Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Fair play

"Fair Play"might have you wriggling in your armchair at times unnerved at what you are seeing. Gender politics, jealousy and sex within the confines of a pressure cooker stock trading firm, are the elements which what make this taught psychological thriller tick.

Luke and Emily are co-workers who aren't supposed to be seeing each other because it's against their company's policy and yet they keep their steamy relationship a secret. Then something happens which throws a monkey wrench into it all.

This is not exactly light viewimg fare but the gripping drama and the escalation between the principal actors was what merited my thumbs up. Who would have thought that sometimes life leaves us with messy endings.




"If you were a man"

Sylvie, Pierrette and I were talking over Friday morning coffee when the subject of my continuing to work as a consultant into next year came up.

"You know if you were a man you would more easily be able to negotiate a higher rate" Sylvie said in French; her words just hanging in the air for a moment before I addressed them. There was no special significance to her statement as there once might have been.

I had nothing to do with my genetics but then I had also stopped worrying about "passing" quite a long while ago which only made me blend in all the more. I realized I had simply needed to focus on who I was rather than what I wore or sounded like to the world.

That Sylvie's statement no longer held special meaning meant that I was safely at another place where I had let go of much fear and could truly be myself rather than think I was putting on a costume. All people, transgender or otherwise, should just focus on their internal journey and leave the rest as secondary importance because it ultimately is.

Derniere journee en octobre

 



Facade

Today if you are able to look after your own psychological and material needs you have a leg up on a lot of people. Life can be challenging for many which is why therapists, pharmacists and social workers are busier than ever tending to anxiety, depression and poverty related concerns.

The world is a more sparse and lonely place despite connectivity we thought offered us so much. Instead it has actually caused us to be feel more alone and isolated than ever before. Suicide prevention placards on subway station walls are never a good barometer of societal health.

I look back at the decades which formed me which were the 60's, 70's and 80's and they seem like far away relics of a bygone era when things happened slower and seemed far less chaotic and I ask myself whether it was my youth which blinded me to inner workings I am now much more familiar with.

Soon I will be 61 and sometimes I wish I hadn't seen quite so much behind the curtain.





Monday, October 30, 2023

Hungry

 


Defense

If you are out in the world every day I don't need to sell you too hard on self defense mechanisms. The vast majority of people mind their own business and some are just plain lovely. That a percentage of them are pure idiots is not a huge surprise.

If I catch you gawking at me because I'm tall, you fancy me or whether you think I might be transgender, it doesn't matter to me. You will get back an eye roll and a look that tells you I don't think you are particularly polite or bright.

By now I can almost read people like a book :)

Our Worst enemy

I've blended into the world as a female to the point where I really don't have any issues to speak of other than dealing with my own little psychological barriers developped over decades where I was desperately trying to deny identity.

I can now very firmly attest that the primary enemy of the transgender person is themselves, which can be entirely understandable given what we go through particularly if older and are dealing with intrinsic core identity versus some sort of pastime (something only you can figure out). The more effort which was put in to suppress that identity, the more will be required to bring oneself to self acceptance and a sense of harmony and balance.

Thus we should work on ourselves first before trying to get others to accept us because without that self love we will be very easily deflated when our expectations are shattered and not everyone gets on board with the program; something virtually guaranteed to happen particularly with older and more conservative people.

Love and fear

Human beings are so utterly predictable that you can choose any historical era and find the same patterns of behaviour. Those who think we become enlightened over time need only look at our current global affairs for a wakeup call.

The human animal is driven by fear and love. They desperately seek to be loved and to be able to love but they also hate what they fear most because no one wants to feel afraid. This seems to be intrinsically part of our DNA.

Liberating oneself from unnecessary fear is key to being whole and while I consider myself to be extremely stable, fear became part of what I learned early in childhood. I saw unsavory human prejudice but also how I needed to hide who I really was for fear of repercussion. This forms part of my continuing clean up as I move away from the life I had previously.

Hatred of transgender people comes from deeply seated fear of people who aren't themselves secure. So we are often dealing with a scenario where the fearful are pitted against the fearful. One hates what they don't understand while the other fears the repercussions of that very hatred.

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Gender variance, sexuality and dysphoria

Watch this and see if you recognize your typology...


Trumpfeld

 


Wagon

When you hitch your wagon to an erratic horse like Trump heading towards a cliff, you need to question why you did so in the first place. The problem is the GOP is stuck because having courted all the fringe lunatics and the most poorly educated that largely makes up their base, you cannot afford to bite the hand that feeds you.

Here is where having only a two party system gets you into trouble in that you are held captive to it. The now irrational electoral college also does not help matters and hampers more progressive states from advancing agendas that will help the country as a whole. Thus any vote outside of either party becomes a wasted one.

Trump wasn't the cause of the problem as he's much too stupid  but instead an agent provocateur which exposed the weaknesses and his downfall will likely take an aging and policy-devoid party down with him. What then happens to repair the damage to the national fabric will remain to be seen as society moves beyond a structure that conservatives are desperately trying to keep together with scotch tape.

It's easier for me to understand now how societies implode from within as infighting and discord work to expand the cracks in the foundation and destroy confidence in the system which governs everything. People can see the unfairness more readily than ever.

It can happen so fast.

Therapy

I think about whether transgender people would ever need psychotherapy if they were simply allowed to be who they are from birth. For example, the system tradtionally set up for transitions was such that you had to go through approvals before being able to access a surgeon or even have access to hormones. That entailed having a letter that you were of sound mind to undertake such a process.

But even if you didn't need or want to alter your body, many people felt that getting therapy was a way with dealing with the emotional weight of hiding or of having been rejected by family or society in general. The effort of trying to fit in would often leave emotional scars which needed tending to.

Aside from my initial exposure at the Montreal General Hospital program, I decided to become my own resource primarily because I realized no one could really help me more than myself. After all, I am of sound mind only that my identity as a transgender person did not fit a predetermined societal script. What I then did over a number of years is remove layers of irrationality that I was exposed to virtually since birth; mostly messaging that said this is the way things are and we must get used to it. But transgender people aren't mentally ill, only their identities and their approach towards them don't align with heavily artificial and illogical societal norms.

In the end I determined that as an extremely rational person I didn't need an accredited specialist to guide me through a journey that only I could intrinsically feel and comprehend at a visceral level. I also did not want to be talked into or out of anything.

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Faith of the heart

 


We worry about ourselves

I know perfectly well why I used to get a little irritated by some gender variant people. It's because they seemed to see something as a game which for me was deeply serious. This blockage was something I eventually needed to let go of under the explanation that gender variance covers a wide range of behaviour and meaning to each person.

I had frustration rooted in inability to resolve my own dilemma vis a vis living the way I needed to. So while I would meet people who seemed to view their gender variance as a kind of sport, for me my issues hinted far more towards an identity I was afraid to explore more deeply. 

I eventually came to the conclusion that we compare ourselves to no one and wish them the very best to boot. For their lives, experiences and desires are entirely their own.

Indignant

I know what I need to work on the most: my indignation. This is the anger or frustration shown at perceived unfair treatment and as someone who kept their identity hidden for so long my indignation at times runneth over. I think it gets worse with age after we have seen all that irrationality and stupidity embedded in how the world functions. My indignation stretches out to all minorities unjustly treated for simply daring to exist and transgender people trying to live openly in the world certainly fits that bill in spades.

I work on it because it can become an obstacle to our advancement towards peace and calm as human beings. My therapy became to come increasingly closer to my authenticity and begin to disregard what the ignorant and unwashed masses thought about anything.

I'm still fine tuning.

Friday, October 27, 2023

Support group

Had a wonderful lunch yesterday with two of my biggest supporters from my previous office life. It was so nice to see them and they are proof that people who are genuine appreciate same. Faces have been partly covered to protect the innocent :))

As a transgender person living openly in the world, it's important to have a support group. I also think it's even better when they themselves are not.

In coming out, I have not lost a single friend.



How to think

We want to teach people how to think instead of what to think. That should be the objective of an education which involves providing guidelines and tools for critical thinking. We should always be ready to examine why we believe something since if we cannot explain it to ourselves we will be hard pressed to convey it to others.

I remember when I was first exposed to gender therapy for a few months and expressing my deeply held convictions about myself so emphatically. It took a number of years to rewire my thinking so I could make sense of my place in the world and why I had absorbed so much irrational societal orthodoxy. That experience also taught me to be my own therapist in a journey that included combing much of the expert literature.

One of the reasons I avoid group think is to examine everything with a critical lens which is the only way to discover truth.

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Alone again

 


American psychosis

Pulitzer prize winning author Chris Hedges very eloquently explains...


Bodies

Netflix's "Bodies" is quite the ride. A well-crafted mystery sci-fi thriller, it becomes addictive candy once you start with the high production values only adding to its appeal.

Without giving too much away, four separate murders happen in the exact same London location eras apart and we are instantly puzzled and pulled into the storyline.

You can thank me later :)



Size

This morning in the subway I was standing next to a young woman likely in her twenties who was easily 6 feet tall. She was calm and relaxed as well she should be, and no one gave either of us a second look in our rather well-populated car. As I've said before, if you are a transgender person stopping living your life bemoaning not having an ideal female body dimensions, you'll be waiting a very long time.

In fact, I have seen physically smaller gender variant people blend in less well than larger ones. So it's not about size but about knowing who you are and owning it. I've never blended better in my life largely because I know and embrace my identity.

Tall women are everywhere so go and live.

What i still want to understand...

One of the last things my intellectual curiosity still wants to understand about gender variance is how much of the non-core identity variety has roots in predisposition. Thus, if someone begins to express gender variance only in post-pubescence with theoretically no disconnect from birth sex, how much choice are they exercising particularly if they feel it is not just about achieving sexual arousal.

The only way to determine that would be to plunge into the psyche of each individual and have them provide you with a very honest self-appraisal. If they are found to have no disconnect whatsoever with birth sex, is their behaviour entirely rooted in choice? And why did some suffer so in the past unless it was only due to potential reprisal from society; something we may have erroneously identified as transvestic fetishism.

Regardless of whether dysphoria is present or not, any form of gender variance has been severely frowned upon in the West for centuries. So I chew on the question of predisposition outside the presence of gender dysphoria sometimes knowing I will never have an answer due to the likely numerous variables at play.

People are just very complex and under any rigid societal structure, that complexity is too quickly dismissed as being rooted in pathology.

Wrong

The use of food banks is up drastically in Canada. In Ontario it is up by 40% and even in the Martimes by 24%. People cannot afford housing and their wages cannot keep up with inflation. It is a sign of the times.

Wealth disparity has never been worse in North America and it is not sustainable. We seem to be headed for implosion especially in the US where the safety net is virtually non-existant as the public has been sold that helping your fellow human is a doorway into communism.

I've paid a lot of taxes in Quebec my entire career and yet have had 3 significant surgeries which were covered under Medicare. While I may not be rich, I certainly don't feel that I want for anything. So if the wealthy aren't paying taxes in America then who is feeding into the piggy bank? Under Eisenhower, salaries over 200k were heavily taxed; something which is akin to anathema in the current climate advanced largely by GOP repetitive mantras.

Things are less than ideal in my country as well, thanks in large part to globalist policies borne out of laissez-faire neoliberalism which assumed markets would naturally look after human justice issues.

Wrong.

The graphic below is from 2013 and it's only gotten much worse since then.



Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Social transition

If you aren't sure whether you are transgender and want to determine it in a way that is the least intrusive, then social transition might be the answer for you. Nothing beats living in a gender role everyday to determine whether you are simply happy to dabble in occasional cross gender expression versus having it be an issue of core identity. Any doubts will start to disappear after a few weeks and certainly over a few months.

I know that many of us cannot do this due to numerous constraints, but I am a big advocate of the "less is more" approach as a way to test what you really need to do to tackle gender dysphoria (presuming you suffer from it) and, once you get to a more comfortable place, you can then see if more is required such as hormones or surgery.

History repeats

Nothing is new...


La rue st denis

 




Trust

Trust is something we steadily lose as our childhood innocence is wiped away through life experience. We learn that not everyone is well-intentioned and we are eventually suffuciently singed such that we brace for impact perhaps as first reflex.

I was almost naive when young and brought up by parents who were both honorable and truthful. However as a transgender child you understand early that not every aspect of yourself can be shared as your secret life begins well before you hit puberty.

Now I have much cynicism to work on and a sense of self that sends clear messages I am not to be derailed. However this isn't good if want to return to some measure of vulnerability and tolerance. In having to work so hard to protect myself I might have overdone it just a bit.

Life has phases within it where we perfect a new and hopefully improved version of ourselves as we age; where the overshoots are reeled back in and we become measured and balanced yet again within each one.

Patricia

Patricia and I have seen each other a number of times now on the bus and it was she she who opened the conversation one day by commenting on my nail colour. She is a nice and very talkative lady of 75 who is very open and friendly. She grew up in Pointe St Charles which used to be heavily populated by the blue-collar Irish working class and is also a neighborhood of Montreal adjacent to mine. She says that her childhood there marked her in a positive way; back in the day when people left their front doors open.

Patricia's father was an alcoholic and she lost a sister who was only 23 at the time. Her mother tolerated verbal abuse when her father descended frequently into drunken stupors. Everyone has a story.

Her left knee joint is now almost bone rubbing against bone and she tells me she is getting the run around in seeing a surgeon to see what they can do. "Life is tough" she says with dignified resignation; something I cannot entirely disagree with.

People like Patricia provide me with increased perspective and their candor adds to my realization that everyone has a load whose management hinges so much on our personal attitude. It helps me to refrain from navel gazing.

Adaptation

You get used to routine in retirement and even my clothing choices fluctuate from a limited range of items I have decided suit me, are comfortable and I can mix and match. By now I know my body and I don't want to think too hard in the morning with choosing. Simplification is always the priority.

They say routine helps you to adapt and it is true but I try to mix things up within that structure. There is nothing overly decided in advance and count on some degree of spontaneity to remind myself that I have a lot of choice and am no longer victim to someone else's schedule.

Still, I don't expect that ending a career of over three decades is completely adapted to in a few months. I just know I don't miss it at all.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

10/23


 

Cote des neiges

 



Nothing is impossible

Every once in a while I am surprised by a statement like "I married a person and not a gender". It was jarring because someone of my generation wasn't raised to expect it. It was made by the spouse of a transgender person who expected their spouse to leave once they transitioned and was amazed by their response.

People like that woman are out there but they are distinctly a minority. Once thing is tolerating occasional gender variance that some are happy to regale in, but it is quite another to buy into a wholesale gender transition.

The endocrinologist Dr Morris had assured me that it wasn't quite as rare as I had surmised and yet my knowledge of the way human beings function plus my increasing reliance on self, made the issue less important and relevant. I knew of too many stories of carnage and disappointment to risk losing myself again for the sake of companionship which could turn toxic down the road.

Today I understand my full value plus what I bring to the table and reliance on the self becomes primordial because, without it, we cannot measure our true worth. As soon as something intrinsic to our core is abandoned, we have given away too much.

Nevertheless, the quote stuck with me as evidence that nothing is impossible.

3 steps forward and 2 back

Some people see their dysphoria increase once they have taken concrete steps towards becoming themselves. It's always a game of contrast and once you are more free to explore suddenly you realize there is so much more to go. I know with me this somewhat occurred but very subtly as my advancement was so slow. It was more a smooth curve rather than sudden rude bumps.

I think the key here is patience because older transgender people in particular held the lid so tight for so long, that a sudden removal can produce adverse effects. This can mean that progress is sometimes 2 steps back but then 3 forward.

Once distractions are gone it can become all the more challenging which is why the younger we are when we find ourselves the better.

Human nature

The passage of time has a way of providing us with perspective and one looks back at the wreckage of the Trump era with a disbelief which will only grow as it becomes noteworthy historical record.

We knew many people aren't clever but the degree to which that was true was made even more marked in a time when we have the most access ever to information. Trump is still giving garbled and incoherent speeches directly contradicting his own previous pronouncements because he knows his deluded followers won't bother to fact check and they watch echo chamber media. He is also the far and away front runner in a party that has become a national embarrassment thanks in large part to its courting of the lowest common denominator to advance itself over the last 40 years.

George Orwell looks more prophetic by the day and as we continue to move into the 21st century, clearly no amount of technological progress will cure what ails human nature.

Monday, October 23, 2023

Moods

 


Breaking points

Every transgender person has a breaking point at which they need to do something they are afraid to. It may be that first coming out to family or deciding to transition in spite of the possible rejection which may come your way.

I was always a hesitant passenger on this journey in that I needed to reach a new breaking point each time before moving forward. This could be viewed as being a glutton for punishment but at least I knew that each step has been calculated and measured and not based on a whim.

Maybe it's a trait of older transgender people to resist so much and end up with a series of little breaking points along the way.

Un jour gris

 


Abnormal

Yesterday one of the young members of the group said she didn't mind being referred to as abnormal which I took a bit of an exception to likely because I grew up with so much stigma. Not only is "normal" a moving target, but numerous people have something about them that makes them a statistical abnormality.

People are dyslexic, lactose intolerant, chronically depressive, alcoholic, bipolar, epileptic and so on which makes them part of a minority among the larger population. Taken as a whole, this means that a big chunk of the population is in some measure abnormal.

Thus if we use it in the sense of belonging to a statistical minority then yes okay point taken. Transgender people are indeed born abnormal.

The group call

That group Skype meeting yesterday was very interesting. Besides the two clinicians, there were 6 transgender people on the call including myself with 4 of us being transfeminine and 2 being transmasculine. Four were 30 and under with only myself and one other person being over the age of 60. With the exception of myself all were on HRT and all had gone through the McGill University gender clinic program that I initially entered and eventually dropped out of in 2007 out of my then fear it might lead to transition.

The discussion was very frank and open and everyone shared the concern that there is an issue with therapists not being properly  accredited and leading some people down the wrong path. The call lasted almost 2 hours at the end of which everyone had shared a bit of personal history as well as their own views on the kind of environment we should foster to help transgender people do the right thing for themselves. All agreed that surgeries should be an option very much based on personal need.

I felt very optimistic afterwards for the future as this mostly young group was very level headed and lucid. All stated they knew they were different from a very young age and took measured steps to get where they are today. At the end we were asked to provide Helene with some recommendations to help fix the issues we are seeing which all of us agreed include many more people today identifying as transgender. Some are perhaps a shade of gender variant or have some other issue leading them to think they need to transition. The concern is that the McGill clinic is seeing more of these people come to their doors seeking help once they have received less than ideal treatment elsewhere.


Helene's presentation at the Sorbonne in Paris is in late November.

Sunday, October 22, 2023

What is gender variance?

I tend to use the term gender variance a lot but what is it?

Gender variance encompasses all expression and identification outside of the accepted binary which includes all those perfectly comfortable with birth sex but who need or want to express gender outside of its constraints as well as those who are, to varying degrees, uncomfortable with birth sex (ie.are gender dysphoric). This is ostensibly the spectrum which Harry Benjamin identified and cataloged all those decades ago.

That today I often see expression and core identity readily lumped together
 is why I feel some of us may have a harder time self identifying plus why some younger people may have issues regarding identification and whether or not they should transition.

For some it's been easier while for others it's taken decades of reflection but today's environment tends to speed everything up with mostly better but definitely some worse outcomes we are increasingly seeing.

Transitioning later in life

 


Saturday, October 21, 2023

The wonderful story of henry sugar

Wes Anderson's style is enigmatic and surreal which fits this short story by Roald Dahl perfectly. Its flat and pastel colored staging keeps us interested as it morphs around the characters.

Ben Kingsley, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ralph Fiennes carry the plot along as they narrate their own actions to the camera; all of them seasoned and well-bred thespians.

It's not long at 41 minutes and if you like Wes Anderson it's worth your time.

On Netflix.





Who knows

I treated myself to some big hoops yesterday as I thought what the heck; life is short and I'm not exactly breaking the bank :)

This coming week I've got a lunch with four amazing ladies from the office who were not only great colleagues but among my biggest supporters as I slowly came out over an extended period to those closest to me. Some of them have known for as long as 5 years.

The fact that there is a mix of people who know I am transgender and those who don't stopped concerning me quite a while back. For example I have a lunch with Louise this Sunday and she still does not know as we met while I was working at home during the pandemic. I am not rushing to do anything about that and it will happen when and if it needs to.

All throughout I am always myself which does not change depending on who knows or who doesn't. I am always me.

We aim above all to be true to ourselves and whoever doesn't like it it's their problem.



Friday, October 20, 2023

AI

I'm a massive Genesis fan since my teens and I was pretty impressed by this video made using AI technology substituting Phil's voice for Peter's. It's not perfect but still pretty convincing...


We need to talk about...

 


Skype call

I have that Skype call with Helene and another clinician this coming Sunday to discuss my thoughts along with other transgender people on the topic of detransitioners most of whom tend to be much younger than I.

Essentially my concern continues to center around the idea that this confusing environment is producing both overshoot and undershoot which is one of the results of opening the door much wider. I do think it will ultimately calm down but in the meantime transphobes are having a field day with what they see as the selling of the concept that "everyone is trans".

We recognize that gender variance has a wide berth and that we want responses that help everyone (provided they need it). This includes helping older transgender people resolve stigma and perhaps transition but also walking younger people who don't need to off the ledge. How this is accomplished won't be easy but ultimately having the last of the most caustic peddlers of transphobia will help tremendously.

Many people aren't good with subtlety and nuance and because they want bias confirmed, this issue will be black and white for them when it is in fact replete with greys which often require experts and not knee jerk reactions from lay people and politicians not versed in this field.

Again, I don't want to go back to my era but I think we need a healthy injection of intelligence and for calmer heads to prevail.

Why we are here now

That we are in the midst of a major societal overhaul is without question. The signs are everywhere which is why so many on the right are desperately up in arms. That Trump is far and away the GOP front runner for the race to the presidency is only one of the signs of the current dystopia.

It takes time to build a world order but less to dismantle it and the consequences of feeding people garbage is largely the reason for the problems we currently face. Many people are confused and uninformed but they know something is wrong so many are willing to let things collapse and be remade. Those with all the power are somewhat perplexed that the jig is up despite their best efforts, but there were just too many variables at play for them to control including a rapidly evolving mindset among millenials and younger who do not share their world vision.

Fairness and justice are always hard won in battles because too many do not operate with that as base principles. The consequences of that reality is why we are here yet again fighting desperately for them.

"Greg's favorite"

 


Thursday, October 19, 2023

Flipper!

 


Reconcile

The hardest thing for an older transgender person to do is to reconcile and deal with lived history. After all, there have been decades of investment in a role reinforcing one's birth sex and to do any type of about face requires not only courage but much logistical adaptation. So after my huge self-acceptance hurdle, came how to deal with all the built up complications involving career (now over), family and friends.

An exercise for the faint of heart this is not which is why so many of us put our heads down and ignore reality or at least manage the pressure of dysphoria through judicious cross gender expression which only puts a band aid on things.

I am still dealing with the increasingly smaller logistics of decades of investment in a role I played to perfection. It's not simple yet not as bad as my imagination had built it up to be and, because there is no time frame other than to keep mental wellness and balance, it removes much pressure from the psyche.

Don't leave me now

 


Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Not necessarily

I really don't like the term "crossdressing" but some people identify with it so I will use it for this post. There is some confusion as to whether people who identify as such are transgender or not and the answer is yes and no depending on the individual. In other words, if there is a question of identity present the answer may be yes but then plenty of people who identify as "crossdressers" do so for the pleasure regardless of whether it is sexual in nature or not. Nevertheless, this confusion continues to exist because I see it come up regularly in spite of today's increased knowledge of the subject matter.

I remember reading in the comments section of a video which explained the distinction extremely well and interestingly there were comments from one transgender individual but also from a self-identified "crossdresser" and both were relieved. The former was relieved that expression of their identity could be confused as "crossdressing" but wasn't and the latter was relieved that their behavior did not necessarily make them transgender as they were happy to see it as a guilty pleasure.

Only you know who you are with the key issue being that you don't lie to yourself which is about understanding your motivation and being okay with it. 
Therefore in that vein, applying a broad brush definition for everyone becomes very much a non-sensical undertaking.

Therapy?

 


Blue valentine

"Blue Valentine" feels eerily real. A couple starts off in idyllic bliss and moves towards stark reality over the years. You feel for them both and Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams play their parts here to perfection. She the daughter who didn't get fatherly love and he the rough and tumble blue collar guy who can't believe his luck when he meets her.

Their story is chronicled here in all its rawness and is hardly a rom com and yet that is what draws us in like flies on a wall. You can tell something is off as the gloss starts to come off the apple and unhealed childhood trauma becomes what begins to unravel them.

Recommended.




Purity

There used to very stringent purity tests among binary transsexuals and much vitriol sometimes exchanged on the boards I used to occasionally peruse. Those were different times and living stealth became virtually mandatory if you wanted to live as normal a life as possible. While I am by no means a strict transmedicalist, I have always stated that gender dysphoria is real, I firmly believe it is acquired at birth and, because of that, ignoring it won't do much good. People transition without it which is of course their right, but dysphoria strips way all luxury of pretending it's not there.

Thankfully we avoid purity tests now except for those malcontents like Blaire White and others like her, and what we want now is to help people with measured responses on a case by case basis.

Closing the circle

If you have a propensity to over think as I do, you will have a lot of time to do so in retirement. There is something about unstructured time that is both rewarding yet unsettling at first for someone who had obligation for decades as primary concern. Transgender people who have put their head down and ignored or downplayed their gender dysphoria as I used to and are on their own may, in particular, be in for a rude awakening.

I've been calling this phase a clean up but it is considerably more than that. It is really a rewiring and rebranding for the last leg of my life which will hopefully still have many miles to go. This rebranding isn't about activities but about brain adaptation which is far more important and relevant.

One eventually needs to close the circle with previous history.




bullshit

This young man is not entirely wrong in that much about the way we live life is nonsensical circus and while he may be depressed, this type of insight at a young age is why he will likely get much out of it once he natures into himself. He has already seen behind the curtain and been disillusioned....

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Complex

Human relationships are hard enough but then try adding an amorous component. I suspect that biological appetite is what drives us when young for good reason since as we get older we marvel at how two people stay together. But before that realization is set in concrete, hopefully we have procreated.

My daughter recently had a breakup with her longtime boyfriend which is her introduction to the variability of things in this mysterious arena. I have listened to her explanation and it makes me reflect on how subtle the formula is and how many factors need to fall into place to make it all work for the long haul.

Maybe the trick is to add enough complexities to the union so that we feel there is little point to a separation. But if it does happen, we know with age to be careful and reflect on how high the stakes can be before we ever attempt it again.

Theocratic

 


Sleeping soundly

Human biorhythms are fascinating and during the same day we can experience ups and downs and even have inclement weather send us into little tail spins. This is all normal of course and with life experience we understand we will soon extricate ourselves from the little pit we've fallen into.

Contrast this more typical phenomenon against the current epidemic of anxiety and depression we are in which is a different ball game altogether. The world is a more grey and less secure place and that uncertainty does not bode well for those with conservative mindsets who prefer sure footing.

I always think here of the example of religion and what the comfort of following a script brings. When you remove the black and white dictares it unnerves those who desperately need them. The current state of the world does not suit anyone who preferred it just twenty short years ago and, while many in minorities suffered the yolk of repression under that structure, it allowed anyone it suited to sleep much more soundly at night.

It didn't matter quite so much if others didn't.



Calmer

My traffic here has calmed down after exploding for a time (I suspect because some of my posts were shared elsewhere). That it has slowed down does not surprise me in the least because not only does what I say here sometimes run counter current to the opinions of some gender variant people, but my blog is often not light morning fare.

Still, I would rather have a small and more invested readership than opt for mass appeal and dilute everything down since I do not write primarily to entertain but largely to explore ideas always with an eye towards discovering some basic truths. The only way to learn about ourselves and our place in this universe is to remain interested and to keep searching for answers. With that as a goal, I believe that self improvement will most assuredly always follow. 

Retirement has given me even more time to reflect which is good since I'm still dealing with details which have needed tending to for years (I suppose we all do). The good news is that I have and continue to make much headway.

Hence not only has my traffic calmed but I have as well and to the latter I say: Hallelujah.

Rot

Releasing Trump into the widerness of American politics has been far worse than even I imagined, and yet at least he shone a spotlight on all the existing crevices to expose them. The underbelly of any society isn't pretty and this one was no exception with misogyny, racism and extremist ideologies on full display. The fuse on the powder keg was already there, but it just took someone to strike a match.

Almost 7 years later this dangerous buffoon is still wreaking havoc on the body politic and has a base who thinks he walks on water largely because they aren't clever but also because they have been primed for decades by a Republican party who stopped caring about them decades ago. As a substitute, they stuffed them full of culture war outrage.

None of this will end well, but it needs to happen in order to remake the landscape and clean out all the rot.

Monday, October 16, 2023

Media illiterate

 


Real life test

I am now completely convinced that, when in doubt, the ideal method for knowing what to do as a gender variant person (particularly if gender dysphoric) is to real life test. Immersing yourself in another gender role for an extended period will allow us to know where our battery limit lies and for any novelty to wear off should that be the case.

When something is seen as special because it's not indulged frequently enough, it may take on more significance than it need to. Nothing like a real life test to confirm where we need to go or conversely what we should definitely avoid.

I know that it has helped me immensely and confirmed my decision to remain at social transition; something I could not have known otherwise.

Friends

There are quite a number of YouTube videos where young people in their twenties explain that they do not have a single friend. Of course the penchant to chronicle everything on video is a phenomenon of this era, but I think what is relevant here is how the pandemic and the breakdown of social networks that are not virtual in nature, have contributed to this reality.

While it has always been true that young adulthood is a difficult period of change where we begin to outgrow high school insecurities, this particular scenario is very unique. We are remaking society and these anomalies will happen with these young people possibly feeling long term effects from not forming strong bonds with at least one or two people during this life phase.

Friendship is a fickle thing with most of us fortunate to have true close connections we can count on one hand. The rest will be to varying degrees acquaintances with some being very much transactional in nature.

Degrees

Since we know the degree of masculine and feminine behaviour isn't necessarily directly correlated to birth sex, it would have been fascinating if David Reimer had been more like Sophie Ottoway. In other words, had his identification with being a male been less emphatic, might he have not tried to revert to living male as Sophie has not done.

This is not to say that John Money was correct but only to note that being a masculine female or a feminine male are also realities with most of these people not identifying in any way as gender variant. Were one of them to be reassigned at birth they might be less inclined to object once informed. Lived history to that point might have dissuaded them from doing anything about it plus their lesser degree of investment with traits traditionally associated with their birth sex.

Just food for thought.

Sunday, October 15, 2023

Le temps coule

Le temps coule et il faut en profiter...



In good company

I now think exclusively in terms of statistical norms rather than what is normal. Firstly, what is normal changes between eras but also the same archetypes appear constantly over the millennia. LGBTQ people have always existed and always will only that their treatment depends on the cultural norms of each society where they reside.

When we are very young we don't comprehend our place within the arc of history and we are tempted to think we are unique instead of being in very good company. Interestingly, the right wing fringe would have you think we were just invented yesterday.

I think not.

Comfortable

I observed the young transgender woman from a distance. A comfortable fuson of masculine and feminine energy, she was perfectly at ease in her skin and at not even 30 she encapsulated for me what is going on with the GenZ generation. They aren't living in secret and they don't lead a double life. Instead it is a transparent and unapologetic existence.

It was reason enough for me to smile.

What others think

Perhaps because we are the lead actor in our own movie, we give ourselves too much self importance. No one really cares about what we say or do and I have no illusions that this blog is also unimportant.

Knowing this should free us because everyone else is acting in their own movie and, the vast majority of the time, not thinking about us. Therefore we should tend to ourselves first before we feel we can properly tend to others.

Saturday, October 14, 2023

Race

Social anxiety has increased dramatically and I suspect part of the reason is the speed at which we live plus the isolation that technology has brought us. More people are on medication than ever and they are seeing therapists and looking for substitutes for friendship by overeating or abusing drugs or alcohol.

The pandemic did not help things and we are still recovering from its effects as human interaction morphs because of changes to the cultural landscape. Making friends and connections is harder than it used to be which is affecting the number of couples being formed. Young men in particular are having the most trouble making real life connections.

I see the drastic contrast over my lifetime and much of it I think is tied to the disintegration of cultural institutions which fed into youth socialization. Maybe it's all about fitting in to our lives as much as we can before we expire except I suspect we need to remember that life is not a race.

Trick or treat

As Halloween approaches I think about how little interest I had in it growing up other than the chance to make the costumes for my younger siblings. When you are trying to suppress dysphoria you put your head down and just play the avoidance game. By age 11 I was done with trick or treating.

In my twenties I recall on one occasion being invited to a friend's college Halloween party and not knowing what to wear. When my mother suggested I wear some of her things, I blushed and vehemently declined even if there was a definite inclination based on many years of surrepticious practice. I opted instead for a cowboy probably because I thought I might want to repeat it or worse give away my deep dark secret.

Some years later Halloween became something to celebrate with my young children.

I succeeded for years and years to ignore this day which is why it never held any special allure and still doesn't except now 
I don't need special occasions to be me.

No Nuance

Humans are a fascinating bunch and this conflict in Gaza is yet another example. Hamas committed unforgivable atrocities against civilians which of course will be blamed on all Palestinians who will bear the brunt of Israeli vengeance. Once again all subtlety will be lost and innocents are the ones who will invariably be in the line of fire.

A woman who had a Palestinian sticker on her car saw it vandalized in the US which is perhaps a fitting symbol for the lack of nuance so many suffer from on this planet.



Accept everyone

I think that if gender variance were more universally accepted there would be less impetus to try and lump it all under one category which would help weed out those who need help with dysphoria from those who don't suffer from it.

Right now this is not the case and people who go to fetish nights twice a year are lumped in with dysphoric trans kids which helps absolutely no one. I think we are almost there mind you except that a woefully uneducated public is being manipulated by those who would see all gender variance simply disappear and for whom one of these kids and a drag queen are exactly the same phenomenon. Some gender variant people also like the protection that one massive grouping provides and I suppose you can hardly blame them. We should let people be who they are plain and simple, provided it harms no one else.

Even when explaining the fundamentals of this topic to well educated and sympathetic people, I realized there was a lot of misinformation and lack of knowledge which made me realize it's an uphill battle. Imagine how much worse when you're ill intentioned and not so educated.

Friday, October 13, 2023

Be happy

 


Clean up

If we are not careful we can go from eliminating fear of people (as a transgender person living in the open) to wanting to slap them and that is where I am now. I am nice to nice people but am also not someone to be trifled with. Much of my mindset is grounded in fatigue of an irrational society but that does not mean I want overshoot in the other direction either.

Most people are not malevolent and are at worst ignorant, which is why with this knowledge I feel i am almost there in my clean up phase.

Gilded age

Are we headed for a big reset due to excessive greed? Most certainly yes...


Comprehension and a plan

Far more important than a self descriptor are first the issue of understanding the main motivation for our gender variance (whether identity, sexual or other) and then secondly how to proceed once we do. So while terminology may be important to us in helping to place where we are (perhaps relative to others), it completely pales when compared to these two key steps.

The presence of gender dysphoria (depending on its severity) will of course take away choice, but even there we can be judicious in how to tackle it by trying different methods until a solution is found which ultimately could be medical transition. Tiny steps towards that discovery will at least convince us it is the right thing.

Without comprehension and a plan we wil be hard pressed to find peace and balance. Also,  should our cross gender expression bring us distress, it's a sign that we have some work to do.

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Dinner

I had dinner out with my daughter tonight and it was great. I continue to marvel at how far I have come and how wonderful both my kids are.

Early

 



Wakeup call

Society is not decaying but instead undergoing a massive metamorphosis. When a previous structure is dismantled, something needs to be slowly put in its place which is why we are seeing so much tumult. Certainly the post pandemic world is far different and there are more people than ever wandering the streets talking to themselves. It appears that much hope is gone and succumbed to a resigned pessimism where even normally ebullient Americans understand that their country is in crisis.

I fight my own cynicism but within the understanding that history experiences a cyclical arc and all is remade again but still somehow recognizable. However, anyone who thinks we are going back to a carefree and materialistic ambiance like the end of the 20th century, is in for a rude wakeup call.

Psychology

Our aim is to have balanced and healthy psychology; free of depression and anxiety and, towards that end, the opinions of others are irrelevant. Anything which contributes to mental health is positive and that which detracts is negative including obsessive behaviour which leads to ups and downs.

So what we should be looking for, I think, is an increase in balance and wellness as a barometer. The less we have erratic fluctuations, the better.

We won't be free of problems but we will handle them much better.

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Dismantling

Trump's flaunting of his gag orders is based on his bet that no one will do anything about it. Not only has this malignant narcissist gotten away with everything all his life, but he also knows that his base has extreme and dangerous elements within it who can create real trouble.

Now I know what appeasement on this scale looks like and it reminds me of Neville Chamberlain and his erroneous bet that Hitler was a not a sufficiently dangerous madman who would go as far as he did. Should Trump gain office again, a radicalized GOP will dismantle the existing infrastructure of the government because we are talking about the kind of nutjobs that believe in the "Rapture" and pray every night for theocracy. When you have a radicalized life mission you cannot count on sensible ideas.

This is what happens when you attract undesirables under your tent. You cannot then expect reasonable approaches.

A better way

The mantra of "all gender variance equals trans" isn't particularly helpful today especially for young people who are questioning. I will be having a Skype call with Helene soon to discuss her upcoming presentation and I think this is an important angle. Once again, the people who risk most getting hurt are the ones for whom transition is ultimately beneficial and life saving.

In my time many of us resisted transition like the plague or had to jump through exhausting hoops to get there. Not so today and, even if detransitioners are a small percentage in the grand scheme of things, they are used as fodder for right wing agendas especially when they themselves decry that they were sped through when they weren't really transgender after all but had other issues at play.

I am the older generation stubborn mule who refused to accept who I was and people like me will almost certainly cease to exist. Not that by any means I am saying that my path is ideal; quite the contrary; it sucked. I just think that we need to develop a better way to help people who are questioning in this new environment. Maybe somewhere in between.

No risk, no benefit

There is a lot to be said for undoing our own programming. Since we are all products of information being placed into us from birth ostensibly against our will, we often feel powerless and once inside the sheep's pen it can be difficult to find the courage to make our way out.

Coming to terms with an identity that does not fit the conventional narrative is not easy and something I can arrest to. However, the idea of continuing to live under the thumb of a hopelessly irrational society became increasingly horrific the longer I lived. The option to choose became clearer as time went on.

Once we make a leap (no matter how calculated) we wonder how we were ever stuck so long before trying it but that is how life works in that something truly worth having does not materialize without undertaking some risk.

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

More Toby

Toby is a genderless person who is so rational about the obsession with sex and gender that it is fascinating...

Booties

You might be interested in these unisex rain shoes from Amazon. Made out of rubber, they are really comfortable as I realized as I gave them their maiden voyage this morning. I was looking for something light, stylish and waterproof and at $48 CAD it was too good to pass up. The number of very favorable reviews sold me.

With skinny jeans and a fall jacket you can't go wrong:)



Maria

Maria started talking to me suddenly as I was sipping my coffee in a place I haven't been to in a long time. She was so naturally friendly that I could not resist her charming and disarming approach. Of Portuguese descent and in her early fifties, we were suddenly chatting like old girlfriends. I suspect it's my demeanor that attracts some people because I really do have a relaxed air these days since I am looking for nothing except peace. What also helped was her very candid way of speaking which could have been awkward if she weren't so clearly and transparently a nice person.

Having other women assume you are a genetic female has been fascinating and I love the frankness and sense of comradery it has brought me in the friendships I have made. There is no doubt there is a difference to how women relate between themselves. For my part I am simply being myself and whatever femininity flows from me isn't forced. I also don't overthink anything because it is unnecessary and were Maria to ask me if I were transgender I would calmly answer in the affirmative.

She had to go to work but said she comes to the same cafe around the same time every morning and I told her we might meet up again with pleasure.

I think we just need to be ourselves.

Monday, October 9, 2023

Life is short

The oncologist told my father he had maybe 3 months left to live. I was standing right behind him as he got the news and it was like a punch to the stomach at the time. I said nothing and later I went back to the office of my first job and broke down in front of my boss. He lasted two whole months instead of three.

I am now older than he was when he passed away at 60; an age which was a milestone for me for the longest time.

Live every day as if it were your last.

Parent/teacher conference

Well done :)


Right in our skin

If we want to be out in the world we need to burn off being overly self conscious but also develop a certainty that we have every right to be there. I have noticed a massive change over the years as I relaxed into myself and started to smile and chat with people. In the early years, what I used to perceive as being found out was simply my nervousness which gave off signals that something was off with my demeanor. Indeed there was as I was petrified.

Transgender people aren't trying to "pass" as anything other than themselves so the mindset of trepidation needs to disappear if we want to blend into society. A little bullish indignation is also an asset which in me has seen an ability to disarm with a dismissive glare that speaks volumes (should I ever need to use it). The more self-accepting I became, the less I needed to even think about doing so because people can smell when we are right in our own skin. 

This is something not easily faked but we know when we are there and apparently so does everyone else.

Down to one

The GOP helped to create its own misery beginning with their Southern Strategy which saw Dixiecrats increasingly become Republicans and it only went downhill from there. When Trump said he loved the poorly educated he wasn't kidding and a friend of mine who recently drove through the country further confirmed large swaths of it have many who are misinformed about their own politics. Never mind not being able to name your own member of Congress, some can't name the governor.

Today rural, white and non-college educated voters are in the firm grasp of the GOP only that they are an aging demographic. So all that Rupert Murdoch propaganda on FOX News will be going to waste because younger and more savvy voters tend not to fall prey to race baiting or other cultural scare tactics. That they have tended not to vote is a problem but if the country had automatic voter registration and with a small increase in participation from young people, Republicans would never win another election ever again with their caustic non-agenda largely built on culture war fear mongering while a well-oiled oligarchy operating behind the scenes.

The recent embarrassment with the ousting of speaker McCarthy is just more confirmation that it's become a partisan circus with only one party (flawed as it is) which is even remotely interested in governing.

Unfortunate

Well, Ray Williams (formerly Rachel) has appeared on a couple of YouTube channels selling the concept of AGP. He talks about his history of ...