Nevada Bill SB 201 Passes: Conversion Therapy now Illegal

My amazing friend Brooke sent out an email yesterday saying:

“Today, Wednesday, May 17th, 2017 Governor Sandoval will sign into law SB201, which will ban licensed providers from engaging in the abusive practice of Conversion Therapy. I have been working with Senator David Parks and others to get this law passed for the past two sessions. Crucially, for us, gender identity and gender expression are included, along with sexual orientation, in the language of this bill. Nevada will be the 10th jurisdiction to pass this type of ban. Only eight other states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation before Nevada.”

Another wonderfully supportive friend of mine, who works in the legislature, has just emailed me that the bill is now law.

I’m not sure how much my letter helped, but it’s nice to be on both the winning side of history as well as the one that makes sense. I’ve noticed that these don’t always coincide.

Here is a special “thank you” to Brooke Maylath, whose energy seems to know no bounds in dealing with very complex and tedious issues so that right can prevail.  Some superheroines don’t wear capes, it seems.

Yay!  Time for a quick “basking in victory” picture.

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Protectress

ggIMG_20170414_011258-001I was in Livermore, California yesterday. A good friend of mine lives there, and his business is there. He is also my client as to custom business software — and his business is under attack, computer-wise, in a subtle way against which I can defend. I am enjoying the process of safeguarding my friend in his business.

This role fits my self-image on good days, as a tall, muscular, blonde warrior queen protecting the innocent from evildoers.

It’s a fine line as to when to engage vs. when not. I used to fight others’ battle for them and I found ample reason to not so do any more. That includes someone who got himself or herself in trouble knowingly, sort of as in playing with fire and getting burned. In such cases, I sympathize … the burned party can still be in the right, like someone who tells a Nazi inspection squad in the late 1930s that no, they can’t come in and inspect the basement. Brave and righteous, but it sets the person up for the sort of reprisal that makes martyrdom likely. That’s not when I step in to help defend. It’s when, by my standards, someone was for the most part minding their own business and going to reasonable measures to stay out of trouble yet even so, trouble finds them.

Instead of a sword, my weapon is typically a computer keyboard — and not in a physical sense, as in I don’t beat bad guys over the head with it. Even so, a computer keyboard is not always my only weapon — sometimes it gets physical.

For example, I was in a Chinese restaurant in Oxford, England a few years ago, enjoying a quiet dinner. A burly typically-English-looking guy with a bad attitude was having a loud argument with the diminutive Asian owner of the restaurant, The English guy was being blatantly unreasonable and had already done something violent — and things seemed likely to get worse. To my surprise, the other patrons were trying to pretend that nothing was happening. I stood up, walked over and stood next to the Asian guy, shoulder to shoulder, face to face with the aggressor. The gesture radiated protection and allegiance. The aggressor went berserk. He seized a 5’ tall chromed-steel “please wait to be seated” sign as in wanting to beat me with it. I was expecting something like that but I didn’t have time to respond. The restaurant staff swarmed the guy. He threw a heavy glass dish at one of them, but missed. Soon he had half a dozen Asian guys all over him and the next thing the aggressor knew, he was out the door. The restaurant owner was very appreciative of my allegiance.

Another similar time happened last year. A trans girl friend of mine (yes, in this case there is a space between “girl” and “friend”) was ready for her first day out in public, as the girl she has always been though this time, openly so. I was supportive as to her looks and styling and off we went to spend a fun day in Reno. Things generally went well, in part because I chose safe places with friendly faces, but in one case I had misjudged. At a restaurant, someone was saying mean things to my friend. I’m all for the right to freedom of speech, and someone can be as insulting as they like; that’s their right. It’s when they seem likely to be about to get violent that things change, for me. That’s a fine line to read well– especially in this situation because the mean person was behaving erratically and talking oddly, and had made a comment to the bystanders that she was on crack cocaine. This would explain the peculiar behavior and irrationalism. I’m all for people putting drugs they bought in their own body but my concern was that she was about to do something violent to my friend, as in it seemed likely that I would imminently need to protect my friend from physical attack. My friend might have been able to defend herself physically but psychologically she was not in that mindset – I’d read her as feeling very vulnerable, something that she later confirmed.

I decided that our “dine in” order had just become a “to go” order and I briskly escorted my friend out to the car. My friend was at the time trying to quit smoking but she was so shaken she needed some nicotine, pronto. I’m all for her enjoying her chemical of choice but I don’t like the smell in my car, so she stood outside the car.calming her nerves, while I kept watch. The crack lady came out of the restaurant and headed toward my friend. Battle stations. I instructed my friend to get in the car and lock the door. As for me, it wasn’t so simple.

Sometimes the safest thing one can do is to run away. Other times, that can be the most dangerous thing. For example, when face to face with a Nevada mountain lion, if one were to turn and run, one has just announced “I’m prey, chase me” to the big cat and it might well end fatally for the prey. By contrast, standing one’s ground intimidates the big cat, typically enough to make it turn around and slink away. The same analogy can apply to humans. I remained assertive and watchful, neither retreating further nor escalating. I watched and waited. The on-crack lady walked a safe distance past me, got into her beat-up old van, and that was the end of it. As it happened, she’d intended no further malice; my car had just been parked between the restaurant exit and where her van was parked. Even so, it felt good to be ready.

Location, Location, Location

I sometimes exchange emails with trans girls who live in hostile environments and whose lives are deeply miserable as a result of that. Sometimes a negative culture is so pervasive yet so integrally tied to the location that really there is no solution, short-term, except to leave.

By contrast, I live in what appears to be a very red-necky town east of Reno yet the people are super-nice to me even though I am obviously a trans girl. Their benevolence helps me be even more cheerful.

Typically, this inspires me to dress more elegantly too, as my way of celebrating being alive, being happy and living openly as the female I am. On that premise, I try to generally look as elegant as fits the context. What amazes me is how well it’s possible to dress with an ultra-modest budget, and that even includes elegant shoes. Whether from strangers or friends or my super-candid mom (on days when I visit her) I tend to get several compliments during the day as to my clothing and shoes, and it’s nice to have such feedback.

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This morning, I really needed to make only one business trip, to sign a new lease agreement for my shop. I nevertheless made a point of conditioning my hair, then wearing the elegant dress shown above, plus some elegant black dress sandals. I felt personally more confident, happier and more outgoing as a result. I’m inherently shy but when I’m confident enough, I can attain enough critical mass to be so personable that it’s hard to reconcile that to how quiet I am, on days when I’m in pensive mode.

A peculiar sequence of events played out today, and they made it viable for me to run several errands that I hadn’t planned on doing, when the day began. It felt good to look my best and be more confident during all of these, not least because today, an acquaintance was having a really lousy day and I managed to be a good enough listener to be able to make a difference in her day and her perspective. It is safe to say that somewhere during the course of our conversation today, she and I became friends. Even though she looked super-glum when we said “hello,” she was cheerful and seemed inspired not too long after. You know that someone is having a really bad day when she prefaces a sentence on the theme of “I’m unhappy with my life” with “I’m only a year older than you, and ….” So, I listened, asked the right questions and empathized, and the world ended up becoming a better place. Had I felt less confident, I might have not handled the conversation well.

I had just gotten home when there was a polite knock on my front door. I opened it and there was a gentleman from the local Police Department asking my assistance in translating a piece of evidence with some wording printed on it in German … since they know me, they like me, I like them and they know I speak German. It was the perfect icing on the cake that symbolized a delightful morning.

On the subject of law enforcement, when I see a police officer, I feel as if I’m seeing one of my personal bodyguards. I tend to work late and go for walks by myself in the evenings or even late at night. Even so, I always feel safe even though I live in the downtown area and my automotive business is in the sketchiest part of town and I sometimes walk from my apartment to my shop. The local police officers come across, to me anyway, as just a little extra protective when it comes to me, almost as if I am their little sister. I greatly appreciate how they deal with me.

One day, I’d been removing groceries from my car, which was parked right outside. I’d left the interior lights on, and the trunk plus several doors were wide open. I’d forgotten all about it, hours before. I didn’t realize that this made it look like perhaps my car had been ransacked.

I tend to wear sexy underwear under my everyday clothes, and when I’m home, the top layer comes off soon after I walk in the door. As a result, I tend to walk around inside my apartment in a pretty bra and thong, on days when I even wear a bra. On warm nights, I also like to have my front door open to the cool desert air.  So, late that night, I was cheerfully sashaying around my apartment, dressed like a Victoria’s Secret model, with the front door wide open. There was a polite knock on the open front door, and three local police officers peeked into the doorway, two guys and a girl. They’d seen my car and my open front door, and they just wanted to make sure I was okay. I also immediately recognized one of the officers, since his mom used to work in my software business and I’ve known him, so to speak, since he was a toddler. It was all very positive. I assured them I was okay, albeit forgetful — and all was well.

Them checking on me tends to happen every now and then. I work in my software business until late at night and sometimes I next go work in my automotive business. Sometimes that requires me to remove or replace parts off one of my cars, most of which are outside, in my lot. It has happened several times that an officer showed up suspiciously but then when he saw it was me, he relaxed, said hello and explained: “I just want to make sure nobody is messing with your stuff.”

Some months ago, one of the semi-dead-but-nice cars in my parking lot had a flat tire and I didn’t want to inflate it by hand, so I tried to park a running car nearby, at a peculiar angle with one wheel on the sidewalk, so as to get it close enough for me to power an air compressor from the cigarette lighter of the running car. All this was happening after midnight.

I was also wearing extra-skimpy clothing such as ultra-short shorts, no bra and a top with very thin, light-colored fabric.  At the time, I had two girlfriends and each of them had already assured me that this type of top left nothing to the imagination even as to any subtleties in the shape and the color of whatever was underneath the fabric. I suspect that they were each gently attempting to coax me to not dress as if I were sixteen. Even so, I like to wear tops like that because after a thousand years of feeling overly masculine, I nowadays feel mostly happy with my look, and dressing like that is my way of celebrating the change.

Also, in my defense, I should mention that I hadn’t expected to interact with anyone that night. I’d planned to pump the tire up quickly and be done with it, but the cord hadn’t quite reached and so my park-closely-enough exercise became ever more extended and exotic until it couldn’t fail to attract the attention of the local police force, which (with my eternal gratitude) tends to drive past my automotive business delightfully often, to make sure things are OK.  Two officers noticed the peculiar activity, and approached to see what was going on. Instead of scolding me, or staring at my chest, the officers were magnificently professional and polite, and simply asked me to please remove the car from the sidewalk. This was done, and instead of getting the world’s biggest parking ticket (as I richly deserved) I simply got a courteous and friendly “good night.”

I have read some horror stories and even seen one horrible video about law enforcement elsewhere actively discriminating against a trans girl. By contrast, it sure is nice to live in a town and within a culture where that sort of thing has never happened to me — and if it ever did, it would be completely out of character.

Life is good, but a lot of it has to do with where I choose to live.

When to Start Body-Feminizing Hormones

On a forum, someone asked a question about the pros and cons of starting body-feminizing hormones before vs. after publicly coming out as a trans girl. Here’s what I replied … and some additional thoughts.

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I started on hormones maybe two or three years in, and I’m glad. The amount of Spironolactone I was on eventually ended up affecting my mental well-being because my blood electrolysis was way off before the routine lab tests caught that. Meanwhile I was putting on more weight than I wanted to, and I was feeling glum and non-sexy. I made some pretty bad decisions while in this mode. At the time I was looking fairly good, I’m told, even though mentally I felt bad. Normally I’m brave, energized, logical and highly sexual, so feeling mentally fragile, asexual and lacking energy … that was a starkly new unpleasant experience for me.

In retrospect, I’m glad it happened because I ended up with a lot more empathy with girls whose bad day begins even before, if ever, she gets out of bed, due to her mental state being “I feel icky.” Ironically by now I understand the mindset so well that someone new, lovely and wonderful ended up becoming a delightful romantic partner after I won the debate about whether or not she was at her core, unlovable due to her unusual brain — ironic since she is sweet, thoughtful, kind and giving. To some extent, I could relate to how she felt bad. I could accept her, and comfort her — and we could talk about how she felt in a way that ended up being a catalyst for her making several changes in her life, as a result of which she ended up much happier and healthier.

So, there was much silver lining to this cloud, but a huge and dark cloud it nevertheless was. Had I also looked awkwardly masculine at the time, it would have been much harder for me, I’m sure.

The Phrase “Genetically Integrated Girls” in 2017

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In this blog, in 2012, I discussed this phrase and why I coined it. I consider it to be a more-descriptive synonym of “cisgirls.”  But, two relevant events occurred within the last 24 hours so I figured I might as well update my blog as to this subject.

I’m basically shy so before I go to a party, I have to really get into the mindset for being optimized as to that sort of interaction. Once I do so, I tend to do well. By conscious design, I’m never the life of the party, but I try to be the sort of guest who would be likely to be re-invited. Also, I make a point of enjoying the event, mostly by finding and connecting intellectually with someone like-minded, ideally another cerebral shy girl.

As so often happens, there’s some initial frivolity and then the sun sets, the children go to bed, some of the people leave and whoever remains sits in a circle and discusses serious things that tie into their common values. The primal equivalent of this type of event probably had a crackling fire in the middle of the circle of people who were sitting down.  The event last night was more modern, but the feel was the same. This “serious conversation” mode is the part I value most.

The subject of sexual attraction and gender came up. This wasn’t completely surprising since this particular party was at the home of an exceptionally open-minded friend of mine, and the people sitting in the circle included two trans girls, including myself.

One of the gentlemen present was a little perplexed as to the delineation between gender and sexual attraction, and a generally enlightening and very positive conversation ensued. Even so, I noticed how he initially had seemed especially confused by the term “cis” as in “cisgirl.”  I suspect that if the term had been “genetically integrated girl” then it might have been less confusing.

Then, this morning, one of my other friends inquired via email as to how I’m doing. He’s a part-time rabbi in the sense that when the official rabbi isn’t available, then my friend temporarily officiates. One of the cerebral shy girls on whom I’m focusing my energy happens to be Jewish, and I’d mentioned that particular news item to him long ago, so he sometimes inquires about her. Today he asked me whether she was born female or trans.

That got me thinking. I don’t consider those two concepts to be mutually exclusive. So, the email conversation got more analytical, and in trying to explain how I understood things, I mentioned the phrase “genetically integrated girl,” for which he asked a definition. I love how precisely my friend thinks.

My reply is below. I then asked him if my reasoning made sense to him, and I gather it did.  So, that’s good.

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As to “genetically integrated” — as I understand things, when a fetus is developing there is very little difference between typical boys and girls, with the two differences being:
1. the brain structure
2. the plumbing and reproductive organs
Normally, these match (both male, or both female) but not always. In my case, they didn’t. I was born with a female brain structure and male plumbing and male reproductive organs.
What does that make me? Which one is the more fundamental, and logically should be used to classify my gender?  The brain structure.  It’s where thought, values, emotions, judgement, personality and character reside.  It’s the basis of someone’s identity.  You could remove someone plumbing and reproductive organs and he or she would still basically be who they were before — but remove the brain and not just is the person’s personality and character gone, but the person is also immediately dead. My point is, the brain is vastly more important.

Too often, the brain structure is downplayed in conversations about the trans girl paradigm. Some conservatives completely dismiss it from consideration. They are strictly focused on the plumbing and reproductive organs as to classifying someone as male or female.  I consider their approach to be logically flawed since the brain is so important a factor.

Some people refer to trans girls as having been born a boy.  I’m aware of no scientific basis for concluding that girls like me were born with a male brain structure that then flipped to female.  So, everything I was born with, I still have, and so I’m no more or less boy or girl than when I was born. That includes having a female brain structure. That’s why I consider the “trans girls were born a boy” premise to be logically flawed, too.

Some people refer to trans girls as being biologically boys.  I think like a girl because of my female brain structure, and that is no less biological than my plumbing or my reproductive organs. My female-structured brain is what makes me a girl, and it is part of my biology. That’s why I consider the “trans girls are biologically boys” premise to be logically flawed, too.

My take on it is that, as to the born-with-it parts that can be male or female, i.e.,

1. the brain structure
2. the plumbing and reproductive organs

… as to gender, these either match or they don’t.
  • When they don’t match, the person is called “trans” and I’m fine with that terminology.
  • When they do match, the person is called “cisgender” though I consider the synonym “genetically integrated” to be more descriptive.

 

 

Me, Writing To The Nevada Legislature

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A friend of mine is a kick-ass trans girl who has asked me to write a letter in favor of an upcoming Bill that will ban so-called “conversion therapy” — which, when you strip away the thin layer of patronizing sugar-coating in the name of the relevant deity, essentially consists of pressuring trans people to pretend we’re not trans people. So, yes, I have a problem with so-called “conversion therapy.” My friend gave me some more reason to dislike it:

“SB 201 goes to Assembly Committee on Wednesday, April 19th

This bill intends to eliminate Conversion Therapy from being performed on LGBTQ children in Nevada. The bill has been slightly modified since the last committee hearing, simplifying some of the language, and clarifying who is banned from engaging in this practice.

We need your help in submitting your stories and/or support of this bill. Remember Leelah Alcorn, Leelah wrote that when she told her mom about being transgender, her mother “reacted extremely negatively, telling me that it was a phase, that I would never truly be a girl, that God doesn’t make mistakes.” Leelah wrote that she was subsequently taken to Christian therapists, who reinforced the notion that being transgender was “wrong.” In an interview with CNN, Leelah’s parents claim they were loving parents, and that they just wanted to do the best for their child. Her mother Carla said that she took Leelah, who she referred to as Josh, to a psychiatrist, who prescribed medication, and that her child was depressed but only talked to her once about being transgender.

Unable to endure the effects of social isolation and the stress of conversion therapy, Leelah stepped in front of a Semi-Truck on an interstate highway, on December 28, 2015. Conversion therapy is unconscionable. It should rightfully be called what it is: child abuse. It is banned in California, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C., and legislation is pending in other states. It should be illegal in all states, and those who break the law should be locked up.”

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I’m now sufficiently motivated, so here’s my letter:

April 15th, 2017

From: Tanya Charbury
Fallon, NV 89406

To: The Honorable Michael Sprinkle, Chair
Assembly Health and Human Services Committee
Nevada Assembly
401 South Carson Street
Carson City, NV 89701

Dear Chairman Sprinkle:

I’ve lived in Nevada since the 1990s. I happen to be one of your trans girl constituents so I’m writing to provide some intellectual ammunition in favor of SB 201, currently under debate, on the subject of so-called “conversion therapy” so that this irrational activity might be declared illegal once and for all.

You have probably received many letters describing the negative effects on trans people who are subjected to this sort of abuse, but my approach is different.

I’m a free-market girl but even so I recognize that there are a great many consumer protection laws, and I can understand why these have been passed. If a restaurant kept selling food that poisons its customers, or a shoe store kept selling shoes that mangle the feet of its customers, there’s a problem. Similarly, since so-called “conversion therapy” causes significant and demonstrable harm, there’s similarly a problem – yet worse since depression and suicide are far more severe than throwing up, having the runs or having mangled feet. On the basis of consistency to that principle alone, under consumer protection laws, so-called “conversion therapy” should be made illegal.

However, there’s a more fundamental-yet problem with it, and a stronger argument yet, for making it illegal. Its basic premise has been scientifically invalidated. Autopsies have shown that trans girls have the essential brain structure of a genetically integrated girl. In other words, while they were alive, trans girls thought and felt and lived as girls because as per their brain structure, they WERE girls — is what the autopsies showed. Having a female brain structure is not a defect requiring fixing by so-called “conversion therapy.” It’s simply a biological mutation, and no amount of bullying or intimidation can undo that, nor should it try. You might as well start bullying people who are born unusually tall with “slouch therapy” and consider that legitimate.

Imagine that, for example, your mother were subjected to so-called “conversion therapy” on the notion that she should think and behave like a man, and this would be a way to get her to do so. It’d be fundamentally silly since she is a woman and should simply be left in peace to live her life as the women she is. I emphasize: having a female brain structure is not a defect.

Similarly, trans women are women. Most of us grew up with a regrettable abundance of testosterone, so most of us do not look or sound as feminine as if we’d gone through puberty on estrogen, but our brain structure is nevertheless female. That’s what makes us female – our brain structure, not our imagination or delusions, which is the basic (and fundamentally flawed) premise of so-called “conversion therapy.”

Many trans girls initially tried to fit into guy culture during our most formative decades, because as children we were told we were male, so we learned male mannerisms. For that reason, we might not move as gracefully as most genetically integrated girls do, but yet again that doesn’t detract from the point that our brain structure is fundamentally female.

When judging the gender of a barnyard animal, it’s probably fine to turn it upside down, look at its plumbing and decide. For humans, that’s a flawed approach because by now it’s a matter of scientifically proven fact that some humans are born with “outie” plumbing yet a female brain structure.

What most fundamentally defines the essence of a human? The ability to write one’s name in the snow, or one’s brain: the center of thought, speech, decision, emotion, personality, character? So if someone has, like I do, a female brain structure, isn’t she fundamentally female? Isn’t her shape “down there” immaterial, in light of the scientific evidence, interpreted in the context of common sense?

Sending a trans girl to so-called “conversion therapy” will do about as much good as sending a genetically integrated woman there. However, it can do much harm. A genetically integrated woman, presented with the notion that so-called “conversion therapy” will make her think like a man, would immediate dismiss the notion as the nonsense it is.

However, trans girls tend to be more fragile. We have typically been bullied and pressured for decades on this subject, so it is a sore point for us. For some of us, so-called “conversion therapy” might just be the last straw, especially when we’re young. So even though so-called “conversion therapy” is nonsense, it’s harmful nonsense.

So, that’s my second basis for objection to so-called “conversion therapy”. It is a fundamentally nonsensical approach. It’d be like someone claiming to serve hygienic restaurant food that consists of raw sewage, or someone who claims they can get one’s feet to be comfortable and healthy by forcing them into shoes three sizes too small. There’s simply no logical way it could ever work. It can, and does, however, do harm. The examples of the restaurant and the shoes seem silly today; no reasonable person would tolerate that for one instant. Perhaps, with your help, in the future we’ll be able to look back at so-called “conversion therapy” and classify it similarly.

The existence of trans girls is a matter of biological fact. Even so, I understand only too well that the existence of trans girls does make some people uncomfortable. By typical standards, some of us are a peculiar mix to behold in a social setting. I’m an example of that. By typical-girl standards, I’m too tall, I have a jaw line too much like Rambo and my voice is too deep. In decades past, trans girls have too often hidden that we’re trans even if that meant living a lie, and hiding our true nature as a shameful secret. However, it’s not reasonable that trans people should hide the fact that we’re trans just because someone else doesn’t like seeing trans people around. You might as well expect white people in downtown Oakland to smear on blackface grease because some black people don’t like to see white faces. It’s not reasonable. However we’re born, that’s the hand we were dealt. We get to play it as best we can, and so-called “conversion therapy” weighs in on the side that trans people should hide who we are, for example: trans girls should pretend to be men. Such a notion is unreasonable, harmful and fundamentally flawed.

I’ve focused on trans girls, but as I understand the issues, the same principles apply to trans men, too, with the genders simply being inverted. Due to their brain structure, trans men are simply guys, albeit guys who can’t write their names in the snow.

Sincerely,

Tanya Charbury

Art as Inspiration

A few years ago, I felt supremely awkward as to functioning socially. I already knew that I am a cerebral shy person with all of the social challenges that this implied, plus then I found out that I’m a trans girl too. It was good news to me that I wasn’t crazy and that there was a simple, genetic-mutation explanation for all the girlish feelings and thoughts I’ve had all my life, but the challenge of living as a girl openly was very intimidating.

To figure out what to do, and to keep going, I read a lot and looked at many websites, including those with art. I love the work of Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell, but the painting that most spoke to me was one of the trans girl paintings by the very talented Russian artist Dmitrys.

I haven’t been able to afford much facial surgery, obviously, but what little I had done was preceded by me emailing to the surgeon a picture of the main painting on the Dmitrys website. It’s of a lean, muscular, confident girl standing sexily and radiating femininity while wearing a combination of black boots with purple laces, and a combination of blue tights and torn blue-jeans, and a black t-shirt. Her hair is blonde in a feminine style, and she had the tips of her hair dyed pink. I love that picture. I’d love to show it here in full but it’d violate copyright and also get my blog reclassified as R-rated. So here’s a cropped version such as I’d sent to the surgeon:

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If you’re 18 or older then feel free to go look at the DmitrysFuta dot com website. I love his work, but it’s not for everyone. Be advised it’s intensely sexy and sexual imagery.

Thanks to hormones and careful eating, I’ve gradually been changing my shape to be more and more feminine and more slender, yet still muscular. My hair is (still) blonde though I’ve had it lightened to the same shade it was when I was 2 years old (with a lock of hair from way back when, to prove it).  My hair also has a feminine style.

Yesterday, I realized that I still have some pink hair paint left over from Halloween so just for fun, I painted the tips of my hair pink. It’s still like that today. Today, I was planning to work on removing the automatic transmission from an Audi A6 Quattro — and so, big, heavy metal parts or the entire 300 pound transmission could possibly have fallen on, and crushed, my feet, so I wore my steel-toed black work boots that I’ve adorned with sparkly pink laces so that they look nice.  I like to wear black t-shirts for heavy-duty automotive work: they’re hard to stain black with grease because, well, they’re already black. It was also chilly today so I wore tights.  I have various sets, and today’s set happens to be a style that simulates torn blue denim jeans.

It was a busy day. Several hours of work on the car and car parts (profession A) were followed by several hours of work making custom database software (profession B) .

Then, within the last hour, I realized that I must today look more like that painting than I ever have.  So I looked, and indeed it was so. That inspired a quick, fun, impromptu photo session. I’m posting one of the pictures here.

My progress felt so gradual I hardly noticed, and yet viewed across the span of years, it’s been dramatic. It’s very much not just about the aesthetics. I have learned so much, including how mutually supportive girls of all types, shapes, colors, ages and sizes tend to be for each other. I’ve always been a girl but I didn’t look like one.  So now that I basically look like one and show it, it’s all come together.

I feel confident and comfortable in my own skin, so to speak, and it’s a wonderful feeling.  My work is thriving as a result, too. I’m happier and vastly more productive even though my stress level is super-low.

Perhaps most importantly, I’m radiantly healthy nowadays whereas a few short years ago I was well one my way to an early grave — and didn’t much care.

I used to focus on cerebral things while neglecting my health and looks.  Nowadays, I take a much more balanced approach. I still like understanding things deeply: complex software, complex cars, complex computers, complex ideas and the most complex entity of all: complex girls  —  whether as friends or more. However, my focus on my mind does no longer mean that my body is being neglected.

So,  nowadays, life is good.

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