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Maher positively nails it!

Yes he's a New Yorker who saw some rubes to sucker punch. But I will let Bill explain it...


stilettos

I walked into a Salvation Army on a whim and there they were. All of 14 dollars and exactly my size however walking on a 3 inch spiked heel is no easy feat and I can't see myself using them very often.

Yes, I can do it but I must maneuver very gingerly...






core gender

My commenting on Ralph in a Dress's blog the other day made me think of core gender.

Core gender is the gender each of us believes we are which, for most individuals, is normally aligned with birth sex. It is tied to femininity and masculinity yes, but that is only part of the answer since we all know men and women who buck the trend and still feel comfortable within their prescribed gender roles. So there is something else we are missing but we don’t know what.

I think that the case of David Reimer (who I write about in one chapter of my upcoming book) shows us a little of what this concept is all about. Raised from birth as a girl, he proved John Money’s ideas wrong by reverting to living as a male upon discovering he was born that way. David knew deep down there was something wrong and the discovery only confirmed it. While living as a girl named Brenda she rejected dresses and was a tomboy who favoured playing with boys over girls.

This is because at his core, David knew he w…

belinda et moi

This is a charming little French film about two women; one genetic and one transgender. IMDB describes the movie thusly:

"An elderly woman, whose best friend has died, meets her friend's favorite nephew to give him his inheritance. The nephew is rather different than expected"

Yes she is and you can watch the movie online at this link. Unfortunately no subtitles but I think you can catch the gist regardless. It is all very tastefully done....

https://ok.ru/video/38837226171


the pope blows it

I generally like Pope Francis but when it comes to LGBT issues he as thick as a post. Out comes the old standby line that transgender people are trying to blur the lines between genders. In this article it states:

"On Thursday, Oct. 5, Pope Francis made his most transparent condemnation yet of the lifesaving medical procedures that allow transgender people to live authentic lives. Speaking to the Pontifical Academy for Life, he decried “the biological and psychical manipulation of sexual difference, which biomedical technology allows us to perceive as completely available to free choice” which he claimed seeks to “cancel out” differences between the sexes"

This is a pretty dumb statement given transgender people's struggle to do their best to fit in. Some blow their brains out or walk into traffic or are murdered by some intolerant. No one chooses to be transgender and yes some of them transition but apparently no one has bothered to inform the Pontiff. Either that or he …

make up your mind

If being transgender is all about an aberrant sexual drive then why does declining testosterone (the hormone responsible for libido) not affect our cross gender identification as we age?

The answer might be as simple as: maybe because there is more to being transgender.

However, Anne Lawrence, a proponent of Autogynephilia in her 2007 essay titled "Becoming What We Love" tries very hard to defend her case:

“Blanchard (1991) described this phenomenon in nonhomosexual MtF transsexuals: “In later years, however, autogynephilic sexual arousal may diminish or disappear, while the transsexual wish remains or grows even stronger. . . . It is therefore feasible that the continuing desire to have a female body, after the disappearance of sexual [i.e.,erotic] response to that thought, has some analog in the permanent love-bond that may remain between two people after their initial strong sexual attraction has largely disappeared” (p. 248). This insight plausibly explains the reports by…

another coming out

Recently I had lunch with one of the young estimators who occasionally works with me here in Toronto. We were chatting about work and our respective lives when she queried about my love life:

“So how is it going on that front. Meet anyone interesting lately?”

I reflected for a moment and then said:

“My situation is a little particular and if you don’t mind I can share something about myself”

She leaned in a bit and told me to please go ahead.

“I am trans” I said matter of factly.

She looked at me and smiled and said:

“Really? That’s so neat”

She is 35 years old and a lovely person which is why I knew I could confide in her. I then added that I had been reflecting on whether I would switch companies and begin working as Joanna and although she is totally open she also knows how conservative our business can be. So I told her that if I did decide to it would definitely be under a different umbrella.

Then yesterday I was coming back to my place and the lady who rents it to me, who is abo…

mind the gap

I don't think I will ever physically transition because I have thought this over at great length and do not see the value in it for me. My gender dysphoria requires that I express myself as a female and of course that will continue. But what is to be gained by modifying my body is far less clear to me.

This is how dysphoria works: it is the gap between your perceived sense of gender and your birth sex. Except, that not everyone suffers it to the same degree. That I pass as a female in public helps me tremendously and tends to my dysphoric feelings in a dramatic way.

I am very realistic about things and mull things over a million times before reacting and no matter how much I reflect and no matter how bad my dysphoria is on certain days (and some are much worse than others), I ultimately arrive at the same conclusion.

The only remaining issue at hand is whether I will ever work as a female in my current profession; in other words, will I transition socially within the next few year…

a chance at a complete overhaul

Rex Tillerson had his moment of candor and of course he wasn’t wrong; the man he is working for is a f@#ing moron and a dangerous one at that.

This is where populism fails because, in its proper form, it requires a man with dignity and intellect who defies the red tape of bureaucracy in order to do the right thing to benefit the electorate. I can safely state that this does not describe Donald Trump in the least. He is instead the equivalent of a tempestuous and clueless juvenile with a penchant for striking out at detractors.

His base may represent the rabble of America but then there are many others who held their nose instead of voting for Clinton. So if America can make it all the way through what will assuredly be a horrid remainder of the term they may be compelled enough to make a wholesale change to a political system that is so corrupt it allowed this buffoon to become president.

When Trump goes he can also take that little weasel Jeff Sessions and his twisted agenda with him…

the risks of intervening too early

with time....

The trans brain is different. We haven’t found the exact tracer yet but hopefully we will some day. Then again we might not because gender identity has many layers to pass through to establish itself and is a mix of nature and nurture where anomalies might not so easily be discovered.

We know we are fundamentally different since very young and hopefully we figure out how to deal with this reality over time. Ignoring it is not an option because when you least expect it, it will bubble to the surface and threaten to destroy your life. It happened to me and I survived despite some difficult times.

I then came to a solid conclusion: I am a transsexual.

I have known this for quite some time with the challenge then becoming how to deal with it right in the middle of a life full of responsibility. When I retraced the steps of my life without blinders and devoid of preconceived ideas it was obvious and staring me right in the face. You can refuse to believe it but it will do you no good to ig…

time for change

reflection required

I was approached by a head hunter recently and then thought about it for a while. Do I want to change companies and is this my chance to begin working as a woman?

I honestly don’t think that this would present a problem for most companies in 2017 and my CV speaks for itself so now it’s just a question of reflection.

My children wouldn’t feel the difference since seeing them on the weekend only requires changing presentation with the most I would be doing is piercing my ears and shaping my eyebrows; hardly earth-shattering stuff. Besides they are moving on with their lives and I am on my own with no requirement to please someone else.

I have the wardrobe, the voice and the mannerisms. Now I just need the right opportunity and the courage.

Time will tell.

pleasant exchanges

This past weekend was interesting.

I met a friend of Rhonda's for coffee. He is someone I had met when she was visiting Montreal and so we ended up arranging an overlap because he happens to live in the Toronto area. The conversation was very pleasant and the time flew by.

I also had some pleasant lunch and dinner exchanges with my servers and one with a sales lady at Cleo’s which is a store specializing in women’s clothing.

The first was at Pizza Hut where I stopped for a quick bite last Friday. The server was a young 22-year-old woman and I continue to be fascinated at what a difference the exchanges are like between women. They are so much more willing to share of themselves when you make even a minimal effort to be friendly. This seems especially true in this area.

She asked me how I look so young after learning I had older children and wanted to know my makeup secret and I told her it was mostly genetics but I did say to use a lot of face cream. This is something I do before…

aria

In my opinion this is one of Mozart's most beautiful arias and a particular favorite of my mother's who is a frustrated amateur opera singer. She met my father (the church choir's 22 year old director)in the mid 1950's.

Every time she hears this aria her hair stands on end and come to think of it so does mine.

Here, not only is it sung magnificently well, but it is completely devoid of operatic vibrato.




heart warming and affirming

I know others have posted this video on their blogs before me but I wanted to add my two cents because I was so touched by it. It pretty much echoes my experience thus far in the world as a transgender person.

Watching it restores your faith in people in that most are kind hearted and wonderful and could care less about the petty battles that others go out of their way to create.

I am sure you will agree and will add that there are women here I just want to hug....


jackpot

I had been looking for the Payless Klue pump for a while because its block heel and feminine look was the perfect match for someone who does a lot of walking. But alas I couldn't find them anywhere in my size.

I must also tell you that unlike the States we cannot order from Payless online so we are limited to whatever stock each store has.

But yesterday lo and behold there they were staring at me in the face not only in my size but on sale to boot. I almost couldn't believe my eyes and, needless to say, I told the sales girl how positively happy I was because I had been on the lookout for them for the last 3 months.

I think she could tell by my expression.





the outside world

I have an admission to make: I am not drawn to transgender events. No, I have never attended one and yet the very idea turns me off. Part of it may have to do with my refusal to accept who I was for so long but the other may lie in my much keener interest in blending into the rest of society. From a distance these events seem to me like a place to hide out and ghettoize ourselves.

I know some of you will vehemently disagree with me and you would be within your rights to do so but I don’t think I will ever attend one now; not when I have gotten a taste of the outside. But then it must also be said that I am a bit of a solitary bird and prefer one on one interaction.

I understand that for some people who are closeted these conventions present a chance to get out and spend some quality time but then the kitschy fashion shows and make up demonstrations grate against my sensibilities. Even if I had been born female I wouldn’t go to woman’s shows for the same reason; they are just not for m…

elementary

This is easily one of my favorite series in recent years and, in my opinion, hands down the best interpretation of Arthur Conan Doyle's classic character. If you haven't caught the show you are really missing out if for no other reason than to watch Benedict Cumberbatch's amazing performance as the intellectual crime fighting sleuth and Martin Freeman's complex and ever bewildered John Watson.

Positively brilliant.




not a first timer...

The way she walks in her pumps, the feminine movements and those shaved underarms are a dead giveaway that she's done this before and she doesn't care who knows it...


Wind River

I have another film recommendation for you. Wind River is a murder mystery set on a native reservation in Wyoming and it is quite the movie

Jeremy Renner stars and does a fine job here as the brooding huntsman who has his own past to deal with but he gets mired in an investigation when he discovers the frozen cadaver of a young woman.

Highly recommended (9/10) and look for Oscar nods on this one.


book

The book I am now working on has been a long time in coming; actually my entire existence. It will encompass parts of my history, my observations about being transgender, some of the history of the research (you know I can't help myself there) as well as where we go from here in the 21st century.

I will take my time with it which also means that the frequency of the posting here may suffer a little or I will post more videos or articles that I like.

Practicing my writing by working on this blog made this idea possible and I am going to finish it no matter what.





more of my daughter's art

Here are some of the latest samples of my daughter's illustration work. She is busy working on her digital animation school graduation short which she has asked me to musically score.

As an update on my book news, I am currently working on the first three chapters.






American Tune

the millenial generation

This is an interesting observation on the millenial generation. The perils of social media, instant gratification, learning patience and corporate greed....


NB: I am also slowly starting work on a book tentatively titled "Different" which will resemble this blog in style and discuss my origins but also this complex topic in light of everything we have learned thus far as well as offer my own analysis. Hopefully there is enough interest to warrant a release via Amazon or some other online retailer.

the gift of being wrong

We are all wrong about all kinds of things in our lives and make many errors and assumptions that are completely off the mark.

What is interesting is that as I age I am learning to be more analytical and to appreciate the value in being wrong. It has allowed me to find better and more satisfying answers to things I thought I understood.

We grow up swallowing things and accepting them verbatim and hopefully with the passage of time apply more and more discernment as a litmus test for their veracity. Hence knowing what we don't know has as much value as what we do because we can stop ourselves from solidifying an opinion until we gather more data.

Have you noticed that very ignorant people tend to be easily led into a type of thinking and buy into it like sheep? Arrogance as a flip side also breeds thinking that won't yield to contradictory evidence.

However, ignorance is not bliss either. I think that understanding one might be wrong should be the signal to dig deeper for a m…

cross gender arousal part 2

Okay, if someone takes HRT why does their desire to crossdress or transition sometimes diminish?

I wrote here yesterday how we go through puberty and become imprinted with whatever baggage we are carrying at the time which means that your sexuality has been tied to your draw towards the feminine. Hence if we remove testosterone from the equation the libido is dampened thus helping to soothe the dysphoria but also diminish the need for feminization which seems counterintuitive right? But it's not really since your dysphoria, exposed to a cold shower of estrogen, has had its sexual energy greatly diminished.

With a lower level of dysphoria the person can now decide where they reside on the spectrum but they risk being feminized physically beyond a point they are willing to go. For some people a small amount of HRT is what they need to keep their dysphoria in check without entering into a full blown transition.

When I read Susan's (from transitioning into tomorrow) post it was a…

what causes cross gender arousal?

I have pondered long and hard over a number of years now as to what could cause cross gender arousal and have come to some fundamental conclusions.

Firstly, transgender people experience cross gender identification long before puberty which makes post-pubescent arousal a symptom of gender dysphoria and not its cause.

Secondly, sexual feelings for the opposite sex can interfere with that identification until the person figures out what their ultimate orientation might be which, for some, is decided post transition. Calling this target location error is completely erroneous since the person understands exactly what is happening to them.

What I surmise is that during the formation of a sexual being every aspect of that person's thought processes is carried through the transition into puberty thus creating a unique imprint that cannot be easily altered. In other words, passing through that doorway with whatever you are carrying will impact your erotic imprinting. That individual is t…

a conventional life

I did actually start out with the intent of living a conventional life but it turns out that I wasn’t for me. But it wasn't for lack of trying.

I plunged myself head first into things and did what I thought was expected all the while running into mental road blocks through trying to suppress who I was. Those domestic suburban years when my children were young were busy and I was able to concentrate on soccer and hockey practices, doctor's appointments and mowing lawns. This is what most of us from our generation did to the best of our ability.

Now this void of not being needed quite so intensely is sometimes hard to get used to and I oscillate between nostalgia a newly found sense of freedom.

Each stage of life is far from perfect and while we are embroiled in them we cannot appreciate fully because we are so intensely living the experience. That mindfulness that should accompany each segment sometimes gets jettisoned only to appear later as rose coloured memories we can savo…

the value in suffering and the mundane

There is value in the mundane and ordinary because that is where we spend most of our lives. Think of this part of life as the vegetables while the steak and dessert are those fleeting moments where we celebrate unexpected euphoria.

Mark Manson’s book is called “The Subtle Art of not Giving a F*ck” and it deals with high expectations we place for our lives and the increasing focus on having it all. We celebrate the special and unique in everyone forgetting that not everyone will be and place emphasis on finding it at all costs lest we fail to measure up. We have found a way to strip suffering and hard work from the formula of life which allows through contrast to know the happiness we seek. That struggle lived is part of the journey which leads to true fulfillment through learned experience.

When I was young the old adage was that it’s about the journey and not the destination and one of the unavoidable parts of the human condition is suffering. Yet with its experience comes the forma…

"Your Song"

I remember being about 11 years old and playing this song. It was one of the first pop tunes I ever learned on the piano and I had asked my father to start me on lessons upon first hearing Elton John's music. Later I went on to classical, prog rock and jazz but this was what initiated my interest.

I played "Your Song" at my youngest sister's wedding 20 years ago as my future brother-in-law sang it to her and, all these years later, I still play it on occasion and it immediately brings me back to my youth.

Here is a young Elton performing it in 1970...


a lesson in pragmatism

As a transgender person trying to figure myself out I needed to test my mettle in the world. So while dressing at home in my mother’s clothes when I was young was sufficient for a time, I would break out of those confines in my early 20's.

For me it wasn’t about standing out in the crowd and being admired but simply testing whether I could blend seamlessly into society (at least only as well as a woman over 6 feet can).

Besides, dressing in lingerie and sky high heels and staring longingly into the mirror wasn’t me and it is how I eventually determined that I leaned much more towards transsexualism than someone who merely got a sexual buzz from dressing. This part took a while to figure out and was intermingled with numerous purges and much soul searching.

But blending needn’t mean frumpy and my sense of style wasn’t going to be dampened by an attempt to pass by wearing sweat pants. Besides, this has much more to do with confidence than anything else. Now that I have tested mysel…

epiphany

It’s a zero-sum game.

Trump base supporters think that every time a visible minority makes a gain in society it comes at the expense of a white person.

It’s not difficult to figure out who his base is: uneducated white blue collar workers some of whom have lost their jobs over the last number of years not to minorities but instead to a system that values individual prosperity more than collective advancement.

This is not going to be repaired easily and you won’t readily convince that 30% who see Trump as almost being infallible. However now that his border wall is at risk and he has made overtures towards making deals with the Democrats over DACA, he is beginning to rattle that base who saw the wall as a literal and symbolic metaphor for solving their job problems while feeding a racist bent.

The GOP establishment is stuck because they dare not anger Trump and face midterm election scorn from voters weary of a party that is beginning to crack at its foundations. The Democratic party w…

Pope Francis calls out hypocrisy

Pope Francis recently called out the Republican party and in particular those members from the religious right. Yes, the people who rail against abortion and the LGBT "agenda" and very little else. But please don't tread on their capitalist system that gives everyone the middle finger who doesn't belong to their clan.

Are you listening Paul Ryan man of Catholic principles as you try and screw people out of their health care?

Let's call a spade a spade shall we? Unbridled capitalism has nothing to do with Christian values so the GOP may want to stop calling themselves the party of middle America and old fashioned beliefs.

Now if the Democrats would ever grow a spine and shed their corporate sponsors.


comment le monde change

That young transgender woman that I thought only worked at the downtown Oakville Starbucks outlet I most frequent was suddenly at the one in Oakville Place Mall. I recognized her immediately and she is not quite passable so I imagine that many people know and yet everyone, colleague and customer alike, seem to treat her normally. Something I am very glad about.

I am waiting for my coffee and suddenly there is a look of recognition and she smiles at me

“Oh, hi you go to the other Starbucks”

“Yes, how are you and what are you doing at this one?” I responded

“This one is 5 minutes away from where I live and no long bus ride anymore”

She hands me my coffee “have a wonderful day” and I say the same to her and miss the name on her badge although I make a mental note to ask her name the next time.

I have this funny feeling that she doesn’t know I am trans although I could be wrong but it doesn’t matter because the objective is not to point fingers at each other in recognition. We are more an…

Ozark

No it's not "Breaking Bad" and yet "Ozark" feels a little like it; the everyman embroiled in a series of happenings which have dire consequences and play themselves out like a series of dominoes. In this drama the acting of Jason Bateman as Marty Byrde and Laura Linney as Wendy Byrde steals the show as they play the hapless couple trying to survive the chaos of a bad decision gone sour.

I wouldn't let the tomato meter score fool you as I think this show is much better than the critics would lead you to believe. I for one inhaled the first season and I can't wait for the second one.

I don't know, but there is something about these types of dramas that captivates me. Whether it's "Breaking Bad" or "House of Cards" or this one, watching human beings try and deal with moral dilemmas as they are put under duress just makes for good material and all the more if the situation should be beyond their capabilities. I also greatly appre…

Miranda speaks

Reading Clare’s blog post the other day prompted me to go to Miranda Yardley’s page. The first thing I noticed is that she doesn’t at all pass which is not intended as a slur but I will get to why this might be relevant in a moment.

Miranda is a different type of trans activist in that she wants to use transgender women to broaden what it means to be a man rather than consider a transitioned woman to be a woman. This of course presumes that being a woman is strictly defined by biological sex which is not really a confirmed thing. I mean yes you are either born with a penis or a vagina (at least most people are) but how you identify has everything to do with what is between the ears.

I am on the record here as saying that transgender people should do whatever they need to deal with their dysphoria which need not involve transition but certainly can. So in the latter case why would I refer to someone who has successfully fully transitioned as a man?

It won’t surprise you that Miranda&…

clothes shopping

Going into a woman’s clothing store and feeling comfortable doing it would have been a daunting and virtually unthinkable thing 10 years ago. However, today it is something I don’t give a second thought to. I walk in calmly and start browsing the rack until invariably a sales person will approach me and ask if I am looking for something in particular.

Sometimes I begin some banter with this person which will usually help make my experience that much more pleasant. She might ask me if they can start a room for me and every time my frugalness will kick in and I will politely decline.

In Montreal they will sometimes greet me in a warm fashion and ask me how things are going since the last time we saw each other which I am very happy to do. Some ask to make sure I come out and show them some item I have tried on so they can comment on the fit. This last bit used to scare me silly and now leaves me unfazed because I know who I am.

Later at the cash I am usually asked for my phone number so…

what drives my writing now

For several years, my blog was my primary source of self help in grappling with and trying to comprehend my dysphoria. At times it was a jumbled mess of thoughts and ideas but after a while things began to coalesce in my mind as my thinking on the subject matured.

Over time, it has morphed into an expression of who I am and hopefully helps others sort through the emotions relating to their own gender issues and maybe even inspires them to have confidence in themselves. There are no simple answers for dealing with being transgender but I have found that it is a bit like eating an elephant; one sorts things out one bite at a time.

My writing is now mostly focused on social justice because the world is full of people just waiting to pounce on things they do not comprehend. It becomes all the more incumbent upon people like us that we address that prejudice with our heads held high. Early on in my life I saw some of the ugliness in human nature and, as a shy kid born with a malformation o…

I second that!

the checklist

I was recently re-reading sections of J. Michael Bailey’s controversial 2003 book called “The Man Who Would be Queen” and the first thing that came back to me is how utterly unscientific it is. Literally based on someone else’s work of 15 years earlier (Ray Blanchard’s largely ignored 1989 book), Bailey builds his work entirely on the back of the other without adding any scientific evidence to bolster Blanchard’s argumentation.

One of the sections in the book is called: “Autogynephilic and Homosexual Transsexuals: How to Tell Them Apart” where he simply uses a score sheet of how to distinguish between the two alleged taxonomies of transsexuals without proving the theory is actually correct; mostly because he cannot but never mind.

The section is literally a punch list regarding the age of transition asking whether the person was considered feminine in childhood, whether they were ever attracted to or married to a woman and their choice of profession.

In one of the questions pertainin…

the sisterhood

My young waitress couldn’t have been much older than 20 and she kept calling me love during breakfast which is something I have noticed some women do here.

It started when I walked into the breakfast place where I go after Sunday Mass every weekend I am here. The older waitress greets me at the door and says:

“Hi do you mind sitting right there darlin’?” pointing to a little table near the window

“No not at all” I responded

“Good girl” she says for a moment sounding like a condescending mother and places the cutlery in front of me as I sit down.

Then this younger waitress arrives all smiles and cheeriness and serves me very politely throughout. At the end of my breakfast as I am about to pay the bill and I point it out to her:

“Women use terms like love and darling towards each other here. We don’t do that so much in Montreal where I’m from”

She gives me an even bigger smile and says:

“Oh I know isn’t great? I can’t help it”

“Well you keep right on doing it”

It made me think that the…

Q&A strikes a chord

One part of the interview that Monica (from the Heroines of my Life) did with Fran Fried really struck a chord with me:

Monika: "You transitioned into a woman in your late 40s. Have you ever regretted doing this so late in your life?"

Fran: "I guess everything in its time – though it would’ve made my life a hell of a lot easier had I been able to do this at a much younger age. But I couldn’t have done this back when I was a kid, in the ’60s and ’70s, for several reasons. I grew up with strict parents in a Catholic home. Also, there was very little understanding of gender dysphoria at the time, among professionals and laypeople alike – I mean there wasn’t really a common language until the early 2010s, when you think about it – and had I gone to a therapist back then as a tortured teen, I might have ended up even more screwed-up

So yes – I would’ve loved to have been able to transition as a child or a teen, because it might have helped me avoid years of depression, and th…

the vociferous

Social conservatism is not about live and let live; it is exactly the opposite. This is why you will read articles from its disciples on numerous sites on the internet criticizing any group or movement that doesn’t fit into their idea of acceptability.

Take heed libertarians that I am not talking about you.

So Ben Shapiro, Anne Coulter, Tomi Lahren and others spend their time dumping on groups who ostensibly want to be left alone as in not being discriminated against or even worse murdered. For these people Black Lives Matter becomes a terrorist organization and the Antifa are the exact equivalent of Nazi skinheads. Take note that I am not advocating violence only illustrating a point.

These right wing social justice warriors are all about propping up white people, keeping immigrants to a minimum and calling transgender men or women sufferers of mental illness whose acceptance into the societal fold signals its eventual demise.

You will note that people on the left are fighting the ri…

wats up

Normally I am not someone who cares much about cleavage but once or twice I have bought a top that I thought might have benefited from its presence. So when I almost literally ran into this Wats Up stick on bra for $20 I thought what the heck.

The idea is that you pinch your chest together and then stick bra on and for an extra boost you pull the draw string so that it presses your chest together even more.

I am not certain it will survive extensive wear but then I don't plan to wear it every time I go out under my regular bra and forms. But I must say that it worked for me and it wasn't the least bit uncomfortable.

We shall see what occasional repeated use will yield.













America First, Finland Second..okay?

our children

Having a son with anxiety can be frustrating as is any problem our children have. As a parent you want to shoulder their ills but you also know that wouldn't work in their favor.

My son is doing better than he was when this whole episode started at puberty but the new challenges inherent in encroaching adulthood don't make things easy either. The body, a cocktail of raging hormones and unintended narcissism spurred on by a fragile self identity, struggles to find balance. My own adolescence wasn't my finest hour but at least it was devoid of the medications I worry we dispense with too much haste these days. Today, one in four students suffer from some form of depression or anxiety which is a far higher number than when I was his age.

He has just come off one medication which means we are headed in the right direction. At his worst his mind was dulled into a partial stupor which he found helped his anxiety but limited his ability to function with a sharp mind. Now he likes…

the human heart trumps politics

It was all over NPR and other media outlets; people helping people in hurricane ravaged Texas. Yes in odorous Trump's new divisive America, Latino helped white who in turn helped black and vice versa.

We saw the proof that Americans are fundamentally good people who are being talked down to and grouped into warring factions for political gains. But when the water rose the goodness of the heart prevailed.

This administration can continue to support white supremacy and prevent transgender people from serving in the military but it will all backfire on them in the end. The stories of bravery I heard all this week proves that this will be so.

People worked extra shifts at hospitals and drove boats around picking up people stranded on rooftops and did what the human heart was meant to do and, by comparison, Trump with his political antics made himself look even smaller still.


Arrival

Denis Villeneuve's little science fiction masterpiece is now on Netflix. I urge you to see it.

I promise you won't regret it.


your two choices

When you are out in public there are two things you can do: one is to worry about how you are being perceived while the other is to go about your business and be yourself.

I have lived both of those scenarios in my life and I can assure you the latter is much more pleasant. The first happens not only to people who dress as the opposite sex but also to transitioned women who don’t always escape scrutiny either through certain physical traits, voice or mannerisms. It also happens to anyone who doesn't fit into a cookie cutter mold of conformance whatever their difference may be.

What was the biggest change in me that allowed me to pass from one stage to the other? my own attitude which is ultimately the only thing you can control. I was simply tired of worrying about what others might think. The alternative is to live in fear in a world that is full of people just waiting to pounce and you only give them power by simply showing that fear.

This change needs to happen in your psyche b…

how a friend helped me clarify things further

Having online chats with my friend Sherry is not only cathartic but also just plain fun. Some people would describe her as the archetype of the early transitioning androphilic but I just think of her as the sweet and lovely lady that she is. Sherry and I met online about 10 years ago and she helped me with my struggles before we lost touch except that now we have re-established contact.

Sherry is aware of her sexuality, how it makes her feel and how it impacts her partner and men in general. She also knows what types of clothing and shoes suit her body and that women possess more sexual power than men.

Many transgender people, myself included, worried about cross gender arousal and what it meant. Did it disqualify our transgender feelings somehow? was it a sign of perversion?

The answer is none of the above.

I wrestled with this issue in this blog for a long time but finally concluded that the set of circumstances that create a transgender person also help create a unique sexuality t…

heart's just not in it

A former school mate contacted me and asked if I wanted to meet someone. I bristled at first then hesitated and finally thought what the heck.

We met this past Saturday after me having cancelled once by email saying that I didn’t really want to enter into anything right now.

She was a perfectly nice person and very well educated to boot and her father had been my high school French teacher as it turns out. We spoke for 3 hours and I laid all my cards on the table because by this age I don't do any form of pretence. It went well and the conversation flowed nicely.

But then yesterday I weighed everything and decided I am not going to pursue anything but I cannot explain why. Maybe it’s the general feeling that I don’t want to go through all the work again. My life is far from perfect and yet I can manage things on my own better than if I add another set of constraints to it. Relationships are hard enough without dysphoria added in for good measure.

Call it a case of cold feet I don&…

the mental illness model

I must plead ignorance in trying to understand why any transsexual woman would want to self identify under a model where they are considered mentally ill men. After all, Blanchard says you are either a homosexual who desperately desires sex with heterosexual men or you are a heterosexual who wants to have sex with himself.

But without scientific proof that this model is correct why embrace it about yourself? After all, it has a negative outlook on transition as treatment for gender dysphoria. In addition, the vast majority of transsexual women are high functioning and continue to be after transition and suffer no more from mental illness than the rest of the population.

Even if you identified with the “homosexual transsexual” diagnosis there would be no advantage either as Blanchard did not establish hierarchical preference in his writings and for that matter neither does Anne Lawrence. In other words, you are still left with two sets of mentally ill men with barely a mention of femal…

from the trans man's perspective

This is a fascinating read about what it is like for trans men and how their lives change after they have transitioned. They blend in better than trans women and can "pass" and disappear into the background more seamlessly. As the article points out:

"...And that cultural sexism is often more visible to trans men, because most say they find it easier to be low-disclosure than trans women. They’re often not recognized as trans, which means they can be less vulnerable to obvious transphobia. Some call it “passing” or “going stealth”; others say those terms suggest secrecy or deception, preferring the term “low or no disclosure.” In practice, this means that a 6’2” woman is often more conspicuous than a 5’4” man. James Ward, a lawyer in San Francisco who transitioned about six years ago, put it this way: “We have the ability to just walk through the world and not have anybody look at you twice.”

They have gained more respect from society but have lost the ability to be mor…

a gentleman and a scholar

I just heard this morning on NPR that the Trump administration is optimistic that Jared Kushner is going to negotiate a Middle East peace plan and all I can say is whatever they are smoking I want some. The word on this whole thing from the Palestinians is that they want their own state which is what past administrations have tried to help them achieve while this one couldn't be closer to Netanyahu.

Meanwhile race relations in the United States continue to become terse under this new era of empowerment for fringe right groups who saw this election as a sign to come out and be seen.

So to look for a bit of sanity in commentary we turn to Bill Moyers.

He was Lyndon B. Johnson's press secretary and a distinguished journalist for many years. He is an intelligent and dignified man and an old school reporter with many decades of service to his profession. Lawrence O'Donnell is no slouch either and listening to both of them is sheer pleasure.



beauty across gender lines

Veit Alex is one of those models who seem to be able to convincingly cross the gender divide and present as either an attractive male or female.

Of course beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I think that in this case you will agree..


love patterns

Recently my friend texted me that he had broken up with his girlfriend so I called him straight away. He tells me she seemed to be unsure about what she wanted and he was tired of being the diligent boyfriend doing his best but never quite meeting expectation.

I wrote about this recently; the complications inherent in relationships and mentioned him in that entry.

He, like me, is the oldest in a large family and for him doing things for others is a way to show love. So, he would mow her lawn when she wasn’t there and would take things in stride when she found some reason not to be available to get together but then complain they didn't see each other enough. They each have a child and both being divorced it seemed like a balanced pairing but then it wasn’t. He never could quite measure up so in the end it was he who cut the cord realizing that this was going to be a steady state condition going forward: the boyfriend who couldn’t quite meet expectations.

This bit of news reinforc…

Long Tall Sally

Long Tall Sally is a store that sells garments and shoes for taller women and I have ordered from them before online. They are located in Mississauga so I decided to pay them a visit in person. They carry women's shoes up to size 15 and believe it or not I was told some women actually need that size.

There I met a young woman who worked there who must have been 6'2" and was very secure about her height which you could see that by the way she carried herself. So I went up to her and said:

"I bet people stare at you at the mall don't they?"

To which she responded:

"Yep you too I bet right?"

"Yes but you seem to be very secure about it" I said

"They can look at me all they like" she said to which I added was a great attitude to have.

A few days later a lady came up from behind me and said:

"You're very tall. How tall are you?"

I fibbed just a tad and said:

"6 feet without heels"

"You keep yourself in good sh…

progress

There is something very powerful about being more in control and the master of when and how I want to express gender; aside from work of course which is not a situation I am going to change at this stage unless I transitioned and changed companies.

This is the most comfortable I have ever felt with my gender dysphoria management which is a far cry from where I was even 10 years ago. Have I progressed towards transition? You could say that but then transition is entirely what I want it to mean and I have chosen that to signify moving from one state of unrest to one of more calm and balance.

I don’t feel angst, am not conflicted and am letting life take me organically where it must without feeling like I am swimming upstream against the current. My children's increasing autonomy is giving me the freedom to redefine my life completely and being away from home has been beneficial in helping me push a reset button.

The new reality is a reshaping of what used to be a very defined role …

portrait

I like this picture of Chelsea Manning.

I think she exudes energy from both genders as it captures a moment in time mid-transition. For some people this could be an unsettling image and yet I find there is something captivating and almost noble about it.

Regardless of what you think of her she has a right to treat her dysphoria which no doubt has been gnawing at her for a very long time. She is just one more transgender person in this world trying to fit in and find a comfort zone so she can live in peace.

She will look different again in a year or two but this moment in time is worthy of capture on film because it speaks directly to the discomfort that many people who shun us have regarding ambiguity of gender and how it manifests itself.

To them I would just say take a long hard look. She doesn't bite.


the late night hosts as resistors

The Trump presidency continues to disintegrate and with his latest mishandling of the Charlottesville affair by actually defending the Neo-Nazi thugs who voted for him he has reached a new low. He has repeatedly proven himself to be a morally bankrupt idiot and it appears the late night comics like Seth Meyers are now doing less comedy than political commentary.

Thank God for them too because if nothing else they are standing up for what is right.

Trump can't help but add fuel to the fire because he is wired like a thin-skinned bully who just won't let things go which only makes the comedy that much more poignant. His vacillating back and forth on the statements he made is to try and have it both ways of course: keep the part of his base which is blatantly racist happy while appearing to admonish the alt-right fringe movement but not too harshly. So far the statements from the far right seem to be proving this assumption to be correct and no doubt Steve Bannon must be pleased.

trans across the ages

Increasing transgender and transsexual visibility and acceptance in society has begun to embolden different people on the spectrum to come out from hiding confirming what we already suspected: that gender identities are not built exactly on a rigid binary and, when left to their own devices, people will choose to express these variances.

It was about time too and that stifling set of rules kept people in their little closeted world for fear of rejection and violence.

If you read Zagria’s blog you will have noted that historically many transgender people would live as the opposite gender with no access to surgical or hormonal assistance. Some even married and it is hard to believe that their spouses would not have known about their situation. Perhaps their marriage was chaste or the spouse was told a story about some sort of genital birth defect.

One of Zagria’s recent entries is about James Allen (1787 – 1829) who was discovered posthumously to be female bodied after dying in a work-r…

"the eagle will rise again"

Alan Parsons at his hypnotic best from his 1978 Pyramid album. Marvelously sung by Colin Blunstone .

This is one for the headphones...


I appreciate how women communicate

“Oh my God I love your bracelet!” said the Starbucks barista. She is a young woman in her twenties.

The other one comes over and says much the same and suddenly the three of us are talking and it just flows. The latter proceeds to tell me things I know I would have never heard as a male.

For the record the bracelet was an $11 find at the Toronto Eaton Center and had called out to me with the price making it an easy sell. Like some costume jewelry, it looks like it’s worth much more which is a bonus. Later that day I got another comment from another vendor who pointed it out how much she liked it.

Being on my own here and spending more time as Joanna has made things less lonely if nothing else because of the openness that women have and my own impetus to oblige them in conversation or start one myself is part of that. It is very comfortable and the reflexes are there and don’t require any special prompting in order to surface.

As a side note, that same day I decided to wear my feather …

dunkirk

Christopher Nolan has created a cinematic feast for the senses.

His film Dunkirk flows along with long periods between speaking parts and with the continuous hum of a Hans Zimmer score that marks the tension perfectly. This is a great film which will be nominated for best picture and possibly win it all. When the ending credits began to roll I knew it then.

This movie breaks with war movie convention and delivers most of its impact through its expansive cinematography, soundtrack and actor's faces which mark the desperation of the situation with just the right level of angst along with their minimal but strategically placed dialogue. It draws you in and does not let up allowing you to be more involved than you had expected. I was riveted the whole time and that's what great film making is all about.

There is no one hero in this movie although one does stand out a little more. They are just people put under very difficult circumstances doing their best to survive.

Last year it…