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…
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.…
It's a tired old story by now. There is a shooting in a school, a theatre or a mall, the president gives lip service and everything goes back to normal.
This latest Florida shooting was the 18th so far this year and it's only mid February. Pretending this is normal anywhere else would be a grave cause for concern but this is America with its immunity to violent gun crime.
So roly-poly Trump goes in front of the media and decries the problem of mental health but doesn't mention guns. The GOP he ran for houses under its tent that strange concoction of people with a love of money, Jesus and guns. But that is the paradox that is this party where some Evangelicals reconcile prosperity theology with a Bible that preaches God's favor for the poor, the meek and the down trodden.
Look at that graphic below and tell me that Americans are crazier than everyone else or could it be they just have much easier access to weapons? I have written here before that an attachment to firea…
Last night I went to my bank for a financial planning session and I decided to lighten up the hair a bit. I have tried to go dark but that just harshens my features and makes me look older.
I took this picture upon my return home.
All of my banking records are with my male name but people just could care less whether you are trans or not and I got excellent service and was not misgendered. So get out there and don't wait for someone to give you permission to be yourself!
Apple CEO Tim Cook won’t allow his nephew on social media for good reason. When Facebook was first invented it was supposed to connect people to each other. It might have been an innocent enough idea but in fact the darker side of social media has been winning it seems with online harassment, general feelings of inadequacy and people losing themselves in a cyberworld instead of living in the real one. We are more connected and yet more estranged than ever and even in my own family invitation to events are made on Facebook in lieu of phone calls. I am not on Facebook so someone eventually texts or calls me.
Technology has been wonderful but it has come at a price and as jobs are lost to automation and social media networks proliferate we begin to see patterns emerging.
I sit in a subway car and most people are immersed in their cell phones which have now become our lifelines. Many of us are on social media networks exchanging details of our lives that would perhaps best be not shared …
My readership has gone up dramatically since I began this blog 5 years ago. However, it’s never been my intent to be popular and am just glad that my blog may have helped some transgender people in some way feel better about themselves. You have no idea how much personal satisfaction that brings me after living with so much angst over this issue for decades.
Those of you who are already there know what I am talking about and there is really no easy road to self acceptance whether it happens early or late in your life. What you do once there is up to you but don’t ever let anyone give you guff over being who you are; no matter what form that takes.
I have friends all over the transgender spectrum. They support me and I support them wholeheartedly because this is how we will educate a general public who doesn’t need to comprehend us fully to let us live in peace. Now wouldn’t that be something.
I don't pay much attention to commercial milestones like St. Valentine's Day but, if …
Donald Trump wants to have a military parade down Pennsylvania avenue to compete with North Korea while Devin Nunes wanted to build a wall in Congress to separate the democrats and the Republicans. Meanwhile, LGBT enemy and vice President Mike Pence leads the American team into the Stadium while the openly out athletes rightly complain he has no business being there in this era of inclusiveness that the Olympics particularly champion.
We already know that Trump is a horror show of ignorance, racism and smugness but the people surrounding this administration are almost as much of an embarrassment.
Paul Ryan tweets lauding a secretary's $1.50 a week increase under the Trump tax plan and then wisely deletes it when a barrage of outrage comes his way. Someone named LOLGOP brilliantly retorts that the $26M a week increase one of the Koch brothers will get under this plan can pay for a few more Paul Ryans (see image below).
It's like there is concerted effort to turn the Republican …
Lyne and Audette are two older ladies that I always see together having coffee. We had never spoken before but suddenly upon my return to Montreal they seemed happy to see me and wondered where I had gone. This led to a short but pleasant exchange which opened the door to greeting each other going forward.
Last night there they were and as I was leaving I stopped to say hello and suddenly I am sitting with them for a few minutes and chatting.
They are about my mother's age with Audette, who is a widow, having had three children. Lyne has no children and has been divorced for many years. They have known each other since 1957 when they lived in the same building and still meet regularly for coffee.
"I have a son who is 6' 5" and a tall lady like you and he would make a perfect match" says Audette to me in French and smiling like a chesire cat.
"But he is married" she continues
I tell her I am not looking anyway and we continue chatting for a few minutes…
I thought I would show a preview of the first three pages of my book to give you an idea of the style. Not every chapter deals with my personal life and I would like to think that the book has the right balance of gender theory, personal experience and observations about being trans and I have tried to make it interesting and informative to those who are transgender as well as to those who are not which often includes their partners.
I hope you read it, like it and get something out of it because that is my aim.
Here is the chapter listing for my book which is now 70% complete (I have been prolific of late). I haven't yet looked into the online publishing site I will use but perhaps some of you who have gone through this process before can provide suggestions.
Chapter 1 - My Origins
Chapter 2 - The Next Phase of my Life
Chapter 3 - A Brief History of the Research
Chapter 4 - Can We be Cured?
Chapter 5 - Confidence
Chapter 6 - Yes, but am I a Woman?
Chapter 7 - Enemies of Transgender People
Chapter 8 - The Problem of Cross-Gender Arousal
Chapter 9 - Self-Acceptance and Finding Love
Chapter 10 - Who I am
Chapter 11 - My Experiences in Public
Chapter 12 - What is Gender?
Chapter 13 - Religion and being Trans
Chapter 14 - You go girl!
Chapter 15 - Guilt and Shame: the Dynamic Duo
Chapter 16 - Okay, but should I Transition?
Chapter 17 - Rise of the Millenials
Chapter 18 - Vive la Difference!
Chapter 19 - Authenticity
Chapter 20 - What I have Lea…
The secret to life is to try and manage its arc. Understanding that it bends so you cannot quite see where it’s going but that there is some predictability there.
We are about experiencing patterns in mood and events that when we live long enough start to breed familiarity. We know that we will get through this latest challenge because we have faced another of similar intensity and survived.
We are also, as Alain de Botton reminded me of late, strange and flawed creatures who have enough trouble understanding ourselves never mind anyone else.
Then we begin to see that life is an imperfect combination of the melancholy and the euphoric but not parsed out in equal measure. Our challenge as human beings is to find the nugget of truth inside the times of difficulty and the lessons contained therein. I have never heard of anyone having the perfect formula to existence but those who know that the light will return after the dark times will maybe suffer a little less.
I have spent a lot of time in this blog making a distinction between cross gender arousal and Autogynephilia to try and make transgender people understand that there is a very important difference between the two. In so doing we can remove a false sense of culpability that need not exist.
As I will touch upon in one of the chapters in my book, the onus is on the inventor of a theorized condition to prove his case and in this regard AGP fails spectacularly. However, I am still interested in understanding how pre-existing gender dysphoria and burgeoning sexuality intertwine at puberty to create a situation that for a time has us question whether we suffer from a perversion.
All the trans people I am in contact with trace their feelings to early childhood so all we know is that the sexual feelings toward females become melded with the desire to be one in a way we do not yet comprehend. The important distinction to remember here is that the dysphoria precedes the formation of the sexualit…
It’s getting rarer to present as male when not at work or with my kids, family or friends. Being Joanna is something I find natural and there is no situation where I wouldn’t feel comfortable especially after my swimming experience of late.
If there were a logical next step it would be social transition but that is being mulled over the next few years as I try and strategize how to deal with my work future and financial situation. The reason I don’t feel rushed is that living this way is so much superior to the way I used to. There simply is no comparison.
Some people my age want to rush through a process after decades of suppression but I find my method gives me solid footing and makes the mental gymnastics I must go through more rigorous. When it comes to this issue I don’t agree that you can think too much because it is not a simple process and requires undoing decades of programming. You are like the person leaving the comfort of a cult and trying to find your footing one day at …
I met the ex colleague for lunch yesterday whose daughter had come out as trans about a year and a half ago. After my 6 months of being away in Toronto I was curious as to where things were going with her.
After a while the conversation gravitated toward the subject and he was more than willing to discuss it. You might recall that I came out to him after he expressed deep concern about her. She and my daughter are a month apart.
Well, Laurence is now Laurent and he has been on testosterone since July. His voice has deepened and the facial hair is sprouting and he seems happier to his parents who have thankfully fully supported him. He also has a girlfriend who loves him as he is and knew him when he was Laurence which is another testament to this new generation who accept each other as they are far more readily.
I was very happy for him and his son and I told him so and he thanked me again for having shared my own struggle at a time when he needed to hear from another trans person.
Those who read my blog know that I don't normally write about my day to day but I will make an exception about yesterday.
I had packed a bag to go swimming but this time it would be as Joanna. My body is hairless and I have a one piece with a flared skirt that really suits me. I also recently acquired a bathing cap which would take the place of my wig. So it was now or never.
Before I could do that however a little incident happened in the morning that left me reflecting on the way we react to gender.
I was about to sit with my coffee when the chair literally gave way under me. Suddenly I had two men at either side of me asking if I was okay and helping me to stand. Had I been presenting male this would never have happened and I would have been asked if I was okay and nothing else.
Later at the pool I went inside one of the little cubicles where women change and put on my suit and cap. I left my small diamond earrings on and went to the pool area. No one gave me a second glance a…
My city is crumbling under the weight of its 375 years. Navigating the potholes and the road closure signs are more than people can bear and indeed our former mayor rightfully paid the price for his arrogance. He planned for an anniversary party without thinking that you cannot shut a city down and rush to the finish line without consequences.
Shop keepers lost their businesses when their streets seemed to be in eternal construction mode in preparation of a party that saw them get a revised tax bill for their troubles. Many filed for bankruptcy and shut the door.
Don’t get me wrong, this city is in my blood but civic planning isn’t their strong suit and decades of mismanagement and organized crime interference are now resulting in chickens coming home to roost.
In the meantime motorists and pedestrians navigate Montreal like the minefield it has become and the next two years will continue to see more misery before all returns to some semblance of normal.
This positively brilliant talk by Alain de Botton should be viewed by anyone who has ever been in a relationship or hopes to be in one. It deals with our blind spots and misinterpretations of what love is and how our expectations are often not aligned with reality.
I read his article of the same title in the New York Times last year and it was one of the best I have ever read on this subject.
Being the architect of your own life is a desirable goal which not all of us were able to attain.
If we are a little older we may have bought into a model that perhaps didn't suit us; that post-war suburban lifestyle with the two kids, the big yard and the secure company job. I don't regret those years in the least but can admit that I may have been swept into their grasp without sufficient reflection. In fact you could say that I didn't employ the full use of my ability to question before embarking on the path I ultimately chose.
I am thankful for my two wonderful kids and am proud of the effort put into raising them but now it's my turn to self realize. I just need to learn how and give myself permission.
This is something millenials will be forced to do by default because the guaranteed structures the baby boomers helped build have crumbled before them. They will need to rely on a more malleable approach in order to make their way in this brave new world of uncertai…
This story by Graeme Hamilton appeared in the National Post and it's about a transgender woman stepping into TERF territory..
"Gabrielle Bouchard began her term as president of the Fédération des femmes du Québec with a call for women’s equality, echoing the demands of leaders of the province’s main feminist organization going back to its creation more than 50 years ago.
But a month into the job, Bouchard has faced a backlash over what sets her apart from her predecessors: that she was born male.
As the first transgender woman to head the federation, Bouchard’s ability to speak for women has been challenged by some feminists who portray her gender transition as a lifestyle choice.
“Is a trans woman a real woman?” asked the headline above one Journal de Montréal column. “Being a woman is not a choice or an identity,” the head of a splinter feminist group wrote in another column critical of Bouchard’s election.
Bouchard, 49, said she did not expect her arrival as president to st…
I am now half way through writing my book which means I have hit 20,000 words of my 40,000 word target. This doesn't mean it must necessarily be 40,000 words long but I wanted to have a reasonable length to aim for and this seems to be the standard for a shorter adult book.
I will keep plugging away at it along with my musical projects and maintaining this blog.
I still catch some older transgender people doing this: they want to make sure they separate themselves from the pack. For example, transgender woman Paula Williams who was once married to a woman and had children before transitioning writes on her webpage:
“Crossdressing is a paraphilia, what we used to call a sexual perversion. It is sexual arousal generated by wearing women’s clothing. It is not typically considered gender dysphoria and does not have a high suicide rate. If you give estradiol to a crossdresser, when his male sexuality disappears he will likely not be happy. On the other hand, when you give estradiol to a transgender person, they will feel like their body and brain are finally in sync.
Drag queens are men, often gay, who enjoy dressing outlandishly as women, not for sexual gratification or because they want to transition to live as women. They just enjoy the drag scene”
I know that she is being disingenuous here not only because most crossdressers tend not to be perv…
Loneliness is an existential condition and we are currently experiencing an epidemic. Up to 40% of people report that they feel lonely on a regular basis which is up from 25% in the early 2000's.
I am not certain there is only one culprit but one could be technology which doesn't help our sense of belonging. We have never been more connected yet never as isolated as we are today for there is no substitute for one to one human contact and social media tricks the mind that one is getting it.
There are also more single people out there than ever. The combination of the young unmarried and the older divorced or widowed is creating a legion of the lonely who may not be getting the adequate amount of human contact.
Loneliness is a high risk factor for mortality (in fact one of the highest) which is why some countries are focusing resources to try and combat it for it strikes at the heart of the stability of a society. The fabric of the way we live is changing rapidly but we are not …
It took me a very long time to get comfortable presenting as female in public under most situations and in this video Dara Hoffman-Fox gives some suggestions as to how to become more immune to any stares you might invite as you go out into the world...
I do not normally do this and but the risk of irritating one of my readers I have decided to print her question and my response because this is the kind of situation that many of us have found ourselves in and is very relevant. There is struggle involved in having gender dysphoria and no solution is simple but maybe by my sharing this we can add some more light on this difficult reality.
This question is more of a personal question from me, I hope not too personal.
Seeing your more popular posts titled "looking past cross gender arousal" and "understanding the erotic component", I find myself in the predicament of being happily married for the last 22 years with two boys, 16 (high school) and 18 (college), a loving wife and an otherwise great life. It has taken a lot of time, and a lot of me messing up, but my wife is fine now with my cross-dressing, but not the erotic component.
The desire to express my feminine side has been there as long as I …
Ray Thomas of the Moody Blues passed away last week. He was 76 years old and a founding member of one of the bands who (along with the Beatles) arguably was the most significant in founding the art rock movement of the 1970's.
Justin Hayward was the lead singer but here is one of my favorite songs that Ray sang from his time with the Moodys..."Painted Smile".
Some people can dress once a month and be happy with that and consider it progress while others cannot abide one more day without transitioning.
I dress every single day even if it is only for an hour. Sometimes it is because I have gotten home late and need to get some groceries and, because it doesn’t take me long anymore and can be ready in 15 minutes, I do it without hesitation. It really represents an important part of my identity which brings me much peace and comfort.
I came from a long way back and how I live my life now would be an unacceptable situation particularly for those of you who are married and whose trans identity is not exactly welcome. But there is no going back and what I have attained now is the best compromise I can muster and still live an honest life which reflects who I am. The only possible variation left would be to work as Joanna; something which is still under consideration.
The process has been so slow and organic that I cannot point…
Judgement isn’t something we are born with; we develop it. It involves looking at a situation and the possible outcomes based on the criteria at hand. I think it also involves a good deal of “do no harm” approach to navigate whatever waters we are in.
They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions and for good reason: using only intention as a substitute for good judgement can spell trouble; after all good intention is more subjective since it doesn’t weight possible outcomes. If I enter a business deal with only good intentions and don’t weight the possibility that my new business partner is a crook it is not enough to tell them so after they have cheated you.
Sound judgement is something you hone and develop over time and experience and hope you have enough of it by the time you reach a certain age. Not everyone develops it to the same level and navigate through life without learning its full value. If we acquire any it can be the result of a series of painful life experie…
I have been reading and actively contributing to Jack Molay’s Crossdreamers since 2011; even penning one or two guest posts over that time.
One of the notable trends since then has been the dramatic reduction in comments which seems to parallel the advancement of transgender people in society. Whereas before you would read testimonials from people trying to find their identity and understand themselves, the increased visibility and awareness of our situation in society seems to have quieted the angst. I remember comment streams that would extend up to 30 or 40 in response to one of his articles.
I am in no way saying that this is representative of a lowering of our guard in defending our rights but more a relaxing based on shared experience and knowing we are increasingly supported.
It is no small task to have gotten this far and Jack’s site has been pivotal in exploring the nuances of this complex topic which has been attempted to be simplified by those driven by their own agendas.
"Right until the end of his life last Wednesday, Ben Barres made it his business to champion the unsung.
While most of his fellow neuroscientists studied neurons, the branching cells that carry electrical signals through the brain, Barres focused his attention on another group of cells called glia. Even though they equal neurons in number, glia were long dismissed as the brain’s support crew—there simply to provide nutrients or structural scaffolding.* But Barres showed that glia are stars in their own right. They help neurons to mature, producing the connections that are the basis for learning and memory, and then pruning those connections so that the most useful ones remain.
In showing how important glia are, Barres revolutionized our understanding of the brain. That alone would have been enough to secure a spot in science’s hall of fame. But the outpouring of adulation that followed his passing, at the age of 63 from pancreatic cancer…
My daughter's digitally animated movie is coming along nicely and I thought I would share two screen test shots which are looking very promising (I of course asked her permission to do so). I am now more than ever looking forward to seeing some animated footage and getting started on the music.
The short film is a comedy about an alien coming to earth. No idea what the title will be.
Montreal sexologist Helene Cote called me recently asking about references regarding detransition. Apparently a journalist had approached her and she thought I might know some people who could help feed the story.
I told her that I am not in a position to know this subject as well as Third Way Trans or Joel Nowak and I gave her those names as the best online resources that I know on the topic. After all, both transitioned and lived full time for years before deciding to revert to living as males.
If you recall, Helene is associated with the Montreal General Gender Clinic who eventually refers transsexuals to Dr. Brassard who is a foremost GRS surgeon here in Montreal. I stopped this process back in 2007 as my life was in complete turmoil and even abandoned continued therapy for fear of groupthink and feeling pressured to begin a process that might sweep me up into something I might regret later. But clearly the clinic does amazing work and does not cajole anyone into anything.
She has AVM which stands for Arteriovenous Malformation. An AVM is a tangle of abnormal and poorly formed blood vessels (arteries and veins). They have a higher rate of bleeding than normal vessels and can occur anywhere in the body. She has had to undergo a series of surgeries for this which sometimes produce horrible inflammation.
I know I could use this kind of inspiration sometimes. It's like a kick in the pants...
The other night over dinner while discussing his porential future love life my son says to me;
"No offense but I am using your experience as what not to do"
I will admit that it stung for a moment but I did not take offense as I have worried that what he has seen thus far from me was going to taint his ability to form long lasting relationships. From the age of 9 his life was destabilized by a divorce that he didn't see coming.
One big advantage in his favor will be his lack of gender issues for which I am eternally grateful. This way he can come into any situation with his cards firmly on the table but also with a much wider array of potential partners.
He admitted to me that he knew his mother and I are so different it never made sense to him why we were together and of course he is right; you cannot hide from the analysis of grown children and by his age I had already begun to formulate accurate assessments of my own parents.
That writer Micheal Wolff has managed to further expose Donald Trump as a thin-skinned and incompetent malcontent should surprise no one who has been paying any kind of attention to this presidency. A sour grape stained Steve Bannon as well as other insiders opened their mouths and told the rest of us what was plainly obvious from the outset: namely that this gang has no idea what they are doing and are being guided by a man child who is only now learning that running a country is not the same thing as inheriting your father's real estate empire.
So while Obama gracefully took the venom shot his way by a hate-filled GOP directly on the chin, Trump sulks and points out every criticism on Twitter like a spoiled toddler. Only from the mind of a very small man could there be so much pontificating and outright lying. I am uncertain as to whether he actually he believes his own utterances like how he invented the word "fake" or that his administration has done more than any ot…
If you had told a 35 year old me that in twenty years upwards of 40 people would only know me as a woman I would assume you were certifiably insane for I was deep in denial and thought all this would eventually be rid of somehow.
I was investing a lot of energy distracting myself with marriage, fixing a house and welcoming a just born daughter. Being transgender was something that just wasn’t possible or permissible. I kept a lid on things using sporadic crossdressing episodes to relieve the pressure and then threw everything in the bin. This cycle had been the way I had survived thus far but in seven short years things would begin to unravel.
I plunged into study of this subject even more, hoping to find nuggets of wisdom but instead found dead ends in the academic data and, via the fledgling internet, began to explore the blogs of those whose lives strangely mirrored my own.
I have evolved into a different being over the last twenty years and I would only recognise parts of who I us…
For me the rock world saw no better period than between 1969 and 1979 during which some of the landmark albums of the genre's biggest names were released. It was a period of creative freedom and limitless expression where great experimentation took place before record company execs turned the music business into a cynical money machine.
Here are but some examples:
David Bowie - Ziggy Stardust
Elton John - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Queen - A Night at the Opera
Yes - Fragile
Genesis - Selling England by the Pound
Led Zeppelin - IV
Beatles - Abbey Road
Jethro Tull - Thick as a Brick
Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon / The Wall
ELP - Trilogy
The Who - Who's Next
Moody Blues - A Question of Balance
So here is Roger Waters joining his old band mates for this "timeless" classic. Watch the young fans in the crowd proving that good music is good music no matter the era.
For the record, I was 11 years old when Dark Side of the Moon was released.
Gender theory is vitally important and while you might think it does not play a direct impact in your day to day living, in the long term it does.
The people directly involved in it sometimes have the ear of policy makers and their academic papers can help shape public policy. So when I hear transgender people say it doesn’t matter it makes me bristle. This is why the opposition to Ray Blanchard’s toxic work has been so pivotal and trans women like Lynn Conway, Andrea James, Deidre Mccloskey, Jamie Veale and Julia Serano have fought hard to advertise its obvious shortcomings and had they been left unchecked things might be worse for transgender people today.
But even if these theories don't have a direct impact on public policy they feed those groups who find sustenance in them. This is why you will find this work referenced by the alt-right, TERFS and evangelical crackpots who try to use them as evidence of our so-called "delusions".
Another year has gone by and again so many changes have happened in my life.
I wish all of you the very best for 2018 and that you find peace and contentment as well as the best ways to celebrate this difference we all share.
Maybe one resolution you might want to make is that you come out to at least one more person this year and realize that it is not as scary as you think. That will mean one more soul converted to the idea that we are in many ways like everyone else. You might be surprised how little people care.
Be good to yourself this year and cut yourself some slack because you deserve it.