About Me

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It's not. About me, I mean. Really!
I avoid labels when possible, but here goes: SWF, 40'ish, 20 year Navy veteran. I have an inner ham and her name is Ms. Piggy.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

A horrible loss

This news was passed to me by Kim Pearson, Executive Director of Trans-Youth Family Advocates (TYFA). She is also President of our Lake Havasu City PFLAG chapter and most importantly, a dear friend.
This follows the tragic loss of Ian Benson, son of TYFA's secretary/treasurer. Ian was a 16-year old affirmed male who took his own life in October 2007.
We see so many tragic losses in our community, for so many reasons; nothing said here should trivialize that. But I think we can all say that losing a child has to be the most grievous loss imaginable. These bright stars in our constellation have winked out, their shine is lost forever; all we have left is their bright memory.
TYFA is working to eliminate these losses, and is in turn creating a better environment for all of us. Nothing can change the mind of a parent easier than something that impacts their children. TYFA works across the country to bring understanding, education, and advocacy for trans-children of all ages throughout the gender spectrum. Their work is educating and changing the minds of parents and educators across the country. That greater understanding of our gender diversity is a huge boon to all of us.
TYFA started out as a grass-roots effort supported entirely out of the pockets of it's members. Their members travel across the country to schools and cities wherever their help is needed, providing training and literature; again, almost entirely funded by these wonderful people. They have seen many successes, and secured some considerable donations that have enabled them to continue their work. But they need continued financial support to maintain and expand their efforts.
Please take the time to visit their site, and give generously what you can towards their efforts. Spread the word to your own friends everywhere so we may continue to inform others of this fabulous resource; and convey TYFA's need for support.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Project an irrefutable female essence

First, let me say that I don't like to toot my own horn, so please don't take any of my comments as arrogance! But I think this picture is one of my first instances where I was truly projecting my own female essence, though at the time I thought it was simply because of how I was dressed.
In the movie "Beautiful Boxer", the transgender main character's male name is Nong Toom, her female name is Parinaya. Nong Toom is haunted throughout the movie by the elusive vision of herself. Once she accepts herself, the visions go away; until the poignant end of the movie. Parinaya is seen after her surgery, alone in her dressing room where she says goodbye to a vision of her old male self.
Though I have not yet had surgery myself, I find I am at much the same position. Parinaya's voyage of acceptance and realization is condensed into a movie, whereas my own is something that has been developing over a long period. The signposts in this voyage flash by ever faster as time goes on, I hope by explaining how some of them have passed for me will help any of you. I need to mark them down myself as well, and I think those reasons are why most of us blog here.
Approximately 2 years ago, as the last hindrances to entering transition (some of them self-imposed) dropped away, I was faced with accepting my need for it and facing my fears about doing so. Chief among the fears was my ability to 'pass'. Even before entering transition, I was so long caught up in the trappings of femininity; the clothes, makeup, walking and talking. I at first neglected to pay attention to or believe in my underlying female essence.
After accepting it, I began to see instances where that essence was evident to others, before hormones and without my even trying. My favorite involved my running into the local UPS office to drop off a package for shipment. After concluding our business, the clerk said "Thank you, Miss". With no makeup, collared shirt and men's pants and shoes. I certainly didn't think I was presenting a female vision. The only outward things possibly contributing to this were my long hair, my softening voice, the effects of many sessions of laser hair removal, and maybe that my shirt was purple! After getting over my desire to marry him on the spot, I said my thanks and left the store. Looking at this later, I realized I had stopped trying to be a guy any longer.
As Parinaya did, I was beginning to say goodbye to the male facade I had put up for so long. Realizing that it really was just a facade was scary in itself, as that facade has been my protection and face on the world for a very long time. Accepting and believing in my real female essence has been a gradual process, and it involves saying goodbye to that old comfortable facade. In what has been a sort of death to all of them, my friends have already largely said goodbye to my male self and begun to know my real self. Like saying goodbye to a loved one, I am still lingering over that old self a bit.
So the outer trappings are no doubt important, but just as vital is that self-acceptance and belief in your own female essence. When you believe in it yourself, and just relax, you will find it projects to the world. Even when others can 'read' or tell you are trans, your true essence will be irrefutable and those kind enough not to judge will respond.
I suspect these sorts of experiences are common to us all, so I (and everyone else, I think) would love to hear about others stories. Please tell us how your essence was revealed to you by others, when you didn't even suspect it was showing.