Archive | August 2013

Things are rarely what we think they are

Yesterday, I met someone I met via an online transgender forum. She knew I lived in this city and was here on business so she asked if we might meet. We did and ended up chatting for four hours when we planned on two.

In person she’s rather different than she presents herself online. I was pleased. We have a lot more in common than I originally thought and we hit it off rather well. Our discussions were far ranging, at least in the trans universe, from her extensive experiences (she transitioned over a decade ago) to my experiences thus far (I’m a fledgling newbie at this by comparison!), to trans politics, to health care in general, to our children, to rejection and then acceptance, often from the people who rejected us first.

Her experiences give me some hope that my own children may mellow and begin to accept me as I move further into my transition and they realize that they can either include me or exclude me but not sit on the fence.

In other matters, I read one of the more beautiful blog entries I’ve read in a while at Transgenderless titled “B is for (a New) Beginning“. (NOTE: As of 2015, this blog appears to be gone, sadly.) This made me smile, to read about another transwoman who is beginning to blossom into her womanhood.

In my own transition, I keep plodding alone, slowly but surely, like a turtle. But I expect things to pick up significantly over the next 16 months. As always, everything is subject to finances and being able to pay for things up front, so I can only go as fast as I can save.

Still, I am now optimistic about a couple things coming up soon, one of which is beginning electrolysis with E3000. I did get an appointment, in December rather than January, so that’s really good.

And I have to make a decision. I’ve been invited to be a maid of honor at a friend’s wedding in the spring of 2014. I want to go and I’m afraid of going, strange as that may sound. My biggest fear is becoming a spectacle at my friend’s wedding and detracting from that day for her and her fiance. But I’d love to go, and to be her maid of honor.

So I’ll spend some more time fretting, fussing, and wondering but within another month or so I need to decide. Arrangements need to be made.

Lesson Learned! Plan Further in Advance!

I recently tried to make an appointment with E3000 in Dallas to begin full facial hair clearing and discovered that they are booked clear through January! I told them I’d like to book for January but this throws some wrenches into my plans as well but it also opens an opportunity this fall.

I had been planning to visit a hair restoration surgeon both to get a consultation about possible hair transplants and to have an ACell treatment done of my scalp. There’s a new protocol just a few years old where ACell’s stem cell activator is used on the scalp in conjunction with platelet rich plasma taken from the patient, which in some cases, causes new hair growth for some patients. The reason I am optimistic about this treatment for myself, is I am already experiencing some hair regrowth on estrogen and spiro (t-blocker). I am hopeful that this can trigger more and improve the density of what I have elsewhere since hair transplants are taken from your own scalp and just moved around.

It’s not a guaranteed thing and I don’t expect it to replace the eventual need for hair transplants for the truly balding areas of my scalp. But I do hope that it can thicken existing hair and cause some new growth in some of those bald areas, making the hair transplants more effective when that day does come.

Those of you who transition and don’t have to deal with extensive male pattern hair loss are very fortunate. All this makes me wish I’d transitioned years ago before the hair loss was so bad but back then I was still trying to be someone I wasn’t. I try not to have regrets but this is one that pops up from time to time.

Bradley Manning’s Gender Dysphoria is a Distraction

The Bradley Manning case is complicated. His gender dysphoria is almost a sideshow used to help paint him as “other” and therefore worthy of torture and excessive punishment. I was going to write about this in more depth at a TG forum where I post but it’s not really appropriate for there so I’ll discuss what I know here.

First, what actually happened? A crime was committed by others (which involved murder and still has not even been prosecuted let alone punished). Bradley Manning attempted to report said crime to his chain of command. His chain of command actively tried to cover up that crime. And finally, UCMJ Article 78 states:

“Any person subject to this chapter who, knowing that an offense punishable by this chapter has been committed, receives, comforts, or assists the offender in order to hinder or prevent his apprehension, trial, or punishment shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.”

So Manning tried to report it as required by the military code of justice, saw further crimes in the coverup, and therefore went public with the information since he felt he had no other recourse. None of these facts are disputed by the Marine Corps. Other military vets who have watched the video have the same conclusion – the first group of people killed? That’s war. The attack on the van of civilians who were trying to move a wounded person to treatment? That’s a war crime by definition under Article 12 of the Geneva Convention:

“…Members of the armed forces and other persons (…) who are wounded or sick, shall be respected and protected in all circumstances. They shall be treated humanely and cared for by the Party to the conflict…Any attempts upon their lives, or violence to their persons, shall be strictly prohibited; in particular, they shall not be murdered or exterminated…”.

I highlighted the relevant part.

None of this is disputed by the Marine Corps or the prosecution. Now, having established that Manning tried to report a war crime and was rebuffed for it and that he was dragged into the coverup, he legally had one of two choices – report it by other means (since the chain of command had demonstrated it was corrupt) or become an accessory after the fact and subject to punishment if this incident came to light via other means.

After all of this is when Manning then began also releasing other information via Wikileaks about other potential war crimes.

John Stuart Mill once said: “‎Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.” Bradley Manning tried to do something and for that he will go to jail for up to 130 years. While he may deserve some punishment for what he did, I cannot see how anyone can claim that he deserves 130 years in prison while the murderers and officers who covered up these murders get promotions and continue with their careers and that Manning was effectively tortured, again in violation of the UCMJ as well as the international Convention on Torture while no action is taken against those who tortured him.

Finally, he has already been held in excessively punitive circumstances for 3 years already. In my opinion, his sentence needs to be commuted to time already served.

When I review these facts, I can only conclude that Bradley Manning’s gender dysphoria is raised by the prosecution as a means to make the public less sympathetic to him and therefore deserving of the actual torture he received. And that says a lot about how our society still views trans folk despite progress made thus far.