Another issue of the online magazine I published in the early 1990s
“Where Dreams are the stuff Reality is made of”
DECLARATION OF PURPOSE
“This journal exists to promote the concept that each human is a unique individual, intrinsically entitled with an equal right to pursue her own destiny as far as it does not inhibit others in that same right. The Subversive shall serve as a ready forum for the free expression and exchange of ideas that do not violate this mandate, in the belief that tolerance grows from a familiarity with variety.”
Melanie Anne Phillips, Editor
WHERE TO FIND THE SUBVERSIVE:
The Subversive is available FREE as a download on America Online, Compuserve, Genie, several servers on the Internet, and various BBS around the world
For those who wish to Subscribe, contribute articles, stories, personal experiences, information, jokes, or whatever Email email@example.com, or write to:
Melanie Anne Phillips
150 East Olive Avenue
Burbank, California 91502
Only original material will be accepted unless quoted in the context of an original work or submitted with credit to the original author along with permission to reprint the material.
Submission of original material for publication in The Subversive constitutes a non-exclusive license to Melanie Anne Phillips by the author/copyright holder to reproduce all or part of the material in any media.
EDITOR’S NOTE: It is my desire to make this publication available free online to all who wish to read it. However, due to copyright laws, any overall license would allow unscrupulous individuals to excerpt portions and use it for their own personal gain. Therefore, should you wish to upload this publication on your BBS or simply generate hardcopies for support groups and friends, please write me about a free specific license for your purpose.
by Melanie Anne Phillips, Editor
The month of January has several important personal events attached to it. On the 24th, I will celebrate my 17th anniversay with my life partner, the woman I married in 1976. On the 30th, it will be four years since the death of my mother, coincidentally, on her father’s birthday. The 8th marks three years since my first day of fulltime living as Melanie (the subject of this issue’s installment of my Transsexual Diary). But the subject of my considerations here is that on January 9th I celebrate my first year of being physically female.
Naturally, such an anniversay gives rise to many musings. I find myself both taking stock of where I am now, thinking about where I might have been, examining what has changed and noting what has stayed the same.
The first thing I would like to share is that, for me, it has taken this full year to arrive at the point where my body feels as if I had been born this way. Not that I ever felt strange, mind you. Immediately after surgery, I felt comfortable in my new arrangement. And over this year there has never been a single occassion when I have regretted my decision. Yet, it took the familiarity of a year being a woman before the brain relearned where everything was. Only then did it stop reminding me all the time: “Hey, isn’t THIS different!”
Also, there has been the psychological shift from a lifetime spent wondering what it would be like, to the certain knowledge of how it is. This part alone gave rise to many depressions, elations, fits of temper and odd decisions. Here’s why: Over especially the last five years, when I first began to seriously consider perhaps having the surgery some day, I had to build up tremendous justifications to strengthen my commitment to see this through. Once it was a done deal, those justifications didn’t just go away. They hung around GETTING in the way! They were commitment-maintaining drives in search of a commitment.
This caused me to have tremendous mood swings as I re-evaluated my life which now appeared to have no center to it. The interesting part was that I had heard about this happening to other post-ops, but even with that knowledge did not recognize, nor could control, it happening to me. I became so uncentered that on one particular day I quit my job working for my most loyal friend and told my life partner, Mary that I would never be coming home.
What made me act in this irrational manner? Simply that I still had all these intense drives that no longer had a purpose. So they focused themselves on whatever petty problems they could find and blew them out of proportion to sustain and justify their existence.
Thank God for the patience of those around me, who backed off and gave me the room and the time to come to my senses! Without their love, at this moment I would be a waitress in Arizona!
As these justifications finally began to dissolve, as each one melted away, I found myself a tiny bit more comfortable in actually thinking of myself as a woman. All through transition I had FORCED myself to think of myself as a woman, but it came from mental will power, not from an accurate assessment of my condition.
Now, each day, I am always aware of my roots, but never question my gender. And that is no longer because I am tricking myself in order to feel at ease with my peers, but because in actuality, my gender really IS female. Remember though, it took a year AFTER surgery to reach this point!
Gestures, affectations, voice, are no longer second nature, but first. The only time I even think about it is when I stumble across a new experience I had previously not had in this role. Most of the time I am fully focused on the activity at hand, pointing my attention outside myself instead of inside.
I find that when I enter a crowded room I have stopped wondering what everyone thinks of me, and now instead determine what I think of them! The measuring stick has changed completely.
On the home front, my children have fully accepted the change. I am still daddy (though I hardly look the part!) But I am also a woman now, and that is basic to our relationship. Sure, certain apparent paradoxes rise from this oddity, but has anyone ever thought about life, death and the universe without running into paradoxes? As a famous man once said when confronted that he had contradicted something he had said earlier: “Did I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself!” In other words, so what if I am a woman and their daddy, its only because I AM a woman AND their daddy!
As for my relationship with Mary, boy has THAT grown! We are more committed to each other and less possesive at the same time. Another paradox? Perhaps. So what! I see so many positive things in paradoxes that I am beginning to think that unless you see a paradox in something you aren’t looking at it the right way.
Well, I could go on and on, and probably will in other articles! But for now, let me just tie it all up by saying that personalities are not based on what we know, but on what we refuse to consider. Any major life change must cut through those knots in Gordian fashion, then tie up the ends together again. The end of a journey is not when it’s over, but when its finished.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
To: Melanie XX
I want to thank you again for your contribution to this world, in writing your diary and making it available to us all. I would not mind paying some fee to have it. It’s not that I’m trowing away money, but I feel that it really worth it. You’re a professional writer, why don’t you get paid for doing it. You’re looking for a publisher, but maybe you could specialize in “online novels”… and make some money out of it. I luv the absolute sincerity and in many occasion the profoundness of your toughts.
Dateline: San Francisco, 11/27/1992
“Outrageous, Outrageous, Outrageous”
It’s Friday night and time to go out. I am dressed and ready to go. Headed for Lily’s in San Francisco where they have TV floor shows on Friday and Saturday nights and “Open Mike” on Saturdays. Met 4 sisters and a “GG” at the club. They are TV’s who want to have fun and like to go out often. No question, it helps to have friends in the same boat. We are all members of ETVC in SF. After chatting a while, we are off to “Deck-A-Dance” or otherwise called “Bottoms Up” in the South of Market area (where it’s happening!). Primarily a gay dance club, Deck-A-Dance is wide open on Friday’s. Loud music, good size dance floor and outdoor back yard with “Water Fall”!! and benches plus small trees.
Well my name is not Dancer for nothing!! Play that music and let me on that dance floor, it’s time to boogie 🙂
I am wearing black tights that caress my shapely legs and a rugby shirt that just covered my well formed derriere. Used bright 2″ fashion belt to make shirt look like mini-dress and define my fem. shape. Capezio dance heels about 2.5 inches but very comfortable. Some accent jewelry, press-on nails, and my “Pretty Woman” black wig and I was sizzling sexy and rearing to shake it, shake it, baby!!
Mostly men at the club, neat and clean types for the most part but there were some lovely women and a sprinkling of drag queens. We were only TV’s. I was there to dance!!!
Walked through the crowd and started hunting–my male experience:) Noticed lovely blonde, soft not harsh, kind of shy, watching what was going on–appeared to be alone. Teased her on to dance floor and that was it. We danced for next hour and a half+ without a stop. She had a girlfriend too. Turns out it was the blonde’s 21st birthday and she and her friend wanted to do something WILD. They had no idea that they were going to meet up with: “Paula Dancer, TV”:))
I mostly danced with the blonde and was very attracted to her– still am. We were “literally” making love on the dance floor. Lots of close dancing to fast and sexy music with sexy rubbing of vital areas, tender caressing, and looking into each others eyes. On the outside what she saw were large green eyes with charcoal color eyeliner, mascara, and lavender eye shadow!!! Told her that I still sweat like a man. Her response was I love sweat. I was trembling with excitement. (By the way, my makeup held up beautifully under very trying circumstances!!) Then her roommate came over and we danced alternating who was sandwiched in between the other.
What a scene!! In public no less:)))))
They wanted to know if I was gay. Told them that I was straight and simply adored women. Roommate said that she had taken a class on sexuality and our “sorority of sisters” was discussed. How delightful. Although the blonde said that she has a boyfriend, they both said that they were willing to get together with me to go out dancing, or perhaps… Who knows what the future has in store, I certainly do not!! No expectations allow the beauty of the moment to be experienced. Got their phone number though. At the very least it was OUTRAGEOUS and fun, fun, fun!!!
Finally had enough for one night, actually had enough to last me a couple of nights:)), so I decided to head home. I was about to drive into my garage when I noticed a woman tenant in the garage with her dog. I backed out to avoid them. What to do now. Just wait until she left the garage. Nooooo, not me, I didn’t have enough–Right!! :))
Had an idea.
I was really pumped from the night’s events. So I went to the 24 hour supermarket about 6 blocks away. It was about 1:30am. This is San Francisco and there were people there and workers stocking shelves. I powdered my nose and freshened my lipstick and headed in. Didn’t even know what I wanted to buy:))) That was not the point!!!!
What a trip, bought some juice, dishwashing liquid, and oh yes some Leggs Misty Black panty hose and then headed to check out counter. There were 2 people ahead of me as I calmly waited my turn. Got checked out and headed home. All was clear, parked my car and entered my apartment.
What I am learning is that it’s not how I look to others or how I “pass”, it’s how I feel inside about what I am at that moment. I learned that from talking and listening to my AOL and ETVC sisters, I thank you all for that.
The end of a truly outrageous adventure!!!!
While writing this adventure down, the blonde returned an earlier call I made thanking her and her friend for special night.
She said how much fun she and her friend had and would love to get together again. She also disclosed that her mother recently was told by a 60 year old friend that he was a TV who after having 6 kids has decided to dress full time and separate from his family. What a coincidence. The blonde’s mother is coming out to San Francisco next month and I may meet her, dressed of course. Is this for real??? or am I dreaming???
The blonde also would love to go shopping with me and do girl things together. I am writing this down and communicating to selected sisters because I am not sure that I am awake and this is all really happening and it’s becomes a journal for me. I also have to communicate this or I will bust (38B for your information :}). I went from nothing on 10/12/92 to This!!
As exciting as all this is I get terrified and confused at times about how this is all playing out. I will say to myself: “Paula snap out of this, what’s happening to you??, Stop this at once!!, This doesn’t fit into your life” Being emotional and a wee bit melodramatic certainly doesn’t help!!
Funny, the only time I am terrified is when I am dressed as a man. As a woman, I am having loads of fun. More shall be revealed. I am also grateful that I have sisters to talk to, even if I can’t see you all. I would hate to have to do all this alone.
Love and Hugs,
Letter in response to a gender friend who was switching to a completely female sign-on name:
Hi XXXXXX! As per your request in the attached note, I am changing your listing on the Subversive mailing list, and forwarding your letter to Marsha J to change your name on the Log list (to the new female name). As for (your request for) any suggesstions about using the name in regard to deception: there is nothing wrong with passing yourself off as who you feel you might be. It is a good opportunity to explore your feelings. But there are a couple of bewares! I have known of several TV/TS folk who have done just that, then met someone online (both male and female) and become close Email friends quite by accident. They were then faced with the decision as to whether to be honest and share their secret or continue to hold back and feel they were lying to their friend. In the second case, no pictures could be exchanged, no phone calls could be made; if the friend came to town on business or vacation, you could not meet. Telling the friend almost always results in their feeling betrayed and “used”, and in one case I know of, resulted in the crossdresser being kicked off AOL because of the emotional anguish they caused by their deception. So the warning is simply to make darned sure you allow no friendships to develop under that name, but just use it to see how others treat you in casual conversations. If you sense a friendship starting to develop, either sign off of that name for good and switch to a new one, or be honest IMMEDIATEly so no one will be hurt later. Hope this helps!
And now for the next installment in a serialized presentation of the book:
RAISED BY WOLVES:
A TRANSSEXUAL DIARY
Melanie Anne Phillips
The pages beneath, chronicle my 18 month journey from a life as an apparently normal husband and father to that of an apparently normal woman. In the hope of capturing the immediacy of this emotional trip into the unknown, I shunned the retrospective approach, opting instead for a daily Diary.
Each entry was made on the day the events actually happened, expect as noted. And each is filled with the raw and unpolished thoughts and feelings that held me at that moment.
Of course, this leads to a somewhat meandering story, as well as contradictions in my point-of-view and personal emotional outbursts that I’m sure will make me squirm once this is published. But anything less would be less than truthful. And if this document is to serve any purpose as either a tool for tolerance and understanding or as an inspiration to those contemplating any major life-change, then it must be completely honest.
January 4, 1989
Another year has dawned, and another life. I have made my final firm decision to proceed with surgery. This stems from the growing feeling of well-being that permeates my soul as I make each new step toward womanhood.
On Friday last, I visited my psychologist and breached the subject of by-passing the requirement of one year living full-time to obtain surgery. I explained that my agreement with Mary precludes that possibility. Also, my physical need exceeds my social one. And, from the several sessions we have had, Dr. Jayne concluded that my situation was real and unique, and that in my specific case, such things could be possible.
The glimmer of sex-change as a reality, not a fantasy, began to sparkle within me for the first time. I began to truly believe that it might be possible, and even then, without giving up all that I have already.
This was my first session dressed as Melanie and that also seemed to grease the acquiescence. I left immediately for Andy’s for my eagerly awaited weekly overnighter. The evening was fun, but there seemed to be a certain hesitation or distance in his manner. Finally, almost off-handedly, he eased into the subject of Teri, the girl he had just met at a support group. He spoke of her to me more at if he were telling his sister rather than his lover. I could hear in his tone many things: That since I could not commit to leaving Mary for him, he was still looking for a mate. That Teri was his physical ideal. That Teri was looking for a lasting relationship and was available.
I knew my days were numbered.
And yet, no jealousy exploded within me, no great sense of loss. After my cataclysmic reaction of a few weeks ago to the potential of his moving up North, I would have expected more from myself. But I began to realize just what Andy had done for me: He had taken a new-born baby, nurtured her through girlhood, adolescence, and finally into maturity as a woman. I looked back and marvelled at how far I had come, how much I had developed in a few short months. And I knew why I was not jealous. I love Andy, I truly do. But for the first time in my life, I am not afraid of rejection, but rather rejoice in the happiness that Andy hopefully will find. He certainly deserves it; as in my own self-centered needs I only recently came to realize how deeply he suffered himself, with loneliness, rejection and self-doubt.
I could never offer him the devotion he MUST have; not as long as Mary will still have ME. I am so deeply grateful to him for the self confidence, acceptance, humanity and empathy he has bestowed upon me, allowing me to grow into myself while safe within his protective arms. I could finally be Melanie without fear of persecution or ridicule, safe within the cocoon he created. And I have now emerged as one human being who changes nought within, although the exterior presentation may swing like a pendulum. I am joyful, I am excited, I am at peace. I wish him all that he has given me.
I returned home on Saturday afternoon and spent another pleasant day with Mary. That night, she hinted that intimate relations were not only conceivable, but highly desirable as well. Picking up on this, I took charge of the evening, and when all others had drifted off to sleep, enveloped her in the same gentle love that I will still be able to provide post-surgery.
There were no complaints.
The following night, we were close again. Tuesday of this week, I went once more to Andy’s to lift my hiatus of electrolysis, due to lack of money. We snuggled and cuddled on his bed before the session, but without the threat of commitment: just two close friends who will always be there for each other.
Wednesday brought me to the offices of the aerospace company for my job interview. These are the specific guys who handle all the high-tech, behind the scenes, top secret space missions for the United States Air Force. The position in question was to head up the Audio/Video production department, which was highly prestigious and offered exceptional benefits, both monetary and personal.
Although I came as Dave, of course, there was a lot of soul searching as to whether or not I should cut my longish hair. I could not bring myself to lop off what took so long to obtain.
The interview went exceptionally well, and I have been told I will definitely be called back for the next level of candidate screening. I truly believe I could land this job. But now, I must decide if the security of such a fine salary and the opportunity for frequent world travel outweigh my desire to live the female role in daily life.
If Mary were to allow me to be female at home, I could stand the daily grind of male life at work. But if I were to give up both, I might truly go insane. There is, however, the possibility that I might obtain surgery without going full-time at all. And if this were to be the case, I might must be able to last by knowing that underneath it all, I was as I should be. First, however, they must offer me the job. So I shall push toward that and see what happens next.
I raced home from the interview and changed into Melanie clothes for my three month appointment with Doctor Smith. I had not come to his office dressed before, and wanted to do all I could to hasten his approval for surgery. Also, since I have suffered through the frustration of being on a most minimal dose of estrogen since I have been going to him, I hoped to insure that I would be upgraded to a more substantial level of therapy that very day.
I made myself up and took a final look in the mirror before leaving. Damn, I’m cute!
I arrived at his office wearing a smart new top from K-mart, jeans (only the second time I have been out as a female in other than a skirt: my new confidence taking charge again) and wearing my own hair – no wig. This was my first appearance ever in daylight with my natural hair. My hair only comes down to the bottom of my earlobes, but it looks great!
I passed through the lobby and took the elevator up. No one paid the slightest heed. This is in direct contrast with my trips to the Hollywood doctor’s office wearing a wig, where everyone in the elevator read me in moments.
I opened the door and went up to the desk. I said “Hi” to Dorinda, the receptionist, who looked up and returned the greeting, staring intently into my face with non-recognition. Suddenly, she figured out who I was, and her whole face brightened. She was amazed, and I was riding on cloud nine. I sat in the waiting room, and the man and wife across from me accepted me as the woman I presented myself to be.
Chris called me in: “Come on in, Miss Phillips”. I adjourned to his cubby for weight blood pressure. I felt my confidence and self-pride rise when he asked how I got my voice to change so much? Did I raise the pitch: Or did that happen by itself. I was told that out of all the transsexuals that he has seen in the office, I was outstanding in the feminine voice I presented. (No egotism here!)
This was comforting as I did not want to feel like I was “doing a character” and seriously considered voice surgery, even at the expense of my singing voice, which I am very happy with. But I spoke as Melanie always, when I was with Alan, and the practice has paid off handsomely.
I was then ushered off to the examining room to await Dr. Smith. When he opened the door, I basked in the look of pleasant surprise that lit up his face when he saw me. He literally beamed with pleasure at how well one of his patients was turning out.
He marvelled at how calm and together I was, compared to the last time he had seen me. I spoke of my agreement with Mary and the potential job in aerospace. He agreed that my situation was unique and to be cherished, and to that end, would aid in getting approval for surgery. I was stunned. Suddenly the way was clear for my dream to become reality.
And then, he raised my dose as I had hoped he would, and also added a progesterone to cycle for ten days a month. This new hormone will develop the milk sacks and duct system in my breasts, and enhance nipple growth. He told me that when he saw me next, in three more months, my breasts should just about double in size. Wow….!
So here I am today. The reality of surgery closer every moment. The development of my body kicking into high gear. The indecision of weeks past has dissipated like morning fog, as the sun’s first rays breach the horizon. What my life-style will be post-surgery I do not know. That is completely independent of the changes in my body. But that I will have surgery is no longer in question. An already, I feel so secure, so right, that I know I will never regret it.
I wore foundation make-up and mascara today and obtained more than the usual percentage of canted stares. Apparently I have achieved that absolute middle ground of androgyny. “You have to give them a clue.”, Dr. Jayne has remedied. And I believe she is right. As I waked to my car today, a construction worker said, “Hey, man, how ya doin’?”, just to hear if my voice was male or female. I replied in male voice, “Just fine, thanks.” There were too many incongruities in my clothes and demeanor to pass myself off as female. But the time will come soon. And then, I suppose I will be full-time anyway, and will perhaps meet the requirements in spite of myself.
January 8, 1990
My first day of fulltime.
I came to work today as Melanie and stayed that way until I left to pick up the kids from school. I never imagined it would happen so soon, but somehow all the divergent tuggings in my life converged simultaneously and lifted me like a swell of water up and over the highest hurdle I have yet crossed.
The momentum began, I believe, when I realized that the money for surgery would soon be available. Suddenly, the waiting was over. All that was left was to meet the requirements. So I breached the subject with Dr. Jayne at our last session and with Dr. Smith at my last check up. I felt that some allowance could be made for my situation with Mary, but that perhaps a show of true commitment was necessary to convince Dr. Jayne to support me in this.
That feeling was underscored at my support group meeting last Saturday. I explained my plan to go “part-time full-time” and be androgynous around Mary and the kids. I was blasted from all sides. Even Dr. Jayne herself (who attends the meetings) was less than enthusiastic. I lost confidence and began to truly worry that I would never obtain surgery unless I left Mary. Yet, I held out some hope that if I could show the seriousness of my intent to my psychologist, she might clear the way short of a separation.
For months now, I have feared the actuality of putting it all on the line; opening myself up to ridicule, baring myself to my friends. How would they react to the reality of the situation? What about my voice? My beard? My short hair and tiny breasts? I didn’t want to wear a wig and falsies, but my own equipment is still too much under developed and would only lead to being read. And the damn beard!!! No matter what I use the evil thing keeps showing through. How can I do this?!?
The fates must have it in for me, or perhaps I truly have a destiny, for I was acutely aware that the very next day I was to join Chris, Mark, and Juniko at Tom’s house to lay his bathroom linoleum, then go out for food and entertainment. This was the core group of all my closest friends, dating back to our days at USC: the five of us have been to hell and back on numerous difficult and harebrained productions, most of which I began and goaded the others into joining. And the thought of being rejected by them was almost an unbearable burden.
And yet, it has been perhaps three years since all five of us gathered without any other acquaintances and would probably be another three before it happened again. I needed to make the commitment. The time was now or never. I decided to go for broke.
I showed up first, dressed in female jeans and a red T-shirt, foundation make-up and mascara. I told Tom I was 90% in Melanie Mode and if he could handle it, today would be the best opportunity we all would have to get used to the transition. My friends could use each other for support. All I needed to do, I explained, was put on my lipstick and nail polish and I would be there.
He was a little uneasy, but when Chris showed up I got my purse from the car, sat on the porch watching Tom measure and cut the linoleum, and painted my nails. My hands shook and I smeared the job so badly I had to wipe one off and start over. Then I took the final step and put on my lipstick. And, miracle or miracles, they handled it!
Shortly thereafter, Mark and Juniko arrived. Mark was considerably uneasy at first, but after a few minutes, we were all joking and laying the linoleum together as if I had always been a female member of the group! We decided to go off for dinner to a soup and salad shop, but Mark expressed some concern with the T-Shirt and Nikes. He felt I looked too “in between”. In deference to his feelings, I made a call to my dad and had him get a much more feminine blouse and my female shoes, and have them ready at the house for us to pick up.
We drove over, all five in Mark’s jeep: me in the middle of the back seat squished in between Chris and Tom. We picked up the clothes and I changed my blouse (braless! – don’t look, guys!) while we drove as I sat between them. I guess we’re still the same old wild and crazy bunch! Everyone approved of the costume change and we shared a most enjoyable lunch at the open cafeteria. No one gave me a second glance, and I was amazed at how easily I slipped into the female role with my friends. I had worried so deeply about my self-consciousness of using female voice, but when the time came, it was as natural as if I had always spoken that way.
We drove back to Burbank and even Tom kidded and joked, smiling directly into my eyes, letting me know that nothing had changed. Mark, Juniko and I adjourned to Chris’ place, leaving Tom to get some sleep. Chris made coffee, then he and Mark sat in the other room to talk, while Juniko and I engaged in girltalk. She and I are becoming much closer friends than we ever had been. And I must say I am grateful for the acceptance and for the opportunity to be just one of the girls. We spoke of gender, sex, sex discrimination, and career changes. She offered me her hand-me-down clothes as she was about to clean out her closet. That she would give to me something as personal as her own clothing says so much of her acceptance that no words need be spoken.
Finally, Mark, Juniko and I went to a movie, “Glory”, in Hollywood. They sat me in the middle and the show began. I was amazed. I have never been able to allow myself to become too involved in a picture, for I might lose myself in it and forget to censor my gestures and get read as being strange. But this night, this special night, I drifted deeply into the film, unafraid that my reactions would not match my role. That opening shot of the soldier’s head exploding made me gasp, my hand coming involuntarily to my mouth – and it didn’t matter! It was okay. It was acceptable. My God, I felt free!
And so, as I returned home last night, slipping uncomfortably into the crumbling shell of Dave mode, I confronted Mary with my decision to dress for work today. This led to a devastating scene of near hysteria, uncontrolable sobbing, and recriminations. Yet, out of this, my spirit rose like a phoenix, and for the first time I knew I had the strength to suffer even the loss of my marriage, if that is what it takes to realize my dream.
With this behind me, I came to work as Melanie today. And, God knows, my beard does show through, and my hair is too short, and I am too bloody tall. But you know what? I don’t give a damn! The beard will fade, the hair will grow, and the height… well, two outa three ain’t bad! But answering the phone as Melanie, simply working on the seminar I’m writing for a friend & client, simply LIVING is so much better, now that I can be myself.
Now I must be careful to be seen only as Melanie to all my friends and clients. For the only way they will truly accept me in the long run, is if they see only one of me and become used to that at the subconscious level. So the sham goes on: Melanie by day, Dave by night. Even as I struggle in the twilight of my two beings, wondering whether it is dawn or dusk.
January 9, 1990
Well, here I am in front of the computer in the office on my second day as Melanie on the job. Already it feels so natural that I find myself not even thinking about it and devoting myself to my work. In fact, that’s why I’m making this rare morning entry: I got to thinking that what I really want to do with my life is write professionally. That was my dream since age 12 when I began my first novel (never to be completed). I have written screenplays for hire, but none, save the one I directed, were ever produced. All my other “published” work consists of scripts for industrial, educationals, and TV commercials. But I am happiest when I can drift off into my fantasy world where words are my friends and we play together. Bleah!!! Is that drippy or what!!!
Anyway, if I am truly to be a writer, I must publish. And what better way to break into that closed arena than to publish this journal. I had always intended to do so, but now that I am truly Melanie, I feel the creative drive more strongly than ever before. And so, this entry: my first foray into the life-style of Melanie Anne Phillips: Writer.
January 10, 1990
Day 3 of my new life. It’s a lot different than I expected: different because very little seems to have changed. Ninety percent of the time I just sit here in my office and write. And when I am thoroughly engrossed in a project, I am completely unaware of what I’m wearing. I suppose if I worked in a high-profile job like a regular business office I might notice more significant changes. Indeed, it seems almost ridiculously obvious that the only time things will change is when I interact with people. Sitting here alone has no potential for difference.
Oh, I DO feel more comfortable dressing as a woman, and it was a kick using the Ladies room today (and having to ask Tom B. to get some soap out of the Mens room because I can’t go in it anymore). But aside from that, Its the people that make the difference.
For example, yesterday, I told the secretary down the hall. She was very warm and understanding. In fact, later in the day, I had my door open and I heard my assistant tell her, “I found your note on the door about the films to transfer to video.” She replied, “Oh, that’s okay, I already gave them to Melanie.” Now if THAT isn’t a kick, getting called by my new name out of my presence, I don’t know what is!
And then, today, Robert, the 6’4″ ex-marine down the hall, stopped in to borrow a screwdriver. He had not been informed and just walked in cold and saw me as Melanie. I can only imagine what he thought. I had been dreading this particular encounter form months now. But he surprised me. He said, “Well, if you’ve thought about this and you think its right for you, who’s to say any different.” Wow! So, he borrowed the screwdriver and brought it back later with information about some office supplies we are going to be getting.
I feel the obligation to take a moment to ask a favor of you all out there. Thousands, no, MILLIONS of people are suffering untold mental agonies every day because of a secret need that they are afraid to express. And many live in that agony all their lives and die with, or even because of it, for fear of public ridicule and social exile. I have been lucky; I have not yet faced these things, although I suspect I will before the game is out. But the freedom of unleashing the hidden hurt is so cleansing, so joyous, that I urge each and every one of you to have tolerance toward others whose inner pains are no fault of their own. Give them hope, give them kindness, and even if you cannot bring yourself to support them, at least give them the space to grow, and treat them as equal members of humanity. For indeed they are.
Off the soapbox, and back to the duties of the day. I thank you.
Oops! A quick update… I’m beginning to feel trapped in the office. Even though m make-up covers the beard pretty well, it does not cover the beard SHADOW. That is, the pigmented skin in those areas where hair grows. So whenever I step out, anyone within 10 feet of me can see that I don’t look quite right. Add to this that my hair is still only down to the bottom of my ears and that I’m nearly 5’11”, and I get read frequently. So every day I use Fade Cream to lighten the shadow, but until this is accomplished, I just don’t want to go wandering around outside. I figure 3 or 4 weeks before the Fade Cream will work, so I guess I’m stuck here for about a month. Rats!
January 12, 1990
Well, here I am at the conclusion of my first week living as Melanie. And somehow it seems as if nothing’s really happened. So far, no outright rejection to my face. And even a couple of incidents of real support. But inside, I don’t believe I feel any differently than I did last week.
There are times when the feminine feeling flows over me like a cleansing bath, and other times when I feel like Dave in drag. Those are the worst, not because I feel uneasy about myself, but because I wonder if this has been worth all the turmoil to get here. As the song says, “Is that all there is?”
I don’t feel depressed, mind you, or even purposeless or disillusioned as I might have expected. Instead, I guess I just feel disappointed. I remember the times I had with Alan, and was expecting the same kind of feeling every day as Melanie. Part of the problem is that I have very few people to relate to here; I basically work alone. And my assistant, Tom B., keeps calling me “Dave”. Now, THAT bugs me! As for Nicki, who still sleeps in the office next to mine, she (as Mike) has been ill all week, and I have barely seen her. Even when I do, Nicki avoids calling me Melanie and treats me most of the time like a guy anyway. I don’t know whether it is jealousy, cruelty, or oversight. But whatever the motivation, it doesn’t bolster my morale.
I feel good. I feel comfortable (as I have said). But still I hide in the office, as I know that my make-up and mannerisms are not yet up to snuff. Perhaps when I feel confident enough to venture into the “real” world, I shall find that certain feeling I have been expecting.
Last night, I permed my hair. Don’t EVER do this! You need eight arms and the grace of a gazelle. The results are okay (sort of) but you can be sure that next time I’ll just fork over the thirty bucks to have a professional do it!
Now that last line, “thirty bucks”. Should I have said, “thirty dollars” and sounded more feminine, or left it for the best word impact. I really don’t know.
When I was on the mega doses with the Hollywood doctor, I felt EXTREMELY feminine. And my resolve to see this through was intense although not unwavering. But now, I almost have trouble dredging up the drive to take even one more step forward. I find it strange that just as I am overcoming the final obstacles to my life-long dream I should get lethargic about it. Maybe it’s just the lack of sleep I’ve had this week. Again, I just don’t know.
I see Dr. Jayne today. I hope that she can shed some light on this. Maybe it’s just a phase that everyone goes through who travels this road. Or maybe it’s the fateful warning sign I have been awaiting for so long that asks, “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” And it asks in a male voice.
I suppose I should give it all time. As people begin to sublimate my new image and status into their working patterns, THEN they may treat me in a manner that will make it all worthwhile. But for now, I’m sorely disappointed.
Feeling better! A friend called and left a message on my answer phone. When I called back he mentioned he would be working a project all day. I feel just a tiny bit guilty, but I sort of weaseled myself into coming over for company. I’m so damned nervous about going out on the street when my beard shadow shows through that I just hide up here. But now, I get to spend the afternoon with someone who knows and accepts me anyway.
So suddenly, I feel feminine again. And it’s all worth it again. I guess I just have to get to the point where I KNOW that no one is going to see any beard shadow, and when THAT happens, I’ll be able to face the world. Because then, there will be nothing out of my control that will give me away. Every day I’ll get better and more passable. But for now, God, just the thought of being read a block from the office with nowhere to run sends chills up my spine.
I just realized the reason I wanted to go over to my friend’s is because I am attracted to him. God help me! I am realizing that the reason I have made male friends is because I am attracted to them in an intimate way. I guess I’ve been in some kind of love with these guys for ears and never known it.
Wait a minute! I just remembered a suppressed fantasy where I changed bodies with Mary and seduced another friend of mind. In the fantasy, I got an ice cube from the refrigerator and held it on my nipples to make them stick out so that he would be turned on by me, as Mary. And I used to fantasize about marrying another friend who would be a good physical match. At this moment I don’t remember any fantasies about the friend I am going to visit, but who knows what else may turn up.
This is incredible! Five months ago I actually believed I had never been attracted to a man. In truth, I have been attracted to scores of them. I look back at a former client who sets my heart spinning just to think about his slim, muscular body and gentle manner. So what is this? Am I remembering feelings I had at the time that have waited in the wings for so long, or am I only now manufacturing these feelings around the memory of someone I never cared about at the time? Gets damn complex….
So what do I do now? I can never relate to these guys again if this gets out, yet here it is in print. Am I just a homosexual afraid to fess up? I don’t think so, but lets explore that.
All my fantasies have been with me as a woman, never as a guy. When I signed onto my computer network and went to the “sex” room to get picked up, I always went as a woman looking for a guy. The one time I did go to the gay area, I presented myself as a transsexual and enjoyed only the female aspect of it. When with Alan, he made it clear that homosexual love was okay with him. But I just couldn’t! And the one time he lifted my panties, I got so embarrassed I cried. But this morning Mary got in the shower while I was dressing, her full breasts swaying as she passed me. I made it clear to her that I was VERY interested, and in fact, felt substantial erotic arousal.
But at this moment as I write I feel just like Dave. But does that mean I’m gay in drag? I don’t think so. Maybe Dave always was female inside and no male personality ever existed there. If that is the case, then feeling like Dave inside should be okay, because I don’t have to make a personality transition, only an expression one.
So the esoterics are staggering. But at the moment, all I want to do is go over to m friend’s and get rolled in the hay. Won’t happen, but excuse me for thinking.
January 13, 1990
Today, I met at the home of a film producer I had known as Dave. After having dealt with him for over a year while editing his promotional video, I have learned to be suspicious of his motivations with every word that leaves his lips. He is a most pleasant man in his seventies, but everything he does is calculated several moves in advance to benefit himself and no one else.
During my year of freelancing, on and off, for him, I allowed myself to be continually renegotiated into severe financial hardship. I truly believe I was never invited to his home during this period, because he did not want me to be aware of the fine condition in which he lived as it would weaken his bargaining position.
In any event, the promotional reel we created has struck paydirt and he has closed a deal for seven million dollars to produce a motion picture for a Japanese businessman. He asked me to be part of his production.
My normal outlook with anyone else would be to accept that offer as a compliment from someone who wishes to work with me. But coming from this fellow, I can only wonder what he hopes to take me for. He has known of my pending sex-change for some six months now, and has dealt with the concept without conflict. But now, one of his conditions for joining the production is to only present myself as a male.
Strange that for twenty five years I have wanted to be in feature films. For thirty years I have wanted to be female. And now, I must give up the career of my dreams for the life of my dreams. This decision was not reached without tears, anger, and self-pity. But after all the inner turmoil I suffered reaching the point where I could present myself as Melanie to friends and business associates, I cannot imagine giving that up for anything. The cost has been too great.
I had always said that I would rather empty wastebaskets at 20th Century Fox than be president of another type of company. But now, I must admit I would rather be a waitress at Harry’s Diner than a male director of feature films. It’s that simple. Being female is more important to me than life itself.
I could have accepted his offer and left my family to work as Dave in the day and live as Melanie after hours. But my family is also more important than my career. So, like the Duke of Windsor, I abdicate my career in favor of those I love.
Friday I went to lunch with my friends and visited Tom for a couple hours before leaving for Dr. Jayne’s. The freedom and well-being I felt with them is so deeply and basically strong that all else melts against that primal heat.
And so, it is with some sadness, but no regrets that I will tender my intentions to the producer. Ironic that after years of struggle I should inherit a house, be offered a forty five thousand a year job, be offer Associate Producer on a major feature, and be offered my first feature editing job all in the same month, the month my grandmother died.
But the agitation of these few weeks has cleared dust from the air and left a pure and simple view of my priorities. One, I WILL be female, whatever the cost. Two, I will remain with my family as long as they will have me. Three, I will pursue my career to the best of my ability. Once this became codified in my mind, there were no more decisions to make. I merely need to hold each choice up to this template and see if it works.
I know now the strength of my resolve by the magnitude of those things I am willing to give up. Becoming female is truly the most important thing in my life, and I doubt (after the events of this month) that I will ever question that again. So now I shall order my life, in view of these priorities, to do what I must while cutting my losses to the minimum. And you know, I really feel good about it all.
January 14, 1990
This is the year the unattainable has become possible. From home ownership and an end to debt, and the opportunity to write fulltime without concern for finances, to career advancement and fulfillment of my desire to be female. Instead of being swarmed by an onslaught of impending disasters that must be fended off frenetically in order to merely survive, I am now faced with a plethora of choices, each of which has goodies attached, but each of which comes with a price. And so, I begin now to sort out my options, get my life in order and attempt to select those situations that collectively will bring me the greatest happiness in the long haul, or at least the greatest peace.
I have recently read in a seminar I am researching that you don’t get if you don’t ask. This, of course, can be taken to the extreme, as evidenced by some I have known who use this technique to take all they can get. But if applied in moderation, one should ask for what one truly wants and see what happens. After all, if you don’t tell them what you want, how the hell are they supposed to know?
And if they will not give you what you want, you can always compromise. You may be satisfied with less if they offer something else in exchange. It is most important, however, to have previously determined what the real minimums are that would be acceptable as a working situation, not just in the heat of negotiation. If you are presented with a choice which you have not previously considered, ask for time to consider it. If that costs the deal, well, better that than committing to an agreement that you cannot ultimately abide.
I must be female in the days, if I am to have the stamina to be Dave for Mary in the nights. I wish I could present myself as Melanie all the time, but for now that is impossible. But I must be wise enough to realize that if I were to take the job with Fred as Dave, it would cost me my marriage or my sanity. So I shall ask. I shall present my case simply, not as a pleading or a negotiating point, but a point of fact: that if I cannot work with him as Melanie, I cannot work with him at all.
Now, this may seem rash in light of how long I have struggled to become involved in feature film production and the staggering price I have paid to achieve that end: the all-night editing sessions, financial disaster, subjugating myself to inane work with tasteless and abrasive producers. All these things have I endured for the opportunity to make moves; to practice my craft. But in reality, I no longer believe that any of that crap has edged me even marginally closer to my goal. In fact, the reputation I have established may very well have crushed what opportunity may have existed.
So, I do not feel as if I am giving up a damn thing. For I would only be one of three underpaid Associate Producers, and that and two bits will get you on a bus in Hollywood (or would have at yesterday’s fares). I would have to obliterate the precious and vulnerable new personality that is emerging for another game of “run around”, with no guarantees of future career success. And then it would be another stupid project or excruciating position followed by another and another until I lay upon my death bed still wondering what it would be like to truly be female. Well, NO THANK YOU!!! I’ve done enough of that in the last thirty years to last two lifetimes. I’ve paid my dues multi-fold and gotten nowhere. ‘cept here. And now that I finally AM here, I damn well intend to stay for the show! So bring on the dancing girls and break out the wine. If the spirits are willing, I might just join them on stage for a ragged jig before the curtain comes down.
January 15, 1990
An interesting transition was made at home today: a major step that may actually make it possible to live these two lives. I had an appointment with the director I’m editing the film for, and as with all my business associates, I am only appearing as Melanie. This is, however, Martin Luther King’s Birthday, and the children are at home. So the logistics of getting ready, getting out of the house and getting back were staggering and risky at best.
Well, I managed that aspect okay, but the psychological strain of trying to maintain the Dave persona in the morning, slip within minutes into Melanie and then right back to Dave again, took an incredible toll. By the time I returned home, I was nervous, depressed and snappy. At that moment I believed that the Great Compromise could not be sustained.
But Mary was so supportive and understanding, so determined to keep making it work, that I decided (in desperation) to take a gamble. I allowed myself to act and react naturally with her and the kids for the first time. I neither censored nor altered my responses and let my voice find its natural pitch (which is higher than Dave and lower than Melanie).
I fully expected that Mary would lose it completely, complain (justifiably so) that I had broken our agreement, and demand that I leave. But she never batted an eye. In fact, we shared a wonderful day together just putsying around the house.
I have discovered before that the shift is mostly internal, and that the external manifestations of that shift are so subtle as to be overlooked by the casual observer. I suspect that if one truly had a male personality and became a female personality the differences would be substantial. But if one has always had a female personality, albeit hidden and suppressed, one will not have been able to shift too far from one’s true self and maintain the sham so long.
I mentioned this to Mary at the end of the day and she said she had noticed the change in voice, but not particularly any change in mannerisms or expression. And so, it seems that I no longer have to go through that excruciating, time consuming, draining shift. I can be the real me inside wherever I am, however I’m dressed. And this unity of spirit, this continuity of being means I can be Melanie now and forever no matter what I am called or what sex I am perceived to be.
I had felt that my two presentations were both moving closer to center, eventually to meet in the middle. I know now that task is nearly complete. And then, only then, has the real journey ended. Fora change of sex is merely a physical thing. But to become a complete human being is only in the mind.
January 16, 1990: One Hell of a Day
I began my second week of fulltime today. Over the weekend I had been experimenting with make-up foundations, much like an alchemist might stir ingredients into a pot. Everything I had previously used would either leave beard shadow squinting through or pucker up my face like a mummified drag queen. But today, I stumbled upon the perfect combination: Joe Blasco foundation set with Dermablend powder. And two hours after I started applying it, I closed the door and drove to work.
It’s been raining all day and it poured on the way to the office. Once there, I was greeted by Tom B., who has finally overcome his frustrating habit of calling me “Dave” when I’m dressed as Melanie. Now he just calls me “man”. As in, “Hey, man, how’s it going? Well, I guess it’s still an improvement, but it’s hard not to get dragged (no pun intended) out of character, and that hurts.
Anyway, I realized that the time had come to tell the producer outright whether I would work on his feature or not. But to actually commit to turning down the break I have waited twenty four years for was not an easy task. Nevertheless, I called him on the phone, and told him the situation, all the while hoping he would change his mind and employ me as Melanie – alas, no! I arranged to drive the script over to him so that at least he would see me as Melanie once for my own satisfaction. (Maybe if he saw how presentable I was he would drop that requirement).
I arrived at his home and handed off the screenplay. He said, “Let me take a look at you.” I turned ’round for him and he said, “Not bad!” But he still accepted the script back and said goodbye. He is, however still interested in the screenplay I am writing for a horror film called “Snowsharks”. (Do I hear a plug being dropped?)
The magnitude of my decision did not hit me until I was on the freeway again, driving home through the rain. Suddenly, I realized just how much I had given up. And I thought of my mother, the anniversary of her death but two weeks away. I remember she told me that everything would be okay when I grew up. “When you get married, you’ll know what to do. It’ll come naturally.” I wanted to tell her that it WASN’T okay. Things hadn’t worked out. Life was all wrong and the future was black.
For the first time since she died, my eyes filled with tears for her, which dropped unrelenting upon my mascara as the rain smeared the dust of my windshield. At that moment I needed her so much. I needed to be held and comforted. But I also wanted to grab her by the shoulders and demand to be answered, “Why? Why did you do this to me? I thought you loved me.” To this day, I don’t know how much of my need springs from her guidance and how much was simply out of her control. I suppose I’ll never know. But the love/hate emotion (for it is ONE emotion, not the combination of two) remained with me as I parked in front of my house.
I ran in to get some moral support. I called Dr. Jayne and got her answering machine. I called Chris and got HIS answering machine. And I called Mary, and she was in an office full of people and couldn’t talk. But she did call back to tell me that although she would’ve preferred the career move and the money, she also knew how much it meant to me. And if I felt I could not handle Fred’s condition, then she figured I knew myself best, and she could do nothing but support me. God, what a woman!
Eventually, Dr. Jayne returned my call, as this was a most serious situation and she was genuinely concerned. Chris, I left no message for, so he hasn’t called back, as one might expect.
But the day was not over yet. Oh, no. Not by a longshot! I changed my clothes and picked up Mindi at school, stopped for pastries, then came home. My dad opened the door to inform me that this was an early day for Keith, who had called and was waiting in the principal’s office to be picked up late.
I raced into the house with the baked goods, tossed them onto the table, then bolted to my car and drove off to salvage my boy. On the way home, a police car came up behind me and flashed his lights. I pulled over and rolled down my window.
The young recruit stepped gingerly around to my side, darting the alert eyes of a new officer who has not yet seen it all. He asked for my license, which is when I realized that I had been holding my wallet under the bakery box and had tossed it on the table with the cupcakes. So he asked for my registration, which I don’t carry in the car. In fact, all I had was my proof of insurance in the glove compartment, but nothing to prove I was the same person. Besides, the car is still registered to my aunt and mother.
He spied my briefcase in the back seat and asked me to open it. I complied, revealing my purse and a pair of my pointy black shoes. He said, “You have a woman’s purse and a pair of women’s shoes in your briefcase?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “Why do you have a purse and a pair of women’s shoes in your briefcase?” I said, “My son shouldn’t hear this.”, and told Keith to cover his ears. But the cop was understanding and motioned me out of the car to talk privately.
We adjourned to his curbside office and I gave a brief but concise course in transsexualism and my involvement with it. He may not have seen it all, but he must have seen enough, for he was only mildly taken aback and more curious than anything. He took down my information, cited me for a lapsed registration, and asked several questions about transsexualism for his personal edification.
Finally, confirmation came in by radio, and I was returned to the road. Now, I admit I’ve been stopped once before for a lapsed registration, and I admit I’ve been stopped once before without my license, but I have never been stopped before for a lapsed registration, not had my license, not had the registration, and been forced to reveal my transsexualism to a police officer with my son in the car. Now, did someone have it in for me or what?!?
Anyway, I guess I just attract that kind of situation naturally. But the really frightening thought is that things are probably going to get weirder before they get better.
January 26, 1990
Things have settled into the pattern of having no pattern. Confusion runs rampant and anarchy is the order of the day. Hour to hour, sometimes moment to moment, my mood, feelings and resolve shift in never ending alterations. I don’t seem to be able to get a fix on where I am, like a sailor on an uncharted sea on a black and starless night.
Mostly I feel good; specifically, I feel content, at ease. But this can be when I also feel male inside or female and regardless of how I am dressed. My internal settings appear to be completely unrelated to the social role in which I present myself. So strong male attitudes may course through my veins when “portraying” Melanie, and female notions was over me as Dave.
There are times when I will smile at something on the radio while driving. And that smile will alternate between feeling like a male and female smile. I wonder if that concept is too hard to truly grasp for those who have not experienced it. I certainly would have been at a loss to understand it just weeks ago. But the male smile is confident, self-assured, enjoying the moment but also feeling in charge of it. The female smile is soft, cute, amused, pleased that the radio man was kind enough to bring enjoyment to my life. As a male I expect to be entertained. As a female I am grateful for it.
But not quite. The emotions are so basic that they defy words.
When I first began appearing as Melanie, I felt the same as when I was Dave. I looked different, people treated me differently, but I saw the world through the same eyes. As I loosened up and allowed myself not only to express female attitudes but to give up control, permit them to move within and even control me, I actually felt like a different person, almost a split personality.
As I increased my time as a female, these two sides separated until they had little common ground. The internal shift took as long as six hours after the external one before I would be comfortable. And trying to speed the process was actually painful, almost excruciating. But during these last three weeks as Melanie all day and Dave all night, these two halves, these pendulum swings have moderated and moved back toward center. Melanie’s voice, mannerisms, body language and attitudes have returned from the far reaches of exaggerated, almost parodied ultra-feminine. And Dave’s persona has left the solid rock of ersatz macho behind. Both partial personalities are approaching each other, meeting in the middle to join and become one complete human being.
I am no longer afraid of my feminine side, nor ashamed of my maleness. For both are truly me. And only by allowing all facets of my personality to express themselves can I ever experience the esoteric freedom of self knowledge and self expression.
Each of us carries within a complete human being. And we all possess aspects that society labels “male” and “female”. So we suppress great chunks of our delicate psyche, upsetting the balance and living in constant tension to protect ourselves from ridicule, lest our secret side be found out. Only by risking rejection, only by mustering the courage to face exile, can we obtain true inner peace as a unified human being.
January 26, 1990 – Evening
Something the hell is going on. I mean PHYSICALLY. Nearly all my entries have been about the mental changes, internally instigated or hormone produced/enhanced. But today, my God!
I got hungry today. And yesterday. And the day before that. In fact, I’ve been hungry ever since I started on the progesterone that Dr. Smith just prescribed for me at my last visit. This is the pregnancy hormone found in also in birth control pills that triggers development of the milk ducts and nipples. But it has also increased my appetite to the point that I am eating continuously.
I had been 167 pounds two years ago, and brought it down to 150 recently. I have only put back about four of those pound since the progesterone, but every gram has gone straight to the breasts. Today is the day it showed up.
I am typing this sentence with my left hand while I run the fingers of my right hand over the swollen contours of my left breast. (No kidding!) And the fullness (although miniscule by female standards) makes it feel the size of a cantaloupe. I looked in the mirror a few minutes ago, lifted my T-shirt, and WOW! Would I get stares if I went topless at the beach! I may not look completely like a woman yet, with the beard shadow and just the start of breasts, but I DO HAVE BREASTS! I mean, years of fantasy is truly becoming reality. I may not yet be anywhere close to being a woman, but I am, in fact, no longer a man. That much is visibly obvious to the world.
My hair has finally reached past my earlobes. And as I look at my hairless arms and my long fingernails, I cannot help feeling female. Up to this point, the entire persona has had to be created internally, with little real base to support and nurture it. But now, tonight, I MUST feel at least somewhat female, because that is what I partly am.
Now, perhaps, when I lose these four pounds again (and I will!) there will be a recession of my new bustline. But even then, it will only be temporary. For in the space of a few short months, growth will be so substantial that breasts will be a permanent fixture of my physical being.
And out of all this comes a feeling of justification. That now, I somehow have the inherent RIGHT to act female. Before, I could express myself only by force of will: throwing concerns for society’s approval to the dogs and acting as I chose. But now, having grown the equipment naturally, not by implant, having developed the calling cards or I.D. badges of womanhood, I am now entitled to the benefits thereby bestowed, allowing me to think, act, and respond as a female with full social acceptance.
Of course I am aware that society will accept me to a considerably less degree than a genetic female (and if that’s not understatement, what is?) but perhaps it is that I now accept myself. Perhaps now, I finally feel that I can ALLOW myself to be female in lifestyle. Regardless, the strength of the correctness that permeates my being is triggered solely by the new mounds of flesh upon my chest. And as long as I possess them, they give me justification to behave, act, and most importantly, feel female.
(Copyright 1992, Melanie Anne Phillips)
(The Transsexual Diary series will continue in the next edition of The Subversive)
I urge you all to keep a diary of YOUR personal journey, whether it be through transition or not. The attitudes and even the order of events becomes cloudy through time, and I am continually amazed to re-read things that memory would have me believe had happened differently. If nothing else, it is a good way to see long-term patterns in yourself that you cannot see except in retrospect. That objective view alone is worth the inconvenience of keeping a journal.
Mental Relativity is a new theory of psychology developed by my good friend and associate Chris Huntley and myself over several years. Its impact is far ranging, offering insight in areas of justification, problem solving, and decision making.
Because it is a RELATIVITY, the theory offers no absolutes. Rather, it defines the relationship between the processes of the mind in such a way that one can objectively see what things subjectively look like from any point in the process.
From time to time, this column will explore one of those points of view. We begin with an update of an article from an earlier edition of The Subversive:
For most of us on the Exploration trail, trying to determine if we are Transvestite or Transsexual is of paramount importance. We wonder if we just happen to enjoy wearing women’s clothes or if perhaps there is something more innate: perhaps we really ARE women in man skin. Naturally, the answer to this question is central to our choices for the rest of our lives. And yet, we cannot seem to get a grip on it. This is because it is an issue of feelings, not logic. But how are we to know if the way we “feel” is male or female? After all, we have nothing to compare with.
This issue troubled me throughout my life. I read what I could (always secretly), watched television programs, scoured the pulp magazines, and more than once suffered the depressions brought on by ripping my psyche up in search of the Truth. Even when I began living fulltime I had not achieved any certainty, and had to settle for saying, “Yes, I want to change my sex, but I don’t know if I am really a woman inside.” All my time with my therapist, all my meetings in a support group brought me no closer to satisfaction.
Then, about six months into fulltime, a friend I had known for 13 years asked me to breakfast. He reminded me of the theory of story structure we had toyed with while at the USC School of Film. In the past 10 years, he had (with his partner) built a million dollar a year business creating software for the entertainment industry. He asked me if I would like to work with him developing the theory into a software program for his company. I agreed, little knowing that I would spend the next three years developing a new psychology that would ultimately explain the REAL differences between men and women.
We began by hypothesizing that stories were not just about a bunch of different characters reacting like real people, but that each and every story was an analogy of a SINGLE MIND dealing with a problem. That meant that every character, plot point, thematic progression, Act break, scene structure, EVERYTHING IN A STORY, was part of the analogy of the mind: the STORY MIND.
The Story Mind was not intentionally created by authors but was a by-product of their effort to build successful story arguments by anticipating all the ways an audience might consider the story’s problem. Only by pre-including the audience in the story could the author be certain not to leave a “plot hole” of faulty logic or untrue feeling. Over generations, quite unaware of its significance, authors had created conventions of story structure and dynamics that actually represented the functioning of the human mind.
This concept has now been developed into a program at a cost of over a quarter of a million dollars in development expenses, and will be released along with a book on the Theory of Dramatica around the middle of this year. Certainly big rewards are to be had. But the REAL reward for me, is that in order to create the program, we had to map and understand the psychology of the Story Mind, which is an analogy to our own psychologies. In so doing, we developed the concept of Mental Relativity, that explicitly defines the manner in which the processes of the Mind relate, one to another. And the best part of all was that Mental Relativity not only explained, but REQUIRED there to be differences in the thought structures of men and women in order to work.
What does this mean? Simply that the minds of men and women work differently at a STRUCTURAL level. That is to say that the way data is received, stored, retrieved and processed is DIFFERENT between men and women at a BIOLOGIC level. This is not just a BIOCHEMICAL level, but in the Brain Operating System (or B.O.S.) that is hardwired before birth.
As we know, ALL fetuses start out in female form and then alter to the male blueprint if the child is destined to be a man. Different parts of the body’s development are triggered at different points in the pregnancy. Recent medical theories of transsexualism have it that at the 12th to 14th week of pregnancy, a developing male fetus must receive a flush of testosterone over the brain in order to trigger it to hardwire in the male pattern of data processing. If that hormonal flush does not happen, the body will develop male, but the brain will be irrevocably cast in a female pattern.
Such a child would be assumed to be male. But that is only the physical body. INSIDE, the child thinks as a female. And yet, even though this is an internal/external type of hermaphroditism, the inside cannot be seen, and the child has no other way of thinking to compare to. So, the child learns to think LIKE a man, even though it always thinks AS a woman. The Subconscious mind operates according to the FEMALE hardwiring, but the Conscious mind operates by training and choice.
If you look at the Mind, there are four parts: The Conscious, The Memory, The Subconscious, and the Pre-Conscious. “Pre-Conscious” is a term we coined in Mental Relativity to define the area of mental and physical response that occurs as a result of observation before the Conscious mind is even aware of stimuli: like pulling your hand away from a hot pot. Subconscious, in contrast, is biased by the biochemical stew (which includes, but is not limited to, the effects of hormones). The Subconscious fosters our predilections to one thing or another. Memory is structured by the cumulative impact of experience, and Conscious is the arbitrator that shifts the balance of credence between experience, observation, and predilection.
In essence, both Conscious and Memory are open to manipulation, by choice and experience resspectively, as to the structural way in which they operate. Then, that structure is filled with data from observation and internal considerations. But the Subconscious and Pre-Conscious are not subject to direct manipulation of STRUCTURE. Rather, the Subconscious must defer to the biochemistry, and the Pre-Conscious is subservient to the hardwiring set before birth that determines the B.O.S. Male Hardwiring freezes Space to measure things through Time (causing a linear logic base to the Sub and Pre Consciouses. Female Hardwiring freezes Time to measure things in space (causing a non-linear logic based on proximity rather than order). Mental Relativity calls these two hardwired thinking patterns, Mental Sex.
These last, in concept, are not exclusive to Mental Relativity. For example, the January 20, 1992 issue of Time magazine ran a cover story on the differences of men and women in which eight pages were devoted to recent research about the hardwired differences between the sexes. In fact, they even report the 12th to 14th week hormone theory as the point at which the hardwiring sets in. Also, a new book, Brain Sex (which has also been produced as a three part television series) describes the biologic differences between male and female minds.
So is Mental Sex the answer to the gender question? No, it is only one fourth of the answer. The other three parts are Anatomical Sex, Sexual Preference, and Gender Identity. Let’s look at each one, and then how they work together.
Anatomical sex is simply that: male or female. Certainly everyone has some physical traits that are more associated with one sex or the other, but in the end all of us (except hermaphrodites) are clearly male or female.
Sexual Preference can be straight, gay, bi, or none. And this is true of men as well as women. So, just being a male or a female does not dictate one’s Sexual Preference. Already we can see the number of variations are possible just between Anatomical Sex and Sexual Preferance.
Gender Identity is a SPECTRUM running from completely masculine to completely feminine and covering all the ground in between. Some straight men are very feminine, and some straight women are very masculine. So, once again, Gender Identity is not attached directly to either Sexual Preference or Anatomical Sex. Certainly, even an individual slides around a range on the Gender scale depending upon mood, present company, and task at hand.
Finally, we return to Mental Sex – the hardwiring of the brain. And this also is not absolutely tied to any of the other three. When you combine Gender outlook with Mental Sex Hardwiring, influenced by cultural pressures of role based on Anatomical Sex and Sexual Preference, THEN you end up with all the variations of human beings that we see in real life.
Now, I was a completely masculine man as Dave, but I could not relate to men on the most basic of levels because my data processing was not operating with the same system. Its kind of like trying to run MAC and IBM programs on each others machines without translation or some kind of shell. Well, that “shell” was the pseudo personality I developed as a child, based on rejecting my own operating system and adopting a functional but non-intrinsic system that ran other programs: thinking LIKE a man, even while thinking AS a woman.
Yet this does not make me any more “authorized” to be transsexual than anyone, regardless of hardwired Mental Sex. In fact, someone with a strong feminine Gender Identity, is equally justified in seeking surgery to allow for a SOCIAL role more compatible with their MANNER of approaching life.
None of these four aspects of Sexual Identity is more important than the others. It is the combination and interplay between them that determines the sort of sexual/gender animal you are. But knowing that there ARE four, and WHAT they are, has aided me in understanding why I have felt and feel as I do, and has made me comfortable in accepting that my personal decision to have surgery was not only right for me, but also the most efficient way to resolve many of the inequities in my life in one bold stroke.
The moment any of us realizes we have questions about our Gender selves, we have begun a journey of exploration. And we must see it as such. Answers are not obtained by snap decisions, but by gathering information and learning every step of the way. Just because we have made the decision to explore, does not mean we are obligated to go further than we really want, nor are we forbidden from realizing we have gone too far, and that our answers lie far closer to us than surgery.
So what is the difference between a Transvestite and a Transsexual? Ultimately the Transvestite is the person who enjoys a feminine side but really does not wish to have surgery, and the Transsexual is a person who has it. Trite? Not really. Happiness is an ethereal thing: hard to grasp and harder to define. But that is the real goal – to be happy, whether by accepting our desire to adopt the female role from time to time, or to embrace it permanently. If you do not have surgery and you are happy, you are a transvestite. If you have it and are happy, you are a transsexual – regardless of your hardwiring, upbringing, affectations or anything else.
So Mental Relativity holds some answers that may even ultimately determine absolutely the hardwiring of any individual. Yet, even if we knew for sure, in the end, each of us must find our own path to self-acceptance. Still it is better to search for our way in the bright light of knowledge than in the moonless night of ignorance. Shine a light and take a step.
Melanie Anne Phillips, Editor
(Copyright 1993 Melanie Anne Phillips)
Here is a copy of the letter Doctor Biber sends out in response to an initial inquiry regarding Sex Reassignment surgery. The actual costs have gone up roughly 10% from the figures in this copy. Also, I believe the anesthesiologist named in the letter is no longer working with Doctor Biber. Finally, immediately after this letter, Doctor Biber added the requirement of a second HIV test to be done at the hospital before surgery, as several girls were faking their results in order to obtain surgery.
If you want the most accurate and up to date information, you should contact Doctor Biber yourself directly. If anyone has more current information, or information on other surgeons or procedures, please forward it to me for inclusion in The Subversive.
Stanley H. Biber, M.D., P.C.
Office Phone 846-3301
406 First National Bank Bldg.
Trinidad, Colorado 81082
As per your letter asking for information Regarding the requirements for anatomically changing sexual characterisstics in the transexual.
We do not have a gender identity clinic here. We can do the surgery for you, which includes the genital surgery and breast implants, and other services like nose or chin surgery.
Our basic fee is $4,000.00 for the genital surgery and $1,200.00 for the breast implants. The hospital bill for the genital surgery will be $5,125.00. Any additional service above the average extended length of stay for any reason will be billed extra. WE AND THE HOSPITAL MUST RECEIVE CASSH AT THE TIME THE SURGERY IS DONE. We do not work with any insurances, however we will fill out any insurance forms for you after surgery and and you may collect directly from the insurance company or we will reimburse you if the insurance money is sent to us. If other procedures are done during the same hospitalization the hospital will require an additional $1,505.00 if you have the breast implant surgery: and additional $1,125.00 if you have the nose surgery, an additional $310.00 if ou have the tracheal shave done. Our fee for the SMR with corrective Rhinoplasy (nose job) is $1,200.00: tracheal shave $850.00 providing they are performed during the same hospitalization with the above surgery.
There will also be a charge for out anesthesiologist, a separate check must be made out to Dr. Frank Polanco. His fee for the genital is $800.00 and additional $200.00 if you have the nosse surgery: an additional $200.00 if you have the breast implant surgery: an additional $200.00 if you have the tracheal shave done. These fees are only if they are done at the same time the genital is done.
We require a ssocial history from yourself. We have to know that you have lived in your chosen gender for a whole year, 100%. Are you working in the opposite sex, etc.? Also ou must be on hormone therapy for a whole year before surgery. Have ou had electrolysis? Have you had any other cosmetic Surgery? Remember ou must live one year in your chosen gender role prior to surgery.
WE MUST HAVE TWO PSCHIATRIC EVALUATIONS, preferably one by a psychiatrist and the other by another psychiatrist, pschologist, or a recognized licensed worker in the gender or sex oriented field. You must understand that the final evaluation which will determine your acceptance for surger is done by ourselves immediately prior to your surgery. We would appreciate the evaluations at the earliest possible time.
Please send us a picture of yourself, that we may keep for our files. Once we set a surgical Date, we require a $500.00 deposit to reserve the date. No personal checks, please. We must have received the $500.00 deposit in our office no later than one week from the day that you scheduled your surgery.
It will be necessar for you to have an HTLV-III or an HIV (AIDS) test done at a certified laborator as close to your surgery date as possible, no later than six weeks. ou will be required to have the negative results with you when you arrive for surgery. Please be sure you have the test done where the will put your name on the results and not just a number, our hospital will not accept the results with just a number.
We will provide the necessary surgical consent forms on your arrival here.
We will be glad to help you if you can meet our requirements.
Stanley H. Biber, M.D.
Note: If your penis is so small as to warrant a skin graft procedure along with usual penile inversion technique, there will be an additional $500.00 fee.
“Hormones – The Woman’s Answer Book”
Lois Jovanovic, M.D.
Genell J. Subak-Sharpe, M.S.
If you are looking for a book that gives you hard numbers regarding dosages and effects of hormones for replacement therapy or transsexual pre-surgical therapy, this is not it. But if you want a wide ranging and easy to read exploration of the bigger picture: how hormones and the organs of the endocrine system interrelate, you will find plenty of meat here.
Many of us enter hormone treatments and even complete our surgeries unaware of what we are really doing to our bodies. Of course we all want soft skin, less body hair, and larger breasts, but what else do hormones do to our bodies?
In this book, the authors carefully explain how each independent organ is connected to all the others through the interplay of hormones. Some glands secrete tropic hormones that have no direct on the body but serve only to stimulate and regulate other organs to produce hormones that do act upon the body proper. Once desired levels are reached, a complex feedback system triggers the instigator organs to either cease producing the tropic hormones, or triggers other glands to produce tropic hormones that in turn tell the instigator gland to stop producing ITS tropic hormone. All in all, the endocrine system is not to be thought of as just testosterone or estrogen.
Of note is the great detail the authors draw in regard to the glands of the brain – hypothalamus, pituitary, and pineal, and how they are related to the thyroid, parathyroid, and adrenal glands. This keen and easily upset network controls body functions and conditions from skin, hair and nail growth, temperature, appetite, intestinal function, to the tremendous emotional effects.
On this last point, the book is perhaps weak in its concentration on the physical effects, while the emotional and psychological areas or only lightly touched upon.
Fortunately, the style is fairly conversational, and though at times it gets bogged down in technicalities, these passages are usually brief and segue quickly into more understandale material.
One technique of interest is that although the focus is on the female system, whenever certain hormones also appear in the male, this is noted and briefly explored, showing how sometimes the same hormones can have radically different effects on each sex.
An aspect of the book that I found personally very helpful was the sprinkling of useful tidbits of information throughout the book that described symptoms of hormone use that I had experienced but not connected with hormones. For example, from a clear complexion, over my four years of hormone therapy, I developed a heavily freckled face, mostly on the cheeks and under the eyes. I assumed it was the result of electrolysis until I read that this is caused by large doses of estrogens and even occurs with some regularity in women using birth control pills. I had used skin bleaches to some success, but the freckles always cam back. According to the book, once hormone doses are lowered, the freckles may remain, but then they may be successfully bleached with fade creams. So, now that I am on lower levels since surgery, I will give that a try again and fully expect it to work. Definitely useful information in my case. Of course there are many other little side notes of that nature that you are sure to find good preventative or curative information.
In conclusion, it is simply a dangerous idea to jump into hormone therapy without an understanding of just what one is doing to one’s body. Doctors frequently leave us in the dark, preferring to tell us to trust their experienced judgement. NEVER DO THIS!!!! Some hormone doctors are experts in their fields while others are nothing more than quacks. Before you begin hormone therapy, or even more so if you are currently in therapy, take the time to learn about what you are doing to yourself. A good place to start is with this book.
–Hormones – The Woman’s Answerbook is available in paperback in better bookstores at a list price of $4.99 U.S., $5.99 Canada.
90% of female-to-male transsexuals and 61% of male-to-female transsexuals are sexually satisfied.
70% of female-to-male transsexuals and 43% of male-to-female transsexuals retain close contact with their families.
57% of female-to-male transsexuals and 27% of male-to-female transsexuals form lasting romantic partnerships.
100% of female-to-male transsexuals and 60% of male-to-female transsexuals inform their partners about their transsexualism.
5% of female-to-male transsexuals and 21% of male to female transsexuals have made a suicide attempt.
100% of sexual partners of female-to-male transsexuals are female. 60% of sexual partners of male-to-female transsexuals are male.
— Source: The Great Divide (How Females & Males Really Differ) by Daniel Evan Weiss, drawn from data originally appearing in Archives of Sexual Behavior, December 1988 issue.
MELANIE'S WISE WORDS OF THE MONTH
“There is nothing so frustrating,
as someone worse off than yourself,
who is happier than you are.”
IN OUR FAMILY....
I took my egg timer to the company Christmas party this year, to time my act in the “Lack of Talent Show” put on by the employees. The next day, my son Keith asked me where it was, and my daughter Mindi (who was playing a video game) got in the conversation, which went like this:
KEITH: Where is the timer?
ME: On the couch with the things I brought back from the party.
MINDI (thinking I might have brought back goodies):
What did you bring back from the party?
ME (being clever):
My purse, my sweater… my goodness!
MINDI (without even looking up from her game):
Oh, that’s something you don’t usually bring back.
AMERICA ONLINE GENDER GROUP STATISTICS
Contributed by Marsha J, Gender Room Secretary
Attendee Stats as of November 1992
AK. 1 AZ. 1 BC. 2 CA. 25
CO. 1 CT. 5 DE. 1 FL. 12
GA. 2 IL. 9 IN. 4 LA. 4
MA. 8 MD. 4 ME. 1 MI. 3
MN. 2 MO. 4 MS. 2 MT. 1
NC. 2 NH. 1 NJ. 7 NM. 2
NV. 1 NY. 7 OH. 5 OK. 2
ON. 3 OR. 1 PA. 5 TN. 1
TX. 8 UT. 1 VA. 5 VT. 1
WA. 4 WI. 3 WV. 2 WY. 1
CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL OUR 154 MEMBERS FOR HELPING TO CREATE A SAFE HAVEN OF SUPPORT FOR EVERYONE CONCERNED WITH GENDER ISSUES!!!
Don’t forget to attend the Gender Room Meeting on the America Online BBS in the Gay/Lesbian area in the Community Room at 9pm ET every Sunday evening. For specific information, directions, or to order back logs of the chats, Email Marsha J, the Gender Room secretary.
The words to a song from my album, “Tarnished Karma”
“All You Love is Need”
When it gives, can we take it?
When it takes, can we pay?
When it’s here, we ignore it,
but adore it,
when it’s gone away.
There are some who refuse it.
There are some who won’t say.
There are some who abuse it,
and they use it,
all night and all day.
Some will try to deny it.
Some will try to delay.
Some will swear they will die for it,
but they try for it,
in the wrong way.
Now I’ll give you no reason.
And I’ll give you no rhyme.
But to all is a season,
and you’ll reason
“May you never find occasion to say, ‘If only…..'””
Dry Spell……………………..110 pages, scriptbinding.. $20.00
An original sci-fi/thriller screenplay by Melanie Anne, following a woman archaeologist as she struggles to destroy a deadly organism discovered while documenting Native American ruins.
Snowstorm……………………..102 pages, scriptbinding.. $20.00
An action/adventure screenplay by Melanie Anne, that crosses the paths of a teenage boy entered in a dangerous cross-country snowmobile race and the ruthless destruction of an entire town by a druglord.
The Day After Christmas………….50 pages, Softcover……. $5.00
A fully illustrated, satire on the threat of nuclear war that follows the destructive activities of “Saint Nuke” on The Day After Christmas.
Dichotomy……………………..30 Minutes, Cassette Album $10.00
12 Original songs by David Michael Phillips, multitrack: keyboard, guitar, vocals.
Tarnished Karma………………..30 Minutes, Cassette Album $10.00
10 Original songs by David Michael Phillips, just before embarking on transition. Many of the lyrics pertain to the inner conflicts of gender dysphoria in a disguised manner, as this decision was not public at the time. Multitrack: keyboard, guitar, vocals.
All prices are post-paid, U.S. mail. Send orders to:
Melanie Anne Phillips
150 East Olive Avenue,
Burbank, CA 91502
EDITOR’S NOTE: It is my desire to make this publication available free online to all who wish to read it. However, due to copyright laws, any overall license would allow unscrupulous individuals to excerpt portions and use it for their own personal gain. Therefore, should you wish to upload this publication on your BBS or simply generate hardcopies for support groups and friends, please write me about a free license for your specific purpose.
(Copyright 1993 Melanie Anne Phillips)