"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 - -

Saturday 16 November 2019

A Natural Woman

This past week K and I were at our weekly band rehearsal. We were stopped during a rendition of a medley of songs that are a tribute to Aretha Franklin. The conductor made some comment about the song A Natural Woman and got a laugh from the group when he said "Of course I'm not saying I am a natural woman!

K looked over at me and we shared a private grin at that, too. 

Thinking about it later on, what was gratifying is that nobody in the group felt they couldn't laugh along at that. Perhaps I am not the transexual in the room after all. 

This week leading up to November 20 (Transgender Day of Remembrance) is Transgender Awareness Week. Thinking about that has made me conscious that while I make no effort to hide myself (no shy violet here), I don't actively represent the transexual community in any fashion. As I've said before here, I'm happy now to get on with my life. I am just me.

I've often thought that if anyone ever wanted to talk to me, in a respectful way, about our subsection of the population I would be happy to do so. The only advertisement for my openness to such a conversation is a friendly attitude.

In band we don't pay any attention to the lyrics of this song, but here they are. Reading them, I'm reminded how grateful I am to have travelled this path, where I found myself and K found me. 

Looking out on the morning rain
I used to feel so uninspired
And when I knew I had to face another day
Lord, it made me feel so tired ...

Before the day I met you, life was so unkind
But you're the key to my peace of mind
'Cause you make me feel like
A natural woman ...

When my soul was in the lost and found
You came along to claim it
I didn't know just what was wrong with me
'Til your kiss helped me name it
Now I'm no longer doubtful, of what I'm living for
And if I make you happy I don't need to do more ...

Oh, baby, what you've done to me
You make me feel so good inside 
And I just want to be, close to you 

You make me feel so alive ...

Saturday 19 October 2019


I've noticed a trend in my life experiences and a tendency in my thinking over this past three years. I really don't get it. No matter what "it" is, more likely than not, I cannot relate to what is going on. I feel like a crotchety old person when I say this: the world has become very strange, and seems to be getting stranger.

I grew up in the 1950s and 1960s. They were not a golden age for me by any means. People 'like me' who refused to hide their nature were, at the very best, made fun of. While some things have become better over the past half century, other things have crept in and, as I say, I don't get most of it.

K and I moved during the summer, and, for a variety of reasons, we do not have broadcast television now. We might not have it until next year, we are told. I'm sure for most North Americans, that prospect would be horrifying. The feeling here is close to relief. This situation will provide an excuse when others ask about some topic I would rather not be talking about - "oh, sorry, (Canadians always manage to work in 'sorry') we don't have cable where we live". Don't get me wrong - I have my news links that I can check whenever it seems a good idea. There is an election here in Canada this week and I know all about it - but only what I want to know about it. When some "expert" starts trying to tell me who not to vote for (that is the way it is done now; vote for the least repugnant candidate), I can just move on to the next item or close the news feed.

I have no idea whether the program about serial killers, Criminal Minds, is still on the air or what even-more-violent depiction of American life has taken its place, but a search for "tv program about serial killers" yielded fifty-one such. In that nation where in 2017 almost 40,000 were killed by a gun, how can anyone believe this sort of program doesn't contribute to the problem? But as I say, I don't get it.

I don't know what actor got the sack on what program. Reality tv is no longer making me think the average person is incredibly stupid and gullible. Yes, I know - it isn't real, it is just for fun. Tell that to those 'average people'.

Speaking of reality, does it take being alive almost seventy years to have noticed that storms are more severe than ever? Winds are stronger on average. Does it really take a sixteen-year-old from Sweden to raise the alarm? It amazes me to see how the media can pay so much attention to irrelevancies and so little to the future of the planet. I don't get it at all.

I don't know what horror is being exploited by the networks this season. Is it vampires this year or the undead? Or has that reality star, the American President, managed to make real-reality more horrifying than anything a screenwriter can imagine? Come to think of it, the Donald and his crew might be trying to arrange for folk like me to be the next horror television theme.

Don't get me wrong - I have great empathy for people of intelligence who are still hooked by media. It might be interesting to know who is leading in the baseball standings ... oh, right ... the playoffs. In the end, though, I won't remember who won a month after it is over. I used to like watching hockey, but have no idea who played in the Stanley Cup final this year (professional hockey's North American championship), let alone who won.

If you made it this far, all of the above is just to prepare you for an important revelation about this blog and its blog-mistress. I have come to question its and my relevance. Sad, but true; my life is about a lot of other things that have nothing to do with my history. And yes, that is as it should be. 

A good friend is working in the current election for the Green Party. No, we don't expect Elizabeth May to be the next Prime Minister of Canada, but someday the young people will vote and who seems to care about their future? There are important things to be done for, and by people like me who don't get it. 

When it comes to our television situation, fear not, our vast DVD collection is getting some use. And on the topic of this old blog, I'm still here, ready and willing to answer any questions you might have about what it was like back in the old days.

K, would you pass the Geritol™, please?

Saturday 31 August 2019

No Guarantees

Everyone has had a splinter. Maybe it was a bit deep or it broke and was in there for a while. Splinters are nasty things. Ignore one and you can get an infection and die from blood poisoning. Mostly they eventually work themselves out and we move on.

If you are reading this blog it is fair to say that at some time and maybe now you would say something is driving you crazy. Like a splinter in your mind (yes, that is from The Matrix and who would understand that idea better than the Wachowskis?) it won't allow you to rest until you find a way to remove it ... but how?

Likely you spend all of your free waking hours researching and, maybe, if you have that resource, you go to therapy. The need to remove that splinter drives people around you crazy, too, because you act like a crazy person most of the time. You lose friends and, maybe, family, but it is a splinter and you have to get that thing out!

Therapy is hard work, but you have to do the work because if you don't you will never know what potential you have. So much of it feels like bullshit, but you trust that somehow it will make you understand yourself better, and that might be the key to getting rid of that thing that is driving you. 

Better informed about the cause of the problem, you make choices to make major changes in your life to stop the pain or live with it.

Here is the what if part: 

What if you decide to change and after all of the work and the pain of changing, you are then alone and poor but whole - no splinter? If you could go back, would you say to yourself, live with the damned splinter

What if, once you have that unimaginably painful thing gone, you are now at peace. You are a person that others don't mind being around and, more importantly, you are a person that you want to be; what if that? 

There are no guarantees other than the obvious ones. Taxes and death, they say. I had a choice about what my last thought on this earth might be. It could have been "why did I live with that damned splinter all my life?" 

Instead, I chose the path that has me thinking "what was it like to have that splinter?" and I expect my last thought will be about something else. Because I have been really lucky, and I did the work and made major changes, my thought will likely include being thankful to have lived this life

Monday 12 August 2019

If She Walks and Quacks Like a Duck, ...

For my non-trans friends who visit, a warning: this post is very definitely on a subject near and dear to our hearts: passing

I have heard stories that once upon a time, when a trans-woman attempted to do something about that "being stuck in a male body" problem, she was expected to take on a façade of ultra-femininity. On top of that, if she was attracted to women, not men, that was a sure sign that she was really a "he" and, well ... end of story. In other words, once upon a time someone like me was doomed to live her life as a man; which, by no coincidence, is what I did up until the world became a kinder more reasonable place, for people like me, quite recently.

Part of learning how to be a real man so very long ago had to do with how I naturally walked and moved. Around the age of ten, my grandfather took me aside and told me that I used my hands way too much. The same instruction session included, "Point your toes forward and take bigger steps. You look like a GIRL!"  Not coincidentally, from then on, my parents joined in - making fun of the kid who waves her (sorry, his) hands around when talking and walks like a girl. Before long, I was walking in a very manly way while holding my hands at my sides (with the exception of the times I was biting my nails down to the quick). 

Happily, I don't seem to have any trouble now with my walking style or use of my hands. Hormones have changed my balance for the better and surgery has definitely helped. 

So passing is not an issue, right? Well, my hair is too thin and looks awful, but what woman loves her hair at my age? The real thing about being me is - I'm not a girl, I am a woman - and a woman of a certain age, too. Being really attractive to others is not my goal. It makes me happy to be me - far from ultra-feminine. Looking around at other women my age, what do I see? It turns out that most of them put on little, if any, makeup and wear blue jeans most of the time, even in warm weather. So, should I dress like other women my age? Given that they look like women dressed that way, and I look like a man, that is a silly question and the answer is clearly no. If being like the other women my age isn't a good strategy, then what is? The answer to that sometimes gives me fits. I want others to see me, the way I am inside. 

Recently, the videos of Natalie Wynn - CONTRAPOINTS - have captured my attention. In one titled The Aesthetic, she has a discussion with a character of her invention she calls Tabby about the importance of appearance. The Cat Lady is giving off the vibe of a drag queen, but insists that she is a woman who has her own style; why should she fall into stereotype? Here is the sticky bit ... when someone calls you sir, should you get into an argument or fight with them, or should you realize that this has to do with how much effort you are giving to letting others know you are who you say you are? As usual, Natalie explains the issue much better than I, so have a look at the video if you have twenty minutes to spare.

Back to us - women who transitioned later in life. If dressing in blue jeans with no makeup is going to immediately clock me as a man, whereas wearing nail extensions, false eyelashes, mini-skirt, and sky-high heels is going to immediately clock me as a man, then where on the spectrum between should I be? The debate rages on in my head, along with a healthy dose of who am I dressing for anyway? and didn't this whole thing begin with abandoning a façade that was driving me crazy ... so why would I choose to create a new façade just to make others happy now?

At the moment, my choice is to dress in a way that makes me happy and then go a bit farther into femininity. A bit more makeup than I think, a frillier top, or a nicer skirt instead of slacks, or slacks that are sexier than I might think is right. In other words a balancing act; look good, but avoid having those who see me do a double-take. 

What matters more, the way things are, or the way things look?

Feel free to select captions in a language of your choice.. Blogger won't let me make a post with a full transcript of this video. 

Wednesday 7 August 2019


I realize that many think the world is in big trouble these days, and I have to agree. However, for me personally, it seems a kinder and gentler world than it did for the many decades before. One of the reasons is smiling at me right now, and, no, you can't have her. 

If I had transitioned in my twenties, now, in my late sixties, I wouldn't likely be thinking at all about being trans. But just over three years is a relatively small fraction of my life, so, well, I do think about it, and sometimes, frankly, it surprises me in very pleasant ways. 

Yesterday morning, as I was walking to the grocery store, watching the world go by, enjoying the light warm breeze, the sun came out. This is what I saw.  

I thought it was worth a picture. A silhouette cannot capture my smile, so you will have to take my word for it. 

Being trans isn't a good reason to be happy. Quite the opposite, especially for most of my life. Most women will agree that being a woman isn't a good reason to smile, especially in some countries. So why the smile? 

I have kept in touch through texts with some of the group who were recovering together from surgeries almost two years ago. We are all doing fine medically, especially the token man in the group. He has just had another surgery a few weeks back, bringing him one step closer to having the kind of body he has always felt he should have, but couldn't, without help that is. We kidded him in the texts that this winter he will be able to write his name in the snow. I mentioned that a walk in the woods will be a lot more comfortable now. He LOLd* at that and agreed. 

Mostly though, anyone who has transitioned will tell you: the best reason to smile has to do with knowing you are who you ought to be - who you should always have been but for an accident of birth and the verdict of a quick glance, followed by gender-stereotyping for life. 

Was life so terrible when I could choose to write my name in the snow? Definitely not. But that smile when I see my silhouette reminds me how much better it is when you can be comfortable in your skin - just me, as I've always felt it should be. 

*LOL (laugh out loud, not lots of love as I first imagined it might mean)

Tuesday 16 July 2019

Wearing The Pants

It has been a while since K and I decided to remove the landline from this house; relying instead upon our cell phones. As I recall, my comment was, "If someone wants to talk to the house, they are out of luck.

We are saving money, and we get far fewer calls asking us to buy things we don't need. As K says, "If we need something, or we want to donate to a charity, it should be our idea; not someone else's." It is a rule of the house that we say "no, thank you" to anyone who comes to the door, or calls, asking us to buy or donate.

Someone asked recently what my reply would be to a request to speak to the man of the house. After being taken aback a lot, thinking how primitive that idea always was, then remembering how prevalent that sort of thinking was not that long ago, I replied that I would probably say "He isn't in right now. Can I take a message?

Generally someone in a family does take the lead in the finances and running the place. Here, I am in charge of the kitchen, and otherwise K takes charge. We both like it that way. It suits our skill sets. 

When it comes to wearing the pants, K is definitely more likely to fit the description, generally because she likes wearing jeans, and I really enjoy the freedom of wearing a skirt or dress. More to the point, though, I love the feeling of someone I trust completely taking care of me and K loves my cooking!

And just to be perfectly clear: 

there are no men in this house

Tuesday 9 July 2019

And So It Goes - Again

It comes as a surprise that some people can manage to make daily contributions to a blog. That they manage to make it meaningful under those circumstances amazes me. 

This isn't a daily blog and that makes such a difference - I won't say goodbye or never again. Yet it is understandable to me that some announce the end of their blog. 

Four years ago we said goodbye to Call Me Meg (yes Meg, I saw your comment on Stana's post and it gladdened my heart to know you are still out there). 

Earlier this year, Caroline announced that TIME REGAINED was done, and so far, she hasn't seen fit to change her mind.

On Saturday, Stana threw in the towel and that surprised me. Yet, given what I wrote above, (she has been writing Femulate for over twelve years ... wow) we can all agree she doesn't owe the community a thing. 

Having given that some thought, none of us do. 

In every heart there is a room 
A sanctuary safe and strong
To heal the wounds from lovers past
Until a new one comes along

I spoke to you in cautious tones
You answered me with no pretence 
And still I feel I said too much 
My silence is my self defence

And every time I've held a rose
It seems I only felt the thorns
And so it goes, and so it goes
And so will you soon I suppose

But if my silence made you leave
Then that would be my worst mistake
So I will share this room with you
And you can have this heart to break

And this is why my eyes are closed
It's just as well for all I've seen
And so it goes, and so it goes
And you're the only one who knows

So I would choose to be with you
That's if the choice were mine to make
But you can make decisions too
And you can have this heart to break

And so it goes, and so it goes
And you're the only one who knows

Monday 29 April 2019

A Long Path to a Place of Peace

It is that time of the year when musical activities come to a close. We will start again in September. Like university and college programs, we are active in the least beautiful months, weather-wise here in Canada. I suppose too many of the participants are busy doing other things to sustain a band or an orchestra through the summer.

At any rate, we have had concerts these past three weekends and it is time for a break. Yesterday was a wrap-up party for a group I joined just two weeks after my surgery. A woman I have got to know very well, whose husband I knew years before (so they were in on my transition), told me how much they admired how I simply got on with being me.

To my credit, I was not dismissive or overly humble, but simply thanked her for the compliment. Her comments made me think about the path that had brought me to a place where I could just get on with being me

The casual reader may not want to read through over four hundred posts to attempt to glean what made me able to live comfortably in such new skin. Sadly, there is no recipe for success in ditching a façade and finding one's long-misplaced self.

My story and path is here, all around, in hints, words, and feelings expressed, none better than those from Socrates and Richard Bach - words that speak of love; of friends closer than family, and soul searching. 

If you are a seeker - a fellow traveller on this journey, my advice is to go thou and do likewise. My hopes are travelling with you.

Friday 5 April 2019

Beginning a Journey

One sometimes doesn't even know they are beginning a long journey. When you are at the end, or as I am, at a vantage point along the way after travelling a long way upon a road, it is fun to think about the beginning.

As an aside, this analogy of a journey is quite apt, as Tom and I have been corresponding in comments on his blog Gwynt about the way the human mind tends to put things into terms of movement. There has been very little physical movement at all in my progress toward womanhood, and yet it is much easier to talk about change in terms of a journey. 

There were stages along the way of my growing womanhood where it seemed there were mountains in my way. I could never manage to get across those obstacles! And yet, here I am, a woman sitting in her family room with her computer in her lap writing about it all. Oh, I'm still a work in progress. So much to learn and do, but being me is just normal now and no big deal. 

Having accomplished a difficult task has left me with a changed attitude toward beginning some project that I know will take a long time. A case in point is the cross-stitch I started on earlier this week. Here is where it is so far: 

Yes, that is my foot in the top right ... I wanted to give some sense of scale. 
updated progress - Saturday, April 13

If you zoom in, you can see the gridding of the Aida cloth. This is 18 count which means there are eighteen squares per inch (apologies to the metric world ... cross stitching is old school). The part that is completed is about 1 1/2 inches by 3 at this point. The finished product will be about 20 inches by 18 inches. It isn't a complete coverage - what you see is the beginning of the border which will frame a poem. You shall have to wait until it is completed to read the poem. 

The total length of the border around is about 68 inches, so if I'm at the three-inch mark in a week, that means the border should take about twenty-three weeks... then there is the poem to stitch. 

After about fifteen months doing cross-stitch, I have quite a collection of completed works, and that helps keep me from becoming discouraged; I know it gets done if you persist. 
It's all about the journey - completed late last year

Now that my new project is here on the blog, that means I shall have to keep at it! But there was no danger of me putting it away and forgetting about it. 

I am a trans-woman. 

A big project doesn't deter me. 

Thursday 4 April 2019

Waste Not

I grew up in a home with grandparents who had lived through the Great Depression in Canada. It was a time when very few had luxuries. People learned to appreciate the little they had and how to extend the use of things that seemed to be used up, or worn out.

A Darning Egg like the one we had - Available online
One of the things learned as a child was how to darn socks. I would put the darning egg inside and use wool to weave a patch to close up the hole in the toe or heel of my McGregor "Happy Foot" socks. It meant the toe or heel had a slightly thick spot, but it let me use the socks for much longer. Socks weren't cheap. We didn't throw things out until they couldn't be fixed. K tells me that part of her Brownie training was to learn to darn socks. That was in the 1960s!

In Canada, World War II rationing ended not long after the war did. Nobody talked about that sort of thing as I was growing up, but I know people who live in Britain and they remember it all very well. 

The one on the right isn't really smaller
I still have a glass jar of Vick's rub somewhere, but now it comes in plastic. Those jars were great for getting at the very last bit of contents, and the glass was perfectly recyclable or better still, reusable as a container for other things. 

Many hand and body creams can come in plastic tubes that make it impossible (or at least inconvenient) to get at all the contents. 

still a lot in there! 
My esthetician showed me a way to get at it all. By cutting across the middle of the seemingly used up tube, you can get at the rest. If you cut a small slit down two sides of the plastic, you can then put the 'top' back on to protect the cream from drying out. 

Slip it over like a lid

This isn't about longing for the old days. In my humble opinion (ok, I'm not really humble), we should all be concerned about getting rid of single-use plastics. I really like these creams. My hands and feet both get so dry that the skin cracks without attention, but how much longer can I ignore the planet and support this dangerous misuse of plastic? 

Sunday 31 March 2019

The Ray

Over twenty years ago, my daughter C, then about 17 years old, came home after a day with a friend and asked me an interesting question. "My girlfriend says I intimidate people. What do you think?" After a few moments it occurred to me that some things, such as the ability to intimidate, can be inherited. "Sweetie, you have the ray, just like I do. You know the look you and your brother sometimes got that let you know you were out of line? We inherited it from your great-grandmother. She seemed very intimidating. Once you got to know her, she was really a very kind person. There has never been anyone as fierce, though. So the answer is, yes, you can seem very intimidating. It comes in handy at times, so learn to control it."

When I was teaching, there was never any doubt as to who was in charge in the classroom. Because I  showed respect for students by coming well prepared and making it clear that I would always be fair but firm, the young folks quickly learned (and I suspect older students passed along a warning to their younger siblings) that it was safe and fun to be in my class - as long as they were respectful to one another and the teacher. 

For students who threatened the peace in the class, I would employ the ray, that special look that was a clear warning of danger. Any student who ignored that glance did so at their peril! 

These days, there is little use for the ray. When I am in a group, everyone is friendly and I am in charge of nothing but myself. What a lovely situation. K commented today that she has never seen that look. Hopefully she never will. 

From time to time walking in a mall, down the street, or in a crowd, such as a theatre lobby, when there is little better for anyone to do than people-watch, someone's gaze will stay on me for a bit too long. Generally, I just smile to let them know they have been noticed and I am harmless. For those who cannot let it go, there is that look that lets them know it is time for them to show some respect and back off!

Intimidating? Not me! Let's just say - I don't suffer fools or boors gladly. 

Friday 15 March 2019


From time to time it seems that there are civilians who understand us, even when they don't reference the transgender community directly. It takes a strong person to resist the drive to conform. 

Visit Emily McDowell's webpage here
‘Finding yourself’ is not really how it works.
You aren’t a ten dollar bill in last winter’s coat pocket.
You are also not lost.
Your true self is right there, buried under cultural conditioning, other people’s opinions, and inaccurate conclusions you drew as a kid that became your beliefs about who you are.
‘Finding yourself’ is actually returning to yourself.
An unlearning, an excavation, a remembering who you were before the world got its hands on you.

Emily McDowell

I checked out a bit of Emily McDowell's story. In her twenties, she was diagnosed with Stage 3 Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Now, in her early 40s, she authors and decorates what she calls, "Greeting cards and gifts for the relationships we really have." Clearly she is an extraordinary person whose experience changed her life and the way she sees the world. Not satisfied with simply living her own life differently, she helps others to understand or, at least, send more understanding messages to those in life challenging situations. 

The quote above says something about the return to self that has been chronicled in this blog. I recognized what I called my façade. At first it seemed that although it wasn't something I liked about myself, I would try to maintain that façade; that was the title of this blog for some time actually - "Maintaining the Façade"

As Emily suggests, I unlearned and excavated myself. In retrospect, I can see times in my youth where I might have challenged the world. Instead, I helped the world bury that true person. 

It would be pleasant to think that the person I am now is somehow a reflection of whom I might have been without that conditioning. I am, instead, a reflection of a different sort of conditioning, self-imposed in order to be happy now. Where the façade felt wrong, who I present to the world now feels right and good. 

Along the way, I have learned so much and have found family and a partner whom I love and who love me. 

By what might be called, in a huge over-simplification, a fortunate set of circumstances, I have returned to myself. 

I am home. 

Monday 11 February 2019

Going to the Dogs

K and I are alpha one and two to "the girls", a pack of three miniature dachshunds. As K says, they are 'love me' dogs and nothing I'm going to mention below should be taken as dislike for them; they are sweet and gentle and, yes, sometimes annoying. 

The girls teach me a lot. Most of the time, they teach patience and persistence. For example, they know if they patiently wait a while, and at the same time, stare at me, I will pick them up, give them a cuddle, and share the chair. I have sometimes had all three at once; a dog pile! 

They know the pure joy of warming themselves in a sunbeam. They know that if you need it (and do a dance worthy of Snoopy), your human will give you water and food, or, more importantly, she will open and close the door... and open and close the door (yes, it would be good to have a flap in a door, but it isn't practical here). Open and close the door....open and close the door.... open and close .... open and close ....

Dogs are sometimes highly instructive in other ways as well; in the same way that being in a big city teaches you love for the peace and quiet of the country. 

Our girls protect and defend our territory, and they have conversations with others who defend theirs. Every little noise or movement outside sets off alarm bells. They bark furiously at anyone who walks by, letting them know where the boundary is. If another dog should happen to bark, even a kilometre away, they are compelled to answer, and answer again and again, until the other dog hears them and answers them back. 

What am I learning from their hyper-vigilance? When you have a dog, you can relax and let them be vigilant. It also reminds me that for a very long time I have been a bit like them; noticing and responding too much. 

Social media is sometimes a bit like that dog barking in the next block. Perhaps I am the strange one, thinking it is wrong to be tied to this constant flow of information from "friends" that I enjoy hearing from - but also, more often, advertisers and others who try to manipulate me. No stranger to being thought strange, however, I've made a conscious choice to limit myself to one or two times a day for checking emails and such. 

No, I'm not going to become like a cow in the pasture, paying no attention to what goes on around me. My phone is fully equipped to receive and send messages, and it is somewhere nearby most of the time. I've no illusions that the world needs my full attention, however. The time is right to be a bit less like a doe in the forest, or our girls - ears twitching, ready to respond to every tiny noise. 

Wednesday 30 January 2019

It's Not Always About Us

The context of a cartoon is important. 

C’mon. I hardly think we need to mention that these rights also pertain to transgender citizens when we’re writing it in a roomful of men in high heels and wigs. 
Dan Piraro is the creator of the cartoon strip BIZARRO. The panel above is a prime example of his irreverent style. In his blog he discusses the typical reactions people have expressed about this particular cartoon, including reaction from supporters of the trans community. In their comments to him they were critical “because it isn’t an accurate representation of transgender people, and that it leads people to believe that transgenders are nothing more than men who like to play dress up …

As he says: "The only point I was trying to make is that all Americans should be granted the same rights and respect as long as nobody is getting hurt. Being different always leads to scorn by the small-minded and insecure but it needn’t and shouldn’t. That’s among the things that laws and bills of rights are meant to protect."

Apropos of my previous post, it seems to me that understanding the history and context of a document, whether it be the Constitution of the USA or the New Testament is very important. Important, unless you have a vested interest in a literal interpretation - perhaps a member of the NRA or someone leading an evangelical "church". 

We need to remember that the men portrayed in that room, living in the time of Mozart, just before the French Revolution, wrote about all men being created equal while at the same time, they really meant men, not women, and by all, they meant all men who owned property. In other words, men like them were all equal. The "founding fathers" probably all owned slaves and they certainly didn't consider a slave to be anything but property. That is context. 

I can understand reacting poorly to the cartoon. After all, it is a serious topic for some of us, and the situation depicted is silly. But I have read enough BIZARRO cartoons to know that it wasn't meant in a malicious way. It was created to make you think and give you a chuckle. 

In general, we need to believe that others are doing the best they can. If I'm walking by a group of people and I hear laughter, why should I think they were laughing at me? The big reason might be that I am lacking in self-confidence. If I don't believe there is anything laughable about my appearance, then I will assume these folks are sharing a funny story. It definitely has nothing to do with me. 

Overthinking a cartoon is wrong on so many levels. Reading cartoons is about having fun (remember fun? ... not taking it personally and remembering it isn't always about you) or at the very least, seeing the humour in a situation. If you feel insulted, maybe you need to remember how to laugh at yourself. It might also help to remember what a truly bizarre world we live in. 

Saturday 19 January 2019

Christian Education?

I never did or said anything hateful to or about my sister before she disowned me, and I won't now. But, it frustrates me to think that her reason for choosing to put me out of her life had to do with the teachings of a church she and her family attend. This church that calls itself Christian has taught her that I am an abomination as are those like me.

The wife of the Vice President of the United States, Karen Pence, is a teacher. The news says she has taken a job at a school that does what they can to have no LGBTQ teachers or students. The report I read seemed to report this news fairly, but it seems some media have been critical of the "second family". Read about her husband's reaction to the criticism here, or wherever you like via a search of the internet. 

I really don't object to folks teaching where they like. If that place happens to seem bigoted to many and a teacher supports that school's point of view, then I say you shall know them by their fruits to quote another great teacher. 

Vice President Pence is quoted as saying: 

“...  to see major news organizations attacking Christian education, is deeply offensive to us."
"We have a rich tradition in America of Christian education and, frankly, religious education broadly defined. We celebrate it. The freedom of religion is enshrined in the Constitution of the United States. The Constitution prohibits a religious test for holding a public office and so we’ll let the other critics roll off our back, but this criticism of Christian education in America should stop."

What I object to is that news organizations let people get away with this sort of distortion of what it means to be Christian. What major news organizations are critical of is bigotry, not Christianity.

Perhaps those who believe one cannot be Christian and gay or transgender, should check out, then have an argument with the churches around the world who consider themselves to be Christian, and also support LGBT rights. 

More important, in the long term, knowing that the Vice President of the United States only serves some of the citizens of that country must be somewhat worrisome to those who think Mike Pence might inherit his boss's job. Then again, what would change?

Wednesday 16 January 2019


Caroline is a wonderful friend. Her blog and her comments on this blog were each an early source of support for me at a time when I was convinced that the best I could do was to maintain a male façade. 

She and I have corresponded and chatted for many years, and for most of those years she patiently waited for me. She was supportive, often a shoulder to cry on, but she never told me what I should do. Since my transition, our friendship has grown and deepened. She is a friend who, as Proverbs 18:24 says, sticks closer than a sister. 

This post is linking to her final post, "Anniversary and end of an era ...", because, for some inexplicable reason, her blog won't accept comments anymore, and she richly deserves many. 

Leave a comment here and I shall make sure Caroline gets it.  

Monday 7 January 2019

I Am Too Old to Change!

Poor old Scrooge. He had lived with his infirmity for so long (being a "squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner") that he was certain there was no hope for him. The three ghosts in one night did their work for him, however, and ... well, if you know Dickens' Christmas Carol, you know the rest. 

What of the rest of us? What is it that is holding us back? And when are we 'too old to change'? 

For most of us in the 60 and over bracket (about 17% of the population in Canada) the typical things that we correct, that might hold us back, are poor eyesight, and wonky hips, knees, and feet. Taking care of these problems has tremendous benefits for the patient and society in general. Those who are unable to walk properly generally have other co-related health problems. Families whose older members are independent have less to worry about. 

Getting older doesn't have to mean life with pain or disability. 

What of the older transexual? Are we ever too old to change? There are a lot of factors to consider and I don't expect to touch on them all in this post. However, I transitioned as a senior, so I know something of this. If the comment stream demands it, there may be more. 

There is no reason to fear gender confirmation surgery more than you would other corrective surgeries. The risks are there, and you must know them. I would suggest that you be prepared for a long recovery, especially if you are FTM, which requires multiple surgeries. 

Being older often means being alone. As a transexual, you risk losing friends and family very suddenly. You might also lose a whole community. For example, if you are involved in a religious group, you might be shunned. Some might say that those who abandon you aren't worth keeping, but that is an individual choice, and one you must be prepared to accept. 

Unless you have been there, it is hard to explain the imperative that drives those who transition. I had people tell me, when I tried to explain it to them, "You have lived this way all your life, so why can't you just do it a while longer? You don't have that much longer to live." That sort of response made it clear how impossible it was for them to grasp my situation. The fact is, the older I got the harder it became to suppress that drive. I cannot imagine what it would have been like to keep my life on hold for another year, never mind the rest of my life. 

I will admit to being worried that as I age, there might be some 'interesting' consequences if I find myself in a home for the aged. Physically, I will be accepted as a woman, but, if as was the case with my father, there is dementia in my future, what then? Might I become confused and believe I have to present as a male as I did for so long? The answer is 'yes', I might. Hopefully by that time, an initiative taken in North Wales will have spread to health care workers in all civilized nations. A health board there has developed dementia care guidelines for workers who interact with trans patients. 

Follow this link for another perspective on living in fear of dementia as a transperson. 

A really well-written article, 'Age has nothing to do with it': how it feels to transition later in life was published in The Guardian this past November. I would recommend reading it if you are interested. 

In so many ways, living a long life and getting old are not the same thing. 

Thursday 3 January 2019

Those Who Study History

K and I make a good team. For instance, she has been editing my posts for a couple of years now, which explains the improvement in my grammar and use of commas, especially. 

From time to time, something she notices on the internet is a source of inspiration here. That is the case today. 

Perhaps it was just a coincidence that these two made their way to my computer in the same week as the previous post, one that is slightly preachy, I suppose. 

This one hits very close to home however:

"Those who don't study history are doomed to repeat it.
Yet those who do study history are doomed to stand by helplessly
 while everyone else repeats it."

Oh, and this afternoon was lots of fun. Joanna and I met again for lunch. She is a good friend.