Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2018

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.



teflon

Even if it is not fair to be judged based on appearance this is how the world is. People are measured by physical attractiveness and by the degree of maleness and femaleness that they exude. So whereas some transgender women bemoan the need to pass, they will be evaluated on this metric no matter what they wish to happen.

We transgender people will receive a higher degree of scrutiny just as a cisgender woman who is very tall or too masculine looking would. There are many rude people in this world who will stare straight at you.

Regardless, at my age I no longer care why I am being stared at. It could be because I incite suspicion regarding my gender or because the person likes tall women or because they like or don't like what I wear. When I was in Toronto’s China town one day I passed three Chinese women one of whom was older. I could tell that this lady was commenting about me to the younger women and I turned back maybe expecting a disapproving look from her. Because they were…

my response to Felix Conrad

I wanted to address Felix Conrad’s recent very thought provoking post regarding analogies drawn between AGP (God I hate using that term) and the types of people who are obsessed with wanting to amputate perfectly healthy limbs. Apparently this latter condition known as BIID (body integrity identity disorder) contains sexual overtones and was found in both Blanchard and Anne Lawrence writings as ammunition to prove that AGP was valid.

Firstly let me say that there are all kinds of paraphilias out there and if you can imagine one then it probably exists. People who are drawn to removing perfectly healthy limbs are a tiny fraction of the population and much smaller than the percentage of trans people in the world. Hence if we are between 0.6 and 1% of the population then these people represent an infinitesimally smaller percentage which in of itself should be revealing.

Secondly and more importantly, cross gender identities must exist because the imperfect biological process which forms…

Cavatina

the intelligent design

There are two distinct suppositions we can make about the nature of our existence:

A) Everything comes from nothing
B) Everything comes from something

Dedicated atheists will tell you that A is positively correct and they might try and take you back to some big bang which still needed some sort of fuel to happen. Even a spontaneous chemical reaction requires explaining as to where that gaseous cloud originated.

The reason I pick B is because it is the more logical of the two statements. After all, every process we observe in the universe has a beginning and an end; whether that be the creation of a baby, a rose or a diamond. It is what observe everyday in nature.

The additional problem with option A is that it hinges on the presumption that as limited flesh and bones creatures, additionally saddled with massive biases and blinders, we can comprehend the vast intelligence behind creation. This is not possible because our brains (sophisticated though they may be) cannot come to a resol…

10 things about patriotism

my face

Over my life I have had a love/hate relationship with my face. I didn't mind the way I looked but I used to hate that I would sometimes appear feminine in pictures and can recall hoping that no one would bring it up. I possess a slight jaw and my nose is aquiline and not particularly big which today helps me to pass but, back when I was deep in denial, one of the worst things you could have said to me was that I looked in any way female.

Contrast this with today where I relish a reality which gives me the freedom to opt out of FFS or hormones (should I decide never to take them).

Transgender people go through phases (sometimes for many years) when we plunge headfirst into defining our masculinity to avoid the inevitable acceptance which must come. We grow beards (as I did in college) and go to the gym to forget that deep inside there is an immovable and permanent identity.

As I examine how I want to live the rest of my life, it is good to know I can bank on genetics I had nothing…

the importance of solitude

Solitude brings us perspective and self-analysis like nothing else can. Yes, we are social animals but in order to be effective and caring listeners when accompanied by others, we need that time to be able to process what we have seen and heard. Only then can we return to those social settings as an even more engaged participant.

I have always been more of a one to one type person than a group person. I get lost in my thoughts in big gatherings and small talk mostly disinterests me so I need that alone time to process everything once I have been involved with others in a more meaningful way...



"no sex please, we're transsexuals"

For the longest time the subject of sex was almost taboo within the transgender community. To be a true transsexual you didn’t dare talk about your sexual practices for fear of being accused of being a fetishist and so, pre-transition transsexual women would appear in front of their gatekeepers and pretend that their identity had nothing to do with sex which is patently false.

Transgender people are sexual beings as are cisgender people. But when transsexual women imagined inhabiting a female body and fantasizing as a woman, it became something not to be discussed for fear perhaps of being misunderstood by those who did not share the suffering of gender dysphoria.

I love the way Lynn Conway deals with this topic on her website:

“During the 1980's, Ray Blanchard of The Clarke Institute in Canada (now CAMH) coined the new word "autogynephilia" for transvestic fetishism, explaining it as the condition of "becoming aroused into masturbation by seeing or fantasizing onese…

tell her you saw me

the candor of late night

Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel and Seth Myers do their best within the framework of their mandate to educate the populace on the horrors of this presidency. Armed only with wit and humor, they endeavor to make light of a subject that is increasingly becoming supremely unfunny; their joke cracking only thinnly veiling their contempt for the morally bankrupt nitwit who currently occupies their white house.

With each passing day new allegations emerge regarding prostitutes and back room deals using crooked lawyers and, as Robert Mueller inches closer to the truth, some new diversion surfaces which is served like raw meat to his base of "deplorables". This time it is the ban prohibiting transgender people from military service.

America has traditionally prided itself on having the freedom to lampoon its politicians and yet things are not as free as first meets the eye because the system is rigged. The running of the country is performed by a tiny sliver of men who control the lev…

the other patient

I was at my GP’s office recently after having missed my physical last year due to my being away in Toronto. One of the first things he mentioned to me was that among his only 3 out transgender patients in his 3,000-patient practice (me being one of them, the second one is set to transition at age 63 after knowing they were trans since the age of 4. His first patient to transition did so 20 years ago at a relatively young age.

My doctor is not betraying a confidence as a name was not shared and I have told him to share any information about me with this other patient. This person’s wife unfortunately passed away from cancer about 2 years ago which makes this life transition less hazardous even if a little sadder.

One of the other things my doctor mentioned is that she is very masculine in appearance and he wondered out loud with me how this was going to play out in her life. I reminded him that once you get to a certain age and one has lived with dysphoria for decades, very little is g…

swimming 3

I went swimming again recently and ended up meeting a nice young woman in the locker room who was a native of Montreal and had never spoken French. I was quite surprised by this but I know it is possible because my city is very forgiving in this way. You can hide in plain sight and manage better than the tourists who are petrified and brush up on basic phrases beforehand.

We chatted for several minutes as we were both getting ready to leave and she confided that she was concerned about her weight. She suffers from a thyroid condition which means dieting doesn't work. When we are young we tend to be concerned by what others think but she seemed happy with herself and was just focusing on being healthy. I told her this was an admirable attitude.

This time I had a lock which means I had both my purse and phone and took a selfie in my suit and cap with no makeup except for a little waterproof foundation. The suit is all black with a little flared skirt at the bottom.

Maybe not the mos…

getting to know yourself

When I was growing up, pride was something elusive for me. Not only because my parents brought me up not to be self-aggrandizing but because being thin, shy and transgender ensured that I would not become overly inflated in the ego department.

However, I would use my intellect as a shield and act as if I were above the fray as part of my ruse. I could pretend to feel superior to others but really feel left out through my inability to relate to them in an honest way. It was my method of making sure people didn’t get too close and see the real me.

As the insecurity is burned off with age and we advance in our introspection, we come to terms with who we are. The guard is let down and we learn to relax. In this sense, my coming out to others has been cathartic beyond words and I have let them in to reveal the story of my life; one which necessarily used heavy construction to make certain no soft underbelly was exposed. When we build walls around ourselves, we miss out on true vulnerabilit…

a dangerous and slippery slope

Here is an excerpt from the conclusion of a brilliant article in the New York Times written by Andrew Sullivan which illustrates the inherent difficulties in impeaching a president particularly in this dysfunctional and deeply politically segregated epoch in which America finds itself on a slippery slope. While Trump may a corrupt imbecile guilty of crimes which Robert Mueller can prove, it is not the primary element on which one can rest the ending of a presidency...

"Yet even if that evidence were incontrovertible (and that could still emerge in Mueller’s investigation), impeachment remains a political decision. Which means that unless we experience some kind of unprecedented sea change in the pathological tribalism that now defines our politics, impeachment is a dead letter. What makes Trump immune is that he is not a president within the context of a healthy republican government. He is a cult leader of a movement that has taken over a political party — and he specifically cam…

the letter

The following are excerpts from a People article:

"The mother of a transgender teen from Florida who died by suicide this month is hoping to raise awareness by sharing her child’s story and encouraging parents to listen to their children.

With her high school graduation just around the corner in June, Eric Peter Verbeeck—who was born a male—was looking forward to beginning anew. She had already taken her first steps toward transitioning into a woman named Hope, first undergoing hormone treatments and by wearing female undergarments. One of the biggest steps for the teenager occurred almost a year ago when she came out to her mother, Patricia McKay Verbeeck, about her inner struggle of living in a body that didn’t reflect her identity as a female.

With the full support of her mother on the journey forward, Eric began hormone treatments to grow breasts and started incorporating more pink into her life, such as making it the color of her watch and phone case. Yet, Eric didn’t want to…

the strange bedfellows

Discrimination against transgender people sometimes makes for strange bedfellows. Here for example, you will find radical feminists aligning with religious extremists to fight a common enemy which they describe as the dreaded “transgender agenda”; the one no one told me I was a part of when I was growing up.

Apparently, we are destroying the fabric of civilization by simply asking for tolerance and, by allowing 1% of the population some basic rights, is like admitting it is perfectly okay to be like us. This non-starter would amount to an admission destroying their basic platforms which rely heavily on us either being mental defectives or men deliberately trying to usurp the place of women. That neither position relies on logic or accurate information matters less than the dogma each party holds dear proving to what extent human nature relies on self-delusion.

Both these groups have a tendency to not talk to actual transgender people but prefer to make conclusions about our existence…

not quite trans enough

This is going to happen more and more in these open times. Here is a young gay, feminine male who mistook his gender variance for being transgender. However, he left one important facet out: the presence of gender dysphoria which he does not suffer from. This bit of news dawned on him from watching a Blair White video who is herself a rather strident and opinionated transgender woman who happens to be correct in this rather important observation.

This young man now realises he is happy being a feminine male and all ends well with no harm done....


the circus side show

Donald Trump brags about lying to world leaders and, looking very much like the fool he is, he does not realize the joke is on him.

Perhaps he has forgotten that no one is going to want to negotiate with a liar and, when Prime Minister Trudeau reminded him that the US actually had a surplus and not a trade deficit with Canada, Trump didn't believe it until his own sycophants were able to confirm it for him.

Now with Tillerson gone and McMaster likely next, he is said to be preparing himself to hire proper yes men and/or radical fringe politicians like John Bolton who share his penchant for histrionics and are considered to be too extremist even for the already fringe GOP.

If people who voted for this man still don't get that he was a bad choice I suppose they never will but clearly some are, because Connor Lamb's congressional victory in a safely red Pennsylvania district could signify there is payback coming this November for not having put a stop to his buffoonery soone…

growth

My almost 82 year old mother has come a long way.

The other day we were on the phone and she told me how she had seen the Danish Girl and felt so bad for the main character Lili Elbe and was so glad her wife supported her. This kind of reaction would not have been possible from her some years ago but with me being transgender and hearing more about my life has really opened her mind to the subject.

As I ponder where to go from here with my life it is nice to hear those positive statements that only make it easier to remove the stigma I have felt so long over being transgender. She proves that people can grow and learn at any age.

I wouldn't require that my mother ever accept me as her daughter just that she accepts me as I am which is more than enough for me.

great expectations

You only realize how much your life has been about discipline when suddenly you are on your own with fewer pressing responsibilities. You have little basis for comparison because you get somewhere you have never been before. In your previous life you just accepted things as they were and dealt with your circumstances as best you could.

Whether it is accomodating parents, partners, children or society it suddenly dawns on you one day that you have come to a new juncture where you have a right to finally look after your own needs. The lessened outside expectations combined with the bonus of a complete disregard for the opinions of strangers, offers you a new perspective.

Life often brings us to places we do not expect after decisions are thrust upon us or we make those we never expected to and, I suspect I will learn to appreciate this stage of life all the more, once I am fully acclimated to it.


the maverick scientist

Stephen Hawking lived with ALS for over 50 years; diagnosed at age 21, he beat the odds by stumping doctors and going far beyond the life expectancy for the dreaded disease.

Author of the now famous work "A Brief History of Time' (I recall reading my father's copy), he was regarded as one of the great minds in the field of Physics adopting his own maverick stances on the age of the universe, the big bang theory which he found highly suspect and black holes. Life couldn't have been easy for Mr. Hawking and yet his zest for knowledge must have undoubtedly contributed to his longevity. Maybe he now has a share the secrets about the nature of our existence he so desperately sought in life. I for one hope so.

Stephen Hawking has been compared by many with the likes of Albert Einstein who once famously said "God is subtle but not malicious". How ironic then that Mr. Hawking would pass away on Mr. Einstein's birthday of March 14th.

my book is released

Well about a year and a half and 40,500 words later (or thereabouts) my book is now finished and released. It is available through Lulu (and I believe through other affiliated partners)in an Epub format which is what most digital E-readers use. You can download a free Epub reader anywhere on the net for free if you don't own a kindle or some other E-reader.

I am pretty proud of this book and as a first time author I am sure there is much room for improvement. Nevertheless, I hope those of you who read it will enjoy it and maybe get something out of it. You might even recognize yourself in my words. I would also dearly appreciate your feedback on it if you feel so inclined to review it once you have read it.

Thank you!

It can be acquired here


jin xing

Jin Xing is a ballet dancer, former soldier and transgender woman with her own talk show which attracts more than 150 million viewers in her native China. She was also the first person to undergo gender reassignment there in 1994 and is today a respected figure in her country and throughout the world for speaking out on key issues relating to tolerance and respect for human dignity.

Jin Xing is considered a cultural icon in her country which at first rejected her for this major life change which wasn’t exactly seen as a favorable thing at the time. Yet today she is one of the leading spokeswomen for transgender people everywhere and if you have the chance to watch the video below you will understand why she commands the respect that she does...


everyone transitions with us

It is not just you transitioning from one state to another; your family and your friends transition with you. By transition here I refer to whatever that means for you which could simply be going from being closeted to an out trans person.

When I was speaking to Helene Cote recently she noted how many of her patients come to her with an "arm the torpedoes" attitude expecting everyone else to get with the program. I told her I personally could not do this because I made life commitments to have children and I couldn't just turn the tables on them like that. However, the other day I was having lunch with my son and we were talking about his cousin coming out as gay which led the subject towards tolerance in general and then to my being trans. I then asked him whether he would ever feel comfortable seeing me dressed. He thought for a moment, smiled and said he would but maybe then suggested that changing my voice would seem quite strange to him. He asked me to show him how …

matchmaker, matchmaker

I was listening to a story on the radio about matchmakers. Two ladies who did this for a living were being interviewed; one came from the American Jewish tradition while the other was from India. They both explained the process they go through and the typical age range and background of their clients.

What ended up striking me is how varied their opinions were about men and women and how people’s expectations change with age. Not surprisingly, their older clients had much higher expectations than their younger ones who hadn’t lived long enough to know what they don’t want. That inflexibility creeps in and, the longer one lives alone, the less likely we will bend to the needs of another person.

The woman from India said that this process shouldn’t be that complicated and that you adjust to the other person and they adjust to you. This is the tradition of her country and she herself was married at the ripe age of 20 after 3 weeks of knowing her future husband who proposed on the third d…

thrift store find

I found this top and flared skirt at the thrift store for a grand total of $11 and I was really pleased. The lady at the cash who I estimated to be from Jamaica (her accent was light but still there) was very complimentary regarding my height and was very chatty and friendly.

Not a bad deal in my estimation...



Sonatina Symphony Orchestra

My daughter wants to have realistic sounding orchestral instruments for her movie and although my Korg Krome workstation has a huge library of natural sounds, there are sometimes better samples found free on the internet. She was able to find an entire orchestra called the Sonatina Symphony Orchestra which is a series of natural instruments individually sampled and amassed into soundfonts.

SoundFont is a brand name that collectively refers to a file format and associated technology that uses sample-based synthesis to play MIDI files where MIDI stands for musical instrument digital interface and is a method to transfer digital information between different devices. In other words, I will be able to play the orchestra using my synthesizer workstation and trigger the soundfonts found in the orchestra.

I am looking forward to be able to score the movie that much more now and should be able to get an early print of the film by the end of March.

Those who are interested in acquiring the fre…

grateful

I am still amazed when I ask my daughter whether she minds if I don’t change back into male clothing to drop her off somewhere. This particular instance it was not going to be extra trouble for me to change back and, since I have always been afraid to expose family to Joanna, I still have trouble believing she is being genuine when she says she doesn't mind.

“Oh that, why would I mind?” she says matter of factly.

“because I know some trans people for whom that is a big problem and their family does mind” I respond

I raised my children to be tolerant of everyone and never thought that it would one day come back to benefit me. I suspect that one day for my son I might feel comfortable enough to do the same.

For that I am very grateful.

trans kids

You might be tempted to think that trans kids are a relatively new phenomenon in our society. Indeed, we have seen many of them come out over the last 10 years or so however they are hardly an invention of the 21st century. In the not too distant past these kids would have just kept quiet, tried to blend in and dare not say anything to parents who would have beat them silly, taken them straight to psychotherapy or perhaps perform an exorcism on them. Imagine coming out as a trans kid in 1969; I don't think that would have gone over too well for most of them.

Trans kids can now come out due to a new environment where parents, educators and society in general is making it easier to do so. Our level of education on this subject is exponentially greater than when we were kids. All those baby boomers who would have been just like these children simply shut their mouths and suppressed if they knew what was good for them. Don't get me wrong, I am ecstatic for these kids only that the…

the echo chambers

Increasingly in both our countries (the United States and Canada) being conservative means a rural "family values" voter while to be a liberal means to be an urban "elitist" voter. In other words, two solitdes who do not comprehend each other. But is it quite that simple?

I was listening to CBC radio on Sunday where the discussion centered around the conservative party of Ontario having the same type of existential crisis that the Republicans have in the States. There are the deplorable racists, the hard core evangelicals and the old school fiscal conservatives who are more progressive on social issues (ostensibly libertarians) all vying for the soul of the same party and all trying to get along.

That same day another program interviewed Ken Stern, a progressive New York agnostic Jewish male and former head of NPR, who spent one year living with the other side. He registered as a Republican and lived among people he had never really overlapped with before for any l…

a visit to the sexologist

This past week I went to see Montreal sexologist Helene Cote. She is still affiliated with the Montreal General Hospital gender identity clinic which refers some transgender patients to now world renowned surgeon Dr. Pierre Brassard. The program seems to be ending from what she tells me; at least the one that was under the tutorship of Dr Assalian who oversaw my treatment in 2007.

Helene has treated and continues to treat many transsexual patients and my visit was really just a checkup to discuss where I am. It helps to do this with someone who has seen many other transsexuals and understands how we think (without being one herself).

For one thing I am glad that the therapists like Helene who are working on the front lines do not buy into the AGP myth. I am on the record with her that I am not Blanchard’s biggest fan and have explained my take on the mechanics of arousal (which I will address in my upcoming book). I was also pleasantly surprised to learn from her that the diagnostic…

The Shape of Water

Mexican director Guillermo del Toro has created a cinematic feast for the senses. With his own very unique vision, he has crafted a beautiful allegorical tale about difference and how deceptive the true meaning of beauty and ugliness can be in this world. He has spun a fantasy tale which at once delights and horrifies us and leaves us in thought by the ending credits.

My nod for the Oscar goes to The Shape of Water and fingers crossed that Mr. del Toro is up there at the podium tonight to receive his very much merited award for best picture.

Aquinas

Thomas Aquinas was the first Catholic theologian and philosopher to marry together the concepts of reason and faith. He understood how the secular world could offer the believer an expansion of knowledge in how observable phenomena around us can help explain the divine.

His approach to spirituality greatly influenced other thinkers who may have felt conflict between religious dogma and the world of scientific discovery...



locker room

Using the women’s locker room after my swims doesn’t feel strange and I am not stared at oddly by other women who simply go about their business. To date I have even had short conversations with some of them which also feels very natural. We are after all people and not just gender stereotypes but I am also aware it helps a lot that I pass.

The lifeguards know me now and say hello when I appear poolside and they see nothing out of the ordinary probably because I don’t. After all, women come in all shapes and sizes and many are shorter than me and very rotund. By the time they get to be my age they have put on weight they cannot shed and their barrel shape cannot be disguised by a two piece. I don’t worry about padding and the only thing I have done is insert some in the bra portion of my suit since I don’t wear forms when I swim.

I didn’t need to come to the pool as Joanna but I wanted to as part of my experimentation. Would I ever want to live full time? I am not sure yet but this is…

Sebian

That video I posted of Sebian Holiday has been haunting me. Ever since I saw it I think about this young man who is slowly atrophying away knowing that his illness is terminal. His poise and wisdom beyond his years have likely been galvanized by the severity of his situation.

When my father was in the last stages of his cancer I recall reading a book called “Making Sense out of Suffering” by theologian Peter Kreeft in which the apparent unfairness of life could only be put into context in the knowledge that the resurrected Christ was the gateway for all people and that those whose lives seemed so dark would only gain their salvation from this world sooner. Their suffering could serve as a model for the rest of us to see that we possess more strength than we think to help us through our darkest times. I know I have learned from this young man just by watching a 5-minute video.

I see Sebian’s father by his side doing everything he can for his son and his calmness has no doubt not come e…

Lucia

Lucia Lucas is a 36 year old transgender woman and baritone opera singer who has transitioned with the full support of her wife Ariana who says of her spouse:

"I'm really in love with her, and it was clear to me from the second I met her that I would never find anybody else like her. It was her soul that I first fell in love with, and it was almost beyond physicality, and way more than gender and physical body. I have never met someone who cares so much about others, as Lucia always goes out of her way to help people. She is also really smart."

Now isn't that something and wouldn't you know it, they're millenials....

https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/theatre-arts/i-used-to-go-to-bed-praying-that-id-wake-up-as-a-girl-35441636.html



real courage

the middle

Most people are not far right or left on the political spectrum however they can be swayed with key issues. Evangelicals for example will be all about abortion, prayer in schools and possibly gun rights (depending on the region). Political parties long ago determined that the middle will not adhere to their entire platform but if you capture some of the pivotal issues they hold dear they will vote for you regardless.

The extreme right and left in the United States are represented by neither major party although arguably the Republicans have moved further right than the Democrats have moved left. The alt-right trolls picked up on Trump thinking he was going to be an anti-establishment candidate. His obvious stupidity aside, Trump doesn't hold enough views on serious issues and his narcissism gets in the way of caring but he served as a useful tool for factions of the GOP to get their platform advanced. Think of the Koch brothers here as an example.

The middle is a mixture of both r…

it is getting worse

Watch this video for confirmation of what you instinctively already knew to be true: namely that modern music is getting progressively worse. Not only has the chord palette been reduced, but the timbre, quality and diversity of sounds has been drastically diminished.

This was discovered by analyzing over 500,000 recordings made between 1955 and 2010 showing that this decline in popular music has continued steadily since its peak form in the 1960's when a song like "A Day in the Life" by the Beatles employed a 40 piece orchestra to record it. Obviously these costs are astronomic today but the thing that is even more disheartening is the reduction in chord variety and patterns.

Many of today's hits have been written by the same select group of writers employed by the major labels hence the similarity in style and making us think it all sounds the same. That's because it actually does.

So while it is tempting to think we're just being old fogies, it might just …

OMG I love this girl!

a universal truth

Gender identities lie on a graded spectrum. However it appears that most people can fit reasonably well within a portion that allows them to fully identify with their birth sex.

Transgender people however, cannot entirely do so.

Some will have a gender identity that is entirely reversed from their birth sex and will more than likely end up as transgender women. Others will live in some form of partial transition while the remainder will settle for some degree of gender variance which reflects their sense of self.

The way sexual orientation plays into this dynamic is to either align or misalign with gender identification. When a person’s gender identity aligns with orientation they will be more likely to identity as transgender earlier in life whereas the opposite will be true when orientation misaligns with identity.

This universal model should apply to both male and female born individuals and makes far more sense than the scattered and confused proposals we have seen to date from t…

complicated lives

three choices

Robert Reich has a common sense idea to deal with this disastrous presidency and it just might work....


soul connection

When I was in my teens I used to imagine that being with someone else would enable me to be close enough to them to almost peer into their soul. I thought that being in a couple could be like the meeting of two minds intertwining and almost becoming one.

Of course I was wrong because what I held in my mind's eye was an overly idyllic portrait of how things should be forgetting that we are far too wounded and guarded as human beings to expose so much of ourselves to one another. This was also before I ever dared admit to myself that I was transgender and had that massive bridge still to cross.

We crave this type of deep connection with someone but our childhood trauma gets in the way of that desire and I have never understood this paradox as well as I do now. We hope to be loved and to return it in kind but we are incapable of letting our guard down to the extent it demands because it implies exposing our weaknesses as well as our strengths to another being. Instead we bring our ba…

we call BS

Watch out Republicans they are coming after you...


busted

This was the first time I have ever been called out by someone who recognized me in male mode but it happened this past week. Young Sarah who works in a Promenades de la Cathedrale watch store saw me and was so excited that she just had to call out to me with a big wave and a booming "hello, hello!"

“I was sure you were a woman!” she tells me excitedly.

I explained to her about my transgender background and she seemed so impressed that I could live the way I do which I explained to her is far from being easy. She commented on how my delicate features could go either way which is why she had no doubt and didn't let my height be an issue because "there are so many tall women out there"

“I am so impressed by transgender people” she added and I proceeded to tell her that we tend to lead complicated lives with many of us not making it. She just stood there wide-eyed listening to every word.

Sarah is all of 24 years old, married and already the mother of a young boy.…