Oneness Ministry

We are One

It’s Not About Surgery

Anyone in the Transgender community knows what the treatment for Gender Dysphoria is.  As stated by WPATH, Treatment for gender dysphoria varies with severity of symptoms, but may include counseling, crossdressing, contra-hormone therapy, and surgery.  Here is an article which explains the nuances quite well.  It is so very important to emphasize the counseling rather than the surgery in my opinion for several reasons.  This obviously will be different for each person, so take this with a grain of salt.

The Transgender journey to me is all about acceptance, both of who you are and what you have to work with.  So if someone goes out and modifies their appearance and/or function (SRS/GRS) does this really change who they are?  This may or may not help to alleviate the perceptions of the individual and those who meet this transgender individual.  From my experience, invasive treatment is really beside the point and offers nothing more than something to compare with.  Meaning, you have a different presentation and perhaps this feels good at first, but after a while you realize it just doesn’t matter.  The roles you play are different, but you are still that same person at the core (with the same mental/emotional issues).  Let’s face it, we are all playing roles in society and these roles seem to define us, but do they really? Does the fact that you are working as a mechanic or a mother or a manager really make you who you are?  Or is it the other way around?  You define the roles!  At least this is the way it should be in my opinion.  So by defining a role you decide if women are good mechanics or if hair dressers are bitchy.  You; not your gender defines the role.

So the transition journey is really about coming to an acceptance of who you are or to say it more simply, liking yourself!   We all go through this process and transgender people have just chosen to do it by way of gender.  Substance abuse is another way to “find yourself” and come to an acceptance.  There are many challenges we each unconsciously choose as our own method of spiritual growth!  You are probably engaged in this process right now in your own way.  The good news is no matter which path you choose the Universe conspires to make it the most productive learning lesson it can be.

We each define our own parameters for what is acceptable to a certain extent; however we are each a part of the whole and society is one aspect of that whole.  So why do we allow society to dictate these parameters?  Because we are part of the whole!  So then it becomes a matter of conformity.  I find it interesting that most people consider themselves non-conformists, but they are still a part of society and in their own way conforming to the greater whole (myself included).  It is my understanding that we each make up one part of this whole and that we are each different.

So why not just be this different person and stop trying to conform to a perceived reality?  This is in fact my vow, to be myself and be happy with who I am.  Yes, I was born male and yes I feel most comfortable in women’s clothing, so what?  I am attracted to loving people, not to body parts.  I wish to be loved just like everyone else!  And I wish to be that loving person within my own comfort zone, which with some effort is constantly expanding.

The point here is that surgery and hormones are a tool for an effect, but they do not change who you truly are!  If others have difficulty with your appearance or behavior that is actually their issue not yours.  Continue being your authentic self and loving it!  Why? Because the other choices are just not any fun, at least not in the long run.

Sequoia Elisabeth 🙂

Unity in Gender Diversity

 

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Transgender Suicide

“Transgender Suicide Report

For the last five years Laura’s Playground has prevented Transgender suicides on line. (Click Here for a link) The estimate of transgender suicides in our community is between 31% to 50% depending on who in the community we talk to. Few outside our Community acknowledge or believe these numbers including Dr Kenneth Zucker and Doctors Blanchard and Baily. Until now it’s all been guesswork. Actual numbers were hard to come by as it is hard enough for families to admit there was a suicide let alone that the victims were transgender. The fact is most medical examiners do not know if a person was gay or transgender due to families too embarrassed to report it. Here we have 5 suicide prevention crisis rooms in chat that are all busy. Our staff both moderators and supervisors are certified in youth suicide prevention. The fact is we have actual numbers not just an estimate. In a 5 year period here this site handled 78,800 suicidal crisis’s online. They were of 3 types. Type 3 being suicide ideation, Type 2 being suicide ideation with a plan and Type 1 being actual suicide attempts.

Type 3 = 46933 Type 2 = 20238 Type 1= 11629

In addition, in a survey here over 50% of Transsexuals had at least one suicide attempt by their 20th birthday some as young as 7. This was also verified by chat transcripts of the crisis’s especially in the early years. Reasons given for suicide in order:

1) Problems coming out to homophobic friends, families and co-workers. Homophobia in general including slurs.

2) Body Image Distress or disgust – puberty

3) Discrimination – Housing – Employment – Church’s

4) Victims of Hate crimes and/or violence

These are actual numbers and reflect what is really going on in the community. Many had more than 1 reason combining 1 and 2 and others. The biggest surprise was the role homophobia played in suicide ideation. If homophobia stopped tomorrow the suicide rate would be significantly reduced which means it is preventable.” (Laura Amato 2012)

The one reason I see lacking here is money.  Many transsexuals lack the money to have any treatment at all and most lack the funds to have SRS/GRS.  We are talking 50k to 150K depending on surgery, electrolysis, therapy, and hormones.  Those who are most severely dysphoric are most likely to end it all due to a lack of funds.  It is an option I keep in the back of my mind and review quite often.  Fortunately, I understand I am not my body and removing the body will not fix anything.  I even hesitate to have surgery at all knowing that ultimately it changes only my appearance.  My soul has no gender, but that is another story.

The good news is there are organizations working hard to remedy this predicament many of us face.  Advocacy groups are working to change the insurance laws and get transgender care including surgery added to most plans. The AMA has come out and stated that surgery is a medically necessary treatment for Gender Dysphoria, see my website for link to statement. As it stands now, a few carry it as a rider and most of these are because the Corporation or Municipality negotiated/demanded them into the options they offer.

Many larger communities have organizations who offer low cost therapy and Denver has several.  The Gender Identity Center, who I volunteer with, offers therapy and hormone letters to those in need on an ability to pay basis. Here is a link to therapists who specialize in gender care.  If you can’t afford them, ask for options in your area.  I am happy to help if I can, also check my website for other resources.

The Jim Collins Foundation offers a grant for surgery to those meeting their qualifications, click here for info.  Some surgeons offer scholarships or grant programs to assist their clients in payment.  Check with your surgeon to find out what they offer.  I do know Dr. Reed in Miami has a program for the first 13 per year who apply.  There are companies like Satori Medical who help clients find low cost surgery in Thailand and other locations.  Many creative solutions have been found over the years by many a resourceful individual.  Necessity is the Mother of Invention after all!

The best way to deal with a perceived lack is to help someone else fulfill their need.  This is one reason I started this website, to give what I need!  If you know of a need in the world, reach out and help, you will be helping yourself.

🙂 Sequoia Elisabeth

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Mirrors of Friendship II

Transition is a long and sometimes arduous journey so it is very important to treasure each moment of Joy and each success along the path.  Doing this alone is certainly possible, but the Joy grows exponentially when there is someone who cares to share the experiences with.

Often the decision to begin the transition journey i.e. come out to your partner or parent(s) is the biggest challenge.  Will they accept you?  The real question is do you accept yourself?  The only way to know if you accept yourself is to observe how others treat you.  I know this may seem backward or strange, but this is just how it works.  Understand this… you are all there is, all else is a reflection of who you are.  This may seem odd and self-centered, but it is the Truth and it is both good and bad news.

I call this the mirror principle.  Life is often like living in a house of mirrors, and it can get pretty confusing.  This being said let’s get back to your partner who is having difficulty with your coming out news.  Each person in your life has their own vision of you… as a reflection of themselves, because from their perspective they are the only person there is!  So, be gentle with your expectations of them just as you are gentle with your expectations of yourself.  Do on to others as you would have done on to you, because they are you!  We are One.  Each person is an individuation of the whole; the One; all there is.  All those who are close to you will transition with you or they will fall out of your life.  Transition/change is like walking into a new room, if they do not come with you,… well you get the idea.

When you think about this it explains a lot about the reactions and treatment you get from others.  You may or may not be treated well, however the longer and deeper your understanding of this reality the better life gets.  Those who see themselves to be like you or see something in common are going to be supportive and understanding (and vice versa).  This is a great reason to join a support group!  The internet is a great place to look for one, or you could ask around, network with friends and if you still need help, contact me – I am here for you.  The time spent with others on a similar journey will help you to better understand yourself and give you the opportunity to grow self love.  The Love you give is the Love you receive!  Not only do support groups offer much needed information such as where to go to get the things you need, what to look out for along the path, and who can help you; they show you who you are and I find this to be the greatest gift anyone can offer!

🙂 Sequoia Elisabeth

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What Does It Mean To Be Transgender

What does it mean to be Transgender?  While this is a personal question it does apply to at least 3% of the population.  The LGBTQ population is estimated to be around 10% so let us take a closer look to see the relevancy of the “T”.

First off the term transgender is fairly new being coined in the Sixties and meaning simply a person appearing to or attempting to be a member of the opposite sex, such as a transsexual or habitual crossdresser.  It is an umbrella term often used to include the entire community of individuals who cross gender boundaries on a consistent basis.  This brings us to a terminological issue.  There are many terms being used these days with new ones popping up frequently.  Just to name a few, Transsexual, Crossdresser, Gender Queer, Gender Variant, Gender Bender, and Misogynist. (see TransTerminology for definitions)  The point is we each have a different view point on identity, so take this blog as my view and adapt it to yours, … or not.

Gender Identity is an innate trait expressed with terms and understandings available to the individual at the time.  So, those who haven’t the education on such things have no way to express in words how they feel.  They can of course dress and present how they want given the social fortitude to do so.  Which is precisely the point most meaningful to all of us, Are you comfortable in how you present to the world?  Do you present your comfort to the world or do you conform to social pressures?

Understand there is a big difference between conformity and comfort.  Authenticity is another level of expression often over looked.  I think the process often runs the gamut from conformity when young and first dealing with society, comfort when alone or in a safe space, and then extending out as the “safe space” extends.  The end goal is comfortable authenticity at all times which is no small task to a person who perceives themself as different.  While this is painfully true with Transgender individuals it is often a “rite of passage” for everyone to some degree, shape or form.  The awkwardness of adolescence is only compounded by a variant gender identity, often without the individuals even realizing it.  This is something peers and family usually bring to issue.

Authenticity is expressing your true self in a comfortable and honest fashion.  It requires a complete acceptance of who you are and total honesty with both yourself and others.  On one level you do not concern yourself with others, while at the same time you pay attention to how you are treated because you know this is a valuable clue to how you feel about yourself.

The meaning of being Transgender undergoes an evolution then from simply being different and separate …to total acceptance of being just one of an infinite array of unique individuals unified as a whole of mankind.  It is important to understand that everyone is unique and offer wonderful gifts of their own, just as you do.  There is no shame in celebrating these gifts with all the world, in fact the shame is in not doing so!  Be easy with yourself and get help along the path.  Reaching this point sometimes takes a lifetime or more.

🙂 Sequoia Elisabeth

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What Is Your Story

We are each on a carousel ride, the same carousel.  The ride goes round and round while we each view and experience things differently.   Even if you are sitting in my lap, you experience it different.  What this boils down to is we each have our own story, the story of our lives.  The part we share is the carousel!

What if you were to take your story and toss it in the trash?  You think it is inseparable?  You are not your story, just as I am not my story.  What makes a story?  Is the story ever complete?  Is it ever over?  Do the stories interconnect?  You know, like a TV series with successive stories, one episode after another?  The characters are the same in each episode, just as they are in your story.  If a character loses a contract they are written out of the story, just as people sometimes leave our lives either by dying or by situation, like divorce or simply moving away.

The stories will interweave as characters cross paths, sometimes staying for a while and sometimes only for a brief smile.  The paths can pass close without touching or they can collide head on!  What does it all mean?

The answer is up to you because there is no meaning until you give it some.  The simple fact is there is no story but the one you create by living your life!  So is your life living your story or your story living your life?  Which came first the chicken or the egg?  Funny how we love that question, or at least I do.

I wrote my gender focused story and published it as part of a larger story of Sex and Sexuality.  It was therapy for me because I did not understand my own story.  I needed to step back and get a bigger picture.  It all seems like a dream to me now, in some ways maybe a nightmare.  None of it seems real anymore, because I have awoken to a different reality and yet I have only awoken within a dream.  A dream within a dream!

Love to hear your story or at least your comments on these thoughts.  Maybe you have shared these thoughts or parts of them.  I love how a million people can see a beautiful vista and see it differently every time!  Maybe your story is more meaningful when it is shared.  Maybe it is not yours till you give it away!

Sequoia Elisabeth 🙂

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Humility Revisited

Each person has their understanding of what humility is and it will depend greatly on the traditions in which you are raised.  Let’s face it, we are the culmination of our beliefs and our beliefs are handed down from our forefathers.  With Loving care and diligence these beliefs can be shifted and molded to direct your life in the direction of the most high.

The origin of the word humility is “early 14c., from O.Fr. humilité , from L. humilitatem  (nom. humilitas) “lowness, insignificance,” in Church L. “meekness,” from humilis  “humble.” In the Mercian hymns, L. humilitatem  is glossed by O.E. eaðmodnisse” (Online Etymology Dictionary, 2010).

Look now at the dictionary meaning of Hum·ble, which is the root word for Humility.

–adjective

1. not proud or arrogant; modest: to be humble although successful.

2. having a feeling of insignificance, inferiority, subservience, etc.: In the presence of so many world-famous writers I felt very humble.

3. low in rank, importance, status, quality, etc.; lowly: of humble origin; a humble home.

4. courteously respectful: In my humble opinion you are wrong.

5. low in height, level, etc.; small in size: a humble member of the galaxy.

–verb (used with object)

6. to lower in condition, importance, or dignity; abase.

7. to destroy the independence, power, or will of.

8. to make meek: to humble one’s heart.

(humble. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged. Retrieved December 02, 2010, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/humble)

Now that you have a good feel for the word, consider how this feeling serves you in transition.  Most people and especially the transgender community are well familiar with the feeling of embarrassment, disgrace, and humiliation.  These are typically emotions we avoid like the plague!  When you do experience them it is painful and the effects last for days if not longer.

What if instead of getting upset about these events you choose to be grateful for them and accepted them as a gift?  How is this possible you ask?  Quite simply shift your perception and see these events in their true light.  The truth, by the way, is always humbling.  As an example, assume that you are wearing a wig (because you feel your hair is too thin) and in full view of public your wig falls off.  Several people turn and see you, including a cute person behind the counter who you like.  The first reaction is to panic, grab the wig and run!  This would of course make things worse.  Instead consider the possibility of breathing deeply, moving slowly, picking the wig up, and carefully putting it back in place, asking for help if need be.  Feel the humility of such an event and do not run from it.  Allow that cute person behind the counter to see the real you, the part that God sees, the lovable part in God’s eyes.

So often in life you allow the ego to run your life and this is where the fear and discomfort comes from in the first place.  When Spirit is what animates you then Love is behind every action and even if you fall flat on your face in a restaurant full of people, Loving care, and concern is what reflects back because it is Spirit that fills you.  You see – whatever you experience is a reflection of what flows through you.  If it is ego, then pride fills you and your experience is that of embarrassment, however if it is Great Spirit/God/Universal Intelligence that fills you then Care and Compassion is your experience.  This is the gift of humility!

🙂  Sequoia Elisabeth

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Pain and Suffering

The road is what you make it; however anyone can navigate a straight and level path.  Perhaps the journey is not meant to be easy, but instead to be challenging, eventful, and fulfilling.  Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

This is an important distinction which I wish to make clear.  Suffering is optional!  My definition of suffering is avoidable pain.  The example that best explains it is a pebble which has gotten into your shoe.  It is large enough to cause a blister and perhaps eventually break the skin, whether you stop and remove the pebble or not is up to you.  Leaving it in all day is suffering.  With this said let us now consider muddier examples.

Say you were born with a birth defect like a cleft lip or missing fingers.  The pain is indirect now and so the suffering is harder to avoid.  Or say the defect is more profound such as Down’s syndrome.  In these situations the pain is often more for the family than it is for the individual.  The opportunity to grow extends to all those around this person.  From my perspective it is a larger gift, if used in this way.  The point here is each challenge is an opportunity to share Love (God’s Unconditional Love).

Now let us consider gender dysphoria or transgender/transsexual.  The pain from this condition is often mental/psychological and so it is even further removed and harder to avoid.  It is possible to go your entire life avoiding this gender confrontation, and some do this very thing.  However now a days the treatment of hormones and surgery have become available to remove the physical distress this condition offers up.  Since this is really a mental/psychological condition do the physical changes remove the pain or simply remove the obstacles associated with it?  The latter would be my answer and so any treatment that does not include psychological therapies is useless in my opinion.  Perhaps the psychological therapy is all that is really needed!

After many years of walking this road of gender dysphoria I have concluded the real message here is about Love and acceptance of the self.  If you cannot accept yourself as you were born then accepting the body after surgery is simply another delusion.  With this in mind, to run off and have surgery early on is simply perpetuating the problem instead of healing it!  At some point surgery is a viable option, but not till and unless the individual is able to comfortably express love for the self.  Perhaps this is the gift a therapist can most assist the individual with!  The road to self-love is often a long one, however if gender dysphoria or any dysphoria for that matter is being experienced this is a sign, a call for help if you will.

When I first entered therapy for gender dysphoria I was told only about 5% of people successfully transition from man to woman or vice versa.  This is because many are comfortable somewhere in between, so this is not to say they are unsuccessful, but simply they did not realize where balance would be achieved or that the journey was really about learning to love the self!

🙂  Sequoia Elisabeth

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Are You Transgender

How does one know they are transgender?  The answer to this question is both easy and complex.  Easy in that only the individual knows they are transgender by how they self-identify and complex in that identities often blur together.

Transgender – A person appearing to or attempting to be a member of the opposite sex, such as a transsexual or habitual crossdresser.  This is an umbrella term often used to include the entire community of individuals who cross gender boundaries on a consistent basis.  Dressing as the opposite sex for a school play, at Halloween, or once or twice as a youngster does not make you transgender.

A person can identify with many others who are important in their life.  Gender is not always important, meaning they may identify with both men and woman and sometimes other beings as well, such as animals, plants, or insects.  We do it all the time, it is called anthropomorphication, projecting human characteristics on to things other than human.  Pets are a favorite subject for this.  Identity is a fluid thing, because we are all connected through Great Spirit.

Getting back to self-identity, gender identity is usually apparent by the age of 3-6.  For this reason historically the Native Americans and recently some modern families are choosing to allow their child to tell them how they identify instead of looking between the legs and then pasting them with an identity of boy or girl.  Certain characteristics such as toys chosen, behavior in certain situations, and how the child interacts with others can be indicators of masculine or feminine characteristics.  However just because a boy likes to play with dolls does not make him transgender either.

Gender is a spectrum not a binary and in fact 80% of the population falls somewhere in the middle of the bell curve.  It is rare to be totally male or completely female in gender.  Just think back about your life and whether you enjoyed doing things which were considered opposite of your gender?

The main gist of the growing numbers of Transgender identified individuals is equality.  Everyone no matter their gender, race, orientation, status, finances, appearance, mentality or any other characteristic deserves to be treated as an equal.  Each person in their own way is an expression of God, Great Spirit, or Infinite Intelligence.  And it is up to the individual to decide how they identify!  Our job is to lovingly accept them.

Doctors, Lawyers, or parents do not have the right to impose their interpretations on any other person.  Now they can and will offer their expertise, but it is still up to the individual to take that information and do with it what they will.  Even a child 3-6 years old can tell their parents how they feel.

The parent can then provide opportunity for the child to explore their feelings, and with love and support the child will fulfill their destiny.  And for those individuals who have suppressed these feelings for decades it is never too late to give yourself permission to be true to you!!  Ultimately, Love is the answer to every question.

I encourage those with gender doubts or questions to explore their feelings by looking deep within the heart.  The only way to know for sure is to try different gender role expressions.  When you arrive at a conclusion it will feel right.  Of course, this is for the moment because life is filled with moments and this feeling may change, although the wiring of the brain is fixed at birth.  Ultimately life is an exercise in discovery and forgiveness.

🙂 Sequoia Elisabeth

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Gender Incongruency Part 2

Gender Incongruency part 2 is the continuation of the simple straight-forward definition provided previously and now we delve into why Gender Incongruency is the preferred term verses Gender Identity Disorder.

The documentation provided on the different views of Gender Identity Dysphoria sound complex, but really it is not that complicated when you break it down.  I will do my best to provide clear reasoning to explain it.  First of all everyone has Gender Identity, just as they have a sexual orientation.  When this identity is incongruent with the natal sex and established stereotypes a diagnosis of Gender Identity Disorder is given.  Since this is really an issue of incongruency and not necessarily a dysfunction the term disorder is inappropriate.

Think carefully about the term disorder.  Most allopathic treatments use a chemical and/or a surgical approach by prescribing a medicine or surgically altering the body to treat the illness or disorder.  Medicines are intended to be temporary till the body heals itself.  Gender Dysphoria is based on an incongruency from birth.  Some feel it is a birth defect, depending on how it manifests.  Often, if the patient is born completely male or female they do not deal with the issue due to societal and peer pressure until later in life. They have dealt with this condition all their life because they do not know any better.  Since there are many things in this world that do not make sense we all deal with incongruences.  Is it so hard to believe that a person cannot live with these feelings?

“Principle 18 of The Yogyakarta Principles states that “Notwithstanding any classifications to the contrary, a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity are not, in and of themselves, medical conditions and are not to be treated, cured, or suppressed.” According to these Principles, any gender identity of a transsexual or transgendered person is neither “disorder” nor mental illness, thus the diagnosis “gender identity disorder” can be contradictory and irreverent.” (Wikipedia.com, 2012)

Given this fact and the fact that physicians need a way to treat patients who request it the term Gender Incongruency seems very appropriate, thus the Concerned Professionals proposal.  The other issue is treatment and payment.  In our present system insurance usually picks up the bill but many specifically exclude transgender/transsexual treatments.  This trend is shifting however and it is because they have a diagnosis in the DSM to use along with the ICD-10 that insurance is willing to cover hormone therapy, although most do not cover surgical interventions.  Lobbying by activist groups, LGBT awareness groups, and allies have helped increase awareness of the need a great deal.

Eventually Gender Identity will not be pathologized and people will be free to live outside the gender binary.  This is another trend that is promising at the moment.  However there will still be individuals who feel they need to change their sex and who benefit from hormone treatment, so the health care system needs to be prepared to address these needs.  Insurance needs to cover this simple and relatively inexpensive treatment, esp. when compared to other sophisticated medical treatments.  Gender Incongruency conveys the essence of this condition quite nicely.

🙂 Sequoia Elisabeth

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Gender Incongruency

Gender Incongruency may be unfamiliar to some of our readers so I will take the next two Transitions Blogs to explain it further.  I will first give the simple straight-forward definition of it and then in the next part explain why it is the preferred term now verses Gender Identity Disorder.

Incongruous or Incongruent:

— adj

1. incompatible with (what is suitable); inappropriate

2. containing disparate or discordant elements or parts (Dictionary.com)

Thus applied to gender it means the individual feels certain parts (gender and/or sex) are incompatible, inappropriate, disparate, or discordant.  The definition of transgender varies a little from transsexual so I will simply say that transgender is an umbrella term that covers all gender non-conforming identities, while transsexual is more specific to a feeling of marked incongruity requiring both hormone therapy and sexual reassignment surgery.  The diagnosis of gender incongruency would apply to all transsexuals, and some but not all transgender individuals.

Treatment is the way I discern the difference between transgender and transsexual.  Many transgender individuals need no treatment at all other than the acknowledgement of their gender expression and role.  Sexual orientation or sexual pleasure type are separate issues and are not discussed here.  The following definitions from the American Psychiatric Association, Concerned Professionals, and The Yogyakarta Principles are offered in regards to Transsexualism mainly, but also pertain to Transgender, esp The Yogyakarta Principles.

First let us consider in the United States, the American Psychiatric Association permits a diagnosis of gender identity disorder if the four diagnostic criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4thEdition, Text-Revised (DSM-IV-TR) are met. (There is a proposal to change this GID diagnosis term to Gender Incongruence in the new DSM-V, of which I will discuss further in the next blog)

The criteria are:

  • Long-standing and strong identification with another gender
  • Long-standing disquiet about the sex assigned or a sense of incongruity in the gender-assigned role of that sex
  • Significant clinical discomfort or impairment at work, social situations, or other important life areas.
  • The diagnosis is not made if the individual also has physical intersex characteristics.

If the four criteria are met under the DSM-IV-TR, a diagnosis is made under ICD-9 code 302.85.   The International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) list three diagnostic criteria:

Transsexualism (F64.0) has three criteria:

  1. The desire to live and be accepted as a member of the opposite sex, usually accompanied by the wish to make his or her body as congruent as possible with the preferred sex through surgery and hormone treatment
  2. The transsexual identity has been present persistently for at least two years
  3. The disorder is not a symptom of another mental disorder or a chromosomal abnormality (Intersex).

Mental health and medical professionals, clinicians, researchers, and scholars are concerned about psychiatric nomenclature and diagnostic criteria for gender-variant, gender-nonconforming, transgender, and transsexual people in the Fifth Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), and call themselves Professionals Concerned About Gender Diagnoses in the DSM. Below are their suggestions for the Gender Incongruence (in adults) diagnosis in the DSM V.

A. A distressing sense of incongruence between persistent experienced or expressed gender and current physical sex characteristics or ascribed gender role in adults, as manifested by at least one of the following indicators for duration of at least 3 months. Incongruence, for this purpose, does not mean gender expression that is nonconforming to social stereotypes of ascribed gender role or natal sex.

1. A distress or discomfort with living in the present gender or being perceived by others as the present gender, which is distinct from the experiences of discrimination or the societal expectations associated with that gender.

2. A distress or discomfort caused by deprivation of gender expression congruent with persistent experienced gender. Experienced gender may include alternative gender identities beyond binary stereotypes.

3. A distress or discomfort with one’s current primary or secondary sex characteristics that are incongruent with persistent experienced gender.

4. A distress or discomfort caused by deprivation of primary or secondary sex characteristics that are congruent with persistent experienced gender.

B. Distress or discomfort is clinically significant or causes impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning, and is not due to external prejudice or discrimination. (Professionals Concerned with Gender Diagnoses in the DSM, 2010)

The Yogyakarta Principles on the Application of International Human Rights Law in relation to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity is a set of principles relating to sexual orientation and gender identity, intended to apply international human rights law standards to address the abuse of the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, and issues of intersexuality.

“The Principle 3 of The Yogyakarta Principles on The Application of International Human Rights Law in Relation to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity states that “A person of diverse sexual orientation and gender identities shall enjoy legal capacity in all aspects of life. Each person’s self-defined sexual orientation and gender identity is integral to their personality and is one of the most basic aspects of self-determination, dignity and freedom” and the Principle 18 of this states that “Notwithstanding any classifications to the contrary, a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity are not, in and of themselves, medical condition and are not to be treated, cured or suppressed.” According to these Principles, any gender identity of a transsexual or transgendered person is neither “disorder” nor mental illness, thus the diagnosis “gender identity disorder” can be contradictory and irreverent. As well, The Activist’s Guide of the Yogyakarta Principles in Action states that “It is important to note that while “sexual orientation” has been declassified as a mental illness in many countries, “gender identity or gender identity disorder” often remains under consideration.” (Wikipedia.com, 2012)

To read the entire publication “An Activist’s Guide to The Yogyakarta Principles” please click here, although be warned it is quite lengthy.  More on Gender Incongruence in Part 2, pleasant reading till then.

🙂 Sequoia Elisabeth

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Restroom Etiquette

Restroom etiquette touches each and every one of us, however for those in the Transgender community it is an especially touchy subject.  This should be common sense and quite obvious although from the news articles and first person reports which bathroom you use is very important.

In an ideal world you simply use whichever bathroom you want, when you want, and dressed whatever way you are at the time (the way it used to be done).  Depending on where you are this still actually does work.  In other places not so much.  The first separate toilets for men and women appeared at a ball in Paris, 1739.  So the concept of gender privacy is fairly new.

We can blame our puritanical Anglo-Saxon roots for the need for privacy as it would seem that most beliefs surrounding the embarrassment and shame have been instilled by Christianity.  The separation of men and women restrooms is simply an extension of these practices.  In many societies around the world, men and women are not allowed to mingle, again based on religious beliefs.  Since the modern toilet did not become popular till around the mid 1800’s this is when men’s and woman’s rooms became the norm and this extended well into the 1900’s depending on the location and the level of development of the community.

Everyone must use a restroom in the developed “civilized” world, so the question then becomes do you use the men’s or women’s?  Unisex toilets do exist, and are growing in popularity not only for transgender use but for families needing to attend to babies and small children.  Unisex toilets are meant for anyone, so use at your discretion.

The unspoken rule for transgender restroom use is simply to use the restroom appropriate to the gender in which you present.  Meaning if you are dressed as a woman then you use the women’s room.  Since most restrooms these days have separate stalls, this is not a problem.  The bigger issue arises in dressing rooms or locker rooms since there is often no privacy there.  Most transgender individuals simply avoid these situations in fear of being ridiculed, run out, or more drastically forcibly removed.

It is sad that the human race is not mature enough to respect one another no matter their physical presentation or sexual differences.  If common decency etiquette is followed there would be no concern of safety or embarrassment!  Part of the issue at hand is a personal one of feeling worthy to use the restroom to which you identify.  The rule is to live & let live and unless the other person is in danger of harming themself or someone else leave them without judgment or persecution.

The advice I give any person including transgender/transsexual individuals is be yourself, act naturally, and life will simply flow.  Problems arise when you are trying to be something you are not.  The biggest challenge concerning this is for crossdressers who identify male and are dressed as a woman, or vice versa although this is much less common.  It is important to be that which you present.  If you are dressed as a woman, do not stand nor face the toilet to urinate.  Do your business and move on.  Of course for women “doing your business” means checking your makeup and hair, washing your hands, and making pleasant conversation after actually using the restroom.  In the men’s room it means do your business and get out after washing your hands and combing your hair if need be.

Stop feeling guilty going to the bathroom!  We are human beings and this is part of the package.  Embrace the social aspects however seems best for you by what feels right, mind your own business, and all is well!

🙂 Sequoia Elisabeth

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Medically Necessary?

What exactly does this mean?  I posit that it is a very dangerous term being slung around, at, and by the transgender community.  I ask you to consider the ramifications of using this phrase.

In the transgender/transsexual world the treatment for Gender Incongruency or Gender Dysphoria is to transition from one gender role to the other including surgically altering both primary and secondary sexual characteristics.  This includes for MtoF, Facial Feminization Surgery (FFS), Breast Augmentation (Breast implants), and GRS/SRS (Genital Reassignment Surgery/Sexual Reassignment Surgery).  For FtoM, the surgeries include, Breast reduction/reconstruction, Hysterectomy, Metoidioplasty with urethral lengthening, Scrotoplasty with testicular implants, and Vaginectomy.  And this is list does not include all possible surgeries, for instance other cosmetic surgeries could also be included.

The question is… does the above surgery fall into the “Medically Necessary” box?  And I would have to say it depends on which model of medicine you follow.  It also depends on your Spiritual beliefs and understandings.  The body you were given at birth is a gift, plain and simple.  What you do with your gift is up to you; or your parents more realistically, at least to the age of 16 (18 in some locations).

Each person is perfect in the eyes of God!  If birth defects are present it means they are meant to be there for the benefit of the individual and the people involved – family, medical professionals, friends, etc.  It is an opportunity to express who you are, to learn and to grow (expand this self).

Would it be right to surgically change this body to conform to societal “norms”?  Do we really have to stay within the gender binary?  Is this not the point of being transgender in the first place?  Meaning there is no binary and in fact it is a gender spectrum.  How an individual expresses their gender and sexuality is a personal statement of either non-conformity or conformity.  There are many factors involved, however ultimately this is simply a fact of individuality.  There is no right or wrong!

“Medically Necessary” is a phrase used by the insurance and medical community to substantiate surgically altering the body or not.  Is it really medically necessary to surgically alter the body?  To whom is it necessary and for what purpose?  Is being Transgender or Transsexual a life threatening medical disease?  Based on past medical precedent surgery is used to correct the bodies function to maintain life.  It is also used for cosmetic reasons to make the body more attractive.

More on this topic tomorrow!

🙂 Sequoia Elisabeth

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Man, I Feel Like a Woman

Do you feel like a man or like a woman?  What is a certain gender supposed to feel like?  How do you know?  I realize that most cisgender people have not considered these questions, but for a transgender or transsexual individual it is of constant concern.  Gender incongruency is something ~98% of the population can’t even fathom.  Consider the possibility the concept of gender as taught in the schools is inaccurate?

First understand the difference between sex and gender.  Sex is determined by the parts between the legs and gender is determined by the parts between the ears.  At least this is the modern or current understanding by science. Consider the possibility that each person is here in this world for a purpose and they have chosen the roles they are to live before they are even born.

What if in fact gender is determined by consciousness, the Source Field which surrounds the body and makes up everything in this world?  What if no one has a gender until they acquire one?  Much like sexual orientation it must be discovered by the individual.  I cannot tell my brother that he is gay or straight or if he is man or woman.  These are things he must discover.  Life is a discovery!  And we are explorers.

The prevalent teaching about God, Great Spirit, Universal Mind, Infinite Intelligence (or whatever you choose to call this energy) is that it has no sex or gender.  Eastern philosophies have known this for centuries and slowly the western philosophies are accepting that God is not a man sitting on a throne up in heaven.  Our philosophies are merging, especially here in the USA where we are surrounded by both all the time.  A new understanding is emerging and I call it Oneness.  We are all One.

The idea I present here today is that God is all there is and since God is all, so are we.  This means that no one has a gender or a sex in reality!  Those things only exist in the reality we call life on earth.  We are indeed all androgynous beings of light!  You may have seen this image presented before as alien life, for instance in the movie Cocoon (1985) or in episodes of Star Trek and in multiple instances in the media.  Everything is energy.

I mention the idea of androgyny here because I feel this is the truth of nature.  I believe that hetero and homo sexuality are creations of the human mind or the mind of man.  This goes for the concept of man or woman also.  How do you know what a man or woman feels like?  You do not know any more than anyone else does!  Just because you seem to have been born male or female does not mean you know what a man or woman feels like. It is what you say it is.

The core of our being is pansexual androgyny, meaning we are characterized by the potential for aesthetic attraction, romantic love and/or sexual desire for people, regardless of their gender identity or biological sex.  And we are neither men nor women, but a combination of both to varying degrees across a spectrum.  In some individuals this can shift back and forth as well.  You will define it as is comfortable for you.

In the end you feel like YOU.  Accept this feeling and get comfortable with it; it is all you will ever have in this lifetime.  No matter what you change on the outside, the inner core remains the same.  The experience will change as this is the point of the material world.  Enjoy the ride, act with authenticity, and live with pride!  This is your role in life and it is mine.

🙂 Sequoia Elisabeth

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Sex and Sexuality Revisited

Transitions blog offers a reminder today about an eBook available at no cost on this website.  Sex and Sexuality, One Woman’s Journey of Discovery is a part of Unity in Gender Diversity’s growing set of spiritual materials.  It is about using sex, sexuality, gender and the attractive aspects of self to discover Truth.  Hormones, Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, Jesus Christ, and Relationships are among other aspects explored in an effort to deepen human understanding.  The author’s own personal story is offered as an example of what the transgender journey consists of, because I find that by sharing stories we get a deeper understanding of each other.  This book is designed to inspire a closer look at who you really are.  The significance of all relationships, as well as the meaning of sexuality, and so much more are discovered.   I invite you to take a journey of discovery!

The eBook is directed to those who are ready to move beyond the body and realize Divine nature, although anyone can come away from reading this a more educated, entertained, and enlightened individual.

Features to consider are: It is an eBook, easy to download, short and easy to read in a few hours, wastes no paper (easily printable), chapters are linked, direct links to website, No Cost and it is instantly available for download in PDF.

The benefits you receive by reading it: A transgender story to relate with, offers great pictures and graphics in color, learn about the transgender journey, understand your body better, get to know your inner-self better, become a better person, enjoy sex more, not just sex but the entire relationship, improve all your relationships!

Please share Sex and Sexuality, One Woman’s Journey of Discovery with anyone you think would benefit from this eBook.  It is a great way to educate friends, family or employers to the Transgender Journey.  Use it as a coming out tool.  Ultimately it is about Love – loving yourself by allowing others to love you!!  For more on Love please read the other eBooks offered.

🙂 Sequoia Elisabeth

Unity in Gender Diversity

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Variety Is The Spice Of Life

Perspective is as diverse as the observer.  Each individual is unique on to themself.  And with that said consciousness also tends to group with like perspectives attracting like.  Thus we have Tennis Clubs, Christian bookstores, and Alcoholics Anonymous.  Gender and Sexuality are no different.  Those of like mind tend to socialize together with each person adding their own unique perspective.

Gender Identity is one’s own personal, inner perspective of who they are in terms of gender, i.e. man, woman, or other.  Gender is best described as a spectrum or scale.  Just as a rainbow has many colors, shades and grades so does gender.  This also works for sexual orientation, while physical sex is more concrete, however even this is a spectrum too.  Human beings are complex creatures indeed!

When a child is born the doctor looks between the legs and declares male, female or gee I don’t know!  It is not till DNA chromosome and other medical testing is done does the doctor know if the child is truly male, female or intersex.  The external genitalia are sometimes ambiguous, or not fully developed.  The genetic, physical and mental traits this child is born with are the filter through which they see the world – their perspective!  As this child grows into adulthood the filter is constantly being shaped and polished by the world.  The amazing fact is that it is less the world outside this person that shapes them than it is the individual’s responses, reactions, and thoughts.

The important factor to understand and always remember is that each person is individual and offers something unique to every situation.  It is your job as an individual to listen and learn who this person is and then honor them for the uniqueness they represent.  Accept them for their perspective and refrain from pushing yours on them.  This is a free will society so you are certainly free to offer your perspective and in fact you are obligated to do so, however whether and what others do with this perspective is entirely up to them.

Some may see you as a crossdressing gay male, others as transgender woman, all while you identify as a transsexual.  Others may simply think that you are crazy.  Each person will see you as they choose and understand.  This does not change who you are, although it may have you questioning who you are, which is a good thing, because part of the human experience is constantly questioning reality.

One last point here is groups that think alike can sometimes have beliefs that seem opposed to other groups.  If some believe that chromosomes and genitalia determine a person’s gender then it is their right to believe that.  It is other group’s obligation to share their perspective so that each individual can more intelligently determine which group they are aligned with.  This is not about right or wrong, because that does not exist.  It is about expressing individual uniqueness in a way that is constructive to the greater whole of society and life on earth.  We all know that variety is the spice of life!

🙂 Sequoia Elisabeth

Unity in Gender Diversity

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Transgender and beyond

It is time we revisited Transgender, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation so that everyone understands the meaning of certain words and concepts.  The Unitarian Universalist Church as a wonderful site (beside my own site of course) that gives a good overview of these principles, so please visit by clicking here after you have read this blog of course, lol.

First and foremost it is important to understand that gender and sex are different things and have multiple meanings.  Gender is your self-concept of who you are man, woman, transgender, androgynous or other.  Each individual is born with this, but is not aware of it till the ages of 3-6.  If a discrepancy is perceived then this awareness is often suppressed or denied in order to fit in.  I pray this is changing and from what I have observed it is.  Children are coming out and telling their parents who are actually respecting their concerns.  Cisgender is a term that describes “people who are not trans or gender variant—in other words, those whose gender identities, presentations, and behavior “match” (according to the gender binary) the sex they were assigned at birth.” (UUA.org)

Transgender and/or Trans is a person appearing or attempting to be a member of the opposite sex, such as a transsexual or habitual crossdresser.  This term is often as an umbrella term to include the entire community of individuals who cross gender boundaries on a consistent basis.  For more on terminology I cover it extensively at this link.

Sexual Orientation is also hard wired at birth and does not change, although many people now days are bisexual or pansexual meaning they are open to the individuals personality and not so concerned with physical sex.  A homosexual is attracted to their own sex and will not consider being with the opposite sex, just as a heterosexual is only interested in the opposite sex.  With Transgender individuals these definitions get blurry, so it is up to the individual to identify.  Make no assumptions because each person is different and may change their mind from time to time, especially if they are young and exploring.  The term sex can also mean physical or biological sex.

The traits of the Aquarian Age person is that of being bisexual and androgynous which explains much of the trans-revolution we are experiencing today!   We are moving from the end of the Piscean era to the new era of Aquarian!  I have spoken of this in other blogs and find that this explains much of what I have been experiencing.  I have decided not to get too drastic with my transition because I can see the bigger picture!  I am exactly the person I was meant to be straight from birth!

Does this mean I was not to transition?  Of course not!  That is the purpose of these times and my life is a mirror of the greater whole just as your life is!  All I am saying is I have chosen not to have sex change surgery.  Your path is up to you and if you have questions I am happy to assist!  Please visit the website below and explore the Gender Learning Center.  It goes into gender at length as well as sexual orientation and the different aspects of each of these.  The eBook “Sex and Sexuality” is available free on this website also.  The eBook is an extensive look at gender, sex, orientation, sexuality, and more.  So please give it a look see.   The website below lists the info in several formats -video, powerpoint, written, quiz, and eBook, so you can find what works best for your learning method.

🙂 Sequoia Elisabeth

Unity in Gender Diversity     Discover Sex and Sexuality click here

 

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Trans-Gender Expectations

The usual course of transition for a Male to Female (MtoF) Transgender is to first dress as a woman and to socialize with peers prior to taking the major step of CHT (Contra-Hormone Therapy).  (HRT is hormone replacement therapy and since transition is about change and not replacement this term does not apply to the trans journey). Socializing as a woman is very different than as a man so getting used to that aspect is greatly beneficial in both determining if you desire to progress (going full time) and gaining the skills necessary to be successful.  Many things will come naturally because they are innate such as mannerisms, emotional behavior including needs and desires, and mental processes.  The learned traits may not be natural such as movement, social expectations and relationships.  Gender transition is basically the process of breaking down learned “male” persona and allowing the natural female self to emerge.  This will be easy for some; however, it is a big road block for most.  Only 5% of those who attempt transition fully complete the journey from male to female; the larger percentage end up somewhere in between, which for many is perfectly acceptable and may in fact have been the goal all along.

It is important to be patient with the transition process and allow these things to occur naturally through counseling, feminine coaching, and voice therapy.  A skilled gender therapist/counselor guides the path and provides a third person perspective to facilitate getting in touch with the authentic self.  The feminine coach is valuable in helping to get in touch with feminine energy and develop its expression.  I must say the first time I felt my feminine energy vs. my masculine energy it was a revelation!  Being aware of the body’s energy and what it projects is very important.  To truly express feminine energy do not project energy instead simply center in the divine feminine and this energy will attract others.  I have posted a link on the transgender links page of Unity in Gender Diversity to The Yin Project.  The feminine coaching here is highly recommended.

Voice therapy is vital to MtoF transition.  Start this process as soon as possible, even before transitioning if you are planning that far ahead.  I also recommend getting electrolysis started as soon as possible and depending on your age, I recommend doing laser first to clear the dark hairs and let the electrologist focus on the light hairs.  It will take 6-10 laser treatments.  Don’t let the electrologist tell you that laser is not permanent because I know that it is from experience.   There is a page on this website that goes over the whole process of transition planning.  Expect laser to work and with the proper hormone regimen the face is the only area that needs treatment unless you are unusually hairy and I know that some men are.  Not to worry, this is a part of the journey, so plan for it.

The hormones do a remarkable job of reducing body hair and stopping male pattern hair loss.  Find a doctor who specializes in CHT for transgender/transsexual persons, because doing this yourself or using a doctor with little or no experience is inviting failure.  Getting periodic lab testing done to monitor liver function and other factors is vital to maintain a healthy transition.  Plus working with a skilled professional assures the desired results.  It can be done on your own, but that is contrary to what this whole journey is about in my opinion, which is to fully and completely experience the transition.  This journey can be lethal so take it very seriously!

Many transgender/transsexual persons want to jump straight to the result and if that was meant to be then don’t you think you would have been female from birth?  I can hear all the opinions flying as I write this which is great, remember this is from my experience and if you desire a different experience then make it so.

Surgery is a step that many desire and is the only known successful method of treating severe gender dysphoria.  It is not for everyone though and will be addressed in the next blog.  So stay tuned 😉

😉 Sequoia Elisabeth

Unity in Gender Diversity

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The Gender Sexual Connection

Sex: The physical sexual organs, what is between the legs. This can change due to sexual reassignment surgery; includes male, female and intersex.

Gender: Separate and different from an individual‘s physical sex or sexual orientation (hetero, homo, bi, or asexual), it is an individual‘s perception of the inner self as man, woman or some combination of both, transgender.

Operating from the above definitions we now know that gender and sex are very different and yet from experience we also know that they are intimately connected.  How do we work out this connection?  Is it meaningful?

Sexual Orientation is the trait we give the most attention because it involves others.  Who are you attracted to?  Why?  Does gender really have anything to do with this attraction?  How important is appearance?  What about body parts?  Some people are turned on by toes and if this is the case does it matter what is between their legs?   What if ears are a turn on, the same question applies.  You are probably saying that what it leads to is very important and this is where the genitalia come in.  I agree completely.

In the transgender world we offer a contradiction to this process.  Our parts do not match the majority of the human race.  So do we have GRS to conform or is it more practical than that, simply to enjoy sex in a manner which supports our mental functions?  Many transgender women have surgery just because they cannot bear having male genitalia.  It is like having a large growth on your body which causes you distress.  It could just as well be a tumorous growth!  In this case having surgery is medically necessary, as much as any person with a tumorous growth.  When the result is a happy well adjusted individual post op it is hard to argue against GRS/SRS.

“As an effective treatment for a specific mental disorder, sex reassignment surgery is as deserving of public funding as any other psychiatric treatment.” states Dr. Ray Blanchard, head of the Clinical Sexology Program at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. (Egale Canada ©2011)

“The reported 68%-86% overall success rates for sex reassignment surgery must be viewed cautiously; the lack of long-term follow-up studies makes these statistics misleading. There is evidence suggesting that some gender dysphoric patients benefit primarily from sex reassignment surgery. Most such patients, however, are secondary transsexuals who can benefit from various modes of psychotherapy. Sex reassignment surgery should only be considered as the last resort for a highly select group of diagnosed gender dysphoric patients. As physicians learn new ways to diagnose and treat transsexualism, either sex reassignment surgery will be abandoned as a routine treatment modality or new predictive variables for choosing suitable patients for sex reassignment surgery will be established.” (Lothstein, Am J Psychiatry 1982; 139:417-426)  The above quote is a bit out dated now and this author finds it interesting that its prediction is far from correct.  SRS has grown in popularity as surgical techniques have been perfected.  It is now the best treatment known for severe gender dysphoria.  The question remains, what if the dysphoria is mild?  What constitutes mild?   This is between the patient and their counselor or therapist.

The final point or question I wish to raise is, does sexual orientation figure into ones decision to have surgery or not?  From the clinical perspective, the answer would be no.  Dysphoria is separate from sexual behavior and needs to be treated regardless of sexual orientation.  The practical side of the issue is a personal one.  Transsexuals often start off in same sex relationships and to have surgery would destroy the identities associated with the relationship, so unless both individuals are flexible the relationship ends.  This is even the case in heterosexual relationships since it would be homosexual after surgery.  Those relationships that do survive often forgo sex altogether.

One of the most difficult aspects of the transgender journey is relationships and the changes they must go through along the way.  The losses are often heart breaking, but this is not necessarily a bad thing.  It can lead to more loving and authentic relationships!  The road has many potholes, so it is best to proceed with caution.

🙂 Sequoia Elisabeth

Unity in Gender Diversity

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To Be Or Not To Be

To have GRS (Genital Reassignment Surgery) or not, is sort of like the question “to be or not to be”?  It is a choice all gender variant individuals must answer.  Of course we could get into the terminology game and define the different stages of the transition journey, but we will not. (Please see how I define terms here) Take me for example, (because I don’t like to speak for others) I have identified as no less than 7 gender identities including man, woman, androgynous, crossdresser, transvestite, transgender, and transsexual.  I am not sure many others even exist, except for maybe queer or genderqueer and in my day that was a very undesirable label.  I hated that label almost as much as being called Lurch.  To say I have an identity crisis is an understatement; my life is an identity crisis!  Or is it?

The reality is life is always growing, changing, and experimenting with various forms of existence and humans are no different.  How many people do you know who are happy with only one outfit, one flavor of cake, one of anything in their lives?  It sounds absurd to me to even think of living in the same house all your life, from birth to death.  Many have done this and that is the beauty of nature.  If it is possible then it has occurred at least once.

Variety is the spice of life!  So how you identify is up to you and it does not have to be set in stone.  Crossdressers identify as their birth sex, but like being the other from time to time, so they dress in the clothes of the opposite sex.  To me this is not necessarily a gender identity issue.  It certainly is not an illness or disorder.  It could however be classified as a fetish.  The point being here is these individuals have no desire to have GRS.

I like to think of gender as a rainbow or sliding scale.  The scale runs from male to female and has many degrees in between.   It looks like the graph to the right.  The other factor which confuses things is a person can fluctuate on the scale from day to day and even moment to moment.

So how does one decide that GRS is right for them?  This is the million dollar question!  It is not a decision you can reverse.  So taking it seriously is highly advised.  Getting in tune with your inner feelings and experimenting with different lifestyles and roles is important in reaching this decision.  How do you feel most comfortable?  Are you sure?  Is is always this way or does it fluctuate?  If it fluctuates to any degree then maybe you should wait on GRS.  I have seen several different statistics indicating that most GRS candidates are happy post op and the numbers of people feeling they had made a mistake are few in comparison.  WPATH guidelines were design just for the purpose of assuring only true transsexuals or severe gender dysphoric individuals get the surgery.

So what do you do if you are in the middle somewhere?  Gender Dysphoric but only mildly and able to live in the birth sexes gender role.  This is a choice for the individual ultimately, but a professional specializing in gender issues should be consulted for at least 3 months and preferably for a year or more.  From my experience it is often other issues that depress the individual making gender dysphoria a secondary condition.  Again this is why it is so important to have professional help.

Next time we will discuss sexual orientation and its role in the GRS question if it has one which I feel it does.  Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation are different, yet connected, like much of life!

🙂 Sequoia Elisabeth

Unity in Gender Diversity

Transgender Etiquette 

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