Friday, October 28, 2005

Damnation Aly, Pt. 2

(by Alysyn Ayrica)
Stability. That oh so elusive standard of living which most women desire, but very few actively seek. Somehow the dramatic turmoil seems to bring about the romantic drive within us, sparking our earliest imaginings of what that Cinderella story would entail.

Just as boys want to wield their sword and shield and battle the dragon, girls imagine the storm waves of passion crashing about them making love’s embrace all the more thrilling.

But life is rarely like that, is it not? Our movies are merely condensations of the collected commonalities and only rarely are they singular scenarios.

So the quest becomes this: how to reconcile the nesting and nurturing instinct of an innately identified woman with the distinct wanderlust of a very confused and unresolved masculine persona…no, stability is not so easily established.

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”(Bible; Book of Proverbs)

In struggling with my internal identity I realized that, even at a young age, it was often perceived to be unnatural. Unfortunately, I didn’t know what “unnatural” really meant. Biblically, I realized that it was defined as “that which was not intended”, which, in turn, was often labeled an abomination. But the dilemma came when making the distinction between the absolute biblical understanding and the spurious social definition.

It took me until my advanced adulthood to understand that society defines “unnatural” as “anything that we don’t understand and are unwilling to flexibly attempt to identify.”

Nothing can prepare a child more for the bends and breaks than the incontinency of a societal misapprehension of the meaning of life’s basic identifiers. When the adults around you are so unaware of their own function in life, how oh how are they supposed to guide the virginal comprehensive infrastructure of one still growing out of infancy and childhood fancy?

I began to find my solace and education in the literary works of not only my favorite sci-fi authors, but poets, debaters, politicians of old, and Christian commentators and historians. In their musings and verbal excursions there was clarity. Things were explained. Ideas were meted out to refine reason. These were my first loves.

I also came to realize that this foundation in rational thought was also a means to maintain my masculine identity and somehow shut out the flood of emotional intensity which was, daily, filling up my basement. It became, over time, much easier to deny that this house had, in fact, no basement than to come up with new excuses as to why the door was locked and barred. Eventually the water rises and begins to seep through the cracks in the floorboards and under the doorjamb…

It seemed a feasible reaction – delving into in-depth biblical studies – the goal, of course being to somehow clearly define this quandary of gender quantification. I’d grown increasingly weary of constantly, year after year, waveringly breaching my feminine nature and then stepping back into the masculine role offered me at birth, disgusted at not only my lack of sophistication at the task, but also at how like a trapped animal it made me feel. At these times I was surely ready to gnaw my own foot off to merely gain a taste of freedom. It was the longest decade of my life…

“Whoever thinks that he is helping to keep God’s work going on the earth cannot help but believe that God will help him.” (Charles Fillmore)

When a couple is first married, usually the first few years are fraught with adjustments to each others personality differences, and for a while tears are the norm. How much more so when the other in the union sets a standard of perfection which, on the face of things, seems impossible to achieve, while, in reality, the expectation of achieving these goals is not actually placed upon you. To enter a relationship with a perfect God can be daunting, for sure. Spending the time to get to know that person is difficult and often mind-bending.

With an earthly marriage (to a woman whose own personality demanded every ounce of strength and composure of me) to maintain, as well as working and going to school full time to enhance my career and prepare for the advent of the inevitable offspring (which inevitably came!) I began to realize I was fighting a battle on two fronts with quickly diminishing ammunition. Despite the decades of crying out in desperate prayer, fasting as a means of enhancing the meditative quality of that prayerful delivery, and service within the church leadership and various missions, I was still without recourse or decision. Time was slowly running out, as I soon came to realize.

After our first year of marriage my wife began displaying obvious symptoms of her bi-polar disorder…increasing migraines. This lasted for the better part of our second year and opened up some doors in our marriage which needed, at very least, better hinges. That is to say, once opened they never closed, if they didn’t fall off altogether. The turmoil of not being able to find competent medical assistance, of her constant state of paranoia and hallucinations which put me into situations of having to defend myself where no offense was extant, became an emotional burden that, I admit, I was not “man” enough to handle with grace. In time, the symptoms became more subtle as she learned to hide the paranoia, to become ashamed of the hallucinations, to fear being found out by those within the church and labeled “crazy”. Though she was loved by many, and it is doubtful that such a thing would have happened, she was loathe to accept this as reasonable and only exacerbated her condition by not admitting that she was becoming worse; eventually she was beyond help.

I often explain to those with whom I discuss these things in depth that my transition was, in essence, the “straw that broke the camel’s back” regarding my marriage. I was the only one who was willing to admit that the marriage was falling apart. You can only be told to leave “because that’s what you really want!” so many times in five years, even if it’s not what you really want, before you begin to realize that it’s actually what she really wants. Hoping that it would somehow bridge a proverbial gap in our marriage – the one she perceived being built of regretful mistakes and the loneliness that it brought to her life – she vied for the conception of a child hoping to bring some semblance of meaning to the vows. It was the near death of our second child due to spinal meningitis that we both reached our breaking points. It was the beginning of the end, and it ripped at the very fabric of my being.

The fighting, the emotional distrust, the accusations, the constant fear being projected into every event…the constant series of trials…for some reason it doesn’t make it any less painful when a marriage finally disintegrates.

“’Fallacy of the Continuum’ and other commonly wielded verbal weapons.”

I began hormones without my wife’s knowledge.

Well, that’s not exactly true. We had discussed it as the next step, but she was to go on a church retreat that weekend and we were to continue toward our decision when she came back. I know it was deceitful, and inevitable…wrong, and exactly what I had to do. I don’t excuse my actions, but I also know that no matter what she had decided on her part, for me the decision was irrevocable. She discovered the extent of my deceit a few months later when my breasts began to form.

Until then she had been trying so hard to find a way to make me change. From church counseling to constant lovemaking she knew that a loss was in the works, and her fragility could not even begin to fathom the extent. Most women have to deal with the loss of their husband, but know that the man will still be there in some capacity, whether for the children or merely out of congenial familiarity. How painful is it to live with the loss of not only your husband, but the actual male identity that once inhabited the persona, while still interacting with that person? I don’t pity her the difficulty it caused her. I often attempt to place myself within that same scenario on a hypothetical level utilizing all that I experienced, and often feel that I would make the same decision as she did; but without the insanity part, of course.

The battle on both fronts continued to wage well into my first year of transition. Not only was the din of war deafening within the marriage itself, but overwhelming within the conscience I had nurtured to vigorous health all my life. I had knowingly committed myself to an act that had a great probability of destroying all that I held dear in my life…family, friends, even my children…and risked just as great a destruction of my own soul. Is it possible to remain spiritually intact after having performed such a heinous act?

As our discontent became the inevitable separation, and as that separation progressed into divorce, her depiction of me became more and more monstrous. I had finally found the quiet place in my life, realizing that in becoming outwardly truthful I was able to silence the battles which had waged for so long within. Though hurtful, the harm that she sought to inflict upon me via court battles and the constant demeaning of my character to others close to us eventually became as effective as whining children…frustrating to deal with, but ultimately and effectively harmless.

Her death brought the much needed, if reluctantly accepted, peace; and there is hope for further growth, unhindered by the barriers of irrational behavior.


The most troubling part of my journey through the brambles of transition has been witnessing firsthand the many intelligent and hurting ts women who have chosen to turn their backs on God merely because of their transsexual condition. My dismay isn’t because it is not such a difficult and life-questioning event; in fact it is so much so that anyone who hasn’t had to deal with it should praise whoever it is they pray to and give great thanks for sparing them this trial. My dismay derives from the fact that the only real perspective they will receive is through the spiritual growth they obtain while working through this and communing with their God all the while. The truth of the trial comes not in the clothes, the hormones, the relationships…the truth comes from the Truthgiver. All things derive their meaning from some source. All things are created for a purpose. To assume that any act is random is foolish and ignorant. We don’t always know immediately what we are here for, but rest assured, there is a reason, and it will be revealed in its proper time. Everything leading up to that point is growth…maturity.

It took me 36 years to really understand this.

I still don’t really know as of yet what my real purpose here is. I guess I have a lot of growing still to do. I do know that, one, I am solely responsible for the healthy growth and development of two human beings. I say this tongue in cheek, but if there was ever a time to question the wisdom of God, this would be the decision I would present. I, being the least qualified to be a parent, am suddenly the only parent that my children have. There are things in this world that I will truly never understand, I admit. There is one thing, though, that I do know without a doubt…

I am no longer afraid.

To my sisters with love from my heart,


Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Broken Vessel

(by Alysyn Ayrica)
Again, though I wrote this a month ago, I keep coming to this place. It seems to know me by name, and often asks me to stay...

Within a chain of events sometimes comes the realization of one's worth and relevance. These things are never hidden, except in the context of personal perspective. Desire and need often supplant truth in claiming the vision and distorting one's self-assessment.

An earthen vessel, ornate and craftily created, is often looked upon as a thing of beauty. Set upon a pedestal it creates an atmosphere of delicacy and sophistication. Yet, in truth, it is merely a container. It's purpose at creation was to accomodate something of true worth...even something as seemingly simple as life-sustaining water.

What Is to be done with the vessel when it is shattered? Does it not depend on the artisan? Is the original purpose of the vessel relevant?

Many times the potsherd speaks more voluminously than the vessel unscathed. In it's pristine state it draws glances, is commented on and appreciated briefly, and eventually blends into the background.

Yet, it's pieces provoke curiosity, questions...and often speculative debate.

This is the purpose the Artisan of the heart has set for this soul. Emotion has been a taint for too long on reason, and desire...need...has hindered understanding.

Too many day wasted wanting for that which has not been determined. Too much felt in vain.

Here John Keats has relay'd so eloquently:

"How is it, Shadows, that I knew ye not?
How came ye muffled in so hush a Masque?
Was it a silent deep-disguised plot
To steal away, and leave without a task
My idle days? Ripe was the drowsy hour;
The blissful cloud of summer-indolence
Benumb'd my eyes; my pulse grew less and less;
Pain had no sting, and pleasure's wreath no flower.
O, why did ye not melt, and leave my sense
Unhaunted quite of all but---nothingness?"


Saturday, October 22, 2005

How to guarantee a broken heart...

(by Alysyn Ayrica)

In recently cancelling a profile and blogspace I realized that there were still areas of concern in my life which hadn't been fully reconciled. The following is reposted to this forum as a way of presenting the same quadrous misgivings I have to an, obviously, more thoughtful group for further consideration...


So how does one pinpoint the exact time to begin opening yourself up to the possibility of being in love? In the case of one being purposefully disconnected to protect vital emotions from being constantly assaulted by the carelessness of others, how does the time become recognizeable when those barriers must be necessarily moved aside to allow the sincere and loving complement to migrate to your very core?

When dancing along a precipice, eventually the fear of falling must subside and become a known inevitability. How often is it safe to test the limits of our standing? Is the ground at the end of the cliff firm enough to tempt standing closer, still, to the edge in an ever-increasing anticipation of that plunge?

The truth is, no matter when the fall, the end result is the same: destruction.

At some point we must all come to the end of ourselves. Oft times it is in the context of love, in rare occasion it is in service, which is another form of love. The difficult part is making the decision to step up and decide if the love we percieve to be there is worth the risk of stepping out of that protective suit to bathe in it. So often that opportunity is passed up due to fear.

There is a rationale in protecting onesself from the tirade of negative experiences this world offers; but is that not more a general device? What if something specific and real, the disturbance in your head, the hammering in your heart, the simultaneously excited/scared feeling in your belly at the mere thought of that one, presents itself to you...with only slight hesitation, but clear in intention?

What if fear begins to cloud your mind to the point that you would maladroitly push such a one away, still in a protectorate mode that has become all too familiar?

What if...?

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Feminine Influences

(by Felicia Conti)
"The person(s) in my life who most influenced or most helped me with the development of my feminine side is......................"

The person in my life who most influenced the development of my feminine side was probably my mother. She was an amateur actress who played the leading lady parts in a number of plays. I remember sitting in the theatre as a young boy when this steamy woman would walk out on stage and everyone would be entranced by her beauty. Was this the same woman who I called “mom” and who only hours before had been preparing my dinner? I remember trying on her clothes and wondering if I would ever be transformed from what I considered to be “ordinary” to “special”? Second in line, was probably my sister who developed at a fairly young age into a real beauty. She had lots of cute girlfriends and lots of guys calling on her constantly. She also had lots of clothes that fit me. Maybe I could learn to be beautiful too? I think that I learned something about feminine comportment from years of observing and interacting with my mother and my sisters. I have to think that this early learning helped me to catch on quickly and to find it relatively easy to exhibit feminine mannerisms when I am now in the feminine role.

Most of my feminine existence stayed in my fantasy life until several years ago when a therapist suggested that I try dressing again. After getting some fairly acceptable pictures posted on Yahoo, I met an experienced translady, Lori Michaels who helped me to get ready for my first night out on the town. In doing my make-up, she was able to give me a glimpse of my potential and a realization that it was possible to look good as a female. Several months later, during a down period when I was feeling I was making no progress in my feminine development, I met Joey Brooks, a make-up artist and drag performer who did my make up and gave me a make up lesson. She helped me to achieve the next level in my feminine development at least as far as physical presentation go. Additionally, I purchased several make up videos on line, including one done by Raven, the drag entertainer from Atlanta. Of course, I have had to tone down the drag effects to get a more natural look.

Working on my mental, emotional, and spiritual development as a female is much more difficult to discern as that work cannot really be separated from the years of work I have done on myself as a person, in general. Although I sometimes do enjoy role-playing when in my feminine role, for the most part, I strive to be fairly consistent whether I am primarily male or female at the time. My current therapist along with a number of my trans-friends (both in person and in GenderEvolve) have been very influential and helpful in my broader feminine development. At this stage, I would say that I am adolescent in terms of my emotional feminine development. I have a long way to go to achieve some kind of wholeness and a definite sense of direction for my life.


Friday, October 14, 2005

Who's really passing?

(by Marlena Dahlstrom)
Ran across a striking re-thinking of the "passing" issue by Lacey Leigh, author of "The Successful Crossdresser." Lacey points out that despite what we'd like to think, few of us will be mistaken for GGs. If we're not read, it's more that people either don't notice or don't care. Consequently:

"I measure my success as a crossdresser by the number of people I encounter who (if they bother to notice at all) recognize me as a man in a dress but regard me with the same degree of indifference they award any other stranger. If they treat me the same as everyone else, they pass."

Seems like the right attitude to me.


Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Revelation… Maturation… Evolution

(by Adarabeth Veau)

Joining Gender Evolve was a big step for me… as a student of life –
an experience junkie, especially the high adrenaline kind – I used
to think I really had it all together. But I knew there was one major
element that was missing. Adara. Her development. Her
validation. Her impact and her yearnings to be known.

And now I know why.

My earliest recollection of Adara started before she even had a
name. At five she was trying out her mothers lipsticks and
other `pretty' things to see how they looked, to see how they felt.
Always in secret though – with tough brothers and a heavy fisted
father she was not going to get caught doing something `unmanly'.
By 12 I was buying my own lipsticks and clothes. And occasionally I
would get caught but somehow managed to avoid a beating… at least
most of the time. By 20, Adara wanted more and more to be noticed
so she eventually made it out to the public eye… but still appeared
the saucy adolescent.

Now she is reaching a higher state of evolvement. Gender Evolve,
the group, the site have empowered her, liberated her and in the
process swallowed up some of the male identity. Not necessarily a
bad thing, not necessarily a good thing. I mean after all he is
important to her survival. He is a good father, a good husband and
a good friend. He is her mate, all in one. But Adara's assertion
is maturation of character. Her influence brings greater
compassion, greater empathy and higher understanding to him. He is
learning to be less competitive, trying not to prove himself so hard
for the world…to embrace that female energy inside…

It comes from an honest place… and the gender influence is an
authentic one.

Adara needs to grow. She needs to break free of the little boy who
got yanked out of bed at 6 by his ears (literally) by an absent
father coming home from a graveyard shift and not finding HIS domain
as HE expected. The little boy who grew up trying harder and harder
to prove himself to the world, to an unavailable father who knew no
other mechanism than to beat his sons into submission. From the
brothers who had stabbed her or shot her because guys just do those
kinds of things. From the boy who would take her soul and smother
it with preconceived notions of what was supposed to be. And from
the mother who wanted a daughter, but could not protect the son from
an ugly hand…

The evolution of the whole person through gender duality is both
rewarding and necessary in the evolution of the world. Not everyone
will recognize or accept the union of the whole. Not everyone needs
to express the beauty that is the celebration of both ying and
yang. But there is a place for those who do. And the time is now.
And the place is here.

Of Ponderance & Predjudice...

(by Brielle Echo Whitney)
I have to ponder a question here as well this evening, and it is both humorous, multi dimensional, and fecund in the proportions and profound depth it plumbs in my psyche.
After returning from SCC, I found that the need, though always extremely strong, to the point of compulsion in my brain to see the world as viewed from a female vantage, and the oft times uncomfortable yet oxymoronic reality in which I work, when in context of occasionally being teamed with other apes, which I sometimes tolerate, is that of an almost exclusively male dominated field.
That in and of itself bothers the Bri in me to no end, SHE WHO IS, who would much rather dance or paint or sing is tucked neatly away behind that mask of maleness, yet continues to direct, even though that façade is a well built brick & mortar edifice which I’m beginning to believe was created by her . She governs the left brain in me. “He” also lives there... I’m completely Only the left brain & autonomic functions seem to work optimally...The integration though which has been happening steadily over the years of these 2 layers of existence has brought a mofongo or mélange of the bispirited being... He reads Bazaar & Elle before going to bed. Today she noticed a small amount of pink polish on her nails as she dismantled & reconfigured a live 2000 amp electrical service. She made a nice creative dinner...He picked it out so that she would stay thin... ;D He and she both had a verbal knock down drag out fight with the ex which he married, but she is not fond of, and is very glad that she’s gone...worst in 10 years of living seperate lives which once a month crash head long down usually to a two voices are then teamed as one in this tactical partnership, so to speak, The void of unconditional love has never been filled, except for this inner partnership, Acceptance, nurtured, and given that freedom not have to search for reasons why, I do have to give kudo’s to the cats if only they could talk...what a tale they’d
Now, synchronicity or coincidence...? You decide... I had called someone whom I had done seriously high end work for , many or some at least of these homes would have been, I liked to imagine, perfect outlets for my mind to wander & envision the stage set with the Bri in me seriously owning / belonging in Kubrick’s Eyes Wide
Here’s the point... I was speaking to this man, younger than myself, richer than a young god, and ask what’s going on...he replys that things are well. He asks me what I’ve been doing. I say that I’ve just been on a holiday. Where he says. Atlanta I say. He asks why did I choose to go there... I said that I went to meet a girl... there is a pause... out of the blue he then asks me...”did she have a dick?” I know he likes porn, I hate his male objectification but am not judgemental. That is his right, and unfortunantly the level of his lack of is a process of learning that never stops, there is hope for him yet...;p
A wave of goosebumps shot over me, and I calmly answered she is a very beautiful person, and indeed she was anatomically correct. Where did THAT come from I wondered to myself?...As he laughed on the other end of the phone, I’m sure he , knowing him, was just kidding around. The Secret Garden is fairly well hidden...but curiously and not... "we" look alot alike... I make a wish..., not everyone needs to know...not yet anyway... He asks me to come work tomorrow, & our conversation ends...The rational mind, thinking of this afterwards, launched into a series of rotary questioning... yes, indeed, I went to meet a girl, was it our GG, or was it me? Or my T sisters..? All roads I concluded led to yes, SHE exists, in various permutations. She did have a dick, AND no she didn’t. We all are correct. And yes to all of those, Michele, you friends, me.
I do believe that I went to meet “her”, and finding that sisterhood amongst this fold, again, Her reality becomes apparent, as vital to survival as breathing, and in as much as this is but one in infinite reality within the big mystery of life, the universe & everything (thanx Douglas!), This is, there are, and there would be no realities at all without nurturing this gift of female union.

Am I destined to be alone forever?

(by Jenna Taylor)

Every now and then I ponder the meaning of my existence. Now, this sounds all philosophical and heady, yet it’s simple nothing more than, "Will I spend the rest of my live alone?"
I tell myself "I don't want to live by myself!" and until last night, I was looking at it the wrong way. For you see, what I was saying to myself was, “I don't want to live with YOU", meaning ME! And if this was actually true, then, did I need fixing'? I mean, can I be ready for someone else if I'm not ready for me?

The last 8-10 months of my sentence on this planet have involved some pretty in-depth examinations of my past, my present, and my future. Though these "probes" to the center of my soul have been ongoing for several years, before now they were very superficial. Never before had I "taken a hard look in the mirror". Like most crossdressers, it’s a quick passing glance on my way somewhere or just a reflection in another object. This is all about to change.

For longer than I care to remember, I've been a crossdresser, a transgenderist and a bigendered individual. This fact has caused me considerable pain in my life. My earliest memories include the fear of discovery. It is that fear that ruled my life until a short 2 years ago. Although the effects of fear on my psyche cannot be dismissed overnight, the mere fact that the fear is gone is akin to the breathing of fresh air right after a sauna. Cool, deep fulfilling breaths providing reassurance are contrasted to the short, hurried, shallow pants one finds in a fog of steam, while never knowing if the next is your last.

My life is starting to develop meaning. I have rediscovered personal traits that were quite dusty! Yet why did I still question my relationship status? Was it because I seemed to pick the "winners"? The one that if I walked into a room of 1,000 women, I'd walk out with a "Charlie Brown Christmas Tree", the sickliest one of the bunch! This could not be coincidence. It has to be more than mere happenstance. It's ME! I've set standards and conditions in my partners that compliment my failings.

Like the drug addict or alcoholic finding the 12 steps of recovery, I've recently found my "12 steps" to spirituality! That balance I've been seeking. This is not to say I've arrived at my spiritual zenith. I've just started taking the first steps of that 1,000 mile journey. A lot of personal inventory taking and making amend with those I've wronged. I can humbly accept myself as the loving person I am. I can display compassion with reckless abandon. I can wake up in the morning and know I'm one day closer to my center.

In retrospect, I'm not so much concerned with being alone. I rather like myself and am content to take my time, and find the RIGHT woman for me. She'll be the woman professing that I'm the right MAN for her! And do you know something? I just might be.....

Monday, October 10, 2005

Damnation Aly, Pt. 1

(by Alysyn Ayrica)
Well, I guess this is a hell of a way to start. I’ve been in kind of a writing slump lately, so please bear with me if I’m not all that prolific right out of the gate. Despite the fact that I have a zillion topics sloshing around in my skull, a heap o’ responses to so many of the brilliant posts I’ve been reading here, and a poem or two that I’ll spare you the trauma of actually having to trudge through, I can’t seem to, of late, generate the appropriate sentences structures to approximate a coherent thread.

So, I began to decipher what I know about human behavior regarding the impetus to converse fluently…only to discover the one thing that seems to draw the average person into focused verbal interaction…have them talk about themselves!

Will it work? Let’s find out…

Children have a tendency to function as a genetic reflector. My son is everything I should have been growing up…reserved, contemplative, easy going, assenting. My daughter is everything I actually was…emotional, pouty, argumentative…if I hadn’t been witness to her birth (as well as her, *ahem*, conception…) I would swear they simply cloned me outright!

Even though I had friends as a child, I was always viewing my playtime from the end of a tunnel. I felt disconnected from the idealistic reality that most children take for granted, as if there were a higher calling that was made known to me from early on which tainted my innocence, but which my lack of education forbade me to comprehend.

Growing up my innate desire to emote and naturally inquisitive nature were suppressed by the irate impatience of a father who’s own lack of education was expressed as a rage of insecurity, which was promply vented upon anyone who was petulant enough to actually love him, including his children. At the age of fifteen my emotional outpourings were so acute that my mother threatened to take me to a therapist…which, looking back would have been the most beneficial thing she could have done for me outside of basic necessities…

It was at this point, though, that I, instead, reacted with an extreme response. I became emotionally dead. I felt as if I had expended all emotion contained within me and had nothing left to feel. For the next fifteen years I essentially closed up shop.

In that time I became aware of a death within me, and spent the majority of my time in investigation and introspection. I believe that the emotional disconnect within me was also what allowed my bodies natural impulses to dominate my life so aggressively. I realized after a time that I had so little to offer anyone by way of a loving connection, that I would become, for the most part, a tool for pleasure. Had I not received so many “encouraging” comments in this regard over time I would even now consider myself to have failed in that endeavor.

This attitude spilled over into my marriage. My orgasm was merely an irreversible and unsatisfying function of a body which was already weary of it’s own existence. It was a constant reminder that it was only good for the pleasure of one person, because it’s owner wished for a role that would not only eliminate the need for further contextual response, but could express itself in a more appropriate manner. It was a concession to exist in a relatively functional male role.

The events throughout my marriage were what compelled me to consider my converse gender dysfunction seriously. From the first year my wife’s bipolar disorder became acute, although we weren’t aware of the diagnosis until the fifth year when it had progressed significantly. The years of emotional and psychological turmoil we experienced due to her (I realize now) inability to coherently apprehend reality in merely even a linear fashion, as well as her constant delusions, lack of comprehension and ability to process information in a contextual manner, took a decided toll on those walls which I had so painstakingly constructed to contain my emotions.

But it was the imminent death of my son in early infancy which destroyed them completely.

The fear of my family and friends, my pastor and those in my fellowship…my wife!...discovering the deeply guarded, padlocked-behind-iron-doors secret suddenly became the reality I had never wanted. In my mind I watched, with prophetess-like clarity, the loss of my marriage, the taking of my children, the backs of those whom I love dearly turning toward me as they looked away in shame. My reason told me that those who are truly loving would stay…yet I lost so much, that my reason be damned!

The first year and a half, as I developed more feminine physical qualities, I spent sorting out my masculine past. When I realized that I could no longer maintain the illusion of a male figure I merely shifted, relatively smoothly, into my life. For the next two years I existed within a cocoon of self-analysis and court battles.

I had began a few new, and as it turned out long term, friendships, but was essentially alone and lonely. I watched, again from a distance, as my marriage came to a legal end, as my children began to disconnect from me, and as my financial situation became even more dire than it had been. I could no longer afford to maintain my aggressive hormonal therapy and often fell into wells of severe and life-threatening depression. Only once did I end up in an ambulance, but that was due to a manipulative act on the part of my wife, and did more to embarrass and anger me than anything.

Watching the deterioration of my wife was horribly disconcerting, yet when she died, though saddened, I was not surprised. Despite the turbulence she created I miss her terribly at times. The burden that was lifted at her passing is indescribable, though, and has allowed me, for the first time in many, many years, to identify a peace in my life which has been relatively nonexistent. In so many words, things are quiet now.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Misogyny Makes The Man

(by Marisa)
She’s on the parade ground, hearing “Listen Up, Ladies!”
She’s on the playground, where she “throws like a girl.”
She’s in the bathroom, taking “longer to get ready than I do.”

Her name is Nancy, or maybe it’s Sissy (most any name ending in the “si” sound will do). She answers to Gay—but it’s an alias. Though rarely seen to “wear a dress” or “put ribbons in her hair” it’s frequently suggested that she ought to.

This girl is a whirlwind! She’s everywhere; everywhere that legs are crossed just so, everywhere nails are examined the “wrong” way, everywhere appreciation of romantic comedy is expressed (indeed, where appreciation of anything is expressed with a bit toooo much enthusiasm). It’s a wonder she has the energy to flit about so; subsisting—as she does—on a diet of salads, quiche, and “girly drinks.”

She’s weak. She’s timid. She’s vain, fussy, fickle and teary-eyed. In short, she’s despicable, and utterly lacking in all traditional manly “virtues.”

Who is she? Nobody really. Just a symbol, an abstraction . . . the bogeywoman. If you need to whip little boys (of any age) into shape right quick, the merest whisper of her name should suffice. When you absolutely, positively need to “make a man” of someone, a little dab of misogyny will do ya!

Sigh! Yes, the topic is sissy-baiting. The ne plus ultra bullwhip of male social conditioning!

There’s no precisely equivalent instrument of torture for the training of girls. I’d suggest that the closest match is something like threat she'll be unlikeable/unpopular if she’s inadequately accommodating and integrationist. And that’s not pretty either. Manufacturing passive, conformist women is a real social-ill. But that’s an argument I’ll leave to a more intimately informed observer.

In any case, it is nothing like the blunt instrument used to manufacture aggressive misogynist men. And I don’t use the woman-hater word lightly. It seems to me that the funny-looking wallflower girl is the principal victim of her ostracization. But slamming the pansy hurts women, as well as the boy.

How could it not? How can any man experience this without developing some sliver of misogyny in his psyche? And you can be certain that all men experience it. Most boys, most of the time, avoid being the direct victim. But all see it, and often. At one time or another, nearly all have administered the medicine. Thus, they learn the boundaries, and exert extra effort not to be “that sissy boy.”

Really, it’s the others that most “benefit” from the training, because the pansy may well be beyond redemption anyway. A single well-selected demonstration subject, can offer an invaluable lesson for dozens of boys; who themselves may become teachers in preference to being teaching-aids. It “sets a good example,” like hanging criminal’s corpses at the city gates—All Ye Who Enter, Tremble!

“Woman” is about the gravest insult you can apply to a man. Oh, I suppose there are a handful of highly specific worse things to be—like pedophile—but a mere thief, liar, thug or retard isn’t nearly so low as “woman” in the lexicon of masculine insult. Is it possible, in any us/them scenario, to define essential (even if false) characteristics of “them” as being the most shameful characteristics in “us,” without implying that these traits are inferior generally—not just when exhibited by the “wrong” group of people?

“Well, that sort of thing is alright for those people, my dear. It’s just how they are!”

It’s an infectious sport, this sissy-baiting. As I've noted, a great incentive to play is that it reduces the chances of being a victim yourself. Because, aside from physical assault, there’s nothing that buffs butch bona fides quite so well as insult and abuse. Eventually you’ll develop the reflex. Once its “muscle memory” one can perform exercises with high degrees of difficulty—like abusing people for behaviors or tastes that you share.

Recent true story: My brother asks what DVD’s I own. As there are less than 10, I can pretty much recite from memory. Only one of these films would remotely be considered a “chick-flick.” As I list them, he has no comment, except when I come to that one.

Him: Fag!
Me: Whatever! It really is an incredible film.
Him: Yeah, it is good.

Bizarre, but that’s gay-baiting, you object! Superficially it may appear so, but most of what passes for verbal fag-bashing is, in fact, accusation of effeminacy. Men are more likely to be called faggot for fancying peonies than liking penises. Boys usually become adept at slinging “homo” or “gay” at an age when they have only the vaguest notion of sex—let alone homosexuality. Anyone daring the experiment of asking an 8 year-old boy to describe a “gay” peer will likely get an answer like “shy, plays hopscotch with girls” etc. Maybe kids today are a little more clued-in, but that’s certainly the response you’d have got when I was a kid. Fag/Fem is a difference without a distinction to many juvenile minds. And, sadly, many juvenile minds domicile in adult bodies.

Obviously this cancer is most evident in highly masculine, physical rigorous contexts—like sports teams and the military. It’s practically institutionalized there, and considered highly effective in ensuring regimentation. In theory, men accused of femininity will get angry . . . anger produces endorphins . . . endorphins provide energy . . . energy is channeled into proving the accuser wrong, by hitting this with a stick, jamming a bayonet in that, or pining the other to a mat. Mucho macho! And clearly encouraging skill-sets that enormously contribute to general social betterment.

It is hardly limited to obvious environments though—or even to men. Certainly, men can insult a woman by suggesting she has masculine traits. But it’s not going to accomplish much, except piss her off. On the other hand, women understand that guys are deeply conditioned to shun the feminine. Most women are unlikely to make accusations of girlishness purely for insult, but may justify it on the basis of producing desired behavioral modification. My mother, on seeing my hair maybe ¾ inch longer than usual, asks me “do you want me to braid it for you?” The simple observation “I don’t like your hair. When are you getting it cut?” must be assumed insufficiently coercive or indirect. But naturally, if I’m compared to an icky girl, I’m bound to rush to the salon (oooops! I meant barbershop) before everyone starts drawing such embarrassing parallels.

Gynophobic conditioning is great for business too! Because fear sells, and there a few fears more profound than male fear of descent to femininity. Staying on the topic of hair—look for hair-colorant in your pharmacy. You might miss the manly hair color. For a start, it’s usually aisles away from other hair-care products. I suppose the reasoning is that putting it in the hair aisle is dangerously close to the logical extreme of actually shelving it beside other hair color! This may remind men that “OMFG! Chicks use this stuff!” An insight that would surely depress sales.

It’s also less visible because the package is smaller—less product for the same price. And because there are maybe two choices of brand and four of color, while women have five times the choice in both. But men buy it because it’s for men. Not mainly manly, mind you, but JUST FOR MEN (to prove this exclusivity, it’s got a picture of some sooo 20-years ago dude, who’s head appears boot-blacked). It’s the same chemicals. Can you imagine the situation reversed?! “Timid and illogical” women would buy the men’s product for the huge selection and the value—weird guy picture on the box be damned!

This is hardly an isolated case. The burgeoning market for men’s skin-care products is much cited as an example of men growing more “in touch” with the feminine. Hmmmm . . . maybe. I think a man who wanted facial moisturizer and was merely “in touch” with common sense could grab a tub of Olay (or any of the 100 other choices ) rather than awaiting the development of an industry that prints “MAN CREAM” on the package to ease his shame. Or rather, he would if he wasn’t a big scaredy girl.

Sure there is much “same stuff, prettier box” packaging and marketing aimed at a female audience. But I’m convinced that were pink cans of shaving gel banned, all women would have whatever was stocked. If pink cans were the only choice, all men would have beards. Why? Because a woman is the most pathetic thing to can be, and even the trivial choices carry the stain. That’s a lesson often taught him, and committed to memory.

I’m barely scratching the surface of this, but it’s enough scratching to really make me itch.

I wonder, though. How can the “stronger sex” be brought to its collective knees by even the whiff of threat of being identified with the feminine? How can the “fairer sex” be oblivious to (and sometimes join in) something more than unfair, but unhealthy for men and women alike?

You can be sure that if schoolyards daily rang with cries of “You’re such a Jew!” and parents scolded kids to “stop acting like a cringing Wop” these comments would be recognized for what they were. No claim that Italian Jews are wonderful, though naturally cowardly and avaricious (so the taunts shouldn’t be offensive to them) would paper-over the ugly truth.

Possibly (on hearing how loudly this bee buzzes in my bonnet) you might suspect that I was “that sissy boy.” But I wasn’t—not anymore the victim than average, anyway. I was never much involved in the sport—either as ball or bat. Mostly, I’d sit on the sidelines. A tiny anthropologist trying to make sense of peculiar rituals, built on vicious enforcement of seemingly arbitrary rules. Wondering “Why?” The answer is clear:

There is no reason. There is no benefit. There is no excuse.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Our Family Bond

(by Michele Angelique)
Over the past several months since starting GenderEvolve we have bonded, both as a group and individually. In addition to sharing friendship and trust, we have walked alongside one another’s personal journeys. Each of us has evolved as a result. Through this process of sharing thoughts and experiences, light is being shed where there was none before. We are collectively finding the words to define ourselves, our identities and our values. Through this unification of purpose and collective vision, we are working toward common goals. I feel our collective voice can only grow stronger every day. The work we are doing here at GenderEvolve is very special indeed… dare I say, evolutionary?

Since the beginning, I have felt connected to you. Our interactions have been enlightening, uplifting, quite often profound, intense and almost always very candid. Whether by virtual presence or in person, the connections among us have deepened to a degree where the only fitting description in my mind is “family”… and I mean the best kind of family. I feel as though you are my soul sisters, my kindred spirits, my loved ones… my family. When I openly and publicly express my love for you, individually or collectively, it is in this familial sense.

In a world where we each feel so alone, we can turn to each other and be understood, be supported, and most importantly, be loved. We can laugh together, cry together, grow together… and in the process we are helping ourselves, each other, the TG community. Before too long, our voice will also reach beyond our little realm.

It is my hope that this very special family bond among us will continue to blossom and flourish for the rest of our natural lives, and then some. By reaching out to one another the bond is forged, which is the glue that holds us together. The stronger it becomes, the stronger we become, both individually and collectively.

Bloodline does not make a family. Family is made in the heart, and based on unconditional love and acceptance. We already have these attributes among us, and we are only just beginning. I feel as though I’ve found my “place” in the grander scheme, and it’s with you, my family. Now that I’ve found you, I never want to lose you.

I am more contented and at peace with the direction of my life than I have ever been.

Blessed be to you, my dearest spirit sisters… thank you.

Peace and love,
Michele Angelique