Thursday, November 30, 2023

Butterfly

 


Sign

No matter our motivation for cross gender expression, it should contribute to our overall life balance. If it adds to our anxiety or produces distress, then we have some examining to do as to why.

Since our aim is to lead healthy and productive lives, anything which takes away from that goal is counterproductive. Hence if you feel you are transgender, your cross gender expression should ideally help to quell dysphoria (or gender expression deprivation anxiety if you will) and improve your overall life quality rather than worsen it; this irrespective of whether we transition.

It's as good a sign as any.

Unsettled

"Hey Joanna!" she yells at me from the distance and as she approaches it's evident she looks gaunt and sleep deprived. I know Nathalie since the early days of the pandemic when I began to frequent the same cafe every morning while working from home.

Only in her early 50's, she has serious health issues and cannot eat normally due to intestinal problems nor does she sleep very much. Life is not easy for anyone and when your health is compromised it can be all the more difficult. We ended up exchanging numbers and we are going to have coffee over the holiday break as I think she needs a friendly ear these days.

To make things more difficult, it's not an easy era we live in. People are stressed and overworked and there is a great feeling of uncertainty in the air. Society is so much more fractured than when I began my professional career in the late 1980's and my daily venturing through the city only confirms it. It's like a heavy pall which hangs over everything.

The world is unsettled and will be for quite a while until we figure out how to remake it.

Avant l'hiver

The first photo is of Montréal's first fine dining restaurant established in 1725



 

The conspiracy mainstream

Naomi Klein discusses algorithms and our continuing descent into social media conspiracy theories.....


Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Daily Weirdo Check

 

Peace

I've always been high intensity although at work people would laud me for my composure. The truth is that, like my father, I was always capping an internal volcano which needed to be held in check lest it erupt; both mind and nervous system whirring along at high capacity.

Today I have never been more relaxed which is due to both removing work stress and, through patient trial and error, having arrived at a more than suitable life situation as a transgender person. As we come to a point of balance we should naturally arrive at a more internally peaceful and harmonious existence.

When something is unresolved we have more tendency to become anxious and depressed which is why no matter our particular situation, we need to get to the root of it before we can come to a place of rest.

This is what I wish for anyone who reads my blog; that you find peace.

Zeal

One of the ways you know the gender critical movement operates on bad faith is its ardent zeal. The hatred is detectable and palpable and unlike a scientist who possesses curiosity, they desperately find reasons to vilify the object of their ire.

When you are trying to find a solution to an issue and investigating it, you are best served by keeping your objectivity such that the small subtleties of the subject matter can be considered. When I was first reading Blanchard and then upon seeing him interviewed, it became obvious that there was an agenda even before I began to poke holes in his flimsy "science". Contrast that to Harry Benjamin who was motivated solely by curiosity and a genuine desire to help his patients.

No matter what subject matter we investigate, we should be open to being wrong and indeed over the course of my writing, my thinking has developed substantially such that I see merit where I previously had not. We need to ask ourselves if our intent is honorable and if we are seeking the most public good and if this is not the case, we should then begin to question our motives.

Influenced

I watched part of an interview with a young male to female detransitioner who was first queried about whether they might be "trans" by a woman they met at a party. Questions began sprouting in his mind simply because he was a sensitive male and had some qualities you could describe as feminine. The woman had some friends who had transitioned and she seemed to find similarities in him during their talk.

That was enough for him to get online and begin to study the topic and compare notes with others. Within two years he had gone down the transition rabbit hole.

Before that chance meeting with this young woman, he admitted to never having had any questioning regarding his gender. He stated during the interview that he never should have transitioned and simply remained the version of a male which suited him. That this statement sounds rather obvious to some of us shows the power of influence and where it can lead you.

It's probably a good idea not to transition if you don't have a history of gender dysphoria and don't trace any disconnect back to childhood. Even then there are options for gender dysphorics such as the road I took with social transition. 

I keep thinking that it's definitely going to take quite a while to sort this whole thing out. However at least we are having a frank and open discussion which, despite the risks it currently poses for those who do indeed benefit from transition, should hopefully lead to a more enlightened society as a whole.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Spectrum

Bill Maher is a complete blockhead on this issue but leave it to Neil DeGrasse Tyson, like a good scientist, to begin to introduce the kind of subtlety and intelligence that this calls for...


WTF!?

 


Red flag

Read the comments section of any YouTube video dealing with any controversial cultural topic, and you will see it liberally peppered with toxicity. Imagine going out of your way to say something nasty about someone you have never met but feel it is your duty to pronounce yourself on their existence. That a certain faction of society is insecure, nasty and brain-dead is beyond question.

A fellow transgender person I had been following for a while, took her channel down largely because she had been traumatized by the onslaught of hate she had received. She is back now and continuing her transition with the full support of her family (including her wife). We have never met but she comes off as sweet and almost innocent for her age.

You need rawhide skin to live openly these days which is why I preach to work on the internals much more than on rejoicing on what you wear. I have fashioned a dependable nasty streak which people don't want to test because my fatigue with the perennially stupid of this world finally obliged me to.

No one has a right to attack anyone without justification but of course putting yourself out there on social media is like an invitation red flag to the bull and count on it when I say we will never ever run out of idiots.



People are Understanding

Joanna did not used to be a real person; at least she wasn't supposed to be. She was originally meant to be a stand-in for my requirement to deal with my gender dysphoria; a nameless character birthed in early childhood via my mother's closet. As time goes on however, we begin to meet people and make friendships and suddenly in mid life you are fleshing out a being that wasn't supposed to be the real you.

The fusing of all aspects of who I am continues still but is now it is in the refinement stage. The psyche needs to repatriate and coalesce everything such that there are no loose threads hanging about that might undo the entire vestment.

I realize now that thinking in terms of two personages isn't the most healthy way to be a transgender person although I completely understand the need to compartmentalize because I was forced to at one time. The worst part of that was the secrecy which eats away at your confidence and makes you feel like no one will see and accept the real you.

I could not have been more wrong and people have exceeded my expectations mostly because I made the mistake of not giving them credit for being the caring and intelligent beings that they are.

So even if your gender variance is not steeped in core identity and you consider it simply an occasional guilty pleasure, it need not matter. Good people are much more understanding than we think they will be.

Embers

Fascism builds from embers. First there is rhetoric about victimization; you are being overrun by immigrants, the deep state is out to get you, etc. Slowly but surely it builds towards a crescendo and usually advanced by a cult of personality. Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Pinochet, Orban, the list goes on and on.

The problem is that it is so subtle at first and thus it is underplayed with "it cannot happen here" laissez-faire dismissals which is the major failing. The autocrat ramps up the attacks and allows the most base instincts of the population take over. The deplorables then all come out of the woodwork and join the chorus.

In the Trump Manhattan tax fraud trial, presiding judge Engoron receives hundreds of threatening phone calls every day. Some threaten to have him killed and use the most vile and disgusting language you can imagine and as you might expect attack his heritage. All this because their psychopathic leader needs to be defended against a justice system trying to do the right thing.

It's going to get a lot worse before it gets better and, after the dust clears, one hopes there is still a democracy standing; battered and flawed as it might be.

Monday, November 27, 2023

Language

I am increasingly of the opinion that our attempts at excessive labeling are not being helpful. People are assigning themselves sub-definitions of their identities under the generic "trans" label which does not necessarily help them determine a course of action as to how they should live.

I used to think that categorization was important but only for the purposes of determining the strength of a person's dysphoria. However in this current environment where people are transitioning when they don't even have it, this effort becomes somewhat meaningless and superfluous.

The term 'trans" becomes whatever you want and indeed can serve as just another synonym for all gender variance as a whole. However, by lumping dysphoric with non-dysphoric people it can confuse some into thinking they need to take a similar path and I have now seen enough detransition videos to realize that many of these people suffered from many things other than gender dysphoria.

Therefore language is fine but it does nothing to spell out a course of action. Calling yourself a "non-binary femme queer" isn't a prescriptive road map; its just a label that might make you feel good about your identity.

The problem is that many people do not put in the proper amount of introspection to determine a solution which works for them long term. In which case, overly sloppy generalized language could just confuse them into thinking that because they belong to  s
ome bigger grouping where others have taken a certain road, it must mean that they should as well.

Being honest

 


Natural introverts

Natural introverts like me tend not to do well in groups. I typically would invariably run into someone who I wasn't fond of and avoid them particularly if they were devoid of social graces. I have worked heavily on this and still am because I try to remember that we all have a story. Thus leeway is given with the understanding that we are all subject to the roulette wheel of chance regarding the way we were parented. No one has it perfect while we acknowledge that at a certain point in time we need to stop playing victim to it and move on.

Small talk and infantelized adult behaviour tend to annoy me and yet it depends very much on the person who is doing so. If they are sweet and lovely it will be much better digested than from an obtuse and arrogant monologist. We need to have empathy and tolerance for people; something I remind myself of daily.

What happened is that life has hardened me a little bit and having seen too much of the negative has its drawbacks. I have been observing people and the penchant of some towards cruelty since I was very young, however it helps that today I much better understand the psychology behind it.

So I'm improving, am very content but still, please don't place me in any big noisy group.

Sheep

If tomorrow you suddenly removed all societal dictates you would soon start to see scatter graph patterns of human behaviour rather than bands of constraining rectangles. The reality is much of the way we live has been preordained through socialization which was then sold as being innate which is a perfect model if you want to ensure you have obedient sheep to tend to. Both the clergy and the royalty of Europe for example were in cahoots like this for millennia.

Today's cultural uncertainty does not suit the powers that be which explains the frantic pushback from the right of the political spectrum. Hence moral panics are created to get the majority of the sheep already in their pens to ostracize those trying to break out; the gender critical movement being one of the latest incarnations which is led by a deep lack of intelligence, empathy or common sense.

It would be predictably comical if it didn't quite so often lead to tragic results.

Conspiracy

I hadn't peeked in on a Russell Brand video for a while but I couldn't help it when I saw it was an interview with quack conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. The introduction was full of profuse praise for this man who was convicted of spreading malice regarding the Sandy Hook school shootings and I had to stop the video.

Brand comes off like a deranged shaman who has had one too many acid trips but like other conspiracy nuts he has a sizeable audience who hangs on his every word. Charlatans are everywhere of course and have been around since the dawn of civilization. They sell snake oil in various formats to hungry consumers who want magic cures for what ails them. Today it's about confirming their worst fears about who is behind their personal woes.

YouTube and social media is full of them and, one of my favorites, Jordan Peterson spends his time as curmudgeon warning about the ills of Postmodernism on programs tailor made for right wing fatalists.

Brand has much less flair than Peterson (who wears better suits) and won't necessarily be invited to the same discussion forums, but in the end it's all the same: finger pointing at what ails us with no concrete or helpful solutions to extremely complex problems to be found.



Sunday, November 26, 2023

Vermin

Trumpism has moved beyond just Trump. It's really about the idea that the system is broken and voting for a conventional candidate gets you nowhere. Perhaps that is why the base loves the false bravado, the belligerence and the lying which are appealing instead of seen as flaws.

Even if Trump passed away tomorrow, Trumpism would still be alive and well as it has fused itself to the national consciousness as a way to fight back against a deep state that keeps being sold as the enemy. In reality, these poor people are being duped because the oligarchy is what is really to blame but having someone yell and scream against some other enemy feels good. Trump capitalizes on an anger that has been building for a long while; helped along by social media untruths which will only lengthen the time it takes to cure this illness

It is now much easier for me to understand how authoritarianism makes its way into the political consciousness of a nation and clearly it does not happen overnight. Strawman arguments are required of course and there are plenty of culture war issues which will serve as distraction. 

The idea is to keep the eye on the prize by infusing the voter with the kind of outrage that builds hate; hate for the anyone who stands in the way and who they now feel bold enough to call 'vermin'.

Loosen up

Ray the detransitioner felt more stigma being a gender variant male and convinced himself he was transgender which then started a chain of events towards transition. The stigma surrounding being a "crossdresser" (as he states in his video) was worse a concept for him to digest. That recent suicide by that Georgia mayor and pastor says a lot about the type of shame and guilt involved for some.

The thing is we need to remove all social stigma surrounding gender variance which I feel would cure a lot of the confusion surrounding transitions. While females have long been liberated to express a masculine side, the same has not been true for natal males.

I myself was much too heavily programmed against the idea of gender variance and, had I not had gender dysphoria, I wouldn't have dreamt of it otherwise. Yet with my liberated mind of today I could see myself braver in adulthood to begin at any age. I am certain many males would like to be more adventurous but are held back because of fear of ridicule.

The percentage of people who must medically transition is really only a fraction of the general gender variant population and so dysphoria or not, we should let people live however they please and remove the weight of judgement.

Unfortunately gender and its expression is still the holy grail especially for those with heads heavily invested in their dogmas and that's not an easy thing to fix. Plus gender criticals always have their panties so much in a bunch that they are alarmist to the point of self parody.

Still, I think we're going in the right direction towards some sort of balance point or at least I hope we are.

Believe

It's not lost on me that I am a little privileged. I have not needed hormones or FFS to appear feminine to the public. This has colored my decision process regarding my social transition in that I have needed no interventions surgical or medicinal to live authentically. Yes I am tall but then so are a lot of women especially these days.

This is not true for everyone and with the curent environment where some cannot keep their toxicity to themselves it can be very stress inducing to live openly.

The thing which helped me the most however was my mental attitude and once I understood who I was and accepted that fully, it endowed me with the confidence that no one else gets a say in how I lead my life. So whereas someone passing me on the street could wonder about whether I am transgender or not, my body language and facial expression shows that I know who I am. Contrast that when I blended as well when younger but invited looks because I was petrified. Today on daily trips in sometimes packed subway cars no one gives me a second look unless it's to exchange smiles.

It's not about clothing choices, makeup or hair but everything to do with the internal sense of self.

Believe in who you are because identity works best from the inside out.

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Confusion

One of many examples of well-meaning young detransitioners who might be at most some shade of gender questioning. Listen to some of this and you will see how much confusion is out there...


Low information voters

I love Jesse Dollemore's bluntness and share his absolute frustration with super low information voters...


On repeat

I am now at the stage of life where I have almost zero tolerance for malevolent stupidity. In that regard I am not a good person to encounter if you have ignorance to spout. Unfortunately we live in an era where doing our homework is completely irrelevant and people just want their inherent biases confirmed.

In the past it used to be benevolent ignorance like someone at a party telling me that they were sure Mexico shared a border with Spain with me straining to avoid a surprised look. Today it's far worse because social media has emboldened the uneducated to find an audience and they need not bother with subject matter experts. If you think the earth is flat you are guaranteed to find like-minded acolytes; all the more so if you think transgender people were only invented yesterday.

But I need to stay positive in an era that openly celebrates idiocy, and so I surround myself with kind and loving souls as I reflect on the reality that societies rise and fall precisely because we fail to draw lessons from past mistakes. There is a good reason we see history constantly repeat itself.

Ingredients

My parents knew nothing of my identity (my father died years before I dare come out) and yet they gave me everything. A brilliant thinker married to a pragmatic and earthy woman was the right bedrock foundation I would require to push me forward in life.

We never get a perfect existence but often there are enough ingredients there to concoct a formula that works. It requires elbow grease to be sure, but then nothing worth having comes without effort or sacrifice.

Home

"I've turned into such a girl" I jokingly texted my friend Patricia after just having exchanged photos of our latest nail varnish.

"You always were and now you're allowed to be yourself" she texted back which immediately struck a chord with me because I knew she was right. I had spent so many years avoiding being myself as much as possible only to finally succumb to the inevitable.

Living as a woman has been both edifying and rewarding but mostly it just feels natural; like it was always meant to be. There is nothing like touching upon core identity and feeling the sense of peace which accompanies it.

I was always a hesitant participant because I had so fervently bought into a role which was handed to me virtually from birth and yet the oil invariable floats to the surface because it cannot be forever suppressed. Most of the people who know me tell me I'm happier and more comfortable in my own skin and they aren't wrong.

Mostly, to me, it just feels like home.

Friday, November 24, 2023

Un weekend dans ma vie

Une fille Francaise passe un weekend a Montreal...:)


Idiots

Beauty is skin deep but stupid is to the bone. Of course you don't have to be a complete idiot to be a far-right conservative but it certainly helps...


What people think

If you're at all worried about what people think of you then don't. Many if not most are walking around scared to death worried about their own problems. Many are lovely and kind.

We will never be truly happy until we dispense with that particular affliction. Plus whatever people think of us is entirely none of our business.

Conglomerate

Monopolization is the new normal and the market place is now controlled by fewer companies than ever. Even in my business, smaller engineering companies were swallowed up into bigger firms over the span of my career.

Recently the largest distributor of eggs in the US was found guilty of colluding with its closest competitor to fix pricing. No doubt the pandemic had them licking their chops at the prospect of making more profit. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that lack of competition only encourages prices to rise as consumer choice is reduced.

At a time in our history when wealth is contained in fewer and fewer hands, we need to break up the race towards this type of conglomeration if we want people to be able to afford to live. Maybe we won't get back the middle class we used to have, but at least we will take a huge bite out of global injustice.



Scramble

When you see these young detransitioners themselves in their videos argue for better gatekeeping you know it must be a good thing. No one is saying don't transition, just make sure that it is right for you as we did in the past.

Not helping is our aim to be politically correct and have all forms of gender variance melt into one pot under the rather wishy-washy term 'trans' which is only ensuring we muddy the waters. To keep things in perspective we also need to remember that people born with gender dysphoria have existed for millennia without even the most remote possibility of a transition.

But we seem to have made a cottage industry out of it which we now need to reel back a bit so that we don't lose sight in our mad shuffle of those who need the most help.

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Always in retrospect

Sometimes we don't get the leaders we need but those we deserve and should Trump get in again it will be the latter. The masses don't often understand what is happening to them but by the time its over and the dust clears only then do they slap their foreheads in disbelief.

Democracy, as flawed as it presently is around the world, is still better than a despot. But the sheep seem to prefer despots for some reason.

Everything we see is in this world is imperfect except some of it is much more so. Yet for some reason we still can't help choosing it.

Role models

If we want to find acceptance in the world we need to be exemplary models. People need to see that we are forthright, are people of character and that we value ourselves as humans first before we are transgender humans.

In that regard its a mixed bag because transgender people run the gamut as much as the general population does. This means we will find both good and bad which is why someone being transgender does not automatically draw me in and a main reason for me to stay independent minded. Our surface differences don't define us but unfortunately people will judge based on that first. So they will see the LGBTQ person and either think "oh they're better than I thought" or conversely "pretty much what I expected".

Of course the point isn't to please everyone especially those who don't deserve the time of day. What we want instead is to make sure we are counted among those who always want to do right by others while keeping our self respect intact.

Family

I no longer view the concept of family as just blood relations but rather from the lens of those who get us and want to participate in our lives. While shared genetics and a similar background may encourage that, there is no guarantee that bonds will be formed that best those we foster with the friendships we later make. After all, those are the people with whom we find affinity based on shared interests and characters.

If some relative does not bring us anything other than window dressing conversation during holidays, I might suggest we aren't feeding into anything fruitful or meaningful. So while we may want the absolute very best for them, that does not mean we are obliged to force kinship beyond a naturally formed level. If they aren't even interested in our identity, it makes it all even less worthwhile. I won't be too bold in suggesting we all have family members who fit this description.

At this point in my life I am less a creature of appearance and obligation than I have ever been and thank God for it.

Strength

My friend Marcela told me recently that I am a very strong person. She is going through some depression right now and is off on medical leave from her teaching as a college philosophy professor. What she does not know is that as someone born with gender dysphoria, I had no choice but to develop coping skills which strengthened my resolve.

I've tried to live my life with as much dignity as possible and am more than ever drawn to people who have acquired depth often through challenges. There is something about interacting with them which brings me joy as it encourages me to gain perspective about our uniqueness as human beings.

As we increasingly get our own house in order, we are more able to meet others where they are in life and relate.

Oh good

Just what the world needs, more far right leaders in Europe....good grief.


Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Warning

The warning came true...


Pathology

Consider that gender variance became mental pathology only over the last 40 years or so. Before that it was either celebrated by native cultures or at worst seen as a mild aberration or moral failing in the West. Heck, even European royalty practiced it and there are countless historical examples too numerous to mention here. Even the first version of the DSM was only published in 1952.

At the turn of the 20th century a gay man called Magnus Hirschfeld (German physician and sexologist) began to formalize the subject matter and treat patients with varying degrees of gender disconnect including Lili Elbe. The Nazis took care of his lab and burned his books and eventually sent many LGBT people to the gas chambers as they tended to stain their Aryan purity model.

Later enter Kurt Freund (no doubt infected by the Nazi ideology) and his penile erection test to root out homosexuals bound for the Czech army who eventually ends up at the CAMH in Toronto and in turn infects Ray Blanchard.

In the US, thankfully Harry Benjamin (with much grace and panache) picked up the torch from Hirschfeld and wrote what I still consider to be one of the definitive books on the subject matter.

Investment

I have often written about core identity but what do we mean by this? Well at the very least I would say that it involves a deep psychological and emotional investment.

Imagine a male actor playing and expressing a female role on stage but once the costume is removed, there might be zero investment because there is no root identity issue present. How can there can be identity without investment.

We know that gender variance runs the gamut from occasional expression for amusement, relaxation or sexual titillation to a deep sense of identity. Where it gets interesting of course is when bluring occurs in the middle (basing ourselves on the Benjamin scale as compass).

Binary transsexuals would very emphatically tell you they are women and yet others might say they feel in between genders. Others still would say that their birth sex suits them perfectly well and there is no deeper investment other than enjoying the clothing.

Therefore as a exercise, when next reflecting on your identity I might suggest you use the term investment as a synonym and see what happens.

Style over substance?

I stopped watching Philosophy Tube videos when I began to find them a little annoying. Maybe it's because there is a little too much self satisfaction in Abigail Thorne's content which, as she clearly invites comparison with Contrapoints, seems to be noticeably absent from the latter's more acerbic and ironic style. Yes, Natalie was there first and the copying made me think that Philosophy Tube was starting to become more style over substance and thus increasingly distracting.

Abigail's Thorne recent pronouncements on gender dysphoria didn't help win me over either.

Oh well.





Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Self conscious

Being self conscious is probably one of the worst things we can be. After all, what good is it other than to instill insecurity?

It helps to ensure that we aren't ourselves and permeates our minds with doubt about how we are being perceived by others. Instead of focusing solely on what we want to do, we first pass our actions through a filter that questions how we are viewed from the perspective of strangers.

So we get rid of it

Universal

I am increasingly disinterested in transgender-focused subject matter because most of what touches it is really about the universal suffrage of all minorities. Thus social justice and equality is what we are always dealing with.

Prejudice is largely an irrational phenomenon because as we attempt to apply logic and critical thinking it quickly falls apart under any level of scrutiny. Human beings are emotional before they are rational and crowds can be swept into a frenzy by having the right type of messaging from bad faith actors seeking to capitalize.

Whether it was women's suffrage or the civil rights movement of the 1960's, there was always underlying hatred sparked largely by the fear of loss of status and power. The unknown frightens people to death.

Therefore viewed with a wider lens the issue of transgender rights is much the same as any other human issue. It is about universal justice.


History repeats

Argentina has just elected a right wing populist a la Trump. He joins the ranks of other nations who are increasingly openly flirting or downright adopting fascist policies. Javier Milei's victory celebration consisted largely of frantically running up and down the stage like a deranged lunatic.

Everytime I look up I see deadly parallels with the early 1930's and it's not pretty. The current worldwide celebration of and fascination with the lowest common denominator by the terminally stupid does not help.



Monday, November 20, 2023

Sooner

Both my dysphoria and euphoria have calmed down significantly with my social transition which is a sign of being at a good balance point. The starve and feed cycle long behind me, I realize what a disservice I was doing my gender dysphoria in trying to go cold turkey for as long as possible starting when I was very young.

My case is perhaps extreme in that I had religion and heavily absorbed social stigma to remove from my psyche, but nevertheless I will continue to preach the idea of slow and steady ultimately wins the race and keeps you on solid footing. The proof in the pudding is that I am more content than I've ever been.

Millennial and GenZ transgender people are much less likely to have a mental closet full of stigma which will only help them reach where they need to be much sooner than I.

Rosalynn

Rosalynn Carter's recent death at age 96 made me think about how people with such integrity perhaps used to be more commonplace. Unlike the hypocrite "Christian nationalists" of today, her and her husband represented charity and service to humanity which was beyond reproach continuing to build a legacy well after their time in the White House was over.

Americans may have their own opinions on Jimmy Carter's tenure as president, but you certainly could not doubt the sincerity and effort that permeated all facets of this couple's time together and what they tried to do in advancing humanitarian causes.

We could certainly do with a few more like her today; dignity, humility and grace which are almost relics of a bygone era.



Rustin

The movie "Rustin" is a biopic set in the early 1960''s civil rights era about a man who was openly gay when it was still a crime. In fact being both black and gay in America in 1963 meant your life was guranteed to be no picnic.

But Bayard Rustin was no shrinking violet and his work with the NAACP and with Martin Luther King towards organizing the March on Washington in 1963 ended up being his crowning achievement.

Colman Domingo steals the show here as Rustin and portrays him as a man of courage and dignity freed from the type of stigma that one would have expected to experience in this era. His tenacity and ability to keep his head high in the face of extreme prejudice paved the way for later generations.

On Netflix and highly recommended.




Process

Living in a gender role different from the one you were raised as is a gradual adaptation process. It's like slowly entering a hot bath and the body acclimatizes to the new temperature. At least this is how I needed it to be.

People know you and greet you and yesterday morning it was Mathilde (a lovely lady eight years my junior) who caught up to me on my morning walk with a bubbly "Hello Joanna how are you?".

You get comfortable and stop questioning and others see what you see in yourself.

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Back to a first love

Started painting when young and going back to it. This one is in progress.

after all I'm retired :)


Disappointed

The older I have gotten the more I have become disappointed with the way the world operates. If you analyze its inner workings you realize it runs on a combination of over focus on the inanely vapid, willful ignorance, malevolence and innocence which you thought could not exist in grown human beings. However, top that off with a sprinkling of goodness and philanthropy you did not think was possible, and it changes the entire dynamic.

All this to say that the world is an enigma and i am increasingly being left without a filter within its often irrational power structures.

Knowing all this, the appetite which some have for autocracy is better understood and when you factor in that many people are scared to death and gullible beyond comprehension, you can see the draw for facile solutions. It is why false prophets continue to appear and have their time in the sun before their charlatanism is discovered. If you love black and white thinking you are more susceptible than those who understand that nuance, subtlety and greys exist and form part of everything.

"S'il vous plait"

"Madame s'il vous plait" she pleaded at me for change which I did not have. She was no older than my daughter and looked gaunt and sleep deprived. Begging in the Montreal metro is commonplace and I see it every day as more people fall off the grid.

The gap between the haves and have nots widens and there are solutions but they require structural changes to our societies which won't come without pushback.

I have led a successful professional life and paid my fair share of taxes gladly. I lived well but sparsely and continue to as money does not bring happiness unless we fall below the line where we cannot clothe, feed or house ourselves. But the world operates on greed and power and not enough people want to share the wealth such that more can partake which is a pity.

The next time I will maybe have change but it wouldn't solve that young woman's problems. Yes, there is personal responsibility involved no doubt, but some have a massive head start in this life and refuse to ever look back until it bites them in the rear end.

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Nothing to see here

Openly living transgender people are everywhere and of course I have leftover radar which today is a completely unnecessary relic. This morning it was a maybe mid-forties transgender woman beyond comfortable in her own skin which is a place I might have wished to be at her age.

I always look around their general vicinity and notice others moving matter of factly about their business. Anyway she was dressed casually like other Saturday morning pedestrians moving about their day and likely validating her identity via her headspace more than from her simple vestments. Her only standout trait was a streak of pinkish hair.

Nothing to see here.

Greedflation

Between July 2020 and July 2022 inflation increased by 14% while corporate profits rose by 75%. If you want proof that "greedflation" wasn't just a quack theory then look no further than that statistic. Of course the pandemic did indeed have an impact on costs but not to the extent stated and it became the perfect cover for unscrupulous companies to increase prices and further pad their coffers.

As the lower classes struggle to pay for housing and food it's unforgivable to see this kind of short sighted greed when you are simply defecating in your own backyard. As the bottom rung of the population only increases in size, you are then simply asking for an implosion.

Algorithm

Once you've watched a few detransition videos, the YouTube algorithm simply sends you more of them. The pattern is common: they are young and question themselves and why they went ahead in an environment that tells them you get to choose. This is of course perfect when you understand your core identity and where your motivation comes from but not so much when you don't.

That transgender people exist and always will is beyond question. Today however, the hardest part is figuring that out in an environment which heavily contrasts against a time when we would admit to it only as an absolutely last resort.

Friday, November 17, 2023

Boring

That my traffic here is decreasing I take as a sign I must be doing something right. I am less conflicted than I have ever been and life is settling into a new normal. That's actually dull for a blog because there are no great stories or adventures to tell.

My gender identity is being blended successfully into my daily existence and there's not much adventure in that plus I'm just not cut out to write fluff to save my life.

Maybe as a transgender person, boring and calm is a good thing.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Human spirit

 


Transgender debate

Hasan Piker debates his uncle Cenk Uygur on transgender rights...


Trans or fetish?

Ray the detransitioner (who I don't think is older than 30) put out another video recently called "trans or fetish" in which he questions whether his transition had been caused primarily by his arousal patterns which is of course entirely possible. I negated to comment on it to not start a firestorm discussion as I have more than once been known to do :)

The interesting thing of course is that arousal patterns alone do not dictate identity which means only he could answer that question for himself. My own arousal patterns (which mortified me) began at puberty and had been wholly absent since about the age of 4. Thus, were that the only impetus for a medical transition then I would have done so decades ago.

Today I know perfectly well I am driven by identity and estrogen would only calm whatever remains of any arousal (which is ostensibly almost gone).

So, trans or fetish? Only you know the answer.

Une belle journee

 




Gradual

The reason I now so appreciate a very gradual progression in dealing my gender issues is that it allowed me to deal with the psychology involved in a very methodical way. It's when I look back that I realize how dramatic a journey it's been.

The psychology is far and away the most important aspect with the rest being child's play by comparison.

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Insane

 




The public good

It would not be hyperbole to suggest that a second Trump presidency would mean the county has bought into the idea of autocracy. The typical core GOP voter isn't the problem as they are completely a lost cause but instead more those who would hold their nose and vote for him because of a deep disdain for Biden and the Dems.

For the record, I don't think that Trump will really get there in part because I am counting on some resolution on those numerous court cases and indictments but it unnerves nevertheless when you see a criminal front runner as the likely choice to lead your country.

This helps me understand more how authoritarians were able to gain power and clearly it hinges not just on apathy and gullibility in being fed misinformation but regretably also on a darker aspect of humanity which thinks of the self instead of the overall public good.

Subset

I have surmised that most of my readership (what is left of it) is similar to me in some fashion. This means that they have reflected more than once on transition and cannot or are in process of reflecting on what to do about their situation. This also means that they are likely gender dysphoric and have known for a very long time (likely since childhood) that they were different. They take this topic seriously because it touches upon core identity.

If this is you, you represent a subset of the gender variant world who has grappled with this all your life. The younger you are, the less social stigma has affected you although coming out in this environment is still no picnic.

I write for myself and for you as we reflect on how to proceed with life in a way that respects commitments we have made to others while finding and respecting some semblance of authenticity. It's never been a better time for us but it comes with more confusion and options than ever which also makes the process more fraught with uncertainty.

Work on the self

Work on the self must be constant and always in the direction of harmony and balance. The idea is that even as the world around us conspires to derail, we keep the boat as steady as possible.

Neuroplasticity works in our favor here and we can look back and not recognize the person we once were. In that sense the version of me who began blogging in 2012 no longer exists because I am calmer and more sure footed than I was then. As transgender people, that introspection becomes almost mandatory if we are to make sense of our place in the world and find peace within its often nonsensical structure.

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Le plateau

 


20/20

My children are GenZ and are far less likely to do what is socially expected simply because society has relaxed its norms. Hence the type of panic that set in when we weren't married by a certain age is almost certainly not going to occur for them. This lack of obligation is also going to benefit gender variant people who can wait for the right train.

As one of the last of the boomers I certainly felt the pressure that a clock was ticking and perhaps more so as I was escaping something I was convinced I had a handle on. I had told myself that marriage was certainly going to help in that department which of course it didn't.

From where I sit today I prefer the freedom to viscerally choose what is right for us and, as much as I love my children to bits, I would have benefitted from exploring who I was without the impetus to do what everyone else did.

That I have zero regrets has much to do with my belief that we do the best we can with the information and knowledge of self at the time. So while hindsight might approach 20/20, we would not be the individual we are today having taken a different path.

Universality

Sure enough as I expected, I caught someone else buying into Blanchard without them absorbing the entire picture properly.

Once again it hinges on the misconception that by naming a phenomenon you have suddenly solved its meaning when it does no such thing. The card up the sleeve was that by proposing AGP, Blanchard was then able to opine that all transitions by gynephilic-leaning gender dysphorics were rooted in pathology rather than in essential sense of identity.

That some people feel compelled to transition because of their arousal isn't in doubt and some detransitioners have admitted as much, however to say that everyone does is where the whole thing falls apart.

I have explained many times that since gender dysphoria likely has, at least in part, genetic roots, it is more likely than not to manifest itself in childhood. It is only during the sexual awaking at puberty, that the desire to be female can become tinged with sexual overtones. This is in contrast to those whose gender variance and therefore arousal patterns typically begin in post-pubescence.

Blanchard needed universality to try and give his theory credibility, thus accusing his patients of lying about early cross gender identification became his modus operandi and ultimately why his work is largely rejected today by clinicians who know their subject matter.

Meaning

Purpose and meaning are what we desire and if we lose them we become rudderless. We chase meaning through career, through helping others, through spirituality, through our parenting and perhaps through connections with friends and family. However, currently we are in a more difficult global environment which has touched upon all of those aforementioned sources of purpose in adverse ways.

As society has become more splintered and less reliant on community spirit we are seeing less satisfaction drawn from these traditional pillars. We could blame technology and to be sure social media has done more harm than good in contributing towards the detriment of overall wellness of society. Knowing too much about others has perhaps led to disillusionment and I quickly grew tired of its insipid superficiality and left it behind.

That I cannot put my finger entirely on the malaise, I nevertheless feel it hinges greatly on the fact that when lives were slower due to our technological limitations, we seemed somehow to be more content. I know that by adopting a more minimalist approach in retirement it has brought me more relief. Having no car, getting rid of excess clothing and clutter is acting like a mental cleanser.

We need a collective sigh and a pause.

Monday, November 13, 2023

Wonders for the psyche

I'm a fairly feminine creature or so I've been told and yet one of the things which helped me most was fusing my masculine and feminine energies together. In other words, rather than use Joanna as a sporadic outlet for femininity as I did starting from a very young age, I needed to fuse both energies into one person in order to complete my journey.

The result has been soothing and harmonious and has also reduced the need and desire to overdress and overthink. As I am the same person every day, it tones everything down as it's no longer a rare outing. So even as I appreciate that not everyone can do this, it has done wonders for my psyche and life balance as I am one being and not two (happy being just one:))

Thus transition is what you make it.

Loop

If Trump weren't as vicious and raucous, he wouldn't be leading the pack like he is. In other words, being the shit disturber is precisely the point for those who love his style. It doesn't matter that he is dishonest or vile, as he is the monkey wrench that they gleefully want to see thrown into the system.

It's been a fascinating experiment to witness human nature over the last seven years. This divisive character continues to generate so much discourse and monopolizes the American airwaves like nothing I have ever witnessed. I think it is because he exposes the cracks and gives false hope to those who see the system is broken but cannot analyze why. That his rally audience isn't generally recognized as brilliant, does not mean it doesn't smell when something is rotten with the way things are run.

False messiahs are part of human history and they always have a downfall and, while this one will be no different, you sigh and wonder why this needs to constantly happen in a loop.

The repentant

A detransitioner is more likely to see their cross gender feelings as pathology and sure enough my brief overlaps with some of them online confirm it.

I think what is happening is that having overshot the response they required and then regretting, brings them to a place where everything is questioned and why they can more easily become prime fodder for right wingers and gender criticals.

These detransitioners are more likely to fall for the AGP pseudoscience which sells the idea that all transitions are pathology. However, that theirs brought them to the wrong place does not mean that the same will be true for all others.

Again I go back to the fundamentals of understanding the self and not buying into any blanket narratives or mantras and by how following this approach we are much less likely to err.

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Humbled

What is left now besides completing adjusting to retirement is to disarm myself of frustration at a world replete with boundless stupidity and injustice. As we grow into ourselves and realize that so much of our suffering happened while we were under the thumb of complete dimwits, we cannot help but feel indignant.

People can be deeply disappointing and yet there are such jewels out there among the masses who have helped me beyond measure and keep me hopeful. As a fiercely independent critical thinker who sees the world for what it is and keeps her distance from herd mentality, I still want to be less indignant.

My journey has given me strength and when you remove the weight of repression from your body you suddenly feel much stronger. However you need to avoid beating others over the head with your new found energy. Thank God that almost every day I see something which deeply humbles me.

Resistance

Is some form of transition almost inevitable for people born gender dysphoric to maintain wellness and balance? Right now I am tempted to say yes as I consider myself an excellent test case for the futility of persistent and dogged resistance.

Living otherwise now would seem impossible and yet I did it for so long only with its corresponding consequences. Yes, people lived how they had to in the past but that does not mean it was easy. You lived with the inconguence and kept quiet. It's like not taking medication and simply tolerating bouts of depression.

It's only when you begin to treat dysphoria seriously that you wonder how you were ever able to do otherwise.


Plain Jane everyday :)

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Obstacles

I've explained before how removing all obstacles to cross gender expression especially for dysphoric people can increase their dysphoria. When you are in any way constrained you at least have guard rails providing some safety. So whereas they may be seen as impediments they can actually be helpful in providing life structure.

I have no such obstacles today which obliged me to be very introspective about what I need versus what I thought I wanted. In other words, I studied myself carefully over the years and determined what would help my dysphoria without going beyond a point I might later regret.

I am 61 and might have taken a different path if I were much younger today. I have done the cost benefit analysis and determined that social transition was best for me but you might have a different response should your guard rails be suddenly removed.

Perhaps you might even thank your lucky stars you have them.

Friday, November 10, 2023

In transit

The young blind woman makes her way almost expertly among the bustling crowd of subway commuters cane busily prodding for obstacles. Since very young I have been in sheer admiration of people like this and it reminds me that I have no problems to speak of.

My reflex is to ask if she needs assistance which clearly she does not. "Leave her be" I tell myself and move past her.


Project 2025

Project 2025 has all the earmarks of an authoritarian's wet dream. Meant in part to help Trump in a potential next term seek vengeance on his political enemies, it should shock any reasonable American who reads it to their core.

Not only does it want to destroy the non-partisan government structure that keeps the country running (the deep state for them which includes the DOJ and FBI), but it wants to come after LGBTQ people and any other perceived enemies of the fascist class. That this is an openly known and published plan shows how bad things have gotten in a country whose democratic principles now hang by a mere thread.

By now most thinking Americans know that they were never immune to the fascist ideas which took hold in Western Europe in the early 20th century and, should the odious and imbecilic Trump and his twisted minions gain access to the White House again, they must know it's game over for the great "American Experiment".



One of the reasons

One of the reasons I feel we are living in more confusing times regarding gender expression and identity has to do with the traditionally puritanical views of the West. So while for the longest time some people would have wanted to have much more freedom on the expression side, society frowned so dramatically that it forced shame and guilt on them. Ray the detransitioner, as young as he is, felt social stigma and preferred to identify as "trans" to the point of transitioning rather than be happy being seen as a gender non-conforming male. It took him 8 years of HRT and full time living to come to that realization.

Ray is not alone and I have now seen quite a number of related narratives from detransitioners.

What we used to call transsexualism occurs in smaller proportions compared to the overall gender variant population and it is a subset of people whose dysphoria is so virulent and persistent that it must be treated with medical transition. I can acknowledge this without being a strict transmedicalist.

So in essence we are now living with the result of not loosening the reins on gender expression (especially for natal males) where people feel more inclined to be safe identifying as "trans" than simply admitting that cross gender expression forms part of their personality and desires; something which gender dysphoria need not be a prerequisite for.

My point is that we call ourselves whatever we like but, in the end and much more importantly, do what works for us without fear of reprisal.

Thursday, November 9, 2023

Ashes

Republicans aren't losing because there is something wrong with the structure of their party or their ability to sell their message. They are losing because the country disagrees with their extremist views which is only going to get worse as the demographic who votes Democratic only increases.

On the major issues of abortion and gun control the GOP position goes against national polling but since their party is a conglomeration of extremist groups there is nothing they can do except try to discourage minorities and young people from voting through gerrymandering.

Yes, authoritarianism appeals to Bible thumping Evangelicals and other extremists within their base, but you can't help but wonder how they didn't see that hard line views don't win elections and that they should soften their stance to keep moderates and independents. But that ship has sailed now and it's a matter of time before the current version of the party becomes irrelevant.

Who knows, maybe out of the ashes some moderates and independents can form a saner version of a conservative party without the election-denying batshit crazy conspiracy theorists they have been banking on for a while now.

"Trans"

The term "trans" has become both a little tiresome and also laden with every possible incarnation of gender variance. So much so, that there is infighting among gender variant people themselves in online debates I have seen. This is why in my writing I am simplifying things and sticking to dysphoric and non-dysphoric gender variance as baseline terminology.

It's gotten so comical that the behaviour of some people is termed by others to be "trans" when they themselves do not term it thusly.

In the end terminology is only useful if it carries meaning towards an outcome. But if anything all we are seeing are highly customized lifestyles and choices made as unique as the individuals themselves which is fine. Don't get me wrong in that I am in full agreement with leaving people alone, I just think we need to be more specific so we can help gender dysphoric youth to find their way forward and get the assistance they need all the while not treading on the rights of anyone to lead the lifestyle they want or need.

Of course this environment is perfect for gender criticals who grab hold of a bearded non-binary person in a dress and scream sheer lunacy. The general public who is generally obtuse about basic terminology never mind the science (as are many gender variant people themselves) can be led by the nose by these criticals who want nothing better than to quash all of it and gleefully go back to 1850.

So while I have absolutely no qualms with someone who calls themselves a "sissy" and regresses back to childhood being left to live their best life, we need to be just a little more careful with blanket definitions if we are to get to the root of an issue.

I always bring things down to the goal: that we make the gender variant person lead as happy and fruitful a life as possible; one which is as free of prejudice as we can make it. However that being said, I am just not sure this current confusing environment is particularly conducive towards that goal. Maybe in the near future we will be.

As priority, let's focus on no more suicides and reducing the amount of people who feel they have erred post-transition.

Kayne

 


Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Irreparable

That we are headed for a massive societal reset is beyond questions as all the signs are there. Desperation and poverty on massive scales and the top 1% controlling an obscenely disproportionate share of the wealth. It's a ticking time bomb.

If we repeat errors over the millennia it is because we are hopelessly irreparable and doomed to never learn from history.

Community

In the not too distant past, people who medically transitioned wanted to disappear into the general community while those who did not sometimes congregated into support groups. For example, Casa Susanna was one such place where married heterosexual men of the 1950's could practice their need for cross gender expression.

The point is that we all need moral support and to find commonality with others. Without the embracing by those I have come out to over the years plus of course my children, I would not be as comfortable as I am today.

Towards that end, I think that all gender variant people would benefit from finding acceptance within the greater community rather than solely immersing themselves within the gender variant one. In other words, while having like minded souls as friends is wonderful, I have found it much more rewarding to over the years meld into the world as myself. When I was hiding who I was, it didn't feel as good and made me more apt to question my identity.

Not only does using this approach keep you more immune to groupthink (we are not clones of each other), but it opens up a much larger window to the world by doing outreach through the mere fact of existing.

To be othered

The case of Bubba Copeland and Ray the detransitioner (both recent post topics) speak to me about the shame some people have regarding their particular shade of gender variance. One transitioned because he did not want the world to see him as, in his words, "just a crossdresser" while the other was deadly afraid of its judgement in being outed as one to the point of suicide.

The world is full of toxic people and hypocrisy to spare, but to act in ways which impact our sense of self worth is what joins these two stories together for me. No one wants to be "othered" and fearing the repercussions of that we proceed in ways which are against our self interest.

What we see on the surface of people's lives are only the tip of an iceberg and those quickest to judge others are often those most perturbed with their own personal situations. It's just basic psychology.

The best defense is thus to send them packing and live honestly and proudly in the open and do what is best for us.

It's 2023 for Pete's sake.

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Bravo!!

Bravo to this editorial published in the Alabama Political Reporter admonishing the types of disgusting people who pile on those like Bubba Copeland for being different.....

"Bubba Copeland should be alive today.

That he’s not, should be a sign to everyone, and especially to Alabama lawmakers and leaders, of just how fragile life can be. It should be the clearest example yet of just how vulnerable some people who live among us truly are.

It should cause all of us to pause, to bite back the crude comments, to think twice about the public condemnations, to find kinder, better ways to treat each other – even those whose behavior we find “strange” or “weird.”

You’re probably aware by now of Copeland and his tragic end. He was the mayor of Smiths Station – a tiny town near Auburn – who was outted as a crossdresser last week by the conservative website 1819 News.

But saying 1819 “outted” him doesn’t really do justice to what happened to Copeland. Because in addition to the story about his Reddit posts, in which he took on a female persona, there were bunches of other stories, including stories of condemnation. There was one featuring radio talkshow personalities Rick and Bubba explaining why Copeland should feel shame. Other conservative commentators piled on as well, defending 1819 for doxing Copeland and exposing his online life.

All of that is in addition to the regular folks around Smiths Station, and in the Copeland family’s circle, who offered their thoughts and criticisms.

Under the weight of it, Copeland took a gun and ended his life.

He was 49. He had a wife who was apparently aware of, and participated with, his online crossdressing. He leaves behind three kids, and judging by social media posts, they loved their father deeply.

There seems to be some confusion over the tragic, horrific last few days of Copeland’s life.

It’s possible that some people are being purposefully obtuse to avoid admitting the obvious, but there is an argument floating around out there that Copeland had no right to keep his secret, online crossdressing life a private matter between him and his wife. That because Copeland was an elected official, exposing his lifestyle, as 1819 did, was proper journalism. That his congregation had a right to know.

There is a word for this: Bullsh*t.

That reasoning only makes sense if you inject your personal religious beliefs. Without them – without the self-righteousness to determine what is or isn’t sinful – what are you actually left with in this ordeal?

It’s this: Bubba Copeland liked to dress up like a woman and write weird fiction.

Who are you to judge him for that? I mean, if the man was spending city tax dollars on new outfits or using city resources to facilitate his private life, OK. That’s a real problem. That’s a problem that should be exposed.

But we don’t know of any such problems. And the rumors that keep popping up of “other stuff” that’s about to come out … well, you should have led with that if it’s out there, instead of heaping buckets of condemnation on a man for a victimless alternate lifestyle that you happen to find icky.

But, boy, we’re good at that around here, aren’t we?

From trying to remove LGBTQ+ books from libraries to essentially banning transgender kids from existence to forcing children to have children, the state of Alabama, under conservative rule, has cornered the market on religious governance.

Just as the Founders absolutely did not intend.

I hate to break this to you, but in this country where religious freedom has kept us from constant civil war, the fact that your Christian beliefs find crossdressing abhorrent or a book about gay teens unacceptable is utterly irrelevant. Or, at least, it should be.

Yet, we continue to push these distorted Christian beliefs as actual policy and law. And in the process, we have fostered an environment in which a man who has apparently committed no crimes or harmed anyone is shamed into ending his own life.

It’s the same end we’re bringing to transgender teens and other at-risk kids who we’ve ostracized and marginalized, who we’ve removed from sports teams and banned from receiving approved medical care and who we’ve told that books that simply portray their lives accurately are too perverted for libraries. 

There is no telling how many Bubba Copelands there are out there – kids and adults who have been crushed by the hateful, ill-informed, religious-based environment fostered by this sort of ignorance and intolerance. People who have been used as pawns by politicians to spread ignorance and fear.

Until now, it was easy to separate the policies and actions from the environment they created, from the intolerance and hate they generated throughout communities around this state.

Maybe Bubba Copeland’s death will change that"

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 ...