23 June, 2011

A Learning Moment

None of us are too old to learn again. I suppose that's why I'm eternally an optimist -- for as willing as I am to explain myself to those I meet in the hopes of opening new minds, I am just as willing to take criticism when it is fairly dished out.

And I'll be the first to admit that in my most recent post, I learned something.

I've never thought of myself as an elitist before. I've been struggling to get by in the lower class for a very long time, and when I see the persecution on all sides including race, gender, sex, and orientation, I guess I figured it couldn't be me. A couple of readers of this blog, new faces them all, I think showed me that that's certainly not the case. I had to take a closer look at myself from another perspective, and I didn't like what I saw.

As I said in the comments there, though, I also believe in integrity. I refuse to scrub the post, though clearly it is not accurate, as a sign of that. Sometimes it's too late to erase a mistake, and I realize that.

Keeping it short this time. With love~

13 June, 2011

Hyper Femininity in the Trans Community

Today's post may upset a few people, but please finish reading before blasting me too hard. As always, comments of any kind are always welcome.

Perhaps I'm standing in a strange spot, here. Perhaps my perspective is a little off - or even a lot off. But there's one thing I've noticed among transgender/transsexual women is something I've called, for the time being, Hyper Femininity. Let me explain, ladies.

Scenario: You just came home after a long day (or in cases like mine, night) of work, and all you want to do is get out of those damn clothes and have fun (disregarding for this scenario whether or not you're even out or dressing at work, doesn't apply here). But, it looks like none of your favorite hangouts are open, and you have some shopping and errands to do. Damn responsibility... *angrily shakes fist at empty space*

So you walk over to the closet and think about where you're going and what you're doing. Nothing glamourous, that's for sure. Do you grab some jeans and a simple top or T-shirt? I know I do. The Trans Hyper Feminine, however, due to reasons I cannot explain, grabs a nice dress or skirt. Like, with a very bright pattern, a full accessory spread, and plenty of stone/sequins works on it. What gives?

Are we so insecure in ourselves and our womanhood that we have to overcompensate? Is there something masculine or butch about slacks or jeans? Let's face it, they're a lot easier to deal with, especially if you have your hands full on a windy day! So where's the shame?

It's something I've seen time and again, and I don't know why. Believe me, I'm not a skirt-hater or anything; I wear one on stage all the time. But let's be realistic; most cis women would grab the T-shirt to get this job done. It just makes sense. Cis women don't feel the need to overcompensate for something like that; what makes trans women different?

I've even been attacked by trans women for wearing jeans to a trans club! You would think this is a joke, but this has happened many times. Suddenly I'm not as authentic, not "trans" enough (whatever the fuck that means) or not trying hard enough...even though this particular club is held in a dive bar, a place where, if it were not a trans club, would make me look ridiculous.

Perhaps I'm missing the point altogether. Maybe it's just me, I'm not qualified to speak because of my casual/soft-butch-with-hair identity. I don't know. Maybe someone can enlighten me? What's the appeal in looking ridiculously over-made-up for the situation?

Note: I know that I have trans men reading this as well, but I chose not to cover that side because I, in my limited experiences with trans men, have not seen the inverse (hyper masculinity) be even noticeable among the guys. Again, if I'm wrong in that department, feel free to let me know.

11 June, 2011

A Rebuttal to TGCD.net Admin Laura Gonzales

The following was posted to the TGCD.net forums in response to a front page blog in which admin Laura Gonzales, shortly after her SRS in Philadelphia, proceeded to issue a blanket condemnation of Non-US SRS surgeons. As someone who was asked, explicitly, all about my experiences in Bangkok with Dr. Pichet by this woman at a time when she herself was considering Dr. Suporn in the same city, I could not let this slide. I realize this is a bit of a side-step to my typical blog, but I wanted to provide an additional source for this document, as well, just in case the version on TGCD should "disappear."

Dear Laura:

I consider you a friend, and have since I met you. I can safely say that meeting the love of my life at your club changed me forever. For that, I do not want you to consider this an attack. However, your recent front page blog posting regarding US SRS doctors has me somewhat concerned, and more than a little upset!

In the months between my January SRS and yours in June, you approached me multiple times, both in person, and through various media, inquiring as to the services provided to me by my surgeon, Dr. Pichet Rodchareon of Bangkok, Thailand. I gave you my honest review, one that I have posted numerous times to many sites dedicated to the topic, and one that I repeat here below:

"Dr. Pichet Rodchareon, Dindaeng district, Bangkok, Thailand, of Bangkok Plastic Surgery, has been serving the cis & trans communities of the world for over 20 years. His training has taken him from Boston to Barcelona and beyond. His staff is comprised of men and women from all over with a full knowledge and experience of what it means to truly care for the trans community; indeed, the clinic includes several trans women among the nursing staff, as well. English, Japanese, and Chinese interpreters are available 24/7 while under care, and other interpreters can be arranged as needed.

When I arrived at the airport at 3am local time, the doctor had arrrainged a free shuttle to the hotel where I was booked. The next day, I was driven to the clinic itself for my first face-to-face consultation after many months of phone and e-mail conversations. I received a full step by step coverage, complete with pictures (to my mother's surprise, as she was not expecting them at first) detailing the procedure. Before any further preperations could be made, I had to be certified by another psychologist in Bangkok. I was shuttled, for free, to a nearby hospital for an objective 3rd party opinion. This was in addition to the previous psychological clearence I obtained from Dr. Paul Oberron in West Hollywood, back home.

Only after all was cleared and paperwork was provided for everyone's insurance records was the procedure to be finalized. The next morning, I was picked up again from my hotel, prepared to stay at the clinic for the next 4 days. The procedure went very smoothly, and for the next few days, I was the center of the staff's attention. I knew I could count on the nurses for medication, meals, exercise. On the 3rd day, even though I knew I could not take a full shower with the medical packing and catheter still in, I asked politely for a chance to wash my hair, and Ana, the senior nurse supervisor, personally walked me into the shower and helped me wash my hair and wipe my body down. Her nurses then took the extra time to style my hair for me. I felt so much better after that. I'll never forget those little things that made my experience so wonderful!

For the remainder of my 3 weeks in Bangkok, I continued to be examined twice a week or more to ensure that recovery would continue smoothly once I returned to the states. Throughout my entire stay, the same was always true: I was treated with amazing kindness and politeness. I never paid any extra fees once my initial charges were paid; every little medical supply was included. All of my transportation was included. The only things I needed to pay for were my hotel, airfare, and any extra sight seeing I wanted to do after discharge to the hotel. They even helped arrange for a two day excursion to Pattaya!

It has been 5 months now and I am fully recovered. I am completely orgasm-capable via clitoris or g-spot; I can even squirt (female ejaculation). I have all the functionality I could ever have wanted and more. And I was treated so well. I will continue to advocate for Dr. Pichet's practice and his wonderful, kind, caring, and incredibly knowledgable staff."

Back to you, Laura. You mentioned before you were looking into Dr. Suporn's practice several times after I came back from Dr. Pichet. I gave you what I knew. I find it very strange, then, that you now seem to condemn any person that wishes to travel outside the states for SRS. It has an almost classist tone to it, too; we know that many trans people need surgery in order to feel complete in their identity, and we also know that Western doctors, mostly due to US gouging in health care, cannot afford a US doctor. Asian doctors help provide that option to lower class trans people who need these services.

I wish you the best in your recovery.
With love,
~Sera Wohldmann