Saturday, 19 February 2011

Exasperated sigh from a lucky t-girl

    It's my own fault. I shouldn't respond to forum trolls. But sometimes my annoyance with the finer points of language gets the better of me and I can't help myself. I've mused on the definition of a transsexual before, so when I encountered someone who insisted not only that they were no longer a transsexual but had never really been a man despite marrying a woman and fathering children, my irritation boiled over. Their issue was that admitting to transsexuality amounted to denying womanhood, to which I pointed out that transsexuality is a medical definition while being a woman or man is an identity and the two need not be mutually exclusive. I'm a professional pedant when it comes to definitions in this sphere, and sadly as someone who recognises that they are and will forever be medically defined as transsexual no matter what their passport says when they eventually die, that pedant in me couldn't let that one pass.
    So as these things always do when it comes to forums it descended into a dismal spiral of postings. I was denying them their womanhood, I was jealous of them for being women, I couldn't possibly understand having never been through any of the hardship, yadda yadda. I politely responded that they were simply reading what they wanted to read into my original statement rather than reading what I'd written. I wish I could have been more forthright, but I recognise that within our sphere there are some really screwed-up and angry people and simply poking them with sticks for the fun of it is neither productive nor humane.
    Of course I'm jealous of any woman. I'm also jealous of people with smaller feet, so what? Some people are jealous of trans people with accepting spouses too, nobody's perfect. As to hardship, very true. I have no idea on that one. But I'd invite anyone to walk a mile in my shoes, if they'd fit. I wanted to deliver a "You stupid woman!" to counter the accusation of denying womanhood, but I judged that one might have been just slightly inflammatory.
    Yeah, I know. I should avoid forums. Sigh.
    I've had an annoying week on the sleep and medication roller-coaster, my focus on hanging in there for work. Earlier in the year I expressed a wish for a ring to go with my wedding ring, if you're going to present as female with a wedding ring then an engagement ring is a subtle gender cue as well as being an attractive piece of jewelery in its own right. I would have been happy with cubic zirconia but sadly we had to abandon the search, ladies' rings are hard to come by in a size Z.
    Monday was Valentine's Day, in case you missed it. My wife presented me with a beautiful diamond engagement ring. She'd had it sized for my finger, at some considerable effort.
    I am the luckiest t-girl on the planet, and I am madly in love.

23 comments:

  1. Oooops! I agree, forums are places one visits when one deliberately wants to argue. We all have differing opinions on the things of life and it is hard accepting another's view sometimes but we must realise that and not take things too personally.
    Now then.....Oooops again! I always figured myself to be female and was content to be 'classed' as a transsexual until that is, I had the operation. From that day forth I became a woman in the formal sense and for all intents and purposes am a woman. I wanted to be identified as such and not as, in the eyes of some, a second class, inferior, not quite a full woman, transsexual! Once transitioned I became the woman because I had transitioned from one form to another. That's what the word means! I was psychologically a woman anyhow and I regarded the operation as not so much a re-assignment surgery but a corrective one. Corrective as far as is humanly possible at the moment. Sometimes I had to qualify my position, or did so up until the recent past, by indicating that I was a post-op. transsexual woman but I no longer do that. As far as other people are concerned they get to know my history on a 'need to know' basis, unless they already know having known me beforehand.
    I never did like wearing rings although I did succumb to wearing a wedding ring until I divorced. In fact I seldom wear jewelry other than earrings, which I adore and wear every day. Occasionally I will drape one or two of the lovely necklaces I own around my neck.

    Shirley Anne xxx

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  2. Jenny
    I too once made the mistake of entering the discussion on what it means to be transsexual and I vowed never to do it again. I don't even really know who I am so would never presume that I know anything about anyone else. I am just sorry that you too have found out that it does not pay to enter the debate.

    With regard to your ring, I am so very pleased for you as I know how it would feel if my wife did something even half as caring and understanding as buying me such a special ring. Bless you both!
    Louise

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  3. Oh the forums....got away from all but our local forum long, long ago...like 15 years ago or something like that. Sorry you had to go through that, Jenny. I absolutely agree with your definition.

    Calie xxx

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  4. Oh, and how great is that? The ring, that is! I'm so jealous!

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  5. Awesome about the ring! I bet it's gorgeous. And kudos to your wife.

    As for having ever been a man, etc. etc., some people seem to need to do semantic gymnastics. I was sexed male at birth. I grew up as a boy, despite a lack of masculinity. I have married twice, though no children. I changed my anatomical sex because I needed my body to match my sense of who I was. But I did change sex. I can say I used to be a man, and yet I consider myself very much a woman and female now, and of course in some way that was always so. In some way.

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  6. Sometimes given the deeply internalised way some trans grow up because of enforced closeting and the nature of online forums any questioning however nuanceed may end up lighting a fuse. Hope you're not too battered from it.
    Enjoy the ring :-)

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  7. Love is indeed grand! :)

    Halle
    xox

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  8. Great post Jenny. I too am a bit fed up with all the pretense. I'm tending more and more to just avoid those fruitless debates. Too many delicate sensibilities are offended by simple logic.

    Your wife is a sweetheart to get you that ring!

    Melissa XX

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  9. Good morning everyone, and thank you for your comments.

    Everyone has the right to identify as they wish. The difference between you ladies and my trolls was the way they said it and the way you don't say it IYSWIM.

    In any debate, be it ethnic, religous, political, sexuality, or transgender, the shouty nutters tend to be the most heard. I'm afraid I don't wish that voice to be the only one heard in our debate, someone might listen. So if I hear the absurd, I'll call them out on it. I ain't afraid of no flames!

    I am still bowled over by the ring. I hope it helps demonstrate why I'm pursuing the path I am.

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  10. It seems to be an increasingly common model, this denial of a transsexual past. The first one I encountered gets v antsy if you suggest that you have anything in common with her; although I've had a v similar life path, the model I use to describe my experience doesn't match hers and so, as far as she's concerned, she's an echt woman and I'm TS. Hey ho. I wonder if there's anything useful likely to spin off this attitude? It just makes me want to 'eave 'arf a brick, though...

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  11. I generally don't get involved in those conversations - the people that you need to call out would not listen to what you have to say no matter how you say it...

    As to the ring... Wow, enjoy it.

    Stace

    PS: Dru - Dutch by any chance? Or German?

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  12. Wow, comments are coming in so fast, 2 more appeared between clicking and the text box appearing.
    Congratulations on the ring- you are a lucky girl.

    As for debates, they are only worth having between people who can alter their opinions. Otherwise they descend into sermons or slanging matches. I abandonned both long ago. Now I only talk with those I care about or respect.
    Claire

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  14. I read the post you linked to here, where you listed one dictionary definition of transsexual, and the pedant in *me* thinks that it leaves open the possibility of someone no longer being a transsexual.

    It would feel very disingenuous if, at some point, I started insisting that I had never been a man. That's the point your troll was making that I have an issue with.

    But as far as not being a transsexual... the wording "opposite sex" in the definitions you linked to leaves those open to interpretation. At some point, I will consider my sex and gender identity congruent... and then the term "opposite sex" will mean "male" for me.

    I dunno... it seems silly that someday I would say "yes, I was a man," and "I'm not a transsexual anymore." But I don't think those two statements fly in the face of the defintions you quoted. Food for thought, anyway.

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  15. Neither of those, Stace, but English. Ha! You know one too, then... for my part, Teagan, I use "woman with a transsexual history" if I feel the need to fine tune things

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  16. In fairness I should point out that I have received some much appreciated support and have quite a few friends through the same forum.

    Yeah, they won't listen. But that's not the point, the point is that someone is seen to have challenged them.

    It's a serious point as well, if we wish to be taken seriously then we have to present the credible rather than the absurd.

    Is being or having been a bloke so bad anyway? Not all blokes are arseholes!

    @Teagan: Congratulations, you've out-pedanted me! True, they should have added something about "birth assigned gender"!

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  17. @Dru - not really, but echt is Dutch for real so I assumed (not always a good idea :P )

    Jenny, I admire you for being able to enter those discusions!

    Stace

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  18. Ah, Internet Forums. What wonders they are. Coupled with insecurities and paranoias, with a dose of (perceived) anonymity, and you've got the perfect place to, well... You've got the modern equivalent of the "deep dark forest".

    As Dru said, denial of history is on the rise. It's not restricted to the transsexual, but the rewriting of history is definitely a popular pastime.

    My question would be: if she was always a woman, why is she hanging out in a transgender-oriented forum? (I assume it is such?)

    On an equally fun subject (don't you just love the smell of controversy in the morning? ;-) ): photos of the ring, please. :-D

    Carolyn Ann

    PS The word is "catent". I'm trying to figure out if it's a cat and a tent, a cat and an ent or a cat in a tent. Which doesn't sound very "positive" for any waterproofing the tent may have... I think I'll go pet a cat...

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  19. Damn, no cat here. Landlords eh!

    One does wonder why some of these people hang out in these places.

    For some I suspect it may be a response to having forced themselves firmly back in the closet. Stealth can be just as much a closet as any other. They still need support, they still have issues to work through and they can't talk to any non-trans people because they're scared witless of revealing their pasts. To admit this nightmarish situation would be to show that their transition might be less than perfect, instead they behave as I have described.

    Then there is another group for whom transition hasn't gone well and whose mental scars are very thinly healed. Only to other trans people can they project this image of perfection they have constructed for themselves.

    Which is why as I said poking them with sticks is not humane. They need calling out on absurd positions but they vulnerable people in their own way every bit as much as some of the other people who seek help on forums.

    The 'Ring? As the joke bumper sticker has it, Nëverbeen! :)

    I'll check whether Mrs. J is OK with a pic.

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  20. I made a note to myself to not get involved in debates around labels - I did once and got nowhere. It just provoked hostility and it gained me nothing. Decided I had bigger fish to fry.

    You are spot on about others projecting their own issues on others. To be honest I find lots of posts not worth looking at these days I don't really get a sense of community either - bit of a shame really.

    Totally jealous of the ring by the way. What a lovely gift - speaks volumes about you both.

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  21. How very nice of Mrs J to go to the effort of having an engagement ring made for you. What a star she is.

    For me transsexual is a medical term but I'm my gender regardless of the sex of my body.

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  22. My heart skipped a beat when you said that the missus surprised you with the engagement ring. I can't begin to tell you how sweet I find that sentiment. Keep doing things the right way, Jenny, and don't be like me.

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  23. Lesley, you are doing things the right way too for your situation. There is no one right way, and think of all the people who catastrophically manage to do it the wrong way.

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