Monday, 15 May 2006

Not Funny

This is the other side to the "Buyer's Remorse" post below.

This one is serious, and tragic too. It's about a particular case that I've felt it wise to study, as it has direct impact on my own situation. Oh, there are differences in detail, significant ones, but it's close enough to have caused me to be very sure of what I'm doing.

It's the story of Josef Kirchner.

Here's his story, as near as I can determine it, because it's all so terribly confusing, and a work in progress.

I tried to do the right thing and date girls, even being honestly attracted and excited by them, but I always had this interest in guys which I later came to understand meant one of two things. Either I was a homosexual male or I was a heterosexual woman trapped in a man's body? I felt very inadequate as a guy, like I somehow didn't fit in with other males. Growing breasts and getting big hips and ass didn't help matters. I would study guys intently, but their masculinity was foreign to me. Girls were the familiar and boys were a mystery even though I knew I physically was one! Without a Father in the picture you might say I grew up taking on the personality of my Mother and my year-younger sister. It was no surprise that my peers noticed a femininity about me and teased me for being a sissy and eventually slapped the label of "faggot" on me.
Two years of sexuality in the gay world and I wised up really quick. My brief experiment with homosexuality was a component in this journey, but it was not a destination. I felt I was on a dead-end street going nowhere. Just because I was a bit effeminate and didn't especially like being on the giving end of anal sex, I was labeled a "queen". I could not function with another man as a man. Something deep inside of me wanted to be more like a woman with a man. That was then and my story is a bit different today. As my masculinity has deepened the thought of being on the giving end of anal sex is something I'd like, but now that is not an option because I had genital amputation surgery.

My deep disillusionment and dissatisfaction with the great gay life experiment lead me to take other measures to try to bring some type of normalcy to my life. I decided I would have a better chance if I were to change my sex and become a woman. After all, I already was like a female in many respects. Guys would always comment on my breast growth once I'd taken my clothes off. I would always get the question, "Are you taking hormones? Are you a transsexual?" Therapists and a huge transgender community where telling me I was a woman trapped in the body of man so why not totally look like a woman? Why not begain taking female hormones and more fully polarize myself as female? Then, if only I could find a man who could understand and accept what I went through, then I could have what I always wanted -- love and a happy home.

Josef (as Judy) Kirchner, 1997Changing genders was actually a terrifying step to take, but at the point I was at I felt I didn't have much to loose since I had already had a suicidal episode because of my depression about my homosexuality. Beginning hormones was a type of suicide. I used hormones to kill off the part of me I had learned to dislike. The boy was buried in a hormone and surgical grave as the girl emerged. I got all my psychological and psychiatric evaluations in order and off I flew to a European sex-change doctor.
Things were good for some years while I chased the dream of fitting into society as a woman. I even married (and divorced), but never getting the husband, children and little house with the picket fence dream fulfilled. However, I did quite well for myself as a transsexual after having many expensive surgeries and procedures to remove the masculine edge from my body and face. I easily assimilated into normal heterosexual society. I lived in stealth mode (a undetected transsexual) for many years before deciding to go public with my story.
For 16 years, after my gender-swapping surgery, things were seemingly going along fine and I was still clinging to the dream of meeting my prince after having kissed way too many frogs. In July of 1999 I gave Dr. Ousterhout in San Francisco $30,000 to do a full facial feminization. That completed the finishing touch on this transsexual masterpiece only 9 months before I would learn the truth about about what Gender Identity Disorder is really all about. It's like, why could I have not heard this truth before spending every last penny I had on this folly? I feel God just wanted to allow me to reach what I thought was perfection before it was time to reveal the truth to me. How ironic for me huh? After surgery with Dr. Ousterhout I was anticipating the right guy would eventually come along to make all my dreams come true. Then one day in April of 2000 along came Richard. Richard Cohen that is. Author and reparative therapy specialist Richard Cohen ( opened my eyes, for the first time, to what had really happened in my life that lead me down the depressing road of Gender Dysphoria/GID. The truth about Gender Dysphoria had long been swept under the rug and now I was finding many psychologists who had written volumes on the subject? How could I have been so blind before? [Update: February 2005 - Was I blind or just intersexed?]

Cached Biography

Josef was a gay guy who was born Intersexed. A mosiac of 46xy(male) and 45x(Turner syndrome female). God alone knows how his brain is wired, but it seems to be for masculinity. Due to the Ideopathic Feminisation (Sound Familiar?) and a confused sexuality, he thought he was a she, and managed to settle down in that role relatively successfully. Then he got into the hands of Fundamentalist Christian "Gender Reparative Therapists" and was convinced that not only he, but everyone else who had ever had Gender Reassignment Surgery, had made a terrible mistake.
Even though I am a strong person in many respects, my life has been ruined by this transsexual nightmare. Now, I'm not afraid to admit that there is fear in my life. How will my neighbors react when the "Judy" they have known and loved for six years starts looking like a man? All they know of me is that I'm a lovely person, kind, caring, loves God, loves people, etc., etc. They will notice I've traded in all my dresses and skirts for men's pants. They will notice all my clothing now looks like men's clothes which will be a drastic shock and clue that something is definately going on with me. It won't take long before hormones and a bilateral mastectomy answers all their questions about what is happening to the lovely "Judy" they once knew. It's sad. "Judy" has been a beautiful person and they will not understand why such a lovely and feminine woman would want to become a man. I will be faced with admitting the truth to neighbors, friends, employers and EVEN distant family members who don't know I had a sex change! Perhaps I should film my own short little documentary about my journey and mail it to my neighbors?

Since this website went on the Internet in April of this year (2004), I have received death threats from members of the transsexual community. As if my life was not ruined and devastated enough by being incorrectly diagnosed and having my penis forever effectively amputated, now people are wanting me dead. Many in worldwide transsexual community is up in arms over me and my website, because I'm speaking out and they are scared. However, on the other hand there are many transsexuals I know, some of the educated upper crust that understand what I've been through and know I'm not out to demonize transsexuals. Why such extremes?
Probably because Josef has been, and continues to be, used as a "Poster Child" to show that Faith-based "Reparative Therapy" works. And that the mentally sick perverts who think they're transsexual should be tortured into a cure ("Aversion Therapy"), encarcerated, lobotomised, or executed. Think I'm exaggerating? The first three were the usual "therapeutic options" until relatively recently, and the fourth is still practiced in many parts of the world.
Meeting John Randall was an uncomfortable experience. He was a very forthright man with a powerful ambience about him. He diagnosed ‘classic transsexualism’. Dr. Randall was surprised at my lack of knowledge on transsexuals and who and what they are! He explained the options available to me: 1 ) Aversion therapy, 2 ) remove part of the brain or 3 ) female hormone therapy. His diagnosis was shocking and also unbelievable – something from the Twighlight zone to my mind. When the diagnosis was announced to my family and then eventually to my new employers (it was necessary to change jobs due to being in psychiatric hospital) they either laughed at me or looked down at the floor in disbelief. This was the start of an incredible journey where both Christian (with few exceptions) and society as a whole would see me as a social outcast.

Stephanie Robinson

Getting back to Josef Kirchner... his life is a mess, but then, with the genetic cards dealt him, it was never going to turn out happily. He appears to have adjusted about as well as possible to his Life's travails, and his old website, with its strong anti-TS message is no longer available. That doesn't stop it from being continually quoted as evidence though.

Now we come down to why I have a particular interest. I too had ideopathic feminisation. Now I'll never look remotely as good as Judy Kirchner, but that's because it happened when I was 47, not 14. The question is though, whether I had a mainly female body or not, was I a woman or a man?

Unlike Josef, I'd never been attracted to guys. Unlike Josef, I'd always thought that something had gone wrong somewhere since age 5, and was sure by age 7. I was a girl. But I couldn't be, not with a body like that. Unlike Josef, my chromosomes appear to be normal 46xy, despite the somatic changes. Unlike Josef, I'd always had a Father figure in my life, a man who I deeply admired, respected and loved. It was the female role models I lacked.

Anyone who doesn't think deep and hard about the downsides of Genital Reconstruction Surgery is crazy. There's a significant risk to health, about 1 time in 10 it doesn't turn out very well, it's expensive, and the dilation routine afterwards is messy, bloody, and very, very undignified. Time-consuming too, we're talkimg 4 hours a day for the first 6 months, at least, with the procedure I need. Is it really necessary? For some, no. Some transsexual women are no-Ops, they have looked at the downsides, and made a choice not to. Some are even comfortable in their situation.

Not me. I've lived like this for 40 years, knowing that my body is just terribly wrong, and inappropriate. Enough is Enough. Intellectually, I know that psychologically speaking, I'm not ready for it - yet. There's a good reason for having a 12 month Real Life Experience as a general rule, though for some it's not necessary. But I'd get it done tomorrow if I could. I'd have gotten it done months ago if I could. If not for the fact that I would never have married my partner, nor had the most marvellous little boy in existence (OK, I'm biassed), I would have had it done 35 years ago.

I don't "hate" my existing stuff. (OK, I have difficulty talking or writing about it, but that may just be maidenly modesty :) ) It doesn't disgust me, as by some of the books, it's supposed to. I just want it fixed, now. ASAP. That's November 15, and I'm counting the days.

I'm a woman, and women aren't built that way. I can never be normal, but I can come pretty close. It's not a detail, as it was at the beginning of my journey, neither is it an all-consuming need. I could live without it if I had to. I could live with both legs chopped off too. I have to do neither though, and so I won't.

UPDATE 2010: Mr K is a very remarkable man. He's managed to carve a Josef Kirchner - shaped niche in the world, and rather than his life being a "mess" now, as it was when I wrote this article, it's now remarkably successful. I think few men could have managed that. He's one heck of a human being.
As for me - my life's pretty darned good too. I'm not just happy with the revised anatomy, I'm ecstatic. I was born for this.
Not everyone is though.


Anonymous said...

If its right for you then its the right thing to do without any doubt
but if you have any doubts then for sure its not the right thing to do Please trust me on this I know

Zoe Brain said...

Well, it's not as if I have much choice...

Seriously, for most people who are TG and suspect they are TS, they have something to go back to. Stop the HRT, and they reverse course. They can resume their old ways, and many do this, having several "false starts" before completing transition (for good or ill).

I'm not in that position. For me to "reverse course" would take FtoM techniques, with no guarantee of success because of my weird endocrine system fighting it all the way. Unlike an FtoM, I have no ovaries to remove, stuff is happening on a cellular level, and extra T just gets aromatised to E. We think. I'm not game to try the experiment though, just in case. *shiver*

I did consider it, early on. Yes, my body was feminising, and yes it was an impossible dream come true, but what about my partner? What about my son? Surely it would be better to continue on, and die an honourable death in a decade or so from a stress-related illness than to bring such shame, embarressment, and schoolyard persecution on my son. I subscribed to an FtoM magazine, just to see what was possible.

But some things are beyond human endurance. To expect a Transsexual woman who had endured so much for so long, never cross-dressing, never giving the slightest indication she was TS, never giving a single inch to it, and who then finds her body changing to something that felt so right, so natural, so normal... that is Ultra Vires. Beyond Men :) and beyond Human Powers. Beyond me, certainly. The magazines remain unread.

Will my new situation be any better? I don't know. But it won't be worse. By bridges were burnt as far back as July 2005, when I stopped being able to pass either physically or psychologically as a male. That was before any treatment.

My male glands had ceased functioning by mid June. I could never ever have any more children. I'd never been orgasmic, that didn't bother me that much. The sterility did, and does, but there's nothing I can do about that.

My one reason for keeping male genitalia had gone then. The desire for children, and the fact that my body was totally unpassable, were the two pillars that had kept my GID at bay. Well, they both went, and within a month of learning that, I was fulltime, even though I knew nothing about being a woman, and had donned a skirt for the first time just 3 weeks previously, when I'd accepted my future.

I know I'll never be a "normal" female. I don't particularly want to be, I'm a Geek Girl, I was at age 10 and I'll be so at age 50. I think the health risk of surgery, the risk of a bad result, and the expense, are all worthwhile to rid myself of discomfort, and who knows, maybe even have something approaching a normal love life. It's the only chance I have you see. That's made my choice a lot easier!

If I did have an alternative... I probably would do the same thing. Probably. But I certainly wouldn't have done it so hastily and without preparation, and would have engaged in a lot of doubt and soul-searching.

It's actually easier not to have a choice. Not to be a skydiver, jumping from a perfectly serviceable aircraft, but to bail out of one going down in flames. Especially when you always wanted to make a jump anyway.

Thanks for the advice though. To make a hideous mistake, to go from an unhappy but functional male existence to an even more unhappy and dysfunctional female one would be a tragedy worth doing anything to avoid. But that's not my position.

Assuming no dramatic health complications, I'll at least break even. And might just win the Jackpot. We'll see. I go into this with great hopes, but few expectations.

One final thing. I sincerely hope you're not talking from personal experience. If you are, feel free to e-mail me, and maybe I can do something to help. After all, I suffered the way you're doing for 40-plus years, I know some techniques that may allow you to minimise the harm, because I had a reasonably good life anyway, despite my awful situation.

It's just so much better now. I might be able to remain no-Op, but de-transition is utterly unthinkable, even if it was possible. I'm greedy though, I want the lot.