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Constant Changes?

| Sep 1, 2008
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Michelle is now Michael, again.An item in last week’s TWIT Notes caught my eye. Ronnie had it billed as MSNBC having a video on a “bombshell who happens also to be FtM.” As TWIT Notes blurbs are supposed to do the item piqued my interest. A “bombshell” who’s “FtM”? I had to know more. I visited the link and found not just one video but a series of videos under the umbrella title, Born In The Wrong Body, A Change of Heart. In this editorial post I’ll discuss the individuals presented in the videos and I hope you will feel moved to comment.

The series of videos are broken up by short commercial spots but if you stick with them you learn the story of two individuals who changed from male to female and have now gone back to living male. Both were very feminine women and now they present themselves as very masculine men. Take a few minutes to visit the MSNBC site and watch the videos. Clicking this link will open MSNBC in a new window or tab. First a commercial spot will run and then the videos will start. If you don’t see the video you may have to upgrade your browser. Close the new window to return to this editorial.

Judy then, Joe now. So, what do you think? Joesph lived as a female for 20 years after transitioning in his 20s. Michael was injured and went on disability. While he should have been happy he was feeling a need he couldn’t explain. He wanted to be a woman. While Joesph spent 20 years being a woman Michael spent a much shorter time as a female.

Both men now say they were happy living as women. When they were living as women both men say they enjoyed fashion and glamor. Michael, speaking of Michelle as another person, conducts a tour of the walk in closet and points out where “her” shoes we kept. He goes on to talk about the joy of finding a pair of Steve Maddens on sale at DSW and admits that the closet was packed with clothing.

Neither man speaks of any relationships that they had while they were female. They talk alot about how it was liberating. Michael goes on in one of the video segments about how being a woman is so different from being a man. Women, according to him, are so much more open and willing to engage in conversation with other women than men are with other men.

But, in one segment Joesph talks about how he had to watch it as a woman and curb his male tendencies. He says that it’s easier to walk now that he doesn’t have to hold back his stride and take little, ladylike steps. He claims to be more comfortable now just lumbering along with a manly stride that better suits his body.

My opinion? This is an editorial and I’m not just telling you about the videos. (You have watched them by now, right?) I’ll tell you what I think and then you can let us know what you think.

It seems to me that Judy had a great time being a sexy female. She was tall and slim with large breasts and long hair. Her style in the photos we see is always well put together and sexy. We see her in video shot just before she goes back to being male and she seems middle aged and worn. Her lustrous long hair is still long but it’s now dull, and her clothes have gone from short dresses and skirts with high heels to a long skirt, a dowdy top and some flat sneaker type shoes. Could it be that for this person being female was a kick until she became unattractive? I think it’s a possibility.

Michelle then, Michael now.I’m not clear on how long Michael lived as a woman but from his description of Michelle’s closet and her love of shopping she must have spent a lot of that time at the mall. He says the walk-in closet he is videoed in was completely full of her clothes. All sexy and fashionable clothes.

The fascination with glamor that both of these people exhibit fits in better with what I have observed of crossdressers. (And experienced. You should see my walk-in closet.) Both of them speak of yearning to be women and living as women but both of them put an emphasis on how much fun the glamor was. Michael admits he was a diva.

In Joesph’s case he clearly now identifies as a gay male (with a vagina) but how did he feel in his 20s? Did he think, back in the 1980s, that being gay wasn’t acceptable? But if he was a woman then he could date men and wear great outfits. He doesn’t say if he was gay before his SRS so we don’t know.

Michael doesn’t really talk about his sexual orientation. He does speak of always wanting to be a woman and having many problems while growing up because of his desire to play with the girls and do feminine things. He didn’t get picked to play sports with the guys. He was an outcast who became a loner and eventually he got into punk rock and picked up a drug habit. Being on disability for his knee injury gave him the chance to think about his life and what he wanted. He had a house and an income but he decided that if he couldn’t be a woman he would kill himself. Michael praises the Standards of Care but his troubled past and drug problems were all things that should have been dealt with before a gender transition according to those Standards. Did he make the decision too quickly?

Two stories of men who surgically altered their bodies in order to become the sexy ladies they dreamed of being. Judy even worked as an exotic dancer and both were fascinated by the most feminine, glittering, glamor side of the female experience. It seems to me that both of them were more into the idea of putting on female bodies and walking through the world in a femme disguise than actually being women who had male bodies that they needed to change.

What do you think?

And lastly, is it a bad thing to go back and forth? We, as Dina Amberle would say, “garden variety crossdressers” go back and forth across the gender border all the time. We make some alterations to our manly bodies (hair removal, some nips and tucks on wrinkles, etc.) but the majority of us stop far short of getting neo-vaginas and breasts just to indulge our feminine fantasies. Will we see more people becoming gender fluid as this century progresses? Will gender shifting become a trend?

I don’t think it’s necessarily bad to do what Joesph did. He enjoyed his 20s and 30s living as a hot, sexy woman. Something I think a lot of us may envy. Then he became a gay man and plans, as far as he tells MSNBC, to live the rest of his life as a male. The only problem I see is his anatomy is now out of sync with his image. He admits that it makes it hard for him to find the right man. The permanent nature of SRS makes going back and forth not as simple as taking off your wig and makeup. Joesph’s transition from Judy to what he looks like now is amazing, but he will always carry a part of Judy. A part that men are not supposed to have.

Maybe, someday, science will develop those magic pills we all wish for. The ones that you take before bed while you are one gender and you wake up as a fully functional member of the opposite gender. Until that time the issues posed by multiple gender switches are too weighty to make it a common occurrence.

That’s my two cents on the subject. Take a look at the videos on MSNBC’s site and weigh in with your opinion.


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Category: Transgender Opinion

angela_g

About the Author ()

Angela Gardner is a founding member of The Renaissance Transgender Association, Inc., the former editor of that organization's newsletter and magazine, Transgender Community News. She wrote the Diva of Dish column for TGF in the late 1990s and was the Editor of LadyLike magazine until its untimely demise. She is currently the Editor of TGF. She has appeared in film and television shows portraying TG characters, as well as representing Renaissance on numerous talk shows. In her idle hours she keeps busy producing her monthly TG parties, Angela's Laptop Lounge.

Comments (5)

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  1. says:

    Good points, all. I do remember seeing something on a “game show” years ago with Burt Reynolds and his wife (Blonde from WKRP) that featured both MTF & FTM transexuals. The panel had to guess what their secret was. The show was enjoyable and not cheap in any fashion. The FTM had actually gone back and forth a couple of times but was now staying as a man. He looked very good, better than I do after working out!

  2. angela_g angela_g says:

    I think some would feature these people on a program about people who “regret” a sex change but I think that’s not what’s going on. They clearly don’t regret having been women. They both talk about how great it was. But then they decide they’ll be more comfortable being men again. Even though one of them (possibly both but I’m foggy on it) say they felt they were born into the wrong body as a male that feeling changes after they have been women for awhile and they go back to male. A person who is truly TS isn’t going to suddenly feel uncomfortable as a woman. They’re not going to decide that it’s too hard to walk like a woman after 20 years and decide to change back to being a guy. Interesting people and an interesting video. I applaud MSNBC for covering it and not making it sensationalized.

  3. says:

    Interesting article. Is this what some people in the field call “regret”?

    I haven’t encourtered that yet with an TS girls I know. For me it’s all about the clothes and not “changing” or “removing” anything.

    Linda W.

  4. angela_g angela_g says:

    Stop complainin’, yer just a pup. An old lady like me has really got to worry. But seriously, I think for the person named Judy/Joesph it was a big factor. She was impersonating a beautiful woman but when the beauty wore off, or got too hard to maintain, she said OK, being a man will be easier so let’s do that. And I’m not saying it’s wrong. We might have a lot more people shifting genders multiple times as the century moves along.

  5. ronnierho ronnierho says:

    I think you hit something on the head: wanting to do it until the glamour wears off. I often think about transitioning, but what stops me is the realization that I only want to do it if I can be beautiful and sexy. I can’t see myself as an old woman. And I’m not getting any younger.

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