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2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 25 books toward her goal of 175 books.
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Guest Post: Thoughts on Transsexualism by Sarah Hartley, Author of Sunset:Sunrise

Today I’m pleased to bring you a very interesting post that provides the backstory to Sarah Hartley’s new book, Sunset: Sunrise. Her book takes you on a journey through her life from her boarding school days in England to her commercial real estate development career in the United States. She weaves an intensely personal story, allowing the reader to venture into her constant balancing act. Torn between the love of her family and the overwhelming need to dramatically change her life, Sarah’s journey is one of despair, heart wrenching decisions and celebrations. With numerous visits to psychiatrists, psychologists, electrologists, and surgeons, she finally determines her course. At the age of 60 she makes the ultimate decision to have surgery and to live her life as a female. Through it all she keeps her sense of humor and sense of self. As you go on this journey with Sarah, enjoy the amusing anecdotes and personal stories that Sunset:Sunrise has to offer.

Thoughts on Transsexualism
by Sarah Hartley

Sunset:Sunrise is an autobiography of my growing up in a macho world, boys only boarding school, playing rugby, business career in a male dominant environment while all the time knowing I was transsexual and ultimately dealing with the issue.

Of the LGBT community the T’s are the least accepted in society at this time. The T stands for transgender and generally speaking the media and the public are confused by the term. A person who is transgender may be one of many different types of gender bending individuals. This would include transvestites, drag queens, she-males, pretty boys, tomboys, transsexuals, etc.

A transsexual is one who does not identify with the sex with which they were born. It is male identifying themselves as a female or visa versa. They know at a very young age, 4-6 years old, that they have a longing to be of the opposite sex. In today’s society it is becoming more acceptable to discuss this issue but little progress has been made. The focus has been on the young transsexual but unfortunately most of the discussion has been about which bathroom they should use! However, it’s a start as any type of focus on the transsexual issue is good. Ignorance of any condition is never a good thing and ignoring the transsexual dysphoria will not eliminate it as some hope.

The anguish for any parent with a child who is suffering with transsexualism can be well understood. They naturally want only what is best for their child but the psychiatry/psychology profession is often conflicted about how to handle the situation. It is somewhat understandable as it is difficult to determine which type of transgenderism the child is suffering. If the child is truly transsexual then, as a transsexual myself, I believe that the only course is to let the child live 100% in the sex they believe they should be. Appropriate hormones should be administered but no surgeries until mid-teens at the earliest. If this course is followed by all concerned with no retribution of any kind, the child will grow up to function as a normal man or woman in their chosen sex albeit unable to reproduce.

The problem today however is that for older transsexuals there was no discussion or basic understanding of the dysphoria in the past. They grew up in a world where men had to be men and women submissive. A male to female transsexual ​could not express any form of feminism for fear of retribution. Feelings had to be suppressed causing additional problems. This is well documented in my autobiography Sunset:Sunrise. It is not surprising that 40-50% of transsexuals have committed suicide and nearly 70% have experienced homelessness as researched by Ann Haas & Philip Rodgers, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and Jody Herman, Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law. The anguish all transsexuals face is unrelenting. Even after surgery life can still be difficult. While there are many in the general public who are somewhat sympathetic and understanding there are still bigots out there who have no qualms about expressing their feelings.

As a final thought, why do so many believe that the transsexualism is a learned condition? Personally, I would have much preferred to be born 100% male or 100% female but the fact is I was born transsexual. The condition knows no economic barriers, social barriers or regional barriers. The numbers are small. The Williams Institute states that there are .03 percent of the population are affected but that is for the transgender community. My calculations for the transsexual community are one tenth of that, in other words .003 percent which is why so little help is available to us.

***

Sarah Hartley is retired and lives in Palm Coast, FL. She still follows her passion and keeps her sailing boat Windsong in Massachusetts, close to her daughter, Deb, and best friend, Suzan, both of whom also enjoy the boating scene. Sarah loves to travel and has made numerous trips, mainly overseas. Her other loves include writing currently a book on her genealogy and gardening, where she prefers to enjoy the fruits of her labor rather than the labor itself!

You may contact Sarah by email at mssarahhartley@aim.com, or find her on Twitter at @mssarahhartley or Facebook at mssarahhartley.

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