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I was listening to the program Tapestry on CBC radio on Sunday and there was a fascinating guest on. His name is Robert Hoge and he was born with a facial tumor.

His eyes were shifted dramatically to each side of his face and his mother was shocked to see her newborn baby boy and wondered what life would be like for him. His parents did their best to raise him as a normal child and he underwent a series of painful operations to make him as acceptable as possible to society.

Robert sounds like a well-grounded and intelligent man who understands the price of being or looking different and has written a book about it called "Ugly: My Memoir". Even now grown men and women will ask him questions without the slightest bit of tact. Some are genuinely curious and don’t mean any harm while others are simply cruel.

He has two daughters who love him and he expected that one day one or both would come to a stage where they would be embarrassed by him. It never happened.

But still, we live in a world where you must develop a sense of yourself and become as immune as you can to the slings and arrows that you will face.

I myself learnt this lesson early because I was born with a defect of the ears which had them jug out and as result I was insulted by children and adults alike until I had an operation at the age of 7 to correct them. The education in the mean spirited nature of some people probably helped keep my dysphoria a secret all the longer because I feared rejection.

Today both my children love me for who I am and that is all we can hope for and regardless of what the world thinks of you, it is important that this internal respect for your dignity as a human be your guiding compass and never mind what the world thinks.

I know Robert doesn’t.


  1. Good post, good point.

    Most humans are insecure and rely heavily on the opinions of others. But when you're visibly different and subject to ridicule, you have to deal with that one way or another. When you're different but not obviously so, you get to choose whether or not to expose yourself to opprobrium. Thanks for sharing your struggle with both.

    My reaction to being transgender was, at an early age, to reject the opinions of others. From ages 10-13 I deeply studied the issue and realized even experts didn't understand this condition -- and the average person was clueless. I knew in my heart there was nothing wrong with me so their judgment (individually or collectively) was meaningless.

    1. You are welcome and I wish I had been as fortunate as you in understanding myself sooner. I fought back very hard against being transgender and wasted many years of energy. I have become as educated on this issue as one can get and have come to your same conclusion.

      What i fight against now is ignorance and the academic hubris of the "so called" experts who presume they understand what makes us tick but clearly do not.

      In that sense my blog is mostly about justice and tolerance for all.


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