September 2008


In June, I wrote Marci Bowers simply to inquire about an orchie and a very remote possibility of GRS and she called me back in July to say I had a date in August, 2009 for my GRS if I wanted it.

I was surprised by her call, and was doubly surprised when I said OK. The idea got lodged in my consciousness and began to grow, and once it sprouted and began to be more present, it slowly became an expectation.

But here’s what I’m wondering: Is GRS the genital equivalent of cosmetic surgery, or is it more deeply intertwined with gender issues? In other words, having embraced womanhood already, and having been accepted, why take a step that will be expensive and will take me out of commission for a month?

I can list reasons, but they’re not terribly compelling or urgent. And yet it’s something I find more and more desirable. I don’t know where this feeling comes from. Like so many things in this transsexual transition, some things just seem to have their own urgency.

I find my body pretty frustrating, not at the level of body dysmorphia, but at the rather superficial level of the way clothes fit and at the level of convenience.

A lot of late transitioners seem to take the view that GRS just tidies things up.

Even Mary Jo has begun saying, “You know, it’s a real jolt to see that thing sticking out of an otherwise female body.” And in some ways, I think not living with a hermaphrodite would be a relief to her.

But are these reasons sufficient to keep my rendezvous with surgery?

Read the very good news in the Diane Schroer case:

http://www.aclu.org/lgbt/transgender/36872prs20080919.html

You may recall the blog post on the last day of June about TransLate hitting 20,000 page views since its inception, and I’m happy to tell you that we’ve just hit 30,000 today. This pace is exciting, a full 10,000 views in just about 10 weeks. The first 10,000 required 5 and a half months, and the second 10,000 took about 10 weeks from mid-April, 2008 through the end of June, 2008. You will all get tired of my scribblings, dear readers, and you won’t be able to hide your fatigue, for the stats will tell the tale; however, until that point, I’m happy to keep scribbling, as it helps me process what I’m going through, even as it may speak to you for whatever reason.

Here’s the growth of the blog since its inception, month-by-month. which shows steady, if slow, growth during the blog’s first weeks (2008-3 means the 3rd month of 2008), which coincides with a slow coming out process, followed by the high mountains of April as I disclosed my transsexual transition plans to everyone, followed by a lull in May and another set of peaks probably coinciding with my facial feminization surgery in late June. I cannot account for the relatively flat, moderately high volume of July and August unless it’s just a matter of the blog’s address getting shared around a larger group of family and friends.
Blog Stats (weekly)

Just for fun, this second chart is a time-series graph covering just the past 30 days’ of stats, which shows just how variable the author and readers are, separately and together.

Blog Stats (weekly)

What do people read? Here are the top posts for the past 30 days

2008-08-16 to Today
Title Views

Scenes from Social Security 68
About 67
Trans 101 59
Slade Out 52
Cog and Re-cog 47
Changing the M to F 38
Marriage 33
Lost and Found 33
Surgeonocracy 31 (more…)

Thanks to sarasnavel, who corrected one of my citations in my blog post “Surgeonocracy,” I found a lot of new legal resources dealing with trans*people:

Transgender Law and Policy Institute
http://www.transgenderlaw.org/index.htm

The Williams Institute, a think tank at the UCLA School of Law (the whole thing, but especially the publication section on Gender Identity Issues Studies:
http://www.law.ucla.edu/williamsinstitute/publications/Policy-GenderIdentity-index.html, which includes an excellent article by Dean Spade about the legal complexities involving legal sex and name changes.

Sexuality, Gender, and the Law: National and International Bibliography. University of Chicago.
http://www2.lib.uchicago.edu/~llou/sexlaw.html

Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity & the Law: A Research Guide. University of Tulsa.
http://www.law.utulsa.edu/library/research/pathfinders/so

Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and International Human Rights Law (special issue of the journal Human Rights Law Review Online)
http://hrlr.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/reprint/8/2/207

The Association of American Law Schools, Section on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Issues
http://www.aals.org/services_sections_gl.php

Eating at a Chinese restaurant a couple of days ago, my fortune cookie contained this message: “You will be making many changes before settling satisfactorily.” Quite aside from the humor in the message that all my friends and family no doubt appreciate, the fortune does contain two tricky concepts, the first of which is “satisfactory,” implying that my changes bring satisfaction in my life. The second problem is “settling,” which looks ahead to a time when things aren’t in flux.

To be honest, I’m not sure I want to “settle satisfactorily.” I don’t mind being satisfied; I feel that I am indeed more and more satisfied with my body, mind, and relationships. But I really don’t want to be settled, at least in the sense of relaxing and being happy. I like the mental edge I have developed over the course of this crisis, and I think I have become, and continue to become, more thoughtful and accepting of others. I also don’t mind continuing to change — perhaps not in the same desperate pace that characterized these past 2 years, of course. But in an emotional and intellectual sense, I enjoy change and feel I’ve become a better person by learning to adapt to change.

Maybe I’m looking a Chinese fortune cookie gift horse in the mouth, and should just accept the fate written on that little strip of paper. Perhaps. But I’d rather decide on my own when (and if) I have reached a point of satisfactory settling.

A piece of paper baked into a cookie

A piece of paper baked into a cookie

I just took the newly-released National Survey on Transgender Discrimination, and urge you to do so, as well. In responding to the survey questions, I realize just how smoothly my transsexual transition has been. I was unable to say “yes” to any questions about discrimination at work, in seeking medical attention, in dealing with the police or law, or in my daily routine. I don’t know whether it’s because of having power, as one of my friends asserts, or because of having some money (or at least having come from a moneyed family in my home town), as was detailed in a blog post a couple of months ago, or maybe some other factor. Maybe Bedford Falls is tolerant and accepting and interested in diversity, even in the face of brutal stereotypes about it to the contrary. Maybe the world responds to me like a mirror, and since I’ve been going around about my business, maybe the world does the same. Or maybe I’m just lucky. I don’t know, but I do feel lucky and blessed and accepted, however it has come about.

In any case, set aside some time, as it’s quite comprehensive. This survey is yet another good outcome from the productive partnership between the NCTE and the Task Force — you will recall that they released the booklet Opening the Door to the Inclusion of Transgender People in April, 2008, a very reasonable and organizational-minded booklet. At my own university, this book is the cornerstone of the upcoming (Oct 6-10) LGBT Coming Out Awareness Week, about which I’ll write more later.

Respond to the survey online at
https://online.survey.psu.edu/endtransdiscrim

MARYLAND HIGH COURT THROWS OUT REFERENDUM PETITION THAT ATTEMPTED TO OVERTURN A TRANSGENDER ANTI-DISCRIMINATION LAW

Read more about Equality Maryland’s website.

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