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Posts posted by Chrissy

  1. I'm a little troubled by the title though in relation to the video - it still seems like she might be saying that Gender Dysphoria is a "mental illness." GD is very likely on its way to being included as a medical diagnosis and removed from the DSM entirely, which would be awesome (it has to be in 1 or the other in order for insurance to cover medical transition costs). The DSM is also problematic because it makes it seem like it's all about internal distress, when so much of the issue for most people is the external distress - the bigotry and rejection that we face as a result of our gender identity.

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  2. Hi Christy!

    I offer this with the qualification that this was my experience, things will vary from person-to-person, including based on the surgeon that you use. I'm now over a year past surgery and there is nothing that I have to do on a daily basis, the only thing left relating to the GCS is that I have to dilate once a week (that will be forever). Dilation schedule varies based on the surgeon - my schedule was 4x/day for the first month, 3x/day for the following 2 months, 2x/day for the next 3 months, 1x/day for 6 months, and then 1x/week after that - it was 20 minutes per session.

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  3. From what I understand, pretty soon GD is going to be added medical diagnostic manuals and it will likely be removed from the DSM at that point, which I think is the way to go. That way, doctors can work with trans-identified people who want to pursue medical transitioning. On the mental health side we would then deal with the depression, anxiety, etc. that comes along with it for the individual. Those things are all caused by a host of issues, GD is one of the only ones that gets separated out which adds to the stigmatization. They also separate depression that is caused by substance use and by other health issues, but they don't individually break them out (for example, if you are depressed because you have cancer, it's depression linked to a medical condition, NOT depression linked to cancer).

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  4. Looks like a good resource - though they do the same thing with Gender Dysphoria that the mental health profession loves to do so much, which is to disregard the impact of discrimination. They frame it as if the depression, anxiety and other effects are all caused by the internal dissonance when it's how you'll be received if you mess with traditional gender norms that causes so much of the problem.

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  5. In the support group that I facilitate (in NYC) we discussed name changes recently, a couple of people who have done it said it went very easily - there's usually a publication requirement, but in both cases the judge waived it for them due to the possibility of it endangering them - so that was nice to hear!  (I had it done in NJ, didn't even think to ask about waiving the publication requirement)

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  6. Further information towards the "growing consensus" (they use the term in the article, hence the quotation marks) that gender identity is biological and not environmental. They allow for the fact that many people make choices regarding gender and transitioning based on environmental forces, but that "there do not seem to be external forces that genuinely cause individuals to change gender identity.”


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  7. Personally, when I started out I found videos by Stephanie Lange on YouTube (she's Australian, now based in Ireland). These aren't specifically for trans people, but I found her easy to follow (I mainly found her because I have "hooded eyes," and she's done a number of videos on that specifically.

    If it's a possibility (and I know it's not always), ask female friends (trans or cis). I was fortunate that I have a good friend who is obsessed with make-up. I think when I came out as trans to her all she heard was "make-up shopping buddy!" It was a little hard at first - she knows it all so well and I barely knew the basics, but over time I picked it up :-)

    Beyond that, it just takes experimenting and practice! I've found that the brands at drugstores and such is perfectly fine, especially if that's where your budget it (as mine is! I'd love to go to Sephora, but I can't afford it).

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  8. Emma,

    Thanks for sharing that! Yes, relationship is vital to any therapy working. I went to one therapist where we clearly didn't click, I stopped after 3 sessions. You need to feel comfortable sharing everything with the person.

    And you made a really great point about experience - having specific experience working with trans clients isn't necessary, a good therapist can work with almost any population, they'll learn from you and through research.


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  9. Hi everyone,

    There was recently, as part of a discussion in another Forum, some talk about mental health professionals. I thought it was worth putting this out as a separate Forum post, to give people an opportunity to talk about their own experiences working with mental health professionals and what they think is (or isn't) important in looking for one. The information I'm discussing below is specific to the U.S., so there will likely be differences in other countries (it also may at time be specific to New York - so my apologies if I get parochial at all).

    It's important to know that in most places you don't need any formal training or licensing to call yourself a "therapist."  So if you want to make sure you are going to someone who is properly trained and licensed (and licensing does provide some assurance that the person is responsible for following ethical guidelines, and that they will be properly trained and insured), you should also check the person's credentials (which shouldn't be hidden from view!). Therapy in the U.S. can be done by psychiatrists (who are medically trained), psychologists, social workers, mental health counselors and (other thoughts?). These are all trained, licensed professions (a social worker for example would have an LMSW and possibly LCSW license). To be licensed you have to complete a certain level of approved education, pass a licensing exam and meet other licensing requirements. Typically you also, initially, have to work under another person's supervision and have proper insurance. When it comes to cost, social workers and mental health counselors are typically going to cost less than psychiatrists and psychologists.

    Any of these can be properly trained to work with transgender issues - it's important to look to see if they have that training and/or have worked successfully with clients who are transgender.

    Another consideration is that, depending on what kind of medical transitioning you are thinking about, you'll probably need letters from mental health professionals to do that. It's a good idea to check your insurance (or medicaid, etc.) and/or the doctors you're thinking about working with to see what exactly they'll require (doctors usually just need whatever the insurance company requires). In my case, to get HRT I needed a therapy letter, and one from the mental health counselor I was seeing was sufficient. For my GCS I got a letter from my therapist (a mental health counselor) and had to get at least one from a Ph.D. level professional (a psychiatrist or psychologist). I was referred to a psychologist who met with me for one (90 minute) session and provided the letter (since I had one from my therapist already, he didn't require a lengthy process to provide the 2nd).

    Personally I've worked with 2 therapists in the time since I came out and transitioned, the first was a social worker, the second was a mental health counselor (I had to stop going to the first because he stopped taking my insurance). Both for fully qualified to work with transgender issues. One way of confirming that kind of thing also is to see if there are any mental health organizations in your area that make referrals - both of my therapists were affiliated with the Institute for Human Identity in NYC.

    So other thoughts on this topic?

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  10. Interesting article. I kind of look at it from 2 directions - first, if discrimination weren't a thing (wild hypothetical) this kind of research could ultimately help resolve gender dysphoria much earlier in life. If you could find that someone is trans from early on they could be spared years of emotional suffering.

    Now looking at the world as it is, it could help reduce discrimination (at least the kind written into laws) if a biological link is found. Either way, science is going to happen, there's no way to stop these discoveries even if they were problematic.

    Personally, I've thought about the argument that "science can't prove why you're trans so how do you know you are?" (My sister was among those who asked). My answer is "because I know." That should be enough, even if science can't find out "why we are trans," we are.

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  11. Hi all,

    On September 7-9, 2017 in Philadelphia they are holding the 16th Annual Trans Health Conference. I attended for the first time last year, but it was well worth the trip (from NYC, so not the longest of trips, but still).  I did the general admission last year (which is free), and it was worth the time. This year I'm doing the professional track (which was $85 for a student), so I have a lot more options of presentations. There are 2 professionals with whom I've worked who are doing presentations (the person I went to for voice training, and the surgeon who did my GCS). Marci Bowers is also doing a couple of presentations.

    I'd strongly recommend it for anyone who can get to Philadelphia and has the time!



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  12. I was having lunch with a friend today who is a military veteran - he was disgusted by this policy, but also horrified because of the impact it will have on the overall military. For one thing it's apparently difficult enough as it is to get troops ready for deployment, to arbitrarily kick out 15,000 people will make that problem so much worse. It also sets a horrible precedent, showing service members that a president can just decide to retroactively remove people from the services.

    Just wanted to add those points to the already obvious civil rights issues. 

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  13. Emma,

    I totally agree on your point about the term "agenda," I have no doubt she used that as a rebuke to conservatives who use it as a dirty word.

    I have to respectfully part ways with you on the use of the term "gay." I agree it is commonly used as an umbrella term for the LGBTQ community, but I think that's because of gay privilege within the "community," and it has been used to make our (transgender) issues, and us virtually invisible. I think it stands out to me as well because I don't identify as gay (or lesbian), since transitioning I identify my sexual orientation as straight. So I perhaps feel doubly-invisible as a result. It's one thing to use "gay" as a blanket term for "homosexual," I'll leave that battle for Lesbians to fight (or not) - but I can't accept it as a blanket term for all LGBTQ people, when some (many?) of us don't identity as gay or lesbian (with apologies to bisexual, pansexual, etc. individuals for being binary in my terminology). 

    The bottom line is that I plan to remain an agitator on this point :P - and I trust nobody's judgment on these issues, least of all my own!  Thomas Paine said that "eternal vigilance is the price of liberty," I think it's more appropriate to say that "eternal agitation is the price of liberty" (I suppose it depends on how much liberty you have to start with).



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  14. I agree with Briannah's point, it seems like socio-economic status was very likely a bigger factor across the board in terms of health impact than being transgender. It raises the question of why the sample they used was "younger, poorer, less white and more likely to be unemployed." One guess I have is how they sought out participants, that they may have mainly focused on community health service providers where they were more likely to find transgender people, and as a result the sampling of trans individuals was skewed.

    I'm a little troubled that they didn't address this issue in the article. Whether it was that their sampling method caused the skewing, or that trans people do, on average, tend to be "younger, poorer, less white and more likely to be unemployed," it's a cause for concern.

    Another point is that whenever you see a survey of trans people, it's much like it was with gay and lesbian people years ago, it skewed towards those who were willing to be open about it. So these might be interesting for conversation, but they will always be far from accurate until we live in a society where more/most trans people can live openly.

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  15. On the subject of the Supreme Court specifically, there is very good reason to be very pessimistic about the near and distant future. Although Goresuch didn't really change anything (he replaced Scalia, perhaps the worst bigot/sexist/homophobe/transphobe the court has ever seen). But Kennedy and Ginbsburg are both at an age where retirement could happen anytime, if Trump gets to nominate for one or both of them, the Court is lost for decades to come.

    After that bit of pessimism, I think that simply means having to put more effort into grassroots movements at the local and state level. And one thing that's been very encouraging in the past 6 months is the new level of activism in the country, triggered by Trump, and the intersectional nature of it! I increasingly see Black Lives Matter people, feminists, trans activists, etc. stepping up for each other's interests (in truth they're just realizing that there are so many shared interests). There will be set backs, especially at the federal level, but I still think the future will be better! Hopefully more and more cisgender, straight, white men will realize that there's a benefit to giving up their privilege and working to help everyone advance. (Hopefully Caitlyn Jenner will realize that too)

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  16. It's a tough line - it's good that more stories are out there, but troubling (to me anyway) that celebrities get so much more attention. So it's not really that they're saying anything, I have no problem with that, it's that it gets so much more attention than others who don't have the same advantages. But I don't imagine that society is going to change all that much too soon :-)

    In this case too I worry that the way Miley phrased it might contribute to the confusion people have over the difference between gender identity and sexual orientation. Having said that, at least in this case they were talking about themselves and their own identity. Another recent thing I saw was a picture of Jaden Smith wearing heels to some sort of event - whoever posted it was gushing over how brave he was and I thought "how so?" So that was a case where the media was attributing courage to someone who was more likely just looking for attention.

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  17. I get tired of celebrities, especially children, acting like they made some big discovery and are being courageous. This doesn't even make sense to me, gender and sexual orientation are totally different things, men and women can all be pansexual, how does discovering they're "unassigned" lead to that realization?

    Another celebrity getting attention for consequence-free "courage"

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