Monday, January 31, 2011


Keep your expectations reasonable.
- Chinese fortune cookie

100 days until surgery, 11 until opening night and while I expected to make a post today, I didn't expect that I would have to admit that I acted like a real diva, in the negative sense during rehearsal yesterday. It would be convenient to blame it on hormones, because I was in the last day of menstrual cramps with a toothache from an infected tooth. It would be easy, but it wouldn't be right to not own up to my own attitude, which was not respectful of others.

The rejection monster crawled into my psyche again. Friday night, after watching A Girl Like Me--The Gwen Araujo Story, I noticed the director had sent us the corrected lines. I was surprised to see I had 2/3 of the lines instead of about half and continued to practice it as she had written.

By the time Deb had arrived, two new friends I had met on Saturday arrived and the director wound up casting them both into the same piece. She redivided the lines among the four of us. Looking at the lines that were now mine, I was heartbroken, None of the lines that I loved doing were included in my set. With less than two weeks to go until opening night, wanting everything to be perfect, I wasn't happy at all. I felt that since I had done so much work eliciting what I felt were the right emotions to interpret the piece, I should have a different set of lines. I was even told I was overacting when I tried to do those lines, and I felt betrayed--rejected.

I tried bottling in up.When I told Deb I was hurting, she surmised it was the lines. I was about to go to the bathroom to cry it out when my mother called, and of course I spilled it out. Some of the cast members wanted me to perform my monologue for them--except i didn't have anything approaching a monologue anymore. I felt cheapened, lessened, and as a result I was less of a person to those around me. While I was contemplating quitting the show, I was doing it out of purely selfish reasons.

I seemed to imply to others around me that I thought I was the better actress, having to tone down my "acting" to be on the plane of the people who just joined. I had no right to feel that way. Crying in front of other cast members was a definite no-no, and passing on the way my previous director had done things had unbeknownst to me been hurting the current director's feelings. I know not to do that anymore.

In addition, she felt that I had been "back-stage directing" in my efforts to help Deborah with her lines the week before. I'm not sure if I gave any unsolicited advice to anyone, but I am definitely going to foster an awareness from now on.

My attitude in my hurt resulted in one of non-inclusivity, and I may have hurt my chances at anything of equal value in the long run, but I am still going to take her direction to try to behave more as a professional actress, because that is expected of me, and not my pettiness that I displayed.

I had a pulpectomy today. The tooth may have to be extracted. For now, the dentist just installed a temporary filling, gave me some pain killer and antibiotics and scheduled me to come back in a couple of days for the hygienist. My first visit to the dentist as a woman! I had this strange feeling, though, about his smile as he stopped by to give me a rather shy hello in passing while I was sitting in the chair. The registration form didn't have a place for gender and I totally enjoyed how easily she and her came off his lips and those of his assistant. While the anesthetic slowly took effect, I felt like a little girl while staring at the ceiling trim as if it were clouds. On the way home, I picked up some soft food from Panda Express--Walnut Shrimp on Chow Mein--and taking it home, waited until 5:30 when I could eat and the painkiller reduce the pain now arising as the anesthetic began to wear off. Once the magical hour arrived and I had finished my Panda Bowl and taken my antibiotic, I curled up on the couch for a nap, waking at 9 PM. I'm still sleepy, and I will move into the bedroom when the traffic outside settles--the mounting pile of laundry will just have to wait until Wednesday  when I feel fit enough to do the cardio necessary to get it to the laundromat and back. Dance class is tomorrow.

Hugs and God Bless,

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Mullerian Tissue

I was wondering if Dr. Suporn has encountered residual Mullerian tissue in any of his SRS patients and what his policy might be toward that tissue. I am not sure if I have any residual tissue, but I have noticed with my change to a more cyclic estrogen dose using intra-muscular injections that I do get approximately monthly groin cramps. I am also able to probe what appears to be a 3 inch cavity where the left inguinal canal cavity resides, which is about an inch wide and admits my index finger. I get sympathy pains just thinking about it. It's obviously the location where my left gonad goes when it vanishes for a time (sometimes quite painfully).

I have finally received my passport, marked in the female gender; but the US State Department still has my original letter of SRS recommendation from my therapist. They did return my letter from my endocrinologist, however. Hopefully, they'll return the letter to me and I'll be able to bring both letters with me.

According to Dr. Suporn's office manager:

Mullerian tissue is typically associated with the presence of a uterus – which is present in a genetic woman, but not in a normal non-genetic woman. It is rarely present in a non-genetic woman, other than in specific intersex conditions or pseudohermaphroditism, Since such an eventuality is a rarity, there is no policy per se, and if it should arise as an issue, he would deal with it on a case-by-case basis. Unless you have specifically been diagnosed with this condition, it is not likely to exist.

I appreciate knowing that Dr. Suporn deals with this issues like this on a case-by-case basis instead of blindly removing the tissue.

Deborah is someone I met in here in Utah who visited Thailand some years back with someone who went for SRS. Deborah has been running a support group here for years. Last night she took me to my first meeting with Intersex Society of Utah.

I was halfway looking forward to the intersex support group meeting and halfway not. This may be difficult to understand, but while I have accepted my potentially extremely rare intersex condition on an intellectual level, I'm still trying to come to own it emotionally. I'm not sure taking it to that plane will make any difference. My instincts have been trying to tell me that it will make me less human, that everything I have previously come to know about myself is filled with lies from doctors about being normal.

It left me not knowing how to think. Maybe I was afraid it will make me feel pitied, or treated differently. This strange feeling is a force within myself I need to content with. Not to mention, most doctors I deal with would never believe I have PMDS, if I truly have it. Somehow, I was finding comfort in the uncertainty, like my first college essays, where I was afraid to make a stand on a point and be wrong. I took refuge in the words "probably" and the gender neutral "they", resulting in the professors docking points every time I used one of them.

I guess you could say I grew up being afraid to be wrong, to waste everyone's time. And sometimes I'm afraid to be right with no rational reason.

The letter I have from my endocrinologist is also an original endorsement for SRS, that she sent when I was getting documents ready for my passport application. I got that one back. I'm hoping the State Department didn't lose or insists on holding on to the original of the letter I scanned and faxed to Dr. Suporn's office. I am hoping I can bring it with me, too.

I know the likelihood of diagnosed PMDS is incredibly low, but despite doctors' blessings, I am not normal. I have not been normal for my whole life. In my original fact sheet to the doctor, I wrote of a retractile, smaller testicle that rises high in the groin quite periodically. Last year, I had to see a doctor because one of the times it came down I was in severe scrotal pain for about a  week. It had gone painfully high and apparently caused an intestinal blockage. It seemed to me at the time that there was something wrong with my physiology to allow my "testicle" to rise that high. I spoke to my mother about it, and she said that she had taken me when I was about 9 to see the doctor for what she thought was appendicitis. The doctor told her that I had an undescended testicle and that if it dropped on it's own, I would be fine. There are also times during it's ascent that are very painful.

I decided to do a little research online to understand my own anatomy, how this could happen. I came across papers on Pre-Mullerian Duct Syndrome, the incidence of which is hard to measure because of the pseudohermaphroditic qualities. The condition was only diagnosed when typically removing a cancerous testicle. In practically all, if not all, cases, the patient had a history of cryptorchidism. Typically, the prostate was also small, like my own; the testosterone count was minimal, like my own; and fertility was low. The conclusion of the paper was that the majority of PMDS cases quite likely go undetected. However, I have found that the procedure for treating cryptorchidism involves removing any Mullerian tissue that exists. So maybe the condition is not quite as rare as some believe.

It's considered an autosomal recessive condition, which requires each parent to donate the gene. My father was born with bilaterally undescended testes. The doctors acted to save both, but one still shriveled up and died. I share a slow adolescence with my mother, who when taken to the doctor at 12 because she did not have her first menarche was told she produced too many hormones. She claims it's a Swedish thing. In my pictures at 10, I looked like my father at 8. At 16, I looked 12 and I hated it. Now at 45, people insist I'm about 37, and I like the slow aging so much better now.  I won't even go into detail how long it took for male pattern hair or muscle tissue to appear. Let's just say I was far behind my peers. 

Throw in the fact that a 3-inch "cavity" where my left inguinal canal is supposed to be is cramping 2 1/2 weeks since the last episode and this has been occurring since I switched to injectible estrogen; and given the fact that I have transitioned on a menopausal dose of estrogen (1 mg daily) over the last three years; and I have to accept that something's going on down there; and PMDS is the only explanation I can find (that just threw my memory back to Karen Carpenter's "On Top of the World").

My main concern is that if my suspicions are true, then it's female, it's alive and it's mine; and I want to keep it if it's viable.

At the Intersex Society of Utah meeting last night, after presenting just my symptoms, the facilitator told me that I definitely sound intersex and that it is the right group for me. The other facilitator, Dr. Mark Malan, wants to meet me as soon as possible, after hearing only some of this information second hand. I also met two people at the meeting who have something that sounds very similar. I'm planning on meeting Dr. Malan next week.

Hugs and God Bless,


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Walk Like an Egyptian

Again, the girl at the left is not me, but the movement she's doing is the Egyptian.

Yesterday, we walked like an Eygptian--or an Egyptian Belly Dancer, that is. But before we did the Egyptian, we reviewed the Mayan and Taqsim hip movements. I discovered I was leaning too far back in my posture and need to slow my movements down a little so I can get a nice hip bounce.

We spent most of the rest of the class learning to travel with the Egyptian movement. It's comprised of a prep step, a toed, showgirl-like move, a twist and a final step. The movement is repeated on the other side and then you do the whole thing all over again. The Egyptian 2 adds another twist. The leg movements weren't that bad by themselves, but when we added in the arm movements, the synchronization got hard and the arms heavy. Each step in the movement, has a specific arm pose and the elbows remain above the shoulder the entire time. I found myself constantly forgetting to move the arms, while I focused on the steps.

We spent the last 5 minutes of class trying to cover snake arms: restricted and fluid. I'm not sure I got the restricted move at all and may sort-of have a little of the fluid style. I need to get some help from online videos.

It's 105 days left until surgery and I have my passport. It arrived in the mail today. I got back some of the documents, but I'm missing several of the originals I sent, including the court-ordered name change, the SRS recommendation from my counselor in Kentucky and the gender certification from my endocrinologist, also in Kentucky. The important part is the passport states female and is good until 2021.

There are two weeks and two days left until the opening night performance of The Vagina Monologues at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts. I'll be assisting in another monologue and I had to learn three words for vagina for it: poochie, laby and totita. It's going to be great! I'm looking forward to delivering my best for y'all.

Hugs and God Bless,

Saturday, January 15, 2011

What It Means to be a Trans Woman

This was an assignment given to me by my director: to take about 5 minutes to explain what it means to be a trans woman to the rest of the cast. I and Deborah Dean, who is going to do "They Beat the Girl" with me, are to present are own perspectives tomorrow during full cast rehearsal. This, or something close to this is what I am going to say:

What does it mean to be a trans woman? Trans in this case is short for transgender, but in common media, actually means transsexual. Someone who is transgender is someone who gets some comfort in breaking gender norms, sometimes by doing activities that are taboo to their birth-assigned gender because they are associated with the gender which is its polar opposite. Someone who is transsexual feels that their mental image of their sex is at odds with their bodies. From this point on, every transsexual woman is different and her experiences are different. I can only speak for myself.

I am a transsexual woman. I have recently come to the conclusion that I am also intersex, in a non-visible way. A male pseuodo-hermaphrodite.

From a young age, I knew I wasn't a boy, because boys were physically cruel. Even when I avoided them, they sought me out to fight. I was instinctually paranoid of groups of boys. I wasn't sure if I was a girl, because most of the girls I knew tended toward stereotypical behavior and could be just as mentally cruel as they boys were physically. The insistence of everyone that I must be a boy and adopt male behavior drove me away from them.

At 10 years old, I realized I thought like a girl, and even though I couldn't be one, I could be the best man a girl could want, because I knew how girls thought. As I approached adolescence, my penis baffled me. I didn't know it was there unless I physically looked. I had no idea how it could possibly be used for sex. And I felt separated from my friends because they grew bumps on their chest and boys were segregated from girls. School became like a prison to me, and the mean boys still lurked. I watched as a couple of my friends turned into aggressive bullies. And the tomboys I loved to hang around suddenly stopped coming outside.

Meanwhile, I gradually couldn't fully experience orgasms unless I imagined my body as female, when I stopped superimposing my male parts over my intuitive nature.

The church taught me not to trust my own feelings, that they were temptations from Satan, and I learned to keep my mouth shut, and prayed for deliverance. But every so often, I would find something to put on or wear in utter secrecy that reflected the woman I craved to be.

When I finally came out, it was in fear of losing my family, my job, my life. At a minimum, I would be labeled a freak or crazy. But I couldn't repress myself anymore. It was killing me. My blood pressure went through the roof. After seeing a counselor, I decided to be a little more bold in my journey.

At each opportunity, after facing the fear, I gradually found it much easier mentally to live as a woman than a man. It came naturally to me. I was more loving, more outspoken, and surprised to find I was not an introvert after all. I was becoming the person I was meant to be.

And, even though I don't get my new vagina until May, I just recently realized that I am no longer trying to be a woman. I am one.

Hugs and God Bless,

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Great Review and The Gender Certification Letter

I got a great review today by my supervisor, the highest rating he's given anyone. It will impact my bonus and a shot at team lead. The chief architect cornered me for a while to ask how things are going.

And belly dancing class was so hard last night. It's good. I like a challenge, and I love how sensuous my rocking hips look when I get it right.

I got my second attempt from my endocrinologist in the mail today, and, even though she misspelled foregoing, this one is exactly the template the state department is looking for. It's good enough for a 10 year passport, and the letter is in the mailbox, waiting to be picked up tomorrow to be sent to the Department of State. I should have my passport in hand hopefully around the 26th. Then I can see about continuing my electrolysis. I know someone who knows someone.

A friend commented on my letter:

I am a bit confused by the doc letter. It states that you are now female.
Welllll, technically you aren’t until post GRS, no?

I have transitioned from male to female. Clinical transition means having established both a stable, in this case female, identity and having irreversibly, short of surgery, altered the body in accordance with the sexual gender expectations. The vast majority of transsexual men and women don't have the final surgery for various individual reasons. Yet, they are in all other ways, emotionally and physically in alignment with their gender. Many are able to halt the transition there because they are content enough with who they've become, especially since others have no right to be in their pants.

April 22, 2008 was the day I started hormones. Because it had such an effect on my sense of joi de vivre,  I mark it as a rebirth day, hence, my rebirthday.

My name change came February 24, 2010. It has been almost one year already. My how time has flown and it seems almost impossible that I ever lived as male. That is my comfort level. A settling in.

Depending on your counselors, your RLE can be marked at different moments, but it usually is best marked by being active with a consistent identity of your target gender. That said, when I first started attending and being active in my Unitarian Church as Sophie in December 2008 marked my emergence into real time. Then October 25 of 2009,  marked another level when I went full time outside of work, February 24 of 2010 when my name was legally changed and April 30, when I changed out of my male clothes for the last time.

I, myself, thought that would be where I wound up, and I am very content. It is only the sex and emotional intimacy thing that is driving me the last distance--that and the very painful testicle I'd rather be rid of anyway. Whether I am with a man, woman or somewhere in between, I don't feel I can be fully with them emotionally unless my genitals reflect what I feel, what my mind tells me is there. It's funny, but I can't love as fully with a penis as I can with a vagina. Heck, I had a lot of difficulty even ejaculating when I superimposed the penis image in my head over that of, well, the moist, soft skin folds leading into a warm embracing tunnel.

So, as far as anyone who is not going to be my lover is concerned, I have completed transition. For the others, well, I have just a little way to go.

Hugs and God Bless,

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Taqsims and Mayans

I can't believe I'm taking my first college course as a woman in a physical education class designed for women: belly dancing. It almost slipped the radar of my notice, as did the facts that I have exactly one month to opening night of The Vagina Monologues, two months until I'm supposed to put my hormones on hiatus and 4 months until sexual reassignment surgery.

My main worries were that people were going to figure out I was born male. Were my breasts too small? Was that blonde beard shadow on my chin line going to give me away? Was I too tall? When I looked in the mirror, my fears diminished. I'm just a taller woman.

The mirror became a key element in the lesson, allowing me to watch myself as I progressed. We worked at posture, clenching the lower abdominals, pulling the lower back down, bending the knees slightly, rolling the shoulders back and down and settling onto the heels of our feet. Everything was almost completely the reverse of Swing posture.

The instructor walked us through side-to-side motions: taqsims and mayans, The taqsims came first and they felt so backward. The initial hip movement is suppposed to come from bending the knee into a dropped downward pulse. I kept trying to step into it, which resulted in my hip cantered the other way. What I was trying to do was closer to mayans. The taqsim follows the knee bend with an outward rocking of the hip, bringing it back up and home before repeating on the other side. It sounds easy, but it's hard. It's going to take a lot of reps and muscle memory to help out on this one.

The mayan, on the other hand, starts out slightly unbending one leg in an upward pulse. That parts easy. Then comes the hip rock out and dropping back to center, where the process is repeated on the other side. That's where I kept slipping up, losing the pulse and having to start over.

The good news is that both these moves result in some great rocking, sensual hips when I do them right and they strengthen the lower abdomen and cremaster muscles.

The next event on my calendar is a memorial service for a friend that I didn't quite get to know this Saturday. Sunday is hard on that day's heels with a full cast rehearsal for The Vagina Monologues.

I have received already from friends money for 8 of my 10 tickets I am required to sell. At work, Nadeya is collecting ticket money from the Ladies Night Out group, which apparently numbers over 30, for opening night. Nadeya and another coworker, the one in the Overstock Christmas commercial, are also in my dance class with me. We're the continuing ed group.

Hugs and God Bless,

Jeans and Spinal Indentations

Last night and this morning, A friend asked:

Tell me, how do you shop for jeans when you have no clue what the ultimate size of your butt and hips will be in 6 mo to a year?

I've been a size 12-14 (L) forever it seems. While I have developed slightly, the women in my family have pretty much been pretty skinny with slight hips until their 30s or so. My butt was already developed for some unknown reason in high school. Someone told me be in a negative way that I had a girl's butt.  Also I found most of the jeans are a little stretchy, so I just buy what fits and wait until it doesn't or the old jeans wear out.

I just thought of another part of the typical female anatomy that is not included in GRS... if you watch girls at the beach or ice skaters as they dance with bare backs, almost all have indented spines.

I had to run to the mirror to check this myself. I also have a short indentation on my spine as well, and I know my phenotype is XY (the image to the right is not mine, but the one my friend supplied). I had Klinefelter's Syndrome genetic testing done to confirm it. Maybe it's more prevalent in women, but certainly not found only in women.

Yesterday, I had a call from the endocrinologists office and found out two things:

1) I am supposed to only be taking one milliliter (20 mg) at a time. I took 30 mg on Saturday and had what had to be uterine cramps for most of the day;  I also realized yesterday that vial lasted two long; it's supposed to cover about 2 1/2 months, and I'd been on the same vial for over 3 months. Apparently, the needle was drawing air on some of my injections and if I make sure that doesn't happen, the dose ought to be right.

2) My endocrinologist finished the rewrite of my certification letter that states that I have clinically completed transition to female. The nurse read the letter over the phone to me, and it sounds like the template that I emailed her from the US Travel Website. They're also sending it regular post, so I should see it Thursday or Friday. That means I should get it back to the passport office by January 21 and could have my passport in hand with my original documents back by the 28th and, as an added bonus, a generic gender certification letter from the doctor which I might be able to use to get a driver's license with the right gender on it, even before surgery. I'll have to check Utah law.

Meanwhile, I am looking forward to belly dancing class. Tonight, I'll learn my first movement. Some of the moves we are supposed to learn are supposed to be frustratingly difficult--if I can just keep from swearing during those moments, I should be okay. I hope the locker rooms have private showers in case I work up a sweat.

Last night, I achieved 5% of this years fitness goal with 36 minutes on the treadmill and 30 minutes walking the quarter mile back and forth from my apartment to do laundry. I can't go more than 17 minutes on the treadmill before I have to pause and strip down to a jogging or day bra. I celebrated with half a medium pizza--roma tomatoes, Italian sausage and portabello mushrooms. I look skinnier in the mirror, but my weight is still consistently sitting on 190. I wonder where it's going.

And I'm actually getting to talk to both my daughters at other than the traditional times. I called and heard my oldest daughter's voice for the first time in months yesterday, and Saturday morning, I was awakened by a phone call from my youngest so she would have someone to talk to. I am happy.

Hugs and God Bless,

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Journey

Here is another question by another friend who is on her journey
 ...I am surprised that you weren’t apparently certain that you wanted to take all the steps to achieve GRS?
What or when or even why did you have doubts along the way?
This is not something you can ‘try’ and see if it’s right for you.

Actually, it is something that can be tried. There are a number of people that have decided after a few steps that this was not something for them. The journey is one of self-exploration. There are stopping points along the way, and different people are able to cope with different levels of transition.

Earlier in life, I didn't know how to actually become a woman. It's completely irrational, but I thought that if God saw how much I didn't want my penis, he would make it go back in. I guess you could say I'm a person of deep faith.

It seemed to me in my late 20s that the only way I would be able to become a woman was through the pornography industry. I tried desperately to find the address of producers of magazines and videos starring what were called shemales, because I would do anything to be a woman. I even called the sex hotlines trying to talk to them. Little did I know that counseling was the path to go and it was nearby.

I started settling for being a woman in mind only and expressing myself at night only in my apartment in which I was supposed to be assigned a roommate, but got fortunate when he took inheritance money and left the studio to myself. I had already met the person who was to be my wife at that point.

I was married for 4 years and had a three year old daughter when I finally went to a psychologist for help. When I took the opportunity to tell my wife about crossdressing in the woods as a teen after my first visit, it didn't go as planned, but she supported me as a crossdresser. After my psychologist canceled our 3rd meeting due to scheduling problems, I backed away. I felt hamstrung at being unable to tell my wife the rest of my feelings. Like many women, I desperately wanted to hold onto my family. Meanwhile, I was checking out feminization hypnosis and online feminization instructions. I then convinced myself that I had screwed up my own head.

Six years later, my oldest daughter was 9 and my youngest was 3.  I began to act out more on my feelings, following instructions I had read years ago. I didn't trust myself, because I felt it would ruin everything. In my mind, I didn't pass and didn't think I ever would. I thought I would lose my family, my job and be viewed as a freak.

I needed the public crossdressing phase to help me build my confidence and get over this hurdle. I made a deal with my counselor that I would take the journey and stop whenever I felt comfortable. My Dad died at 57 from prostrate cancer and I wasn't even sure I would get to the other end. It was in this way that I just started taking a hike in the direction that felt right. It's like when you set out for a long scary road trip and  suddenly see the destination sign ahead. My thoughts along the way were just on experiencing each moment mile by mile.

It's been a long journey, and I'm thankful I took enough time to develop spiritually along the way.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Fear, Hormones and Love

A  friend of mine of about four years posed the following questions, and I would like to share my answers with you while keeping her anonymous.

  • How does one get rid of the feeling of fear that one or more person could cause hateful, violent acts against ones self?

  • Can I ask what can I look forward to in the second year of hormones? I am at times thinking about a guy wanting me for the girl that I am. A loving and caring person who wants to take care of me; for me I would like to touch and love him with all my being. For me this sounds like a dream but this is how I feel. Is this real or is this hormones?

    What can you look forward to emotionally during your second year of hormones? I can't tell you, because I presume hormones affect us all differently. For me, I found about halfway through the second year that I desperately craved touch. I also found myself becoming more comfortable with the person I knew I was meant to be. Anxiety never completely goes away, but hearing Ma'am made me feel validated--and frustrated when people called me Sir.

    I had lost significantly the adrenaline rushes necessary to physically fight my way out of situations that my loving to be touched got me into. The adrenaline went to the emotional center of my brain where I would try to befriend, persuade or belittle an abuser. Instead of punching, I would argue and lie, if necessary, to get out of a situation where I was in danger of being taken advantage of.

    In my third year of hormones, I dream of gentle sex with men and love kissing and caressing women. As a man, I could never feel comfortable with another man. But as a woman, I am aroused by gently assertive, intelligent men and vivacious women. I have a special affinity for gender variant natal women. And I want to cuddle. I want someone there with me, who will gently stroke me when I'm feeling down.

    Did the hormones change my sexual orientation? Quite likely not. I knew since I was a teenager that I was attracted to different people based on the gender role I had in my mind. I have always been someone who enjoyed sensual play more than penetration. For me, the hormones aided the intensification of something that was already innate and passionate encounters with a beautiful woman can still trigger a butch response, while I will simply melt for someone slightly butch.

    How does one overcome the fear of violence? The same way they approach any fear, by taking gradual steps and observing the results. A little anxiety is a good thing. It is a reminder to be cautious and what to look out for. It generates a sense of hyper-vigilance that can protect from immediate threats. But if the hyper-vigilance goes on too long, it takes its toll on your body and your piece of mind.

    As your planning to come out, it helps if you stage it. Surround yourself with friends when you can, and observe. Learn from your mistakes. Avoid places where you feel you may become a target. When fears didn't materialize and people envisioned and respected me as a woman, many of my fears were replaced with confidence. I am still afraid to be alone with a strange male, and I feel it is something that is keeping me out of trouble.

    I respect my fears. I use them as a motivator to action, to address them so I can be happy and safe. In the case of strange men, I would arrange to get to know them online and in public places, wary of any sexual advances before I felt respected. I would address the fear of being beaten by letting them know in a safe place or at a safe distance at the earliest point when it appears that my history or it's physical remnants may become an issue. I remind myself there are good men out there who would honor me. And there are, just like there's jerks.

    Trans people are often lonely when they keep themselves in an emotional closet, still not willing to express their feelings to other people they are interested in or by trying to distance themselves from the trans community. How can you have friends when you distance yourself from those who can best understand you and you are afraid to be emotionally open with someone who may not?

    Trans people often make friends and fall in love within the trans community or on the fringes. Often, they are active and supportive. They approach life full of the love that is overflowing in them. They meet like-minded people doing like-minded things, mostly at social organizations and events.

    And one more thing, smile with the confidence you know you'll soon have. It's a prerequisite to passing. Nobody likes a frump.

    Hugs and God Bless,

    Sunday, January 2, 2011

    An Attempt to Disprove My Theory

    The UU church has always treated me as the woman I am. Deb, the worship ministry chair, and a lesbian friend from Interweave asked if I would write a piece on Welcoming to fit with her theme, and I feel very comfortable and safe in the UU church. I can't hide from my past always, and the UU church was a significant help in my transition just by being welcoming. I have no problem relating that history to people I consider my friends to help them understand the significance of welcoming. It went really well today, and people were thanking me for telling my story. I know many of you are not of an activist bent, and I seem to be in a perennial place where if I tell my story, it can bring understanding.

    Despite the fact that I'm probably really intersex and didn't know it.

    I poked around last night and measured the depth of my inguinal canal on both sides. I was trying to disprove my theory that I have PMDS (Persistant Mullerian Duct Syndrome). On the left side, I can insert a finger up to 2 knuckles deep and on the right, 1, corresponding to 3 inches and 1.5 inches respectively. I Google'd the depth of the inguinal canal and found that the right side is the average normal depth. I discovered another link that said a uterus is about 3 inches deep by 1 inch wide. What I have down there has the same dimensions as a uterus. Needless to say, I didn't sleep well last night.

    My doctor had previously put me on a double dose on the patch, and wrote the prescription for the injection in a way that assumed I would do the same, but working my way up.  She said to do 20 to 40 mg bi-weekly, starting at 20 mg to see how well I took it. The prescription reads "Take as directed." Many women in transition work their way up to 5 mg daily. The doctors before were trying to help feminize slowly, per my request. The fact that I can still get an erection is also an indication that the dose right now is too low.

    I am a woman. I have no choice to like it or not. And I have not been able to deny it anymore for a few years now. While my body is apparently physiologically 75% male, that remaining 25% was enough to leave my mind a blank slate before hormones. And it seems now not so much a coincidence that I developed at 3/4 the rate of other boys. At 16, I looked 12 and hated it. My first whisker was at 17, my first chest hair arrived in my early 20s. My arms wouldn't build until I was in my late 20s. At 36, I suddenly had the physique of a 25 year-old man and freaked, seeing my father in the mirror. People still try to guess my age in my 30s. Now, at 45, I don't hate my slow adolescence anymore. Slow adolescence is one of the symptoms of AIS (Androgyne Insensitivity Syndrome) and PMDS is a form of Mild AIS, but more specifically related to Anti-Mullerian Hormone Deficiency or defective Androgyne Receptors.

    But I do know now, as a woman, becoming that woman, spiritually and physically, I am more at peace with myself, I am more outgoing, I am more loving and more loved.

    Hugs and God Bless,