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Showing posts from October, 2021

Behind the veil of comedy

David Doel nails it on the head here and says what I did a few posts ago about the caustic "comedy" of Dave Chapelle where he denies transphobia behind the pretense of humor. Doel uses George Carlin as example of someone who didn't punch down in his comedy. Social commentary is distinguishable from comedy and you are not immune to criticism once you spew your massive ignorance before millions. Chappelle is clearly an ignoramus and he won't be the last....

What the heck

I wasn't going to but then I thought what the heck. My birthday is coming up and they were half price so I just had to buy them. I told the sales lady at the jewelry counter that I was treating myself when she commented on how nice they were. "Bonne fete Madame" she said as I walked away happily with my purchase.

Civil discourse

A colleague of mine aged 62 has drawn a line in the sand regarding announcing his vaccination status to the company and appears ready to lose his employment over it. The existence of  Quebec vaccination passports also have him thinking that they are here to stay as he clearly stated to me the other day. I disagreed. I know he is not vaccinated and is currently working from his farm so he is not affecting anyone and perhaps the company would do well to let him finish his career from there. I understand both sides but have decided that in this instance the public good overrides personal freedoms and have sparred with him over this. Even as he wears a mask and respects the rules he bemoans the fact he must present a passport to sit inside a restaurant or Café and I tell him this is one of the prices to be paid for the collective good of keeping the imnuno-compromised alive. I tell him not everything can be reduced to personal choice just as respecting speed limits, not drinking and drivin

Jung

 

The great burnout

 

Character

I a m not at all a Caitlyn Jenner fan but I recently happened to watch a special on Netflix chronicling her 1976 Olympics performance. What struck me is how she talked of Bruce as a character she had created to be able to deal with her dysphoria. If she tried hard enough to prove herself in the male world, then maybe she wasn't really trans. To varying degrees we have all done this and in trying to fit in we invent a character that people will like and find acceptable. This personage may be close to who we are but omits the part we are afraid to share with the world. Fatigue eventually draws the real us out which is what some confuse with bravery. Today I tell people that I am not brave only I couldn't bear the idea that I would keep myself hidden for the rest of my days behind a facade. I had somehow convinced myself that this character was all there was but eventually you realize that it is too energy consuming to keep it up and authenticity wins out.

Evolving

No one has it altogether because we humans are simply too full of flaws and insecurities. Plus just when we think everything is working well, something comes along to detail us. Being calm within the firestorm seems to be an asset but easier said than done especially if we have unresolved issues looming in the background.  My recent good fortunes with coming out to more people have helped put me in a good place and I look forward to discovering more of myself without that added burden of secrecy. My daughter's almost matter of fact attitude has helped add even more perspective to something I Iong overdramatized. Life is a journey of growth through self discovery and as long as we keep questioning and examining ourselves we will find answers.

"I married a trans woman"

 

Close to my hood

 

The Paint Wizard

 

Obtuse

You could argue that the strength of labour unions peaked in the 1960's after which time there was a steady decline  and then a virtual death with the Reagan presidency. As the US enjoyed a period of economic boom and massive consumerism, the need for regulations helping the working class seemed to subside. Today much of removal of government regulation and a lowering of taxes for corporations have helped move the lower echelons of society into the ranks of the working poor. As Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema enjoy their time in the limelight while Rome burns there is a sense of urgency to right the wrongs especially among the more progressive voices in the Democratic party. Most politicians are beholden to corporate interests but some clearly more than others and as the disdain for those who have little is displayed in its full regalia, people are beginning to be outraged and rightly so. Sinema in particular has shown a particular gift for obtuseness as her antics reveal much abou

coffee again

I met with my nephew and his fiancée again for coffee and it was great. They are both wonderfully supportive and were genuinely interested in learning more about trans issues. She brought up a work colleague who was married and liked to cosplay with his wife. He would always dress up as female characters which then segued into the question of the differences between people who like to indulge in gender non-conforming behavior versus those who are all about their intrinsic identity. This is the way I explained it and she understood the difference which made me realize that a lot of people who are very well meaning do not always readily make these distinctions. Just like the difference between gender identity and sexual plumbing continues to confound some people. The thing I loved about their curiosity is that they were very open to learn versus people who are closed minded and only want to accept their versions of reality which is the malady of times.

Toying with fascism

The deeply regressive government of Greg Abbott in Texas has a list of 850 book titles that they don’t want present in school libraries and I will give you three guesses as to what the subjects might be about. The books are mostly dealing with subject matter that they say might make their students feel uncomfortable and many deal with anti-racism, sex education and abortion. Titles like “V for Vendetta” which deal with the formation of fascist governments are on the list; a delicious twist of irony which is perhaps lost on these knuckle draggers. Fascism has always existed, and America isn’t immune to it. What remains to be seen is how long the country will continue to elect politicians who dangerously flirt with it.

L'automne encore

 

Sarah

The young woman sits next to me but with her mask on I do not recognize her at first. “It's Joanne or Joanna?” she says to me, and I look into her eyes trying to place who she is. Her having only started to work at the café recently and seeing her as a customer that morning only adding to my confusion. “You’re Tara, right?” I finally said “Its Sarah” she responds and with that we began a friendly conversation as she waited for her bagel order. At 25 years of age, she is unassuming and relaxed and has a soothing quality to her voice that invites candor. Like many people her age she has not yet had the chance to be spoiled and corrupted by the world. She tells me she was born south of Montreal and is now waiting to enter an information technology program. She has just moved in with her boyfriend and this job at the café is the right thing for her at this moment. I tell her a bit about myself as well and how I spent my formative years in NDG and ended up in the suburbs where m

Symbiotic

When I was young, I had some illusions about how the world functioned. I thought it was a more orderly place and that the structures set up to govern societies had social justice mandates which punished clandestine and corrupt behavior. With age and experience I have seen for myself this is not only untrue, but that society has within it many individuals I care not to know and frequent because they risk souring the rest of my time on this planet. Now I think that we need to know what is good for us and how we choose to spend our time. Helping those who need and want our assistance and our company and value our identities is what matters most. We can change the world in our own corner and in so doing benefit from those who truly value us so that the experience becomes symbiotic. This need not mean that it must be equal in weight on both sides but only that it holds value for each person.

Kant

 

Vilify

B efore he became a grumpy old man harping about woke culture, I didn't mind and even liked Bill Maher. Now however he is that man telling the kids to stay off his driveway while complaining how the world is going to hell. He has become disgruntled and whiny. It seems that most of the social commentary these days is divisive and meant to vilify those who are spoiling it for the rest of us. Instead of trying to unify people with our common human concerns we are spending time pounding on those we cannot relate to and quite often it involves punching down.  There are whole YouTube channels dedicated to criticism and they get plenty of views from people with undeveloped or wholly absent critical thinking skills. As the US becomes the largest experimental laboratory for the adverse effects of social media,  we wonder if there will ever be a better version of society. Sure, in the past things were hypocritical and hidden which was worse, and yet we now know far too much and can't le

The past

We can think of our past as amassed material on top of which we are constantly building new versions of ourselves. Not all of it is prime terrain and there are scattered bits that aren't as suitable but they still equate to events which have colored us. They serve nonetheless as part of the overall foundation we build upon. There is nothing to bemoan or regret but instead we can view each piece as having helped shape our collective experience. 

Fullest

 

Looks plus comfort

I like to combine looks and comfort in footwear. Trying to find large sizes in running shoes can be daunting but lots of women with bigger feet buy men's runners I am told at stores and the ones pictured below (bought recently) have already received positive feedback from a couple of women. The block heel pumps below are the ones that a young woman liked so much recently. Again, both style and comfort.

Self defining

Here is a young transwoman defining who she is and in so doing making the distinction that simply the act of crossdressing doesn't automatically make you trans.  I find these videos interesting because the young generation's viewpoint fascinates me.

36 quotes

 

Risk

W e can play it so safe in life that we risk not living to potential and I was on my way there myself. More precisely I wasn't living to my full level of contentment because of fear. Of course we older trans people had lots to legimately fear and my life has taken plenty of stumbles but I can now look back and realize how bleak things would have been if I had continued to live the way I was. Without risk there isn't a payoff and admittedly it hurts when we fall and so we often dare not jump towards what could be a better plateau. In the end I had little choice because authenticity beckoned like it had never before. However the payoff exceeded my expectation.

Unexamined

 

Alone Tonight

 

Sharing

I 'm very proud of my son and I have come to a point where I can share much of my past with him. My struggles with dysphoria are taken in receptively by him and he understands even if he cannot relate. Both my children were raised to be tolerant. We cannot regret decisions of the past because they have shaped who we are today and in the case of my children they bring me great joy. Being able to share who I am with them brings me closure because their opinion of me has been the most important of all.

Born different

 

Feedback

Both female colleagues I had lunch with yesterday told me the same thing: that I am Joanna. They see a more content person who is more at ease in her own skin. I always find it interesting to get feedback from others who have seen both sides. It was such a relaxed and pleasant overlap with them and two hours went by in a heartbeat.

Cogito, ergo sum

' Cogito, ergo sum" (I think therefore I am) is credited to mathematician and natural philosopher Rene Descartes. I have always liked that phrase because it alludes to the idea that we can reflect on our own nature and origins even if we do not completely understand them. What it means to exist, to be born and to die seems to have been the topics that have most fascinated human beings since we have inhabited this planet. Here I think of Samuel Beckett and his existential "Waiting for Godot" which speculates on our restlessness and our temptation to sometimes ponder if our lives are random and devoid of meaning. I don't pretend to have all the answers but also know I am limited in my ability to be privy to them and may have to accept that. Religion seems to provide for some an iron clad recipe and yet if one ponders beyond the surface there is so much which begs asking.

What is right for me

I am still getting used being seen as a woman by other women and I don't take that lightly. In fact I feel honored and my relationship with these different women which varies in closeness and frequency of overlap, has opened up a window into my own sense of self. As someone who denied themselves femininity and only indulged it in spurts in the past, I nevertheless strive today to not be a caricature but rather have incorporated my male traits into my daily life as Joanna. Women are varied in character and also lie on their own spectrum between masculine and female and I have seen the same phenomenon played out within the trans community. Finding your own comfort zone is what it's all about which is why I don't worry about how I am being perceived. It just has to feel right for me.

Raising all boats

In order for trans people to have greater rights the rest of the world must also. This means all minorities must take their rightful place in the pantheon of equality and women must especially gain a higher place in all societies.  There is no reason to discriminate against anyone based on race, gender or creed and by eliminating all bias it raises all boats to the same level. We can look at the example of women who are challenged by the existence of transwomen. But that concern would not exist had many not experienced things which made them resent men which in turn affected their view of trans people. Their viewpoint may not be educated but there is no denying that they have been affected by a world which discriminated against them at some point. We are colored by our past and then sometimes make harsh judgements based on it. We won't get to a perfect world but raising the bar on equality could help eliminate so much of the suffering experienced by so many.

The theory of stupidity

  Bonhoeffer never made it past the Nazis but his theorizing on stupidity is something I have been doing as well. The era of Trumpism and social media redux will do that to you. Perhaps groupthink is more comfortable for some and they will follow someone off a precipice rather than think for themselves or their ability to discern and analyze ideas presented to them has been impacted through unwavering belief that something must be true.

It's all relative

I feel so happy for young trans people today. One of my nieces works with a young trans woman in her early twenties who, when she found out about me, wondered how I had made it this far without transitioning. It was beyond her ability to comprehend how someone could cope with dysphoria for as long as I have. People my age developed coping skills that these young people don't need to and if transition is what they need there are more support structures than were there for us. Not that every trans person needs to transition, but at least the road blocks today are far fewer if they must. Coping skills can also lead to denial and my subterfuge was to convince myself that I could get by with as normal a life as possible. I built an intricate pattern of logic as to why I couldn't be trans or was just a crossdresser who needed to stop. Someone like me can be happy today because by putting down all that baggage you simply are relieved by comparison to the life you had before. So whil

Not so fast

This morning a patron of the café I frequent was waiting for his order with his 8 year old daughter and meanwhile we made idle chatter. We were mentioning Halloween preparations for his daughter how fast kids grow up and after adding that mine are in their early twenties he asked me: "Oh are you a grandmother yet?" To which I very rapidly responded "no, no rush" and added some eye roll and some laughter. I also had a good internal chuckle :)

Herman

 

Disorder?

Many of us have known since very young that something was up with our gender. We identified with the other side and I for example was in my mother's shoes by age 4.  Many transsexuals would speak about having a condition and perhaps it was understandable in wanting to make a distinction between cross gender expression and the psycho-sexual reversal they were experiencing.  The reason I tend not to favor terms like gender identity disorder (GID) which was preferred terminology before being replaced by gender dysphoria is that it implies illness rather than a way of being which happens (and always has) to a small segment of the population. One thing is for certain, the percentage of people who play with gender is considerably larger than those who must deal with what can sometimes be debilitating dysphoria. Harry Benjamin called his most extreme cases of this his types 5 and 6. Nevertheless, my view is that rather than focus on models based on dysfunction or anomalies, we should be

Substitutes

The human operates on two levels which are the impulsive (perhaps tied to biological imprinting) and the rational. That dictomy is sometimes at odds and there is a resulting tug of war between what we know from experience is right and the impulses which oppose that rationality. It is not easy living with those two often opposing forces as the over eater or the drug addict will attest to. We can also find ourselves with love interests that are not right for us even if our hormones conspire against that knowledge. That search for connectedness is so powerful and so innate that in its absence we may look for other substitutes.

Your fundamental nature

Something happens when you are at peace with yourself: the world seems like a less ominous place, and you begin to see others in a more positive light. The hurt of feeling isolated in your own drama subsides as you settle into a normal that brings you fulfillment. I have said many times here before that it is your life, and no one has the right to weigh in on it for you have a unique place in this universe and no matter your identity you should celebrate and treasure it. If you spend your time looking for outside validation you may find yourself alone if the world doesn’t know what to make of you.  You cannot love others fully if you are dissatisfied with yourself. Yes, it is good to correct flaws and to perfect our patience, but your fundamental nature is what makes you the individual you are and possesses value. Until we learn that lesson fully, we will never reach any kind of contentment. If you watched the video I posted by Charlotte to the end, you saw her ultimate advice was not

Charlotte

We are all different, but listening to Charlotte I am sure that many of us can relate to her feelings in passing through very difficult periods. Gender dysphoria can be brutal. Being trans is no picnic that's for sure and those of us who are older and took the long road to acceptance will understand her quite well...

With the years

Every so often I will wear something eclectic like bright colored socks and casual pumps as in the photo below. Just before winter it's trickier with footwear in that sometimes don't want sneakers or boots. Getting that everyday combination of practicality, comfort and style takes a bit of practice.  I have my staples now but own enough things that I can throw something together relatively easily no matter the occasion. It's been interesting developing my style over the years and things I would have kept when I was not living as Joanna have been abandoned because they were taking up room and not being used. I've got my formula down now but it took many years to perfect although I am likely to change again with the years. My identity is more than about clothing but when I was discovering myself in the earlier years it was the closest and easiest symbol I could employ to convey it. It has grown and morphed since then.

Non event

Something happened yesterday which was another first. My daughter and her boyfriend were in my home and I walked in with a bag of groceries. I knew they would be there as my daughter had arrived before me to prepare her space for her upcoming move. What for them was anticlimactic, could have been for me a bit monumentous except nothing really happened and I might as well have walked in wearing a space suit although I was instead in a casual top, skinny jeans and ballet flats. For my daughter it wasn't a first but it was for him and the fact they were both together had made me a little nervous about how they might react. Instead it was another case of young generation continuing to impress. If I had played out this scenario in my mind in the past, I needn't have bothered.

L'automne

 

Fad

T he National Review headline reads: "is it emotional abuse for parents to deny a transgender child's claims?" which hardly surprises. The publication formerly run by William F Buckley is one of many purporting to claim that "transgenderism" is social fad which needs curtailing. The articles written show striking bias and whatever "science" is referred to in defense of their argument is provided by a friendly hack who shares their point of view. No parent wants suffering for their child and make no mistake these trans kids even in our better environment face an uncertain future full of challenges made even more marked by their identity. Hence when parents finally succumb to the realization that their child is not faking, they approach the medical community in exasperation and a plea for assistance. Conservatism is by its very nature resistive to change and every societal progress viewed from the vantage point of challenge to the status quo. The realiz

The bridge

W e are often our own worst enemies and while attending my nephew's 30th birthday party some members of my family asked why Joanna hadn't come. I had been mulling it over but in the end realized that I am not comfortable unless others are which is one of the crosses I still bear. It is why I have built a life apart from my extended family so I can begin anew. I am my own obstacle now and need to get past trying to give them the personage that they expect; who they always thought I was. It was encouraging of course and even the clumsy words of openness from one sibling I took in stride because I know the intent was to make me feel comfortable and welcome. I have yet to bridge the world I'm building now with the old one but there is no urgency with which to do it.

The great resignation

 

To be fair

T he way I want to be remembered is that I cared about concepts and ideas and the fair treatment of individuals. Details about personal lives are relevant yes but less so when they are blended into how our humanity is expressed in communion with others. As my deep disappointment and indignation with society wanes, I try to focus on how to best express joy in what is positive in our shared experiences. This blog hopefully tries to convey how I feel about philosophical concepts and how to best allow the free expression of individuals in a world that tends to castigate difference through its fear. For to stand out in honesty is so much better than conform in timidity.

Awakened

The pandemic has awakened people to the inadequacies of their lives. Running around within the structure of a rat race that was unquestioned was examined in earnest when people found themselves at home pondering its value. Reassessing in the quiet has made some question whether their career choices made sense and how they have impacted their time with spouses and children and even aging parents. My own evaluation had me looking back and reflecting on just how much rigor and responsibility was sold to my generation under the auspices that it brought us great value. I am unsure about that value now but it matters less at the end of a career full of discipline. The tables have been turned on all of us and the restructuring of the relationship between employer and worker is necessarily not going back to where it once was. And thank God for it.

That all can still be well

W e know more about trans people today than even 5 years ago and people are starting to know of at least one trans person in their personal lives which means there will be less tendency to demonize. It is when we get to know people up close that we appreciate their humanity for much of the world operates on caricatures, abstractions and misinformation. Of course it doesn't help trans folk when you are dismissive of yourself reinforced only more by the chorus all around you. I feel most for those who are rejected by family, live in poverty and are double saddled with racism plus being trans. The latter contrasting sharply with the problems of affluent middle class white cisgender people who sit at the top of the societal pyramid. The world is deeply flawed and yet also blessed with rich souls who give us morsels of hope that all can still be well.

A House Divided

When you are certain that the other side is ruining your country they are seen as the enemy. There is no redeeming quality that they can possess and you must do everything in your power to stop them. Right now the big lie is being tested in state legislatures where partisans are doing their best to ask for more audits which seed doubt into the quality and veracity of the American election process. This questioning will make sure that no election in the future is seen in the same light. The United States was always a divided nation going back to before the civil war but this one seems more profound and touches on more issues than just emancipation of slaves. Coupled with the ease of getting your news from your preferred source, the ability to convince the deeply partisan that there is chicanery afoot has never been easier or more deadly for a democratic process already so deeply damaged by the reality that it has always been rigged in favor of the powerful.

Differences

A m I treated differently now? Well yes and no. There are definite similarities in the way men and women communicate but there are subtle differences and I do find women are more open with me now. When you see the same people in your neighborhood you begin to form patterns of relating and those have indeed been altered by the gender I present as. Again, not overly dramatic but they are there. Women do smile at each other more and that has stuck with me. I also find that in general I am receiving more courteous service all around.

Vaush

I love Vaush. He is extremely intelligent and also very funny and here he very smartly dismantles two people I cannot stand namely: Jordan Peterson and Ben Shapiro; haughty pontificating right wing dipshits and their misunderstanding of post-modernism among other things. Peterson should have stuck with psychology lectures and Shapiro? Well you could do a whole psych study on him alone...

Winning back minds

We are at a crossroads where conventional structures like organized religion have been increasingly sidelined. People are also disillusioned with political systems that don't work for them and a world that seems to offer less security which disturbs many. If you aren't adaptive in your thinking and can't develop coping strategies, the next dramatic changes will seem very scary. COVID opened up our awareness that things can turn on a dime. So how do we find new ways to ground ourselves?  

Engrained

Y ou may have noted that I don't refer to myself as a woman or a girl in this blog but instead as a trans person. Sure, my instincts were there from a very young age and part of the reason for my successful social transition I credit to those natural impulses. However I am not concerned with gender norms any longer and whatever tropes work for others won't easily work for me. My study of gender has concluded that much of it is rooted in socialization but there is defintely a genetic component which makes us predisposed to being trans. If you tried to socialize someone into another gender role who isn't trans (and here I am reminded of the late David Reimer) you will not succeed in your efforts. John Money was quite certain of it until he failed. Our backgrounds and experiences are so varied and yet there is such commonality.

Worth the while

An old friend and I call these our "what the fuck years". We are entering the last act of life and our authenticity beckons as we shed skins of self criticism and concern for what others think. I may have another 30 years or perhaps not and I need to focus my energy on internal harmony above all else because that is what sustains me. I am becoming more minimalist and more centered on what truly matters in life and having lost friends to cancer in recent years has only reminded me of the fragility of our existence. I believe it was Orson Welles who said that we are born alone, we die alone and everything in between is a distraction. So then let's make that distraction truly worth our while.

Scarborough Fair

 

Moving in

My 23 year old daughter is moving in with me for a year or two after which time I suspect she and her boyfriend will begin their lives together in earnest. She knows how I live and has repeatedly told me it is a non-issue for her. Therefore nothing is likely to change other than having her sporadic company over a meal we can align on or some movie we might both watch. She leads a very private life and can spend hours on her own much as I can. It might feel odd at first as I have lived alone for quite some time. I know it's likely to also be interesting for her and myself to live under such changed conditions. After all, when we last permanently lived together under the same roof she was only 10 years old.

Enlightenment

Read any article or watch any YouTube video and then reading the comments section can leave you despondent about the state of human nature. The ignorance is often breathtaking and it is evident people don't do their homework before offering their opinions. We cannot change humanity by ourselves but we can try and make our own little corner of the world a better place. By trying to lead through example and speaking truth to those close to us we can make a difference in helping spread peace and goodness through more enlightenment. I used to feel more outrage at the state of our world but then I decided to drop my weapons and just live.

With friends like these...

Debbie Hayton has fully medically transitioned and yet insists on referring to transgender women as men. Unsurprisingly, this has raised the ire of fellow trans people who have enough trouble without getting heat from one of their own. Anne Lawrence who famously sided with Ray Blanchard's toxic theorizing was one such acolyte who decided to take a self depricating view of her own malaise of AGP which paints male to female gynephilic transsexuals as mentally ill men with misdirected sexuality. You can well imagine that right wingers love such characters and Walt Heyer is still trotted onto YouTube channels who thrive on attacking trans people for daring to exist. The indignation of some people is such a driving force that they must go out of their way to make sure we are miserable. If we study the topic seriously, we know that both gender and sexuality are complicated affairs and not nearly as black and white as they seem. Despite this, some people seem to be virulently offended b

Exuberance

J oannie is 28 but looks younger and she sees me walking into her Sephora "Hey girl how are you?" she says with a muffled voice breaking through her mask. She tells me she remembers me from last time. I tell her I am well and that she looks great. But of course she does at her age when everything is in its rightful place. We chat for a few minutes and she asks me for my secret after she finds out how old I am. "Cream, cream and more cream with perhaps a little help from genetics" I answer and she laughs. We banter some more and I note her youthful exuberance. She has a boyfriend she is tired of and I give her my take about two people who don't need each other complementing already happy lives. She thanks me for the advice and wishes me well as she politely leaves me for another customer. "Bye Joanna!" and her eyes bead upwards as the only sign she has formed a friendly grin I cannot see. I leave the store having bought nothing but simply having ha

Overblown

You are one of almost 8 billion people in the world and when viewed from that perspective, your problems are not all that relevant in the grand scheme of things. While this may sound at first to be heartless and dismissive, I actually mean it to a positive reinforcement towards reducing our fear. What looked like insurmountable personal problems in my life turned out to be resolvable. What will people think if I'm trans? How will they react if I come out? What will happen if I live mostly full time? All challenging questions which were made more difficult through overblowing them in my mind. I just needed to move slowly forward and take things one step at a time. Something which I saw as cataclysmic became much more manageable than imagined and m y life has improved as a result of taking concrete steps to help myself even if that meant testing my tolerance for fear. So maybe think of yourself as an ant in a massive colony and keep those problems in perspective.

Born different

 

Motherless Brooklyn

M otherless Brooklyn is a stylish film noir a la 1950's starring Edward Norton. Story driven and beautifully shot, it grabs your interest immediately as you try and understand what is happening. Norton plays a gumshoe with Tourrette syndrome who needs to get to the bottom of the murder of his boss who ran a private detective agency Norton works for. This film also touches on one of my favorite subjects; namely social justice. The plot thickens and like a good crime caper you need to get to the bottom of it. Trust me on this one and catch it on Netflix.

Anachronism

I would like to think, perhaps rather self-indulgently, that this blog will outlive me; that someone in the late 21st century will read about the experiences of a trans person born a decade after the mid-twentieth century mark and view my life as an anachronistic portrait of how things used to be before we became enlightened. Being different in any way has never been easy but we seem to be at a point in our history where not much is hidden or at least not as shrouded in the hypocrisy it once was. That transparency has at least forced a discussion on topics many would still like kept out of sight. History does indeed repeat itself because human beings possess much the same traits they always have, however the access to open dialog has changed the way we thought the world functioned. The taboos and the rules have been turned on their ear which can only be seen as a good thing. Incidentally and on a far lighter note, another twenty-something young woman today asked where I bought my blo

Punching down

"Punching up" was something that George Carlin did very well. His political satire peppered with profanity poked fun at the systems that kept people oppressed and desperate; systems that they could not escape. In other words, it was easy to imagine him as a potty-mouthed Robin Hood figure pointing fingers at injustice with his comedic bow and arrow. Contrast that with Dave Chappelle's latest Netflix special where he gleefully punches down by pronouncing himself a member of "team TERF" and proudly defends JK Rowlings's paranoia about men in dresses stalking women's spaces. In this "everything is on the table" era it's easy to disguise prejudice on the premise that it's a just a joke. The problem is that some listening would gleefully maim or kill a trans person who already live with dangerous levels of anxiety, depression and suicide not to mention the homicides that occur every year. In particular, Chappelle should also realize that thi

More that unites

I was invited to Louise's place last night for a relaxed end to the week 5 to 7 and there was one other lady there named Nicole who was nice enough. The conversation flowed quite nicely only aided by the chilled white wine. Once again I remark how interesting it is to relate to women and to be treated as one by them. I note the differences and the similarities but without making mental notes as they are just passing observations I have learned, by now, to adjust to. I also note how I appreciate being referred to as "she" and "her" by other women which is comforting and brings me a sense of belonging. I used to think these types of scenarios would get me found out and read but as I relaxed into myself the overwhelming thought became that there is so much more that unites us than divides and by thinking this way I simply blended right in.

Fear

For a long time I was afraid to be trans and it is this fear which drove my self-rejection.  Living with this dread was making me anxious and depressed. Someone recently wrote me a heart felt note bemoaning their own fear which made me recall just how scared I was to be different. Since coming, out my life has never been better but not because being trans is easy; it's not. I just think that living in fear of being rejected or fear what other people might think or say is even scarier. It's never too late to do something about your fear and what I realized was that my worst case scenarios never really materialized. Sure, my marriage dissolved but it had bigger issues and the trans question was used as the primary excuse when it really wasn't. My ex-spouse has admitted that. Fear is our worst enemy and it's never too late to take a dip into the daylight and taste authenticity.

Reunited

 

A nice to have

T he biggest challenge for MtF trans people isn't with men but with women. Passing comfortably in close quarters in their company (assuming that is a goal) is the ultimate test and I remember my friend Sherry telling me this. Of course she transitioned at age 25 and no one would know but still she concerned herself with it for a time. I used to worry about the same thing but as I started to successfully blend in, the worry disappeared and I could just relax and be myself. The passing became a fringe benefit that interestingly I was no longer aiming for. It was simply a nice to have.

Loves

If you still believe in pure romantic love I commend you because I do think it is theoretically possible. Unfortunately, my own belief has been tarnished by my reflections on humanity and how codependency works. When we are younger we function on a combination of pheromones and idealism because we do not yet comprehend others or even ourselves and by the time we are enlightened our lives are saddled with responsibility. I believe that many if not most human beings look for companionship based on the theory of missing pieces where psychological holes need to be filled. The cure for the absent father or distant mother is subconsciously part of the search even if not acknowledged and we look for models we recognize growing up no matter how flawed. However, every once a while there is pairimg which truly works and defies the odds. There is complicity and alignment based on mutual respect and independence of spirit that can withstand the strife which life inevitably brings us. The imperfe

My flats

Yes, I admit that my Sam Edelman Felicia ballet flats do get a lot of wear as I'm a walker and need comfy shoes. However these also happen to be pretty which is why I like them so much when I want to look good as well as feel good. I won't wear them every day but I do at least 2 days per week in the summer and fall. When these are past their expiration date I will almost certainly opt for the same brand again.

Survey

Today for the first time ever in my career I received a confidential survey from a professional organization I have belonged to for many years which had a question relating to gender identity. I guess I should have expected it in 2021 but still considering my generation that would have been unthinkable when I began working. The question was whether we identity as LGBTQ, non-binary, etc. which was really nice to see. Society is finally starting to get somewhere and recognize that diversity exists. I also think you can guess how I answered....

The backfire strategy

When you allow the political discourse to be dominated by cultural issues you end up with the train wreck that the Republican party has become. The “party of ideas” (I chuckle to myself as I write it) is now a cult of personality beholden to a repugnant idiot who used to be president. Meanwhile large factions want to turn the country into a Taliban-like pseudo-Christian theocracy which should send shivers down the spines of most Americans. Imagine the founders, flawed as they were, establishing a nation to escape rule of king and church only to see their own concept bizarrely corrupted in this way. The southern strategy which helped the GOP get here is seeing it spectacularly backfire as its largely uneducated, mostly rural, and vocal base are swinging at strawmen like illegal immigration even as they lose their livelihoods to corporations who don’t have much time for them. Trumpism was the result of the cancer that had already began to take root decades before and only took someone

Excess

I yearn for more essentialism. I want to live with just what I need and nothing more and I feel I am getting closer to my goal. The introvert who needs as little as possible except for the love and respect of my children. Life offers us very little control and it is more fragile than we ever imagined when we were younger. I have now seen it for myself; the apparent randomness which leaves us reeling when all our plans fall by the wayside. Removing excess can only help matters.

Gap

We are sometimes stuck in the shadows of who we were expected to be rather than who we are. This is not a hard trap to fall into and that gap can leave us feeling despondent. Such is the power of conditioning. Leaving that manifestation behind is difficult especially if others close to us don't accept us on our own terms and the reason we sometimes need to distance from some is specifically because they can't get past their own definition of who we are rather than take us at our word. When people come out later in life it can be daunting to those around them and remaking our image in their eyes extremely difficult. When we sense their discomfort we can lose confidence that this gap can ever be bridged. One of my siblings is mired in religious orthodoxy and they will always look at me as someone in need of reparation rather than an example of human reality. I can't fix her mindset but only my own and my self-respect cannot hinge on her limited view of the world. So I live

Maddie

Maddie is a young trans woman and here she talks about family's reaction to our changing and how sometimes they cannot relate and force you into distancing so you find more support.  Many of us will have experienced much the same thing regardless whether you have socially or fully medically transitioned.....

Walker

I 'm an early morning walker which gives me that quiet time to reflect. Early to bed and early to rise permits me to do that I've been that way for quite a number of years. Let's just say that I am a morning person. It's my time to process my thoughts before the workday begins and think about where I'm going and where I've been, the fall being an especially apropos season for this. A change of life is coming yet again and I can feel it in the crisper air.

Boy can I relate....

 

Church

M y friend Janet told me that some parishioners were inquiring where the tall lady had disappeared to. She politely tells them that I have decided to go to a church closer to home instead of the beautiful Old Montreal basilica but the truth is that I no longer go since the pandemic closed houses of worship. I was already attending out of reflexive instinct and my adherence to Catholic dogma had already taken a hit as my exploration of philosophical concepts pushed against the grain of organized religion. Considering myself a free thinker, I needed to remove myself from blind adherence to the fixed human ideas some of which I could no longer bring myself to agree with. The concept of loving neighbor as oneself and of trying to do good in the world plus believing there are forces greater than ourselves are still intact only that this became good enough for me and could be pondered on outside of an institution. It is possible that belonging to community is what drives many to find value

On our own

How we see ourselves outweighs how the world does because they are not privy to your inner thoughts or how you function. Unfortunately as human beings we take our cues from the messaging we receive as children as we are slotted into our respective roles. Our families will put certain expectations on us and then society will judge us based on how we dress, speak or gesture not to mention our tastes. Removing that cloak is very difficult because much of that messaging is now an integral part of how we view ourselves  and if are told something often enough we are apt to believe it. Liberation from that history can often take great effort. I have written here often about self definition being the greatest gift you can bestow upon yourself. Human beings are often afraid to stand out and will congregate into like minded groupings for moral support but the true payoff comes when you can detach yourself from that need, find your identity from within and treasure its value. Many of us are sad

Learning curve

There are two aspects to gender: the natural instinct and the socialized learned behaviour. As trans people we have the first but are often deprived of the second such that once we contemplate transition we must quickly catch up. This is especially true for later in life transitioners. It is like muscles you have but which have never been called into action. Doing things as painfully slowly as I have gave me time but I know of many trans people who went through a very steep learning curve in middle age or older. It could potentially overwhelm you not to mention the turmoil that their families might be undergoing. This is one of the most extreme changes anyone could go through and in no small part because society puts such a heavy emphasis on gender norms. While that may be slowly changing we are still very far away from the egalitarian world it should be. Therefore, if you have the fortitude this era is as good as any even as this process is not for the faint of heart. Children get a

Alice

Pearls

My pearl earrings have been my fallback choice for years. They are feminine, understated and classy and go with almost any look. About half my week in spent in them with the rest being a mixture of different styles. They belong in every woman's jewelry box in my opinion and are as much of a staple as a classic pair of black pumps. A ''cannot go wrong'' choice...

Change

You may have noticed the frenetic and more aggressive driving or the demonstrations of indignation at grocery stores or even restaurants. There is little question that people are under more stress than ever and, fuelled further by the pandemic, many are itching for a fight. The speed at which we live which is evidenced by increasing social media frenzy is showing us a world that is having trouble orienting itself. Previous political systems and societal structures are struggling to keep a lid on the restlessness and the discontent and it appears we are heading for dramatic change in the future. This will not occur without the bumps in the road we are currently experiencing and those who hold the reins of power won't relinquish them easily. They will need to be shamed and forced into doing it especially since the status quo works very well for them. For social justice doesn't come naturally and it must be fought for.

Standing firm

The best defense against demented right wingers isn't to argue back but is instead the leading of peaceful, happy and productive lives. After all these people aren't interested in discourse but only in prejudice and derision. The reason that crackpot dipshits like Ben Shapiro, Jordan Peterson or Steven Crowder are increasingly up in arms is because they are losing the war on LGBTQ issues and as more people get to know one of us, the more air is let out if their indignation balloon. The war on diversity has similarities to the civil rights movement of the 1960s in that the more ground that was gained the more virulent the attacks became from the racists who eventually lost it. While no one is suggesting that we will do away with prejudice from these types of lunatics, all we need worry about are the legal protections being put into place to prevent draconian counter measures from right wing hell holes like Texas (to use a US example of a backwater) Greg Abbott's time is jus

As much as you can muster

Having brought my children along slowly on my trans journey has paid huge dividends because both accept me fully as I am without reservation. Even my younger 21 year old son who has not yet been exposed to Joanna in person has seen photos and he has been fully educated on trans issues for several years now. Yesterday we were talking over coffee and he gives me his full blessing regarding any form of transition I may choose to undertake. My baseline continues to be a social transition which at this point is hardly a stretch since I am ostensibly already there. The only question remaining is whether I ramp that up to 100% or remain where I currently am. Only time will tell. Our families transition along with us and by not forcing them into quick adaptations we are respecting their timeline for accepting us the way we would like them to. Here I  am not suggesting yours be as long as mine was only that you takes things as slowly and methodically as you can muster to give yourself and them

Colour

I've begun to slowly wear lip colour again and am favoring very neutral tones instead of harsher reds or dark browns. I am finding that for me overemphasis on the lips doesn't work as much as I once thought it did. Admittedly I use makeup more sparingly today which not only makes getting out of the house easier but greatly reduces overthinking about what to use. Right now it's 10 minutes and I'm out the door. The same phenomenon has happened with clothing where my go-to basics are supplemented with small accessories to change things up.

Morning walk

 

Chomsky vs Buckley

  I make no bones about my admiration for Noam Chomsky who remains arguably the most prominent intellectual in the United States.  In this excerpt from a 1960's Firing Line appearance he debates with the conservative William F Buckley and demonstrates his command of history. Buckley does his best here with his arrogant deflections but fails to rise to the level of Mr. Chomsky who refuses to be derailed from his brilliant point making. Buckley clearly rattled, apparently was furious afterwards and never invited him again.

Repatriated

Living virtually full time has changed me. Whereas before it was a more schizophrenic experience between genders, now it is a blended and whole person who has emerged along with a greater sense of calm. This has the effect of changing your focus and you experience things differently; now through the filter of a being who has repatriated all aspects of themselves. You are no longer wishing for or doubting anything but simply living.

Reality bites

When the divisions become predominantly cultural, you have created a dangerous situation. The enemy should be the oligarchy that the country has become and those who wield power and benefit from it may be more than happy to watch the fireworks for now. The danger of course is that there is eventually going to be a tipping point where social unrest takes over.

Masked lady

I t will be a while until masks disappear from the landscape and as this pandemic drags on I am thinking they will be around for another year. I suspect some will even make it a permanent habit when they are in tight quarters. I must say that I don't care for them but by now I am used to wearing it.

Tangible

I have written here about imposter syndrome before which is something not just trans people suffer from. Since we are indoctrinated from birth, accepting yourself as something other than what you were raised to be can be an overwhelming task. Even as I knew from an early age that something was up with my gender I dare not verbalize it and risk punishment. Imposter syndrome has everything to do with self doubt and if you saw my recent posting from Dr. Z it also ties into not wanting to destroy other people's perceptions of us. It is as if we feel we owe them what they expect which is of course self defeating because by being ourselves we are not imposing. It wasn't until I learned that I wasn't just someone dressing up as some sort of habit or pleasure that things finally sunk in. My gender dysphoria was becoming increasingly hard to ignore and something had to be done. By addressing it properly I realized that my transgender nature wasn't an act but a tangible reality

The little things

This morning as I was having coffee at my usual haunt, a young woman no older than 25 came up to me and complimented me on my earrings. I told her that she made my day and she was so glad to hear it. It's the little things :)