Thursday, February 29, 2024

Maxx

A cautionary tale about being careful especially when young. It's not for everyone...


The witch hunt brigade

There is simply far too much stupid and evil to fix in this world. But listen to this man and his brilliant pushback during a school board meeting....

RIP Richard Lewis

 


In Tatters

Whatever shred of credibility the US Supreme Court had left is now in tatters. The most radical right wingers within its ranks decided that sparing the odious Trump the indignity of being tried by Jack Smith was worth a jettison of their reputation. Here I think of Alito, Thomas, Barrett and Kavanaugh.

Waiting to the last possible minute to examine a lower court unanimous decision which even a third grader could come to clear conclusion on, is a stupid way to go down in flames. If I base myself on YouTube comments from deeply enraged Americans and the most level headed of the legal savvy pundits, this demonstrates both spectacular tone-deafness and hubris which will prompt justified changes down the road. All this to be able to run down the clock in avoiding the weight of justice from coming down on an insurrectionist.

Already smarting from conflict of interest accusations for accepting what are ostensibly bribes, this is the last thing this kangaroo court needed.

So much for a code of ethics.




Treating dysphoria properly

There are gender variant people who do not suffer from dysphoria, however for those who do, highly unresolved levels will leave them feeling that there is always something wrong. Conversely when we have arrived at the right solution, there will be no need to move to another level. In other words, once you are happy, do nothing else and stay there.

Many transgender people, particularly older ones, typically made critical life decisions before finding self-acceptance and were therefore constrained in their ability to treat their dysphoria. This led to episodes of anxiety and sometimes depression plus that horrible build up of "gender expression deprivation anxiety" where the thoughts can become obsessive. What we aspire to do is find a baseline where this disappears or is at least better mitigated.

For some people this will be medical or social transition but it doesn't need to be. A more frequent expression cycle can work for those with milder levels of dysphoria with the goal of reducing the peaks and valleys. I know I am much happier having accomplished this and I am now simply fine tuning my psyche because decades of repression do take their toll.

Knowing there isn't one magic formula but instead a very unique one for every individual which takes into account many factors should help us. Our barometer for success will be our increased calm, sense of well-being and hopefully an increase in self-respect which comes from also having treated any remaining stigma.

Certainly a transgender person being with a non-accepting partner does little for their self-esteem but that should be viewed from the lens as being the spouse's own mental blockage more than ours. This would be especially true if they have known from the outset
 and purport to love their partner fully instead of conditionally.

Jam

Blind from birth but what a talent....


Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Clown show

Profoundly embarrassing....


Allies sound the alarm

Who can blame them for being dismayed. Most of us are...


Crank

I don't know about you, but I've always wanted to get the views of Dr Phil McGraw on the current political and cultural landscape. I will now remove my tongue from my cheek.

There's something particularly off-putting about a cranky television psychologist showing up on FOX news, Joe Rogan and other right-leaning outlets to weigh in on what he has concluded is cultural decay. With a tendency to be smarmy and condescending, the reality is that Dr. Phil has no pedigree other than his appeal to older boomers eager for confirmation that the world is going to hell in a handbasket.

Of course he will appeal to the Ma and Pa voters who want to hear there are only two genders and who will nod their head in complete agreement with Phil's assessments. The blockhead voter who does not want to think too hard will be happy to have him put his two cents in because they saw him on what increasingly over time became tawdry reality television.

David Pakman, who is a much more clever and patient soul, does his best here and clearly exposes Phil's limitations as a pundit and world problem solver. Okay, I will stop rolling my eyes now....


Belief

People will believe who you are provided you do as well.

For it will show.

Fair

If life doesn't seem fair it's because it isn't. Fairness is even an odd term because upon reflection it is a highly relative one. There are rich people we might envy who are miserable and seek escape from their existence. There are also those who have very little and yet are deeply content. Even physical suffering sometimes stumps us as we wonder how a disability does not hinder some from feeling great joy.

We are enigmatic creatures who often make our own misery by drowning in what is ostensibly a glass of water and once perspective sets in, we subsequently marvel at our short-sightedness.

We will sometimes create our own misery by feeling we are not deserving and wallow in self-pity rather than get what we want thus creating our own sense of unfairness.

Innocents

Close to 30,000 Palestinians have died so far in Gaza, apparently the price to be paid for payback. Some don't die and simply have limbs amputated without anesthetic, among them children, which I suppose is to be considered a blessing.

Invariably it is always the innocents who pay the heaviest price.

The price we pay

There's a price for denying identity and I have paid it in full. For many years you deny and bottle up using pressure relief valves to manage. Distractions like work and children take care of the rest.

If you are like me, your reasons for not honoring identity fall away with time and eventually there is nowhere else to go. I may be one of the most stubborn transgender people you will ever encounter because even as the barriers to authenticity dropped I still resisted.

Being overly analytical both helped and deterred me. While I avoided falling into traps, I also stopped myself from simply feeling and succumbing to instinct by rationalizing away my authenticity as somehow not being native to me despite my feelings dating to earliest memory. That I have no regrets it is because, after enormous amount of introspection, I was finally able to steer a steady course towards a more than viable solution.

Belonging to 1% of the population is not remotely obvious but I got over it as I found my identity outside the judgement of a world that increasingly made less sense as I aged.

Thus I decided to become fully myself.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

This kinda describes me

 


Out of the Blue

 EJ does prog :)


Self-hate

It may not surprise you to learn that some of the most rampant homophobia comes from people who are gay themselves. Over the last few years some GOP politicians and even evangelical pastors have been caught in the act of hypocrisy proving that there is no hate quite like self-loathing.

Nothing is more powerful because since it is so deeply embedded in the psyche, it colors the entire behavior and mindset of an individual. It isn't just passion about one issue but instead akin to being immersed in a bath which encourages negativity.

The more vocal someone is about a cultural issue the more suspicious I am that they suffer from personal trauma surrounding it. I look at the cast of characters currently in the forefront of the right-wing mediasphere and recognize that a cottage industry made up solely of grievance means you aren't a particularly happy person. Imagine spending large chunks of your time finding flaw with others. Some no doubt do it for money but I am betting it's also to unleash the frustration of their own failings onto others.

The more we achieve self-assurance and love of self as we are, the more we will just let others be.

Misinformation

Recently I had the unenviable task of defending the rights of transgender people in front of two ladies who don't know my history. One is a retired 90 year old pediatrician (who looks 70) and the other my friend Pierrette who is in her mid 70's. I would say that I was successful but once again it was confirmed to me that people are not well informed. In fact over a number of years I had to educate even my now 65 year old GP so clearly there is much lack of knowledge out there. This is sometimes true among gender variant people themselves.

The ladies listened attentively and agreed no one should be discriminated against for being who they are which is my policy for all humans provided they are not hurting anyone else.

Some of you may think I am copping out in not coming out to these people but I do so on a case by case basis and when I feel in my bones that it is warranted. I met them in a happenstance fashion and I feel it is no more an obligation than announcing your orientation upon first meeting someone.

Nevertheless, what I am realizing more and more is that gender expression, gender identity and sexual orientation tend to get jumbled up in the heads of the general public. The good news is that what I am largely seeing is well-intentioned curiosity rather than fear and hostility. I have faced zero backlash among all the people I have come out who have all embraced me with open arms.

Therefore, despite the current fringe right-wing lunatic backlash which is steeped largely in last ditch desperation, I feel we are generally headed in the right direction.

By age 60

Living in the present moment is something to aspire to and by the time we reach 60 we are hopefully closer than ever. Not everything in our life is perfect but we may have acquired the perspective that comes with knowing that we have overcome many obstacles and that many of our worries turn out to be false alarms.

If we are ever going to be full-fledged adults there is no better time for it because we may have arrived at the optimum state between still having some physical prowess while making the best of our acquired life experience.

Letting go of societal trappings becomes paramount at this stage and being able to see through things that others are still hung up over should be our superpower since contentment can only be generated from within.

Monday, February 26, 2024

Burning Rope

 


Implosion

 


My current thoughts on arousal

If, like me, you trace your cross gender identification to before puberty you may have been as mortified as I was to experience both erections and orgasms upon commencing it. Suddenly something which had previously been pure was now stained by an unwelcome erotic element I did not understand and for many years became the main impediment to accepting my identity as a transgender person.

Prepubescent feelings this strong  cannot possibly be immune to sexuality because well before we come of age we have been told that they are not to be indulged. As a result an unfulfilled longing can become endowed with an element which was previously absent. Wheras prior to puberty there had only been serene and welcome comfort, this was something we had not bargained for. Thus began my long history of purging.

One problem is that in largely puritanical western culture, sexuality had taken on overtones of being dirty and even undesirable. Christian couples were to have sex solely to procreate and masturbation was a sin worthy of confession. Small wonder then that transsexuals appearing before clinicians downplayed any erotic aspects for fear of being identified as deviants. Eventually Ray Blanchard, an undoubtedly self-hating creature of his era, would more than gladly take up that mantle later.

So rather than fixate on this aspect, we should place it within the bigger question of where it fits within our psychology. In other words, is it a desired goal or instead a manifestation of not entirely fulfilled identity. 

An invisible boundary

In the best of times family dynamics can be complex affairs. There are members we get along with better than others and after a while we are left reflecting on what value we bring to each other especially after a pandemic which offered both distance and opportunity of reflection.

As a natural introvert my preference is always for one on one interaction and putting me in a large and raucous group, only sees my energy and patience both quickly depleted. I have been known to do my best however to make it work.

Once a transgender person moves beyond a boundary line within a family structure where their identity introduces discomfort, a distancing is sometimes required to preserve both our mental health and self-respect. In the past we may have acquiesced to avoid awkwardness but once a boundary line is crossed we feel the need to establish a different connection. A "rapprochement" (en bon Francais) must be established where new bridges are built and unfortunately the track record of success here tends to be at best mixed. Some will get with the program and others won't.

Whether this redefining of connection is even desirable is up to both parties to determine because basing ourselves solely on shared history is, in my view, not at all sufficient. But we leave the door ajar just in case.

Open books

If I could have changed one thing about myself over my life it would have been to calm my penchant for overthinking and analyzing people. I work on this to reverse a well-developped cynicism honed on the backs of unpleasant incidents which taught me to be careful. All the more so when I had a secret identity to protect.

Today my favorite people tend to be those who are open books. I don't care about their education or background and focus more on their genuine spirit, emotional intelligence and a self-assurance which celebrates who they are. They encourage me to let my own guard down and their lack of pretense is refreshing.

So many of us deveopped masks as self-defense mechanisms that we may have forgotten to remove them as we got older. We found that they worked well enough and that persona may have become fused to our psyche such that it became confused for the real us. No better culprit for this particular affliction than the transgender person who felt a deep and largely justified obligation to avoid being injured.

Today I have dropped any remaining mask I still wore entirely and am more open than ever. I still ponder concepts of course but people are just weighed on their authenticity and their kindness. No further analysis required.

No longer surprised

Liz Truss addressed the CPAC conference which has increasingly become over the years a gathering of right wing fringe crackpots. In 2022 she was briefly the UK prime Minister and her speech did not miss the chance to repeat the word "woke" several times not did she miss the opportunity to attack transgender people while stopping short of endorsing the vile, odious and orange-tinged GOP front-runner.

Conservative movements all over the world have been polluted by cultural strawmen arguments because it helps attract less than brilliant voters. It does not matter what the politician believes but rather what they can sell to their electorate in order to gain power. Cultural shifts are stoking fear in people and this can be capitalized and since conservatism wasn't winning with more libertarian platforms preaching fiscal restraint which were increasingly lining the pockets of the already wealthy, they needed red meat for those easily duped to vote against their own interest.

The rise of Christian nationalists in the US is a good example of what happens when you court a segment of the population and give them a voice even if their views are deeply antithetical to what the majority believes. In Alabama embryos are now children and we don't have to imagine too hard a world that makes Margaret Atwood and her fictional vision of a twisted dystopia seem entirely plausible.

My father always told me how surprised I would be as I got older to discover the way the world really works; the machinations of the Machiavellian as well as the massive ignorance of the hopelessly gullible.

I'm not surprised any longer.





Sunday, February 25, 2024

Derek's Goodbye

Derek and I are the same age and the cancer he has makes this his last video...


Well-meaning

Gender variance runs the gamut of all expression and identity which falls outside of societal expectation from birth sex. It can cover the range from enjoying wearing women's underwear under one's clothing to full blown transsexualism leading to medical transition. 

Unfortunately, we are at a junction where our language has not kept up with the changing societal landscape which means we are risking people getting confused about what action to take to find a comfortable baseline. The public is even more confused which has been the perfect opening for gender criticals with malintent to pounce. I cannot count how many times over the years I have explained fundamental distinctions in gender theory to even the very well-meaning who honestly want to understand the topic. At least this gives me hope.

I have long preached that a relaxation of gender norms would help many to find peace because at the root of much suffering has been social stigma. Some people have even transitioned because they did not want to be what they felt was the wrong shade of gender variant. We are getting there but it will take time.

Most people are earnest and well-meaning and if I base myself solely on public reaction I see daily to gender variance of various forms, we are headed in the right direction. 
For the public hardly even bats an eyelash. Even less so when we demonstrate that we know who we are.

The Numbers

The price of food hasn't stabilized as much as other commodities and a recent report in Canada broadcast on the program "The Fifth Estate" went over the numbers. When you look at the increased cost during and after the pandemic the math isn't adding up when it comes to the final prices ending up on grocery store shelves.

In the US it is no better and the two largest egg producers had not long ago been found to have been colluding on price fixing. Clearly the pandemic offered some of these companies the opportunity to justify price increases under the guise of passing on higher costs of things like fuel and transport. The problem is that only some of that was true.

Increasingly life for the average person is becoming difficult. Wage increases have not kept up with rising costs and people are feeling the pinch. Having one job is sometimes not enough and a couple can no longer dream of the luxury of having only one income earner support to pay for basic needs. Look for YouTube videos for inventive people showing you how they live in their car as a stark reminder that all is not well.

The current capitalism model is a failure for an increasingly large segment of society as the only people advancing are those with enough spare capital to invest in markets that pay them dividends. In other words, the already wealthy are getting wealthier. Greed is most certainly a factor here which is proving itself to be a great miscalculation if one considers the overall health of a society as an important metric.

My children's generation will be worse off than mine was which is not something we planned to happen. It's just that economies as well as empires are cyclical things with their rise and fall as inevitable as death and taxes. Not to mention that far more people in this world than is good for us are short-sighted and greedy idiots.



Saturday, February 24, 2024

Moving forward

 



Misgendered

Getting misgendered is hardly earth shattering and I have even seen it happen to genetic men and women who typically don't become enraged by it. If it happens to you and it melts your confidence I simply suggest its a good idea to work on getting over it. I might be gendered correctly 90% of the time but that 10% does not bother me in the least particularly when I see someone in thick glasses doing the misgendering who may have been motivated simply by physical size.

The more work we do on our internal sense of self, the better off we will be since the world does not care about our feelings as much as we do. Much of the misgendering is not even meant as injury and yet some transgender people become very indignant when it happens to them. But if we are larger than the average woman and possess the voice of a baritone its going to happen more often than we might like.

The other day I was eating with a friend and she pointed to someone she was certain was a female. Upon closer inspection however she realized it was a slightly built male with long hair. The transgender woman I saw in the metro yesterday was over 6' but she had confidence to spare which was plainly evident and I doubt very much she was a wilting flower.

"C'est la vie" we tell ourselves.

Being questioned

I love questioning from others which makes me rethink my position on some issue. Yes I am generally quite well informed but am not so stubborn as to think my views on everything are the correct ones. Being open to being wrong is a good idea if our goal is to grow as individuals rather than maintain positions to protect fragile egos.

We are the product of input from our parenting and society which we must then analyze over time to ascertain its veracity. We are all prone to personal myopia.

I have refined my thinking over my lifetime on a whole host of subjects and will continue to because to rest on our laurels is to fall prey to mental stagnation. Plus we always need to be able to explain the why of our belief system so we can defend it to others.

Qualities

The journeys of transgender people are not remotely obvious but then very few journeys in life are. There are complexities to every existence and our job is to put them in perspective because it can be very easy to sometimes become despondent.

Every so often I fall into a depressive mood and reflect on how much better my life would have been without this burden. I know better and yet I cannot help but look back at my struggles with being different and how a life of secrecy had its significant impacts.

I possess more perspective now than at any point in my existence and yet my humanity makes me vulnerable to second guessing. So much of my life has been colored by who I am, that it is impossible now to consider what kind of person I might have been. I have always been this way.

However, forming part of a statistical norm is hardly an admirable life goal and what we instead should want is to celebrate those qualities which the best of us possess; qualities which have little to do with whether one is transgender or not.

Purpose and meaning



Friday, February 23, 2024

Mop up for Feb 23rd 2024

David Feldman makes me feel like there is hope and if nothing else his acid tongue provides plenty of comic relief as therapy against the rampant stupidity of the political right....

Proud

I am so very proud of young transgender people and as I write this I am sitting close to one in the metro who is maybe 30. She is confident and tall and no one gives her a second look because she knows who she is.

Blind spots

We try to work on our blind spots which typically are the result of self protection techniques we developped over time starting in childhood. As someone who learned very early to be wary of people, I found ways to navigate society but always with an eye open for being singled out or ridiculed. As a result you fashion a persona which is close to who you are but trusts very hesitantly.

Therefore I developped a penchant for using intellect to judge those who I thought deserved my disdain particularly if they combined, what I had determined, was ignorance combined with arrogance. This made me develop a blind spot against giving people more of a chance.

It takes a lot of introspection sometimes to dissect what blocks us from becoming better people and life often does not help us by offering us early trauma before we are prepared for it. So we work backwards as we get older and surgically remove those elements which have stalled our progress towards fulfillment which is not to be confused with being permanently happy; for that is a myth.

Purpose, self-confidence and motivation are what drives happiness and all are not attained through financial means. They are entirely free and yet often much more elusive than we would like since they require effort of reflection.

True lives

Of course most gender variant people have had varying levels of trouble with love. I know of very few who haven't (unless living in almost complete repression) with the stronger your dysphoria and need to do something about it, the more that it becomes a minefield. Even my friend Sherry whose transition at 25 allows her to live in stealth has struggled with the guilt about not telling her partner.

Since gender is such a fundamental building block of our existence, contravening it can produce very negative reactions. Young Brianna Ghey lost her life at 16 because of its effect on two misguided teens who were one year her junior.

Most people would tolerate a gender variant or transgender friend but as a partner it's a toss up which is generally in disfavor. So we decide who we are first and proceed with that as priority letting the beacon of authenticity do the talking. If nothing else we are living true lives.

Abby Normal

A scene from one of my all-time favorite comedies....pure genius


Thursday, February 22, 2024

Mathew Whitaker

Now that's cookin'....


How almost dying taught me about living

 


Brianna Ghey

Sentencing of two teens for the murder of transgender girl Brianna Ghey who was stabbed 28 times.


"In a World..."

"In a World..." surprises you because you don't think that a movie about the voice-over industry will have the impact that it does. Quirky and unconventional, it has that independent film feel without compromising quality. Nothing of the plot is telegraphed because it treats its characters as real people who are liable to do anything. There are scenes here which serve more as have us understand motivation than develop a plot because real life is indeed equal parts messy and beautiful.

I heartily recommend this film to you because not only will it touch your funny bone but your heart strings as well.

Life itself is a dramedy is it not?

On Netflix.



Traffic

My traffic is creeping up which is only relevant to me if it means I am being helpful in some way. For in the end our goal is to be healthy and well-adjusted beings with both empathy and charity for others as well as towards ourselves.

How fear works

Fear is something which affects most of us. Fear of the unknown, of public opinion, of being embarrassed, etc. The variations are endless and we spend huge amounts of time worrying about things that almost never happen. My own life experience has taught me this in spades.

Letting go of fear involves watching ourselves from outside our own bodies and reflecting on how much it affects us. Instead of being in the grip of it, we want to watch it as if we were viewing a film. We detach ourselves from the experience and find another vantage point to gain some measure of objectivity..

Imagine you have a thorn in your body and rather than remove it you spend energy trying to protect yourself from running against things which irritate it. Removing it solves the problem, but the second option involves permanent methods to avoid pain since the thorn remains embedded and exposed to being aggravated. One is a solution while the other becomes an unresolved part of our existence; in essence it becomes attached to our lifestyle.

This is how fear works so we endeavor to free ourselves from it one step at a time.



Which box?

Quora sent an email which featured recent questions posed on the site. One of them went as follows:

"Can a straight person identify as LGBTQ without it being cultural appropriation?"

He went on to explain that he was a straight male, married, father to 4 kids and he often dressed as a woman with the support of his wife. He said it was for comfort and not thrills and said he doesn't know which letter he falls under.

Of course this is a familiar theme and the answers he received were largely reassuring. Most said he didn't need a box to fit into and being happy is what counts and one was even jealous of his great legs. The photo accompanying the post is below and shows a tastefully dressed person possibly in his mid to late thirties.

We all want assurances that we aren't crazy or deviants but at the end of day this is always about us at our core. Our understanding of our identities must come from within and must not be defined through comparison. Even if we appear to fit within an established archetype, there is still too much variation among humans to keep adding letters to capture everyone into perfectly descriptive boxes.

For in the end, we are simply ourselves.



Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Do NOT open this door!

 


David Feldman

Ladies and gentlemen, the brilliant and razor-witted David Feldman.... 

What we relish

The older lady yells at her husband as if he were a child . The bus was coming and they risked missing it. Suddenly he appears looking confused and makes me think perhaps he is suffering from dimensia.

She asked me if I minded that they went ahead of me and I heartily reassured her that I was in no rush.

Getting old isn't obvious and sometimes my mother will drop phrases asking why at 87 she is still here. Her ability to take the long walks I still cherish leaves her with frustration because the body isn't able to enjoy what the still sharp mind wishes deeply to do.

This coming March my father would be turning 90 if his cancer had not overcome him 30 years ago.


Age of the idiot

The current era we live in is proof that stupidity and ignorance are permanent fixtures of our existence. Trumpism and its delusions cured whatever remaining hope I may have had that humans advance as a species. Instead we seem to morph ourselves into different creatures depending on the era. It could be argued in fact that the anti-intellectualism of this period will forever be its trademark since any idiot can have their own brand and following.

This no longer astounds me but it does disappoint because I wanted to dare hope that more us were immune to carnival barkers and malevolent morons. Instead what was confirmed for me is that we have never been more susceptible to them than now.



That we are living

If we are waiting for the entire world to accept us before living then might as well give up now because it's just not going to happen. The best we can hope for is to develop a strong sense of self which can withstand the odd slur and even be able to brush it off.

I have found such peace in coming out that I cannot imagine going back into a closet which is why I encourage you to take little steps towards what you consider to be your desired baseline. Every nightmare scenario I imagined was proven to be completely wrong and if anything I have been embraced for what people tell me is my bravery. In reality we are no braver than anyone else only that after a while the fatigue of hiding works as a form of Chinese water torture where, near the end, each drop becomes exponentially more traumatic than the last.

My confidence was finally bolstered by a sense of outrage which saw hiding as a form of ultimate self-rejection for we have the same rights as any other human. That indignation has now been permanently stamped on my personhood such that I carry myself with an air that dissuades those who might be tempted to utter some nonsense. They can smell it.

Nevertheless I was often proven wrong in thinking that I had been "read" and would get older ladies commenting on my height rather than questioning my gender. I learned to relax and rid myself of the instinct to think the worst in people. In fact most of them are rather nice and some are downright exemplary.

We don't stop living because a minority of society is jealous that we are truly living and they are not. We live in spite of it.

Aberrance

In my view aberrance does indeed play a role in the life of transgender people but not because there is anything wrong with them. The aberrance is introduced when their natures butt up against societal reality during childhood development and they are made to understand that they are not normal. They are scolded and dissuaded from being who they are which then encourages the development of coping skills. As the child then passes through into puberty with unfulfilled and deeply held wishes, a burgeoning sexuality adds a new layer of complexity to the mix.

My view is that if the child is left alone to explore without negative messaging they will either indulge in a passing phase or conversely enter into a normal life as a transgender person who may or may not undergo a medical transition.

The older we currently are, the more likely that we were subject to stigma early on in life and that exposure had some consequences. Secret lives were developped as a result which then left differing levels of psychological impact depending on the individual and their personal level of dysphoria. In some cases the cross gender identification can become stunted and even remain infantelized because of the need for being compartmentalized due to life circumstance.

Transphobes will tell you that the transgender person is a product of pathology wheras I would suggest that it is instead the transgender person who quickly falls prey to the world and its own unique brand of pathology.

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

"Time to Leave"

Reminds me a lot of Metheny....


Blunt

If I am more blunt today than ever it is because I am more self-assured. However my bluntness is not meant as a weapon as it is merely the way I express myself which might rub some people the wrong way. I write as an explorer and not an entertainer because I want to get to the root of things. So much of our existence is couched in half-truths largely fashioned to spare people the full impact of reality.

Without the burden of stigma my vision has greatly improved over time and my sometimes dry style I attribute to having worked in a challenging profession for many years where walking softly and carrying a big stick was an asset. I can assure you however that my intentions are honorable because I cannot abide by unfair treatment and lies meant to discredit. In particular I have the most sympathy for those who are the most vulnerable to attack.

I just always want to get to the truth hidden behind all that hyperbole.

Two halves of a whole

One of the reasons I have never favored descriptions like gender fluid or bi-gender is that they suggest to me states of compromise instead of desired baselines. In other words, it is someone trying to navigate the difficulty of a desired situation against the reality of their lived experience and coming up with a name for it.

Personally I found living in two worlds difficult and all the more so when I used to view my cross gender feelings as an affliction. Today I have unified all of who I am into one being and wouldn't want to think of myself as two halves who lead separate lives.

I continue to maintain that I don't find this healthy for the psyche even as I acknowledge that there is no way around it for many due to previous life commitments. I just knew that continuing for me was leading to adverse conditions of anxiety I would not go back to. Certainly our identities cannot be defined simply because of our choice of clothing since there is far more to us than that and we want mature and cohesive identities which repatriate all aspects of ourselves.

This formula of two distinct halves can perhaps work if there is no gender dysphoria present or it is at least mild enough to not overly perturb the mental health. I would only say that if one is obsessively chomping at the bit until the next opportunity to express oneself, that there is material to examine since what we always strive for is peace and balance.

Monday, February 19, 2024

With increasing age

Another way to know you are dealing with core identity is that as your sexual energy depletes with age, your cross gender identification if anything will only strengthen. In his attempts to pathologiize transgender people, Ray Blanchard had an explanation for this of course because he needed something for his AGP theory to be true. Thus he cooked up an analogy which states that like a marriage, the love becomes less sexual in nature over time. In other words, you are still driven by aberrant sexuality only that it simply transforms itself.

That wonky science needs to close loose ends need not concern us but as  confirmation we are dealing with identity, we will note that nothing will shake our conviction with increasing age. But if with depleting sexual energy the need for cross gender expression also wanes, then we need to ask ourselves why.

Flawed

Like everyone else I am full of flaws and I try and chip away at them knowing that I will never perfectly succeed. There is too simply too much entropy and chaos in this world to have me perfect a formula which immunizes me from certain reactions.

It's enough to know that we have work to do which hopefully entrenches us in some humility which keeps us away from overly criticizing others. If we did nothing but work on ourselves the world would be a far better place.

Hate breeds in areas where our victimhood keeps us from acknowledging what we have done to feed into our own misery. So we look for outside sources before looking in the mirror which can be far more uncomfortable.

Ironing wrinkles

I sometimes warn people that retirement is not an obvious transition. If you have defined yourself by career goals it will only be more difficult because that sudden loss of relevance can jar us; all the more so if you live alone.

For me retirement was a doorway to living more authentically but even then calming the system down after decades in the same field takes time. After 16 months I am still adjusting to living outside the work bubble I lived in for over 3 decades as well as to an existence in a female gender role.

Over the last few years everything I believed in has been examined carefully helped along by the enforced solitude of the pandemic. Already well-suited for introspection as an introvert, I was able to ask myself point blank who I really was. In asking the question I realized I still had much cleanup in removing dictates I had bought into as a child as being absolutes.

The negative trappings of gender burrow their way into our psyches so perniciously that they require extra effort to eradicate. Someone with my level of gender dysphoria was never going to be able to survive on occasional outings as that bridge had been crossed many years before plus that life had been bolstered by work distraction. Thus I needed a new workable baseline post-career whose remaining wrinkles I am still ironing out so it's a g
ood thing then that I kept the iron.

Do I miss career? like I do a hole in the head. 



Will Ferrell Ally

 


Sunday, February 18, 2024

Suffering

Sometimes the limits of tolerance are tested on some people and inspire the rest of us regarding the capabilities of the human spirit.


Can't go wrong

How can you wrong with a just below the knee spring dress for only 10 bucks? the answer is you cannot.

I used to avoid dresses like the plague because they always felt too short and was always pulling them down but I got to know what suits me over time and I got over my fear of them :)



Sign of the times

 


Phases

The oldest of my nieces had a baby at a very young age and her daughter is now 14. I only discovered yesterday that she is gender questioning and my spider senses are tingling only because she is so young and is already identifying as "trans". The last time I saw her she had a short haircut and was wearing a boy's shirt but that did not set off any alarm bells.

What is most interesting is that it was the nephew I had estimated quite early to be either gay or transgender who informed me. At 23 he is tall, bearded and very much a gay male who is one of my son's closest confidants. They were confused for one another in high school.

Francesca now goes by Franky at school and there is talk of hormones from her which makes me wary in this new environment where all gender questioning often equals 'trans'. I only need think of examples like Shiloh Pitt to realize that some adolescents go through phases before settling in on who they truly are.

I am not going to meddle here since my brother and his wife are already sufficiently aware of their granddaughter's leanings and hopefully what needs to happen will in due time and with careful and measured consideration.

The roots of identity

Wikipedia defines identity thusly....

"....the qualities, beliefs, personality traits, appearance, and/or expressions that characterize a person or a group. Identity emerges during childhood as children start to comprehend their self-concept, and it remains a consistent aspect throughout different stages of life"

In essence this describes transgender people because belief in who they are plus expression remaining consistent throughout life are definite trademarks. Identity is not something one acquires but is intrinsic to the person. Additionally it does not necessarily always involve changes to physicality although some of us do make bodily changes to fortify authenticity and make living in society more possible.

My analytical mind struggled with the concept of identity for a very long time because I doubted that my situation was one which involved it. When you are not self-accepting you find ways to convince yourself that your feelings are not native to you but are acquired through some sort of childhood misfortune you did not ask for. The idea of pathology occurs to you repeatedly as you go into adolescence.

The more I read, the more I realized not all forms of gender variance were intrinsically wired and certain people were able to indulge in expression with much less investment or attachment. It helped me to realize how wide this sphere can be and it is how I began to recognize certain archetypes.

That sexuality is involved makes sense when one considers it is not an aspect one readily detaches from the whole person. The idea that identity was tainted because of it became a hypothesis which made less sense especially as I shook off my almost puritanical religious upbringing. This did not mean that some people didn't prioritize their cross gender expression with sexual energy, but that its mere presence in many did nothing to nullify an identity.

If we are dealing with something intrinsic to a person then its roots must always be there from the outset which is why transgender people need to comb their early history for signs to help them discover themselves and validate that they are not misguided in their self-assessment.

Saturday, February 17, 2024

You by my side

 


The importance of mindset

The best mindset for a transgender person is to comprehend intrinsically who they are irrespective of their external appearance. This will help us when transition or even living full time is not possible because identity isn't something scrubbed away by a change of clothes.

Yes, there are gender variant people more about pure expression but for those of us for which there is more, we can work on a psychology which embraces identity even when it's expression is compromised due to life circumstance.

This turned to be a pivotal step for me as I approached a more permanent solution to my dilemma since for those of us coming out later in life there is no simple way to make dramatic changes.

Happy

We do not pursue happiness but instead it comes on its own when we find meaning.



Blank slate

The natural state of the human when we are born is to be ourselves. There are instincts and a personality present very early on which if allowed to flourish give that individual a sense of self and a value to others. Unfortunately life also exposes each person to forces which threaten that unique spirit and have it be extinguished. We can spend years repairing damage done in childhood and only find our way back to a new starting point once we have built up sufficient immunity to stupidity and society's incessant celebration of the banal.

Our challenge to ourselves is to live each day with openness of spirit and kindness. We try to look past the aggression of other people towards us as a reflection of their own wounds suffered at the hands of others.

The world makes up artificial rules which people must abide by regardless of their basis in logic and we digest them because everyone else seems to have as well and so we don't dare stand out because of it.

In a sense we want to go back to that original soul who was born a blank slate and had nothing against anyone because they had no reason to.





Friday, February 16, 2024

Justice

And more to come until that pestilence is gotten rid of...


Will

Will is a gendarmes in the Antwerp police force in 1942 during the Nazi occupation and he is also an artist.

One night he and his partner are asked to accompany an SS officer to arrest a Jewish family who the Nazis say does not want to work. To save the family from the ruthless officer Will and his partner end up killing him which starts a whole descent into chaos for this sensitive man trying to survive during very trying times.

There are difficult scenes in this film which might haunt you but I watched it knowing that some of this brutality isn't exaggerated and reflected a harsh truth suffered by people who did nothing more than belong to the wrong religion.

Highly recommended and in Dutch with English subtitles.




Our worst enemy

Most of us are our own worst enemies. We stress over life's details and fail to put them into perspective. We will drown in the proverbial glass of water rather than just laugh something off which shouldn't have siphoned off nearly as much of our energy.

We care about what people think far too much and every move is measured against how society or family will assess us. It is a tragic waste of energy which deprives us of living life to the fullest.

What makes us happiest are contact with people we truly appreciate and fulfilling activities that give us purpose and meaning. The rest is useless and fleeting and only brings temporary satisfaction akin to eating fast food. It may feel good when being consumed but there is no nutritional value to be drawn from it.

I am increasingly improving as I age in my ability to not give a shit and it's helped me immeasurably. I say this about small insignificant things when put against the larger scheme of our lives are paltry concerns. As an example I used to see stepping out of a car and into a mall wearing a dress at 21 years of age as the scariest thing imaginable. I am able to laugh at myself with the perspective I have gained but it is not just about being a young petrified transgender person in the early 1980's since fear infiltrates all areas of our lives.

Many people are afraid to truly live and we should ideally not be among them.




Spotting

We've reached a point today where sometimes genetic females are accused of being transgender and I have seen and read a number of accounts regarding this phenomenon. Some of it stems from the rampant transphobia of some who cannot wait to have a "gotcha" moment but much of the rest is no doubt less toxic in intent.

Admittedly I have excellent radar but I have been fooled and recall years ago almost saying something to someone who upon closer inspection was a genetic female. This was before I took the formal oath to never out a transgender person. I let them do that if they like.

Female to male transgender persons are much harder to spot and indeed among the young transitioners I met with recently I would not have known they weren't born male if I met them on the street. The added power of starting transition in your twenties only bolstered their ability to meld into society.

Roulette

It's interesting to note how there are different typologies among gender variant people. For example, some will adopt a different persona while others will not. For one there will be a change of mannerisms, voice, etc. whereas for the other simply an enjoyment of the experience with no attempt to disguise a male self and core which is never truly questioned.

What fascinates me about this is that since socialization is such a potent force, some people learn to disguise feminine natures. However others have no such proclivities and yet enjoy the cross gender expression nonetheless. Therefore the feminine essence argument can fall away and pure expression becomes the only motivating force with most often a sexual aspect present especially if the expression begins at or after the age of puberty. 

So much is made of the feminine essence argument especially for androphilic male to female transsexuals but the reality is that many genetic women are not particularly feminine and often considerably less so than those who end up transitioning. So in essence you are left with a mixed bag of expression and identity (or essence if you will) with likely some genetics/propensity involved in the latter. Therefore how a person turns out truly becomes a spin of the roulette wheel.

Some people will transition and live in T shirts and jeans in virtual perpetuity wheras others will care very much about clothing and makeup which is pretty much the same statistical distribution you will find among genetic females.

What this shows me is that if a particular combination of factors (both genetic and sociological) is possible and can conspire to create an individual, then they likely will.



Thursday, February 15, 2024

"No hate like Christian love"

Phrases similar to the title of this post appear often online and in truth many people purporting to be Christian leave much to be desired. What many do is apply their version of a judgemetal orthodoxy which has little to do with the model that Christ proposed; one which was about turning the other cheek and not judge until you've dealt sufficiently with your own foibles.

Most of the true religious people I have met in my life were wonderful and joyous people and very secure in themselves. The wrong type of religion borders on an idiocy I cannot relate to but seems to work for some as a way to justify their own paths. Here I think of twisted philosophies like the prosperity gospel of Joel Osteen which tells you that God rewards the pious with material wealth.

The best way to live is to respect others and treat them well and, unless you have walked a mile in their shoes, you mind your own bloody beeswax.

Yes, that means you too transphobes.



Why?

Assume you don't "pass" ever. That is your baseline. I assume I never do because I don't care. We can't live in fear and most of us don't have perfect traits unless you transition very young or are naturally the perfect size.

If people take me for a genetic woman that's fine but I stopped worrying about that a long time ago as it liberates my mind. Most people have seen gender variant people and it's no longer a "thing" as it's 2024.

If you are a transgender person still living in a closet ask yourself why. Most people are too busy living to focus on you, so we just need to do the same to them.

For better or worse

At 61, living alone is something I would not readily give up. Yes, my daughter is with me but she occupies her own corner of the house and there are days we barely see each other. At 26 she has her own life and when she feels like it we will catch up over how things are going.

There is simply too much value for me in introspective solitude. I report to no one, live authentically and have plenty of friends to fill the void for company. I have learned far too much in life about human nature to play amateur psychologist for people who are not secure and my natural instincts to be a problem solver makes it so that I invariably lose out in the couple formula. I have no time for someone else's drama or baggage.

For the first time in my life I am prioritizing my own needs and with children in their mid 20's it is much easier to do that. Thus, this current status is not something I will readily give up any time soon.

For better or worse I was trained by parents who extolled the value of self-sufficiency and the power of life experience gives us an edge in that we see things coming far in the distance. I see people in relationships at all stages of life and don't envy them in the least simply because the complexities I once experienced remind me to be wary of giving up where I am now.

Been there, done that.

Purpose

 


Wednesday, February 14, 2024

40 and over

Particularly if you are 40 and older think about how much maturing you have undergone over your lifetime. Regardless of whether you want to transition or not, has you cross gender identification and expression matured along with everything else or has it lagged behind?

I focus on this age group because they were the most likely to have been the most heavily stigmatized by gender norms and stereotypes and thus more prone to have it become stunted. The older, the worse the programming.

Angry

Trump voters tend to be angry, white and disgruntled. They are frustrated with their economic situation and have fallen prey to the toxic messaging that foreigners, the LGBTQ agenda, the "woke", or some other strawman is out to get them. It is a rage vote rather than one for policy or agenda.

The GOP has nothing to offer its voters and since their main beneficiaries tend to be more well to do than average and can afford to invest in stock markets, the base of the party is fed rhetoric and conspiracy theories in exchange for votes.

When the middle class was healthy you could have a conservative party who talked fiscal responsibility and lower taxes and where the cultural rage was at least kept more quietly in a closet. For some reason cultural and fiscal conservatism cannot entirely be decoupled it seems and often come as a matched set. Now it's all cultural grievance run amok and little else.

The reality is that capitalism as it exists today has run its course and has only continued to enrich a small minority while the rest lose out. It is not sustainable and people can feel it. Many just don't understand the mechanisms that got us here and their anger is then exploited.



Remaking a town

 


Tuesday, February 13, 2024

A non-event

I had coffee this morning with an ex-colleague I have known for 35 years and it was a non-event. He didnt really bat an eyelash and was perfectly comfortable with me as Joanna. He asked a few questions which I happily answered and that was that. The rest of the time we talked about other topics including music since we are both musicians.

As we were going to part ways after a walk once we had left the cafe, he offered that I was being courageous. I responded that it wasn't courage but simply being fed up with suppressing authenticity for many more years than I cared to.

Again, I have not lost a single friend.

Focus

This site on average rarely exceeds 250 views per day and yet I am infinitely happier with it than with my old blog. My mind has never been more focused or clear and I would rather concentrate on content I am passionate about regardless of the size of the audience who reads it.

I learned years ago that any artist or content creator must above all please themselves and then allow those who appreciate it to find them. It is how I conduct my life in never compromising especially if I feel strongly about issues. Having greatly reduced stigma around being different allowed me to look up and view everything with much more clarity.

What this world needs is more empathy, intelligence, kindness, humility and civility and as I age I grow more weary of both fervent stupidity and malicious intent. Both are plentiful although thankfully do not reside in the majority of the population. What is distressing however is the realization with age that they are far more plentiful than I had hoped when I was younger.

So at its core this blog wants to shine a spotlight on justice in particular for those on the margins who have the least voice.

Like oil on water

When we don't know we truly are we won't be able to enter into a solid partnership with another person. Years ago I met a fellow and his wife who came to Montreal maybe twice a year with him dressed as a woman. Over our dinner she came to understand that her husband and I were not the same animal and admitted she would not have wanted a partner who was like me.

Understanding who we are becomes pivotal if we want perfect honesty and acceptance of our core identity. However if our cross gender expression is just something we do on occasion and isn't tied to identity then it need not hold the same import other than an agreement regarding its frequency. Regardless, absolute transparency is paramount because without that we don't have much of a foundation.

My ex-spouse now understands quite well about my identity and is sympathetic. Her work has a zero tolerance policy for any type of discrimination and they have had transgender people apply to them. Back in 2008 I wasn't as tuned in to who I am and the rest of the world knew almost nothing of this issue in general but over time all floated to the top like oil on water. Arguably and 16 years later, much of the world is still very much in the dark.

That fellow emailed me recently asking about getting together again and how my life was and when I mentioned I had socially transitioned I did not hear back.

It did not come as unexpected.

Monday, February 12, 2024

Lover, Stalker, Killer

"Lover, Stalker, Killer" might have you swear off online dating. This documentary will almost certainly give you the chills.

On Netflix and highly recommended.



Questioning identity

Clinicians will tell you that their patients question their gender identity. They may remain questioning for a long time but the point is that many may not feel comfortable identifying as either male or female. People who don't question gender identity are indeed fortunate because this is one aspect you definitely don't need in your life. Some are certain that they are meant to be the opposite gender.

I like to use drag queens as the perfect example of almost pure expression because the vast majority understand they are male and never question it. They simply regale in what is often an exaggerated form of femininity which they put on like a costume.

Binary transsexuals like Terri Noel used to hide in their ranks in the 1950's and 60's I suspect largely because it was a safe place to lay low until they found a resolution to what for them was questioning of birth sex which far exceeded what the vast majority of the population had ever done. She eventually married a man who never ended up knowing her history.



Burned

As we become burned a little by life we can begin to trust less easily. This is not always a bad thing because a protective instinct needs to be honed to avoid injury. We learn that others sometimes have agendas or past hurts which have affected their patterns of behaviour.

The positive side is that we increasingly learn what traits to look for in what eventually become recognizable archetypes. Insincerity is rooted out more quickly as we begin to identify the type of honest and well meaning individual whose company we will most benefit from.

It is indeed unfortunate that this carapace must be built in life but without it we will forever become victims to those who most readily detect gullible natures.

Drivers

Humans are complex creatures who have much commonality but also possess wide variances between them. Emotionally however, we are driven largely only by love and fear. Our variances are a combination of genetic predisposition but predominantly in the way we are raised and it can take a very long time to question these influences which were fed into our psyches since we were very young children.

I realize how much my own ideas first imprinted in me came from my parents and how my widening exposure to the world over time molded and expanded my thinking. Here our best tool is the mind's neuroplasticity which can permit us to adapt deeply held dogmas or outright reject them if they ultimately prove to not be beneficial to our lived experience.

We want to find community with others so we do not feel alone in our experiences. Thus belonging to groups can often bring us comfort even when the common theme drawing us in is erroneous or even toxic. We imagine flat earth societies or white supremacist organizations and we see how the importance of self-questioning, independent thinking and research becomes mandatory. We should not invent our own truths without investigation.

Why rhetoric works on people is fascinating and can be boiled down to basic fear. Without critical thinking skills, many can be led to hate the "other" who is accused of being the source of their own suffering; a technique so powerful that wars have begun over it. Transphobes, for example, also use hate because they fear loss of their own status which betrays a deep lack of personal confidence.

Love and fear.

Glad I bought them

The Amazon rain booties turned out to be a great purchase and I have worn them on and off in what has turned out to be a very mild Montreal winter. They are super comfortable to walk in plus stylish and paired with leggings it's a look I like. Many women seem to agree with me because I see this type of pairing everyday.

On a related note, does climate change concern me? Yes very much.



The burbs