Transgender – Positive News

29 12 2008

I have written much about Gender; about society, the community and the person transitioning. Additionally, with the some 20,000 words here on this blog, I have increased the number of videos. If a picture is worth a 1000 words….

Here is some positive, social information. There are a number of agencies, companies and service agencies that are making some efforts to inform ‘norms’ to understand and even welcome transgender people.

From the Chicago Police Department, an informational video for the staff and the public.

20/20 – Gender, a 5 part episode. This series by Barbara Walters is societies attempt (with some success) at understanding Gender, what it means to families, their children and the media. This series concentrates on transgendered children.

From the moment we’re born, our gender identity is no secret. We’re either a boy or a girl. Gender organizes our world into pink or blue. As we grow up, most of us naturally fit into our gender roles. Girls wear dresses and play with dolls. For boys, it’s pants and trucks.

But for some children, what’s between their legs doesn’t match what’s between their ears — they insist they were born into the wrong body. They are transgender children, diagnosed with gender identity disorder, and their parents insist this is not a phase.
“A phase is called a phase because it is just that. It ends. And this is not ending. This is just getting stronger,” Renee Jennings told ABC News’ Barbara Walters. The Jennings asked that “20/20” not disclose their real name in order to protect the identity of their 6-year old transgender daughter, Jazz.

Most transgender children still live in the shadows, hiding from a world that sees them as freaks of nature. Rejected by their families, many grow up hating their bodies, and fall victim to high rates of depression, drug abuse, violence and suicide.
Today, hundreds of families with transgender children — who have found each other over the Internet — are taking a dramatically different course. They’re allowing their children to live in the gender they identify with in order to save them from a future of heartache and pain.
“I think we’re a very normal family,” said Renee’s husband, Scott. “I think we have a very healthy marriage. We love to watch our children in all of their activities, whether it’s at school, or on the field playing sports.”

On the surface, the Jennings and their four children are a typical American family. But their youngest child, Jazz, is only in kindergarten, and already she is one of the youngest known cases of an early transition from male to female.
“We’ll say things like, ‘You’re special. God made you special.’ Because there aren’t very many little girls out there that have a penis,” said Renee. “Renee and I are in 100 percent agreement as to how we should raise Jazz,” said Scott. “We don’t encourage, we support. And we just keep listening to what she tells us.”
From the moment he could speak, Jazz made it clear he wanted to wear a dress. At only 15 months, he would unsnap his onesies to make it look like a dress. When his parents praised Jazz as a “good boy,” he would correct them, saying he was a good girl.
The Jennings wanted to believe it would pass. Scott said he “was in a bit of denial” about what Jazz was trying to tell them. After all, even their rowdy twin boys, who are two years older than Jazz, had painted their nails growing up. But Jazz kept gravitating to girl things, insisting that his penis was a mistake.

There is a ground swell, a change from the 80’s ‘sex image’ of a TG Girl presenting her penis in a porn video. There is movement to “allow” transgender people to keep their jobs and to transition. Almost 125+ Fortune 500 companies have nondiscrimination policies in place that accommodate transgender peoples through their transition – while maintaining their jobs.

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Transgender Bashing

29 12 2008

I think I need to mention something about bashing.

I have been asked a number of times if I had experienced any form of ‘bashing’ or threats. I never really had much ‘bashing’, even when young. I considered this question of bashing seriously – and do not think that my friends asking me “so are you really keep it?” – for now (wink) – is bashing. Well, up until this month, not once did I ever really feel that (and this is my view) “someone was threatened enough to communicate that feeling to me by ‘bashing’ me”.

The first article I wrote about and posted to this weblog after an initial self introduction was an article about Lawrence King been killed (for reputably being either gay, or transgendered).

If you have been bashed and post your story to my comments, I will take a look at it and add it to this new posting called “Transgender Bashing“.

Here is my story.

I came into the breakfast cafe in Sultan, ready for a day of winter offroading. Walking in, I spotted my best friend (a mechanic and former club president); who greeted me warmly with a hug.. Although not ‘dressed up’, there has been enough changes in the past couple of years that my best friends mother and x-wife failed to recognize me! I wore just enough eye makeup that it was to run later in the 6 inches of snow that fell that day. I was then greeted warmly by the ‘old guard’ of the club while all the rest continued on with breakfast. Shortly before I was to head outside to the parked Land Rovers, I was ‘banged’ rather hard on the leg (similar to how you give someone a Charley Horse with your knee) by a fellow ‘walking by’. There was no words, just a hard look. That was it – the extent of my bashing.

A fellow member, who is gay, spoke to me later about a trip they had been on and this very same fellow (we will call; “wanker”) was extremely vocal about his negative opinions about gays and ‘that type of people. My gay friend told me he chose to remain closeted to avoid this fellows harshness.

Now keep in mind, since you don’t really know me, I have a reputation for toughness in the out-of-doors. I am not huge – unless you think 6’0 and 220 is huge. I used to be able to lift and install a 2.0l Volkswagen engine (complete and without help) and one time body built. No one ever hit me again after grade 9 – ever.

So later that day, we are standing around a campfire and this Wanker speaks up about his bit of outdoor experience. My best friend and my other friends listen to Wanker talk – and he looks on disparagingly towards me. I listened then one of my friends spoke – I offered my .02 as an outdoor professional, with a degree and 25 years + experience. Apparently Wanker’s ‘bash’ did not go unmissed by the X (and I would say her name, but to protect her, lets call her “Determined”) of my best friend; when she heard Wanker tell how ‘tough’ he was (at perhaps 165, 5’6″ and small man’s syndrome). The Determined then offered Wanker this story; some 5 years ago, while on a camping trip, 5 grown men were not enough to make me succumb.

Summary… Wanker was an overzealous search and rescue fellow with aspirations of sheriff hood. He later came around and talked to me while around the fire. He never could quite figure it out, even when talking to me (if you know what I mean) – the old friends all called me David and he kept seeing a girl with her lesbian partner. I never did really clear up my position with Wanker – nor did he seem open to any such clearing. I guess I will write an article later about

So what do I have to offer? Well, I have lost some muscle and stamina as well as I look like a tall girl. But to would be bashers out there, you never can tell if someone has Judo, fencing, karate, sword fighting, firearm and military combat training experience; was the sparing partner to my friend who attended the Western Canada Games, heavyweight wrestling… and I never assault anyone, ever – but I can defend myself.

I am not sure if I like what I wrote here – it opens me up for some negative opinions… we will see. I don’t hurt anyone, I never get angry, but I never allow myself to be really hurt. I guess that it was better than grabbing the Wanker by the throat and throwing him to the ground – which would have been decidedly unlady like.





Gender colours – sorry, colors (it’s mostly an American thing)

11 12 2008

Blue is for Boys

The Blue Boy

The Blue Boy

Pink is for Girls

Pinkie

Pinkie

That seems simple, right? All things are linked to history – nothing is (or was) forever although it does seem cyclic. I am a writer – well, technically, a professional technical writer and a communications manager. Titles given to me by people who pay me. I do enjoy research and writing though.

Most everyone; who has; had a baby, thought of having a baby, seen a baby or gone to get presents for an expectant mother knows – blue is for boys and pink is for girls. I had 1 pink and 3 blue babies in my own life.

A bit of colourful history then…

Timeline:

16th Century – “Blue Coat Schools” for poor boys, they were all dressed in the same blue coats (girls did not go to school) in England. Blue dye is the cheapest clothing dye. 

1770’s – Thomas Gainsborough paints The Blue Boy. The companion piece, was – The Pink Boy. Boys in England were not yet “assigned a color”. Both romantic period paintings were seen as appropriately coloured.

1800’s – Babies are considered – well, just babies. The notice of Boy vs Girl came when the child was truly mobile, capable of some understanding and, they had grown enough to have missed that high infant mortality rate of the time. Early infant graves often had no name other than “Baby“.

Victorian and Edwardian portraits of baby boys often depict pink clothing as the colour of choice.

Prior to 1900 – The choice color for babies clothes in America is – the color white

The Sunday Sentinal, March 29, 1914 advises mothers “”If you like the color note on the little ones garments, use pink for the boy and blue for the girl, if you are a follower of convention.” Colored ribbons used on clothes often followed these conventions. Brought to the USA from the UK.

1920’s – two famous paintings from the UK are purchased by a Californian; Pinkie and The Blue Boy. They are forever displayed; and thus bound together. People all through the 40’s and 50’s buy copies of the two paintings and display them together (I have one from my grandmother in a 50’s print). The paintings were by different artists, painted some 25 years apart with clothing styles 150 years apart.

1930’s – Germany adopts pink as the popular color for girls. During WW2, Germany uses the yellow Star of David to identify Jews and pink triangles to ‘mark’ homosexuals.

1950’s – The distinction of “blue is for boys, pink is for girls” becomes widely accepted in the US. Some say that Pinkie and The Blue Boy are responsible for this. Pink also gets associated at this time with gays and lesbians; perhaps a carry-over from Germany?

It has really been just a few years – some 60 years since the blue and pink were used to identify the newborns in the United States.

The relevance is this: Gender is also a function of society, the choices the social group makes to identify a gender and the definition that forms the children into adults displaying the current acceptable gender roles. In Asia, babies are often dressed in red (the color of celebration), while white is used for mourning.

In my ‘boy’ mode, I always wore greens, browns and earth tones. In my ‘girl’ mode, I wear purple, rust and burgandy tones.  Not quite Blue and Pink – but close enough.





Hormones, Part Duex

10 12 2008

Well, I told you about the cocktail of hormones that I take in the first article on Hormones.

Ready to read about the side effects (or are those ‘desired effects’)? I did what few M2F TS’s do, I have been on the hormones and off a number of times. The last time I was off was during the past summer, for two months. I go off of them to remind myself what I was, where I am and to let my brain ‘balance out’. I also like the learning experience of the changes in the brain.

Yes, I am a Scot

Yes, I am a Scot

 I have now been on hormones long enough (2 years in Feb 2009) this time that how my brain feels normal; seems natural, with the hormones – but here are my views and observations.

Mental:

When on the hormones, the world and my responses to the world and all the situations seem more colourful and wide ranging – when off of the hormones, it is much more black and white, with some variations of gray.

When on the hormones, I feel I have more creativity and am relaxed – when off of them; I feel driven (although often less focused) and at times, agitated.

When on the hormones, I can relax all Sunday, play some video games, watch a movie, go for a drive and just lay around; guiltless! – when off of them, I wake up with an agenda, head down the stairs or go out to the garage and immediately start working; until I am done the chore list in my head!

Physical:

When on the hormones, I have increased skin sensitivity (intolerance?) – when off, my nipples can be sucked really hard!

When on the hormones, I have some reduced libido (no surprise) but a increased duration for orgasm – when off, well, I have 4 children with 3 women and would have had lots more; my sex drive was a bit high…

On the hormones there has been body changes; Breast fat / developement (C cups), fat redistribution on hips and thighs where I had none, rounder buttocks (although mine were always shapely), muscle loss (with what I estimate to be a 25% loss in strength and 40% loss in stamina), softer smoother skin, softening of facial features – no real surprises, just what you would expect as secondary characteristics caused by hormones, whether in a GG (genuine girl) during puberty or a TG on hormones.

What hormones do NOT do:

The do not give you a higher voice… sorry – and that is the tip of the iceberg of denied life skills offered to women that need to be learned by an M2F.

Most importantly, they do not ‘rewire’ you to act like a women – that takes all the rest of your brain. Depending on your age, you have spent a long time learning all the things that society can offer to help you behave correctly in your infant assigned blue or pink box.

Everything is learned – how you walk, talk, hold your hands, look at people, smile, frown, laugh, cry. The level of things that define gender goes so far beyond the flesh bag of the human body. Breasts say you are a women, your hands accepting returned change in a store can say all male. The scale of the body – being a large M2F or a small F2M says less about your gender than how you walk and stand when trying to ‘pass’.

Beyond getting the hormones, the approval of a shrink to be on this path, the understanding of family and friends – you will need to be a skilled social observer and mimicker.

Coming soon – an article or two about social mimicry.

I will write more about these ‘socially’ taught aspects of being ‘passible’. I would also suggest that you read as much as you can from socialigists and gender observers, such as Desmond Morris, one of my favorites (The Naked Ape, Manwatching, Bodywatching and Peoplewatching), Tracie O’Keefe w/ Katrina Fox (Finding the Real Me) as well as many other. The key will lie in your ability to take in social observations and relearn it in your own life.

http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Introduction_to_Sociology/Gender





Truth of Hormones…

11 11 2008

Well, if you are looking for the Holy Grail, you are likely as to be as successful here as King Arthur was in Monty Python’s “The Holy Grail “.

I am a TG – or Gender Transformer. I also go by Intersexed. I am also Gynophilic (if you don’t know what it is, look it up!).

I have been interested in hormones for a long time. My first ’bout with them was almost 20 years ago {shimmering waves, fade to sepia tone} when I was under 30 and married to a clinical pharmacist who agreed to mess around with me – well the messing was that she supplied the hormones and I took them.

The end result after 1.5 years of experimental mixing a cocktail of estrogen and progesterone was that I had little booblets and some reshaping of body fat. Otherwise, I was a normal looking male (I was told recently that, and I looked, quote ‘as looking “GQ”‘ back then’). I had a handsome beard, full head of hair and the suntanned look of a sailor – which I was while off cruising! Oh, and I always had short hair because my wife kept it cut that way.

Watching the sunset

Watching the sunset

This time ’round was different. I was serious and I took a serious approach to the hormones and the rest of the body mods. I also grew my hair, two years when this picture was taken.

So, here is my serious recipe for hormones. Oh, and you need a doctor to check you out so that you do not blow up your liver…. or cause other damage.

First, before the hormones;

Do not smoke – it ages the skin and makes you look like shit. It also slows cellular repair.

Do not drink – Common sense here. Now, you can drink on rare occasion BUT, your liver is processing enough hormones to turn your testosterone off and fire up your body for being a girl.

Eat well – Simple, just eat good foods. You know which ones I am talking about. You can add vitamins, but eat well FIRST then take vitamins. A tomatoe a day keeps cancer away.

Drink lots of water and milk – Yes, you need lots of fluids moving through the liver and kidneys. Milk – is just common sense, calcium and vitamin D and the only single source of a complete set of amino acids for your body.

OK, so I sound like I am nagging. Here are the real goals – you want to change your body, you want your body to respond and you do not want to harm your body – right? Simple. It will do you no good to get to the place of being a girl AND needing a liver transplant.

I was married to a clinical pharmacist and I am a Wilderness EMT. I am not a health wacko, but I heal quickly and do not scar. I have never had any surgery, stitches or broken long bones. I have summited mountains, sailed oceans, trekked canyons and travelled foreign lands. I lived for over a decade and a half with no health care.

Ok, you have been patient – so here is my formula for hormones. This works well enough for me that I have pleasant C cup breasts, some nice hips, soft features and (regrettably) some loss in muscle tone… all after a 1.5 year course. Not bad for someone who used to body-build. I do have plans for an Inguinal Orchiectomy – at some time. I will outline my course of body action in a later posting.

 I take two different meds:

Spirotone 100; Spironolactone 100mg – 3x daily in AM

Estrofem 2mg; Oestradiol 2mg – 3x daily in AM

I get them from here

2010 note – Inhouse Pharmacy has stopped shipping internationally.

Inhouse Pharmacy is now 4 Corners Pharmacy which does ship internationally.

They have a specific TG site catering to both M2F and F2M. Their prices seem reasonable.

Here are their recommendations in M2F

Spironolactone acts as an antiandrogen of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone. Spironolactone in doses of 200–400 mg per day allows the practitioner to decrease exogenous estrogen doses tophysiologic or “hormone replacement” levels while still obtaining desired effects of breast development, feminization of skin, and female fat distribution.

Conjugated estrogens such as Premarin 5 mg daily.
Estradiol such as Progynova (Oestradiol Valerate) or Estrofem 4 mg daily.

So, you can see, I am a little heavy on the Estrofem. My calves can’t take any higher dose of the Spirotone! I dissolve the Estrofem under my tongue (purportedly easier on the liver). Patience will be your watchword here. There is much written about the ‘phases’ of hormones and their effect. I have kept my own rational observations – as well as those of my partner (so you can get an inside and outside view). More to come soon! The fat movement will start about a year into the hormones.

Oh – if you have read this far – bonus!

2 things.

Yes, I will be showing some frontal and full body pictures; not naked 🙂    I think I am decent looking and passable (like that were the real measure of a ‘good TG’ – whatever).

Yes, I still get great erections, orgasms and some ejaculation (although there have been some dry ones). It takes a bit more time, but not much more! Use it or lose it was what I was told…

For the continuing chapter, see Hormones, Part Duex





The Little t in GLBT or LGBT

26 08 2008

That T at the end of GLBT (or LGBT) is for transgender. The other three letters stand for sexual orientation, but the last letter – the letter T is little or silent in most groups.

The goal for many M2F as well as F2M transgenders; transexuals is to become passable – then invisible. Ultimately, they disappear after their two to five year journey of transformation. Even if they have not taken the final step of SRS (Sex Reassessment Surgery), they can have their sex on identification papers changed to match with how they are presenting and living.

A well written article from another writer covers it here – By John Avarosis in:

Transgender News – How Did the T Get in LGBT

{In simpler times we were all gay. But then the word “gay” started to mean “gay men” more than women, so we switched to the more inclusive “gay and lesbian.” Bisexuals, who were only part-time gays, insisted that we add them too, so we did (not without some protest), and by the early 1990s we were the lesbian, gay and bisexual, or LGB community. Sometime in the late ’90s, a few gay rights groups and activists started using a new acronym, LGBT — adding T for transgender/transsexual. And that’s when today’s trouble started.}

Depending on the history told, the term GLBT came about; as each sub group was added, another letter was added after the general catch-all term- “Gay”. The current LGBT is a ranking of a dangerous internal group sexism – The gay community begrudges the lesbian community for muscling their way over the ‘boys’; bisexuals are treated as wanna-be, part time, half hearted gays (and lesbians) and the transgender community is welcomed as neither gay nor lesbian by either of those two groups, misunderstood by the sexual bisexual explorers and generally segregated at any and all at LGBT group activities.

The confusion continues when an M2F is with a women Or an F2M is with a man) – they are not ‘normal’ according to society and they are not accepted as lesbians (or gay) in those communities. I do not want to beat this horse into the ground – and the ultimate responsibility for information lies in the hands of the transgendered within the GLBT groups. Like the ‘issues’ the gays and lesbians have to over come, information needs to be offered and then, understanding comes from the majority – the experiences of the gay community with the body of society are paralleled with the transgender community and the GLBT community.

What makes the T portion unique is both for what it is and what it is not. It is a subject that has varying degrees of meaning, from cross dressing to gender bending to post-op transexual. It is also a unique departure from the other three (GLB) because it is not about sexual orientation.

The T portion of the LGBT community has two duties:

One, to continue, in a public sense, to be vocal and united. That means, not dissappearing after your own personal journey is over.

Two, to bring awareness that the assessment of gender is broad reaching, universal and effects everyone else.





Gender: Pink/Blue Boxes & Sexual Orientation

25 08 2008

Gender, Sexual Orientation and what it is to be transgendered.

Shortly after birth we are placed by the people who love us – our parents (or less loving medical staff; when there is some question), into either a BLUE or PINK box. Repeat after me, we are placed into onlyone of two boxes, early on – and that choice is made simply by the visual inspection of genitalia. If you have an inny, you get the pink box; and outy gets you the blue one; if you are in some question, they try to assign one of the boxes, only.

That is social gender assignment, based on whether you have a penis or a vagina only. It is as simple as that and has been done that way for a long, long time and is done throughout the world like that. As a infant child, it is relatively easy to be in one box or another – it really makes little real difference in the early stages. You will be treated different, based on the culture and time you are raised in. There was a time when boys wore pink… but that is another story.

Some gender stuff happens around 6-10 years of age, mostly you form the concept of what adult relationships look like and you will likely follow those patterns as an adult. At this time, you might wander a little away from your box colour – but not too far! Girls playing only with Lego and cars are still not really that far from the pink box – most often they took toys (tools) from the blue box but still play with them in decidedly “pink” ways. Same goes for boys – they may play with toys from the pink box, but they play with them in a “blue” fashion.

Now for the big explosion – and where the waters get muddy for most mainstream people. This individual growth takes place around 10 to 16 years of age as we are figuring out sex, the changing body that you have and where you fit into the world with your forming identity. There, I said the word, sex, because that word (and all that goes with it) causes all the confusion when gender is brought up. The muddiness comes in here because we tie sex to everything. So it is at this time, from when you are 10-16 years old, that the individual often deals with experimentation and self discovery while we look at the new options (or they “present” themselves to us).

So here are your variables, the options of what to think after you start figuring it out – the options that you have placed by society before you as a teenager.

Gender – We will be coming back to this one:
You are in either a Blue or Pink box, based on social assignment at birth based upon genitalia. Boys are in Blue boxes, Girls are in Pink boxes. This one is simple and we use it to figure out the next thing.

Sexual Orientation - and Gender

Sexual Orientation - and Gender

Attracted to which box?

This is Sexual Orientation:

Heterosexual:
If you are in a Blue box, you need to be sexually attracted to people only in the Pink box. If you are in a Pink box, you need to be sexually attracted to the people only in the BlueBox. – this is the social “norm”, it is what the bulk of the population does. You can play with toys from either box BUT not too much or too far, because of this other bit of sexual orientation, called (dun,dun,daaaaa);

Homosexual:
If you are in the Blue box and you are attracted to people only in the Blue Box, you are Gay. If you are in the Pink box and are only attracted to people in the Pink Box, you are Lesbian.

Bisexual:
Okay, if you are in one box and are attracted to people in either box, you are said to be Bi. Mostly it is the person being attracted to both boxes that says they are Bi – the other orientations often label you as indecisive. Others label this as a sexual person because they are attracted to both sexes.

That pretty much covers the normal combinations.

Ok, that is the part they the audience “gets”, nodding all the way. They know all this because it is taught to us young, as we are in our teens. I will not really get into the social prejudices. That covers the easy to understand sexual orientation part – but what about Gender?

The confusion comes in with understanding Gender (the box you are in) and what you are doing with the other box, the box that you were not assigned to after birth. This is not about sex, it is not about having sex, it is not about who you have sex with – refer to back sexual orientation to understand that.

Transgender
Gender transformer (more than meets the eye);

Gender has to do with the box you are assigned to and with the which one you feel you belong in – and the conflict or agreement of those two. The thing that adds more confusion here is that Gender is a sliding scale, with a break point being, with most people, at the first question they ask; “Do you still have your blue box parts or did you remove you pink box parts.” With gender movement, leaving your box and heading towards the other is not always a destination of being in the other box. The open field that is between those boxes is huge and populated with all sorts of people – people you know and meet every day. I am one of those people – but those who get close always ask me about whether or not I have my boy part…

Gender and the Sliding Scale:
If you are in a Pink box person, and are a welder, dress masculine, drive a pickup – you are often thought of as a “dyke” (note, that label is about sexual orientation, not gender). Being in a Pink box, but incorporating too many things from the Blue box is confusing for many – they make it simple by referring back to sexual orientation. If you are in the Blue box, artistic, soft spoken – well you see where this is going. If you dress in the clothes of the other box, you cause the same confusion for the social group at large – and they often then assigned you a sexual orientation label. If you play with too many things from the box of the other color, people refer to sexual orientation, first.

And for the record and some humor – a kilt is never a skirt.

Moving out of your Blue box, leaving the box you were assigned, while playing with the toys in the Pink box is hard for most people to grasp. You are not supposed to “over play” with the toys from the other box AND you are certainly not supposed to leave your box to play with toys from the other box! Once again, I keep it to extremes to help people understand – but the truth is, TG’s are often somewhere in the open are between the two boxes and that is where we find the bulk of Transgender people. True Transexuals; ones who complete the departure from one box and are solidly in the other box – they often disappear into their new box, never wanting to be outed.

So, that brings us to Gender. When you start to leave behind your box later in life, the box you were assigned to so shortly after birth, you are breaking socially established norms, centuries old. Now, keep this in mind Gender is not Sex or Sexual Orientation. If a person chooses to leave their Blue or Pink box, move into the other box and adopt all that is necessary to be in that box – they are in the new gender.

So now what is a persons Gender if you were raised in a Blue box and move to the Pink box? – well, it comes down to the first question I usually get asked. It is what we think makes the person a Blue or Pink, a penis or vagina.

So next time you see someone who you are thinking assigning a sexual orientation label to, you might just be looking at a gender slider, transgender, TG, TV, CD, androgyne, gender transformer (my son coined that one), intergender, genderqueer. This sliding scale is what makes it such a varied social dynamic and what makes it hard to cleanly label and for the people in their own strict boxes to understand.