Starting Out On The Tao of Transition


Zander Keig is a prolific contributor to dialogue among transgender communities. His co-edited book Letters for my Brothers: Transitional Wisdom in Retrospect in 2011, is one of many notable accomplishments.

Zander's Tao of Transition blog from 2007 has been set aside for the time being, but even incomplete, it offers many insights. This opening blog entry is reprinted with permission.


Welcome! You have found your way to my Tao of Transition blog. I began my journey of physical transition in August 2005 . However, it was 1996 when I began my psychological transition. It was back then that I became aware of female to male transsexuals (FTMs). For those of you new to the world of transsexuals and transsexuality, I will attempt to describe my physical transition.

When I say that I began my physical transition in August 2005, what I mean by that is, I began injecting testosterone (T) into my body weekly. I inject 125mg per week, which is far lower than the amount a body builder would inject into their body on a weekly basis. As a direct result of injecting T into my body, I now have a much lower voice, much more hair on my body, less hair on my head, a mustache and beard, broader shoulders, more muscular tone and definition on my arms and legs and more visible veins in my hands, arms, feet and legs.

Then in June 2006, I underwent Chest Reconstruction Surgery. That means my chest was surgically sculpted/contoured to better reflect my maleness. Basically, I look like a man. I am a man, legally, socially and medically. I legally became recognized as male by the California Superior Court for the County of San Francisco in November 2005. As a result, I was able to request a corrected birth certificate be issued in my new name and with male as my birth sex. My CA Driver's License now states I am male. My U.S. Passport states that I am male. My health insurance has me listed as male.

As a direct result of being recognized as male legally, my partner Margaret and I were married, on Earth Day 2006. Margaret and I met while studying for theology degrees at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA. Prior to being married, Margaret and I had been in a Domestic Partnership.

Back to my transition...

My first exposure to FTMs was through a film, You Don't Know Dick: Courageous Hearts of Transsexual Men, which screened at the San Diego Queer Film Festival. The film features pioneering trans men, Jamison GreenMax Valerio and Loren Cameron. The film captured them in their day to day lives and told their personal stories with grace and warmth. While in the theater, I had the experience of watching something that resonated with me, but I did not feel motivated to take action. I just absorbed the message of the film and then let it go.

Then in 1997, a friend called me up and asked me to come over to her house. She wanted to show me a new book that she had just bought. It was Loren Cameron's Body Alchemy. Body Alchemy features photographs, taken by Cameron, of FTMs. One section shows before and after style photos, showing pictures of the men prior to beginning their physical transition. One section shows Cameron's transition through a series of photographs beginning before transition and ending with him posing naked showing off his very well toned muscular body.

Looking at Cameron's book, unlike the film, did motivate me to take action. In that moment I realized that I was a transsexual, although it would take me ten years to become comfortable enough with that word to actually use it to describe my life.

This blog will not be chronicling my transition, as there are plenty of those kinds of blogs out there already. I am going to use my blog to talk about transition, reflectively, through a Taoist lens.

My intention is to draw out ideas and concepts in Taoism and apply them to my physical, emotional, mental and psychological transition from female to male. I will be writing a blog post periodoically, with the intention of writing 1-2 per month, so Enjoy!

Blog Topics to come...

Signposts Along the Tao of Transition

  • Abandon Gender to Discover Gender

  • Contemplate Vernacular

  • Play with Paradox

  • Take Respite in Not Knowing

  • Release Perfection

  • Strive for Flexibility

  • Cultivate Inquisitiveness

  • Embrace Inaction

Pondering's Along the Tao of Transition

  • Perspective - How may one truly know that which they do not know?

  • Multiplicity - What are the many ways that we may meet our needs?

  • Innovation - How do we make the most of what we have?

  • Acceptance - How do we move beyond resistance and struggle?

Convergence Along the Tao of Transition (where East meets West)

  • Flexible Adherence

  • Effortless Effort

  • Release Grasping

  • Name the Namer

  • Accessing Flow

    • Downward

    • Upward

    • Inward

    • Outward

    • Still

Rest Along the Tao of Transition

  • Positive Inner Peace

Reflections Along the Tao of Transition

  • Pink/Blue

    • Complementary

    • Integrated

    • Unified

    • Balanced

    • Overlap

    • Interplay

    • Change

    • Spontaneity