Mons Resection Surgery Results

We got back two weeks ago from a  successful Mons resection. The hubby is feeling pretty great, but there were some issues. The hubby went in depth on his surgery tumblr. I am using Press This to put it in here.

Personally I am exhausted so I won’t talk much myself here. The whole endeavor was pretty draining emotionally, but I am so happy for him. I will put up the gallery of our trip later today and talk about some of my frustrations with the medical after that.

Sorry I have been so quiet, I will be back :).

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When transgender celebrities misgender other transgender people

I knew my husband was upset when he IM’d me at work, and asked if I had listened to the latest Savage Love podcast #577 with Buck Angel. I knew someone, either Dan or Buck had probably said something shitty again, and my husband’s incredibly protective nature over myself, and other people in the transgender umbrella was on guard.

I listened to it. I’d like to say I was surprised, but I was not.

Buck Angel was the first transgender man I had ever seen. He had my attention immediately, because as an undisclosed transgender man, seeing someone that might be like me was really cool. I looked up to his acceptance of his body, and confidence in himself.

However, Buck doesn’t come without problems. There are folks that have discussed this in more detail.  Below are just a few articles. There are a lot more archived snapshots of Buck’s problematic record on things out there, but I found the sources more chaotic and difficult to easily link up. These give the general idea.

The Advocates article on the pyramid scheme. 

Lucian Clark’s article on Buck and the Transgasm pyramid scheme.

A followup article that also shows Buck’s ideas on disclosure and the word “tranny.”

For me, as an auditor with an accounting degree, it was the pyramid scheme that really caught my eye, and caused me to look into Mr. Angel with a bit more depth. I’m not even sure he understood what that was, but perhaps he thought it was a good money-maker for himself, and a few folks would get surgery out of it. Yet, a pyramid scheme was exactly what it was. It was a crass prioritization of his own income with a 25% take of the prospective charity donation haul that really put a bad taste in people’s mouth.

When I first came out, and talked to other transgender people, I was told by a frustrated transgender woman at a live meet-up that sometimes transgender people are the worst to each other. I think she was right, sometimes.

My biggest issue with that podcast was I was witnessing Buck as a transgender man, who had managed to get on hormones and get the surgery he wanted, belittling a newly out of the closet transgender man that was most likely just starting his journey. I guess this is the situation for the caller due to the young age.

Right out of the gate, Buck called the caller by feminine pronouns. A simple question about being frustrated because the caller couldn’t find gay men that were interested in him turned into a rant by Buck about “trans men” not being transgender enough to be taken seriously.

We don’t know that caller. For all we know these were his first steps out of the closet. He might not want testosterone or surgery because of health or money concerns. He might feel differently a year from now. Also, there are perfectly acceptable transgender men, that don’t want testosterone or surgery at all. That doesn’t undercut their gender identity.

You can’t take someone’s gender away from them just because you don’t like their path through transition, yet that is essentially what Buck did.

I felt to some degree Dan allowed Buck to continually misgender the young man for sensationalism. It’s Dan’s show, and by allowing Buck to chronically misgender the young man, Dan is complicit in the insult. Are we to believe that Dan doesn’t have full control over his show, and could have told Buck to be respectful, even off camera? I felt he was too busy crowing happily because Buck was saying what he wanted to say himself, but couldn’t.

Dan has his own issues that have surfaced again and again, but he does seem to learn from it over time. I feel he’s done a lot of good political things for the community, and once he gets his fingers burned, he re-evaluates his stance, and moves on. That’s why I listen to him. I can accept missteps as long as someone is showing growth.

Buck? I have not seen that kind of growth. His insistence that he is transsexual, because he had top surgery, and that anyone that calls themselves a trans man is not trans enough was weirdly out of touch.

In the above articles he has also doubled down on his comments about using the word “tranny” and about the need to disclose your transgender status to avoid embarrassing and humiliating partners. See the above links for all that.

Mostly, I object that Buck seems to think that you have to clear a bar of masculinity with testosterone and at least top surgery to be transgender enough to be taken seriously.

I think as a community we need to stop gatekeeping each other, and telling each other that transgender people aren’t transgender if they don’t follow the one true narrative. If Buck can be the self-described “Man with a Pussy” and make his own definition of masculinity, then why is that option not afforded to the caller.

(Edited the above  paragraph, because I accidentally a word making the meaning the opposite of my point. Fixed.)

Update: 

Since I wrote this, and scheduled it to post, there has been an update.

The next podcast in sequence published a transgender man that nicely pointed out that the response to the caller was unkind. It was super nice, but still pointed out the issue.

Then there was a Savage Love Letter of the Day post that also had a response, where the issue of Buck misgendering the young man repeatedly was addressed.

It’s a bit of an eye roll, but I suspect they will do better with the podcast moving forward. That’s kind of Dan’s thing. He says bitchy shit, gets an uproar going, then he does better. I have to say, that I do think that I read somewhere that Buck walked back those statements about bottom surgery, that they are referencing.

Buck did put an apology on his Facebook page, of sorts:

I wanted to post here before some people make assumptions about my time on the show. During my advice, I accidentally misgendered the caller. Twice. I actually didn’t even realize it until someone posted that I did it intentionally. I would never misgender a fellow community member on purpose and if for some reason you think that, you are wrong. This was the first time that had happened. I made a public apology to the caller. It was really a horrible thing. But mistakes happen. A that’s the facts. Now I know some will say I’m just back peddling and I expect that, but I am not. I made a mistake I am owning it and I am moving on. If you want to use this as a way to continue hate you are welcome. I am not. Thank you for listening and hearing me. Love Buck

I often hate the nitpick the words people use for an apology to find more offense. That said, this kind of sucks. When you take the misgendering in the context of having two different people with celebrity status dog piling on a young transgender person that came to them for help? It’s shitty.

Plus, this seems to be missing a sentence that I read originally when it came about Buck stating he made mistake and he’s now moving on. I don’t have the skills to track the original, but the original made me just roll my eyes.

In the followup article I linked originally, Buck stated his desire to educate, and work for the community in a more political activist fashion these days. If that’s the case, he really needs to get his shit together. He has years of this kind of thing at this point.

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Thankful on Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving 2017 everyone, I just wanted to wish everyone that, and to share something that I am very thankful for.

One of the things I am very grateful for is that Wolsey’s dysphoria over appearing feminine did not extend to pictures of our past, or force him to have to hide that we were together before he transitioned.

Thanksgiving Dinner, one year into transition for Wolsey in 2014 (second from right), sadly I am not in it since I was only one to take photos

I know other transgender people don’t have that luxury, and other couples have had to hide both their pre-transition lives together. I completely understand that, and would have done it if he needed it.

That would have been one of the roughest parts of Wolsey’s transition for me, if I had to permenanatly jettison 20+ years of my life with my husband because pictures make him hurt. We only did that for a short time and it was rough.

We were stealth when he first came out, its why I got rid of my original Facebook, moved my videos to a new channel and basically cutoff anything before 2013. This was because of his first job and with how crazy they were.

Now that we are out and loud, it does make life harder in some ways. We get the normal issues that anyone out of the closet gets, and it can be hard. However, I discovered it was harder for me being stealth. I had to hide who I was (there is a post about this coming up) and I had to let people put me in some stereotypical boxes that weren’t accurate. It was worth it for my husband and my marriage, but it wasn’t easy.

Now though, I can proudly show people pictures from twenty years ago, tell stories about what happened and not have to constantly worry I might out Wolsey. I am very thankful for that on this Thanksgiving Day.

Wolsey and myself 1993 at his parents house. I think this is the only photo of us together on a Thanksgiving.

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Tearing Each Other Apart

I am tired of the whole “not trans enough” debacle that I sometimes see. The gatekeeping done by some people to tell others they haven’t done enough to be considered their identified gender. It just smacks of hypocrisy, and another way the trans community tears itself down in a weird pecking order of who is entitled to be called trans.

Unfortunately I don’t have a source.

Now, Dan Savage is problematic in many ways. He has stuck his foot in his mouth before, and undoubtably will do so again. However what keeps me supporting him is that he appears to learn new information and move on. Unfortunately not all of his guests seem to follow that.

On Savage Lovecast number 577 a caller who still presents visually as a female talks about himself being a trans man and his frustration that he isn’t accepted by gay men intimately. He is pre-T, pre-surgery and is evidently shaped as a female. He is trying to find out why he isn’t being accepted and what he can do.

Now, I am going to put aside the actual question the caller asked, and address the response by Buck Angel, a well known transgender man who came out as a gatekeeper and misgendered the caller.

Buck Angel

Three times during Buck Angel’s response he referred to the caller as “her or she”. He has never known this person, never interacted with them, has heard they identify 100% as a man, yet he still misgendered the caller. He has absolutely no reason to misgender the caller except to be dismissive, its not like he met the caller and had a history with them and accidentally misgendered them.

I was a little stunned at how he could do that, but as Buck continued to talk that was the least offensive thing I found.

He then went on to address how gay men aren’t attracted to feminine presenting people, and I am not disagreeing with that, but he also wasn’t kind about it. He then went on to school the caller about realistic behavior and about how he was more manly and it somehow gave him authority over the situation to pronounce how the caller was wrong to have any expectation to be considered a man by gay men.

Meanwhile Dan Savage did all the right things, except he was dismissive of the caller. However, he never misgendered the caller and never called into question their identity. He suggested they might find a bisexual guy who could appreciate the caller being a man, but who appeared on the outside as woman. Even with that advice though, he allowed Buck to continue and egged him on a bit.

This is when Buck decided to make a dividing line that he was “transexual” meaning he was fulling identifying as male, and how the new “transman” status was blurring the line and causing problems.

From my position, the term transexual is more of an older term that isn’t generally used by someone under the age of 40, and that transman is no less of an identity as being a man then transexual, and in the modern lexicon transman has replaced transexual. In fact I know a lot of trans people who are offended by the term transexual.

My husband is a transman, he is proud about it. I find it very frustrating that the “man with a pussy” (as he likes to call himself) is a gatekeeper because others might not have had top surgery, or look as masculine as him. It doesn’t matter what characteristics you still have, or what status with hormones, to tear apart someone else in your same community is horrific to me.

I wish the community would stop that, there are already enough wolves at the gate and to have to worry about tearing each other apart.

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Some Good News for the USA

I know I have been quiet for awhile, we are still preparing to leave in two weeks for his final lower surgery. However, there was a bright spot this week in the elections that I just had to say good things about.

https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2017/11/complete-list-historic-races-progressives-won-last-nights-election/

LGBTQNation’s success stories from its article has been copied below just in case the link is a problem:

  1. 1st black woman elected Mayor of Charlotte, NC (Vi Lyles).
  2. 1st woman elected Mayor of Manchester, NH (Joyce Craig)
  3. 1st trans woman elected to public office in NH (Gerri Cannon for Somersworth School Board)
  4. 1st trans woman of color elected to public office in Minnesota (Andrea Jenkins for Minneapolis city council)
  5. 1st Sikh man elected Mayor of Hoboken, NJ (Ravi Bhalla)
  6. 1st out lesbian elected to state legislature in VA (Dawn Adams)
  7. 1st transgender person elected to non-judicial office in California (Lisa Middleton)
  8. 1st out lesbian elected Mayor of Seattle, WA (Jenny Durkan)
  9. 1st Asian-American woman elected to VA House (Kathy Tram)
  10. Record number of women elected to VA legislature
  11. 1st trans woman elected to public office in VA and 1st trans person elected to statewide office (Danica Roem for the House of Delegates, defeating co-author of anti-trans bathroom bill)
  12. 2 Latinx women elected to VA House for first time (Elizabeth Guzman and Hala Ayala)
  13. 2nd black man ever elected to statewide office in VA (Justin Fairfax for Lt Governor)
  14. Democrats poised to gain control of VA House from Republicans who had a 66-34 majority. The Dems have to flip 17 seats to get to a 51 seat majority and they have already flipped 15 with 4 other races so close they’re going to a recount.
  15. Democrats have taken control of the WA State Senate, and now have complete control of the West Coast from Mexico to Canada.

My optimism has returned a bit. We still have some very dark days ahead of us, and I think it will in fact get a bit darker, but this gives me hope in this world.

I am especially happy with the Washington State Senate. We are a fairly liberal state (don’t judge us only on our grossly high regressive sales tax) but our senate/house has been a thorn in the side of any sort of progressive movement. Even paying for primary education gets trashed by the GOP. However, it seems things are changing and maybe at least until the next election next year we can pass some more positive changes. I am more than willing to pay more in taxes to help with that.

The one aspect I do want to address is the “shock” some of my conservative coworkers had about a transgender person being elected. I tried to explain there have been other transgender politicians but they just couldn’t understand. This comic though really made my day.

I have started reading their comic here: https://lifeofbria.com

I realize this is a small update, but I felt I needed to take the time to post about this during surgery preparations. At least this time it should only be in the 70s down in Phoenix.

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25th Anniversary

Twenty-five years ago, my husband looked at me and said “I do”. I thought that would be the happiest moment of my life, but it wasn’t. Instead, today is the happiest moment of my life, and each day is just getting better.

For our twenty-fifth anniversary on Halloween of 2017, we were boring old people. He had cooked us dinner of salmon and some side dishes, and I cleaned the kitchen and we enjoyed a quiet meal together.

Afterwards we laid in bed and watched some shows and just talked about our day. We even found it funny that our cat ghost had to force himself in between us, because evidentially it isn’t allowed we touch each other, we both have to touch him instead. We avoided any conversation involving work and his transition. We just spent time with each other. It was a magical evening.

We had originally planned a to-do for our “big 25” that included a Los Vegas wedding vow renewal with dueling Elvis Impersonators, a pink Cadillac. We had been surprised at how relatively cheap it was for a renewal ceremony, even with the hotel and flight down. Sadly, our life has been pretty hard with work and the death of both of my parents who were our only real familial support. Additionally, were trying to pay back the debt from paying for both of their funerals. Instead, we chose to stick close to home.

Even so, our anniversary was spectacular. I have no regrets about how we spent the time. Just lying next to my husband, hearing his voice, and feeling his skin against mine (when the cat wasn’t objecting). It was a fantastic night of us just being together as lovers, spouses, and best friends.

I think back to when we first got married, and truth be told, I didn’t know what the future held. Many of my friends had divorced within a year or two. At the time my husband made it clear that he was like a stray cat. He believed he would never get married, nor have a long-term relationship and that we should just enjoy the time we had together. He put this forward for years as his ideal relationship, but in the end he had asked me to marry him. I wasn’t sure what time would bring, and I anticipated he would have grown bored soon enough and moved on. Yet here we are.

All I can think of now is that our marriage brought me something far beyond anything I could have hoped for. I never imagined I would be in love with a guy, and that the sight of him would excite me mentally, emotionally, and physically. That he would have been the same person, with the same green eyes who was a cute punk girl who crawled in my window at the age of 19 because I left “her” cans of Ravioli’s for when she was hungry.

Twenty-five years is a long time to some. It literally was a lifetime with my wife as her life ended and the life with my husband started. For me though, it hasn’t been long enough. I feel confident we will probably get another twenty-five years, or more if I have my way, and it still won’t be long enough.

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On the Visibility of Harassment

The Harvey Weinstein issue has been hitting the front page of the internet, and I have been reading a lot of reactions to men who say they didn’t see it. Because I lived for 40 years as a woman and all the harassment that entailed, and now live as a man, I have a few insights into this issue.

I want to say when I lived as a woman, I thought harassment was a normal daily event for everyone. Whether it was creepers on the bus, guys cat calling form cars, dudes approaching me in the grocery store, it happened all the time.

I remember vivid incidents when I was especially young of just horrific scary violent harassment. The younger, and more feminine you look, the more predators target you. Predators target their victims well, and look for vulnerability.

I remember walking home from high school, where I looked 12 rather than the 16 I was, and a man tried to give me a ride. When I refused politely, and thanked him, he started screaming he would cut my head off, and pealed out so fast and close to me, that I thought I was going to be hit by his car.

That doesn’t even count the times a grown ass man has reached over to grab a breast, my ass, or physically pushed me to sleep with him. I have been sexually assaulted, harassed, and even raped as a woman.

However, due to the prevalence of this kind of harassment and assault, I only ever counted the rape. It wasn’t until I was much much older, that I realized that living in a world where I felt I had to downplay these types of harassment was not my problem. It was a world problem.

I did not identify the creep on the bus that kept touching me as harassment because I didn’t want to be “one of those girls” and “make a big scene”. There is a lot of pressure on women to avoid confronting or speaking about men that prey upon them. You don’t want to be any trouble, and often people around you will enforce this.

This brings me to my transition. I’ve talked before about how all that disappears. Once you are read as male, every creepy shitbag predator just evaporates. It’s like you don’t even see it anymore.

This is because these men are not random in their harassment. They do it to their victims, which are vulnerable. They often don’t do it around anyone else unless they are sure bystanders will be complicit in the behavior.

It’s an overwhelmingly successful strategy. Even a stand up guy, that would never condone that kind of behavior might have a hard time believing how prevalent this is because it’s so out of sight for him. It would be an alien concept to think a man would just drop trou and whack off to a 14 year old girl on the bus, on his way to a job that requires wearing a suit.

Once I was reliably read as a cis gendered man by the world, the very most I would get was occasionally an off colored joke in my presence. I almost never actually see the harassment that goes on every day for women, anymore.

It’s hard to differentiate crap socially acceptable jokes that are shitty to women and minorities from actual predatory behavior. Some guys just tell tacky unreflective jokes as a way to fit in, and some predators use it as a way to test the waters. If you aren’t really into the joke, a predator moves on to other people.

I had a racist guy try on a racial slur in my presence recently, and I asked him what the hell was wrong with him. He has steadfastly never once revealed any obviously indication of racism in my presence again. Yet, he shops Hitler picks to my other friends that froze in horror and laughed nervously as a reaction. He chooses who he shows this kind of thing to. I was strategically not a target for his shit anymore. He moved on to people that would not call him out.

This is why the people that predators surround themselves either just don’t care, if they are not shitty predators themselves. The Harvey Weinstein’s of the world, are careful to cultivate that, and enforce it with whatever power they have. (I know, if a guy is powerful enough, he can enforce acceptance of his harassment and assaults in the people around him, but that’s a totally different issue to what I’m talking about.)

My years of living as a woman are fading in the distance of time for me, but as I continue my life being accepted as male I have a couple of possible solutions.

The first is to take women at their word when they tell me they are uncomfortable around some men. No questions, and no issues. I know from first hand experience that I was not believed in so many small ways, so to believe women when they say they are being harassed is important.

When a woman makes it past the socially constructed barrier to make a fuss, she has already thought about the issue forever. She has dissected it, and weighed the possibility of “making a scene” versus how dangerously uncomfortable the predator makes her feel.

Secondly, I make it clear when the jokes come out about sexual assault (and racism) that I don’t think it’s funny. I am not going to give any social approval by laughing. I’m a bit more confrontational than most, but I feel it’s important not to be a part of a cultivated approval network for a guy that thinks he can get away with this kind of behavior.

However, by doing this, it means I will not see this kind of harassment or assault happen almost at all. By believing women, and not approving of these testing behaviors, predators will almost never engage in this behavior around me.

This is why good stand up men say they don’t see the harassment happen. Predators have identified them as someone that will not condone their behavior, and strategically prey upon their vulnerable victims elsewhere.

The best we can do, is make sure to be vigilant, keep a protective eye out towards those that are vulnerable to predation, and believe victims when they come forward.

 

 

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