Sunday, June 29, 2008

Transgender persons and Bathroom Privileges

I have been reading the testimony given before the Congressional committee this past week and was wondering why is the opposition’s only argument concerning transgender persons to be the problems of bathroom use.

So, what do natal women do in the bathroom that is different than what men do in their’s? Do women try and look between the cracks of the closed doors to see who is in a stall before they select theirs? Do women look over the tops of the partitions to talk to their friends? Just what do women do in the bathroom that men don’t? Do you think that a transgender person who uses the women’s room stands facing the toilet when they pee? No, we sit and pee just like other women do.

Why is it that women use the bathroom in groups when they are out with their husbands or their group of friends? Don’t you mothers take your children to the restroom when they have to go? Aren’t there groups of mothers watching what children do when they use the bathroom? The bathroom that is in a public place should be the last place you would find a ‘man’ who might be trying to molest someone’s child. He wouldn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of getting out of the bathroom in one piece with a child’s mother with them or outside the door, waiting for them to finish their business.

And another thing; you women don’t keep your bathroom any cleaner than the men do, and what is the problem with you wiping off the seat when you refuse to sit down on the toilet trying to hover while peeing; at least men have better aim even when the toilet seat is down. Why can you wipe up after yourselves? I just don’t understand. And why is there so much toilet paper on the floor? Do you cover the floor with the toilet paper so you won’t have to walk on the dirty floor; is that why there is very little toilet paper left on the roll to actually use when you finish? I just don’t understand. And the cleanliness of men’s bathroom isn’t any better; actually there are more wads of paper stuck to the walls and ceiling than in the women’s; and a lot of toilet paper can be found on the floor in the men’s room. And what’s with all the notes and messages and phone numbers left on the stall wall and doors by those seeking a ‘good time’? I just don’t understand. What do women do in the restroom that men don’t? I would really like to know.

Since I am a pre-operative transwomen; one place I would never even think about or try and go would be a women’s locker room. I am as concerned about privacy as any natal women and I would never force myself into that situation. Trying to find a place to change when I’m at the beach is bad enough; using the small stalls that is available at public beaches is bad enough for me. So I would never, ever try to use a women’s locker room as a pre-operative transwomen.

When I have to use the restroom, I find the cleanest stall with at least half a roll of toilet paper, sit down and do my business then readjust my clothing and flush. I clean the seat if should happen to get wet. I then exit the stall, wash my hands and refresh my lipstick and leave. That’s what I do when I have to use the bathroom. I may engage is small talk with someone I might recognize. What do natal women do different in the bathroom than what I do? I would really like to know. Can anyone tell me? Please?

I think it's time to make all bathrooms available to either sex or make then all single use bathrooms. Why is it that bathrooms in European countries are used by both sexes but we can't move forward on this! Should we thank Queen Victoria for our shame about our bodies; we need to take off our tight panties and move on. I would really like to know!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


One searches for acceptance at every corner and turn of the foot. You wait patiently for close friends and family member to mull over this sudden revelation that this person is indeed gay or transgender. Most of us who are transgender desperately seek acceptance for our church family; and wait impatiently for some sign from heaven; which never comes. I try to wait until I think those that I am about to spill my secrets to are in a good frame of mind; and then you search their face for replies telling you that they accept who you are.

However you have changed in their eyes, you still have, and cherish the memories; both good and bad of your life with those you loved. As a parent you try to raise them as responsible, caring and accepting young adults.

A father’s daughter will always hold a special place in his heart; for he will always be her father. He loves his sons and expects them to be loving fathers in their own place some day. A father will always be ready to do anything to help his daughter, to hold her, to kiss the hurt away, to stand at her side in times of hurt. My only emptiness will come when I can’t walk her down the aisle on her wedding day as her ‘father’. But I’ll be at her side in spirit when the times comes.

The relationship with my daughter was froth with angst, and anger because she didn’t know how to respond to my secret she knew all to well. Thankfully she would visit and talk to me when she was home from college, but it was very difficult for her to accept me as Sarah, and I was ok with that.

Some say that after a breakup of the family one should write letters describing how you feel; well I did give her my ‘letter’ at the last time she and her boyfriend spend an afternoon together with us, getting to know each other a little better. It was indeed time well spent for Kay and I to meet with my daughter and Jason to just be with them.

So, this week I received a wonderful card for ‘Father’s Day’ from my darling daughter. I couldn’t have been more pleased to read there little note inside to me in response to that Christmas letter. I had an emotional meltdown when I read her words of remembrance and acceptance.

“…..Sometimes, however, I need to remember who you were. If nothing else, I need you to understand that. I have such great memories of me and you that I don’t ever want to lose. You will always be my father, the man from years ago as well as the person you are discovering now. So please don’t every forget that. It is as much a part of you and you are of me. So Happy Father’s Day—to all the old memories and to ones yet made. I love you.”

I couldn’t have expected such an emotional letter; but am truly blown away by her words. I will continue to pray that my sons will come to accept me into their lives again.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Bishop Gene Robinson

A wonderful article has been written by Andrew Corsello and published in this month's GQ about Bp. Gene Robinson. The article is entitled Let God Love Gene Robinson. Bp. Robinson is the Episcopal bishop for the Diocese of New Hampshire and was in an openly gay, long time relationship with his partner at the time of his ordination as bishop.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Same Sex Marriages

California brought the issue of same sex marriages to the forefront again this week. I feel a strong need to voice my opinion even thought it is late in week news wise.

Sarah and I took advantage of a legal technicality early in her transition and were legally married. We loved one another and were and are in a committed, monogamous relationship. We were also fearful that in case something happened to one of us (an illness or accident) people who did not honor the commitment we had made may try to interfere with our health care and other decisions. Of course, being married also gives us other legal protections and advantages.

We were married in November 2006. However, we would have married a year earlier if we could have worked out all the details. By details, I do not mean dresses, flowers, cake and decorations. I mean finding someone who would agree to marry us presenting as two women. We talked with our priest and her response was a quick no. No offer of counseling or anything else. Since Sarah had been diagnosed with breast cancer and was facing a mastectomy at the time, rather, than put our energy toward trying to work out a very simple (us and the officiant) wedding we put our energy into getting her well.

A year later, we decided to try again. We talked with a number people and finally found an MCC minister in a neighboring state who agreed to perform the ceremony for us. He was absolutely WONDERFUL. He talked with us at length. Counseling was accomplished and we agreed on a date for our marriage. We checked to see if we could use our church but our priest gave us a terse no on the use of the church. However, she did ask if we would change the time of our wedding so she could attend our wedding!! We did not change the time.

We had a very simple backyard wedding with about 25 of our closest friends and family. It was beautiful and we were surrounded by a group of people who loved us and continue to be a great support to us. We are living happily ever after.

Obviously, I believe that ss couples should be able to marry. The picture of Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, a couple in their 80's who who were wed in California this week says it all. Two people who are deeply in love and have shared a life together for more than 50 years. They have been married all along!! They have just been denied the legal protection of marriage and the sacrament of marriage. There are many other ss couples who are living the kind of marriage that Del and Phyllis have lived. Fortunately, for those in California, they now have the legal possibility of marriage and many are taking advantage of it. I can only say to them CONGRATULATIONS!!

People will argue about how this affects heterosexual marriages, whether the church should offer the sacrament of marriage to ss couples but the fact remains that the dominoes in the issue of ss marriage are beginning to fall and it is time that this injustice of denying ss couples the protections and sacrament of marriage ends.

Continuing Saga

Episode II—The continuing saga of the expanding breast!

Today (Wed) was my second appointment for pumping… I learned that it was 60 cc, not 50 cc that was pumped and next week they will push 100 cc into the expander. Again, I have had no real pain, just some slight discomfort; but I can actually feel the expanded breast under my arm, and that’s awesome for me because I know that the shape is gradually changing. As the evening wore on I began to have a little more pain, especially under my arm and under the implant so I took a pain pill as I went to bed and slept through the night. But, it’s looking good!!

Actually today we were accompanied by a good friend and her two wonderful children, Alex and Bella; they could only come with us were if we did something educational. So, we took the opportunity to visit the museum and butterfly exhibit on the University of Florida’s campus. Well, Alex is 6 yrs old and Bella is 4yrs old and being very inquisitive and well behaved children; it was a joy for Kay and I to watch them explore the museum’s exhibits. Kay and I were the bystanders as we were transported into a whole new world of exploring through the eyes of these two explorers as they went from room to room discovering artifacts and skeletons and models of ancient mastodons, mammals and insects and bugs from Florida’s past. I’m afraid I was captured and pulled along by their enthusiasm and joy. Just to watch Alex’s and Bella’s expressive faces and hand gestures as they describe what they had seen; is just magic and enthralling. We practically ran from exhibit to exhibit, bubbling with excitement as we looked at all of the exhibits together; and then it was time for my doctor’s appointment. We saw that the children were having a great time in the Room of Discovery—the hands-on room; so our friend left her children with Ms. Kay and she drove me to my appointment. The plan was to meet up with them later in the butterfly area.

As always, the Doctor and nurses were very nice and I invited our friend to accompany me to the back as they filled the expander. We had discussed my appointment and she said she was curious about the procedure having read our blog about my mastectomy and how it had affected me; so I asked to follow me back to the room. She was quite taken back by the size of the syringe and needle, but she managed quite well with everything. How do I manage, I just lie back and close my eyes as he injects the saline solution.

We re-joined Kay and the children in the butterflies and birds in the aviary; and finding the varieties of butterflies is incredible. I was happy just watching these two inquisitive children explore the wonders of nature; being pulled in as Alex describes the joy of having a butterfly crawl over his hand and discovering three huge Japanese Carp swimming in the ‘river’ running at the bottom of the room. The museum has an extensive collection of butterflies and moths and an extensive research department.

When the museum closed, we finished the day at the farmers market in downtown Gainesville, exploring all the varieties fruits and vegetables; there was jewelry, art and wonderfully colored dresses and the live jazz group playing under the pavilion was a special treat. All in all, it was an exciting and happy day—at least for me; and especially for Alex and Bella.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Father's Day

Yesterday as I was reading someone’s post about this Sunday being Father’s Day, I was struck again by the irony that while I am a transwoman, I am the father of three wonderful children. I have been trying to remember some of the gifts my children gave me on Father’s Day and for the life of me the only gifts I can recall are the obligatory ties that one tends to get. Oh they were very nice and I did use them a lot when I had to wear them.

As I have stated before I have two sons and one daughter; and enjoy an open dialogs with her. My daughter and I haven’t been out in public together, but she is talking to me and calls me Sarah; and that’s the most important thing to remember. The relationships that I had with my children were not the best as I was desperately trying to keep my secret and was fractured at best. During the years while my children were living in the house the family dynamics among myself, my ex and my three children was always strained; and we never could gather together without my ex or my children storming out for some reason or another. I would the most horrible things just to make my daughter mad and leave the house, just so I could dress as ‘Sarah’. I really don’t deserve any attention from my children. But I keep praying that someday they or my grandchildren will accept me for who I became.

I don’t expect to get a call from my daughter, much less from my sons this Sunday, and I understand and accept that. I will always be their father regardless of what they think of me and nothing under God’s heaven or earth can change that fact.

We know that both ‘Mother’s day’ and ‘Father’s day’ are special, but what really bothered Kay was that someone with the church handed out roses to all the ladies before the church service for Mother’s Day; I guess he didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings by them not getting a rose. But the person or persons who thought it was a good idea wasn’t taking into consideration the woman who, for whatever reasons, can’t have children; and how that one act of reverence to some is a reminder of the void in the lives of others. And I could hardly be called a ‘Mother’, but I am a parent after all. I found a great card and then scratched out the word ‘mother’ and substituted the term ‘spouses’; so I gave her a ‘happy spouses’ day’ card. Cute huh!!

But for all the hoopla around these two special days we are so very blessed to be involved with so many children. We are known among the members of our church as the ‘two auntees’ and again as the ‘two ladies’ of the church; and we have been given the special privilege of being a ‘God Mother's’ to one of the children. Our job is to shower gifts and sweets to those in our care and then be able to joyfully hand them over to their parents when our time with them comes to an end. Every single child we watch who whoops and hollers fills our house with their joyful noise, and we can’t shush them because they are happy children and we are the ‘two ladies’ who have the privilege to love them as their other ‘parents’.

So if any of my children should happen to call or send a card; that would be the grandest event of all. For then it would mean that they have accepted me and are trying to tell me they do love me; in that small measure of gestures.

Note: I didn't mention my father simply for the reason that he passed away a few months before our first son was born. Who is now 37 years old with 2 children of his own. So for over half of my life I haven't had access to any fatherly advise. I raised my children the best way I knew how; with love and acceptance.

Friday, June 13, 2008

No Rulebooks

This is my response to 'amberfireinus's' blog posting “there are no rulebook”.

When Kay's cousin passed away a few years ago, I was the outsider observing the dynamics between two very opposite thinking family groups. One family group was left with a legacy of anger and hate and intolerance of others who were different. The other family group generously showed acceptance and love of other and those who were different accepting me as a welcomed family member. They also had a son who was gay and his long time partner came in support of him. So here the both of us were, a gay and a trans, standing outside the church in support of our partners; taking the time to getting to know each other while the funeral services were being conducted. Mike rode with his partner’s family and I drove Kay to the cemetery.

Again, Mike and I stood together chatting some distance away from the family members during the interment ceremony and then mingled with the rest of the family members afterwards. I later heard that the son of the deceased was furious and loudly protested our presence at the grave site.

Not a single member of the deceased family came over to speak to us later. But several family members of the other family group welcomed me to the family and commented that they had never seen Kay so happy, and I had better do nothing to hurt her. We spent some time with Kay cousin's and family afterwards and then we drove home.

I have seen the deceased family dynamics crumble and leave a trail of anger and hate heaped on her children.

There might not be any rulebooks and guide showing us how to live; or live in community with others but over time we have figured out that treating our neighbors as ourselves leaves a trail of hope and love and inclusiveness. We were shown how to love those who have been tossed aside knowing that they are as much a full member in the body of Christ as anyone could be.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

It' Wasn't that Bad

Wednesday was my first appointment for inflating my breast expander; and it was the first time I say Dr. Mast after my initial surgery. My appointment was late in the day, which gave me plenty of time to think about what was going to happen. Kay and I drove down to Gainesville early and had lunch and then went to the bead store, then downtown because Kay said Wednesday’s was the day for the local farmer’s market.

I was quite pleased when Dr. Mast first looked at his handiwork and asked how many time I had the expander inflated. When I told him that this was the first appointment he said “then let’s get to it”. The second time he came in with the syringe he asked me was I nervous and I said no; he said, “I’m glad, cause I stopped drinking a few hours ago.” The he chuckled. All I saw of the syringe was the size of the thing and it looked about an inch in diameter; I couldn’t see the needle itself.

He laid my chair back and took out the little magnetic chip to find the port for the expander and told me that there was going to be a feeling like a pinch when the needle is inserted and then he injected about 50cc’s of saline solution into the expander. I really haven’t had any pain with this first appointment; and that was what I was told. The breast is a little tender but I didn’t have to take any pain medication as I expected I would. So far, I made appointments for the next four weeks and then we’ll see where we need to go from there. Kay and I were out of the office by 6 pm and on our way home.

We went back to the farmers market and bought some fresh vegetables and some fresh milk and drinkable yogurt; which was really good. We bought a six pack of ‘chocolate tomato’ plants and drove back home. We arrived at the house around 9:30 which made a long day for us. Now that I know what to expect the next time, I'll be ready........I think.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Aunt Kay's Perfect Boy

My perfect boy came into my life through two friends who were foster parents. A six month old infant was placed in their home around 3 years ago. I was so worried when I first saw him because I thought he may have lots of problems. However, the next time I saw him (only a couple of weeks) he was a different child. This time he was very active, involved in his surrounding and with the people around him. He slowly began to steal my heart.

When we had visited and I was leaving, I always told him, "I love you." I will never forget the first time he responded with, "I uv u." That was it. I was a goner. He could do no wrong.

There were other children in and out of their home but my perfect boy stayed. The had hoped to adopt him from the beginning and maybe some other children too. However, with the imperfect systems we have to protect our children, one of children was removed. Our hearts were broken but my perfect boy was still with our friends.

Excuse me while I get up on my soap box for a minute. The department that is charged with caring for children in this state does probably as best they can given the political climate they work in. However, the judicial system needs a serious over hauling when it comes to the welfare of children. Not just with my perfect boy and not just in this county, I have seen the judicial system make some serious mistakes. It seems that once a mistake is made by a judge there is no way around it. The department that cares for children always gets the finger pointed at them when things go wrong but we really need to look at the judicial system Okay, enough.

My perfect boy was adopted into his family this past week. The adoption party was for him and his two auntees were there to help him celebrate. And CELEBRATE, he did with a whole bunch of friends and family. At one point his mother picked him to take him in to get a layer of dirt off and asked me, "what do you think of your perfect boy now," indicating the dirt on him. I told her it was perfect.

And they are living happily ever after......................

Catching Up

It has been a couple of weeks since I have posted anything. It has been a busy time for us. We had agreed to watch a friend's children while she took a Maymester course. We started out watching an 11 month old and a 3 year old, both girls. After public school ended, this increased by one 7 year old girl. They are delightful children. They all have huge blue eyes and the 3 year old smiles all the time. The 11 month old crawls everywhere.............really fast! After watching them in the afternoon we could come home exhausted. Not that the kids were bad just that we are older. We did enjoy them though. They kinda stole our hearts.

During the babysitting gig, Sarah had her surgery. We took a couple of days off and went back to baby sitting. She just couldn't pick up anything heavier than 10 pounds.

The last visit to the doctor was last Thursday. We drove down. Saw the PA. Everything looked good. We had lunch did a little shopping, stopped at a farmers market and headed home to help with organizing for the church yard sale. We went to the church that evening to help. Worked for a little while and came home.

On Saturday a friend was having surgery and we had promised to stay with him until the surgery was over and the decision was made whether he would go home that night or the next morning. He was released that night. We helped his wife get him home (he had knee surgery) and got him settled. Then headed back to the church to finish helping get things ready for the yard sale (I personally hate yard sales but some of the ladies enjoy it and we usually do make some money). We got home about 10:30 p.m. in a stupor of fatigue.

The next morning it was up at 6 a.m. to be at the church by 6:30 a.m. I had a slight revolt on my hands when the clock went off. Sarah refused to get up and she is the morning person!! We finally got ourselves together and got to the church. The two ladies who are yard sale enthusiasts were there ready and waiting for customers to come. The did start coming about 30 minutes later. It was a fair yard sale. Sarah swears never again every year.

We got through with the yard sale at 2 p.m. and had to be at an adoption party at 5 p.m. We made it and it was a glorious celebration.

Monday, June 2, 2008

God of Man

God of man do hear us cry

Sins of sorrow, separates us by

Our shell of fear, and flowing tears

Learn and trust for ears to hear

Opened wide our hearts are seared

To hear the love within God’s sighs

God of Man knows our cry

From our lips cracked and parched dry

Desirous of God’s works to caress

Washing us clean with the great Distress

From the Cross with arms open wide

To lie mans tears of sin at His gracious side

February 2006

Gender Dysphoria, Harry Benjamin Syndrome or Transgender, any and all of these are labels that don’t do justice to our lives. I have cried many tears, fighting with myself over who I really am. For years I asked Jesus to take away this gender struggle that I had come to know so well. Many times after spending those short minutes with my mother’s things, (not dressed, but other items), I would repent most feverishly and cry; for my church told me that what I was doing was a mortal sin. But finding myself indulging again and again. So, for years I prayed for these feelings of being different to be taken away. Over the years, my prayers became pleas to help me understand what my transgender journey was going to be; and how I could come to terms with who I am.

My searching for answers were fulfilled when my mother-in-law was living with us and we became very close. I became one of her care givers and helped her to the bathroom once before the health care worker had come. She would stay in her room most of the morning until the aide’s would come and get her breakfast and give her her morning bath. One morning I had dressed in one of my ex’s pants outfits, as I sometimes did, and was intended to walk into the kitchen and get some coffee. Knowing that she would stay in her room for awhile, I stepped out of our bedroom and almost ran into her as she was trying to go to the bathroom. She never spoke to me about what she saw that morning; and my ex never said anything to about that morning either. After my ex filed for a divorce and I moved out, this wonderful lady passed away and I was not told she was sick and was not invited to be at her deathbed so I could not tell her that I loved her and say my goodbyes.

It was but a few weeks after that when I was at church participating in the “Alpha” program that we were conducting. As I was watching the video of the speaker’s presentation that evening, I began to nod off and was almost going to sleep. When I suddenly saw my mother-in-law in my dreaming state walk towards me and tell me that she loved me and that everything was going to be alright. As she came closer I felt her kiss on my cheek and at the same instant I had a strong impression that the image changed from my mother-in-law into a man face with long hair and a beard. With the kiss, I woke up suddenly and almost fell out of the chair as I began to struggle to make some sense of what I had just happened to me. I would not tell anyone about my encounter with my mother-in-law for several months and when I did tell my ex about what had happened to me, she said she was glad for me.

The point of this story is that, I am convinced in my heart that this was the sign or confirmation I needed which helped me know that God loves me and that taking the step toward transitioning was what He wanted for me. This was my test of faith for others to know that it is His love and presence residing in me, to see if others could see His face in my life and walk the path of “Love thy Neighbor” as he has commanded.