George drove me back to the apartment and then back to the hospital the next afternoon, to spend the night there before surgery. The room was nice, with purple floor and some purple on the walls. But it was lonely there, I wasn't allowed to leave my room- to give other patients privacy. When I wanted to go for a walk, they gave me a 7pm curfew!! And someone had to escort me to the front door and then from the front door back to my room.
Then came the preparations. It took forever to shave all my fur off; had I known I would shave from my belly down to my knees I would have used my electric shaver at home to make it easier. Then I had to take two of those things that make you poop, 3 hours apart. It really wasn't bad at all; I was expecting to have all this uncomfortable stuff but I guess I got lucky?
At midnight the nurse told me to turn the light off and get some sleep! I felt like I was in an orphanage, lol. The morning of surgery I met some other doctor and then they gave me some shot to put me to sleep and I didn't wake up until after surgery. Gradimir, the anaesthesia guy, was there singing to me when I woke up in my hospital bed. He gave me the arnica remedy I brought from home. And the earring they had to remove for me (because it had to be undone with plyers or something.)
I was miserable- my back and head were aching from lying down in one spot for the 9 hour surgery, and I wasn't allowed to move for 3 days. For some reason they couldn't even put a pillow under my back. I just kept rocking my head back and forth- the only thing I was allowed to move. A while later they rushed me back into the operating room for another surgery because of some bleeding that still hadn't stopped. This time they didn't put me out first- I got to see the OR and experience them moving me from my bed to the operating table. At last-- I got to move!! Then, obviously, they gave me anaesthesia...
I woke up in my hospital bed again, with Gradimir singing again, lol. He gave me more arnica. Total deja vu...
Wasn't allowed to drink for the first day, or eat for the first 3 days, and it turns out that the day of surgery didn't count as far as not moving for 3 days. But each day they let me love a little more, just not the leg they used to hook up the nerves and blood vessels.
The 2nd day post op I was able to move my arms enough to use my computer, which made all the difference. Miro also brought my iPod speakers from the apartment, which totally made me more comfortable and feel at home.
I wish I had brought mouthwash, as I couldn't brush my teeth the first 3 days because I couldn't move. I felt gross from not showering, and I need to wash my hair pretty often. I did a lot of meditating on my hunger and discomfort, accepting/embracing the situation I couldn't change, instead of fighting and rejecting it. Reminding myself that I had WANTED to do this surgery and was FORTUNATE that I finally had my wish come true. Pooping was a nightmare, using the bed pan and having a nurse clean up afterwards. It made those 3 days of not eating seem worth it :)
Day 4 I got out of bed for the first time. Felt like the walking dead! First thing I did was brush my teeth, wash my face, and run some water through my hair. Then I stood by the window to get some fresh air and look at the "view." I also stopped taking pain killers that day, because the injection hurt too much. I found that their tea relaxed me more than anything else, and I'm sure the arnica was helping too.
Day 6 post-op I was already getting in and out bed myself a few times a day, going to the bathroom on my own, and eating at a normal table. The next day I finally got to shower!! I came back to life! Got dressed and Marta drove me back to the apartment.
Marta was my angel during my stay in Serbia. Gorgeous, sensitive, gentle, respectful, funny; they couldn't have picked a better person to visit me every day, change the bandages and remove the drains. She visited me in the apartment a couple of times until my flight back around a week later.
Miro also came to visit once- and brought me a mug as a gift, which I found very touching- and decided that the following day I should come back to the hospital to have my staples and some stitches removed. When I got there, Miro asked if I mind being interviewed by a journalist who was doing some sort of something about the hospital. I had already been in a trans documentary at home, so I was used to being interviewed on film and was excited to be on Serbian t.v., lol. Afterwards, the journalist told me that I look very happy.
There's a beautiful park about a 5 minute walk from the apartment, though post-op it took more like a half hour. I managed to visit it twice, sat on a bench the first time and on the grass under a shady tree the second time (because some people had the nerve to occupy my bench!) The cool thing about having a catheter hanging out of your stomach is that you can take a leak without anyone noticing. You just kind of sit there doing whatever you were doing (i.e., nothing) while pee just trickles out of this tiny tube.
Miro was off to Japan the day before I flew home, and he had wanted to hang out with me the morning of his flight. He called to apologize that he doesn't have time, and to wish me all the best and that he hopes I'll be pleased with the results. From start to finish-- even from my first e-mail to him a year ago-- he was caring, patient, committed.
George drove me back to the airport and helped me with my luggage up to the check-in.
Funny story- for the first month post-op I have to walk with my thighs very far apart, to give my balls their space. When I landed and was getting my suitcase from the conveyer belt, an undercover cop stopped me because he thought I was smuggling drugs! And just as luck would have it, all my surgery papers were in the suitcase and I was in no shape to rummage through everything to find it, so it was easier to just pull my pants down for him. I was so excited to show Buddy off, but as soon as the cop saw the catheter and stitches he said it was enough... How disappointing that he didn't want me to unwrap Buddy's bandage...
I had my "period" the first 2.5 weeks post-op. It's normal to bleed anywhere between 2 weeks and 2 months after a vaginectomy. In the hospital, it was very uncomfortable, because the pad they put would move and then I would feel it trickling down. I also didn't like seeing the blood stain on my bed when I would get out. Another 2 dysphoric things were the sharp pain in my vagina if I would move too much, walk too far, etc., and also I couldn't find my balls the first like 8 days. Not only that, but when they were touched, I felt the same sensation as when my labia/clitoris were touched, so I was convinced that they forgot to do scrotoplasty. This dysphoria didn't go away until I got back to the apartment and saw part of them in the mirror.
3 weeks post-op I removed the stitches and catheter. The 2 nurses here were super trans friendly and even excited to see a phalloplasty. They kept saying what nice work Miro did, what a nice job. Toward the end, the nurse who had been holding Buddy up, announced that she's in the mood of a hot dog :)
The first few times I peed through my new urethra, I didn't notice any leaks, or thought that maybe it was just dripping back down. But then it started to really leak, so I switched back to the catheter coming out of my stomach. Next week I can try peeing again regularly. And I love how "regularly" means through my penis. Just the way I had always wanted it, the way that feels "right" to me.
Two days ago I took Buddy out to play for the first time. I took a really good look at him with a hand-held mirror, stroked him, held him in different positions and looked from different angles. It was really the first time I've ever seen him as part of my body (as opposed to this surgical thing I need to clean and be careful with and always have something supporting him so he doesn't fall off.) And I was filled with peace, love, and joy. A few hours later it really hit me- I just cried, as I repeated over and over:
Thanks for sharing your view and also ouch. It's unfortunate in my world view that you chose to view a human phenomena (and animals too actually - have a google of chickens) with such distane. I truly wander what it is that's happened to you in this life to make you feel such hatred towards a request for a Government to help its transgendered citizens. We are law abiding tax payers and have every right to ask for help in our quest for life supporting surgery, as does anyone who enters into the modern medical arena. I imagine you personally may need some additional financial support in your current life, in which case why not ask for that rather than project this hatred on me and my fellow community who cause you no personal harm.
A transgendered person instinctively feels themselves to be the other gender, or even if you wanted to expand your own world view, believe that gender is grey scale not black and white. They are seeking like all humans to find their true self and live happily and healthily.
The reality check is indeed happening for us as we chose to step into the change process rather than deny it and live a life of misery (or worse choose to end our lives as 30% of trans people do). I can't speak for what trans people did to survive hundereds of years ago as I wasn't alive then.
Simplistically the phenomena rests with parts of our brain and body physiology running instinctively as the other gender, so it's quite a distressing (painful) existence at times to have this in-congruence. If you felt like playing a bit, why not imagine yourself waking up tomorrow morning in the opposite body, it maybe fun for a day, but then add 11, 686 days to that and you'll be where I'm at, you may feel a little differently about the topic. This life supportive (saving) surgery is far from body mutilation, when you live in a body with the physiology running in this way you'll find it is actually open and welcome to the change (I have a scar healing quite miraculously without a stitch which popped itself out of my chest last week).
By all means feel free to call me a freak of nature (I quite enjoy that actually...you know, Silverchair!!) but please stay away from denying my community what they need, instead ask you local Government for what help you need.
Tomorrow is my "two year into transition" landmark (yes we're heading into the 'terrible twos'!) In celebration of such joy that's ahead, the facebook page of the upcoming feature documentary 'it's not about the sex' is up and available for likings... be the first to click here and Like It if you'd like first dibs at viewing the trailer coming October 31.
Also my good friend Gavin has been invited to take Felix to the Melbourne Fringe Festival next month. Feel free to go meet Felix if you'd like an enlightening and giggle filled night out!
If you see anyone in neglect or being bullied for who they are, lend a hand and go up and say stop! It's completely irrelevant to be unsupported in any way shape or form for who we are in this day in age.
September 7th! Remember the date, flash out your purple and celebrate love!
Every single day that we're grateful for the extraordinary architectural creation called our being, our body and our life, is a day that we take another step towards manifesting our greatest potential and fulfilling our truest ingenious existance on this planet
So this is where my blog is going to go little 'below the belt' ... this is in no way meant to offend, only to offer insights into what 51% of the global population have as part of their anatomy. I am going to (in small doses) share the steps involved of how one creates a penis (the process of phalloplasty) that will look, operate and feel 90% similarly to if I had been born into male form, which ultimately is most congruent to me and reflective of the part of my brain (the stria terminalis) which if you viewed via scans would look like the part of a biological male brain.
For someone like myself at this point, the below is fairly pertinent information that I want myself and my chosen surgeon to know intimately.
To start here is some fairly well known (yet less talked about - Cleo and Cosmo aren't quite on it yet!) information about the classified 'female body form' sexual organ. Even though I currently possess this anatomy, through my experience with women, I've begun to understand that it has never functioned quite in the same as a biological female (as in the brain wiring has been running this show in an entirely different way - cool huh!). Or maybe not if you consider that a sexual experience for a female is different every time (if you know what I mean, you know what I mean!).
So to begin (more soon!) ... taken from http://blog.museumofsex.com/the-internal-clitoris/
In over five million years of
human evolution, only one organ has come to exist for the sole purpose
of providing pleasure – the clitoris. It is not required for
reproduction. It doesn’t have a urethra running through it like the
penis, and thus, does not urinate. Its sole function – its singular,
wonderful purpose – is to make a woman feel good! Sadly, it is precisely because the clitoris has no function apart
from female pleasure that science has neglected to study it as
intricately as the penis.
Try asking the next person you encounter to tell you where the
clitoris is located. Having posed this question to others many times
myself, I’ll guess that the majority of answers you receive will sound
something like, “It’s that small bulb at the top of my lips,” or,
“That’s the button up under the hood.” Although these responses aren’t
exactly wrong, the interesting truth is that the majority of the
clitoris is actually within the pelvis – that is, it’s far more
internal than external. The scientific name for the external “little button” or “bulb” is glans. Not to be confused with glands, glans
simply refers to a small circular mass. This little structure contains
approximately 8,000 sensory nerve fibers; more than anywhere else in
the human body and nearly twice the amount found on the head of a
penis. The glans is connected to the body or shaft of the internal clitoris,
which is made up of two corpora cavernosa. When erect, the corpora
cavernosa encompass the vagina on either side, as if they were wrapping
around it giving it a big hug.
The corpus cavernosum also extends further, bifurcating again to form
the two crura. These two legs extend up to 9cm, pointing toward the
thighs when at rest, and stretching back toward the spine when erect.
To picture them at rest, imagine the crura as a wishbone, coming
together at the body of the clitoris where they attach to the pubic
What does all this mean? Well, for starters, we can finally end that age-old debate of vaginal vs. clitoral orgasms.
In 1953, Kinsey wrote: “The vagina walls are
quite insensitive in the great majority of females … There is no
evidence that the vagina is ever the sole source of arousal, or even the
primary source of erotic arousal in any female.”
Then in 1970, Germaine Greer published The Female Eunuch,
which scoffed at Kinsey’s theory. She wrote, “It is nonsense to say
that a woman feels nothing when a man is moving his penis inside her
vagina. The orgasm is qualitatively different when the vagina can
undulate around the penis instead of a vacancy.”
Interestingly, they’re both right. The vagina is not the sole source
of arousal, though to stimulate the inner clitoris you can greatly do
so by manipulating, displacing, and exploring the vagina with a penis or
Many women can bring themselves to orgasm without ever inserting
anything inside of themselves. They are causing their internal clitoris
to become erect and likely stimulating their glans, bulbs, and crura by
rubbing themselves on the outside. The corpus cavernousum is the
additional erectile tissue encompassing the vagina, and greatly
erogenous when stimulated internally. Let’s also remember, female orgasm is not solely about the clitoris
and vagina either. It is far more complex and also involves the
workings of multiple nerves, tissues, muscles, reflexes, and mental
effort. Some women can think themselves to orgasm. Others can orgasm
simply by flexing their pelvic muscles. Considering all the components
involved plus the variability of human beings and their anatomies, it’s
extremely important to remember no two people are the same. What works
for one woman may not work for another. In other words, it’s all custom
under the hood. Alas it wasn’t until as recent as 2009, French researchers Dr. Odile
Buisson and Dr. Pierre Foldès gave the medical world it’s first complete
3-D sonography of the stimulated clitoris. They did this work for
three years without any proper funding. Thanks to them, we now
understand how the erectile tissue of the clitoris engorges and
surrounds the vagina – a complete breakthrough that explains how what we
once considered to be a vaginal orgasm is actually an internal clitoral
With quite a bit of excitement, I'm happy to share that I've just been accepted onto the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Board as a Board Associate. The decision is two fold, first and foremost, having held a position with Tourism Australia working on new market development, the purpose is to offer expertise and assistance in collaboration with the appropriate organisations to increase the number of international visitors to the New Mardi Gras events (my social media channels currently have viewership in over 73 countries).
I'm also looking forward to providing specific analysis for the Board's lobbying use, as to what the approval of Gay Marriage will do economically for this country in the form of international revenue from marriage ceremonies, honeymoons and holidays etc.
Second fold, will be transgender rights and equality within Australia. I personally will be improving a few elements that I can see need to happen from my own experiences with the guidance and support of this platform.
This will be the first appointment of a transman to the Board in the history of this country (that we know of) and I'll be offering a voice to improve current levels of knowledge on the topic, medical treatment options, police force liaison, media coverage / inclusion and government policy (funding support). If anyone would like to share any issues they have to this topic (rather than any personal issues of me) or change they would like to see implemented, please feel free to contact me anytime via firstname.lastname@example.org. There is certainly room for committee(s) development which I entirely welcome from the community.
And on a side personal note I am still very actively acting, script writing, producing my documentary and funding the $US160k I require for my final surgery in the US which unfortunately is not 'elective' or 'cosmetic'.
Deeply appreciating the support here from Peter Urmson, Chair The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Board; Board Members; and Steph Sands; Founder Women Say Something.
I often recall a few
comments in the earlier days when I made the decision to finally progress this
gender transition, of “how interesting and
exciting” my life is compared to the ‘norm’ (whatever that is?!). I
appreciated at the time it was coming from a place of love and support and
ultimately acceptance which I believe is the one word most trans beings crave,
as they have personally disowned a lot about who they are up until this point in their
life, so to then face nonacceptance externally, especially
loved ones, is one of the most painful things to feel.
it feels like now I can speak the truth around this and say it really is by far
a long long way from being interesting and exciting. By all means there are
parts of the process that feel this way, mainly in that moment of "wow this actually real and finally happening"...however
the journey is far from this. In my experience the real shadow of this is the
actual day to day work of making it happen and for most of the time it’s with
the medical profession. Different people make different choices as to how far
their journey takes them to feel congruent so it’s less for some than others.
though it is a very medically orientated process which has been even harder for
me personally as when given the choice I always choose natural holistic therapies
over modern medicine. This is my and always will be my truth as I am
forever devastated from witnessing what modern medical options did for
my mother’s illness. It wasn’t acceptable and never will be in my world
to my point, this is not a process of fun and excitement, it's one of getting absolutely
real (generally inspired by the only other option being suicide), having to say
"fuck you" to anyone who
wants to make fun of or dishonour you, and then work consciously as much as
possible to attain the outcome you need from people that hopefully want to help.
All the while having to step around the land mind medical professionals who sometimes
enjoy stepping into the "you need me" role.
The challenge is that there
is not one doctor who governs or manages this for you and I don’t believe there
should be. You need a psychiatrist to
approve your request to transition and to make sure you are sane (quite a
few insane beings try to claim a trans nature); an endocrinologist to
facilitate hormone shifts; a GP to provide referral letters and support the
administration of hormones if you don't want to self administer, as well as
help with side effects if they show up; a gynaecologist to monitor
internal organs and the effect the hormonal changes are having on them (levels
of estrogen and testosterone within the body do effect female reproductive
organs for all); a plastic surgeon to assist with physical upper body
changes; and then for further surgeries you require specialties of
urology, plastic surgery and reconstructive micro surgery.
a mandatory personal decision for me to keep a group of HIGHLY specialized
natural healers very close by to monitor my states of mind and being, energy
channels, chakras etc which are all very real and important factors again for
A trans person exists as about 1 in 1,000,000 (approx) so the
demand is not there for Governments or private institutes to extend large
amounts of funding to set up clinics with all of these specialties in first
world countries let alone less than.
of this in mind, this experience really isn’t easy, it is very challenging and
the interest and excitement wears of very quickly I assure you.
gratitude always in your interest in wanting to understand this process. Some
more fun and interesting and ‘relevant to all’ posts coming soon about that
This is possibly the most challenging and simply stupid post I've ever written. What I mean by this is I actually am on very new levels seeming to become more male by the day in ways I'm not aware of until it slaps me across the face with a wet fish. More to the point, I'm experiencing a big realisation that I'm no longer the person I used to be (like us all really!), which I think still in some ways I've been doing my darnedest to hold onto.
It's that idea of wanting to keep the good bits I liked of Anna as part of the package of the newer present day me, which for all purposes feels like a real 'fakeness' (a very strange paradox of truth and falseness that I am failing to express through words).
I am learning again on an entire new level that certain behaviors we do in life really are just so "male" or just so "female". I see so many conflicts between people in life which at the end of the day I now REALLY get is just a different brain pattern function that is just not the same as our individual self. I still stay true to the idea of "different hormone, different operating system" (PC vs MAC yet both can connect to each other on a daily basis!). And now experientially understanding this, I can see how this simple truth can be the friction of so much in life; in the home, workplace, and everywhere in between.
Getting to my point, the biggest thing I have done of late that I have NEVER done ever before - bare with me, it may at first read sound pointless (aka...like "yeh so what?" but read it again & hopefully it'll transmute).
I've been sleeping in the same bed with the same sheets (washed regularly just FYI) for over eight months and a few weeks ago, I washed them again and just completely forgot I'd washed them and that they'd ever been on the bed, and just started sleeping with a doona that had no cover. I'd totally forgotten that I even had a cover on the bed until my flat mate returned home from holidays and found these muddy covers on the clothes line, saying "are these the ones that used to be on your bed?" ... my response "yes and until this moment I had entirely forgotten they'd even existed".
It is the most absent minded thing I've EVER done and let's just say I remember the gifts I used to get as a three year old ... just bizarre. I've since been told this is just SO male! Okay?! But like really, I had no idea I'd done that, so am I to blame?! Do you know what I mean?!
It's given me an ENTIRE new appreciation to things like how the guy forgets a certain thing from the supermarket even though he was just 'instructed', forgets a conversation, forgets to take the bins out, or god forbid just forgets an important date like an anniversary (GULP! I may actually do this in the future, dear god!) ... truly it's just like a blank out of time, and not at all intentional! In the past this was just not my reality - efficiency was just instinct!
Anyway this is all, I'll be sure to document more of these random male encounters and do my best to come up with un-express able explanations!
I came across this post in one of our trans group surgery discussions and as I'm delving into research of my final surgery I couldn't have put it better myself. The way the scales balance or the lack their of, is definitely a tad absurd in my world view.
Don't tell anyone but we're actually all quite normal, smart intelligent beings ... we know who we are, we always have - but shhhh don't tell the experts I don't think they'll believe you.
Currently where I am at with research;
Australia - no surgeons.
USA - quoted 160, 000 USD - the surgeon is prompt, efficient, to the point, no bullshit to be taken! He has answered every email question I have within 24 hours personally - even on a Sunday. Definitely my first preference at this point as this is good to know how available he makes himself to a patient for after surgery care and questions that may arise. Of course he's the most expensive ;-).
UK - 3 weeks and waiting to hear back on the costings...have found out from a fellow transer that it costs 55,000 pounds. For a UK citizen it is free under the NHS. Despite the lack of contact from the practise I am impressed that the country has set up a hospital / centre specifically focused on this surgery with dedicated surgeons with a multitude of specialities that is actually really required for this surgery. This is second preference.
Serbia - surgeon doesn't do what I require to feel complete - friendly chaps who've referred me to Belgium too.
Belgium - quoted 60, 000 Euros - polite, methodical, sensing a small challenge of listening to my needs and really seeing my body vs 'this is the way it's done'. English maybe a concern here as it is not the practise's first language.
Canada - quoted 60, 000 CAD
I'm not entirely inspired by this reality!
"I'm heading to Serbia on the 25th. All things considered, this is a huge decision we have to
make and most of us have to do so without ever meeting the surgeons
beforehand face to face. The thing I hate about being trans is that we
have to put our bodies through alot of costly, major surgery, to be done
by surgeons we, at the end of the day, have to trust on their word that
they can do what they say they can do. I will like others on here, be
posting everything I can about my experience in order to aide other
peoples decision making, but once again it's my opinion, my experience,
my body and the way it heals.
I would like to see our respective medical
professionals who "diagnose" our GID actually give us a detailed plan
of surgery and surgeons they have independently assessed and approved.
All too often they get us to jump through hoops to "prove" who we are
and then we're left to our own devices to try and get the help and
surgery we need. We shouldn't have to troll the Internet hoping we find
the right surgeon to help us, to put our lives in their hands and hope
that at the end of it all we are not left horribly disfigured,
dysfunctional or dead. It's irresponsible and unprofessional in a
profession that is meant to "first do no harm".
I had the privilege recently of being invited to read some creative writing pieces being developed by some new up and coming play writes. I was invited specifically in this instance as one of the characters they had been given the opportunity to write for was a transgender male.
All the scripts given to me to speak were all amazingly beautiful and real ideas of who this person was ... and for me it was quite endearing ... "hi there character on a page, this is you, nice to meet you. And this is me discovering you, sharing who you are through me and my voice at this point in time, cool!". I had fun to say the least. Very seldom that you'll find a transgender character written into a play or theater piece just to exist as a character as part of a story. Quite honoring and refreshing to be truthful.
I giggled and smiled and shared the words as truthfully as I could, and there was one I must admit close to the end of the evening that really did do what I believe writing is meant to do ... touch and move you in a deep way. I mean they all did, but this one specifically has lingered in my thoughts a little post the evening.
I wanted to share two small segments of it as 'work-in-progress' (not in it's entirety as being new work I don't want to expose it all unless in the presence of the writer.) It was the end point of this piece that I had to use all creativity maturity to speak this without quivering and having my voice catch. Very simple and yet can be the most devastating moment in one's life ...
"when a friend, a family member - or worse still a lover - tells us about they change that they are about to embark on, we wish them all the best. But inside us a small, angry fire burns ...
You are changing, why am I not changing? People are so fragile ...
To get to a point where you are able to change, you first have to admit defeat.
A post specifically for the trans guys. I wanted to just share that medicare seems to be quite flexible with gender markers and gap item numbers. I have changed my gender marker to male in their system, and the recent surgery I had was processed through with female item numbers (due to the issue I had with medibank private changing their policy inclusions).
In conclusion I've personally experienced that it is possible to change your gender officially with male with medicare (to get less expensive testosterone) and still put the female surgery item numbers through with them. You are just required to send the forms into their head office (as a counter assistant can't process it) and it takes about 10 days to get the medicare rebates; they then send the claim form onto a private health fund you may belong to for additional claim rebates in the same way (i.e. processing female surgery items under a male gender profile). However if you approach your private health fund directly their system can deny it, it has go through the 'medicare first claim system'.
This is the most cliche'd quote I think I could come up with, but it really is true, sometimes it does really serve you to revisit your past just to see how far you've come. Being my birthday week and all (why limit it to a day I say) the biggest gift for me that I could ask for ... give your child a hug and tell them how much you love them. They'll remember it for many years to come!
I owe you an apology. I'm so very sorry I didn't take your work more seriously. You caught me off guard (when you asked to postpone) and I think you may have mistook my overwhelmingly desire to see you for rigidity. I was gutted at not seeing you on Saturday and experiencing what would have been heaven on earth. Either way, your text made me think that I'm far more interested in you than you are me. What is clear to me is that we are both very strong willed and very stubborn. Perhaps, in the end, not the best combination. I accept the damage has already been done. Please can you find it in yourself to forgive me for being a complete and utter dickhead. I don't want any bad blood between us. And we can leave it at that. Of course, I meant what I said, you will be a shining Star
Apology accepted but also thank you. That needed to happen as a lesson for me, you were a fresh and lovely reminder that I am no where near ready or have the capacity in my life for anything more than what I thought was to be a night of newness with everything else I have going on. My life is my work and my love that I'm creating right now. It's difficult to comprehend if you're not me I know, but I've lost my life as it was; family, partner, friends, career, money, everything you're connected to yet I'm still here alive, it's hard, I'm just good at making it look easy. There is a reason why 30% of people who transition commit suicide, if you don't have a huge deep love to live through all that, you don't survive. So when something to do with my project calls for my attention, I have to give it, it's not artist narcissism but survival. I'm humbled and grateful that you feel what you do, truth for me unfortunately is I don't feel much for anyone right now, my heart is closed. I've copped so much from so many this past year - family right through to strangers, that I can't help but stay that way until I get these projects out to find some sort of self, strength and purpose beyond all of that. I apologise that hurt, never was my intention. I'm sure we'll stay in contact. Thanks again for your message, I appreciate it.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. I'm so very grateful you can forgive me. I can only imagine how very difficult things have been. You are simply amazing to me! If I can give you any happiness I would be honored. I hope we can be friends. I would like very much to support you in that way. I look forward to your show. I hope to be in the front row. Let me know if you want to talk. I'm a good listener.
I just had a really awesome facebook message banter with a friend and it just felt like a good idea to share;
(her) Do you ever think to yourself .. that what you are doing is un-natural? like taking medication, having surgeries.. Im all for what you are doing. but do you look at your body like its a temple...how should you treat that temple? Do you ever feel like what you are doing is IN A WAY .."superficial" and ...plastic?
(me) hey thanks for asking such a real qn that i'm sure others think, i guess for me it comes down to a personal definition of what is natural - as in i come from a background of watching a mother die of cancer and see what modern medical treatments to this disease can do to the body, so i was living a fairly natural existence; vego and practicing alternative healing modalities a few years ago, and in living this way my ego set itself up to think that anything other than the way i was living was 'un-natural' - then i find my body and inner voice saying its time to be true to 'myself'' and begin live as the male i know i am, as this soul came in this life to experience a gender shift...so i don't find it unnatural now but its taken a big personal journey over a few years to come to this place, hence i can understand why you ask and why people in society think its unnatural. Its not for me, testosterone is what the body uses to express male traits, so I feel its less unnatural than what a lot of foods have in them and the surgeries are purposefully kept small each time. I never need pain killers for more than a day after the op b/c of the alt healing techniques i use, and each surgery is only what I do when the body tells me its ready for it...knowing myself also as part of everything and that we are not separate from anything also is important to know. i know that mod medicine is also part of life force and creation so how can it not be natural? aside from what man and the media tells us is or isn't?!...if that makes sense ... so no i feel more natural now than ever, and I indulge in a LOAD of detox post surgery to support the healing process
(her) I guess Modern Science and such is quite a complex yet necessary part of life ..these days. I think its interesting you say your "ego" set yourself up. haha.. I guess thats what my ego is doing by questioning you. I find what you are doing to be a real inspiration in this "modern" world as there are so many man made distractions and technicalities of life ... its important to remember that our minds have evolved so much so that medicine is a true reflection of what our minds can be capable of. Knowledge is something purely natural. You are taking advantage of the great knowledge us humans have gained since the beginning of time.
In other good news the introductory trailer to the documentary of this story has come together nicely. It's currently being processed through some marketing bits and bobs (and I also need to iron out some media kinks)
The trailer will be available to view mid April as the first film project under a newly founded production company I'm establishing, with many a stories after this personal one that are going to follow. I'll let you know when this one is up and view-able!
As some of you know, I've been totting off on a Thursday evening to the Roxbury Hotel in Glebe to partake in the improvisation show and theatre sports competition run there by Impro Australia. It's always a lot of fun, hugely terrifying and very insightful as I find whatever I end up doing on stage, somehow relates back to what I am doing in other areas of life...leading to all those questions, did I like that? was that well received? why did that feel so wrong? you hesitated there, why? etc etc etc ... stage time can do wonders for self awareness! It's that whole art/life/art/life/art/life thing and Improv especially is about saying yes to what your fellow improvarians offer to the scenario (so you don't leave them hanging in cyber terror looking like an idiot) and adding to it in some way ... but NEVER try be funny because then u suck!...
What hit home today again is that this gender change process is still making me so 'moment to moment' vigilant and open to whatever offer is coming from where ever next. As soon as I think I know and start to 'plan'...some internal shift happens in my body and then so it goes, everything else around me starts to do the same ... aka being in the eye of the storm (what was that song?! be great to have it kick in now!). I think I'm getting better at riding it out...sorta, maybe, kinda?!? Haven't killed anyone yet (kidding!!!). I'd say it's a similar feeling to when you ... say ... clean a house and then a 2 year old runs through with dirty feet, throws toys everywhere and looks at you grinning and laughing...eh what are you going to do?!
As far as I was aware, I'd set up the next month to be working (aka budgeting), training with a new personal trainer to get a bit more meat to the bone, studio acting training and getting this documentary (so far) trailer up and out. Though having a few things happen earlier this week like having one of my credit card numbers hacked and charged up, a few people cancelling things on me, I started to get suspicious, and yes behold, its all just changed again.
I had a great check up this morning with the surgeon that did my chest work, and like me, I can see he's a total perfectionist (more than happy about this!). He's decided it's best he does another small amendment to the skin, so back we go, week after next, day surgery, and then another few weeks recovery. Work schedule, PT schedule and acting schedule is now all out the window hopefully just for the month ... yep letting go letting go letting go ... so I'll share post surgery what he's doing and let you all see how it's working ... in the mean time letting go ... (internal mantra - 'love the two year old...love the two year old').
Next special skill listed on the acting CV is definitely going to be 'professional pin cushion'! ;-)
So it's Sunday afternoon post Mardi Gras ... most people are still going, softy here can only manage ten hours of dancing before I need to call it a day, so I thought I'd give a little blog update instead. For those of you thinking how can I dance for ten hours, well it was to the likes of some of the world's best musicians, and the songs just kept on coming (like the clip below). I did use this time to reflect on the past year and a half and how far I've come (try it yourself I recommend it, particularly while playing this song below) ... and for those wondering, no I didn't pick up, just a pash with an old friend, seemed only polite really - it was good to see her, too much dancing to be done otherwise.
Now you all remember my lovely Qantas pilot friend...how can you not, check out how good she's looking :-)
Well she sent me this little note yesterday about the Mardi Gras 'music video' (I use that term lightly!!) I posted this week ... (see above)
Hi Andy. Just thought I'd share with you that I showed my daughter your music video and she loved it. I also explained to her you used to be a girl and now your a man. She said "like you Jess, but the other way around. That's cool." didn't bat an eyelid. I love that my kids understand that everyone is different and that's OK.
How nice is that and kinda the point really (as opposed to the acting - I save that skill for the casting agents). Little people are truly my favorite beings in the world, they get it all judgement free, really really!!
I do feel I should let let you all in on a little secret though, honestly the idea for this video came to me as a Valentine's Day gift for the woman I'm totally smitten for at the moment. Don't get too excited though, she's married and it's going no where fast, although whenever I ask my Ipod shuffle what to do about this predicament, I consistently get the song 'Rome Wasn't Built in a Day'...whatever that means?!
The thing was, because I got a last minute brain wave that I needed a boat to finish the clip in Titanic pose...what boy band love anthem wouldn't really?! ... that delayed production and delivery time, and only by an act of grace, having one of the best editors the world has yet to see working on my documentary with me (trailer coming soon with lots of unseen footage - look out for it next month), she just cut it together in an evening, which just happened to be the day before Mardi Gras. So that's made it a MG special that's been viewed as of today in 22 countries.
And the even better news, we're now working out how to get me on top of a Qantas A380 for the next one - ;-D ... aren't we Jess...Jess?!
And the person it was meant for? Well she still hasn't seen it yet...but don't worry I'll be sure to let you know what the response is...
Men have testosterone running through their system, and women have oestrogen running through theirs (mainly - even though its greyscale). The body lives on planet Earth. I have a feeling it’s as simple as that without us really having to venture up to Venus or Mars to explain things, unless you have the desire to live on another planet ...could be fun for day or so... but remember to come back to earth ok?! I’ll miss you too much otherwise!
Ok so what I am getting at? For those of you who caught that deemed ‘controversial’ 2DayFM Kyle & Jackio interview last year and were able to listen past the ‘vagina comment’ without changing the station, you may recall me saying how we all live in our own world. I still get perplexed daily with how we actually carry on each day harmoniously without killing each other more so than we do!
Here is what I mean; I feel pretty confident to say now I can experientially articulate the differences between the two hormonal systems running the planet, and if I had the chance to sit down with GOD for a day, this truly would be my first question ...
“sooo GOD buddy, pal, thanks for the gift of life and all that, but come on, really! What is the dealio here with this part of the gender design, it’s a little flawed and a tad f*cked up, don’t you think? I mean seriously, women for at least one to five days a month for no particular reason (even though they try find one) feel crazy, hopeless, flat, lethargic, teary, angry and then flip the coin; for a few other days per month they just want to jump a guy beyond all rational rhyme or reason ... and THEN you go and throw in MEN to the mix who have a natural instinct to kill and are just frickin angry, horny and hungry all the time?! Don’t even get me started with adding in the whole menopause thing or ‘grumpy old man’ syndrome. Is this truly divine design? I mean cave man days sure, but is it actually necessary in this day in age or is it purely to provide you with comic relief up there...just tell me, I can totally handle the truth?”
Clearly I’m speaking of hormones, which for me, have a LOAD to answer for in relation to world wars and everything else going on today that we’re trying to ‘fix’ externally...hmmm!
Reason this is forefront for me this week; I had my three monthly testosterone injection yesterday. I chose to have it a couple of weeks early, this is safe based on the research I’ve done, and truthfully it’s because I’ve been feeling a little less than stable this past week and a half which can be an indicator of low levels ... just in terms of focus, awareness, anxiety, and questioning purpose.
I totted off and purchased my reduced from $159 to $35.95 testosterone now that the Government health care system deems me male; lovely nurse, helpful pharmacist etc BUT swear to God, within an hour and a half, I was so royally pissed off and angry and frustrated about everything. Those little things that had been niggling me went from “Yeh that’s cool, things will sort themselves out TO oh now I’m just totally pissed about it all, EVEN THE GOOD THINGS, I am just so angry that I now have to go off to a vocal lesson which I enjoy with a really ‘hot older woman’ teacher, grr! ... Frickin red lights, SHUT UP lawn mower man, it’s too hot ...f$ck! ” (and it continued – but happy to report after a gym session and a nap I am feeling a lot better today!)
I feel quite lucky to have the awareness greater than this, to hold myself in it, rather than going and punching someone that’s annoying me or in my space at the time, BUT I can certainly see how this happens beyond reason in the world. It truly does amaze me how we get existence working harmoniously the way we do with ‘all of this’ running the show in people a lot of the time ...
“I guess you’ve got it worked out GOD even if I don’t always understand it”
This post is really for those interested in knowing a bit more about the "daily life" activities of a person mid transition. For whatever reason I was reading an email this morning and the truthful absurdity of it and what I'm actually doing at this point in time, just made me laugh.
Since commencing the medical transition component of this process, I've come across some really great closed online forums to discuss and put out ANY question one may not know yet, to others further along their process. I get daily email digests of all the communications back and forth to read about. It includes other people's successes, challenges, worries, struggles - just the truth of it really! I sometimes wish that other groups I am a part of would do more of this as well, talking about whatever is happening in life, may even help with the suicide rate in this country today (check out page 52 of the March madison magazine).
I do laugh these days when I hear others criticise their offspring or partners for being 'so disconnected and anti-social' because they always have their head in their computer, IPhone, or whatever other gadget is their connection into the world wide web. Trust me, truthful connection is occurring!! Or on a more personal note, I guess I feel I'm always criticised for having my head in my phone all the time. I've only ever missed my train stop once ... or was it twice? The bus stop was definitely only once!
Anyway digressing! Back to my point, this was the email that came through today discussing the preparation recommended when approaching a phalloplasty (penis) surgeon. Something I envisage will be happening for me early next year, not in Australia, as it's not really offered here;
I would suggest making a list of your WANTS, NEEDS, DON'T WANTS and what is NEGOTIABLE and posting it to the group, then guys can give you feedback based on that but simply saying that you want to be able to orgasm isn't specific information at all and 99% of the surgeons can give you that. Do you want urethral lengthening? Do you care about the Donor site? What country are you in and how far are you willing to travel? Do you just want the ability to orgasm or specific types of sensation? Do you want sensation through the entire penis or are just parts of the penis possible? Do you care about the number of stages?
Pretty amazing I think, that this is the level of detail and opportunity that is available out there today. That stressed out four year old in me feels a lot better about things ... ‘Dear Santa’...
Over the past year I've connected with quite a few trangenderers ;-). A personal discovery has been that even though there is a commonality with people who transform in this way, it is clear to me each individual is going through a very unique and personal process that can never be grouped together as the same thing. It is a right of passage with huge choice variation in what happens to the body/mind/soul. I asked a friend of mine if she'd be willing to share her story for my blog. With huge openness and courage to share a pre-transition photo as well as a current one, and with Qantas' approval, I'm delighted to share the following with you, I hope you enjoy the read!
I'm sitting in a hotel room in Bangkok with my mother 10 days after my sexual reassignment, breast augmentation, and follow-up rhinoplasty surgery. A surgery which lasted 11 hours, which takes my total surgery in the past 18 months to 34 hours. 11 hour hair transplant in August 2010, 12 hour female feminization surgery in December 2010, which included brow bone grind, forehead reduction, brow lift, upper and lower eyelid lift, reduction rhinoplasty, upper lip lift, chin bone and jaw bone reductions, and trachea shave.
I first knew something was wrong about me when I was 4 years old and since then i have felt total detachment from my body. I was born with a female brain and a male body, known as being transgendered. Over the years I learned (which most transgenders do) to fit into society and play the role of their physical body. I played representative rugby, drank more than any of my mates, I got married and had two beautiful kids. Generally I did all the things society expected of me as a male. All of this, no doubt, was a subliminal reaction to the fact that I didn't want anyone to know that I had to dress in females clothes to feel some sort of normality. From the age of around 7 until I began transition at 36 I needed to dress up as a female to make my brain feel comfortable with my body. You see, for me dressing male was cross dressing and being male was as far away from being the real me as could be possible.
May 2009 I was sitting on the couch at home and I contemplated suicide. I didn't want anyone to know my secret and I couldn't live with the pain and internal anguish any longer. It had simply become too much. I figured that if I killed myself people would just remember me for the man I was and I wouldn't have to deal with making a fool of myself if I transitioned to female. I then thought about my kids and how they would be without a parent. The selfishness of suicide became obvious and I decided to become female instead as I wanted to be around for my kids. I resigned myself to the fact that I would loose all my family, my friends, and possibly my job, but that was ok. I would still be here for my kids and that was all that mattered. I asked my wife if she thought I was transgendered to which she replied probably and to see the doctor.
This started the ball rolling into anti-depressants, hormones, psychologist, psychiatrists, endocrinologists and all sorts of poking and prodding. Telling my family was very difficult but after initial shock, they all accepted that this is something that I had to do. Once people know you were contemplating suicide, they begin to understand how significant an issue it has become. I knew informing my friends was going to be difficult as they were the ones that thought I was a blokey bloke. They all said they would support me through this ordeal, but as time wore on they found the concept too hard to deal with and they systematically dropped off and I found myself with very little to no support.
Being a pilot in Qantas for 10 years and in one of the most male dominated jobs you can find, I was very stressed about how to let work know. Initial contact was to my Base Captain (who had been wonderful throughout) and then the informing of the rest of flight operations management. To my surprise everyone was most supportive and were just amazed at my courage that they didn't really care about exactly what I had intended to do. That was, to become the first and only transgendered pilot in Qantas' 90 year history. There have been other transgenders in other departments in Qantas but never in flight crew. The flight operations management decide to use this to their advantage and gain information from these departments about what worked, and what didn't, to best implement me back into my role as a First Officer. Management informed my work colleagues of my impending transition via memo, which was well received, and they also researched about transgenderism and spoke to various specialists. Quite unbelievable that a company would go to such lengths to keep a transgendered individual employed within their ranks. I really believe that Qantas has set the bench mark when implementing trans people back into the workforce and I'm saddened that most other trans people don't receive the same respect that I received from my employer.
I returned to work after my facial surgery and was well accepted. After initial shock at how good I looked, it was business as usual. The facial surgery was really quite dramatic and gave me a younger female look, and along with loosing 20 kgs and and hormone therapy , it made me look a genetic female. This made my transition easier as instead of being 'the' transgendered pilot I just became one of Qantas' female pilots. This allowed me to slip into my new life as a woman quiet easily.
So after a year of transition which consisted of a month in hospital with severe depression, hours of painful and expensive electrolysis and laser hair removal, losing a lot of old friends, gaining some fantastic new friends, losing an identity and trying to find a new one, hours of psychiatric evaluation, and more tears I care to remember - I find myself in this hotel room, a post-operative transgender female with my whole new life ahead of me.