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Showing posts from July, 2022

"Do chickens have talons?"

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Lifeboats

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I don't have a problem with the concept of religion but I do with its certainty. After all, were all human beings convinced of their belief systems there should only be one faith instead of a multitude. Believers within these silos are instructed to follow man made dictates which seem to be modernized to suit the era and to trust that the hierarchy knows what it is doing when it makes adjustments. Today, religious affiliation and adherence has gone down with more people choosing personal paths which leave some of us scratching heads. But then it must be said that leading sheep with black and white promises of certainty for centuries didn't seem to work all that well. Therefore, those who are terrified of uncertainty, needed to find other life boats to cling to so they could find solace and some footing no matter how tenuous.  Our most rational response here would be to admit we know very little but that there are principles to follow regarding respect for others and charity whi

Being more descriptive

I think it would be far more helpful if the transgender umbrella were called the gender variant umbrella. The reason for this is that it would truly become more expansive and more accurately descriptive of what is actually happening underneath it. When I think about trans people I don't think about transition per se but instead about the management of gender dysphoria which not all variant people suffer from. I have used examples here of pure expression such as drag queens or some who comfortably self-identifiy as "crossdressers" as opposed to those who enter the gender identity side of the spectrum. But even then the reality is that most dysphoric people do not physically transition and many do not even take HRT. However, they do suffer dysphoria which has been the medical establishment's litmus test. Dysphoria is linked to some level of discomfort or feeling disconnected from birth sex (to varying degrees). For perspective let's also remember that physical trans

Trans youth

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Lily, who is a fellow Montrealer and someone I would love to personally meet one day, transitioned young but not all trans youth fully do. Youth are also more likely to opt for descriptors like non-binary. Here she explores the challenges of obtaining gender affirming care.

Bad day

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Other stories

Reading Zagria's wonderful gender variance site over the years has helped me realize that it's a very broad spectrum of behaviour among humans. She has historical narratives sometimes going back to the 18th century featuring people doing their best to live within the constraints of societies that didn't know what to make of them. That collection of colorful characters amply fills the Benjamin scale which of course came many years later. Her site also proves that, despite what a misguided right wing might say, trans people are not the flavor of the month but have always existed. I have been storing not the tiny details of each narrative but instead the patterns of behaviour among the common clusters that loosely form archetypes; from the casual dresser to the full blown transsexual. We can often recognize where we fit by reading other stories and I am no different. By piecing together the clues, we are able to understand where we place on the dysphoria scale and how to proce

Saturday morning

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Saturday morning coffees at the public market are peaceful. On Sunday mornings I will walk the 50 minutes to get here but today I used communauto (the car share service) because I need to be back home sooner. I arrive here for 7 am and enjoy one of my favorite cups of coffee while I read the news or write a post. This morning I slipped on a long casual corral coloured Tshirt dress and my ballet flats and off I went. Summer mornings are cooler which suits an early riser like me. This place by midday will be buzzing with activity and I will be long gone doing something else. A creature of routine, it suits me but I am introducing more flexibility into my life because I need it. Towards that end, 2023 will look entirely different without the rigor of professional life to further encourage it.

Good News Everyone

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Distractions

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As I age I have less patience and interest for the trivial and I will place it in the context of people trying to distract themselves from reflecting on something more substantial. When I was very young I watched how society functioned but I failed to see the complete picture of how much was steeped in an irrational power struggle fueled by human insecurity. It was all conceived with the same emotional weight and depth of a toddler only wrapped in different packaging. What people do to distract themselves is fascinating and they will engage with others in attempts to fit in as if their opinion on their lives mattered. Belonging to the right tennis or golf club becomes important enough despite needing to feign a smile at the same banal story being told incessantly by a colleague.  We search for belonging almost at any price and seek to distract ourselves with enough action to avoid having to sit alone in a quiet room with only our own thoughts as company.

Off a cliff

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Marriage rates have steadily over the decades fallen off a cliff but we didn't need to see statistical data to know it instinctively. The roles and the rules have changes making the decision to make such a commitment fraught with uncertainty and trepidation. Women finding more economic independence and the relaxing of social convention meant that the choice to not marry was less steeped in stigma. In truth, I don't think things will easily go back to what they were because the inequality is what drove people to stay together in many cases far longer than they should have. The curve below is for England and Wales but it is pretty much universally mirrored. While I am a great believer in the power of companionship, the only thing that should factor into a decision this significant is something called love and even then one never knows...

Focus

Being aware that our life could end at any time would help us because every day would become more precious. The more we become mired in the small and insignificant, the less we are in tune with a mindset which allows us to prioritize. It's not that we want to be morbid but rather determine whether the present focus of our attention will carry much weight when reflected upon on our death bed. I don't imagine that the unfinished work project or being passed up for that promotion will mean all that much. But in the heat of the moment we fail to have perspective and so we waste time and energy; something I have been as guilty of as anyone else.

Moving the furniture

Statistically reproducible anomalies can be seen in two ways: as illness or as part of the fabric of society. Homosexuality has always existed and always will and yet there are still those who call it abnormal when it really isn't. It's simply a preference that is statistically small and yet consistently measurable. Being trans is the same. When we stigmatize things that are innate to some people we needlessly create trauma in them which is then internalized. For some that takes the form of self harm or psychological issues that are carried long into adulthood and require therapy when in a more tolerant world it would not have been necessary had they been left alone. What is most fascinating here is that the societal response has historically been an exaggerated one. The Nazis, for example, were gleefully willing to send homosexuals to the camps perhaps in vain hope of wiping something out that would keep coming anyway. The possibility that this cancer could spread was too dan

The enemy within

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The right wing is more than ever a caricature of itself but not a particularly funny one. With aspirations of autocracy and legions of half-wit minions who feed on exclusive diets of FOX or Newsmax, there is very little to be done other than buckle in and see what happens. As much as I wish it weren't true, culture war outrage fools people and that divisive wedge is what will continue to power the gerrymandering and the fake electors in the next election cycle. This isn't a war of low taxes and small government anymore but instead an offensive of deep hatred against an enemy with a completely different vision of a country splintering as we speak. Democracy, already running on empty with corporations writing policy and people thinking their votes meant something, will take yet another beating in a nation with a few swing states holding the balance of power and where people fight tooth and nail against their own neighbor or even a family member.

A spaceman came travellling

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"Everything happens for a reason"

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Ben

Ben is 52, used to be married and has 3 children from that union in the same age range as my own. He is now in a gay couple after coming out in his forties and is old enough to belong to that group of people who dared not live according to their nature for fear of rejection and judgement. He is jovial and happy and I see him most mornings at the usual coffee haunt. I am very glad for him and his kids seem to be fine with a father who is undoubtedly less burdened through being able to live more honestly.

Dysfunction

All families are dysfunctional only that the full realization comes to us in retrospect. When we are inside the bubble it's all we know but then we live a little and start discovering the world and how others do things. Our own parents were products of dysfunctional parenting because their parents were human and flawed like everyone else and marked by their own instruction. If we are fortunate we can come to terms with our past and absolve others of their sins as well as forgive ourselves of our own.

A neat and tidy package

I think I have said here before that AGP worked for some older guilt ridden trans people because it took responsibility away from them. If something outside of themselves forced them to transition then they could remain blameless. I had to chew on that one for a while but then it made sense if you grew up during a time when doing something like that was unimaginable. We know better today of course which is why the youth of the trans community aren't buying. But for those born in the 60's or before it was a workable narrative that could explain away their actions in a neat and tidy package regardless of whether the concrete proof existed or not. In other words, it was a strange kind of vindication.

They don't know

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Work break

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Details

Personal life details become dull and repetive after a while but there is an overarching theme that is more interesting which is about the compulsions of the human animal. Why we behave in certain predictable patterns forms part of a bigger narrative which consolidates the details. It is why I find concepts more fascinating. Love and fear motivate us like nothing else and is the combination of both which creates the details of our lives.

Intimate

The idea of intimacy with someone  today feels foreign and enough years have gone by without it that one does not miss it; or at least one does not allow oneself to. There is always in human beings the imagined concept unspoiled by reality where a pure connection is made mostly in the mind's eye. Time has a way of creating distance from experiences which one gets used to doing without and we seek other forms of making connections with people that aren't romantic in nature.  Romanticism might be a lost art and perhaps one I never learned to navigate in. The movies I grew up with explained the motions and drew the clichéd road maps to follow, but in reality life has a different way of working which is much less neat and tidy; human emotions being such awfully complicated things.

Between two ferns

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Walls

I f you ask me if I like people I need to reflect on it. While I very much like individuals there is so much about the human race that perturbs me. The ease with which it is duped and controlled and the attraction towards judging are amongst its worst qualities. Many of us are scared and lonely even within marriages and we are so afraid to rock the boat that we become trapped within walls we create ourselves. The notion of escaping being too foreign a concept, we settle in for the ride. I can't say I did any different until at one point the starkness of what is happening hits you and the walls begin to close in. People do their best within very difficult circumstances and we are so malleable that we don't even realize the key to the exit door was sitting inside the lock the whole time.

Reborn

Neuroplasticity is what permits us to change and adapt. It is what makes the brain malleable and open to take on new information which then forges new neural pathways. Without this ability humans would be helpless and unable to function under circumstances which turn the tables on everything we have been taught thus far. We are victims to programming from the moment we are born but then this feature is what permits a reprieve should we wish to take it. We can work through the noise and reprogram ourselves in our own good time often paddling upstream when our beliefs run contrary to ingested dogma. Like the cult member we can be exorcised of what keeps us from breathing the fresh air and become reborn.

Clash

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This is what happens when culture war issues topple economic platform. As the GOP becomes an increasingly radicalized autocratic white nationalist movement, suddenly there is less room for undesirable outcasts within the ranks...

"So sorry"

Today I would be tempted to slap silly that person who walked into the hospital gender identity clinic back in 2007 begging to be repaired and apologizing for the sin of being trans. I didn't know better at the time and it's easy now with rear view mirror perspective to see that was an ill conceived position. Most trans people I have known over the years have been profusely apologetic at one time or other as if they had a severe case of lepercy. The severity of the mea culpa being directly proportional to the amount of information not divulged upon entering into a marriage. Only unfortunately, apologies are not called for here. In the end, the degree of compromise within a couple situation rests on the degree of choice you have which is greatly determined by the axiom between expression and identity. The further to the right you are, the more the luxury of choice is removed.

Advice

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Cementing

"Long time no see Madame" she says to me and it's true I hadn't seen her for about two years; a direct result of the pandemic. I have taken recently to grabbing a bus and then the metro over lunch break to go back to haunts I used to frequent before all our lives were upended. I tell her she will be seeing me more frequently when I retire. The pandemic helped me because it sped up a process of reflection which was for years already well underway. While it cemented the idea that I would not physically transition, it also confirmed that I was much further along on the spectrum than many. The way I know many live today would kill my spirit and so I could never go back lest I fall into depression.

No escaping

Impostor syndrome happens to everyone at some point and it's severity depends on how much you aren't being authentic. Being trans doesn't automatically make you an impostor but it can if you believe that your identity is a false one. In other words, you are simply play acting and deep down you know it. This phenomenon happens to everyone and even working professionals sometimes doubt their abilities so it's not unusual. That it happens to trans people is even less surprising since we spent so many years repressing inclinations that were inherent to us. Within the gender variant community there are of course those who are into pretending and perhaps they are fine with it but an identity in the end is something which cannot be escaped and will eventually find a way to surface.

Why you should want to suffer

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Fits the bill

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I almost never wear dresses but with this horrible heat I have found some refuge in the few that I do own. Loose fitting and comfortable, they remove pressure points around the waist from my usual capris or summer skirts. That l don't own many does not matter because, as I have written here before, fashion doesn't interest me very much at all. However, what I do own must suit my frame and look good on me before I step out in the morning. I resisted and almost gave up on them in the past after many dubious purchases which had me pulling them down because they were slightly too short (hate when they fall above the knee) Eventually however I settled on two or three that I could wear on occasion which had proven themselves to fit the bill and this morning I knew which one would be paired with my block pumps. Needless to say all are casual enough to be worn every day, otherwise honestly what's the point :)

Insufferable

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When we talk about right wing politics we are referring to conservatism which has always existed. In a nutshell, resistant to social change and (especially in the US) infused with ideas of small government, it proliferates in every generation by finding bogeymen to attack so that they can convert willing apostles to their cause. I have all my life tried to understand the mindset but to no avail and have summarized that it tends to find its most fertile ground among misinformed masses who rely on fear of advancement into new territory as sustenance. Whether it was villifying hoardes of infiltrating immigrants or now LGBTQ people, there is always someone coming to knock at the doors of their pristine existence trying to screw it up and so they must fight back. That conservatives subsist on ideas which are eventually proven wrong doesn't make suffering them in the present any easier. That some religious people also tend to be that way speaks less to the idea of a social contract towar

Enjoying the journey

One of the dilemmas you come upon when you are trans is the question of which gender presentation is the authentic one. If you like me spent years buying into a narrative that this other personna was inauthentic, then the baseline you always thought was the trueest can become entrenched in the psyche. That safety can feel right but can also smother the real you trying to come out. I have struggled with this for some time in that even if I have known deep down for a very long time that I was trans, the education I received helped forge a gender presentation that choked off any attempts to be myself. Even now there are vestiges from decades of living in a prescribed role that cannot easily be dealt with and dismissed in short order. However my patience helps me work through them. If we think in terms of enjoying the journey and not expecting to be at a certain point quickly, it goes much better and there is less stress. We simply enjoy the self discovery as it happens with the  core que

Confusion

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David Pakman often underscores the confusion among the electorate on issues. Here he does his best with a very uneducated caller on the Dems pushing puberty blockers on kids. This is what happens when you don't have critical thinking skills...

Proust

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Gavotte

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Friday night dinner

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My upstairs neighbor and I went for dinner tonight and we ate inside instead of on the terrasse because of the horrendous heat. I wore a red dress (which is rare for me) and ballet flats. It was a nice change of pace as usually I am on the sofa watching Netflix :)

Conspiratorial

It might be fair to say that many enter into relationships to cure their own loneliness rather than with the mindset of what they can bring to the other. In other words, it becomes more of a one way transaction which eventually becomes weighed down with the bluntness of reality. Love seems to be best served when there is purity of intention rather than a transactional aspect which hinges on the other continuing to meet our needs. The foundations need to be strong from the outset and a commonality of objective set which understands the stakes; that all isn't always going to be rosy but even then we conspire with the same good faith to make things better for each other.

Passing as yourself

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You may have already gleaned from this blog that I am very confident in public and that's what people see. Mess with me and you are apt to get a nasty stare down and a sarcasm tinged "Excuse me but do we know each other?"(something I used to be far less prepared to do when young and never get to execute today). If you are nice I will converse with you all day. You need to be yourself at all times; no matter what that entails and it is that knowledge which will give you self assurance. It's not about passing as anything other than yourself.

Fan favorite

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My only defense out in this horrible heat is the fan I keep inside my purse and sometimes women will give me that "why didn't I think if that" smile or make a nice comment. It's the perfect emergency weapon while on a bus or in a less than ideal AC situation :) Summer ain't for me.

Growth

It is perhaps when our personal doctrine falls apart that we are most vulnerable to being enlightened. Our defenses are down and everything is open to examination and to questioning. Auto pilot living isn't healthy but we do it because it's easier even if in the end it stiffles. Risking all under the forensics of a microscope isn't always for the faint of heart except that without it there is little personal growth. So we dare to look deeply into the mirror and see who truly looks back.

That it takes so long

I was speaking with my friend Deanna this week and she reiterated that she had no choice but to transition. She had done her best, as many of us do, to reject what we saw as a burden until it could no longer be ignored and had to be dealt with head on. So many try everything to no avail until they maybe reflect on self harm or just not waking up the next day if we are fortunate. I know I've thought that myself many times. That it takes so long to get to a stable place depends on many factors the most significant being the degree of refusal to accept this isn't ever going away despite our best efforts; this related to our ability to drink the Kool-aid. We finally stop pretending and try to find a formula that works so we can ultimately live in peace.

Man vs Bee

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Man versus Bee is silly beyond words and yet it works because it's Rowan Atkinson with his physical timing and befuddled expressions while trying to put an end to the life of his tormentor are priceless. I shouldn't have liked this because the concept was so exaggerated and yet somehow my belly laughs said differently.

After a while...

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My makeup use is the most minimalist it's ever been because there is nothing more unpleasant than having cake on your face in hot weather. A basic cream on top of which goes a light foundation. A little pencil over the eye and then a hint of lip color; this pretty much regardless of the season although in the fall I will wear a darker lipstick. Natural is what I always strive for. Like everything else it takes practice after which it becomes automatic routine such that you aren't thinking about it while applying it. I know I don't post a lot of pictures here but sometimes it's just easier than explaining...

Presidential

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Symptom

Blanchardians aren't stupid but they are disingenuous with their sleight of hand being no craftier than the elephant hiding behind the lamp post. By tagging cross gender arousal as AGP you automatically assign a trans origin as the misdirected sex drive of a gynephilic (straight) trans person. Blanchard must have succeeded in this through his involvement (and likely persistence) with the DSM but he isn't fooling those of us who can read carefully. I am still of the strong opinion that this effect is very much tied to repression of the early childhood identification being carried over into the creation of a sexual being. That the arousal continues into adulthood until it begins to wane with age depends on the degree of continuing suppression and what the person does about their dysphoria. Nevertheless, a symptom doesn't negate an identity just because it is tinged with some sexual tension which in the resolved cases even becomes euphoria. But for those brought up with archai

As seen on a subway platform

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Amazon ballet flats still holding up great and worn everyday...:)

A happy medium

Has my forensic analysis into this subject over the years been worth it? I don't have the answer because although I have all this information rattling around in my head, I am only marginally closer to comprehending how 1.4% of the global population is created. Anomalies are what they are but they still form part of a reliably reproducible statistical norm. I am always in admiration of those who can get to self acceptance with much less analysis than me but not of those who jump headfirst without thinking. Somewhere there is a happy medium and I will admit that the blogs which draw me in most are the reflective ones where the person reveals the inner workings of their thought process; how they got there and what insight they can share with the rest of us.

Prelude

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Operation Mincemeat

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I t's 1943 and Operation Mincemeat is a ruse for Hitler. A dead body carrying top secret documents must be cast into the ocean and it must be convincing as a drowning victim such that the Germans believe the British are targeting another location to invade. It's all very dignified and British and Colin Firth leads a solid cast in a film where world war spy intrigue is overlaid upon human emotions and suppressed romanticism. So there are two levels working here, one of which is the unspoken competition of two men for the affections of one woman. Very much worth the watch.

Besties

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JK Rowling is the useful idiot of the right because, in spite of being a feminist who runs contrary to right wing beliefs, she shares a deep dislike for the dreaded "trans ideology" and so Walsh, who is a troglodyte and misogynist of the highest order, makes for a strange bedfellow.  Vaush explains....

On fire

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Parts of Western Europe are on fire and the UK will reach 40C for the first time this week. Something is wrong of course but don't tell that to planet rapists some of whom are waiting for the rapture and the second coming so it doesn't matter. If a grown ass person thinks biblically and disregards science there is nothing I can say that will dissuade them although I might point them towards the balanced outlook of a Thomas Aquinas in vain hope. If you are a climate scientist or even an executive from ExxonMobil you have known about this impending problem for decades with the former thinking the human race couldn't possibly be this obtuse. Oh but we are, and the consequences will continue for the foreseeable future until we can begin to right the ship which might happen after I am no longer here because we make corrections with financial concerns first. Never mind the welfare of future generations and all species of wildlife and flora if it means the stock market might suffe

Oh well

Hmm, I wonder how a clinician like Blanchard ends up on right wing fringe youtube programs with the term "transgender ideology" in the title, might it be sour grapes? Nothing says says disgruntled has-been like beating up on the people you were supposedly professionally treating 40 years ago but were instead building up disdain for. When you do this, all attempts at gravitas falls off a cliff and you join people like Jordan Peterson with axes to grind. The latter is exactly my age and Blanchard even older which puts them clearly in the camp of a societal and theocratic childhood formation which left no room for straying from a main road set up in advance for you. That schooling then introduces bias which cannot be easily removed (and I would know) especially if you have no ability to relate to the people you are purporting to be accurately assessing. If you are in any way self hating, it only makes the myopia  worse. Oh well.

Oh nice

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Firearm fetish anyone?. ...

Faux news

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Observed on the bus

She was maybe 30 and in that early awkward phase of transition where there is an androgynous appearance. That I saw, no one took particular notice of her because it is a different time. It is a different era.

Succinct

You may have noticed that I am more succinct and focused than ever as well as clearer of mind and spirit.  It may have a little something to do with getting your shit together :)

Netherworld

Those who self identify as "crossdressers" have traditionally had a bad rap from both the general public as well as transsexuals and by adhering themselves to the outer rim of the trans umbrella under the expression wing, it has brought them a kind of respectability they never had previously. To be fair, not everyone in this group dresses exclusively for the thrills and some fall into that netherworld between expression and identity. Hence while there is some exercised and deliberate choice here, others have less of it and it is this faction which most interests me from a clinical standpoint because I am one rung up from them on the ladder. Besides the unfortunate terminology (which I have pointed out here doesn't help them), I feel there are really two groups represented in a cross section which runs the gamut between the man wearing a nightie to bed for sexual thrills all the way to someone who would fall smack dab in the middle of Harry Benjamin's scale but who doe

Not much effort

Sometimes you wonder whether people should be able to vote. Yes, I am being a little facetious of course but when you see the amount of ignorance among the general population, it is disheartening to see how easily manipulation happens. Republicans in the US for example, have honed disinformation to an art form and by using wedge issues have managed to convince a huge swath of the electorate to vote against their own interests. A party with no platform other than to further feed the coffers of their wealthy benefactors, they strip away at social programs that would help those red state voters they are constantly throwing culture war red meat to as distraction. You see people being interviewed in the street and are completely befuddled at the lack of education on basic issues. You feel like raising your hands in exasperation. Of course this happens everywhere in the world, but larger nations who depend on a hypnotized electorate and have mantras of exceptionalism to sell misguided wars,

Did people used to look older?

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Overnight sleeper

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  Beneath the scattered light Across bare hills of night I dreamt a train just missed me Another came in sight I ran across the track Then had to turn right back A new one came straight at me The next behind my back Nowhere else to turn to There are walls on either side Why must the embankment be so high Beside myself with weakness And faint from running wild I could hear the sound of burning coal They never seem to stop But always get to smoke Right out between two tunnels I ran until I woke

Right wing lunacy

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Decision

I am living proof that one can reside on the lip of transsexualism and not physically transition but it has taken enormous amounts of energy and introspection to be certain. Today, I have tremendous respect for those who have had to do so and I can scarcely imagine worse levels of dysphoria which would have made the decision automatically for me. I also count among close friends those who have done it and have zero regrets. My own decision took many years to gestate into a firm answer which required settling on the idea that one is no less trans because for not transitioning which put me in the company over previous millenia of those who couldn't even if they wanted. Therefore the scales were weighed by taking into account medical as well as lived history and the die was eventually cast without the slightest regret because it had been masticated over such a long stretch. Given that I am alone and with grown children, would have meant prime conditions for such a move and yet at the

Priorities

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The thrift store purchased purse pictured below is the best one I have ever owned (the second being one my mother gave me a couple of years ago). It's a supple leather, a great caramel colour but I love it specifically because it's the right size and so comfortable when worn over the shoulder for extended periods. I have owned many over the years but nothing comes close. I am all about comfort these days with the style coming in second because no one wants to spend any substantial time in pain. It's why I don't wear stilettos anymore and have two pairs gathering dust just in case the right occasion comes but never does. In other words, I seem to have inadvertently picked up the same habits many women my age have simply by living. It's a long and slow process blending a style into your life that works which has resulted in a progressively smaller closet. What is used now is much more judiciously mixed and matched and after all these years I can pick up an item in fro

To err

Forgiveness of ourselves and others is pivotal. We may have committed sins and others theirs upon us but we must let them go as foibles of our humanity because we cannot find internal peace of we don't let past grievances go. We are human and flawed; full of pride and foolishness which gets in the way of expressing who we really are and what deeply hurts us. So we pick up the pieces again and move on hoping to do better next time lest we permanently live in a loop of regret.

Tactician

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Gavin Newsom is taking a page right out of the GOP playbook and will alow victims of gun violence in his state to sue manufacturers. I can just see Greg Abbott gritting his teeth at the chutzpah for using his own tactic to counteract his personal fetish for open carry. Not only this, but California will begin to manufacture its own insulin which it plans to sell at cost; yet another brilliant jab at a greedy pharmaceutical industry that gouges people who depend on them simply for the luxury of staying alive. Clearly Newsom has political aspirations beyond the gubernatorial, and yet this is a very smart move which will greatly benefit his state. Other than my personal favorite for 2024 which is Jamie Raskin, Newsom would be a marked improvement over a completely ineffective neoliberal like Biden who still thinks he can reason with a fringe GOP that has aspirations of theocratic dictatorship. Put Katie Porter (who is a very savvy policy nerd) alongside any one of them on the ticket, and

A drop of water

Being always on the defensive is unhealthy. We can  fall into that trap and think how fortunate we are that we have received even a drop of water on the tongue while we were in the desert and so it is very graciously accepted. When your very existence perturbs, you will be thankful for almost anything as compensation. I stopped doing that quite a while back as it revolutionizes your existence and dramatically improves your sense of self worth. Instead of taking an apologetic stance, I understand what I bring to the table as an intelligent and compassionate human being who can freely choose what I accept for myself. Your sense of value comes solely from you.

Choosing

Perhaps the best way to describe how choice enters the axiom between gender expression and identity is this: we can choose to express ourselves in any way we like. We do not, however, get to choose who we are.

Un coup de foudre

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Love at first sight seems to be mostly an affectation of youth. Perhaps a symptom of pheromones on overdrive, it works its magic and intoxicates someone to the point of obsession. One cannot sleep or eat properly until that curiosity is satiated and the mind can stop recycling the same images and thoughts.  We crave romanticism but we don't know how to engage in it. So we awkwardly trip on words and clumsy advances until the object of our desire recognizes we have been struck by lightning and has pity on us. Shakespeare's sonnets are written about it and in those heady days everything is perfect and idyllic as it always is in the mind's eye when we are young.

Contagion

The far right uses a contagion argument against trans people which isn't truthful but works for them. Therefore the term "groomer" is used to denigrate those who live as they must but unfortunately outside the range of their limit for acceptability. Armed with outdated 1980's research like Blanchard's and here say, they congregate on their echo chamber shows and theorize on how much the numbers of LGBTQ youth will explode beyond any reasonable measure. I laugh at this but it's not really amusing because the casual uninformed listener doesn't have access to the information I do and if they live within the walls of their own media no grain of truth will get through. Kyle Kulinski recently interviewed Jordan Peterson who seems to look worse and more mentally disheveled every time I see him. Once making a pretense of being a fair minded thinker, he has taken a trampoline jump into the stratosphere of fringe sensationalism presumably to increase the content of

Speech

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Pure eloquence from an honorable man....who himself should be president.

Even?

Pre internet era power used to be concentrated in more restrictive circles. This was both good and bad because although we at least had a warehouse of subject matter expert knowledge, there was also potential for abuse. Along comes the internet and the democratization of knowledge but then also crackpot ideas and invented pseudo science which allowed people to pick their own truths; something we suffer from greatly today. Enclaves for the less knowledgeable were created which opened possibilities for even more charlatans to enter the arena. In this laboratory, Trump's ascension was no accident but a result of a chain of events which facilitated it. It's never been easier to fool some of the most gullible among us but on the other hand for the thinker we have allowed a more open window into the world and how its structures function. Not sure we can call it even though.

Dinner with Isabelle

Isabelle is the type of person that trans people would be very happy to be paired with. She sees an individual and not a gender and although happily married to a man and having a young son, she confided that she previously dated some women in her past. Over dinner I told her that she was a rare pearl in that regard in her ability to focus on what constitutes a person rather than the packaging. It doesn't hurt of course that she is 36 and has been spared the conditioning some of us underwent but there is also a positive energy and zest for life that gives her a wonderful resilience and a sense of perspective. If I am at all positive about future generations, it is precisely because of people like her.

Progress

The old model of the married man sneaking off to a gender variant convention feels a bit anachronistic today and if we are still doing that in 20 years we might have failed as a society. For contrast, imagine women doing similarly so they can be permitted to put on a suit and tie should they desire. It just doesn't feel right somehow. Casa Susannah, perhaps the archetypal manifestation of this behavior, would see plain vanilla 1950's businessmen spend a week regaling in this part of themselves after which they could go back into regular society. Rather than risk being shamed at home, upstate New York became a temporary oasis where they could exercise this penchant for frocks and heels. I never begrudge anyone the right to do this, but personally I needed to stop hiding and face the world by blending into it. It became mandatory and if one is to destigmatize any form of gender variance, it must be allowed to breathe and be recognized as just another component stemming from a ver

Karma

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Mechanisms

Two things can happen when we understand from very early youth that we are different: we develop coping mechanisms and we learn to be hypervigilant. The coping involves finding ways to operate in secret so that some facets of our natural inclinations are honored even as we are taught there is something wrong with them. The hypervigilance then steps in to make sure our guards are never down such that no discoveries are ever made. Both require effort and does not allow one to be relaxed at least not to the level some other people might enjoy. We learn to be strategic and protective to a point which isn't entirely healthy and does not bode well for developing trust in others. Working your way back from this is extremely challenging and at almost 60 am still chipping away at the foundations of the convoluted structure I built. It is why it is so important to me that youth never need to use such drastic methods to fit in to escape who they are. As we get older we realize there isn'

Cheaper than owning

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The gunk at the bottom of your shoe

Anyone who reads my blog knows that I see Trump and trumpism as being worse than the gunk you might find at the bottom of your shoe. A reprehensible and vile human being, he personifies the worst and most base instincts of humanity and appeals to those who bask in hate and are proud of it. The era we live in today is dangerous and mirrors past periods of history where totalitarianism was sold to the masses as cure for what ails them. In Germany it culminated in 6 million dead Jews and countless other types of people including homosexuals and public intellectuals who opposed Hitler. An enlightened culture was lit on fire with books and knowledge the targets of derision (ring any alarm bells?). The fact that Trump scores so high on the idiot scale is perhaps disappointing but then this is the era that celebrates them. They have all found each other on social media and have a leader with the same set of unfortunate set of qualities: ie. an ignorant moron. It will get much worse before it

Trans-panic

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Nouveau genre

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Les jeunes se questionnent plus qu'à mon époque. Enfin, le modèle binaire ne convient pas à tout le monde...

Continuum?

I am still unsure about whether tranvestism and transsexualism exist on the same continuum. If one looks at the work of Harry Benjamim it would appear that this might have been his thinking with dysphoria appearing likely by his type III and then ramping up from there to a crescendo at type VI. If I use simple observation alone it's fair to say that transvestism focuses an awful lot on the clothing whereas transsexualism on the need for body alteration to fix a problem long ago identified by the individual. The tricky part is how (if at all) they overlap at some point and for Benjamin it seemed upon entering type IV that the seeds of transsexualism begin to show up. We used to talk about a condition  in the case of transsexualism and indeed that is highly valid because it is very reasonable to assume biological roots. The question which then begs asking is whether transvestism is more rooted in psychology and sexual interest (the adolescent finding and trying on a bra in the hamper

La Vie

Y a la verite qui compte is a French show in which someone appears asking to confess something to another who does not know why they are there. I have seen only a few episodes and so far it has been about people professing love. It's hard to imagine someone wanting to do this before a television and a studio audience but admittedly the show is charming and the French have a way of keeping the whole affair very dignified. One of the couples had been separated for 12 years after split prompted by a move and since they were so young he never had the chance to divulge his adoration to his liking. He had continued to think about her and now both in their early 20's the suspense was about how she would react after his confession. As it turned she had never forgotten him and that first innocent love was still a fond memory. The meeting was sweet and almost idyllic as the curtain separating them was opened and they hugged affectionately. It wasn't campy or cheesy but very sweet; bo

Let it

You might as well let life surprise you since it's not going to ask permission.

Dinosaur

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King Crimson circa 1995 featuring the ever stoic and enigmatic Robert Fripp : )

Stationner?

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Only in Quebec and yet one more reason to let go of my car :)

Sharing

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Car sharing is working out better than I had hoped except that when you want a vehicle for an extended period on a weekend it's slim pickings or all is taken. Still, as someone who plans to use the service sparingly and during off hours it will be fine. The rest of the time will be walk, bus, metro or train with the rapid train system only coming online towards the end of 2023. That service will driverless and run on elevated tracks; it will also run very frequently. As a retired person working occasionally and even then from home the car becomes a money pit whose expenses can be better be put to use. Not to mention doing my little bit to fight climate change.

Clarification

My last post involves one person's suggestion about how to deal with the public's invariable confusion (and even sometimes ours) regarding expression versus identity. Whereas the current definition of the transgender umbrella includes both, that makes it very wide. Accordingly, this would make drag queens (who are about pure expression) technically trans even if they will be the first to tell you they aren't as Ru Paul himself so adamantly stated. This because they see the trans definition more about identity which I also tend to agree with. Interestingly, the fact that some contestants of Paul's drag show transitioned, showed how that border can blur and people can become more self aware over time to realize there was something more. Essentially what we have done is, at the altar of political correctness, put the old definitions of tranvestism and transsexualism under one broad melting pot whereas they aren't precisely the same thing. Without being prejudicial, I p

Someone’s viewpoint

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 I write about the border between expression and identity often in this blog and this video addresses it from the viewpoint of how to field questions from the public when you are more about expression. Watch it and see what I mean.

Caught

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Market

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I go to the Atwater market early on Saturday and Sunday mornings. It's quiet plus the coffee is amazing and the old 1930's structure is teeming with the rustic industrial charm of the era. Marcel passes by me. He is hunched over and carries a cane and always says "bonjour mademoiselle" when he sees me. You can tell he's had a hard life and he helps out at the little espresso place which I go to. The young woman with the hearty and infectious laugh greets me with a bright smile and a "comment ca va?. She has a salt of the earth quality I very much admire and gives off an aura of genuine kindness. "Voila ma chere" she says as she hands me my cup. People are who they are and we all have our stories as well as our baggage.

Vigilance

Historically, o ne half of the world tells the other how to live which is the way it has always worked and for several centuries it has been white so called Christians who have held the reins of power. The results have been things like genocides of native populations in Central and South America, pillaging of artifacts (think Egypt or Greece) but also indoctrination through religious teaching via less than orthodox methods. My own country of Canada for example had residential schools which resulted in deaths and destroyed families through separation. The cultural and political right of today continues to be ethno-centric (ie. white) and as the feeling that they are losing their grip on power grows, there will be more backlash. Unsurprisingly this has been leading to all kinds of dirty tactics such as the recent happenings in the US. Getting what you need through any means necessary, even if that results in dictatorship is not a bridge too far.  The idea that "it can't happen h

Lest we perturb

I think it's fair to say that I have been a very self reliant person all my life. Other than rely on my parents when I was young, I soon enough realized that in life you need to be self sufficient and in the long run I was proven right. More often than not it was someone else relying on me and my ability to be disciplined and timely. I suppose someone got lost along the way and I am finding a stronger need than ever to look after myself more now that my children are older. Trans people are good at walking around minefields and making sure other people's sensibilities aren't offended which is unfortunate.  Sometimes we will even be allowed out of the house. You get so used to the idea that you shouldn't perturb anyone with your particular affliction lest they reject you such that it becomes part of the way you operate on all leveis. Generally at work I am known as a nice dependable person which is perhaps a polite way way of saying someone to call on when you need somet

How to fight fascism

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Vaush is not yet 30 but as brilliant as they come....

Pointy flats

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Today it's my pointy flats, casual skirt and my favorite purse :) Kinda playing hooky part of this Friday aft.

Half the courage

"Just being" is highly desirable but sometimes very hard to do. The reason is that we have been taught to live by comparison and by belonging to groups. Therefore if you don't readily fit you are going to need to fight very hard to find your own unique identity. High intensity binary transsexuals used to transition and did their best to erase the past (by no means a picnic) but this is a new frontier where living stealth has become increasingly difficult. On the other hand, people who exhibit gender variance on occasion can retreat to their baseline until the next time. Living somewhere in the middle is extremely difficult and takes finding courage which includes a strong sense of self. So when I wrote yesterday about trans people who do not pass and live to day this way, they represent the ones who must have the toughest outer shell. Not only does much of society reject you but perhaps you lose a spouse, a job as well as extended family. If this blog regularly shows muc

Playing the victim

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Don't you just love disgusting right winger disingenuous behaviour?

Stealth anxiety

I've read about stealth anxiety. This is when trans people who are passable transition and let no one know of their past. Then suddenly they realize they are faced with the stress of being overly scrutinized. They will be in the company of a group of biological women and feel nervous about someone detecting that not all is as it might appear. So it isn't all perfect for people who go this route proving that no matter what you do there are potential consequences. People who don't pass deal with that reality but those who do very well and come out in spite of it (think Teddy Quinlivan for example who did it during a TED talk) have stated they felt relieved by doing so just because the pressure was gone and there was nothing left to conceal. This is undoubtedly the ultimate ideal if one could only be rid of the subsequent prejudice which almost assuredly follows that decision.