Or maybe it was because I had picked the name "Zoe" in 1968. Before the change, I was a transsexual woman, not that I knew that.
I had hoped that every one of us that this happened to was in a similar situation. My pollyanna-ish views got shaken by the story of Terry Wright in the UK, but maybe that was a glitch, an anomaly. Or just plain mis-reporting.
But it seems not, and that has shaken me out of my objectivity. I knew this kind of thing was very likely to be under-reported for obvious reasons, but had managed not to think about the consequences.
From a recent e-mail:
Your initial reaction was very similar to those received from anyone connected to the medical field. I was also told by the Asst. Director of Research at the University of (redacted) that she could not reccommend any course of action nor any doctor that could help
I can assure you that the one thing I am is not, is psychotic or delusional. As to acceptance of my condition, it is predicated on accepting what evidently cannot be changed. This acceptance occurred over at least two years of research, learning virtually nothing, and learning to live as a female. Believe me when I say that it is far easier to live as a male. I also have a wife of some 38 years ..... My hiding has more to do with the legal complications of staying married. and giving her a decent life.
I am in (redacted). the home of the (famous medical establishment name redacted) and I have found a doctor who may be of some help. However, since I do research for a living I have found that people talk, and that the medical field is no exception. Need I say more.
If I had been a guy... with some degree of being BiGendered... I could have written something very like that.
Now I have to help them, when all my research over 4 years has found Zip, Nada, Nothing.
Then there's this:
One day, while out on a motorcycle ride, Ted was stung several times by a bee. He was severely allergic to bee stings, so Rene rushed him to the hospital.For some of us - the transsexual women - a natural transition is a wonderful miracle. But it may be something quite different to those we love. Our wives (wives??? how can I have a wife? I'm a woman!), and our children.
"They start putting me on IVs of epinephrine and different hormones, trying to counter and stop this bee sting reaction," Chloe said.
A blood test at the hospital led to an endocrinologist and a diagnosis that Chloe said explained why she had felt so different her whole life.
"They sat me down and they said, 'Are you aware of having Klinefelter's syndrome?' And I [said] 'No, what is that? Never heard of [it].'"
Klinefelter's syndrome is one of the most common chromosomal abnormalities in humans. Normally, a male is born with XY chromosomes and a female XX, but an estimated one in every 500 boys is born XXY. One of the main side effects of Klinefelter's syndrome is a much lower level of testosterone than the average male.
The news of his medical condition was a moment of clarity for Ted, who for so long had struggled with gender identity issues.
"The veil was off," said Chloe. "I was like, this is why, you know, I tap dance like a little cat on the fence of the gender line -- why I can't commit to either side. Appearance-wise, I look like every other male, but on a DNA-chromosomal scale, I was neither."
Chloe says the doctors told them that the severity of the sting had essentially reset Ted's endocrine system, according to Chloe. Gradually, his body started to change. Initially, Rene thought Ted was gaining weight, but they knew something else was going on when he started developing breasts.
"I had muscular arms, [but] all that started to change with Klinefelter's shifting the dynamics of my endocrine system. I could see that the fat density in my face and my body, the softness of my skin, my muscular features were all changing at that point," Chloe said.
With an actual medical diagnosis to help explain why he had felt different his whole life, Ted felt free to express his true identity.
"I wanted to physically align my body in appearance with how I felt inside. I wanted to be authentically myself -- which was female. I didn't feel like I needed to prove myself anymore to my father, to the world, to my mom. I didn't need to be a man."
But for Rene, it was incredibly painful to watch the man she loved disappear.
Chloe's transsexuality was far worse than mine. She too went to see Dr Suporn - he's good with cases of Intersex - and she got both genital reconstruction, and the full facial faminisation surgery too. She probably didn't need it, but she desperately wanted it. And she's beautiful. I.... don't need it. And my face isn't beautiful. But it's mine, and I don't think facial reconstruction would help me much anyway. Dr Suporn said as much - the things he can really improve, I was already there, and the flaws were something he couldn't do more than make marginal improvements on. An improvement, certainly - just marginal. He didn't think it was worth it.
Oh yes, there's the $25,000 cost as well. Money that could better be spent helping others, or put into my son's educational fund.
How to get the medics interested in looking at this area? I don't know. It seems that every second case has a new etiology, a different cause. Even in aggregate, there's perhaps 20 cases recorded worldwide. And every one of us has been told "er, we don't know what's happening, and we can't do anything about it". One has damage to the pituitary, causing excess prolactin. Another is 47xxy and has the endocrine system reset by massive anaphaleptic shock. Another few are 45x/45xy and feminise at puberty. Another few have late-onset complete androgen insensitivity syndrome, associated with anomalous uptake of estrogen - this may be the most common cause. And in my case... we haven't got a clue. I got a reset of my hormonal balance to female, but that can't explain the rapidity of the change, or the androgen weirdness since. I'm 46xy, not 47xxy. It appears now that some other cases are even more inexplicable, and the change more complete.
The only thing we have in common is that we all look (somewhat, mostly, or completely) male before, and (somewhat, mostly, or completely) female afterwards. And that it's those around us who are "collateral damage". Not only is my own case unique, but my family is too. My partner. My child. I've neither harmed nor lost them, or even upset them appreciably. Carmel knew, even if I managed to hide it from everyone else, especially myself. She loved me anyway. As I love her. Even though we're both straight.
I want to help those not as outrageously lucky as I was. I want to help them, and I want to help their families. I particularly want to help those to whom a female gender is not natural, not who they really are, even if they can function in that role. But I feel so helpless. My Objectivity? That's lost, I care too much.