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a guest post

Well here is a first for my blog.

Linda, who is from the UK and a regular reader of my blog, was very kind to have written a review of my book which she encouraged me to share with the rest of my readers (thanks so much Linda!)....

"I have been following Joanna’s blog for some time, probably because I feel a kindred spirit and like Joanna, I also think about many aspects of being trans and we happen to be a similar age. I had wanted to read her book but am not able to make online purchases without my wife being aware. However, when Joanna recently offered to give her book to anyone who asked, I jumped at my chance.

First of all, it is of course very well written as are her posts. It was also lovely to learn more of her upbringing and insights into life in her own family. Joanna is also very open and honest describing her intimate thoughts and feelings throughout her life. As expected, she summarises literature and reminded me of the reassurance I also got from Benjamin and Stoller in the mid 70’s, eons before the internet, which does it so much more comprehensively today. I also agree with Joanna on ‘biological predisposition’ although identical twins might suggest not entirely genetics? Like Joanna and probably most of us, ‘I couldn't understand why I was so drawn to the idea of being a girl; I simply was.’ She also covers Money and the Reimers, which was such a tragedy but again convinces me that I could not possibly be as I am without there being something in my ‘make up’ (sorry, appalling pun).

From whenever we first get that urge, we learn that although it may wax and wane, it never goes away and Joanna is honest about there being no cure. However, she does offer her experience as an example of how we can live with it and as we have seen in her blog, how this does not have to mean transition to which I can also attest (I did say that we have a lot in common). She goes on to detail various aspects of coping with our dressing and I could not agree more with what ‘Confidence’ can do to help those who let ourselves go out in public but are we women? This is currently a hot ticket item in the media that Joanna addresses very gently. For me, when out, nothing gives me greater pleasure than just being treated as another woman and I know that is true for Joanna as well.

Joanna also examines people who hate – there will always be some, for all kinds of reasons – as well as that perennial worry, arousal. On the latter, few of us are asexual and there are way more things in heaven and earth than shall ever be understood in our lifetimes but Joanna never shrinks from how it is and of course, her antithesis to the notion of autogynephilia (which, surprise, I also share).

She moves on to what has helped her live with being trans. Self acceptance of who we are, being key. How she started and matured in being able to go out in public both ups and downs with her usual honesty as well as the things we learn along the way since we have not grown up as females. Thoughts about gender, not sex as well as the addition of religion for those of us who do are helpful and again offered from personal experience and then the sun shines ‘You go girl!’ We cannot deny our femininity, so what can we do to embrace it – Joanna has some basic and practical insights (I could also echo, lol).

However, it is not all sweetness and light, the ugly ‘shame and guilt’ heads are reared but dealt with sensibly – we did not chose or ask to be this way – and should we transition is discussed in depth. For some, this will be a no brainer while for others it is a real dilemma but typical of Joanna, she addresses it thoughtfully and logically as, while clearly very emotive, it must be assessed in the cold light of day.

We are also products of our lives and times and things are certainly way different for millennials than our generation although in some ways I think things can be harder as there are so many more options now. Labels are best placed on tin cans but can also be millstones for us although through them comes awareness and acceptance which has been good; none of us need be alone and we are here. In typical fashion, Joanna encourages us to be true to ourselves, which is called ‘authenticity’ before summarising what she has personally learned in her trans life so far.

She began with ‘I hope you enjoy reading as much as I found pleasure in writing.’ to which I can heartfully answer that I did (presuming the meticulous writing really was a pleasure)."

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