Friday, 11 January 2013

I am me!

Yesterday there were a few people online linking to this story on the Guardian:

Most of the time I generally read, go through the comments and see whether it’s reasonable discussion, twaddle or hateful ranting’s. And leave it at that.  This time there were a few things that made me want to comment in return.  One of them contained this statement:

Having a gender change, doesn't magically make everything OK, neither does retail therapy

There were others there as well, along the lines of why don’t we just get these psychological help or you can’t be a woman if you were born a man, or asking why fix the body when the brain is the abnormality.  Usual stuff, but I for some reason yesterday I decided that I was going to make a response (I even made an account on the Guardian site for that purpose).

And it turned out rather long J  So… I thought that I would duplicate it here too, and add a little extra to it (and clean it up a little ;p).  I think that it gives a fairly good indication of my thoughts about my condition.

Nope it doesn't make everything magically OK.

But, what it does do is remove the hell that is Gender Identity Disorder from life and allow you to deal with the rest. You still have the same life issues that you did before, but not the extra on top from the gender issues. And trust me, that helps!

The problem with using psychology to deal with this is that the brain for men and women is not the same, there are physical differences, and there are differences in the way that it works.
Studies, in the past using transsexuals who have died, and more recently by using MRI scanners to see how the brain works whilst performing a variety of tasks, have shown that the problem is in the physical makeup of the brain, and how the parts of the brain interact. How you think in other words. And more importantly - who you are.

So you see, I am not man who thinks that he is a woman. I have a female brain in a male body - yes I was asked to go into the MRI for one of the medical studies.(And whilst it may not be an answer to the how it happened question, it does answer the why I am the way I am question – which I was something)

And yes, I agree, the brain is the abnormality, after all I am XY and therefore it should be physically male. But, you can't change the physical properties of the brain (safely) and even if you could that would destroy my personality.

Having therapy to learn how to think as the opposite gender is not going to help. This is not a problem that I have where I need help to overcome something ‘wrong’ in my head.

Having therapy to figure out just what you need to do to deal with the problem on the other hand does.

Now, this has nothing to do with being a stereotypical woman. I'm me, nothing more and nothing less. I dress how I like to dress - not how I think other people think a woman should dress. I behave how I behave, not how others think I should.

Doing so would be no better than continuing to live as a man, living a role rather than living my life – and I imagine would be just as terrible; having to constantly try to work out what others think you should be wearing, or how you should be behaving.  It would be exhausting. And never letting your own personality come out.

As to the “cosmetic” surgery. On the one hand, yes I suppose it is. On the other hand whilst you can’t change the brain without changing the person, you can change the body without changing the person. Will it be perfect, of course not! But then… Who is?

Not quite what I posted, but close.

For the part about the clothes… I’m going to admit now that I love skirts and I have lots of them.  I love the way that they fit my body, the flattering lines that they give and how comfortable (most) of mine are. I do not wear them because I feel that women should wear skirts – that’s obviously bull.  But there is nothing to say that just because I am transsexual I can’t.  I do wear jeggings too, a bit less than half the time.  But I find it harder to find a pair of flattering trousers than flattering skirts.  I wear heels as well, not insane skyscrapers, but between 4 and 8cm. Again, not because I think that you should have to, but because I like them. I also have a pair of vans for in the summer, and trainers for when you need something that you can just wear the whole day doing ‘stuff’.

For the part about how I behave…  I’m a geek.  Unashamedly a geek! I have quite the HiFi in the living room because I like a) gadgets and b) really nice sounding music. I built a server for the attic before the summer as I was getting fed up all the USB hard drives lying around and wanted just a file server where I could save things too. I have an Xbox 360 – though I will admit I have not played on it that much recently.  Again, not because I don’t think that women should – some of the female programmers I have worked with would kick the crap out of me in an online game! But because I have lost interest a little, and at the moment just don’t have the spare time to play.

Put me in something with an engine and I can totally be a girl racer. I pick fast but comfortable cars; I have a super sports motorbike.

Both of the above were commented on when people found out I was transitioning.

I am not competitive.  Most of the time J  Meet me on a squash court and, if you are about the same level player as me, I will not be impressed with myself if I don’t win.  I’ll yell at myself for missing stupid shots or making mistakes. I will be aggressive in the way that I play and I will take pride if I manage to win.  The same goes for go-karting.  I love it, and hate losing when I do!

I will watch both “Bond” and “Pride and Prejudice” and am a *huge* Star Wars fan.  For the record, its official, the best films were “Empire Strikes Back”, “A New Hope” and “Revenge of the Sith”.  In that order J Any other opinion there is obviously influenced by drugs ;p

I also adore baking, though get guilty at the thought of eating all of those calories when I am done!

I suppose the easiest way to say it is this.

I am me. I am not what someone wants me to be.  I am not what I think someone wants me to be.

Oh, and whilst retail therapy may not help long term – it can help in the short term (whether it’s clothes, shoes or gadgets)


  1. Sounds reasonable to me! :)

  2. +1 ;-)

    I'd like to hope that as we (society) move on, it shouldn't matter what a person likes in terms of hobbies or films or music.

    1. It would be good! I can't believe that when my mum told someone once of the comments was 'Well, she'll have to get rid of the bike now then'


  3. We are all the same and all so different. I wonder how many more female engineers there would be if they been given the chance to play with different toys as children. How many more male beauticians ..... Yada yada

    Its just such a shame that all the people think they know what is right and what is wrong. Never understanding that there is no right or wrong

    As for the online commenting ... I think tbat its in us all ... I even admit to having a Daily Mail ID for the same purpose. The shame of it all

    1. I just never understand how a supposed feminist, someone who supposedly spends their time saying that women are more than their reproductive organs, and that they have brains too, then turn around and say that brains don't matter and the only thing important about a woman is her reproductive organs!

      As to the toys, kids should get to play with whatever they want to play with. Unfortunately something that I didn't quite get! I used to love cuddly toys, but after a certain age you are not supposed to play with those any more...

      I do hope that it wouldn't have stopped me building tree houses and things though - that was also a lot of fun :)


  4. Thoughtful as always, Stace. Thank you for sharing.

    I went for my first makeover last week (in boy mode - long story!). lol One of the makeup artists commented on how composed I seemed, even though the makeover took place in the middle of the shop. I confessed that I was amazed at how calm I felt. She replied, "That's because you belong here." Exactly. I was simply being me. And for the first time in my life, being me feels pretty great. :c)

    Hope you're feeling better!

    == Cass

    1. I really believe that you have to be *you*. I went to a support group a couple of times in the past; but besides it being rather too cliquey for me I also though there were rather too many people busy being who they thought others thought they should be. I am convinced that I did not know the people there, but the persona's they thought they needed to project into the world.

      Plus, I am rather fed up of reading comments saying that if you wear skirts then it must all be about the clothes. I have wonderfully supportive friends and colleagues and even then I get some comments of 'See, you can still look feminine in trousers' when I wear do them. It's nice to know that I look OK in the trousers - but I don't wear skirts because I think that they are feminine! I wear them because I actually like them :) It's not like the women who I work with who wear skirts more than me would ever get those comments ;p


  5. Appreciate that this cannot be explained is a few short sentences but was interested in your file server. Did you cannibalise an old pc or did you build bespoke? I have some capabilities but was wondering where to start .....if there is one thing driving this is streaming media around the home and an always on solution seems a good idea. Is there a website that you might recommend ?

    1. Hi Becca,

      I did a bare bones build. I got a gaming case (not the cheapest, but it's as nice to work with as a Mac Pro - all rolled edges that don't rip your hands to shreds and with logical layout. Into that I put a mid range power supply, not the cheapest but allows for upgrading in the future and, hopefully, has a high MTBF.

      I got the cheapest processor that I could find (an AMD A4 - awful, but fine for this purpose) and fitted it to a mother board that will take the rest of the Ax range so I can upgrade if I need to in the future. Money spent now rather than a rebuild later.

      8GB of RAM was put in (standard modern memory, nothing special).

      For the system drive I fitted a 120GB mid range SSD. This makes a lot of difference to the machine I've noticed.

      For the other disks I cannibalised the SATA based USB drives that the file server is supposed to replace.

      Using the existing disks I managed to get the cost down to less than 500 euros. It runs 24*7 and so far hasn't made a noticeable difference to the electricity bill. When I get around to running my own web server I'll probably up the RAM top 24GB and add some virtual machines on there.

      Hope that helps :)