Monday, May 31, 2010

What are our rights and obligations after we Transition?

This was my answer to a question posed by Laura on her blogg,

Two Auntees said...
"I Love the look of your blog, beautiful. The question, 'Where do we go once we transitioned?" is very hard to answer because there are so many different answers.The idea of just how much we involve ourselves with the gay and transgendered community depends on several factors, our age when we transitioned, our need to be employable, the number of other trans people who we associate with on various levels, or the number of straight neighbor and friends who do or do not know about us. I believe all these factors, or reasons why we are so willing or so reluctant to attach our star to the movement promoting the lgbt issues.

But for me, as someone who transitioned late in life, is retired from several positions where I controlled some of the management responsibility; I am out and involved because it can't hurt me, I don't need to get a job in today's society. At the age of 58 I when I was beginning to transition, the company I worked for closed our store and repair shop where I was working. On the same day I lost my job, I had just made an appointment for my mastectomy; as I had developed breast cancer after taking hormones for 15 months. So I felt that I couldn't start job hunting until I was medically cleared, and because I couldn't actively search for a job with the unemployment office, I couldn't draw unemployment until I was medically cleared to job search.

So I am involved with the lgbt community to advocate and educate and support anyway that I can, because I have nothing to lose as the younger people have. I am married to a wonderful woman and when people look at us they assume we are sisters, as we have the same last name, others think of as the two older, gray hair lesbian who lives on their street. It's just who we are when we talk with college classed on gender issues, telling our lives (that) we are living as a trans woman who is a lesbian and married to a straight woman. Life is fun, so have a ball when you can, and enjoy each other all the time."

In what context are we obligated to speak up for the rights of individuals within the community, I most certainly can't speak for my trans community and I would never presume to know all the answers, but I can speak for myself. I will fight for equality and fairness for all those who are pushed and bullied where ever I see it happening. But my life, is my life of the hows and why, and what happened as I stayed within the community of my transition. I am most certainly not in the larger "public eye", so to speak, but my transition life was not as secret as I thought.

I do not criticize anyone who is younger and must make a career and life for themselves to want to go stealth, to leave their "transness" behind them and move forward as the person they are. It is a lot easier if they have not established a strong work history in their other name, as that might be a red flag for employers to practice "stealth discrimination". We must make our own choices as it relates to our lives. Some people have a lot to lose, I don't really, except for my physical live and heaven forbid we ever become targets of the "haters", but for the 6 years we have lived together we have lived our lives in 'stealth', because see what they want to see, and they see us as the two gray-hair ladies who live together.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I don't watch Glee, but having just watched this clip, I might have to get the series from the beginning. What a powerful display of love and respect and most of all support for this young man. This clip brought tears, sometimes we do not see the prejudice we spew at people and I am thinking about the scene in South Pacific, where Lt Cable sings about being 'carefully taught to hate'. Hate and scorn is very much alive and living well within us and so we must be diligent in rooting it all out.

Monday, May 24, 2010

New developments

I have mentioned before that one of the professors at the local college has been collecting videos and stories about Kay and I to make a documentary about what and who I have become and what paths I have taken. We have an interview with the doctor who performed my breast reconstruction and some footage with my primary psychologist who really confirmed my own beliefs that I was transsexual. And he has video and recordings of Kay and I just talking, doing, living our normal everyday lives.

The most surprising revelation was when he taped an interview with my daughter, a most revealing understand concerning the dynamics of our family breakdown. Now my youngest son has contacted this professor to talk about what he saw that was happening with this family group and what I was doing that was visible as I transition.

We will wait to see just what his contribution will be with this documentary.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Gender 101

Yesterday Kay and I was asked, on a short notice, to speak to a Sociology Professor's class of about 40 people that he is teaching during the summer quarter. Tuesday was the day he was going to discuss gender with this class and of course we always love to talk to college classes about what a good life we have. The questions as reflective and is truly searching for answers, and we only had question that was a little personal, but the general context of questions were about relationships, labels, family reaction and such. I did speak about my being caught by the El Paso Police years ago and where that took my military career, and having to deal with my breast cancer. We had a little over an hour of his class time and we kept answering question as student were taking a break before the last hour of his class. We got a few laughs when Kay told the story of my coming out to her, that one really lightens up the attitude of the class. Overall, we haven't had a class that wasn't respectful of our situation and relationship.

I have mentioned that my or our daughter, she calls Kay her mother, moved to Montana to find a good school for her boyfriend and better jobs. As she has called letting us know that they have found an apartment to rent and some good jobs, at least for the time being. Anyway she sent us both a Mother's Day Card which was a real surprise. It was so heartwarming and sincere that we were both started crying as we finished reading. The note inside of mine said:

"Just think, if I'm the princess, that makes you the queen! Everybody wins! Happy -other's Day". The rest of the note "It makes me happy to know you again." "It reminds me of this great and wonderful parent who would give anything for our happiness. Who knew? Our happiness was inextricably linked to yours!!!" And it goes on; "I can tell you that I love you, I respect you and more than anything, I'm so very glad you're back in my life! I love you Sarah/Dad/and any other role you play!

We are going to make more memories as Sarah and Kay with her.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Relationship/Doctors Appointment

Kay and I have been going to weight watchers to see if we could lose some of our pounds that seems to have appeared on my butt at least. Anyway it’s been 6 weeks now and I have lost 10.6 pounds, I thinks that a very good start for me. When I go to my doctors they keep telling me very loudly that I need to lose some of my weight. We come my next appointment next month my doctor’s should be pleased to see my weight loss; I just need to keep plodding alone steady like, on the weight watching. We have been thinking and talking about joining or finding some program that would help us to lose some pounds. I think that we have found the program for us. Weight Watchers is not really a diet, but a method of looking at what we eat and how much. Just watching the calories, fat and fiber content of food has really changed the way we look at the kinds of foods. Less carbs, more fruits and vegetables and small portion.

Speaking of doctors and exercising, while trying to lose the weight I started a walking program, slow and steady. Well, after 3 weeks my knee started giving me some problems and had swollen up, very painful. So I asked Kay what would be a good doctor to see about my knee and she told me to go to someone at our Hughston Clinic, very good people for sports injuries. Also his office is very efficient. My appointment was for 9 am and I they took me back very quickly, took 4 Xrays, had two exams and was talking about rehab and had scheduled me for my next appointment and had started my appointment schedule for rehab. All within an hour, simply amazing to get a referral from TriCare in 1 minute. While filling out the medical information, I left out one or two medical procedure of the sheet and didn't answer the questions about when was my last period, or pregnancy as that would throw the big red flag that "all is not what it seems". So no, I went to the doctors and didn't let anyone know that I was trans. And not one seemed to notice.

My experience with other doctors are not the same, some appointments with my Primary Care physician usually takes 3 hours of sitting.

I have been thinking about something that Donna Rose mentioned in a previous post to one of her blogs. It appears that her relationship with Elizabeth has come to a rather dubious end.

Relationships, what make a lasting bond between two people who need, who want something from the other. I did begin my first marriage loving that person as only I knew how. Our marriage broke down because we couldn’t talk to each other, because we didn’t know how to face our fears, we didn't know how comfort each other and we lost touch with ourselves. After 35 years of marriage she was the one to pull the plug.

My relationship with Kay is very different, as I know what I failed to pursue to keep our marriage going with my first wife. I have made it a priority to keep communications and expectation out in the open, up front and center if you will. I have found it impossible to keep anything from Kay, she can read my face like a book and is usually right in thinking there is something I have difficulty in talking about, but we sit down and figure it out, bringing it out into the open.

What really was the catalyst for us in digging out our thoughts and feeling about each other only happened when we agreed to talk to a college Marriage and Therapy class about our selves and our relationship. We spent a few night sitting face to face, no distractions and figuring our just where we were with some of the question that we were given to talk about during the class time. We spent a lot of quality time opening up to each and bring out in the open just what we think, and feel, and be on a lot of issues necessary to keep a relationship an open and loving one.

*we have learn to laugh a lot, to touch and cuddle and to say those 3 little words every day and before we go to sleep. Really does work wonders to let the one person you love know how you feel.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sensual Hair Brushing

Kay and I went to see the new movie “Letters to Juliette” with Vannessa Redgrave, a most wonderful chick flick. I cried during most of the movies ending. Very emotional for me, I haven’t cried like that for some time. This was a great romance with some comedy, but the scene where Sophie is getting her hair brushed by the Grandmother just opened the tears. Sophie’s mother had chosen to abandon her family when she was a little girls and did not have a mother as she grew up. And the loving care that the Grandmother gave Sophie as she brushed her hair was the most tender moment, I think, in the movie. If you should see this movie, and I highly recommend doing so, please take plenty of tissues with you.

That scene struck an empty chord with me, as I had never had my hair brushed by my mother. But of course I didn’t have long hair, I was her first born son and kept my hair short during my years in high school. But now that I have let my hair grow much longer, I started brushing my hair and Kay has actually brushed it from the back. Having my hair brushed is a very sensual physical touch. Actually, I should add that my hair is long enough that the other night as she was brushing my hair, she braided it, so that in wasn't tangled as it usually is in the mornings; that was nice. Having someone take one’s hair and gently stroke it with a soft brush is a new experience for me, an experience that I will add to my many ‘firsts‘ as I am living as myself.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Where should we spend out Money?

Kay and I went to Tallahassee to be in the meeting hall when the comments from the public was to be heard concerning adding gender identity and gender expression to the Counties Non-Discrimination policy.

For the large majority, the public expressed their support, but for two county commissioners and a few speakers who chose to spout the same tired old reasons. A few people thought this matter should be put on the ballet and voted on by the community, bad move.

But what was the most unreasonable argument against the measure was that people didn't want to have to deal with the lgbt community as a whole, it was as if they wanted us to crawl back under the rock and pond we appeared from.

There was the speech that we could be changed, that being gay was a choice; they didn't hate people they just didn't like someone who was visibly gay acting. Several people thought that this would open the floodgate for discrimination lawsuits.

People who own small business will take peoples money without asking if they are gay, and some will not let a gay person shop in their establishments. Maybe it time we ask owners if they want our "gay" money or not. If a business should fail, then they are not seeking to being more business into their stores. We have lots of money and would prefer to spend it in business that is friendly to the lgbt community.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Spotting the Ex

Kay and I have been very interested in advocacy for lgbt issues and so we started a PFLAG chapter and are members of Integrity, a group associated with the Episcopal Church. We try to work with the GSA from the university and another group, Valdosta Pride to reach out to the lgbt community. We thought it would be a great idea to have a booth with pride for this weekends Relay for Life Cancer event. Since it was our first time, we tried to be quiet but there to answer questions. Unfortunately during the afternoon it started to rain, which was a sure sign it was going to be a very wet evening.

Rick, the President of Pride moved our spot to another location so we could use a generator and get power, unfortunately, the rain forced him to cancel all his plans. Moving our spot to a new location also meant that we were now located behind the combined county school system's large tent.

Ever since my divorce we have seen my Ex only one time and that was when my daughter graduated from a college up north. I have never, in the 6 years since, seen my Ex out and about town; although my daughter informed me that my Ex has seen me on occasion. First, I hardly recognized her when she walked past me with her new boyfriend, (yuck, her ex-sister-in-laws widow). As my mother and my Ex are also Breast Cancer survivors, I expected them to be there, I just did really expect to see them. Well as our tent was no more than 15 yards from them my Ex really got a good looksy. I think she only stayed for a couple of hours and then left.

I should say that at first I would have sworn that she was not my Ex, that's is how much she has changed over the last 6 years. But I could eventually her by her gestures, watching her telling everyone who was sitting under the tent behind them that I was there. I recognized a casual backward look from people trying to get a look at who she was talking about, because I have done the same thing. We didn't talk or even say hello, just got several looks that could kill. Like, how dare you be here tonight, kind of looks. So I am quite sure that her phone line must have melted by all the calls she got. And the conversation next Monday should really be like the buzz of a swarm of bees. The friend that she was talking to made it a point to walk by our tent to get a better look for herself I can only guess. I made a point to nod a hello as she passed. It was unfortunate because I was walking my laps without an umbrella and I looked a real mess. I should have looked my best, but you can't do that when you are soaked and your hair is matted against your hair.

So until the next time we meet, I only can hope that it will be someplace where I can look presentable, at least.

Please call me and we will have lunch at my choice, OK. Until next time....