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.