Someone sent me a link to this short TED talk by Paula Stone Williams
It’s very good.
The key quote I took from it was “What do any of us really know about the shoes in which we have never walked?”
I received an absolutely lovely comment on one of my Flickr pics recently:
What a pleasure to see the subtle but striking changes from your first photographs to this one, you have changed into such a pretty woman 👍
Looking back on my photos over the past 10 years (have I really been on Flickr that long?), I have to agree – I have come such a long way since those initial faltering steps on my journey towards being the person that I really am.
I can’t help wondering, though, whether I am reaching my peak. I’m not getting any younger and old age is going to start to catch up with me soon. 🙁
But then I look at the wonderful pics that Janet Rainer posts and it gives me hope that an older woman can still look wonderful. So who knows what the future holds?
It’s now been over 3 years since I last had laser hair removal treatment.
Mostly, things have stayed pretty much static on my body. As I mentioned in my last post on the subject, regrowth on my arms and legs has been minimal – I still have individual hairs here and there; nothing that a couple of minutes with a razor can’t sort out. My underarms have developed a soft downy hair, but it’s very easy to take off with a razor. The regrowth on my tummy hasn’t got a whole lot worse, but is still very evident. Likewise my bikini line. The sparse regrowth on my chest and bewbs has come back a little but not unacceptably so – a few moments with a razor sorts it out.
However, the regrowth on my face has been extensive, to the point at which I am struggling to hide beard shadow even with high coverage foundation.
As I result, I have decided it’s time to recommence laser hair removal.
The ProSkin clinic that I used previously is no more. The company behind ProSkin went into administration in 2016, and then were bought out. Looking at their website, it seems that the only clinics now operating are in London.
I contacted them, and got a phone call response, where I talked with AnneMarie who is keen to see me for an initial consultation next week where she can do a quick patch test (largely unnecessary considering how much laser I have already had, but necessary for them as they don’t have access to my ProSkin records of course) and also discuss with me what my requirements are.
The plan is to do some maintenance on my body regrowth and to attack my face in earnest with a view to completely eradicating my facial hair. I would imagine that is going to involve another whole course of laser for my face, and also a fair bit of electrolysis too. Due to my age, my facial hair is rather “salt and pepper” these days, and laser will only address the pepper. For the salt, we’ll have to use other methods like electrolysis.
I’m quite excited by this, as I have never been happy with having to trowel on foundation and would like a more natural look, but that is currently impossible with my beard shadow. Also, every time I blow my nose I have to touch up my upper lip to replace the foundation wiped away, and this is a constant source of annoyance and worry for me. As is getting foundation on people when I hug or kiss them. It would be nice to never have to worry about that again.
More news as it happens.
Update: You can read a follow-up post here.
As a genderfluid / two-spirit / 3rd gender person, I sometimes present as female and sometimes present as male. I’ve covered this several times in the past.
Often I see fellow t-girls referring to their girl side in the third person, even going as far as to say things like “Susan wants to come out today, and I can’t stop her”. Frankly talk like this scares me – it is surely inviting split personality. Or perhaps they feel guilt or shame about their transgenderism and it is a way for them to externalise it and compartmentalise it? I don’t know, but I’m certainly not comfortable with the idea.
Well… wow. What do you make of this? Richard O’Brien responding to Germaine Greer’s comments on transgenderism.
I agree with Germaine Greer and Barry Humphries. You can’t be a woman. You can be an idea of a woman. You’re in the middle and there’s nothing wrong with that. I certainly wouldn’t have the wedding tackle taken off. That is a huge jump and I have all the sympathy in the world for anyone who does it but you aren’t a woman.”
~~ Richard O’Brien
My opinion on this is that I think Germaine Greer is a fairly abhorrent person with regards to her views on transgenderism, but I think Richard O’Brien is kind of making a fair point, although it comes across rather badly.
As a “third gender” person myself I can see what he is saying – if I had surgery then it wouldn’t alter the person I am inside, it would only affect my outward appearance.
Your gender identiy is a state of being – an internal state of mind – and physical genitalia have little bearing on that. The difference between him and Greer is that he appears to suggest that he thinks it is possible to be a woman even if you weren’t born one genetically, and she emphatically does not.
I don’t understand how she can campaign for equality, acceptance and inclusion, and then say that trans women are not women but are men trying to usurp and subvert feminism. What an abhorrent thing to say!
By contrast, Richard seems to be saying that you can be a woman inside and no matter what you do (or don’t) to your genitals, who you are remains. As in, still a woman. And I can totally accept that.
If that’s not what he meant, and instead he really is in agreement with Germaine Greer’s bigotry, then obviously I don’t endorse that. However, what *I* am saying is that who you are inside is what is important and your physical attributes less so.
That isn’t to say that gender reassignment surgery is wrong, or unnecessary; it’s perfectly natural to want your physical appearance to match your gender identity should you genuinely need to transition. But by the same token, no matter how much surgery you have you will never reach the nirvana of being exactly the same as if you had been born differently. And, further, there is immense pressure on transgender people to transition from one society-endorsed gender binary to the other, and as I’ve observed many times in this blog, there are more options and states of being than that.
So, in conclusion, my interpretation of what Richard O’Brien is saying is that he is advocating finding contentment in being yourself rather than feeling pressured into transitioning. And that is a world away from agreeing with Germaine Greer.
A month ago, I posted a reaction on my public Facebook page to Ted Cruz’s comments on North Carolina’s decision to pass a law which makes transpeople use the public toilets (restrooms) of their birth gender rather than their identified gender, particularly his rather horrific comment that ‘Men should not be going to the bathroom with little girls’
A friend recently told me that my posted reaction was very good, but that since she isn’t on Facebook she would have never have seen it if I hadn’t mentioned it to her and linked her, and suggested that I repost it here.
So, here it is:
America’s intolerance really saddens me. But this is a country that only relatively recently moved away from institutionalised state-sanctioned racial segregation, and where interracial sex is still seen as a “kink”, and where racism and homophobia are still a real issue. As is gun crime, of course. So it’s hardly surprising that transphobia is also a real issue in the USA.
For me, as a transperson, the biggest insult is the insinuation that I would be a danger to women when in girl mode. I mean, seriously WTF? I would be at far more danger from looking like an attractive woman and being forced to go into the men’s loos and having some bloke assault me.
Also, is Ted Cruz really saying that if they let him into a female toilet he would be unable to stop himself from assaulting women and young girls? Or is he saying that it’s just all transpeople that are rapists?
I’m genuinely terrified for America’s future.
Since I posted that, the U.S. Department of Justice and North Carolina are now involved in a lawsuit over this (not my Facebook post! I mean the law that NC passed), with the DOJ taking a very robust and heartening stance, and not only condemning it utterly but making reference to the Civil Rights Movement.
An article by Mark Joseph Stern on Slate calls this the “‘I Have a Dream’ moment of the Trans movement”, and goes into it in far more detail than I will here.
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch is quoted as saying:
This is not the first time that we have seen discriminatory responses to historic moments of progress for our nation. We saw it in the Jim Crow laws that followed the Emancipation Proclamation. We saw it in fierce and widespread resistance to Brown v. Board of Education. And we saw it in the proliferation of state bans on same-sex unions intended to stifle any hope that gay and lesbian Americans might one day be afforded the right to marry. That right, of course, is now recognized as a guarantee embedded in our Constitution, and in the wake of that historic triumph, we have seen bill after bill in state after state taking aim at the LGBT community. Some of these responses reflect a recognizably human fear of the unknown, and a discomfort with the uncertainty of change.
And, further, she says:
But this is not a time to act out of fear. This is a time to summon our national virtues of inclusivity, diversity, compassion, and open-mindedness. What we must not do—what we must never do—is turn on our neighbors, our family members, our fellow Americans, for something they cannot control, and deny what makes them human. This is why none of us can stand by when a state enters the business of legislating identity and insists that a person pretend to be something they are not, or invents a problem that doesn’t exist as a pretext for discrimination and harassment.
This restores my hope in America somewhat. I’m gladdened that people in power and authority are prepared to stand up for what is decent and fair.
I fervently hope that this will continue, and that decent open-minded people will continue to remain in power and authority. Right now, this is by no means certain with the current Presidential Election circus but as an outsider looking in, all I can do is hope that decency and common sense will prevail.