Skip to main content

you get to write the manual

Yesterday I went to see Helene Cote and I am glad I did. She has a friendly and relaxed style and the fact that she deals with the transgender on a daily basis helps me to bounce ideas off someone who knows the situation well. I just wanted to verbalize where I am these days with my dysphoria management with someone who understands.

No one knows one bloody reliable thing about what causes gender dysphoria. We are absolutely 100% in the dark. So the entire infrastructure built around the condition has been transgender people making up their own narratives or conversely skeptics inventing reasons for their illegitimacy.

People need to explain their own motives to themselves. It is fundamental fact of life. Why was I born this way? Why do I think I want to be a boy or a girl? Why do I think I need to reflect on transition?

Precisely because we are in the dark is what has invited charlatanism as well as explanations that people hold personally dear to explain why they are this way. If someone transitions and has that motive questioned they are going to get angry with you and for good reason: they have made a dramatic life-changing decision that may have cost them friends, family and maybe their career.

Being in the dark need not be a bad thing because for one thing it means that there is no right or wrong way to proceed. If there is no official handbook for dysphoria, how does one know what the right thing or wrong thing is? The objective then becomes mental stability and happiness because that is all we can measure.

We know for a fact that transgender people are not mentally ill. How do we know this? because the vast majority are high functioning and intelligent. So we are once again left with a situation in which a tiny sliver of the population has a gender identity ambiguity that we cannot explain.

Much of the solution for the treatment of dysphoria may rest in the loosening of the social programming that we have been exposed to. The "boys do this" and "girls do that" is clearly a recipe for enslavement for the gender dysphoric. But the key rests in your hands since no one can force you to conform.

Failing to question these social absolutes we might be tempted to think: I cannot be an abnormal man hence I must be a woman. Well maybe and maybe not since the measuring stick you are using for normal is a set of mostly artificial rules.

Many of us have been living in self-created prisons for perhaps decades. We stayed because we were afraid to buck the trend and stand out. The question you need to ask is what is stopping you from breaking free now? After all, you get to write the manual.

Helene told me that most of her patients stop the process at a point where they are comfortable and the majority do not go on to a full transition. Their goal ultimately is to find peace.


Comments

  1. I really appreciate this post, Joanna. I have lived in my gender prison for almost six decades and it's been quite a struggle to get out but I'm making it now in the free world. I wouldn't call the prison "self-imposed" but I do understand your meaning.

    I agree with your therapist that the ultimate goal is to find peace. I remember as a senior in high school that that was exactly what I wanted and had no concept of how to achieve it. Forty plus years later, it's an amazing feeling. Thank goodness.

    My gender therapist Judy Van Maasdam has said that a useful metaphor for finding ourselves is to think of being on the Transgender Train. We get on, ride it through a few stations, get off, and see how it feels. Maybe continue on to another station or go back on or more. Eventually we find what fits. The hardest part may be simply allowing ourselves to board the train.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am at peace having come to the conclusion that my gender issues are simply "A mystery wrapped in an enigma."
    Pax
    Pat

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

One transgender woman's take on AGP

This entry from the transhealth website dates back to 2001 and it offers a very nice dissection of the now mostly debunked but still controversial AGP theory and how this transgender woman could care two cents about it. People who have been trying to marginalize the experience of gynephilic transwomen have pushed for the stigmatizing idea that they are actually perverted men. Well this soul, who couldn't give a hoot either way, isn't buying any of it and her frankness at times had me chuckling to myself as I read her posting. If we ever met I would give her a hug for seeing through the BS but mostly for being herself: "About a year ago I was reading on Dr. Anne Lawrence’s site about a new theory of the origin of trans called “autogynephilia.” This theory asserts that many trans women—and transsexual women in particular—desire reassignment surgery because they are eroticizing the feminization of their bodies. The first thing that struck me about it, of course, was t

epilogue

While this blog is most definitely over, I wanted to explain that part of the reason is that it was getting in the way of writing my next book called "Notes, Essays and Short Stories from the North" which will combine philosophy, trans issues, my observations on life, some short fiction and things that have happened to me over my life and continue to (both trans related and not). When it is complete I will post the news here and will be happy to send you a free copy upon request in either PDF or eBook format. All I ask is that you provide me with some feedback once you're done reading it. I'm only in the early stages so it will be a while. Be well all of you.... sample pages...

my last post

This will be my last blog post. When I wrote recently that this blog had another seven years of life in it I was trying to convince myself that it was true. It was in fact a little bit of self delusion. With almost 3,000 posts to date I have accomplished what I set out to do which was to heal myself and in the process share some of the struggle I had been through with others on the chance they might find some value in my words. After seven years of writing, my life still isn't perfect; no one's is. But I have discovered a path forward completely free of the trappings which society would have had me adopt so I could fit in. Over the last 25 years of my life I have turned over every stone I could find while exploring this topic and in the process realized that we haven't even begun to scratch the surface of this deeply complex subject. What I have ultimately learned is that my instincts have more value than what someone who isn't gender dysphoric writes about me. We