Letters Volume Twenty-Nine
This is Volume Twenty-Nine 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-Ninth set of letters
Reference Topic Index
Relative ONLY to this volume:
For the complete list see main letters page.
Why do some people keep the label of being 'transsexuals' ?
Guilt and Purging
The Last Word On Autogynephilia
Severe Post-Transition Depression
I just started to take hormones, (Premarin), and am wondering if there is a way of reducing the discomfort when the Breasts start becomming tender, cause I was told that it becomes VERY painful when the so-called lumps start forming behing the breasts, and also how long does the tenderness last, and would reducing the estrogen slightly reduced the tenderness and or the time it takes to get pass that stage?
The degree of tenderness is vastly overrated. It is not bad at all! It's wimpy-wimpy stuff. A tiny, delicate, frail, itty-bitty widdle 13 year old girl could take it, and STILL have a normal life. (Duh!) Who told you such nonsense?
So stop yur whinin'. ^.^
There is one thing to note, however....
As breasts grow, it takes time to get used to them simply being there. By that, I mean that suddenly, so it often seems, one is faced with protrusions on one's chest, and these protrusions tend to get whacked, bumped, pressed, and otherwise entangled, until one develops an innate ability to keep them out of trouble. Problem areas include such things as seatbelt straps, carrying boxes or anything largish, trying to 'slide' or 'duck' around corners and doorways, and initially, just lying face down on any hard surface like the floor. The secret? One gradually makes it an unconscious act to keep the chest safe. For a while, though the odd whack or bump serves to teach this important lesson.
Breast tenderness lasts about 8 to 14 months, with the peak being in the first 6 months. After that, it fades, until at 2 years or so, breast development is more or less complete. Some folks take another year, even two, depending on age, health, hormonal response, genetics, and so forth. It is individual, but the average is 2 years to maturity, and about 6-8 months of serious tenderness. Even then, it really is not that bad, as long as the breasts are kept from getting whacked. Bumping is what causes breast tenderness. The sooner you learn to protect your chest, the sooner tenderness is not an issue.
Still, anyone taking hormones who cannot face the unutterable horror of breast tenderness.... whoever is feeding on your fears needs a spankin'. This is normal, human stuff, and you do not see little girls weeping all over the place because "Mommy, my tee-tees hurt! WAAAAAAA!" Jesus Frickin' Christ on His Own Carrying Rack! With all the suffering involved in gender issues, 'breast soreness' is almost a relief! I have no pity. Let 'em ache! Whack 'em on lamp posts! Make those tee-tees weep like little girls!
Ignore the fools who fuss over such inconsequential issues. It's going to be OK, and it won't hurt very much, if at all. Some people don't even HAVE any tenderness at all. It is that minor. So relax.
I have often wondered why some many post ops stay attached to their transsexual status? It seems to me that all to often they run around with this little label stuck to them that reads"Hey! Look at Me I'm a transsexual!" I thought the whole idea was to become a woman after you became a post op? So why hang on to the old TS title? Don't get me wrong while I have been going threw my transition I have been working on trying to improve things for the ones coming up behind me. I have given lecture on radio and in classrooms to students at the local university in hopes that both the straight and gay communities can get a better understand of transgender persons and in some way help the other t-girls, but when I have full transition I'm out of the TG world. I learned there is no advantage to calling yourself anything other than a female even in the preop stage. A prime example of this was my breast augmentation, I contacted several plastic surgeons about getting this operation done on me and explained I was a transsexual and that I could provide any letters needed from my therapist allowing me to have this kind of operation performed on me. I was turned down by every local doctor near me, each on stated they don't work on transsexuals. I was rather upset and said hell with putting the TS label on myself and I contacted another local plastic surgeon and got an immediate appointment I only stated on the forms I was a female and nothing more now I have my implants. Adding a label to yourself that has a negative response from the general population can only serve as a means others to discriminate against you so why put yourself threw all that? So to all those who have full transitioned I suggest just be that woman you always said you were.
An interesting question, with an answer you will inevitably come to on your one, someday in the future.
Telling a doctor or a surgeon about one's transsexual status is simply a matter of survival. Would you rather find out you surgeon is a bigot by being turned down, or when you wake up from a hastily and sloppily finished operation, where midway, some tiny anatomical detail, gave your vulnerable body away to shock, mockery, and a rising anger in the heart of someone holding a blade to you? This...has happened, and sometimes the person lived. Not happy. No recourse under the law. Not good.
Transsexuals are indeed the women and men they claim to be, despite the shape of their bodies, and those male and female brains can hope to claim corrected flesh to wear. Transsexuals can hope to lead lives of their own choosing, but the one thing no transsexual can ever, ever hope to do, is to lead a normal life, or to actually be normal.
Whether one is a refugee from a military holocaust, the only survivor of a terrible disaster, the survivor of an atrocity filled event, a cancer survivor, or any other extreme experience, one thing is certain: you will be forever set apart. To survive an extreme experience requires extreme determination, and such experiences teach many, many things, both desirable, and awful. One will gain insight and power, and one may well be wounded in unusual ways. Whatever the unique impact, there is no escape from the fact of being, inside, forever changed. That is the nature of extreme experiences upon the human mind and soul.
Every such person tries, after the fuss is over, the adventure done, to 'make it all go away' and just carry on like anyone, finally free. There is always a strong desire to just put such difficulty, or even horror, into the past, forever. However, as time wears on, it is inevitable that the survivor finds that they see things differently, that they have skills others do not, wounds and fears that others do not, and sheer experience that others do not. These things create an inevitable feeling of distance from all others who cannot even begin to truly understand such things, and sooner or later comes a desire to be able to speak, to be around someone, anyone, who CAN understand, who has shared a similar level of exceptional, rare, and intense experience, if for not other reason than to feel less isolated in the world.
it is for this reason that Vietnam veterans -of any stripe- may find solace in each other's company and shared experience, or that there are people who still go to support groups for fatal diseases they have long since escaped, and why transsexuals often -even if only rarely- go out of their way to just touch base with another transsexual.
There comes a time, when, surrounded by people who have had 'normal' experiences one can NEVER hope to share or fully understand, who could NEVER truly understand the special and rare difficulties and life lessons one has gained though struggle, who go blithely about their lives blind to things that seem so obvious, yet so impossible to explain, one simply can no longer deny that one is not different, forever changed by a unique and horrendous adventure. In that moment comes the realization that one can never truly, completely be an ordinary man, or and ordinary woman...in that moment the impact and meaning of being a transsexual man or transsexual woman hits home. It may not be something one would want to parade about, or be 'Out' about, or to ever admit to openly, but it is there, nonetheless.
Fortunately, there are some transsexuals that do bother to create resources for others, for the hidden members of their scattered tribe, to dare to be open so that others can find the required reaffirmation before going back to being 'normal'. Why do they do it? Because they have come to understand that there is no use in avoiding the issue, at least for them, at least for long.
Now as to why SOME moronic transsexuals just parade about as flashy and bizarre as they can be, going on chat shows in scanty or strange attire, and waving their freakishness about for no apparent reason other than to shock, well that is a different story. That is simply a matter of being a nutty human being, and nutty humans will use whatever they can to get attention, whether it is being transsexual, or being just plain goofy. It is actually pretty 'normal' for neurotic behavior.
No, what I speak of is alienation, and if there is one single thing all transsexuals must share in common, it is that. We are forever set at least a little apart from the rest of humanity, only because we have survived an extreme experience, and it cannot help but change our perception and our selves. I am a woman, certainly. But I am also a transsexual woman, and I know that I cannot ever be normal, because I have already failed to live a normal life, and I do not own a normal past. One cannot be 'normal' without these two things. I am, as Popeye would have it, what I am.
Ultimately, though, I do not consider that alienation to be devoid of benefit...though I may forever be 'different' because of my history, I have also paid attention to my adventure, and it has taught me so very much...I cannot help but be grateful for the result of such an education, even if I may sometimes curse the fact of having had it happen.
Let preface my question by telling you that I live and present myself to the world as male, but I'm not sure if that is what I want. In other words, I don't know if I'm a transvestite or a transexual. I have a question about masturbation. As you know, you have addressed this in some of your responses, so I don't know if I'll receive a response. Anyway, when I am dressed up, I often masturbate. After reaching orgasm, I feel tremendous guilt and shame of the way I am dressed. Sometimes I try to tell myself to stay dressed after I masturbate, but I always feel the shame, and chage out of what I'm wearing. I also feel shame of the things that I do to my body that renders it more feminine (shaving, plucking, etc). Is there some wave of testosterone that floods my body after an orgasm that makes me feel this way? Is this something common amongst transvestites? transexuals? Thanks!
What you describe is common to both transvestites, and to transsexuals as well. Transvestites even have a word for it, they call it "Purging". The shame may be so intense that it is not merely a matter of quickly putting things away, it can go as far as throwing everything away, swearing it won't happen again, and trying to pretend it never happened....until the next time the issue become so powerful that another buying clothes, using them, and purging occurs all over again. This can get expensive quickly, and is neurotic behavior.
Neurotic behavior is behavior that is caused by pain. In this case, the pain comes from feelings of shame and guilt. What causes these feelings is simple and easy to understand. You were trained over many years to feel this way, and this training is very strong, worse, it is reinforced by the society around you every day of your life, in subtle, complex, and sometimes all but invisible ways.
Your enemy is that part of your own mind that has accepted the propaganda that what you are doing is for some reason wrong, and that inner 'policeman' or 'parental figure', authority, slams you with a lifetime of inculcated shame. The origins of this propaganda I have dealt with before on my site, so I need not go into them here. The important point is getting past them.
The way to own your own mind, and thus be free of this shame, is to question and deconstruct the things you have been taught, most especially the things involving 'right' and 'wrong'. Unfortunately, mixed in with all of the rational rules of right and wrong, the rules that actually help us survive, like "honesty", and "compassion", and "Loyalty", are also a whole load of totally arbitrary and actually harmful rules. Some of these rules once served a purpose, but no longer do, others were created to serve some ancient -or still existing- power structure or cult, and others are just fragmented ideas and whims that have become accepted as Right and Wrong.
It can take forever to plow through all this crap, so the easiest way is to just dump it all, and start from scratch. Dump all the rules and morality and ethics you know, and start thinking about what is a basic set that is actually useful to you. Some rules are obvious...the prohibition on killing people makes logical sense, because without it, all society crumbles and it's goodbye medicine and TV, and hello clubs and cold, dank caves. Honor and kindness also support survival in society, and so on. However, a little thought will quickly bring the realization of how small the minimum set of rules of ethics need be for everyone to get along, and to be good to each other. Then comes the realization of how much useless crap passes itself off as 'morals'. Among that useless crap is the rules that inform people that it is ungodly, wrong, evil, shameful, or just plain distasteful to dress in some give set of clothing, to perform natural bodily functions from going to the bathroom to masturbation, and who, or what, one is sexually attracted to.
Actually grasping this, feeling the reality of it, can seriously help to free one from the idiocy of such rules. It is not done overnight, but it can be done. Once you can own your own mind, your own heart, then and only then, will you be free. Even so, the messages that cause guilt are always around us...in the comments of others, in television programs, in articles and newspapers, in the opinions of those who have fought their way to political or religious power. It never ends. However, since guilt over insignificant things can be crippling, it is worth the effort.
And if there ever was anything in this world that is so insignificant in the scheme of reality as to be beneath even the most foolish impulse to feel shame, it surely must be whether a human animal covers it's body in pretty fabrics and then gives itself some fleeting minutes of pleasure. This has no impact on anything in the world, except perhaps to disturb the minds of those already driven half mad by useless and arbitrary, ridiculous and silly rules of what is supposed to be 'right' or 'wrong'.
Guilt over crossdressing, masturbation, or suchlike, is an enemy. Fight it, make it powerless, and never look back.
I came across this 'autogynephilia / paraphilia' explanation for m-f transsexuality, and I wondered what was your take on the whole concept?
"Autogynephilia" is a theory originally proposed by Ray Blanchard, a clinical psychologist at the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry in Toronto. Blanchard defined autogynephilia as "the propensity to be sexually aroused by the thought or image of oneself as a woman." Applied to transsexuality, it attempts to explain the condition essentially as the ultimate in hyper-transvestism...not content to simply dress and appear as women, the transsexual supposedly is driven by sexual fetish to physically alter their very bodies, the 'clothing of the soul'. Autogynephila has been used to deny the credibility of transsexuals, and has been offered as proof that transsexuality is nothing more than essentially a severe sexual compulsion based on fantasy. The idea of autogynephila sometimes resurfaces among the 'gender community'. Recently there have been several articles about it in assorted publications, and it is this that has inspired the author above to write in.
I find the whole of 'autogynephilia' to be without merit, utterly contrived, and baseless. There is clear evidence as to the actual, biological cause of transsexuality, and any bothering with the ridiculous invention of 'autogynephilia' serves only the outdated political notion that humans are somehow above Nature, and thus are blank slates, with gender being entirely a cultural creation. This is utter foolishness in light of our current understanding of biochemistry and neurology. Autogynephila is empty of scientific worth and is ultimately nothing but politically inspired quackery. Any person promoting it is either ignorant, or clinging to dogma above reason, and in any event should be deeply ashamed of themselves. 'Autogynephilia' is the creation of a deeply disturbed mind that enjoys playing with the combination of scientific-sounding Latin terminology more than actually being studied in the biological sciences that such terminology serves.
No person who truly understands the suffering of transsexuals, the biological basis for its cause, or the reality that human beings are an animal species akin to any other mammal, could possibly have time for such an outdated and empty notion as autogynephilia. It serves only to harm, in that it breeds both ignorance of, and contempt for, the transsexual.
Ignore it, as you would the addlepated prattle of the racist, the narrominded hatemongering of the religious zealot, or the crazed ramblings of the crack-addicted, paranoid conspiracy nut.
I am writing in the hope that you may be able to offer some advice. First I am male (perhaps not your favourite type of person?) I have been having what I would call a long term relationship with a TS. We met during her transition and have been together through her operation (1 year ago). We do not live together but do meet regularly, during all our time together she has suffered from very low self esteem which has if anything lowered since her operation, with occasional thoughts of suicide. Over the last few months these bouts of depression occur more frequently, go deeper and last longer. I care very deeply for this woman and want to try and help in any way I can, I'm just not sure HOW I can help, nothing I do seems to make much difference. She does and has had various types of counselling, which she generally dismisses because they usually always focus on her gender history as the cause.
MANY (some would argue most) transsexuals go through a terrible depressive phase after surgery. The reason is straightforward, but can be lost in all manner of complex side issues. Think of it this way: a whole life of constant struggle to achieve a shining goal, a goal made all the more perfect and wonderful, heaven-like, because hope is the only thing keeping the seeking transsexual alive though such horror.
Boom, it's done. The goal is completed. The transsexual has become what they always fought so hard to be, and now....it's over.
And the world....is no different. No shining future, no glory, no pot of gold. Just life, only with the correct body. Suddenly it sinks in that the greatest, most noble, most fantastic quest they may ever face is through, and all that is left is ordinary existence. Being transsexual is like being in a great war, a terrific struggle. When the war is over, things can seem oppressively grey and disappointing.
Some transsexuals have named this "Rainbow Syndrome", as in there being no pot of gold at the end, no big march of glory for having achieved such an amazing thing...no life as astounding as the struggle they have just been through.
There is a second part though, too. The transsexual, faced with such a horror as having the wrong body, and having to fix that....a seemingly impossible, certainly incredible adventure....often simply puts aside all of the other crap that life does to a person, because there is no time for it with such a great war going on. After transition, after surgery, with the war over, all that crap, all the pain and hurts, and sorrows, and struggles that average people suffer over, all that stuff that was just shoved aside, can come rushing back. Now, not only is there no medal for surviving surgery, not only is life just ordinary, but there is a lifetime of repressed average-people pain to deal with.
As you can imagine, this can be a tiny bit difficult on the emotions.
I went through this, and it was hard on me, and I was well warned that it could happen! Most transsexuals are never even warned about this issue, this possible situation. So it can only hit them even harder.
What can help?
Understanding the situation and its causes can provide some perspective, although it cannot make the pain go away. Perspective is very useful, especially to the suicidal. It matters to not be lonely, to have people care. It helps to have strong social contacts and companionship. It helps to find other goals, interesting and fun goals to pursue. Having a powerful dream to follow is a bit addictive, and a new dream can help mitigate the withdrawal symptoms.
I used to celebrate my "Vaginoversary" every year, make a bit of fuss over my achievement. That helped a little tiny bit. The answer is not one thing, but lots of little things, bits of hope, bits of celebration, a goodly portion of purpose and meaning. It helps to have things to achieve and do. It helped me that I am an artist, and dove into game design....it gave me new frontiers. Having a kind of second childhood also helped me a bit too....of course, in my case, that is still going on !
Lots of love and cuddles help. Security helps. Sooner or later, some of that old crap that was shoved aside may have to be faced, not that the Big Problem is out of the way. Building up self worth can help. Anything that provides purpose and meaning can help, and things that bring joy can help. Companionship helps most of all, I think.
Above all, it takes time. Time to settle in, time to establish emotional balance. It is important for your lady to know that others have gone through this, and have come out the other side with happy lives. It takes time to cycle down from the high pitch racing engines used to deal with transition.
Sometimes, after a great war, the heroic soldier needs to be shown what they were really fighting for, the simple, beautiful, most often quiet and unspectacular moments, that make life worth living. War is hell, but it is also filled to the brim with purpose, meaning, excitement, and hope. The simple act of living can pale by comparison, even though it was the whole point. And of course, there is so much that is lost, that can never be regained....a proper childhood, all the pain of all those years, the lost friends, the lost dreams.
Make sure she knows that this can be survived, and that things do get better. It takes some time though, But it is most assuredly worth sticking around on the planet for.