Looking Like your own Grandmother

One of the wonderful t-girls whom I’m mentoring has waited a very long time to live as who she really is, and even now she’s still only “out” part-time.

She explained to me that, due to her age, her male hormones have dwindled down, and her hormone mix is probably now as those of a young girl, and indeed — when she looks in the mirror, she looks female to herself nowadays. The problem is, she explained, she now looks like her grandmother.

To me, this is SO sad. She is already past retirement age, and she has lived so many decades while repressing her true self.

Not that there’s anything wrong with an older lady looking like, well, an older lady. It’s part of life. But, if that’s the only experience in female living that a t-girl has, it seems to me that she’s missing out on a lot — even though there is still much joy for her to experience, and being older doesn’t preclude being healthy, and sexy.

One of the motivational blogs that I like to read is by a t-girl who points out the relative benefits of coming out and living as oneself, openly and happily. She made a poster that has wording that I recall as:

Today, you’re the youngest you’ll ever be. And yet, you’re also the most experienced than you’ve ever been.

The main regret I have in life, is that I didn’t sooner live openly as who I am.

If that’s a mistake that others are making, and I can inspire them to do better than I did, I’d like that.

A Very Different Type of Sexual Fantasy Dream

gg2015-12-04 22.59.16Last night, I did some self-evaluation as to the effects that my feminizing hormones are having on my hips. Last summer, when my hips were very narrow, a wide-hipped acquaintance assured me that my hips were lovely and she wished hers looked like mine. Even so, by my standards, some extra width would be nice for me, and that is now happening.

Fortunately, I’ve done enough midriff exercises to keep my shape hourglassy even as I’m changing shape. As my hips get wider, the waist-to-hip ratio moves closer to what I’d like. It’s a new experience for me, to think of my hips as a pretty part of my physique.

I woke up today after having the nicest dream, on the subject of — yes, my hips. In the dream, I was walking around some large building complex such as a huge shopping mall, with multiple restaurants. I felt naturally confident as just one more girl, walking around and enjoying life.

If you’ve been reading my articles long enough, you know that I’m as gay as a Maypole, meaning I’m a girl who likes girls.  And so, in the dream, I saw several pretty girls. I felt as their peer, and they seemed to look on me as such, as we walked past each other, in general benevolence.

One girl, a brunette, seemed a bit more wild in her choice of personal look; she had some piercings and tattoos, and a more trendy, edgy style to her clothing. Her hair was shoulder-length but with a sort of rebel-girl style. When she saw me, she stopped and looked me up and down, and told me: “You have the sexiest hips. Come with me; I want to feel them.” Wow, okay.

I followed her. She seemed to know her way around and finally took us inside an elegant, dimly lighted restaurant that had table candlelight and yet was already closed for the night; deserted as far as I could tell. She faced me, and started touching me. It was SO sexy but totally in a girl-girl way. I know that dreams are hard to remember, but somehow I’m sure, now that I’m awake, that I’ve never had a dream quite like this. The girl wasn’t overpowering yet she was very assertive. She knew what she wanted, and she wanted me.

At this point the story gets vague — not because I’m trying to keep things bland for my teenage readers; I really don’t remember the details clearly now that I’m awake. I recall the clothes coming off, and right before mine came off, I warned her that I’m a trans girl in case this bothered her. She expressed surprise in a complimentary way, as if I’d come across to her as just one more girl. Anyway, she didn’t seem bothered about it.

The next part of the dream is probably the intense part but … I don’t remember any of it. After, presumably, much mutual pleasure, she and I got up to walk out together, and then we noticed that only one section of the restaurant had been closed off; the section of carpeting where we had enjoyed each others’ company was in fact shared with three or four parties, sitting at their tables and placidly dining, apparently not disturbed by the two lesbian girls having undressed and frolicked in plain sight. I liked that the “wow, that would never happen” part of the dream involved that, and not the part leading up to it.

I really like how well the entire who-and-what-I-am premise is by now so well-integrated in my subconscious mind …

 

Wait to Come Out, Maybe Lose the Opportunity

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I’m not a liberal, but I’m cynical enough to be very concerned about how polarized the culture of the US is becoming, and the impending Presidential election is making it worse.

No, this article isn’t to suggest how you should vote. It IS suggesting that the sun might be about to set on the brief sunlit period of acceptance and safety that US transgender people have enjoyed in the last few years.

Quite a few years ago, when I was developing software for the government, the lunchroom was an informal setting where people sat at tables together, without necessarily liking or knowing each other. Most typically, person A dimly knew person B who was sitting at a particular table, and brought his lunch tray over and sat down there, even though he didn’t know the other half-dozen people at that table.

During one such conversation, I was sharing a lunch table with someone who was as high-up in the non-military part of government as anyone I have ever met. He was a very, very senior person. He was also very opinionated. He loudly said that his solution to the problem of HIV was to create a concentration camp named “The Last Resort” and to round up and lock up everyone with HIV. Under his plan, people with HIV would be sent to that camp and be forced to stay there until they died. He said it sort-of as a joke but he was using humor as a fig leaf to cover what he really thought and meant. Even if he’d been a junior government employee, that would still have been disconcerting enough to me. But to hear a very high-up government civil servant say so, out loud, in a public setting … that was most disturbing.

For example, a soul-baring confession from a former Nixon adviser admitted that the Nixon administration was irritated with two main groups: anti-war people and blacks. The administration couldn’t get away with arresting people outright just for being anti-war or black, but by adding the red herring that anti-war people were pot-heads, and then declaring pot illegal, they had enough of an obfuscating pretext to harass anti-war people, disrupt their meetings, and lock up their leaders. Ditto as to black people and heroin. Did the government people know they were lying about the drugs? “Of course,” confessed this former senior official.

I read and see videos about how vastly the Federal government is trampling people’s rights — serious stuff, like law enforcement agents shooting LaVoy Finicum dead while he clearly had his hands up. Also most serious are the Federal abuses of power which led up to that murder.

Much of my family is German. I speak with a slight German accent. I lived in Germany during part of my childhood. I was morbidly intrigued by how a country of poets,  scientists and philosophers could elect Adolf Hitler, round up Jewish people and send them to concentration camps where the most horrible things would be done to them.

Can I imagine that sort of thing happening in the US? We already know that sufficient  malice exists in high office, that massive abuse of power is going on and has been going on for a long time.

If you’re a liberal then maybe you’re not all that worried because, hey, whatever, it’s currently “the other side” that’s being treated unfairly … but it takes only one backlash to change all that, and then all the mechanisms that enable government abuse of power will be aimed at liberals and their causes. Look how the country has swung from one extreme to the other: Nixon, then Carter, then Reagan, then Clinton, then Bush, then Obama (and yes, I’m leaving two out for reasons I’ll explain if you ask me).

The way that the wrong crowd of Democrats have been behaving while in power makes an anti-liberal  backlash not just inevitable but even understandable. The question is only how far that will go.

If the wrong Republican crowd gets into power, they will no doubt start skewering liberal sacred cows. I would expect that transgender people — as such — will be high on the list, just after refugees and illegal aliens. Will transgender people officially be rounded up and locked up ? I’d guess … probably not. Will the wrong Republican crowd, in power, fan the flames of hatred against transgender people so that adult bullies crawl out of their dark hiding places and once again feel safe enough to initiate abuse and violence against transgender people while law enforcement looks the other way? No doubt.

How far would the official attack on transgender people go? Would people whose passports were corrected from “M” to “F” have to hand them back, and have them changed back to “M?” Maybe, but — my guess is — probably not. Would government agencies have new guidelines that make the issuing of new passports follow rules that have such effect, and also make it much harder for a just-out transgender person to transition? No doubt. Just a small-seeming policy change can seem innocent — and yet, in effect, it could change everything.

Since the wrong Republican crowd probably hates gays even more, why wouldn’t they come after gays just as enthusiastically? Probably because bullies respect strength, and gay people have strength in numbers, plus in cultural-mainstream acceptance, due to having been “out” for more years.

By contrast, transgender people are (as far as I can tell) a much smaller group, and in US culture we are a new-enough phenomenon to where there’s still much cultural animosity towards us. Transgender people are not yet mainstream enough to where most people would (grudgingly or otherwise) leave us alone even if the wrong Republican  crowd has the upper hand.

Are you not yet out, and you’re worried that coming out is hard today? I’d guess that the difficulty, danger, risks and stakes are likely to increase dramatically in the near future.

Success Story #3 in Intense Mentoring: Lack of Anger

ggg2016-01-14 23.48.35The t-girl lady whom I mentored as my live-in roommate, for 5 months or so, experienced a significant emotional change in the process.

She’d told me that before she came here, she left her work in anger every day, feeling treated unjustly (and after hearing the details, I can sympathize with why she felt so). She wasn’t exaggerating … she meant every day.

In her family life, she dealt with much more injustice yet.

It was a no-win situation for her. At work, she felt unappreciated. At home, more of the same.

Not just was she unappreciated as the wonderful person she is, but she also had all the frustrations of being a t-girl in stealth mode, until just before she came here.

By contrast, when she was with me, she become more and more positive, open and chatty as the wonderful, and charming person she is, albeit in her own quiet way. Just being able to live openly as the girl she is — that probably made every day much nicer for her.

Still, I understand that she has many frustrations with the people in her past, and some parts of the journey are hard beyond my ability to mitigate. Also, her body is still currently producing lots of testosterone, which I’d name “the anger chemical.”

One day she was helping me fix one of my cars, and it was a very intricate task. She came into the kitchen a few hours later and said she had taken out her frustrations on the headlights of my Volvo. I took a deep breath and tried to remain calm. When I was her age and having anger issues, this would have caused much collateral damage. I was already doing the math and wondering where I was going to get a set of replacement headlights within my budget.

Not that I’m OK with someone destroying my stuff, and her beating up on my car would seriously lower my enthusiasm for having her around, but I understand that everyone has a bad day now and then. She took out her phone and showed me a picture of the headlights. They are large and plastic, and they used to be yellow and tarnished. Now they shone as if they were brand new. She’d applied a headlight polishing kit to them and her way of venting her frustration was to vigorously pour her energy into half an hour of intense sanding and polishing.  That sounds to me like someone who is doing a commendable task of managing her anger.

 

Being Out as a T-Girl in the Vanilla Medical World, Part 1

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I recall how, before I came out as a t-girl, my health was declining so rapidly that I was probably going to be dead in a few years, and yet the prospect nevertheless failed to inspire any correctly action. How miserably frustrating that must have been for those who loved me and saw my decline, and were wishing I’d DO something. I’m sorry for my own sake that I have neglected my health, but I’m sorry for them too… not that the neglect of my health is the dumbest thing I’ve ever done, but it’s certainly in the top 20.

The thing is, I was so sick of living without basic integrity (i.e., living openly as the girl I am, brain-wise) that life just wasn’t worth it to me, emotionally. I wasn’t planning to go out in a blaze of glory, but I was just slowly falling apart. One day I’d have a heart attack and that’d be that.

Now that I live as the girl that I am, I’m radiantly happy, and if I live for a long time, that suits me just fine. My risk of heart attack is by now delightfully low, due to good blood chemistry (cholesterol, etc.), good blood pressure and low stress.

Next, I’m focusing my not-so-impressive income on making sure nothing else is likely to kill me off any time soon. I have had skin cancer so I go for more-regular check-ups as such, and some other things could benefit from a check-up too. So, I went to my doctor’s office for that.

The visit to the doctors’ office went perfectly, and the receptionist lady was so nice to me that I later brought her a pot of yellow flowers to say “thank you.”  The medical billing lady in the front office was a lot less friendly but I didn’t take it personally. That line of work probably makes for a not-so-happy person.

Whenever someone talks about me in the third person, and I’m present, then I wince when they use male pronouns. I might have facial bones like Rambo, but I’m a girl, dammit. And a visit to a doctor’s office typically involves much talking to each other about me as part of the work, e.g., “she doesn’t have insurance” or “she needs an appointment.”

At the doctor’s office, they understood who and what I am. “She” was the pronoun used. Good!

The next visit was to the admitting office of my chosen hospital. Same situation. “She” this, “she” that. Good!

Hair on My Back and Chest, Yay

gg2015-12-05 01.45.49Before I came out openly as the t-girl I am, I felt captive by my own inhibitions. I felt so disgusted with how I looked that it seemed futile to even start with looking better. Besides, then I would have begun a terrifying-at-the-time journey, and if anyone noticed any progress, then (since I believe in honesty) if they inquired as to the reason, then I’d have to explain things that at the time sounded confusing and ridiculous to me.

The hair on my back, butt and chest were the worst, psychologically. I hated that. So, nowadays, I have smooth and hairless skin most days, thanks to diligent waxing, again and again. Where I couldn’t easily reach, helpful people assisted but sometimes I did some contortionist solo waxing.

My mom finally came around and she now accepts that she has had a daughter all along, so sometimes I ask her to wax my back, and she’s happy to help. One of our dialogues involved me asking her to make a point of waxing my butt too, since i had noticed she wasn’t putting any wax on that. “I can’t!” she protested, “there’s nothing TO wax, there. It’s totally smooth and hairless.” Yay!

Except on my butt, my body hair still grows back but they are fine, blonde, light hairs. Even so, they are still not sparse enough by my standards, so I still get rid of these too, with regular waxing, and so probably the trend towards gradual annihilation will continue.

Meanwhile, the hair on my head is cheerfully growing. I was previously experiencing a receding hairline, and going on hormones put a stop to that, yay! And so, with loving care, my hair has slowly been growing longer and longer.

Not that long ago, I could start to feel the weight of my hair on my back. How I loved that sensation! And most recently, I’m feeling the hair tickle my collar-bones and the area below that, as it continues to grow ever longer. I love that.

How different my life is now …

Success Story #2 in Intense Mentoring: Shape & Weight

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The t-girl lady whom I mentored as my live-in roommate for 5 months or so pretty much ate the same foods I ate, in approximately the same portions, though there were some things that she didn’t like, and I found viable alternatives.

Her weight has for many years been a point of concern for her. At some time, before coming here, she was about to exceed 300 pounds. She had started a professional career at which her sharp mind and interests would have made her excel, except that her weight issues were an ongoing hurdle, and this problem eventually ended her career prematurely. The problem goes back to when she was in school. The other children had ridiculed her due to her weight, and had called her mean names as such.

When I met her, she was a t-girl in stealth mode, out as such only in brief and intense spans of time. During such times, she was tightly corseted, and she had an hourglass figure due to the corset and due to adding much hip padding. In that mode, she seemed well-proportioned — but everything was, well, wider … not that that’s an unnatural look, as I’ll explain next.

A t-girl friend of mine came over last summer for a friendly sleep-over visit and brought along a genetically integrated 22-year-old girl-friend. We saw each other in the nude or mostly so, not due to it being a sexual time (it wasn’t), but because I don’t normally wear much anyway, when I’m in my bedroom, and the two of them spent several hours happily trying on and modeling my various pretty outfits. The 22-year-old girl had very much the same hourglassy-yet-wide look that my subsequent t-girl protege had, with her corset and hip padding on.

Problem solved, yes? Well, no. First of all, she was at an unhealthy weight, not at 300 pounds but not very far from that. And, when her corset and hip padding came off, it became apparent to me how painful and time-consuming a process it was for her to become ready to look in a way where she felt OK with being out and about as a t-girl.

Also, to complete the look in three dimensions so she wouldn’t have the visual effect of a cardboard cut-out, she also needed bubble butt padding and huge boobs, and neither of those came to her courtesy of mother nature. That ended up making for yet extra weight, and much equipment to put on — lots of effort.

Granted, in that mode, she looked gorgeous, but I was hoping that she would gradually become more and more happy with her own shape. Over five months, that’s exactly what happened, yay!

Whenever she was with me, she ate healthily. That, plus some gentle reassurance, helped her feel comfortable with her own physique, and to go out into the world as such.

First, the corset got retired, then the hip padding, then her boobs decreased in size by borrowing some smaller falsies from me; then (since she has her own pretty boobies, just not huge) she dispensed with the falsies too. The entire time she was here, she wasn’t a t-girl in stealth mode. She lived openly as who she is, all day, every day.

For fun, she would still dress up in full regalia sometimes, but on a day-to-day basis, she didn’t seem to feel any need to do so. Yay!

Her mornings often included rushing to the scale that I have in the kitchen. She typically got on it with an eager smile and stepped off with a happy smile. However, the scale rarely if ever tells the entire story. Her shape was so much healthier than when she walked into my place the first time. I was adamant that rapid weight loss is counter-productive and dangerous, so I planned her meals accordingly. As a result, her weight loss was gradual. She arrived at maybe 280 pounds and left at slightly less than 240 pounds. I calculate that to approximately two pounds per week, eight pounds per month. Any faster would have been unsafe, as per the general medical consensus — as far as I can tell.

One additional benefit was to her knees. She’d had serious problems with her knees. Perhaps her weight, combined with her intense exercise routine, a few years ago, were much or all of the cause. As she lost weight, her knees were also healing, yay!

As to exercise, I don’t go to a gym, but I like doing my daily exercises at home, and that includes dancing to music during my work-day. So, she had every opportunity to follow along, and she also had me as an example, but she didn’t do much exercise. She explained to me that as to dancing, she’d like to first give her knees the time they needed so as to heal. That makes perfect sense to me.

When she came here, it was September, and my car at the time didn’t have air conditioning. As my passenger on a hot day, she was sweltering and miserable.  A few months later, she mentioned one day, while standing in the kitchen, that she felt slightly chilly  — and she explained how it was a very new phenomenon, for her.

She left with mixed feelings; she and I were both clear that living with me had been good for her journey, and she and I were both crying as she walked out. But even while I was sad, I still somehow noticed how good she looked, including her shape. It was an odd thought to have at such a sad moment, but she had inspired it.

Success Story #1 in Intense Mentoring: Intro

ggg2016-01-14 23.49.05I like it when what I know and do empowers other good people, and if it’s something from which they greatly benefit, while it costs me very little, better yet. Trans girls like me often feel embattled and overwhelmed, so I enjoy mentoring them especially.

I’m fine with one-time or occasional meetings and long-distance friendships, but if my influence is more helpful than harmful, then perhaps more intense exposure thereto might be better yet. Such an experiment, spanning almost five months, has just concluded. This article is the report for that.

I have a spare bedroom, and although I’m broke most of the time, most days if I double my grocery bill, then I can still make ends meet. And I always enjoy good, honest company, and some informal help with the many things I juggle in life.

Barring any crises, I can probably afford to make a spare bedroom available to a roommate so that she has a safe, warm, dry roof over her head, a bed to sleep on, laundry, use of my Wi-Fi, the bathroom, towels, and I make her meals and buy her snacks and pay for the household stuff like toilet paper, paper towels, etc. The place where I live has a laundry available as part of the arrangement, so that’s helpful too.

More important yet, I’m a t-girl openly and I’ve made some progress as to that journey, with some insights to share. So, my place is t-girl friendly, and a girl who’s still feeling awkward can use this safe space to learn how to put on make-up, dress, walk, talk as the girl she is. As much as she likes, I’m fine with making training part of her daily routine, and allocating some of my time and energy to that. My guidance ranges from tactical to strategic to philosophical, and the girl is welcome to use as much or as little of my advice as she chooses. My girlfriend is also, of course, t-girl friendly so she adds to the insights, the assistance, and the benevolent t-girl-friendly ambiance.

If you’ve watched too much t-girl porn then you are probably now wide-eyed, imagining the steamy sexual nights that must be unavoidable with two trans girls living together. You’d be much mistaken. The ambiance here was more like an episode of “Friends.” Not that we’re not each a sexual being, but whatever wild desires we had for ravishing a pretty girl in bed, we didn’t focus that on each other. We were roommates, and soon friends, and then close friends.

This all sounds very one-sided, as if I were adopting an adult. That was not the case. She added a vast amount of value. Here are a few examples:

  • I’m pretty overwhelmed with everything I juggle, and I appreciate any help I can get. She helped immensely. When this girl moved in, my apartment looked very different than it does now. It is now vastly more organized. Things are neatly stacked, catalogued, and when I need to find something, I easily can.
  • She’s also very practical and creative. For example, my roof leaks. Since I live in the desert, that’s hardly ever a problem, because it hardly ever rains, However, when it does, it rains A LOT. So, she made a clever contraption: a string of cord that is attached to the point in the ceiling where the water drips down, and the cord runs diagonally down to a plastic tub to contain the water. That’s much better than a ruined ceiling and carpet.
  • Boxes that were in the front room and belonged in the kitchen, are now in the kitchen and vice versa. Items that were mystery items in boxes are now identified in a database.
  • She’s also a computer geek, so thanks to her, my network now has a nice proxy server enabled.
  • My home now has a sophisticated security system that she set up.
  • She’s former Military, and gun-savvy. After we’d go target shooting, she’d clean the guns for me.
  • Clogged plumbing? She knew how to fix it, and did.
  • When I needed help towing a car from one place to another, she helped. Multiple cars, actually.
  • My mom’s Audi’s headlights, and my own Volvo’s headlights, were hazy. She polished them and buffed them. Now they look almost brand new.
  • My sad collection of old cars is a lot less sad now thanks to her help.
  • When I needed help, removing a transmission from a car in a junkyard, she helped.
  • When I needed to figure out how to dismantle and fix a transmission, she helped.
  • When I needed to empty my storage shed out, she helped.
  • I needed to have someone drive me to Las Vegas while I worked on my laptop during the trip. She drove, and made her car available for the trip, besides.

I could go on and on. This lady is smart, and she added much value.  Her being here was a “win” for me. I cried when she left. So did she. I’ll miss her. I already do, in fact.

She stayed here for almost five months. It’s safe to say she would still be here, but someone she’s known for a long time is having a severe personal crisis, and so she left to go help. She might be back to come live here again, or not. At that point, the room might still be available for her, or not.

Anyway, in future articles, I plan to write down what worked, in the hope that what I did right can help my readers, too. And who knows, maybe the picture sounds so compelling that I thereby attract the next Supergirl.

Winning People Over, One at a Time

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Something really good happened to me recently, so I’m writing about it.

When people compliment my aesthetics based on my pictures, I thank them but I also point out that I throw away maybe 90% of the pictures, and I publish the few that look nice. It’s an old Playboy photographer trick. During the course of a typical 3-day centerfold photo shoot, they take an average of 10,000 pictures (last I heard) and only a dozen of those make it into the magazine. With that approach, it’s a lot easier to happen to look good in at least one picture now and then.

If you see me in person, you’ll notice that I have a much more male-shaped face than in the pictures. That’s the feature I like least. My mom cheerfully argues with me as to how I come acros, but I see the effect I have on people, and I draw my own conclusions.

I recall reading a story about race relations. The mom and her baby, at the time, lived in a neighborhood where the only people whom the baby saw were white or something close to that skin tone. One day, the mom and baby were at a grocery store, and for the first time, the baby saw a black person — not coffee-colored skin but a very dark complexion. The baby stared in shock for a few seconds and started crying, loudly and non-stop. The mom was mortified and apologized, explaining to the black person that this is the first time that her baby had seen a black person. The black gentleman was most gracious and reassured her that he wasn’t taking it personally.

Unfortunately, I know how that black gentleman may have felt. I live in a small, rural town where “out” trans girls are a rarity. I put on make-up, nail polish, wear dresses or skirts, and generally try to give strangers as many social cues as I can. The large (albeit mostly fake) boobs help too. But, it’s an uphill battle.

A few months ago, I was about to rent a new business property. Every time I meet someone new for a complicated business transaction, I take a deep breath and dive in. As an “out” trans girl, it’s rarely simple or easy. For that reason I’d just really rather do things via email, but I should not live as a hermit, either. So, I deal with it.

On the day I walked into the office of the real estate agent, the front door was at the opposite end of a large room to where she was sitting at her desk. She looked up and her face had so spontaneous an “oh my gawd, ewww” instant-horror-and-disgust expression that it was very unpleasant to be there, and walk across that room and commence doing business. I try to think of the baby-crying story when things like this happen, and I try not to take them personally.

Truth be told, I still struggle personally to synthesize, at an emotional level, a very male-looking face with feminine make-up and clothing. Whether it’s me looking in the mirror at my own reflection, or at someone else, sometimes it just looks like jarring to me. I understand that the person is a trans girl and is trying hard, but it’s not automatic for to get over the contrast. When the trans girl has a more-female-than-male androgynous look then the effect is the opposite; I find that look very intriguing and attractive. But, it’s a fine line.

To her credit, and as I do in such situations, the real estate lady mustered her self-control, and conducted the conversation with the utmost professionalism — but I could see she was struggling. It was a relief for me, and probably for her too, when I left.

The next series of interactions were via email, and some of the issues involved me making a polite but hard stand as to that particular aspect being unacceptable to me. I happen to be friends with the land-lord so it was tempting to just go over the lady’s head, but instead I worked through the issues with her, disagreements and all. Gradually, in spite of (or maybe because of) the tough negotiations, I could see her style and tone change, as the days went by. Eventually, it became a very friendly and positive dynamic, via email anyway.

When the deal finally concluded, I was feeling very grateful and positive towards her, so the next time I went grocery shopping, I bought a small potted plant with yellow flowers, and then I stopped by her office to hand them to her. I was ready for her emotional reaction (again) to my look, and yet I was willing to deal with that.

However, she just reacted with simple delight as to the flowers, and started chatting about her day including the need to go rent a hand dolly to move a refrigerator. I happen to own such a dolly, so I invited her to my business so that she could borrow it. She accepted with delight, and we drove in convoy to my shop. At that location, I explained our business operations, while pointing to actual artifacts. She seemed interested and impressed.

Typical of the culture of this cowboy town (yes, literally, as in people who do that for a living), she also mentioned that she’s shopping for a better horse trailer. We chatted about that too. Her attitude was 100% positive and nice.

The last Friday of January, I needed to stop by to drop off a rent check. It was almost 5 pm. and her “open” sign was on, with the lights also still on in her office and her SUV parked outside. I remembered the first visit and didn’t know how much of that might still remain, so I avoided going in. Instead, I ran another errand, expecting that after 5 pm, I would just stop by after everyone had left, and shove the rent check through the mail slot in the door. Just before 6 pm I drove back to her office, but she was still there. I decided to brave it and walked in.

She cheerfully and benevolently hailed me with a loud “Hi Tanya!” from across the room, and beamed at me. We chatted about personal things and she was sincerely friendly and nice. When I left, she cheerfully and loudly said “Bye, Tanya!” with a broad and sincere smile.

And so, the world has become, for me and her, a slightly nicer place. When I was less cynical, i used to think I could win people over to my way of thinking (whatever that was at the time) in droves.

Nowadays, I know better. Whatever I stand for, I do better when I am personally an exemplary ambassadrix. It’s a slow process but I enjoy it, and it works well for me.

Maybe, for once, the Press gets Transgender Pronouns Right

A friend of mine just sent me a link to a tragic story where Kayden Clarke, a suicidal guy with Asperger’s, was holding a steak knife when police came into his apartment in response to a suicide-prevention call. For details as to what happened next, I can’t do the subject justice here, but please go read up about it. Anyway, Kayden Clarke was shot and later died in the hospital. There’s much to say about that, and many people are already saying it, so I’ll leave “center stage” to them. These are indeed, literally, issues of life-or-death importance.

Based on two articles I’ve read, I’ll limit my own second-hand observations to something much less important, which is how well the press articles I saw handled the gender issues in their reporting. The guy who was shot was a trans guy. As I understand the concept, this means the person was born with a male brain structure, and female plumbing. A person’s brain is what most fundamentally makes that person who he or she is, so the brain structure is what most fundamentally determines gender.  So, never mind the plumbing, this was a guy. A trans guy, but nevertheless a guy.

On that premise, the newspaper articles did well. They referred to him by his chosen name, Kayden Clarke. Correctly, they referred to him as a man. The articles used the correct pronouns: “he” and “him” and “his” … good. That’s how it should be.

  • Let’s throw wrinkle #1 in there. Imagine that the trans guy hadn’t as yet changed his name from how it was on his birth certificate, and that his legal name was Danielle Jacobs. That indeed seems to be the case. So, a good way for the articles to handle this would be to mention the formal legal name but to do so in the proper context, so that the legal name doesn’t imply that the guy isn’t a guy, i.e., so that the legal name doesn’t confuse the issue. And correctly is indeed how the articles handled it. Good.
  • Let’s throw wrinkle #2 in there. Imagine that the trans guy’s mother doesn’t acknowledge that her offspring, being a trans man, is a guy. The mother would, in such a situation, refer to the deceased by the legal name and would use female pronouns. That indeed seems to be the case. So, a good way for the articles to handle this would be to quote the mother accurately but to then also reconcile this to the facts of the case, so that the mother’s quote doesn’t confuse the reader into trying to guess whether Kayden was a guy or not. The one article, that quoted the mother, handled this correctly too. Good.

Any time a citizen is shot by the police, it’s a serious issue with much potential for confusion. When there’s a trans person involved, there is even more potential for confusion. Not that innocence or guilt depends on gender, but facts are facts, so let’s get them straight. Fact is, transgender people are not figments of the imagination. We exist. We know our own gender better than those around us do. And autopsies have vindicated this phenomenon, in fact, when the time came.

Not that many years ago, I recall seeing newspaper articles mentioning some or other police activity involving a trans person.  The person’s true gender (based on their sense of self, in turn based on their brain structure) as opposed to birth certificate gender (based on their external plumbing) was pointedly downplayed or negated. Any reference thereto was done in a condescending way such as by stating the person was wearing clothes of the opposite gender and was claiming a nick-name belonging to the opposite gender.

Using that style of bad journalism, the tragedy described above would have been written as “Danielle Jacobs was shot by police. She was wearing men’s clothing at the time, claimed to be a man, and went by the nickname of Kayden.”  Such snide trans-negating reporting would just add insult to injury. Not that it’s going to help Kayden, but perhaps such bad reporting is finally fading into dis-use.