Saturday, October 3, 2015

TG silencing of divergent voices. Oh, the irony (is lost on them)

I recently found /r/asktransgender on reddit, a subreddit which, seemingly, is designed to encourage people to do things to their hormones and bodies based on very little introspection.

I've been commenting on it, hoping to help people spot the difference between (perfectly acceptable) clothing kinks and (perfectly acceptable) actual medical conditions, and also address the rampant misogyny around.

The one thread really got to me, and in discussion with a mod, the truth of the TG agenda showed itself again. I'm posting the entire thread here, before it goes. Check out the usernames:

submitted  by TrishyMayLesbian-Genderqueer
It's just disappointing.


[–]dysphoricfoot 11 points 3 days ago*
Looks like a couple terfs dropped in for a look see and to give you shit. Doesn't look like they are actually using the sub. I doubt they will stick around; once they've discovered "women only" isn't code for trash Trans people they will become confused and board with the sub.
[–]TooLateForMeTFTrans-Lesbian 6 points 3 days ago
Being new to the trans world, I'm still trying to get the lingo figured out. What's a "TERF"?

[–]dysphoricfoot 19 points 3 days ago
"Trans exclusionary radical feminist" they would like you to believe they are radical feminist who subscribe to the notion that gender is purely social construct and are therefore critical of transgender people who they feel are reinforcing gender roles. In reality they are run of the mill transphobes who use vaguely feminist sounding arguments to justify their raging prejudice against trans people. They are tons of fun.
[–]OsricthebastardMTF, 26, HRT 08/15/15, So very bi 16 points 3 days ago
They cease to be merely intellectuals with a philosophy that I stand in contradiction to, when they use lovely adjectives such as "pig in a wig" and "abusers" to describe us.
If you're a feminist who thinks gender is a twisted social construct that traps people in linear thinking, I would be inclined to think that you would view trans people as a victim of that system. But nope. They view us as the victimizers. It really is just transphobia.

[–]pantyboi309 6 points 3 days ago
That is one of the things that really bothers me about TERFs is that if they really believed that gender as a whole is a social construct (which still makes no fucking sense, gender roles yes, gender itself no) then wouldn't they be extremely sympathetic towards trans people's as being the people suffering the most from said social construct? That would make sense but no. Also I have no idea how they can think that gender itself is a social construct like what? I understand that the overwhelming majority of gender roles are social constructs but the thing is that they were created originally because of physical differences between men and women and it worked for the majority of people. Do these people claim it was just randomly created by some powerful group of people to control others? That's like tin foil hat level stuff and it's pretty obvious why gender roles became a thing and they stayed a thing because traditions are very difficult for humans to break out of.

[–]summer_d(╯ಠ_ಠ)╯︵ ┻━┻ 4 points 3 days ago
It's a culture of victimhood. A lot of militant feminism hinges on creating an identity out of being a victim. In our society, victims are not only excused of their crimes, but given extreme validation by others. I think that it's easy for any of us to see where TERF ideology comes from, starts at, etc. The rub is that at some point the logic becomes flawed and it is infinitely easier to follow an ideology to illogical outcomes than it is to try to piece together a comprehensive, logical viewpoint and then alter or abandon your identity in order to fit the logical viewpoint.
If you look at your own TERF policies and see that you have become the oppressor, it undermines the victimhood of your stance. There's a strange belief I don't understand - that women can't be sexist, that people of color can't be racist, that the elderly can't be ageist, etc. because they do not hold the privilege of some other class. Only, an individual certainly can hold privilege that is atypical of their socioeconomic class - let's take for example keeping trans women out of women only festivals. The women in this instance clearly do hold the privilege and are discriminating, but admitting that would be essentially comparing yourself to That Which Is Evil. So you take the position of, oh, they weren't born with a vagina, so they aren't women. That allows TERFs to keep their identity as victims and not oppressors. They then follow the ideology along the path to allowing Trans Men to attend the festivals, because those men were born with vaginas (which if I were FTM I would find horribly offensive).
People love labels. I would imagine there are a rather large number of TERFeminists who have never even scrutinized their beliefs - they simply accept it all part and parcel in order to better define themselves in terms of their experiences with the world. In reality, most radical mindsets, liberal or conservative, have fairly good, or at least logical, beliefs at their core. It's all the extra stuff they have to build up in order to support that belief without analyzing or changing it that turns their beliefs crazy.

[–]YoungFolksis a dude. 1 point 2 days ago
What you're talking about is called cognitive dissonance, and it's pretty weird and interesting.

[–]willdagreat1 2 points 3 days ago
I don't know this for a fact, but I feel that some of these people are so hateful because they believe that there is no such thing as gender. Trans folks stand in opposition to that belief.
I feel that a lot of this hateful language comes from the cognitive dissonance of being confronted with evidence that one of their core beliefs aren't true. I think this phenomenon is called the backfire effect, but I might be wrong.
On a side note, my father is a conservative Baptist preacher and believes in the concept of gender. This is from a place of opposing the push to eliminate the pink isle sort of stuff, but I'm hoping to use it as the foundation of my argument when I finally work up the nerve to come out. I'm going to try and get him a copy of Self Made Man by Norah Vincent.

[–]highpixie 2 points 2 days ago
Tbh i consider gender a social construct. It's not that it was created by some powerful cabal but that it emerged as a result of particular material conditions in society that arose with the neolithic, namely a shift in the mode of production from hunter-gatherer to agriculture and the social ramifications of that (private property, inheritance etc..). But anyway... the thing with TERFs is instead of gender they latch onto 'biological sex', seeing sexing as natural and gendering as not and so engage in some ridiculous reductions to biology. The irony is that ones sex assignment at birth is on the basis of gender conceptions and thus despite TERFs assertions towards abolishing gender they in turn can only reproduce it.
I have a passionate hatred of terfs tbh. They are 'double agents', proclaiming themselves feminist yet join hands with patriarchy, revelling in cissexism.

[–]flowirinFemale Post-OP -2 points 2 days ago
" then wouldn't they be extremely sympathetic towards trans people's as being the people suffering the most from said social construct? " I think they used to be. TS women were well accepted by radfems until quite recently, when the endless tide of bizarre men claiming womanhood whilst engaging in public and exhibitionist displays of their erect penises led to something described as 'peak trans', which then led to a wave of hatred and dismissal of all trans people form women's spaces and identities by the now TE radfems.
for a radfem, gender has multiple components, and essentially they consider TG identity to be a confusion of social role with physical gender. They think that anyone should be able to occupy any social gender role they like, without the need to change their body or identity to do so, whilst at the same time fighting against patriarchal gender roles... (this is where i disagree with them, since I obviously cared more about my body than any social gender role).
I imagine that quite a lot of us ARE radfems, and the conflict comes because we are looking outside ourselves for verification of our identity, and so get very upset when this particular group of women refuses to provide it. I think learning to understand other people's points of view is a healthy thing, and it doesn't hurt to listen to what they say and try and engage with it without hatred. I certainly discuss things with both TG activists and TERFs without letting it get to me, even though my beliefs lead me to be hated by the extremists in both camps.
Before you dismiss them, i encourage you to catch up with the lat 60 years of feminist theory, it is fascinating stuff, whether you agree with it or not.

[–]dysphoricfoot 4 points 2 days ago*
Lol no. TERFs were never sympathetic to trans women, in fact they exist as reactionaries against Trans women. They were originally an off shoot of second wave radical feminism which started in the 1960s. Second wave feminism applied ideas from anti-colonialism and socialism to gender relations.
Colonialism was based on a racist ideology that framed white Europeans as inherently superior to any other "race" of people. It relied on people accepting that "race" was a real category based on very real biological differences that extended from physical characteristics to metal capability. Anti-colonial deconstructed this category of "race" to prove that it was not based on any inherent or real physical differences other than some rather arbitrary characteristics like skin colour. That "race" is a socially constructed class used only to oppress and control people who are not white.
Socialism is basically an economic theory that describes all economic activity through the lens of a conflict between two classes. The class who owns property, factories, etc. exploits the working class to provide labour to work in their factories. The owning class gets to sell what the working class produces and pocket the difference at the expense of the workers. They are able to maintain this unfair deal because through economic means they control all power in society and all of society is set up to maintain and enforce this unfair deal.
When applied to gender you get second wave feminism. Basically "gender" like "race" is not a real category rather it is socially constructed. Men and women are equally capable and the difference between them have been greatly exaggerated for the purpose of oppressing women as a class. Women as a class are exploited like the working class in capitalism but rather then for labour it is for their reproductive capabilities. Society is set up to benefit men and enforce this unfair deal on women using a false and socially constructed category of "gender".
So in the 1960s and 70s this new feminism is becoming increasingly popular and successful because it has many valid criticism about power structures in society. Their was also a small but growing number of trans women trying to make their way in a world very hostile to their existence. Many of these women found themselves in feminist spaces because they were marginalized from mainstream society and oppressed by the same gender construct that cis gender women are. And this is were the terfs come in. They see these trans women as a threat, invaders from the patriarchy sent to destroy them from the inside. Because to them gender is not an identity it is a fixed class, and they are male therefore oppressors. They harassed and chased trans women out of feminist and queer spaces essential marginalizing them even from other oppressed people. I recommend you look into the story of Sandy Stone and Olivia records. The terfs wrote gender "theory" basically applying their ideology to the lives of trans women but ignoring their actual lives and experiences in favour of lies and conspiracy theories. I would recommend looking into Janice Raymond's book "the Transsexual Empire" as an example of this but I warn you it is a paranoid conspiracy theory / hate screed more then anything else. And ever since if a cis gender women feels uncomfortable about and wants to discriminate against trans women all they have to do is dress it up with feminist language and then it can be excused! This continues to today, although some may be strict ideologues most are more or less justifying their prejudice. Most are happy to abandon any actual feminist values in the pursuit of degrading trans women. In fact if you go to their spaces and see many are not actually feminist and only use it as a pretext to attack trans people.
I have seen there term "peak trans" from them many times. The idea is they see or hear something from a trans person that is so absurd they can no longer take trans people seriously. There is another word for this "prejudice". It is nothing more. If I get mugged by a black person and now I dismiss all black people as criminals and I try to prevent them from being treated fairly in society because of it then I have not had a "peak black" moment. I have allowed my personal prejudice to fester and have become racist. If I meet a gay man who acts like a stereotype from sex in the city and I assume all gay men are like that and I can't take any of them seriously. I have applied a judgement on an entire group of people based on the actions of one. I did not have a "peak gay" moment, I am an asshole. "Peak trans" is not a special kind of prejudice that is justified and terfs are not just a group with a difference of opinion, they are simply bigots like any other type of bigot.

[–]flowirinFemale Post-OP 1 point 1 day ago
I'd have to disagree on the acceptance. I walk in many worlds, and I find that i'm accepted pretty well by people that other people call TERFS. they may not agree with everything I say, but they are polite and call me "she". I get the feeling that all women can live together, if we stop fighting with each other.
[–] 2 days ago

[–]flowirinFemale Post-OP 1 point 2 days ago
ok, i don't get what line i crossed. I thought that was very reasonable, explaining the question "what is a TERF" in a non-confrontational and non-hateful way. What bit did you object to?
[–]WannabkateTeagan, warrior princess 0 points 2 days ago
I reread it, it's fine for the post. reapproved. But in the future can you please tone down your gender theory. It is close to attacking others and it does invalidate, and this sub needs to be a safe space for everyone. I think you can present it in a more friendly way.
and Yes, I know tone policing and whatnot; but I have a responsibility as a mod to all the users to maintain the safe space.

[–]flowirinFemale Post-OP 1 point 1 day ago
Sure. I'm trying hard not to invalidate anyone! Its hard being a feminist in a space like this, its very triggering. At the same time, i'm hoping that my particular, well integrated, post op voice, might prove useful for others like me who are finding themselves, whilst at the same time helping others who are not like me avoid making decisions that will hurt in the long run. I appreciate your acceptance of my presence. I hope that all of us are really looking out for each other and helping each other come to best self-understanding that we can.

[–]WannabkateTeagan, warrior princess 0 points 1 day ago
Cool thanks, you can be a bit Rawr sometimes. And it can be a bit off putting. Like someone was calling you a terf and literally reported all of your comments on asktransgender

[–]flowirinFemale Post-OP 1 point 1 day ago
I have a few stalkers, who chase me across the interwebs and comment/report everything i say. I get called a 'internalised transphobic misogynist terf" too, which makes no sense. I think feminism is a struggle for many trans* people.

[–]WannabkateTeagan, warrior princess 1 point 1 day ago
I dont care what you believe as long as you are a positive force who is following the rules. You from what I read, come super close to invalidation. Often. so as long as you dial that back a few notches, I am ok with you being here.

[–]flowirinFemale Post-OP 0 points 1 day ago
ok, i'm not aware that i've invalidated anyone.

[–]WannabkateTeagan, warrior princess[M] 2 points 1 day ago
That whole TS vs TG, is invalition. You are telling someone they aren't as valid. All identities here are valid. Just because someone decides one of the medical options isn't right for them doesn't make who they are less valid.
That needs to stop. We are all here to support each other not tear at one another. OK!?

[–]flowirinFemale Post-OP 0 points 19 hours ago
so difference is not allowed? Is it wrong to say there is a difference between physical dysphoria and gender dysphoria? I don't understand that. There's no value judgement involved... They are very different conditions with very different treatments. I simply don't understand how acknowledgment of difference is invalidation. At no stage have i ever said someone is wrong for feeling as they do, or said that any one way of being is better than any other (beyond saying i'd love to be cis) I'm feeling attacked, right now, but i don't understand why. There's no hierarchy of trans-ness in my head. There's differences, that's all. Same as post op TS is different from natal female... Could you explain to me WHY considering physical and gender role dysphorias as different is invalidation, or send me to a site that explains, because i think I must be missing something.

[–]WannabkateTeagan, warrior princess 2 points 17 hours ago
Very out dated vocabulary and gender theory and, aggressive language.
Because transsexual is the old term for transgender. And the belief that there is a difference is laughable. It's like gender theory for the 80s. Someone who is post opt or pre opt is still transgender. Non opt is still transsexual. Hell someone who is gender queer falls into the cat of transgender. You draw the line to narrow. Your definitions are incorrect to put it bluntly. You are harmful not helpful. I think that you have great potential to be a wonderful helpful asset to this sub. You need to update your information, catch up. You might have spent to much time in gender critical.
And I am not going to explain myself anymore than that.

[–]flowirinFemale Post-OP 0 points 15 hours ago*
And the belief that there is a difference is laughable.
now you are invalidating me.
In a healthy world, people are allowed different views. I have NOT invalidated anyone, and my words have been considered and promoting self-understanding. I've been supportive.
I'm hurt that simply having a viewpoint makes me 'aggressive'. I've suffered a lot of aggression in my life, and worked through a lot. I've been careful with questioning people on this forum to say things that will encourage self analysis and good choices, and i have not invalidated anyone's self image.
I expect you will ban me now, I can feel the anger rising. Dealing with angry people has never been one of my strengths, i cannot understand what motivates the anger, or how to disperse it without submitting - something my feminism prevents me from doing. I feel that open dialogue is important and prevents polarisation and isolation.
So, thanks again for allowing me the small opportunity to be part of this dialogue. I'm sorry that my beliefs and viewpoints are unacceptable.

[–]WannabkateTeagan, warrior princess 3 points 7 hours ago
not anger, frustration. its not your view point thats makes you aggressive, Its your wording.
Basicly I think if you talked about your experiences, feelings and not the gender critical stuff. You would be golden. Leave the your not trans enough or ts vs tg at the door.
I would love for you to share your experiences. Like we need more post op persons talking about that.

At this point i gave up.

this is my, off reddit, response. I'm keen to keep part of that sub, to help people find their way through the TG bog, so no more pressing of dissonance buttons.

Thanks for the niceness. (yes, i was trying to appease, so sue me)

this bit i find infuriating, since it is projection: "your not trans enough"

I don't even know what it means?! not trans enough for what?!

I'm happy to talk about my experience, but it WILL be triggering. Like most of the post-op women born TS that i know (we call our selves post-trans) my experience has little in common with the viewpoints and experiences most (but not all) non-op people I have ever met. Discussions of 'female brains' mean nothing to me - my brain is mine. I could talk about the relief in the change in the way I experienced the world once I turned off Testosterone, but that would be invalidating people who claim a testosterone ruled mind is just as female as an oestrogen ruled one, whilst simultaneously triggering all the TERFs who claim that such gender essentialism is completely wrong... In fact, as i think about it those two viewpoints are eerily similar.

I can't see how we, as trans people, can avoid looking at gender again and again and again, since issues with gender are the basis of our unhappinesses, and the route to our happiness. Each of us will have our own truths, the things that sit well for us, and the things that don't. I very much doubt we really understand better today than we will tomorrow, just differently.

I do have aspergers, which might be a cause of some of the wording issues - When i'm talking about things that interest me, there's no value judgement in my words at all, beyond the search for truth and harmony vs disharmony. I'm aware that other people have all sorts of attached value judgement, but i'm not very good at working out where, why or how to allay the distress (hence me really really not getting why people think i think "your not trans enough" - i have no clue as to what it is that people consider better.) Is being a natal woman better than being post-op trans? Well, i'd certainly prefer it, so it is better for me. Is being a post-op trans better than being a het CD? No. I'll have no biological connection to children, I rely on external medicines to stay healthy. My body is no longer intact. I'll be constantly excluded from spaces i feel i belong in by actual TERFS and my life was a struggle. Plus i can't swap identities to re-access male privilege if i wanted to. 

I was going to dig into my thoughts to talk about how i'm trying to understand the idea of a trans hierarchy, but that would then lay be open to criticism of bringing up ideas of TS vs TG, which i'm not allowed to do. Is the Gender Spectrum not allowed to be thought about? If it was a light spectrum we'd talk about red and green and blue, if it was an audio spectrum we'd name notes. So there's no 'hierarchy' of trans for me. Just like there is no hierarchy of colours, or musical notes.

I'm trying. I have been heavily editing my sharing of my experiences to try and not invalidate anyone, whilst staying true to my belief that the least hormonal and surgical intervention that someone needs in order to feel amazing about themselves is probably the best route, for them (medical adjustments of the body are never without risk). If someone needs surgery, they should get it (i disagree with terfs 100% on that), if all they need is support in pulling off an awesome frock, then they need that too. 

Yet, to deny there is a difference is damaging.

The dismissal of the idea that TS and TG are different is quite offensive. I feel like it serves a male, TG narrative. My views and experiences, although profoundly contrasting with that of non-op TG people are 'laughable' - dismissed, and then my voice is taken away. I am to be silent, to be compliant. I am not to disagree with my betters, who know better than me the nature of my own experience, even though it is not compatible with the TG dogma.

I'm aware that the same claim is extended to natal women. According to TG dogma, there is no difference between TG males and natal Women - so women better shut up too.

I'm coming to see TG and TERF viewpoints as identical, but from opposite sides.

TG claim there is no difference between men and women, there is no biological sex essentialism, so anyone can claim any gender identity, regardless of biological, hormonal or social realities. 

This exhibits itself as the silencing of opposing Natal Female and trans voices.

TERFS claim there is no difference between men or women, there is no biological gender essentialism, so anyone can reject gender identity. 

This exhibits itself as the silencing of trans voices in their cross-gendered spaces.

If there were no violent, agressive, dominating, penis waving, destructive, hateful TG activists, would Terfs still reject TS women from their spaces? Probably. Does it matter? Of course not. 

I'm aware that was a huge post. I've tried to avoid adding extra thoughts in this blog, as i most wanted to see if a) anyone still reads my blog! and b) if anyone has any further thoughts.

The exclusion of hormonal reality in gender roles by Terfs i find wrong, somehow, given that i've experienced profound changes in my inner world  through changing hormones, and there is a huge volume of literature on the effects of cyclic hormonal fluctuations in natal women. Dismissing it feels unfounded

The exclusion of differences between cis-men, all the variants of trans and cis-women by TG dogma also feels profoundly wrong, steeped as it is in misogyny and resulting as it does in the shouting down and erasure of non-compliant voices.

over to you...

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?