1. Annessa Jones
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    Annessa Jones New Member

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    Transgender/transsexual testimonials

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Annessa Jones, Apr 21, 2014.

    Hello,

    I am currently working on a script that has a very strong transgender/transsexual character. However I am neither of those and while I can read basic definitions all over the internet, I really would like some more personal "testimonials" from people who are practicing this lifestyle.

    If you know of any videos, websites, or blog posts I would love if you could post them on this thread.

    If you yourself are a practicing transgender/transsexual would you mind answering some of the questions below? (if you could just place the number of the question next to your answers so I know which ones you're answering I would be very appreciative)
    1. What is it like to feel like you don't belong in your assigned body?
    2. Did you feel relief or wholeness after having a gender reassignment surgery? Or do you feel like you will have relief or achieve wholeness if you have a gender reassignment surgery?
    3. (if you were born with a male body> ) What does it mean to you to be a woman?
    4. (if you were born with a female body> ) What does it mean to you to be a man?
    5. What does it mean to you to be loved, emotionally and/or physically, by someone of the sex that is opposite of your chosen gender?
    6. In what ways do you feel discriminated by other people?
    7. In what ways do you feel discriminated by religious people?
    8. How do you view religion?
    9. How do you view god?
    10. Do you struggle at at knowing that their are certain biological functions of the two genders that no surgery can give you (bearing a child, giving birth, menstrual cycle, having functional testicles/penis)?
    If you find any of my questions offensive please note that my social circles have never really crossed with people from the transgender/transsexual community and I honestly what to know what y'all think. I mean no offense. If you are offended by any of my questions please feel free to tell me why as that will in fact add to my research.

    Thank you guys so much for your help, any and all comments are very much appreciated!

    - AJ
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I am neither, but I am gay, and in light of these words right here...

    ...I do have some advice that will help you in what seems to be an honest quest for knowledge. :)

    This right here:

    ...Is going to turn people away from answering you, and is itself a part of the answers you are seeking. Gays, lesbians and transgendered people don't "practice" anything in the sense you are using that word, which I realize is similar to practicing doctor or practicing lawyer. It may sound like a very split hair, but that phrase is not a phrase we would ever use because it directs the paradigm at things that are done or actions carried out. Like being trans or gay is a thing you do. It's not. It's a thing you are. But of course, this is the very core of so many of the issues surrounding LGBT rights these day, right? There's no way for me to express in a way that becomes a knowledge in the mind of someone else that it doesn't matter if I leave my hubby and, for the sake of society, go find a gal who'll have me. I'm still gay. Nothing about me has changed. What I'm doing has altered, but not what I am being. But again, that's a solipsistic paradigm because the difference is something that exists within the paradigm of me and we don't have Matrix brain plugs so that one person can actually experience life through the paradigm of another person. I wish we did, if only for this one express purpose. o_O
     
  3. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    I know a number of male to female transsexuals.

    Transsexualism is a very complicated subject. The answers you seek will very greatly from person to person and by race and nationality as well. For instances, not while many male to female transsexuals desire SRS, not all do. There is also the risk of loss of orgasmic ability.

    Similarly, some identify as being female but still desire sexual relations with women and think of themselves as lesbian.

    Perhaps you should define the kind of story you want to tell more clearly before you look for people to ask your questions.
     
  4. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    A friend's daughter is transgender, so I've heard quite a bit about transgender issues. You can google, for a number of sites that discuss these issues. You could also see a book like Andrew Solomon's Far From the Tree, which has a chapter about parents raising transgender kids.

    But, it strikes me that some of your questions aren't unique to the transgender community. For example, your questions about what it means to be a man/woman. I think most trans people would just say that that is who they are -- that is, I don't think I could answer your question about what it means to be a woman. I don't know that I could answer what it means to be loved, or specifically, to be loved by my husband -- I don't think that question is going to be uniquely answered by someone who is trans or even by someone who is gay. While I think the answers would all be different from different people, I don't see how LGBT would be answering any differently as a group.

    Also, as noted above, transgender and homosexuality are not the same. Being gay/lesbian is about who you are attracted to. Being transgender is about who you feel you actually are. You could be gay and transgender, or you could be straight and transgender, even though based on your sex assignment at birth, outsiders might deem you to be gay.
     
  5. edamame
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    edamame Contributing Member Contributor

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    You can find more than basic definitions on the net. There are outspoken transgender/transsexual individuals who share their experiences to the media in order to foster understanding and stop prejudice. There are also news reports. There are personal testimonials on YouTube from transgendered people going through transition. I'd suggest you'd do some more research so you can understand the terms and issues involved before approaching people more personally. Coming in with some information will definitely foster trust.

    Here's two links I viewed on YouTube on my own. I encourage you to find more.
    1. Nong Troom - transgendered Thai boxer
    2. Living a transgendered childhood
     
  6. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Lurk. Join relevant forums or blog rolls and lurk. There's so much you can learn by lurking. Nothing wrong with asking questions per se, but speaking from experience, lurking has helped me quite a lot when I've tried to put myself into the shoes of someone I'm not.
     
  7. Lae
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    Lae Contributing Member Contributor

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    cant help with the questions, i dont know any TG people to ask either.

    what i do know is:
    lurking on the internet = Good, informative.
    lurking in your neighbourhood = put on a list....

    as @KaTrian said, definitely read on the internet, should be a plethora of info available, forums should be a gold mine.
     
  8. Hubardo
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    Hubardo Contributing Member Contributor

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    I also recommend lurking, and while you're at it, looking into the good old "how to be an ally" literature. Here's what came up first from Google: https://www.glaad.org/transgender/allies --- There are almost prerequisites they don't teach us in school for having these conversations.
     
  9. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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  10. SonnehLee
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    SonnehLee Contributing Member Contributor

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    Okay, so I am an Actual Trans Person(TM), and I'm gonna try to answer some of these questions and give you some resources.

    I'm gonna start with the GLAAD Media Reference Guide: It's built for reporters, but has a lot of useful information for any and all writers.

    The next thing you are going to want to do is build up a firm, complete understanding of the differences between sex, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.

    [​IMG]

    This is a nice place to start.

    Once you absolutely understand that, as in, you could teach it to a five year old and a group of frat boys, then you need to start reading stories written BY trans people.

    Check into Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg for fiction accounts, and also Transgender Warriors.

    Look into other stories by trans authors.

    Understand the medical side of transitioning. That means the different types of gender affirmation surgery, various hormones and their effects, etc.

    Learn the legal side. If your story is set in present day reality, learn the laws around transitioning in the area your story is set in.

    Then you need to think long and hard about WHY you want to write a transgender character. The world does not need more trans characters who exist to be trans, whose stories only revolve around being trans.

    As far as religious stuff, trans people are as varied in their religious experiences as cis people.
     
  11. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I am so soooooooooooo chuffed to see you back! :D:D:D Thanks for this, Lee. ;)
     
  12. Annessa Jones
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    Annessa Jones New Member

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    When I used the word "practicing" I meant it in the literal sense, meaning those who are currently participating in a transsexual/transgender lifestyle. Yes, it may be a thing that you are, but these questions are for the people who are specifically acting out of that lifestyle.
     
  13. obsidian_cicatrix
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    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

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    'participating'?

    'acting out'?

    Sorry, I don't mean to nitpick, but even in your reply to @Wreybies you've done the very thing he was trying to warn you away from. ;)
     
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  14. MLM
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    MLM Banned for trolling

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    How dramatic you make it all sound!
     
  15. obsidian_cicatrix
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    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

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    And how quick you are to jump in and stir.

    'acting out'

    That in itself hints of unreality and drama.

    The wording might not mean any thing to you, that is not to say that it isn't important to others.
     
  16. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Obs, he was probably responding to a now-deleted post.

    And I agree, wording matters. Besides, we're writers, we should know :)
     
  17. obsidian_cicatrix
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    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

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    Ta. @KaTrian. :D

    If that is the case, I sincerely apologise to @MLM, Just goes to show though... if you are determined to take exception to something that is written, it helps if you tag the person you are responding to.
     
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  18. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I think the root of @Wreybies' and @obsidian_cicatrix' concerns may lie in the usage of terms that suggest (even if it isn't your intent to do so) that being transgendered is something that someone chooses to do. I suspect that you are probably approaching this in the sense of scientific inquiry and thus are trying to adhere to a clinical nomenclature, but that probably will be very off-putting to someone dealing with gender issues. Society may be more open and accepting than it has ever been, but transgender issues still rank at the bottom of the acceptance continuum, and that will likely affect anyone who is responding to your questions. Sportswriter Tom Boswell once wrote, "there is no more compelling sentence in the English Language than 'tell me your story'". That's a lot different than "please answer these clinical questions about your condition".

    As an aside, I'm just curious as to why your character specifically needs to be transgendered. I ask because usually the characters I develop arise from a combination of the needs of the story and personal attributes I've observed in others. I try to make every aspect of every character relevant to the story. But I've observed on this site that some writers choose certain kinds of characters simply because it's the character de jour. For example, I've seen several people post that one of their characters was autistic, and then describe attributes of that character that couldn't possibly be consistent with autism. But if one really doesn't understand the intricacies of a character to begin with, how effective can one hope to make one's portrayal of that character?
     
  19. obsidian_cicatrix
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    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

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    @EdFromNY.

    Yup... that's my feeling. You are spot-on. I know that it probably seems I'm bowing to political correctness but that's not it at all. Like @KaTrian says:

    Words carry implications. When calling out, I think it's good to bear in mind that these are incredibly sensitive, personal issues and should be treated accordingly. Using appropriate language shows a level of respect in itself, that might make a person more comfortable talking about it.

    People often temper their responses to suit their audience.
     
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  20. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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  21. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    It's not a lifestyle. It's a life. @SonnehLee doesn't have a lifestyle. Lee has Lee's life.

    All trangendered people are "acting out of that lifestyle" as you say, in one fashion or another. It is a spectrum. Not a yes/no. Trying to "pass" or deny one's own trangenderness is itself part of the spectrum of being transgendered. You are drawing a line between action and inaction that may have meaning to you from an outside paradigm, but which from within the paradigm is meaningless. It's like saying "All elephants. Well, the ones who are actually elaphanting. Not the ones who aren't." What does that even mean? How does an elephant not elephant? You are carrying out research here that is clearly emic in technical nature, but is suffering from the classic flaw normally attributed to etic data.

    Again, I think your interest is genuine, but the responses from those who live lives that are "different" from the majority, when we point out the issues we take with certain verbiage, what we are pointing out is that the format of the questions themselves is in need of redress because they indicate assumptions that come prior in the order condescendi of your questions that are - we can assure you - incorrect, though you will never have more than our word to take on the matter because such is the insular nature of each and every human paradigm. We know only ourselves. All else is conjecture and opinion.
     
  22. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Classic.
     
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  23. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    According to Merriam-webster

    Transsexual- a person who tries to look, dress, and act like a member of the opposite sex; especially : someone who medically changes himself or herself into a member of the opposite sex,

    it is something you do
     
  24. obsidian_cicatrix
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    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

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    @123456789

    @SonnehLee provided a great diagram that pretty much blows that paltry definition clean out of the water and shows it to be a poor representation of the spectrum involved. Providing the Merriam-Webster definition, at this point, seems a bit like pedaling backward when trying to move forward.
     
  25. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm a woman. I exist; I have a life. But I don't see that life as me being a "practicing woman" or having a "woman lifestyle." I just call myself a woman. I suspect that someone who is transsexual would see it the same way.

    (And now I'm eyeing "woman" and "transsexual" and wondering if I've been offensive in equating them for the purpose of this analogy, through a failure to understand the nuances of the word transsexual. But I'm going to hope I haven't, or that someone will explain how I've got it wrong if I have.)
     

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