Expanding maleness to include myself

This last week I attended a training in couples therapy. It was good to see some people that I knew and to be in a large group of people that were dedicated to learning how to help people have better relationships and ease their suffering. Afterwards, I went out to lunch with several of the men from the training and I reflected on how it was good to be part of a group of men dedicated to helping others, and learning more about how to promote connection.

It made me think how different these men were than the view of men that I see on my internet feeds. Men as brutes, men as barbarians, men as violent, men as abusers, men as narcissists, and men as violators. Yes, all of these types of men do exist. A lot of us have been abused by men in one way or another, and adopt this view of men. It was my deep internalization of this idea of men, and male culture that made it feel unsafe to be seen as a man or to be a man in the world. It was as if becoming a part of male culture was to participate in violence, either as perpetrator or victim. That childhood experience was deep-rooted and governing my behavior. Now I can clearly see there are lots of different kinds of men, and lots of different male cultures. I knew this in my head of course, but not viscerally, and it was the visceral part that required healing.

I think that is a task all of us with gender issues must face whether detransitioners or not, the fact that there is still some aspect of the birth sex that remains. Long-term transitioners write about this too. Anne Vitale has written about this. Kate Bornstein has written about this too. I don’t think detransition is required, but I think wholeness requires some integration and acceptance of maleness. It is only possible to partially change your sex. Suffering comes from the discrepancy between how you would like the world to be and how the world is.

I see some of the the gender critical trans women I know struggling with this. Trying to accept their maleness and the desire to transition and present as a woman. Also struggling with the political and social ramifications of doing so. After all, how can you simultaneously accept your maleness and maintain a vision of males as horrible and evil? I would suggest that to the degree that you see yourself as male, you are the very example of how a male can be considerate and thoughtful. You are so concerned with the potential negative effects your transition might have on others that you are willing to forgo your own happiness, and to deeply explore how you can be comfortable in the world and still considerate of others. This is a sign of your good heart. So, such things are possible for males.

It is funny sometimes, I find when people refer to my blog, they often refer to me as a “they”, rather than a “he”. Almost like I have to be some outside of gender being. I am not that, I just expanded maleness to include myself. And if you have found any of my words useful, helpful, or kind. Know that they have come from a male. Technically a straight white male even!

What was toxic for me was not expressing femininity, what was toxic for me was attempting to hold my body in ways it wasn’t meant to be held in order to attempt to convey the idea I was female to people. Holding my shoulders in and my hips out, pitching my voice higher than its natural resonance. These things were toxic. Adopting a female role, wanting to be beautiful, desiring to participate in more feminine cultures, expressing myself in ways that our culture says are not okay for men, there was nothing wrong with any of those things.

43 comments

  1. Amen to that.

    Regarding the “they” thing, it seems to be mostly coming from people who have a vested interest in not seeing you as male and it does strike me as odd coming from the “identity is everything” crowd.

    And I definitely know what you mean in the last paragraph. As someone in a position to compare “before” and “after” gestures and voice tone, it’s clear that the path towards “authenticity” involves a lot of artificial posing.

  2. I am really glad you mention this idea of feeling somehow forced to convey maleness in a way that is expected by others. You have your own way and that way is particular to you.
    Also I am glad you read Anne Vitale as I am a big fan of hers.

    1. Yes I have read her and do like some of what she says. I like that she takes stuff out of the identity frame and into her idea of “gender expression deprivation anxiety”. Although I think of it more as “expression deprivation anxiety” that is additionally tied to ideas about gender.

      I definitely faced the challenge she talks about here when I went on T. I plan to write my next post about it, the process of falling into that and breaking out of it via working on my gender trauma is how I came upon a lot of ideas. I’ve been on T for almost 3 years now and don’t have the cycle she talks about any more.

  3. I am glad for you. I firmly believe in the “gender expression deprivation anxiety” descriptor as it applies to myself and have found that by not constraining myself in that area it has greatly tempered my dysphoria.

  4. I followed the link you provided in your current post and found the following statement of interest: “As life settles into a level of everydayness, new questions as to what really happened to them over the course of their transition and the sequelae, come to the fore. These folks come in fully accepting of the fact that they now have a vagina that works, breast and a curvy female looking body that looks good in a dress and a mind finally free of artificially imposed male expression limitations, yet somehow, feel that they have not fully acquired a level of femaleness that their cisgendered sisters around them appear to express naturally.

    Deeper philosophical questions arise such as : “What more do I need to do to get there? Will I ever get there? I’m afraid that if the answer to that last question is, no, what does that make me?” This, of course, is the existential question all post-op transwomen face sooner or later.

    For some the sense of having gone from not really belonging in the world at large as a male to not authentically belonging to the world of women can create disappointment–making for an uncertain future. For others it is a chance to make the final adjustment to a life that continues to be unforgiving. Neither male nor female, all transpersons live in a world of their own. It is an uneasy alliance with society and for some, their own psyche.”

    Being a transsexual is an everyday experience. Only the tenor of the situation changes upon transition, not the fact that it all had to happen in the first place. Many can set aside their awareness of the divide between themselves and the norm for extended periods but I have yet to hear a post-op claim to have been, in their mind, fully assimilated into the world of the cisgendered …even after decades of post-op life.”

    I have issues with many of the statements above offered as fact. IMHO and from my own personal perspective, admittedly biased by my own personal experience…the conclusions Ms. Vitale, PhD., draws based on her 30+ years of counseling the transgendered community is equally biased by her own experience of living as an “out” trans-woman.

    First of all Ms. Vitale claims that she has “yet to hear a post-op claim to have been, in their mind, fully assimilated into the world of the cisgendered …even after decades of post-op life.” Could this possibly be that she is not listening, or…more likely, is the reason that “fully assimilated post-ops” have in fact assimilated fully, and have no need or interest in consulting with and wet behind the ears post-doctoral candidates. while it might be true that “trans-persons live in a world of their own, neither male nor female”, I happily, am not in a position to comment as I have no direct experience with such a world.

    Further, I have never been in a position to have faced such “existential” questions such as these: “What more do I need to do to get there? Will I ever get there? I’m afraid that if the answer to that last question is, no, what does that make me?”

    There is a great deal more wrong with just this short excerpt, but I will not go on in deference to you and your readers whose experience has been so distinctly different than mine. In essence my point is this. Much of the “research” done on the transgender experience is based on faulty data in that it continues to ignore and dismiss those of us who actually changed our morphological sex to match our actual psyche.

    1. Here’s my short hit&run for tonight; I’ll write more next day or so.

      “Much of the “research” done on the transgender experience is based on faulty data in that it continues to ignore and dismiss those of us who actually changed our morphological sex to match our actual psyche.”

      First, your use of the phrase “faulty data” assumes that there is anything resembling data of the hard scientific variety to be found in all of this. There isn’t. Everything we have is anecdotal, subjective, and frequently apocryphal. There is nothing that can be measured in meters, grams, joules, or furlongs about the psyche. The statements proffered by Vitale were not presented as fact, but as observation, which is the superset. (All facts being observations, but not the reverse.)

      Point two, your use of “morphological” is spurious considering the amount of primary and secondary human sex characteristics you have NOT changed, such as skeleton, DNA, and oh I dunno, lack of uterus. Perhaps “changed external cosmetic sex appearance in the pubic region” would be more factually accurate.

      Which brings us to the third and final point for tonight, your claim that your “actual psyche” is female. This is an unprovable claim based on no experimental science whatsoever. It is only what you, in your own mind, have decided you are — an opinion formulated through a combination of life experience, semantic interpretation, congenital homosexual attraction, and maybe (though unverifiable at this time) a genetic factor or two.

      I’m not pointing this out to be mean. You are what you are, and that’s wonderful. I just have this uncontrollable urge to uncover opinions masquerading as facts.

  5. Typical response from someone with a totally different experience arguing, (quite effectively I might add), from a totally left-brained(?), or is it right-brained, male centric POV. Predictably seconded and gleefully dismissed by our resident male cross dresser and self described, (on his own blog) as a Type III “super-transvestite”.

    Why can’t you MEN understand that WOMEN without even, a uterus and anomalous DNA and *maybe* even a slightly larger skeletal frame….are different from men who like to cross dress.

    This blog is one man’s POV and a platform to examine what went wrong with the current protocols which allowed and ostensibly encouraged him to make some extremely serious morphological, (that branch of biology that deals with the form and structure of organisms without consideration of function), alterations to his own body.

    The insistence by some of you here that understand that for many like yourselves, this course of action is a tragic mistake and is not right for YOU, should not be so arrogantly hubristic to conclude that it might not be the best solution for those with a totally different set of needs.

    1. Quote: “Typical response from someone with a totally different experience arguing, (quite effectively I might add), from a totally left-brained(?), or is it right-brained, male centric POV.”

      I doubt I’m that typical… but what is typical is your blatantly sexist assumptions about who may or may not think logically. Rationalism is not something one is born with; it is taught via scientific method and philosophy. I myself know plenty of rational women and irrational men. However, your presumption is popular among the slice-’em-dice-’em transsexual crowd because it serves to reinforce an artificially constructed gender binary that is the basis for medical intervention.

      There are of course differences between the sexes, but an inability to reason is not a sound basis for declaring a man to be a woman! This canard is insulting to women, and thus it’s little wonder radical feminists are annoyed by trans* people. (Not that I’m a fan of radical feminism either, mind you!)

      Quote: “Why can’t you MEN understand that WOMEN without even, a uterus and anomalous DNA and *maybe* even a slightly larger skeletal frame….are different from men who like to cross dress[?]”

      So, with a male skeletal structure, male DNA, male genitalia, male musculature — heck, male down to the molecular level which can still be seen by archaeologists long after the last scrap of flesh has rotted from your bones — you can still be a woman? I’m sorry, but that quite literally means that it’s all in your head! ‘Cogito ergo sum’ and all, but that’s taking it to a breathtakingly delusional level. “Male” and “female” are scientific definitions of reproductive characteristics, not imaginary concepts to be bent to the will of those with economic or political agendas.

      Quote: “[…]extremely serious morphological, (that branch of biology that deals with the form and structure of organisms without consideration of function), alterations[…]”

      As I am unaware of any definition of ‘morphology’ which includes the phrase ‘without consideration of function’, or reference to artificially constructed form, your use of it remains in error. It is more helpful to call things by their true names — which in this case is ‘cosmetic surgery’. SRS differs from rhinoplasty only in location, risk, and complexity.

      Quote: “[…]should not be so arrogantly hubristic to conclude that it might not be the best solution for those with a totally different set of needs.”

      I haven’t yet seen that from anyone else, and I certainly hope you aren’t waggling that accusation in my general direction. I cannot, and will not, challenge your interpretation of yourself — your internal feelings, how you view the world. You are who you are, even if to everyone else you appear to be in complete and utter denial of reality. (I’m sure that’s how some people see me, but they don’t see the world through my eyes, either.)

      What I am challenging here is the stretching of your own mental reality into scientific fact. To wit: if you were born with male DNA and male reproductive organs, you are male. That’s science. If you’ve had lots of pills and surgeries to alter your appearance and remove your equipment — and even if no one but you and your doctors know it — you’re still male.

      What you have done, however, is to alter your reality — to change the role you play in this movie we call Life. Some of us are indeed more comfortable playing the role of “woman”. Some of us like to switch it up. (Like me!) Maybe, metaphysically speaking, we’re all just acting a part — “all the world’s a stage” — and there isn’t a darn thing wrong with it.

      I don’t see anyone saying that you did the wrong thing for you. This blog seems to me a useful warning to those who might not be thinking rationally about their actions, but it won’t stop anyone like you, will it? It is necessary for minority voices like TWT’s to be heard against the so-called “trans* community”. The orthodoxy is very much agreed with YOU, Sally… I have been in the forums, and seen many people shouted down, banned, and reviled for daring to suggest that psychiatrists and surgeons don’t have all the answers.

      I won’t claim to have all the answers either. My desire is only to inject some reason into a conversation with too little of it, in the hopes that others, as I myself have, may find a path to happiness less painful to the body and bank account.

    2. All points of view are welcome here whether they are male, female right brained left brained or anything in between. Also nothing wrong with being a cross-dresser or transvestite. In fact one of the things I think that contributes to some unnecessary transitions is the fact that being those things is so shamed. Better to identify as a woman so that your desires are more “pure”

      I’ve always said that transitioning could be right for some people, it is just not that anyone who has any dysphoria ever needs to transition or they are doomed to life of hell and eventual suicide as some of the reddit folk would say.

  6. Forgive me for not being sucked into MC’s quasi/pseudo “rationale”, (from his personal POV), other than to refer you all to the very first response to a Google search for the term, “morphological”:
    Morphology (biology) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morphology_(biology)Wikipedia
    Morphology is a branch of biology dealing with the study of the form and structure of organisms and their specific structural features. This includes aspects of the outward appearance (shape, structure, colour, pattern) as well as the form and structure of the internal parts like bones and organs.

    Nor will I respond to your weak, obviously defensive attempts to de-legitimization my reality or authenticity. Suffice it to say that I am, as you say, who I am….and more importantly it works very well for me and those around me. Just like Jo’s rather schizophrenic, bi-gendered lifestyle works for him and whatever it is that you choose to do seems to work for you. The question I propose is just what went wrong in TWT’s case and the many others who were apparently misled by the “anything goes/do your own thing” mentality espoused by the trans* “community”.

    I strongly agree with TWT’s opinion that this PC mentality, ” contributes to some unnecessary transitions is the fact that being those things, {transvestite/cross dresser}, is so shamed. Better to identify as a woman so that your desires are more “pure”.” It has been my own experience, (having been insulted, demeaned, (as you have done) and ultimately banned on EVERY forum… that whenever I question such other dimensional thinking there is a harshly enforced thought pattern, (agenda), demanded on every trans* forum that I have ever attempted to comment on….except this one….so far.

    1. I hear that you feel that you have different experiences than the others and that is okay and that it is hard for you when you feel like your view of yourself is being attacked. I don’t think that was the intention here, but I see you felt it that way.

      We are trying to get away from enforced thought patterns here for sure. However I also want to create a space that fosters good dialogue and I would ask you to refrain from personal attacks on others. Particularly calling Jo’s lifestyle “schizophrenic” and attacking MCs words as a “quasi-pseudo rationale”

      Thanks.,
      TWT

    2. Quote: “MC’s quasi/pseudo “rationale””

      Would you explain what you mean by that, and how it applies to me? I can only guess that it means you are challenging my opinions, but what specifically are you challenging, and on what grounds?

      Quote: ” Suffice it to say that I am, as you say, who I am….and more importantly it works very well for me and those around me.”

      I defy you to show where anyone here has said otherwise!

  7. Sally, the only thing being destabilised is reasonable discussion because you keep reacting aggressively to what you perceive as insults and attacks where none exist. You’ve made your point(s) several times over on multiple posts on TWT’s blog. Unless you have something new to offer, you might want to sit this one out and let others contribute to rational discussion.

  8. OK. Perhaps I will, “sit this one out” as it seems that in the opinion of many here, my lived experience, IE: the past 50-60 years of my life, is just a “complete and utter denial of reality”.

    I suppose that the FACTS of that REALITY are just my own
    “personal delusions” and feelings since the MEN here, who know so F**KING much more about MY reality… say so.

    BTW…”“schizophrenic lifestyle” was the term used by Jo, on his blog, to describe is method of coping with his own GD.

    1. Settle down there, Turbo.

      Quote: “IE: the past 50-60 years of my life, is just a “complete and utter denial of reality”.”

      That, right there, is my words, taken completely out of context — either deliberately, or borne of failure to understand the context in which they were written.

      As a rational and logical person, I endeavor to think and learn with precision, and to communicate with precision as well. When you see from me a detailed response, you can bet it’s been through a few revisions before I click that “Post Comment” button. I make every effort to ensure that my writing is clear, and its meaning unhindered. The last one I posted, above, took me 3 hours to craft, which included thinking about it while I made dinner.

      Thus, one of my biggest pet peeves is people who quickly skim over what I write, see only what they wish to see, assume they are being attacked, and fly off the handle. It makes me feel as though my efforts to communicate have been in vain. I don’t like to be made a straw man.

      It’s as if you are looking for excuses to be offended. No one here is attacking you.

      Would you do me the courtesy of re-reading my previous post? Take some time. I will be happy to clarify any misunderstandings, because, I will admit, sometimes my efforts at precision fall short. You need but ask.

  9. “Settle down there, ‘Turbo’.”??? Sure thing, Fido. Tell you what, Fido. Why don’t you go back and re-read my last post and try to comprehend my meaning. I have no need to defend my life experience to an arrogant condescending, recreational cross dresser.

    READ…my written words: “I will not respond to your weak, obviously defensive attempts to de-legitimization my reality or authenticity.”

    1. Actually, I did just that, I assure you. I always read someone’s post several times before I reply, to make sure that I’m not going off half-cocked. (If I feel someone is worth having a conversation with, I’ll make extra effort to overlook the occasional malapropism or grammatical misfortune to hopefully arrive at their meaning. If not, I wouldn’t bother.)

      The perfect example of going off half-cocked would be your contention that I am an “arrogant condescending, recreational cross dresser”. I have nowhere stated that I am a “recreational cross dresser”. Anywhere. Because I’m not. I am not recreational, not cross (quite chipper, in fact!), and not a piece of furniture. I’ve not yet said where I fit in this puzzle.

      But you do seem to hurl that epithet at everyone who disagrees with you.

  10. TWT, I was going to comment on your post at first, but I’m afraid I veered off course! I appreciate what you say, and while your experience has not been mine, I nonetheless find it instructive.

    Quote: “Men as brutes, men as barbarians, men as violent, men as abusers, men as narcissists, and men as violators.”

    This is probably where our worldviews diverge the most. I have never had that opinion of men. I was raised in a middle-class white suburban environment, around well-mannered and well-groomed people (“good Christian folk”), and without the influence of television. My imagination was captured by the heroes and explorers on the pages of the classics, so my opinion of men (and women) was always good. The few bullies I encountered in childhood, I reckoned, were outliers, and easily rendered harmless with a fist to the nose.

    I’m not sure I could safely say that I wanted desperately to be a girl… but to be more like them, perhaps? Or to be able to become one when it suited me… ah, to be a shapeshifter! I think the thing my 10-year-old self wanted most was to have my ears pierced… and wouldn’t you know it, that was the thing farthest out of reach.

    I’ve always had some feminine mannerisms, and was often mistaken for a “ma’am” even back when I wasn’t trying to be one. The men of my family were the quiet sort, and when they did talk, it was about religion or baseball, neither of which held my interest. So I suppose I just gravitated toward the women. The pangs of wanna-be motherhood still strike, but I have never felt shame at being male. My childhood could be described like Eddie Izzard describes his: “running, jumping, climbing trees, putting on makeup while you’re up there….”

    Quote: “Adopting a female role, wanting to be beautiful, desiring to participate in more feminine cultures, expressing myself in ways that our culture says are not okay for men, there was nothing wrong with any of those things.”

    I spent some years drying to drown those thoughts with alcohol. Then one fine day, my Give-A-Shit broke. I thought, “society is wrong about me, and I can’t fix it any time soon, but damned if I’m going to let that stop me from being me.” It was pretty scary for a while. But it was worth it. Life is good without limitations and hangovers. 🙂

    1. Quote: “Men as brutes, men as barbarians, men as violent, men as abusers, men as narcissists, and men as violators.”

      I was making that quote more in responding to the views of many elsewhere in my blog audience, as being common views that are seen. I did not hold all of those, although the idea of men being dangerous was held, although it was mostly unconscious and applied only to myself. It was more like if I was a feminine male I would suffer violence, and if I “gave in” to maleness I would become a barbarian. It was that deep-seeded belief that made it feel primally unsafe to be male.

      I think that a key thing to sort out, as I talked about elsewhere is if you are running towards womanhood or running away from manhood. Eddie Izzard seem to me to be an example of someone who accepts all of their aspects, and people accept him too, probably for that reason.

  11. Hmmm….yes. Perhaps you are all correct. I drew the “irrationally” wrong, (yet seemingly “logical”) inferences from MC’s statements, such as:
    ” Some of us are indeed more comfortable playing the role of “woman”. Some of us like to switch it up. (Like me!)”

    Or maybe it was this one that led me astray:
    “:Adopting a female role, wanting to be beautiful, desiring to participate in more feminine cultures, expressing myself in ways that our culture says are not okay for men”….I spent some years drying to drown those thoughts with alcohol. Then one fine day, my Give-A-Shit broke. I thought, “society is wrong about me, and I can’t fix it any time soon, but damned if I’m going to let that stop me from being me.”

    Let me be clear. I could not care less what some men do, or desire to do to get their ‘jollies’. That is between themselves and their own consciences. If it excites them, or gives them solace to adopt a female role again, that is their own business. What I find offensive, and frankly insulting to the personal integrity of others and their values and views, is the condescending view that those values and perceptions based on decades of actual lived experience are, “an alteration of reality or imaginary concepts to be bent to the will of those with economic or political agendas.” I have no “economic or political agendas”.

    This is the context in which I am accused by ‘some’ of being, “spurious”, and/or “frequently apocryphal”. They appear arrogant, condescending and insulting to my intelligence when they state as fact, (when the truth is that it is only their biased and completely erroneous presumption)…”that to everyone else you appear to be in complete and utter denial of reality”.

    Well perhaps, I have “created my own reality”, but it is a “reality” in which I exist and interact happily and authentically as the simple old woman that I have grown to become. Yes, I have evolved from a rather brash young woman in her twenties to a slightly more sedate, mature and contended older woman in her late sixties. Should I give a flying ‘frisbie’ what some middle-aged or older gender benders think of my “reality” as they prance about their “metaphysical dance of life”? No. I really don’t think so.

    Do I care about the suffering and catastrophic waste of lives resulting from a “health care” system and protocols based on faulty data? Yes data: that is what it is called, despite what some here might want us to believe. The answer to that question is yes, which is why I attempt to participate in these forums.

    TWT is a living, breathing example of what can, and often does go wrong with those protocols. I certainly ‘seem’ to be an example of what can go right when those protocols are effectively employed, even if for the wrong reasons. The truth is that I managed to avoid those infamous “WPATH Standards of Care”. They were still being formulated and had yet to be widely applied and MIS-applied.

    1. Sally,

      It occurs to me that I might be expecting too much. If English is not your first language, then I apologize — I’ve been unfair. I shall attempt to clarify.

      Quote: “What I find offensive, and frankly insulting to the personal integrity of others and their values and views, is the condescending view that those values and perceptions based on decades of actual lived experience are, “an alteration of reality or imaginary concepts to be bent to the will of those with economic or political agendas.””

      Right there, you have done it again: taking my words out of their original context, and twisting their meaning into a personal offense, instead of the general statement they were intended to be. This is considered to be in poor taste.

      Quote: ”that to everyone else you appear to be in complete and utter denial of reality”

      These, too, you have taken out of context. That statement was a general one, because it is true of all humanity to varying extents, which is why, in my very next sentence, I pointed out that it was true of myself as well. Again, not a personal attack.

      Quote: “Well perhaps, I have “created my own reality”, but it is a “reality” in which I exist and interact happily”

      Exactly. We all create our own realities. That was one of my points! All of us make our own worlds, every day. Some exercise more control over where they’re going than others: some create their dreams, others live as chips in a millrace. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it. And yet again, this was never a personal attack.

      Quote: “This is the context in which I am accused by ‘some’ of being, “spurious”, and/or “frequently apocryphal”.”

      You can’t be spurious… your use of the wrong word was, however. That’s just fact. I’m a bit OCD about language; don’t take it personally. The ‘apocryphal’ comment was also a general statement, NOT A PERSONAL ATTACK. Holy cow.

      Quote: “a slightly more sedate, mature and contended older woman in her late sixties.”

      If by “contended” you mean “content”, I do hope so, but your writing does not convey that. Your language comes across as bitter, angry, divisive, and at times hysterical. In my experience, happy people do not go about looking for things to be offended at! You seem to take offense at everything, none of which is intended. Happy people don’t do that.

      Now here’s the sad part:

      Quote: “Do I care about the suffering and catastrophic waste of lives resulting from a “health care” system and protocols based on faulty data?”

      I am probably in full agreement with you in many regards here, though perhaps for slightly different reasons. The system is broken. I have lost friends to that system, and eventual suicide, and I fear I will lose more.

      I am here because there are lives I care about. I reached out to you before, to ask you what your critiques of the system were. You never answered. Perhaps you think no one else cares… but you’d be wrong.

      Thing is, I’m possibly the closest thing you have here to an ally, but you’re too busy being angry and offended to realize it. If you can swallow the melodramatic outrage, you might find we have a common goal. If you do not wish to be reasonable, then say so, and I’ll leave you be.

  12. I understand that *perhaps* we *might” have a common goal, but I am highly skeptical as a result of statements lie these: ” Your language comes across as bitter, angry, divisive, and at times hysterical”

    Really? How so? Perhaps you might deign to elucidate us all.

  13. Perhaps it might help to consider that just because you are “unfamiliar” or “unaware” of a particular usage or understanding of a particular word/term, (“morphological”) is not sufficient justification, IMHO to advertise your your ignorance of those FACTS by pronouncing the PROPER and appropriate usage of that term as “spurious”.

    Anyway, never let it be said that I never attempted to enlighten you,…

    morphological Also found in: Medical, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia 0.01 sec.

    mor·phol·o·gy (môr-fl-j)
    n. pl. mor·phol·o·gies
    1.
    a. The branch of biology that deals with the form and structure of organisms without consideration of function.

    b. The form and structure of an organism or one of its parts: the morphology of a cell; the morphology of vertebrates.

    morphological sex that part of the phenotypic sex that is determined by the morphology of the external genitals.

  14. C mon guys, we are not a school. I follow this discussion for two days. Sincerely I have never had problems with Sally. I think you are misunderstanding each other. We should not quarrel, because “we are in the same boat”(as we say in Italy).
    🙂

  15. I found this post (the original post, I mean) so lovely and beautiful and inspiring. And at first I was baffled when I read the subsequent debate in the comments (which I read as quite bitter in places). Then I think I got it. Oh! It’s BECAUSE the theme is acceptance of maleness… d’oh!
    This is really, really challenging for a lot of us – myself included – right?

    I’ve spent a lot of my life with a lot of internalised misandry (or whatever name we might want to give it – hating/shaming/excluding/disowning the bits of ourselves that we perceive as male).

    Hey, one other thing I want to contribute from my experience. TTT, I really love your final paragraph and particularly, your last sentence: “Adopting a female role, wanting to be beautiful, desiring to participate in more feminine cultures, expressing myself in ways that our culture says are not okay for men, there was nothing wrong with any of those things.”
    The biggest single knock to my own hatred-of-all-things-male came when I was throwing myself enthusiastically into adopting a ‘female’ role – and fell in love with a man. A lovely, kind, interesting, clever, passionate, generous hearted and EXTREMELY sexy man. Sadly the relationship didn’t last (it was just too much for me to untangle how on earth I was going to keep loving his masculinity and hating my own at the same time). But it makes me curious – there must be other folk out there who’ve similarly fallen in love with men. So has it been similarly pivotal for them? Or is their dysphoria based on something different to mine?

    1. It was much the same for me. I had a relationship with a man for four years who was very gentle and kind which was very key to my healing. At the same time I had a male therapist as well. It was funny in a way because they kept telling me similar things, and I would only accept them if both of them said it somehow I could dismiss one person saying something as just their opinion, but if there were two that was different.

      The ironic thing was that through my healing relationship with him, and once I got on T I discovered that my true embodied sexual and romantic instincts are towards women.

      It was much like the classical Freudian idea of the “repetition compulsion” where we seek to act out the trauma over and over again, until we find a way to make it different through the loving presence of another.

  16. I have to agree with Alphus that there is no need to quarrel, although I am not quite sure that, “we are in the same boat”. From what I can gather, and please correct me if I am mistaken, it seems to me that TWT represents someone who has in fact undergone a complete reconfiguration of his genitalia and endocrine system which he is now in the process of attempting to reverse. You on the other hand, I sense that you are considering, (or actually in the process of), said ‘re-configuration’.

    Some of our other commentators here like MC or “Jo” seem to express no interest whatsoever in such a radical transition and seem content to find other less invasive ways to deal with their own personal proclivities or compulsions. As to my own personal situation, I think that I have been abundantly clear, (perhaps to a fault in the opinion of some), that I am more than pleased with my results and cannot imagine my life under any other circumstances.

    This is in fact a good thing that we have such an eclectic group. It allows for a wide variety of perspectives and potential solutions to the core problem which I see as poor diagnosis precipitated by a conflation of terms and conditions and exacerbated by such archaic and dogmatic biases which postulate a definition of woman which excludes AIS, CAIS and PAIS.

    Postulating the possession of a uterus or an XX chromosome is oversimplification to the MAX and ignores the effects of in utero insults to the developing fetus.

    1. I am glad we have an eclectic group too and value that we have a diversity of opinion. I’m also glad that you are pleased with your results.

      You have said many times that your experience is different than the rest of us, and that is great, I would never say anyone should not engage in the transition/hormones/surgery path if it is what leads to happiness for them.

      You have also said that you are here to help do something about “the suffering and catastrophic waste of lives resulting from a “health care” system and protocols based on faulty data? We definitely share that goal.

      However, in order to have a productive dialogue, particularly among an eclectic group we need to refrain from insults. Calling someone an “arrogant condescending, recreational cross dresser” is dismissive and shaming and prevents there being a safe space for sharing our personal experiences. MC was also a little provocative by referring to you as “turbo” as well.

      It is important to me to preserve this space as a place for good dialogue, so I will in the future set anyone who engages in repeated insults of others to moderated status on their commenting.

      1. I am glad that we are in agreement on the important issues which are the focus of this blog and I will do my utmost to contribute what ever I can based on rather limited understanding of what we has been so generically referred to as ‘transgenderism’.

        However, as you may have already noticed, I do very poorly when lectured to by someone who has absolutely no idea of what it is like to go through what you or I or so many others have and then has the audacity to label me “delusional”, hysterical or worse. I see no shaming in calling a cross dresser a ‘cross dresser’. That seems like a much less “triggering” appellation than , ‘a man in a dress’ , even though both are accurate descriptions. Perhaps you or Jo, or anyone, would like to suggest a PC term for someone like Jo (or apparently even MC), who cross dresses “just for fun”, pleasure, (sexual or otherwise), and/or “relief” from stress. tension, or just plain sexual release? What do you call that?

        My reference to arrogance and condescension, was based on the presumption of some, that because they might be unaware or unfamiliar with a particular terminology or its usage, it is their right to declare it “spurious”.

        Not to be too pedantic but perhaps MC is also unaware of the actual meaning this term which he so blithely hurls about. To wit: Hysteria.

        The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders by the American Psychiatric Association marked a break in the consensus that previously seemed to apply to the concept of hysteria and approach to the clinical manifestations. The clinical manifestations of hysteria are numerous and multifaceted, comprising 3 main classifications: paroxysms, attacks, and acute manifestations; long-lasting functional syndromes, and visceral events. Each main classification can be subdivided into several subgroups. The first main group of paroxysms, attacks, and acute manifestations includes major hysterical attacks, such as prodrome, trance and epileptic states, minor hysterical attacks such as syncope and tetany, twilight states, paroxysmal amnesia, and cataleptic attacks. The second group includes focal hysterical symptoms, paralyses, contractures and spasms, anesthesia, and sensory disorders. Visceral manifestations can be subdivided into spasms, pain, and general and trophic disorders.

        So I hope I will be forgiven for taking umbrage at being labeled with such an ugly, inaccurate and dismissive disparagement. And please, do not even attempt to suggest that these insults were not directed at me or that I should simply accept them in the spirit of “community”.

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25273487

        1. Quote: “the audacity to label me “delusional”, hysterical or worse.”

          Despite my *repeated* requests, you have *still* not addressed the issue of taking my words out of context. It is as if my words are here for you to twist as you please, but I don’t exist. You won’t talk *to* me, but you talk *about* me as though I were not here. This is not how normal people have conversations!

          Quote: “I see no shaming in calling a cross dresser a ‘cross dresser’.”

          Nor do I. I have not taken offense at anything, despite your (apparent) attempts to inflict it. However, not once (prior to your calling me that) did I make mention of my sex, gender, or lifestyle status, so it was completely presumptuous on your part. Further, as I still have not filled in the details as to who and what I am, any further presumption on your part will only serve to make you look foolish.

          Quote: “Perhaps you or Jo, or anyone, would like to suggest a PC term for someone like Jo (or apparently even MC), who cross dresses “just for fun”, pleasure, (sexual or otherwise), and/or “relief” from stress. tension, or just plain sexual release?”

          Yes, there is indeed a difference between a man who dresses as a woman, and a man who has his penis removed and dresses as a woman. You’ve made your point. We get it already! In fact, I’m pretty sure we have all known that already; there was no confusion to dispel.

          But of course the latter is morally superior to the former, right? Because if you’re not actually saying that, it seems you’re trying awful hard to make us think you are. It’s clear you regard cross-dressers as somehow less of… something. Using it as an epithet (rather than a factual appellation) would seem to indicate that you view the term as somehow derogatory. Am I correct?

          Quote: “Not to be too pedantic but perhaps MC is also unaware of the actual meaning [of] this term”

          Thank you, and in fact, I was already aware of the origin of the word, as well as its medical implications. There are, however, many words which have more than one meaning, and some of those uses are what we call “colloquial”, meaning that enough people have used a word in a certain, albeit incorrect, way that it becomes widely accepted and understood. I think everyone reading knew which definition of “hysterical” was being employed, and got the meaning. 🙂

        2. Upon further reflection, it occurs to me that ‘hysterical’, despite its correctness, could have been replaced with ‘histrionic’ with no one the wiser. 😉

    2. Quote: “postulate a definition of woman which excludes AIS, CAIS and PAIS.”

      First: that would probably be because those conditions are part of the intersex spectrum, which is in fact — by its very definition! — neither exclusively male nor female, but a mixture of both.

      Second: there are a number of women (let’s say publicly accepted to be women) with AIS — who are so attractive that no one questions their femininity. Some aren’t so attractive, or so apparently female, but usually, it’s difficult to visually distinguish AIS women from reproductively normal women. It’s luck of the draw; not everyone is tall, beautiful, or intelligent.

      And third: do you actually have any of those conditions? It sounds as if you are tossing them out there as a defense of your position. You have not laid direct claim to being intersex (that I can recall) but if that’s the case, then out with it!

      Because, frankly, if you are not intersex, you shouldn’t be appropriating intersex people to defend your position as a sex-normative TS — that would be a false equivalency, on top of insulting.

  17. Jools asks: “…there must be other folk out there who’ve similarly fallen in love with men. So has it been similarly pivotal for them? Or is their dysphoria based on something different to mine?”

    I think that your final question, “…is their dysphoria based on something different to mine?”, holds the key. In my rather limited experience with trans* folks, I would have to say that there is huge difference in not just the varieties of dysphoria, as well as the intensities, but also in the types.

    Jools, seem to describe a kind of “hating/shaming/excluding/disowning the bits of ourselves that we perceive as male”. I seem to remember TWT referring to something similar. I am not sure how others would describe their own personal brand of discontent, but I have never really hated “anything male”. In my case, I just KNEW that my sexual configuration was all wrong for who I was. It worked fine, but it just did not fit with who I was. I tried to make it work emotionally for me but deep down, I knew I was just lying to myself and everyone around me.

    In my case, I find that there are many aspects of my character which I do not find displeasing and could easily be described as ‘male’ traits. I seem to have developed an affinity for the power and elegance of certain machines and I love working with my hands and body to build things.
    The thing is, that in my part of the world there are easily a dozen women within the radius of a few miles who are far better at the things I enjoy, than I could ever dream to be.

    As to your underlying question about loving men, I can only say that prior to my sex change I never had any interest in men whatsoever, and was exclusively heterosexual in my sexual preference. I had no idea how that would work out after my change, but I was relatively surprised to find myself attracted to men once I was sufficiently recovered from the surgery to think about anything other than the constant pain and discomfort.

    Ever since then, I have been extremely privileged to have loved a number of sexy and beautiful men have grown to appreciate them for what they are and can, or cannot be. We are all human, and by definition imperfect. All we can do is the best we can and when able, help others along the way.

  18. Now hopefully, that we have laid to rest those issues involving the alleged ‘malapropisms’, (as in barbarism in a figure of speech, as in misuse, atrocity: noun crudity, savagery, especially in speech), I would like to address what I believe was the point of this latest post.

    Quoting TWT: ” It was my deep internalization of this idea of men, and male culture that made it feel unsafe to be seen as a man or to be a man in the world. It was as if becoming a part of male culture was to participate in violence, either as perpetrator or victim. That childhood experience was deep-rooted and governing my behavior.”

    I see this as an interesting and highly astute observation, and IMHO an important one. It would seem reasonable that as a small infant/child, (ages 18 months to about 3-4 years old), the louder masculine voices of men, would be perceived in marked contrast to the softer more intimate cooing of a mother comforting her young child. Add to that the direct and positively reinforcement of a mother’s cuddling and even breast feeding and it is easy to see how that child could perceive men as potentially scary, even dangerous.

    I am thinking that unless this early impression of men as “dangerous” or “violent”, is not offset by a loving, caring father figure, this negative image could easily become a self-affirming reality in later life. Hence the relation to an “absent or abusive” father. In addition, and this is totally speculative on my part, it could easily be argued that erotic association and sensory imprinting could/would be taking place during this period of time when the nascent brain is still growing and establishing its initial neural pathways.

    On another note, I think that this following observation should also be opened to greater scrutiny and discussion: ” ….[the] discrepancy between how you would like the world to be and how the world is”. An example of this can be found on most forums in the form of instantaneous banning unless one unquestioningly accepts that a man dressed/”presenting” as, or claiming to be a woman, MUST be address as a woman and accorded all the courtesies and privileges normally reserved for, well….normal women. This is where logic, reason and actual perceptual input, must by declaration, be suspended in favor of political correctness or a desired outcome.

    Another extension of this is the whole idea of “passing”. In other words, if those efforts, which TWT found to be toxic, (mannerisms, voice, posture, etc.), are not sufficient to allow a given individual to “pass” as their desired or target sex, then despite the unfortunate circumstance that their efforts were not sufficiently convincing, that individual MUST, (again by decree or force of law), be accepted, accommodated, and treated as their desired target GENDER.

    BTW. Did anybody notice my written “sleight of hand”? I intentionally conflated the terminology to highlight just one more issues that so muddies the waters of constructive and “rational’, reasonable discussion.

    1. Quote: “An example of this can be found on most forums in the form of instantaneous banning unless one unquestioningly accepts that a man dressed/”presenting” as, or claiming to be a woman, MUST be address as a woman and accorded all the courtesies and privileges normally reserved for, well….normal women. This is where logic, reason and actual perceptual input, must by declaration, be suspended in favor of political correctness or a desired outcome.”

      I completely agree with that paragraph, on its face. This is why I thought we might have something in common, and I have been banned from a number of those forums for saying much the same thing.

      I’ve also repeatedly said that while it’s nice when folks play along with the game when it comes to pronouns, no one has a right to expect anyone else to read their mind, or to pretend when they can obviously see through the wig, linebacker build, and 12 kilos of makeup. Being a good person and treating others with courtesy means also forgiving others, thus being a good example. I don’t get mad at the occasional “sir”; I just smile because I’ve just encountered a perceptive person who tells it like they see it.

      I would further say, though, that it would be good if someday our language included a third-gender neutral alternative to Sir and Ma’am. The closest thing to it seems to be the southeastern USA use of “y’all” in its singular form, as opposed to the plural “all y’all”. You can say “How y’all doin'” without mis-gendering (a silly term, IMO) anyone.

      1. MC I no longer worry about labels nor tangle with people with narrow minded and very transparent agendas. I just smile it off because it invariably leads to wasted energy and breath. I do like the way you have responded however and good on you…

  19. WOW! I almost missed it! I hope you will re-post this as a new and/or upsdaed topic or post. The article you ping-backed to, goes right to the heart of the matter.
    I would strongly suggest a serious look at the “About” section of Morabito’s blog. http://stellamorabito.net/about/

  20. No man is an island. Even if you’ve expanded maleness to include yourself, how do you prevent dissatisfaction when interacting with the seven billion minus one people on earth whose consciousness has not been similarly expanded? Do they see you or their conceptions of a male?

    1. It is true that we will be treated differently, particularly by people that don’t know us very well due to things like gender, height, appearant age, demeanor etc. I was treated differently in some ways when I was perceived as a cis woman, and still differently when I was perceived as a trans woman. I think we are all perceived as other than what we are.

      However what I noticed was that the reason the gender thing was so powerful was because being perceived as male triggered my own associations with maleness. It was noticing the difference between this and other ways I was misperceived that didn’t trigger this that was one of the things that led me to believe there was something different about the gender perception.

      I am currently frequently perceived as much younger than I am due to the lingering effects of transition and that frustrates me but doesn’t bring up the same intense feelings as came up when I was “misgendered” before I was able to work through some of this.

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