Sunday, May 30, 2010

Biting my tongue

...can be very hard to do!

(warning - random disorganized and only vaguely related thoughts ahead)

Given the fact that the last post is a couple of weeks old now, the few of you who care are probably wondering what happened regarding the aforementioned drama. Well, I've been strongly "asked" to stop airing so much dirty laundry (which, to be fair, is a reasonable request) but I need to at least somewhat resolve the cliffhanger. iI had thought, over the past week, that we were perhaps drawing back from the edge of the cliff a bit - I was actually thinking of writing a post expressing some relief on that point just this morning but . . . let's just say it's been a bad day.

You know, it's often said that true love is most expressed by being willing to lay down one's life for the one you love. All of us would like to think we'd do so without hesitation. But that's what I feel like I'm faced with - pull out the "man clothes" and humiliate myself by submitting to give up myself for the sake of the one I love, or see her hurt because I refuse. To be clear, if it were any other, I wouldn't even hesitate to walk away . . . but this choice I find to be almost life and death. if you see me in the man costume, you are basically looking at a "dead man walking" because I don't think I can call that living.

That last paragraph will probably get me in trouble too. I'm going to have to learn to hold my tongue I suppose.

So, let me bitch about someone else instead!

It has come to my attention that some (all?) of the neighbors have concluded I'm gay. Now, let me be perfectly clear - this doesn't offend me. In my personal opinion if you still think it's an insult to be called gay, or to call someone gay, you need to grow the fuck up because that's a middle school mentality. But I'm assuming here that it's not meant as an insult so much as a judgment (more on that in a sec) but since it's probably a not uncommon conclusion, let me speak to it a bit:

Frankly, I have a hard time imagining anyone going through the personal journey of understanding one's self to be trans without giving quite a bit of thought to the question "Am I gay?" I don't mind telling you that on a few different occasions over my lifespan, I've given a lot of thought and mediation to that question. The process was more complex for me because I have a bit of a "vision"in my mind of the sort of woman I'd like to be, an idealized woman so to speak. And my "ideal" woman is, in fact, attracted to men (there are deeper layers to THAT story as well but I'll save that tangent for another day).

So I spent more than what I figure is the average amount of time being curious about being with guys (as a female, NOT as a male!) and searching my feelings for any positive response. I've spent some time looking at guys in films and on TV and trying to imagine myself being attracted to them sexually. I am not afraid to find those feelings nor am I ashamed to claim them if they are there. To date, I've found none. I don't find any particular distaste for the idea, as any "normal" man would, but just in terms of pure old lust, I still feel that for females, and not at all for males.

Now, I don't know whether that will ever shift, via hormones or experiences or whatever. If it does it does and, other than not wanting such a shift to interfere with the current relationship, I'd be fine with that. but right now, it's not there. Not even a little. So all you ill-informed judgemental types, feel free to educate yourself a little bit. I'll make it simple for you (again) -

Being trans is NOT about who you have sex with, it's about who you ARE. I said, I think, in my first column her and I shall repeat it again: I'd rather spend the next 30 years as a celibate woman than as the most sexually desirable man on the face of the planet. If you are so simple minded you think this is about sex, then it's your mind in the gutter, not mine.

To be sure, I'll freely admit that when one is trying to figure out what to do with one's self (as you emerge from repression and consider transition) there is a bit of a mental "puberty" (as opposed to the one which is provoked by HRT) in which you consider all sort of sexual implications of your gender identity, but that's a phase. You can chase that rabbit, or "grow up" - a choice all of us make as teenagers and young adults. We just have to rethink all that a second time. So if you are going to judge me on sexual inclinations, for now you'll have to be content with judging me for being a lesbian - but then you can't do that unless you admit I'm female which you judgmental types aren't about to do so I guess I'm off that hook too.

Now, about the whole "bad judgment" thing - there IS something new in play here beyond the classic blunder of thinking trans and gay are the same thing: some of these people are apparently under the impression that I'm not only gay but dangerous. It's reported that at least one of them doesn't want me to be alone with either of her kids (not that anyone is ever alone in this house). So, she's moved beyond the confusion of trans and gay and she's thrown pedophile into the hopper as well.

NOW I'm offended.

First of all, I'll just lay aside and quit repeating what a boneheaded idea it is to mistake trans for gay, and move right to the pathetic ignorance of assuming that every gay person is a pedo. Are there some pedo gays? Oh absolutely - I'd go so far as to say there might even be a higher percentage than in the general population. But given that gays are only about 3% of the population, you are FAR more likely to find the person who molested your child is hetro than gay. In fact, statistically most sexually abused children are molested by a family member or close family friend.

In any case, I now find myself with a troubling thought that any number of people in this neighborhood might do something wrong with one of those kids - and there are candidates - and when the SHTF, the finger will be pointed at the local "pervert" regardless. Bet your ass I'm not going to be alone with any of them!

Just another chapter in the saga of "there's no place in this world for a freak like me."

And of course, it's all that much more ammunition for those who argue I should "give it up" - as if anyone is going to just forget who the perv is because I change me clothes.

Can you tell this stuff is getting to me?

And it's not just the drama on the home front, it's not just the ill-informed neighbors (who, to be fair, do let the kids come around and have been nice in face-to-face encounters) but it's the whole attitude of people who see fit to even have an opinion about what other people do that brings no harm to their own lives.

You see, it frustrates me that there are so many in the world who wrap themselves in the smug satisfaction of cataloging the people whom they are better than. This one is a drunk, that one is an adulterer, the other one is a perv. Those people smoke dope and the ones across the street are swingers and the one's next to them? Why they've been known to DANCE!! The only one who is, apparently, NOT sinning is the person who's sitting by the telephone collecting every bit of gossip and dirt they can so they have a complete list of who IS sinning.

Pardon me for having the temerity to ask, but what the hell business is it of yours anyway? When your coworker or you neighbor or your kin say "did you hear...?" what give them the right to tell it or you the right to hear it and pass it on? Is the behavior in question actually wrong? Maybe, maybe not, but if it is, so what? Is it hurting someone? if so then I understand your reasoning. If you hear Mr. X has a meth lab in his house and you know kids live there, well then by all means speak up. But if you hear that Mr. X was at the gay bar last weekend, or that Mrs. X works at the strip club, that's not hurting anyone but (at worst) themselves and it's none of your damned business, either to act on or to gossip about. To say nothing of wondering just exactly how anyone knew what Mr. or Mrs. X were doing anyway.

Here's an original thought - why not talk to God about it, instead of to other people? Let him sort it out.

Yes, my apologies but I've descended to well and truly venting tonight. It's what lets me bite my tongue in polite conversation instead of telling some folks where to get off. I've reached the conclusion that when I die, I don't even want a funeral or a burial. If I still have a family maybe there will be a little reception where you can express your sympathies to those misfortunate enough to have been associated with me, but I'd just as soon donate the body to science - or throw it in a ditch - and wash my hands of the lot of those who'd pretend sympathies they didn't feel. If I've gained nothing else from this last year, I've gained a lot of insight into a lot of the people around me, for good and for bad.

On that note, let me quote for emphasis what I wrote in this space seven weeks ago:

Oh, and by the way, those of you who couldn't have anything to do with me when I had a bra or makeup on? Don't come around trying to "reward me for good behavior" now. I have an obligation to bend, for now, in order to try to create a happy outcome for the woman I love (whether that's with me or without) but I have no such obligation to anyone else. If you don't like, approve of, or feel comfortable with Laura, then you don't feel comfortable with ME, there is no one else here.

Can't be said often enough.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


So, I'm over a month into the this period of sacrifice I described in previous posts. I must say, I'm less than impressed with the results.

While it is well observed that I have not given up all of the feminine aspects of my appearance, I have done all that I agreed months ago to do - all that was said then to have been an acceptable compromise. but it turns out not to be. Hardly a day has gone by in the last month that we've not discussed how offensive my appearance and conduct remains. It feels to me like I didn't get what i bargained for, which is a cease fire and a suspension of hostilities. I didn't agree to "dial back" just to gain the privilege of defending myself at least once a day in yet more arguments. if we were going to fight all the time anyway, what did i gain by compromising?

It now is becoming apparent that the only choices remaining are two people who are perpetually hostile to each other sharing a home (and that hostility will exist either way, for if I surrender I'll be miserable and hostile, and if I do not she will be) or separation.

I'll admit (and since she often reads this probably sabotage it by saying so publicly but what the hell) that I cling to a sliver of hope that if/when we do live apart for a while she will come to realize the value in what we can still be to each other, even if I cannot be what she wants most. But I really can't tell whether or not I'm just fooling myself there.

What I do know, and keep saying (to no effect) is that even if I surrender and revert to my former apperance, spiritually I cannot BE that man anymore. I know now what I didn't know then - I know I'm not a pervert or a sinner (well, I am a sinner, as are we all, but not on this point) and I know that I'm never going to be "cured" of that which ails me. That knowledge alone makes me something and someone different than what I was when i believed that lie. i cannot go back to being the person who was trying with all "his" might to "be a man" and overcome my condition.

What I would be is simply a walking, talking lie. A hollow shell that looked like the man she loved but had none of the emotional or spiritual content. As much as she wants back the person she loved, that person, in the most important sense, no longer exists (to the extent he ever did). But she's clinging to that one-in-a-million chance that I will surrender and fake it so she doesn't have to deal with reality. I'm not sure I could survive long even making that attempt. Even if I tried.

If I'm selfish, then she deserves better than that. If I'm crazy or disturbed, then she (and the boys) deserve better than that. If I'm perverted, then they deserve better. But if I'm right, then I deserve better than to live a lie in order to save her from facing reality. Either way, where's the future?

Likewise, if she simply can't bring herself to be friends even (to not even discuss the issue of lovers) with me in this form and having made this transition, then I have no more right to ask her to fake it than she has to ask me the same.


So, long story short - if I have to move, temporarily or permanently, my internet access may well be limited to public computers for a while. If I drop off the radar for a while, you can probably speculate as to why.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Choice and non-choice

It's difficult sometimes to discuss the idea of what is a choice, because people tend to disagree on the actual place where you draw the line between what is a choice and what is something you HAVE to do.

In the most literal sense, EVERY thing is a choice. I'm sure all of you would say of something in your life that you have no choice, but really, every action is a choice. For instance, you might say "I have no choice but to go to work" but that's not true. You can choose not to go. sure you will likely get fired but all this really means is, you choose being employed over being unemployed and do what is necessary to get that which you have chosen.

So, since that definition covers everything we do, it's too broad to be of any real use to a discussion of choices. Let's rule that out and agree that when we speak of what is a choice, it's not THAT definition that we mean.

So short of that, what then do we literally mean when we say that a think is a choice? There has to be some common frame of reference. Here's one possible illustration: Some schools of Christianity believe that the Bible prophesies a time when true believers will be subject to torture or death if they reveal that they are in fact Christians, and that the test of true faith is that the believer not deny that he believes. Does that person have a choice? Should they hide their true nature lest those around them have a very negative reaction, or should they be true to themselves and to their God no matter the cost?

But even that is a side-track because the choice to be a Christian or not is free-will. It's difficult for me to present a really effective analogy for the situation of which I speak. How do you explain to someone that the thing you do is that which you MUST do?

What about the patriotic young man who reacted to 9/11 by joining the Army and going off to fight in Afghanistan. To his young bride, or his worried mom, perhaps it seemed that this man made a rash CHOICE to do a thing he didn't HAVE to do, but to him it might have been very clear that he could not have been true to himself and done anything else.

Not having been cut from that particular cloth, I don't think it's for me to say but I can see some parallels.

The point I'm making here is that for those who accuse me of making a choice to live my life as a woman, the claim that I am engaging in a purely optional activity is set up as a no-win scenario for me before I ever discuss it because there's no way to "prove" the statement wrong without a common definition of the words being used. The very claim that someone else chose to say or think or act in the manner they did becomes a self-supporting rhetorical loop. A circular argument.

But consider, before you accuse me of "choosing" this path, what the choice involves, both now and in it's potential ultimate outcome:

Who would chose -
To painfully pluck out tens of thousands of hairs every week?
To become a laughing stock to many who know them and an outcast to many others?
To know they would become a pariah in the only field of employment they are fit to be hired in (after investing years and thousands of dollars to become so qualified)?
To have even family members that mock you and others who won't even consent to give you contact info?
To risk the loss of a very very happy 20 year marriage?
To have their kids deal with strife and conflict in the home?
To give skeptics reason to doubt the truth of the faith you profess because your "lifestyle" is at odds with the traditions of that faith?
To set one's self up for years of fear and worry that you will be attacked or killed as so many others like you have been before (blessed in this regard so far but the danger is real)?
To be in a position that you know not even law enforcement can be trusted to treat you humanely (there's a story going about now of a post-op transwoman in Washington DC who was nonetheless knowingly housed with male prisoners and purposely put in harms way bt DC policemen)?
To set one's self up for who knows how many months or years of always wondering how many of the people around you have figured out your secret and are at best mocking you and possibly hostile?
To put yourself on the road to expensive and painful procedures which will be necessary to even remotely approximate the outcome you want to achieve (start with laser or electrolysis for hair removal - even the beard alone is a massive undertaking - and then consider various surgeries)?
To become a person who very likely will never be taken seriously by the great majority of people again?

I ask you, gentle reader, what possible train of thought would lead a person with any passing acquaintance with sanity to make a free-will choice to step into that life?

Even if you argue that I could have chosen to suffer in silence and not act upon this, you come back to the same place - if it were really possible to suppress this and live an at least marginally contented life without acting on it, then no sane person would ever chose to act on it.

Is it REALLY credible for anyone to think that someone does this on a whim, or a kink, or a "mid-life crisis" or any other casual reason? Call me crazy, if you wish. Call me mentally ill if you want to be kinder. Say I have a birth defect (hell that's MY point of view) - by all means no one is asking you to call me NORMAL because I make no claim to be. But please, don't be shallow enough to suggest I CHOSE to be this way.

Now, why is this on my mind tonight? Well, it was just one of those depressing days when I was keenly aware that my decision to "butch it up" in order to maintain at least a temporary peace at home has the huge potential to communicate to everyone who knows about me that it is a free and easy choice to just "knock it off" whenever i want to. Every time I go out the door in a more-or-less male presentation, I reconfirm in many minds the exact WRONG thing about the nature of my original "choice" to come out full time as a female.

That pisses me off. I completely understand the value in why I'm doing what I'm doing. I accept that circumstances make it necessary, even though I sincerly which the circumstances were different. But it still grids my gears to give anyone any grounds to say "if you can control it now, why couldn't you just have controled it in the first place?"

The answer to that, in case you are wondering, is this: I have declared myself now, I'm not repressing, hiding, faking, or lying anymore. Before, I tried to make you believe I was a "normal" man because I was afraid to let you know who I really was. Now, i have said and will continue to say - I am LAURA, and I am not ashamed. If I chose to wear less feminine clothing or makeup than I would prefer, it's for a reason - just as any other woman doesn't go out to feed the horses or work in the factory in her best heels. But it's not a compromise of who I AM - even if it confuses some folk. for now I have to remind myself of that and endure until things get better.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Petting the Peeve

I'm not going to spend a lot of paragraphs saying, in essence, "nothing much has changed" this time, but I also notice it's been a couple of weeks so I need to contribute something to keep this thing alive.

So I think I'll pet one of my peeves. I do this, I think, at considerable risk of being misunderstood, or being accused of being insensitive, but I don't mean it to be. On the contrary, I'd like to think that this would serve in some tiny way to refine the thinking on the subject at hand.

Let me first just describe in plain terms what it is that's bothering me. Rather than refer to the reaction to the recent bad weather, I'll pick a more neutral example. Let's say that some local factory is cutting it's workforce in half, and Mr. Smith gets laid off and Mr. Jones is kept on.

In a lot of cases Mr. Jones will tell everyone "God was looking out for me! I sure was blessed that God had his hand on me and didn't let me lose my job! God sure is good!"

Now, to be clear, I agree very much that God is good - but God is good to Mr. Smith too! Do we not realize that when we offer evidence that God is good to us by citing some random bad thing that he "didn't let happen" to us we are logically implying God is NOT good to those who suffered the fate? We are - if we think about it - implying that God chose not to protect the person who suffered.

None of us would actually state it that way, of course. A storm comes through and our neighbor down the road loses their home and we don't we don't say "Too bad God wasn't good to them" because it's not what we mean.

But it is, essentially, what we are saying.

I see such comments online, and hear them on the street, all the time. "Bob's tooth hurt for 48 straight hours but it quit this morning! It was such a blessing praise God!" Well, frankly, if God acted to stop the toothache, why did he wait 48 hours? Heck why did he let it start to begin with? it's just silly.

YES God is good, and YES he sometimes intervenes miraculously in the events of our lives - but he does it for HIS purposes and there's no pattern that mere humans can recognize. I don't think for a minute, by the way, that the God of the universe intervenes in our live to stop a headache or whatever, either. When he acts it's for some greater purpose. Something that goes beyond the circumstance of the moment that we can comprehend. Think about it - if God stops headaches, then how do you explain the dear Christian lady at church who has week-long migraines?

The truth is, we live in a fallen world and bad things happen. Whether it's as minor as a toothache or as major as a tornado, they happen and within the laws of nature, they happen pretty randomly. As much as I'm glad no one I loved was hurt this weekend, I'm not about to suggest that God selected and preferred my loved ones over those who did get hurt or killed. Be mad or offended if you want, but that's not how he operates. Those who suffered loss did so by random chance, they essentially won a reverse lottery. They were not those who failed to enjoy God's favoritism (of which he has none).

So, there, that should alienate a bunch of folks but I don't care. I'd rather seem him praised for what he DOES rather than hear people attribute to him actions and motives which, if they were actually believed, would make him something much less than what he really is.