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I write this as an act of catharsis, or perhaps in vain hope-a concept that I generally skewer in others-that someday someone will read this and truly grasp the pathos of my life as a Trans person. But since I don’t believe in hope….there is just some shit-and I mean that in a visceral sense-that needs to come out.

For example…I think too much about the fragility of life. I think about the temporal ephemeral nature of consciousness and how I might die. Or who will die first-me, my soulmate, or the dog.   I’m gamblin’ on the dog.   I do this as a reflex, and a weird sort of balm that prioritizes my existence  And I keep repeating in a low breathy whisper, “Everything dies. It’s okay. Its one of the three things that every sentient being on Planet Earth shares without qualification:  We are born.  We live a while.  And we die.”  Then I take a breath and come back.   Back to center.

And when I do reside in my center I realize that I am perfect.   Perfect in the sense that to be human is to be flawed. Perfect in the way that as a Trans Two Spirited woman I am connected, and therefore one with everything.   Sadly, I seem to be the only one who groks this concept.    Now I ain’t saying that I’m physically attractive. I might even appear unusual to some people. But despite the fact that I am a woman by most current standards   [42 B+ bra size] ,  people still call me ‘he’ on the average of once a week.   I attribute these incidences to bigotry and/or religion and in my mind the terms are rather synonymous.

The other day I walked into a small office supply store. The clerk was helping a woman with her back to me about thirty feet away. He said he would help me in a minute.  Then she said “Oh that’s okay.  Go ahead and help him.” Last week the bass player for a band  I was playing in called me ‘he’ on the second night we met.     I told him that he probably didn’t know that I was not only a drummer….but that I was also a homicidal maniac [ I’m not really homicidal ].  And that if he didn’t want to find out the hard way that he should refrain from the aforementioned gendered slur.

But it didn’t help.   He did it again. So instead of a more satisfying form of revenge I just left.

It was a good day to die….or be centered.

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Dear Dr. Dorf,

Because I was  paralyzed by anger the last time I saw you-November 4th 2014-and rendered temporarily speechless by your callous disregard for my feelings,  I’m writing this letter to you today in response to your hurtful and un-professional comments during my second and last  visit.

While I’m sure you’re a decent doctor in terms of diagnosing and prescribing medication, you are a miserable failure at respecting minority rights, and treating minority people with respect and compassion.       I am of course referring t0 myself,  a Transsexual woman,  as the  extreme minority-a minority whose members  are abused and tortured physically and psychologically,  murdered with impunity, and still exist as a group of third class citizens without  full protection or rights as bestowed by state and Federal government.

I had barely warmed the plastic seat of the chair upon which I sat in your office when you asked about my menstrual cycle-and I calmly told you that I was a post op Trans woman. And when you recovered from the shock-you said,

“Ha! I told my son that if it has an Adam’s Apple he shouldn’t date it.”

I could see by the twinkle in your eye that you thought yourself glib…perhaps even entertaining.  Desperate to find help for my diminished respiratory capacity, I overlooked your insult.   But it was during my second visit to you that you revealed your true nature as an ignorant, bigoted, thoughtless, not to mention shallow human being.   Let me refresh your memory:

We were going over my respiratory chart results when you noticed that the values contained therein were listed for a female anatomy. So you said:

“I’ll be back.  I have to see the respiratory tech, and have this changed to male for the right numbers”.

I said, “Oh darn”.

And you said something that I will never forget .  You said:

“Well, at least you managed to FOOL the tech”.

I was so hurt and angry that I could barely speak.   You think I chose this path to ‘fool’ people?   You think I’ve lost my friends, family including children, grandchildren and great grandchildren and fifty years of personal history to fool people?   You think that I am a visible target for misogynists and hate criminals, and that I would risk my life to fool people? As far as I can tell, the only fool around with such callous disregard for my feelings as your patient is you.

Briefly then, I did not volunteer for this life.  Transsexuality, as well as the condition of transgender is a biological imperative.   We have no choice over this torturous convoluted path.   For if we did have a choice, we would scrupulously avoid this condition which brings us into proximity with ignorant, insulting, judgmental oafs like you. As a person with a medical background, you could find out the truth about gender identity rather effortlessly. But you prefer your self glorifying delusions.

Finally, I promise to dfo my best to publicize and broadcast your name throughout my community in order to prevent them from experiencing the same sort of   ‘surprise insult’    I received from you.  As you may have deduced from this letter, I won’t be back.  And frankly hope to never see you again  But if there is the slightest chance that you might be interest in the truth more than your own bigotry, I leave you a few links.

May the truth assist you in removing your head from the deep confines of your anus.

April Rosie Schneider

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causes_of_transsexualism

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7689007.stm

http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/people/conway/TS/TS.html

http://www.apa.org/topics/lgbt/transgender.aspx

http://www.religioustolerance.org/transsexu3.htm

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From a former web page project…Called ‘Awaken From  the Dream’ [of conditioned personality]

Hi!   I’m April Rose….A human being.

First I will dispense with the requisite self-promotion, and try to make this presentation  as painless as possible. A  partial description of my life, a kind of biography-lite if you will, entitled ‘A Rose in Bloom’ was published in a soft cover anthology entitled
“Finding the Real Me: True Tales of Sex and Gender Diversity”  published in 2003 by Jossey-Bass and edited by  Tracie O’Keefe and Katrina Fox.

But there’s much more to this story than that 5000 word synopsis of a ‘boy trapped in a little girl’s body.’  On these pages, drenched with the blood, sweat and tears of perhaps the first self-proclaimed, full time Trans philosopher, writing  without the benefit of respectability conferred by a long list of meaningful initials-although my therapist/friend/muse Ms. Lotta Hope says I would have a PHD in Transsexualism if such a thing existed-you  will find the  lessons lived, and the wisdom gained from a life spent in the shadow of a culture terminally infected with the virus of dualistic thinking.

Sometimes I’m surprised I’m still alive. I was born into the repressive sexist culture of the 1950’s. The now infamous Stonewall Rebellion-which marked the emergence of the gay liberation movement-was more than a decade away. Effeminate men and butch women lived in closets of carefully constructed lies designed to protect them from the savage, often violent reaction of extreme homophobia. Transexuals were unknown to the general population. People who strayed too far into the forbidden zone of cross gendered dress or behavior were condemned as mentally ill.  Even today as we enter the second decade of the 21 rst century, the condition of being transgendered is defined by the diagnostic bible of the psychiatric establisment, the DSM [Diagnostic and Statiscal Manual],  as a mental illness. And the assertion is not without merit. In the broadest social context condition, transgenderism is so viral that it frequently causes  mental instability in the conventionally gendered, resulting in a wide range of violent behaviors directed at the slightest hint of transgendered behavior.

In the language of the medical model, I am a post operative male to female transexual, although  my use of the term transexual  refers specifically to the fact that my physical being has changed from mostly male to mostly female.  I did not hear the words TWO SPIRIT  until I was in my mid-forties, yet on a deeper level of awareness, as my being emerged from the subconscious soup of infancy, I sensed a profound, yet undefinable contradiction about myself. I could see two halves of my self like a deep fissure in heavy crystal, but I could not touch them. In the confusion, I was compelled to keep a safe distance from this  misplaced body and I began to drift, hovering outside of myself, as an observer,,, as the other.  By the age of ten, I was convinced that some horrible cosmic mistake had occurred.

Eventually, I found the visual evidence of this incomprehensible contradiction the first time I looked in the mirror, around age seven, and did not recognize the person looking back. A persistent sense of me/not me confronted my awareness every time I went to the looking glass.  As this sense of psychic rupture emerged and persisted, I experienced an acute sense of panic that remained with me for many years.  During this most crucial period of personality formation and integration, in the grip of profound trauma,  my young self floundered on the edge of spiritual disintegration.

Like  pebbles dropped into clear calm waters of my being,  the resultant  waves of confusion and pain would eventually touch all the shores of my being for many decades to come.  I became lost in a chaotic realm where  personality development wasn’t an option-but mere psychic survival was a challenge. The implications of this developmental glitch on my mental stability were, and continue to be  far-reaching.  This sense of depersonalization that engulfed me eventually pushed me to the brink of an abyss of psychic dissolution.

As disturbing as this realization was to me on a personal level,  the societal implications were equally daunting.  By the age of fourteen,  I had internalized so much shame that I wanted to die.  There was no one like me in the world.  I wasn’t a round peg in a square hole, I wasn’t a peg at all. But how could this be? What was this sense of self that was I was so defective that I would rather die than reveal my horrible truth to anyone-especially the people who held my young fate in their hands, my parents. This dark matter of complete abandonment remains with me to this day,  though disempowered by my intention to make friends with it as a useful component of my consciousness. But I am getting ahead of myself.

In a supreme effort to escape my miserable fate, I failed at every manner of risk taking behavior, including drinking and driving, taking almost any drug that passed before me, putting the barrel of my .357 Magnum in my mouth, hitching thousands of miles, taking rides from anyone, stumbling through the night, on the dark streets of human misery. Along the way, I lost four decades of friends, family,  human experience and a male disguise that I had grown to love.

As I reached my late twenties, I felt myself dying spiritually. My sense of victimization was so great that I fell into deep depression and despair. My life force had dwindled to a thin thread of hope. In my hometown of Dayton, Ohio. I had become an embarrassment to my family. So they donated a car, a 1967 Chevy Impala station wagon, and waved happily as I departed for San Francisco. Ten miles out, I stopped to shave, apply make up put on a dress and buy beer.  Lookout San Fran. Here come da Tranny.

I was going to the Bay City, with just enough money for gas, to find an infamous transexual therapist, Laura Cummings, whom I’d met there in 1971. But Laura was charging $125.00 an hour, and had no time for us lowly non-chromosomal transsexuals. And from that point, it was all down hill. I drove around San Francisco looking for a $35.00 room. Rube that I was, I found myself lost in the Mission District looking for a safe place to hide-much like a bleeding mackeral seeking respite in a shark tank.

The first night there, upon the manager’s request, I parked my car in the back lot of the building. In the morning, everything of value that I’d brought with me for a “new start” had been stolen. Twenty five years of pictures, clothes, make up…every material thing I owned. Gone. The second night the manager, who apparently thought I was gay, tried to seduce me.

Here was my bottom, my life was a personal pit of suffering that I thought I should end for everyone’s sake. No more would I be persecuted by a cruel world. My moment had arrived. Wait till THEY found out what I had done. They would be sorry. Finally all of my suffering had provided me with a temporary identity of sorts- not my first choice for an identity-but better than none .  At last, the role I was destined to play. I’ll PLAY THE VICTIM..

Fortunately life, or spirit, does yield to the expectations of drunk transexual girls. I remember the day that I stopped being a victim with startling clarity. I was at the end of a 29 year old rope that was fraying badly at both ends and the in middle. Standing on the Golden Gate Bridge without hope, full of despair and vodka, I yearned only for the courage to jump to my death.

Then as I stood transfixed by the mental image of my body floating down from the bridge to the bay, a most curious shift of perception infused my consciousness. A voice in my head, a loving voice spoke to me and said, “You have still have choices.  Make a different one. The end is the beginning.” In a moment a subtle shift had occurred. The end is the beginning? I was so confused by this metaphysical moment that I wandered off the bridge in a daze. I have since come to view this life saving incident as an encounter with shamanic power- a mysterious power beyond my grasp, that  demonstrated a principle so profound that I have studied it since and made it the foundation of my being.  I call it “The Dream Principle.”

From that moment on the bridge to this one,  I have dedicated my life to the liberation of all sentient beings, especially my fellow transgendered humans. The blessings of the transgendered life is that we come to know suffering from the two polar perspectives: Yin and Yang. This awareness of the transcendent nature of suffering expands our potential for compassion beginning with ourselves–for we must first offer to ourselves that which we intend for others before we begin to appreciate our lives for the courage, strength and integrity that we embody as unique human beings.

And so, I offer you, brave reader, this, my Two Spirits Medicine.

Namaste

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I was born into a male body in Dayton, Ohio in 1951 to seemingly normal parents whose main claim to fame was an astounding propensity to ignore the blatantly obvious for a combined total of seventy years [thirty five years per parent].  On my first day in hospital nursery, lying under my blue little boy blanket amidst the bright lights and caterwauling of the other less evolved babies, I discovered to my great embarrassment that a gross injustice had been perpetrated upon my person. Dismissed by medical professionals as just another noisy, needy life unit, I was thus condemned to continue my transgendered vigorous ranting and raving for the next forty-five years. Yes, it’s true….

 I was born the world’s youngest humanist.

            For the first fifteen years, I spent much time alone in the passionate pursuit of cross-dressing, including wearing my mother’s frosted orange lipstick–definitely not my color and dangerously difficult to remove. Toothpaste barely touched it.  My mom still claims that she never noticed anything amiss. Ever her of that river in Egypt, Mom?

In 1965, as I entered high school, Genderless Hades as I fondly thought of it,  my consciousness was pummeled into chaos by a tidal wave of the dreaded testosterone. and I went quietly insane

            Nineteen sixty-nine was momentous for two reasons. I graduated from high school and I discovered that alcohol and barbiturates, at least in the short term, erased thoughts of suicide.      Having discovered this apparent panacea, I continued to use and abuse them in combination with anything else that numbed my brain for many years.      Looking back, it was high school society, despite it’s stultifying  cultural imperatives, that provided the only source of cohesion in my otherwise tenuous grasp on reality. Consequently, throughout the following year, I languished in a vacuum where my only goal was to remain numb.  

Then in 1970,  I made the singular BIGGEST MISTAKE of my life.  I married the wrong person for the wrong reasons. This debacle lasted six years and produced more bad energy than I thought existed in the on the entire planet. It also produced two lovely, brainwashed children who, despite my best efforts at reconciliation, refuse to have anything to do with me.  By the time I extricated myself from the relationship, whatever self esteem I may have possessed had been obliterated. Stomped into dust by forces of abuse and ignorance, I was a mere shell of a human whose only goal was the annihilation of this unbearable pain through the ingestion of various random combinations of all manner of licit and illicit drugs.

            In 1977, I stuck out my thumb and hit the open road in a futile effort to distance myself from my pain. Eventually I hit the 10,000-mile mark for the decade but to my dismay,  pain had run a tight race and was waiting for me as I crossed the finish line.     By 1980 I had run out of the few options available to me and was resigned to spending my last few coins drinking in pool hall…waiting for the cruel hand of fate to bring the curtain down.

Then on a night in the bar that seemed like any other biker bar/pool hall, as I sat nursing a draft beer, my future soul mate and love of my life walked into my life.  We talked a little and I asked her for a ride to my apartment. She fell asleep at the wheel and I drove us the rest of the way from the passenger seat.  This fortuitous meeting occurred in April of 1980. And I’m very happy to say that we have been together as soulmates since that night.

The poor girl thought she was getting a man and it took me twenty some years to gently explains the realities of transsexualism to her. When she finally understood, we cried together and she said she would remain at my side. An angel of compassion and support, she is full of transcendent love for me and has been my best friend, lover and confidant through more highs and lows than I thought possible for two human beings.   Without the uplifting, rehumanizing, spiritual quality of the love she’s given me, I would not be here on this earthly plane.

 Since our fateful meeting that night we have resided in Florida, Tennessee, California and finally my spiritual home of New Mexico where I now operate my own housekeeping service.

            In 2001, with my soul mate’s understanding and compassion, I traveled to Bangkok, Thailand where I received  my re-formation from an outie to an innee–the surgery was performed by the inimitable artist and Doctor,  Preecha Tiewtranon in a flawless, rebirthing process known to most people as Sexual Reassignment Surgery, or SRS.

 As a post-op, 21rst century Two-Spirits medicine woman, writer, agitator, revolutionary, progressive, Agent Provocateur, I dedicate myself, through the process of writing and speaking my transcendent, humanist vision, to be a voice for those who still suffer and languish their ‘closet of dreams’.

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I’ve spent a year this month working on my new, nearly published website called “AWAKE FROM THE DREAM”.   The technical aspects are daunting for sure, but there is more resistance here inside.

I’ve been writing enprivate so no one one could attack me, not that anyone cares enough about what I have to say, to go on ‘attack’. It’s just this burden that I’ve been carrying around since I realized how imperiled I was at the ripe old age of ten. No ten year old should be compelled to bear a truth so horrible. But the truth was inescapable. It stared me in the face everytime I looked in the mirror. There was something WRONG with me.

And worse, the realization that  I couldn’t tell anyone presented me with two more inescapable facts: the most obvious of these was that I was unlovable and second, that support of any kind was impossible because I feared annihilation in a psychic sense.

So I’ve kept a lot to myself for the last five decades. And it almost killed me. Then on a day equally clear in my heart space, I sat in a delapidated lazyboy, nestled in an underground bunker one mile beneath  the stark beauty of the mountains of New Mexico, with Ms. Plato, one of my most trusted confidantes and would be psychologist -would-be because I steadfastly eschewed her psychological ministrations in lieu of a more balanced power sharing agreement.

I have been going to see Ms. P ostensibly to achieve some external perspective on life as a pariah, knowing full well that no satisfactory perspective exists. Desperate as I am for companionship, I am content to regard  her as a strangely comforting ally, muse and confidante at the terribly economical price of $20.00 an hour. She said it’s a deal becuase I was too weird to charge the full amount.

During my last visit, in a fit of egomaniacal frothing and gnashing of teeth, I snuck up behind her and lassoed her butt to a chair and forced her to listen, or pretend to listen to some of my written diatribe. When she recovered from her trauma, and the whipped cream but that’s another story, she she began to scream at the top of her lungs…

“Oh MY GOD, you write like freakin’ Hemingway…[some guy who apparently writes about Spanish sunsets and fishing in the waters just off Tierra del Fuego or some such place]. Rosie, you’re a Genius and a half. [I may be exaggerating] You should be published yesterday! You got a PHD in Tranny related suffering, and doubtlessly should be warping…I mean teaching young minds on the intracies of gender and stuff.”

She just kept shaking her head and mumbling stuff about me being the greatest unknown writer what ever lived and I kept on being as pseudo humble as my giant abandonment complex would let me and eventually over the course of the whole grinding affair, we came to the conclusion that I should write about stuff.

“Thank you your grace, but where would a lowly tranny writer girl like me find my niche?”

“Aw Crap,” she spat, “just buy yourself a website and people will flock to your domain.”

“M’kay”, I whispered, meek as a lamb and left.

So lately I’ve been sitting here in front of this word processor determined to write. Yet, without Ms. Plato’s enthusiastic counsel, those old thoughts start creeping back. In the form of the language of my culture, a voice that sounds like ninety-nine percent of all the people I’ve ever met, including me, says

“Forget it. What’s the point?  Who Cares. Do you know anyone who cares what you think…what you write? Give up. Putting yourself out there has only caused you pain and misery and you probably shouldn’t even..” BAM

That’s me slamming the door on that voice. I know better than to listen to that voice. And I know where that voice comes from, and so do you.

 I will explain in detail in the pages of my soon-to-be-published website

TransgenderLifeSupportServices.com…COMING SOON to a computer near you.

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The summer of my discontent arrived today.   The constant persistent illusion of democracy, freedom,  and the American Way comes to bear and my brain fries on the contradictions.   My life in global society represents the scum that rings the toilet  of American politics.  Objectified as a freak, relegated to the third class of untouchables that America cannot admit it creates and sustains, fodder for the Religious Right’s scurilous, unjustified, hateful bigotry, I am without hope for recognition of my value as a human being.

There is a tendency in AmSoc [American Society…for Orwell], at least in marbled halls of liberalism to note that…”things are getting better for transexual.”  I hear this a lot.   They, the avid followers of spin, tell me that I have no reason to be distraught. I suppose that I should strive for some gratuitous obsequiousness.   I don’t know what “better” means to them, but it ain’t better to me.

In the tiny little hamlet where I subsist, Churches are popping up like mushrooms. It is almost as if they are a peculiar contagion seeking only to dominate the world by imposing their amorphous unproven, very suspect spores of judgment and condemnation around the globe using a book of relativistic self help slogans that can, and does mean almost anything to anyone. I have long held that Christians, especially rabid Christians, would contribute more to the world by demonstrating their efficient implementation of the ten commandments in the context of their own lives before beginning full-scale prosyletization of the savage masses.

To achieve this, a christian might pick just one of those wonderful, absolutist little sentences, just one mind you, like thou shalt not kill and make it their mantra.   Yet the self proclaimed christians who reside in the White House make their living off of justified genocide.   Another great Commandment that I would love to see implemented is the one that says “judge not, lest you be judged.”  Yes, I would like to avoid the  judgment of those people who build the churches where bigotry is justified.  But most of those hateful establishments seek only to castigate rather than liberate.

The following statement may be challenged, but even a small amount of investigation will prove the absolute accuracy of the them.   All major religions of the world reject Transexualism as a legitimate medical condition.  All major religions seek to excude trans people but for a certain amount of tokenism. All major governing bodies, from governments to the U.N. ignore, persecute and marginalize trans people as  deviant or pathological.   No wonder that as trans people we generally kill ourselves in our prime.  This world is not yet our world.

Were I black, Jewish, Muslim, physically disabled, or a member of any other  minority, my treatment at the hands of a “christian country’ would bring outcries form humanist groups all over the world.  But the wholesale ostracism, murder and suicide of trans people is largely ignored and occasionally celebrated.  If religion was pro-active on the inclusion of all of “god’s children,” my world would feel a little safer.  Yet religion continues to ignore or judge or promote hate, thereby participating in my oppression.

This country of my birth refuses, based largely on religious hate and/or ignorance, to acknowledge me as a fully human.  Through the unconstitutional notion of ‘faith based initiative,” which by it very wording is exclusionary, promotes hate and judgement.  I have no faith-in god, country, or people.  Faith is a very flawed, highly subjective concept that is NOT a prerequisite for citizenship.   Faith is like hope…an abstract wish that things get better on their own or by means of an external force. Hope exists in the context of a world on the brink of self-annihilation.  And I do not subscribe to it as a viable notion in my life.  Hope precludes action.

One reason and only one reason prevents me from having full citizenship in the country.  Religion has determined that I, as a member of a sexual minority, am not deserving of the civil rights that remain unquestioned for every other category of human beings. Over the last 27 years I have been faithfully in love with one person.  A woman with beautiful eyes and heart.   Yet because of the arrogant stranglehold of religious influence on the governments and the character-deficient lackeys who conduct business for them and have the nerve to call it democratic governance, my soulmate and I are not allowed the same rights as hetero couples.  The supreme ignorance and judgmentalism of religion is the unspoken justification for this blatant bigotry.

I am an atheist American. I don’t care about, respect or recognize the “authority” of the sheep who hide their prejudice behind the walls of churches-foregoing the spiritual instruction of their theocratic dogma-in a rush to judgment regarding a subject never addressed in their book of rules.  The battle is, once again, a thinly veiled attempt to suppress science beneath the power structure of theism.  The fact that superstitious dogma continues to hold sway over reason and intellect is still the best reason to abolish organized religion and promote rationalism.

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