd stand alone and oversee

And if the bush before me burns
Should I turn my eyes away
And still the voices I can hear
As clear to me as light of day

I believed in my dreams
Nothing could change my mind
Now I know what they mean
How could I be so blind

Cold sands of time
Sounds that come in the night
Shall hide what is left of me
Come from Paradise

I've been through times when no one cared
I've seen clouds in empty skies
When one kind word meant more to me
Than all the love in Paradise

I believed in my dreams
Nothing could change my mind
Till I found what they mean
Nothing can save me now.....

"...And all my days are trances,
And all my nightly dreams
Are where thy grey eye glances,
And where thy footstep gleams
In what ethereal dances,
By what eternal streams" (Edgar Allan Poe)



surprise surprise

Well look who is opposing Bill C-16 which would enshrine the terms gender identity and expression into the Canadian code of human rights it's none other than Jordan Peterson. The University of Toronto professor argues that biology entirely determines gender identity and uses a freedom of expression defense to call a spade a spade to allow him to deny the use of preferred pronouns. Except that Peterson is way above his head in these waters and isn't nearly well versed enough in gender theory to be able to make unequivocal statements.

The ideological movement to blame for oppressing his right to free speech is of course the transgender lobby who has the audacity to ask him to be politically correct. Now where have we heard that before? Oh yes in every conservative's talking points.

Presumably this would mean that Peterson would prefer to address a transgender woman like Janet Mock as sir or him based on his preference of a biological determinant.

I know where Peterson is go…