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Denise Anne: An Interview With The Ultimate Wannabeby J.
Denise Anne is a mature student who is currently studying for a degree in computer science with minor subjects which include humanities and psychology.
I came across her writings in the Usenet newsgroup alt.sex.fetish.amputee. She was writing about the wannabe desire and emphasising the irreversibility of the loss of a limb. I sent her e-mail asking if she would be willing to discuss her opinions with me more fully and she agreed to take part in an e-mail interview for OverGround.
She told me: 'I happened to stumble across the newsgroup and saw the post. I felt I should reply.'
Why should Denise Anne's opinions be of particular interest? Because she knows from personal experience what being amputee entails: Denise Anne has had both of her legs disarticulated at the knee. She went on to explain her reasons for posting:
'First of all I can relate. I was a wannabe. It started out when I wanted to have to wear braces. I managed to do that by helping disabled children to swim with the Easter Seal Society. They saw me arriving and leaving in braces and also when I went out around town I wore the braces so I would not be discovered as fake. I eventually ended up having to wear them or use a wheelchair because of a neurological disorder. I was in hog's heaven. I then thought that I might like to be an amputee. Things worked out that I am now an amputee. I did not want to be a single or below knee amputee. I wanted to be a double above knee amputee. I made it. For prosthetic purposes I am above the knee. I would give anything to have a knee. If I had my right knee (the strongest and best of the two) I could use my prostheses. I learned to walk on prostheses, but unless there is something I can pull myself up on, then I can't get up if I sit down. I have two almost new legs sitting on the top shelf of my closet because it is so difficult to get up from a sitting position.'
Q: I'd like to start by asking you about yourself.
Q: Have you any brothers and sisters?
Q: Would you say that your family life was conventional?
Q: Were you aware, when you were young, of any of your close relatives who were physically disabled?
Q: And currently you are in full-time education?
Q: Outside of college what are your leisure interests?
Q: You mentioned that you wanted to wear braces, became a wannabe, and have achieved the amputations you desire. This raises lots of questions. Can you remember any particular events that triggered your desire to be a brace-wearer? Somebody you saw, perhaps?
Q: How old were you then?
Q: Were you aware of people treating her differently from other children? More considerately? More lovingly, perhaps?
Q: How old were you when you decided that you wanted to be an amputee? Once again, can you recall any specific events associated with your changed desires? Was it a sudden change, or did it take place gradually?
Q: Can't you remember any incidents that made you aware of the existence of amputees? Somebody you saw in the street? A neighbour? A fictional character?
Q: Did you want to become an amputee before or after you were aware of wanting to wear braces?
Q: Some wannabes have stated that their desires changed over time, that at first they desired one sort of amputation but that subsequently they desired another or additional amputations. Did you always want to be a bilateral above-knee amputee, or did your feelings develop in the way I have described?
Q: Were your neurological problems caused by your brace-wearing?
Q: So, from your point of view, it was just a lucky accident that your illness occurred and you became a candidate for an amputation?
Q: Did you take any practical action to make it more likely that you would need an amputation?
Q: Before you became an amputee what did you expect it would be like to be a double-above-knee amputee? Did you expect to be able to walk more or less normally, with prostheses?
Q: What are the unexpected difficulties that you had to cope with?
Q: When did you lose your legs? How did it happen?
Q: What were the spasms like?
Q: Were these spasms caused by the neurological problems that you mentioned before? Or were they the result of some other illness?
Q: Were both legs amputated in the same operation, or was one amputated before the other?
Q: Could you describe your emotions when you came to after becoming an amputee?
Q: Did the operations cure the spasms?
Q: Are you left with residual pain, phantom sensations?
Q: When you were a wannabe did you find out about the usual experiences of people had undergone amputations?
Q: Do your stumps give you pleasure now? Do you like the look of them? The feel of them?
Q: Overall has the experience of becoming an amputee been a positive or a negative one?
Q: Can you tell me what exactly it about being amputee that gives you pleasure? From the answers you have just given, it doesn't seem to be the physical alteration. Is it to do with the disability?
Q: Cam you remember the first time you went out in public in your wheelchair as an amputee?
Q: What were your feelings then?
Q: How did you about being stared at?
Q: Do you regard yourself as being very seriously disabled?
Q: Do you use a wheelchair, prostheses, pylons? What is your preferred method of locomotion?
Q: Why not? Is it uncomfortable? or do you find it inŠsthetic?
Q: What sorts of clothes do you prefer to wear?
Q: Would you use crutches or wear thigh boots because your partner found them sexy?
Q: It's sometimes difficult to express the questions unambiguously. No sensible person expects that a longterm committed relationship could possibly be built on just the fact that one person is an amputee and the other thinks amputees are sexy. But suppose that two equally attractive men shared your interests, and your ideals, and one of them felt that your being an amputee added to your general attractiveness, while the other was prepared to accept you despite the fact that you were an amputee, which would you prefer?
Q: And if you preferred the one who thought that you were especially attractive as an amputee, if he asked you to wear clothes that showed off this aspect of your body, how would you feel about that?
Q: I take your point that you don't want to spend your life talking about being an amputee. People can take pleasure in a partner's beauty or intelligence or kindness without talking all the time about any one of them, nevertheless the beauty, intelligence, or kindness are things that come to mind whenever the beloved is thought of. Do you think that there is anything wrong with this? And if your lover, when he thought of you, remembered that you are an amputee, and that this adds to your attractiveness, is that bad?
Q: Do you take part in sports or other physical leisure activities?
Q: You just stopped one day, and never went back? Didn't you miss it?
Q: Are you comfortable with your impairment in public or do you try hard to disguise it as much as possible?
Q: Do you ever wear non-functioning purely cosmetic limbs?
Q: Other women feel differently. Does this surprise you?
Q: Are you active in the disability movement in any way?
Q: How do you write tickets? What exactly happens?
Q: Are you active in any other social movements, women's groups, political groups, conservation groups?
Q: I was meaning to ask you about that but didn't get round to it. What made you want to go college as a grown-up?
Q: Did you have a job before, or have you a private income?
Q: How do you relate with your fellow students?
Q: Do you think that your disability makes it easier or more difficult to relate to them?
Q: To what extent do you think that your impairment has limited your ability form relationships?
Q: Are you currently in a relationship with somebody?
Q: I find that is a rather strange answer. I was thinking more of longterm committed relationships based on something more enduring than simple transient sexual gratification. Would you find such a relationship uncongenial?
Q: When did you first find out about devotees?
Q: What did you feel about discovering devotees? Were you surprised? Were you pleased? Were you disgusted?
Q: If that was all there was to it, I'd agree with you. But haven't you noticed that all the members of the opposite sex that attract you seem to belong to a specific physical type. Most of the women who attract me across a room are tall, very slim, beautiful, and reserved. These are the women I make an effort to get to know. It's hardly surprising that I married one. I met several I didn't get on with, but among the tall, slim, beautiful women, I found one who had, as well as these physical charms, a personality compatible with mine, who shared my tastes, and interests, most important of all, she fell in love with me.
Q: So would you agree with me if I rephrase your answer a little: 'I think that if they want to build a relationship just because someone is an amputee they must be shallow, but if there is something more, something shared, then the devotee/amputee relationship is not necessarily doomed?'
Q: As time has passed have your opinions changed?
Q: I'm really talking about relationships between people.
Q: Would you consider having a relationship with someone who admitted he was a devotee?
Q: I'm interested in this response in the light of your desires to be an amputee. Being an amputee is something that you wanted for a long time and finally achieved, and which is important to you, something you are pleased to have achieved, yet you seem to feel that others should not feel that your being an amputee is important to them. Do you see any inconsistency in your feelings on this issue?
Q: Have you ever been followed in the street or otherwise harassed by devotees?
Q: Do you participate in any of the mailing lists for amputees that are available on the internet?
Q: When did you find out about the existence of wannabes?
Q: Were you surprised to find that others shared your feelings?
Q: Were you aware of OverGround before I made contact with you?
Q: What is your opinion of OverGround, and ASCOT, and Fascination, the groups that attempt to provide the opportunities for amputees to meet devotees socially?
Q: One of the positive things about the Fascination meetings is that there are no hidden agenda. If you go, you know exactly what kind of a man you are likely to meet there, not a do-gooder, not a platonic friend, but somebody who is gung-ho to find an amputee, perhaps just to screw, but perhaps to love, cherish, and honour, from this day forward, as long as ye both shall live. Can this be so bad?
Q: This puts a whole new perspective on what you have been telling me. There are all sorts of parallels that I would like to explore, and that means going back over some of the material we have already discussed. I hope you will be prepared to do this.
Q: How old were you when you first felt that you were really a woman?
Q: Was the feeling that you were a woman related to the desires to wear braces and to become an amputee?
Q: You became an amputee before you became a woman. Does this imply that it was more important to you be an amputee, or was it just chance that the one event happened before the other?
Q: Before you became an amputee did you have any longterm relationships?
Q: In relationships then, which sex did you prefer?
Q: In an article discussing the provision of surgery for wannabes I likened the feelings of wannabes to those of people seeking transsexual surgery. In your experience are there parallels?
Q: I can't really see any difference between medical treatment to reallocate gender and medical treatment to convert a wannabe into an amputee, can you?
Q: How did your family respond to your change in sex?
Q: Some of the answers you gave to earlier questions seemed, when you gave them to be robust. and assertive, perhaps surprisingly robust and assertive for a woman. I refer to your self-confidence in coping with the responses of the public to your amputations. Do you think that your first experience of being amputee would have been very different if you had been a woman before you became an amputee?
Q: Do you think that you would have actively sought to become a woman first, or did the experience of becoming an amputee in any way stimulate you to think about other ways that you might alter, or improve, your body?
Q: How do you go about obtaining the medical treatment required to reallocate your gender?
Q: Is it very expensive?
Q: How did you pay for it?
Q: Is it generally available?
Q: Have any of your friends become women?
Q: A last hypothetical question. If surgery for wannabes had been available at about the same cost, would have considered applying for it, before you needed your actual amputations?
I'd like to conclude by thanking Denise Anne for agreeing to answer all the pertinent, and the impertinent questions I could think of asking her.
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