Sunday, June 5, 2011

It does get better for Transsexual kids

My mom's beloved Boston Red Sox are doing an anti-bullying video for the It Gets Better campaign which is really aimed at kids. I will admit I follow the team but I am in no way shape or manner as obsessed with the Sox as my mom and brothers are. Maybe it comes from literally being forced to play Little League Baseball when I was 12.  My brothers wanted to be Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio and I wanted to be Monroe as in Marilyn. Both of my brothers were quite impressed a baseball player was dating her and even if he was a hated Yankee his girl was cool.


I think the video Janet Mock did for Transsexual kids is very important.  Kids need to know it is ok to be different and more importantly Transsexual teenagers truly need to know life does get a heck of a lot better and why it can and does may surprise a lot of you.


Like many of my sisters I was bullied very severely as a child. It got ugly as I reached 10 primarily because I just did not fit boy really well.  It was not because I was a flamboyant queen but physically, psychologically, and ironically gender wise I was such a horrible fit for a boy. Yes I did said gender. Let me explain.


Gender defines how society expects boys and girls to present.  It is more complicated than that but kids are not that complicated. Boys look at other boys and they see either boy or different and then they decide if the different is palatable. I started school young and skipped grades early so at ten I was in what we call Junior High School in the United States or grades 7-9 and actually started 7th grade at 9. I was much younger than the other kids but physically I was tall for my age so they perceived me as an equal age wise. The problem with Type VI Transsexual kids is most have a really difficult time being boy enough to be palatable to other boys. In all honesty I have never met a Type VI that did not have this problem regardless of what they looked like.


This may be why Type V Transsexuals manage to get through their teenage years and into adulthood and can actually fool or delude themselves into trying to be man enough or male enough for society.  I will leave that to them to discuss. The irony is one does not have to be overtly feminine. Plenty of boys are very pretty in a feminine sense as kids but somehow boys recognize them as boys and they are palatable as boys and face no bullying.  Maybe it is their physical prowess or masculinity that other boys recognize but other boys seem to know.


The boy that became my boyfriend in High School was a beautiful boy but he was never bullied and grew into this uber Alpha Male athlete and was still gorgeous as a young man but in a masculine way. The primary problem Transsexual kids have, at least Type VI do, is we somehow just do not project as masculine or male. Even before I got mad and pushed gender boundaries, that word again, boys seemed to know I was not one of them and girls were quite honestly puzzled by me and not sure what to make of me.


I carried my books in front of me against my chest like all girls do. Boys carry books at their side because they have more arm strength or more likely it is a boy thing. I had a Ten Pin Bowling Instructor once tell me girls arms are different than boys and it was why he was having a hard time teaching me to hook the ball instead of throwing a backup ball. It was true but it was College and he was cute and the harder I made it for him to teach me to ball "like a boy" the longer I got to be around him and he did perceive me as a girl. Other gender markers just somehow screamed different or NOT BOY to other boys. We just did not fit into boy or girl and that is a problem for kids.


It is almost impossible for Transsexual kids to hide what they are if Type VI which all young Transsexuals are that transition early. Most just look at themselves as heterosexual girls, at least initially, because it is that girl awareness that boys are cute that starts the big issues. Most of the bullying occurs out of fear. Even the girls that bully Transsexual kids do it because of fear. Whether it is fear of the unknown or more likely fear that they are not hetero-normal it is actually based around perception of gender.  Most of us young Transsexuals are obsessed with changing our sex once we realize we can do it but in many cases, even today, kids just do not know it is possible.


I guess most that read this blog know it was kind of ugly for me when I was a child.  There was both physical abuse from boys and a lot of verbal abuse from adults. Information was sketchy in the 50's and even though my parents in their own way were supportive, they did not pound me with androgen as suggested, I was confused, hurting, and most of all angry that I was not a girl. The safest thing any Transsexual child can do is quite simply "come out".  Tell people you are Transsexual.  Tell your parents how you feel. It does not mean you have to live the rest of your life "out" but it will be a whole lot safer for you in the short term.


How can you say that is probably on the tip of more than a few tongues out there. Actually, it just very simple. I was 13 1/2 when I told a boy I was really a girl and just wanted to be a girl.  It managed to go through my High School in about 20 minutes once another friend of his let it out but in all honesty it was the best thing that happened after the initial weirdness of how it came about passed. I can still remember the "he wants to be a girl" or "he thinks he is a she" comments.  This happened at the end of my Sophomore year in High School and things change rapidly in my life. Even then I had no idea I was Transsexual but kids and particularly boys seemed to understand the issues which I found weird when it happened. 


I remember telling my mom that boys didn't hurt "real" girls like they hurt me shortly after that part of my being was exposed. Kevin, my boyfriend at time, told me it was simply because the other boys now realized I was sort of a girl and the vast majority of boys would never hurt a girl.  It didn't hurt having the QB of the football team as a "friend". 


When I met Harry in late 1959 just before my 14th birthday I learned I was Transsexual. It was the day I learned I had a chance at my "real" life. Before then I thought I was doomed. My High School might have been the most enlightened High School in that era in the US because when it came out I was transsexual I absolutely never had an issue of violence again perpetrated on me by a teenager and I felt free to be me. One could not transition in the 50's but unless you knew I was a girl it became kind of a silly joke not to tell knew male students I was not a girl and then when they learned I was not a "complete" girl they were told, "She is okay.  She just wants to be a girl." This was the 1950s in conservative America but it was okay to be me.


Except for my adult neighbor, he raped me in February 1960, I was never physically assaulted again. It is why every child we have helped over the years gets the recommendation to openly tell others they are Transsexual because the simple concept of "outing" yourself lets boys in particular understand their feelings or subliminal attraction to you is basically pretty normal because you should have been a girl. I know it sounds stupid but in many ways it is actually that simple. 

The obvious question is how would I know this? The answer is simple.  I was told this.


When I told Kevin I was a girl we had a rather heated exchange about why other boys hurt me, many his friends by the way,  because I was terrified I was about to be hurt because of the event that was in progress. I have never forgotten what he said.


My friends thought you were queer but I just didn't get that feeling. I like girls and have never had any thoughts of boys. Everything about you screams girl. That is why all the guys are so uptight about you. Guys don't like to think they are attracted to another guy. It scares them to death. You scare them to death because if you were a girl they would be chasing you around this school but then you should be a girl, right?


I think I screamed at him boys hurt me because I confused them?





You were never a boy so you don't have a clue what it is like.  All we think about is sports and girls.  Believe me when I say girls come first.  We are confused enough by girls and then you come waltzing into school. No makeup, you walk like a girl, talk like a girl, act like a girl, smell like a girl and you are as cute as any girl in this school. It is natural for boys to be immediately attracted to you at first. All our senses say you are a girl and even the shy boys’ dream of dating a girl like you.  Then everyone realizes you are not a girl. I'll bet you don't even realize you were the single point of conversation the first weeks of school.  I'll bet if you ask your homeroom teacher she will tell you at least 50 boys asked what your name was. That is how we found out.  I asked her myself because I didn't believe the other guys.

Part of the problem is exactly what Kevin said. We Transsexual kids really have no idea what it means to be a boy. 

I cannot speak for gay or lesbian kids but this is what the Transsexual kids face and the bullying will never totally end, there are always assholes, but the physical assaults at High School will stop and in most cases the verbal assaults will end. The minute boys realize you perceive yourself as a "girl" it begins to make sense to them why they think of you as a "problem".  It will not resolve all the problems such as realizing a boy is cute and wishing he was your boyfriend but it does open up possibilities and acceptance can lead to caring.

Boys in America have a tendency to react violently to confusion over who is boy and girl.  It is bred into our culture that boys are macho and not being macho is not normal. I was too afraid to let anyone inside my life except for Kevin so I never understood what I missed my last two years in High School. I did attend my 10th High School reunion because everyone thought it would bring closure, a weird concept actually, and it actually did and the thing I learned was I missed out on having girlfriends in High School as in real girls that accepted me as a girl. That reunion was at once the scariest day of my life and one of the nicest in many ways.

It is why I wholeheartedly recommend Transsexual kids "out" themselves as girls if MTF. It is not only incredibly freeing for the child it also enlightens others and almost everyone accepts kids like me and them because it just seems to make "sense". I went to my reunion with "revenge" on my mind and I learned something about other kids. One boy who had hurt me badly had tears streaming down his face when he told me in front of a lot of late 20 something friends how sorry he was and how he wished he had known earlier. 

In my era knowing was the issue but today it is weirdly the fear of acceptance and I cannot speak about the issue of fully transitioning in High School other than telling kids we have never had an issue with a kid we have helped that transitioned in High School or earlier. Kids are actually pretty good with other kids that have issues.  It is adults that teach children to hate. It is often religion that can teach people to hate. Hate is learned and not natural for humans. 

Fear is natural and it is fear of the unknown that more often than not causes the issues Transsexual kids have. Once the unknown is removed kids are actually weirdly cool with kids like me today. Getting out and getting help are paramount.  Getting on hormones as early as possible are even more important. I know how important it is and there are Physicians today that will not only help kids get blockers bu estrogen in their early teens and they exist within the United States.

Every Transsexual child that comes forward helps themselves immeasurably but just as important they help other kids like themselves. It really does get better and it starts the earlier a child starts being honest with themselves and their family. People actually understand and accept Transsexual children almost universally. From the late 50's through until late 1969 I doubt there was anyone more "out" than me and I have led a full and productive life as a young girl who grew into a young woman. My life has in many ways been quite normal, several friends might disagree, but it really has.

It does get better for Transsexual kids because once the Transsexual part is over life is really a lot of fun.

32 comments:

Dawn1257 said...

Reading this brought back some rather unpleasant memories. From kindergarten up to high school, I could never be a part of the boys world. In second grade is where it really started getting bad. Bullied and harassed everyday. Being called a sissy and told you "you like to play with the girls, you're a sissy", was an everyday thing. Even my teacher would tell me to stand in the girls line to march back in to class from recess or out for class events.

One difference though. I always was attracted to girls. And no, I can't say I was ever attracted to boys. I had the same experience you had in that because I felt more confident and comradeship being around girls, that is where I gravitated. However, the girls were always quizzical about that. They looked at me as though I was quite odd. Mostly though, they tolerated me for my attendance. That is up until puberty and high school. Life was a an utter nightmare then.

A major difference in your experience and mine was I suffered from abject fear to say anything to anybody about how I felt about myself. The one certainty that I did have was that I knew I could only rely upon me. Not my father, my mother or my grandmother. Even my brother thought I was strange because when we had a neighborhood 'army' battles with all the neighbor kids (girls included) I was never a combatant. I always chose to play the part of nurse, along with the rest of the girls. Of course it didn't help that I was never picked to be on either side that were fighting each other. It was the same in school when picking teams for dodgeball. Not being picked (or very rarely), I would be seen out playing hopscotch with the girls.

One other thing. So that's why I could never hook the bowling ball, eh?

I would agree with you that the younger one does tell, the sooner things will get better. Though, there needs to exist a safe and secure pathway in which someone who recognizes their internal feelings being in conflict with who others are believing them to be, can obtain a compassionate and confidential approach to dealing with this issue. For there exists far too many parents, friends, teachers, pastors, doctors and just plain old people that harbor less than desirable feelings about transsexuals, let alone an understanding of what it means to grow up holding these feelings inside with no release.

But, I wouldn't stop there. Our entire culture is in need of developing a sense of compassion for others that are different. Not just people who are transsexual. Western society is still hugely anti-gay and lesbian. Although acceptance to that identity is getting better, it is a slow, painfully slow growth to that acceptance. This is why as a citizen of the State of California, I agree with and support the new laws that are being enacted to give children a window into the world that reveals a cornucopia of differences in life. And that those who are different deserve to be allowed to be different, whether they're down syndrome, cerebral palsy, blind, cephalic, diabetic, gay, lesbian, bi, transsexual, intersexed or yes, even transgender without the put-downs and teasing and bullying witch occurs so frequently today.

This effort too, will help things get better.

Elizabeth said...

You make me so proud when you open up about the things in your past that hurt you that you have told me in private. I remember you telling me that you didn't think you would blog about that stuff but I think it is therapeutic to get it out there and stare it down. xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Anonymous said...

Too tall and too late was what I told myself at 18. I also told myself to wait.

Unlike some of the examples given whom where lucky enough to have supportive parents. Those of us who’s transition window was in the mid-1980‘s, during the height of the AIDS crisis, faced, not only societal hate but also a death sentence. Coupled with no support, no clinics, all shut down thanks to Janice Raymond it became a waiting game, a knowing and lack of information game. Eventually and suppression game; it just hurt too much to be aware.

Statistically there was a steady stream of transition in the 1970’s, a huge drop in the 1980’s then a big spike in the 1990‘s, which is when the transgender started to emerge. Now as I see it you had to have parental support and a huge amount of luck. Of the transitioners that I have met, those that transitioned young were before the 80’s and in the late 90’s or after. The only woman I knew who transitioned in the mid-80’s where horrible looking due to the wrong puberty and of course the majority of their friends died or were killed.

Where were those deep stealth girls who should have come out to make themselves visible and available to help the young ones? You got yours, you had Harry Benjamin, you had the clinics. Why in the eighties did you hide when you knew the resources to help the young ones where being shut down. Do you know how many of us died!? F**king cowards!!

If your looking for some reasons why we don’t come out or transition later in life start by Google these subjects.

“Emotional Blindness”

“Battered Child Syndrome”

Read the works of Alice Miller and John Bradshaw. Tons of information about coming out. I would also Google “Fear of Coming Out” so you can understand why those of us whose only option was to transition late because “Thou shalt not be aware.”

Remember dear your lucky NOT SPECIAL.

Notice all the hate language in the YouTube.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0t-Ft-vRUE&feature=player_embedded

This scares the crap out of me still.

~NewBea

Miz Know-It-All said...

Liz, I will never claim to understand the burden of the type VI. Frankly? I thank my stars everytime I read your blog that I wasn't so cursed or I would not be here now to make my smarty pants comments... Still from my scant encounters with a handfull of VIs it is painfully clear that everything you've said is true and then some and in this context I can see an advantage to being "out." That said, you've also opened a can of worms here given that holding a closed narrative for VI as well as V is for most of us the only way to function as the sex we must be without being othered back into the very world we fought so hard to leave... Could you elaborate please on when and how that changes?

Elizabeth said...

@Anonymous

First no woman born transsexual and post-operative is required to come out and be a role model for anyone unless they feel it is what they want to do and none of them are cowards. They passed the coward test long ago if they are stealth because they transitioned and had surgery. Blaming them implies you were the coward because you did not have their courage.

Alice Miller waited until Alice Miller was in her 60's out of personal fear of losing her job and security. Ironically she was a bigger risk to the CIA hiding herself.

The CIA attempted to recruit me out of college and they knew everything about me. I chose another government agency so the big fallacy is losing your job. If there is one thing the CIA, NSA, and NASA did was try and keep their talent and that included the gay, lesbian, and transsexual talent. They dealt in IQ points not in sexual preference and sex identity issues. Not that the CIA and NSA would not use your difference to their advantage because that bis what they did.

I was 20 years old in 1966 and I was offered much more money by the CIA and NSA but chose the job over the money which for me was kind of amazing because I wanted the money for surgery badly. It was a decision I would never regret.

I would imagine Alice Miller felt trapped but I would bet significant money the CIA knew everything about Alice Miller before Alice Miller admitted it to herself. They do not miss much when they are not fighting turf wars with the NSA and FBI and Mr/Ms Hoover and company.

Elizabeth said...

@Miz

In the past 40 years my best friend and I have helped a lot of kids through this process. The reason we recommend our kids be open is several reasons.

First it is impossible to hide completely if a kid transitions and our kids must transition because they are on blockers, if necessary, and hormones immediately. We prefer Kim Petras model to be blunt. The social interaction with other kids their own age is important and I know personally it is the fear of the unknown that usually causes problems for transsexual children.

Second, it allows the child the opportunity to grow up as a teenage girl. It is just so important and we have found over the years that other teenage girls understand and will actually be supportive.

Third, it is much safer to be out as a kid. You are protected legally in many areas and as I found out "boys do not hurt girls" if they realize you should be a girl. There will always be the odd asshole but for kids we want to limit the asshole factor problems. We have found other kids accept transsexual kids and the younger we start them the better because they will be more apparently "girl".

Four, we want our kids ready for surgery by their 18th birthday at the latest. The current two we want their surgery when they turn 16. After surgery it is up to the kids whether they just slide into the world as just another girl but it is their decision.

Fifth, the results are indisputable. The previous kids we helped are all productive women or young girls and are happy. Not one of them is publicly out but that is their choice and not ours. It is easy to disappear into the fabric of society when you fit. They fit because they are obviously girls.

The last reason is interesting. In all of our cases we were able to have their records in all grades of school changed such that it said F for Sex and used their chosen new names. If they decide to live a quiet life it is very difficult to backtrack them if someone tries.

Being out in your early teens is for safety first but also so they can just grow up as teenage girls. The value of that cannot be expressed in dollars.

Ariel said...

I'm so glad kids could get help from someone like you. So glad they could transition and basically grow up as the right sex. And so sad that I was not born at a time and place where I could have been one of those kids. I am happy where I am now but I can only imagine how it would have been to live most of my life with the fundamentals right.

Elizabeth said...

@Ariel,

I was lucky. People stepped forward to help me other than my mother and brother. A boy and his family were life savers. A doctor that traveled a long way to meet me at quite an advanced age and younger doctors that provided me with hormones and other items at great personal risk.

I never planned to help others like me it sort of just happened. Before I walked away from it all I did a TV show in Philadelphia and after the show, a very rough show I should add, this mother in her early 30's approached me as I was leaving the studio with Lena and Harry and I have no idea why but I stopped and before long she brought her son over because he was me and I was him as a child.

I had money and I can give no reason why I helped but I told harry I would pay for everything and that started it. Lena took it even farther later. We only help kids and most are 13-14 when we start or earlier. The oldest I helped was 18 and I did it and Lena does it now because we could afford it financially.

If we can get the children early we can stop a lot of the problems. There are so many that slip through the cracks but it is much safer for kids to be open about their transsexuality. Kids actually are quite cool with it in most cases.

Anonymous said...

@NewBea

Elizabeth, albeit subconsciously, is a classic invalidator--she is a bit mean and inconsistent about it. In a school yard she belongs to the pretty girl club, and as you know are very mean to and bully the ugly girls. The hubris of the privileged. We eventually grow out of it. She knows she’s lucky. However, her luck neither invalidates you or your suffering. Because she found help and you didn’t doesn’t make her better than you nor more valid as a transsexual. She has the advantage of enjoying more of life’s benefits than you as a woman. Nothing more than that--her whole blog appears to be a bit motivated by narcissism, “Notice me I won.” We need that--the kids need that now.

You may want to stay away from the blogsphere for a bit. Seeing a young transsexual, beautiful and thriving can hurt and bring up the regrets and shame. Never feel ashamed or be put down for something we have no control over and anybody who has no compassion needs more help than we do!

If regret interfering in your life I suggest counseling. But you have to let the regrets go and stop blaming others who had it better than you. Life is so short and everybody needs to have peace-of-mind to live in the way that they are happy. Be proud of who you are!

Make your dreams bigger than your memories.

BlackSwan

Ariel said...

Well, bless you, Liz, for the good you have done, and to all who have done likewise. And I'm glad you yourself were one who could live a full life. I can't complain. I have the rest of my life! Living with some sadness is much better than not living.

Anonymous said...

Coming out is only an option for young ones with accepting parents. Between the ages of 4 and 6, my parents made it plain their love was conditional upon me being their *son* and they would use whatever punishment was required to make me conform. Had I come out as a teen, they would have disowned me sooner and I was not prepared for life on the street. Otherwise I quite agree with your points, Liz.

For NewBea: no transwoman owes or owed you anything. We transition to become women, not ts role models. I had no role models. For me to come out in the early 70's was the most terrifying thing I ever did. I made my decision on my own and then sought the help of a few professionals. Choice is simple when there's nothing left to lose. I agree with Liz, blaming stealth transwomen is just an excuse to justify your own inaction.

Sometime I encounter late bloomers who say it wasn't possible to transition at the time in the city where I transitioned, because there were no resources. For a fact, they existed; I used them.

Blaming others doesn't help you. Forgive yourself. It's how you get over it and on with your life.

- an old aunty

Anonymous said...

@Elizabeth

“They passed the coward test long ago if they are stealth because they transitioned and had surgery”

Oh really--did they have help at all….?

“I was lucky. People stepped forward to help me other than my mother and brother.”

The fallacy of the self-sufficient.

“Blaming them implies you were the coward because you did not have their courage.”

Courage has nothing to do with it. You should have the courage to be wrong. No one helped me--no one was available to help me. No one safe to come out to. I’m one of those that slipped through the cracks.

I admit this has more to do with envy and jealousy, but its driven by pain, and the hurting just seems to go on forever. I didn’t transition in time. And my story is also valid. Transition early or suffer like me forever.

This has more to do with responsibility than blame. I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. I have to keep from hating you because you were blessed and I was cursed. Just be glad your not me and enjoy your good fortune. Don’t you ever claim your part of the Chosen Ones of Harry Benjamin or are special in anyway.

~NewBea

Elizabeth said...

@NewBea

I wish I could give every transsexual the gifts I was given. I honestly do but I went through this 50+ years ago when there was no information. My parents and then after dad died tried to have me "cured". The only support I really got was they did not force testosterone on me because I produced none.

Yes people helped me but I pushed things because I was too angry to realize how stupid what I was doing was to be blunt. That is not required today.

I cannot change what is for you and I wish I could because your anger and pain is obvious.

Elizabeth said...

@BlackSwan,

I am not any better than any other transsexual but not being transsexual that is something you would never understand.

I actually did win though. I made it by working hard and pushing life hard. I guess I should be ashamed of that like all the other transsexuals that succeeded in life. When you are a total failure like you are it is easy to look at others that succeeded.

Now back to transgender land and maybe you can jerk off in your panties this evening or maybe try on the new pumps your wife bought before she realizes it.

Anonymous said...

Just so know, our survival might very well been, "just luck"...BUT, that "luck" as you so diparaging call it, was something that we, those "early survivors", worked VERY hard to create on our own.

In my case, there was no Harry Benjamin, no supportive "community" or gender clinic.

There was just me and my WILL to survive. So spare me the denials and accusations.

Anne

Dawn1257 said...

Where I grew up was not a "city". It's a very rural, and still to this day an unincorporated community. One in which at the time didn't have even a stop light. It had no library, a police station, or even 911(which I don't think was even made workable here until around 1980). Cable television was only a dream which we had heard about but, nobody had actually seen, or even had until the late seventies. So, finding resources about transsexual identities was virtually non-existent.

Here's how severe the fear was in me to confide in family. My father was a pretty powerful person when he was in the USAF in the early fifties. He worked for a General who was in charge of structuring and implementing what is called the Strategic Air Command. One of the things that my father had freedom to do was to pick and choose who could and could not work with and for him. There were many times during my youth in which he took great delight in reminiscing about a particular (and during the sixties and seventies very prominent) black man who was gay, and unfortunately for him had come to work with my father. This particular person was and is a VERY beautiful and famous singer. Because he was black, and because he was gay, my father made certain that this person was booted not just from working with him but also from the service entirely.

That is the kind of household environment I grew up in. For some reason my father was overly adamant about being anti-gay and making that known in my presence. Or, at least it seemed that way. As far as I know, he had no idea about what I was feeling or if he even knew about transsexual issues. But, he sure knew about 'gay' and if he saw something in me which I thought I had hidden well enough, he definitely made me cautious about exhibiting any kind of disclosure in his house.

This is one reason why I kept it to myself. It's a mechanism of self-survival. The problem as I see it is, all of that which I was able to keep hidden for all of those years was becoming untenable, and finally unleashed not long after his passing in this life. In his last days he and I were completely at odds with each other. Things in which we usually agreed on, we could find no common ground. I see it now that I was preparing myself for my eventual 'coming out'. But somehow, I feel he recognized it too. It wasn't long after his passing when I told my mother.

So, yeah. There are things in this life which are able to keep some of us from recognizing and openly offering to the world a declaration of our existence. In certain instances though, some of us can make it through to transition, eventually. And then, some of us cannot. I consider myself to be very fortunate that I did make it.

If I could have felt that there would have been support for me in my youth, I think I might have said something. Lacking that security made it impossible to do so. Had it worked out that I could, I am certain I would have made the same choice Elizabeth and others here have made. Living stealth. I cannot fault them for that. It took me a long time to understand why they felt the need to do so. Their position is as legitimate as those who feel the need to not live in stealth.

They cannot be blamed for 'not being there' for those of us who had to wait until life's circumstances allowed for our own emergence.

Anonymous said...

Oh and yes, growing up in he 50's was not a very "supportive" environment at home. Most of the men, including my step-father had recently served in and survived one of history's most devastating and brutal wars.

Thing were pretty "real" and pretty basic. There was no "social network". Liz offers a thesis, based on her years of experience growing up in that environment and how she is helping youngsters to "come out early" and then helping them get te help they need.

Unlike me, she is NOT directly trying to help those that lacked the courage to step out on there own early, DESPITE the odds for success. We did NOT have that "choice" of which so many of you speak so glibbly about, to do what we did or NOT.

Please try to understand that. For Type V's and even less for TYPE VI's...THERE WAS NO FRIGGING "CHOICE".

Anne

PS I am posting anonymously because when I try using my google profile, Blogger "re-directs" me into a closed loop.

Elizabeth said...

@Dawn,

On this point I am in agreement with many I disagree with quite a bit. The kids that come out as transsexual help other kids and as important help parents understand.

There is no question it was very difficult "back in the day". I could never fully transition although from 10th grade on i was pushing appearance issues and luckily had support although until I was close to 14 it was to find a cure but I was not threatened by my parents.

There is help out there for kids today and as much for the kids it is for the parents also and personally I have seen a difference in parents.

The thing that most probably miss is quite simply I have never met a Type V transsexual that ever pushed things as a kid. This is not to disparage them in any way but I think their intensity is different or more internal or whatever which is actually worse because it results in later transitioning.

Type VI kids rarely make it into their 30's and it is a miracle if they do. The kids I am talking about in this post is Type VI because these kids are the ones that will push the envelope as children. It is not because they are any better than Type V and I guess one could make the case it is far worse to be Type VI other than the possibility of early transition.

We only deal with Type VI kids when we help. We have never helped anyone out of their teens and it is by choice. Type VI are the ones at the most risk because of the complete psycho-sexual inversion.

Dawn1257 said...

@ Anne,

Elizabeth began all of this with a blog posting a while back that stated "I will never understand". Yes, apparently she does do some fantastic work with young transitioners. I'll even give her Kudo's for that. Because she doesn't really grasp the idea that one can live a near lifetime hiding your real, true identity and then WHAM! transition late in life into that once hidden identity; it's a major challenge to get her to see the validity in it. I vociferously but respectfully disagree with her stance on garnering an understanding for late transitioners.

There are though, even circumstances in which I can agree with her on in that transitioning late in life is so very unfair to a spouse, children, friends, clientele and on and on. But, it's not her life, it's not anyone's life but your own. If you made it, be happy you did! Elizabeth may not ever offer you or I, or any other late transitioner any type of support. She may never allow herself to really understand why it happens. But, I am going to keep trying to break through that stubbornness. Though not with vitriol, not with hate, and not being spiteful that she doesn't latch on to late transitioners plights.

We cannot all be activist, or advocates and live a life of full support for every aspect of a particular cause or condition. We can only do what we feel is right for us as individuals. What can do though, is respect another persons individuality. That goes for all sides in what ever debate.

Elizabeth said...

@Anne

I believe your line about Type V and Type VI is incorrect.

I am not offering a thesis Anne. It is based on 50+ years of experience with Type VI people from Christine Jorgensen to my many friends over the years plus the kids we have helped. Most Type VI will not survive their childhood even today because we will do something stupid if not accepted as girls.

Gwen Arroyo is a classic example of a child making a mistake. She wanted boys to like her as a girl and made a fateful mistake. It is just too common among Type VI kids. In most cases parents of Type VI kids today are more receptive to help. Believe it or not we have actually had parents refuse help in the past.

We have never had a child hurt that told the truth about herself and it goes back to the early 70's. Our kids have found kids asking them questions and then building friendships off those questions where before they had few if any. Kids can be mean and there are always assholes but kids with support from friends that care and just try and understand are far less likely to make silly mistakes or be caught in bad situations.

Being out about being transsexual as a child and particularly as a teenager is the safest thing for the child.

Elizabeth said...

@Dawn

I do understand some late transitioners and have my issues with others but in all honesty I am trying to stay out of that area because I have nothing in common with them.

There is no WHAM if you are truly transsexual. That is the biggest fallacy most late transitioners push to justify their lives. Transition comes when one has reached the breaking point both emotionally and psychologically.

The Type V transsexuals are in general not as intensely transsexual early on but over time it just gets worse according to some I consider friends. There is no sudden, "I am transsexual", epiphany because transsexualism is not a part-time or occasional medical condition. It is full-time and never disappears IMHO. It gets worse the longer you put off the inevitable.

Dawn1257 said...

@ Elizabeth,

Ohh, I fully agree with you about an instantaneous WHAM! not being a component to having been born with a transsexual condition. No argument from me there. And, you're right again it does get worse the longer one struggles with and denies that eventuality.

What my point was (which mat not have come through with clarity), is that when you originally posted about not understanding late transitioners, it seemed like an 'all encompassing' assessment of those who did transition late having done so because they had this sudden epiphany; kind of a new style of mid-life crisis and being a transsexual seemed like the 'in vogue' thing to do. That original posting just seemed a bit harsh for some of us who actually did struggle and put off the inevitable as long as we could.

Be that as it may, I think I have seen a little bit of understanding creep into your later thoughts and postings. I know that I have for myself, a better appreciation of where your thoughts are coming from. Which includes a lot more agreement than disagreement now.

As for your efforts in helping those young lives to endure and live fully; once more, Kudo's to you and the others in your good work! I deeply wish there would have been some form of awareness, resource and avenue for me at that age. That others can access what you're providing is immeasurable in it's meaningfulness, and is a truly admirable endeavor.

I don't agree with people's thinking and writings, that displaying th jealousy and bitterness over your successes in life personally, professionally as well as philanthropically to be something that is useful or effective in helping them in their own situations. I think you are to be commended for your achievements. That you are not wanting to be a standard bearer for transsexual/gender causes is non of anyones business but your own! That you weren't there to offer support at the levels you do for the younger people is of no consequence. After all, we live in a free society. We can pick and choose whichever charitable event or cause we wish to participate in, for ourselves! No one else has the right to demand where and/or who, or chastise you for those you choose with whom to do your good works.

Elizabeth said...

@Dawn,

I have actually never said I did not understand "all" late transitioners, just some of them to be honest.

Actually both my friend and I have been attacked by older transsexuals because we refused to help them and it has driven both of us away from sites in the past and one of us will never come back. We were actually accused of discriminating against others because we would not help. Emotions get high sometimes but we know what we are doing with the kids and just as importantly their families which are part of the solution.

I did my part for other Transsexuals in the early 70's. I am the one that sued Blue-Cross and Blue Shield in Massachusetts and forced a settlement where if one asked one was covered. It cost me money out of my pocket but I did it for Harry. I went on the radio for Harry and did a Talk show on television for harry and it gets old when all you want is a simple and quite normal life.

Thankfully it was the early 70's and not today but I did my best but I actually have set quite a few precedents for women, as in all women, over the years in my business and engineering career. I fought for equal pay and forced it but it was a tough fight.

My life after 1972 was and always has been about just trying to be a normal, boring, hard working girl and then woman. Last time I checked that was what I thought this was all about but then maybe I am wrong.

Dawn1257 said...

@ Elizabeth,

It just goes to show, people all too often paint another with despise when they really ought to sit back and listen for a while before throwing out accusations and disrespect. Maybe then they'll learn something that can change their own perspective.

Thank you!

And, no you're not wrong. That is what it's all about!

Anonymous said...

Liz...I am not sure where you are finding disagreement with my statement about Type V and Vi's...."Please try to understand that. For Type V's and even less for TYPE VI's...THERE WAS NO FRIGGING "CHOICE". If you choose to characterize your actions as a "choice", that is most certainly your right. I simply cannot see a 'choice' between sure madness or death and LIfe as a woman.

YOU had a choice? I know I didn't. Obviously you and I are quite different and as a result our perceptions are neccessariy differnt.

One of greatest differences seems to be the need to "act out" as a young child. I "KNEW" I
was a little girl from the moment I "knew" I existed and was able to perceive myself as "SELF" as separate from others.

That I was told that I was not, did in fact cause me MAJOR shock, dismay and confusion. What saved me was my almost total and mystical relationship with God. For me as a young child, God was as real to me as the physical world around me.

I never really made a clear distinction until I was much older. It was this "relatinship" with God that made it possible for me to wait albeit, impatiently, until the time was right.

This is not to say that there were not "tells". I remember being taken to a "specialist" at UCLA when I was about 7 or 8. My parents were told that "it" would either "go away" or I would "go gay". They were wrong. I never went gay and "it" never went away until I was finally cured at age 23.

The funny thing is that I was never "offially" diagnosed as ANYTHING, just that I was a good candidate for SRS. I never spent hours on a therapist's couch nor did I ever have to "pass" or convince people of anything.

The other major difference that I see is that I was never strongly or sexually attracted to boys until after my "transition". For me that was pretty miraculous. I never really knew how that would 'work out'.

There was not enough "data". I was told that capacity to orgasm would not be known until after recovery from SRS. I did know, or thought I knew, that I would never ever, have sex with a woman again. As it turned out, I remain strongly heterosexual, IE opposite. I LOVE men. I really, really enjoy having sex with strong heterosexual men.

So I don't know Liz. You "acted out", I did not. You apparently were quite "effeminate" to the extreme, whereas I was not so much.

Was I a Type V or a VI? I really don't know and frankly don't care. If I had to take a wild guess, I would most likey fall somewhere in between.

Anne

Anonymous said...

Through the miracle of alcohol and a certain obsession with things musical I survived until just short of my 35th birthday. A few months later I transitioned did a dissapearing act and very shortly after as far as anyone knows I ceased to exist. That is putting a complex chain of events into two sentences. The only reason this is relevant is because I fully identify with what Elizabeth has said in this post and in the previous two I have only just read. I am out of this fight. Hearing about fifty year old married men with children claiming they feel the same way I did has finally made me so sick I can no longer deal with the anger I feel when I hear about it and read about it.

Like Liz I did not manage to do "boy" at all never mind well. I was fortunate to have a "minder" during school who made sure me beatings were few and far between. So I can well understand what she means when Liz reccomends the child being "out" to her peers while growing. It is what comes after that makes me concerned. I also hold concerns for Kim Petras who has some talent as a musical performer but due to the worldwide publicity she's attracted the TS label will surely follow her for the rest of her natural. The current trend towards ensuring "real" identities are disclosed as a result of security concerns brought on by terrorism mean that these children Liz and Lena assist may very well be be forced to endure constant exposure. Like it or not they will be seen by a largely ignorant public (not their fault) as exactly the same as the aforementioned "fifty something married man who transitions" There is clearly something very different between the two individual scenarios that currently due to political correctness is ignored.

It is so easy to put a spin on to almost any situation and narrative that may perhaps fool most people but to those who endured "psychosexual Inversion" a key symptom of type VI will never be fooled because we can see right through someone who did not experience it's ravages.

Elizabeth said...

@Anne,

Let me get this right. Type V transsexuals have no choice and Type VI does. Just to make it clear I do not think any transsexual is better than any other transsexual but Type VI is the most intense form of transsexual since they have psycho-sexual inversion.

It is no picnic for Type V but the intensity is lower and they are the ones that can rationalize giving in to external pressure and transition much later than Type VI in almost all cases.

After a child reaches college and then adulthood I think they should just be as normal as possible and that means it is nobodies business they were born transsexual unless they want to tell the husband if they get married.

Anonymous said...

@Elizabeth
Are you saying that psycho-sexual inversion comes later for a Type V than a Type VI?

To be honest I'm not really familier with these types. Just a product of transition after the HB scale. I feel you either are or your not transsexual?

~BlackSwan

Anonymous said...

I am getting more confused Liz. Are you saying that you had a choice?

anne

Elizabeth said...

@Anne,

Apologies. I think I misinterpreted what you said. Senior moment.

Anonymous said...

WHEW!!! Join the "club".

Abby said...

I've been thinking about this post for a few days now and I had thought it pointless to add my opinion, but my thoughts have changed a little.

In some ways I did act out as a young child. whilst I never said to my parents directly that I was a girl, I can remember asking my mother at a young age if there was any way a boy could be a girl (7 years at the latest), and harping at her to allow me to wear one of my sisters dresses.

my parents both held two jobs to support our family and the family farm, my sister had a cronic lung desease which meant my parents devoted much of their time to keeping her alive. They quite simply never noticed anything I did and therefore any problem with their seemingly normal healthy son. I came from a small rural comunity where transsexualism, I suspect, was pretty much unherd of.

about the age of 9 (as far as I can remember about that age) an oportunity arose where I could go to school dressed as a girl so I did.

When quized by the other students as to why I was wearing a dress, I DID say: because I'm a girl (the first time I'd actually said the words and then the last time). the reception I got from both the boys and girls shattered me. the ridicule I got only worsend, damaging my selfconfidence and making me isolate myself far more than before.

Had the recption I recived been more accepting as you said, I suspect I would not have made 27 before transitioning, I suspect life may have been much different. so on that level I agree with what you've said, but people and children aren't as predictable as is made out here. I was bullied, they did sense something different about me, but sometimes the fact that they do know you're male is all they really need.

as benificial as it may be for kids to come out young, it can also be extremely detrimental.

I'm with "an old aunty" it's great if you do in fact already have people that understand and support you, but if you are on your own and the reception is not as hoped, it can be very nearly devastating.