Back to Writing, and a Reader Question

Miss AmericaIt’s been nearly a year since I last wrote here. It’s been a BUSY year. I had two jobs for a time, took a nasty fall off a ladder and got a concussion, adopted three cats, had two busy semesters of school, got into a major car accident, and moved to Georgia to avoid homelessness in Texas. I actually just arrived down here yesterday and am still getting settled in. I’ve also been working on putting a podcast together where I discuss all kinds of topics about sexuality, gender, and kink. It has its own blog, which will include stories as well as scripts for the episodes, and can be found over here.

However, the reason I’m back so soon after moving, and posting on a Sunday no less, is that I got a reader question. Cyrsti writes:

Hi Caitlin, just caught up with your blog and linked it to mine. I too am a trans vet and under VA care. Have you seen the survey the VA is sending around? Thanks Cyrsti 🙂

I have not seen this survey, but it wouldn’t surprise me that one is going around. I’ve seen a number of such surveys in the past, and in fact helped Laura Kiewicz try and improve transgender health care at the Dallas VA a while back via a meeting with many heads of the various hospital departments. I didn’t think it went that well at the time, but apparently, Laura got some kind of department going there, or at least a team to work on it. Is it the VA as a whole, or just your local one? Having just moved, I’m about halfway between two of them (one in Atlanta and one in Marietta), so I have to decide which to go with and so on. That’s on my list along with finding a job, transferring schools, and more. So hopefully, when I do get settled, I can get some decent care.

Speaking of, another thing that’s been happening over the past couple months is an effective hold on my physical transition, courtesy of the VA. This is because it turns out that there is a rare genetic disorder that runs in my family which leads to increased risk of early onset breast cancer. Until there is confirmation that I did not inherit this disorder, I’ve been taken off of estrogen and progesterone, lest they increase the risk. That was about 7-8 weeks ago, and though I’ve since had the blood work drawn for the test (about a month ago), the lab has still not even begun to test the blood due to a conflict of not having received payment confirmation from the VA. Needless to say, the VA is aware that I’m not too happy with them or their level of care. So, no survey for me.

Trans Representation in Literature

QuestionA reader asks: “What do you think, if anything, about the representation, or lack-thereof of transgender ‘beings’ in literature?”

There are actually quite a few transgender characters in literature and other media, depending on what you consider and where you look. I mentioned a while back that Batgirl’s roommate recently came out as trans. From what I’ve seen so far, she’s a really good representation, just an otherwise normal person aside from that one thing. Continue reading

Physical Differences in Sexual Identity

Sexuality and identity symbols (not a complete list)

Sexuality and identity symbols (not a complete list)

Last time I began addressing the issue of why trans* people are not all intersex, even if some intersex people are trans* identified. I left off mentioning that I would discuss more in depth the physical differences, because they are pretty drastic.

As Natalie Reed pointed out a while back, transexual bodies and genitals do not react, function, etc. in the same manner as cissexual bodies of the same configuration. As she points out, the penis of a cis man, a trans man, and a trans woman all react differently from one another, more drastically different than within members of the same group. In other words, a trans woman’s penis is more different from a cis man’s penis than that same cis man’s penis is from another cis man’s penis, in regards to functioning. This is something I discussed briefly a couple weeks back while discussing how our sexuality shifts. Continue reading

Differing Sexual Identities

Intersex Pride Flag

Intersex Flag

An acquaintance and reader asks, “why don’t we consider trans* bodies that have medically transitioned in some way as intersex? Why isn’t there a separate sex category for altered bodies?”

This is a long and complicated answer, so settle in for a long one today readers.

There can be arguments made for transitioning/transitioned bodies to be seen as a sort of “artificial intersex”, and I’ve discussed this with others in the trans* community in the past. Once we begin medical transition, we will never again be 100% male or female in body, blending bits of both. So why don’t we consider them to be intersex? Continue reading

Evolving Sexuality

QuestionAbout a week ago, an acquaintance of mine asked me a question about how being asexual works with being in the leather lifestyle. This is an interesting question with multiple levels that I could answer, though I only addressed one level when answering this person. The thing that I explained was that the question being asked was a sort of variation of the “how do you have sex?” question that a lot of trans people and lesbians receive. There’s this assumption that being leather is all about kinky sex, the play aspects that everyone sees in movies and books and TV. Continue reading

Asexual in a Sexual World

A reader asks, “what’s it like to be an asexual woman in such a sexually focused world?”

This is a simply asked question, but with a few levels to it that make it more complex. How do I know I’m asexual? What does it mean to be asexual? How does the sexual nature of our world make me feel? How do others react to me being asexual?

I think British born Australian writer and game critic Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw summed it up quite nicely in his blog about 3 years back: Continue reading

Military Service and Trying to Be a Man

A reader asks, “why did you go into the military? Did you want to make a man of yourself? If so, why?”

This is a two part question (three parts really), so I’ll address all three in turn.  First, the reason I joined the military is nothing so interesting, nor so noble as to fight for the American Dream.  That’s not to say that I’m not patriotic, I’m just not the female Captain America.  When I was in basic training, one of our first nights when they got all of the new flights together for orientation, they ended it with a video of various military weapons systems (helicopters, missile sites, tanks, destroyers, etc) doing a show of force (i.e. firing off all their weapons, chaff, etc at one time) with the song “God Bless the U.S.A.”playing, and I cried patriotic tears watching that.  I got made fun of by all the guys in my flight for a week because of those tears, but I was still proud of them.  That said, no, I’m not so patriotic that I joined for that reason, nor was it an attempt to be a man.  I was out and taking part in activism back in high school, starting with my junior year.

Continue reading