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Respect for others comes from having respect for myself

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So I’m reading The Halfling’s Gem: The Legend of Drizzt, Book VI. In it, I read a quote about one character in the story. It says, “What keeps Captain Deudermont safe is his ability to show respect for anyone he meets. … He grants respect at the outset of a meeting and continues that respect until the person forfeits it.”

I think that this is what I do. And I think that this is the reason why people like me. I’ve often wondered why people take a liking to me. I often think to myself that I am nothing special. Why do some people seem to be so strongly drawn to me or even so impacted? And i believe it’s because I have respect for people.

It also must be something from their end as well. For instance, I assume that perhaps people often encounter others that don’t freely give them respect. So when they meet me, and I give them respect, they realize that they’ve been given something from me that is sometimes unobtainable from others.

And I know that the second part of the quote is true. I recently had a teacher at school that I thought very highly of because he was very knowledgeable and intelligent. However, one particular class, the teacher started making veiled sexual references during a demonstration he was doing. I might have ignored it all except the teacher called out to me and asked if I wanted to participate in the demonstration. He was basically asking me if I wanted to participate in this sexualized activity. I declined.

At that, I lost respect for the instructor. I felt in his participation in the lewd jokes, that he was giving in to a desire to fit in with the other guys and appear to be cool. He had joined in with the other guys’ comments as a way to seen like one of them. I could understand his desire to fit in, because many of the guys made jokes about him. But he shouldn’t have given in. So I took away my respect for him.

Anyways, as I read this quote in the book, these thoughts came to me.


Where I’m at

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So it’s been awhile since my last post.

A lot has changed.

I separated from my wife in August 2011.

We divorced a year later in August 2012.

I had FFS in November of 2012 with Dr. Mark Zukowski in Chicago.

I attempted to commit suicide in Jan 2013.

And then I moved to Arizona to start school at the Motorcycle Mechanics Institute in April 2013.

It’s now April 2014, I’ve been here a year, and I plan to graduate December 5th of this year!

It’s been quite a ride, to say the least.


Transgender people should be barred from restrooms

I was just thinking about Cristan’s article speaking against an apparent lobbying effort to prevent trans women from going into women’s restrooms due to attackes/rapes on women/girls. Cristan made an argument using the same, similar logic that not even women should be allowed into women’s restrooms. She made her point but I was thinking, I’m sure that men have also attacked/raped other men in men’s restrooms as well which led me to think that perhaps men shouldn’t go into men’s restrooms either. Maybe men just shouldn’t go into restrooms period! LOL! Nobody should go into any restrooms ever, for fear of being attacked/raped by anybody else. So I suppose that’s it. That was the only thought I had. Except to add that maybe I should do this online @ wordpress every day. Save as a draft! Revise, and then post the following day. It would definitely start my list of blogs up and i would write about anything whether its TG related, or football, or the Lonely Island. Worth a shot! Time for bed.

Father’s Day: A Transgender Story

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I chose not to celebrate Father’s Day. I did not celebrate Mother’s Day either. I’ve considered having my own special day although I have not yet decided on a date. By doing this, I’m not detracting from my wife’s special day, and I’m not recognizing the “other” day. I don’t consider myself a father to my daughter. Biologically, I am the sperm donor, but not her father. I don’t want to be in the place of the “man” that walks her down the aisle. I don’t want to do the Father-Daughter dance. And I don’t want to celebrate “Fathers” Day. One of my siblings sent a text message to me wishing me Happy Father’s Day a few weeks early. They’d seen a billboard and thought it was that weekend, a few weeks prior to the actual day. My wife thankfully intercepted the message and simply responded that we were not celebrating that day. My sibling already knew about my transition, but they did not know about my desire to distance myself from this holiday.

My daughter has been raised since she was about two to call me “KK”. I never liked “Maddy” as some people choose, simply because it’s too reminiscent of that which I am trying to leave behind. This is not an attempt to completely erase everything masculine from my life. In fact, I will most likely never stop loving football, or motorcycles, or action movies, very typically, albeit not solely, the territory of men. But I have chosen not to associate myself with the role of “father” for my daughter. I am simply her other parent. For me, being a woman does not include being a father.

As for my own father, well, I still have mixed feelings, but for the most part, they’re good feelings. For at least a decade after I’d left home, I blamed my father for being emotionally distant. I felt abandoned by him, just as my mother had abandoned us when she left us with my dad prior to their divorce. I was ten then. Yet as I grew older, I often reached out to him hoping for a deeper closer relationship. During college, my second attempt, I spent a summer living with him while I worked at a pizza place. As his kidneys’ deteriorated, eventually forcing him to go on dialysis and have transplants, I chose to visit him more and more. I never knew when he might just slip away, and I didn’t want to live with any regrets. I stayed with him again, by choice, for several months in 2007 when my work allowed me to work from home as he was preparing to have a transplant. Little did I know that the transplant wouldn’t come for several years. But I got to just enjoy his company, hearing stories from his life. I soon met a girl and married, leaving my fathers home, even leaving the city, yet continued to be close with him. And last year, when I was worried about my dad while my brother and his family (who were living with my dad) were out of the country, I took the time to spend about three weeks with him. During that time, I formed some of the best memories I will have of him. We would go eat at his favorite restaurants. We would watch soccer games. And we would just talk and laugh.

I was fortunate enough to have been able to tell my dad about my transition before he passed away in October of last year. I didn’t want him not to know. Although he never said a word to me about it, and I never presented myself en femme in front of him, (continue reading for exception), I still believe he accepted me for who I am. I realized much later that my father showed me he loved me by trusting me with the decisions I made about my life. From highschool on, he allowed me to pretty much call the shots in my own life. I was a good kid, making good grades in school, staying away from drugs and alcohol, choosing to go to college. And he’d told me on several occasions that he trusted my choices. That was how much he loved me. He loved me enough to let me know that he trusted I was making the right choices for my life. And so, after I’d written him a letter explaining my decision to transition from male to female, I believe that is how it was. He accepted me because he realized through his first-hand experiences with me in his life that I was capable enough to make good decisions for myself in my life. If I thought this was the right thing to do, then he trusted that I had thought enough about it to make the best decision.

There was one exception to me dressing in front of him. Before he passed away, my dad went into a coma. He was taken to the hospital, where after a few days, he improved little by little, and he eventually awoke. But he was not the same person. By this time, I was dressing in more feminine clothing and my hair had grown quite long. During one of my visits to the hospital with my sister, we were sitting by his bed, and he looked over and said, “Look at you two pretty ladies”. When the nurse asked if he recognized us, he said of course, naming my sisters name out loud, but he couldn’t quite place me. I was at first amazed, and lifted by the fact that he called me a lady, but saddened at the same time, that he was unable to recognize me.

Since his passing, I’ve realized that he wasn’t a bad father. I was never beaten, never abused verbally or physically. Perhaps emotionally, but never intentionally. Now that he’s passed, all I think about are his good qualities. I think about his famous phrases, like “Aye Chihuahua!”, or “You’re as clean as a bean, but some beans are dirty”. These are things I continue to say so that hopefully I will pass them down to my daughter. I think about his zaniness, his smile, his mustache that was his trademark look. Perhaps the mustache was ever-present because my sisters and I ridiculed him horribly when he once shaved it, calling him “Funny Lip”. But most of all, I simply think about how much I miss him and how much I wish he were still here to laugh with and talk with and simply enjoy his presence. While I vowed a long time ago that I will never be like him, now I believe there are some traits of his that I will always strive to preserve forever through my own life.

Transgender Links

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Internet Links:

“Basic TG/TS/IS Information” – by Lynn Conway

“The Grace Letters” – by Lee Frances Heller – Thoughts on Religion and Transgender Identity

“Our Trans Children” – PFLAG – Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays

Further Reading:

Academic: “Transgender Emergence (Arlene Lev), “Whipping Girl” (Julia Serano)

Memoirs: “She’s Not There” (Jennifer Boylan)

WTF??! Who’s Karen?

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So, as many of you have noticed, the name for my profile has changed. Many of you are finding out for the first time what I’ve known about myself my entire life. I’m transgendered. More specifically, I’m a transsexual, someone going through the transition of living my life full time as a male to living my life full time as a female.

This has never been an easy process. I’ve spent time questioning who I was, seeking therapy, praying to God for change, reading, and talking with others. But in the end, I’ve come to accept myself as I am and I am much happier for it.

I’ve been extremely fortunate in that I have the love and support of a wonderful woman. The woman I married has been my strongest supporter. Not only does she approve, but she encourages me, gives me strength, and continues to be excited to be in relationship with the person she fell in love with. I am truly thankful for her and eternally grateful.

I am still in the transition phase, but eventually I plan to have surgery so that my body will be in line with how I feel and see myself mentally. For the time being, I am continuing the hormone replacement therapy I started back in late 2009 and moving forward with living my life full-time 24/7 as a woman. For me, this includes making a public statement about these changes.

I’m sure that many of you have questions. Please feel free to send me questions. Ask me anything. If it’s too personal, or simply too crude, I’ll either tell you to mind your own business, or to get lost. Politely, of course. 😉 You can send them to my facebook account or you can leave comments here on my blog.

I have a few other posts about my transition here, and I’m sure that in the future I will continue to post things here as I move forward, not only with my transition, but also in simply living life. Feel free to read through the other posts I have here. I will have some links to some informational websites about transsexualism as well as some good non-internet (ie book) reading. Enjoy!

I was going to leave you with a quote, something profound, or awe-inspiring. But none of the quotes I saw really captured what I wanted to closed with. So, I’ll just close with a quote of my own. I am happy, I’m at peace, and I’m thoroughly enjoying the ride.

So what is it like?

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So what is it like being transsexual?

Well for starters, let me quote this statistic that I heard. I’ve been watching a show called Transgeneration, which follows four college students through a year of life, all in different stages in their transitions.

Read from a newspaper by T.J. in Episode 6. “More transgender people are killed in hate crimes every year than all the other major targets combined, including blacks, jews, hispanics, lesbians, and gay men.” Wow. That is crazy!

So what else have I found out from this series?

Another quote I liked was from Lucas. I think in Episode 5. “Kasey and I have to live this nightmare every day, morning, noon and night. Neither of us asked to be transsexual, and both of us are going through horrifically painful and almost prohibitively expensive procedures so that we can one day achieve the type of normalcy in this world most people are born with.” Sometimes I wish I was able to explain things to others just to let them know that all I am trying to do is be able to live a normal (pick your own definition) life like other people. But I am not able to do so in this body.

I also learned a lot coming from the other side. Mostly the parents. As a parent myself, I can identify with Gabbie’s parents, who find it hard to let go of their little boy. The parents played a song that the father wrote years earlier where he sings, “my beautiful girls, and my beautiful boy”. You could see in their eyes that they were still struggling, even after the surgery and the outward acceptance. What if Kindil comes to me years from now and says, I want to be a boy KK. What will I do? Like Lucas’ father, I picked her name. I chose the spelling specifically because I wanted to avoid “ken-” in her name. I didn’t want anything boyish there. But, being transsexual myself, I hope that I would at least recognize the signs in her much sooner. There’d be less time getting used to her as a girl. But for now, she’s still my little girl.

And sometimes I think about the impact of what this will mean for her growing up. I mean no one will be able to take her to father/daughter dances. Who will walk her down the aisle when she gets married? Traditions that are so steeped in this role of male/female will be lost. But I have to be who I am. She will have a much better life experience with me being happy, comfortable with who I am, and confident, like I know I am when I’m presenting myself to the world as female.

And I think about some of the things that Gabbie’s sisters said as well. About Gabbie being self-absorbed. How all she talked about or cared about was her surgery. That she didn’t even know a single thing that had gone on in their lives over the past year. And I find that sometimes, maybe oftentimes, this is the case with me. Especially since accepting my own transsexuality. The sisters talk about how they hope Gabbie doesn’t just keep going on and on about her vagina. And almost as soon as the sisters walk in, she says, “I’m a real woman now!” You could almost see the sisters just roll their eyes. Having all the right parts for some is certainly important, but I think womanhood is much much more than just a physical thing. It’s definitely mental as well as attitude. The sisters also mention how they had really looked up to Gabbie as a brother. That made me think of my own sisters. I know that they’ve looked up to me as a brother over the years. However, I hope later, they can look up to me as a person.

And finally, the series makes me think about srs itself. All the literature I’ve read always talks about making sure you are REALLY really certain that that is what you want to do. Because taking T after transition won’t make your penis grow back. Apple said in one of the episodes, “If you are happy, then don’t change it.” And Gabbie’s friend Cate also gave similar advice before going for her orchiectomy. Cate said that she was concerned about Gabbie’s complete focus on her own personal surgery, that she didn’t give any thought to what it would be like afterwards, and that perhaps Gabbie relied a little too much on the idea that once she had surgery, she would be a woman and everything in life would be grand. There’s still an entire life to live after surgery. At least I have time. I think that I will probably get an orchiectomy first. Dilation after SRS is something you do after surgery until the day you die. Well maybe not the day you die, depending on if it’s in the morning, or on a non-dilation day, but you get the idea. I was testing myself to see how I well I would do in just getting my ears pierced. I couldn’t even stick to soaking my ears in salt water every day for four weeks. Four weeks !! That’s it and I couldn’t even do that !  How do I expect to dilate multiple times a day for months !  So I think about it. But I know that I will at a minimum go as far as getting an orchiectomy. But who knows. I may decide to go through the whole process. I know that right now, I still think something is wrong every time I sit down to pee and see something dangling there between my legs. It’s like I feel as if it shouldn’t be there. But I have lots of time to make a decision.

Well readers, lots of love. I hope you found something to think about.