And then I woke up: Guest post

This is Part II (Part I is here) of a guest post by thissoftspace, a woman in her late 30s who experienced gender dysphoria, began transition to FTM, but pulled back and now writes her own Tumblr and WordPress blogs celebrating her return to herself as female. As in Part I, her mother’s thoughts are also included in this piece. thissoftspace is available to respond personally to questions and discussion in the comments section below.

 As I read this second part,  I was struck by the extent to which her insight and overall mental maturity helped thissoftspace to desist from a trans identity:

 I am so grateful I have had the life experience with my mental highs and lows that I was able to recognize the patterns as soon as I did.

How much more difficult must it be for younger people to change their minds? They have so few prior life experiences to reflect upon; they lack the patience and foresight of a woman in her 30s,  who, even so, nearly transitioned herself. Her story has made me feel all the more strongly that we parents must fight for children to be allowed to reach adulthood before considering such monumental, life-changing decisions.


Part II: There and Back Again

by thissoftspace

While using the labels “agender,” “non-binary” or “genderqueer” made me feel better by being not-female, I soon realized those words were meaningless to the general public. In order to get the message across that I was not female, I had to bend my presentation further towards male – just like so many other “non-binary” young women I had seen online. Once I did so, everything seemed to slide neatly into a more traditional trans narrative. I clung to the gender-neutral labels a little longer, but it was clear my intentions were to escape female by transitioning to male. Why not just use male pronouns, a male name, to make the message loud and clear?

My mother’s words:

I truly wished to keep the matter personal and give it time. I wanted to see how things worked with her changing her name with a few friends who would understand, rather than be out in public with a male presentation. I did purchase her some new men’s clothing and spent many hours tailoring shirts so they fit properly. I felt this I could do, this was how I could help. I had trouble with the male pronouns, often saying “he/she” instead of just “he”. I tried to keep things as normal as possible. We spoke about giving space and trusting more, but there was a current of stress at the time.

Articles and pamphlets from PFLAG and GLAAD and the HRC insisted my new identity should be embraced and recognized. Bruce Jenner’s interview on broadcast television supported my “feeling” of being more male than female as perfectly valid. I watched videos and read blogs of various female-to-trans people and took in all their enthusiasm and encouragement, all their happiness and all the celebration surrounding their lives. PBS News Hour ran a special on transgender kids that was heartbreaking. Look at them! Don’t they deserve happiness? Don’t they deserve the freedom to be who they are? I shared some of these things with my mom. I told her I could be a man, a straight, normal man, dress the way I wanted, be the person I’ve always wanted to be. I could freely love women if I wanted to. I could be my brother’s cool younger brother instead of his weird little sister. I could finally just be myself. She couldn’t have tried harder to be patient and understanding.

My mom said, “As long as you don’t cut your body.” I didn’t understand why this body I so hated was so precious to her. I would lie awake at night thinking about physical transition. Despite looking in the bathroom mirror and telling myself I had a male body because I said I was male, I knew others wouldn’t see so clearly. For so many reasons, I wanted to fully transition. I wanted to get rid of the breasts and the organs I’d feared all my life. A third of my hypochondriac worries could be gone in a few operations. I wanted to use testosterone to shrink my thighs, to build my shoulders and arms. Big boned? No, I would be strong, as I had always been, but now it would be right. As a transgender man, everything that had always seemed wrong about me would finally be right.

My mother’s words:

I knew very little about transgender and seeing she had done research on the Internet, checking doctors and psychiatrists as well as interviews from those who had transitioned, I trusted her opinion. We also watched the Bruce Jenner interview and a few other shows about transgender issues. I became convinced this was the best for her. However, I believed firmly that the body should not be cut to conform, and I was not supportive about using hormones either. What would happen to her overall health? Even with the name change through the courts, I was concerned about the cost—let alone, her paying for medical changes.

I had travel plans coming up in several months, so I decided to work on transition without making any permanent changes until after my trip. This would give time to experiment and see if I was right or wrong about it all (and I am so thankful for this now.) I researched how to change my name, settling on a male one. I styled my hair to resemble those cool eccentric guys I’d always loved. For the first time since my early teens I let every hair on my body grow out, my big dark eyebrows, my legs, my armpits. I was thrilled at how many dark chin-hairs I had, that I had been plucking forever. One night I ended up staying up late looking at how to shape a goatee. What a difference that would make! I shaved my face because a “passing” guide said it would help me pass as male, with no “female peach fuzz” to be seen.

I bought a binder from a very friendly, helpful company run by “queer and trans people.” When I wore it in public, people called me “young man” – enough of a triumph to make me ignore the back pain it caused. I went to an air show and stood right up against the fence with the men with their cameras, asserting myself as having the right to be there because I was one of them, not some weird woman trying to worm her way in, as I had always felt before. It was so exciting to feel possibilities opening up before me like that. I spoke lower, spoke less. I pushed myself out physically. For some reason, I felt a little angry all the time.

Deep down, a part of me was grieving. A part of me felt I was betraying all I had ever really loved, all the wonderful lesbian characters I had written of and my faith in the invincibility of strong women. Deep down, I felt a part of me had given up, had surrendered. Maybe other women were invincible, but not me. I could only assure myself life would get better as a man; life could only get better when I wasn’t a woman at all.

In the midst of this, friends new and old supportively told me, “Whatever. We like you whatever.” I can’t express how much the word “whatever” stung. It sounds like such a sincere offer of unconditional love and support, but please understand: I did not want anyone to remain attached to any part of the person I had been. I had decided that person was a failure. Worthless. Something I hated deeply, something I was trying to escape. I didn’t want to hear “We like you whatever.” I wanted to hear “We love the new you!” I didn’t want unconditional acceptance of who I was. I wanted absolute celebration of what I was becoming. I wanted my new identity validated so badly it consumed my days and began affecting my health.

My mother’s words:

Try as she might, she never did look like a man, certainly not a man her age. She looked like a teenage boy, similar to her nephew, though when people called her “young man” I was supportive as it seemed to make her happy. I didn’t want people to be confused, so while in public, I had to be sure to support her and even say “my son.” I felt I was walking on eggshells, trying to give as much support and keep her as happy as possible because it was so stressful and she seemed so strained.

We no longer could talk openly and honestly without anger and emotion; I couldn’t say “You keep trying but you can’t totally look like a male. Why can’t you go back to being my daughter?” I did insist, however, that she be honest and present when friends visited – I would not let her hide in her room and become totally obsessed with this transition. I wanted her to know that even if she changed herself to a point, life would still be the same, with the same challenges and expectations. When people responded positively to her changes and new identity, I thought,wow, she really is accomplishing something, but I always woke up wondering what new thing would she be experimenting with today. I would go to bed wondering how everything would work out.

Looming before me was The Bathroom Issue. I was anxious about using a men’s bathroom, but increasingly afraid of being “caught” in the women’s bathroom. I had trouble sleeping, worrying how I would handle it all. My digestive system ran amok with the stress. I felt terrible, unfocused, distracted, unhappy. I played simple puzzle games for hours as my mind spun. How would I get the money for T and for surgeries? How would I bring this up to my doctor? Would T end up giving me cancer? Would I lose my hair? What would my brother think of me? Would I ever see my nephew and nieces again? How could I continue my work, so tied to my name and identity? How would any of this ever work out?

Time and time again I thought, stressed to my limit, “If it doesn’t work out, I may as well kill myself. There is nothing else. There is no alternative.” I felt trapped on a treadmill. Sometimes exhilarating – but I wondered how long I could run.

It happened that in the midst of this I volunteered to drive my mother and her friend to an opera three hours away. It was Mozart’s The Magic Flute. He had been one of my special cool guys growing up and I’d always wanted to see The Magic Flute, so I was happy to go along and do the driving. But the night before I found myself staring at the ceiling, wondering how I would use the bathroom. The venue, I knew, would be full of older conservative people. As this weird in-between thing, how could I use the bathroom? What would I look like to them? Could I ever just walk into a bathroom again? Would life ever be normal again? The ordeal before me – six months? a year? three years? five? – loomed in the darkness, full of impossible costs and fears.

In that frustrated and tearful moment, I wanted this transition to be over, but couldn’t see any possible end. I checked the time and the night had slipped away in sleepless worries. Feeling sick and so very tired I tossed and turned, desperate to get some sleep so I could drive safely, knowing I had six hours on the road ahead of me the next day. I would not be able to keep my eyes open. I could get us in a terrible accident.

Then it suddenly dawned on me: my quest for this new identity had become so overwhelming I was now putting other people’s lives in danger because of it. That thought struck me like an arrow. This was deeply unhealthy. This could not be right.

The push for validation and the self-absorbed mindset I had seen in some trans blogging and trans communities had always rubbed me the wrong way, but finally seeing it in myself was stunning and humiliating. This was not the kind of person I was, not the kind of person – male or female – I wanted to be. I wanted to be useful; I wanted to be happy. As I stepped back and looked at it objectively, not only was this fixation on transition potentially harmful to the people around me, it was also not helping me at all. It was obsessive, inescapable misery, as much as any bout of hypochondria or depressive cycle. Despite the flashes of hopeful possibility, at the end of the day it didn’t actually fix anything. It only made everything worse. If I had been self-conscious before, it was nothing compared to the constant struggle to assert myself as the opposite sex, both to others and to myself. And that constant self-involvement was destroying all the best parts of me.

I am so grateful I have had the life experience with my mental highs and lows that I was able to recognize the patterns as soon as I did. I had spent almost six months dedicated to this desperate hope that transition would solve all my problems – six months of trying to change everything from my name to my underwear – none of it easy, none of it comfortable. And then I woke up.

The next morning as I hurriedly ate breakfast, I told my mom to drop the male pronouns and just call me by my real name because there had to be another way. Somehow in that night of turmoil I had realized the transgender narrative would not solve my problems. It was just too difficult, too much, too illogical, too separated from material reality. I had no idea where to go from there, but I knew there had to be another way.

The opera was lovely, and though tiring, the drive turned out fine.

The next day I sat down at the computer and with great trepidation typed “transgender critical” in the search bar. I found Third Way Trans and my eyes were opened to some of the psychological issues behind gender confusion. I found 4th Wave Now and my eyes were opened to the societal issues, leading me to begin reading about radical feminism, which led me to deeper reading about lesbianism and the experiences of detransitioned women. Gleaning all of this information, so long unknown to me, was like waking up in a hospital after a horrible accident. Suddenly I was surrounded by voices that could explain how I had been hurt, why I had been hurt, and what was being done to repair the damage. These were no linguistic band-aids, no cosmetic cover-ups of old wounds. This was major surgery and strong medicine. It made me angry and it made me sad – there was so much about myself and the rest of the world I had to finally see and accept – but little by little, I began to heal.

My dis-identification from being female was healed by the knowledge that I was born female, down to my very chromosomes. No one – not even myself – can deny that natural fact or take away my right to be female. I was female when I was the kid with muddy knees, I was female when I was being mistaken for male, I was female when I was telling myself I had a male body. As a female human being, I can be useful and I can be happy without any confusion, without ever having to prove what I am. Those hated parts of my body? The bushy eyebrows, the fat thighs, the breadth of my shoulders and the sound of my voice: I learned that those, too, are all natural parts of the female human body. I am a perfectly good female human being. I can just be, residing in this body, and at last – at last – feel a real connection with other women, other female human beings, for the first time in my life.

My sense of shame and failure at being a woman was healed by the knowledge that the things I thought made a female a real woman – beauty standards, pornographic sexuality, submission to men – were not natural inclinations I was somehow missing, but rather forced upon all women by an oppressive society. Others have treated me the way they have only because I existed outside their frame of reference; I was something foreign to their idea of what a female human being should be. I can understand this myself, because it was my own limited ideas of what a woman should be that drove me to believe I was not one. Those views, however, only serve to reveal the narrowness of an individual perspective; they do nothing to actually invalidate who I am. The harsh judgment of “what a woman should be” is something I imagine all women, at least now and then, experience and endure in our society. Now I live with the constant hope to see all women free from those judgments, free to just be themselves, sweatshirts and jeans and all.

My rejection of my sexual orientation was finally healed by the knowledge passed down from mature lesbians – not lesbians depicted in the media or young women just beginning to experience their sexuality – but older lesbians embodying what a female-loving female actually is. All my life I have feared and repressed my attraction towards women because I had only ever learned what male attraction is, and as a lesbian, I wanted no part of it. The knowledge that lesbian attraction and sexuality exists distinct and separate from the male gaze – that lesbians are not like men – was revolutionary to me. At last I could open my heart, regardless of how I present myself or what clothes I wear. The only thing that has ever mattered was the sincere love I have always held for other female human beings.

My mother’s words:

What a relief when she said she would just be my daughter again, and when she shared with me the new information explaining how transition is not always the answer. When she spoke of what she had learned, I felt she was very sincere about it – there was no possibility left for her to change her mind. The information she brought me made so much more sense, I wondered why I hadn’t known about it before.

I still wonder why both sides of the transgender issue are not presented together. The material from trans-positive sources now sounds like propaganda in comparison. So much difficulty could be avoided if the right information were available to both young people and their parents.

 Our relationship is now better than ever. Going through the process over several months built a stronger trust and friendship, allowing us to be more honest about everything. I respect and love her as who she is, a gay woman with many talents and a wonderful human being. For the first time I believe she finally knows who she is, and has the confidence and independence to move forward in both her work and personal life. This has lifted a weight from my shoulders, as I had always worried about her, not knowing how to help. Now I know so much more about the issues and challenges she has faced and can even relate them to some of my own, so that we can properly support each other through them. Though she had to find all this out on her own, we really took the journey together and became better friends because of it. It was not easy, but thank heavens she discovered her true self.

Now, for the first time in my life, I feel like I have the right to exist just as I am. Yes, the words matter – embracing the words “female human being” and “lesbian” matter a great deal – but underneath those words is, at last, an understanding of the basic truths of human nature, that we are what we are and deserve to be loved and respected for that alone. It is only longstanding societal fears and ignorance that insist otherwise, and their effects are more subtly damaging to vulnerable individuals than we might often assume.

People tend to approach a person struggling with their gender identity with the words “I support you in whatever you need to do, even though I don’t understand,” as if gender confusion happens in a personal bubble. In the current cultural climate, it’s now seen as rude and harmful to even question a person who is considering transition – certainly no one ever questioned me. But I so wish they had. Nothing I experienced stemmed from some essential “feeling,” some innate discord between body and mind. All of it, as I’ve written about here, emerged from a lifetime of experiencing oppressive gender roles and confusing expectations, ignorance about what it meant to be a homosexual woman and both internal and external homophobia. It added up to the long-term reinforcement, in a very susceptible mind, of the idea that I was “wrong” in my body and my sex, and that led me to identify as transgender. Transition to male seemed to be the only fix for what I had deemed so unacceptable in a female. For the sake of so many others, I hope these root causes are further discussed and explored, so that transition is no longer viewed as the immediate answer to gender identity confusion. It is an act of compassion to ask “Why do you feel this way?” It is an act of compassion to ask, “Where do you hurt?” We may be surprised by how many of these pains we share.

For myself, I feel like I can finally start living as who and what I am, no longer obsessively worried about how I appear to others or what sort of strange being I might be. I am simply a female human being who loves other women. And it’s a consolation to know that the kid in her sweatshirt and muddy jeans was always okay just as she was. I just wish she had known all along.

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41 thoughts on “And then I woke up: Guest post

  1. This is so amazing and powerful! (And of course, heartbreaking.) I am so glad you were able to accept yourself as female and lesbian. I’m so sorry about the struggle it took to get there. Thanks for sharing your story. ❤

    Liked by 6 people

    • Better late than never indeed. =) Thanks for your comment – I’ve watched some of your YouTube videos and they were very helpful in clarifying a lot of the confusion in my mind after getting through this. Every individual experience is different, but there’s something about that path towards freedom that is, I think, something we all share in unwinding our selves.

      Liked by 5 people

  2. This, and your first chapter, is one of the most beautiful, uplifting, insightful and compassionate things I have ever read. I so needed to read this. Your path to the unfolding of your *true* self needs to be required reading by every young woman who finds herself lost in this world. I am so happy for you, my heart could burst. I am joyous for you, and your wonderful, loving mother. Welcome to our world of women who love women. We have been waiting for you. You were our sister all along. You have emerged from the flames Amazon proud. Much, much gratitude and respect to you from across the oceans. You have great things ahead of you.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Gosh, thank you so much. Your comment brought tears to my eyes. I do feel like I’ve “come home” finally, and though few things in my life have outwardly changed, I do feel this wonderful, subtle connection with all of my sisters out there, and I can honestly say, of all the places I’ve been mentally and spiritually in my life, I’ve never experienced anything that has felt so true or so powerful – and I keep seeing it backed up by words like yours. Thank you so much.

      Liked by 7 people

  3. Reblogged this on This Soft Space and commented:
    Second part of my guest post for 4thwavenow, dealing with the real meat of deciding not to transition and finding my true self. I cannot express how wonderful it has been to finally find real common ground with others through this experience, from a very open, vulnerable space. So often we want to hide away what hurts most, but there is a lot of truth in how our struggles bind us together.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Thissoftspace, thank you for sharing Part II with us as well. The more stories like yours that get out there, the better. I hope it will help more people realize that they can become their authentic selves without altering their bodies. That there is no need to “cut to conform” as your mother says.

    Liked by 6 people

  5. As 4thwavenow has said, repeatedly, we ARE our bodies. They aren’t wrong.

    I am happy for you, but, as a mother, I am so relieved and joyous for her. To have you come to the realization of who you are and to come back to her is wonderful for both of you.

    I hope my daughter finds her way because I love her so much and I truly want her to be happy and comfortable and safe and know that we aren’t trying to break her, we’re trying to show her that she is perfect the way she is.

    Liked by 6 people

    • I so wish I could somehow get that message across to your daughter – and I so hope she comes to realize it herself. I can’t tell you how often my mom has said to me, “You’re a fantastic young woman” or “You were always my wonderful little girl” and yet my mind was so twisted against the words “woman” and “girl” I couldn’t fully hear and accept the love she was giving me – and I regret that so much. I wish I knew the exact buttons to press to reprogram that mentality, but as you’ve seen it took quite a journey, and that journey has it’s own twists and turns for everyone. I hope all the best for you and your daughter though.

      Liked by 4 people

  6. Your story was so very touching and I am so happy for you and your mother. Why are stories like this not published in mainstream media – a guess we all know why……

    As you wrote, ” It is an act of compassion to ask “Why do you feel this way?” It is an act of compassion to ask, “Where do you hurt?” We may be surprised by how many of these pains we share.”
    I’ve tried so many times to ask my daughter that first question and the only answer I get back is that I can’t understand because I’m not trans. Our teen daughters are not able to dig that deeply to really understand that question, they give automatic responses. I will try to ask her the second question – Where do you hurt – if she only gives me the chance to talk to her. It’s very difficult and it cuts me to the soul not to be able to get through to her.

    Thank you for giving me hope with my daughter, though it could be a long journey.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I feel so for all of you mothers trying so hard to get through to your kids. I can’t imagine going through this as a teen – though I look back and I see a lot of similar beliefs and defenses I put up to separate me from the rest of the world, which I felt didn’t want a person like me. Or I felt I didn’t “fit”. The trans narrative these days just offers that immediate balm to “I don’t fit” by assuring young people “You fit with us because you’re one of us.” Then that “Well I’m trans and you’re not” becomes so easy to say.

      The airshow I mentioned was a really interesting experience, because one of my best female friends also goes to airshows – I went to one with her once – and while I was wrapped up in all this I tried to explain to her how *she* could go to airshows, and we could even see these very cool female pilots around, but *I* couldn’t be comfortable there as a woman because… I was trans. That was the only explanation I could get to at the time. It was such an easy thing to say, without ever getting to the bottom of, well, when I was younger my brother got all the model airplane kits and I was made fun of for wanting them; I was embarrassed for building the only one I ever did get badly (since I didn’t have help or practice); I really wanted to fly the little gas-powered model but no one took me seriously about it; I never met any other women who liked airplanes until I was in my THIRTIES, etc. etc. And that’s just one little facet, seeming so small and silly, just airplanes, but… to this day it’s something I have trouble reconciling with. Amelia Earhart and all. Such strange and subtle wounds, so very hard to get to the bottom of, but undermining everything.

      All I know is that loving safety, security, encouragement, celebration and reassurance all do wonders. At some point, I hope your daughter feels that, that it does get through to her, that despite her belief that she might have to be male she figures out – maybe only tentatively at first – she can really just be herself. I so wish the best for you both. Don’t ever give up hope.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Thank you for your response. I hope all of our daughters will get to the point that you did and that we are all around to celebrate.

        I wish you all the best!

        Liked by 2 people

  7. Amazing post. It’s both touching and somewhat heart-rending because it echoes my own journey so much, in the little details too… (All my soft toys were non-gendered/assumed to be male). Your writing is so solid and expansive. An inspirational and affirming piece, thank you so much!

    Liked by 2 people

    • This was a wonderful piece of writing. And I was so very glad to read it.

      Now on the Very Important Stuffed Animal Question, all of my stuffed animals were male until a certain point. It was in the early 70s and possibly there was something on TV about the default for characters in kids books or movies being male. And I suddenly realized all of my stuffed animals were male! I was disgusted. From that day on they all became female. Especially the ones subsequently obtained. That was a very different time. I also somehow managed to absorb all kinds of pro women ideas and imagery in the early 70s style. When I was a preteen. And not being gay always makes things easier.

      Liked by 2 people

      • My stuffed animals were all ‘females’ with male names, that were equal and ran the childhood adventures when I played with them. This is how I viewed being an equal ‘female’- while I did experience the treatment of being female and noticed that boys’ are definitely first in being favored. That was how I coped with the negative experience of sexism at that age.

        I put the female stuffed animals in charge- While the ‘male’ stuffed animals I played with were ‘shy- good boy’ types that followed along and just helped out the female out of concern and sincerity- but was a token male, and this type was projected on to all toy representations of ‘males’ I had. My main character toys were always ‘female’, even the toy airplane that safely carried people from one place to another. I could not see an airplane, ship or car as being for a boy, because it carries people and delivers them to another place -like ‘a pregnant woman would carry a baby’.

        Your post made me think about that. I have not thought about that for a long time.
        🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      • Anywoman2, I love this! Especially the part about the goody boy males. I had no males among my dolls. And one time a male Kiddle turned up. He was a Prince with a hard plastic puffy hat with a feather in it and a horse who’s head moved!!! 😮 I took his hat, the feather and the horse and gave them to my girl dolls. He never got a look in after that. And I mistrusted and resented him. 😁

        Giving a male names to female stuffed animals is brilliant! And Yep, we’re aware of our different status by virtue of being girls from the time we are very small children. 🙁 Feminism used to be about talking about stuff like this. Instead of being about how great porn is. 😠

        Like

  8. Thank you for sharing your story. I have hope that my daughter will find her identity and embrace her womanhood. I don’t want her to go to drastic measures and then regret it later and still not be happy with who she is.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Your story would make a wonderful movie. Or maybe a play. The muddy knees little girl, the Mozart trip, are such vivid scenes. So is the part about letting all your body hair grow out normally, only under the permission of thinking of yourself as a male. Wow. That would be so powerful for so many women. If it was a play the actress playing you could do so much with body language. The taught uncomfortable body language of trying to be male. And then the relaxed kind when it was given up. All the puberty things too.

    Best of luck to you and your life. I am so happy for you.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for such vivid thoughts – I’ve never thought of it in such a format (I’m not much of a theater person!) but this kind of journey would make a very powerful play. There is so much about gender roles that hinges on “performance” – whether we’re doing it for ourselves or for others – and such natural relaxation when we can finally let go of it all. We can kind of see it in all those transition Youtube videos – there’s a certain expression I see young girls take up on their faces when they so want to be seen as male – but it would indeed be interesting to see it all walked out within an hour or so on stage.

      At any rate, I have a wholehearted belief that every woman, once in her life, should shave her head and let every body hair grow out. Doesn’t have to be done at the same time, but wow is it a powerful experience when controlling those things have been daily maintenance all your life.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I’ve watched quite a few of those transition videos, and the word I’d give them is “magical.” It DOES seem like magic: the body changes so drastically in such a short time. The young FTMs all seem so euphoric, so ecstatic. They have found the answer to their troubles, be it puberty, bullying, or unrequited love–or sure, yes, dysphoria. It’s a transformation shared with the world. No wonder it’s so powerful and so attractive. (Interesting how those vlogs tend to only be from YOUNG women/FTMs.) I have long wanted to see a YouTube channel of women like thissoftspace. The women choosing to claim and embrace themselves, as female. How to make such videos have the same power for young women? I love the idea of a play, but I also think a lot about how we don’t see YouTube videos from “the ones who got away.” Young women spend so much of their lives online…

        Liked by 4 people

      • Thank you thissoftspace! I am even more convinced after your cool hypothetical description that this should be a play. I shall cross my fingers. (I’m crossing my fingers in hopes that somebody will contact you and say ’I am a playwright I will make that into a play’.) 😊

        Agree completely about the hair thing. When I was a student I cut my hair really really short. And it was liberating. I had a punk type super short pixie do. It was especially liberating because I cut off waist length hippie hair to get there. Hmm, I seem to have been some sort of subcultural fashion victim. All better now though. 😊

        Liked by 2 people

  10. 4thWave, I too long to see a de-transitioner who is keen to make videos and chatterbox about it all. Because yes that is what would make a big impression on these teenage girls. Especially if the videos kept coming out. But that’s the thing, the women who do de-transition have probably learned to stop being so other directed. They’re not gonna want to put this big thing that they went through on video especially, where your face is right there, out there for a bunch of strangers. A lot of them have probably also grown past being so public with all their thoughts and feelings. As well as growing past the idea of changing sex. ::sigh::

    Liked by 2 people

    • One of the biggest problems for detransitioners is finding themselves under attack by the pro-trans crowd, because they’ve turned away from the prevailing narrative to find an alternative path. I have read stories of young women who have been public with their detransition on Youtube – their videos going from wanting to transition to months of T and then one day a video stating they were going off T – who were then “run off YouTube” by the trans community they “betrayed”.

      Even for myself, when I first started exploring identifying as transgender, I felt comfortable putting a big post about it on my main tumblr blog, and received a huge amount of support from strangers. After following blogs of detransitioners and radical feminists, however, and seeing the vitriolic hate they receive constantly, I didn’t dare post anything about my change of mind on my main blog. I’m pretty sure I would have gotten ranted at by several people, some of whom identify as trans or non-binary, for being hateful and even “violent” towards them. Any opinion that goes against the trans narrative is often labeled as “violence” towards transgender people and at very least you get sternly reminded you’re contributing to their homicide/suicide statistics (that aren’t even accurate in the first place.) There is a frightening cult mentality out there.

      I may be exaggerating and letting my anxiety get the best of me, but I honestly feel like if I ever went public about my opinions on the whole transgender thing I would be risking my real-life reputation and my online business, neither of which I feel I can risk right now. Two young lesbians on tumblr recently came out with their thoughts and immediately posts began circulating encouraging people to boycott their online store, their single source of livelihood. I wish it wasn’t that way, and I honestly wish I could do more, but it is really scary out there.

      I greatly admire Peachyogurt on YouTube though, for speaking out so strongly in the favor of GNC women and girls. She’s fantastic, and it’s wonderful she’s at a place in her life where she feels she can do so and not suffer any repercussions. I hope to get to that place someday myself, but until then… anonymous blogging in gender-critical communities is often the best that can be done.

      Liked by 4 people

      • Wow I had no idea about that stuff. The harassment, the online store boycott. What a bunch of fucking bastards. That is McCarthyism. A word that gets thrown around a lot but this is the real stuff. Well, that’s one way to win an argument isn’t it. Intimidation. I also understand that when someone’s going through something emotionally difficult some asshat stranger saying cruel things is going to have a much bigger impact than if everything was hunky-dory in your life. God that’s really bad.

        (That would also be really good to have in the play.😊)

        Liked by 2 people

  11. I have several replies about the comments made, but first:

    “LisaM, in the name of helping these kids “pass” better as adults, it goes without saying that you and other activists also think it’s worth sacrificing a few false positives. As you said, “it will never be perfect.” Tell me: How many false positives do you think will be acceptable in the future?”

    We know from a range of studies that the ‘regret’ rate of post SRS is only about 1% to 3% and when examined in more detail the regrets are often about specific surgically related issues or poor social support afterwards.

    That is an astonishingly low rate, lower than just about any medically required surgery, let alone cosmetic.

    I turn it around the other way, how many people who are ‘true positives’ are you prepared to sacrifice to ‘save’ even one person with ‘regret’?

    If you take the point of view that 1%-3% is too high, then many medically required and cosmetic surgeries should also be disallowed. In fact many other non surgical procedures would have to be banned as well, since many have negative, even life threatening, side affects.

    That is what is called a ‘straw man’ argument.

    Like

    • LisaM, I am publishing all four of your comments (submitted on different posts), but will just reiterate the 4thWaveNow comment policy. This blog exists as a place for parents and others as an alternative to the thousands (millions?) of sites that are in accord with the trans activist point of view. I won’t be hosting an extended back-and-forth between you and regular commenters here. I deliberately set up this site because there was nothing like it in existence at the time. In fact, you have a platform all over the Internet, and the regular contributors and commenters here are very well acquainted with views like yours. May I suggest that you read a bit more deeply into our point of view? Because apart from this site, there are very few other places where you’ll have that opportunity, apart from rabidly conservative, homophobic outlets.

      I’m pretty sure you meant to submit this comment on a different post (likely this one)
      https://4thwavenow.com/2016/01/28/5894/
      but I can’t change that so will respond here.

      The whole purpose of this site is to examine pediatric transition. I have never called for a total “ban” on medical transition, although I would personally like to see it available only to people over the age of 25 (when brain development, particularly judgment, foresight, impulse control, self monitoring, and insight, has more or less been completed).

      The false positives I’m talking about are children, who, if medically transitioned fully (as you are well aware) will be sterilized and undergo other irreversible changes.

      There’s no straw man here. There’s a reasoned argument that children should not be sterilized, for any reason. If an adult truly wants to medically transition (and I do not dispute that there are some people who will want to), then that person should have the right to do so.

      Rather than pushing for young children to be identified as trans (which will undeniably catch some who will regret later), I’d like to see activists like you acknowledge that it’s not a wonderful outcome to have to be a sterilized medical patient for the rest of your life; it’s not something to be promoted, even if you think that a particular child might grow up to want that later.

      I’d have a lot more respect for your activism if, instead of pushing for medical treatment of dysphoria in kids, you instead tried to help them feel ok, WHILE THEY ARE STILL minors, about being a different sort of boy or girl. To stop making “passing” be the be-all, end-all. To actually make it EASIER for a 6’2 man to wear a dress or otherwise appear more stereotypically “feminine.” Those kids can then get through childhood without online activists spreading the idea that suicide is the only alternative to going through childhood and adolescence in one’s natural body.

      What I’d like transgender adults like you to really contemplate doing is supporting kids in that way. Tell them transition is an adult decision, just like lots of other things that are saved for adulthood. Are you aware that plenty of non-trans kids are depressed and suicidal because they hate something about their bodies, or their gender role? We don’t let non-trans, underage girls get breast implants or have hysterectomies just because it makes them feel better. A girl asking for that would be counseled that it’s an adult decision and they’ll have to wait; and maybe, just maybe, they can learn to feel ok about themselves in the meantime. There are plenty of kids who feel depressed and upset about their bodies—even to the point of wanting to kill themselves. For any other issue relating to permanent physical changes, no therapist or doctor would advise giving a person of any age exactly what they want, NOW, as a suicide preventative. In fact, if anything, the treatment would include coping skills, which also entail learning how to delay gratification.

      If a young person wants to die because they can’t wait, that’s not a sign of a healthy psyche, trans or not. Impulsivity and the need for instant gratification is a hallmark of an immature mind, and suicidality—no matter what the trigger—should be seriously addressed, not used as a tool for blackmailing parents and society.

      Liked by 2 people

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