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Thread: Real life test

  1. #1
    Senior Member Kelsy's Avatar
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    Real life test

    The real life test in my opinion was put in place not so much for the benefit of the transsexual but as an insurmountable barrier to surgery and hormones for those who do not pass perfectly. The requirements of the test are based in a binary supporting understanding. One has to adhere to living successfully ”as a female” in order to gain access to the relief that the system pretends to offer. I contend there are even cisgendered women who would have trouble living successfully as a woman if they had a penis and didn’t have the advantages of estrogen!

    The test is weighted for failure to those whose ” looks” are less than traditionally feminine! It is a shallow approach. Just because someone does not possess a natural feminine exterior does not mean that that person does not possess a cross gendered identity for real. So in order to pass through this gate one must ultimately support and strenghthen the binary system. The very system that discriminates against those who would scale the walls and claim a right to exist peacefully as themselves!

    The real life test is in place to protect the treatment professions far more than it protects for the treated. How many true cisgendered people will rush to have sex altering surgery and how many of the trans folk who have obtained surgery have regretted it? Who is being protected? If I can elect to have my face carved up and irrevocably changed to resemble my target Gender, a certainly visible statement, without a gate then why is it so difficult to rearrange my genitals that few would ever see?

    Just sayin" Kelsy
    Born female intended

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  2. #2
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    It's not the RLT (the real life TEST), it's the RLE (the real life EXPERIENCE). I'm not sure when that word "test" snuck in there. It makes this very misleading as if it was something that you "pass or fail".

    What really happens is that YOU find out whether you really want to do this or not. For many, this is a fantasy. A fantasy that needs to be fully explored before you make any permanent decisions. It's not a test, it's an experience.

    IMHO, if you really know who you are, you will be doing this already, not waiting for someone to tell you that you are ready. And it's not that difficult. If you are experiencing the "gatekeeper" mentality from your caregivers then you need to find different caregivers.

    Stephie

  3. #3
    Silver Member noeleena's Avatar
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    Hi,,

    Some of us dont do or go through this test or real life living or spend time with Psychs its not for every one so the gate keepers in my case our Psych i spent all most an hour & he said get on with your life & i was signed off there & then . He said i dont need to see you again .

    our endo was much the same i took meds when i was ready & not before, did my tests just to make sure i was okay body wise , i saw him 3 times & away ,

    I could have dressed with a sack for clothes it had no bearing on clothes no matter what i had or not worn... some what different . yes

    The three reasons being, my age , i was not any thing other than male ./ female not one or the other im both.
    & i said what i was going to do & how i was going to live no ifs or buts , they accepted i did have my head screwed on . so no issues or details to go through .

    I know some like to think im M T F or transsexual , now i dont have issues with that tho some cant think passed the fact some of us are intersex so because we are different again we come at things a bit different , well i did .

    I do understand tho some have G I D & other issues to work through so yes the gate keepers are there to help & try & stop some who ill use the , playing games & the costs involved so is it any wonder the gate keepers are the way they are.

    Being sure of your self, haveing self assurance , selfesteem & self worth & no majors Psychologically & emotionally .then yes thats a lot different . & all so some are not ready to go through all that we have to go through ,


    I never had any one tell me who i am or what i should be or do & i live in the real world every day, any way you all know that . & how i dress is really immaterial to who i am as a person , yet im accepted as a woman in my own right yet my male side is all ways there i cant seperate that .& i wont .

    This is for most who are looking at meds & surgery.

    so what im saying is get all the help you need & if when you do the meds & all & surgery just remember for the male side theres no going back so if your not ready remember after it all dont think itll be so easy going back because youll need to change meds back to T & the mental issues , some do.


    Kelsy,

    You are right as to the pass or looks & i agree I would not pass as a woman let alone a female so id be hung out , theres no way itll work . yet im accepted as a person first & 2 nd as a woman i m better looking as male & iv been told that so you have a delemr well i am . so what, does it matter for me it comes down to im not trying to be one or the other . yet im accepted as both . now thats quite a change from the binery we talk about ,

    Do you think , well some people get past the are you a girl or boy im not pretending to be one or the other i like being in the middle tho i tend some , more towards female / woman. & yes i love the dress clothes i wear as a woman. & i have a lot of respect .from others , yet my male side is very important to me . & thats . as a person.



    ...noeleena...
    Last edited by noeleena; 04-04-2011 at 09:03 AM.

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    In my experience with so-called gatekeepers (I went through one of the harshest gatekeeping programs in my country) is that they let people through who can handle everything that will happen later one, not the ones that look and act the most like June Cleaver. For them, there are no real or false transsexuals. Anyone who knocks on their door asking help to change sex is a transsexual. They just want to make sure that the patient/client will be able to cope with how hard it will be later on. They do not care whether you look like Barbie or Randall Tex Cobb in a dress, they will delay your transition enough to make sure that you can handle going through life looking like Randall Tex Cobb in a dress. My own therapy with these gatekeepers lasted five years and cost me $15,000.
    Last edited by Frances; 04-06-2011 at 10:09 AM.
    It's Frances with an E, like Frances Farmer. Francis is a man's name.

  5. #5
    Psyco Roller Derby Doll. Katesback's Avatar
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    I never went to a therapist. I did not need to pay someone my hard earned money to agree with me about something I knew all my life. I simply did what I had to do and that was to go through transition. Would a therapist have been helpful? I cannot say since I did not go.

    I will say that my observatios of those that go to therapists and our convsersations about the process leaves me with the feeling that they make a hell of a lot of money off trans people! On the other hand I have met a TON of trans people and a VERY large number of them in my opinion do need therapy. The funny thing is that often the therapy I mean has nothing to do with them being trans but that they have a lot of other common issues they need to address.

    Katie

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    Quote Originally Posted by Katesback View Post
    The funny thing is that often the therapy I mean has nothing to do with them being trans but that they have a lot of other common issues they need to address.
    That is the point I was making about gatekeepers. They want to make sure that you have done all your mental house-cleaning in order to face what's coming next. I needed therapy. I could have done with a little less of it, but I needed it, and quite a lot of trans people do.
    Last edited by Frances; 04-04-2011 at 12:30 PM.
    It's Frances with an E, like Frances Farmer. Francis is a man's name.

  7. #7
    Swans have more fun! sandra-leigh's Avatar
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    Around here, the TG leading into TS folk that I know go to therapy and are glad to go if they can afford it. (Well, except for one I know who bitterly resents it, but that is due to past history of being unfairly "psychiatrized".) It is not mandatory here for hormones at all; for SRS two independent assessments one at the PhD level are required, but those are basically assessments to be sure the person is sane and able to make a reasoned decision.

    A lot of other common issues they need to address... yes, that is not unexpected to me. I know that I wandered in to several different major stresses that had nothing direct to do with my gender identity. If I can't learn how to Talk to my wife, then dealing seriously with TG/TS issues is going to be much harder than otherwise.

  8. #8
    :) Post-Op Hippie Chick CharleneT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephenie S View Post
    It's not the RLT (the real life TEST), it's the RLE (the real life EXPERIENCE). I'm not sure when that word "test" snuck in there. It makes this very misleading as if it was something that you "pass or fail".
    Well, you can blame the HB SOC for where that word slipped in. Many practioners that you encounter will consider it a "test". As well, the two abbrevs are commonly used to mean the same thing: living 24/7 as a person in your target gender - for at least one year. While I do not think of it as a test perse, "failing" is definitely possible. Obviously that is not the intent, but in the way that many think of the process it is functionally a test (for themselves). Anyway, here is a screen shot from the WPATH web site of the current version of the SOC (socv6.pdf). It is the section where they discuss the difference between the two terms:
    Attached Images Attached Images
    There is a road—no simple highway—between the dawn and the dark of night.
    And if you go no one may follow. That path is for your steps alone.

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    Isn't that just what I said? It's not a "test", it's an experience. RLE. I wish we could get over saying "test".

    As I said before, I would think if you were certain yourself, you would be just doing this already instead of waiting for someone else to say, "OK, you passed your test."

    S

  10. #10
    Psyco Roller Derby Doll. Katesback's Avatar
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    It is all ok sis. You and I both know that VERY VERY few people ever go through transition and come out as a woman. I realize that a LOT of people are dreamers and it does make sense to push people towards the gate to see if they can make it.

    Like you though I did NOT need to go to some person and pay them money to agree with what I knew since the day I can remember. And I agree with you if someone really does not KNOW then they probably are a dreamer.

    Katie


    Quote Originally Posted by Stephenie S View Post
    Isn't that just what I said? It's not a "test", it's an experience. RLE. I wish we could get over saying "test".

    As I said before, I would think if you were certain yourself, you would be just doing this already instead of waiting for someone else to say, "OK, you passed your test."

    S

  11. #11
    Member Alicia Ryanne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Katesback View Post
    It is all ok sis. You and I both know that VERY VERY few people ever go through transition and come out as a woman. I realize that a LOT of people are dreamers and it does make sense to push people towards the gate to see if they can make it.

    Like you though I did NOT need to go to some person and pay them money to agree with what I knew since the day I can remember. And I agree with you if someone really does not KNOW then they probably are a dreamer.

    Katie
    Just wanting to know what you specifically wanted to get across by the statement......very very few people ever go THROUGH transition and come out the other side as a woman?
    Yes the statistics are on the low side for trangendered ppl that go from being male to fully female(ie having the surgery, etc). Was your intent really just saying most ppl that are transgender and think they are true transexuals are merely intense cross-dressers who ultimately figure out during an attempt at transition that they are in fact not an actual transexual that wants/needs to physically become female(or male in the reverse situation)?

  12. #12
    Rock Star In The Making JennyA's Avatar
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    When one goes to a therapist you would think that they would willingly go so that they could bear their soul to a professional and get sound advice and nudges in the right direction on issues. But I think the problem is that many TG people go to the therapy with a certain degree of trepidation. They know that their answers to certain topics could sway the counselors opinion on whether to write the letter or not. Thus, I think that some answers might become guarded or they will answer the issues with what the counselor would want to hear rather then what they really feel. I don't like that you have to tip-toe around a therapist, and one that you are paying as well.

  13. #13
    Swans have more fun! sandra-leigh's Avatar
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    Jenny, I just tell my therapists the truth about things. Then when they hear me talking about gener issues they know I'm being serious and not following along a script.

    Kate: "You may say that I'm a dreamer, but I am not the only one."

  14. #14
    fierce glamazon
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    here in nyc i have been attending counseling through the gender identity project. my counselor is a trans woman and there is no such gatekeeping to speak of. in fact, she has gone out of her way to try to help me procure hormones through an established trans medical center here in the city, after just one meeting with her.

    i'd rather call her a door-opener.

  15. #15
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    When it comes to gatekeeping as is the intent of the SOC, it would seem that it was em-placed to be a benefit to those of us who struggled with something they really could not either come to grips with on their own, or did not understand what it was they are struggling with.

    Having said that, there are those of us in this 'modern era' in which, with the vast amounts of information covering the subject being instantly available; this makes the self-understanding a much quicker and less painful affair to endure. There are also those amongst us who seem to have such a firm grip on their own thinking and internal understandings, they simply are 100% confident in charging full speed ahead without having any ancillary issues to work out, or through. To these folk, many kudos to you!

    There are myriad reasons though for the need of a therapist. As for therapists and the need for them to assess, guide, authorize and qualify; it's really about your own self-awareness level and confidence. As someone said earlier in this thread e.g., the need for therapy usually is about issues other than being transexual. Mostly, these are issues of depression as a resultant effect of being transexual, and not knowing or believing that you can be the person you really are.

    I know, for myself, this was the issue most pressingly at hand. That, and working through the little issue of how to maintain a loving relationship with my wife once I transitioned. Or, how she was going to be able to want to remain in a relationship with me afterward. Thankfully all of those were worked through effectively and positively.

    My therapist was not a "gender" therapist. My therapist never once suggested that I needed to do a "test" to see if I could make it work. She did ask me when I thought I would be ready to begin RLE. She was not even all that aware of the S.O.C. in our early days of therapy. Early on I even found it necessary to bring her a copy of them at one of my sessions, lol.

    As far as RLE and the issues that the OP raised. I kind of understand what your frustration is. However, if I might ask, what would you think a better alternative to going out and living in the gender role as one's target gender and maintaining, A) a productive life, B) a healthy mental state and C) a development of confidence? Especially if that individual does not possess these attributes before transition. Conversely, I maintain it is possible for people who do not have the "traditionally feminine" look to transition successfully. I know some that have. Including yours truly. But, I wouldn't have gained that confidence had I not had the therapy to assist me in getting there, and gone through the RLE process.

    But, that's just me. As I stated before, some of us do not need it and they shouldn't have to be pushed into that gatekeeping if they truly feel this way. I'm big on the idea of a free market. We should be able to seek out and obtain the services we need and desire to have, rather than be forced into a one size fits all system. 'Cause it doesn't!

    One last thought. If you should be able to do what you want to with your gender issue, then you should also be accepting of living with the consequences of your decision should you ultimately find that you erred. It is a rare happening for certain. Yet, occasionally it does. Then the law suits start, and the nay-sayers from the fundamentalist side have their hey day and throw us up in the spotlight as yet one more example of how we (collectively) are just a bunch of nut-jobs that need mental therapy. Kind of a viscous circle...............ain't it?


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  16. #16
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    I saw a therapist with the intent of securing my "letter".

    I knew that SRS was fast approaching and I also knew that the process would go more easily if I had that letter. So I informed the therapist that the letter would be required before we started together.

    Would I recommend therapy to others? Yes I would. I, for instance, discovered I was carrying around a HUGE burden of unnecessary guilt over the death of my father.

    On the other hand, I went to school with someone who had been in therapy to the tune of $800 a month for 15 YEARS! Don't try to tell me that someone wasn't fleecing HER. She was perfectly sane, but the therapist had convinced her that she had been abused by a coven of witches in her infancy. Right.

    Therapy can help. That's for sure. But some have no need of therapy at all. Here in the USA it is the usual route to surgery. Therapy, endo, surgery. I think Kelsey is spot on with her observation that the SOC are there for the protection of the caregivers and not the patients

  17. #17
    Member Jessinthesprings's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephenie S View Post
    It's not the RLT (the real life TEST), it's the RLE (the real life EXPERIENCE). I'm not sure when that word "test" snuck in there. It makes this very misleading as if it was something that you "pass or fail".

    What really happens is that YOU find out whether you really want to do this or not. For many, this is a fantasy. A fantasy that needs to be fully explored before you make any permanent decisions. It's not a test, it's an experience.

    IMHO, if you really know who you are, you will be doing this already, not waiting for someone to tell you that you are ready. And it's not that difficult. If you are experiencing the "gatekeeper" mentality from your caregivers then you need to find different caregivers.

    Stephie
    Could not have said this better... And unless you are made of money you need to save for the surgery. So this year thing is more than a formality anyway. You can't wake up today and have it tomorrow. Most surgeons have a several month waiting list.
    Last edited by Jessinthesprings; 04-04-2011 at 07:58 PM.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member Kelsy's Avatar
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    I am very comfortable with my therapist. She has made a point of telling me that she disagrees with
    heavy handed gatekeeping and has guided me to professionals who are very competent, understanding
    and are only interested in helping me find a healthy path to find resolution of my problems and a way to
    be complete! www.fenwayhealth.org
    I understand the RLE is in place to test resolve and authenticity and strength of need to live as
    your chosen gender . I think it is also in place to protect the psychological well-being of the transitioner.
    But if someone has just too many male cues do you think it is Ill advised to attempt it even if your
    gender discomfort is genuine? What happens if you fail? Isn’t your life then changed and psychological
    well-being compromised?

    Thanks for being patient with me the hard work of transitioning has only just begun for me!
    Born female intended

    " Don't die with your music still in you!"

  19. #19
    Gold Member Kaitlyn Michele's Avatar
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    Kelsy, to your comment on what happens if i fail??

    I remember about 2 1/2 yrs ago I brought my two best college friends over to "tell them the news"..after many hours of discussion and lots of imbibing...we turned in for the night..(they slept over )..

    the next morning one of my friends asked if anyone ever laughed at me....i said yes... he asked how i felt when it happened and i paused, and he offered that he would feel humiliated... i said..NO! I will feel humiliated in a year when i have to explain to you guys that this is all one big mistake...!!

    that was a blurted out comment, but there was a nugget of truth in it... one of the things that held me back was fear of failure...my own personality is to try to cover all my bases, so for many years i saved up for ffs and srs, researched therapists, shopped for doctors that were trans friendly and I obsessively posted on forums (ahem)... and it got me to the point where my desperation outweighed my fears, and away i went...

    That's what RLE is about...experiencing a life..
    My RLE started before FFS, but after HRT, and after finding a good therapist that i could trust, i made sure that I had in place a number of transsexual women that i could count on for a shoulder to cry on, or for advice when needed (even if i thought i knew everything)...

    all this is to say that transition is scary, and transition is difficult, and many of us F*# it up, and then blame everybody and everything but ourselves (including those darn gatekeepers!)...
    it takes planning, determination, and patience (the hardest part is patience)..

    RLE is a good thing...rules are subject to interpretation, rules are made to be broken, and rules can be manipulated in your favor...but the experience of waking up and going to work in a different gender role, of dealing with the day in and day out bullcrap, and looking every single person on this earth every single day and saying "this is who i am" cannot be overestimated..

    if you feel stuck on RLE or RLT, or you are running into a gatekeeper that is causing harm or dealing with whatever is stopping you, then it is totally up to you to figure your next steps and not rely on a manual ..and if you are failing, take a step back and remember it NOT A TEST!!!!!!! you may need to change something, take a break (see if going back makes things better..or makes you even crazier)...but there is no right or wrong answer

  20. #20
    Silver Member Teri Jean's Avatar
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    Test? No. Experiance, very much so. While I made the same comment early on and it is a term they use in therapy it is not a test as you are not going to pass or fail but experiance the day to day experiances of living as a woman. For some it is a challenge and find out they are not transsexual but a transgendered. That is okay and like some have stated "I'm an adult and I am responsible enough to make my own decisions as to my gender preference and changes I want to endure. I for one find the idea of gate guarding is demeaning and for some unnecessary but then I find there are many things we do everyday that we take for granted and they are placed there for our protection and welfare. So the question is how badly do we want to be the person we know we are? Are we willing to endure the short term inconvinences for the life time of peace. I understand why some feel it is controlling and for that so be it, it is your right as is your opinion. This is mine, respectfully.

    Teri
    Last edited by Teri Jean; 04-04-2011 at 09:32 PM.

  21. #21
    Full-Time Duality NathalieX66's Avatar
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    I'm not in the transsexual category, nor am I transitioning, , but I do go out in the most public of places as Nathalie.....pick a spot, you name it, I've been there.
    Whatever RLE is, I at least live some or part of it.
    When it comes down to my employer, they know nothing of it. That's where my cut-off point is, and where I keep my TG life secret. ......I'm happy.
    Been there/done that.

  22. #22
    Aspiring Member MarieTS's Avatar
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    As one in the midst of RLT/E, or what ever you want to call it, I believe the RLE is neccessary for a variety of reasons. Ultimately, whether we want to admit it or not, it protects the medical establishment from civil suits by those amongst us who may act on impulse. Heck--you can't get a transfusion without a blood test, so why should someone be able to submit themselves to such a profound set of procedures without medical and psychological due diligence? Personally speaking, I've waited a long time for this. And although I initially resisted the high barriers, they've become helpful stepping stones to a more relaxed metamorphis. I can honestly report that for me it has been a support structure, not a painful barrier.
    Marie

  23. #23
    Gold Member Rianna Humble's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandra-leigh View Post
    Kate: "You may say that I'm a dreamer, but I am not the only one."
    Well ... ... Imagine!
    Check out this link if you are wondering about joining Safe Haven.

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  24. #24
    Senior Member Kelsy's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone ,

    I am learning that what I need most in this struggle is support! I know who I am, who I always have been, and the changes I am undertaking,
    getting there whole is my desire!

    K
    Born female intended

    " Don't die with your music still in you!"

  25. #25
    Rock Star In The Making JennyA's Avatar
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    If I hadn't known about gender therapists and how part of their job is to see if you really, truly, are ready for all the flak you might get becoming a woman I might not have taken all the steps that I have. The first time I ever went out as a woman it was for two reasons. I had to know that I could handle the eyes and smirks and part of me wanted to know that I could look my therapist in the eye and tell them that I was living full time. I think the real-life test is good in a way. It pushes you to figure out if you can handle it all. I might have procrastinated going out as a woman if I hadn't had my appointment to see a counselor. After I went to that first gas station and McDonalds I knew that I could handle the looks. Now, heck, it's easy to a point, and i keep pushing myself farther.

    I think if their was no guideline, if doctors let anyone and everyone get on the medical bus, their might be a lot of people who, while loving the idea of the female gender, could never take societies criticism over their choices. It would be tough on a lot of people if they got six months into a hormone regime, decided they couldn't or didn't want to take it on, then switched back to body natural hormones. I think their is only so much the body and mind can take emotionally and physically with the hormone game.

    I personally dream about hormones and what it could do, but I think it's a placebo thing. Popping a bottle of pills, while slowly altering me, won't give me the guts and the wherewithal to go the distance and make me feel complete. Knowing I'm on the pill and blocking the testosterone will make me feel one step closer to my female spirit, but I'd be silly to think that budding breasts and baby hips will complete my journey. I guess what i'm rambling about is that , while I hate the fact that I have to see a therapist because i'm poor and can't afford her help, I know in the end a professional's human help and opinions will help me down the path to womanhood. The one that I am going to be able to see is only going to charge $25 too, she's doing some of it pro bono.

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