Monday, September 29, 2008


A lot of people mention it, but you rarely see it. Sure, there was a study on the brains of transsexuals and there have been other transsexual related studies such as regret and so forth, but not many studies have been done in general.

Of course, one of the general hurdles of any study involving medical histories is the privacy of all of it, with the grandest hurdle finding anyone that will fund a study on transsexuals.

My health care provider, Kaiser, though, is undertaking a huge research study on genetics. This article from last year outlined the initial study, and earlier this year they sent out questionnaires for potential participants. I received the questionnaire and recently got another notice that they'll be sending out the packet for me to either donate blood or a buccal swab (recent press release on topic).

It's an interesting study, and although there are always privacy risks (not to mention dealing with having the stupid Y chromosome pop up for a female), I think the benefits of the huge database for the future of health care outweigh the potential negative effects of any data being used for evil purposes. Kaiser has treated me well, and I figure this helps give back to the general medical community...especially when they are potentially using some of the stuff we do at my company.

Perhaps one day, Kaiser can string together some of the genetic analysis of their transgender patients and find something that helps in our care. Yes, I know there are the downsides of spotting genetic markers on people...and having false positives, or positive negatives...but you never know what they might find to lend either favorable validity or care.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A good run

She did well...and that's not considering her background. Isis, the transgender woman on America's Next Top Model made it all the way to the top 10...but was booted tonight after the photo shoot.

She had some really good strengths. She could walk the walk and she had the sass, but at times, she just lacked a bit of confidence...but a lot of that was what most transgender women deal with...and in this case, she was dealing with it in front of the TV audience.

I bet if they hadn't been in the water, she wouldn't have been booted. You see, they had the models in the water wearing skin colored swim suits while only shooting their eyes above the water. Isis just had trouble any time they put her in a swim suit because she was afraid "things" would pop out.

I can totally relate to a lot of the issues she was probably dealing with...on the transgender side, but not with the various issues of competing against a lot of very pretty women. I couldn't actually imagine having to deal with that.

She should be very proud of how far she made it and how much she was hopefully able to educate those that watch the show.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Brunch in the Castro

I had brunch in the Castro this past weekend. When I was walking back to my car, I noticed this mannequin in the window of one of the many "video stores" of the Castro. Actually, I saw the window display, walked several more steps, then realized what I saw, and went back to snap this photo.

Someone actually put a transgender mannequin out. I have no idea if the mannequin was designed to be transgender, or if they simply placed a penis in the underwear of a female mannequin. (Would it actually be called a womannequin?)

There are a number of "video stores" in the Castro, and a lot of them actually have what would be considered "shemale porn". I know this because my recent date (not for brunch) was an hour late, and I dipped in and out of many Castro shops to kill time. I know people might think "Kara, why are you going in the video porn stores"...well, as it happened, my date was back on Labor Day, so most shops in the Castro were closed, thank you very much.

So, yeah, I'm actually trying the dating thing. I joined one of the local online dating sites and have had a little success. The hard part is I have been super busy with sports and a ton of stuff going on at work, that it's hard to get out and meet new people.

Oh, and I got a new phone. Yes, I succumbed and bought the new iPhone (which I used to take the picture above)...and I have to say, I am totally addicted to it...the phone, not the picture. I still need to load a little music on it, but I love having access to the internet, maps, real time football scores, and even a little black jack game I downloaded to kill time. Perhaps that will help keep me out of the video porn stores in the future.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

How it all ends

Everything ends. It’s such a grim statement, but, unfortunately, it’s the honest truth. I suppose if you look at things relatively, though, some things never end.

The river will always flow, the ocean will always spray, the earth will always spin, the sun will always least they most likely will in our lifetimes.

I’m flying home today. In the flight from San Francisco to LA and then on to Oz, I’ve spent the past few hours reading Randy Pausch’s book The Last Lecture. Randy Pausch delivered his Last Lecture at Carnegie Melon almost a year ago, and if you haven’t seen the video by now or at least heard about all of it, it’s really worth taking a glimpse. In this case, I actually recommend watching the movie first before reading the book. I just realized this, but, believe it or not, I’ve always wanted to say that AND actually mean it.

Anyway, while having seen the Last Lecture from last year, I knew I had to get the book when I saw it in the store. I don’t read many books. I know, I’m bad...I should read more. But out of those books I have read, I’ve read some good ones. And, hell, if someone ever asks me what was the last book I read, I’ll be able to say “The Last Lecture”.

A good portion of the book was already presented at the actual lecture, but there is enough new material that it actually gives you some of the back story and post-lecture information to make it a really good read.

There were times when I was reading the book where I just plain started to cry. Sometimes I had to put the book down and stop reading just due to the overload. The domino effect, the stuffed animals, the happy stories, the feel good situations. And as I approached the ending, I really didn’t want it all to end. I already know the ending...Randy died in July. The book was finished earlier this year.

I have trouble with death. I always have.

I used to be a huge ER fan. Yes, the TV show on NBC. My favorite characters were Dr. Greene and Dr. Carter. When it was announced that Anthony Edwards was leaving the show and they would be killing off his character via a brain tumor, I had a hard time with it. In fact, I have never seen his last episode. I don’t know if I can make it through the show without having issues. Of course, that show aired back in like 2002 when I was dealing with my own transition related anxieties. I don’t know if I could make it through it now, or if it would just bring up old memories.

And as I neared the end of The Last Lecture, I really just wanted to put the book down and not dig up any issues of someone’s dying lecture...especially the touching messages he left his wife and his young kids.

But then it made me mom isn’t too far from Randy’s position. Her cancer hasn’t reached the metastasized stated that Randy’s reached...and she’s still in the fighting mode rather than the terminal stage, but she is forced to face the inevitable end sooner rather later.

Everything ends. Everything begins, too. And in between the beginning and the end, we live. It’s not obsessing over the ending, I suppose. But, in certain cases, people have the opportunity to say good bye in their own way.

If I died today, I have no message to anyone. My legacy is only written here in this blog and in the 4 or 5 journals I wrote from 1988 until I started writing online in 2003. And even then, I hid most of the T thoughts that wrecked my, it’s only half the story. I have no message to my parents, my sister, my nephews, or my friends.

My only message is in how I have lived my life. Randy did a great job in presenting his last lecture, and a wonderful job (along with a ghost writer) of putting together the finishing touches in something he likely wouldn’t have been able to present in the actual lecture due to time constraints and the emotional duress of very personal statements to his family. He says good bye on his own terms, and while he would have preferred to stick around a lot longer, he was able to leave a message to all.

And that message? While the theme of his message is that we all have dreams and if we want to fulfill those dreams, it just takes hard effort and determination to make them happen, the main message is how to lead and live your life. Even Randy mentions that he wants his children to do what they want to do...he doesn’t want to force them into something they may not want to do.

But that’s YOUR life.

I had no idea how to end an entry entitled "How it all ends". I’ve written a few things out, but they don’t really sound right. And then I thought, as I sit in my parent’s home finishing this entry, that I’m glad to see my mom...and I’m glad I finished Randy’s book...because it makes every moment with her seem that much more special.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

America's Next Top Model....

...actually could be Isis.

I was a little late in getting home from softball, but I was able to catch the last half of the show. OK, I'll admit, I haven't caught many episodes of this show before, but I have seen a few.

They mentioned the transgender stuff early on, but they kept it fairly general. A few of the girls claimed to be of the "small town" variety and "you'd get shot" for walking around like reference to Isis. She's got her allies, though. A few of the girls have their own various backgrounds, and I suppose you can't understand others until you've understood yourself. We'll get to know the girls over the next few months, but from what I saw, Isis has a decent shot...even with the cards stacked against her.

On a real positive note, though, the judges have been exposed to all of the LGBT stuff before. Two of the judges are gay, and Tyra has always had a positive spin on transgender women previously on her talk show. And, of course, they are the ones that put Isis on the show in the first place.

Isis looks pretty decent, is tall and skinny, and doesn't have many male features with her face. Of course, many of the male features that she does have are present on a lot of the top models anyway, so that part doesn't really matter. She could definitely use some voice work because that's about her only male feature.

She has her work cut out for her, but she has potential. A lot of potential. She just needs to be true to herself and try not to let the bad ones ones affect her. They showed some of the girls already picking on her, but I think they have enough girls on the show that are secure with themselves, that Isis will have her allies.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Labor Day

My electrologist had a business adventure this weekend which prevented her from keeping our usual appointments. Last weekend, however, she did offer to get me in on Sunday. I called her yesterday, and she was able to get me in this morning. Yeah, I guess that makes me evil for making her work on a holiday. She was able to get me in for 3 hours, with a break about halfway through. We folded TGSF newsletters during her coffee break and completed them afterward.

You better work, covergirl, work it girl!

Last week, Mark was a little more active than normal. He tends to be more social than most engineers, and very observant. He likes to stop by and converse about topics like football, politics, long hair:

“Do you run every day?” Mark asks.

“Well, I play and I have dance class twice a week.”

Mark’s eyes lit up. “Dance class???”

Another coworker chimes in “Pretty soon he’ll be walking and dancing around like one of the girls.”

Mark has to throw in one of his comments by stating “He already has the hair.”

“Hey...w h a t e v e r!” as I laughed it off.

Do a twirl on the runway...supermodel of the world!

While asking my boss a question one day, I made notice that he was wearing a very unique new shirt. Him and another coworker then took notice of my rather bland midwestern style. They said I needed to go with something different and take a little risk. I guess they didn’t spot the bra I was wearing.

Speaking of my boy clothes, I was walking on my work-campus when I noticed that my shoe was rattling. That’s strange. I got back to my desk and further inspected my shoe. It appears that one of the back portions of the sole has worn through the bottom portion and exposed the inner air pocket. A rock found its way up in to that cavity and was rattling around. I haven’t bought many new men’s clothes because I’m aiming to transition early next year. I need to stretch the physical condition of my current clothes out in the meantime and hope that they last. The pants have a few holes trying to form in the back area right near the pockets, the shoes are obviously falling apart, and I have a few dress shirts that have worn out the edge of the cuff section. I think I can stretch another 4-5 months out of all of them. I figure the last thing I am going to buy is a pair of shoe laces to replace the one I recently broke (it’s tied in a knot currently).

Wet your lips and make love to the camera!

Mark, my boss, and I are walking back from a meeting when somehow we got on the topic of me always following the rules.

One of them quips “You’re a character right out of Dilbert.”

I provoke “Which one? The short bald guy?”

“Yeah, Wally, the short bald guy!” my boss says.

Mark of course, doesn’t let it stop there and chimes in, “I was thinking the long haired woman.”

“Mark has to give me his weekly crap,” I say to my boss in a manner suggesting Mark is just giving me his usual schmidt.

Mark amusingly responds, “Yep, just when I think I’m running out of material you do something new.”

Sashay, Shante’

On my way to the cafeteria this past Friday, Mark is walking in at the same time. He asks me if I am eating at the cafeteria which I interpret as “would you stay here and eat lunch with me so I don’t look like a doofus eating lunch alone.” I tell him sure.

We sit down for lunch, and another coworker that I don’t know sits down at the table with Mark and I. We get on the subject of a coworker getting married, who just happens to be a guy with long hair. I ask Mark if he gives him any crap about his hair. Mark says, “No," and this is where things got interesting.

The guy who sat down with us says to Mark, “Mark, you can’t make comments like that. HR has a policy against that type of stuff.”

I just met the guy, and already I like him.

Mark responds with “They weren’t sexual comments. You’re always making comments like that,” referring to me.

He’s right, I do make some comments, but they are usually of a different nature. I don’t root for the 49ers or Raiders, so I take some slack rooting for midwest teams like the Packers and Rams. I just happen to give a lot of that slack back. It’s all meant as jocular humor and friendly banter. Anyway, I found it humorous that this guy stated what I can’t really enforce. Am I supposed to walk in to HR and say, “Hey, this guy keeps thinking I am a girl.”

I told Courtney this story and she said I should tell him or my superiors about his comments. I, however, remembered Courtney telling me about an incidence she had occur at work a number of weeks back. A bunch of her coworkers were discussing an article that was out that day about a TS in prison that sued to have the state pay for it all. I guess a coworker came up to her later that same day and asked her if she was ‘flipping.’ I asked her if she reported him to HR, but she said no since she didn’t want to cause any trouble. I feel the same way about reporting anything to HR...why clue them in to a situation I’m not comfortable sharing with them at this time.