This Blog is for YOU...

If you are/were Gender Dysphoric - so as to know some from me and share some with me, and reaffirm that none of us is alone... To acknowledge that we have a treasure of insurmountable Courage, Strength and Hope in us. I have a feeling that we were given slightly higher quantities of those special gifts :-) [If you have a question to ask me, you could write it as a Comment to one of the posts, and either I would reply to it as a Comment itself, or probably, respond in one of the future posts on this blog]

If you have never been Gender Dysphoric - so as to understand what it means to have a Gender Identity Disorder. Of course, it primarily depends on whether you want to or not. If you don't, please do make a quiet exit and try not to be a nuisance.

If you're confused - so as to realize that everybody goes through a stage of confusion - the period could be short, or sometimes, very long. What is important is to acknowledge that being unsure until you're sure is as normal and as alright as night before day.

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If you're a human being - so as to find out for yourself whether you want to try to make the world a better place to live in, for every fellow human being, irrespective of their health, wealth, colour, race, gender, religion and any and every other line of division you can think of.

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And finally, this blog is for ME - so as to be able to make some difference somewhere by sharing my experiences, and along the way, slowly grow out of those anxieties and insecurities that have inhabited my life for over 2 decades. It is time to escort them to the door now!

Come, Join me on this journey!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Who am I?


i⋅den⋅ti⋅ty [ahy-den-ti-tee, i-den-]
- noun

1. the state or fact of remaining the same one or ones, as under varying aspects or conditions.
2. the condition of being oneself or itself, and not another.


The world is so populated with labels and tags today that in the effort of simplifying the concept of identity, many times, we end up meddling with it, and confusing ourselves as well as others around us. To take my own example, from considering the label ‘gay’ for a long time to ‘pre-op transsexual’ further on to ‘post-op transsexual’ and then ‘transwoman’, all I have been doing over years is to try and fit myself in. Fitting oneself somewhere becomes an urgent need for survival when every waking moment of the day, one faces the hard truth – that one does not belong. Especially for persons with Gender Dysphoria or Gender Identity Disorder (GID), groping with self-identity constitutes a considerable part of their laborious struggle, and this, for the simple reason that people who suffer from it, for all practical purposes, remain invisible because of the fear of societal pressures. Since it is harder to find others like you who you can identify with, it becomes that much tougher to discover the true self that you can identify with.

So, yesterday, at dinner, when my dear friend Jerry asked me – “Do you place yourself in the ‘T’ of the LGBT? Is that who you are?”, I fumbled before I could answer. This was exactly the question I had been posing to myself for a while now. I’ve been getting increasingly aware of the ineptitude of that label in defining me as a person. Unlike L, G and B, T does not stand for one’s sexual orientation. It stands for one’s Gender Identity.

trans⋅sex⋅u⋅al [trans-sek-shoo-uhl]
- noun

1. a person having a strong desire to assume the physical characteristics and gender role of the opposite sex.
2. a person who has undergone hormone treatment and surgery to attain the physical characteristics of the opposite sex.



The word ‘transsexual’, by definition, talks merely about a change of sex – whether pre or post. Now, sex change is a medical process I have been through to live a physically and mentally healthy life. But can that medical process be my identity? Or can the fact that I struggled with Gender Dysphoria for 25 years in the past, be my identity? A medical process or a medical condition, by virtue of itself, cannot be somebody’s identity. For instance, a life-saving cancer surgery doesn’t become an identity of the cancer patient. In fact, even ‘cancer patient’ is not an identity, because going by the definition of identity, it is the state or fact of remaining the same one or ones, as under varying aspects or conditions. Extrapolating the same in the case of the medical condition GID, neither the disorder, nor the cure of it can be the identity of a person.

There, of course, are people who consciously choose ‘Transgender’ as their gender identity because they identify themselves with the third gender (e.g. some of the members of India’s hijra community). Laxmi Narayan Tripathi says in my film ‘To be… ME’ that she wants an identity separate from the binary-gender system. While I would completely stand for the demand and choice of that identity for her and others who choose it, the question I needed to answer for myself was whether or not I bracket myself in the community ‘transgender’ for the simple reason that I underwent a physical transformation to align my anatomy with my psycho-emotional gender, which was always, Woman?

wom⋅an [woom-uhn]
- noun

1. the female human being (distinguished from MAN).
2. the nature, characteristics, or feelings often attributed to women; womanliness.


If there has been one condition of being oneself or itself, and not another in my entire life, it is the absolute clarity in the private language of my mind that I am a woman. I might have stumbled on the choice of words to express it, but never have I once been in doubt about it inside. ‘Woman’ is the one ‘label’ I don’t need to even identify with, because it is not something external to me, it IS the essence of my entire being.

Jerry and I had a long discussion over this, through which, it came to become totally clear to me that I am not the ‘T’ in the LGBT spectrum, for the simple reason that that is not my sexual or gender identity. I suffered from Gender Dysphoria and I corrected it through SRS. The whole point of correcting it was that I do find myself fitting into the binary-gender setup and feel no personal need for a third space. (That, I reiterate, doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in someone else’s right to claim that space)

If that is so, why then do I need to repeatedly speak about my journey in the media or other platforms? Who am I standing for if I do not belong to the ‘transgender’ community. Who I am speaking for are the people who suffer from Gender Identity Disorder. I, as a woman, have a past of Gender Dysphoria, and being someone who went through a sex change surgery to correct that, I speak out merely to be able to be visible so that any others who might be dealing with the same conflict can know that there is Hope, that there is Happiness – out there, and within. Going with the same analogy of cancer patients, it is just like a person cured from cancer were to speak about their journey of fighting with it and coming out healthy and happy.

To bring my blog in harmony with this clarity of my mind’s expression, I have made changes to my Blogger profile and also, the description of this blog above.

Identity, in some cases, is a matter of choice. For instance, I am a writer – is my identity too, and that I have chosen. On the other hand, some identities, one is born with. A human being, for instance. Gender falls in the latter category of identity. For non-Gender Dysphoric people, it is a non-issue, an identity taken for granted, because it so naturally fits into the apparent harmony of the world around. But for someone who has had expressed clarity missing on that most basic of identities, it can be a long torturous route to reach the place where I have reached today. But that said, each of the milestones on this route is significant too because it brings you that much closer to embracing yourself – with a sense of pride and love, worthy of yourself and your journey.


[Credits:

Photograph Copyright: Bombay Dost
Photographer: Paramita Nath
Hair styling: Bhavesh Karia
Post: Abhilash Augustine
Special thanks to: SM, NB, Vikram Phukan, Jerry Johnson]


39 comments:

  1. Your best post ever!:-)

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  2. I am a straight heterosexual guy who got through one of your videos on youtube by chance and then spent the whole night (it's 4:30 am) reading your blogs, watching your videos and learning about you (and some of the other terms you mentioned in this post). Ghazal, you are indeed a beautiful and brave woman. All the best.

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  3. Watch Lee Harington's interview on youtube. New view.

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  4. Were you an introvert in school?
    Did you get bullied often?

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  5. You did engineering from MNIT, you were a bright student and worked for Infosys for 2 years,right?How come you still found it difficult to manage 5-7lakhs for the entire SRS process?I mean, you said that you were rated in the 10% of your company's 10,000+ workforce!

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  6. in the top 10%*****

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  7. Anonymous – Thanks!! :)

    Nilu – It had to be, darling! :D

    Aayush – Thanks a lot! I hope you were able to catch some sleep later :). Take care. All the best!

    Anonymous2 – What is it about?

    Anonymous3 – I was quite an introvert, yes. But I was also very good at academics and extra-curriculars, which made me a favourite among many teachers. Hence, I guess the bullies were a little cautious about dealing with me. :)

    Anonymous4 – Yes, I was, but the beginning years of a new job as a fresher don’t pay you exceptionally well. Besides, sadly, I was never very good at saving.

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  8. rohitnz@hotmail.comDecember 19, 2009 at 1:18 AM

    I am a straight guy and accept you people as just another human beings.Its really sad to see people making such a fuss about gay lesbian trans people.

    You're a wonderful lady (got a very cute smile :)" ) I wish you all the best for your future and hope u get a very loving husband (in case u r not married :D).. hope to talk to u sometime :)..God bless u..

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  9. Do you have another blog with non-T issues being discussed. It would be nice to know your views on things beyond these 'obvious trivialities'. I admire your attempts to help others. But I am sure you want to talk on other issues as well.

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  10. Hey Gazal,

    Your blog site is awesome! You are awesome!

    Yesterday, I came across your story on a youtube video from NDTV. Today, I read your entire site. I love your clear style of writing, conveying your thoughts and emotions beautifully. I admire your courage and your strength to be yourself.

    I am a transgender person too (perhaps transsexual, but that is a term I prefer to not use). I am from India and I moved abroad 10 years ago. Based on my observation of events in India during childhood, of brutalization of hijras in my city, I avoided discussing my gender problem. I had realized by age 3 or 4 that there was something terribly wrong with the world, or with me. I have loving parents, but violently unkind relatives. My nosy neighbors would have created even more serious trouble for my parents. I was exceptionally smart, studied at top schools, earned accolades in sports and extra-curricular stuff, and recognized very well the risk of ostracism if I ever came out. While in India, I decided that my family's safety was more important than my gender problem. It was hard enough living with my gender distress internally; I did not want additional distress from external sources. Besides, I had very little information about gender transition. I never knew that I could look like a genetic woman.

    I find your story fascinating. I think that you have an immense amount of courage, to be ready to encounter ridicule and danger in your struggle to rightfully be who you are. I also notice that not only did your parents support you, but your relatives and friends were also supportive to some extent. Did I get that right?

    It took me several years of residence outside India to feel safe enough to openly explore my gender. I started going out only when I found an LGBT-friendly city and I had learned enough makeup tricks to "pass". Apparently, most people I meet cannot tell that I am not a genetic female. And I do not divulge my "secret" unless I necessarily have to - to government authorities, to my doctors, and to a romantic partner. The rest of the people do not need to know, just as I do not need to know the secrets about their lives.

    That brings me to one point I am trying to convey in my comment - the term "transsexual", it seems to trivialize our gender distress. Most people assume an implicit sexual motive behind gender transition. Would you not have undergone gender transition if you were not sexually attracted to men? Would you be a woman only if you want to attract men to you? Please note that I am not challenging you. I am merely stating a point about the term transsexual, the point being that the world seems to interpret the term transsexual to mean that we undergo gender transition for a sexual purpose. Not that there is anything wrong with having sex, but such an association of gender transition with sexuality seems to put us at more risk of sexual exploitation and sexual violence.

    I am not sexually interested in men, but my gender identity is female and my sexual orientation could be termed as "lesbian". However, people often ask me why I would go through the trouble of gender transition if at the end of the day I still prefer a female partner. They make the assumption that the only purpose for anybody to be female in the world is to be a sexual partner for men. I am sure that there's more value to the life of women than being sex objects. The distress I felt about my gender had nothing to do with my sexuality or sexual orientation. If all I wanted was sex with men, I could have merely been a gay man.



    Just as the word "eunuch" and the gender category "other" sound derogatory to you and I (although "eunuch" and "other" sound alright to many transgender people), I feel that the term transsexual somehow trivializes our struggle with our gender dysphoria. Hence I prefer the term transgender, rather than transsexual, to explain the concept of gender identity and GID. What do you think?

    Ria

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  11. First of all, I’m really sorry for the really delayed reply. I’ve been caught up with a lot on the personal front, hence the inability to be regular here.

    rohitnz – I appreciate what you’re trying to convey, but I’m afraid that the way you put it is not exactly appreciable. “I accept you people”!! – see, don’t get me wrong. I know what you mean here and I do appreciate that, but when you say ‘you people’, you’re still categorizing, and by saying that ‘I accept you’, you’re somewhere implying (maybe not consciously so, but subconsciously) that you being a straight man, have a birthright to be on this slightly higher pedestal, standing on which you can choose to ‘accept’ or ‘reject’ other people. But come on, nobody has any right to accept or reject another person as a category of people. We all co-exist, and we always will. You can choose to accept or reject an individual as a part of your life on the basis of some character traits of his/hers, but the question of acceptance/rejection because someone belongs to a certain sexuality bracket shouldn’t even arise.

    I must repeat here that I understand the sentiment you’re coming from… that in this largely homophobic world, you’re someone who would deal with an alternative sexuality person in exactly the same way as you would, a heterosexual person, but then again, please also understand that ideally, I shouldn’t have to appreciate that attitude because that attitude should be a given in a cultured society. You have just as much right to accept or reject an individual in your life as he/she does to accept or reject you, irrespective of the sexualities. :)

    That said, I must thank you for all your wonderful compliments and warm wishes! Take care, and all the best for all your life’s endeavours! :)


    Aayush – Hehe, I like it that you call them ‘obvious trivialities’! :)

    Well, I used to write an anonymous blog till May 2009, but it was extremely personal stuff, hence the anonymity. I’m not an issue-centric writer Aayush. I fall more into a sentimental variety of writers. Even professionally, I end up writing a lot of mushy stuff, and sometimes, I have to stop myself at gunpoint! ;)

    Hence, I’m afraid this blog is all I have to offer, right now. If I ever start another public one, I’ll make it a point to let you know in this space! Oh by the way, did I mention that I like it that you said ‘obvious trivialities’! :-D


    Ria – Thanks for the thumbs up on my blog! :)

    Please take a thumbs up from me on your life too! You’re really cool and I respect your decisions in life. Great going!

    About the ‘transgender’ and ‘transsexual’ term, here’s my take. I find ‘transsexual’ a more appropriate term because ‘sex’ according to me is a merely physical identity [Male or Female], whereas ‘gender’ is a much broader and deeper identification of self. How I see it is I might have changed my ‘sex’, but my ‘gender’ was always ‘woman’. Hence, I’ve been through a trans-sex journey and not a trans-gender journey.

    I agree with you when you say that the term causes confusion in people’s minds and they think that we go through something as tedious and taxing as a transition to be able to merely have sex with men. But then, Ria, that is a problem with their interpretation, and not the term itself. People need education and awareness (if we choose to care about it). But come to think of it, compared to what we go through on this journey and all the things that we have to listen to any which way, this is a non-issue, no? After all, this whole road is about our acceptance of our own selves; it has little, if anything, to do with the entity called ‘society’. Makes sense? :)

    Take care dear. All the best for your journey. May it overflow with joy and beauty! :)

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  12. Gazal,

    I like your explanation about sex vs gender - that you have changed your physical sex but your gender was always woman. Because you have not really changed your gender, you do not feel that you should be called transgender. However, because you changed your physical sex organs, you are transsexual.

    That is a great way to interpret the terminology. However, most transsexual individuals never change their physical sex organs. Yet, they are considered transsexuals.

    The term transsexual is a medical term (while transgender is a non-medical term). The term transsexual was originally coined during a time of greater ignorance than our present day. Even psychologists during those times considered sexual orientation and gender identity two sides of the same coin.

    Using prevalent terminology and assumptions during the 1950s-60s, Harry Benjamin discussed in his book, The Transsexual Phenomenon, three categories of transsexuals - non-surgical, moderate intensity, and high intensity. A major factor in determining the extent of transsexualism was sexual orientation, and to some extent gender identity, but not physical sex. Harry Benjamin's terminology and classification were absorbed into the initial DSM. Even today, the same terminology remains in the DSM and is used for GID therapy.

    Hence your interpretation of the term is different from the one that the medical establishment uses.

    In addition, most people presume a sexual purpose and intent behind your transition when they hear the term transsexual. I think that it reduces the value of the positive message you are trying to send out.

    I agree that terminology is just terminology. Terminology does not define our inner self. However, terminology is used in communication. It changes how people think about us. Global warming changed to global climatic change reduces impact of the message, while human rights activist changed to anti-social element changes social perception towards the individual. Terminology matters in how we are perceived, and in how we are treated. If we wish to improve society's treatment of people like us, we need to use more appropriate terminology, in addition to spreading knowledge they way you are doing.

    The trans terminology seems to reduce our entire existence to the fact that we transitioned. In my daily life, I prefer to stay away from all trans terminology. I am a woman. That's it. Sometimes, when I need to come out to government or to doctors, I state that I am a woman who was born with XY chromosomes. Everything below my waist is my private matter. I do not think that we should use the term transsexual to refer to the status of our sex organs, because nobody needs to know the status of whatever we have down there. Why should we disclose? Disclosure seems to be misinterpreted to mean openness to sexual approach and sexual violence.

    I do not have all the answers, but I am trying the best I can to spread positive information without coming out in public the way you have done.

    A few months ago, I was volunteering at a crisis helpline, where people call when they are in crisis. I attended calls from a few LGBT individuals who were about to commit suicide. The source of their distress was not lack of self-acceptance, it was lack of social acceptance. The suicide rate among transgender individuals is the highest. Society plays the most important role in driving them to death. Your website and your videos from NDTV probably gives hopes to many in India. I wish to convert hope into reality by opening up society itself. I do not aim to do that alone. I am not sure how much I can do without coming out to the world, but I am giving it a try. Spreading appropriate terminology is one of the things I have been doing online.

    I look forward to more of your blog postings. Wishing you a fantastic 2010!

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  13. Ria,

    I respect your point of view about ‘acceptance’ and I can also understand where you’re coming from. Social pressure IS, no doubt, the apparent main reason why Gender Dysphoric people go through so much pain and stress, but I still believe and very strongly so that what one needs much more than social acceptance is self-acceptance.

    The reason it gets complicated is that most of us make our self-acceptance dependent on social acceptance of us. [Even today, sometimes, I have to check myself when I suddenly realize that I’m wondering why someone else is staring at me, and whether I look strange] It is very deeply ingrained in us – this rejection of self and self-doubt, and what we do is externalize it, hence saying that if the WORLD were a better place, and it wouldn’t look down upon LGBT people, my life would be easier. I’m not saying that the world doesn’t need to be a better place. Of course, constant efforts have to be directed towards awareness and correct information being disseminated amongst people at large, but the immediate most important need for anybody dealing with suicidal tendencies is a realization of their own self-worth, and that the power to decide that worth is not in the hands of the world around them, not even their family, but their own selves. I do know that a great parameter of one’s worth as a person is social acceptance, but we must also remember that all hard journeys are fought alone, and it is only when you succeed in the end does the world stand up and applaud you.

    You know and I know how lonely we have been through the darkest of times, and I had plenty of people discouraging me even when I decided to go for the transition, but today, the same people appreciate me for my courage and my decisions. That’s why, my attempt in life and even through this blog has been to reach out to Gender Dysphoric people and convey to them that we must be proud of ourselves for the courage and the spirit to life that we have. For a non-Gender Dysphoric person, it is not even possible to imagine what we go through. It’s a different matter that a large number of people might bracket transpeople among freaks (but so have been all great people in the world before they were proved to be great). Our parameter of our worth should be our own sense of pride and hope, and not what other people say. [I’m not saying it’s easy to reach there, but I repeat that that is the most important thing to be done in each individual’s life]

    Secondly, about the terminology, I haven’t researched a lot about the terms, but I do know that the term ‘transsexual’ is used for both – people who HAVE changed their physical anatomy and those who haven’t (but could be considering it). Honestly, I do not relate to either ‘transgender’ or ‘transsexual’. Both are inept in being the identity of a person. Besides, like I say in my post, a surgery or a medical process cannot be someone’s identity. I prefer to use the term ‘Gender Dysphoric’ now, because it kind of conveys what we deal(t) with pretty clearly, and is not an identity but just an expression of a medical situation.

    Take care. A Very Happy New Year to you too!

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  14. Hi Gazal,

    Awaiting for your new post..

    I am FTM gender dysphoric. I will be going for First surgery in the full SRS process, this January. The date is fixed.

    I am very happy. Always wanted to do this.

    My family is supporting me.

    Everything is in place after the struggle of many years.. I know u understand what kind of struggle.. Mental, social..etc.

    However, nowadays I feel worried about the future.. how d surgery wud go.. how my parents would actually feel after my surgery. How my friends will react? Will my problems really end after the surgery? I am spending so much money on this..

    But again.. I have answers to all these questions I know I always wntd this.. my family loves me as I am .. thy dnt care whther m male or female.. thy want me to be happy..same is d case wid my friends they had said this this thing on my face.. they were there for me always and they will always be. They have also seen my pain..and they are happy for me..
    I feel like I am going thru all tht pain again..those past memories coming back to me again n again..
    I dont understand what is the thing which is making me so restless.. bit tensed..worried.
    This was my struggle all these years and now at this moment why even for a second i would feel this strange. I cant explain what i am feeling.. I know in my deep heart I want to go for srs.. I want to be happy in my body.. which i disliked so many yrs.. sex is nt thing for which i am doing this.. not even to prove a point to someone else.. but to be happy with me.. self acceptance and a undoubted social acceptance is all i want..
    Have u felt anything like this? Even if not can you say why i am feeling like this..
    Again, I would stress on this I have no doubt I want to go for surgery.. but these thoughts are troubling me now..
    Yes at the same time I am making plans for my new life.. my new name.. my new clothes.. the things i always wntd to do..
    The question here is why even for a second i get tensd abt the decision..abt my future..abt the surgery..

    Eagerly Waiting for your reply..

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  15. all the best for you man!!!!(above anonymous)

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  16. i happy to know about you...
    i'm a girl of 21 years old born along with a twin brother.. i caught him while wearing my cloths... he told me that he wanted to be like me and live like me...i'm very confused about it..i want to help him.. i told my mother about his strange behaviour...we both don't know what to do exactly. he told that he was wearing my dresses since he was 14.after learning many thing about his life we have decided to let him what he wanted to be in life.what can we except for him in future as a girl?? will he be happy with her new gender ?? what are the medical issiues involved with this?? can she ever get married as a women??? is it possible to get quality SRS here in India??

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  17. Anonymous5 – First of all, my heartiest congratulations and warm wishes on your surgery. May it be successful and go very smoothly. Do let me know how it went once you’re in a position to type.

    It’s absolutely great that your family and friends are with you through this. There can be nothing more heartening for a Gender Dysphoric person to have that kind of an emotional support. Please convey my compliments to all your near and dear ones!

    About the worry, depression and stress that you’re experiencing right now, it’s very normal and natural to go through those emotions before the surgery (and sometimes, post-surgery). If you read my entire blog, you will notice that my day before the surgery was somewhat similar to what you’re going through. And post surgery, I was in depression for 3-4 months. We have to acknowledge that sex change is not a small thing, and nor is psychology. What we have pined for, for years, and what has been the most important goal of our lives, when it is just about to be fulfilled or has been fulfilled, there seems to be a sense of emptiness in our lives. It’s natural because until now, this one target had filled up our lives completely and now suddenly that target is achievable or achieved, and there is a huge void that we experience. Now, the psyche has to fill this void with something – so it does, with worry, or fear, or nervousness, or, as in my case, depression.

    Also, the change itself is so huge that even though we might have wanted and prepared for it, all our lives, we tend to develop cold feet or worrying tendencies when we’re on the verge of achieving it. This worry, in no way, undermines your struggle or your certainty about the decision. So, don’t be disheartened by it. Go ahead and experience every emotion that your mind throws at you. Let it glide through you and slowly, let it pass away. One thing is for sure – it WILL pass away, so don’t worry about that, alright?

    Once again, I wish you the best at this time and ahead. May you have a quick recovery and write back to me here about how you are. Take care. :)


    Anonymous6 – I’m sure Anonymous5 would appreciate your wishes! :)


    Anonymous7 – I must congratulate you and your mother for being understanding and supportive of your brother’s predicament. About SRS in India, I’m sorry but I won’t be able to tell you anything since I don’t have a first-hand experience of it. I suggest that you try and get in touch with some women who have had the surgery done in India.

    Also, it is imperative that you get your brother psychiatrically evaluated for Gender Dysphoria before he goes ahead with any of the other processes. This is most important. About she getting married as a woman, of course she can, if she chooses to. It all depends on her, how she carries herself and how much she believes in herself. But again, the reason for your brother to undergo SRS should not be to be able to marry as a woman, but to live in her true identity – woman. If you read my entire blog, you will know about the whole medical process one needs to undergo for a sex change.

    Please let me know if you have any more questions. All the best to you, your brother and your family. You’re wonderful people! Take care. :)

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  18. Hiii Gazal !! How r u ?

    Wish You A Very Happy WOMEN's DAY !!!

    http://greetings.indiainfo.com/images/image-1e525753cfb3077e08cbe8776c53e2e6-sDay.jpg

    me too a Girl inside !! :)

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  19. Hii Gazal !!

    Happy Women's Day !!

    me too a girl inside !

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  20. Dear gazal,


    I cant tell you how happy I feel to see the beautiful you, and the courageous you.
    I have been feeling, that in this society to be oneself is the toughest thing, but that is what my whole being has always wanted to be
    'To be just me'

    And seeing you, taking such a courageous step, I feel so much more stronger. You are just helping people with gender dysphoric, but also each human who wants to just 'be' in the society.

    And you write beautifully...

    Thanks so much for filling me again with courage :)

    God bless you!!!

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  21. Anonymous8 and Anonymous9 - Thanks dears! Belated wishes to you too! :)

    Tanu - Thank YOU so much for sharing that with me. I've always believed that being happy in life is just about choosing to BE, and to see that thought reflected so beautifully here feels nice. Thanks once again! And all the best! :)

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  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  23. Hi Gazal,

    Felt happy reading your response.
    Also feel like sharing with you, a poem of mine which am sure, you will be able to relate to :)
    http://tanu-flyhigh.blogspot.com/search/label/poetry

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  24. Thanks again for sharing that, Tanu! Take care... and do keep visiting! :)

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  25. Well, I wrote a very long response to Sex and Sensuality (may not have the article title correctly) which I think was devoured by the Internet. Imagine my delight when I found your comment which said many of the things I had written in mine and had far more weight as it came from someone who lives the issues discussed in the article! (I am a 59 year old straight white woman in the US.) I was very unhappy that anyone would consider the quesions posed to you by the anonymous man as something to take seriously.

    That such painful surgery and such a dangerous leap into a society that is quite narrow in its veiws of gender and sexual orientation would only be done on a whim by someone profoundly mentally ill. I have not met, read about, or seen anyone receive the surgery on a owhim. I am sometimes astounded by the conclusion well-meaning people make about people whose lives are quite different from their own. Transgendered folks live in a dangerous world. While I have studied the plight of the transgendered as part of my general study of all the nasty "isms," I would never pretend to "know" your culture or life.

    I also am quite perturbed that there was not more compassion for the folks who had the surgery and continued to be angry and in pain. I suspect their experiences were so frightening and painful that they must feel very much like a rape victim whose life was threatened during the rape (I know what that is like...the anger,no the rage, takes forever to resolve). Anyway, if I keep writing I will go on forever because I am so angry.

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  26. One more thing...I don't like the term dysphoria. I am not completely sure why that is the case, except that it makes the plight of those trapped in the wrong body sound like a mental health issue...like anorexia or the body builder who sees the muscle in his or her calf as somehow "wrong" when there is nothing wrong about it.

    I am in no position to comment on whether or not it better describes your experience as a gender dysphoric individual (I winced again). I wish we could find a term that encompassed that experience in a better way. I feel like being trapped in the wrong body is very different from seeing your body or part of your body as fat, disgusting, etc. It seems like far more than that and not just a mental health issue. I believe that we will find that this is genetic...that you really are in the wrong body. I can only imagine how hard this must be, especially on children and teens. I'm going to have to think about this one...and would be very interested in your response.

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  27. Alright, this is the last time! To illustrate the difference between gender and sexuality...I know of a policeman who finally came out that he had always felt he was a woman trapped in a man's body. This had caused him to be severely depressed and suicidal, as he tried to supress his real self in order to meet society's expectations and in fear of what would happen if he did come out. I have to say the department (my husband retired from there) handled this very well. They brought in experts to talk to the rank and file, and made it very clear that he was not to be bullied or harassed in anyway. Once he had the surgery, he realised and was brave enough to say, that she was/is a lesbian. This really confused people...I won't talk about the bigots...and I explained to the well-meaning folks the difference between gender and the genitals of one's sex partner. I tried to educate thme about our culture and its very narrow definition of what it means to be a real man or a real woman. I really thought this person was so brave. He was wrestling with his own pain and rage before surgery and still had the courage after surgery to reveal his sexual orientation. He must have been very frightened...he would know very well how testosterone laden the police department is, but he acted not only to fulfill his needs but for those who might come after him. Having done this as a woman in a predominantly male word (and, yes, there was violence), I can relate to how hard that must have been. I can also imagine the additional terror of revealing both her gender identity and her sexual orientation to a group of people not known for their tolerance of difference. She is heroic.

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  28. Excellent. You made your point. Good.

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  29. GrammyTweetie – I am very touched and moved by your comment… and want to apologize to you for responding to you this late.

    You rightly say that the pain of being transgendered takes a really long while to resolve, even after the apparent physical correction. It’s a really dark, sinking maze in there… and hope seems lost in some dark corner. Your approach to the issue is that of a very sensitive and understanding person, and it was heartening to read your comment. Thank you for being who you are and saying what you do! :)

    About the term ‘Dysphoria’, I do not have a problem with it. In fact, I do think that terms like ‘Gender Dysphoria’ and ‘Gender Identity Disorder’ help by bringing in a medical perspective to the issue, and ruling out the argument that these are just whims and fancies of people. When psychology recognizes this as a medical situation which needs a correction biologically, it empowers us to defeat silly arguments on the basis of reason.

    The story you tell of the policeman is amazing. Like you say, she IS heroic. More power to her… and to YOU! :) Big hug.

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  30. ur reali geart superwomen

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  31. Hi! Gazal di!!......Nimayka here....First of all thanks for ur reply.....Di!!I told u na that I'm going for my psuchiatric evaluation on 8th june along with my father...& I had started my hrt from mid of March....so do you think that I should tell this to my peychiatrist........coz...my papa doesnt knw abt that......
    Also I wanted to know that if my psychiatrist will declare me as a gender dysphoric person....then from where I have to start???.......& what will be the neccessary things which I should follow till my surgery(including the maintenance of my documents, name change, passport & things like that ).....I m very confused & a little bit nervous coz I knw I will be the only one handling all this situation...my father can only help me to some extent na.....
    so please let me knw abt all this..
    Also I want to knw is there any kind of adverse health effects of surgery......or the effects are bearable......& did u suffer any of the unwanted effects of surgery.....coz I think the only disadvantage of srs is loosing the ability to bear a child.....& I am okay with that coz I believe that every child is special & a beautiful creation of God.....so I dont believe in the concept of 'OWN CHILD'.....bt still I am a little worried if there is any adverse health issue which can occur after the surgery......
    Please reply me di...as soon as possible.......
    thank you......bye........:)

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  32. Bhadwe saale kutte ka lund muh mein le aurat bankar ghum raha hai apne baap ko bol tere muh mein muthe

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  33. Hi Gazal,

    Firstly Many Congratulations on what you've achieved. I really appreciate your courage for going out and getting what you wanted!! Secondly, I must say that you've got a beautiful name, a beautiful voice and you look extremely beautiful too.

    Now moving onto the reason I'm writing to you: I'm a 29 year old man, but I love to cross-dress. I have been cross-dressing ever since I gained my senses. I love wearing all sorts of women's clothing, jewelry, makeup etc. I have my own collection of women's clothes, lingerie, jewelry and cosmetics that I hide from my family plus I wear my mother's & sister's clothes whenever I get an opportunity. In fact I'm completely cross-dressed as I write to you.

    I do not have any feelings for men and am not attracted towards them. I'm attracted towards women and would like to marry one. However, I always fantasize and see myself as a woman and wish to be like a woman all the time. I have always wanted to go out cross-dressed and be able to pass as a woman. I have also wanted to be dressed like a bride and go through all the rituals of a wedding. How much ever I try not to cross-dress, I do not succeed. As soon as I get an opportunity, I give in and the next minute I'm dressed as a woman. I'm always thinking only about that and cannot concentrate on my work. I keep looking for opportunities to cross-dress all the time. Whenever I get an opportunity to cross-dress, I forget everything else and at times I've missed out very important tasks. The urge to cross-dress however goes down temporarily after a particular event, which I do not want to mention here. I'm totally confused about my state. Since, you've already been through these phases, I thought of seeking help from you. Please advice.

    Thanks,
    Muskaan

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Civility check done? :-)