Saturday, 1 October 2005

What's it Like?

Nudge, Nudge, Wink, Wink, Say No More.

I've tried to keep my peculiar personal situation from intruding overmuch on my Real Life(tm). But I'm a member of various support groups, mailing lists, and forums. Mutual support is important, because if we don't help ourselves, no-one else will. Sometimes, it gets to you, and this post comes straight from the heart.

This is what it's like. Fragments from posts or e-mailings from the last 24 hours. I must emphasise that. Just one day. Posts from Australia. From the UK. From the USA.

From someone just forced out of a senior position :
Of course wonderful people aren't sarcastic either. Is my halo slipping yet? Hmm not quite.. needs a good knock..

Of course wonderful people NEVER have to feel sorry for themselves either, they are always without fear, worry and never scared of the future. Just like me!

Oh dear.. I guess thats a no again. Yep.. I can put my hand on my heart and say enough! Thank you world and thank you to all of those kind souls who ever considered me to be of any value. It seems I am not. But don't worry, its just life dealing me another lesson from the text book, "A day in the life of a Transsexual"

And before you think I am just feeling sorry for myself, think again. Life is turning this wonderful person into a hard edged cynic because I deal with those who would deal me ill because of who and what I represent.

I am a leper, a refugee, a yellow man, black man, a christian, a muslim, a jew.

A transsexual, a non-person.

I am stripped bare of dignity, hope and friendship and eat at the table of despair and tears.

No more will I endure their remarks in silence, no more will I bow my head, no more tears will I cry alone in the dark at night. Through all I am dealt each day another stone to carry. Christ I must have really pissed God off in another life....

You see, the well is dry of tears. The only people I really have are those who endure the stones with me, those who are in pain for me. My family, and friends. It would be a cowards way out to let the bastards win wouldn't it? Always loved a fight..

So, ok.. I have my friends and family, I can pick up my halo again, it looks as if my career is in the toilet again, hmm well, less stress, thats good.. polish the halo a little, I am at home with my family more..thats got to be good. I have friends who are asking if I am ok.. now thats a definate plus.. I can dry that tear now..

Do you know what? my heart isn't that heavy any more.. thats wonderful isn't it? I can read a book, smile and take a walk without a 16 hour working day..thats wonderful too.. I can be myself and walk hand in hand in a supermarket, a cafe or my home. Thats peace.

I just realised why too.. its the darn reason I wrote this, you see, the only reason its wonderful is because I'm not ! The really wonderful thing the past week has shown me is that despite the underhand, lying, cynical and greedy grasping world that we know exists in abundance and bites us everyday, there is another side to the coin, a counter balance to the ignorant, the abusive and the prejudice.

I have Decent friends, Decent ones who love and live in the way of life that values respect, values truth and integrity and lives with their own honour.

Straighten that halo and look in the mirror.. dam who is that wonderful person? thats not me its you.

Thank you for being there, each and every one of you in my dark days.
I love you all.

And this, from someone giving advice about Safety :
I remember when I first began my transition back in 1996, everything was wonderful, I was a functioning member of society, I was a sub editor for a national publication on HIV, very well known and respected in the community, then one night at the end of 1997 whilst in the heart of the gay community (Oxford Street Sydney) I was attacked by two guys who obviously had something against me for being trans. They hit me with iron bars, steel capped saftey boots, fists, elbows and everything else that they could find, they dragged me alomst a full mile by my hair so that they could kick into me some more. They nearly killed me,
I spent three and a half weeks on life support and another 3 months learning to do everyday things again. The reason that I share this story with you is to show that it doesn't matter where you are (a small community or the main street of Sydney where the Gay community is supposed to be there for each other) there is still a chance of being hurt. That is why I say that you need to set your own types of safety nets. Now-a-days, the people who I call my friends would never let anything like that happen to me. If I need to go somewhere I call someone and I am either taken to the appoinment or am escorted by a friend, and thats something that you need to surround yourself with, people who will accept you for you, and will be there when you need

Or this one from a woman with fabulous good looks, almost a Supermodel's, and about to get the surgical "finishing Touches" (SRS - Sex Reassignment Surgery) put on her womanhood.
On tuesday night i picked my 16 yearold daughter up from her town centre . when i arrived there was a group of about 8 boys and they were shouting and one had hit my daughter , i pulled up in my car and got out and got my daughter put her in the car and said a few things to these Boys , and they just threw things at my car .
when we got back to my place we called the police and then called my wife to let her know what has happened .
The police turned up at my house at midnight , 3 hours after the incident so i got my wife to come over and we were talking to the police and i was asked who i was ..then my wife told them !!
apparently my daughter had been defending me as these boys knew about me and that i was a transexual and had been verbally abusing my daughter and she said something back and these boys had chased her and hit her ,,
she said she don`t want to press charges and when i asked why , she just turned on me along with my wife and started shouting at me saying it`s all my fault anyway and that im Embarrasing and laughable . will never be a woman , and that she hates me and never wants to see me again ...i stood there in total shock wondering what brought this verbal assault on then my wife said to me " see look what you`ve done you fuckin queer " and told me to get out of their lives " as they don`t need you go kill yourself " and then they left , i was Dunbstruck i didn`t sleep much on tuesday night through crying . and i woke up yesterday mornin and phoned my wife and she just told me to stay away and put the phone down , i was so upset and spent all wednesday drowning my sorrows and crying ,
What have i done wrong now ? what have i done to deserve all this ? i can handle most things ..But i just can`t handle this .. i have NEVER felt this low in my life honestly ..i knew transitioning is hard but it aint as hard as this not by a long shot .... when your child tells you she hates you and means it hell i feel like ending it all i have srs on monday and should be happy but i`m not at this moment , i need my kids they are all i`ve got and i love them so so much i thought we were getting on fine me and z.... [ my daughter ] obviously i was wrong !!
I feel like shit , i cant take this anymore.

This one from a month ago:
Well everyone it is official, Got word today that my wife can't get back her green card. So I am left with few choices.

1. travel to Sweden to see my daughter for two weeks per year
2. move to Sweden and give up any chance I have to transition
3. Fight for custody for my daughter in international court and have no money for my surgries.

Except for choice 1 I lose my chance to transition. If I take choice one slowly but surely M....... will grow to forget me and resent me for "leaving her". I already see the signs of that.

M....... is getting more and more distant when I talk to her on the video. I am just not real to her.

I have lost my daughter and it hurts so much. Spent all day crying.

Why does finding yourself entail so much loss. I had a knife in my hand today thinking how easy it would be. I don't think I could do it but it is very appealing to make the pain go away.

I wish there was an answer.

And in the last 24 hours...
I got the suprise of my life today. Without telling me, my wife and daughter came to US from Sweden. She had to talk her way into the country but she got in as long as she goes to b....... immigration within the next week and sign some paperwork.

I am just so estatic. It is also the first time that H.... has seen me in full Femme as K..... I was having a dinner party with some friends of ours and it became a great big welcoming party.

Monday was the worse day of my life and this is the best. I hope we can take care of some issues and continue to be friends and parents to M......

That's what it's like for most. There are few happy endings, and most of those we have to make for ourselves. I can't read those posts without crying, in sympathy, in admiration, in joy, in heartbreak. Wondering why I have it so incredibly Easy, when others are having it unbelievably Hard?

That slightly shorter than average guy with the beard you see walking down the street. The thickset one. He had to tell his young son, the child he carried and bore, that Mummy was a Guy. He went through a painful divorce, lost custody, had to get a double mastectomy, and other surgery, but he's met a nice girl and he's thinking of getting married again.

That tall, middle-aged woman with the broad shoulders who's waiting at a bus stop. She has a sackful of decorations from the military, and she had to tell her teenage daughter that Daddy was a Girl. They haven't spoken since then, that was nearly 10 years ago. She's about to go to the electrologist, for yet another hour of excruciating torture to rid herself of facial hair. One hundred hours down, another 200 to go, if she can afford it. She's saving up for her surgery. But since losing her job as senior engineer at an aerospace firm, well, waitressing doesn't pay very much. Her wife got the cars, the house, the joint savings, the kids, and is living in another state. Her military pension just covers the child support.

That hearse going past. Maybe the Dear Departed was one of the few that couldn't take the Hormones. Heart Attack, Deep Vein Thrombosis, Liver failure.. all possibilities. More likely she was one of those who tried to Transition and failed. A Fate worse than Death, so she chose Death instead. And you know what? I don't blame her. Not my style, but I can't condemn.

Transition is the hardest thing I've ever done. But I've had it easy compared with just about every other woman who's had to do it. Sure, you get the 2 Standard Deviation IQ increase from a somewhat nonstandard neuroanatomy. Greater creativity too, sometimes ambidexterity, occasionally Dyslexia and/or Asperger's as downsides. (I got the complete set). You need the extra smarts just to survive, and so many don't.

But after the unbelievably wonderful feeling of just being able to be me at last - something everyone else takes for granted as their birthright - the very best thing about my situation is being introduced to the courageous individuals above. Before my little metabolic whoopsie, there was a whole world of tenacity, struggle against adversity, and sheer heroism whose existence I didn't suspect.

I'm proud to have known them. I'm proud to even share the same planet.


danman said...

"Sure, you get the 2 Standard Deviation IQ increase from a somewhat nonstandard neuroanatomy. Greater creativity too, sometimes ambidexterity." - Talking herself up!

All the TS that are on the streets by the age of 16-18 have a 2 sd decrease in IQ. Perhaps there are other reasons, such as education level, etc.

Joseph said...

What's your opinion of the theory that Asperger's is due to an "extremely male" brain?

Zoe Brain said...

Given the high incidence of Aspergers in FtoM's, it appears plausible.

Give the equally high incidence in MtoF's, I'd say it has been comprehensively disproved as too simplistic.

Asperger's appears to be an artifact of abnormal brain differentiation, with males more likely to suffer effects from relatively small changes. They're "close to the edge".

In my own case, the re-wiring done by an increase in oestrogen apprears to have altered my neuroanatomy in some subtle ways - but enough to get rid of the deficit.

A quote from a post (not by me) on the TransgenderPDD list (and the fact that such a thing even exists is powerful evidence against the "extremely male" hypothesis.)
If you care to search the group archives for "Cohen"
you will find ancient discussion of the topic. I have crossed emails
(cyberswords) with him, he is aware of our existence yet continues to
promulgate his theory that AS kids are extreme male brained in spite
of the fact the transwomen (Male-to-female) find it highly pejorative,
to say the least. As if we don't have enough problems already without
this English crackpot making our lives harder.

Personally, I subscribe to the SUBS theory (screwed-up brain syndome)
- the idea that if one's brain has a atypicality the probability of
having other, seemingly unrelated, atypicalities is increased. Baron
Cohen is certainly NOT welcome to join the group.

Having said that it's great that you're here trying to understand. But
frankly, improved outcomes do not seem to depend on understanding the
condition - that only leads to wrong assumptions. The main things to
get clear is that AS and TS are conditions of the brain, not of the
mind, and the distinction is crucial.

I didn't post it, but I do agree with it. The evidence points that way, anyway.