Thursday, 18 September 2014

On Going On And On

You might wonder whether Sarada and I have anything in common sometimes, although you probably don't because there is quite a lot, in fact probably too much. If we ever get divorced, we'll probably cite "irreconcilable similarities" for obvious reasons.  There is relatively little complementarity in our relationship except that I tend to be able to help her with computery stuff a bit.

One of the things we do share is compulsion to write, in two different forms.  Liz's compulsion to write is up to her to feel compelled to write about, so I'll leave that to her, except to say that although she is compelled to write, she is fortunate enough not to be compelled to write verbosely.  I, on the other hand, have logorrhoea.  I go on and on, as lots of people have noticed, particularly the children.  I do this in writing and speech.  I love it when other people do the same because it makes me feel better when I can't get a word in edgeways.  NaNoWriMo for me should be the other way round - I should reduce my "literary" output by 50000 words in November.

Two surprising things about this though.  One is that I used to edit other people's work for brevity, and I was good at it.  Among the things which made it easier was my training in formal logic, as I could shorten sentences without sacrificing meaning, sometimes because of logic itself, sometimes due to familiarity with how language tends to work.

The other is more surprising:  I used to be brief!  I admit that I wrote two 30 000 word essays while studying A level biology but they were surprisingly to the point.  Clearly there was a compulsion to write there but more in Sarada's style than my more recent one.  Then I did my Masters.  This completely screwed with my clarity and plainness and I never got it back. French philosophers take pride in their obscurantist writing.  Jacques Lacan is a notorious example of this.  Not every philosopher is like this but, at least at the time, people took pride in producing the likes of this.  That's not an extreme example and the person who wrote it is in fact entirely OK.  However, that kind of approach to writing is rewarded by that particular strand of academia.  For some reason I've never been able to get my brevity back but I'm working on it.  As Mark Twain said, roughly, "Sorry this is so long.  I didn't have time to make it short".

I'm not on Facebook today at all and I'm also avoiding the news because of the Scottish independence referendum.  I personally expect the "no" camp to win.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Looking Into A Woman's Eyes

When I was thirty-two, during a period of my life when my conscious GID was fairly remote (apart from the fact I was taking - er - something), I decided to go to the NHS to have my bowel dysfunction investigated, partly because I wanted to place myself in the position of a typical NHS patient as experience to help my own future patients.  I found there was a tendency to be lulled into passivity, which interested me.  I was booked in for a barium enema.  I heard various horror stories about them, none of which were actually in any way an issue.  My main concern was in fact that I was to be exposed to a humongous dose of X-rays, presumably because otherwise the pelvis would get in the way.

One of the interesting things which happened was the hyoscine injection, whose purpose was to allow the bowel to dilate to the point where it would be easily imaged.  Hyoscine is anticholinergic and antimuscarinic, so in other words it acts on the autonomic nervous system.

This was fifteen years ago.  Thus far I seem to have experienced two long-term effects from this investigation.  One was the appearance of a wart on my left wrist, shortly after the X-ray exposure.  The other was the apparent intermittent appearance of Holmes-Adie pupils.  I should explain.  For some time after the injection, and I mean several years and still on occasion, my left pupil would not constrict much in response to light, leading to difficulties in reading and discomfort in bright light.  Moreover, it emerged that during my training as a herbalist, a number of deep tendon reflexes were completely absent.  To be honest, I didn't notice if my sweating was abnormal.

This so-called Adie Syndrome I think of as a mere feature of my body rather than a problem.  It's not serious in any way although the absence of deep tendon reflexes occasionally meant my knees would tend to buckle, which again still happens on occasion.  The Holmes-Adie pupil phenomenon is generally thought to be caused by a viral infection of the ciliary ganglion.  When the nerves recover, some of them are said to supply the muscles which control the iris better than others and there is an imbalance leading to this effect.  Presumably I had chicken pox or glandular fever or something which led to this at some point and the administration of hyoscine triggered it off.  The deep tendon reflex thing is again due to infection, this time of the dorsal root ganglia in the spine.

So far so good.  It's pretty clear that it's at least very similar to Holmes-Adie pupils even if it isn't actually that, and in fact I think it is.

What makes it interesting to me is the gender distribution of the phenomenon.  The mean age of onset is thirty-two, which for me is right on the button (yay for being able to type that without freaking out!  You have no idea!), and it's said to be mainly a problem for younger women with about 70% of the cases being female.

Imagine, then, that you know nothing about me other than the fact that I have two eyes, and you can shine a light in them, and do a neurological exam generally on my deep tendon reflexes.  You are then asked to guess my sex.  The safest guess would be that I'm female.  In fact every person I've noticed with Adie pupils is female with the possible exception of myself.

Of course, men do get Adie pupils and the rest, and it isn't like 95% are female or something like that.  However, to me this is a fairly strong indication that my central nervous system is typically female, not typically male.  It's not a clincher, but it is a bit close, and the facts that I am also M2F gender dysphoric and that the claim is often made that M2F gender dysphoric people have typically female brains.  Moreover, one's sense of gender identity is said to be based on whether certain parts of one's brain, notably for some strange reason the corpus striatum, which links the basal ganglia, are typically female or male in structure. It's not based on the current hormonal regime, socialisation or the perception of one's body.  In other species, allegedly, brain "sex" (not necessarily chromosomally) determines the gender of the whole animal.  I'm afraid I can't remember much about that apart from this.

This is interesting because Adie pupils and the absence of deep tendon reflexes are not psychological but neurological.  They're not to do with emotional trauma during childhood, social construction or even free will.  So this amounts to a very unreliable test of brain sex.  It's far from perfect, but given the circumstances, it's, to use the cliche, a "smoking gun".  It really does seem that I have a female brain. As I've said before, I'm not my brain, but maybe my gender is the same as the gender of my brain.  Perhaps that is what gender identity is, at least for me.  That means that in theory I could go around wearing a suit and tie, be into fast cars and loose women, be muscular and hairy and generally do nothing outward to indicate that my gender was female, but I would still be female.  There is no need for me to conform to any gender stereotype to make myself female.  I just am female, because my brain is female.

The question arises of why I haven't thought in that way much until recently.  I would suggest that the answer lies in my practice of scepticism.  I am very reluctant to attribute the word "knowledge" to anything.  It's possible to doubt rationally the existence of the external world, of other minds, of the past, and so on.  All of those things might not be real and as a philosopher I have in fact experimented with doubting them.  However, whereas I might have sat in a seminar as an undergraduate and pontificated about the non-existence of consciousness in other "people", when I left that seminar I would still be confronted with the fact that one of the other people in that seminar had recently been freaked out and disgusted by my inappropriate gushing of undying love for her, and those things - being freaked out and disgusted - are real experiences in her mind which I have no doubt were actually there.  That horribly embarrassing, cringeworthy elicitation of a negative response did include those experiences for her.

However, because I was so used to the idea that it's possible to doubt almost anything other than logically necessary propositions, bits of maths and qualia, it was equally possible to doubt that I was female.  In fact, I think I may even be putting the cart before the horse here.  I think the truth may be that it's the other way round.  The reason I was so good at metaphysical doubt was that I was immediately, at a very early age, confronted with the fact that something I had such a strong feeling of certainty about, that I was female, was doubted, and in fact completely discounted, by absolutely everyone I came into contact with.  This is the origin of my philosophising.

Therefore, suppose I do decide, as practically everybody does, to accept that life is not a dream, that we are not brains in vats, that other people are not zombies and that we didn't all spontaneously spring into existence five minutes ago with ready-formed false memories.  A further incontrovertible fact for me would be that I am female.

Therefore in recent days I have been looking into my eyes, which occasionally respond oddly to changes in light, and knowing that when I do that, I am looking into a woman's eyes.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Liz went somewhere with poetry and there was some beer and she ended up with a "Star Trek" reference

Liz went somewhere with poetry...

I have to be very careful not to cause a temporal paradox by writing this blog as it was seen in a vision by someone combining trigonometry with orchids and roses yesterday, so if I don't write it, it will cause the Blinovitch Limitation Effect or something.  Way to motivate myself - I wouldn't want the Universe to explode just because I didn't write a blog post.  Even still:

Sarada is of course a poet.  She has a variety of good verse, including one poem about certain venereal shrubs already mentioned in this entry in the house of Mars which is brilliant but which she won't read because it's too personal, hence my oblique reference.  Nonetheless there are other poems which are equally groovy and which she is prepared to read out loud in public, one of which I find very nervewracking.  It's called 'On Not Speaking A Scandinavian Language' and is mentioned here on her blog but it's looking like you're going to have to go to a live performance actually to hear it.  It evolved from a series of limericks I think.  The reason it makes me nervous is that most of the way through the poem, she seems ignorant of the characteristics of the languages themselves.  For instance, she seems to think that Swedish has an "Ø" in it when in fact it has an "Ö" , and I'm also a little uneasy about the inclusion of Finnish among the Scanditongues because I don't think it really is.  All is, however, resolved in the last verse.  She, of course, would feel equally or more nervous performing the rose poem, so she doesn't.  I personally think she should go there but since when have either of us had any control over what our partners do?

...there was some beer...

Indeed there was.  I gave up alcohol for seventeen years until last autumn, when I decided that I was as addicted to not drinking it as some people are to drinking it, although of course the latter tends to have more serious consequences.  However, I still eschew beer, on the whole, because of the hops.

Hops are martial herbs.  This is a little surprising as they are oestrogenic and also liver stimulants, so one might expect them to be venereal or jovial, but apparently not, says Culpeper, and who am I to argue.  They are also in the category of "popular herbs which I never use", the other two being juniper and vervain.  Oddly enough, vervain was the first herb I used medicinally on myself in my early twenties.  Like juniper, but unlike vervain, hops are hard to find a use for not because they're useless - they're far from that - but because their indications and counterindications tend to coincide.  Juniper is a kidney stimulant which works by irritating the organs concerned, meaning that it wouldn't be a good idea to use it to stimulate reins which are already troubled and susceptible to injury through irritation.  Someone m,ight want to explain how to use it to me sometime.

Hops are similar, so it's said.  Hops are of course used for sleep and anxiety and are oestrogenic, but they also exacerbate depression.  Besides that, they stimulate the liver and lymphatics (which is allegedly impossible).  Now, the reason I find this problematic is that depression can lead to insomnia and anxiety and depression are said to be chemically similar.  If my website still existed you could look that up on it, couldn't you?  Ah well, never mind.  It is also thought to contribute to depression among beer aficionadas/-os on occasion.  Having been susceptible to depression in spades before the Catastrophe (it deserves a capital C I think), I assumed that the guzzlement or chewment of hoppiness would not lead to happiness for Mands, so although I did go back on the sauce I didn't start drinking beer again.  Come to think of it I have no idea what's vegan nowadays anyway.  However, I did want to experiment, so I have in fact munched quite a lot of hops over the past couple of weeks.  Rather surprisingly, they didn't make me depressed at all!  I'm now wondering if hops are one of the herbs which have a paradoxical effect on me, another one being lavender which used to make me irritable and stimulated - it now does the reverse.  So I might be wary, but am now wondering if I'd be OK with hops.

...and she ended up with a "Star Trek" reference...

Things are about to get seriously nerdy.

As you will be aware if you look at some other entries, I've been developing a conlang called Amandese.  Esperanto is said to have failed because it lacked a culture to back it up.  In fact it did have a culture of sorts, but that's another story.  Tolkien's languages, however, do have a culture and are more successful, and the same is of course true of Klingon.  Speaking of which, Star Trek has these things called star dates, one of which cheered me up once when I was sitting despondently in a student bedroom in Oadby, pulled out a drawer and saw "Captain Kirk Stardate XXXX.X" written on it (with actual numbers I've forgotten).  This had the opposite effect that hops are said to have.

The original idea behind star dates was that because Starfleet was bunging ether vessels about Ginnungagap at a rate of knots, it would end up bending time to the extent that it was the middle of last week for some of them while it was next Thursday to others, so they needed a system to mark time which wasn't anchored to any particular planet.  To me this seems a neat idea.

However, here's the Memory Alpha entry on them, and as you can see that idea seems to have been completely abandoned, which is annoying.

One phrase which tends to go through my head a lot is "Yea, e'en before the Great Nova Of Gath", which I thought was from Not The Nine O'Clock News but apparently isn't, so I have no idea whence it came.  It occurred to me about thirty years ago that there was in fact a "Great Nova" a long time ago, for us, namely the Crab Nebula, which even from here is the brightest X-ray source in the night sky.  It's about 6500 light years away and its light first reached us on 4th July 1054.  Moreover, it has a built-in time signal, the Crab Nebula pulsar which has a period of 33.5028583 milliseconds.  It seems to me that we do in fact have a useful way of dating things here, and also one which depends on spatial position as well as temporal.  Why not date the events in this bit of the Galaxy from when the Crab Nebula, in Amandese "Supernova De Gath", became visible to a given location and use units based on the period of its pulsar?  Nothing can interfere causally with the events outside the light cone, so this is entirely feasible and shouldn't cause any problems while underlining the fact that simultaneity is illusory according to relativity.

Bringing this back to language, back in the early 20th century, less than 900 years after the Great Nova Of Gath (can't do the pulsar period thing right now), the appropriately named Whorf of the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis claimed that the Hopi language had a different view of time in that it failed to recognise the concept of simultaneity, although apparently there is no evidence for it and it's like that "words for snow" myth.  However, I'm entirely happy with the idea of adopting whatever the heck it was supposed to be into Amandese, provided the havoc it wreaks with my conceptual universe is entertaining and conducive to compassion rather than just a mindwobble to no real purpose.

Oh yeah, and I saw a Star Trek cross-stitch book in Oxfam the other day and I can do cross-stitch.


Monday, 8 September 2014

Courage?

One of the many kind things which people say to me about all this is that I'm being very brave.  I really appreciate the compliment when they say this.  It's a really nice thing to say.  The only thing is, I don't feel it and I'm not sure it's true.

Another rather surprising comment I saw today was that transitioning is supposed to be more stressful than being on the battlefield.  Considering that whole denial process, I presume there are quite a few people who are in a position to compare this.  Lots of M2F GID people in the military.

There is of course no way I can compare my experience to theirs, so I can't compare.  However, I have been shot at several times and the difference there is the abstractness of the situation.  When people are shooting at you they tend to be a long way off and if you don't get injured or killed and one of your compatriots don't get injured or killed, it's a bit of an anticlimax because nothing happens apart from loud bangs and bright flashes.  I'm sure that this is entirely unlike being on a battlefield though.

I suppose the difference is that if you're on a battlefield, it doesn't go on for very long compared to this, whether or not you survive, and you might also be armed yourself and be able to defend yourself.  Self-defence is a possibility here and there are the obvious "not being stupid" things which everybody is conscious of and is lucky enough to avoid.

I think the key for me not thinking I'm brave is the same as the usual reason.  I live a charmed life.  Just as the local authority never found out about our community-based education and no-one challenged it for the whole time we were doing it, I am likewise floating blissfully through life with no problems arising.  I do get people swearing, shouting and laughing at me of course, and giving me looks of disgust and disapproval, but I'm thoroughly used to that and it happens a lot less than it did before I started doing this.  I've escaped from a much more threatening situation into this one.

Something I really do want to emphasise here is the massive level of support and acceptance I've received from friends, family and even clients.  There is only really an upside to this.  Few people have my brilliant people, city and situation.  That might go some way towards explaining why I don't need to be brave.

There is one other thing though.  If you were in a burning building, you would leap through the flames if you could.  The circumstances immediately beforehand were pretty awful and it doesn't take much courage to run away from the sinking ship, burning building, landslide or volcanic eruption.  Or rather, it does, but you have to find it.

Therefore, I think the fact that I don't feel brave comes down to the fact that I know some truly wonderful people whom I feel I can never repay, I am very lucky to be living in Leicester, I am possibly blissfully ignorant of how bad things can suddenly become, and as well as all that, it would've taken a lot more courage, and probably foolhardiness, to remain in my former situation than to escape from it.  So I did need to have some firmness of resolve, but in the end it wasn't that daunting.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Tracksexualism

Peruse and ponder (apologies for any upset but there will be a context in a minute):
This is from Viz apparently.  For me it's particularly germane because I used to wear fleeces, trainers and baggy trackie bottoms and had two children in tow, although I'd probably be in the Wholefood Co-op rather than a supermarket.  So was I trans* even then?  The answer is a definitive "sort of".

First of all, you may ask how I ended up in a fleece and baggy tracksuit bottoms with two kids (don't like that term, seems derogatory) in tow.  The answer is partly the same as you might expect for most women in that situation:  practicality, haste, lack of time to myself and the fact that I was a parent.  There's more to it than that.

The kind of things I used to wear before I transitioned included often baggy and holey leggings, frequently stained hoodies (never pullover ones for some reason - I might explain that later if I ever find out), crop tops, and of course trackie bottoms and tops, even matching ones, oh and fleeces, sometimes with busted zips.  I wouldn't be surprised if the pre-transition transwoman quite often wears clothing of that kind of genre, or rather, clothing which shares significant features with that lot, with the probable exception of the crop tops and leggings.  This is for a very good reason:  these items of clothing are to a considerable extent unisex.  They do not signify gender.  Naturally they may very well not include such items and if she uses a different and quite common coping mechanism you might be more likely to find her in a suit and tie or the uniform of a police officer or soldier.  If on the other hand her coping mechanism is like mine, and I don't know how common that is because we all have our own stories, she may, as I did, attempt to wear clothing which does not in itself get commonly ascribed to a gender, because it's as far as she feels capable of going to avoid confronting her revulsion at the state of her body, and the repellent fact of having the wrong physical sex.

There is of course another element in this statement:  "real" women do not usually wear ballgowns in the supermarket however much the proprietors might be working their way towards making them.  The implication seems to be that that fabulous beast the transvestite is in a privileged position and lives in a fantasy world where they don't have to drag children round supermarkets.  Of course male privilege is depressingly real, as is cisgender privilege, and many trans* people I'm sure have dual roles, one of which helps them cope with the other.

A random day in my life from 1999 to 2013 would probably have found me in a tracksuit.  This used to irritate Sarada no end and she noted correctly that my hoarding of the garments constituted a problem.  Towards the end of that period, I pointed out to her that the alternative would be me wearing clothes she would regard as feminine.  To me, the way this looks is that I can wear what to me are normal clothes although with an obvious bias towards dresses, skirts, tights, blouses or whatever partly because I got sick of never wearing them, or I could camouflage  my identity by wearing the likes of tracksuits.  She was not aware of the implications and didn't realise what "normal" was for me.

The question arises of why I'm doing what I'm doing now.  Why wear stereotypically feminine clothing?  I've already given one reason - that I got very frustrated never allowing myself to wear skirts or whatever even once in my entire life, and this is a reaction to that.  They also fill the same role as tracksuits used to.  As I write this, I can see my nail varnish, bracelets, hairless arms, diamond-patterned tights, plain black dress and a lacy black scarf and there are various other sensations involved.  In this experience, far less reminds me of my physical masculinity than it used to.  Speaking for myself, as always, by doing this I am minimising the distress of experiencing this body as male.

Therefore, should you happen to see me and wonder why I'm dressed like a caricature of a ciswoman, remember that I'm not doing it because I think this is what women are supposed to look like but because the fact of my male physique makes me want to slash my wrists and a number of other things.  It's not intended to be in any way an insult or a fetish, although as I've said there wouldn't be anything wrong with that if that was what this was about.  It's just my way of coping, like the tracksuits used to be.  It also seems pretty natural and ordinary to me and in fact I don't really get why people restrict their sartorial choices to only wearing so-called "menswear".

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Emotional Abuse (Or Not)

People who know me will be aware of the fact that I am in a long-term stable relationship.
I hope it goes without saying, but it may not so here I am saying it anyway, that I am talking about my own situation here and nobody else's, and I cannot transfer my own views over to someone else's situation.  This is just about Sarada and me.

Here is a report from the Scottish Transgender Alliance (www.scottishtrans.org) on trans experiences of domestic abuse:  http://www.scottishtrans.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/trans_domestic_abuse.pdf
Some of the behaviour described as emotionally abusive is very familiar to me.  Two in particular, namely refusal to use my pronouns of choice or my current name, are things that Sarada does.  Whereas I'd be lying if I said I was OK with it, I don't think it's OK to call this emotional abuse, for several reasons which doubtless reveal my false consciousness.  You know, that same false consciousness that I might be accused of having by being a rapist, AKA gender dysphoric male-assigned person, by certain people.  So you may want to skip over the rest but in doing so you might want to consider that I spent a lot of time skipping over what I considered to be inevitably junk science about androgen receptors and brain anatomy and physiology, and that you might be doing it in the same spirit.  I don't know, maybe you've been through this and come out the other side.

So she deliberately misgenders me and refuses to call me by my real name, and yes I do find this extremely distressing and yes, it has a massive impact on my self-esteem, confidence and self-acceptance, and yes she knows all this.  That's all entirely clear.  Along comes the label of emotional abuse.  Right, so we can call it that and follow a prescribed course of action which is simplistic and knee-jerky (don't get me started on deep tendon reflexes).  OK, so what about all those other bad bits of behaviour which occur in relationships which don't have labels?  They don't count as emotional abuse so they don't have a prescribed course of action.  However, in my faith of choice the text in John 8:7 comes to mind - for those of you without an imaginary friend, feel free just to take the point that none of us are perfect and that relationships are not perfect and accept the New Testament as a piece of Hellenistic literature.

There was of course a time when I was lonely and looking for love.  I found it and heaven knew I was miserable then, to the extent that I eventually concluded that there were two types of misery in the world, the misery of single life and the misery of sexual relationships.  Being single has the advantage that you are not making someone else who cares about you a lot miserable.  This is an exaggeration of course, although at the time that was exactly how I saw things.  I have since moderated my opinions somewhat.  Even so, I still maintain that a certain moiety of misery must enter all committed sexualoid relationships, and in fact all relationships.  In my case, this misery includes the above, labelled as emotional abuse by these folk in Scotland.

What would you do then?  Hold out for a perfect relationship which will never happen and cannot exist?  Why even bother to call this emotional abuse?  If this wasn't happening, something else would be and doubtless something else is, and in all likelihood it's me doing it and being in denial about it.

I should also put this in a bit of context.  Famously, this relationship is a marriage even though I don't agree with marriage (although I do believe in commitment), and a marriage which has lasted twenty-one years and produced two grown up children, and a lot of happiness.  Many people might ask, why is this a marriage?  Why the heck am I married when I don't agree with it and it goes against the very fibre of my being?  Well, the answer is for similar reasons as my failure to do anything about the GID.

I was of course against marriage from adolescence onward for several reasons although nowadays I wouldn't seek to impose that on anyone else.  The reasons are that it is an intrusion of the state and organised religion into intimacy between two people when there seems to be no reason for that to happen, and that the very basis of marriage, historically speaking, is filthy and appalling, to do with legitimising rape and gender-based division of labour, and making women men's property.  It completely escapes me why someone would approve of it, and even if they would in an ideal world it seems like very bad taste to me to seek to engage in an institution with such a revolting history.  It amounts to giving the finger to one's ancestors, one's peers and kin.

Nonetheless I am married, and I believe in this marriage, sullied though it is by the fact that it is a marriage.  The reason I'm married is, all the above notwithstanding, it was a woman who asked me to marry her at a time when I had been browbeaten into believing that I was male and therefore inferior and unable to think properly.  In my view at the time, a male-assigned person was essentially and irretrievably incapable of intelligent cognition, so in spite of all those beliefs, and no matter what the reasons for believing those, it was automatically trumped by the workings of a woman's mind, because women were of course men's intellectual superiors.

I was then confronted by cognitive dissonance.  I was, as I saw it at the time, a married "man" who was completely against marriage.  I resolved that dissonance by compensating mentally for it thus:  a married man is his wife's property.  She has the power of life and death over him.  He has no rights.  No matter what his interests are, they are subservient to her will in all circumstances.  This would mean, for example, that if a man has an operable tumour which is otherwise fatal and his wife doesn't want him to have anything done about it, it is his duty to leave it alone and die of cancer.  I had to adopt this extreme position in order to deal with the guilt and shame of being married.

This means, of course, that "my" reproductive system is not my property but my wife's.  She can do what she wants with it.  It's not mine at all.  It just happens to be situated on this body.  The fact that it makes me miserable is irrelevant because it's not my place to interfere with it.  I gave up that right when I was married.

So this relationship is not abusive, and in fact it cannot be abusive.  I could theoretically be emotionally abusive to my wife but there is no way she could be abusive to me.  It doesn't matter how distressing I find her behaviour.  All of that became irrelevant the day I committed the shameful, disgusting act of getting married because that is the only way I can deal emotionally with the fact that I have committed this abomination upon her.

So don't call her abusive.  It's impossible for her to be abusive to me because any abuse is dwarfed by the appalling act of me marrying her.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

What If It Were A Fetish?

It's very difficult to know what to write here without violating the privacy of people I care a lot about.  I know I tend to overshare.  I'm going to try not to here.

This is provoked by a frequent claim made by certain people, probably often those who give me funny looks, that M2F trans is a fetish.  For instance, Germaine Greer describes us in that way and so of course does Janice Raymond.  There is in fact a whole taxonomy based on the idea.  What gets me about this is that in spite of their apparent position on the relationships between men and women, they consider that to be a criticism.  I will explain this, but before I do that I'm afraid I'm going to have to bore you with my life story and make oblique references to my sex life.  In a way, I could be said to be sinking to their level in doing this.

So let's start with me.  I can still remember the moment when I realised I was a "pervert", i.e. that what turned me on had no apparent connection with what I'd heard about what people do in bed.  In fact it was so different from what happens in the bedroom that until you-know-what happened, I didn't even realise it was sexual myself.  No, I am not going to say what it is, not entirely.  This is because I don't want to rub your faces in my sad twinges.  Suffice it to say that there were two things and neither of them had anything to do with wearing "women's" clothing in any way, shape or form.  Nor are they anything to do with having anything chopped off, removed or added.  A few of you might know what they are, and you can confirm that it's nothing to do with wanting to change sex, to put it bluntly.

Once this had happened and the full horror of the situation hit me, I became aware of the ominous silence in my loins concerning other human beings.  I experimented with thinking about them in supposedly sexual situations but nothing happened.  It just bored me and it couldn't grab my attention.  This led to a lot of anxiety.  I wanted to want sex but I didn't.  The reason I wanted to want sex was that I wanted to be normal, I wanted to be wanted and I wanted to show affection in that way so I could build some kind of love affair on it, one appropriate for an early teen anyway.  I so wanted to hold hands, to kiss, to cuddle, all that, but what I did not, could not, want, as such, was to make the beast with two backs, not even a little bit, not ever, not in itself.  Except that I did. I did because I wanted to want sex.  And that's what all that was about, all you people who will never read this passage but whose names I am tempted to check but will resist.

Eventually I solved the problem, although I'm not going to tell you how.  However, at the same time I became aware that there was a positive aspect to all this.  It meant that whereas it was possible to accuse certain people of behaving disrespectfully towards women or objectifying them, I had the option, even the compulsion, not to do so in a sexual way.  The complete absence of lust for people has an up side there.  Also, it makes sex itself very special indeed as a positive expression of how I feel about someone. It means there is never any temptation to be unfaithful.  As well as all that, I do also realise that you can get closer to people emotionally through sex, so that is another good reason to do so.  Mine is a life devoid of lust, temptation by others, stupid decisions driven by thinking with your genitals and staying with people merely because I fancy them.  None of that is in my life, to my great relief.  Incidentally, none of this means I lack passion for people, or that I want to be single as such.  Anyone who knows me will be aware that this is not so.

The reason all this is possible is that I had a strong sexual deviation for something very unusual.  If I wanted sexual gratification, I could use that.

So to return to Miscs Greer, Raymond and the like, who criticise us because of the possibility that we might be autogynephilic or really into wearing dresses in a kinky way.  Two things about that:

Speaking for myself, I can place my paraphilias next to the desire to be physically female, and of course I am sitting here in tights, a bra, knickers, a dress, a scarf, nail varnish, with jewellery and make up etc, none of which is turning me on even slightly but which you could be forgiven for thinking is, that's fair enough, and be startlingly aware of the gulf of difference which exists between the two types of desires.  I want my body to match my gender in the same way as an amputee might want their limb back, in the same way as a prisoner might want to be out of jail and in the same way as a diabetic might want their body to be able to control its sugar metabolism.  I do not want my body to match my gender in the same way as someone might want to be tied up and whipped, and when I say that I say it with the utmost respect for people who are in fact into BDSM.  Which leads me to the second point

Something I can agree strongly on with the people who tend to equate what I'm doing here with a fetish is that I don't want women to be objectified sexually.  Incidentally, if they want to be objectified, someone else can do that job.  It's not like it makes sense for me to do it just because someone wants me to and in any case it's very far-fetched and irrelevant to imagine such a situation arising.  I'm not into being trivially and superficially interested in people's bodies in that way thank you.  It interests me about as much as football or watching paint which has already dried.  Anyway, in order to achieve that end, a "man" might want to indulge "his" fetish of dressing like this and "he" might find it a turn on to do so.  Surely, if that happens, the response of a woman who does not wish men to be objectified ought to be approval, should it not?

So they don't want men to lust after women but they also don't want these people they insult by calling "men" to indulge a supposed fetish which would mean they weren't.  Why exactly is that?  Would they prefer them to be objectifying the people they think of as women instead?  According to them, that's the alternative.

Finally, not wishing to embarrass anyone and therefore mentioning no names, here is a list of what the last few transwomen I saw were wearing at the time I saw them:

A loose-fitting plain black cotton tunic made with a black knitted cardigan on top.
Shorts and a T-shirt.
A blouse and jeans.
A checked shirt and jogging bottoms.

Right, so they clearly have fetishes for all that then?  Yeah, right.