Showing posts from December, 2015

more craziness

Here is another example of someone who I very much doubt is transgender taking advantage of the recent popularity of this movement and injecting a new dose of incredulity from a wary public. The media loves these stories of course and they sell ads on the internet or supermarket tabloids. I can't pretend to understand the motivation of this person but it almost reeks of publicity stunt. I wish these people would have more common sense but such is the world I am afraid. Ok perhaps I am jumping to conclusions but it is an odd story don't you think?


Confidence isn't about pretending it's about possessing. I've learnt that lesson over time. I used to try and pretend I was confident when out dressed but it wasn't working and I knew it. I felt like a fraud and everything from my body language to my facial expression advertised that discomfort. Only now in retrospect can I tell the difference. Now I think: who in blazes cares what about the opinions of other people. They know nothing about you or your life. You need to be true to yourself with the understanding that you are not breaking any laws be they civil or moral. You are treating gender dysphoria or simply have a penchant for crossdressing; either way it pays to be comfortable in your own skin. Smile and be happy. Engage others in conversation and you will be amazed how your confidence soars. If nothing else you will be doing outreach. Recently a US poll revealed that only a tiny fraction of Americans admitted that they knew a transgender person but of co

the Danish girl

I ended up seeing the Danish Girl and it was a good film. It may end up with Oscar nominations for both Eddie Redmayne and, even more deservedly, Alicia Vikander who plays the role of Gerda the wife of Einar Wegener who later became Lili Elbe. The subject matter was treated with respect although the motivation for Einar’s transition was only glossed over. But alas you can only accomplish so much in a two hour movie and this very complex subject which would demand another two hours just to attempt to tackle it. I would give the film a recommendation although a non-transgender person will learn little about the subject. Indeed the film will best serve as the biography of a transgender pioneer and nothing more. Still director Hooper has produced a cinematographic feast for the eyes while getting some compelling performances from his actors to boot. Hopefully the public will find the story of Elbe interesting and moving. Also of historical note is the fact that the real Elbe had h

the issue of orientation

Let's follow the bouncing ball shall we? Harry Benjamin did not classify his patients by sexual orientation but instead by the degree of disconnect they felt from their birth sex. Indeed before the time of Benjamin and under the care of Magnus Hirschfeld, one of the earliest patients to undergo surgery was Lili Elbe who would have been classified as an autogynephilic transsexual by Ray Blanchard. To confuse matters further, Both Benjamin and Blanchard wondered if transvestism (as it was then known) shared a common etiology with transsexualism. Benjamin saw many patients who blurred the lines between the two and this is how he ended up fashioning his scale. However for Blanchard there were two types of unrelated transsexualism while for Benjamin there was one and it was independent of orientation. He never made the same connection that Blanchard found so relevant. The landscape of our twentieth century is dotted with gynephilic and androphilic transsexuals but for obvious re

the biological tracer is coming

I was going to wait till the new year to post but then I found mention of a Scientific American story which points to some hopeful evidence that there may indeed be a biological tracer for gender dysphoria and hence a transgender brain. This study from 2014 follows other studies such as one performed in 2009 by Australian researchers which again showed a lot of promise. I for one am certain its only a matter of time and will gleefully rub my hands together when I see Ray Blanchard's work spectacularly go down in flames conclusively and for the rest of time. Even more exciting will be the finding that since human brains are so complex gender dysphoria likely varies between individuals. This is something which Harry Benjamin hinted at with his disorientation scale but for which he lacked conclusive scientific proof. I am confident that a conclusive finding will happen within my own lifetime. Oh and Merry Christmas!! You will find the story at the following link http://www


Thanks to all of you for the feedback you provide me. It doesn't need to be voluminous; it just needs to be thoughtful and interesting and on that front you have delivered. Thanks to Jack Molay for his good work over at Crossdreamers and for supporting my writings. Thanks also to Calie over at T-Central. The best kind of support is that which comes from others facing the same challenges and victories. A peaceful Christmas and a Fulfilling New Year ahead to all of you. I would say happy but we know that life always brings ups and downs. The important thing is to know how to navigate the minefields. See you in January.

newly minted

Something I find odd. I read these stories where people pronounce themselves to be a woman. A few weeks or even days later they shave everything, put on a wig and a dress and voila: a newly minted transgender woman. No I am not making fun but this is a very strange way of coming out. No wonder some of the world thinks we are insane; some of us are not dealing with a full deck. These sorts of pronouncements are more likely to make news because they are more scandalous. After all, someone going to gender therapy and then transitioning after a couple of years is now old news and yet this more often than not what actually happens. At the risk of insulting anyone's sensibilities, we are not genetically women; we have gender dysphoria. Even when someone transitions early and is the perfect picture of feminine grace that person is still technically a genetic male. My intent here is not to injure but to point out how jarring this contradiction is for someone who believes that gende

fair game

Now in its 19th season on the air, South Park pulls no punches in its aim to be irreverent and poke fun at some of the absurdities of our modern culture. However having watched a couple of episodes so far left me thinking that they were perhaps wading a little too far into extremes. This season features the cartoon rape of a Donald Trump inspired Canadian politician, Eric Cartman being beaten to a pulp by his new principal and a pull no punches depiction of Caitlyn Jenner as a plastic surgery freak show with a penchant for vehicular homicide. N introduced me to the show some years back and in general have found it witty while remaining just on the edge of good taste with their pull no punches approach. Both the episodes I saw the other night had me thinking they had gone just a little far this time. The theme of this season appears to be political correctness gone awry leaving us to accept questionable statements as accepted fact lest you be accused of being a bigot. Not unexpe


I inhabit a netherworld. On the old Harry Benjamin scale I am fairly certain I would be classified as a non surgical transsexual; otherwise known as a type IV. Therefore I have had to think long and hard about what to do about my dysphoria. The conclusion has not come easily. I have spiritual and philosophical objections to tampering with my body but even if that were not the case, my dysphoria is not potent enough to demand a physical correction. This makes your life more complex in some ways because you reside between genders and cope the best way you can. That coping mechanism took me decades to find but find it I did. It's important to know yourself and weigh what will truly make you happy but if you think you inhabit the same grey zone that I do, you need to then find a balance that works to moderate your dysphoria. If it were so simple it would not take as long as it does. Your obstacles will include your own lack of self acceptance, that of your family as well as poc

AGP dismantled yet again....

I wrote yesterday how being transgender is not a fetish but that hasn't stopped some from trying to establish eroticism experienced as the cause. Felix Conrad has a nice series of mini lectures set up on his site where he systematically and very logically examines the theory of Autogynephilia and pokes enough holes in it to make it even more of a Swiss cheese than it already was (not that this is so difficult). Felix touches on the same fallacy of logic as well as the basic missing science which makes the theory a pure fantasy of speculation. If you read the whole thing through you will understand what I mean. It, of course, acknowledges arousal but discounts it as the origin of gynephilic transsexualism. Instead it puts it where it belongs which is as a symptom of something bigger and more complex. He goes even further in acknowledging that you can have two typologies separated by orientation but that even that is circumstantial and is just another filter through which the c

clearing up confusion

Lest there be any confusion, this blog wholeheartedly supports all transgender people; whether they transition or not. My position on this is very clear and has been for a long time. Only you can know what is right for you. What I have tried to do is to cut through the misinformation and the myths that have been developed over the decades (some very much deliberate) in order to make transgender people feel ashamed about who they are. This has come in the form of pseudoscience and even from the personal narratives of some transgender people who have set up a type of hierarchy to make themselves feel better about what they have done. Currently there is no definitive science that would explain why we feel the way we do. Therefore whatever narrative you have written for yourself is your own. However I am more than convinced that transgender people are not suffering from any delusions; far from it. There is a reason why we are this way but the official explanations need to catch up.

just when you think you've seen it all....

This story is a bit of a train wreck and is sure to please those who think that all transgender people are completely out of their minds. The person featured in this story clearly needs psychological counseling and in our appetite for sensationalist stories it will provide plenty of fodder for those willing to dismiss this whole issue as pure mental illness. It’s a shame because this person appears to have suffered some trauma in their childhood. No one has an easy life but this is clearly a very strange reaction in the form of an escape from the real world and from spousal and parental responsibility. People with gender issues are no more immune to mental illness than anyone else and as I outlined in a recent post we are all unique and different. You can read it here.

your own worst enemy

I used to think I would instantly be recognized when dressed in drag but over the years that has become a fallacy. I can think of countless occasions when I have passed colleagues and acquaintances (including my own brother) and was not recognized in Joanna mode. I had to literally flag my brother down and it took him a few seconds to make the connection. For one thing, people don’t expect to see you dressed like that so they will not put two and two together and certainly not based on a chance encounter on the street when they may not even notice your presence. As a result of this knowledge, I now never concern myself with discovery but even if it were to happen I would be more than happy to explain. Those who read my blog know that I am out to my partner N, my children, extended family and close friends. My neighbors also know and could not care less so if you are living your life worrying about detection you are potentially missing out on being yourself and perhaps being happi

sex and gender

Here is a very entertaining video with a summary explanation of the differences between sex and gender. It was prepared in the context of intersex people but it could apply in many ways to those of us who don't fit into the rigid binary that the world would have us shoehorn ourselves into.

a chat with my son

My son and I had a great heart to heart yesterday. At 15 I can see him developing into quite an intelligent young man. It's not easy to grow up. It wasn't easy during my time and if anything it might be harder today. We have information overload in the form of social media and perhaps more peer pressure than ever to fit in and conform. My son feels a bit like a loner and I can relate to that feeling. He is quiet, shy and reflective and that isn't a recipe for social popularity. We have been bonding as he ages and as my daughter and I distance ourselves with time he has filled that gap that she once occupied. He physically resembles my father in many ways and has a sense of calm that I much admire and even envy. I am glad that I am able to help him through these turbulent years that will see him try and find his own unique identity in this world. I told him that being yourself and building your mind is the best approach to dealing with the challenges that lie ahead i


There is no such thing as a conclusively true transsexual. In fact there is nothing in the chromosomes or brain scans of a person who transtions and you will likely find nothing different about them beforehand. At least this is the case today with our current technology. The brain scans being performed on some transsexuals have been biased because their brain chemistry had already been altered through the ingestion of hormones and so we ended up where we started. Most of the background noise on the internet involves discussing what the different typologies actually do and how they behave but very little touches on the actual lack of science on the subject. One of the more prominent examples is Kay Brown's site "On the Science of Changing Sex" which gives an inordinate amount of time and space to describing the differences between early and late onset transsexuals and how they differ but offers nothing about what actually causes gender dysphoria in the first place.

the shrinking violet

The middle class is shrinking. Yesterday an a PEW report was released that showed that the middle class in the United States is now at 50% of the population; down from 61% in the early 1970’s. The loss has meant that some are getting richer while some are getting poorer; the lower class went from 25% to 30% while the upper class has gone from 14% to 21%. I see it in my own city. I can’t walk or drive anywhere now without seeing someone begging, sleeping in the street or trying to wash a windshield of an unsuspecting motorist at a red light. This is ultimately an unsustainable scenario which breeds frustration, desperation and yes even radicalization. When people don’t have enough to eat and feel disenfranchised they despair. The way we in the west have been living has not been good for the world. We have been hoarding the wealth and living greatly on the advantage of low wages in third world countries which made our cheap goods. But now even within our own borders we are seeing

your personal truth

I have always wondered what made me gravitate towards emulating my mother and entering her closet in the first place at such a young age. By the age of 3 or 4 I was being scolded for wearing her shoes and that memory became permanently burned in my memory as the beginning of a road to denial that would endure for over 40 years. I wasn't demonstrably effeminate when very young and when I hit puberty I knew I liked girls but my outside behavior was largely governed by my ability to mimic what I was expected to show. I was a thin, sensitive and shy kid who knew how to accommodate and I grew up during a time when gender behavior was strictly enforced in a deeply religious and conservative country. The two type taxonomy people who follow Blanchard say that people like me are lying to ourselves but it is they who are lying to us. It was very simple and convenient for Blanchard to accuse someone of lying when their testimony didn’t match what he was trying to prove. But I know my trut

this time of year

The Christmas holidays can be a wonderful time but they can also be painful for many. I lost my father on January 5th, 1995 to lung cancer (he was only 60 years old) and so this time of year has taken on a different tone since then. I have been officially divorced now for 7 years and we left the house where my children were born in late October of 2008. Many transgender people have been rejected by their families and friends and this time of year is especially hard when they see others celebrate and take comfort in their life situation. I can’t really complain because in spite of everything my life is hardly difficult compared to so many other people in this world. Many are focused just on having a bed to sleep on and a warm meal in their stomach. Life is not easy for anyone but maybe the best thing is to be thankful for what we do have rather than compare ourselves to others who have more. Sometimes what we think is idyllic is far from being the case when we scratch below the su

He's my Girl

"La Folle Histoire D'amour de Simon Eskenazy" (He's my Girl in English) is a 2009 French film about a Parisian divorced gay man and his crossdressing young arab boyfriend played by actor Mehdi Dehbi. The movie is a comedy drama which questions gender stereotypes, religious dogma and our even the relationships we have with our ageing parents. Yes life is complicated for everyone and the protagonist is no exception. Mehdi Dehbi plays the younger lover in the guise of both man and woman and is equally convincing in either mode. He shows that a different gender presentation can be accomplished with great success by the same person. Of course he is small boned and fine featured which only helps pull the whole thing off. I wasn't expecting to find the entire movie on YouTube and at a short 1:30 it's not hard to end up watching the whole thing. The film is in French but has English subtitles.

as we come of age

Many of us assume that gender expression and behavior are necessarily linked to identity and they can be but not always. We see drag queens exalt in exaggerated femininity but then remove their dresses and be perfectly happy in their male bodies. The transgender movement might be on the verge of becoming accepted but some of us need to reflect on what is really required to keep us balanced and happy. I don't like someone else labeling me which is why I stay away from terms that have a acquired a historical meaning for people but doesn't describe me fully as a person. One such term is cross dresser which replaced transvestite in our modern lexicon. Those descriptors carried weight during their eras but they were coined when we knew far less about sex and gender. The term transsexual was also minted during the same era and carried its own connotations. The problem was that people continued to blur the lines between them. Some people began as self described crossdressers b

lack of a common origin makes little sense

According to Ray Blanchard there are two distinct types of male to female transsexuals: one woman loving (gynephilic) and one man loving (androphilic). But if you read his work these archetypes seem to exist like silos in complete isolation. There seems to be little logic to the theory that one loves their own image as a female while the other wants to attract heterosexual partners. This is most especially true since both types can trace their gender incongruity to well before puberty thereby removing exclusively sexual motives from the equation. Blanchard avoids trying to explain female to male transsexualism because by this stage even he has confused himself as well as us. But what if there were a biological root cause for the desire to be female which was simply passed through the filter of sexual orientation? In the absence of gender dysphoria one type would be an effeminate boy who would grow up to be a homosexual while the other would grow up to be a heterosexual male. No

the turning tide

The backlash against transgender people is growing and is a reflection of the attention paid in the media to this issue. Camille Paglia and others are weighing in on the transgender popularity as if being this way was something you picked up as a fad. But conversely to what she thinks, the number of transgender people isn’t growing it’s just that they now feel free to come out and express themselves in broad daylight. Over at Crossdreamers Jack Molay’s most recent post deals with an Israeli study of brain differences between men and women which shows (to no one’s surprise) that there are differences but also a large amount of overlap between male and female brains. We see this every day in our daily life: feminine men and masculine women and everything in between. In the end we are unique creations and have our own mixture of gender traits which vary across a spectrum. This is reality. What is not reality are the social constraints that prohibited people from being themselves. That