Reid Vanderburgh - August 2006 Newsletter

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Moving toward an expanded life

August 2006 Newsletter


Articles in this issue: New Format New Website Publication Pending Book Review


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A New Format
It’s been some time since I have published an issue of this newsletter. I was waiting until I had a publisher for my book (see below), and now I find myself out of the habit of producing an issue every other month. In the meantime, however, I have learned how to program and maintain my own website, so also find myself less motivated to produce a paper version of the newsletter. Not only is it more fun to produce the web-based version (I understand geeks a little better now – it really IS fun to program websites!), it also saves me considerable money. I have decided, therefore, to switch to a web-based version of the newsletter and print out paper copies for those on my mailing list who have chosen to remain unconnected in the computer sense of the word, or who have difficulty reading screen-based text and prefer print versions.

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My Website
The man who originally programmed my website is no longer available for such work, and I was getting desperate, as my site had not been updated in about three years and I worried it was losing effectiveness as a result. Last winter, two things happened pretty much at the same time: I came into some money, and I received my quarterly mailing from a local community college about their upcoming classes. So I decided to take the plunge and see if there was a class on website programming. I found Web Design I offered on-line, and that was the deciding factor; I did not have to make the commitment to travel to a campus (not near my home or office) at the same time every week, or twice a week. I could study as I had time, and never leave my home to do it. The class cost $60, and it was one of the best investments I’ve ever made.

Before Web Design I was over, I had my current site completely programmed and up and running! If you are currently paying someone to program/update your website, you might not need to. It isn’t difficult. Check out this site, and bear in mind I did all the programming myself, with no help from anyone. I did have a knowledgeable friend come over and walk me through the step of actually getting it launched onto the net, but now I know how to do that, also, and make my own updates easily. Though the initial programming took a fair amount of time (I would guess I spent about 20 hours programming my site), the updates take about 10 minutes. And it’s quite easy to add new features to the site (I’m about to do that, as I launch my on-line newsletter). Tinkering with the design, getting it to look precisely as I wanted it to, deciding on the “flow” of the site, how to structure the menus, etc. - that was the hardest part, before I ever started the programming.

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Publication Pending!
Coming this October, Transition and Beyond: Observations on Gender Identity will be available, published by Portland’s own Q Press! I have Simone Neall, a fellow chorus member, to thank for saying to me at rehearsal one day, “Have you tried Suzanne Deakins of Q Press?” I’d never heard of Q Press, or Suzanne, and don’t know if I would have found this publisher had it not been for Simone, so I owe her one (or two or three!).

Pre-publication order forms will be available soon, and I will send out a separate mailing as soon as the forms are available for that purpose. Chapter titles are:
1 – A Therapist’s Manifesto
2 – The Therapist’s Own Work
3 – Questions of a Skeptic
4 – Models of Gender Identity
5 – Effects of Hormones
6 – Available Surgeries
7 – Thoughts on the Standards of Care
8 – Early-Transition Therapy
9 – Who is my Tribe?
10 – Why IS Transition so Hard?
11 – The Ramifications of Disclosure
12 – Renegotiating Boundaries
13 – Parallel Processes: Addiction Recovery and Transition
14 – When Worlds Collide: Fundamentalism and Transition
15 – For Partners Only
16 – The Spectrum of Support
17 – How Young is Too Young?
18 – In the Best Interest of the Children
19 – Answers for a Skeptic

Appendices
Terminology
Frequently-Asked Questions
Range of Client Occupations
Common Patterns of Adult Children of Alcoholics
Harry Benjamin Standards of Care (excerpts)
Suggested Readings

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Book Review
Just Add Hormones, by Matt Kailey (Beacon Press, 2005)
I enjoy trans autobiographies, as we all actualize our identities differently and in our own time. I particularly enjoyed Matt’s story, because he did not transition out of the lesbian community. So many transmen (myself included) took refuge in the lesbian community in previous iterations of ourselves, it is easy to forget that many did not. Matt was married at one time, and his sexuality has remained oriented toward men post-transition. Matt’s pre-transition life was quite different from those of us who dwell in queer community of some sort prior to coming to terms with our identity:

“I stumbled upon my first gay pride parade quite by accident.... Up until that time, I was unaware that “gay pride day” even existed, but I love a parade, so I stayed and watched, just for the fun of it. It was fun. I had never seen so many happy – no, downright joyous – people in my life. I had never seen so many colorful costumes, so many decorate floats, and so much diversity.” (p. 119)
Matt’s story is engaging, and depicts transition at its best: Not devoid of personal challenge and occasional feelings of being overwhelmed, but a transition undertaken with good social and therapautic support that helped Matt as he journeyed home to his true self.

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