Monday, October 7, 2013

thank you, god.

like many, i've been praying a lot. Prayer is an interesting thing. i don't want to debate the existence of god and argue with fundamentalists. i subscribe to the chaos viewpoint - the universe is far more complex than we can understand, and all language / ways of describing it, be they religion, science, math, fantasy novels, whatever, have both their successes and failures. angels and aliens and higher vibrational beings are synonyms, and are all both accurate and completely wrong. so alternative explanations are fine, go for it, but let them stand alongside the original one. the only thing that bugs me are internal inconsistencies.

so. i've been praying. not to anything in particular, but putting it out there, attempting and pleading for a change in the way the world works. that young people who are born transsexual can access the help they need before puberty. so they have an easier path.

and i'm seeing more and more of that in the news.

so, thanks, god. even if my prayers were pointless and that's just the way the world was heading, i'm profoundly grateful.

here is an example.

and another

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Being born TS and wanting children

What is it with children, that makes everyone so emotive.

sweden had a sterilisation rule for recognition of sex change and now people are suing them.
apparently, the right to have children that are genetically yours is very important.

people born TS are advised to freeze sperm or eggs prior to surgery, for later pregnancy. Making TS women fathers and TS men pregnant. Another gender bending idea from the TG brigade, i think.

Because, when it comes down to it, being born TS sucks. big time. thanks for nothing, god of ours.

if we could ask, i bet most of us would want to be born NOT TS.

so why do so many of us appear to want to risk passing this on to our children?

We do not yet know what causes someone to be born TS, whether it is genetic, a result of womb conditions, or some weird spiritual karma. We don't know.

It would be fantastic to have children that are genetically related to me. don't get me wrong. some inherently selfish part of me longs to see myself in a child's face, heart myself in a child's words, recognise myself in a child's thought processes.

that is a selfish part though. how would i feel if i was to bring a child into this world who was also born TS, who had to face surgery to feel whole? i'd feel, deservedly, rotten. For that small moment of selfishness, i'd condem another to a lifetime of struggle.

Once upon a time, i'd have done it. i'm glad that i have had the time to reflect and consider.

Friday, July 6, 2012

the DSM - defining TS as a mental illness?

A heated discussion recently highlighted how distressing some women born TS find the inclusion of true transsexualism in the Diagnostic Service Manual. The DSM-iv, and the upcoming DSM-v include GID as a psychiatric condition.

Some people find that this is offensive to TS women. Their arguments run along the lines of "it says we are mad, or requiring psychological intervention. We are not. We have a medical condition, not a psychiatric one"

I couldn't agree more. surgery / hormones, and in the future, gene therapy are admirably successful treatments for being born TS. Physical form correction works, with a 97% success rate. It is clear, that once correctly diagnosed, being born TS is a medical, not a psychiatric issue. We simply need to amend our bodies to match us, due to some misconfiguration of the chromosomes during our conception.

However, it is a big thing to come to an unambiguous and correct self-diagnosis. 

How do we really know? getting philosophical, there is no outside measure, no matter how well we may be able to read each other's thoughts. 

Simply following the journey is not that easy, at least it was not for me. It is good to have support available, support trained in understanding mind, psychology. Support that can help us work through our stuff, and its initially very specific stuff that no other group on earth has to deal with.

and then there are those people who should NOT be getting surgery. The ones who are willing to go off prematurely, and risk, or convince themselves that they need surgery. How many other psychological states could lead to an erroneous self-diagnosis?

Even if this was treated as a medical issue, the medics would still need to send the prospective patients to psych evaluation, if only to cover their legal liability.  Looking at it from a purely business perspective, i, as a surgeon, would be demanding as much signed and stamped documentation as i needed to ensure that the person i was operating on wouldn't sue me. Looking at if as a person, i'd want to make sure that what i was about to do would help, as opposed to make things worse. Its not an easy thing. I'd need to have people i trusted to do the work with the patients before hand, and be sure that this was ok.

Which, effectively boils down to needed a diagnosis, from a psychiatrist,

its not about US, it is about THEM. the medical staff and the non-TS folk who need to be kept safe.

in my day to day life, i've not met anyone who tries to imply i'm in any way psychotic or mad. I might get labeled as a man, but never as mad. I do not see the inferred 'slur' against women born TS. I also don't really see why it matters - having a psychiatric diagnosis should carry no negative consequence. It is simply information. Information that says "yes, i was checked out by specialists and we all agree, i need surgery" or "i was checked out by specialists and they are sorting me out with some CBT so i can deal with my cross-living fetish without having to ". Any extra meaning in those statements is, in my opinion, projection.

I think, far more than campaigning for the removal of an useful safety net for many people, we should instead spend our energies getting an exit-clause added to the GID diagnosis, so that we can be 'officially' <word that means discharged or 'cured'>. 

having said that, i no longer have much interest in wanting to change anything. its too much work trying to deal with life. that's a fair bit of the requirement for a GID diagnosis gone.

oh. anonymous commenters who want to simply bitch? i'm not interested. get a name and a life and i won't delete your comments, but totally fail to comprehend what i'm saying? bye.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Surgery - keeping it real

My last blog had unexpected results, namely a spew of parting TG rhetoric. To quote:

"I guess some of you cut off your dicks to spite yourselves - self loathing is a separate illness from gender dysphoria. A faux or neo vag is the same cock you had to start with, only mutilated, if you enjoy sensations post-op it is because your cock nerves are getting you there."

We were also asked to consider the transsexual priestesses of antiquity, specifically the status of their surgery.

So. a blog on surgery.

How good is it, really? how wrong can it go? what does it change?

I suppose i could do some research. In keeping with the spirit of this blog, though, i'll keep it personal. There's enough personal accounts available out there for anybody with a serious interest to hear many sides of the story without me needing to paraphrase the vocies of others and twist them to my own purposes.

How good is surgery? Its rubbish. it really is. I suppose it is the best it has ever been, yet, for me, no matter how realistic or sexually functional a neo-vagina may turn out, surgery still fails in its most important aspect. I'm sterile. I cannot carry children and i have to take hrt for the rest of my life.

It gets worse!

In my case, i opted for Colon-Transfer surgery. Over the years i had developed an increasing hatred for my boy bits. I really did not want them, nor did i want to retain the memory of them in flesh... In retrospect this was a little foolish, as the surgeons can do amazing things with the various bits and pieces. Biologically, the male and female systems develop from the same base of cells, so there's not a huge difference between them either. But. that is where i was at, so penile-inversion was out.

I couldn't get a place with my preferred NZ surgeon, so i headed out to thailand, to a well known and respected Thai surgeon, Sanguan Kunaporn. Unfortunately, he wasn't very experienced at CT at the time, a small detail he neglected to mention. So he made a bunch of mistakes. When you join flesh, you get scar tissue. Scar tissue does not stretch. So, when joining two tubes (say, the colon and the entrance of the vagina) it is important to join them with a zig-zag. that way, when the tube needs to stretch, the zig zag can straighten out. Needless to say, that's not what i got. He also chopped out rather too much of my ascending colon (12", instead of 4"), severely compromising my digestive system. He then went and put it in upside down, so instead of the smooth muscles and blood supply being arranged to push stuff out, they pulled stuff in. And he failed to remove all the erectile tissue, meaning that when i was aroused, a small nub of tissue effectively blocked my vagina. Nice work, and about the biggest nightmare any woman born TS could hope for.

By the time i became aware of this i was newly single, without a job and and more than a little stressed. I was in the bath and out popped a thumb sized ball of grey stinky horror. It was to become a regular thing. I called them my clay babies. They were a consequence of all the fuck-ups my dear surgeon made. So. My newly minted body disgusted and revolted me. It required constant maintenance to keep it clean and would regularly remind me just how bad things were. Plus, i was broke with no means to get it fixed.

Still want surgery, anyone? It can go wrong....

Seriously, its probably worth having a few extra grand in the bank just in case. And not going into a relationship meltdown during the recovery phase would help too. It is impossible to quantify how important a stable relationship is to your mental health during recovery. Watching mine crash and burn was uniquely terrifying.

It took me 5 years to get things fixed. that's a lot of my youth missing, unable to really share with anyone else because i felt untouchable. A lot of time to learn how to become unapproachable. I used to get told i was proud and aloof. I wasn't. i was terrified and self-hating. I'm still realistic. No matter how many boyfriends care to tell me how things are fine down there, i'm not stupid, nor am i deluded.

Nowadays, after more surgery, things work as they should. I imagine for most operations, the kind of nightmare i had to live through is not that common, but who knows? It has taken me a fair bit of nerves to talk about what happened to me. It is a mental health issue. When dealing with traumatic stuff, we like to tell positive stories, and not dwell on the unchangeable horrors. How many of my TS sisters have secret horror stories, and how many are completely happy? Also, to be out like this is to risk giving ammunition to the haters. It has taken some time to feel strong enough to not care.

We like to think that our 'neo' vaginas are similar to the real thing, but they are not really (in my opinion). I've come across a few natal vaginas in my time, and i don't think i'd be mistaking what i have with one of them. Perhaps i was really unlucky? I doubt it, though. That's why, IMO, that parting gift from the last blog has the power to irritate us. There is, unfortunately, an element of truth.

We do have to accept a poor-quality result; superficially functional but really a hack job. It is true that the nerves we feel with are the same nerves as before, the flesh, the same flesh.

Does it actually matter, though?

My boy bits were always an alien thing, strapped to my body. They didn't fit some undefined pattern of self that demanded a womb and a vagina instead. The sensations i gained from them were somehow disconnected from me, in the wrong place. Looking at things spiritually, are my astral and etheric bodies female? I'm fairly sure my etheric one is. I've had too many experiences which fit. Perhaps that is where my drive to re-configure my physical form came from. Where the knowledge that it was wrong; arose?

I'm meant to be keeping it real. I can't deny the reality of my spiritual experiences - indeed they seem more real than many of my manifest ones - however. Speculation is speculation.

Changed my mind. Let's speculate! The whole energy business seems incredibly important to me. Why else would so many of us, throughout history, feel the need to take such drastic action, knowing that the results we get are so far from perfect its almost tragic? Why are we willing to accept imperfect results that we know may cost us our careers, family, friends, health or life? Why else do we allow an otherwise perfect body to lay down on the surgeon's table, (not knowing if we will wake), and then be mutilated (albeit carefully and with great skill)?

We know that we will not be able to carry children. We know that the unique smell and taste and feel of a natural vagina is beyond the surgeon's skill. We know that we run a risk of dying, of having a bad result. We know that we may become unable to orgasm.

yet - despite all the risks and fails, we do it, because it is still better than the alternatives.

That's real. I think. I doubt any of us are deluded about what we are putting ourselves in for (unless, perhaps, we've drunk too deep of the TG Koolaid). I doubt many of us fail to recognize that yes, our bodies have been re-shuffled. Some of us have cervixes made from the tip of their penis, some have clitori made from the glans, with the nerves concertina'd to make it all fit. Some of us have labia constructed from other bits a pieces. It doesn't matter. We have to live with the inadequacies, live with the not-quite-rightness. We also get to live with the re-positioned flesh being in the RIGHT place, with the patterns of energy coinciding with the pattern of body. It allows us to claim full ownership of our manifest, physical form when we couldn't before. Our bodies become ours, in a way that was impossible before.

i guess.

ed. note.
Looking at the comments, it seems people have been reading me wrong. I'm not unhappy with my results, i was not surprised or let down, and i have no regrets. I needed surgery, and i tried to get the best i could, at the time. This blog is more about being honest about what can be achieved, recognising the limitations and looking a little at the strength of the motivation that leads (some) of us to chose a sub-optimal but still state-of-the-art SRS. I felt that i needed to acknowledge the truth of what is thrown at us, in order to transcend it (the mutilation bit), as i believe denial is unhealthy. Yes. i did mutilate a perfectly healthy body. Unfortunately it was my body, not someone else's, and fine as it was, it was not right for me. Had there been other options (body-swap, gene therapy, brain wipe, whatever) perhaps i'd have tried that instead. As it was, the main option i could see was suicide. Or perhaps mass-murder, to let god know how unhappy i was.
It boils down to this: Yep, those of you who hate me. I had pretty extreme things done to my body. Call it what you like, you are probably right. I don't CARE. I did what i needed to do and that's all any woman can do.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

compassion for our sisters

It is easy to get polarised by the nonsense that spews from TG bog supporters.

It is easy to allow the idea that since so many TG are nutcases (by which i am referring to the actual males who think that calling themselves sally, speaking in a girly voice and wearing shiny sateen panties over their eager cocks makes them in any way, shape or form, female), that all are.

It is easy to forget to be compassionate and to forget to acknowledge the range of individuals who do not desire or gain SRS.

It is easy to forget, because males who wear dresses outnumber everyone else so incredibly.

So, we hear their voices disproportionally. We have to be regaled by monsters like Sandeen, telling us that transsexualism has nothing to do with sex, and we should reject 'sexualising' surgery, simply because he/she doesn't want it (and so therefore feels the need to try tell all of us who've had it, and the general public that we didn't need it and shouldn't have access to it). We have to listen to people say that crossdressing, convicted peadophiles have rights, and that those rights are feminist rights. We have to repeatedly hear our TS sisters be misgendered in the media and called 'transwomen' instead of 'women', or  'TG', instead of 'women' (TS really should only be an issue when raised by the woman in question). All because the lunatics run the asylum. (LGBT organisations and GLAAD)

How many people, born with the wrong body, but for some unknown reason don't want surgery get lost in the noise? How many of our sisters do we reject, simply because we've become polarised, we've hardened our attitudes to defend our condition, TS, against colonization and misappropriation by men?

I'm sure there are a few. 

What spurred this line of thought? I was having a shower today, thinking about women. I've been pretty heterosexual since my surgery, with only one non-sexual love affair with another woman. I'm clueless as to what women do when in bed together. I had a look at sex toys, checking out what is marketed at lesbians. There's some fun stuff - harnesses with inward 'plugs' and outwards dildos, a weird contraption which is supposed to slot into your bum and vagina and extends out like a penis. (i know! the one i saw was black, too, it kind of looked like one of the scary aliens from signourney weaver's movies clinging to the model's body). Tools of penetration.

And all just a little ickky. scary, even! Maybe its because i am heterosexual (well, i thought i was), but sex seems like its supposed to have a good component of penetration in it. it certainly feels amazing to be on the receiving end. Would sex with a female partner be lacking in some pivotal way without it? Perhaps i'll find out one day.

So, i thought. What if... what if i'd been in love with a woman, prior to surgery, and my revulsion for my boy bits was less strong than my love for my partner. Wouldn't keeping a neat biological strap-on, far more advanced than anything you can buy in a sex-shop be far preferable to spending heaps of money on surgery? For me, it wasn't. the whole thing was too much. (although now i'm thinking having a cast done prior to hormones would have made for the most hilarious strap on). Perhaps for some of us, though, that equation is different. Not through attachement to parts, but through love of another (and love of screaming sex). Perhaps some of those people who say "i am a woman", even though they've got a penis, really are women?

Can't imagine it, from a personal perspective. Playing with sex toys could well be a bit of fun, and the tool of penetration would be both exchangeable and expendable. You'd have to have a really twisted idea of servitude to your sexual partner to want to keep a deformity, and to miss out on the joys of a good, hard, ... well. hopefully you know what i mean. Perhaps you'd even be lost in some mental game of wanting to be a stereotype of female, so therefore sterotypically submissive, so therefore willing to pretend that keeping a penis is an act of love as opposed to and act of attachment?

But that's my opinion. Maybe some of you reading know better?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

"surgery does not make you a woman"

or so said the almighty Harry Benjamin. (paraphrased)

what does that mean for post-op TS women? Is the guy who named our condition saying we'll never be female?

I've read a few nasty TG bog blogs that say exactly that. they delight in finding that statement and use it to attack post op women. Declaring that either the concept of transsexualism is wrong, or men can never become women. They seem to take perverse delight in undermining the womanhood of women born TS, as if denying it grants them some kind of transgendered superiority. I feel that they are trying to 'take down' people that they themselves have put on a pedestal. more on that in a later blog.

How valid is that claim? If it is valid, then there are a lot of very deluded men out here, myself included, because we see ourselves as female. Fully female. Are we mad? Is the Law that acknowledges us mad? (as indeed, the recent Argentinian law that allows men to legally declare themselves female without examination or surgery indicates it may be) Are our lovers and family mad?

If the claim is not true, then what about the rest of Harry's work. do we ned to throw it all out, because we don't like that last bit (as the TG bog explicitly claims we do).

I think that there is no direct connection between the infamous statement of surgery not making us female' and the rest of HB's work. There are no assumptions being breached. There are no causative links being challenged. The rest of the work and that statement exist in isolation, so we could, if we chose, reject it without invalidating the rest of his work. It is a moot point, since the days of TS are long gone, and we are now diagnosed with GID (although with much the same requirements), or, if we are not actually TS, with GID(not otherwise specified), or, if we are not diagnosed, 'TG'. (This is in the medical world, not in the crazy world of GLAAD media manipulation.)

However. I think it is true. Surgery cannot make you female. It is impossible. We are born male, or born female. In our selves, not in our bodies. Our bodies mostly fit, but occasionally. To use the medically derived TS figure:1 in 20 or 1 in 30 thousand, not the more common TG figures of one in a few hundred.
We know pretty early on in the piece: "i've got the wrong body". Not, "i've got the wrong social role", although that may also follow. Neither, "i've got the wrong clothes", although, again that may follow. The fundamental marker is "i've got the wrong body". For a woman born in a male body, that means she knows she is female, from really early on. From there grows the struggle between self-understanding and societal stereotyping. Between Nature and Nurture. Eventually that woman may access surgery to correct the issue. That surgery does not make her female, because she already was. It simply adjusts her body to match who she knows she is.

If a man, for some reason fetishizing being female (and really, who would? it is not the easiest path in life, for anyone) to the extent that they can pass the gatekeepers, accesses surgery; what then? Well, they are still a man. Surgery cannot make you female.

This is one of those things that we, as women born TS need to accept. Instead of rising to the insult intended when the TG bog proponents throw this challenge, we need instead to face it head on and re-affirm it. Surgery cannot make a man into a woman. It is true.

At the same time: Surgery cannot make a man into a woman. So anyone not born transsexual needs to be aware of this. The knife is not going to perform magic, all it can do is change your body. If you are transgendered, not transsexual, and you are considering surgery. ARE YOU SURE? you may be able to provide the correct answers to fool the gatekeepers, and you may be able to play a good enough role to pass the real life test. However, if you think that surgery is going to overcome your actual male identity, then you are in for hell.

I'm happy with this concept. I've looked at it from many angles, talked about it, taken time to let it settle and mature. Its annoying. Why? because it means that there can be women out there who truly are women, but who simply don't want surgery to correct their male anatomy.

I've met natal women who, when asked about it, said that if they'd been born with a penis, there's no way they'd have them removed. The idea of power, or penetration of others, of privilege is too tempting, too alluring.

So, it becomes harder to say to the very strange TG people who have active male sex lives yet claim to be female: "you are not female". perhaps they are. Or perhaps, my argument to allow acceptance of HB's irritating statement was too clever, and deconstructed the idea of 'female' to such an extent that i broke my understanding of it.

What do you think?

Sunday, May 6, 2012

shh... stealth.

Ah, new day. new thoughts.
Why is it "mentally ill" to be stealth? Another militant TG proponent claims it is. I'm not linking to their blog, its full of too much horror for me to want to associate with it.

I'd have thought the opposite but i'm trying to understand. Perhaps, if being stealth is a stress, a constant fear of being caught, then yes, it is bad. That wasn't my experience when i was doing it.

Being stealth meant going out into the world and doing stuff like everyone else. If someone said "you've got a deep voice" the response was "sexy, eh?" instead of an explanation. It meant sidestepping unpleasantness and enquirys into history (i'm 6'2" with an adam's apple, i got a few!) and having a bit of fun instead. It wasn't mentally ill, it was liberating.

NOT being stealth is a constant pain in the arse. I'm out in my small town, due to being a non-self-respecting moron. So most people know. The odd passing ship in the night doesn't, so i don't tell them. Why should i? Do i need to perform confessional each time?

The argument: "that since some of us can't pass, all of us shouldn't" is solidarity turned into little yellow stars and pinned on our dresses. If you can't pass, go home, look in the mirror and do something about it. Its a call all of us had to make pre-surgery. "Can i do this? Do i need to do this? Can i live with being obviously mtf? Can i live pretending to be a man?"

Being TS is not the biggest thing in our lives, although perhaps it is for some. Living a good life, that's more important.