Friday, May 22, 2009

Not a Habit

This is not the kind of thing I want to make a habit of doing with this particular journal. Re-posting Youtube videos seems a little like a cop out to me (please don't take offense! I am as guilty of it as anyone... maybe more so!). It's a way to keep posting without really contributing anything that hasn't already been shared.

I'm making an exception this one time. I was very touched by this video. I don't think I would have shared the exact same message, but Jelissa's presentation was no less compelling. I like the idea that we are entering a new era. I like the idea that gender is naturally becoming less objective. I think that the big mistake in this video is to suggest that the societal view of transgenderism has not progressed since the time of Christine Jorgensen. It is true that we are probably still a thirty or forty years from realizing societal peace (if such a thing will EVER be possible), but there is no denying that the resources available to the transgender community today have progressed significantly.

I am not that old... I'm not! Shut up. I am not that old, but even in my life time the changes are noticeable. When I first began to realize the nature of my "queerness," the closest thing available to me in the way of information was the TV sitcom "Bosom Buddies." There were no transgender forums, no easily accessible data / opinions / examples at my fingertips. Things have changed - thanks primarily to the Internet. Regardless, I found this video compelling, and I'd love to share it with you:

Ciao Babies!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Art of Confusion

I am so lost. I often wonder just what God has planned for me. It is so frustrating that every time (and I am NOT exaggerating) I think I have resolved to pursue one direction, I am almost immediately presented with a catalyst that triggers an about face.

I do not believe in coincidence. Everything happens for a reason. The problem is that I can never figure out the damn reason! Whenever I choose, I am invariably presented with a "promise" that begs my redirection. The confusing part is that I don't know from where these promises originate. Am I compelled to move toward my femininity because that is the path toward God's plan for me, or is that merely a plot to keep me from realizing my purpose? Whenever I decide to embrace my femininity, why I am immediately presented with the opportunity to enhance my masculinity? Is the promise of a woman's love an offering from God, or is it a trick to keep me off the path to reconciliation? I am so confused.

The worst part is that I don't understand why I need to choose. I am an attractive man, and I enjoy a lot of benefit from my male life (great career, lots of money, meaningful friendships). I enjoy a lot of the positives of my masculinity, but there is a whole other side. I am soft and gentle. I love to love, and I love to be loved. I want nothing more than to be beautiful in someones eyes. I am feminine by nature, so much so that I have to make a conscious effort NOT to respond naturally to stimuli. I'm also pretty cute (well... :) I think so). So why can't I be both?

Why should any of us have to choose? What is wrong with living my life along the line that I instinctively see in front of me? I'm not entirely anything. So, why can't I be who I am... someone who resides comfortably in between?

Just a thought.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sex and the...

Greetings all, and welcome back to T.E.

I was dwelling a little last night on the topic of sex. Oddly, this is not something that I think about very often - I think a LOT about feelings of loneliness and the longing for intimacy, but sex is rarely a topic for consideration. I wouldn't suggest that sex isn't an interest, but it is certainly very low on my list of priorities, especially right now. Honestly, I've lived a relatively asexual life, and for the most part this doesn't bother me.

The problem I have is that sex, and really, attraction is very confusing. I am attracted to men in general, but seldom to any man specifically. I am also intensely interested in women, and I suspect that I am bisexual leaning slightly to the lesbian side of things. Here's where it gets confusing though. While I am incessantly interested in women, and often even attracted to them, I never know quite what those feelings mean. It's a phenomenon my ex-wife and I coined "The Do or Be Conundrum." See, when I look at a woman, I'm never really sure whether my interest stems from the desire to have relations with her (do) or from the desire to embody her femininity (be). Shut up! I thought it was pretty clever.

In a similar vein, my attraction to men falls all over the map emotionally. In all honesty, I think that my interest relates more to the idea of behaving as a "normal" woman, than it necessarily does to the idea of actually being intimate with a man. I think this is why I seldom feel any real attraction to specific men, (Except for David Duchovny, of course - he can have me any time and anywhere!) even though a majority of my fantasies (though the sexual ones are very few and far between) center on intimacy with a man. It's all very confusing.

In the end, it is usually just simpler not to think about it, so generally, I don't. When I do ponder the idea of sexuality, I often wonder if I would feel less confusion without the presence of a physiological response to stimuli, but ironically, that physiological response is relatively equal regardless of the gender of the specific stimulus. I suppose that makes it a non-factor, but still I wonder. Without the "offending organ," would I find women attractive? I suspect I would.

Your thoughts?


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

What's In a Name

Does anyone else share this little idiosyncrasy of mine? My experience has been that it is fairly unique, and in fact, most people - T-community or otherwise - have regarded my habit with some confusion. I'd be interested in knowing how others of you out there view this particular issue. I'm speaking of... the name.

It sounds to me like most girls pick a name and stick with it; this has not been my approach. I have actually renamed myself at least a half dozen times over the years. These changes largely coincide with other changes I make to my approach to handling my transgenderism. For example, when I finally collected all the appropriate accouterments to make a complete transformation, I took a new name to mark that new phase of my life.

I'm given to understand that not all T-people take on a new "gender appropriate" name, but interestingly it was one of the first things I ever did. Before I ever tried women's clothes, before I experimented with makeup or tried shaving my legs, I took a feminine name. In my dream worlds, in the solitude of my bedroom, I had a name. I think I was around 11 or 12 when I first named myself. I decided that my name would be Melissa.

The first time I changed my name stemmed from the realization that my chosen name could be shortened to a masculine nickname. That thought was wholly unacceptable. I wanted to be a woman, and I didn't want any ambiguity about it. When someone called my name, I wanted it to be clear that a woman would respond. I believe the first evolution was to Sonya (I don't know why... most of the time I picked a name that I associated with someone I found beautiful). That was probably around the time I turned 15 or so. From that instance on, I never again assumed a name that could be shortened or in any other way be interpreted as masculine.

The next time I changed my name was after I started living on my own and no longer had to hide my "spoils." Well, that was only partially true. I had a roommate, and despite my deep desires, I still could not find the courage to tell anyone about myself. That came about a year later (well... sort of). I don't remember the specific name I took back then. I remember that the next name change occurred several years later, after I had finally collected the proper "equipment" for the total transformation... yes that was several years later. Sad isn't it? Then I became Rebecca Lynn. I remained Rebecca Lynn for several years, right into marriage and children.

At a certain point, around my fourth year of marriage or so, the right combination of circumstances finally fell into place, and I was able to make a public appearance or two. At this time, I changed my name to Jennifer Lynn (Jenny for short). Honestly, that was always my favorite name, and I've toyed many times with going back to it. I never have though. Around my tenth year of marriage, things began to fall apart. My then wife had decided she couldn't take being with me anymore (frankly, I had checked out emotionally a couple years before), and it was decided that we would separate.

In that period of life, I made a second decision. I was going to transition. I sought out counseling, managed to get myself on hormones, and even started electrolysis. To mark this major development, I decided it was time to bring my name back home. One evening while reminiscing about something or other, I remembered a childhood "fantasy" of sorts. I've never had a nickname, largely because my male name is very concise and not conducive to such things; but many of my cousins and other family members would often call me by my initials - K.D. Every time I heard someone call me K.D., my mind would translate that to Katie, and my heart would flutter with joy at the idea of being called by a feminine name.

It was that memory that spurred the adoption of the name Kate, or Katherine.

Is that weird to you all? Or has anyone else done something like that? What are your quirks? I'd love to hear your stories!

Katie Anne DeLong

BTW - the montage in my title block is a combination of photos from the Jenny and Katie periods. :)