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In isolation

I have wondered whether it is preferable to heal your own psyche versus being guided by a therapist. I am still on the fence on both approaches as I find inconveniences and benefits in both. One of the dangers of seeking help is finding the wrong specialist and then being even unintentionally goaded onto a path which doesn't suit you. One thing is for crrtain: doing it yourself takes longer but what I liked about it is that I was able to be certain of each step as it had been pondered over for quite some time. The other problem with therapists is that many are not well versed in trans issues. One of the gender therapists I was sporadically seeing wanted me in her group sessions because she wanted my input with her transsexual patients. I was flattered but I declined because I was afraid of groupthink and didn't yet trust my ability to resist embarking on a medical transition I was still marinating over in my mind. Interestingly I am now more than ever convinced that they are s

Being embraced

C isgender women of my generation were just as indoctrinated as cisgender men and hence when it came to gender roles they were hard pressed to process what happened when they unwittingly married a trans person. That divulging of information could have been akin to getting hit by a freight train and I have nothing but sympathy for them because I have often imagined the roles being reversed and how I would handle it. It must have been even harder when that information was divulged well into the marriage and paralleled the self discovery of the trans person themselves. That was my scenario. This is why I feel that trans people are better off on their own unless they happen upon someone who loves them fully for who they are; no preconditions on identity. Plus, if the trans person is more on the transsexual side of the spectrum, there could be serious psychological consequences to suppression. Here, man-loving (androphilic) transsexuals who are aligned in both identity and sexual orientatio

A growing threat

S ince the GOP morphed into a cult of personality they have only amplified their rage. The former president and messiah of the fringe, a putrid husk of a human being with no observable redeeming qualities, permitted them to say the quiet parts out loud and exposed the rot which was very much alive and well in the country. There is no going back of course and now that the entire right has been uncomfortably placed in the same crockpot, the party may be beyond repair. It must be said that the dangers of a two party system are not helping matters as the Democrats also fight for their soul in a battle pitting a progressive wing against a corporatist faction hellbent on preserving the status quo. Both parties are not the same of course and the fascist instincts of the right are making them the biggest threat to an already dangerously fragile Republic. If the Republicans' strategy to use culture war outrage as weapon continues, there may be nothing left to do but watch the damage happen

More lunacy

 

Crafting your own femininity

When I am out in the world I like to comport myself as a lady. Manners are important yes but it's more about being dignified and respectful of others (assuming they return in kind). Part of what embracing my femininity means for me is the idea of being a kinder and gentler version of myself who holds a more empathetic view of others. Living more honestly has helped me in that department where I can settle into myself even as I still know how to use the reflexes I was taught to employ while growing up. This can lead to confusion if we allow it and make us think that we must act to transition fully. While for some this may be the ideal and even mandatory medical transition scenario, others may find their internal balance point elsewhere by creating a unique vision of what being a feminine being means.

How you feel

The things that allow other people to gender you correctly are often about your clothing, voice and mannerisms. The thing that allows you to gender yourself correctly is all about your insides.

What is left to do

Many of us who grew up being sold the idea that we were fundamentally flawed struggled. We had no one to disclose our secret to and we might have thought we were the only ones who suffered from a problem that was preventing us from being like everyone else. That history leaves traces of damage and no matter how hard we try to erase it it's not going to be the same as for those kids who today are spared the indoctrination. Rewriting your narrative is not going to be perfect and you need to make peace with your past if you are to embrace the future. This is work which I have left to do and I am giving myself plenty of time to do it.  One fundamental aspect I believe is pivotal is to leave self judgement behind. For we cannot move forward if we still hear the voices from our past telling us that we aren't measuring up. We are always works in progress which will continue until our time here is up.

Can you understand?

Our full potential

I 've built a very nice rapport with my upstairs neighbor who is 72 years old and full of life. We hit it off from the moment we met and we helped each other get through the pandemic by having coffees and talking about life. She is also a great supporter of mine and has always been progressive. Her daughter is married to a woman for the last 25 years. As trans people we need to be proud of who we are and live in the light. I wish I had been able to live this way before but it's never too late to reach our full potential.

A forgone conclusion

Th e reason that overly dogmatic religious orthodoxy perturbs me is that it can cloud critical thinking. If you are already in possession of a foregone conclusion then you will simply look for evidence which fulfills it. However, th is problem can apply to any practice where ideology drives you to hunt for the like minded rather than staying open to receiving more evidence. As someone who needed to shake the shackles of a religion which rejected my identity, I needed to look behind the curtain to see where the problem lay and it was as usual based in human frailty and prejudice rather than in any cosmically ordained edict. Much of the world operates this way with a conclusion in search of the necessary evidence, and it is really such a shame. AGP theory, which I mentioned again here recently, was based on the same faulty procedure and it crumbled specifically because of it. It was yet another idea where the cart was put before the horse.

Routine

Where I have my coffee every morning is quaint, comfortable and rustic just like my neighborhood. Many of us like routine and I am no exception. There is something comfortable in the predictable when so many other aspects of our lives are the pure antithesis of that. Routine grounds me although I am assuredly going to jettison some of it when I slip into partial retirement. This particular one, however, is one I am unlikely to abandon.

Challenged

Life should be lived with the daily reminder that our time is finite on this earth. That realization should serve us to be judicious and wise with how we spend it and being mired in self deprication and fear may not be the best choice. The person who began this blog over 9 years ago no longer exists and a stronger and hardier variant was created during the search for self comprehension. Greater self respect was also gained as the ability to deal with my dysphoria ameliorated. We all have challenges in life and if we handle them with proper perspective regarding the right amount of effort required, then we can consider ourselves very fortunate indeed.

Morning Joe's moment of clarity

Kyle Kulinski cannot believe his ears at this moment of clarity from Morning Joe who blatantly states one of the obvious flaws in the American system.....

Passport

Thus far I have not had an issue with the Quebec vaccine passport. Even if the information contained therein has my male name, not one time have I had a problem. Perhaps for those who inspect it's because they don't look properly or simply that encountering a trans person in 2021 is hardly a surprise. Either way I am not perturbed and would be ready to just explain that I have not yet changed my gender marker and leave it at that.  We should never be afraid of these types of situations but I am not one to talk as a few years ago they would still have been a source of stress. No longer.

On Reflection

 

Keepers

W hen I wrote recently that I don't wear stiletto heels I forgot there is one pair left in my closet which I sometimes do. They are pointed toe with a 1 inch heel and are comfortable enough for short stints or when you don't need to walk for miles. So today I dusted them off and took them for a spin with my skinny blue jeans. If I can wear shoes for at least 4 hours and not wreck my feet then they are not thrown out. With these I am straddling the comfort/style tightrope and I keep them because having nice black pumps for more dressy occasions is a must :)

The damage done

Larry Elder who was running against Gavin Newsome in the California recall preemptively called voter fraud even before the election had occurred. This under normal circumstances would be comically ludicrous except these are far from being normal times. The truth as optional scenario need not perturb politicians because we have now reached the era where personal truth supersedes anything else. If you believe that voter fraud has happened (or will), then that is good enough. But this is just one example of many. It would have been hard to envision that unprecedented access to information of our era would have produced such a perversion of reality until one remembers what lack of education and the internet echo chamber have done to our world. Human intelligence has not increased and arguably has decreased through disinterest in intellectual pursuits which has yielded a mass anti-science movement among people who basically know nothing about most issues. As I marvel on an almost daily

"Mange la marde"

I am very nice with people and they the same with me however in the back of your mind you must have a little "mange la marde" in you which in good Quebecois colloquial French is a slightly more vulgar version of "eat shit" The attitude you need to have is confidence coupled with awareness of the possibility you may need to bare your fangs and if you are even looked at the wrong way you should be able to convey a clear message. Earlier in my life I swallowed a fair bit of the stupidity of society and hence today I am not to be trifled with. Because although you may want to inflict damage on me I am more than capable of returning in kind. In other words, "mange la marde" :)

The Gathering Sky

 

To the bone

My own lifetime has seen a movement from an almost monolithic world view based on imposed social norms to one of shifting spectrum built on individual identities. This has of course created a backlash among absolutist thinkers who desire a return to a predictable which we clearly will no longer be going back to. This paradigm shift has emboldened a more rabid version of the right wing but that is the price to be paid for an emergence of the shadows of people who simply want to be free to express themselves as they like. But this is too radical for those who have clung to dogma which facilitated adherence of the general population to simpler political and social models. Once you allow people more freedom you also find it harder to control them. Small wonder then that the elite factions which pull the strings are less than enthused. One such power used to be the major organized religions but they have lost much of their flock to spiritual movements which are themselves also highly indiv

Change over the decades

When I was much younger the expression of my trans identity was sporadic and infrequent because it was steeped in shame. As a result when it did happen much emphasis was put on making it count before things were tossed away. This meant making sure that the external presentation was focused on. Today as I have gained a more wholistic view of my identity, that expression has morphed and requires I focus less on externals. What is interesting is that this has not been a deliberate choice but rather a natural progression and a result of living mostly as Joanna.  Even among cisgender men and women there is a range of preference and focus and hence it makes sense that the same should apply to trans people. I have seen transsexuals trade in their jeans and T-shirts for those of the other gender and be happy. I never envisioned myself being where I am and it is fascinating to me how I have changed both internally and externally over the decades.

Living as honestly as we dare

Twice now I have seen what it is like living in a partnership while almost completely (the first time) and partly (the second time) suppressing my identity. I now know that living authentically to be the most favorable option which is something you cannot be certain about until you have seen both sides. Breakups are brutal affairs which leave deep scars and as much as I had not planned to be in that situation ever again, the last one left me in the position of rebuilding my life while promising to never to enter a relationship again. That oath is what allowed this long period of solitude to repair my psyche and see what life could be like living as honestly as I dared. It is very rare when trans people are in a situation where compromise is completely off the table, but I have realized that an identity cannot and should not be negotiated away. Hence as I was licking my wounds, I was able to experiment and treat my gender dysphoria as a priority rather than a secondary thing which i

Questions

I  have reflected on the treatment I get as a woman and it is very interesting to me as a subject. I ask myself to what degree it is because of the way I am presenting versus the way I am now interacting with others. In other words, is my freedom to express myself as a woman having more impact than people seeing and reacting to one? It is certain that I behave slightly differently as Joanna and I have given myself carte blanche to be more feminine without being a caricature. Once you remove the pressure to act deliberately male, the body and mind relax to interact as one pleases. That also begs me asking how much of behaviour is learned versus being innate. Have I learned to imitate other women through watching them and copying their gestures and was my male persona also a social fabrication meant to allow me to fit in? I doubt I will ever have the answers.

Something is wrong

Neoliberalism was supposed to democratize global economies except that it did just the opposite. Since many nations operated under conditions that infringed on basic human rights, it was easier for multinational corporations to set up shop in places where they could clearly take advantage. For example, people in North America who lost their blue-collar job had it outsourced to someone who barely had enough money to eat on the salary they were being paid in their own country. Human nature operates on much the same principles as it always has and, while there is altruism and decency in the world, a good portion operates on avarice and disdain for the plight of others. Left unchecked, many individuals and companies have worked without scruples to make the world a more fragile and precarious place. As the top margin of society continues to amass a larger share of the wealth, we are seeing cracks in the foundations. Small wonder then that the mistrust among the uneducated continues to g

Who knows

A s of now it is still unclear to me whether my male personna will survive long term but that notion doesn't perturb me any longer. Rather I am taking a relaxed stance to see how life progresses and let a natural fliow guide me to whatever resting point it must. All preconceived ideas are gone replaced by an openness to let life guide me. So long as the feeling of calm and peace persist and even improves, I will make whatever adjustments are required. It must be said that the improvement has come as I have begun to live mostly as a female which has left me wondering whether more changes are in store. Who knows.

It made all the difference

I t is more than a little conceivable that something highly desired yet unattainable before puberty could take on sexual overtones upon entering it. Since most trans people are aware very early that there is something going on with their gender identity, that longing can be carried along into the creation of the sexual being. Some older trans people, and in particular those who were not self-accepting, would have easily fallen prey to the idea that they suffered from a perversion rather than a biologically engrained reality. In this type of scenario you could see how some could have bought into AGP theory. In fact, quite a number of years ago I was contemplating it's validity and I remember contacting Anne Lawrence to discuss its merits. What has happened since I came to fully embrace my identity, is that a trust was built upon my earliest feelings and instincts. Rather than rely on conjecture, I relied on my internal compass to guide me. It made all the difference.

Belief

 

The importance of being earnest

I can usually smell dishonesty in people. Sometimes it is expressed in overly syrupy greetings or facial expressions which betray the fact they are trying hard to maintain the facade. As we get older and with some luck our game face drops and we fall back on an honesty rooted in the fatigue of having had to keep ours up for so long. It is one of the advantages of aging. Having to keep up appearances is exhausting (as most trans people will attest to) and there is much relief when the baggages can finally be dropped. I now try to associate with people who are more rooted in earnestness and who have no fear of the outside world. That vulnerability and honesty draws you to them and rewards you with more meaningful interactions.

Comfort heels

In keeping with the comfort theme, whenever I do wear heels out I trust my chunky heeled pumps which can be worn for hours at a time without feeling discomfort. The rest of the time I am in ballet flats and in the winter in sturdy (yet stylish) flat boots. When you need to be out for extended periods I have learned through painful trial and error that comfort is always your best friend. As a result I no longer ever wear stiletto type heels. Plus I am hardly looking to add height to my frame.

Wendy

I first bought Wendy Carlos's Switched on Bach when I was barely out my teens. As a keyboardist myself and an avid fan of the synthesizer, I was fascinated by her electronic interpretations of one of my favorite composers. That first 1969 release was recorded before she transitioned and some years later I was surprised by the news. In this 1989 interview she describes the functioning of early synthesizers...

Radio host anti-vaxxers

 

Canada not immune to lack of education

The pandemic has opened up a large rift between the educated and uneducated and the fact that our reality is dependent on mutual cooperation means that things won't be back to normal any time soon. Our Canadian western provinces (Alberta being the most strident) are more like the US Midwest and southern states and tend to be more anti-science and politically and socially right leaning which is why their COVID infection rates among the unvaccinated are only rising. Unfortunately this is not an easy fix. As we continue to see less fortunate countries do without vaccines as well as North Americans needing urgent medical care for other issues doing without treatment with some of them dying, I am finding the situation increasingly infuriating....

Empty vessels

The  measuring stick of who you were raised to be is somehow always there in the background. This is particularly true for older trans people who rejected their own identities by suppressing the feelings as strongly as we could. I have worked hard to redefine my self image and put away the narrative that I am flawed because I failed to meet a standard that didn't suit me from the outset. Eradicating it completely may be impossible, but clearly I have come a long way and certainly further than I ever imagined was possible. We are born empty vessels and information and indoctrination is poured into us. To what degree that exercise is detrimental or helpful is sometimes unfortunately the luck of draw. It becomes incumbent upon us then to work to rewrite a personal storyline which honors who we really are. 

Trust yourself

 

Comfort first

I have spent the last 2 years under-dressing and it turns out I love it. I have gone minimalist by reducing my wardrobe and simply use accessories as a way of changing things up. By switching shoes, purse or earrings it makes up for needing to own too many pieces. Hence , for the most part, I have been living in simple T-shirts and skinny jeans or casual skirts by striving for comfort above anything else. It turns out that you can still be stylish as well as casual in your everyday life :)

Love and trans

If you read the comments to this video (when viewed on YouTube) you will see many are heart breaking. I can relate through personal experience and even if I have not medically transitioned, I know all too well that the relationships of trans people are often fraught with disappointment. It is just a fact...

Un-American vaccine

 

Colleague lunch

It's wonderful to have support from your colleagues after coming out and this gathering had been long in coming. But COVID having denied us that opportunity, it was made that much sweeter when it finally came. These three women are smart, talented and sweet and I love them to pieces each for their own unique character and personality which shone through from the first times I worked with them. I knew I could trust them and my faith paid off in spades. Trust yourself and realize that you have but one life to live...

We have our own wackos

 

Addison Rose Vincent

 

Resistance

Our biorhythms betray us and in the space of the same day we can oscillate between a dull depressive state and a muted joy that has us seeing the positive in our existence. Being human is at the best of times a chore of maintenance which requires we pick ourselves up by proverbial boot straps and get through the day. As we become older there is also more reflective melancholy which is increasingly immune to the more petty distractions of life. The temptation to dwell in the past is irresistible as is the penchant to stress about tomorrow but we must try and resist both. 

Probable cause

 

Little Sis

Pat ricia is like my little sister. We met several years ago when she needed some technical help with her start up and we became friends over time. She calls me "big Sis" and we hang out and do stuff together like thrifting and going out for coffee and talking about life. Now she is moving away and I will miss her and the support she had given me over the last few years as I completed my transition into a trans person who is finally and truly whole. It's so important to have a support structure and be completely accepted for who you are. I cannot overstate that enough (and yes, we're both double vaccinated:))

Frankenstein

W ith the conversion of Dixie Democrars to Republicanism, the amalgamation of the south had begun in earnest. The guys in the white sheets were now affiliated to the GOP driving the stakes for the creation of a tent where fringe people and their ideas could congregate. The Frankenstein monster was well on its way to be electrified into life. Decades later, Trumpism wasn't the beginning of the already existing problems but it did shine a spotlight on the underbelly of a nation that was far from resolving its problems with racism and class warfare. Now the people who most need influx of capital in the form of infrastructure and the jobs are most likely to vote for the party hell bent on not helping them. It's a marriage made of strange bedfellows. YouTube regularly features interviews with people who derived their political ideology from a combination of FOX News and their uncle Harry's Facebook postings and it would be tempting to chuckle if it weren't so dire. As the U

Twainisms

 

Worth saving

I t could be useful to integrate our past selves with the new and improved version that is closer to who we are. This means they there are elements of our personality that got us through challenges and therefore deserve to be integrated rather than scrapped. I don't disown my past but have instead tried to keep what has worked for me while I work on new facets. Many of us found battling gender dysphoria far too difficult and some took their own lives. Christine Daniels comes to mind as someone who tried to transition and whose story ended in tragedy. There are many others. Whatever helped get me this far is worth saving and that fortitude will continue to be helpful to me as I move into the latter part of my life.

The wisdom of Carlin

 

Sentient

T he squirrels I encounter on my morning walks are sentient beings who probably aren't aware of what they don't know. They operate on basic instinct much like we do except that we have an expanded palette to play with which can encourage myopia. The problem with the human animal is that it often doesn't ponder on what it doesn't know. Living in our limited shells and Lording over the world it can be tempting to think we have things figured out when we really don't. We can let hubris guide our approach to issues that more require the deft and delicate touch of humility. Some of the biggest intellects in our history were deeply aware of the shortcomings in their knowledge and yet some of the people most devoid of mental prowess strangely seem the most boastful at times. At this point I could go on a tirade on right wingers but I shall refrain from doing so as it would make this posting far too long.

Paralysis analysis

Paralysis analysis is something I and many other older trans people are very familiar with. In my case, my mind over analyzes everything with the danger being that we become stuck in a state where we do not advance into a helpful transition (if that is indeed what you truly need and want).  Writing this blog helped me through my paralysis and fear and here Dr. Z explains how we can help ourselves out of it....

Productive

 

Maysways

 I am a huge Lyle Mays fan and he definitely influenced my playing. Unfortunately he passed away far too soon at the age of 66. Here is a fitting tribute by Andre Mehmari and one for the headphones...

Balance point

As a gender dysphoric, I have often reflected on why people who are mostly comfortable identifying as their birth sex develop the need to crossdress. If we accept that all people possess both masculine and feminine traits we also know that the vast majority do not feel a need for regular cross gender expression. If most people are happy with the proportion of male and female qualities and how they incorporate them into their lives, it may be possible that those who feel a stronger connection than average to express their other side must do so through this type of expression.  Those who read my blog know that I am a big proponent of the gender identity spectrum and it may be that at least some of these crossdressers represent stunted forms of transsexualism but with their expression they are able to get just the right dose to keep themselves balanced and healthy. Contrasting this against the complete psycho-sexual inversion of Benjamin type 6 transsexuals and we can see how dysphoria c

Mistrust

While it may be tempting during the era of COVID to ridicule people who take a parasitic treatment medication like Ivermectin, wash their groceries, or walk masked to the eyeballs in empty fields we need to get to the root of where the penchant to believe misinformation lies. Sure, large swaths of the population lack critical and analytical thinking skills but that doesn’t entirely explain why the temptation to believe hearsay over expert advice thrives. Clearly part of the problem is sourced in the power structures which run the world having proven themselves complicit in the public’s mistrust since much of their Machiavellian maneuvering has increasingly been exposed. That along with the development of social media have germinated the kind of echo chambers that can help spread misinformation and paranoia. I don’t think there is a simple solution for this since the human animal won't evolve beyond their obvious limitations, but we need to think of methods to curb what appears

Better Days Ahead

I remember this 1989 Pat Metheny Montreal Jazz festival show like it was yesterday and what a treat it was...    

Souplesse

Preconceived ideas don't work in our favor. Whether it is about other people or about ourselves, they set us up for disappointment when things don't work the way we thought. One of the big lessons of my life has been about not letting plans get in the way of living because you will oft be disappointed. There is a better way which involves the souplesse of allowing us to be surprised by life and once we are close to getting our internal house in order we can let unpredictability be our friend rather than a nemesis. Living one day a time with allowance for the unpredictable is what I am endeavoring to practice.

Peaceful

T his is the most prolonged period I have spent living as a female and it has been eye opening but not so much for the externals. Yes, I am regularly greeted as Madame but that effect wears off after a while and now it's about sifting through how that external experience transfers to how I feel on the inside. It's true what they say that transition is a journey and not a destination because I am living it myself. Every few years I have attained a new plateau that I never thought possible and then adapted to it. Afterwards, a new one was reached with no definite target other than to be at peace. Tomorrow I have a lunch with three wonderful ladies who I adore and have progressively come out to over the last few years which in itself is yet another milestone. I never anticipated telling anyone at work and what seemed like a terrifying impossibility suddenly became a source of joy.  People who fought being trans as long as I did probably understand me very well and  I have finally

Self-sabotage

I t turns out that misinformation is the new scourge of the 21th century. In the past, when people lived less in their own bubbles, we were better able to control the kind of fringe and radical ideas which now pollute social media. Yes, the price was that a more centralized source of information produced power circles which were easily corruptible and the US political infrastructure is one such example.  But with the advent and rise of the internet, the payback became the revenge of the idiot who now regularly concocts personal truths which infringe on the rights and freedoms of others.  As we have seen, the pandemic has proven a riddle for a society based on personal freedom as being paramount. In that model, social responsibility is jettisoned and a society encourages implosion on itself. The lesson of history isn't about the rise and fall of political dynasties but rather about the fallibility of the human race which, even when things seem to be working, will always find ways to

Contractarianism

 

Subtle

Transphobia need not be overt and can be as subtle as saying "I let people live in peace but that doesn't mean I agree with their lifestyle" which is the kind of passive condemnation used against gays and lesbians for years. My point here is that it is not for people to judge something they don't understand or relate to. For me it is on par with weighing in on any difference no one asked your opinion on and the  kind of statement predicated on the idea that being LGBT is a choice people make. It also passes well in circles where people don't want to be seen as overtly toxic. One of the oft-repeated critiques of this blog is the propensity of people to practice willful ignorance where instead of educating themselves on a subject, they will pontificate based on opinion. It is small wonder then that subject matter experts have never been less popular.

Contrition

If  you are anything like me you spent decades in contrition. Apologizing for being the way you were became a staple of your reality because you and everyone around you had been educated the same way. I can look back at this now not with gobsmacked amazement but rather with understanding of how something so engrained and pervasive becomes an overbearing weight we are so hard pressed to drop. How then can I blame others who were equally programmed to respond any differently. Irrespective of that load, pounding at the door was my sense of authenticity. I had been running out of road which at the very end of, resided a semblance of myself.

Freedom

 

Irritating

O ur grown children figure us out and for a time they become disenchanted. The crevices in our characters are analyzed and they must distance themselves to find their own identities. I recently asked my son if he found me more irritating now or before to which he responded the former. I am fine with this as long as he finds his own comfort zone in life and making the distinction between our characteristics helps him. I remember finding my father objectionable until I became older and then was able to better understand how his past had formed him. We are all strange creatures each with our odd habits and we do our best to muddle through life trying to comprehend ourselves which merely takes a lifetime.

Slapping people

Entitlement syndrome by people all around me has got to the point where daily I run into someone I want to slap silly. The attitude is so flagrant and so obvious  that you just want to immediately put them in their place. The pandemic has only heightened public coarseness and rude behavior. God help someone who gets in my face over something.

Food, beauty, mind

 

Sparse

I 've been experimenting with makeup since very young. At first it was when no one was home but as the years progressed I was able to sporadically go out into the world and tried my hand at blending in with the general public. Afterwards, everything would go into the bin. My use of cosmetics today is sparse and judicious and the palette has been tried and tested over time. The lip colour in the photo below is safely stashed in my everyday purse although it hasn't seen much use in the era of masks. We learn to find our own identities and with it the clothing and the makeup that reflects who we are inside. It is interesting to note that over time it has become increasingly unimportant to have variety but instead rely on those elements which best reflect who we are. I think this is why both my closet and cosmetic case have become increasingly sparse over time.

Coffee with my niece

My niece is also part of the LGBT community and I am so glad that people her age are able to be themselves much sooner than we were. Tonight we shared coffee and dessert and talked about where each of us is in our respective life journeys; she all of 21 and me pushing 59. Life is a transition journey where we reflect on each stage and discover a new person along the way. It has been this way for me since I can remember and I would not recognize the person I was when I was her age. Her mother, who is my youngest sister, has been my steadfast supporter all these years and she is the same way with her daughter. I am so proud to be her auntie.

Hell to pay

A Virginia school board has agreed to pay more than $1.3 million to Gavin Grimm, a transgender former student who sued the district over its bathroom policy, sending the case all the way to the Supreme Court. The Gloucester County School Board said on Thursday that it would pay the entire amount in legal fees that Grimm and his lawyers had petitioned for after a years long battle that brought national attention to the rights of students to use the facility that corresponds with their gender identity. The former student and his legal team argued in their petition that the case's "arduous journey" involved constant confrontation with the school board, which argued its policy protected students' privacy and wasn't sex-based discrimination because it was applied equally to all students. But Grimm's case went on to be the first time a federal court held that Title IX protects transgender students' right to use restrooms consistent with their gender identi

Ignorance and censorship

 

Calming the furnace

We all have work to do on ourselves. For me it has been pent up frustration with a society that wouldn't let me be myself. Hence, as I aged I developed a feeling of intellectual superiority over those I wanted to punish for their obvious ignorance. That frustration is still being worked on today and you will witness it in my posting when it comes to matters of human frailty particularly when they border on willfull malice. The problem is that too much outrage ends up damaging mostly yourself because we cannot always be primed for a fight. The danger is that, as I become geriatric,  I will wind up spearing at metaphorical windmills in my own Quixotian fashion. I am therefore endeavoring to tone down the rhetoric to calm my internal furnace rather than stoking it. We cannot change the world but we can impact it in our immediate sphere and that is what I will work on as I move forward.

Divine command theory

A little problem for Evangelicals and other Biblical literalists....  

The liberal redneck

 

Good to go

Small wonder that the public is confused when we ourselves sometimes are. Gender variance which appears in both the straight and gay communities in the form of crossdressers and drag queens are both examples of low to dysphoria-free members of society which means both live their lives predominantly as males and are happy to do so. The dabbling in gender variance can be occasional or manifest itself as often as it suits them. Neither wishes or needs to transition. Conversely, those with gender dysphoria slip further into the spectrum and must use varying techniques from partial or full time social transition to full medical transition to treat their condition which can be mild to positively crippling. Historically there has been in-fighting within the trans umbrella which tries to group dysphoric and non-dysphoric people together but it need not exist.  To me the most important thing is to let people live in peace and allow them to lead lives that suit them. There is no hierarchy of pr

Fear and loathing

I f you grew up in the 1950's as a member of the LGBTQ community there was a strong likelihood that you weren't self-accepting. That black and white world would have led to believing you were a product of deviance and abnormality. Hence it was in this particular incubator that people like Ray Blanchard and Anne Lawrence would have developed their thinking on their own situations and what they signified. The trans as illness model (and for that matter homosexuality) is in fact largely a product of baby boomers and their vision of what normal is, and the idea that transsexuals are the product of sexual deviance rests largely on their shoulders. Today's trans youth would vehemently disagree and with good reason as they were spared the corrosive programming. You will note that the challenge on my AGP page has still gone unmet which is to provide me with ironclad proof that transsexualism (in particular for gynephilics) is rooted in sexual perversion.  The fact that it has gone

Personal identity

 

Two camps

Among trans people there has always been (more or less) two distinct camps namely: those who understood and accepted themselves early versus those who did not and, if you have read this blog for any length of time, you know which camp I fell into. I used to read the web pages of crossdressers who saw themselves as deviants and advocated for stopping a practice they had identified as a bad habit. Conversely, I would also see pages where the individual embraced themselves to the point of exuberance. The very same phenomenon played out on the transsexual side of the spectrum where some people transitioned after they had absolutely run out of road versus others who understood themselves sooner in life and resolved to do what they must to be authentic versions of themselves. To a great degree I attribute the difference to personality type, life circumstances and to what extent the person bought into a narrative that was given to them by society. The more of an individual you were earl

Determinism vs free will

 

Can we fix stupid?

We keep pushing the envelope of stupid in society and rather than take a COVID vaccine some Americans are taking a horse deworming medication called Ivermectin. The net result of this is that they are poisoning themselves. Why would some geniuses trust livestock medication over a vaccine? I'll give you three guesses where they got the idea...

Meeting others

It was through meeting other trans people over the years that I was able to better understand my own particular situation. For example, meeting those who comfortably identified as crossdressers made me realize I wasn't one of them. For years I had been hoping that I could justify the way I was by attributing it to an activity that I could manage while at the same time trying to desperately get rid of so I could be "normal". In 2007, they set me straight at the gender clinic and made me realize that wasn't going to happen.  Conversely, I met people who were clearly transsexual (some of whom transitioned) and others latent and perhaps in partial denial as I had been. In conversations and online exchanges I realized there were some overlaps but also important differences. For example, crossdressers seemed to be quite comfortably invested in their male identity for the most part or at least were able put the two worlds into separate buckets which was something I was incr

Looks

As a trans person who's run the gamut from early youth outings to where I am now, I can almost tell what people are thinking by the kind of looks I have gotten over the years. In the early days, I might get the sly smirk or the beady eyed stare which signified I had been read as an imposter. That was before I had any self confidence and would carry myself as a terrified husk of a person.  Today I know I am mostly being read as a cis woman or sometimes perhaps a transitioned trans person just by the stark contrast of change in the looks I get; or perhaps I should say the lack thereof. What has changed? Well mostly it's about exuding confidence that you know who you are on the inside. Yes, there was some work on voice, mannerisms, gesturing and so forth but once I permitted myself to indulge in these changes, they came fairly effortlessly and naturally. What was underneath the surface was allowed to be seen. The other important aspect is not caring one whit whether you are being

As good as it gets

I have lived long enough and know a sufficient amount of couples to conclude that most human beings are ill fated in their attempts to successfully mate for life. For many if not most, there is an awakening where what they had envisioned has turned to disillusion and the stark realisation that their match was far less perfect than their wedding day might have promised. Human beings need love and security and sometimes these pairings provide it in their own peculiar way. My ex-inlaws for example, have an almost Munchausen by proxy type relationship where her need for control perfectly meets his mild ineptitude. It is a psychological match made in heaven even if slightly steeped in dysfunction. Others cling to financial dependence or to children as glue which will perfectly keep the union alive if not necessarily healthier. Two secure people who look beyond the external packaging to find the soul underneath are the most likely to make viable and lasting connections. Devoid of need to ma

The choice

S tarting from a very young age I knew I had a problem: how to reconcile where my spirit wanted to go against where society did. My response for many years was to drown that spirit out. Social conservatives like to talk about the choice that we make to be trans as if it were an elective one but from where I sit I can attest that it has been the battle of my lifetime and, ultimately, there was no place to go other than where I am now. Is it possible to be transsexual and not transition? Well yes because people did it for millenia as surgical and hormonal options only presented themselves at the turn of the 20th century, however many of those lives were arduous or ended in suicide. I have made a calculated choice given my age, medical history and other corollary life issues but I know no matter which road is taken there are going to be pitfalls because life is inherently imperfect. All that being said, there is nothing like finding yourself even if it is in that very state of imperfec

Second guessing

We are experts at second guessing ourselves. Having found what we think is a winning formula, we may be just as apt to dismiss it after a night of sleep and wonder what got into us. In matters of subjectivity, our psyches swirl in self doubt and we question everything we do and what we say. Human beings don't do well in greys especially when we are mired in analysis of the self. Untetheting ourselves from a coordinate system we were taught to follow is tempting but we dare not do it when young. It is only after we have become weary of its demands that we finally succumb to becoming ourselves; becoming real. It is not simple to follow our own unique paths especially when they seem to lead us away from where everyone else resides. But sometimes it's the only way.

The power of vulnerability

As Brene Brown reminds us here, exposing your soft underbelly is not evident and most of us are afraid to do it. It requires courage to expose what others could construe as weakness but it is the only path to be truly content.  For the record, I'm still working on mine...

"James from the internet"

I love James from the internet. Not only is he funny and dripping with irony, but he is often entirely spot on....

Your best version

Gauging your own value can be tricky. Imagine for a moment the person who is severely overweight and deems themselves less loveable because of it. They may even sabotage their own chances by thinking that someone who does care for them must have ulterior motives. Trans people are notorious for this (particularly older ones) and many settle for droplets of water in the desert (to use an analogy) to gain and keep love. This is unfortunate but all too common.  Working against the tide of society which includes the pervasive programming endured by their own partners, they settled into a less than comfortable reality so they could keep and maintain companionship. The partner can even use this knowledge as a weapon knowing the trans person is unlikely to leave because they themselves have at least shown tepid acceptance. I don't criticize trans people for this because I have lived that reality myself. The lack of self-acceptance already well engrained in them, the trans person surmised

Speaking of which....

Without me noticing, this quiet little blog has been slowly encroaching upon one million views which really surprised me. After beginning to write as cathartic exercise for existential angst over being trans at the same time as also experiencing a painful breakup, this blog slowly progressed over the years into a platform for expressing my thinking on a whole host of subjects; not just trans issues. Not looking for any kind of mass appeal, I have been genuinely surprised at the reception it has received over the years for which I am very grateful to its readers. Writing it has allowed me to befriend other trans people and helped me progressively find a level of peace I had never known before and so its value for me personally is worth more than I had anticipated.  After being away from it for 2 years, I also did not anticipate returning to it. (as a side note I saw an email from a young graduate engineer in my company yesterday that had (he/him) next to his name indicating that he was

Late-stage capitalism

Before you accuse me of being a socialist extremist, let’s examine the concept of profit. In historical times, societies bartered for exchange of services and everyone who specialized in some commodity could trade for something else. Therefore, the farmer who owned cows could provide milk to the person who made shoes and that person would in turn prevent the farmer from walking around barefoot. As we advanced beyond the industrial revolution, we began to have mercantile and industrialist classes who grew their businesses to much larger sizes and in turn be able to publicly be traded and hence make money for speculators whose sole purpose was to make money for themselves or their clients. Hence, the objective changed from market economies based mostly on need to those focused on making the most capital; usually for a select few. As the United States enters what is known as late-stage capitalism as identified by the German economist Werner Sombart, you will note that one of the featu

Better in the light

If right wingers have meltdowns over LGBTQ people it is because greys being permitted to exist regarding gender identity and sexual orientation, open up more areas of subtlety in other subjects. Therefore, for people most comfortable with black and white concepts, something so fundamental being put into question, cannot be allowed to stand. That they are losing the culture war is obvious and hence the rhetoric and attacks have correspondingly been ramped up in vain attempts to put the cap back on the bottle.  This is probably one the last great battlefronts of social conservatism and, if society is allowed to move towards outright tolerance and acceptance, it will have signified for them a complete rejection of their toxic belief system in the public arena. We cannot defeat ignorance or malice in the world and, as both the pandemic and Trumpism have reminded me, there is no shortage of it. So rather than be constantly outraged by the situation I have resolved to doing my small part t

Balancing act

I 've been getting a lot of "Hey Joanna" lately from people I haven't seen for a while. As Montrealers emerge from their pandemic cocoons, we start to go back to our old routines albeit with more caution than before. It's also been hot lately and making an escape to a local mall just for a coffee and some AC has helped break up my day and walk away from the laptop which I could easily be in front of the entire day. The photo of me below is from today. Being allowed to finish my full time career at home is helping my psyche but being away from people too much is not good for us and so I seek the right balance between the quiet and the interaction we all crave to perfect.

Epistemic responsibility

 

Justice

 “Sommerville’s sex is unquestionably female,” ruled the Illinois Second District Appellate Court on Friday, “just like the women who are permitted to use the women’s bathroom.” With that crucial determination, the judges unanimously concluded that Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. violated the law in Illinois by denying a transgender woman employee access to its women’s bathroom in the store in which she’s worked for almost 23 years. “They stuck to the law,” Meggan Sommerville, 51, told me in a phone interview. “I think that, to me, was as much of a victory as anything else; That the law in Illinois is so clear that even conservative judges couldn't go any other way with it.” This landmark ruling, as Bloomberg first reported, is one of first impression, meaning it is a case in which a legal issue has never before been decided by that governing jurisdiction. “This is a precedent setting case in Illinois, because the Human Rights Act has never been tested in this way in Illinois, and actually

Cancer

Donald Trump is now a permanent boil on American democracy and his incitement of an insurrection is virtually guaranteed to be replicated since more people get their news from the comfort of their echo chambers. As discontent is fed via the bigger problem of oligarchy, the false claims of election fraud distract a weary nation. When a country is so divided that even fighting a pandemic is politicized, you need to ask yourself how you got to this point and, even if one concedes that a big part is played by individualism versus collectivism, there are other issues at play. I trace a lot of problems back to the Reagan election and a conversion of the Republican party into even more of a messaging machine for antigovernmental sentiment and its entrenchment as a corporate entity. With the southern strategy having been undertaken years before, the party was now more of a coalition of conservative interests (both political and social) vying for the votes of the very people who would least b