Thoughts and ideas (plus a little gender theory) from an intellectually curious transgender person.
- “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson
This Friday I am having birthday brunch with Leticia who I have known for several years now and have never told about my transgender identity. We are simply two ladies who know each other and overlap sporadically which works for both of us. My hesitation comes not from trying to deceive anyone but more from the lack of urge I feel. I just want to remain a woman rather than explaining to a 60-year-old Latina why I chose not to tell her something this big for so long. Plus we are more close acquaintances than good friends anyway. Things were more successful than I planned and as time went on it became more and more difficult to spill the beans. Everything I tell her about myself is completely true except I reverse an ex-wife with an ex-husband. I met Leticia during a phase in my transgender journey where I was testing my ability to pass as a cisgender woman and our overlaps helped convince me that this was not only possible but successful. Having lunch one day with her and her three
There is a new website in town dedicated to debunking the Blanchardian pseudoscience; not that this is so hard with people like J. Michael Bailey writing such awful stuff. Still, for some reason the occasional trans person still falls prey to this drivel and our job is to make sure they think critically and see it for what it is: a swiss cheese full of missing data and unprovable conclusions. Hardly the stuff of hard science but certainly more like pulp fiction psychology taking leaps to reach predetermined conclusions. Yes, the name is a clever variation on Kay Brown's single-minded and broken record website trumpeting Blanchard and if you want to check it out you can go here (thanks to Jack Molay for the heads up)... https://sillyolyou.wordpress.com/2018/10/28/biphobia-invalidating-peoples-identities-is-never-ok/
Which would you rather have: being tolerated or being embraced? I think it’s fair to say that most transgender people would choose the latter but settle for the former thinking that this is the best they’ll get. But here is the interesting thing about the world: there are all kinds of people in it with different points of view. We who were born before the trans revolution, might have seen being tolerated as the ultimate prize. We thought that if we could at least avoid outright rejection then we really had something special. But since having achieved a solid internal acceptance of who I am, I have realized that being tolerated is a cop out because having someone love you while rejecting an intrinsic part of your identity is hardly a lofty goal. This is not a reflection on them as much as it is on us because we felt that we deserved no more than this and so we ran with it. Both we and that partner were educated in an environment which saw any form of gender variance as anathema and
My daughter is switching from being a lighter to being an animator. A lighter (as the name implies) lights the animated scenes with shadow and light so they have more 3 dimensional depth and realism. It's a part of the process but she prefers to be an animator and, as good fortune would have it, she is going to be mentored by an ex-Disney animator who is going to teach her the ropes. I am very happy that this generation can more take advantage of the increased opportunities before them. If I had told my parents I wanted to be a painter or a musician they would have suggested I choose something more practical so I could support a family. I followed that guidance and don't really have major regrets as I kept the artistic endeavors going on the side. However, marrying your passion with a career is the ultimate goal for any artist. Had I chosen art or music my life might have followed a more challenging path but I cannot say for certain. What I can state with certitude is that
A young family with one child named Jake who starts to show signs of gender variance is the subject of a Netflix film. Could he be transgender? The parents begin to concern themselves with this issue as the start of his private grade school life looms. How far does this gender variance go and what does it mean for the future. It is the balance between accepting your child and protecting them from the hostility of society that these parents struggle with. Is the movie perfect? No and there are some pacing problems and even a lack of screen time for Jake who is only 4. What is good is the representation of the angst that these parents go through while dealing with people who don't understand their child. It also captures the overzealous energy many expend to micro manage their lives in making sure they get into the "right school"; doing so with the same intensity as if it were a university. "A Kid like Jake" is now available on Netflix.
My visit with Dr. Morris was very positive because he is such a supportive person of transgender people. The fact that he treats so many of us and continues to state unequivocally that we are a normal part of the fabric of humanity is what I found so uplifting. He doesn’t want people to transition for the sake of it. He wants to help you to transition if this is what you must do which I find to be a very good approach. He has turned away people knowing full well that they were not transgender. In my case he let me decide how far I wanted to take things and he would green light what I wanted to do. I felt very much in control with him and I knew I was dealing with an individual who understood our community very well. His matter of fact no nonsense style and sense of humor was very welcome, and you could see he really loved his work and relished helping his patients. I had been reflecting on what to do for quite some time but in the end my ultimate barometer was my current level of
I despair for America. It used to be that being a conservative entailed mostly of focusing on small government and pushing for free markets but that has changed. In fact this president is protectionist and is leading a rag tag bunch of religious zealots and extremists who are figuring out ways of holding back the hoardes at the southern border. Trickle down economics having failed miserably under Reagan and other GOP presidents since, they have gone back to the drawing board and are quietly enriching the top 1% while they bamboozle the remaining 99%. The deficit is exploding again and is at its highest level since 2012 so while they celebrate happy times this doesn't bode well for the future when belt tightening will be in store. Don't get me wrong, the Democrats don't have all the answers either as they are hopelessly tied to corporate money. The only way out will be to free up politics to go back to working for the people again. Otherwise the US is slowly headed tow
Posture, demeanor, composure and grace are all important parts of being a human but particularly a woman. Femininity exudes all these qualities in spades such that to not look like a man in a dress, these need to come from within. We have all seen examples of crossdressers dolled up to the nines who then walk and gesture like men instantly giving themselves away. It is not about height or weight here because I have seen the most petite examples sometimes being among the worst offenders. What helps tremendously is to fully accept our inner femininity and then channel it without being a caricature. That feminine grace should exude naturally from your pores without you needing to force anything. If you are trans this should not be an issue once you have done away with the nerves. I am so comfortable presenting as a woman its become reflex and don't need to consciously think about how I sit, gesture or speak. The whole thing should be as natural as the way you were taught to be mal
The receptionist takes my appointment slip and Medicare card. After putting all together she asks: "Your name Miss?" "Joanna" then I add "you're good" She puts a yellow post it note on the paper so the doctor uses the right name. She is used to transgender people without their gender marker changed. In the waiting room I engage in conversation with the woman next to me for a solid 45 minutes. He is running behind schedule and we help each other out by distracting each other. She is very pleasant and it flows without much effort. My how other people's lives are fascinating and challenging. I finally go in to see him. "You look fantastic. You could teach a course" he tells me. "Are you happy because you look it. What do want hormones for?" "Well I don't in fact I was hoping you would talk me out of it" "Well I could give you anti-androgens and watch your libido go down and maybe thin out your
Maybe some of you were like I was; afraid to be myself for fear of perturbing someone else with my identity. “They won’t accept me, so I might as well shield them from it” was my battle cry. My entire childhood and adolescence was about trying to sneak moments in where I could enjoy being feminine and then paying the price later with the guilt and shame that followed; the little voice that told me I had just broken the rules yet again. This cycle is often pervasive and hard to break and many of us have had to go to psychological treatment to repair the damage. I was fortunate in that the initial 6 months of gender therapy I received at the hospital in my early 40's plus writing this blog helped me to become free and yet there are still remnants left over from a life lived feeling that one is a social pariah. The older one is, the more difficult lifting that veil becomes. Yesterday I walked into a local mall to have my coffee. It is a place where many people know me and that f
Navigating the world as a woman is fascinating and I have learned so much since I began to live part time. I have learned (as Connie often likes to say here) much about who I am than what I am. "What I am" is about labeling myself while "who I am" is about self comprehension and introspection. It is the latter which gives your soul sustinence. The more I have delved into who I am, the less I have worried about the trappings of the world and relaxed into becoming myself. I strongly recommend you work on this because it is extremely freeing and, as transgender people, it is a prerequisite to internal growth and peace. Although the precise instance when you reach that echelon is hard to measure, you will feel it when you're there. This coming Wednesday I see Dr. Morris again which has been a long wait but perfect timing for a turtle like me. I don't yet know what I will say or do but you can be sure all will be measured and reflected on very carefully.
This despicable administration is at it again and before they are out of power will do much more damage. This time it is legally defining gender strictly by birth sex ostensibly wiping out the definition of transgender. The Kavanaugh appointment only helps the odorous Mike Pence and other evangelical nutjobs who are behind this move (Trump is a moron so he's not likely the initiator). I truly feel bad for Americans. Time to get the vote out in November! https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/21/us/politics/transgender-trump-administration-sex-definition.html
I've been using that Silk'n product religiously since I purchased it and it has been paying dividends. The hair on my face is thinning but it is doing so very slowly. The reason I can tell is that my need for makeup in a few problem spots is diminishing. Of course, the hair is also turning white which is helping matters. Do I still recommend this product? Yes I do with the only caveat that you not expect quick results. This is about playing the long game. Look at it this way: for $200 it is doing what much more expensive laser treatments do more quickly but also more painfully. Be prepared to use the highest setting for the face which is not bad compared to the agonizing layers of 10 years ago or more.
Ben Shapiro is completely disingenuous. By deliberately starting out by conflating social democratic governments with pure socialism he outright lies so he can criticize these successful models. He eventually states that they are not socialist but then badmouths their expensive social programs and saying that the left is confusing these states for socialist ones. Shapiro speaks quickly (all the while sounding like he's high on helium) but isn't going to convince a discerning thinker with this sort of propagandist tripe. Social democracies are not just about purely capitalism (apparently the only important metric for Shapiro). They are about raising the standard of living for an entire culture. But Shapiro prefers to sell his feeble argument on FOX News where he's sure to find a receptive audience. Watch David Pakman break down the complete lack of intellectual honesty and once again confirming what a total dweeb Shapiro is. NB: Journalist Jamal Khashoggi was beheade
I have become convinced that our identity (including gender) becomes freeze dried during prepubescence. From there we then grow as individuals, both intellectually and in life experience, but that essential core remains unchanged. It’s funny, I only need look at my children and they confirm this for me. Their essential characters have remained the same only they are morphing into adults with the added complexities that it entails. What happens to us is that we are impacted by the world and that unique character is affected by the things we learn. If we are very fortunate, we will be able to understand what we should abandon and what we should swallow but the challenge is that we are too young for the level of discernment which is required. Thus, we are often left riddled with baggage to remove later. The key is then to go back to that naked version of ourselves only with the wisdom we have picked up along the way hopefully engrained. If there is an advantage to aging it is this:
"An extremely quiet child" they called you in your school report "He's always taken interest in the subjects that he's taught" So what was it that brought the squad car screaming up your drive To notify your parents of the manner in which you died At St. Patrick's every Sunday, Father Fletcher heard your sins "Oh, he's unconcerned with competition he never cares to win" But blood stained a young hand that never held a gun And his parents never thought of him as their troubled son "Now you'll never get to Heaven" Mama said Remember Mama said Ticking, ticking "Grow up straight and true blue Run along to bed" Hear it, hear it, ticking, ticking... They had you holed up in a downtown bar screaming for a priest Some gook said "His brain's just snapped" then someone called the police You'd knifed a Negro waiter who had tried to calm you down Oh you'd pulled a gun and told them all t
I have never stood here before. This is a first for me in that I am sitting at an equidistant point between transitioning and not. There are several reasons for this but one is that it is not easy to live in two gender roles. You sometimes even confuse yourself and presenting in one form in society is easier. Also, nothing stops you from enjoying life and keep any interests I currently have and, should I choose transition, it could be purely social in nature. On the other hand there are still remnants of my current life which command my attention and keep me firmly in my current role. In truth, we should be able to live life as we want but society seems to beg that we decide. They want to know where you stand because, like it or not, so incredibly much about our existence is still parsed out by gender. That equidistance sometimes confuses me because I vacillate between the two poles, some days more sure of one than the other. Has Joanna advanced over time? Yes admittedly she
For me there is simplicity and elegance in a long coat, classic black pumps accented with pearl earrings and necklace. I guess you could say it's almost timeless. I don't wear this coat out often because it's a little too dressy for everyday use but it's not going anywhere either and will stay in my wardrobe. Although I wasn't yet born, it takes me back in time to the 1950's when I put it on...
Life is fleeting and recently I featured a short video where it was recommended (only partly in jest) that we keep a skull at our bedside as a reminder. I am at the age where friends and acquaintances are sometimes diagnosed with cancers or brain tumors and we marvel at how they are still too young to face such challenges; except our mortality doesn’t play favorites and it can come fetch us at any time. I lost a close colleague to pancreatic cancer a few years ago who never made it to 60. Thinking this way does not make me despondent but instead reminds me how important it is to treasure every moment of our existence. There are so many things we stress about that have no value and they evaporate into nothingness a short while later. Hopefully I am becoming wiser as I age and learning to be more discerning about what to give importance to. The fact is that I don’t think about my mortality enough for if I did I would really learn to truly live my life one precious day at a time; no