Thursday, December 31, 2009

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Most Wonderful Christmas

Christmas time in the city; its 1:30 Christmas morning and where did the time go? I am thinking back 4 years ago about this time that I underwent my mastectomy after discovering that I had breast cancer. Four years ago, it was only six years ago that I moved in with my sweetie, again around Christmas time. That was our first Christmas together, in our new house; it was establishing new traditions and letting go of the many old ones that we created as a family of two with two dogs.

We have spent another wonderful day with my daughter and her future husband. I am not quite sure how to mark this Christmas Eve down for us. My daughter and I are making new memories as Sarah and daughter, which will eventually, I expect, balance out the many years she has of me as her father! So many things were explained tonight that I have only wished and hoped would begin to thaw. Not only I had breast cancer, but I have recently learned that my ex wife had breast cancer and she had to have both chemo and radiation therapy which caused her hair to fall out. Julie is trying to get her brothers to come around and says that she takes my side when they begin to complain about my life and how I treated them. She also says that my ex will remind them of what all I did for them when they were growing up. To me, that is pretty amazing in itself; however, that said I don’t think she will call me up to chat; but still. I had always assumed that my ex and I had never crossed paths when I am out an about with Kay since our divorce, but Julie says that she has seem me several times and I that I did not recognized her. I guess I wasn’t looking for her in the crowd so much as I didn’t expect her to come within 500 ft of me. Now I am curious as to when she has seen me around town now that I know her hair fell out and she looks totally different. Julie also said that her Uncle had spotted me out and about and that he had told her to tell us that he hopes we are doing well. Wow!!

Julie sat down and had a long conversation with the person who is doing a documentary about my life and she said that it was because of some of his questions that made her re-think about things in a different perspective. She believes her brother is at a place in his life that would be willing to set down and talk about how he feels about me and the way I am living my life now. The ice is cracking!! I can only hope that my oldest son and his wife will someday speak to me.

My daughter, Julie is a very beautiful, insightful woman; she is not one to follow the crowd and since graduation from the University has made her own way. I can not describe the joy and love that she has shown to Kay and me. And I most certainly am having a hard time putting into words the joy and wonder that Kay and I have discovered this Christmas, especially.

This has got to be one of the best Christmas’ that I have ever experienced.

Merry Christmas, Auntee Sarah

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all. This was the most wonderful Christmas EVER!! We'll post more about it later. Very tired tonight.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Wild Side of

Always secretly loved this song; I say secretly because I was afraid to say it out loud for fear that someone would connect the song's meaning to my secret. That I was a 'She'.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Reacquainting with "T" group

Tuesday, Kay and I reconnected with the Trans group that meets in Tallahassee, I know it quite a distance to go for a 2 1/2 hr meeting, but it was really worth it. The group leader was someone we knew from that old group that i used to meet with almost 7 years ago; times flies when you're transitioning. Tuesday was a small group of only 6 counting Kay and I, but we met 2 new friends who are coming out and 1 who lives and works as male. I think I was able to give him some good information about changing documents since he was born in Georgia, and I was able to get my DL name and gender changed by my surgery. Hope he will be able to change his documents. Overall it was a good meeting and we reminisced about the members of the old group.

Since the meeting was that evening, Kay and I spent most of the day shopping and looking and eating at the Olive Garden; which we still do not have in our area. We like to visit different quilting stores and we found and visited a new one off 319, north of the city. There happens to be a "Fashion Bug" or a couple in town and I bought 5 tops, some on sale, some new; but all great tops which I needed. The last stop before the meeting was in a 'World Market', great place for different stuff.

Kay bought one item that is proving to be the best Christmas Present, ever for us; she purchased a GPS box. I'll tell you, this is a great present to get for yourself; it has already proven to be invaluable, especially at night when it is difficult to read road signs; especially with someone who is losing their night vision. We could have used this thing on our road trip through New England last summer; would have saved us a lot of grief and frustration. We think its voice is cute when it says it has to re-calculate when we deliberately go out of our way; and when the voice mis-pronounces the street names by stressing different sylLABles. I think the GPS system will make our next excursion much more relaxing, at least for me.

Monday, November 30, 2009

A time for Forgiveness and Love

These thoughts have been a struggle to put on paper over the past few days and the post has undergone several re-writes.

Today is the First Sunday of Advent for us Episcopalians; it is the beginning of a new Church Year and the conclusion of the old. A time of anticipation of the birth of Jesus, but also the reflection on the return of Jesus and how we should prepare ourselves spiritually. It is a season of love and forgiveness which makes me reflect on those family members who still can not accept me and welcome me into their lives and family units.

I am especially saddened to learn of the death of Mike Penner/Christene Danials, everyone has heard of and commenting on his/her highly visible transition during his time as a sports writer at the LA Times a few years ago. As other sisters and their families know, whether to transition or not, is a very difficult decision; for everyone involved. We know from the stories of other sisters that families usually turn their backs to us; we are kicked aside, or disowned. And I will make the assumption that the majority of sisters and brothers who are struggling with GID have at one time or another, thought about suicide. How easy it would be if we just ended this struggle over depression, fighting with ourselves as to whether or not we should transition by ending our lives quietly and alone. But we are never alone, there are always other who's lives are linked with ours. Anyone experiencing high levels of shame, depression, embarrassment and public humiliation can easily be send someone over the edge to suicide. How easy it would have been for me to just to end my existence and slam my car into a concrete support column of an overhead bridge; or possible swerve into the path of an oncoming truck, and get out of the way of my family’s life. But for me those were just passing thoughts that didn’t happen because I knew that I had much to live for and I could cause the innocent death of others.

We expect so much, and desperately hope family can bring themselves to understand and forgive; an expectation that is froth with disappointment. Knowing that if we transition, future job offers could disappear, friendships we thought were strong and solid, dissolve before our eyes, and members of our family accuse us of deception and fraud because we follow our true instincts. They accuse us of walking out on them and place the blame for their anger in our laps. Our prayers are for them to search for answers, learn to ask the important and right questions; so that they will have a change of heart and seek us out, to reconcile with us. That would be the most precious Christmas gift I would ever have.

We are the first to ask for forgiveness from others, but should we really expect forgiveness from them? I have had some very illuminating post-transition discussions with my daughter whom I love and have only recently reconnected with; partly because she has come to an understanding that our family breaking up was because of a number of issues we refused to face and deal with. She told me, if only I had sat them down and discussed with them that I didn’t know what was happening to me or that I could have taken the time to explained what I was dealing with. They just wanted to be included, but I was afraid of what they would think of me; their father wanting to live as a woman. It would have been very reconciling to have talked about the elephant, my supposed secret out in the open. My daughter wrote the following in a “Father’s Day” card;

“Dad, I know that I never responded to your letter from the fall. I don’t know that I knew how to. I think I always wished you had said simply, “I don’t know!”. It was as simple as the fact that while we didn’t understand what was going on, neither did you. I regret a lot of the times we spent being hateful and resentful to each other. I know now that I can say I love you for who you are. Sometimes, however, I need to remember who you were. If nothing else, I need you to understand that.”

I need to remember where I came from, just as much as she needs to cherish her memories of our family during the happy times. Is it harder to extend forgiveness than to ask that it be returned? I wait and pray that her brothers will soon find the questions to ask that will begin the process of bringing the family back to a place of inner peace, if they know that I miss and love them enough to realize that I respect their distance, but wish for forgiveness and a hug or two.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Holiday Madness

Well Thanksgiving in under the belt and things are really beginning to spin out of control. On Black Friday, Kay had a doctors appointment, so we drove down to Gainesville, Fl so she could get her yearly mammogram done. I'm telling you these people are good, her appointment was for 3 pm, we arrived 15 min early to update her records, she was called back on time, and by 3:10 she was walking out the door. Mammogram done, the xray taken and read and she was given the green light that everything was good. All in 10 minutes, wow!

We spent the rest of the afternoon in Borders Book Store and a Bed and Bath, and were back home by 6:30. All that to say that we pretty much stayed out of the area malls; plenty of time to shop, done need the big stuff anyway right now, as we just bought a new car a few months ago.

This weekend, I am singing the "Messiah" with a community choir; and the following Saturday the 5th is the Symphony Concert and Sunday the 6th, our church does "Lesson & Carols". We have the Christmas Party with Kay's family on Dec. 12th, and we are hoping that my daughter and her fiance will go with us to Kay's family christmas party, and should have a blast. There is no telling what we will have to do between our holiday engagements but we know to be prepared for anything. We have made plans to have serve Christmas Dinner for a few friends while we enjoy the day together. Good friends are the family we choose!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Things that I am thankful for this year---- That we have reconnected with my daughter and her future husband (great guy, by the way). That we were so well received by Integrity group within the Episcopal Church. That PFLAG is doing so well here in South Georgia. That we are so involved in the LGBT community. I am thankful that I have completed my breast reconstruction. That my love for Kay grows stronger every day. I am grateful that we can share so much life together while laughing and having fun. That as we watch and care for children of our church and other friends, I am amazed at their love and sharing is returned.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Dawning of a LGBT Inclusive Day

The week of Thanksgiving is here, the signal for the start of the season’s hectic schedules and sharing of one’s self. Our runaway schedules began yesterday as we hosted the Diocesan chapter meeting for the Episcopalian’s Integrity LGBT group within the Church’s organization.

We had been strongly encouraged to host this month’s meeting, since we complained so much about the location of the last meeting, which was in Savannah. Which, for us it is a drive across the state of Georgia. Dan and Jamie, the long time Co-Coordinators of Integrity had asked us if we would like to talk about being transgender and a member of the Episcopal Church. We did not anticipate how difficult and painful that simple request would become for us.

For several years now we have spoken to several University classes with the intent of educating and advocating for the struggles that trans men and women overcome every day of their lives. However, our church, St Barnabas is the one place where we met a lot of emotional badgering as we tried to explain what I needed to do, and how I wanted my home Church to welcome me back into the flock as Sarah. I needed to explain how important my Church family had become, how much I needed, both spiritually and emotionally to be accepted as Sarah. My spiritual survival hinged on the decisions made of that night; because for me there was no other Church in the City that could replace the importance of St Barnabas’ connections in my life.

As Kay and I struggled with how we should approach the meeting, it opened old wounds of hurt and disappointment as the emotions of that night so long ago can rushing back into our consciousness. As the day of the meeting drew closer, the emotional struggles for both of us grew more intense, strong enough to send us into emotional chaos. For me conducting a discussion about my life’s transition with members of my Church family was very emotional, because the church members who were present are part of my extended family. I believe that with my brother and sisters living so far apart and never getting together it was easier to reveal Sarah to them, than it was to open my heart to my Church family, the people I see every week.

When the Integrity group meets we try to hold it to two hours because of the long distances people have to drive to attend any meeting across the lower part of the State. So at the end of the meeting Kay and I were given a standing acknowledgement of the courage we showed that afternoon, and with the Official Picture in front of our yard sign, everyone went home with a better understanding of the language of transgender and emotional toil that is heaped on us to accept the path given to us to follow. Many attendees thanked me for telling my story, and the story of all trans people.

It appears that a new day is dawning for LGBTQ member of the Episcopal Church of South Georgia with the election of our new Bishop, and we will be a visible presence, demanding spiritual healing and inclusion in the years to come.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Why is Being Transsexual Important?

What makes us so focused on terms and where we define ourselves to be finished on the path of transition? Why is it so important for me to define myself as a post-op Trans Woman? Why shouldn’t just being included in the transgender box be enough for me?

As a person who is up in her years, I look back at my years of “stop and go” phases of transitioning and wonder why it means so much to me to identify myself as a ‘post-op trans woman’. Yes, I could have stopped anywhere along the path of my journey to become Sarah; but each stopping point became a jumping off place to a higher plain. As I traveled on each path of my transition journey, I was satisfied to be just a part-time, occasional ‘cross dresser’ until that phase became me, and that wasn’t enough. It wasn’t enough to cross dress on an occasional basis; but my guilt and shame overcame the need to experiment further. And so I stopped dressing for long periods, because I did have a family I needed to be with. With each successive alternating periods of ‘dressing’ and avoidance, the time period between the two changed; longer periods of dressing and shorter periods of avoidances coupled with depression, anger, intense agitation with not being able to ‘dress’ when I wanted to. Whatever I want to call or name these two behavior patterns, I knew that if I tried hard enough, I could stop ‘dressing’ and it wasn’t permanent. I never really wanted to continue with living as the male person, but I could stop.

When the time came during my long period of transition that I really had to make a choice to try and give all this being girly up and remain my male self, filled with alcohol, and anger and feeling sorry for myself; or I could choose to accept who I had really become and live as a happy, spiritual fun filled person in the form of Sarah.

Defining one’s self as a transsexual is a threshold that if crossed, is very difficult for one to backtrack; it is almost is a point of no-return. Although that are some that have re-transitioned; I know that and that’s ok. Wherever we define our stopping point along the gender identity line, is the place where we have accepted ourselves within the sub-set of gender. For me as I claim my ‘box’ to be ‘female’, I know that I have reached the end of my transition journey. I don’t have to do anything more to my body to correct flaws that I think I see. Because I am comfortable with my life as I have become. When I am out and about in a large group of mixed company, I know that when people see me, they see a woman; a female accompanied by another female of the more mature crowd. That’s all I need to know; that I am accepted as just another gray-haired lady of a certain age bracket, who has more life experiences that most people will ever have; and my life experiences came from two different baskets. So calling myself a ‘transsexual’ woman gives finality to my journey; I have reached the end of my path of transition and accept the fact that the door to my other life is shut and bolted. I have stepped across into the conscious stream of just being woman; of living in my feminine existence, and I know that I am home.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Shadows of Old Name Follows

Ever where I turn these days, at least once a month I am reminded that a shadow of my previous self is lurking beyond the edge of light ready to strike, revealing the existence of my previous life. The pieces of mail I receive from the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars, in addition to correspondence from companies that I had dealings with in my old life.

It was much easier changing my name through the courts system than it has ever been in trying to update financial institutions information and with my health care provider. Not to mention that I will never be able to change my name on documents I receive in connection with the Military Retirement Section and Finance records. Especially my Retiree Account Statement always shows my previous name. When I updated my name change with my Health Care Provider, they have a computerized system where one can check and verify all medical appointment, and authorization for procedures with payments and costs. One has to use one’s social security number to access the system and after submitting copies of the court documents for my name change, it blocked my access to all records because of the name difference. I had to make several phone calls and spend several hours trying to get my access reset.

Because I have taken Kay maiden name along with mine, it makes it difficult to process medical related paperwork in the beginning. The Social Security system recognized one form of my name, my Military healthcare recognizes another grouping, and the VA will only recognize the combination of our maiden names to get any medical appointments settled. The only problem is that my Military ID card has only the initial for my middle name, which is Kay’s maiden name; and it make explanations of the difference with the VA and the Military Records comical.

This week, I needed to refill some of my prescriptions and learned that they had not been authorized for reduced payments through my health care provider. Tricare had changed the company that had been using to fill prescriptions and needed a correct name. It had been two years or so since I had legally changed my name and I assumed that the new company had been given my old name instead of Sarah; and I was furious. Since it was Veteran Day everything was closed and I would not be able to contact them until Thursday, and I was out of one of my meds. The pharmacy would only let me purchase for full price, and I thought if I did pay full price, I would have to jump through many and large hoops to get any refunds when I got my name problems corrected. It was only when I had called Humana Health Care and I realized they were closed for the holiday, I realized the pharmacy tech had not submitted my full name. It seems that they had always used Sara, without the “H” and everything was fine; but with the new company, they rejected the refill request because it did not have the “H”. So when I pointed out that there was a misspelling of my first name, she added the ‘h’ and both refills were processed with no problems. I was very relieved that I did not have to fight the system again to correct my name.

It took the rest of the day for me to calm down enough to enjoy the week.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

For Anniversaries

November 11, tomorrow happens to be several anniversaries that I remember and celebrate. November 11th is Veterans Day, where at the 11th minute of the 11th hours the Armistice was signed; the remembrances of all wars, of all tragic deaths of family members who gave their lives so that others might be free. As a Vietnam Vet, I fought to keep the Communists at bay. I risked my life so that others might protest government actions without the fear of being killed. I risked my life so that I could grow up and get married; so that I could work without the fear of being harassed or ridiculed or killed because I am a transsexual. I served my time in combat so that others may choose the life they want. The reasons we fight on foreign soil is not to satisfy the whims of someone in governmental power; but to serve and protect the country against enemies, foreign and domestic. I served my country to protect those who voice objections. I am speaking of an incident where veterans strung a protester who burned the American Flag upside down by his heels, to teach him a lesson. Although I do not condone the actions of the flag burner nor the re actions of the veterans, I cry for the injustices perpetrated by mob rule.

November 11th will be our third Wedding Anniversary, where Kay and I walked across our yard to stand in front of friends to speak our marriage vows. Every day since that sunny November afternoon; my love for Kay has grown. Every day in another day filled with wonder and laughter and held hand and wonderful snuggles as we lay in each others arms at the end of the day and pronounce our love for each other. The paths we have traveled have been filled with music and theatre and travel, not knowing where we are going but happy we are traveling together smelling the flowers and marveling at the beauty of the landscape.

Monday, November 9, 2009

What Did I Want This Morning

Last week was incredibly busy for us. We drove back from Atlanta on Monday after staying with my cousin while her daughter (my favorite person in the whole world) had surgery on her eye. We got back late that evening. The next couple of days were spent cleaning house and completing last minute things for the Fall Festival our church was having. I was the coordinator for it so I was a little nervous. We knew Sarah's daughter and her fiance were coming over for dinner on Thursday evening and we had friends who were going to stay with us over the weekend because they were going to a wedding.

On Wednesday afternoon, a friend called and needed a place to stay because a relative had died and he was coming to the funeral. We have plenty of room and this fellow is always a great guest so we told him to come on which he did. He got in around 11 p.m. and we stayed up talking until 2 a.m.!! I should have known better.

On Thursday we got ready for Sarah's daughter and her fiance. We had a WONDERFUL visit. Julie is an INCREDIBLE young woman and sooooo funny too. He fiance had made a delicious antipasta salad and we thoroughly enjoyed the evening with them. You know Jason loves her when looks at her. They are just fantastic.

Friday we went to the church to put the finishing touches on the Fall Festival. We worked our butts off. Saturday we were at the church before 8 a.m. to let the vendors get set up. It really was our best Fall Festival yet. We didn't get home until around 6 p.m. I was one tired puppy! I was in bed and asleep by 10 p.m. That is unheard of for this night owl. Up on Sunday to do the church thing. is Monday morning. I had planned a quiet relaxing day. Maybe working on the hedges in front of the house but NO. Sarah has discovered a hole in the little fish pond out back so off to the store she goes. She comes home with a LARGER fish pool and a different shape than the other one. Keep in mind while you read this that about 2 years ago she had problems with her back, had an MRI which showed a couple of ruptured discs and had to have injections in her back (this was in the hospital under anesthesia) to relieve the problem. So now Sarah is out there digging and moving the rocks around the fish pond around so I feel that I need to go help out to be sure she doesn't further injure herself.

My help always involves a couple of differences of opinions and constant warnings not to further injure herself because I will have to take care of her. She did need the help.

The fish pond is now in with only one of the fish not making the transition. Is this what I wanted on my post crazy week Monday. Nope, but it is what I got. Do I love Sarah any less. No, not at all. I love her all the more and guess what blogger friends. This Wednesday we will have been married 3 years.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Equal and Civil Rights

Well said Rev. Russell

Changes All Around

As you might have noticed I have changed the format of this blog. I have been thinking a change was in order for some time and the look needed to be personalized, at least for me.

When Kay and I created this blog, I had been transitioned for several years and we felt that as Christian people and married, we needed to tell our story and of our lives together.

One could say that I had been transitioning for 15 years or so before I was served with divorce papers in 2003. I was discovering bits and pieces of my other self over the years with cross dressing and buying heels and throwing them away; of buying clothes and makeup and throwing them away. These periods of my discovering how to be Sarah were solitary, and always fearful of discovery; no worthwhile physiological digging, no outside help from anyone. I didn’t know of any other trans person during those lonely years of self discovery.

Two events attest to my diligence in pursuing who the real person was and became the cornerstone for my transition. Two opportunities taken that released my true self from her cage behind my wall of shame and fear. Two outings, dressed as the future Sarah, would be the beginning of a 15 years metamorphosis surrounded by family tugging and pulling me in different directions. 15 years fighting myself over core beliefs, attempting to peal away the layers of guilt and shame imposed upon me by my Catholic Faith. The first appearance of the future Sarah would be in the year, 1977 where I spent two days transforming into the feminine person. It wouldn’t happen again until 1992 that she would step into the light of day again.

Only upon my marriage separation did I feel free and unencumbered enough to pursue my female personification and who she would become. During this year of discovery, I connected with a great therapist and joined an lgbt group which was meeting in Tallahassee. It became my year of true acceptance and courage as I found true love and a place of peace.

My time table for transition was hindered by my own fears. Fear of having to hide my secret, fear of my family learning about my secret. Not knowing how not to hurt my family, and at the same time cross dressing when I could. Hiding the fear of thinking that I was ‘only’ a cross dresser; fearful of thinking that there might be something more inside of me. Fearful of what my church upbringing thought about my cross dressing. Realizing that I was one of God’s creatures in his church and was loved by him; however I dressed and lived my life. Finally I realized that the fear of not transitioning and living a life in pain and agony was overcome by the unknown of transitioning and a joyful hope of living a happier life. Finally demanding that my God do something to me; pleading for him to take away these urges to be Sarah. Calling him down on the carpet to wash away this obsession of mine to discover Sarah; to fix me, as it were.

Only after I started my transition was I introduced to other trans people who offered support and love for me during my transition. Experiencing the excitement of finding a good therapist after two spending so much valuable time with ones who hadn’t dealt with people who were struggling with gender identity. Realizing that I could transition in the same town where I lived for 13 years and not having to relocate. After three years living as Sarah, I now live under the radar, although that wasn’t my intention. Living in a town as part of a duo of two ladies and having people only see two ladies; not a ‘woman’ and a ‘trans’ woman. Knowing some people know about my past and not having them make a big deal about it is great for my security and confidence.

Getting the opportunity to show people that we are two people with normal lives, living boring lives is so much better that having to be defensive and fearful. Educating Doctors, Nurses, and teachers about who we are and who we are not by our normal existence is teaching those who don’t know us, what being transsexuals can do. Being invisible while walking among those who do not know that I am trans, is a teaching moment. Being able to shop, attend concerts and plays out in the community are teachable moments. When people meet us in public places, I think that they only see two ladies who they know do lots of things together as two older lesbians. Works for us.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

1st Trans March Atlanta

Here is the news clip from Southern Voice about the First Annual Transgender March for Atlanta Pride. We took a short march around the park area with lots of cheers of support, what a day!!! Kay and I are at the 1:06 mark and we show up at the end of the clip as it fades away.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Atlanta Pride

Kay and I attended Atlanta Pride festivities, with an afternoon at the park on Saturday and on Sunday we watched the parade. We were invited to march with a group from All Saints Episcopal Church after services. I am glad that we took to opportunity to watch the parade, even though we did miss the first few groups march by. Everyone was clapping and cheering, people throwing beads and such. It was very interesting to see all of the very different groups. WOW!! Two newbies from south GA. But what a morning.

The Saturday before, we got to the park around noon in enough time to find out where the First Transgender Parade would begin, there was a small group because it was added, it seemed, at the last minute; there was about 25 people to march around the park with people cheering us. It turned out that to keep the trans march in the park was the best option for the day. I met some new friends and someone who I was friends with on Pink Essence. While we were chatting we noticed a band playing under a small pavilion and a smaller crowd listening. Janine recognized the song and the band, it was Gracie and Lady GaGa. I introduced myself and told her how much I appreciated she had done for the cause. A real nice lady, with a great voice.

It was awesome to walk through the park and visit each booth and watch the people and how they interact with each other. I love people watching; just seeing the strong display of affection was heartwarming.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Equal Rights for All

Lets make marriage a Civil Act, blessed in your Church of Choice!!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Change of View

As one can see, I have changed the format of our post to something more personable, I think. Our blog is about to turn 2 years old and I have changed the format to add the picture of a body of water with the reflections of the woods giving two views from different perspectives. The reflection that we see in the water has a distortion with ripples caused by the moving winds of change.

Actually this as a picture of Walden's Pond near Waltham, Mass, where the great writer chose to live. Kay and I shared the day with my daughter while we were in town to celebrate with her as she graduated from Brandeis University.

Kay, hope you don't mind the changes!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Separation of Church and State?

In reality, as Bishop Robinson said, this is the church imposing its will on the state. "Separation of church and state works both ways." The framing of what he meant is what really caught me: that churches, as he said, are deputized by the state for civil purposes. If you want to get married, you to a church and you get married. Or you can go get a justice of the peace. You can even have a friend become a Universal Life minister just for the occasion. There are lots of ways. And as Bishop Robinson pointed out, when you get a divorce, you don't go back to the church. You go to the courts. But because marriage originated as a religious concept, and because churches and other religious organizations are massive and organized, the church has a seat at the table, and the religious exceptions written into the New Hampshire and Maine legislation has a specific exception for that. So they get to cry foul and people listen to them.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Transition Timing

I have been following a sisters story of her journey to transition; she is retired, single and has a twin sister who is in the final stages with cancer. Her sister is in the capable hands of a hospice caregiver and she is spending the rest of her time among family. As Melissa struggles to find her way through these life changing transitions; her coming out, which takes a back seat to the passing of her sister. I am struck by the quality of love she is showing her sister and to her family. How ironic it seems as she struggles with discovering who she is, she knows in her heart that her family will lose both their brother and sister and must morn their loss equally. More importantly to hope that they will welcome Melissa with open arms, as they recognize how precious life as within their family.

My heart goes out to her as she finds her new place among her family as Melissa. I can only imagine the courage she will need to find deep within her soul and person to discern when would be a good time to tell her family about Melissa. I know how hard it was for me when I told my mother and my brother and sisters and it didn't help as they are scattered around the country and one can not count on the mail to be delivered simultaneously. But Melissa does have the support of a family that has chosen to accept her, to welcome her with open arms; her family of trans sisters around the world.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Passage of Federal Hate Crimes Bill

Integrity USA
Integrity USA A monumental day, from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force: Task Force: Passage of federal hate crimes bill marks 'milestone for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans'
Task Force: Passage of federal hate crimes bill marks 'milestone for lesbian, gay, bisexual and tran
MEDIA CONTACT: Inga Sarda-SorensenDirector of Communications(Office) 646.358.1463(Cell)

LOS ANGELES, CA--Integrity applauds the passage today of the groundbreaking legislation making it a federal crime to assault an individual because of his or her sexual orientation or gender identity.

"Since 1988 the General Convention of the Episcopal Church as been on record supporting legislation protecting all Americans from hate motivated violence," said Integrity President David Norgard. "And so we rejoice today with all who have worked so long and so hard to move this legislation forward. Our prayers are particularly with Judy and Dennis Shepard and their family, who turned the tragedy of the death of their son Matthew into advocacy on behalf of all those vulnerable to hate crimes because of their sexual orientation or gender identity."

In her 2007 letter in support of the bill passed by the Senate today, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori included this quote from former Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold: "The fact that Matthew was an Episcopalian makes our grief no more sharp, but it does give us a particular responsibility to stand with gays and lesbians, to decry all forms of violence against them - from verbal to physical, and to encourage the dialogue that can, with God's help, lead to new appreciation for their presence in the life of our church, and the broader community."

Integrity is grateful for the work and witness of ALL those who have stood with the most vulnerable down through the years -- and is committed to continue that advocacy as we follow the Lord who called us always to remember that it is in service to "the least of these" that we live out our call to seek and serve Christ in all persons.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Veteran Speaks for Gay Marriage

"The woman at my polling place asked me do I believe in equality for gay and lesbian people. I was pretty surprised to be asked a question like that. It made no sense to me. Finally I asked her: what do you think I fought for in Omaha Beach?"

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sound of Music

But what does that mean to me?

I am a woman. But what does that mean to me?

What is my definition of what it is to be a woman? What is my relevance to being feminine? I spent the majority of my life being, a husband, a father, a son, a brother; I spent twenty years in the Army band system playing music. I am a teacher, a boy scout leader, a healer. I give as much compassion as I receive. I grew up in a household with four sisters; my sisters cleaned house and helped with the cooking and washing and folding of the clothes; I didn’t have to do that as a child. But I watched from afar and learned at my mothers knee to be tender, caring, gentle, loving child.

When I stepped away from my male life path, to live authentically as a woman, I was still a loving, compassionate, person who reached across the line to help others. I fathered three children, supported and encouraged them to try different things, be in the band and learn music, be in a scouting program. Apply bandages to their scrapes and cuts, hold and nurse them when they were hurt or sick. Encouraged learning new and different things and watching them try and fail. So I'll never know what it feel like to be pregnant, I experienced it vicariously with my wife 3 pregnancies. I will never know what it feel like to loose one's virginity as a young girl; I surrendered mine when I was 20; a one shot experience; not the same and I am not suggesting that it would be. But when one looses their virginity, a piece of their conscience being is lost. Now, as a trans woman who has found a new love; the way we show and express our love is still satisfying, but different in so many ways.

To be married with another female is to see that the house is cleaned, bathrooms are scrubbed, and floors swept and mopped and dust work is done. Must see that the yard work is done every week, lawn mowed and raked, bushes trimmed sidewalks swept. All the above needs and wants and work done can be done by those who can do them, male or female; doesn’t matter. We work our little garden, care for our plants and flowers. We tend to the business at hand; what needs to be done; share what love passes between us.

Yet being female, I get to care for children in our home. I get to run through the sprinklers with them on a hot summer’s day; I get to sit on the floor and play with My Little Pony, or build castles to towns; I get to fix them lunches and make sure they are fed. I get to read stories to them or sit with them as we watch movies, or just listen to them explain how something works, or is made, or how bugs and birds make their homes. I get to watch their faces fill with their excitement, and wonder, and joy.

Being female now, I get to dress up and wear all those wonderful, colorful, shear and delightful dresses and go out with my honey to the symphony or plays, or to the movies. I can now wear those beautiful shoes, have my hair make up and nails done, make other women jealous, make other women smile, because they see another woman. Being a trans woman, especially if your life is revealed by others, means being denied jobs, having men look at you differently; with suspect. Having other people try to make you conform, become invisible, having your life ignored because you can't.

The one thing I didn’t expect when I transitioned was that I developed breast cancer after only 14 months on hormones. I had achieved great results and was looking forward to having the breast I had always wished for. I waited 56 years before I started my transition and after only a fraction of time did I watch the physical changes happen with hormones. I was only using the estrodol patch with 0.25 mg of estrogen, and I developed cancer. Treating the cancer meant that I had to stop taking all forms of hormones and block the hormones that my body produced naturally; but it didn’t stop my transition to womanhood. Living in womanhood without one of her breasts doesn’t stop her from being feminine. Being a woman is more of a mindset within a body than just dressing as one. It’s a being of tenderness, caressing, listening, caring, nursing, and being women. Being female.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Broken Hearts

I received a phone call yesterday from my cousin. I could tell she was crying and she kept saying that Kurt's wife, Lana, was dead. At first, I couldn't understand why she was saying that nor why she was crying. THEN, the meaning sunk in. (In an effort to give the family some anonymity I am changing names).Lana had died. She was at home, complained of a horrible headache, wasn't responding to questions, Kurt called 911, while he was on the phone she slumped to the floor. The ambulance arrived and she died enroute to hospital. It is suspected that she had a cerebral aneurysm.

I had had a very close relationship with Kurt (as a young child) and his family over the years. There has been some difficulty in the relationship between this cousin and I. He was unable to accept Sarah so our relationship has been strained and we have not seen each other for several years. This is just background information and not the point of this post.

The point is this is family who I love and enjoyed a close relationship with at one time. I have called and left a message on his phone and later talked with his sister.

Lana was 33 years old. She was a vibrant young woman who married Kurt with a little girl that I adored. She had a daughter from previous marriage who was, also, adorable. She was so good to Kurt's daughter and she showed no partiality in the two girls. I will always be grateful for the love and nurturance that she showed to Kurt's daughter.

Please pray for them as they go through this difficult time My heart is broken for them.

The point is that I love them and my heart is broken for them.

O God of grace and glory, we remember before you this day
our sister, Lana. We thank you for giving her to us, her
family and friends, to know and to love as a companion on
our earthly pilgrimage. In your boundless compassion,
console us who mourn. Give us faith to see in death the gate
of eternal life, so that in quiet confidence we may continue
our course on earth, until, by your call, we are reunited with
those who have gone before; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Jury Duty

Decision, final day. Reported back for jury duty today, and the judge asked if we would step outside and be back by 10am that he and the counselors had things to discuss. When we all reported back to the courtroom, the judge addressed us again; he said that they had settled all of the cases that were on the docket for the week. He wanted to thank us for stepping up and doing our duty for the county and that he expressed his appreciation for us being there Monday and today; that we were free to go.

Ok, I'm glad that I wasn't called out for final selection; but still I created so much stress for myself, just on the slightest chance that I would have been called. Would have had to identify my spouse as a female, suggesting that we happen to have a same-sex marriage when same-sex marriage are not recognized in the State of Georgia. I realize that I create a large amount of anxiety for myself just thinking what if? I will have to work on that during the next year. Lost two nights of sleep over nothing. Got to let more stuff slide.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Jealous of a Trans Woman

I guess I have never experienced this kind of green jealousy or envy from another woman as I received today. Kay and I were enjoying a wonderful ice cream cone from the local Stone Cold Creamery. As we were licking our lips and just chatting, another middle aged couple walked in to enjoy some ice cream for themselves. Kay and I were sitting at one of the short table at the front of the ice cream shop and the woman had placed her order and was talking on the phone. Her husband was rather good looking be seemed the edgy type A personality, pacing back and forth waiting for his ice cream cone (sorry, not come). Because of the way I was sitting, he was in my line of sight and I kept watching his hunk pace as I was talking and joking with Kay. After the other woman got her ice cream she began to pace next to her husband and very deliberately she reached behind him and suddenly grabbed his ass while looking directly at me. I immediately thought that she was claiming her territory with him and that she wanted me to know that he was hers. Period!!

Ok, I have never had anyone express such jealousy towards me before; I guess she didn't see my ring. Or she did see my ring and still made sure I knew that he was her property. As we lelt, I really did think about what I was doing when I reached behind him to grab......... a few napkins (not for his ass). When we got to the car, Kay said that when I walked past her as we left she gave me such a look, as if she was ready to fight me, or worse. I have never had any woman react to me with such jealousy as that woman did. Alright, I liked the reaction I got out of her. Me, a trans woman trying to steal someones husband; I know now that other women see me as a woman, and a possible threat. I'll take that and run with it.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Update-Trans Woman in the Courtroom

In one of my post from last month, is it October already? I mentioned that I had received a notice for jury duty. So I have been imagining various scenarios as to how the morning could proceed. I am assuming a lot since I have no idea if the question of my gender or the name of my wife will even be raised in the court room with the lawyers working the case. Since I am beginning this post Sunday evening, I assume that the case hasn’t been settled. The last time I was seated on a jury, I was elected Jury Foreman, because I tend to ask the first questions take charge; that probably won’t happen this time. But I plan to be there bright and early tomorrow morning, ready to do my duty. This evening I agonized for about an hour as to what I should wear, or could wear tomorrow in the court room. While I was shopping in my closet, I took the time to sort through some of the clothes that don’t fit me any more. I don know but I getting to be a big girl these days. Need to get back on my walking schedule. Will give more details after jury duty.

Just returned from my summons for jury duty; fortunately or unfortunately, I was not selected to sit for today’s trial. I am to report back this Wednesday same time for the Continuing Story of the Trans in the Court Room.

At today’s proceedings, the Court Clerk called from her two lists of potential jury members to make sure everyone was present and noted the people who did not show up. Then she called out the 36 names to be the jury pool, at which point the lawyer for the state asked her qualifying questions and then the Lawyer for the Defense asked his questions. At which point the Judge asked everyone to tell if they were retired or still working, where they lived, the name of their wives or husbands and if they worked or were retired. Uh Oh!! (Well my original questions were answered!). When everyone was satisfied with the jury pool, the Judge released everyone else about 11 am to return on Wednesday. Not sure how I will side step the wife's name question. I could just say my spouse's name is Kay Riggle, and is a retired nurse from the health department. The name is gender neutral afterall. Keep everyone posted!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Orion - Sex columnist: Sex education valuable for every student

The Orion - Sex columnist: Sex education valuable for every student

Shared via AddThis

I must agree being trans or gay is NOT a lifestyle choice; acceptance or rejection, happiness or anger those are the choice

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pornography = GAY

Well, we can all go back to our little lives, because we have just learn what make little boys GAY according the official announcement! According to SEN. COBURN’S CHIEF OF STAFF! WOW!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Transsexual in the Jury Pool

There are times, especially these days as I live my life as Sarah that I am pushed, or stumble into situations that I would not like to go,not many but there are some. I resist stepping over the line out of fear of the unknown; I tend to create scenarios in my mind of all the possible outcomes; good and bad. Usually there seem to be more bad than good. I know it’s not rational to presuppose events scenarios and how they play out, but I do. I get antsy and imagine all sorts of strange string of events happening around me.

I mentioned in one of my previous posts that I have been summoned for jury duty in the Counties Superior Court System for the first week in October. Looking at the notice that was sent to me, I am required to list the name of my spouse. I must speak the name of my spouse in a room full of all the other people who have been called to serve as jury members. When I speak Kay’s name I can see all eyes looking upon this crazy woman. I am not one to keep my personal history so secret that I would want it to dissolve into thin air, but speaking the name of my wife in a room full of people that I do not know is not how I would like to tell people either. People tend to get excited and look at me differently when I try to explain that I was born male and am now living as female.

The State of Georgia does not make any allowances for same sex marriage or for same sex blessings real or perceived. So for me to have to give them some legal document stating in a court of law that my spouse is indeed female could, I imagine, cause a big ruckus in the courtroom. I will explain that our marriage is rather unusual in that we were married before I legally changed my name and had the gender marker corrected on my drivers license. That the Federal Government and the State of Georgia recognizes our marriage, because we were legally married as male and female.

I have served on juries before and the last time I received a jury selection notice I was in the middle of transitioning. Not wanting to create a bad situation, I called the county clerk and explained my dilemma at which time she just deferred me from the jury pool. Just like that, I was excused from jury duty.

For me, it is an honor to serve as a juror for the legal system. Qualified jurors are difficult to find sometime and I am qualified to serve and I will be impartial in my decisions if called upon to serve. The decision to have me step down depends, I guess on the lawyers acceptance, what the case is about, what their perceptions of my being transsexual are, and could my just being included as a member of a seated jury cause other member of the jury to focus on me and not the case. I will go to my appointed place of civic duty and stand tall for justice, expecting problems to arise, but hoping that I can fulfill my civic duty with pride and with honor.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Marriage in Vermont

It's just that we spent 2 night in Stowe Vermont, what a beautiful little town. We stayed at a little bed and breakfast 2 miles from the Von Trappe Family Lodge.

Same beautiful view, same area, good breakfast and a little cheaper. When we were there, they were having a Hot Air Balloon Festival for the weekend; watching those magnificent balloons drift across the sky with the view of those mountains behind them was spectacular!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Music of the Middle Ages

In Celebration of Hildegard of Bingen
I have a very fond affection for the music of this age. As a life long musician and singer I get emotionally elevated when hearing the musical phrases and long lifting phrases of the Gregorian Chants; especially if they have been recorded in one of the magnificent Cathedrals of Europe.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Transcript of "Sex, Lies and Gender"

Gender- My Notes

Shared via AddThis

If you did not see this program, here are some good cliff notes!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Is this the Beginning?

Is there so much hate directed towards the President that people are directing that hate upon anyone in the African American community because they are closer?

Keep the Status Quo

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Monday, September 14, 2009

A transgender's life in transition

Anne Faith Beon was born practically with axle grease on her hands -- pumping gas as a child, working on car engines and driving hot rods in the beachfront blue collar community where she was raised.

I am becoming more convinced that the more rocks we turn over there will be another trans person waiting to bloom. One can't open the internet new without hearing about someone else who has accepted their life to be something else. Ms Anne Beon is just another person who is living her life with integrity and honesty; and has the support of her children.

I have said that within out little PFLAG group, we have just celebrated our first anniversary. Within the past 12 months we have had at least 12 people who have identified as trans. We have young men and women praise us for being who we are and setting an example for them to accept themselves as gay. I am happy that we have been blessed with so many wonderful people who feel comfortable being themselves.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Need surgery to correct flaw

Thursday, September 10th 2009, 1:50 PM
Correction: It's not a flaw, but without specific surgery she has a higher risk for cancer.

This is a disgusting piece of writing, using a term that is considered degrading at the least; how awful. The IOC has a short memory concerning gender testing within the last 30 years even. We all know that at least 8 athletes in the Atlanta Games 'failed' their genetic testing, proving that they were not the 'normal' XX female but were indeed intersexed.

How irresponsible for them to even suggest that Caster Semenya should have corrective surgery to fix the potentially deadly condition. Thank God that she has enough sense to tell them to f**k off.

Man's best friend

I stole this ta(i)le from "The Mad Priest"'s blog for those of us who's best friend is and was the four footed kind!

A man and his dog were walking along a road. The man was enjoying the scenery, when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead. He remembered dying, and that the dog walking beside him had been dead for years. He wondered where the road was leading them.

After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall, along one side of the road, it looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch that glowed in the sunlight. When he was standing before it he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother-of-pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold. He and the dog walked toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side. When he was close enough, he called out, 'Excuse me, where are we?'

'This is Heaven, sir,' the man answered.

'Wow! Would you happen to have some water?' the man asked.

'Of course, sir. Come right in, and I'll have some ice water brought right up.'

The man gestured, and the gate began to open.

'Can my friend,' gesturing toward his dog, 'come in, too?' the traveller asked.

'I'm sorry, sir, but we don't accept pets.'

The man thought a moment and then turned back toward the road and continued the way he had been going with his dog. After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road leading through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed. There was no fence. As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book. 'Excuse me!' he called to the man. 'Do you have any water?'

Yeah, sure, there's a pump over there, come on in.'

'How about my friend here?' the traveller gestured to the dog.

'There should be a bowl by the pump.'

They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it. The traveller filled the water bowl and took a long drink himself, then he gave some to the dog. When they were full, he and the dog walked back toward the man who was standing by the tree.

'What do you call this place?' the traveller asked.

This is Heaven,' he answered.

'Well, that's confusing,' the traveller said. 'The man down the road said that was Heaven, too.'

'Oh, you mean the place with the gold street and pearly gates? Nope. That's hell.'

'Doesn't it make you mad for them to use your name like that?'

'No, we're just happy that they screen out the people who would leave their best friends behind.'

I'm adding on to Sarah's post. We went to Vermont this summer and found the most delightful place. An artist named Stephen Huneck built a dog chapel. Read his story and see the chapel here We fell in love with the place.

A fun piece of parody

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What's Marriage

I think Grover and his friend explains what marriage is quite well, don't you?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Just thought I share this bit of fact on how NOT the Gay marriage is destroying the Institution of Marriage in Mass.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Life in the Normal Lane

Ok, so Kay and I spent the weekend with some close friend at their Time Share Condo in the World of Golf (just learned what that means—Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden—Yep that’s right—GOLF); anyway, we had a great time at the beach on Saturday. We were at Vilano Beach and thank goodness we had a canopy over our heads or we would have been really cooked. The surf was kind of ruff with a mild undertow, not bad really. Their two children had a blast jumping the waves, with the help of the older crowd. Not knowing their plans, I had not brought another set of clothes to change into after playing in the surf; so here we go walking around the stores at Tangier’s Outlet Store near St. Augustine, Fl. If I can stand on the side walks of the outlet mall and not have anyone take a double looksy than I am doing just fine in the blending in department. I was wearing the top of my swimsuit with a pair of Capri’s, with windblown hair and wind burned face; having managed to get a comb through the hair and pulled back somewhat. Then latter that evening Kay and I went to order and wait for some pizzas, no weird looks, again!

Playing in their big pool with the other family Friday night and getting noticed only because I was swimming with Kay; I think, was really something from my perceptions of things. To the day as it happened as I described before, was just normal.

I found in the stack of mail on the counter when I got home, a Summons for Jury Duty. I’ll let everyone in on how that goes next month!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Trans History 101

No matter how hard one tries, you can never completely erase one’s prior personal data. My old name is on every notice I receive from the military’s retirement section, it will always be MSG J.. R****, because when I retired, it was under my old name. The Government will not change Official Documents. I don’t know why but, I get mail addressed to my ex at my address, you would think people would know where she lived. Why is that? And once in a while I get mail from people I dealt with a LOOONNNG time ago address to a person who doesn’t exist anymore; I should start marking them return to sender, person dead.

Today, I converted my life insurance policy that I took out in my old name to a Universal Life Policy, the reasons I took out a term policy were very complicated at the time. I noticed they had my new name but the policy stated that I was ‘male’, I asked the young lady about that, and she said that the policy was written for a ‘male’ life expectancy, and they would not change the sex identifier.

The young lady was very emphatic that she had always known my particular history, and it didn’t bother her in the least. I told her I’m glad I didn’t bother her; she just laughed.

I have to give pause when I am asked to show my ID to someone, until I remember that I was lucky enough to change my gender marker. One can never completely erase or delete links to one’s past; somewhere when you least expect it, someone or something will jump out and say, “Hi I’m from your past.”

Monday, August 31, 2009

Back in 2007, failed Dancing With the Stars hoofer and talking head Tucker Carlson boasted of his handling of a misdirected pickup:
"Having sex in a public men's room is outrageous. It's also really common. I've been bothered in men's rooms." Carlson continued, "I've been bothered in Georgetown Park," in Washington, D.C., "when I was in high school." When Abrams asked how Carlson responded to being "bothered," Carlson asserted, "I went back with someone I knew and grabbed the guy by the -- you know, and grabbed him, and ... hit him against the stall with his head, actually."