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It’s all over when I go out thinkin’

who am I ?

what am I ?

how am I ?

Explain. Explain. Explain. I sometimes get tired of having to explain everything I do.

I chatted with a guy on line today, and, for the 15 minutes, or, so, we chatted he was nothing but questions. How this. Why that. It was all I could not to be completely honest with him in answering the questions. Luckily, for me, I was in a mood to tell it like it is, and, maybe not so lucky for him he was on the recieving end of my “why must I always have to explain this” rant. If I was his first contact with a trans person, then, I may need to apologize to the trans community for my actions. Not that I was rude, but, I certainly didn’t hold back much.

He asked me if I was born a boy. Yes. Easy enough. He asked if I acted like a girl when I was little. This I said no to for the reason that I acted like a boy, instead. That threw him for a loop. I explained that even though I knew myself to not be a real boy I had to act like one if things were to appear normal. Expressing my feminine desires were not to be tolerated in our house. Christians don’t do that. He asked if I was a total woman. No on this one too. For the reason (explaining) that I haven’t had any surgery that would prove otherwise. I have had an orchiectomy, but, alas, women don’t have penises (do they?). He asked why I would go through all “this” to not have surgery and be complete. Why not just stay a boy? Good fu*^ing question, genius, is what I should have said, but, I simply explained how I didn’t want to kill myself, that I don’t have that kind of cash lying around, and, the last thing I want to do is travel to wherever in hopes of getting MAJOR surgery at a discount price because I didn’t have enough to go to someone more qualified that would give me plumbing that works properly. Not to mention there is a risk with any surgery of that maginitude, period. I freely admit to the fact that SRS scares the complete SHIT out of me. Would I still do it? Yeah, I reckon so.

The whole explaining thing has really been on my mind for the last (ever), because it is such a humongous burden we, as a community, are linked together by. And it isn’t that I have to explain everything I do, but, in certain situations when I have to explain why people shouldn’t touch each other like that, or, why I go through what I do to be comfortable when it possibly risks the comfort of the people surrounding me. There are times when I don’t exactly feel invisible, but, I certainly don’t feel as if I am inconveniencing, or, risking the comfort of, people around me to see me for who I am. If they feel that way, then, those are their feelings. Not mine. There is no relation in my mind.

I am rambling big time at this point…..The other day at work while getting banks ready before the store opened I asked to exchange some bills for some change. A supervisor (not normally in there at this time) chimed in, jokingly, with “yeah, give him some change. he just needs some change (laughing)”. I froze as he handed me the change I asked for. What was probably an innocent pronoun error was maginified as it was heard by 3 other co-workers who surely already know that I am something they may not exactly know the word for. Innocent or not it was an awkward situation, and, I plan on having a talk with the supervisor tomorrow at work just to explain how he may want to work on his pronoun usage in the future, and, if he could that would be just super!

Not to be outdone a similar situation happened the next day as we were having a plant sale outside on a day it was raining for most of the day. (Rain + wind + fine hair= disaster..FYI). As I asked a woman if she was next in line she replied with a “sir, can you please help me with something out in the yard?”. “Me?”, I said. “yes, sir. can you tell me about blah blah”. She went to repeat a few times to her sister that “this gentleman” is going to help me with the hanger, as we were walking away. She managed to squeeze in a few more he’s by the time we were done with her order, and, I can honestly say she could not have left soon enough. My sour mood of late can be directly related to the two times in which I, looking back, allowed people to not see the real me somehow. That troubles me in a way I am still working towards putting my finger on. ( am I not proud enough of who I am to correct someone the first time so as not to let it happen again? )

Thankfully, later on during the plant sale two women approached the table with a warm friendly glow about them. It was the happy feeling a daughter has at a plant sale with mom, I guess. The daughter looked me in the eye and told me she was 6’1″, and, she wanted to know how tall I was. We instantly started talking about getting clothes that fit when her mom jumped in and told me that she has heard all the women in Germany were apparently very tall, because that is where to get clothes for tall women. In a matter of an hour I had gone to questioning my existence to feeling the warmth that life has to offer when who I am is just that. I am just as I am. And there is no damn explaining anything.

I try not to think about things like all this too much, but, it is often impossible, for me, not to think about who you are, and, how it is people see you. To fall into the trap, if even for an instance, of judging your worth to other people to that of your own worth can, and, often does, get me into trouble. Funny, in controlled environments I am open to talk about who I am and reveal personal information without a problem, but, put me out in public where I live my life and I clam up like I don’t know what to say, or, worse yet, feel as though what I have to say isn’t worth saying.

This is what I get for being in such a good mood last week, I supose.

Good night. And, good luck.

Karen

Why would a saint feel so damn guilty?

I’ve known that my spouse is transsexual for ten years.

I kept this fact a secret at her request and told no one for the first five years of our relationship.

I’ve supported her in her transition for the past five years and still do 100%.

I’ve remained loyal, defended and explained her transition to friends, family, strangers, my uptight narrow-minded ex-husband, and most recently the Automobile Club of America who claimed she was a “different person” now that she’s changed her name and gender and refused to tow her car.

So why the crushing guilt?

I’ve never uttered a word aloud to anyone except my spouse regarding any confusion, fear or doubt I might have about her transition.

I’ve allowed her some wiggle room to explore her new female sexuality, but will not give you any details.

I’ve been called a “saint” by more than one acquaintance for my understanding, support and loyalty towards my spouse and the difficult time she’s gone through.

So why do I feel such crushing guilt?

Because my body is fighting me. It won’t do what I want or be what I want — which is to have the same sexual feelings towards my spouse now that she is a different person that I did previously. (And please don’t even start with that “still the same person” stuff — it works in an intellectual context, but not in terms of how the human body works.)
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My Greatest Burden, My Greatest Gift by Marti Abernathy

In a recent email I received, someone wrote “When love is good, life is good.” It reminded me of how I felt after finding love for the first time after my ex-wife. My ex was the “the love of my life.” When we married, I never expected us to part. Our relationship lasted for 10 years, then things fell apart. That experience of loss reminded me of the the Hindenburg. I spent the next 4 years feeling like a charred piece of rubble. In December of 2004, I found love when I least expected it. Meeting Ellen and finding that fire in my soul again totally refreshed and renewed my spirit. It’s when I wrote the tag line for my personal blog, Marti Abernathey.com, “Breathing is existence, but loving is living.”

One of the biggest hurdles for me in keeping love (in the past) was looking for love from others, before I believed I was worthy of it. No matter how many people told me they loved me, I just couldn’t believe it myself. I felt different, I felt ugly, I felt… wrong.

There are many times I wonder if I did the right thing by transitioning. The more I get into different theories (feminist and otherwise) the more it’s made me analyze my thoughts and feelings about why I’m trans and why I transitioned. In every step of the process I’ve always felt it was right. It reminds me of Christ’s words in the bible about bad trees not producing good fruit, and good trees producing bad fruit.

“Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Matthew 7:17-18”

My life, my spirit, and my essence have found a peace and a focus I’ve never felt before, since I’ve been aware of my existence as a human being. The rock of that joy and the goodness of that tree is something I don’t think I’ll ever be able to describe.

The B Word

For some strange reason I have been feeling pretty good lately. There isn’t one thing to pin the good vibes on to, but, things have been building up.

Two weeks ago the Pride Leadership program began with a two day retreat at a lodge in Newark, Ohio. Pride Leadership is being run by the United Way of Central Ohio. It’s the only such program in the country which selects applicants from the TLGB community to be educated on what it takes to be in a community leadership role, and/or a position on a not-for-profit Board. Needless to say, but I am the lone Trans person in the program that also includes 16 members of Project Diversity (men and women of (all) colors) making the total at the retreat 32. This is a win-win situation from a personal standpoint. For 8 months I will be trained twice a month in everything from cultural competence and resource development to parliamentary procedures, leading through conflict, racial disparities, and more. Seeing the various aspects of community service can only help make me a better, stronger person for others, and myself. Not to mention meeting 32 new people that have much better jobs than I do with degrees to spare. Good things happen when you meet good people. I am starting to really believe that.

Feeling good about the future can be a wonderful thing, and, that can lead to more potentially wonderful things. Being in TransOhio http://www.transohio.org/ has opened up the opportunity to take part in discussion panels at OSU’s main branch & the Newark campus for Gender & Sexuality courses, PFLAG meetings, and, even a group of 14-16 year old kids at a local college prep school to talk about what it’s like to be trans in today’s world. One point that’s important is to say that I only speak for me, as far as experience, and most trans individuals can, potentially, share an eerily similar story. The groups have all been great. Very receptive. So far it’s 5/5 with positive responses. mmmm, I’m feelin alright.
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The New York Times Covers Married Couples Staying Together Through SRS

A positive news article covering both a success story and the legal implications (but why is it in ‘Fashion and Style’?)

Through Sickness, Health and Sex Change

“We’re one of the few of our friends who are still in our original marriage,” Denise Brunner said.

But it is not exactly the same union, as evidenced by their marriage certificate, which they have enlarged to poster size to make the point. The original, from 1980, listed Donald Brunner as the bridegroom and Frances Gottschalk as the bride. But a sex-change operation in 2005 turned Donald into Denise. Fran stood by her spouse, and the couple secured an amended certificate, putting “Denise” next to “bridegroom” for lack of other options.

Read the full article here

Male au pairs make inroads in child-care role, but slowly

Once again, traditional gender roles are challenged.

From the Arizona Daily Star, April 28, 2008:

It would be an overstatement to say male au pairs and male nannies are threatening the dominance of Mary Poppins and Julie Andrews and their ilk. What does seem to be true, however, is that awareness about male caregivers has been on the rise as traditional gender lines continue to blur.

Read the full article here.

A Belated Introduction

(Post inspired by this post from Donna Rose)

So, many of you have probably seen my name popping up recently in comments around here (and other places, such as 360 and Livejournal) and wondered “Who is this strange person and why is she here?”

A brief summary to start with – I am female-bodied, and female-identified (Cisgendered, or Genetic Girl). My spouse of almost 13 years is currently questioning their own gender identity, which has made me reflect on my own life and discover how much of it has transcended gender norms and led me to a place where gender identity is almost a non-issue for me.

I was raised in a small town in Southern England in the 1960s. My mother was a single parent, and we lived with two elderly, never-married sisters who had been friends of my late grandmother. Thus my home environment was very much a matriarchal one, with females performing all roles – driving, finances, home maintenance, breadwinner, as well as the traditional female roles. My mother maintained a fairly androgynous appearance and would frequently get “sir’ed”, much to her annoyance. One of the sisters ran a Cub Scout Troop which met at the house, and thus my earliest playmates were male. I preferred my ‘Action Man’ (G.I. Joe) to my dolls, my train set to my doll’s house, and spent many hours climbing trees and becoming a “little woodsman” in our vast backyard. To me, none of this seemed odd and the only difference I was aware of between boys and girls was that we used different public restrooms. As you can see from the photo of myself aged 4, I looked like the typical ‘tomboy’.

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