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I am sorry I have neglected this site March 13, 2016

Posted by Tina Simmons in Uncategorized.
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I have been going through a lot of life issues that caused me to focus on other sites. I have not viewed anything here in a couple of years, so I have not responded to comments, posted, etc.

I see that there has been some interest in this. I have re-read a lot of what I have posted, and I am thinking about updating this to be more in line with my current thinking. My main opinion has not changed (that if you are married and a cross-dresser, transgender, or some other form of gender different that you should share this with your wife); it’s more nuance and experience.

I will try getting back to some of the comments on this site.

Again, I am so sorry to have not been a good steward, but life happened (I got laid off, tooled around at various jobs, moved for a new job that is so much better, dealing with a child with Schizophrenia, becoming a grandparent, and exploring Tina more with a couple of therapists, one who was less than satisfactory while my current one is good).

I will be updating this in the next few weeks.

Stay tuned.

Oppression has many faces November 27, 2013

Posted by Tina Simmons in Uncategorized.
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This petition to ask transsexuals drag queens to stop being drag queens really made me angry. We’re trying to ensure that trans people can keep their jobs and their lives when those who are in power fear us and despise us, and then this kind of garbage starts up?

Let me tell you from my personal experience (of which I am ashamed to this day). Once I met a person who is a sissy. She was obviously older than me, but dressed like a little girl, with all the crinolines and the pretty dresses and the little girl shoes. I was disgusted when I saw her, but then, later, I started thinking. Who am I, with makeup, and heels, and an inner feeling of femininity, to judge someone who has a feminine feeling but chooses to express it in a way that is different from me? There is no harm in what she is doing. The only harm is people like me, who sit back and judge someone for being different from them. I rebel against the norm, the “one-way” types (“the only way to be a trans person is the way I am a trans person”), and here I was, doing exactly what I don’t like. And, to top it off, the sissy was a really nice person. A much better person than me that day, definitely.

I admire drag queens. I think what they do is really cool – it’s brave, transgressive, amazing. RuPaul, Sharon Needles, Divine, Lady Bunny, etc., are all amazing individuals who have a lot to teach us. But being a drag queen is not the same as being a transsexual, so if a trans-woman wants to be a queen, so what? And she deserves to be treated with respect, and not attacked because she “hurts the cause” or “demeans transsexuals”. That kind of logic is just stupid. If you subscribe to that, get out of my face!

My son November 26, 2013

Posted by Tina Simmons in Uncategorized.
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I have a son who is an adult who lives with us. I love him to pieces, but it’s pretty hard for me and C to deal with it on a daily basis. You see, my son has what several doctors call bipolar with schizoaffective disorder, but we shorten it to schizophrenia. It’s actually a mild case (!), but it is something that is very difficult for him to manage.

In a lot of ways his illness is entangled with my gender dysphoria, but more for temporal and coping reasons. There was a two week period seven years ago that started with me finally coming out to my wife (who knew already but was shocked that I finally was accepting myself) and ending with the discovery of our son cutting himself, which, in turn, led to us discovering the intensity of his mental condition. When I came out I was convinced that our marriage was over. Instead, because of my son’s condition, it became the “not as big a deal” issue. It’s probably true that because of our son’s mental state we are still together. This is as close to a devil’s bargain as I can imagine, and if I could trade my marriage for his mental health I’d do it in a shot.

Sometimes my son and I discuss being transgender versus being schizophrenic, and the way that society treats people like us. Him they try to medicate to make him passive, but the medications destroy his will to do anything but sleep, and he ended up getting fat (BTW, more people with mental illness die because of health issues, which doesn’t surprise me). I’ve come to realize that the medications aren’t for his benefit as much as they are to keep him quiet. He still saw the visions and heard the voices, it’s just that he was too doped up to react. We both felt like lost lost our son, and he was miserable. And there were side-effects to the meds, too. To this day, our son gets muscle spasms in his eyes where he cannot keep them shut. It’s hard for him to get a good night’s sleep.

When our son decided to go off his meds, there was such a hue and cry from his doctors. We thought long and hard about this, but we decided that it wasn’t worth it. His creative juices started to flow, along with extremes of anger and happiness. Sometimes we do feel like we are trapped in hell, but it’s not like the other option was heaven. It’s a roller-coaster. The good thing is that he is not a harm to himself (cutting is long in his past, and he is not a violent person).

I’ve been asked if there was a pill that would make the gender feelings go away would I take it? My answer is no, because I’d lose a big part of who I am. My son has had to deal with this in real life, and his answer is the same.

In a lot of ways, accepting his schizophrenia has echoes of accepting my transcoder feelings (I say “echoes” because it is not the same thing by any stretch of the imagination). We love him for who he is, not trying to make him into something that he is not. He has come out very publicly – as a part of the work he does, he has been interviewed by several web sites and has publicly stated that he is a schizophrenic. I admire his honesty, his bravery and his self-acceptance. In these I’m trying to become more like him, which has led me down the path of deciding if transition is for me.

A status update November 16, 2013

Posted by Tina Simmons in Uncategorized.
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Therapist #1 is out. I really liked her personally, but when I asked her questions I didn’t like the answers. It’s not that she was not trans-friendly – far from that. She was very accepting and understanding. It’s more about her approach and some of the silly things she said.

The biggest was when I asked about books. Not just trans books. She made it clear she’s not a reader, and that she rarely finishes anything she starts. How does someone learn if they ignore one of the best (and cheapest) avenues?

My next interview is next week with The Persad Center. This looks more promising.

On not conforming to the gender binary… June 4, 2009

Posted by Tina Simmons in transgender, transsexual.
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Our western culture seems to have the following concepts hard-coded:

  • There are 2 genders – male and female
  • Your gender is mapped to your physical sex/anatomy

This is very hard for us who don’t feel that we map into this worldview all that well. I am somewhat envious of cultures that define a third (or fourth) gender – the Kathoey in Thailand, of the Waria and Tomboys in Indonesia, or the Fa’afafine in Samoa. Somehow, I feel like we’re missing something by not recognizing that physical sex is not equal to gender, and we’re losing something as a society.

I’ve accepted myself as transgendered for about three years, although I’ve suspected it in myself for my whole life. In this brief time I’ve watched people go from defining themselves as cross dressers to transsexuals (with one person going through that whole process, including surgery, in that time period). Trying to define myself as outside of the binary is very tough to explain to people.

What’s interesting is that it doesn’t matter if the person I’m talking to is transgendered or not. In fact, I’ve found that some of the toughest “sells” on this concept are transsexuals who have transitioned or in are the process of transitioning. I think it’s partly because they have committed themselves to this move from one point in the binary to the other and they might feel that the concept of a non-binary gender a challenge to their personal view or process. It’s not, it’s just another person’s view of themselves.

The binary has had the strange result of encouraging the medicalization of transgenderism. Yes, you can change your gender, but only after a lot of hours of therapy with a psychologist and/or a psychiatrist, plus working with an endocrinologist on a hormone replacement regimen, plus having a surgeon rework your genitalia. But what if you don’t want surgery? Or even hormones? I’d rather have neither “M” or “F” on my license, thank you – I want to just tell people who and what I am instead. Giving me a vagina doesn’t make me a woman – it’s what’s in my head that does.

So here I am, living my public life as an “M”, but with a fairly large amount of “F” in my soul. There are pressures on me to “get off the fence” and make a decision one way or the other. The pressure in our society is very strong. I don’t doubt for a minute that some people transition not because they feel that going from one gender to another is what they needed as much as they’re tired of trying to explain their gender mix and changing was the path of least resistance for them. That’s great. That might even be my future.

But it’s not my present. I am middle path (at least for now).

It’s been a long time… May 27, 2009

Posted by Tina Simmons in coming out, transgender.
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…since I wrote anything of substance here. I’ve been incredibly busy trying to sort out my life, and I just haven’t had the time to do any blogging or other online stuff.

But I need to. I need to find some way to try to open up to others about things and how I feel.

And coming out is a big topic. I’m not an expert by any stretch of the imagination! I may even be less knowledgeable then most. But I’m going to try, yet again, to get things going on this front.

I’m working on a posting on more thoughts about how coming out has changed my life. It’s changed it in a big way. At some point, I need to rewrite my whole article on coming out to your spouse. I read it and I find things in there that make me cringe – it’s so out of date with how I think things are now. I’m all for openness, but I’m less inclined to push people to come out and more inclined to help people figure out who they need to come out to and why.

Right now, I’m out to my kids and wife. I’m also out to a lot of my kid’s friends, including my daughter’s boyfriend. Only my wife and kids have met Tina, though, and none of them will use that name for me.

Another thing that’s hard is that even though I see myself as having come out, I’m not really out all that far. I’m still hiding behind a firewall that separates Tina from my male life. I want to tear that wall down, but I also need to respect the wishes of my wife, who is still very scared. She has a lot of concerns, some more reasonable than others, but that’s normal. After all the time that I’ve been out, I still see a lot of injustice with how wives of transgendered women are treated.

And that’s another thing. I’m trying to also work in some activism into my life. We have a lot of issues we need to work on – the right to work regardless of our transgender status, the absurdity of how marriage laws in different states treat us differently. If I just stay on the sidelines, I side with those who would keep us in the shadows. After all, not taking action is taking action.

I don’t know how often I’ll be writing, but I’m going to put more effort into this. It’s a start of me trying to make a positive difference for us all (well, the only way that I’ve got at this point).

IFGE 2009: “Disordered No More” March 17, 2009

Posted by Tina Simmons in Uncategorized.
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Helen Boyd has posted a link to a report by Lynn Conway on the “Disordered No More” workshop at IFGE 2009.  I think that these presenters are doing very important work in helping us to get beyond the stereotypes and sexualization of transgendered people.

Behind Waves February 5, 2009

Posted by Tina Simmons in Uncategorized.
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I recently listened to an interview with the author Li Sam on the Trans-Ponder PodcastLi Sam is a transwoman from Sweeden and she wrote the book Behind Waves, which is a novel about a person who is transgendered deciding to transition and how her relationship with her wife changes.  The novel is based on the experience of Li Sam and her wife.  She came accross as very articulate and had some interesting comments in this interview that make me think this book will be an interesting read.  I am especially interested in how she depicts what the wife goes through.

(And if you have any interest in transgender issues, the Trans-Ponder Podcast is definitely worth a listen.  Even though it started out mostly focused on transition, Mila and Jayna have expanded to covering other topics of interest to the transgender community, and they are starting an effort to promote transgender-owned and transgender-friendly businesses, which is something that is sorely needed.)

Merry Christmas December 25, 2008

Posted by Tina Simmons in love, optimism.
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I just want to wish a Merry Christmas to everyone!

What about love? December 24, 2008

Posted by Tina Simmons in love.
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I’m just so – I don’t know the right word for it – angry?  Upset?  Heartbroken?

On various outlets there are articles about a male to female transsexual who is this year’s women’s Long-drive champ in golf.  I’m glad that she did well in the competition, but read through the comments left by other readers of this article.  I cannot believe the hatred, the bigotry, and the rudeness that is being written there.

Whatever happened to decency, decorum, and civility?  Or was it all just some collective delusion?

In the name of God, whether you celebrate Christmas, Chanukah, or whatever, can we just think about the messages we’re sending?  If we allow ourselves to hate someone who is different from us, where does it end?

I would like to ask any and all people of faith who are reading this to say a prayer for those who wrote those nasty and deragatory comments (and for those who bear anger at the lgbtq community as a whole) that they may someday shed their hate and learn tolerance for others.  And then pray for the lgbt community, that we can someday live without fear of verbal, written or physical attacks and be treated as full members of society.

In the words of Dave Allen, “Goodnight, thank you, and may your god go with you.”