Archive | June 2013

Go, go, Spiro!

Late yesterday afternoon I got some excellent news. Through the first nine months of my HRT, my endocrinologist and I have struggled with getting my T-levels down into the proper ranges. They are still not there yet but wow, in two months I dropped from 253 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL) to 74 ng/dL. I have always had low testosterone just barely above “normal” in the 250-350 range. Optimal is considered something like 400-600 and even 1200 is still considered within “normal” for males.

For females, I’ve seen the “normal” testosterone range (yes, females have testosterone) quoted as 15-70 ng/dL up to 30-95 ng/dL. So I am either right at the edge of normal or within normal female T-level ranges now.

That coupled with the last two months seeing more reaction from HRT than the prior 7 months and… I’m excited, really excited finally. I am actually beginning to see change. I just hope it keeps coming and doesn’t stop!

Every trans person who chooses to transition walks a unique road. They all bear similarities but none are the same. For me, I almost feel like HRT began 2 months ago when we finally started getting a handle on the T-levels. Oh there was some change before that but minimal and then it didn’t advance after the first few months.

I just hope that my ship has finally begun to set sail.

A Rant, at Transphobic Transgender People

Elsewhere on the internet I recently saw the following loaded question:

I have been told by numerous people and have read even more comments from those who object to the terms Cis, cisgender, cismale and cisfemale.

My question for those who use the terms, why should someone be allowed to ID another group without their consent, and not care if the terms may be offensive to the person or many in a group, then turn around and expect that offensive terms towards them never be used and demand the right to self-ID?

Given that cisgender, cismale, and cisfemale originated as completely clinical terms, I failed to see how these could be offensive. Further, the original question is a strawman, because self-identification is not the only way people get identified. However, in the spirit of participating, I went looking.

First, as to origins, I found this:

Cisgender has its origin in the Latin-derived prefix cis-, meaning “on this side of,” which is antonymous with the Latin-derived prefix trans-. This usage can be seen in the cis-trans distinction in chemistry, or in the ancient Roman term Cisalpine Gaul (i.e., “Gaul on this side of the Alps”). In the case of gender, however, cis- refers to the alignment of gender identity with assigned sex. The terms “cis” and “trans” were used by Seymour Benzer in genetics,in his analysis of different senses of the word “””gene” in 1955-7[9] to represent two forms of mutations, when both on same chromosome or on separate chromosomes or DNA strands. Benzer distinguished the muton (smallest unit of mutation) from the codon (smallest unit of coding), and the recon (smallest unit of recombination), from the cistron, or gene analyzed by crossover.

German sexologist Volkmar Sigusch may have been the first to use the term cissexual (zissexuell in German) in a peer-reviewed publication: in his 1998 essay “The Neosexual Revolution,” he cites his two-part 1991 article “Die Transsexuellen und unser nosomorpher Blick” (“Transsexuals and our nosomorphic view”) as the origin of the term.[14] He also used the term in the title of a 1995 article, “Transsexueller Wunsch und zissexuelle Abwehr” (or: “Transsexual desire and cissexual defense”).

So it is immediately obvious that cisgender/cismale/cisfemale are terms not developed as social taunts or insults. They were coined by social researchers seeking to distinguish non-transgender people from transgender people in an attempt to understand gender identity. It is also easier to say than many of the alternatives. Given that it has never had a negative intent that I can find, this word is nothing like “tranny” or the n-word applied to people of color, both of which are intended to be offensive, insulting, and demeaning.

Also consider the following thought: “the most useful thing about the word cisgender is that it *avoids* value judgments like calling people whose physical and psychological gender are the same ‘normal’.” This avoids automatically painting transgender people as ‘abnormal’. This is brilliant and a good thing because it removes value judgments from whether a person is trans or cis. They simply are biological conditions and neither one is “wrong” at all.

I found this comment at Transgriot and I liked what it said:

“If we’re going to make the point that being transgender is an everyday biological/medical/social condition, we had to have some word in the vocabulary that describes most of the people walking Planet Earth who are not trans.

It’s the same concept that underpins why gay people call non-gays ‘straight’.”

Hence I kept looking for the evidence of it being “offensive”. And lo and behold, I began to find who finds “cisgender” to be offensive.

In a discussion of the term cisgender, I found this comment:

“…to identify the term as a neologism coined by radical homosexual activists.”

Radical homosexual activists? Who uses language like that? Radical right wing extremists, that’s who!

And this comment:

“I’ve ONLY ever heard it used as an insult. I’m very surprised the article doesn’t touch on the subject, I’m sure many other normal people (sorry, ‘cis’ people) have only ever heard it as an insult too. Most of the time with the reaction of “what the shit is ‘cis’? You hate normal people so much you have to invent new terminology??”

Note the automatic assumption that a clinical definition of gender normative individuals must be because of “hate”. Note the automatic assumption of privilege in that only the cisgender community gets to name “others”.

So who posts narrow minded crap like this? Radical right wing extremists who want to deny that transgender people even exist and who want to legislate us out of their reality. The same people who don’t want transgender anti-discrimination laws passed. The same people who constantly try to pass absurd bathroom laws hoping to force a transgender woman into the men’s room (where one prominent Tennessee politician promised to “stomp a mudhole” in such a person).

There is one other group that loudly objects to the term cisgender. That group are the radical feminists who, just like Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell, insist that transwomen don’t really exist. They are often referred to as “RadFems” and they call themselves that so it’s not a term we are inventing for them. These people object to anything that attempts to recognize or legitimize transgender people. Some of them have even petitioned the United Nations demanding that anything related to discussion of transgender persons be stricken from UN debates.

These are the kind of people who object to cis as “offensive”. Am I going to give a damn about such people? Only insofar as how I can muster good and honest people into silencing their bigotry and removing the enactment of their hate from our public lives. This also suggest to me a bit about the kinds of people that the original questioner seems to try to associate with and find acceptance from – radical right wingers or RadFems. Good luck with that as a transwoman!

Finally there’s been a lot of additional discussion at the forums where this originated. There’s been some wild leaping to conclusions too, that anyone who argues in favor of the term cisgender is “trying to redefine trans as normal”, something I disagree with completely. What the cis/trans discussion does, as stated above, is remove value judgments from the discussion.

And that is the center of all this, isn’t it? Oh, by the way, please read Zinnia Jones (I love Zinnia’s writings!) take on this: “Cisgender is not a slur, John Aravosis.” She says so much more and so much more eloquently.

Odds, Ends, and the Summer Solstice

I’m not particularly religious one way or another but going back to my youth I’ve had an affinity for Pagans and Paganism, at least as it is practiced today. I think part of this was my ease of relating to a loving Goddess figure rather than a vengeful God. Believe me, growing up in coal mine and steel mill country made me more than aware of the vengeful God aspect of things and that how I saw myself was considered an “abomination” by others. You learn to hide, suppress, loathe, and hate yourself under those circumstances, and it can take a long time to come to grips with all that.

And while I can wish that I’d come to grips with this far earlier in life, reality is what it is and I have to make due with what I have in the here and now. Thankfully, the spiro seems to be continuing to work but now I’m awaiting the results of my latest blood test to see where I stand on my T-levels. I suspect they are down but not down far enough. I’ll have to ask my endocrinologist what the next step is going to be.

I missed a date last night with a friend and an acquaintance I’d made online. She was in the city for another reason but only staying a day. I wanted to go but between work running late and her being 45 miles away on the opposite side of the city, by the time I got free, it was too late. I sent a text message asking forgiveness from both of them with a message that I hope to meet her the next time she is in the city.

The thing that is bugging me the absolute most right now is beard shadow. I hate it, I despise it, but I’m still a few months away from having the cash to make an appointment at  E3000. I am so looking forward to going there. They have an awesome reputation and can move you through the painful process of facial hair removal far faster than other means.

I recently encountered transwomen who think that being trans is no more dangerous than being a white woman in suburbia. I’ve seen statistics that do not support that claim and I’ve met many transwomen who have experienced violence directed against them purely because they are trans. And that doesn’t even count the outright discrimination just for being trans, something that some of us cannot easily hide.

I am working on a diet with a goal of 10-15 pounds off by summer’s end. It will require work but I know I can do it. Wish me luck!