Monday, April 30, 2012

The Talackova Wayves Article that Wasn't 4/29/12

Due to the tragic death of Ray Taavel, the Wayves magazine edition for May was shelved in favour of a well-deserved tribute edition. Here is my contribution that was hence, cancelled from publication:

The Jenna Talackova Story - Making an Impact Across Canada!

Well, it just wouldn't feel right to have a major LGBT Canadian periodical publication this month, without at least one story about the most-covered transsexual news story, perhaps in the history of
Canada.  As I am sure many of you are already aware, British Columbia native Jenna Talackova made news all over the world when she was outted as a post-op transsexual woman who was initially disqualified from the Miss Universe Canada pageant when it was revealed that she was not supposedly a "natural born woman." Rather than taking this disqualification lightly, Jenna enlisted the help of famed lawyer Gloria Allred, and within a matter of days, pageant owner Donald Trump
decided to reverse the decision and allow Talackova to compete.

What does this have to do with Eastern Canada, you ask? Well, this story has stimulated conversations all over Canada, including right here in our neck of the woods. While there is a clear division of opinions in terms of whether or not having a transsexual entered in a main-stream beauty pageant adds value to the various fights of the trans community, is debatable, but what it has done is open the door for many other trans advocates to gain attention to speak about the issues.

While mainstream media in Newfoundland has generally ignored trans issues, I was among the first in the country to be contacted for a lengthy interview on province-wide television. Not only did I get a chance to speak about the pageant, but I got the opportunity to discuss trans issues in general, including the challenges we all face with regards to stereotypes and myths about our transition being a medical condition, as well as the challenges we face in society gaining acceptance and fairness in terms of access to health care, housing, employment, safety, and overall human rights recognition.

The story couldn't have come at a better time, given that federal private member's bill C-279, is in the process of being moved through the House in Ottawa. This Bill, if passed, would provide human rights protection to trans people, by virtue of having the words "gender identity" and "gender expression" added to the Human Rights Code. In addition, it would include the same terms under the grounds for hate crimes in the Criminal Code of Canada.

Finally, the Talackova story has stimulated so much interest, both in and out of the trans communities, that it is literally bringing more trans people out of the closet and into social media discussions.  Not only has this allowed me to find and communicate with trans people in all four Eastern Canadian provinces, it has lead to several strangers stopping me on the streets of downtown St. John's to talk about trans issues.  Additionally, this has opened the door for me to develop some
personal rapport with Talackova herself.

Ultimately, regardless of what you all think of beauty contests, and regardless of whether or not you feel Trump is just using Talackova as a pawn in his game of chess to attract media attention to his
business, it's hard to disagree that having Trump express trans acceptance, and change his company policy, within a matter of days, doesn't make a major statement to society at a global level.
Accepting trans people as equals is now good for business. Trump knows this, and so do I.

I can only hope that more and more examples of trans acceptance in the private sector, will occur, and that this will eventually put pressure on Government entities to move faster in terms of amending their policies to ensure rights for trans Canadians in the East Coast.

Monday, April 23, 2012

How transsexual and transgender are different 4/23/2012

Well, here's a video ramble please watch this first for context, before reading today's blog:

now, let's take a closer look at my case:


primary sex characteristic = born with penis

sexual identity = absolutely knew that i needed a vagina. was not happy or comfortable with penis. was unable to engage in sexual activities without a vagina.

sex reassignment surgery = has allowed me to have a genital 'presentation' that matches genital 'identity' no longer suffer from sex dysphoria.

transsexual = one who insists that they need to change from penis to vagina.


gender = presumed to be a mascline person based on the false assumption that male = boy.

rejected many stereotypical boy/man roles, but embraced some of them. desired to take on certain roles that were deemed feminine/girly/womanly.  rejected some ideas or roles of same.

gender incongruence?  incongruent from what? i rejected the concept that gender is binary, and still do.

more importantly, i recognize that society has two erroneous assumption. one, that gender is binary, and two, that gender identity drives sex identity.

recognized that WPATH erroneously linked sex to gender. realized i would have to undertake a drastic change in gender presentation in order to be deemed suitable for SRS.

unique position between rock and a hard place: society expects me to be a man, based on being born male; yet WPATH expects me to be a woman, based on their theory that gender dictates sex.

my gender identity? i don't have a gender. i am non-gendered.  i don't perceive myself to be boy or girl, man or woman, or masculine or feminine.  my gender identity nor my understanding of societal expectations had no role on my gender identity, but it did play a role in how i undertook gender presentation, and still do.

ironically, i had to oversell a false gender identity via gender presentation, to get society to better learn to accept my transsexualism.

does having a surgically-created vagina make me anatomically and legally female? yes.

does it change my gender or make me more feminine? no, not at all.

my theory re psychological vs physical:

sex = binary
gender = not binary

you can't talk someone out of being transsexual.
you can't talk someone out of their gender identity.

you can resolve transsexualism by having SRS
you can resolve binary transgenderism by changing gender presentation
you can never resolve non-binary transgenderism by implimenting a binary-fixing solution.


hormones vs anatomy

what if you want to be a woman with a penis, but not have testicles?  sure, nothing wrong with that. it's just not me. i like the term 'part-op identity' to describe this situation. is this person male or female? well, anatomically, they have a penis, hence male. but in terms of secondary sex characteristics, they are hormonally female. 

what about the non-op who takes hormones? similar situation as above.

what if you want SRS to become female, have a body that reaps the benefits of years of estrogen and progesterone, but want to still produce testosterone? the medical world, let alone society, has not caught up with you yet. in terms of athletic ability and fairness, it is true that a post-op transsexual female has less testosterone than natal females who have functioning ovaries. in fact, a hypothesis has been put on the table recently to the International Olympic Committee by an aspiring olympic transsexual female to be granted permission to take testosterone suppliments to bring her T levels up to the generally-accepted range of natal females.

where do i stand on this? well, i really miss the strength, speed, endurance, and energy that i no longer have due to lack of testosterone. however, i realized that estrogen and progesterone would not work their magic on my body (providing me secondary female sex characteristics) unless i completely eliminated testosterone from my body.

once hormone replacement therapy has maximized what it will do, would i consider taking testosterone suppliments to enhance my energy and athletic ability? yes, absolutely! in fact, this is desirable and is likely to be something i would seek out. however, only with reasonable assurance that the T would not reverse the secondary female sex characteristics of my body.


from a legal perspective, what matters more? sex or gender?  realistically, this is the problem with society. both are factors in terms of acceptance. and both need to fit neatly into a congruent and binary realm for acceptence. post-op transsexuals can only gain true acceptance if they are passable and stealth.  i am not stealth, and hence, passibility is not applicable - and because of this, i face discrimination and scrutiny.


non-ops will now be granted the opportunity to obtain change in ID marker without needing surgical intervention.

is society more likely to respect or accept a non-op based on this ruling? i think this could help in some ways but hurt in others.

is society more accepting of pre-ops and post-ops than non-ops?  that's a tough question, and this is clearly the biggest issue that has caused all this debate.  personally, i think wrapping ones head around the concept of a sex change is tough enough, and one that society is still struggling with. but to ask them to accept someone who changes gender yet insists that they don't want or need a sex change? well, that leaves an imbalance that they can't understand. at least with a transsexual, they can understand that the surgery is designed to correct a sense of imbalance.

where do we go from here?  not really sure....... you tell me folks! e-mail me! as soon as we can identify the perceived problems, then, and only then, can we work towards finding and implimenting a solution.

April 22, 2012 - summery weekend!

ok, new blog format on here. let's see what this looks like. anyway we had 17 degree weather and sun all weekend here in st. john's. that's about 17 degrees warmer than usual. instead of jumping up and down on the icy frozen pond, like i did april 20, 2008 - today, i swam in kent's pond! that's actually two swims in 2 days, as well as two  light and slow longer runs. 8.5k yesterday and 10.6k today!  The ankle ligament is still sore, but i have built a strong foundation around it with muscle strengthening work., so it takes less pressure off the injured area. so nice to be running again. now the real challenge - losing weight and building up endurance. i am exactly where i was Jan 1, 2007 when i decided it was time to take up this sport and take it seriously. well, i'm back!!! might not get to a marathon  this year (or ever for that matter) but atl least i am finally out of the house on weekends enjoying the fresh air! how lovely!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Ray Taavel murdered in Halifax for being gay 4/17/2012

I'm literally too upset and angry to even write a reasonable and sensible blog tonight, but it has to be mentioned that one of the primary gay rights activists in Halifax was murdered early this morning in a violent hate-crime attack by a man who was heard shouting out homophobic slurs as he literally beat Ray to death.  Ray had worked with Halifax Pride as well as Wayves Magazine - two of Eastern Canada's best-known LGBT community organizations. 

The perpetrator if this crime, Andre Denny, has a history of violent attacks. He was actually deemed not-guilty of a recent assault causing bodily harm due to being 'not criminally responsible' because of a mental illness. Andre was currently being institutionalized for mental-illness issues, but for reasons not yet clear, he was released from custody on a 'one hour pass'. rather than return to the hospital, he committed this murder. This raises serious questions about the health care system and justice system in Nova Scotia.  As sad as this crime is, to think it was potentially caused indirectly due to negligence of government employees, makes it an even more bitter pill to swallow.

While I did not know Ray, I have many good friends who knew him, worked with him, and loved him. Many of my friends are hurting tonight, and I hurt for them, and I hurt for my hometown of Halifax, where I literally lived and grew up in during the 1970s. A vigil is planned for tonight in Halifax to remember Ray's amazing life, and to publicly express concern over the inequalities and safety issues the LGBT community still faces in Canada these days. here is my vlog today, where I discuss this issue, as well as several other hate crimes that have happened in our lovely planet this week.

Monday, April 16, 2012

BREAKING NEWS: Ontario Human Rights Tribunal comes down on Vital Stats!

In what is likely to be cited as a landmark ruling, the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal ruled this week that a requirement to have "transsexual surgery" in order to have a sex changed on a Birth Certificate, is discrimination. a copy of the ruling is posted here.  this document outlines the challenges of an anonymous 36 year old M2F, who went through a life of hell being accepted by family, friends and employers. She also had to de-transition for a long period in order to find employment.  She rightfully claims that her inability to possess identification citing a sex that was consistent with her gender presentation, lead her to extreme hardships.  It was also ruled that her decision to pursue surgical procedures was done in part to specifically comply with the rules to get her ID changed.

Ironically enough, the surgery she had was not full sex reassignment surgery, which is required in most jurisdictions in Canada. Ontario was allowing the changed based on a bilateral orchiectomy. But still, this is excessive and unnecessary for those who identify as transgender but not transsexual.  The ruling goes on to imply that requiring surgery for sex changes on ID helps push a myth that all trans people need surgery.

While this matter does nothing to help ensure that sex reassignment surgery becomes more accessible for those who need it, this is a huge victory for the trans umbrella community to celebrate as a whole.  This is a huge step in government recognizing that sex and gender are independently exclusive - this meaning, that one does not necessarily determine the other.

This will also help keep trans issues fresh in the eyes and minds of policy makers, law makers, medical professionals, trans community members, and society as a whole.

Interestingly enough, i had an orchiectomy in the same year as this person, by the same surgeon (Dr Kimmel), and i received the same notarized letter (one that indicates sex reassignment surgery has been performed and that the patient should now be considered female).

At the time, I knew that full sex reassignment surgery was the statute requirement in Nova Scotia (by birth province) for birth certificate changes. I also knew that full SRS was likely around the corner for me (which it was).

Also, given my status as an out transsexual, I did not necessarily feel that carrying a male ID while surgically post-orchi, warranted a human rights complaint.  Looking back, I now wish that this was something that I did do.  While a ruling in Ontario is huge, it won't necessarily guarantee all other provinces change their rules quickly, or at all, without further action.

I commend this transwoman for stepping forward and filing this complaint and fighting the battle.  I look forward to being part of the discussion that looks at how both transgender and transsexual communities can leverage this ruling into additional gains in rights and equality.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

April 8, 2012 - running update (yes, really!)

well, it's been a while since i was able to devote an entire post to a single run, but that's what i am going to do today.  it had been an extremely depressing couple of days for me - due to likely a combination of challenging things.  one benefit from that depression was that i was well-rested from essentially lying in bed all friday and saturday.  when i woke up this morning, i just knew i had to set a crazy goal and go after it, in order to help make myself feel better.  the most i had run on any single day, since December, was 6k. So i boldly set out to run over to the pond, the long way (5.3k) without stopping. then hoped i could somehow managed to run at least 0.8k of the way home, to give myself a new record for the year.

i submitted to the fact that my CFL (ankle ligament) would have the final say as to how short or how long the run would be.  i also knew that the back might act up, as i tweaked it, yet again, 8 days ago. so i downed one robaxacet and drank a glass of gatorade and off i went.  the temp was a seasonal high 8 degrees (46 F), so i was able to run outside in shorts for the first time this year.

i went at a slightly slower pace than i knew i could run, simply because i was being extra careful to focus on the running technique i had been taught by the amazing Alex from physio, so i would be less likely to put pressure on the ligament. (yes, it seemed very strange for me as a 30 time marathon finisher to be getting running lessons from anyone, but in this case, i knew it was worth it, and it was!)

4k of flat road was fine, then came the first major hill. this slowed me down to a walk for a short breather, but i regained speed as i hit the top and ran thru the parking lot all the way to kent's pond.  wow, 41 minutes, that was easy! the pond trail still had snow and ice, and there was still a thin sheet of ice covering parts of the pond.  i took a short break to drink a little pond water, then stuck my foot in there as a form of icing. darn, that water was cold!  then a duckie dropped by for a visit and started biting my toes! hehe..

anyway, i was refreshed and revitalized, and started to think about my bigger goal for the day. rather than just run home, i wanted to do some laps around the pond on the softer trail.  i took things one lap at a time, and stopped for breaks after every two laps.  amazingly, my endurance was holding up and the back became less of an issue.. 6,7,8,9,10k... i was still feeling fairly strong. 

as i finished lap 5, i could feel dehydration starting to set in, so i decided it was best to head home.  the last few k were tough, but i managed to finish a 16k run, in a running time of 2 hr 14 min (which was about the same pace i ran September's Newfoundland marathon). 

considering i had not had a decent run in 6 months, had essentially been on the shelf for  6 months, gained 25 pounds in 6 months, and was running on a still very injured ligament, i can't help but feel very pleased with my endurance and the lack of pain i had to deal with.

wow, the marathon career may still be in the coffin, but i'm not so certain now that the lid is entirely shut.  i don't want to read too much into this one run, but it certainly is encouraging..  definitely something to cheer me up after a miserable couple of days!  an Easter to remember for sure!


Thursday, April 5, 2012

April 5, 2012 - depressing day

i generally try not to blog when i am in a bad mood, but i'm thinking that making a list of all the things upsetting me might help me feel better about being upset. heck, we all have frustrations in life, and when they all pile up, it's only human to feel hopeless and helpless at times.

first trip to physio in about 4 weeks. it's been a hot and cold month, as i have had some nice short runs, but also re-stressed the ligament twice due to akward stair climbing, of all things.  this ligament can now be considered chronically hurt.  if there was ever any doubt that i would stay retired from marathon running this spring, this seals the deal.

and this leads into the next batch of upsetting considerations.  for the second year in a row, i will not be in Massachusetts on Patriots' Day. there will be no Boston Marathon for me. and i know it will hurt just as much as it did last year. and heck, no matter what, it will hurt every year for the rest of my life. 

it's also starting to really sink in that for the first time since taking up the sport, i will not be in Mississauga this May - breaking the streak of 5 consecutive Mississauga Marathons.  there will also not be a third consecutive Fredericton Marathon, or a 4th consecutive Halifax Marathon. 

While i accept and wear the transsexual badge and label with pride, i am first and foremost, a marathon runner. and to not be doing this anymore, is really hurting me. i didn't choose to be transsexual, but i most certainly did choose to be a marathon runner, and to have that taken away from me, by a ligament that was not directly hurt from running, is ironic and sad.

another sadness is the distant memory of what used to be known as my annual April trip to Amelia Island and Pensacola Beach Florida.  it has now been 5 years since i saw either of those places, and i am really missing them right now.. (perhaps the Newfoundland April snow storm is part of it). there won't be any trips anywhere for me this spring, nor summer. no money in the budget for any traveling.

it's also been a stressful week as i have been feeling the impact of going on a major television show to talk about Jenna Talackova. While there has been lots of support, there has also been negativity in the form of hateful comments on my vlog (which have since been removed).  Seems the fight for equality and acceptance is still far from over.

i think it is also sinking in that i am no longer a part of several organizations that were a very high priority to me just a short time ago.  it's especially tough to sit back and watch St. John's Pride appear to regress back to the sad state it was in before i got involved.  It also looks like my potential involvement with Corner Brook Pride will not materialize, and that city is in jeopardy of not having a Pride week at all.

Another interesting challenge has been my renewed interest in actually wanting to engage in romance. 2011 was a tough year, as i found myself rejected and heartbroken by several people.  Now, just as it seems i have finally gotten over those situations, i find myself developing feelings for someone i can't have. at 38.3 years of age, i am no closer to finding my long lost soulmate than i have ever been.

as much as i love my pets, having biological children with a loving partner is something i have always wanted. next year, i will need to make a tough decision as to whether or not i should fork out more money that i don't have, to keep my 9 bottles of sperm safely stored in a freezer in Toronto, or terminate the storage contract and have the 'assets' disposed of.  the older i get, the less likely it seems i will ever be ready to have children. and finding someone to share this with, seems less and less likely.  i've always said that i would not have children late in life, but now it seems to be the only option left on the table. 

seems one by one, i am starting to cross things off my life's to-do list.  saying good bye to life long dreams and realizing that they will never materialize, is extremely tough. sure, i have experienced many amazing things that i never could have imagined, and those experiences are certainly great, don't get me wrong... but they can't replace certain things i have always wanted in life.

it is tough to stay motivated when it seems that everything in life has either been accomplished, or never will be accomplished. it takes away from the passion and drive to live.

going thru the motions every day - attending a job i hate, for only half the money i know i am capable of earning, is not something i look forward to doing for the rest of my life.

I am also approaching the 5 year mark of my time in Newfoundland, and unfortunately, my physical health is preventing me from doing the things that keep me here. i can't run to the beach any more. i rarely can even get myself over to the pond. i have no close friends here - heck, i have no friends. just aquaintances.  i spent christmas alone here this past winter, and now i am about to spend easter alone..
there's really no reason for me to be here anymore.  no career, no family, no future..but at the same time, i can't necessarily find a reason to leave and go anywhere else. 

oh well, i always say that i like challenges. i guess the real challenge now is to find that next challenge.. find a reason to be. maybe i just pack my bags and pick somewhere new and start from scratch? who knows? maybe i need to just go to a big city where diversity is more common and give it a go. who knows? i just don't want to do something that will make me feel like a failure.  it just seems that if i were to leave Newfoundland now, it would feel as though i am leaving tons of unfinished business.  Then again, i suppose i should feel extremely proud for all i have done. this has got to be one of the toughest provinces to transition in, especially transitioning from male to female. i knew it would be tough, but i knew i could survive. i just thought i could make it further in life than i have here.

oh well, i suppose the rest of my life starts now. it's time for a clean sheet of paper.time for a complete CTRL-ALT-DELETE to my life.. that's the attitude i am now going to take....  i can feel proud that i have always taken the attitude that you can't realize success unless you are not afraid of failure.. 

i may not know where i want to go next, but i know where i've been, and hopefully that will make me stronger and wiser.

Until next time...


Monday, April 2, 2012

April 2, 2012 - McCreath out to prove Mockers wrong - Talackova Joke

So the vancouver observer used a fake endorsement deal between Tim Horton's coffee and Jenna Talackova, for an April Fools Joke:

but now, Jennifer McCreath is going to try to turn this joke into reality. She has launched a petition suggesting Tim's really do hire Jenna to a contract, and in doing so, demonstrate their leadership to supporting diversity and acceptance.

the petition can be signed here:

sign it folks. let's prove to the world that having trans role models as marketing tools can and will work!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April 1, 2012 - Saskatchewan Hoax!

Well, my first serious April Fools joke in many years made its way to the internet, and wow, several people fell for it!  At 2 am this morning, before going to bed for the night, i tweeted and facebooked updates that i had finally secured a job at the senior analyst level, and that it was a Government of Saskatchewan job in Saskatoon.  To make the story believable, i changed my facebook profile pic to a Sask flag, and amended by current location to Saskatoon. I also send out special posts to my outgoing co-workers in Newfoundland and thanked them for being so great and accepting to me. I also posted a link to the Saskatchewan Marathon and hinted that i was looking forward to running on some flat roads. I even publicly facebooked Mikayla, the best-known trans advocate in SK and stated that i was really looking forward to working with her on provincial trans issues.

Well, while some of my friends knew this was likely a joke (i have hinted at a SK move for quite some time), others totally fell for it. The few people that i do know in SK seemed really excited. I even started getting new friend requests from SK residents!   Likewise, there was a series of public and private e-mails from Newfoundlanders wishing me well, and expressing sadness that i was leaving.

At noon, i changed the SK flag to an NL one, and posted and tweeted the following: I can only hope the day will come when the idea of me regaining employment, as a transsexual, at the senior analyst level, is not a foolish one! (meanwhile, HAPPY APRIL FOOLS!!!!!)

Even after posting this, i was still receiving e-mails of congrats, as well as a phone call from a concerned friend who obviously was shaken up by the news.

Anyway, i hope this little prank brings attention to what is a very serious issue. Transsexuals are chronically underemployed all over the world. In fact, 90% of us live below the poverty line. There is no good reason for this either.  Phobia and myths have made our lives much tougher than they need to be.

Anyway, happy April Fools!