Trip to Bristol

For the last few months I have been sat on tenterhooks wondering what would happen. I have not been the biggest fan of the psychological referral process of transition as to me it feels like I have to validate myself and my existence. The closest analogy I can think of is end of year exams which are make or break. As I need to transition I have jumped through the required hoops.

This week I attended a referral consultation for my second referral for reassignment surgery. So off I went to Bristol to jump through more hoops. As usual I am early and end up sitting in the waiting room with some guy ranting about an alien invasion from Mars that is happening and nobody does anything about. It is at this point I want to get the hell out of there. Instead I absorb my attention into a game on my phone.

The appointment itself was the usual questions and double checking the case notes. The guy is kind enough not to press for details as he had actually bothered to read the notes. Thirty minutes later he told me the hoop jumping is over and my surgeries should be in 6-9 months time. Three months of that I am busy with various Pride activities across the south west of England so that time is going to shoot by.

With top surgery I was able to leave my past self in the past. Now I can finally start thinking of my future self as I can see a light at the end of the tunnel where I can truly be me. It does not change the fact being transgender, whatever aspect of that umbrella, is still treated as a mental health problem. Sure it causes mental health problems by the bucket load, but in itself being transgender is not a mental health issue and should not be seen as such.

 

 

 

© JG Farmer 2016

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Out of the Cage

Out of the Cage

More of my ramblings from my diaries over the time of Top Surgery October 2015

A week of not so quiet and restful healing later, life has a way of changing our plans at whim, and it did that with style as always, but I was back in Brighton for my post op. Had it worked? Everything is healing as it should. Staples out from the nipples; glad I had taken codeine beforehand, so it wasn’t that painful. No more itchy dressings and I only need to wear a binder if I go out to protect myself.

I looked in the mirror and I look a bit battered. But I can look at me and not hate what I see to the point of spiraling into dysphoria. For the first time ever I can do that. I still have a lot of healing to do but it is one huge step in the right direction.

For the last two weeks my emotions have been shot to hell. They are still shot to hell. I don’t have the words that sum up how I feel and yes that is frustrating me to bits – I am a writer and not knowing words that express the emotions is unheard of for me. Happy. No it is beyond that way beyond that. I am out of the cage now and it is awesome. That is the best I can do to sum it up.

My Thanks

It is only proper that I stop at this point and thank all those who have supported me this far. My deepest thanks go to Mr. Yelland and his team at Nuffield Health who made it possible. Also to Jenny, Misty and Lisa for getting me there and back for the operation and to Andy for being there for the post op. My boys for being my boys and keeping me going. Alf for being a real bro and staying with me until I woke up. Kayto for being the best friend a guy could have at 430am. Finally, to Caz for being my Caz and making me smile when I wanted to cry – I’m not easy to live with and you hung in there for me.

FtM Terminology

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ftm_ftw_by_kissed_byarose-d33we4x

 

One of the most common questions I get asked is what all the terminology used by transguys means. So a quick A – Z as it were.

Binding

Binding is the process FtM use to flatten their chests to create a male-appearance.

Bottom or Lower Surgery

Gender reconstruction surgery.

Chest or Top Surgery

Chest reconstruction surgery is the most common surgical procedure sought by trans men. The aim of chest reconstruction is to create a male-contoured chest.

Double-Incision

The bilateral mastectomy method of chest reconstruction surgery that is effective for those individuals who have a medium to large amount of breast tissue.

Female-to-Male Transsexual (FtM, F2M, Trans guy, Transman)

An individual who was born in a female body but whose gender identity is male and who actively seek hormonal and/or surgical therapies to live in society as men.

Gender Confirmation Surgery (GCS)

A positive term for the various surgical procedures for FtM including sex reassignment surgery (SRS), chest reconstruction surgery (CRS), genital reconstruction surgery (GRS), hysterectomy and oophorectomy.

Gender Dysphoria

A psychological term that refers to the state of discomfort and mental anguish felt by transsexual and transgender people resulting from the incongruity of their physical sex and their gender identity.

Gender Identity

An individual’s self-awareness of their gender being male, female or something in-between.

Gender Identity Disorder (GID)

A recognised psychological and medical condition where an individual has been assigned a birth-gender and identifies as belonging to another gender.

Genderqueer

An individual whose gender identity is non-binary and identifies as neither male or female but as something in-between, beyond gender or some combination of genders.

Genital Reconstruction Surgery (GRS)

The process of constructing a phallus/penis from an individuals own donor tissue, also known as phalloplasty or phallo, or metoidioplasty where the clitoris from its connective tissue to present in a more phallic manner.

Hysterectomy (Hysto)

The surgical removal of the uterus.

Intersex

A condition where an individual is born with either the genitalia or reproductive anatomy that is difficult to label as male or female.

Keyhole

One of the methods used for chest reconstruction that is effective for individuals with small amounts of breast tissue.

Metoidioplasty (Meta)

The surgical process of releasing the clitoris from its connective tissue so that it presents on the body in a more phallic manner. Scrotal implants may also be added.

Oophorectomy

The surgical removal of the ovaries.

Packer/Packing

Packing is the process for creating a more male-feeling or look to the crotch.

Passing

Being read as male by others.

Peri-areolar (Peri)

A method of chest reconstruction that is effective for individuals with small to medium amounts of breast tissue.

Phalloplasty (Phallo)

A surgical genital reconstruction method using the individual’s own donor tissue to create the phallus. Scrotal implants may or may not be added.

Real Life Experience (RLE)

The period of time a transsexual person is required to live full time in the role of the gender they identify as before the medical gender reassignment process can commence.

STP Device

A device that enables the user to stand to pee at a toilet or urinal.

Stealth

After transition an individual may choose to be stealth and not reveal their transsexual status.

Testosterone (T)

Testosterone is an androgenic hormone that is responsible for producing masculine characteristics such as facial hair growth, deepening voice, body hair growth and muscle development.

Transgender (Trans)

The umbrella term for individuals whose gender expression and/or identity differs from the conventional expectations of their birth gender.

Transition

The process of changing from one gender to the other.

Transsexual

An individual whose gender identity does not match their birth gender,

Purging

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One of my readers has taken the time to ask me about purging and why transgender people do it. Thank you for asking and I will do my best to answer that here.

What is purging?

Purging is about getting rid of or denying transgender feelings. For the crossdresser it often involves reselling or throwing away any crossgender clothing and other items they may associate with their transgender identity. For the pre-op or post-op transgender person it may involve pausing or abandoning their transition.

Why?

I can only speak from memories of my own experiences here. It is all tied in with strong feelings of guilt, shame and to no small extent a desire for some sort of stability and normality. There is also anxiety and fear of the processes involved in transitioning and at being able to live as a member of the opposite sex in society.

What Is the Solution?

Shame, guilt and fear are dynamic patterns and often lead to some sort of purging made with great haste. The transgender person often feels ashamed of their transgender identity and needs. Finding a supportive environment where the transgender person can feel safe in their identity and presentation on a regular basis is a major step in the right direction. For some coming out to supportive close family and friends is helpful too. There are many transgender people who are unwilling or unable to make those steps. Some may feel they would be putting too greater risk on their relationships, social identity and standing, as well as damaging their own sense of self.

From my own experience when I first began the formal transition I felt a real sense of loss of the person I was and had to go through what can only be called a grieving process. I also became very isolated within the LGB community I had been part of for so many years. In fact I am grateful the process of transition is a slow one as it has given me time to grieve, adjust and move into my male identity. It has also allowed those I am close to the time to adjust and move with me which in turn enables them to support me. Transitioning is an exhausting one, and drains energy and resources beyond any level I have ever known and without their support it would have been far worse.

Time invested in researching the available options and as far as possible making some sort of plan for transition is something I can never see as wasted. It helped me keep a sense of perspective especially when the process is gruelling. Transition is not an instant thing and the consequences of each stage of the journey have to be considered. Time is an ally, not an enemy; it has allowed me to explore my role as a man within my private life, in my social life and indeed as a writer.

To the reader who asked the question I hope I have helped you understand purging a little better and wish you all the best on your own journey.

 

Love and light

Jez

Breaking Point

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Coming out as a transgender man has been one of the toughest periods of my life, if not the toughest. Not to friends, family, medical professionals or random strangers but to myself. I knew I was at breaking point and could not carry on much longer living a half-life pretending everything was okay and as it should be. It was a million miles from being okay and nowhere near as it should be.

I was born into a female body and from the moment I recognised that it felt wrong. I would look in a mirror and hate what I saw. So began a vicious circle of self-hate, self-harming, suicidal depressions and denial. All that hurt hidden behind a mask of femininity, of long hair, make-up and fashion, so that my secret would not be discovered. I lived in abject fear of discovery.

Fear and hate are not good to live with as they feed each other. As a teenager I grasped on to feminist ideology as a barrier against my masculinity. Ultimately it only led to a deeper sense of self-hatred and an even deeper fear of being found out. I am not going to debate the wrongs and rights of radical feminism here but I am certain it will be understood that ideology made accepting me as a man a hell of a nightmare.

Nothing was as it should be when I turned 40. I had nothing left to fight against the depressive feelings apart from facing the truth of my identity. At that point I had no concept or vision of where I would end up and I do not suppose I have worked it all out in my head yet, perhaps I never will and that is okay. However I am fully aware of my masculinity now and embrace it.

I have no doubt whatsoever if I had not taken that step at 40 I would not be here now writing this or anything else. I have no doubts just total certainty that I am a man, and a gay man at that (sure did not see that coming!), and that has liberated me to live and to live my life.

 

 

© JG Farmer 2014

I Don’t Think I am Man Enough

I Don't Think I Am Man Enoug

 

This is the first in a short series of writes on some of the emotional and/or psychological issues that can face a transgender person. As this is a personal blog I can only write from my own experiences so have left stuff I have not had to deal with until a later date if ever.

Finding a Partner.

Why this is the first issue I do not know but it is so I will go with it. There is someone out there who has heard me say the words I have chosen for the title of this piece, not once but several times. Their answer is I am more than man enough so I cannot and do not argue with that.

If I look back over life before transition I have had a few relationships and all but one of them would not have worked out as I was not connecting fully with the people involved as a significant part of me was deeply buried within my psyche. I regret the fact I have hurt people because I could not be myself, but equally they would not have been part of my life if I had been. I am in no doubt those I did get involved with took what they wanted from me so I do not feel guilt or shame about it anymore. The end of love hurts and we move on.

So what good does looking back actually do? It tells me what I do not want in a partner. In the past I subconsciously or consciously sought out people who did not push too deep into me or try to invade my space. I did not look for someone who wanted me as I did not want me. Love with that sense of self-perspective is somewhat lacking at best. To know love, to give it and receive it one must first love self and I did not love myself, quite the opposite. I am not saying I did not love the people I was with in the past, I did in my own way, the only way I could but it was not enough because I was not man enough to accept myself and value myself.

Now I accept myself for whom and what I am. The fear of rejection is always a problem not just for transgender, but being transgender makes that fear all the more acute. The person I mentioned earlier knows and has known from the beginning of my Trans status and just where I am at in my transitional journey. I am accepted for whom I am and although I still doubt myself at times I know I am man enough.

 

Love and light

Jez

That Question!

From The Guardian

 

It seems a lot of people want to know how FtM make out in the bedroom. It is wonderful to have such privacy even your sex life comes under scrutiny and really what goes on is between the Transguy and whoever he is making out with. How would a cisgendered person feel if they were asked within minutes of meeting someone how they do it? Folks, just don’t ask ok it really is not a good idea.

However my editor asked me to cover the subject of the FtM and Sex and writing that article has left me thinking. From the questions I was asked to answer one thing is standing out as vital. It is something that is vital in any relationship too. It is the act of communication. Talking about the issues we face with those we are close to is vital and more so when it comes to sex. Intimate conversation has to be tackled carefully as even using female terms can trigger dysphoria.

By choice I have refrained from intimacy since my transition began. In the beginning I was very aware of what I see as my short-comings and how they can cause upset with a partner. I was also very aware how transition could send my sexuality and awareness of it into disarray. It didn’t mean my sex drive died, I still got horny with nothing I could do about it. Even a hand-job doesn’t work when you reach down to grab your dick and there’s nothing there. I don’t regret that choice. I needed the time out to sort me out and adjust to living as me.

There are other options available and it isn’t rocket science to work them out so I am not going to go into detail. I’ve always been the top or giver in a relationship for a reason beyond the kink of doing that there is the ability to keep to a minimum the bits I don’t want touched from being touched. Keeping my chest covered in a t shirt or binder made it more comfortable to relax. How a binder can make anything more comfortable is bizarre but it does. In essence I got my kicks in other ways.

The answer to that question then ‘how do we do it?’ – just like anyone else to the mutual satisfaction of all involved. I said I was not going to do details and I am not if someone is that bothered may I suggest they take a trip to a sex shop and look around – some of the answers are there.

 

Love and light

Jez