Dialogue With Jennifer
Letters Volume Four
This is Volume Four 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 fourth set of letters
Easy Reference Topic Index
Relative ONLY to this volume:
For the complete list see main letters page.
What is the difference between a Transsexual, and a Transvestite?
I prefer transsexuals - why don't they prefer me?
I want a baby, and I am jealous of the power of birth!
'Shemales' and the Transsexual
What happened after your transition story? Any advice on Coming Out?
How do I get my breasts to grow?
I discovered your
web page searching for some information about
terminology and I hope you can answer my question. I am editing an
article about the TV show 'Prime Suspect 3' and the journalist has
referred to a character in the show as a transsexual. This prompted
me to wonder about the distinction between transvestite and
transsexual. I would very much like to use the correct term. The
character, in case you have not seen the show, dearly wishes to
undergo the operation, but has not done so. Her biology is male, yet
her identity very much female. I hope you can help me with this or
point me in the right direction. You have a very nice web site, by
The definition is pretty clear, and the two are very different.
A transsexual is a person who, through a hormonal accident in the womb, possesses a brain neurologically sexed opposite to the body. Such a person suffers terrible discomfort and even agony, and is driven to find a way to make the body fit the identity in the brain. The drive is so strong, that many suicide if they cannot achieve their goal for whatever reason. Transsexuals can be heterosexual, bisexual, homosexual or even non-sexual, indeed sexuality is not the issue with transsexuals. Identity is what drives the transsexual, not sexual behavior. That identity includes both having the correct body to match their brain, and to be accepted as the gender they were born to be. Transsexuality occurs equally in biological males and females. After transition, most transsexuals go on to lead quiet and essentially invisible lives. Transsexuality is about gender identity.
A transvestite is almost always a heterosexual, almost always male, and fetishizes the act of dressing up as the opposite sex. No transvestite desires a change of sex, indeed the very idea often repulses them. The transvestite dresses for a sexual thrill, one to which they have become addicted, in effect...the thrill is so powerful for them that they desire to repeat it again and again. For the transvestite, sexual pleasure through appearance is the motivation. Transvestism is also marked by a certain degree of flamboyance, since the behavior is, after all, a slightly kinky sexual thrill. Transvestism is primarily about sexual gratification.
description, the character you describe sounds like a transsexual,
would you not agree?
I don't suppose you have anything in your bag for me .
While I am a heterosexual male, I prefer good looking transgendered
women to the other kind of woman. How common is this preference? And why do transgendered women seem to to be annoyed when a man has this condition ? They seem to be turned off by the idea that a man would like transsexuals. I always thought that if you are a transsexual, you had better be around people who like transsexuals; the other way would be self-destructive ! Do you think I am right?
Actually, I have quite a lot to say on this topic.
First off, you are not alone, and a definite subsection of society is fascinated, to various degree, by transsexuals. Some are benevolent. Others, are not. The number of people fascinated by transsexuals has never, to my knowledge, been studied or documented. However, because of the amount of fuss made about transsexuals in the media, it can be reasonably assumed that most folks have some curiousity, at least.
Now, with regard to your main issue, there are two main issues at work here.
The second of the two issues for transsexuals, emotionally at least, is the issue of danger. While for every type of person place or thing in the world there is without doubt a group of people who favor it above all else, everything also has it's predator and destroyer. For the transsexual, there are many threats to existence, and one of these many is the 'Transie Hawk'. I myself was a victim of one of these. A Transie Hawk is an individual that preys on the vulnerability and insecurity of transsexuals, for monetary, sexual, and perverse gain.
A typical Transie Hawk will act identically to a Transphillic individual, and seem to be the Great Love and Supportive Friend to the commonly vulnerable and emotionally fragile transsexual, usually attacking them during the long period of actual transition. The Transie Hawk moves in as lover, with joint bank account and full husbandly privileges, then squanders the transsexuals money for surgery and treatment. When the transsexual discovers the scam, severe injury and often a torturous death (most commonly multiple stab wounds following rape) ensue. Those that survive, are generally more cautious. I was saved by a street-wise friend before things got very far. Many transsexuals are less fortunate. Worse, most of these incidents are never prosecuted or even followed up by police, as transsexuals are considered in general to be beneath the effort. Indeed some feel that killing off transsexuals is a service to mankind, or the inevitable punishment for being a freak of nature.
In addition to the Transie Hawk, there are worse dangers in the form of a class of men (almost all perpetrators of violent crime are male, around the world, in every culture by the way, 98% in fact) who deliberately ensnare and kill transsexuals. This form of mass murderer is generally left alone and suffers little from police action. These are sick individuals both attracted, and threatened by the existence of transsexuals in the world. Stalking their prey with the appearance of kindness, their goal is not money but murder, usually very messy murder. I do not know the street name for this type of individual, very, very fortunately.
The first issue, less physically dangerous but more emotionally important to most transsexuals...probably a mistake in priorities to say the least...is related to identity and self image.
Transsexuals do not generally enjoy or 'get off' on the fact of being transsexual. Most transsexuals wish that they had never had to deal with being transsexual in the first place, and the last thing they want are constant reminders of their unique status in the world. The majority of transsexuals, very unlike the fetishistic transvestite, want simply to blend in and be ordinary members of their gender. They would reasonably find far more personal validation and comfort dealing with a person to whom their transsexuality is a non-issue. Some go so far as to get involved with people without telling them of their history, which considering the emotional and sexual maturity of most humans, also leads to severe injury and sometimes death upon discovery. Some transsexuals risk even this, simply to be done with having to carry the burden of being transsexual around in their relationships.
Understanding this, you can see instantly why a large number of transsexuals might be repulsed by any person who is specifically attracted to them because they are transsexual. The attraction itself is a constant reminder that they are different, and that they are being liked for a difference that the vast majority are desperately trying to minimize, indeed wish they could eliminate altogether.
So to sum up: transphillic individuals represent either a potential danger of fatal proportions, or a direct threat to the establishment of a life not defined by being a transsexual.
are correct that a transsexual could potentially benefit greatly from
the affection of a person specifically fascinated by transsexuals.
However, the transsexuals that survive become cautious, and overall,
few -if any- transsexuals want to be appriciated because of an error
of prenatal development. These issues stand in the way of association
between most transsexuals and the folks who are specifically excited
I am a 24 yr old
transsexual girl somewhere in the middle of
transition. Things are going as well as to be expected. I live in SF, so
I don't get too much harassment, but the trade-off is that most people
can see my history (although it's awkward, I prefer that term to"read",
or "pass" which implies that there is a level of deceit on my part,
which of course, isn't true.). I've developed a number of friendships
with a variety of people, and life is getting better. I'm learning to
deal with all of the negative feelings, gaining confidence, and
achieving new levels of comfort with who I am. There is one problem
which I can't seem to cope with very well. When having conversations
with my woman friends, sometimes the subject turns to their menstrual
cycle, child bearing, or related ideas. I'm not at all uncomfortable
discussing these for their own sake, but because the feelings of
jealously that they often trigger. At times I am literally unable to
speak, because I know that if I were to try to say anything I would only
begin to cry. Even if it doesn't get to that point, I still sink into a
bad mood. I am reduced to smiling and nodding. Just writing this out is
extremely difficult... Sometimes being around babies or small children
has the same effect.
Obviously I need to do something about this. I cannot expect my
friends to not discuss this around or with me, nor would I want them to
do such a thing. I can't just avoid these people, that would be silly. I
do have hope that someday surgeons will be able to give women like me
the ability to carry and give birth to children, but I don't and can't
allow myself to believe that that will happen to me. I've spent enough
of my life deluding myself.
I am working on alternative ways to become what I want to be. I saved
my sperm before I went on hormones, and I am talking to close friends
about carrying the baby. But the problem manifests itself again in its
half-solution, for I would be insanely jealous of my child's other
mother, and that would be terribly unhealthy.
This is the first time I've really broached this subject with anyone.
Did you go through these feelings? Do you know of others who have? Any
insight you show me will be appreciated. I'm beginning to think that had
I born with the right anatomy, being a mother would have been my
I went through transition in San Francisco, as you may have read, and I understand the difficulties and benefits of the city. On one hand, one is in less danger than, say, Peehole Nebraska, but on the other hand, folks are sensitized to recognize and identify all forms of rare things, including any appearance of transsexuality.
As to your main issue, though, I can directly relate. Indeed, a part of what your wrote about was the very reason for my creating my transsexuality site.
I had been living...I believe the current slang term is 'Stealth'...for 16 years since my transition, essentially avoiding and erasing any hint of my status as a transsexual woman. This greatly magnified my own shame over being transsexual because my mind equated hiding with guilt. The times when I felt the worst were when nontranssexual women would discuss their reproductive issues, which made me feel a complex mixture of sorrows. I especially felt mute...unable to speak, and terribly alone and alienated because of my secret difference.
This became so painful over the years that it started compromising my functionality, and I sought all manner of help. But neither therapy nore counsel helped: what helped me was coming out, at least on the internet. It's a safe way for me to do this: I can be out to those who seek my topic, but hidden to my neighbors. It worked, and thus my site exists.
I also have issues with never being able to have a child, a subset of the whole reproductive issue I mentioned. In my case, I am aware that I am too much of a child myself to actually be a mother, though I do believe I would otherwise be good at it, in terms of technique. Nevertheless, a part of me grieves at being denied the possibility.
This is reasonable for both of us. It is easy to understand, too.
Gender is to the greatest part a function of neurology and hormonal influence, to the lesser part culture...but culture itself grows out of biological imperatives.
Gender only exists, ultimately, to serve biological need, in short, reproduction. Since behavioral and mental and physical and perceptional functions are affected and even controlled by innate gender, it is only reasonable to comprehend that the desire to reproduce would be part of these imperatives.
A female neurochemistry wants to bear a child. It's in the wiring, to some degree in every woman. MTF Transsexuals are just women with misshapen skin, the brain still has the drives of any woman.
But the fact is, the technology simply does not yet exist to grow a womb, or to be reproductively functional. I think it will be possible one day, but not in our lifespan.
Now, to deal with your feelings and needs.
You are correct in assuming that having a child of your own, in some fashion, such as with that stored sperm, is more likely than, say adoption. I know of a few transsexuals who have successfully adopted, but they indeed exceptional...and exceptionally 'straight' and integrated into mainstream culture. Indeed they work hard at just that.
My family has a
friend, a transgenderist (nonsurgical) lesbian, who is having a child
with her partner. They are going to get a sperm donor, and raise the
Because of her status and past, this is their only option, adoption is utterly impossible.
I am drawing to two important points with all of this information and commentary. One is that you can never have a child in any event without the help of another person, a fact true for anyone, transsexual or not, and that it is important to be able to understand the reasons for your drives. Let me explain.
First the issue of another mother. There simply has to be one. It is inescapable: somebody has to actually give birth to any child you might raise. If you adopt, one day the child will need to find out about their birth mother, it is a common drive. If you use a surrogate mother, the same issue exists, and if you were to become involved in a lesbian relationship, then you would co-parent with the birth mother. It cannot be avoided...no womb.
Thus, if you ever hope to raise a child, you must come to terms -and acceptance- with your own status. You cannot afford to be the prisoner of your own jealousy or sorrow over being transsexual, and not having complete reproductive abilities. This is something you must get past, because you have no choice but to share any child in some way, with the woman who gave birth to it. If you feel jealous of such a capacity as birth, then you have not yet found peace with yourself as what, and who you are. This can only prevent you from achieving your own desires.
So, that being all pat and psycho babble sounding, how does one go about getting past the emotions? One thing is time, and another is emotional adjustment and adaptation to ones real existence in the world. In going through transition it is often a fight for the expression of identity, and this fight leaves little room for calm acceptance and self-integration. It has taken me 16 years to finally come to a decent relationship with my own existence as a transsexual woman. This is not so long, considering that transsexuals literally go through a second adolescence, with all that implies.
This leads to the second point I wish to submit; it is impossible, in the middle of transition, to fully understand what one truly wants or needs. The fight to reconstruct an entire existence brings with it a host of drives and needs. Many of these needs are part of establishing identity, and some are cultural, and some are biological. Again, it will take time to stabilize, and come to a real understanding of what is true desire, and what is part of the process of transitional self definition.
So, my advice in all of this, is to recognise that transition is adolescence, that it is a vulnerable time, and that in time you will be able -with some effort- to become adjusted to your own life, lose the anger or jealousy about what you were denied, and to finally know for real what you really want.
If then, what you want is still to raise a child, then you will be able to choose from among a vast number of potential options to make that happen, and have little or no emotional problem with the ramifications of those options.
Now if this sounds like a "You're too young, wait and straighten yourself out first, it will take time to get your shit together, but one day you can do what you desire" lectures, then...
Well, in a nutshell, you would be essentially correct. Your pains over this are in part caused by the rigors of transition. Given some years to fully stabilize into your proper life, you will be able to live as you will and even to share raising a child.
And you will have to share, so you need to give yourself the time to be able to deal with that.
How will you know you are ready? When you no longer have problems when nontranssexual women talk reproductive issues, when you no longer feel jealousy or serious sorrow over what you cannot do, when you can greet your options warmly and with a full heart, you will be ready.
By your own description you are in the middle of transition. That takes years even at the quickest. You see, you already have a child to raise: a very new, very young girl, yourself. And of course, you could be 50, and this statement would be true...transition makes new children of us all. Raise your own child to maturity, and your issues will not plague you. Then consider children, for then, it will be easy.
time, things will be better, and your issues will melt away. Not
because you will gain the ability to have children, but because you
will gain the complete acceptance that you cannot.
We are a British-based TV production company. We are very interested in producing a documentary on shemales for the UK. Would you be interested in helping us to locate some subjects for the documentary, or being interviewed on transsexuality?
Hmmm, this is a little twisty. Let me explain.
Although we ostensibly both speak English, I know there are differences in usage between Great Britain and the US. In American english, 'Shemale' is a bit of a problem.
Here, a 'shemale' is equivalent to the proper definition of 'transgenderist', a person who uses hormones to partially transition, but who has no interest in being completely female. Instead, the 'shemale' enjoys a unique status, posessing the complete appearance and life of a woman, but the sexual organs of a male. This uniqueness is usually associated with prostitution as a career option, and the unsavory illegalities partnered to it.
Transsexuals, by and large, find this to be problematic for a number of reasons. One, they do not like to be associated conceptually by the public with shemales, because most transsexuals are trying desperately to integrate seamlessly into society and a culturally functional life. Such a mental association causes as much grief as does the common misconception of transvestites and transsexuals as being the same thing. This cultural confusion of definitions causes often serious problems for the majority of transsexuals, and thus there exists a certain amount of uncomfortableness and even disdain towards the shemale and transvestite both.
Indeed, the very term 'shemale' originated from within the sex industry, and -at least in American culture- is utterly and exclusively indicative of it. This is a stigma that the vast majority of transsexuals, ever struggling for mainstream acceptance, would find not merely a detriment, but a decided insult.
While a small number of transsexuals are drawn to the sex industry for various reasons, they are the fringe, if an over documented fringe. Even there, few transsexuals would want to be considered 'shemales', at least within American culture.
So, I am not
sure if we have a misunderstanding here, with regard to language. I
am knowledgeable about transsexual issues, from a transsexual
perspective, but that perspective would have little or no connection
with the life of the 'shemale' as the word is defined here.
I Just finished
reading your life story!! Wow!! The events of your life
are among the most poignant I have ever encountered!! Please tell me how
things have been the last sixteen years. Are you still with Sandi??
After reading your story my life feels like the rich and famous. ( not)
Are you still in the bay area? What can you offer, in the way of
information, on how to deal with dealing with coming out?? You are very
special. Thanks for presenting a very heart-warming story. Please tell
me about your self today.
Well, the past 16 years have been quite an adventure, I must say. Yes, Sandi and I are still together, and I think we always shall be so. I love her more each year.
I live in a polyamory now, a group marriage. There is Sandi, of course, and also Eldenath, and Stephen. The polyamory was formed shortly after the end of my transition saga, in the year that followed. So my group marriage has lasted about 14 years now, all together the four of us. I think it a fine way to live.
We moved from the bay area because Sandra could not take the smog and crowding anymore. We foolishly tried to buy a house in Pocatello Idaho (why? I know, it's insane. I think Sandi wanted to get as far away from people as she could. We succeeded. They are not human in Pocatello. It was very, very evil there.)
Next we ran to Los Angeles, not because we wanted to -Goddess NO!- but because there was a great radio job there for Sandi, and we were pretty desperate at the time. Our three years there were spent in the middle of fire, earthquake, riots, floods, and mass horrors that defy description. Finally we managed to flee to the Seattle region, which is by far the nicest place we have lived.
Through it all, we have been the best of what a family can be to each other, and I live a very happy life with my spouses. So it is a very happy next many chapters from the transition story, despite the adventures life throws at us all.
Coming Out. Well, this is pretty much individual to each person's circumstances, but I can advise trying to see where any potential dangers may be (trust me, you do not want a gun put to YOUR head!), try to have some sort of real emotional support if you can -a true friend to help you if things go badly, and be prepared that things probably will go badly with some people. Try to take that in stride, if you can, some folks are just kind of limited, and take longer...sometimes forever...to come around.
Coming Out is where you find out who your real friends and real family are. Anybody who rejects you, even blood relations, are strangers. If you think about it, if they reject the real you, they always were strangers.
Ultimately, there is nothing else to add, besides using common sense about folks, and being courageous. It is seldom easy to come out, and preparation makes things better, but it still takes guts. Feel out close friends first, be honest and open, be straightforward and confident if you can. If you are OK both what you need to do, others will find it easier to cope with...if they CAN cope at all.
Most of all, remember that you deserve respect and love for such courage, and even if everyone you should know (like me) rejects you...your REAL friends and family are waiting, somewhere in the future for you to show up. Don't disappoint them.
I know this
I would like to
know if there is something that I can do to get
my breast to
grow? I would love for my breast to grow to no more than a 34B,but no less than 34A,that is the chest size that I honestly,truely,and very deeply
want......................PLEASE,let me know what all is involved,and all I need to do to get this to happen,thank you...
Ok, here is the deal:
Estrogen makes breast tissue grow. Taking the correct dosages of female hormones will result in overall feminization, which includes full development of the breasts.
Taking more estrogen than the correct dose will actually work AGAINST breast development, because the body metabolizes excess estrogen into androgens...or male hormones. More estrogen is definately not better...the right amount, no more.
Take serious estrogens, not herbal pseudo-estrogens, or mail order who-knows-what from elsewhere. Have a doctor supervise your hormone regimen!
Breast growth depends on genetic factors, as it would for any woman. The size of your mother and grandmother's breasts will be the determining factor in the size of your breasts. They will only get as large as Nature has programmed them to get.
Beyond nature, the option is breast implants. Various risks and problems are then a possibility.
Those are the facts.