The Problem with Transitioning

22 10 2012

To start this oddly – I could of course, be wrong… but it has worked for me. You best stop reading right now and go to the end of my wordpress to start at the start. This article addresses what makes it easier for others and by extension easier for yourself. It does not change what happens or the time it takes to happen; just how it is done. Fair warning – this article is a bit more ‘scattered’ than others, it meanders a bit to get to the true course.

The real challenge in life is when we feel things have be wrong for a long time and we now have the ability, power, money, confidence, support to make positive change for ourselves that we think everybody else will just ‘go along with it’.

If you are in transition, how many hours do you spend in therapy talking about being the new you vs the struggles of getting others to see that person? Over the years I have become better and stronger, but it cost me nearly everything I had known (and that too is a familiar story). I wrote this article in 2009 about the Losses – Coming Out Transgender. I said in that article that 25% of your past friends, family and the like remain. Even with the title of my wordpress, Amy is long gone.

The truth is now, that there were no survivors that crossed the barrier with me. My very best friend, best man; he could not walk the last bit with me when he saw how happy I am and how everything had turned out for me. He was there for me every step while I was struggling. He was there for me over a decade ago when I came out to him and told him about my childhood and hormones for the past 15 years. He was the last of my long past to fall away, lost when all has been going great these past years. He knew how to be with me as a struggling transgender friend, we separated when it looked like I had worked it all out and was content with where I was and about myself.

Also, the truth is, if you have been true to yourself and in your actions, then only when others lie to themselves while with you would that leave them unaware. Sometimes, the people you out yourself to cannot imagine what is happening.

I am going to swing out on a limb here and say that transitioning, the way it is set up through modern society and modern medicine is wrong. There, I did it, I used that word; when I think very few things can be labelled ‘wrong’.

I have watched countless people struggle in this are, so here is some advice. Please read through and tell me where the flaw might be. We live in a society where we now think that making some kind of grand social announcement then proceeding on course is the way to go with transitioning. Pretend with me if you will…

Pretend that you are a machinist, working down at the local shipyard, living in the town you were born in. You decide, based on figuring out who you are, that you are moving to Prague to study classic piano.  Now imagine the reaction (and noted lack of encouragement) that you are likely to receive at work, with your family, your close friends if you just come out and say “I am now a composer, and will be living in Prague”. Sure some of them would be supportive, but behind your back they would laugh and say ‘nice dream’. Now try it a different way.

Instead of making this grand announcement after you have figured out who you really are… you start taking piano lessons. In fact, at lunch you practice on a small electric keyboard, every day out in your car. You spend a couple years learning, that way, when you are in Prague you can concentrate on what you know you really want to do, composition. While you are doing these lessons, you play at every opportunity.  You have now practiced enough Czech that you great coworkers with “Dobrý den!”, every day. When asked about the the language, you comment that you are learning a new language. Finally, you start selling off all the things that you will not be taking with you on the move.

It is about then that others will ask you what is going on. When you explain that you do not see yourself as a machinist living in this town forever, they go ok… now it is making sense. When they think about it, they have noticed that you are proficient at the piano and have been speaking that other language. There is little question in their minds that you are serious about this, that what is coming has been well planned and that this is something you really want.

Now try it the other way…the way it sounds to most people when you come out as transgender or transitioning.

Come out to your family, friends and coworkers and announce that you now want to be called Bronco Billy the Cowboy and you are going to be a Rodeo Star. “Can you ride a horse” they ask – “No, not yet, but I am going to learn”. “Have you even practiced roping?”. “Well, I am going to buy a real rope soon”. So, they ask, “You want us to call you by just Bronco or Bronco Billy”. You respond “My name is now Bronco and I am a Rodeo Star – please make sure you get all that correct and never refer to me as my past” And, just like anyone you know that would make this announcement to you, it sounds a bit crazy. There is no doubt that some would think you lost your mind!

I have chosen the ‘change before announcement’ course every time, in every instance; the one of doing it myself first, then others get to see the plan. I was the person who said “No, I can’t do that this weekend, I have to do 30 hours more work on my boat”. I said “I am going out sailing for practice” when asked about going out in winter weather. When I talked about the watermaker installed or the solar panels, people nodded. All this was while living on the boat. When it was finally announced that we were going off cruising, people said “It looked like that” – not “Are you crazy, you are going to die”. Now I tell you I have sailed 16,000 nautical miles and lived in many different life conditions. I tell you I have backpacked, bussed and hitchhiked in several countries. Now, when I tell you that I am going to Columbia this winter and Vietnam next summer to trek around – you say “sure, that sounds about right”. Those things are all true. When I tell you I am building a vehicle for long distance road travel… you might say you would not BUT that looks exactly like what you would expect from me. In fact, if you have read this blog, the outdoors part and vehicles does not surprise you.

The journey of Transition is no different than following your heart, desire and beliefs for anything else. The pathway chosen is often made harder because what you are asking is for other people to accept that you are something that, up until then, never occurred to them about you. No one is surprised about a change when they can see the work towards it. In fact, once they notice the work, they often go along and support it very easily.

So, my advice is two fold. What not to do:

Change your name first and announce that you are now to be a woman to all your friends, family and coworkers (usually in that order as you build confidence). Making such a strong tack seems like a right of passage with transitioning BUT, like Bronco Billy and the rodeo, it is asking a lot of your support and social structure to make the leap with you.

What to do:

Start soft, like learning to play the piano (which I also do).  Start by changing your clothes slightly, grow your hair, fem up. All this takes time and you would have to do it anyways after making the “grand announcement”. Get fem, go on HRT then when you make the name change and ‘come out’, most people will already have figured it out OR at least be able to see that the course you are on is happening already.

Now before you beat me up, I am not saying do not become who you really are, just that you consider others as well as yourself when you transition. It should make it easier to take the same journey as others. Although I have, through sailing, bussed and backpacked through my earth journeys; the road, as always, less travelled.

Make it easy on yourself by thinking what makes it easier for others to understand. Otherwise, coming out as the new “Bronco Billy” the (now decided) rodeo star is an easier stretch than coming out as Sarah the woman. I am out.

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The Journey Continues…

21 05 2011

My path – Arriving with backpacks in Belize from Guatemala on our Honeymoon 2011

As I said from the start, I walk my own path – even as a TG.

I have always walked my own path.

We all make choices. As I said with my very first introduction of, I am not one easily labeled. I honestly hope that writing about this continuing journey is useful to those who also find that walking the path less tread has offered me a unique view into myself and society.

Here is how I started the Who Am I

Who am I?

I was born a male and still retain my penis (does that alone make a male?) – gees, there is that question again… so if a male gets his penis cut off, is he a what? If am F-M never gets a penis are they what? Boy, those never get answered easily.

I have no delusion about having an SRS; I can neither afford one and, in turn, have found a great way to live with my life as it now is. I am born in a different country that will not allow a change in my birth certificate without 2 doctors, in my home province, probing me to make sure I am not a male AFTER a SRS. This in turn effects other ID downstream.

I live as I am myself, I look like a female; and the rest of the world treats me as such.

I still answer to my male birth name. With the conflict of an international birth certificate, international passport, ‘green’ card and local ID, I could not have it all changed and cannot travel with 1/2 a change.

I have had to figure out that between the pink and the blue box there is a space for others. Gender Queers, Gender Benders or as my son said so long ago, “Gender Transformer; more than meets the eye” (he said it in a sing-song voice). I am now what I had been ultimately seeking – something of a balance of gender. I had said all along that I never though of being a female – heck, I know what real women are and there is such a blend of brain, body and soul that makes up the single term gender that we misuse the label ‘woman’ or ‘female’ all the time.

So what are the labels that I apply to myself to help others (and those others include black or white TG’s) understand?

  • Married and Father – married to a great, accepting person who accepts both my gender (ambiguity?) and my sexual orientation. Father to an outstanding (not just by my standards) son.
  • Gender – I think of myself more as a balance of gender, but others see it differently. When forced into a label, I am either a girl with a penis (which only matters when in change rooms or skinny dipping) or a ‘boy’ who looks like a girl. Mostly as a female who has boy brain knowledge and a penis (which so often seems the focus of TG’s). Most would call me a Preop M2F (not a label I like because it is a ‘bus stop’ on the way to the F). The most recent development is that many in the LGBT community see me as a woman and think I might be considering a gender change to male by using the name ‘David’. Everyone loves to box and label people, even in the community. Honestly, for the most part, I just let people figure it out and they label me female unless I tell them anything else. ‘Passing’ is not a problem, being ‘butch’ enough for travel past the TSA with my ID is more of an issue.
  • Sexual Orientation – Gynophiliac (attracted only to women) is what I prefer. If I were a lesbian, then it would stand to reason that I would be with them – but I am not. Lesbians are also Gynophiliac (preferring sexual intimacy with women). I am attracted to women and really needed to be with a female who has a more middle of the road approach to her attraction (bisexual if I had to label). So I either needed a lesbian with NO penis issues or a woman who had no other issues – a tall order! I luckily, have that woman in my life.

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More to follow – 5/21/2011





Robot or Alien; and the CAVE

16 01 2010

 Robot or Alien.

It is a simple question, which are you? You know already, stop right now and answer before reading further.

The second, harder question is where are you? This pertains to the cave.

I usually write about the transgender subject area and leave most of myself out of the comments. Times are a changing. I am out more and offering others the chance to express and examine themselves.

THE CAVE

Have you read Plato’s Allegory of the Cave? The lesson of the cave is considered a fundamental question about us and how we see the world  and what is real (have you ever seen the Matrix?). Take time to read the summary – or for those with less time, watch the video after the story!

Inside The Cave
Socrates begins by describing a scenario in which what people take to be real would in fact be an illusion. He asks Glaucon to imagine a cave inhabited by prisoners who have been chained and held immobile since childhood: not only are their arms and legs held in place, but their heads are also fixed, compelled to gaze at a wall in front of them. Behind the prisoners is an enormous fire, and between the fire and the prisoners is a raised walkway, along which people walk carrying things on their heads “including figures of men and animals made of wood, stone and other materials”. The prisoners can only watch the shadows cast by the men, not knowing they are shadows. There are also echoes off the wall from the noise produced from the walkway.

Socrates asks if it is not reasonable that the prisoners would take the shadows to be real things and the echoes to be real sounds, not just reflections of reality, since they are all they had ever seen or heard. Wouldn’t they praise as clever whoever could best guess which shadow would come next, as someone who understood the nature of the world? And wouldn’t the whole of their society depend on the shadows on the wall?

Release From The Cave
Socrates next introduces something new to this scenario. Suppose that a prisoner is freed and permitted to stand up. If someone were to show him the things that had cast the shadows, he would not recognize them for what they were and could not name them; he would believe the shadows on the wall to be more real than what he sees.

“Suppose further,” Socrates says, “that the man was compelled to look at the fire: wouldn’t he be struck blind and try to turn his gaze back toward the shadows, as toward what he can see clearly and hold to be real? What if someone forcibly dragged such a man upward, out of the cave: wouldn’t the man be angry at the one doing this to him? And if dragged all the way out into the sunlight, wouldn’t he be distressed and unable to see “even one of the things now said to be true,” viz. the shadows on the wall?

After some time on the surface, however, Socrates suggests that the freed prisoner would acclimate. He would see more and more things around him, until he could look upon the Sun. He would understand that the Sun is the “source of the seasons and the years, and is the steward of all things in the visible place, and is in a certain way the cause of all those things he and his companions had been seeing”.

Return To The Cave
Socrates next asks Glaucon to consider the condition of this man. “Wouldn’t he remember his first home, what passed for wisdom there, and his fellow prisoners, and consider himself happy and them pitiable? And wouldn’t he disdain whatever honors, praises, and prizes were awarded there to the ones who guessed best which shadows followed which? Moreover, were he to return there, wouldn’t he be rather bad at their game, no longer being accustomed to the darkness? “Wouldn’t it be said of him that he went up and came back with his eyes corrupted, and that it’s not even worth trying to go up? And if they were somehow able to get their hands on and kill the man who attempts to release and lead up, wouldn’t they kill him?”

I have lived in the cave, at different times, about different things. I may still continue to live there, about certain things that I think are real and sound real, but are just the shadows and echoes. I have thought to be in love; many times in my life. Those times were shadows and echoes. One time I met a person who broke my chains and showed me the shadows and noises for what they were – then lead me into the sunshine, I was blinded. My eyes were corrupted – I was never be able to return to the shadows of the cave and be happy with their movements. The murmurs and echoes of the object bearers offered no comfort any more. This is the awakening that changes all. It can happen about nearly anything and nearly any time. There are times I want for the shadows, but there is no return for me.

Me, I escaped the cave years before, freed in so many ways. This is not to be taken as pleasant though. I often explain it like the loss of innocence rather than the gain of enlightenment. I have also pulled others from the cave, sometimes just breaking their chains was enough to free them, sometimes I led them to the surface. In one case, a person returned to the chains and shadows – wearing a mask to hide their return (having been exposed to the outside). A person can never fully return and be comtent with shadows and echoes.

For the full, correct version, check out this video. I really like this version. It is longer, but worth it.

So why bother with the Allegory? What do we have to learn here? It deals with two subjects at the heart of human substance:

  • What is real?
  • How do we fit into the reality?

That brings us to the simple question, the one I enjoy asking friends. Are you a Robot or an Alien?

I leave you with the challenge to look at yourself. It is up to the interpreter to figure out if they are a robot or an alien and what they even mean. Me? I am an Alien and always have been. Is one better than the other – better for what purpose? There are lots of Robots and Robots who wish they were Aliens. There are also Aliens disguised as Robots. It works both ways… Robot or Alien?

“Even with the prospect of Death…” (better watch that full version of the video).





Losses – Coming Out as TransGender

11 11 2009

rememberance day crossKind of an odd day… and I have been reflecting on this for sometime now, here it is coming all together. I have avoided personal writing, for my own reasons – I have also satisfied my urges for personal writing by keeping them as drafts, here. This is article is a bit more personal.

Today is Remembrance Day. Have you forgotten what that is – or are you reflecting on it as an American, wondering what it really means?

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Armistice Day is observed on 11 November to recall the end of World War I on that date in 1918 (major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 with the German signing of the Armistice). The day was specifically dedicated by King George V, on 7 November 1919, to the observance of members of the armed forces who were killed during war.

Oddly enough, I found myself playing Call of Duty, Modern Warfare 2, today. I reflected on what it means for people to lose others. We have losses nearly every day, a Policeman was killed in Seattle, some die in a plane crash, another with swine flu – many in vehicle accidents; the highest killer of all people under 25.

military cemetery

I had buried all my grandparents by 18 (carried the caskets of 3 of them). My father and biological mother (I cast her ashes in the Cromarty Firth in Scotland on a sunny November day) are both dead. All that is left for me of immediate older family is my mother who no longer remembers who I am or anything of my childhood – she was the last to know the child who was David (I think that is the first time I have ever mentioned that name!). I left my country, left behind friends and family more than 20 years ago now. Ad to that the experience I have had as a Wilderness E.M.T. and I think I know something about loss.

I lived with my father for nearly a year, back in Canada, as he wound down and died of cancer. I held his hand, with me crying when he died – and took out my stethoscope to hear his last rasping breaths and weak heartbeat cease.

Losses. “Becoming” (if that is what this is – but it is how others see it) transgender, incurs losses.

I came out first, publically, in March of 2007. I thought that I would start to come out publically after I had resumed the hormone treatments in Feb 2007 and had started body hair removal in Dec 2006. Physical changes and personal encouragement from supporters brought me ‘out’.

Before I tell you any stories – here is the data I offer… Of all the people (family, friends, coworkers), who knew / know you, that you tell when ‘coming out’, here are the results I observed:

50% will disappear, fading over a little time (or not) and they will drop right off the radar.

Of the remaining 50%:

75% will react based on beliefs, judgment and experiences that you never knew they had, and the relationship will be changed significantly from what it was. Sometimes this is for the better though.

25% will remain and they will accept you pretty much as you are.

What that means is that about 1 in 8 will still see you as they nearly always saw you. Then 3 in 8 will treat you differently and may hold some concept of who you are – they may also hold judgment and bias that will manifest itself in weird ways. Those other remaining 4 in 8 – they will drop you right away, or disappear quickly, being unable to come to terms with their loss of you as a person in their life.

Now the stories – first the positive, then some losses.

G: He was – and still is – my best friend. He knew that I had been on hormones back in my late 20’s. We had traveled together, camped, skinny dipped together. I told him about the hormones and breasts 6 years ago – and he had seen them when swimming with me. When he was first told about me transitioning, he reacted like I was kidding – like I was trying to say I was going to start cross dressing. It has taken over 2 years for him to refer to me as Sarah to others, he still calls me David to my face (and that is ok). He still struggles a bit with me as female – mostly because he thought that I would become another person. I think he thought that I would become a woman who knew nothing of what I had in my head and who never saw what my eyes have seen. He now seems to understand that we can still talk and play with Land Rovers. He is in the 1 in 8.

C: Thank God, I am working with / for and incredible women who is my direct supervisor with the company I work for and a person I am glad to call friend. She never batted an eye (although she does stare at my chest sometimes). She is the only person I interact on a daily basis with that I can make gender comments to. Like when we were in Safeway and I said “If I give to breast cancer I also have to give to prostate cancer – I can get both!”. She is always about the performance of the individual, not the gender – and she is quick to point out that the ‘innies’ get a harder shake of it. I remember when I told her (I then sent her this blog)… she said, so are you like a cross dresser on the weekend? Standing there, wearing a womans jacket, I took it off and said “I am wearing all women’s clothing, and have been – have you not noticed the make-up and everything else”? I have 7 ear piercings, long hair and breasts… yet, she met me as David and still sees me as ‘him’. C has never ‘betrayed’ me, never slighted me with a careless comment. The relationship is what I wanted – unchanged. I do not want to be Sarah to her.

DragQueenN: He is in the 3 of 8 category. N is a great friend, who became a better friend after I told him. It did change one thing – he still, no matter how much I explain it to him, wants to see me “in drag”. What that means, is that he wants me to look like some kind of performance drag queen! Sorry N. He is nice though (and he is gay) and has treated me great as a woman when we go out – he is the one guy I like going out to dinner with. His Thanksgiving dinners are as the family that I do not have.

The other 50% – who dropped off

J: G told J before I could talk to him. Now he has been a great friend, what else can you call a person who will help you drywall and insulate in your garage, live on your boat (and help pay for it), help you through a divorce?… the list goes on. I never got another email from him. I have seen him on three occasions in the past 2+ years at social Land Rover events and he treats me like I have an infection, that is contagious, in a cloud 20′ around me. WTF? 

J is the most glaring example of the 50% that fall off, but he is joined by

L: Who I at one time considered a soul mate and more, was the daughter of lesbians and feigned understanding and support until the truth caught her up – the lie that she held. L suffered from the Peter Syndrome – in private, she was all about support, but in public and with people she knew (in any way), I found that she did not even mention our relationship, about living with me or who I was. In the end, even with her here, I found that she would introduce me as a friend, David, while loving Sarah. L denied knowing me publically.

A: She is really in the 25%, but there was a wake of losses that my closest confidant, friend, lover and so much more affected because she was more than willing to share ‘who I was’. She told old coworkers and other acquaintances. She also told her conservative family before she had even worked out what was really happening – let alone how to talk about it. Not once was I there to share my truth. The mother of A was also able to fake support and understanding, for a short time, until I found out that she had portrayed me as a freak to all she knew (and she is the matriarch of the extended family) and her daughter as someone trying to ‘rescue me’. This is where I really learned the term “frienemy”. Honestly, those that have gone – the losses – the real loss is theirs. I gained knowing who are true friends to my being.

The relationships with women in intimacy have been most challenging. Beyond being TG, there has been other complications (like other relationships), but the “TG thing” always has a large bearing. I no longer know what is truth – honesty. There always seemed to be some kind of deception when all that I offered was the bearing of an innermost past that I buried for 30 years behind facial hair and outdoor leadership skills teaching. Being TG and transitioning is hard in intimacy, few relationships of this kind survive the transition phase.

Honestly, the most damage to relationships has been caused by others telling my “TG story” to friends that we both know together. Once you share “the secret” (because that is what it is to everyone you talk to), they will want to tell others; I promise you that.

So, the best way to share your coming out is organize yourself, figure out who, when, where and what you want to say – and in what order. After that, it will change your life, just like your transition will.

I have no regrets after more than 3 years of coming out. I look forward to the continuing journey.





YouTube. WordPress does for writing what YouTube does for video

23 08 2009

I work as a writer and SEO, so my medium is understandably, writing.

Having said that, there is the medium of video and YouTube. YouTube has done for video what WordPress does for my writing. In the position I work in, for the company I work for (and I dare not put in a link to them because we monitor all links) I am the Communications Manager and Technical Writer; a nice title given to me without increasing my royalties! I also post instructional YouTube’s for work, but have yet to do any for myself.

If you are not used to YouTube, go there and type up a subject – from changing your oil to tuning your guitar (a friend found the subject of canning well covered!) to transgender and most anything you can think of. I found video instructions to reset the maintenance required light for my 2006 Scion Xb.

Here are a couple of my favorite people in the YouTube Transgender Community. Their videos are honest, educational, opinionated (sometimes), funny and often just plain entertaining.

Charlotte has a lot of videos – hours of amusement. I really liked her most recent one about detransitioning, so here is her link…

http://www.youtube.com/user/karmatic1110

This is honest and very nearly word for word my own experience; except for the fishy’s part! I knew I had ‘crossed the line’ when I was not trying to present and was being viewed as a woman. I go to work, with french braided hair (more days than not) and am still always seen and refered to as my male self – even though I am clearly over the line. And before you ask – I have no problem with people who used to know me as a male refering to me by my male name. I respond to either and my old name is like a ‘nick-name’ reminding me of who my long term friends have been.

<<>>

CandiFLA offers some very educational comments to help the beginner. Most impressive is her control of voice – although she is gorgous as well!

http://www.youtube.com/user/candiFLA

the video explains itself…





Astronaut Training

1 02 2009

I know, it is an odd title… read to the end of the article and it will make more sense.

Nasa

Nasa

You can ‘test’ a person for almost anything, right? You can run a psychological profile on a person and still never really understand them. You can prepare humans for nearly any situation – yet 1/3 of all people who attend a first aid course are unable to use the skills taught to them at the time they need those skills. All those people passed the first aid class; they passed the tests and were observed by trained individuals.

There is no real testing that can prepare a transitioning person. I know, there is a protocol for testing that will free most Doctors of ‘liability’. There is also the element of the ‘year long test’ as well as counseling.

Here is some reality:

I know a friend, M2F, who started living full time as a women in July. By August, a doctor had already agreed to sign the papers needed to put the “F” on the drivers license. She then attended some monthly therapy. By the next spring, a mere 6 months later, she had made arrangements for a vaginoplasty. After 60 years of life and thirty seven years of marriage and less than one year of living publicly as a women, she received her operation. With less than 50 hours of therapy and support, she was now in her life. Her wife of 30+ years went through all the transition (and also met with counsellors – and ‘passed’). They separated.

I met another person, F2M, who was in a group. He was good looking and full on passable, with obvious hormone treatments that allowed a nice mustache and male body. The most interesting thing was where he had learned to “be a male”. He had followed in the path of another supportive friend. He had learned best (and acknowledged this) to mimic male behavior from a Dyke. Although the dyke was transitioning, they were clearly in all mannerism, still a dyke. This was made most obvious in the aggressive (self proclaimed “dickish” behavior) and the walk with full shoulderswing. The result was a short fellow who walks like a body builder and has the mannerisms and talk of an angry Lesbian.

The transgender suicide rate is one of the highest incidents of any social group in America.

So what about Astronaut Training then?

To prepare a person to go into space takes thousands of hours of training. Most career astronauts have spent time with the air force before NASA. The level of training and testing is second to none. Astronauts are subjected to the highest mental and physical stresses a person can take.

So, no transgendered person is really as ready as they should be. You can never really know if, during all their training and testing, will they be able to survive in what is an irreversible situation by most measures.

Trained Astronaut and Naval Officer drives 900 miles in a diaper to kidnap and assault a women dating a man that she had wanted. The headlines are impossible to believe at the time.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lisa_Nowak

Met Lisa Nowak. A beautiful women who could have nearly any man she desired. Nowak was a respected Naval Officer. She was selected by NASA in 1996 and qualified as a mission specialist in robotics.Nowak flew aboard Space Shuttle Discovery during mission STS-121 in July 2006. Nowak gained international attention on February 5, 2007, when she was arrested in Orlando, Florida, and subsequently charged with the attempted kidnapping of U.S. Air Force Captain Colleen Shipman, the girlfriend of astronaut William Oefelein.

on February 4–5, 2007. She had packed latex gloves, a black wig, a BB pistol and ammunition, pepper spray, a hooded tan trench coat, a 2-pound hammer drill, black gloves, rubber tubing, plastic garbage bags, about US$585 in cash, her computer, an eight-inch (203 mm) Gerber folding knife and several other items before driving the 900 miles (1,450 km) to Florida. 

Lisa Nowak was tested for character behavior, mental stability, standards, morals – tested and challenged both physically and mentally in ways few people are subjected to. She was trained to survive a crash landing, survive being in a hostile enviorment, survive in space. And still, she did the unthinkable – and – unpredictable. What really went through her mind is known only to her. Lisa started a journey of nearly 1000 miles, had plenty of time to reconsider, gather her wits – yet, she carried out what she had planned until it went wrong (what was she going to do with the hammer drill?) – and without a doubt, she knew it was wrong, crazy and emotionally disturbed all the time she planned it and them drove towards that terminal destination.

So in the transgender person, you receive less training and practice than a welder, EMT, peace corp, missionaries, fireman, social worker, daycare worker… the list goes on. I hope that my point is made. When crossing the gender barrier, a person needs to be trained and tested as they would to live in a foreign country will all new customs.

The real point is this:

  • There is not enough cross testing and training – it needs to be done with more than a single couple of doctors doing 1 hour of observation a week / month (You could ‘fake’ anything to get what you thought you wanted for an hour – right?).
  • Preparation needs to be in socially varied groups, not socially isolated groups. To find sole security in approving groups is not a real world test.
  • There needs to be followup.

Honestly, what is needed by everybody making a transition is a few mentors who have made the journey successfully and quite a few people who can offer supportive, yet accurate direction for the person. This journey is often done with too few people and too much emphasis on the “end goal” – which is not a final goal, but the landing on an alien planet without the support you were used to here on earth. Ultimately, many TG’s make the transition, but they are never really prepared to land on that foreign soil.





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.