Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Since our Anniversary and this conference seem to closely intertwine, this is our second big trip since we were married. I am excited to have the chance to meet Jenny Boylan and Donna Rose, two women who has done so much to promote and educate others. With our push to organize a new PFLAG group in our area, and taking opportunities to speak with several classes at the University to help educate and letting them meet someone who is trans and put a face on the movement, we are excited. Thank you Jenny and Donna for your example of leadership.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
I have, with some difficulties, accepted the unexpected from Kay, of needing to go ‘adventuring’ if you will. Just take a drive, no place particular in her mind, but in an attempt to keep some sense of control, I will immediately think of a place in whatever direction we begin our little drive. We always have load of surprises when we just go! We discover wonderful sights, meet interesting people, talk about what is or isn’t on our minds at the moment; just enjoying the opportunity to get out into the country. I never know where and how we will go but I am beginning to love the ‘unknowing’ part of the journey. Love can be shared in many different ways and forms and marriage is the joining of two hearts into one. And ours combined and linked hearts let us share and spread the love God has given to us to all, who accept us or turn away from us.
My first marriage happened very quickly, we were reacquainted on her birthday in January, and by mid February we thought our relationship had progressed and we announced our engagement with the wedding to be in August the same year. Maybe it was a little quick, I had just been discharged from my first Army enlistment, and I was anxious to take the next step. It was years filled with schooling, moving, reenlisting and being relocated for the interest of the US Army. During those years we had three children and were involved in helping them expand their interests. Since we lived in Germany we were able to travel and experience a lot of music, and art and culture, architecture in old building and churches and Roman ruins, not possible to see or find in the US. But our family unity began to break down and we sort of went our separate ways; you could call it dysfunctional if you will. A lot of the tension between my wife and I and the children as they grew older; they recognized and reacted to the family ‘secret’ of learning who I was.
How do you adequately explain to your children your desire to transition to a woman; when you yourself don’t know how to explain it; and I never gotten any help from the psychologist or counselors that I talked with before I met with Dr. Martha. I was stumbling blind when it came to discussing my ethereal feelings with my children and for that I am very sorry, and hope that one day they will understand and forgive me. I can’t ask them to openly accept me, but if they could say they understand the reasons for all the anger and hurt that I have caused them; then I would be a most grateful and humbled parent to give them the same love that we give to the children that fill our house with such joy and laughter and acceptance.
Friday, September 26, 2008
This is from Lindsey’s post that to hear God’s voice gives us direction in our lives; that he stands with us and wants us to spread the Word.
Do just some people have this moment when they are called by God because he has a task for them? Do many people get their moment with God when they have been beaten down? Do people know how to listen and hear his voice over the din of noise blasting around them? Do you need a quiet place to hear God talking with you?
It took years of stumbling and praying before my moment of God’s acknowledgment of my struggle and hearing his assurances that everything would be OK; that he loved me.
I tried many times to lay all my fears at the foot of the Cross, with the good intentions to turning everything over to him. Of the Many times that I attempted to turn over all my troubles I was juggling; in the back on my mind was always some small fractured truth that I didn’t really trust myself, didn’t really believe that it would work. Maybe a little bit of fear that he would answer my prayers in some other convoluted way. And so I would always come away from that ‘giving up’ moment knowing that I couldn't really give up these feelings.
My ‘burning bush’ moment happened one Sunday evening during one of the study lessons of the ‘Alpha Program’ a course designed by Nicky Gumbel to facilitate group discussions and ask real questions about Christianity. Anyway we were watching the lesson video for the evening and being a little tired, I sort of dozed off for a few minutes.
The rest of the story was that my ex’s mother had passed away just a few weeks earlier and I wasn’t asked to join the family at her passing; but I did attend the family viewing and memorial services the next day. Well I had been dozing for just a few moments when Faye, my ex’s mother, appeared in my half conscience dream and told me that she loved me and that everything would be alright. As she started to move toward me I felt her give me a gentle kiss on the cheek; at the same instant Faye’s face changed into that of a man’s face with long hair and a good beard. There was such a feeling of peace and calm that charged through my whole being, that I was almost certain of a strong heavenly vision had just overcame me.
That was the moment of God revealing his elusive voice that showed my path in life was to live as transgendered. It is to educate and meet people and let them know we are all God’s chosen children and to share his love to everyone, foes as well as the people we must still meet. I have not heard such a strong and loud voice since that wonderful night, but I have felt His hand or some guiding force protecting my life several time; the last almost tragic moment was the day before my surgery and while we were in our car and making a turn, another car came within a foot of slamming into the drivers side; now that must be the hand of God watching over us, protecting us, giving us life to do his work in spreading the good news that to be gay or transgendered is also to be one of his own.
Monday, September 22, 2008
“The Judge's reasoning goes directly to the heart one of the major concerns of employers of transgender people: whether customers and clients will take their business elsewhere. As a capitalist nation, our society is based on the proposition that our government should interfere as little as possible, consistent with public safety, with businesses. I have spoken to many employers about this issue, and they have often raised concerns about losing business, and have assumed that such concerns would justify dismissal of transgender persons, or moving transgender personnel to non-customer-facing positions (if available), without violating the law. Judge Robertson's ruling demonstrates that employers cannot safely make such assumptions.”
While I see this as having a dramatic affect within corporations and large companies with subsidiaries across the US making allowances for employees who decide to transition within the companies they work; I can not see how it will affect those of us who are not presently employed in obtaining employment with companies in the more rural regions of the country. As someone who transitioned at the same time I lost my job because of restructuring within the company; not having legally changed my name on important documents, I experience a wide practice of stealth discrimination, perpetuated by the personnel who are responsible for hiring new employees. I strongly believed there were several reasons that I was never offered an employment opportunity, i.e. age, education, experience as well as being transgendered. But it was nothing that I could prove or substantiate, since I never was asked back for a follow up interview. With the country having a high national unemployment rates, it lets small companies to medium size chose new hires from the large pool of the unemployed; if someone doesn’t work out to the companies standards, there are lines of entry level replacements itching to be hired. Why should a company hire or pay more for an older person with more experience and education than the person doing the hiring who could cause problems with the younger generation and/or the company. I also suggest or could imply that I was being slammed by some in middle management who choose to exercise their religious morals and/or prejudices when confronted by those of us who do not conform to their beliefs; they appoint themselves as the companies moral gatekeepers against those who’s lives and morals they judge and think, might corrupt the company and drive their customers away. Or their obligations to make quick moral judgments are directed from upper management.
I know of more transwomen who are being discriminated against with job opportunities or on the job than the transmen, who I know, are more easily accepted because their gender presentation matches the ‘male model’ idea.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Well it’s been one week since my surgery and everything is hanging out there. I am still wearing the elastic band at least 20 hours a day; it actually helps with the discomfort of my right breast sometimes. I am aware that this breast is a little sensitive and irritated from being rubbed by the clothes I wear, and I really notice this irritation in the morning. I would say that I get overjoyed looking down watching the water cascade over the end of my nipple when I take my morning showers. I can not be happier with the results of the reconstruction and the expansion.
If the cancer had not attacked my body those 3 ½ years ago and I could have continued with my HRT as planned, I truly believe that I would have developed to a good “C” cup and I could have become comfortable with my body as my breast slowly developed. We don’t notice how people or life changes on a daily basis; and when we visit a relative or friend only once in a while we can see how much they have grown. It is still amazing to wake up the morning after surgery and immediate see your equally proportioned breasts that weren’t there the day before.
So I am still excited and filled with joy when I pass a mirror and can see how a top, or dress or a nightgown fits. I still am looking forward to shopping for my new bra’s.
Monday, September 15, 2008
I slowly realized that my Church and its teaching and interpretations that I had been raised with had been hijacked. Or maybe it was that I wasn’t able to follow the letter of the teaching in my personal married life. I began to see that the Catholic Church, The One True Church, did not accept all of God’s ‘chosen’ people. Not just the fact that I had had a vasectomy after the birth of my third child; that was my choice to have this done in order to not have my wife endure another procedure that could threaten her life. So really I was Catholic, but not a strict observer of all her dictates.
After I declared myself to be Episcopalian and a transsexual, it only reaffirmed my religious belief that I only accepted the true person that God knew I was. Being involved with the Episcopal group, Integrity; which was for GLBT members? The Psalm Passage that was their motto became my motto; which is from the Episcopal 1982 Book of Common Prayer: Psalm 84:11 “No good thing will the Lord withhold from those who walk with integrity.” This was my personal message from God, telling me that I, who accepted this challenge of being transgender, was His challenge to me; I was still one of his ‘people’.
If one were to read the text to the old Church Hymn, Just as I am, with the text by one Charlotte Elliott, beginning at the third verse of the Hymn,
3 Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind; sight, riches, healing of the mind, yea all I need, in thee to find, O Lamb of God, I come, I come,
4 Just as I am; thou wilt receive; wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve, because thy promise I believe, O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
5 Just as I am, thy love unknown has broken every barrier down; now to be thine, yea, thine alone, O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
6. Just as I am, of thy great love the breadth, length, depth and height to prove, here for a season, then above: O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
through the mind and eyes of someone who has been pushed to the edge because they are different; they hold these words in their hearts wanting to believe the truth of this beautiful poem, hoping that a church, their church would make them true by their actions.
However, as strongly as the Psalm passage and the old Hymn speaks of acceptance of all God’s children, it was the Reading of last Sunday from the Letter to the Romans, by Paul that really give me and for the people who have been excluded by the more evangelical church’s, this simple message of acceptance for the 21 Century, even though this letter by Paul was written in the 1st Century BC is for your ears to hear and your mind to accept.
The Reading begins at the 14th Chapter:
1 Welcome those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of quarreling over opinions… 3... and those who abstain must not pass judgment on those who eat; for God has welcomed them. 4 Who are you to pass judgment on servants of another? It is before their own lord that they stand or fall. And they will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make them stand…………
10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.
11 For it is written, "As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall give praise to God." 12 So then, each of us will be accountable to God.
“Who are you to pass judgment on servants of another? It is before their own lord that they stand or fall.”
Our task in life is not to judge, our task is to live out our own beliefs, even if those beliefs are not based on the Christian ideals; it is not ours to judge, “12 So then, each of us will be accountable to God”; the religious beliefs that I chose to believe in, is to place myself at the feet and mercy of my God; and only my God. We can not change the minds or beliefs that those of such narrow-mindedness, or "My Way or no way" of thinking of the single religious state. I endure the hateful Name Calling, Taunting, harassment, finger point, blaming natural disaster on God’s furious Anger toward Man, of the religious right, is just as powerful as control mesure as the mindless numbing reactive destructive power that Hitler manager to exhort over the German People; and just as dangerous to religious freedoms.
We have divided our treasured “United States of America” into regions of political division for ‘Red’ and ‘Blue’. Would we go any further by dividing our United States into regions of religions, as in “Christianity, being further divided by the ‘Protestant’ and those of the ‘Apostolic’ tradition? Of course there must be separate regions for the American Jewish faith, the Muslims, the Buddhists, the Native American and those of Mother Earth; do we also divide our country into regions of ‘Heterosexual, Binary Gender—that is ‘male and female’ defined by chromosomal testing, with the rest of the country made up of “the others” into and among the above specified division? If we must travel through these distinct and diversified regions should we need a 'passport' or a 'safe travel voucher' in order to do so? I am of the mind that the great divisions that is rocking our great Country will never be so insanely divided.
Why does it bother us so that the great ‘Declaration of Independence’ Documents which created these United States of America guarantees it’s citizens the inalienable rights to believe in their own and distinct god, and worship as they chose.
I think I have discovered what is bothering me. Once you forgive some one, you must find a way forward and my way forward is being hampered by the knowledge that certain behavior is unlikely to change for some of the individuals involved in the ruckus. Past experience, not only in our case but others as well, can bring this disruptive behavior back into play for some of these individuals. So my question is, "how do I go forward from this point? Does forgiveness imply trust, especially when the behavior seems to present a pattern?
No, I'm not a child. Yes, I have been in situations before when trusts have been violated and was able to deal with it effectively. I think the problem for me is that it happened in church and that is making it a little more difficult for me.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
I don’t want to sound as if I am bragging about my ‘perky breast’, but I would only like to say that to transition for GID at such an older age does have it few advantages. The changes to which your body quickly adjusts to, is like a young girls; I think. It’s like you get your ‘do over’ with your body and thus you have perky breast. Even though I was helped along with medical technology, my new female skin is still fresh and resilient; to a point. I just started growing mine later than yours. IF I had known that I could have undergone Genital Reassignment Surgery 40 years ago I am not sure if I could have tired; emotionally I was not in a supporting family who would have even understood what I felt. But I wouldn’t want to try and turn back time now, because of where I am and how good my life is.
It’s not just me that would be changed; but my three children would never exist or my two grandchildren. My life is much fuller by watching and being with my children as they grew up and become responsible adults; these experiences are real and I will cherish each and every memory I have with them. There is no way that I would or even could deny their chance at life, because they are good ‘children’; and now their lives as adults are what each has made of their chances; with their own lives connected by the family threads of life.
Friday, September 12, 2008
I really worry about Sarah after a surgery because she becomes impatient with herself needing to restrict activities. She sometimes will do things that she is clearly not supposed to do. As the staff in the doctor's office saw Sarah on Thursday, I asked each one to tell Sarah what "light activity" meant. Just so you won't think I am being overly cautious............Sarah had back problems for which she had to have injections in her back. Had this not worked she would have to have had surgery. During this time, she dug a hole in the back yard and for a fish pool and laid rocks around it!!
So far, Sarah is following her "light activity" order very well. I think the possibility of having something go wrong with her breasts is keeping her in line.
We are working with some other women at our church to make a quilt for our Fall Festival coming up in November. We usually work together on Fridays. This morning one of the women came by our house to pick up the materials for the quilt. She thought she would be the only one working on the quilt so we invited her stay and work here (everything was already set up on the dining room table). She and her two children stayed. A little later, one of the other women called and she came by too. Sarah worked with them sewing some quilt pieces together. After a while, I noticed that Sarah looked really tired so I suggested she lie down for a while. She took a nap and woke up a while later refreshed.
We enjoyed the moms and kids this morning. I think it kept Sarah occupied so she was not tempted to try to do things she shouldn't.
Sarah is so pleased with her breasts. She looked down at her chest this morning to the sight of her new breasts and said, "this is something I never thought I would see." She is very happy and I am very happy for her.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
I don’t think I cussed or threatened the nurse when she was waking me up as I had done after another procedure and I remember being taken to the bathroom to pee and giving the nurse a thumbs up. I do remember telling Kay that I felt like being hit be a Mac Truck; OMG was I sore and HURTING LIKE HELL! But that was before I took my pain meds (wonderful things) I remember the car ride but not how I got dressed or taken to the car. Kay put me into bed and I slept most of t he afternoon away and would have to get up to go pee. I did that a lot! I slept until the early afternoon when Kay fixed me a bowl of Chicken Broth… wuz it every gooood!! Later she fixed me a bowl of tomato soup; we discovered that there had been a little bleeding from the incision of the left breast; the one they did a breast augmentation on, but it didn’t spread.
I had my recheck this afternoon where we replace the bandages and gave me more rest instructions; Dr Mast was very pleased with they way each turned out. I go back in two weeks for another recheck. I'm a 60 year old woman with perky boobs; and they are a full "C" or small "D". I can work with these girls...
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
For the next three years I just tried to adapt with my prosthesis; which was a great substitute for the breasts, but the thrill of wearing “dd”s slowly wore off. So when I finally found the plastic surgeon who agreed to do my reconstruction and augmentation I was ecstatic and was very excited to go under the knife. But this final surgery involves more body tissue than ever before; and while I found that I could help Kay with my recovery after the mastectomy, that surgery only involved the one side with my weakened arm.
I am not one to lie around very much, which means that I will try and do more than I could or that I should after this surgery. But I have Kay who will help me get around; can't beat a personal nurse to look after you.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Kay says that I can’t pass a mirror without looking at by breast and the cleavage. God, I have cleavage again, not that I had much after a year on hormones but it was a start. Then I endured the scar and divot of the mastectomy for 2 years. But in just 3 days time my body shape will be changed again, can’t wait. My surgeon keeps telling me that I will have better results than most candidates do with this surgery; but also there going to be a good deal of pain with the other side after they do the implants. Hell, I have waited more that 50 years to get a pair of breasts, I guess that a few more days and some pain will be worth all this.
I am looking toward that day when I can finally put all by breast forms and stuffing in a box and put it in back in the closet. And then I can go shopping for bra’s that will show off my new girls. They’ve been a long time a coming.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Now we had no problem with the federal tax refund even with the name change, but the good State of Georgia was audibly silent on the matter. Nothing, no paperwork of any kind from Georgia. Squat! After calling the state again I talked to one of the clerks and he told me that there was a problem of a system discrepancy with my name. Now the new name of Sarah that is on my Georgia Motor Vehicle License, my Social Security Card, my Military Identification Card, were all changed in 2007. The clerk asked if I could fax them documentation which shows my legal name change. So I faxed them the court documents which were filed in June of 07 to him. I did use my birth name when we filed our federal and state taxes the year before because we had just been married in November of 06; but still the federal government had no problem with the name change.
The good state is quick to hound you if you ever make a mistake to your disadvantage and you owe them more money; they are real quick to make sure they get their money. But when they owe you money it will be a month of Sundays and longer before you can pull money from them. So now after 5 months of messages that your money will be sent within two weeks; I have finally got a new message that the state refund has or will be deposited in my checking account in the next few days. Thank you Jason! It’s a good thing that our federal refund and other payment came so quickly.
So the question is: Was the State of Georgia going to recognize our same-sex marriage or just question the name change?
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
I live in the southern part of the state of
There have been several occasions where I have been looking as I just described and going though the drive-by to get a drink and while I wait for my drink I notice a parade of employees push and shove to file past the window to gawk at us. I am sure we peak their interest at just who or what I am as everyone pushes the others out of the way just to get a good look at us. Today, one of these quick lookers noticed my wedding band and commented on how pretty it was. Now just so that everyone knows, Kay and I are legally married and we have matching simple gold wedding bands; just like any ordinary couple who can’t afford babbles and jewels so, I am not sure what she noticed.
But back to the lookers; come to think about it, this pushing and shoving to stare at me or Kay and I, only happens at the drive-by fast food places that don’t have dining-in areas; humpt!!!! can’t explain this behavior. Maybe the people who work behind the counters at the fast food places with a dining-in area are more apt to look quickly while not having to leave their work station and I just don’t realize it.
Does it matter if they ‘read’ me? No, not really. I figure they are just guessing anyway and they will never find out; at least from me directly. I can’t think of any other situation when Kay and I are out and about that people knock others out of the way to just get a look at us. What does that say about the crude and rude people who work at places like that?