Friday, January 28, 2011

Double Offense

I had been meaning to write about one particular subject that has been bugging me lately, but with the coming of the new family members and the continuing stuff of my everyday, I lost the time until now (of course, the baby could wake up at any moment and her mommy is not here right now). What prompted me to go ahead and at least start this post was Natasha's latest comment about the "old fashioned" remarks about TS flight attendants.

I read a lot of blogs and articles about what it's like to be TS, the politics of being TS, the process of transitioning, etcetera, and I came to the conclusion long ago that life is pretty freaking hard being TS. Whether or not one's immediate friends and family accept this change rather than shunning her/him; whether or not the TS knew right away rather than keeping it a secret; whether or not the total transition took months instead of decades, being TS is quite possibly one of the worst ways to live until it's all done.

I am 100% on the side of all GID folk when it comes to equality in all facets of life. I hate the insensitivity the world has for "difference," and I simply can not comprehend how cruel people can be to one another and to all life. Whereas Natasha wrote about those I fondly refer to as "the others," I wanted to write about those within the GID community who seem to have some kind of superiority complex like "the others."

I have read repeatedly, and Natasha has been hurt repeatedly, by so many TS folk who chastise those who can't or don't transition immediately. It's as if these people have somehow either forgotten what it was like to have to live in the wrong body or had the blessed opportunity to transition without delay or reproach from their loved ones and so have no sympathy.

The worst thing about what's gong on with Natasha right now is that she is fighting so hard to find a middle ground to get her through the years (unless somebody wins the lottery) before she can fully transition. The fact of her limbo, and consequently my limbo, is not of her own choosing. It is an absolute necessity. She's lucky in that she can come home or go shopping as Natasha without worry; for so long she lived like a lot of TS folk who tried to live in both worlds happily for the sake of their loved ones. Natasha doesn't have to do that anymore, but she does have to do it so that she can keep her job. Believe it or not, there are places in the world, like Arizona, where you can indeed be fired if a parent finds out and is "uncomfortable" about it, regardless of whether or not a person is presenting.

A person with GID who is diagnosed as being TS can, in fact, CHOOSE not to transition. Unlike a TG person, that choice becomes immensely painful sooner or later. Yet, some fight it and continue in their "natural" bodies... all for the sake of keeping their marriage, children, job secure and happy. At some point, it might become unbearable and all too often, that person chooses to end his or her life. Without blaming anyone here - since everyone's situations are different - what we can say for certain is that the person's choice not to transition does not make him or her any less a "true" Transsexual. Anyone who dares to make that claim is simply not a "true" human being in the spiritual sense of the term.

The definition of Transsexual does not include the fact of transitioning. It does say that the person has a strong desire to transition into the matching body. What one does with that desire does not diminish the truth of the situation in any way, and to say that it does just shows that even within a small community such as this, there are people who are as heartless, selfish and judgmental as anywhere else. The truth is that not everyone is as lucky as those who get what they need right away. The truth is that not everyone has health insurance that will cover the procedure or the cash lying around to pay out of pocket. Perhaps those that do have that kind of money should start a foundation for those who do not so that people like my... esposa (I'll write about that later)... can complete the transition without delay (well, as soon as she doesn't have to be a public school teacher to help pay the bills anymore).

Instead of fracturing the community with useless superiority complexes over who has transitioned and who has not or can't, this community in particular needs to unite so that everyone here can get what they need. Truthfully, I don't have much faith in humanity; I have seen a lot throughout my life to support my view. But come on! We're talking about a small but growing group of people in serious need of help that it is not getting. I have seen humanitarian acts, mainly in times of crisis. All of you who have not yet fully transitioned are in a CONSTANT state of crisis. Those who have made it to the other side should be holding your hands out to help pull through those who are still suffering.

In-fighting solves nothing. All it does is make those stuck in purgatory feel that much more alone and hurt.

You are doing it to Natasha, which means you're dong it to me. I don't take kindly to those who hurt my family.

13 comments:

Ariel said...

I hope I have always been supportive of Natasha in sticking to her timeline. I only hope that it doesn't break her--and you, and your family. As difficult as transition is, either holding off or not doing it at all seems to me to be even more difficult. So how could I be a compassionate person without being supportive?

I know people who are holding off entirely, and might for their entire lives. I have no doubt that even though they are able to resist transition, they still suffer from the same condition to compelled me to go ahead.

If I have ever implied otherwise, I apologize.

Casey said...

Hi Ariel,

I wasn't thinking of specific people as I wrote, but you have been extremely supportive. I would never have thought of you. :-)

Kathryn Martin said...

I am in the same position as Natasha. I am currently on a track that will finally see me living full time as a woman at the end of this year and the stretch of road before me looks very bleak indeed until then. I am with you, it hurts and sometimes sets you in tail spin when your motives are questioned and you're being told you don't amount to being a real transsexual hill of beans.

So I know what she is going through and please tell her from me that in my eyes she is one of my real transsexuals I look to in this journey of mine.

Anne said...

Casey

Like Ariel, I am sincerely sorry if I have caused you or Natasha any unwarranted angst or pain. I am aware that I do have a somewhat of a "tough love" approach, and I stand guilty as charged of telling people to "quit there whinning, and just, suck it up".

On the other hand I have also stated that I stand in total awe of the pure raw courage and plainly unbelievable tolerance for what has to be, (at least for me, unimaginable), pain.

Believe me when I say that despite the risks that I took in taking the steps that I did when I was so very young, I did that because I could no longer stand the pain. I new that if I did not 'give in' and submit to the inevitable then, that I would not survive. I was AFRAID that I would not, could not survive, or tat if I did, I would be lying to myself and to anybody else that I might try to include in my hopeful delusion that I was a man.

My position has always been that despite the risks and difficulties that I faced in my transition at 23, IT IS MUCH MORE DIFFICULT AND THE RISKS AND POTENTIAL CONSEQUENCES ARE MUCH HIGHER, LATER IN LIFE, which is why I tink that those attempting transition later in life are either more desperate than I was, or much more courageous.

If I were to offer Natasha any advice it would be to hang on to her timeline, accelerating it as much as safely possible while at the same time "forcing her "female side" into a very tight little box and keeping her there until it is sfe to come out".

Now understnd that I am not a "psychrink"or therapist. I am just a tired old woman who was once where Natasha is, very, very long ago. Also, I did not have the love and support, nor the responsibiity of a spouse and children.

You and Natasha are in a very tough place, you are under some very "heavy fire". At this point, I urge you to hunker down and love one another. You CAN get through this if you just DO NOT GIVE UP.

Recently I was commenting on another post about how little I remember about my post surgical recovery. I do remember the pain, however. I remember that despite the heavy doses of opiate based suppressants, that pain was NEVER ENDING. It went on for months, day and night, non-stop. I remember wishing I could just die to end the pain. And then it got worse when they decided that I could no longer use the demerol, because I might get addicted, (I already was).

It was endless, it was hopeless, and then it passed. Somehow, I got through it. and so can you. Just DO NOT GIVE UP. JUST DON'T.

You might find this following link of interest. What I found of interest, was the dearth of interest, except for one.

http://anna-es-asi.blogspot.com/2010/11/thanks-givingand-what-that-means-to-me.html

Two Auntees said...

Casey,
This is such a sincere, thoughtful and painfully honest post, thank you for your voice from a supporting spouse. You get it and help Natasha walk her path toward your families transition.

Anne makes some good point but,

"IT IS MUCH MORE DIFFICULT AND THE RISKS AND POTENTIAL CONSEQUENCES ARE MUCH HIGHER, LATER IN LIFE, which is why I t(h)ink that those attempting transition later in life are either more desperate than I".

I would say that if one transitions later in life it is because there are other lives involved and we tend to love our families desperately and with our whole hearts. We will try everything to shield them from any outside pain. If we can't learn how to include our families about our secret and pain at an appropriate time, and can't figure out a way to talk about something that will have a huge affect, then our lives crumbles around us. We hurt those closest to us when they learn of our trans behavior from others, when we should be talking openly even if it hurts.

Casey said...

@ Kathryn - Congratulations on being so close to the end of this part of your long journey!

Trust me: Tasha knows and is thankful for all of the support she gets. :-)

@ Anne - As I told Ariel, I was not thinking of any one particular person. As I read your posts elsewhere (It isn't present here, though) I do notice that your word choices can be harsh at times and you don't mince words. I am sure that your shared thoughts come from a place of deep concern; however, those thoughts do not come across that way quite often.

Thank you so much for sharing your personal experience with us all here on my blog. I cannot imagine what horrific pain GRS must cause. I don't know if it is the same today, but I'm sure it can't be fun at all. :-) Understanding where you are coming from sheds a lot of light on why you say what you do, and I appreciate that you have let me in.

Please remember the pain that these other ladies are going through as you compose your messages. Funnily enough, you remind me of my father (sorry) when he was a little younger and still overly passionate about other people's situations when they were going about things "the wrong way." He simply did not express himself very well, even though he was and still is quite literate and intelligent. For some reason, he often ended up upsetting people (like me) instead of being helpful. Somehow, he stopped doing that and his compassion and good advice began to serve their purpose. :-D

@ Two Auntees - I don't think that Anne meant that the way you interpreted it. I do think she understands how hard it is to be going through this, no matter how long it takes. My interpretation of that statement was that the longer a person waits, the harder and more desperate that situation becomes. She is urging people to move forward as quickly as they possibly can, given their individual circumstances... and nothing more. If her procedure was as painful and horrible as she described (and why wouldn't it be?), and considering how long she has been in this community watching countless others struggling through this process, it's no wonder she is adamant about everyone getting it over with as soon as possible.

All surgeries are more difficult the older we get. We recover slower... we hurt more... we scar more easily... we suffer more of the risks. Every TS should be doing whatever they can to complete the process as quickly as possible. It is tragically depressing for those who just can't move forward because of other circumstances.

Ariel said...

Casey, just so you and Natasha know, there is pain following SRS, but it's usually managed well. Before too long it becomes more discomfort than pain, at least for most. I was driving again about three weeks after surgery and working (though not comfortably) at about six weeks. But by three months, I was sufficiently recovered to fly to Hawaii for a glorious (and often not very clad ^.^) week.

Anne said...

What Ariel says is very true about the pain. Mine was an excetionally difficult recovery, most likely because the surgeon who did my work was not one of the best, and I was but his third attempt. Things are much, much different now.

The pain that I was referring to was the emotional pain to which those that put off or try to resist transition go through. I just could not take it any more. I would do anything, RISK anything to make it stop. And I did.

I think you and 'Tash are doing fine...just hang in there and love one another.

Teagan said...

I see above where you're not speaking of any particular person... so I won't apologize for anything I might have written to what you're feeling. I've seen lots of the infighting you describe and it gets very, very tiresome. FWIW, I've never read a word of Natasha's that indicates she's anything but a transsexual.

I'll admit that I do get concerned about how she is going to mentally handle her timeline. I assure you it's out of nothing but empathy and support.

Natasha said...

Teagan, thank you. I am also concerned about that very same thing. My therapist wants me to take an extra pill for my "situational depression". But all the pills might do is take the edge off. I hope that's enough to get me through.

And to everyone else (and Teagan :D), I value each of you and what you bring to this process for me. I'm hoping once a few of my major stress balls clear the field, I can relax a bit more. I need to remember to breathe...

xoxo

xoxo

Casey said...

@ Teagan - We're all concerned about Natasha's timeline. So many little things (well, maybe not so little) have to fall into place before she can schedule the surgery, but even before that, she needs to be in a position where she can go full time for a year. We keep playing the lottery. That sure would make things easier! :-)

Teagan said...

I'm playing too. If I win, I'll send some your way. :)

Common Teri said...

Sometimes in our attempts to understand and defend our actions we say things that may offend or hurt others without realizing it.

Transitioning late in life with family is tough no matter how you look at it. It's like a midlife crisis amplified.
There's a whole lot of guilt the late transitioner deals with even when a partner is as accepting and supportive as you. I'm lucky to have a supportive spouse and kids but it doesn't stop me from wishing I could have avoided this or give them back their man.

Supporting a family is a noble thing and in these times steady jobs are not that easy to come by. I met a post-op who had to go back to the male role to get work again as a carpenter. We all do what we got to do. I'm glad your there for your spouse. Hang in there.