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Ask Dr. GenderFixIt (Tapestry No. 106) (2004)

Ask Dr. GenderFixIt (Tapestry No. 106) (2004)

©2004, 2013 by Dallas Denny

Source: Denny, Dallas. (2004, Summer). Ask Dr. GenderFixIt. Transgender Tapestry, 106, pp. 19-21.





Ask Dr. GenderFixIt

By Dallas Denny


Dear Dr. GenderFixIt:


My wife is being unreasonable. She severely restricts the amount of female clothing I can keep around the house. I’ve had to move everything to a 20′ x 20′ storage shed. She lets me use only one closet for my femme stuff! Can you give her a clue?


Man in Charge

Dear MIC:

Someone needs a clue here, and I’m not sure it’s your wife. A 400 square foot storage shed? Are you one of those Imelda Marcus type of crossdresser with 500 pairs of shoes and 100 wigs? I’ll just bet you are!

Marriage won’t work without compromise. Sounds like you’re being offered a one-closet compromise by your wife. My advice: take it. Use the storage shed for the overflow. Better yet, have a giant garage sale and use the proceeds to buy something nice for her.

Unless you’re wealthy, I would suggest you work out with your wife a budget for your crossdressing activities. I can’t be certain from your letter, but you may be a teensy bit out of control.

Dear Dr. GenderFixIt:


I have a problem. From the earliest age, I have felt like a man, although I have a female body and am short-statured.


I would very much like to transition to manhood, but having children is important in my Asian culture, very much a part of being a man. Can it be fixed so I can have children? If not, I’m not sure transition is the right thing for me. My family would disown me, and that is unacceptable if I can’t have a family of my own.


Help me. I feel like Mulan.



Who would ever have thought Disney would do a movie on genderbending in ancient China? Gotta love that reference!

A pearl of wisdom from Dr. GenderFixIt: It’s important to have a realistic perspective on sex reassignment. Dr. GenderFixIt’s recommendation is that you make a list with two columns marked Pro and Con and write down the things that mitigate toward you changing your body and gender role, and the things that mitigate toward you retaining your female body and role. That will help you make an informed decision.

Some things are simply outside the limits of early XXIst century medical science. To date, it has not been possible for either male-to-female or female-to-male transsexuals to have children in the non-natal role— that is, MTF’s cannot bear children, and FTMs cannot father children. Both MTFs and FTMs have been, however, exploring and exercising their reproductive abilities after transition. FTM Patrick Califia-Rice and his FTM then-partner Matt Stone, had a child, borne by I forget which one of the two, who stopped taking testosterone to facilitate the pregnancy. Pat and Matt (sounds like a Vaudeville act, dunnit?) took some heat from some just-don’t-get-it factions of the community for their decision. Some pre- and non-operative MTFs have taken holidays from estrogen to father children, and others have frozen their sperm for potential use at a later date.

While it’s more than theoretically possible to transplant ovaries into natal males and testicles into (onto?) natal females— in the mid-1990s Reuters reported such cross-transplants in China, and recently, in Saudi Arabia, there was an experimental womb transplant— it’s not practical. Without an ongoing regimen of anti-rejection drugs, the transplanted tissue would be lost, and the drugs have severe side effects which make them counterindicated except in life or death cases like heart, lung, kidney, or liver transplants.

So, Chin, while you may not have the options you want, you do have options. You can have children now, before your transition, or you can interrupt your transition at a later time in order to bear a child. You can also adopt, or you and your post-transition female partner can have a child by artificial insemination. These may be less than desirable choices in a culture which, like yours, places extreme value on family, but knowing your options can help you make a wise decision. Best of luck to you.

Dear Dr. Whatchamacallit:


I’m always been full of fire and genderrevolution, but something funny is happening. Since I got Outsterhouted (that is, had radical feminizing facial plastic surgery by Dr. Douglas Ousterhout) and scalp reduction surgery which let me get rid of the wig and use my own hair, I find I’m passing in public fairly well. Whereas before people would stare and sometimes laugh at me, now they mostly smile, and in a nice way. I’m starting to have something very much like the legendary “normal life” to which all transsexuals are supposed to aspire, and I’m finding I like it—a lot.


Last month I took one of those blue-haired bus trips with other ladies and a few gentlemen my age, and ever since I’ve been courted by two men a few years older than I am. They of course don’t know about my past. I’m afraid one or the other will see me on TV at some demonstration or protest and go into cardiac arrest.


So, should I go into stealth mode, or should I tell my suitors I’m a “special kind of woman” and hope for the best?




Two Wooed

Dear Two Wooed:

As with all things in life, there are positives and negatives to both stealth and out modes. You doubtless already know what they are, but here’s a recap: if you’re woodworking, life will proceed as if you were nontransgendered, until and unless— and usually it’s until— you’re publicly identified or read as transsexual. You may be outed by others, by circumstances (your suitor asks you “Who’s this “Bill” guy with his name in all your books?”), or by your physical characteristics. When it happens, there will be a crisis. Your relationship may or may not survive— but certainly, it will call into question issues of trust. There’s also the possibility that those close to you may react harshly or even violently. In the extreme case, the life you built so carefully may fall apart, leaving you with no resources or sources of support. On the other hand, it will be great until that day comes. On the other other hand, you’ll spend every waking moment anticipating and dreading that moment, and you’ll filter every reaction of others, every word said to or about you, asking yourself “Does he suspect?” “Has she figured it out?” And goddess forbid if you meet one of your trans friends in public. You’ll want to melt right through the sidewalk. (“Please, please, please don’t say anything, please don’t make eye contact, please don’t let on that you know me. Please, please, please!”). That’s the price you’ll pay for your passing.

If you’re out, your gains, especially in the relationship and employment departments, may be fewer and harder to achieve, but there’s little chance of your life collapsing because of your transsexual status— it will already be known by everyone. There will be no issues of breach of trust. The difficulty in your case is that both your suitors may run screaming if you tell them, or, more likely, say it’s okay but never call again. You may find it difficult or impossible to find a partner who can deal with your transsexualism.

In olden days, transsexuals were horrified at the idea that a partner might value them because of their gendered status. “I want a straight man!” was the paean of MTFs. Nowadays it’s okay for others to respect, like, and love us because of who we are, without us considering them perverts or kinks. There are many such persons, but certainly the pool of potential partners is much smaller than the pool for natal women and men. Those in stealth mode have access to the larger pool, but only if they don’t disclose.

Of course, you don’t have to choose one or the other strategies. You can disclose— or not— on a case-by-case basis, telling some, but not others. You might find just the right time to tell that certain someone, or that time may never come around.

Quite frankly, it’s no one’s business how we started out in life. On the practical side, however, everyone considers it their business. Good luck in your balancing act.

Hey, Doc!


I’m 15 years old. Thanks to the internet I’ve been able to get a pretty good education about transgenderism and figure out who I am. I’ve diagnosed myself as a MTF transsexual, primary type. I want to transition, but I’ve not told my parents. My dad is a deacon in one of those Bible-thumping churches, so things will probably not go well.


I’m just starting to get hair on my face. I could wait to transition, but I know that every day the “T” works on my body will make it harder for me to eventually pass. Right now I look great as a girl. That might not be so at 18 or 19, for the men in my family tend to be tall. What can I do?


T-Kid in Oregon

Dear T-Kid

I know your quandary; it was once (many years ago) my own.

When you’re a minor, you’re at the mercy of your parents. Completely. They, and not you, decide where you’re going to go, what you’re going to wear, what you’re going to eat, who your friends will be, and on and on. Sucks, don’t it? I thought so when I was your age, and I still think so 40 years later.

Considering the large number of immature and unwise adults who are making perfect hashes of their lives and the lives of others, perhaps it shouldn’t be the attainment of a certain age that confers legal independence. Perhaps the criteria for adulthood should be based on competency rather than age.

While our society has moved slowly in the direction of autonomy for those who have not yet reached their 18th birthday, you remain in effect chattel. Your life is not your own.

That said, you should listen to your inner self in order to keep yourself out of danger. If your parents have a hysterical or overly punitive or (heaven forbid!) violent reaction to the disclosure of your transgender status, your life could take a sudden and unfortunate turn. You’re the best judge of the likely outcome. Would you be kicked out of the house? Turned over to fundamentalist brainwashers? Shipped off to military school? Beaten to a bloody pulp? Prayed over? Or would your parents go bonkers but calm down after a few days or weeks and begin to deal productively with your issue? You should trust your instinct of when and if it’s safe— or not— to disclose.

Without hormonal intervention, your body will certainly masculinize between now and your 18th birthday. There may be little you can do about it— but you may find your parents surprise you, after the requisite period of freaking out, by being supportive and willing to consider getting you to a supportive therapist (by which I mean a therapist who will offer emotional support and practical suggestions, not someone who will automatically tell your parents you need to be on hormones). Considering the tendency of males in your family toward tallness, Mom and Dad may even agree to a puberty-delaying tactic like the administration of anti-androgens. This has been done for more than 10 years in the Netherlands.

One thing you can do is to line up your ducks so you can move quickly when you do turn 18. You can take advantage of the time between now and that magical birthday to work through your issues thoroughly so that when you reach your majority you can move swiftly and with sure knowledge that it’s the right decision for you. One thing you can do is to find a gender-specializing counselor and get things ready for a ‘script on your 18th birthday.

Dear Doctor GenderFixIt:


I’m so mad! I went to a support group in my city and was told I wasn’t welcome because I’m gay. It’s not a Tri-Ess group; I sort of understand their reasons. This was supposed to be a group for transsexuals, but because I like men (always have!) and don’t make a secret of it, and because I don’t choose to look like a PTA lady, it was suggested I “find a group more suitable.”


Who are these folks kidding? How can they be transsexual and homophobic? And more importantly, how can I find the support I need? The only two groups in town are a Tri-Ess chapter and this group of homophobic “transsexuals.”



Dear Yatzee:

Ain’t male privilege a wonderful thing?! These guys (I’m using the word guys in a generic sense, mostly) are changing their sex while retaining all their elitism and anti-feminism and homophobia. Isn’t that special? Boy, will they be in for a rude surprise one of these days when they find there’s more to sex reassignment than just dressing up!

You can spend a lot of time and energy trying to change an institution that doesn’t want to be changed and will resist your efforts and will vilify you for trying to change it— or you can simply go elsewhere. Since you’re unlikely to find acceptance at either group in your town, you’ll have to find support elsewhere. Perhaps you can travel several times a year to a gender conference like Southern Comfort, Be-All, The IFGE Coming Together, or Fantasia Fair. Perhaps you can find an appropriate group in a city within reasonable driving distance. Perhaps you can find support on the internet. And perhaps you’ll start your own group, one that is truly open. If so, I think you’ll find a number of others who, like you, are dissatisfied with the existing choices.

Good luck!

Dear Doccta:

So, here’s the deal. Last year I was a big hit at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival because of my facial hair. I was like the King Dyke in the mosh pyt (I thought I would f*ck with the spelling of “pit”). Other womyn really liked my stubble and wanted facial hair for themselves.


Of course, the way I got it was by injecting “T.” I like the way it makes me feel and look, especially the delicious horniness. Problem is, now that it’s time for Mychigan again (I’m doing it again!), I’m not sure I would be welcome, because, well, one year of “T” has made me look a bit like Tony Soprano, badda bing, badda bang, badda boom. My voice is low and raspy, I got hair everywhere, even in my ears, and my hairline is already receding.


I still identify as a dyke, but I’m not sure this will be acceptable to the other womyn at Michigan. Of course, many of the dykes there are playing with testosterone too, but I’m ‘way ahead of the masculinization curve and I’m afraid I’ll be accused of bringing the dreaded, ever-offensive male energy onto the land, or worse, getting kicked out of the festival along with the MTF transsexuals.

Help, plizz!


“T” Bone

Dear “T: Bone:

See this line? Step across it. I dare you! Okay, now step across this one. Knock this chip off my shoulder! Silly, isn’t it?

By the “womyn born womyn” rules of the MWMF, you’re eligible to attend. You can stand on that right. On the other hand, you rightfully perceive that your appearance will cause consternation. Truth is, you’ve reached a point that you no longer look like a female. Even if you identify as a womyn, others will treat you as a myn (see, I can muck with the spelling, too!). This is a predicament similar to that of MTF transsexuals.

As I said, you can stand on your right to attend the festival— in fact, you might get some mileage out of it if you go to the press. Or it might be time to just let to let go of womyn-only space and explore the new spaces that are open to you as a man. Good luck, whatever you decide.