Monday, June 28, 2010

Feeling Used, Violated

Something happen today that is quite disturbing and has left me shaken. Yesterday, Kay and I had talked about going to get some tomatoes and canning them because they make the winter soups and sauces so much better tasting. And so we left a little late this morning but was on our way to get our load of tomatoes by 10 am. When we arrived at the little store we discovered that they didn't have a quantity of tomatoes picked, so we headed for the fields and in no time had picked 15 gal of the real ripe sweet tasting tomatoes, we also bought some peppers and 20 lbs of okra. On the way home we took a detour and bought 20 lbs of frozen blackberries, which are huge and make great wine.

When we arrived home, I noticed that the stepladder was standing in our front yard and I made a comment to Kay as to how it might have gotten there. We figured that our painter had returned to scrape the windows, which is the last thing he needed to do so we didn't think any more about the ladder. We hauled the tomatoes, okra, and frozen blackberries to the freezer, I let the dog out and that was when I noticed that things in the back yard had been moved about and someone had mowed the grass. I commented to Kay that the yard had been mowed and we were very puzzled as to whom might have cut the grass. 15 minutes later we get a call from our painters son telling us that his father had told him that we wanted him to cut our lawn again and that he would be coming by to collect his money. We had paid him to mow our lawn a few week ago, when he was helping his father paint the house and that time he cut down two of our ornamental flowers, so I wasn't too pleased with him, but I paid him because he was helping his father.

Now I had never talked to his father about the yard needing mowed, only that he had called to say he would be by sometime this week to finish scraping the windows. So I was a little perturbed that he would mow our grass without being asked or contracted to let him mow. As I had run out of checks I needed to go by the bank to withdraw some money to pay him and do some other errands, as I was leaving, he drives up to get his money. I explain that I did not appreciate that he assumed he could mow our lawn and that I was the one that mowed and took care of our lawn, because it was good exercise for me but I would pay him this time. So he followed me to my bank and I paid him and took care of my other errands. I tell him that I like to mow our yard and that our money is still a little tight we do not have the money to hire someone to care for our lawn full time. Later that afternoon while Kay and I were resting, he calls again and tells me that he has taken our gas can for the lawnmower because the car had run out of gas and he would bring the gas can in the morning. Now I was really pissed, because not only did he take advantage of me by mowing my lawn and assuming I would pay him, he had stolen some gas from me.

The more I thought about what he did to me I began to feel like I was used and violated. He just assumed that we were helpless women and he could take advantage of us. He violated our trust, trespassed on our property and stole our gas, never once asking if he could do any of these things and all the while I think he felt like he was doing us a favor. I don't think I have been more upset about something, about how he took advantage of me. But he knows where we live, that we have an alarm system and two noisy dogs who raises a ruckus when anyone comes near the house. I wonder if this is the way he treats all women, I feel very uneasy when I am around him.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Telling our Stories.

Telling our stories

We need to tell our stories to as many people as we can, and so that is why we make ourselves available to speak to college classes. We have learned that meeting people face to face makes the story of glbt persons more personable. Letting them see what and who we are and how we live might de-mystify all the misconceptions the public believe.

This is why we take every opportunity to speak to groups, especially college classes as we did yesterday. We were asked to speak with a preparatory class, where the professor is taking the opportunity to expose her class to a wide variety of classes of people. For the most of the week she has been focusing on gender differences among the populace. We actually reconnected with one of the students in her class who we met two years ago at the Southern Conference Convention (SCC). She was with a college group visiting for the day and her college group sat with us for lunch on Saturday. One of the young men ask us to tell out story, so we spent the next hour eating and explaining our story. Very good memories.

Being able to tell how important people and personal connections as well as our spiritual life and how important the church has been to us enables us to express our similarities and our sameness with those in the class.

It is important to let others see just how normal we are as we go about our daily lives. Doing the things around the house that needs to be done, taking care of people, making ourselves available to those who need us.

Interesting enough, most of the question posed by the class were from the women, who seemed to be really interested in learning about how we live our lives.

Overall, the professor has really exposed her class to a wide spectrum of society.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Jewish Midrash and Gender Identity

June 12, 2010 | 5:48 pm

A Creative and Created Being

Posted by Janelle Eagle


26 people in my home!

Last night I had 26 people join me for shabbat dinner. Not just any Shabbat… but a Transgender Shabbat. Not that Shabbat itself was trans (perhaps we welcomed a Sabbath Husband?), but we specifically invited the transgender community and their friends to join JQ International’s Trans Inclusion Committee for a potluck and icebreaker discussion of the intersection between Judaism and gender identity.

Rabbi Julie Pelc-Adler led the group in a discussion about terms for gender diversity used in classical Jewish texts including:

Zachar: This term is derived from the word for a pointy sword and refers to a phallus. It is usually translated as “male” in English.

Nekevah: This term is derived from the word for a crevice and probably refers to a vaginal opening. It is usually translated as “female” in English.

Angrogynos: A person who has both “male” and “female” sexual characteristics. 149 references (WOW!!!!) in Mishna and Talmud (1st-8th Centuries CE); 350 in classical midrash and Jewish law codes (2nd-16th Centuries CE).

Tumtum: A person whose sexual characteristics are indeterminate or obscured. 181 references in Mishna and Talmud; 335 in classical midrash and Jewish law codes.

All of these references within the text seemed to liberate a room full of people that have been told repeatedly that their identity was an obstacle for connection and home within the Jewish religion. The very fact that multiple Jewish authority figures consider the first human creation of G-d to be one of mixed or indeterminate gender seemed to show us all that in fact, the transgender Jew might have been THE first Jew. How fantastic!!! We were each asked to then by Trans Inclusion Committee member Kadin Henningsen to share “How does the idea that you were specifically created by G-d as you are (with both male and female characteristics) make you feel?”

As we dined together we shared together. A common theme of “freedom” was tied to many of our answers- that it was liberating to think that it wasn’t an accident. That straight, gay, trans, and unidentified individuals in the room all commonly struggle with the roles that others have assigned us. And most heartwarming for me- was that this discussion made many of us feel a certain amount of pride that it was actually within a religious space that we felt this liberation.

It was such an honor to host these amazing people in my home. It was a joy to have the parents of one of our Trans Inclusion Committee member’s join us and lead the blessing over the challah as a family. I felt such pride in JQ International for reaching out to the transgender community and inviting them and their friends/family to celebrate together. This type of interconnected, all-are-welcome, celebratory environment is exactly what I think a Friday night should be. It was what Shabbat should be. It is what Judaism should be.

And for me, last night was what Judaism is.

Please excuse, but this was copied from a post in the Jewish Journal of Oregon. Hope the Blogger will agree with me spreading this text. I wish that I could have at least heard the Rabbi as she explained some of the more important Jewish text concerning transgender references. Very interesting reading.

Monday, June 14, 2010

This ain't puppy love.

I am not sure how to deal with someone who seems to be smitten with me. I have a friend whom we have started taking her to church. She lives alone in a building separated into 4 apartments and she lives in one upstairs. The two downstairs apartments have 1 male tenant each and both appear to be about the same age as Kay and I. Our friend knows about our history, that we are married and is ok with it, one of the men who lives down stairs has lived a hard life and was homeless for a while but is now in a government program which help people with on disability and social security. It seems that this man has developed a crush on me and will talk freely with our friend. I believe he thinks we (Kay and I) are just friends and unattached because we come and go with our friend. She told us about the third week we picked her up for church that he likes the way I dress and look, I guess.

It has been quite hot down our ways and these two had made plans to walk to the grocery store to do their grocery shopping, our friends tells us their plans and Kay offers to take them to do their shopping. We pick them us late Saturday morning and drop them off of Walmart so they can get more for their money, we try to stay out of that store, but they are on a limited budget and this man gets in the car behind Kay and I am driving. We drop them off and tell them we have other errands to run and for them to give us a call when they are done. After we do 2 errands we get a call for them to be picked up and we go back to Walmart and load up their purchases. Well this man runs and practically jumps into the seat behind me, telling our friend to change places; she thinks it funny the way he is acting, but now I have him behind me watching me by the rearview mirror.

I know he is hoping but he really needs to be told that I am married to Kay and am a lesbian, I think its going to break his heart but I shouldn't keep this from him any longer.

Then yesterday I get a friend request thru facebook because he likes the way I look and wants to text back and forth. Not a chance so I declined his request and deleted him.

This is all new for me.
Life goes on, where we are.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Melissa has been talking and post song by this artist, Diana Krall, very wonderful blues/jazz artist.

Monday, June 7, 2010

New Week Unknown quantity

There is a kind of joke between Kay and I, in that we have learned never to make too many plans for the upcoming week, cause som'en gonna happen and ya gotta change stuff at the last minute. Like last week we watched some of our regular church children for a while. Well as of today, we have just agreed to watch someone's 1 year old on Thursday for a few hours and someone else's 2 children on Friday. The day we go to the church for some women chit-chat and some work on our next quilt project for Fall Festival. At least there will be the two regular children to help entertain them and hopefully keep each other out of trouble. These new children we haven't met or know really, so it should be interesting.

And the first thing people threw up in our faces when I told my fellow church members that I was transitioning was; "What will this do to the Children." What do grownups know anyway.

Will Keep ya posted!

Old Friends Renewed

Are there days when all seems good in your world?

Yesterday was one of those day for me. All of you know that I transition in the same town where I had lived for 9 years and before the divorce. I was exploring my options and limits as Sarah, shopping at the smaller dress and shoe stores in the area, thinking I blended into the population of women pretty well. As I shopped I talked with whomever would listen to my story and tale of woe, trying to live in two differently and opposite worlds of man and women. As I shopped I have discovered that I made a lot of friends who supported me and became my friends. As I and they moved on with their lives, I have encountered several old friends in new places and will speak and ask how things are doing. That kind of thing happened yesterday while we were shopping for some children we know and watch sometimes. The salesperson at this children's clothing shop recognized me and took a few minutes to check how I was doing. Now we calculated that it has been 7 or 8 years that she had gotten to know me at a womens clothing store. So we chatted and I filled her in on all that has happened in my life and introduced her to Kay.

Because it's a great shop for children's clothing at good prices and good quality, we will be back. I am so glad that she re-introducted herself and was able to catch up on lives. Next time I will ask how she is doing.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Chillin' and watching kids

Well it's Friday night and supper has been eaten, great roast by the dear wife. The house is in shambles as we are having some remodeling and repairs done on the house, new roof, paint job and having the floor made one level in our bedroom. We did have part of the room drop down one step and it was risky walking back and forth during the night, cause I couldn't turn on the light is I am afraid of tripping when we got older. So now the floor is one level. With the bedroom torn up and the furniture piled in the dining room area, the house is not a great place for children. None the less, we were asked to watch some good friends children 8, 5, and almost 4 year old child for two days. Not the best time to watch children with all the rotten boards with nails stack in the back year meant that the children could not go outside, too dangerous.

The first day we had the 3 children another friend asked to watch their children while she took her husband to a doctors appointment since he broke his toe, that was wednesday which meant that we had church that evening and with 5 children until 5:30 or so; it's OK we do not mind really, they are good children, but very inquisitive and persistent with the questions. Our only option was to let them watch public television as that is what their parents will only allow them to watch; have to be careful. We took some time and went to the park later in the day. And with two dogs and people coming and going in and out the back yard we would have to take them for walks for exercise and other. Should I say we are pooped! It takes a lot of energy to watch children when one is older.

So tonight we are just chillin' and I have painted the windows before they put the new flooring down; so that I wouldn't spill any paint on the new floor. We have just finished a game of bananagrams and Kay beat the pants off me tonight, maybe it's the homemade blackberry wine that I am drinking, but I have to say I drew some s**ty tiles and she won fair and square.

Hopefully they will be able to finish the new flooring in the bedroom and all the trim and then we can move all the stuff back.

That blackberry wine is good, sorry that I can't share it with you!!


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Follow-up to Obligations

I have found it to be quite impossible to live in stealth mode these days.

Take today's doctor's appointment for blood work which had to be completed before my next appointment. The form that the office was using to annotate my blood tests had both my female and male name still on the form. I was devastated to see my old name still being used in the computer; it read Sarah Jane/John Riggle, WTF is wrong with these people. I notice that there seems to be quite a number of new employees floating around, even the tech who was to draw my blood was someone I have never seen before. So again I asked her to change the way my name reads on the next form and in their computer by dropping the male name. I can see the questions forming in her face, but she doesn't ask, so I tell her that I am trans and she says it's really none of her business. Well no it's not, but she should at least know the truth. After all, there was my male name as plain as day.

And I know for a fact that I am not the only trans patient that is seen in this doctor's office, just don't know if anyone else's patient records has both name. I just feel that any time I have an opportunity to educate someone about gender issues, then I should use them to my advantage in making someone feel comfortable if they have questions they want to ask; to ask them and get it out in the open.

Having a history with several doctors, that I have been seeing and have a large medical file containing both names is nothing one can erase, except to change doctors. But my doctors have great established practices, it just that people will find out; talk outside the office or elsewhere. I believe that would constitute a breach of the HEPA ethics, but how can you say if that happens.

There's work history, credit history, military records, any number of established records that can't be changed that defines my male history; not to say anything about transition in a small South Georgia town where your 3 children grew up and work and have lived.

Going under the radar and being stealth at least for me is making a life that is visible yet so convincingly female that the people who do not know about my other life, just sees me as the rather tall gray haired woman who hangs around with another women and they are who they are, no secrets, but we don't tell our stories to everyone. If people suggest that 'we are sisters', we agree and let it go.