Transgender Teen Suicide, Specifically Yours

I was inspired to write this blog post by an article in an online newspaper, today’s Daily Mail. It’s a UK newspaper though the main events it describes occurred this past Sunday, in Ohio. The headline reads: “Transgender teenager, 17, leaves heartbreaking suicide note blaming her Christian parents before walking in front of tractor trailer on highway.”

I’m not a suicide prevention counselor. It’s a specialized field of endeavor and I lack all such qualifications. If you’re close to the edge then probably you shouldn’t be reading this but you should be calling a suicide prevention hotline instead, and then later come back and read this.

My blog post will, I hope, help keep you far away from that dark place in the future, albeit more as a strategic solution that a tactical one.

If you’re a transgender teenager, transexual or otherwise, I hope you will remember this blog post fondly, and be able to do so for a long time.

If the people around you are less-than-supportive of your situation (or worse, they deny it or are otherwise hostile) then it’s easy to feel terminally overwhelmed, alone and embattled.

That doesn’t mean you ARE alone — but when it comes to no longer wanting to live, or dying in a way that makes a statement, then how you feel tends to influence your decision much more than what might objectively be going on.

Many transgender people, especially transexual girls, are killed by violent criminals who target them. But many deaths are self-inflicted.

Walking in front of an oncoming city bus is an unusually rude way of choosing to die. Had I thought about it, then my empathy for the bus driver and the passengers would be made me choose another way. However, that dark day in Los Angeles, when I was 23 and walking across Culver Blvd., I didn’t think about what would happen after I’d died. I didn’t care. I was non-caring in a way that didn’t ponder the aftermath and then dismiss it. I didn’t even consider it. I was just going to get hit by the bus, die and that would be that. Nothing else filled my consciousness than the basic decision: keep walking, or not.

I hadn’t planned it. I was just a transexual girl having a really difficult time. I was crossing the street anyway, and there was a bus coming. If I kept walking, I’d be fine with plenty of time to spare, as I’ve done dozens of times in the past, and the bus driver wouldn’t even be aware of what had almost happened. But that day, as I was crossing the street, it occurred to me that I didn’t have to keep walking. I could just … stop.

I didn’t feel the need to make a statement, or leave a note, or explain myself. I was just so tired, so drained, so emotionally exhausted. Instead of dismissing the thought of stopping, I considered just being done with it all. And to my shock, it was almost overwhelmingly tempting.

Almost.

Such is the speed of thought during a crisis that many things are pondered rapidly in a very small slice of time. That’s why in an emergency everything feels like it’s happening in slow motion: your brain processes are that rapid. All of this happened while I was walking. I remember not even slowing down or stopping. I kept walking. But I know that I SO almost didn’t.

And so I know what it feels like to be right there, on that edge.

I’m not ashamed of it or proud of it, but maybe it gives this blog post a bit more credibility because I’m writing to people in that same sort of embattled mindset

I grew up in such a stultefyingly oppressive culture that it makes a Bible-belt US small-town culture downright wholesome by comparison. The dominant religion where I grew up, in South Africa, wasn’t just Christianity but an especially negative variant named Calvinism. The Afrikaner culture around me was obsessed with this religion, and the people were always scrutinizing and criticizing each other.

Whatever Afrikaners were doing to the rest of South Africans wasn’t pretty but what they were doing to each other, and to themselves, was arguably worse yet. If you showed even a hint of being effeminate you were pounced upon and ostracized. If you were gay then you literally went to prison. Possession of a Playboy magazine was a criminal offense.

I was a transexual teenager girl in such a culture, and as the other children were ganging up on me, I withdrew more and more. I kept to myself, and I read a lot, including about what it means to be transgender. I didn’t know for a fact that I was a transexual girl although the mountain of circumstantial evidence was already huge and growing daily.

Whatever I was, I decided, I was in an environment very hostile to my true nature. When someone who is considered officially male is seen as effeminate, this puts that person in grave danger. I consciously decided that from then on, I was going to ignore my internal issues and concentrate on, literally, surviving.

I trusted no-one, certainly not my parents. I had few friends and none of them knew. I assumed that if I told any one person, that was too much to burden that person with, because from then on my life depended on their silence. I’d do them a favor by keeping quiet. It’s easy to keep a secret. Don’t tell it to anyone, ever. Period.

And so, although I had a few high-quality friends, all younger than me, I felt very much alone.

I lived my life as a daily battle, trying to come across as macho as I could, so that the aggressors would leave me alone long enough for me to survive. Being small of stature at the time, and already having been branded as effeminate didn’t make things any easier for me.

This was before the days of safety glass, and one night I was sitting by my bedroom window studying — when a local teenager (no doubt) threw a half-brick through the window right where I was sitting. The curtain limited the damage from flying glass shards and the brick didn’t hit me, but it wasn’t a fun event for me.

One night the mob energy grew and I was running away from a pack of dozens of teenage pursuers intent on simple, crude, physical violence against me. I ran, hid, and ducked in and out of buildings. Neutral teenagers who saw me as I rushed through their living quarters warned me to be careful because there was a violent mob after me. “Believe me, I know,” I said and moved on. By the time that my pursuers finally caught up with me, they were exhausted and no longer a mob, just a crowd. One bully walked towards me, roughed me up half-heartedly and then tiredly walked away. The others just looked on. I’d survived.

It was pretty clear to me that all this hostility was aimed at focusing on a perceived-to-be-weak person (though, objectively, I was probably mentally the strongest person there). Had I come out as a transexual girl, I would probably have been dead within the next 24 hours — or worse. South Africa at the time had a policy of locking up in an insane asylum anyone who didn’t quite fit the normal pattern, and claiming I was transexual would have meant a one-way ticket to the local loony bin even if the local bullies failed to snuff me out beforehand. Unfortunately, this isn’t just a guess. Both of my parents had professions that involved working closely with the country’s mental health prison system, and so I had disconcertingly close insights into how that system functioned.

In practical terms, my everyday life as a teenager was very dangerous. Psychologically, it felt strange to be so outcast that even a sanitized front of who I was, was socially unacceptable. Knowing that the “real me” would be attacked even worse … that didn’t make for a happy childhood. Puberty came and went, and it was a mixed blessing. My body permanently changed into the shape of the gender that I’m fundamentally not, so that aspect was miserable. But, I looked less effeminate and so my chances of literal survival increased.

I knew that old sailors with craggy skin looked more rugged and masculine, so as a teenager, I laid in my parents’ back yard for hours at mid-day in the African sun without sunscreen — in the hope that it’d destroy my skin and I’d look more masculine as a result and maybe be able to survive longer by being targeted less violently. Desperate measures … and yes, I did indeed get skin cancer, later.

Psychologically, I looked wherever I could for help. I read American novels. I read American non-fiction books including Masters and Johnson. I read the Bible and immersed myself into Christianity. I read British magazines, German magazines, American magazines … and it was the American magazines and books that lifted my spirits. They taught me of a different type of culture, a shining city on a hill, where I might be safe.

So, I worked hard, developed many marketable skills, got my University degree, and left South Africa when I was 22. I went to Germany and to the UK. These cultures were both overwhelming to me and yet oddly restrictive in a different way. They were an improvement over South Africa but I wanted to see America and so I came here. I liked it a lot.

Problem is, by then I hadn’t attended to my psychological needs. Whatever I really was, the first adjective that described it for so many years was “dangerous.” So, I hid my true nature from the world, and I saw little value in exploring it psychologically.

But, ignoring my own nature didn’t change it. I ended up in a romantic relationship with another girl, with the sort of close emotional bond that is natural between two girls but unusual for a heterosexual relationship. Neither she nor I understood my true nature well enough to realize that this was really a girl-girl romance, at its core. I loved her as one girl loves another, but it wasn’t what she’d signed up for, and it bothered her. She loved me but not the way in which I loved her. We were both perplexed. She took it hard, personally. It was a difficult time.

As an unintended consequence of all this, even though I was by then in America, I didn’t like myself much. It was almost like a brave soldier who fights her way out of a POW camp and makes it physically to freedom but with enough injuries that she dies on the beach of the free country to which she managed to escape.

Hence that dark day when I was 23 and seriously considered ending it all.

It happened one more time after that, too. That was many years ago. I lived near the LA Marina Del Rey, and I owned a windsurfer and was quite skilled with it. One day, everything had become too much for me. That day, I made a more conscious decision. I was going to get onto my windsurfer and head out in the Pacific. If I decided to come back, I would. If not, then not. It was as simple as that.

And so I set up the windsurfer in the D basin of the Marina, ironically a place where much of the sport had begun many years before. I thought it poetic that this might also be a place in which to begin an ending, as it were. Through the channels of the Marina I sailed, out past the breakwater into the Pacific, way out, past Venice Beach pier …

Whoever named this ocean “Pacific” hadn’t windsurfed on it. The name doesn’t fit the size of the waves, even relatively close to shore. Wow. On a small boat, they’re scary. On a windsurfer, they’re terrifying. Anyway, with a stubbornness born of desperation, I continued sailing. And finally, my mind cleared. I decided I was going to live, dammit. I tried to turn around to head back, but the Pacific Ocean wasn’t supportive of my new plan. A large wave hit me and I fell off my windsurfer. Suddenly, ironically, my will to live was being severely tested. To stay on a windsurfer in high waves is hard. To get back on it, and to get the sail up and get underway again in such conditions … is almost impossible. Almost. But I managed it, and here I am, still alive and happy to be so.

I’ve since figured out a lot about myself, and about how transexual girls are treated in US culture. Often, even well-meaning folks do harm. An example is an article that describes a transexual girl as “having been born a boy.” Well, stop right there. I have an issue with that sort of statement. (For the reasons why, please see my other articles on this website.) My point is that even well-meaning people can cause problems.

And nice people are very much not the only types of people around. For many transexual girls, their own parents are the biggest psychological danger. For a child, her parents often seem to represent the world at large. The child is unwilling or unable to consider the possibility that perhaps her parents are just simply mistaken or worse, and their opinions really do not matter in the grand scheme of things.

I know many girls, transexual or otherwise, whose lives as adults are marred by having been preoccupied with the irrational ideas of their parents, by whose standards their daughter is a misfit. Often, the problem is with these standards, not with their daughter.

This is where my observations are at best from a distance. It’s been said that for a girl who’s sexually abused, her childhood ends on that day. She no longer thinks of the world as basically being a safe place (and rightly so). The event is so stark that there is no evading or denying that, whatever else can be concluded, the one inescapable conclusion is that the world is not a safe place for her, and to survive she had better start looking out for herself. I don’t know at what age non-abused girls reach adulthood normally. I never got to find out. At age eight or so, something was done to me (yes, THAT) and so I switched to an adult mindset on that day.

In retrospect, in a way, I’m glad it happened to me. I became very independent-minded, fiercely so. It certainly helped this little girl to survive. Starting on that very day, for example, I recall evaluating my options and consciously thinking of my stepfather or my mother as not being all that bright.

I recall observing their irrational behavior and thinking, “these people are behaving like idiots and it sucks because I’m only eight years old and yet I’m dependent on them for food and a roof over my head.” I remember that thought so vividly, even now. That’s a pretty stark, realistic thought for an eight-year old little girl to have.

Anyway, as a consequence, I was not vulnerable to my parents’ disapproval — and there was a lot of it, mostly from my stepfather, who was a mean, abusive drunk. My mother had many good traits but she also chose to be his apologist. This greatly diminished my respect for her.

My friends were not so lucky. For them, their parents’ opinions meant a lot, and even as they openly rebelled against their parent’s irrational beliefs, they found themselves also agreeing with these ideas at a deeper level, thus doing things to hurt themselves in many tragic ways, physically and otherwise.

In the process of coming out as an adult transexual girl, I became re-acquainted with irrational beliefs at close range. I found that a few of my adult friends were fundamentally unwilling to reason through the issue with me. They were simply closed to reason, on the subject. Several stopped talking to me completely, and even the more-personable ones nevertheless insisted on referring to me using male pronouns, in my presence. I finally gave up on them and they are no longer part of my life.

In trying to understand one particularly puzzling example, I found that he’s a fundamentalist Christian who belongs to an organization named Focus on the Family, and if destroying a family is their focus, then their name is well-chosen. Regardless of how astute its members might be on various other subjects, when it comes to fundamental intellectual matters, these people will not read a book or watch a movie until they have checked on the organization’s website as to whether this is approved material. When it comes to issues such as being gay or being transexual, the organization looks to its appointed guru on such matters, whose condescending and patronizing tone is the more annoying since his basic message is that these are choices made by that individual and morally bad choices besides. To make matters worse, this mindset then presumes to be able to “cure” the “diseased” with a set of conversion “therapies” that are misguided at best and fundamentally flawed at their core.

If you are a transexual teenager growing up in a culture that fundamentally embraces such irrational beliefs, it’s probably tempting to rebel against the unfairness of it all, but so much of that can be hurtful to you, and you deserve better. If you want to cuss or get a tattoo or cut yourself or get a piercing or dress like a slut or have sex or drink or smoke or do drugs then regardless of the merits of any such particular decision, there is also a common theme to all that: it’s your way of telling the adult world in general (and your parents in particular) that it’s your body and your mind, and yours to do with as you choose.

Often, the things that a teenage girl does to harm herself end up being a tacit endorsement of her parents’ worst opinions about her.

1. The first way of damaging yourself relative to your parents irrational beliefs is to adhere to them implicitly and explicitly. A friend of mine is gay and troubled about it. She is in her mid 50s and she is still not “out” because she is worried about what her parents might think. Personally, I think she’s valuing their opinion too highly.

2. The next step up from that is explicit rebellion against irrational beliefs and yet still adhering to them implicitly. This means secretly punishing yourself such as by cutting yourself or doing other self-harming things, with suicide being the most extreme of these.

3. The next step up is where you reject these ideas and oppose them at every level of your being.

At this step or the one before it, please understand that your trust in reason won’t work with unreasonable people. Be clear as to your own logic and get it flawless, but once you’ve reached that stage, then if you can’t convince your parents or church, then that is no reflection on the quality of your ideas or your presentation. It just means that they’re not open to reason. Some people just aren’t. I mean this nicely, but: get over it. Don’t waste any more time on them. Think of all the energy you’ve wasted arguing with your parents and being infuriated because they won’t listen to reason.

As a logic check, parents’ arguments can sometimes be valuable. They’re not always mistaken. They certainly have a broader adult-based perspective on the world than you do. For example, the reason I’m now an atheist is because of an argument that I, as a devout teenage Christian, lost with my atheistic biological father.

However, you’re probably giving most parents an undeserved compliment if you think everyone can be won over with reason. In the long run, reason makes the world a better place. But it rarely changes parents’ minds to see things as their teenage daughter does, even if she’s in the right.

4. The final step is where you reject these ideas as you reject all irrationality, and your parents’ irrational beliefs are just one more flavor thereof — and not even worth getting disproportionately upset about. You live a happy, rational life, surrounded by fair, benevolent, rational people, and how you got here hardly matters except perhaps as an inspiration to others.

However, to reap the benefits of a long-range perspective, you have to survive the short-term. So, here are some ..

Short-term psychological survival tips for transexual teenage girls:

As a transexual girl, it’s good to have a solid grasp on the facts. Yes, you’re a genetic anomaly, like a black panther or a four-leaf clover. You have a female brain structure and male-shaped body parts ‘down there.’ You can be sad about it or happy about it, but it is what it is, and life goes on. It doesn’t mean you’re any less sane that those around you. It doesn’t mean you’re sick and need to be healed. There’s no cure because it isn’t a disease.

And being gay or straight or bi is a totally separate issue yet.

Some people will be mean with you based on how you were born, and your main defense might be to hide it from them until you’re away from them, but that makes such people very simply and clearly unfair. They are the problem. They — not you.

If you’re in a small town, travel as much as you can. Visit relatives in big cities. See the world. See how large the alternative cultures of the world are compared to stilted small-town thinking.

Religion tends to be the intellectual nucleus of your adversary, so consider if you’re making things safer by embracing or endorsing religion. Read about religion and the critiques of it. Think critically — for your own intended benefit.

When you can’t travel physically, travel intellectually. Watch shows that champion rational values. Read books. Read magazines. Read websites. Chat with like-minded people online.

Be open-minded but careful. It’s a wonderful world but also dangerous.

Accept that you’re different and that it’s OK, possibly much more than OK. Watch the X-men movies and learn how being genetically different is OK, and quite possibly much better than OK.

Get used to the idea that you are a woman. Find and watch movies about strong women, about dreaming of better things and achieving them.

I hope you live a long and happy life. I have. You deserve no less.

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Traveling Abroad as the Girl I am

I’ve always wondered what it’d be like to travel as a t-girl with an officially female status, all nicely integrated, including what’s on my passport.

I had practice conversations in which immigration officials were mean, and I prepared myself mentally for that.

I’ve read how any t-girls visiting Hong Kong are routinely sidelined into a room where they’re simply made to wait for hours on end, for no reason.

And, in Muslim countries, it doesn’t really matter what the t-girl’s ticket says, because it can often be a one-way ticket, guaranteed.

So, cynical as to some of the possible risks, I choose carefully where I do and don’t go.

Canada, the UK and Germany are very t-girl friendly, and that’s not enough reason to justify trips to those countries, but there were some good business reasons too. Off I went. Everything went well, including the interaction with immigration officials.

Probably a key factor is that I sound and look feminine enough. That helped. I know I still look like a t-girl but at least I think the scale is starting to tip in the right direction.

There was one mean guy slouching on a bench at the Cologne main railway station in the middle of the night, but apart from that one person, people were super-nice to me. So one out of the thousands I walked past or interacted with … not a bad ratio. And I didn’t throw rocks at me or anything. He just said “Shemale” mockingly as I walked past. I don’t presume to blend so, well, duh.

20141215_183053Here is a picture of me at near Waterloo station by the South Bank of the Thames, in London, a very Christmassy and cheerful place in mid-December. The picture is kinda bright due to the flash, sorry.

Jezebel? Me? Wow.

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So today, my male contractor hands me the keys and quits because someone who has seen me around town and/or near my office has started the rumor that he’s having an affair with “that woman” (being me). He has been seen coming to work early and leaving late. Indeed, he does work long hours sometimes.

But if I had a work-place affair with the guy, I’m sure I’d remember it even if my short-term memory nowadays isn’t as good as it used to be. And I don’t remember any of it, and it’s supposed to be going on every day. If I’m unable to remember it, and it’s happening daily, it must be literally mind-blowingly good sex. Or maybe it’s not happening and it’s all just gossip.

This gentleman is a nice guy and all, and I consider him a friend, but I’m smart enough to see more problems than benefits by going to bed with him even I were interested, which (no offense intended) I’m not.

So, my reaction was “well, that IS funny, and innocent until proven guilty, and since nothing happened, there’s nothing that can be proven, so no worries and let’s get back to work, shall we?” No. Apparently his church is now going to get involved and it’s all going to be a big inquiry but maybe if I go testify and tell them nothing happened … that’s the point where I told him if I went to chat with his church group it would not be a pleasant conversation for them, and he might be wise to save them the pain of having me remind them that that the Dark Ages are over, they were the reason the Dark Ages were dark, they’ve lost the cultural-dominance war and they might as well start adhering to solid rules of logic, including that it’s flat-out impossible to prove innocence and it’s up to an accuser to prove guilt in any sort of reason-based decision process.

The irony is that I haven’t been ridden by *any* guy for months now. So to have this event occur on the same day as I’m bemoaning my celibate status … is supremely ironic.

I guess i can take some solace in the fact that the focus is on me looking hot enough to be like Jezebel and not that I’m a t-girl. The latter part didn’t even come up in the conversation. Jeez. I mean, wow.

Being Popular in the Way you Don’t Want

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I’m enclosing a racy picture but you could see more nudity at the beach, and so I’m assuming it’s not improper. My point is that on a good day, I’m nowadays fairly hot. And you’d be surprised at how little that’s helpful, in some ways that I’d hoped it would be.

I’m presuming my readers include folks in their late teens but who might not be 18 yet so , as always, I’m trying to phrase things appropriately. That’s why I’m being kind of obtuse in this article. I gather that in PG13 or PG17 movies it’s OK for the story line to convey that, folks, now these two people are having sex — but the scenes shown are suggestive, not the sort of close-up thing that you’d see in, well, porn. That’s my reasoning, anyway.

So I can write about sex but should not be explicit. Although probably every 14-year old in America has read about and seen pictures of every body part explicitly in interaction with every other body part, at least I’m not the source of that. My approach also avoids angry comments and potential legal problems for me, and I like that.

Anyway, so: about sex. I like it. And, I hope to look more and more hot as time goes by, even though I know only too well that time isn’t kind. So, you’d think I’d get more and more guys interested in sex with me, as a result. Also: girls. That’s good because I’m I have enjoyed being sexual with guys as well as girls, though as to balance, I’d have liked some more guys added into the general mix. And, that has indeed been a problem.

One of my favorite movies has the quote “the sex you want, you don’t get, and the sex you get, you don’t want.” That kinda sums up the sex-with-guys situation for me. So, if you’re a t-girl and on this journey, which is presumably why you’re reading this, then be ready for this sort of thing: many guys have beaten a path to my door and are super keen on having me in bed, and the hotter I get, the more so, BUT …

… then they want to put their mouths EVERYwhere and want me to put mine EVERYwhere, and if I don’t think that’s all that great an idea as to safety and hygiene, then all the pixie dust I see is due to 95% of the guys vanishing into thin air.

As to most of the remaining 5%, they will be enthused about sex with me but they want to be on the receiving end. Personally, with a guy, that doesn’t turn me on at all. I want to be on the receiving end. And finding guys who want this … okay, I’ve found a few. VERY few. And half of those want to be completely unsafe about it. And when I say “no” then poof, they’re gone. And as to the rest, when I meet them, they have anxiety problems.

Wow. So, bottom line, I haven’t had sex with a guy for months. And I’m kinda tired of that.

I needed to make a Europe trip and so I went to the UK and Germany thinking that maybe it’s just US guys who have this sort of wiring. And no, it’s not. So I traveled 12,000 miles and accomplished what I needed for my BMW parts business, but it was not the sort of sexy trip I’d hoped for. And, not to sound like a complete slut, but it wasn’t for lack of trying.

So, dear t-girl friend, if you’re looking forward to life as a girl in every way, including your sex life, you might wanna reign in your expectations unless you wanna throw caution to the winds or you don’t mind taking, um, an active role. The latter is only an option until you start seriously snacking on feminizing hormone pills or have some surgery done ‘down there.’

Every now and then I swap emails with someone who is HIV positive and although nowadays the treatment plans are great, I’m still not of the opinion that any one hot session is worth incurring a high risk of an STD. For me, anyway. To each his own.

As for me, I finally lost patience with all the guys and got a sex toy (I mean “marital aid”) and finally had a wonderful time, solo.

That’s not how I’d expected my sex life with guys to be.

It really is tempting to just sign out of the whole sex-with-guys plan and enjoy female company and my sex toys exclusively. It would certainly be a lot less hassle. And then if the right Prince Charming should happen to come along, fine, but I’m not so sure it makes sense to allocate any more of my time and energy to trying to find one.

Ouch, Darn Bra

Yesterday was a red-letter day. Why? Because my bra hurt my back so much that I took it off.

It’s hurt me many times before, but until yesterday I toughed it out.  See, I’m wearing “outplants” instead of implants. They’re basically breast-shaped thingies with a similar shape, gel-like, substance and weight as would eventually get implanted under my skin when / if I decide to proceed.  And, every day for the past several months, I have been wearing them.  And yesterday, for the first time, I took a break from that — and it felt really, really nice.

Being a t-girl and having the not-feminine-enough body shape that I do, I’m always overcompensating. I wanna look extra feminine and have extra-big hips and an extra-thin waist and an extra-big butt and huge boobs. Some large-breasted friends and acquaintances have warned me that large boobs are a mixed blessing at best. I understood what they were saying but they didn’t dissuade me. When I chose my outplant breast size, I went quite large — not huge but certainly very large.  I like the look.  I also like the effect.  Sometimes people are unable to maintain eye contact and I like that too.

I have two acquaintances who are both the same general age and have the same natural breast size, 40 inches or more. Neither quite qualifies as young any more. One lady admits to not maintaining her physique, and not wearing a bra much. Unfortunately, gravity was not kind, and it shows  The other lady wore a bra diligently and her boobs are gorgeous.  If I ever wanted a reminder that there’s “cause and effect” as to wearing a bra, that was it.  I’m clear that, if I am going to get breast implants, it makes sense to also commit to wearing a bra diligently.  No problem, I thought initially. I was highly motivated. Key word: “was.”

But, yesterday, after months of thinking “owee” every now and then, I have officially failed my own test.  I was unwilling to keep my bra on.  So now, I’m officially reconsidering, which validates the whole point behind the exercise. It’s like the process of prototyping in software: make a simulation of the real thing, and spend time with it to see how you like it.

I still like the idea of having large boobs, but I also like the idea of taking a break from bra pain without shirking my maintenance responsibility. And with outplants, that’s what I have today. I could just take a break from them. With implants, that’s not an option.

Before I abandon the whole project, one obvious solution is “go buy a much better bra.” That’s a good plan and I plan to do so, and see how that plays out.  The not-all-that-expensive bra I have now has certainly done a tolerable job for a few months.

But, regardless of what I decide, I like that I’m being so methodical about it.

A Very Different TS Culture, Germany’s

It’s impossible for me to not like much of German culture. I was raised to a large extent by my maternal grandmother, who was about as German as a person can be.  My mom was often at work (and I do appreciate that she worked hard to put food on the table).  And so I spent most days in the company of my Omi.  German was my first language, and I was raised on German comic books. I ate German food and basically grew up as a little German kid regardless of which country I happened to be in at the time.

When I was maybe two years old, I was dying from some weird condition that the French doctors in Paris, where my parents were living at the time, could not pinpoint (or my guess is, were not enthusiastic enough to try to figure out). In desperation, my mom cast her lot on the more-prudent side of the Franco-Germanic cultural divide and got me out of France and to a German doctor (as in, physically in Germany).  The German doctor found the problem and fixed it. Thanks to German know-how, I’m alive and well.

439px-AristotelesI’ve read enough books on philosophy to be clear that a lot of what’s wrong with the Western world is based on bad German philosophy generally focused on Plato, and what’s nice about the Western world is spearheaded by individualism based on the philosophy of Aristotle. The US isn’t flawless but at least until 2008 it was to a large extent an Aristotelian society and might yet be again.  So, yes, the US is my favorite country in the whole, wide world.

But, as a t-girl, I’ve seen some weaknesses in US culture that were hard to discern before I came out as t-girl.  And since I am a t-girl in Germany right now, it’s hard to not contrast the US and Germanic approach to t-girls. In this case, Germany wins.

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I have owned some nifty British cars, many French cars, some amazing American cars, many Swedish cars, some exotic Italian cars, several nice Japanese sports cars, and even one Korean car. So, I have a relatively wide perspective with which to say that “ueber alles” German cars rock. I bought an old BMW, loved it, and bought another. And another. Now I own 20 of them., with almost all of them made in the 1980s. Most of them don’t run (which is how I was able to afford them) but they’re magnificent cars. I also own a couple of 1980s Mercedes-Benz cars (which don’t run either). I hasten to add that the immobile status of the cars is not a refection on the engineering but rather on the substantial owner neglect (mostly, previous owners). As feats of engineering go, these cars are the sort of thing in whose presence you really should take your hat off and bend a knee. As a rule, when a bunch of Germans get together and decide to do something then they are dedicated, logical and methodical, and the results are impressive.

This is, then, a country with millions of diligent people who (in spite of some institutionalized freeloading and socialism) are for the most part wonderfully effective at whatever its citizens choose to make a priority. The very bad idea set of the pre-1945 era was to a large extent sold to the German public on the premise that the Nazi agenda was the right thing to do. For the most part the only way you can convince Germans to do the wrong thing is to trick them into thinking it’s the right thing.  There’s something tragic and yet endearing about that.

After 1945 they decided to prosper and live in peace, and that’s precisely what they did. The place is big, it’s crowded, the weather sucks, and yet it works.  There’s a widely generalized sense of fair play and benevolence that parallels the best of these traditions in the UK and US paradigms too. I wasn’t here in the 1930s and I’m glad, but it sure is nice to be here now.

Meanwhile, nowadays Russia is threatening the Ukraine and who-knows-what-else, and is generally behaving like we should expect Russia to do (like a mean bully). And, not too far west of Moscow lies a sleeping Teutonic giant whose internal politics about 70 years ago made it seem quite likely that Russia was going to become a minor easternmost German province.

National socialism (which is what the word “Nazi” is based on) didn’t help the Germans as a nation or as individuals. It hampered them in many ways. The anti-intellectual effect of the Nazi culture made, in so many ways, for a fundamentally crippled nation long before the good guys finally managed to defeat the Nazi war machine.

But, until the tide turned, the Germans kicked butt. They captured France very quickly. And, they were well on their way to defeating Russia too — and if riled might well do so again.

The problem, if it is a problem, is that Germans are not easy to rile any more. They’re now mellow on principle, intent on not making that one very big mistake ever again. Anything Nazi tends to be so vehemently and instinctively opposed even by the otherwise-mild average German that tolerance is the theme of the current German era. To their credit, they have extended the concept beyond superficial issues and have focused admirably on the underlying premise. They’re not just avoiding being mean to Jews. They’re avoiding being mean to anyone.

Not that Germans aren’t judgmental. But, they’ve come a long way as to what they consider worthy of their disdain. Nowadays, Germans are mostly nice or mean to people based on individual merit.  And for a pleasant transgender girl in Germany (and yes, that happens to be me right now) that is very, very nice.

Not that there’s the total absence of jerks, either. Or at least, one. I’ve heard one snide remark about my appearance, from a surly young male adult who looked grumpy even before he saw me and was probably going to kick the dog on principle when he got home.  But with that one exception, the German people are nice — very nice, even though most days I look more like a transgender girl than a genetically integrated girl.

The most productive part of my trip might well be that I’m learning the viability of buying 25-year old BMW and Mercedes-Benz cars here and shipping them off to the US, or to ship pristine non-rusty examples back to Germany. But money aside, it’s nice to be here. The key premise is that there is no hint of a doubt in people’s minds that a t-girl is a girl. I like that. They actually understand.

In the US, there’s a lot of stratification. It’s sort of like the “earth is flat” sort of thing was not too long ago.  There are some nice and savvy folks who “get it” and then there’s the group who’s slow to “get the memo.” The latter is not a small group. For many of the more conservative folks (esp. in small-town America and/or the South) a t-girl is basically a delusional gay guy with a wardrobe problem. That’s what God said, that’s what the Bible said, and by golly, they believe it.

Not that this mind-set limits itself to those locations. It’s tedious for me to deal with that mentality. Whenever I’m out and about in the US, I’m always on guard. I don’t even make eye contact with males any more unless I know them or it’s socially unavoidable. It’s not that I’m afraid of violence. I’m just tired of approximately half of the people being mean to me automatically.

By contrast, in Germany, everyone is mellow and nice to me.  Today, I suddenly realized that nowadays when I’m out in public, I’m relaxed. It’s new to me. And, it’s nice.

I miss the US and I look forward to being back soon, perhaps with a containerload of dead BMWs in tow.  But while I’m here in Germany, it sure is nice to be in a culture where the concept of t-girl has been so well-understood and well-assimilated into popular culture.

 

 

 

A Most Sincere Compliment

2014-12-09 00.11.44This picture is how I looked, just before midnight, about 3 hours ago.

Earlier today, I had my hair professionally washed and blow-dried because if I don’t do that, it starts looking frizzy.  And, I have permanent lashes because that saves me a lot of time with mascara.

I’m in Las Vegas staying at Treasure Island hotel and casino, and I worked late so I decided to take a break and go have coffee at a 24-hour coffee shop at the Mirage hotel and casino, which is right next door. This requires crossing the driveway entrance to Treasure Island, on the corner of which stands a lady whom I’ve seen many times before. She hands out business cards of girls who can get sent to someone’s hotel room, presumably for paid-time hanky-panky. Having observed this lady many times during the last year or two, I’ve noticed that she makes a point of handing these cards to guys and not to girls.

Yesterday I wore some new and sexy high-heeled shoes to go have coffee at the nearby Venetian hotel and casino,  They hurt my feet so much that it was hard to walk sexily and eventually it was hard to walk at all. I was sorely tempted to take them off and walk barefoot, which in Las Vegas is a bad idea. So, I endured the pain and I don’t ever plan to wear them again.  For tonight, I wore some semi-elegant flat-soled booties but they don’t go well with a skirt or dress.  So, I wore jeans.  I was also wearing my leather jacket.  And, I’m 6 feet tall.

So, as I was walking past the card-dispensing lady, she was standing with her head down. She noticed that the lady walking next to me was, obviously, female, and didn’t hand her a card.  When she saw me (or to be exact, the lower portion of me) she saw a tall person in androgynous, possibly-male clothing and she automatically offered me a card. Then she looked up, saw all of me, and she yanked the card back and mumbled an apology. It wasn’t due to me looking hostile. In fact, I was smiling.

I’m always self-conscious about my face and figure looking too androgynous and not sufficiently feminine — so it gives me hope when on the merit of my chest, face and hair, someone changes her mind and classifies me correctly as being basically female.

I like it.