Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Addendum: No more addenda

This blog was started to try to counteract the nonsense about transsexualism that is all over the internet. It reaches very few people. Nonsense prevails, and it seems to be getting worse, not better. One obscure blog can't change that.

At least an individual can escape from it and simply live life as it was intended. Hopefully that's you, if that's what you want. Everyone deserves a decent life.

When someone who is born transsexual completes treatment and then lets go of their birth defect, after a time something happens. The person can no longer truly remember having been any other way. They haven't forgotten their past, but the present is so strong that it colors everything that came before. And that only makes sense. Being the sex that's right for us is vital in a fundamental way that no one who has not experienced the discrepancy we have can really understand. The unreachable star for someone who was born transsexual is to have been born non-transsexual. The closer we can come to touching that star, the better.

(I imagine this might work better for women born with male anatomy than for men born with female anatomy. My only experience is with the former.)

We try to balance generosity with self-care. Occasionally, we might help someone with the same congenital condition or share our past with someone when there is reason to do so, but we must move beyond our birth condition so that we can grow into complete human beings. Unless we become complete human beings, any help we offer or sharing we do will be useless and perhaps even harmful. Thus, the balance is vital, both for ourselves and for others.

I say "we" and "our." I can really speak only for myself. I know what works for me. I am confident, however, that I am not alone in this.

Some do not leave their birth condition behind for reasons of their own. That is their choice. And of course there are others who cross-dress, bend gender, or live as. I cannot speak for any of these people. I just hope that they do not cause problems for those of us who were born transsexual, get treatment, and then need to move on. We do have certain needs, such as to change our documentation. We do not need a backlash.

So even though—or perhaps because—I have a low tolerance for nonsense, I need to leave the online battle against nonsense to others.

I hope never to read another post about "passing."

I hope never to read another post about getting gender performance "right" but claiming it's not a performance.

I hope never to read another post from someone who has not finished transition or who has not even started claiming to know what being the opposite sex is all about.

I hope never to read another post devaluing another's lived experience. People walk in their own shoes. They don't walk in anyone else's.

I hope never to read another post from a man in love with his own female illusion.

I hope never to read another post conflating sex and gender.

That last one will be more difficult. But at least the frequency can be reduced.

Best wishes,


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Addendum: Take your medicine

The web seems to have more and more stories from people who consider their being transsexual, or transgender, or that supremely nebulous term "trans," simply as a variant from normal, like being left handed. They embrace their difference. They celebrate their difference. And they generally let others know that they are different and feel fine about it.

If that's how people experience their lives, fine with me. It's not for me to question the validity of their experience or to insist that it must be something other than the way they perceive it. So why do these same people question the validity of those of us who experience being transsexual as a medical condition that needs to be treated, and who leave the condition behind once it has been treated?

Truly, there is nothing pathological about being gender-variant. How we express ourselves, whether it's as society expects or something quite different, is just part the spectrum of being human. Societal expectations can be very restrictive, and there have always been those who break convention.

But that's gender. And gender is not sex. There have also always been those of us who knew we had been born the wrong anatomical sex. Since about the middle of the last century, medical science has been able to help us. We do all that we can to have what should have been ours from birth: the anatomical characteristics of the sex opposite the one we were labeled with when we were born. The principal medical interventions are hormone therapy and sex reassignment surgery. Once treated, we live whatever kind of life we want as the sex we always knew we should have been. Our gender expression is whatever feels right to us.

The important thing is that we knew we needed all that was medically available in order to live a normal life. That's why we take hormones. That's why we undergo surgery. We were born with a medical condition, and we have it treated as well as possible. For those for whom the diagnosis was correct, the treatment is remarkably successful.

Without medical intervention, we suffered. We could not embrace our condition. Many if not most of us tried, sometimes very hard. All the effort we made was to no avail. It wasn't weakness on our part. No one pathologized us. We followed no one's agenda. We simply recognized what we needed and had the matter taken care of.

Those who are outside the norm for sex or gender or both and consider themselves to be happy and healthy the way they are, more power to you. Whatever is going on with you, if you don't feel that it's a medical condition that needs treating or fixing, then please just be happy.

There is one question though. If your variance is not pathological, not a medical condition, then why do so many undergo hormone therapy? Seriously, if there's nothing wrong with you, then why are you treating this wellness with a very invasive medical procedure? Changing your sex hormones is not the same as undergoing a surgical procedure, but it's a major change.

You say there's nothing wrong with you. You don't need surgery. But you take hormones. I don't have a problem with that. Your body, your business. But I do have to wonder about the reasoning behind it, and about this claim that your condition is not medical. Something doesn't add up.