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TanithT wrote:
CosmicKirby wrote:
An equally valid interpretation of the stereotype of rescuing a "princess" is the idea that royalty are generally seen as foppish, or in a more negative sense incompetent. In an interpretation such as this, the gender is irrelevant to the station of the princess, that of a noble politician.

That argument only holds water if "prince" isn't lazy storytelling shorthand for "brave, strong hero" while "princess" is lazy storytelling shorthand for "helpless reward for the brave hero who saves her".

Which it is. It still boils down to gender. The stereotypical prince is the bold, brave hero. It is the villain who is likely to be depicted as a swishy fop who challenges gender roles. The punishment for his gender transgression is usually death.

Which of course it wasn't in the example that started this discussion. The knight was a bold brave hero who rescued a prince and a princess - and then fell for the prince.

It's hard to see that as reinforcing gender stereotypes. Those that are in it are there to set up the subversion when he refuses the princess's hand and asks for the prince's.


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BigNorseWolf wrote:
And what kind of message does that send to the handicapped? Wait for someone to save you instead of solving your own problems? You can't save yourself, you need someone to do it for you?

If you have an able bodied young healthy princess and an able bodied young healthy prince as characters in a story who have fallen down a well, it is far more common storytelling to have the princess unable or unwilling to lift a finger to save herself. She can't or won't climb solely because she is a princess. That's problematic.

The reader would not easily believe that the prince couldn't save himself, because princes can always save themselves. But a princess? Lazy storytelling shorthand has her helplessly stuck at the bottom of the well for no better reason than she's a princess.

If she is a lame princess who does not have much use of her legs, or if her arm was injured in the fall, that shows a clear reason why she can not save herself. She might try, but ultimately her physical limitations are the reason she needs help, rather than just her gender.

If "handicapped people are helpless" stereotypes were grossly overused in fiction, I could certainly see a reason for being concerned. They aren't. The actual problem is the massive overuse of "female bodied = simpering helpless reward object with no agency". That is an insanely common storytelling device.

It really is a major and pervasive problem in fantasy literature. Trying to divert attention away from that problem by saying that showing her as physically limited rather than suicidally gender stereotyped might be insulting to handicapped people is, for lack of a better term, lame.

Quote:
... did you even watch the video? This is exactly what happened.

When was the princess shown to have actually developed this liking, as opposed to volunteering herself to be the traditional hero reward just because he's a hero and she's a princess?


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No she wasn't. They were subverting the trope by having the hero reject the princess and ask for the prince instead. Doing that requires the trope to actually be used in the first place. The whole story wouldn't work at all if the trope didn't exist. That doesn't mean it's supporting it.

And "handicapped people are helpless" is grossly overused in fiction, mostly by not having them as heroes or active roles at all. With the exception of a few "how wonderful it is that X could overcome his handicap at all" stories.

Liberty's Edge

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I agree that the 'damsel in distress'/'princess in need of rescue' trope is both too common and in need of being changed.

But...well, making handicapped people the victims of a similar trope doesn't really help. It's much easier and better to just make anyone who needs to be rescued be in a situation most capable people couldn't escape.

Think of every movie involving a gang of criminals where they break one of their number out of prison. Prisons are much easier to break into and rescue someone from than to break out of (just due to resource access). Being rescued in such a context doesn't imply incompetence of any sort on the rescued party's part...just that they were at a severe disadvantage due to the situation they were in and thus needed help.

That's the sort of rescue/aspect of the rescue that should be more common/emphasized in stories like this. So for example, why can a hero slay the dragon when the princess was helpless? Well, he's got a magic sword. She didn't, and killing a dragon with your bare hands is a bit of a tall order, especially if, say, chained to a stake. So it's the fact that the hero wasn't the one captured and had access to the right equipment that allowed him to rescue the princess, not an inherent difference in capability. Then you make that distinction explicit in some fashion...probably partially by making her competent both pre-capture and post-rescue.

And the linked video definitively didn't have a gender-biased version of the captured princess trope. The prince is in the exact same position as the princess and every bit as willing to throw himself at his savior. That has its own potential unfortunate implications, but it really doesn't reinforce any gendered dynamics of the situation. Which makes objecting to it on that basis a bit odd.


Kalindlara wrote:
Terquem wrote:

I like stories where the person who needs to be saved,

is the hero of the story

That sounds very interesting. Could you give examples, please?

I am really terrible at giving examples, mainly because I am not very good at understanding stories in the way other people do

but

The Accidental Cleric

This novel, is supposed to be the beginning of exactly this kind of story, the character of Hiram Whales, the main character, is supposed to be the hero, but also he drifts into a situation where it becomes necessary for someone to make a sacrifice to save him from himself, basically.

Unfortunately, it never reach that part of the story, and book three is not ready to be publish

It is also a self published novel, and not a well written one.

I tried, but I am not a writer.

(I am the author this book and the sequel, The practical Fighter).

edit - sorry, way off topic, I'll stop now


Terquem wrote:


I like stories where the person who needs to be saved,
is the hero of the story

Cinderella, especially the new live action Disney version, is actually a good example of this.

It's true that she's given the coach and the dress by a magical character, but she wins the heart of the Prince on her own, not by being beautiful -- all of the women are beautiful from a purely aesthetic standpoint -- but by the genuine goodness of her personality. After all the abuse that she's taken from her stepmother and stepsisters, it takes a very strong heart to believe in her own value, her own person, and take the Prince's affection as genuine. It's an act of bravery to love and let yourself be loved after experiencing that kind of abuse.


As far as rescuing someone, I would be interested in a story that switches between two heroic characters saving the other when they get in over their heads. Like, constantly because they are the most boastful, prideful heroes and they have massive contempt for eachother. All one-upping eachother.

Hm, I need to get writing.

Silver Crusade

I believe Deadmanwalking put it best. There can be other narrative reasons why the person is trouble is in that situation. It isn't always a matter of "Well, they're a princess" though sometimes that is the case, and that is where the trope visibly shows problems. If a character is in trouble because they lack a certain strength, ability, or item, and they need the help of another person who does not also lack the feature, their gender isn't always relevant.

TanithT wrote:


If "handicapped people are helpless" stereotypes were grossly overused in fiction, I could certainly see a reason for being concerned. They aren't. The actual problem is the massive overuse of "female bodied = simpering helpless reward object with no agency". That is an insanely common storytelling device.

It really is a major and pervasive problem in fantasy literature. Trying to divert attention away from that problem by saying that showing her as physically limited rather than suicidally gender stereotyped might be insulting to handicapped people is, for lack of a better term, lame.

Further, I don't fully grasp where you're trying to go with the quoted segment above. It seems that you're of the opinion that female-gender related issues are more important, which is fine. But the point I was trying to illustrate earlier is that our reflections of media are certainly going to vary from person to person. Simply because you do not find the representation of the handicapped to not be as problematic as the representation of the female gender, it does not follow that others who find the inverse to be the case are incorrect in their findings.

I find that the crux of the argument of volume that you're making relies on weighing what is worse, a "negative" portrayal of a type of character, or the volume of portrayals of that type at all. Women are included all the time in media and stories, whereas it's a fairly rare occurrence that the handicapped are included in media at all. What is worse, to be both well and poorly portrayed often? Or to almost never be portrayed at all?

I don't find that there's a proper and obvious answer to that, and thus I'd find the interpretation that focuses on negative portrayals of the handicapped to be equally valid to the negative portrayals of women.

In short, what you find to be lazy story telling in princesses, I find lazy story telling to simply hand wave the handicapped as incapable. Although I'd reiterate, that I don't necessarily find lazy story telling to be "problematic" either.


CosmicKirby wrote:
I don't fully grasp where you're trying to go with the quoted segment above. It seems that you're of the opinion that female-gender related issues are more important, which is fine.

I think it's important for all characters to be drawn in ways that don't disrespect and dismiss real life human beings. Blackface is not cool, assuming princesses are helpless reward objects for no good reason is not cool, and mocking handicapped people is not cool.

This said, we are media bombed almost constantly with messages about how women are supposed to be the helpless, simpering rewards for the real heroes. You literally can not escape it. That's a pretty serious problem.

Handicapped people are generally under-represented as the heroes of stories, though I can think of some classic exceptions especially in comic books. What I don't see is a constant media bombardment of actively negative messages about handicapped people.

So no, I don't view the issues as being in the same ballpark. Not because it's any worse to insult women than handicapped people, but because it's not happening on as massive a scale. Being underrepresented is not the same as your gender constantly being used as lazy storyteller's shorthand for "this character is useless and stupid and exists only to be a reward for the hero."

It isn't a matter of which is worse so much as which is more common. It is a very good thing that people finally figured out that blackface isn't cool or funny, though I'm not sure most quite get *why* it's not cool to use skin color as cinematic shorthand for "entertainingly stupid sidekick".

Sadly, we are still pretty much in the blackface era when it comes to female characters in fantasy literature.


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TanithT wrote:
CosmicKirby wrote:
I don't fully grasp where you're trying to go with the quoted segment above. It seems that you're of the opinion that female-gender related issues are more important, which is fine.

I think it's important for all characters to be drawn in ways that don't disrespect and dismiss real life human beings. Blackface is not cool, assuming princesses are helpless reward objects for no good reason is not cool, and mocking handicapped people is not cool.

This said, we are media bombed almost constantly with messages about how women are supposed to be the helpless, simpering rewards for the real heroes. You literally can not escape it. That's a pretty serious problem.

Handicapped people are generally under-represented as the heroes of stories, though I can think of some classic exceptions especially in comic books. What I don't see is a constant media bombardment of actively negative messages about handicapped people.

So no, I don't view the issues as being in the same ballpark. Not because it's any worse to insult women than handicapped people, but because it's not happening on as massive a scale. Being underrepresented is not the same as your gender constantly being used as lazy storyteller's shorthand for "this character is useless and stupid and exists only to be a reward for the hero."

It isn't a matter of which is worse so much as which is more common. It is a very good thing that people finally figured out that blackface isn't cool or funny, though I'm not sure most quite get *why* it's not cool to use skin color as cinematic shorthand for "entertainingly stupid sidekick".

Sadly, we are still pretty much in the blackface era when it comes to female characters in fantasy literature.

Really? Seriously? Fairy tales, sure. 50 years ago, certainly. Even 20 years ago, there's an argument. Though with an awful lot of counterexamples. Today? I'd be willing to accept there's still a bias, but not the era of blackface.

There really are piles of awesome female characters headlining both science fiction and fantasy.

Enough that there's a rebellion among the conservative fen against "inclusive" sf/fantasy (both women and LGTBQ) in favor of traditional works.

Liberty's Edge

TanithT wrote:
This said, we are media bombed almost constantly with messages about how women are supposed to be the helpless, simpering rewards for the real heroes. You literally can not escape it. That's a pretty serious problem.

I think you're exaggerating a bit, though I do agree with the general gist that this trope is an ongoing issue.

TanithT wrote:

Handicapped people are generally under-represented as the heroes of stories, though I can think of some classic exceptions especially in comic books. What I don't see is a constant media bombardment of actively negative messages about handicapped people.

So no, I don't view the issues as being in the same ballpark. Not because it's any worse to insult women than handicapped people, but because it's not happening on as massive a scale. Being underrepresented is not the same as your gender constantly being used as lazy storyteller's shorthand for "this character is useless and stupid and exists only to be a reward for the hero."

Absolutely true. But there's no need to replace one pretty toxic idea with one that's slightly less so but still toxic when you can replace it with an entirely non-toxic idea. And I suggested an obvious one.

TanithT wrote:
It isn't a matter of which is worse so much as which is more common. It is a very good thing that people finally figured out that blackface isn't cool or funny, though I'm not sure most quite get *why* it's not cool to use skin color as cinematic shorthand for "entertainingly stupid sidekick".

I think they mostly get it by this point...

TanithT wrote:
Sadly, we are still pretty much in the blackface era when it comes to female characters in fantasy literature.

Again, I'd argue you're seriously exaggerating the degree of problem here. Name a work of fantasy fiction from, say, the last ten years that uses the 'Damsel in Distress' trope straight, without likewise presenting women who are more active. You can probably come up with one or two, it's still very much a thing, and you'll certainly be able to come up with many more that are still in common circulation despite being a bit older...but in the last ten years? I'll bet I can come up with more works that outright defy that trope than you can that play it straight.

That's not to say it's not a problem, just that it's one gradually on its way out.


There are quite a few leading ladies in modern fantasy and scifi and some good handicapped characters too.

Actually, just by looking at the bookshelf on my left from where I'm sitting:

Strong Women-

November Terra -Starcraft: Spectres

Ulrika the Vampire-Bloodborn

Grianne the High Druid-High Druid of Shannara

Shandril Shessair-Crown of Fire

Handicapped Characters-

Gideon Ravenor(quadriplegic burn victim) -Ravenor

Sesshomaru(lost an arm)- Inuyasha

*shrugs* There are still problems but things are getting better.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Though probably not on your bookshelf we can also add Imperator Furiosa to both lists.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Hello! Long-time lurker and recently gender questioning.

Is it okay if I post about my situation? It's not desperate or tragic or anything like that, and I intend to contact a therapist as soon as I can, but for right now I think I'd feel a little better talking informally about it.


Go for it!

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Ess wrote:

Hello! Long-time lurker and recently gender questioning.

Is it okay if I post about my situation? It's not desperate or tragic or anything like that, and I intend to contact a therapist as soon as I can, but for right now I think I'd feel a little better talking informally about it.

You are absolutely welcome to share whatever you like. Please do. ^_^


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Thank you for the welcome!

Story spoilered for length:
Okay, so, I'm basically 30 and unemployed, but I'm living with my family and helping my sister with her kids whenever her husband is away doing various military things. I recently obtained health insurance (which is good) and my other sister (I have three) who lives out-of-state has been requesting that I come live with her and assuring me that there are good job opportunities (which is great). I mention this because I value my family and am the eldest and only brother.

So, as I've approached and crossed 30, I've been thinking about the course of my life (which feels like it's been going nowhere fast) and stumbled across the several accounts of experiences with clinical depression and/or gender dysphoria and something clicked with me. Which confused me, because while I've felt detached and alienated as far as I can remember, I kind of just thought it was part of my personality. I've never thought of myself as female, and I'm not sure if I do even now (though I've often wondered what my life would have been like if I had been born differently); I've never wanted to cross-dress (though I do prefer female avatars in games, but so do plenty of other guys); and I've never had any self-harming thoughts (the closest is wanting to crawl back in bed and sleep the rest of the day away) which I'm happy about, but also makes me wonder if my issues are that serious.

The thing that did lead me to seriously question myself was a reddit post about possibly using MRI scanning to test people. The poster rejected the idea, discussing the problems with false positives and negatives, and that was all well and good. They went on to state a mental exercise, to suppose that there was an absolute guaranteed test, and then asked what answer you were hoping for and how you felt when the results declared you are definitely the gender you were assigned at birth and don't need to adjust in any way...and I realized I felt kind of upset about that.

So, that's my situation; could be better, could be worse. Thank you for reading if you did. As I stated before, I'm looking into options for therapists, but if anyone wants to chime in with an opinion or comment, please feel free.

Shadow Lodge

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

My advice is to take it slowly and deliberately. A therapist is an excellent idea, but you'll want to make sure they have experience with gender issues. (Actual experience, mind you, not just listing it on the topics they treat) Depending on where you live, this will either be very easy or very difficult.

And I would say, look for opportunities to explore that side of yourself, and while you are doing so *pay attention* to how you feel. Finding a local trans support group is a good idea, as well as an online one. But watch out for people who give you advice (including me) and don't ever let them push you into doing something that doesn't feel right. Don't be afraid to discover that you *aren't* trans.

Actually, before you do that, the best suggestion I ever got while trying to figure this stuff out: start doing yoga. Part of what yoga is designed to do is to help put your consciousness solidly into your body. For a lot of transfolk it's never been there. And you can learn a lot about yourself from that.

For comparison:
I'm one of those people who woke up one day in my late 30s, after having been depressed for...oh...a few decades, and decided out of the blue that it might be fun to put on a skirt. When I saw my silhouette in the mirror out of the corner of my eye it was like I was struck by a bolt of lightning, and I suddenly knew that this stuff was important and I needed to figure out what was going on. So I get exactly what you're talking about.

The standard trans narrative is of someone who "always knew" they were trans, but there are a significant percentage of us who bury this stuff so deeply that they don't realize it until later.

Wow, that was longer than I intended. Hope some of that is helpful.

Silver Crusade System Administrator

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It sounds as if it might warrant some time with a therapist. It sounds like you mostly might just have some run of the mill clinical depression with maybe some unexplored issues in your life. A good therapist can help you with both of those things. Gender dysphoria of the type that I have experienced has been very heavy since I was young and I hesitate to send anyone down the path who doesn't have that assuredness, but there is a lot of repression involved with a lot of peoples exeperience, so, I say it's worth a look at the least. It's a tough road. Also, there is a kind of rainbow of different sorts of gender issues these days.


@Ess, I don't know how many people would read and be generally supportive, but not sure of what to say. I know in my own personal case I came to a crisis of religious faith. What I was told to expect personally and what I was experiencing wasn't matching up. I encountered "The Wizard's First Rule", which is also the name of the book with the following quote, written by Terry Goodkind:

"Wizard's First Rule: ...People are stupid; given proper motivation, almost anyone will believe almost anything. Because people are stupid, they will believe a lie because they want to believe it's true, or because they are afraid it might be true. People's heads are full of knowledge, facts, and beliefs, and most of it is false, yet they think it all true. People are stupid; they can only rarely tell the difference between a lie and the truth, and yet they are confident they can, and so are all the easier to fool.

"... It's easy to lead people when they have a sense of purpose. Sense of purpose is more important by far than the truth. In fact, truth has no bearing in this. ... People are stupid; they want to believe, so they do."
—Chapter 36, p.560, U.S. paperback edition

I got to the point where I did not trust anything I thought were true, or assumed must be true, because it was what I had been told all my life. So I decided to rebuild EVERYTHING from scratch of what I thought of myself and those around me, and to do so in as objective a manner as possible. I also decided to get very comfortable with saying, "I don't know. I can try to find out if it really matters."

That was pretty much the turnaround point for me. I am certain of far less than I used to be, but what I am certain of, I am VERY certain of. And I'm comfortable with what I don't know, and finding out what I need to know.

Touching sexuality, I know I like "gurls", and knowing my own gender identity, I think like a guy, I apologize to my wife for "yeah, I did it that way, I'm sorry, I'm just a guy", and so on. I'm very happy I am comfortable with my gender so I don't have to get all bothered when my wife insists I need to have a pedicure when she has hers done, that way she doesn't have to trim my toenails... and what the hell, I have a good foot massage and we spend time together. I'm GM for my group, my wife is one of the players. I have to RP the female NPCs. I don't bother with a falsetto voice, but I do try as best I can to get into the mental head-space of every character I have to portray. My favorite PFS character is a female half-elf Darsadi Callinova. When I'm playing her, I try my best to put myself in what she would think and react, and I really don't find it so hard to do. When the GM mentions "he" referring to Darsadi, I mutter "she". But in all of this, I never confuse *my* sexuality and gender identity with that of Darsadi or any other character I would want to create. I can say, if I were inclined to explore, I am comfortable with doing so in a safe context among friends who understood.

Good luck, and I am very happy to see the support you have, and just be aware there are many who lurk who would echo the support, but not sure what more to say that would actually help. I'm not sure anything I said will help, but I did have that period where I knew if I didn't make a change, I was going to die, soon, and in a miserable, horrible way. And I wasn't ready to die, so I decided to change. It wasn't easy, but it has been well worth it.

Bless you, Ess


Ess- I read your post and if you hadn't written yourself that you thought you were quite possibly a gender dysphoric, I would say with near certainty you weren't.

I have read a lot of trans person's stories and typically they always knew they were a man born in a woman's body. Never thinking about oneself as a woman, never wanted to cross dress... gender dysphoria seems clearly absent. And that is a good thing, because the road of a transgenered person is hard.

Feeling detached and alienated is perfectly explainable by a lot of things other than gender dysphoria. It could be depression or it might be just part of your personality. Or it might just be being unemployed and feeling your life is going nowhere.

Everyone feels pain sometimes. Alienation, feeling detached or that your life is going nowhere- I been all those places. Lots of people have, its not indicative of any mental health problem, nescessarily, and does not seem to me to have anything to do with gender dysphoria.

Don't get me wrong, I hope things work out well and don't doubt your pain.


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Hey, all ya'll. Haven't been around much lately because I'm helping make a short film this summer. I'm editing it, and helped out a bit with the writing and the producing of the film.

I'm also in it, playing the roommate of the main character. I wasn't looking forward to getting in front of the camera, I'm more comfortable in an editing suite, but we wrote the character as trans, and we needed a trans actor.

We don't specifically delve into any trans issues in the film. We did in some of the earlier drafts, but they always came across as heavy handed. Instead, we decided on a strategy of placing a trans character in the film who we thought was pretty clearly trans (I think I come across as pretty clearly trans, especially when I speak), and who pretty clearly does not look like a Laverne Cox or a Caitlyn Jenner or whomever, and then have the other characters take her gender identity as a given. We also worked to make sure that the character was true to my own experiences and perspective as an older trans woman (she's in her mid 30s, I'm in my early 40s). She moves in and out of the film, and is mainly in the early and the later scenes, but I'm pretty happy with her as a little piece of trans media representation.

We're also making the film with an all-female crew. And I gotta say, it's nice to be around other women who accept you for who you are.

Anyways, if anyone's interested, here's a few shots from the film. (I'm in the next to last one.) And we have a short trailer up here.

Shadow Lodge

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Joynt Jezebel wrote:
I have read a lot of trans person's stories and typically they always knew they were a man born in a woman's body. Never thinking about oneself as a woman, never wanted to cross dress... gender dysphoria seems clearly absent. And that is a good thing, because the road of a transgendered person is hard.

There's knowing...and there's *knowing*. That's why a good gender therapist is key. They have the experience to help you discover what might be repressed gender issues, and what might just be wishful thinking.

My therapist estimated that somewhere around 10-15% of her clients were people who had repressed their transness. Today I could give you a lot of stories from my earlier life that match up with the standard narrative. Eleven years ago, I couldn't have told you any of them.

I always discounted the possibility that I might be trans because I *never* felt like I was in the wrong body. As I came closer to transition, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what other transfolk even meant when they said that. What I finally discovered was that I was so estranged from my body, that at a very basic level I didn't even recognize it as *mine*. (I always like the way a friend of mine put it -- "I always experienced my body as a rental car.") Personally, I never experienced any gender dysmorphia (ie body discomfort) until about a year *after* I had transitioned -- it took that long for my body to be close enough to where it should be for my mind to actually inhabit it and feel the remaining wrongness.

There are a lot of other narratives out there besides the standard narrative -- I hesitate to share them because most of the ones I know were spoken in confidence and are not my stories to tell.

None of this should be taken as advice. Just as testimony that there are a lot of ways to be trans, and falling outside the standard narrative does not preclude you from being trans.

Shadow Lodge

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Ess - Just want to emphaize that everyone has been giving you good advice. Go slow. Get a professional to help you figure stuff out. Rule out all the other possibilities first.

No matter what you tell us about yourself, we won't know whether or not you're trans. But this is a place where you can safely share.

Silver Crusade System Administrator

Joynt Jezebel wrote:

I have read a lot of trans person's stories and typically they always knew they were a man born in a woman's body. Never thinking about oneself as a woman, never wanted to cross dress... gender dysphoria seems clearly absent. And that is a good thing, because the road of a transgenered person is hard.

It's not always the case, humans are really good at burying things pretty deep. It has a tendency to be true but rarely one comes about it later in life. OP is likely not transgendered at least not to the point of someone who has gender dysphoria but regardless, seems depression is there and a therapist is the best option to deal with that in either case.


pH unbalanced wrote:
What I finally discovered was that I was so estranged from my body, that at a very basic level I didn't even recognize it as *mine*. (I always like the way a friend of mine put it -- "I always experienced my body as a rental car.")

Ess does not say anything like that either.

Maybe I am wrong, and we only have a few paragraphs to go on. And I take what you people say about repression.

I took a lot of time over my post. Because its a serious matter and also I find I have to be careful what I say about trans issues, people are touchy about what you say and its easy to offend w/o meaning to. Given the amount of crap trans people get that is not surprising.

I still think Ess sounds much more like somebody who is unemployed and whose life is in a rut, or maybe depressed than trans.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Wow, thanks for all the feedback and support! @_@

I think I need to apologize though for accidentally causing a debate; it's true I've only shared some basic info, because there's some stuff I'm still uncomfortable thinking about to myself, let alone sharing with others, and because this is pretty much the first time I've chatted online with people I don't know offline and the first time I've actually talked about these particular issues to others, so I hope any mistakes on my part are understandable.

@pH unbalanced: Heh, I don't have much choice about going slowly, given my lack of resources, but maybe that's for the best. I hadn't considered yoga, so thanks for the suggestion. Rest assured I do feel welcome here.

@Lissa Guillet: I appreciate your and others' opinion that I probably have some form of depression, just because I sometimes worry that I'm exaggerating my issues. I also appreciate your caution; that's one reason I've been keeping a diary for the last two weeks (and counting).

@Romaq: Interesting quote (I've heard of the author but I haven't read any of their work). And thank you for your kind words.

@Joynt Jezebel: I understand your doubts; at times I am skeptical of myself as well. But I also have a history of keeping my thoughts to myself and bottling things up; there is also...something that I don't quite grasp that suggests I shouldn't just ignore this (I'm sorry that that's as clear as fog).

I think I have a couple more questions, but I need to mull them over, so I'll post later. Thanks again everyone.


I will echo the others' sentiments about seeing a therapist, and wish you the best on your journey of self-discovery.


Ess- No problem about starting a debate. Its all very civil.

One thing I said is we only have a few paragraphs to go on. I don't pretend to be a qualified therapist, and a qualified therapist would need a lot more to go on before venturing a diagnonis I am sure.

People here are all supportative and accepting, including me. And its normally anonymous, so you can probably talk as freely as you feel comfortable.


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Hey,

After an abortive attempt earlier this week, with two drinks of whiskey in me, I finally managed to put my thoughts into something resembling order. English is not my native language though. Hope I can make myself understood anyway. And as stupid and against everything I logically know to make sense, I sometimes really can't help but talk about my "issue". Just in case you wonder, this is not my actual account. Yeah, I know. I broke a rule. But there are people on this site who could easily identify me by by main account, and that would be bad.

I am 38 years old, and work as a software developer. I have two wonderful children, aged 5 and 1. I am the primary breadwinner of our little family, and have a wife I love with all my heart. Without them, I do not know what I would do.

About a year and a half ago, I was waiting on a job interview. Suddenly I looked into the mirror, and a girl looked back at me. I have always been awkward, strange and never quite felt like I belong among the boys. Or comfortable in my own body, really. I thought it was being awkward. Bad at sports. Never quite at home with myself. I was an outcast at school (it went as far as being attacked with pepper spray on three occasions), and worked myself into being as unobtrusive and forgettable as much as I could. Retreated into my room as much as I could and tried to avoid any unnecessary contact with the outside world. I got into roleplaying heavily, and it was always female characters I really identified with. But never did I really make that conclusion until that day. Somehow, with my nerves on edge and me being bored at the same time, a lot of things just fell into place. Now I wish I hadn't ever looked into that mirror.

At first, I had tried to make some tiny changes. Take things easy rather than just jumping head-first into something that I might not fully understand. But I was careful. How could I not be careful? I never had many friends or a supportive family. I still know very much how it feels to be alone. Not just lonely, but really alone. So I started small. Shaving off the stupid beard. Dropping the fake machismo. I always know that part to be fake, but it had to be there. Yet by a stroke of good luck, I got stopped before I could do anything really stupid. Really stupid, as in talking about my thoughts, maybe even coming out. My wife discussed a couple in her extended acquaintance... and how they put off their marriage to allow one of them to transition beforehand. I then broached the subject on how I admired that couple and their love. My wife agreed - and said she never would be able to do that. She literally said "I could never live with that." She is not into girls at all. Even if it was me, knowing that would be huge turn-off.

I cannot fault her. I would wish for things being different. Yet they are not. She even got alarmed when I pushed the topic. So I rowed back as much as possible, laughing the topic off, and shutting the door. I grew the beard again, force-laughed at the stupid jokes. Went out with my brother in law at his stupid drinking binges, because that is what guys do. A year has passed, and I am in "working condition". Most of the time, at least. Only sometimes, I break down. When my older daughter started going into Frozen, "Let it go" really got to me. Like tears in the eyes and being unable to speak. I had to binge-listen to that song, until I was just absolutely sick of it. My libido is pretty much dead. Not a huge matter with a small child, and a wife who's not afraid to ask when the urge hits her. But sometimes, I get thoughts like "this is only the halfway point of your life. Can you make it another 40 years without slipping up?"

Thinking about things logically, I really did not have too many options to start with. I have recurring binge eating attacks since my teenage years, which pushed me to the far side of 300 pounds. Significantly to the far side, even. I am digusted by myself, and these pounds won't ever disappear. In fact, stress and emotional pain are major binge triggers. And I would have a lot of pain - since I would lose my wife and my children. I would probably lose my job too. My body is broken as it is, and probably could not handle the stress of hormones. Even if I ever got them - because in Germany, you need to live a full year as your proper gender before you can even ask a doctor for the first shot. I am developing diabetes from the obesity. I have pronounced male pattern baldness. I am covered in fur. I even grow that beard out again, but hate ever moment of it. Even if I went and got therapy... I am stuck. Not that getting any therapy is easy with a wife asking where I am, and children wanting to see their "father".

Right now it looks to me like somehow I need to get that genie back into the bottle. Get back to that car, laugh of that silly moment of doubt, and get back in the saddle. Swallow that blue pill and be Mister Anderson forever more. Because I can't stay where I am now. Its not bad every day. In fact I'd wager more days are ok than not. Its actually pretty rare for me to just start crying out of nowhere (but if it happens, try explaining that to a meeting room!). Unless I can get myself back under control my weight will continue skyrocketing. Maybe it will even fix me feeling disconnected from my wife. Right now, it is as if something got broken when she told me she couldn't accept me. I still love her - but I haven't really felt "with" her ever since.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

I won't say I understand even half of what you're going through... but I know what it's like to trudge through every day, not knowing how to go on.

Please, be strong. If there's anything we can do - even if it's just listening - we'll be here for you.


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I think that large wall of text actually helped. Sometimes, just telling someone is a lot. Anyway... the kids are restless (and a little sick), and another day will start in less than 6 hours, so I won't be able to reply before tomorrow night.

Thank you for reading, it means a lot. I have actually typed and deleted half a dozen additional paragraphs - I just can't find any more words tonight.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

Take your time. I'll be here.


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I'm really sorry I don't have anything to say to all the people out there with way tougher issues than anything I'm dealing with. I wish I knew what to say to help, but I don't. I can only offer useless sympathy.

Hope everything works out well for Ess and Masked Maiden.


Even if you won't to come out due to family reasons, you can still make some changes in your life - diabetes is a sufficient excuse for stopping binge drinking and taking care of your health might let you introduce some minor changes to your lifestyle that may make it a bit more bearable.

Maybe you could drop some aspects of the "manly" posing as a parent - and if anyone will mock you because of that you could just look at him/her and ask if they think that being responsible and caring father is "unmanly".

Silver Crusade System Administrator

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*sigh* If you really are trans, these things have a habit of coming up over and over again with more and more pressure. See a therapist, please, for your own health and your family.


As I understand it, there is a chicken and egg situation regarding gender dysphoria and depression. It is not just that you get depression from gender issues, it is also that you start questioning yourself more when severely depressed, which can give you gender issues. Sorry if this is a misunderstanding. Either way:

You are going to have to be in decent psychiatric shape to handle a transition process.

Depression is THE GREAT ENEMY. It paints everything you look at black, including yourself, your family, your future, your past. And always, always, always, you find a reason that can explain it to your satisfaction. "I am depressed because my back hurts, and if it didn't, I would be perfectly healthy and live a good life!"... Only the back pain gets fixed, and your life is not better at all. Depression is like smoking: Whatever the measure, it hurts you. It digs to your core and steps on it. If you are religious, it makes God stop caring about you and denies you God's presence. If you love music, it turns it into rattling discord. And so on.

The good news is that treating depression is pretty simple today. A month on relatively mild medication clears it up and returns you to who you ought to be, someone who can be happy or sad in the right situations. Someone with an emotional range.

Now, all the above is certainly not denying gender dysphoria. I would say that if you go through treatment for depression, the gender dysphoria most likely remains if that is the problem.

Either way, it is probably a good thing to try if your life feels hopeless or miserable.

Shadow Lodge

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Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

It's extreme crunch time at work, Masked Maiden, so I don't have time to say much.

But I do want to say that I have been *exactly* where you are, sans only the drinking. Be strong, be safe, and you will get through this. And once you are through it, you will be a stronger, happier person.

What getting through this means...that I don't know. Sissyl's post about depression is 100% correct. You've got a lot to figure out, and you can't do any of that until you are thinking clearly (and hopefully have a good therapist to help you).


Masked Maiden- I don't have anything like all the answers for your very serious problems.

I am not trans but your school experience sounds a bit like mine. And I share your disinterest in mindless boozing.

I do have a positive suggestion. Try exercising and getting that weight under control. Start by walking, maybe 15 minutes, do it every day. I had to modify my diet because of threatened diabetes [which pisses me off, I am fit for a man of 54 and only slightly overweight, but still....] and I found giving up completely some things that are bad and I can stand giving up, sweet drinks with me, I drink water, tea and coffee only now, is good. And don't have things in the house you are tempted to eat but don't want to.

No amount of improved diet and exercise will solve your problems. But it will help with your health, probably self image and will even help counter depression.

Best wishes.

Community & Digital Content Director

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Removed a post for the reasons below.

Guys, this thread is, in part, meant to provide support and discussion for other gamers going through difficult times. It is one thing to attempt to offer support, it is entirely another to take on telling another person in the conversation to simply stop a destructive behavior. In general the people posting to our site are not qualified to provide that kind of commentary, and we're not comfortable facilitating those kinds of comments, as they may be unintentionally damaging and hurtful to others in our community. Remember that there is a person on the other side of the screen, and written word can be an imperfect medium especially for this kind of feedback.


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First off, a bit of clarification. I don't have a serious drinking problem. Usually I am the one to usher my brother-in-law and his friends into their respective busses. I don't like intoxication all that much. I tag along, drink as much as socially required, but stick with beer when the others graduate to harder stuff. Getting drunk is never worth the headaches it causes. I <i>do</i> have a bad eating problem. I don't want to go into too many details. Worst thing is, I don't even enjoy wolfing down three cans of pringles. Its just... relief.

I have been in therapy in my mid-twenties. Three years digging through very painful times, for no benefit. Always going over my humiliations. My f&$*ed up family. My hiding and locking others out of my life. I felt like absolute garbage after each and every session. In fact, I gained most of my weight during these years.

Nevertheless, I am considering going back into therapy. I don't know how to sell that to my wife - but she might even be supportive. She probably knows something is off. She does not say anything, but she knows that sometimes it is ok to ask me about my day, and sometimes she is just quiet and gives me a hug. It may take a few months to find a spot, and I frankly still do not know what I am supposed to even say - but anything to get myself back on track.

Anyway, I don't think this is just a trick of the mind. There is something behind that experience. Otherwise, I would not still be revisiting that moment after that long time and again. It is not as if I am not / have not been trying to convince myself that it was a fluke. It keeps coming back.

Thank you all for your responses. It took a lot of will to push that "submit post" button yesterday. Seeing your responses tonight just made the whole day better.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

Glad to help. ^_^

If there's anything we can do, please don't hesitate to ask.


Well, if you don't like wearing a beard, don't. I always shave what passes for a moustache, whilst letting a scrappy goatee form on my chin. One thing at a time, I'd say.

Contributor

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Washington Post story about the first openly transgender (FtM) swimmer in US collegiate history


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ok I have a question....my wife is BI and i am pan

we have been together for 11 years as female and male

why do some lesbians and other bi people {and especially CIS people} think that just because she is bi that means we would be totally happy to have a three-way...We DONT WANT THAT i just want to be with her...yes she and i have a wider sexual preference than just male/female but tat dose not mean we are ok with any of your advances. our relation ship is completely monogamist !!!

why when a girl hits on my wife in front me and she tell her im her husband they act and say "oh he dose not mind i bet this is getting him off"

B@$%* step away i don't we don't like that yes my wife may find you attractive but we only want each other and no one else in our bedroom

why do people act this way!?

Contributor

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Riuk wrote:

ok I have a question....my wife is BI and i am pan

we have been together for 11 years as female and male

why do some lesbians and other bi people {and especially CIS people} think that just because she is bi that means we would be totally happy to have a three-way...We DONT WANT THAT i just want to be with her...yes she and i have a wider sexual preference than just male/female but tat dose not mean we are ok with any of your advances. our relation ship is completely monogamist !!!

why when a girl hits on my wife in front me and she tell her im her husband they act and say "oh he dose not mind i bet this is getting him off"

B!$&~ step away i don't we don't like that yes my wife may find you attractive but we only want each other and no one else in our bedroom

why do people act this way!?

Toxic entitlement on their part.


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Riuk wrote:
why do people act this way!?

I think there is an idea among many people that any sexual proclivities other then straight missionary sex means you a "deviant" for lack of a better word. Once you are in the "deviant" category, that means you are into EVERYTHING that deviants are into - bondage, anal, group sex, bestiality, sadomasochism, you name it...

I think it is just a form of ignorance based on the very poor level of discourse about actual sex in our society. What we are shown in media about sex is usually what gets ratings for it mere suggestion, while no actual information or learning takes place.

Forget about most media, learn more about the realities of LGBT life, here on Paizo.com.

Shadow Lodge

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

I've usually heard of it happening the other way around -- single lesbian is hit on by a bi woman, who is really just feeling her out for a threesome with her male partner. That's enough of a thing that depending on the context and the conversation, I could see someone making a mistake and thinking that's what you were intending. If it had happened to you, you know, once.

Since it's more often than that...yeah, what everyone else said.

Liberty's Edge

I think it's less the assumption you are a deviant, and more the belief that if you're bi you can't possibly be satisfied with just one partner since you're attracted to both genders.

Complete hogwash, since it's based on the assumption that bisexual sexuality is inherently different than gay or straight sexuality.

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