I hope that you enjoy these 'observations', but that you also are provoked by the many 'pot-holes' that we encounter -- provoked enough to more carefully drive upon the road of GID, and to make some changes in your driving style, so to speak.... enjoy!
Observations For Those With Gender Identity Disorder (GID)
1. SELF-ASSESSMENT IS FINE; AVOIDING COUNSEL IS NOT. Chances are, if you even suspect you may have Gender Identity Disorder (GID), that you are much more intelligent than others. Cool. You are smart. And so, it is highly likely that you can self-assess yourself via research on the Internet. Great! Do it! But then be humble enough to find a licensed therapist that works with clients with GID. After all, you need an honest and in- depth review of your self-assessment. Cuz maybe you ain’t, babes, and you need to find that out before you change your nose with rhinoplasty. Do not be the first case of GID ever handled by your counselor. Be willing to change counselors for any reason, even your intuition. Be willing to work with licensed and experienced counselors that are accepting of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered (GLBT) persons. Be willing to work with someone that does not hold to your religious dogma – remember that the “good Samaritan” was considered a heretic half- breed by the Jews, but Jesus immortalized the Samaritan because the Samaritan was ‘moved with compassion’ and saved a life. [Luke 10] Be willing to learn from the heart of others in counsel, even from a Samaritan.
2. YOU DID NOT CHOOSE YOUR GENDER IDENTITY – YOUR GENDER IDENTITY HAS SHIFTED WITHOUT KNOWN CAUSE. If you are a mid-life transsexual, you probably remember your pre-onset days as a time wherein you had a sense of control, and were concerned about pleasing your spouse and even the conscience of others. [ I Peter 3 and Romans 14 in the Bible cover these concepts really well.] Neat. But now, you are post-onset. Remember what Jesus said about the earthly wind? - 'You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going" [John 3:8]. Same for the wind of GID called 'dysphoria' (extreme discomfort) - you don't know where it came from (the cause) and you don't know where it will all end (the final resolution). Hey, if you could have controlled your gender identity, you would have shifted it back, right? What driving pleasure are you getting out of risking your marriage, severe body modification, losing friends, receiving hate mail from family, losing inheritance, and possibly surgically removing/rearranging your genitals? This is not a choice, a lust, nor a temptation. Some MDs believe GID is medically-based. But currently, Gender Identity Disorder (GID) is called a ‘disorder’, and not a choice, by psychological experts because it is exactly that – a “disorder”. If you don’t like the word ‘disorder’, then call it Gender Identity Anomaly, but it still is not a choice, a lust, nor a temptation. Learn to listen to the schooled and researched experts (MDs, physiologists, and psychiatrists). Learn to politely listen and then ignore those schooled in other areas of expertise when they address your GID (pastors, vicars, priests, engineers, parents, mechanics, etc.). When the Bible says, [God speaking to the man named Job] “Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge?” – it is talking about the latter, and not the former [Job 38]. Part of life is learning what is within your control, and the wind of GID is not.
3. IT IS OK TO BE ANGRY AT GOD – HE’S A BIG GUY, AND HE CAN TAKE IT. BUT YOU GOTTA LEARN TO FORGIVE. Welcome to the “hate-love continuum”. Get out a sheet of paper, put ‘Hate’ on the left side; put ‘Love’ on the right side; and draw a line between them. You now have a continuum that represents all the mixtures of hate and love possible. Put ‘God’ above the line, and mark what mixture of hate/love that you feel towards Him, for real. No fibs allowed. Hate Him? Put the x to the left. Hate Him a lot? Put the x to the far left. Feel bad about where that x is because of your religious background? Don’t move the x, because then, you are lying. Instead, it is time to ‘forgive’ God, and the ‘x’ will move all by itself. How do you forgive a Divine Someone that can never make a mistake? Well, that’s the quandary, because in your heart of hearts, you really believe that God did make a mistake, picked the wrong path for you, or has a twisted and dark sense of humor. You’ve set your own throne of judgment higher than God’s throne… so did a certain someone else, and he was thrown out of heaven forever (hint: name starts with an “S” and rhymes with “wait’in”). So, pray to Him, and say out loud, “Hey, Big Guy, I forgive you. I’ll accept whatever furnace you put me into, because it is in the furnace that You make my character more beautiful.” Watch how that little ‘x’ starts to move, and your love for God increases. The key is that only ‘forgiveness’ moves the ‘x’ on the hate/love continuum – not theology, not brilliance, not arguments, and not revenge. In fact, one day, you’ll have to forgive your spouse, your children, your work, and your own self. But for right now, let’s just work on the God-thing. Remember that the one "tormented" in Matthew 18 was the servant that could not forgive? Time to forgive even the Big Guy, and stop the torment, don't you think?
4. BE WILLING TO CONSIDER YOUR WEAKNESS IS, IN GOD’S EYES, A STRENGTH. OK, this is a tough point for a lot of people. If you have ‘forgiven’ God for giving you GID, then I propose it would be good to have His viewpoint of the disorder, right? And His viewpoint is… what? Believe it or not, He says that He gives weaknesses to humble us (per the Bible, a book called Second Corinthians, chapter 12). And you may be surprised at all the good things God gives to the humble and denies the proud. Try doing a word search in an electronic bible on "humble" and "humility" -- wow! He really likes the humble folks. Your GID is no different than someone’s dyslexia – both are very humbling, both cause a believer to call upon God, and both create a very non-proud person. But this is something that God has to teach you, or it sounds so hokey that it just ‘must’ be a ‘joke’. I recommend to anyone that they copy the story of “Paul’s Thorn In The Flesh” from any translation of the Bible that they like (the story is in Second Corinthians chapter 12), and carry their copy with them for a few months. Yanno, read the story at the start of every work day or at each lunch in the cafeteria. And one day, it will hit you: we were never deserted by God; we are the reason some of these chapters were written. And we are blessed with a weakness that will not be healed – because now, we are humbled. And babes, the humble (not the proud) are the ones that God blesses.
5. GID IS NOT DRIVEN BY SPIRITUAL ISSUES BUT DOES HAVE SPIRITUAL EFFECTS. Would you let your auto mechanic perform open-heart surgery on you? If yes, your percentage of survival is very low. Yet, some of you will let a pastor (or vicar or priest) give you spiritual correction into what has been determined by many highly schooled and highly respected experts to be a psychological (or medical) disorder/anomaly. Do you believe your pastor should be the single source of advice for schizophrenics or diabetics? Or, would you recommend that a schizophrenic seek psychological expertise, and the diabetic seek medical expertise? Stop. Think. While you do not need spiritual correction from your pastor, you may need spiritual assistance concerning the effects of GID on the areas of worship, prayer, forgiveness, sovereignty of God, re-baptism, and so forth. Find a humble spiritual leader that understands his/her limited area of spiritual expertise and does not proudly assume expertise into physical (medical) areas and/or psychological areas (mental disorders/anomalies). Discuss and pray with the humble spiritual leader about all the effects GID is having on your spiritual life. But realize that there are many extra-proud spiritual leaders that are self-deceived and that believe all physiological disorders are areas for spiritual correction. The Bible puts it bluntly, “If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.” [Galatians 6:3] Let such egotistical pastors stay self-deceived; but gosh-golly-gee- wizards, don’t let them deceive you! Next time a pastor tells you that spiritual repentance is the correction that you need for your psychological GID, remember that he probably told the dyslexic the same thing, and just smile and say ‘thank you’. And then, go see the trained psychologist.
6. GID IS NOT CURABLE/ REVERSABLE; IT IS TREATABLE. You may need to prove the inability-to-cure or the impossibility- of-reversal to yourself. If so, go ahead – try electro- shock therapy, talk therapy, prior-life therapy, anti- depressants, reparative therapy, repentance, fasting, group prayer, casting out of demons, and anointing with oil, and any combination thereof. Rub every bottle that you find on the beach, and keep searching for the genie. Some people need to search for the cure as part of their grieving process or as a part of the actions to save their marriage. Hey, such searching is ok because it provides a sense of ‘closure’. But when the genie does not appear, decide that you will work with reality, and not fantasy. The decision that there is no genie can cause its own grieving process. Some people believe that God will always provide a way to reverse any psychological disorder – especially the disorders they find repulsive or frightening. Please preach that to schizophrenics and those with bi-polar disorder, and see how far you get. Welcome to reality – GID is not reversible nor curable. But GID is treatable. Long experience has shown that those that work with their GID survive, and maybe thrive; those that work against it, normally die. What’s the lowest suicide rate I’ve found from a qualified source? 20%. What’s the highest reversal rate I’ve found from an expert source? 1% (one percent). Yes, that means that 99% do not reverse. Time to bet on the winning side and discover a level of treatment that works for your situation, don’t you think? Remember that the first born son of Isaac - named Esau - lost his birthright, and then repented with tears, and what happened? Esau was denied; God did not give him the birthright back. [Hebrews 12: 16-18] This means that God can draw the line, and not let you go back. Esau later received a new blessing under new rules – but still, no going back to exactly where he came. Look at the ingredients: seeking God; lots of repentance; crying and sobbing. Look at the result: no miracle cure; no perfect reversal; only the chance for a blessing under new rules of the game. Ugly concept, but it’s in the Bible for a reason – maybe it’s in the Bible for you.
7. LEARN THAT MEN STILL SELL SNAKE OIL TO DESPERATE COWBOYS. Hey, some of these sellers are former transgendered, washed-in-the-blood-of-the-lamb, and PhD- credentialed. But most won’t publish (1) their proof of expertise (TS experience, psychological and medical schooling, and/or on-going research); (2) their <N>-step program/methodology (that is, their Standard of Care); (3) a report for peer review by fellow experts; (4) their statistical results of success/failure with definitions and methods of measurement; and (5) surveys with follow-on questionnaires. No, they don’t have to follow the normal conventions of good science, because you, the TS, are so incredibly desperate for a cure. Recently, I read a Christian on-line report that quoted a former “transsexual” as stating his N-step cure (outlined in the article) produced an “80% success rate” using his method. Wow, I couldn’t wait for him to publish his method in a peer-reviewed journal. If others tried his method, and achieved similar results, then that man would be nominated for a Nobel Prize. But… that man did not publish; in fact, his web-site sales jargon later vanished, and was replaced by several extremely conservative statements. Yes, he got some ‘cash’ from some desperate cowboys, and then ‘got outta Dodge’ before those cowboys wised up. What kind of personality gets a charge out of selling snake oil? Maybe someone with criminal mentality OR maybe he was the 1% that reverses for no known reason, thinks that the remaining 99% can reverse just like he did, and therefore rushes forward despite the statistics and the science. But wake up, cowboy, and force yourself to realize that you are at times desperate, gullible, and willing to ignore the conventions of good science. Proverbs 27 says this for you: "... to the hungry, even that which is bitter tastes sweet." Snake oil is, in reality, bitter tasting... but not to you, because you are starved for a cure. Force yourself to think about snake oil before you invest your heart in it – or risk your heart being broken once more. Force yourself to feed on good counsel, and then, you won't be a starving cowboy, k?
8. THE DAY YOU REACH FOR THE GUN OR THE POISON, STOP LOOKING FOR THE MAGIC CURE. Being mistreated by those that assume medical and psychological expertise should make you feel hurt -- not worthless. Not finding the magic cure should cause a grieving cycle -- not a suicidal drive. Realizing that you were duped by some “good man” selling snake oil should make you angry at him and yourself -- but not give you enough hate to want to put your own gun to your own head. If you want to ‘check out’ of life with a bottle of pills, call your counselor immediately or a friend immediately that is supportive of your GID. Then, consider going out with your friend to coffee, watching a video of a comedian, or doing anything that will stop the downward spiral. Most crises pass within days. Likewise, if you sense a downward spiral in someone else, then they are wounded. And the wounded ain’t pretty. But don’t walk on the other side, and leave them there to die; instead, listen, listen, and listen to them. Change your calendar for one hour, and save a life. Sadly, do not encourage the wounded to contact a pastor, priest, or vicar unless you know absolutely that they can work with the emotionally torn. Jesus said, “A certain man was left for dead. A priest came by, and walked on the other side. A Levite (religious leader) came by, and walked on the other side.” [Luke 10] Avoidance of the wounded, especially the GID wounded (commonly called transsexuals), is the norm for most religious leaders. Be certain your religious leader is flexible enough to have his/her compassion overcome his/her repulsion. We don’t need you, or anyone else, dead.
9. LET GO OF THE DEPRESSION AND REACH OUT TO THE PLAN GOD HAS FOR YOU. There comes a time when you've got to develop the 'gold fever' back in your heart. Some folks call it a 'fighting spirit' -- I call it 'gold fever'. It's not that you need to fight your spouse, or your kids, or Satan for that matter. It's that you need to see that God has a plan for your life, still, even though you have GID, even though the wind of dysphoria is driving you, even though you are not in control of the cause or can foresee the end result. And you just gotta find out what that 'plan for your life' is. You need to search for that 'plan' in the midst of your life caving in, just like you still believe gold is back in that mine shaft. Proverbs chapter 2 talks about the 'gold fever' this way: "If you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God." Put the gun away in the cabinet, and start thinking about treasure. Put the bottle of killing pills in the toilet; and realize that there is gold in that cave-in of your life. Stop hoping to die and rehearsing ways to 'check out' -- and let the 'gold fever' overcome you again. I learned more about church-people, real Christians, binary thinking, continuum logic, searching the scriptures, and maturity in Christ than ever in my life during my experience, and you know what else? I only used a garden trowel -- bet you can outdo me easy. There's gold in them thar hills, pardner, real gold. Dream about it; pray about it; and start digging.
10. INVEST IN THE 'LOVE LANGUAGE' OF YOUR SPOUSE NOW – BEFORE DEALING WITH THE DYSPHORIA (I.E., SEVERE INTERNAL DISCOMFORT) IN ANY HIGHLY NOTICABLE FASHION. Hate to say it, but remember the concept from the Bible that the husband gives love to the wife, and that the wife gives respect to the husband? [Ephesians 5] Then, remember in the Bible when it talks about the wife calling her husband “Master” or “Lord”? [I Peter]. I propose that there is therefore a “respect” language that a wife must learn when speaking to her husband. By the way, at my job site, I like calling my heads-of-department “Sir” and “Mr. <first name>” – not “pumpkin” or “honey-kins”. In a like manner, a wife learns the terms and tone of speech that mean “respect” to the husband. If there is a “respect” language, then I propose that there is likewise a “love” language that the husband has to learn for the sake of his wife. If the wife thinks it is “love” for the husband to share about his work dramas, then he should share the news. If the wife thinks it is “love” to be given a little music CD “just because”, then he should spend a little cash. She thinks dancing is the greatest gift on earth? Time to learn some steps, super guy, don't you think? In due time, you (the husband) will be a treasure, instead of a has-been. And no woman throws away a ‘treasure of a husband’ lightly. So, invest now in learning and conforming to her 'love language', so that it becomes all the more difficult for her to toss you aside when your actions (to deal with your dysphoria) become noticeable. It’s an investment – you may win big, win little, or lose it all. But if you don’t invest in her love language, you’ll have no chance of winning at all, right? Proverbs 14 puts it this way: "The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down." You've got to build up the house with her particular and unique 'love language' even if the GID and your actions to deal with your dysphoria are tearing down the walls. So, figure out the stones of her love language, and mortar a few back in place.
11. YOU DO NOT CHOOSE WHEN TO TRANSITION – YOUR GENDER IDENTITY HAS TRANSITIONED (PAST TENSE) AND YOU CHOOSE WHEN TO LESSEN THE DYSPHORIA. Yes, I know that the word “transition” is used to describe (a) the entire process that lasts for years and/or (b) the day you begin to live full-time presenting as the target gender. I propose that the Gender Identity of your mind is what has transitioned (note the past tense). The rest of your mind, behaviors, and body-perception then senses extreme discomfort because they were ‘left in the dust’ when your Gender Identity transitioned. It's like a taffy pull – the GID has moved to the far other side, and is pulling the taffy of your mind, behaviors, and body perception. Realize that no one else can sense your level of dysphoria – only you sense it. No one but you feels the taffy pull. Others will see some of the effects of your dysphoria being repressed (such as anger, irritability, short-temper, withdrawal from normal conversation, etc.), but normally will consider your dysphoria as minor. You get to feel your dysphoria as ranging from mild discomfort to needing strong pain killers (eg, overwork, losing yourself in a project, using alcohol, taking anti-depressants, etc.). You may need to begin to lessen the dysphoria earlier than you planned – some people find that clothing therapy or hormone therapy reduces the dysphoria to an acceptable level, and need no further intervention. Others need facial surgery, hormone therapy, anti-other-gender- hormone therapy, voice training, and complete life- style changes. Sense your dysphoria, deal with it with some small step, and sense your dysphoria again – repeat the cycle. Read histories of how others cleverly reduced their dysphoria, but allow your path to lessen dysphoria to be as individual as you are. Make your own path – not everyone needs SRS/GRS/facial surgery/vaginoplasty/penile implants. Proverbs 14 puts the situation this way: "Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy." Yes, your dysphoria can be bitter; the reaction of others can be bitter; searching for the 'gold' can be hard work; and finding 'hidden treasures' can be a joy. But babes, sense your own dysphoria, and use your unique plan for the unique you. Don’t forever stay a piece of taffy, or one day, you may just snap apart.
12. EXPECT HATRED FROM THE “JOBIAN EFFECT”. The “Jobian Effect” means that others will sense that their observation of your GID breaks their paradigm of “God is good to good people” and “God is bad to bad people”, and therefore be forced to revise their life-belief paradigm, or forced to revise their relationship with you. This concept is found in the Bible, in the Book of Job. For example, if others believe you were a “good” person and that GID is “bad”, then obviously, you have forsaken God and abandoned Christ and need to ‘repent’. If they believe that only “bad” people are subject to psychological disorders, then , even though you were an Elder of The Holy Church and Worship Leader and Trustee, obviously, you were really a “bad” person all along that had amazingly deceived them. If the Jobian Effect in the one that observes you is minor, then expect them to show confusion. If the Jobian Effect is major, expect them to pour out hatred due to the pain that their internal conflict is causing them. It is not you – it is their internal conflict that you are observing. The Jobian Effect is very strong in religious people (who may show hatred in the form of shunning or excommunication) and also very strong in those that had inflexible expectations for your future (who may show hatred in letters, emails, voice mail, etc.). Rule- dominated people often also can express anger, since they perceive you are ‘breaking the rules’. These people will often assume medical, psychological, and spiritual expertise concerning GID – even when they have no such medical, psychological, or spiritual expertise. They may not even realize the absurdity of their advice (such as “Even though I cannot find transsexualism in the Bible, even though it is found in medical and psychological texts, let me assure you as your pastor, that you must spiritually repent in order to be delivered from this Satanic deception”). The assumption of expertise is driven by the pain of the Jobian Effect. Hey, did I ever tell you about the hate- mail MY WIFE (who does not have GIE) received from Christians? That’s the Jobian Effect in full swing, babes, and it is not pretty – it’s incredibly immature. So, let the children play “doctor” – but don’t take their “medicine”.
13. YOUR SPOUSE AND FAMILY WILL ALSO CHOOSE ACTIONS TO DEAL WITH THEIR INHERITED DYSPHORIA. OK, your spouse doesn’t want you dead. And, yes, all your family doesn’t want you in such psychological pain that your dysphoria reduces you to a non-functioning mess of a person. And yes, all your family is exceptionally happy for you and is celebrating your choices. What? You don’t believe the last sentence? Of course not, because your actions to deal with your dysphoria have produced incredible ‘reactions’ to deal with the ‘inherited’ dysphoria that you are now giving your family. Hey, you were their “dad” or “mom”, and now, you sure don’t look it and probably don’t act it either. So, give them some room to deal with their dysphoria. Kids don’t want you at their high school? Yes, it hurts, but try to say “Hey, I understand and love you guys.” Spouse says that he can’t take you to the club anymore because of nada, yada, and wadda? Don’t debate the nada; ignore the yada; and let go of disproving the wadda. Instead, say, “Hey, I can see you are hurt. It’s ok about the club.” Then later, go off by yourself and cry alone, because it hurts. Call a friend, and go out for a drink, because it hurts. Vent to God in an angry prayer (King David did it a few times and then, wrote those prayers down -- check out the Psalms in the Bible! Whoa!). But give the family some room for their grieving process and reconciling their own dysphoria with the new you. Last I checked, love is unconditional in the Bible… so, maybe, for a few years, you’ll have to be godly and give unconditional love, turn the other cheek, carry their burden another illegal mile, and resign your case in court while giving them twice as much. [Matthew 5] Hey, I bet you prayed to be like Christ at one time. Kinda tough that He answered, right?
14. DYSPHORIA IS NOT STATIC, SO DON’T MAKE STUPID PROMISES. Do not promise your spouse that you’ll never take hormones, never change your clothing, or never change your behaviors that she/he has grown to love over the years. Such promises are based on the hope that your dysphoria is static and controllable – many with GID find that the dysphoria pushes them into more and more intervention. Here is some advice given to early Christians by an Apostle of Christ: “Now listen, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.' Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, 'If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that.' As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil.” [James 4:13-16] Yep, making promises is really boasting that you are the one in control of the GID. You ain’t driving this train, babes; it is driving you. Don’t make stupid promises.
15. LEARN TO REVIEW YOUR HISTORY WITH SOMEONE THAT CARES ABOUT YOUR HISTORY. Most of those with GID are highly intelligent and therefore have a great need to review difficult points of their history, understand what happened, gain a sense of closure, and then apply the lessons of the past to the present and future. Many average intelligence people have no such need, period. They prefer to “forgive and forget”. If your spouse is average, discuss the past with others OR discuss it with the spouse and expect your search for understanding and closure to be savagely truncated when your spouse is emotionally overwhelmed. Find a friend or a licensed counselor that will listen to you vent, wonder, and cry, about the 'poverty' of your past. Proverbs 19 offers how your spouse may come to view your recitations of your 'past poverties': "A poor man is shunned by all his relatives— how much more do his friends avoid him! Though he pursues them with pleading, they are nowhere to be found." Do discuss your past pains with your spouse once or twice, but when they are 'nowhere to be found', you really need to find someone else, don't you?
16. YOUR OLD RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR SPOUSE IS DEAD. It was hard watching it dying; you were tempted at times to pull the plug early to stop the perceived pain; but now, your relationship is dead. Grieve it, mourn it, and bury it. Then, rebuild it with new rules. After all, the old relationship died, not the marriage. The rebuilding of your new relationship is affected by each of you going through the grieving process: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. You may go through the grieving process at entirely different speeds. If the grief process averages 2 years, then that means about 2 years of grieving and partial rebuilding. No wonder so many walk away, because 2 years can seem forever when you are involved in it. And, who wants to come home to a ‘wake’ and a grieving family every day? But try to hang in there. Did your hubby became a woman in October 2005? Tell yourself that you’ll not consider ending the marriage until October 2007. Did you start living full- time as the opposite gender in October 2005? Tell yourself it is OK if the ‘wake’ lasts until October 2007. Grieving, or being around grievers, is not fun. But grief takes time – give it two years minimum. Oh, the Bible calls this 'being patient'. Here's just a few of its thoughts:
"A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly" [Proverbs 14] "A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel." [Proverbs 15] "I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry." [Psalm 40] "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." [Galatians 6]
Patience for 2 years is a hard concept. But, yanno, if the crop takes 2 years to mature, then it takes 2 years. And if you've put 10, 15, 20, 30 years into a marriage, what's a couple more years???? Time to stop digging up the corn in mid-season just because you wanted to harvest 2 months too early, don't you think? Patience is needed.
17. CONGRUENCY WITHIN A BI- GENDER CULTURE MEANS WHEN YOU PHYSICALLY TRANSITION YOUR BODY (TO MATCH YOUR MIND) YOU MAY WIN A FEW THINGS, BUT LOSE ON OTHER THINGS. This means if you hoped to hold on to an aspect of your prior gender, the culture itself will beat you into submission. In fact, the more passable you are, the more frequent the beatings. That is, if you are a passable MTF, the culture itself will treat you congruently as a woman. For example, (you might like these) a newly transitioned highly-passable full- time MTF will find that men open doors for her, co- workers allow her to enter or exit the elevator first, and the security guard will smile at you if you smile at him or her (nice, right?). You’ll also be absorbed into the non-competitive female-church and female-work networks and learn to share supportive words with each other (really nice!). You’ll be able to hear the gossip, let your female friend vent, and not pass it on (wow, mature of you and fun, really). But what about the negatives of a congruent bi-gendered culture? In the work place, your ideas will now be treated as second-class, your valid criticism of a co- worker’s concept is whispered as ‘must be her time of month’, and you might be learning the realities of reduced raises or vanished promotions. You might be told to ‘get the coffee’ for a meeting even if you are the most senior scientist attending. At home, don’t be surprised if the former spouse treats you with disrespect (like a fellow female), orders you out of the house (like a senior sister to a junior sister), instructs you to ensure the adult children have enough cash (like a senior female to a female store clerk), tries to limit or control your friendships or reconciliations with others (female fear of ‘what will the neighbors think?’), or tries to control your choice of clothing and manner of dress (female-to-female hen pecking). Did I ever tell you about the church pastor that refused to speak to me my new female name, but sent me an urgent letter denying me all rights of defense during a non-biblical indefinite period of ‘corporate shunning’? Was he treating me like a fellow man that was in sin? No, you treat a guy in sin with a man-to-man debate behind closed doors, not with secret non-biblical letters sent in the dark. Guess what? - that pastor treated me just like a female prostitute looking for tricks at his church. You hoped to hold on to the work perks of being male or the home perks of being the ‘husband’? No way. You hoped to have a respectful, rational and logical discussion with your church pastor, who reacts to you as a chick, hooker, non-believer, and worse? Sorry, but the overall culture drives male and female subcultures to highly congruent sets of actions. You look like a chick? Guess what, you’ll be treated like a ‘girl’ with the positive and negative interactions. It’s a package deal.
18. START LIVING YOUR NEW LIFE AS UNIQUE CREATION. Hey, you aren’t female. Hey, you weren’t male. You is a Unique. Bad English, but I think it makes the point. Granted, (if you are MTF TS) you may determine that you will live your life in the mind-set and lifestyle of a born-female, but you are, in hard-core reality, a ‘born’ or ‘re-born’ transsexual (TS). You is a Unique. Granted that our bi-gendered culture will try to beat you into submission, and you can’t conquer the culture. But you still can choose to ignore it. You is a Unique. And being a Unique is totally cool, because you get to make your own definitions, goals, and expectations from a unique perspective. If you keep trying to reach a definition of “perfect female” or “perfect male”, you may succeed, or you may end up frustrated and miserable. Care to bet cash that you’ll be the latter? The binary model of gender did not work for you before, what on earth makes you think that it will work now? Have you ever read about Androgen Insensitive Syndrome (AIS)? Are they men or women or uniques? I vote that if they live as uniques that they may be less frustrated than beating up their own bodies for things that will never happen. Therefore, learn to think totally out-of-the-gender- box. Wanna play catch with the neighborhood boy in your skirt while smoking a cigar? Do it. Wanna ride to the club on your Harley with your leathers, and then drink girly drinks and dance so macho that all the chicks swoon over you? Do it. Feel free to make totally unique rules that work for you, and then embrace that new life fully. Learn to dance the night away, sweetheart, even now, as transition is just beginning. You’ll love yourself, really.
19. LEARN THAT RE-INVENTING A MARRIAGE IS NORMAL. One of the best pieces of advice I received from Ms. Ellen Warren, LCSW, Alexandria Virginia USA, was this: “Hey, all good marriages learn how to reinvent themselves.” You normally have been re-inventing your marriage every 5 years or so, right? You were dating, then a married couple, then had young kids, then re-entered the work place, then had rebellious teens, then had them leave home, right? So, what is the problem with one more re-invention? I am not saying that re-inventing is easy; I am saying that the couple that can realize that re-inventing is normal, will be flexible enough to start the re-inventing now. Especially now that a new challenge has arrived – a spouse changing radically. Re-invention is normal. Re-invention takes flexibility, not non-flexibility. Re-invention is like new wine being poured into a new wineskin -- the new wine will expand and the new wineskin will expand with it. Jesus was emphatic about the concept of flexibility: "And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine into new wineskins." [Mark 2] Become flexible and re-invent your marriage or it may be that the 'new wine' of GID will simply burst your marriage.
20. UNDERSTAND THAT THE ARGUMENTS OF “BODY-OWNERSHIP” ARE IMPOSSIBLE TO OVERCOME, AND AVOID THOSE ARGUMENTS. Many women (not all) have a deep belief system that “the money he earns, is our money; but the money I earn, is my money.” This belief system of “his is ours; but mine is mine alone” can also carry over to the physical culture of body-ownership – “His body belongs to me! How dare he change his body! Oh, me? Yes, I’m overweight … maybe I am even obese, but that’s MY body and no one else’s business.” Woe to the MTF that points to the obese spouse and says, “Ah, this makes no sense. Either our bodies belong to each other and are shared; or, our bodies belong to our own selves and you can stay obese while I obtain cosmetic surgery.” Expect to be greeted by the fires of hell as she rebuts your opinions. Expect her to also stay obese, by the way. In her mind, there is an entire culture of “his is ours; but mine is mine alone” that she cannot escape. And, within her mind, what you are doing is beyond obesity, and so, there is no comparison anyway. If you are TS and are changing your body through hormones and/or surgery; and if your spouse is not bi-sexual; don’t argue the “fairness” of body ownership – our whole culture is against such “fairness” or “reason”. Change your body because of the pressures of dysphoria that are destroying your life. Become beautiful (or handsome, as the case may be). Take charge of your body and sculpt it as you believe it should be sculpted. When she says, “How can you do these things to your body?!?” – don’t point the finger at her obesity, but do point the finger at your own dysphoria and your need to deal with it. Dysphoria is what is driving you, so point to it, and nothing else.
21. YOU SHOULD EXPECT AFFAIRS. Affairs-of-the-heart do not necessarily include sexual intercourse (ie, adultery). But you should expect affairs at multiple levels to occur. After all, your spouse just lost his/her lover. And, it is very likely that you lost your lover. Some of these affairs do lead to adultery. But any level of affair - to include adultery - does not mean the end of the marriage, but probably is meeting a need that can no longer be met by the spouse – such as passion, enjoyment of conversation on sensitive subjects, and just plain fun. Don’t leave the marriage because your spouse had an affair; instead, try to find out what they are missing so much. Don’t hate yourself because you had an affair; instead, ask yourself what you are missing so much. Then, talk to your spouse about what you truly wish he/she gave you. I want to say very clearly: “Do not discuss the affair – talk about what you need”. Don’t argue about affairs at all, which is the surface issue. Explore what is the driving motivation, and then, you might have success in meeting your spouse’s need.
22. EXPECT SAFETY NETS AND TRY TO LIVE WITH THEM. Safety nets are zones where someone goes alone, and truly lives without fear of retribution or explanation. For example, your spouse may declare (to a FTM), “Don’t you come to my new church at all – I just want to worship God without having another man by my side.” Or, you might declare (as a MTF married to a born-female), “At work, I just have to tell everyone that I am married to a man and not a woman.” By any definition, these are lies and each person is living a lie. But before you hate yourself or your spouse, ask if these are “safety nets” – little islands of safety through some level of denial. Neither you nor your spouse can always withstand the imagined fear and/or conceptual pressure of retribution or adversity. Hey, it is hard to say the following statement even in an accepting GLBT church: “Oh, this guy sitting next to me, well, he is my wife. I’m married to a transsexual, and we are a couple and love to worship God together. And yes, his beard is nicer than mine.” Be aware that safety nets are often destructive to a couple’s sense of being “a couple above all else”. Safety nets, by my observation, are for an individual and can dismantle the sense of being a 'couple' or a 'marriage' if kept intact too long. Finding out that your spouse has lied about your new gender at work, forbids you to come to her work, and won’t take you to the annual Christmas party – well, those are costly items that build resentment and bitterness. So, allow the safety nets, and speak softly with your spouse about all the safety nets you both need, and then set a time table for removing them, gently, one by one, as the months and years go by. One day, take your GID spouse’s picture to work, and when asked, just say, “Oh, that is my spouse. I never told you that he became a woman a couple years ago, did I?” It will be good gossip for about 2 days, really, if you handle the dismantling of a safety net with a simple explanation and simple smile.
23. LEARN TO LIVE WITH INEQUITIES IN THE RELATIONSHIP; STOP LOOKING FOR PERFECT EQUITY. Given all the actions taken by you to lessen your dysphoria; and given all the actions taken by your spouse to lessen his/her inherited dysphoria; then you should expect a relationship that no longer strives for perfect equity. Your spouse may attend your Christmas party, but forbid you to attend their Christmas party. You may invite your spouse to a family funeral, but be told to not attend his/her family's funeral. Perfect equity is gone. Learn to define a “win-win” situation in entirely new inequitable ways. Businesses bent on equitable business often trade “white rice for brown rice”; wiser businesses trade “white rice” for “iron and steel”. Apparent 'inequitable trading' is what makes the business world go around. So, go ahead and invite her to the company Christmas party, just because she likes to garden with you. Go ahead and realize that you need her to be with you at a funeral, and that your need is enough of a reason. Ignore the fact that she told you to stay away from her best friend’s funeral – get a grip and approach the business of marriage like a wise business person. Create a new set of marriage expectations that defy all normal marriage expectations – and learn to love every one of those inequitable equations. You’ll prosper in the long run. Oh, did I ever mention Matthew chapter 5? Did I ever mention you probably prayed to be like Christ, and to give love without any conditions? A relationship with inequity is very hard to handle; you’ll break into pieces over the injustices that you are given, or you’ll have to mature and be like Christ, and “receive an injustice without giving back a threat – and commit yourself to Him that judges justly.” [I Peter] So, maybe a relationship with inequity is a perfect time to practice the Christ-like maturity that you prayed for, right? Practice being like Him, babes, it is worth it.
24. YOU CANNOT FORCE SOMEONE TO LOVE YOU, ENJOY YOU, OR EVEN TO TOLERATE YOU. During the grieving process, your spouse may leave you. Or, you may leave your spouse. You may find that either person leaves ‘emotionally’ long before they leave ‘physically’. Do not expect your spouse to love, enjoy, or even tolerate your new gender mind-set in the bedroom, in the home, in recreation, or during previously enjoyed activities. When things turn cold between you, try to focus on doing neutral events – go out for coffee, and talk about the weather; go out for a drink, and chat about the garden. Learn to say, “I’m sorry for what GID has done to us.” This is important, because this saying shows that (a) you are not celebrating the pain of your spouse and (b) that you and your spouse are still a ‘we-ism’ (say “we are a single organism – then say, ‘we-ism’). So long as your spouse thinks that GID is “your” problem, you may remain intolerable. When your spouse thinks that GID is “our” problem, then you will most likely find him/her giving you compassion. So, if your spouse can't tolerate you, stop for a moment, and engage in neutral events you both like.
25. DON’T ASSUME THE OLD APPROACH TO EVENTS WILL WORK – YOU MAY NEED TO LOSE A MARRIAGE AND GAIN A FRIENDSHIP. Most likely, your marriage is disintegrating, and becoming a friendship, as you live in the opposite gender. In a marriage, you learn to do what is best for both; but in a friendship, you learn to do what is best for you, the individual. So, you might discover that the marriage is gone but an odd form of friendship is developing. For a time, this may be the best you both can do. I propose that you learn to ask three friendship-based questions: What is the event? Who owns that event area? What is their chosen approach? For example: you are a MTF and your mother dies. That is the event. Who owns that event area (of attending the funeral) – you own it. What is your chosen approach? Stop. Think. You can approach the event as a married couple, or as best friends, or even as two separate individuals. Don’t just assume your former spouse thinks this event is a “couple” event and will automatically “know” to be there. Decide what you want, and then ask. Let’s say, it is important to you (the MTF) that the event of attending the funeral be approached as a couple – then ask your wife to join you at the funeral. Likewise, let’s say your spouse’s father dies. What is the event? Who owns it? What is your spouse’s chosen approach? Hey, your spouse owns that event and may tell you that she wishes to be an individual at that event, and forbids you to come to the funeral. It is fine to have two very similar events, two very different owners, and therefore two very different approaches. Before, you always assumed that you two were to present as a couple – time to expand the options, or be perpetually wounded by what appears to be a lack of marriage rights and obligations. Don’t assume the old scripts will work; instead, take the mindset of the composer, and create whatever ‘music’ is needed for the occasion. Hey, if you can whistle, you can compose. Grieve the loss of being married; but do allow the friendship to continue.
26. YOU MAY HAVE TO ABANDON THE LEADER/FOLLOWER MODEL OF MARRIAGE AND LEARN TO ACCEPT THE FRIEND/FRIEND MODEL OF MARRIAGE. Do you have some expectations? Probably. Remember when you were first married, and ‘expected’ him to mow the lawn, work in the garage, and be the driver of the car? Or, expected her to watch the kids, cook the dinners, and admire your driving skills? Those are called “expectations”. Remember how angry she was when you (a guy) said you liked to cook dinners? Remember how hurt you were when she mowed the lawn for you? OK, those angers and hurts are called violating or shattering expectations. After 10 years or so of marriage, you've probably rewritten a host of expectations. But one that is deep within many people is the “leader/follower” expectation. You know, “A man’s home is his castle and he is king” sort of view. The man speaks out the decision, and the wife submits and calls him “master”…. That’s right. You’ve got it. Why are you laughing? Let me guess at the reason: if you were a born-male, you probably married a very strong-minded woman because of your pre-TS-onset tendencies. If you were a born-female, you probably married a very non-traditional man because of your pre-TS-onset tendencies. Yet, the traditional leader/follower model of marriage is something you may have tried to obtain during those moments you wanted to prove you were a real-man or real- woman. Do you see the conflict? [The next is from the MTF perspective; FTMs please reverse the following] – you married a strong-woman, and then tried to establish the classic leader/follower model, she fought your leadership, did not respect you, and now, she respects you all the less. If you are a church-person, you might feel very ‘righteous’ about the chain of command being God-Husband-Wife- Children, and very guilty about never being the man that could break that woman into obedience. If she is a church-person, she will say “I respect you” because of her training, but her actions show the reality, right? Time to face reality, cowboy, you picked the wildest bronco you thought you could ‘break’, and got thrown and thrown again. Each time you dusted yourself off, and then climbed back into the saddle to prove you were a super-cowboy. Now, you are a chick, and that bronco will not only throw you, but trample you. It won’t be pretty; and you’ll be wondering what the hell happened. Here’s my thought: don’t ride her. You are no longer the leader. Don’t make pronouncements. Don’t make orders. Be a friend and share the reins of the many decisions you both need to make concerning the home, work hours, child duties, the garden, the yard, buying the new car, and so forth. You are married, but don’t try to ‘break’ that bronco. Bring some apples in your pocket instead, and learn to walk side by side. She may never respect you, but she’ll grow to love you, trust you, and maybe become your friend. With God’s blessing, maybe one day, she’ll return to being your wife.
27. DO NOT MAKE DECISIONS TO FORCE OTHERS TO LEAVE YOU. IF THE SITUATION IS DESTRUCTIVE, THEN, YOU SHOULD LEAVE AND NOT THEM. Divorce is quick, clean, and so easy. Not! Hey, what about the ‘noble’ idea of divorcing the spouse to save him/her a lot of pain or to end their confusion? It is not noble to make a life-decision for someone else. You (the TS) should be allowed to make your own decision based on your own concerns, pains, hurts, and pleasures. Also, your spouse (the non-TS) should be allowed to make his/her own decision based on his/her own concerns, pains, hurts, and pleasures. What about making the marriage so argumentative, violent and painful that you drive the other person to leave? Oh, come on, let’s behave like adults and not manipulate the other person to leave. When your pain is too much for you, then you leave so that you can reconcile at a safe distance, away from any automatic spiral of destruction. The first place you should withdraw to is the couch in the living room, by the way. Then, try again the next night to sleep with your spouse. The second place you should withdraw to is a hotel for one night. Maybe, if the downward spiral is just accelerating to no end, then you need to get your own apartment. If you can’t reconcile while living in the apartment, then, ask yourself “Is this pain of separation and non-reconciliation so incredible that I must seek a divorce?” Note that every action is your action and every searching question is your question and your answer. Don’t deceive yourself into the “noble” idea of assuming his/her pain is “just too much for her” or that “this is really best for both of us”. Note that the only pain you can truly measure is your pain. Make your own decisions, and don't make a single decision for your spouse.
28. IF YOU SEPARATE, ACTIVELY WORK AT RECONCILIATION OR EXPECT THE RELATIONSHIP TO DIE. If you were married for 10 or more years, try to reconcile once-a- week or twice-a-month when separated for two years. Remember that the grieving period is thought to last a normal 2 years. You may be surprised that your spouse is more flexible than you thought, after his/her initial period of denial, anger, bargaining, and depression. What? You don’t want the pain of trying to reconcile? I don’t blame you at all, hun… it is painful to go meet with a counselor, and have a spouse's anger thrown on you like hot coffee. But I offer that you should be willing to help your spouse through the grieving process of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. It is easier to make “demands” that she (or he) can never meet, and then say, “Well, that proves the contract of marriage is broken, and I am outta here.” Hmmmm..., maybe I should put that in church- language: “You have forsaken the holy covenant of marriage and therefore I turn you over to Satan.” Stop. What we are saying in our heart is this: “I know you are angry; I am too. GID stole away so much that it breaks both our hearts.” The ‘storm’ came. The storm and winds beat against the house. The house collapsed. Why did it collapse? Jesus would say that the house collapsed because it was not founded upon the rock of doing His commands – like unconditional love to the wife and unconditional respect to the husband; like learning to love your enemies; like learning to resign your arguments for the sake of love. [Matthew 5, 6, and 7] So, if you are willing to reconcile, do it right – don’t make demands, instead focus on the Bible’s statements of Matthew chapters 5, 6, and 7; work those statements through with your separated spouse, and rebuild the foundation. If you don’t rebuild the ‘house’ right, the next storm will devastate you both all the faster. And babes, life has storms well beyond the hurricane of GID, doesn’t it? So, work at the reconciliation for a couple of years -- you can do it, babes, really, you can.
29. MAYBE ONE DAY, YOU’LL MOVE FROM A FRIENDSHIP TO A NEGOTIATED MARRIAGE. We’ve talked about learning to live and love an inequitable arrangement. We’ve talked about the three questions of friendship: What is the event? Who owns that event area? What is their chosen approach? Yes, these are good tools for surviving. But, there comes a time when the inequity is too much for you to handle. And, there comes a time when you think that you “own” the event, but your spouse thinks that “we” own the event. Time to learn the ancient art of negotiation. Sit down with your spouse and discuss your motivations and desires; hear out her motivations and desires; take a break. Go out for coffee with your spouse. Try again tomorrow eve. Don’t overrun or ignore your spouse’s input (when your marriage had disintegrated to a friendship, you had no choice but to do that; but now, we want something better – a negotiated marriage). Come back together with several creative brainstorming ideas. Then, pick those ideas that are (in preferred order), win-win, win-a-little for both of us, or lose- lose. Stay away from win-lose and win-destroy combinations. Many marriages live forever as friendships; a few will return to being a negotiated marriage; a very few will return to a Biblical marriage (per Ephesians 5 and I Peter 2 & 3). So, when your spouse begins to negotiate, don’t rush off and shout: “We are only friends! How dare you!” and likewise, don’t rush off and shout: “But negotiation in marriage isn’t according to the Bible!” Stop. Think. A Biblical marriage is like gold; a negotiated marriage is like silver; and a life-friendship is like rubies. Hey, babes, if you can’t get gold, take the treasure your spouse offers – it’s beautiful in its own way.
Much love in Christ;
(c) Copyright Caryn LeMur 2007
Observations For Those With GID
At first, it was a mapping of experiences that seemed common to many that were diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder (GID), which can be considered to the most extreme form of transgenderism. Later, it became a series of Irish-style proverbs. But that is an art form that I had trouble doing well....sigh.... So, this is now a series of observations that seem very common among those that are married, middle-aged, and diagnosed with GID. Oh, it is also laced with Christian concepts as well.