Archive for January, 2010|Monthly archive page

I Don’t “Get It” Either

That grand curmudgeon H.L. Mencken wrote

For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.

People like simple answers, even scientists do. Without being able to reduce problems down to idealized abstractions, we would never be be able to make any progress. But as Lawrence Peter Berra purportedly said, “In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not.”. In the best case, we have a good rule of thumb that we can usually usefully apply, and in the worst case, we have something that sounds plausible and elegant, yet leads us in entirely the wrong direction.

When it comes to many aspects of the human condition, we enter a territory where there are plenty of people peddling simple answers, but those answers conflict both with the answers given by other people and with at least some of the available evidence. Questions like what it means to be conscious, why people are gay, why they are left handed, why people dream, what it means to be Australian, whether red really exists, whether honesty is really always the best policy, what leads two people to fall in love, what is the best way for society to organize itself, what is the best economic policy, and on and on.

It’s no surprise then, that people aren’t in complete agreement about what gender is, what it means to be a woman or a man, and so on. It shouldn’t be a surprise to see that lots of people don’t properly fully grasp transsexualism. In fact, I would say that anyone who claims that they do really understand these things in their entirety ought to be regarded with deep suspicion.

One place where you see over-simplified views of transsexualism is from people who know next to nothing about it, and work based on some gut-level intuitions, the people who “don’t get it”. In my real life, I’m hardly ever situations where this kind of ignorance comes up, but I do see it on the Internet, even on broad general-interest sites like reddit and youtube, the topic comes up once in a while and you get to see people making misguided, misinformed, or just plain transphobic remarks. In those situations, I’ll often try to knock down their cardboard stereotypes and limited ideas of natural gender variance, and open their eyes to the complexity of the real world. But I don’t want to make those arguments here, because other people have prepared a lot of Trans-101 material that covers this ground, and because I want to explore another aspect of oversimplification.

There are other ways that transsexualism gets over-simplifed, and that is done by those very people who would try to explain it to others in the hope of spreading more tolerance. I am one of those people, but I have to say that despite all I’ve been through, I don’t understand this condition at all well. At best, I understand it well enough to get a sense of our collective ignorance and how poor some of our classic tropes are.

For example, one usual simple answer for a transsexual woman is “My womanhood is as genuine as any other woman’s”. It’s a simple idea, and said with passion and the right surrounding context it is usually persuasive. But depending on the definitions we use, its truth may be nonverifiable or even demonstrably false. Certainly if someone narrowly construes womanhood to genetics or reproductive function, some transsexual women are denied womanhood due to that severe oversimplification (as are some cissexual women!), but there are other, harder-to-dismiss, ways someone’s womanhood can be called into question.

If womanhood comes, as many transsexuals seem to believe, from some kind of internal knowing (which itself seems like a form of mental essentialism), I have no way to know that my experience of “knowing” that I am a woman is the same as the “knowing” that other people experience. It’s nonverifiable. (That shouldn’t be a surprise; likewise, there is no way to know whether I have the same kind of consciousness as others [maybe they are all p-zombies], or whether my experience of pain is like theirs.)

If, on the other hand, we take a stance that “existence precedes essence”, and that as Simon de Beauvoir wrote, “one is not born a woman, but becomes one”, we can see womanhood as something that arises from the form and capabilities of the adult female body and the way in which that person is treated by the wider world. As someone with breasts and a vagina, someone who the world sees and treats as a woman, and has lived as such for many years, it seems fair to say that I am a woman now—my lived experience correlates well with that of other women and poorly with that of men. But that raises the question of what I was when I first started to transition. Many transsexual woman would say “I was always really a woman (or before that a girl)”, and I would love to believe that too, but it that can hardly hold if womanhood is defined by a complex set of externalities, none of which seem to apply prior to transition.

Some people would say that there are externalities they can point to. Feminine behavior as an adult, gender variance as a child, and so on. But much as some transsexuals can ignore some externalities (e.g., “you don’t need a vagina to be a woman”), we can turn the tables on them and write off other externalities—namely the small set incongruities they would use to justify their identity. For example, gender variance is present in a lot of children who grow up not to be transsexual, but grow up to be gay or lesbian cissexuals. Likewise, most of us would argue that being outside of conventional gender roles should not be enough to deny someone womanhood or manhood. If I can write off being a little butch as an adult as irrelevant, how can I cling to being a little feminine as a child as meaningful?

Others point to sex-differences research that purports to show differences between male and female brains and says that transsexuals have brains corresponding to the sex they identify as. There are two problems here; the first is that sex-differences research has a long history of telling the culture in which it is undertaken exactly what it wants to hear. Women suddenly became much more capable in the eyes of science when they were needed in factories during the second world war, and became more fragile again when the boys came home and they needed to be encouraged to return to the role of home-maker. When women were seen as less skilled mathematically, science tried to tell us why, and once women attained similar mathematical achievement, those studies were discredited. So I have a healthy skepticism for sex-differences research. But even if it were solid, without actually being tested myself, I have no idea whether my brain would pass muster. Some scientists currently claim female brains are bad at spacial rotation, but I’m excellent at it—should I be proud of my smarts (I score better than average men or women) or fear for the truth of my gender identity? What if I fail whatever “girl brain” test they come up with? Probably I’ll be able to comfort myself with the fact that there are bound to be cissexual men who pass the test and cissexual women who fail it; that it is true in the average, but not always. That life is, in other words, more complicated than the simple idea of male and female brains would have us believe.

But aren’t I boxing myself into a corner? I seem to be skeptical of the idea of innate womanhood, but if that is the case, what was it that drove me initially? Where did that belief that I was really a woman come from? Some outsiders who “don’t get it” sometimes claim that transsexualism is a kind of delusion. In debating them, I can refer them to the psychiatric literature that denies that diagnosis. I might even be able to persuade the more stupid ones by saying “Who on earth would wish this in themselves?”. And yet, I can’t help wondering about all those other people who have sincere beliefs about themselves where they too say “Who on earth would wish this in themselves?”.

There are certainly other people who believe things about themselves that I find hard to square with reality as I perceive it, and whose sense of themselves seems to be warped. Such people include those who believe they were abducted by aliens; people with body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), who believe themselves to be too fat, no matter what; and, people with body integrity identity disorder (BIID), who believe that they would be better off without their left arm or right leg and might describe themselves as transabled. I see alien abduction as someone drawing entirely the wrong inferences from phenomena such as sleep paralysis and progressively reinforcing their convictions. Is it possible that as a child I drew some poor conclusions, and like an oyster making a pearl from a grain of sand, I created a cross-gender explanation? I certainly can’t prove to anyone that that isn’t the case.

In other words, if someone says, “You didn’t transition because you were really a woman back then, you did it because you were fundamentally broken in some way,” there really is nothing I can say to refute that. I’d certainly like to believe it isn’t true, but I couldn’t even make that claim before I transitioned, let alone now that my transition is a distant memory. In fact, the my utter failure to find any good answer for why I should need to be woman (beyond saying “this makes me happier and feels right, the alternative seems to increasingly lead towards misery and suicidal thoughts”) used to leave me in a death spiral of self doubt. That continued until I finally got over myself and decided that even if “to be happy” wasn’t a very scientific or rational answer to a “why?” question, it was nevertheless the best and most believable answer I was likely to get.

Even if I don’t understand the why of gender dysphoria, I do know that my gender dysphoria had a vivid and unpleasant reality to it. I do know that transition was something that changed things dramatically for the better, and to my surprise, surgery was a far more positive experience than I ever expected. My life now, years later is a good one. In the sense of Simone de Beauvoir I have become what I am now, a woman. But both then and now, when I try to look at why explanations like “some people thought I was a girl even when I was a boy”, “I always knew”, “I have a female brain” and so on strike me as politically useful but ultimately, I find them unsatisfyingly simplistic. When I look back, I see a tangled mess that no one can entirely make sense of.

Thankfully, you don’t always need to know why things are the way they are to figure out the a good way to handle the situation. We don’t need to know why people are gay or lesbian or bisexual to know that we should to treat them fairly. We don’t need to know why people are left-handed to know that we shouldn’t cater only to right-handed people.

I’m pleased to have faced up to things at a time when enough people “get it” well enough to know what’s right to allow transsexual people to be happy. I’m very happy that I followed a path that ultimately took me to a pretty good place. In that sense, answering the why question well is irrelevant. But it does mean that even as I argue with, and try to enlighten, people who “don’t get it” on the why front, people who are skeptical and confused, at some level I’m right there with them. I don’t get it either. I don’t think anyone really does.

Another hundred trans-related blogs

So, in response to “popular demand” (such as it is), here is the next hundred or so trans-related blogs from the list I made when I first tried to gauge just what was going on in the blogosphere and beyond. (You can find more about my rationale and the first 100 here.)

As with my first list, the order really doesn’t mean much, and there are still people whose blogs I like who are further down my list so didn’t get shown here. It’s quite possible there are errors and duplication in the list. If you spot something wrong, feel free to let me know in the comments.

  • Trans-Fried Fluff — “A Site Dedicated to Preserving the Integrity of the Sex-Gender Distinction, Exposing International Semantic Terrorism, and Denouncing the Unethical Application of Psycho-sexual Theories.”
  • Crossing the T — “Life at the intersection of Church and Trans with Rev. Allyson Robinson. I see myself as a transgendered woman who’s trying to follow Christ through the world, a pilgrimage that is both easier and harder than I expected it to be.”
  • TransFaith Online — “dedicated to supporting transgender folks in our faith journeys, while providing useful resources to help people of faith become better educated trans-allies.”
  • Jessica Who? The Official Blog of Crossdresser Jessica De Leon — “I’m Jessica De Leon and I am the creator of the blog Jessica Who?, I am a young & married man who sometimes dresses up in women’s clothing and makeup.”
  • The Transgender Law and Policy Institute — “We are a non-profit organization dedicated to engaging in effective advocacy for transgender people in our society. The TLPI brings experts and advocates together to work on law and policy initiatives designed to advance transgender equality.”
  • A random act of weirdness — “This is Drik! A transgendered boi identified Norwegian with a passion for activism, traveling, human rights and linguistics writes about their transition from female to something else entirely, polyamory, BDSM, activism and random acts of weirdness.”
  • GenderVision — “From the producers of GenderTalk radio and GenderTalk.com, GenderVision continues the ground-breaking work of challenging  and expanding our vision of gender and progressive politics.  Discussions range from sex and gender to masculinity, femininity, transgender, intersex, GLBT, feminist and men’s and women’s issues, as well as stereotypes of women and men.”
  • Cammie’s Song — “Gender variance is a profound trial… as is the responsibility to understand it. I believe in a beautiful tomorrow, full of unconditional love and acceptance for all of God’s children. The eyes are the greatest deceptors of the soul… I pray that we will discover the beauty of diversity as we embrace each opportunity to “see” with our hearts.”
  • Mental Boonies — “Sophie, Hampton Roads, Virginia, United States. A late blooming woman, trying to unzip this shell of a male persona. It no longer fits and it is time to come out of my chrysalis.”
  • Cheerful Megalomaniac — “I was assigned female at birth, but I had my doubts about the validity of this assessment from a fairly early age. In September of 2007 I found out I could transition to male, and after several months contemplation I decided that a lifetime of testosterone shots would totally be worth it if I could have a beard of my very own. Somewhat more recently I discovered postmodernism… I deconstructed my own gender until I landed in such a state of confusion that I am no longer able to tell you what gender I am. I identify as genderqueer, and like to be referred to with male pronouns.”
  • From Mars to Venus — “This is as much for my own benefit as for other people taking the same journey as I am, see title.”, “I went to London on Monday to see Dr. Curtis of TransHealth about what options I have with regard to going full time and transitioning.”
  • Home | Press For Change — “Campaigning for respect and equality for ALL trans people”
  • Malika’s Indian Transgender Blog — “WHO AM I? Queen, Cross-dresser, Female impersonator, Fruitcake, Drag Queen, Transvestite. Yes I am one. I wear sarees, I wear make-up and I sew and I cook and I CRYYYYYYYYYY!!!”
  • Possible Pasts — “I stepped into the online world as my true self on February 10, 2007, a day that seems so very long ago. I had to scatter my writings around on the blogosphere for various reasons. I am reposting my complete blogography here since the beginning, my very first post.”
  • Gardens in Bloom – An untraditional love story — “Annie and James Rushden were man and wife, until James revealed he was transsexual. Annie writes about the experience of falling in love all over again with her partner Claire. Same soul, different gift wrap.”
  • Intersex in Australia — The home of OII Australia — “Our mission: To support intersex individuals by providing information and contact with other intersex people.  Campaign in favour of human rights for the intersected. Encourage an exchange of ideas and different perspectives about intersex from various groups and geographical regions. Provide information concerning actual life experiences of people with intersex variations to medical personnel working with infants with atypical sex anatomy, to psychological experts, sexologists, sociologists and specialists in feminism. To assist families and friends of intersexed individuals to understand intersexuality and to cope with the specific problems related to the role as a support person.”
  • Elaine’s T* Art Blog — “A Gallery for Creative T* Paintings, Photography, Sculpture and More. I am a happily married TG and enjoy keeping an eye on the world of creative transgender and gender-variant art: painting, sculpture, photography, music and more.”
  • safe2pee.org blog — “Welcome to the safe2pee blog. If you have any questions, please email us at info at safe2pee dot org or visit our primary site at http://www.safe2pee.org. Thanks”
  • Claire De Lunacy — “I’m a 30-something Hispanic transwoman (read as: MtF Transsexual) living in Ohio. That’s right, Ohio. I’m into art, poetry and prose. I’m a published poet, would-be novelist, and harried artist just trying to make it through in this crazy world.”
  • Bad Moon Rising — “I identify as neutrois male and tend to swing between those extremes. For the record, I am trans. Sometimes I feel more male, other days I feel more neutrois. I don’t know if that makes me gender fluid or bigendered or genderqueer. *shrugs* The pronouns I use alternate or flow between male and gender-neutral. I don’t have a preferred set of gender-neutral pronouns.”
  • Sugar & Medicine — “I’ve been blogging away since Jan ‘09. A while back, another blogger exchanged links with me and thanks to her description, I found a way to tag my blog: trans activism, pop culture, lesbian feminism, and transfeminism. About Me:  I have two boys in highschool, and live a simple life in a small town,  filled with the joy & sadness of any conscious being. As for my relevance to this blog: I help educate with Trans101 presentations locally through Trans Connect, and also published a bi-weekly alternative broadsheet here for 6 years.”
  • Jaye’s Trans Blog — “Jaye Schmus. Not so random thoughts of one transwoman as she struggles to find a point.”
  • Organization Intersex International Aotearoa New Zealand — “The Organization Intersex International (Organisation Internationale des Intersexués) is the worlds largest grassroots resource for individuals born with variations in sex development. OII-NZ is an independant affiliate of a global organization that reaches to members on every continent in ten languages.”
  • Tranifesto — “Tranifesto is dedicated to providing information on gender diversity and transgender issues to trans and questioning individuals, and their family, friends, and loved ones, as well as professionals and others interested in gender issues–with a little or a lot of my opinions thrown in for good measure. I’m Matt Kailey. Welcome to Tranifesto. Put your preconceived notions on hold and take a journey into the world of gender diversity. It’s not scary.”
  • Gender Identity Disorder Reform — “GID Reform Advocates are medical professionals, caregivers, scholars, researchers, students, human rights advocates, and members of the transgender, bisexual, lesbian and gay communities and their allies who advocate reform of the psychiatric classification of gender diversity as mental disorder.”
  • The Transsexual Diaries — “I’m going through the process of transitioning from male to female, and it’s my hope to post entries here about my experiences. This is my way of making my voice be heard, and bringing attention to the issues that transgendered people face every day. In short, this a brutally honest, uncensored diary of my experiences dealing with being transsexual. My name is Sage, and I’m a pre-op (pre-operative) MtF (male to female) transsexual. I’m from a tiny town in the middle of nowhere Virginia. I have many interests as you can tell. To keep it short I’m an original, sarcastic, philosophical, intellectual, assertive, artistic, creepy, and sometimes overly dramatic person. I’m open minded, and always willing to make new, interesting friends.”
  • Shadows of a Dream — “I’m a transgender person. Just another human being,trying to live to the best of my ability. These blogs I hope reflect that. One is mainly a record of my times out. The other is about some things that affect my life along with some music and some of my own drawings,”
  • Gender DiverCity — “What is this you are doing? I am photographing people and their words. More specifically, I ask people to write about their feelings around gender and their own gender identity or presentation on a piece of plastic, and then I photograph them with it. Why are you doing this?  Gender DiverCity is a photo project through which I am attempting to show the diversity of gender presentation and identity among humans, and their own words about that gender presentation or identity. I have noticed that sometimes people see us through our words, sometimes people see us despite our words, sometimes our words are ignored, and sometimes our words change how others perceive us. For this reason, I ask participants to write some of their own words down on plastic which is included in the photo shoot.”
  • (unlinked by request) — “I am a post-op transsexual woman of a few years. I am happy with my life and try to enjoy it as much as possible. I have friends and family just like anyone else and live quite an ordinary life. From a very early age I knew there was something wrong in issues regarding my gender and it took many years of soul searching and denial before I came to the realisation that I had to correct the body I was born with. That I did in 2002.” [Edit: The person who had this blog asked me not to link to it from this list. Hopefully she won’t mind my keeping the description.]
  • Haunted Timber — “I am queer in another sense of the word: I am a trans woman. I did not grow up as a girl. I was labeled as a boy at birth and I spent my childhood trying to believe that I was a boy. At some point during my childhood, the whole boy thing became a bit cumbersome. So, when I hit 17, I decided that I would never identify as a man. I did, in fact, start to think of myself as a woman… in spite of hauling around a rather ill-fitting male body. Being a woman while inhabiting a male body gets to be pretty tiring, so I started my physical transition to female when I was 24. That was in 1993. A few years passed, and here we are. Yay!”
  • Maybe… Maybe not… ? — “Elizabeth; Ogden, UT, United States. I’m a transgendered girl just trying to get by. Right now, that means spending some time in Purgatory… who knew it was in Utah?”
  • gendermosaic — “Lori D. Thirty-something woman who writes, blogs, vlogs (that means video blogs), phlogs (takes lots of photographs and claims to be a photographer). I love playing guitar, keyboard, and sing.”
  • A Life about Transition | — “It is interesting to explore this side of myself and realize that perhaps I’ve been denying what I was truly desiring. For all my life I’ve always thought that women should be treated with respect and put on pedestials. Oddly enough, I didn’t view this for myself. Growing up as a tomboy, I never considered myself as a “woman” so to speak — at least not in the traditional sense.”
  • Battybattybats’ Cave of Rationality — “Battybattybats. I’m a crossdressing goth with chronic fatigue syndrome and an optimistic way of looking at the world.”
  • National Center for Transgender Equality: Home — “The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) is a 501(c)3 social justice organization dedicated to advancing the equality of transgender people through advocacy, collaboration and empowerment. NCTE was founded in 2003 by transgender activists who saw the urgent need for a consistent voice in Washington DC for transgender people. ”
  • Kelly’s So Called Life — “Finally admitting to myself that I was trans was a big deal, coming out to my family and friends was even bigger and just as scary. […] While it didn’t quite turn out like I had hoped, [FFS] was still a very big step in my transition from Greg to Kelly. Plus, it really, really, really hurt. What I Hope To Achieve During The Next Decade: […] Getting the right body parts- I live my life as female in every possible way but I can’t help but feel incomplete having what I do between my legs. Be gone already. It would be nice to meet someone who isn’t totally repulsed by who I am or what I look like. Girl or boy, doesn’t matter.”
  • THE D LINE — “A bridge to undrstanding transgender and gender variant people of the world. genevieve; Brooklyn, New York, United States. There are many facets to my life. I am multigendered, a writer, lover of the theater, Poe, green tea afficionado, and seeker of knowledge. I love people who are outside the box. I seek to embrace you with love and acceptance. ”
  • The Institute for Welcoming Resources — Transgender Resources — “Towards a Welcoming and Inclusive Church: transACTION – A Transgender Curriculum For Churches and Religious Institutions. New transgender education resource for churches from the Institute for Welcoming Resources.”
  • Lesbian Dad — “les•bi•an dad: n, neologism 1. a. A lesbian or genderqueer parent who feels that traditionally female titles (i.e., “mother”) don’t quite fit, and who is willing to appropriate and redefine existing male ones (i.e., “father”): She was a tomboy when she was a kid, so it’s not surprising she’s a lesbian dad as a parent. b. Often a non-biological parent in a lesbian family, whose role relative to the child in many ways resembles that of fathers.”
  • Denise’s Boring Blog — “41, London Girl with well… a semi interesting life… sorta day to day fun with the odd hiccup or two… but hey thats life innit… In this blog you will always get it straight and with the truth… and the truth hurts sometimes…”, blog by Denise Anderson, who also has a website that has various resources, info from surgery in Thailand, etc.
  • Crossing The Floor — “Jenny Harvey. Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, United Kingdom. I’m 40/41 years old. I work for the NHS and I’m Branch Secretary in the greatest Trade Union in Great Britain, UNISON. I live in the Premiership (valid for 1 year) city of Stoke-on-Trent. I am recently divorced. BECOMING JEN or How Not To Transition: My story as recounted across this blog in a rambling, but thankfully spell checked fashion.”
  • Amber’s transition — “Amber’s Transition. Just a middle aged girl starting over in if.” (also blogs at Amber’s Amusements).
  • LGBT Latest Science — “All the gay science that’s fit to print. Geekgirl is a straight ally, a molecular biologist, a believer in pure, peer reviewed science. She also has many LGBT friends. ”
  • Christy Dancer’s Blog — “Just to help you catch up, I’m transitioning full-time now.”
  • Callan — “The Loneliness of a Long-Lost Tranny”
  • Stop Transphobia — “This site has been developed to aid the fight against transphobia in the UK.  The only blog I could find dedicated to tackling transphobia had a strong US bias: stories relating to the UK were dropping through the cracks.  During 2008 the need for a UK focused blog has become even more apparent.  Over the summer, the Stop Transphobia At Pride campaign was formed in response to stewards at London Pride preventing trans people from using toilets appropriate to their gender.  Later in 2008, many trans people questioned whether it was appropriate for Stonewall to nominate Julie Bindell as Journalist of the Year given the nature of some of her comments on transpeople over the years.”
  • The Cracked Crystal Ball II — “Collected ramblings of a deranged mind. Much of what’s in this blog will be political, speculative and generally annoying. The idea is to put out some ideas that emerge from paying attention to the news in Canada, the US and around the world. Pretty much anything will be fair game, and little will be held sacred.” (Has several interesting essays on relevant gender topics.)
  • The UK Angels – Transgender Help and Support — “Supporting the Transgendered Community. ”
  • A Gender Queer View — “A Proud Pansexual Panamorus Gender Queer Married Androgyne and Trans-Woman. Natasha Yar-Routh. A married gender queer trans-woman, I live in the California mountains north of Los Angeles. ”
  • Breaking Free Of The Bud — “The everyday tale of a late twenties T-Girl, who having found herself, is now progressing into the next stage of the TG journey. I am a 27 year old T-Girl hailing from Derbyshire. I am out and proud and, after what has been a long period of self-discovery, I’m heading towards going full-time.”
  • Becky Allison — “I’m Becky Allison, and I’ve published the “drbecky.com” website, in one form or another, since 1996.  My intention was, and is, to provide support and information for a very special group of people.  People Like Me, you might say.”
  • Southern Crossdressing — “Cassidy Brynn.   Southern Mid-Atlantic, United States.  All things arts. All things cultural. All things transgendered. Women’s fashion, costume jewelry, fun. Interested in meeting t-girls from the area for tea and conversation, if possible. Hello? Is there anyone out there? Lol Not interested in meeting for adult pleasures, mind you, I’m taken. Non T interests include guitar, music, painting, arts, family, cooking, film, and outdoor activities (what can I say, I like running around barefoot).”, “One thing I’ve noticed is my language for describing how I view myself has evolved. Years ago I was just a crossdresser, a weekend drag queen. Now I’m trans, or even transsexual.”
  • Ping Your Spaceman — “A student, a geek, an activist, a born-and-raised Southerner, a nonsectarian Zen Buddhist, a big-city person by compulsion, identified as genderqueer with plans to transition and a femme masculine presentation. I am easily amused and given to creating a great matrix of thoughts to connect all of my varied interests. Bad movies, bad fiction, badly written erotica, sequential art, and tokusatsu shows are my amusements.”
  • TYFA – Serving Transgender youth and their families — “TYFA empowers children and families by partnering with educators, service providers and communities, to develop supportive environments in which gender may be expressed and respected. We envision a society free of suicide and violence in which ALL children are respected and celebrated. ”
  • Just Another View — “[This blog] actually started out of the idea to tell weird ideas and stories with no particular value to anyone but the longer this blog exists the more I turned towards LGBT-topics and gender studies. However, I’m not a typical transsexual activist – I’m just too much of a cynic for that. Still it is a subject I discuss a lot for it happens to be part of my everyday life – at least I guess so because right now I’m wearing a shirt with a transgender logo. But still I sometimes end up with some stories from my everyday life or weird theories about life in general for even the whole trans-stuff can get boring from time to time. So, if you want to read just another boring blog feel free – I won’t keep you away. And if you want to talk to me just ask – I’ll answer.”
  • Interfaith Coalition for Transgender Equality — “Advocacy and Education Throughout Communities of Faith.”
  • The Stranger — “Born 1977 in Norway and have mostly stayed here since. I’m a writer whith one collection of poems on my record, and I’m a transsexual man in middle of transition (FtM). My book of poems is named “Framandkar”, and means Stranger. In Norwegian it’s gendered male. The book is a collection of poems about transitioning from female to male and are mostly based on my own experience. I write erotic short stories and some articles, as well as poems.”
  • Traningrad — “Elly’s english-speaking weblog about feminism, trans issues and things that go through her head when she’s not too lazy. ”
  • Gorgon Queen — “But I’ve noticed recently that there is a critical mass forming of really incisive, deeply thoughtful trans thinkers who are finally beginning to push back against the tide of stupidity that forever threatens to drown us – people with far more vision than self-regard who show evidence of thinking clearly… a precious and rare commodity in the trans ’sphere, I find.”
  • Light a Candle for Angie Zapata — “Angie Zapata was brutally murdered in Greeley, Colorado in July 2008. Angie was a transgender woman and she was murdered because of anti-transgender bias. ”
  • TransProviser — “Lorelei Erisis is a Professional TransWoman, Second City Trained Improviser, Performer and Filmmaker. She is also an Ordained Minister, DJ, Lifestyle Activist, Writer and Adventurer. She has been an old fashioned, punk rock soda jerk in Harvard Square; a Cage Dancer in Boston; a singing (badly), dancing (even worse), wacky waitress at a theme diner in Chicago; designed a notebook that she sold to the Museum of Modern Art in NYC; been a Dominatrix’s assistant; as well as the Showroom Manager at the historic Hollywood Improv.”
  • cuteboyishlesbiangirls — “A Photo / Fetish Blog, of Sorts – LBGTQ Proud.”
  • Diana Richards — “Diana Richards.  NW UK, United Kingdom.  trans blogger mostly harmless doubtless deluded”
  • xoros — “So, I’m a trans woman, an architect and virtual world environment designer, feminist, lesbian, romantic, slightly geeky and a list maker. I love learning, I aspire to have a sense of wonder about the universe and life. Reading is an important part of my being, whether fiction or non fiction I can devour a book, although I have a particular love of fantasy and science fiction – as well as trashy detective novels. Oh and I’m moderately… ok pretty geeky when it comes to computers and the internet. I’m also a British expat living on the continent, I love how learning other languages makes me appreciate and understand my own more deeply.”
  • Today You Are You – My Transgender Child & My Destiny — “When my 4 year old told me he was a girl inside, I said “Be who you are.” With our love and support she socially transitioned a couple years later and is living authentically for the first time. Some days I feel like I am shouting from the rooftops, calling out for help into the night. At times the role of parent and advocate is a lonely one, but I cling to the fact that we are not alone. Once I began this blog I learned that we are part of a loving and supportive community of people that have reached out from across the planet to share their stories and lives with me. I will be forever grateful for all of your love, support and collaboration. ”
  • my CD life — “My name is Gabrielle Hermosa. I’m a crossdresser, media artist, husband, part-time blogger and psychology enthusiast. I write about crossdressing, my personal life, and mix it up with fun and humor. It is time we got out of the 1950’s when it comes to transgendered issues. ”
  • The Unbridled Joy of Flight — “This blog is where I will describe my journey to physical womanhood.  I had wanted to start this much earlier, but never took the time given other priorities.  As such, for now it will start in the middle- my anatomical completion starting with pre-op prep beginning on Sept 30 and continuing for a few months past my surgical date on oct 7.  Over time, I will fill in the beginning, and then those interested in traveling the journey with me to the end will be able to do so.  My goal is to keep my “trans issues” here and off other venues, so that folks who are interested can follow along and those who just want to be my friend without the “gory details” can have that option.”
  • GenderEvolve – Transgender Transformation — “We are transgender and genetic women from all walks of life, together on a mission to bring positive change to the way transgenderism is viewed by society. We strive to reflect positively on ourselves, our sisters, and transgender community at large”
  • flooring and whoring — “Doing sex work as a genderqueer IDed, female-assigned-at-birth person is a bit of a mindfuck, in addtion to the work beng a mindfuck in and of itself. I’ve met a handful of other genderqueer/vagina possessng people but not talked about it much, and have an easier time just not even tryng to assign theories. I don’t feel particularly gendered most of the time, and go through occasional phases of gender dysphoria in whch it feels like i’d like nothing more than to transition hormonally. I often talk myself out of this w1th the rationalization that I wouldn’t be able to work anymore […].”
  • Being Julia — “Or to put it another way, I’m Julia . . . sometimes. I’m a T-Girl – a fella who loves to wear dresses . . . and skirts . . . and stockings . . . and heels . . . and . . . . . . . . I live in England with my wonderful partner Dee, who knows the score and stands by me (although not exactly with me . . . she hasn’t met Julia). I’m a father and a writer and a reader and a musician and a football fan. I’m a lover, not a fighter (or a dancer). I’m a 60s child. I hope I never grow up. I’m a man in touch with his feminine side, but I’m not a man trapped in a woman’s body. I was born male and I’ll die male . . . I just make the odd excursion as Lady Julia.”
  • Women Born Transsexual — “Women Born Transsexual or WBT is for people who recognize transsexualism, sometimes called HBS or Harry Benjamin Syndrome as an innate condition rather than a gender identity disorder. We view transsexualism as a medical condition we were treated for rather than as an identity.  We tend to not consider ourselves transgender although many of us are quite willing to work with transgender people in achieving common goals.  We are not willing to allow our unique history and life experiences to be erased or swallowed up by the transgender paradigm. Many but not all of us do not see ourselves as being part of transgender.  This is neither elitist nor hostile and a great deal of misunderstanding could be alleviated by simply saying transsexual and transgender when describing people who are now erased when transgender is used as  a universal and collective descriptive noun.”
  • Walking With Integrity — “Since 1974, IntegrityUSA  has been a faithful witness of God’s inclusive love to the Episcopal Church and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. We are working for the full inclusion of all the baptized in all the sacraments.”
  • Transgender, Gender Variant and Intersex Justice Project — “The Transgender, Gender Variant and Intersex Justice Project’s (TGIJP) mission is to challenge and end the human rights abuses committed against transgender, gender variant, genderqueer and people with intersex conditions in California prisons and beyond.”
  • Becoming Ella — “I am, at heart, a normal girl. Unfortunately, for one reason or the other, I didn’t exactly turn out that way. I was born a guy, but not letting that put me off, I march on into my life with high expectations. I hope for changes in the future that will certainly make my life more enjoyable, but I know that I can’t put it all on hold until I have become the person I feel inside. I am trying my best to find myself a good job right now, but it is difficult. Anyway, you can read all this and more in my blog, so catch you later!”
  • feminism + fandom = attitude problem — “as a GQ person, I’m tempted to throw up my hands, say ‘fuck it all’, and go start a commune. […] I guess I’m just angry. I’m v. angry at the fuckups on the feminist side, but I’m also angry at certain prescriptivism on the trans* side.”
  • Gender and Life’s Paths — “ Here I offer some news, information, resources, opinions and POVs to hopefully help you learn more about gender expression and life situations. There are a variety of paths individuals discover that may contribute to positive life changes.”
  • Gender Variance in the Arts — By the same person that does A Gender Variant Who’s Who.
  • Just Jennifer — “Just Jennifer.  San Francisco, CA, United States. I am a woman who was born with a condition known as Harry Benjamin Syndrome (formerly known as transsexualism).”
  • g. — “I’m a queer femme Paisan pervert and sex worker with fairly radical politics, and a long history doing political organizing in queer and trans communities. Interests of mine include intersex, reproductive justice, sex worker, multi-cultural, cross-class, and disability activism; and using art, writing, performance, and social media as political tools. I’m also the founder and instructor of Sex Workers’ Writing Workshop. I’m also genderqueer, an ex-riot grrrl, a sex nerd, a fat girl, an urban cyclist who actually likes the challenge of biking up San Francisco’s hills, non-monogamous/slutty, a damn good cook, and slowly but surely reclaiming the weird witchy Catholicism my Ma & Nana raised me with. I like glitter, the colors fuchsia & hot pink, and leopard print. ”
  • Transgender Cartoon Gallery — “I am an artist-in-business here, at Revolutionize Your Gender and Homofactus Press. You can also follow me at my personal blog, Reconno(trans)Man.”
  • GenderLines — “GenderLines is a collection of personal writings, opinions and observations around gender-variance, or transsexuality, or transgenderism if you will, mixed in with more technical investigations into what causes people to be gender variant, how widely they occur, the processes one follows to transition, etc. Genderlines will also touch on the topics of intersex, same-sex attraction and other issues on occasion, as I feel there are quite convincing arguments to show that they are all closely related. I am transsexual myself, currently transitioning from male to female, and in many ways this is my attempt to understand myself. The “why” of things has always been important to me, and I tend to spend an inordinate amount of time reading about life instead of living it. Oh well, at least my digging has given me a better idea of why I was born this way, of how it has shaped my life and affected that of people close to me, and in sharing what I’ve learned, I hope you will derive some of that same benefit.”
  • Kellie’s Views — “Kellie’s random thoughts and comments about being transgendered, living in hell, transitioning, dealing with ignorance, family issues, financial issues, doctors, and etc. I am an artist, a dreamer, a lover, a computer geek, and I am a male to female trans-women. I have only recently been able to say that. I am happily married with one adorable child. (Please don’t try and hook up with me, I’m not interested in chasers or “fun”.) I have lived in denial and shame for most of my life but not any more. I am now at the point that I can feel some worth for myself. I am now looking forward to my journey of becoming the person I was born to be.”
  • Abi Christopher — “The life of a woman from Milton Keynes. My name is Abi Christopher I am a 33 year old and I live in Milton Keynes. What is a transsexual person? A transsexual is a person who’s brain gender is not matched with their body gender. So I was born with male anatomy but my brains sex is that of a woman’s.”
  • The Marshmallowfication Blog — (No about text for me to copy and paste; on the trans spectrum the author is a trans woman, who has transitioned and is contemplating surgery. Plus lots of other life things. Video blogs too.)
  • Androgyne Online — Support/info site for Androgynes. “Androgyne (pronounced AN-dra-jine) is the term used to describe persons who are androgynous. Androgyny, first and foremost, is a state of mind, not just an attitude or fashion statement. The notion that only androgynous-looking people can be or are androgynous is a misconception. Androgynes can be said to have the gender identity of both a man and a woman — or neither. Some identify with both traditional genders, while others see their identity as more of a synthesis and consider themselves to be agendered, as in “other” or “none of the above.” Some androgynes go as far as to call themselves “gender outlaw” (a term popularized by Kate Bornstein).”
  • That’s What Ze Said — “This blog will focus on what I know best – Jewish genderqueer. It’s what I live, it’s what I love. Hopefully it will be informative but I’ve decided to focus more on my internal discussions than 101.”
  • TransMentors International Inc. — “TransMentors International is a non-profit organization which provides aid, support and assistance to Trans-identified individuals. We are committed to the health and well-being of all members of our diverse community. Accordingly, we dedicate ourselves to providing an array of information services, educational materials, advocacy training, as well as assistance with housing, health, faith, and employment needs.”
  • Walking in New Shoes — “~K~, New England. I’m 42 and finally trying to strip myself of the lie I was living and just worry about being myself. It’s been an up and down journey so far but I am much better for being true to myself …”, “One of the hardest things in transitioning in middle age is the direction we have to take. We set our goals to right ourselves, our bodies, our minds and our souls so that we can live in peace.”
  • trans and flow — “Sass Rogando Sasot. A transpinay activist and an advocate for the human rights of transgender people. An art project in progress. A leaping gazelle in the savanna of thought. A red cloud at sundown. An animated nomadic stardust who paints poems and occasional prose. An individual who hopes to connect with those who are still in touch with the magical. Every now and then she steals moments with her camera. This blog is a collection of her prose.”
  • Tina-cious.com — “37 year old trans*wife. Aspiring filmmaker, married (1/1/07), Mom of 2 grown ass kids”
  • Midwest GenderQueer — “Midwest GenderQueer,  commonly known as JAC Stringer, loves ridiculous little dogs. A Cincinnati, Ohio native, he has dedicated his activist career to bettering the Midwest for genderqueer and queer people. JAC currently serves as director of The GenderQueer Coalition, a radical activist organization for genderqueer and gender non-conforming advocacy, education, and wellness. JAC is also a trans-radical genderqueer stage performer, also known as the genderfuckingly fabulous euro-star JAC McFaggin’. JAC McFaggin’ has performed in queer and non-queer spaces across the country, both as a solo performer and as a co-managing member of the internationally recognized professional drag troupe The Black Mondays. JAC works as a lobbyist for the Advocates for Youth Ohio Council for Comprehensive Sex Education, he is a Lobby Team Leader for Lorain county, Ohio, and volunteers at his high school Alma mater Walnut Hills High School as a mentor to the school’s Gay-Straight Alliance.”
  • Zoe’s journal — “Moderator of lez_sex_tips, transfeminismuk, transmods and co-run london_transfem”
  • To A T — “Transformations Of & Reflections On A Life”, “How The Girl Decided That She Has To Be More Than Just Another Trannie; or, We Talk A Lot About Wanting To Be Just Another Woman While Refusing To Deal With The Rest Of The World.”
  • PodOmatic | Podcast – The Radicalguy — “A Transgender Talk show. A fun loving FtM transsexual with a good sense of humor and a HOT temper.”
  • Just Don’t Mention Indy — “May contain: ranting, raving, adolescent poetry (in moderation) and links to much better blogs. Oh yes – I study archaeology. It’s hard. This will be updated IN THE HOLIDAYS, because I’m currently crafting a life.” (trans man)
  • Transsexual and Transparent — “Pushing Boundaries: One Man’s Reality – Following the Experiences of a Transition from Female to Male.”
  • TRANScend GENDER — “This is a place where people can come together and post what’s on their mind. Where we can throw our thoughts into a blog where we can all view, review, and post comments. It’s also a place where we can share our own thoughts, and all of this without having to search or bookmark each other in 300 different places. Cross post from your own blog, 360 site, Myspace, or wherever. Contribute whenever you like. Comment whenever also. Do your thing, just do it with us!”
  • …a reconciliation…finding .me. — “A forty-one year old transsexual woman gradually coming to terms with .her.self. During the journey of reconciliation I thought it might be a good idea to express myself in a somewhat public way in order to test my ideas and thoughts with others. I hope to learn from the comments that I receive and perhaps avoid the mistakes and dead-ends that others, who have already been down this road, have experienced.”
  • Revolutionize Your Gender! — Gender Posters to Fuel Your Insurgencies — Posters representing genderqueer, anti-gender-binary perspective.
  • Paren-T — “Two women, friends who are thousands of miles apart. One’s a trans-parent, the other’s a parent with a transgender child. Let the madness, and the joy, of parenting begin.”
  • Living Transgender In American Society Today — “Eva-Genevieve! Scarborough; West Covina, California, United States. I am 54 years old at the time I edit this. I started life as a boy but I am a transitioned female now and quite happy. I love life now rather than loathing it. My career in electronics R&D died in the crashing of the Twin Towers and my old pseudo-man life ended in the wreckage of that career and a failed 14-year marriage. I am building a new and much more appropriate and fulfilling life now. Everywhere I go I seem to be able to make friends easily too, just by being open about who I am. July 24th 2006 began my full-time life as Eva-Genevieve Scarborough and I am so joyful that I am free and I am God’s girl now. Sounds, and is unusual but that and my love for Jesus Christ are at the heart of who I am.”
  • Smash the Cisarchy! — “Hello, my name is Ellie and I’m transgendered. This is my background: I was born in Taiwan to a Taiwanese mother and an American father.  In spite of this I look pretty white and the space I occupy in the world is adjusted accordingly.  My parents are hardly rich but I’ve never wanted for food or basic necessities.  They fostered a love for learning that continues to this day. These are a few of my labels: transgendered, lesbian, Asian-American, radical transfeminist, pacifist, atheist, Taiwanese-born, United States citizen, voter, pro-choice, pro-gay rights, pro-intersex rights, anti-circumcision, anti-FGM, anti-IGM, and so on and so forth.”
  • Lynn’s Place — “Supporting our transgender brothers and sisters.”
  • Your Y Chromosome Ain’t Got Nothin On Me — “the gender musings of a 22 year old real boy”
  • Does my bum look big enough in this? — “Sorry to mess you about dear readers (I think there are all of 2?), I changed names and changed blogs. You can continue reading here”. [From the latter blog: I got confirmation of Gender Disphoria or Gender Identity Disorder from Dr Curtis at Transhealth on Friday, so on the Monday back at work I started the process of coming out at work.]
  • Stufftransmenlike — “First things first: while entries on this blog may seem unfair or mean spirited, they are meant as neither. I have been in and around “trans male space” for about seven years, and certain themes and problematic threads have made themselves apparent in their repetition.  Updates will be sporadic.   Currently, I am especially interested in the ways some trans men directly or indirectly harm trans women and thus will explore that thoroughly (or at least I hope I will!) in this blog.”
  • Being a teenage crossdresser — “Wearing a skirt has never been so difficult…”, “Hello, my name is Alice. I am an 18 year old student from England. I had gender dysphoria. This means i have a male body, but my mind is not sure which gender it should be. This is an important concept to grasp because the rest of my blog won’t make much sense unless you understand. I am not a transsexual, i don’t want to fully be a woman, yet. I am just confused about my gender. Ideally i would be androgynous, but society doesn’t allow for that at the moment. Because i class myself as more woman than man, i crossdress to a female mode. This suits me well and i enjoy it. I am out to all my friends and family and live about 50% of the time as a girl.”
  • There from Here — Old blog of Jennifer Finney Boylan (author of She’s Not There: a Life in Two Genders); newer one here.
  • VeronicaMoonlit’s inevitable blog — “I’m transgendered”. No about page.
  • Karol Cross – A fox of the first order! — “Hi, I’m Karol, a happy, confident, transgendered person from the North of England who’s now settled in London. I’ve been going out as Karol since about 2000, so I’m far from a newbie. And although I still enjoy catching up with my friends on the trannie scene, these days I tend to go to mainstream or fetish venues both in London and much further afield”
  • tspx newsblog: no, you shut up. — “This is a trans news blog, which is a pretty straightforward concept, right? Our perspective is: feminist. punk. do-it-yer-fuckinself. We are critical of a media neck-deep in transphobia, and invested in calling out patriarchal, sexist, racist, and otherwise oppressive perspectives on trans stuff, when trans stuff is in the news.”
  • Confessions of an Autogynephiliac — “I am Jack Molay and I am a man dreaming about having a female body. This is a phenomenon so strange, that it is rarely talked about. For those who are “autogynephiliacs”, however, the need to understand what it is all about is imperative. This is a place for exploring “the inner woman”.”
  • Proper Fucked — “Kink-positive biogrrl, erstwhile submissive, writer, photographer, music lover; blurring the lines of gender and sexuality with my trannyboi top, and having a ball doing so.”
  • The Disobedient Librarian — “An atheist, peace-loving, trans, progressive-anarchistic, green, head banging, lesbian librarian from upstate NY.”
  • Eclexia: — “Because geeky transgender socio-political ramblings are fun!”
  • In Between Naps — “A transgender person is just another human being trying to live in this world.”
  • The Serpent’s Wisdom — “Sabrina Qedesha, Watertown, Massachusetts, United States”. (No about page, but tales of transition can be found here amongst other things.)
  • Her Royal Whoreness — “I might have spoken about some of the similarities and connections between sex worker and trans experiences in this blog before. As someone partnered to a wonderful transman, he will often get clueless and offensive questions such as ‘so, what is in your pants, then?’ Whereas I’ll get the ‘so how old were you when you first started working/ had first sexual experience?’ or ‘do you use drugs or were you sexually abused?’ from random strangers.”
  • (trans)prose — “a body of work in progress”, “I’m maintaining a transition website, keeping it as informative and detailed as I can stand.   It will be constantly changing as I go through old journal entries and photos and add them in. Most of my transition page is about my medical transition: top surgery and testosterone.   I’m trying to include some entries about my social transition, and about the way my views about gender and bodies have changed.   A lot of those older entries are embarrassing, but I feel it’s important to include them here, at least for now. I’m also keeping a small blog about trans/genderqueer community politics, especially as they intersect with my experiences.”
  • Roanne’s Hug Central — “Hi there. I am a preop transsexual woman who has come out online only. I’m not ready to meet people in person but relish the opportunity to make online relationships and exchange ideas and support other girls like myself. I hope you’ll drop me a line or comment on my blog entries. ”
  • Z and the Universe — “One transgendered person’s view of her world. Such as it is. Zelda Rose, Dallas, TX, United States. I used to live in New Orleans, now I live in Dallas. Not a bad place, but there’s no river or seafood… I’m complicated, but not a bad person. Well, most of the time. ”
  • Common Teri’s Commentary — “The most unique thing about me is probably that I’m a person of male history who lives as a woman. I live with my wife and two kids near Yosemite National Park. My main interests are in making music and creating art. I am still looking for answers to difficult questions. If you think you have some answers I hope you’ll share them. I’ll be touching on topics that I find uncomfortable and may make you uncomfortable too. Some topics you may not like and may possibly anger you though that is not my intention. I hope to open a dialog here that addresses transgender concerns and a mutual respect for the different needs of those under this transgender umbrella.”
  • RadioFree Transburgh — “ I’m a Transwoman living in Pittsburgh. Podcasts and blog posts will encompass trans issues as well as anything else I find interesting.” (last post 2007)
  • Luis Droppings — “The personal journal and public scrapbook of a testosterone-fuelled TV fetishist skank and multi-media “method artist”…”, “Luis Drayton; London, United Kingdom. I’m a 33 year old multi-media artist; and if you haven’t already guessed, I’m transgendered.
  • My Halo — Home of “The Radical Trannies” (?).
  • Transgender Emergency Fund — “The Transgender Emergency Fund (TEF) was created to provide critical assistance to low-income transgender people. Through the fund’s intervention, transpeople have been able to avoid homelessness, maintain access to health care, and live with greater dignity and stability.”

And as I said before, although I didn’t do this for self promotion (really!), but since you’re here, remember that you can check out my blog too.

Stealth Stories: Sliding into Stealth

When I transitioned, about fifteen years ago, I imagined I would be “quietly out” (i.e., out but not “in your face”), but that turns out to be harder to do than I naïvely thought back then.

From the moment I transitioned, the mantle of stealth began to descend.  I was lucky enough that new people I met just assumed I was a cis woman. The only plausible way for them to find out otherwise would be if somebody told them; and for the most part, that somebody could only be me. What I quickly discovered is that my gender/sex history isn’t something I really want to tell anyone, I’m not even entirely comfortable telling it to me.

Transsexualism isn’t unique in this regard. Just off the top of my head, I can think of a wide variety of things that might be crucial to who someone is today, but that they don’t feel like wearing on their sleeve:

  • Someone with an invisible disability (e.g., infertility, chronic pain, depression, learning disorders, eating disorders, mild autism, IBS, STDs, etc.) may not feel like telling other people about it, because they often bring stereotypes, trite advice, or misguided sympathy that doesn’t help.
  • Someone who has been through a traumatic experience (e.g., miscarriage, abortion, sexual assault, losing a loved one) may not feel like talking about it because other people will see them as a victim, or will want to talk to them about it when they would rather let it lie.
  • Anyone who has grown personally such that they remember their past actions with regret (e.g., being unreliable, being a poor friend, hurting someone, criminal acts) may not want others to think about the person they were, rather than the person they are now.
  • Anyone who takes a medication may not want others to know about why they take what they take. (This extends to recreational drug use too.)
  • Anyone who has resolved a body issue may not want others to know (e.g., what their teeth looked like before braces, what their hair looked like when they were balding, what their chest looked like before dealing with gynecomastia, etc.) because seeing or thinking about how they used to look is painful, and they don’t want others to have that image of them.

In all cases, these things may have helped to define them, and coping made them stronger better people in various ways. And yet they’re not things that everyone feels comfortable being open about, because being open about them can change the way that other people see them and dredges up the past.

Transsexualism steps into all of these things; my infertility is an invisible disability, (not) dealing with my gender dysphoria was traumatic in various ways, and it leaves a past I don’t enjoy to dwelling on.

So it’s very easy to fall into a “don’t ask, don’t tell” mentality where if it doesn’t come up, you don’t tell. And of course, if you blend in, it’s never really going to come up. You can even speak out in favor of transsexual people without having anyone make a connection—there are plenty of cissexual trans allies out there. (Actually, back when I transitioned I used to go to meetings of transsexual people and have some people assume I was an ally; although, in that venue, I would correct them.)

I promised myself I would never lie about my past, and I’m proud of how I held to that promise, but a commitment not to lie doesn’t mean you have to correct others when they make incorrect assumptions, and doesn’t mean that you can’t be evasive.  I have occasionally said things like “my time in high school was painful enough that I don’t really want to go into detail”, and my friends accept that and move on. It’s true, but it is far from the whole truth.

Even if you mean to tell people eventually, once you realize that you’re probably never going to have to tell people (but if you ever did have to, you could ride it out okay), it’s hard to push yourself into telling them now because you can always procrastinate and decide to put it off a little longer.

In fact, now that I think of it, even early on under extreme circumstances I managed to somehow avoid outing myself in situations where it might have been reasonable to do so. When I first changed my name, I went into my bank with my name change document and said to the clerk, “I need to change the name on my account”, and the clerk replied “Oh, did you get married?”, and I said no, and handed over my name change documents (which made no reference to gender), saying “Now, umm, my old name might be a bit of a surprise for you”, and she looked at it, and said “Oh… I suppose your parents must have really wanted a boy?” (i.e. to have given a girl a boy’s name). Clearly, no other possibility occurred to her, which I thought was really sweet and quite flattering. I don’t think I could have made myself say, “No, you see actually I’m a transsexual woman”, since that would have dramatically changed the dynamics. She didn’t know. She didn’t need to know. It was easier on me to leave it that way.

I have thought about outing myself to people close to me (my partner does know), but I feel that it’s a bit like a married partner talking about an affair—briefly cathartic and theoretically more “honest”, but in reality something you may regret doing because of the way it can change the dynamics (i.e., they’ll never see you the way they did before) and burdens others with information they would have been happier never knowing, especially if they don’t feel free to talk about it with other people.

Yet I also promised myself that I’d never live in fear of being outed, and I think that despite all I’ve said above, I’ve done okay on that promise too. I slid into stealth by inaction and because it was comfortable, but I have enough self confidence to know that people who know me, know me, and who I was twenty years ago is unlikely to change how they see me now by all that much. Probably. If things keep going as they have gone so far, I’ll never need to find out. And I’m fine with that.

Viewed negatively (to paraphrase Star Wars), “Blending leads to stealth, and stealth leads to the trans-invisibility side”, but I also don’t think it’s necessarily fair to expect everyone to be out about everything all the time. Some people want to let go of the past as much as they can, and move on. [Edit: Originally, I wrote trans-erasure rather than trans-invisibility, but on reflection, the latter is better.]

As far as I know, everyone I knew who transitioned at the same time as me has pretty much blended away. It happens, and I don’t think anyone should be surprised that it does, or be annoyed at the people who don’t want to be “out and proud” about complicated, traumatic, deeply personal things.

Falling into the Internet

When I compiled my list of one hundred trans-related blogs, I found myself feeling a little overwhelmed. There were a log of blogs out there, some of which resonated, and many that didn’t. It was quite a mesmerizing experience, and motivated two of my earliest posts (Whispering into the Wind and Blogging Privilege).

Another blogger (the author of the blog Enough Non-Sense)  found the same thing, but wrote about the experience. The analysis is somewhat harsh, and influenced by that author’s perspective, but it is still probably worth reading.

When I went through the list, I too saw factions that were sometimes warring, and categories I could drop people into. There are people seem to like drawing lines and putting others on the other side of those lines. Some people like saying “I’m not like them!” and others say “Look at me, look at me!”. Some people are angry, others are activist, others are political, and many are all three. Many are self involved. But seen as a whole, the picture I saw was mostly hopeful. I saw people coping with things that aren’t easy to cope with and talking about that; people trying to understand themselves and others.

This weekend, I went through the next hundred on my list, and fell into the Internet all over again. For all the things I could complain about, it was still interesting, even if I do end up feeling that the more I learn, the less sure I am as to whether there is any simple way to express what exactly it is that I have learned.

If there is demand, I’ll post that next hundred list here too. As with the first hundred, for me there are pros and cons to doing so. Some people will visit my blog just because I’ve posted a list. Some people will see it as a popularity contest and complain. But probably some people will find something interesting in there, something that resonates with them. So probably someone will encourage me to post it, and I will…

On Essentialism

Here is an analogical scene I came up with the other day when reflecting on essentialism…

Sarah hung up her cellphone, turned to Simon, “Well”, she said, “that was an interesting conversation with my Mom”.

“Has she been by?”, replied Simon, “I didn’t see her here.”

“No, I was having a telephone conversation, surely you were aware of that”, she replied.

Simon rolled his eyes, and patiently explained, “Well, you can try to call a telephone conversation a conversation if you like, but it is hardly a real conversation. Real conversations have eye contact; in fact eye contact provides vital conversational cues about turn taking, interest and so on—a telephone conversation has no eye contact at all. Real conversations require physical proximity, you can hardly have a conversation with someone who is standing several yards away. And real conversations allow those who are in earshot to observe the conversation and join in; for telephone conversations there is no real concept of earshot, since someone near you only hears half of the conversation.  Real conversations are transmitted through the air as sound waves, they do not need to be facilitated by technological means. I could go on, but you get my point. You can try call it a conversation, but I call it merely making utterances into an audio device and hearing the noises that it makes.”

“But we exchange words, that must count for something?”

“Words? You think a conversation is about words?”, answered Simon angrily, “You know nothing about communication. Some of the most profound things are communicated without a single word being spoken. A glance, a half smile, these can say more than a thousand words.”

“I agree with you that a telephone conversation doesn’t have some things that other conversations have, but I still think it’s a real conversation.”

“You’re an idiot!” said Simon, “Call me when you want to apologize!” and stormed off.

I hope you’ll agree that it is Simon who is the idiot here with his essentialist view of what a real conversation is. Yet when it comes to issues of identity, some people still seem to have problems avoiding taking an essentialist stance (instead of a more constructionist one, which might be saner). Maybe someone should sit them down, and have a little conversation. Alas, I fear that those conversations work best in person.

Stealth Stories: On being “out” as a lesbian

In my “real life”, I make no secret of being in a same-sex relationship, but being seen as an “out lesbian” has added nuances when you have a history like mine.

“Are you out?” might seem like a reasonable question to ask a lesbian, but if you ask of me, it is somewhat lacking in specificity. I can’t answer that by saying, “About what? Being a lesbian, or …?”. Of course, it’s easy enough to answer by saying “I’m not very in-your-face. When it comes to being out, I tend to talk about things when they naturally come up. If I’m invited to something where people bring their partners, I’m going to bring mine.” Awkward question averted and no lies told. (That said, as the above shows, asking people “Are you out?” is pretty crass, so I would recommend that people try to be a bit more specific if they want to ask questions like this.)

One of the other things that happens sometimes, is that people assume that if someone is on the LGBTQ spectrum, they know about everyone else on the spectrum, which is insane.  I’ve seen people ask panels of cissexual gays and lesbians about trans issues, and watched the blank looks.  Once in a blue moon, I get put in that situation myself, which is weird as heck. They’re asking me about trans issues because I’m a lesbian, with no idea about my past history. But that’s okay; after saying that I am no expert in the topic (misleading, but true because being a transsexual woman does not make you an expert on the topic), I’m happy to talk about things I’ve read, like Whipping Girl.

In fact, even though it’s inappropriate, the fact that people do assume that being a lesbian makes me qualified to speak on all LGBTQ issues is in some ways useful. No one sees it as unusual if someone they see as lesbian speaks out about these kinds of issues. So, it may be being seen as a lesbian lets me be less guarded about trans issues than I might otherwise be. (Possibly though, if I weren’t seen as a lesbian, I’d be seen as a feminist, and I’d feel just as able to be seen as a trans ally.)

I’ve also occasionally been asked to talk about what it was like coming out as a lesbian, where people expect the classic tale of how hard it was to come to terms with, tell parents, etc.  And I’m sure it is hard for many people out there to come out as gay or lesbian, but when you’ve transitioned, you’ve had to tell parents, coworkers, etc. that you’re going to change your sex, and really, when you’ve done that, telling people you’re in love with someone of the same sex is pretty small potatoes. It’s hard for me not to trivialize it.

I’m also okay trying to explain how my sexuality is not easily fitted into a neat little box. Internally, I don’t fully identify as lesbian, bisexual, or asexual. I’m uncomfortable with the label lesbian, because it implies I’m attracted to women, when in reality I’m not really especially lustfully attracted to anyone (other people sexualizing each other in everyday life creeps me out, in fact). But not being strongly driven by sexual attraction does not mean that I experience no sexual attraction at all, or that I have no sex drive, which makes me consider the label asexual misleading.

But for all that I will freely talk about, I don’t get to talk about how my past factors into things. My sexuality probably would have been less nuanced if I hadn’t had to deal with being a transsexual woman. I’m sure there are important developments that take place in people’s teenage years that I missed out on.  In my teens, when boys my age were looking lustfully at girls, I was looking at them wistfully; I didn’t want to date them, I wanted to be them. (Girls my age were no doubt doing things too, but I missed out on all that as well.)

On the positive side, neither labels nor history needs to matter much. I’ve always believed that when the right person comes along, you’ll fall in love, and certainly that’s what happened with me.

Everybody Retcons

“History is written by the victors”,  attributed to Winston Churchill, but of unknown origin.

If you haven’t heard the term retcon, it is a shortening of retroactive continuity.  Here is the definition from tvtropes:

Reframing past events to serve a current plot need. […] A good way to get away with a Retcon is to reveal new implications or motivations for events that have already been established. […] Most competent writers achieve a Retcon by relying on a less-obvious but still perfectly valid interpretation of what was previously seen.

It’s not just in the world of fiction that people retcon.  We are all revisionist historians of our own past. When couples break up acrimoniously, it isn’t uncommon for one of them to say “I never loved you!”, taking every moment of doubt that they had and letting their focus lie there, and retconning loving moments into brief episodes of self-delusion.

We see it in others when they say that they “loved Firefly from the first episode”, when we may remember just how skeptical they were for those first few episodes even if they do not. They conflate how they feel about that first episode when they see it now with how they saw it then; they forget that their perspective now is so very different from what it was then.

Because transsexual men and women are human, it must be the case that they retcon their past to maximize its continuity with their present, because everyone does. That doesn’t mean that everything is retconned, just that as in good dramas, you can’t tell the retcons from the plot elements that were carefully set up from the beginning. And that means that in life, when anyone talks about their past, you can’t suppose you’re looking at any kind of objective record.  If someone says “I was always a girl, just hiding it”, neither you nor they know how much of what they’re saying reflects how things objectively were, and how much is heavy retcon.

Back before I transitioned, I worried about how selective I was being and the extent to which I as being revisionist historian of my own past. I used that to leave myself drowning in “how do know my feelings are real” spiral. Eventually, I got over that and realized that I could search for justifications and then vivisect them forever, and that what I really needed to do was follow the blatantly obvious path to happiness, even if every feeling and justification I had could be invalidated as possible self-delusion and retcon.

If I have retconned things (and as a human, I must have), on the one hand it’s sad because I’ll never know with absolute certainty who I really was, way back when, but quite possibly the right thing to take way is that it speaks volumes about who I am now, and maybe that’s more important.

Privilege and Entitlement 101

Some time ago, Peggy McIntosh realized that she “was taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group”, and as a result, wrote White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack. Since then, various people have followed the same form to wrote other privilege checklists, including:

Some people have responded with a list for Female Privilege (even though we would consider women not to be a dominant group), and others have not followed the McIntosh form, but provide a similar reminder of the privileges of wealth by talking about what it’s like to be poor.

These links are useful, but only if you’re ready to read them, and not everyone is. The blog ballastexistenz has an interesting post, People can be a bit like water, that talks about what happens when you try to talk to people about their sense of entitlement.  In short, it often doesn’t go well, but what’s good about this post is that explains why.

If you want to know how “not going well” manifests itself, you have to check out Derailing for Dummies, which covers just about every way people try to deflect things so that they can ignore the points that marginalized people are raising.

As always, if you care about social justice, there is tons more stuff out there on all these topics, but these ones are a good start.

One hundred trans-related blogs

As I said in one of my earlier posts, there is plenty of trans-related blogging going on out there.  I’ve been away from paying any real attention to the trans community, or lack thereof since I lost interest in it about a decade ago, so I felt that I needed to play catch up, and that meant trying to draw myself some kind of map.

If I had been aware of a good canonical authority, I might have turned to it, but as it was, I did things myself (had I known about it, I might have instead just looked at T-Central).  Anyway, I wrote a little perl code to do some web crawling through the blogosphere, finding trans blogs and calculating their pagerank (the algorithm is, after all, on wikipedia).  It was ugly, and it probably missed a number of blogs, but having compiled a list and ranked them, I took the top 100 and visited them. Below is a list of the blogs with my comments.  Being concise takes time and insight, so my descriptions of each blog aren’t good at all, and get both worse and longer as I went further down the list.

But it is what it is.  Not everything here resonated with me, but there is enough good stuff that I’m glad to have done the exercise.  My plan is to come back and revise this post if/when I have a better sense of what these blogs are about, but I won’t revise their rank.  That was the result of some fairly arbitrary computer code, and to change the order gives too much weight to something that is mostly meaningless.

  • Questioning Transphobia — This one came in top with good reason.  Awesome for trans-related news, thoughtful personal stories, a great set of Trans 101 links in the sidebar for people trying to understand, and a long blogroll of links to other trans-related blogs.
  • TransGriot — “News, opinions, commentary, history and a little creative writing from an African-American transwoman about the world around her.”
  • en|Gender — helen boyd’s journal of gender & trans issues
  • A.E.Brain — “Intermittent postings from Canberra, Australia on Software Development, Space, Politics, and Interesting URLs. And of course, Brains…”
  • Lori’s Revival — “Life at the Next Level.”
  • bird of paradox— “I’m an ordinary, boring, 50-something, white, middle-class transsexual woman; based in London”
  • NOBODY PASSES, darling — “Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity, by mattilda bernstein sycamore.”
  • Taking Steps — She was nominated for Lesbian/Bisexual Woman of the Decade.
  • T-Central — A meta-blog of trans blogs.  Wow, there’s a lot there.  If I had known of this list before I began, I might not have bothered doing my own scan.
  • A Gender Variance Who’s Who — If you want to get a sense of the modern history of trans experience by knowing who the players were and are, this is a great place to start.
  • The Transadvocate — Trans Advocacy, trans blog hosting, etc..
  • Life Right Side Up — “A blog of ongoing discovery”
  • Trans Group Blog — “where a variety of voices from within the trans community gather to discuss issues, post news, and compile information”
  • nixwilliams — “dodging the gender binaries”
  • Transgender Day of Remembrance — Trans people get murdered for being trans.  The TDoR tries to highlight the issue.
  • The Candyfloss Girl — Diary of NickyB, a transsexual woman.
  • Monster’s Creed — “Drakyn Kristopher is a twenty-one year old geeky white guy. I enjoy reading, watching anime, and role-playing. I am also transsexual, pagan, queer, and rather flaming.”
  • The View From (Ab)Normal Heights — autumn sandeen’s blog at transadvocate
  • Dented Blue Mercedes — “Mercedes Allen is a professional graphic designer, writer and bisexual transsexual in a lesbian relationship. She has done advocacy related to Trans, LGB, Native, HIV, BDSM, sex work and Intersex. Located in Southern Alberta, Canada, she started AlbertaTrans.org as a network to help foster and support trans communities within Alberta, as well as to provide information and training where requested.”
  • Genderbitch: Words of a Trans Girl — What it says; a little angry, but pretty dead on on some topics.
  • Tiger Beatdown › Ladybusiness — “Tiger Beatdown is a blog. It covers lady business, mostly? However, it also covers many equally important issues, such as race, class, sexuality, transness, and bad movies.”
  • Transgender Workplace Diversity — “The Law, Politics and Policy Issues of Transgender Workplace Diversity”
  • Intersex News — What it says.
  • Welcome To Dyssonance.com — “I am, in general, a pain in the ass. I have a particular way of approaching things and its markedly different from what you might expect to see on other trans related blogs.  I tend to tilt at windmills, you see — the sacred cows and ivory towers of ideals and positioning, the cognitive dissonance that we hide behind to make ourselves feel better.”
  • Transsexual Road Map —A massive resource site mostly directed at trans people and their allies. Pretty well known.
  • Whipping Girl — Julia Serano’s personal journal, “the blog with the trans feminine touch!.”  (Julia Serano’s book Whipping Girl is probably one of the most important pieces of feminist thought about transsexual women in recent years.)
  • Taking Up Too Much Space — Home of the cis privilege checklist, amounts other things
  • Trans-Ponder | Transgender Life in the Trenches — “Transponder is a show for those considering, beginning, or in the process of gender transition, and for those who wish to learn more about us, or lend support to the community. Our show shares experiences and insights on transition with a positive look at the community.”
  • planetransgender — “A place for everyone. No exceptions.”
  • Biodiverse Resistance —About shiva, “Variously identified as autistic, neurodiverse, genderqueer, libertarian, anarchist, anti-psychiatrist, disability rights activist, (trans)feminist, environmentalist and general resister of commonly held assumptions. Interested in many very obscure things, some of which this blog is about. Incredibly difficult to describe accurately…”
  • Life, Law, Gender — “Denise’s musings about life in law school, transgender issues, and other odds and ends”
  • Living My Life — “In cultures where gender is rigidly bi-polar, rituals of gender crossing remind us of our continuous common humanity”
  • Femulate — “the web pages of a male who emulates a female”
  • Scheherezade’s Sister — “Note, this blog is the personal blog of a crazy transsexual with a serious movie habit. I’m currently building a race of atomic supermen in my basement in order to conquer the world. Failing that, if they’ll serve drinks, it will be a success.”
  • Calie’s Chronicles — “On another personal note, I came to the realization this year that I am a woman.
  • Sarah, The Bringer of Tea —musings of a trans woman who made it to the other side four years ago
  • Aria Blue — “Most of what I write is directed at the misappropriation of the transsexual condition by “transgender” activists, who seek to use it to further their own ends. But there are other victims of the transgender paradigm that are just as problematic.”
  • Soon she’ll be home.. — “I find myself the same as I ever was, nothing different other than my wrapper. I am a 47 XXY Intersex with brown eyes and long brown hair, 5’7″, medium build.”
  • Trans Universe — A blog by Monica Helms.
  • No Designation — “No Designation is a blog focusing on the political issues of gender and sexual minority communities. This includes discussion of transgender rights and internal community dynamics, as well as discussion of lesbian, gay, bisexual movements, sex-positivity and sexual freedom movements, and the intersections these issues have with other identity politics concerns.”
  • YATGB (yet another t-girl blog) — “I’m a 30 something tranny from the UK. I live the quiet life (so don’t be expecting fireworks or hot babe pix). Beyond the messed up fashion sense, I like reading (mainly science fiction), the odd bit of writing and pondering life’s little turns.”
  • Nexy —Nexy’s blog at transadvocate
  • PinayTG — “This is the online journal of Naomi Fontanos, a Filipina (Pinay for short) transgender (TG for short). As a proud advocate of the human rights of transpeople, she dreams of a gender-blind world. This blog is her contribution to that dream.”
  • Sugarbutch Chronicles — “I’m Sinclair Sexsmith, a chivalrous kinky queer butch top, feminist, gender theorist, sex educator, activist, and writer in New York City. I’ve had writing projects online since 1996.”
  • Pink Thoughts — “Chloe Prince’s journey of femininity and self discoveries from man to womanhood. Hello, my name is Chloe and I’m special, VERY special… I was born a 47 XXy Intersexed person. Raised as a male and lived that way until I was 32 years old. I am now transitioning my gender presentation to live life as the woman I’ve always felt to be. As of May 2008, I have surgically under gone GRS, FFS and Augmentation from Dr. Suporn in Chonburi Thailand. If you don’t know what that means, READ ON! Please Note: This journal discusses topics related to Transgendered issues.”
  • Chrissie’s Place — “Being the mostly mundane musings of a middle-aged TS on her path to…wherever. Middle-aged M-t-F transsexual, hopelessly romantic Goth Girl.”
  • The Second Awakening — “Feminist. Trans. Infuriated.”
  • Radical Masculinity: Masculinity and Feminism — “A blog for the discussion of the issues of masculine-identified folk, regardless of their gender or sex. An explicitly feminist, anti-oppression, sex positive space that aims to be a safe space for all people who are oppressed by the dominant isms of the day.”
  • Gender Education and Advocacy – Gender.org — “Gender Education and Advocacy (GEA) is a national organization focused on the needs, issues and concerns of gender variant people in human society. We seek to educate and advocate, not only for ourselves and others like us, but for all human beings who suffer from gender-based oppression in all of its many forms. We also are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization incorporated in Georgia.”
  • Trans Political — Another trans-related blog.
  • MTPC — “Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition”
  • becoming Zoë — “A woman with Harry Benjamin Syndrome who has begun healing through Aikido, spiritual practice and transition. Always a work in progress”
  • Women Born Transsexual — “Women Born Transsexual or WBT is for people who recognize transsexualism, sometimes called HBS or Harry Benjamin Syndrome as an innate condition rather than a gender identity disorder.”
  • Bash Back! News — “BB! News has been launched in an effort to collect stories and disseminate information to radical Trannies and Queers throughout the US and beyond.  BB! News is not limited to Bash Back! chapters. Any and all radical trans/queer folk are welcome to use this site to plug actions/events, reportback, distribute propaganda, release manifestos and communiques, etc.”
  • TransEquality Blog — “The National Center for Transgender Equality is a 501(c)3 social justice organization dedicated to advancing the equality of transgender people through advocacy, collaboration and empowerment.”
  • Life Journeys — “Gender Journeys by Radha Smith”
  • Michelle’s Reality — “I’ve known something was different all my life. Being transgender as a kid I found ways to express myself through art and writing. I always liked to write poems and draw. I found that I liked the freedom that charcoal gave me and I loved to do portraits. I’ve done some oils, but I’ve mostly used acrylic for painting.”
  • Gender Across Borders — “Gender Across Borders (GAB) is an international feminist community where issues of gender, race, sexuality, and class are discussed and critically examined. We embrace people of all backgrounds to come together to voice and progress positive gender relations worldwide.”
  • Riding the Second Wave — “horizontal-eco feminist thoughts for a new feminist model”, “As I have tried in the past, I’ve refocused this blog towards Feminist issues. I’ve been criticized for that by some HBS advocates and Feminism itself attacked in the process.” (catkisser is a woman born intersexed)
  • genderkid — “Thoughts on gender by a queer Argentinian trans boy. This blog is meant to be a place where I can think freely about gender, observe how it works and how it’s constructed in everyday life. It’s more about questions than it is about answers; whatever answers I do happen to post are probably tentative and subject to change. It’s also a personal blog inasmuch as gender is a very personal thing. I don’t mean to rant –too much– about my daily life; but I will post whatever I discover when I carry my explorations into the real world.”
  • Rebecca’s Thoughts — “I’m a 39 yr-old woman, searching for love and new purpose in life.” (includes prominent video “My GRS Experience”).
  • Catspaw — “Lucy, Merseyside, United Kingdom. My feminism isn’t fun, but I may find yours funny. A transdyke feminist and LGBT activist at university.”
  • Penny’s Story — “Just a cute little drummer living her dream. I was born with the wrong (intersexed) body.”
  • The Girl Who Should Know Better — “I am Lucy. Welcome to the travails of a transgendered girl from the west country, along with my witterings and on-line journal. This blog is a mixture of random thoughts, sometimes shallow, often cathartic, occasionally deep, mainly in digestible bite-sized chunks.”
  • Coffee and Gender — “Mik Danger, Brooklyn, NY, United States. Coffee and Gender is my attempt at adding to the voices of feminist anti-racist white transmen. This blog discusses my personal life as well as important questions of disability, feminism, anti-racism, and LGBT politics.”
  • Harry Benjamin’s Syndrome-NZ — “Joanne Proctor: Harry Benjamin’s Syndrome”
  • Burning Words — “perspectives on stuff from an angry feminist”, “As a trans woman, so much of my life, and my own history, has and is defined by the influence the medical establishment has over that life. I am forced to rely on cis-appointed experts on whose say the medical treatments that have allowed me to get this far are dealt out.”
  • Out of My Mind — “Chronicling a T-life at the Speed of Write. My struggles with my gender of birth have yet to be sorted out, but I have people in my life who are actively pushing me to conform to the majority.”
  • Memoirs of a Genderqueer Femme Anarchist — “I’m a fierce fat trans/genderqueer femme with disabilities, anti-civ anarcha-feminist, and polyamorous slut.”
  • GenderTalk.com | Speaking the Language of Gender — “Over 400 programs of progressive trans-friendly talk. We’re the leading radio program advocating for transgender rights and dignity, while also exploring related issues that affect us all, like gender, sex, race, class, and more.  Our timeless programs — last recorded in 2006 — are just waiting for a chance to resonate with you today.”
  • Some notes on Living — “I run the blog try to educate for change. Maybe You’ll find some interesting stuff.  The contributors are gay, lesbian, transgendered, genderbenders,  transsexual or cisgendered; not a “personal diary” blog per se. Its primary purpose is “truth telling”,  for the sake of social and political change, consciousness raising , education.”
  • Sublimefemme Unbound — “ I’m a high femme queer theorist who appreciates dapper butches, classic pin-up girls, and a good Manhattan. When I’m not busy taking over the world, I write about style, politics, lesbian & queer genders, and the unadorned intensity of queer femininity.”
  • gudbuytjane — “another trans woman talking about stuff (I am guest posting at Questioning Transphobia this month). I am a very-nearly 40 year old white queer trans woman.  I transitioned wheneverago, and those many ensuing years have shaped my politics into the person I am now: feminist(?), anarchist, and activist.  I believe the struggle for trans rights is a subset of social justice activism, so I believe I should be active in causes that don’t directly benefit me and often directly challenge a privilege I have.  I don’t blame trans women who don’t, though, because honestly most activist communities are pretty racist, sexist, and transphobic.”
  • TRANScend GENDER — blog with a variety of contributors
  • Yuki’s Box Of Chocolates — “Yuki Choe, Damansara, Selangor, Malaysia. A woman born with an abnormal mutation between her thighs, caused by the gender identity of a person not matching hers or his sexual identity (Harry Benjamin Syndrome); stemming from psychological, biological or chromosomal circumstances (also known as Transsexualism).”
  • caprice’s glob — “I’m Caprice Bellefleur, a 61 year old retiree enjoying life in the Big Apple. I’m a mixed-gender male-bodied person. This makes me a transgender person, trans for short. If you call me a crossdresser, I won’t object, but crossdressing is just an activity I do to express part of my identity. This blog contains slices of the life of someone who crossdresses, but it’s not about crossdressing per se.”
  • transkitten — “Mots d’une femme transsexuelle. I’m a trans woman pretty far into her transition, living full time for quite some years. I still have a way to go on my path and much to do and learn beyond then. A Brit living in Germany after many years in France, I’m starting to become an expert in fighting my way through incomprehensible medical systems!”
  • TransEpiscopal — “Transgender Episcopalians and Friends United. TransEpiscopal is a group of transgender Episcopalians and our significant others, families, friends and allies dedicated to enriching our spiritual lives and to making the Episcopal Church a welcoming and empowering place that all of us truly can call our spiritual home”
  • Enough Non-Sense — “…a few years before my final transition…” (anti-trans umbrella, I think)
  • Reflected Wisdom Under Sonoran Skies — “Sonora Sage. New blog, new beginnings. Rediscovering myself in the desert. Here you can read about my life as I negotiate work, health, relationship and feline issues.”, “Just over a week ago, I did attend the TransForm Arizonaconference in Phoenix”
  • Tboy Jacky — “Just another FTM chronicle. I’m a 36 year old FTM (female-to-male transsexual). My exploration of gender and sex over the past few years has largely been enabled by other transfolk who’ve shared their experiences of transitioning and their thoughts. I wish to continue this tradition for a few reasons. First, writing helps me sort through things. Second, I can get a little lazy even though I love to write so having a potential audience will help motivate me. Finally, I want to give back what I’ve been given so if my experiences and thoughts can help anyone else figure themselves out, great! Sometimes reading stuff we agree or disagree with helps us sort through our own stuff. So happy reading!”
  • What a long strange trip it is! — “Something like a growth and progress diary that will include flashbacks and pointers to other relevant materials. Something like a “Stream of consciousness” with a moving target. This is as much about my growth and recovery as it is about sharing parts of myself with other people who may have been through similar things. No matter what you’ve been through, or where, or when, know that you are NOT alone! A unique, young, beautiful woman with a warm heart who also happens to be VERY old all a once. I have had to work hard over the years to find and embrace my authenticity, and make my life my own. I’m a survivor of Domestic Violence, a Widow, and I was born intersexed. I can readily understand, accept and relate to people dealing with their own journey to wholeness of being. Intersex and Transsexual people have a harder life in so many ways than we need to, but there are successes to, and I’m one of them.”
  • Girl From Mars — “The Occasional Journal of Helena Love: T something-or-other geek” (lots of outfit-oriented photos when I looked)
  • Being Amy – Diary of a Transsexual Woman — “I’m a pre-op transsexual woman living in Michigan. I live with my fiancee (a genetic woman), our three kids, two cats, three frogs, and assorted mice and rats. I want gender reassignment surgery, but am currently out of work. This blog will focus on my past and present, as well as hopes for the future…” (rather, um, revealing image-search photos, when I looked)
  • Dear Diaspora — “My name is S.L. Bond. I’m a Jewish dyke and an art student living in New Mexico. DD is my blog about gender and Judaism”
  • Lucy Melford — “Lucy Melford, Near Brighton, Sussex, United Kingdom. I have recognised who I want to be. This is an intensely liberating thing. I have never been happier, nor enjoyed more personal control over what I am doing and where I intend to go. I am developing a new body, and have started to live as a new person. It’s a cliche to say ‘this is how I always wanted to be’ but that’s how it feels. Of course there is pain and great change and much to endure. But I wouldn’t turn back now even if I could mentally and emotionally survive, not for any inducement. Isn’t that strange? ”
  • The Becky Blog — “I’m Becky Allison, and I’ve published the “drbecky.com” website, in one form or another, since 1996.  My intention was, and is, to provide support and information for a very special group of people.  People Like Me, you might say.”
  • Mythcongeniality — “I tell stories, I do art, I write, I teach, I sing, and none of them nearly enough. I am transgendered, which may or may not mean something.”
  • GID Reform Weblog by Kelley Winters — “Kelley Winters, Ph.D. is a writer on issues of transgender medical policy, founder of GID Reform Advocates and an Advisory Board Member for the Matthew Shepard Foundation and TransYouth Family Advocates. She has presented papers on the psychiatric classification of gender diversity at the annual conventions of the American Psychiatric Association, the American Counseling Association and the Association of Women in Psychology”
  • Mr Toad’s Wild Transgendered Ride — “Suzanne Clayton. Essays on coming to terms with being a transgender woman.”
  • Debbie K Being True to my heART — “I’m Debbie. I am 40 something years old. I live my life for my family.I love life even though I have been through years of depression. I have taken lots of little steps & gradually faced my fears because I needed to. My brain is now almost in perfect harmony with my soul. I am traveling the right path. My true destiny. I can feel emotions & see again, both the beautiful & the simple things in life. I am very shy and sensitive; which makes my life quite a challenge. I used to be a ghost now I am just soooo happy to be alive. I am as honest as they come, but I have lived a lie for far too long. Put simply, I was born with the wrong body. I am a person – not a label. At last I am being true to myself, following my heart and soul. Thanks to the love and support of my dear Mum and Dad – and my special friends – I can finally be true to my heart! The peace and happiness I have been blessed with since my gender affirmation surgery is beyond my humble vocabulary and so much more than I ever dreamed possible. I am not a deeply religious person but I have found this an incredibly spiritual experience”
  • Jessicalive’s Weblog —“While my transition has completed, I continue on my healing path.”, “I live in Ottawa, Canada and used to be active in a number of organizations that purported to be trans-inclusive. As I move into the world I’m learning there is more to life than fighting with the past; I look to the future.”
  • K — “Here is a little about me. I am a happily married male to female transsexual. I have been on hormones since June of 2009 and have definitely noticed a lot of positive changes in my life. I really dislike the term transsexual so I try not to use it but it is what it is, a label. I am out to most people in my life, friends, family, and co workers. I am not a selfish person by nature so this transition was hard to accept in the beginning stages, but I am glad I chose this path. This blog is a place for me to express myself, vent, and hopefully inspire others.”
  • Genderfork — genderqueer, unisex, & androgynous photos and thoughts — “Genderfork.com explores androgyny and gender variance through artistic photography and other neat stuff.”
  • Wandering Aloud — “I’m Donna (at least on-line) and I’m transgender – or genderqueer – or transsexual – or a crossdresser – I suppose it all depends on one’s point of view. All are correct, while none are wholly accurate in and of themselves. These constructs describe aspects of who I am – of my identity – but as with most people, they fail to capture the totality my identity. I have abandoned the idea that there is any one label or construct which can do justice to the complexity that is my being.”
  • Life, Law, Gender — “Denise’s musings about life in law school, transgender issues, and other odds and ends. A “non-traditional” Dec. 2006 grad from the University of Michigan; also a transsexual, lesbian activist.”
  • Simone’s Dirty Laundry — Yet another blog from a transition trans woman. “I’m an independent woman in So.Calif. with a huge appetite for life. I love free spirited people who love life, love to laugh, and who can appreciate someone as eccentric as myself.”
  • Gender Outlaw — “FTM Transition Journal. I’m just another Gender Outlaw, and this is my personal FTM transition journal. I write here anonymously, tracing the path of my journey to find my true self. I’m 35 years old, and live in rural British Columbia, Canada with my girlfriend of 13 years. I was diagnosed with GID when I was five, but I didn’t think of myself as transgender until October, 2007. In terms of my medical transition: I’m on T, have had top surgery plus a revision, and a hysterectomy.”
  • safe2pee – mapping gender neutral bathrooms, unisex restrooms, accessible toilets. bathrooms for everyone — What it says.
  • My journey of Transformation. Exact destination – Unknown ! — “Lisa. A Transgendered woman, married with 3 children. My wife children and parents are aware of my true self. I’m considering coming out to my Brother / sister. I’ve had laser hair removal all over my body. I’m also having electrolysis to remove the remaining facial hair. I’ve been out and about a few times and am gaining confidence.”
  • Calie’s T-Tunes — “I’m transgender. I love music. I was an alternative rock DJ for many years in several US cities. Put it all together and you get Calie’s T-Tunes! Over time, I will feature songs from the obscure to the mega-hits that were written around a TG theme. I am always looking for those lost album tracks. Please leave a comment if you have a song you would like featured.”
  • Science and Sexuality: The Biology of Sexual Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Intersexuality. — “The Biblical Adam and Eve story is BAD BIOLOGY! The binary sexual system is unnatural. Here you can learn the scientific story of sexuality from a physiologist’s perspective. What can science tell us about sexuality? How many sexes are there? What exactly is a female? A male? Is intersexuality natural? What is known about the biology of sexual identity? What is known about the biology of sexual orientation?”
  • The Girl Inside — “Dana Andra. A True Life Transgender Adventure. I’ve been writing this blog for over a year, and began transitioning at around the same time (Dec. 2008), when I switched out my male wardrobe for a female/androgynous wardrobe. I hope to be taking the next big step shortly, but I don’t want to jinx it.”
  • Crossdresser Heaven — “Crossdresser Heaven offers fashion, makeup mad body movement tips for crossdressers who want to look and feel more feminine.”, operated by Vanessa who is “a happily married 30 year old transgendered woman from Seattle. It’s been a long road to acceptance for her, despite the fact that she has been crossdressing for more than 25 years. Sometimes, when she looks in the mirror she longs to see the girl that lives within her. ”
  • Laugh RioT — “Just another Opinionated Tranny. My motivation for starting that blog was to discuss issues that I didn’t see being talked about on the sites I frequent. In particular dating as a trans women, trying to understand and also educate people who date/screw/lust over trans women. The second point of this blog is to talk about issues that are important to me as a trans woman. Politics, social movements, rants, other assorted stuff from a Trans-centered perspective. Third, is to talk about the things I love to do. I like comic books, role-playing games, video games, sci-fi and fantasy.”
  • Voyages en Rose — “Petra Belljambes Cross Dressing Diary. I am a Cross Dresser. I write about this. Surely there is more to it all than that, but here is where much of it is pondered on and prosed about.”
  • A Dahl’s House » Life, gender and the pursuit of happiness in heels — “A guy who’s also the girl next door. Lena’s thoughts on life, gender and the pursuit of happiness in heels. I’m one of the perhaps 1 in 20 American men who is a regular crossdresser—also known as transvestites. My nom de femme is Lean Dahlstrom and I’m “out in public” but not “out”.”
  • The Spectrum Cafe — Putting the T in LGBT News — Published by Dyssonance, who self-describes as “A vocal and often discordant voice in the trans movement, dyssonance is dedicated chiefly to empowerment for transfolk, and the reduction of poverty and harm in and against the community.”
  • Idle Thoughts, Furious Musings — “Welcome to the incoherent ramblings of a middle-aged tranny. Oh and some pictures too.  Is it any wonder that a boy goes all transvestite when he grows up watching stuff like this [Space Transvestites]?”
  • Leona’s Blog — A blog by the author of From Leonard to Leona: A Singapore Transsexual’s Journey to Womanhood.
  • Stillettos and Sneakers — “I’m a working actress and attempting to stay sane in Hollywood amongst the very young and the very thin.. I have a huge life that doesn’t nessesarily mean it’s any greater or bigger than anyone elses. I am a Transgendered, ex prostitute, recovering drug addict, and have been living with AIDS since the mid 80’s. I am the walrus, coo-coo-cu-choo. I blog like a crack addict. I love my wife and lifelong soulmate Chrisanne. Our lives are filled with fabulousness and normalcy. And lots of sequins.”
  • not THAT different — “Gender-queer stand-up comic, computer geek, writer, parent, partner and really cool person. [From 2007:] I have a spouse. We’ve been together for 37 years. I’ll be 59 in about a week. I’m a Texan. I swear. I’m bisexual. I’m a liberal independent.”
  • Ami Angelwings’ Super Cute Rants of DOOOM XD — “Ami Angelwings. 27 y/o (but I feel 15) Chinese-Canadian trans girl, feminist, comic fangirl, sexual violence survivor, recovering anorexic blogging about whatever comes to mind.”
  • Women’s Independence Fighters — “Resisting Political and Social Manipulation of Transsexual / Intersexed Conditions.” (Aggregates content from several bloggers.)
  • Shouting Down The Well — “The assorted ramblings and and confused writings of a man who thinks he should be a woman but wants to remain a husband and dad. Confused? Not compared to me you’re not….  Early Forties transgendered person who has recently ‘come out’ at home after really struggling with a recent dramatic increase in the intensity of my GID [Gender Identity Dysphoria]. Still fighting the inner confusion the condition brings and trying my best to remain a husband and dad to the best 2 kids and best wife in the world.”
  • Diana’s Little Corner in the Nutmeg State — “Hi. I’m Diana and this is my Blog. I am Transsexual and this Blog site is about being transgendered, so if that bothers you then please move on. But, if you want to learn more then stick around.”
  • Opopanox, Home of the Arrogant Worm — Personal blog of another trans person.
  • TransLate — “Transitioning from Male to Female after 40. Before I transitioned into a woman named Joyce, I was George Bailey, a professor at Bedford Falls University, in Bedford Falls, USA. I’m married to Mary Jo Bailey, who is also a professor at BFU and wonderfully understanding, smart, and supportive. We have two boys, Lane and Ezra and we have a quite normal family and a wonderful life with the exception that I’m a transsexual who is still in the midst of a great journey as I transition from male to female. We’re working through it all with the help of Chuck, my therapist.”
  • Trans Blog — “News and opinions about the transgender world, and about the trans aspects of my life.”
  • Laura’s Playground — “A Transsexual Transgender ed Crossdressers Support Site.” (If you like lots of animation on your web pages, uh, you’ll love this.)
  • Reconno (trans)Man — Blog of Jay Sennett, trans man and publisher of Self Organizing Men.
  • CASSANDRASPEAKS — “I have some very strong opinions on the subject of transsexuals and transsexuality. They are based on a lifetime of first living with the condition and the learning to conquor the effects that it can have on a life, limiting those effects to the very minimum. There is no doubt it can ruin your life, if you let it.  I make comments on the great multitude of forums out there. I’ve been expelled from a number of the more populous support forums for some of my more extreme comments. It seems some people cannot handle the truth.”
  • Pandora’s Hideaway — “Pandora Caitiff (Norfolk, UK), “Meddling kid” of the gender spectrum.”
  • genderqueer — “Images of gender-bending, trans and queer people of all sorts, meant to empower and celebrate the beauty within all gender expressions. The people portrayed here may not identify as genderqueer, but i hope they don’t mind appearing in this context. If you want a picture removed, by all means contact me. Have a picture you’d like to see here? Feel free to submit it.”
  • Anonymous T-Girl — “Just another woman certain of herself and trying to get by.”

(Yes, I absolutely need to edit some of those down, especially the longer ones.  Bad-copy-and-paste, NP.  Also, the count stands at well over one hundred now, because I’ve added a few more. I might even add even more since I have plenty more on my list.)

Remember, these aren’t my favorite blogs, they are the favorites of the trans community, as best as I could identify it with some hacked together code and a few starting points to seed the process.  Don’t ask me to add a blog to the list, but feel free to draw attention to cool trans-related blogs or talk about your favorites in the comments.

(Also, since you’re here looking for blogs, don’t forget that you can check out mine.)

Blogging Privilege

Out in the parts of the blogosphere that I’ve been looking at lately, there is a lot of talk of different kinds of privilege (more on that in a future post), but I’ve never heard anyone mention is blogging privilege.  It might be expressed in classic knapsack-unpacking checklist form as follows:

  • If I want, I can take an hour (or two!) to write a blog post.
  • I have access to the necessary computer equipment to have a blog, and the skills necessary to use that equipment.
  • I am not so fearful that I dare not write a blog, lest other people who have access to the computer and/or networks I use find out.
  • People will comment on my blog post, helping me to refine my ideas and write new ones.
  • People will contact me with new ideas for future blog posts.
  • I feel connected to a community.
  • I will have time to comment on the comments.
  • I can employ moderation to silence comments that I do not like, allowing my blog to reflect a certain viewpoint.

It’s a somewhat tongue-in-cheek concept, obviously, but I am trying to express a real idea (hopefully not to offensively). Not everyone gets to communicate with the world via blogs, some people have to work in the messier world of real-world interactions. Not everyone is able to invest the time necessary to blog.  Likewise the experiences people whose written language skills, computer skills are lacking are erased. Similarly, people not affluent enough to afford Internet access are excluded.  And finally, there are elements of luck and catch-22 for attracting an audience, no matter how good your content might be.

I am tempted to believe that the blogs we read are by definition written by people who have the time and resources to write them.  My middle class social status makes equipment and access a nonissue (in fact, I even had access when I lived on a low income in the past).  Blogging about this topic scares me, but not enough to shut me up.  What I do lack is time (and the incentives of an actual readership) — my real life is fairly demanding giving me little time for blogging.

So, if you’re unemployed, or alone with nothing else to do with your life, remember, things may not be all you’d like, but if you’re looking to find a kind of privilege you to take ownership of, maybe you can own your blogging privilege.  And as you read blogs, realize you’re not hearing all the voices; some people just aren’t here.