"The unexamined life is not worth living" Socrates

- - scatterings of ideas sent to my younger self, a sensitive girl who was fooled into believing she was a boy because of anatomy - -

Friday 27 May 2011

Sex, or Gender, or What?

While filling out a form in my high school days, I came to the line which looked like this:

SEX: _________

and I wrote in "yes, whenever possible". You might have done something similar at some time I expect.

They really wanted me to write in my gender, of course. Even then, I was a bit of a disturber of the smelly stuff, if you know what I mean.

Obviously, sex and gender are not the same. I write here about gender confusion. I am not (at this point anyway) confused at all about sex. To be really honest, there is little confusion anymore about gender here either, except when people look at me and then think about how I act, or when I look at my body and then think about how I feel.

As far as sex is concerned, for me, it has always been a matter of loving this person who completes me and for the last thirty seven years that person has been my sweetie.

Am I heterosexual? Everyone in my real world would say, of course. Those who really know me (like my friends here) might disagree. Personally, I say, who cares? To paraphrase a former prime minister of my country, you have no business wondering or caring what happens in my bedroom, nor I in yours. How and with whom I have sex is really none of your business, and furthermore, it has nothing to do with what I blog about.

So fine, we have that out of the way. Why does this matter?

Many in T land are transsexual. You seek to be consistent within your gender by keeping what you cannot change, and changing what you can. Others in T land are not seeking that consistency, but seek to have the freedom to express both sides of the gender spectrum. The two are not the same, but there are issues shared by the two. We all need to understand ourselves better, and come to a place of peace within ourselves. I believe we all wish we could live in a more tolerant, less judgmental world. Maybe we need to stand together.

Some reading this may be involved in the LGBT community, and that is fine, no matter what your motivation. Let me be really clear before I continue; there are really good reasons to try to change society, and the LGBT community is at least partly about that.

What, I might ask, do I have in common with the gay community, even though my cause has nothing to do with sexual orientation? Well, we share a common bond as outcasts by many in society. Intolerance of our basic rights to live as ourselves violates us, and puts us in mortal danger. For that reason alone, some might say, maybe we need to stand together.

It occurs to me, however, that there are all kinds of people in the world who are shunned by other groups for various reasons. Bigotry is hardly limited to sexual or gender orientation.

For my money (and yes, this is a financial issue) I would rather be part of an international drive for an end to bigotry and mindless hatred. Full Stop.

In my way of thinking, we don't get to fix homophobia, and continue to marginalize people who don't look like ourselves. We don't get to say how wrong it is to persecute our particular religious (or in my case, non-religious) group and at the same time shun those who seek to find gender congruence through medical intervention.

We don't get to hate all the members of some country, or ethnic group, or religious affiliation and at the same time claim to be loving and caring of others.

Personally, it is not enough for me to want my own particular pain to be dealt with, without noting that prejudging others based on any physical characteristic, or personal conviction they are rumored to hold is wrong.

This is like honesty, which is not a policy, by the way, but a lifestyle. You need to live this. You need to live tolerance. You need to remind yourself daily to be forgiving. We need to take responsibility for ourselves and clean up that yard, then go out and ask if we can help others to clean up theirs.

So, for me, this is not just about gender. It is certainly not about sex. It is about learning how to be a human being who cares about humanity. I really think that is what most of us who are reading and writing here are about too if we think about it. Thank you all for living that each day in the way you reach out to others.

Maybe we need to stand together, hmm?

Tuesday 24 May 2011

J'écris, donc j'existe!

My world is populated with fictional characters. Perhaps you find this surprising, but for me, the you I know is a fiction. No matter how well you have described yourself to me, regardless of time spent together, or shared intimacies we have, I really do not know you. I know a version of you. Please realize this does not mean I don't listen, or care to know the real you. What it means is that eventually everyone has to create an internal 'you' that they carry around and think about and it is useful to realize that person inside is not the one that lives and breathes.

Have you ever had one of those sudden falling outs with someone? You thought you knew them better, but no, it turns out they were a phoney! Think back and try to be objective about the experience. When you made this huge discovery about something that did not seem 'in character' about them, what really went wrong?

Before two years ago, the 'I' who you know (or think you know) here did not exist. This is true in the same way that you don't really know your own adult offspring until they become adults; they change as they are growing in mind and spirit because of their experience. Three years ago, there was a presence here who I refused to acknowledge or name. Because she has been allowed the privilege of interacting, she has grown up. Childish in so many ways still, she is starting to mature into a reliable personality, and she is dragging the rest of me along, thankfully. Still happy to ride in the back seat, commenting on the scenery from time to time, I am learning slowly about the way the world works. I used to think I wrote here for myself. Then I wondered if it was for others. Now I know and really understand that I write to exist. If I ever stop writing, it will mean one of two things. Either I have stopped existing, or, I have decided to start driving the car, and have no need to write anymore.

We lament the fact that people cannot accept the real us. It is important to remember who 'changed the rules' in the relationship. Maybe we should have t-shirts made up with a sign to let everyone know that the ground can shift at any time.

Thursday 19 May 2011

Always Something There To Remind Me

It has always amazed me how the human imagination can fill in the blanks effectively enough to make a virtual experience seem very real. Reading a book, or listening to a radio play for example, we do not need to actually be there to be affected, sometimes deeply. I have not tried second life, but can imagine (there I go again) that it would engage me very strongly.

Both in your posts, and your comments, I find what is written and said here in Blogistan to be especially evocative, with the power to make a difference in how I think, and how I feel. The fact is, what you are telling me, and the effect it has, adds to my reality in ways that are actually starting to cause me difficulties.

A friend with a private blog wrote a post that reminded me how hard I have been working to filter my life experience here when I am in the "real" (for lack of better designation) world. Her spouse, like mine, does not want to hear about anything trans. Like Mrs. H, she is upset at times that we are not always attentive, not always able to make a contribution to the conversation; in short, we do not seem to be mentally present in the room where our body is located.

Some might say I am distracted, but in fact it is quite the opposite. My mind is there, totally engaged, but my dual nature and the promise I have made to hide it put me in a bind. I often have all kinds of things I wish to share, but those ideas or feelings are bound up with my life as Halle. In order to do justice to the idea, I would have to explain how I know about a blossom festival in Texas, or how I know about some pub, or nature walk in England, or a music camp in B.C., and on and on it goes!

Life here, so enriched by all of you, makes the real me seem to be very dull because I cannot acknowledge it to those around me. That real life feels diminished by pretending to be one dimensional. My admiration goes out to those of you who participate as yourselves in support groups, and shopping trips, and various other activities in the real world and still have to filter it all for people in your non-T life. It is no small wonder that 'coming out' is a huge event. Being authentic allows you to fully engage yourself in the present at all times.

No wonder I feel like Jedi Halle living in hiding some days. In order to avoid drawing attention to my self, I pretend to be "a mild mannered dope". So, once more, it is clear what needs to happen. In the meantime, move over Clark Kent.

Thursday 5 May 2011

Sometimes Technology Scares Me

As you can tell, I blog, like so many of you, using 'Blogger'. This is a 'Google' product. I also use 'Gmail', another google product for personal email. I use "Google" for my search engine, and "Google Maps" for that stuff. I don't own shares or anything, it has just worked out like that.

One of the prices you pay for using some big companies' software and storage (they store all of my emails in an archive they tell has almost 8 GB of available space just for me) is they put advertising on the page where your emails come up. It is a small price. The ads are also small; almost invisible actually. I get a kick out of seeing what ads and links automatically are generated, depending upon the topic and content of the email you are looking at. I will let your imagination roam on this topic now! :)

Sometimes technology can be a true pain. There are the spammers, and yes they are a pain, but it is a small action to relegate an email to the trash if the filter does not happen to catch it. Having to check the spam box regularly can be a problem, since every now and then something I really do want to look at ends up in there.

Recently, I have started receiving "friends requests" from a new (to me anyway) networking site. It basically came up as an email from this site telling me that a friend who I correspond with wants to be my friend there and I can either accept (big smily face) or reject (really sad face) them. Naturally, if you chose to accept, then you are joining this site, and they gain you as a client and can make money through the advertising you will see, and of course, the information you are going to provide them about yourself. I decided to email my friend and tell her I was going to ignore the email because I really don't do social networking sites. She replied that she had not joined this site, but had received a similar request from the same site supposedly via another 'friend'.

This got me thinking along the lines of how in the world they got our names and email addresses? It got me wondering how many of my contacts are now wondering whether they like me well enough to join some site that is telling them I need a friend and will be so hurt if they ignore me; whaaa! :(

Sure, I need all the friends I can get, but you can be assured that I will send you a personal email, and I will use my secret decoder ring password as part of the message!

^ secret code ;)

Sunday 1 May 2011

When Faith Hurts

Just a warning to those who have fragile religious beliefs and do not like to hear them challenged. This post touches on what I believe, or perhaps, for some they would say, my lack of faith.

When our children were young, I made sure they had to make their own decision regarding spiritual followings, and religion in particular. I am a great believer in choice, and personal responsibility. Children will unavoidably pick up on things when exposed to them, and it is very hard to fool them about anything, and I love that about some people. I call it their 'crap detector'.

So, we took our children to Sunday school, and my wife and I were both very involved, so that our children were not as likely to figure out that I was not a 'true believer'. I never lied to them. They never really quizzed me on why I was there. As it happens, neither one of them participates in any church now, but that is not what this post is about anyway.

In university, and in life before and past it, I have studied the human heritage well enough to understand where the main religions of humanity have their roots, and it is an interesting enough tale for me. I do not need the mythologies of others. I can write my own fairly well. In short, I do not believe in the great pumpkin, or any other supernatural being.

When it comes time to give myself or others comfort it is difficult to have no believable mythology to fall back upon. For me, when older loved ones die, it is enough to say they had a good life, and leave it like that, especially if that happens to be the truth.

In the case of those who die way too young, or who have lives (short or long) of suffering and sadness there seems to be little to comfort those who mourn; ourselves or others.

This past week, a blogger in Montreal who I follow has had her lover and best friend ripped away from her. He was there one day, then gone. She is inconsolable. She cannot believe that a loving God could do this to one who has loved Him. I desperately wish there was anything that could be said to her, or done for her to take away this terrible pain of loss. It seems, like those of us with no supernatural power in our lives, that she will have to live through this, and come out the other side changed.

It is possible her faith may survive this, and I hope it somehow can, because we do need things to believe in, and just because I do not see something does not mean it does not exist. Love is invisible, but I know it all too well.

It seems to me that I am lucky in my lack of mythological baggage; we all have a tendency to validate our own point of view. I feel lucky to not be in the position of having to deal with the loss of a god and a complex system of "support and comfort" as well as a loved one. To me, that is the worst part of religious belief; the shock of finding out that all of that devotion gets you nothing but disappointment and pain on top of the disappointment and pain the non-believer also feels.

Just because I do not have a deity does not mean I do not feel a deep connection to the rest of humanity. The fact is, my walls are much easier to step over than most because of it.

For that lady I have never met, but have felt close to sometimes; I feel so bad for you. Nobody ever dies as long as there is someone who can speak of them in love.