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Kathy's Komments

This page will have regular comments from Kathy.

 

"Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth."
( John F. Kennedy - Address to the UN General Assembly-(25 September 1961.) -http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/John_F._Kennedy

 

Symptoms and Causes

 


In many instances it appears that the medicos treat our symptoms, and not the causes.

Symptom? - Depression!   So take some anti-depressants. They are not looking at the cause, which is gender dysphoria.

This then consigns us to the wrong treatment, and in many cases will exacerbate the problem, as the depression becomes deeper.

Cause?  Gender dysphoria. So, OK what is needed to be done to alleviate the problem/cause?  Counselling, understanding, tests, hormones support, but not a dictatorial approach that says "do as I say, and you will be allowed to have SRS after you have complied to certain guidelines"

This is now imposing the will of the medico on the person who seeks help for what they really know about themselves, when the medico knows virtually nothing about this condition, as they do not in the main have any first hand knowledge of the suffering that we go thru!

Basically, they are imposing their will on us, which is akin to dealing with a symptom again. I believe that as had been stated, we all go at different speeds in our transition and this is not taken into account. The nearest to this is in the SOC guidelines that states there should be "Flexibility" which I for one am all for.

We consign the younger ones to years of being interviewed, talked at, told what they should and should not do, and then wonder why they suffer Depression, Frustration and Suicide. It is not that much different for late comers either, except they may have come to terms with waiting due to the length of time they have put aside their dysphoric feelings, for one reason or another.

Many self dose in order to achieve their end game of change. Are they to be pushed aside because they dare to know what they are/feel.

Is it because they question the establishment and what it means to them, not us!

The longer I have to fight the establishment, the more I realise that it is not in their scheme of things to allow us the benefits of saying to us "you were right all along, and we should listen to you more often"

To me, this only indicates the vast need for us to be even stronger and band together for a bigger voice in our quest for our rights over our own bodies and lives, but then I will be cried down for thinking in this way!

Love and Peace,

Kathy - 07/09/2007


Barry and the Surgeon

 We know we are different and most people have no problem with people who are different, either because of their sexuality or their gender. But it is disappointing that governments, authorities in general and churches don’t really make the path easy.  After all we are just ordinary human beings who have a condition over which we have no control and which, if untreated may lead to depression and possibly, early death.

I have two stories true to tell, one about the tragic consequences of communities not accepting people who are born with a ‘difference’. Differences that society still refuse to accept. The second is about psychiatry and its role in the preparation of transsexuals for reassignment surgery.

 

Barry.

A gay man whom I knew for nearly twenty years, suffered terrible damage from his parents when he was a teenager. He realised that he was gay by the time he had gone through puberty. He also knew that he wasn’t like the other boys in his class at his militaristic and religious school. He just wasn’t interested in relationships with girls. He grew up in the late 1960s and 1970s when being gay was losing the stigma that it had in former times. He thought his parents would understand and he told them about himself when he returned home from senior boarding school. Both his father and mother were members of a very strictly controlled religious order which forbade any kind of ‘sexual deviance’: homosexuals, transsexuals or anybody who did not, live strictly within the literal interpretation of the bible. They were shocked by his revelation.

His father, in particular, refused to accept his son’s self diagnosis and ‘took him in hand’ angrily demanding that he ‘stand to attention’ when he spoke to him and ordered him to ‘change his ways’ and go back to school and ‘be a man or take the consequences’. His father drilled him and ordered him about continually and quoted passages from the bible.

The boy, let’s call him Barry, became very unhappy. He went back to school and finished his education and decided to adopt a gay lifestyle. He was extremely intelligent. He was also gifted in an artistic way and possessed a talent for writing and was also competent at mathematics. On leaving school he went through various occupations, including time learning horticulture which he enjoyed.

Unfortunately he also had a predilection for alcohol and soon he was introduced to drugs by ‘friends’. Gradually he became an addict. Then one day a friend, also an alcoholic, introduced him to Alcoholics Anonymous. He found it a huge help and he soon dried out altogether. The friend, who was now his sponsor, worked in publishing and thought that Barry had talent for editorial work. Soon Barry became a very competent editor. This was about the time in the early 1990s when computers were becoming so necessary as a tool for typesetting, design and layout. Barry decided to learn about computers and what they could do and before long he was an expert in using them, not just for editorial work but also as a graphic designer. He developed new friendships and lived his gay lifestyle happily with various partners.

But he had never made up with his father and he bitterly remembered the terrible scars he carried from his teenage years. Perhaps it was the memories he carried but whatever was the trigger, he hit the booze and drugs again. This time others came to his aid and he spent time in detoxification and went into an enlightened church sponsored rehabilitation programme where he stayed for over twelve months. He supported himself with work from the publishing industry. Ultimately he came out of rehab and joined the workforce again as a freelance graphic designer, book editor and photographer. He specialised in flower photography and was soon providing photographs for some of the leading publishers in Australia and England and travelled the world photographing and selling his excellent pictures to publishers. His private life was a happy one and he found a permanent partner and together they established a very happy relationship. During this time a truce was developed with his father, but is was a very uneasy peace. Barry hated Christmas when he had to spend the holidays with his family and endure the looks and innuendos which clearly indicated that no one really accepted him for who and what he really was.

 Just recently Barry thought that his partner was being unfaithful and the pair went through a difficult time. Once again Barry was drawn into drugs, possibly as a result of a pill being secretly dropped into a soft drink at a gay community celebration during an overseas holiday.

He was hooked again and this time it was all too hard. He lost his savings through drug addiction. He spent much of the time going over his early life and the failure of his parents to accept him as a gay man. He sank further into the twin perils that had tormented him all his life.

Not so long ago he jumped off the top floor of a city car park and ended his life. The true cause of his depression and his addictions were simply the result of his family being unable to truly accept him as he was—a gay man. Perhaps his last and final strike at the world in general was to carefully leave all forms of personal identification at his home. It took police some days to establish who this ‘John Doe’ was. Perhaps it was his last act of retribution directed towards a family and society in general for its lack of tolerance towards those, who through no fault of their own, find it impossible to accept at most levels, people who are different.

  

The Surgeon.

I went through male to female reassignment surgery just over twelve months ago and unfortunately there have been some post operative complications. I am not exactly a young person, described by my surgeon as ‘elderly’, a term which I am not sure whether I resent or not, but I have to admit is true. I try to keep a healthy lifestyle but there is always something that lets us down. That is life.

Recently I have been talking to Kathy about the period when she came to me and gave me the information I needed in order to fully understand the steps I needed to take to change my sex. I was widowed nine years ago after a lifetime of trying to deal with my doubts I had about my gender. I am one of those people loosely labelled ‘late developers’. It was not until I really let the whole ‘cat of the bag’ that I realised that the things that I didn’t really understand about myself were really clear and shining beacons of light showing me that I was really transsexual and had been all my life.

Before the arrival of the internet it was extremely difficult to find any information. I had been executive in a publishing company since my mid twenties and I could not, for one minute, entertain the thought that I had some sort of sexual problem. Hide, hide, hide, was the only medicine I knew. Bury it and say nothing! What would that sort of thing do to my career? So I did nothing and lived with it for the next thirty-five years or so.

One can only live one life at a time (so to speak) and it is impossible to know, when one has the same body type and sexual organs as someone else who isn’t transsexual, that what we experience throughout our life isn’t experienced by those people who are not transsexual but do have the same body type and sexual organs. We don’t talk about it to those friends with the same physical gender who aren’t transsexual, and thus it can take some of us almost a lifetime to realise that we are really different. The condition of living with this very subtle difference to others but having the same body type is really the very key to understanding ourselves.

We know eventually. In my case I was 59 and getting over the death of my wife.

The things that tipped the scale for me when I looked back over my life :

(a) Wanting to play with the little girls when I was a very young child and before puberty but not really wanting to have girl friends after puberty, but having to buckle under societal pressure and get girl friends (in my case very few) in order to conform.

(b) Loving to look at girls but really looking at them from the point of view of a woman and loving the look and the fashions but deep inside wanting to be able to wear the shoes or skirts I saw—not as any kind of sex objects but because they were the clothes I really wanted to wear all the time.

(c) Never really being happy with the sex act as a man performs it.

(d) Doing the act with little interest over a period but actually being able to sire a child.

(e) Of  having a wife who, in my case, after giving birth to a daughter, didn’t want sexual relations with me or anyone else and then actually feeling a huge surge of relief, because nothing was expected of me any more.

(f) Living a totally  married life but without a sexual relationship still thoroughly enjoying the company of that person who was my wife and deeply loving her as a very, very close friend. More like a woman’s best female friend.

(g) Feeling the need to cross dress regularly and doing it without the release of some sexual gratification and feeling not just a sense of happiness, but of relief. Like you were really home again.

So when I look back, I knew, but it just didn’t click with me because I really knew nothing about the condition. If there had been an internet, if I had had the courage to look for counselling or psychiatric help, I may have been led to understand. But I was too frightened, but also, far too proud and fearful that I might lose my position and, even worse, my house and my little family!

That then leads me to suspect that the psychiatric examinations and permissions that we have to have may not really be needed. Certainly not in their present form. That transsexual people shouldn’t have to jump through hoops and provide the psychiatrist with proof so that permission is granted for reassignment surgery. Whose life is it anyway?

There are many examples of people who have jumped through all these hoops, done all the tricks, supposedly, then been given approval for reassignment but after all that, a number of years later, decide that it was wrong and they decide to sue the surgeon and the psychiatrist for giving permission. That in itself is one good reason to say that the process is flawed. Because it gives people an out if they aren’t being honest with themselves or the psychiatrist.

 My surgeon accepted me for who I was and believed I was from the very first appointment. He treated me as a woman, was always extremely polite, calling me ‘love’ and ‘dear’, and, being a very male sort of a man, always taking the lead in any sort of conversation. With him, I felt I was a real woman even though I still had a penis. He didn’t appear to be particularly interested in what my psychiatrist had to say and asked nothing about it. But he did insist on the two psychiatric reports being supplied before surgery. Having had something to do with the law and contracts over my years in business I believe that the forms he told me that I must sign prior to surgery would cover him pretty well if I had a change of mind later.

I think that is what it should be and how it should work. I don’t believe in the idea that we can blame someone else for our own mistakes. I have always had to pay for my own mistakes. That is what life really is about. Not about trying to find scapegoats.

I also think that the use of psychiatry should have a greater emphasis on the gain for the transsexual. It will help the person feel more comfortable and to prepare for the new life rather than being some sort of test to prove that the person is a successful or suitable candidate, who, having been selected and passed the test can officially be she and her after surgery (or he and him in female to male). I don’t believe anybody but us, by our actions and feelings inside can really be the judge.

I’d be interested in any feedback that people have about this matter via Kathy.

Marion Child

 



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