As founder of the Transgender Community Forum on America Online, I
often get letters from people seeking understanding or just wanting to
share. What follows are questions and answers of particular interest
to the community as a whole.
A Reply to GAnnSmith, who wrote to me with questions about how one
knows if one is transsexual:
In your letter, you opened a dialog on what it means to be TS, and
of course I'll be happy to help all I can. Your central question was
how to know if one is TS or not; specifically, how did I know. Well, I
didn't and I don't. Being TS is not something you can know because it
is an emotional state, not a logical issue. As a result, I cannot
state with certainty that I am TS even now. All I can say is that I
strongly believe I am. In fact, I believed it SO strongly, I had
surgery. But did that quash doubt? Not hardly. You see, the issue
first comes in defining what a TS is. And as I say in my article on
Mental Sex, even if one's brain could be proven to be female in a male
body, that is only 1/4 of the issue. There is also subconscious gender
identification, upbringing (experience), and free-will as to what we
wish for ourselves. These three areas can completely outweigh any
biological binary bias. So, the real heart of the matter is not
"am I legitimate or not?" but "which way will I be
That, then, is the emotional decision we all must make. As such, it
is not binary; rather, it is a process of growth. Your biology, your
subconscious, your experience, your free-will all will change their
relationship to one another as you learn more about what makes you
happy and what doesn't. The problem we have BEFORE we admit our
transgenderism is that we won't even look in those areas to see how we
feel about them. How can we make decisions based on no information at
all? So, admitting to being transgendered is not being any particular
thing, but merely selecting a subject in which to educate oneself: a
direction to explore. That's why my editorial in The Subversive comes
under the heading "Explorations".
Are there no binaries then? Certainly surgery itself is about as
binary as you can get. But the DECISION to have surgery or not is NOT
binary. That is simply a tendency that you have seen grow or diminish
as you approach the decision. On friend of mine lived full time for
six years before deciding to have surgery. Another lived full time for
four and decided to go back to being male. Both are satisfied with
their choice. Each has some regrets. Why? Because for them, the
decision was not so clear cut as it was for me. For them, the good and
bad on each side nearly balanced each other. For them, they had to
wait all those years for something in their SITUATION to change,
rather than in themselves, since they were equally on both sides of
the fence and therefore really not on either. And their situations DID
change, in different ways for each of them, so they came down on
different sides. Are they happy? Not always: who is? Are they happiER?
Definitely - and not just because of who they are, but because they
know themselves much better and have learned enough about themselves
to live with their decision.
For me, it has always been a question of reconsidering the
decision: If I had the success I'm about to get with my software
program THEN would I have done this? If I had married a more
demonstrative woman, younger, prettier, would I have done this? Now
that I'm here, do I want to go back? I could, you know. Nobody pulls
down your pants to see what you've got. Just shift the old voice back,
go on testosterone, retrain the body English - I did it before; I can
do it again. But I won't. And why not? Not because I'm so terribly
happy. Not because I have found the end of the rainbow - far from it.
No, I won't go back because there is no motivation deep within me
driving me to do it like there was when I changed from male to female.
You see, when it comes down to it, the only real justification for
surgery is that you can't stop yourself. No matter WHAT might happen
you HAVE to do it. And so you do or you don't or you wait and then do
or don't. It really doesn't matter. If the time is someday right for
you, you'll be full of doubt but unable to stop. That is a real
argument for it not being an easy thing. If we could just take a pill,
we'd be flip-flopping back and forth three times a week. But then, it
wouldn't matter, would it, because the consequences would be so
miniscule. But, the consequences are fairly formidible the way things
are, and the difficulty of the journey is just about tough enough to
require that undeniable drive to get to the surgical table.
So, to bring it all together, just go with the flow: explore each
step of the way. And when your drive gives out, you'll find that you
stop dead in your tracks like those toys that walk up to the edge of
the table and halt, OR your drive won't give out and you'll wake up
and realize you marched right over the edge into the unknown. Then
you'll spend the rest of your time rethinking if you should've stayed
at the edge: but its a mute point - you really couldn't have, even if
it would've been better, simply because your drive wouldn't let you
I hope this helps give you some new perspectives as you ponder your
future and the meaning of life.
Regarding hormones, how long does it normally take to begin
to feel changes in the body/mind? I have heard that it varies
from girl to girl. What time frame would you expect to feel
breast tenderness, and feminization? I already feel mentally
more centered. I haven't had any real depression or the mood
swings that I was warned about before I began. I have asked my
endoc about what time frame to expect on the physical side,
and she keeps giving me those vague doctor type answers like
"its hard to tell", etc. when I attempt to discuss
it. I am not really happy with this endoc, but she is the only
game in town when it comes to dealing with transition. Also
did you have any reversal of male pattern baldness? I still
have about 85% on my hair, with a somewhat receding hair line
in the front. By the way, your hair looks really fabulous!
Physically, changes in the body occur almost exactly 10 days from
the onset of hormone use. Also, any change in dosage will be seen in
the body in 10 days. At first, the changes are small and gradual, so
even after 10 days they may not be noticed. You'll need to wait
between 30 and 60 days to see anything major. Also, you will
eventually come to experience a reaction to change in doses about two
hours after taking them. There may be slight hot flashes, slight
muscle cramps, swelling of breast tissue, etc., roughly two hours
after a dose. This is not uncommon, but also doesn't happen to
Emotionally, mood changes take place about three days after a dose.
The effects are also somewhat cumulative, so you will feel mood
changes three days after a dose is increased or decreased, but will
also note a gradual change in your overall outlook over a period of
months and even years.
In reference to your other thoughts, being centered is not enough.
You also need to be in the right place while centered. Centered means
that your sense of self is right smack in the middle of who you really
are inside. But if who you are has any problems besides gender, then
you can be centered all you want, but you'll still have those
problems. So, make sure you don't limit your life changes to gender
alone. Most TG people have developed quite a list of other problems
that grew up as they worked to deny their true selves. If you can work
those out while going through transition, by the time you are finished
you will not only be centered, but most advantageous positioned within
As for male pattern baldness, I never had any. Lucky in that
regard! So, I just let the ol' hair grow, and once estrogen ruled the
system, baldness just ain't gonna happen.
One thing I'm curious about. The aldactone. I've been at
this process for so long and no one has ever mentioned the
benefits and I surely need relief from a hairy body. Is there
any way these pills can be gotten except by prescription?
I don't recommend taking anything without prescription. As for
Aldactone, I don't recommend it at all. I took it for about six months
and feel that it permanently dried out my body. The effect was most
noticeable in the skin, which began to look "oldish".
Spiroaldactone is a diuretic used for high blood pressure. Potential
body hair loss is a side effect, but the primary effect is still
working. I had minor relief from body hair (nothing major) but the
side effects were enough to make me stop taking it, though I think the
bad effects lingered.
A couple of questions have come up while chatting with one
of my other pre-op friends. Did the electrolysis unit you
purchased at K-Mart actually work, or did you have to return
to regular electrolysis?
It did indeed work very well. In fact, I burned out five of them by
the time I stopped using them. For the record, the machine in question
is the "Inverness" home electrolysis unit. It sells for
about thirty dollars and runs off a single nine volt battery. It is
much less painlful than regular electrolysis, but requires many more
treatments to do the same job. For me, It took forty hours EACH
WEEKEND for a year to keep my face cleared. What a pain that was,
sitting in front of a make-up mirror for FORTY HOURS once a week!!!
I used the machine for two or three years, and by that time I was
down to a couple hours a weekend, and only had the clear hairs left.
After that, I decided to go back to regular electrolysis (actually
"thermolysis") and have been doing that for about 18 months
as of this posting. I go in once a month or so for about an hour. That
keeps everything absolutely fine for the next four weeks, and I will
probably be more or less done in another year. (This stuff takes
forever!!!) Of course, for the whole month, I don't have to worry at
all, so I have no more concerns in that area, even under the most
A word of warning though... The home unit IS very powerful. It has
power settings from 1 to 10. I did all of my work at 1 or 1.5. I tried
10 once and a piece of my skin just baked and dropped out on the
spot!!! Fortunately, that healed, but I suspect if you go higher than
1.5 you are going to get some eventual scarring, and if it is high
enough the scarring will be immediate AND PERMANENT!
Can you tell me more about what the "Biber Button"
does. You only speak about it briefly in your diary. Are parts
of the abdomen actually pulled down permanently to help give
you a more female shape? If so, how does this work? If not,
just what is its purpose? I'm just trying to learn as much a I
can as I move on to my future womanhood.
Yes, that is part of it's job. The other part is to hold everything
in place internally for the first week until enough healing sets in.
The way it works is this: a wire is inserted into the abdomen, passed
through the new internal surgical work, looped around the pubic bone,
and back out the abdomen right next to the other side of the wire. The
two wire ends are tied to what looks like an upholstery button on a
sofa, and twisted so the whole thing pulls tight to the abdomen,
After a week, they come in and snip one side of the wire and then
use the button to pull the wire through and out. Now that is a weird
feeling, I can tell you! It doesn't exactly hurt, but it feels like
some little thing is crawling around inside you. Fortunately, they do
it with one quick pull, so the sensation only lasts for a second, but
it is so odd I'm sure I'll always remember it.
My name is Bob and this is the first letter of this kind
that I have written. I hope you don't mind, and have patience
with my attempts to articulate my thoughts. I've followed your
story and transition during the past year or so through your
Subversion articles on AOL. Now my questions. Hormones and
perhaps your predisposition have changed the way you feel
emotionally about men. Do you still feel the same way you did
in 1992? Do you still feel aroused by women? How much of your
"male" senses remain e.g. do you still look at some
things from Dave's viewpoint?
Hormones have such a gradual effect (spanning many years) that it
is hard to determine which changes in attitude come from the
biochemistry and which simply come from life experience. For example,
since I am still living with my family, they quite naturally look to
me for the same kind of leadership of the household I had supplied
previously. As a result, my entire mindset is much more geared to
being the head of the household rather than a participant. Often, I do
not get to enjoy the role I have chosen for myself since I effectively
still fulfill the husband's position.
Certainly, Mary and I are no longer romantically involved, yet it
is a strange mix of friendship and something closer. We still snuggle
together and in many ways act like a married couple, though we do not
sleep in the same room, and neither of us desires an intimate
relationship with the other.
There are positive and negative aspects to dating men. On the plus
side, there is an intangible, wonderful, feeling I get when with a
man. Part of it is protection when in his arms. Part is the relief of
not having to be the person in charge all the time. (But would I still
enjoy that if I didn't have that role every day at home?)
Sexually, I find I am no longer attracted physically to women at
all. Not that I couldn't be, mind you, if some gorgeous babe were to
come on to me, but just that I never think of women in that way
anymore on my own. (All right, well maybe once in a blue moon, but in
fact I'll bet you that just about any woman alive, whether she admits
it or not, finds herself briefly aroused by an attractive woman from
time to time.) I don't experience that often, nor in any degree of
intensity or for any duration to speak of.
As for men (from a physical standpoint) I don't find them sexually
attractive at all - until one of them holds my hand or gives me a hug.
Suddenly, I find myself getting turned on as if by magic. That never
happens with jerks, but only comes to life when I have become aware
that the man in question has compassion, intelligence, and wit. Put
those three together and I find him interesting. Have him be
interested in me and get around to making physical contact of any kind
and that ignites the spark.
I'll tell you what - I never could understand this in my former
life when women told it to me, but here it is - what attracts me
physically to a man is not his looks or how many muscles he has but
idiot things like suspenders, blue jeans, neatly trimmed beards, even
round frame glasses like John Lennon. I look for how well he is
dressed - not how expensively, but how tastefully, appropriately. That
can be as casual as a T-shirt and jeans, but if they are clean and
neat, in short (as corney as it sounds) if he is well groomed, that is
a plus. Then, a non-show-off confidence indicative of a quiet
strength, well that sets the stage. It doesn't mean that he can't ever
be out of his element, petty, confused, or worried - as long as he
deals with it in humor without taking himself too seriously, and if he
unintentionally steps on my feelings, he is man enough to apology
(after struggling with himself for a while because he is convinced it
is my fault). It doesn't matter whose fault it is, as long as he looks
after my feelings.
I've come to think that men are looking for physical profits and
emotional security, whereas women are looking for emotional profits
and physical security.
Now a question which bothers me in all Transgendered
relationships with spouses or SO's. I realize this question is
very personal, and will understand if you don't want to
answer. But you have been intimate with both men and women
after your surgery. You had ( up to Chapter 33) come to
realize how much you needed a man in your life. You wanted to
be held, to experience the dating game, to do all those things
you had not done before. You don't want to give up your
family-they're great but not fulfilling enough. You apparently
have achieved some sort of new relationship with Mary. You
have had the sex thing and now want to get on.
This is your story and you have told it from your
perspective. But what about Mary? What is her life now? Does
she date, have intimate relationships with men, want a man to
hold to have his arms around her. Want all these things , even
if still loving you? After all, she has not changed. She has
has the same female needs, desires and longings that you now
enjoy. Does she have the same freedom in relationships that
you have? It seems that she, and others in her situation,
still living with their spouse, have lost something-perhaps
more than what you have gained. I guess that I just worry
about her and others like her, and find it hard to understand
the emotional roller coaster that she went through.
Well, I often wonder about that myself, but Mary is a very private
person with her emotions (much more like a man in that respect). So, I
can only surmise what she might be feeling from the little clues I can
I think of the two (emotional profit and physical security) she is
VASTLY more concerned with physical security. Naturally, like all
women, she would like both. But also like all women, when it comes
down to it, diamonds are a girl's best friend. It's not that you want
to be rich - having a huge surplus is not the issue. Even a small, one
room apartment will do, as long as the woman is sure she can keep it.
That is the real key, both for Mary and women in general: to know
that what you have won't be taken away. That is why Mary gets so
emotionally raw whenever our finances are a bit shaky. When we have
enough in the bank to feel secure, she often comes to me without ever
having had a conversation with me about money and says, "I don't
know why, but I really feel content." Well, I know why - it's the
Now, beyond that, of course she would like a man to hold her and
take care of her. I imagine that my knowing that is a big part of what
keeps me here. I can't bring myself to leave her with nothing in that
area. At least I can hold her when she is sad, take charge with
strength when she is afraid or depressed, and give her father-like
guidance when she is lost.
Of course, those are just the things I am looking for myself, not
the things I want to be providing. But, with all her loyalty, well
that means a lot to me. So, I'm willing to do what I can, even if it
comes at an emotional cost to me.
Would she be better off if I left? Am I just a tranquilizer for her
real needs? Would she find a good man if I gave her the space to grow
into? Who knows! And would I be able to let the unpleasant attitudes I
must adopt for her fade away if I was gone? Would I be able to have a
stronger relationship with a man or would I remain alone in an
apartment? Who knows!
I stay out of love and fear. She desires me to stay out of love and
fear. Love of each other, fear of the alternatives. We have each
overcome so much in our lives, I wonder if either of us will ever have
the strength to risk it all, yet again, for something that might be
better but could just as easily be worse?
I do however would like to ask you a few questions that I
have asked myself many times. Is being post-op (SRS) all that
its cracked up to be?
Well, that is like asking "Is life all that it is cracked up
to be?" There is no overall answer, because although SRS deeply
affects life, there is much more to life than that, yet the two are
impossible to really separate.
I have read all the FAQ's available on the net but to this
day I have not had the opportunity to chat with someone who
has gone through SRS to get their personal experience. Does
SRS change your sexual drive? I'm sorry to ask questions so
personal but I have no one to ask these to.
Yes, it changes it. The best way to describe it is that it is the
same feeling, but takes longer to be triggered, yet lasts longer. As a
male, you know that feeling you get when you become aroused, but
before anything physically comes to attention? That "pre"
feeling that gets you started - that is what women (post-op and
genetic) feel all during foreplay, once it gets going. For guys, the
feeling then focuses right at the tip of Old Fred, but for women, it
remains generalized, more like that initial warm glow all over the
area "down there". The feeling doesn't "sharpen"
for women like it does in men, but rather just gets stronger like
someone turning up the intensity on one of those cheap halogen lamps.
Orgasm is like when the bulb burns out. It is more a feeling of relief
than climax. The throbbing is still there, but rather than feeling
like the ultimate jet propulsion, it is more like major duty ripples
dispersing the pent up energy.
I have read in FAQ's that after SRS some women become
multi-orgasmic. Is this true and how does the
"orgasm" (pardon my use of the word for a lack of a
better word) feel in relation to when you were male.
Yes, one can have multi-orgasms, but it is not common in general
nor frequent for those individuals that can. Yes, I have experienced
that, but it was a lot of work subject to the laws of diminishing
Is there still ejaculation?
There can be for some time after surgery, as the prostate is left
intact, and depending upon how the healing proceeded. But, after a
time, that will stop, though the prostate still provides additional
sexual feelings through the rest of your normal sex life.
How real is the transformation. I once saw pictures on a
medical web page of post-op (SRS) patient's genitals. They did
not look very convincing to me. I have considered SRS but only
if I'm going >to be left with realistic looking genitals.
Please don't be offended by my questions. I'm just ignorant
and I want to know more.
Don't worry - I didn't even know the answers to these until perhaps
a year AFTER surgery. I simply didn't care, I just wanted it done,
whatever it was they did. In answer to this question, there are two
"stages" of surgery in the more respected procedures. The
first stage is all the internal work that creates the vagina. The
second stage is a "labiaplasty" that brings together the two
sides of vaginal lips at the top to make a more "authentic"
As of this time, I have not yet had the labiaplasty, even though I
am currently five years post-op. Why? Because 1.) You can't see much
down there under all the hair, 2.) I've never had any complaints from
lovers, 3.) It's another 3 to 5 thousand dollars, and the TOP reason I
have not yet done it.... I simply don't want to take a chance of
endangering my sex drive, which is doing just fine, thank you, and I
don't want to mess with success.
I saw also from your bibliography that you had an
understanding wife. How did your children react? (I'm afraid
my family would react very negatively). My life is an open
book if you have questions for me please ask me. I will answer
The kids have had their ups and downs. Its been up times for quite
a while now. The kids tell their friends, but as I am a writer, have a
web site, and co-created a popular software product, they generally
think I'm pretty cool for a parent. Besides, I bake them cookies.
Also, I have worked hard to have a close relationship with my kids.
My seventeen year old son and I still wrestle around on the livingroom
floor. Of course, he does that with his mother too - we're just a
close family. My thirteen year old daughter and I are two very good
friends. We go on lots of trips together and she is my assistant in
some of my business ventures.
All in all, I think they both wish I had stayed dad logistically,
but as a parent, they love me very much and wouldn't trade me for any
other dad or mom. And I feel the same about them.
Thanks for the note, and best wishes in all you hope to do and be.
Letter in response to a reader who was uneasy with conflicting
masculine and feminine feelings:
Hi, xxxxx. Actually, I wouldn't worry about the conflicting
feelings you have from time to time. After all, they only conflict in
TIME. In space, they are all a part of you and exist in perfect
harmony. It is when we lock ourselves in both time and space and say
that we must only feel THIS way all the TIME, THEN we have problems.
Allow yourself to feel differently at different times. Allow
yourself to be who you are not based on a single facet, but on the sum
of all the facets that are naturally you. As long as it is honest,
each little part is a part of you. And subjugating any of them just to
be consistent is to deny a part of yourself. That is the greatest
dishonesty of all. For a TS, one of the hardest things to learn is
that you are not a woman until you are unafraid to be masculine when
you feel it. For a TV, this is no less true. Its really more a matter
of degree: how much time do you want to spend in each role and to what
degree do you wish to explore and express each? Since it is difficult
to successfully portray oneself in both roles alternately, one must
choose the role that provides the greatest latitude to one's natural
It would be nice to think that we could have the courage to be all
that we are in either role and not worry about the consequences. But
the consequences are very real, and even if we ignore society, it
won't ignore us. But do we not need society to protect us as well? To
guide us and provide us with a commonality and security? If we desire
these benefits, we must pay the price of a certain level of conformity
so that we are not shunning the very predictability we are asking to
receive. That is why we choose the role that is best for us, yet do
not deny the parts of ourselves that do not conform to that role.
Certain facets are compatible with public presentation, others are
not. That does not make the hidden sides immoral or wrong, but merely
private and personal.
So, in response to your other question about how to tell your wife?
Rather ask, do you really NEED to tell? For a TS, yes, there is no way
around it. But for a crossdresser, it is not necessary at all, nor is
it dishonest not to. The choice really depends on how much of your
life you insist that she share for YOU to feel close to her. But if
you DO decide to tell her, be sure you know exactly how YOU feel about
YOURSELF first. Unless she is wholly bigoted against the concept, she
will take her cues from you and how you see it. If you are ashamed or
confused, so will she be also. If you are comfortable with yourself
and understand your feelings, she will likely sense this is a fully
integrated part of your personality and find nothing within herself
but the desire to understand and accept if she can. So, first know
yourself and accept yourself. Then share, if you must.
Another reply to one of my email friends who was worried about the
issue of disclosure.
You bring up some important and personal issues regarding
disclosure. Its something I have given A LOT of thought to, especially
recently. Here's what I think: There is no right or wrong answer that
applies to everyone in this case. It really depends on your situation
and your outlook. Meaning, that even the same person may have
different responses in different situations, or as they grow and
develop in different ways.
I can tell you how I feel about it for myself at this time in this
place. If I were not still with my family, I would NEVER bring it up.
Still, I would confirm it if confronted. To me, that is absolute
honesty. If it was no longer part of my life, I could simply not talk
about it. What then about referring to my past "when I was a
little girl" and the like? Well, to me, there are two parts to
the past - the physical part and the mental part. If I was talking, I
would be thinking of my "self" not my body, and therefore,
would feel quite honest saying "when I was a little girl".
Sure, I cold always avoid the issue by saying "when I was
little", but that's exactly what it would be - avoiding the
issue. Now, what if I wanted to talk about being in Boy Scouts or some
other male-only situation? Well, if I TRULY left the past behind, I
wouldn't WANT to talk about it, so no problem.
The difficulty is, that none of us ever really want to leave
EVERYTHING behind, forget our past COMPLETELY like an amnesiac. And
every time something from the past comes up that doesn't fit in to the
new life, you disclose.
So, what to do? Well, you know from your psych classes that first
impressions really DO carry a lot of weight. In fact, they are hard to
change. Which means that when you are living completely as a woman
without any trappings of a male life CURRENTLY in your situation, then
people who meet you as a woman, will have a heck of a hard time
imagining you as anything else. The only danger would be if they found
out and then YOU perpetuated their thoughts about your old life by
sharing and sharing and SHARING, until the impact of that familiarity
outweighed their first impressions. Then, you would always be a
transsexual to them.
You see, you can't look at it from YOUR perspective to understand
how they feel. Turn it around and imagine how you would feel if some
woman you have known for a while turned out to be post-op. Imagine
that. Unless she talked about it all the time, wouldn't you have a
hard time thinking of her as anything but a woman?
Well, that's all well and good for people who can deal with it, but
what of those who can't? In that case you are going to lose friends or
a job or a grant or something because they can't come to terms with
even knowing about your past. And therein lies the temptation to lie.
I tried lying once. I denied my kids were mine, said they were Mary's
and that I was just her roommate. I felt like crud for days until I
came clean with the person. I just couldn't deal with it: it was a
slimy, nervous, hiding feeling that I didn't like at all.
So, I don't do that anymore. But, for me, its a bigger problem than
for many. I still live with my wife of 18 years. I have two children.
I've kept the same friends, so they all know. Most if not all of the
people at work have been told by co-workers. So, If I meet a guy or a
business associate, there is no way for me to tell if they know or
not. In that kind of situation, all I can do is be myself, count on
first impressions, not volunteer the information but confirm it if
In your situation, your whole career might hinge on secrecy. The
thing to do is Consciously weigh both sides of the issue. How do you
feel about hiding it? How do you feel about lying about it? How would
you feel if you lost your position over it? Weigh all the options, not
of what makes the most sense, but of how you FEEL. Then you can make
the decision that, no matter how it comes out, you will be most able
to live with.
Letter in response to a gender friend who was switching to a
completely female sign-on name:
As for your request for any suggestions about using the name in
regard to deception: there is nothing wrong with passing yourself off
as who you feel you might be. It is a good opportunity to explore your
feelings. But there are a couple of bewares! I have known of several
TV/TS folk who have done just that, then met someone on-line (both
male and female) and become close Email friends quite by accident.
They were then faced with the decision as to whether to be honest and
share their secret or continue to hold back and feel they were lying
to their friend.
In the second case, no pictures could be exchanged, no phone calls
could be made; if the friend came to town on business or vacation, you
could not meet. Telling the friend almost always results in their
feeling betrayed and "used", and in one case I know of,
resulted in the crossdresser being kicked off AOL because of the
emotional anguish they caused by their deception. So the warning is
simply to make darned sure you allow no friendships to develop under
that name, but just use it to see how others treat you in casual
conversations. If you sense a friendship starting to develop, either
sign off of that name for good and switch to a new one, or be honest
IMMEDIATELY so no one will be hurt later. Hope this helps!
This is a reprint of a letter I sent in reply to a cross-dresser
who requested some thoughts on how to deal with a non-understanding
wife and family. I felt the content may be of enough value to publish
for others, however, I have deleted the name in order to insure
Dear (Anonymous) This is going to sound a bit technical, which will
probably be the last kind of thing you would expect in response to a
very emotional problem. The difficulty with emotional problems is that
you can't measure them with emotions. You can't measure something by
itself. Here is the problem in terms of Reason. The problem is not
your wife and the problem is not yourself. The problem is BETWEEN your
wife and yourself. Now, this problem is not caused by the way she is
or the way you are, but by the difference between the two of you. If
she was married to someone who did not want to cross dress, no
problem. If you were married to a woman who understood, no problem.
This problem only exists because you cannot stop crossdressing and she
In order for the problem to be resolved, one of you must change.
Sometimes people can change or grow, and sometimes they truly cannot.
It is not blameful to be unable to change, it simply means that the
area you cannot change about is too close to the heart of your
personality, and as long as you remain YOU, changing is impossible. So
what can be done? Well, you are probably convinced by this time that
YOU cannot stop crossdressing. So for you to change is probably not an
option. But your wife has only had a little time to adjust, so it is
not certain if she will be able to change or not at this early stage.
When time has passed you will know better about the answer to that.
But what if she cannot change? What is the solution? There are
three ways to deal with every "unsolvable" problem. Since
the problem remains, none of them is completely enjoyable, but there
are no other options if neither party can change. The first way is for
the two people to separate. Then, they are not in conflict because
they do not interact. The second way is to avoid conflict by staying
off the subject. Conflict does not occur because the subject that
creates the problem is not brought up. The final way to deal with the
unsolvable problem, is to continue fighting over it. Eventually, this
may lead to the other solutions of separation, avoidance, or even in
some cases, change by one of the people, thereby eliminating the
I wish I could offer a "quick fix" for your problem, but
there really isn't any. Yet there is hope. People do change in time,
and even if YOU cannot change because the desire to cross dress is
part of you, you wife may very well change because her attitude is
probably not part of her, but more of a held opinion, and opinions
change every day. The real key is the strength of the love you share,
compared to the discomfort, the pain of change, the love she has for
her parents, and many other factors. Also considering that love is
seldom equally felt between two partners.
So, my best advice is to avoid conflict while you see if she grows
to change. You will know when enough time has passed to judge that.
Then, you can decide if there is hope to resolve the problem or if one
of the other options is the best under the circumstances. Take care,
keep hope, don't let one area of conflict taint the rest of your life.
There are many other pleasant areas to focus on while you wait to
resolve this one.
This is a letter I wrote to the SO of someone considering SRS, who
was worried about what the future might hold. I have removed the
personal references to maintain anonymity and title the letter with a
new term I coined to describe the mate of transsexual partners.
As you know, every marriage, every relationship is unique in many
ways. So the things I will be talking about may or may not apply to
you. However, perhaps some will. So, I'll share what I can about how
Mary and I have dealt with transition through post-op.
Mary and I have been together 17 years. We have two children, a boy
14 and a girl 10. We both work, she at a job, me at a career in the
movie biz. I started experimenting with hormones in 1987, but did not
go on them regularly until August 1989. Our married life had been one
of smooth sailing, but not much excitement at all. We were both
virgins when we married. Our sex life was sparse, and only rarely was
it anything to write home about. There was a lot of fear of rejection
on my part, so I gave up a lot of pleasure like Beatles music because
she didn't like the Beatles (and so on with many other things).
My career was going nowhere, but only because I was self-defeating.
I had a small business of my own doing video duplication and
freelancing as a non-union writer director. Money started getting
tight. We were heavily in debt. I got roped into some really bad deals
and was forced to work 16 hours a day until 5 in the morning, and
still we did not have enough to pay the bills.
I guess I had tried everything I could to find happiness OTHER than
explore my gender feelings which I had surpressed completely for over
8 years. Finally, almost on a whim, I went out and bought a wig at
Kmart. I liked the way I looked. I started taking little trips around
the city and to local attractions in the summer of 1988, but did not
tell anyone, especially Mary.
My mother died in January 1989, and that's when the dam broke on my
feelings. I realized I was a workaholic who had forced themself to
fail because I knew what I really needed in my life. I decided I had
to know who I really was and began dressing again, and finally told
Mary that I had to explore this side of myself. Mary never loses her
cool. She was unhappy, but did not fight with me. She said she would
deal with it as long as she could, then would give me the option of
stopping or leaving. Each time I took a new step, she told me the next
step would cost our marriage. But each time that next step came, she
found she could accept it. That's kind of what happened with
relationships as well. She does not like it, but she has learned to
accept it. The benefits for her are that MOST of my time I spend here
with my family. And that I have made a commitment to her as my Life
Partner, that she comes first and always will. But that commitment is
not that she is my ONLY relationship, just my first and forever one.
Since she was the only relationship I ever had, I found it very
hard to get involved with anyone else. I have had only one brief fling
before surgery, and three in the year and a half since. Mary and I
still sleep together and cuddle, but do not make love. We tried that
after surgery, but it was even a little less fulfilling than sex had
been previously. We may try again some day, who knows. (Editor's NOTE:
Since this letter was written, Mary and I are intimate partners on a
regular basis again.) Still and all, sex does not have to be part of a
Life Partnership. We share the house, the bed, the dreams, the future.
The hardest part for each of us was believing that we could have an
open relationship without the risk of one of us leaving. We have no
fear of that now. We share so much in our 17 years that no one could
ever catch up to that for either of us. So, although she is lonely the
nights I am gone, and I know I will suffer at first when she goes out
with a guy and spends the night, we are 'growing in our love and our
commitment every day. And we are growing as human beings, learning not
to be as possessive, and to become ever more confident in the special
feelings we have for each other that no one can ever share.
That is the heart of our success: that we believe in each others
commitment so strongly that we no longer fear someone else taking away
our partner. It took nearly four years to arrive at this point, and it
continues to progress. And there were many fights and devastating
scenes along the way. But it is working now, and it is worth all the
suffering and compromise to get here.
Well, I hope this helps a bit. Email any time you have a question,
or just want to share!
You can purchase the complete
194 page book for only $19.95!