May 5, 2013
Motherboard: When does a paraphilia become a disorder?
Blanchard: There are two ways by which a paraphilia could be converted into a paraphilic disorder: the individual is distressed by their desires, or they are acting in a way that is noxious to people. So a pedophile could have a pedophilic disorder if the guy is tortured by the fact that he is a pedophile, or he is perfectly happy with the fact that he is attracted to children, and he is molesting a lot of them.
So if someone cross dresses and they are cool with it, then they don’t have a disorder, correct?
Yes, under my proposal you can now be a happy transvestite, or you can have a transvestic disorder.
You coined the term autogynephilia, which refers to a man who is aroused by the thought of himself as a woman. This term is kind of your baby. Is it going to make it into the DSM-5?
That comes under the heading of what I can’t tell you, because of the confidentiality agreement I signed with the APA.
Do you think autoandrophelia, where a woman is aroused by the thought of herself as a man, is a real paraphelia?
No, I proposed it simply in order not to be accused of sexism, because there are all these women who want to say, “women can rape too, women can be pedophiles too, women can be exhibitionists too.” It’s a perverse expression of feminism, and so, I thought, let me jump the gun on this. I don’t think the phenomenon even exists.
Some trans activists object to the inclusion of transvestic disorder in the DSM because they feel it pathologizes gender non-conformity. How do you respond to these criticisms?
To say that transvestic disorder pathologizes all trans people is rhetoric with no logic behind it whatsoever. If you actually open the DSM-4, it’s very explicit that it applies to people who get sexually excited by dressing in women’s clothes. They really object to the fact, (which is a fact established beyond any conceivable doubt), that in a lot of men there is some connection between cross dressing and sexual excitement.
Is the objection based on the idea that it fetishizes gender non-conformity?
Some activists are trying to sell the public on the idea, “We really are women where it matters–in our brains–and women don’t get sexually excited when they put on their bras and panties, so we don’t either.” And for a lot of them that’s just a lie.
So you don’t see a male-to-female transsexual as being female?
I think that a transsexual should be considered as whatever their biological sex is plus the fact that they are transsexuals. That’s how you would do research on them. There’s no other way to do it. If you’re interested in whether the brains of transsexuals are different in some way, you’re interested in seeing if they differ from other individuals with the same biological sex.
So in a way psychiatric research is inherently gender normative?
I would say medical research is inherently gender normative.
Some members of the trans community object to the stigma they feel accompany DSM diagnoses, but because of the impact of the DSM on insurance payments, it’s necessary they be labeled mentally ill. To what extent is a diagnosis from the DSM necessary to receive reimbursement for gender reassignment therapy?
In the US I would say most insurance companies probably require a DSM diagnosis. The point that sticks in the craw of a lot of activists is that in order to get sex reassignment surgery paid for by a third party, it has to be deemed a disorder. The transgender community has tried to get around this in a way that they seem to think is very creative.
Their argument is, “Well, public health insurance plans pay for the cost of child delivery in a hospital, and childbirth is not a disorder. Therefore transsexualism could be covered under public third party health insurance payers without it being a disorder.” That’s how they’ve tried to square the circle.
And have they been successful?
No. How many people do you know regard sex reassignment surgery as part of the life cycle like having a baby?
Do you think that classifying transgender people as having a disorder does contribute to stigma against the trans community?
No. I mean how many people who make a joke about trannies consult the DSM first?
Do you think that transgender identity might get to the point where homosexuality is now, where it is considered offensive and inaccurate to call it a disorder?
I think there are some glaring differences between acceptance of transsexualism and acceptance of homosexuality. Let’s say that a friend comes to you and says she’s a lesbian, you aren’t seeing your friend performing cunnilingus on her girlfriend. All this requires is acceptance of what you don’t have to see.
With transsexualism, if a friend comes to you and says I feel like I’m actually a woman, and starting tomorrow I’m going to be showing up wearing dresses, this is not happening offstage, you are now part of their movie.
[Images added to this post by me- GM]
April 19, 2013
From a transgender Forum:
How to masculinize my room- how can i masculinize my room ive gotten rid of all the feminine things but its still rather androgynous looking.
April 19, 2013
|Hang some trinkets with feathers or fuzzy (pink) from you rear view mirrorhang things from the center inside rear-view mirror. Any kind of trinkets or flowers will do nicely.Steering wheel covers–can’t be burning your tender fingers on a hot wheel or freezing them on a frosty one. Leopard print is a good choice.Little bitty small stuffed animals–tucked into an open door panel, cup holder, corner of the dash or rear shelf. Read the rest of this entry »|
April 14, 2013
“Psychopaths never quit.” – Margaret Singer
Criminal memoirs, like parole hearings, are not usually known for their authenticity, honesty, self-reflection and accurate reportage. In the criminal memoir every hapless burglar is a master thief, every two-bit hood a mob capo, every sociopath a revolutionary.
Criminal memoirs are: Jack Henry Abbott waxing bromantically to Norman Mailer about the inhumanity of his incarceration -just prior to committing another murder, serial rapist Eldridge Cleaver expounding on the act of rape as a revolutionary act, Tex Watson intoning on the redemptive power of bible-believing among guys who hang pregnant starlets alive while cutting them open.
In the Crime Memoir sub-genre of the “wrongly convicted” the tropes are even more hackneyed as the memoir essentially serves as one long desperate attempt to explain away all that blood. Kosilek’s memoir is of the sub-genre category, flavored with a heaping dose of self-pity, narcissism and sociopathy.
Most of the U.S. “Son of Sam Laws” (enacted in the wake of serial killer David Berkowitz’ attempts to sell his story for profit) have been repealed or overturned on First Amendment grounds leaving murderers free to profit from the dubious celebrity of committing horrific acts and selling them for entertainment to an audience hungry for carnage. Any of the millions of average boring bastards that murder their wives are free to offer their suddenly compelling and unique tale on any of a number of online vanity publishing sites for a few bucks. Kosilek’s memoir “Grace’s Daughter” is one of those, and it was on just such a site that I found it. Yes, I persuaded a friend to kindly give Kosilek two dollars and ninety-nine cents for a copy of his tome. For that ethical indiscretion I am sorry.
I was curious though. Slightly curious. Under three dollars curious.
There are very few reasons to subject oneself to 400-plus pages of self-serving criminal lies. Some of these reasons may include curiosity about a particular crime or crime spree. Perhaps a historic crime is so distinct that the reader longs for some insight to explain the psychology of the perpetrators or details of the era (think “Symbionese Liberation Army“ or the “Manson Family”). Maybe an author relates an inside experience of the justice system and incarceration compellingly. Perhaps the perp is just an entertaining storyteller and a fantastic writer.
Kosilek’s memoir has none of that. Men like him who brutally decapitate their loving wives are, sadly, a dime a dozen. He is a terrible writer and a bad liar. But Kosilek has one thing going for him and his memoir: A judge has issued an order forcing the populace of Massachusetts to pay upwards of $100,000 (including surgery, travel, security including 24 hour hospital guards, post-op care, follow-up appointments both surgical and endocrinological, possible revisions) so that a decapitation killer can have his genitals cosmetically refashioned into a fleshy sheath for other men to stick their dicks into. Because the murderer thinks such a procedure will make him a woman, and the murderer has threatened to be upset and/or harm himself if his delusions are not indulged (and enabled) by the legal system and the public at large.
Again, there is nothing unique about that. Plenty of people believe doctors can perform actual changes of sex, creating women out of men and vice versa. Well maybe not plenty. But lots are willing to pretend they believe, or at least go along with the idea, out of politeness or the hope that doctors and judges know what the hell they are doing. And plenty of people think the presence of a fleshy sheath that men can stick their dicks into defines the female sex.
Perhaps in reading the 103,010 word tome I would gain a new understanding of Kosilek’s savagery and rage for the woman who loved him, who married him, the one whose decapitated body he dumped like so much trash before cooking and enjoying a delicious steak dinner with the victim’s unsuspecting son in the very space he had garroted her hours before?
March 30, 2013
Early in the day Friday March 29 the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued a ground-breaking announcement. For the first time since 1981, when so-called “sex-change” surgeries were declared experimental and not eligible for government covered funding, the division was considering reversing that decision. HHS declared its intention to solicit public input for thirty days prior to reversing the ban on government funded radical cosmetic surgeries which attempt to visually change the appearance of male genitals to female, and vice versa, on individuals who believe in sex-based personality theory, or who are diagnosed with gender/sex-role based mental illness.
From The Advocate:
“The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which runs the federal government’s national insurance program, is reconsidering whether or not it should cover gender reassignment surgery (often called sex reassignment surgery) for transgender people who have Medicare. It has offered the public 30 days to offer opinions on the matter. Since around 48 million people are covered by Medicare, if the agency decides to allow coverage, the change would have a significant impact on transgender people in the U.S.
The center states that it “considers all public comments, and is particularly interested in clinical studies and other scientific information relevant to the topic under review. Surgical Treatment for Gender Identity Disorder is currently noncovered under the Medicare Part A and Part B programs. The existing policy, which became effective in 1981, states that transsexual surgery is considered experimental. Please note that we are making an administrative change to the NCD title under this reconsideration to reflect current medical terminology. The new title for Section 140.3 will be Surgical Treatment for Gender Identity Disorder.”
From the Washington Examiner:
For the first time since 1981, when it dubbed sex-change operations “experimental,” Medicare has opened the door to covering transexual operations, adding to the growing list of operations that would be allowed under Obamacare.
Acting on a new request, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Servicessaid it is starting a new analysis that could lift the spending ban for sex-change operations with a goal of making a decision two days after Christmas and on the eve of Obamacare kicking in Jan. 1.
“Surgical Treatment for Gender Identity Disorder, formerly referred to as transsexual surgery in 140.3, is currently noncovered under the Medicare Part A and Part B programs. The existing policy, which became effective in 1981, states that transsexual surgery is considered experimental,” said the notice just posted on the CMS.gov site.
“Please note that we are making an administrative change to the NCD title under this reconsideration to reflect current medical terminology. The new title for Section 140.3 will be Surgical Treatment for Gender Identity Disorder,” it adds.
In supporting letters to CMS, one of the proponents claims that the experimental status of sex-change operations has long passed and that studies confirm it works. “These medical procedures and treatment protocols are not experimental: decades of both clinical experience and medical research show they are essential to achieving well-being for the transsexual patient,” said the letter.
A second letter called the federal policy discriminatory, and added that failure to get the operation by those who needed can cause death. “The net effect is a failure to treat a treatable disorder which in many cases leads to death. The discrimination (is) clearly un-American,” added the letter.“
By the end of the day the entire proposal had been retracted.
An HHS spokesman said HHS’ Departmental Appeals Board is weighing a challenge to the department’s ruling that sex-change procedures are experimental and should not be covered by Medicare and Medicaid. While that challenge works its way through the system, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has withdrawn its proposal to reconsider the coverage policy on its own.
“An administrative challenge to our 1981 Medicare national coverage determination concerning sex reassignment surgery was just filed,” a spokesperson said Friday. “This administrative challenge is being considered and working its way through the proper administrative channels. In light of the challenge, we are no longer re-opening the national coverage determination for reconsideration.”
Guess the whole “Obamacare funds free cosmetic sex-change” spin didn’t play so well. Perhaps during an economic depression where the have-nots can’t afford groceries and Medicare fails to cover eyesight and dental care -those who are hungry, going blind and losing their teeth didn’t take too kindly to paying for cosmetic surgeries for those who believe they would be happier if they looked superficially more like they had a different reproductive biology than the one they were born with.
Interesting this quote from the idiots at CMS: “”Please note that we are making an administrative change to the NCD title under this reconsideration to reflect current medical terminology. The new title for Section 140.3 will be Surgical Treatment for Gender Identity Disorder” . “Current medical terminology” which becomes obsolete in one month when the diagnosis of “Gender Identity Disorder” is eliminated in the DSM and replaced with “Gender Dysphoria”? Totally clueless.
The link to the HHS public feedback site now gives a 404/error when clicked. Very very interesting. GenderTrender will be following these developments closely as details emerge.
There is no such thing as a pregnant man, ruled Judge Douglas Gerlach in Arizona court today. The judge rejected female “Pregnant Man” Thomas Beatie’s petition for divorce from her wife on the grounds that their marriage was a same-sex marriage, regardless of Beatie’s transgender legal status as “male”. Same-sex marriages are not recognized in the state of Arizona.
Thomas Beatie, 38, was a lesbian named Tracy Lehuanani Lagondino living in the state of Hawaii when she underwent surgical breast removal and began testosterone injections to masculinize herself cosmetically. Tracy had been a model and teenaged beauty queen with a strong belief in sex-based personality theory. There is no national criteria for changing legal sex in the United States and each state determines its own legal criteria. The state of Hawaii allowed her to change her birth certificate from female to male based on a note from her doctor that she had undergone cosmetic breast removal and synthetic hormone injections.
In 2003 Beatie married another woman, Nancy, and after stopping her testosterone injections, gave birth to three children via sperm purchased over the internet. In 2008 Beatie made headlines as “The First Pregnant Man”, appearing on the Oprah Winfrey show and selling her story to tabloids worldwide. The couple moved to Arizona.
Last March Beatie filed for divorce and began selling videos of her wife to tabloids – videos in which Nancy appeared to be intoxicated. Thomas claimed in her divorce papers that Nancy had punched her “in the crotch”, a charge that Nancy denied. The divorce proceedings were delayed because Maricopa County Family Court Judge Douglas Gerlach was unable to find a legal precedent or authority that defined a male as an individual capable of giving birth.
Today’s ruling reflects that reality: Males are not capable of giving birth. Transgender activists had sought to redefine sex as a matter of stereotyped cosmetic appearance or personality type rather than reproductive fact. Instead, the judge determined: “Thus, by urging that Arizona law equates a double mastectomy with a sex change operation, the Parties’ contention, if adopted, would lead to circumstances in which a person’s sex can become a matter of whim and not a matter of any reasonable, objective standard or policy, which is precisely the kind of absurd result the law abhors.”
The judge issued a separate ruling disolving the same-sex union and outlining child custody arrangements and child support. Nancy Beatie has stated that she is pleased with the result. Thomas Beatie and her attorneys will conduct a news conference about the ruling next week.
Butch Lesbian, Radical Feminist, and Former FTM: Heath Atom Russell on Gender Dysphoria, De-transition and “Brain Sex”
March 27, 2013
Self-described “Unapologetic Butch Lesbian, Radical Feminist and Former FTM” Heath Atom Russell covers a lot of ground in this video as she discusses stopping testosterone and healing from body dysphoria in a woman-hating world. She applies her personal experience to critique the medicalization of gender, YouTube trans-trending, the homophobia of “Queer Culture”, misogyny, lesbophobia, the theory of “Brain Sex”, and the process of becoming a proud woman.
Heath is extremely thoughtful and well-spoken and intends to offer her perspective to others who are interested in detransitioning as well as offering “a word of caution” to the public at large. In the video she discusses the rape and death threats she has received from some members of the transgender community for speaking publicly about her experiences at her blog, which is here: http://nymeses.tumblr.com/
Heath discusses the ill-health effects of synthetic testosterone and breast binders on female bodies, including her own and the cultural explosion of gender-based medicine, especially among youth.
Click here to VIEW.
In correspondence with GenderTrender, Heath stated that what she really wants readers to know is “that doctors don’t always have people’s best interests at heart” and “long term synthetic hormone use is not exempt from the never ending guinea pig treatment that, overwhelmingly, homosexuals are subjected to receiving”. She would like to see more discussion of misogyny, homophobia, and internalized lesbophobia in the LGBT community- particularly their effect on the creation and exacerbation of sex-based body dysphoria and body dysmorphia.
She expresses concern about the medical industry trend towards pathologizing gender-nonconformity in children, adding: “ I’d also like them all to be made aware that the criteria for gender dysphoria is so purposefully vague that it can target ANY child that doesn’t rigidly conform to patriarchal gender roles and that drugging children isn’t the answer – overcoming misogyny and homophobia IS the answer along with letting kids just be kids for a while before messing with their health!”
Heath mentioned that some trans viewers have complained that detransitioners should not be given a platform to speak because they are not medical professionals, or because hearing about detransition may “cause” trans viewers to feel suicidal. GenderTrender disclaimer: Heath Atom Russell is Not a Medical Professional. Please consult your personal physician, not people on the internet, for your health care needs. Also, here is a link to suicide hotline resources and support: http://www.suicide.org/suicide-hotlines.html
I want to thank Heath for everything she is doing. Most detransitioners either choose or are forced into silence which makes it difficult for individuals considering transition to get an accurate view of the diversity of experiences involved. Her video is highly recommended for all female transitioners and for anyone interested in transgenderism. Please give her your full support. Thank you Heath.
The Press Complaints Commission has issued its ruling following an inquiry into the Julie Burchill article. Transgenders called for the criminalization and censorship of Burchill when she described trans activists who use threats of rape and murder against feminists as “bedwetters in bad wigs”. The title of the article “Transsexuals should cut it out” referred to the ubiquitous harassment, violent threats, and bullying against feminists by transgender activists. You can read her censored article in full HERE.
Commission’s decision in the case of
Two Complainants v The Observer / The Daily Telegraph
The complainants were concerned about a comment article which responded to criticism of another columnist on social networking sites. The article had first been published by The Observer. Following The Observer’s decision to remove the article from its website, it had been republished on the website of The Daily Telegraph. The Commission received over 800 complaints about the article, which it investigated in correspondence with two lead complainants, one for each newspaper.
The complainants considered that the article contained a number of prejudicial and pejorative references to transgender people in breach of Clause 12 (Discrimination) of the Editors’ Code of Practice. They also raised concerns under Clause 1 (Accuracy) that language used by the columnist was inaccurate as well as offensive, and, furthermore that the article misleadingly suggested that the term “cis-gendered” was insulting. Additionally, concerns had been raised that the repeated use of terms of offence had breached Clause 4 (Harassment) of the Code.
The Commission first considered the complaints, framed under Clause 12, that the article had contained a number of remarks about transgender people that were pejorative and discriminatory. It noted that the Observer had accepted that these remarks were offensive, and that it had made the decision to remove the article on the basis that the language used fell outside the scope of what it considered reasonable; however, the Observer denied a breach of Clause 12 because the article had not made reference to any specific individual. Clause 12 states that newspapers “must avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to an individual’s race, colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or to any physical or mental illness or disability”. However, the clause does not cover references to groups or categories of people. The language used in the article did not refer to any identifiable individual, but to transgender people generally. While the Commission acknowledged the depth of the complainants’ concerns about the terminology used, in the absence of reference to a particular individual, there was no breach of Clause 12.
The Commission also considered the complaint under the terms of Clause 1, which states that “the press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, including pictures”. Complainants had suggested that the terms used in the article to refer to transgender people were inaccurate or misleading. Whilst the Commission acknowledged this concern, it was clear from the tone of the article that these terms were being used to express an opinion. Whilst many people had found this opinion deeply distasteful and upsetting, the columnist was entitled to express her views under the terms of Clause 1(iii), so long as the statements were clearly distinguished from fact. The same was true in relation to the columnist’s assertion that the term “cis-gendered” is offensive. Viewed in the context of the article as a whole, particularly in light of the fact that the article had been deliberately identified as a comment piece, this was clearly distinguishable as an expression of her opinion about the term rather than a statement of fact about how it is perceived more broadly. This did not constitute a failure to take care over the accuracy of the article, for the purposes of Clause 1(i), and neither was there any significant inaccuracy requiring correction under the terms of Clause 1(ii). There was no breach of Clause 1.
The Commission turned to consider those concerns raised under Clause 4, which states that “journalists must not engage in intimidation, harassment or persistent pursuit”. It made clear, however, that the publication of a single comment piece was not conduct which would engage the terms of Clause 4. There was no breach of the Code.
The Commission acknowledged that the complainants found much of the article offensive. Nonetheless, the terms of the Editors’ Code of Practice do not address issues of taste and offence. The Code is designed to address the potentially competing rights of freedom of expression and other rights of individuals, such as privacy. Newspapers and magazines have editorial freedom to publish what they consider to be appropriate provided that the rights of individuals – enshrined in the terms of the Code which specifically defines and protects these rights – are not compromised. It could not, therefore, comment on this aspect of the complaint further.
Too bad, bedwetters.
[bolding by me-GM]
February 27, 2013
Heart-wrenching post by a man coming to terms with the fact that he drank the gender Kool-aid, got swept up into the “Transsexual Empire” of the psychiatric and medical sex-change industry, and now needs to come to terms with it all.
At the start of the piece Carolynn asks why there are not more voices in the transgender community expressing doubt before undergoing profoundly reconstructive cosmetic surgery on their genitalia? And why are there not more voices expressing the regret and despair that follows?
The answer, he shows us, is clear. Once you have gone that far into the process there is “no going back”. His only choice is to make the best of his life now that what’s been done, cannot be undone. There is no benefit to wallowing in despair. Rates of suicide for post-operative transgenders are high. The only sane choice is to accept what has been done and make the best of it.
From the piece, titled “Did I Make a Mistake?”:
“DID I MAKE a mistake? Am I doing the right thing? Is this the path for me? These are questions we usually ask and, if not, should be asking ourselves. Gender transition is not for the faint of heart. Early in my transition from male to female, I gave little thought to those questions. I was very busy buying new clothes, coming out to family and friends, and getting ready to return to work after a lengthy absence.
I was working on name changes, birth records. I was preoccupied early in my transition. There was a lot of ground to cover if I was to come out and be my true self. Endless doctors’ appointments. Sometimes I felt as though I should have had a tube from my arm connected directly to the blood lab. I had more blood drawn from me in my first year of transition than I had in my entire life, and I was under the microscope of psychiatrists, every move scrutinized. Should I sit in the blue chair in the doctor’s office? Should I sit in the pink chair? I felt like I was under constant surveillance, and worried my male side would pop out. It didn’t. I did a very good job at covering the male side of who I was. After a few years of this—the real life test—I received a letter saying that I was eligible for and had met all the criteria to move forward and have gender reassignment surgery. To say I was happy would have been a gross understatement. There it was in my hot little hands, the brass ring! The letter I had been working toward for the last four years.
For a brief moment, I hesitated to pick up the phone to book my surgery date. I read and re-read the letter countless times. Then it went into my file, and I didn’t look at it again for at least three months. Those three or so months were when the questioning began. I tried approaching people in my support system. Each of their answers was almost scripted: “Well, if you have any doubts then you’re not really trans!” I thought to myself that “You’re not really trans” was an odd thing to say. My question was still not being addressed. I had a new brass ring to reach for. “Is there anyone who has any doubts or second thoughts?”
One would think this would be a very easy question to have answered. It was my experience that it was the hardest question that I ever asked to find an answer for. It would appear that by the time I reached that stage in my transition, the medical community felt I was ready to move onto the next stage—surgery. I was supposed to be ready to take the final plunge into the mystery of becoming a woman. Hard as I looked for one person to say, “Yes, I had doubts; yes, I was terrified; and yes, I questioned if I made a mistake,” I never found them. That one person never appeared.
I knew they were out there. They didn’t speak. Now I had a new question. Why weren’t they coming forth with their experience? Shortly after I pulled the letter from my file again, I made the call to the surgeon and booked my flight. I was very excited to be on my way to have this correction taken care of, but that one question still haunted me. What haunted me even more was where were the ones that had gone before me, that were supposed to help guide me through this rocky period. It wasn’t long after I had returned home from the surgery that I found the answers I was looking for. I found where most brothers and sisters had gone; I found the answers to those nagging questions. The real work began upon my return home. The rigid schedule of dilating, the inability to get to the bathroom without assistance, the blood, the pain. I’ll never forget the pain. My hips and halfway up my stomach were yellow and black from the bruising. The simplest act of trying to watch television became agony. The deed had been done; there really was no turning back. I couldn’t go home now .
I was now in this surgically created wonderland that I called my female body, laying awake at night still asking, “Did I make the right choice?” Right choice or not, this was where I was! Life carried on seemingly uneventfully, get-well cards came, flowers arrived, people phoned. It was almost like I had celebrity status, but that was short-lived. Then again I was alone with my thoughts. That one nagging question rang through my head. Did I make a mistake? I felt a bit depressed so I made a couple of phone calls trying to find a counsellor to speak with. Oddly no-one would accept me. I called my old shrink and he said, “Our work was finished. I was only there to help you until you had surgery. You’ll need to find another doctor.” The hunt began for another psychiatrist. I thought it would be easy, but it was not. Depression by this time had taken deep root; eventually I was diagnosed with chronic depression. What followed was not at all what I had expected. I stopped going outside, I quit playing softball, I closed my kickboxing gym. I became a recluse, subjugated in my own home by no one other than myself. My depression deepened. My rigid schedule of postsurgical care went out the window. Then another nail struck into my coffin of depression! My surgical area had grown shut!
I had less than two inches of depth. I was horrified. What had become of that soulful, full-of-life woman that I had known at the beginning of my transition? Where did she go? How could I get her back? The question of whether or not I had made a mistake was secondary at this stage; my priority now was to find the real Carolynn again. This was a daunting task to say the least. I was lucky enough to have been referred to a doctor by a dear friend of mine. He saw me, and I would love to say that we got off to a great start. We didn’t. He called me obese and said I needed to exercise. I didn’t see him again for at least a year. When I finally did return to see him, I was a complete train wreck. I had put on 40 to 50 pounds, and I was depressed. I still had the problem of the surgical area having grown closed. After some time with this doctor, things started to look a little better. Over the next few years things began to change. I felt my old self returning, I re-opened my kickboxing school, and started to socialize again. Then my doctor threw this at me one day in a session. He said, “Carolynn, you know you can go for a surgery revision and get that fixed.” My jaw hit the floor. I was in shock. I thought it was a one-time shot, and if, like me, you screwed it up—well, you were screwed forever after.
I felt this little fire of hope begin to burn in me again. I had purpose in my life again. This time, I wasn’t going to screw it up! I jumped through all the hoops, made all the phone calls, and reattached the tube from my arm to the blood lab. Honestly, I felt happiness shine again in my life. Finally, the day came for me to head off and have my surgery revision. I remember arriving at the recovery house and seeing another group of me’s from six or seven years ago. They were all driven. They were all happy and they all had no clue what was going to happen after.
Not from a place of ego, but rather a place of a caring sister, I took it upon myself to inform the other guests that this was not my first time. I had to go around and return their jaws to the closed position. I became very close with two of the girls there. One very young woman was maybe 17 and there with her mother, and another was my own age and all the way from the U.K. They listened intently as I told them my story and the pitfalls to be aware of. My young friend even went so far as to take notes. Our surgery days came and went. We all returned to the places we respectfully called home. A few days later, I got a phone call from my friend in the U.K. She was in tears and panicking, saying, “I don’t know what I have done.” We talked for what seemed like hours until she said she was feeling better. It’s been some time since I have heard from her. As for my young teenage friend, I got a call from her mother on several different occasions telling me what her daughter was not doing, and how she was feeling depressed. Considering myself somewhat of a hip person, I started to text my young friend. We worked out some things via texting and email. My life continued fairly normally. I was again into my routine of dilating and postsurgical care. Only this time I had a new-found appreciation for what I had been given, and the question had finally been answered.
Did I make a mistake? The answer is No! I did not make a mistake. Do I have regrets? Yes, of course, I have regrets. I do not feel I would be classified as human if I didn’t. Do I miss my old self? Sometimes. The question of whether or not I made a mistake at this stage is irrelevant. The more pressing and more important question is, am I able to be happy living as I am? At time of writing, I have an afternoon appointment coming up with a personal trainer at the gym. Later this evening, I’m going out for dinner with some friends and there is this very handsome man I met who asked me on a date.
The answer is, yes, I am happy and can live this way. The question I had chased and tried to have answered was the wrong question. After a few years of wrestling with it, the question “Did I make a mistake?” became irrelevant. The question I should have been asking myself all along is, “Can I be happy after I have made these final choices?” People have surgery everyday. Most don’t ask themselves, “Did I make a mistake?” If my own personal experience is of any use to anyone, then ask yourself the right questions first. Don’t ask “Did I make a mistake?” or “Am I doing the right thing?” Ask yourself, “Can I live happily once these decisions have been made?” That question is far easier to answer than the others.