I had to post this. Cracks me up and it’s a Canadian short film.
Check out http://www.blogtalkradio.com/Sisters_Talk for info and listen in. 🙂
I have to admit that I rarely, if ever, watch your show. Most shows like yours, and Jerry Springer, often perpetuate the most base and uneducated view of society. It is unfortunate that given how many people you reach that you do so with an intent to harm. Your recent show on the transgendered parent and her daughter who transitioned from male-to-female is an unfortunate but shining example of this. The show, entitled Little Boy Lost, suggests that parents should “guide” their kids to society’s assigned gender and that it’s is curable, much like being gay is (apparently). It also, rather subtly, suggests that being transgendered is some kind of horrible, freak show. The parent in this show was treated with disrespect and wasn’t given proper advice on how to move forward. Much like the child figuring out that they need to let go of the past, so does the parent. I see no references to support structures or groups that could help this woman grieve for the past and celebrate the present. I thought you were about helping people find a path that can truly help them, by being honest with themselves and moving forward. For this family, it would mean getting support for the family to understand what transgender/transsexualism is, that there is nothing wrong with it and how to move forward with it.
But no, you would prefer to have present to the world these thoughts (emphasis mine):
“How did you make the decision to support him transitioning from male to female versus saying, ‘No, this is wrong, it’s an aberration, it’s a disorder, and he needs therapy’?” Dr. Phil asks.
“Because I knew that that wasn’t the right answer,” she says. “I knew all along something was different about him. He didn’t give me a choice. He didn’t really say, ‘Can I do this?’ He just said, ‘This is what I have to do to live.’”
Dr. Phil points out that Toni has two other sons who are not gender confused, which is at odds with Glenn and Dr. Nicolosi’s theory that gender confusion could be caused by an over-involved mother.
I would point out, Dr. Phil, that her new daughter is not “gender confused” either. She is very aware of who she is and what she needs to do to be seen as that by society’s blindness. It strikes me that society seems rather confused as to who she is and refuses to understand what she is going through. Additionally, the thought that the mother was over-involved is a tried and true excuse. It was previously used to describe effeminate heterosexual men as well as homosexuals. This theory has been discounted as a reason for homosexuality and much of the research going on today addresses a variety of “causes”. But that said, neither transgenderism nor homosexuality are “diseases”; they are, however, the evolution of individuals into something more than what the “average” cis-gendered person is.
“I just want to see your results,” Toni says to Dr. Nicolosi, defensively. “Where are your 16-year-olds now?”
“This is not just your position with transgendered children, you also believe the same thing in terms of gay and lesbian as well,” Dr. Phil says to Dr. Nicolosi, noting that he has written a book titled A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Homosexuality. “You deal with that in your practice, correct?”
Kudos to the mother, Toni, for asking for “results”. Better yet, rather than going and promoting these two “quacks”, why not show the success stories of people who have transitioned and live their lives fully and successfully. Show fathers and mothers, like Toni, that it doesn’t have to be all sad and a matter of grieving but rather a life that can be enjoyed and lived fully. Preventing it, as these two suggest, opens up a greater chance of suicide (particularly those that are pre-op, pre-hormone and denied the right to be their true self) as well as a greater chance of a life lead in misery, confusion and shame.
Contrary to what some suggest, there is no shame in being yourself. We’re told this every day, even from the likes of Sesame Street. We’re told that it’s ok to accept others who are different from each other and then the likes of you promotes the fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) about trans individuals rather than celebrating the people they become. Do we always have to be bombarded by a negative view of life? Can we not be bombarded with success, happiness and fulfillment via paths not like what the average person experience?
Is it really that difficult?
Linus, who’s happy with life now.
I thought, since I’m at home this week, I’d make most of the dinners. I am, however, a rather lazy cook and often look for things that are simple, easy and will last a while (or so I hope). So crockpot/slow cooker recipes as well as large stew/soup recipes are favourites of mine. It also helps stretch that ever shrinking dollar. K and I had been talking about what soups she likes and she does sorta like Amy’s Black Bean but said that often they lack a “omph” as far as flavour/spicyness goes. So I thought why not make a nice spicy black bean soup for her? The internet happens to be my favourite recipe book ever. And in my searches I found this simple recipe: Black Bean Vegetable Soup. I pretty much stuck to the recipe with two exceptions:
- I used a slow cooker at the end rather than a soup pot. I stuck it on low and let it simmer away for a couple of hours. The apartment smelled great!
- I add in some cajun spices my aunt gave me over the holidays. Lots of ’em!
It wasn’t enough to cure K’s cold but was good enough for her to have two huge bowls of it. The recipe technically feeds 8 but I think K ate enough for 4! (I also had two small bowls myself along with some bread and vegan mayo I made). K’s cold, however, got worse over night and she canceled a date with a dear friend to stay at home in bed. Of course, everyone knows what the fix is for that: chicken soup. But since we’re vegan, that’s a definite no-no so I searched for some nice vegan “chicken” soups. And found this one on About.com. Again, I stuck with the recipe as is but made a few minor changes:
The local grocery stores have “vegetable soup kits” in their produce aisle. I got one that cost me about $3.25 and had all the basics needed for soup: turnip, leek, onion, celery, fresh basil, fresh parsley, carrots, parsnip. I used that to replace some of the ingredients listed. I added a couple of potatos.
- Used pre-minced garlic and added a couple of large slices of ginger
- Used Whitewave StirFry Seitan Strips and coated them with salt and pepper (next time will marinate over night in No Chicken Broth)
- Used 8 cups of No Chicken Broth
- Used 2 cups of vegan vegetable sea salt and herb bouillon
- Add a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme to the parsley/basil bundle
- ground in the fresh pepper and added in about another 1-2 tsp of black pepper
- added sea salt
- added cajun spice (about 1-2 teaspoons)
- used 2 tbsps sunflower oil (didn’t have any olive oil on hand)
- let it simmer for two hours and served with saltines (salted kind)
- added 2 cups of water after removing the bundle
This is comfort food. It’s not about diets and losing weight. And it definitely seemed to help K a bit.
Ah. It’s nice to have this week off-platform. I should enjoy it while I can. February and March have 8 weeks total of back-to-back classes. While most are online or in NYC, I do have 3 trips (at least) to do: Edison, NJ; Burlington, MA (just outside of Boston); and Chicago. It’s not that it’s 8 weeks of classes or work but rather it’s 8 weeks of being “ON” (super happy and helpful regardless of life) and at least 3 weeks of travel in there. To say that it could be potentially draining is an understatement. Now, don’t get me wrong. It is ok to have this as it means I’m working and will remain important enough to keep working. But it is making it hard to schedule doctors appointments and such for my next stage of life. It’s tricky to balance it all but I suspect things will work out as they should and in the order that they should.
It does highlight cis-privilege versus trans folk. Not too many cis-privilege individuals I know have to worry about when to transition, will work be ok if they transition, etc. I sometimes catch greater glimses of this privilege while other times, not so much. I have yet to face full-blown, in-your-face discrimination about who I am and what I’m becoming. I suspect I may be lucky — or perhaps blind. Not sure yet which. I’m also, as a more likely reason, very early in my transition and the nature of my job allows me a lot of leeway. That all said, it doesn’t mean it won’t happen or couldn’t happen. A few months ago there was a study I had commented on about the differences in pay after transitioning between MTFs and FTMs. I had to chuckle when I ran into the same quote, yet again, below:
I think that the general framing of the article in the mainstream media is as a cautionary tale to transgender people. Like, “before you have that ‘sex change,’ think about your job.” Which is amusing on some level because the group of people who are NOT surprised by this article are transgender people. What I have seen in my research is transgender men and women spend a great deal of time agonizing over how a gender transition might affect their careers – they don’t need a reporter to tell them to think about the possible outcomes.
— Author of Trans Workplace Study Speaks Out, Bilerico Project
I’m not interested in letting economics be the deciding factor as to whether I transition or not. It does become, however, a factor in how quickly I can transition. Having a job with some disposable income does become a deciding factor in how long this process can take. For me, it’s been a bit of a rather speeded up process — almost as if I’m making up for lost time. While I do worry about whether I might lose my job over this or that I might suffer financially (both of those would be reasons to sue and the corporate policy has been demonstrated to me to be favourable to me to stay the same or increase on merit than anything else), I cannot let it hold me back. I have lots of other opportunities elsewhere and in that, I consider myself luckier than most. I have pondered what I’d do if I did lose my job (and thus, my visa). I think I’d move back to Ontario and start over there, with maybe a new career all together. Even if unemployed, I’d at least get SRS covered there under OHIP (as archaic as it is — maybe I should move to BC and crash at a friend’s place). And I’d want to continue down that path more. My aunt and two of my doctors have both expressed concern over whether I’d regret the decision (the doctors wanted me to understand that once I go down the path of surgery there is no going back).
I don’t think I’d want to go back. A friend, in an online discussion about cisprivilege, recently and very succiently, put forth a comment about her path that pretty much sums up what I’ve been feeling:
The reality is that every transperson I have ever known or spoken to (with the exception of those who were able to find help, acceptance and transition young) did their utmost to fit in, to BE the gender their sex said they were. We have all fought and struggled NOT to be trans. To accept our bodies as right and to make our gender identity conform. I fought tooth and nail NOT to be trans. I fought nearly all my adult life. I had no reason to want to be trans. I had everything to lose and nothing to gain. Nothing to gain that is except myself. This was a battle I waged until I could not fight anymore. I fought until I reached a place where I had a choice – I could accept I was female and begin transition, or I could kill myself (a solution I contemplated for more years that I care to admit). I knew it wouldn’t guarantee any sort of instant happiness. But I did achieve a level of being complete. Of being at peace with myself. When the battle raged there was not a single moment, not a single second, where it wasn’t being fought. Regardless of what else might be happening at any given second there was a part of me always engaged with fighting myself.
Simply “accepting” the body you are born with never works. You cannot change the essence of who, or what, you are INSIDE. However we CAN change our bodies to bring us closer to congruence with our identity. That IS medically achievable. One analogy I can give is that being trans is similar to having a total body birth defect. A birth defect that can be corrected. Just as a cleft palate can be. Maybe the person born with a cleft palate will never look the same as if they had never been born that way. Maybe they don’t NEED correcting in order to live. But correcting that defect VASTLY improves their quality of life.
And she is right. I bolded and emphasized a particular part that really says it. I fought against who I was for so long. I never fully understood what I was fighting against, why I had this battle inside of me or where to go. I have no desire or need to go back. I never saw myself as feminine or a woman. I never felt comfortable being identified as that (and now, as I transition, I find myself even less comfortable with it). I know a lot of trans guys feel a sense of calm once they start T shots and more confident with every shot thereafter. I’m very happy with myself finally. I have no desire to commit suicide or anything like that. I’m actually enjoying life for once. I can honestly say that if I died tomorrow, I’d be ok with the last couple of years of my life where I really found myself (not that I’d be happy that I haven’t finished the rest of my life — I have so much more to live for now than ever before).
I went for a long walk today with the camera and managed to get some interesting shots. You can see them on the Flickr site if you want (http://www.flickr.com/syrlinus/show). It was very pleasant and quiet — for the most part. At one point, a gaggle of people came down the path, asking me if it was true that there were no birds in the forest. Well, there are; it’s just that they are so noisy that no bird will come out. I did find a couple — a woodpecker (either Downy or Hairy — too far to tell; and a Warbler, I think). Although the sky was grey, it wasn’t too cold. It’s very weird to not see snow on the ground in January for me. I’m kinda used to it. I suppose it’s even weirder for me to go for a walk in my sandals (with socks on). I actually find it comfortable and it’s not really cold enough to warrant boots. I’ve noticed that I’m more and more tolerant of the cold. Or at least, the cold weather in NYC (it’s not as cold as elsewhere). K is being driven mad by me and my desire to keep my office window open a crack or more. I usually do that to let the cigar smoke out but also to make it more comfortable, temperature wise, in my office area.
And it’s during these walks that I do ponder the weird and wonderful world we live in. Someone had started a discussion about cis-privilege and it has gotten me to think some more about the idea of living stealth. I really don’t know if I could do it. I mean, even after top surgery, and if I ever have a hysto, I dunno if I just want to blend in and take all that privilege that often comes with it (being a white trans guy I end up with a huge load of privilege that I apparently never had before). I mean, thus far being open and letting it be obvious hasn’t seemed to hurt me. I’ve been pretty lucky, I guess, in my experience and haven’t faced any (that I know of) discrimination. I’ve pondered why this may be. Either I’m rather fortunate or rather blind. There may be another option: I’m more confident and happy.
It’s an interesting human phenomenon that we like to hang with people who are happy and content, even when our own lives just suck beyond belief. When I greet people, I try to have a smile on my face and stay positive. It’s taken me a while to develop this habit and it’s something I use often when I instruct (the exception to this is when I’m really, really sick or depressed — which happens far less often than it used to). But back to the cis privilege. It puzzles me. It really only appears when a trans individual has not fully transitioned and is in that median place of one foot on one side and one foot on the other. Once a person has reached a stage where they can “pass” 100% of the time (or something near to it) cis privilege almost becomes their own. But, as I said, it’s the in-between time that is the riskiest and most dangerous. And it is that point of time where trans protection and education is need most.
I am at that in-between stage. My voice is still dropping (I really need to do an audio piece so people can hear) and I’m still gaining hair in places while losing it elsewhere (*sob*). And yet.. Eh. Who knows? Perhaps I just haven’t quite hit the discrimination part yet. But it’s still out there, that I know. I know it from the pain that some trans folk I know face. Maybe this year I’ll see it personally as times of trouble tends to bring out the worst in people before it brings out their best.
Then again, I can hope that it won’t..
This game always makes me laugh… Enjoy
Well, this Thursday I will hopefully move one more step closer to the surgery I want to have that should help me move forward even more. It’s interesting that I’ve been wanting this surgery since I was a kid and have no qualms about doing it. In some weird way, I’m almost giddy about it. Part of it is a pure fear of the big C and part of it is pure happiness to alleviate some back issues. I think there is also a part of me that looks forward to getting rid of the “things” that cause me so much grief when I was younger. Developing breasts at age 8 was a curse for me rather than a rite of passage. It is still a scary process but at least one that will allow me to move forward. The surgeons I found are very good at what they do and I’m hopeful that I might get this covered under my benefits with just a minimal deduction charge to pay.
It has also given me an extra incentive to eat healthier and do more exercise. I’ve been doing daily push-ups, arm curls, chest press and walking. This won’t cause overnight slimness but should help keep me a little more fit and ensure that my chest muscles might be able to handle this better once the surgery rolls around. The next few months (Jan/Feb/March) look busy on my work schedule so I’ll have to be diligent to ensure that I remain focused on my goal. It is good that I am busy as it will mean I remain employed and may give the company an even greater reason to help me get my green card or some other option to keep me in the US.
As busy as work seems, I’m rather excited about what’s coming up this year and am rather upbeat and positive about it. Being the lead on some development has put me in the forefront of things and perhaps I’ll do an occassional travel to somewhere new and exciting. It does make things a bit tricky when it comes to things like surgery, exercise, etc. but taking everything in stride will, I believe, help me. Anyways, I should have an update sometime next week and should have an idea of when things will move beyond that.
This past week or so I’ve been exploring my creative side with my camera and started participating in a group that would post at least one picture a day. While I know I can’t meet up exactly with that, I’m going to try to add regular pictures (mostly B&W) to my Flickr account. With some luck, I’ll have some pretty nifty shots. You can check them out by visiting here or going to my Pix by Linus page.
Last month poll showed that a few of you are very positive about 2009 and what it has to bring. While there is certainly still an amount of concern given how 2008 ended and how 2009 is starting (Israel and the Gaza Strip), things might turn around if we remain positive about the future. Granted the year will be hard but I don’t think it will get worse than it has.
And since we’re looking positive for the future, what resolutions have you or will you put in place to make 2009 your year? Or perhaps you’re not putting in any resolutions in place because they don’t work or because life is grand as it is. So let me know what’s going to make this year your year.