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update from the show

I asked a young woman to take my photo while at the show. It was really worth coming because there were all kinds of new culinary local Quebec products that I really loved.

I may post about these soon


Difficult

If you are transsexual is it possible to have complete peace without undergoing a transition? This is a question I have reflected on at grear length and increasingly I am starting to think that the answer is no.

There is a caveat however.

While transition may bring you peace it may also being a host of other problems in the form of marriage breakups, estrangement from children, job loss and other challenges which may undo the benefits for you. If we are in middle age these decisions can be extremely difficult as we are typically embroiled with young children and in the middle of careers. This is why very young or much older transitioners tend to have an easier time. Either your life is only just beginning or conversely you are at that stage of life where retirement affords you your peace at long last.

No matter when you decide to do this it will be hard and your mileage may vary depending on your unique circumstances. This is why weighing the potential outcomes becomes crucial.

Life i…

Women's show

Later on today I will be going to the National Women's show and stay for a few hours. Will write a short entry on how it went and whether it was worthwhile this year.

I decided to do my nails regardless.


Ayla

Moonlight desires

Remember this one from Gowan with Jon Anderson from Yes lending a hand?...


think

If you are a fellow blogger I am far more interested in how you think than in what you do. After all, doing can be steeped in the mundane but it is how you interpret the choice of your actions and how you view your way forward in life that can have so much relevance in providing guidance to others who may be on the same path as you.

We grow through shared human experience and I have benefited greatly from the words and analysis of others who have come before me in helping to bring me internal peace and stability. Those sources were not necessarily always trans related.

Blogging for me is about human contact and helping each other to flourish as human beings, and it is in this light that we will help advance each other's journeys. For regardless of our particular situations, we are all beings who share the same aspirations in desiring to love others while being loved for who we are.


stereotypical

Letting go of the idea that you must do gender stereotypical things takes a while. After all, I was raised during a time when roles were very much set in stone and any divergence was quickly castigated with a barrage of scorn and ridicule. Today it is very different and kids are able to be themselves paving the way for a more egalitarian world. Whatever your inclination, you can usually find support in people who are just like you even if your own family shuns you.

The world I grew up in helped delay my self acceptance for I had little information to go on and no internet to help light my way. So I made myself fit such that I could be accepted and smothered inclinations best kept for the camouflage of an empty house; something which rarely happened in a family of six children.

I am both a feminine and a masculine being as we all are. For no human is lacking either and we manage to blend them into a proportion that can sometimes result in bristling against the sensibilities of a world …

blend

I used to feel like I was selling myself; like I had to convince people of who they were meeting. My primary problem was that I didn't have confidence in my thinking that they were able to see a woman.

Yesterday over coffee Patricia said to me:

"But that's all I see" and I knew she meant it.

I go about my business everywhere and I can see that I have blended into the background of life. I am greeted ebulliantly by people who know me and mostly ignored by those who don't.

Subway rides used to be the type of thing to think about in advance as if some sort of challenge but they too have faded into normalcy and I stand in a crowded car without a second thought. That anticlimactic feeling is what I appreciate as there is nothing to overthink. I can just feel completely free.

I did a quick head count of all the people I see regularly whether they be friends, acquaintances, baristas, merchants, the receptionist at my car dealer or the check out girls at the supermarket…

9/9

Well wadda ya know, it turns out that George Conway was right...


She's leaving home

National women's show

This Sunday after Mass I will be having my usual coffee with my friend Janet and then both of us will go to the National Women's Show held at the Montreal Palais de Congres.

I went a couple of years ago with my friend Leticia and we both had fun but she is in Mexico plus I think that Janet would enjoy it. There are food demonstrations, hair and makeup demos and a fashion show among other things. There are also goodie bags given out containing all kinds of products. It's a nice girls day out experience and although not replete with earth shattering excitement it should be fun enough for a couple of hours.

Like most women there, I'm going to dress semi casual and will be sporting a black top, slightly cropped jeans and my black pumps.


sorry but no one size fits all formula

Compromises can be discussed in relationships, but it depends what one is compromising about.

A person who crossdresses on occasion, for example, can talk about curbing or at least maintaining the frequency of their activity but someone closer to the transsexual side of the spectrum has nothing to negotiate because we are talking about identity instead of something which is occasional. Clearly then, compromise is a highly personal thing and depends on what each person thinks is acceptable to them. One thing I know for certain is that absolute honesty is a prerequisite as well as a complete understanding of who you are. Hence, someone who requires full time feminine expression will not be happy with someone who wants to roll it back by half.

There are those who identify as transgender who may suffer mild to no dysphoria at all. In this case they may be able to carry on a relatively "normal" relationship. However, others I know (some of whom contribute to this blog) had to t…

Rain Dove plays with gender

caveman

I laughed to myself this morning on the subway platform as the Montreal metro system is now teaching manners in the form of new billboards. It's amusing and they extol behavior that they say is prehistoric and under threat of extinction. One of the panels shows a caveman running into a subway car and pushing everyone out of his way and the sad part is that it's not exaggerating all that much.

I never thought it would come to this but the job our parents used to do is now left to the city. Some people can't seem to understand the concept that we let others out before we go in; fairly elementary I would think. It is not.

In my building some people look up in amazement as I exit the elevator at the ground floor thinking there couldn't possibly be someone getting off; clearly rocket scientists. As they almost plow into my chest I just give them a subtle eye roll.

Ah yes, public civility.

the new bra

"Can I help you Miss?"

I was rummaging through the sales bin at Victoria's Secret and she caught me by surprise. She was all smiles and not a day over 25 (to my eyes anyway). The bras were all $25 and it was down to the fleshy coloured one pictured below or a brown one. I asked her which of the two would be the best choice to not show through under clothing.

"The flesh colored one" she responded without missing a beat. A woman about my age had been listening and nodded in agreement and another sales girl who had snuck up from behind made it unanimous.

"Are you sure about the size? Most women wear the wrong one"

"Oh yes I've been measured before" I said confidently.

At least it wasn't hot pink because I have made that mistake before. I didn't try it on at the store, but upon returning home it fit like a glove and inconspicuous under my top.

I'm really glad I listened to them.


another wrong step

Make no mistake in that the Trump administration military service ban originates with that twisted evangelical dweeb Mike Pence supported by Franklin Graham and the rest of the Pharisee American religious right that purports to be Christian.

Starting very soon, the almost 15,000 transgender active members of the military will have to present as their birth sex or face expulsion. Those who are close to retirement will risk affecting pensions if they do not comply.

Yes, this group doesn't care who you think you are, they are going to tell who you should be and if there was ever a venomous and willfully malevolent administration in the United States this is it. Its cancerous and small-minded tactics, based on beliefs completely in discord with science, are the norm instead of the exception. They tell their true believers that a crude simpleton like Trump was chosen by God to help them instill their draconian policies. Climate change is a hoax and industrial pollution need not be a ca…

calm

Being completely relaxed is a wonderful skill to learn. It should be something all of us work on as a prerequisite to a healthier life.

I became used to living with a very high degree of stress over my life; much of it unwarranted and needless and related to keeping my identity a secret. I am working on minimizing as much of it as possible from my life because I want to profit from a state of internal peace.

This is a very hard thing to come by as most of us live a little in the past and a lot in the future envisioning drastic things that likely won't transpire. Eliminating that wasted energy can only help us and I am preaching to myself as well as I write this. Nothing good can come of that negativity other than needless suffering.

There is of course good stress which motivates us to excel but unfortunately many live with far too much of the other kind.


simple minded

People who don't understand trans people think that we're somehow stupid; that we're not aware that we don't change our DNA if we transition. We transition to rid ourselves of a dysphoria whose origin eludes us and tells us repeatedly that we belong to the other gender. If a transition quiets the noise and we are happy afterwards, then we have done the right thing. There is no agenda other than that: to live in peace and harmony just like everyone else.

If I see another conservative ignoramus post something stupid about body modifications not changing the fundamental biology, I think I will scream for these people are thick beyond words. There is mean-spiritedness behind their movement and they want to focus on things that divide rather than unite humanity; it is part of their ethos.

Transgender people want to have resonant lives instead of dissonant ones. It is very simple and yet so difficult to understand by people only interested in literal and unnuanced interpreta…

goodbye to the mainstream

Self reliance is a good skill to learn in this life and I've had to excel at it. After a solid induction to life by my parents, I ended up relying mostly on myself to move things forward and in the process try and help others. Somewhere along the line however I forgot to help myself.

I am no longer doing that and am giving myself some TLC in the form of my current part time life as a woman which is going amazingly well. I am done with the apologizing for simply being who I am and can finally live guilt free after giving it the best effort I possibly could in a world not tailor cut for someone like me.

How strange that it was in failing in the mainstream that I was finally able to find myself.


Yet another spiral into idiocy

uniformity

It doesn’t matter what churches think about transgender issues as they are not well informed enough to form an opinion. When you base your theology on the idea that there is a man and a woman, and they make babies you aren’t going to have a very nuanced view of the way humanity works at its edges (yes I am aware I am simplifying).

For example, I don’t pay attention to what the Catholic church says about this issue because they don’t have a stance at all. Rather they repeat what their mantra is and perhaps feel bad enough for trans people to tolerate them. The same way they are supposed to tolerate the sick and the down-trodden. Religions are not set up for nuance. They were established with a group think center made to accommodate the majority but leave the marginalized groups out of the picture as not respecting the way things are supposed to be. Instead of embracing the variances inherent in the wider spectrum of humanity as having validity, they chastise them as choices people make…

cans and Brahms

The inimitable Rick Wakeman on the Fragile album by Yes which I listened to over and over and over....


What parenting a trans teen teaches you

sure footed

My experiments are going well and I am trying to see how comfortable I would be living as a transitioned woman. There is no one pushing me from behind and that makes it very comfortable. People don't give me a second look (unless its height related) and treat me like any other woman which is making it easier to decide but if you know anything about me by reading this blog, I take nothing as a given. My steps will continue to be sure footed and will segue towards my July visit with Dr. Morris. That appointment may lead to nothing but I need to have another chat with him to be certain about what to do.

Being female feels natural to me and always has; I just pushed that possibility away as a pipe dream but, with my full embracing, it is starting to feel like more than a plausible option. I have all my arsenal built with decades of practice under my belt and am ready to make a switch at a moment's notice if I wanted. I have come to appreciate that woman inside of me and, more and…

K. 427

Mozart's Mass in C Minor from the Amadeus soundtrack and featuring the marvelous Felicity Lott...


dysphoria

I know for a fact that not everyone who reads my blog is gender dysphoric. Some of you might crossdress for a variety of reasons and can perhaps put away the clothing and the feminine expression for a month and think nothing of it; I cannot. Bordering on transsexualism has been difficult and I have been this way since I can remember.

My earliest memories include a desire to express a feminine self which was not allowed to blossom because of the sex I was born as. Dysphoria can be manageable for a time but the longer you ignore it, the more insistent it becomes. Hitting my early forties was my breaking point after which I could go no further and sought help at the hospital gender clinic thinking naively that I could be cured. That was 15 years ago, and I am no longer the same person.

Full blown transsexualism is no doubt even worse and commands your attention like nothing else. For someone like my friend Sherry, transition was not a choice; it simply had to happen.

Finding a solution …

taxes, taxes, taxes

When they look into Uncle Donny's taxes they are going to find Russian ties to the Kremlin which of course surprises no one. Forensic investigator and Pulitzer-Prize winning author David Cay Johnston would know as he has been looking into the Trump organization's nefarious activities since the 1980's.

Watch....


The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is a Coen Brothers anthology and it is mighty good. Set in the old west, it covers several stories with the usual wit and dark humor that the Coens are known for. It is also extraordinarily clever, very touching in parts and beautifully filmed.

Be sure not to miss this one on Netflix.


10 essentials

Of course you can add more items to this list, but here is what I consider to be the 10 most essential wardrobe items that every stylish woman should own as a minimum:

1) a black T
2) a pencil skirt
3) a good pair of well fitting jeans
4) a cardigan
5) a gabardine
6) a good pair of black pumps (they go with almost every look)
7) comfortable yet stylish ballerinas for walking
8) a pair of dress pants
9) a blazer
10) booties (fall into winter)

What have I missed from your top 10?


New Zealand

The PC safeguards are quickly falling by the wayside and we are saying what comes into our minds; it is profusely ugly. Tucker Carlson was found to be uttering misogynistic and racist things and nothing will happen because he is on FOX. Trump, who is the worst kind of lowlife imbecile, talks about the barbarians at the gates and national emergencies and is a hero to the Christchurch shooter as well as to Breitbart's alt-right audience just aching to find some group to demonize.

Yes, the public discourse has coarsened and aided and abetted by the social media divide which allows hate speech to go unfiltered since it has it's very own platforms. The flames are even further fanned by extremists who are joined in their chorus by leaders of nations which is a very bad sign. I am a big believer in education but also feel that half the world's population is effectively brain dead and virtually immune to it which makes them easy pickings for extremist propaganda. These are the kin…

bandwidth

I feel so glad for transgender and gender variant kids today that I can hardly contain my joy. Assuming that they are born into an educated and enlightened family, they get to make fully informed choices early in life. Gender has become more democratized than ever in our history and people who do not fit into oppressive societal roles can find a place for themselves. This includes deeply dysphoric transsexual kids who must transition.

My son described to me a young gay man in his high school who dressed female 100% of the time and did not consider himself transgender. He was expressing who he was which for him meant wearing female clothing. However he had no desire to change his body.

I am glad for myself too in that I have found a way forward as a gender dysphoric person. I cannot reverse all those years of suppression but I can live going forward in a way that honours who I am.

We can be a wonderful world of drag queens, crossdressers, gender variant and transsexual people and all l…

good advice from a trans girl and her mother

girls weekend

The weekend of April 13th is my girl's weekend. One of the employees in the Toronto office who knows Joanna will join me in Ottawa and we will have a good time sightseeing, shopping and dining.

It should be loads of fun as she is a wonderful person. She is also expecting her first child in July so the timing is good for in that she will still be relatively mobile. I am not going to over pack for only two and a half days hence just a minimal wardrobe, two pairs of heels, one pair of flats and an umbrella.

Should be a hoot.

On a separate note, I went out for dinner last night and the waitress was so nice to me and kept calling me Madame at the end of every sentence. It was very nice to hear and get such nice table service.


Contusion

Featuring the great guitarist Michael Semballo and of course Herbie Hancock on keys...


from the other side of that fence

My being trans didn't destroy my relationships but it absolutely did not help either for it made navigating the waters of daily life that much more complex through adding the stress of needing to circumvent my reality.

The relationships failed primarily for other reasons and yet I know that living more openly and honestly would have helped me.

I won't ever again entertain the idea of trying to get around who I am and what is helping is my nonexistent appetite for reentering those courtship waters which allows for my main focus to be an identity which is not up for negotiation. In fact no one's should ever be which is something I learned the hard way over my life.

When we are still embroiled in trying to fit in rather than being our true selves, we might be tempted to think we can have both a relationship as well as authenticity. But sitting on the other side of that fence today, I can clearly see that, most of the time, the answer is no.


convinced

We have arrived when we no longer feel the need to explain our identity to others for we have convinced ourselves, and that is the hardest part of all.




embraced

"Hey gorgeous"

She leans over the counter and stares me square in the eyes.

"Don't say that" I retort

"Why not? that's what you are" she insists

She is my son's age and cute as a button and she chats with me while she prepares my coffee. She has the longest lashes I have ever seen which no doubt got a little bit of help.

I haven't changed anything except that I am hyper confident as a woman. I know who I am and that resonates with people who see me; at least that's what I tell myself. I think there is no substitute for drilling down to your core and discovering who you are which has always been predominantly female. It doesn't matter how hard I tried to disguise it; nothing was going to change it. Now that my concious mind knows it there is nothing else left for me except regale in it.

We can run but we cannot hide and eventually she catches up with you begging you to see the girl in the mirror and embrace her.


tolerance and empathy

Christchurch is another example of white man's rage. It is the result of societal change bristling against the entitlement of monolithic societies not accustomed to sharing a landscape.

Here in Canada, Quebec City had it's own mosque shooting which left many dead and wounded although it pales compared to this one which had been live streamed directly to the internet by the 28 year old perpetrator.

Meanwhile in the United States, the fat imbecile in power, dog whistles to his base about the Democrats and the Mueller report almost daring someone to intervene except that these crazies don't need all that much goading as they are already operating on a hair trigger.

There will be more of these until we learn to put the right safety guards in place; the first one being the teaching of tolerance and empathy.


the coming years

I am really looking forward to the future.

Things are going to change quite a lot in my life in the next few years, and as my children become even more independent, I will be seeing a remaking of my life that is quite drastic.

What I seek is flexibility and the ability to work when I want. I have musical projects, continuing with this blog, working with Patricia, writing another book and possibly volunteering somewhere. This will all reinvigorate my life and provide some much-needed change.

To what degree I will transition remains open and I will test those waters very slowly. There is no rush to end up in a predetermined place, but I want to enjoy the ride and see where it takes me.

This is all contingent on health of course.

Roy Rogers

the pot calling the kettle black

What a monumental idiot Trump is. Apparently his own spasmodic accordion playing doesn't qualify...


salt water

I have been thinking about collating all my posts related to pseudoscience into one area on my site but I still need to figure out how to do it. I won't feature them all but just the ones I am most happy with. There is nothing more galling to me than reaching conclusions without sufficient evidence and whether it's Blanchard, religious crackpots or TERFS, there are different agendas out there all aimed at delegitimizing transgender people.

Consider that we are as old as humankind and yet our pursuers continue to push their agendas, some as if we were the new flavor of the month and had just been invented, when the only thing that has changed about trans people is that we are no longer in hiding and aren't going back.

I was trained to think rationally first by my father and then by my formal education and, finding holes that you could drive a truck through in the conclusions made by people who don't know what they are talking about, is one of the primary reasons this bl…

it's almost here

I am really looking forward to ditching the boots soon and switching to my pumps or flats. It felt like a long winter with plenty of episodes of freezing rain which made the streets of Montreal incredibly slippery.

My city is full of construction sites as we are getting a major face lift; one that is perhaps overdue as we slowly approach 400 years of age. But she will be beautiful again when it's all done.

Getting around without needing to wear a big coat and winter boots will be a welcome relief and this girl cannot wait.


I cannot have anything to do with you

in trouble yet again

Poor Tucker Carlson he just can't seem to catch a break these days. What with these pesky radio recordings of him being a total douche bag and revealing what he really thinks about women and men who marry underage girls.

Tucker always has that frowny befuddled look on camera; like the confused dog looking at you from the back window of your car wondering why you've left him behind. But I don't feel too bad for him because with his huge inheritance and myopic view of the world rooted in an entitled upbringing, he can afford to pontificate on social issues from the comfort of his FOX studio in his well right of center perspective.

However it appears that advertisers may have had enough and we will see what the fate of his show will be. Perhaps this time, even Republican women will have had enough of him.


hate

I am fascinated by hate.

It seems that its roots lie in the insecurities that people have about themselves and manifests itself in outward ways. Why would you hate someone who has done nothing to you and why would their life impact you in any way if you do not know them?

Much of the world thrives on hate as if it were oxygen. It permeates the pores and gives a raison d’etre to groups who must find enemies to slay lest they look inwards towards themselves and discover their own failings. People of every stripe who don’t fit someone else’s idea of normality will continue to become martyrs of those who themselves need repair but dare not ever look in a mirror.

The evolution of humankind depends of wiping out hatred but so long as there are those who have been traumatized through their own childhoods, it will continue to exist unencumbered by facts. It will fester in places where ignorance and bitterness incubate and find a home in another person ready to do battle with reality.

speaking of earrings

Thanks to Melissa for pointing out that typo in my post on earrings.

I also wanted to show off my new dangly ones which I really like....


this is not exactly news

Nice to see a John Hopkins psychiatrist confirm what most of us have already noticed. Trump has some sort of cognitive problem which could be signs of pre-dementia and it could be getting worse. Slurring words, strange Twitter misspellings, nonsensical rambling, making up new last names for people (hello Tim Apple), etc. It's all very strange but what is it going to take before something is done about it I wonder?

David Pakman speculates on his show...



journey

Living as a woman in my private life is teaching me much more than I could have imagined. Things are incredibly different for women in that there is more prejudice towards them but I find the role fits me like a glove. I like having other women smile at me and recognize me as part of their sorority. I like the banter I share with them and the comfort it brings me and I sometimes wonder what it would have been like to grow up as one.

Once I let go of the shame and guilt, I found it was easy to fit into a role that perhaps I was born to play except that biology got in the way. I have relaxed to such a point that I do not question myself in the slightest; I am just another woman going about her business in the world.

That's a monumental leap for someone like me but I am running with it.

I have read many intelligent transgender people's blogs in which they have stated that transition is not a goal but a journey and, without a target other than remaining balanced and happy, I will …

rough cut

Here is a very rough and early partial cut of my daughter's movie including some of my music on it. You can even see her partner near the end of this clip making some movements and watch the little alien character responding in kind. The animation process was very tedious but in the end proved very gratifying for the both of them.

They didn't end up using my music but I was still glad to have helped them in the early stages...


pierced

Once I'm done working full time I have decided to pierce my ears. It is going to give me a bigger choice of earrings to wear as not every style I like comes in a clip.

I will then treat myself to a nice pair of pearl earrings since I wear that style more than half the time.


The Virgin and the Gypsy

fringe

America has a long history of violence and demonstration and the more radical fringe groups have been emboldened by the Trump presidency; by a man who has no filter or moral compass.

The Proud Boys are one such group who helped organize the Charlottesville rally and whose members go to Trump rallies and cheer him on from behind his podium. They also go to progressive states like Oregon and demonstrate because they want to be seen, fight and cause general mayhem.

Yes, this president has picked up a rock and exposed all of the ugliness living underneath that dare not show its head before; or at least not quite so defiantly.

These fringe groups are not going anywhere and even when this disastrous presidency is mercifully over they will crawl back into their holes waiting for the next opportune time to strike.


GOP Jesus

grieving

ending

For me the last section of F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" is one of the most beautifully poetic endings to a novel that I have ever read and the last line stays with me to this day many decades after first reading it in high school...

"the old unknown world, I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.

Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And one fine morning——

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past"



haste

My life is being simplified as the years go by. I have two adult children who are slowly finding their way in the world and the time put into them was worth every penny. But now its time for me and what my life will look like over the next few years.

I am very tempted to work as a woman whether that be full or part time and that will likely help me decide whether I formally change gender marker or not. This is the last piece of the puzzle for me and the end of a very long road which will have taken 60 years of my life to complete.

Those of you who are close to my age and in a comparable place on the gender spectrum understand all too well what a difficult road this is. We knew nothing back then and thought we were the only ones suffering from a difference we couldn't possibly comprehend. We had very little literature and had no one to talk to about it.

I am very hopeful today in large part because carrying a weight for decades builds muscles you don't even realize were there. …

the end of the party

Neoliberalism was a failed experiment. Espoused by the Clinton administration, Tony Blair and other world leaders it sought to work with open markets and open borders to encourage trade between nations without understanding the consequences of what that would mean for the middle and lower classes.

Corporations ran rough shod over the portions of those populations that could not be retrained and helped to create the current income disparity we see today. Without proper safety valves, nations such as the US were particularly vulnerable since those on the bottom rung had nothing to cling to.

This also led to dissatisfaction in Britain and helped foster Brexit as well as aid the election of Trump through the mistrust created by these open border centrists. Hillary Clinton and her policies represented the epitome of this movement which voters rejected.

If there is to be some good news to be had here is that the progressives are taking over he landscape thanks to a disastrous Trump takeover…

Cyrus??

This should scare the crap out of you...


blabbermouth

I'm afraud I'm a bit of a blabbermouth these days, so when I saw the young black woman chatting with a friend and sporting a beautifully coiffed afro I just had to say something:

"Juste pour vous dire mademoiselle que j'adore vos cheveux"

She beamed a big smile right back and said:

"Oh merci Madame c'est tres gentil"

I just couldn't help it, plus I made her so happy when I said it.


Oscar

Nothing else to say except it's Oscar...


solitudes

Rural versus urban folk have always been drastically different in any country but the current US situation is particularly marked. There is a lifestyle divide but also a political one which pits what some describe as good old American values against urban liberal elitism.

This happened over a long period as the Republican party made major inroads into the midwest and the rural south where Democrats used to be in the majority. This contrast is so stark today that I am not sure there is a way to bridge the gap because it permeates all the way into the life mantra DNA.

Religious observance also separates the two groups which is something that does not endear one to the other. Perhaps this is what helps feed the anti-intellectual sentiment in the red states.

If there was ever a situation ripe for social unrest it is this one and, although it may not end in physical violence, in certain circles the resentment seems to border on it through being fed by fanning those internet echo chamber fl…

Gould, Bernstein and Bach

I have never seen anyone play Bach with as much passion and fervor as Glenn Gould. Here he is being conducted by the late great Leonard Bernstein...


don't feed the animals

External signs of religion observance do perturb me but I will defend the right of another person to wear them. My issue has to do with placing undo emphasis on the wearing of objects as being indicative of religious fervor. I find it irrational and overly dogmatic and failing to do so should not be viewed quite so drastically. But that's just me.

I remember an incident told to me by an engineering colleague whereby a Sikh gentleman was visiting a plant and was forced to remove his turban to accommodate the hard hat. Upon his return the turban was nowhere to be found and he had to be calmed down until it was eventually found. Again, I am at a loss to explain what I view as irrational behavior over an object tied to such a level of orthodoxy that it defies logic.

I would feel the same way about a Catholic who would freak out about misplacing their St Chistopher medal. It's not about a specific religion.

But now my provincial government has instilled a law that prohibits the wea…

visceral

With all due respect to those of you who identify as crossdreamers, one thing is for a partner to intellectually understand that there is a female inside of you, but quite another to viscerally witness it in all its glory as we present as females.

Hence, after pondering on this problem for quite some time, I feel that for those of you who seek companionship there is no better solution than to be partnered to someone who leans both ways sexually. This way, regardless of a transition or not, your life partner just sees a person and not a gender. By the way, this situation is improving with the millenials who are more apt to be more tolerant and inclusive.

But it is hardly the fault of heterosexual women that they are attracted to men, so this is not an issue of blame and most who stay with transitioning partners adapt to something that isn't exactly desirable to them. In other words, they learn to live with it. Even spouses of crossdressers are hardly overjoyed at the prospect of th…

your personal style

By now, I know very well what works on me. The shades of lipstick and the palette of colours that complement your look are things that take time to discover. Every woman eventually develops an arsenal of fallbacks that she knows will not fail. When in doubt, to start, stick to solid colours and avoid patterns unless you really know which ones work on you.

Black tops are an absolute essential as are well fitting jeans. A pair of black pumps is a must as well as some comfortable flats for walking. You get to know these things as you spend time going out and living day to day as a woman (whether part time or full).

Rome wasn't built in a day and I remember learning through trial and error until I got to a wardrobe that fit what type of woman I wanted to portray to the world while respecting my skin colour and body type. I have always tended to favor classic sophistication with a touch of casual which is what I aim for.

By all means experiment with the idea that you are trying to fit …

Village Ghetto Land

Brilliant tune from a brilliant album which played for endless weeks at number one while I was in high school...


segments

We recall our lives in segments: when we were schoolchildren, when we were teens, when we were married, when our children were first born. Not every moment is captured in the memory reel but the flavor of the people we once were seems to remain like a kind of fragrance which leaves its trace behind such that we can call upon it from time to time.

The milestones are also there to remind us of the marking posts of our lives. They offer us a glimpse into the type of person we once were before we grew out of our cocoon and morphed yet again into someone slightly different; hopefully someone more mature and stable.

I sometimes reflect before going to sleep on those phases and how they have helped shape me over time. Every overlap with another person has enriched us somehow and, even if not every experience was always pleasant, there was growth to be found there. The segments are like strips of life DNA in that they form the basis of who we are and, for better or worse, the collation and se…

on the public record

The wonderful thing about recorded media is that you cannot hide from it and here Lawrence O'Donnell has little trouble bringing it back to remind Lindsey Graham of his deep hypocrisy. Once you go down one road and commit yourself, be careful of your about face because it will be remembered for posterity. This particular one is so flagrant as to be deeply embarrassing but not in this day and age when voter memory lasts a paltry 5 minutes.

Graham is a deeply hypocritical man who now feigns adulation for Trump after calling him a jackass on more than a few occasions but, in Washington, it seems political expediency sometimes wins over decency and having a moral compass.

At least that is the case for the now disgraced Mr. Graham...


sheep

I have decided that a healthy cross section of humanity are effectively the equivalent of unthinking sheep; a conclusion arrived at through the observation of society collected via mass media plus my own mental notes gathered over my lifetime. Believe me I take no great pleasure in saying this, but the reflex to react before reflecting is so strong in humankind that I do not believe that this kind of stupidity can be expunged; no matter our technological advancement.

For example, the way people are so easily fooled by lying politicians who sell them a false bill of goods is staggering. Consider, for example, that the US Mexico border covers approximately 3,000 kilometers and yet there were people who actually believed a wall would be built covering its length. If we began today perhaps one would be completed sometime between 10 and 20 years from now; a conclusion any thinking person would be able to arrive at and yet adulating Trump crowds believed it without question. Many didn't…

hammer in the sand

Benjamin's befuddlement

Harry Benjamin had seen his fair share of patients from all over the gender spectrum, and in his 1966 opus "The Transsexual Phenomenon" he wrote the following paragraph which expressed his befuddlement over the hierarchy that many created for themselves with no basis in anything solid:

“Too many individuals are that way; what they do not like must be forbidden and punished. Then they are satisfied. I have even met transvestites who dislike (or pretend to dislike) transsexualism so much that they are against estrogen treatment and operation (for reasons of self protection?). There are also transsexuals who dislike transvestites as well as homosexuals. Intolerance can be found in strange quarters.”

I admit to being confused by this as well and, considering we know so little about the origin of trans identities, it begs the question as to why some would feel the need to discriminate against others. Of course, fear is the great motivator of humanity and when we feel threatened we…

about equal?

If you cannot be entirely happy on your own, you cannot be so by being accompanied by another being since it is not they who bring you contentment; it is you. I have learned this lesson first hand in my life and is now part of my knowledge base which I will carry with me until I am gone. The other person adds company and good times but also a healthy dose of complexity in the problems that they bring to the table. Hence, whilst alone we may suffer from the occasional bout of loneliness, there is great advantage in the freedom one possesses.

When a relationship isn't healthy the minuses will outweigh the pluses adding weight to the adage "better alone than badly accompanied" which is why it is so unfortunate that we make our choices while we are young in life and haven't benefitted from the wisdom that experience and a knowledge of self brings.

While there is no doubt that a good partnership adds meaning to your life, an unhealthy one detracts from your personal advan…

a road less travelled

One of my instrumentals...


music to my ears

I have known Patricia for quite some time and felt comfortable enough to ask the following question which I prefaced by requesting a very brutally honest answer because there would be no repercussions regardless. Hence I texted:

"On a scale of 1 to 10 how successful is my passing?"

After a little while she texted me back

"9 but that's because you told me. Otherwise I wouldn't have known you were trans"

Even if passing isn't my ultimate objective, I must admit it was still music to my ears.

Bulls**t

Voltaire

Ironically, Voltaire had a tremendous influence on the founding fathers of America who saw his philosophy of rational thought, which included a rejection of superstition and bigotry, as ideal fundamental principles for their new country.

How strange then that in the 21st century some have abandoned these ideas in favor of trying to make the United States into a nation built upon bastardized religious ideas; something which would have greatly perturbed Jefferson, Franklin and many others. It is the dumbing down of society to swallow a bitter pill which must not be questioned...


some raw meat for the disciples

Trump gives a long and unhinged speech where he provides his sycophants with some red meat to chew on. None of it is something Trump personally believes mind you, but he just likes to feed off the adulation.

Yes, he is a mindless idiot who lies at every turn, and the crowd here was just like the ones at his lowbrow rallies; enough flag hugging and flying rhetoric to satiate every extreme right wing appetite.

I trust you all have strong stomachs?


Laila

Laila greets me with a huge smile and the same eboulient greeting every Saturday morning.

"Joanne comment ca va?!"

She is of Algerian descent and speaks French with a distinctly European affectation which is unmistakable as it is endearing. Laila also seems forever happy.

By now most of you know I am an early riser and by 6 am I am at the public market where she works and instantly pounces on the espresso machine upon seeing me. She chats away as she prepares my coffee and we compare notes on small things that come into each other's heads.

These little routines help stabilize me with the interactions with others fill in the blanks on further understanding human psychology and how we can learn from others. Laila's positive attitude is infectious and I am certain her colleagues would miss her energetic banter as they begin their day.

I know I for one greatly appreciate it.





Spot the Pigeon

After releasing "A Trick of the Tail" and "Wind and Wuthering" Genesis had a few tracks left over which ended up on an EP called "Spot the Pigeon". One of those songs is called "Inside and Out" which featured Genesis at the height of their playing powers before Steve Hackett left them (what a huge loss). I saw him last year at Place des Arts and it was a treat to behold.

"Inside and Out" which was a Hackett penned tune should have replaced "Your Own Special Way" but oh well. The fun on this track starts at 4:06 when everyone gets to wail with even Mike Rutherford ripping out a nice bass line...


sailed

There are many of us who exist on the cusp of full-blown transsexualism and Harry Benjamin identified us among his many hundreds of patients who did not fully transition but instead lived in various states between doing nothing about our dysphoria and going all the way. There used to be a narrative in the transsexual community that if you were really a woman it was either transition or die and indeed that was the case for many but not all. Benjamin's type IVs for example, straddled that line and many never carried through.

Benjamin helped to show us that gender is a spectrum, and, in that sense, he was ahead of his time. His work still stands out for me as the best example of having great empathy for his patients while refraining from preposterous theorizing without sufficient evidence.

Yes, my life would have been far easier if I belonged among the first categories of his scale and calling myself a crossdresser was something I did for a time wishing desperately for it to be true.…

nicely done

a gift

Patricia has bestowed a great honor upon me: she calls me her new big sister. We get along really well and she sees the real me without difficulty. In absence of getting along with her own older sibling who she no longer speaks to, I seem to have taken her place. She has even told her mother this which surprised me greatly. I do not take her words lightly because I can sense she values my input and, as someone 14 years her senior who has been through some life challenges, it seems that we have established a bond as friends as well as co-workers.

To be taken into confidence as a woman by another woman is an amazing gift and I don't take her words lightly. On the other hand, I tell her not to hang her hat on my every pronouncement because I am as flawed as the next person (don't I know that better than anyone).

The most recent thing I have advised her to do is not to throw away her current relationship because dealing with human imperfection is our lot on life and she will just …

menial

I was a 20 year old Physics student at the time working at a mailing firm between semesters. The people were friendly and the day flew unnoticed as we tended to machines which stuffed advertisements into envelopes. The darned machines also had a tendency to break down at the most inopportune moments.

The people there knew what to do and I was quickly versed in the art of returning the flow to a particular sub-mechanism that had refused to cooperate and then rewarded with a wry smile of recognition for my ingenuity. These were kind but rugged and weather beaten folks who had suffered through the indignities of months without work which would at times see them apply for unemployment. It was a ragtag family stitched together through necessity and they bonded through the humor that was shared over lunch hours in a small room more aptly described as a large vestibule.

I learned much about life there and about people's lives whose company I would never return to. They understood the imp…

investment

What exactly is my investment in being male? I ask myself this in all seriousness these days. For there is nothing about my life that requires I be one other than presenting at work and seeing my kids and family.

In essence, I am not sure whether I am afraid or still want a foothold in the male world. When you have played a role for well over 5 decades, it is by no means simple to disconnect from it. Your brain is a jumble combining who you know you are and the pervasive conditioning you were exposed to. However I am letting my mind wander and avoid indulging in preconceived ideas. I am leaving it free to explore the concept of a life which could include me being a full time woman.

But I am old enough to be completely free of illusory ideals and I just let my experimentation drive me forward without a definitive target.

"Just enjoy the ride" I tell myself

how I hate to admit this

Dumb as a bag of rocks, started an illegal war, allowed for US torture policy, suspended homeland civil liberties, facilitated a bunch of Machiavellian neocons led by Cheney and Rumsfeld to get their way in the world, and yet, he still looks better compared to the current idiot...


depth

It is extremely painful to break up with someone you think you know but then rarely do we leave ourselves completely vulnerable to be understood by another being.

I am fascinated by how we manage to obfuscate and live at a pragmatic surface level without letting someone truly in and it seems that this journey is very rarely made by most couples. To let someone really know you requires exposing the soft underbelly of what makes us function which includes many of the hurts and ills we carry around in our baggage. That requires courage because it can be seen by some as divulging a weak spot that can be used against them.

I must admit to not truly understanding relationships but in my mind's eye I see it as a deep connection borne out of a trust which makes every effort not to injure and uphold the dignity of the other. This is a wiring together of two minds which have decided to put down their weapons and trust that they will not be gored by the other.

From my observation, most peopl…

black light

a pacifying noise

My blog isn't for everyone and I know it but then popularity is hardly my aim. I want to make the thinkers reflect on aspects of life from the angle of someone trans and share my perspective on how odd our existence can be such that we can try and separate the wheat from the chaff.

Our societies are made up of so much fabricated noise that a good portion of my life to date has been spent deconstructing it to find what is essential. Humanity needs to create narratives to calm itself into complacency and be able to ignore the pressing matters which require our immediate attention. We rely on pacifying noise so we don't need to think.

To do this we conceive stories of the perfect romantic scenario which leads to marriage and perhaps to children. All the way along the deception begins to reveal itself, not because those weren't good things, but because our narratives around them turned out to be false. We bought into a model of alternate reality which we thought would make us …