Thursday, December 25, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
The event will be at the Hilton Mark Center hotel in Alexandria, Virginia (northern Virginia suburb of DC), and you can register for rooms at
and use the hotel code "IFGE" when you register for our conference discount rate.
Thanks, I do hope to see everyone there, and meet you all. the conference schedule is already full of presentations, so there will be lots of cool stuff to see and do and listen to and participate in.
PS: If you have come to IFGE conferences in the past, and have decided to not come to this next one, I'd appreciate a short note as to why. Maybe we can fix something...
judithmiquela6 at gmail dot com thanks much
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Washington post article http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/12/10/AR2008121003681.html?hpid=topnews
Well, not a really major job, but not bad.
Monday, December 8, 2008
I just found this article in the New York Times.
It's about a specific area in Mexico, near a town called Juchitan, where males decide they want to live as females, and are termed "muxes". The article mentions that there are references to cross-dressing Aztec priests and a god that was both male and female.
These muxes are apparently celebrated and considered special. There are apparently quite a few different societies or cultures thru the ages that felt there was something special and valuable about transgendered folk.
I've heard several trans-folk that I respect greatly talk about the unique viewpoint that we have on human interactions and society. I do believe it. I would bet that most people are not aware of how they have "bought into" being either a guy or a gal. Do you yourself realize how you let your conceptions of what it means to be male or female, in our society, affect what you do? If those hidden internal assumptions weren't there, how would you act?
Transfolks study the differences between male and female behavior as a matter of survival. If you want to be taken as a woman, and don't learn the mannerisms, you're asking for trouble.
I got interrupted, I had to run an errand, and now I've lost the train of thought....
Oh well. the "+" is about an interesting realization that my therapist helped me with last Friday.
I've always worried that I wanted to be trans for the wrong reason, or my reasons werent valid, or this or that. I was talking about that with her, and she made a key observation: "Most people come in here and they're terribly worried that they ARE transsexual. You're worried that you're NOT!". I remembered then I was having a conversation with another trans person (who runs a meditation center near San Diego), and she commented "you worried whether you're trans enough".
I think I'm worried because I do fear the alternative - if I'm not trans, then I'm a really screwed up guy, and that to me is horrible compared to being what I feel I am - a pretty well adjusted transsexual. I just found that interesting.
Okay, it's too late, we were up till midnite last nite at our trans group's Holiday Gala, and it's time for bed. I'll post some of the pictures tomorrow. We brought our own camera this time, so we don't have to wait for some photographer to get around to mailing us CDs.
talk to you soon
PS: got over the "i'm screwed up" phase. Back to "joy of being trans" state. ;-)
Friday, December 5, 2008
Splenda with fiber
I have a big problem with this, and it has to do with the underlying motivation here.
Okay, I completely realize that a lot of folks don't get enough fiber in their diet. Fruits and vegetables, whole grains. And that lack of fiber in our diets has been implicated in higher risk of colon cancer. So the motivation for some manufacturer of something to say "hey, let's put fiber in our product" is pretty obvious.
But I don't think it's a good idea. For several reasons:
1) The psychological: It leads to this idea that we can substitute artificial, pill, supplement based chemicals for actual food. Read their page - one apple contains like 3 grams of fiber, and their little packet contains 1. Folks need to change their eating habits, not find more supplements to allow them to "be healthy" while subsisting on a diet of twinkies and starbucks.
2) Real vs artificial: i guess it was back when I was a kid (or maybe before), Wonder Bread was advertising this awful stuff - bleached white flour, lots of sugar, over refined and stripped of natural nutrition (then re-loaded with artifical vitamins) "Wonder Bread - builds strong bodies 12 ways". Right. Not compared to whole wheat bread it doesn't. And vitamins -- One-A-Day vitamins. An excuse to continue to not eat right. i am firmly convinced that eating a balanced diet will do things for your nutritional condition that no amount of artificial supplements could do. The supplements may provide the major chemical compounds that have been analyzed so far, but I seriously doubt that we really understand all of the complex chemistry in an apple, and how the thousands of compounds in an apple actually interact with our body chemistry to provide us nutrition.
3) "Expediency" -- in other words, hey, this is easier. It's actually one of the words in the English language that I actually hate. Probably the one I hate most. Not so much the word itself, but what it's come to mean. it means "oh, yeah, I know doing this would be better for me, but doing this other thing is more expedient." yeah, I should eat whole wheat bread, more fresh vegetables and fruits, but it's more expedient to eat the crap that tastes good even though I know it's bad for me. Oh, and I'll pop this pill too, that'll make it alright.
No it wont. I'm sorry to sound like the nasty old lady who lives down the street, but we're not taking this crap seriously enough. It goes into a lot of other areas as well, like our obsession with big trucks and SUVs. Now, I completely understand that a lot of folks do need space, folks who do construction do need pickup trucks. But come up to DC and drive on the roads with me. Come to the Pentagon parking lot. Thousands of folks who have desk jobs at the Pentagon driving Ford F-350s (or only an F-150, you get the point). One of the other archery parents works for one of the mapping agencies, doesnt do any construction or farming, but boy does he love his big red truck. It's an F-350, and it's frickin' huge. He's married with one teenage son, he only got it because he likes it. Is it good for the environment? Does he really need it? No, but he likes it.
I think I'm sounding pretty strict here. Fine. We need to have a stronger sense of responsibility, both towards ourselves and caring for ourselves, and towards our community, and caring for our neighbors. Listening to myself, this almost sounds unAmerican - I'm arguing against "every man/woman for themselves". yes, I am.
We do need stronger and more permeating sense of responsibility to ourselves and our families and our communities.
I'm ticked off today. Watch out.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Registration for IFGE 2009 Is Now Open!
In just a few months,
International Foundation for Gender Education, with the help of the local group
TGEA, will hold its annual
conference in the Washington, DC area. We are planning for great speakers,
stimulating and useful workshops, entertaining evenings, and lots of networking
and socializing. The conference is for anyone and everyone who is part of,
allied with, or of service to the Transgender Community.
hotel will be the Hilton Alexandria at Mark Center, just across
the river from the heart of Washington, DC. The room rate for the conference is
just $132 a night, less than half the regular price. Make sure you use the
registration code IFGE when reserving your room. Additional
information about the conference and room availability will be posted here
soon. Meanwhile, you can visit the hotel website .
This is THE only conference this year
sponsored by the IFGE – Don’t be fooled!!
What is an IFGE Conference like?
For a sense of what our annual conference is all about, look over some pages
about our last conference — IFGE 2008 in Tucson, Arizona »
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Here is his special commentary from last nite (10 Nov) on his show. It was so emotional and so touching that I had tears of pride that someone would stand up and make such a case on such a national, public forum.
Olbermann: Gay marriage is a question of love
Everyone deserves the same chance at permanence and happiness
take care, everyone.
Monday, November 10, 2008
(Just for those who don't know me, I'm mid-50's, white, southern background, and a mid-transition MtF.)
Well, I know a lot of us, myself and Sweety included, were disappointed when all the anti-gay-marriage issues failed (from our point of view) last week.
There were several reports on different trans blogs sites about how the black vote was significantly in favor of these amendments. Some of these other bloggers expressed shock, anger, disappointment.
Then, I heard this interview on NPR today with a black lesbian activiitst (Writer Jasmyne Cannick), and how she felt what a poor job the No on Prop 8 folks did in contacting the black community and also in general, how, she charges, the white gay communitydoesn't pay much attention to the black gay community.
Op-Ed: Why Black Voters Didn't Fight Prop. 8
I heard the whole interview (about 20 min or so, I think), and I can really agree with some of the lady's points, but I'm wondering what other folks think. I don't live in California, and so have little real information on what sort of campaigning was done there. Was the No campaign disorganized? Was the No campaign too exclusively white?
Please don't shoot me. Thanks
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Well, unless you track this sort of stuff, you may have missed a couple of interesting stories related to transgender life.
One: You might not have known that, last year, April ‘07, one of the name sports reporters for the LA Times, Mike Penner, came out and publicly declared that she would begin living life as Christine Daniels (“Old Mike, New Christine”). The LA Times was very supportive, she continued to work, posted a blog for a while called “Woman In Progress”. Then, she fell silent around the beginning of this summer.
It was recently revealed that she would be “de-transitioning”, and returning to life and the LA Times as Mike Penner (Bilerico write-up and another here). There has been no real explanation, nor are we owed one. Mike’s life is his own.
Why this is big news in the trans world in a moment. First, the other news story.
Two: Researchers in Australia have evidence of a “transsexual gene”. The researchers found that male-to-female transsexuals were more likely (not guaranteed, just more likely) to have a very interesting long gene. This was hailed by some transsexuals on their blogs as “validating” them. The rationale here is worth talking about a bit.
Now, this is my understanding – I’m no psychologist, I’m just one of the thousands of trans folk out here with access to a computer and some proficiency in speling.
Those of us who consider transitioning, and those that go further and choose to do so, usually worry at some point whether we “need” to do this. Different folks are convinced by their internal state to different degrees. For some, it literally becomes a matter of life and death. For others, it becomes a matter of significantly improving their quality of life. We get comments and criticisisms like “are you nuts?” It can be a difficult path. Many of us have been discriminated against, beaten up, killed, because of our choices. Luckily, I have not had these negative reactions (yet), and I owe this good fortune in no small part to the fact that these others have gone before and sacrificed so that the rest of us will have an easier time. Many non-trans folks (“cis-gendered” as opposed to “transgendered”) see our actions as a “choice”, many trans folk do not see it as a choice, more of a life necessity.
So, if one were to prove that transsexualism (or homosexuality) was “caused” by a gene would make some people feel “validated”. This is exactly the word I’ve seen used. I would guess that in some folks, there is a need for them to say in essence, “see, it’s not my fault! It’s genetic, I can’t help it!”. And, as valid as this may be, it also seems to have an aspect of abrogation of responsibility. The other avenue of argument is that a genetic cause would then be a basis for getting insurance companies to cover transition expenses, as well as additional legal ammunition in defending against discrimination.
So, some folks were really glad to see the transsexual gene research.
Odd Thoughts and Connections:
Now, here’s where my fevered brain starts wondering about a connection. When someone “de-transitions”, there’s a little cold spike that can go thru a trans-person’s heart. It’s like if anyone changes their mind and goes back, it de-ligitimizes the rest of us a bit. I don’t feel that way, but it sure was apparent to me that those thoughts at least ran through folks’ minds.
There has also been an air of almost sadness around this news, and that I don’t understand really. There is the aspect that Mike/Christine has been going through a lot of turmoil. I do hope, as do we all, that he finds a good road for himself, whatever that may be. Although I can see that transitioning and de-transitioning would be extra difficult, the experience would be incredibly unique and his viewpoints might be completely fascinating, should he ever choose to write about them.
So, does de-transitioning invalidate the decisions made by the rest of us? I’m getting the feeling that that is what some folks think. Me, I don’t think so. Our paths are very unique, and some of our paths are, by chance, more complex than others. So be it, respect it, observe it, and don’t judge it. It’s very tricky, actually, for us human beings to simply observe and not judge – we’re so used to jumping from the observation to the “story” (the story we make up in our head about what’s going on that we just observed).
I think a lot of us T folk get very enmeshed with having external justifications. For me, there was a stage of self-acceptance where I didn’t care anymore about the causes. I used to care a lot, I worried a lot about what could have caused this. It was like I couldn’t give myself permission to keep going unless I could find external justification – some outside authority or reason that would make it okay for me to transition.
I don’t think I ever would have found sufficient external justification. So, I would have been forever miserable. As it is, something happened about 3 years ago – if you want my guess, I think the acupuncture treatments on the Spirit/Mind level (as opposed to the Body level) helped in some way. It was a few days after the first ones where I began to realize that I was okay with being trans. It’s developed to being more than okay, I’m prouder of myself now than I’ve ever been in my whole life.
And, I don’t think I’d have achieved this level of self-acceptance had I still been depending on external validation.
So, that’s a hell of a long rant. It was actually written over several days (multiple events interfered, more on that later). If you’ve stayed in this long, wow, well, thank you very much.
Hugs to all
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
One of the notes left on a previous entry asked a very good question: why do I want to become a woman? Fair enough question. I’ve been looking over the other folks expressing interests in the transgender topic, and I haven’t seen any other transsexuals at my particular point in the journey – not many of us at all, as far as I can tell. I don’t know how many folks out there have ever talked to a transsexual, or known one, or heard the story, other than maybe on TV. I’d like to lay out my personal beliefs here, and philosophy, and we’ll see what happens.
So, I’ll start with the trite answers and responses and move to the deeper ones (this may take more than one entry).
Let me ask you: if you’re a woman now, why do you want to stay a woman? If you’re a man now, why do you want to stay a man? How many of you answered right away, “because this is what I am.”? What if one of you woke up tomorrow morning and found your body had changed genders on you? How many of you could adjust? How many could be learn to be happy? How many would commit suicide? How many would try to find a way to change back?
(There’ve been several interesting sci-fi stories (and other genres as well) that have experimented with this. The “Lords of the Diamond” series by Jack Chalker, for one (Chalker must be closet TS – sex changing runs all thru the Well World series too). Clive Barker had a great short story/novella that had male-to-female transformations at its core (sorry, I can’t remember the title right now) – what was interesting there was that some folks could stand it, others, the change drove them insane. More on the fiction angle later if I get back to it.)
So, you like being what you are because that’s what you are. Hmm. And you wouldn’t like being what you aren’t because that’s not what you are. Okay. Let’s expand the dimensions a bit:
Are you gay or straight, or somewhere in between? Have you ever wanted to cross the line? Now, regardless of where you might be on that spectrum, you do realize, don’t you, that there are folks all over that spectrum? That no matter how straight you are, there’s probably somebody straighter than you? Or somebody gay-er (is that a word?) than you? By this I only mean someone who might have a harder time crossing over the line to the other side.
So, we’re all on a spectrum with regards to our orientation. I hope I haven’t offended anyone yet (and I am a Zappa fan). Now, what I believe, is that INDEPENDENT of your orientation, there’s some masculine and feminine in everyone of us. There are some very feminine heterosexual males, some very butch lesbians, very femme lesbians, and very masculine gay males. Okay?
So, basically, if you’re with me now, then what we’ve agreed to is that there is this “chart”, if you will, that looks like this: There are people scattered all over the square. Aaaaalllllll ooooovvvveeeerrrrr the place. And that’s what makes the world go round. Okay? Still with me? Good.
(Note: I am not making value judgements here, nor should you expect me too. I realize that there are some readers who may think that homosexuality and transgenderism is a bad thing – you should know by now that I do not agree with you. If you continue to read, you may get upset. I am not intending to upset anyone, but I do realize that the views expressed here will not be accepted by all. )
Now, what many of us (transgendered, the doctors involved in this, and our families and friends) have come to realize, is that there’s actually a third axis to this graph, so we get not a square, but a cube. And the third axis is labeled: How comfortable are you with your own body? It is recognized less frequently because, in my opinion, it’s much more rare for folks to be uncomfortable with their birth gender than to be gay or straight, or femme or macho.
What I think I’ve seen talked about on TV most are the birth males who try to be good little boys, even becoming football players or soldiers, and later realize they need to live out the rest of their lives as women to be happy – a Male-to-Female (MTF) transsexual. Many of us got married, sometimes multiple times, had kids, and went till age 30, 40, 50 or later before going thru transition. Some end up dating guys afterwards, others are attracted to women before and after. Basically, the same thing happens to the Female-to-Males – orientation sometimes stays the same through transition, sometimes not. (Please feel free to start dialogues on any of this, if there’s any other TSs out there).
But this isn’t something well regarded by society. We’re still adapting to civil rights for minority races and equal rights for women, for goodness sake. Equal rights for gays is way behind the learning curve. And equal rights for transgenders is behind even that.
Some will say that understanding and communications is part of the problem, and they may be right. So, here you find a long rambling monologue on the subject, out there for anyone to read. However, I sometimes suspect that transgenders will have a hard time longer, for the following evolutionary reason.
Way back when we were cavepeople, we had no social norms, no marriage, and only rudimentary, violent power hierarchies. The old Alpha Male, Alpha Female stuff. Dog packs have it, chimp and other primate groups have it still. And in that environment, if you’re not Alpha something, then it becomes immensely important to your literal survival to know immediately who is coming out of the bushes at you – male or female? Potential competitor or potential sex partner? I think somewhere in the deep recesses of our brains, way lower than the primitive primate brain, maybe way down in the basic reptilian brain stem, we have pattern recognition that takes in the subtle cues and pops back an answer to the higher brain as fast as greased lightning “it’s a guy” or “it’s a girl”. The rest of the brain reacts as appropriate.
But if the signals are confused, and that core brain flashes out “I can’t tell!!!”, then panic hits the higher brain. And too many transgendered folks, specially the MtFs, trigger that confusion. The FtMs that I’ve known seem to have an easier job of it in many ways – it seems easier for them to pass as guys without setting off alarms than it is for a 6 foot, 250 lb former linebacker in a dress with long hair. C’est la guerre.
Anyway, I’ve type 7000 characters and not answered the question, why do I want to be a woman?
I could regale you with stories of how I liked to dress up in dresses and jewelry at the age of 3. And on and on and on. Symptoms out the wazoo (“oh my god, call 911, she’s got symptoms coming out her wazoo…”) But, I’ve realized, that wouldn’t tell you why.
I like my hair long. I want the feel of dangly earrings against my neck. I want the feeling of breasts on my chest, day and nite, clothed and naked, at work or out on a bike ride. I want the different genitals. I want the freedom to wear skirts and all the other variety that women have. I want I want I want (damn, needy whiny little bitch, isn’t she?) I’d want the physical changes even if somebody said I could only have them if I continued to dress like a guy (unsatisfactory, but if that’s the best I could get, I’d take it). When I was a kid, and still believed in the Catholic Church and their version of God, I even offered to become a nun if I would wake up changed the next morning (He never took me up on that deal.) so it’s not just the desire for sex as a woman.
So, in the end, why do I want to be a woman? I don’t know. But I do want it. And I have since I was maybe 3 or 4 years old, although I didn’t consciously realize it till age 10 or so. And it’s been in my mind and heart ever since. Basically every day, with few exceptions.
The question has always been, how happy can I be without doing this? And that is the core of the issue --- it’s a lot of work, and has significant impacts on your loved ones. So, is it worth it? Is the grass really that much greener on the other side? And how high will the costs be? One never knows for sure. One never knows.
Enough for tonite.
A bit about me -- I'm an in-progress male-to-female transsexual, married, 2 kids from previous marriage, and changing careers from engineering to cooking and nutrition. And becoming more active in the trans community as we speak (or, as I write and you read ;-).
My main "diary" is on OpenDiary, which is a great community. I'm starting this one on Blogspot because I think it'll be a bit more visible, which is sort of the point I guess.