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Everything posted by Emma

  1. Emma added a blog entry in Emma Sweet's Blog   

    As the Pink Fog Clears
    The "Pink Fog" (aka, Gender Euphoria) is something many of us experience as we come into our transgender selves. It feels great, similar to the infatuation of a new love interest. For me I've wondered at times if I'm chasing it which brings up worries that I'm following something akin to the path of an addict instead of my true nature.
    This came up for me yesterday morning when I read a story in a friend's blog of a 20-something AMAB person who got so caught up in his being a somewhat effeminate gay man that, with encouragement and advice, he transitioned socially. After some period of living as a woman (a year?) he decided to detransition. Thankfully he'd not embarked on only permanent changes. He now lives comfortably as a somewhat effeminate gay man. 
    Later in the morning I was working on my house, finishing doors, installing shelving, that sort of thing, wearing of course my old Levi's 501's (no point in staining my skinny jeans!) and a sweatshirt, my hair in a ponytail. My gender was nowhere on my mind but I contemplated that story. I was comfortable doing my work. Dara Hoffman-Fox has made the point (which I agree with) that just because we like "masculine" activities such as motorcyling, woodworking, etc., that's perfectly okay for women. I reassured myself while doing the work. 
    In the early afternoon I changed my clothes to go out for some errands, including a run to the lumber store. I dressed in my skinny jeans, a form-fitting REI top, earrings, and a little lipstick. I felt good about myself as I drove to the stores. In Trader Joe's I ran into a woman checker that I've gotten to know a little in one of the aisles. She'd just gotten off work. We talked for ten minutes, she's lesbian and about to be married, I'm trans, we share worries about Trump/Pence/Pompeo/Sessions, that sort of thing. She accepts me, we connected and reminded each of other of our names. At the lumber store a man who often helps me assisted me in selecting moldings and as he was ringing me up a woman checker (who happens to be lesbian) I've also worked with there came over to join our chat. I showed them a photo of closet doors I've built out of spruce. 
    Still later I made a spur of the moment decision to walk to a local restaurant for one of my favorite things: reading my book while enjoying a hot chocolate with brandy. The manager's a woman I've gotten to know a little who's very friendly and appreciates the small amount of business I bring to them. 
    Every day is my "transgender day of visibility." I don't think I look bad, and sure I'd like to pass much better. I stopped wearing foundation several weeks ago. I wore it before almost like a badge to add clarity that I was presenting as a woman. I guess it worked but of late I don't think it's necessary and is a hassle to remove.  Like a pretty dress I save it for special occasions. (I'm such a sucker for pretty dresses. I can't resist!)
    At the end of the day it remained clear to me that transitioning to female was absolutely the right thing for me to do. I feel good in my own skin and I think I have a joy that encourages people to connect with me. I feel a thrill when I get gussied up and that's perfectly normal. I also feel good when just going out and about. 
    And that's the whole point, right?

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  2. Emma added a post in a topic Huge step forward   

    Good for you Bonnie! It’s so liberating to be out and about as oneself. So long as we stay safe it really doesn’t matter (nor do I care) what others may see or judge. If someone looks at me cross eyed I just smile in a friendly way which seems to instantly establish a simple human to human connection... it’s almost impossible for the other to not return my smile. 
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  3. Emma added a comment on a blog entry More On My Own   

    Adding my voice to Monica's and Lori's, MichelleLea, I can't imagine trying to weather what all you're going through. That "aloneness" is real and so understandable. There is no straight line through grief and some will say that you just have to give it time which is little solace. I agree with Lori that I hope that knowing you have supportive friends here will help you even a little. One step in front of the other... definitely. Don't allow yourself to isolate yourself too much. Connections to others is so important. Perhaps you can find people with similar interests on Meetup.com. 
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  4. Emma added a comment on a blog entry First time in bathing suit   

    Wow, that's quite a step! Don't forget you're going to have some "unusual" tan lines that you may need to explain to your wife when you return home! 
    I'm getting ready for summer myself. I bought a one-piece suit that has a little skirt and have another top + skirt with bottom sewn in on order. I do need to get my toenails done; they look awful now. Need some sandals and a beach wrap too. And oh yeah, some kind of beach purse and a hat... 
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  5. Emma added a comment on a blog entry Therapy sessions   

    Sounds like a plan! Perhaps as your plan comes together you can write about it here. We can then offer tips, insights, and things to think about for you.
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  6. Emma added a post in a topic Transgender Student’s Discrimination Suit Is Settled for $800,000   

    Very true but it’s still a victory. If (more likely when) people contemplate similar suits the attorneys will advise their clients that the risk is high, as evidenced by this, that they will not only lose face but also a lot of money.
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  7. Emma added a post in a topic Passing or Almost Passing   

    ​I don't know your neighborhood of course but if it were me I'd be very reluctant to walk around a closed shopping mall. Too much opportunity for attention that you really don't want.
    ​I'm sure it was fun but here again potentially very dangerous. In situations like this it's probably better if you don't pass since at least he wouldn't be surprised. Some men get pretty upset and violent if they find out (and are embarrassed) that they were attracted to a trans woman. 
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  8. Emma added a comment on a blog entry Gender Identity: the old term   

    Kitrah, clearly you're in a tough situation. But, it's good that you're not married and, I assume, no children. Even though you don't have much money or skills you have the freedom to change: your life, your job, etc. Okay you're in your 40s and are kinda stuck. But the past is the past, nothing anyone of us can do about that. You still have 25+ years of productive life to be yourself, be Kitrah, if only slowly. 
    I have read that trucking is a very tough job and it doesn't pay nearly as well as it used to. Still, it's more of a career than many others. Maybe you could go back into it, save some money? .I suppose that presenting as a trans woman wouldn't be safe in that environment but no one knows what you wear under your male clothes. Try to explore and figure out things that you can do to manage your gender dysphoria while also pulling the yourself out of your financial situation and depression. Maybe you can't afford to do everything right now but at least that would give you things to look forward to.
    Hope this helps,
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  9. Emma added a comment on a blog entry Getting bolder.   

    I know what you mean about feeling bolder. I take walks to a nearby park and used to wear all my makeup because I assumed that I’d be clocked and wanted to at least look my best. Yesterday I went out with no makeup at all. It just doesn’t matter so much anymore. In fact, it's a little odd for a woman to go to the park in full makeup, isn't it? :-)
    I've also stopped wearing foundation, at least for now. Sure, my skin has its spots and flaws, like anyone's. But unless the color and application is "just right" it stands out. Goodness knows my foundation isn't close to that yet. I have a friend who's going to give me some lessons in a week or two, along with a glass of wine. That will be fun! 
    All that said I still receive some looks at times where (I guess) the person is sort of caught off-guard, or maybe looking more closely to see what I am. I'm just so fortunate that Seattle's culture is dominated by a sense (and laws) that acceptance of everyone is the norm. Many stores and shops display signs like "Everyone is Welcome," some with rainbow coloring. I feel safe, which helps so much. I just wear what I want, comfortable and appropriate for whatever I'm doing. 
    All that said, after dark I'm more circumspect. There are homeless people and others who have an axe to grind, or are otherwise disposed to crime. It's a big city after all. So, I won't take the light rail downtown (or back) since I have about 1/2 mile walk to/from the station to home through an area that can be edgy at night. Uber is my friend.
    Isn't the freedom you feel so wonderful? I love it!
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  10. Emma added a comment on a blog entry Blood test   

    I’m so sorry to hear this, Jessica. It’s no consolation of course but I suppose your HIV infection was identified because of your HRT tests. I hope that early detection helps keep it at bay for you. I’m sending you my very best wishes and prayers.
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  11. Emma added a comment on a blog entry Return of the Native   

    Wow! You’re Amazing! Keep it up!
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  12. Emma added a post in a topic Makeup Kits   

    i use powder for highlights and shadow(s). I must admit, though, that I recently stopped using foundation. First, a couple of months ago a makeup person advised that my beard was light enough that I don’t need the beard cover, and it looked kind of odd anyway. And then about a week ago I was told that my foundation was too orange-y and I was better off without it.
    I’ve thus been free of days foundation and it’s been great! I use a powder to try to put some shadows under my cheekbones, and some blush to try to highlight my cheekbones and add a highlight to the ridge. I don’t know if it’s working very well to be honest. 
    I do wear my eyebrow pencil, eyeliner, mascara, and a color corrector to reduce the color under my eyes. 
    Im still learning and often examine what women are wearing in magazines, TV, and in real life, to get a sense of what they do and what I can try.
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  13. Emma added a comment on a blog entry Blood test   

    I once opened up my Christmas presents in secret and rewrapped them. On Christmas morning I tried hard to act surprised and happy but my parents figured it out and I felt so guilty and sad about it all that I never did it again.
    About timeframe for GCS "Gender Confirmation Surgery" I'm not aware that there are any hard and fast rules anymore. If there were, though, I doubt that doing it on your own would count since the powers that be would want to have this time validated by a medical professional. GCS timing is probably more about having the resources to pay for it and, most importantly, getting a slot on the surgeon's schedule. A friend told me recently that Marcy Bowers has a four year waiting list!
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  14. Emma added a comment on a blog entry Blood test   

    it's always best to only undertake HRT under the care of a doctor and make sure they are fully aware of anything else you're taking, OTC or otherwise. The blood test will show your blood estrogen and testosterone levels which your doc will use to determine your estradiol and spironolactone prescriptions. Expect that they will ask you to return about every 2-3 months for more blood tests to gradually/slowly get your estrogen and testosterone levels adjusted. This is best anyway because it more closely mimics a young female's emergence of her hormones.
    Another very important need for the blood tests is for your metabolic panel which your doc will monitor to see if your body is having problems with HRT, and then give you advice on how to contend with whatever comes up. 
    I know it's all exciting and it is! But you also need to have patience! Think of it like the days before Christmas when you wondered what was in the packages but had to wait...
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  15. Emma added a blog entry in Emma Sweet's Blog   

    On Coming Out
    Coming out has been quite a journey for me. The first person I came out to was my therapist in 2014 and later that year my (now ex) wife. In 2015 I came out to several others, mostly therapists and people who participated in local trans groups. Toward the end of 2016 I came out individually to my two sons as well as a couple of friends. Last summer I sent an email to about 100 friends and colleagues, letting them in on my little secret. Yesterday was the biggest day thus far.
    Yesterday I updated my name, gender, and profile photo on Facebook. And an hour later I pulled the same ripcord on LinkedIn. I think now I'm about as out as I'll ever be. I've never felt as at peace and happy and proud to be me as I am now. Such a huge weight has been lifted off of my head and brain. 
    Funny story: before changing my FB presence I talked to my ex-wife for a couple of hours yesterday morning about all sorts of stuff but she didn't bring up the email I'd sent her informing her of my intention to change my FB name. So I brought it up. Her reply, "Oh that, good for you!"
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  16. Emma added a blog entry in Emma Sweet's Blog   

    "Eat, Pray, Love"
    It seems that many (all?) Seattle neighborhoods—including mine—have these small kiosks where we can drop off books for others and choose from what's there, all for free. That's just so cool for someone like me who loves to read and I often wonder if others appreciate the ones I drop off. The other day I found "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert. I started reading it and loved it so much. I found myself literally laughing out loud while reading it in coffee shops!
    On Sunday morning I curled up on my couch with a cup of coffee to finish it before getting ready to join some friends for lunch. In the last pages I came across some paragraphs that spoke to me directly:
    Excerpts from “Eat, Pray, Love”
    Page 327
    On my ninth day of silence, I went into meditation one evening on the beach as the sun was going down and I didn’t stand up again until after midnight. I remember thinking, “This is it, Liz.” I said to my mind, “This is your chance. Show me everything that is causing you sorrow. Let me see all of it. Don’t hold anything back.” One by one, the thoughts and memories of sadness raised their hands, stood up to identify themselves. I looked at each thought, at each unit of sorrow, and I acknowledged its existence and felt (without trying to protect myself from it) its horrible pain. And then I would tell that sorrow, “It’s OK. I love you. I accept you. Come into my heart now. It’s over.” I would actually feel the sorrow (as if it were a living thing) enter my heart (as if it were an actual room). Then I would say, “Next?” and the next bit of grief would surface. I would regard it, experience it, bless it, and invite it into my heart, too. I did this with every sorrowful thought I’d ever had—reaching back into years of memory—until nothing was left.
    Then I said to my mind, “Show me your anger now.” One by one, my life’s every incident of anger rose and made itself known. Every injustice, every betrayal, every loss, every rage. I saw them all, one by one, and I acknowledged their existence. I felt each piece of anger completely, as if it were happening for the first time, and then I would say, “Come into my heart now. You can rest there. It’s safe now. It’s over. I love you.” This went on for hours, and I swung between these mighty poles of opposite feelings—experiencing the anger thoroughly for one bone-rattling moment, and then experiencing a total coolness, as the anger entered my heart, as if through a door, laid itself down, curled up against its brothers and gave up fighting.
    Then came the most difficult part. “Show me your shame,” I asked my mind. Dear God, the horrors I saw then. A pitiful parade of all my failings, my lies, my selfishness, jealousy, arrogance. I didn’t blink from any of it, though. “Show me your worst,” I said. When I tried to invite these events of shame into my heart, they each hesitated at the door, saying, “No—you don’t want me in there … don’t you know what I did?” and I would say, “I do want you. Even you. I do. Even you are welcome here. It’s OK. You are forgiven. You are part of me. You can rest now. It’s over.”
    When all this was finished, I was empty. Nothing was fighting in my mind anymore. I looked into my heart, at my own goodness, and I saw its capacity. I saw that my heart was not even nearly full, not even after having taken in and tended to all those calamitous urchins of sorrow and anger and shame; my heart could easily have received and forgiven even more. Its love was infinite.
    I knew then that this is how God loves us all and receives us all, and that there is no such thing in this universe as hell, except maybe in our own terrified minds. Because if even one broken and limited human being could experience even one such episode of absolute forgiveness and acceptance of her own self, then imagine—just imagine!—what God, in all His eternal compassion, can forgive and accept.
    I also knew somehow that this respite of peace would be temporary. I knew that I was not yet finished for good, that my anger, my sadness and my shame would all creep back eventually, escaping my heart, and occupying my head once more. I knew that I would have to keep dealing with those thoughts again and again until I slowly and determinedly changed my whole life. And that this would be difficult and exhausting to do. But my heart said to my mind in thre dark silence of that beach, “I love you, I will never leave you, I will always take care of you.” That promise floated up out of my heart and I caught it in my mouth and held it there, tasting it as I left the beach and walked back to the little shack where I was staying. I found an empty notebook, opened it up to the first page—and only then did I open my mouth and speak those words into the air, letting them free. I let those words break my silence and then I allowed my pencil to document their colossal statement onto the page:
     “I love you, I will never leave you, I will always take care of you.”
    Those were the first words I ever wrote in that private notebook of mine, which I would carry with me from that moment forth, turning back to it many times over the next two years, always asking for help—and always finding it, even when I was mostly deadly sad or afraid. And that notebook, steeped through with that promise of love, was quite simply the only reason I survived the next years of my life.
    Page 329
    My thoughts turn to something I read once, something the Zen Buddhists believe. They say an oak tree is brought into creation by two forces at the same time. Obviously, there is the acorn from which it all begins, the seed which holds all the promise and potential, which grows into the tree. Everybody can see that. But only a few can recognize that there is another force operating here as well—the future tree itself, which wants so badly to exist that it pulls the acorn into being, drawing the seedling forth with longing out of the void, guiding the evolution from nothingness to maturity. In this respect, say the Zens, it is the oak tree that creates the very acorn from which it is born.
    I think about the woman I have become lately, about the life I am now living, and about how much I always wanted to be this person and live this life, liberated from the farce of pretending to be anyone other than myself. I think of everything I endured before getting here and wonder if it was me—I mean, this happy and balanced me, who is now dozing on the deck of this small Indonesian fishing boat—who pulled the other, younger, more confused and struggling me forward during all those hard years. The younger me was the acorn full of potential, but it was the older me, the already-existent oak, who was saying the whole time: “Yes—grow! Change! Evolve! Come and meet me here, where I already exist in wholesomeness and maturity! I need you to grow into me!” And maybe it was this present and fully actualized me who was hovering four years ago…
    Liz started her life-changing journey four years earlier. My journey also started exactly four years ago in 2014 when I started seeing a new therapist. At our first meeting I told him that I carried a tremendous secret shame that I'd never fully divulged to anyone and that, this time, I promised to go "open kimono" if he'd be patient and encouraging. He was kind and patient as it took me several months to even broach the possibility that I might be transgender. 
    Throughout our 3+ years together he talked about how to listen to our inner turmoils, accept and love them, and gently put them on a treasured shelf of trophies in my mind. Like many things like this it's much easier said than done. I think I know now how correct he, Zen, and Liz are. 
    To paraphrase the last paragraph I absconded from Liz's book: I think about the woman I have become and am becoming, the life and joys I am living, and how much I always wanted to be this person and live this life. Truly, I've never felt so at peace, such love, and happy. It's like I'm channeling Sally Field as she accepted her Oscar, "You like me, right now! You like me!" I'm a happy girl.
    P.S. I suspect that Liz and her publisher would be okay with my copying about 1,000 words from her book. I heartily endorse it (and not just to appease the Plagiarism Gods). She's an amazing woman, a delightful writer, and tells an important story. 
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  17. Emma added a post in a topic Transgender wrestler Mack Beggs is booed after second straight state title win   

    It's so sad, really, that they are forcing him to compete with the girls although he's male in every important way, most especially, his mind and sense of self. And now they're booing him which cuts so deeply. Being marginalized, ostracized, and shunned returns us to the time and societal behaviors of the Salem Witch Trials.
    I checked out the Wikipedia page on him only to find that it's a total mess. Confusing use of male and female pronouns, no clarity on much of anything except that he's a young Texas wrestler who happens to be transgender. 
    Texans should be ashamed. Big hat, no cattle.
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  18. Emma added a post in a topic Is Being Transgender A Mental Illness?   

    ​I'm afraid I tend to agree. There was something bugging me that I couldn't put my finger on and maybe that was it. 
    ​My mileage has varied. I suffered much much more from internal distress than external, at least after about age 7 or 8. Even as I came out it was the internal stress that caused me so much grief. Other people have, by and large, been delightful. I'm lucky to be living in the Seattle area.
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  19. Emma added a comment on a blog entry On Coming Out   

    ​I've had several casualties, nothing extreme but some who've opted to no longer be in contact with me. It becomes obvious when emails fall into a dark hole never to return! As they say that's how we learn who our true friends are. 
    Interestingly no one in my family has fallen out, even some who live in some more conservative areas such as Indiana. Perhaps part of the reason is due to wisdom we acquire as we age, that to be true to oneself is possibly the most important thing one can be - so they respect that even though they don't have much awareness of transgender people. Now they do!
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  20. Emma added a comment on a blog entry girl jeans   

    I agree with Chantel, as you dress more and more in clothing that represents you the more that it's just fun and natural. I bought two pairs of skinny jeans on Amazon last Summer and wear them all the time, often paired with a tunic top. They are stretchy and comfy! I only wear my old Levi's 501s for work around my house (such as painting), the garden, etc. I have three pairs of those so it'll be awhile before they wear out. I'll happily give them the boot when a pair of skinny jeans is stained or something so that I can wear them doing dirty work. 
    Also as Chantel said I was so surprised that no one batted an eye, even when I turned up the cuffs and added purple tennis shoes. 
    Enjoy being and coming into yourself. Your joy will become apparent and draw people toward you. 
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  21. Emma added a topic in Cosmetics & Makeup Help   

    Trans-Campaign at Lush!!!
    I must admit that before this morning I'd not heard of Lush. If you haven't (and into feminine soaps, fragrances, and cosmetics):
    Lush Puts Trans Rights Movement In The Spotlight With New Campaign
    Their Seattle location is near my voice therapist's office. I'm looking forward to dropping in to see them next Wednesday!
    More importantly to all of us is to consider that Lush is an international retailer that is putting its company out there in support of trans people. Marketing people are always looking for ways to differentiate their company and products and this campaign shows that Lush considers not only that trans people are potentially an important market segment but that it also positions their company as a socially conscious leader. Don't be too surprised as we see others, perhaps Macy's, Nordstrom, others, do the same. I'm really excited by this, it's truly groundbreaking. 
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  22. Emma added a comment on a blog entry My First Bra Fitting   

    Hey Lori,
    Yeah, I understand. The good news is that I have no doubts I’ll wear and enjoy everything!
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  23. Emma added a blog entry in Emma Sweet's Blog   

    My First Bra Fitting
    I remember hearing that Nordstrom is trans-friendly and offered free bra fittings. But also, back then, I was terrified at the thought. I knew it might happen some day but when that day came I'd know that I'd have to have really come into my own in a much more secure way. 
    I've only purchased my bras on Amazon. They fit okay, and weren't that expensive. I measured myself with a band size of 38 and as my mother's was 34 I thought I was in the right ballpark. The first cup size was C because that's the size I felt was more ideal for my body size and here again, it was the same as my mom's. Later, I decided to go for size B since it may be that that's the best I'll be able to naturally grow into at my age.
    About a week ago I decided that I was sick and tired of one bra strap constantly falling down my arm, the band binding around my chest, and decided that it was time to go to Nordie's. I called and made an appointment. All went fine and easy. Yesterday (Valentine's Day) I met with a 20-something woman in the lingerie department. I wasn't particularly nervous, mostly just excited. We went into a private changing room, she asked me what I was looking for. I wanted to buy three bras that fit: black, beige, and white. I took off my top and she measured my band size at 36. Wow! 
    She then brought in several different ones, helped me with them. She didn't rush me at all, and had zero problem with my questions or not liking some of them. I eventually bought five: beige, white, light pink, and violet, and a black exercise bra. Oh, and a very pretty summer-weight robe, chemise, and pajama pants: gotta be ready for Spring, right?
    Amazing it was such a small bag for $500. But, you know, I'm very happy knowing that now I am wearing a pretty bra that fits, just for me. I don't know how much more Nordstrom shopping I can afford; Nordstrom Rack is more like it. But now I know what size to look for! 
    Happy Valentines!
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  24. Emma added a comment on a blog entry My First Bra Fitting   

    Dear Monica,
    Yes, I have Woolite for sure! My breasts are still pretty small. Growing and quite sensitive to bumping but no way do they fill my bra cups. I’m not sure what size they are. I guess the left is an A and the smaller right is an AA. I read that girls’ breasts take several years to develop and I’m trying to be patient. 😻😻😻
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  25. Emma added a comment on a blog entry FTM and masculinity   

    Mero, I agree completely with you. I have an acquaintance here locally who is also FTM, whose appearance is not so masculine, and he feels the same as you.
    I don’t know why some people try to pick themselves up by putting others down. This happens everywhere it seems, even in trans communities which is so hurtful, nasty, and counter to how I feel we all ought to be.
    As an MTF I wonder if in some ways it’s harder to be FTM especially if you are located in a more traditional male-dominated society. In places like that it’s hard for a man to be manly “enough”. 
    Regardless, you’re a man no matter what you wear or enjoy doing. A rather strong man from what I can tell by your writing. Welcome to TG Guide. I hope to hear more from you.
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