Friday, February 26, 2016

What Kayden Said

This post was written by a dear friend of mine. I've only met her once. Why is she a dear friend? Aside from the fact that she's wildly intelligent, gorgeous, and a wonderful person; she's married to one of my dearest friends: Olivia. So she has more to lose by the GOP winning than I do.

I wish I wrote this, and I echo her sentiments 100%. If you're voting to strip me of my rights, well, explain to me why you would do that to a friend. Or, just go away.

Her blog can be found HERE.

Kayden and Olivia, Keystone Conference 2015


I was looking at a dear friend's FB profile this morning and realized, to my horror, that they were a Trump supporter. The wave of emotions that swept over me ranged from disgusted and angry, to deeply sad and disappointed. I then thought of other friends and family that I know will be supporting any republican candidate for the presidency later this year, regardless of who it is, and the sadness turned into intense anxiety and a need to do or say something. To that end, here is an open question to all of my friends and family who intend to vote for republicans this fall (for either president or any other position):
With virtually all of these candidates vowing to roll back marriage equality and take my beautiful marriage away from me, with so many of these candidates publicly declaring people like me to be sick and confused perverts, with the RNC officially throwing its support behind well over 100 of these "show me your genitals" bathroom bills that could lead to more teen bullying and suicides or to me being thrown in jail or fined thousands of dollars simply for peeing in the restroom that I obviously belong in, and when so many of these candidates would have my aforementioned jail time served with men instead of other women... With all of that, if you love me or care about me at all, or if you consider yourself an advocate and supporter of LGBT people, HOW CAN YOU POSSIBLY SUPPORT THESE PEOPLE?!?!
Seriously... if you're going to vote for these people, then step up to the plate here and own it. Explain to me why you're okay with all of that. Tell me how it's worth it to you to support a platform built on blind hatred of myself and others like me (not to mention countless other minority citizens). Tell my why you support people who are more concerned with terrorizing me than they are with fixing real problems in our country.
Or better yet, the next time you see me, look me in the eyes and tell me "I'm voting for people who want to strip away your rights and your marriage and your happiness and to put your safety in jeopardy, and I'm okay with that because..." If you have the courage to do that, I'll give you a fair listen.
But if you can't come up with a response for me that you honestly feel good about, then maybe you need to dig deep and reconsider where you stand and who you're voting for.

Reply to Mark

 I've known Mark since 1989.  I graduated High School with his older brother.  The first time we really hung out was at the Who concert at Veteran's Stadium in summer 1989.  I won't bore you, dear reader, with all the details.  Especially since I go over the important ones in the text.

In any case, as most of you know, I am very liberal.  I have posted many times here and in my TG Forum column that I don't understand how any sane TG person can support the GOP as they have declared us their enemies.  (Today, the head of the RNC made discriminating against transpeople  officially a plank in their platform.)

 In any case, I debate politics on facialbook.  A lot.  Mark decided to post in one of the debates- the one about the death of Antonin Scalia.  (I made my thoughts on the topic clear HERE.)  In posting, he took some very personal shots at me.  I decided to reply to him privately.  After a brief exchange, he went VERY public (and extremely insulting) with a small part of our discussion.  And people I don't even know were cursing me out.  So I decided to put out the whole story.  The following is only edited to remove personal information.  

Note:  In this context, Chums are our group of friends in common.


 Right.  I promised you a reply in a different venue, and here it is.  Sorry this took so long, but I debated several aspects of how to deliver this message.  Should I send it as an open letter on my blog, as the reply may help others around the globe?  (Did you know I have a blog?  Figure a Chum would know that.  [R] reads it occasionally, so he tells me.)  Or just reply privately?  I sought out opinions- both with Chums and trans friends.  In the end, I decided that private would be best.  I still may post Part 2 in my blog, stripped of any personal references.

This reply will be in two parts.  Part one will be how I saw the past twenty plus years of our relationship.  Part two will be a direct retort to your comments.  Please bear with me- as this will be a long post.  

Part 1.

 Mark, we are not as close as we used to be.  Yes, I know that's obvious.  Once we were inseparable.  You were in my wedding.  I attended yours.  We helped each other through some very hard times.  Yet, I've been back in PA for 12 1/2 years, and I can count the times I've seen you on one hand.  And one of those times was a funeral.

Why is that?

In 1994, I left Chessex for Games Workshop (GW).  I recommended that you fill the empty spot on the roster.  Both you and Prime were hired.  I was delighted.  Then GW went direct, and you started in on me in the Chessex bulletin.  I didn't care- but my coworkers were merciless.  I was almost fired because of my distribution past.  But when I came home to PA, you were just as nasty in person.  I had ZERO control over GW policies, but you savaged me like it was my brainchild.  That hurt.

Fast forward to August 1995.  Jerry Garcia died.  I was deeply hurt.  I felt like I'd lost a family member.  You again were relentless in your scorn.  I asked you several times to please stop.  You intensified your attacks.  I thought "if this is how he treats me when I'm hurting, why hang out with him?"  So I stopped.  I spent the time with my wife instead.

Since then, I have been glad to see you when the Chums have assembled, but I haven't sought you out.  You've changed your phone number many times, but I've never used it.  I don't need the abuse.  And your drinking scares even me.  That's saying something.

Another thing that frightened me is watching you change.  And I'm not the only one to noticed this.  After the 2000 appointment of GWB to the presidency, the GOP moved further to the right.  But you?  You outdistanced it.  You were always conservative in some ways, but now you are so far to the right as to be unbearable.

All that said, you have been the most accepting Chum of my transition.  Or so it seemed.  I'll address this more in part 2.

Part 2:

 Mark, I will address your points as I come to them.  My comments will be in italics.


[Sophie] No one wished you dead...take a screenshot...she turned your words against you. You wished death on Justice Scaila (The First Italian-Amercian to be Voted to the Supreme Court) on yourself... Two screenshots u[pwards you said the same about Justice Scalia (the First Italian-American to be Voted to the Supreme Court)...So Cut that shit out. 

 Do you care more about his heritage than what he did?  I documented, in that thread, several of his quotes.  There are many more.  If you wish, I will provide them (with citation.)  I don't give a flying f*ck about his heritage.  Just his hate.

Dude as long as I have known you , you have been fueled by Hatred... for a long long time it was a hatred of women and now it seems to be a hatred of women who are conservative... It still puts you level with the GOP you so fight against. 

Mark, you are intelligent enough that I thought you saw, with hindsight, what that was all about.  Guess I was wrong.  I didn't want ANYONE to even suspect my secret.  Was I fueled by hatred?  Absolutely.  An absolute an all-encompassing hatred of myself.   I knew deep inside who I was, and couldn't live with it.  That hatred fueled my alcohol abuse and suicidal thoughts.

As for hating the GOP, I'll get to that.

And FFS, I am NOT a Dude.  Calling me that is misgendering me and disrespecting me, and that hurts.  If you care.

The proof is in the fact that you see no Humanity in Trans Women who hold Conservative beliefs... I do not need to screenshot my argument it is preserved in above and in various other forums...But you still Hate as much as you did back when you called all Women "Bitches" and "Sluts"... 

 See my above comment.

I, understand , you want to vote for Socialism without calling it Socialism...Hey! You went to College... 

 Oh, there it is again- you're SO much better than me because YOU didn't go to college.  Guess again.  Mark, I chose to educate myself, and even earned an advanced degree.  You chose not to do this, despite being easily intelligent enough to do so.  I don't berate your choice. So don't berate mine.  I think Education is a PLUS, not something to be mocked.

Just. Don't. Disown. Your. Own. The Male Imperative is to learn to listen when you want to make it right... I learned that from very Wise Woman... 

 I'm not male. 

But you shouldn't need that much time to understand that. As much as I hate to say it but I say it as a friend... I do not see much woman in the way you act...

Wow.  I'm so glad I have a big strong man like you to tell me how I should or should not act.  After all, I'm just a stupid little woman who needs advice from such an absolute expert on the topic of femininity as yourself.   I mean, I don't know shit about it, being a female and all, and learning that women come in many shapes and sizes and attitudes.  

FFS, stop "mansplaining" to me. I know who and what I am.  And from all I've seen since 1989, your knowledge of women couldn't fill one of my bra cups.

 I see the L word... Honest Injun... I see only the testosterone... Why else would you attack for having Political views non similiar to your own.... Disagree but be Positive to your Sisters...know that Political Values do not reflect an individual's Spirituality or the Love in their Heart.... the assumption works the other way.... . Lets stop assuming because when a Republican Loves more than you do ...You know you are in trouble..

So you spent that entire time berating me for attacking republicans, then downgrade them.  Very disjointed argument.  I'll come back to this.

[His Second Post]

May I interject here... I am a Conservative and almost exclusively vote Republican although I am definitely of a Libertarian slant. I do not believe in God and I do not own a gun. I would like to be an example of how All Republicans do not own guns and pray to Jesus just the same way all Transgenders do not vote Democrat. 

 The current GOP would refer to you as a RINO.  But, by all means, continue.

This is not my problem it seems to be yours. I say this because i spend more time defending Angela Cooper on Facebook than I do downloading Cat Videos... which is a shame.

 As I pointed out on FB, you have defended her exactly twice (both of which are reproduced here) and have never to my knowledge posted a cat video.  So, bad example.

 political alignment or values whether Conservative or Liberal do not alone give you enough information to judge a persons heart. if you want to call me out to defend Ted Cruz against the person's words that were said around him... then defend calling your fellow Women "Quislings" and "Good Germans" and "Going Male.." the last of which is paraphrasing a particular nasty exchange on Facebook this Morning. My 74 year old Father is a Tea Partier. My Brother is the influence that made me Conservative...My friends in both the real and Virtual world are largely Conservative and I have yet to see any Viciousness or Savagery towards Transgenders than I see by Transgenders against other Transgenders.... Let's not even Sugar Coat it...against Conservative Transgenders. None. 

 Right.  Please allow me to put this into terms with which you are familiar. 

I am quite aware of how irrationally you hate anything that even smells of Islam.  Let's say you discovered that your sister or brother were financially supporting ISIL.  Or were thinking of joining them and taking up arms against the US.  How would that make you feel, knowing that people who SHOULD know better, that you have kinship with, were betraying YOUR values so deeply?  That those who ISIL actively wishes to destroy (in your eyes) are helping them despite the fact that ISIL wants them dead?  

Well, guess what?  The GOP wants transpeople DEAD.  I have cited this so many times in so many different places.  How bad has the GOP become?  They have been named a "Hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center.  Is it because of their anti- Islam stance, or their Anti-woman stances?  Nope.  Due to their absolute hatred of LGBT and desire to strip us of all possible rights up to and including our lives (see Cruz, Rafael Eduardo... AKA Ted)  Again, I repeatedly produce proof of these assertions.  

And yet, these transpeople still support the GOP with votes and treasure.  It staggers the imagination.  It reminds me of the Verband nationaldeutscher Juden, who were Jews who supported Hitler, yet still went to the gas chambers (bet they were disappointed!)  Or it reminds me of Vidkun Quisling, leader of the collaborationist Norwegian regime during WW2... and origin of the term that bears his name:  Quisling.

Oh, and Transgender is an adjective, not a noun.   

And [Sophie] you are friends with the core group of friends I talk about... you do not see it from them either. 

 Oh?  How about all the years when politics were discussed that certain chums talked down to me like I was a child.  And yet, I have been consistently been proven right.  About the Iraq War.  About torture.  About the disastrous Bush economic policy.  So you'll pardon me if I call Bullshit on this one.

But I see it from your lot...and by that I mean the people you know not the vague value system or ideology you belong to. Someone said this morning you )again paraphrasing) you are becoming exactly what you hate, And it is true. My White Privileged Ass is more Compassionate towards Gays or trans than you are... because I do not ask f them to show their Liberal or Conservative Pass at the Door.... You get in based on your humanity not on your Affiliation. When You start to Hate your own, then I have to believe you only Love the Agenda.

I'm so glad you're able to so precisely "cis-splain" this to me with your deep and rich experience of the trans experience.  Mark, you are spot on when you say"White Privileged Ass" but you forgot "Male privileged Ass" and "Cisgender Privileged Ass" as well.  You know absolutely SHIT about the struggle I and those like me face.  You know nothing about hating yourself EVERY SINGLE DAY for being born in a wrong body.  You know nothing of having an entire political party telling you that you are not only insane, but also that you don't deserve rights, including "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness."  (Some guy named Jefferson wrote about that.)  You were born a white, cisgender male: the absolute top of the heap.  At one time you understood how others felt- you were an Honorary Hutchins, ffs!  But that empathy disappeared completely in the passing decades.  Was it your time homeless in the UK that caused your bitterness?  The failure of your marriage?  Your unquenchable thirst for alcohol that has cost you so very much in your life?  You know what- it's none of my business how you became so bitter.  But you have.  

I've changed, Mark.  I've finally allowed my Truth to come out and to Live as I should have.  And that has made me a pariah.  So be it. But I'll be damned if I let the GOP strip my of my rights without a fight.  And that fight includes fighting their allies, and trying, however fruitlessly, to educate them.  After all, that's what my "socialist" book learnin' taught me- to educate.  

But my fight?  My spirit?  That came from my soul- just like my identity.  I am a Woman.  And I will live and/or die living my truth.

I expect my reply, if you've read this far, will make you angry.  I expect you'll deflect, project, and blame the left wing for all the sins on the calendar, and attempt to riposte my assertions with personal attacks and whatever else.  

Know what?  That's your right.

Mark, you are my Chum, and I love you.  Yet you still misgender me, and assume you know what my life is about.  Please... Don't.  You DON'T understand, and I thank God for it.  The only way to understand it is to experience it, and I wouldn't wish being trans on my worst enemy.  Even a republican.

Be well.  

Mark replied:

Thank you for your honesty. And this was probably the best medium to address things. I started to write a lengthy rebuttal but then stopped myself short. I do not feel the need to defend myself to you as much as I feel the need to stop and listen. l;arity is greater than Victory. I will tell you that I am not Bitter at all. My marriage to nikki ended because I did not want children and so did my relationship with Clare. Both times I took it in the gut rather than end up in a life that isn't suited for me. Nikki and I remain friends to this day. but I stuck to my guns and the knowledge of what I want out of life (Spoiler Alert: NOT Marriage) Know too that I do not see any of the Chums and even rarely my Brother any more... Me becoming a Recluse isn't narrowed down to just you. In fact, I texted you Happy New Year but after no response I thought perhaps I had the wrong number.. Let me just say this...whenever asked about your transition I always said the same thing. Heartfelt thing. "..whatever my opinion is doesn't matter. I do not need to understand it.. All I need to understand is that that is my friend's reality and I support her." Let's leave it at that.

p.s. I do read your blog.


And then, I woke up this morning to the following:

Recently a Dear Friend of Mine Laid this on Me:

"You were born a white, cisgender male: the absolute top of the heap. At one time you understood how others felt- you were an Honorary Hutchins, ffs! But that empathy disappeared completely in the passing decades. Was it your time homeless in the UK that caused your bitterness? The failure of your marriage? Your unquenchable thirst for alcohol that has cost you so very much in your life? You know what- it's none of my business how you became so bitter. But you have".

I am not afraid of my faults... I do not view my Marriage as a failure. And I am not afraid of discussing the times that I was homeless...These are the times that I did overcome and I did overcome them. . But for a friend to keep these things hidden under the chest and then use them after so many speaks volumes. You can label a lot of people in a lot of ways... but when you stop listening to them and start labeling what they are saying...Then Fuck You. Fuck you when you tell me my skin colour gives you any insight into my mind... That my gender is my identity.. .Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. My Politics Do Not Equal my religion and my Religion has always been Kindness...

 I replied, privately:

Ok. I read your very public answer.


I read your first response and thought "Ok.  That's reasonable."  I thought I'd invite you out for a beer and bizznizz [Sambuca- long story there] and I'd ask if you were free Saturday night.

Then I saw that. Message received.  I'm glad you read my blog, Mark. I'll reply there. 

Be well.


Ok.  Everyone up to speed?  

Mark, for someone whose "religion has always been kindness" that's a pretty savage reply.  

I'm not afraid of my faults either.  After all: they are Legion.  However, when I am in a private conversation, I don't expect to see it artfully edited then splashed all over facialbook.  So, here it is, in its entirety, for all to see, especially your blonde friend that doesn't know me one bit, yet who also cursed me.  She did make an interesting point when she asked if I'd ever "looked into my soul."  (I'm sorry, the post was gone when I went to copy it for this blog, so I don't have her exact words.)  

Yes, Mark, I HAVE looked into my soul.  Many, many times.  And do you know what I found?  Anger.  Self-hatred.  Pain.  I examined what was left of my human decency, and determined Who I Am.  

I KNOW who I am.  

Transpeople have that advantage: we don't make the decision to transition lightly.  It comes after a lifetime of thought.  A lifetime of reflection and Pain.  A lifetime of lying to EVERYONE, especially themselves.   To arrive at the point of transition, we have exhausted ALL other alternatives.  

After all, who would WANT to be trans?  Seriously.  As I write this, there are HUNDREDS of anti-LGBT pieces of legislation (including 43 aimed specifically at Transgender people- down from 44 this morning when Wisconsin voted down their "religious freedom" bathroom bill) in front of state legislatures.  ALL of them started by Republicans.  Here in PA, I have NO legal protections.  I can be fired for being Trans.  Denied housing.  Denied everything.  Including my life.

Am I exaggerating?  A transwoman was murdered last weekend in Philly.  Third in the past year.  In the past several years there were several others in the City of Brotherly Love.  To my knowledge, only 2 (TWO) of the murderers have been caught.  None have been to trial.  One of those murdered was stabbed multiple times, dismembered, and dumped in an empty lot.  

Want to know how much fun being Trans can be?  Read any article about us.  Then read the comments.  The word we're called most of the time is "it."  We are threatened with unspeakable violence.  And all too often, we are victims of it.

And what does that lead to?  For many of us, Suicide.  If you read this blog, you already know about Lisa Empanada.  And you've probably read that at least 41% of Transpeople attempt suicide (a number I think is low.)  

Yeah.  This life is a load of laughs.

But it's mine.  I arrived at it because I had no other choice.

So.  You want to publicly denounce me and my politics? You want to curse me out in a very public forum?  Call me "dude?"  Feel free.

Just don't call yourself my friend.

Friends don't do that.

Happier Days

Monday, February 22, 2016

Pennies in a Fountain

Last Saturday, February 19, I was able to see my Wife and daughter for a bit.  I even saw my sixteen year old puppy, Nittany!

We went to the King of Prussia Mall, as Wife needed a clear cover for her new phone's screen.  The kiosk that sold them is near a fountain in the center of the mall.  Daughter loves this fountain, so while Wife was getting the phone sorted, I followed Daughter to the fountain, and dug out some change from my change purse so she could toss it in.  I then sat down on the broad ledge of the fountain, as I was a bit tired.  I also dug some change out for myself.

I guess I'm sentimental, but I love making wishes while tossing coins into a fountain.  For years, i wished I could be a complete woman.  I wished for a healthy baby.  I still wish for my daughter's health and success.  And I taught my daughter to make wishes too.

But she hasn't quite gotten the hang of it.  You see, she always tells me what she wished for, despite me saying that you should keep your wish secret- in your heart.

I sat and watched her toss a penny into the fountain.  She turned to me and said:

"Daddy, I wished that you could come home and we could be a family again."

I instantly felt tears well in my eyes.

I mustered the best smile I could with my shattered heart and replied to her, quietly, "Yes, that would be wonderful.  I wish for that too."

 Same Day, Hours later

Monday, February 15, 2016

With to Without

Everyone has secrets.  "Skeletons in their closets."  Some have entire cemeteries.  My secret was so terrible that it almost killed me.  I was Trans- I was born in the wrong body, and I had to hide that.  I couldn't reveal it to anyone, lest I Suffer the consequences.

Until I finally told everyone my Truth.

Professor Jennifer Finney Boylan​ appeared at St. Joseph's University Feb 11, 2016.  I arrived late to the presentation, arriving during Q&A.  I was there e a couple of minutes when something she said while answering a student's question hit me like a 2x4.

She said that (paraphrasing) the biggest change in Coming Out wasn't changing gender, but from being someone WITH a big secret to being someone WITHOUT a big secret.

Professor Jennifer Finney Boylan at St. Joseph's University

I'd never thought of it that way, but she is absolutely correct.

I lived with my secret since I was four years old.  Why was it a secret?  In the 60s, 70's and 80s, being transgender in small town America was akin to a death sentence.  I was undersized to begin with, so that was hard enough.

So I held onto my secret.

I started dressing in my early teens.  I used the money from my paper route and later from Burger King to send away for clothes via mail order.  I used water balloons for breasts, as I didn't have the money for breast forms from the Michael Salem Boutique ads I'd see in the back of the Penthouse magazines I would occasionally find.  As I knew my brother would regularly come rooting through my room (our rooms were adjacent) I quickly learned to be VERY good at hiding not just my Secret, but physical items as well.   My parents sold that house in the 1990s, and I wouldn't be surprised if the current owners occasionally found clothing hidden in places I'd forgotten.

The, right around my 17th birthday, I stopped.  I was so ashamed of what I was doing.  After all, like most males of my generation, I'd been taught that men are superior to women.  Women are second class citizens.  And the popular media supported that assertion, of course.  That's a discussion for another time, though.  In any case, I purged all of my feminine clothes.  I put them all in trash bags and drove them down to the Burger King where I tossed them into the dumpster late one night.   And then I went about proving myself a Man.

Funny how right around that time is when suicidal thoughts started whispering into my head.

And so I kept the Secret.

And keeping it influenced my life's direction.  The following were the results, directly or indirect, of keeping my Secret:

  • Joining a Fraternity.
  • Drinking FAR too much into my 40s, and all the damage that caused to my life and careers
  • Desire never to have children
  • I'm told I exhibited misogynistic behavior.  I don't believe I did, but I will not deny it.
  • Playing VERY male stereotype characters in role playing games
  • More fights than I can count
  • Self-Hatred
  • Insecurity

And so much more.  That is far from a complete list, but you get the idea, dear reader.

On Halloween 2008, I dressed as a woman and went out to a party and to a bar.  It was my first time ever setting foot outside a house dressed that way.  I remember driving home from the bar, and all the repressed thoughts and desires coming back to me.  When I returned to MIL's house (where Wife and lived) I stayed dressed, taking pictures of myself for at least another hour.  After all, I'd never ever do this again, so...

Picture from that session.  I've never posted this anywhere before now

But I did.

Again and again.

I started a myspace account, a flickr account, and, eventually, a Facialbook account, all under my female persona to cultivate that growing aspect of my life.  Online, I met people who shared my secret.  Good people.

So I had hide the secret even deeper.  I drank more.  I became less patient with everything (and I was never that patient to begin with.)  I lashed out in anger.  I was so very ashamed that I could no longer stop my female side, now named Sophie, from emerging.  I needed to be Sophie.  And once a month, for a blissful few hours, I could be.  During those times, I met amazing people, many of whom are now among my dearest friends.  I could be ME around these people.

Veteran readers know the rest of the story.

Fast forward to 2014.  I began telling my closest friends, one by one, about my Truth.  I finalized plans to come out at work.  I made a pair of videos to send to friends.  Then, on March 24, at 10:30-ish PM, I sent out the message on Facebook, telling everyone.  I was so nervous!  I couldn't sleep that night!  Eventually, I received 73 messages of support.

I spent that week at the Keystone Conference in Harrisburg, PA.  I came back to the house where I was staying on Sunday March 30.  And then I went into the book store for the first time as Sophie, just to get it out of the way.  The next day, I started work as a woman.

Ready for my First Day at work as Sophie.

My secret was gone forever.

How did that feel?  Well the weight of a secret as old as me was lifted.  It vanished. I felt light as a feather.  I knew that I had a VERY rough road ahead (putting it mildly) but for the moment, I was giddy.  I was finally at Peace.  No more Secret.

It's really hard to put into words how free it made me feel.  I was... unburdened.  I could now move forward with my life.  I could start on the same footing that everyone else was born with.

I am nearly fifty years old.  I came out when I was 47.  Assuming normal life span, I spent over half of my life hiding what I felt was the worst possible shame.  I lied to everyone, especially those closest to me.  Especially to myself.  My dear friend, the beautiful Jenny North recently told me "We fool ourselves first before we fool others."  And she was so right.  I fooled myself into believing that I could hide my true self inside of me forever.  I fooled others into believing I was male.

I was the fool to hold onto the secret that long.  It nearly killed me.

I understand why so many hide being Trans.  Really I do.  In my case, I had nothing left to lose.  And as Janice Joplin sang, "freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

Jennifer Finney Boylan was absolutely correct.  I wonder how many in that room of college students could truly grasp that.  I know that every LGBT person did.  I did.  When she said it, I looked down at my feet.  I felt like laughing.  Or crying.  Or both.

Everyone has secrets.  "Skeletons in their closets."  Some have entire cemeteries.  I still have secrets that I will take to my grave.  But when the lying stopped, when I could face the world and say "I AM! I AM!  I AM!", that's when my life truly began.

Be Well.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Romantic Interlude

This is a chapter from my (as yet) unpublished book Men of the Skull.  It's a memoir of my college years.  Fraternity life in the 1980s.  I wrote it trying to find out the source of my pain, using the journals I kept (and still keep) as primary sources.  After seven years of research and writing, I finished it in November of 2008.  But by then, I KNEW what the issue was... I was a woman... so the book became superfluous, really.

Me, 1988.  Bartending at a house social

I tried hard to get an agent, etc, but no one wanted it.

As with every chapter, it is dated, and a headline from that day follows the date.

In any case, this chapter is an example of who I was in college (and who the person I dated was.)  And yes, this happened when and how I say it did.

Note:  contains adult situations and language.  


Chapter  2.108: Lights Out
Tuesday, January 20, 1988 U.S. to send more arms to contras

“Turn on the light”
“I gotta go to the bathroom.”
“So go.”
“We’re on a loft.  I need to see where I’m going.”
“So turn on the light.”
“You’re closer.”
“It’s more fun if you do it.”
“I love it when your tits rub against me.  Especially while we’re naked.”
“I fucking hate that word.  Tits.  I’m not a cow!”
“What would you prefer?”
“I don’t know!  Boobs.  Why not boobs?”
“That’s childish.  Why not gazongas?  Hooters?  Yabos?”
“You’re an asshole.  Turn on the fucking light.”
“I think this is a legita-legitimate issue.  What would you like me to call them?  Do you have names for them?”
“No.  I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Why not?”
“My dad called them tits.”

“Moms and mine.”

“I don’t get it!”
“You never do.”
“I just did.”
“Just turn on the fucking light before I pee in the bed!”

“Feel better?”
“I used the last of the paper.”
“Oh well.”

“I love you.”


Saturday, February 13, 2016

Valentine's Vignettes

I've had a couple of good days with Wife and Daughter.

First, yesterday, I was sent home from work early due to having lost my voice.  I know that doesn't sound good, and it wasn't.  However, it allowed me to go to my Daughter's parent-teacher conference.  So I went to the conference sans voice.

It was a great experience.  But among the best parts is that when we entered the room.  Wife entered fi, and introduced herself to the teacher.  She turned and introduced me:  "This is Sophie."  I then greeted her and whispered that I am trans.  And we went on with the conference.

But this was very significant.  This was the First Time Wife introduced me as Sophie.  I was glowing.

After the conference, I drove down to Philly to attend Jennifer Finney Boylan's reading at St. Joseph's University.  I'll write about that more soon.


Wife and I went to dinner tonight for Valentines Day at Iron Hill Brewing Company in Phoenixville, PA.  The waitress came over to the table and greeted us "hello ladies!"  I felt good inside.  My daughter tapped the waitress he elbow, smiled, and said, quietly, "My daddy is transgender."

I didn't hear her, but Wife did.  She then told me what Daughter said.  I laughed, and told Daughter that she really didn't need to tell complete strangers about my being trans.  We agreed that it would be "our little secret."

I couldn't stop smiling!

Thursday, February 11, 2016


This morning, after I woke up and sorted out my biological functions, my roomie and bestie Linda, reminded me that it was time to inject.  You see, we both take our estrogen by injection, and on the same day, every 10 days.

So this morning, I sat looking at the syringe.  In it, I had put my usual dose.  Now, I hadn't been awake more than fifteen minutes at that point.

I've been on HRT for over three years now.  The first six months or so, I was oral estrogen.  However, due to my concerns about my liver as well as my desire to get... things... moving faster,  switched to injecting estrogen.  And yes, things moved along very nicely.

I inject every ten days, alternating my injection site between my left thigh and my right thigh.  That means this time I inject in my left thigh, next time in the right thigh.  Got that?

In any case, this morning I injected in my left leg.  But, as I was saying, before I injected, I was sitting, staring at the needle.

Look at that enthusiasm!

I just didn't feel like jabbing myself this morning.  Wasn't in the mood.  After all, it hurts a little.

"Don't worry: this won't hurt a bit."

Now, Linda and I inject in different ways.  She takes forever to inject.  Me, due to my training (paramedic: long long ago), I just get it over with.  Boink!  Done!  Of course, I'm far more likely to end up bleeding from the puncture wound as well.

However, there is another impediment to speed: viscosity.  You see, the estrogen is very thick- like vegetable oil.  That makes it much harder to depress the plunger.  So, in my case, I have to use two hands.  The one to hold the needle firmly as I depress the plunger to inject the estrogen into my muscle.  The other holds the bottom of the needle to keep it from penetrating deeply into my thigh, as it really takes a lot of force to get that plunger down.  Once I finally get the needle in, it usually takes me thirty seconds to finish the injection.  

It feels heavy at the injection site as the estrogen is absorbed, and I massage the area briefly after injecting to help it along.  Sometimes, I need a band aid; sometimes I don't.  

So as I was saying before, I really didn't feel like doing this.  

Then I realized something.  

I was looking down at the syringe, and plainly in my sight were my breasts.  My beloved D cup breasts.  That were a direct result of injecting estrogen.  As was my softer skin.  Among other things.  
 Thank you Estrogen!

I smiled.  

And jabbed the needle through my skin.

Sweet, Sweet Estrogen.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Incident on Walnut Street

A manager at one of the other bookstores in our chain passed away this week.  Friday, February 5 was her viewing and funeral.  A call for volunteers to staff the store went out among all of the other stores in the district.  They needed a lot of staff, as it was a city store.  One of the positions required was Head Cashier, which is my position.  I volunteered to help.  (Of course I got paid.)

So on Friday afternoon I drove into Center City, Philadelphia where the store is located.  The store is a large one- three stories a "ritzy" area next to Rittenhouse Square.  There was a bit of traffic coming in, but I still made it roughly on time.


The shift was fun.  The only real bump was an old rastafarian guy who was bothering one of the Philly store's staff.  As our store has no security, I spoke up saying I'm her boss; she has work to do, and would you kindly leave her alone?   He came over to my register, and started asking me strange questions (he was either demented or high.)  At that point, the security guard came over and escorted him out.  Yes, this store has a guard!  YAY!

The shift ended, and we all parted ways.  I met many wonderful people from many stores.  In many ways it was an "All Star team."  Anyway, the store manager at my usual store told me earlier that her brother ran a bar near the store called Tinto.  I thought I'd go over and see the place.  The two women from my store who had also volunteered couldn't accompany me, as they already had plans (they are both in their 20s and single.)  So I walked the three blocks to the bar alone without an issue.

The door people were young and gorgeous.  I texted my roomie and bestie, Linda, "Life isn't fair" which is what we usually say to each other when we see a gorgeous woman.

With one of the two door women

I went to the bar area, but the manager's brother was not working that night.  "But we have two other bartenders on tonight, and they're just as hot as he is!" as one of the door people said.  I had a glass of wine and left.

That's when things became a bit dangerous.

Sidebar:  I went to Drexel University for two years.  Drexel is in west Philly, in a rough neighborhood of the city.  I was mugged there a few times.  I learned never to go anywhere alone if possible.  And that's when I was young, in shape, and supposedly male.  While there, I learned a few tricks to keep people from attacking.

Anyway, I started walking south on 20th street when I noticed a tall guy start walking in my direction behind me.  He was taller than me and most of his face was obscured by a hood and a scarf.  As I walked south, I noticed another man emerge from an alley to right.  He was also taller than me, hooded and scarfed.  He joined the other man, maybe twenty yards behind me.

I was a woman walking alone in the city.  And I was being followed.

I crossed Walnut Street and headed east toward the parking garage next to the bookstore.  So did they.  I jaywalked back across Walnut.  So did they.

I remember a trick taught to me by one of my fraternity brothers at Drexel: if you think you're being followed, turn and put your hand into your jacket like you're going for a gun.  Well, I was wearing a loose sweater over my dress.  However, I had my purse on my right arm.

I turned to face the two men, set my feet shoulder width apart and put my left hand into my bag while looking one of the men directly in the eye.  I glared at him, trying to look fierce.

The men stopped maybe twenty feet from me (they had been gaining on me), turned, and without a word walked back west on Walnut Street.  They turned right on 20th and I lost sight of them.

I'm red.  The two men are blue and purple.  Please excuse the crudeness of the map

I was so relieved!  I turned back to walk the remaining half a block to the parking lot, retrieved my car, and drove home.

There was a time I would have turned and charged at the two men, looking for the fight, and, somewhere deep inside, hoping to die.  But those days are long gone.  Besides, I was wearing a dress.  And I didn't want to get a run in my pantyhose.

But seriously, I was really scared!  I just wanted to go home and get some sleep, as I had to work in the morning.

Well, I'm back at the apartment typing up this story while it's fresh in my mind.

Ladies, don't be stupid like me: don't walk alone at night in the city!  I was lucky those two were looking for an easy target.  Very lucky.

I'm going to go to bed now to try to get some sleep.

Be well!

(This was read on a podcast.  at the 55 Minute mark)

See ME reading this entry HERE

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Open Letter to a GG

The following is not written with any one person in mind.

But it could be.


Picture from Today


Dear Cisgender Genetic Girls,

Women make up approximately 51% of the world's human population.  And you are lucky to be among them.

Why, you ask?  I mean after all, women are the subject of oppression, violence, discrimination, and the Kardashians.  Women make less then men for doing the same work.  Women's intelligence is consistently belittled by men.  Women are judged solely by their looks.  They are blamed when they are raped because they were "obviously asking for it."  And I can keep going with this litany, including being used as sex toys.

All true.

But- try to see it from my point of view: the perspective of a transwoman.

I was born male, and for whatever reason; be it genetics, extra estrogen in the womb, faulty receptors on alleles (all current theories), I have a feminine brain.  I identify as Female.  I have lived every day of my life in Pain, knowing that I was born "wrong" and that, in my case, there was nothing that could be done about it.  I didn't dare even speak of it.

After all, in the 60s and 70s, transpeople were "queer freaks."

So I suffered.  And I watched as puberty separated the boys from the girls in so many ways.

I know that no woman is EVER satisfied with her appearance.  I'm the same way.  I'm too fat; my hair is limp and dull; I could go on.

However, when I hear a woman, particularly one who is young and beautiful, complain about her appearance, well, I just want to scream!

As you walk with easy femininity- no one mistakes YOU for a man.  You have lived your life as a female.  You've never wanted to be anything but.  You grew  with female friends with whom you laughed and played; practiced makeup; talked about boys (or girls) and all small rituals of a girl moving into womanhood.  Many have sweet 16 parties.  At prom, it's ALL about the dress.  And who cares about the groom at a wedding- here comes the BRIDE!

You can be a tom boy, and no one questions if you were born with a penis.  You can work hard alongside men, and then be as soft and feminine as you please.

You don't have to worry about voice lessons, lest your voice sound too manly.

You complain about your hips and thighs... at least you have them!  You have curves I can only dream of possessing!  You can rock miniskirts, dresses, whatever.  No one looks at your butt and thinks "guy", not even the skinniest of women.  Your hips are one of the things that define your womanhood.

Womanhood.  Defined as  a person bearing two X chromosomes in the cell nuclei and normally having a vagina, a uterus and ovaries, and developing at puberty a relatively rounded body and enlarged breasts, and retaining a beardless face; a girl or woman.

Women often complain about their biological role of gestating offspring, and all that means, especially their monthly "visitor."  This means that YOU, not men, are the beginning of us all.  You create life!  Men will never know how that feels.  Ever.  I am a parent- a father.  I have a special bond with my daughter, but it is nowhere near the bond that she shares with her mother-  Her mother who carried her inside herself for nine months.  Yet, even a woman who cannot have children, or chooses not to, is still a Woman.  No one says otherwise.

You complain you're ugly?  Oh please.  How many times have YOU been called "sir?"  People look at you and see a Woman.  No doubt about it.  You don't require endless hours of electrolysis before you can go without makeup.

Makeup- for so many women it's a chore.  But for you it's a choice.  I see makeup as something I have earned.  For so long, I practiced... and now I wear makeup every day.  To look more feminine.

You have breasts.  Well, in this case, so do I, thanks to years of self-administered hormone injections.  I hear women complain that they get in the way, etc.  Yes, they do sometimes.  And wearing a bra gets painful after a full day.  All true.   For many, breasts are the most feminine of visual cues.  Yet, even flat chested women are not mistaken for guys.  I have D cup breasts, and am still called a man.

Then there's that whole sex thing.  A woman has thousands more nerve endings "down there" than a man.  Men are FAR easier to please sexually than a woman, but I can only imagine what it feels like for you.  Yes, you can get pregnant.  And the GOP wants to tell you what you can and cannot do with that part of your anatomy.  And yes, most men have NO idea what they're doing when it comes to sex.  All true.  But when it all comes together (hee) it must be so amazing.

Being a Woman is more than clothes.  More than Hips, Breasts, hair, makeup, body parts.  Gender is, after all, between the ears, not between the legs.  (And someone please remind Caitlyn Jenner of all this!)  And being female has so many challenges.

However, think about how LUCKY you are.  The next time you look into a mirror and see ugly, or l like a blimp... remember...

You were born female.  That's who you are.  That's who you will be.  It is your birthright.  But for so many, myself included, femininity is a goal to strive towards.

I am female, like you.  But I will never know the things you do.  Never share your experiences.  Understand certain truths.  Yes, I know things YOU don't know as well.  But you truly ever want to have that knowledge?  Does your soul ache for it?

Would you die for it?

I would.

As would many of my trans sisters.

You are So Lucky.  Remember that.  Celebrate who YOU are!

You are a WOMAN.