How I Survived Bullies in High School

gggIMG_20170429_000850 I used to be in a romance with a girl whose son is exceptionally sweet and benevolent. Another boy would pick on her son, and bully him on the school bus. For reasons I don’t understand, his mom advised her son to put up with it. He did, and the bullying continued and got worse. Finally, she told him to fight back vigorously next time. He did, and that ended the bullying. That story happened in the US.

My school-time experiences were outside the US. I went to school in Britain and South Africa. The school system in the latter was especially bad. Things that would be abhorrent by current US standards were considered okay in South African school culture, though I understand there are some common problems.

The teachers totally failed to address bullying. Practically speaking, anarchy reigned. Much bullying was done in a gang context, but we also had one loner bully.

In our senior year of high school, he was probably 18 years of age, but he had the facial expression of a hardened, cynical adult aged mid-to-late 20s. His facial skin was red and tanned, as if he’d already spent decades under the African sun. His facial features and skin better fitted someone perhaps 10 years his senior — someone who smoked so much that it had affected his skin texture. He was of medium height, but he had a very stocky, compact kind of muscular structure, more befitting an adult than a teenage boy. His nickname, appropriate to Africa, was “Game Tamer” as in “wild animal tamer” — not in a “horse whisperer” sense, but rather as in “overpowering and intimidating.”

He was immensely strong, and he moved in a way that suggested he was accustomed to fighting. He’d shown up at our school shortly before my senior year. I didn’t know where he came from previously. The city I was in had more than a dozen large high schools, and the school I was in was in the most well-to-do area with the most elegant buildings, highest academic and athletic standards, and so on. The Game Tamer bully was an anomaly almost as if he’d shown up from a hard-core rural anything-goes high school, which was probably the case. It’s probably safe to say that everyone, including every ringleader bully, was wary of him.

The Game Tamer bully had the simple amorality of a savage. He bullied without malice. For example, our science class had cacti on the windowsill, planted in ceramic vases. At some point someone, perhaps Game Tamer, broke one of the vases. He picked up a large ceramic shard, and focused on one of the other boys who was nearby. The other boy was relatively high on the social scale, and physically quite strong too. He had done nothing to provoke the bully. He just happened to be nearby, and he got picked on for that reason. Using the sharp edge of the ceramic shard as if it were a knife edge, the bully calmly and methodically carved the other boy’s skin open, and expressed delighted amusement at how the wound gaped. It was so severe that the other boy needed to go the to emergency room to get stitched up.  I was surprised that the other boy had allowed it to happen.  There were no adverse consequences to the bully. Life went on.

Relative to the Game Tamer bully, I was on the other side of the scale, as to looking intimidating. Even when I was 26, 10 years after the time this story played out, I was told that I looked 15 years old, so I must have looked really young when I was in my senior year in high school. I’d also gone to school a year early, so all other things being equal, I was younger than everyone else in the class. I was also very slender and slight of build. Besides, I am also a trans girl. In South African school culture at the time, boys tended to not beat up girls, but they made an exception for trans girls so I needed to be continually vigilant.

As to dealing with bullies, I’d tried to reason things out, first. One day I found the worst ringleader bully alone, and I confronted him and engaged him in a candid conversation exploring the moral merits of his behavior toward me. He could, of course, not justify himself, and he admitted that. He looked sheepish and resolved to start behaving in a reasonable way. I was encouraged, but the next time he was exhibiting his bad behavior, he gave me a special smirk as if to say, “I’m aware of our discussion — and I’m consciously dismissing it. I’m choosing to be unreasonable.” At least, then, I knew where I stood. I couldn’t reason with the bullies, so I would have to be ready to defend myself. I wasn’t all too happy when I was looking at the gang bullies’ biceps and shoulder muscles, and contrasting their muscles with my own. Even though I had a blue belt in Judo, I wasn’t looking forward to having to use my skills in self-defense.

One day, in science class, for no apparent reason, the Game Tamer bully focused on me. I don’t recall how the conflict began but I’m sure I didn’t initiate it. Anyway, the bully had me pushed backward so that I was lying on my back on a bench, and he was looming over me, choking me. Perhaps thirty other kids were standing around, watching.

I knew an effective Judo chokehold, and so I applied that to the bully. As a result, we were choking each other. I recall his face getting redder yet, and I recall feeling calm. I had an intense tolerance for distress, such as when my joints were being strained or I was being choked. One of my advantages in combat was being able to outlast my opponent. This got me yelled at by my Judo trainer during a tournament; he was concerned that, for example, my arm was about to break and yet I didn’t give up. Aside from being incapacitated or dead, I know I can lose only when I give up. I don’t like giving up.

So, while I was on my back and being choked by the bully, choking him right back, I felt a quiet satisfaction at how I was handling it, and I enjoyed observing that he wasn’t handling it well. For a while, we each tried to outlast the other. The bully seemed to be losing control, and I expected him to switch to another tactic imminently. He pulled away and slammed his knee forward, aimed at my privates. I had expected that, so as soon as he slammed his knee forward, I rolled out of the way and his knee drive was harmlessly deflected against my other thigh.

At that point I think he felt embarrassed, having failed twice while everyone was watching. He decided to leave me alone.

The incident had been useful for me. The Game Tamer bully started being more deferential toward me. This helped my social standing enough to give pause to the other bullies who were themselves wary of the Game Tamer bully.

Shortly afterward, the end of senior year approached, and it was time for our final exams. These were held in a massive hall with three hundred students’ desks aligned in rows and columns. with teachers and monitors walking around to prevent cheating. An exam lasted three hours and one exam could make or break one’s final grade; it made up half of one’s total final score, for that subject.

Due to where our last names fitted in the alphabet, the Game Tamer bully sat behind me. Even though he was dangerous, I considered him more annoying than dangerous. I didn’t feel any fear toward him. To me, he had all the moral significance of a dangerous natural phenomenon such as being hit by lightning or bitten by a snake. It would be unpleasant and best avoided but not something on which to dwell. Even so, I was aware that his actions were based on choices he was making, and that he bore the moral responsibility for his choices. I didn’t think highly of his choices, and my attitude conveyed that. Ironically, my sincere condescension somehow inspired the bully to be nicer to me.

I had prepared well for the exam, and I was looking forward to taking it. My preparation had included buying a small bottle of white-out, a sort of liquid paper by which I could paint over my mistakes, which I considered neater than crossing them out.

The South African version of this product had chemicals that were generally known to have severe respiratory consequences. In the same way as one depended on gasoline for convenient transit, but knew better than to go take a deep breath at the filler hole of a car, one depended on this product for error correction but knew better than to take a deep breath when the cap was off. It was to be uncapped, used and swiftly re-capped, ideally while holding one’s breath. This was fairly common knowledge.

The bully, as it turned out, was unaware of the product. Sitting right behind me, he asked what the stuff in the little bottle was for. I recall feeling mildly annoyed by having my pre-exam concentration disrupted. I reached for it, opened it, and turned around in my chair. I held it out to him and said, “Take a deep whiff.” He leaned forward, and did. Apparently that satisfied his curiosity since he didn’t say or ask anything else. I turned around and focused on the exam that was about to begin. I did so well in the exam, and other exams that I took in that same three-week time-span, that my grades were high enough to get my picture on the top center of the front page of a major city newspaper. That the Game Tamer bully was quiet behind me was a welcome development for my ability to concentrate.

Three hours later, the exam was done. I got up, and so did the Game Tamer bully. He was exultant. Unbeknownst to me, after he’d inhaled the fumes of liquid paper, he’d become groggy and he had passed out, collapsing on his arms as if he were resting on the desk, or praying — so the teachers left him alone. He’d been out cold, for two and a half hours. Just before the last half-hour of the exam, he woke up and did whatever he could in the time remaining.

I was surprised and a little embarrassed that the effect had been so severe, but the bully reassured me that there was no need for me to be concerned, since his grades were going to be in the toilet anyway, and he was delighted that I would pull such a cool trick on him. He had all the benevolence of a good sport having lost a good tennis match or chess game to a superior opponent.

From that day on, my bully problem consisted of the Game Tamer bully being friendlier toward me that I liked. All in all, that was a better problem to have.

Status Report as to my Health

As background, here’s a quote from an article I wrote in January of 2016, a year and a half ago:

I went in for a medical check-up today and had my blood pressure tested. It’s 124 over 86 — which I gather is really good. I told my mom the numbers. She’s a health and nutrition guru professionally, so I value her opinion highly as such. She liked the numbers very much. She said that, at this rate, I might live forever. So, that’s good.

Yesterday, as in eighteen months later, I had my blood pressure tested again and the numbers are slightly better yet. Yay!

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This means I’ve been able to maintain an optimal balance as to the complex mix of chemicals I take in daily, as to sodium, potassium, spironolactone, estradiol, coffee, water and food.

I think that I weigh more than is optimal, but the most logical explanation is that I’m trashing my circadian rhythm. If I ever start going to bed at a reasonable hour then I expect that this piece of the puzzle will fall into place too. There’s just somehow always one more fun or exciting thing to do, that’s more interesting to me than falling asleep.

So, unless something quirky happens, I’m likely to be around for a long time. I’m glad. I feel good about my life. That should probably go without saying, but six years ago, it didn’t. I appreciate the contrast.

I’ve noticed that my body has been putting on a subtle and smooth layer of fat, just under my skin, and it covers my more intense muscles. I’m glad. My leg muscles used to be a bit too intense, by my standards. Here’s a picture from 2015 (the leg muscles were real, the boobs not):

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When I was a teenager, I lived in South Africa. My bicycle was my escape pod from a culture I disliked. I preferred no company to bad company, and so I spent a lot of time alone – sometimes at home, sometimes far away. All this bicycling seems to have built muscle, and it’s still around.

As a young adult, I also used to go on multi-day hikes in the South African wilderness, the type where you’d better pack your own food and sleeping bag if you were planning on eating and sleeping for the next four or five days.

I also had started my own auto repair business, and I often worked on cars. I couldn’t afford heavy-duty tools so the way I removed transmissions was by literally lifting them into and out of cars, by hand. I had a strange sort of sinewy strength, I also did Judo and Karate, and windsurfing, and those probably helped.

Later, I lived in Los Angeles and I’d bicycle from my apartment down to the beach and then I’d bicycle for miles and miles along the beach. I also liked hiking the hills around Los Angeles. Then, I discovered skiing, water-skiing and surfing, and it was all good … but it made for more muscular legs than fitted the showgirl look I wanted.

Two years ago, I danced at a club, as in, on stage. I’d done some professional dancing, as in stripper work, and that night on stage I was dancing just for fun, and a friend of mine was photographing and videotaping my moves. He and I overheard someone in the audience commenting, presumably with good intention, as to my hamstrings yet somehow that didn’t help me feel any sexier. I don’t have anything against body builders but that’s not the look I’m going for. So it’s been a relief that my legs nowadays look more smoothly feminine.

I gather that the peculiar DNA I have makes it unlikely or impossible that I’ll have cellulite, so I don’t have to worry about going too far in that direction. Indeed, there are some practical benefits to being a trans girl.

In other news, I now have naturally grown boobies. I’m happy with their size in some ways though I do wish they were larger. Even so, I’m not complaining. A friend of mine had implants done, and in a nice way she’s told me she’s jealous of my “girls.” She says I could wear anything whereas she has to be more careful about what she chooses to wear.

Six years ago, I didn’t much care if I lived or died. I was well on my way toward the latter. My blood pressure was way too high. My blood chemistry was bad, as in too high bad cholesterol. I seemed unlikely to be around much longer, yet I just couldn’t get motivated to do anything about it.

For me, it was exhausting and depressing, living life by trying to fit into guy culture, pretending to live as a guy, when I didn’t belong there.

Now that I’m living with integrity, as in I’m living as the female I am, consistent with my brain structure being female, life is grand. As part of that, I gradually became ever more motivated to be ever more healthy. I don’t think I’m going to win any beauty pageants, but I’m happy with myself. I work hard but I often walk, run, and sometimes sprint. I also dance and do some toning exercises. I’m happy.

I still have a lot of business debt to pay off and I’m working through that. I’m making steady progress, and my businesses seem to keep improving, so eventually I’ll have it all paid off. On paper, my situation would lend itself to feeling overwhelmed but instead, I just deal with it methodically, in a compartmentalized way.

I work with nice people whom I have attracted to my businesses. They seem to like working with me, and being around. I love the work and I enjoy the people I work with. As to people with whom I interact in a broader business sense: they either don’t know or care that I’m a trans girl, and life goes on. My stress level is super-low.

I still mentor trans girls, and I see how hard it is for them — the prospect of coming out. I see the struggle, the desperation and the need. I relate, from memory.

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The above picture was taken two days ago. Evidently, I nowadays have long, blonde hair, and it’s the same shade of blonde that my hair was when I was two years old — but that’s because I have it lightened to be that shade again. Six years ago, I used to crave having long, light-blonde hair like I do today, but I was too shy, bashful, embarrassed or ashamed to move in this direction. I dared not even walk down the aisle at the grocery store where they sold hair-coloring products, as in the package with blonde hair coloring. Even though it was late at night, around midnight at that grocery store, and there was nobody around nearby, I felt too intimidated. And nowadays, I’m simply … not.

I think my negativity, even self-hatred, was due to having accepted conservative cultural premises in which it was considered shameful to be born with male plumbing and a female brain structure, and hence thinking and feeling as a girl does. I had tried to suppress that for decades, and I’d failed. I’m glad to be done with it.

I wish that same relief and happiness for other trans girls who are hoping to come out, but it’s not just a trans girl thing. I think it’s much more broad of an issue, of knowing who you are and accepting it, and then choosing to live as such.

For example, I know someone wonderful who is, I gather, truly polyamorous and yet she has shoehorned herself into a monogamous lifestyle and she’s miserable, trying to make that work.

I’m also aware of another girl who, from comments she’s made, likes girls — and yet she has shoehorned herself into a straight lifestyle and she’s miserable, trying to make that work.

One of my friends knows or guesses she’s on the Aspergers spectrum, and she’s tried to shoehorn herself into living a lifestyle that doesn’t reconcile to that. She’s miserable, trying to make that work. I don’t know if being an intensely nerdish girl means that a girl is on the Aspergers spectrum but if so, then I’ve observed this in many girls who are cerebral — and shy, because they (wait, not “they” but “we” since I’m in this group too) feel like social misfits, which we are … by typical standards. However, in my opinion we’re more detail-oriented, orderly, precise, benevolent and just than typical people. I don’t see anything wrong with that … on the contrary. I’ve mentored nerd girls who have felt conflicted as such too, and I’ve delighted in seeing the deep happiness that come along quite quickly when a nerd girl comes to accept herself and her way of thinking, and then lives accordingly.

To me, nowadays, life is so precious. I would not want to waste even one minute by choosing standards that don’t apply to me and would make me miserable.

The way I understand things, if your mental wiring means you’re trans and/or gay and/or polyamorous, then by traditional conservative standards you’re a misfit, but it’s long been time to reject those standards, and to choose to live with integrity relative to who you are. As did I, you might discover that deep happiness is no longer elusive, and that depression no longer comes around.

I embraced life – living as who I am. So far so good. If you’re not yet doing so, please join me. And if writing me might help you, please do.

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.

* * *

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.