Saturday, October 30, 2010

Politics - not a choice

It's very simple.  I disagree with the president and with the Democratic Party on quite a few issues.  However, when it comes down to it, there is no question of which way I will vote on election day.  This is because one party has become the party of fear and divisiveness, actively encouraging its members to highlight their "samenesses" and reviling the "others" (i.e. social and ethnic minorities).  While there are certainly economic issues and issues regarding the reach of the federal government, those pale in contrast to the most basic human issue of all - do you truly respect me as a human being?  As the offspring of an immigrant (legal)?  As a transsexual?  As an "intellectual elite"?  As a non-Christian?  Because if your core belief is that my being different from you makes it ok to legislate against me, to treat me differently, to castigate me, all without actually getting to know me, then I really really really really do not want you to be any part of my government.

So get out and vote, and vote for whichever candidate believes you to have human dignity.  Mostly, that is the Democratic candidate, but I've read some news stories indicating that is not universal.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Walking in heels.

pic from Proform advertising
Years of people-watching, and especially female-people-watching (no, not in a creepy way), have taught me that there are plenty of genetic girls who don't walk naturally in their heels.  They stomp, they wobble.  But, they have the advantage that in whatever other aspects are visible, they are girls.  I, on the other hand, have to worry about all the mannish giveaways (less defined waist, strong jaw, large head, serious calf muscles, among others) if anyone were to see me stomping clumsily in my heels (I've never really had the wobbling problem for whatever reason).  What's the solution?  Practice, my dear, practice.  And for those of us still partly or mostly in the closet, a treadmill is a pretty awesome thing, especially if you have one set up across from a mirror (or even a video camera hooked up to your tv).  I'm not sure how many miles I've put on different height heels, but I'm pretty comfortable walking and even short bursts of running in anything up to about 4 inches.  The likelihood of wearing anything higher than that is extremely low, since that would raise my overall height to 6'2", which is probably nearly a foot over the average for asian females (I'm pulling that figure out of my ass, by the way - I don't actually know and am too lazy to look it up right now.  Sorry!).  Anyway, the other nice thing about using a treadmill is that you figure out a good pace and get into a rhythm, and that really helps bring a natural-ness to your walk.  Also, it's much more realistic than what I used to do, which is pace around my living room.  This even applies to wearing flats.  There's a guy and a girl way to carry oneself and walk around even in gender-neutral footwear like sneakers, and watching yourself as you walk, making adjustments and noting the difference can be immensely helpful.  By the way, it's not a bad way to double-check whether than mini-skirt might be just a little too "mini" once you're actually in motion!

Oh yeah, if you do decide to try this, start SLOW!  Especially if you are in stilettos!

Monday, October 25, 2010


I don't know when Fruit of the Loom started putting FTL on the waistbands of their guys' briefs instead of the old double-blue line, or even if they still do, but I suppose it has been quite a while.  Those of us who play online games know the abbreviation FTW as "For The Win", so FTL must mean "For The Loss".  It seemed strange to put them on, especially having had to dig them out of the back of a basement storage drawer!  I was rooming with my daughter in a hotel room this weekend, and since I'm not out to her and there was a minor chance she might see me carry my clothes into the bathroom with me to change, I didn't want to suddenly find myself discussing the similarity of our underwear tastes (well, probably not, but I don't really want to know either!)  The briefs just made me feel weird.  They didn't particularly chafe or fit poorly, they just gave me a feeling of unease since it has been a VERY long time since I had done so.  It seems odd that such a little thing should bother me.  I think somewhere in the back of my mind, I have this suspicion that someday, someone could swoop in and take away all the progress I've made towards correcting the disparity between my mental and physical gender.  I think the briefs just caused that little improbable idea to resurface in my mind.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I hate flying.

cc licensed flickr image
by Marina Avila
Between the TSA and the added cost of bringing luggage, flying somewhere is a huge pain in the ass for those of us who are still working both genders!  Plus, I really hate flying.  I'm more than comfortable with the physics of heavier-than-air flight, so I have a cerebral understanding that it does make physical sense.  But, being up in the air with no control whatsoever just freaks me out. Still, this time it will be worth it!

In a couple weeks, I'm flying up to New England with my wife for six days.  She has to work, but we'll have the evenings and a weekend.  After talking it over with her, she actually agreed to try going out in public with me as viv (i.e. en femme)!!! It will be the first time I've ever ventured out for any significant length of time in daylight, and the first time I'm likely to have personal interaction with strangers.  I have this combination of fear and excitement in me that just keeps growing as the trip looms closer.  Now I just have to figure out what to wear, what to bring, and how the heck to fit it.  The good thing is that since I'll travel with my wife, any girl stuff showing up on the x-ray will be assumed to be hers.  I'm not sure what they'd think if they actually searched it by hand and found no male underwear or really any male clothes other than maybe a dress shirt or polo.

We'll be in the Providence area mostly, though we will probably be making at least one trip into Boston, and maybe a trip to the Cape.  I'm not sure yet how much of this will be with me as an overt female (as opposed to my usual wearing of womens or unisex clothes while presenting as male).  I hope the first time I try this doesn't freak my wife out so much she doesn't want to try it again the rest of the trip!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Trans Lit: Annabel by Kathleen Winter

Like Jeffrey Eugenides' masterful Middlesex, Kathleen Winter's new novel, Annabel, is the story of a hermaphrodite - someone with both male and female sex organs, complete or otherwise - and how that person comes to terms with the gender duality as those aspects of gender incongruent with presentation begin to surface.  Unlike Eugenides' Pulitzer-winning novel though, Annabel is a story on a much smaller scale, with a relatively straightforward storyline that focuses on character descriptions.  Out in the cold of northeastern Labrador (Canada), a baby is born to hunter/trapper Treadway Blake and his wife Jacinta.  However, this is no ordinary child: Wayne Blake was born with both a penis and a vagina.  After going to a doctor, the decision is made to surgically close the vagina and raise the child as a male, for the seemingly arbitrary reason that penile length is sufficient.  Of interest to those of us who are not intersexed but transsexual, young Wayne is unaware of his physiology, but is plagued by disinterest in "boy things" and a predilection for what his father considers less manly activities.  So, many of his concerns strike a familiar chord with my own thoughts and feelings growing up.  This is a pretty good book - I wouldn't classify it as one that makes a strong literary impression, but it holds your attention well enough, and you don't feel like you've just wasted several hours after finishing it.  As someone who, at 43, still enjoys some "young adult" novels, I'd say Annabel has more in common with those books than the usual "serious" fiction book.  It is currently not available in the US, although you can get it from the link above directly from Anansi Press in Canada, or through reseller affiliates of

Saturday, October 16, 2010

I am incredible!

Well, at least Victoria's Secret thinks so.  I got this email from them: "Get a bra that's just like you... INCREDIBLE."  Now, I'd like to think that I am actually incredible (I'll let the reader decide exactly what definition to use for that word) even if I don't wear that particular bra (I do like the Biofit though).  Maybe I'm incredible enough to be hired as their new advertising copy editor, because I prefer "comfortable" bras rather than "comfrotable", which if it was a real word, would probably have something to do with fingers massaging.... hmmm on second thought...!!!!  By the way, check out her right bicep.  I would love to figure out how to get nice definition like that without having enough bulk to look masculine.  I'm either in the sort-of-flabby (especially in my "winter fat" months) or the masculine-bulk zones when it comes to my arms. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


As in the great John Cusack movie, Better Off Dead:

Monique: He keeps putting his testicles all over me. 
Lane: Excuse me? 
Monique: You know, like octopus? Testicles? 
Lane: Ohhhh. Tentacles. N-T. Big Difference. 

So anyway, testicles.  Can't stand them.  They just annoy the heck out of me.  I mean, when you're tucking on a hot day (or basically all summer) they refuse to stay nicely squirreled away in their original packing pouches and keep wanting to slip out.  Also, what's with newer styles of panties that are so dang narrow in the area around the crotch?  Wouldn't women prefer their panties not slide up into their hoo-ha?

Annoyingly, there don't seem to be many definitive studies of men who have undergone orchiectomies (whether for gender identity or testicular or prostate cancer) and the ability to have and sustain an erection.  This is still important to me for now, since between now and whenever my wife and I decide it's time for me to truly transition to being a female, we want to continue to have intimate relations in the same way we always have (again, at least for now).  As a biologist, but not an endocrinology specialist, I'm pretty sure erection should still be possible, but these things are complicated, and I'd really like to see the research.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


I saw a "shrink" for a couple of years, about once every 4-6 weeks, until my insurance changed and coincidentally, I felt that circumstances in other aspects of my life were going to keep any possibility of transitioning in a holding pattern for at least a couple years.  It's been a few years now, and I'm starting to wonder if I should go back and start seeing her again.  Transitioning does seem slightly more possible now, but more importantly, I feel alone in this - I'm not a very social person and the few social situations I do get into tend to be ones where disclosure of gender identity issues would not be welcomed.  It wasn't so much that she gave me great advice, or hardly any advice really, the great value was that she listened and tried to care and help.  My wife tries, but that's still just one person, and someone who I know wants to help me out of love, but also has a hard time with the thought of losing her husband.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Birthdays have been bittersweet for me ever since my mid-20s.  On the one hand, nothing massages your ego more than a bunch of friends and family getting together to celebrate your existence!  On the other hand, it is a reminder that transitioning (including hormone treatment and SRS) is more successful the younger it is started.  So as my 20s slipped into my 30s and then my 40s, I could almost physically feel my masculine physical traits digging in and making it that much harder to convincingly be female whenever I finally got up the gumption to do it.  To be honest, right now I'm just tired.  Tired of wishing that more if not all human societal groups would just drop all their divisiveness and claims of primacy, and realize that with all our differences, we are all still human and should be equally welcomed and loved.  The cynic in me says that history shows that is just not the stronger instinct in human nature.  I'm tired of fighting it.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Guys and Gals

from Candy Magazine via
Fashion Gone Rogue
This is Andrej Pejic.  He's a male model with a willingness to do androgynous looks.  This, plus the recent fashion weeks in NYC, London, Milan, etc have me thinking a little bit about, of all things, men's fashion.  Every year, it seems that some designers attempt to feminize men's fashion - skirts, billowy pants or blouses, leggings, etc.  On the one hand, as someone who is part of the transgender spectrum, I welcome ideas that recognize that gender expression can be a complex and a mixture of the traditionally masculine and traditionally feminine.  However, as someone who is pretty much a "standard definition transsexual", I find that these fashions just don't move me.  They aren't something I'd wear, because whether I am presenting as male or female, I don't feel somewhere in between, and I am definitely not avant-garde enough to wear something that fashion-forward anyway.  I'm not a boundary-pusher.  Some of them are just goofy, others seem futuristic and potentially wearable, but more in a costume-y way.  Other than kilts though, skirts haven't caught on for guys despite decades of designers showing them on the runway.  Lots of other feminine touches have made it into men's fashions - why not skirts?  Now that I'm thinking about it, what is it about a skirt that makes it anathema to men?  Is it that the genitals feel relatively exposed?  How is that different from baggy shorts?  Is... a puzzlement.  (to quote from The King and I).

Friday, October 1, 2010

We haven't come as far as we'd like to think.

I debated blogging this.  I figured every other LGBT-related site probably already did, and probably would do a better job than I could.  But then, I decided that the story needs to be told as far and wide as possible, and if even one person finds out from this blog, then I'll have helped.  The full story is here.  In a nutshell, a wonderfully gifted young Rutgers freshman was recorded during intimate relations with another man.  The person doing the recording, his apparently homophobic roommate, not only recorded it, but put it online for others to access.  Upon finding out, the gay freshman jumped off a bridge and died.  As a parent of kids slightly older than that, heck, as a human being, I find this kind of thing so discouraging in its callousness, and even more so because that comes from the "us" versus "them" mentality that is being cultivated in our country now.  Please help stop this any way you can.  Don't let someone make disparaging remarks, even in joking, about someone else's race, gender, social status, or sexual orientation.  Treat everyone as deserving of your respect (well, unless they are rapists or killers or otherwise actually harmed another individual).

I thought society was getting more open-minded and finally recognizing that human is human, but lately I am becoming more certain that such an ideal is still a very long time from fruition.

Maybe there is hope. Here's a lovely message from some happy LGBT adults to those young folks out there who are still unsure of themselves, lost and lonely, helpless or hopeless. It can get better.