Letters Volume Twelve
This is Volume Twelve of the collected letters.
Wherein can be found the anonymous texts of actual letters written to me, and my answers in return. They are included because it has been suggested that the discussions are of value. The letters are presented as a rather loose, ongoing continuous dialogue between a hypothetical questioner, and myself.
You can write to me, too!
These are the twelfth set of letters
Reference Topic Index
Relative ONLY to this volume:
For the complete list see main letters page.
told my parents and now I am in danger, help me Jennifer!
All about 'herbal estrogens'
I am stuck between wanting to love a woman, and being a woman?!?
Why don't I have a choice in being transsexual?
How accurate is the COGIATI?
Help me, Jennifer! I went and told my parents about my problems. My parents are really fundimentalist christian, and they now are trying to force me to tell the whole church about my being TS, and want to cure me of it. Everybody is acting really crazy and scary over this. They have taken away my computer so I cannot get on the internet so I am writing from a friends house. I probably won't be able to visit my friends either soon so write back fast. He will give me the message. I am really scared because I am afraid of what they are going to do to me. Do you have room for a daughter, could you maybe adopt me or something? I am really, really scared now and I don't know what to do. Please help me!
No, I cannot adopt you, nor can I somehow rescue you.
The way I see it, there are a few ways of dealing with your situation at this point.
You can stand your ground -VERY politely but firmly-, no matter what, until they finally either give up and accept you, or you are old enough to survive on your own. Expect to suffer unholy agony for years, though, and things to get to literally hellish levels. You would have to be very, very, very strong. It can be done, but it is hard. If you take this path, remember one important thing: never tolerate being beaten, or having your life threatened. If they severely injure you, go to the police, go to the doctors, and make sure it is not covered up. That cannot be tolerated...not just for your sake, but for the sake of teens everywhere. One note on this option: the 'polite but firm' bit is an absolute must. It is the only hope of making this work. You can not get angry, yell, scream, be mean, no matter WHAT they do to you. You have to embarrass them by being nicer and more loving -for real- than they are, and show them they are hypocrites. This technique, by the way, is exactly how Ghandi liberated the entire country of India from British rule and domination. It is called 'passive resistance' and it is incredibly powerful...IF you are strong enough to pull it off. But, make no mistake, we are talking superhuman here. You have to be a better person, in every way, than they are...more noble, more polite, more kind, yet absolutely unyielding in your determination. It is being like a mountain, immovable and serene. Hard to do with people screaming in your face sixteen hours a day, or being effectively locked up, or having what seems the whole world turned against you. But it does work.
You could try to pass off the whole thing as a phase or a joke, or just never mention it again, and try to just survive until you are old enough to live on your own. You would be amazed how easily a parent, ignorant and desperate to get what they want, will accept such nonsense just to get things back to 'normal'. This is the path I took when I told my mom, and she accepted it, because she wanted so desperately to make my suffering 'not true'.
You could run away, of course, but I have already explained how your survival would be unsure, your life horrible, and your chances of having a decent life...much less making it to adulthood, severely compromised. Not a choice for any but the VERY most desperate, in dread fear for their lives against murderous parents.
You could contact a youth shelter in your area, visit them, and explain your situation, and that you need help. However, unless you are in physical danger, of the sort that the law would feel compelled to take action against your parents, and you are willing to persue this, there may be little they can actually do. Still, it is an option and you never know. One thing they might do is put you in touch with a doctor who could try to explain things to your parents. Doctors carry a lot of weight in our society, and parents listen to them.
You could go see a doctor on your own and try to arrange for the physician to talk to your parents. Or you could request that your parents send you to a psychiatrist...and if they do that, you might get the help you need, because they will be off your back a bit, and the doctor should hopefully know enough to be on your side, if you open up to them.
In any event, if things get too bad, if you fear for your life, always, always, go get help. Never tolerate being beaten or threatened with death over this. Parents do actually follow through on that sort of stuff if they threaten it (or start seriously hitting), so be aware.
These are all
the options I can offer. Think carefully before taking action. I hope
things work out...in any event, I am always here to write to, if you
can find a way.
I want to ask about those herbal estrogens that I have been hearing alot about. Nobody seems to have all the details, and nobody can tell me exactly how well they work, or how to get them. I don't want to go to a doctor, and I hear you can get some feminization from using estrogens from plants. Which plants do I get, and how do I use them?
The fuss over herbal 'estrogens' is mostly horsecrap from the word go. Here is the deal. Certain plants do contain minute amounts of chemicals that break down in the liver to form pseudo-estrogenic compounds. However, the compounds are not actually estrogen, and, what is worse, they have no -that is zero- feminizing capacity.
These chemicals can have a slight effect on the reproductive cycle, however, and can be used -in dangerously high concentrations- to affect fertility to a mild degree, and in poisonous amounts, to induce abortion...with an uncomfortable level of potential fatality for the mother.
This is the best that these chemicals can actually do, and the ignorance surrounding 'herbal estrogens' is rampant. The reality is that there are only two reliable sources for estrogens that will induce any degree of feminization: artificially produced estrogen mimics, or authentic estrogen derived from urine farming (hence, in case you were curious, the name 'Premarin -PREgnant MARe uRINE- that is how it got it's name).
Both the artificial and natural estrogens will do the job, though I personally tend to prefer the natural estrogens, on the grounds that there MAY be additional chemistries involved...but I hasten to add that there is no proof of this.
So that is the scoop, and also the reason you have had a hard time hearing a clear answer: most folks simply do not know the topic, and are operating on hearsay and the current fad.
You may ask why the idea of 'herbal estrogens' would become the current transie urban legend, and the answer is simple enough: no need for the control of doctors, the dream of an almost costless source of estrogen, and the hope of not needing either the machinations of laboratories or the discomfort of poor imprisoned horses being issues any longer. A free ride without any suffering.
No such thing. Sorry.
Either take estrogen, or do not, but you would be wasting time, and possibly poisoning yourself, trying the empty dream of 'herbal estrogen'.
You might be
interested, however, to hear that there actually may once have been a
plant that just might have produced strong estrogenic compounds.
Found on the coins of many ancient empires from Greece in it's
glory to then end of Rome, as well as documented fairly well, was a
mysterious plant that apparently acted as a confident birth control
when used as a tea. Fortunes were made of the wild plant, and it was
eventually harvested to extinction sometime just before the fall of
Rome. No civilization, in the mad rush to acquire the plant, and in
the foolish belief of it's inexhaustibility, had ever bothered to
cultivate and domesticate it. By the time it was extinct, it was too
late. A typical silly human story. Oopsie!
I am stuck in my desire to transition. I feel trapped by conflicting needs. One of my problems is that a permanent and stable relationship with a girl is by far the most important thing in life for me. So I am stuck between wanting to be in love with a girl, and wanting to be a girl. Also children are very important to me.
There is no problem here.
I am 16 years post op, and I have been enjoying wonderful relationships with my spouses (I have three of them, I live in a polyamory, or group marriage) and two of my spouses are women. I am a lesbian.
Just because I am a MTF transsexual woman, does not make me less of a woman, and women can be lesbians. Being gay is seperate from being transsexual.
I am a woman, who prefers women. I was before I went through transition. It's cool.
So....like I said, no problem. You can fix your sex, and love who you want to. You are not required to be straight after you go through transition. You can be gay, AND transsexual. I know of FTM transsexual men who ended up in relationships with other men, and quite a few MTF women end up in relationships with other women.
The point of transition is not to become a barbie doll, some stereotype hetero housewife. The point is to be yourself, whatever that turns out to be.
And as for kids, well, there are lots of ways to deal with that. You could get involved with a woman that loves you as a woman, but make use of, or store, your sperm before transition, and have kids normally, regardless of transition. You can adopt: goddess knows there are enough unwanted kids for anyone. You could get a sperm donor to impregnate your partner at some point, just like any lesbian couple who wants kids. It's done all the time.
So....you can be a woman, love other women, and still have kids if you really want to.
These are not big issues, really.
The bottom line
is: nothing can limit you if you are the least bit creative, as shown
above. You have to start thinking new thoughts, and in new ways,
about how to live your life.
I really, really do not want to be transsexual. I don't want to have to transition, I dont want to have an operation, I don't want to be a freak, I don't want to need to be a woman. All my life I fight this. All my life I hide this but it won't go away. I try and try everything. It gets worse every year. Now I caanot go though any day without suffering about it. I am 29 now and it still wont go away. Why can't I make being transsexual go away? Why dont I have a choice in this? Why donesnt anything work? Why don't I have a choice in being transsexual?
Because you don't have a choice in having existed in the first place: you do exist or you could not have written me.
Transsexuality is caused by the inappropriate release of hormones in the womb. This causes the developing fetal brain to be one sex, while the body becomes another. It is a birth defect, like being born without eyes, or with extra toes, or with flippers instead of hands, or such things.
Once born, there is no choice: you are stuck with a problem, and you eventually have to deal with it. Some folks try to ignore or deny birth defects, but sooner or later, it becomes apparent that things will not get better by magic.
Transsexuality is a subtle birth defect. Because it is hidden away in the brain, and you cannot see it like you could, say, an extra eyeball in the middle of your face, the motivation to ignore it can be overwhelming. But sooner or later, nature will not be denied, and the pain of the condition demands attention. For some folks this level of pain is not reached to well past mid life: they manage to suffer that long before nature wins. For others, like me, nature won early, at age 20.
Bottom line: nature never loses. She runs the game. She IS the game. Never bet against the house.
But, for many reasons, humans try to fight their own biological destiny. It's just that you cannot beat reality. It is real that you were born, it is real that you will die someday, and it is real that birth defects occur, and that some of them affect gender and sex and identity.
That is why you
feel compelled despite your own desires. It is biology, it is nature,
and it will not be denied forever. It is like not wanting to
breath...even if you hold your breath, even if you fall unconscious
from not breathing, the minute you hit the ground, the body starts
breathing again on it's own. Nature always wins in the end, be it in
living, or in dying.
Do you have any data on the reliability and validity of the COGIATI? I would be most interested, because I would not hesitate to use it in my practice if I thought there was some data established.
There has been only one -to my knowlege- study of the accuracy of the COGIATI so far, though I have heard rumors of a second study in Poland (the COGIATI has been translated into a number of languages, so it is difficult for me to keep up with the monster I have spawned).
The study I know of was initiated by one Denise Renee, who has since seemingly fallen off the planet; with all connection to the internet severed, I have no idea what happened to her, or to her information. However, before she disappeared, I grabbed the rough outline of her final results.
Of 1364 individuals polled, 94% rated the COGIATI as 'extremely accurate' or 'mostly accurate. Of the remaining 6%, only 2% felt that the COGIATI was 'mostly inaccurate'.
Comments among the 94% majority were favorable, with a few questions raised about the purpose of some of the questions -primarily the BEM influenced questions which seemed to make folks uncomfortable because of their basis in gender sterotypes- and with regard to the hearing related questions (some of the participants were deaf or hearing impared).
Among the 2% who rated the COGIATI as 'mostly inaccurate', the comments focused purely upon the BEM related material for the reasons given above, only with much greater vehemence, and also seemed to indicate a lack of understanding of the difference between being transsexual, homosexual, and transvestic.
A few participants felt that the neurologically based questions violated their personal political views about the nature of gender, but overall, most statements were supportive of the COGIATI as a useful tool.
It is my hope that another, larger study would be undertaken with regard to the COGIATI, but I see no evidence of this happening -in America, at least. Rather, quite a few professionals have written to me informing me that they are already using the test in their work, which I personally have very mixed feelings about.
On one hand, it does seem that the test is of some use, but I do not feel that it has even come close to the general neighborhood of being validated. On the other hand, neither has the Moir-Jessel or even the BEM, though they are widely accepted because of the credentials of their authors, or the publicity surrounding them. I am left with an inability to justify any gender test, yet the conviction that tools for indicating gender identity are needed, and such tests have some benefit, as long as they are not accepted as proof, as a diagnosis, or as a guarantee of any assumption.
My opinion is that gender tests, including the COGIATI, are useful tools, but that it MUST be made clear that any test does not indicate legitimacy or diagnosis, but at best may only provide a very general indication of conditions or state of mind.
That is what I
can provide. You are certainly free to use the COGIATI as you see
fit, but I do warn against any test being taken too seriously. I am
of the personal opinion that the only person who can accurately
diagnose transsexuality is the patient themselves, for only an
individual may truly know the state of their own being.