gender, identity, transgender

The Second Wall

The First Wall was denial/acceptance, it is time to move on, not doubting who I am, but also not ‘knowing’.  I mean this as, who can really know all about themselves?  If there is something we haven’t done, but have always wanted or needed to at some point, then we either do what we can to make it happen, or lament on our death-beds.

I’m going to try my very best to do all the things I want (so should you!), finish my book, record an album, visit some memorable places, fall in love again and all that lovely stuff; and to be female for whatever reason.  Hey, I have always wanted to conceive a child, simply to be in control of the responsibility, I think that is rational.  Hahahahaha…..ooooooooooooooooook?

The Second Wall is conflict.  Yes, I am transgender, but to what extent?  How far do you read into gender [non-]specific terms, or heed the words of enablers?  All I have been hearing from people is positivity, thank you from my heart, though there must be a planet sized slice of reality here.  Read the horror stories, read how it all went wrong, and the regret.  Understand how transgender people generally struggle with certain very understandable issues for very long times.

Everyone has their issues, and changing gender is not some magic bullet. Changing gender isn’t even about solving any other problem than perceived gender affirmation. Decide how important or how vital this is to lifelong prospects; how will it affect you if you do? How will it affect you if you don’t? How far ‘in-between’ is enough?

I spoke to a lovely transwoman today, my first actual conversation (knowingly) with someone who had transitioned, and she tells it clear, the whole thing is an anti-climax.  For a year it was new and exciting, from then on, life goes on!  The people who love you won’t need to hear it anymore, and the people you lose are just gone.  She is happily married with children, went into it with a level head, and did things right.  Glorious!

I caught myself many times at counselling, mixing signals between consciousness and unconsciousness, between what I feel, and how the words twist coming out of my mouth.  We work together, and she tells it true also, because if you are not repressed and you have a fairly good handle of what is knocking about in the brain fromage, then ‘You know who you are.’

Fine.  Little steps.  Got contact for a support group, which can even be fraught with in-fighting I’m told.  Still, gotta do it, gotta go, gotta see it, gotta know.  I’ll pay no attention this week to the fact I’ve decided to start ‘subtly’ wearing mascara.  It is a dichotomous compulsion where I don’t like make up, but become entranced, being left with a sense of victory, euphoria.  Although I will consciously laugh it off, truth be told, I’m loving it.  My hormones do not.

In a spate of unhealthy behaviours I’ve tried to make myself dysphoric, just to make sure the feeling is there.  I’m back to my reasonably healthy self, but it is like an alcoholic taking a drink to prove he’s not an alcoholic.  Forgive the pronoun, and don’t think I’m comparing being transgender to being an alcoholic for so many obvious reasons, it’s just an unpolished visual tool.

If you really want, you can convince yourself of something in your own head, you can make up and embellish how transgender you are, share it with the world and tell the relevant people the right words and get what you think you want or need.  I’m aware you might have an advantage telling a pretty tale to a ‘gatekeeper’, but this whole issue in my eyes, is completely subjective.  Only the individual knows how far is necessary to go, if you lie to yourself, or to others, you will fall apart the way lies do.

So I’m saying this to anyone reading, and to myself – figure out what you need, and what risks need to be taken, if any, to get your balance right.  You aren’t trying to be something, you are simply trying to be. Diffuse any pretentions. Remove desire, in the Buddhist way.

Having a gender identity issue is a big crisis for those who do, because life is not about gender, it is about living your life as best you can irregardless of it.  How much do you need to change to resolve this issue so you can live life as fully as possible?

And to those who have traversed the path…and to everyone else….

Turn it up very loud!

Amy…..boooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooom!

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coming out, gender, identity, transgender

The semantics don’t matter

I’m coming to accept who I am, which is handy because I feel sick when I don’t.  Now when I get distracted, instead of using it as a tool for denial, the ‘dysphoria’ begins, and I just have to accept that I have a female gender identity.

It’s like trying to convert gays.  In some cases it may seem efficacious for a while, but as far as reality is concerned, the long term success rate is virtually zero.  It is likely to be the same case for transfolk.  It cannot necessarily be understood, but it is sufficient to accept, the semantics don’t matter.  For myself as seemingly transgender, trying to deny it is like a smoker saying ‘This cigarette is going to make me quit smoking.’  It is a fallacy, the feeling goes away for a while, but you know it will come back, until the reasons for discomfort are removed.

It is of course possible to be transgender and have a mental illness associated with it.  In my time trying to convince myself that I was insane, I had to come to terms that if it had a name, it would be called ‘Gender Dysphoria’.  The attacks are less frequent, though still pervasive.  I got an awkward referral from my GP, it was necessary to shave time from the potential lock-in of anxiety disorder, but also means I have to make important decisions with myself more quickly before discussing them with the dreaded so-called ‘gatekeepers’.

In knowing what it is, the question now is what to do about it?  I have this gut feeling that transgender realisation is a gradual subjective process that is a priori, as in, the body will find it’s own way to how far I need to go, and what is comfortable.  Rather than letting dysphoria dictate this, I will have to find another way of attempting to make these decisions carefully, in a niche of incredible risk.

My circle of trustees is complete.  Seven people know, 4 male friends, 2 female friends, and my mother.  They have been amazingly supportive, but haven’t seen me, as Amy, coming forth from what is becoming a personal tyranny of male form.  Not to say this isn’t an amazing male form, it is just wrong on the inside.  When I close my eyes, I am much smaller.

It is a fantastic feeling to have their support, and they tell it true, ‘You have to be yourself, otherwise who am I talking to?’

The best possible position when it comes to gender seems to be not being concerned at all with your gender.  I believed that already, though now I am beginning to understand it.  It is natural not to question your gender, therefore, for the identity crisis caused and maintained by being transgender, the remedy is reach the same state [by whatever means] of no longer having to question what should be a fundamental subjective given.

Transgenderism is a special anomoly, as whatever conditions natural biology fall under, for a full spectrum of gender differences, there are only two choices of physical body to begin with.  Mostly, nature gets it right, but sometimes, a sane, rational person, can be the recipient of a rare differentiation, which like all things unique and human in life, should be celebrated as being part of humanities’ vast possibility.

‘You have to know your name’ – Reek

I do, I am comfortable and happy when I say it, because the key to life is consistent self-improvement beyond all the inevitable setbacks, and natural mortal conundrums, so that you become or remain, now or again, a person whose value can be shared with, and improve the experience of life in very meaningful ways, for others and for yourself.

Oh sure, it will get hard again, but we will get stronger, and can say that we beat the bad stuff back as many times as we could or ever had to.

Turn it up very loud,

Amy

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coming out, gender, identity, transgender

There will not be blood.

Ok, I know I’m kind of hogging the internet, so a quick [written: long] post then I’m going to go to my handwritten journal for a few days, to attempt a private revelation.

I feel more comfortable and relaxed than I have in a long time.  I told two more male friends, it took a little more explaining, but again the openness and love that can be forgotten exists shows out in full bloom.

My explanation has also grown a little more steadfast.  Aside from carefully explaining that I am not a repressed homosexual, a cross-dresser or a transvestite, what I can get out now is that it is a difference in the relationship between my mind and my body.  Maybe they need to see it to believe it, but I still trust them, even if I do end up with a shrill, untuned, squeaky voice.

You hear the phrase ‘man trapped in a woman’s body’, but it is crude and incomplete.  To be transgender surely entails that even with the brain of a different gender, one is still subject to the hormones, social constraints, and the idea one must be wrong because how can you be in the wrong body?  What I know now from reading is that in spirit form, I would have a hard time convincing myself that I was male, but I’d give a damn good shot at being female.  Though, in spirit form, it’s all the same anyway, just different energies.

I admit that I have been rambling on in mad denial, it may be an open and expressive experience, but I am aware that it is profoundly unhealthy to not be dealing with things as they are.  Again I have to remind myself that my intelligent thought doesn’t matter, it is not something I can justify or prove, it is just something that is.

My friends tell me simply, they love me, but I have to come to terms with it.  If I am going to be anybody, I have to be myself.  We have had some great conversations, admitting to being transgender has allowed each of them to open up even more to me.  These are the bonds that grow stronger, an advantage I cannot ignore.  I am a very lucky person.  An old friend I love deeply held me in his arms for a long time and stroked my hair, I felt uncomfortable even though I enjoyed it, the act was made that I had to allow myself to be vulnerable, otherwise I would be stonewalling.

I am a girl :/  I can’t really deny that.  My name is Amy, and once I can reassure….(oh! revelation)…I don’t have to reassure the little boy crying at the window, I need to reassure the essence of who I am, the feminine self (or at least, the true self), that has had to spend so long suffering the ways of living as a male.  As much as male life has been fun, it has been marked permanently by having the brain of a female.  Obviously meaning no offence, whatever gender someone is, or not, it’s all good, embrace it!

The cold dread is warming into a creamy glow.  Seems like I’m getting somewhere.  Slight….elation.

See all you wonderful people soon.

Love and Peace signs,

Amy x

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gender, identity, transgender

And the bleat goes on…

A rare moment of lucidity.  I felt fine for an hour this morning and then it all crashed again.  Somehow got through work, and spent lunch at home screaming and crying to the heaviest of metal, trying to drown it all out.  Now I’m just writing this before I tell a few more people.

[Additional – Here is a link to a fantastic article about transgender denial, from the Null HypotheCis at freethoughtblogs.]

Is Gender Identity Disorder A Disorder?

This article really resonated. It defends the categorisation of gender dysphoria as a medical condition, or even disorder, in the US DSM, because it requires medical treatment.  I’m attaching some quotes from the article.

‘[A] society that wholly and completely embraces transgenderism and genderqueerness, and has done away with enforced binary gender roles, would not eliminate the distress and negative impact on quality of life produced by gender dysphoria, and would not eliminate the need for medical treatment of it (transition).’
‘[A] human being experiencing gender congruence will always have a better quality of life relative to a human being experiencing gender dysphoria. Therefore it’s not unreasonable to subjectively categorize Gender Dysphoria as a “disorder”.’
‘The dysphoria is what is classified as “disorder”, not the simple fact of being transgender.’

This one gets me good, it helps a lot.  My problem is not with being possibly transgender; my problem is with the dysphoria associated with it.  Yet, without the dysphoria it seems to open the door again to denial.

‘It’s extremely important to bear in mind that when we classify Gender Dysphoria as a disorder and include it in the DSM what we’re talking about is not our post-transition lives wherein we find ourselves happy, confident, secure, healthy, but rather we’re actually talking about those awful lives we lived in the years leading up to that decision, with all the attendant shame, self-hatred, pain, alienation, and discomfort in our own skins, often with co-morbid suicidality or addiction. Don’t question how you feel about your present self being classified as disordered. Question how you feel about your prior self being classified as such.’ (Emphasis added)
‘Gender dysphoria, gender identity and transgenderism can ONLY be asserted or “proven” subjectively, and therefore ONLY be diagnosed through interpreting a patient’s subjective experience and descriptions thereof, ONLY psychologists and psychiatrists are in any way qualified to make that diagnosis. Whether or not it’s really a psychological/psychiatric disorder is totally irrelevant to that fact.’
‘I didn’t consider it reasonable to define Gender Dysphoria as a psychological or psychiatric disorder, and instead, due to the likely etiology of the condition, the available scientific evidence in regard to that etiology, and the form that treatment takes (by way of adaptation to an immutable aspect of mind/self), saw it as a neurological condition, or even more accurately: a disordered relationship between mind and body.’

This also helps, to be able to consider that there is a legitimate disconnect between brain sex, and the body.  My rational mind won’t allow me to just accept transgenderism as a ‘thing’, but in understanding the biological reasons for it, makes it less daunting.  Is dysphoria like depression, in the way that it is the mind sending signals that something is wrong and must be tackled?  Depression is a defence system, a warning, because the intuitive and unconscious parts of us know more intricately about who we are than any conscious thought.

Meditations

I decided to do some Yoga and then meditate, in complete darkness. Alan Watts’ encouraged me to take away the subjective nature of thought, to just view what is in the mind as neutrally as observing light or sound.  Let yourself ‘be’.

I watched my male self watching my male self, sitting by a clear screen distraught.  On the other side, was her, Amy, she saw my pain and wanted to help me.  She spoke calmly and asked me to come to her, to embrace her.  The male cried, as I was crying, because he is scared, he knows as soon as he lets go, as soon as he reaches out to hug her, her will no longer exist, his energy will become hers.  I couldn’t do it.  The truth however, is that it wasn’t a clear screen, it was a mirror.

I feel like I have a twin sister fetus in fetu, who has always been there, her physical essence disintegrated, and the energy is shared within one body, so she could live in a vicarious way.

I went further, listening to Roxy Rose – Meditation, self hypnosis, useful tools for the transsexual.  I followed the guidance, walking through an expensive red wooden door with a ’40’ on it.  Through it became whatever I wished to be.  I was a female, in light flowing translucent robes, in a room with a four-poster bed, with the same material blowing from the rails.

She went to the balcony, it was a hotel in the Southern Mediterranean, lots of beige, brown, and large leafy plants, all quite angular and rigid.  I was asked to create a staircase to the pool below.  The staircase was a black rollercoaster track, not easy to walk on.  As she came to the water, she disrobed to her underwear, completely alone, in refreshing aqua.

A gift was at the bottom of the pool, in an area very very deep, though I reached it quickly, pulling out an ornate jewellery box, lined with pearls, sewn intricately with birds and flowers.  Inside was a spoon, so I could look at myself distorted, a short pearl necklace, and my flowery hair bobble.  This was not the true gift however.

I was asked to go back to the room, to pass through the door and return to my true life but something extraordinary happened.  As I opened the door, I split, the female stayed in the beautiful room, content, ready for sleep, and the man passed through, to an empty, windowless box room, and rusted steel prison walls engulfed him.  He screamed, while she relaxed.  I watched this from a distance, having to make a choice of where to place my identity, and I was pulled into the prison.

I can only see her when I blink. It does not feel as though she is me. So why am I so sick? How does it explain twenty years of living with a brain that is automatically female, no matter how I try to avoid it?

Progress?

I’ve been reading official health advice, trying to accept at least that the dysphoria is a disorder.  The anxiety and gastrointestinal effects are very real. It would seem a medical condition requires medical treatment, though I still don’t accept the level of treatment necessary, because I don’t completely understand it. I can’t provide context without being incredibly insensitive.

‘The best help is to find social acceptance in a gender role that fits your identity.’ [Source unknown]

At work, I asked myself some questions –

  • Am I enough as I am?
  • Do I have enough evidence to convince myself?
  • Do I need to change, or do I just need to be seen in a different way?

To accept who I am, to confront it and eventually embrace it, means attaining a level of self-acceptance and growing self-worth that I might never achieve as cisgender.

From what I have written, I may be a ‘Two-Soul’.  Sounds a bit outlandish, but it’s another colour on the spectrum. And now I see why the LGBT flag is a rainbow.

I’m too scared to try to dress up or present anymore, because it now feels insincere, utterly rudimentary.  I’m in a flux where I basically just want to be naked. There is NO QUICK FIX, so accept reality, or don’t, and suffer.  I contradict myself between a desire to be female, and an unquenchable urge to not change anything about myself.  I can only wonder that if I were born a girl in the first place, would I still be transgender, which presents the difficulty in being sure, as there could be dysphoria in being female for the loss of the male. I may not want to change because if I know I am female and always have been, then I have always been myself in that way……what a complete ludicrous lie.

At work, I’m constantly on the phone, when no-one is around I introduce myself as ‘Amy’, because the clients know me and think I’m saying ‘Jamie’.  When I get mentioned in a feminine way, or get lumped in with the other girls (I’m the only guy in the office), when a driver comes in and say ‘Hi girls’, I don’t correct it, I embrace it. Even if I’m a guy, I’m a girl, and the only reason I don’t scream it to the world is because I don’t want my feelings to be hurt by those who will call me a sissy boy.

Still, I cannot ignore my feminine strength. Amy in the mirror doesn’t take anywhere near as much crap as I do, she fights and loves in equal measure, never compromising.  I say the testosterone wants to kick my ass, but if I’m not careful she will kick my ass, and force me to love myself, to fall into her arms, to become together as one again.

We are the same damn person!

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the space between

Dana Ansari's Trans Girl Blog

I told a friend that I am transgender.  He said he doesn’t know anything about it but that it sounds great.  I was taken aback.  My girlfriend said the same thing, that my trans-ness is not a problem, that it is good.  It doesn’t seem that simple.

Yes, realizing who I am is like standing under a waterfall in 120 degree heat, an overwhelming and unparalleled experience of joy, so epic, so wonderful; it brings me to tears.  I love myself.  But I miss humanity.  I miss the simple pleasure of watching a movie and saying, “me too.”  I miss meeting new people and really getting to know them.  I feel fortunate now to keep the friends I have.  It’s daunting.

I am lonelier than I’ve ever been.  I feel disconnected from people and places that I’ve known.  I can’t remember their names.  It feels like five years have passed…

View original post 110 more words

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gender, identity, transgender

My Prejudice

I’m only consciously realising that I’m writing this to the world.  I don’t like talking solely about myself, but at the minute I have to focus or I will lose myself.  I’m rolling the die, every side is painted one.  When a force arises, an opposition comes to meet it.  One day when the global corporate mega-tyranny strikes the Endgame, we can’t have neglected our preparation, or we will become slaves.  If we wait, it’s too late.  On my personal level, a rise is building to either a meltdown or a revelation.  I must win.

I’ve had two counselling sessions in as many days.  One pointed out feminine mannerisms at particular times, we discussed identity, and tried to look at my denial and my egregious need to eat and take stock.  The guy today I had been seeing for general maintenance, so I threw him the curveball.  Not a flinch.  The understanding of decent people has never been short of legendary to me.  What he got me with was that it seemed from all the people I have told so far, the only person not to accept it is myself.

I’ve been struggling to come up with a term to describe it.  I’ve said condition, but it is rejected because it’s wrong, so what is it?  It it just…a thing?  Is it neurological, biological?  I can read about it all day but I still have to draw my own conclusions, I feel like my philosophical conviction is leaving me.  There is a reason:

I am prejudiced.

I doubt I’m the first to do it, but in building a repressed personality within a male ego, I made myself dislike the idea of transgenderism.  Not because of intolerance, but because it contradicts the idea of having to change anything about yourself…but then I’ve changed myself for the benefit of ‘fitting in’ this whole time.  Layers dude!  Life peels away like giant onions.

At work, the amount of grief I get for having a bobble with a flower is unreal.  My mother at a restaurant this evening commented on how a man was carrying his bag. “Queer”, she tittered.  Even as an out and out guy, what is the problem?  It’s cool, it’s fun, it’s not BLAND.  I guess other people get caught up in the wave of saying intolerant things without actually meaning them.  I have been one of those people at times, loving of all, but happy to poke fun for the sake of irony.  Many of these horrible faults are graciously falling away in a wave of shame.

Thankfully the nasty people of the world are brutish regardless, so it makes no difference.  However, does this now mean that I can’t speak for being and ‘out and out guy’, because I have never been one, merely an emotional actor?

I told another friend, and I’ve decided on the small circle of trust I’m going to build to help each other through until I time where this is either resolved (repression!), or things start to change.  He had to be told, and to be honest the feeling of him not knowing was unbearable.  He didn’t freak out either, why am I the only one freaking out!  Well, not freaking out, my mindset has plenty of automatic defence systems, and I know how incredibly lucky I am to have such awesome friends.  A few other guys came over then and I couldn’t deal with it.  So I had to go.

I’m going to tell two more male friends and my mum.  Maybe.  It’s a closely regular social circle and I need to be sure because it could spill.  I’d probably admit it freely if challenged, but then, I haven’t changed enough about my presentation yet to have it matter, so it is dangerous.  A risk.

They hug me now.  They hug me because they can see that I want a hug, if they don’t, I ask for it. Hugging for all from me, ok?  Eugh.

It’s all leading up to a monumental cry.  This intolerance I have created, the last vestiges of maleness that wants to hang on is doing all it can so stop me from crying, because it knows it is the end.  It also protects me in a way, because I need to be ready first.  I’ve admitted it vocally to people at the speed of emotion, before thoughts can niggle their way in, that the ‘Clif’ part of me is pretty much gone already, and I didn’t get to say goodbye.  Same person, but that awesome male now is mostly…I can’t describe it without sounding like I’m disassociating.

I really have to thank everyone who has talked to me thus far, it is so very nice.  I’ve always thought it one of the greatest gifts, to be able to make someone feel good about themselves even just a little.  Being a rockstar is cool and brings wonderful art, but when someone just makes you feel good for being you?  There is little better.  And I share this unto the world.

Ah….a beaming smile.  When I beat depression this happened, get all the negative out, make room for that good stuff, make it automatic, know through all the horrible crap you may think about yourself that you are just as good and deserving of love as anyone else.  Love for yourself!  You are allowed to love yourself!!!  Even if there is all that stuff going on, it’s ok!  Just allow yourself to go “You know what?  I’m actually pretty damn cool in a way!”

Mwahahahaha, goodbye dysphoria, hello denial!  Ohhhhh, but I will get there.  It is supremely important to realise that with the whole transgender thing, is that no matter if you do change, all the other problems in life will still be there.  In fact, I imagine there is a whole lot more.  Maybe that’s where the gravity of the situation exists, for me right now, this is only one issue in life, but what I really have to realise and accept is the weight of this issue against being able to live the rest of my life trying to repress it.  The strength of my own mentality has become almost an enemy, when it could be converted to a great ally.

I’ll figure it out soon enough!  I hope!  Too busy with everyday life stuff to process it really.

Message to the future – Do you get it yet?  Do you know what you are?  Or have you stayed still?  Are you comfortable in your skin?

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My First Video….going badly!


Like I said, I watch video’s of folks starting transition and I get a cold dread, cold sweats, knowing what I want, and seeing how much work goes in, and how many messed up aspects of it that go against all the testosterone stands for.  As such I has decided to document my own journey.

My accent is awful I know (it’s been inconsistent lately), and my video skills, well they are just sublime.  Not.  Last video I was in was a VHS recoding of a metal gig i did in 2004!

Apologies for all the posts today.  I’m starting a new notebook journal, so I won’t be flooding anymore, apparently that’s annoying, so, sorry!

Cliiiifffyyyyy.  Aaammmmmyyyyyy.  Jaaammmiiiieeee

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