So many ways.

Language of course is only one way we communicate. There’s also body language and facial cues. So imagine what it’s like for transgender people using those physical and facial cues that align to their gender and how others might see it and the confusing and unexpected responses to these cues. Why are transgender people special? Because many of us had to relearn gender based cues and behaviors that didn’t feel natural just to survive. I’m a woman but I also speak male. I still don’t get some masculine values like boxing and other things associated to why would you risk injury for that? I’m not a hunter. I prefer to gather the ingredients to create with. I could never fight but I learned to fake being a bad ass. Actually I faked being a bad ass so well many trans people I know didn’t think I was authentic. Others however knew better. There are so many ways we speak to each other. The best one I found is honesty.

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Safety Ledge

There has never been a cure or treatment for transgenderism and there will hopefully never will be one.

I of course am a client of treatment. It’s not a cure and it’s not going to change my mind, well not much anyway. What it will do is let my mind ease into a viable and reasonable facsimile of the physical person I can be. With a lot of limitations. Like I may never pass to everyone but I can pass for others. Maybe a significant other. Wouldn’t that be nice.

Having gender dysphoria is not an obsession. It’s your mind following a preprogrammed set of commands in the wrong vehicle. Not a bad vehicle just not the right one. I was attracted to everything little girls liked. When I was 7 I walked around on my toes like I was wearing high heels. I continued that almost until I was 17. Everything any woman might like that sways the eye and give us the feeling of being beautiful or special did this for me. Then of course came the guilt, shame, wishes and prayers. I would pray every night to wake up in my own body.

How I survived was a day to day question of how can I distract myself from thinking about it. So I tried everything I could try. Much of that in my travels with my partner. We did everything we could think of doing. Nude hot springs to bicycling the west coast. We traveled and lived in Europe and we did art and music to pay for most of it. I say most because we did on a couple of occasions needed the help of family. We certainly weren’t perfect planner economically but those where rare and yeah a pain.

All in all my time with my partner was the best of times trying to ignore the internal self struggle. And this did effect our relationship. She always knew I was transgender, that was impossible for me to hide from someone close to me. It was hard to hide at jobs, groups, bands and anyone knowing me for more than a month or two. I wanted to talk about what interested me. Big mistake… “Please clear out your locker/desk/gear. We’re sorry but other workers are uncomfortable around you so you’ll have to leave. Thank You and pick up your check now/next week/in the mail..” Having a partner who could keep a job helped. Do I feel guilty about that? Yes, very much so. She also made it easier to get an apartment and keep it. I’ve had a couple of apartments that I didn’t have any problems with and a couple who also figured out I was a bit odd and gave me the “other tenants are uncomfortable” speech. I never really put up much resistance.

Me and my Mental Health

Me and Mental Health treatment go way back. As far back as when I was only five years old. You see, I wasn’t aware that knowing I was a girl was considered severely mentally ill. Almost as soon as I said it the first time I was whisked from one temporary care facility to a semi permanent one. Well then from there I had escaped the mental health care for a couple of years until I ran into another one. This one in another state after I was caught in an act with anther boy who had he suggested we act out that I was the girl in this little fantasy. I agreed happily and surprised he had said it not knowing how I felt. Next thing I know I’m transferred again from one Christian based facility to a state facility for mental health. Then through the barrage of tests, some more obvious than others. Eventually you get to know them all in various versions. So after adult age hit me I was no longer require to participate in anymore games of pin the diagnosis on the client. I find it funny that we went from patient to client though I’m not sure exactly when this happened. I lived without any “treatment” until I lost it at thirty six exactly one day before my birthday. That story is for another time. But I felt maybe I really do need help and I really am so mentally ill and my dysphoria was just a symptom of something worse. I didn’t start out with that but talked about what happened however I felt I was talking to a wall as most of the therapist where social workers with masters degrees. And each new one wanted to try their hand at pin a diagnosis on the client. I would eventually mention it sometimes casually just to see if they would notice. It’s a huge clue or so I thought. Mostly they dismissed it as either attention getting or a subset of another illness. I can’t say this enough. It is debilitating to be stigmatized as mentally ill. I got treated as you’d treat someone with cognitive problems or dangerous. Or that I could not understand them and of course everyone agreed they could not understand me at all. So when I decided to transition I wanted again to get therapy because by now I was a considerable mess. Guess what I got again.

For most of my life I desperately wanted to fit in. I’d do anything to not be seen for what I was. The thought of being laughed at and ridiculed was beyond all horrors for me. So when I found a place I thought I could fit in I’d just be me and not care how others thought. So I started to wear clothing that was feminine more and more often. This didn’t fly too well with my first band. They started to make up cruel names for me. The kind that suggests something, ugly and perverted. It got so bad I decided to quit the band giving the excuse that I can’t keep up with the maddening pace of the songs and felt slowing them down would help. It was a biggest, baddest and fasted punk boy band kind of thing.

So I started my own band. And because I was insecure and pretty much a beginner I wanted to their people who just wanted to try it. Most of us just had rudimentary knowledge of our instruments and a couple where quite good. They both left. I was free to dress up for any and every show I was in and no one could say squat. But that lead to me being embolden to dress that way more often. That’s when the sneers started, the the rude comments. It even came to blows when someone I thought of as a friend kicked me in the face at one of his shows.

That’s when I started to think about my gender. Before I knew the feeling was with me. It bothered me enough to show my angst in everything I wrote. The pain of lose knowing I’ll be unable to stay. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. And I didn’t want to feel like I’m a freak. So I said yes to travel. This was from my wife’s need to explore the world so wanted to do this badly. I had done my share of it for about 2 years on and off already. Wasn’t all the amazing but maybe with someone it’s worth it. My idea was to settle somewhere else and try again but this was batter. But I’d never explored the world with a partner so we because the perfect storm for just knowing each other and supporting our dreams even limitedly. Mostly by playing in a folk punk kind of thing and making things to sell, mostly jewelry and hair wrapping made a surprising amount of money.

Then came our child and eventually watching her become sick with no real recovery from it. I would of stayed with her. I asked her why and all I got was, “I have my reasons.” I found out years later was she didn’t want me to go though the pain of supporting someone with a major mental illness.

Things don’t work out the way we wanted. I was blamed, threatened and ostracized by her family and friends after 14 years of being a part of their family. As far as they knew, I had done something to her. I believed it. I just couldn’t find where I had done something horrible to her? Was one of the few arguments we had? Was it insisting we raise our child at a home and not on the road. People can be extremely cruel. I found out also years later that my partner and I were considered homeless and shouldn’t be allowed to have a child. There were people who would buy her coffee or food just so they could talk to her. I don’t know the conversations but I could guess. If anything could of feed into her paranoia it was that. We’ve had people openly scorn her for living on the streets with a lazy husband who won’t support his wife and child.. yeah that one hurt a lot. We worked hard and when that failed sometimes we did what we could for some cash. From small jobs to begging. Most of the time we always had enough to eat well and travel.

After that. My life rolled downhill and rested on a ledge.

Up next: The safety ledge.

Us vs Us

We are all guilty of xenophobic behavior. Including me but I know and I think most people know this intuitively. How have we become so xenophobic? I think it’s programmed into our beliefs through a barrage of media and social media. That is mostly from entertainment and our interactions with all our internet communities. How many videos, movies and series do we watch that constantly depict an us vs them scenario? We often see the supposed bad guys or groups as different, uncouth and disheveled who want to take away our safety and security. We learn from these ideas and keep what we learn and apply those ideas to our everyday life. When it rains not all the rain gets on you but you still get wet. This is the same when viewing media except we don’t go out and act out every scenario however we do apply this learning in small ways just as the rain effects us in a small way. The homeless become zombies and the immigrants become the cartels. The Muslim families become the terrorist cells and so on. Our weapon of defense are our words and our attitudes. We can change the world. We can make a difference but first we need to change ourselves and we do that by healing ourselves and our minds. we can be critical of what we view and even how we think.