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Posts Tagged ‘Two Spirits’

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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Greetings to all human beings and their ancestors and to all sentient beings who honor their connection to Mother Earth. My name is Rosie and I am a Two-Spirits healer. I come to you now with an open heart and a passionate desire to share the vision and wisdom of two spirit medicine. The medicine of my tribe is powerful because it symbolizes balance and harmony. But more than that, the power of my medicine provides the context for the re-unification of the duality of opposites. In simpler terms, mine is the medicine of non-duality.

These words fulfill my responsibility to share my spiritual journey with the receptive hearts and minds of those who need to hear them. For readers unfamiliar with the subject, I offer a brief description of two-spirited consciousness, followed by a short history of that tradition. In the end, I will weave them together in a cosmic mandala for your meditation.

The expression “Two Spirits” refers to the manifestation of masculine and feminine energy in one individual. It is a relatively new way of describing a tradition that has existed in indigenous cultures around the world prior to the development of western civilization. In order to understand this tradition, this different way of viewing gender, we must first be clear on the distinction between sex and gender. A popular saying describes the difference as follows: Sex is between the legs, gender is between the ears. In other words, gender is not about sexual preference, rather it is the expression of our unique sexuality.

The expression of two-spirits in one individual is, more accurately, one’s spiritual expression of two polar aspects known as yin and yang. The ancient symbolism of yin and yang, together referred to as the Tao, symbolizes the fundamental principle by which the Great Spirit animates and informs every thing that exists on this material plane. At its most elementary level, yin and yang describe a balanced energetic relationship where yin is the passive principal and yang is the active principal. Because yin defines yang, and yang defines yin, these opposing principles hold equal value in an idealized state of balance. Relativity, interdependence and harmony provide form. From this original concept of the duality of opposites springs all other artificial concepts of division.

I was born into the body of a male baby in 1951. By the age of five, I became aware of a subtle disturbance in my energy field. Within five years of this realization my young personality floundered in the turbulent waters of a gender identity process gone horribly awry. A feeling of non-ordinary reality, accompanied by a growing sense of detachment, infused my daily existence. I became depressed and withdrawn.

Over a period of years revelation came to me in dreams, where my spirit showed me the reason for my discomfort. Each night as I lay in bed, I closed my eyes to find my spirit inhabiting the physical form of a happy little girl. I didn’t know, or care at all how this transformation occurred. I was happy for a brief moment of peace. As natural as a falcon taking wing, I accepted this dreaming aspect of my personality as an integral part of my being

Eventually, I found creative ways to stay home alone and express my other-gendered nature with the help of my mother’s wardrobe. But these occasional interludes created another dichotomy: my joyful affinity for feminine expression would cause me great pain upon discovery. Though I knew little of the ways of the world that lay beyond the safe confines of the post World War II, working class, cookie cutter neighborhood of my youth, I did intuit one of society’s essential, unspoken principals with profound clarity: good little boys did not live for stolen moments of cross-dressed glory.

In the American middle class of the1950’s, the world was divided into two kinds of gendered people: men and women. Any hint of cross-gendered behavior invited violence and humiliation. L found proof in the daily newspapers of America and felt the violent undercurrents of misogyny. The realization that I could be the target of such hatred frightened me at the deepest level of my awareness.

From the very beginning of my conscious awareness I was caught in a moral dilemma of immense proportion. In the place of healthy childhood development, my ravaged young personality resembled a rudderless ship being sucked into a maelstrom of sexual energies that I could feel but not articulate. I intuited that some cosmic mix-up had occurred between my mind and body, yet I had no words to describe the sense of disassociation that I experienced on a daily basis.

Beginning in early adolescence and throughout the most crucial period of personality development, neurosis and self-loathing poisoned my spirit at every step on the path to adulthood. Contradictions that would not yield to logic confronted me at every turn, on every level of my being. I had “awakened” in this present incarnation with extreme dissonance of mind and body that I dare not reveal on penalty of death. While my spirit whispered an awareness of my two spirited nature in one ear, the societal voiceof sexist bigotry screamed shame and fear into the other ear. Imprisoned by fate in this physical form that I could not accept or change, I suffered in isolation for many years.

My sense of abandonment became a prison-fort where I became angry, suspicious, and withdrawn. Despite a natural tendency as a child was to seek relief through the wisdom of my parents, I knew intuitively that they weren’t emotionally stable enough to deal with these feelings that I could not describe. Even more injurious to my tender young ego was my conviction that to speak my truth would expose my young spirit to the violence of a world locked in delusion.

By the age 15, a huge gaping chasm developed between the carefully constructed, socially acceptable male image that I exhibited and the overpowering impulse of my secret feminine self. I was paralyzed by an irreconcilable contradiction. Caught between the maxim that “Jesus loved me, because the Bible told me so” and the knowledge that if anyone discovered my deep, dark secret I would be burned at the stake, I teetered on the brink of madness with little hope for resolution.

I trusted absolutely no one including parents and friends, aunts and uncles, teachers or preachers. Artifice contaminated all of my relationships save the one I had with myself. A deep sense of dread prevented me from even thinking about communicating this delicate issue to anyone. As a result of my universal mistrust-cum- paranoia, I found myself utterly alone, holding onto suicidal ideation as an antidote to the pain.

A few months after I graduated from high school, my life fell apart. The flimsy masculine image I had employed as a disguise began to deteriorate. Without a high school audience to appreciate my impersonation of a young man, I was an actress without a part. Severely depressed, I retreated into my own world–a sheltered, sacred world of intense intellectual exploration into the mechanism of human consciousness…

In 1969, scant information was available on the subject of transgenderism, the psychological model of people with a non-conforming gender identity. Psychiatry, from the male dominant perspective, continued to treat gender identity as a sort of minor psychosis. For hundreds of years, institutionalization was the treatment of choice for people who were not comfortable in their assigned gender. I struggled to maintain my male disguise while searching for a right path to understanding.

Despite my baptism as a good Lutheran boy, and a lifetime of half-hearted supplication, my prayers went unanswered. This dubious god of the pious masses had abandoned me. Two spirited people were not mentioned in the Bible, or any other religious text. Logically then, I abandoned the notion of this cruel God, whose biblical omission continues to cause untold suffering and needless death. By the time I had reached my early twenties, as an antidote to the spiritual toxicity of right-wing fundamentalist religion, I embarked on a life long study of the ancient belief systems of indigenous peoples.

I began my education with Native American tribes who perceived the energetic relationship of humans to their environment in a profound way that, as a result of genocide, may be lost to us forever. From the documentation of explorers and anthropologists, I found that indigenous cultures around the world valued the manifestations of the spirit so infinite in its diversity. The Great Spirit’s creative authority was not questioned in matters of divine expression. The Native Americans accepted all expressions of the Great Spirit as containing a wisdom nature that provided essential balance in every aspect of their environment.

One-hundred fifty years before I was born, the dreams of my youth would have been a sign from the Great Spirit that I was meant to be a two-spirited medicine person in Native American culture. An apocryphal story of one North American tribe points to this sort of implicit acceptance of the will of the Great Spirit regarding gender: According to oral history, a young boy or girl who showed the slightest indication of cross gendered behavior was placed in a grass hut with one male toy and one female toy. The hut was then set on fire. If the child’s gendered choice was ‘opposite’ their natal sex, the Great Spirit had spoken in affirmation of the child’s dual gender/nature thereby placing them in high esteem in the tribal society.

Each tribe had a name for these special people: The Lakota referred to them as Winkte [would-be woman]. The Navaho called them “nadleeh“[one who changes time and again]. In the Crow tribe, they were named “bade”, and the Zuni called them “ilhamana”. Though the names of the Two-Spirit people varied greatly from tribe to tribe,   the trans-national similarities of their two-spirit traditions were remarkable considering the territorial nature of tribal life.

Native Americans in general recognized the two-spirit folk as divinely imbued with a special insight regarding human nature. Based on this gift of the spirit, tribes conferred much honor on them in terms of their position and responsibility to the tribe. The spiritual gifts of their dual nature promoted them to positions of reverence in the role of hunters, story tellers, shamans, warriors, medicine persons, informal marriage counselors, and leaders of naming ceremonies.

Male born two-spirits were considered especially valuable in the sense that they performed the duties of a woman with the strength of a man. Many woman born two-spirits were fierce warriors, respected by their fellow male warriors for their high level of skill in horse riding and counting coup. Indigenous society did not judge, chastise, ridicule or kill the two spirited person as did white society. They celebrated the gifts of diversity.

This indigenous appreciation for the necessity of balance through the interplay of yin and yang came to a sad end with the genocide of the North American Indian. With the arrival of the Spanish conquistadores and zealous Jesuit missionaries, the two spirited tradition of the North American Indians was destroyed by the violence of enforced acculturation.  History now provides us with a tragic account of the many sordid ways that Spanish Conquistadors, driven by a belief system that married white supremacy with  pseudo-pious religious imperialism, began a murderous, systematic war of cultural attrition against the “brown skinned” cultures of the North American continent.

When the Spanish explorer Cabeza de Vaca landed in Florida in the year 1530 and discovered the Timicuan Indians who lived there, notations in his diary indicated that he had witnessed “soft Native American males dressing and working as women’.    The Timicuan were a small elegant, artistic tribe located in northern Florida. Far from the violence of the northern and western tribes, they had little reason for weapons and no shame about these soft males whom de Vaca referred to as berdache– from the Persian “bardaj,” a derogatory term whose origins refer to a passive homosexual partner, usually a “pretty” or feminine young boy. A famous lithograph reveals de Vaca’s murderous sentiments toward these “sodomites.” The proud conquistador celebrates while two-spirited people are thrown into a pit, mauled by wild dogs and suffer a slow painful death

Beginning in the 1880’s, as proper American society moved across the Great Plains and into the mountains and deserts of the west, people encountered more of these “odd savages” and became determined to recreate Indian society in the image of Euro-American culture. Native Americans were taken away from their homes, their villages, their tribes, and families and acculturated into white society en masse. Dressed and shorn in fashion of white culture, they were often imprisoned where they were beaten like animals for the slightest indication that they might not wholeheartedly embrace the ways of their captors.

The intentional destruction of Native American culture and the subsequent violent imposition of European Neo-Victorian values signaled the beginning of the end of   the two-spirit tradition on the North American continent. By the early 1900’s, their proud tradition was little more than a footnote in a rare historical text.      Ironically, while religion succeeded in destroying the two-spirited tradition in indigenous North America, the essence of two spirited wisdom persists despite its detractors. I am living proof of this assertion. From my earliest memories, I have known myself as a human being with a male spirit alongside an equally prominent feminine spirit. Long before I had heard of the term two spirits, I experienced it as a psychological context of my existence.

As I delved further into the anthropology of pagan/indigenous spiritual belief, I began to draw strength from the images of proud two-spirited people–celebrated for their diversity, wisdom, bravery, courage, and spiritual power in indigenous tribes across the globe. I found numerous examples, both mythological and historical, of people with androgynous character. In these colorful pan-cultural narratives, I read of both men and women who were transformed into members of the opposite sex, either permanently or temporarily, for the sake of punishment or education. From their legacy, I found liberation from the applied stigma of an intolerant, judgmental society

This new perspective empowered me with the knowledge of my inherent spiritual strength, but with validation came responsibility. No longer was it possible to play the victim. I made the conscious decision to recreate my self image based on a model of the two spirited elders who had gone before me. My warrior’s spirit, suppressed for so many years by internalized shame and bigotry, found inspiration in the knowledge that people   like me were validated in ancient history. I embraced this new manifestation of the spirit and resolved to let it guide me in my search for enlightenment

Buddhists call it maya; the Toltec call it the Dream. The Dream of the planet is the collective conditioning that creates duality where none actually exists. Maya is the conditioning that justifies war and poverty, abuse and oppression, judgment and punishment, right and wrong, and murder for the sake of ideology. Regardless of the name, the process that no humans can avoid in varying degrees is the non-critical internalization of information as directed by the intention of the Dream world we inhabit. As I assimilated this unified theory of consciousness, my life began to make sense.   In his book of profound wisdom, “The Four Agreements”, Don Miguel Ruiz makes the point succinctly,

“Humans are dreaming all the time. Before we were born the humans before us created a big outside dream we will call society’s dream or the dream of the planet dreams which together create a dream of family, a dream of community a dream of city, a dream of country and finally a dream of the whole humanity The dream of the planet includes all of society’s rules, its beliefs, its laws, its religions, its different cultures and ways to be, its government, schools, social events and holidays.”

At the crux of the process is our agreement to the terms of our survival. With the capacity to dream from the moment of birth, our attention is contingent upon our need to survive. Thus, when you are lying in your crib at the age of two, cold and hungry,   without the benefit of personal boundaries, you will agree to any ordered condition of your specific environment in order to live.

At the moment a parent or guardian, who orders or allows the conditions of our little world, enters our sacred space and infects it with negative energy, we internalize those conditions. The absorbent yin nature of infantile consciousness provides the ideal context for the establishment of layered patterns of dysfunction. This patterning describes the process of random input that determines personality. As this initial layer becomes fixed in time, self awareness is built on an endless loop of a conditioned patterning and reactive emotion.

With no discrimination possible upon our entrance into the Dream, our attention is hooked by the intention of a world committed to sustaining this conditioning. This process of indoctrination begins to shape our young personality. All of our values, institutions, familial obligations, and sense of self are creations of the collective dream state. By our agreement to this persistent imposition of conditions, we project a reality in which we become our own judge, jury and executioner. Our words become the weapons of the indiscriminate process by which we spread the toxin of judgment and endless suffering.

Our investment in this illusion of consciousness perpetuates our sense of isolation and separation from the whole. This process, from a psycho/societal view, referred to as identity politics, is the antithesis of a cohesive peaceful society. Identity politics divides and subdivides human beings into an infinite number of categories based on superficial characteristics. This elevation of ego by insidious, subliminal propaganda causes great suffering by creating a false hierarchy of values that celebrates neurosis, negates our humanity and establishes a context for oppression.

Invigorated by this new, liberating model of conscious development, I began to review my personal involvement in the Dream to gain a more rational perspective on my two-spirited condition. In a life changing epiphany, ancient wisdom pierced my heart like a lightning bolt –illuminating the darkness of a life lived in the shadows. The raging river of caustic rhetorical hate and judgment, that had infected my consciousness for so long, was transformed into a harmless trickle that merged with the Tao of knowing.

Like so many indigenous two spirited folks before me, I had entered the world with a Dream of my own. I am one of the few–chosen by the Great Spirit to manifest this noble Two Spirits tradition in a society predicated on lethal sexism. The simple act of being born with equal parts masculine and feminine renders me a social pariah. In a world so heavily invested in the duality, I represent a threat to the power structure– doomed to a life lived in the shadow of mainstream society, or any society at all.

Throughout many years of suffering, I wandered blindly in the darkness of my own illusion. I have survived the perilous conflict between the world Dream and my own   personal dream by deconstructing my sexist conditioning through the lens of my essential humanity. Through the warrior’s act of intention, I have recreated my “self” based on the gift of Two-Spirited medicine that guides me on this personal journey of transcendence. Personality, based on illusory thought–produced by a shared corrupt ego state–burdens me no more. The Dream of the world has lost its steely grip. My spirit shall not yield to the deception.

My life as a two spirited person today is full and rich because I honor myself in my Two Spirits tradition. No longer am I afflicted by the illusion of the duality. Within me, yin and yang are one, undivided–undifferentiated. I am neither this nor that. I represent the unification of the first binary–the primary subdivision that occurs at the moment of birth at the whim of a stranger in white. I reject this arbitrary distinction based on a cursory inspection of my genitalia. I am a human being and that is enough. Endless subdivisions of identification only enhance my separation from other humans.

All sentient beings enter this material plane with the essence of their luminous character momentarily intact. Our consciousness is tabula rasa–a blank slate upon which is written the disparate elements of our future personality. Within minutes of our birth, we are assigned a gender based on our genitalia. At the precise moment of this declaration, the infant is set on one of two very different paths whose parameters determine flux and flow of its life. By the time we reach first year’s end, we are baptized by delusion. The Dream clouds our vision, separating us from the source of our essential brilliance. And we forget.

We forget that before we internalized the identity that causes us to feel the immense pain of separation and isolation we were united as light beings in an energetic dimension of non-duality. We forget because human consciousness produces a false ego-based concept of gendered duality that is perpetually reinforced through violence and other forms of coercion. Before we know what or who we are, sexism becomes the engine of social control. By the dominance/submission agreement into which men and women enter, this dream of sexism creates and perpetuates the suicidal imbalance of power and ensures our future disharmony.

While the dream of sexism continues to inflict pain much of man’s violence toward women cannot be understood in a rational sense. Perhaps this murder by misogyny is man’s way of killing the feminine within himself in an effort to reinforce his self image of manhood. Regardless of the motive, the prevalence of misogyny is the best evidence of our nihilistic tendencies. While the Dream of sexism is too powerful to confront directly, its negative consequences are too destructive to ignore. Until we as a global society are willing to confront this shadow side of our collective unconsciousness, we wobble on the brink of self destruction

. We live in a very potent, extremely perilous time. With the passing of each decade the world, precariously out of balance on the fulcrum of time, slides inexorably into the darkness. With the aid of industrialization and technology, we are losing our humanness under the immense burden of our artificially inflated egos. What we refer to as culture is a euphemism intended to disguise the totality of our conditioned violence   that includes man’s violence against man, against women and against Gaia. We are ‘civilized’ animals who have forgotten what is sacred.

The mysterious, awesome spirit of life that animates and gives meaning to everything ironically empowers the mechanism of its own demise. Unbalanced, unbridled ego imbues the individual with the necessary rationale to commit the senseless destruction of life for the sake of ideology. These are discomforting truths, yet we have no choice but to confront them while we still have our collective human will. As conscious beings, we must take responsibility for our behavior, or perish in our apathy. No longer is it practical to externalize authority. No god will save us-none but the one we find within ourselves.

As spiritual warriors, we must use all of our intention to pierce the veil of illusion that defines our lives, reinforces our sense of separateness, and perpetuates our suffering. For as long as we are dominated by egocentric politics, a fatal imbalance of yin and yang threatens us with extinction. A return to balance requires a commitment to a fearless, non-judgmental exploration of the self from earliest memory. Most of the agreements that we have made since our first moments of life must be broken. Our numerous defense mechanisms, all of our deepest darkest fears, all grasping, and all of our attachments must be reviewed in the context of the Dream. Only when these subconscious negative obstructions melt away will we find the light within ourselves.

If we are serious about becoming a spiritual warrior for the benefit of ourselves and the collective, we must first focus on the healing nature of unconditional self-love.    This can only happen when we break with the subconscious, self limiting agreements of our past. Believe that you deserve love, and with time the many layers of accumulated toxic patterns lose their negative power to dominate us. Your commitment to begin your own healing with the power of love is the most important agreement one can make, for logic dictates that one can not give away something one does not possess. Begin now. Make a vow to love everything about yourself everyday. Demonstrate self-love in every moment with every act.

Personal freedom requires a firm commitment to renounce the oppressive conditioning that leads us into the darkness of despair. I ask that you join me now and everyday as I renew the vows that produce beneficial karma. For the benefit of all sentient beings; I invite you to join me in a vow of non-violence in our words and deeds. I vow to practice compassion toward myself that I may then extend it to others, I pledge to be ever mindful of the rotten fruits of desire, and I will do whatever I must to transcend the illusion of personal identity. Towards that end, I vow to polish the mirrored lens of my spirit that I might reflect the sun’s perfect light that shines within you.

Namaste: The Divine Light in Me Honors the Divine Light within You.

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April twelfth, nineteen -fifty-one dawned over the town of Dayton, Ohio like any other spring day. A few wisps of clouds, a light breeze and plenty of sun. Generally speaking it was a day without distinction. Unless you happened to be Roland or Doris Schneider. For them this day was portentous. This was the day of the birth of their first child. Doris wanted a boy, Roland a girl. Everything seemed normal as they took their first tentative steps toward building their all American post-war baby-boomer family .In nineteen fifty-one life was good and the future looked even better. The fifties were pregnant with possibilities Roland and Doris could afford to have high hopes for their firstborn. Boy or girl, the Schneider’s didn’t care that much. As long as it was a healthy, happy child. What they did produce would inevitably far exceed their parental expectations.

The first five years of my life were the happiest I’ve ever known. . I was too young to understand the contradiction that would eventually haunt me. Unaware of the shame that would eventually be heaped upon me, I lived a relatively normal childhood Societal judgment had not yet been internalized. Happily ignorant of the struggles for life and sanity that lay ahead, I lived in prophetic dreams.. It was in these dreams that I felt most comfortable because in my special dreamtime I was a little girl.

In early Native American culture, the kind of dreams I began experiencing in early childhood would have been a sign from the Great Spirit that I was destined to be a berdache. Most all-indigenous Native American tribes believed that the Great Spirit chose certain special members of the tribe to be “two spirited”. These two spirited people, also known as berdache, exhibited preferences for behavior outside the boundaries of the normally gendered early in life. The most convincing indicator of their special status was revealed to the young berdache in the form of dreams. These dreams set in motion a specialized regimen of training designed to guide the young berdache toward their future roles that ranged from healer to mediator to substitute wife. Their legacy, now largely forgotten, was one of value and honor in their respective tribes. By comparison, my experience would be the very antithesis of theirs..

My dreams have always been a part of my consciousness. From an age before I could understand their significance or future import, they were the mainstays of my nightly bedtime routine. For the years prior to entering elementary school, it was the means by which I achieved sleep. Each night I would put on my jammies, clutch my stuffed dog to my chest, close my eyes and become a little girl in a perfect world. In the bliss of my youthful innocence, there was no contradiction, no shame, no guilt. I dreamt I was a little girl and I was happy. At first it never occurred to me to tell anyone because it was such a natural part of my consciousness. Just a few years later I realized that to reveal this component of my personality would lead to most tragic consequences. What if they tried to make me stop? What if they sent me away? The possibility was too much to bear. I kept the dream to myself.

My adolescence was filled with swirling, powerful, wordless emotion, much like a tornado whose fury I first sought to suppress then fled from in fear of disintegration. As my child hood progressed so did my awareness of some apparent contradiction between the way that I felt and the way I was perceived.. Identifying as a little girl seemed quite natural until I gazed at my reflection in the mirror. As my self awareness progressed I would spend much time crossdressing and posing in front of a mirror. And eventually all mirrors became my unforgiving captor. No matter how hard I tried, no matter what frilly foo-foo thing I wore, the mirror was a constant reminder that regardless of what I felt in my heart, the reflection was that of a little boy. Here was the dark genesis of my dance with madness. Here was the first sign of stress fractures in my fragile eggshell personality. As I matured the stress fractures eventually combined to create one huge schism that threatened psychic destruction.

On the first day of my first year in kindergarten, September 1956, I experienced the first assault on my innocence. I learned my first lesson in social intercourse when it became necessary for the class to be divided into boys and girls It immediately became obvious to me that really big mistake had been made when I was put into the little boy’s group. I was mortified and vowed to take action at the first opportunity. I saw my chance at naptime. Laying my head down on my desk, I dramatically beseeched God to change me into the proper feminine form by the time I woke up. Profoundly disappointed upon awakening, I saw that my wish had not been granted. At that moment a young atheist was born I would gradually give up all hope that this god cared a pittance for the misery of a young transsexual.

By the age of ten, I had developed a growing fascination with girls and all things female. This fascination would create in me a keen observer of human behavior. I found myself studying the girls in my peer group with a passion. I felt inexplicably drawn to them. Way deep down in my young psyche I secretly shared their adolescent need to express themselves in the way that only girls were permitted. To skip rope, wear dresses, grow my hair, and attend pajama parties. This was my secret passion. This was the real desire that dare not speak its name.

Then on one particularly poignant spring afternoon circa 1962, I experienced a profound epiphany that seemed to certify my status as a pariah. I remember it as clearly as it was yesterday. I had been experimenting with my mom’s clothes and make up for a couple of years. I used any and every opportunity to stay home alone and indulge myself in the contents of her closet. I never questioned my behavior and my parents never suspected. I had begun crossdressing as a natural progression of the dreams. On this particular day my mom was at her therapist and my father was at work. I was sitting on the floor of our living room in my favorite full-length crinoline petticoat. The kind often worn under a poodle skirt. The sun was shining and a warm breeze blew the sound of boys playing through the window. As I sat there and listened to those happy sounds, sadness overwhelmed me. I remember thinking ‘That’s what it must be like for normal kids‘. Slowly my gaze dropped to the petticoat then returned to the scene outside. Sudden realization raised the veil of youthful innocence from my vision and tears fell from my eyes. How melancholy I felt to be so different.

At that moment I felt the first inkling of the isolation that would eventually both protect me and drive me to the brink of suicide. I was struck by the gravity of my predicament. The sun was still bright overhead. Breezes still blew and birds still sang. But for me a subtle shift had occurred in my self-perception. I was a little boy whose idea of fulfillment was staying home alone and wearing my mother’s clothes And from that day forward, a part of me knew for certain that I was headed for stormy seas in a leaky dingy.

Thus the strangeness of my neophyte transsexual life had begun in earnest. Without fanfare or tickertape parade, with shaky faltering steps, I had embarked on my transsexual path toward an inevitability that I could not have imagined. And this benign ignorance was perhaps the kindest gift that cruel fate would ever bestow upon me. Painted on the canvas of my future was a portrait of despair; confusion, fear and loneliness. Somewhere it is written that the easiest way to rob a person of their humanity is to place them in permanent isolation. Transexualism is the epitome of isolation. It is the transexual’s body that betrays the spirit It is the body that imprisons and isolates our true selves. It was our bodies that offer the pretense of masculinity, forcing us down a path we would gladly forsake .

Looking back to my earliest realizations two things stood out. I knew there was something very different about the way I felt and that I was the only person in my little world who felt the way I did. I did not question for a minute the rightness or wrongness of my “unusual” impulses. I did what I did for the same reasons that fish swim; it felt right and natural to do so. But as I was also a product of my environment. Wherever I encountered moral judgment and bigotry I internalized those feelings.. Tragically then at such a tender time in my life I was doomed by a paradox of staggering proportion. What I felt to be completely right and natural was perceived by my society to be immoral and perverted. Eventually an expression would be coined that put all of this misery into a neat little box . The name for my particular brand of madness is gender dysphoria

I still believe it to be a measure of my parent’s infinite capacity for denial that they never once suspected or perceived anything untoward in my unusual behavior. I also believe that it was one of my innermost desires to be found out. As dangerous as it seemed at the time, discovery still seemed preferable to living in fear and isolation. As I entered my teens, I began nursing an invisible little emotional bruise. But as with all wounds that do not get proper attention, what had begun as a tiny little innocuous hurt had begun to fester. The gnawing pain in my heart would eventually find expression in a litany of neurotic behaviors that ranged from alcoholism to near fatal risk taking behavior.

At the apex of adolescent need for attention I went into a department store, grabbed four or five baby doll nighties and brazenly threw them over the door of a locked dressing room. I then asked an attendant to let me into the room where I stuffed the nighties under my coat. If this was not a cry for attention, then I don’t know what would qualify. Naturally I was apprehended as I exited the store. The security guard was a little confused but he sent me home with a promise to notify me of a court date. Terrified as I drove home I quickly came to the conclusion that the best course of action was to tell my parents so they would know why I would be summoned to court. Admittedly they did appear momentarily perplexed. They did ask some superficial questions such as “ Why woman’s lingerie?” But I mumbled a few ‘I don’t knows’ and the issue was quickly forgotten. Ironically for whatever reason, I was never called upon by the justice system to explain my heinous behavior. The whole incident did teach me another valuable lesson. Apparently my parents capacity for denial far exceeded my need for parental attention.

High school. Or Dante’s Inferno as I have come to think of it. While so many of my peers were apparently adapting to this final stage of their public education, I was becoming obsessed with my pubic frustration..The full onset of testosterone signaled the real beginning of my darkness. From a male to female transsexual point of view nothing epitomizes hopelessness like the burgeoning presence of virilizing hormones as they invade our bodies, creating all the wrong changes in all the wrong places. I had always been at odds with my male body. I appreciated it as a pretty decent male body,. It was simply the wrong one for me. If I was condemned to live in this male body so be it but the chest hair would have to go. Thus began a thirty year struggle to rid myself of body hair

High school was for me felt like being tortured on that famous device known as The Rack. Drawn and quartered by forces I barely understood at the time, I often feared my own dissolution in the midst of a psychic tug of war. With no real self to operate from, I did the best I could to fake it. My grades were above average, my teachers liked me and all together I’m quite sure they had no clue as to my inner turmoil. The only exception to the rule was a psychology teacher to whom I shall be forever grateful. It was the tenth grade. The stress I was feeling was so great that I can only assume that my subconscious was operating on it’s own when I wrote an “anonymous” note to this teacher. In my pain and confusion it never occurred to me that he could match my handwriting with other papers I had written When he approached me about it the next day after class and asked me if I wanted to talk about I froze in terror. I was paralyzed by the desperation to speak my truth and fear of the consequences of telling the wrong person. I quickly denied authorship. The subject, to my relief, was never brought up again.

As I eased, or uneased, into the eleventh grade I felt hormone driven changes happening all around me but not to me. For me sexual development was an abstract concept. The big lesson I learned about sexuality was that it could not exist when the body and soul are at odds. My hormones only forced me deeper into despair. Hopelessness grew daily. I knew, based on observation, that certain behaviors would be expected of me. I knew that most of these behaviors were masculine in essence and that I had better start studying and fast. The two male behaviors hat I passionately abhorred were concerned with various aspects of male aggression; fisticuffs and sex.

The matter of physical confrontation was not as much of a concern as matters of the heart. I was not physically imposing in any sense of the word nor was I inclined towards aggression. So keeping my head down and staying out of the line of fire would be fairly easy. The other problem though was going to be a bitch plain and simple. Behaving like a male was the toughest role I would ever attempt. The consequences of being found out in the enemy camp were unpleasant to say the least. But like the dedicated actress that I was, I studied hard and succeeded. Some might even say that I over did it but I survived. Looking back now I often joke that I was a double agent, an undercover transsexual agent stranded behind enemy lines. Deep cover for I alone knew my real identity. There were no reinforcements no manuals, no maps, and no survival kit that described the intricacies of being a male imposter. I studied hard and faked it

For the next two years until my graduation in June of 1969, I was the consummate actress. I played my part as if my life depended on it. I ingratiated myself into the company of men and listened to their braggadocio. I tolerated their young sexism with tacit disdain, nodding and occasionally grunting for effect. But my sympathy inevitably lay with the recipients of their crude unpolished advances. The young women who were the subject of so much salacious gossip could never have guessed that I listened for them and defended them when possible. To them I was just another high school boy trying to find his way through the morass of sexual vagaries that boggled the mind. I even went as far as to date a couple of girls who seemed to like me. I tried really hard to do the “ right thing” but the truth is that I was lost at the moment when most men seemed unstoppable. I simply did not have what it took to do the manly thing and I knew it. I just didn’t have the words or the heart to tell them.

So to all the girls I’ve known before, I would take this opportunity to apologize. I knew from the look in your eyes, the smile on your lips and the sensual toss off your hair that you were ready for me to do what came natural to a boy. How could you have known back then that I was dying to be one of you? How could you have seen that the only lust in my heart was to be one of you and that every that happened between us only reminded me of the hopelessness of my situation?

As my senior year came and went, I glided through the halls of good old Colonel White H.S. like a cipher, bereft of hope, friends or plans for the future. There was a period of months during the latter half of the year that I thought I had a friend, knowing full well that friendship with a ghost like me was impossible. Still for a short time friendship seemed possible and then like everything else in my young life it too faded away into the mist of disillusionment. As my peer group focused on their plans for the immediate future, graduation found me surrounded by family turmoil, seething neurosis, enough self hate to float an armada, and a really bad case of hives. I wanted to die.

Fortunately I remained alive long enough to learn another really important life lesson. In the absence of positive planning, fate can throw a monkey wrench or two into the proceedings. One of those wrenches turned out to be my personal sword of Damocles. At first it appeared more like a panacea for every single thing that I thought was standing between success and me. Then it would become the noose with which I almost succeeded in almost committing suicide. Alcohol and I began our twenty five-year affair in the summer of “69, not coincidentally immediately following graduation from high school. We got close really fast. So fast in fact that I would become a burden to the few people who could tolerate me until they embarked on their own life. I took to drinking like a drag queen takes to high heels and it did for me something that no one or no thing had been able to do up to that time. It erased my pain. Unfortunately, it also exacted a toll on my self-respect, integrity, honesty, physical coordination, and memory,

Alcohol was also the culprit responsible for a most egregious case of bad judgment on December thirty-first, 1970. That’s the day I married Nurse Ratchet the Dominatrix. In a state of screaming denial I married the first person to come along with a car and a job. All I wanted was to leave home but it cost six years of my life to escape the clutches of Attila the Hun. I’ll not waste precious words on the debacle save to describe it as odious from beginning to end. Remarkable in one and only one respect; that a reasonably intelligent, responsible woman would voluntarily marry a neurotic, confused, unmotivated, unemployed, alcoholic, drug abusive, self-loathing transsexual. Then incomprehensibly produce two children using my drunken sperm, divorce me and sabotage any possible future relationship with these children by filling their heads with hate for me. Nuf said!

It isn’t always darkest just before the dawn but it certainly seemed that way to me. As bad as my marriage had been, it had also functioned as a flotation device. But by 1976 huge gaping leaks had sent it plummeting to its briny demise. Nineteen seventy-seven found me adrift on the streets of my hometown. Everything seemed so unreal. I felt as if I was outside a bubble looking in, the warmth and spirit of life denied me. Again I was the specter on the outside where cold wintry blasts rattled my bones, ever reminding me of my wintry isolation and my frozen heart.

Perhaps it was a death wish or the desperate need to flee from the forces of imminent psychological and spiritual collapse that propelled me on a three-year hitchhiking odyssey that would eventually cover approximately twenty five thousand miles. Between 1977 and 1980, I ranged from Ohio to San Francisco, from Los Angeles to Ft. Lauderdale then back to Ohio. With my personal demons ever hot on my trail, I sought nothing more than surcease on the open road. For a few years the plan worked. I found necessary distraction in long distance travail. My existence was simplified to primal elements. I slept outside in ditches, in fields and on mountains. I ate out of cans, was chased by wild dogs, and passed out pleasantly drunk under a million stars . I got into a car with anyone who would take anywhere. Looking back now on my abandon, I realize that I was lucky just to survive.

In 1979 at my wits end I found myself standing on the Golden Gate Bridge. I truly had nothing but the clothes I wore. I gazed longingly at the water over four hundred feet down and tried to will myself to jump. But something stopped me and I experienced a sudden epiphany. I had found something that I thought was lost forever. Hope. Nothing else had changed. There was no real reason to be hopeful but I had found its essence within and I would not question its arrival. Considering the state of my consciousness, just finding this little glimmer of hope was miraculous enough to keep me going.

So I went back to the only home I had. My family had all eventually moved to Florida and the climate was perfect for the life of a beach bum. I hitched to Ft. Lauderdale and lived for a year by selling my plasma, eating happy hour cheese crackers and sleeping on the beach or wherever I could. Ah, the good life! For a while it seemed as if the past would repeat itself. There were more itinerant jobs, more nights sleeping anywhere, and more drunkenness. In fact I had unconsciously changed my self-image from tragically transsexual to sadly besotted. I was a reprobate who wanted nothing more than to drink my life away in my favorite bar. That’s exactly what I was doing on a balmy night in April of 1980 when, ever so subtly, my whole life changed forever in the time it takes to open a door.

My new adopted home was an earthy sort of drinking establishment called the Draft House, Anyone who saw me sitting in that bar would have typecast me as just another beer drinking, pool playing, rock and roll biker type. My consummate disguise had become my reality. I had long hair, a beard. And bad teeth. I wore dirty jeans, a cutoff t-shirt and carried a knife purely for the sake of image, A 29 year old drifter, I had no friends no money, no job and no prospects. I was interested only in replacing a lifetime of pain with alcohol. In the program of Alcoholics Anonymous this is referred to as the jumping off place.

As I sat there with one eye on my beer and one eye one the entrance, I noticed a young wild child as she open the door and glided in. I quietly watched her as she lit the place up with an inner fire I had not seen in quite a while. She left after a short while but I was still in the same seat when she came back in two nights later. We struck up a conversation and I finally got around to asking her for a ride to my apartment. She stayed for a drink, then she stayed the night. And the night turned into weeks and the weeks turned to months. Miraculously, we recently celebrated twenty-two. years of marriage.

In a fairy tale, she would have kissed me early on and I would have turned into a princess but the truth is far less dramatic. It took all of those twenty-two years to explain to her that I was really a girl in disguise. For her to have come so far philosophically, from a Pentecostal upbringing to an agnostic lesbian married to a transsexual, is a miraculous feat and a tribute to the enduring power of love. She now says that she always knew that I was “special”. She just didn’t know how special! In 2001, she supported me while I worked and saved and flew to Bangkok, Thailand for sexual reassignment surgery. She is my one and only love, my soul mate.

Yet some dreams refuse to die. Previously in this text I alluded to the only person in high school with whom I felt any kinship at all. His name was Paul. He was 5’8”, fair skinned, slight built and blonde. Paul and I spent hours talking about everything. I felt a closeness with him, a trust that transcended words. With Paul I experienced a degree of emotional intimacy that I shared with no one else. I was fairly certain that I knew why. Paul was gay or at least he was destined to be gay. It was a moot point in 1967. Don‘t ask, don‘t tell was the ethos. No one had to tell me. Paul was gay and I was a closet transsexual happy to have found an unwitting ally. Then one day, inexplicably, Paul pulled away from me and I lost the only friend I had in those troubled times. Later I would see him pal around with a female schoolmate whom I assumed was a lesbian.. I thought Paul was in youthful denial.

In May of 2002, five months after SRS I was visiting a website that provides a cyber place for alumni of high schools all over the country to find each other. When I saw the name that I had kept in my memory for thirty-five years my heart leapt with happiness. Finally a small chance for an even tiny bit of redemption. Expectantly I sent him my email address, using my high school name of course. Within days I received an enthusiastic return from Paul. My inhibitions were overwhelmed by my passionate need for resolution. My correspondence began “ Dear Paul; there’s no easy way to say this so I’m a transsexual”.

Oh to be a fly on the wall! When the poor man recovered from his seizure, we began a series of torrid correspondence that rekindled the flame of our youth and fanned it considerably. The story that emerged is a clear case of mistaken identity and unrequited love. In a convoluted plot befitting Agatha Christie, desire drew us in as intersecting tangents. As it turned out, Paul had a monumental crush on me back in high school. At first he thought I was hetero then he thought I was leading him on. I personally didn’t have a clue. I just couldn’t fathom the idea of having sex while stuck in the wrong body. Paul took it hard. He felt rejected. That’s when he faded out of my life

As we reconnected from adult perspectives, our realization of what had happened, and not happened propelled us to a greater understanding of the sacrifices we made in the name of self-preservation. Somehow amidst the social facades of our youth revisited, we emerged with a finer perception of the paths we had traveled together and apart. And while thirty five years hadn’t diminished our affection for each other there was one little matter that still required closure. And this was the most delicate issue of all. Apparently neither time nor space, nor GENDER had assuaged his ardor for the person he knew thirty-five years ago. I must admit that I was flattered yet puzzled. I thought he was gay but then he explained that he was bisexual. Oh! Even still it seemed to me that he was taking a big chance. Though I had sent him a picture, I knew there was a recently emerged version of me that he was not at all acquainted with.

Hi next communication to me was the apex of resurgent passion. We finally spoke on the phone and it must have been disconcerting for him to hear me as a girl. He said that he had a question to ask me via email and that he hoped I wasn’t shocked. Shocked indeed! Paul suggested that perhaps if our partners “loved us enough” they might understand our desire to consummate our long lost lust. Mostly his lust. So I decided that the least I could do would be to ask my partner. When wisps of steam began to exit her ears I adroitly retracted my question. Paul took it hard but made a speedy recovery and has promised to visit soon.

.The year 2002 was the year of my rebirth and a celebration of the first year of my new life. The ominously dark cloud of fear that once hounded me has broken apart and now sun shines on .my life every day. My self-image is radically improved. I am a spiritual warrior on my own path to a greater understanding of my self… By virtue of my life as a transsexual, I have learned many lessons about the world and myself I live in. I am fiercely proud of what I am and what I have accomplished. I held fast to my dream, nurturing and protecting it from forces that threatened destruction. I never gave in to fear even as I clung desperately to a tiny ray of hope. I survived drug and alcohol abuse. murderous sexism, religious intolerance, inept psychiatry, legalized bigotry and socially reinforced oppression. And despite all these threats to my sanity, I have emerged victorious. With the reconciliation of mind, body and spirit, my focus now rests heavily on the development of spiritual principles: integrity, humility, compassion. and gratitude. Especially gratitude. For today I am so very grateful to have something that I thought was lost forever. Today I have myself.

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Two Spirits

By

April Rose Schneider

Greetings to all human beings and their ancestors and to all sentient beings who honor their connection to Mother Earth.     My name is Rosie and I am a Two-Spirits healer.   I come to you now with an open heart and a passionate desire to share the vision and wisdom of two spirit medicine.   The medicine of my tribe is powerful because it symbolizes balance and harmony.    But more than that, the power of my medicine provides the context for the re-unification of the duality of opposites. In simpler terms, mine is the medicine of non-duality.    These words fulfill my responsibility to share my spiritual journey with the receptive hearts and minds of those who need to hear them.   For readers unfamiliar with the subject, I offer a brief description of two-spirited consciousness, followed by a short history of that tradition.  In the end, I will weave them together in a cosmic mandala for your meditation.

The expression “Two Spirits” refers to the manifestation of masculine and feminine energy in one individual.    It is a relatively new way of describing a tradition that has existed in indigenous cultures around the world prior to the development of western civilization.  In order to understand this tradition, this different way of viewing gender, we must first be clear on the distinction between sex and gender.     A popular saying describes the difference as follows: Sex is between the legs, gender is between the ears.   In other words, gender is not about sexual preference, rather it is the expression of our unique sexuality.

The expression of two-spirits in one individual is, more accurately, one’s spiritual expression of two polar aspects known as yin and yang.    The ancient symbolism of yin and yang, together referred to as the Tao, symbolizes the fundamental principle by which the Great Spirit animates and informs every thing that exists on this material plane.      At its most elementary level, yin and yang describe a balanced energetic relationship where yin is the passive principal and yang is the active principal.   Because yin defines yang, and yang defines yin, these opposing principles hold equal value in an idealized state of balance.    Relativity, interdependence and harmony provide form. From this original concept of the duality of opposites springs all other artificial concepts of division.

BRIDGING YIN YANG

I was born into the body of a male baby in 1951.      By the age of five, I became aware of a subtle disturbance in my energy field.     Within five years of this realization my young personality floundered in the turbulent waters of a gender identity process gone horribly awry.     A feeling of non-ordinary reality, accompanied by a growing sense of detachment, infused my daily existence.    I became depressed and withdrawn.

Over a period of years revelation came to me in dreams, where my spirit showed me the reason for my discomfort.   Each night as I lay in bed, I closed my eyes to find my spirit inhabiting the physical form of a happy little girl.  I didn’t know, or care at all how this transformation occurred. I was happy for a brief moment of peace.   As natural as a falcon taking wing, I accepted this dreaming aspect of my personality as an integral part of my being

Eventually, I found creative ways to stay home alone and express my other-gendered nature with the help of my mother’s wardrobe.   But these occasional interludes created another dichotomy: my joyful affinity for feminine expression would cause me great pain upon discovery.   Though I knew little of the ways of the world that lay beyond the safe confines of the post World War II, working class, cookie cutter neighborhood of my youth, I did intuit one of society’s essential, unspoken principals with profound clarity: good little boys did not live for stolen moments of cross-dressed glory.

In the American middle class of the1950’s, the world was divided into two kinds of gendered people: men and women. Any hint of cross-gendered behavior invited violence and humiliation. L found proof in the daily newspapers of America and felt the violent undercurrents of misogynism.    The realization that I could be the target of such hatred frightened me at the deepest level of my awareness.   From the very beginning of my conscious awareness I was caught in a moral dilemma of immense proportion.     In the place of healthy childhood development, my ravaged young personality resembled a rudderless ship being sucked into a maelstrom of sexual energies that I could feel but not articulate.     I intuited that some cosmic mix-up had occurred between my mind and body, yet I had no words to describe the sense of disassociation that I experienced on a daily basis.

Beginning in early adolescence and throughout the most crucial period of personality development, neurosis and self-loathing poisoned my spirit at every step on the path to adulthood. Contradictions that would not yield to logic confronted me at every turn, on every level of my being.  I had “awakened” in this present incarnation with extreme dissonance of mind and body that I dare not reveal on penalty of death.   While my spirit whispered an awareness of my two spirited nature in one ear, the societal voice of sexist bigotry screamed shame and fear into the other ear.  Imprisoned by fate in this physical form that I could not accept or change, I suffered in isolation for many years.

My sense of abandonment became a prison/fort where I became angry, suspicious, and withdrawn.  Despite a natural tendency as a child was to seek reliefthrough the wisdom of my parents, I knew intuitively that they weren’t emotionally stable enough to deal with these feelings that I could not describe.     Even more injurious to my tender young ego was my conviction that to speak my truth would expose my young spirit to the violence of a world locked in delusion.

By the age 15, a huge gaping chasm developed between the carefully constructed, socially acceptable male image that I exhibited and the overpowering impulse of my secret feminine self.   I was paralyzed by an irreconcilable contradiction.  Caught between the maxim that “Jesus loved me, because the Bible told me so” and the knowledge that if anyone discovered my deep, dark secret I would be burned at the stake, I teetered on the brink of madness with little hope for resolution.

I trusted absolutely no one including parents and friends, aunts and uncles, teachers or preachers.    Artifice contaminated all of my relationships save the one I had with myself.    A deep sense of dread prevented me from even thinking about communicating this delicate issue to anyone.     As a result of my universal mistrust-cum- paranoia, I found myself utterly alone, holding onto suicidal ideation as an antidote to the pain.

A few months after I graduated from high school, my life fell apart.    The flimsy masculine image I had employed as a disguise began to deteriorate. Without a high school audience to appreciate my impersonation of a young man, I was an actress without a part.  Severely depressed, I retreated into my own world–a sheltered, sacred world of intense intellectual exploration into the mechanism of human consciousness…

In 1969, scant information was available on the subject of transgenderism, the psychological model of people with a non-conforming gender identity.   Psychiatry, from the male dominant perspective, continued to treat gender identity as a sort of minor psychosis.  For hundreds of years, institutionalization was the treatment of choice for people who were not comfortable in their assigned gender.  I struggled to maintain my male disguise while searching for a right path to understanding.

Despite my baptism as a good Lutheran boy, and a lifetime of half-hearted supplication, my prayers went unanswered. This dubious god of the pious masses had abandoned me. Two spirited people were not mentioned in the Bible, or any other religious text.  Logically then, I abandoned the notion of this cruel God, whose biblical omission continues to cause untold suffering and needless death.     By the time I had reached my early twenties, as an antidote to the spiritual toxicity of right-wing fundamentalist religion, I embarked on a life long study of the ancient belief systems of indigenous peoples.

 

THE OLD BECOMES THE NEW

I began my education with Native American tribes who perceived the energetic relationship of humans to their environment in a profound way that, as a result of genocide, may be lost to us forever. From the documentation of explorers and anthropologists, I found that indigenous cultures around the world valued the manifestations of the spirit so infinite in its diversity.  The Great Spirit’s creative authority was not questioned in matters of divine expression.  The Native Americans accepted all expressions of the Great Spirit as containing a wisdom nature that provided essential balance in every aspect of their environment.

One-hundred fifty years before I was born, the dreams of my youth would have been a sign from the Great Spirit that I was meant to be a two-spirited medicine person in Native American culture.   An apocryphal story of one North American tribe points to this sort of implicit acceptance of the will of the Great Spirit regarding gender:  According to oral history, a young boy or girl who showed the slightest indication of cross gendered behavior was placed in a grass hut with one male toy and one female toy. The hut was then set on fire. If the child’s gendered choice was ‘opposite’ their natal sex, the Great Spirit had spoken in affirmation of the child’s dual gender/nature thereby placing them in high esteem in the tribal society.

Each tribe had a name for these special people: The Lakota referred to them as Winkte [would-be woman].   The Navaho called them “nadleeh“[one who changes time and again].    In the Crow tribe, they were named “bade”, and the Zuni called them “ilhamana”.     Though the names of the Two-Spirit people varied greatly from tribe to tribe,   the trans-national similarities of their two-spirit traditions were remarkable considering the territorial nature of tribal life.\

Native Americans in general recognized the two-spirit folk as divinely imbued with a special insight regarding human nature.    Based on this gift of the spirit, tribes conferred much honor on them in terms of their position and responsibility to the tribe.    The spiritual gifts of their dual nature promoted them to positions of reverence in the role of hunters, story tellers, shamans, warriors, medicine persons, informal marriage counselors, and leaders of naming ceremonies.

Male born two-spirits were considered especially valuable in the sense that they performed the duties of a woman with the strength of a man.    Many woman born two-spirits were fierce warriors, respected by their fellow male warriors for their high level of skill in horse riding and counting coup.   Indigenous society did not judge, chastise, ridicule or kill the two spirited person as did white society.   They celebrated the gifts of diversity.

This indigenous appreciation for the necessity of balance through the interplay of yin and yang came to a sad end with the genocide of the North American Indian. With the arrival of the Spanish conquistadores and zealous Jesuit missionaries, the two spirited tradition of the North American Indians was destroyed by the violence of enforced acculturation.

History now provides us with a tragic account of the many sordid ways that Spanish Conquistadors, driven by a belief  system that married  white supremacy with pseudo-pious religious imperialism, began a murderous, systematic war of cultural attrition against the “brown skinned” cultures of the North American continent.When the Spanish explorer Cabeza de Vaca landed in Florida in the year 1530 and discovered the Timicuan Indians who lived there, notations in his diary indicated that he had witnessed “soft Native American males dressing and working as women’.

The Timicuan were a small elegant, artistic tribe located in northern Florida.  Far from the violence of the northern and western tribes, they had little reason for weapons and no shame about these soft males whom de Vaca referred to as berdache– from the Persian “bardaj,” a derogatory term   The proud conquistador celebrates while two-spirited people are thrown into a pit, mauled by wild dogs and suffer a slow painful death.   Beginning in the 1880’s, as proper American society moved across the Great Plains and into the mountains and deserts of the west, people encountered more of these “odd savages” and became determined to recreate Indian society in the image of Euro-American culture. Native Americans were taken away from their homes, their villages, their tribes, and families and acculturated into white society en masse.  Dressed and shorn in fashion of white culture, they were often imprisoned where they were beaten like animals for the slightest indication that they might not wholeheartedly embrace the ways of their captors.

The intentional destruction of Native American culture and the subsequent violent imposition of European Neo-Victorian values signaled the beginning of the end ofthe two-spirit tradition on the North American continent.    By the early 1900’s, their proud tradition was little more than a footnote in a rare historical text.Ironically, while religion succeeded in destroying the two-spirited tradition in indigenous North America, the essence of two spirited wisdom persists despite its detractors.   I am living proof.   From my earliest memories, I have known myself as a human being with a male spirit alongside an equally prominent feminine spirit. Long before I had heard of the term two spirits, I experienced it as a psychological context of my existence.

AWAKENING FROM THE DREAM OF THE WORLD

As I delved further into the anthropology of pagan/indigenous spiritual belief, I began to draw strength from the images of proud two-spirited people–celebrated for their diversity, wisdom, bravery, courage, and spiritual power in indigenous tribes across the globe.   I found numerous examples, both mythological and historical, of people with androgynous character. In these colorful pan-cultural narratives, I read of both men and women who were transformed into members of the opposite sex, either permanently or temporarily, for the sake of punishment or education.  From their legacy, I found liberation from the applied stigma of an intolerant, judgmental society

This new perspective empowered me with the knowledge of my inherent spiritual strength, but with validation came responsibility.   No longer was it possible to play the victim. I made the conscious decision to recreate my self image based on a model of the the two spirited elders who had gone before me.   My warrior’s spirit, suppressed for so many years by internalized shame and bigotry, found inspiration in the knowledge that peoplelike me were validated in ancient history.    I embraced this new manifestation of the spirit and resolved to let it guide me in my search for enlightenment  Buddhists call it maya; the Toltec call it the Dream of the Planet. The Dream of the planet is the collective conditioning that creates duality where none actually exists. Maya is the conditioning that justifies war and poverty, abuse and oppression, judgment and punishment, right and wrong, and murder for the sake of ideology.   Regardless of the name, the process that no humans can avoid is the non-critical internalization of information as directed by the intention of the Dream world we enter.   As I assimilated this unified theory of consciousness, my life began to make sense.

 

In his book of profound wisdom, “The Four Agreements”, Don Miguel Ruiz makes the point succinctly,“Humans are dreaming all the time.   Before we were born the humans before us created a big outside dream we will call society’s dream or the dream of the planet dreams which together create a dream of family, a dream of community a dream of city, a dream of country and finally a dream of the whole humanity The dream of the planet includes all of society’s rules, its beliefs, its laws, its religions, its different cultures and ways to be, its government, schools, social events and holidays.” At the crux of the process is our agreement to the terms of our survival. With the capacity to dream from the moment of birth, our attention is contingent upon our need to survive.

Thus, when you are lying in your crib at the age of two, cold and hungry, without the benefit of personal boundaries, you will agree to any ordered condition of your specific environment in order to continue living.  At the moment a parent or guardian, who orders or allows the conditions of our little world, enters our sacred space and infects it with negative energy, we internalize those conditions. The absorbent yin nature of infantile consciousness provides the ideal context for the establishment of layered patterns of dysfunction.    This patterning describes the process of random input that determines personality. As this initial layer becomes fixed in time, self awareness is built on an endless loop of a conditioned patterning and reactive emotion.

With no discrimination possible upon our entrance into the Dream, our attention is hooked by the intention of a world committed to sustaining this conditioning.   This process of indoctrination begins to shape our young personality.   All of our values, institutions, familial obligations, and sense of self are creations of the collective dream state.  By our agreement to this persistent imposition of conditions, we project a reality in which we become our own judge, jury and executioner. Our words become the weapons of the indiscriminate process by which we spread the toxin of judgment and endless suffering.

Our investment in this illusion of consciousness perpetuates our sense of isolation and separation from the whole.  This process, from a psycho/societal view, referred to as identity politics, is the antithesis of a cohesive peaceful society.   Identity politics divides and subdivides human beings into an infinite number of categories based on superficial characteristics.   This elevation of ego by insidious, subliminal propaganda causes great suffering by creating a false hierarchy of values that celebrates neurosis, negates our humanity and establishes a context for oppression.

Invigorated by this new, liberating model of conscious development, I began to review my personal involvement in the Dream to gain a more rational perspective on my two-spirited condition. In a life changing epiphany, ancient wisdom pierced my heart like a lightning bolt –illuminating the darkness of a life lived in the shadows.   The raging river of caustic rhetorical hate and judgment, that had infected my consciousness for so long, was transformed into a harmless trickle that merged with the Tao of knowing.

FINDING THE REAL ME

Like so many indigenous two spirited folks before me, I had entered the world with a Dream of my own.   I am one of the fortunate ones–chosen by the Great Spirit to manifest this noble Two Spirits tradition in a society that manifested lethal sexism.    The simple act of being born with equal parts masculine and feminine renders me a social pariah. In a world so heavily invested in the duality, I represent a threat to the power structure– doomed to a life lived in the shadow of mainstream society, or any society at all.

Throughout many years of suffering, I wandered blindly in the darkness of my own illusion.   I have survived the perilous conflict between the world Dream and my own  personal dream by deconstructing my sexist conditioning through the lens of my essential humanity.    Through the warrior’s act of intention, I have recreated my “self” based on the gift of Two-Spirited medicine that guides me on this personal journey of transcendence.    Personality, based on illusory thought–produced by a shared corrupt ego state–burdens me no more. The Dream of the world has lost its steely grip. My spirit shall not yield to the deception.

My life as a two spirited person today is full and rich because I honor myself in my Two Spirits tradition.    No longer am I afflicted by the illusion of the duality.    Within me, yin and yang are one, undivided–undifferentiated. I am neither this nor that. I represent the unification of the first binary–the primary subdivision that occurs at the moment of birth at the whim of a stranger in white. I reject this arbitrary distinction based on a cursory inspection of my genitalia. I am a human being and that is enough.  Endless subdivisions of identification only enhance my separation from other humans.

All sentient beings enter this material plane with the essence of their luminous character momentarily intact. Our consciousness is tabula rasa–a blank slate upon which is written the disparate elements of our future personality. Within minutes of our birth, we are assigned a gender based on our genitalia.   At the precise moment of this declaration, the infant is set on one of two very different paths whose parameters determine flux and flow of its life.    By the time we reach first year’s end, we are baptized by delusion.    The Dream clouds our vision, separating us from the source of our essential brilliance. And we forget.

We forget that before we internalized the identity that causes us to feel the immense pain of separation and isolation we were united as light beings in an energetic dimension of non-duality. We forget because human consciousness produces a false ego-based concept of gendered duality that is perpetually reinforced through violence and other forms of coercion.  Before we know what or who we are, sexism becomes the engine of social control. By the dominance/submission agreement into which men and women enter, this dream of sexism creates and perpetuates the suicidal imbalance of power and ensures our future disharmony.

While the dream of sexism continues to inflict pain much of man’s violence toward women cannot be understood in a rational sense.  Perhaps this murder by misogyny is man’s way of killing the feminine within himself in an effort to reinforce his self image of manhood.   Regardless of the motive, the prevalence of misogyny is the best evidence of our nihilistic tendencies.   While the Dream of sexism is too powerful to confront directly, its negative consequences are too destructive to ignore.  Until we as a global society are willing to confront this shadow side of our collective unconsciousness, we wobble on the brink of self destruction

We live in a very potent, extremely perilous time.  With the passing of each decade the world, precariously out of balance on the fulcrum of time, slides inexorably into the darkness. With the aid of industrialization and technology, we are losing our humanness under the immense burden of our artificially inflated egos.   What we refer to as culture is a euphemism intended to disguise the totality of our conditioned violence  that includes man’s violence against man, against women and against Gaia.  We are ‘civilized’ animals who have forgotten what is sacred.

The mysterious, awesome spirit of life, that animates and gives meaning to everything, ironically empowers the mechanism of its own demise.    Unbalanced, unbridled ego imbues the individual with the necessary rationale to commit the senseless destruction of life for the sake of ideology.    These are discomforting truths, yet we have no choice but to confront them while we still have our collective human will.    As conscious beings, we must take responsibility for our behavior, or perish in our apathy.    No longer is it practical to externalize authority.  No god will save us-none but the one we find within us.

A WARRIOR’S STANCE

A spiritual warrior must use all of their intention to pierce the veil of illusion that defines our lives, reinforces our sense of separateness, and perpetuates our suffering.  For as long as we are dominated by egocentric politics, a fatal imbalance of yin and yang threatens us with extinction.    A return to balance requires a commitment to a fearless, non-judgmental exploration of the self from earliest memory.    Most of the agreements that we have made since our first moments of life must be broken.    Our numerous defense mechanisms, all of our deepest darkest fears, all grasping, and all of our attachments must be reviewed in the context of the Dream.     Only when these subconscious negative obstructions melt away will we find the light within ourselves.

If we are serious about becoming a spiritual warrior for the benefit of ourselves and the collective, we must first focus on the healing nature of unconditional self-love.     This can only happen when we break with the subconscious, self limiting agreements of our past.  Believe that you deserve love, and with time the many layers of accumulated toxic patterns lose their evil power. Your commitment to begin your own healing with the power of love is the most important agreement one can make, for logic dictates that one can not give away something one does not possess. Begin now. Make a vow to love everything about yourself everyday.    Demonstrate self-love in every moment with every act.

Personal freedom requires a firm commitment to renounce the oppressive conditioning that leads us into the darkness of despair . I ask that you join me now and everyday as I renew the vows that produce beneficial karma.      For the benefit of all sentient beings; I take a vow of non-violence in my words and deeds. I vow to practice compassion toward myself that I may then extend it to others, I pledge to be ever mindful of the rotten fruits of desire, and I will do whatever I must to transcend the illusion of personal identity. Towards that end, I vow to polish the mirrored lens of my spirit that I might reflect the sun’s perfect light that shines in you.

The Divine Light in Me Honors the Divine Light within You.

NAMASTE

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    I resist the impulse to blog because, well honestly, so few people read it. Blogging to me is an exercise in social masturbation and minor personal catharsis. Yet how cathartic can it be if I feel like I am trying to save water by pouring it through a sieve?    So I write as a therapeutic Taoist Way of dealing with this life  so barren, so lacking in intimacy externally, yet so warmed by the currents of rich internal river of perception and analysis. I project no outcome, and expect no ego gratification.

Often at the place where these two points of awareness meet, the inner and the outer, I feel the inner space expanding at the expense of the outer. The material world shrinks from my awareness perhaps as a means of self-protection. Things are getting ugly out there.

So I have resigned myself to write as an exercise in futility. And I do so while convincing myself that doing  the right thing for the right reason brings the right effect, and let it go.      Then I backslide  and ask myself  Well Sister, if no one reads it, then why bother?  Now it’s getting ugly in here.   Then I remember. I know the reason I blog, remnded by friend who said to me

“But what if it helps one person. What if it eases one person’s suffering?”

So today I do research for the web site that I am perpetually working on, TransgenderLifeSupportServices, and I ran across the website for Naropa University. Naropa enters my awareness so frequently that my brain tries to squeeze some fatalistic forecast out of it. Like maybe I belong there as student and/or teacher.   But that’s impossible. I can’t belong there, based on my unique status as a Two Spirits person. I don’t belong anywhere.

My feelings are all about  Transsexual Class Oppression factor, a very real aspect of our society. Trans people aren’t an oppressed minority. We are an oppressed subset of every other group or minority that exists or has ever existed. We are the people who the oppressed oppress.

But still…many of my inspirations have a relationship with that place. Allen Ginsberg,  B.K.K. Iyengaar, and my friend Kate who lives there and is in that circle. Yet I do have concerns about the classism.. And being at the bottom of the social food chain, I have no resources…and no reason to hope for anything that my resemble success.

And that’s sad for me and the people who will never hear what I have to say. Mine is not a very popular view but most great philosophies, note I did not say great philosophers, must age like fine wine before their relevance is widely known. And I happen to think that my philosophy is as profound as any other.  Socrates may have been a great philosopher in his time, but verily I say unto thee  Socrates WAS NO TRANSSEXUAL, and thus held a lopsided view of the universe . Did Socrates know the suffering of men AND  woman. I think not.

So’s I’m gettin’ a little uppity here, thinking highly of myself and whatnot, and I’m thinkin’ Hey, I’m so darned smart, I could probably larn them Naropa folks sumpin’. Sumpin’ like the Theoretical and Practical Applications of Applied Metaphysical Determinism.  Damn! Sometimes I even impress myself.

So I did a little wandering around on the website just to see if there was the slightest chance that Naropa might take pity on a lowly, aged,  impoverished, self-made philosophical FREAKIN’ GENIUS like me. And then I found this: 

Academics

The pursuit of wisdom at Naropa University means learning both about academic subjects and about one’s own place in the world. The mission of contemplative education—combining the best of Western and Eastern academic traditions—places Naropa on the cutting edge of the newest and most effective methods of teaching and learning.

One’s own place in the world?  I can’t identlfy with that.   I am the wanderer, drifting high over shark infested waters…wary of inclusive statements that don’t include me.  The statement makes the erroneous assumption  that one necessarily has a place in the world. The statement  implies that being spiritually and psychologically homeless lacks equality with having ‘ a place.’  Naropa leans toward one side of the duality. Too bad. That’s my meat and potatos. For the existence of imbalance, in my humble opinion, may only be rectified by a thorough  and rigorous process of deconstruction.  That’s my specialty. I’m the Deconstructionist.

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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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