Enjoying the View from the Moral High Ground

Somehow by saying “sure, I’d be happy to mentor you” I seem to suddenly be mentoring quite a few transsexual girls on the same journey as I am.

One common thread I’m noticing, and to which I can relate to … is the feeling of being disapproved of — for being a t-girl, for wanting to be out as a t-girl, for being open about being a sexual being etc. Especially these things in combination.

Now that I’ve been clear on the basics for a while (i.e., , that I’m not crazy but I’m simply a genetic anomaly, somewhat rare but not all that much either, kinda like black panthers) its gelled with me emotionally.  This realization of “I’m OK” made my confidence level rise to levels I hadn’t thought possible. I’m kinda surprised at how good I feel about life; I’ve never experienced this level of harmony with the world before.

A good ally in the journey is my amazing younger sister, someone who got extra portions when the universe was handing out rations of looks, personality, character and brains.

So when she recently posted something that resonates with me even more than the cool things that she normally posts, I thought I’d repost it on here — with a contextual explanation and slightly cleaned-up for the parents of the teenagers who read my blog and think the “f-word” hasn’t been an integral part of the vocabulary of every child in the English-swearing world since age six.

So_True43Methinks the attitude shown in this image can be a useful tool on the journey of most t-girls. I warmly recommend it.

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If it’s Detrimental to you, say Sayonara

Cooking is one of the skills I enjoyed learning at a way, way early age but being a t-girl in stealth mode I did so mainly surreptitiously. Even though I didn’t at the time understand my feminine inclinations well, I did correctly evaluate them as something the outside world would use to harm me so I trusted no-one as to that aspect of my mental process. My parents didn’t know, my friends didn’t know — nobody.

It’s really easy to keep a secret. You just don’t tell anyone.

So, now that I’m an adult and totally “out,” I enjoy cooking. Problem is that what I eat I plan very precisely — and what I eat rarely needs to be prepared aside from sticking a bowl of something in the microwave oven. The closest I typically come to cooking is on rare days when I make an omelet.

The reason I manage what I eat so carefully is that many t-girls look overly masculine due to their bulk, and even if this isn’t a fat tummy, but arms, chest, etc. then it’s still not a feminine shape.

The doctor who performed my Adam’s apple surgery, Dr. Ousterhout, is ultra-savvy about such matters, and to my immense gratitude, he advised me accordingly.

To see what I mean, go Google pictures of the lovely Kate Upton. She has large and lovely boobs but what makes her figure so extra sexy is that the rest of her figure is lean.

So, I am now indeed very gradually losing weight. As a conscious effort; this is new. I’m now at about 180 and have been this weight for a year or so. But now I’m ready to shrink. By the time I’m where I wanna be, I’ll be 160 or 155. Most of those 20 or 25 lost pounds will be fat and some will be due to muscle loss. I’m 5’11.5″ so that’s a pretty lean weight.

I take in about 1750 calories a day, which is about 750 less than what I need to maintain. To keep my metabolism fast enough I mainly drink coffee, sleep enough and drink lots of water. I exercise too but not to the extent that it deserves honorable mention.

If a deficit of 3,500 calories means a body weight loss of one pound, then I’ll lose a pound every 5 days or so, which is not so fast as to be unsafe. And there’s some wiggle room too, with a 750-calories-a-day deficit. For example, when I occasionally go to my mom’s for dinner or to the International House of Pancakes for an omelet, or I eat an extra square of chocolate, then I don’t stress about those extra calories; even so I’m not too worried.

The beauty of the plan is that the time to lose weight is before I go on estrogen because after that, weight loss becomes more difficult. And if I’m lean when I go on estrogen and then when I do put on weight, whether it’s muscle or fat, then this will show up in a feminine paradigm so it’ll make me more female-shaped. Brilliant.

Anyway, this being a rainy Saturday morning, I decided that the smell of baking muffins would be a nice addition to my humble home, and I prepared to make some of my favorite brand of muffins. One packet normally makes six muffins, and they are delicious if I eat them that same day. They don’t do well if I refrigerate them. But since they’re ultra-yummy, eating six of them is not a problem.

2015-02-28 12.14.33Almost casually, I read the nutritional info on the side of the box, before I got started. 170 calories. That’s not bad. OMG wait that’s per muffin. So 6 x 170 is more than a thousand calories and even if these were magic muffins, they would not be worth a a thousand-calorie hit. Also, those 6 muffins would max out my daily allotment of saturated fat. Not good at all. So, good-bye, my formerly beloved muffins. There was no way to salvage the relationship so the picture here tells the story.

That’s a good analogy for life as a t-girl (or as anyone). If something or someone is detrimental to your big-picture happiness, and you can’t make it work, then the right thing to do is to say “good-bye” even if it’s sad and difficult.

Being Brave … and Reaping the Benefits

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What does being brave, and being transgender (specifically, transsexual) have to do with the car shown above? That’s what this post is about.

As to being transsexual, here is how I understand the relevant scientific conclusions:

As a fetus develops, the initial development is all based on the “X” portions of the chromosomes. For a fetus with “XX” chromosomes, this pattern continues. For a fetus with “XY” chromosomes, the “Y” chromosome is dormant initially and then activates and starts influencing things to be male-shaped. For example, the body part that in an “XX” fetus will develop into the clitoris will in an “XY” fetus develop into the penis.

In a fetus that will eventually become a transgender (specifically, transsexual) girl, there is a weird genetic condition in which the “Y” part of the “XY” chromosomal development kicks in selectively. Some parts develop as male but the brain structure develops as female.

This is hardly evident at birth, so the shape of the externally visible genitals is used to determine what gender is legally assigned, and it’s only as time passes that the girl realizes that something is wrong, and that she’s essentially a person with a female brain and a male body.

By that time, she’s typically been raised as a boy and has been expected to fit in with boy culture. She probably felt it unnatural and perhaps she tried extra hard to fit in, to hide her own discomfort (at being, quite literally, a misfit) from others, perhaps even herself. By the time she reaches adulthood, she’s probably had an insider’s exposure to guy culture such as few girls are likely to have. One of the conclusions she’s likely to draw is that guys can be pretty darn harsh. Unlike mean girls, who wrap their malice in subtlety and subterfuge, guys tend to be simply and openly mean.

* * *

Part of my attempt to fit in, in 1970s and 1980s South African guy subculture, meant learning about and working on cars. I became very skilled at it … so skilled that today, in addition to being a software engineer, I’m also an automotive engineer and I manage a small company that specializes in classic Alfa Romeos, BMWs and Mercedes-Benz vehicles. And, yes, I do much of the technical work, in each of these two companies.

The automotive work involves interacting with others in online forums, so as to get and offer technical advice or explore commercial opportunities. And, these forums tend to be 99% guy culture, and pretty darn candid as such.

When I interact on these forums, I tend not to hide that I’m a transgender girl nor do I tend to run it up the flagpole. I tend to focus on the subject matter instead.

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On a forum that’s focused on the car shown above, I mentioned that the car is for sale. I also mentioned that I ended up owning the car due to being a blonde with poor impulse control. Someone asked for pictures.

“Whoa,” I thought. A classic way that transgender girls get themselves into trouble is to try to pretend they’re a genetically integrated (non-transgender) girl to an audience for whom the issue is material. Things go off the rails when someone thinks the girl looks pretty darn hot, then finds out she’s transgender and gets enmeshed in homophobia, with the flawed and messy premises of “that’s really guy” and “so I must be gay” and “that makes me a bad person.” Better to be up front about it, I think. That’s the approach I take, but it’s not always easy. It’s scary to me, the idea of telling a potentially hostile group of guys that I’m a transgender girl and before they ask for pictures they might wanna make sure they know what they’re asking for.

Anyway, I proceeded to be open about the issue even though I wasn’t comfortable about it.

It turns out that I’d misread the requester’s intent because he was interested in pictures of the car, not me. Darn it. But, by then, the cat was out of the bag, and my post drew attention.

A moderator pointed out that I had a great sense of humor, and that I WAS kidding, right, hint, nudge, hint … yes? No, I replied. Sadly, I hadn’t been kidding.

And then, the nicest thing happened. The person realized that I wasn’t trying to generate drama, but just to be honest and open, and he became very nice and sympathetic, and offered to exercise his moderators’ privileges to make the dialog disappear, if I wanted to. I thought about it, and decided that it’s actually better if the earnest and open discussion were available to people so that they can get used to the idea that transgender girls are part of the planet and they might also be part of an automotive forum. It’s sort of like what black people went through fifty years ago. The first black member of any association probably had to deal with similar issues until eventually the people came to realize that a dark skin and different style hair mean nothing as to the content of the person’s character, ideas, etc.

In addition, the moderator offered to be a sort of online security guard for me in case someone were to hassle me. So, the experience actually ended up being super-nice … and I never did need to ask for help. There was no hostile action.

There were, however, some forum posts from people who pointed out that my openness was exemplary and that I had made a good impression with that. One person mentioned that anyone considering my car for purchase would probably be more enthused to buy it since I’d shown myself to be basically honest, and that includes information about the car’s strengths and weaknesses.

The experience reminded me that being brave isn’t about being fearless, but is about being scared (from wary to terrified and all the shades in between) and still doing what makes sense, even so.

The benefits are, as history suggests, worth it.