Friday, March 3, 2017

Watching When We Rise on ABC

I've been watching When We Rise, the four part miniseries on ABC about the birth and development of the LGBT movement in America and the parts played in the movement by Cleve Jones, Roma Guy and Ken Jones in San Francisco over the years.  I'm sure there is some criticism of it from various places but it's been entertaining and educational.  Last night was poignant and heartbreaking in it's portrayal of the AIDS epidemic and how much it was ignored by the government at first simply because it was considered a gay disease. 

Last night, they showed the AIDS quilt spread out on the Mall in Washington and it made me remember something.  The first year I attended Southern Comfort Conference, a large transgender conference held then in Atlanta, the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus entertained at dinner on Saturday night.  One of the songs they did, and I don’t remember the name of it, was about two boys who grew up together and were best friends.  As adults, they lost touch with each other and one day one of them receives a letter from the other’s father.  The letter tells him if he would like to see his friend again to be at a certain spot on the Mall on a certain day.  Then as the song is ending, you realize that his friend is not really there, that his name is on a panel of the AIDS Quilt.  There wasn’t a dry eye in the house then and, even now almost 20 years later having lost friends to AIDS, I still tear up thinking about it.

If you've missed part of this, I'm sure ABC has some online areas where you can watch it.  It is well worth the time.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Not a good week

I've been angry, depressed and on the verge of tears most of the week.  As an older trans person, life can throw you some crap, especially these days with all the hate the right wing-nuts and false Christians are spewing.  But, I'm an adult and, for the most part, I can handle it.  While I worry about all trans people, who I cry for are trans kids.  We all know being even slightly different as kids makes us a target of bullies and being transgender just amplifies the bullying.  Last week, removing protections for trans kids by a misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic attorney general and an incompetent fool of a Secretary of Education put trans kids in even more danger.  Thankfully my trans great-nephew lives in a state which, by law, lets trans kids use the bathroom of their gender but other kids aren't so lucky.  Let's just hope the SCOTUS will support Gavin Grimm and rule, once and for all, Title IX does apply to transgender people.

Edit:  A Federal Court has issued a temporary injunction in favor of three transgender students and against their school district which had said they had to use either a single person restroom or the restrooms of their birth gender.  What is most interesting is the court ruled based, rather than on Title IX, on the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment stating the students would most likely win on constitutional grounds.  This is a VERY significant ruling.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Latest Endo Update

I had my latest checkup with my endocrinologist a week ago today.  Of course they took blood and did other checks.  My blood pressure was 116/76 which is not bad for an older, overweight person.  LOL  According to the message my endo sent me, my testosterone was almost zero at < 20 ng/ml and my estrogen level is 141.0 pg/dl.  I would rather my estrogen levels were up around 200 but my doctor thinks that my levels and all my liver bloodwork are great so he doesn't want to change anything. 

Saturday, December 3, 2016

A Wonderful Wife

As a transgender person, you know you have a great wife when hanging in your hall is your wedding photo with her in her white wedding dress and you in your tux.  While immediately under it is a picture of the two of you at another formal event many year later, her in a green velvet gown and you in a black evening gown with jacket.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

National Coming Out Day

Yesterday was National Coming Out Day and I posted this elsewhere.  I thought I would share it here for others to read.

Well, it’s National Coming Out Day so I’ll tell the story of the first time I came out to anyone and other experiences. It was Thanksgiving weekend and my fiancĂ©e and I walked down to the river at the back of the apartment complex where she lived. We sat on the bank and talked for a few minutes before I got up the courage to tell her I am transgender. Oh, we didn’t have that word back then and I have no idea what words I used. I was more frightened than at any other time in my life so what I said, I have no idea. But I was convinced I would be told the wedding was off and she never wanted to see me again. Also, I was taking a huge chance because I was in the Navy at the time and some of my buddies were friends with her roommates. So if it became known to them and that got back to my command, I would have been given, at best, a general discharge rather than honorable discharge. But none of that happened. She asked me some questions and I seem to remember her saying something on the order of, “You’ll quit this after we’re married,” which of course I agreed to. (If you’re trans and reading this, you know how well that always works out!) Over the years we have adjusted with, to be honest, me gaining and her accepting those gains. Now we are at a point that I know she hoped would never come but I suspect she knew it would eventually happen with me beginning transition. Over the years in between, I came out to a few people who I knew were safe eventually progressing to the point where everyone I worked with knew I was trans.
So that brings me to this year. Early this year, we mailed coming out letters to family regarding my transition and the results were almost all positive. Oh, it took some people longer than others to come around and I’m sure there is still a lack of understanding. I received beautiful messages, all addressed to Beverly, from my wife’s brothers. One family member who is very important to me, I told in person, or rather gave him the letter in person because I didn’t trust myself to be able to get through an explanation. His response was classic. Halfway through the first page of the letter, he looked at me and said, “You know, this explains a lot from when we were kids.” Halfway through the second page, “Why didn’t you do this years ago?” After finishing the letter, he turned around, hugged me and told me, ‘I’ve always loved you and I always will.” We were standing in the parking lot of the restaurant where we had eaten lunch and we each headed our separate ways, I suspect more to make sure neither of us started crying more than anything else.
This doesn’t mean it’s all been perfect. One family member whom I love very much as cut off all contact with me. And it hurts. Oh, I know this person feels betrayed, feels I lied to them for years and I understand that, I really do. It doesn’t make it hurt less but I do understand and it doesn’t mean I love them any less. So for those who are on the verge of coming out, it may go great or there may be some rocks in the road. But remember, rocks in the road are as much a part of life as a smooth freeway. When you come out, prepare for the worst, hope for the best and accept anything in between.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

A Different Vacation

During the years my wife and I took care of my mom, we rarely got a vacation.  Even when we did get one, many times it was just three or four days in a cabin in the mountains.  At the end of the month, we are heading for Fort Lauderdale for some fun times at Southern Comfort Transgender Conference.  I attended SC in 1997 and 1998 through 2002, I was a staff member of the conference when it was still held in Atlanta.  At that time, I facilitated, with a trans man, the Big Brother/Big Sister program which paired newcomers to the conference with experienced conference attendees.  In some cases, it was actually the first time out in public for some of the newcomers which was my situation in 1997.  There wasn't a program in 97 and it took me something like 2 hours and 5 attempts to even open the door and go down to register.  At the end of the conference there was a meeting for those who wanted to volunteer which I did.  A couple of months after that, I was asked by the conference chairperson to start the program which we originally were only aiming at trans women but then we added it for trans men also. 

Now, I'm going back to the conference as a trans woman beginning her transition rather than the part time person I was back then.  I'm so looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting new people like Sarah McBride who spoke at the DNC this year.  It's going to be an amazing week!