Friday, September 16, 2011

The Truth About Early Transition Way Back When.

One of the little things that has always bothered me about certain people claiming to be transsexual, most are by the way, who transitioned much later in life is the claim they would have transitioned early if they had the same chances those of us they believe did transition early were blessed with. I have never really said what the truth was but if one actually read this blog early on before all the political crap took over it would be apparent that few of us transitioned early in the 50s, 60s or 70s. The reason? Because it was impossible to transition early in the United States as it was everywhere else basically unless you ran away and ended up on the streets selling yourself.

Most people equate our aggressive early awareness with early transition. Early Transition is a modern concept in so many ways. I was born in the mid 40's and believe me I pushed boundaries but that is not truly the same as early transition. Some of us were lucky because we did boy so poorly most who met us for the first time thought we were weirdly dressed girls but were quickly informed we were actually boys. I have mentioned I spent time in Quebec "fully transitioned" which really means I got to live as a girl for a short period of time because I actually did pass easily as a girl. If I added up all those times in Quebec they might total 3 months over 4+ years.

The big advantage I did have was early hormone intervention which is really the key to all of us. Even though I was a feminine boy with low testosterone puberty would probably have done a job on me without the early hormones. In high school the first year was terrible because everyone thought I was "gay" of the term most were in favor of which was "fag". I pushed dress code boundaries but there was absolutely no way I was exiting my house as a girl and entering that building as a girl even if everyone knew I thought I was a girl and wanted to be a girl by th end of my Sophomore year when i was 13 1/2. One did not do that in the 50's.

Even in college from 1961 to 1966 I dressed more like a college girl but there was little difference between college girls in Columbus, Ohio than college boys in those days. The University Police knew about me as did the school which was the primary reason i went there. They protected me but the Columbus Ohio Police Department was always a worry so I rarely left campus jurisdiction. I just sort of let people believe what they wanted about me even though the years on hormones had drastically changed my physical appearance. 

I was perceived as a girl except in my residence where basically everyone knew the truth and I was quite accustomed to his/her, she/he, and other gender blips and brushed them off. By my Sophomore year in college I had decent breast development and along with my frame it was hard to do boy. Even when I was interviewed for my Houston job they knew everything about me and when I showed up in a boy suit the interviewer actually laughed and added I really must want the job.

I guess one could call a kid like me an early awareness, early intervention with hormones, and partial early transitioner because that was what it was like. One did not show up to a new school year as a girl when you ended the previous school year as a boy which does occur today. Parents did not allow their child to dress as a girl from 4 on so Johnny could be free to be his or her self. That was never an option for us and anyone that claims it was is misinformed.

How did one transition early in my time? The better question would be who transitioned early in my time and why?

I guess my dear friend Lana would be an example of an "early transitioner" from my era. Lana is my age and grew up in the upper Midwest and was raised in a strict Christian family and if one looked at me in my youth and saw a pretty girl with Lana you saw knockout gorgeous and she did not do boy well at all and her dad found that disgusting. Lana knew she was a girl but how do you get help in Shitsville USA in the 50's?  The answer was simple you did not the same way getting help in Boston in the 50s was basically impossible.

Lana had few choices in life. Her father was actually a Minister and he tried to get the "devil" out of her with his belt and his fists primarily because he was more scared of her and unwilling to accept the fact the god might have created her but Mother Nature fucked up as Lana loves to say. Lana ran away from her family in 1961 at 15 and ended up in New York City doing things to survive she was never proud of but she needed a roof over her head and food.  Thankfully she stayed away from drugs except for her drug of choice, estrogen which was easy to get off the black market in New York City. She found Dr. Benjamin in the early 60s and thankfully ended up in the chorus at Club 82 and was off the streets. So I guess Lana managed to transition at 15 but then i doubt that is the "kind of" early transition some later transitioners thought was available to us in those years.

Another example of an "early transitioner" would be my best friend in the world Lena. My partner in our "young transsexual" help world.  Lena grew up in Spanish Harlem and her version of "West Side Story" and Maria was more realistic and neither of those gangs in the movie would have lasted two hours in her neighborhood. Lena was a very feminine boy in a very macho Hispanic culture and her father was violent and at 8 or 9 put Lena in the hospital for a month by basically beating his "mericon" song nearly to death and ended up serving 6-10 years in prison. Lena actually did try to transition in school and was promptly expelled permanently and ended up running numbers for a crew ran by Bumpy Johnson in Harlem and got protection and paid. Nobody suspected the little "mericon" prancing down the street ran numbers and collected for the notorious Bumpy Johnson.

In the early 60's she ran from New York when she learned her father was getting out of prison because in her heart she knew he would kill her. She ended up in San Francisco living on the streets until she was befriended by a "tranny" performer at Finnochio's who found her soaking wet huddling in the entryway to her apartment building. Lena always felt she was a girl and she was introduced to Dr. Benjamin one summer. Lena ended up in Canada and was one of the most famous drag performers of her era.

In all honesty those are the only two "early transitioners" I met until Lena and I started helping children like us. I kind of doubt those claiming they would have transitioned "early" if given the advantages thought this was what the advantage was. There actually was no advantage and early transition was more desparation than anything else. Running to the streets is not transitioning it is survival.

Many kids like us were trapped until they could get away from home.  Most of my friends when i finally made it to New York had transitioned in the 18-25 age range and for our time that was extremely early.  It meant they face electrolysis and all the crap that went with testosterone poisoning in an era when FFS was not available. None of them allowed themselves to be forced into doing too much boy stuff although in honesty one did what was required to survive.  The one thing they all knew was they could get help except for my one friend who was at once the saddest person I have ever known and  a born comedian and as funny as they came. A truly gorgeous Italian male who had zero chance of ever living as a girl and she killed herself over it.

The other thing you will never read about us is the sexual component of our lives. Everyone wants to slough it off as not important for transsexuals because it makes it a little more convenient for those doing the sloughing. A close friend of mine in England put it best to me when we were talking on Skype a week or so back.

We knew we were girls. Once we figured it out we knew we should have a vagina. Once we became sexually aware we knew we wanted to be penetrated like girls because as she puts it we have innies and not outies. We also knew there was absolutely no way we were ever using that outie we were born with on a girl. The thought of it made us cringe. My friend in England is a life long lesbian by the way so it crosses sex partner preference lines.

Many early transsexuals, according to Harry, had sex with women as men by fantasizing the woman was them. I argued with him about that a few times but he was quite convincing that it was possible and did happen although the concept was both alien and disgusting to me. I wonder what fantasies late transitioners use to facilitate penetrating a wife with a body part they supposedly do not want for 30+ years?

Early transition way back when was really being fully transitioned by sometime in your 20's. Getting on hormones in your teens was rare but had major benefits. Today early transition is what many of the later transitioners think was available back then. It was not something society allowed unless it was illicit and illegal. Even early hormones caused serious troubles. Near the end of my Junior year in High School I was informed boys gym was not something they thought I should take which was an issue since not passing gym sort of prevented one from graduating High School which should give one an idea where male thought patterns were. I did suggest girl's gym but that was not going to happen.

I often wonder if some today actually believe what early transition is today is what we had way back when. I wish it was. Today kids transition as early as 4-5. Now some of these children may or may not be transsexual but in my humble opinion it will sort itself out and the kid will be better for it either way. By the time they are 11-13 it should be clear who is and who is not transsexual. Unfortunately this might be part of the reason young transsexuals get blockers and not estrogen until 16-18 but even estrogen is somewhat reversible. Those that are transsexual will get to assimilate as girls much easier and even the kids we have helped that have been in the 13-15 range except for one who was 18 assimilate easily into society as girls. Early transition is the way to go if available.

In many ways it was a simpler time. You either were or you were not transsexual.  There were no blurred lines. You never heard any one state  "I think I might become transsexual" like this crap is some choice we were given.  There was no transgender borg out there claiming we are all the same or that we have similar interests. When one of you can tell me what a fetish transvestite has in common with a transsexual then we will have made progress.

There was no "known" narrative that described a transsexual back then. We were all individuals with our own stories and differences but we got along because we were what we were and did not need some therapist to tell us we were a girl. I actually read someone that claimed their therapist proved to them that they were really a woman trapped in a  man's body.  Actually they were just some poor fool confused by some quack therapist but then it is a money game today. Drain the transsexual of every dime you can while convincing them you have their best interest at heart. It is all about the Benjamins and I do not mean Harry Benjamin.

So the truth about early transition way back when is that the definition of early was kind of different from today.  The 4-6 year old today is the 13-15 of my era and the teens of today are the early to mid twenties of back then. The times have changed and in this case it is actually for the better.




27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Liz. This is an excellent and enlightening post. Rather than comment here, I am posting an extended commentary on my blog with referenceand LINK to your post here. Despite being just about the same age and transitioning during those very early days, and under totally different circumstances, I believe that our substantilly different experiences all point to the same end. We shall see.

Anne
anna-es-asi.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Elizabeth, I agree with you. If you know me and you know how tall I am what would I have done in the mid-80’s? AIDS was placing a huge stigma on what I thought was the gayest thing in the world and the clinics all shut down, Reagan was in office and Janise Raymond did her damage. As tall as I was there was no shoes or clothing to wear. Today its easier. I still have to travel to Europe to find shoes and clothing that fits properly, I’m a bit leery of on line shopping, like most woman, we like to try things on and see if it fits our overall look. My Tall Club girlfriends all bitch constantly about this. I was very lucky and didn’t need FFS. But you cannot fix height.

BlackSwan

Anonymous said...

Myself i was put in haverford state mental hospital in the late 60's for wearing womens clothes. I never had any attraction to men and the many times i went to the GID clinic in downtown Phila they wouldn't let me transition because i didn't date men. I eventually ran away to N. Calif where in Eureka Calif i met a transsexual who lived on H street in a house full of lesbians. She was from conneticut and was going thru electro at the time. She didn't help much but she let me know what i was is real. I then lived at Hokahey a LG commune in southern humboldt up millers creek and met a lesbian woman who treated me as a female. She never forced me to use my penis. That was my first lesbian relationship. I eventually did transition in the 90's after going through recovery and realizing that my GID was the bigger issue than my addiction to drugs / alcohol. Well thats just my life. I am not sure how it relates to your story but its my life. I am open to hearing others views. It won't bother me because i am a long time post op living a very butch life. I still am not at all attracted to men.

Amazon D

Elizabeth said...

@Amazon D

What year were you going to a GID clinic in Philadelphia? It was certainly never an issue with Harry although he certainly did not advertise that position. It was more of an issue for surgeons who required one pass and might ask if you like boys. What was the name of the clinic in Philadelphia?

I am unclear why anyone in Philadelphia could keep you from tr5ansitioning. All Harry wanted when one transitioned was the time to read us the rules we needed to follow for safety reasons in NYC. Hormones were just as easy to get on the streets of Philly as they were in NYC. No prescription needed.

It was probably stupid but I was free. If you were in a lesbian relationship with a woman while still living as a man I am not sure how you can define it as a lesbian relationship but then I have never been in a lesbian relationship. She never forced you to use your penis which begs the question did you ever decide to use it on your own and why did you wait until the 90's.

Elizabeth said...

@Black Swan

But despite the problems of your height you did transition and got surgery at a relatively young age.

As for the 80s I never felt the AIDS problem was a transsexual problem. It was only a problem for gay men, drug needle users, and those having sex without protection. That does not mean I did not support research on AIDS and drug use to save AIDS victims. I had many male gay friends from NYC and I told several if they got AIDS and died I would bring them back and kill them myself.

Reagan had no effect on transsexual issues in the 80's. Others began to cause issues but that is not part of this discussion.

I have to admit I am a little confused by you. On the one hand you tell me you want your identity to remain secret and on the other you hand out clues like this is guess who the woman born transsexual is.

Anonymous said...

“Reagan was in office” was my short hand for conservatism was the “in thing” He had a huge hand in eliminating the federal funding for the clinics that were shut down. I believe if you had this issue back then you were lumped in with the mentally ill. Condemning anything outside of strait male and female relationships was very popular in my family. I was labeled “gay” and a “biological error” by my father who routinely berated anything queer.

Pardon my AIDS reference if you knew of anyone close to you that passed from HIV--I was angry at my mother for 20 years. In hindsight I see it as an unknown with the knowledge I had back then. To me in my young mind it was a disease that killed those who were sexually different, it didn’t help that the Conservative Religious Right (much of my family) was claiming it was a curse by God on the Gays. In 1984-5 AIDS was a relatively new issue and I didn’t know much about until my mother disclosed to me she had AIDS. She died a bit less than a year after that.

It was a cold water of education for me.

BlackSwan

Not your friend said...

Thank you for sharing Elizebeth this was a good read.

The beginning time and the before time are times I would rather forget about and have managed to forget most except for the beatings and leaving my parents as soon as I could.

Deena said...

@ Elizabeth. I enjoyed reading your perspective. I admire anyone who reaches out to help others.

Anonymous said...

@Elizabeth

I don’t know if I can relate to what this post means. I didn’t transition until later in life, never married, no children, failed at dating and I didn’t find myself until I felt “safe” and no other options were available. I have to admit I’m still in a learning curve, which is life and my perspective and attitude have been influenced by this whole debate between the TG and TS life experience. I have to accept that I haven‘t found many who have gone through what I‘ve experienced. Narrative aside I’m still watching from the side lines. I don’t publicly participate in this debate other than to test my assumption and have a few questions answered in these few forums.

My gut instinct has brought me to a place that I disagree with the TG and find more in common with a LT TS life experience from what I read online. I know you think I may be a type VI, I feel more inclined to admit I’m just a LT who is only a type V or missed the boat somewhere because of my life experience. Spending time with an old grade school friend out in the boonies brought me to a conclusion that you may be right. He remembers and knew I was different when we played together when I was 9 to 10 years old. “You haven’t changed a bit, except grew as tall as a (giant red wood reference)--damn (*childhood nickname*) you turned out just fine as frogs hair,” he told me admiringly. He told me not to fret about my height showing me some of mother natures really beautiful giants. Maybe there I can feel smaller.

The whole Nikki Araguz debacle brought me to these blogs and chat rooms, I guess I’ve been looking for that one piece of advice that would help me find a healing place.

What happened in the early 2000’s was beyond my expectation, being accepted as female and passable was outside my realm of possibility. Does it really matter now whether I’m an ET or LT? It is what it is. Miz Know-it-all and others said “Get over it” and “GET OVER IT” again. I found the place where I CAN with a strategy to get past it. I will never just flippantly get over it. I just found a better strategy. It doesn’t hurt me anymore.

I looked at some new photo’s from a photo shoot I just completed out by Red Rock--OK so I’m pretty, and just getting better with time. There is something to be said about HRT and another to give it a chance, but being post-op made the biggest jump in my transition--something miraculous. I’m learning to accept I’ve been blessed and just run with it notwithstanding the benefits of early transition, sans my life experience, I did just fine. I’m also very lucky, but that doesn’t make me special does it (and I hope this doesn’t piss people off) or more authentic. Maybe unique? Hindsight is a bitch when you think about it, I wish I knew then what I would look like now. As tall as I am it made no difference to my current experience. I’m very real.

You find wisdom in the most unobvious places. Outside a grocery story in Las Vegas this very blind, thick Coke bottle glasses weighing heavy on her nose, grandma selling raffle tickets for a hand made quilt to support those who suffer from all things…blindness, told me in her venerable voice, “Miss are you a model or a show girl?” We had a short conversation. I guess I am a model and purchased a few tickets for the raffle. She handed me a little leaflet: BLIND SOLTIONS with a quote from Helen Keller.

“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadows. It’s what the sunflowers do.”

OK someone was listening, so I’ll get over it now.

BlackSwan

Not your friend said...

Black Swan

For what it's worth, sounds to me like you are getting over it. Some of us transition successfully at a young age, then fate throws a potted plant pot and all into the works and we have our own battles to fight.

Sad to say but life isn't fair, and sometimes it really sucks.

It's how we deal with it that really counts.

Anonymous said...

@Elizabeth

This should be on topic.

Was the fear of being murdered or assaulted the same?

GAY TEEN NOW BEING BLAMED FOR HIS OWN MURDER.
http://gawker.com/5830022/gay-teen-now-being-blamed-for-his-own-murder

WARNING: This article may make you very angry--the bigots commenting in this piece made my guts wrench.

Would the fear of murder or assault prevent you from expressing yourself? Then? Now?

BlackSwan

Anonymous said...

I happen to know some of the principals involved in this exceedingly tragic case. Essentially EVERYBODY LOST. Young Lawrence was attending a school for "special" children. Those that were deemed 'at risk' or had special "issues".

The premise of the educational model for this school was one of "acceptance". In other words there was very little guidance offered to the children other than "accept" who you are, with out any structural reference to the "REAL WORLD", outside the school's environment.

Enter another "troubled" teen-ager who was essentially "baited" and openly taunted by Lawrence who had been enabled to "act-out" wihout any preparation for, or consideration of the possible consequences.

I can understand why the jury dead-locked. The perpetrator was clearly "guilty" of shooting Lawrence, but was he truly the only responsible "perpetrator" involved?

I think the actual perpetrator was the "system" which failed both boys in providing them the guidance neccesary and STRUCTURE, to function in our SOCIETY as it ACTUALLY EXISTS TODAY.

IMHO, this was a tragic example of "utopian" social engineering at its very WORST.

Anne
anna-es-asi.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

And to answer your question, BS. ABSOLUTELY. Where I grew up, *maricones* were routinely beat up and murdered with impunity.

Anne

Elizabeth said...

@BlackSwan

I was beaten up before I started pushing boundaries because I did not do boy that well. I was picked on for that and when boys are scared they can get violent. Getting beaten up is different from being raped and nearly murdered. I have been the victim of both and neither stopped me once I began to just be myself.

Did I cause some of my own issues? Well I had long hair and refused to have it cut so that was a big issue for its day but it was my physical appearance. Boys do not like to think they are attracted to a girl and find out the girl is a boy.

Once I decided I was going as far with androgynous/girl as I could I never once worried they might hurt me because of it. They were going to hurt me anyways. It made me feel better about myself.

My adult neighbor always had a thing for me and in Feb 1960 he nearly killed me when he raped me and beat me senseless. He claimed it was to show me what it meant to be a girl but in reality he liked pretty boys. He got his in the end.

You do not think about consequences when you are that young and that driven. My mom constantly told me to be care careful but they were going to hurt me regardless so I figured I might as well be happy with myself. Well that is what I like to tell myself today but I doubt I was that deep a thinker back then.

Once they realized I actually wanted to be a girl and then that I was transsexual, boys cannot keep secrets either, I rarely had an issue with physical violence after February of 1960. Some occasional names but nothing physical.

It is fear of the unknown and boys can be violent if they think they like a boy cause she looks like a girl. One boy told me much later it sure made sense when they found out what i was and this was the late 50's and early 60's. Kids are more flexible than people give them credit for. The real worry is parents.

Anonymous said...

@Anna

Your argument, "The perpetrator was clearly "guilty" of shooting Lawrence..." ends at the BUT. There is no excuse this little white supremacist bully gets to use as a defense. This murder was premeditated. It would be different if this kid beat Larry King on the spot.

@Elizabeth,

"The real worry is parents." What do you mean this? Is this in the context of your post and early transition? Or the Larry King example? How much worry or weight do you assign to your statement the "real worry." Is there any other?

Also your making a pretty broad brush stroke assumptions with "Kids are more flexible" without the qualifier 'SOME kids'. Some kids aren't allowed the flexibility you speak of. Some kids are more fragile than others. Some stronger. Test Statement: Transsexualism isn't dependent on any of those factors (true/false?).

BlackSwan

Elizabeth said...

@BlackSwan

You sound an awful lot like "She Said" with these questions which does give me cause to wonder.

I sometimes wonder about you and your motives.

Parents have more prejudices than children.

Kids fear the unknown and once the unknown is known more often than not they can deal with it.

If you cannot figure that out I would suggest you talk with Dr. Olsen and I am sure she can give you something to read that will enlighten you.

Anonymous said...

I am thinking that BS sounds more like that FAKE PhD. dude, with all his rhetorical BS. Not to mention his patrimonious privilege in pontifically promulgating that my argument ends on HIS say so.

How TG of him!

Anne

Deena said...

Anne you would be wrong in making that assertion. There was a time in the recent past when I had strong suspicions that you were a "pretender" but I watched and waited and now believe you genuine even though we have never met in person. I'm sure you don't shive a git about that but I am simply telling you my reaction to some of your posts.

The acid test is always whether I know someone IRL or in the alternative know someone IRL who does know the other person. I am sure many people will disagree with me saying that but let them then come up with an alternative "acid test".

BS and I often disagree. Our backgrounds, cultures and life experiences are different. In fact, those factors have led to huge misunderstandings between us. But I'll tell you this without equivocation. Black Swan is someone I admire for facing tremendous challenges and battling through them.

I hope you can appreciate that I am telling you what I know so that you have a bit of the benefit of my personal knowledge of BS the person. I am not trying to put you down in any way.

Anonymous said...

@Anna

When someone tells you your argument ends it's not a demand. I'm telling you in short hand I disagree with the rest of your argument as a common colloquialism.

@Elizabeth

I thought in your debate with "She Said" you stated that the parent made little difference in a youngsters transition [paraphrasing], are you saying now that the parent is the primary concern?

BlackSwan

Elizabeth said...

@Black Swan

I would suggest you reread what the topic was and at least apply some common sense to it. I was talking about parents causing trouble for trans children when they are young because of parents fears and prejudices. The topic does define the meaning and the context of a topic. Children are taught to hate and mistrust by their parents. Therefore parents teach kids to hate and we have had two cases where parents were the problem in a school and the kids were okay with the transsexual child. Does that make it clear enough.

@Deena

I really do get tired of you continually bringing up your trans habit of meeting other trans people in real life (IRL) as proof they are real people or qualify when in reality it is unheard of for any old timer to meet with any of the newbie late transitioners and you have in fact screamed that at me many times. Anne has actually met several out west although I do believe she was foolish to do so because the only one that has anything to lose is us old timers and not some late transitioner like you.

If you want to meet more people like yourself then I would guess Pink Essence would be a good place for you to look.

Anyone could have posted as Black Swan since I am the only one that actually knows where the post came from based on ip address. As a simple point on the comment I questioned my old friend "She Said" was on at the same time as Black Swan so there was no way to tell who wrote the comment.

If you post as Anonymous then you get what you get.

Anonymous said...

Hmmmmph !

Anne

Deena said...

@ Elizabeth. I have zero desire to meet you IRL. Give it a rest. My comment was to Anne and was intended to be helpful.

On another note, I enjoy your perspectives. You are obviously endowed with a high intellect and you write exceptionally well. Thank you for hosting the variety of topics and sharing so many of your experiences.

Anonymous said...

@BlackSwan

Why do you put up with Elizabeth's ad homs?

Elizabeth said...

@Black Swan

Just exactly where do I attempt to negate the truth of anything Deena says with a negative plus just to be accurate it is an ad hominem(s) but I kind of doubt you truly understand its use and factual meaning.

Deena ALWAYS brings up IRL and meeting in real life is a big thing among the transvestite / transgender crowd and I enjoy reminding her of it but then I believe you two actually may have met. How trans of you!

Deena said...

@ Elizabeth. You exaggerate. ALWAYS is incorrect. I only bring it up occasionally. It does ALWAYS seem to irritate you. I'll try to remember not to mention real life anymore.

Elizabeth said...

@Deena,

ALWAYS is incorrect as you accurately point out.

TOO OFTEN is more accurate and it only irritates me because the only person that has anything to lose is the old timers like me. Why in the name of god would I risk my privacy for some late transitioner like you?

Black Swan likes that type of thing. She lives for the attention and that is fine as long as she is happy but I like my quiet little life. I had my time dealing with the public in my youth and I learned it is not worth it.

Deena said...

@ Elizabeth. You said "Why in the name of god would I risk my privacy for some late transitioner like you?"

I think two things are plain at this point. First, you should risk none of your privacy for anyone and I respect that. The second thing is that you know nothing about me but continue to toss out bait. I harbor you no ill will.