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Journal: Why I Am Here....

Journal by Just Jennifer

Well, I first came here because I found out that tomhudson was using this place to attack me. I suspect that he thought I would not be aware since he tends to favor places where he imagines he is in control. For example, his website is heavily censored. Anyone can comment on mine. While I reserve the right to remove comments that, for example, attack others unfairly, about the only posts I have removed are ones that link to some weird Asian porn site. On the other hand, tomhudson censored one of his cohorts. Of course, that may be part of the reason that tomhudson's web site has no comments...though it is ore likely that he has no readers.

I came to defend myself...I stay because I tend to defy bullies, and yes, tomhudson is a classic bully. Arrogant, boastful, and not particularly bright...I had to put up with guys like that in elementary school and junior high school. They generally outgrew such by high school. I guess tomhudson hasn't.

Contrary to what he claims, I am not here to score points. In fact, that seems to be projection on his part. He is the one who goes on about how many friends he has, how everyone is on his side, etc. No, I don't care if you agree with me or not. I would like to make people think. I would like to get them question why they believe what they do... If you are just reacting blindly, then...well, I feel sorry for you.

In fact, quite frankly, if you can't think, then I would just as soon you not read my journal. It is a waste of both your time, and mine.

Oh, and I love how tomhudson justifies his hypocrisy. Like most people, I don't always take a good photo. tomhudson, through the efforts of some other stalkers (and yes, tomhudson is a first class cyberstalker) has found a few bad photos of me. Some were literally stolen, some are falsely portrayed, and one, which I admit is quite horrible, was taken by a local paper for a comment page. So what. If you are honest, which some are incapable of, you would have to admit that if you did not know the context and the history of most of the photos, you might judge them a bit differently. But when they are presented as tomhudson has, well, people will usually act as immaturely as expected. It should be noted, as best I can tell, he generally hides, I know of one photo, that might be him. If it is him, well, he looks sort of like Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie. The problem is, tomhudson is showing his true colors. Real women are not all attractive, and I have never claimed to be a great beauty. I am not as bad as he likes to make people think. But, and this for me is the bottom line, when people meet me in real life, they see me as a woman. But that is not surprising...I am a woman. Regardless of what tomhudson thinks, he really can't change that...any more than he can change what he is.

User Journal

Journal: So, What's Wrong With Transgender?

Journal by Just Jennifer

The term "transgender" took on its current usage around the mid-Nineties. Prior to that, there were transsexuals, who changed sex...and transvestites or crossdressers who liked to wear the clothing of the opposite sex. A transvestite leader by the name of Arnold Lowman, who used the pseudonyms "Charles Prince," and "Virginia Prince" came up with the term "transgenderist" to describe those who crossdressed full-time but who had no desire to actually change sex.

During the Nineties, a movement began that pushed the idea that there was strength in numbers, and that transsexuals and transvestites should unite in order to advocate for their rights. They chose the term "transgender" to describe this movement. Unfortunately, the people behind this idea tended to be extremely radical and quickly began pushing ideas like the "deconstruction of gender" and doing away with binary gender. That is, the idea that gender is simply a product of upbringing (disproven by numerous scientific studies) and that unisex is preferable. Never mind that most experiments in unisex wind up with everyone looking like men (think Maoist China).

This evolved into today's transgender movement when demands that people "accept" even the most absurd claims of men desiring to be women, or vice versa. Further they fight to blur the difference between transsexuals and crossdressers. If a person asserts that they are a transsexual and do not identify as "transgender" they will viciously attacked, called elitist, and it will be demanded that they accept the label transgender whether they want to or not.

Now, personally, I don't care if someone wants to call their self transgender. That is their right. I do care if they try to impose that label on me. I do not share stuff in common with crossdressers and transvestites, and I do not believe that we are just different versions of the same thing. Nor do I share the political and social goals of many who identify as transgender.

Most who identify as transgender strongly identify their birth sex while claiming to have changed, or at least be changing, to the opposite sex. They often do wish to be simply one sex, or one gender. They want to be "different," where most transsexuals want to be "normal." And for some reason, this deeply bothers them.

Personally, given my choice, the transgender would go their way, and let transsexuals be. They have caused real harm to transsexuals, but they refuse to stop. When they are asked, they tend to just become angry.

User Journal

Journal: So, What is Harry Benjamin Syndrome? 14

Journal by Just Jennifer

There have been several snarky comments made about Harry Benjamin Syndrome, so I suppose it would be good to explain what it is, what it is not, and why some are so threatened by it.

First off, Harry Benjamin Syndrome is, first, and foremost a PROPOSED change in terminology. It is not yet widely accepted. These things don't happen overnight. It is proposed as a term to be used in place of terms like "primary transsexual, classic transsexual, or true transsexual." Ideally, it would be defined as a neurological condition where the brain is sexually differentiated at odds with the body. It is a preferred term. We are asking that it be adopted, not claiming that it has been.

While I imagine there might well be people who make claims to be diagnosed with HBS, they are simply delusional. I always state it as a preference. It is certainly preferable to other terms, like "gender identity disorder," "gender dysphoria," or "transgender." There is nothing wrong with my gender identity (I am a woman, and I identify as a woman...), I am not unhappy about being a woman, and well, I am not transgender even if some want to demand that I accept that label.

So, what is wrong with "transsexual?" On the one hand, nothing. It describes what I did. I changed my sex. On the other hand, several things. First off, it has been co-opted as a term for a type of pornography. A few years ago anyone typing "transsexual" into Microsoft's web search engine was taken to sites that featured pornography, i.e. pictures of men dressed as women, showing off their penises. Second, the term has been co-opted by the transgender movement who have created a great deal of confusion about what the term means. People who are not transsexual want to claim that status because of an imaginary hierarchy that puts "transsexual" at the top.

Oh, and just so you know, Harry Benjamin was a pioneer in the field. He popularized the term "transsexual." He was the first to provide standards for the proper treatment of those with the condition.

So, why do some fear the idea? That is simple. It counters the idea that one can simply claim to be a transsexual. It creates a new concept with more specific criteria and encourages professionals to be more careful in making a diagnosis. I know from experience that it is easy to find a doctor who will call you a transsexual and recommend surgery without providing any real care or bothering to truly examine the patient. In my journey I saw doctors with real experience, and a few I had to explain stuff to. And I saw one who seemed most interested in building her numbers. She wanted to push people into surgery so she could attract more patients. So claiming that a "doctor" has labeled you a transsexual is, unfortunately, meaningless. We need to move back from this abyss.

User Journal

Journal: About Me...Part Three 31

Journal by Just Jennifer
Well, I guess it is time to put to rest the crap that tomhudson has been raising about why I am not working in I.T. It is both simple, and complex at the same time...

The truth is, there are several reasons...

The first, and the most simple is, I wanted to maintain my privacy. Somewhat before my beginning transition, I had worked for a couple of years for a research and development firm. As a programmer for this company, I worked on several projects, including an experiment package that went up on the space shuttle. Other projects included a consumer electronic device that allowed people to access football statistics, support software for a seismograph, and a number of other projects. Most of my work was software, though I did assist on some hardware projects as well.

Immediately prior to my transition I became a contract programmer for a company that specializes in printing various items for banks, credit card companies, and apparently health care providers.

I began my transition on a Monday by legally changing my name. I spent the next day getting my paperwork in order (driver's license and Social Security were the primary ones). Then on Wednesday I began my search for a job. Since I wanted to get a fresh start, I went to a local mall, and began there. My first stop was a national department store chain. I was hired on the spot. When I applied I simply implied I was a middle-aged homemaker returning to work because my child was old enough. That was not all that far from the truth. I was assigned to sell lingerie and sleepwear. I did quite well at it, but the money was not great.

I applied for a few programming positions and I discovered something that should not be that surprising to some. It is hard to find work when you are a middle-aged woman. By this time I had requested that my former employers maintain my privacy, but I got no guarantees. I came very close to getting a job at the headquarters of a hardware chain, but I suspect they learned about my past during a major background check. The company that did the background check did not reveal if that was the case, but I have my suspcions.

I did, finally, go to work for a period doing tech support phone center work for an Internet company. I was actually employed by a company that specializes in providing such services. To be honest, I hated the job. It was not a pleasant place to work, and I left because I needed to help my former father-in-law visit his wife who was confined to a nursing home. He was legally blind. After she died, I did look for work in programming, but again had no luck. It was about this time that my ex and I separated.

I decided to return to my work in retail, and I did even better. This time I worked in shoes, where I made much better money (salary plus commission) and then received a promotion that paid an increased salary plus a performance bonus. Now, during all of this time I had become involved with someone. He was a bit younger than me, and was confined to a wheelchair. When he moved to an apartment, I moved in with him. Unfortunately, I was not listed on the lease. After a year together, his father decided that the apartment was too expensive and that he should move to a smaller, subsidized (i.e. Section 8) unit where he would have to live alone.

I was quite devastated. I was deeply depressed, and my doctor talked me into seeking help. I spent about two weeks in the hospital. When I was discharged, I decided to move to San Francisco. While I still had a job, I had no place to live, and no savings to cover the cost of deposits and first month's rent.

I spent a few months in a shelter before getting my first place. It was nothing great, but it gave me a chance to get back on my feet. I went back to school for a while. I decided to abandon computers and programming because I came to believe that they were part of the faux male personality I had created over the years to hide the real me. This is very common among true transsexuals.

Along the way, between terms of school, I did some volunteer work at my current employer. I was then offered a part time job, and decided that employment beat being a starving student. After a couple of year, I received a transfer to a full time job, and then a promotion.

So, that is why I left computers. First, to maintain my privacy until I could attempt to cover my past. Then because apparent age discrimination. And finally, because I thought it wsa not right for me, though I have come to accept my inner geek and have stopped running from that part of my life.

Until next time...
User Journal

Journal: A Bit About Me...Part Two 14

Journal by Just Jennifer

Now, let's get back to our story....

I have the misfortune to have been born a true transsexual. Contrary to what some fools try to claim, this is not something to be proud of. Nor is it something to be ashamed of. It is a medical condition. I am not proud of being a diabetic, nor am I ashamed. it is just one of many facts about me. I don't broadcast it. I tell people when it is necessary, but otherwise it is not really anyone's business. I feel the same way about being a transsexual.

Now, a lot of transgender people will start making noises about how, if someone is not out, loud, and proud, they are hiding...they are ashamed...they are living in fear... Quite the opposite. You see, I did not go through all the expense, through all the steps it takes, through the pain (yes, surgery hurts), through all that the mental anquish, to be anything other than a woman.

Sadly, some cannot deal with that sort of concept. Their motives are different. They may, for example, be sexual. There is a controversial theory that says that some men seek feminization because of a fetish. The term for this is autogynephilia. I don't agree with much of the absurdity that the person who came up with that term has attached to it, but I have no doubt that some people do have that motivation. In fact, some of them openly boast of being autogynephiles.

In other cases, someone may think the grass is greener on the other side. There was a case like this in England. The poor fellow found out it wasn't, and he went after the doctor who approved his surgery. I seriously doubt he told the doctor his "true" motives, as no competent therapist would approve anyone like that for surgery.

And that brings us to the heart of the matter between tomhudson and myself. He is aligned with the "call yourself a transsexual and you are a transsexual, call yourself a woman you are a woman faction." The problem with this is that it can lead to tragic mistakes. Having sex reassignment surgery when one is not a true transsexual can lead to tragic results. At best, the person becomes very miserable. In one such case, the person has spent much time online attacking anyone who has successfully transitioned. This person has, for example, attacked Lynn Conway for giving examples of successful transsexual women. Said person claims that none exist.

Transsexualism is a good example of what happens when a medical condition becomes politicized. At one time, it was a rare diagnosis. Doctors had no qaulms about telling people they were not transsexual, and declining to give them approval for surgery. Now, it is very possible to shop around and find a doctor who will approve anyone, and a surgeon will not turn anyone away.

I was lucky. I was seen by a therapist who specializes in transsexualism, and who upholds the proper standards. I had the approval of a second therapist. Then, when the time came for me to have my surgery, it was covered by my health insurance. They required the approval of a committee. I was then questioned by the surgeons who actually did the operation. They made sure I knew what i was doing, and that I was aware that it is effectively irreversible.

I have never had a moments regret.

More to come..

User Journal

Journal: A Bit About Me...Part One 28

Journal by Just Jennifer

Yesterday I had the misfortune to discover that a member of Slashdot had chosen to take a disagreement here. This person, who uses the name tomhudson, now imagines that he will take this story to local and national news. I have to say, the image I get is of a great ape, pound his chest, and bellowing as a warning to any who would threaten him. And what led to this show of masculine bravado? I dared share some information about him on a discussion group on Usenet.

Yes, alas, it is the same sad story. A minor dustup on Usenet is turned into what some fool thinks is a major battle.

And what led to all of this. It is a disagreement over the social and medical issues surrounding transsexualism. I am a post-op transsexual, and tomhudson wishes to claim to be a transsexual as well. I am of the mind that transsexual, or as I and others prefer, Harry Benjamin Syndrome, refers to a specific medical condition. tomhudson wishes to stretch the word to the point of being meaningless. This is not uncommon among those who belong to a social/political movement that is know as "transgender."

Sadly, "transgenderist," a term that originated with a notorious crossdresser who used the name "Virginia Prince" was originally meant to be exclusive of transsexuals. Sometime, around the late Eighties, or eary Nineties, some came to imagine that there would be greater political strength if the united crossdressers and transsexuals into a single entity. Those who were transsexual largely ignored this at first. Most of us were more concerned with simply correcting our bodies and getting on with our lives.

The simple fact is, true transsexuals are rare. Crossdressers are much more common. As this movement took hold, many who were crossdressers began to claim to be really transsexuals. It was just that they didn't want to have surgery. You see, the thing is, while crossdressing starts out as simply a sexual thing, first showing up after puberty, some crossdressers crave it more and more until they reach a point where they sometimes decide to dress full time. They have no desire to have their body corrected, because for them, the trill comes from being a "woman" with a penis. Even if they go so far as to take hormones, which will likely reduce their sexual desire, this aging crossdresser still desires to remain a woman with a penis.

On the other hand, a transsexual is born with a birth defect that occurs during in utero development. There is a common misconception that we all start out as female. Actually, we all start out as undifferentiated. If a Y chromosome is present, then certain tissues develop and begin producing male hormones. This causes the body to become male, and eventually differentiates the brain as male. If the Y chromosome is not present, or if there is a chromosonal defect, OR if something interferes, then even though the male hormones ae present, things don't go as they normally would. In the most extreme case, you have an XY woman. This is a person who appears normally female at birth, but who, when they fail to start puberty, turns out to be chromosonally male. They are usually sterile, having no internal female organs, and they require hormones to develop normally.

If something interferes, the person can be born intersex. This can occur at any time, and the severity of the condition depends on how much interference occured. The condition can range from a simple hypospadia (an opening of the urethra at the base of the penis) to a person that shows characteristics of both sexes and who will require surgical correction to lead a normal life. There is, however, controversy over when the surgery should take place.

Finally, it the interference occurs after the body has differentiated to being male, the brain may default to female...or in other cases, the brain my be differentiated to be male even though the body is female. This produces a true transsexual.

More to come....

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