Dialogue With Jennifer
Letters Volume One
This is Volume One of the collected letters.
Wherein can be found the anonymous texts of actual letters written to me, and my answers in return. They are included because it has been suggested that the discussions are of value. The letters are presented as a rather loose, ongoing continuous dialogue between a hypothetical questioner, and myself.
You can write to me, too!
These are the first set of letters
Easy Reference Topic Index
Relative ONLY to this volume:
For the complete list see main letters page.
Late onset transsexualism
Validity of transsexual advantages ?
Emotional fluxing under hormone therapy
Transsexuals passing on their genes ?
Avoiding transition for the sake of others ?
Transsexuals as religious abominations ?
Being torn apart emotionally !
How to assert yourself to face things
Is it normal for a MTF to want sex with a man ?
Are we still transsexuals after surgery ?
Savoring transition even when it is difficult
The curious gift of youth we gain
Am I a FTM gay man?
Am I a transsexual because of THESE feelings?
I tested as a COGIATI androgyne, what does this mean?
Is a doctor REALLY necessary for getting estrogens?
The myths of 'giving' and 'receiving': Gay 101
Early gay experiences?
Gay or straight? You make the call!
How you would name a person born a physical male who apparently hadn't gender dysphoria before puberty, then crossdressed with masturbation and other signs of transvestitism, but later became "desperate to redress a physical incongruity", began HRT etc., transitioned, underwent SRS and hasn't regrets?
Easy. Typical case of 'late onset transsexualism'. This is actually the most common way that transsexualism manifests itself. Folks like me, who are aware from age five or so, are rare.
In the early days of research into gender dysphoria, the only folks who had the drive to face society, and the doctors, were people like me...desperate from an early age, willing to die rather than continue another year in the wrong body, full crisis. Since that was all the researchers saw, that became the model, the 'classic transsexual'. Since that time (the 50's and very early 60's), society has liberalized somewhat, and research is seeing a much more varied group. Now the majority of transsexuals feels safe enough to come out of hiding and seek help.
What is known now is that the most common transsexual is not like me, but takes years to come to a full awareness of their gender issues. Since this often takes them well beyond puberty, it is not surprising that transvestitism would become associated with sexuality, or that much personal questioning might occur. At some point everything adds up (usually after pubescent hormone levels dip, dropping sex drive and allowing self contemplation!), and the late onset transsexual undergoes a crisis of identity.
It is by far (over 80%) the most common path. I state this in the documentation of the COGIATI test.
I heard many such stories and am myself on such path.
Of course. It is the most common.
agree that transsexuality can sometimes occur in conjunction with
homosexuality, would you admit that transsexuality can sometimes occur
in conjunction with transvestitism?
Transsexuality almost always occurs with some transvestitism. It is all but inevitable. Gender will find methods of expression and appearance is a primary means of expression.
matter: you wrote:
"Several interesting physical and mental indications have been
statistically shown to occur in relation to transsexuality. One....
....Another curious correlation is creativity, transsexuals tend to
possess a high degree of artistic and general creative ability."
I offer other hypothetic explanation: in childhood MtFs direct
their efforts to reading, creative games, education etc. instead of
male domination, sports and such things because "normal" children
don't want to accept them?
Certainly. This is to all of my observation the case. However to actually be superlative at such activities is another matter. A child may run into gentle and intellectual persuits out of necessity or desire, being truly good at them requires serious mental faculties. Additionally, there is the matter of intelligence scores and aptitude inventories. Any child may play sports, but only the truly gifted will excel and become professional athletes.
Transsexuals score statistically two standard deviations above normal, while homosexuals score one standard deviation above normal. There is no evidence that being a homosexual transsexual (such as myself) increases it to three, two seems to be the top statistical average for transsexuals.
So, your explanation only suggests what transsexuals might be drawn to and why, but says nothing to the matter of their unique gifts.
more possible explanation: may be unintelligent TSs are more often
in denial during all their life and therefore more often aren't
counted by statistics.
That has been considered, and may be true. One theory, to account for average intelligence suicides involving some transgender elements (the less intelligent teen who suicides in a dress, for instance), is that a minimum level of intelligence and creativity may be required to make the mental leap of considering mind truly separate from body. To evolve the outlook of being 'trapped in the wrong body' or to imagine 'my physical sex is incongruent with my gender' requires the ability to imagine such abstract concepts. Yet gender dysphoria will still be miserable regardless, thus suicide.
representative was the research is also the important question,
as always in area of transsexualism.
Research into transsexualism is only just now being undertaken seriously, and that only because of the implications of brain sex to the rest of mankind. Everything is still quite early, and it will be many years or decades before a better picture emerges.
seems like I have just gotten comfortable being in my own skin.
It seems that as time goes by I get a bit more knowledge and a bit
more at ease. It was hard after surgery trying to relearn my new
body, it seemed for sure it was acting differently.
Transition really is a second adolescence, with all that implies. It takes time to adapt and to relax and to accept. This is a nontrivial change! Indeed, surely it is much more than a simple second adolescence...and thus it is only to be expected that it should take a little time to settle in!
a pre-op transsexual, and have
been on HRT for 11 months. I'm now
experiencing waves of emotional changes that are washing over me. I would like to know if you have any advice on how best to adjust to those changes, and how best to deal with romantic relationships while going through those emotional changes.
Hmmm, with regard to emotions, it really depends on what you are taking. If you are on progesterone, for instance, my advice is to stop it....there really is no need for progesterone in transsexuals. Progesterone will not enhance feminization, and will create sometimes severe emotional disturbance; it is essentially the 'PMS' hormone.
Estrogens on the other hand, are the very stuff and substance of womanhood. No hormone should be overdosed, for too much acts in opposite fashion, and also begs cancer. Properly dosed, over time, estrogen is the miracle that lets us shapeshift. I tend to favor natural estrogens, such as Premarin, because I am reasonably convinced that they include additional chemical substances that support the process. I have become a great fan of urine farming. ^.-
When I went on Premarin, I had no odd emotional waves. I just rapidly became calm, happy, and exceedingly 'light' feeling. But every metabolism is different, and every human chemical stewpot has a unique recipe (ain't I the poetic one? ^.^).
Under progesterone, I was seriously wacko, and spent my days bursting into irrational tears and furor over nothing but my own chemistry.
I can only offer this advice, born of my experiences not only with hormones, but also with my use of psychotrophic drugs in my early college days:
If you are aware that you are being affected by a psychotrophic (drug or hormone) try to keep clearly in intellect that the emotions and motivations you feel are not you. Understand that 'you' are something that can be seen as outside of the chemical pot of your meat, you are your intelligence, your mind. It is possible to focus on this fact during the worst times and keep a separation, a distance, between the self, and the body. It is not unlike the observation that our selves can be a different sex than our flesh, that we are effectively 'trapped in the wrong body'. That awareness, that we are not out bodies, is one of the gifts of being transsexual. It can be used as a tool.
When emotional waves threaten to topple your ship of life, focus on who you really are, what you really think and value. Ride your body as a person rides a horse, and keep always in mind that if the horse stumbles or bucks, you are independent in the saddle. You may not be able to dismount, but you can recognize that you are not the horse, and keep your balance.
I am sorry I had to use poetic prose to describe this, but it is a subtle point that I feel inadequate to express otherwise. In a nutshell, separate yourself from your emotions when they become overwhelming or odd, and use your intellect to define your behavior and relationship to your own body and perceptions. Hey! Maybe I found better words after all!
As for romantic or relationship issues, please keep in mind an important point: transsexuals go through a second puberty and adolescence. This means that you are as vulnerable -or more so- to the same difficulties as any 13 to 16 year old. It may even be a greater vulnerability do to the fact that having been through one puberty already, there is the possibility of becoming too self assured. It does not matter what happened in the past, this puberty is new, and very powerful.
The upshot of this is to keep in mind that just like any child, for the transsexual does become a shade of child again, you are in danger of making foolish choices, getting irrational crushes and feeling springtime attachments devoid of adult wisdom despite your chronological age.
Therefore, caution and restraint are advised. One must be one's own parent in a way, and protect the self from heartbreak and foolishness. This does not mean to become cloistered, for growing up anew is a wonderment not to be missed....just careful and cognizant of one's vulnerability.
Transition really does make new children of us all. Think of yourself as puberty age, and act accordingly, both as the child, and as your own governing parent.
You hypothesize that there is an evolutionary value to transsexualism. Would it not be important for transsexuals to make sure they have children before transition so as to keep their 'transsexual genes' in the gene pool?
With regard to the evolutionary value of transsexuality, current information strongly indicates that the condition is congenital, not genetic. Caused exclusively by the introduction or absence (depending) of hormones in the womb at critical points in neurological development, transsexualism cannot be passed on to future generations. Transsexualism increases in a population in direct response to exterior stress. The more stressed the population, the greater the hormonal disturbances in the womb, the greater the number of transsexuals. Records show direct correlation between times of war, followed by a 'baby boom' that invariably includes a higher than average population of transgendered and homosexual individuals. This effect can be directly induced in animals by mildly torturing pregnant subjects at key developmental times.
In short, the concept can be proven by demonstration: transsexuals made to order.
In point of fact, this information is currently being used by some clinics in the former Eastern Bloc countries to attempt to deliberately reduce or eliminate the occurrence of transgendered and homosexual births. Results so far indicate success: the number of effeminate male and masculine female babies is markedly less than in other populations, or before the introduction of the program.
Yes, this is what it seems. Transgenderism and homosexuality could be utterly abolished if this procedure of hormonal monitoring and intervention spreads. To me, this is not a happy prospect, for I am convinced that there really is a social/evolutionary value to the existence of congenital transgenderism and homosexuality. Not genetically, but indirectly. Such social engineering would, I think, harm the species in the long run.
My psych suggests that transition for me would be bad because of my responsibilities and duties to my family. He says that it is better at the end of life to look back on a true satisfaction of accomplishment than to feel happy. My psych also says that I should control and suppress my transgenderism for the sake of my family because that is more important than my own problems.
The statement that to end one's life with a feeling of 'satisfaction of accomplishment' is better than 'being happy' is patently absurd. It is the statement of a frightened and disturbed intellect.
There can be no real satisfaction in any accomplishment where unending misery is also present. Being happy is the result of successful accomplishment, being unhappy the inevitable result of misguided or destructive accomplishment. Many highly successful people have mourned a life spent in useful accomplishment devoid of joy. Such advice is a one way express ticket to personal hell.
a new 'psych'. In my opinion, the one you have is a fool, based on
that one, lone statement. A fool, or a closet homophobe / transphobe.
The psychiatric profession, like the medical profession, is no
different than the automotive repair profession, save in two
respects. Automotive repair requires slightly less study, and is far
more definite and certain. Automotive repair is based on real things,
that have predictable results.
You have the right to shop around for the best of any service you pay for.
This does not mean that I think you should go out and transition immediately, either. That should not be, and is not, my concern. I do think you should decide very absolutely what really matters to you, what you really need to be happy, and do that, whatever it may be...including nothing at all. If you cannot decide what you really want, then you have no business making monumental decisions until you can decide.
I will tell you this. A miserable life is already being dead. Duty performed without heart, without soul, reduced to mechanical effort to satisfy responsibility alone, redeems no person.
you are not truly yourself, you have no life. But you must be
certain who and what you actually are. The universe is heartless to
those who cannot make definite decisions, based on genuine self understanding.
I heard about your website a few days ago on TransGen. It is very well
done. I know the pain your childhood brought because in many ways mine was similar but whereas you had the strength to "be yourself" I just hid my feelings further down in my being. I was raised to believe that some one like me was an abomination in God's eye and unfortunately for me, it took. I am 48 years old and not once have I ever told anyone who knows me that I am a transsexual and I am much too ashamed of the way I am to even think about it. To go along with that, my body and face are such that even with the best results from hormone therapy, I could never physically pass.
these days of Jesse Helms and company, that would bring more pain
than I could live with. I am too far consumed by self loathing to be
helped but I truly hope that your website and its message will be able
to help those young boys and girls struggling with their own gender
confusion and also their parents.
Your letter really touched my heart. It hits me point blank, square and center. It is one of those letters that make me wish I could just achieve some sort of mystic Enlightenment, become a kindly Goddess, and make everything all better. But I cannot. I am stuck being a puppet made of meat, directing my protein fingers to type to you.
In bringing up the awful subject of shame, I cannot avoid the source of that shame, which in the industrialized world is primarily one thing alone: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism....the very big business of religion. Of the three, Christianity is the dominant force in the world, for it has taken control of the countries with real power in the world.
I can only hope that you will have succeeded in throwing off the shackles of 'Christian Love' and have learned to see yourself as special and wonderful for being transsexual. I can hope that, but I know how difficult it is...my own struggle with shame led me to out myself and create this site which you have visited.
Any religion that creates and defines 'abominations' is a warfare-based religion. It strives to conquer, to become dominant. It proselytizes and converts. It defines rigid and often arbitrary standards of 'Good' and 'Evil', of 'Us' versus 'Them'. It demonizes the different in order to create a focus of hate and unity. A warfare-based religion rallies the 'spiritual troops' by inventing enemies. It denies the world in favor of a reward given after death, at the end of 'service' in the 'Army of the Lord'. By doing these things, unity, self sacrifice, and social power are generated.
It is easy to see how transsexuals, homosexuals, and the transgendered in general would be made into an enemy...we do not tend to promote the 'fruitful' explosion of population required to achieve conquest, and we raise troubling questions just by existing. We are proof that mistakes can occur, and if God is perfect, and God gives us our children...well, then we MUST be the work of God's enemies. We then become useful, for we become another evil to shun, a rallying point for all to work together to destroy, another common enemy that brings the 'troops' into line.
Of all of the Warfare-Based religions, I do think that Christianity is the absolutely most successful. It is positively admirable in a dark and terrible way, for it appears in the guise of redemption for all, while simultaneously excluding and destroying everything different. It is the supreme achievement of Doublespeak, it kills out of love, shames out of forgiveness, condemns out of tolerance, murders out of compassion, and has burned people at stakes in order to bless them with the love of God. It is brilliant at what it does, and it conquers not only physically, but spiritually, inside, where there is no place to hide. The 'Sword of God' is very sharp, and is hard to overcome. The military strategy of conquest and domination is brilliant, and the tactics of Christianity well refined. By comparison, Islam, the next most successful warfare-based religion, is slightly clumsy. It works though, and by virtue of identical principles.
I do not know about your body, or whether or not you could ever 'pass'. I do know that age makes equals of us all, and that as long as there are days left, there are still choices. I know good people going through transition at 50, at 60, at 80.
I say this: your life belongs to you, and every creature has the basic right to fight for their own existence. It is probably the only 'right' that Nature and reality truly afford us.
I also know that you are the sole owner of your own mind, and your own definitions. Does not the Bible say "If thine own eye offend thee, pluck it out?". This applies just as well to beliefs and faiths. If a faith condemns you, dump it. You are not required to serve in the 'Army of the Lord', or to bow to any other person's definition of you. You have the power to define yourself, your views, your values. You can stop loathing yourself, you can unlearn what you have been forcibly taught. The rape of the mind can be overcome, with effort.
It is that power I am using to brave creating my 'Transsexuality' site, and to say these oh-so-dangerous, very real things.
even if only briefly, the decision to give up on yourself. I say
your happiness matters, and that you deserve a happy ending. Any
TRULY benevolent god would agree.
I am setting up an appointment with a therapist. I need some help with this and how to cope with how I feel. I have never been so scared, terrified really, and so very alone. I discussed it with my wife and she does agree with the need for therapy and help. She is very concerned that I might transition and she couldn't deal with that. I can't comprehend life without her. For the past 32 years, she has been my best friend, lover, and confidant. She has been there for me when I have needed it in the past, and now I feel that this might be abandonment on my part.
have the feeling of being torn apart at the seams. Is this normal? I
have so many unanswered questions. Yet terrified of finding the
asked a question "could I die as a man". I do know that I could not live
without being a woman but I could live without ever being a man again.
I fear the things that life would bring being a woman. Somewhere I have
to find peace for myself as I can not deal with the strife I have now.
Where does it lead and how do I travel such a path of emotion. As I
write this the tears of fear and emotion long withheld are running down
my cheeks. This is new to me! I have always been able to hold those
emotions at bay and yet it will not go away.
It is both reasonable, and rational, to feel fear, and concern. Dealing with gender issues is a serious matter, for it is a real thing. You may count yourself sane for your concern, for the lack of any emotion over the matter would certainly be a sign of instability!
This is not to say things are dark or terrible, for they are not. I wish to stress this point. It is important to remember that you have charge of your life, you are in control, and your choices are your own. There are concerns, but your life is not in any immediate danger, nor is doom around any corner. It may sound silly for me to say such a thing, but when one is upset, it sometimes helps to be reminded that things are not as dire as they may appear.
I have been through much, as you may have read in my own story, and I am not alone in these matters. My own adventures, sixteen years ago, are far more rough than the tales I hear now, for things have changed since my transition, and for the better.
It is good that you are seeking therapy. Remember this: not all therapists are equal. If your choice in therapists does not please you, find another. In order for you to be benefited, you must feel comfortable with your therapist, and your therapist must not be bigoted nor hostile. Shop around if you are not satisfied. This is your right, and it is good sense.
In the mean time, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to learn. It is easy to fear the unknown, but that which is understood can be faced with confidence. Use the internet. It is the greatest encyclopedia ever created by mankind, and there is all the information you could hope for. There is also nonsense, so you must use your wits and weigh whatsoever you find. Above all, learn all you can.
The articles on my site can help, and of course I recommend them, but there is much more out there, including resources that can directly aid you. Use search engines and find out what you may. Use my links to find more links. You may find a gender support group, for instance, near where you live. Unlike my transitional days, there are MANY resources now. Make use of them.
Now to your primary concerns. You are worried about your relationships, and fearful of the enormous implications of coming to terms with your gender issues. These are valid concerns. There are no guarantees, but once again, knowledge is power.
People fear, and reject what they do not understand. In the case of your wife, I recommend that above all you communicate with her, and share what you learn. If you both learn together, you share common ground. There are many cases of transgendered couples who successfully maintain their relationships. It all depends on the nature of the relationship, and on the nature of the people involved.
Here is the basic bare bones facts of the matter. Relationships that can survive gender issues are relationships that are based on real love and true friendship. Relationships that cannot survive gender issues are relationships based on role-play, and physicality. If your marriage is based on being a role, on acting a part, then you are really just a replaceable unit. If your marriage is based on genuine friendship, real loyalty, and love of each other's souls, then it will not fall apart. That is only reasonable. If all you are is a fulfilled role, a replaceable unit, then any changes to your role make you no longer capable of being used. On the other hand, if you are your wife's true friend, her best friend, if real love exists, then roles are irrelevant. So is the cut of your skin. What matters then, is your soul, your self.
Gender issues disrupt the structure of shallow relationships. This is understandable, because shallow relationships are based on artificial behavior, on filling a part in an agreed upon drama. Real love is about intimacy with another person, regardless of their form. It transcends crippling injury, it survives poverty or weakness, and it is not destroyed by less severe things like gender.
You will learn the truth of your relationship to your wife, and she will discover the truth of her relationship to you. I am afraid that is an inevitable side effect of honesty, and gender issues demand absolute honesty.
I won't lie to you, really bad stuff can and will occur. But, the misery of a lifetime of biological incongruity is very bad stuff too. Getting things straightened out really does hurt less in the long run than letting things forever fester.
Take your time, make wise choices based on what you learn, and things can turn out good in the end. I am an example of this, as are many others.
What can you expect? Well, you can expect EVERYTHING. Tears and joy, problems and tremendous gifts, risk and reward. Dealing with gender issues can be both scary, and beautiful, too.
One thing to keep in mind. Gender is inborn. It is part and parcel of identity, and whatever you discover about yourself, there is no room for moral judgment. Blindness is beyond morality, so is being infertile, or having diabetes, or having blond, as opposed to brown, hair. Gender Dysphoria is a congenital problem, and it can be treated and dealt with. It is medical, not illusionary, and you have a right to seek help, and to fix whatever needs fixing (if anything!).
Just make sure that the help you get is up to date!
Real gender dysphoria (there are a few conditions that can masquerade as it, which is why it is good to be careful!) does not ever go away by itself. It requires action at some point or another. Be good to yourself, take good care of your needs. You deserve to be happy.
A last statement, about abandonment issues. I have already stated that, reasonably enough, real relationships can weather anything. That is the meaning of loyalty, of love, of honest commitment. One does not abandon an injured friend, a blinded child, a crippled wife, a ill best friend. The only relationships that dissolve over gender, dissolve because of falsehood, because of shallowness, because of bigotry. The body and the brain have physical sexes, but love, real love, is without role or prejudice, or gender or sex.
state that you are worried about abandonment on YOUR part.
Whatever you may learn about yourself, whatever you may become physically, your love, if it is true, will not alter because of it. If that love is not reciprocated in kind, you are not at fault. Remember this.
too, that any soul capable of honest, real love, is a treasure, and
will not suffer long for love in return.
took those tests on your website
and after really looking at my
answers I discovered that while each said that I was of a female gender,
one even said that if I were female, I would be extremely female, I also
totally lack any assertiveness. As I look back on my life I have to
completely agree. I think, in large part, that that may be the reason I
have lived with this self loathing all of these years. I don't know how
to assert myself and overcome my guilt and be who I really am.
have always been shy, and it has been hard for me to assert myself
too. One thing seems to spur me on, and that is that I get angry at
injustice and ignorant oppression. At some point, I twisted my mind
so that I could apply my indignation even to such as myself. Lacking
any self worth, I still felt angry that anyone as wretched as myself
should have to suffer. That helped a bit...using the part of my heart
that would eagerly protect others to defend and assist my own
self...I suppose part of the mechanism for me was seeing my future
self, (me as I am now) almost as a separate person, like being my own
daughter. That I could assert for, that I could be strong for. Maybe
something like that could help you, if you find it easier, like I do,
to protect and support others rather than yourself.
am 50 years old and have yearned
for surgery to correct the mistake of my birth since I first learned
that it was possible to change. That was more than 35 years
ago. The Internet and the gender community have been very helpful and
I feel that I am finally moving toward transition. After many years
with a basically asexual orientation, I find myself dreaming and
fantasizing about having a sexual relationship with a man. Being able
to express myself as a female in all other aspects of my life is
still more important than sex. But it does cause great sadness
to know that I will probably never be a wife. I guess my question is:
are these feelings normal?
let's see! ^.^
1. Transsexualism is caused by a congenital, hormonal alteration of development of the brain, causing the brain to physically and literally be sexed one way, regardless of the sex of the body.
2. By your account, you are a woman, a woman's brain, trapped in the wrong body; a transsexual.
3. The brain is both the seat of identity, AND the origin of sexuality, sex is perceived, desired, and motivated by structures in the brain. Sex organs are just tools the brain uses, as it also uses our hands and legs.
4. Sexuality does not vanish just because someone turns 80, much less 50.
Logically, you are a woman who has been trapped in the wrong body for your entire life. Aging, you are keen to recover that which was your birthright and that which was stolen from you by blind biological accident.
Therefore, it is not only normal, but about damn time. I assume years of suppression are finally being breached, and you are feeling some aspects of your core, inborn, identity and sexuality.
...Is is normal for a (presumably) heterosexual or bisexual woman to want sex with a man?
I should think so!
...Even if the woman in question had a particularly nasty birth defect?
What, are we prejudiced against the handicapped? Of course such feelings are normal! Normal and natural!
...But, but, but...
No buts. It's normal and expected.
think that answers things. And who says you cannot be a wife, in
some fashion at least?
I don't consider myself to be a TS (I don't say the word often... like ever!).
If you look at the definition of a TS, I don't feel that I fit that definition anymore! I used to... but I don't anymore. Now I am just myself... another woman, I don't long for anything like that anymore. But... now I have to wrestle with the long term issues that you so clearly describe.
Hmmm. Am I still a TS? a transsexual? An interesting question. In one sense I am not, for I no longer experience the awful agony of gender dysphoria, and my quest to achieve unity is almost complete (my own internalized shame being my last puzzle piece. I really was indoctrinated pretty heavily with self loathing for being different!). In this then, I suppose I can drop the label of transsexual, and just be me, Jennifer Diane Reitz, a woman.
On the other hand, I am the sum of all of my experiences. The process of transition, the things it taught me, the life I knew -howsoever painful- before transition shaped and created the me that I am now. If I were born physically female from the start, I would have been a different person, and I think that I would have never gained some of the qualities I most treasure about myself now. Transsexuality is an enlightening trauma.
Also, there is no question that I have been rebuilt, I am a partially artificed being. That is a fact, it is my past. It is also my triumph: I had courage enough to have Nature's mistake corrected. So, with these two considerations, I can also call myself just as easily a transsexual woman. My gender dysphoria is past, but I am what I am, and I am the history that created me.
Hmmm, so which is it?
I am definitely not a 'normal' woman, and to tell you the truth, I am actually glad of that. I find most 'normal' women often vacuous and simple. I find most 'normal' men just as dull. So being different is better to me, and I have to admit that I value what my suffering has taught me, even if the actual suffering part was not fun.
I would have to say that for me, I am a woman, but I am also a transsexual woman. My achievement, my personal adventure is too great to lay forever aside. It makes me different than most people, even moment to moment, for I value and marvel at things that a 'normal' woman would take for granted...or not even notice. The details of my life are precious to me in a way a nontranssexual person could never really understand, and my thoughts and viewpoint are unique by virtue of unique experience.
Yes. I am a transsexual woman, and that is a neat thing to be!
what I think.
I am feeling the pain of several
hard days. Outing myself to
employer, lawyer, most of the city, it seems. Buying my first bra in a
real store, working hard and running over the roses when I wish to stop and smell. That will end soon, I hope.
Transition can be very difficult at times, in some ways it is akin to being in the midst of a war zone. Why? Once I overheard some Viet Nam veterans talking amongst each other. It made a big impression on me. They had such terrible, terrifying tales to tell, but you know what? All of them, though they would never want to live it again, considered that time to be the part of their lives where they felt the most alive. Facing pain and horror, they also knew the true preciousness of each little moment of beauty...a flower seen for a moment between battles, a cheering letter, a brief taste of chocolate. The dire circumstances made every moment special.
Transition, I think, is sometimes like that. There are moments of fear, and moments of terror or feeling alone, but there also are precious moments, such as buying that first bra, or a teddy bear, or perfume. Noticing how much one has grown in all the right places, the calm feelings and perceptions of estrogen dancing on the neurons. Skin becoming soft and delicate, little moments of bliss amidst the carnage of a life uprooted.
This may sound odd, but I always suggest trying to savor your transition, while it is happening. It can only happen once, and unlike our first adolescence, transition is something we are old enough to understand, or at least to appreciate, if we try.
is good to savor the magic and wonder of this time. There really is
some sugar, with the nasty medicine! ^.-
I am feeling great about myself (I am quite a young looking 52 year old... if
I do say so myself! Often mistaken for about 32 to 36 or so!).
This is one of the very special gifts we gain..a kind of perpetual youth. I think it only fair, in that we lose so many years of our life to the sorrow of being entombed in a corpus not to our nature. Perhaps you might indulge my explanation of the biology of this gift of youth? It is a subject of interest to the biologist in me.
Two main factors provide our unusual gift of youth. One is the use of hormones, we never must endure menopause, and so the benefits of hormones are not lost to us. The second reason is a carry over from our years developing in the wrong sex, for some male components still are retained, to out benefit. Just as the skeleton will forever be frozen in male form, and the teeth as well, so also is the underlying lattice of elastin and collagenic dermal fibers that develop only in the presence of testosterone. Nontranssexual women do not possess this flesh strengthening web under their skin, and so even with hormones, begin to sag and wrinkle earlier and more noticeably. We retain this parting gift from the male development of childhood, and thus gain the support of an under the flesh armor that keeps us appearing outwardly younger than we actually are. The web does not dissolve, for once constructed, it is constantly repaired, like our skeletons, and this useful legacy will not vanish over time.
it yet another compensation for our pain.
through out my life I have felt that I didn't fit in with girls and
often not with boys either(however I always felt more comfortable around
boys). As of late(the past 1.5 years) I have felt the most comfortable
around queery men. Lately, I have started to seriously ponder why this is;
especially when I don't get the feelings I want and thus start to hurt.
Then I tend to get scared when thinking about not being around queer men. I don't think I could do that.
One thing that I have been considering is that maybe I am a queer boy
myself. In the past (both recent and long-term) I have said (to myself
and out loud) the common phrases..."I want to be a boy" and " I think I am
a gay man at heart" Well maybe it is not just at heart.
I was talking to two transpeople about how I feel the most
comfortable with gay men and they (without any hint from me) said "hey you are a transsexual gay man" I stopped short. Ever since that and a few
other similar events(same few days), I have been starting to give serious
thought to this. Right now I am very scared and confused and feel greatly
helpless. I know what coming out is like since I have already done that
as a bisexual person and am scared of doing it again. Two, I know I want
to be a man but in allot of ways I want to be a woman too. I don't know if
I want to give up all the female things that I have or experiences I have
had. However I know that the desire to be a boy is stronger. Any advice?
I am thinking about looking into hormones but I am even afraid of that.
Right now that is the hardest thing....I don't know exactly what I want
besides that I am sick of being just a grrl...I like male things too and
often times better. If you know any way to help me figure out what I
should be doing, please let me know.
it sometimes does not seem like it, transsexuality is a two-way
street and the directions are about equal, with there being almost
exactly as many female-to-male transsexuals as male-to-female.
Generally female-to-male transsexuals get far less publicity for a
variety of reasons.
I wish that I had the knowledge to create a COGIATI and other tests for your side of the road, but I do not. All I can suggest, if you wanted to use those tools, is to take them anyway, if you score extremely male then it is probably a hint.
Ultimately, the only person who can diagnose transsexualism is the transsexual themselves. Only you can decide who you are, and whether or not you want to be it. I can tell you a few things about becoming a boy though.
Female-to-males have some definite advantages in some ways, which is why less fuss is made about them than the male-to-female types like me (many FTM's oft complain that there just is not the same resources for their side, and this is true, but also there is slightly less social rejection, as well, being that it is a rather patriarchal culture) and these advantages are useful.
FTM's generally turn out better overall than MTF transsexuals, in terms of 'passing'. Since all humans start out as proto-female, maleness is effectively a mutation from a stock form. Inducing that mutation is easier and more effective than trying to reverse it, consequently FTM's often turn out flawless: no one would ever be able to tell or know. The downside, however, is pretty severe from a sexual standpoint: FTM genital surgery is simply not very good. Many FTM's never bother with genital surgery, as it is complex, multistage, and has less than perfect results. My side of the street suffers passing problems, but has perfect surgery, by contrast. It simply is easier to build a vagina out of a penis, than to build a penis from scratch (abdominal skin is generally used).
Hormones are irreversible for the FTM. If you start becoming a boy, any changes that occur can never be undone. For folks like me, the first 6 to 8 months can be reversed over time, giving us a chance to experiment and back out if needed. For your side, testosterone will cause mutations that will not fade...beard, body hair, deeper voice, stronger, tougher skin, all of the secondary sex characteristics of being male.
Some FTM men come out of the lesbian community, and for them, they first gain acceptance, then rejection, as the often highly political 'womyn' finally realize that their 'sister' infiltrating the patriarchy is not doing so for 'the cause' but rather because they really are, and were, a man who is just correcting Nature's mistake.
Some FTM men are, as you describe yourself to possibly be, gay men, who prefer other men, while being male themselves. Sexual orientation is independent of transsexuality. Any combination is possible.
One thing to keep in mind is that there are many possibilities, and you do not have to give up anything you love. You state that there are many things from being female that you would not want to lose. There were many things from being male that I did not want to lose, and so I did not. Just because I corrected my body did not mean that I changed in any way. I did not. Only my flesh garment was retailored.
I always admired the straightforward way that males can talk about things, the ability to make definite statements, the capacity to bond over shared adventures and activities, the concept of 'male honor'. I always liked the toys that boys have: robots, starships, creatures and science fictional beings. I have kept my love of all of these things, because they have value or are pretty or fun to me.
Just because you correct your body, does not mean you have to adopt a new self...indeed the very point of changing one's sex is NOT to be different: it is to permit you to be yourself completely. That is a very important point. The goal is to get rid of roles, of trying to live up to any image, and to just be yourself, in your own way. I think that if I had been born female, I would have been a little bit of a tomboy, and wanted a robot instead of a doll...well a plastic doll, anyway. I always loved stuffies. ^.-
Wanting a toy robot, or to keep certain communication skills, does not make me less of a woman. Being male or female is not a creation of society, despite what political theorists may want to believe. It is biology, and we are not blank slates. Gender is not a construct, it is real. Once gender is accurately understood, what we like, do, and how we act is individual to ourselves. There are averages, but we choose what we are within the biology of our gender.
That is why I can be a woman who likes robots and starships...or you could be a boy who likes whatsoever you like, or acts or lives howsoever you choose. These things happen with regard to nontranssexuals. Being transsexual is a separate issue.
There are things that change socially, however, and those things can be lost. The ways in which the sexes relate to each other are different, that is simple observation. If you become male of body, then your relationships will alter. The way women relate to other women will be pretty much lost to you, but the way men relate to men will be opened. It is a trade. Only you can decide if it is a trade you would feel benefited by. However, those things you like about the way women communicate or interact can be kept, and perhaps taught to your male friends and lovers, just as I have taught certain male communication skills to my woman lovers. Being gay or lesbian should not HAVE to mean following ANY role. Who one loves has no business being the determining factor for how one talks, walks, or moves in the world.
I ascribe to no subculture but my OWN, and I make that up as I go along. You have such freedom too.
As for figuring out what you really want, whether or not you really wish to go through the effort of becoming male, or at least as physically male as current medicine allows, is not something anyone but you can determine. You can talk with folks, you can see a therapist to help sort things out, you can study and learn all you can about the topic. These are all useful things to do.
But ultimately you have to make a decision, and stand by the consequences of that decision all by yourself: to take action, or not. If you do nothing, you will not ever wear a male body. You will never be accepted as a male. If you take action, you can be accepted completely (in time) as a male, but because of our current level of technology, you will probably never be able to be 100% functional sexually as a male. You can have a penis, you can have intercourse, but there is much numbness, and the medical construction is imperfect. There are always tradeoffs, and compromises.
You have to decide what you want, and you are the only person who can do that.
I had to fix my body, or die trying. In a way it was 'easy' for me, because my dysphoria was so severe that there was no question what I needed to do: I was hurting REALLY badly! But I know I am a rare sort of transsexual, most are not as driven as I was.
Ultimately you have to answer for yourself how much it hurts to be in a female body, with the world judging and relating to you on that basis. If it hurts worse than the fear and risk of going through transition, then you are a transsexual, and it is probably time to schedule some appointments. If you are not hurting badly enough to want to face changing your sex, then you clearly should not.
is a immense act of self determination, perhaps one of the greatest.
But always remember, you can also determine what you turn out to be.
The point is never to change yourself. Transition is just having the
garment we wear tailored to fit us.
I've been researching transgendered issues in an attempt to determine
what may constitute a possible gender identity crisis. Any help you can
provide would be extremely helpful.
a male be considered androgynous or transsexual if he possessed
the following characteristics on a recurring basis?
1. A desire to try male-to-female hormone replacement therapy
I would say that this might be a hint. Estrogen is what makes one physically female.
Sexual role changing fantasies (being the female during heterosexual
I always felt this way. It was the only way I could even cope with sex. I just lived this fantasy in my mind to survive performing sex.
An occasional desire to surgically alter or remove the penis due to
dissatisfaction with it.
Let's just say that no standard, 'true' male would ever desire their penis removed. The fact that it is occasional and not a constant wish would suggest some caution.
Occasional desire to undergo male-to-female sexual reassignment
The same answer as above. Definitely not the thoughts of a man. Still, caution is advised, such a thing is one way only, you have to be SURE.
No crossdressing, but occasionally dressing as a female for costume
parties and finding it sexually stimulating
This suggests that dressing up is not the issue per se, as it would be in a fetishistic transvestite. This is the behavior of a gender dysphoric.
6. A desire to have a sexual relationship with a preop transsexual
Mmmm, this suggests more of a homosexual bent, because the transsexual is pre-op. Either that, or it is a 'safe' way to relate to male sex organs without admitting it due to homophobic shame. We are talking about a MTF transsexual here, right?
these things do constitute a gender identity problem, what would be
the next step to resolving it?
Based just on these things, I would have to say that there is a serious gender issue here. Definitely take the COGIATI, and read every bit while you are doing it, so you understand things, OK?
Next, really try to decide what you really feel inside, exactly WHY you feel what you do. Are you running away from being male, from being gay? Or are you running towards being 'correct', as though you were born wrong and it needs to be fixed?
If your true, heartfelt answer is the latter, then it is time to find a gender group in your area, if there is one. You would do well to find a supportive counselor, a physiotherapist or psychiatrist. Shop around, and never continue to see one who is hostile or who makes you feel bad about yourself.
You can try hormones. You can see how they make you feel, whether they help you feel 'right' or make you feel 'wrong'. That can tell you a lot right there. If the feel 'right' then continue with them. See how you like your changing flesh, whether it fits better.
Please do these things with proper guidance, and under supervision of a doctor...even a general practitioner, you do not need an endocrinologist for this...to make sure that the hormones are not hurting you.
If you go on hormones do NOT smoke, drink, or do other drugs. Be healthy: shapeshifting is very risky to those that are chemically poisoned. Hormones cause physical change, and you do not want that change to be cancer, or death!
Find support for this. Going it alone hurts: I know, I did that, and it did. That is why I recommend a counselor, a gender group, and some supportive friends, if you have, or can find any. Still, real gender issues do not just magically go away. If they are real, you cannot avoid them, no matter what your situation.
important: Learn all you can! This is not a thing you can be
ignorant about. This is a life issue that demands that you know for
yourself what is going on. Also, learn from many sources, not just
one. No one person nor website, nor book holds all of the answers.
The COGIATI attempts to measure both the mental, or brain sex of an individual, and the social gender conditioning that an individual has absorbed. The combined effect of nature plus nurture.
The scores you got place you as a true androgyne, that in terms of both brain wiring and social conditioning, you are neither masculine nor feminine, but equally both. This strongly suggests that a sex change may not be the best choice...certainly it should NOT be rushed into.
may have remembered the suggestions for action in your score
results, they apply here. A cautious appraisal of ones life.
For hormones you need a prescription. You need to be monitored by a doctor in any event, since hormones are very powerful. There can be side effects to watch for in some folks, and you just might be one of the unlucky ones. What side effects? How about blood clots, followed by blindness, stroke, heart attack, and death for starters.
hormones on the street or outside of medical supervision is not
advised. This is no joke, this is shapeshifting here.
Even if I had a gay experience, I don't see me giving penetration or receiving oral sex. What does this indicate? Receiving penetration or performing fellatio, does that indicate a submissive or dominant role?
You do not have to be into any sexual act per se to define as gay. Some gay folks never do these things. Some do. Some do some but not others. Dominance and submission is a separate kink altogether, and is practiced by straight folks as well as gay folks...and even by nonsexual folks too. Submission and dominance are just role play, and have nothing to do with being gay. They are not absolute measures of gender either.
Here is my brief Gay 101 course:
Being gay is nothing more than a matter of who you are attracted to. EVERYTHING else about the topic is fabrication, or stereotype. Gay folks live all sorts of lives, have all sorts of sex, and are just as diverse as any group of people.
But, it has been my observation, that if anything, most gay relationships are far more equal than any heterosexual relationship, with neither partner being in charge of the other. Unless the couple are playing sex games, which is not for everyone, a gay couple are just two equal people who are attracted to each other. That's it.
what you do sexually, whatever your behavior, it really says nothing
about being a 'top' or a 'bottom', unless you are playing a game
together. All it means is that you are having fun. that's all.
Everything else is just nonsense.
I've only had one homosexual experience and it was mild. I've been approached by two others, but did not do anything. My outward physical appearance is not bent toward this behavior, but I must be approachable or these men were extremely interested at all costs. Although as a child I had some experiences with some friends.
One wonders what you mean by the outward physical appearance statement. Gay men are attracted, by and large, to MEN. They like men who look like men. That is the point. If you look like a woman, a gay man will probably not be particularly attracted to you. However, your behavior may indicate approachability.
It could also just mean that you are attracted to the idea of a being who is physically both male and female. That's cool too. Your COGIATI suggests androgyne, so it might be reasonable that you would like physical androgynes. Like attracts like.
You could be one yourself. There is no requirement to have surgery. You could be perfectly female in appearance but still have male organs. Some folks do this, for a variety of reasons. They never have surgery, and never want to. This is where they are comfortable being.
could be such if you wanted. It is an option. Or you could date or
have a relationship with such a person. There are many possibilities,
so it is important to recognize your own freedom.
Being gay seems a "safe" way to avoid a heterosexual relationship, but it's also has its own dangers. How does one distinguish between being gender dysphoric and gay. Do you have to try them out to know? That would seem risky, especially if you were not one or the other?
Alas, the ONLY person who can really tell you what you are is you. You have to search your soul and figure out what you want and who you are. Therapy can help. Friends can help. Trying hormones for six months can help. Reading about and meeting with gay and transsexual folks can help. Gender groups can help.
But in the end, you have to decide what you are willing to live with, risk, be, and face, all on your own. No test, no person, no other method can do it.
So, you need to educate yourself, find out the real stories of many people to see if they fit your feelings, understand what it is you do feel, and maybe even experiment just a bit, carefully.
From your information, my best guess is that you are a gay boy who idolizes transsexuality as an excuse for not 'really' being gay, or as a fascination. I could be wrong. You might be a transsexual, or you might just be a lover of androgynous people. You have to decide for yourself.
Remember, homosexuality and transsexuality spring from the same well, changes in the brain before birth. There is some evidence that homosexuality even has a genetic component as well. Transsexuality is not a good dodge to avoid homosexuality, in fact, homosexuals are far better accepted by society in general than transsexuals are.
It's not easy being 'T'.
However, there is one simple way to tell if you are gay, or if you are transsexual: if you are able to live in the body of your birth without needing to change it no matter what the risk or cost, then you are not transsexual.
is what transsexuals do: sooner or later they are driven to change
their bodies at all costs, because their bodies simply do not fit
their identities. That is the deciding factor, in a nutshell.