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Showing posts from January, 2019

Huh?

I don't know how some of these evangelicals like Sarah Sanders twist their faith to accommodate believing Trump's election was God ordained, but I for one find that thought deeply disturbing. That's why I'm right in line with Farron Cousins' indignation here....


intertwined

I’ve thought about this a lot over the years: the idea that we are conditioned to be masculine beings fighting an innate impetus towards the feminine which pushes back against that indoctrination. To what degree is our socialization able to override a basic instinct and become successful in drowning it out is of interest to me.

There can of course be a delayed effect and people who we describe as late-onset have typically tried everything to escape a draw that will not rest. But there are others whose dysphoria is not as potent who manage somehow to quell their desires and continue to present male. Masculine and feminine behavior and qualities can of course reside in a person without an impetus for a change but in others it becomes all but impossible to resist. How that dividing line is defined and how successful the ability of some to resist a transition is a very difficult thing to predict.

Here is where other factors come into play such as beliefs, family support and financials to…

two ladies just talking

Right before I had my scan at the hospital recently I was sitting across from a couple. The husband was there for his scan for a condition I didn’t inquire too much about and when he went in. I then began speaking briefly with his wife.

She was a nice-looking lady from Algeria (of perhaps my own age) and we talked to each other with the limited but pleasant confidence of two ladies who’ve only just met. I have arrived at that place where I don’t second guess myself any longer, I operate on pure instinct and I know people are talking to a woman named Joanna and not to someone else.

It’s interesting how that can happen to you over time and when you suddenly focus on it, you wonder why it seemed to be such an impossibility before.

sample bias

In her latest post, Silly Ol You writes about an Anne Lawrence paper correlating the degree of individualism of a transgender person versus their orientation. This measurement is called the Hostdefe Individualism Index (or HII) and some of the studies that Lawrence ignores to build her case seem to contradict her paper’s findings which of course attempts to confirm Blanchard’s work.

To put this in another form, this index is supposed to reflect on the amount of freedom certain cultures give self-expression and hence forms of gender variance which then somehow impact the percentages of non-homosexual (ie. woman-loving) transsexuals.

While Silly Ol You is analyzing fairly complex data here, the take away from her exercise is that there is sample bias going on and that the different studies out there give HII measurements which Blanchardians wouldn’t like. She references two Kay Brown original posts which defend the Lawrence hypothesis.

Why am I not so surprised?

https://sillyolyou.wordp…

Wittgenstein

according to plan

To some extent we are all damaged goods. The sum of our experiences has scarred us in a way that makes us weary and cautious and I know that has happened to me. This is the darker side of being older and having walked through a few mine fields.

The flip side of course is that we have learned to not get burned as easily but we have been left with some cynicism that we would do well to rid ourselves of. The way to walk back from this is to realize that everyone has it less than perfect and our lives were never meant to be clean cut.

Life is naturally messy, and we realize this more as we get older. The promise of a future that we had planned didn’t work out for many of us and perhaps careers or marriages didn’t pan out. But in the wake of that imperfection is where we find our salvation because that removes the pressure from our shoulders. There are often so many variables conspiring to upset our plans working out that we should be more amazed when they do.

It’s perhaps more realistic t…

the bad news for Trump's ban

Oh well, you could have seen this one coming. Popular support among civilians for this president is not too good but for trans people serving in the military? looks fine to me. Now this is progress I would say.

before it's too late

You either believe that you are your brother’s keeper, or you don’t. Unencumbered free market capitalism as a model isn’t working in the United States as proven by the increasing wealth going into smaller and smaller hands effectively leading to slow social decay.

Anyone who still believes in Reagan era trickledown economics hasn’t been paying close attention because one key element has been left out of the discussion: human greed. The presumption was that companies out of the goodness of their hearts would employ American workers and pay them decent wages which has been proven to be false. Instead, they set up financial structures to enrich their investors which resulted in global outsourcing of materials and services. Think of a blue-collar industry that used to exist in the United States and most of them are gone.

It didn't always used to be this way.

Republicans are now well on their way to dismantling their own society by taking away employment and wages from the very same pe…

Iturbi

The first time I heard a recording of the Spanish pianist Jose Iturbi playing Chopin I was fascinated. That clean and powerful style had a rawness to it but could also possess traces of incredible finesse.

Chopin's Inpromptu in A flat major was the second of his pieces I ever learned and I worked at it very hard because of the intricate interplay between the right and left hands. It seemed to take forever at that age but I wasn't going to be defeated. I would run back and forth from the turntable to try and capture that same bravado with almost obsessive fervor. If my father had wanted to motivate me to learn to play he had thrown down just the correct gauntlet with this particular challenge.

After this phase I moved on to my fascination with Keith Emerson, Rick Wakeman and Tony Banks but none of it would have happened without Iturbi...



les joies de l'hiver

Those of you who understand Quebecois French will find this hilarious...


confident

If you do only one thing to help yourself while out in public, I would say it should be to relax. Let go of the fretting about how you might be being perceived and be yourself.

Learning this was so powerful that it changed my life for the better in ways that are hard to describe. You must earnestly not care one whit about public opinion and be ready to thumb your nose at it. I wish I had listened all those years ago when I first read this counsel but I don't think I was ready then because my road to self acceptance was not yet complete.

Passing is all well and good but it is overriden by confidence because unless you are absolutely flawless you won't pass for everyone. What you want instead is that quiet resolve that says you've arrived and are a whole and confident person. You may even pass perfectly right now but then have that lack of confidence conspire against you and have people detect there is something not quite right.

By all means, practice with the make up and th…

the truth hurts

Former CIA director John Brennan strikes with a branding iron hot statement in response to one of the increasingly desperate tweets from the big corrupt orange baby whose world is increasingly crumbling all around him...


denying

I’m having trouble wrapping my head around something.

For us being transgender clearly isn’t a choice and yet the right is painting things as if we belonged exclusively to a social movement. Science isn’t on their side however and they could easily convince themselves of this by observing the variability in everything that is biological. No process in nature is untouched by variations and permutations and it makes no sense that this would be the only one exempt.

I am just using pure logic here. However, conservatives prefer not to think in these terms because it is damaging to their philosophy. If you allow for these possibilities it doesn’t bode well for their insistence that things are fine just the way they are, and we risk upsetting their apple cart of a society.

In a climate where right wing radicalism and science denying are on the rise, we can see how a rise in the visibility of trans people has produced a reactionary backlash to try and stomp out what is seen by some as pure …

change

Based on the way I am feeling these days there is a very strong chance I will work at least part of the time as Joanna once this career is over. In fact, I am almost certain that this will be the case.

The more I have let that idea ruminate in my mind, the more like it and the thought of getting up and getting dressed the way I want to without barriers greatly appeals. I am now beyond the stage of comfort and I cannot think of a single reason not to.

After 30 years in this stuffy and uncreative business it's time for a change and I can almost smell it.


Lewis

“In religion, as in war and everything else, comfort is the one thing you cannot get by looking for it. If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end: if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth -- only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin with and, in the end, despair.” -

- “My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?” -

- “And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history—money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery—the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.” -

- “No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good.” -

- “Even in social life, you will never make a good impression on other people until you sto…

investment

How are you able to gauge the depth to which someone loves you?

This is a very difficult question because many of the external signs we look for are not a sufficient a barometer for this. Most people are able to perform the adequate tasks and say the right things that would lead us to some conclusion but the true indicator of love is measured during true hardship when there is nothing in it for them other than grief.

Unless of course, there is something more.

We can blind ourselves to true love and even reject it. We can also convince ourselves that true love exists based on the fair and sunny times we experience with someone which is no sign of their depth of investment. Convincing ourselves that the intensity of our feeling for someone else is being returned with equal fervor, can be tempting but it may be wrong. However it is part of the risk inherent in the great leap we make to find companionship.

For nothing can be more volatile than human emotion and the delicate strings that …

believe

tags

I am not convinced when someone says they started dressing at age 4 and they simply like to wear women's clothes. That doesn't quite register. If you started that young your aim was to embody or emulate to the best if your ability a female bodied person. You attempted to put away the male and adorned yourself with the female and the clothes are a symbol of that embodiment. Your gestures and movement even adjusted themselves to suit.

The problem here is language and its inability to convey concepts accurately and wholly descriptively. Some people might call this early desire that they continue to practice: crossdressing. Yet someone else might have trouble finding a definition or use an entirely different term. This is why Benjamin found blurry lines between his types and had to fashion wholly unsatisfactory language to label the patients he saw. However, even if labeling might be a gross simplification, we have little choice because we need to convey concepts and ideas.

In the…

Adorno

Ciara Cremin

schooled

Maybe Michael Dell should have boned up on his history first...


pleasantly surprised

The neurologist who I saw for my leg the other day was a little surprised when I told her I wasn't on female hormones; something which which I found to be very flattering. She arched her brow upward, smiled and told me I looked really good. It was the same type of reaction that Helene Cote gave me when she discovered the very same thing.

Prior to seeing her while waiting in the reception area, I was just another woman and no one gave me a second look. But I did tell her receptionist to make sure she called Joanna when it was my turn. She very gladly scratched out my male name to accommodate.

When my turn finally arrived, the doctor simply called out for Madame instead of Monsieur and that was that.


why stay

I am in complete awe of women who can stay married to partners who transition from male to female. I suppose I don't understand viscerally why they stay. My own marriage ended over what was, at that time, sporadic and secretive crossdressing but then that was really just the cover story and we had other issues.

Women who stay with their partners must really have been able to catch a glimpse of the soul they are with and, after a tough period of adjustment, they continue to be in love with that spirit contained in a vessel which has been transformed. It must not be easy because there are far more cases of rejection than acceptance in the lives of the transgender people whose stories I am familiar with. My own life has drastically changed since that divorce of over 10 years ago and I know myself much better. A decision has been made to hold steadfast to an identity that cannot be altered and isn't in need of repair. It is the world that is far more in need of conversion therapy …

Kant

melancholy

There can be sobriety brought on by melancholy which may be useful to us. We will be on our own driving home and some thoughts will strike and reveal the inner workings of darker aspects of our lives. We are suddenly immersed in a funk and reliving a scene like a movie.

These moments come when we are alone and often primed by some external prompt which has just opened a doorway to something we thought was closed. There is no understanding ourselves sometimes and perhaps, if we are fortunate, some insight will come tomorrow after we have languished for a while in a bath of self pity.

No matter how old and experienced we get, there is no avoiding some aspects of our humanity.


Solsbury Hill

Featuring King Crimson's Robert Fripp on guitar...


gendered parenting

Gendered patenting is of course a reality. All parents do it no matter how subtle and they treat children with a combination of the expectation put on them along with perhaps their own unfulfilled aspirations.

Little girls are supposed to be respectful and ladylike and little boys independent, resourceful and masculine. At least, this was the world in which I grew up. My own feminine instincts were completely quashed to the point where I grew to reject and be disdainful of a nature I now completely embrace.

The two artificial silos of aggression versus compassion are not accurate and everyone has a combination of both but each sex had one of those suppressed so they could fit into a rigid structure.

Today we have thankfully reduced our appetite for the type of caustic masculinity and exaggerated femininity which enslaved a significant portion of our societies. By loosening the reins on children's enforced behavior we may hope one day to experience a world where everyone's natu…

at the Neuro

The neurologist called me madame as she waved me into her office. She explained about the benign growth that the ultrasound found in my right leg and its removal which, with any luck, will give me an 80% chance of eliminating my nerve pain.

We also chatted about how complicated our lives can be and that is when she told me that her 7 year old son likes to paint his nails and wear a dress but also likes to play cowboy. My only counsel to her was that she love him exactly as he is and time will tell where life takes him. That open and welcoming environment will avoid much of the hidden angst that many of us lived through growing up.

By the end of the session I could tell she was happy to have seen me and I know I couldn't have been happier to finally see her.


gettin' warmer

The walls are slowly caving in on Trump and with this latest arrest of long time associate Roger Stone on charges of making false statements under oath, you know it is just a matter of time.

Between Rudi Giuliani getting tongue tied and contradicting himself in the middle of the same interview, the Trump tower Russia plans being discovered and now Stone's arrest, I cannot fathom a scenario where Donald dumb-dumb gets away scott free.

You cannot possibly be this monumentally incompetent and transparently crooked and just walk away unscathed. Because if that happens in this horribly partisan environment, the American justice system is almost certainly broken beyond repair.


mortal

Philosophical thought is not as pertinent today because we are a culture in denial of our own mortality. Yes, we speak of mindfulness but we don't contemplate our own deaths and how fragile human existence is.

The philosophers I have been featuring of late all lived in a far more disease susceptible world where whooping cough, polio or pneumonia could end a life in short order. Hence, their urgency in matters of mortality and the possible continuity of the soul contained a pertinence that we do not live with today. Kierkegaard, for example, saw most of his siblings die and he himself only lasted until 42 after succumbing to a spinal infection.

Interestingly, I find comfort in contemplating my own end because it brings the savoring of daily life into greater relevance. The idea that every day is precious becomes more real in that reflection process than when we deny.

This past week, a former employee of my firm was found by his spouse lying in the snow with his eyes wide open after…

gender is fundamentally biological

Expressing gender cannot possibly be just a question of socialization and we have plenty of examples of this. Children are raised by their parents and told to play with certain toys or friends only to see them outright defy their wishes.

Gender is rooted at birth and we can thank the unfortunate story of David Reimer for developing our understanding of this. He became the perfect case study for how social rearing cannot scrub basic biological wiring. No matter how much his parents insisted, David felt like a boy because he was one. Dr. John Money of the John Hopkins Institute got it wrong and you could not socialize a gender identity into a person.

This is how today we can know that transgender people are telling the truth when they speak of a lack of conjunctiveness with their birth sex. Socialization might kick in but they are not able to make sense of the internal feelings versus an expectation to behave in a manner that often runs counter to instinct. Children know what gender the…

beast

Even if I go out every day as Joanna, I know that dysphoria can hit me unannounced at any moment.

I was waiting for my coffee yesterday and a young woman wearing the cutest pair of heels was standing right close to me and it just triggered it. The way she dipped in and out of them wasn't helping either and had me wondering to myself why my own feet were not nestled in those very shoes.

I am now at the point in my life where not going out every single day is difficult to tolerate, and I know this will be a bit of an issue during my trip with my children. I plan to distract myself as much as I can and will simply return to my routine immediately upon returning home.

Gender dysphoria can be a brutal beast and I have experienced horrendous bouts over the course of my life during times when I was in far worse positions to do anything about it. Experiencing it today under my current circumstances pales in comparison to how bad it used to be.


the dreams of my father

It wasn’t until I was much older that I realized what a complex and interesting person my father was. He spoke 4 languages, was a voracious reader of philosophy, science and mathematics and before he died he was working on the notes for a book which would unite religious beliefs with his scientific ones.

We butted heads often as I grew up and his inability to sometimes relate on an emotional level perturbed me and forged a blockage to getting close to him. My mother, who was more grounded in the everyday, became my confidante but it was still my father, whose ideas I weighed and masticated over the years, who had the biggest impact on my ability to think. At one time during his last weeks he asked if I would not consider the priesthood and I bristled at him while stopping shy of being rude. He had entered the seminary himself at an early age only to reject the calling and eventually marry my mother. Perhaps there was some regret there, but I shall never know.

He was an enigma to me an…

if life were kinder

The practice of dating a perfect stranger is only about 100 years old. Before that people were introduced through church functions, their parents or their friends. There had to be a common introduction point and someone had to vouch for you.

Today apps like Tinder allow people to swipe at faces in hopes of a hook up or perhaps the promise of something more. It is hardly a guarantee that anything magical will happen and, with today's unrealistic expectations about finding a soulmate, the concept of "good enough" has been jettisoned in the wake of a pipe dream which only a leisure society can permit itself to entertain. It is interesting for me now at my age watching it from the more distanced perspective of experience and I see people and their attempts to find meaning within themselves while navigating the pitfalls of love. It can sometimes be like two opposing forces which conspire to undo each other because they cannot possibly always align.

Life is lived forwards but …

more evidence

we saw this coming

It just keeps getting worse.

Trump and his cronies have now effectively blocked any new transgender recruits from serving in the US military for reasons that are entirely nebulous since there is nothing physically or mentally wrong with us. This is undoubtedly coming from Mike Pence and his regressive evangelical base who know nothing about this subject other than we don’t meet their twisted standards for normal.

The recent appointment of Brent Kavanaugh to the Supreme court virtually assured that decisions would start going the way of the far right and now we’re witnessing it. Until the lower courts decide on the unconstitutionality of this ban, Trump will feed his base some raw meat to chew on. This and the wall will just be more distractions from the fact that Trump is at once an inept simpleton and a crook, but it will take time to do anything about his crimes; particularly with a Republican senate in power.

For the time being at least, the United States takes another big step bac…

the whole that is you

Rhonda’s latest column made me reflect about what it means to be a “whole” person.

We are the product of so much input beginning in childhood and we often need to fashion a narrative to understand ourselves as well as be able to explain that nature to others. Hence the phrase “born into the wrong body” was for some a way to express how they felt and an elegant description to explain it to people who had no concept of what being transgender meant.

Regardless of how each person feels, there is currently no perfectly conclusive scientific proof that we are born into the wrong physical body and it could perhaps be better expressed as being drawn to a gender identity which does not entirely align with our birth sex. This misalignment could vary from severe to mild and our method of grappling with it would change depending on the individual and their circumstances.

We all want to understand what makes us tick and having a catch phrase that encompasses our nature could be convenient but the…

trip

After a 25-year absence I am going back to my native Madrid this summer and I am bringing my 2 adult children with me. This is going to be a marvelous trip for all of us and I have rented an apartment right in the middle of the city.

They have never been on an airplane much less to Europe and it will be a massive experience for them for this is one of its most cosmopolitan capitals. The cafes, restaurants, markets and tapas bars will be filled with people and I will be sitting alongside my kids having a great cup of coffee or a beer in the 16th century Plaza Mayor and happily people watching.

This is going to be a first taste of Europe for them and a relaxed vacation for me which will include seeing some family I haven’t seen in ages.

I can hardly wait.

The last time I was there, I was driving my parents through France and Spain and a year later my father was dead from a cancer we didn't know he had. Life is short and we should not wait to live it.



Cantaloupe Island

Hancock and Metheny...


Hegel

alienated

The daughter of one of my work colleagues attends a school where gender non-conforming kids are acknowledged. This surprised me when I first heard it but then I realized that it wasn’t such a far-fetched idea. My own biased education was conspiring against the reality that a small but not negligible portion of the population does not identify comfortably as either gender.

What gender we feel we are has little to do with our genitals. We don’t look down at them and suddenly have an epiphany but rather that understanding begins to be germinated in our brains relatively early in life. Evidently, how someone sees themselves must not be entirely independent of biology because most people seem to fit within a role aligned with birth sex. To say that everyone does however, would be erroneous because we now have plenty of evidence to the contrary.

If you really think about it, how exactly would physical plumbing determine a gender identity?

We know that most people do their best to fit in and…

run like hell!

Floyd live without Waters at Earl's Court in 1994...


maverick

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is not going to play the staid and safe Democratic game. After all, she is a progressive and not a centrist.

The right is having fits trying to delegitimize her and are failing spectacularly in the process. Some centrist Dems are also trying to rein her in with little success. But this is no Washington insider they are dealing with because she is her own woman and she has good ideas.

Cortez wants to bring fairness back into politics and be a voice for the common voter who is trying to put bread on their table and keep a roof over their head. By her recently suggesting that the top marginal tax rate return to 70% for incomes over 10 million (which only impacts every dollar over that threshold) she was not exactly being a radical. However, try telling that to a Republican party which increasingly operates on subterfuge and greed.

Indeed, the most frustrating thing about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for the establishment politicians must be that she can't be boug…

Hume

Traps?

Natalie Wynn (Contrapoints) deals with an interesting question here: is an attraction to a transwoman an indication that one is gay?

Many men discover only after their initial attraction that they are dealing with a transwoman and their reaction can vary greatly depending on the individual. Their level of education, security and self-knowledge can play a significant role in how they react to this discovery and what it means for their sexuality.

This is known as a trap situation because the transwoman will not necessarily initially be forthcoming or because this attraction is formed at a distance without her knowledge....


advocacy

Being trans is a lifelong journey with even those of us who transition young, often dealing with doubts about passing well enough or perhaps about a partner who doesn't know discovering the truth. There is no perfect scenario because life itself isn't perfect.

I have decided that in my own life it is more important to be myself and to be open to being an advocate for other trans people. Hence, going forward, I will avoid false narratives about my history. Those who currently don't know I am trans among my close acquaintances eventually will.

If we don't come out of hiding there are less chances our voices will be heard and I want to be one of those who is counted. I don't think this is something everyone should do however, because there are those of you so deep in stealth for so long that coming out could risk ruining existing lives you have built. You are in the reverse scenario to those still deep in the closet who have not yet addressed their true identities.

Th…

Descartes

corrupt

The unique evil of Mitch McConnell is explained by Lawrence Lessig on Joe Rogan's program...


Why do the wrong people travel

Some wit and humor from Noel Coward...



performance

To a great extent gender is about performance; at least the externalized parts of it.

Those of us who were brought up male but in some form felt female knew what we had to do to survive and we made certain not to leave any traces of ambiguity. I was so good in fact, that when I came out no one had suspected a thing.

Performance is about meeting expectation and fitting in. It is about being in a group of people of your birth sex and saying the right things and behaving in such a way that you are welcomed among them. Unfortunately it is not about the internal reality and putting your true face forward.

Everyone in society is to some degree an actor and we hone those skills through an adolescence which will allow us to move forward in a prefabricated and disingenuous world. It is when we let down that guard that everything falls into place. We may not be able to do it in every instance, but it feels so good when we are able to.

Some of you have been able to fully get there and, for that,…

cultural dysphoria

Texan Love Song

As relevant today as it was then...


the leap of faith

I've always needed to understand the why behind something.

I remember my father telling me I had to go to church every Sunday and questioning that as I grew older. While the sister after me was able to enter into a religious order, I needed to be convinced as to why I should believe in the possibility of a higher power.

If something is a mystery I need to wrap my brain around it and comprehend it. Going by feel was never good enough.

However, at a certain point there is a leap of faith which must be taken because we have run out of road. The philosopher Soren Kierkegaard's own search for the divine ended in this ultimate conclusion when he realized that the human mind is limited in its scope of attempting to find the origins of God. It must be the same for us transgender people in solving our own development. At a certain point we must surrender to going by instinctive feeling.

To a great degree this is what I have done and found peace in doing so. The fascination continues b…

The burden of romanticism

In a world where perfection is an impossibility, we should consider ourselves very fortunate indeed for being able to find the "good enough"...


Uberconfidence

This past Wednesday was a massive confidence booster and one the best things I've ever done. I was able to interact in a business environment as a woman in both close quarters and at a distance and blend in. Well, as much as someone of my height can.

You could even say I am uberconfident.

I did note how I had to carry myself a little differently, watch how I spoke and what I said. I have been observing other women since I was very young and know what to do instinctively by now.

Interestingly, my resolve not to medically transition has increased with this growing confidence. It is as if my brain is telling me I don't need it to be myself. Doing what I did this week was mandatory and so incredibly helpful to me that it cannot adequately be put into words.

So instead, I will let the image below convey it.


the end of an era

The band called Timony Naughts broke up in 1998 and "Now or Never" was the last song we ever composed and recorded together. It was me on keys, my ex-brother in-law Danny on guitars, my friend Dan on bass and his friend Will on drums.

Here Dan and Danny are sharing the vocal duties as well...


Dollemore gets it right

Leave it to Ubermen Pierce Morgan, James Woods and Jordan Peterson to complain about a Gillette ad extoling that men become more sensitive towards the bullying of other males as well as the sexual harassment and demeaning of women.

Well, here is ex-Marine Jesse Dollemore setting these right-leaning knuckleheads straight with a good ol' fashioned serving of decency and common sense...


Roma

Live-in maid Cleo does her best to tend to an upper-class family living in the Mexico City neighborhood of Roma. Set in the 1970’s, this film focuses on her deceptively simple life.

Director Alfonso Cuaron films his vision in a beautiful black and white which gives this artistic little feast a slightly melancholic feel. Things begin slowly with the novice actress playing Cleo giving an earnest and realistic performance which sets the scene for what transpires as the story develops.

This is Cuaron's ode to the women of his childhood and it is as understated as it is poignant.

See it on Netflix before it disappears.

Kierkegaard

Miserere Mei

Headphones are a must here...


it went more than fine

Today was an interesting day. I knew I was going to spend the entire day as Joanna and go to three appointments: my car dealer for a small repair at 8 am, a scan at the hospital at 10 am, and finally at 3 30 pm to attend the presentation and cocktail which followed. This would be the most socially active day I have ever had as a woman in my entire life.

At the brief car appointment (for a broken VW front hood medallion) Vanda and Alexandra spoke to me for a bit while I waited. After a number of years as a client, they know me fairly well and the conversation flowed as it always does with them. In no time at all, I was on my way. For the record, I have only ever been there as Joanna so no surprises.

Next was the Montreal General Hospital appointment for my leg which I felt would be silly to go back home and change for. Yes, my medicare card says male and what of it? It is after all the 21st century so I presumed the staff would have gotten with the program. If not, some baby boomer wou…

no turning back the clock

Teresa May's Brexit plan was soundly defeated in the British parliament and so it's back to square one.

Half the country thinks leaving the EU is a mistake and the other half thinks that Britain can go it alone in a bid to regain some measure of autonomy in a world where it is increasingly difficult to do so. Those who pine for things as they were: i.e. a more homogeneous (read white) and traditional former empire don't seem to realize that this is not possible. The entire world is becoming a more mixed global village where borders are also becoming increasingly harder to define.

To be sure, there are still vast cultural differences in many parts of the world but western Europe has seen so much emigration from the African continent, India and the middle east in particular that you cannot reverse that reality. The face of these nations is going to be irreverisably changed.

America faces that same reality where Hispanic, Asian and middle east cultures are converting the land…

our true inclinations

For those of you who, for some bizarre reason, have never visited Jack Molay's excellent Crossdreamers website, here is a great time to start.

The latest article deals with the dreams and sexual fantasies of non-transgender people and helps show us even more how much of a complex mosaic humankind is.....

http://www.crossdreamers.com/2019/01/more-than-one-third-of-non-transgender.html?m=1


sexual thoughts

Sexual thoughts can confuse you for a time. They may even make you think that you are a deviant.

It took me a long time to understand that my identity was not solely defined by these feelings and they were simply part of the experience of being trans. I needed to dig deep down to realize that even as the libido went down, the gender identity only grew in significance and not the other way around. Remember that you cannot be separated from your sexuality because it is an intrinsic aspect of who you are.

Having a male body and either a full or partial female identity only serves up a cocktail of confusion which can lead you to erroneous conclusions; it can even make you question your sanity. But as I discovered, the more I became accepting of my identity, the more relaxed and at ease with myself I became. This signaled to me that I was on the right track.

Today there is at least a basic understanding of what makes me tick even if that does not include a perfect roadmap to my creation as…

sound and fury

I’ve been reflecting recently on some of the ideas of the great philosophers like Spinoza, Pascal and Sartre and have been featuring those short vignette videos on their thinking. Life is very confusing and religion can provide some of us with a cushion to quell our fears and give us that guarantee that St Peter will be waiting for us at the pearly gates when it’s our turn to cross over.

In truth we don’t know anything about what is going to happen to the energy that makes us who we are, and the only thing I have succeeded in doing is using logic to convince myself that there is massive intelligence behind creation. There is also a great will on the part of humankind to instill peace and harmony to our existence which seems always on the brink of some form of collapse before stepping away from the precipice.

Hence, the simplistic religious belief of my childhood has morphed into a kind of spirituality that blends my scientific education with observations on human behavior which can in…

Nothin' like a wall. .

There's also nothin' like Randy Rainbow...


for the presentation

Here is pretty much what I am going to wear for this week's presentation. I have decided to go with my chunky heeled pumps instead because they are in style and because they are really comfy.



enthusiasm

Enthusiasm does wane somewhat with age but there is a bonus: The worry and stress over trivial things also diminishes.

The key as we get older is to maintain a level of excitement for new life experiences while avoiding becoming jaded. This is difficult to do and I can see myself potentially falling into this trap. After all, we have seen quite a bit by the time we are in our fifties.

My challenge will be to rejuvenate my attitude with a change of career and life focus. Let’s see how well I can do this.

Turn to Stone

Oh how ELO loved the old Hohner Clavinet. I remember trying them out at Steve's music store when I was about 15; before I bought my first synthesizer some years later.

Love the cacophony here in the "A Day in the Life" type orchestral ending...


Spinoza

clothes do not make the woman

Giving myself permission to be girly took me a long time but it shouldn't have because it's fun to be a girl.

Enjoying putting on a dress and heels and doing my makeup isn't something to be apologetic about and something my friend Sherry has been trying to drill into my head for a long time. I enjoy being a girl; there I said. I'm also darned good at it because it has always felt perfectly natural. The more I have relaxed into that reality the more women see just another woman next to them. That is a sacrilegious and shameful thing to say for a non-trans person but I just happen to be trans.

I am never misgendered; not on the phone and not in person because I know I am a girl. That confidence is primordial to your ability to blend in. That, and more than a bit of practice.

Being a woman isn't about exaggerated femininity. It is about style and grace and carrying yourself as a feminine entity. You can be wearing a white T-shirt and jeans and still very much convey …

never too late

After its first year this little blog was averaging 4,000 page views per month and today it flirts with just under 20,000. I want to thank the readers who come here, hopefully find some solace in my words and sometimes even give me their feedback which only encourages me more.

Much has changed since that first post in July of 2012. Back then I was 49 years old and confused about what being trans meant for me. I didn't know how to make room for my own nature and how to fit it comfortably into my daily existence after having tried to reject it for so long.

It turns out that we can more than thrive as transgender people and we can even be happy about our difference. The world has changed dramatically since I began writing and it is changing still. The people who would see us go back into the shadows are losing their fight to the forces of kindness and understanding that light the way for the majority of humanity.

You can find your internal strength and be a vocal advocate because the…

a parent's choice

Please watch this because it is powerful...


Vice

"Vice" is about the machiavellian Dick Cheney. It covers his history from Wyoming power company linesman to his tenure as the vice president of the United States who held the most power in that nation's history.

I saw it this afternoon with an old friend and enjoyed it although it can be taxing because of its expansive reach in trying to cover so much ground in just over two hours. Christian Bale does a stupendous job here incarnating the man who caused so much chaos over his time in office and that alone may be the price of admission.

We are all fragile creatures at heart and perhaps Mr. Cheney, with his brooding and mysterious air, kept his cards closer to his vest better than most. Politics is shown here in all its messiness and backroom maneuvering and the verdict is clearly that this man was guilty of offenses which impacted the lives of countless people. A country was invaded which was not the main culprit in the 9/11 attacks. We all know this well in retrospect.

H…

A Quiet Place

The aliens are blind but they can hear you.

A Quiet Place is a dystopic science fiction thriller with a lot of style. It follows the life of one family as it tries to survive without making a sound.

Watch it and enjoy the heart stopping moments with incredible cinematic style to boot.

Highly recommended and on Netflix. One of the best of this genre I have seen.



the wrong side of history

The right will always be on the wrong side of history.

When it comes to progress for transgender people, things continue to improve as the newer generations embrace tolerance and inclusivity. The more this happens the more we will see a much truer portrait of humanity and its diversity. There is no place in this world for fearmongering or prejudice but that will never stop certain groups from trying to uphold the view that to protect some factions of society we must deny others their rights. This is both dangerous and backward thinking.

I have analyzed the way the right works and thinks; by fearmongering through propaganda meant to reach the lower common denominator voter, they count on misinformation being the thing which keeps these people in the dark. The Republican party of today, for example, is the most sinister in its history and yet is not the only political force in the world which teaches that injustice serves the public interest.

Ultimately, change comes through some level…

the consistency of tapioca

next Wednesday

Next Wednesday should be an interesting day.

I have a short car appointment, a scan at the hospital for a right leg which has some nerve damage and finally a late afternoon presentation for potential investors that Patricia is doing followed by a cocktail.

The entire day will be spent as Joanna.

It could be seen as the bravest I have ever done except it no longer feels that way since I already know it will go well; I have tested those waters countless times now. Even my first appointment for my nerve pain with the neurologist which ultimately exposed my painted toe nails, was ho-hum as I cautioned her jokingly in advance that she would see I was transgender. For her it was nothing she hadn’t seen or heard before.

The hospital staff next week at the scan will be equally unfazed.

My life has fallen into a normal pattern which works for me and no one else which is the beauty in it. There is no yardstick to measure it against and that is what makes it magical.

Yesterday I bought a dark …

the element of surprise

I already know the answer to this question but how many of you have lived lives which to date aligned with expectation? It should be a small minority.

Most of us have been surprised with both pleasant and unpleasant events which have served as milestones for the next segment of our journeys. We have seen deaths, divorces, job losses but also financial windfalls, wonderful friendships made from unexpected incidents and children born who were perhaps not planned but gave us a sense of purpose.

Those events were instrumental in giving us pause or signaled a new entry point into a side road we had never considered taking. Life would have been boring without them because even those lumps we took have helped forge our characters and steel our resolve to grow as humans.

It is a shame that most of the revelation of the value of surprise is discovered later in life rather than at the outset; at least this was the case for me. I have for some time now reflected on the significance of the unplan…

Pascal

Mahershala wins!

A well deserved win for a wonderful performance. Now you have to see Green Book...


jury duty

As I write this I am waiting with my daughter to see if she becomes a juror in a second degree murder trial. She is only 20 years old but in Quebec you just need to be 18 and over and on the voters list. I wanted to accompany her to see how this process works.

She is currently taking online courses with DreamWorks animators to continue her progression as a digital animator. Maybe that will be enough to get her exempt; we'll see.

Regardless, it's going to be a long day.


ploy

Trump has painted himself into a corner.

With a Democrat controlled House and no popular support for a wall that is more monument to ego than effective tool for curbing illegal immigration, things promise to get uglier before they get better.

Ironically, TSA agents responsible for helping to surveil the most dangerous points for illegal entry are not showing up for work because they aren’t getting paid. Some citizens are not getting their food stamps, garbage isn’t being collected in national parks and there are other much larger offenses taking place while the government is in shutdown.

When you have the temperament of a man-child you aren’t likely to listen to reason and Trump’s ego is bigger than his concern for people who can’t pay their mortgages. "Turtle boy" Mitch McConnell isn’t about to advance matters either despite promising to sign a Republican bill to leave the government open. The GOP tied its fortunes and abandoned its dignity when it accepted Trump as a lead…

chasm

What my friends are telling me is correct and I know it. I have been left with incredible sourness towards relationships because I poured so much energy into my two major ones. Still, by telling me I should stop regaling in negativity they're probably right.

The fear of getting hurt again plus having to squeeze myself into a box to fit into someone else's idea of who I should be is what brings me to the resignation that we are probably best left to our own devices if we want to achieve a balance. Most of us have trouble in the area of romance and the added complexity we bring to the table only forces you into a tightrope scenario where a move too far in either direction sees you fall into a chasm. Hence, I cannot offer you any words of wisdom here because I cannot even help myself. I seem to have come to a place of resolution where things only work if I am alone.

These well-meaning people offering me their input don't know what it is like to be us and how much more layered…

le plateau

Le plateau Mont Royal is one of my favorite sectors of Montreal. Birth place to Leonard Cohen and Mordechai Richler, it boasts plenty of clothing boutiques, book shops, cafes and restaurants. If you are looking for a place to browse or meet friends on a terrace, this is the place to be in the summer.

Here is a photo taken in the winter during one of my recent walks.







whole

The more dressing becomes routine the more its luster is reduced which I very much like. You focus more on how you feel instead of what you wear. Yes, you like to be presentable but you also just want to blend in to experience the world as yourself. That person I present as isn't a caricature of a woman but instead as much a fleshed out version as possible; the image of who I would be had I been born as one.

At 56 years of age, I am more than okay with living between the genders and have made my peace with it. It is also something I might have wanted to discover earlier on in my life. Joanna gets around the world every day for a while but she is not put back entirely into her box because she lives within me always. To borrow a reference from Jung, the animus have been completely fused into one being who is entirely and completely whole.

Our personhood is certainly more than about gender and its presentation but it is also an aspect which cannot easily be ignored. That impetus to t…