Things You Don’t Expect Me to Say

Screen shot 2017-08-14 at 12.03.11 PM.png
Me with Jack Norris (Voyager flight around the world); I teased Darth Vader, and he reacted; playing bagpipes with an air can at Caltech…

PLEASE DON’T VALIDATE ME
FOUR WAYS WE TALK ABOUT CHANGING SEX
ME AS A NOUN
WHAT I AM
TRANSGENDER PHENOMENON AND PARADIGM
INTERSEX
I’LL AGREE T=ALL T’S WHEN G=LGBS&A
AUTOGYNEPHILIA
CROSS-DRESSING

I switched in 1981. Ideas evolve through trans people over time, particularly if not invested in promoting the T social movement. Longer-term can mean less denial and so may be in contrast to newer people in transition.

PLEASE DON’T VALIDATE ME

I don’t make binary claims, and I don’t seek validation from others. I don’t even try to validate myself. I need to be, but I don’t claim I am.

Even people who know me for years are surprised to realize that I do not generally refer to myself as a “woman” or “female.” If I do it, it sounds pretentious; when someone else does it, it feels patronizing. This is sometimes a characteristic of someone like me who has been in role for several decades. I believe I am female legally, socially, in genital form and function; but my goal was always to be biologically female, and that’s not yet possible. It’s that as-yet impossibility of actualizing my need that gives me pause. Please don’t hurt me with this.

Regardless of my own humility, it is hurtful in the extreme for anyone to refer to me as man or male. I’ve done everything possible to be female; medical science’s inability to change chromosomes or grow my own gonads is their limitation, not mine.

Some muggles feel that socializing pleasantly with me is tacit validation of my life or of my role as the other sex or gender. But I do not interpret socialization that way. I’m just a human being, and believe it or not, sometimes I have great ideas.

The result is that people, who might otherwise be a friend, keep their distance, a loss for all.

FOUR WAYS WE TALK ABOUT CHANGING SEX

  • Legally: I am not a lawyer, but it appears to me people can change legal sex if the law in their jurisdiction says so. Sometimes this is in conflict with other areas of government that disagree.
  • Socially: If people in groups/society accept you as the other sex.
  • Anatomically: Genital form and function.
  • Biologically: Biologic sex cannot yet be changed. I wish it could.

Screen shot 2017-11-25 at 9.02.37 AM.pngConcepts such as redefining realness or surpassing certainty play on the legal and social areas more, sometimes anatomic, but if not careful they can enable denial, which sets people up for social embarrassments now and humiliation later when the light comes on. Newer people—perhaps fewer than 25 or 30 years—tend to say they’re women/female. So do those who are insecure or selling books carefully designed to reinforce a paradigm. But I’m not new, not in denial. I’m nearly four decades into this—not window shopping but immersed in daily living, post SRS.

At times I reference myself from another’s point of view as, “Maybe he doesn’t think women are veterans…” or “He doesn’t think women can fly?” If I have to choose on a form, such as medial or governmental, I’ll check “female,” usually a reference to something legal, social, or anatomic.

Biologically, I’m aware the sex cannot be changed, and that is a pain and disgust that I live with every day. The changes I’ve made have helped me survive, but they do not cure anything.

ME AS A NOUN

“Trans[variation]” has been used a few million times in degredation, and I realize a lot of trans people, hurt with that, assert passionately that “transsexual,” “transgender,” or similar should not be used as a noun but an adjective: “I am transsexual,” not “I am a transsexual.”

But I have lived too long being put down by others to cooperate in any way with putting myself down, to accept that a reference to me is actually derogatory. “Transsexual” is simply not a bad thing—same for all T variations. I’m at a later time in life when I’m tired of it. I’m standing up for myself (see #4).

If I can be a scholar, a pilot, an instructor, a Jew, a wife, a widow, a veteran, a human, I can also be a transsexual, because I’m not insecure on this. I’m as worthy of the same recognition as my husband, in my opinion one of the greatest people who has ever lived and a Christian, a genius, a pilot, an engineer, a humanitarian, an elder, a philanthropist, a husband, and a conservative icon—Screen shot 2017-07-13 at 6.49.58 AM

—all nouns.

For what it’s worth, Janet Mock uses these terms as nouns, also, and I’m glad she does.

WHAT I AM

I think of myself as a primary, post-op, Phase 3 transsexual:

  • Primary, meaning my reason for sex reassignment surgery (SRS) was from my need to be female, my female sexual identity, sexual expression (genitalia), sexual response as female, not for a secondary reason (sometimes such as validation in role, vaguely defined “authenticity,” bathroom rights, or from other issues such as denial). Contrast my life-or-death need with Caitlyn Jenner’s statements that SRS is not really important, doesn’t make her more of a woman. She says she’s transgender, usually talks about gender, not physical sex or genitalia, says she’s had an extra surgery… I’m going to take her at her word that she’s a transgender with an extra surgery, where I am transsexual. The difference is salient issue, too, not just surgery (because of secondary reasons for getting SRS). If Cait is transsexual, it would help if she’d say so.
  • Post-op with SRS; modification of primary sex characteristic, in my case genital form and function as female; by “post-op” I do not mean other body modification of secondary sex characteristics such as breast augmentation, facial feminization, body contouring liposuction, which are included in euphemisms such as GRS, GCS, GAS… and which confirm or connote gender (masculinity and femininity or gender role) and do not denote physical sex.
  • Phase 3, see description, scroll down. The phases I see are marked by such things as gender swings and presence or absence of denial.
  • Transsexual, with salient issue of needing to be the other physical sex, as opposed to transgender or other non-binary variations—the need and doing all possible to actually be the other biological sex. Other identifications such as non-binary, “enby,” transgender, agender, neutrois, fluid…are certainly valued; I’m just asserting my own phenomenon in self-description. One could be a primary transgender without being a primary transsexual.

TRANSGENDER PHENOMENON AND PARADIGM

1. Where transgender means the phenomenon:  Virginia Prince, Ph.D., involved for over 70 years and a major progenitor of the modern movement, described “transgenderism” and “transgenderists” as

“…people like myself who have breasts and live full time as a woman, but who have no intention of having genital surgery. Others soon took the term and it is now used, erroneously I think, as a collective term for all the various degrees and kinds of cross-dressing. This leaves no simple term for describing those who have changed gender without a change of sex” (Gender Blending, 1997, p. 469).

My depiction is here:

T grouping and umbrella graph

Grouping everyone by gender is one political view. My view is phenomenological. Transsexualism is not transgenderism with an extra surgery; we’re different in both mind and body. Our salient issues are played down with a focus on gender, which is the point. Transgenders fear rejection if their sexual issues are known, but avoiding selling the true idea of ourselves hurts us. We’re opposite on sex identity, genitalia, sexual response as male or female, we should be able to be recognized as such, and transgenders should not pressure us to hide our sexuality so they can better hide theirs. They should learn to own their sexuality also.

2. Where “transgender” means the paradigm: The effort to refer to all trans people as just one phenomenon, or to say all variations are included yet under the name of the salient issue of one sub-group, is a political view and marginalizes variations, prevents people from being recognized as themselves, causes a lot of conflict between Ts and muggles, alike. As such, I am not a transgender advocate but for trans people as a whole, recognizing each for their own issues, and for transsexualism (my own phenomenon) as its meaning has been largely lost in this modern, transgenderism-centric era. “But it’s obvious, you did also change gender.” We all change clothes, but we’re not all transvestites. A gay male and a straight male? Obviously both males, but we acknowledge their orientation. Why not that transgenders and transsexuals need to be of the opposite sex?

Transgenderism had very little social success with such as Virginia Prince, Ph.D. I think because she was open with the sexuality of it in the last century—admitting it was not about a change of sex. Being a woman with a penis was too non-binary for the public at that time. But now, the public has had 20 years of experience with transgenderism, has become more aware of this, and there is more to work with.

The transgender paradigm needs to evolve, be more open with its sexuality, or full social integration can never take place, and psychosocially, playing down its own sexuality and in pressuring other variations to play theirs down, too, it’s very harmful to trans people as a whole.

INTERSEX

I assert my need is a fetal neurological non-differentiation (something in the brain as a fetus did not differentiate to the male), severe since birth, and that (as long as the brain is part of the body) the brain-body discord is an intersex condition with which I cope.

I wonder about DES, a female hormone given to mothers in pregnancy, 1938-1971, to help prevent miscarriage. I was born in 1957. I don’t know. But something caused this phenomenon in me—and focusing on gender issues won’t get there, because regardless of that political view, this is primarily a sex-related issue: sex identity, genitalia, sexual response as female. It’s about needing to be biologically female, though as yet impossible.

Intersex organizations have distanced from trans people—like most others in society—by defining intersex as something that is not trans. In many cases, I agree with them, but not in all cases. Intersex should not be defined to exclude conditions such as mine. CAIS, for example, was always intersex even when we could not detect chromosomes.

Intersex organizations: Please stop distancing. Not all intersex is obvious, external. You should know that. You say primary transsexualism is a choice? Or psychological? That’s the kind of thing they’ve said about being gay, too, and it’s not choice there, either. I was born male, yet part of my brain has always known it was not, my first painful awareness of this was at age 3. Some day, this will be made clear, I’m sure.

When the brain is no longer part of the body, I’ll stop thinking I’m intersex.

I’LL AGREE T=ALL T’S WHEN G=LGBS&A

People need to be recognized for our own issues—without it, we can’t be ourselves. That’s why we still use “lesbian” instead of just “gay” for every one who is attracted to the same sex. Being a smaller minority, as transsexual, does not preclude that. We are just as worthy, and just as worthy of recognition—so “LGBT” won’t work, and complete recognition for all won’t work, either, or we’d wind up with “LGBTTTQAANFS…K.” (I humorously add K for “kitchen sink,” meaning anything else that surely also exists.)

I just use “trans,” “transnatal” (antonym for cisnatal), or the simple letter “T” to mean all trans people. Really, when you get into it, there’s no way to refer to everyone with any single term without marginalizing those with different salient issues.

We’re in a time of social awareness and adjustment. In time, maybe a century or two, I believe T issues will become no more significant to mention than being gay. Or lesbian. Or left-handed. Or whatever else. Just people.

AUTOGYNEPHILIA

Autogynephilia is a male sexually aroused at the thought of being female. I am not autogynephilic (Lawrence, 2014) falling into the category of transsexual biologically/orientationally referenced as “homosexual” (Blanchard, Bailey, Lawrence). My sexual response is female; I’m aroused by men/males.

Transgenders usually hate the concept of autogynephilia because they fear people will reject them for that, too. Insecurity is very common. I believe the road to social acceptance and inclusion is in focusing on sexuality, selling the truth of it, not hiding it and hoping people will go along with that. It’s not working. People know, and none of us trans people can stand up for ourselves if it means mentioning what we’re hiding.

I urge trans people who have it to quit worrying about autogynephilia; look at it humorously like Woody Allen did about masturbation, back in the 1970s, in the movie “Annie Hall“: “It’s sex with someone I love.”

CROSS-DRESSING

I was not into cross-dressing, though it was integral at transition. I note it’s very important in prior living for most trans people from Jenny Boylan to Caitlyn Jenner, but it wasn’t me. To me, the clothing simply is not an area of interest. At transition, at the age of 23 and thereabouts, I was skinnier than I am now, and that helped. I found some dresses that looked okay. But as I aged, my body filled out in ways I don’t prefer, so I never wear them any more. I miss—not being able to be genuine, real, authentic to myself, falling short of my need to be biologically female, but my heart does not pine for dressing.

When I met Joe in 1989, he amazed me. I’ve always enjoyed flight, was already a pilot, in the 99s, and Joe’s life absorbed me. It was about taking aircraft to air shows, boating, learning how to fix the water heater whether I liked it or not, trying to survive hate crimes, going to doctors as he aged…and the more feminine fineries were never enculturated. You can see that in my book. As a result, I tend to dress “down”, without intent that it be down, per se, just not masculine where I can help it: a blouse, jeans, nothing fancy. I nearly always wear sneakers with orthotic inserts and a brace, because of my Ehlers-Danlos, hypermobility, which, unhappily, also make me about 1/2 inch taller. The Ehlers-Danlos also complicates my appearance, as I have an “ape index” of 1.6:1, greater than Michael Phelps, the Olympic swimmer, at his ape index of 1.5 per Scientific American. (I am also an outstanding swimmer, though I’m no athlete.) However bad my appearance may be, I do my best to overcome this as well as other natal male features of stature.

FWIW, I think I’m missing something, not into fineries, but if I consider them I disregard them yet again because I don’t have the figure for it. As a result, I’m usually just in jeans and some blouse. This view may also relate to my decades in transition, since 1981, how issues evolve through us over time.

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