This is a beautiful little book of poems, published by A Midsummer Night’s Press. I didn’t expect to be so breath taken by these poems, and that it would provoke such feeling of recognition and new thoughts in me. It is often hard for me to get something out of poems in English, because I often feel that I lack knowledge of the finer tunes of the language. But Raymond Luczak’s poems got through that barrier of language. I want to quote some verses from «Instructions to hearing persons desiring a deaf man»: Les videre
One person I feel a deep connection with, athough I have never met him, is Matt Kailey. His book Just add hormones made a huge impact and I am forever thankful. I missed gay transmale idols and humour, and he filled that gap. On Mondays he posts answers to questions from his readers. There is always a lot of food for thought there, and I really recommend reading his blog. The quotes here are from his post Ask Matt Monday: Is This Enough Reason to Want to Transition?
I subscribe to the philosophy that transition is a necessity, and that if you need to transition, you will, and that if it is right for you, you will know.
I tried for years to define male and female, gender and sex, thinking that I needed to know what these were before I could do anything about how I felt. No one has ever been able to define these concepts in simple ways without excluding several groups of people or their experiences. And neither could I. This made me more and more depressed. When I finally decided to follow my gut feeling instead of my head, I felt extremely relieved. Les videre
The doctors usually have high reservations on prescribing testosterone to transmen. Female hormones do not cause as much irreversible changes as testosterone does.
I had a really hard time getting a prescription for testosterone because of this. Because I was not approved by the Norwegian gender clinic, I would not get testosterone from them either. I was ready to start hormone treatment when I went to the clinic the first time, fall 2006, but knew it would not happen.
I’m going to auditon for a choir on tuesday. So it was time for a reality check. Can I still sing?
I have thought about doing this for some time now and finally got to it. As you can hear, I’m still able to use my «old» female voice, but it’s more limited than it was. I think I still hit the notes and that it doesn’t sound too bad. What do you think?
This christmas, my mother said that my singing voice sounded better than the year before, more relaxed. I feel that way too. Transguys.com has a great article on the trans male singing voice. It suggests that starting on a low dose of testosterone is the best for the voice. That might be the reason I can still sing. I’ve now been on T for 2,5 years, most of the time on half the usual testogel dose. Fall 2010 I started Nebido injections and almost instantly felt all kinds of changes turning up speed.
Here I would insert the non-existing picture of me and the pop star.
Years ago, before I started my transition, I wrote a blog post in Norwegian with this same title. I had just heard Madonna state that she was a gay man in a woman’s body. I had also heard Annie Lennox statement about being reincarnated in her next life with a penis.
Both these statements by well known musicians made an overwhelming impact on me. At the time I knew I was gay and that my body felt weired, but I had not yet taken any steps to transition. I felt very alone, very depressed. I thought I was the only one feeling this way about gender and sexuality. All the transmen I’d heard of was very masculine and straight. Les videre
Where was I ten years ago?
I was living in a pecieved heterosexual relationship, and had been for the previous 3 years. I was studying creative writing (the first of two years), struggeling to write a novel that nobody liked but me. In between, I wrote short prose. A year ago, I looked at some of what I’d written and thought it was really scary. Les videre
It is kind of funny, but I guess I have a strange sense of humour.
I recently got a letter from the GID clinic explaining that they have done nothing wrong in denying me diagnosis and treatment. They still won’t accept me as a man. As expected, but still a bad christmas gift.
I am visiting my parents’ and today I went to church with them. My father is a reverend out in the countryside. After church, a woman came up to me and said «You must be the reverend’s son. You look so much like him» and introduced herself.
Later, while I was outside smoking, a man walking his dog stopped and started talking to me. I soon realised that he was mistaking me for my father, but had only seen him at a distance.
I feel like I am at a turning point. It is still more important to me to be seen as male, than vanity regarding my age. But I feel that it is about to change. I know I look a lot like my father, but I am not happy to be mistaken for him. After all he is 24 years older. I guess the man didn’t know that. At least I hope so.
(I am not very fond of the word passing and usually use it in an ironic sense.)
I’m reading an analysis of Leonora Carringtons self-portraits by Sissel Lie. The first portrait is the best known:
The last is less known, but it is the focus of my text:
I’m leaving tomorrow, heading for Stockholm and EuroPride. I have responsibility for two events:
- A session in english called «Transwriting» where I speak about my writing, how I was met by the media and society at large. Included reading some of my poems in both Norwegian and English. See description here.
- A writer’s workshop in two parts, where the first will be held at PrideHouse on Monday and the second at RFSL on Thursday. This will be in Norwegian/Swedish, unless someone english-speaking wants to attend.
I’m so delighted to have this opportunity, thanks to Punkfairy! It is a bit scary, but mostly exiting. I get to spend the week at his place. There are so many interesting workshops and other events going on that I like to attend!
I got my prescription in the mail today. I went right to a pharmacy and picked up my box filled with small packages of testogel. I’m the happiest man in the world!
Pictures can be seen at my norwegian blog.
I really thought I was going to be a feminine man. After all, I enjoy looking good, nice clothes, identify as queer and I’ve always been attracted to feminine men. It turns out I might be quite regular. And it bothers me.
This is the moving story of the last months of Robert Eads’ life. He died of ovarian cancer because hospitals refused to treat him. Why? He was a transsexual, a FTM just like me. His story makes me very happy to live in Norway, where I don’t have to pay for my medical treatment and where I will not be turned down because of my biological history (at least as long as I’m white – see the horrible story of Ali Farah). To get registered legally as male, I have to get my overaies removed. Although I believe it should be elegible (forced sterilisation is something that don’t belong in an enlightened, modern society), I’ll be happy to get rid of them.
Southern Comfort (1999) – In Memory of (FtM) Robert Eads
After reading Cheerful Megalomaniac’s post on lesbian (ex-)partners of transmen, I’m very happy that I’ve not had to deal with lesbians in that way. As mentioned before, I have a theory that it’s harder for women to accept transsexualism. And after reading the above mentioned post it seems like lesbians have an especially hard time with this.
You don’t find yourself a boyfriend, and then insist on seing him as a woman. That’s not how the world works, sorry girls. It is of course a bit complicated if you’re already in a relationship, but as Ryan writes ” No one should ever control someone elses coming out process”.
I’ve often felt happy that I was single while sorting things out and coming out of my “double closet”. To tell you the truth, I’m often happy that I’m still single. That might change once I start taking testosterone…
Yesterday was a crazy day. I started on TV early in the morning and was mostly busy with interviews all day. I even got to talk some of my book, the reason why I do this media-thing in the first place. Norway is a small country and trans-issues are not very well known, so I’ve done a lot of educating. I’m not afraid to talk about myself, and some transsexuals find that intimidating. I’ve been told to shut up because I’m not representative for the whole trans-community, especially in terms of being gay. That makes me really angry, bacause it was one of the reasons I didn’t come to terms with my identity earlier. I haven’t heard from any of them this time, but I know where to go to get my head chopped off. I’ll just give it some time.
It’s exhausting to answer questions about myself all day, but I’ve got to meet many nice journalists and got some very positive comments from strangers irl and online. It feels good. And I do think what I do will benefit others in the long run.
Some things puzzle me a bit about how the media like to portray transsexuals. Why is it so important to print my old name? It doesn’t reveal anything about me, really. And very few people knew me by my intermediate female name and not by my male name. I’m happy that no one has tried to print my given name, bacause that would be a link to the past with a lot more consequences.
I try to make my gender-experiences less freakish by linking them to common human experiences, but it seems like the media don’t like that. I guess they would like to portray me as a freak. It doesn’t bother me all that much, because I think they’ll have a hard time to accomplish it. I honestly don’t think people see me as a freak, not in person anyway. And that is what matters.
Norway is a small country, in good and bad. I recently read Gender Outlaw’s post about transmen in the media, and how it makes him frightened of hate-crimes against transgender men, including questioning his own safety. I’m convinced that this is almost non-existent in Norway. I feel free to speak, free to be visible and free to talk to the media without facing the terror of hate and violence. It’s a real privelege! I wish everyone could have the same freedom of speach as I do! And feel safe.
(I’ve posted links to the interviews on my norwegian blog, but wasn’t sure if anyone not speaking norwegian would be interested.)
I’ve created a survey to collect words we use about our selves and our bodies. The questions are very private, but the survey is completely anonymous, so I hope you are willing to help anyway.
I’m going to use the results in an article I’m writing for my social anthropology class, and later plan on having published as part of a book. I think it’s valuable to document how we re-scribe our bodies to feel more comfortable with them.
Unfortunately, the article is going to be in Norwegian, but maybe I’ll get around to translating it some time. Both english and scandinavian replies are welcome!
Cheerful Megalomaniac wrote earlier today: «I have to be honest, I wish with all my heart that I could have just been a normal guy, but I know that if I had been a normal guy, I probably would have been an entirely different person… and I kinda like me how I am.»
That reminded me of some things people have told me, like jokes, but serious deep down:
- «If you had a penis, you’d be at home wanking all day long», my ex-boyfriend used to say – yeah, I guess. In stead I’m involving myself in queer politics, writing and a lot of other more productive activities.
- «You know that you can get away with that just because you’re a girl? If I did that, people would think I was a misogynist macho-prick», a friend of mine said. – I’m afraid it’s true. I do a lot of things that are considered cool for a woman to do or say, but a sign of less intelligence if a man does it. And now I have to re-think some of my habits and ways of expression. If I’d been born a boy physically, I guess I’d never had to think about this stuff, and I would probably be really unconcious towards sexism.
- I also have some typically male flaws that get balanced by my female upbringing.
I actually don’t think I would have been a very nice person if my body matched my soul and mind from the start. As I’m getting older, I’m beginning to like who I am. After I started my new life as a man, I feel more secure, happier and more social. I’ve gotten new friends who I love, and my few old friends have gotten closer. There’s also many things that I would never fully apreciated, things I would have taken for granted, if my body had been right from the start.
After all, I’m not really sure if I would have been born any other way. I would have been a very different person. Being male in a female body is quite a big part of what makes me into me. And I am learning to like the person I’ve become. Sometimes I’m actually happy.
I usually avoid reading stuff that I know I’ll find repulsive, sick and frightening. I don’t think that’s unusual for any person. To make this post I felt forced to do some research.
I started out googleing the phrase «God makes no mistakes», because I’ve come across it several times in relation to transsexualism. I had the notion that it’s being used as an excuse for christians to judge transgender people.This is some of what I found: (WARNING: Do not click those links unless you are over the age of 18 and have access to valium or other sedatives)
“If you talk to your typical person across America, they would be appalled,” she said. “God made us male and female, and God makes no mistakes. To teach a child at an early age self-hatred, and that’s what this gender variance is, is very sad.” Andrea Lafferty, executive director of The Traditional Values CoalitionIn short, the argument is that transsexualism should not be cured, because it’s against God’s will. He supposedly created the body, but not the mind and soul. And these people don’t seem to care if the only other option is to kill oneself, although I thought that to be against God’s will as well?
Of course, there’s several problem with such an argument, the inhumanity already mentioned. Does God only create our bodies and not our minds and souls? Is He stuck in the middle ages or in the year his son was born on earth? Is He really evil?
I’ve never questioned God’s existance. I’ve been brought up in the Norwegian church with the notion that God loves everybody, that He is pure love and that He has not left us to our selves. And I’ve kept that conviction through some pretty dark years of my life. I did at some point question if He really is good. With all the people doing evil in His name, I have wondered if they might be right; maybe God really is evil. But they never managed to convince me.
I believe in a God who is pure love, a God who made the human race in His image to reflect His own magnitude and diversity, a God who knows so much more than we do – everything. We have no way of knowing for sure how He thinks.
To put oneself in a position to judge the moral and christianity of other humans and to think oneself able to lable other people’s faith as wrong, is to put oneself in the position of God. Jesus told us to recognize wrong teaching for it’s fruits. What would he make of the trace of suicides and grief that follow in the trace of so-called conservative christians?
God sent His son Jesus Christ to our earth to re-establish the broken link between us and God. The conservatives try to push people away from God because of who we are and who we love. For their own sake, I hope and pray that they have no idea of what they are doing and may be forgiven when they realize what they are doing.
I’ve listened to so many people struggeling with their faith in God after being told that God only loves the heterosexual or the single-sexed. They experience every day how «fellow christians» try to exclude them from the love of God and manage to take away their ability to experience christian fellowship. I can’t see how this could possibly be in line with the Bible or the word of Jesus.
And what about the Holy Spirit? I believe in it’s guidance in every person’s life. The Bible is after all written by men, who we can only hope were guided by the Holy Spirit. God has not abandoned His creation and continues to create through people guided by the Holy Spirit.
Conservative «christians» seem to put themselves in the position of God and to reduce God to make Him resemble themselves. They claim to believe in a God they cannot see, but reduces people to bodies and biology. In their trace grows only death and despair. To me, this comes very, very close to blasphemy.
Let’s go back to the phrase that God makes no mistakes. No, I don’t think He does. I’m certainly not a mistake. So my body and mind/soul got a little mixed up and does not fit our present notion of only two sexes/genders, and that these doesn’t change with time. I don’t blame God. If there’s one thing He could not be held responsible for, it’s how we arrange our societies. I also believe that I’m placed in this position because I have a mission: To spread the word of a loving, accepting God and to speak up for a powerless group so that His will can be done on earth as in heaven. I do not say that this goes for all transsexuals and trangendered out there. I do recognize that not everyone believe in God or that He has a plan for their lives. I also know that I have more resources than most in so many ways, and I believe they are given to me so that I can help others. And I will do my best, so help me God.
(Although I’ve used the pronomen «he» about God, I believe Him to be above the two-gender system of our world. As a female to male transsexual, I do prefer the male pronomen in an attempt to set up some positive models of masculinity.)
1. A woman is a woman is a woman. The notion that your sex is your destiny. Biology is everything.
2. All women want to be men. Feminism is just a way to cover this up. Those who transition is just weak. All female femininity is just an act. We all have penis-envy.
Of course, this was true for me, but not everyone else – far from it.
3. A femalebodied person who wants to be a man and have issues with her body is just a victim of the patriarchy and the beauty industry. Feminism will teach her how to achieve inner peace.
4. Transsexual men are all heterosexual (as in attracted to women). That means I’m not transsexual. They are also very macho and into cars and beer. I’m an intellectual with a taste for white wine and books.
5. Transsexuals don’t have kids. Transmen would never be penetrated by another man, and certainly not in their vagina. I’ve no problems with that, and got a child that way. So I couldn’t possibly be trans.
6. Transsexuals verify gender roles and sterotypes. Of course, that was not my cup of tea.
7. A gay transman would be of no interest sexually to other gay men because he lacks a penis.
Happily this is not the case. Especially bi-sexual men seem to be more open and able to percieve you as you do youself. And even some gay men won’tbe discouraged by your lack of penis, or later; the size of the one you have.
8. The first words of a transsexual boy is «I’m a boy, not a girl. And I don’t like to wear dresses».
That last one still bothers me a bit, mostly because it seems to bother my therapists…
The rest of the reasons turned out to be misperceptions and bullshit. I really want to be out in every setting possible to prevent anyone from believing those half-truths, like I did for many years. I was misinformed, also by other transpeople, and it caused me a great deal of pain. It takes some effort not to be bitter about this. I really try.
I’ve discovered that the only thing of importance is that I percieve myself as a man and wants to be one. Transmen come in a great variety.
Last year on this day I wrote about why I wouldn’t celebrate it then. Although I’m not gonna celebrate it this year either, I think I’m ready to look at it from a little more distance.
March 8. is is no longer my day, or rather; it was never my day. Next year I’ll be a man walking in the parade to show solidarity with all the women in the world. I think I can do that even if I don’t understand how anyone could be happy as a woman or want to be one. Maybe I really need at least another year to reflect upon this.
I see womanhood as a prison I’m breaking out of. The women’s liberation day should be a reminder that most female bodied people have peace with their bodies and want to live their lives as women in a society that doesn’t treat them as less human than men. And that’s not unreasonable. You don’t have to understand other beings at an existential level to respect them.
And maybe it’s still my day in a way. I still, and always will, have a female past. And my body have all my life marked me as female. I think that’s the starting point for my new relation to this day. I’ll fight to make «woman» into a label that’s not beeing used as an excuse to treat people differently. I want to fight all kinds of biological determinism.
Next year I hope to return with a even more relaxed view at all this, and hopefully to say I participated in the march and other happenings.
Congratulations to all the women out there on the 8th of march!