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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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My “official” trans-gendered transition began in 1994 in Jacksonville, Florida.  The year of 1995 found me relocating,  perhaps fleeing is a more honest appraisal, from Florida to Albuquerque, N.M. in an effort to escape the oppressive effects of the bible belt mentality.   There  is also some intangible weirdness that develops when one begins gender transition right in front of the people who knew us in our  disguises . Somewhere in that strange murky, grey space I lost much of my past.    Suddenly the people I had hoped might at least join me in my struggle to be myself had all disappeared.    Their absence  left a large hole in my heart .
I  lived in Santa Fe for a couple of years in the mid-eighties and had fallen in love with the land and it’s quirky denizens.   The more I thought about it, the more it called to me.   It whispered of star filled nights and safe haven.   I inexplicably knew that I was being drawn to this enchanted land the way a moth is drawn to the light.    As I contemplated this latest dogleg on my spiritual path,  I began to look forward to returning to such a unique and culturally diverse place.   My destiny awaited me in that beautiful desert and knew that I must go.
As careers go, prior to 1994 I had been employed more times than I could recall.   I lost count at one hundred fifty.   I had done quite a few things that I’m sure I repressed due to trauma of doing men’s work and pretending to like it.  There’s just so much a  transexual can take before a  meltdown.   I mean, my god I had dirt under my nails for years! Can you imagine?    Oh it was HORRID!
The year 1995 was a chaotic time of sorting packing, saying goodbye and watching my breasts intently for the first sign of expansion.   By 1996 I had settled in Albuquerque and faced the daunting prospect of finding work as a transperson.   The first thing I noticed was the lengths people went  to hide their emotional reaction while trying to figure out how to  dismiss me.   The second thing I noticed was how many people dismissed me.

Between nineteen-ninety six and nineteen-ninety nine, I was most often employed as a caregiver in the field of developmental disabilities..I enjoyed the many challenges it had to offer and  resigned  myself to making seven dollars an hour in service to those less fortunate.   Eventually I became aware of an opportunity to work with troubled, at risk youth.   I grew excited at the prospect of  interacting at this emotional level. Who is better equipped to deal with this adolescent angst than a wordly transexual with a firm grasp and control of her own anger, I reasoned.
As I began my preparation for what I hoped would be  a fruitful interview, I allowed myself to feel really positive for the first time in a long time.   I had good reason to feel confident,.   I had prepared a portfolio of all job interiew prerequisites; a verifiable work history in a related field, excellent references, related training courses etc.   I even passed a drug screen, something I had passionately eschewed for my entire life adult life.  Such was the sacrifice I was prepared to make.  Things were looking up.   Maybe this new life wasn’t going to be as tough as I thought.   So  on the appointed day of my interview, I put on my best face.    With more courage and optimism than I thought one transexual could possibly muster, I marched forth to face the two supervisors who held my immediate future in their hands..
We sat in a typical conference room on typically hard plastic chairs across a typically plastic conference table.   I was confident, enthusiastic…ready!    I can do this, I thought.   I eagerly anticipated their challenging array questions that I would handle so deftly.    Perfunctory introductions out of the way, the female half of the interviewing team, Ms. Smith,  seemed to hesitate for a moment. She  gave the impression of  a wary explorer, cautiously creeping up to the edge of an abyss to risk a glance into the eternal darkness of the  a bottomless pit.. She cleared her throat nervously and asked me the one question that I could not have prepared to answer
“ Ummm….this is uh….well please   understand  that we don’t mean to be indelicate about this but we were wondering …uh just exactly what is between your legs..?”
“ I beg your pardon?”  What she actually had said was ‘Where are you in your transition‘. But the difference is negligible. With one casual, blatantly  sexist question, I had been stripped naked and reduced to a sex object.
“ The thing is uh, Mary Jo, who you may recall having supervised in another company,….well anyway, she said that one day while you were monitoring her she saw your testicles when you crossed your legs.”
Huh?   The Titanic had just made the acquaintance of the iceberg and the iceberg held the upper hand.   I was stunned.   First by the implication that I would spread my legs far enough for anyone to see the last wretched remnants of my disappearing  masculinity.   The next realization was that the interview had begun with an accusation made by a client who had a documented history  of pathological lying.   This was almost too much to bear and we were still on the first question.   Hours ticked by with each second.: the silence was deafening.
Somehow I managed to pick my lower jaw up  from the table and with sufficient incredulity said ” I can’t believe you are asking me this!  Could you please tell me what this has to do with anything?  I mean, I don’t recall in reading the formal job description that genital verification was mandatory.   I would at least worn fresh panties.”
Mrs. Smith squirmed ever so slightly  and tentatively proceeded to explain the finer points of the company policy.”   Well….uh you see it’s mainly to protect us from lawsuits. we have a policy that guarantees our clients and their guardians an appropriate match  regarding gender….you know boy to boy and girl to girl.” A look of smug self satisfaction settled slowly  over her face.  She looked like a housecat who had just cornered a mouse for supper.  Except in this case the mouse was not prepared to capitulate.
“This is really quite amazing.  How do decide who’s male and who’s female?,”  I asked in a huff. “Is it company policy to check the genitals of everyone who applies?    Or do you just wait untill a client needs a reason  to persecute someone ?   If there are only two categories of humans then I must fit into  one or the other. And if I don’t fit into those two categories maybe we need to create a third one for the rest of us“.
I was on a roll.   Anger from my transexual heart felt fine as it gained momentum.    I forged ahead with evangelical zeal.  I had their attention and I was determined to exploited it to the fullest. I shifted my focus to Mr. Jones, the male half of the interviewing team. I had met Mr. Jones, an Afro-American, previously during orientation where he was responsible for  teaching us the code  of ethics  associated with client rights.   As it turned out the disabled have more constitutionally protected rights than transexuals.
I poured out my rage.“I must say  that I am very disturbed  by the realization that I represent the only minority whose character can be questioned on the basis of our genitalia.   Surely you must know that transgendered  people are the only minority in this country who are not protected  from discrimination by federal law.   Beyond that,  your company’s mission statement, so noble in language that seems to promote the rights of all people obviously falls short of protecting the transgendered.”
I felt the pride of eloquence rising in my bosom.   I was saying things that I had previously only thought to myself.. For a brief exhilarating moment I felt empowered as a transperson.    A ponderous silence fell over the room. The tension was palpable. In my heart and soul I held closely to the hope that I had touched these two people with my need for validation. and gainful employment.   The looks on their faces, corporate masks temporarily forgotten, told me that they had indeed understood my plight..
Mrs. Smith cleared  her throat and glanced at me furtively, “Well … I do sympathize with your predicament Rose,   When I worked for the company back in Oklahoma, the company agreed to  provide  gay foster parents for a gay client. But this…..I, I just don’t know .”
So gay people good, trans people bad?    I didn’t really know what to make of her declaration. I had started out with a wealth of optimism. Suddenly my confidence  had turned to confusion.. Success, once so eminent, had taken wing only to be replaced by the  notion that I would somehow be better off gay.   Still I clung tenaciously  to the my last morsel of hope while the evil wind of despair rustled in the distance.
“So where do we go from here,”  I asked tentatively.
“Don’t worry, Rose, we’ll find a place for you,” Mrs. Smith assured me
And so, testicles not withstanding, I was hired as a ‘probationer”    But only after I made  repeated calls in an effort to torture them into giving me a chance to prove myself.    Then I panicked Failure was familiar territory for me.    Success was trickier.    Success require the application of character.   I knew that I had passed the preliminaries but the gauntlet  of  fire lay directly ahead.
All this pressure to gain employment was mere folly compared to the reality of trying to interact positively with these future masters of mayhem. Many of them had one foot in the group home and the other in youth detention. Ah yes, it was indeed a challenge befitting my unique collection of talents. After all, who is better acquainted with anger than a transexual?
Fate is a cruel dictator.  My effort to find suitable employment was the epitome of  the psychic masturbation–a one act play with a disappointing conclusion.    One day before the end of my probationary period I was summoned to my superior’s office and terminated.   Apparently, the main reason was the fact that I was a transexual.
The company’s official reason for terminating me was never stated though it quickly became apparent.  As  they were not legally required to employ me as a  transexual, I was imminently expendable. I was a liability from the outset.   A few complaints from the paying customers, the parents, clients or both, was more than enough justification for my dismissal.   Blatant discrimination  and sexism aside, I couldn’t help but be impressed by the immense irony of it all .
Eventually,  it occurred to me that I had always been pretty good with a mop, a dust rag and a stick of dynamite.   Based on these revelations, I started my own cleaning business. The whole idea was a nudge from the cosmos, as it allowed me to create the ideal work environment for my personality.   Short hours, good money, as many breaks as I desire and best of all I have the final say so in EVERYTHING!  As a bonus,  I love my boss.   In conclusion, I will speak a truth  painfully learned .   There isn’t a silver lining to every cloud.   But sometimes if you keep your head up and eyes open wide, you just find your own personal rainbow..

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Greetings, friends and lovers everywhere. Rosie, Love Detour’s resident transexual Goddess of Love and Romance is in the house and ready to expound on the delicacies of transgendered dating.

In the first article on transgenderism I referred to gender as a continuum. On the polar ends of this continuum are trans people who “pass”. Passing is a condition in which the transgendered person blends successfully with one of the two stereotypical genders. Towards the center of the continuum, or bar graph, are people who exhibit androgyny, or characteristics of both genders. This discussion focuses on the first group, for it is trans-passing that can cause confusion in the intimacy of dating.

Those of you who read my first installment on Transgender Dating learned some basic facts about the condition of transgenderism. I ended the first chapter with a promise to help you distinguish the guys from the girls. I mislead you and beg your forgiveness. I was only trying to protect you from the horrible ugly truth, which I must now acknowledge:

There is no way to tell the girls from the guys.

And perhaps even more disturbing to some of you is the very real possibility that you may be rubbing up against a transgender person in your daily activities, figuratively speaking, of course. Yes, dear reader, we walk among you–be not afraid. We mean you earthlings no harm.

To be honest with ourselves, first we must answer some uncomfortable questions about our personal feelings regarding gender. Before you reach the couch, with the drinks and the music and mood lighting, you absolutely must know how you feel about gender.

Gender is about how you as an individual express your sexuality. The power of gender is its inherent diversity. On a huge canvas, we paint our sexuality with our gender. Some of us use only black and white and some of us use all the colors of the rainbow. Bigotry and prejudice aside, gender is cosmic play.

In a technical sense, everyone is a cross dresser. Women liberated by their role as factory workers in the Second World War, began wearing pants and never looked back. Kilts are the rule for Scottish men. There simply are no global standards for gendered behavior, and this truth renders the whole subject a matter of complete relativity.

The truth about this whole discussion is that it is about you and your attitudes towards sex and gender. In this wonderfully diverse world, there is some one, or two depending on your proclivities, for everyone. Some religions that mistakenly judge trans-folk as immoral frown on members dating transgender people. Some men even murder transgender people out of fear of being accused of being homosexual, despite the reality that transgendered people are not necessarily gay. Because gender has nothing to do with sexual preference, trans-folk may be hetero-, homo-, or bisexual.

.It is unlikely in the extreme that your date will tell you at the outset that they are trans. And that information may be the very thing you need to know before embarking on a relationship. Asking a non-transgendered person, if they are a trans is worse, socially speaking, than asking an overweight woman if she is pregnant. Both questions immediately establish an uncomfortable distance between you and your date–a distance that may be irreparable.

Perhaps the only thing worse than that scenario is finding out after physical intimacy that your partner was a member of the same sex as you at some point in their past. We cannot give our potential dates a questionnaire that inquires as to the nature of their former genitalia.

“Do you have or have you ever had genitalia of the opposite sex?” will not score points regardless of the answer. This dilemma can only be resolved by serious soul-searching regarding your deepest darkest fears regarding sexuality. An open minded, open-hearted, educated approach to gender is, of course, the best policy.

Thus, we have slogged bravely thru the quagmire of sex and gender. If you are more confused now than before you read my article on transgender dating, then all is well for out of confusion comes clarity. For more education on this subject, websites abound. Here are three great sites to get you started:

http://www.jamisongreen.com/jgassoc_006.htm http://www.hrc.org/issues/transgender.asp

http://www.ifge.org

And of course, I am available to answer all of your transgender queries, regarding dating or lifestyle issues. Don’t be shy. Remember, Gender is Play. Gender is fun. Gender is human.

Rosie, The Transgender Love Goddess

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The fine china has been cleared from the table. Wine glasses empty slowly as you and your date idle expectantly on a long, wide sofa, whose deep, rich fabric invites bare skin.

Soft, romantic music plays in the background as the evening sun fades into dusk. In the glow of dim light, casual conversation carves sexual nuance into a pregnant moment, as your desire rises forcefully from within your bosom.

A gloriously romantic scene sets the stage for the final act. A hand lightly brushes a knee, you tell a naughty joke and your date laughs. The moment is right. Your eyes meet. And with grave implication, your date holds your expectant gaze and whispers.

“I’m a transsexual”.

HUH? What the…?Wait!

You have just received the briefest tidbit of some horrible information, instantly altering the romantic paradigm of moments before.

“You’re a what?” you shriek as you not-so-subtly cover your crotch with a couch pillow. You’re not sure what a transsexual is, but you’re pretty sure they are regulars on the Jerry Springer show. And that makes it BAD NEWS.

“I’m a transsexual”

‘OH MY GOD! What’s a transsexual?” you shriek. “Will I get some horrible disease? Am I gay?”

Relax. Calm down. Transsexuals and transgendered people live and walk among us as they have done for centuries.

My name is Rosie and I am a proud post-operative transsexual woman. My purpose, as an Expert for LoveDetours is to generally demystify the condition of Gender Identity that includes a wide range of beautifully diverse gendered expression. It is my intention to provide you with an educated perspective that will preclude the sort of disastrous scenario that I described in the first two paragraphs of this article. By the time you have completed your gender education in the following pages, you will be prepared to confront your next encounter with gender diversity with tact and sensitivity.

To demystify the concept of transsexualism and transgenderism, we must first achieve a clear understand of the real nature of gender. Simply put, gender exists between the ears whereas sex is between the legs. Gender is the unique expression of where one finds oneself on the gendered continuum between the idealized, absolutes of masculine and feminine.

You’ll notice that in the previous sentence, I referred to “idealized absolutes’. Since the beginning of time, largely due to the limits of language, we humans have conceptualized our world in terms of a dichotomy: black and white, good and bad, hot and cold, and of course male and female. While this over-simplification makes for effective conversation, it fails miserably when used to describe human sexuality.

Along the broad continuum of human psych-social development, the truth is that we all contain biological components of both sexes .In fact; all human beings begin life as genetic females. Then over the course of our fetal development, male and female differentiation occurs generally along predictable lines. Males, with the help of the testosterone, develop deeper voices, bulky muscles, a propensity for body hair. Woman, due to estrogen biology, have higher voice pitch and resonance, smoother muscles and much less body hair. In this way, with the use of hormones, the body guides the sexual development throughout infancy, puberty and adolescence.

It is important to note that, while this process produces a mold for the differentiation of humans into two visually distinguishable sexes, infinite variations in the process, called brain sex, produce a wide variety of personal expression in the final product. This complex combination of sex determinants sets the stage for the development of gender identity.

Simply put, gender identity is personality’s relationship with the body. Within the myriad expression of our sexuality is the essence of gender. The antiquated concept that behavior must conform to expectations based solely on the existence of one’s genitalia is no longer workable.

Gender expression is a tale of mystery written by the hand of psycho-social development. Masculine and feminine are the parts we play on the stage of life. Generally speaking, gendered behavior corresponds to one’s sexual determinants. People with male genitalia express male gendered behavior. Conversely, people with female genitalia engage in female gendered behavior. However, if we feel it is important or necessary to maintain these strict categories to define people, we must have a firm definition of precisely what is appropriately gendered dress and behavior. No such definitions exist.

If you doubt the veracity of the previous statement, I beg of you to challenge it by asking as many people as you can to define male and female. If they make it past that question, then ask them to explain the difference between masculine and feminine and watch as their brains fry in the attempt. Here are the standard definitions of male and female from the FreeDictionary [http://www.thefreedictionary.com/]   :

male  (ml)

adj.

1.

a. Of, relating to, or designating the sex that has organs to produce spermatozoa for fertilizing ova.

b. Characteristic of or appropriate to this sex; masculine.

c. Consisting of members of this sex.

2. Virile; manly.

fe·male  (fml)

adj.

1.

a. Of or denoting the sex that produces ova or bears young.

b. Characteristic of or appropriate to this sex; feminine.

c. Consisting of members of this sex.

Any alien visitor to earth who read this description of the distinction between male and female would exit the planet shaking their heads in confusion

Fortunately, in the global sense we have no fixed definition of appropriate gender. The rules for gender vary widely from culture to culture–decade to decade. In the new millennium, men wear pink colors in clothing, earrings, long hair and nail polish. Women have always been more liberated in their ability to express themselves. Since World War II, women have been wearing pants, which would have been heresy only a few years prior to the war.

Transgendered is the umbrella category for all people who do not conform to gendered expectations of society. Transgender people express a gendered identity that does not conform to the stereotypical expectations of their natal sex. They express their identification through a variety of characteristics, such as hair, clothes mannerism, and speech. Transgendered behavior or more specifically transcendent gendered expression transforms the muddy waters of gender from a wading pool into an ocean of gendered possibilities.

While this broad category of gender–diverse expression includes a wide variety of personal expression, we will confine ourselves in this discussion to those most pertinent descriptions of gender identity and their impact on dating. What you want to know is exactly how to tell the girls from the boys to avoid the situation described in the beginning of this article.

Learning how to tell the guys from the gals these days IS a challenge. But I can help. Stand by for the next in a series of articles on Avoiding a Transsexual Moment.

From Sista Rosie,

The Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Suffering [  Transsexual Patron Saint of Atheists Everywhere]

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My “official” transition began in 1994 in Jacksonville, Florida. 1995 found me relocating, perhaps fleeing is a more honest appraisal, from Florida to Albuquerque, N.M. in an effort to escape the oppressive effects of the bible belt mentality.    There is also some intangible weirdness that develops when one begins gender transition right in front of the people who only knew us in our disguises.    Somewhere in that strange murky, grey space I lost much of my past.   Sadly, the people I had hoped might at least join me in my struggle to be myself had all disappeared.   Their absence left a large hole in my heart .

I had lived in Santa Fe for a couple of years in the mid eighties and had fallen in love with the land and it’s quirky denizens.    The more I thought about it, the more it called to me.    It whispered of star filled nights and safe haven.   I inexplicably knew that I was being drawn to this enchanted land the way a moth is drawn to the light.    As I contemplated this latest dogleg on my spiritual path, I began to look forward to returning to such a unique and culturally diverse place.   My destiny awaited me in that beautiful desert and knew that I must go.

As careers go prior to 1994 I had been employed more times than I could recall. I lost count at one hundred fifty. I had done quite a few things that I’m sure I repressed due to trauma of having to do men’s work and pretending to like it.    There’s just so much a transexual can take before a hissyfit meltdown.   I mean, my god I had dirt under my nails for years! Can you imagine? Oh it was HORRID!

The year 1995 was a chaotic time of sorting packing, saying goodbye and watching my breasts intently for the first sign of expansion.   By 1996 I had settled in Albuquerque and faced the daunting prospect of finding work as a transperson.    The first thing I noticed was the lengths people went to hide their emotional reaction while they were trying to figure out how to dismiss me.    The second thing I noticed was how many people dismissed me.

Between nineteen-ninety six and nineteen-ninety nine, I was most often employed as a caregiver in the field of developmental disabilities.     I enjoyed the many challenges it had to offer and resigned myself to making seven dollars an hour in service to those less fortunate.    Eventually I became aware of an opportunity to work with troubled, at risk youth.    I grew excited at the prospect of working with angry .teens.    I understood anger intimately.    Who is better to deal with this than the ‘angry transexual‘ I reasoned.

As I began my preparation for what I hoped would be a fruitful interview, I allowed myself to feel really positive for the first time in a long time.   I had good reason to feel confident,. I had prepared a portfolio of all job interiew prerequisites: a verifiable work .history in a related field, excellent references, related training courses etc.   I even passed a drug screen- something I had passionately eschewed for my entire life adult life.    Such was the sacrifice I was prepared to make.. Yup, things were looking up.    Maybe this new life wasn’t going to be as tough as I thought.    So on the appointed day of my interview, I put on my best face and with more courage and optimism than I thought one transexual could possibly muster, I sallied forth to face the two supervisory types who held my immediate future in their hands..

We sat in a typical conference room on typically hard plastic chairs across a typically plastic conference table.   I was confident, enthusiastic…ready!    I can do this.  I thought.   I eagerly anticipated their challenging array questions that I would handle so deftly. Perfunctory introductions out of the way, the female half of the interviewing team, Ms. Smith, seemed to hesitate for a moment.    She gave the impression of a wary explorer, cautiously creeping up to the edge of an abyss to risk a glance into the eternal darkness of the a bottomless pit.     She cleared her throat nervously and asked me the one question that I could not have prepared to answer

“ Ummm….this is uh….well please understand that we don’t mean to be indelicate about this but we were wondering …uh just exactly what is between your legs..?”

“ I beg your pardon?”    What she really said was ‘Where are you in your transition?‘ The difference is negligible.   With one casual, blatantly sexist question, I had been stripped naked and reduced to a sex object.

Mrs Smith drove the knife a little deeper,   “ The thing is uh, Mary Jo, who you may recall having supervised in another company,….well anyway she said that one day while you were monitoring her she saw your testicles when you crossed your legs.”

Huh?    The Titanic had just made the acquaintance of the iceberg and the iceberg held the upper hand.  I was stunned.    First by the implication that I would spread my legs far enough for anyone to see the last wretched remnants of my disappearing masculinity, and second by the realization  that the interview had begun with an accusation made by a client who had a documented history of pathological lying.    This was almost too much to bear and we were still on the first question.     Hours ticked by with each second….the silence was deafening.

Somehow I managed to pick my lower jaw up from the table and with sufficient incredulity said ” I can’t believe you are asking me this!   Could you please tell me what this has to do with anything?      I mean I don’t recall in reading the formal job description that genital verification was mandatory.   I would st least worn fresh panties.”

Mrs. Smith squirmed ever so slightly and tentatively proceeded to explain the finer points of the company policy.    ” Well….uh you see it’s mainly to protect us from lawsuits. we have a policy thatr guarantees our clients and their guardians an appropriate match regarding gender….you know boy to boy and girl to girl.” A look of smug self satisfaction settled slowly over her face.    She looked like a housecat who had just cornered a mouse for supper.    Except in this case the mouse was not prepared to capitulate.

“This is really quite amazing,” I screeched.   ” How do you decide who’s male and who’s female?    Is it company policy to check the genitals of everyone who applies? Or do you just wait till a client needs a reason to persecute someone like me?    If there are only two categories of humans then I must fit into one or the other. And if I don’t fit into those two categories maybe we need to create a third one for the rest of us.”   

I was on a roll and my anger felt fine as it rose from my transexual heart.    I forged ahead with evangelical zeal.    I had their attention and I was determined to exploited it to the fullest. I shifted my focus to Mr. Jones, the male half of the interviewing team.    I had met Mr. Jones, an Afro-American, previously during orientation where he was responsible for teaching us the code of ethics associated with client rights.     As it turned out the disabled have more constitutionally protected rights than transexuals.

“I must say that I am very disturbed by the realization that I represent the only minority whose character can be questioned on the basis of our genitalia.   Surely you must know that transgendered people are the only minority in this country who are not protected from discrimination by federal law.     Beyond that your company’s mission statement, so noble in language that seems to promote the rights of all people obviously falls short of protecting the transgendered.”

I felt the pride of eloquence rising in my bosom. I was saying things that I had previously only thought to myself.. For a brief exhilarating moment I felt empowered as as a transperson.     A ponderous silence fell over the room. and the tension was palpable.    In my heart and soul I held closely to the hope that I had touched these two people and impressed them with my need for validation. and gainful employment.    The looks on their faces, corporate masks temporarily forgotten, told me that they had indeed understood my plight..

Mrs. Smith cleared her throat and glanced at me furtively, “Well … I do sympathize with your predicament Rose,  when I worked for the company back in Oklahoma, the company agreed to to provide gay foster parents for a gay client. But this…..I, I just don’t know .”

Whoa!  Hoooold on thar a minute.   So gay people good, trans people bad?    I didn’t really know what to make of her declaration.    I had started out with a wealth of optimism.     Suddenly my confidence had turned to confusion.    Success, once so imminent, had taken wing, only to be replaced by the practical notion that I would somehow be better off gay.   Still I clung tenaciously to the my last morsel of hope while the evil wind of despair rustled in the distance.

“So where do we go from here”, I asked tentatively.

“Don’t worry, Rose, we’ll find a place for you.”

And so, testicles not withstanding, I was hired as a ‘probationer”    But only after I made repeated calls in an effort to torture them into giving me a chance to prove myself. Then I panicked.    Failure was familiar territory for me.    Success was trickier.    Success require the application of character. I knew that I had passed the preliminaries but the gauntlet of fire lay directly ahead.

All this pressure to gain employment was mere folly compared to the reality of trying to interact positively with these future masters of mayhem.    Many of them had one foot in the group home and the other in youth detention. Ah yes, it was indeed a challenge befitting my unique collection of talents.    After all, who is better acquainted with anger than a transexual.

Alas, fate is a cruel dictator if it is anything and as it turns out this was the epitome of the psychic masturbation .   A one act play with a disappointing denouement.    One day before the end of my probationary period I was summoned to my superior’s office and terminated. Apparently the main reason was the fact that I was a transexual.

The company’s reason for terminating me was never stated.   It quickly became apparent to me that I was expected to understand that since they were not legally required to employ me as a tranitioning transexual I was imminently expendable.    I was a liability from the outset and a few complaints from the paying customers, the parents, clients or both, was more than enough justification for my dismissal.   Blatant discrimination and sexism aside, I couldn’t help but be impressed by the immense irony of it all, but then irony my middle name.

And in the words of a master of irony, Groucho Marks

 ”I would not join any club that would have someone like me for a member.”

I think…no wait, is that right?

 

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I just finished watching a BBC documentary about Transsexuals in Iran entitled “Be like Others”.      Several issues presented in the film affected me deeply.    First, Iranian transsexuals have no idea what life is like here for their brother and sister trans.    The censorship is second only to Iran’s male dominated, authoritarian society that has decreed that homosexuality is a perversion and Transsexualism is a birth anomaly.

How they arrive at this decision derives from the Koran that vilifies homosexuality and does not mention trans.    Perhaps because when the Koran was written, like the Bible, there were no trans people. or if there were, they were so heinous as to be ignored by the men who wrote those books.   My guess is that we transsexuals are a more modern development.

Back to the documentary, Iran is one of the most sexist and therefore sexually repressive regimes in the modern world.    And if there is a more repressive place, I don’t even want to know about it.    The reality of this distinction, this weird reversal of fortune, is that If you are truly trans, you get more help and support in Iran than here in the land of the free.      Financial support for the operation, short-term facilities for recovery, an instant birth certificate and most likely a life of quasi respectability including legal marriage.

But Allah help you if you were born homo. You’ll be lucky to escape alive. Talk about a weird cultural shift…

I blame The Dream. Read about it HERE          http://02f0972.netsolhost.com/

The dream creates and reinforces Gender as a condition of our humanity.     And the rules, the conditions are written by men.    Now and then, global culture represents the hopes and fears of human beings in the context of a Male dominated society.      Thus morality and ethics are relativistic concepts as determined by testosterone driven consciousness.       Therefore if something is abhorrent to men, those things eventually become abhorrent to the rest, whether there exists justification or not.    Indeed social mores are either designed by male thinking or rejected by the same.

No more or less justification exists for transsexuals as for homosexual behavior. But religion is not, nor has ever been a bastion of scientific or  critical thinking. And the only proof that Iran needs to condemn an entire subgroup to a life of shame and misery is the Koran.    They are not alone in their moral duplicity. All major, patriarchal religions, all religion, uses a “holy book’, which only they as men are allowed to interpret.

The fact that religion post dates gender expression does not matter to religion at all.      Religion specializes in rewriting history to satisfy the institutions of Male hegemony across a global setting. And because men are bigger and stronger, they re also bullies.    Not all men are bullies,  but the same fear that permeates the global trans community silences more sensitive men who might support other’s human rights.

The concept that a state of any kind holds the power to determine gender expression with the ever constant threat of violence is a symptom of social engineering destined to fail.  Nature does not and never will conform to our expectations.  Diversity is the foundation of creation.     Only through the myopic human projection of culture, programmed into every living cell, do we sanctify these predominance of binary gender.  Gender follows the same linguistic pitfalls of the concept of god:  Everyone knows what it is but no one can describe or define it.    Yet because of gender’s importance as a tool of social control, we are light years away from a true humanist solution.

Turning gay and lesbians into post op transsexuals and transsexuals into prostitutes is not only a human rights abuse issue in the guise of religion, it is the best example of violent sexist male dominant culture in the not so civilized world.

The somber end of the documentary included a scene where a post op Iranian woman describe her life so similar to mine.    Rejected by her family, she turned to a life of ‘temporary marriage’ -little more than state sanctioned prostitution and described her inability to love.  She broke down and cried as she felt the loneliness and abandonment that I know so well.    And I cried with her…for all of us.

SISTER POWER

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I’m so confused. I’m building an old Harley. The other day I was shocked to find male dominated, hetero-normative gender baiting language right there in front of me in my official HD Repair Manual on the topic of Tranny Rebuilding….oh, wait. Okay, now I got it.      So apparently tranny means something else to a mechanic.

I should have known that.   I’m a mechanic too.   So I would be, or am, dependent upon your politics, a  MTF Tranny mechanic rebuilding an HD Tranny. More to the point, I am a Granny Tranny and my transmission could be called my Granny Tranny tranny, and I would be a Granny Tranny Tranny mechanic.  I think.

And I do think  about  this problem of  language, and the power it has in the hands of a ruling class and their minions.  While I continue to agonize over the technological aspects of building my website, TransgenderLifeSupportServices, and play with my tranny, I peruse some of the other  radical writers of the alternative sex and gender community and marvel at the politically correct and incorrect lines of thought regarding the nature of the infinitely diverse categories and subsets of the aforementioned labels. In fact, a couple of times I even tried to make some connections with the other members of the group by leaving comments that ranged from the banal to the inflammatory. And WOW, it’s a like the Fight Club in some of those bastions of  Trans-intellectualism!

Rancor and vitriol [hey, those are great names for cats] rule the discussions about the words that are used to describe us…and I hope you know who I am referring to because I am more than a little afraid of any specificity that might incur the wrath of…well, you know, those people.

This absurb suicidal in-fighting, at just the moment when success for the movement seemed imminently possible, is one of the best indications that one of the states oldest weapons against minorities has indeed succeeded in fracturing  a movement already  imperiled by the psycho-social model of liguistic fascism.

To our great peril, we fail to take into account  the supremely subtle methods that the state uses to disempower any movement that might empower a certain artificially constructed group of people.

 If you doubt that this is a tool of the state, read or re-read the brilliant mind altering treatise on “The People History of the United States,” by Howard Zinn, R.I.P.  One cannot truly understand the situation that we  ‘FILL IN THE BLANK’  people find ourselves in without a deep understanding of the classism of sexual politics as determined by the state.

The level of linguistic imperative that exist now across all groups and subgroups of minorities in general is a symptom of a malaise that suits the purpose of the state, whose first and historically succesful weapon is fiendishly clever: Divide and Conquer.     Technically, the purposeful  linguistic division of a community or nation state  initiates the state’s goal of disempowerment. Often then,  the people do the rest.

There is no actual point at which this language based artifice begins. For as long as we have had male dominated society, we have male dominant language. In this sense the outcome of the discussion is a foregone conclusion. If the language is a precondition of our existence, so is the model upon which the language is predicated.

So I read the pages of my favorite TG/TS..okay, maybe I should put the TS first. But wait then I would offend the…okay, so I am just going to call you My People. You know who you are. Where was I?  Oh, so when I read the angry defensive exclusionary comments on so many blogs these days, I do so with a nod to the Apparachik. You, Sir, er uh, M’am… I’m so afraid of offending one of those…you know.    Anyway, YOU WIN!

The abstract divisions between humans, that seem so solid with the use of the state supplied language, exist because we confirm them.  When I was born in 1951, I had no verbal categorical description for the human being that I was becoming, therefore had no means of appraising or judging myself. 

 Later, in David Reuben much maligned book “Everything You Wanted to Know about Sex…” I found out that I was a transvestite. Oh the Ho-wah. Then I discovered Money and Green and knew that I was a transsexual. EEK!

Then I read Will Roscoe and decided I am Two Spirits. Then I realized that by the use of language, I had just created neurosis in myself.  And now after all these years, I don’t know what I am.

And I like it that way. As a benefit of having arrived at a point of linguistic liquidity, I now get to call myself whatever I want because I don’t know what any of it means to you. And even if I did know what it meant to you, I couldn’t change that about you. And why would I? What you think of me is none of my business.

But I can still have fun using the language to tickle or club people’s linguistic prejudice by virtue of their rigid subjective perception. I love to say things I ain’t sposed to,  in fact I would venture a bit further by saying it’s my job. To those who are fond of saying that everything happens for a reason, this is my raison d’etre- a full assault on political correctness.

So I call myself Sissygirl, with the intention of disempowering it as a pejorative of state authorized language. I tell people that my experience  as a post op Trans woman gives me the right to call MYSELF society’s new nigger. Despite the fact that the third definition in the Mirriam- Webster’s defines nigger as ‘any socially disadvantaged  group of people’, this usage always draws gasps  of shock and an indictment of my political insensitivity. Unfortunately, it rarely stimulates a discussion about  freedom of speech as described in the first amendment to the Bill of Rights.

This continual bickering between us, and I mean all of us, must stop, or it will have the same dire consequences as it did for all the other failed attempts at concensus that preceded our movement.  We are not the enemy. We must not turn on ourselves. Let’s take a step back for the sake of a little detachment, and identify the historical enemy of the people. Only then may we succeed by the combined weight of our intention to achieve human rights for all people.

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