August 31, 2007

PAST AND PRESENT

Erin just recounted an interesting story: a girl she went to high school with contacted her via MySpace...and this girl is now a boy. Hmmm.

Leaving completely aside the issue of transgenderism, I started to think how bold it was of this person to contact Erin. Seems to me it might be awful hard to reach out to people you went to high school with and tell them you've changed genders. Not bumping into them in the grocery store and having to explain yourself, but actively reaching out and seeing if people accept you. Wow. Made me feel pretty silly to be scared of letting people in on my blog.

So thanks to Erin's friend for bashing me over the head with perspective. And best of luck to him as he tries to mesh his old life with his new one.

Posted by: Sarah at 12:38 PM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
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1 I had that exact experience, but I didn't get stared at in class.

Posted by: Green at August 31, 2007 01:34 PM (VqW06)

2 Aww. That's so nice of you, Sarah. I must admit I wasn't quite as accepting and understanding as you when I first found out the news. I'm fairly accepting of lifestyles that may be considered "sinful" to some, but this one really threw me for a loop. And maybe it's because I can't grasp the concept of literally wanting to live as a man. Yeah, I talk about how cool it would be to pee standing up, and I love guns and hunting. And I like football and beer, which are all stereotyped as "man things." But I really can't imagine wanting to be a gender other than my own. It really does perplex me. I don't grok transgenderism.

Posted by: Erin at August 31, 2007 05:31 PM (XRza7)

3 At an all-girl college not too far from here, there is exactly one male registered, who has begun the process of changing from female to male. As far as I can tell, he's unconditionally accepted as is by the other students, which I think is wonderful. Erin, I agree with you about not grokking transgenderism. But from reading about transgender issues online, I gather that means that we are the right sex inside the right body type. Someone doesn't just decide to change sex because they'd rather be the other, it's more like a woman decides to change her body in the male form because her brain is male. She thinks like a male, feels like a male, sees herself as male, etc. It's adjusting the outer shell to what it should have been all along. Male to female works the same way, just in reverse. A.E. Brain (on my blogroll) is going through the process now in Australia. Zoe - used to be Alan - writes about the process, the mental health issues, the problems with family, society, and all that. Very intelligent writing and very informative. Zoe has embraced her change, although nature "forced her hand" so to speak. She's a walking medical textbook study since her body more or less spontaneously began the hormonal adjustments a few years ago. She began to change, and it took doctors several months to figure out just what it was that was going on. Her body did on its own in less than a year what most have to do with medication over several years. She's post-op now, dealing with red tape and an unbelievable amount of government nonsense. Like I said, if you're at all interested, it's a great place to learn about it from someone who's been there.

Posted by: Ted at September 01, 2007 03:10 AM (yRolC)

4 Sorry to be negative but I feel I have to add - there is a huge movement right now in the US that is not based on 'gender identity disfunction' as Ted describes above, but is about 'smashing the gender binary', far more political, by extreme feminists (mostly lesbians, but not always), often in the punk scene, that are transitioning from f to m. My daughter (25) was involved with them for awhile and dated one for a few months, so I heard and read a lot about it. They reject the concept of there being 2 genders (thus 'smashing the gender binary") and see gender as a fluid and evolving thing. Some of them live between genders, identifying as neither, some have surgery and/or hormone therapy, and many others just bind their breasts flat, take a male name and live as a male. The whole thing was very political and much more of a movement than people suffering and struggling with a serious problem. They seemed like very troubled and unhappy people and I was glad when my daughter's life moved in a different direction. Your friend may or may not be part of this movement, but I thought it was worth adding that this is going on. If you google transgender or any term like that, you will see a lot of these highly political sites as well, as it is a very current thing in the larger cities now. So, sadly, I don't see it as brave necessarily, as much as another issue to be an activist about. Of course the person in question in the post may not be part of this movement at all. Just adding my experience....

Posted by: Amy at September 01, 2007 05:51 AM (I9LMv)

5 Amy -- Point well taken. I have no experience with anything like this before, so I'm probably quite naive about the whole thing.

Posted by: Sarah at September 01, 2007 07:26 AM (TWet1)

6 Yeah I was too, until my daughter got involved in this subculture. I was so shaken up that I went back to see the counselor we had seen a few times when she had had some earlier problems. The counselor wasn't familiar with it either. I had to say "Would you read these websites before our meeting?" and she did and said she learned a lot! Anyway, her advice was to wait it out and my daughter would find that world too limiting and move on, which is exactly what happened. But I did learn more than I wanted to know about it along the way!

Posted by: Amy at September 02, 2007 12:49 PM (I9LMv)

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