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Showing posts from May, 2014

expect the unexpected

If I've learnt anything in my life it's that. You never know where you will end up or what road you will take to get there. Life is just like that and it seems to thrive on the unpredictable. That's why I am trying to be smarter about how to live and never get too up or too down because it conserves energy and cushions the big falls that life inevitably has in store. I have never known someone who has been spared grief or disappointment. There are illnesses and accidents and they bring us to a closer understanding of our mortality. Then time moves on and we forget. We need to live more as if every day were our last but we are human and weak and are very susceptible to fall back to old habits. With age I hope I am getting better at learning. Instead of swimming upstream like the salmon I will try and be the sage kayaker who follows the water movement wisely and calmly. At least I'll try.

"Crossdresser" just doesn't cut it....

I don’t like the term crossdresser very much. For me it has the connotation of choice and playing dress up as a lifestyle; much the way a drag queen chooses to be an entertainer and then removes the makeup after the show. I don’t see my expressing Joanna as a choice but as a necessity and using the term crossdresser is like telling people that I dress in women’s clothing instead of playing golf. I may be wrong but I also feel that many people associate the word with some sort of odd and compulsive hobbyist. For one thing, I don’t understand why anyone in their right mind would deliberately choose a lifestyle of cross gender expression simply for amusement. I am sure that they exist but their motivation for doing so eludes me. For her part, my partner N does not like that I use the term gender dysphoric either because it implies to her that I am unhappy being a male which is also not the case. Gender variant, which is the term that the gender therapist Helene Cote used to descr

the two spirit model

I like more and more the idea of a transgender person being a combination of a male and a female spirit and, regardless of whether it is correct or not, I find it fits the way I view myself these days. Why destroy your male side when you can opt instead to amplify the female that resides within you? Why indeed. I know this notion does not appeal to every person who is in any way gender variant but then we are all different with our own points of view and our own paths to follow. Many native cultures have expressed this idea of a two spirited being and in some it has even been celebrated. They were called berdaches in North American native communities and were often shamans, artisans,crafts people or child rearers. Needless to say we have a less favorable opinion of all this in our modern culture which is nevertheless changing ever so slowly. Two halves of a whole is an interesting image and I will hold on to that image in absence of a better mental picture.

be sure to live

Get out there. Life is short so be the person you were meant to be. Actualise yourself as a person. So many of us live our lives in the shadows of suppression and we are afraid to try something that takes us outside of our comfort zone. As I am telling you this I am encouraging myself as well. Things are never as scary as they seem to us. I am not encouraging you to try a new drug or take up chewing tobacco but simply telling you that we are our own worst enemies when it comes to limitations. Now I am not naturally a risk taker but when I have needed to take them they have for the most part payed off. When it comes to my life as a part time woman this certainly applies. You could say that I had no choice in the matter but I could also have continued to suffer for many more years. Go out on a limb and try something new that you feel will have a positive impact on your life but were always afraid to try. You might be surprised how the risks involved are far less significant and

covering up

I have always used dermablend as a foundation. Years ago it came as a very thick almost paste like substance which was great for covering up beard shadow but it did unfortunately leave the effect that you were wearing heavy stage makeup. These days it comes in a silkier and thinner formula which, when finished with powder, leaves a very even look which works very well for either day or evening use. Granted I have had several treatments of laser beard removal which has helped significantly to reduce the amount I need to apply but it will work superbly well for the vast majority of people. You need to simply match one of the shades to your own skin tone and you're set to go. An added advantage is that because it covers so well, you don't need to apply massive quantities. For the record I use number 55 which works well for olive skin types like myself. To date, I have not found a better product for the money.

Our socialisation

The effects of socialisation are hard to measure. When I was very young I saw myself as neither male nor female and I did what came naturally to me. This included dressing in my mother’s shoes and clothes. I have sometimes wondered how much the effects of being socialised as male have played in my adopting a male role and doing what is expected of me for my gender. Had I been raised in a gender neutral environment might I have adopted a more androgynous or even feminine demeanour? I cannot answer that. I do feel that once we are cemented into customs we become less malleable and eventually our behaviour becomes more habitual. We have not learned how to behave as women in public. I spent many years repressing feminine traits that I naturally possessed for fear of ridicule. Now when out as Joanna I freely express those tendencies but it took me a long time to allow myself the dignity to exhibit the required comportment, voice and mannerisms that would allow me to blend in as a

what do you need?

Gender dysphoria eventually commands your attention. If you are gender dysphoric and you do not address your gender expression deprivation anxiety it will build and build and, if left untreated, it will virtually incapacitate you. I know because it happened to me. The next question becomes: what is the extent to which you must go to alleviate your anxiety? Will cross gender expression be enough? Will testosterone blockers be required? How about an orchiectomy or HRT? The truth is that it is very difficult to know and sometimes our approach can be influenced by well intentioned therapists or others who are in similar situations to our own. So how do we know what approach to take? In truth we don’t and the advice I give to myself is to do the minimum I need to in order to stay balanced. In other words less is better. Before the advent of surgery and cross sex hormones people like me lived full lives with no bodily alterations; they had no choice. With the new possibilities av

give me perspective

Life is really so much about personal perspective isn't it? Things happen to us all the time and, depending on how we perceive them, they could either be wonderful or catastrophic. Reality happens but how we deal and view that reality is what really matters. This is why perspective is so crucial and why, hopefully with increasing age, we start having more and more of it. I have always been a reactive person but I am starting to slowly realize that this is not the best aporoach. I need to make less harsh judgements and conclusion about people and situations. Yes I am a product of my social conditioning and my genetic makeup but I can exert a ertain degree of control in order to temper these traits of mine. I believe I am having success in this area now and am gaining greater perspective about how things that happen to me should be viewed. It is my choice to be indignant, happy, sad, jealous, envious or angry and no one controls that except me. You can't control the other p


"Peacock" - starring Cillian Murphy is an odd but curious film. I saw it one evening when I happened to be scrolling through my cable provider’s movie offerings and, since I had heard of the film and of Cillian’s performance, I thought I would watch it. One thing that struck me was how atypical the film was at covering certain elements. For one thing, Emma (his female alter ego) wore male underwear under her dress. The film also suggests that there was verbal and/or physical abuse behind John’s split personality; which is more or less convincing and is left largely unexplored. Oddly no one was able to recognize John as Emma and, as real as Cillian looked in either gender, there was enough obvious resemblance there to have had someone at least scratching their heads. Cillian Murphy is slight and almost pretty for a man so he passes quite easily as a woman. This aspect of the film is well done. But other aspects fall short and we are left wondering about several loose t

We like our certainty

I’ve been fascinated by the idea of labeling of late. We all seem very interested in understanding ourselves as people so by knowing what category we belong to we are somehow comforted. However labeling is a double edged sword and things are not always as clear cut as they seem. For example, when Ray Blanchard was doing his work with pre-op transsexuals he found that roughly 15% of his androphilic (man loving) group was experiencing what he was terming autogynephilia. Anne Lawrence (one of his principal acolytes) confirmed this herself in a series of interviews conducted in the early 2000’s with a significant group of pre-op and post op transsexuals. You can find segments of these interviews and emails on her website. But why did this occur and why was there no definitive pattern to Blanchard’s typologies? Because real life does not work like that and the theories postulated to explain certain behaviours in transsexuals were in the end too simplistic. I found it odd when readin

Janet Mock interviews B Scott

I wanted to post this August 9th, 2013 interview of B Scott by Janet Mock. Janet is a fully transitioned woman while B Scott indentifies as transgender. Both are African American. The interview is interesting because it illustrates the challenges of labeling people and how we perceive ourselves and others and the bias of society in general towards those who are different: Janet: I assume it must’ve taken you a long time to come to this place of definition, where you’re announcing that you’ve “welcomed the ‘transgender’ label.” What led you to embrace transgender as part of your identity? B. Scott: I feel my spirit is somewhere in between, so I thought that that in between-ness didn’t fit the term transgender. I thought that because I didn’t want to become a woman that I wasn’t transgender but just a feminine gay man. It was hard to pin down, label and classify myself. I had a lot to learn but when I finally read that transgender also meant “neither or both,” I was like, “Wow, that