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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Dr. Oz "Transgender Families" ~Sevan

Today's Dr. Oz show dealt with transgender issues. I was nervous when I first saw the title "Transgender Families: When my husband became a woman" but I have always been of the mind that "any press is good press" if it's presented in even a slightly positive light. This show left me very sad however.

I understand what a vast and huge issue it is to tackle gender and transgender issues in a 101 setting. I just spoke to the youth at a local LGBT center about transgender identities and it's definitely a challenge!
As someone who's not surgically tracked I was very dismayed that they portrayed "the surgery" as the end all/be all. Calling it "the point of no return" and not even MENTIONING all the hard work of therapy, hormones, hair removal and social transition that precedes bottom surgery.
Also there was not a single mention of FtMs or the other vast variety of identities that the Transgender umbrella encompasses. Literally not one sentence about FtMs. Amazing! Based on the title I knew it was going to be trans-female focused. I was prepared for that. I don't even think it's a bad idea to par down the overwhelming topic of transgender identity/life. To not even mention it once though? I was surprised. Even Dr. McGinn; who preforms surgery for transmen didn't mention them.
I am impressed by the three women who bravely shared their lives with us on this show. They answered the questions with grace and kindness. They were well spoke and I really appreciated their stories. I'm so glad that we can see such pillars of our community represented. I just wish Dr. Oz had done a bit more, and stretched a bit further rather than sticking to the "the surgery" line of thinking.
Not everyone can afford surgery. I feel as though his presentation shows the masses that you are a man until the day you enter the surgical suite. That "the surgery" is what makes you a woman. This is false and incorrect! This is bordering on harmful. All three of the women profiled were lucky enough, and had the ability to work hard enough to afford that surgery and healthy enough to go through with bottom surgery. Not every woman is so lucky or able! Are they any less of a woman? No. They are not. Their identity should be just as valid, and in my eyes...*is* just as valid.
Thank you Dr. Oz for tackling such a topic, however you fell short of what I thought you could do with this. I know that many people listen to you who might not hear anything about transgender people at all and so I appreciate the attempt...but I'm sad at all that was missed, avoided, or shuffled under the rug.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Cathy Brennan a conversation

Cathy Brennan sent me a facebook message this morning. To be honest I was rather surprised that I would even be on this womans radar.
So here is the conversation we had this morning. I tried to keep it civil and respectful as I do not like to blow up. (granted I do on occassion, one of the flaws of humanity)

about an hour ago Cathy Brennan hope you are well! http://iblamecathybrennan.wordpress.com/2012/03/27/the-sisterhood-%e2%98%85-blames-cathy-brennan-for-cotton-ceiling-cock-blocking/


The Sisterhood ★ Blames Cathy Brennan For Cotton Ceiling Cock Blocking

iblamecathybrennan.wordpress.com

Alexandra Goodman http://leftytgirl.wordpress.com/2012/03/25/cathy-brennan-vs-the-cotton-ceiling/ I don’t know if any of you have been following the cotten ce.....Share..

about an hour ago Cyndi Bussell

Greetings and salutations.

I hope the day finds you in good spirits and having a good day.



I see that you have taken an interest in our group.

I stand behind my statement that anyone who answers a question with "blah blah blah" can be discounted and ignored.



When topics get so heated and passions run deep it is incumbant for all parties to try and remain calm and focused so that they may present a deep and thought proveking response when challenged.



Anyways,

May your week be awesome,



Cynthia Lee

..

about an hour ago Cathy Brennan Asking the same question repeatedly and ignoring the answer deserves a blah blah blah. I am not responsible for answering the same bullshit repeatedly.

..

about an hour ago Cyndi Bussell

OK.

I just started reading up on these issues.

I am certainly not an opinion leader or any form of leader in the trans* comunity. I am just a gal who is in a few groups.



When I read the entire cotton ceiling thing I was rather put off by the arguments on both sides to be honest.

I do not care to present my opinions or views to you. It would all just be transplaining.



But I will say this to you,

My mother is a lesbian, out and pround since the late 70's, she is a great mom, a feminist, a writer and part time philosopher and she has no issues with trans lesbians.

..

about an hour ago Cathy BrennanNeither do I, as it turns out. I have a huge problem though with rapey assholes.

..

32 minutes ago Cyndi Bussell

So do I.

When I get rapey, by all means get in my buisness. As it is...I have been castrated so there is not much worry about that now is there?

Also I do not violate lesbian spaces, I know better to go where I am not invited. The only involvement with lesbians I have is through my local LGBT center, and when I visit my mom.

..

31 minutes agoCathy Brennan I'm sorry, but i don't know who you are - do you think I have been talking to *you* specifically?

..

28 minutes ago Cyndi Bussell

considering how you contacted me out of the blue and we have never had a conversation previously...

yeah kinda



I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

Sorry.

..

28 minutes ago Cathy Brennan Cyndi - I sent you that blog link since you enjoy talking out of your ass. WRT to cotton ceiling discussions, i don't know you.

..

24 minutes ago Cyndi Bussell

OK

Yeah I do have a tendancy to talk allot. I admit it. But I did read like 3 articles that covered this topic and I was surprised to see you respond to comments like you did. You articulate rather well but when you resorted to blah blah blah, I was lost. I couldn't believe you went there and yes I dismissed you out of hand bassed on a juvinile response.



Have you considered teaming up with Lynn Baker? The two of you have similar goals and opinions.

..

19 minutes agoCathy Brennan OMG you read 3 articles! Aren't you a wonder!

..

16 minutes ago Cyndi Bussell

Yeah only 3 articles in my entire life....

hehe

Yeah once I got 3 articles into the cotton ceiling thing I was done with it to be honest.

Seemed like no one could be rational after the coments started flying. So I droped it and moved on to working. This home will not tend to itself it seems.

..
__________________________________________
 
So. I am suddenly in the middle of a conversation that had nothing to do with me.
 
I stand behind the comment I made in the Sisterhood.
 
If all ya got is "blah blah blah" you have no real argument.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Flags (and other graphics) talk. ~Sevan

First two random graphics I've come across recently. *I didn't create these*


The "transgender umbrella" hehehe. I LOVE this because first...I love graphics. Second...I dig words. I found this because I was looking around for a graphic that would fit into the presentation that Cyndi, myself and a few others from our support group are doing for the LGBT youth center on Friday. I wanted to have visuals that would help them to understand in a 101 kind of way...what we're saying. Who we are.



This one I put as a link because it's HUGE and some of it's smaller parts are really hard to see. So it links to the larger image if you want to see that. (opens in new window)



Onto flag talk. For as long as I've been trans* I've heard peple complain about the trans* flag:



It's baby blue, baby pink and white. (just in case that's not how it shows up on your screen) and the biggest issue with it seems to be the "baby" colors. We're all adults (mainly) and the baby colors seem to bother people. At meetings flag discussions will crop up. Online flag discussions pop up. It dies down and no one has solutions but I often hear "ew. I hate that flag" and it just comes up like popcorn. All the time. It's suppose to represent going from one side to the other, and the transitional process. The other piece is that no matter which way you hang it, it's always right which is to represent how people who have transitioned now feel "right".


There's an alternate flag but it's not as well known or as frequently seen:



Biggest issue people have with that flag is first...it doesn't make that much sense to some folks. It also looks alot like the bisexual flag:



So I decided to do something about it. It's not like the creators of those flags had a degree in flag making. They were just people who decided to create a banner they could be proud of, and that made sense to them. So I made one that makes sense to me. A dark blue that goes to a darker pink up top represents male to female, the purple stripe down the middle represents those who are non binary (and blue and pink make purple) and then the pink to blue on the bottom represents female to male. I looked at it until my eyes crossed while I tried to find just the right shades of color so it looked right, and didn't have the same shades as the bi flag. These colors can make your eyes cross when they're wrong and clashing! I know...I've discovered this the hard way!



I shared this with my local group and so far everyone has been really positive about it. I might be making a banner for us to march behind in Pride!!! We have one already but...we can't seem to track it down. See:



This banner was made by six of us who used to meet pretty regularly. It was led by the guy on the right who's holding the banner. He stopped leading the grou, and we kinda fell apart until the center opened up meetings and Cyndi and I started faciliating. We've tried to get this back from him, and he's offered it...but we've just not been able to make it work. He either forgets, or we forget, or he's working when we come into town...any number of reasons why it's not quite worked out for us to get it back from him.


Then I started thinking...hmm. Maybe this shouldn't be the banner we march behind anyway. It doesn't represent the people who are in the group now...maybe they should be able to make their own banner to proudly march behind. And so...maybe we will. We probably will. And it might be my flag concept that we create! That'd be pretty darn neat. :)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Gender Therapists

A good gender therapist will not put you through an inquisition to prove your gender to them. They will be helpful and knowledgeable about Trans issues and be able to provide referrals to services that will help you transition. They will screen you for co morbid psychiatric issues and determine that you demonstrate that you have a firm knowledge of the risks that come with transition.


If you get a gender therapist that tries to critique your wardrobe or deportment, or criticize you for not conforming to all their preconceived notions of femininity, fire that person and find a new therapist.

Hugz and luv,
Cynthia Lee

Saturday, March 10, 2012

It gets better; with work

Our support group has a Youtube channel and today at the meeting we did "It gets better" videos in addition to our normal meeting activities. If you would like to see them, our channel is here

Friday, March 2, 2012

Bigender dysphoria ~Sevan

I'm going to go against my desire to continue on in hibernation and quiet and attempt to write something. (It would appear I haven't written on this blog since Nov!! And Sept before that. Hmm. For someone who journals daily you'd think I'd blog more often. Eh.)


First. What is bigender? (in my personal experience. These terms are still new[ish] and up for interpretation and sculpting) I experience it as being something akin to a yin yang.

There's my male side (Evan) who has that little spot of my female side,(Sara) there's my Sara who has that little spot of Evan; and there's the whole of me: Sevan. An attempt at incorporating them both into the whole...most the time that works, that's a happy space, it's fine and shared...and Sara and Evan bicker and disagree, they love each other and agree...it's all in my head...mostly. None of that spills out and is expressed for fear of appearing crazy. For fear of appearing like someone with multiple personalities, for stigma...there's many reasons to just keep this to myself. Cyndi knows of the identities. She knows there's still division of self...that rift never was healed. But it's not bad or painful for me most the time. It's just the way my mind works. It's split in two. That's ok. We work together...most the time. It's when we don't work together that dysphoria kicks in and is nasty.

There seems to be a misconception that non-binary people don't experience dysphoria. While that may be true for some, I know many who do experience dysphoria and depression stemming from their gender identity. I struggle with the idea of "speaking for all non-binary people" because it's a wide expanse of people and experiences and identities. I can only speak for myself, and perhaps some will identify with me and not feel alone.

So my dysphoria seems to come out when one of my two sides feels unseen or "closeted"...(for lack of better term.) Since I live in a world that is binary I have to present in a binary fashion. As such I always present female at work. Working 40hrs a week and having an hour commute per day...this leaves very few hours for any male expression, hobbies or just time. This can lead some pain.

Being on T I do have facial hair now. Still not a whole lot, but enough to need to shave every other day. Due to my work schedule I nearly never get to experience my beard. That can cause alot of dysphoria. Living in a binary world where I can't be me, I can't be flexible, I can't express both sides of myself.

Dysphoria can spring up on me. I can think that I'm doing well, balancing fine and then suddenly there's some issue over clothing for the day, or someone hyper gendering me female (oddly this happens alot. I'm not just assumed to be female..but I'm assumed to be REALLY female. Just because I like unbifurcated clothing? Hmf.)

I don't have an answer for this. The world isn't likely to STOP being binary anytime soon. Understanding is power though. In sharing our experiences we can see our similarities.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Cross Dressers in Women's Spaces

One of the issues I have with separatism is the almost pathological screaming and insistence that TS women are nothing like a cross dresser.


Now I will grant you that one if we go on the assumption that all men who cross dress are men. However, not all cross-dressing men are men. Many of them are women who have not yet come to terms with their gender. Many of them actually know what is really going on with their need to cross dress and use cross-dressing as a mechanism of relief from the pain. I know because I used to do it when I was living a man’s life. Cross-dressing, sometimes in public was a way to affirm to self “I am a woman!” It afforded me a little respite from the constant noise in my head demanding I drop the fa├žade and transition. In the end, the coping mechanism failed and I could not cross-dress any more as it brought greater pain than relief. However, that is another story…

The point I am making is that there are many women out there living men’s lives that cross dress in the safety of their homes with their wives and girlfriends or the safety of another town many miles away from where they live.

Now personally pre-transition I never went to women’s places like dressing rooms and bathrooms back in my cross dressing days. However, that was due to my own insecurities and fears. There are some girls who are brave enough to go out and be seen at daytime, and to use women’s facilities, I was not one of them but they are out there. Chances are she is going to be in clothes that are not the right style for her and she will be wearing her makeup all wrong and excessive, thus she is going to stick out like a sore thumb. If you run into this girl, do not disdain her. She needs help, not hatred and disrespect. Chances are you are done with your transition and have no need to look back but you do know information that could save this woman’s life. Point her in the direction of a support group for TS/TG people. Give her a cosmetic tip or two during small talk. Let her know she is not alone.

Some cross dressers are men and some are women who have not yet transitioned.
I understand that some of these men who cross dress in public are totally doing it so they can go home and masturbate to the fantasy. However, we do not know that any particular cross dresser is doing it for a thrill or for relief from a very real and deadly medical issue. We cannot know the motives of any particular person. As long as the cross dresser is not making a nuisance publicly, let’s give him a pass and keep our eye on him.
He might not be a 'he' at all, but a 'she' in a very delicate and dangerous part of her life. The outings where she goes out in public, testing the waters so to speak, are vital to her development as a woman. I certainly do not want to be a catalyst to a closeted woman deciding suicide is the best option.

It was not so long ago I was a ‘cross-dresser’ and I remember how I felt and what went through my head when I was cross-dressing.
If just one TS woman had taken the time to pull me aside and gently talk to me for a few minutes I could have transitioned much sooner.

Hugz and luv,
Cynthia Lee