Sunday, March 31, 2024

The uncomfortable truth of life

 


Divine Intervention

At first "Divine Intervention" plays like a series of bizarre comic sketches. Set in Palestine the characters are virtually mute and we scarcely hear any dialogue. We get the feeling we are witnessing a slice of the divine comedy that is life.

I didn't know where it was going at first but then a romantic angle sprouts up out of nowhere. We realize that no matter the situation human beings behave much the same way and with the same instincts. The absurdity displayed here only magnifying our sometimes underlying irrationality as a species.

Highly recommended.



Blending in

What does blending in mean?

There are transgender people who live full time and perhaps do not escape detection to the point of not caring. Conversely there are also people who present part time who may escape detection entirely when in public.

But the point isn't to blend is it? It is to live without fear regardless of how well we escape detection. I am fascinated by this topic because it seems to be a universal theme within the entire gender variant gradient and invites much discourse.

I see young transgender people on public transit who live full time and aren't the least bit concerned about being identified. Then I look at an advocate like Lily Alexandre who entirely blends in perhaps inadvertently via genetic predisposition and through having begun transition early in life. Either way both are left alone because they know who they are and it shows.

I have always said it isn't about "passing" as much as being ourselves which is one reason I abhor the term "crossdressing" which assumes we are usurping someone else's identity by pretending. Yes, not all gender variant people identify as transgender or have ever questioned birth sex but the point is this does not and should not matter. 

You are always yourself and shouldn't need to worry about hiding because of fear of public repercussion. You aren't committing a crime.

In earnest

When you remove work from your life palette you are necessarily forced into reflection. Suddenly you are faced with what identity beyond profession means and whatever unresolved aspects of your previous life remain come knocking loudly at your door. This all the more true when you have adult children.

There is nowhere to run and some can face a crisis of what to do with themselves. I can understand it for if you did not have major interests outside of work it can hit you hard. In the West we invest so much societal energy within the framework of what we do for a living, that it can obscure most everything else.

As older transgender people it can be even more difficult if there are unresolved issues from our past. We may have been living a hybrid lifestyle which worked within previous confines but now confuses us after constraints are suddenly removed. What had seemed entirely satisfactory before no longer necessarily is.

All this to say that the true cleanup work begins in earnest.

Jesus hates republicans

David Feldman's razor wit. Happy Easter!!


Saturday, March 30, 2024

Perplexed

I sometimes watch terminology clarification videos by gender variant people that are full of errors including the mispronouncing of terms. Just more proof that many people get their wires crossed over this topic and not just the general public who is even more perplexed.

Oh well.

Elevating ourselves

The world thrives on people criticizing people. Insecurities take over and we can't help but weigh in on why someone else has something wrong with them. It is as primeval an aspect of humanity as you can get.

However, as we become increasingly comfortable with who we are, the temptation for envy and comparison drops off entirely and we are left with finding satisfaction entirely from our own internal source.

As I was working through my own issues I realized that much of my frustration was of my own making. I had concluded that I was not deserving of being accepted entirely for who I am which in turn encouraged judgment of others. I had been raised with so much discipline that I weighed in on those who seemed to coast through life as a way to somehow compensate.

Today I have no interest in what others do or how they identify as long as they are content and harm no one else. I have elevated my self-esteem to include all facets of my identity and understand intrinsically what I will tolerate as a way to protect the psyche. This is work only we can do through our introspection  which will result in a care for the self. This is not about hubris but about self-respect.

What I am left with now is to continue to temper outrage at a world that does not function as it should.

The Beautiful Game

"The Beautiful Game" is about redemption and the idea that we help ourselves by helping others. Vinny Walker is a young Englishman who thinks he is now a washed up footballer having missed his chance at greatness. Now he is in dire straits, separated from his wife and young daughter and sleeping in his car.

Suddenly there is an offer from Bill Nighy's character (in an understated but dignified performance) who used to be a pro scout. Vinny is offered the chance to play in the Homeless Cup which is a tournament for other people needing second chances. This time it's happening in Rome.

I won't say how things turn out only that this is a film most definitely worthy of your time.

On Netflix.




Friday, March 29, 2024

Benjamin A Boyce

If you ever run into any Benjamin A Boyce content on YouTube be very suspicious. Firstly, why someone who isn't transgender would be so single minded in investigating this topic smells to high heaven of obsessive bias. This isn't an average Joe doing a profile on a subject matter but instead someone on a mission to discredit. Do some people err when they transition? Yes and what of it.

Boyce clearly has a problem with transgender people and his channel is full of detransition videos and interviews with gender critical advocates and selected nutjobs. This is not normal for someone who shouldn't be this interested in a topic he knows little about and certainly has no first hand knowledge of.

People's biases are easily detected and are often akin to an elephant trying to hide behind a lamppost. This one is no exception and if you wanted to do a fair assessment you would also invite people who are happily transitioned however this is not the aim.

Some people are just plain weird. Welcome to planet earth.

Not too late

I now feel confident that America will repair itself.

Something turned after the state of the union address and Trump's latest stunt selling bibles saw a level of vitriol from the populace that finally said "enough!". The con man had stepped too far.

It is not hard to comprehend why a segment of the population of any nation is always ripe for being sold almost anything. With no critical thinking skills and an astonishing level of disinterest, they can be sold a bill of goods provided they are dissatisfied enough with their current life. I have family members who avoid the news so it does not surprise me. Their mouths will be agape when you mention something you thought was almost common knowledge.

There is too much criminality here for Trump to escape and his antics have taken the congress to the brink of complete dysfunction thanks to the alliance of people with no principles or moral fiber.

If the last 8 years should have taught the country anything is that there is much repair to be done. Money and special interests control politicians and an electoral college hampers the advancement of a nation that has long outgrown it. A handful of the  more backward states tend to decide the fate of a country that desperately needs to move forward.

It is definitely not too late.

Truer words

For years I had been a dangerous investment as a partner. I had so much bottled up that I can look back now and realize that despite my efforts to keep everything afloat, I was a closed book to someone else. I was also filled with frustration.

Gender dysphoria is very difficult to manage and the way I was doing it was clearly not working. Something needed to be done.

As I write this I marvel at the change much of it not prompted by choice but by a wellspring that will not be silenced. Playing a part in society until you eventually crack is not something I advise anyone do but somehow I did. The early days of my writing showed a level of anxiety and desperation I can recall but can no longer read since its inadvertent erasing.

It is why today I am so happy for transgender youth. They don't need to bottle up identity as I had to.

Yesterday as I was on a short consultation call for work an email came in for transgender visibility and suddenly I was floored. The message included a profile card for the young transgender woman who now works in the Montreal office I had spent many years working in. Not long after a follow up email came in from the person who would have been my functional manager, had I not retired, which read

"You see we are progressing!"

I smiled and thought to myself that truer words were never spoken.

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Common sense

 


Progress

Yesterday I posted Lily Alexandre's video about TERFS and their alignment with the far right wing. These are strange bedfellows but since they have a common enemy in transgender people they will gladly unite forces even if their aspirations are in opposition.

Lily represents the model of what is possible for transgender youth. Under 25 and sure of herself, she has been spared decades of stigma and programming where identity had to be suppressed. Living openly, as difficult as it might be, offers her a chance to be authentically herself. She is bright and articulate and has the privilege of being able to blend into society which I am sure she is very aware of.

When I was her age in the early 1980's the world was a much different place and we survived within its restrictive confines. The idea that we could ever live openly in the world was a far fetched idea and so we put it away as many other transgender people had done for millennia.

Lily is the result of what can happen when progress is allowed to slowly take hold.



Ineptitude

My patience for people's ineptitude has traditionally been very small. After all, over my life I needed to become an efficient and well-oiled machine and so I made it happen for it helped as a distraction. However there is a price to be paid in that you leave yourself no room for error. You cannot be forgiving of the fragility of others if you do not forgive your own.

And so I let go.

Spring

There is a lady who works at a metro station in my area as a ticket teller who I wave to regularly. She has a lovely smile and this morning I say to her in front of the plexiglass that the good weather is upon us.

She says "enfin" (finally in French) and she tells me that my rose colored jacket suits me; a thrift store bargain I now rely on as the spring settles in. She is maybe mid 30's.

Some people can be lovely and I count on them to keep me hopeful. These are trying days for society and we need to hold together while things are being remade in some new image.

Sylvie and I have coffee at 8.

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Regret

Questioning older people about regret...


The far-right pipeline

In her latest essay, fellow Montrealer and young transgender woman Lily Alexandre explains the links between TERFS and the far-right....

Opinions

The famous stoic Marcus Aurelius said of the opinion of others “Tranquility… comes when you stop caring what they say. Or think, or do. Only what you do.”

This is our goal with the only condition being that we still weigh opinions from those who truly matter and bring us value because they care about our well being.

Caveats

It is easier to be constrained than unconstrained as a gender variant person unless you know exactly how you would live if you were free of all obstacles. Constraints may seem like road blocks but they also serve as guidelines which keep us safe. Thus I have had to do much more introspection once I was entirely liberated than when I was not.

It can be akin to removing your training wheels on your bicycle and then running the risk of going much too fast. Gender dysphoric people who have been locked up for a long time run more risk of exploding out of the gate than those whose need for expression is much less locked into identity.

Some of you may have already been where I am or would like to be which is indeed in a good place but there are always going to be caveat emptors.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Go all the way

 



Programmed

I am a firm believer in the neuroplasticity of the brain and no better example than the ability to undo pervasive programming we receive from birth which is possible to undo but often takes great effort. It is an issue which goes well beyond the transgender question.

We are all victims of programming to varying degrees. Some people are even born into cults and eventually free themselves many decades later whereas others stay locked inside. It is difficult to know whether this capacity to escape is partly rooted in genetic predisposition which helps encourage their questioning and provide fortitude.

Regardless, we are all obliged to question the veracity of what we are taught and the longer I have lived the more it became obvious that much within societal structure is entirely fabricated. This wasn't for the betterment of society as a whole but instead for the maintaining of power structures which benefitted the ruling class. After all, controlling is made much easier if behavior is both uniform and predictable.

Therefore when examining what is right for us as individuals we need to go beyond our instruction and look at what helps our psyche to thrive. If our wellness is compromised by a directive then it should be carefully questioned before swallowing it whole.

If we go our own way against conventional wisdom of the majority, there is often a price paid in being ostracized but the alternative of staying put is often far worse and therefore we must act.

Monday, March 25, 2024

Turn the lights back on

 


Unhappy and happy

 


Riding the rails

 


"The Birds"

 


The 80/20 rule

If I've learned anything it is that the journey of a transgender person is unquestionably and overwhelmingly one of the mind. It does not matter how well we blend into society if the psychology has not been worked out and I believe this is without a doubt the difference between taking the right path and the wrong one.

This 80/20 ratio is my assessment based on my own life experience and is pivotal particularly if a transition is part of your planned future. I've been working out the complexities of the psychology my entire life and it is how I was able to finally settle on a life plan which even now is still being refined. In a world where conditions for transgender people are yet not where they should be, strengthening the mind, the resolve and the defense mechanisms for daily living will go a long way and certainly take us much further than any desired physical aspects which can be worked on slowly and in parallel.

I have seen content by transgender people who in every way fit the part almost seamlessly and yet they suffer from debilitating lack of confidence which hampers their existence. It shows how powerful the mind is and how much more impact it has than anything else.

We may not have a choice in how we were created, but we do in how we prioritize such that we improve our quality of life as a tiny segment of the population.

The perfect formula

My analytical mind has tended to turn me into a bit of a cynic which isn't ideal. Life beats you up a bit and you begin to lose faith in the goodness of human beings. Thus today I come at everything with a sense of having seen it before because you have learned about human typologies and the roots of what makes them tick.

This is not good for keeping a sense of wonder and innocence although it does protect one from major damage. My rigorous approach to everything has tended to keep me safe but has also avoided the adventure which sometimes comes from risk. After all I was raised by parents who had been hardened early on in their lives and because of it extolled the value of discretion.

In the end there is no perfect formula because risk takers sometimes admire those who avoid pitfalls through planning. The secret to life seems to be a balance of openness to being surprised with the wisdom to know when to avoid going too far down a certain path which leads to a dark place.

Being badly burned isn't always bad however as the scar will serve as permanent reminder to always maintain a level of caution.

Sunday, March 24, 2024

No comment

I was talking with Jack Molay this afternoon about various transgender related issues and I noted how in the mid 2000's he could sometimes get 50 to 60 comments to one of his blog articles. Today that number is down dramatically to a handful.

We both agreed this is a sign that stigma is radically down among transgender people and thus we are heading in the right direction.

A wide berth

I watch content from people who have successfully transitioned as well as from those who feel they have not. It gives me a more balanced viewpoint of the reality that this is a road not for everyone because we are a very varied species.

Sam is an older transsexual woman who regrets her transition and now talks about childhood trauma and her healing process. She would have taken a different path but her full medical and surgical transition took her to a place she wishes she could undo but cannot.

I watched one of her videos recently with another woman who also expressed regret but yet had a different take on her own situation. She did not see herself as a woman but as an approximation of one and bemoaned the treatment she had received at the hands of family and society as a whole.

Being gender dysphoric is not for the faint of heart and in life we take paths which can leave us learning lessons we wish we had ingested before. There is never a perfect scenario and no matter which road is taken there is sometimes going to be a "what if". It is why it is a subject matter not to be glamorized or trivialized.

Sam's channel fits well within my observation of the transgender phenomenon over the years in that it reflects the wide berth of uniqueness and paths that are available to us.

Different souls, different histories, different depth of introspection. Different choices.

Tranquility

We are inundated with enough information and opinion to make our heads spin. The onslaught is relentless and we cannot keep up with it nor should we want to. Besides the mountains of social media pap, there is the 24/7 news cycle which keeps us glued to our screens.

Now that have too much time on my hands it can be tempting to fall into the media rabbit hole especially when there is so much hateful vitriol to counter. However I cannot allow myself to get trapped in trying to correct the ignorance and misinformation on which so much of the world subsists.

So I work on letting it go and building a new life with more peace and tranquility as antidote to the world's daily chaos. It has always been in a state of disrepair it's just that we weren't as constantly aware of it.

Saturday, March 23, 2024

This will make you feel better

 


Room for doubt

If you pay close attention, you will note how attempts to discredit something always involve cherry picking. In other words, rather than look at an overall portrait, there will be over emphasis on one aspect which is considered the most objectionable.

This is a tried and true formula because viewing the entire picture introduces room for doubt. Most human behavior is steeped in a series of greys which the very limited mindset of a cultural conservative completely abhors.

Leaving room for doubt opens the door to some credibility which is why today I can so easily recognize dishonesty in any approach to a subject matter.

I can smell it.

"3 Body Problem"

Netflix's "3 Body Problem" moves along briskly propelled by an interesting story and grandiose visual effects. It captures you relatively quickly because you want to find out about the strange occurences the principal actors are experiencing. Certainly the storyline doesn't telegraph anything and the science angle was one that appealed to me.

Given all this, we can perhaps forgive some of the weaker character development. There is enough here to allow us to look past it and, what ultimately results in a less than perfect production, still kept me glued to learning its secrets.

Recommended.



A complex mosaic

After reading many hundreds of narratives over the years I am still curious about the potential overlap between wanting to dress as a woman versus wanting to be one. The two sets of storylines are quite consistent with only small divergences; one typology typically beginning to dress up by puberty (or later) and the other considerably sooner.

Most people who desire to express gender variance would not accept a transition but simply want to indulge in expression. If you gave them the opportunity to increase their frequency they may or may not accept the offer. Transsexuals, on the other hand, have very early cross gender identification and often dream of going to bed and waking up a girl. They will also be more typically feminine than the average boy although some can learn to conceal it through social indoctrination. Harry Benjamin's work seemed to suggest hesitancy with some of his transsexual patients which one would expect during his era but did that also necessarily include a lower level of gender dysphoria?

Additionally there are people who like to express gender variance by combining both feminine and masculine attire. They live openly this way and there is no sexual component present to speak of because for them there is no questioning of core gender identity. I see them regularly on public transit and there is no attempt to appear as the opposite sex. Because the social norms regarding expression have been relaxed, they feel free to be themselves.

Just more confirmation of a complex human mosaic which challenges what was previously thought to be the picture perfect binary.

Friday, March 22, 2024

Don't let idiots get you down

 


Love these ladies!

Spot on political analysis plus funny....

Ratio

In order to understand the transgender condition one first needs to comprehend how much people are products of the combination of nature and nurture.

Most feminine men and masculine women generally do not have strong enough cross gender identification to act upon it however some ponder over it. Lyne is a lesbian woman in her mid 40's I have lost touch with but she shared with me her mulling over whether she was in fact a transgender male. She was very masculine presenting and acting but in the end she decided there wasn't enough there to warrant a change.

The gradient of masculinity and femininity produces people people who are drastically different and although some would have historically "crossdreamed" (tip of the hat to Jack Molay) there was no recourse in the past to do much about it. Certainly not before the 1930's.

I am assuming that today's transgender people represent those with a cross gender identification strong enough to require a response. I am also betting that this ratio has probably been historically constant except nothing could be done about it. Prior to the 20th century,  the most extreme cases would have simply had to settle for attempting to live as the opposite sex. Of course right wing idiots would have people believe we are only a recent invention

Zagria has plenty of examples  of historical figures on her site.

Choice

I very much like living alone. One gets used to it and then prefers it as compared to a couple life which doesn't really work. The optimum scenario I have experienced was being in a relationship with both of us living apart which is my ideal were I to ever have a partner again.

The thing is that the appetite disappears over time and the freedom is increasingly cherished. Therefore unless another person adds to your already happy state, there is little point in embarking on a life of drama with people with emotional baggage. As a natural problem solver I am the one who invariably suffers.

Over the years I have learned so much about myself and about people in general that I now recognize the signs of trouble very quickly. The advantage of not needing someone is that you are afforded being selective plus the self-assurance that your identity is not a negotiable thing.

I used to approach things in reverse in hoping I could find someone who would be kind enough to tolerate being with a transgender person. Now it is I with the control of who will be accepted into my life.

Do less

 


Thursday, March 21, 2024

I've seen the lights go down on Broadway

 


Thought experiment

Here is a thought experiment for you.

Starting tomorrow everyone in the world begins to dress exactly the same way. Both natal males and females are to wear a basic jumpsuit with no distinction whatsoever between the sexes. Also, no jewelery or makeup is to be worn.

How does this new reality affect your impetus towards expressing or identifying as the sex other than the one you were born at birth, if at all.

In other words, what is your weighting between expression and identity.

Fear of living dishonestly

With increasing age comes the urgency to live as honestly as possible. We remove the pressures coming from what we now recognize to be largely irrational societal dictates and attempt to become the most authentic version of ourselves possible. For me, starting around age 55 I had to untether myself from unnecessary adherence to a life which had never completely suited me to begin with.

Fear is always the biggest hurdle but as it turns it was the fear of living the rest of my life dishonestly which spurred me into advancement. There was no specific timeline only that I could not allow myself to stagnate. Whatever the baseline, I was going to rest there once my efforts to completely free myself proved successful.

Social and family pressures plus the weight of a lifetime of programming proved to be less heavy to remove than I had estimated because we are always our own biggest enemy. We find reasons not to act rather than paths to our own liberation.

Therefore I encourage you to not stagnate and continue to grow into yourself because once you hit that mark you will be able to feel it. This is not about advancing for its own sake but rather about not inhibiting movement forward where the psyche naturally needs to go to find both fulfillment and peace.

Goal posts

Authoritarianism does not come all at once. In the early 1930's Germany succumbed to it in small steps with Hitler given power such that no one move seemed excessive. It was the sum of the parts that gripped the country and sent it into a spiral which later shook the rest of Europe.

The current right wing appetite for authoriarian rule in the US has been much the same with incursions into areas previously thought immovable. Each step moves the goal post into new territory which then becomes normalized. It is only when one looks back at the starting point that the realization becomes stark.

The American right has been taken over by a fever of cultural change which necessitates a unifying figure no matter how stupid. Having no policy to unite behind, they have decided that selling rhetoric is more effective than delivering progress. The people who are united under the GOP umbrella all want what they were promised and these groups represent ideas which are antithetical to the health of a society. More gun freedom, book banning, control of women's bodies, anti-immigrant fervor, hatred of LGBTQ people, etc all unite within a party which has become a parody of its former self.

As bad as things first appeared under a Reagan administration that many liberal Americans hated, it now looks tame by comparison when one looks at the current republican party.

The goal posts get moved slowly.

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

The Play

We are all uniquely weird and fascinating creatures. Once we get used to the fact that the world we live in makes little sense, we can relax and be ourselves.

It's a stage play but just remember to be kind to others while you're on stage.

Brandenburg no 4

 My favorite....:)


Happy countries

Canada has dropped to 15th from 6th in the list of happiest countries in the world and the US didnt make the top 20 (last year it had been 15th). Both countries have dropped while Finland took top prize yet again.

Increased cost of housing, increased poverty no doubt played a huge role in this decline not to mention disappearing safety nets and job certainty. In the US there are lots of low and medium wage jobs which don't keep up with rising costs of living.

I felt this decrease happen before the list came out and now it is confirmed.

The top 10:

• Finland

• Denmark

• Iceland

• Sweden

• Israel

• Netherlands

• Norway

• Luxembourg

• Switzerland

• Australia

Interplay

Think about it. If the interplay between expression and identity were not complex, everyone would be the same. It is because it is that we have ended up with a kind of gradient.

Expression in its purest form can be like the need to "scratch an itch" where the feminine energy is let out and then put away again. This can be because males have traditionally been so societally restrained that outlets were not considered to be required. While this may be true for most, it is certainly not true for all since the perfect binary was always an artificial invention.

Conversely, identity seems to be constant. It is like the underlying hum that never disappears and is insufficiently fed through sporadic expression. What we termed transsexualism is a fraction of the gender variant spectrum and even those who transition fully represent yet another fraction. For the most extreme cases there is a complete psycho-sexual inversion happening which needs addressing to achieve a sense of normalcy.

Therefore, striking a balance of interplay between expression and identity within a world that tends to frown on gender variance as a whole is no easy task. A task made even more complex when we aren't quite sure where we lie on that gradient. It can be a journey of discovery which can sometimes take a lifetime.

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Annoyed

Stupidity and prejudice annoy the crap out of me and in that sense I have outrage to spare. You don't want to perturb me if you are an intolerant imbecile because I have a sharp tongue I'm not afraid to use.

Calming the furnace of outrage is what I work on now. I know so many lovely people that they help me restore faith in humanity which was damaged during my upbringing and well into adulthood.

So I notch the temperature down little by little one setting at a time.

Completing the picture

Today I have never been more relaxed or assured in my female presentation. It took many years to get here from being petrified to buy pantyhose in a dress at age 21 to today having an increasing number of people not know I am transgender.

The last few years saw more progress despite me thinking I was already there. I chalk that up to retirement allowing me to fine tune the psyche while releasing the stress of career. Also, reaching and surpassing the boiling point of what others think helped me immeasurably.

Because I decided to not medically transition I stick with the nomenclature of transgender person. The philosophical discussions one can have over this don't interest me anyway since what I was always looking for was a comfortable and peaceful existence as myself which I have accomplished. The rest can sometimes fall into sophistry created for one's bragging rights which isn't really all that useful to our internal balance.

In the end, people should do what feels right to them but I feel strongly that a transgender identity requires elevating and maturing to the same level of other aspects of our lives. My inability to fully do that is what kept my identity at an incomplete level of development plus some remaining stigma encouraged continued secrecy until I came to fully embrace who I am.

A Mess

Trump has helped create a whole cottage industry of YouTube channels and fills the airwaves of networks like MSNBC and FOX. Almost eight years after his election, he has helped expose the cracks in the judiciary and society as a whole. Americans who may have thought that North Korea was amusing with the adulation of its leader, don't laugh as heartily when Trump supporters clad in his swag from head to toe sing his praises in complete and blessed ignorance stupid expressions and all.

Getting rid of this malaise will take far longer than imagined and for many Americans even the sound of his slurring and droning speech sends them into spasms. I know it does for me.

Judge Eileen Cannon is only one of the more recent atrocities to befall the American justice system and her foot dragging has succeeded in making sure the documents case won't be heard until after the election. An impartial young law student might have been better suited to the task.

It all matters not since the damage is already done, and cleaning up the exposed mess will continue well past Trump's well overdue jail sentencing.

Monday, March 18, 2024

No matter your age

Living life as a female continues to be fulfilling. One becomes accustomed to it as things improve over time and, as you wash away all impediments to being fully yourself, all your objections increasingly fall by the wayside. Resistance finally becomes futile especially since you feel more relaxed than you have ever been.

I have preferred coming to identity via resistance because the other way would have had me think I was deluding myself. To fully embrace myself too early could have meant skipping key steps of introspection which in retrospect turned out to be mandatory for a person born in the early 60's.

Today young people have much less stigma and baggage to deal with but are potentially more prone to leap before reflecting which has helped feed the current detransition phenomenon. I am now more certain than ever that coming to a realization of who one is should be done with great care and constant second guessing no matter your age.

Less is more and you stop once at your own baseline.

Unwell

The world is not well at present. I just need to look at my city contrasted against 10 years ago. There are poor and mentally unbalanced people everywhere in the core where they wander around asking for change looking despondent and depressed.

This is a global problem and the solution goes beyond charities. In the US there are more than enough empty dwellings to house all the homeless but that isn't something banks are about to do. Eventually something will need to be done because the numbers will only grow. As technological progress takes away more livelihoods, the prospect of UBI seems increasingly likely.

There is something greatly off-putting to me about those who hold all the wealth preaching to others especially when they aren't the least bit concerned about their welfare. Telling them to get a job might feel justified except that advice was better suited to a decade ago or more. If you make more money in a year than most do in a lifetime, you might also want to think about shutting up about paying taxes especially when during the Eisenhower era personal income above $200k was taxed at 70% or more.

Just remember that what we used to call the middle class didn't disappear by accident.

Sunday, March 17, 2024

Imbecile

 


Desire

Desire can fool us into thinking what is right for us when in fact we often do not know. For example, people will say they want to be married only to later find out it wasn't to the right person or that living with someone wasn't really for them. We often discover what is right for us only in retrospect but the experience brands us so at least we have learned something.

Being open to receiving rather than desiring is likely a better state. We live every day working on the self and invite experiences and the right people to come our way. We have thus substituted a search for being content in the moment and allow life in all its messiness to come to us bringing gifts along with its invariably negative surprises.

Those who have lived long enough know that much of what we wanted did not come to fruition or, if it did, it did not meet expectation. Conversely, some things came along we had not expected and in the long run made us better people.

Today I desire nothing but simply work on being open.

Dieu existe

Roger is diminutive and happy-go-lucky. He sees me coming at a distance and says "Joanne!"

We stop to chat on the sidewalk and he proceeds to tell me that he is sure God exists. "Je suis certain" he says in bon Quebecois. He tells me he loves everyone "J'aime tout le monde"

I used to see him and his young daughter walking together. A divorced dad of maybe 40 he always had a smile while deeply immersed in conversation with her. He works at a fruit and vegetable store on Wellington street where he earns his keep.

I tell him I am no longer religious but spiritual and he admits to the same. He cannot put his finger on the reason his faith in God has increased but simply places his fist over his heart as confirmation to me that he feels it viscerally. As good a reason as any I surmise.

He walks away happy and smiling yet again, wishing me a good day in the process.

Noise

There are political and social movements plus the onslaught of online opinion and we can become lost in all of it. At the end of the day however we must live our lives which often can be simpler than all of the drama the world is embroiled in.

I don't want to be immune to the noise but I also realize that a quiet life lived in reflection is good for me. I have hopped off the carousel of career and want to enjoy the everyday with more gusto and more mindfulness as I find joy in the little things.The outside world often works in opposition to internal peace and so we must live in it without becoming overly entangled in every minute trap. If I've learned anything in aging it is that I can more readily identify what warrants giving  importance to.

I walk Montréal seeing people rushing in the street or being absorbed in their phones on public transit and I recall what it was like to constantly bathe in hurry because there was another mission to be fulfilled. With that necessity gone you can see how much of life is steeped in artificial urgency which, in retrospect, did not deserve so much of our mental energy.

Saturday, March 16, 2024

Solfeggieto

 


I Lost my Head

Gentle Giant remixed by Steven Wilson....


Inclinations

Historically all human inclinations outside of acceptable norms were considered pathology. Even something we now recognize as statistically normal like homosexuality was considered a choice, a sin, or some unfortunate twisting of the child during early development. Both religion and society shunned them as outcasts.

There are also choices people make which are considered aberrant. There are sexual practices and fetishises which are frowned upon and thus those who indulge them tend to not speak of it to others. The reality is that there are deviances from norms everywhere in society which to varying degrees become known and tolerated depending on the era or culture. What I am always most interested in is the distinction regarding the amount of choice being exercised by the person. In other words, the proportioning of nature versus nurture built into their desire.

In the past gay and lesbian people were told to suppress their urges as a way to sacrifice to their disapproving God. Never mind that their "lifestyle" didn't actually represent a threat to society even as it was thought that it could spread. The fact this is still sold as an idea by right wing ideologues in 2024 is both regretable and deeply idiotic.

Consider the example within the sphere of gender variance the person who says I am a woman and I must transition contrasted against another who says they cannot explain their self-described compulsion just that they must indulge it. I have regularly seen both of these statements expressed but is there any relational overlap to speak of between these two people?

In the end I conclude that regardless of what society believes, the right approach is one where the person's nature feeds into an overall schema of well-being. Therefore, if their inclinations and subsequent approach do not improve quality of life, then there is work to be done to examine why.

As to societal judgement? It is as fickle as the changing direction of the wind and, given that critical thinking is in such short supply, it's hardly a metric worth giving much weight to.

Friday, March 15, 2024

Happiness poison

 


Happier

The reality of masculine women and feminine men doesn't seem to hold much weight as argumentation for the transgender condition. After all, both are plentiful in the world but don't have the kind of cross gender identification that transgender people do.

I featured that young transgender woman yesterday expressing her doubts about her origins and in the end she simply chalked it up to being happier. Her litmus test did not include brain scans or validation from a psychiatrist. She was more content living her life that way and certainly more so than as a gay man as she herself states.

The problem of course is that her happiness doesn't correlate with gender criticals who would rather see her unhappy than daring to usurp biology.

Heaven forbid.

Two tragedies

"There are two tragedies in life. One is not getting what you want. The other is that you do"

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Brave

 


trauma?

My original impetus for beginning to write was to try and answer the fundamental question of choice. This was the nucleus, the DNA if you will of the transgender condition. To know how much choice is being exercised.

Over the years I dealt with people for whom transition was a pivotal matter of wanting to continue existing or not and others for whom their gender variance seemed to be almost a kind of sport. My question wasn't answered but it only confirmed that we were dealing with a gradient at which we reach a point where, for some, gender dysphoria drops off altogether.

Here then is a young transgender woman asking about childhood trauma as a possibility for her own origins. Something which I have also reflected on many times...


No cure

Without the slightest shadow of a doubt we are our worst enemy. Imagining things that aren't there is a speciality and we will even make sure sometimes to sabotage our own lives when it needn't have happened.

These are lessons for when we get a little older and get burned on the stove a few times before things begin to sink in.

Unfortunately they have not yet found a cure for being human.

Crew Café

At one time the tallest building in the British empire at 22 stories, the Old Montreal Royal Bank of Canada building was completed in 1928. Today it also houses the Crew Cafe which uses the old teller placing as a bar. I must admit that I have never been to a cafe with such a grandiose atmosphere as this which is where Sylvie and I had our coffee this morning:)





Little repairs

I try to treat myself well these days because I deserve it. Years of looking after others first will sometimes have you feel guilty about doing so but I counteract that sentiment. It's not about buying new things for myself but more about being kinder to the self.

By working on ourselves we are less likely to pass judgement on others but I also protect my self esteem more than ever such that I will no longer allow any sentiment of apologizing for being transgender. That time is over even if there are still remnants left from the years spent in a kind of compromise purgatory to avoid others being bothered by my difference.

It feels good to be free even as I continue to work on those little repairs.

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

"Dawn, Her Dad and the Tractor"

Maya Henry stars in "Dawn, Her Dad and the Tractor". She plays a young transgender woman who has come home after the death of her mother. Her father and sister are both shocked because the last time they saw her she was atill Don the younger son. The reception when she knocks on the door at the country house is not exactly a good one.

The father is a traditional country man and her sister is bitter because she was uninformed. Only Dawn's mother knew about the transition which happened slowly over the last 5 years unbeknownst to the rest of the family. Not unexpectedly, awkward and sometimes rude reactions ensue as the town prepares for the wake.

Maya Henry lives in Toronto and has her own YouTube channel where she has chronicled her real life transition and she does a good job here as an actress. See if you agree.

The adjustment is a process. Catch it for free on Tubi.




A gathering

I love to see transgender people out in the wild (provided I can spot them of course). As a group averse person, I am already wary of big gatherings but also because I see so much more value to be gained on our own in the real world.

I have never attended any event or convention with other gender variant people and don't plan to but not because I am not a great defender of their rights. An analogy for me would be a gathering of all native born Spaniards who emigrated to Canada. While it might be nice, it wouldn't necessarily do that much for me.

My objective has always been how to figure out a way to normalize my nature which wasn't going to happen within segregated meetings which might provide support but potentially could also have me stagnate. So while I might see their value for many as a potential starting point to begin to try their wings, I would be tempted to give them no more weight once we are fully airborne.

A protest rally or some other vehicle for advocacy would be the exception.

Never to return

The loneliness epidemic is partially being fed by the MGTOW movement which seems to be picking up steam. With the power dynamics between men and women having shifted dramatically, hypergamy has helped to feed the phenomenon of more people than ever being single. This is certainly most true in the West.

The institution of marriage is seriously in doubt among GenZ who may have seen the 50% success rate of their parents and decided the risk may not be worth it. Not to mention that they don't have the financial clout to readily enter such an arrangement when their career prospects are worse than when we were their age.

Women no longer depend on men for financial reasons and thus what is left is a game of attraction where hookup culture tends to dominate. Long gone is the era where a man would almost purchase his bride from her father and proceed to own her as if she were an object. Today the scales may have tipped and men are seeing the prospect of divorce and alimony payments as more than a distinct possibility. Women having the power to choose are sometimes opting for bad boy types who have their pick and who won't easily settle down.

All this to say that the dating and marriage world which existed when I was in my 20's is long gone and likely never to return.

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

First Circle

What can I say, goosebumps...


Keep working

I can get very annoyed with people but I work on it. Having lived with so much restraint can do that to you and lazy nonchalance coupled with atrocious public manners of people tends to get under my skin.

However rolling that back is good for me because otherwise I am ultimately the one who suffers. People aren't going to change for me and if anything I see so many are suffering underneath.

I keep working on my charity and my patience.

Millennia

The vast majority of gays, lesbians and gender variant people lived in secrecy for millennia. Millions of lives were spent in the silent resignation that one could not be authentic because the societal penalty could be extremely harsh. There are still countries like Iran where to avoid being stoned to death, gay men will undergo gender reassignment despite having no cross gender identification. My first boss's wife married him just to keep up appearances until she eventually summoned the courage to come out as a lesbian woman in the mid 1990's.

No matter how hard each of our journeys has been they could not have been more difficult than for anyone prior to the 1950's. To be a pioneer before that took a certain kind of courage and small wonder then that some of them had resolve and maturity to spare. Seeing interviews with Christine Jorgensen and April Ashley had me realize these were people with fortitude and a strong sense of self I felt I never could aspire to.

As difficult as things might appear today, the tide has turned because it is too late to reverse things. Social critics know they can't put these people back into closets but what they hope to do is shame them into reclusiveness and thus at least stem the tide. Working against them are the public opinion of millenials, GenZ and Gen Alpha who are more accepting of diversity the younger they are. This is why attacks by boomers and GenX will ultimately fail.

Ammunition for them still comes in the form of people who are searching and sometimes make errors. These cases are being magnified and sold as archetypes to a population that readily confuses typologies of gender variant people. Unfortunately, as we have seen with politics, rhetoric and misinformation tends to work in the short term.

The long game is another matter altogether and the prognosis looks good if we view the historical progression of gays and lesbians. Although the Nazis burned down the office and library of Magnus Hirschfeld in the 1930's and sent countless LGBTQ people to the chambers, the strategy did not work. Despite the existence of pushback today from the extreme right, I only need to view my mother's own progression over her lifetime and her love for her transgender child, lesbian and gay grandchildren to realize how far we have come.

If sometimes I appear to get annoyed with older gender variant people for remaining stuck, it is because I wish so much for them to become free of secrecy and stigma. 




What people think

Let's pretend that people see us in the same way we see them. In other words, we don't really care that much and they don't either. Any extra concern about how we are perceived and scrutinized comes entirely from us because we live inside our heads. It is mostly imagined.

When we are young we care about what others think, when in our middle years we don't care what they think. When we are older we finally realize that they never thought about us at all.

Live your life.

Monday, March 11, 2024

Up

I have this wonderful album from Pat Metheny Group. This was from his 2005 appearance at the Montreal Jazz Festival...RIP the wonderful pianist Lyle Mays. Saw them in '89 but missed this one...


Be Nice. Please

 


Harry Benjamin is a what?

In a recent video, Matt Walsh called Harry Benjamin a quack. Granted, Walsh is an ignorant imbecile but his rhetoric gets lapped up by his audience who desperately wants to believe that the "trans ideology" is an existential threat. For the record, Benjamin was arguably one of if not the most notable endocrinologist of the 20th century.

Walsh was critiquing WPATH and it's history and who else's name should come up during the video but Anne Lawrence who is a self-described Autogynephile. Walsh of course was all over that one because it's a bread and butter selling point for the criticals. One could not possibly pass up the work of someone who wrote "Men Trapped in Men's Bodies" and who was an adoring disciple of Ray Blanchard's.

I have never argued against the idea that some people may indeed transition for sexual reasons. My issue is with trying to apply universality without the foolproof science to back it up and no, becoming aroused sometimes is not enough.

I did not see Walsh's entire screed because I know his shtick well but caught the excerpts from a video made by "The Serfs" which is a progressive political YouTube channel I sometimes watch. Lance did a great job trying to pick apart Walsh but you can still see how information percolates its way into media so it can be used by people with agendas who haven't delved deeply enough into the material.

They just want ammunition.



Play the game

It must be very difficult for GOP politicians some of whom are well aware that their party is now a cult, to navigate the landscape these days. Their leader is a rapist and a con man and many must pretend that all is well while most assuredly speaking differently behind closed doors.

Of course there are the lowest common denominators like Marjorie Greene and Lauren Boebert, but the more cunning types like Elise Stefanik have had to become rabid versions of their former selves because of the change in environment. Power corrupts absolutely if you desire it enough and most assuredly not everyone has drunk the Kool-aid to the same extent. It just benefits you to play the game.

What struck me most during the State of the Union speech excerpts is how divided the politicians have become. Whereas in the not too distant past there might have been bipartisan applause for things everyone desires, there was instead dour and cold expressions simply because the enemy cannot be allowed to score any points with the electorate. Hence Mike Johnson's stoic expression and occasional head shaking manifesting his displeasure.

In other words, it is party over country every time.

Concern

Concern for the welfare of transgender people is not necessarily felt by everyone the same way. Someone who dresses at home or goes out sporadically to safe spaces is not going to feel that sense of dread which someone who doesn't quite blend in and lives full time sometimes does.

This is not a critique as much as an observation.

I am not surprised by this because we can only relate to our personal experiences. As an example, I can intellectually relate to someone who is afraid to step outside but no longer emotionally because that dread has been burned off. Therefore I cannot feel their apprehension at a visceral level.

Some sites receive feedback from people who reside in different states of progress within the world of gender variance. Each individual may have attained their level of comfort and sometimes those who have advanced to some other plateau of exposure to the public may be envied only that their advancement can come with an increased level of risk depending on where one resides.

My point being that we cannot expect people to share concern to the same level regarding something they do not feel in their bones. The more I began to relate, the more my concern increased.

J'ecris

My writing stopped being a psychological crutch a long time ago and yet I began again because I enjoy it. This blog doesn't need to exist but it does.

Much of the anger is also gone because I cannot change the world only that I can try to bring some happiness to those who I come in contact with. Young people seem to enjoy my life advice and I offer it gladly without being preachy.

We learn to live as we go and we fine tune the psyche to protect us from feeling trauma. Except we also should be open and become less vulnerable to opinion which does nothing to elevate us into a higher state.

Donc j'ecris parce que j'existe.

Sunday, March 10, 2024

Nobody cares what you do

Internalized it...


Ouch :)

The Stepford Wife rebuttal backfires :)


Negotiation

One of the most unfortunate qualities of most transgender people is that we have at some point felt that we don't deserve much. When you don't properly fit in, life will do that to you unless you either blend sufficiently well into the binary after transition, your dysphoria was somehow managed within the confines of a conventional life or your gender variance almost bordered on a "hobby".

No life is an easy one which is why I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and take ownership. Sure, I still fall into little traps but I know I will burn them off within a few hours because human psychology is a very complex and fragile thing which seems to crave subsisting on existential angst.

What we deserve is what we create for ourselves and morphing into pretzels to fit into someone else's vision of what your life should be is one of the most depressing things I can now imagine.

Many years ago I communicated with someone online who lived a life of quiet desperation. He was married to an aggressively disapproving spouse and lived for the occasional business trip where he could express himself somewhat freely. The emails were often sad and full of resignation even as I myself lived within a very restricted box. Since childhood I had no idea how I was going to properly manage a situation that, in my mid 40's, was increasingly coming to a boiling point.

Years later I came to the realization that one cannot truly be happy with the suppression of one's essence. Certainly there are many compromises to be made in life, except that an essential core cannot be so easily negotiated away; at least not without some consequences.

Intent

I am not a transgender advocate but simply a person who petitions for common sense and human rights; both of which are sorely lacking in this world. Towards that end, I will admit that there are transgender people who annoy me as well as people who question them who do not. It is okay to ask well-meaning questions just as the friends I came out to did.

What I always look for is good intent and emotional intelligence both of which are largely lacking among gender criticals. To make such a ruckus over 1% of the population is to show you have lost perspective. If that 1% suddenly became 5% and then 7% I would be more able to relate to their panic.

What perturbs transphobes the most is the visibility. They abhor allowing people to break the sacrosanct rules they were bound by. In particular some of the more radical feminists are fuming at the prospect of allowing "pretend women" to usurp their hard fought victories.

That some people identify as transgender and realize later they have erred should not make others so angry. After all, it is none of their business how others lead their lives. But as I always say: the more free and unique you become, the more it frustrates those who live in prisons they feel doomed to reside in.

People are so predictable.

Love math

I watched the video made by someone who reduced the power dynamics of relationships between men and women into a series of diagrams, notes and graphs. Looking at it that way was odd but I realized while it was playing that he wasn't wrong. He had reduced everything to mechanical analysis which had also been bolstered by surveys and polling about what people look for. 

This level of almost cynicism was geared towards helping the viewer improve their chances with the opposite sex and admittedly much of it was common sense. Having good personal hygiene and posture were obvious but less so was how hypergamy works with its low level instinct versus high level thinking. In an era of swiping right or left on an app, we have reduced what used to be more nuanced to a game where there must be an immediate hint of a spark lest I move to the next photo.

I laughed a little while watching it but also felt a little sad in that so much of human behavior can be summarized so succinctly and predictably. Our animal instinct is still the primary driver despite living in a changing and complex climate which sometimes confuses and frustrates it.

I observe this from a distance today after my appetite for this game has long subsided and realize now how much I had to learn while I lived in my youthful and innocent stupor.

I guess I didn't yet know enough math.

Saturday, March 9, 2024

"Do you have a dollar?"

 


Our definition

As gender variance becomes slowly more acceptable, the labels continue to get increasingly varied. Non-binary, gender fluid, gender queer, gender non-conforming, bi-gender, etc which have been added to the previous terms like transgender, transsexual and "crossdresser" (previously thought to be an upgrade on transvestite which many who do not question birth sex have begun to abandon for one of the other terms).

There may not be going back to the old perfect binary model except that settling into what this diversity means for society as a whole will take time. There is going to be some confusion regarding the interplay between expression and identity where some people want more free reign to dress and present as they please while others have deeply rooted investment in identity. Many who are questioning don't even know what to call themselves and within the space of years or even decades may come to revise what term best describes them.

Therefore let's not lock ourselves into firm definitions and be open to discover who we are. Being 'Normal' may be fine when we are talking about statistics but it does nothing regarding honoring our respective natures as humans.

Under similar circumstance

I hadn't been to my local mall for ages and yesterday I decided on the spur of the moment to do so. Before the pandemic it had been a place to sometimes stop after work and have a coffee before buying groceries. This time some merchants I hadn't seen for a while were glad to see me and we chatted briefly before I moved on to my next errand.

I made the contrast from when last I was here because, as sure of myself as I previously thought I was, my current status is so much better. I have completely stopped second guessing how I move, how I speak, how I gesture and everything is completely running on auto pilot. You realize you have become completely yourself whereas before you were somehow still in 'costume mode' but didn't know it. You now could care less who looks at you and for what reason.

A couple who recognized me came to say hello while I was having coffee and they were so nice. I would sometimes see them there and they wondered where I had gone. I was also glad to see them.

This is such a slow and deliberate mental progression that you don't realize the growth until you contrast the before and after under very similar circumstance.

Something has to change

I say that Biden is a better candidate than Trump all the while acknowledging that the current liberal capitalist model has stopped working. Sure, we don't want the authoritarian right taking over the US but that does not mean there aren't major structural problems to be repaired.

Many liberals seem to take the approach that the system works fine as it is but just needs tweaking whereas in truth the reason the unfairness of wealth distribution has gotten so much worse is because the economic model is flawed. For example, getting rid of much of your blue collar work in multiple industries and handing them over to third world nations was a way to increase profits for corporations but it came at the expense of the society as a whole.

Instead of measuring just the economic health of industries we should have been looking also at the health of the lowest rung on the societal ladder much more carefully. As the middle class has been slowly wasting away we see how adopting a limited model has its price and continuing to use it as we have will only make the problem worse.

I think its going to take a more comprehensive approach going forward to determine what to do with people who aren't going to be technologically savvy. UBI is being talked about and perhaps ultimately that is part of the solution but of course not all of it.

What is clear is that something has to change.

Friday, March 8, 2024

Jordy J Queederman

RM Brown visits with my fellow Canadian lunatic and perennially frustrated right-wing shrink. Yes, limiting street parking makes him angry as do women engineers.

Yes, regretably he is a real person and not a cartoon...

Effects

A very familiar theme to anyone who sits on a fence and is challenged within the confines of a marriage. Starting transition and then stopping is not an easy decision. I put away the idea of transition because of family.

Very difficult situation and I hope she's well of late....


Run!!

 


Powder Keg

There is poverty everywhere. The young woman holds up a cardboard sign at the metro entrance which asks simply for a smile and of course I comply. I don't have change and tell her so and she beams back a largely toothless smile and tells me it's okay. I remind myself to always have change on hand.

We're sitting on a powder keg.

On game

I didn't see the whole thing but the excerpts I did view showed me that Biden was on his game. Combatative and firm, he even chastised the Supreme Court justices who saw fit to begin to snowball the country backwards by repealing Roe; a decision which most Americans oppose. The GOP gambled decades ago by courting evangelicals whose views are too radical for the vast majority of the country.

For his part, the GOP candidate is a slurring and confused idiot but he does somehow have his finger on the pulse of the most disgruntled and misinformed portion of the electorate who no doubt feast on FOX News. The choice in November should be between a seasoned but tired politician versus someone who would sell his mother for a buck and throw you under the bus in a heartbeat, and yet the polls don't reflect it.

That's too bad, because the consequences may indeed be dire. If you wanted concrete proof that rhetoric and hyperbole can work for despots, here it is.



The burbs