Sunday, December 31, 2023

DeRosa

 


With a whimper

The world is very different after a pandemic which in many ways we haven't yet recovered from. We have a global loneliness epidemic which was in part already in the works due to our dependence on technology. Hence 2023 ends with a whimper instead of a bang with discord between Israel and Palestine, the continuing Russia-Ukraine conflict as well an increasing global appetite for authoritarian-leaning regimes. When the masses get nervous they tend to want simplistic answers to what are deeply complex issues.

I will keep optimism alive despite knowing the tumult that lies ahead in the US which faces a soap opera with the Trump fiasco in an identity-defining election year. I need to keep a more distanced perspective in understanding that geopolitics works in long arches which take much time to get to the end of. This means that at the level of my own life I will focus attention on living as balanced a life as possible during what are clearly deeply uncertain times.

Retirement turned out to be the right call.

Saturday, December 30, 2023

Jack Molay

Jack Molay and I have been corresponding on and off for about 11 years now and having talked with him this afternoon, I can attest to the fact that he is every bit as pleasant and interesting a person as I had expected. Coming from similar backgrounds and same generation it made our conversation that much easier. We spoke largely about the change in climate with the younger generation of gender variant and transgender people and how they are much more free psychologically.

As someone who grew up with plenty of stigma surrounding who I am, I credit Jack's blog with helping me tremendously in the final leg of my journey towards self-acceptance.

Needless to say there will be more overlaps in the future! :)

Drifting

". .you are not journeying; you are drifting and being driven, only exchanging one place for another, although that which you seek – to live well – is found everywhere.” - Seneca

Collapse

I'm not a communist but clearly unchecked free market capitalism turned out to a failed experiment. Relying on the economy itself to settle societal problems is what led much of the world (most flagrantly the US) to where we are now which is a level of inequality the likes of the human race has never before seen. When the top 1% has more more amassed wealth than the bottom 99% you know that something has clearly gone wrong.

Back in the 1950's there was at least a reasonable level of taxation in the US which forced the highest income earners to feed into the fund that would enable government to build a nation which was then ripe for the formation of a healthy middle class.

Today's largely Republican-propagated myth that wealth eventually comes to those who toil hard enough is ludicrous given that much of US wealth is simply passed down within the same families. Trump for example started off with $200M inherited from his father which does much to destroy the myth of the self-made man.

As every day more people wander the streets because they can't afford housing, cities start to increasingly become unlivable which begs the question why the ultra wealthy would want their own country to collapse around them. The short answer is that most people don't think about societal issues further than the tip of their nose which is why historically things must always collapse to properly drive home a message.

We're simply too dim to do any better.

You do you

If there is an overriding conclusion to everything I have learned in my life it is that you need to be openly yourself. Avoid the pack mentality and live your life honorably within society to the best of your ability. To do that we need to be our own person and always seek truth hidden beneath the rhetoric.

Standing out isn't always the easiest thing but when you know in your gut it's right we will at least keep our self respect. So we take our positions only after careful consideration, we work on removing bias and always endeavor to work for the common good by doing right by others.

The rest does not matter.

Friday, December 29, 2023

The guys who killed toys r us

 


Femboys and transgender girls

Discussions like this one could only happen in this new era and, for someone of my generation, it took some getting used to. I can't help but note that the femboy (who could easily be mistaken for a cis female) is more traditionally feminine than the transgenfer girl to the point where I wasn't sure who was who at the outset. Both are on HRT.

Once again we go back to self identification and the idea of uniqueness driving these GenZs....

I listen to them and reflect...


Later in life

Much of what Lexi says here is pretty similar to my story. I waited even longer than her and the reasons she cites ring so true for me. The buying of clothes and purging them repeatedly over the years was also spot on.

Interestingly, like her, 45 years of age was also the breaking point where I sought professional guidance for I had simply run out of road...


Thursday, December 28, 2023

Chaplin

 


Social contagion

Vaush explains how conservatives are alarmist idiots....


No more

That's it, no more low quality nail varnish for me. This latest one is far more resistant and I am not constantly fixing little chips over the course of the week.

I will just purchase what's on special :)





Justice

My interest in gender variance from a clinical standpoint pretty much satiated, I focus more on how to live in the world with it. Having met and read so many stories about people on what we now recognize to be ostensibly a type of spectrum, I realize there is no perfect model of predictability to be found. Years ago, for example, I could never have envisioned to what degree detransitioners would become a reality with any weight or relevance and yet they have.

At the end of the day humans are so exceedingly complex because the input variables that constitute them are so numerous. There are genetic predispositions to which we add cultural, societal and parental influences which play heavily into the mix. The good news is that within my lifetime we have gone from erroneous assumptions about a perfect binary to an understanding that both sexual orientation and gender identity are more malleable than we dared to admit. What remains now is the cultural cleanup work of having that become normalized.

Perhaps once completed, we can then stop putting people into ghettos and stamping their foreheads with insignias. Because by now you might have realized that we are getting all tangled up in our own language; a lexicon which doesn't do proper justice to people and their full identities.

I don't know about you but I hate being branded like cattle.

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Choosing a boring life

This is a smart young man who already has a lot figured out...


Pleasant surprise

I hadn't expected 2005's "Pride and Prejudice" to be so captivating as I settled in for more stuffy period melodrama than what this film actually delivers. It helps that the leads Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen are at the top of their game here and you can feel the flames of passion begin to rise only without any saccharin sweetness. In fact they start off with a certain dislike.

The rest of the cast is admirable as well as is attention to period detail.

By the time it was over it turned out to be one of my favorite romance films ever because it holds back it sentimentality just enough to suspend our belief that such grand meant-to-bes are impossible.






Peaks and valleys

Living full time in a feminine role continues to do what I hoped it might. No, it doesn't solve all your problems but it simply calms your dysphoria and brings more harmony to what was a disconnect in your life.

The novelty certainly wears off after a while and you are left with normal life which is approaches what people who don't have gender dysphoria have always had. The calm is ultimately what I needed which took away peaks and valleys I don't miss whatsoever.

In that sense, you can keep the euphoria if I get to keep the harmony.




Let's hope I'm wrong

It appears that sometimes it's inevitable that something be tried and then a hard lesson learned. After all, this is the pattern of history so no point in denying it.

The particular combination of anger, apathy, ignorance and echo chamber misinformation has produced the perfect recipe for America to finally go down the rabbit hole of authoritarianism. If nothing else it destroys the myth that it is immune because of its exceptionalism.

There's no way to explain the current polling other than to cite all those influences combining together to rattle the current power structure. People are justifiably unhappy with the state their country is in and they are willing to gamble. In their defense, those who pull the strings are fine with the way things are and nothing short of rebellion will have them release their comfortable grip on things.

That oligarchy doesn't work forever should be obvious and unfortunately it seems that sometimes you have to break a few eggs to make a cake. It won't be pretty with an odious and malignant sociopath in power but at least the country will get a real up close view of what dictatorial rule brings. Those who, like me, thought the first term was sufficiently horrendous will need to buckle in this time.

Let's hope I'm wrong about what happens.

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

By comparison

I used to want to distance myself from gender variant people who would shoot videos of themselves parading around busy streets wearing tight clothing but I no longer do. Not because I want to follow in their footsteps, but rather because their behaviour stems from the same human well of wanting to be acknowledged and seen. This instinct is universal only that it manifests itself differently in each person.

Some will use wealth and power, social media influence or bragging rights on Facebook as ways to boost the ego which are just other means to the same end.

However once we find our own center we are less likely to seek approval from the outside world. The appetite for comparison goes away as does the need for differentiating  ourselves by exception. Whereas a Blaire White has made a whole cottage industry of dealing with her insecurities by deriding other gender variant people, those with the grace and dignity of April Ashley or Christine Jorgensen didn't need to.

We are responsible for our own actions and paths and we intervene on behalf of others or weigh in on their lives only when they are in need of our assistance.

I am not easy

I am not an easy person to get to know or befriend since my guard is up towards people I find distasteful. There was an early developped caution bred in me bolstered by my witnessing how strange and sometimes cruel people can be. A natural shyness also fed into this mefiance with my distancing then allowing me to build analytical skills regarding human behaviour.

Knowing this about me you can understand why my aversion to groups was well honed and the more abrasive you were the more I tended to avoid you. Loud and unthinking people still annoy me except that I tend to be more forgiving in attributing family background and learned habits to their inclinations. Inauthentic behavior and posturing are also anathema to me because they just show you aren't secure enough to be yourself.

So now I work on being less dismissive and unforgiving one little step at a time. Not because it's good for others but because it's good for me.

The meaning of Christmas

Being hyper-aware of our own existence can sometimes lead to angst because we look around and realize that our time is limited and much of what occupies it are futile pursuits. We don't understand why we are on this planet and never asked to be created and are then invited to find meaning. Much of the writing of philosophers amounts to trying to comprehend human behaviour and what drives it.

Religion has filled the gap to deal with existential dread and for those who are more comfortable not having to overthink, it can be soothing to follow black and white dictates and gain an assured reward for following them.

At 61 I believe in my own way and Christmas has shifted to a blend of belief which marries my rational mind with my yearning for spiritual ideas larger than myself. I observe the almost robotic behaviour of some stressing about gifts and get togethers and appreciate my ability to detach myself by seeing it all with an increased perspective which life has given me.

We want to mature into ourselves while still keeping the innocence of wonder and amazement. Once having removed the trappings of society, we want to find our own niche which bathes in authenticity while possessing the discernment to know what is truly right for us.


No easy balance.



Monday, December 25, 2023

Grinch

 


In strange and uncertain times...

 


Nothing as a given

If we could start with the term gender variance as a general description and then drill down to each person's motivation it could make things simpler. For example, the person would just explain why they have or haven't transitioned and that would be it. 200 years ago no one transitioned because they couldn't and discussions on the subject matter would be made pointless.

People want assurances that they aren't crazy or dysfunctional which is why nomenclature and belonging to a group or community matters so much to them. Years ago I would see virulent arguments online regarding authenticity which have now become even bigger discussions over the meaning of the term 'trans'.

But an understanding of who you are necessitates we distance ourselves from groupthink so we aren't unduly influenced. Our assessment will be a more honest one because it assumed nothing as a given from the start.

Sunday, December 24, 2023

Joyeux Noel

Et je vous souhaite aussi le meilleur pour l'annee de 2024 :)



Keeping me on my toes

Having older children tends to keep you honest. They are adults and they observe and note all your inconsistencies. The ship of them doing as you say sailed away a long time ago.

My son and I had coffee yesterday and we discuss more about how to live his life with consistency and self-examination. As someone with mild autism he is approaching his mid-twenties with a rational mind but not yet the complete set of life tools we all need to keep us balanced.

I enjoy this phase of their life much more than when they were younger. The feedback and the conversations are far more interesting plus I am better suited to advise them now when they need guidance.

Ask them why

That many people tend to be irrational and inconsistent is due to the fact we as humans are primarily driven by emotion. This means that protection of the psyche will override critical thinking. It is why you will sometimes witness a very partisan voter caught on camera having a hypocritical stance on an issue for which they attack the opposition for but then justify their own side for the very same thing.

Clearing our minds of emotional bias is very difficult but I am having increasing success as I get older and remove emotional attachment. Rather than protect myself behind a barrier, I want to examine carefully why I believe something by challenging my own thought process.

More ethereal issues like religion are less easily dissected but even there we can examine whether our beliefs are consistent with the ethos of what our faith is trying to accomplish. Some so called "Christians" for example are fine to take exceptions to love of neighbor if it contradicts some deeply held bias about another.

I no longer argue with irrational people because it becomes pointless. The more they are glued to a fixed orthodoxy the less success you will have in having them assess their viewpoint with a critical eye. But if you want to catch someone off guard  simply have them explain to you why they believe something. 

The inconsistencies are often fascinating and wildly amusing.

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Ditching transgender

Maya is young but embracing the older term transsexual and here she explains why.

What I like about her is she is very much her own person and yet accepts others defining themselves as they will.

But even then, its not what's in a name but how you lead your life that counts for more...


Rest

To anyone who reads this blog I wish they have a wonderful and restful holiday period. May you find peace and balance in a world that is starving for it especially now.

Find your center and stay there in 2024 and beyond :)



Platitudes

Any kind of social media makes me dizzy. Even LinkedIn has become a garbage heap of false platitudes and needless posturing. Maybe it's my cynicism at this age but I cringe when I see what I assess to be false humility.

I hardly go there any more but when I do I promise myself to come back much less frequently.



The importance of an honest life

I think that if we are to live with integrity being honest is the best way to take ownership of who we are. If we are to exist without shame or guilt, all facets of our uniqueness need to be matured and incorporated into a person who is fully whole.

I learned this lesson overly slowly largely perhaps through my detouring into the intricacies of the subject matter, but it need not take as long as it did for me. The aim is to adopt an approach that seeks internal harmony with an increased sense of self-worth being the sign we are headed in the right direction.

I needed to elevate all aspects of myself and hiding wasn't working because it was encouraging an attitude that I was misguided and needed repairing. If our lives are to be lived with integrity we want to come to a place where our self respect is maximized without ascending into hubris. Thus we embrace our own unique impetus towards gender variance and incorporate it into our adulthood with the acknowledgement that we are no longer children.

I think that the only way to do that is to live as honestly as possible.

Friday, December 22, 2023

My city

 My city (which I love)....warts and all :)


Fundamentals

You may have noticed that writing to entertain disinterests me completely and what I am always after are fundamental truths which can help each of us to better ourselves. In particular, as someone who was always part of a small minority, I am fascinated with how to navigate the world given its innate injustice and rejection of "other".

While I don't hold out hope for improving human intelligence, I do count on the apathy which comes with increased visibility. In other words, once people get used to something they tend to stop fearing and thus caring about it.

Conservative mindsets can't be helped although they always form part of a minority in every population. Once their rhetoric stops working, they eventually give up and move on to the next strawman. Thus if we go back to the fundamental drivers of humanity as being love and fear, we can predict with virtual certainty what the next moral panic will be because the masses tend to be limited and gullible; a reality which many will take free advantage of.

Some people are twisted and will deal with their own insecurities with finding flaw in others and that will never be cured as a human failing.

Can't have it all

Public civility seems to be at an all time low which contrasts against the amount of cultural tolerance. In other words, people were more polite and orderly but more mistrustful and critical of difference.

We would like to have both but unfortunately life isn't perfect and the encouraging of everyone being themselves seems to have also promoted the development of insular and self-centered attitudes.

One layer of angst

Certainly anyone over the age of 50 knows that the most fundamental and pervasive programming they received from birth was how they were to behave and express themselves right down to the permitted vestments. What is interesting when reflecting on the subject of gender variance, is that the fundamental gender identity of the person need not always be questioned and there are many individuals, both gay and straight, who simply want the freedom of expression.

Where it gets complicated is when the identification with birth sex begins to get blurred which then obliges a reflection process as to what to do. This is why transgender people tend to have anguish until this disconnect issue is resolved because it touches on core identity rather than just expression. To add insult to injury and with acknowledgement to Harry Benjamin, this alienation from birth sex appears to be graded.

The expression side used to be much more taboo but with its increased acceptance in its various forms, we are sparing the individual the stigma which it used to invite thus lifting at least one layer of potential angst and encouraging happiness.

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Maestro

Leonard Bernstein was a gay man whose wife Felicia (who was an accomplished actress in her own right) knew of his orientation. Those were different times and men like Bernstein wrestled with their urges while trying to keep up appearances. He even discussed with fellow composer Aaron Copeland how he could go about living openly as himself in the 1940's.

I urge you to see Maestro because it is a fine film which really captures the legacy of a tortured genius who had to play a role in order to be permitted to be a major conductor and composer.

Bradley Cooper is both director and star and gives this material a bittersweet ambiance which really indulges in nostalgia through the use of black and white as well as light and shadow.

There just might be an Oscar nomination for this Netflix film.



Making sure

Delaying self-acceptance was the price I paid for needing to understand this topic thoroughly, for I am not one who is content with deluding myself. Plunging into whatever science was available was the only way.

I needed to make sure.

Quiet

This year its going to be a quiet Christmas for me and I am so happy about it. It will do wonders for my soul and it only took 61 years to get to where I could spend this holiday mostly alone in reflection mode.

Yes, I will meet up with some friends for coffee over the break but no big 40+ people get together which today amounts to mostly noise (a good chunk of my extended family is travelling). I will reconnect with the meaning of the season by going inwards and avoiding political obligation and, if that sounds cold, I have surveyed friends who feel much the same way. This year I will treasure the season that much more by spending it peacefully and it will be comfy pajama pants (I just bought a pair) and a bit of pampering.

I hope you get to do the same for at least part of it.



Busy

If you've been running from identity it may just catch up to you at retirement. I did not realize just how much clean up work I had left to do on the psyche because distractions keep us busy enough to not permit what remains of our final stretch towards stability and peace.

A segmented and partitioned life works well for many and, if this is you, then you have nothing to be concerned about. However, if you've been using goals and activities to avoid deeply examining who you are, the rest of the work awaits you.

Hint: it's not about clothing.

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Bank of Dave

"Bank of Dave" is a David versus Goliath tale that is particularly relevant today. A small businessman who sells vans in a town located in Northern England wants to help his local community to the point where he sees opening a small local bank as a way to propel his friends and neighbors forward. He is charitable as he is jovial.

But then we we brush up against the powers that be we can invite trouble which is what the subject of this movie is about. In a world where justice for the little person is more necessary than ever, Dave is not opposed to a fight if it means that good will prevail.

Like all small English films there is a subtle humility here that I like. No big Hollywood fanfare but simply everyday people we start to care about.

On Netflix and recommended.



Alphabet people

The proof that gender and orientation variance means different things to different people comes out when you probe into their individual stories. Some conservatives like to use the derogatory term "alphabet people" to denigrate what has become an increasingly wide and inclusive group that turns out to be just a slice of humanity. This effort to sweep up everyone into a cluster who isn't normative in orientation or gender through the use of terminology is in my view becoming a bit excessive. You could see us continue to add letters and thus dilute its original intended purpose.

The reality is that the perfect binary never really existed and when you factor in what Kinsey found with his scaling of sexual orientation, you find that human beings are complex when you get them talking behind closed doors.

As society has become more accustomed and tolerant of openly expressed divergence from what was previously accepted, there has been an attempt to start naming because that's what we do. This is how you end up with LGBTQIA which now picks up intersex and asexual people. It's not wrong by any means but I think that we will move beyond this once society grows up and just lets people be. Plus, my natural aversion to be swept up into groups just has me imagining obedient sheep to the point that when I hear the term community I bristle just a bit.

I know enough about gender variant people over the years to understand that there are often very wide and marked differences between them such that trying to fit them all into the same box sometimes produces comparisons which make little sense. So I simply like to go back to the root source and find out what motivates them which tells me so much more.

Rather than all the letters, I tend to prefer the designation 'human being'.

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Common ground

 


Progress

Although I am no longer a practicing Catholic in the strictest sense, I do like this Pontiff. His recent pronouncement on the blessing of same-sex couples while still upholding traditional marriage is the latest step in approaching the type of charity that Christ preached. In fact his general tolerance of LGBT people contrasts sharply against what more conservative and dogmatic religious sects have to say.

I was educated by Jesuits and their place as teachers and scholars of the church allowed me to receive a faith which was more rooted in intelligence rather than unquestioned orthodoxy for its own sake. The marriage of faith and reason of Aquinas was something which appealed to my sensibilities.

I have always been a questioner and will continue to be and much like CS Lewis,  I see the value in reassessing and reevaluating one's viewpoint in order to fortify why we believe something. For if we cannot explain it to ourselves we won't be able to convey it to others in any meaningful way.

Free yourself

When I was younger I spent a good chunk of my life concerned about what other people thought whilst today I don't give a hoot (not to use a saltier term). That wasted energy was expended for nothing and am now taking advantage of this complete freedom from being concerned about what someone who knows nothing about me has to say about my existence.

Since we live inside our heads, it's tempting to think others share a piece of that reflection and we often look up to see who is looking at us. That they are doing much the same as the principal actor in their own play, means they could care less about us unless they see we are in distress.

The epitome of being self-centered is thinking we matter more than we do to others and imagine how much more free we can be ridding ourselves of this futile affliction.

Live your life.

Flash point

The world is a more somber place than it was even just five years ago. There are more unsettled people with less financial resources and less hope. I can see it everywhere on the faces of many people in transit or simply walking around.

Some of this is self inflicted and compounded by the isolationism and artificiality of social media. The hoarding of resources by the few has only exacerbated the problem which is why some are looking for saviors and increasingly more open to charlatans telling them what they want to hear. The masses are primed for it even in the US; previously thought to be the bastion of democracy.

Societies ride waves for a while until they begin to unravel in large part because basic human instincts never change. We don't think long term or reflect on the consequences of actions until it is too late to adequately repair them.

That we are headed for a global flash point is beyond question with the only doubt being the precise series of incidents that will get us there.

En garde

There are plenty of angst-filled narratives on YouTube from transgender people because being this way is difficult and indeed so is being human in general. The same themes come up about acceptance of self and from others as well as how one navigates the world being an often visible target.

There isn't an obvious answer other than to fortify the internals to shield oneself as much as possible while being tolerant sometimes beyond the point where it is warranted.

At this age I am not a wilting flower and possess a poisonous tongue which I am not afraid to use if need be, except that isn't the way to survive in a world we best navigate through patience and understanding. Most people are not malevolent and many downright sweet and a friendly man at the bus stop reminded me how innocent some can be. At almost 80 (he was very forthcoming) he had an almost childlike demeanor and after chatting for a time he reminded me that we need not keep our guard up as much as we think.

"Apres Vous Madame" he motions to me with his hand as he lets me board first and we wish each other a good day.

Monday, December 18, 2023

Homeless

 


Lonely

 


Absurdities

 


Miscalculation

Positions in the my former field of expertise are required everywhere but there aren't enough qualified bodies to fill them because short term thinking by expanding companies yielded miscalculations. Reliable and experienced boomers began to retire and they took their invaluable experience with them. Even now I am beating off my former company who would have me take as many mandates as I could handle as a consultant.

One major error was thinking that the more patient education of my era could be replaced by technology which was monstrously idiotic. We now have plenty of graduates who are expected to fast track training which took me over 10 years of project exposure to absorb. I regularly see mistakes not only steeped in lack of common sense but in the thinking that the right software will produce the right result.

I had warned my company years ago that we were headed for this because, in our yearning for profits and expansion, we left out hiring and training by thinking these people could be picked up in the marketplace at any time which was the epitome of arrogance. I don't like to regale in I told you so but I did give them years of warning and now middle managers are burning out with their own workload plus dealing with new hires.

Short term thinking yields short term gain and instead of carefully crafting homegrown talent, their zeal to save money did them in.

Demons

Ray Blanchard's designation of androphilic transgender women as HSTS (homosexual transsexuals) wasn't derogatory by accident. When you want to deny the idea of a feminine essence and sell pathology, you want to make your language as direct and blunt as possible. Therefore if your premise is that his patients were deluded males, the sexual dysfunction model (no doubt inspired in part by his CAMH predecessor Kurt Freund) would do just fine.

Both his typologies were in fact driven by aberrant sexuality and, in the late 1980's, transgender men need not exist which was pretty convenient.

His HSTS taxonomy was one of effeminate homosexuals, completely ineffective as men in society and desperately seeking the attention of straight males which is about as dismissive as one could be. If you don't believe you can decouple sex and gender it was the only likely explanation for someone whose own orientation didn't exactly meet societal approval.

Gay and lesbians of that generation did not grow up with a ton of self love and in fact many married according to expectation and did their best to fulfill a role only to sometimes come out later in life. My first boss's wife came out well into their marriage because she could no longer keep up the facade.

I can certainly relate to the feelings one goes through when you aren't properly self accepting because my writing originally was driven by a certain degree of internalized transphobia. It wasn't until the fog was finally lifted that I could look around and see properly through a cleaner lens.

We are often motivated by our own demons and until they are properly exorcised we won't be fully at peace with ourselves or with others.

Becoming whole

Being paralyzed by fear, self-doubt and guilt are all impediments to mental health. When we get rid of them we can suddenly remove the blinders and see so much more positive in the world despite its many flaws.

Transgender people receive messaging which is in direct conflict with their essence and must work to defeat what they first understand to be a critical flaw rather than a way of being. We aren't the only ones because the more you stand out in this world, the more you will be apt to be made a target.

However standing out saved my psyche because shielding our identities is a way of agreeing with the world's condemnation. We are quietly accepting that there is merit to the messaging and we must make amends somehow.

People of my generation received much more pervasive programming and yet we can still break away and make our statements and our presence known at any age. Transparency matured my identity, gave it substance and boosted my self-worth. Rather than a lifeless limb apart from the rest of the body to be divulged sheepishly on occasion, my full identity was incorporated so I could be made fully whole.

Sunday, December 17, 2023

Have yourself...

 


Carol and the End of the World

"Carol and the End of the World" is existential angst presented as adult animation. Set against a premise that there are 7 months left until the end of existence on the planet due to a collision with a coming celestial object, it deals with the life of one woman and the interesting people she meets along the way and how they all deal with knowing their mortality is imminent.

It's surreal and ethereal and will make you reflect on how much of our lives are centered around useless pursuits we only question later or perhaps not at all.

We are often irrational creatures and this show simply exaggerates it but only ever so slightly.

On Netflix.




All I want for Christmas

 


Security

When we are secure in who we are, it will radiate out of every fiber of our being. We won't seek validation outside of ourselves because it rests firmly inside our core.

The sooner this lesson is learned, the more content we will be and the more able to handle life's hazards.

No one can knock you off your perch.

Marche Bonsecours

A lovely and well-mannered young Mexican woman only a few years older than my daughter served me coffee this morning in the Marche Bonsecours. When I was growing up in Montrel there weren't many Spanish speaking people and now I have the chance to speak it daily should I desire. She tells me she has only been here 3 years and has been working while studying in University.

I ask her if she likes it and she does but she may go back. Learning French is yet another challenge for some of these young people who have their whole life ahead of them. I am always encouraging and tell them to enjoy every moment of youth and take advantage of it.

If I only knew then what I know now :)



Rhetoric

It's hard to understand sometimes why rhetoric works so easily on the masses. Hitler got the crowds all hot and bothered and the frenzied speeches were something which I found horrifying and yet also worthy of lampooning. Trump is much more idiot and clown than Hitler but there is still a dangerous layer of malevolence underneath it all which drives his messaging. People who are readily motivated by fear and hate of the "other" are more apt to be captivated by it.

In that sense I don't hold out much hope for human improvement on a massive scale. The same proportions of certain types of people will continue to exist because, unfortunately, no mechanism for improvement exists other than repairing the self.



Teenage phase

Some of us can go through a teenage phase before becoming whole transgender people which is something akin to what young women experience before maturing into adulthood. So much is bottled up for so long that letting the girl out can sometimes produce a period of navel-gazing instability.

Stopping the feed and starve cycle certainly helped me tremendously in immersing myself more fully in my identity and also being less self conscious regarding what people think and who might be looking. I could care less.

This is burned off and a stability established which adds so much to our confidence and calm. Emphasis on the latter.

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Thoughts and prayers

 


It's a wide world

The reason I still think that the transvestic fetishism diagnosis may be valid in some cases is because of the sissy and humiliation sub-cultures which exist. Some people get sexual arousal out of being dressed as children (akin to petticoat punishment), tending towards exhibitionism or presenting as exaggerated versions of young women (a la Lolita as you might see in cosplay). There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of this provided that the person does not feel a sense of compulsion or distress. In other words, they feel they are perfectly in control of their behaviour and it does not take over their lives in which case treatment may be required if desired.

Many of us growing up may have misdiagnosed feminine feelings as compulsion particularly if any sexual feelings arose upon entering puberty which is what largely caused me to continue to deny my identity until I was able to fully comprehend what was happening.

The world of gender variance can be very wide which is why I think it's important to always go back to determine core motivation before settling on who we think we are.

More on identity

When I discuss identity I want to be very clear because some may take that to mean that I view myself as a woman whereas I see myself as a transfeminine person. Some transgender people see themselves as women which I fully support (my fully transitioned friend Sherry is one of them). My point is always about the understanding that your gender variance isn't for you a game or just a costume you sometimes put on.

That people see me as a cis woman has less to do with my intent than my biology which seems to have given me features which are very conducive to blending in. My original goal was simply to escape detection and be left alone and inadvertently ended up with having people not know and me doing nothing to correct them.

Today I don't feel a massive need to back peddle with some of these people because it might be complicated and almost feel like I am apologizing for deceiving them. Plus to be honest I enjoy being seen and accepted as a female as it validates my identity. Our shell is just a wrapping for who we really are on the inside.

Your own self-assessment may be different than mine and as long as the goal is a harmonious existence, you will be well served by the sense of calm you achieve and, towards that end, no apologies are owed to anyone.

Self-respect

People aren't malicious and are usually at most self centered but once you have made enough overtures towards being fully accepted, sometimes it's better to stop trying. Once we understand that we are a transgender person who respects their own identity, others should come to us particularly when they know all too well it hasn't been an easy road for you.

I have plenty of friends and acquaintances many of whom know nothing of my past plus my wonderful children and that is enough for me. So while not all family members are equally on board, that no longer matters compared to the self-esteem I now hold for myself with respect to who I am.

It's interesting how some family members will defend others by saying that they may not be comfortable with you that way which speaks to the shockingly obtuse self-interest often involved here. However, to protect our psyche a stand must sometimes be made and in so doing some people may get the message but if they do not, you wish them the best all the same and move on.

It's why I so often write about what all this means to you first and foremost.

Friday, December 15, 2023

Poltical vengeance

Joe Biden is being persecuted out of political spite. After all, the Republican party is now in lockstep behind a lunatic who is presently being tried in the courts for his numerous crimes. All house Republicans voted to impeach for an offense they are still trying to determine, which shows how dysfunctional the American political system has become. The next step will authoritarian state bolstered by a Taliban-like foundation of white nationlist fundamentalist crazies.

The point here is payback for going after and impeaching the orange turd

If you don't recognize the US you are not alone and as bad as I knew Trump's election would be for the country, I was not quite as prepared for a fall this drastic and this quick. The rot lay underneath waiting for decades and it just took the dissatisfaction of the general population with a now dead American dream to light the fuse.

James Comer is a poor goober who has been elected to an office he wasn't remotely prepared for and like many of his evangelical colleagues is basing his motivations of a kind of Biblical vengeance. This is how a very limited person thinks and there are many more like him out there.

What a surprise.



At its most basic

Sometimes simplying things is best which is why basic self questioning along the lines of "who I am" versus "what I do" can be extremely useful. I have sometimes read comments like "I don't know why I do this only I that know I need to" almost suggestive of a compulsion which would then invite more questioning about why we would express it in that fashion. Conversely, others may be very certain that they are well immersed in a sense of identity.

The point here is we need to establish how much weight and relevance the impetus towards gender variance holds for us and whether it is pastime or considerably more and, if it is the latter, then we reflect on how much more. 

Without understanding its relevance and meaning, we won't be able to give it the attention it needs or does not which is about establishing perspective.

Thursday, December 14, 2023

December Skies

 


Chill Pill

We could all do with being a little nicer and more relaxed and I find that retiring has made me realized how much I needed to work on this. The daily stress of fast-paced life now produces people who are constantly on alert largely through a digital connectedness which is unrelenting. The emails, text messages and social media posts pour in without mercy and we never get a respite.

I don't doubt for a moment that our quality of life has been bettered by technology and yet we are more impatient and easily rattled when things don't work as fast as they are supposed to. Some teachers are already complaining about generation Alpha's entitlement which they say is replete with snarky attitudes and lack of manners in the classroom. Maybe it's because we expect everything to work to our liking lest we become irritable.

I ride the metro and almost everyone has nose buried in a device which we can almost consider an extension of our anatomy (no doubt that's next) and I almost wouldn't mind if we found a way to roll back the clock and figure out ways to get our innocence back without necessarily returning to our old rotary phones.

Maybe a massive dose of societal chill pill.





Balancing act

A balancing act within a committed relationship is hard enough without one of the partners being in any way gender variant. I know all too well because I lived it with the added bonus that I was less than enthusiastically self-accepting even after I thought I was there.

Of course there is no guide book here and in the end everyone pours water into their wine to arrive at a compromise which, in many cases, pleases no one perfectly. This scenario is made only worse if the person comes out well into the relationship.

I am not the best suited to advise or even the best role model (I am alone), but will only say that arriving at a solution which respected core identity produced a more content person than one living with each foot tenuously and simultaneously in one of two camps.

Your own mileage will undoubtedly vary.

Regret rate

Using detransitioners as models as to why people shouldn't transition is as innanely stupid as saying because one person's knee surgery wasn't successful, no one else's will be. In other words, it is more agenda driven propaganda from advocates of drowning transgender people in the bathtub.

That I am friends with people who have successfully transitioned and are happy is proof enough for me. Plus when I saw the endocrinologist Dr. Morris before finally abandoning my consideration of the HRT process, he told me much the same although he confirmed not all his patients did so fully.

In fact, for those who take a carefully thought out and measured approach, the regret rate is far less than that knee surgery I used as example.

Where we are today

If at their basic root, transvestism is wanting to wear the clothes of the opposite sex and transsexualism the desire to physically embody it, how are they related if at all and are they simply offshoots of the same tree.

Both typologies have been known to experience arousal with one arguably sometimes seeking it as target while the other as side effect of a longing to be the other sex which predates puberty. I used to feel sure that Harry Benjamin's graded spectrum was correct but was unsure about the areas in the middle (specifically types III and IV) which seemed to suggest less committed forms of transsexualism.

Today I am less stringently doctrinal to following any one model as they are all imperfect attempts at formalizing observed behaviour. This is why I feel it's best to worry less about labeling oneself as finding pragmatic solutions which are the least invasive but are conducive to optimum life balance. This way there is less possibility of regret as the guardrails today have largely been removed.

Even what we assess to be very insistent trans kids need to be watched carefully because my now bearded and tall nephew finally turned out to be an openly gay man and, after burning off the princess dress phase of his childhood he became less committed to femininity.

For his part Ray Blanchard took what we used to term tranvestic fetishism (which still exists) and tried to generalize that label to all gynpephilic-leaning transsexuals through his inventing of the AGP sexual disorder. This was less well-intentioned error than an agenda driven tactic from a baby boomer gay man who, by nature of his education, was far more likely to view such anomalies as pathology. Putting everyone in the same barrel was expedient for him but it left huge holes which many if not most clinicians regularly point out today. That most Blanchard advocates are aligned with the right wing and TERFS tells you much about the intent to discredit.

In addition, most gender variant people are only marginally more educated in this topic than the general population which makes this era more a little more prone to error. However I feel this is counteracted by my great joy that people can begin to explore their identities far earlier in life.

The urbanity

North America has a housing affordability crisis and the video below explains how many older cities like Chicago built from the ground up and allowed for more dense neighborhoods to sprout which accommodated a diverse and growing population.

What we have done post war is to allow urban sprawl to increase unchecked making us slaves to cars and in many cases creating bedroom communities where access to services was via malls which are now largely dying thanks to online shopping.

I live in a pre-war dense neighborhood which mixes commerce with housing which today is unfortunately illegal to build in Canada. We need to go back to the drawing board and start over particularly with the rapidly changing nature of work and family structures....




Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Real life satire

 There are no words...


Dodo / Lurker

 


The Handmaid's Tale

Cate Cox couldn't wait for Texas to join the 21st century and left the state to get her needed abortion. Having embraced draconian measures thanks to hitching its wagon to the fire and brimstone fervor of its nutty evangelical base, the GOP has proven to be every bit the radical product of what happens when you lose your humanity and your common sense. For his part Texas attorney general Ken Paxton is a philandering and corrupt hypocrite, but that doesn't matter to a party whose "Orange Jesus" is himself severely morally challenged.

The Republicans' decades-old southern strategy certainly paid off in spades except now it has spawned a monster that can no longer be stopped other than at the ballot box and, if Americans value their individual rights, they won't just rely on Jack Smith to get a conviction. That is unless they prefer encroachment towards a real life version of "The Handmaid's Tale"



Self appraisal

I think a lot about how my life has changed and the lion share of it has been mental attitude which then naturally impacts the physical. I cannot overemphasize how important it is to remove preconceived ideas regarding who your were taught to be; the caveat being that we do so with an open mind and we don't talk ourselves into things without sufficient introspection.

Self labeling is fine but that does not necessarily give us a path forward. This is why other than understand that I did not intentionally create my own situation, I stopped worrying and started feeling which was what finally opened the door to an answer. Giving in to natural instincts which were always there then allowed for a proper and most importantly mature self appraisal for, if we are reflecting on core identity, this is not a game and I am an adult.

If we are too quick to self-label we potentially open ourselves up to either overestimate or underestimate where we need to be to find balance.

Question the self

I was educated to think logically and critically and to come to conclusions only when we have sufficient evidence to do so. Agendas work the other way however, where a conclusion is decided upon and evidence sought to justify it. That much of the world operates on the latter method is not all that surprising.

When I began writing I held certain ideas which were helped along via emotional investment but over time I evolved my thinking as I resolved the angst.

We should be open to have our minds changed by becoming careful students of the self. We question why we believe something about ourselves, others or the world in general and carefully examine its merit rather than simply justify it blindly as the change-averse conservative is apt to do.

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Great tandem

I really like Jesse Dollemore and his wife Brittaney Page. Not only do they fully support transgender rights, but I also love their politics.

Have a listen....


Self-indulgence

Protecting the self is pivotal especially knowing the world can sometimes be cruel and as we age we hopefully become more cognizant of how to achieve a balance to avoid becoming abrasive. Older people tend to lose their filter and indeed this has occurred with me.

I talk to strangers more readily, am more self-assured yet also more primed to react to the worst instincts of some people. Whereas I would swallow my tongue in youth, now there is more instinct to express opinion freely but without intent to injure.

When you are an introvert you tend to observe before you leap and indeed this has been my reliable method bolstered by a natural youthful shyness now largely burned off. We want to avoid appearing cocky but possess just enough confidence which does away with false pretense and embraces humility and empathy for others.

The more we are at peace, the less we have need of overt self-indulgence.

My turn

I know that I would have little trouble finding a partner in what is almost 2024 if I began to look. The issue is that I do not want to for fear of spoiling a very good thing. I am happy and want that to last and having to deal with someone else's baggage at this age is a risk which doesn't appeal to me. I know how life works only too well and at this point, it would literally take a gift to fall into my lap.

It's interesting how I used to fear coming out for the consequence of rejection and now I am in the position of doing the rejecting.

We are a constant work in progress and thank God for it.

Narratives

When I was first exploring who I was, reading other people's narratives during the advent of the internet and beyond was a way to find commonality. One storyline involved finding bra or panties in a hamper, trying them on and being aroused thus beginning a lifelong pattern. Another was the child before going to sleep wishing to magically become a girl upon waking up the next morning. These two narratives could be considered archetypes for people we then either called transvestites or transsexuals as they tended to repeat.

Then there were others that were less obvious and more unique where the road was less clear both for the person themselves and certainly the reader looking for shared experience.

We have all performed this search in finding our own personal origin which was made more complex by the unique set of circumstances of each individual. The type of home environment, the cultural norms and religious beliefs all playing into a cocktail that is very difficult to dissect with perfect precision.

The idea of both predisposition and biological origin fascinated me because together they feed into the concept of a nature and nurture mix which could be argued is a likely culprit. Here I deliberately leave out adults who begin out of curiosity (call them hobbyists if you will) because they fall out of my interest group which is between birth and the advent of puberty where most gender variance is formed.

The idea that you could reproduce any one situation in a laboratory is ludicrous simply because too many variables are at play and the precise recipe has far too many ingredients to make their exact proportions known. In that sense we may be hard pressed to find a sole smoking gun.

My conclusion has been to simply think that if a formula is possible, it is bound to happen. One of the many possible permutations towards creating a human being.

Monday, December 11, 2023

The biggest one yet

Years ago few could have imagined that a sociopathic personality could do so much harm to the office of the presidency and yet here we are. There is presently an unraveling happening, a coarseness which was previously thought part of ancient history being fed by a kind of charlatanism upheld by social media chaos; the great equalizer for the malevolent and the ignorant.

The parallels with the early 20th century are clear and the lessons of history worth recalling because failure to learn from them virtually guarantees their repetition. The drastic change alone from 1930 to 1940 should be enough of a reminder about how quickly things can turn sour.

Trump didn't invent ignorance, stupidity, arrogance or deception but he is the type of figure who personifies them and somehow capitalizes on the temperature and mood of a society to catapult themselves into leadership. These despots expose the rot that lives within every culture that you don't dare encourage and even while others have done the same and met their downfall, we risk ignoring how much damage can be done before they eventually get there.

Americans keep saying their next election is the biggest one yet but I think it's fair to say it's no longer an exaggeration. That many people have no idea what they are doing at the ballot box should not exactly surprise you if you've lived long enough and maybe justifiably worry you.




Both a long way

I don't take pictures of myself except when I get excited about a thrift store purchase to check the fit. Patricia found this sweater dress which she said was screaming out to me. Sure enough she was right and when I put it on at home it was perfect. I was so sure it would work in fact that I don't bother trying it on in the store which was bustling this past Saturday. Just picking it up and inspecting it with outstretched arms clinched the deal which is what happens when you know what fits your body.

Paired with black leggings and winter booties it was exactly what I was still missing in my wardrobe and am wearing it today when meeting my sister who is visiting from Vancouver; the one who 16 years ago was threatening to perform an exorcism on me when I came out to her. At that time I felt sure I had at most a childhood-developped penchant for dressing I could keep in check and still lead a "normal" life; an idea which my continued introspection would eventually prove to be completely false.

Needless to say we have both come a long, long way.




Turbulence

Without a doubt this is the most turbulent geopolitical climate of my lifetime. There is great post-pandemic uncertainty plus a definite push towards authoritarian rule and not just in America. Argentina and the Netherlands are the latest to flirt with populist rhetoric promising to fix the ills of their respective societies.

That we are now paying for the sins of Neoliberalism is without a doubt part of the malaise. First world nations allowed capitalists to farm out their industries to lower nations so they could pay meager wages which did nothing but worsen the lives of their own citizenry who are going to storm the Bastille. January 6th in the US was just a preview of more to come.

Not all people understand the mechanisms at play which got us here but they can feel the pinch when they try to buy food or look for housing they can't afford and settle for living in their cars.

Who would have thought that short sightedness and greed have a way of coming back to bite you.




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 ...