Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Game Review: A Closed World

A Closed World is an experimental browser/Flash-based game developed by the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab.  The goal was to research the organic inclusion of LGBTQ-friendly content into computer games - something that is generally rather rare.  In general the nods to the LGBTQ community take the form of having decision paths that include possible same-sex romantic encounters (Mass Effect, Dragon Age), or occasionally the ability to dress a character in non-gender-typical clothing (Saint's Row).  So, I thought it might be interesting to check this out.

Unfortunately, I was rather disappointed.  It's just a prototype, but clearly the gameplay was not just secondary to the message, but tertiary to both the message and the artistic style (both of which I liked).  I didn't mind so much that it was a very simplistic game, what I found frustrating was that in challenging one's demons -personified as actual demons in a forest - the choices of using Logic, Passion, or Ethics arguments wasn't so much a choice as a vague guess with equally vague results.  What I really wanted was a more fleshed-out conversation with real choices rather than generalized attitudes.  I understand what the designers were going for, but to my mind they set the bar far too low even for a prototype of a game.

That being said, the message was good.  It boils down to "being true to yourself is often really hard, but it's the only path to real happiness."  Or something like that.  The game is short enough that it's worth running through the somewhat boring mechanics just to get the little mini-story.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Oh psychology, you suck.

Well, this time I'm not ranting on the field of psychology - just the psychology going on in my own head.  Naturally, as I came to the decision (for now) to put my transition in a holding pattern, I've been unable to stop window-shopping fem stuff (clothes, home goods, accessories, music, chick flicks, what-have-you!) online!  Argh!  Totally killing productivity.  Have... to turn... ship.... around....  before.. it's... too... late..... [said in my mind using Shatner-Kirk cadence]

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Bothersome tv portrayals of mtf trans

This is old news to some people since the show aired about 3 weeks ago, I think.

With the fall television season starting up, I needed to clear out some space on my DVR (my cable company provides a teeny-tiny amount of space in the DVR/HD cable box I have).  So, I watched and deleted the recent ABC Nightline Primetime special "(Extra)Ordinary Family" on transgendered children and teens.  The reporting wasn't too bad, although I have to say that deciding to go with a very over-used "counterpoint" example of the guy who changed and then changed back, was sort of lazy, if you ask me.  Of course it also hits an anti-science pet peeve of mine: why make it seem that one person's experience should carry as much or more weight than studies with many data points?  Why make parents worry that their kid may be "the one" who isn't really trans, instead of the far more likely possibility (after proper diagnosis) that transitioning young is probably the best thing for them?  Why not just talk to a good gender specialist who can talk about how safeguards are in the recommended clinical guidelines to prevent mis-diagnosis, or to allow possible temporary gender confusion to play out before doing anything permanent to one's body?

What killed me though was that the huge majority of camera shots were of the girls putting on makeup!  WTF?!  Way to portray us as not as normal women born with a physical anomaly, but as people who are mostly obsessed with the trappings of femininity, ABC!  These were just background images, so why not just show them doing all the normal things a girl their age does instead of focusing on what is probably a fraction of a percent of their daily lives?  As a side note - and yes this is very judgmental and I of all people should be more open - what parent lets their 10-year-old daughter (in the "Jackie" segment) put on so much makeup to go to school?  That's what, 5th grade?

On the plus side, overall the show provided the general viewing public with some reasonably healthy examples of trans kids, teens, and families.  Even the young woman engaged in sex work (which I have no problem with for consenting adults) was treated with dignity and the love of her family was the main point.  Despite the annoyances, I'm glad ABC News decided to put this on the air.  Let's hope it helps more people understand that we trans-folk aren't all that different from anyone else they pass on the street.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Transitioning in super-slo-mo.

I've followed many other trans-people blog or vlog about their transitions, and I think that is really wonderful for them, and in a perfect world, I would be right with them.  But the fact of the matter is that it's not a perfect world, and I'm one of the least perfect bits of this imperfect place.  All summer, I've been flirting with the idea of finally coming out, maybe not full-on-publicly, but to some family and friends.  But now I think there really isn't any point of that.  If I'm not going to be public about it, then telling my family and friends seems to have no purpose.  In fact, it is even at odds with any intended purpose.  I would even consider it an embarrassingly selfish act, since it requires them to adjust how they think of me, when at the same time I am purposely trying to live in a way that suggests that I don't want anyone to think of me as other than "regular guy" male!

The upside, and again, only for me, not for anyone else, is that I don't have to feel like I'm hiding something from those close to me.  My wife knows, but my kids don't, my parents don't, and what few close friends I have don't know either.  Wouldn't it be confusing and even a little ridiculous to say that I've always been a woman, and I want them to know it, but at the same time keep trying to mask as much of my femininity as possible?

Maybe in a few years when my youngest is out of college, especially if we move someplace new where everyone who sees me just sees female, not "I used to know you as a guy, but not you're not?"  But until then, I think this is the right decision.  I'll keep hiding my breast growth (not that there's much to hide) and panty lines, and keep on waiting until the "right time" comes.  I don't know if that's waiting to gather up enough courage, or just waiting for situations to change until I don't need as much courage, but I know it's not time yet.

That doesn't make the waiting and wanting any easier though.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Beauty of Different

I just received my amazon order yesterday and started to peruse my purchase, Karen Walrond's picture/essay book, The Beauty of Different.  It is a collection of photos - mostly close-in portraiture - and stories of people's lives, particularly with respect to how they felt "different" from their peers but eventually came to love their different-ness and see it as an asset.  It is really a wonderful and engrossing book.  I'd intended to just glance at it and get back to work, but then I looked up at the clock and an hour had passed... I guiltily looked back down to finish the page, and looked back up another half hour later!  There are so many cool and happy people out in the world, and it's just nice to connect (in a detached sort of way, if that isn't too paradoxical) to some of them and know that things aren't as bad as I sometimes think they are.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


I'm not one of the cool kids on Google+ so far, so technically it doesn't affect me, but if Google were to extend their policy to all Google products, like Blogger, YouTube, Gmail, etc that I use all the time, then I would have to stop using them all.  Why?  I need to be anonymous.  Right now, I work with kids.  Now, I have never even had the remotest stray thought of doing anything inappropriate with a child, and I'm sure none of their parents have anything but the utmost respect for the job I do with their kids.  In fact, most are quite friendly with me.  And yet, because it is still a fairly conservative place, I'm 99% certain that if I were known to be transsexual, I would no longer be able to coach in youth sports, at least not in this town.  Even worse, and I've blogged this just recently, it would also have an impact of how my friends and family may be perceived and potentially their employment or social structures would also be affected.

On the other hand, my anonymous (or more specifically, pseudonymous) online existence can't just be obliterated, because it provides me with a much needed emotional outlet and social support system that keeps me from going completely whacko sometimes.  I can talk about my deepest needs in an environment that is mostly accepting or empathetic, something I cannot do in my "real" life.  Eventually, I hope to live as one single female identity both online and offline, and maybe the need to use a pseudonym won't be as great, but there are still plenty of other very strong reasons to allow their usage from industrial whistleblowers to plitical dissidents (here and abroad), and many others.

I hope Google takes all this into account and eventually reconsiders their decision to require real identities on Google+ and does not extend that to other products.  It is really a matter of life-altering consequence to many of us.

Monday, July 25, 2011

What's right for me.

... may not be right for anyone else.  I have to say that I am having some pretty major difficulties wondering if I want my condition (transsexualism) to be considered a psychopathological condition or not.  Yes, there is mind-body incogruence.  But other than that and a nagging shoulder issue, there isn't anything really wrong with me.  I'm relatively happy, having enough positive things happening in my life to balance the tendency toward depression directly related to a surgically treatable physical defect (having a male body).  Sociologically, I think labeling something as normal or abnormal is not just a scientific definition of norms and being outside of them, but society automatically assigns good (norm) and bad (not norm) values to things defined that way.

On the other hand, in this economic and societal climate, I cannot envision insurance companies (the few that currently do anyway) covering gender reassignment surgery if gender identity disorder was not classified as a psychiatric pathology.  So is having that covered for some people (not me, mostly folks working for a few open-minded large corporations) worth being labeled as a nutjob?  Actually, even beyond the economics of it, having an official medical diagnosis can be helpful when coming out as well.  "I have GID, look it up," is much easier and more convincing than "I believe I'm a girl, I want you to respect that and treat me as one from now on, ok?"

Of course, as others have already noted, categorizing transsexuality as a physical genetic defect - perhaps something like "X-Y chromosomal substitution" - might be the best solution.  It doesn't imply any impairment of my ability to think, but medically treatable and such treatment affords substantial improvement in quality of life.  Insurance companies regularly cover a variety of birth defects with that kind of description.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Innocent Bystanders

Without actual data to back up the assertion, I am still fairly confident in thinking that most trans folks, and even people close to us, understand the many many doubts and concerns we have about our selves, our ability to live normally, perhaps our ability to live period, how much we could lose, how much we might gain, and even how real is any of this?  I mean, I've considered myself a transsexual for several decades now, my erstwhile therapist (whom my current insurance no longer covers) agreed with me.  And yet, I have moments of doubt.  Am I fooling myself?  Have I held onto the idea that I'm trans for so long that I would believe it even if it's not true?  Why can't I bring myself to just go ahead and transition, consequences be damned, if my core being is at odds with my physical and social presentation?  Maybe I'm not really transsexual after all, and I'm just someone who wanted my younger sister's life way back when I first thought I was trans, wanted a life without the constant pressure of being an asian eldest son.  Oh, if I could convince myself of this, my life would be so much simpler.  Heck, if I could convince myself (and my wife) that I'm not transsexual, but a male who likes to crossdress on occasion, that would make my life easier too - I could be more easily satisfied and she could be free of the worry of losing her husband.  But that's not how it is.

No, when I dig through the morass of conflicting needs and desires, what comes out is both refreshingly and infuriatingly simple.  I'm a girl in my heart and head, even if my body and 99.9% of the world say otherwise. Unfortunately, equally simple and incontrovertible is that the relationships that truly define me in this world - as a spouse and as a parent - would be irreversibly changed by my transition.  Maybe not for the worse.  But I'm too invested and needful of the relationships as they are to risk them.  Or so I have been telling myself.  I wonder, though.

I was watching the trans documentary Red Without Blue yesterday.  The subjects came across as rather whiny and angsty, but that's probably how I would come across too if I was asked to talk about trans-ness.  It was kind of interesting to see the mother eventually come around, but hard to watch it take so long.  But what hit me, especially right now as I'm again in a period of seriously pondering a public transition sooner than later, was the transgirl's mother talking about how her old friends were shunning her, turning around in grocery store aisles, booting her out of her women's club, etc, not for being trans herself, but just for being related to such a "freak".  The idea that my transition would cause me to lose some friends and relationships is hard but not insurmountable - the most valuable ones should remain.  But the idea that it would cost my family some of their friends and relationships is much worse, almost irresponsible in my book.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


I am a recluse, a hermit, at heart.  I interact with other people mainly in just one way - I really love to teach young people, whether it is as a professor or as a coach.  While I'd definitely miss it if I were to have to stop coaching (something I'd anticipate if I transitioned here in KY), I think I would be reasonably content just working from home and pretty much staying at home other than to go out for necessities.  During the off-seasons I sometimes go for weeks without seeing anyone except my wife or the grocery store clerk.  No problem.

So why then, do I have this urge to be seen in public en femme?  Why should public validation of my true gender be so important to me?  I don't really understand this.  Maybe I am so unsure of whether I am feminine enough that I need unbiased or even potentially hostile opinions to validate my self-assessment?  I'm thinking about this now because my current project includes writing a little bit about self-esteem and having a confident and strong sense of self in adolescents.  Now, I'm more than a couple decades away from adolescence, but it struck me as somewhat hypocritical to tell adolescents to believe in themselves when I apparently still desire some external validation to my own sense of self.

I am woman, hear me mumble.   Grr, something I need to work on... among many such somethings.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Video Review: She's A Boy I Knew

This is a short (a little over an hour long) autobiographical documentary about a lesbian transwoman's experiences as she transitioned, told primarily through interviews with her parents, sisters, and friends, as well as her own voiceover.  Although these kinds of trans-folk documentaries seem to mostly be cut from the same basic mold, I like watching them more to see the differences in how people handle their transgenderness than in the now-familiar ways they are the same.  I sort wish I was able to get a better read on the older of the two sisters, but in general, the interviews gave a pretty clear picture of the various internal conflicts each person had with Gwen Haworth's coming out and transition, and how they dealt with it in their own ways.  Although it scares me a little, I love that they showed her ex-wife's desire to be really supportive and then how as the transition got going, she realized that despite the love they shared, she needed to find a man who could address both her emotional and physical/sexual needs in a way that Gwen could not.  I see this concern in my wife's eyes whenever we talk about my spending more time at home en femme, so it hit home.  Somewhat surprisingly, but refreshingly, Gwen was willing to show her full body nude post-top and bottom surgeries.

Not a brilliant film, but an honest and watchable one that I can certainly recommend to trans folk and trans allies.

Not sure where else it may be available, but I watched She's A Boy I Knew using's video service, $4.95 to rent for 7 days, $12.99 to buy.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Whoops, it's been a while!

So here's a weird thing.  I have always had fairly broad shoulders for my build, though I've been trying hard to keep them strong but small to help me pass better.  That said, I don't really expect to pass when I'm in male drab.  And so it was really surprising when I greeted my wife with a hug and kiss at the airport, and my wife told me after we both got back in the car that she was pretty sure the people in the car behind us must have thought we were lesbians because they were giving us the evil eye.  My back was to them, but I guess my wife caught sight of them as we were kissing.  In a way, I was sort of happy to be mistaken for a gal, but it also drove home how much my eventual transition is going to affect how people perceive my wife - even though she isn't really changing anything at all!  sigh.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Plague of penises

Very strange.  I had a dream (nightmare?) that I had "the" surgery, i.e. bottom surgery, SRS, GRS, whatever you want to call it.  But, my penis came back.  And I had to have it removed.  And it came back.

Think my subconscious is telling me something?  :-P

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Kids go through phases when it comes to things they like or not. As they get older, some tastes change, others stay the same. As long as what they enjoy does not hurt or endanger anyone including themselves, then of course the best thing to do is to support them, even if it what they like is "weird". Don't force them to stop and then make excuses that you're protecting them from a society that wouldn't understand them. Don't make assumptions based on the boogeyman of the day - transgenders <spooky voice - oooooooooh>.

Copyright J. Crew 2011
That's exactly what a number of national news outlets and commentators have been doing after the release of an email ad campaign from J. Crew, which features CEO Jenna Lyons enjoying a weekend with her young son. Now, it just so happens that her son likes pink, and apparently finds it fun or funny to have his mom paint his toenails pink. Wow, big deal. He's goofing around with something he sees his parent do. He's a bit young to be worrying about what activities lie in the "male" domain or what activities should be prohibited because they are "feminine" (actually, The Daily Show did a great and funny report on this, ending with super-manly champion martial arts fighter Chuck Liddell... and his painted toenails). This, of course, does not stop the talking heads and other people who shoot their mouths off without actually thinking first.

Transgender people are the "big bad" of the moment. Having found that there are too many homosexual people who might rise up against them and voice their outrage, social conservatives have decided to attack transgenders as an affiliated group of people, hoping to color opinions about gays and lesbians by association. From exaggerated worries about vicious attacks on "real" women in the sanctity of the "ladies" bathrooms by transgender women who are apparently held at bay now only because they fear arrest for being in the wrong bathroom, to the commentaries of "Dr." Keith Ablow yesterday suggesting that the J. Crew ad was a piece of transgender-celebrating propaganda, it seems that a lot of people are getting awfully upset over very little. What is so important about maintaining a strongly distinct gender binary?

Let the kid be a kid. Maybe he is transgender - if so, support that, because study after study shows you can't change it. Maybe he is gay - support that, again, because you can't change it, and the statistics are very clear that the more support a GLBT child has, the lower his/her chances of suicide. But far more likely (considering the low probability of being either homosexual or transgender) he's just a straight kid playing around with bright colors, whether on his body (have you seen what 5 year olds will do with finger paints or bath paint/soaps!?) or his clothing, or maybe his artwork. He may always like pink, whether he grows up a "manly man" or not.

I know or have met so many good people in the GLBT community in almost every part of the country I've been to, and I'm very tired of ignorant people trying to chip away at their humanity. I say, whether you're gay, straight, trans, in the closet, or out of the closet, wear some pink on your nails and show some solidarity with a little kid enjoying himself, and against a bunch of small-minded loudmouths who apparently have nothing better to do than criticize a mom playing with her child.

PINK NAILS FTW!  (for the win, if you aren't into gamer-speak)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


pic from flickr user Teresia
For those of us still mostly "in the closet," painting our toenails is just one of those easy little body mods that can generate a warm little feeling of femininity as we drag through the day in male drab. My wife, who does not do her nails, whether toes (never) or fingers(seldom), laughs at me when she sees my pink/red/sparkly/etc toes, but in a nice way. On the other hand, some critics of transwomen see this as hyperfemininity, caricaturing "real" women, etc. This is a stupid criticism - just look at the millions of strong feminist women who happen to like many of the "trappings" of femininity. But also, the context for transwomen needs to be understood. We aren't trying to be hyper-anything, nor caricatures. We give ourselves these little secret cues of our true selves, our true genders, because unlike people who have been recognized as female all their lives, we don't get that identity reinforcement from anyone else. Is it silly to do the vacuuming in high heels? Sure, but it's fun, and unlike women (trans or otherwise) who are women in public, when else am I going to wear them?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Monday, March 14, 2011

Breathing room

Ahh.  I'm back for a day or two.  That is, I'm free to be my femme self.  Various family visits, kids moving back in temporarily, and other miscellaneous bits of pieces of life have been conspiring to prevent my just being me.  But it is spring break, so both kids are out of town for the day, and my wife, who says the right things about my dressing in front of her, but visibly stiffens a bit and behaves a bit weirdly when I do so, is also out of town today for work.  So, here I am.  What am I wearing?  Well, to be honest, just jeans and a sweatshirt.  But, and here's the thing, I'm comfortably happy walking around barefoot, not having to worry that someone will drop by and I'll have to scramble to find socks to cover my pink toenails, or duck into the bathroom and pull of my bra.  Now, there's no question I'll get more prettily dressed up a little later (some cute recent purchases I haven't had a chance to really try out), but for now, I'm content just freely being me.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Unexpected smile

OK, so with all due respect to my elders, I really hate to go grocery shopping on "Senior Citizens Day", which here in my locale, is the first Wednesday of the month when the local supermarket chain gives seniors an extra discount on their purchases.  Unfortunately, I only remember this occasionally, which results in a day like today, when I show up to a store filled with little old ladies.  Ususally not a situation I am thrilled with, especially when I am not in there to browse, but just buying a few specific items for dinner tonight.

But, it turns out that of all things, a traffic jam in the pickles, olives, salad dressings aisle ended up giving me a big smile that will probably carry me through the day.  I am not officially public as a transwoman yet, so I was just out in a fleece jacket, T-shirt, jeans, and running shoes, my hair in its normal braid down the back.  No makeup, no attempts to add a few hints of femininity.

As I politely waited with my shopping basket for several indecisive ladies to decide which way to move in order to clear space for me to pass, I heard one old lady tell another (less observant or less mobile) lady, "we need to move to let her pass," giving me a smile.  Yay!  Maybe once I do go public I won't stand out as much as I fear I will.  Who knows?  Now, it is quite possible her eyesight was failing her, but even so, I don't consider my general blurry shape to be very feminine at all.  I certainly have to hips, and even in a tight T-shirt I only barely have boobs, which this time were mostly covered by a shapeless oversized unisex fleece jacket anyway.  In other words, in a situation where I had no reason whatsoever to be recognized as a "her", I was.

I know, hardly worth blogging about, but hey, I take my itty bitty victories seriously, wherever and whenever I can get them.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Can we disconnect the penis?

OK, you caught me, this is not a post about the biotechnology needed to have detachable penises for those of us transwomen who have spouses who like our penises and don't want us to lose them.  That was really an awkward sentence with all the plural genitalia...  I thought it was more catchy that "Can we disconnect the penis from the man - musings of a lesbian transwoman."  Which is what this post really is.  I guess it started with watching "The Kids Are All Right," the Oscar-nominated film in which Julianne Moore, playing a lesbian in a stable family relationship, has an affair with a man.  Between that and a scene in which she and her partner watch gay male porn to get excited, I started to wonder.  First, I thought it was kind of misogynistic to suggest that even lesbians secretly want sex with a guy's penis.  But then I thought, well, that's just human physiology and what physically stimulates certain nerves, etc.  There's no reason it should be completely governed by one's sexuality.

I've come to the conclusion (through various experiments that will probably end up in a blog post sooner or later) that men's bodies (not just my own, btw!) are not attractive to me in the slightest.  In many shapes and sizes, clothed and un-clothed, I can't get myself into the mood by trying to picture myself playing with any non-penis part of a man.  I'm definitely a lesbian and not bisexual based on that criteria.  On the other hand, I happily use a penis-shaped dildo when playing with my wife or by myself.  I can definitely see myself being penetrated during sex by a woman with a strap-on dildo, even a very masculine woman.  Here's the rub - if you'll pardon the pun - I can get off imagining being f****d by a man treating me as a woman.

I am sexually attracted to female bodies, whether they be transwomen or born lucky :-).  But, as a transwoman, I have this weird subconscious desire to be penetrated by a penis.  Note that I do not yet have a vagina.  Sigh.  Anyway, I can sort of understand the desire for penetration in my anus/rectum because it just feels good, but I can't really understand the desire to give fellatio.  The physical act definitely doesn't give me any pleasure (based on the occasional sucking on a dildo in a fantasy-play scenario with a female partner).  I wonder if I read too many pornographic stories of transwomen giving men fellatio, and that just subconsciously stuck with me.  Or maybe it is that I think of being penetrated, whether orally or anally, as sort of a validation of my womanhood, since most other external indicators would point to me being recognized as male.

I'm not saying that this is or should be universal, and I certainly am not saying a woman - trans or otherwise -must be penetrated to really be a woman.  I'm just thinking through my personal feelings out loud, ok?  Sorry, I have no answers here.  At least not yet.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Designer fashions, not designer prices

Just an FYI: Target is re-issuing a bunch dresses from their GO International series of collaborations with famous designers like Thakoon, Proenza Schouler, and Luella Bartley, among many others.  You can find them online at or in stores from March 13 through April 10 or until they sell out.

The nice thing for transwomen like me who, while only about average sized for a guy, are on the large side for a gal, is that Target tends to realize that their customers are different from the ladies who might be the primary customers for these designers' main lines.  So, often they come in sizes that actually fit me!  So basically, I get to find some pretty dresses that may actually fit me, and fit my budget.

P.S. no, I don't work for any company or other entity remotely associated with Target or any of the designers.  in fact, I'm re-thinking publishing this post so they don't sell out of my size before I get a chance to buy!  :-P

Here's a cute little number from Luella Bartley / Target.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


So I've been on hormones pretty regularly (except for times I forget to place a refill order and have to wait between shipments) for about 6 years now.  I have a prescription, but because I am self-insured and have to worry about potentially being dropped by my health insurance for any little thing, I order my hormones from overseas, and I adjust my dosage myself.  While I am somewhat buoyed every time I read that some more major companies now have health insurance policies that cover transsexual top and bottom surgeries, it pisses me off that this has no effect whatsoever on me, because as an individual, I have absolutely zero bargaining power and would have to pay astronomical premiums to have a policy that covers such procedures.

Anyway, based on research on normal hormone levels, and the way they change over the course of the day, I've pretty much settled on an alternating day schedule of taking 6 mg of beta-estradiol at night (at the upper limit of recommended dosage), and the next day, I take an anti-androgen (dutasteride seems to work best for me) in the morning and 4 mg of the estradiol at night.  One week each month I also take progesterone with the estradiol each evening.  This has worked pretty well for me - I think my genetics limit my breast growth to  what meager assets I have now (barely fill a 38A bra) - based on a hard-to-define feeling of "rightness" with my body.  I can definitely tell if I've skipped a couple days because I let my drugs run out and have to wait for the next shipment.

Having said all that, knowing in my head that I am very careful about knowing how my body usually feels, and keeping in good physical shape, every spring and fall when my seasonal allergies give me horrific sinus headaches, I occasionally am seized by somewhat irrational fears that the estrogen is going to give me a stroke, and I'll have to go off the E, and I'll be depressed and masculine again.  I flash back to an early episode of Chicago Hope (a medical drama that started on CBS about the same time as ER did on NBC, but didn't last very long).  Mia Sara (you probably know her as Sloane from Ferris Bueller's Day Off) played a transsexual whose hormone therapy was causing her medical problems, and the episode ends with her suicide or attempted suicide (I can't remember) because she didn't want to keep living while fighting her body's re-masculinization.  There were all kinds of medical inaccuracies in that show mostly due to the need for time compression in a show like that, but it definitely struck a chord with me.  I start thinking about losing some (though not all) of my breast growth, and to be honest, that's actually secondary to a change in my mindset when on hormones.  Going back to having a "purely" male body and hormones would be extremely depressing.  No, I'm not suicidal, but it is sort of funny that something as relatively minor as seasonal allergies can send my mind into such a crazy stream of fears.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Hey, y'all, guess what?

Are you ever tempted to just rip off that band-aid, figuratively speaking?  Just suddenly stand up as you're sitting at a crowded table of friends at your local hangout and blurt out, "Hey y'all.  Hey... HEY SHUT UP!  I have something to say.  Just wanted to let everyone know that I'm a transsexual, and I am going to start living openly as a woman soon."  I keep getting that feeling lately.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

To plump or not to plump

Like many young girls... and yet not exactly like them... when I read Are You There God, It's Me Margaret back in grade school, I would sometimes chant "We must, we must, we must increase our bust" while doing what were ostensibly breast-enlarging exercises as prescribed in the book.  Of course I knew better, but just as I was willing to suspend my disbelief in order to wish the ancient Greek/Roman goddesses were real for a time, I was also willing to forget what I knew about the logic of a "mystical" chant helping to grow my chest.  I was thinking of this recently as I looked at myself in the mirror and both marveled that I actually have somewhat recognizable breasts at all, and despaired that they were too small and not nearly in proportion to my frame (even for a small-breasted woman). That usually leads to thinking about top surgery.

But that also leads me to wonder if I am putting too much emphasis on one part of the body.  So I ask myself, if I were actually born a woman, would I go for implants? To be honest, I have just barely enough to breast tissue so an A-cup bra doesn't look partially empty.  :-)  But that said, a slightly padded A gives me a feminine enough figure that in clothing with a fem cut or style, most people would probably assume me to be a girl.  What I really would like is to feel the breasts of a woman with implants, but since I don't actually know any, that seems like a bizarre request of a stranger!  :-P

Anyway, questions to ponder, and plenty of time for pondering as I continue to slowly slowly ramp up towards a transition of some sort.

Monday, February 14, 2011

What if? Wasted Youth.

Sometimes, I wonder what would have happened if I had told my parents that I was transsexual when I realized it.  I guess if I had said I was really a girl at the age of seven or eight, they would have told me no, that's wrong, and I would have accepted it, not knowing any better.  I knew a lot at that age, but it was mostly from reading the encyclopedia.  There was no entry for transsexual in the 1972 edition of the World Book Encyclopedia!

What about when I actually knew what was "wrong" with me?  It was probably around 8th grade that I spent a lot of time at the University library in between music lessons reading the books in the sexuality section.  I can't begin to describe the surprise and elation in finding out there were other people like me... and the depressing realization that we were "deviants" according to more than one text.  Still, there were vague descriptions of gender changing hormones and surgeries that fired my imagination.  So, what if I told my parents then, at age 12, that I was a transsexual and that I wanted hormones and a vagina, and I wanted to live as a girl?  Strangely enough, I don't think it would have affected my high school life all that much if I had come out.  I was already something of an outsider, with very little social life outside of school, and my in-school life was almost completely based on my academic abilities, music, and the fact that I was just a generally polite and innocuous person.  I'd occasionally get called names because of my race, but they were never really threatening.  Maybe I'm looking back with rose-colored glasses, but I don't think most of that would be different if I were going to school as a girl.  Oh, back to my parents...

Have I mentioned that my parents are semi-traditional asian immigrants?  Considering their derisive reaction when I suggested that perhaps I might want to go into music as a career instead of becoming a doctor (actually ended up doing neither, haha), I don't think a declaration of transsexuality would have been taken seriously.  As a good "#1 son" I certainly wasn't going to press it, and I would have just repressed it as I mostly did anyway.  The only difference is that they would have probably kept a closer eye on me and I wouldn't have had those few home-alone opportunities to dress in my mother's old clothes in the attic.

So basically, it's a waste of time to consider "what if" I had tried to come out sooner.  I wouldn't have.  That's the way I grew up - I wasn't the strike-out-on-my-own kind of kid.  I did what my parents told me.  I do still wish I could have transitioned young, before so much male-ness kicked in, so maybe I would have had more easily passable features.  But I know that is just fantasy - given the circumstances and the times, it just wouldn't have happened for me.  I guess the only possible plus side to telling them when I was a kid is that they'll be less surprised when I finally do tell them.  But that's a whole other problem for another day's blog post.

Monday, February 7, 2011


I occasionally find myself judging other trans people.  And, I am rather embarrassed to say, it sometimes takea few minutes before I catch myself and give myself a mental slap.  I've mentioned before that I fall into the transsexual "category" along the gender spectrum, and if and when I finally transition fully, I hope that no one sees me as anything other than a woman.  Even being seen as a "successful" transwoman is not really what I want.  I want to fit in, and be unnoticed.  As a racial minority, I very often felt that I was being categorized automatically, and therefore I was always annoyed at people of my race who failed to be exemplary members of society, or at least innocuous members of society.  It took me a while to get over that, and I still feel a twinge of that even now.  With transgenders, I somehow have this worry that those who are obvious about it will make society more likely to view me with suspicion.  Eventually, I slap myself and recognize that there are plenty of "normal" non-trans men and women who could easily pass as the other sex, whether they want to or not.  Is this some sort of slow, manual de-programming of my brain after years of gender expectations programmed into it by societal, commercial, and other influences?  All I know is that every time it happens, I am annoyed with myself and tell myself that I really should know better.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Book Review: Almost Perfect

This year's Stonewall Book Award winner (for LGBT books) in the Children's and Young Adult category is Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher.  It's an interesting and fairly realistic portrayal of the trials of being a teen transsexual, and I would certainly recommend it to everyone, not just LGBT-interested readers.  The themes of acceptance, self-doubt, and societal pressures apply equally to anyone.

Katcher makes the book especially powerful for communicating to non-LGBT readers by structuring the book as a narrative, not by a transsexual girl, but by a boy who befriends a transsexual girl.  His questioning of his sexuality (he is hetero), his sometimes painful 20/20 hindsight, and his viewpoints, are all convincingly real for a small-town teenager.  As for handling of the transsexual character, there is a lot of explanation to fit into a young adult book (assuming the reader is likely naive about transsexuals), but never becomes didactic, and is quite realistic in both positive and negative ways.

I prefer not to give away anything else about the book, so let me just end this by saying I liked it, and read it in one slightly-interrupted sitting despite having plenty of other things I really should have been doing.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Stop House Resolution 3 !!!!!

Whether you are anti-abortion or pro-choice, it is extremely important that you contact your congressperson and demand that they vote down House Resolution 3, the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act”. Even if you are anti-abortion and the goal of this bill is in agreement with your values, the reason for opposing HR3 has nothing to do with abortion.

The key issue here is protection of rape victims. One of the provisions of H.R. 3 changes the federal law which gave an abortion exemption to victims of rape to victims of “forcible rape”. What the FUCK !? “Forcible rape” is not even a legal term, so what does this mean? If a woman was drugged, and did not struggle, is it rape? If a woman is too afraid for her life to repel a rapist, is it forcible? In their haste to slap together an anti-abortion bill, Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) and his co-sponsors have submitted an extremely flawed piece of legislation.

Tell your representative to vote this one down, and if you believe in the anti-abortion agenda, then tell them to go back, and write a more carefully considered bill. Fortunately, it is unlikely that this bill would get through both houses of Congress even if it made it through the House, but it sure sends a terrible message to women, and for that matter, male victims of rape as well.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Another person who will know. The baby steps continue.

Technically, this post should be titled "another person who might know". I finally have an appointment to meet and possibly place myself under the care of a primary care physician. It's been a few years, so this is long overdue, I guess. I'm a bit anxious about this - I mean, other than my wife, only my therapist really knows both male and female sides of me. Oh, and the endocrinologist who gave me my initial prescription, but it's been ages since I've been to see him either. I guess there's no way to ask if the doctor is comfortable treating a transsexual patient without actually telling her that I am trans, so I'll just bite the bullet and come straight out with it - that's the plan, anyway. I honestly have no idea what to say or do if she says no. I'm thinking that it will be an interesting test of my own psyche to talk about this with someone completely new.

So, next Tuesday afternoon, there should be an interesting post up on here, whether positive or negative is still to be decided!

In the meantime, this songs does two things: make me want to dance, and make me really wish I too had a map of Tasmania. :-)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

First post of the new year!

Well, the holidays are now over, my visiting relatives are now gone, and even my son, who stayed over here while the little cousins were in town, will be heading back to his own place (other than when he wants a home-cooked dinner).  Which means that I will finally be back to blogging regularly rather than completely ignoring the blog as I try to squeeze in little bits of work between watching a baby and toddler at play, cooking meals, and otherwise keeping houseguests entertained (all of which I do happily, by the way - I'm not complaining!).

And how do I wish to start off the new year?  Humor of course.  For those of us MTF types who either do not wish to have top surgery, have not yet done so, or can't afford to do so, I think you'll enjoy this.