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!