To those of you who have followed my postings here on this, our little sliver of blogsville, you might have become aware the comments and references have drifted more on the political side than the everyday twittering of my trans life. It’s not that those are not important, but the cement has finally hardened enough that my life is just me.
As I tell my story and how it has become entwined with Kay’s life to those with open minds and to those who will at least hear what we have to say, I will boil it down to the important points of having been declared male gender at birth and over my life span of wondering why this clashing of dissonance of harmonic music flowing around my being finally took me to places I have prayed, and dreamed, and hoped for. That subconscious dissonance has finally resolved to a comforting melodic harmony and resolutions by my acceptance of my being female. That I have forged my own direction splitting away from the straight and narrow path others had lain before me.
My transition happened quietly for the most part with incremental steps as I gained confidence with each new excursion into the world of women who gave acceptance of what they saw. I experimented with different brands of make up, of buying various brands, styles and sizes of pantyhose and tights, of high heel, slips and material to create acceptable breasts. I discovered what works for me by years of trial and error; because I had no one to tell me what would work and what I didn’t need. These years of discovery were injected along side with me trying to maintain the illusion that I was the man people told me I had to be; trying to raise my three children as best that I knew how. All the years of attempting to hide the real me from my family as I supported them, taking them to soccer, and band practice, to cub and boy scout meeting and camping trips; all the while giving small hints and clues that they should be accepting of others who might be different; that they should live their lives with honesty and integrity and not be judgmental or condemning.
As I have discovered how to live my life as Sarah by forging a new trail, connections with the male person and life were quickly severed as my wife filed for divorce and set me free. With the divorce, my retirement was cut in half as directed by Sailors and Soldiers Act of 1952, I think, which says that any couple who had been married for a least 10 year while the soldier was on active duty would have equal share of that soldier’s retirement pension. But having received an Honorable Discharge entitled me to keep my military sponsored health care benefits! So by my being diagnosed with male breast cancer, my medical treatments were paid for my health care provider. My modified radical mastectomy to remove possible affected tissue and lymph nodes; my breast prosthesis and bras that I used for two years, my hormone blocking shots that I took for 2 ½ years; and finally the removal of my sexual organs as viable treatment for the male breast cancer; all were authorized by my being eligible for my health care. My health care deems this procedure as ‘feminization’ surgery and does not automatically authorize the treatment; but since I had ‘male breast cancer’, they referred the request to higher medical authority that overturned the initial request that had been denied twice.
Having achieved recognition as a woman and acceptance by other women and living on a very limited income, hindered by debts incurred during my early years of transition and the buying a new car (when I was still employed), has cast large shadows and gathered rain clouds on the possibility of being able to pay for GRS; I have redirected my priorities. Kay and I are trying to change peoples thinking by letting them get to know us as a lesbian couple before we selectively disclose that one of us is trans. We were interview by two students in the Masters of Sociology program and were furthered asked to speak with the rest of the class, after their presentations. I was flattered when the second student that interviewed us had to ask which one of us was the transgendered person before he started the interview. Letting people get to know us as a couple is our way of making others comfortable with who we are and hopefully they will see that as a trans person I am not the heinous sociopaths that other try to make trans people out to be. That I have been living as Sarah these five years and have successfully functioned and have ‘passed’ while out and about; without being accosted or arrested for trying to deceive people by my ‘putting on a dress’ should be a testament that trans just want to live authentic lives without being subjected to the venomous hate spewing homophobic people who are content to let others control their lives. That by being visible in the community we are just women. Women who shop and use the restroom, go to concerts and plays; go to an embracing church community; go to the movies and PFALG and church conferences and just being like other women of the community.
Starting a chapter of PFLAG in our community has opened so many connections and opportunities that it’s mind boggling. We are encouraged by the number of young people who have stepped forward and embrace their true identity; people are hearing about us and seeing PFLAG out in the community encourages us but lets us know that we have a lot of hills of discrimination to conquer.
So I will be challenging all who read our little blog to remember the hate we have overcome and the miles we have to go. To pressure our government to support and pass the Hate Crimes Bill, support Equal Marriage Rights, support the removal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, remove the Defense Of Marriage Act, support gender rights and equality; to enforce basic Civil Rights for everyone.