Issues Evolve Over Time

Gender Swing Photos combined .jpg
These photos partially represent my gender swings: new, mid, longer-term.

WHAT I SAY IS DIFFERENT BECAUSE I’M LONG TERM AND ISSUES EVOLVE
DIFFERENT PAGE FROM NEWER FOLKS OR MUGGLES WHO LEARNED FROM THEM
GENDER SWINGS
PHASES IN LONG-TERM POST-TRANSITION LIVING

WHAT I SAY IS DIFFERENT BECAUSE I’M LONG TERM AND ISSUES EVOLVE

I’m very long-term,  switched in 1981. Newer people—10 to 20 years—relate these issues differently from people who’ve been in role 30 or more. The older view is not anti-anything, just more seasoned, less denial, fantasy.

Everything I relate, on all these web pages, on Twitter, in my book or in life, is colored by that decades-long evolution of ideas. Nothing I say can be understood without taking the information in this page into account. (I tend to reference MtF so I can compare and contrast to myself.) I’m also a Master of Social Work, LCSW and was an academic in university, attending for some 11 years from beginning to end—college on the GI Bill, transitioning in the 1st half—and I was with Joe, a genius engineer, for 22 years so I appreciate the sciences in life.

I provide all information on this page, this website, and in my book for both information and research.

Note in the composite photo above how I evolved post-transition, relative to my own range: relatively ultra-fem in my early years, notably less so in my intermediate years, and then how I evolved into something between the two later in life. Also note that the photos are limited, don’t show it all. In life, I’m also including my approach to myself and others, my manner. (The photo on the left was damaged in one of the moves. I did my best to restore it.)

Things I share are not what you hear from

  • newer people in transition only 10-20 years,
  • people in the media shaping books to please a paradigm for sales, or
  • people who learned from both groups.

A transition is not something that happens and is done; it’s a process that continues for the rest of life. I’ve seen phases in transition, how we present and feel about ourselves, individually, through many years, decades. These are my observations in brief.

DIFFERENT PAGE FROM NEWER FOLKS OR MUGGLES WHO LEARNED FROM THEM

I find great difficulty discussing things with newer people, or even muggles who learn about all this primarily from newer people, because our perspectives don’t mesh. I feel I’m in the position of having to reinforce a common denial or leave. I’m sometimes told by newer people, or said muggles, that my ideas are old fashioned (Reason #12) or idiosyncratic. But I don’t think sex or gender are old fashioned concepts; I think they’re part of the human condition, the phenomena of which are misrepresented by transgender sociopolitic for the promotion of categorization on the basis of social gender role transition. And I don’t think the current 21st century transgender paradigm is the last of it; it’s just a phase in a social movement.

This longer-term perspective is, I believe, a basis for ideological conflict with newer people in my thinking that

  • we’re not biologically female, even if we need to be wholeheartedly (maybe can legally, socially, anatomically)
  • trans people need to think, as Christine Jorgensen once told me, about learning who we really are, not wrapping ourselves up in a cliche, not  living in denial
  • the business of not admitting you’re trans or (for transgenders) admitting you’re trans but giving a false impression with euphemisms you’ve had SRS is hurting us all, in the long run. How can people accept you as who you are, when you’re hiding who you are?
  • insecure, radical trans people should not lash out at others who disagree about what they are, or what their issues are. That hurts us all.
  • the popular transgender paradigm is letting itself be guided in many ways by the newer and more radical among us.

GENDER SWINGS
(Referring here to gender, as in presentation, masculinity or femininity, not physical sex)

I’ve observed that for most people in the trans world, there are gender swings that affect our presentation and approach to life, based on

  • age at transition, as it takes decades for these swings to be noticed as phases, and greater mental and physical agility is part of it, diminishing with age. Childhood transitions may not have such noticeable swings, as gender was not so long held artificially to one side and the natural gender was allowed to form. With older transitions, one may be more settled into a way and there aren’t as many years left for swings. Transitions of strong need in the 20s (like me), may be more noticeable over time—I think because of years of pre-transition emotional scarring, with decades left for swings.
  • strength of need for transition. The stronger the need (like me), likely the greater the gender swing and subsequent phases.
  • how far gender was artificially held to one side prior to transition. In my case, through childhood, I was not at all allowed to be myself, abused physically and emotionally for any expression of femininity. I had to pretend in small-town Midwest and in the Navy.
  • Promotion of a social movement. If someone is involved in the promotion of a social meme, movement, or is a celebrity who depends on response from others (book sales, media), it will greatly affect these swings, maybe even prevent them. I have a book out, but I was never promoting a social meme.

Imagine a pendulum apparatus, an axle at the top, a pendulum that can swing beneath it, and the whole thing built on wheels. If gender (pendulum) is artificially held to one side in childhood and life prior to transition, then released (transition), one’s gender will swing through years and settle—I’m meaning only two major swings, overall, from M pre-transition, F at Phase 1, middlish in Phase 2, then F again in Phase 3—while the overall the person’s center (axle) will move in the direction of transition affected by the degree of swing. Every person will have a different weight pendulum, different degree of being held to one side, different rate of release in transition. Obviously the greater the need, the more suddenly released, will affect swing. Mine was heavy, held hard to one side, quickly released, at the age of 23.

The photos above for me do not do the process justice, but they are something of an example.

PHASES IN LONG-TERM POST-TRANSITION LIVING

Other issues also change through time, and interacting with people in person, I can sometimes

  • see where they are in these phases,
  • interpret what a person is saying based on their phase, how they’re saying it, how they’re presenting, and even
  • predict where they may be in several years if they’re presenting as a clear phase.

These phases are not iron clad. They’re something that are recognizable in some trans people, depending on the factors I outlined above. But when evident, they’re helpful—as in predicting times at risk for suicidality or depression.

Phase 1—Disneyland. Sometimes 5-10 years-ish.

  • KEY ISSUE: Gender Swing. May be large in gender swing, going perhaps a bit overboard in attire or manner.
  • Denial is a big problem: Even if biological details are know ad nauseum, the tendency is strong to think that one actually is what is needed; doesn’t see self as as presents. Tends to assert new gender role or participate in activities that are sexed for validation;
  • Insecurity: May act confident, but is more likely to actually be defensive; hypersensitive to criticism or anything that doesn’t seem to confirm self perception; cling to a paradigm; share cliches; very easily hurt.
  • Self-esteem rises with transition if successful.
  • Suicidality decreases if successful transition. Can be at risk if social pressure.

Phase 2—Just life. Sometimes 20 years-ish.

  • KEY ISSUE: Gender swings the other way, but still not as far as it had been pre-transition. If MtF, may be notably less feminine in attire and manner.
  • Thinks she’s seasoned; doesn’t see it as a phase.
  • Denial is still a problem.
  • Insecurity still a problem.
  • Self-esteem a little less than Phase 1, but still okay per this issue.
  • Suicidality not as big a problem, until…

Phase 3—At risk anew. I’m in my Phase 3. I don’t know if it’ll lead to anything more, but it feels like it’s the last of 3, so perhaps the rest of life.

  • KEY ISSUE: Denial fades. The light goes on. I no longer think of myself as “woman” or “female.” I’ll refer to myself as such if needed, say for a government or medical form, or from another person’s view, but I think it’s presumptuous. This is a common characteristic of longer-term. For me, if was during a time of relative peace, at 24 years in, and I was suddenly able to see myself more realistically. Knowledge didn’t fade or add; it was perspective on self. I was acutely aware of what I’d made myself into through life, and it was not what I’d intended: really female. I was transsexual. People who I’d been angry at before, in life, for not being tolerant were instead, I could now see, putting up with more than I knew.  I was angry at doctors over the years for going along with the idea of “woman” and “female,” not pointing out the reality of the matter. They probably thought they were being kind, or wanted my patronage for money, but I needed truth, instead, mixed with consideration. For doctors, therapist, etc., I think it would be best to admit to us prior to medical treatment that we’d still be biologically male and nonetheless refer to us as she/her, woman, and female out of compassion. The truth has got to find its way into treatment, too often ignored. Reinforcement of denial sets us up for social embarrassments or worse.
  • Insecurity rises. Aware of what I’d denied for so many years, I could now see more accurately how I was presenting to and being taken by others—and I was disgusted by it. Being male is good, for males; I’m into them, but on me, it is disgusting. Trans is good for people into that; I’m pleased to be friends, but it was never my goal. On me, it is disgusting. To me, being transsexual is needing not to be transsexual but the other sex. My need was always to simply be female, just female, really female, and that’s not possible, so I’m—sadly just me, someone who needs to be, has done all I can, but it’s not enough.
  • Self-esteem drops. Aware of inability to reach a needed goal, that one is something else, it’s hard to feel good about that aspect of self.
  • Suicidality. I have always had a strong need to live, work something out, continue. The cessation of life, of a person’s consciousness, leaves no room for personal evolution. I’d like to live forever, and when that becomes possible (after Star Trek age, sometime, maybe), I’ll be madder’n hell that I was born at such an early era. But suicidality does increase here, at Phase 3, when these realizations hit—and the reason for it may not even be known, as sophomoric people might say, “It couldn’t be gender. She switched long ago.” Or worse, “See? Transition didn’t help but for a while.”
  • Gender swings back a bit, the pendulum relaxing under the axle, the person more centered, with perspective that newer people lack.