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.