I was referred to read a recent web-site post denigrating the transsexual experience: ‘An Open Letter to Bruce Jenner from a REAL Woman’ (godfatherpolitics.com/23983/an-open-letter-to-bruce-jenner-from-a-real-woman). Allow me to share my reply to Emilee Danielson’s article.
Emilee, your rant is annoying. You write what you idealise is female – only the perfect anatomical specimen. You ignore the full range of biological possibilities and potentials. You ignore the XY females. You ignore females born with ambiguous genitalia or erroneously-identified male genitalia; you ignore ‘true transsexuals’.
I can challenge Emilee’s assessments.
Feminine protesting, transsexualism, gender dysphoria, or transgender – all terms describing one’s gender identity incongruent to their apparent sexual anatomy.
I studied transsexualism at medical school (1981 – 1985). I researched trying to develop ways to use stem cells to grow vestigial Mullerian or Wolffian systems in M-F and F-M patients. It is a dream of many, if not most, transsexuals (both M-F and F-M) to have the actual, full anatomy, not the limited GCS / SRS results (despite Emilee’s argument). The medical community treated my efforts with disdain and disrepute.
Brain scans document that a M-F brain is nearly identical to a female brain; a F-M scan is nearly identical to a male brain. The differences both between M-F versus male as well as F-M versus female are absolute.
(Transgender: A Choice?:
My studies also focused on two primary categories of M-F ‘true transsexual’.
- One abhors and denies her ‘male’ anatomy and never experiences her ‘male’ sexuality.
- The other suppresses her female gender identity; they fall victim to pressure to conform as a male, they become a super macho male extreme to fight off their female identity (active in male sports, serial dating many girlfriends, marriage and many children, military service, masculine careers). Caitlyn Jenner fit the latter.
Caitlyn Jenner is not your typical transsexual – she is a celebrity transsexual. She has money to blow and TV contracts most people will never understand. Most transsexuals (M-F and F-M) live quiet, anonymous, and unassuming lives – few, if any other than family, know of their change.
M-F transsexuals experience many medical procedures beyond your comprehension, Emilee: FFS, thyroid reduction, VFS, full-body electrolysis, Bosley transplants, BA, and GCS / SRS. All of these medical procedures incur pain and deprivation; they each require months, if not years, to resolve and recover. They cost money – patients endure their own financial hardship while working and saving to pay for each procedure because insurance denies this of them or their medical provider refuses insurance or MediCare.
M-F also experience all the same work, social, and legal discrimination as any other female. We get our IQ score reduced 100 points and are treated as children rather than female adults. We lose our high-paying jobs when our employer suddenly channels us from our professional career to the clerical pool.
I worked for years trying to pass the ERA and other feminist legislation – both as a ‘male’ and since transitioning to female. I am well-aware of the political issues. I have written about the worst plight of women who endure life at such cultures as in the Arab / Moslem world – where patriarchal men consider women nothing more than chattel property with no human rights and no human dignity.
I fit the former M-F transsexual category. I was born with ambiguous genitalia – doctors presumed my mal-formed female anatomy as mal-formed male and erroneously assigned me as male; I hated that ‘male’ anatomy. I spent my entire childhood in feminine protesting yet no medical professional would accept my pleas.
My medical team obligated me to transition from ‘male’ to female same as any M-F transsexual. I began at age 18 (1974), I had my first transition medical examination (1978), Social Security corrected my file to female (1978), I began counselling and ERT (1979), my state declared me female (1980), my exploratory operation confirmed me inter-sexed female (1982), my corrective operation resolved my anatomy (1983), I finished my transition to female (1985).
How I wished I could have experienced my full femaleness – the childhood, puberty, and adulthood – that I lost due to my failed anatomy. The matter of inter-sex occurs as frequently as one of every 100 births. Our numbers are more than you might know.
Facts again disprove Emilee. M-F experience breast development same as any female during puberty – all those little nerve impulses as the ERT courses through our bloodstream and develops into female anatomy.
I, too, have incurred automobile breakdowns – and strange men whom I depended to provide assistance and not assault me. There have been occasions when I carried legal devices as protection from an assault. Emilee, we transsexuals are not immune from our worst fears.
M-F experience the same medical prospect as Emilee’s female. Christine Jorgensen had breast cancer at her death.
My latest breast scan (June 2015) documents my very real potential for breast cancer. My radiologist explained to me that my latest results mean that I am among the 50% of females who have ‘dense breast tissue’, that such a condition complicates finding cancer, that early stages of cancer could go un-detected, so it is up to me to perform regular self-exams and attend to regular screenings. My worst-case scenario is double-mastectomy. How real is that, Emilee?
My intimate anatomy also is subject to all the same maladies as yours, Emilee: odors, warts, cancer. I attend to regular medical appointments with my primary, endocrinologist, and gynecologist – I get the mirror and warm water, same as you, Emilee. I use my ERT cream now that I am in menopause. In fact, my medical condition since 1979 is considered menopause. How long have you been in menopause, Emilee? I have experienced my hot flashes (residing at Phoenix, too) since 1979.
My doctors and nurses include these intake questions at my medical appointments:
- ‘When was your last period?’,
- ‘What is your para and gravida status?’, and
- ‘When did you begin menopause?’.
I was off my ERT for 13 months to clear my system – you know the warnings about ERT. In March 2015 my labs documented my estrogen level equal to normal menopausal female. My endocrinologist resumed my ERT (1mg per day estradiol); my July 2015 labs showed my estrogen level boosted to normal adult menstruating female.
Here’s how else I did experience what it is to be female: I experienced ‘morning sickness’ during my early years on high-dose ERT. I learned of this in restrospect. My outward symptoms must have puzzled people who knew me while I was still presenting to them only as male. Women who knew me only after I completed transition to female were the ones who recognised my symptoms as morning sickness, presumed I was pregnant, and showed their concern: they asked to know if it was my first or if I had others, when was I due, if I wanted a boy or a girl, and very intimate questions of the anatomical nature of pregnancy. They welcomed me to the realm of femalehood. That restrospection made sense as I looked back at my dreams I had during phases of morning sickness. Days when I had morning sickness led to night-time dreams of me at various stages of being pregnant. Okay, those night-time dreams were just that; they do show that the mind is connected to the experiences of the anatomy.
So, my dear Emilee, you go ahead and you present your haughty self while the rest of us go about our best-as-normal workaday world trying to survive the only way we know.
And so goes the debate.