Letters Volume Twenty-Three
This is Volume Twenty-Three 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 Twenty-Third set of letters
Reference Topic Index
Relative ONLY to this volume:
For the complete list see main letters page.
bigotry against the 'transgendered' explained
I am 18, transsexual, and mom will not listen!
Options for the hopelessly unpassable transsexual
i've been checking out the alt.support.transgendered newsgroup and it's impossible to see there are numerous post op ts's there spouting tg hatred non stop. What IS it with these ppl???? check out <A PERSON posts some time, also there is a irc "tg" net headed by a woman that claims you're either ONE or the OTHER, NO in between, and very hostile to in between tg ppl. Claims they make her life HARDER, spouts about all the work she had to do to be a woman and how freaks like shemales make it much harder on her and ppl like her. Personally i think ppl like these are worse than the avg straight person that thinks the whole thing is just weird. i don't even think 80% of ppl KNOW of shemales existance and think ts ppl are all headed for one sex destination or the other. i REALLY can't figure these hateful ts's OUT, and i'm pretty good at figuring out ppls thinking. Some of it seems like basic sour grapes (the shemales in porno these two spout about are no doubt much prettier than these two,<A PERSON for sure, reminds me of how much an ex hated really pretty women) but i think there MUST be more. Do you have any anwers for me? Seems those who want to go all the way save genital reconstruction are the most lonley and outside of all groups, this i find sad.
You bring up a very worthwhile issue to address.
The reasons for the behaviors you describe, and which I have also observed -and to be honest, have even felt to some degree, very, very shameful enough to say- may seem occult and complex, but at their root, are really very simple. Such behaviors and feelings are part of the neurosis that can develop in any oppressed individual, or people. There are two main parts to this issue. One is an unfortunate, natural animal behavior I shall explain, and the other is an essentially childish emotional behavior, also very primitive and natural, which involves emotional insecurity about worth and relative effort. Mixed into this mess are some genuine differences between transsexuals and any other gender situation.
When a person, or a group of people are oppressed long enough, and terribly enough, the emotional suffering cannot help but result in some unhappy distortions of personality. Oppression creates anger, fear, and a great desire to escape the pain of both. This desire for escape may be acted on thoughtlessly, certainly it may create some untoward feelings regardless of intelligence, awareness, or character. Emotions seldom care about civility.
There are many ways to feel emotional relief from oppression. One way is to identify with one's oppressors to a greater or lesser extent. This is an easy trap to fall into, because invariably oppression comes from a majority, either in number or in power, and thus overwhelms senses, experience, and all of life. As a social animal, humans -indeed all primates- naturally develop tiered societies, with hierarchies of power and influence. We are literally hardwired to be social climbers, to seek a position that we can tolerate, even if it is not at the top. For every individual, lowness of rank is always balmed by the ability to recognize those still lower on the scale. This is brutal, animal biology at work, and it cares nothing for grand ideals or values. It is very real, and very powerful, and very much a part of us, something everyone would prefer to forget.
Some transsexuals effectively try to 'purchase' membership and acceptance in dominant society by the simply animal trick of joining the oppressing majority, and mirroring the dominant attitudes and behaviors. Chimpanzees do this too, though in less complicated ways, to avoid being at the bottom rank of a primate troop. To put it bluntly, it is a matter of finding something socially even lower than one's self, and joining the majority in abusing it.
Although the behaviors you describe are applied to all kinds of gender expressions by some transsexuals, diversity is of zero consequence. The opinion of the average citizen is that only two classifications of gender 'deviance' exist...Transvestism, and sometimes, by those very few with just a slightly greater degree of awareness, transsexuality. This simple opinion influences everything. Most commonly, only transvestism is recognized at all, and this is primarily because roughly 30% of all men engage in it. Though this reality is kept hidden to great extent, the fact of it pervades Western culture. Though no studies have been done to my personal knowledge, the statistic is probably true for industrialized Eastern cultures as well. Thus, with regard to the opinion of the common person in the world overall, there is only transvestism, and sometimes, maybe, transsexuality. The vast diversity of gender expression is not even recognized by the social forces that shape us.
Discoveries within the last fifty years have demonstrated the causality of most gender issues, and there is no ignoring the weight of the knowledge that transsexuality is a biological condition, a horrible birth defect, and that transvestism is a sexual fetish...a kink. Of course, what is ignored is that this fetish is often developed at adolescence, and quickly becomes deeply and indelibly written into the growing brain. It may have once been a whim, but it becomes a permanent coding in the brain. This is lost to most, who see transvestism as an unpopular thrill that should be easily abandoned.
Society is vastly more forgiving to those who it judges are helpless, who are different because of adversity, than to those who dare to apparently make an unpopular choice..especially one based on hedonism. The current dominant religions of the planet are quite opposed to physical pleasures, making anything tainted by pleasure a grave -and I choose my words carefully- sin. Transvestism is considered -within the culture- the mere choice, by and large, of a group of kinky, oversexed people. Transsexualism, on the other hand, is generally considered to be a pathetic disorder which is best cured by putting the sad monsters out of their misery. Still, there is marginal sympathy, as transsexuals are generally alloted that their situation was not their choice, but a misfortune.
It is that marginal sympathy, minor as it is, which is sought by the poor transsexual, hurt beyond functioning, grasping for any succor, howsoever pathetic. That sympathy, plus the ability to side with the dominant culture against a common enemy, gives some illusory feelings of social acceptance, and minor elevation of status. It should be understood just how much suffering a mind would have to endure to find such a paltry benefit worth clinging to.
The second cause for the behaviors you describe amounts to little more than a game of 'who has suffered the most'. Increased sensations of empowerment and self worth can be derived from the 'nobility of suffering'. Because humans society puts great emphasis on the heroism of enduring terrible pain or horrific circumstance, the suffering transsexual sometimes takes additional comfort in recognizing just how much they have actually endured. This can become a 'badge of honor', and for some, even the most powerful basis of their self worth, at least for a time during their lives.
Transsexuals see clearly that they have suffered horrific pain from first awareness, not only from society, but even more terribly, from within themselves. It just plain is misery to be trapped in the wrong sex and gender situation. The transvestite -which really means all other forms of gender and sexual deviance fro the majority- is see by comparison to be a hedonistic sort whose only worry in the world is getting caught publicly. Transvestism is a pleasure, not a misery, and can be put in a closet, or tucked into a bag...the transsexual on the other hand, is keenly aware that they can never escape their own body...at least not until difficult, risky, painful and humiliating transition is endured.
In short, the transsexual takes some minor comfort from managing to stay alive despite such terrible circumstances, and tends to seriously despise any claims to that shaky 'throne' of honor.
The transvestite -which to the common eye is the very definition of all gender deviance- is universally the classification that the transsexual is associated with, and the idea of having all that precious crown of very real suffering ignored and instead seen as a kinky pleasure can be incredibly insulting. If the transsexual has little self worth, if they are emotionally wounded, if they are clinging to minuscule scraps of self worth just to manage to stay alive from day to day, this insult becomes unbearable. It becomes an affront to their very grasp on survival, to the sole thing that may be keeping them from suicide. It becomes a matter of life and death to their ego...what little enough might still remain, of course. Some transsexuals find being associatied with something so insignificant, so minor, so frivolous as transvestism the ultimate insult to an already unendurable injury.
Thus, some transsexuals may be very unsympathetic, even overtly hostile, to transvestites, and by social edict, all others labled as transvestites....which is to say every other gender deviant expression. Perhaps the only group not so terribly disliked would be the intersexed, who also share the problem of having a birth defect. Even so, there is a lack of sympathy there too...because the intersexed have -by definition- a clear and physically demonstrable defect, something many transsexuals envy. These transsexuals sometimes -wrongly- imagine that having an obvious physical defect would make everything easier, and garner more support, sympathy, or at least an excuse for going through transition.
So, to summarize, the unhappy behavior of that class of transsexuals who are unsympathetic and even mean spirited to all other gender deviant peoples is derived from two very basic, very simple animal behaviors. One is the grasping need to find some sort of niche in societies pecking order, preferably not entirely on the bottom, and the other is to avoid a feeling of ultimate loss though the wholesale voiding of the suffering that the transsexual endures.
Both are issues of self worth and emotional survival, neurotic behaviors resulting from monumental levels of both social oppression and internal misery caused by the condition itself. Not all transsexuals act badly, or fall into such behaviors, but far too many do. Not all transsexuals even feel so low that they would be brought to such a level. I would have to say, though, that most transsexuals are brought desperately low. It is a terrifying condition to have.
The behaviors you describe are the actions of a cornered animal, a wounded beast. It is a mindless and desperate thing, and sad all around for everyone.
I too have felt these things myself, and though I try very hard to recognize and control such impulses whenever they occur, but to this day, I must admit that the potential for such feelings and thoughts are there. It is not unlike racism....always there, lurking in the background, a reality of our times, and our social conditioning, and the dominant culture.
There is no excuse in my heart for any transsexual who acts out these hateful behaviors towards what has been called the 'gender community' -for lack of a better term. Such transsexuals are no better than the bigots that oppress them, and garner only my disgust...and some shame at my own 'kind' -if you will. But, even if there is no excuse for such awful behavior, there is a reason, and it is possible to understand how it comes about, and how very pathetic a soul must be to fall into such behavior.
So, I have both disgust and pity for the bigoted transsexual....and for the part of myself that I know understands them.
I hope I have
been of some help in answering your question.
I have a little
problem I was wondering if you could help me
with. I am an 18 year old transsexual and I'm trying to tell my mom
how I feel like a girl but it seems like she won't listen. She
says she does listen but she is always telling my that I'm
mis-diagnosing myself as transsexual and it seems that no matter how
hard I try to tell her I am a girl, the more she tries to say I'm
not. She tells me that I shouldn't be a girl because if God had
wanted me to be one I would be one. She says that God doesn't make
mistakes and I tell her I agree and I'm not trying to say God made a
mistake but she won't listen. She also tries to say I can't be a girl
because I have thick facial and chest hair but I keep telling her
that is only a secondary sexual characteristic. Agein, she won't
listen. She says she loves me and supports me but she's making it
hard on me. I keep telling her I have gender identity disorder and
she says I don't and that she's the mother and I'm not a professional
so I don't know how I feel.She even found out that I want to have
SRS. Needless to say, that conversation was not the best one. I guess
what I'm saying is that I need some advice on how to talk to her and
get her to listen to me and to believe me when I tell her how I
feel. Also, mom sent me toa psychotherapist who is talking to
me about "medication" to help me out. To my suprise, I
found out that he was talking about anti-depressants and not the
hormones I so dearly want. I want to tell him that I want hormones
but I'm not sure if I can. I'm not sure if it is too soon to ask
because I've only seen this guy twice. I just feel like I need some
advice on these issues so please write back.
I will not try to debate you on whether god makes mistakes or not. Frankly, there are a lot of people with serious birth deformities, missing limbs, eyes, sex organs, faces, and so forth that could argue the point much better than I.
Suffice to say that if god does NOT make mistakes, then god is one EVIL son of a bitch. Maybe it's better to think god makes mistakes, than to imagine that god is the most evil creature imaginable.
Then again, maybe hideous birth defects and other horrifying 'acts of god' are really sweet blessings in disguise!
Yeah, right. Enough on the whole 'god' argument against transsexuals and other 'monsters'. Bigotry. That's all.
As to your psychotherapist, well, if anyone is going to help you in this matter, right at this moment, that is the person. You might as well tell the guy everything. There is a chance...no guarantee...that he will be educated and open minded enough to understand, help you, and even be your advocate in the matter of your gender issues.
If it turns out the guy is a clod, and is ultimately just as unhelpful as your mother (do expect some...even strong... effort on his part to test your resolve, he has to do that just to make sure you are for real), then give up on the fool. Not all professionals are equally informed, or mature for that matter.
Still, there is a real chance. So might as well open up pronto. If it does not work, then at least you tried. If it works, it could be the best thing you ever did. It is a real chance. I would take it, myself.
Whatever happens, you are only 18. That is incredibly young still, even if it does not feel like it. Your mother clearly does not want to deal with your gender issues. She wants to make them go away, whether by ignoring them, or by trying to find any means possible to erase them. I know that stuff, I have seen it myself.
If I were in your shoes -and I once was- and I felt that my mother would never understand (though if your psychotherapist is supportive of you, that could change) I would shut up, stop bothering with trying to teach a mother that refuses to listen, and plan out my own future. I would use the time I have being supported by my parents to prepare for dealing with my gender issues as soon as I am old enough, and on my own...I would save up money, learn all I could, get in touch with gender support centers when I could drive to them ( I do not know if you are driving yet), and set up a rational plan so that I could be myself by the age of 22. Transition takes 2 years, minimum, and they most likely will not seriously help until you are at least 20.
That is what I would do. I know it hurts, but there are decades and decades of life yet to come, and the only way to see that life be a happy one, is to be really, really smart.
Get your own plans in order, and prepare and plan for how you are going to live on your own, and be yourself, in a rational way. The better and more intelligent your plan, the better you will succeed.
As for your mother...she clearly has a bigotry. Screw that. It is sad, it is pathetic, but it is not your problem. Your problem is you, your own life. Recognize that it is going to take a few years to get things sorted out. Make the time count, make sure things work to your wishes by careful planning.
Ultimately, you will be on your own in any event. It is time to think about what that means, and what you are going to do about that.
If your mother
actually does love you at all, she will eventually come around. If
not, then you really have not lost that much in the final weighing of things.
I've known about myself since I was 10 years old for sure, although I know some of it goes back to 7 or so. I learned about transition when I was 10 years old and when I was a kid I thought, "thats for me" Then I had puberty, and not a little puberty. I went to 6'2 and 240 pounds....... people were telling me how hansome I was, and all I knew was I felt like I was at my own funeral. My occasional crossdressing stopped when I was 15. It hurt too damn much to even look in the mirror...... I went from bad company to drug abuse, and dangerous, irresponsible behaviour. I still have some damage from my stupid, "kill yourself on the motorcycle" phase.
But I never forgot how much I wanted to be a woman, and how much I hate being a man.
About 4 months ago, I was driving my car across the river at about 9:00 at night, and I simply decided to drive the car in to the river. This was in December mind you. The water would kill you in minutes.....Anyway, I caught myself just as I was drifting into the guardrail. Thats when I knew the jig was up. That I just coudn't keep it up another minute.
I decided that if this was my life, miserable in relationships, a ghost at parties, or any mixed event, and horrified to the point of violence at the site of my own reflection in the mirror, then I was finished.
So I went to my mother, who is a nurse, and a drug addict. And I simply told her I wanted to commit suicide, and would she provide me with the means? I was so upset it seemed perfectly reasonable, that if shed brought me in to this miserable life that I'd hated for so long, then she should be willing to help me OUT of it too. I tried to tell her about how I couldnt take being a man anymore. She simply wouldn't listen. She said I "wasn't the feminine type" as if she either knew or cared. she told me to turn myself over to inpatient psych to find out what was "really" wrong. AS if 20+ years of introspection and personal abuse was somthing I made up....
Next she said "If I was that miserable, I'd try ANYTHING!" And I took her to her word. Went into her bedroom and looked for pills to steal. No suicide doses..... But there WAS a bottle of estrogen. Nice and full. So I put it in my pocket and I left.
The next day I took 2.5..... and about three hours later I felt good, So, I kept it up.... by the third day I realised I felt GREAT! Exept my face hurt. I was smiling..... I didn't know I was smiling, I literally had to check a mirror.... I hadn't smiled naturally since I was 16. The best I could usually manage were sneers or smirks. All the laughter that only feeds on pain. I had my friend come over and take a picture.... it was that diffrent!
Everyones happy and cheerful, supportive, and encouraging "my significant other exepted." A friend whos known me 20 years says "Its about time!" And is encouraging me to the transtion path. A place that after 25 years seems about as real as the land of Oz.
But they leave ONE thing out. I'm really, really, unpassible..... I'm still 6'2, and have some significant hair loss....... I'm so damn big my head is two feet around. I wear a size 12 mens shoe. I have a broken nose too......
So, I'm back to square one, just where I was when I was 15 and my life came to a screeching halt. The only diffrence is now I have bootleg hormones, and legitimate therapy. My TS friends keep saying "It does not matter." Its easy for them to say. The closer of the two is 5'6 and is half my weight.
I'm in the irrisistable force meets immovable object quandry. I can't take it any more, I'm all out of stiff upper lips. Maybe its the pills, but I seem to be crying a lot.......... I'm glad, there have been so many times I'd have done ANYTHING to cry. BUt I think I have two choices. I can work to transition, which I would sell my soul for, or I can commit suicide.
But, I'm trapped, I don't want to die..... For the first time in longer than I care to think, I don't want to die. But I don't know whether I can be a pariah either......
I have been reding
everything I find online for years about TS. But NOBODY says anything
about us. The ones trapped. The people whos choice seems to be no
choice at all. The death I've been running from. Or living in a
position of eternal ridicule and laughter. When I
first met my friend, she was not too passible..... It hurt so much to
see what they did to her. I don't know if I could stand the sea of
If you have read much of my site, you know I try very hard to be as straightforward as I can be. I am not good at tact. So I will simply express my observations on your situation, and the situation of all who may be in a position where passability is unlikely, or even impossible.
To be blunt, the situation is seriously screwed up, but, there are always some options, though they all require some degree of compromise. It cannot be helped.
I am pragmatic. If I cannot have the whole cake, I will take as big a slice as I can get away with, and deal with that.
The main options I see are three in number:
1. Full transition, damn the morons
In this option, one must face having to deal with bigoted morons forever, and their scorn, true. However, I have known people who have done this, who have still managed, amidst the sea of idiots, to find a few good friends, a love, a life. Their road is not easy, and even simply going to a store or a restaurant requires a tough skin. They tell me it does not get easier over time, either. However, they at least find being able to live as themselves gives them peace, even if it is a troubled peace. No lie though, it is a difficult path for the totally unpassable person.
2. Full or partial transition, keep it half hidden
In this option, I have known those who have undergone full transition, but who only live as themselves outside of their work and exterior social life. The hormones have changed them enough that they are considered odd, but not enough to pass, so they still work as a male. In their private social life, they live fully as female, and have chosen friends that can accept, or who share, the issue of gender concerns. Some do this for reasons of passing, and some do this because their job is so very high paying that they cannot bear losing the wealth. In short, it is the life of the superhero, a double identity. The benefit of this is that they can still have a private social life being themselves, but avoid outright mockery and exclusion in surrounding society. It is a compromise, but it can work, even if it also hurts too. Again, taking the biggest slice if the whole cake cannot be had. This is the option for people with thinner skins than those who could face option one.
3. Partial or full transition, keep it totally hidden
In this option,
a person may transition to any degree, but they keep the fact
entirely hidden. They live almost all aspects of their life as their
original sex, but they enjoy the benefit of having the correct
hormones affecting them, and in private, alone, they allow themselves
to live as themselves. It is a sad and difficult way to be, but it
avoids all mockery, while still gaining many desirable benefits. It
is predicated on the understanding that the most important and core
element of being transsexual is inner identity. Having the body and
biochemistry support that identity is a great benefit, even if one
cannot face the problems of living full time as one's true gender in
I think you are correct in saying that few or none want to face the issue of people who can never hope to pass. This is a shame, because such a calamity can occur for many reasons: sheer physical shape, form and stature, a lack of female hormone receptors, a severely masculine skeletal structure, and much else. The most important thing that I can offer you is that the real problem in not passing has absolutely nothing to do with you. You are fine...it the bigotry and narrowness of others around you that is the problem. That is the reality of things, even if all about you cannot see it. Your real problem is not your size or your bones, it is other people.
Now knowing this will not make anything you have to face any different, but it is important to know nonetheless. Especially important, because all of the inevitable abuse can too easily drag down one's self worth. Sometimes all we have is the certain wisdom that we are blameless and pristine, that the problem is in the shriveled hearts of others around us alone.
I cannot tell you that you can get everything you deserve and need. I can tell you for certain that you can get some, even much, perhaps even most, of what you need to survive and to have some degree of contentment in the world. I maintain that having some contentment, even if it is not total, is better than a life of uninterrupted misery, or the total loss of your unique mind, heart, and gifts to the world. Better some cake, than no dessert at all, ever again.
It is not fair, it is not right. But it is real, and you have options. Find what is best for you, a balance that you can live with, a compromise that you can accept, a truce between your soul and the idiocy of the world around you. When you have determined such a compromise...go for it with all of your heart, and be glad for what joy you do get from it. Bitterness and anger only trap the person feeling them. Cherish every good moment, and wrest every drop of goodness from it. make that slice of cake count, howsoever small it may be.
Really, this is
just common sense...because all people, in every situation, have to
do some measure of this. It is just more dynamic, when the issue at
stake is life and identity itself. Find you personal best compromise,
and make it work. That is all that I know how to do, and all I can
offer to you. That, and not to bother wasting your time with the
idiots that would drag your spirits down.