Where am I now

In keeping with the temporal schizophrenia that has characterized  my posts to date, I want to tell you where I am at today.

This is not an easy thing to write about.  There are many things to be considered in the life of a transsexual.  You have to take all the stuff that happens in the lives of the cisgender, add the baggage of being a trans person and the duties of transition into the mix.  In this midst of this concoction, is me.

Transition has brought many wonderful and magical things to my life.  There have been many losses as well.

Early in my investigation I was a part of an online group for transsexual women.  It was a wonderful to be able to present the real me even if it was just in a virtual sense.  I had a shock one day when I got a private message from another woman in the group.  She told me that I shouldn’t consider this course if I wasn’t prepared to loose everything.  At the time I read her admonishment I thought that I had planed for every contingency.  My plans were good but there were still things that I had not considered.

The first of these was the loss of work.  When I started transition I was self employed and running a business with more that 40 employees.  I had thought that I could make this work but that did not go as planned.  I ended up selling the business to keep my employees working.  One of the things that made this decision easy for me was a job offer with Apple Inc.  It was a job far beneath my education and experience but I felt that I could work it into something better.  After several years there I found this was not true.  It became apparent that my transition was a problem for them as well.    Since then I have tried many avenues including starting my own business again.  The result is that I have been unemployed for two years.

This is should not surprise most in the TS community as unemployment among us is more than four times the national average.

Before I transitioned I had some experience with gender bigotry.  I was in a male dominated industry and many of the women that worked for me had experienced this in their careers.  They had also gotten some of this from the clients of my company.  All of this experience was second hand.  I had compassion but did not realize the devastation that this sort of thing has to the victim.  I have faced this and more because I am at best just a woman and at worst some kind of freak.

There are others who’s intent was good but had the effect of causing harm.  I had many co-workers that tried their best to protect me from the bigots.  The detrimental effect of this is to give me a false sense of security.  It’s one thing for someone to support me in the face of discrimination it is another to intercept it so that I never experience it.

Another is my relationship to my wife.  I had tried to involve her in my transition but felt her withdrawing more and more as I progressed.  We separated a few years ago.  There is no obvious hostility between us but there is very little love.  Were we once spoke several times a day, we now only talk on holidays and birthdays.

The rest of my family was not very close before my transition and after there has been no contact at all.

There are many things in my original plan that have also failed, most of these are a direct relation to my employment status.  As such, I will find myself homeless by the end of this month.

I have also had many struggles with depression.  Most of this was an effect of my situation.  It is ironic that I spent all those years in therapy but none of my therapists helped with the depression.  You see they could not help me with this because they could not change the circumstances that were the cause of the feelings.  The depression has brought on many bouts with suicide.  All of this could have been avoided if there wasn’t the hate and animosity towards me just for being me.

I do have many regrets, transitioning is not one of them.  I wish that I had transitioned at a much earlier age.  I regret many of my business decisions and career choices.  I regret that I had compromised my own identity to have people like me.  I couldn’t maintain it and many of the people I thought were friends weren’t really friends.

I view transition as a purification process.  Everything in your life that is false will die and only the reality with remain.

This Girl

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How did I get here

You know a bit about who I am.  It’s time for you to know how I got here.

I started my transition about eight years ago.  It started with the need to deal with my little gender problem.  It started with me reading the stories of others that had found ways to deal with their gender problems.

I found many stories and I read them all.  I found kindred spirits among them.  These people felt and experienced the same things that I did.  I gained an understanding of what we were and what could be done about it.  I found that there was a solution, I found out that it was possible to transition.

Now that I knew that this sort of thing was possible the next step was deciding that it was possible for me to do.  Over the next few months I formulated a plan to do just that.  I followed the paths of those that went before me.  I understood that each situation was unique but that there are many things in common.

The next step was a big one.  I had to tell my wife.  We had talked before about my gender issues but these discussions were incomplete.   It wasn’t that I wanted to hide this from her.  I just was not capable of explaining something to her that I did not understand myself.  This time I told her that I wanted to investigate my gender issues with a therapist.  While this was true, it was not the whole truth.  I was pretty sure that I would transition but I was afraid to tell her.  I was afraid that she would leave me.  I didn’t want to tell anyone until I was sure that it would happen for me.  As my plan had described, I also started facial hair removal at about the same time.

After this my transition took on a life of it’s own.  Many steps, a lot of cause and effect along the way.  I will reveal all of these things in time.  The point of this entry is the first two realizations.  Transition was possible and transition was possible for me.

I don’t want to give you the impression that from that point on everything was just “peachy.”  It was hard work to get here.  I have faced many trials and still have many ahead of me.

The thing that is most evident to me from all this is that transition is more mental than it is physical.  There are physical changes but there are many more changes to my view of the world and the way that I think about myself.  ‘

The male view of women is that they are just men with boobs and a vagina.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  In my opinion, men and women are not even the same species.  We don’t see the world the same, we don’t process things the same, and we don’t experience things the same.

At the same time, we all live in a male dominated world were the prevailing language is male dominated.  Our concepts of logic, truth, and reality are male dominated.  The thing that makes it possible for us to communicate is that woman have learned to speak male.  However, there is much that gets lost in the translation.

You men need to remember this the next time you talk with your wife, girlfriend, mother, sister, daughter or female co-workers.  They aren’t really hearing the same things that you are.

The one piece of advice I can give you is to find a transsexual relationship counselor.  At least you will have someone that can be fluent in both man and woman.

This Girl

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My thoughts on therapy

This is sort of hot topic among folks of the TS community.  What I write here is my opinion.  It is an opinion that is based on my experiences.  Still, I know that this will piss off a lot of people.

I have spent a good portion of my life in therapy.  There was plenty of therapy before my transition started because I had been repressing myself for a very long time.  Then there was the therapy requirement for transition.  Although these are distinctly different in focus for me and my therapist, they have many parallels.

Long before I knew that therapy was required to transition I visited a therapist.  We will call her Anne.  I still have many fond thoughts of Anne.  She helped me see that I had a right to be loved and that for that to happen I needed to love myself.  Although we discussed the feelings that I had about gender, I did not know how to articulate the concept of a different gender to that I was assigned.  This I think was her greatest failing, she knew nothing about gender either.

Imagine this, someone tells you that from their earliest age they have always felt that they we the wrong sex.  What might you tell them?  Well Anne told me that I shouldn’t let this interfere with my life and that many people live with this.  Her words lead me to repress my feelings for more years.

I can’t place all the blame for this on Anne.  As I have come to find out, in the 6 years (average) of schooling that a therapist gets, about 1 hour is spent on gender issues.  With that kind of emphasis I am really surprised that therapists don’t kill more people.

Anne wasn’t the first therapist that I had.  Although I don’t remember the names of any of the ones before her.  This is because I was quite young when this happened.  My Mother dragged my to several therapists, doctors and even a priest.  None of them diagnosed or even helped me at all.  The priest just told my mother that I was going to hell, and yes I was there when he said that.

A while after Anne, I decided that I needed to deal with this issue.  I did my own research on the internet and found that I needed to see a “gender” therapist.  A bit more and I found my first gender therapist.

He had an outstanding pedigree.  He had a PhD in psychology and had specialized in gender issues.  He had written many papers on the subject and had many speaking engagements about gender.  As it turns out none of this meant anything.  He was a freak.  I came to him to talk about my feelings of needing to interact with the world as a woman and all he wanted to talk to me about what I was wearing.

I wanted permission to go on hormones.  This was a big set of hoop jumps as he didn’t want to give me permission.  There were many things that I had to do to prove that I deserved it.  Through all of this, he kept talking about clothing.  If I hadn’t had time and money invested in this I would have left.  After I got permission, I never returned.  On my first visit to an endocrinologist I was told that I really didn’t need the letter.  Go figure.

After a while I found another therapist.  I’ll call her, Cathy.  Cathy was a caring person and had gender experience.  We were together for several years.  Through going full time in a female role and facing many heartaches because of it.  The biggest problem with Cathy is that she didn’t really help me.  In all the sessions she listened but never added anything to the experience that helped me with the problems that I faced.  She and I parted ways when this became an issue.

I still needed to met my therapy requirement.  So I started looking again.  I found another gender specialist with many accolades.  On my first visit we spent more time talking about his rates and what happens if I don’t pay than we did about why I was there.  When I didn’t return to his office he called me and told me that he could give me a surgery letter if I would agree to 24 sessions at his rate and if that was too long he could do it in half the time but I would have to pay double the rate.  I asked if I could just pay him the money, get my letter and never see him.  His response was that would be unethical.  What a jerk.

I spoke to another therapist on the phone he told me that he could give me a letter for $250.00 and just needed to have a single phone conversation.

These experiences brought me to the conclusion that therapists picked my pocket for the sum of about $20,000.00 and provided me with nothing.  This is why I am opposed to the therapy requirement.

There are arguments in favor of the requirement and in the interest of thoroughness I will discuss them.

One argument is that we need to make sure that I didn’t have any sever psychological problems.  This fails on two counts.  First, this is a valid process when sex reassignment was experimental.  If we were doing this for some kind of trail or test case then we would want to verify that there is nothing to interfere with a positive result.  We have been doing SRS for more than fifty years I think we can stop considering this experimental.  Also others tell me that the success rate for this treatment is 98%.  If surgeons had a 98% success rate for any other procedure they would be looking at a nobel prize for medicine.

The second place this fails is that we don’t do this for any other procedures.  There are at least three women in the world that have had more almost a hundred surgeries to make them selves look like barbie and not a single mental health professional was consulted in this.  There is also “Octo-Mom” and a woman that had some 40 procedures to look like a cat all without seeing a therapist.

The biggest problem with this thinking is that it assumes that all TS people are crazy until proven that they are sane.  Quite an oxymoron when you consider that the result of therapy is to diagnose you with a mental disorder.  Let me state this another way.  They need to verify that I am not crazy so that they can diagnose me with a mental disorder?

The next argument is that we need the diagnosis so that we can get access to treatment.  This seems like a circular argument.  Making an artificial need for therapy.  The truth is that we need treatment by doctors.  If someone says that they think they have a broken arm, no one says that they need to see a therapist for diagnosis, they go to a doctor.  Since the answer to our condition is a medical one we do not need a side step to a therapist.

The truth is that none of the therapists that I saw could really diagnose my gender issue.  They had thought that they could but they have no real means.  It’s all voodoo and no science.

There were other things that I discussed in therapy and honestly, it didn’t help with most of those.  When I was depressed because my life was turning to shit, they could make me feel better for a while.  As soon as I back in the real world and facing the same problems, I was depressed again.  Because therapy cannot change the circumstances that cause the stress or the people in your life that are treating you badly, they can never effect real change.

I will end with the thought that I wish I had the money that I spent on therapy.  I feel that all of it was wasted.  During the same time that I was seeing a therapist I also had a manicurist.  I had the same benefits from talking to my manicurist that I did from my therapist.  Even better, the hour only cost me $25 and my nails looked pretty afterwards.

So next time you think you need therapy, go to a manicurist first.  You’ll feel better and you’ll have money left over.

This Girl

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Beginning in the middle

This blog is about a journey.  Most would start their story at the beginning, mine begins in the middle.

The reasons for this is that I am at neither the beginning with the entire journey ahead of me.  Nor am I at the end of the journey to be able to see how all the events along the way lead to the ultimate goal.

So to begin with, I am a pre-op male-to-female transsexual as such I am in the midst of a journey from male to female.  There are many parts of this journey that are just memories and there are many lessons that I have learned along the way.  Part of this blog will be about those things.  There are also many adventures left to have and I will write about those as they happen.

The chronology may be out of sync but I will try to keep the message on track.

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