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 Leaving an identity behind

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Lise
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PostSubject: Leaving an identity behind    Mon Jun 24, 2013 12:52 am

I'm posting a few more thoughts that were leftover from a previous thread which was abruptly terminated due to a flash-mob type of group hug, or something, I can't quite remember. I was tempted to object at the time, not being the huggy-bear type myself, but I was busy arranging my feathers back into place.

Anyway, I am puzzled by the idea that one can take on a new name and identity, as part of transition to a new gender identity, and feel that their former identity is something that they should not expect to be associated with or have acknowledged from time to time by others who are aware of it. I understand the concept of security and safety, like someone who receives a new identity as part of a witness protection program, or perhaps someone who is trying to remain hidden from an abusive ex-partner, something like that.  With a change in gender identity, do most people basically start anew, as if their new name is who they have always been? Does the former identity become something taboo to mention? I'm not trying to start a ruckus with anyone with these questions, actually I would like to understand. I'm wondering how they interact with people who knew them prior to the transition, and at least initially, would continue to relate to them based on that previous experience.

I'm not expressing this very well. I guess I don't understand, first of all, how a person could really conceal the fact that they had been a different gender previously, and second, should we presume that having their former identity "outed" automatically puts them at risk? 

Sometimes I don't connect the dots well, I guess this is one of those areas -
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Leaving an identity behind    Mon Jun 24, 2013 4:24 am

I have to my knowledge met one person who was a man then had a sex change . I have to admit i was on unsure ground,because it  was new for me. the new lady worked for me ,so she was very open about the whole thing,I was free to ask any question, if there was not a work question there would have been no question or answer needed.the lady I have to say had no problem with it at all she had a new name , I did not have a problem but I remained puzzled but only as I was not sure if she was a man who had his genitals removed or she was really a woman,I gave up puzzling it out and there were no problems,she felt she was not a man inside,and that must be a tough place to be..I am not sure she understood it so I did not feel out of place not understanding it either. referring to your question,other than have a new name she did not try and hide her past,she had fathered kids and I think they were alright about it,she was fine about explaining who she was  and who she felt she wanted to be.
I think the sad thing for people like this lady is she wants to be a lady and she never can be she can have relationships with a man but she would always be someone who was a man and then had an operation to remove his manhood to become a woman,All i can say is the lady I met seemed very happy with her decision was very open about it and felt she got there in the end,do we all have the Buddha nature? we certainly do,even confused people like me.
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving an identity behind    Mon Jun 24, 2013 1:12 pm

Please save me a seat in the confused club - I seem to spend more time there and could use a rest.

Your mention of the lady at work makes me think of a comment I heard or read somewhere, can't recall what it was. The man being interviewed gave the impression that he found his own situation difficult for the reason you mentioned -  he felt he should have been born female and he sees himself as female, and he wanted to relate to men as if he were.  He wasn't seeking a same-sex connection as one man with another - he wanted to connect as a female with a heterosexual man.  He was convinced that this was hopeless because he felt that sex reassignment would not succeed in making him desirable as a partner to a straight man. I'm sure there are enough examples to the contrary, to show that is possible, but he didn't have any faith that this would happen for him. Very moving story, quite sad.
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Howard

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PostSubject: Re: Leaving an identity behind    Mon Jun 24, 2013 1:20 pm

This is going to sound strange but I think much of this is about location, location, location.
I think it's not so much a gender change situation but a where do you choose to live, work and how the folks in those areas are likely to relate to who you are!
An example of this was a snippet on the news about a Pentecostal minister who became an atheist.
He was hounded out of his community for his decision. He had thought he would be able to just leave his ministry & quietly go about life but found this was not to be. When the interviewer asked him to explain the hate that was directed towards him and how determined some folks where on hunting him down, he said it was if he'd been an American solder who had joined the Taliban.
Now I know if he had lived in Vancouver BC, his decision would not have raised an eye brow but his home was the in the American south.
The same applies to anyone, anywhere who steps out of what the local society considers "normal". This comes down to the parameters of what defines the identity of any grouping of people and that is different from area to area.
 
Because of this there can be no set policy about how to respond to someone who has changed gender because it very much depends on who they live around. All one can do is to tread softly in a communication media so as to not personally identify anyone without their permission because who knows what community they are currently living amongst.

As far as safety...
If someone changes jobs or location with a sex change, then this says to be cautious about your info of their previous gender because they probably are.
If they have not changed jobs or location then it's not likely to be much of a secret to keep.
Face to face conversation with a gender changed person is really about respect as it is with any individual.


Last edited by Howard on Mon Jun 24, 2013 2:30 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving an identity behind    Mon Jun 24, 2013 2:20 pm

I see your point and agree, the environment might not support openness about a former identity.

I still wonder how they deal with the connections, contacts, follow-on, or whatever from one's previous life -  those don't disappear completely I'd suppose.  Maybe people maintain parallel tracks for awhile, without disclosing (fully or partially) that they are leading another life, or have led one - you'd have to vigilant about what was said to whom, who knew what, etc. 

I saw the story recently on CCN about a former Navy Seal and his life now, after sex reassignment surgery. Just leaving the house was risky for him because he'd been attacked, presumably by persons who don't tolerate the kind of differences he embodies. Although he did very well with a female hairstyle, makeup, clothing, I think most people would surmise he had been born male, and this made him a target for abuse. I don't recall from the episode whether he was asked about his choice of where to live -  maybe he's not able to choose at the moment.
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving an identity behind    Mon Jun 24, 2013 2:24 pm

It was not that long ago when it was illegal to be gay over here, now it is open and I do not think too many issues,I am sure most towns have gay clubs, I have never been but I know people who are not gay go because they prefer the atmosphere, and i know a transvestite who goes and does elaborate changes because he feels he can do that there and not in a straight club, he also goes with his girlfriend,he is not gay but likes dressing up. So maybe location is an aspect of this, I dont have any issues but I do remain in the confused club if I think about it or discuss it, I have to say the new lady did not have any issues at all about it,the issues were other peoples. I wonder if you have heard of Quenton Crisp who was one of the first open homosexuals over here. As he got older he said he would never be happy because what he wanted was to be loved by a real man meaning hetero sexual, and he did not feel he could as the real man for him was a man that loved a woman. I discussed this topic with a couple of women today, one felt that she would feel that a man who had had a sex change operation would be a woman, the other thought the person would remain a man who had had surgery. However I do not know how people feel  when they say they feel trapped in the wrong body, or even born with male and female genitals, or simply being gay,I think it is good that our society does help to sort it out and actually in most locations I do not think there are issues, but I do not know.
On another note Howard i have at long last found out 28 Avenue in city of Surrey Vancouver was once Oliver Road named after my Grandparents,
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving an identity behind    Mon Jun 24, 2013 4:27 pm

Two points that come to mind..
 
This may be hard for a lot of folks to get but many gender changed folks can take offence to being equated as being gay. You can imagine how annoying that would be if you didn't think of yourself as gay. Don't assume.
  &
It is pretty common for folks who have difficulties with conservative attitudes to move to the bigger cities for the anonymity it provides. This at least happens in Vancouver from the many smaller rural communities. Big cities often tolerate a wider range of folks as long as they play by city rules.
Conversely, most folks who can't play by city rules usually move away to more rural places where they don't feel so constrained.
Even so, folks will and do make Vancouver a destination just to commit hate crimes afforded by plentiful targets. The only counter point to this sad fact is that many of them are caught through the local citizenry themselves who are quick to call police when seeing harassing actions.

PS Michael
Sounds like someones been doing some ancestory research. Those grandfolks must have made a name for themselves to get a road named for themselves ( unless they made the road). Surrey is beside Whiterock where you once mentioned another relative.
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving an identity behind    Mon Jun 24, 2013 4:44 pm

Who is assuming anyone is gay, I personally do not really know how people who want to change their sex think about themselves or others. Where I live we are very laid back and really very tolerant of other people so to my knowledge we do not get these hate crimes, in fact certain people are often sent here to help identity change
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving an identity behind    Mon Jun 24, 2013 5:23 pm

Howard wrote:
Two points that come to mind..
 
This may be hard for a lot of folks to get but many gender changed folks can take offence to being equated as being gay. You can imagine how annoying that would be if you didn't think of yourself as gay. Don't assume.
 

I don't think I or Michael got the issues of gender vs. sexual orientation mixed up in the above posts, but I agree we should not assume.

A friend of mine assumed once and then told me about her experience. Through a social club for hikers, my friend became acquainted with a transgender woman who had been a man, in a marriage with a woman. In her new life, the transgendered woman continued to be attracted to straight women, and was unabashedly trying to romance different girls in the hiking club. Straight girls. My friend, initially, had assumed that this woman would be interested in men, and therefore mis-read the cues about who/what the woman was actually interested in. Confusing? Absolutely, and I don't know what the solution is -  invite people to fill out a questionnaire that lets them place themselves somewhere along the spectrum between "straight as an arrow" and "gay as a day in June"?

I should quit probably, before I get into trouble again. I know this is a serious topic and I don't mean to make light of the difficulties, but there is humour in it as well.  Sometimes I think we're all in a production of  "La Cage aux Folles" but we just aren't aware of it -
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving an identity behind    Mon Jun 24, 2013 5:58 pm

@Michael
The PS pertained only to your comment about the street naming, not the equating of gender change with being gay or to anyone of the previous postings.
The assuming person was me years ago when someone corrected my assumption but I've noticed it remains a pretty common public view today.

On the other side of that issue are those who seem to walk around like gunslingers with an itchy trigger fingers just looking for another possible case of sexual political incorrectness to draw down on. Those are the really troublesome folks to converse about this with because it's become all about identity creation and protection over any exchange.
 
Becoming mired in identity seems an antonym to a meditation practise and
I've found more tolerance of others in those that I would say are Sangha, than just about anywhere else.
Actually that's a large part of my definition of what a Sangha is.

(Now if I could just figure out what keeps mixing up my fonts here.)
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving an identity behind    Tue Jun 25, 2013 1:06 am

Thanks for clearing that up Howard,
In my opinion and view we are allowed to be who we want to be much more so than at previous times. There was a vote passed in parliament over here very recently to not oppose gay marriage,and legal civil partnerships have been legal for some time, this is a huge step forward from 20/30 years ago,I think we are being lead politically for change and acceptance and tolerance for all different types of religion a nd people,that we may not understand and may once have been opposed to. I personally think this is very good as there are many people that I do not understand. the world has made some good progress,who would have thought we would see a black president in South Africa,and i believe that many people around the world will be very sad when the time comes and Nelson Mandela does not recover from his illness. I tend to be like Lise transgender and related aspects is outside my spectrum of understanding but not outside my respect and tolerance
When my grandfather returned from fighting in Europe in the first world war he along with other soldiers was given 20 acres of land,his 20 acres was 28th Avenue,very sadly he was gassed in the trenches where he fought and died very early in life at 32 never seeing his family grow up, my mother went to Kensington Prairie school a 2 room shack and the school with its extentions closed in 2006. The world has changed so much, In Cornwall we try not to change although we do, we hang on to the old ways of speech,and humor, people know you  for who you are, and like the familiarity of seeing the same faces. Driving 7 miles to work going down beautiful tree lined lanes I tend to see the same cars and same people I like that or as we say 'ansum (handsome)
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