At my first therapy appointment way back when, we finished up and were kind of sitting there, and Martha looked at me and said with a smile, "You have small hands." I sat there with them in my lap, held up my fingers the way one might when she's admiring a ring, smiled, and said, "I know! I'm very lucky." I do have small hands for someone with my genetics. My hands are similar to my sister, who is probably 3 inches shorter than me.

I haven't spent too many brain cycles wondering what caused me to be transsexual. Even if there was a way to know, it wouldn't change anything, and at this point, I wouldn't want to change anything. Various theories abound. One of the theories is a lack of exposure to androgens in the womb, or conversely, more exposure to estrogens in the womb. Two things account for sexually dimorphic characteristics, physical differences between the sexes.  The main one is the presence of an X or Y chromosome.  The second, lesser cause, is the exposure to androgens.

One such characteristic is what's known as the 2D:4D ratio, the ratio of the length of your index finger to the length of your ring finger. The ratio of these finger lengths is said to be established in the womb.  A higher ratio is associated with lower androgen exposure; a lower ratio is associated with more exposure to androgen. There are a few examples of studies backing this association.

Here's a graphic showing the differences in these ratios.  The male hand on the left shows a short index finger.  The female hand on the right shows a longer index finger.  Ratios of 1.0 and above are associated with females.  The higher the ratio, the more feminine.  The lower the ratio (0.96 average for males), the less feminine.

There was a study in Germany recently which examined the 2D:4D ratio of male-to-female transsexuals.  It found that the transsexual women had a higher digit ratio than cisgender males, but similar to transgender females, pointing to a possible link between prenatal androgen exposure and MTF transsexualism.  I suppose it could go something like this: A fetus had an X and a Y chromosome, but less androgen exposure in the womb, and thus developed a female gender identity.

I took a picture of my hand.  When I first looked at it after reading this article about the 2D:4D ratio, and compared it to the picture above, I admit that I gasped.  The relative lengths of my fingers, at least from eyeballing them, look nothing like the male hand.  For kicks, I measured my fingers.  You measure from the tip to the crease where your finger bends.  It turned out that my 2D:4D ratio is 1.03, which according to those studies is very feminine.

So perhaps when I was just a mere trillion or so cells, maybe I was exposed to less androgens than was desirable, and this explains why my brain didn't quite turn out the same as my body did.  Or not.  This might all be a bunch of hooey.  Either way, it wouldn't change anything.  It is kind of interesting and fun, though.  Insofar as learning why I am this way, this doesn't have much value... it's just a factoid.  But in a larger sense, these sorts of studies most definitely have value.  If at some point, someone was able to definitively prove a cause of transsexualism, such as a lack of exposure to androgens, perhaps it would be universally recognized as that which it is, a medical, not a psychological, condition.  Someday.  Probably not in my lifetime, but someday!

A while back, when thinking about this journey I'm on, this phrase from Hamlet that my Dad always used when I was little popped into my head... "To thine own self be true."  This article, written by Dr. Irene Matthews, talks about the meaning of this statement as it relates to her target audience of verbally abused women.  I was stunned when I first found it at how, for obvious reasons, it spoke to me.

I had the occasion today to give the link to a friend and I went over and read it again.  Still amazes me how applicable to transition it is.  I think it's brilliant and worth posting here in its' entirety. Thanks, Dr. Irene.

“To thine own self be true…..”

Most of us are familiar with the above quote taking from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, but how many of us know this verse: “And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou can not then be false to any man.” Unless we can be true to ourselves first, we cannot be true to others. 

To thine own self be true… profound.

How many of us have a hard time being true to ourselves? Those of us that gave our life to another at the cost of loosing who we are in the process will have a hard time being true to ourselves. Allowing someone else to define who we are, we lose our ability to discover and grow inwardly. We no longer are able to discern a truth from a lie. For many of us, we have accepted lies for so long, that finding out what is true takes time. Having done this very thing, I know how difficult the journey to self-discovery can be. 

Truth….truth is a word that brings out such negative reactions to many of us. You see truth is really an action word. You cannot accept truth without change. Accepting truth about ourselves is difficult, especially to those of us who have been abused. But truth does set one free if we will allow it to; it is a crucial part of healing. It gives us the freedom to be who we are. We are able to come to terms with our weakness (without condemnation) and appreciate our strength. Truth gives strength; it naturally builds healthy boundaries. Truth is open; it is honest even at the risk of being vulnerable again. Truth is light and brings forth life. When we walk in truth, we walk in light and when we walk in light we live a healthy life.

Truth is also love. The greatest act of love towards another is living a life that is truthful. For those of us who find it difficult to love ourselves, we will find it will come more easily when we walk in truth about who we are. If we walk in truth, we walk in perfect love, and if we walk in perfect love, then we do not walk in fear because perfect love cast out fear. Because we have been honest with ourselves, we are able to love ourselves with all of our imperfections, knowing that we are in “process” and therefore need not have others approval. This is freedom indeed.

The second part of this verse is a natural occurrence if we hold true to the first part of the verse. So, when in doubt as to our motives of not being truthful with someone….look inside, are we being less than truthful to ourselves?

”This above all: to thine ownself be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

I don't really want to write about myself, actually. I should probably knock it off with the dramatic "I'm not blogging" posts and just say that I'm not going to write about myself very often.  But I will write or post something when it strikes my fancy.

There's this organization in Maryland, Equality Maryland, an LGBT rights group. There is a current controversy involving a bill before the Maryland House of Delegates, HB 235, which provides trans rights when it comes to things like employment, but excludes public accommodations. I've remained out of the debate since I don't fancy myself much of an activist nor do I live in Maryland.  And besides, I rely on myself.  Equality Maryland is for the bill. Many of my friends are against it.  You can read about the controversy by doing this Google search.

One of my friends reposted a picture from Equality Maryland's Facebook page. Oh, look. A man in a skirt. How nice.   Oh, he's holding up a big sign that says "ALLY."  Lovely.  Do the cisgender people who posted this image realize how insulting it is to transsexual women?  It's no different than if I attended, say, one of Martin Luther King's rally in blackface and claimed to be an ally. It's insulting. Exactly the same image that groups like the Traditional Values Coalition exploit. If you go to that link, one of the first things you'll see is this line: "Do you want men in dresses teaching your kids?"  You know, TVC, if you need a picture for your hate campaign, EQMD has one for you.

The picture, posted by a so-called ally, is exactly why transsexual/intersex people cannot rely on LGBT groups, transgender people, or gender queer people to speak for them. They do not speak for us.  As well-intentioned as they might be.  It amazes me that a so-called ally doesn't realize how insulting this is.  It blows my mind, actually.  What it tells me is that my goals are not aligned with this group's goals.  It tells me that this group has an underlying ignorance about the issues which transsexual women face.  This is why I cannot and will not rely on such groups to help me find my way.  I go it on my own, and find my own way, as a strong woman.

You know who speaks for me?  Me.  Not Equality Maryland.  And certainly not this guy.  And besides, that's a really ugly skirt.

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about extricating myself from the trans community in a real-life sense. At the time, I wasn't sure how much more I wanted to write here. Since then, I've written one entry bitching about my ex-wife, one entry bitching about words that someone that I don't even know wrote, 7 "draft" posts that I realized were pointless a couple paragraphs in, and two entries about sexual orientation and gender identity, an "issue," if one can call it that, that I'm tangentially, at best, interested in, and only from an academic standpoint at that. What I haven't written about much is myself.

That ought to be a big sign, yes? I always thought this blog would end when I got to the "live." part of its' title. Living is not sitting in front of a laptop reading and writing blog entries. I'm thisclose to being there. Yeah, I still have at least one surgery, lots of zapping, and Goddess knows I still need to work on that voice, but I wouldn't be writing anything that hasn't been written 1000 times before. I'm not sure I want to share it all, anyway. I don't want to go the exhibitionistic way that I've seen others go. I'm not here because I want people to "Look at me!!!" In reality, I want just the opposite. I don't have much that I want to say to the world at this point.

I'll write again here when I have something meaningful or new to say about me. I hope it'll be a while.

I've always been curious about the seemingly high proportion of lesbian transsexual women. Why is that? When I ponder that, it leads me to think about the relationship between gender identity and sexual preference, if one even exists.

I hear a lot about how gender identity and sexual preference are not related.  This page claims that "sexual orientation, gender identity, and sexual identity are independent of each other." This person claims that they're not correlated.  I tire of hearing people write and say this.  It seems to me that it is simply common sense that gender identity and sexual preference *are* related, or correlated.  Today, there are around 3 billion women in the world and of those, 90 to 95% of them identify as primarily straight.  90% of a sample size this large seems to indicate a correlation.  The concepts are certainly different, but independent? I doubt it.

Please note before you start flaming, that I am merely talking about correlation. Nothing bigger than that. Not causation. Two things are correlated if the presence of some characteristic X allows you to predict Y with some degree of confidence. Correlation does not imply causation.

We can use a statistical test known as a t-test (how apropos!!) to see if there is a correlation.  We surmise that there's an equal chance for any given woman to be straight, lesbian, or bisexual.  That becomes our hypothesis.  We create a set of data for it and a set following the observed preferences of women. We then plug the numbers into this test and it tells you how likely your hypothesis is.  The excruciating details of the test are here.  It turns out that it's more likely for you to win the Powerball jackpot eight times in a row than for gender identity and sexual preference to be unrelated in cisgender women.

Many transsexual women claim that we are exactly the same as natal women. You hear this claim thrown around quite a bit. Is that true? I mean, if we're exactly the same as natal women, we ought to be exactly the same in this regard, too. Right?

Reliable numbers are very difficult to come by, but I found a study which found that 38% of transsexual women identified as bisexual, 35% lesbian, 27% straight.  Seemed representative of the admittedly small number of trans women that I know, so I went with it.  These numbers seem to indicate that in transsexual women, gender identity and sexual preference are unrelated.  I did one of my little t-tests and it showed that a set of data reflecting "no relation" stood a decent chance of being statistically equivalent to the data for transsexual women.  In this respect, we couldn't be much further away from cisgender women!  If we are the same, explain to me why we differ in this fairly important way.

I think many factors conspire to cause so many transsexual women to identify as something other than straight...

  • Some aren't women. I'm not opening the Pandora's box of who is and who isn't, so we'll leave it at that.
  • Some aren't able to attract or date men, for reasons real or perceived and may settle for someone that she otherwise might not have. For example: a transsexual who is not able to have SRS. It is a fact that it will be difficult for her to find a straight male.
  • Some are just lesbian or bisexual.
  • Some are truly in love with their wives but would otherwise identify as straight or bisexual. I know a couple people that fall into this category.
  • Some take their hatred of their old selves and transpose that onto the entire male population. I've seen this hatred and I think it's sad. There are a lot of terrific guys out there.
  • Some transsexuals don't feel the societal constraints that natal women do when it comes to dating and relationships. There's no pressure to have children, for example. We cross gender norms in the most profound way possible, so perhaps it makes it easier for us to cross gender norms when it comes to sexual preference.
  • I think that a lot of stealth transsexual women are less inclined to participate in these sorts of surveys.  It's probably fair to say that most such women are straight, so in reality, there are more of us who are straight than it appears.
What can we conclude from all this? Not much, really. Here's an example of a conclusion one might make after reading this entry:

- A group of people with homogeneous gender identities tend to have homogeneous sexual orientations.
- Transsexual women tend to have heterogeneous sexual orientations.
- Therefore, transsexual women do not have homogeneous gender identities.

Nope. The logic is correct but the preconditions are not. The problem with this is that we didn't just start with any random "group of people," we used "a group of cisgender women." You cannot draw logical conclusions based on any other group. It might be true that there are men among us, but you cannot use the above to prove it. For what it's worth, I think the "truth," as it usually does, lies somewhere in the middle. There exist transsexual women who are very similar to natal women. There exist transsexual women who are not. I think it's intellectually dishonest to claim that as a group, we're the same. In this regard, we're clearly not. I'm sure there are others.

We should all go in on group Powerball tickets.  It's a virtual certainty that we'll win.

I have my kids on Tuesday nights and every other weekend from Friday-Sunday. It's not enough. It's not enough to make me feel like I am holding up my responsibilities as a parent. My ex was always very domineering with me, at times disrespectful. I never felt respected by her. I don't know why I should expect that to change, now that we're divorced.

Anyway, I have them this coming weekend, and I get this email from her tonight:

"This Sunday, 20th, there is a special performance at church that S&G are really looking forward to. It's at 4 so could I please pick them up and early? They would like to get there for a closer seat this time so if I could pick them up at 3 that would be great. If you wanted to pick them up earlier on Friday that would be fine."

This happens fairly often. There's something at church that she'd: a) like them to go to, and b) already told them about before asking me. Then she asks me about it. At this point, I am painted into a corner, as it's either disappoint my kids by taking something away they want to attend or give up time with them. Granted, it's only an hour, but when you already don't spend enough time with them, every hour is precious. The fact that it's a church thing makes me even less inclined to sacrifice the time. My ex has turned into one of those born-again evangelical zealots who capitalizes the "H" in "He" and "Him," and I see signs of it in my 5-year old girl. Which scares the crap out of me.

I emailed her back and told her that she'd need to give me more information and that she should have asked me about this first. I should have just said "No." Standing up to my ex has never been one of my strong suits. I'm better than I used to be, but still sorely lacking. It frustrates me that I am strong enough to change my physical gender, but apparently, I seem to be unable to summon the strength to stand up to this woman.

I always try to come back to what is best for my kids in situations like these. It's not best for them to be constantly giving in on stuff like this, right?

I was surfing the net this evening, reading about the experiences of various people who've had GRS.  I've been thinking lots about it lately since I will be undergoing it in less than seven months.  I read these two paragraphs in one article...

In my world-view, making my genetalia conform to self-perception is just a prelude, an overture, to the main part of the symphony. The real reconstruction work is a gigantic endeavour that will consume the rest of my life. All the things that male children learn must be unlearned. All the thinking, attitudes, assumptions, reactions and prejudices that male children and young men pick up must be looked at, and discarded if inconsistent with the feminine way. Similarly with anything I was learning in later life that would have turned me into a grouchy old scrote.

Then I must study what it means to be a woman, what her style is, how she moves, how she inter-relates. And what her impulses are, and what makes her laugh with shining eyes, and what makes her cry, and in what circumstances does she accept a strong arm around her shoulders. I must become expert at projecting my feminine self, naturally, unconsciously and with the utmost individuality.

I read this, my eyes widened like saucers, and my first thought was literally, "What the heck."

I'll be honest. It blows my mind that someone who is post-op thinks like this. Even if this amorphous woman the author referred to existed, it wouldn't matter how she moves, how she inter-relates, when she cries or lets a guy put his arm around her, or what her style is. "The feminine way?" What is "the feminine way?

If you still talk about "feminine self" in the sense that it is somehow separate from the rest of you, perhaps GRS should have been postponed until you were certain that there was no "feminine self," just yourself. If I asked my girlfriends to describe their feminine selves to me, they'd probably look at me like I was nuts.

Hopefully I am wrong about this person and making assumptions based on a couple of amazingly head-scratching paragraphs. Perhaps she's being a little melodramatic. But does it sound to you like she believes that she *is* a woman? Or does it sound more like she is undertaking a "gigantic endeavour" to imitate one?

I write this not to rant, or to take potshots at people, but may I suggest that if you're out there contemplating GRS and you have thoughts like these, keep contemplating. Keep contemplating until you are certain that a female you is not an act.

Just go out and be yourself and live your life. You cannot study how to be yourself.

I don't really want to stop writing. I enjoy it. Perhaps this blog will evolve away from the day-to-day minutia of transitioning and more about issues. There are a lot of super-intelligent people here in Blogistan and I like the interaction with them. So, I write.

All of a sudden, I find myself attracted to men. I can think of five at the moment, in fact. Jillian over at Patent Pending asked people a few days back about their orientation, had it changed? Had it stayed the same? I commented that it appeared that mine had changed. Other commenters said that they were now attracted to men, which was different than before transition. One commenter, Vanessa, was VERY ADAMANT that it was BUILT-IN and WOULD NOT CHANGE. For anyone. No counterexamples. EVER. With large amounts of all-caps and such. She knew this incontrovertible fact about me after reading one paragraph that I wrote. I wasn't sure why she appeared to have such an interest in this, to be so adamant about it.

So is our sexual preference (the hell with the language GLAAD recommends, I see no "T" in "GLAAD") changing? Was it always built-in and we just didn't realize it because of all that we were enduring, as Vanessa suggests? Or is it changing, as my experience suggests? I talked to this guy in the kitchen the other day and when I got back to my desk, I was downright giddy. Totally attracted to this guy. A complete 180 from my old self. It doesn't seem possible that this was always inside me, yet suppressed. Prior to transition, I'd never so much as looked at a guy on the street and thought he was cute. My brain just didn't work that way.

There's only one reason I can think of that a person would be insistent on this to the point of obstinance. If it's possible for someone's orientation to change, all of a sudden those evangelical Christians who claim they can "cure" you of homosexuality have some ammunition. Lady Gaga won't be able to sell as many records. The whole "Born This Way" thing would go out the window. I'm not giving them ammo, though. Here's why. I never made a choice to change. It just happened. I can't even point to the hormones as the genesis of all this. The first time I felt this new attraction was BEFORE I even started taking hormones. I have no idea why this happened... it just did.

What to make of folks like me, then? My own reality contradicts the "Born This Way" theory. I wasn't born this way. I don't like the thought that my experience could aid and abet those who claim that sexual orientation is a learned behavior. Here's my out... it's a fact that I didn't make a choice to be attracted to women earlier in life and I am not making a choice to be attracted to men now. It can change and it is not a choice. I do not agree with Vanessa that sexual orientation is built-in and unchanging for all people. At the same time, I do not agree with preachers who say that one can willingly change. Based on my experience, those two ideas are not in conflict.

P.S. After I posted this, I went back over to Patent Pending and saw that a new comment had been added by Dana... "I have to agree with Vanessa. It is already in you, and cannot be changed. It is just simply your own personal deveiopment as a person, and a realization. Otherwise then I guess the ultra right wing Christian evangelists are right..."

Mmm hmm. Yeah, that's what I thought.

Do most of us truly want to be a part of this world? Not in the literal sense, I mean the trans world. I don't. I don't feel like I've ever really fit into this world. It's a little counterintuitive to not be able to relate to so many people going through the same profound thing that you are. But to many of them, I don't. I don't get why one would want to spend all her time around trans people. I don't get why anyone would want to make their life about being trans. I hear the phrase "you're never really done transitioning" bandied about. That's bullshit. You're never done learning, but transition for me at this point is mostly a physical thing. I don't need to learn how to fit in with women; I always have. Perhaps those who believe you're never done shouldn't have transitioned in the first place.

I remember at an early stage in my transition, maybe a month after I started going out as myself, I received an email about this new group where people could "share a potluck supper in a safe space." Ugh. Ugh ugh ugh. I've never been much for so-called safe spaces. That's not living. That's not why I am transitioning, so I can move from a tiny closet into one that's just a little bit bigger. I've never set foot in a gay bar. I don't get why so many trans people frequent gay bars. I don't get why such a huge percentage of transsexual women identify as lesbian, when a much smaller percentage of natal women do. The hate I've seen from certain TS people towards men is astounding and saddening.

I'm tired of the constant political parade of Facebook updates from trans activists, posting and reposting the latest news item, or issue du jour. I've defriended most of them. Even this blog. It's been great when I need to work something out, or get something out, but as I get closer to normalcy, I am finding that there's nothing normal about posting such private stuff. I'm not feeling the need to post about the latest revelation I had, or the latest thing that happened... I'm not certain that I need this blog anymore. This isn't my last post, but posting here is becoming more of a crutch. A crutch which I'm not certain I need any longer. I was an administrator on this trans support site... this past week, I resigned and deleted my account there. I don't want to be on trans support sites, let alone administer them.

I am pulling away from this community... a community I'm not even certain I was ever a part of in a real-life sense.

Virtually all of my real-life socializing time is and has been spent with cis people. This past week, for example, I spent three evenings with three different women chatting over a drink. Three with my kids. That is where I fit in. I don't fit in sitting in a large circle with a group of people struggling. I'm not struggling. My path and my goal are certain. My goal is to have a normal life.

I want out. It's just up to me to do it.


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When I transitioned, there just weren't too many blogs out there written by straight, transitioned women. Well, here's one.

I can be reached via email at this address.

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