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To write a daily blog to discuss the issue of gender identity, and to answer some basic questions about what being transgendered is like.

I am a 50 year old trans-woman, and have spent many years dealing with my own issues about gender identity. Gender has always been a bit of a hot subject, and the idea of people wanting to actually CHANGE genders makes it even more so.

Many peoples opinions of what being transgendered means comes from what they see about "transsexuals" on the news or in TV programs. These sources tend to show a bit of a skewed perspective (after all, if it is normal, it ISN'T news), but if no one is saying anything to the contrary, how will people know?
Things are quite a bit better than they were 10 years ago, but there is still work to be done. If the media is not ready to do it, I thought I would give it a shot.

My plan is to start a blog in January about the kind of things I have faced over the years. Some of what I write will be humorous, some will be a bit sad, but it will all be written from the heart. After people learn a bit more about me, I will start a question and answer section. I hope this will be used as a way to gather information about the topic rather than just generating "hate mail."

For now, I want people to comment about what they think about this kind of blog, and ask that people list some of the questions that they might want answers for. Please make any questions suitable for a PG audience.



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    Dec 31 2012: Im positive theres already a relatively famous youtube vlog that does this.
    • Jan 1 2013: There are some great blogs and YouTube videos out there, but most are done from a younger perspective. I thought a new blog written from an older person might be useful. Time will tell I guess.
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    Dec 31 2012: If I were you, I would first check what sorts of blogs, newsletters, and Q and As are available right now through organizations that share your interest in making available accurate information about gender identity, gender changes, and living transgendered. From this search you can judge whether there are specific unmet needs you may wish to address.

    Some people may be interested in your personal experiences, while others may be more inclined to seek information from LGBT organizations that may draw on the experiences of a broad set of transgender people.

    For your own blog it is easiest to start by promoting your project to your friends, who may then help you find a broader readership by recommending your blog to others with simiar interests.
    • Jan 1 2013: I wanted some feedback about what people would like to learn about transgenderism. My hope was that I could dispel a few myths along the way. So far, I have gotten little in the way of constructive dialogue, but I hope that will change. After all, this is the TED community, and surely there are a few inquiring minds out there seeking answers.
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        Jan 1 2013: There are inquiring minds here seeking answers to questions that press on them and also seeking responses to their ideas, but people tend to have specific areas and questions they find most urgent in their lives. In any small community such as this, you may not find many people invested in your particular subject, regardless of what your subject is.

        Have you made inquiries in communities that have a focus on discussing issues related to sexual identity and transgender life in particular? Have you looked at Google Plus as well?
        • Jan 1 2013: I am researching a number of options. I wanted to create a blog on a more mainstream venue to get a broader reader base, but recognize that the issue of transgender in society is still a bit of a fringe subject. I will have a better idea of where to do this by the end of the week. I do want to thank you for your constructive comments.
  • Jan 13 2013: Kendra, let me say I would support you in this endeavour.

    A friend of mine recently passed away. He came out to me, that he was transgender, about 8 years ago. Needless to say, I did not understand the issues he faced, I did not get what he was going through and I did not take it very well. But, I worked through it. He was in his late 60's when he told me this. He shared how he had struggled through his life with this issue. How he had worked to hide it, suppress it, pray for it to go away, and struggled with the issue in his marriage. Admittedly, I still struggle with the issue, but I better understand it do to his kind words, patience, and understanding with my struggle.

    At the time I wish there had been places I could go to better understand his issues. I wish that he had written a blog to tell his story. His life was fascinating and I missed opportunities to know him better. Blogging would have provided and education and outreach for others both as a help for those struggling and a help for their friends who struggle as well.

    Please consider doing this, even if you write from an anonymous perspective. Too often we get the impression of these issues as "strange or weird" based on what the media chooses to portray. Intelligent, articulate individuals are not as common in these circles, or at least I have not seen enough. I would be interested in your insights.
  • Jan 9 2013: I started this thread to determine whether the time was right to do a blog on this subject. I knew there were a wide range of blogs on this general topic, but thought perhaps there would be more interest in getting the perspective of someone who was older, was a success in her field, and had a somewhat conservative background. It appears I was wrong.

    I leave you with this: Transgenderism is not a choice as much as it is a lack of options. Our society sets limits on what is acceptable behaviour for boys/girls, and those limits can be stifling. By the time we are adults, these limits have been pretty hard set, and are difficult to change. We claim to celebrate diversity and multiculturalism, but the biases in our society about these matters still run deep (at least in some parts).

    If we could change your minds about the limits of acceptable male/female behaviours (and therefore be able live within them), perhaps we wouldn't have to modify our bodies to suit.
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      Jan 10 2013: Kendra, I don't think you can conclude from the responses here that it is not time to do a blog on your subject. The TED Conversations community may simply not be a reliable readership of such a blog. You may find it is time but that you would need to market your idea in a different place to find an interested audience of adequate size to make your project worthwhile to you..
      • Jan 10 2013: I will eventually do a blog, but have decided to wait until I have fully completed my own transition. Meanwhile, I will keep a daily journal. so I have a record I can refer to for information when I do take that next step.
  • Jan 9 2013: It is interesting how often the words "transgender" and "prostitute" are linked together. Can I say that no one who is transgendered ever works as a prostitute? Of course not. The reality is a small percentage of our community does do that kind of work. But, don't assume that just because it happens to some that it must happen to all.

    Perhaps rather than asking about the "way" a transgendered woman would prostitute herself, you should be asking "why"? As a general group, we face a high level of discrimination. We are a visible minority, particularly when first starting out, when our ability to be perceived as authentic to the gender of our choice is limited.

    As a visible minority with limited protection under the law, and with the stereotyping that goes on about us, "normal" jobs can be harder to find. It is one thing if we transition after having proved ourselves in the workplace, but it is something else again to try to transition with few life skills, as the younger generations often face when trying to transition when still in their teen or early 20's.

    I cannot speak personally bout working as a prostitute, a I have never done so. I imagine it comes down to survival for some of us, just as it does for a "woman-from-birth" who is in the same situation.

    As for my own romantic life? All I will say is I am loved, and will leave it at that. Ypu have no more right to ask me about the details of my romantic life than I do of you.

    TED is a great place to learn about things, and perhaps one day, someone will do a TED Talk about it. I appreciate that a blog isn't going to work for everyone, and I myself have decided to wait for a while.
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    Jan 9 2013: Well, let's see, Kendra, you answered my question below, but it didn't seem like you really answered it. I know that transgendered women would occupy all kinds of positions. What I wondered was if the way a transgendered woman would prostitute herself would be any different from how a woman-from-birth would.

    How actually do you think the life of a transgendered woman is different from a woman-from-birth woman?

    Do you think there's a "psychology" of men who want a romance with transgendered women? What might it be? Would they have to be more "open-minded" than men who want a woman-from-birth woman?

    How successful is your romantic life?

    I appreciate the chance to ask some questions. It is an unusual life you've chosen. I don't think I'd read a blog on this subject, somehow I'm more interested in asking about it on TED, somehow it just fits into the broader stream of interesting ideas on TED.
  • Jan 1 2013: I want to go on record that my blog is not aimed to "convert" people about transgender issues. I merely seek to provide some factual information in the hope that people can be a bit more tolerant about us.

    I would request that peoples responds be based on my original post, so we can keep things on topic.
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      Jan 2 2013: Sorry for not responding, I don't seem to be getting any post updates and it is the Holidays. I actually threw at you what you might come across in your future blog. I roam a lot in my countries blogs and trangenderism is not really a big issue, being gay is rather than transgender, Why? i suppose it's got to do with the fact that one of our groups of races has it in their culture and so it is not a big issue but it is within our European cultures.

      One thing i have come across is there are a group of politically minded people that want to change sexual perspectives with overtones of racial equality mixed into it. Strange? Yes it is and considered absurd until you get amongst the liberal extremists that haunt a lot of blogs pedaling Obama new world except before him it was Bushes new world order or Clintons new world order or Bush seniors new world order and so on and so on right back to the founding of the country. Nuts?, it is but be ready for "The Blind Knights" that might come to inhabit your blog. The opposite might come to haunt it as well but if your smart you might be able to manage them by keeping them in constant dialogue over issues they feel are important.

      Good luck, I hope you you attract a lot of controversy within our generation. Ah to be young today, they have it all.
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    Dec 31 2012: Well, it's okay with me if you start one, although I tend to think we are already getting a lot of information about this subject, here in the U.S. we see much buzz on gay rights and gay marriage.

    Often I pick up a free newspaper here in Los Angeles called "L.A. X-press," which is available on newsracks around the city. It has news articles and then ads for people, women and transgender women, who seem to suggest they are prostitutes. Maybe I wonder what the life of a transgender prostitute is like, if it's any different from a "regular" prostitute.
    • Jan 1 2013: I have met transgendered people are bankers, cooks, doctors, lawyers, mechanics, oilfield workers, pastry chefs, and yes, even prostitutes. Those who enter into the sex trade are often forced to do so because there are fewer opportunities for regular employment than anything else. It is not so much a "choosing" of a career as it is a lack of options.
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    Dec 31 2012: I don't get it, you are either transgendered or conflicted until you choose transgendered, Please don't start a blog with the intent to educate the world that what you might be feeling might be due to the fact that you are a part of the new breed of human that can choose at will what they are whenever they want.

    Don't think that since you belong to a minority that you will need government funding on the same level as a race of people within a majority of other races? Sexual identity and preference does not grant you racial rights because you don't come from a common line of one race as identified from markers passed down from mother to daughter.

    You live in a democracy? then you have just as much right to vote as the rest of us that do, the only difference with you is how you feel from within about who and what you are.

    A biographical blog of your personal journey will help others of your persuasion who might be going through what you have been through but i can't honestly see where there is still much more work needs to be done?

    How is your plight more than say the recognition of The American Indian? Guess what? My country is paying organizations of representatives of my race for wrongful confiscation of native land and most of my country hate it but it is necessary to move on to whatever our country might be, i hope for the best that it will level the field and we can get past the past.

    It's confrontational but i'm sure you have come up against worse.
    • Jan 1 2013: Frankly Ken, I am unsure how to respond to this. You went far off topic, and signalled biases on many levels and towards many groups. Obviously you see us as a threat. I can see no better reason to start a blog than to try to counter some of your rhetoric.