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But It All Seems So Normal! (2004)

But It All Seems So Normal! (2004)

©2004, 2013 by Dallas Denny

Source: Denny, Dallas. (2004, Winter). A word from the editor: But it all seems so normal! Transgender Tapestry, 104, pp. 6-7.






But It All Seems so Normal!

By Dallas Denny


Here’s a brief overview of my life:

  • For the past 13 years I’ve worked for a county agency as a behavior specialist. My job responsibilities include psychological and behavioral assessments, client rights investigations, and the development and monitoring of behavioral intervention plans. I work 40 hours a week and try to cram my other activities and nightly sleep into the remaining hours.
  • I’m editor of this journal. The internet has made it possible to do almost everything via the computer, from submissions to editing to fine-tuning the laid-out pages, but editorial decisions, correspondence with authors, and back-and-forths with Art Director Nicole Veneto, IFGE Board Chair Hawk Stone, and Executive Director Denise Leclaire take the same time and energy as they did in Benjamin Franklin’s day.
  • I’m chair of the planning committee for Fantasia Fair, a week-long transgender event held in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Telephone conference calls and the internet streamline the planning process, but the work remains the same: registration, programming, planning the fabulous Fantasia Fair Follies and the Fantasia Fair Fashion Show, advertising the event, liaison with restaurants, constructing and printing the program book and other materials.
  •  I’m a first-time homeowner; buying my house led both to an ongoing do-it-yourself home improvement project and to my first political experience as I joined with other citizens to safeguard the future of our tiny (pop. 610) city.
  •  I’m a writer. My first play has been selected for production this fall as part of the first transgender theatre festival in New York, and I usually have two or three gender-related articles and book chapters and a fiction project or two in various states of production or publication.
  •  I have the requisite number of acquaintances, friends, family, group affiliations, hobbies, and avocations.
  •  Such is my life.

I forget sometimes that according to whom you ask, I am immoral, debased, sinful, mentally ill, a fraud, a pervert, a repressed homosexual, or— my favorite—a tool of the patriarchy. I forget I am all this.

Please forgive me. It’s just that 14 years after my transition and 12 years after SRS, my life seems, so, so… normal! I forget that God hates me because— I’m not sure why he hates me. I just know highfalutin’ Christians like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell and Fred Phelps assure me He hates me. I forget I’m a pervert, because— I’m not sure why I’m a pervert, but Anne Lawrence and Ray Blanchard tell me I am. I forget that I have “mutilated” my body, as asserted by the likes of Sharon Olds and D. Birkett. I forget I’m mentally ill, as determined by Paul McHugh, Charles Socarides, and other psychiatrists who are sure they are the experts. I forget I’m a repressed gay man, as has been repeatedly claimed by uh, gay men— Paul Varnell and Jim Fouratt, for example. I forget I’m just too weak-minded to understand that by changing my sex I’m empowering the two-gender system, as has been claimed by Janice Raymond and by some in our own community. And I forget I’m supposed to be a waitress or prostitute and preoccupied with beaded gowns and having sex with men, or else sexually obsessed with my female body, as Michael Bailey has told me he has proven without doubt. I forget I’m “Frankensteinian,” as Mary Daly has asserted. I forget I have a character disorder and a manipulative personality and that I’m shrill and hysterical, all of which Leslie Lothstein just knows is true. I forget I have a shallow and stereotypical idea of womanhood, as Althof and Keller have sworn to in print. I forget my life has not been improved by my sex reassignment, as “scientifically determined” by Jon Meyer and his secretary, Donna Reter. I forget that I threaten the sanctity of marriage, as claimed by Sean Hannity and other mean-spirited pundits. I forget I should submit to rape and murder, as fine citizens like Tom Nissen and John Lotter and at least one former sheriff of Humboldt, Nebraska ask of me.

I forget all these things. I forget them.

I wonder why?


A Partial List of the Clueless


Althof, S.E., & Keller, A. (1980). Group therapy with gender identity patients. International Journal of Group Psychotherapy, 30(4), 481-489.

Birkett, D. (1999, 5 August). Mutilation won’t make a man a woman: On: Why we shouldn’t endorse sex changes. The Guardian (UK).

Bailey, J.M. (2002). The man who would be queen: The science and psychology of gender-bending and transsexualism. Joseph Henry Press.

Blanchard, R. (1993). Varieties of autogynephilia and their relationship to gender dysphoria. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 22(3), 242-251.

Daly, M. (1978). Gyn/Ecology: The metaethics of radical feminism. Boston: Beacon Press.

Falwell, J. (2000, 3 February). Protecting “transsexuals.” E-mail message to Falwell Confidential list [].

Fouratt, J. (2000, 27 May). Letter to the editor. New York Times Review of Books.

Jones, A. (1996). All she wanted. New York: Pocket Books.

Lawrence, A. (1998, Winter). “Men trapped in men’s bodies”: An introduction to the concept of autogynephilia. Transgender Tapestry, 1(85), 65-68.

Lothstein, L.M. (1979). Psychodynamics and sociodynamics of gender-dysphoric states. American Journal of Psychotherapy, 33(2), 214-238.

McHugh, P.R. (1992). Psychiatric misadventures. American Scholar, 61(4), 497-510.

Meyer, J.K., & Reter, D. (1979). Sex reassignment: Follow-up. Archives of General Psychiatry, 36(9), 1010-1015.

Olds, S. (1983). Outside the operating room of the sex-change doctor. In A. Snitow, C. Stansell, & S. Thompson (Eds.), Powers of desire: The politics of sexuality. New York: Monthly Review Press.

Raymond, J. (1979). The transsexual empire: The making of the she-male. Boston: Beacon Press. Reissued in 1994 with a new introduction by Teacher’s College Press, New York.

Socarides, C.W. (1976). Beyond sexual freedom: Clinical fallout. American Journal of Psychotherapy, 30(3), 385-397.

Varnell, P. (1996, December). “Woman trapped as man”— or unable to accept being gay? Pittsburgh’s Out, 18.