Welcome to Debbie Ballard's Transgender Information Site.

 Deborah Ballard aka Debbie Lawrence is a transgender woman with nearly 40 years of IT experience, nearly 40 years of transformational programs including 12 step programs, leadership training programs, open source support groups, transgender support groups and websites.  Debbie has written 6 books on transgender issues, so far.

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I originally posted this on Facebook Jan 13, 2018

 

There are many dimensions of transgender. I created the transgender matrix to help identify the different needs. Different people have different needs, and are at different places in terms of where they are currently, and where they want to be.

The cross-dresser still in hiding, the tom-boy fighting for acceptance, the drag queen who cries when she takes off her makeup, the girl taking hormones on the internet, and the transsexual getting her GRS all have one thing in common. The gender they were ASSIGNED AT BIRTH, based solely on what the doctor or midwife saw between the legs seconds after we were born, does NOT match the GENDER we actually are inside.
Many of us could prove that the doctor got it wrong. DNA tests, CT brain scans, and even body chemistry and internal MRI scans may show that the soft tissue between the legs doesn't match the brain or the genetics, or the overall biology.
In some cases, we were even surgically modified at birth, and all records destroyed. A "boy" whose penis was to short was turned into a girl, a girl with a penis had her vulva sewn shut because daddy wanted a boy. Often the surgery was followed by high doses of hormones, testosterone to masculinize the ovaries into testes, or estrogen to shrink the clitoris. About one in 100 births exhibit one of about 30 forms of "gender ambiguity", one in 50 people have gender ambiguity biologically. 1 in 15 exhibit gender ambiguity behaviorally before they are 7 years old.

In elementary school, there is often a "forced normalization", boys are kept together, and separated from the girls. Ambiguity results in teasing, verbal abuse, rejection, bullying, violent assaults, even group assaults by large groups of boys. Much harder to suspend, expel, or arrest 15 boys when only one sissy was attacked, even if they ended up in the hospital.
Often the bullies are encouraged by parents, preachers, Sunday school teachers, and athletic coaches, to even escalate the abuse. Since many principals and school administrators started out as coaches, they often side with the bullies, saying "boys will be boys".
Years of daily cruel and unusual punishment, without knowing anything other than that they called you a "sissy" while beating you, can lead to a LOT of emotional problems. PTSD, depression, isolation, distrust of others, and general anxiety are common.

Then comes puberty, slamming the door on any hopes of escape. Trapped in bodies we hate, terrified to let anyone know how upset we are, we act out. Many of us turn to booze, drugs, sex, and self mutilation to escape the pain, even if only for a few hours. For many of us, suicide seems like the only permanent solution to a permanent problem.
If we survive, we begin to build a mask. We create an image that is "accepted". We might be funny, or tough, a tom-boy might dress more sexy, whatever it takes to survive.

Our mask helps us win. We succeed at school, date, make friends, and even succeed at work.

The problem is that the more we win, the more uncomfortable the mask gets, each win is like another jagged edge, a spike, a nail. Meanwhile, others are perfecting the mask. Putting a pretty smile on it, decorating it with praise and awards, making it tighter, and worst of all, those close enough to see the real person underneath, add locks, to make sure we can't ever take it off. Children, property, house, career, all locks to make sure the painful mask can never come off without losing everything.

 

Only 1 on 10 transgender people are able to take the mask off. For the great majority of those still locked in their iron masks, seeing us transition, and blossom into our true selves, is just another nail in the mask.