Don't let your schooling interfere with your education.
~ Pete Seeger

Monday, January 12, 2009

Does It Matter Why?

Jose's and my conversation continues:

Thorough responses to what you say may have to wait awhile as I'm getting bogged down in numerous tasks with deadlines. I hope that you do not react with any offense at what I can briefly say at this point. I am cutting to the chase. What you tell me is filled with platitudes and clichés. You talk about perceiving yourself as female but this "perception" can only be based on fantasy and imagination because as I mentioned before you have no foundation on which to base such a perception. It can be derived only from appearances of womanhood and that general sense that is inherent in all men. It cannot be grounded on anything of substance. Woman is not a phantasm, an image. Woman cannot be disembodied!! Only an image of woman can exist separate from the body of a woman. The realization, the experience of real woman can come only in relationship to the body of a woman.

You say, "I am not even that feminine of a woman." But that's simply because you are not. You might have the "femininity" of a man but that is light years away from being a woman. It's a different dimension.

I can give you a reference that might help. Be assured that you will not be helped by relying on varied large cohorts of psychotherapists as they cannot even really agree among themselves. They are mostly concerned these days with making politically correct assessments with lots of "psychologees" jargon but devoid of objective substance. Try beginning a study of Carl Jung's analytical psychology. Forget most contemporary Jungians and learn from the old masters. They will give you a better understanding of coming to terms with the "woman" in you with whom you identify.

Do you have actual evidence of having any morphological irregularities, female anything? I address every person's condition and situation individually. Referring to the particular conditions of other people does not benefit understanding yourself since you do have those attributes or physical traits/organs. Let's not bring in non-related conditions in the effort to justify your perceptions/imaginings. Time is short and of the essence. I cannot get into an entire therapeutic session so I must speak briefly and "mercilessly," that is, without concern for what I see as your cherished perceptions, fantasies and obsessions. It's a "cold turkey" approach. If it helps, great. If not, I did what I could. Ultimately it's your journey, a most arduous one. All I can do is break down your irrational, unfounded opinions of yourself.


No fear on thorough responses. I’m pinched for time, too.

You speak in absolutes – “…can only be based on fantasy…,” “…can only be derived …,” etc. What is the source of your confidence? Jungian psychoanalysis? Your own reason? The Bible? What is it? What is it in your background that gives you authority about gender dysphoria that is superior to the lives of thousands of transpeople and their therapists, including everyone associated with WPATH?

You speak of my obsessions. Yet for most of my life I was obsessed with being a man, and that was my desire. I fought against my own nature. It was only the depths of despair, the brink of suicide, that enabled me to accept who I am.

You say I speak in “platitudes and clichés,” implying that therefore my own testimony is faulty and does not represent any objective reality. I suggest you ask Kristin about it. She was with me every step of my transition, and witnessed my path for the last seventeen years.

I never claimed, nor do I claim, that I am or ever was a “real,” cisgendered, XX chromosome woman. I’m a transwoman. That means my gender is different from my sex, and yes, despite your absolute certainty, that is possible. The body morphology I suspect is not visible in a living human, and cannot be found without a thorough and very expensive autopsy. This study is too small to be conclusive, and, so far as I know, has not had peer review. However, it does present evidence of a physical condition that justifies my own experience and perception of myself, as well as the experience of thousands if not millions of other transpeople. You, of course, have the choice to blow it off and continue your delusions of “impossibility,” but I entertain the possibility that this may be the source of my condition.

I’ll note here also, on the question of psychoanalysis, that I spent over two years in therapy prior to seeking a specialist in gender dysphoria. At least eighteen months of that were spent with a very competent therapist who knew little about GID. We worked through a ton of issues, including a lot of childhood trauma, and she tried very hard to show me that my perception of femininity was not inherent. And yet, she did not dent it. Obsessed as I was with manhood and trying to hold onto my family and position in society, once the scales of denial fell away from my eyes, I could not put them back on.

Beyond that, there is my own life experience. That experience is that when I stopped obsessing about being a man, and accepted that I wasn’t, I could focus my life on other things, and just be. My experience of being a man devolved into an absolute hell of psychic isolation and depression that left me incompetent to function as a parent and unable to concentrate on my work. In contrast, every step I took in transitioning to presenting and living as a woman brought intense relief, as if lifting an enormous burden from my shoulders. The confusion that tortured my life for so many years fell away, and in its place I found clarity. As I relaxed into being a woman, I could finally concentrate on my work, so much so that I not only do my job with competence, confidence and focus, I also was able to take on a role on the board of a nonprofit and sit on a citizen’s advisory committee for my city for the past year, while also writing a novel and a blog. Best of all – the most precious gift I can imagine – I found myself parenting my children fully, with a completely open heart. Last summer I overheard my son talking to one of his friends. His friend asked him, “Don’t you miss having a dad?” Trinidad answered, “No. I like her better as a woman.” At Christmas, he asked me, “Maddy, how long ago was it that you transitioned to being a woman?” “A year and a half,” I answered. “Why? Do you miss having me as a dad?” “No!” said, positively. “I like you better as a woman.”

So, Jose, I ask you this: Even if you are right – even assuming that I am now confused and living a fantasy – does that really matter? If so, why? Does it matter why or how I came to be this way, if being this way not only gives me the peace and joy I live, but enables me to better parent my children, relate to my friends and loved ones, and contribute to a peaceful and functional society? Why would even you want me to go back to that misery I lived as a man, where I would be far more likely to end up as a burden to society than as a contributor to it?

One last note: You said you could “give me a reference that might help,” but only offered the generality of studying Jungian psychology. That’s a big subject. Do you have any specific reference?

Be well.


David Carrel said...

Seda, do we get honorary master's degrees in Psychology for reading your blog? I had to use a dictionary five times to read through that one, haha. Just kidding. Interesting conversation; that is all I really feel I can say as I don't feel that I have much background to say much differently. Although right now I am listening to lectures from a well known Pastor about Biblical manhood and womanhood, but I am not sure if it would add any substance to this conversation.

Seda said...

Please feel welcome to comment, David. I'm interested in what you have to say, and in your perspective. Don't worry about whether I might find it painful - I think I understand your motives and where you come from enough to account for that, and I can always give myself empathy if I get triggered. :-)

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.
~Helen Keller

Reading List for Information about Transpeople

  • Becoming a Visible Man, by Jamison Green
  • Conundrum, by Jan Morris
  • Gender Outlaw, by Kate Bornstein
  • My Husband Betty, by Helen Boyd
  • Right Side Out, by Annah Moore
  • She's Not There, by Jennifer Boylan
  • The Riddle of Gender, by Deborah Rudacille
  • Trans Liberation, by Leslie Feinberg
  • Transgender Emergence, by Arlene Istar Lev
  • Transgender Warriors, by Leslie Feinberg
  • Transition and Beyond, by Reid Vanderburgh
  • True Selves, by Mildred Brown
  • What Becomes You, by Aaron Link Raz and Hilda Raz
  • Whipping Girl, by Julia Serano
I have come into this world to see this:
the sword drop from men's hands even at the height
of their arc of anger
because we have finally realized there is just one flesh to wound
and it is His - the Christ's, our