This blog is about Life: everything that interests me, which is everything. And- as I am a trans woman, it is about my Trans experience. What is transition like? Why do we transition? Click the links.
Expressing myself female is so much better. Here is what I have lost- and gained. I have felt such shame, and I overcome it. Though arguably mine is a male experience, and we are feminine men. What does the word “feminine” even mean? For me, it means this. This is how feminine I am. I have been terribly femme-phobic. I have fought my femininity, gloried in it, and let go of it. Women affirm my sexuality. But do others “see us as women”– and if not, does it matter? Do they try? I keep coming back to this: this is my April 2020 line on what a woman is, and why trans women are women. How many trans people are there?
Autogynephilia is the theory that we transition because we are perverts. While all the scientific evidence refutes it completely, the hypothesis retains destructive power over trans people. I tell my own experience of it, share James Cantor‘s theory that it is life-long and incorrigible, then give resources showing why it is wrong. Though even if it were true, it would be right to transition if you wished. In Fetishes, I assess a similar theory about why we might want to be women. The Gender Diamond is a more useful theory. “Trans is not a sexual orientation,” we insist- but it is all about sex. Doctors are the gate-keepers on treatment, but cultural understandings of the condition itself are far more useful than the medical model. This is what DSM V has to say, and ICD 11.
What if, after transition, you realise it was a mistake? Here are four women who reverted, and why. Being a sissy is a way of being a man, so perhaps you should present male. Being a sissy is shame filled, but is beautiful and valuable. A sissy can “Man up” if necessary. I have decided I will not revert. Some transition, revert, and transition again.
Appearance matters, and you need to know how to tuck your penis so that you can wear short skirts, even a swimming costume. But taking your wig off is okay. And it was completely wonderful to get my first well-fitting bra. It is important to have breast screening. How would you explain to others: are you a “Woman trapped in a man’s body,” or “born that way”? Could you achieve Stealth, and would you want to? How should you respond to abuse in the street? How should you respond to abuse from trans excluders: do we have male privilege, or is there any such thing as trans privilege?
If you consider altering your natural hormone balance, you may be interested in my experiences: being taken off HRT, how I was six months after going back on, and having my hormones reassessed later. Norethisterone, synthetic progesterone, apart from causing bleeds so lessening the risk of uterine cancer, has interesting effects.
I write about Choosing Transition– making the decision, and the work involved in coming to living female- and the Road map, on how constrained the “acceptable” way of transitioning is. Making your own decision, you may be pleased to learn of resemblances between trans and cis women’s brains.
I have written on surgery for gender reassignment: Orchiectomy and A Tranny paradox on why I had the operation. You need to know about dilation of the neovagina after the operation, though you can have labiaplasty without a neo-vagina. Your vagina may be created from part of your bowel, a colo-vaginoplasty. Don’t have it unless you are certain you want it. I keep coming back to this. You get the appearance, not the reality, of female sexual organs. Now, I advise against genital surgery.
Even though I transitioned in 2002, and felt more myself than ever before, I have gone through a series of self-acceptance experiences far more recently. We deny ourselves to make ourselves men, and it scars us. Though light is a wave and a particle: I could see myself as a man, a woman, both, or neither, or as a trans woman.
In January 2016, the Parliamentary Committee on Women and Equalities reported on Transgender Equality. The British government responded, then consulted on reforming rules on gender recognition, in Scotland (here are the responses from the public) and in England and Wales. These are my responses. This is what the Equality Act says about our rights now. This is the 2019 parliamentary report. This is the draft Bill from Scotland, put out for more consultation.
I write challenging trans-exclusion: Trans-Including radical feminists; Are you a TERF?; I am a “Real woman”; Trans “Chauvinism”; An address to the radical feminists; Peak Trans, a “man in a dress”, refuting TERF attacks. Part of the problem is that Empowerment for them is completely different than for us, though I believe complementary.
I am a Quaker, and I write for Quakers: explaining why they should not allow anti-trans campaigners to rent their rooms, responding to the Quaker Life paper on trans, and considering how Quakers might address trans issues. I record and link to Quaker minutes and statements on trans people.
There have always been trans people and stories of trans people. Trans is forbidden in Deuteronomy. Ancient Romans the emperor Elagabalus and Nero’s consort Sabina were trans and Sardanapalus was portrayed as trans. Great authors write of men expressing themselves as women: Charlotte Bronte, Walter Scott, James Joyce. And there is trans in Game of Thrones.
More and more as the hate campaign against trans women in the UK hots up, I write about transphobia and transphobes- in The Guardian the New York Times the Morning Star and The Times, among Quakers, Quakers, Quakers and Quakers, in the Labour Party, the SNP, the House of Lords and the House of Commons, the BBC, and more or less ridiculous, debunked or disgraced individual transphobes-Joanna Cherry, Julie Bindel, Graham Linehan, Maya Forstater, Jennifer James, Heather Brunskell-Evans, Melanie Phillips, Harry Miller, Elizabeth Berridge, Suzanne Moore, Jean Hatchet, Jo Stevens, J. K. Rowling, Catherine Bennett, Jenni Murray, Robert Withers, Selina Todd– as well as anti-trans groups like LGB All Liars, “Fair Play for Women”, “Trans widows”, Ovarit, and W P U K. I write about notorious trans women whose bad acts are used to incite fear of the rest of us: Karen White, Tara Wolf, Marie Dean, Jessica Yaniv.
I also write about the Trans Resistance, such as the Labour Campaign for Trans Rights signed by twelve Labour MPs, trans people like April Ashley, Caitlyn Jenner, Georgina Beyer, Morgane Oger, Robin Dembroff, Aimee Stephens, Christine Goodwin, Naomi Hersi, Emma Sherdley, Ky Schevers, Stephanie Hayden, and Dora Richter, and trans allies such as Jess Phillips MP, Hannah Bardell MP, Jennifer Saul, and Sara Ahmed.
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