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Showing posts from July, 2017

patriots

Americans are lovely people and some of the individuals I most admire are from that country. Yet there can be a tendency for navel gazing when you hold the levers of world power and I still bristle when I hear some Americans use the term “American exceptionalism” because I don’t think it is a correct vision.

Even the evening news tends to be America centric and, unless you watch BBC America, NPR or PBS you will get a very parochial vision of current events. This is not that surprising when you have grown up during an era where the United States has wielded so much power and holds so much political sway which can only encourage the kind of myopia that could tempt some to think America can do no wrong.

Much of the rest of the world sees The United States as a benevolent giant who can also at times be brash and arrogant. Some of its citizens are more apt to fall for the jingoistic slogan of “America love it or leave it” which has become the clarion call of conservatives who can support s…

not much further along

How does the qualifier in the term “homosexual transsexual” help us understand transsexualism? The answer is that it doesn't. How can it if the root condition itself is not well understood.

Recently I featured Anne Vitale’s essay on the work of Ovesey and Person and how they classified transsexuals. Subsequent researchers then ended up reversing what they meant by Primary and Secondary transsexualism and then Blanchard came along and invented his own categories.

Even Harry Benjamin, whose work I greatly respect and whose 6 classifications were the first attempt at categorizing dysphoria, never arrived at an explanation and to his credit he never pretended to.

Therefore, until the nature of dysphoria is well understood, you can play with classifications until the cows come home and have gotten no further until we understand the fundamental nature of what constitutes gender identification and how it can diverge from birth sex.


comfortable

Things are going fine in Toronto and I have made a new routine for myself.

For example, Simons has opened a store in Mississauga and this lovely young lady who works there named Rica is so nice to me when she sees me. She is also from Montreal and she asked me how I like it so far. She greets me with “so you’re back!” with such a warmth and friendliness.

It is not hard to establish a routine when you are accustomed to living a certain way and I don’t give presenting as Joanna a second thought anymore because I am not out there to test myself as much as to just be myself. Spending entire weekends as Joanna has also allowed me to see where my comfort zone lies.

Walking into places like Sephora I am not even noticed and then suddenly one of the young sales representatives will greet me and ask me how she can be of service. I am just another woman customer to them and no one even so much as furls a brow in my presence; something which I very much owe to knowing who I am on the inside.

Yes…

the leaky boat

This horror show of a presidency is like a boat taking on water.

The latest attempt to divert attention from the latest round of scandals had Trump getting on Twitter and firing transgender soldiers who are perfectly able and ready to give up their life for their country.

Add to that his imbecilic and inappropriate ramblings this past week in front of a huge crowd of boy scouts and you can see how they had better get to bailing water.

Not surprisingly, transgender people as well as pundits and journalists are up in arms about this latest brain fart but hopefully it won’t be long before all the scandals converge, by virtue of Robert Mueller's probe, into legal proceedings which most assuredly will not go Trump’s way.....

http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-cruelty-and-cynicism-of-trumps-transgender-military-ban



reframing our discourse

Your gender identity lies in your brain and not in your genitals but we just don’t understand how this process of fashioning a gender identity happens. How and why does someone identify as the opposite gender?

Yesterday I featured Felix Conrad’s very thought provoking blog post on what makes a transgender woman claim that she is a woman and have the world take her at face value. In the not too distant past this was addressed in part through stealth transitions but in today’s open and media savvy world that is almost impossible.

Felix makes the valid point that conservatives (who can usually think no further than their nose) focus on chromosomes, DNA and genitals while our arguments are more esoteric and philosophical. This reality is what permits attacks from radical feminism, pseudoscience and religious bigotry.

I am on the record here that I believe a transitioned woman has every right to be respected and treated as any other woman but to counteract the argumentation from these frin…

asking the right questions

Felix Conrad has written a solid and thought provoking post which won't win him converts among some members of the transgender community but which is spot on in asking the right questions and wanting to find realistic answers for them.

If we want people to understand and accept us we need to look inside all of the nooks and crannies and examine ourselves realistically and critically which means not taking it for granted that you can say to the general public "I am a woman" and have them accept it without reservation.

No, being transgender is indeed a little more complex than being gay or lesbian...

http://transcendmovement.com/why-transgender-rights-are-much-more-problematic-than-gay-rights/


broken

The United States' political system is in crisis.

Both parties are beholden to special interests which limit their ability to do the right thing for the population. So while the GOP rams through a cruel health care bill that only 17% of the population supports the Democrats provide timid opposition for fear of exposing the cracks in their own foundation.

A functioning and healthy democracy is not a guaranteed thing and we are now seeing the results of what happens under a system of oligarchy at its very worst. Hence if you are a poor or even middle class citizen you are stuck because your options are currently just about zero with the only way out being possibly an outright revolt against the industrial military complex, Wall Street and the rich benefactors which keep both parties doing their bidding.

Donald Trump may be a clown whose time may soon be up but he is not the real problem. His antics are just diversions which keep the population from seeing the true cruelty afoot. Mea…

gender transgressor

Carly Mitchell is a gender transgressor.

Not fitting perfectly into either of the pre-approved and prescribed gender roles she has instead found her own way and in the process found the kind of peace and balance that only comes from embracing yourself exactly as you were created....


time gets away

I sat there next to my newly 19 year old daughter and her boyfriend at the Cirque du Soleil "Volta" show for her birthday.

Time gets away from us and like a flowing river that won’t be diverted it takes the path of least resistance without allowing us pause. It is in these special events that we reflect a little more when the daily mundane gives way to ceremonial milestones where we can stop to say “how did this happen. How did time go so fast?”

She refused to just go alone with him as I offered and I think me meeting him was in her plan. Later when he went to the washroom during intermission she asked how I found him and I told her that I liked him which was my honest answer. He is a shy, bespectacled intellectual who reads philosophy and is studying bioethics and we had conversations over dinner later that belied his tender age reminding me that wisdom is not always the exclusive property of those who are older.

All I ever asked of my daughter is that she use her mind an…

the intentionally obtuse

Lifesite.com is the epitome of Phariseeism.

It uses its bedrock of supposed traditional Christian values to throw stones at anyone who doesn't abide by by them which necessarily includes any member of the LGBT community. It criticizes "movements" and "lifestyles" in its desperate attempt to make sure its readers understand it is a matter of choice that is being exercized in sinning and disobeying God's laws and, judging by the comments, its loyal readers are not terribly bright nor analytical. They don't dare probe too deeply for fear their black and white world comes crashing down on them.

I have said in this blog many times before that transgender people must exist through nothing more than simple deduction and this should be obvious to any thinking person who notes the lack of uniformity in nature. So why would gender identity be the only thing exempt?

And if it is a natural state for some people then it cannot be a chosen thing but don't bother…

bravo

I have been to Dr. Kelley Winters blog before and she is a lucid and helpful ally of the transgender community so when I was reading some comments on Amazon regarding her book "Gender Madness in American psychiatry" which is a critique of the highly conservative psychiatric profession and its tendency to discredit transgender people as mentally ill, I happened upon one which I found particularly spot on:

"Dr. Winters is the last person I know whom I would consider either narcissistic or rageful. Her book is well thought out, and flows in spite of being built from a number of blog posts (as if that would discredit the facts and analysis within). Her blog posts generated feedback which she used to create a more holistic work, one which puts the lie to the canards of the Toronto/Northwestern axis of transphobia.

Yes, Ms. Farmer, brain sex is important, even though Dr. Winters doesn't delve into that field. The medical profession, which five years ago scoffed at the conc…

my dad Susan

It helps when we are finally at ease with ourselves and our children accept us to boot...



Rose

Rose sat at my table when someone next to me didn't want her sitting at theirs.

She was friendly and talkative and complimented me on my hair. She was exactly my mother's age with 4 grandchildren and one son who she loves very much. Rose was an open person with a lovely disposition who admitted that she likes talking to new people and I was very happy to oblige.

I learnt a little bit about Rose during our time together and after about 15 minutes of overlapping I had to go to the ladies room. So I thanked her for the lovely discussion and she squeezed my hand, smiled at me and wished me a lovely day and I did the same.

I was very glad for the little impromptu chat and was once again reminded how much more interesting life can be when we overlap with strangers.

As an added note not 10 minutes before meeting Rose I had a young woman not older than my daughter ask me what brand of lipstick I use which I thought was very cool.

two solitudes

Fox News doesn't want the truth on its airwaves and its less than stellar intellect conservative audience only sees platitudes about what a good job Trump is doing but then Shep Smith goes for some honesty and during Fox News Sunday points out the obvious. No doubt the right wing fanatics are calling for his head for this.

The David Pakman Show rightfully has a field day with this of course but kudos to Smith for being a straight shooter and admitting that Americans are being lied to by this incompetent and malevolent man currently sitting in the White House.

Its a shame that it has come to this where everyone needs their own tailored and air tight media where the truth is not allowed to infiltrate which is pretty much what the Russians have now.


a new environment

I am in Toronto for work through the rest of 2017 and flying home once a month. I also have a lovely place which is rented and paid through the monthly living allowance I am getting from my company.

It is an interesting period in that it has taken me out of my routine back home and introduced me to a new environment that has pushed a kind of reset button in my life.

Outside of work I am living as a woman which has meant spending three weekends out of four as Joanna. My confidence has taken a distinct boost while here for some reason although I cannot explain why but my friend Sherry who transitioned many years ago suggested it is specifically because I am in a foreign environment free from the normal routine. It also might be that the groundwork done at home over these past years is working like using muscle memory and I have found a new parish, cafes I like and preferred shopping areas where I can get what I need. But in the end it's about feeling right in my own skin as a transg…

feminine

Reading Clare Fluorish’s latest post got me thinking about the idea of innate femininity. Transgender male to females possess it in droves (at least the ones I know) and yet in order to sell the idea of transgender as a perversion the possibility that innate femininity could exist in gynephilics was said to be absurd.

Some insisted that a gynephilic transgender woman was no different from a man who gets turned on by wearing women’s underwear. We saw it in Alice Dreger’s laughable 2013 article (which Calie was kind enough to feature on T-central) and it is still propagated by radical feminists and older androphilic transsexuals who have used Blanchard’s damaging attempts to discredit woman loving gender dysphorics.

In order for that innate femininity to exist it should show up in childhood but the problem is that many of us were not demonstrably effeminate because we learned very early to conceal it from the public eye. To show any signs would have meant ridicule and I saved mine for …

what is it about Twitter

Jack Molay sent me an email regarding Ray Blanchard’s Twitter feed which I had never visited.

Lo and behold I was not surprised to see tweets advertising one of Anne Lawrence's books, quotes from Camille Paglia, attacks on Kenneth Zucker being admonished and even an article from The Federalist (one my favorite right fringe websites).

Blanchard supports gender reassignment of course but only in the way that a pill helps a deranged person because transsexualism is a mental/sexual disorder which benefits from treatment. The focus of the feed shows he is a little removed from other researchers who have tried to help the transgender community in more positive and reinforcing ways. But still, if the amount of followers is any sign, transgender people have little to worry about as he also doesn’t have extensive support even among his peers.

I won’t be visiting again any time soon but if anything it reinforced the opinion I already held after having read his work and selected interviews w…

the hardest lesson

Be confident and be yourself and if you don't do it now when will you?

As a shy pleaser and adherer to what I was taught, this was one of the hardest lessons I've had to learn in my life. Something which for others was incredibly natural was painstakingly difficult for me.

What you have been told about presenting in public in any form is absolutely correct; namely that your success hinges on what you believe inside and is intrinsically tied to your confidence. If you see yourself as a man in a dress then that is exactly what people will perceive. So fix the insides first by coming to a deep understanding of who you are.

After that get out there and live your life regardless of what your plumbing looks like or what others think of you.


master of none

I really like Aziz Ansari's Master of None series for Netflix and, after just finishing watching season two, I like it even more. Its slice of life dramedy style really hits home for me.

Whether its the awkwardness of online dating, dealing with aging religious parents, coming out as a lesbian (as one of his best friend does) or trying to decide which career path he should stick with you feel for Dev as he tries to find his way through life; his pleasant and affable character seeming to smile through every situations he is put under.

This is the kind of show that doesn't seem to go anywhere and yet it does. It mines the little moments of life that we recognize as Dev's friends and family members deal with the little challenges we all face and need to maneuver around in our lives.

If you haven't already seen the show then you owe yourself the favor of seeing both seasons.



looking back at my life

This picture was taken when I was 16 and has only mildly been doctored through adding earrings and coloring the lips slightly. I was easily able to pass and when I dressed up there would have been no doubt that I was a girl.

There was no such thing as transgender back then and the whole idea that I might be a transvestite (which was the only term I knew) embarrassed me greatly because being an abomination was something I needed to distance myself from at all costs. However that pull towards the feminine, present from earliest memory, refused to be ignored.

Now I look at that period of my life with the kind of fondness that can only come from hindsight. My big secret had to not yet been exposed and had not exploded into something which would one day command my immediate attention. What I find remarkable is how infrequently I was able to dress as the house seemed to be always full of people which is why I so looked forward to the rare quiet times when no one was home.

In the Anne Vital…

Ralph Nader speaks the truth

Here is Ralph Nader (as quoted by Kyle Kulinski on his show) speaking truthfully about the corporate sellout of the Democratic party and with that their soul.

You now have poor working class people in the red states voting against their own interests for a GOP party that does not give one whit about them. All this within the context of the reality that half the population of the United States lives with a yearly salary of $30,000 or less...



getting off the merry-go-round

Your brain holds incredible power and the difference between having a stable and happy life versus a miserable one lies largely within its boundaries.

Your thought process can hold you captive and have you see the world through a filter where you are a permanent victim and many of us rely on thinking that sees us remain in prisons that we hold the keys to.

If we take it as a given that life is naturally complex and unpredictable all we can control is how we process that reality hence you can choose to suffer from that variability or use it more to your advantage.

The other day a young writer was being interviewed on CBC radio during which she stated “one day we’ll be dead and none of this will matter” which simplified everything down to one universal truth which is that much of what we do here is biding time. Seeing things in that light is actually liberating because it helps you focus on what is real and what is important in your life and, when you wipe away all the distractions and …

sometimes I need to pinch myself

In a few days this blog will be exactly five years old and it occurred to me that during that time our advancement as a community has been nothing short of extraordinary.

My own personal progression has followed with it and my life made infinitely better as it climbed back from the low reached in 2007 when everything came crashing down after hitting the wall.

We now have the reassurance of knowing that young children won't need to suffer in silence for years like we did. There is help for them now with the only caution being that they not be put on hormones before they themselves know who they are. Still the landscape after just five short years is almost unbelievable and sometimes I need to pinch myself.

You may have noticed that the transgender headlines in the media need to be that much more sensational as people are bored with the old one of "man becomes woman". This is just one measure of the progress we have made.

To those who might be tempted to roll their eyes a…

Anne Vitale on Primary and Secondary Transsexuals

My readers know that I am a big fan of Anne Vitale and in this essay from 2000 she laid out her views on the work of Ovesey and Person which predates Blanchard's by 10 years:

"It is with dismay that I continue to encounter individuals with gender identity issues using the terms Primary and Secondary Transsexualism as diagnostic indicators. The terms show up repeatedly in Internet chat rooms, in the Internet news groups, in my email, and by individuals presenting to me in my private practice. The individuals who self-identify as Primary Transsexuals are usually using the term to mean that they are "Benjamin Type VI, true transsexuals." Those who self-identify as Secondary Transsexuals are usually trying to diminish their condition and to find some way to deal with their gender dysphoria without having to face the possibility of transitioning. As we shall soon see, neither term has ever had anything to do with severity or prognosis. There is no hierarchy of transsexual…

who are you?

Who we are can be a difficult thing to answer for many of us because we are scared or because we want to please others and be “normal”. But normal is not something many of us ever were.

I am transgender and I am much more comfortable with that knowledge than I have ever been in my life. It is something I had been running from for a very long time but now I can really see myself without distorted or preconceived ideas.

Self-understanding is also hopefully accompanied by the freedom to define oneself outside of the confines of the rules we were brought up with; most especially those which made our lives unnecessarily more complex than they needed to be. These were often about pleasing family, friends and society in general before ourselves.

Over its span my blog has devoted a lot of space to dealing with escaping restrictions and finding one’s own way because I think that is what is required here. Even the transgender community has developed its own do’s and don’ts which may not suit u…

masks

Well here is Alice Dreger comparing men who get off on wearing latex female masks with the transgender population which she she seems to suggest is mostly composed of Autogynephilic men. In this 2013 article from the Pacific Standard, she does her best to make sure that gynephilic gender dysphorics are lumped in with what was previously labeled transvestic fetishism. In essence she equates wearing a female mask for sexual kicks with a transgender woman having electrolysis or FFS which, according to her, is just a more elaborate version of the same mask.

Once again Autogynephilia is described here as sexual orientation which is odd since so many transgender people form real and long lasting relationships in which cross gender arousal (which is a byproduct of dysphoria) happens to co-exist. In my opinion this is not exactly the same thing as having a fetish.

Dreger is part of a persistent but very small group which is not picking up any new converts and here she uses old standby Anne La…

I can relate

I know that India Willoughby made that slip up recently regarding the use of bathrooms but here she makes me relate to her struggle with dysphoria, living a double life (as she was for a time) and telling her son about being transgender and having him accept. This all really hits home.

Unfortunately the quality of this video is not great because the person who made it was directly filming their television...


you can't make this stuff up

As Donald Trump has yet another brain fart on Twitter this time his cruel mocking of Morning Joe's Mika Brzezinski may have just brought his presidency to yet another low. At least he is giving Bill Maher more comedic material than he can handle.

Trump can of course always Tweet in defense:

"Oh yeah? Well I'm president and you're not!"

Happy fourth to all my American friends and hang in there!



no excuse

I never go to Victoria’s Secret but then I walked in just for fun. I also wasn’t looking for a sports bra but then with a big liquidation sale why not browse.

The young sales girl gives me a big smile and says "Hi what is your size?"

"38 DD” I responded and before you think that is high I must tell you that it really suits my frame.

“Oh we have some right here in your size”

I rummaged around in a pile and sure enough I settled on a colorful and well assembled bra that was priced just right at a whopping $14. Later at the cash I chat with the sales girl who asked me who helped me and then I told her I was so glad to find one at this price.

“No excuse not to go running” I said whimsically

“No that’s right no excuse” she repeated after me while flashing me a big smile and handing me my bag.

I have never done any sports as Joanna but you just never know. When I got home I tried it on with my forms in place and it fit like a glove.


be calm

I have always been wound tighter than a drum.

Things are always expected to go according to plan and even today i get physically affected when I am late which is why it never happens. I will leave extra early to make sure it doesn't.

Up until not that long ago being stuck in traffic was all I could bear but I am working on it. I tell myself that there is nothing I can do and distract myself with happier thoughts as my engine idles.

Sometimes there is no explaining ourselves and we suffer as a result of the conditions we have mandated to respect. Even if the world will not end there is something almost primordial that drives our compulsions.

Introspection can be positive yes but can also feed self blame when you don't perform to a standard. It is this internal makeup that made my road to self acceptance that much harder since someone like me shouldn't fail and certainly shouldn't be transgender.

It has been a hard but necessary lesson to become more maleable and forgiv…