Saturday, October 13, 2012

need help with a decision.....

I RECEIVED THIS BY EMAIL...

Jessica, I'm willing to bet that what you're going through now is something many people in this group have personal experience of. This is one reason why I'm trying to raise awareness of what can happen when hormonal medicines are given to pregnant women. The use of high dosage hormonal medicines during pregnancy is something I've been looking into this for a bit over a year now, and as far as I can tell, if these drugs are given to a pregnant woman, there is a high likelihood that the sexual development of her unborn child will be messed up. Boys are more vulnerable than girls because only a subset of hormonal drugs have masculinising properties, whereas most or all of them can interfere with te4stosterone production and cause female development during part of a male pregnancy. It's mainly the brain that's at risk because it undergoes sexually dimorphic development for such a large part of the pregnancy - the entire second and third trimester. I think that the use of these medicines during pregnancy has to be a major cause of gender identity problems (see the reply I posted a few days ago in the "genes" thread). 


I've already established to my satisfaction that the artificial estrogen DES has created large numbers of people with a male body but a brain that is intersexed or female (most of whom I suspect are like I was until a couple of years ago, in a state of deep denial and desperately trying to convince themselves and everyone else around them that they're just normal men). 

The unanswered question is how many of the hormonal medicines currently in use can do the same thing that DES did to the DES sons. I suspect that pretty much any hormonal medicine can, along with probably quite a few nonhormonal drugs too. It's an enormous elephant in the room that I'm sure certain people have been only too well aware of for years, but theres so much money to be made from selling these drugs (and so much that could potentially be lost in lawsuits), that the whole thing has been swept under the carpet.

One drug that has been widely used on pregnant women, which I'm fairly sure would drive female brain development in a male body, is hydroxyprogesterone caproate. I've just found some research suggesting that dexamethasone can do the same thing too. My gut feeling is that most if not all progestins and corticosteroids have the potential to create a female brain in a male body. There must be literally millions of people affected. 

I'd ask anyone reading this who is able to, please try to find out whether your mother was given any of these hormonal medicines while she was pregnant with you. My bet is that for the majority of the people here, the answer would be yes. 

If I'm right, then the good thing from our point of view is that it explains what happened to make us the way we are. It means we're not insane or freaks, we're just the unfortunate victims of medical misadventure (although I don't actually consider myself a victim, since if I'd only known all this stuff when I was younger, I would have been able to have a very interesting life and a lot of fun with it!). Nonetheless, if we can establish beyond reasonable doubt that a medicine given to our mothers during pregnancy has made most of us into who we are today, it would surely make all our lives a lot easier and hopefully put an end to the bullying and harsh treatment many of us receive.

In answer to your question about having your breasts cut off, please don't do it! Even for those like myself who don't have enough woman in us to live as a woman, female breasts carry an enormous psychological significance (which is why I'm in the process of trying to "grow a pair" at the moment). If you have them removed, you'll spend the rest of your life regretting it. 

At the moment I'm trying to work out a balance of hormones that'll allow someone to retain their male attributes and yet grow female breasts. It is kind of a case of trying to have your cake and eat it too, but I'm confident it can be done. If anyone's interested, I can post updates on progress from time to time.

If you love your wife and son and want to preserve your relationship with them, rather than sacrificing your breasts my advice would be to work on restoring your sex drive and try to make those breasts a fun part of intimacy with your partner. 

One technique I've found quite useful for retaining female interest is the all day seduction. Don't let your wife know what you're planning to do of course, perhaps just tell her let's have a day to ourselves where we can talk about our relationship. Find someone to look after your son that day, then you spend the entire day slowly building an erotic mood in your wife, bringing it to a peak of intensity that'll make her see you in a completely different light. 

The way I've done it is to start the day off by complimenting her on some aspect of her appearance that you like, letting her know that you still find her attractive. Then you gradually build things up as the day progresses, more compliments, perhaps a little present or some other romantic gesture, reminiscing on those early days of the relationship when you two were head over heels in love. Let her know how attractive you found her then and how attractive you find her now. As the day progresses you can gradually start making "accidental" body contact, gently touching her and caressing her, brushing your hands against her breasts and other sensitive parts of her body. The idea is to build things up quite slowly so she gets more and more turned on as the day progresses but you don't get overtly sexual until the evening. 

You want her to be the one to initiate the lovemaking, which she will do if you get her turned on enough! If she's being a bit coy, giving her a massage is often a good way of kicking things off. Once things do turn physical, my approach is usually to start off with the breasts and spend quite a bit of time working on them, gently kissing them, nibbling the nipples with your lips, softly sucking them, etc, etc. Ideally you want it to get to the stage where she can't take any more and she's forced to direct you towards other places more urgently in need of attention. Again, a slow build up, gentle kissing, you want her to be the one who is pushing you to do more. 

You should be able to find plenty of guides online telling you how to eat pussy. The way I do it is to try and gather up every loving thought and feeling that I have for my partner, then fill my head with those thoughts while I'm doing it. It seems to carry across into what I do, in a way that women really like!

You always want her to be the one pushing you to do more, not the other way around. Remember, this is a mission to persuade your wife that the transgender thing has upsides as well as downsides, so don't make the mistake of letting your own desire for gratification get in the way of things. Depending on your sex drive, it might be a good idea to have a wank that morning to cool things down enough so that your own desires don't interfere with what you're trying to achieve. You do want to be turned on (it gets rid of the yuck factor and makes you a lot more enthusiastic about what you're doing), but you don't want to be too turned on! 

If you do everything right, then your wife will end up having one of those orgasm where she is screaming at the top of her lungs. In my experience women always take you seriously after that. They'll either run for the hills, or do whatever it takes to make you a permanent feature in their lives. I've only ever had the two reactions.

Even if things don't quite come together well enough for a full throated screaming orgasm, unless you completely bungled it or she is not in the slightest bit attracted to you, she should still enjoy herself enough to be amenable to repeat performances. That'll achieve the same results, just not quite so quickly!

Once you've got her on your side, you can tell her, dearest, something happened while my mother was pregnant with me (probably due to medication she took), that means that quite a lot of my brain has developed as female instead of male. I need to find a way to express that femininity. Can you think of anything that won't make you look stupid? 

It is possible to keep the whole thing quite low key if need be. As I'm finding out, breasts do have a way of wanting to be seen, but as long as they get plenty of attention from the one person then they should be able to live with being kept under wraps - if its necessary.

That's how I'd deal with the situation anyway. Hope it helps!

Hugh

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Commentary by a Transgender Person

Daise-Anne,

Anela makes a good point ...only a matter of "time" if you're fully a transsexual..... not "if."

Regarding the idea of:

"Bottom line question, are there individuals that are TS, have learned to adapt and overcome the inside/outside contradictions of terms they feel and see in the mirror but are benefiting from the administration of cross gender hormone therapy?"

The implications is "while staying socially as a man" which is to say ...just be a little bit trans, with hormones added, as some middle-ground solution to one's gender dysphoria. As I've said before to another here recently ...it comes across as to being "just a little bit pregnant." Something that seems so small and inconsequential outwards initially, tends to grow and develop until it becomes more and more evident to the outside world and finally something new bursts forth into the world....the newly developed woman within finally emerges into the world.

Here's the problem in my view ...if one is a Crossdresser one's center of balance allows them to swing back-and-forth in their gender presentation like a giant pendulum so that after awhile in feminine mode they get an urge to return to their male one. And then in reverse when in strictly male mode for a period of time. Thus such individuals satisfy their ying-and-yang gender sides over time.

Now for a transsexual (meaning the "born in to the wrong body" type and not just messing around with one's gender presentation for the thrill of it), the pendulum isn't in a fixed position. Think of it being on a track that allows the whole thing to move along the gender continuum tracks as it swings. So as one gains feminine experience (or conversely masculine experience for F2Ms) one begins to see their male self more as a socially constructed "shell" of which has been imposed on them by family and society. And by making on a NEW shell in conformity to their internal identified gender they increasingly begin to see that one as their ONLY true self, and the old one as a facade - a set of role expectations and even a fraud in some ways ...to themselves and to others.

It usually becomes harder and harder to "push" one's self back into the old role-mold (NEW wine into OLD windskins feeling) and play that role comfortably with themselves, and even perform those roles with others around them. Meanwhile as their new gender persona feels more and more comfortable and feels "right" and gets positive conformation with the outside world of strangers (when out-and-about on the town) they realize more and more that the woman is who they truly are, and eventually who they must be to a higher degree...and nothing else. Eventually the old gender mold not only isn't pleasant but downright like being put into a social-mental prison.

Do you think that a real prisoner would be in a better state of mind overall if they were in prison constantly or if they were let outside and breathed fresh air without constraints once a week for one day? The agony of going back in the next day and having all the prison mindset be closed and forced upon them might become unbearable when they knew it was possible to becomes totally free just by making some key choices in their lives. Probably would be better to just do the hard time without going back-and-forth for many such prisoners, cause in the end on the days off.... they truly aren't free.

So for the transsexual it's not unlike being such a prisoner, and once one tastes the fresh and clean air of WHO THEY TRULY ARE...it becomes harder and harder to revert back to a shell that they increasingly see as a facade, a set of expectations thrust upon them, and see the depth of their internal being and despair. Cause up till then...we DON'T KNOW how it feels to be fully free. We've been born into the prison, tried to survive in those constructed boundaries, and punished for any signs that we were transgressing the assigned gender norms! I can remember those feeling quite well, though were mostly dealt with 18 years ago now.

I realize that taking T-blockers (directly or as a side-affect of taking E) does have the effect of reducing the level of anxiety of being in the wrong social role, but that' merely a suppression ...not a true relief of such pressure. It may help in the shorter term for sure ...but in the longer-run it's only a bandaid on the underlying concerns.

Flipping perspectives a bit now to the affirmation side of the coin. If one is truly a transsexual (not a Crossdresser, or TGist or gender bender, etc) then taking T-suppressors (not with E) is NOT going to be enough after the initial relief stage for the great majority of TSs. Over time the whole gender pendulum is going to move more to the feminine-side-of-the-force and the swings between gender roles and presentation are going to become shorter in degree (presentation, mannerisms, speech, etc.) so even when in male mode the signs of femininity begins to show though (the trimmed eyebrows, or lipstick stains, or slightly more feminine clothing or body shape, or a more relaxed way of moving your body, etc). The masculine side is felt more and more as the major act in your life....and the feminine more as one's true self and even moreso that one has the RIGHT to express those true womanly aspects more openly. And in our communications we begin to enjoy the differences of how woman speak between themselves versus between woman and men, and you begin to value the woman-to-woman patterns more, and how men treat you in woman-mode, or if not in such mode you envy this aspect more over time and how you're missing out on your true life.

And if one either gets some feminine development from T-suppression alone, or certainly from taking female hormones, then what was in one's mind takes form in reality then all becomes more real, more felt, and more of a need to show the true side of one's self to the world ...either on purpose or indirectly by default (where one's subconscious mind allows it to slip through the male facade and be seen by the world...perhaps even on purpose though to the conscious mind it's NOT on purpose and will deny it). The strange events will include when you actually THINK you're presenting as a man, and someone refers to you or treats you as "she." Those times will have a profound effect on you if you're TS.

So for a time they'll be a three-way internal relationship and conversation going on ...between the outer male shell, the inner feminine one striving to emerge, and then the mental conscious one that is trying to negotiate between the two and the outer world so the needs of all "parties" are met, and to a changing degree over time, and "new deals" are being made and broken.

This explorative/developing stage actually takes a LOT of mental energy and thought, though whereas in this stage one is LEARNING a great deal since you must become a lot more detached and analytical of society's and gender norms/roles. Then how far this or that aspect extends, it also takes a lot of personal energy to maintain that focus even if very interesting to explore. For me I went through that stage for about three years ...and that was all that was needed and to me was even tolerable. It's an okay and needed stage but hormones will definitely have the tendency to push you into that stage if you're not already there, and KEEP you there if you don't progress or retreat.

Now there is nothing wrong with being in some other condition (CD or gender bender) and in many ways I envied those forms, but for the deeply transsexual those are but steps along the way to their true selves, and nothing but a continued growth and expansion into the outer world will completely satisfy their inner woman (or man), while dropping the support poles from the tent of your old man/male self ...thus the gender-tent collapses under it's own weight.

The problem for you at this point may be:

A. Thinking that taking female hormones will allow you to "manage" your possible TS condition and led a double-life in the longer-term. No, if that is who you are then it's only a stage ..not a solution.

B. Worry about losing everything you have gained in your male persona up to this point in time (a "value" assessment vs what is to be gained if beginning to live in a woman/female role in society). Kinda of reminds me of what Jesus said "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?" So what exactly is your "soul" in terms of your gender? A man ...or a woman?

You have to make a dual decision here ...the absolute one of where your highest values for your life lay, and secondly whether you truly have a solid estimation of how likely that your family, job and society (all the things you fear losing) will view you if you change your gender presentation? The first area is more internal focused and the latter is more external and is surprisingly VERY hard to gauge accurately, even when you know the range of responses that are possible. I got pleasantly surprised all along the way ...my job and friends well accepting me in transition, and some sibling (grown up) not accepting me well. This area strongly reminds me of a recent quote from a crisis manager of the tropical storm bearing down on New Orleans yesterday "the only predictability in all this ....is the UNpredictability of this storm." Hope for the best ...but plan for the worse (and better still having a Plan A, B, and C).

Oddly, some bigoted people turn out to be personally accepting and some "enlightened" ones turn out to be quite prejudice when it comes to an individual transgender acquaintance or family member, or at a job. Some even report that the more the person is GLBT knowledgeable the more difficult it is to get FULL acceptance of them as a woman (or man). But won't go into that contradiction here.

C. Types of leaps in life. Some leaps/changes we make are easily reversible, some are tough to turn around (sort of the "can't un-see" or "un-hear" something), and some simply put your feet on a slippery slope so that the first step isn't that hard, but in the longer-run increases the likelihood of subsequent stronger actions and responses. For example going out dressed anonymously is an TOUGH step but easy to reverse - reduce CP-time (Cross-Presenting) or purge clothing even. but taking hormones is EASY (to pop a pill) ...but tougher to stop if that helps you be the TRUE you.

Problem here is that you're trying to gauge something with taking hormones that you don't, and possibly CAN'T, have enough information about to make a full informed decision about yet. You could simply be risk-adverse (my tendency BTW) or that you are truly uncertain about your inner being and need to explore that in some additional ways ...such as through gender counselling or by personal exploration.

Just know that taking T-suppressors is one thing (if you don't end up getting some feminization due to natural E produced in men's bodies), and doing that might be anxiety-reliving for you in the shorter-term, but taking female hormones (being a positive-effect act) puts you more on a slippery slope where you are more likely to move forwards regardless of the immediate downside.

If you are more a CDer then the changes may scare you "straighter" or if a deeply suppressed TS it will tend to push you to change faster and faster to the feminine side, and related risks and costs tend to become less-and-less personally important even if more likely to occur.

So my personal advice is not to step out onto the female hormone slope unless you are willing to have a FULL RANGE of consequences happen for reals. Not to say don't well reflect beforehand and try to minimize potential downsides affects, but that's merely managing risk ...not avoiding them entirely. And ask yourself if you're willing to change your value system in case being TS is the real you? ....choosing to take the "red pill or the blue pill" kind of question (as in The Matrix). Once you "wake up" there is little chance of going back.

D. Know that things/reactions that change because of one going through transition is rarely a one-time fixed response. Oftentimes a family member or friend that reactions one way (negative OR positively) upon reflection away from you changes and they become opposite in their perspective and reaction to you (sometimes they get in tough with their cisgender values that over-ride their personal concern for your well being, or they are influenced by other's views about it). Some of this is dependent upon how VESTED they are in your old self (like children/offspring) versus how much they see you as a person.... who have things and gender attached to you (but NOT you) which is rightfully under YOUR control, i.e. that they see and value you more for being a person with stuff attached. Or they are more interested in your "stuff" and roles and how such changes may impact them personally and not so concerned about your personal happiness.

In that regards I appreciate those TSs I've heard say "If they were really my friend they would accept me for myself, and if they don't they were never really my friend and it's fine they broke it off with me." When I've heard this out of the "mouth of babes" (teenagers) such as on youtubes ...their high level of maturity sometimes astounds me, though with family members they are of course far more concerned about if they are still under age and economically/housing dependent upon their parents. But still, they often risk those relations as well in the process of becoming their true selves.

E. How you "come out" as being "transgender" initially is a big part as to managing the risks of rejection (don't come out as "transsexual" as that's too much too soon). This is a big topic and too big for this post to go into, and may not be your biggest concern at this time. But you haven't given your age, if married, and the age of any children that might be affected so the level of consequences if children are underaged (under 18 or still in college) is one level and if they are grown up and out-of-the home is a different/lessor one. It sounds to me like you are in the latter family stage so maybe it's time to simply start living for yourself, and being your true self?

F. Keep lines of communication open no matter what, since often initial reactions are adverse, but mellow in time.

G. Know that even IF you become very familiar with your feminine-self that to others that woman-you is viewed as a stranger initially, and one that is "taking away" something they value (you old man/male self) so they may be hostile towards that woman-expression even if they know inside that's the core person is still you. So they often don't want to get to know "her" or even want to "see" her...and that is normal response at first. You should be willing to introduce "her" to them in a nonconfronting way at first (maybe in photos, a video, or one-on-one in person, etc.)

And if "she" becomes the ONLY you in time then there is a grieving process (with stages) that others must go through..similar to a real death in the family. And some, especially family members, may continue to see the "woman" either as a "fraud" (i.e. not the real you so just a temporary "lost of mind") or an "intruder" who has pushed herself into your family uninvited and therefore is strongly resented. Again, how you share and present yourself to others you are close to initially is critical (I tend to suggest NOT to do so in woman-mode and speak only in terms of gender discomfort, and what is needed to be more happy in life, etc). Then gradually bring "her" into the scene one bit at a time.

Show them that it's still you ...just in a different form, and secondly that you're truly more happy and relaxed, and three, that despite their initial beliefs that you could never "pass" as a woman that in fact you can, or at least be respectfully well presenting even if not fully passable. Tell them it's your time to be fully yourself, etc. I'm speaking of all this so you can look at how YOU think about your options and the chances of success, and hopefully by seeing more possibilities it can relieve some of the precieved "downside."

H. Know that to the positive side that today society now knows a LOT MORE that transgender people exist, and are more "normal" instead of only the old TV ideas promoted in the past. So whereas some bigoted people are still rejecting and hateful there are LOTS more accepting people out there, and at least most people know not to openly hate you. The old social norms and even YOUR ingrained cisgender views that were formed 30, 40 and 50 years ago may not fully apply today or at least to the same extent, and for sure not in ALL people.

I. Reflect deeply on your current "do nothing" downside ...what if you continue to "live the lie" about yourself? Project "if with what I knew was possible (medically & socially) and never tried to live the woman/female life, how would I feel going to my grave with that knowledge?" Unless you think that enduring your current dysphoria, or getting some "cure" psychologically, or finding some CDing middle-ground compromise (am assuming you've already done this or in this position now and not enough) is going to work for you...then perhaps the only REAL alternative is taking the next step.

J. Finally, consider professional gender counseling. Probably something you should consider given that you say there's a great deal at stake with this potential stage of taking hormones, both on the downside and the upside of moving forwards with these options. And many health insurance covers this under mental health care. Just be very careful about choosing a counselor especially if you have insurance and they have a narrow list of related mental health providers. Better to pay for one yourself versus getting one who is knowledgeable or is trans-hostile. Do an internet search of transgender references/professionals or contact a local trans/LGBT center if nothing is online in your area.

I do appreciate how the advice and reflections from the "backyard neighbor" type impute can be useful (i.e. from such groups as this one), if you feel you have lots to lose and feel highly uncertain then it might be wise to make sure you've well explored your inner being and motives before stepping out on the slippery female hormones slope.

And by getting counseling it can actually help speed up any properly reflected upon transition, including examining and dealing with all the internal transphobia and cisgender norms ingrained in one's thinking. I now wish I had such counseling when moving through my t-stages over a decade ago...I would have transitioned in about half the time.

Best of choices to you,

Christina-Xena