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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

On becoming a woman (1)

The following is my introduction to an account of my transition. It comes with all sorts of caveats, and, hopefully, will not be an easy read. There are some difficult questions here that demand involvement.
As regards what credence can be placed on my story, I can assert that I am definitely a real person in a public place most of my time. When I've commented on significant sites I've generally given some references. For a variety of reasons relating to health issues, I don't want my name any more on the internet than I can help, but I was outed in the NYT and my trans status is fairly public, ie several thousand people directly.
As to medical diagnosis I'm still not professionally categorized, since I'm in a problematic situation re different types of care. But my physical changes are normal for ESLD and I have general doctors and counsellors that I've spoken with who all support a trans diagnosis. I don't fit elsewhere.
If I'm putting on some kind of act I must be very very good at it 24/7.
And in my present life situation, there frankly isn't much motivation to conceal.

I really don't know how well trans people can relate to the totality of this particular transition, since I seem to have had GID & dysphoria stuff happening concurrent with hormonal change and lacking much of a basis in my past life.
I never put on female clothes, except for a couple of drag parties in my youth and 1 more recent, and never had any interest in them, never had a thought that I can remember of not being male, had a fair number of straight relationships and was never particularly excited by, or intimate with, men in group sex situations.
That said, in many ways I've been 'gender lite' through most of my life, in terms of feminism and social relationships.

My rough picture is that, in terms of brain sex, I must have had some vestigial ambiguity which was never any major problem until a bucket load of hormones came along and activated it. Although such a case, with regard to my specific health issues, has so far evaded the medical literature, I can easily imagine it being an occasional phenomena covered up because it causes problems with gatekeepers. And it's always possible that it ties up with something like DES.

Let me be quite clear. I am talking about something best described as a gender change. I am talking about moving from the world of men to the world of women, with concomitant effects on gender identity. I am talking about basic perceptual and cognitive changes of an immediate character, in many ways. I am talking about a gender change, with gender identification lagging behind, that seemed to happen in a moment.
Though we're very different in many ways, I broke down crying for what seemed like hours when I read Zoe Brains account of something similarly sudden. It was the last piece that fell into place, the last time I could even fantasize about a get-out-of-trans-free card. She put it eloquently here :-

If you haven't read much of this blog before, the first post
Original post

and the second to last one

are particularly relevant.
Any good intro to cognitive psychology might also be worthwhile checking out. I'll be abstracting some stuff from gestalt psychology, as regards perceptual paradigms, bits from Kelly and Whorf,
something from Husserl, but hopefully nothing that needs to be too technical in language. And if you have expertise in contemporary studies of gender dimorphic neural structures, you're way ahead of me.
I hope the series of posts to follow will make for an interesting passage together. It is, in the end, just a personal account of a journey. But whilst it may cover some of the same ground as many others, it's been more like a voyage by air than slogging through the undergrowth. In that way, it may afford some interesting views that aren't usually touched on at all.

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