This entry will be updated as needed, and it's been a while, so NEW EDITION!. It's sort of a resource for the Blog. Here you'll find basic definitions of terms and who the people are that I reference most often.
A quick summary of my life as it is currently:
Who am I?
That's a deep question. I am Sophie Lynne. I am a pre-operative transgender woman. I was born in September 1966. I graduated from Penn State with a degree in Education, then many years later I earned a Masters degree in Education, also from Penn State. I married in 1993, and currently am still married. My daughter was born in 2007. I used to work at a bookstore as a supervisor, but was laid off in February 2018. I am currently living in an apartment in S.E. Pa. I went full time as a woman on March 25, 2014. I now do Outreach at Universities, and wherever I'm invited, really. I have been writing my whole life, and have been published in international magazines as well as the New York Times. I wrote a book about my college years, but it has yet to be published. I've posted some chapters here in the blog, though. In fall 2019, I moved back to State College to pursue my PhD in Continuing Learning and Adult Education with a minor in Gender studies at Penn State.
What is Transgender?
According to the American Psychological Association, transgender is:
an umbrella term for persons whose gender identity, gender expression, or behavior does not conform to that typically associated with the sex to which they were assigned at birth. Gender identity refers to a person’s internal sense of being male, female, or something else; gender expression refers to the way a person communicates gender identity to others through behavior, clothing, hairstyles, voice, or body characteristics. “Trans” is sometimes used as shorthand for “transgender.” While transgender is generally a good term to use, not everyone whose appearance or behavior is gender-nonconforming will identify as a transgender person. The ways that transgender people are talked about in popular culture, academia, and science are constantly changing, particularly as individuals’ awareness, knowledge, and openness about transgender people and their experiences grow. Source
HERE is another good definition with some follow up questions.
When did you realize you were transgender?
I knew I was different when I was four- that I was in the wrong body. I was 11 when a special ran on the local news called the "Transsexual Dilemma" and I was like- That's me!" Of course, being in a very blue collar family in the 1970s I thought I was only one like me in the world. I cross-dressed for a while until I was about 16, then stopped. I started again in 2008. I realized that I needed to transition comparatively recently.
Like many TGs, I joined a fraternity in college. I also participated in hyper-masculine activities in an effort to bury my feminine feelings.
Why did you choose to be Transgender?
I DIDN'T choose this. I was born this way. Being transgender is NOT a mental condition, it is a Physical condition. There are several theories as to how this happens: a flood of estrogen in utero at the wrong time, faulty hormone receptors in the fetus... but in the end, no one really knows for sure.
Here's a VERY good dicussion on the current theories.
Why would someone CHOOSE to be TG? Why would they choose a life of prejudice and hatred? A life where they constantly feel the anguish of not being "Right"? 41% of TG people attempt suicide. Compare that to 3% who attempt suicide in the non-trans population. Our murder rate is much higher than the cisgender population as well. It's a HARD life. An expensive one. And, in the end, a life of uncertainty and pain. Yeah, definitely my first choice. *rolls eyes*
Why did you stop in 1983?
I was ashamed. I felt like a freak. And I'm sure if I were caught, the punishment would've been VERY severe. So I suppressed it for many, many years- doing my best to be the guy I was expected to be. I wasn't very good at it. Remember, this was before the internet, so I thought I was the only "freak" who had those feelings.
Why do I call myself Sophie?
I didn't start with this name. In December of 2008, I went for my first makeover at Femme Fever in NY. Karen, the proprietor, did the makeup and asked what name I was using. I told her but said it was not set in stone. She stepped back and looked at me, as the makeup was finished, but I hadn't seen myself yet. She looked at me and said "I have a strong feeling your name is Sophie." She then turned the chair around so I faced the mirror and said "Say hello to Sophie!"
My First Look at Sophie
I usually don't ignore strong feelings, so I kept the name. I added the Lynne part as I liked the sound of it. I have been told that I "own [my] name!" Ok. Thanks!
Sophie is Greek for Wisdom, and I can use all the wisdom I can get.
Since becoming Sophie, I've researched famous Sophies in history. By far, my favorite is Sophie Scholl.
What's your male name?
It was Lance. Was. Past tense. I answer that question only because I mention it in posts occasionally.
Will you legally change your name to Sophie Lynne?
No. I legally changed my name in October 2016. Sophie Lynne remains as my nom de plume. :)
Are you gay?
I am attracted to Women. (I'm married to one.) I am not attracted to guys. At all. So, I am considered a trans-lesbian.
Sexuality is who you are attracted to. Gender is who you ARE. The two are independent of each other.
What does Christ have to say about Transgender People?
He had the last supper in the home of a TG. Luke 22:10 says And he said unto them, Behold, when ye are entered into the city, there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he entereth in. Back in Christ's day, Women carried water. period. Men did NOT do so. Yet, this man did. Why? The man was TG. (I didn't make this up. Google it!)
I think he's cool with us. After all, why would God have made me this way if they weren't cool with it. God doesn't make mistakes, right?
Have you had your surgery yet?
The normal answer to this would be something like "Why are you so interested in my genitals?" I mean really, it's no one's business. Calpernia Adams has a really wonderful video about questions like this one. Also, there isn't just one surgery: there's facial feminization surgery, breast augmentation (no, I didn't have that), and Gender Correction Surgery. I'll never be able to afford any of them, so there's your answer.
Baby I'm a Star!
Ok, not really. It doesn't happen often, but occasionally I get some press coverage. Here are links:
Philadelphia Daily News Profile, June 2016
Penn State Abington Review of a talk I did, Nov 2015
Penn State Abington Review II, April 2017
Phoenixville Non-Discrimination Ordinance, March 2017
Me speaking at the Borough meeting, March 2017. I'm at 14:15
Outward Today, Oct 2016
I use many pseudonyms for people in my life as I'm sure they don't want any publicity. My favorite form of pseudonym is a random letter designation. After Wife and daughter, they are in no particular order. This list is FAR from complete.
Me. Your humble hostess. I am the youngest of two children, and I have an older brother.
April 2021 (pic by Chuck Fong)
My wife is a couple of years younger than me. We met in 1991 and married in 1993. Like all couples, we've had our ups and downs. I refer to her as "Wife" as a term of affection. And she's cool with that. She's the oldest of three children, and has two younger brothers.
My daughter was born in late 2007. She's been without me in the house since 2013.
Parents: My parents are alive, and still married after 50 years. I told them about Sophie on Saturday, December 28, 2013. The initial reaction was positive, and we've covered a LOT of ground. Both parents have now met their daughter. Things went well for a while, but now- not so much.
OB: Older brother. Used to always beat me up and blame me for everything he did. My parents always believed him over me. I told him about being Sophie and he laughed at me, then lied to my parents about it. He met his sister on Christmas day 2014. We don't speak.
MIL: Mother in Law. My wife's mother. So right wing she thinks Rick Santorum is liberal. Extremely intolerant of anyone who is not exactly like her. Racist. One insulted her Filipino daughter in law with a racial slur to her face. For ten years, Wife and I lived in her house due to my inability to find a job that paid enough to move out. I was thrown out of that house in late August of 2013 for being TG.
Mel: My "Big Sister." Mel transitioned in 2003. She is an incredibly intelligent woman, and very plain spoken. My therapist asked Mel to advise and mentor me, and we've become good friends. I wouldn't be where I am today with out her candid, sometimes brutal, advice. Mel is very good friends with Donna Rose, who was HER big sister.
Dr. Maureen Osborne: My therapist. One of the leading minds in TG therapy. She's fantastic! She was my "Big Sister's" therapist as well. She retired in 2015.
Dr. Osborne (seated) receiving a gift at Transhealth, June 2013
Lisa Empanada: My "transition buddy." My Sister. Aside from my Wife, she was my closest friend. We could finish each other's sentences and often did. She committed suicide on Monday, September 16, 2013. Her death sent me into a tailspin which almost killed me. I miss her very much.
David: David is a trans-man living in Baltimore. I met him at Laptop Lounge back in February 2013, and really got to know him at Keystone 2013. He is good people.
Elizabeth: Elizabeth was the first non-TG I told about being Sophie. My first time out on Halloween 2008, she helped me pick out an outfit. (She didn't know then.) She and I worked together at the time, but she was moving to Turkey with her boyfriend. I was SO nervous! But she was extremely accepting. For a while, she was the only one of my friends who knew. She gave me a party on the one year anniversary of going full time, and I was a bridesmaid at her wedding.
Dave: Dave was the first cis-gender male that I told about being TG. We are former co-workers. He is married to Elizabeth.
M: My coworker for several years. She was among the first I told. She's an unapologetic hippie from California, and her exploits could fill several books. She is also VERY rich, and uses that money to help autistic children world wide. She opened her home to me for nine months after MIL threw me out.
Jamie: Another former co-worker, she now works in the publishing industry. She is from Missouri and is an absolute delight! She accepted me readily.
Linda Lewis: One of my earliest inspirations, Linda is an amazing person. Over time we started conversing on Facebook and became friends. I met her at SCC. She is an icon of the community, but more important, she is an amazing and down to Earth woman. Linda is currently my room mate and bestie. yes, she moved to State College with me. She's a BLAST to have around!
Linda Lewis, April 2017
Kimberly Huddle: Another early inspiration. Kim travels the country dressed as Kim for her drab job. She lives in Texas, and, despite her folksy manner, is extremely sharp. She's an amazing, beautiful woman and a great friend. She has an amazing blog which inspired me to start this one. Read it HERE.
Kim Huddle, on her second Philly visit.
Ally Raymond: She's from Richmond, Va. I met Ally at Lisa's affirmation party, and since then she's become an indispensable part of my life. Tall, gorgeous, and so outspoken... she's a role model for transwomen! At least I think so. She married her longtime partner in 2021.
Ally, March 2017
Amanda Richards: Owner of True Colors Makeup Artistry. A absolute genius with makeup and a very dear friend. She went to a rival Big 10 school, but I don't hold it against her. ;)
Amanda Richards, March 2017
Lorraine Anderson: Owner of Occasional Woman. She makes a lot of the clothes to fit over my difficult to fit body. Such a fun, caring, and genuinely amazing person whom I'm proud to call friend! She also writes for TG Forum.
Lorraine and her worst customer
Sandy Empanada: Lisa's Widow, and one of the strongest people I know. She's simply amazing. She, and Lisa's daughters Kristy and Tiffany, are family to me (as are the entire Newell family.)
Jake, Sandy Empanada, Tiffany Empanada, David, me. November 2013
DrD: My oldest friend. We met in kindergarten. He was Best Man in my wedding. He is my best male friend. I told him about my Truth, and he was supportive. DrD holds two doctoral degrees, and is a fellow Penn Stater. He is an amazing person, and I would die for him.
With DrD in October 2019
R: My friend since 1980. We graduated high school together. US Army veteran and VMI graduate. He was a groomsman in my wedding, as I was in his first wedding. In his second, I was Best man. When I came out to him, he cried, and swore to support me. I have often said I would "take a bullet" for him. And I continue to say that. He met Sophie in late 2014.
A: My friend since 1993. I met her through her boyfriend of the time when he was in my D&D group. She dumped him soon after, but we stayed in touch because we clicked. She invited Wife and I to her wedding to her no-good husband (who abandoned her when her cancer relapsed.) I told her about being TG right before moving out of MIL's house.
CD: Short for Crossdresser
Cisgender: The opposite of transgender. A person whose body matches their gender identity. In other words, almost the entire population of the planet. More HERE.
Crossdresser: A person who dresses as a woman. Said person may or may not be transgender. See HERE for more information.
"The Darkness": My name for the pain and thoughts surrounding suicidal depression.
GCS: Gender Confirmation Surgery. "Surgical procedures that some transgender people go through to obtain physical characteristics found in the opposite gender." "The Operation." Also known as "Sex change" and SRS.
GG: Genetic Girl. A woman who was born female.
HRT: Hormone Replacement Therapy.
"My Truth:" My term for the fact that I am a Woman, and Trans.
"The Pain": My name for the suffering inflicted by being Transgender.
"Pink Hangover": The feeling after a night, weekend, whatever, of being en femme and having to return to being a male. This is a feeling of regretting being male and wishing the female time didn't have to end.
Second Life: A Computer simulation game sorta thingee. All content is made by users. I have some amazing friends there, like MK, Cisop, Zonker, Plato and so many others!
SRS: "Sex Reassignment Surgery." "Surgical procedures that some transgender people go through to obtain physical characteristics found in the opposite gender." "The Operation." Also known as "Sex change" and GCS.
TG: Short for Transgender
Transgender: A person who dresses/lives as the gender opposite their birth. See HERE for a better definition.
Transsexual: Old term for someone who has completed GCS.
TS: Short for Transsexual