Coming out at 62 but not what you might think?

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Coming out at 62 but not what you might think?

Postby Lisa_K » Wed Apr 19, 2017 1:52 am

Subtitle: Out of the shadows
Alternate Title: Hey, it's a long post but there's a whole lifetime in here


Howdy! :)

Before I begin, I have spent close to a week contemplating joining this forum and trying to sort out my motivations and desire to do so. I have also read through busier threads in the different sections going back several years, fifty or sixty pages worth, to get a feel for this place and for the caliber of members and quality of the discussions. By design, I don't use social media, Facebook, Twitter, etc., have never been to Reddit except once by accident and don't really even know what Tumblr even is although I've heard it often referenced. I have never joined or participated in a trans related forum/group in my life although I am well read and have advocated for trans youth in a news and politics board and TBH, I find it odd that I would be doing this now but please keep reading and let me try to explain. This is a big step for me, one that is still filled with uncertainty and a degree of trepidation.

So, about me since after all, this is an introduction thread and about this "coming out at 62" thing probably not being what one would expect by the title. Admittedly, I am reluctant to talk much about my life and my attitudes because they may be contentious or I may be attacked for being different but I will anyway. I don't see many of "my kind" here but the fact is, there aren't too many of my kind anywhere but we all do share some commonalities, if only peripherally, and I feel finding that connection has increased in significance for me.

With that being said, it's hard to not automatically brand me as some sort of elitist but I assure you that is not the case. My experience is simply uncommon for someone my age and my uniqueness is a burden at times. I think it is human nature to seek out those we can relate to or that are like us or have shared a common experience. At least that's what I tell myself in trying to determine why I would be here doing this now even though from what I've seen of this forum community, I'm still different from most but I've come to accept that as just the way it is.

I've also thought that while maybe I won't find precisely what I'm looking for here, that perhaps others may take something away from my experiences with all this trans business? I'm really not one to give advice but when the right buttons get pushed, I'm not shy about sharing my opinions. That may turn out to be a good thing or a bad thing but I do try to play nice.

To begin in earnest with my tale, I dealt with "being trans" as an only child and then as a teenager. I was first taken to psychiatrists at ten years old in 1965 to figure out "what was wrong with me". Of course, back then they didn't have a clue and it wasn't until many years later that I met a doctor that did. If it wasn't for my parents, particularly my mother's intuitive understanding of my nature, I wouldn't be around today. I was shuffled from school to school trying to find one where I wasn't a complete social failure/outcast and when starting junior high, it was my folks that threatened lawsuits against the school board that wouldn't enroll me because my hair was too long. Then there were medical (psychiatric) exemptions obtained when I refused to go in the boy's locker room and a number of other things like this throughout my childhood. As you can imagine, trans kids weren't a thing in the 60's, at least in my neck of the woods.

Things changed significantly for me in 1970 when I was fifteen. Saving the details for now, I was nearly killed in a brutal assault but this incident opened up the lines of communication with my folks that had been suppressed from early childhood. (I had dolls, Barbies, Easy-Bake Ovens and such as I grew up but *talking* about being a girl was strictly verboten) Without a whole lot of effort though, after this incident my parents finally got it and we did talk because they'd seen me struggle my whole life and knew who I was and it had become impossible to not listen to me. No, I could not "transition" in high school because such things simply were unheard of but I was able to get my ears pierced, shave my legs, dress even more androgynously femme than I previously did and I already had hair down to my elbows. Away from the school environment, as it had been for most of my life, people that didn't know me already thought I was a girl so these were difficult times for me. I began hormones when I was 17 after an exhaustive search by my folks to find a doctor that knew what the hell they were doing. You have no idea how lucky and fortunate I feel to have had understanding and supportive parents so ahead of their time. Seeing what some kids still have to go through with their parents today, I'm not entirely convinced mine weren't aliens. :P

With letters and evaluations and such in hand, the week after I graduated high school in 1973, I was able to change my name, identification and gender markers, etc., (except my BC which has still never been changed because I was born in one of *those* states :x ). There was no real transition or coming out as I was more or less always out. It wasn't until I was known as and fully living as a girl that I went in the closet, so to speak, that I'm now coming out of. That I wasn't born female was the last thing I wanted anyone to know about me and I still don't. Things were really different in the medical community back then too because if you didn't meet all the criteria, blend in and keep your mouth shut, you didn't get treatment. If you think gatekeeping is bad now, you have no idea. At any rate...

I had never even met another trans person until I was 22 (1977) and checked into the hospital to have SRS with Stanley Biber. I have met very few others in the forty years since then as I don't seem to have much in common? I do have two trans email friends but I am more of a mentor than a peer. I have had a "normal" life and have done some amazing and wonderful things along with the boring and mundane of 20+ years working in the pink collar ghetto for peanuts. I married a great guy when I was 29 and although we were only together for twelve years, he is still one of my dearest friends and part of some of the best memories I've ever had.

So, one might ask why am I joining a forum like this now? What's the point? Believe me, I've asked myself the same question but with all the trans awareness in the media and politics the last several years, it's kind of made me stop and realize that I've kind of got a horse in this race too in some respects. I chose to join this place over that other forum I found because there does seem to be a wealth of knowledge here and it is far less restrictive. A negative recent experience with a new-to-me, supposedly trans friendly doctor, disagreements over hormones and resuming dilation after a 20 year break has also made me want to talk to other people that have some understanding of these things.

Hopefully, I can find some of that here? Hopefully, I won't be branded or labeled or chastised for my lack of visibility for living my life blended into the woodwork or rejected because I've never had to go through the challenges of being established as a man and transitioning or put down for not being part of the "trans community" or for not being trans enough (or too trans?). I'm just me and while my story might not be the same as many others, it in no way infers that I am better in any way, just that I've had a different experience. Well, not really that different from the trans youth we see today except I went through all that stuff in the 1960's and early 70's. I've still dealt with the same things all of us have at one point or another but that was all long ago and very distant to me now. However, I am testimony to the fact that this tidbit of history is something one never forgets even after being oblivious to it all for most of my life.

Thank you for reading. Reaching out beyond the cis world is strange territory for me. Please be kind. I hope to get to know some of you better if you haven't been killed by this long post.

Crossing fingers and clicking submit...

...Lisa (not my real name but close enough)
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Re: Coming out at 62 but not what you might think?

Postby helen2b » Wed Apr 19, 2017 7:02 am

Hi, Lisa and a big Aussie welcome to ya. :) I'm afraid as far as trans life experiences go, you leave me in the dust. I've only been transitioning for 4 and a half years. You are the first trans person I've ever met that had Dr Biber as their physician. You, ma'am, are a trans pioneer and I'm glad to make your acquaintance. I'm glad you decided to get to know us, everyone needs friends that really "get" what you're talking about. Again, welcome.
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Re: Coming out at 62 but not what you might think?

Postby CuteButLooksPregnant » Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:03 am

Welcome to the TG Boards, Lisa. I am also of your generation ( T-T-T-Talkin' 'bout My Generation . . . . ) . There are a few more gals here that are also from your generation, so you are in good company. Get to know us here, you may even like it here !
I'm Ponytails, a Twin Tail SilverGray

"Put all of our dreams and wishes into these Twin Tails;
Just like how we live by our streaming hair;
With Red Courage;
And Blue Love;
And Yellow Hope; to draw strength from...."

" TAILS ON !"
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Re: Coming out at 62 but not what you might think?

Postby Tara » Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:34 am

Welcome, Lisa.

I'm only six years behind you, but didn't have the benefit of figuring out what was going on until about half a dozen years ago, at which point I began a slow but steady transition. Oh to have had the internet while I was in high school!

It's great to have your perspective here, and I hope you feel welcome.
~*~ Tara

“What do you fear, lady?” he asked.
“A cage,” she said. “To stay behind bars until use and old age accept them, and all chance of doing great deeds is gone beyond recall or desire.”
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Re: Coming out at 62 but not what you might think?

Postby Lisa_K » Wed Apr 19, 2017 6:04 pm

I understand the quote button doesn't work until after a certain number of posts so I'll do it this way. Can someone tell me if BBcode or posting linked pictures is the same way?

** Reply to helen2b: **

Thank you, helen2b, for being my first reply on this board. Helen was my maternal grandmother's name so you'll be hard to forget.

Yeah, Dr. Biber was a trip. The whole experience was a trip. The tiny old town of Trinidad, once billed as the "sex change capitol of the world" was like stepping into time warp and just getting there was an adventure. I hadn't flown on a plane since I was six or seven so that was a new experience. A guy I knew from work had a sister that lived in Colorado Springs and he convinced her to pick me up from the airport and take me to the bus station for the trip to Trinidad. Once there, I had to take a taxi to the motel which was the first time I'd ever ridden in a taxi so there were a lot of firsts involved. The building Biber's office was in looked historic and the ride up the rickety elevator didn't give me a lot of confidence. His office itself seemed, shall we say, less than modern and I was filled with apprehension he would decline to do my surgery. I had all my ducks in a row, referral letters from four different doctors, cashier's checks to pay the bills, had been on hormones for five years and had been living and working as a girl for over four years (plus I was young and pretty - Haha!) but he was the one to make the final call and I was nervous.

He was direct and to the point and didn't hesitate to ask some very hard questions. Did I shave? Did I use my penis for sex? It was no on both counts but there were a lot of questions like this. It's all kind of a blur really but all went well and the next day when arriving at the hospital, I was pleased to see that while just a small single-story type affair, it at least looked somewhat modern. Seeing that it was a Catholic hospital with nuns walking around kind of freaked me out a bit though.

The whole rest of the experience was pretty incredible. It would have been nice if my mother could have gone with me but while she loved and was very proud of me as her daughter, due to her lack of knowledge she was in the "surgery is mutilation" camp and we had had the biggest fight ever the week before my surgery. I didn't even speak to her for seven months but she totally came around. That's a whole other story I'll save for another day.

I don't even remember much about my trip back home. I do recall on the bus ride part during a rest stop when everyone else got off the bus of squeezing into the tiny, dirty bus lavatory to change my pad and see how much I had been bleeding. I have no recollection at all of getting from the bus station back to the airport and don't know if my friend's sister helped or not? My next clear memory was of meeting my friends at the gate and not making it halfway out of the airport before passing out. I scared the crap out of them but it all seems funny now. In June, it will be forty years ago.

I get this "pioneer" thing a lot from those I've shared my story with which always brings to mind settlers crossing the dusty plains in a covered wagon in frumpy clothes and funny bonnets. Yes, things were different in the 70's but the true pioneers are the ones that paved the way for me and I am humbled by their courage and fortitude. While it is true that in the 1960's, doctors had absolutely no clue what to do with trans children and I went through a lot of crap and pain because of it, but maybe I helped them learn something or in some way contributed to their experience and the body of knowledge? In the 8th grade (1968), I was put on display, tested, questioned and examined for a day by a group at a university but there were a lot of things I didn't really understand about what was going on and my parents weren't particularly forthcoming with information on what they had been told. I remember that experience as exhausting and invasive and of curling up in the back seat of the car and crying on the way home. Ugh! I knew coming here was going to dredge up a lot of old crap.

Thanks again for your welcome. I'll try not to wear it out. :)

** Reply to CuteButLooksPregnant: **

Thank you for the warm welcome as well. Yes, in scouring the board before signing up I did get a feel for some of the folks that are around my age. In my mind of course though, I'm still in my 20's and 30's and kicking ass and taking names. :roll: Unfortunately for me though, finding people my age that dealt with all this trans business as children and adolescents and that transitioned in their teens is pretty dang rare. I think either most didn't make it or are buried so deep within the woodwork as to be invisible or are just dead by now. Not that it really makes much difference, as noted there are still some basic commonalities among us all but having to deal with the reality of being so obviously different as a kid and all the involvements and interactions and limitations of dealing with parents and schools as a kid adds another layer of things separating one from the majority. It's just a different experience.

I think one of the reasons I decided to join this board was to bring that perspective because it is one rarely heard even though being an adult trans kid, especially one from so long ago comes with suspicion and often claims of elitism. I'm nobody special and don't claim to be but if you've ever fit into your natal gender (socially at least) or ever tried to be or lived as a man, then your experience of being trans is significantly different than mine. I can't even imagine how difficult it must be to be a man that transitions into being a woman so while most cannot relate to how all this went for me, I have a difficult time relating to those that walked this path later in life. Yes, basically the same thing but in some respects, apples and oranges and while many things tie us together, the differences in our life experiences are significant.

I'm not putting any judgment on this at all just that there are differences. Everyone has hard things to deal with and obstacles to overcome but honestly, my experience of being trans as a child is rather isolating and does make it hard to find those things I have in common with others at a trans level. Most adults I have come across through my reading about other trans lives that do have a history similar to mine ARE elitists or think they are truer or more trans or some other crap like that which is a big turn off for me as I loathe all the politics and backbiting involved. This is one reason I've avoided the trans community in general.

Whoa! Didn't mean to get all crazy there and I'm not sure what set me off? Sorry about that and thank you again for helping me to get started here. Hopefully I won't be run out of town on a rail!

** Reply to Tara **

Hi and thank you for the welcome! Ah yes... the Internet. I feel that had I been born in more enlightened times how much more understanding there would have been for kids like me and how much less ignorance there would have been to face. There was still the drive for knowledge though, it was just harder to come by and took a lot more work and time. Remember libraries? Remember writing letters on actual paper, sending them off and waiting for replies? Things are so much different now and people are learning about these things so much earlier. I think I was maybe 8 or 9 and came across the word transvestite in a dictionary which was my understanding of what I was for many years until I read about Christine Jorgensen then it all sort of clicked. That kind of got turned around on me in high school though because "Hey Christine" turned out to be a popular taunt when it wasn't something like faggot or queer homo type stuff. Ugh! More memories of the "good times"!

Thanks again to you and to everyone for saying hello and best of luck and warm thoughts to everyone whoever or where ever you may be in life.

Ciao!

...Lisa
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Re: Coming out at 62 but not what you might think?

Postby Rheya » Thu Apr 20, 2017 6:23 pm

This introduction thread has been a delight to read. I also think of people like you as the pioneers but I also understand that the idea of the pioneers goes a long way back. Still, I think the generation that came before the current one will always seem like a pioneering one even if it did not intend to be. Frankly, a lot of the time, all a person has to do to be a pioneer is to stand up, hold on to their humanity and proclaim in their being alive that they simply exist.

I was twenty-three when I started HRT, I had never been a man nor acted like one, it had never made sense to me since I knew I was a woman since I was a child, and when I was finally aware of myself and lived like who I was things were great at first. I was just a woman, just a human being - then trans awareness exploded and it did a lot of damage to me and my sense of self. At least to me it felt sudden, there had been higher profile trans-people and stories before but especially after Jenner things got out of control. So many cispeople, celebrities and writers and goodness knows what have come out and said that transpeople are this or that, dehumanizing us and making us out to be deluded or crazy, telling us how we feel and who we are, what rights we should and should not have on the planet earth. I feel so many of my generation of transpeople are defined by the opposition, we are trans because of those that oppress us. Our identity is defined by a conflict none of us asked for nor any of us are actually responsible for, a conflict that is now widely publicized and debated like never before. Even I who am almost untouched by transphobia in my personal experiences somehow feel oppressed and abused by words blurted out and written down by people who's faces I rarely even know. I wonder if people ever stop to think about what it is like to have the validity and character of their humanity and existence be a matter of opinion and debate.

So many of the transcommunities and groups I've encountered are defined by abuse and oppression; I don't think it is necessary to define yourself in conflict, it is just as possible to define yourself in unity and similarity with other humans.

Lisa_K wrote:Remember writing letters on actual paper, sending them off and waiting for replies?


Oh good heavens, why does it feel weird that I have never done that in my entire life. At least I remember when the internet made a funny sound when you turned it on and when the phone was a landline with a rotary, and the Spice Girls were an actual thing. The Spice Girls were weird, when you really think about it they were really weird.
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Re: Coming out at 62 but not what you might think?

Postby MikiSJ » Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:47 pm

Thank you for a wonderful introduction.

I wish I knew where you are (I am in San Jose, CA) as I have a friend whose life parallels yours in so many ways. She is younger than you by about 8 or so years. She transitioned, surgically and culturally over 35 years ago on the East Coast, when she was 17. She is now married, happily and is active in LGB...T issues around here. It would be a delight to sit with both of you and listen to how you both grew up in a time of extreme turbulence, genderwise.

I have 8 years on you and only publically came out 4 years ago, but I understand the poking and probing you spoke of - but for a different reason. I grew up with a view of Stanford University from my bedroom and being one of the first 'boomer' kids and also one of 'those smart kids' I went through a battery of tests by a group of psychologists at Stanford wanting to have me join a group of 'smart kids' for a year. Fortunately, my Father declined the offer for me to join their group and I grew up only slightly screwed up (yes, I admit it Demon!). I can't imagine what I would have gone through back then if I only wanted to be a girl.

I had not even heard of the word transvestite until I joined the Navy and by happenstance found a biographical tome by a wonderful woman, Charles Pierce. Charles Pierce was her stage name when she performed as a 'male actress'. It was only later in her life did she publically acknowledge her true gender as a woman.

You, my local friend and others of your era are the real pioneers that we all should hold in high esteem. The best I could do about my gender confusion was to join the Navy hoping to 'man up' and get rid of my burden. Didn't work and I suffered, through varying degrees of what drove you and many of my friends to finally seek out the Dr. Bibers of this world and become who they really are.

Please stick around the forum and gives us your insights so those who are contemplating GCS have just a bit more information at hand as to what it is like to become the 'you' you should be.
When writing the next chapter in your life, start with a pencil and eraser - my first page as Miki is full of eraser marks. Doodling is allowed. I have started a new chapter but will still use a pencil.
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Re: Coming out at 62 but not what you might think?

Postby Lisa_K » Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:42 pm

Thank you, Rheya, for your comments. I enjoyed reading your post and a few of your points hit home for me. I still don't have enough posts to use the quote button so I'll have to do it old school!

>> then trans awareness exploded and it did a lot of damage to me and my sense of self. <<

I hear what you're saying and know what you're feeling. I can't say my sense of self has been damaged per se but it has been a good thump upside the head or I've been given a fresh reality check maybe? This isn't my first rodeo with this, however. The year I had my surgery was about the same time Renée Richards was making the papers and I got my first real insight into what the general public really thinks about transsexual people. Like you, I've never faced any discrimination or transphobia because I was lucky enough to be well blended but seeing all the negative public opinion and the uproar it caused didn't do my self esteem any favors. It did help my mom to know that I wasn't the only one though. I hate using the word stealth because I'm not a military jet but all the hubbub about being trans back then drove me even deeper into the woodwork to avoid all the derision and hostility not to mention the fear of homo/transphobic violence and losing my job etc. I'd nearly been killed in high school and had no desire to repeat that experience.

My invisibility has caused a lot of mixed emotions as well. At times I've felt like a coward for not waving flags and being out and proud especially as someone that has been reasonably successful and "normal" and would make a good representative of what trans people are really like but I've never been able to bring myself to do this in the real world. Sure, I told my husband and other partners I've been involved with and do know a few people I've known well over thirty years that are aware of my history but it is something never mentioned otherwise. I have no family and there's no one that has ever not known me as the me I've officially been for the last 44 years.

With the recent rise of trans awareness in the media and folks like us being used as political pawns for pandering to the masses from both the left and the right, it is difficult to not internalize some of this. It is hard not to recognize some of the conflict and oppression and what's become even worse is that being trans something or another has become trendy and fashionable and adopted as a cause by SJW's seeking victim points that get lumped in and confused with those truly suffering from gender dysphoria. Hey, I'm all for people expressing themselves anyway they want to or labeling themselves with whatever 96 Tumblr genders they choose to use but my own opinion is this has only added to the backlash and complaints about things being forced or shoved down people's throats. It's a mess but I won't go further down this track in a mixed community to avoid offending anyone.

I have not been immune to what's going on. I wish all the noise would just die down and go away but that genie has been let out of the bottle and now it does seem the world for trans people has turned into a battleground. Up until about two years ago, I isolated myself from all this as not being "my problem" but I met a young person online that really opened my eyes. She's a brilliant and stunning 22-year-old university student that was on the blocker protocol, socially transitioned at 12 and had SRS at 17. She has helped me better deal with some of my own issues with being trans as well and she's the only person I've ever known with so much in common and with so many shared childhood experiences.

Through her, I gained the strength to share my history as part of being an ally and advocate for transgender children in a very right-leaning online news and politics forum that I had been a member of for ten years. I've experienced being called every name in the book and hearing every hateful thing people could say. I was often left in tears or so depressed I couldn't log in for days but it taught me a lot. It thickened my skin and made me do hundreds of hours of research to better support my arguments. Rather than a fighter, I took on more the role of an educator or teacher and I did help many people come to a better understanding of not only people like us but also of the social and political issues involved.

In spite of my spinelessness for sharing my history in the real world, I have done *something* and my own awareness has been raised in the process.

>> Even I who am almost untouched by transphobia in my personal experiences somehow feel oppressed and abused by words blurted out and written down by people who's faces I rarely even know <<

I understand. Without any real reason, I feel more vulnerable for being trans than I ever have and without cause, potentially even more visibly trans although I know that's only my own paranoia and internalized transphobia creeping up and getting older. It sucks sometimes but I have also recognized my strengths and the depths of my character and that sometimes you just have to say fuck it and get on with life.

Without all this attention and awareness and feeling some of this negativity and hostility myself, I could have easily lived out the rest of my life without ever again having deal with trans issues or seeking out community and counsel from those like myself but yet here I am, "coming out" at 62. Go figure? :)

...Lisa

MikiSJ, I'll get to you later this evening!
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Re: Coming out at 62 but not what you might think?

Postby Lisa_K » Fri Apr 21, 2017 1:43 am

Yay! Quotes and BBcode and IMG tags are now on. Woohoo!

MikiSJ wrote:Thank you for a wonderful introduction.

Thank you for reading and commenting. It's tough being the new kid on the block but you all have done a good job of helping me to feel at home and for getting me off to a good start. Might as well get my whole life story out in one thread, right? :)

I wish I knew where you are (I am in San Jose, CA) as I have a friend whose life parallels yours in so many ways. She is younger than you by about 8 or so years. She transitioned, surgically and culturally over 35 years ago on the East Coast, when she was 17. She is now married, happily and is active in LGB...T issues around here. It would be a delight to sit with both of you and listen to how you both grew up in a time of extreme turbulence, genderwise.

Reluctant as I am to divulge much personal information, I live in the 'burbs of the Phoenix (AZ) metro area. I was born in Ohio (unfortunately) and first moved to the valley in the first grade but my mother was a gypsy and we moved all over the place. We finally settled down and I've lived here since 1967 so I'm practically a native.

So about this extreme turbulent gender era. I have to admit that as far as transness goes, I was not part of it and mostly oblivious to it all beyond the struggle for woman's rights and equality. As I mentioned or inferred, I've never really aligned myself with the LGB or the T communities or activism and have only recently really acknowledged that I'm trans myself. Talk about denial! :)

I have 8 years on you and only publically came out 4 years ago

That's amazing! I don't think I would have ever had the strength to do this. I can't imagine ever going through what you have and how hard it must have been and what challenges you've faced.

I can't imagine what I would have gone through back then if I only wanted to be a girl.

It is so weird for me to try and explain this without sounding like some kind of idiot or an ass but I've always been a girl. I didn't really understand how I was different until I started kindergarten and by the first grade was in conflict, mortal combat if you will about being separated into girls and boys and about clothes and hair. Without trying to fill in the stereotype of family dynamics or match typical trans etiologies, I was treated at best gender neutral at home but most often, like any other girl. I had girls toys. I did girl things and was only friends with girls, yada, yada. In other words, I had a lot of nurture catered to my personality and nature. I've taken a lot of crap over the years that my mother (and grandmother) made me this way but as most people that are born like this feel and know, that's a load of crap. Regardless, I'm grateful for being brought up knowing how to cook, clean, sew and make sammiches to keep my men happy. :) Note: I'm also strong, assertive, independent, intelligent and don't take crap from anybody! I got those qualities from my mother too!

I don't really remember much before I was five except maybe for a few snippets here and there but I do remember telling my parents that something was wrong with me because I was really supposed to be a girl. I vividly remember being backhanded across the mouth by my Korean war vet, Marine Corps father and told never to say such things again. Several other incidents like this completely shut down my verbalization but my interests and personality were irrepressible and how I ended up with dolls and tea party sets and old aprons I could pretend were dresses. Needless to say, all this caused great problems between my biological parents and they were divorced when I was six.

I wasn't totally given a free ride. I was gender policed over just about everything. Boys don't do this - boys don't do that. Boys don't sit, stand, walk, talk, think or move like that. For a brief time, I had to think about everything I did and it drove me nuts. It all became too much nor was I any good at it and I found just being me was the best. I never really felt I was feminine and still don't so much but that certainly was the perception of others. I was bullied and ostracized and had nothing but social problems in school. Seventh grade was the first year I started and finished a whole grade at the same school.

I was much happier about it but my problems were only exacerbated when after the 2nd grade, I had my last boy's haircut. I had visited my father that summer and he buzzed it all off and it sent me into such a fit of depression that nobody ever cut it again which became bigger problems later in life.

When the androgyny of pre-pubescence began to fade, that's when I really started freaking out. Fortunately I was a late bloomer and by high school and with already having long blonde hair, being allowed to dress more like a girl or as much as I could get away at school with a boy's name, getting my ears pierced, brows done and legs shaved etc., I managed to suffer through several years of just being an it - a freak like nobody had ever seen the likes of. By 16, I was consistently being gendered as a girl outside of school and things just went from there. When I graduated, I had already been on hormones for a year and with letters in hand, my mom went with me to the DMV to get my license changed. I got my first time social security card as a female with a girl's name. By that fall, I got my first job as a receptionist/gal Friday

My big transition consisted of a little lip gloss and some barrettes in my hair. Having everything changed over came as a big relief to my mom and step-dad as they actually thought I might have some kind of a future and a chance at a normal life.

I had not even heard of the word transvestite until I joined the Navy and by happenstance found a biographical tome by a wonderful woman, Charles Pierce. Charles Pierce was her stage name when she performed as a 'male actress'. It was only later in her life did she publically acknowledge her true gender as a woman.

When I first read this I thought you meant Virginia Prince but realized my error. I checked my favorite trans history and biography site and came up with very little (That's a great site if you have a week to read it). However, you may want to check out the wikipedia page which neglects to mention any acknowledgment of her true gender.

Yeah, transvestite. What a word to find in a grade school dictionary but it was the only language or concept I had that was even remotely close. Transsexual and transgender hadn't even come into widespread use then and even still for a while, transsexuals were thought just to be extreme transvestites. Oh, how far we have come!

You, my local friend and others of your era are the real pioneers that we all should hold in high esteem.

Please don't. At least not me anyway. I'm nobody that's ever done anything except keep my name out of the papers and have a regular life.

The best I could do about my gender confusion was to join the Navy hoping to 'man up' and get rid of my burden.

That's a lot more than I've ever done. I can't say I've ever been confused about my gender but during my youth did ponder why I had a male body and how such a thing could get screwed up like that. Oddly though, once I got that issue taken care of I was a lot more comfortable embracing the more masculine elements of my personality. I long ago gave up on what people think. I like hair and makeup and nails for example but am somewhat indifferent on clothes but have over 200,000 miles of motorcycle riding and even raced motorcycles in the 80's and the only sports I like are motorsports like Formula 1 and MotoGP so I definitely have some tomboy in me and I'm completely cool with that.

Please stick around the forum and gives us your insights so those who are contemplating GCS have just a bit more information at hand as to what it is like to become the 'you' you should be.

Thanks! Not really sure if there's any merits in my insights but if sharing some of my experiences can help someone find or sort out things they may be thinking about or going through, I'll do what I can to help. I'm pretty open and willing to answer questions if there are any. After I get all this intro/life story business out of the way, I'll try my best not to bore everyone to death (but I'm not making any promises!)

Finally, I never have ever and never will I post identifiable pictures online anywhere so my avatar and this one is all you're ever going to get so I may as well get it out of the way. This pic is from about six months ago. I'm a tad under 5'7"/170cm, naturally blonde but I do color it and I need to lose 20 pounds! I've also been single for the last seven years and am not looking to change that! I like doing computer graphics and making things on my vinyl plotter, cooking, music, writing and die for science fiction.

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Can't think of what else to say but thanks again to everyone!

...Lisa
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Re: Coming out at 62 but not what you might think?

Postby MikiSJ » Fri Apr 21, 2017 5:28 am

Lisa_K wrote:Reluctant as I am to divulge much personal information, I live in the 'burbs of the Phoenix (AZ) metro area.
I just got back from Phoenix last Monday after an all-day electrolysis session. I am heading back at the end of June. Maybe we can get together for coffee or dinner.
Re: Charles Pierce:
Lisa_K wrote:wikipedia page which neglects to mention any acknowledgment of her true gender.

She hinted at her issues with gender in the book I read and did not publicize what she did in her later life. I had the opportunity to meet her, in her feminine persona, at a Beethoven concert at Davies Hall. in san Francisco in the early '80s. I mentioned I had read her memoir and got a peck on the cheek.
Lisa_K wrote:200,000 miles of motorcycle riding and even raced motorcycles in the 80's and the only sports I like are motorsports like Formula 1 and MotoGP so I definitely have some tomboy in me and I'm completely cool with that.

Prior to helmet laws, I lost a cousin, a neighbor and a friend in separate motorcycle accidents, so I very seldom got on a motorcycle on the street. But I probably have a couple of thousand miles racing motocross on German made MAICO 250cc bikes in the early '70s.

I am also into Formula1 (Yeah Vettel and the Scuderia!) and MotoGP. I cannot believe you can pull 2+ Gs in a long corner on a motorcycle. I have also abandoned the NFL in favor of the British Premier League.
When writing the next chapter in your life, start with a pencil and eraser - my first page as Miki is full of eraser marks. Doodling is allowed. I have started a new chapter but will still use a pencil.
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Re: Coming out at 62 but not what you might think?

Postby Rheya » Fri Apr 21, 2017 10:09 am

Lisa_K wrote:I hear what you're saying and know what you're feeling. I can't say my sense of self has been damaged per se but it has been a good thump upside the head or I've been given a fresh reality check maybe? This isn't my first rodeo with this, however. The year I had my surgery was about the same time Renée Richards was making the papers and I got my first real insight into what the general public really thinks about transsexual people. Like you, I've never faced any discrimination or transphobia because I was lucky enough to be well blended but seeing all the negative public opinion and the uproar it caused didn't do my self esteem any favors. It did help my mom to know that I wasn't the only one though. I hate using the word stealth because I'm not a military jet but all the hubbub about being trans back then drove me even deeper into the woodwork to avoid all the derision and hostility not to mention the fear of homo/transphobic violence and losing my job etc. I'd nearly been killed in high school and had no desire to repeat that experience.


What you say here is remarkably similar to my own feelings and experiences with this. My Renée Richards was Caitlyn Jenner (although Jenner is kind of an asshole, and from what I've gathered Richards wasn't - then again I don't know much about her). Reading your stories and thoughts here has been surprisingly refreshing for me. I've been struggling a lot with the whole idea that I am transgendered for some time now, something I did not struggle with before. I've also felt guilt about being invisible and "in hiding", I've even felt guilt about being okay with myself and not facing much transphobia when so many others struggle under horrid and inhumane social and physical conditions. It has given me some perspective on it all (in a good way).

Lisa_K wrote:With the recent rise of trans awareness in the media and folks like us being used as political pawns for pandering to the masses from both the left and the right, it is difficult to not internalize some of this. It is hard not to recognize some of the conflict and oppression and what's become even worse is that being trans something or another has become trendy and fashionable and adopted as a cause by SJW's seeking victim points that get lumped in and confused with those truly suffering from gender dysphoria. Hey, I'm all for people expressing themselves anyway they want to or labeling themselves with whatever 96 Tumblr genders they choose to use but my own opinion is this has only added to the backlash and complaints about things being forced or shoved down people's throats. It's a mess but I won't go further down this track in a mixed community to avoid offending anyone.


I don't think that being transgendered has become fashionable or trendy, it is objectively false because no one chooses to have gender dysphoria - it can't be a trend or a fashion. But I understand what you are referring to, I just think that phrase is very dangerous and undermines people with gender dysphoria, which is how I see it. We have gender dysphoria, that's kind of it. People who don't have gender dysphoria yet call themselves trans are the people I assume you're referring to as the ones following a sort of trend.

I'm very torn on this. I've spent so much time with feminist and queer groups in my city and once upon a time I identified as queer (although not anymore, now I'm just a woman). I met a lot of people who called themselves trans and did not have gender dysphoria and I will admit that it was never easy to accept or swallow. None of them were bad people, all of them were rather lovely and many of them are dear to me to this day even if I don't spend time with them. In fact I don't spend time with anyone from those circles anymore, I just didn't fit in - primarily because I was the one with GD. Anyone else who showed up in these groups who had GD eventually moved on just as I did, the only trans people who stuck around were the non-GD ones. For many of these people their issue seems to be social gender, how their birth gender is perceived and the limits of it - socially - and being trans is a way to break out of society's gender norms. In many ways I think this is excellent and wonderful, but at the same time I don't think that calling yourself trans when you don't have GD is the way to go about it. If someone with gender dysphoria identifies as genderqueer or genderfluid or bigendered or neutrois or what have you then I don't see any issue, we all come to terms with our gender dysphoria in different ways, and we all find our peace and place in society under different circumstances. It seems to me that non-GD transpeople are in this sense no different, just people trying to find a bit of peace, like people do. The expectations of their birth gender do not make sense and so they loose their social identity to that birth gender.

I honestly think that the transgender rights movement is the best one for liberating notions of gender, feminism itself is simply not good enough. Because what transgendered people struggle with is in many ways the same things that cispeople struggle with when it comes to gender. Cispeople are also insecure and unsure about their genders, what they mean and how they should behave, how to look to be attractive within their gender role and so on and so forth. For transgendered people to be completely integrated and accepted into society then cispeople have to accept and face something about themselves that would be very healthy to deal with: their own struggles with gender. And I think that this is sort of what is happening nowadays. It wouldn't surprise me that if this went all the way then transgendered people would end up being thought of as just cispeople with a curable, minor health problem.

The political use of transgendered people is nothing short of despicable. Then again, identity politics has made using imposed identity groups for political and personal gain very popular. Goodness knows how many times I've heard and been around when feminists have invoked transgendered people or mentioned how they've been in a relationship with one just to seem progressive (since for all their bragging they show no actual understanding of transgender issues). In some way this political clout could lead to politicians helping out transgendered people on the legal and medical side just to look good, and I guess that's as much of a motivation to do good that anyone can expect from a politician to begin with anyhow.




(as a side not I wish I had your hair I mean it's just exceptional)
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Re: Coming out at 62 but not what you might think?

Postby Lisa_K » Sat Apr 22, 2017 2:18 am

MikiSJ wrote:I just got back from Phoenix last Monday after an all-day electrolysis session. I am heading back at the end of June. Maybe we can get together for coffee or dinner.

JUNE? Have you ever been to Phoenix in June? It'll probably be 115º in the shade on a cool day. Yeah, it's a dry heat but then again, so is the inside of your oven! :)

As far as coffee or dinner, sure, maybe but I do my best to stay in my cave as much as possible. This may sound funny considering all the junk I've accumulated over the years but as part of my anti-materialism and just being a funky person, I drive a 35 year old car with 235,000 miles and no A/C which is pretty unheard of around here. If I had my druthers, I'd still be driving one of the many air-cooled VW's I've owned.

(This is an into thread so excuse me if I elaborate)

Hehehe! I've even stripped and painted a couple VW Beetles as well as the little Toyota I currently drive. (I did mention my tomboy side, right :) )
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Well okay, maybe it's just that I like to paint things. I also do airbrush art.

Anyway, maybe we can figure something out the next time you're in town? I suck at planning things in advance because I more or less work on-call so I never know one day to the next what I'll be doing and of course when I am needed, it always seems to be an emergency that puts 50 people out of work if I don't drop whatever I'm doing.

MikiSJ wrote:Prior to helmet laws, I lost a cousin, a neighbor and a friend in separate motorcycle accidents

That's sad. I started riding in my early 20's because it was the only transportation I could afford. My lesbian cousin had a little Honda and she taught me how to ride. When I was around 27, I was an instructor for the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. I started hanging out at the local road racing circuit thinking maybe I'd like to try it. I was was pretty adventurous in the mid-80's. I'm also a lifetime member of the American Motorcyclist Association.

Mid 80's picture.
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The race track is where I met the guy I was married to for 12 years! I never really stopped loving this idiot, we're still good friends, but I couldn't stand living with him so I took my leave.
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We both raced all over the Southwest and in Cali for about three years. I won two regional class championships and a ton of trophies and was the AMA regional season points runner up in 1988.

That's me! Knee down on a brand new 1988 GSX-R 750 Suzuki.
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Hubby had the #1 plate. We were kind of local celebs. They increased the length of the sprint races and I just didn't have the strength and endurance to keep up with the boys plus we were spending $30K a year. The time came and the decision to go pro at the national level found us realizing we didn't want to give up our jobs and our home to live out of a van and travel the country so we cashed it all in and switched to riding MX bikes (CR 250s) for fun. I raced motocross a few times but we mostly played in the desert.

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I still have a bike but I haven't ridden it for about a year. It's a modern Japanese classic, a 1985 900 Ninja like the one Tom Cruise rode in the movie Top Gun. It is in perfect condition and is becoming collectible and I want it to stay as perfect as possible. The bike I had before that was a GL1500 Honda Gold Wing. I was Road Captain in our local GWRRA chapter for a couple years and lead all the group rides plus I was the club secretary and published our monthly newsletter.

From about 5 years ago. No, I'm not built like the incredible hulk - that's a heavily armored jacket. I can be pretty badass when I want to be or at least I like to think so. :P
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MikiSJ wrote:so I very seldom got on a motorcycle on the street. But I probably have a couple of thousand miles racing motocross on German made MAICO 250cc bikes in the early '70s.

That's very cool. I've always liked bikes and racing and so did my step-dad and mom but she didn't ride. Our family went to some of the early Trans-Am and Inter-Am races and saw some of the legends... Torsten Hallman, Roger DeCoster, Joel Robert, Bengt Aberg, Brad Lackey etc. We even took a trip to Cali for the very first FIM Grand Prix in the U.S. at Carlsbad. So yeah, Maicos, CZs and Husqvarnas, I know what you're talking about! I still watch Supercross on TV every week and my husband and I met Jeremy McGrath and Ricky Johnson once.

MikiSJ wrote:I am also into Formula1 (Yeah Vettel and the Scuderia!) and MotoGP. I cannot believe you can pull 2+ Gs in a long corner on a motorcycle. I have also abandoned the NFL in favor of the British Premier League.


And I cannot believe I'm not in Austin this weekend for MotoGP! Next year for sure! In F1, it pleases me to see Hambone get beat by the team from Maranello. Go Seb! I was a big Schumi fan/hater. Not really part of the tifosi, I just liked him because he was German and weirdly cute. Now that Vettel is getting older, I'm liking him more and more too.

So, people may be wondering what the hell talking about cars and motorbikes has to do with trans stuff and why I went on with all this crap? The point I was trying to make here is that it has absolutely nothing to do with trans stuff and that being trans, or being a girl doesn't have to stop a person from doing whatever they want in life. I also think or wanted to show that with confidence in who you are and in your identity, you can do anything. Besides that, guys that aren't totally intimated dig chicks that are motorheads! :lol:

Rheya, I'll respond to your post on Saturday sometime. You've brought up some good points that I really want to discuss but it's almost midnight and I'm pooped.
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Re: Coming out at 62 but not what you might think?

Postby Lisa_K » Sun Apr 23, 2017 4:54 am

Haha! I'm pretty scary, huh? :)

Rheya wrote:Reading your stories and thoughts here has been surprisingly refreshing for me. I've been struggling a lot with the whole idea that I am transgendered for some time now, something I did not struggle with before. I've also felt guilt about being invisible and "in hiding", I've even felt guilt about being okay with myself and not facing much transphobia when so many others struggle under horrid and inhumane social and physical conditions. It has given me some perspective on it all (in a good way).

I can't say I've struggled with being trans much beyond my teen years but recently I've certainly been reminded that I am or was. When there's been so much noise about it in the last few years and it's being used as clickbait and for political pandering, it's pretty hard to ignore or not take a personal stake in how things are presented or take notice of the perceptions of the non-trans public. However, it's not like you can choose to not be trans or that you embraced your transness based on concise logical and calculated thought or as a business decision when it is something from the heart and from the soul. In terms of the things you struggle with, think where you'd be if you hadn't transitioned or been through the things you have. I can assume there wasn't a whole lot of choice involved in this and in spite of troubling feelings or struggle, you're probably in a better place than you would have been? Don't sweat it and don't feel bad that your life hasn't been miserable.

As far as dealing with guilt for being more fortunate than others or for not having to deal with horrid and inhumane conditions as many have, this is beyond your control and you should just try to let it go. In all aspects of life, we all have our station whether it be socially or financially and even these things can change throughout a person's time on this big blue marble but one thing I've learned is that most things will change and that struggles and worries usually pass and new ones will probably come along. I've had a really great life but it hasn't always been a bed of roses. Is it really ever for anyone?

I previously used the word guilt over my lack of visibility or participation in the trans community when it would have been more accurate to say I feel pressure because there is a lot of encouragement for being out and proud. I am not ashamed of having a trans history but it is something private, personal and somewhat embarrassing so I don't feel bad for wanting to keep it that way. Yes, I am fortunate genetically to never have been physically very masculine and socially to have had the help and support of my parents enabling me to transition as a teenager but I'm not going to beat myself up over it. It doesn't sound like you should either.

Consider also that I came of age in very different times and being trans was nothing like it is today. If doctors thought you were setting yourself up for horrid conditions and societal rejection or you couldn't support yourself or stood the chance of never being affirmed in your gender, you simply didn't get hormones or surgery. I'm sure this lead to many unhappy campers and suicides but my point is many of the people today that don't blend or lose everything in their life and end up in misery due to transition or the unfulfilled need to are in the same boat of those that would have been rejected in the past. Who "gets" to be trans has changed dramatically bringing forth a whole slew of social issues that are somewhat unique to this newish demographic.

However, I and the medical profession have acknowledged that some people can find happiness even if they are recognized as trans or don't live perfectly blended lives and these are the people that trans visibility and acceptance can help and why those of us that are thoughtlessly affirmed in our gender are expected to stand up and speak out for those that aren't. What irks me though is I'm also expected to speak in representation of all gender non-conformance as if having an issue with gender expression and gender roles is the same thing as having gender dysphoria at an incapacitive or destructive level.

Perhaps it's just a matter of my own comfort, safety and security or the way I've dealt with things and my own survival and happiness but as much as I desire to help other people, I have to put myself and my own life first and for the most part, this has been facilitated by being invisible. For this, I do not feel guilty and neither should you or anyone.

As mentioned, I spent the last couple of years in a generally conservative and usually hostile news, politics and current events forum politely advocating for transgender children and trying to bring awareness and understanding as well as scientific and medical information to the discussions there when the subject was brought up. I spent literally hundreds of hours posting and doing my own research and took some satisfaction that I was doing something for others through my efforts. I dealt with many detractors and some trans/homo/everything not straight while male Christian haters but I've also had some intelligent, sophisticated, deep and meaningful discussions with interested and curious people not stuck in their willful ignorance that were often times way smarter than I am. I learned a lot as well. Many of the over 300,000 members there privately message me saying they had learned something from me or appreciated the information I provided or my point of view. I took satisfaction in this and the feeling I was helping people learn. Unfortunately, after 10 years on that board, I was recently banned for clinically answering a member's legitimate question discussing the typical sexual functionality of the post vaginoplasty patient. It was information, not titillation but the staff considered it in violation of their terms and conditions. That site was my only online presence save for the private forums at Gender Spectrum where I mostly observe and now I'm here on this one trying to find my way.

I've also been able to make sizeable (for me) financial contributions to Camp Aranu'tiq, Gender Spectrum, the NCTE and a local trans youth group so it's not like I'm completely oblivious to the needs of others and am not totally sitting back and saying "not my problem". I've also counseled several parents of transgender children and have made myself available for that. These have been some of the things I've done that I feel help to balance out my lack of public visibility and being out and proud in the real world. I also think your being on this board sharing your life, thoughts, feelings, triumphs and sorrows as well as your opinions is also doing something so give yourself some credit and don't be so hard on yourself for doing things your way. There' no shame or guilt for being who you are.

Rheya wrote:I don't think that being transgendered has become fashionable or trendy, it is objectively false because no one chooses to have gender dysphoria - it can't be a trend or a fashion.

Oh, I think you might be a tad out of touch with what is happening, in this country at least. "Trans" is the new emo or goth or punk. The very term transgender has be so diluted and co-opted and the umbrella spread so wide that the word has become so nebulous in meaning as to be absolutely worthless. Young people are adopting 96 different genders, non genders, made up genders and things conflating gender expression and gender roles with gender identity all in the name of being transgender. It's a bloody kerfuffle if not an outright flustercluck, IMO.

<edit>

At this point I've decided that the 1500 remaining words I've written in response to the rest of your post, after drinking wine bigly along with other natural "enhancements", read more like a rant or manifesto that really takes this thread miles off topic so I am going to censure myself and refrain from including it. While I think I said some things well and made several cogent points in response to your comments, I think this would be better saved for a future discussion dealing with trans sociological or political issues on a more philosophical level. I'm not even sure if that type of discussion has a place on this board or where it would be appropriate if at all?

I'm still new here and learning the ropes. I would like to not step on too many toes or get banned my first week before I decide if there's a place for me here. I don't want to offend anyone, not yet anyway and as I am aware some of my views may be politically incorrect or insensitive and I've yet to determine the boundaries of decorum and manners and am trying to be cool, I still wanted to let you know, that I appreciate the comments and feelings you have expressed. I think there's some common ground between us and great conversation sussing it all out but don't want to stray too far down that path right now in this thread.

Kind thoughts and warm thanks to everyone that has welcomed me and to those that have just lurked. I'm hoping for the chance to find my place here and look forward to the opportunity of getting to better know more of you.

2:40 AM. Feeling warm and fuzzy and now off to the Land of Nod.

Ciao,
...Lisa
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Re: Coming out at 62 but not what you might think?

Postby Rheya » Sun Apr 23, 2017 11:48 am

Lisa_K wrote:Oh, I think you might be a tad out of touch with what is happening, in this country at least. "Trans" is the new emo or goth or punk. The very term transgender has be so diluted and co-opted and the umbrella spread so wide that the word has become so nebulous in meaning as to be absolutely worthless. Young people are adopting 96 different genders, non genders, made up genders and things conflating gender expression and gender roles with gender identity all in the name of being transgender. It's a bloody kerfuffle if not an outright flustercluck, IMO.


I think I phrased myself pretty poorly. I agree with you, and much the same ideas and terminology is shared between the transgendered people I know (the actual transgendered people with GD that is). The idea that "trans" is the new emo, goth or punk is mirrored in my own country, many of us make the exact same comparison, and being trans is seen by many transgendered people as another fad or trend (being trans without GD that is). There is actually a sort of semi-derogatory term for non-GD trans people that people with gender dysphoria sometimes use to describe them: we call them middle-class trans (mind you the term "middle-class" has a different connotation in a socialist European country than it has in the United States).

Being trans has become fashionable, I agree with this, but I still don't like this kind of phrase and I still think the idea is too simplistic because the whole non-GD trans thing is part of a much more difficult change that might end up meaning nothing at all but could become meaningful - I don't think it's a coincidence that most non-GD transpeople are ciswomen.

It has been thrown around a bit here and there in my country lately, that it is popular or trendy to be trans. Between people who are actually transgendered - with gender dysphoria - I dare say most of us know who we are talking about when using this phrase: non-GD transpeople. But when this phrase is thrown around by cispeople then it lumps everyone together and heavily implies that having gender dysphoria is trendy. What I mean to say is that I agree with the sentiment but I don't think it is an accurate or even very useful phrase. The fact that I focused on this phrase, which is nitpicky, I know, seems to have confused what I was trying to say.

I would certainly like to get into this difficult topic if only because it was always so terribly taboo among the people I used to know, and for that same reason I also understand why you'd want to abstain from getting into it.

Lisa_K wrote:I can't say I've struggled with being trans much beyond my teen years but recently I've certainly been reminded that I am or was. When there's been so much noise about it in the last few years and it's being used as clickbait and for political pandering, it's pretty hard to ignore or not take a personal stake in how things are presented or take notice of the perceptions of the non-trans public. However, it's not like you can choose to not be trans or that you embraced your transness based on concise logical and calculated thought or as a business decision when it is something from the heart and from the soul. In terms of the things you struggle with, think where you'd be if you hadn't transitioned or been through the things you have. I can assume there wasn't a whole lot of choice involved in this and in spite of troubling feelings or struggle, you're probably in a better place than you would have been? Don't sweat it and don't feel bad that your life hasn't been miserable.


The odd thing is that I have had a pretty awful life. I was homeless for much of my teens and part of my early twenties and my whole childhood and past has left me suffering PTSD. I have food every day now and this is still incredible to me, so safe to say it has not been an easy life. But things are so much better now than they ever have been so even though most of my life has been spent in abject poverty and under abuse I'm just happy now to live with someone I love, be okay with myself and my body and have food and shelter.

In a weird way the guilt came from feeling like it is not okay for me to be okay when other peoples' lives got worse during and after transition, when transition has been nothing but great for me. I've ended up being the one other people lean on with their own gender dysphoria problems because I'm the one who's okay, even though some of these people were further ahead in transition than me at times. Along with all of that I've had so many conversations with people about their doubts and fears when to me there was never any real doubt, transitioning was never a choice - it was something that had to happen for me to survive or exist at all. So on top of it I've always come across as confident and sure of myself, which means I've often had to put aside the small problems I've had at times to be there for other people who have bigger ones. Part of the reason I joined this forum was to find a place to actually talk about my small problems and get perspectives on them because I could not talk about them with anyone I know.

So from all of that came a kind of guilt over my own problems not being big enough to matter, and sometimes I felt like I wasn't trans enough because of it - whilst at the same time feeling very confused about what being more or less trans was supposed to mean to begin with. Having pulled away from the queer and feminist circles I used to be in, I've realized recently how all the identity politics messed me up. I've even felt that I should be less feminine so that it shows that I am transgendered (again, another terribly nebulous idea). I somehow forgot the fact that first and foremost I'm just a human being and not some victim of oppression. I think that solidarity and awareness is important, but my life is good and I am not being oppressed by anyone really. I have decent health care, cheap HRT, my surgeries were almost free, I have people around me I like and a partner who I love, I have faced no violence for being transgendered and only a rare few times have I been discriminated against. It is part of the reason I pulled away from these groups, I'd rather focus on my University education and enjoying life and reading books I like than hang around those places and people and be used as a kind of political prop for validating other peoples' feelings and identities.



Certainly derailing the thread here a bit but I just want to thank you for taking the time to write out your feelings, thoughts and experiences.
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Rheya
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