Thursday, May 19, 2011

Talking to a transgender woman and learning about Hermaphrodite''s problems

I've published at my blog Hella Heaven a post with the talking I had with a transgender woman, I call her Cynthia,  that I've already mentioned here at this post when I first met her one year ago. She gave me  her permission to publish our conversation so I'll publish it here but this time without other considerations as I did at the other blog.
 I hope it is read by the most number of people as possible.

The talking was done at Second Life where the International Hate Crimes Memorial Project is, I'll publish pictures in another post, and was done by text. That's why it is in the format characteristically of chats-texts.

Ana: Hi Cynthia. I have joined Depression 24/7 to know what is being done at SL. It seems you have a project very interesting.
Cynthia: I do. Do you want to see?
Ana: International Hate Crimes Memorial Project
Cynthia: I’m at the memorial now, I can teleport you
Ana: I would like to know it.
Ana: I 've been in therapy for 20 years and I can help.
Ana: Thank you.
Cynthia: 20 years?
Ana: Yes.
Ana: It finished in 2008. Psychoanalysis. I'm Brazilian but I have a blog about mental health in English
Cynthia: we would love to have your help
Ana: :)
Ana: I want to help. I think that knowing what it is to be "there" can make it possible to understand.
Cynthia: most definitely
Ana: Do you know the work of David Healy?
Cynthia: refresh me?
Ana: He is a psychiatrist and has been talking about the problems of some psych-drugs.  But this is another issue.
Cynthia: not sure I’m familiar. Most of what I do in counseling, I draw from personal experience
Ana: Good! Counseling it what many people really need.
Cynthia: we could really use your help. its all volunteer- we can’t pay
Ana: At SL there are some people that I knew and helped in a way.  No. No payment. This is not what I want
Cynthia: there are so many who desperately need your help :)
Ana: I know. I know.
Cynthia: can i teleport you here to the memorial?
Ana: Yes. Please.
Cynthia: I’m not sure if it went thru the first time
Cynthia: hi - you look lovely
Ana: Thank you. This is a very nice place. Why Memorial garden?
Cynthia: I wanted to surround the memorial with a garden in honor of our fallen sisters.
Ana: fallen sisters? Sorry I fear missing something.
Cynthia: this memorial is to honor the victims of hate crimes and suicide within the trans community. The candles are men and women who could not cope with the pressures of society and took their own lives. The pillars outside contain the names of people who were murdered, for being transgender.
Ana: I see. This is a very important Memorial you created. Thank you for that.
Cynthia: It’s not entirely my creation. Gwen Collins had a major part in it- the shape of the building, the ideas; the words on the plaque- are mine
Ana: I see.
Cynthia: she made all the textures, spent endless hours, and provided a home for this memorial for 2 years
Ana: I was thinking about doing something that is very close to what you are doing.
Cynthia: I put the prims together- but it took us both to breathe life into it.
Ana: Two years?  I searched last year and didn't find it.
Cynthia: and Kara Spengler- she does most of the work in coordinating the day of remembrance event each year- i supervise
Cynthia: what terms did you use to search?
Ana: depression, bipolarity, terms related to mental problems. I only found a garden where people used to talk but I didn't find too many people.
Ana: http://justana-justana.blosgpost.com
Ana: This is my blog about mental health
Cynthia: so you found the outreach center in the search then?
Ana: I searched today and found many places. I decided to join 24/7 because there were more people and I know what is needding to talk and have nobody to talk to.
Cynthia: 24/ 7 is awesome. It’s a great resource. So are the survivors of suicide group.
Ana: I found your name there. At the IM list :)
Cynthia: :)
Ana: Saw your profile and thought you were the right person.
Cynthia: and looked in my profile?
Ana: :)
Ana: Yes.
Ana: I looked at others but only yours had what I was looking for.
Cynthia: I’m intrigued- what most attracted your attention? 
 Your groups and the Memorial at 1st life. According to your group I can see that you are committed in helping people.
Cynthia: when I'm well enough, yes :)
Ana: I know. It hurts us too.
Cynthia: i suffer from catatonic depression. Are you familiar with the disorder?
Ana: No.
Cynthia: we zone out- go somewhere else- for minutes, hours, sometimes days, in the worst cases, weeks.
Cynthia: when im lucid, I’m committed to helping others. I need to make my life worth living
Ana: Zone out you mean...
Cynthia: we go catatonic. Totally unresponsive.
Ana: I see.
Cynthia: I’ve been looking out the window- next thing I knew it was a different week and i was in a hospital bed
Ana: It must hurt too much. You are very young.
Cynthia: 30 something
Cynthia: be right back
Ana: okay.
Ana: I will get some water
Ana: There are people blogging about their problems. people who have been raped, or have bipolarity, or other problems...
Cynthia: i need to put up a poster, will you come with me to the center?
Ana: Yes.
Cynthia: this is our outreach center. It’s still under construction
Ana: I see.
Cynthia: can i ask you a personal question?
Ana: Yes. sure
Cynthia: are you transgendered?
Ana: No. But I have friends who are.
Cynthia: you have any experience working with the trans community? :)
Ana: No.
Cynthia: how do you feel about counseling transpeople?
Ana: No problem.  I don't see any difference.
Cynthia: there are some unique issues
Ana: Yes.
Cynthia: social ostracism is a big one.  people are often disowned by their families, same as with the gay community.
Ana: Yes. I know that. Depression is also a problem I believe
Cynthia: a huge problem
Ana: Being invalidated over and over again... again...
Cynthia: it’s easy to rationalize depression when you are invalidated by the mainstream media on a daily basis.
Ana: Yes. The mainstream media is doing a terrible job. They are under the laws of psychiatry that only cares about selling drugs.
Ana: They have ties with the pharmaceutical industry and they want to profit.
Ana: Don't care about patients.
Cynthia: it’s important to care about the people, not the money
Ana: Yes. But they care about the money. This is one of the reasons they try to demoralize counseling.
Cynthia: it’s the patients that are getting it the worst in terms of demoralization.
Ana: Exactly
Ana: They don't explain what depression really is and only gives medicines that... don't help.
Cynthia: im too familiar with meds that don’t help. I have samples! here!, "try this one", as if doctors get a commission off them
Ana: They do. They receive money to prescribe.
Cynthia: that’s totally wrong
Ana: Yes. But they do....
Cynthia: should be the other way
Ana: It is amazing. And there is a whole system behind it all. politicians and even FDA and WHO is profiting.
Ana: This is criminal.
Cynthia: it is. they are destroying lives
Ana: Even killing people because one of the side effects is suicide or violent behavior. This is too sad. And I get sad and angry too many times.
Cynthia: i take 2 meds. Estradiol, and spiro
Ana: I don't know them.
Cynthia: spiro is an androgen blocker. estradiol is an estrogen replacement.
Ana: I see.
Cynthia: i can’t function without them, and they help. I’d have put a bullet in my head a long time ago without them.
Ana: I'm glad to know that something is working.
Cynthia: hormones are very hard to get especially for transpeople.  They will diagnose you with everything under the sun before they call you trans.
Ana: Oh!
Cynthia: bipolar- depakote- 250 dollars a month
Cynthia: depression- lexapro- 110 dollars a month
Cynthia: hormone replacement- 25 dollars a month. lol
Ana: lol
Cynthia: I’ve had everything under the sun for depression-
Ana: You are lucky not to be taking Depakote and Lexapro. I'm very happy you are not taking them.
Cynthia: nothing worked so they decided i was bipolar, which was even more expensive. And then all kinds of pain meds. I’m immune to everything but dilaudid. And they got me hooked on opiates.
Ana: You must have suffered too much because of side effects and withdrawal. Opiates?
Cynthia: Vicodin.
Ana: I see.
Cynthia: among other wonder drugs for pain
Ana: You were sent to psychiatrists?
Cynthia: I’ve seen psychiatrists, neurologists, eurologists, endocrinologists.. and the list goes on. Hormone replacement worked wonders but i still cope with depression
Ana: What do you feel when you are depressed? 
Cynthia: Well, i feel like ending my life or i just don’t care what’s going on.Isolate, zone out, lose focus, get confused, irritated.
I don’t want to do anything, not even get out of bed.
sometimes i just feel totally numb. I haven’t been able to hold a traditional job, ever. Not for more than a few months.  I get panic attacks, anxiety, tremors, migraines, sinus headaches, cluster headaches and have chronic pain in both legs.
So holding a job is out of the question. I try, but get fired, or quit
I’m not good with stress, unless I’m really passionate about what im doing
Ana: Passionate! Good you feel that way doing something. This can be part of your focus. Ror how long you took psych-drugs and when did you stop?
Cynthia: i took them off and on for most of my life. They started me on culvert when i was really little
Ana: on cylert?
Ana: Cylert I don't know.
Cynthia: big fingers, little keyboard
Ana: hehe
Cynthia: ADD maybe. I don’t remember what it was for. Back then if you looked out the window during class they put you on Ritalin or cylert. I was hyperactive as a kid. then started going downhill about 8 after my first migraine. I had one every year about the same time- they started getting more frequent after a while. By the time i was 13, once a month. I could count out the days.. 20.. 24.. 27.. migraine! Almost like a period.
Cynthia: mom noticed i wasn’t developing like a boy.. or really at all so she took me to some quack. He decided i needed to have my testes surgically lowered and they found a little ovarian tissue. took that out, started me on testosterone.
Cynthia: migraines started lasting longer 3 days to 3 weeks.
By the time i was 18, my head was a screaming mess unless i was high. I started taking opium when i was 16. had been on pot for a while. First drug i ever tried was LSD. Seemed the pot and the opium were the only thing that would quiet the migraines. So I self medicated.
When i was 18, i stopped the T, and my migraines got less frequent. Imagine that.
Ana: T is?
Cynthia: testosterone.
Cynthia: I’ve been clean since my 21st birthday- about 12 years
Ana: Oh!
Cynthia: they decided to make me a boy by injection.
Ana: This is criminal.
Cynthia: at 20, my hormone levels dropped to near nothing, migraines and cluster headaches were worse than ever and more frequent- I'd feel hot when it was freezing outside and vice versa. my body does NOT generate its own hormones. but testosterone was the wrong choice.
Ana: They made a guess it seems to me.
Cynthia: they guessed i was a boy.
Ana: Yes.
Cynthia: they guessed wrong. Should have asked me maybe?
Ana: Exactly.
Cynthia: one doc did.
But i was terrified of the consequence if i told the truth. I said- of course i want to be a normal boy. I regret that one like hell. I was a kid, i wanted to be normal.
Ana: "Normal"....
Ana: This is a hard definition.
Cynthia: you know the mathematical norm of all societal variances
Ana: Yes.
Cynthia: a pregnant hermaphrodite living on less than a dollar a day,
Cynthia: loll
Ana: loll
Cynthia: 50 percent male, 50 percent female, 1.4 children, annual income of around 9000 a year
Cynthia: or some such. need to check the census
Ana: You were hurt too much.
Cynthia: i can’t cope with daily life
Ana: I'm speechless. You and many people.
Cynthia: I can but it’s difficult. Holding a job is.. well.. laugh
Ana: Depression is very difficult.
Cynthia: So far I’ve no job, no insurance; don’t qualify for unemployment or welfare. Can’t prove a permanent address so food stamps are out of the question
Ana: Many people are in the same boat.
Cynthia: I get by. Dad says im lazy. Living at home I feel more like a leech than living with friends
Ana: Family members don't understand. And physicians don't explain to them either.
Cynthia: or really to the patient even
Ana: There is no campaign to explain what depression really is,.
Cynthia: I'im going to medicate you for... *rolls dice* insomnia
Ana: That's the way they do. "rolls dice" is the right description.
Cynthia: i don’t trust them
Ana: Me and many others too.
Cynthia: all they’ve done for me is put a hole in my pocket. drawing on credit debt for medications and living expenses... I’m in a hole i can’t dig out of. I need hormones so my body knows to cool down when its warm, and warm up when its cold, regulate my moods. Beyond that- i don’t want to try the next new misdiagnosis.
Ana: I don't think you need any other diagnosis.
Cynthia: I know what’s going on to some extent, most of the time. My memory short term and a little of my long term. because a woman’s brain can’t take the damage Testosterone does to it over a 5 year period.
Ana: I'm sure that some of your symptoms are due to medications
Cynthia: i started failing math tests only when i could no longer reinvent the formulas on the fly. I’m a very smart person
Ana: I can see that.
Ana: Few people know what was done to them. You know very well.
Cynthia: my test scores were thru the roof. My brain tells me that when i was little, it told y ovaries to kick in, but didn’t find any- so it just shut that pituitary gland right down. doc stepped in and forced it back on. That’s the source of my problems. I could be 5 foot 6 instead of 6 foot four, a whole lot prettier and much less hairy.
Ana: In the name of "normality" they did the wrong treatment to you. They don't allow people to be what they are. They don't research. It costs... money.
Cynthia: i could have been a very successful marine biologist
Cynthia: loll
Ana: loll
Cynthia: really, when i was a kid wanted to work with dolphins.
Ana: :)
Cynthia: instead, I’m founding my own species.
Ana: I have to tell you that I'm crying. I'm very emotional.
And get very sad when hear medicine doing wrong to people.
Cynthia: you’re ok hon.
Ana: I thought that it was only once in a million years that transgender appeared.
Cynthia: one in 250
Ana: Just like they tell us in History Channel.
Cynthia: has some form of gender variant condition.
Ana: And they have to intervene.
Cynthia: there is a society in Indonesia that respects 5 genders
Ana: Really?It's amazing!
Cynthia: funny, about unequal number of each there. The reason the numbers are so low in the 'civilized' world? People feel they have to hide it. Most become unexplained suicides.
Ana: :(
Cynthia: of those that transition, less than one percent survive, due to suicide brought on by social and economic pressures, or are brutally murdered. Sorry, that is to age 60. We have a great chance of survival, doing this, being who we are takes balls of steel.
Ana: I can imagine.
Cynthia: I don’t deal with a lot of the discrimination issues for 2 reasons: if they see me as a man, they see me as a very large man (6'4") and don’t want to fuck with me or I pass well enough that no one sees a man.
When it comes to getting a job, whole other story:
"we so want to hire you!" i just need a copy of your driver’s license and SS card. 10 minutes later they are informed the position was filled already and are deeply sorry for the inconvenience.
And i can hear the stifled giggling after the door closes behind me
Ana: Speechless..... angry.... sad....  angry...
Cynthia: how i feel most of the time. angry. Cheated.
Ana: You have the right.
Cynthia: this is America. Equal protection under the law extends to race, physical sex, and sexual orientation only. Gender identity, not so much
Ana: I feel the same for fewer reasons.
Cynthia: I’m a non-human and proud of it.
Ana: You are very human to me. Seriously.
Cynthia: oh please no.. lol. no thank you. i am not a part of the atrocities committed by humankind
Ana: Many people feel stigmatized. lol Yes, I agree. Many people are saying:The more I know human beings the more I love animals. I'm a "normal" woman who prefers to be in touch with people, real touch
than to socialize with stupid.
Cynthia: i do not follow a philosophy of greed ignorance, or destruction, nor do i commit atrocities in the name of religion.
Ana: I think that the main issue are governments that indoctrinate people to hate this and that. People don't think by themselves. They judge according to what common judgment tells them.
Cynthia: that’s another reason i don’t claim to be human. i believe in Christ, and follow his teachings, but refuse to be called a Christian.
Ana: Me too. Church has nothing to do with spirituality. They care about other things.
Cynthia: oh, that’s about money too
Ana: Money? If you were rich maybe you would be a celebrity that is a tiny little different.
Cynthia: churches are about money and political power, modern churches anyway
Ana: Yes.
Cynthia: a real church is any number of people (more than one) talking about gog, praying, or praising
Cynthia: god.
Cynthia: worst typo ever
Ana: I agree.


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Marina said...

Thank you for this blog. You are addressing a very important issue and the content of your blog is very interesting, but unfortunately it is not user friendly. I love your content but I just wish you could make it look more professional and easy to read and comment.

Ana said...


Thank you very much. You're right that the blog need changes.
I'll try to do it.