Thursday, July 30, 2009

Six El Paso Planned Parenthood clinics shut their doors today, permanently.

The El Paso Times is reporting that due to lack of funding, Planned Parenthood is closing all of its health-care centers (six in total) in El Paso, TX today.
"For pregnant women, Planned Parenthood offers very important services such as pre-natal care and anti-smoking treatments and other services that improve their health and therefore increase the chances of them of bearing healthy children. The closing of these clinics will also have a negative impact on women suffering from STDs, urinary tract infections, and other infections that Planned Parenthood often treats. Also HIV and (cervical) cancer are other conditions that Planned Parenthood provides services for. This means that many women, those pregnant and those who aren’t, will be suffer the negative effect of this lack of funding."

The El Paso area is important since I lived there for 9 years, and that where I dabbled with my transition phases. It is also the place where I was arrested and was eventually discharged from the military for displaying deviant behavior for my cross dress activities. But it is a beautiful spot at the end of the Rocky Mountain Range. The lgbt community has made great strides in promoting the cause of justice and equal recognition.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Dancin' on the Set

As I have mentioned, I am having a great time on the set of "South Pacific", I have never really danced a number like this but I am getting better. This is not for first time I have been on stage. I was cast as one of the boys in Kurt Wild's one act "Sunday Excursion", and was an invited cast member in the local University's production of "The Merry Wives of Winsor". Music and singing have always been a part of my life, as members of both college and community singing groups I have sung a lot of repertoire. I have sung in concerts with the Army Band I was with in West Texas. I had to sing the National Anthem in the Sun Bowl with 40,000 people; not that it was daunting, but! But this play is important to me because I am a member of the cast as one of the nurses, finally a female part; I hope it's not the last time I get to do this.

Both the stage and musical directors know about my history and 5 or 6 people in the cast know about my past life, but it hasn't been an issue yet. I am just waiting for the shoes to hit the floor as my picture is on the board outside the theatre so a lot of the community should know that I am doing the show. It's going to be interesting to see who shows up for the performance who knows about my past life, as my ex wife lives on the other side of town and is a teacher's aid, or was the last I had heard. I am getting more anxious doing this show, than I was when I performed with the Vagina Monologues the first time because of the slight chance I will be 'exposed'.

Kay recorded my parts in South Pacific with the flip camera and I snagged these still from those sequences. We were having fun with Honey Bun as the music suddenly switched from the score to something totally different.

Friday, July 24, 2009

South Pacific Rehearsals

The show is about 3 week away from the opening night. Because this show has a large cast, I have met and mingled with a lot of great people I would have never bumped into before. Actually there seem to be a good number of gay men in the cast, as I learned at the second cast party; its comfortable being in good company. All of them are funny and easy to be around. I have told the director that I am trans and he told me that he already knew; I just didn’t want him to be blindsided if there is flack from the community that, “Oh God, there was a trans person I was in the show” .

The scene changes are happening quicker now which lets us shave times off the show, so we are getting close to about a two hour show, figuring the times for applause and laughter. Right now, I am not sure what our costumes will look like, or if I will be wearing a nurse’s outfit (I hope, I hope), or the old green fatigues. We are supposed to get our rented costumes by July 30, and have a costume parade the Sunday before our opening show.

Goodness gracious, I am having a great time with this thang’. Pictures will be posted as soon as I get them.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Thoughts about Chloe

If anyone hasn't seen the ABC program I am sure there are several links out there to watch the program. It has been mentioned more than once, but each trans person's story is their own, there might be similar story lines but different roads. I thought the program was presented with honesty, and sincerity with the amount of video that was shot for the length of time the cameras were in their face. It was very touching to hear Chloe's father finally accept Chloe and speak of her as the same, but his daughter. To see the children accept Chloe for who she was, was most gratifying.

I urge all of you if you haven't sat down across from a trans person and carefully listened to their story, you can't make judgments or innuendo's or make assumptions about who we are unless you get to know one of us.

UpDATE: I have been thinking about the whole bee business and the administering of hormones as treatment. I ask my wife, who has worked for 30 years in women health as a RN about possible treatment for severe allergic reaction to bee stings. Her knowledge of women's health and medicine questions her being given hormones and the resetting of her body's system as a treatment to the bee sting. After watching the first segment and seeing the breast development, I would speculate that she had been receiving some level of estrogen or "T" blocker. Just my questions!!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Walking a Litttle Lighter

I wonder how many LGBTQ individuals and couples walked into their Episcopal churches a little lighter this past Sunday. I felt a little different, a little more welcome and a little more accepted. I think I finally feel like I have a place at the table. I had not realized the enormity of the burden until experiencing the lightness this morning.

For those of you not familiar with the Episcopal Church. Every three years there is a General Convention that passes rules and regulations for the Episcopal Church. The following is a recap of some of the action of this General Convention (gratefully taken from Susan Russell's blog, An Inch at a Time):
In review:

C056 – Authorizes “generous pastoral support” for blessing marriages, unions & partnerships and collection of liturgical resources for consideration at GC2012
C048 – Urges support of fully inclusive ENDA legislation pending in Washington
D012 -- Support for Transgender Civil Rights
D025 – Supports inclusive ordination processes for ALL orders of ministry
D032 -- Non-discrimination clause including gender identity and gender expression for lay employees
D076 -- Support for immigration equality for gay couples
D090 -- Church paper work to be made more accessible to flexibility in gender identity and pronoun preference

C023 – Urging support for repeal of DOMA (“Defense of Marriage Act”) passed in Deputies and was referred by Bishops to Executive Council – where we expect affirmative action will be taken to take the voice of the Episcopal Church to Washington on this important issue.

I have heard from a a few people who are in amazement and delight at the action taken by General Convention. I am truly thankful.

I am so happy that our General Convention was finally able to "do justice." The only tinge of disappointment was that the entire lay delegation from our diocese voted against these resolutions. According to the diocesan website, they believed they were voting what the diocese wanted. I believe they are not representative of our diocese nor do they recognize the diversity of our diocese. Even though this was disappointing, General Convention fulfilled many of my dreams. Thanks be to God!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Back from Tour!

Just an update, Kay and I are back from a quick driving tour of New England. We flew out from Jacksonville, Wed a week ago into Boston renting a car and driving into Kittery Maine to spend our first night at the Portsmouth Navy Ship Yard. It was rain and cold the first day; woke up to sunshine for the rest of the trip-beautiful weather, cool no bugs, pretty flowers, warm breezes. We stopped in Concord NH looking for a library with a computer to check email and get directions. Found +Gene Robinson's Office and St Paul's Church, a great exhibit on Abraham Lincoln at the stature of Daniel Webster; oh and we did find a computer. Drove thru NH and on to Stowe, VT. Quaint town, cool weather people spending time outdoors. Saw their hot air balloon festival, Ben and Jerry Ice Cream factory, glass blower, Von Trapp family lodge, mountain top, cool caves, great view, nice people. Stayed two nights, left next morning with sweet rolls from Trapp's bakery drove back thru VT and stopped at a Woman's Entreprenuer studio in NH. Drove on into Brunswick ME, toured the sailing ship the Bounty, (ship built for the movie) was only there for 2 days and was sailing for Ireland in the morning.

Rest of the trip we spent some time in Derry NH at Robert Frost's Farm House, and tried to see America's Stonehendge in Salem NH. Spent the next morning in Salem Mass. took the tour and visited the old grave yard had lunch, toured Hawthorne's House of Seven Gable's and drove back into Boston, got lost, and gave up. Flew out the next afternoon with a stop in Detroit, back into Jacksonville. We got back to the car at 11:30 pm, and drove home plopping into bed at 2 am. Next trip we take a GPS.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

School deal with trans student

If you're not familiar with Kim Pearson, she's the mother of a 2nd grader in Douglas County Schools who is transgender and returning to school as a girl. More recently she and her child were at the center of huge radio scandal on The Rob, Arnie, & Dawn in the Morning show on KRXQ radio in Sacramento were they were the center of bigoted attacks of the show's hosts. Subsequently this lead to online boycotts, on both sides of the argument (misnomer) that lead to many hateful, horrific opinions on the subject. There might be a Santa clause, but... Yes, Kim... There really is bigotry in America... and sadly so.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Independence Day!

Yesterday, July 4, a day of celebration of change, of separation; for me it was a celebration of my rebirth. Just a few day before, I finally got a new driver license declaring that I am “Female” to the Officials of Georgia. I have shown my license to some close friends in my excitement and joy; just so that someone will actually see the thing. It’s like I am almost excited and wanting to be stopped by the police just so that I can show them this new license; but no I am not that stupid to break the law on purpose, but it’s waiting there in my wallet.

What did I do to celebrate this new person? Kay and I spent the day at Vilano Beach, Florida; it’s a small beach with a community of part time residents but the beach was crowded yesterday with a small group of friends. Lots of people, lots of children every where, playing, eating, just having a good time; a very nice beach to visit. There were 6 adults and four children and lots of good waves and sand. I had bought a new bathing suit to replace the old one piece I used with my breast forms; it was functional but needed replacing. I did buy a two piece but a tankini; some women looked worse than I with their two piece bikini. You know, I don’t seem to remember having my other one piece bathing suit fill with sand and the small shells that filled my new two piece bathing suit. That stuff stuck like they were small suction cups everywhere, top and bottom. Late in the afternoon I was stooping down in the shallow part of the beach and was knocked over by a big wave; with the undertow getting pretty strong, I had a difficult time getting back on my feet. Several more large waves rolled me over two more times and by the time I could get my balance and stand up, I felt at the mercy of the waves. As a result, my bathing suit filled with sand and gunk. Everyone seemed to accept me as a just another woman on the beach with friends and I didn’t raise any suspicions. The feminizing surgery that I had must have been enough; but I did readjust myself several times during the day while I was in the water, just to be sure.

It is a shift in one’s thinking and at what point does one just says they are a woman and not speak about one’s past. With my surgery happening last November, it really didn’t sink into my brain until I was able to change my driver’s license. So happy Independence Day!!

Friday, July 3, 2009

A Trans Woman works the System

As I explained in a previous post about the hassle I got when I tried to change my driver's license was a different story this time around. I had called a lawyer from Lambda Legal and we decided on using the same original letter except we would insert the word 'surgical' and went down yesterday morning to try again. The same supervisor still gave us a hassle because she was interpreting one of the statements to say that more surgery would be needed. Regardless that in the first sentence my doctor verified that I the surgery which satisfied the state of Georgia's requirements. She looked at my new letter and said that she had to ask her supervisor if the letter was sufficient and met the requirements for Georgia. You could tell she copped an attitude real quick because I came back to her window and was in her face again about this gender change, so Kay and I said that was fine and returned to the lobby to wait. We had discussed taking a video camera with us to document the events as they unfolded, but after watching her face and body language, I was afraid that having the camera would have really pissed her off and she would have thrown us out.

Anyway after about 10 minutes she called us back to one of the windows and you could tell immediately that her attitude had been really changed. She was calm and so nice... someone must have readjusted her big girl panties for her. Her demeanor and attitude really changed and she filled out all the paperwork with me. My emotions were like a wild pendulum swinging to anger and my heart pounding back to 'all right I kicked her butt'; my emotions were so wild I had a hard time keeping my hand calm enough to sign my name. Then she calmly ask me to step over to the camera and let me know that I would have to pay another fee for my new license with the long awaited 'letter F' as the gender. Since it was almost lunch time there wasn't very many people in the waiting room with us. So it's 'hou--wa, take that people'.

As we left the parking lot of the DMV I was very aware that the music playing on the radio just happen to be the final movement of Beethoven's 5th Symphony; couldn't have asked for a more joyous, majestic or emotionally charged music to celebrate my victory over the people who place themselves as gatekeepers over the populace.

Ya gotta work the system girls. One must have patience and fortitude, play their games and keep pushing for change, even if it is small and one person at at time. Lets hope that she is more helpful with other trans women. Everyone remember the boy in the story about the Big Friendly shovel load at a time will move mountains.

Q. Does anyone know of a program that will upload videos quicker, or do we just watch the little circle spin...forever?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Shunned? Who is the Real Loser

There is a Sociology Professor at the local University who makes documentaries about people he feels can offer a different viewpoint. He has been taping conversations with the both of us about my transition, how I might feel about losing, say male privileges or the fact that I developed breast cancer and how that has affected my efforts in becoming a woman. I gave him a list of people I thought would be great to talk to and have their thought recorded, but alas, most of those I cited have declined to be interviewed. All of my family members and my one sister, who lives in the same town, have refused to talk to the Professor on record. It is not news to me as I have seen a change in the one sister’s attitude towards Kay and me. I do not really know about how my others sisters feel about me since my nephew’s wedding when I saw two other sisters. Oh Kay and I talked a few minutes to my youngest sister, but no other greeting except ‘hello’ from the third sister. And my oldest sister freaked out when I sent a renewed birth announcement card; she was worried as to how she would explain this situation on her National Security Clearance Documents! And my brother, he was Ok with everything, even sending flowers when I had my breast cancer surgery. But he lost it when I told him that Kay and I were married; that I was now a lesbian, if you will. I get occasional emails of what his large family is doing and about his vacation cruises.

I expected that some family members would choose to avoid me after my transition, but I feel that some have decided not to maintain contact with me in order to avoid alienating other members of the family; well that is the reason my sister gave the video maker. My sister that lives in town has taken it upon herself to take care of our mother, which she can very easily do, because she lives just across the street. I am beginning to notice that she avoid any further contact with me since her son’s wedding and has taken control by monitoring mother’s outside contacts, especially Kay and me; although Mother seems to like our company.

I must say that there is so much more to my life now that I am living out in the open and do not have to hide my secrets behind walls; there was not much to my life when I was in my first marriage as all of our casual contacts were her friends or relatives. But as they say you really know who your friends are when you do something like getting divorced or say transition! When it came time to transition I thought I would move to a different town to get a fresh start; I now know that that would have been equivalent to social suicide for me and might have ended in a bad way. I chose to stay in the same town; one, for lack of money, and two, because I was deeply connected to my church, the college and the local choral society. And three, I found a soul connection within Kay and fell in love with her; so I couldn’t really leave, now could I.

Being shunned by one’s family is very sad, but choosing to withdraw from all contact with your parent or brother, now Sister, is even more sad because it shows me that you do not want to be inclusive or embrace those of us who has shown a courageous level personal peace.