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Showing posts from August, 2021

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

Expectations

Most trans people have a problem with expectation. Having been raised to play a role others around are accustomed to seeing you fulfill, any drastic change on your part can make them uncomfortable. Whether you are the eldest in the family (as is my case) or some featured part in another social structure, there will always be those who balk at your audacity of coming out and changing the rules. Notice how this is all about them and not a lot about you The interesting thing to note is that we do not often choose these structures. For example we do not choose our parents or our siblings and cannot predict or affect how they think. You are the master of what you think about yourself and trying to please them will only hurt you in the process. So while I can still love and respect my siblings, I have let them go and opened a gap between us necessitated by my need to find myself. Granted that I fed into that process by fulfilling my role, but then once I came out, my overtures to them were

Hard to argue with logic

 

Congruent

L iving mostly as a female has been eye opening and even therapeutic for my psyche. There is something natural about it and I am simply slipping into instincts I have had all my life but was afraid to fully access; instincts I now revel in. Women communicate differently and as I was sitting recently with my friend Patricia over coffee I found one such instance. It was hot and I had pulled a Spanish fan from my purse prompting the two other women next to us to comment what a great idea it was and how I was taking a page from Carmen. Suddenly the four of us were enjoying brief repartee that would not have occurred were four men present instead. It is hard to explain but it works for me much more than I had ever dared to admit to myself. Are the same problems present in my life as before? Yes, however I simply feel more congruent.

Culture war

The culture wars raging in the United States mask a deeper problem of corporate looting. So while media outlets talk about what divides the country along red and blue factions, more people slip into despair and poverty for lack of resources like health care and adequate paying jobs. Since both the Democrats and Republicans are beholden to corporations, neither is going to allow a significant dismantling of a system which doesn't work and usher the beginning of a cure. Meanwhile, senators and members of congress are bought and their votes cast for benefactors who want value for the money they paid. In the end, w hen left to their own devices and with no moral policing, many people will do as much as they can get away with and with an open market capitalist system with few checks and balances  built in, things will not end well. Both Hedges and Chomsky have predicted the coming sunset on the American empire with all signs pointimg that they are right, and as the population distracts

Manna

If you reject your own trans nature even partially you cannot fully be yourself which will in turn impact your psyche in some fashion. I am not suggesting that this is easy since the messaging you received from early childhood was aimed at promoting self-hate. Hence, any morsel of even grudging acceptance thrown your way was akin to manna from heaven. This has been the primary journey of my life: to come to terms fully with my own identity. People who are able to fit more adequately into society cannot comprehend the magnitude of this task for some of us. But once there, a feeling of relief washes over us and is only reinforced by spending quality time with people who really get you and get past your gender as being the primary marker that constitutes your personhood. Next month I have a lunch with four women co-workers who I have come out to over the last few years. Each is wonderful in her own way and all have gained my trust through their spirit of generosity and openness. Even th

We do it to ourselves

This is now primarily a pandemic of the unvaccinated and the mistrust of government and authority engrained in the American consciousness since the nation's inception has only fed into the problem. Low education and conspiracy theory driven portions of the population are going by rumor and feel and I don't think there is a solution for that. As a result, science-denying is now a growth industry. It almost feels like a type of Darwinian natural selection which need not happen. I used to think that people had evolved to some degree over the centuries but I know that to be absolutely untrue. While our technological tools have evolved, humans have remained largely the same.

Learning to love

Learning to love is not always obvious and many of us struggle to do so while still living under the yolk of past hurts and failures. We are fragile and finicky beings who sometimes confuse love for a reciprocal game which hinges on each side holding up their side of a bargain.  However, true love is not conditional and it can often overcome rejections which should have seen it extinguished. It is why sometimes breakups sting for years afterwards and a permanent scar remains. There is no explaining the human animal to itself and we often marvel at our own actions with befuddled amusement. Because at the root we are emotional beings who sometimes succumb to rationality rather than the other way around.

St-Lo

Every morning by 7 AM I present myself at the Bagel St-Lo, a local CafĂ©/bistro within walking distance of my house. The coffee is good as is the friendliness of the staff and I have been known to draft the occasional blog post there. There is something about routine my spirit likes and getting a friendly smile accompanied by a "Bonjour Joanna" helps kickstart my day. As I look forward to work slowing down in 15 months, the increasing looseness in my schedule will do my body and psyche a world of good.  Part of that time may very well be spent here reflecting on the universe or just sharing a good conversation with a friend over a cappuccino.

Routine

 

The common good

Somewhere along the way, something happened to the idea of the common good which has been replaced by the distraction of technological advancement and personal gratification. I cannot pinpoint the exact moment when it started but I have noticed the worsening problem over my lifetime.  Social media, sold as a savior of estrangement and alienation, has proceeded to do just the opposite and has fed both narcissism and isolation at an unprecedented rate. I also think its fair to say that a growing anti-intellectualism has paralleled its rise (Marjorie Taylor's Green's election to Congress, for example, should set off alarm bells). While we were distracted, some nation governments made decisions which impoverished our societies for the sake of a globalism model which only fed inequality rather than cure it. That model is neoliberalism The common good used to be about making people less hungry, less poor and less lonely but instead the opposite has happened and we now cling to vapid

Kat

For such a young person, Kat is one hell of a smart cookie....

Negotiation

Those who are older and comfortably identify as crossdressers have some negotiation room within relationships. From outright subterfuge, to grudging acceptance if kept out of sight, to occasional outings together, many manage to remain married despite the challenges. Those of us further along the spectrum however, face a more complex situation which was only exacerbated by our personal discovery over time. We may have gone from full rejection of our identities to embracing them within the context of one or perhaps many partnerships. The more one gets closer to being themselves, the less one is willing to negotiate away something so intrinsically hard wired.  Even given my decision to not medically transition, my transsexualism has put me in a position where there is little wiggle room and have decided to let an openness to meet someone remain while not hinging on it as a prerequisite to contentment. I have chided trans people here in the past for not understanding how hard it is for a

Drive home

 

Entitlement

You may have noticed the already frayed nerves and general obnoxious societal behavior pre-pandemic have taken a noticeable turn for the worse. Tailgaters are that much more aggressive amidst the uncertainty of an era already teeming with entitlement syndrome. It all ties back to the idea that all opinions are equal which has segued into 'my rights are more important than yours'.  This level of belligerence is something I didn't grow up with and at the risk of sounding old, I know we have lost something over the last decades with regards to public civility. The focus has moved even more from the rights of the collective to those of the individual; no example more obvious than the response to a pandemic that could have largely been mitigated by now. You may notice that in this blog I have a particular disdain for willful ignorance: something to which I have been exposed all my life but which irks me more as I age. The right of individuals to be morons is fine as long as they

An oxymoron

The movement known as the "Christian Right" is of course an oxymoron as well as anathema to the message of charity and love contained in the Gospels but it has gained a massive foothold in the United States. Sects like prosperity evangelism which preach about Jesus endowing physical wealth upon you if you believe, are preposterous and yet they succeed because they pollute the Christian message with the capitalist laissez-faire philosophy so endearing to those who belong to the oligarchy. It's a marriage made in heaven if you don't believe in being your brother's keeper like true Christianity preaches. Under this caustic religious model, secularism must be destroyed and the separation of church and state need not be a problem one need be concerned with. Simply sell the idea of the country as a "Christian" nation, judge others and tell them what to do. By equipping the Supreme Court with enough religious fascists, they will make sure to take care of the re

Remembering to breathe

An overly analytical mind like mine doesn't give in to instinct very often and when it does it is to cede to temper suddenly goaded into a red zone (I am after all Latin). The rest of the time it operates on a permanent loop of rehashing past events or trying to figure out how to attack my thoughts on a subject. I used to envy people that could live more instinctively and be able to reside in the moment. It is something I am teaching myself to do more as I age and the invented demands of society fall increasingly off my radar. However no matter my effort, the overthinking remains a baseline position which has always been there since very young and was contemplating ideas like dying and living forever. My parents had to get a family friend who was a priest to relax my mind from stressing over the perturbing idea. I was 9 years old. My mind also relives my past on a regular basis and tries to come to terms with lessons learned and castigates past failings and errors but with a view

A blending

I don't go out of my way to tell people that I am trans but simply assume that they know. Being addressed in the correct pronouns is no sign because that could also mean people are being polite and responding to your presentation. That being said, when questions arise that reveal they assume I am a genetic female, I don't correct them because I don't need to. I am not trying to pass as anything other than myself which has removed a lot of pressure off my shoulders over the years. True, I have developed a more than workable voice which has gotten me loads of mileage but that's just because I abhor double takes from vendors when the speaking doesn't match the presentation. In my opinion, it's one of the more important things to develop if blending in matters to you. Not having been misgendered for decades now, were it to happen today it would be a bit jarring and yet it wouldn't sting nearly as much as when I was desperately trying to pass. I seem to have buil

Five teens

 

Pride

I am not proud to be trans, at least not any more so than any other factual information about myself. I do however understand the emotion when something so intrinsically part of you has been laced with feelings of guilt, shame and embarrassment. The natural human reaction when one is finally liberated is to fly in the face of oppression with the defiance of pride. People who aren't LGBTQ don't see it and I have had a friend tell me that they don't mind how people are so long as they don't rub our noses in it with parades. While appreciating what he meant, he could not relate to what many who have been disowned and thrown out of families for who they are could be feeling. Some people who identify as mildly trans even object to association with gays and lesbians probably because their lives have not been touched sufficiently with grief. But to me there is strength in numbers when we are dealing with the subject of suppression and discrimination of minorities. I struggled

Role models

Life can be devastating for some people and they struggle every day with cancers, mental illness, physical deformities and other challenges which we think would cripple us. Yet these same people who continue to thrive amidst all that pain serve as a beacon for the rest of us who have lesser burdens to bear. It is easy to look at your own life and wallow in the little inconveniences we suffer but then hopefully perspective comes when we see the tenacity of the human spirit in those who shoulder so much more. I try to think of that every day during my early morning walks and try to be thankful for everything I have been given; both the challenges and the joys.

Coping

Being trans is no picnic and as you saw in the video I posted yesterday on dysphoria and aging, it can be a daunting task deciding what to do about your situation. Whether you transition or not you are left with a series of challenges because life comes inherently equipped with them. Either you cope with gender dysphoria in some fashion of your choosing or you transition fully and potentially face the pain of spousal loss, job loss or the pain of being rejected because you don't blend in well enough; and these are just the tip of the iceberg. Here  I don't have advice because I have none to give and, no matter which path is chosen, will be fraught with some level of disappointment.  Even those who long identified as "just crossdressers" but who turned out to be latent transsexuals discovered that once deep into career, marriage and children their time had passed and they resigned themselves to coping strategies which only marginally worked. I think that the most impo

With age...

 

A calculated risk

Life is a calculated risk. If I am inside a burning building with the flames licking at my back I will jump from that third story window rather than burn to death. Some broken bones is the calculated result of my leap but at least I will still be alive.  Anti-vaxxers hedge their bets on Facebook posts, right wing media and the idea that a healthy adult couldn't possibly die of COVID and yet the tens of millions dead worldwide would be a counterpoint to that argument. In addition, the idea we are our brother's keeper may not even occur to them. I saw someone comment on YouTube recently that it took decades to develop the polio vaccine therefore how can we trust one developed so quickly. To this I would respond that it might be probable that epidemiology has advanced a tad in 90 years. But so cial media has leveled the playing field to the point where subject matter experts need not apply. The lunatic fringe demonized Anthony Fauci for simply telling an inconvenient truth and eve

Deceptions

The first great deception of my life has been learning to what degree so many human beings are susceptible to cultish movements. Perhaps unable to question elements within them which don't make sense, they swallow a mantra whole and are able to regurgitate it verbatim except I'm not sure they are entirely able to explain the why to themselves. Because, whether it's political ideologies, religious cults or philosophical movements we need to be able to find the fallacies which naturally seep into every human sourced system of thought. We can forgive complete adherence to ideas when we are young because our development of critical thinking is still being forged, but once we are older a natural skepticism should be instilled which permits us to self-correct when something is ultimately proven to be erroneous and caustic to our being or even to society as a whole. This is what I teach my children and explain why I believe something rather than state flatly that I do. This way th

Laurel

Part of me was glad when Laurel Hubbard failed to win a medal after three failed lift attempts at the Tokyo Olympics. Because, chomping at the bit would have been the right wing transphobes who would have disqualified any medal win in their minds as a tainting the woman’s category with “men pretending to be women”. Not that there is any pleasing these people who could just say this was a weak man and a better one in female guise would eventually come along to win. But at least for the time being, we don’t need to face that possibility. Hubbard for her part was gracious and happy to have been allowed to compete and realized all too well the avalanche of trolling prompted by the IOC’s audacity to allow such a travesty of justice. It doesn’t matter that she met all the criteria as indeed did the woman from China who took home the gold commenting no further on the trans woman’s inclusion than saying “I have nothing to say, I just respect the rules”. Hubbard for her part did exactly t

Internals

When you live as an out trans person, clothing takes on less importance than ever (I think) because your identity has been augmented by the ability to interact and express oneself fully as one desires at all times. Going out to have coffee with a friend or doing groceries must above all consider comfort before anything else. So, I will go out with a black T, jeans and ballet flats and be perfectly happy doing so and I don’t feel drab or frumpy in the least. Years ago, I worried about blending in but that isn’t a concern for me any longer and what I now desire to wear has changed over time especially since my life is no longer about a series of scattered outings; it is just everyday life. Use of lipstick for example, abandoned due to mask wearing, is now an optional addition I sometimes omit . It is interesting to measure the change over the years, but in a nutshell, it is that the focus has shifted increasingly from the externals to the internals.

Kate

I remember reading Kate Bornstein's book "Gender Outlaw" decades ago and quite liking it. Now in her early seventies, she still considers herself neither male nor female but simply identifies as herself. She has escaped all trappings of the binary and resides in her own space. I recently saw a video of her speaking in 2018 and she commanded the attention of the audience the way people who are elder statesmen sometimes do. There is a fluidity of speech but also a total absence of self consciousness as thoughts are expressed openly. There is also much self deprecating humor and wit which comes from having lived a little. Ms. Bornstein talks of a gender plenary instead of a binary and sells the idea that the human race is a wonderful spectrum of diversity. She just might be on to something there.

Dr Z

Dr Z is a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in transgender issues who has a YouTube channel and I have found her videos interesting and very informative for people searching for their identity and where they fit on the gender spectrum. Here (around the 5:40 mark) she also addresses why she thinks some trans people might experience arousal which aligns very much with my own thinking on the subject...

Coming to terms

Racism is alive and well in the world, my country included and even as Canadians take pride in their progressivism there is enough troubled history which should concern us and make us rethink our feelings of superiority. Residential schools were Canada's way of taming the "savages" whereby children were routinely taken from their parents and enslaved in institutions where their language was prohibited as was any other sign of their culture. The recent discoveries of gravesites by the hundreds was a stark reminder of how arduous it must have been and many indigenous survivors today bear the scars of their time in these places. The willful arrogance of the church was a main culprit here but then generalized society was arguably worse and regarded the native Americans with even more disdain.  Today there is a national contrition taking place which tries to "mea culpa" through governmental admissions of fault and although admirable it won't go far enough in fixi

The road

A fter a while, transsexuals run out of road. No longer able to hold back the tide they succumb to embracing who they are to the degree they are able to in life. For some this may take the form of social transition while for others only a full medical process will restore their mental and physical wellness. For a long time I resisted identifying as transsexual and employed an iron will to deny any such notion but in the end there was no way around it. All of my introspection led me to what I had instinctively known since early childhood but dare not admit to myself. After all, during my time we dare not even speak of such things.  If we resist for as long as I did, giving up can feel like a failure except that i don't feel worse for wear and was finally able to put down the baggage I carried for so long. There is no shame in admitting one is transsexual any more than admitting any other way one is born and, more importantly, recognizing that it must be treated is pivotal. This is w