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Showing posts from April, 2018

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.



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…