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big hoops

I haven't gone out in public wearing these earrings yet. They were an impulse purchase and later thought they were a tad too oversized for my face but now I'm not so sure.

Anyway sometimes it's good to try new styles...


a slow descent

Of course it has gone too far now. Trump is now reversing his ill conceived separation of asylum seekers from their children which involved putting them in makeshift concentration camps. As the United States edges closer to flirting with fascism, the media just reports on his daily imbecilic and spasmodic tweets while the Republican party sits idly by doing nothing. Everyone is afraid to cross the angry bear; a fact which was echoed recently by outgoing Republican senator Bob Corker.

Meanwhile Trump's rallies remind one of Hitler's rise to power with his lowest common denominator crowds crying with a maniacal fervor and in unison "build that wall, build that wall!"

This administration is corrupt and immoral. It began with discourse about Mexicans who rape, Muslims who bomb and LGBT people who impose themselves on society but slowly it is pushing the envelope of rationality and respectability to its very limits. Each day the dialogue becomes coarser and less things a…

a small step forward

Now that the ICD-11 (International Classification of Diseases) has removed the stigma of being transgender considered a mental illness, there are still other layers of subtlety to be resolved but it is a definite improvement and, those who sought to stigmatize transgender people, will now have a little less ammunition.

To me this whole issue can be boiled down to one thing: how does one live in a world that doesn’t know what to make of you? Do you transition fully and pick a side or do you exist in some partial form which can sometimes complicate your life in how you present and are addressed by the public?

This is part of my thinking process today where I am reflecting on how to live my life going forward.

The strength of your cross-gender identification plays a huge role here and some people simply must transition but what I like about today is that others are freer to choose some variant that stops shy of this goal. Not everyone will opt for surgery for example but will otherwise l…

imperfection

It's only when we look back on our lives that we recognize our patterns; the blinders that kept us from progressing into another state of consciousness and inhibiting elevation into new and improved ways of thinking.

Today I am a very different person and when I take stock of the lessons I have absorbed I realize how marked that change has been. Even the last two years have seen major progress where my own blinders have seen a significant lifting and I have examined the obstacles that held me back. Perhaps the trick is to always second guess ourselves and not assume we are necessarily on the right track. After all, our humanness, by its very definition, implies imperfection and the propensity to err.

Pain is part of life and when experiences sear us with a scar it can act as a reminder which doesn't go to waste. The aim to is to achieve new awareness about our personal truth and define ourselves outside of the limitations imposed by the outside world.

Regardless of our origi…

answering the question

I have been pondering the subject of gender dysphoria for many years now and back when I thought I was a deviant in need of a cure I was certain that I could defeat this calling within me that has always been there. It took me a long while to admit that I wasn’t a crossdresser or a T-girl. Most seem to be able to put the clothes away until the next opportunity and don’t necessarily suffer the persistence of a gender dysphoria that almost never sleeps.

But the reason I am no longer conflicted is because I have accepted my reality fully: transsexualism is a condition one is born with. There is nowhere left to hide and I am tending to my reality in an imperfect way for now and maybe for the long haul.

However, I also don’t want to get to the end of my life wondering “what if” which is why I have begun to consider the possibility of a transition. I am at that edge where on the one hand there is hesitation about stepping through an uncertain door and on the other is the excitement of new …

a natural

You could be forgiven for thinking this was a female singer imitating 80's performer Corina Chiriac but it is instead Romanian singer Sebastian Muntean in the makeup, dress and the heels. The performance is live and there is no lip syncing.

Sebastian's movements are graceful, feminine and very natural and he could most certainly pass for a genetic woman. See if you agree...



underneath the makeup

another dimension

Kyle Kulinski is an unabashed American liberal whose ideas will not necessarily be appreciated by everyone yet he always calls a spade for what it is. Watching the video from FOX News on which he comments made me writhe and Kyle can barely contain his outrage after its over.

You will note that virtually everything said during the excerpt is false and illustrates to what extent the network has become an unapologetic propaganda tool for Trump's vision for America. If you aren't particularly bright and watch nothing but FOX you might as well live in another universe as they twist and omit the truth to such an extent it leaves one virtually speechless. Candace Owens, the new "it girl" of the far right, makes particularly confused statements here.

Kyle is part of the millennial politically educated class who want things to change in the US and he is often left gobsmacked by the audacity of the fake news that Trump loves to talk so much about. Until news becomes news agai…

born different

peace

"Joanne! Joanne!"

I pop out from the crowd upon hearing my name realising the girl at the cash has miswritten it and upon seeing me the barista says

"Oh Hi how are you?!"

This in a slightly syrupy yet sincere tone as if she knows me well.

"Good Thanks" I respond

I seem to get this a lot these days and maybe because people see a happy and relaxed woman.

"Remember me from the downtown Starbucks? I used to work there" She says

Then I finally recall and chalk up the memory lag to dimensia.

"I am hard to forget" I say a little ironically referring to my height while scrunching my facial expression to make my point.

"Plus you're a beautiful woman" and she surprises me and has just made my day. I tell her so. We banter a bit before I get my coffee and she wishes me a lovely day which I return in kind.

Being yourself and relaxed has no price and after years of struggle I am finally at a point where existing in the skin of a happ…

sound familiar?

This is Jordan Peterson all over again except now its based on religious grounds. This teacher says its against his religious principles to address transgender students by their preferred pronouns; a policy at the school where he works. As a result he feels encouraged to resign because in his own words “I’m being compelled to encourage students in what I believe is something that’s a dangerous lifestyle”. The school will rightly accept his resignation because evidently being compelled to do something he feels is so heinous is clearly countering their policy of inclusiveness and tolerance.

Of course just how he would know anything about what being trans is all about is beyond me but never mind because such are the blinders among the true believers. In their eyes this is a sinful "lifestyle" and must not be encouraged in any way lest it catches on like a virus.

I am afraid that there will be more such cases where if it isn't a baker refusing to serve a gay couple it will …

it boggles the imagination

52% of the US population now supports that pompous windbag of a president and I can scarcely believe it. It makes me wonder how bad one must be to merit much lower numbers with Trump’s now reaching almost normal levels. The sheer incompetence alone not to mention the lying should have been enough and yet here we are just past day 500 and his approval rating has actually improved. I haven't even mentioned the illegal activity and delusions of grandeur that has him think he's untouchable and can pardon himself (an early admission of guilt if I ever heard one). By this new set of rules Nixon would not have paid for his own abuse of power.

I am at the point where just seeing him on the screen gives me the hives and I can only watch political programs which comment on his buffoonery and keep the excerpts from the rallies to a bare minimum. Watching him hypnotize his lowbrow base is more than I can tolerate.

It makes me realize that you don’t need to be very good to be president and…

choice

I was never presented with a choice and from earliest memory I have always been gender dysphoric. It is not like one day I consciously decided to try on women’s clothing on a whim, liked it and decided to go with it. No, it was instead something deeply imprinted and primordial that told me where I needed to go.

I explained this to my mother recently and made her recall how the nuns used to slap her left hand when she tried to write with it (frustrated old bitties) and she was forced to use her right. My way of making an analogy she could relate to.

Today I am a very strong believer that one is born transgender (or transsexual if you like). There is no choice in it and all that is left to you is how you are going to respond to something which bristles against the sensibilities of many in society. I explained to my mother how militant I am now and how my age and scars have produced a very strong person; one who is fed up with the stupidity of the world yet is simultaneously very much en…

second guessing myself

I no longer second guess myself about presenting as a woman; I know it will go well.

So much of this is about self knowledge and fortitude and just not giving a hoot about what others think. The important thing is that I am comfortable. I used to balk at the thought of a banking or car appointment as Joanna and going swimming was a definite non-starter but now it's my default presentation. It has also expanded the number of people I deal with on a regular and semi-regular basis which in turn increases confidence even more.

I think coming out is the best thing I ever did followed by my current effort to meld myself into one person. I feel that eventually I will fuse what used to feel like two distinct but co-existing gender roles into one although I could be wrong. The fun is in the exploration I suppose.

The second guessing was getting me nowhere and it had to stop because it was steeped in fear and insecurity. Instead I am focusing on being happy which I very much am these days …

hair removal update

The HPL hair removal unit has been doing its job. The first thing I noticed is that little patches of hair on my hands and fingers are now free of regrowth. So where once a week or so I would need to take a razor to them, they have not required it.

Most of us who are gender dysphoric hate excess hair and I am no exception. Therefore anything that helps in this regard is a Godsend. I have also been treating my face, legs, chest and underarms but those take time and I expect months to go by before I notice significant reduction.

So, do I recommend this product based on progress to date? Yes I do but I see patience will be a virtue here and the timeline will be 6 months to a year but, considering the price of the unit, that is hardly an inconvenience.

Those of you looking for a semi-permanent to permanent solution to hair removal should consider it. Just remember that its meant for dark hair and will not work on white.


dumb strategy

Trump wants to have a tariff war except he is incredibly unclever.

In order to pander to his base in the rust belt he is going to risk further alienating American allies and hurting US companies who rely on imports (which includes Canada's aluminium).

This deeply stupid individual is continually making errors even as he begins to feel Robert Mueller's breath on the back of his neck. Michael Cohen has 15 lawyers working full time to examine potentially damaging evidence (they tried to move a June 15th deadline mandated by a federal judge). The state now has in its possession audio recordings and shredded documents being put back together and the bill is adding for Cohen only increasing the likelihood he will turn state's evidence against Trump.

It is just a matter of time now and with Trump potentially testifying before Mueller during which he will most assuredly purjer himself, it doesn't look good for this horrendous presidency.

At least let's hope so.

graduation

The little boy I used to drive around the block to get him to sleep has graduated from high school; one year later due to his battle with anxiety but with that same wonderful character he possesses fully intact. I couldn't be more proud of him.

He has qualities that I don't have in his more developed kindness and patience and he now teaches me about these very things. He is also no longer a little boy and shows even more plainly the genetic traits of a grandfather he never met.

He is shy and withdrawn but he will burn that off the way we all do and really make something of himself in this world; that award he won for academic excellence made that evident to me.

Last night the banner hanging over the proceedings and the heads of the faculty read:

"Yesterday I was clever so I wanted to change the world; today I am wise so I am changing myself" and hopefully with that inscription in mind the class of 2018 goes off into the next step of their respective journeys.


Leningrad

"Victor was born
The spring of 44
And never saw
His father anymore
A child of sacrifice
A child of war
Another son who never had
A father after Leningrad
Went off to school
And learned to serve his state
Follow the rules
And drink his vodka straight
The only way to live
Was drown the hate
The Russian life was very sad
And such was life in Leningrad

I was born in 49
A cold war kid in McCarthy time
Stop 'em at the 38th parallel
Blast those yellow reds to hell
Cold war kids were hard to kill
Under their desks in an air raid drill
Haven't they heard we won the war
What do they keep on fighting for?

Victor was sent
To some red army town
Served out his time
Became a circus clown
The greatest happiness
He'd ever found
Was making Russian children glad
When children lived in leningrad.

The children lived in Levittown
Hid in the shelters underground
Til the soviets turned their ships around
Tore the Cuban missiles down
And in that bright Octob…

the persistence of the Christian right

Some post ago I wrote about the United States not having been founded on Christian principles but instead on Age of Enlightenment thinking which was in many ways in opposition to this idea.

Well here is an op-ed in the New York Times on the persistence of these evangelical groups to remake history and use their extremist thinking to bolster their specific brand of racism and intolerance.

"What Christian nationalists know — and many of us have yet to learn — is that you don’t need a majority to hijack a modern democracy. You just need a sizable minority, marinating in its grievances, willing to act as a bloc, and impervious to correction by fact or argument. Make this group feel good about itself by making other people feel bad about themselves, and dominion may well be in reach."

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/26/opinion/project-blitz-christian-nationalists.html


movie is out

My daughter's movie is out and I attended the premiere last night which featured all 26 animated shorts. Of course I am a little biased but I was astounded at the result they achieved and it looks like some industry people are very interested. I am very happy and excited for her.

I ended up not doing the music because what I had presented did not please her collaborator and rather than risk an 11th hour conflict they chose to go with an independent composer and paid a reasonable sum for the 4 minutes of music. Problem solved and my feathers were not ruffled in the least.

Nevertheless the animation is what counts here and I think they hit the jackpot with this one. I couldn't be prouder of her after 3 years of hard work in this program and 6 intensive months on this film.

Just to put things into perspective regarding the effort required, a 1.5 hour Disney or Pixar film can employ upwards of 500 animators...

https://vimeo.com/270234350


the transgender exam

It looks like we are getting closer to conclusively identifying the brain structural differences of transgender people. Hence, if you suffer from gender dysphoria an MRI exam could eventually confirm that you are indeed transgender.

From the story..

"Analysis of around 160 participants showed that biological males with gender dysphoria - the experience of discomfort or distress due to their biological sex - had a brain structure and neurological patterns similar to biological females, and vice versa.

The analysis revealed that the distinct neurological differences are detectable during childhood.

The findings, presented at the European Society of Endocrinology annual meeting in Barcelona, are likely to provoke controversy among groups who argue gender identity should be matter of personal choice and not medical definition"


The last statement I disagree with since transgender people don't choose to be the way they are. You are either trans or you are not. Also I can see ho…

a visit to the endo

I will admit I was a little apprehensive about visiting the endocrinologist and I had built up some scenarios in my head as to how it might go.

For example, I imagined a quizzical look from a hospital admitter as she tried to make sense of the woman in front of her with the male ID on the medical card. Of course no such thing occurred and this young millenial woman treated me with utmost respect and didn't bat an eyelash as she took down my information. No doubt I am not the first nor the last transgender person she admits.

Also my travel there by public transit was uneventful as to be ho hum but this is the way things have become for me now when out on public. There is no nervous thrill just the happiness of being myself.

Then I check in with the doctor's receptionist and nothing special happens either. She registers me and says

" Have a sit Miss and he will call you"

Then I waited and waited and waited some more until 2 hours later he finally saw me which was not a…

happy

A new study on the connection between money and happiness proves what we already instinctively knew; namely that beyond the basic needs of shelter and sustinance and maybe a little to spare we aren't happier when we possess more. The happiest people have strong human connections and a sense of community as giving them the greatest source of satisfaction.

Not surprisingly, Nordic countries once again prove this metric is correct by being in the top 10 (Canada is number 7). All of them have strong social safety nets and put priority on people and not just economic wealth for the few. In other words, the idea of I get mine and I am not my brother's keeper is not part of the basic DNA of these nations.

Which country is number one on the list? Finland.

The US has a problem in that a 1% layer of mega millionaires controls everything but then half the population makes under $30,000 which is a staggering statistic. With these kinds of numbers there are many families who fall under the…

everything is relative

My son, the nephew who had recently come out to his parents and I spent a day together recently. He is one year younger than my son and a proud gay young man who is very much investing himself in his identity and unabashedly expressing it to the world. My brother and sister-in-law know this is not a choice and yet they bristle at his pride regarding this issue. They prefer he be more subdued which prompted a conversation between the three of us.

When my nephew asked me how early I knew I was trans he was flabbergasted at how long I was able to suppress it. Of course he had no way of relating to the world I was born into and how nearly impossible coming out was back then for most of us. Instead, his reference point was this new and braver period in our history.

He impressed with his level of education on LGBT issues and proved himself to be a virtual encyclopedia. I recall being his age and struggling to find scraps of information on the T side of that equation while this young man'…

the crazies

Trump's America has emboldened the crazies. Those who might have been less brave in an earlier time are now showing up on YouTube videos berating people. A man in New York who goes on a tizzy because restaurant workers are speaking Spanish; a "Latinos for Trump" Republican congressional candidate films herself going into the toilet to insult a transgender woman who is in the stall; at a Starbucks, a man demeans the woman behind him in line who is wearing a hijab and tells her he doesn't want to be killed by her kind.

This is the venomous atmosphere encouraged by the lowlife currently holding the reins of power and a Congress too timid or too much in agreement to hold him accountable.

There is a malaise in this version of America which must be addressed and the cockroaches which have come out to feast in this new hateful environment must be driven back to their dark spaces where they belong. Racism and intolerance are running more rampant because an administration who…

how this blog has changed over time

When I revamped the look of my blog one of the things I deliberately removed was the counter of people who follow it and to pay less attention to my traffic. Also over time my writing began to focus increasingly on what interests me rather than exclusively on trans issues. We are all the sum of a complex series of parts and those aspects are all important but in the early days of this blog, when I was struggling with guilt, shame and angst about who I was, I was single minded in my pursuit to sort out those feelings. I was writing for me and I didn’t particularly care who read it. It was my therapy and if another trans person responded it was a bonus.

As my traffic increased I began to feel some pressure to keep the blog as interesting as possible which makes one think about the target audience and who will stop reading it if you express political views or focus too much on the technical aspects of being trans instead of being lighthearted. Hence I strove for a balance that I thought …

meeting

I met Patricia who is the CEO of this new start up company and her husband. Their office is their home which is a unit in a converted 1940's school in the neighbourhood where I grew up.

I am not going to leave my company for a tiny startup like this but I did promise to help them and will moonlight by providing some of my time at some agreed rate which I intend to keep very reasonable.

Their project is green and sustainable to the environment and I find their bravery commendable in wanting to tackle something this substantial with limited resources. You could tell that Patricia valued my input and at the end of our session she told me I was an "interesting woman" and she was glad she had met me. The feeling was entirely mutual.

So while this mandate will not be a gateway to a transition it will form part of my expanding identity in the world as an out transgender person.

style over substance

I wrote about Jordan Peterson the other day and now here is David Pakman, who is one of my favorite YouTubers, commenting on the rise of faux intellectualism and the draw it provides for some.

Whether it's Ben Shapiro's abrasive mile a minute style or Peterson's haughty academic tone, it seems that style over substance is working on those who are starved for eliminating political correctness (also read as manners) in favour of a license to be more vulgar towards feminism, minorities or the dreaded liberal left.

For the record, I prefer David's brand of intellectualism....


mad man moon

"Was it summer when the river ran dry,
Or was it just another dam.
When the evil of a snowflake in June
Could still be a source of relief.
Oh how I love you, I once cried long ago,
But I was the one who decided to go.
To search beyond the final crest,
Though I'd heard it said just birds could dwell so high.

So I pretended to have wings for my arms
And took off in the air.
I flew to places which the clouds never see,
Too close to the deserts of sand,
Where a thousand mirages, the shepherds of lies
Forced me to land and take a disguise.
I would welcome a horse's kick to send me back
If I could find a horse not made of sand.

If this desert's all there'll ever be
Then tell me what becomes of me.
A fall of rain?
That must have been another of your dreams,
A dream of mad man moon.

Hey man,
I'm the sand man.
And boy have I news for you;
They're gonna throw you in gaol
And you know they can't fail
cause sand is thicker than blood.
Bu…

what I wish I had discovered sooner

Much of this life journey we are on involves disregarding the opinions of others. We are brought up to please and to meet expectations but at a certain point in time you need to be who you are and let go of things that people project on to you. We need to realize that if becoming you disappoints them then it is their problem and not yours.

Many of us older transgender people got caught in the system of aligning ourselves with what we were taught and we learned early that our secret identity would not meet societal approval. Often this occurred through jarring and embarrassing episodes.

The other day I read a letter to an advice column from a conservative mother complaining that her daughter was in a relationship with someone who was transitioning. But instead of agreeing with the mother's concerns, the columnist pointed out that she should be happy that her daughter is in a strong relationship and is an adult capable of making her own life decisions. She suggested that the entire …

hypocrisy

Franklin Graham defends Donald Trump with a straight face stating that it doesn't matter what he does in his private life because he has been chosen by God.

This statement is an abomination and makes me wonder what makes these evangelicals tick. It is not possible to reconcile religious principles of Christianity with the kind of philandering and uncharitable life that this president has lived to date because what we end up with is hypocrisy. But as long as this clown supports their pro-gun, anti-abortion and anti-LGBT agenda they will vote for him no matter how unsavory his unapologetic character.

You cannot now claim to be upholding your principles and support a scoundrel who thumbs his nose at them for you have now undermined your credibility.

Graham, whose father was arguably the most famous televangelist America has ever had, proves he is not his father and that, in this new era of political expediency where bastardized religion sits right alongside dirty politics, anything i…

what I want

Caryn brought up a very valid question in one of her comments recently which was at once very simple yet also paradoxically deeply complex: what do I want?

To answer this you need to realize how much of what you want has fused itself with what one should do. Thus, the longer one has lived in a male role, the more challenging it is to separate duty from desire and, even if I have eliminated massive quantities of guilt over my life, it is quite clear not all of it is gone. There is also of course fear of rejection and needing to explain to the hundreds of people who know me that post transition things have changed just a tad in my life.

What keeps me buoyant these days is the advancement by contrast with my previous life before self acceptance. However I am not sure that living two lives is even sustainable in the long haul; not to mention that I am increasingly comfortable moving about the world as Joanna.

This is not about wearing pretty clothes everyday (which is nice) but more abou…

a handy guide if you are trans but can't transition

I loved this piece because it is so positive. It is very much pro-transition but you will understand when you read it why this trans person is not able to. It's just a lovely little narrative to lift anyone's spirits coming from someone with some challenges who chooses not to let them get her down.

Simply wonderful...

"In the end, I may never be able to transition, but I do live in New York City, write professionally which is my passion, have talented friends and am married to a brilliant partner. There are days I feel trapped inside this faulty shell I was born into, but there are also days where I’m so happy to be alive that it hurts. And some days, even without the help of hormones, anti-androgens, or surgery, I still can eek out a little bit of pretty..."

https://medium.com/@danyroth/how-not-to-kill-yourself-a-handy-guide-if-you-cant-transition-89798e866a88


Silk'n

Recently I bought one of those HPL hair removal units called Silk’n Flash and Go. I saw it at the woman’s show and had also remembered seeing it at a pharmacy in Toronto and had made a mental note to consider purchasing one at some point.

I should mention here that I have had 6 treatments of facial hair removal over 10 years ago which all hurt like the devil but were worth the effort. What is left now is a mixture of dark and white hairs and I am told that this product could help with that. Even if it only helps a little on the face I know it works on the body based on the numerous testimonials on the net and the discussion I had with the couple that owns the shop where I purchased mine. Both had tried it on themselves to make sure they could sell it to their customers. It works with high intensity light much like a laser and kills the hair at the root.

My aim is to eliminate or reduce the frequency of shaving legs, underarms and chest with any reduction in the face as a bonus.

The un…

the YouTube populist

Jordan Peterson is a strange character. He speaks in utterances that are almost ambiguous and leaves the listener wondering if they have just heard some nugget of wisdom or he has missed the point all together. He is cagey and refuses to be cornered preferring to leave the interviewer to guess what his political stripe might be; the only thing he states for certain that he is an enemy of the radical left.

Thus the alt-right has picked him up as the messiah for what ails the modern male except that Peterson will not fly their flag openly. Instead he distances himself quietly but not too boldly so he can collect his daily YouTube salary from the fanboys who cannot get enough of him. However, Mr. Peterson becomes less convincing over time as one listens to him and he prefers to provide terse responses to those trying to corner and paint him with the brush of their choosing to taking a definitive stance.

All of this began with his likely deliberate misreading of Canada’s Bill C-16 which …

lunch with Halle

Halle and I met on a rainy day for lunch this past week at a Baton Rouge restaurant in the suburbs of Montreal. It was our second meeting and more profound and relaxed than our first; at least from my perspective.

We both shared from the thought processes that got us to where we are on our respective journeys and lamented equally in why self acceptance must often take so long for a trans person. She is visibly in a good place after many years of struggle and the dysphoria has vanished into the ether of everyday lived experience which establishes itself when you finally know where you fit.

Our waiter (who took the picture below) was friendly and talkative and at some point we were embroiled in an interesting conversation about his life as an out gay man with grown children. His message to them was to be yourself and don't let people push you around. The blurriness of the image below became fully appreciable only upon my return home but, nevertheless, I succeeded in having Halle agr…

post truth

We are officially in the era of post truth; the period which celebrates falsehoods and where faithful adherers to a cause do not wince when they are stated. The point is to have them work and fulfill their purpose.

Objective truth exists of course, but in the arena of the humanities it is easy to bend intent and purpose and have them mean what you want. We can interpret an action or an utterance by a politician as we wish and have no one be able to debate us with enough convincing counterpunching to topple our belief system.

Lying used to be something politicians always did but it was bending meaning instead of actual events. But with the advent of this presidency we have had crowd sizes exaggerated and statistics invented which are easily fact checked and yet the faithful don’t care. They have found a messiah to believe in and will forgive the exaggerations as tactical bluster.

Post truth is scary because in the echo chamber era of the internet people can be manipulated in ways we ne…

self diagnosis

Gender dysphoria has been very aptly and wonderfully described by Anne Vitale as "Gender Expression Deprivation Anxiety". This gap in our inner sense of self against an imposed standard we are to subscribe to for our birth gender is the culprit. We don't know how it originates but we know it is real because we live it from earliest memory. It can be ignored for a time however not indefinitely.

I was over at her site recently and her impressive patient history (which exceeds well over 600) speaks volumes. It is reflected in the quality of the information found there.

One of things I remembered reading and was reminded of once again was the impressive track record of her patients to self diagnose. Only a handful have turned out to not be gender dysphoric with the rest very clearly so. The other observed tendency of her patients was to understate their level of dysphoria with the greater the information revealed the more they tended to climb the Benjamin scale; a coordinat…

a precarious balance

I got a text on my cell this week from a trans person I hadn't seen for over 10 years. At that time each of us was married (he remains so to the same woman) and we met in a Montreal café which no longer exists to compare life experiences on being trans. The conversation flowed and we lost touch after that. But he reminded me during our brief text exchange this week how challenging living with dysphoria while being married can be; all the more so when that union is strong and we wish to keep it that way.

When I was being treated at the hospital gender program in 2007 they were struck by how apologetic I was for being trans. I didn't give myself an inch and over time I came to realize that part of self acceptance comes with a little self preservation. So while our spouses tell us how hard it is for them, we wallow in repression and unfulfilment. Far from saying that we ignore the partner's wishes I am proposing that balance is not keeping our identities hidden in a closet. B…

a little fodder for the pedantic

Watching Blair White and Ben Shapiro agree with each other is a little off putting. Firstly, Blair is young and a little too conservative minded for her own good given her trans nature. I have only seen enough of her videos to find her mildly disappointing and to know that her strident positions on some things are not solidly based. One recent one saw her apologize for her previous stances on some issues.

Ben Shapiro is a more than a bit of a dweeb and his stance on what to call transgender women a little too pedantic. When Blair rightly brings up a practical scenario, Shapiro goes to great lengths to counter with why he thinks it’s important to use exclusively biological birth as a guiding principle.

That may be, but Blair White does of course not look like a man and if you saw her on the street you would not point to “that guy over there” but Shapiro lets his overzealous application of his conservative ideology corner him into stupid mental gymnastics that would utterly confuse some…

the "Christian" nation

America wasn’t founded on Christian principles but was instead founded on French Revolution Age of Enlightenment thinking which sought to escape the tyranny of European kings who had themselves embedded with the clergy in seeking to control their respective societies. How ironic then that the Republican party keeps saying that the United States is a Christian nation which is patently false and is a concept with a history that only dates to the mid 1950’s.

Much of the US population is woefully undereducated and blindly accepts current Republican thinking which has been the result of a type of fringe alternative Christianity fused with bigotry to create an alternate reality. The founding fathers would probably roll over in their graves if they witnessed what had happened to their nation after their death. All their hard work resulted in America reversing roles with a Europe that ultimately ended up rejecting the marriage of church and state.

I find that supremely ironic and the malevole…

entitled

For those of you on your own who might still be interested in pursuing a relationship with someone I only have one piece of advice for you: you are entitled to more than tolerance.

You, as a unique transgender person should be able to be with someone as unique as you are. We may be part of a tiny minority of the population but perhaps there is someone out there in an equally small segment waiting for you. Let's face it, being in a less than validating situation is inferior to being on one’s own which means you can take your time and wait for the right train to arrive.

There is no right age for this and, just as it is not too late for anyone to transition, it is not too late to find the right partner if that's what you want. Just keep telling yourself that you are worth it and wait for someone who believes it too.

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NB: my doctor's other transgender patient who was finally transitioning at age 64, just had her GRS and she sent a note to the receptionist …

my line in the sand

I spent many years telling myself that a gender transition would be an absolute last resort and only happen if my mental health were being severely threatened. Except that recently that thinking has begun to change and, while I am not saying that I definitely will transition, the door is no longer as firmly closed to the idea as it once was.

As time goes on and the reasons for saying no slowly dissipate (I am alone with grown children who know I am trans and approaching the end of my career) there is less weight behind holding steadfast to this previous line in the sand. The fact is, that I like my life as Joanna and the more I have delved into its benefits the more I don’t think living full time would be so absurd.

Fear is a huge factor here of course and after living for 55 years in a male role it’s not like flicking a switch and yet I know have been complicating things in my mind and finding excuses why it wouldn’t work instead of why it would. My living part time has been highly s…

salon de la femme

This past Sunday my friend Leticia and I went to the Salon de la Femme (the national women's show) in Montreal’s Palais de Congres. It was basically a convention combining fashion shows, culinary demonstrations, coiffure and inspirational talks by Quebec women of some notoriety.

Suffice it to say these two slightly over the hill ladies had an enjoyable time although I tend to easily tire of walking around in big crowds. However, what I liked is that I was not feeling the least bit self-conscious as I spoke with merchants and sampled products. It was an experience I never would have dared attempt in the past but feel completely comfortable doing now. It was attended by women of all ages and the convention floor was bustling.

I had not seen Leticia for quite a long time and we shared our recent happenings and had fun commenting on what we saw and sampled. We are the same age so we have much in common in terms of life experience although her three daughters are older than my childr…

advice to my younger self

The year was 1968 and there we were outside a church in central Madrid after some function. I was 6 and my sisters 5 and 4 with my brother safely nestled in my father's arms being about 1. Two more sisters would follow in '70 and '73

If I could travel back and talk to myself I would have said "Watch out kid because you are in for a bumpy but exciting trip through life"

I would have counseled myself to not take things so seriously and to not let the outside world get to you as much. Life unfortunately isn't like that and it demands that we learn the hard way which is precisely what I did and yet I wouldn't trade any of it for a do-over. The burns and the scrapes are all part of the play we are destined to act in. It's part of the game. Everything I might have dared to predict would have been wrong but at least I might have taken the ride much more philosophically.

This is what I tried to impart to my son the other day (who by the way is much the incarn…

framing language

People who are opposed to transgender people are used to thinking in reverse. They use language such as the “transgender agenda” to decry the forcing of our acceptance into society as if we were creating new rules for them. Instead of simply asking for tolerance to lead our own lives as we desire, we are akin to an invading army. But then insisting on rights which do not affect anyone else wouldn’t be as powerful an argument for these dogmatic conservatives.

When you frame a plea for tolerance as an imposition we suddenly become a conquering enemy instead of an oppressed group. Hence, using a woman’s toilet suddenly becomes about infringing on women’s rights rather than a desire on our part not to be victimized in the men's room. Our argument should be common sense to a rational person but we are not dealing with rational people here.

Painting transgender people as a group wanting to impose itself on others is far easier and allows for argumentation that encourages our continued o…

uniqueness

We are all so incredibly unique that we don’t realize it until we are older. Those younger years are spent trying to fit in and find our way in this strange world of ours.

Some of us tend to be more pleasers than others as we grapple to find a public persona that we can sell to society. It is only after many years have passed that we realise we should have been establishing and emphasizing our uniqueness from the outset rather than our conformity.

It’s easy from where I sit now to speak like this and I am so impressed by young individuals who manage to establish an honest reflection of their identity early on. They may face resistance but they insist and finally earn a grudging respect from people who normally wouldn't approve of them.

Not everyone is going to like or accept you but then this isn’t the aim of life and neither is it to stand out for its own sake. The aim is to claim authenticity and be yourself which is much easier said than done. The type of parenting we received …

the measuring stick

Jack Molay brought to my attention a paper written by Charles Moser on the topic of paraphilias called “Paraphilias and the ICD-11: Progress but Still Logically Inconsistent”.

In this paper, Dr. Moser examines some of the logic (or lack thereof) of labeling conditions as paraphilias while others are not. The Working Group on the Classification of Sexual Disorders and Sexual Health (WGSDSH) is charged with reviewing and recommending changes for categories related to sexuality in the International Classifications of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD), published by the World Health Organization (WHO). Moser then questions the distinguishing between what is and is not a paraphilia and the criteria used.

For example he states:

• What is the rationale for diagnosing individuals distressed about their ‘‘atypical’’ sexual arousal with a Paraphilic Disorder, but not to diagnose individuals who are distressed about their homosexual or bisexual sexual orientation?
• Are atypical sexual…

at the pool

My ability to do laps has been improving and I can do more of them with less effort. My going to the pool lately has been driven by a desire to shed some weight gained while in Toronto and I thought it would be now or never in presenting as Joanna. It is also driven by a desire to stay more fit as I age.

I bought a speedo type suit and after doing my best version of a proper tuck at home I found that it held extremely well during my swim. So while I will still keep the suit with the flared skirt, this one is actually better fitting and more comfortable. So now I have done one more thing as a woman which I was always fearful of attempting.

Once again I am chatty with the ladies in the locker room and with the lifeguards so I gather I am having no issues with passing. If anyone would have complained about me I suppose I would have heard by now since I have encountered all generations of females thus far.

After my latest swim I took this picture in which I am wearing the new suit.


the right medicine

Trump has exceeded even my own low expectations of him as an oafish and embarassing buffoon and he must be making it exceedingly hard for even the FOX News apologists to look beyond his glaring lack of competency. No doubt there must be gnashing of teeth under those false television smiles.

The truth has gotten out and even the lowest educated voters must be finally getting the picture that this is a train wreck waiting to happen.

The right in America is in shambles and the uneasy marriage of old school fiscal conservatives with rabid alt-right racists must not be an easy thing. I would hate to be a libertarian and hold my nose and have voted for an idiot over Hillary no matter how unsavoury she might have been.

The Democrats are also in disarray and have sacrificed their principles at the altar of Wall Street and dirty NRA money. The only hope left for Congress now is an invasion of politically motivated millennials to come take over the reins.

The great American experiment is at a…

why me?

Feeling sorry for oneself sometimes is quite normal and the mind can bemoan where our life has ended up and how things could have been different. If this did not happen to us we would not be human and there is no easy way to fight it sometimes other than just let the thoughts linger for a while and then dissipate with a change of mood.

This type of self-pity is a form of indulgence we permit ourselves on occasion until we realize how fortunate we are to be healthy and relatively happy and that the grass is most definitely not greener on the other side. We can see how an online platform like Facebook has succeeded in cornering the market on making some individuals feel inadequate and played on the human instinct to compare ourselves to others.

This aspect of the human condition is not going to disappear but being aware of it and trying to suppress its power is hopefully a natural part of gaining maturity as we travel deeper into life. Feelings may be hard to control but by letting them…

avoiding a life unfulfilled

Many baby boomers have lived with dysphoria their entire lives but have yet to begin living authentically. I can tell you that as hard as it was for me to get here, it has been truly worth it and it has done my internal happiness a world of good.

The first steps are difficult but once you get going there is no turning back and every little victory adds to the experience and joy of being yourself. Don't wait to come clean to others and realize that as scary as things may look, it is far scarier to have lived an entire life with unfulfilled dreams of being the person you are inside. At this point I cannot imagine taking even one step backwards and wish you the courage to always move forward in a direction that honours your identity as a transgender person.

Intolerance is everywhere on this planet and it is often brutally ugly. People are killed everyday simply for being different and being true to themselves. All the more reason to never let anyone tell you how to live. I know that …

the middle finger

Well well, guess who is funding right wing propaganda on college campuses? Could it be one of the Trump apologist and right wing fringe member Koch brothers? Yes it could.

Not surprisingly they are in support of Alice Dreger who is a controversial figure as a supporter of the Blanchard pseudoscience. The push back is of course coming from trans people who rightfully don't want controversial and unproven theories passed around disguised as scientific fact.

You would not be surprised to learn that these conservative oligarchs are no great friends of LGBT people and neither is Alice Dreger who is most known for her work with intersex people and for giving us the proverbial "middle finger" (pun intended).

From the linked story below:

"On Feb. 13, the self-described ‘apolitical’ Freedom Project produced another controversy by inviting Alice Dreger, a bioethicist and former Northwestern University professor who has done research on transgender and intersex people, to spea…

a tiny slowdown

Rather than take an extended break as I have done before I am not necessarily going to post daily any longer. There will be selected days where I have little to post about and prefer that to writing just for its own sake.

The blog isn’t going anywhere but just slowing down a tad.

Writing my book took some energy and that is part of the reason.


a change of seasons

Spring and autumn in the northeast are things of the past and we are now left with two seasons: sweltering summers and frigid winters. No doubt this is in large part due to climate change which has robbed me of my two favorite times of the year.

Instead the summers drag on well into October and in April a howling winter wind refuses to allow spring to arrive. There may not be a change in sight and we may need to get used to this new reality in which temperatures between 10 and 20C are no longer welcome.

I vividly recall late Marches when we would dip into the double digits and all was well with the world.

One day in May the temperature will slide into the mid twenties without forewarning and signal that summer is early and here to stay; the humidity usually not far behind. I suppose as Northeasterners we should be used to it by now.

Scott Pruit are you paying attention?

time

I took these pictures using a camera I haven't used for many years. It must have gotten lost when my ex and I divorced and the boxes went their separate ways. It may still be sitting in her place somewhere.

This Pentax camera had a telephoto lens and I tried to get my children to sit still while I toyed with the zoom to take these pictures. Both were under 2 years old at the time and now these framed prints sit on my hallway walls as daily reminders of how quickly time passes.

My son is now pushing 6’ 1”, growing a beard and has traded video games for playing guitar while my daughter is leaving school this May and hopefully finding work as a digital animator.

We put so much work into them and now they are on the verge of leading their own independent lives while I remake my own.