A Man's Man !

I have come out to my family and friends. I tell them that it’s ok to tell anyone they want, it’s not a secret identity, I’m not a superhero!

One thing I really enjoy is hearing the story of them telling their family or friends. I am interested in the opinions of people without my presence to alter their response.

A common reply is ‘ You would not think that of him, he was such a ‘Man’s man’. These statements are usually based on shared experiences like backpacking or Mountain biking. Both activities that are perceived as manly, but are just as likely to have female participants as not.

This makes me reflect on how I behaved in the past. I expressed myself in as manly a manor as possible. I kept a beard or go-tee for most of my adult life, and although I never admitted it, it was my way of keeping me from expressing my feminine side. All part of the mask that I wore every day.

A little bit of self reflection always leads me to comparing what I have learned about myself to the rest of the world. I started looking at some of my trans friends, specifically the ones that are ‘Part time’, still in hiding from their work, friends, family and sometimes even their wives. When they are not expressing themselves as feminine, they exhibit that same ‘Man’s Man’ kind of attitude. Not the over the top attitude of a typical bully to frat house jerk, just an expression that they are a MAN, with no hint of femininity.

I can’t speak for anyone else but I know I did this as a way of keeping myself in check. A way to make it more difficult to express who I was inside. 

In the end, all I did was bottle up my feelings until they reached a breaking point where they could no longer be ignored.

My tag is showing

I have a friend who is very influential in the local Transgender community. She often will say that we don’t want any labels. Labels are bad and we should not use them. I disagree.

 Humans are wonderful thinking machines. And we are born with a need for labels

Most parents will remember when their young children seem to say nothing except ‘What’s that?’. They can wear you out just pointing at things, asking the question. They want to give everything a name so they can identify it. 

Adults do the same. When we see something, like say a ‘Bear’. We have know things about it. It’s dangerous, furry, hibernates in the winter. If we are interested in bears we may also know the species, indigenous regions it lives, what it likes to eat, etc.

 We do this with humans as well. We recognize the approximate age of a person and apply facts to them. Are they old enough to have watched ‘All in the Family’ when it was new. Could they have fought in a war?

 We also use this to help us understand how to act around someone and how they are most likely going to act around us. If we see someone with a red face, breathing hard, scowl across their mouth, our brains label them ‘upset’. We immediately change our actions in response.

 Having lived in the trans community for several years now, I have come to understand that transgender is not the end all term. We are all different. Our goals, orientation, comfort levels, experiences are all vastly different. 

 I use the label ‘bi-gender’ because it best describes how I feel. It lets anyone else who understand the label know more about me quickly.

This is when labels are good.

The words, Bear and Adult are labels. So are American, tall, married and blonde. Nobody takes exception to these kinds of labels. Unless they don’t apply. Someone from the UK will almost always dislike being called Australian. It’s not labels that are bad, it when they are incorrectly applied that makes then wrong


 I came across this chart today on Facebook, and think it is definitely in the right direction.

(source -‘Transgender is Normal’ via Blaine Santos)


 'You need an attitude adjustment, young man!' That's what my dad would say to me growing up.

At the time, I never really understood what he meant, now I do.

Fear of being exposed is something that every transgender experiences at some point. First we are scared of anybody finding out. we are afraid of what they will think of us. I think we don't yet know what to think of ourselves.

When I started going it was scary. I was still afraid of what people thought.

The first time I went through a fast food drive-through it was terrifying. First time to a store I almost turned around and left before entering.

But time passed, and so did my fear.

Today I went to the hospital for a X-ray. The admissions clerk looked at my paperwork, looked up at me and aid 'oh!' (All my legal docs are in my male name)

She was sweet and obviously a bit curious, so I offered to answer any questions. She was really happy and asked away.

Next I sat in the waiting room, waiting to be called in. Soon I see a technician, looking at her chart and scanning the waiting room. When I made eye contact, she mouthed my male name with a questioning look. I followed her and got the X-ray. She was pleasant and chatty.

Upon leaving the hospital, the admissions clerk, stood up and leaned out of her cubical and shouted 'Goodbye Jess!' , big smile on her face.

It's not these people that needed an attitude adjustment, I was me.

I the past, I would have been afraid of what they would think of me.

Now I view every encounter as just plain fun. I love the reactions I get and look forward to them.


Gender expression defines those of us who are transgender.

Some of us will never fully express our true selves for more than a few minutes or hours at a time. Sometimes going months or years between that expression. Often living their entire life without ever leaving the house as their true selves.

A few will manage to change very early. The stories I read about 6 and even 4 year old kids telling their parents who they really are, and getting support, gives me tremendous joy.

It was not that way for me, or for virtually every trans I know.

I knew I wanted something different from around 3 or 4 years old. I would express myself until someone would tell me to stop, tell me it was wrong.

I would wait several years and try again, with the same results. This pattern repeated itself through my life, but as I grew older, I did not need anyone to tell me it was wrong. I had become very good at doing that myself.

 We learn behavior from the comments, actions and expressions of those around us as we grow up. I learned that I was wrong to express myself.

 The internet came about and I learned that there were others like me, lots of others. The logic of me being wrong began to unravel.

 When I again began to express myself, something was different this time, no one told me I was wrong, even my own inner voice began to fade. People began to tell me I was right, that I was brave. As time went on, my inner voice changed fromrestraint, to encouragement. I spent more and more time expressing myself, pushing to see where the limits were. I have not found any. 

After I spend 4 or 5 days as Jess, the day or so in-between is becoming more and more uncomfortable. I am now beginning to see, just a little, the dysphoria that so many transgender people report.

The amount of time I can spend comfortably not expressing myself is getting shorter and shorter. When I was young I went years, now two or 3 days is a stretch .

I see this like the pattern of an object circling a drain. The water spins it around and around the drain, with every rotation it gets closer and closer.

 I think I am getting very close to going down the drain.

Who and What

A few years ago I sat each of my two brothers down individually and explained that I was trans. One brother shrugged and said, “ You are still the same person ”. The other took it all in and went away to digest it. The next day he called to say he had done some research and that I was not trans, just a crossdresser. This was impressive, depressing and infuriating al at the same time.

 Impressive that he took the time to try and research it, depressing in the he applied a title to me that I attempt to distance myself from, and infuriating that he thought he was in a position to tell me who and what I was.

 Defining who and what we are is a real problem. A lot of lip service is given to the idea that transgender is a spectrum. But really not much is understood, certainly there is little definitive information to be found even with the best google searches.

 One of the best things to come out of the 2015 Transgender media explosion is the understanding that gender identity is completely separate from sexual orientation.

 I have come to understand that our spectrum is more diverse than just a simple gender identity and sexual orientation combination. There are many other factors, probably a large number. Humans are complex things.  

 For example I have noticed a wide range of attitude in just how much female expression is enough. I know girls who want nothing short but a complete change, HRT*, GCS**, the works. The other end of this spectrum involves those that dress in private briefly. The former is accompanied by tremendous distress in male mode, the latter is often followed by bouts of shame because of the female expression. These are extreme ends of the scale, but I think they describe at least one aspect of the transgender experience.

 I plan on exploring these and other aspect in coming blogs as I continue to understand just who and what I really am.


*HRT - Hormone replacement therapy

** GCD - Gender confirmation surgery, formerly GRS, gender reassignment surgery, formerly SRS, sexual reassignment surgery.

Let's do the time warp again...

My wife and I were watching 'Keeping up with the Kardashians' together. Kim Kardashian was talking about Bruce(Jenner) to her friend Jonathan. She told him that the family thought his transition was going really fast, but Bruce felt it was moving very slow. Sixty-five years slow. 

 This spawned a glance between my wife and I as it's something we are very familiar with. She relates to the Kardashian family view, I relate to Bruce. We have experienced these same feelings. 

I spend every waking minute thinking about my gender issues, and I'm sure that most of you (trans people) do as well. Our loved ones think about it some times but certainly not constantly. Where I feel like this has been 50-someodd years coming, it's flying at my wife with breakneck speed.

 I think about it while working, cleaning, watching TV, sometimes even while sleeping. Add up the time I've spent on the subject during my life and it's a very large amount of time. Probably a thousand times more than she thinks about it. So when I suggest some new course of action, I've been thinking about it for years, but it is relatively unknown to her. She needs to consider it, I feel like it's been considered from every possible angle.

She wants to 'slow down' a bit so she can catch her thoughts. To her every day seems to bring new challenges, and she has not yet digested the day before. I think that it is taking forever, any slower and it seems to be going backwards.

If's this were a Sci-Fi flick, I would be in a time warp, watching the world around me move in slow motion, while she see me as a barely recognizable blur.

These are not insurmountable problems. We pause, try to see things from each others view, then decide how to proceed. She and I understand why this is, but it took some time to realize what was happening. Love and understanding can cure even Sci-Fi problems.

I hope that the Kardashians can keep up with Bruce!