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
It's important to be comfortable when we walk so today I wore my most comfortable flats (pictured below on the subway platform). Yes, they are nothing fancy to look at but I can walk 2000 miles in them. I bought them at Payless years ago and they are virtually indestructible. Comfortable feet are a priority for this girl when I know I'm going to be walking a lot and my next step up fashion wise but a move down in comfort are my chunky black patent pumps which I just love. I am probably going to pick up another pair of flats one of these days because it's been ages since I bought a pair.
My neighborhood, which is one of the oldest in Montreal, is still undergoing gentrification. I have been there 8 years now and I love it. When I was growing up in another part of the city this area was considered a tough working class neighborhood but its changed dramatically and because of its proximity to downtown Montreal it has received lots of attention from working professionals. These pics were taken last night during my walk...
On July 3rd at 9 15 AM I go back to see the endocrinologist Dr Morris but I already know what I am going to say to him. It turns out that physical transition is not for me and after countless hours of reflection that is now firm. It appears that I am just trans enough to reside on the periphery of transition but I do not see it as a matter of life and death and what I crave is liberty of expression which I now have. Hence in that sense my journey is complete. How I decide to balance my life going forward remains to be seen and perhaps social transition is not off the table but that is minor compared to my struggle to get where I am. Dr Morris helped me to finalize my thoughts because he has so many patients all over the spectrum. Even as he called me a woman he asked me why I needed estrogen and I could not answer because the truth is that I do not feel that strong an impetus. I used to think that my position on the spectrum was unenviable because I wasn't male enough to be s
Yes, it is possible for all of us to make a wholesale change in perspective. When I first started to come out to my family, the sister after me began to make noises about my condition being “curable” if I really put my mind to it. Contrast that where today she has come around to such an extent, that she completely understands that being trans isn’t a choice. To put this conversion into context, my sister is a person who is still very much embedded in a deeply orthodox Catholic organization and yet she was able to educate herself to the point where yesterday over our yearly lunch she asked me to forgive her for having doubted me. "We all need to be who we are" she said which meant a lot coming from her. While we may not see eye to eye on many aspects of religion, we have closed the gap on an issue that was very important to me. My family should above all appreciate that it is this is not about making themselves feel comfortable but about giving us the benefit of the do
That idiot Trump is trying to play tough guy with China in a likely effort to deflect focus from his increasing problems at home. The problem is that China has the resources to strike back and will if provoked. History has already shown that severe trade tariffs don't work and here, as in every case, it will be the consumer who pays the increased costs. This means electronics will cost the average American more money to purchase. Someone may want to explain that to dummkopf who has also been wreaking havoc on American farmers and made sure their products weren't marketable when the Chinese retaliated with their own tariffs. It's fair to say that Trump isn't an economist and would never qualify as one even if he tried. World economics is a very touchy subject even for the most experienced in the profession so now imagine using the knee-jerk bravado of a tempestuous 6th grader to decide the trade policy for an entire nation. While these sorts of antics may play well f
Mueller did not exonerate Trump and made it clear here in this speech that it was outside of his mandate given to him to indict a sitting President. He would instead leave that up to Congress. Note how he clearly says that if he would have found conclusive evidence that Trump had not committed a crime he would have concluded so in his report but of course he could not because Trump did. You cannot be any clearer and yet Trump apologists are still claiming that this represents an exoneration which it is not...
Patricia calls me her big sister and I don't take that kind of designation lightly. She has sought my advice on a variety of issues and we get along so well that it makes me proud. Our outings together are enjoyable and we relate to each so well that the time just flies. I had not anticipated having a business colleague turn into such a close friend but I don't think it will affect our professional overlap. I am not so invested on the business side of things to let that get in the way of a solid relationship. Patricia has helped increase my confidence as a woman tremendously and her telling me that she sees a person and not a gender speaks volumes about the kind of person she is.
This story is from CNN: The term the World Health Organization uses to describe transgender people -- "gender incongruence" -- is being moved to the panel's sexual health chapter from its mental disorders chapter, the WHO's legislative body has voted. The new classification is expected to improve social acceptance among transgender people while still making important health resources available, the United Nations health agency said last year in announcing the intended change. The new standard of classification appears in the 11th revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-11), which was adopted Saturday by the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland. It will go into effect on January 1, 2022. The WHO uses gender incongruence to describe people whose gender identity is different from the gender they were assigned at birth. The phrase was taken out from the mental health disorders because we had a b
This type of scenario has played itself out many times for me. I went out to eat something light last night because I didn't feel like cooking and told the waitress so. After the meal was over she asked if I wanted something else to which I responded "No but yes" She smiled in recognition. When she came back with credit card machine I told her that as we get older the weight is harder to keep off. It must be said that she was very trim and in her twenties. "Oh I know, my mom says the same thing and we like our sweets" "Yes we do" I said.
The Trump economy is a false one because it only works for less than half the country but you already knew that. A market economy is great when you are an investor but not so great when you can barely pay for basic necessities...
How well do you know another person and how does your method of interaction impede a deeper connection? We human beings are so unique that what works perfectly well for one individual may not for someone else. While some of us are happy operating at a surface level, others might crave to make more soulful bonds where we can be ourselves and say what is truly on our minds. That level is set by the person with the least amount of comfort with vulnerability and it typically stays there unless they experience change. I have witnessed couples where interaction is so mundane and yet it works for them which is what counts. It is therefore the gap in the desired level of connection that becomes the metric for health. Profundity isn't what is always sought but instead compatibility which is the best foundation to build on. A connection that doesn't have that can burn out once the pheromones have expired and reality settles in. There is also the unfortunate reality that love is oft
I'm currently watching season six of the show Homeland on Netflix. It's riveting drama based on geopolitical espionage and if you haven't started watching this great show I strongly urge you to do so. I promise you won't regret it.
Nerves are never helpful. They don't help when you when giving a speech and they don't help when are trying to pass in public. Easy to say and hard to do I know. Quite a while back I made a decision that I wasn't going to give away my peace of mind to someone else. I wouldn't give anyone the satisfaction of rattling me and guess what happened? I blend in better than ever. Passing isn't being taken for a genetic woman every single time. It is instead being perceived as a secure and dignified person who is dressing and behaving as they like. That is what passing is. Many older transgender women don't pass and ironically some people who crossdress do so very well. It is about dignity and grace above all else. But no matter the quality of presentation, all can be undone with nerves which is why we should avoid them. Never give away your peace of mind to anyone because they haven't earned it.
There is a period in life when become convinced of what we think we want but then we are still young and haven't yet the experience to comprehend ourselves. The desire seems genuine and perhaps spurred on by what others possess, so we make our choice and live with consequences which may not reflect who we really are. In life we should be so lucky to recognize what we need and forget what we want which may be steeped in fantasy or perhaps in our understood obligation of what society demands of us. Instead, we would be best off to wait until the light goes off in our heads and inspiration guides our action but this is not how life works. Instead we move forward; our paths unfurled before us only as we take them and all we can do is look back.
I receive many wonderful emails from time to time and her is just one recent example which I found extremely gratifying: “Please Joanna, keep posting. Your pieces are always interesting and to the point. I am someone who only realized I was trans at the age of 70 which was just under three years ago. For me the lipstick, etc. is important but being comfortable in my own skin is far more important. I soon came to the conclusion, as I believe you have stated, that it is an internal journey. I have noticed with some gratitude that the quality of my friendships and social interactions have improved immensely. I appreciate your blog enormously and I would like to thank you for it and all the work you must put into it. Best wishes Melissa” You are so very welcome Melissa and thank you. Just keep being yourself and you will never be happier.
Youtube's algorithm is made to keep you watching. This means that the feed will offer you content that agrees with your views but after a while that doesn't work as well so eventually the videos will become increasingly controversial. Content made by white supremacists, 9/11 deniers or flat earth advocates will make it's way into your feed because these videos get a tremendous amount of traffic and YouTube will hedge its bets that you will tune into some of these as well. The social media world creates little enclaves where our own beliefs can be reinforced but also you can be motivated by those of others, no matter how far fetched, and hence they are propagated for your amusement or possible discipleship. Discernment then becomes the name of the game. Yes, there is plenty of fodder for the susceptible and, with this wild west mentality of content that runs the gamut from credible to ludicrous, the possibility to catch new converts is always possible.
Later today I am invited to Patricia's for dinner. Her partner is making roast chicken and I am going to bring a bottle of white wine. I plan to wear a sleeveless patterned summer dress topped with a light cardigan to cover my arms. To that I will add some low heel pumps that have a bow on the vamp and also wear some dangly earrings. This is my new normal and socializing as a woman has exceeded my expectations thus far and I just seem to fit in as if I had been born as one. There are never any strange reactions or double takes because I am so completely relaxed and happy. Women of all ages give me smiles of recognition like I am part of the club and everything just flows. Before I went into the service this morning I met one of the sachristans who is a young woman of not more than 35 and we talk about the weather and a bit about her family's new backyard pool. Everything just flows.
I want you to do what I didn’t do for the longest time; look past your cross-gender arousal. Because if you get stuck there, like I did, you won’t be able to analyze your feelings and understand who you really are. For the longest time I thought my experiencing it meant that I wasn’t transgender which isn’t true. In fact, it turns out that I am in very good company. Ray Blanchard used the existence of this arousal as the foundation of his theorizing which itself was based on Kurt Freund’s work in measuring sexual stimulation in pedophiles and homosexuals being screened prior to entering the Czech army. The end result of all this work was, by the late 1980's, essentially an attempt to stigmatize transsexuals by accusing them of either being perverts or, in the case of androphilics, gay men who wanted sex with straight men so badly they tried to become women. Instead of trying to comprehend the origins of the cross-gender identification, Blanchard used the existence of the arousa
Even the sound of Trump's voice causes me pain. My face contorts into agony in response to the garbled ramblings of an idiot who cannot even express himself in the English language. Should there be a prerequisite that the leader of a nation be more intelligent and articulate than the average person? I would argue that it is more than mandatory. If people were looking for proof of what happens when you vote in a troglodyte as president look no further than the last 2 years. The US constitution is being trampled on and laws are being broken on a daily basis in large part thanks to subservient and spineless GOP. There is a would be dictator with a well under 100 IQ running the most powerful nation on the planet with the temperament of a troubled adolescent. The knee jerk reactions are those of a school boy and not a full grown adult and there is pathology there that clearly stems from a privileged yet intellectually lazy upbringing. This man makes George W Bush look like a Rhodes sc
Clothing is a vehicle to express gender and not an end in itself. After an initial period of sartorial experimentation we settle into ourselves and many of us who lean towards the transsexual end of the spectrum, drop an overly keen interest in them in the same way that many cis women do. Of course there are always those interested in fashion but they are a fraction of the trans community. After a while, clothing loses much of its allure to the greater importance of expressing gender the way we want to. It becomes less about the outfit and more about the fact that it aligns with an identification we have espoused and in that sense a cocktail dress does much the same thing as more casual attire. Yes we want to be well put together, but we don't fuss so much about details when we need to go to the pharmacy or grocery store. This is why my wardrobe is smaller than it's ever been. It just makes it far easier to just get out the door. Make no mistake in that it may be reduced,
Why is the issue of transgender identity for some correlated with morality? I have asked myself this question many times. When I had not yet accepted myself, I did make this association because my ideas on gender were not based on reality but more on the mores of the church I belonged to. The idea that an identity could not be trifled with and sexuality which diverged from the norm was a choice formed part of my accepted dogma. This type of thinking didn’t last very long, and I began to question the concept of choice and how first homosexuality and then transgender identities fit into the map of human reality. Christian churches are all based on rigid dictates which are centered around the family structure. Rightly or wrongly this focus made anomalies of human nature character flaws to be corrected rather than normal statistical divergences from a majority baseline. In the distant past for example, a leper would have been accused of being unclean and deserved their fate rather than
I have a confession to make: I like the level of traffic I get. It keeps me happy to have just enough readership which reflects the portion of you who are interested in ideas whether they be on trans issues, religion, politics or philosophy. If I wanted more traffic I might think to write a fashion blog or give you a play-by-play of every day of my life but then I wouldn't want to write any longer because that doesn't really interest me very much; plus plenty of others do it so much better than me. This blog gets half decent traffic which varies between 15,000 to 20,000 pageviews per month. That is reflective of a percentage of you who don't just want me to talk about trans issues or gender theory every time (although I have posted plenty on that). Today I post more often than I used to specifically because I want to touch on so many more subjects and since ideas pop into my head throughout the day I sometimes enter them here. I will also sometimes post music videos or th
I am slowly discovering that I have always been female inside and was probably meant to be born as one. No doubt things would have fit better and the struggle to make sense of my world greatly diminished. I know this now after many years of uphill struggle and reflection which has landed me on a stable plateau where I now sit making up for lost time. Everything fits and flows better when I present female and there is fluidity that isn't there otherwise. There is also a warmth and comfort and no need to force behaviour so I am not discovered. Nevertheless I am not discouraged or sad because everyone has a different road and mine was to become myself a little later in life. It is never too late to do that. It takes time to dispel dogma you have swallowed whole but I am now at the most peaceful place in my life.
What does it mean to be with someone? I have thought a lot about this over the last few years. We cannot see inside the mind of another person and their motivation cannot be deciphered with any certainty. Is their connection to you tinged with fear of being alone? Do they have unresolved parental issues? Is the economics part of the equation keeping the relationship viable? We cannot understand the psychological elements that drive another person and our interplay is affected by a unique formula that we setup at the outset which can be very hard to further refine. If we sense trepidation of going too deep into their psyche, the pushback can cement us into an uneasy experience which stunts the development of a deeper connection. As a result, our relationship stays at a level of the mundane and daily experience which avoids the spiritual bond we as humans secretly crave. In my estimation maybe 25% of relationships attain deep levels of connection with the rest hobbling along at var
There is a spectrum between gender expression and identity. For example, someone who crossdresses but otherwise identifies entirely as male is at the expression end whereas a transgender woman who has fully medically transitioned is at the identity end. In between there are a host of variants including full social transition and living part time (which is where I currently reside). Ostensibly these variants can be said to mirror the Harry Benjamin scale. We may have created an umbrella term for transgender, but clearly it is far more investing to reside on the identity side of things. Once we have crossed into a world where there is no going back, and we publicly made a choice to officially change gender we are exposed to needing to drastically increase our sense of safety. In particular, transgender women of colour face an incredibly high level of violence which superimposes racial bias with transphobia in a virulent cocktail. To live openly in such a way requires a level of coura
Louise is only 10 years older than me but she still calls me "fille". She works at the pharmacy cosmetics counter and her eyes light up when I come in. I am equally happy to see her. She tells me that its hard to be a woman and we talk about our experiences with divorce except that 25 years ago at age 40 she found the love of her life and she is still with him. I couldn't be happier because Louise could light up a room with her ebullience alone. We converse in French until the next customer comes in seeking her very keen and personalized service. The young woman of not more than 40 listens to both of us as we pass on little tips. She is clearly not a big cosmetics user; even less so than me. I look forward to the next time I see Louise and she gives me a huge smile and a wave as I leave. "Au revoir fille"
The secret to life is finding center; that's basically it. It includes being oblivious to unhelpful opinion and ridding yourself of self conciousness which retards our progression and serves as a way to stifle original thought through fear of ridicule. People who don't know you have no business weighing in so don't give away that energy to them. This is energy that you need. Conformity is a slow death for the soul. Find that center and work on it. Develop your mind and strength of character and the rest in life will come on it's own. Be good to others and it shall be returned to you many times over. It will never be forgotten. Relax and don't stress. Do your best to work problems out but if you cannot, accept the result with grace and dignity. Perhaps things were for the best and better outcomes are ahead because of this failure. Do not compare yourself to others and above all things be yourself. I am still working on all of these by the way, and will be
"Has Jean Paul Sartre deserted you Do you still listen to the blues Is there a needle beside your hand A poisoned chalice or the promised land Some doors open some doors close Do opposites still seem close Did Ruby Tuesday get to you Or the caretaker whose film we used A purple rose that was ignored The child behind Jane Austen's door Oh has your life seemed unkind With all those friends you left behind We burned our bridges fast those days Don't think about them it doesn't pay My drunken guitar Sloane Square tube Falling backwards me and you Tumbling over to the floor You cried inside Jane Austen's door So long... Let it die let it go On doit nous vivre dans une cage Un homme et femme peut etre mon age I'll take your part when this wheel turns how many lifetimes it takes to learn So goodbye goodbye little star forgive yourself heal that scar a purple rose that was ignored the light inside Jane Austen's door Shine on...&quo
I will admit that I do love the comfort of sitting in a skirt, feeling the dangle of my earrings or the clicking of my heels on the pavement. There is something so uniquely feminine about this and since I have taken full ownership of my mine, I regale in it. It's interesting how that femininity matures over time. It is no longer like the teen girl experimenting but rather a more developed sense of self which avoids caricature at all costs. It takes time to develop this because our male indoctrination runs so completely counter and hence a clumsy stage must inevitably be passed through which genetic females experience much sooner. That is of course unless you have transitioned very young. Today I have developed the life of a mature woman in her fifties who is comfortable with herself and knows who she is. She is also not a cartoon character. This brings me great satisfaction.
Patricia has scored big at the thrift store. She found a virtually brand new trenchcoat and pumps which combined in value would cost close to $800 and she only paid $25. It was two rare finds you only succeed at after many visits but both of us having eagle eyes helped. She only found out after getting home how much her stash was worth and texted me excitedly. While we were there I met a young Mexican woman trying on shoes and we instantly hit it off. I also overlapped with a lady close to my mother's age who was very friendly and talkative and unfortunately had a heart condition that she ended up telling me about. She had sat down next to me while Patricia had been trying on shoes because she was out of breath. At one point while searching the racks a woman smiled at me and said in French "You are certainly a big girl" I smiled back and told her it wasn't always my favorite thing to be and she responded that it is nice to be tall. "There are more you
There is little question in my mind that I am pushing the transition envelope. It is a trial and error method which puts one toe in the water and sees how it feels. It is then attempted again or abandoned except I have yet to go backwards. This method is tested and true and will ensure I make no mistakes regarding what is truly right for me. Besides, right now I have no interest in any physical modifications but more in the experimentation of social transformation which could see me permanently abandon needing to ever present as a male again. There are no firm answers yet but I very much like where I am right now and there is a warm confidence which is guiding my reflection. Suffice it to say that if you go back to the beginnings of this blog, you will no longer recognize me as the same person.
If you read the Blanchard interview I posted, you will note what happens when an uninformed but motivated conservative seeks to use some unproven pseudoscience to drive home an agenda. In this case it is to dispel what they call "transgender orthodoxy" except that there is no such thing. Trans people simply want respect and to be left alone to lead their lives which they aren't often allowed to do in a world where some see them as abominations. Thankfully at the ground floor of the everyday experience most people aren't motivated by agenda like both the National Review and Blanchard are. My experience is that if you are a decent and dignified trans person, most people will give you the benefit of the doubt. This we can be thankful for. Certainly not everyone will read such an article save for the dogmatic conservative already primed for the message. However even they may be forced to rethink things when encountering a trans person they might be tempted to like and
Our dear friend Ray Blanchard gets interviewed by the conservative National Review and tries to discreetly dispel the idea that trans people don't have a disorder. He's probably very unhappy that the language in the DSM was softened but then as a relic of a bygone era that would be the case. If it were up to Blanchard we'd still be using proper scientific terms like "sissy", "pervert" and "disorder" mostly owing to the fact that he's an all around good egg and scientist (and I use the term loosely here). While we're at it let's go back to using "normal" and "abnormal" to describe human behaviour. Good thing for all of us Blanchard's become irrelevant except in conservative and TERF circles where all kinds of support is needed to smear trans people. Enjoy... https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/05/ray-blanchard-transgender-orthodoxy/
Joe Biden has been deemed by the establishment as being highly electable except that there is a small problem: he is bereft of policies. It is that centrist Democrat stance which will slow but not halt America's decline by keeping the country firmly to the right of center and continue to allow the working poor to fall even further into desperation. You cannot have a country without a healthy populace. The policies being promoted by so-called unelectable progressives like Bernie Sanders are hardly radical and in fact greatly mirror what FDR would have proposed back in the 1930's. Today, the New Deal or the GI bill would be mocked by the GOP as being expensive socialist insanity but without them America would never have built up its once healthy middle class. A little chunk of a huge military budget would do nicely. Biden is the milquetoast selection which will solve nothing as he also represents the political class which is beholden to Wall Street and promoted a Neo-libera
The lady who bought the place upstairs from me is originally from France and in her early 70's. Her daughter and her wife live just few minutes away and yesterday the wife knocked on my door to introduce herself. We had a nice chat about little details regarding the building and happy she was that her mother in law could be so close to them. I took no time to come out as trans because I wanted completely clarity regarding my comings and goings and felt it would be good to get that out of the way. Not unexpectedly, this lesbian woman wasn't remotely phased. I told her that next time she might just meet Joanna which she said would be lovely. Her mother in law moves in sometime in mid June. And that was that.
"Madame your makeup looks professional I really like it" "That's all me my dear. I didn't need it when I was your age" i respond, pointing at her flawless mid twenties complexion as she serves me my shawarma wrap. Compliments from women half my age are very nice although I don't go fishing. I just want to present like a well put together woman in her fifties and I think I do that. I have my makeup and clothing routine down to 15 minutes flat and I'm out the door. I don't have patience for long drawn out prep if I need to go food shopping. When you live part time you want things to flow and if I could get away with wearing no makeup sometimes I would although I am getting closer to that goal as well. Things need to flow.
More people than ever are living alone. With the rise of female economic independence, the breakdown of half of marriages and the connectedness we now have through the internet, this is allowing for more flexible solutions for individuals to form human bonds. In Canada the number of adults who are single are now in the majority and even in the United States that number is about 50/50. This brings options and upholds the idea that we don't necessarily need to pair up to be happy and certainly not just for the economics women felt they were subjugated to. Yes, today we can look for human connection which can come from a variety of sources. In our brave new world the concept of till death do us part even in desperately unhappy relationships is no longer the baseline norm and people are perhaps holding out for more fulfilling ways to find community if one cannot get it through a conventional coupling. Those who later in life now realize what they crave in a more soulful and deep co
Trump was on the podium addressing natural gas workers looking very much like a dimwit. He was sweating profusely and excitedly talking about how windmills serve as bird cemeteries including for bald eagles who helplessly fly into them. One despairs at such idiocy. We all know he is a simpleton but what about those workers he was trying to dissuade from embracing the Green New Deal which is increasingly becoming mandatory. Are they actually buying his snake oil? I would hope not. America is at a crossroads where the GOP has become a repository for all kinds of volatile extremists and Trump has been enabling them. They all know he is an unstable moron and a liar but his histrionics serve them well as cover for their agenda. They hated him before he got in but once there he serves a purpose. That fossil Pat Robertson preaches about America being vomited out by God as the Christian nation it never was if they tolerate the LGBT infiltration of society while Richard Spencer rejoices
It's interesting to meld into the world of women. I have been working on my confidence over the years and now that it's there in full I make mental notes on the distinction between presenting female versus male. There are some negatives of course in that the occasional man will call me dear or love which I don't like but then I mind it less when a woman does it. In Toronto I got a lot of 'hun' from other women. I get more smiles as a woman mostly from other women which I find comforting because it tells me I belong. It may be a mother holding her baby or a young lady who's been looking at me and I catch her eye and she gives me a warm one once she sees mine. In general I am treated very well and my professional overlaps as a woman have gone very well. It may have something to do with the new environment which is increasingly populated by millenials who are far less mysoginistic. My office is now seeing them find functional roles and move to to replace thos
The reason I like Anne Vitale's descriptor “gender expression deprivation anxiety” so much to explain gender dysphoria, is because it so accurately labels what it feels like. There is an anxiousness borne out of repression which is constantly there, whether in the background or acutely in the foreground, which cannot be easily dismissed. When you are young and find yourself denying and then sporadically obliging an expression which bucks against society, it can seem to take the form of a diet and binge cycle and it is only when you understand that you are being true to your nature that things make sense. But until that happens you might be tempted to think you are crazy. The mystery is unraveled once you accept that the gender expression you feel comfortable with is intrinsic rather than a vice. The extent to which we are successful in removing culpability depends on how much of the message you have swallowed. For some it can take decades while for others it can be easy to disreg
Timing preoccupies us greatly. I know it used to be the case for me. I told my son lately that he cannot be late or early for anything in his life. There is a time for everything which is not tied to what others do. You are unique and must do things at your own pace which must be consummate with an understanding of the person you are; a feat which must be accomplished at your own pace. That unshackling from time must be made as early as possible in life which then frees us to discover a world without that self-imposed constraint.
I’ve got a girl's night out tomorrow with Patricia and one of her friends. The three of us will meet up at a downtown eatery and spend a couple of hours socializing. I have never met her friend, but she assures me that she is a very nice person and that is good enough for me. I did this a few years ago with two young women I knew from a store I frequented (who didn't know I was trans) and that went very well. I have every reason to think this will go even better as both are closer to my age and I am far more at ease as Joanna than I have ever been in my life.
"Tonight Do we have to fight again Tonight I just want to go to sleep Turn out the light But you want to carry grudges Nine times out of ten I see the storm approaching Long before the rain starts falling Tonight Does it have to be the old thing Tonight It's late, too late To chase the rainbow that you're after I'd like to find a compromise And place it in your hands My eyes are blind, my ears can't hear And I cannot find the time Tonight Just let the curtains close in silence Tonight Why not approach with less defiance The man who'd love to see you smile Who'd love to see you smile Tonight"
We all start off life as vulnerable little beings and build up our mettle, strength and experience over time to face the challenges that come with it. Then, near our end, we return to that state of vulnerability and, in many cases, become the child to our grown children. It is not untrue that we are born alone and we die alone which contains a healthy dose of poignancy. If we think that we are too proud and independent, the end of our lives will, often forcibly, remove all trace and manner of pretense and humility will be mandated upon us.
I bought myself a little purse for when I go for walks in my neighborhood; when all I need carry is money, cell phone and maybe a lipstick. It was all of $10 and the perfect size for those needs. It also looks very summery and can be slung over the shoulder which I won't do with my other big purse lest I want to suffer pain later on. For that reason it is slung delicately on my forearm with hand cupped upwards. This little bag will match perfectly when I wear a casual summer dress or shorts and a T.
Watch out because I am going to use logic here. True or false: being trans is a choice. If you believe the answer is true, then why do so many trans people attempt suicide? Is it because they are all mentally ill? No, that cannot be it because the reality is that most of us are extremely high functioning and work in every known profession (including some very challenging intellectually), belong to every known social class, race, age group and religious affiliation. The real reason that trans people suffer so much is through discrimination from society and even their own families simply for being who we are which in turn causes us great turmoil. Nice try though. If you believe the answer is false, then no one should complain about trans people desiring being addressed by gender affirming pronouns nor should they accuse trans people of trying to usurp women’s spaces since all they are doing is observing their own true natures. The reality is that trans people upset the social ord
There are some lovely people in this world. One of the young women who works at a Starbucks I frequent stopped at my table and surprised me before going home. “ I told my mom that a really cool and pretty older lady comes here. How are you?” “You’re going to make me blush” I responded just as she touched my arm and gave me a big smile “Have a minute to sit down?” I offered “No, I can’t but for sure next time” I know she works and goes to school as most of them do. This young woman is particularly warm and friendly with a smile that could light up a room. I didn’t tell her just then because she was in a rush, but she had just made my day.
It is possible to work your way through massive psychological reconstruction on your own, but it takes time. I opted to forgo help from a gender therapist because I was afraid of being directed onto a path that didn’t suit me. So, after an initial treatment at a gender clinic, I stopped the formal process and proceeded alone only to later begin this blog and allow it to become the vehicle for my introspection. In the end no therapist does the heavy lifting; that is up to us. They are there to listen and to permit you to ask yourself the big questions which prompt a forensic examination of everything you have been taught in your life and how it bristles against the internal forces that drive you. The answers will come at the speed they need to and should reflect your comfort level with such a deep examination of the psyche. Throughout this process I eventually learned to trust myself which is something I didn’t do before. When you are too busy blaming yourself for your own incongrue
Patricia said something to me the other day which stayed with me “Don’t be silly, there is someone out there for everyone” This was in response to my telling her that it is very difficult for us to partner and still be our true selves. That part of my life is the coldest its ever been and after 3 years on my own its not even on life support, so I don’t know why it even came up. I like that about her; how open she is. Later she added that hesitation on the part of some people to enter relationships with trans people as being based in fear and I think she was right. Next to my youngest sister, she is my biggest supporter from the cis world.
The aim to delegitimize gynephilic transsexuals had been centered on one thing: their experiencing of cross gender arousal. The problem was that no one understood the phenomenon but the mere fact that it occurred played right into the hands of those ready to pounce on repressed baby boomer guilt. These poor people had grown up with no understanding of their condition and instead experienced a great deal of confusion hence the ease in making them feel shame and guilt. For the record, up until now no one has written anything that conclusively explains how the arousal originates but what Ray Blanchard did was dead simple: postulate that the arousal itself is what causes a desire to transition and make that the backbone of a theory that says that the misdirected sex drive towards the self is what causes someone to desire to be a woman. It’s a nice idea except it lacked proof and many poor transwomen fell into the trap. Some, like Anne Lawrence, even made it their life calling. One of t
I got wished a happy mother's day three times today and it was wonderful. First, Patricia texted me with that message. Then it was the waitress at my mother's day breakfast with my friend Janet. The third time was by a lady sitting next to me who had been talking with a friend who had just left. She commented about the smell of my coffee since it is Ramadan and she cannot partake until sundown. It really felt extremely heart warming and validating.
You had better learn to be fierce in this world and do it quickly. For example, if you look at me in a way I don't find appealing be prepared for a stare that will pierce into the back of your skull. Idiots turn away every time. So whether you are a lecherous old creep or an old lady with mouth agape and no detectable manners who cannot believe how tall I am, be ready for it. I have fun with it of course because after decades of putting up with feeling like I had to suppress and hide, the opposite has happened and I am as brave as they come. Hadn't you noticed? This girl is no wilting flower.
You get really comfortable in women's clothes after a while and they just become 'your' clothes. They no longer feel like that forbidden fruit you would investigate when no one was home. So while their allure is reduced, your comfort in them greatly increases and they become an extension of your identity. I can be anywhere and not be self concious about them but just use them as a vehicle to be able to express my femininity. This is slow as to appear almost moribund; a process that you don't realize is happening to you until you arrive at a point where the internals have become the driving force. You aren't a man in dress and you never were; you are simply you.
Being a parent is both highly rewarding and challenging and as we do our best to raise our children we sometimes fail in our attempts to try and help them. There is no guidebook or manual and you often use trial and error combined with the way you were parented. My son's anxiety has been that challenge for the last 6 years and now that his coming on the Europe trip is being threatened, it is supremely frustrating that you cannot shoulder their ills and fix everything. There are still 4 weeks to go and I am hoping that things will change but I told him not to worry and to not feel pressured. There will always be other trips in the future. However I am still secretly optimistic that he will be able to make it. To those of you who are parents whether mother or father or both: happy mother's day.
Every new plateau reached by a trans person represents a point of no return. I had read about it for years in the testimonials of transsexual women before being able to attest to it myself. You get to a point where you get closer to who you are and it feels wonderful. It will not be given up. My partial life as a woman is exceeding my expectations and even if I have zero illusions about the disadvantage of being female in our world there is something very special about approaching your core gender identity. It's not that you cannot live as a male but more the feeling that something wasn't quite right before and it is only when you taste the alternative that it is confirmed. As a woman I can feel myself relax into a sense of self that was denied me by virtue of birth plumbing; a reality which we now know very well does not conclusively decide gender identification. There will be no going back for me and whatever little steps I take going forward, if any, will be measured a
With an obstructionist Senate, America essentially now has an idiot emperor. Immune to subpoenas from a frustrated Congess and a DOJ that snubs its nose at Democratic house committees, the system has broken down and the frustrations will build to a fever pitch if things are not remedied. Turtle boy McConnell is now an obstructionist criminal who laughs at the US constitution for the sake of partisanship and makes one pine for the era that saw Nixon resign for lesser crimes. His own party had prompted the removal from power for the good of the country. This is nothing less than a constitutional crisis and more proof about the validity of the idea that empires crumble from within. There is no reason to think America will be any different. That stage was set years ago by fracturing the country by wedge issues and lying to them while espousing oligarchical excesses that will now force its undoing. I don't see an easy way out because, even if a Democrat wins in 2020, the hatred wi
Friday started with dropping the car off at the dealers and waiting for the car shuttle service to take me to the metro. As I waited, a lady sat in front of me wearing fabulous heels and I told her so. She smiled and thanked me. I now also felt better about having opted to wear my pumps since it was raining quite heavily when I left the house. I decided to go semi corporate by wearing a black faintly polka dotted skirt with a powder blue top and my gabardine. My black pumps with the chunky heel was the safe business woman choice and to complete the look I also wore some diamond studs. Later this same woman with the great shoes woke me from my magazine and told me the shuttle was here and three ladies piled in for the short ride. Once on the subway a young Asian woman who just made it into before the doors closed, slipped badly and fell so myself and another lady helped her up. She thanked us both profusely. I spent the morning in town and killed some time by having breakfast, run
My life has brought me here in segments. At each step I did my very best and tried hard to be a good son, husband, father and then partner. I was ready to accept the stage where I was and make things work no matter what. My dysphoria, which boiled quietly in the background, took a back seat and was treated by sporadic bouts of crossdressing before divorce, followed by frequent ones afterwards. That has increased to the virtually full time living of today which happened only once I was alone. Life doesn't let you know what is going to happen in advance and I never for a moment imagined being where I am now. Once here however it seems entirely fitting which proves our elasticity as humans. We learn to adapt to our circumstances and, in so doing, sometimes end up where we need to be but were afraid to.
Once fear goes away, things change dramatically. That little nervous voice in your head disappears and you just relax. You are just a woman going about her business and simply living. This mindset is having repercussions on my thinking because it spurs on thoughts of social transition and indeed I am mulling that over slowly. After all, I am on my own and simply need to fill a government form to get an F on all my documentation. It's not that hard. I cannot do this now but the next few years will reveal the definitive answer on their own. It's how everything else has happened in my life so why would that change? In that sense, Toronto was a great revealing period for me in that living entire weekends as a woman in addition to evenings for 6 months helped tremendously to shed yet another layer of trepidation and fear. Because being treated and welcomed as a woman everywhere I went was a tremendous confidence builder.
Chris Kalaher was there one day and gone the next. One of my grade 7 classmates, he has passed away over the weekend. Freckle faced and as Irish looking as you could get, he was shy like most of us and more than a little self-effacing. On the Monday, our home room teacher gave us the news with the sullenest expression I had ever seen him make and to this day I have never forgotten it. Chris had been playing with a chemistry set and somehow inhaled a combination of chemicals that had killed him. Just like that, at 13 years of age, he was gone. We all sat there silently not knowing what to say or how to react. We were all in shock. This wasn’t my first brush with death, but it was the first one that had such a striking impact. Both my paternal grandmother and maternal grandfather had passed away, but I could barely remember them. Their impact in my life had been fleeting and I had not developed a strong enough bond to have their passing sting in the same visceral and immediate way th
Yesterday I stopped to see Vicky who works at one of the makeup counters at Ogilvy's. I first met her about 10 years ago and we seemed to hit it off straight away. She would compliment me on how well put together I was and she is just a very open and friendly person who is roughly 10 years my junior. She knows I am a divorced mom with two kids and she herself is happily married with two of her own who are a fair bit younger than mine. Last night after chatting for a while and introducing me to her young colleague we made plans to meet up some Friday evening after work for a drink. We verified cell numbers just for that purpose. Life changes and with my kids grown these little connections are part of remaking mine.
Relationships are an extremely tricky thing for a trans person and, not surprisingly, I have put years of thought into this topic. The conclusion I have reached is that it comes down to who you are. In other words, how much of your trans nature is part of your intrinsic identity. Identity is not exactly a negotiable thing but if you fall on the side of the spectrum where your alternate expression of gender is sporadic then perhaps there is room for it. If, however you fall on the side approaching transsexualism, you as the trans person are suppressing and not negotiating. There is no road map for such a difficult situation and those transwomen who partner with men are perhaps ending up with the more desirable results. There are cases where spouses stay with their husbands even after transition, but they are a small percentage. For me it comes down to understanding who you are and deciding how much sacrifice will be made so you can be partnered with someone else. As a trans person
So long as being transgender remains a conscious choice in the mind of some people, there will always be prejudice and discrimination. Recently there was a report from a trans organization stating that approximately 60% of trans people in the US who had dealt with police had been mistreated by them which does not really surprise. If you don’t fit the model that society follows you are unfortunately going to take your lumps. Those who pass are fortunate because they can most often fall under the radar. They may have transitioned young or perhaps have sufficiently feminine physical attributes to be left alone. But even they, once they come out or are outed, can face harsh discrimination at the hands of a society who doesn’t understand them and perhaps refuses to. I know, like many of you, what it is like to try and fit in and fail. We want to be accepted and the best way to do that is to follow script but that is not possible for us. The alternative is to hide but that doesn’t offer
For a long time it seemed that some trans women were being bamboozled into thinking that the presence of cross gender arousal meant they suffered from AGP. The shell game was simple: imply that the presence of the arousal is an indicator of this so called infirmity and watch the suckers fall in line. Many didn't understand the distinction and indeed Anne Lawrence's website contains a number of testimonials from trans women who were ostensibly admitting to being driven by a fetish. The ones more likely to think that were older transwomen who had suffered all their lives from guilt. The reality is that no one can explain where cross gender arousal originates but we can surmise that it stems from a transwoman's attempt to express an innate female sexuality while still in a male vessel. This is highly confusing for most of us until we are able to come to terms with it. Millenial transwomen and those younger have managed to escape the appeal of Blanchard's pseudoscienc
Every day involves the little adjustment of the thought processes which make us function. The doubts and the fears get a looking over as we assess how the way we live is going to be judged by others. Letting go of all that takes courage but then retreating to safety can mean imprisonment. If we are not careful we can fall prey to the thinking that we should seek the shelter of expectation and just tow the line. Except we can't because we're trans and that is an indelible and permanent marking on your existence. Self definition then becomes all the more compulsory. Do not be afraid.
I have always been female inside. It doesn't matter what I swore to myself or how much I denied it. Its always been there like a pall hanging over me begging me to look at and acknowledge it. I can see it now because the fog of decades of denial has lifted slowly over time. It now feels like standing on top of a hill and finally being able to see your surroundings with perfect clarity for the first time. Today, even in drab I know I am female on the inside, and that acknowledgement brings me comfort even when I cannot present as myself. There is no more fear, trepidation or shame about being who I am. All that remains inside of me is peace and joy. My feminine instincts were quashed early on and then indoctrination took over. It was a long battle to come back but I made it and I have the rest of whatever life God gives me to be the person I was meant to. Even my lovely and intelligent son supports me no matter what I decide to do. Now that's really something. Things can
Because it was warm yesterday I wore a dress to Sunday mass. Afterwards my friend Janet and I went for our usual coffee which we both really enjoy. She lives alone and I know that it's a nice little bright spot in her Sunday. It is for me as well. Later I drove to that super mall north of the city I sometimes frequent and did some window shopping and had lunch. The girls at the lunch counter know me and always chat and ask me how I am doing. After having finished my browsing I stopped for a cappuccino and two very friendly older francophone ladies sat down next to me and started conversing. They were really lovely and told me how tired they were from walking around from store to store. They asked how I was able to find the mall without getting lost which made me chuckle but I completely understood since some of the turns can be tricky if you've never been there before. Before I left, Patricia texted me and asked if I could go with her to a fabricator next Friday and I agr
All women need to perfect their look and transgender women are no exception. We need to figure out the clothes that best suit our bodies, the hairstyle and the makeup which will bring out the best in our features. For me that has meant simplifying my base wardrobe with mostly solid colour tops and using accessories like scarves, jewelry and cardigans to switch up my looks. It makes choosing what to wear so much easier for those of us who aren't really clothe horses to begin with. Yes, I want to feel feminine but comfortable which also means wearing shoes I can spend hours in although admittedly I have one pair of killer heels I reserve for that event I might one day attend. There's a lot more to me than what I wear so I don't want that to be a distraction. Hence this summer I will be often sticking with a simple T-shirt, shorts and ballet flats. It's funny; the more I have felt comfortable with my being trans the more that has meant focusing on the internals rathe
In general I found Torontonians to be a very friendly bunch. So it was the other day that a very chatty, polite and open young man from Toronto struck up a conversation with me as I worked on an entry for this blog. He simply wanted to know how long it would take to get to the top of Mount Royal which kickstarted some banter between us. Turns out he was my daughter's age and suddenly we were talking about his generation and how they are more egalitarian towards each other. He told me he wants a wife who is his equal and he asked how it had been between me and my husband. Since I don't tell perfect strangers I'm trans for no good reason and the conversation was about other things, we kept going without my divulging anything. This type of scenario happens to me quite often and playing the role of the wife and mother is usually my distinct pleasure. Hence it is only when I see a real need to educate someone that I might tell them I'm trans. So after I had given him som