gender, identity, transgender

The smooth is the rough

All these constant little battles.  Who you are versus who you should have been;  what you could be versus what you’re not; the potential physiological loss of one set of positive/negative gender traits for the gain of positive/negative traits for another gender.  A very unique set of issues, the question is, are you fighting against yourself, or for yourself?

It’s tough to express a part of yourself that has been forced away for so long.  It’s not like I’ve ever not been myself, but some parts…some parts I knew just felt very far removed from what I should be expressing in the narrow rubric, a specified cause for ridicule.  In fact, ever since early childhood, I’ve known these issues weren’t solely about expression, it was something much deeper.  When I was six, I needed to be a girl, even though I didn’t know any girls,  I searched for ways to make it happen, rather than laying in bed wishing.  I remember bouts of what I now know to be dysphoria, looking in the mirror disgusted, spending hours, days, weeks scouring the house during any moment alone to find the elixir that would change me so I didn’t have to deal with whatever was hurting me.

One day, when I was around 7/8, I thought I had found what I was looking for.  I had looked at it on several other occasions and wondered how dangerous it might be.  Industrial super glue.  Yeah, less painful than the scissors or elastic bands, maybe it would work for a while.  It took several more days, maybe weeks of building courage, and then I tried to super glue my penis behind my body, away from sight.  Obviously it didn’t work, I was just left with my genitals and hands covered in the stuff, sticking together.  Later that evening I came to my mother and explained I had an accident….an accident that leaves a fully clothed 7/8 year old with glue on hands and penis only.  I remember as my mum peeled super glue off my raw little bits how much I had to repress telling her why I did it, and how for a further 20 years I would repress telling anyone about events like that.  I reminded my mother of this when I came out to her, even she had repressed it and denies it ever happened.  I can’t say for sure that I was trying to become a girl, I was just trying to become what my experience told me I was, which just happened to be a girl, though I did not know the words.  All I knew is that the feeling would not go away, as I searched aimlessly for relief.

It was so much repression.  I knew there was a part of me that was very wrong, very different from anybody else, that certain parts of me had to be buried, deeper and deeper, not because I was scared of my expression, but because I was scared of my identity.  The term ‘gender identity’ I feel is only useful to a point, because what it actually seems to be is just ‘identity’, gender being a consequence of biological variation that has little bearing on the identity I have, rather it is through repression that a ‘back-up’ identity is created to which dysphoria demands the truth of actuality be heard.

More and more I remember times throughout my life when I wanted to react flowingly to situations, to be myself, but I didn’t.  I am an only child of early divorce, I was trained early to be quiet, to just get on with things, not ask questions, to be alone and just deal with it.  These experiences carry through, reinforcing themselves over the years until the truth is just buried in submission to the dour grind of work, conformity and death.

I don’t think I can deny there is a difference between transkids and later transitioners.  The AGP model is highly flawed and fetishised, but there are young ones who have no choice but to express because there is no other way for them to be but themselves, repression is impossible, acting up to natal sex is impossible, and they are made pay a sickening price generally in bullying from other kids, teachers, family.  Like everything else, dysphoria and levels of transgenderism run on a spectrum of intensity.  Still, I think life circumstances play a part for some, individual personality and life experience cannot be denied; when inhabiting a foreign body with no knowledge of why it feels so wrong, people react in different ways.  Certain traumas can bury one’s identity entirely, not just their gender, perhaps forever.


Me-She

Now, for me to forget how to be ‘male’, it is like asking an aeronautical engineer with a 29 year career who re-realised her true calling was in marine biology to forget everything about aeronautical engineering.   She couldn’t, nor should she, experience is still experience.

So, gotta work with it.  I grow painfully aware of how ‘unfemale’ I’ve become, all those years of male training to try and find a way to fit.  Nobody put a gun to my head to make me do it, but hey, when you know intrinsically who you are in a world where every single identifier tells you that you are not, various coping mechanisms evolve in learning how to get by.

I’m usually in a bad mood, and while we may not know what constitutes maleness and femaleness, we generally make the distinction fairly easily.  Take a grey lump of clay, give it the vocal tone and mannerisms of a certain sex and I imagine it would be fairly easy to guess which it is a large degree of the time.  The argument I keep hearing is ‘sex is not gender’, so as trans I feel I must admit my gender and my sex.  Not that I ever denied it, that would be a bad idea.  I can barely hold in this truer side of myself, yet I don’t really get what it is, or is supposed to be.  Sincerity without ego, it will take time to peel away the decaying shell of faux masculinity.

You see, as a male, brought up as male, living as male, subject to male physiology, it’s not difficult to portray as male…square peg, square hole.  Simple delusions, lies for a back-story.  It makes you the perfect spy, like the Englishman  raised in Germany called to serve his motherland in the World Wars – he speaks German, lives like a German, acts like a German, but he is English, and must stand for his truth, rather than the life forced upon him when his pregnant mother set forth from Dover.

Speaking of battles, I notice the fragmentation of the trans world.  The young folks, the older folks, the AGP crowd, the radfems, trans-extremists(!), the regular ignorant, the well meaning ignorant, the folks just trying to get on with it, however many more little subgroups.  It’s good to read all this stuff, it can be pretty painful.  I’m not saying disregard it, I’m saying it’s too personal a journey to let the views of everyone else play too large a part.  Don’t make comparisons, it’s easy to feel invalidated, or ‘not trans enough’, the topic has been covered extensively, and is again irrelevant to the immediate problems facing each transperson.

I watched some informative videos on youtube by Kaylee Johnson, and wondered why she hasn’t put up a video in sometime.  If you don’t already know why, can you guess?  Yup, she jumped off an overpass and killed herself, yet she seemed so inspirationally on top of things.  You would do well to convince me that people struggle their whole lives, become aware, pluck up the courage to transition, turn their lives and bodies upside down, then die so unceremoniously because of a fetish.  She was strong and she still died by suicide.


Where’s my medicine?

Taking time now to work on transition, I realise that there’s not actually an awful lot to do.  Most of it is a series of constant learning processes and adaptations – voice, style, face, mannerisms, specific mtf/ftm horrors, whatever folks outside that binary need to do.  Personally I just want to get to a point where I am consistently showing myself for who I am, to a point where my voice doesn’t freak me out, and I can get a job without worrying about making additional dramatic outwardly changes early in employment.  Otherwise, yup, gotta get on with life, especially when the wait for treatment can become that grind you read about in blogs and try to estimate how long you might have to wait 😉

I’m 5 months into GIC therapy with the minimum 6 month wait before they can sign off on hormones.  I don’t think anything is going to happen next month.  I’m signed up for gamete storage, which will take months, then I imagine an initial endocrinologist appointment, a second appointment for blockers, then a later appointment to begin the new grinding wait for full power HRT.  So even when the light turns green, there is another red light, a small advance to dig another trench to duck from the mental gunfire.  I’m getting an advance on voice lessons though I’m told I’ll be turned away after initial consultation until I begin HRT, same goes for laser.  I was told the private laser sessions I’ve been getting don’t affect my eligability for NHS (Northern Ireland) laser fun.  The argument is that being on HRT will make these additional services more efficacious.

Of course, my argument is that HRT will make my life more efficacious, so get to it.  I reiterate that I don’t have forever to screw about with this, at my age I’d rather be worrying about kids and mortgages, not trying to justify medical treatment.  That said, as trans, treatment is a privilege, not an expectation, you are still you without medical intervention.

My whole life I’ve made myself least important, putting education, work, others and love before my own personal issues; now taking life into my own hands it is obvious what is important and necessary to me.  That being said, I still need to be in the position to work again, I’m in the prime of my life, as much as I’m happy to embrace my true identity, I don’t feel I have a lot of time for it!  More self-care required.

I got some homework which I’ll share because I think it could be a useful exercise. Simple cognitive behavioural questions, but can you answer them honestly?
•What are the advantages of transition?
•What are the disadvantages of transition?
•What are the advantages of not transitioning?
•What are the disadvantages of not transitioning?

‘What do I need to consider before I start to live my life full time in my identified gender?’
•Myself
•Family
•Work
•Society
•Other

I met my first knowingly transitioned transsexual woman before the appointment at a request.  She had transitioned a fair bit later than me, though it was a good opportunity to ask questions and hear confirmations face to face.  It all sounds horrifyingly lovely.  Tears and chocolate.  She said depression is part of being trans, I didn’t like that.  Depression is part of life for many these days, being trans doesn’t have to mean being depressed – yes, it increases the chances simply due to the added mental pressure, but it does not have to be a given.  There’s a reasonable chance HRT could turn you into a blubbering wreck as you finally get to experience how much it actually sucks to be female, pulled into estrogen station with a grating shunt of difficult to control new emotions, but that’s just what it is, the smooth is the rough.

This is what you want, this is what you get,

this is what you want, this is what you get,

this is what you want, this is what you get.


XX-XY-ZX Spectrum

I’m still looking, not for an excuse, but for an alternative.  My issue is still not about how I present, I feel pretty lame either way, it’s all internal.  However, I notice the difference in myself in public.  One day I went into town wearing male clothes because frankly my proper clothes were all in the wash and I was near bent double,  it sucked.  As I stood bent over moaning I saw people, faces, male people, female people, people I just couldn’t tell, me, eugh.  The wrongness I have felt for so long amplified now knowing why I’m not at all like them.

Compare that with having a more updated wardrobe which allows me to present full time, I still feel sad, I feel incredibly self-conscious of course, but not quite so dysphoric.  It’s a trade off, I feel more confident expressing that way, at least I can hold my head up, it sounds ironic, but I find it easier to go about my business.  I don’t have to pretend I’m this man man, I don’t have to pretend to be a woman woman, I simply just get to be me, squared, halved, with better things to do.

‘Gender is a spectrum’…’gender is not sex’  Knowingly or not, gender is an individual, subjective experience, shaped mostly by biology and society.  I’m trying to take away even the entire gender spectrum, there is only the personal spectrum, a band which exists somewhere with a range of self-identification that is tolerable to the individual. Existing anywhere within your own range is entirely fine, it can be as wide or as narrow as you desire, or as is forcefully imposed upon you.

Taking away labels, one can exist at and between the x and y of who they natally are and never have to justify it, or give it a name.  However, the issue is not the inability to express oneself within a gender spectrum, it’s spending one’s life so far isolated from from the demands of a biological/mental process which is not being met by our lives and bodies.  Apparently.  Thus I call myself a male-to-female transsexual based simply on the knowledge of the demands of my biology as a means of explaining my medical position rather than an explanation of my being.

I have a worry that I must admit, the lack of affection I received as a child, an only child, accounts for many of the needs I desire which could contribute to my experience as trans, giving credence to the nurture side.  The love and attention I needed crenellated into needs or desires which could stereotypically be labelled feminine.   Indeed, it is a reasonably reliable trans trait.  More worrying is the feeling I get sometimes that as a woman I’m transgender also.  To meet in the middle, I would nearly have to consider myself the same as I have my entire adult life ‘gender-neutral’.  Fudge your genders, but also, fudge my male genitalia and hormone supply.  Maybe it would be better to be smooth down below, sexless, hormone negative, but again it defies reality.  Stop looking around and getting distracted, the truth is there, in front of you, look forward, it doesn’t lie, only your conscious process lies.

Bleh, dysphoria can’t be forced, it is a catalyst to existing insecurities, it creates new insecurities, and it is difficult to find a place of content against the potentially crippling incongruity.  I don’t understand how it works though, I put on the clothes and make up and my dysphoria dissipates a little, even though after a while I’ve forgotten about how I look.  I am allowing my inner processes to be shared in the outer world, which is mentally healthy.

Furthermore, I figure that our bodies are crying out for certain nutrients, salts, vitamins and so on, we feel lethargic and sick without knowing why.  Just because we aren’t getting them doesn’t mean our bodies don’t know we need them, or how to metabolize a new chemical process hitherto unprocessed yet innate in design.  Same could go for hormones in combating the deficiencies that cause dysphoria.


This-for-I, ya?

Fun story.  So, I’ve been living close-ish towards full time for only three months now?  For the first time in my life I got chatted up at a bar by a woman.  She was bi-, had apparently been with trans friends before (whom she frequently misgendered), and she thought I looked good.  Anyway, one thing led to another if you know what I mean.  It was certainly a unique experience, as I’ve never had a one night stand before, and I didn’t have to pretend to be a man (or woman?), which was nice.  It was a worthwhile experience, sex has different parameters now, dysphoria certainly played it’s part, but I don’t regret it.  Very strange that this situation could have presented itself like this, when whilst as a man?  Nada.  Not that I would have been interested then.  But of course, I’m not allowed to be a sexual being, because it makes me an autogynephilic trans fetishist, having a one-night stand makes me a slut, doing this only while as a woman is misogynistic.

Truthfully, in freeing myself from the restrictive codes I created throughout my life, I am simply going after the things I wanted but was too principally scared to experience.  I transition, not to be a woman, but to be free.  Could I do all this as a ‘man’?…Maybe, but I wouldn’t be being myself and therefore would still be wearing a tourniquet around my own neck to keep some sort of grey homogeneous peace for others.

Ah, life is interesting.  Acquaintances and strangers, the looks in their faces, how they turn away, or stutter when they hear my name.  My sense of humour finds it hilarious, I like making people uncomfortable anyway, pushing boundaries and buttons, because evolution is what we make it, by evolving ourselves in general, we evolve the future.  Quick example waiting for service at the bar, a guy I haven’t seen in years ambles up:

P: ‘Alright man, long time no see, how’s it going?’
Me: ‘Heeey, not too bad thankya, gonna get drunnnnnk.  How’s you?’
P: ‘Aye, I’m grand man…but like….what have you been up to?’
Me: ‘Oh, you know, keeping busy, having fun, working on a few interesting projects, keeping smiling.  How about you?’
P: ‘Aye but like….are you alright man?  I heard…..er…..I heard that ah….that….’ (I love the squirming)
Me: ‘You heard that I’m a transsexual?’ (Well I am wearing a dress and make up)
P: [Nervous but somewhat relieved] ‘Yeah…aye….um….well…..just like…….’
Me: [Laughing] ‘It’s ok hun, don’t worry about it!  How are the little ones?’

And so the conversation goes.  Once the awkward sting is taken out, we can talk about everyday stuff again, as decent folks will realise ‘oh, it’s just a person/dude in a dress/transperson/man/woman’.  People generally don’t get to meet a lot of transfolk, the media has fairly distorted who we are, but on the whole people don’t care enough to make it a problem, they want to understand without being rude, and then they have other stuff to do.  They don’t understand which is why they casually misgender and think we have mental problems or a fetish.  There are plenty of difficulties where it is obvious I’m not seen as a woman but it’s early days, for now I’m only interested in seeing myself, showing myself and changing legal documents.  I am what I am, not what others claim.

I find that my doubts are as relevant as my understandings.  I can make moot most theories of my personal gender just by waiting.  I may convince myself of this, convince myself I’m not that, and it will work intellectually for a few minutes, hours maybe, but then dysphoria always comes back to say ‘Hi’.  I don’t think dysphoria is trying to hurt us, same way circumstantial depression isn’t trying to hurt us.  It’s a mechanism for the body to tell us something is wrong, that something needs to change for the body and mind to survive at its fullest power.  Issues grow when they are not confronted, turning the mind into a hateful gristle, yet when we meet head on the reasons for our discontent we find we can overcome adversity in understanding and by showing active love to ourselves, and the world around us.

Amy Xx

P.S. UK folks, do NOT use legaldeedpoll service, the one with Eamonn Holmes on it.  I got scammed by them, and I encountered quite a few others who have been screwed by them too, neither their phone numbers nor emails work and they don’t provide the service at all.  I have printed free deed polls and I’ll make an update as to whether the UK government sectors accept them.  I had to get a signed letter from the Gender Identity Clinic to be able to change my passport and driving license, so please bear this in mind when attempting to update documentation.

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12 thoughts on “The smooth is the rough

  1. Excellent. Wish I had written this, but I don’t have your writing talent. I read your pain and longing and they are mine. If only we could swap genders – but we don’t live in a perfect world. All the best, Amy. I will keep on reading about the progress you make. (((hugs)))

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Kris, I really appreciate it 🙂 No, we don’t live in a perfect world, but we can make our lives such a paradise as is possible. For all the difficulty of our situations we get the advantage of our experience, and I think it’s worth a lot. Painful, but beautifully unique! ^_^ Hugs!!!

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  2. Had to read all the way through a few times. Being authentic is hell and it is no doubt the cause of a lot of depression and suicide – we are who we are and we have twisted ourselves up into Gordian Knots trying to survive in a cisgendered society that we don’t belong in. And if you don’t want to be a MtF Barbie doll or a FtM Ken doll, the system doesn’t really work for you.

    Your super glue story captures it all – fortunately I only cut off all my hair when I was five because I didn’t want a “page boy” – eventually we settled on a pixie with straight bangs across the front. But I digress.

    No amount of transition takes away the pain of our growing up knowing we were trans (that something was wrong with us) -or our anger at having to do something about it – we have to find a way to live with that old pain and anger. One of the problems with the medical model is it abandons you when your transition is “complete” – as if everything is fine now. Ultimately we are stuck liberating ourselves and it is hard work (and expensive too).

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    • Hey Jamie, thanks so much for taking the time to read and reply 🙂 You are right, and it’s vital to know what the medical establishment can’t and won’t do because it is ultimately down to the individual, although I’ve heard after care for trans people is especially lacking.
      Good support and access to counselling services is a must. I don’t know about other countries but our national LGBT organisation is building up specific counselling services for the community, hopefully it will be a growing trend.
      Self-liberation is beautiful and empowering, the tougher it is the greater the value and experience gained. But of course it’s not so simple is it when we look at the body count… We’re getting there though, as our stories are shared we must become stronger, I like to hope we inspire and buoy each other!

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  3. Oh Amy, how I love your blog posts. You always give me lots to think about 🙂

    “I remember times throughout my life when I wanted to react flowingly to situations, to be myself, but I didn’t” – I love this line. I was sat here nodding away. I’ve said in counselling a couple of times that one way I’ve felt my desire to be female overtly in the last few years is this nagging feeling in social situations where I felt like being male didn’t allow me to be myself. I can remember particular occasions where I’ve looked around at the women nearby and felt jealous. I knew if I was female at the moment I could be myself, but I couldn’t, so I sat and awkwardly did my best to feel comfortable.

    Reading also reminded me of the occasional thought I have, that if I were exactly me and born female would I be trans anyway? I really don’t know. I end up in a silly thought process of picturing my interests and personality but as a girl and woman unaware of ever having lived as male (something I can obviously never do no matter how much time passes or how far I go with transition). I don’t know if this is another way for me to feel anxious that I’m perhaps making a mistake or just some self reflection, but it’s interesting to think about. Right now, I feel as if I identify more as genderqueer yet on the female side of the spectrum. But that makes me wonder, if born female would I be happily female and playfully enjoying my “tomboyish” interests like action video games and super hero comics? Or would I still feel genderqueer and be struggling with my own altered brand of gender dysphoria? Would these interests have caused me discomfort as a child when I didn’t fit the stereotypical girly girl mould expected of me? Maybe. But I have friends, a sister and a girlfriend who all share those interests and are all happily cis, so it’s not like I think the interests alone would be cause, but there’s something to me that leads me to think of myself as not on the gender binary. So if born female I doubt I’d go as far as to want to transition to male, that feels very unlikely. But I can never know for sure, and that does give me pause… Hmm something for me to blog on later perhaps!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re up very late 😛
      Thanks for the considerable reply, I totally empathize. Indeed, the girls I’ve ever been jealous of have been the ones who were just like me, only in their right body. Part of it is undoubtedly our male upbringing, but parts of it must also be our innate personality, there’s certain things about who we are regardless of gender or upbringing that we would probably be drawn to. In the very many universes we could be many different variations of ourselves, but there is something that connects us through those universes and that is our self-ness.
      Ruminating over the past couple of days I really think that I’m cooked out, so much trying to figure out what I already know just muddies the water, ‘too many identifications spoil the transsexual.’
      If little lingering doubts and dysphorias will always exist there’s only so much to fight against. I know when I don’t have to hold myself in, I can be who I am, I won’t call it male or female, it will just have to happen on it’s own…..the sub-conscious pretty much always knows you better than the conscious, emotion will always travel faster than thought.

      Oh, BTW, i’ll get on twitter soon!

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      • Well put! I do prefer the idea that some parts of me are just simply me and exist outside of my upbringing. Also yeah, I’ve reached a point where I’m trying to take it easy on the self-reflection, where it’s become more of an “Oh, that’s interesting” exercise and less of a search for evidence, as it was for me so recently. I watched some videos tonight and I found myself accepting the differences in their stories, when in the past I’d have been desperate to find similarities to validate what I already know.

        Amusingly after responding to you I sat around and couldn’t stop thinking so I sat and wrote an entire blog post. I’ll edit it and post it tomorrow, so thank you for the inspiration!

        Oh and I am indeed up late, as are you! 🙂 Looking forward to seeing you on Twitter someday! It’ll be nice to have another night owl on there to chat to.

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  4. Well, my therapist actually prescribed a few days off the intense research and understanding. I’ve failed the past few days but I totally get why she requested it, to find the sense of self in this whole deal. There really are no comparisons, and like Rimonim and yourself suggest, meditation is the way to lightness, because for every example of validation found there’s something to shoot us down.
    Looking forward to some nice reading on the morrow from ya my lovely. G’nite! Xx

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  5. Pingback: What’s My “Real” Gender? Would It Still Be The Same If Born Or Raised Differently? | Gender Drift

  6. Amy, you have such a way of explaining all these complex issues with ease. Every time I read your posts it gives me food for thought. It also makes me worry if I am asking myself enough questions. But then everyone is so unique and deals with this huge mess we are in different ways. I agree with your summary that gender is what we make it, there is no instruction manual. Glad you are feeling like you! Faith xx

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  7. You’ve already replied to a recent comment of mine (about where I am at the moment) – so there’s no need really to reply to this comment… this is just some wanderings in my head from reading your blog (I could just keep this stuff to myself…)

    (not to be clicky or anything :P) I’ve been trying to read all your blog from beginning to end – having read bits, I started reading more and just thought “what the hell – I’ll read the whole lot!”… I haven’t read this entry yet. I’ve read from the beginning – read some from around when you started on HRT and your latest entry (apart from the first video – I haven’t watch any of the others – I’ve spared you that at least!)

    I’ve read a few trans blogs before (I was actually in the middle of reading a blog posted in the Guardian by Juliet Jacques) but it has been around a year since I read someone’s blog from beginning to end… I was at the beginning of my journey in so far as doing about being potentially trans – it was emotionally tough going then. With your blog, I stuttered to get going but it has been more of a case of ticking boxes of things I’ve already been through – but still after a long break (from the transgender community basically) I feels like a kind of affirmation (however hard to deal with) to read you blog and still be able to relate quite strongly to Trans issues of the mind and so on… so thank you for all your words you’ve put out – you really do write very well.

    I was going to read all your blog before making any comment (well, before asking any advice etc..).

    I read somewhere on your blog that you weren’t going to get into all the biological science or social science – that you were going to try and deal with the naked feelings… the dysphoria – as you keep referring to it. In many ways your blog takes an opposite tack to how I’ve approached things – I’ve been very hard on myself really… very pragmatic and have gone into all the science, which may have been useful for an independent perspective if I didn’t trust my own feelings (which I had a hard time doing to be honest)… but having gone through the science and out the other side back to human emotions again (even though I did it the hard way from first principles I guess) – I am forced to confront that I feel like a transgender person, and at the very least, gender dysphoric…

    …so my approach needs to change I see…

    …I’ve looked at all the science, the medical stuff, all the paperwork, all the sociology even – basically all the stuff that stands in the way of facing the questions dysphoria really want answering… in much the same way as a cis gender homosexual just has to take the plunge and sleep with a member of the same gender – now I’ve gotten all the crap essentially out the way, all I have to do now is decide whether I want to be a woman basically (without having to worry about how I go about it and what problems it could bring to my life)… I can think of it almost in terms of waving a magic gender-changing wand now.

    So I need to get back in touch with how I feel – that is the only box left to deal with, and the only thing that will help me now… as you say it – I need to listen to the dysphoria again to see where I go from now, which in all likely hood (all crap put to one side) will mean full gender transition… I still see a step beforehand of exploring what you have with embodying the female gender, but it feels like a step from which I won’t be able to go back from rather than something tried and then moved on from – it feels a big deal basically… like an epic affirmation (that’ll no doubt be accompanied by much emotional out pouring as I’ve had before).

    Thanks again… I’ll read more to get up to date – do I get a special badge!? 😀

    I’ve wrote some notes so far reading your blog (excuse me :P): –

    Been reading more of ‘Unexpected Amy’ blog – read up to and including Dec 1st 2014… She’s alright – very intelligent, lesbian trans woman. I could relate to a lot of what she was saying. Going to read more until I finish it.

    Actually I’ve been worried about loosing ‘male’ parts of my personality – if it’s one thing people like in me, it’s this kind of ‘Jesus-ness’ I have, a philosophical nature… would that go on HRT/transition…? an inner pain I could set free that would change my humility and perspective to something more ordinary? – ‘Unecpected Amy’ seems the same – maybe I could ask her about that?

    …remembering about the androgyny in general that I feel – having researched the pre-transition transgender brain, this could be because a lot about the transgender brain is androgynous. While parts like the BNST are like the opposite gender and reveal themselves at the most heightened states of anxiety and reward etc…

    kind of lost my train of thought… something about I’m 37 and ‘unexpected amy’ is 30 now – so every cell in my body will have re-generated in that time (as this takes roughly 7 years).

    It’s funny how the more my gender dysphoria has increased the more my body seems willing to masculinize…. When I was 18 I weighed only 8 and a half stone (though I was wirey – I was tough for my size). My voice was kind of high for a male (I was teased for this even). I had no facial hair… apart from my legs I had no body hair at all… the hair on my head was all soft curls like something out of a roaring 1930’s female fashion picture. My face had hardly masculinized at all – I had thin eyebrows. Really when I was younger I had little to be gender dysphoric about. I barely even had a moustache.

    Funny – I remember when I was 19 or 20 shaving a patch of hair on my thigh as an experiment and it took ages to grow back… well, it hasn’t really grown back properly even now LOL as I can still see where I originally shave the hairs – as they’ve only grown back about half a centimetre (though they are more coarse – though not like Seth Brundle coarse from ‘The Fly’).

    It wasn’t until my late 20’s that I developed any chest hair – now I have a rainforest on my torso…

    It was only in this last year or two that I have finally (because of life seriously getting in the way big time) been able to do something constructively about facing my gender dysphoria (actually giving it a name) and figuring out what to do about it. And blow me if my hair doesn’t decide to start disappearing off my head (rapidly!) – so I am taking Finasteride* for that (it will be an idea of seeing what it feels like to wait for medical intervention to produce and results I suppose)…

    Now I’m 37 – I’ve gone from an effeminate looking (and sounding and behaving really) male to someone who has become a ‘man’ – 11 and a half stone, more defined male features, thick set body, hair, deeper voice… it’s kind of cruel that puberty (I suppose) should’ve delayed it’s effects and given me a false sense that I would look androgynous my whole life… the way things are going now, in another 7 years time I’ll have deer antlers for eyebrows and be a full member of the Wolverine club before middle aged spread blows everything out and I either wither to a Yoda-like figure or become a walking scrotal sack!

    *looking at the potential side effects – I can’t believe you can actually get Finasteride as an over the counter drug – Finasteride lowers DHT (a potent androgen – it’s 5 times more effective than regular testosterone… though DHT only accounts for 10% of total androgens in the body) by an average of 60 to 70% (straight away as it is a blocker), which may not return after 9 months of stopping taking it – and that’s just with the smaller 1mg daily dose that I’m on. As DHT is involved with the development of male genitalia basically, Finasteride can have some quite drastic effects. Maybe it’s all in my head, but I felt pretty weird the first day I took it – like someone had changed the picture settings on my TV screen, or the air in the room had changed… feels like I have had some physical effects too. They don’t advise anyone to take Finasteride if they would like to father a child – I feel a bit odd, like a freak with an altered body chemistry… indeed due to the effects of this drug, my overall testosterone levels should have gone up as well as oestrogen levels as well as other hormones that are only found in pregnant women(!) – indeed I have had a bit of nipple tenderness. I feel odd basically – I can’t really describe it… and yet all I’m on is a measly 1mg of Finasteride per day – that’s nothing compared to full-blown HRT!

    meh 😛

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  8. I’m happy to reply, you bring up a lot of interesting points 🙂 That’s the great thing about reading blogs, you can get all caught up in whatever goes through your head and you can read that others have felt the same way and that it’s all totally ok. It’s nice to know the stories of those further ahead, to see the struggles and the buildings of new confidence.

    The science stuff is interesting and everything, but I don’t find any of it very concrete, and anyone saying there’s a certain way to be trans doesn’t know what they’re talking about. In my opinion, what matters is what is going on with you. Not the science, or the opinions, or the automatic thoughts, more, how do you feel? What is happening inside of you? Who are you when you aren’t holding anything in? The search is internal, very personal, some aspects very private; it takes a lot of vulnerability to face these issues up close, and if it’s dysphoria, well then as you may know, it’s just there, throbbing.

    I guess a part of it is accepting there is no easy answers, there are only difficult revelations and difficult decisions, increasingly so, such is the heros’ path! I’ve never ‘wanted’ to be a woman, I still don’t, and I still fight to be more non-binary, but also I have to accept I am because it is painful to exist in any other way. In my eyes the question is not ‘Do you want to be a woman?’, it’s ‘Are you a woman?’

    For my experience, I just let go to the dysphoria, I did what it wanted, and when I got HRT i was able to let go of that a bit and reclaim myself. I only intend on transitioning as far as my dysphoria needs. If painful operations and invasive procedures aren’t necessary, well, then what is the purpose in doing them. What do you need? The most important thing to try to understand is yourself, ultimately only you can.

    It is a pretty big deal, as much as I, and other trans folks I know try to shrug it off as much as possible, I think we’re all at least aware of all that we will always have to go through. Transition is a life decision, a medical decision. There is no choice in being trans, but you can control what you want to do about it. It’s worth remembering that you have power and strength to accept what you need to a deal with it. No-one is a slave to dysphoria, and my hope is that it can be a friend at times.

    ‘Lesbian trans woman’ – I suppose that’s what I am but my personal distinction has changed a lot. I’m pretty settled at describing myself as polygender, that way I don’t have to overthink what my dysphoria or my presentation is doing and I’m mostly comfortable with that. Sexually, heh, that’ a story for another day. However, before I’m trans anything, I’m an individual. Individuality trumps gender. Gender is a load of blah blah blah, but your individuality is yours and something to cherish. My intention was never to do anything for gender, but to do it for myself.

    In regards to losing ‘male’ aspects of your personality, I don’t think that happens. My morality and philosophical nature have actually been expanded because of so much new information and entering a new social world. I wrote it recently that it doesn’t change anything in your mind, rather it changes the filter that information goes through. I don’t think it changes you emotionally, I think it just makes emotional reactions slightly more pointed at times.

    In settling yourself free, it opens you to a lot more information and it opens you to changes regardless of whether it’s gender transition or anything else. We are always changing no matter what, it’s just in which way. If I wanted to unleash the man beast I could do it quite easily…I wouldn’t have the testosterone to back it up, but I could certainly act in the same way…..although, I wouldn’t want to. Even as an experiment I wanna try man mode again some day, but I realise a lot of how I was acting then wasn’t me acting in freedom.

    In a few words, if I were to ‘act like a man’, I would still be acting as myself right now. If I’m purposefully trying to ‘act like a woman’ then I would still be acting like myself. The separation of human sexes is so extreme in my opinion. Human males and human females are more akin to each other than they are with any other entity. Males and females are almost completely functionally identical apart from hormones and reproductive status. Everything else is a construct, in my opinion. Going through HRT and having the actual physiology of a female along with what is assumed to be the mind of a female, I realise more and more, like many trans folks, that gender is a scam, and the freedom is a better option.

    So, you’re 37, looks at me at 30. I at 30, look towards trans folks at 23. They look to trans folks at 16, who may even look at the 9 years olds.Even at 60 or 80 one could still go through a few complete regenerations 😛

    I understand what you mean about masculinizing with age, maybe you were just a late bloomer, and it sounds like your hormonal metabolism is maybe still going strong. Regardless of when you may or may not have started HRT there would still be features that will not change. I don’t think trans people should be jealous of anyone because of how well another trans person may look or ‘pass’, because at the end of the day, we’re all still trans and we will never be cis, so I don’t think bodily features are even a main concern….sure it will cause dysphoria, but like I keep trying to relate to myself, dysphoria is in my mind and it affects how I feel about my body, but dysphoria is not my body. With HRT it’s a very different bodily landscape, very difficult to deny the femaleness of it, and that is regardless of body shape etc.

    So, I think a lot of dealing with dysphoria is coming to terms with it, accepting it, and seeing what you wanna do about it. It’s not a rush at any stage. It shouldn’t be taken lightly, although I do my best not to take it seriously, because it is a pretty silly experience.

    Can’t say I know anything about Finasteride but if you are thinking of pursuing HRT at any point, you’ll wanna have a good chat with an endochrinologist about all this stuff 🙂

    Keep exploring, you’ll find what you need in time 🙂

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