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Post  CarolynAH on Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:28 pm

I don't know about anyone else here, and maybe this is all in my head. But going into transition I had no idea what living as a binary transgender woman was going to be like for me. I remember tearing myself down constantly before starting my medical transition. And now over two years after finally getting on full dose HRT and now nearly a year post-op. I am confused about how people see me. I used to walk around afraid to be seen as trans or to assert my needs as a woman. But I have grown more self assured and though I can sometimes tell other LGBTQ people are pretty sure that I am trans very few directly ask beyond leading questions. That I don't bother to engage anymore. The irony is here I am a nearly 6'5" curly red head holding hands with a cute 5'3" purple haired cis gendered woman and to most I think they believe we are just "gal pals" I don't even think people believe I am a lesbian.

Part of me likes this erasure. But here I was with her riding a bus to the state fair in a packed bus subtly holding hands with Christy with a transgender woman standing right next to us. She doesn't smile or anything so I give my usual girl to girl smile and go back to trying to stay upright while standing and retaining my personal space on the bus while silently communicating with Christy (my GF) via our hands. So here we were at a fair that for a state so filled with LGBTQ people seemed very very straight with far more MAGA and even one dude with a openly transphobic shirt who we passed without notice several times. And I wondered to myself what is going on here. I feel a bit like Natalie Wynn from Contrapoints who created a mini trans tweet war when she expressed discomfort with being the only transwoman in a group of women and the cis gendered woman starting introductions includes her pronouns. I ask myself why does that whole pronouns thing bother me outside of pure transgender gatherings. Is it internalized shame? No not exactly, it feels to me like a part of me that dreamed each night to wake up a girl is close to that dream but being reminded that I have fallen short. It's that vague look in that other transwoman's face of being unhappy to have me look at her at all, or going to a WLW group and being asked when was it I first realized I was attracted to women and then keenly feel the difference between my experience as a woman and theirs no matter how much else we share. I found myself crying uncontrollably with empathy for at Anna's story of transition in the 1960s trapped between nearly Faustian choices she never wanted or expected to face. I feel so privlidged and fortunate but powerless like I have fallen between the cracks and unsure if I belong anywhere anymore. Not trans, nor lesbian, nor woman enough. And yet I am happier than I thought I would ever be. I have decided it's pointless to be forever guessing if I "pass" as a woman and instead joke in the mirror about how I utterly fail at passing as a "dude" now or giggle amused that dating for over two months has resulted in a bunch of weight gain that went to my thighs and butt enough to amuse Christy as I wiggle my jeans past my thighs enough to earn me a smack on my butt.

Is this what a successful transition is? I have no clue.



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Post  xfortran on Mon Sep 09, 2019 9:06 pm

I suspect you don't get asked questions as they do not wish to impose or be impolite if they do notice. Even when I have permission to ask questions I dither on how/what words I wish to use...as I do not wish to make anyone uncomfortable.


Honestly it sounds like you are comfortable (with yourself). I would judge that a fair part of a successful transition but as we are talking about you ... you will have to be the final judge.

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Post  Lesley Niyori on Tue Sep 10, 2019 4:32 am

6'5" is probably like the sound of my voice (which you can hear on my interview).

Your height will get noticed just as much as my voices draws attention.

But years of hormones and 2 years post-op has made this transgender binary female pretty damned 'comfortable'. I know my voice 'outs' me, but there's nothing like a vagina to make a girl have the right attitude real easy. Wearing a bikini and no sign of maleness makes it easy to lie about my voice "oh, I injured my throat" as a casual line of bullshit if not in my hometown.

But really, eventually, you build the needed confidence to finally say 'fuck it' to the whole 'passing' issue.

The hardest thing I have had to teach D'arcy is that she WILL eventually gain that confidence level, But it has taken her time. Because it's rarely something you get to master without time spent mastering it. Unless like me, you possessed the needed attitude all along.

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Post  CarolynAH on Tue Sep 10, 2019 3:33 pm

I was never the one who just did things.  Or blindly jump in. I have trouble with any true deception beyond avoidance.  For me to transition I had to accept this inner self and the harm of hiding bit as truth rather than passivly react in accordance to what others expected to see.

My issue is while I accept myself as transgender I have never wished to wake up transgender or some other abstract construction of gender.  So accepting myself as a legitimate woman who has nothing to be ashamed, afraid of, or apologize for is the thorny bit.  Bottom surgery despite all the consequences and shortcomings has helped just as much if not more than HRT for me.  Because it was this aspect of my existence that I just couldn't escape from especially with those who I was most vulnerable with.  Even with Liam it twisted what both of us did. And if I am honest was unhealthy for both of us.  My journey to my surgery as well as his own was a hard thing that ultimately broke us from the issues we both were hiding from between us. My issues finding romance after highlight where I am.  When I did not have my transgender nature made clear I got plenty of likes from women but some felt "tricked" despite me telling them up front in chat. So I added it and got far fewer likes from cis-women but more from transwomen. I was mostly okay with that but I realized that I don't control who sees me and was announcing to everyone in my not exactly accepting area that I am transgender all for the comfort of a few women who I wouldn't date anyway.  And I realized that even in a state with so many LGBTQ people and loads of acceptance once you affirm that you are trans it creates a sort of scarlet letter between you that changes the nature of the relationship and made clear why this forum is one of the few places of any kind I still openly affirm that I am trans.  I don't in anyway feel ashamed of being transgender but I don't like being coddled, dismissed, or treated like my acceptance in any mostly cis-gendered group is a act of largesse. I also I admit at some level to love screwing with cis-people who think they know what I am and seeing them try to recover when I don't respond as expected. I don't think I will be able to "unquestionably pass" without continued surgical intervention but these days they feel like acts of diminishing returns at great expense. And if I am honest I don't think I actually "pass" much at all beyond people being unsure about me and giving me the benifit of doubt.  And I am okay with that. What I find is the more I just assume I am seen as a woman rather than be thankful to be seen as one the more natural my response to people becomes. It takes so damn long to undo lifelong responses. So I feel like these sorts of almost silly mindfulness games become actually important.

But sometimes I feel like in our community that there is a sort of debt to be visible for others who don't have the choice or openly choose to not conform.  But I am not sure if I wholly agree with that. I think it's good to engage and support if one can but that is it. As I have literally wanted to throttle a few loud transgender people who tried to dismiss another person's needs and struggle with dysphoria and getting medical assistance of it as unnecessary.  Or another who felt like their "flexibility" allowed them to access any gendered safe space, even ones that were for those recovering from sexual traumas. I will never forget... Hi my name is Pat, I am from xxx, and my pronouns are Pat all said like the most clever thing ever. #eyeroll#  I don't like being a bitch but sometimes my old trans ass gets grumpy when another transgender person treats gender identity flippantly like it's some act of performative defiance.
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Post  CarolynAH on Tue Sep 10, 2019 11:25 pm

To be clear I was not throwing shade on other transgender folks.  But I think there has been an interesting cultural shift in our community in the years I have been looking on. I like to believe that much of this has always bexisted and all that is happening is some segments now have greater voice, acceptance, and visibility.  Though I find myself curious if for instance are binary and non-binary experiences formed differently at their core, is there really gender spectrum or is it more of a trinary system with modes of expression creating the impression of a spectrum, even though there is a great deal of shared cultural and social experience our needs can be very different and it all can be quite a lot for someone trying to accept and understand themselves.

Maybe I am just a dinosaur, and need to just say goodbye and give up on trying to understand the new generations, not worry anymore about connecting with "the community" or being "visible". And just be Carolyn.
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Post  Celia Eriksson on Wed Sep 11, 2019 11:33 pm

CarolynAH wrote:To be clear I was not throwing shade on other transgender folks.  But I think there has been an interesting cultural shift in our community in the years I have been looking on. I like to believe that much of this has always bexisted and all that is happening is some segments now have greater voice, acceptance, and visibility.  Though I find myself curious if for instance are binary and non-binary experiences formed differently at their core, is there really gender spectrum or is it more of a trinary system with modes of expression creating the impression of a spectrum, even though there is a great deal of shared cultural and social experience our needs can be very different and it all can be quite a lot for someone trying to accept and understand themselves.

Maybe I am just a dinosaur, and need to just say goodbye and give up on trying to understand the new generations, not worry anymore about connecting with "the community" or being "visible". And just be Carolyn.


That is a beautiful, well written post that I agree with so very much.

Be yourself Carolyn, for you, all of us, and every other human being, is special, deserving of respect for who we are.

Celia xx

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Post  CarolynAH on Fri Sep 13, 2019 5:50 am

Thanks, life it seems is not done with my transition. I have been let go at work. I will be paid until November and get a severance package. I guess this old girl will have to learn new tricks.
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Post  Lesley Niyori on Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:55 pm

Sad to hear of that dear. It sounds like someone at work has shown their true colours.

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Post  CarolynAH on Fri Sep 13, 2019 5:40 pm

Maybe, I worked 100% from home and honestly didn't care for my new boss very much or what he wanted from me. It's hard at times working like that. I missed engaging with my coworkers. But I also admit it gave me time and space to become confident in myself. Now that will be tested. Now it's time to be free of the chains of my old life and to build a new space fully as me.
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Post  mariehart1 on Sun Sep 15, 2019 5:12 pm

You make some interesting points Carolyn. I too wonder at the notion of a gender spectrum. My tendency is to incline towards a binary view. Only the other day Sam Smith the British singer decided to changed his/her pronoun to they/them. My attitude is to pick a side not that I'm going to criticise anyone for making it work for them by labelling themselves in a particular way.


As I'm sure all of us know it's difficult to define and accept ourselves. It took me a long time to accept myself as transgender. Although I always knew instinctively but somehow managed to throw obstacles in the path to self acceptance. Sam claims to neither identify as male or female. It's my belief that they're doing the same thing.


When I finally accepted and admitted to myself that I'm transgender. I still tried to talk myself out of it. Eventually though thanks in part to my interaction with the original TG boards. I simply accepted that I am in fact a woman. I think Sam hasn't reached that point yet. Perhaps from my binary point of view a lot of non binary community are simply not yet in right place to accept their underlying gender. The problem for me was that I felt I had too many typically male attributes and interests to be a woman. Many though are simply gender stereotypes. As a society we still tend to have expectations of men and women which are simply wrong. Once you shake them off it gets easier to accept yourself.

I speak as someone who is not transitioning and depressingly may never do so. But I still perceive myself as a woman. No more, no less. I think we all have to find a way of accomodating this situation and then finally find acceptance for ourselves. Realistically we can never find total acceptance from other people, even sometimes other transgender people. As you make clear in your wonderfully articulate posts.

The only thing we can do is accept ourselves.

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Post  CarolynAH on Mon Sep 23, 2019 8:20 am

mariehart1 wrote:
I speak as someone who is not transitioning and depressingly may never do so. But I still perceive myself as a woman. No more, no less. I think we all have to find a way of accomodating  this situation and then finally find acceptance for ourselves. Realistically we can never find total acceptance from other people, even sometimes other transgender people. As you make clear in your wonderfully articulate posts.

The only thing we can do is accept ourselves.

I have been meaning to reply to you for awhile now.  My phone where I spend most of my online time nowadays has become a cranky old bitch and I lost several replies to it.  It hurts me a little to read statements like this from other transgender people. I understand full well that we each have our own path and that mine is just mine and in no way lessens your own place of comfort. Still it hurts hearing you say that the way you did because I know well that place you seem to be at.  That proverbial water's edge knowing that there is something you want out there but unsure if you can ever reach it and how in your fear that all any of it would do is bring more pain.  I think a part of me always knew that the person I projected to everyone was a just sham to hide a whole closet of things I was too terrified to face.

So I feel it took me far too long to realize that my own inaction and isolation was because I had accepted every ugly thing about me as writ and to some extent allowed that ugliness to twist my views isolate me from other people like myself.  That I was broken, ugly, worthless, my only value was to serve others as I tortured myself with dreams of the happiness and life I was in effect denying myself.  It is pretty pathetic to not even be able to commit suicide without worrying how one can do it in a way that even erases that act singular of selfishness.  Transition and "coming out to the world" has not for me made my life or anyone who I share it with any better as far as I can tell. It was ultimately been an act of selfishness, narcissism, and blood letting.  But for me it was what I had to do and once I started I could not stop it.  But I have hope that I am finally bit by bit stumbling my way to freedom for my soul and if I am very lucky something better.

Liam used to describe me as a shield maiden to his viking warrior.  But I never was and never could be. Just like I can't and won't tell you what you are or what you should do beyond saying sometimes it is okay to be selfish, to recognize all your mistakes and know the next decision you make might be the biggest yet but still trust that somehow you will survive.  A morbid joke I tell myself is I will never reach the womanhood of my dreams and neither do most women. But now at least I make a pretty crappy "guy" and can always off myself tomorrow if it all goes to shit so why not at least try.  As I have said from the start of my own self-acceptance I lead by bad example.  I have needed a whole host of women to backhand me to action.  Part of my goal now is to give whole new groups of women a chance at Whack-a-Carolyn.

In case anyone wonders what sort of idiot says and thinks these things here...
Me looking stupid...
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Post  Lesley Niyori on Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:54 pm

mariehart1 wrote:You make some interesting points Carolyn. I too wonder at the notion of a gender spectrum.

I basically support this.

To me, a non-binary person is amazingly similar to a Christian. In that, I am willing to accept them, if they are willing to accept me, but in the end, I believe what they believe, is just not defendable.

I truly believe, male and female are the only choices. Some have more stronger justifications to be one or the other than most, but, I don't support the notion of being percentage male/percentage female. I think non-binary is a reflection of a lack of faith in who they are. An inability to make the leap.

Sexuality just further confounds/confuses/mangles/clouds are sense of gender.

We are taught males should want females. How many homosexuals are just in denial about their gender, and can't see it? How many gay men, are just females in the wrong form? How many lesbians are just men in the wrong form?

Then there is bisexuality. I think it is easier to say everyone is probably bisexual to a point more so than defend the notion of non-binary.

I was married to a female for 27 years. The sex was plain, but it was always enjoyable. The thing is, in the end, I was a female inside, and I had a lot of confusing urges he could never understand. I wanted to be the girl during sex. But he had never heard of transgender.

Here I am now, getting married to another transgender female. Nope, I am not gay as some fools want me to be. My fiance is not a man either. And I am not sure I am lesbian because other women just don't excite me. But that's all a sexuality issue. I am 100+ percent female. I don't have the slightest hint of male in my gender identity. No matter how I wish to enjoy sex, I expect to be a woman doing it.

I think the biggest burder facing transgender people, is separating sexuality from the matter.
Too much of society has too many expectations of what gender roles are required to be. It's these expectations that make it hard to accept ourselves. I think most of non-binary, is a rebellion against stereotypes. Females wanting to be free from female stereotypes, and males not wishing to be trapped by male stereotypes.

I know too many non-binary people, who clearly just wish to avoid/escape gender limitations. And it forces them to hide who they really are in some cases.

But this is all opinion of course.
I'm not going to link or make reference to anything in literature to support this viewpoint.
Because often religious belief and science are biased by opinions. Research isn't always totally honest.

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Post  CarolynAH on Mon Sep 23, 2019 7:43 pm

I agree that my gut tells me non-binary identity now is mostly a sort of failure to launch, self exploration, or some rebellious social statement and that true rejection of gender as a third gender is super rare.

Sexuality is similar to non-binary identity insofar that if you accept the spectrum argument that nobody is completely hetero/homo. My opinion is that view is wrong headed. Your sexuality is how you feel and experience romance and intimacy with another person and has fuck all to do with how others view it from the outside. So even two partners in the same moment can have very different sexualities. I avoid attractions here because it muddles the waters and the truest expression of our sexuality is with those with whom we are fully romantic and intimate with. My ex before I came out to her saw our relationship as hetero. But for me to even function I had to view it inside myself very differently and perform in a more lesbian way. My relationship with Liam was very similar, however much I tried to make myself view him as a man the reality was I was top and stuck to the usual lesbian script. Christy is very different and frankly for a girl who at first described herself as "submissive" I have been fucked almost sore by her more times than any prior relationship. For me this is the most lesbian and free of dysphoria I have ever felt.

I still have issues with feeling romantic towards other transwomen. It's a bit like we share too much and are more like sisters for me as well as I still have unresolved trauma with phalluses so pre-op girls I feel like I'm not a good romantic partner for them. I thought I was getting better but in a dating app a girl was being frisky and implied that she was still "functional" I felt myself emotionally shut down right there and found it really hard to find a way to gently move us to "just friends" after without dredging up more pain. Where I am at I feel like my relationship with Christy has been really good for me like I am finally starting to know my full self and feel confident in it. My hope is in time to feel free enough to not fear my past and be that salty dyke and friend that can be good friends with the guys and in the same moment a completely femme, caring, and loving wife, mom, girlfriend with those who I chose to hold close.





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Post  mariehart1 on Wed Sep 25, 2019 10:52 pm

I agree that my gut tells me non-binary identity now is mostly a sort of failure to launch, self exploration, or some rebellious social statement and that true rejection of gender as a third gender is super rare. wrote:

I think so. I honestly feel I can't criticise anyone who believes themselves, gender fluid or a third gender. Because I was there. Not in the same way. I characterised myself as a transvestite or crossdresser for far to many years. Even though I actually really knew. But couldn't accept it.


Later I eventually accepted I was transgender. But instead of embracing it. I decided to end my life because I knew it could never happen. I was right about that. I even picked out the spot, a canal in Harold's Cross in Dublin.

But I did something weird. I met a woman. I loved her. I love her now. But really I never was attracted to her.

So I suppressed everything.

It didn't work.


Anyway, long story short, eventually thanks in part to Transgender boards. I simply accepted that I am a woman.

Not gender fluid, not a they. I may be a male with a penis to my disgust. But I'm a woman.

Yes there's a male, sterotype of me and yes a female stereotype.

But in the modern era women are allowed to be non sterotypical even if men are not.


I was always a bit effeminate. I didn' t realise that but in retrospective. I see that people saw me as gay because of course they never realised there was anything other. The biggest clue was that a gay guy made a serious effort to woo me. Yet I entirely missed it.

Of course I spent years avoiding it.##


So it's no surprise that people invent a persona that's not quite female or male.



My persona is female. I didn't invent it. I just am.

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Post  Celia Eriksson on Fri Sep 27, 2019 1:44 am

Hi Marie and Carolyn,

Marie, I want to write something here about one thing you wrote. This is for any young people that should alight our pages feeling like you did once, thinking of that canal in Harold's Cross and all.

Let me tell you. The one thing I know for sure.... is that you, being the reader, may be down today, but tomorrow, next week, next month, next year you may be the happiest person upon the earth. Stay with us, things are NEVER as bad as they seem.

That is hard to write, hard to read, believe me, we have all been there, down in the doldrums and soon we are not, soon we find that we are so very happy. Things pass quicker than you imagine.  

You were once there Marie? So was I. I was told exactly, pretty well, what I wrote above and sure enough, within a year I was happy. I'd left a complete bastard and was living a new life travelling to UK racecourses, a free spirit with the world before me, oh I got betrayed after, but there ya go.

Love you both and sorry to say, but ... I interjected! (I am changing the 'God' storylines Marie....)! Sorry everyone else, private joke.

Celia xx

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Post  mariehart1 on Fri Sep 27, 2019 10:05 am

Thanks C

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