Reflections

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I wonder, how many people look at themselves in the mirror? I mean really look, deep down below the superficial blotches and imperfections, look into the eyes reflected and try to see what is hidden beneath.
Somehow I doubt there are very many. For most people what they see in reflection is what they expect to see, what they have seen for as long as they can remember and though there may be things they do not like or would change given the chance, still they are not surprised or overly upset by what they find there waiting for them.
The same cannot be said for everyone, not for those like myself who find in the mirror a lie. A mockery.
I know there are people who cannot imagine being anything other than they are. For whom all the pieces, while not perfect, are relatively in line. In other words, they know themselves to be either male or female, their bodies are clearly one or the other and they have all the expected bits and pieces where they are expected to be.
This is separate from who a person may find themselves sexually attracted to, being heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, or even asexual. No, this is about ones sense of self and what they know about who and what they are.
Our culture has long had a habit of taking the complicated and trying to make it simple or making the simple complicated. In this case, in an effort to explain what so many take for granted, several different concepts and realities have been mixed together into one confusing concept of Gender, Sex, and biology and lumped them together into two categories; male and female.
For the majority of the population this seems obvious. For them there is no confusion as to what they are or where they fit into society. They are male, they see themselves as male, they exhibit atypical male physical and mental traits, and they possess a male reproductive system. They are female. They see themselves as female, exhibit atypical female physical and mental traits, and they possess a female reproductive system.
Seeing themselves in the mirror or in the shower presents no issues for them because what the see is what having all these things in alignment allows them to see.
Again, the same cannot be said of everyone.
There those who live in the shadow of a gender normative world, for whom such basic assumptions cannot be made. They have been a part of humanity since before recorded history and they are still here today. Unfortunately, societies, especially Western/European societies have long since turned their backs on such realities.
We have been known by many names, been seen as a blessing and a curse. Raised to the pinnacle of public acclaim and been discarded, dismissed, and forgotten.
We are of the Two-Spirits, kathoey, hijra, and many more. Scattered across the globe, crossing nationalities, ethnicities, and religions.
We are your neighbors and coworkers.
We are your brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, mothers and fathers.
But more than any of these things…
We Are Human.
We shed the same tears. Our blood spills as easily as yours. We laugh and cry. We love and hate. He share all the same passions and desires as any other human being.
We Are Not Animals.
We are not freaks.
We are not an amusement.
We not objects to be ridiculed or despised.
We Are Human,
And we deserve to be treated as such.

Information On Books About Gender Variance

I was asked about resources or books which discuss Trans people both today and in history. I found these with a simple keyword search on Barnes & Noble.

Under Two Spirit:

“Two-Spirit People: Native American Gender Identity, Sexuality, and Spirituality”
by Sue-Ellen Jacobs, Wesley Thomas (Editor), Sabine Lang (Editor)

“Two Spirit People: American Indian Lesbian Women and Gay Men / Edition 1”
by Lester B Brown

Under Third Gender:

“Third Sex, Third Gender: Beyond Sexual Dimorphism in Culture and History / Edition 1”
by Gilbert Herdt (Editor).

“Two Spirits: An Unauthorized Guide to Transgender Topics and Identities, Including Genderqueer, Third Gender, Intersex, and More”
by Calista King.

“The Other Genders: Androgyne, Genderqueer, Non-Binary Gender Variant: Intergender, Mixed Gender, Ambigender, Agender, Neutrois, Nullgender, Bigender, Multigender, Plural Gender, Fluid Gender, Third Gender, Gender Outlaw, Pangender, Polygender, Omnigender,”
by Ken Wickham.

“Sex and the Gender Revolution: Heterosexuality and the Third Gender in Enlightenment London”
by Randolph Trumbach.

Those were just a quick search of a single site, I can imagine there is a great deal more to be found if I were dig a little deeper. Also, these are titles currently available for sale and does not include anything from the secondary market.

Another note is these are not autobiographies, there are more them a few of them as well, such as;

“She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders”
by Jennifer Finney Boylan, Richard Russo.

(I cannot speak to the quality of any of these books as I have not read them.)

Of course this doesn’t touch on the huge resources available through the internet where there pages and pages of information, links, thoughts, opinions, and personal experiences.

I can, if anyone is interested begin a new page with links to additional information regarding gender variant information.

Note: I didn’t attempt to link directly to B&N pages for any of the books. I am still testing a blogging app and I didn’t want to risk losing all my work if something didn’t work correctly. I expect to have this resolved in the near future.

A Lesson Learned

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I know this is going to seem sudden. A few short days ago I couldn’t imagine writing this months from now, if ever. But I have learned there are things we cannot fully understand, even about ourselves.

Over the past weeks and months I felt a growing drive, a desire to go “full time”. The stress of trying maintain a dual life was simply becoming too much. I reached a point where I knew I was going to have to make a decision; either take the next step and watch my world come crashing down or surrender and return to living life as male.

I know there are those who will think me foolish but I chose the latter. I thought I understood what I was accepting in making this decision. I thought I knew the cost and I was willing to pay it to spare those close to me, at least as much as I could.

What I failed to understand is just how much has changed. I have said I am not the person I was… Such a naive understatement…
Not only am I not that person who went before, I am incapable of even connecting with that person. Not mentally, not emotionally. We share memories, a common past, but I have no doubt we are two different people…

There is no going back.

Ever.

When I wrote about my decision, I was determined to never post here again. I was going to purge my computer and clear out the closet. I was going to erase a year of my life. Later that day I hugged my children and told A I loved her. They didn’t understand but I knew. I didn’t expect to live to see my next birthday, never mind the end of the year. It wasn’t a matter of if but when. As I said, I knew the price I would pay. I went to sleep, exhausted. When I woke and got ready for work, I did so in full male mode for the first time in almost a year.

I spent the following eight hours and more trying to find the person I had been, the mask I had worn for so many years. They were beyond my grasp. I tried to push myself over a mental and emotional cliff only to find it doesn’t exist. It seems I have embraced these things and made peace with them without realizing what I had done. I have a mixture of surprise and relief at finally coming to this realization.

Where I am left is with the knowledge I have had all along, which I have spoken of without fully grasping what it truly means. I am the same person regardless of how I choose to present, of what name I am called by or what pronouns are used. Everything else is an annoyance, not a life stopping event.
Yes, I would rather be seen and accepted as who I truly am. I am more comfortable in my skin when I can be myself, but if I can’t do so twenty four seven, it changes nothing.

Finally understanding this has freed me from a weight I placed on myself. It frees me from the pressure which was driving me to be seen as myself by others, to have their approval and understanding when in truth it is my own approval and understanding I need.

I needed to do this one thing, something I was never able to do before…Love myself, warts and all.

I guess thinking so damn much can sometimes be a good thing!

Reconnecting

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I was able to reconnect with one of the people I came out to before Christmas. It was such a relief to open up and talk with someone who I felt comfortable with. I will admit though, that I talked the poor woman’s ear off. As I told her, my nickname as a child was “Jabber Jaws”, (and if you got the reference, here’s a cookie!) We caught up on a lot of things and just had a wonderful conversation over all.

 

This is one of the things which has really changed in my life. For so long, as I struggled to understand myself, I slowly isolated myself. Allowing friendships and other relationships to slip away. Now I find I have a driving desire to get involved with life again, to interact with others. To share so much which has been shut away for far too long. 

It is true that I often find I have to be careful of what I say and the way I am saying it. That’s the downside of keeping a secret, and I can feel the difference of talking when presenting as male and female, depending on the conversation. I can say this though, no matter what the conversation, I feel more comfortable, more confident in myself when presenting as female. It is then that I feel complete in how I am interacting with the world and those around me. When I am talking with someone I am comfortable with, someone with whom I find I can just be myself without fear, then it doesn’t matter as much how I am presenting, though there is that part of me which is still aware I am not there as I truly know I should be. This was the case yesterday and it was so freeing that thinking on it now brings a smile and yes, even a tear. I so wish every day, every conversation could be this way. 

 

There has been so much talk over why we are the way we are, what forces are at work that shape us. Yet, I think in the end, none of that matters. To simply treat one another with respect, to be willing to accept someone for who they are… Isn’t that what is truly important?

Looking For Information, A Place To Start

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I was thinking of a different post for today but I happened across this: http://genderintransitionspring2013.wordpress.com/2013/01/21/transgender-or-genderqueer/

I’m not sure if I completely agree, but it gave me a link to the following: http://www.tgender.net/taw/tsins.html

A discussion of Transgender Health Benefits, which I found to be informative.

The best part is there are many links included.

I hope this provides information for those who are looking for answers. Of course this isn’t all there is to know or understand, but it is a place to start.

Riding The Afterglow

Sorry I’m so late in getting this post up. I was away from my computer most of the day and this was the first chance I’ve had to get anything written.

I’m still riding the afterglow of the past several days. I finally feel not just comfortable with myself but a step closer to understanding what it might mean to feel complete.

I showed my pictures to two of people who know and they were very supportive, one even commented on how happy I looked and she’s right, I am happy. That alone has made this experience something I will remember for a long time.

Going shopping alone Friday was so much fun. True, I had to tell a little white lie or two, but even that couldn’t take away the feeling joy at doing such a simple thing for myself. I have to say there was one employee who went out of her way to help me and I truly appreciated it. I also had a chance to interact with two other shoppers who without thinking treated me like one of the girls even though I looked like one of the boys. After I left they may have thought it strange, but I felt wonderful and thankful for the way they made me feel included and welcomed.

As I said, my therapy session went well. I have long wanted to go into a meeting as myself, in looks and voice, to sit there and be seen as who I am. Doing so felt right. I was comfortable in a way I have never been before.
I know who I am, no matter how I may look, but to actually stand up in the world and be seen is more than I ever thought possible.

Speaking of this session… There was a question asked which has never been asked before and I wonder if it was prompted by seeing and talking to me as a reality and not some intellectual possibility. It was, “how long did I think I could maintain things until resentment and anger set in?” I didn’t have answer to that. In fact I hadn’t thought of things in those terms before. This is something I will have to think about. I don’t want it to reach such a point. Well, one day at a time, right? It has gotten me this far, I think it will carry me a little further.

Tears

I stood alone In the dark, music playing softly in my ears and for a moment my lives, seen and unseen came together in their totality.
In that instant I was complete. Words are inadequate to describe what I felt. The transcendence beyond my own reality. The feelings of peace.
I cried then, in that darkness I no longer saw, alone but not lonely and I felt no shame for my tears.

Daydreams and Nerves

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Okay, first an update: I sent my rough draft of “Kira: Unbound” to a friend to read. I am waiting to hear back from him before I decide if I’m going to update my original posts or write new ones. Sorry for the delay.

Now to what I wanted to talk about. I am often thinking, dreaming, fantasying, daydreaming about different things. Little story blobs or plot lines or scenes. Some are nothing more than mist, here then gone, but others stick in my mind for days, weeks, or even years. Some of them I have allowed to slowly develop and others just sort of sit there and don’t advance beyond my original thoughts. I’ll share some examples of two of the longer lasting ones.

First is what it should be like to move to another place, some town or city with a vibrant art community. This came from watching one of those shows which follows a couple looking to buy their first place and in one episode it was mentioned an apartment they were looking at was located in a suburb which was considered the “artsy part of town.” So my imagination took this and ran. I have thought about the apartment I would want, where it would be located, how I would furnish it, even who my neighbors might be.

I would love a place you see located over a business on the towns main street. If it was over a little cafe of coffee shop would be perfect. I would prefer a one bedroom, though two would work as it would give me a guest room. I might not know all of my neighbors, but I would meet either an open minded single woman or lesbian couple who would introduce me to the local LGBT community. From there it would just be a matter of time before I met people I could socialize with, and make new friends. Most of the time I think about this, it is more about how I want to furnish the apartment, and being able to have people over for a “girls night in”. I know this is silly, but it does make me feel sort of warm and fuzzy thinking of having friends who know about who I am and accepting me without reservation.

The second is a bit more out there and maybe I will find a way of working into my current story or maybe as a stand alone story line…

This came from a conversation I had with someone about a little girl who had cancer. It isn’t a sad story because, thanks to an experimental treatment, she is now cancer free. The main point of this conversation was how doctors used a modified version of the AIDS virus to “infect” her and attack the cancer cells. As I said, she is now cancer free and all traces of the virus are gone.

This lead me to another line of thought. Since a virus can infect a cell and take it over to create little virus factories, why couldn’t they be used to take over cells and rewrite the gender information? To turn XX to XY or vice versa? From there it was just a matter of putting together a character sketch and then turning “him” to “her”. I haven’t really gotten very far with this one, just a few scenes in the clinic and private room, but I think this one has legs as they say.

This talk of my over active imagination brings this up; I have been wondering what would happen if I were to go to my next therapy session as female? My therapist has only seen two pictures of me, nothing more. All of my sessions have been with me presenting as male. This has come to mind several times but it has been over the past week or so that I can’t seem to get it out of my thoughts. I will mention I have to drive some distance to get to her office, but I doubt anyone would look at me more than once. No, it’s at the office that I start getting nervous. I am her last appoint of the day and when I leave the office is empty, but when I first arrive, there are other people there, often several children waiting with their father for someone to finish an appointment as well as at least one other therapist. I usually have to wait ten to fifteen minutes before my own appointment, I always try to be a little early… Most of the time they seem to ignore me, but then again I try not to look at them too much either. Still, it makes my stomach do flip flops thinking about it.

Doing this is a concern because the entire time I have been in therapy, talking about the fact I am one thing while looking like another, makes me feel as if I’m not believable. That anyone listening to me thinks I’m more than a tad off as it were. I feel if they could see the real me, they would understand and be more accepting of the truth I have only expressed in words. I don’t know if it would make any difference at all or if this is just in my head. I just can’t help feeling I would be so much more comfortable talking about things if I could just be myself.

Lady Of The Heart

Lady Of The Heart
By Kira A. Moore

Time,
Ebbs and flows,

A sea,
Of possibility.

She stands,
Upon endless shores,

Caught,
With the light,

Of
Tomorrow’s dawn,

In her hair,
Reflecting from her smile.

And the shadows,
Of yesterday,

Seek solstice
In her arms.

Journey

The Transgender community is incredibly diverse. This is our strength and our weakness. We come together in our differences against a world where the gender binary rules.

In many ways the majority has an advantage over us in they have an understood frame of reference in which to relate to one another. Men are biological males who identify as male and women are biological females who identify as female. It doesn’t matter where you were born, the color of your skin, your religion… Strip every person of these considerations and you can still tell at a glance which is which.

In the Trans* community, nothing is clear. One must search beyond physical cues to find the truth .

This can cause confusion as each person occupies a slightly different place in the spectrum. True, it is possible to place us in some overly broad, general categories, but they are little more than guidelines.

Honestly, I think of myself in transition as much in regards to how I self identify as I am in becoming the person I was meant to be. Will I see myself as female, male, or some mixture of the two? Maybe in the end I will find I am none of these.

I can’t say. Not yet.

This lack of understanding on my part is reflected in the way others seek to relate to me and the story I am sharing on this blog.
I simply don’t know where I will find my comfort zone on any given day. Sometimes it changes from one hour to the next. I don’t know what trigger I might stumble across or if the different stresses I deal with will influence how I am feeling.
Is it surprising I seem confused? If I seem to shift from one point of view to another or if there are unexpected conflicts?
One day I know something is going to click into place and I will know I have reached the right place for me. I don’t know when it will happen, just that it hasn’t yet.
I didn’t expect this to be a quick trip, but a long journey. I have been dealing with these questions, seeking these answers for less than a year. It took me more than forty years to get to this point and though I know it won’t take so long to reach a fuller understanding of who I am, I also know it isn’t going to come with the snap of my fingers.