Big time reality check with excellent advice and no, not everyone who expresses gender variance is trans. But don't take my word for it, take it from a gender therapist...
Thursday, August 31, 2023
There are many of us who might have greatly benefitted from early medical transitions except that I do not bemoan my situation with the reason being that my being raised and conditioned in another era created a being who increasingly with age became a worse candidate for it.Of course I have friends of different ages who have happily and successfully transitioned and yet my risk to benefit calculations in the end didn't add up. Were I the age of my children today with the knowledge I have now might have been just the fertile ground I needed but for some of us of a certain age, the complexity of lived history and commitments plus health considerations make the decisions for us.
That I am more deeply content than I have ever been speaks to the reality that we can embrace authenticity at any point and that respect and care for the self is of paramount importance. When you add to that the amount of support I have received especially from my wonderful children, it leaves little room for any regrets.
Everything is relative.
Yesterday my YouTube feed presented me with an interesting interview conducted with a neuroscientist who self identifies as AGP. That descriptor was of course regretable because he simply could have talked about cross gender fantasies or use Julia Serrano's "female embodiment fantasies" terminology instead.He was extremely well spoken and had no intention of transitioning and rarely if ever dressed in female clothing. He also explained his situation with impressive self awareness and research but clearly there was some stigma there written between the lines of his eloquent talking points. That he chose, perhaps innocently, to give AGP and its pseudoscientific conclusions sea legs is to continue to throw many trans people under the bus along with their transitions.
Wednesday, August 30, 2023
I read and see a lot of opinion on both gender dysphoria and gender euphoria; neither really being an ideal state because both leave you in a sense unbalanced. In other words we should want to baseline into a feeling of calm and being centered.Euphoria is something which happens when, for example, we are first discovering ourselves and celebrate little victories or when a person does not express themselves frequently enough and suddenly is able to do so. Dysphoria is conversely that feeling of helplessness where we feel trapped with little to no options in being our authentic selves.
As we move towards a baseline we should ideally minimize both states and have life become more stable and predictable. The highs and lows are replaced by a general feeling of balance and well being.
I believe that transgender people are born that way and I make that a distinction against all types of gender variance. If a trans person is not able to express themselves as per identity then they will most certainly experience dysphoria or gender expression deprivation anxiety (thank you Anne Vitale). Euphoria, on the other hand is something that even non dysphoric people could feel regarding some aspect of success they have been seeking.
Dafni girls is a dressing service in Madrid where males experiment with a taste of what it might be like on the other side of the gender divide. Maybe it's for a day or an evening and indeed many women have also had the same type of curiosity although they have been freer to explore it in plain sight for decades. It's harmless and perhaps even beneficial with the investment being at worst monetary.I used to have an online friend like this and our overlaps helped me to comprehend him as well as myself. It was a sexual interest he would indulge periodically and as soon as he was dating someone, it was instantly dropped. This was something I envied as I hoped, rather naively, to go further than him and eliminate my gender dysphoria altogether; this back when I didn't yet truly understand my situation.
These services can allow benign fantasies but also permit older dysphoric people to get a first taste of exploration into who they are. Young trans people today are undoubtedly less likely to use this type of venue as a first time experience because thankfully they come out much earlier.
Nothing we write in a blog will drastically change the life of another person. We write mostly for ourselves and the words go out into the universe where they may perhaps strike a chord.We ought not to overestimate our importance and seek validation within ourselves because what is genuine behavior in others isn't always easy to read. In that sense we are self contained beings.
I had a lot of trouble believing my friend Sherry when she said that people see what you see in yourself but she was right. Instead I had thought "how could a petite Chinese girl whose own partner didn't know she's trans be so glib". But we find our authentic selves and it permeates everywhere within us and reaches the external. Otherwise a new skin is that and only that and easily seen through by others.
Tuesday, August 29, 2023
I almost wish that I cared that I am on my own but I just don't. That temptation goes away and is replaced by the comfort of being able to properly look after yourself. Had I not had previous experience in these matters I might be more curious now.
You simply stay open to the universe but that's about it.
I've worn more dresses this summer than I ever have before; something which for the longest time I resisted doing. Very casual and very light fabric, I find that it so simplifies thinking about what to wear. A little light make up, earrings and my ballet flats and out the door. I think my leaning towards them speaks to the increased confidence as well.They are made of cotton and extremely comfortable (a must for me). Almost all of them are thrift store finds :)
Our essences as individuals are often suppressed by conditioning. This applies to everyone not just to trans people with the more we bought into the education the more difficult will be the journey towards our authentic selves.The problem is that we associate the conditioning with being right for us rather than part of a societal effort to subjugate us into conformance. It can then become difficult to separate what is actually good versus what is a detriment to the wellness of the soul.
Monday, August 28, 2023
When I see the term "lifestyle" used by gender variant people it grates against my sensibilities. The word implies choice by its very nature, and perhaps for some it may very well be just that.Some of us however would beg to differ and it's one the reasons I write and focus so much on the concept of choice.
It turns out that trans people are as unlikable and vapid as anyone else which should not surprise. Caitlyn Jenner, for example, is as empty headed as they come and I can think of other examples as can you.We do not make deep connections with people just because we share something so intrinsic which is why I base my opinion of people on a whole series of metrics.
We can be selective and avoid groupthink while generally supporting the rights of all people to self determination.
This morning I ran into Mathilde and her husband who I had never met before. Eight years my junior, she and I know each other from pandemic days and we crossed paths often during waterfront morning walks. As far as he was concerned I was just another woman his wife knows.I am a neighborhood lady known by many and it's no longer surreal although it once was. It becomes more apparent to me that the nervousness in meeting new people is completely gone which adds a level of relaxation and confidence. It builds up almost imperceptibly over the years the more authentically we live.
I think more than ever that it's not so much about what we do to our bodies but primarily to our minds.
Sunday, August 27, 2023
Thinking almost everyone is stupid is a defense mechanism which eventually exhausts you. You discover early on that you can think critically and then wield that as a weapon against the prejudicial and feeble minded masses.But then with age you discover that most everyone is equally scared and much of their aggression comes from their own traumas and fears. You realize that they were once babies who we indoctrinated and then released into the wild to fend for themselves. That not everyone is repairable goes without saying, and yet we can do much by being model people who embody dignity but also have defense mechanisms when the situation demands it. At 60 I have both the confidence plus the nasty bite to match which really is never required.
Early on in life I was witness to human cruelty and I could let that be a permanent testament to what society is. However to be bitter is to not truly live which is we can still be selective with our human connections without being quite so judgemental.
We can first start by giving people the benefit of the doubt.
Becoming a wholly integrated trans person means incorporating everything you love into your new life because it merits keeping. Not everything should be segregated by gender and arguably there isn't much left in the world which is taboo for either sex. This means we should feel free to be ourselves in the fullest sense.As gender variant people, early on we sometimes take on almost different personalities and tastes according to mode of expression which disappears as you coalesce into one existence. Because what drives us as individuals isn't our manner of dress but instead our psyches.
Traffic has never been a concern for me and although my old blog grew to numbers I had not expected, I was less satisfied with it than this one. When your focus changes a little bit, so does the demographic of your readership.I've always seen blogging as a vehicle to explore concepts as well as personal feelings which lead to personal growth. We advance our own cause and perhaps help others in the process. The perspectives we hold certainly aren't the same and those who disagree with us may be lost in the process but we do not hold and express viewpoints to appeal to the greatest number of people. We express truth as we understand it.
If the aim is to grow as a person, then the person who writes today must necessarily be a different version than the one who wrote yesterday.
Saturday, August 26, 2023
There are many gender variant people without dysphoria (or at least with very tepid forms of it) which gives them an upper hand in managing a double life. The video I posted yesterday about leading such an existence has some discouraging news about the effectiveness for dysphoric adults but I think it's another matter entirely for those who celebrate gender variance without that ever present ticking time bomb.
These people are more celebratory and they have every right to be and if they can manage a double life with minimal anxiety or depression (in full transparency) then they most certainly should.
It's amazing how much you change over time. I reflect on the last five years and realize they have seen the most significant metamorphosis of my lifetime. How I grapple with my dysphoria took a big turn for the better which was mostly fed by what I determined was my right to authenticity. The apologetic attitude gave way to one of protecting and nurturing the self.This was far from a simple conversion but it was necessary to stop putting the wellness of others always before my own. I needed to stop treating it as a secondary priority because you first need your own life saving device before you can rescue someone else.
Over my lifetime I have seen the fences surrounding cultural and societal norms fall which has brought benefits but also much confusion to those who require structure and order. It is no secret why the right is up in arms and looking longingly at the idea of authoritarian rule.There are no longer hard and fast rules about how one should lead their lives which isn't comforting when you require the pacifier of a black and white rule book. The nature of work, relationships and even spiritual faith is morphing with the pandemic expediting things all the more. The fallout is clearly being seen and felt everywhere.
Friday, August 25, 2023
Jordan Peterson is an "agent provocateur" on social media who wonders why a regulatory board of professional psychologists in Canada is audacious enough to ask that he refrain from being a lunatic. That he regularly attacks people and makes outlandish statements as a private citizen is one thing, but as someone with a license there are certain rules of conduct which strongly suggest you don't ask people to "off" themselves publicly. Judgement is apparently not a strong suit for Peterson who is, like me, 60 years old although you wouldn't know it from the comportment.He is as odious a person as I can imagine with a haughty arrogance to match. That he doesn't need the license after signing with the Daily Wire group of malcontents is beside the point, but he is going to milk this thing for all it's worth because he loves "free speech" outrage since he started hating on trans people since Bill C16 days.
The license board will do well to rid themselves of this person and keep their principles intact while he continues to unravel.
At 60 I can X-ray through things with laser focus and have little use for pointless meandering or over self indulgence. Clients appreciated my candor and so did my colleagues because honesty is something we should treasure and use as a tool for good. We should always tell the truth to ourselves as well as to others.My filter is mostly gone but not because I want to bludgeon people but simply because I have no use for any cushions which make no sense.
Thursday, August 24, 2023
I am still trying to comprehend infantile or greatly exaggerated versions of gender variance. Here I am speaking of those people who dress like children or very sexualized facsimiles of the same type of women that they might themselves be drawn to. Clearly, I do not subscribe to AGP but not because arousal does not exist, rather because it tries to suggest that transitions are due to sexual deviance and not identity. This does not mean however that there aren't people with what are ostensibly fetishes.Fetishes have always existed and form part of the sexuality of many people. They most certainly also exist outside the world of gender variance so this is no great surprise. We know that they are a statistically predictable percentage of human sexuality.
My key point here is how one sometimes needs to work hard to recognize within themselves the difference between a sexual preference versus an essential issue of identity; part of that deep dive with the understanding that there is no wrong answer. Only our own.
I had dinner with a friend and colleague yesterday who is soon turning 41. He is not long divorced and I recognize in him that same restless energy I once had about getting on with life. There is the same level of urgency that someone at 60 no longer has and I told him to really enjoy the next 20 years.As one of the last boomers I know I bought at least partly into the standard narrative regarding marriage, children and career which I now see as far more optional. But that sort of perspective needed time to be gestated and the realization that much of our obligation is largely acquired through a kind of learned osmosis. That I have no regrets does not negate the fact that more flexibility in deviating from a script is almost always beneficial to our spirit.
He listened with fascination to what I told him which was not offered as a command but rather as promotion of the value of being surprised by life and freeing yourself in accordance to what our essence tells us.
The mixing of Christian (and I use that term loosely) fundamentalism with politics is resulting in radical views that mock the teachings of Jesus. This is not the new testament you may have learned as a child but rather an apocalyptic and dystopic vision of theocracy that an uncomfortably large minority of Americans seem to want.The fact that Trump scores so highly with Evangelicals really should speak to us about how many deluded idiots are walking around on this planet and not just in the US. A man who is the antithesis of holiness is their new Messiah and some pastors are rightfully concerned that it's gotten out of hand.
We have our share of these people in Canada and the rest of the world isn't spared either only that they exist in small enough numbers in nations without the clout that a global superpower has.
I did not watch the GOP debate last night (heaven forbid) but listening to commentary about it this morning informed me that all but two of the candidates would support Trump were he to be the eventual nominee. That this is beyond worrisome speaks to the cancer that has taken hold among people who cannot even eloquently or logically state their belief system to themselves never mind to anyone else.
Wednesday, August 23, 2023
Have you performed a brutally honest appraisal of the motivations for your gender variance? When I started blogging I had an issue with transsexual women and a fear that I might need to medically transition. I did everything to distance myself and the knowledge today that I am close but no cigar is completely fine.After years of work I know who I am and perhaps so do you. But if you still aren't sure, that deep dive awaits you. My reasoning being that, without one, we risk an inadequate response to our needs not to mention having whatever descriptor we use for ourselves become completely irrelevant.
My disdain for pantyhose goes way back and there is almost nothing more annoying for a tall person than to have that uncomfortable feeling of a material riding up or down and not letting you breathe.When I was young I had my experiments with those of my mother or sisters but finally succumbed to them to conceal leg hair which has for many years now been wholly absent.
When they began to go out of style with younger women (who mostly go bare legged unless very special occasion) I thanked my lucky stars although I would have done my own thing anyway. Leggings in the winter, however, are a whole different story.
As for pantyhose? Goodbye and riddance I say:)
A good analogy for what I am currently experiencing can be explained by the concept of training wheels. When you have constraints as a trans person you are slowed down but also provided with some stability. It is only when you remove them that you realize that you are a bit destabilized until you can power along on your own. Of course this removal has been progressive over several years and not instantaneous, but this recent step has been the most marked.Combined with adjusting to retirement, it makes for a kind of double whammy effect which takes some adjusting to.
Tuesday, August 22, 2023
Young trans people are now in the position to reverse the tables and decide who they will accept into their lives rather than suppress identity to fit into a mold. They are out in the open much earlier in life and while maybe not blessed with having the same wide choice as the general population, they will be in a far better position to find someone who loves them exactly as they are.One day soon, the way I grew up will be a distant memory and no one will be left to remember what it was like.
I am so relieved for them.
There is an exhausted silent majority in America sick to death of Trump and his narcissistic rage. For seven years he has controlled the airwaves and spun a web particularly among low information voters who hallucinate him walking on water like Jesus. It's an embarrassment that there are people like this but that's how cults are successful.Even if you convict him, the base filled heavily with rubes does not go away and those who threaten judges and storm FBI offices and are shot are what happens when mass hysteria fed by internet echo chambers reaches a fever pitch.
The GOP is bleeding voters and up and coming generations are more progressive than ever so going down with the ship with an orange wannabe dictator is perhaps not the wisest of ideas.
I used to wonder why the vast majority of blogs seemed so disinterested in the sociological, historical and scientific aspects of gender variance. Aside from Jack Molay's Crossdreamers and Zagria's Gender Variance sites, most were content to stick with personal narratives which for a time bewildered me. Maybe it was my own formation which skewed me towards this need plus my insatiable curiosity.We are all different but such a fundamental divergence from a norm assuredly deserved exploration particularly when the person may have felt they had no choice and could not trace or comprehend their own origins. Of course not everyone is or ever has been conflicted and so that is one explanation.
I have over the years come to understand this apparent disinterest in several ways but settled on the main reason being that it's hard enough to live with this reality let alone delving into its forensics. Therefore most blogs end up being a mixture of the celebratory and the angst filled.
I don't read all of them regularly (my own has reduced readership) but at one time I was interested in reading a wide sampling to try and come up with a concensus. Not surprisingly, this exercise confirmed to me that this is a varied grouping which not only spans the same categories which Harry Benjamin had already well established, but that also has much the same uniqueness as we would find in blogs outside of this sphere.
Humans are simply a very varied and complex bunch.
She had a blue blazer on and was holding a walkie-talkie while standing at the entrance to the ladies room."Can I go in?" I inquired
"Yes but there is a man fixing one of the toilets do you mind if he's there?"
I laughed and said of course not.
"There are 17 other stalls to choose from Madame" she smiled.
Toilets and who can use them. Much ado about nothing.
Every major life change rewires the brain. The retirement plus living even more freely with my identity and expression creates a type of confusion for a while until the dust begins to settle. After 9 months things are more stable but I can tell there is more work to be done.This is something you grow into perhaps akin to stepping slowly into a hot bath. What used to be more of a challenge increasingly becomes routine and you drop your fear yet again while at the same time being more on guard in public as a female.
I can confirm more than ever that what suits us is best discovered via an iterative process; a "less is more" approach. We rest on a plateau and wait and see if we should proceed to the next one driven always by the necessity of stability and not by frivolous want. For a game this definitely is not.
Monday, August 21, 2023
I found out recently that N has been diagnosed with some form of cancer. I am not on social media so a friend informed me and I was immediately sad and emailed her only to receive no response as I had expected. Seven years ago I still thought we might stay together but the split happened (not because I am trans) and we both needed to rethink our futures at 53 and 50 respectively. You can understand why the news would not be very welcome and touch a nerve.I am so very hopeful that they have caught it early and that she lives a long and prosperous life.
My ideas on relationships have of course evolved since then into a very lucid and sober take aided by the experiences of others with their own heartbreaks in this volatile arena we call romantic love. That I have no regrets about anything speaks to my opinion that all life experiences work towards the formation of the individual and benefit us despite our inability to see it in the moment.
I realize now that a good chunk of my journey was about eliminating internalized transphobia and I suspect it is one of the reasons I tended to have so much disdain for exaggerated and highly sexualized forms of femininity. It bristled against my nerves as cartoonish parody and, although my opinion has not changed, my not caring about what others do is the difference as I have no interest in being a spokesperson for the entire gender variant community.As I have moved into another mindset I want you to think about the goal of balance which I see split into the components of authenticity and calm. Each person will have a different set of criteria to achieve this and, for some, it may necessarily involve medical transition.
The point is to aim to be true to oneself without self judging too harshly and when that balance point is neared you will begin to feel a sense of harmony. This is always with the understanding that others don't define who you are as that is a task uniquely left to you.
Sunday, August 20, 2023
Our militancy must necessarily contain some degree of indignant outrage. After all, how are we going to non verbally communicate that we are not to be trifled with?After a while we become fatigued of living in hiding and my life continues to improve after the very deliberate decision some years ago that enough was enough. I also don't owe people the information that I am trans which is entirely my business.
However one caveat: a game face is definitely required.
Every person has a different level of profundity. I know this because I can tell when I have hit a wall with some people. It may be a quizzical stare or a response that makes me realize I am probing into a previously unexplored subject for them. It is not a judgement but instead an observation.I only have my own way to be and vapid discussions bore me quickly but I also understand how I could bore someone else over a coffee. It is not always obvious to see what kind of person you have in front of you and so we look for little clues until we form and overall portrait.
I have sometimes spoken with PhDs who are socially obtuse but then come upon a person who has a wealth of wisdom but little formal education. It is the whole package which creates the individual and it is their zest for life that brings them sparkle with a person like me often benefiting from their earthiness and authenticity.
I am very interested in what happens to the psyche of a child who learns that they cannot completely trust. How does it become a domino effect and later potentially impact relationships with others? I know I was one of those children and I am not alone.We are not readily able to analyze and compare with others so we are left with piecing together clues. Learning to be on one's guard so early in life must necessarily have consequences but they aren't always visible because we are master mimics and when young do not have the adequate introspection skills.
Those impacts are being evaluated now as I have both the time and the need to understand them.
Saturday, August 19, 2023
If we are not living with the outlook of one day at a time we should ask ourselves why. Being surprised by life and allowing plans to be loose is probably best as things rarely go as we envision them.As the oldest of six, I seem to have digested the message that things needed to be orderly and that there wasn't much flexibility to be had. That I was wrong is a lesson I've had to learn as I age and now incorporate into a mantra that realizes life is short and we should allow ourselves to be amazed and surprised by it. For there are things to be learned when we go off script and embrace the spontaneous.
One thing we discover pretty early in life is that we can't make everyone happy. We can't even achieve that for ourselves but we need to try because by increasing our own well being, everyone else benefits from our calm.Many older trans people developed a particular gift for self flagelation borne out of a need to apologize for even existing. That invariably brought with it patterns of needing to navigate the world almost walking on eggshells which included trying to escape detection (whether in denial or not). This is fatiguing but also futile for if you are someone steeped in identity, you eventually realize that as a zebra you cannot become a fox (perhaps a poor analogy but understand me).
When I read narratives of despair it fills me with sadness because there is considerable joy to be had simply in being who we are.
Friday, August 18, 2023
Maria Bramford has created a hallucinogenic and zany comedy called "Lady Dynamite" which will make you laugh. She plays a well meaning people pleaser comedian who is doing her best to go through life overlapping with crazy characters (including her own parents) who seem totally oblivious to their own weirdness.Part Seinfeld, part Curb Your Enthusiasm you can't help but get hooked as you are surprised by the constant zig zags and left of center humor curve balls. You might wonder what it's like to live in Maria Bramford's head for even just one day.
What eludes me still is how gender variance moves progressively from almost pure and even elective expression into identity (or transsexualism if you like) and what the key defining elements are. There are plenty of people who enjoy cross gender expression but have absolutely no wish to transition. For some this expression may be more mandatory than for others and begins at different stages of life (though for transsexuals typically very early). Additionally, as we move further into identity, the idea of choice appears to be increasingly removed from the equation.My assembled research (which includes blogs) does not give me a firm answer even as I recognize some people could be put into general groupings. It's why I always am forced to go back to the idea of the overall variability of the human being as a safe refuge.
Categories provide insight to some extent (and Harry Benjamin employed them) but don't provide perfect answers regarding motivation and where it is sourced. That mixture of nature and nurture I believe is where the answer lies and how they blend uniquely in each person. That sexuality is involved is hardly surprising as this is a feature not easily isolated from the individual and yet with different relevance and focus for each.
I was speaking with a friend yesterday and we briefly touched on his long distance relationship which made me think later about the fractured nature of unions and how they are sometimes held together with proverbial duct tape.We are initially captured by pheromonal chemistry perhaps before we know ourselves well. After that it is children, shared experience, fear of being alone, economics, etc. which keeps two people together past an expiration date one or both might secretly pine for. The good ones are glued together with a true friendship which manages to transcend and weather the storms.
By now I readily recognize archetypes and the persons who are more apt to invite drama, but that takes life experience to learn. Now, like all the human experiences which are both malleable and unpredictable, I am still fascinated by how they work in each unique formula; how unions sometimes hobble and sputter along and yet persist.
Thursday, August 17, 2023
I love talking to strangers. It's fascinating and it helped me get over trepidation and worries while out in public. One gets better with practice and you can sense people relax when they see a calm and welcoming presence.Don't be afraid. It pays off in spades as it is not only rewarding but confidence building as well :)
I am getting increasingly concerned about the state of the disenfranchised. In my comings and goings I see so many who need help and are living on razor thin margins. We in the West are clearly living through a period of decline and even a social democracy like Canada is not being spared the consequences of Neoliberal policies begun in the early 1990's.We can certainly trace social upheaval to the idea that global markets would naturally adjust to our social ills which turned out to be a phenomenal gamble of exceptional hubris. We farmed out blue collar industries to third world countries and let them join the muscular class (think China and India here) with the fallout being catastrophic.
We are the poorer for it of course because now a signicant segment of the population is living on meager wages, struggling to survive and increasingly becoming a burden of the state.
Human short sightedness strikes again.
I am now older than my father was when he passed away in 1995 and if you had told me then how I would be living today I would have thought you were insane for even suggesting it. I was 32 years old then and beyond in denial; at this point only indulging cross gender expression when the pressure built, purging and then promising this was the last time. The fact that I had been doing that since a very young child did not register in my psyche as proof that there is no cure for being transgender for that word did not even yet form part of our societal lexicon.Today there is a very lucid self acceptance but back then I had not yet done enough homework other than the perusal of library books and the odd research paper. The internet was still in its infancy and I was beginning to see there was much more than meets the eye through reading the testimonials of others like me. My research work began in earnest a few years later and by 2012 I began blogging and working slowly towards self actualization; my intellectual curousity not able to rest until I was duly convinced.
Wednesday, August 16, 2023
There is an epidemic of male loneliness. People of dating age are connecting less than ever. Men are dropping out of college, we are all working more for less pay and hypergamy is encouraging women to chase the same elite men.
There won't be a simple solution for this any time soon and technology is part of the problem. Also the rules have changed and no one knows what they are supposed to do.
Losing your purpose as provider is one of the causes perhaps but there needs to be a redefining of what role men need to adopt in society now that the traditional nuclear family has been fractured for many if not all.
Liberation from traditional social norms has gotten us here along with global economic policies that are pushing roles to be far more malleable which only adds to the confusion for both men and women.
For better or worse, it's a massive cultural shift happening as we speak.
The reason that a perfect gender binary never truly existed is simple: humans are exceedingly complex creatures. The imposition of the binary was due to religious and social structures which required obedience. Hence anomalies both of sexual and behavioral nature were seen as abominations to be remedied. This meant intersex people were "repaired", transgender people forced to comply and all behavioral expression outside the accepted norm was shunned.Today that is changing but it is grating against the dogmatic ideas of those groups who rest their foundation on the veracity of this model. Never mind that nature is replete with anomalies, human beings are, according to them, apparently immune to them. In the last decades pseudoscience has even been invented in an attempt to put the genie back in the bottle thankfully to no avail.
Pity that ignorance and stupidity are also permanent fixtures in humans.
I saw Sylvie at the public market this morning and we sat together over coffee. She is 63 and retired a little longer than I and so we compared notes on how each of us is doing. There is much dust still to settle for both of us and we agreed that work takes up so much of our lives that we leave much unattended which waits for that invariable slowdown. For career can become both distraction and impediment to self improvement.If we are reflective persons there is no doubt that any pending unresolved personal issues will form part of our work to be sorted out. We both are happily out of the rat race so we can look after ourselves. Being both divorced and living alone means there is no place to hide.
For me, a much needed and welcome exercise which no amount of hobbies should distract from.
Cognitive dissonance is when you don't let facts inconveniently get in the way of your personal narrative, and after the 4th Trump indictment, the right wing outrage media machine was out in force doing their usual spinning.
When you have built an audience based on fabrications it's too late to turn back and so you must continue to lie and talk about 1st amendment rights even if you know the legal case isn't built on that foundation. Instead, you rely on having done your job well and that your audience will fall in line with your mantra. You count on both their ignorance and gullible natures.
The consequences of internet echo chambers and boutique tailor made media are clear. No country is perfect but when already ideology driven nations ratchet up the propaganda to such magnitudes it is very difficult for truth to exist in the plain light of day for everyone to witness.
Tuesday, August 15, 2023
When I want to illustrate a prime example of how transgender people are born and not self made, I think about Abby Stein.Imagine growing up without television or internet in a deeply religious orthodox Jewish sect which would have left you completely devoid of outside influence. Then one day by sheer happenstance, you get access to the internet and discover there are others like you; others who knew to their core since young that something was up with their gender identity.
Abby eventually left her sect and transitioned but she is the perfect laboratory experiment if you are seeking proof that transgender people are very much the real deal.
GenZ and Gen Alpha are set to be among the most progressive generations ever. Free of cultural psychoses and syndromes they don't discriminate against anyone and basically get along. Small wonder the right wing is desperately trying to gain converts before their base slowly fades away.The age of the average FOX News viewer is well into the 60's which is why efforts by right wing groups like Turning Points USA to show up at college campuses are becoming mandatory. Success will be hard won however when you try to indoctrinate people with no fire in their belly; no hatred for the "other". What these people want most is to be able to find meaningful work and a way to afford to buy property or even afford rent.
They will be poorer than their parents but perhaps wiser by virtue of escaping toxic and unrelenting indoctrination.
Monday, August 14, 2023
With the firm understanding that there is no such thing as a hierarchy in the world of gender variance, we can safely state that whatever works for you is right. This means that cross gender expression which has little to no identity component attached to it is fine provided you understand that is where you lie.Failing to do that internal work risks us overshootong or conversely undershooting a response. Therefore transitioning might be an overreaction just as much as "I'm only a crossdresser" could be dismissive of what you actually need for optimum wellness and balance. This stability is only attained by comprehending the true motivation behind your gender variance via a brutally honest self assessment and if it's just dressing up then so be it.
If you reside on the extreme ends of the identity and expression axiom it might be easier to come to equilibrium than existing somewhere in between.
If I'm fascinated by the rise of right wing extremism in the Americas, it is specifically because this the first time I witness it up close. The election of Reagan in 1980 was a taste of what was to come decades later and I never thought it would spiral to Weimar Republic levels when the Nazis first rose to power.In 1930's Germany at first it was a trickle but after the Reichstag storming it took on epic proportions until Hitler was defeated in 1945 after having murdered 6 million Jewish people, countless LGBT people, Roma and other "undesireables".
The parallels are of course striking in that Germans felt dissatisfied with the direction of their nation and economic ills could be blamed on convenient targets much like Trumpism has tried to do. That the American people seem to have nipped this in the bud does not take away from the lesson that democracies are tenous affairs often held together by the slimmest of margins.
We can be ticking time bombs if we don't address our underlying issues. We have a way of avoiding examining ourselves too deeply and we tend to live in various form of denial. Often these frustrations are rooted in childhood trauma but we bury them as we begin to follow the routine of school, then work, then family, etc.Humans are master manipulators and we can exist for decades by putting our heads into something or distract with chasing money or things but invariably there is no place to hide and as those things fall away we might be left with just us staring deeply into the mirror.
Sunday, August 13, 2023
We worry and stress but if you've lived long enough, you know much of that was completely unfounded. Your life has brought with it both welcome and unwelcome surprises. Therefore worrying is often futile.We should reasonably plan but we stop worrying about what may or may not happen.
One of the ways to help us determine our origins as a trans person is to very methodically comb our history. For example I grew up under strict religious instruction in an era where such a thing was considered an abomination and I clearly got the message. It did nothing to eradicate my instincts but at least it helped make me understand that I had nothing to do with instilling feelings which I trace to earliest memory.My parents had they known would have been shocked but hopefully ultimately understanding even if we didn't have the proper language in the 1960's; never mind the acceptance.
This introspection might be useful to you only if you want to eliminate doubt that you are transgender. The ultimate aim always being to come to a place of peace with who you are. If the transgender condition, as I firmly believe, has some genetic roots, then you are likely to find some sign in your childhood no matter how much in denial you might have been and trust me when I say mine was as bad as they come.
For me this careful introspection wasn't an option but absolutely mandatory and very much helped me to come to terms.
Cultural conservatives offer you nothing except outrage. They have always existed and always will and science even tells us that there are biological factors which help create them. Often there is religious orthodoxy involved in their early formation or perhaps racism which helps feed the fear that all is going to hell in a handbasket.If you have an open and inquisitive mind you should naturally be open to cultural change especially if it improves the quality of life of the disenfranchised and does nothing to hurt society as a whole. When women weren't allowed to vote or slavery was considered normal, conservative minded people would have been most averse to changing something which today we find repugnant.
Cultural conservatism is grounded in fear of the "other: and the sense that some public good will be lost by allowing a new mindset. We all have at least one of these people in our families and you will be hard pressed to use logic to change their minds as this is not an issue which can be argued on those grounds.
It is often simply pure emotion.
Once you've experienced enough disappointment it's not that hard to fall prey to cynicism. Anyone who knows me through my writing knows I have a tendency for being analytical and by this age I've seen plenty behind the curtain of how society functions. Where I need to place my trust now is on those individuals who feed my sense that there is much dignity and goodness in the world.My disdain for societal superficialities firmly established and keeping appearances no longer a concern, now is the time to refresh my outlook on humanity by focusing more on what unites us than divides.
Saturday, August 12, 2023
One of the ways we know we are coming into our own is that we no longer seek outside validation which I feel helps to reduce fear. After all, if we don't care what strangers think of us we are ready to be our sole providers of self esteem. If we become easily deflated by outside opinion and constantly seek out positive feedback, it may be we still have work to do.I recall years ago feeling so deflated when I was sure a certain stare meant I had been found out whereas today I might smile or frown at someone who might look a little too long without knowing or caring why. Self assurance isn't boastful. If anything it is a calm sense of self that accepts we come with our warts and imperfections.
Sitting in a subway car I am not constantly vigilant about who is watching because it does not matter as we only need that vigilance for safety and not approval.
We don't even need any likes on that selfie and, at 60, I honestly just couldn't give a damn.
Authenticity isn't the same thing for every person and I define it as a fundamental respect for the nature of the self which feeds and elevates the spirit. For transgender people that can translate into different ways of living but in its ideal form it should not involve suppression unless that is a desired goal because we experience distress.A few years ago, when I was seeing the endocrinologist Dr. Morris to consult on possibly starting an HRT regimen, he told me his patients varied greatly in their approach. Some were early transitioners, some late and some simply took a small dosage for balancing dysphoric feelings. I use this example because it once again fortified the idea of our uniqueness. He helped sell me on the idea that, for a variety of reasons, I didn't need hormones which made me respect him all the more but then that was part of my own tailor made solution towards addressing my dysphoria.
In the end, to live in authenticity is to elevate our humanity and we will know it when our self esteem is raised as a consequence but, if our approach is the wrong one, it will have the entirely opposite effect.
Friday, August 11, 2023
At first I was not exactly sure why I returned to blogging. I suppose it had become habitual and retiring gave me all this extra time. I no longer have the same sense of urgency as when this was my therapy and as the years progressed and I became increasingly comfortable with being transgender, I settled on this short burst style which I have kept.Yes, I am a political junkie and love philosophical concepts but at the root I want to help all people who feel somehow disenfranchised to lift their heads. Of course I belong to a misunderstood minority and am partial to that group, however all types of injustices play on my sense of outrage while i simultaneously work on my life acquired cynicism.
About 8 years ago things looked a lot better for transgender people but with the rising culture wars of the right we became easy targets. It is not lost on me that I live in a liberal part of the world but I don't take that for granted for a second.
At the core, I write because I want to emphasize that taking an apologetic tone for having the audacity to exist should be a thing of the past and I don't want people to ever feel the way that I once did. Sometimes the more you know about the human psyche the more disappointed you are and yet, despite our issues, at their root most people are driven by the same basic desires and aspirations.
We don't see ourselves the way others do. They may see a woman they have befriended but sometimes inside we wonder what they are thinking and if they detect something is off.Recently I had a lunch with Louise and one of her friends I was going to meet for the first time. That little bird showed up briefly once again and at this proximity you again doubt yourself because you can't help it. Still I am myself and don't show them that there is anything up with me. Other women are the ones I concern myself the most especially at such close and personal range. The three of us are 58, 60 and 63 respectively.
After the lunch I got a wonderful text from Louise letting me know what a nice time the three of us had and how her friend enjoyed meeting me. I was relieved.
Thursday, August 10, 2023
"Lars and Real Real Girl" could have been a ridiculous film and yet it works because of the acting (particularly of Ryan Gosling) and the script. A portrait of male loneliness, it features the life of one awkward man's struggle with making human connections. On the suggestion of his office buddy, Lars orders an anatomically correct doll rather than succumb to the overtures of a female co-worker or women from his church.His brother and sister-in-law humor him but privately are scared for his mental health. So they play along but want him to regularly see a psychologist whose sessions and recommendations only feed into the black humor and the dramedy presented here. Eventually the whole town humors Lars.
The premise of the film, at first glance audacious, has become increasingly less far-fetched as society flirts with AI and the promise of doing away with authentic and complex human relations in a technology driven world.
I guess we are all a little crazy are we not?
On Tubi and recommended.
As a trans person, if you are completely devoid of the instinct to occasionally want to slap people, then I might suggest you are being too timid. For you need to own the space you occupy as people can be absolutely wonderful but also occasionally rude and obnoxious. As a result your guard must be ready for either scenario.If we are to live openly in the world being a shrinking violet is hardly helpful and while we might want to celebrate hermetically controlled outings, it is not quite the same thing as riding subways and buses on a daily basis.
I am saying this not to discourage you; quite the opposite. I want to empower you and give you confidence to not give them the satisfaction of letting them see you sweat. For once you are in the right headspace, let me assure you, people can smell it.
That Trump is a vile piece of garbage is no longer in question. The mendacious attack ad on Fani Willis is the latest testament to that fact. What remains more mind numbing however is the large percentage of enablers, sycophants and rabid supporters who despite his narcissistic degeneracy go out of their way to cheer his depravity.Let no one talk about American exceptionalism any longer please for the populace there is as good or bad as anywhere else. But what baffles me has nothing to do with the American experiment's legitimacy, but rather why a not insignificant number within its borders are hell bent on making sure it is systematically dismantled in favor of authoritarian rule by a despotic imbecile.
Listening to the philosopher Zizek lately has me going back to my favorite topic of choice. If we can agree that the transgender condition contains elements of genetic predisposition then we have eliminated one important element of choice. What remains, if you discover you are truly trans, is what to do about your situation.I know enough about this topic to safely state that choice varies significantly between gender variant individuals. The hard part is honestly assessing where you stand on that metric and how you intend to live with your variance going forward.
Once you have assessed via introspection where you stand there may be a gap between others' understanding of who they think you are versus who you know you are. You can then either become a supplicant to their narrative or have them understand that what they may deem to be a choice is not; assuming of course that this is a worthwhile investment for in many cases there is unfortunately no meeting of the minds.
Wednesday, August 9, 2023
Our ideas about ourselves and the world evolve if we question them. As we reflect and use critical thinking we begin to see where we might have been wrong over concepts perhaps we thought were sacrosanct.The most difficult concepts are of course philosophical, political, religious and any ideas steeped in the softer sands of human psychology. They are more malleable and prone to change as we live longer and examine their veracity under real conditions.
We are most prone to be misled in our youth but then there are plenty of adults who are empty vessels just waiting to be filled with propaganda. They will listen to a source and trust it often because it feeds preconceived notions we want to be true.
Throughout my writing over the years my mind has been changed and I have refined my thinking on many things including of course the topic of gender variance. If we are to examine things honestly we need to be prepared to accept that sometimes we might be wrong.
Family is often a double edged sword for partly or fully actualized transgender people. They may be a great source of support but also a reminder of a life we don't want to go back to or even a source of rejection.During the pandemic the stark realization that I was moving to a new point that didn't coincide with the life I used to lead became evident. We were all sequestered and that space allowed us the opportunity to take stock of our lives and dig deeper into the psyche.
Now I can see more clearly that living inside that orbit of expectation I had helped to feed into no longer works. Also what I used to perceive as acceptance on their part was more of an avoidance which was justified by everyone having busy lives. There had not been so much as an olive branch save for the sister who had most tried to change me who has now become an ally. Out of the five siblings this means I have kept two who I can openly discuss and relate to plus present as myself.
Your mileage may vary but we need to look after ourselves and although we may wish the best for our families we are under no obligation to feed into a narrative that brings comfort only to them. For the time for that has passed for me.
Tuesday, August 8, 2023
As a contrast to the odious Jordan Peterson, the brilliant philosopher Slavoj Zizek makes a compassionate argument for the "essentialist" needs of transgender people in doing something about their suffering. In other words he buys into the argument of essentialist identity.Interestingly he also makes a comment about the idea of choosing one's gender as if it were a mood as being steeped in ideology.
Note that with Zizek you need to get past his facial ticks and not let them distract you :)
I've been wary of people my entire life. Beginning in youth I saw cruelty in both children and adults and began to understand how societal power dynamics work. If you are naturally shy it only makes things worse for you of course but I was observant and learned to navigate to avoid conflict. Undoubtedly my aversion to groups and groupthink was first formulated there and I worked on learning the piano and painting as a way to occupy myself and perhaps revel in my nature as the introvert who could occasionally fake being a social animal.Today I look at society much differently of course and childhood fear has been converted into life experience partly colored with a weary cynicism I am working to undo. People are mostly good but we are heavily influenced by our childhood experiences which oblige the development of defense mechanisms that become so reflexive we don't notice them.
I used to greatly admire intellectual prowess in others (perhaps I should blame my father) but I now look much more for kindness and the type of social wisdom in others that forgives people their foibles and indiscretions. For we are all just trying to do our best.
Both Joe Rogan and Russell Brand have sizeable audiences and yet they are doing them a disservice. Rogan, the everyman dolt just asking questions contrasts against the frantic histrionics of the conspiracy-seeking Brand but both feed equally into the misinformation mediasphere.Rogan posseses very little discernment and appears to just parrot the talking points of his often right leaning guests. Brand for his part pretends that he is constantly discovering some plot as he feeds an audience hungry to find that they have been duped by those who hold the levers of power.
Today it's easy to find your own echo chambers and even as we know that all societies operate with greed, hunger for power and disregard for the down trodden That does not mean however that every political action contains malicious intent.
But everyone is an expert now and the act of looking into dark crevices for evil intent is often sufficient to feed the masses. They may know something isn't quite right but they have often been led down the wrong rabbit hole to find the source.
Monday, August 7, 2023
Are some people fully transitioning who perhaps should not have? Yes. Some of them have even become willing models for transphobes to generalize their stories as being applicable to all trans people. Their numbers don't need to be statiscally significant to be used as ammunition and Walt Heyer was among the first of a number to come.It's a risk you take in a more open environment that some will overshoot what they need to do particularly if they end up with the wrong therapist and fall victim to outside influence. If it was exceedingly difficult to transition decades ago, today it takes far less hurdles to jump and some will tailor make their own approach (for example call themselves non binary and take hormones).
That this is adding to the confusion is not surprising and the general population is even now more hopelessly perplexed than ever. The good news appears to be that they are far too busy living to care and it's mostly the dogmatic warriors making the vast majority of the noise hoping everyone brings out their pitchforks and torches to eradicate that pesky 1.4% of the population.
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