Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Wonder of It All

It's now Mid-October.  Only a week or so until Halloween.

So last weekend was Third weekend, which meant Renaissance and Laptop Lounge.  Which meant being Me.

And WOW did I need it.

I've been working a ton lately.  Seventy hour weeks.  I'm beginning to wear down.  And the bitch of it is, as both jobs are still considered "part time," I get no sick time or paid time off.  So missing work means missing money, and FFS doesn't grow on trees!


It was an eventful weekend for many reasons.

First off, I went to my first court mandated Alcohol class Saturday.  There were five of us in the class.  One older woman radiated anger.  Everything about her, down to her outfit and hair, radiated anger.  Her voice was raspy and loud from decades of smoking.  Oh, and she works in HR somewhere.  Sucks for that company. 

In any case, it was an hour of my life.  I've been to two of the mandatory eight now (another was last night).  So one quarter finished. 

After class, I went to work.  Then to the amazing Amanda Richards for makeup.  While Amanda was working on me, her next appointment showed up.  (I was half an hour late arriving due to traffic.)  This person was a rather stocky guy wearing an battered Eagles cap.  He wouldn't look out of place in any sports bar around here.  Absolutely the last person I'd expect to be trans. 

It was going to be her first time out.  Ever.  She asked for some advice, and Amanda and I gave her pointers.  She called herself Melissa.  I told her that the hardest thing she will ever do will be to walk out the purple door of Amanda's studio as a Woman, and that it would get much easier from there.

New wiggle skirt, new heels, and I was SO happy to see Me in the mirror again!

Amanda is an Iowa alumnus, and they were playing PSU on Saturday, so we made a little bet.

I needed a new camera, so I decided to go to Best Buy.  I received some looks walking in, and as I looked at the cameras, some of the staff tried to be slick while looking and pointing at me.  One guy eventually approached me, and I bought a nice small Sony camera that fits in my purse.

Then it was off to Renaissance!

I arrived just after sunset... and the place was dark.  No one there.  Usually there's a TS therapy group that meets there before we do, but they didn't this time.  So the doors were locked.  A few people waited in their cars, including someone who'd never previously come out dressed. 

I walked around the parking lot to try to break in my heels and also so people could see that someone WAS there.  I called Kristyn (president of Ren) and she came over quickly to unlock the door.

I stayed around for maybe an hour, sorting out the new camera and talking with people.  Then I went to meet my friend Katie for dinner at Winberies.  There were suppossed to be more people going, but it ended up being just two of us.  The Penn State/Iowa game was on the TV there, so I was able to keep up with it.  Dinner was quite nice.  Katie is great company.

I went directly to Laptop after dinner.  Even though I was a little early, there were already plenty of people there.  I was hoping a good friend would meet me there as she was having a bad day.  Long story, which she may not appreciate me telling, so I won't.  I offered to pay her cover charge, but she just couldn't make it.  I don't blame her. 

There were so many new faces!  I buzzed about as usual, catching up with friends.  This bar didn't have the PSU/Iowa game though.

Me, Angela, Linda Jensen of TG Forum (pic courtesy Angela)

Eventually, a pretty girl came over to me.  I recognized the dress- it was Melissa!  There was no way in hell I would've ever connected the woman in front of me with the person in the "Iggles" cap that I saw earlier.  Her movements, voice, everything- feminine.  Like many of us, she'd been dressing most her life.  One hell of a debut!  Far better than mine!

I had a good time.  Eventually, Amanda texted me that PSU won big.  I managed to take a bunch of pictures with the new camera.  Looks like I have to still sort out some settings, but some were nice.

I sat with Melissa and a few others for a bit (I was introducing her around, as I remember how much that meant to me that Jone and Jen did it on my first time at Ren.)  She asked to have a pic taken with me, which I was happy to do.  Then it got a bit surreal. 

Melissa previously told me she read this blog, for which I am grateful (as I am to all who read my insane ramblings.)  She confessed to being a bit of a "Sophie groupie" and that I was an "inspiration."  "I looked at your pictures and said 'if SHE can do it, then I can!'"  Umm, Thanks?  ;)  She said more, but that was the gist of it.

So her journey has begun.  As my dear friend Jen said to me at my first Laptop: "Pandora's box is open."

 After all her praise, I needed to get some butter from the kitchen for my ears so my swelled head would fit through the door!

Me- an inspiration.  Hard to believe, right?  Sure don't feel like one.  I think of those have inspired me and who Continue to inspire me.  People like my "Big Sister" Mel, Donna Rose, Kimberly Huddle, Linda Lewis, Andrea Forbes, Mara Keisling, Lisa Empanada, and so many others.  I am in awe of their courage.  They break boundaries and showed me that this Could be done.  That I COULD take that first step out the door.  That I COULD be the woman that I know I am.  The woman I've dreamed I could be.

Since that night, lots of bad things have happened in my life.  I have some hard decisions to make.  But this Saturday, I will be out and about again.  I will be Me.

And I can't wait!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Best Thing I've Read All Year


This is in reply to Ann Coulter tweets calling President Obama "retarded".  Story HERE

The Open letter follows in its entirety.  Again, the source is the first link.  To donate to Special Olympics (as I just did in his honor) go HERE.

What follows is the above sourced Open Letter.

An Open Letter to Ann Coulter

John Franklin Stephens
The following is a guest post in the form of an open letter from Special Olympics athlete and global messenger John Franklin Stephens to Ann Coulter after this tweet during last night’s Presidential debate.
Dear Ann Coulter,
Come on Ms. Coulter, you aren’t dumb and you aren’t shallow. So why are you continually using a word like the R-word as an insult?
I’m a 30 year old man with Down syndrome who has struggled with the public’s perception that an intellectual disability means that I am dumb and shallow. I am not either of those things, but I do process information more slowly than the rest of you. In fact it has taken me all day to figure out how to respond to your use of the R-word last night.
I thought first of asking whether you meant to describe the President as someone who was bullied as a child by people like you, but rose above it to find a way to succeed in life as many of my fellow Special Olympians have.
Then I wondered if you meant to describe him as someone who has to struggle to be thoughtful about everything he says, as everyone else races from one snarkey sound bite to the next.
Finally, I wondered if you meant to degrade him as someone who is likely to receive bad health care, live in low grade housing with very little income and still manages to see life as a wonderful gift.
Because, Ms. Coulter, that is who we are – and much, much more.
After I saw your tweet, I realized you just wanted to belittle the President by linking him to people like me. You assumed that people would understand and accept that being linked to someone like me is an insult and you assumed you could get away with it and still appear on TV.
I have to wonder if you considered other hateful words but recoiled from the backlash.
Well, Ms. Coulter, you, and society, need to learn that being compared to people like me should be considered a badge of honor.
No one overcomes more than we do and still loves life so much.
Come join us someday at Special Olympics. See if you can walk away with your heart unchanged.
A friend you haven’t made yet, John Franklin Stephens
Global Messenger
Special Olympics Virginia

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Arrested III: Psych Evaluation

Ok, if you've been following along, I've had my preliminary hearing and applied for the ARD program.

Now it's time to start jumping through the required hoops to get this behind me.

If you HAVEN'T been following along, here are the predecessors to this post:  Here and Here.

Here's the summary: I was arrested for DUI back in August.  I had my preliminary hearing at the end of September, where I applied for the ARD program, which will mean I am punished, but due to it being first offense, I attend programs for rehabilitation.

Right. With me?

Anyway, the next step in the process was to be evaluated by the authorities so they could determine whether or not I required alcohol intervention of some kind.  So on Monday, I headed down to the county seat in West Chester for my appointment.  There could be two possible results: I could either pass and not need any form of counseling, or be referred to a psychologist for further testing.

The receptionist in the department was literally a model.  Absolutely gorgeous.  I know she was a model because a co-worker asked about a photoshoot she had last weekend.  A swimsuit shoot.  Not that I'm jealous.  Really jealous.  Or anything.  Meow.

My evaluation was done by a very cute woman who was a fellow Penn State alumnus.  She was 24, and a Criminal Justice grad.  I couldn't help but wonder how many guys hit on her during the course of her work day.  She went through a long series of questions on her computer, occasionally asking for clarification on a point.  I was completely honest in my answers, as I have nothing to hide.

The conclusion?

The computer, through its complex algorithm, determined I have enough of a drinking problem.  So I had an appointment made for Wednesday 10/17 at 8 PM. 

Last night.

In any case, I scheduled my mandatory driver safety school (Oct 29 and 30) and was told that by completing that and by making progress on any rehab program I could have my fifty hours of community service waived.  That's good news!

From That Night in August

So I couldn't go to my usual gathering at New Concepts Med Spa (where they do amazing work, like waxing and electrolysis at reasonable prices AND are TG friendly), and instead went to a converted factory which now houses a school, doctor's offices, and other offices.

The therapist looked tired.  No doubt she'd had a long day dealing with all kinds of rough issues.  After filling out the paperwork, we spoke about the night of the arrest.  She also had a long battery of questions, which I answered.  She asked for many more expansions, and had many more probing questions. 

The conclusion here was that I have to attend an eight week "Alcohol Awareness" program.  The was the least of all the programs I could be given, the worst being sent to a rehab center.  So that starts this weekend.

So that's where it stands. 

I may have said this before, but I'll point it out again:

The only person in my "drab" life that knows about the DUI (aside from my lawyer and the justice system and my therapist) is my wife.

Yet I  discuss it openly to all my friends on my Sophie life, and here on this blog.  Is it because you already know the real me?  my "biggest secret"?  Or is it because I'm more comfortable and open as a woman than I ever was otherwise?

I have no idea.

I do know this:  9 weeks sober.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Lists. Bond Lists.

This year is the 50th anniversary of the James Bond films.

What does that have to do with being TG?  You'll see, Agent Reader.  Have I let you down yet?  Well, except that time.  And.. wait, that wasn't my fault- you're the one who brought the goat. 

Anyway.  I'm a big Bond fan.  So I decided to have a little intellectual exercise and make some Bond lists.  And in so doing, maybe you'll get some insight into the way my twisted mind works.  That said, these lists are my opinion, and are subject to change without notice.  Void where inhibited.  Your mileage may vary.  Read the prospectus before investing.  Professional driver on a closed course. 

Let's start with Why I love Bond movies.  Everyone needs a role model growing up.  For most people, that's a parent or relative.  In my case, those people were horrible role models, and I did everything in my power to be the opposite of them.  For example, I excelled in school.  I read a LOT.  If they liked something, I was pre-disposed against it.  Example: my whole family are Eagles fans.  So naturally, I'm a Redskins fan.  In 1980, I rooted for the Cowboys against the Eagles in the NFC championship game, and was grounded for a week.  (The Iggles won that game, then got crushed by the Raiders in the Super Bowl.)

So I wanted a role model.  And as I was running away from my true feminine self, I needed said person to be hyper-masculine.  That's when I discovered James Bond.  Cool.  Sophisticated.  Man of the World.  And women fell all over him!

Bond knew his drinks, so I learned to be a bartender and took a wine tasting course.  Bond could dance, so I took ballroom dancing.  Bond could play cards, so I learned the games and betting structures.  you get the idea.

So, here we go with the lists.  I am including only Bond movies in this list, not TV plays or parodies.  That said I AM including "Never Say Never Again."  After the lists, I will have a small conclusion.  ;)

CAVEAT:  LOTS of spoilers here.


The Bonds (Best to Worst):

1) Sean Connery:  Suave, cold, dashing.  And a Scot!  Will always be Bond
2) Daniel Craig:  THAT'S a Bond!  Cold, but capable of great emotional range.  And human.
3) Pierce Brosnan:  Brought Bond back from silliness
4) Roger Moore:  My first Bond, but loses points for falling into self-parody
5) George Lazenby:  may have grown into the part
6) Timothy Dalton:  Too damn grim and expressionless

5 Best Bond movies

1)  Goldfinger 1964
      How good is this movie?  The Aston Martin!  The girl painted gold!  Pussy Galore!  Oddjob's hat! "No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!"   Bond spends about half this movie as a prisoner, yet it STILL rocks due to an amazing supporting cast.

2)  Casino Royale 2006
     Daniel Craig grabs the reins and runs with it.  Visceral, tough, and fun!  Few gadgets.  What Bond SHOULD be.  And the way he finally introduces himself...

3)  For Your Eyes Only 1981
     Roger Moore makes up for one of the goofiest Bond movies with a taut, back to basics thrill ride.  Bonus points for the crossbow!

4)  GoldenEye 1995
     Post Cold War Bond reboot featuring the Best Bond villain since Goldfinger and great depth.  Oh, and Famke Janssen, pre- Xmen!

5)  The Spy Who Loved Me 1977
     Tour de Force of great locations, fun villains, and Barbara Bach as a perfect foil for 007.

5 Worst Bond Movies

1)  A View to a Kill 1985
    Worst by a huge margin.  Christopher Walkin is wasted as the villain, and Patrick McNee deserved better.  Moore is twice his leading lady's age, and that leading lady is... Tanya "Can't act" Roberts.  And Grace Jones lifting a horse.  Duran Duran.  I could go on for hours.  (And this was the first Bond I saw in a theater no less!)

2)  Moonraker 1979
     Bond in Space.  Drax is a Darth Vadar rip off.  Has one good scene and THAT is with a recycled villain!  Simply terrible.

3)  Die Another Day 2002
    Where to start?  The piecemeal use of Bond history, the really stupid main villain, the Madonna cameo.  At least Halle Berry was fun.

4)  Diamonds Are Forever 1971
    Sean Connery returns after a hiatus and mails it in.  Looks dated.  Has it's moments but... a moon buggy chase?  Really?

5)  Licence to Kill 1989
    Interesting plot idea and some fun moments (Wayne Newton especially) but Timothy Dalton was too humorless and there was no chemistry between him and his leading ladies.  Which is a shame, as Cary Lowell was a great leading lady.

Best Villains  (lead)

1)  Auric Goldfinger  (Goldfinger)
    NO ONE chewed scenery like Goldfinger.  Keeps bond prisoner half the movie, has a well thought through plot, cool henchman, and THE best line in Bond history.  Trivia:  Gert Frobe was dubbed as he didn't speak a word of English.

2)  Alec Trevelyan (GoldenEye)
    A former double 0 with a grudge and a decent plan.  Bond's match in every way, and SEAN BEAN!

3)  Ernst Blofeld (Multiple)
   Spectre leader with so many plans.  Kills Bond's wife. 

4)  Largo (Thunderball)
    Smooth, suave, ruthless.  Hands on. 

5) Elektra King (World is Not Enough)
    First female Bond villain.  Complex, vulnerable, yet ruthless.  Oh, and it's Sophie Marceau.

Best Bond Villains (Henchmen)

1)  Oddjob (Goldfinger)
     The Hat.  The expressions.  And he kicked ass! 

2) Grant (From Russia with Love)
     Robert Shaw tails 007 and actually fools him for a while.  Great psycho... and it's Robert Shaw!

3)  Fiona ( Thunderball)
    Luciana Paluzzi is ruthless, gorgeous, and takes Bond for more than one ride!  Bonus points for dying on her feet.

4)  Dr. Kaufman (Tomorrow Never Dies)
   Vincent Schiavelli steals the show as a forensic specialist who is "especially good at the celebrity overdose."

5)  Knick Knack (Never Say Never Again)
    Herve Villachaeze is the sadistic butler playing both sides.  Steals scenes and sophisticated to boot!

Honorable Mentions:
Bambi and Thumper, Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd (Diamonds are Forever)
Easily the best parts of this movie.  Bambi and Thumper kick ass, while Wint and Kidd have personality and bad puns (aside from being gay stereotypes)

Worst Bond Villains:

1) Drax (Moonraker)
   So unspeakably dumb.  The slouch, the bad lines, the stupid plans.  I shudder.

2) Largo (Never Say Never Again)
   A killer video game?  Really?  "Sweet... like money!"   Selling Kim Basinger into slavery.  Good actor, lousy role.

3)  Max Zorin (View to a Kill)
    Coulda been a contender instead of just a bum.  Walken was so underutillized in his role as a genetically engineered psychopath who is in the end just a killer yuppie. 

4) May Day (View to a Kill)
    Why?  Just... WHY?  80s at its worst.

5)  Franz Sanchez (Licence to Kill)
  Robert Davi is good, but has really bad lines.  In the end, just a caricature.  No depth.  

Honorable mention:
Blofeld (On her Majesty's Secret Service)
   Telly Savalas mails it in.  Just dumb.

 Best Bond Girls:

1)  Tracy (On Her Majesty's Secret Service)
     Dame Diana Rigg plays a complex, beautiful and conflicted foil for Bond.  I read somewhere she's the first Bond "WOMAN" and I agree.  Best thing about that movie.  Only woman to marry Bond.

2) Solange (Casino Royale)
    Caterina Murino is sizzling hot as the unfaithful wife of  Alex Dimetrios.  The red dress!  The subtle and amazing facial expressions!  After Dames Diana Rigg and Judi Dench, easily the best Bond actress.

3) Melina Havelock (For Your Eyes Only)    
     Carole Bouquet is sexy, strong, and lethal.  Given that this was the 70s, WOW!  

4) Wai Lin (Tomorrow Never Dies)    
     Michelle Yeoh does her own stunts, kicks ass and looks great doing it!   Even exposes a Bond goof- Pierce Brosnan's Bond looks at a keyboard with Chinese characters and begs off... but in You Only Live Twice, Sean Connery's Bond reveals he "took a first in Oriental languages at Caimbridge." 

5) Pussy Galore (Goldfinger)   
     Honor Blackman is great as the henchwoman who turns.  Knows judo, ace pilot... wow!  

Worst Bond Girls:  

1)  Stacy Sutton (View to a Kill)   
     Tanya Roberts.  Can't act.  No depth.  Half Moore's age. So bad she beats out #2 on this list, which is saying something.  

2) Christmas Jones (World is Not Enough)   
     Denise Richards plays a nuclear physicist.  Really.  Even if you buy that miscasting, she can't act her way out of a paper bag.  Then there's the bad lines.  Then the floating breast implants...  

3)  May Day (View to a Kill)
     Grace Jones with bad hair, worse outfits and bad acting.  Has one good scene, which keeps her from being #2.

4)  Goodnight (Man with the Golden Gun)
     Britt Ekland has bad lines, a really stupid character, and no chemistry with Moore.  Best thing about her is that she gets shoved aside for a real woman: Maud Adams.   

5)  Bibi Dahl (For Your Eyes Only)
     Lynn-Holly Johnson plays hot blooded jailbait.  Ummm... no.  Only bad thing about that movie.

Best Bond Car:

Aston Martin DB5. 

Best Pre-credit Sequences:

1) Casino Royale
     Daniel Craig earns his double 0.

2) Thunderball
     Villain in drag, nasty fight, and... the jet pack!

3)  For Your Eyes Only
     Bond finally gets revenge for Tracy

4)  Living Daylights
     Great action sequence with a fun ending

5)  Tomorrow Never Dies
     Lots of things go boom, with some wonderful interplay back at HQ


I could keep going, but this is long enough. 

So, as those reading this know, my attempts to keep my feminine side were doomed to failure.  So now what?

Now I'll still watch Bond, but maybe my dreams will be different.  Maybe I could be the second trans- Bond girl.  Yes, there was one!  Tula was in For Your Eyes Only in a pool scene where one of the baddies is shot by a crossbow in mid-dive.

Tula on the set

How would I look as a Bond girl?  Well, I asked Lady Ellen to do a Bond Girl look on me back in April 2010.  Here's her take.

I liked it!  :)

I'm no Tula, but I'm getting there!  All I have to do is lose seventy pounds, get FFS, a boob job, GCS...

So there you have it.  Do you agree?  Disagree?  That's the fun part- there ARE no right answers.  My Bond may not be YOUR Bond. 

New Bond movie coming!  I can't wait!

Hey maybe I can be a Bond girl using photoshop...

Sigh.  A Girl can dream, can't she?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Dinner with the Parents and More

Today is October 10.

My mother was born on this day in 1939, over in Scotland.  Her home was not far from an Armaments factory which the Luftwaffe, flying from France, bombed.  She still remembers the sirens and the explosions.

So today she's 73.  Still kicking.  She and my dad live in southern Delaware on the water.

As I mentioned in a previous entry, I don't get along with my parents.  In fact, I avoid them like I do the rest of my family

But then there's that whole fifth commandment thing.

My parents are here in Pennsylvania for the night.  Long story as to why, but there it is.  My mom wanted to go to dinner.

I'd rather gargle maggots, but my parents wanted to see their grandchild.

So after work, I went directly to a local restaurant and met my parents, wife and daughter.  They were there with my uncle (dad's brother) with whom they are staying the night.  The conversation centered around the ailments of my extended family.  Another cousin with a stroke (that's two in that family), my uncle had a stroke, and dad revealed that he had a "silent heart attack."

And here I thought it was cancer going to get me.  Maybe cirrhosis will beat them all to it.

Always a zany time at the table with my parents.

My daughter behaved herself well enough for a four year old in a restaurant.

I couldn't help but think what they would've said if Sophie walked through the restaurant door and sat with them.  My parents have both commented in the past how they consider transgenders to be "freaks."

I fully expect they'd disown me.  But I thought the same of my wife too...

So I survived dinner.  I won't see them again until Thanksgiving, when we'll all travel down there to see them.  My wife knows how I feel about my parents.  She wonders why i still make sure to see them on one of the year end holidays. 

Sense of duty I guess.  Like it or not, without them, there'd be no me.  Many times I cursed them for bringing me into this world.  They often told me I was "a mistake."  And they wondered why I attempted suicide. 

Now it's time for randomness:

I have an appointment on November 7 at the Mazzoni Center for starting HRT.  So I won't be starting on Halloween as I would've liked.  Oh well.

In other news, my Shift button seems to be failing as I keep having to go back and capitalize things.  Especially "I."  And I say I far too often. 

Also, I'm working on a website for my friend Lorraine for her "Occasional Woman" business.  She makes my costumes and tailors thing for me when they don't fit.  Soon, people will be able to order costumes, clothes, etc from her online.  Or at least get hold of her.  That will be a start.  She does amazing work.

With Lorraine in a costume she made for me, 2010.

 I picked up Pete Townshend's book "Who I Am" today.  Pete is one of my heroes.  Quadrophenia is one of my all time fave albums as it really captures the insanity of adolescence and the pain of being different in a world where conformity is King.  He was in Philly tonight signing books, but I didn't know until it was over.  *kicking myself*

That's about it.  I'm working on a new short story that I actually don't think will suck.  I'll probably post this one on Fictionmania.  But that said, I want to work on it a bit before going to bed, so I am OUTTA HERE!

Friday, October 5, 2012


Dates are important.

What would history be without dates?

October 10, 732        October 14, 1066       October 31, 1517       
July 14, 1789              January 8, 1815           April 12, 1861       
September 1, 1939     January 28, 1986         October 3, 1993         

(If you can name all the events on those dates without looking them up, I'll be really impressed!)

I just read one of Donna Rose's new blog updates where she discusses the anniversary of going full time.  She shares her journal entry from that day.  Read the entry here.

A momentous day in a person's life, to be sure.  One still ahead of me.

We all have dates important to us.  For me, there's September 13.  April 24.  October 26. 

October 31, 2008.


As I've mentioned several times, October 31 was my rebirth. 

What happened after that? 

Not afterbirth, silly.

I remember the weeks of confusion, guilt, and anticipation.  Anticipation because I knew I'd have to dress again.  Soon.  And, in December, I did.  I wanted to know how I'd look as a woman.  Really look.  So I went to Femme Fever in NY and Karen did a great job.  I looked in the mirror and saw a woman.  I knew I could do this.

Then: Femme Fever Dec 2008

After that, I planned.  What did I want to look like?  I searched the internet for information.  Eventually, I had a budget, and a way I knew I'd want to look like.  And I worked on that.  Over time, I thinned my eyebrows, bought various pads, lost weight,  had my ears pierced, and had my facial hair lasered off. 

I met many people, and I learned.

It's been some years now.  What were my expectations? 

Well, actually, I didn't have any.  I just wanted to keep moving forward.  Keep moving.  That's what I still try to do.

So here I am today, on the eve of four years later.

Now: September 2012

Four years later, I can say I'm so much further than I could've ever imagined.  If you'd told me in early October 2008 that I eventually would not only go out in a skirt, but do so often and with some confidence, and meet so many wonderful people who Understood, I would've wondered what drugs you were on and why you didn't share.  I wouldn't have dreamed I could look even remotely feminine.  I didn't dare think I'd ever realize the dream. 

We walk a rough road, those of us on this path.  No one sane would do this.  Yet most of us ARE sane.  And we want to understand who and what we are.  What Campbell called the "Hero's Journey."  Some of us move faster than others, or have different destinations. 

I am ready to take another step in my journey- one that even a year ago wasn't thinkable.  A dream to be sure, but a possibility?  No way.

I talked to my wife about this. 

There's several things that still have to happen, but my wife agreed to let me start HRT.

Hormones.  Me.  The impossible Dream.

So when will I start?  Assuming all goes well, when else?  Halloween.

Because dates are Important.

Where will I be in four more years?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Reply to a Right Wing "Christian lawyer"

I received an email this morning on my "drab" email.  It is from an elderly former attorney with whom I used to work.

What follows is the dialogue.  I admit my argument is rather disjointed here and there, but i get my point across. 

Note:  I am in no way suggesting that this person is representative of the entire right wing, nor of every Christian, nor every lawyer.  It's him.  And, I believe many people like him.  Like the radical right, of which he is absolutely and unapologetically a part.


The text of the initial email:

"California doctors can now surgically alter boys to make them look more like girls, but not give therapy or counselling to help them act more like boys.

The new American Way."

My reply:

"That's because one of the therapies works and the other leads to suicide. Pretty simple"

His reply:

"(birth name), fair response, and in fairness, not wholly unexpected.

I wonder if you might do me a favor. I'm doing a piece for Penn Law Review on "legislating morality," I would like to quote your source(s) for larger percentage of suicides in "gay to straight therapy" than in transgender surgery,or with no therapy, or whatever your precise figures may be in this general context.

I expect there will be increasing legislation and court decisions going both ways on these questions, and I'd like to have the study you refer to.

I promise to credit you and your sources.

Thanks again for getting back, and for those citations."

My NEXT reply:

"I will get them, as they are readily available.  For the transgender one, it's the NCTE, and for the other, it's a google search.  The topic was big during Bachmann's run as her gay husband runs these clinics.  Quoting me isn't necessary as I am not an expert, but quote the experts in the citations I will send.

Did you expect THAT?

As to "legislating morality," I hope you intend to discuss the abortion issue as well, as that issue is exactly the same discussion.  Or doesn't that fit your thesis?"

He didn't answer that one.

My following reply, in full:

You wrote:
"(birth name), fair response, and in fairness, not wholly unexpected.

I wonder if you might do me a favor. I'm doing a piece for Penn Law Review on "legislating morality," I would like to quote your source(s) for larger percentage of suicides in "gay to straight therapy" than in transgender surgery,or with no therapy, or whatever your precise figures may be in this general context.

I expect there will be increasing legislation and court decisions going both ways on these questions, and I'd like to have the study you refer to.

I promise to credit you and your sources.

Thanks again for getting back, and for those citations."

Ok, first off, you argument is apples and oranges. Homosexuality (Hereafter "H") is about sexuality, and Transgenderism (TG) is about gender. Think of one affecting the crotch, and the other affecting the brain. One is NOT the other (despite some women's arguments to the contrary).

That invalidates your initial thesis immediately.

THAT SAID, let’s look at some numbers, shall we? All bits are cited. My comments hereafter in italics. Any numbers in italics are my calculations and as such are estimates and not to be considered absolute. With me so far?

“Twenty-one percent had made a suicide plan; 12% had attempted suicide (almost half of those 12% were multiple attempters). Most who attempted suicide made their first attempt before age 25. Although prevalence of parasuicide (i.e., attempted suicide) has remained constant across birth cohorts, mean age at initial attempts has declined.
Conclusions. MSM are at elevated risk for suicide attempts, with such risk clustered earlier in life. Some risk factors were specific to being gay or bisexual in a hostile environment.”

"• On an average day, one person ends their life every 17 minutes.

• Lesbians are two times more likely to attempt suicide than straight women.

• Attempts by gay and lesbian youth account for up to 30% of all completed suicides.

• Gay teens are 3 times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers.

• Gay youth are 4 times more likely to make a suicide attempt requiring medical attention.

• Gay men are six times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers.

91 suicides a day in the US"

General baseline suicide statistics

"Among young adults ages 15 to 24 years old, there are approximately 100-200 attempts for every completed suicide.3

Among adults ages 65 years and older, there are approximately four suicide attempts for every completed suicide.
Males take their own lives at nearly four times the rate of females and represent 79.0% of all U.S. suicides

There is one suicide for every 25 attempted suicides"

91 suicides a day in the US (average.) So using data above:

Using stats: 2275 attempts per day

73 of those are male. That’s 1820 attempts

If gay men are 6 times as likely to attempt:

1560 attempts by gay men. 63 successes.

63 of 73 is 86%. Using my (non-scientific) estimate: 86% of suicides on a given day are gay men. That’s the baseline. And doesn’t count Transgender or lesbian.

"Earlier this year, psychiatrist Robert L. Spitzer apologized for his 2003 study of reparative therapy, which suggested that it could help gays and lesbians become straight. He said it was deeply flawed."

(citation below)

“The American Psychological Association declared Wednesday that mental health professionals should not tell gay clients they can become straight through therapy or other treatments.

In a resolution adopted by the association's governing council, and in an accompanying report, the association issued its most comprehensive repudiation of so-called reparative therapy, a concept espoused by a small but persistent group of therapists, often allied with religious conservatives, who maintain that gay men and lesbians can change.

No solid evidence exists that such change is likely, says the resolution, adopted by a 125-to-4 vote. The association said some research suggested that efforts to produce change could be harmful, inducing depression and suicidal tendencies.

Instead of seeking such change, the association urged therapists to consider multiple options, which could include celibacy and switching churches, for helping clients live spiritually rewarding lives in instances where their sexual orientation and religious faith conflict.

The association has criticized reparative therapy in the past, but a six-member panel added weight to that position by examining 83 studies on sexual orientation change conducted since 1960. Its report was endorsed by the association's governing council in Toronto, where the association's annual meeting is being held this weekend. [Associated Press, 8/5/09, via The New York Times]”

“In short, there is clear evidence that reparative therapy does not work, and some significant evidence that it is also harmful to LGBT people.”

APA report in its entirety.

First off, the argument you make is that homosexuality is a mental condition. It isn’t. The APA does not recognize it as such as its causes are BIOLOGICAL in nature.

“The World Health Organization's ICD-10, which along with the DSM-IV is widely used internationally, states that "sexual orientation by itself is not to be regarded as a disorder".”

“Services that purport to "cure" people with non-heterosexual sexual orientation lack medical justification and represent a serious threat to the health and well-being of affected people, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said in a position statement launched on 17 May, the International Day against Homophobia.”

So, while my ACTUAL number estimate may be off, but the data suggests my initial claim still has basis.

Now, for completeness, lets examine TG suicide statistics.

Transgender suicides:

“staggering 41% of respondents reported attempting suicide

compared to 1.6% of the general population”

Transgender mortality rates are difficult to estimate because families often don't report that there dead son or daughter was transgender. (emphasis mine) In addition deaths due to illegal hormone use and its complications aren't reported because they don't seek a doctor's help. Common problems are strokes, heart attacks, silicone injections and deep vein thrombosis. There are also thousands of cases of unreported violence leading to death.

Based on conversations with 9 million users and over 2 million emails I'd estimate the total Transgender mortality rate at between 60% to 70% and I'm being conservative here.” (emphasis NOT mine)

So. People are dying. Living people. Simply because they have a stigmatized biological condition. Shall we discuss the "morality" of that?


So, there you have it.  Sophie fired up at Narrow Mindedness.  Who would've thought?

After writing all that, and researching it, I must admit to being a little down.  I keep thinking: "what can I do to help?"

My current answer is to keep reaching out to those I can reach, usually at Renaissance

But there has to be more I can do, within my very limited time (now working 70 hour weeks.)

Any ideas?