Loving Someone Who Is Transgender

Last week, Caitlyn Jenner, formerly Bruce Jenner, came out with her new docudrama, I Am Cait. It follows her journey through her transition as male to female, and as the public watches her emotionally fueled family dynamics with the Kardashian clan, we get to see some of the very real issues that come up for many people who struggle with these problems.

Caitlyn seems lucky to have a supportive family. In the show, Caitlyn has her mother as a guest, and she is supportive, but says she has to remember to call her son, who is now her daughter, Caitlyn, instead of Bruce. Her stepdaughter Kylie and stepson Rob were also on board and told Caitlyn she looked attractive. Her son in law, Kanye West, also appeared supportive on the show and told Caitlyn he thought it was great that she was being her true self, even under all the media pressure, and especially under the harsh glow of the media spotlight. I Am Cait premiered on July 26 on E! and can be seen here.

Caitlyn Jenner is trying to give a voice to the role of transgender women in America, where there has been a lack of role modeling and a real void of information for the general public on what it is, what it looks like and the prejudice that trans people face in their every day lives. Yet with Caitlyn’s fame and her fortune, as well as her supportive family, she may be the exception to the rule. Caitlyn has been able to afford surgery, hormone treatment and an expensive wardrobe — something many people cannot do as they transition from one gender to another.

In this latest post in my series for HuffingtonPost on “Being Trans and the People Who Love Them,” I interviewed Anna Baxter M.A., a Relationship and Gender Counselor practicing in Roswell, Georgia. Anna is a Licensed Associate Professional Counselor and is the founder of Love Positive Counseling, where she works with men, women, transgender people, both adult and adolescents, and all forms of LGBTQ partners and singles, to help them transition and work within the confines of a society that is only now opening up a conversation around trans identity and its meaning.

Anna is also in a partnered relationship with a transgender person, although they don’t live together, they are in a romantic partnership with all of the challenges that loving a trans man can bring.

Read the full article on HuffingtonPost: ‘I Am Cait': Loving Someone Who Is Transgender

Gender is not binary, but on a spectrum and fluid

Richard Friedman, in his article in the NY Times this past Sunday, August 22, 2015, How Changeable is Gender? says that, “The prevailing narrative seems to be that gender is a social construct and that people can move between genders to arrive at their true identity.”

Why the need for facial surgeries, reconstructive and hormone treatments, and the medical procedures?  Does this speak to the inevitable “…biology at the heart of gender identity?”

Gender identity is not binary, he says, meaning simply male or female.  And it can change.  What we look like and the bodies we are born into do not always determine what it means to be a man or a woman.

Friedman reports that about 5 in 100,000 are transsexual.  He says that there is now neurological proof that says that gender identity does in fact exist on a spectrum, and is not just polarized into two genders.  In a similar way that homosexuality and heterosexuality are on a spectrum, gender is more flexible than previously understood.  (Alfred Kinsey in his famous sex research, claimed that most of us exist in the bell curve between the two  ends of the heterosexual/homosexual spectrum.)  Friedman says that gender identity is also a range, with human biological variation from female, to female to male, from male to female, to male.

He quotes a study by Georg S. Kranz at the Medical University of Vienna who reported in  2014 in The Journal of Neuroscience that  transsexuals were structurally different in their brains than their desired gender. In fact, transgender people have a structurally different brain than a binary nontransgender male or female — a place that falls on the continuum in between men and women.

In utero, sexual differentiation  happens during the second half of pregnancy, after the genitals are already sexually determined. Therefore it is possible to have a mismatch “between gender-specific brain development and that of the body.”

This crucial study and the open minded journalism that writers, researchers and journalists are tackling today brings these issues into new light and the exploration of gender is now coming out of the shadows.  We are seeing the fluidity of gender in a new way and the way we see what it means to be a man, a woman, or something in between may change everything.

Last Call: Savings on Great Sex this Summer!

With summer coming to a close, children returning to school, and the temperatures beginning to drop, it’s a great time to create more heat in the bedroom with a more passionate and erotic sex life. We are still offering the following three teleclasses on Getting the Sex You Want at a 50% discount! Purchase all three classes together and save $222 on the total purchase price.

Getting the Sex You Want with Dr. Tammy Nelson (for Couples & Therapists), a 3-part teleclass with Dr. Tammy Nelson, *3 AASECT or IMAGO CEUs*
Teleclass Overview: Do you crave a more fulfilling sex life? Do you wish for a more intimate and emotionally rewarding relationship? Join one of the top experts in the field of love and eroticism for an open discussion on the keys to creating and sustaining passion in a long-term love affair with a partner and with yourself.

A Beginner’s Guide to Sharing Fantasies: How to Talk Dirty in Bed, a 90-minute teleclass with Dr. Tammy Nelson
Teleclass Overview: Do you want to create a more connected, more vital and erotic sex life? Even if you’ve been too afraid to share your fantasies, or if you have tried in the past and failed, this course will teach you to communicate your fantasies and desires.  Learn how to turn up the heat in your sex life and get it just right. Talking dirty can be hot and it can connect you in bed. But sometimes it can be hard to say out loud what you are really thinking.  Learn how to be honest, and whisper, shout, growl and reveal your most erotic longings.  Talking sexy will turn you on, turn your partner on and bring you to your most intimate moments together. Afraid?  What’s too much? How do you use the words you may never have said before?

Women & Sex: Women’s Sexual Questions & Confessions, a 2-hour teleclass with Dr. Tammy Nelson, *2 AASECT or IMAGO CEs*
Teleclass Overview: Do you wonder how to have a more intense or passionate sex life? Do you want a deeper emotional connection and at the same time reach great heights in bed? Do you want to communicate your inner fantasies? Most women have questions. This course will answer real questions from real women about sex.

Reminder: Writing and Publishing for Professionals this Fall

Do you have a writing project, a blog, an article, a book, or a screenplay, that you want to start, complete or publish? Then you don’t want to miss the next Writing and Publishing for Professionals series happening this fall. We are offering a discount for Imago therapists, but this workshop will give everyone the information you need to create, continue and give birth to your dreams.

In this workshop we will work on beginning an idea for a writing project, creating a plan, unblocking creative flow and writing a proposal. Participants will complete a submission for book proposals and publishing plans by the end of the 8th week: We will review the positives and negatives of self publishing versus publishing through a publishing house. We will review marketing plans and creation of social media platforms to launch a book into the world. Participants will learn the basics of a proposal and cover letter, outline and submission guidelines for books. Blogging and creating a plan for blogging will be explored. Participants will learn how to create time for writing and will receive feedback and critique for their writing, instructor feedback included in the course.

Writers need support, encouragement and feedback. A writers group can provide positive suggestion and critique to give guidance and direction to a project that is stuck or in the vision stage.

A group can inspire you and more importantly, motivate you to get started and to finish to completion a project. Being accountable to a group, completing writing exercises, getting and giving feedback, and creating a plan for submissions will help you as a writer complete your projects. The class will help you get through a first draft, a second, a third and maybe more. It will help you create a plan and a vision for publication!

Break through your writer’s block and register for Writing and Publishing for Professionals Fall 2015

This group is limited ­ reserve your spot now.

The #1 Way To Affair­Proof Your Relationship

Don’t Be A Zombie.

As a relationship therapist, I see cheating couples every day sitting in my office looking dazed and confused, like they have no idea what just happened to them. They move unconsciously, sluggishly, like Zombies waking up from a bad dream.

Most of them don’t regret the affair. In fact, no one comes back from an affair and says “that sucked for me.” They usually liked the excitement; the forbidden and illicit passion of an affair. That is until they wake up or get caught or until the guilt takes over. Then their Zombie selves are suddenly pushed aside and they look down and think, “How did I get here?”

Monogamy is hard. We know that. It’s something you have to practice. It doesn’t come naturally. It isn’t always fun. But there are ways to avoid becoming drooling Zombies blindly following the next sexual encounter and ignoring the consequences.

Here are some ways to affair-­proof your relationships in my article on YourTango.