Monday, December 28, 2009

New Years Restitution

I sit here listening to one of my muses, Sarah McLachlan reflecting back upon last year. It has been truly an amazing year. I've endured some hardships, challenges and victories. Nothing compares to the serenity I received when body and mind were made whole. I'm grateful for many things, yet this is one of the greatest.

In the last year, I've said hello to new friends and old school mates. I've said goodbye to old friends and newbies in recovery. I've come out to my children and gain new hope for the future and opened the door to new fears. I've worked with new sponsors and left old ones. New jobs and new responsibilities have been placed at my feet. Old habits have been kicked and new good ones started. Almost nothing in my world is as it was 12 short months ago and I cannot say how much of it will still be the same in the next 12.

I'm really looking forward to the growth and opportunities my life will present me each and everyday. I finally feel at peace and ease with myself for the most part. The little things I might still lament are those items I see as manageable, goal oriented points which I am now resolved to set a course for and work on achieving.

So, in order to hold myself accountable to these, I will proceed to lay them out here.
  1. Set and stick to a budget - I have always worked with a very loose "cash & carry" form of personal finance which works when cash flow is good. However real long term planning ands savings are ignored.
  2. Start voice lessons - I had several idols in the entertainment industry as a small child. One was Rich Little. The man could do any voice and I tried to emulate him for a long time. Now I need professional assistance to help me get my true voice.
  3. Complete facial hair removal - I have laser hair removal and it cleared 95% of my facial hair. It is now time to rustle up the "outlaws".
  4. Go full time - This is an old one. For my friends, they tell me I'm the last one to realize I've already gone full time. They see my so called guy mode and say, "You're almost passable. I could almost believe you are a guy" However, the legal stuff needs to be ironed out and so I set this as one of my goals.
  5. Start an exercise regimen - I quit drinking 4 years ago and I kicked smoking twelve months back. I want to start yoga again and really need to budget time than money.

I don't expect to achieve 100% of my goals nor do I believe that's the true objective of setting goals. I believe it will strike fear at the heart of apathy and thereby ignite my passion for change.

2010, heres to you!


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Letter to Maryland's Governor O'Malley

Martin O’Malley, Governor
Office of the Governor of Maryland
100 State Circle
Annapolis, Maryland 21401-1925

December 15, 2009

Dear Governor O’Malley,

We are deeply concerned that the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) is considering moving backwards in policy related to obtaining accurate identification for transgender Marylanders. If adopted, the proposed MVA policy for gender designation changes would move Maryland from having a policy that generally works to provide transgender people accurate identification (albeit not an ideal policy), to becoming one of the worst states in the country, with a policy matched only in regressiveness by those in Kentucky, Montana, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas.

This move is at odds with current trends in state licensing policies. The proposed policy would require transgender Marylanders to provide a changed birth certificate first. If born in Maryland, they would need to hire an attorney and appear in court to establish specific, intimate and highly personal facts concerning their medical treatment in order to obtain a corrected gender designation on a driver’s license or state identification card. Generally speaking, in most states including Maryland, sex reassignment surgery is required to change one’s birth certificate. And, in most states, a transgender person would similarly have to hire an attorney to go to court to achieve this change. Furthermore, this will be especially burdensome for individuals born outside Maryland, many of whom will be required to file a legal action in a court thousands of miles away. Compliance will be impossible for individuals born in states such as Ohio, Tennessee and Idaho, which refuse to provide corrected birth certificates for transgender people under all circumstances.

The current MVA policy allows people who are living full-time in their new gender, yet who have not yet had relevant surgeries but intend/desire to, to have a provisional gender marker change. A permanent gender marker change is granted when proof of surgery is provided. This policy has been in place for several years, and there is no indication that any problem has arisen with its administration. This policy is slightly more restrictive than current policies in the District of Columbia, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and most recently Ohio. Each of those jurisdictions allow gender-marker change upon living full-time in a person’s new gender and people are able to get an updated ID with even a less burdensome showing than the current Maryland policy requires (there is no requirement that a person has to intend/desire relevant surgeries). These policies meet the needs of license-holders, law enforcement and other government agencies, are fully compliant with the REAL ID Act, and represent the overwhelming trend in current state policies today.

We are particularly troubled by this proposed change in policy because of the potentially devastating effect it would have for transgender people in every aspect of daily life. Recent national survey research conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force indicates that this policy would result in the overwhelming majority of transgender people having identification that is inconsistent with their appearance. Under the proposed MVA policy, more than 80% of transgender women would be listed as “men” on their licenses, and as many as 95% of transgender men would be listed as “women.” Having the wrong gender on one’s license “outs” transgender people in any situation where they need to show a license— in bars and restaurants, during routine traffic stops, and while filling out forms for employers. This violates the privacy of transgender people and puts them at risk for discrimination and bias-motivated harassment and violence. Furthermore, having the wrong gender on a person’s license needlessly complicates the work of law enforcement and other agencies that need to quickly and accurately identify individuals.

The current policy meets the State’s need for accurate identification and protects Maryland citizens’ privacy and safety and complies with the REAL ID Act. We hope you will take appropriate and prompt action to ensure that MVA retains its current policy regarding gender designation changes.


Morgan Meneses-Sheets, Executive Director
Equality Maryland

Cindy Boersma, Legislative Director
ACLU of Maryland

Matt Coles, LGBT Rights Project Director
ACLU (National)

Emily Hecht, Senior Legislative Counsel
Family Equality Counsel

Sarah Warbelow, State Legislative Director
Human Rights Campaign

Shannon Minter, Legal Director
National Center for Lesbian Rights

Harper Jean Tobin, Policy Counsel
National Center for Transgender Equality

Rebecca Fox, Executive Director
National Coalition for LGBT Health

Lisa Mottet, Transgender Civil Rights Project Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

Alice Kennedy, President
Stonewall Democrats of Central Maryland

Michael Mitchell, Executive Director
Stonewall Democrats (National)

Michael Silverman, Executive Director
Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund


Sunday, December 6, 2009

Turn and Face the Strain

I want to start out my wishing congratulations to two of my friends, Elaine and B. Elaine took a trip out to Scottsdale AZ and B a trip to San Francisco. I wish both of them a speedy recovery. I've know Elaine for over 3 years. The journey she has taken has been unfolding before my eyes. With B, our friendship is less than a year old, but equally as wonderful.

As with most things in life, I find comparison of myself in relationship to events which transpire around me. As I see these two women writing another chapter in their story, I ask myself, " What chapter are you on?

For so long I merely existed , days into weeks, weeks in years. My life was a series graffiti painted walls strewn about. No table of content, forward, let alone any cognitive chapters describing the path I wander. Of writing I knew not. Handicapped by a reading disability, I forsook any attempt to express myself through chirography, let alone into text open to the public.

I cannot say what day this changed, or what directly caused it. It just happened. The fact that I care to put pen to paper and let out all that's inside is a miracle. We are as sick as our secrets, and I was terminal. As I grow in comfort with completing that therapy, I have come to learn many a thing about myself. Yet most of all this.

I fear change.

Not the nickels and dimes in the cup holder of my car. Not the fresh sheets on my bed, although that does become a chore. Security, serenity, comfort, ease, peace, knowingness, and consistency are good things. But so are growth, improvement, diversification and transition. Transition is not my goal, but reclamation is.

n. restoration Synonyms:improvement, recovery, recycling, redemption, repossession

I like that. Improvement, recovery and redemption. I now know my journey has been one of reclamation and not transformation. I'm not seeking to be something or someone I previously was not, I'm merely seeking to reclaim who I am. Reclaim from whom or what? From a society which said it was wrong to express myself in my natural way. From my peers who said I was weak or queer for identifying myself as I am. From myself and the fear I faced.

What does change have to do with this? I look to change the way my mind is closed to ideas new to me. I look to change the way I perceive life. Nothing has changed, yet nothing is the same. Externally life is still life. The sun rises and sets. Life renews itself. Am I? Do I renew myself on a daily basis or do I allow the tracks of time guide me through the same path?

I look to change the chapter of my life to Chapter Two: The Awakening

I said that time may change me
But I can't trace time


Sunday, November 22, 2009

WOW 2009.... You shocked the heck out of me..

There was no way I saw this coming.

I started 2009 with same level of frustration and discomfort as any of my prior years since acknowledging and accepting myself. Each year started without any reasonable expectation that better things would come to pass. I have since come to understand that as hopeless, that lacking of.

Not hopeless as in unemployed, homeless, struggling with addiction issues and no direction. Although to some extent I had all of those. No, I just lack hope that there really was a solution to what ailed me.

Many thoughts have been expressed about transsexualism and gender identity issues over the years. I am not going into them here except to say that I know exactly who I am, I just didn't know why. I was trying to use the "why" to explain to others my situation. This year has shown me that is not important.

What is important is not what has happened to me over my life, yet how I respond to it. I was born exactly as I was supposed to, my sense of gender is perfectly normal. My physicality is also normal, just incongruent to my gender. For me there was this constant low grade buzz, the sort of buzz a florescent lamp's ballast puts out when something is amiss. Over a long enough period of time, that noise become a default and is hardly noticed. No more.

Last January I chose to take action in my life and to stop placing myself in the position of conflict. I'm okay with me, why should I continue to make myself into someone others are not in conflict with. The decision was made to switch locations with my Health Care providers. I had no idea at the time what a momentous decision that would be.

The first positive result was I quit smoking. My original reason for quitting drinking was " I can't quit smoking if I'm still drinking'. Of course I had to quit drinking for other reasons; however the desire to quit smoking was there. The action was lacking. This time, my reasoning was simple; I can not start anti-androgens and estrogen until I do. The power of HRT reached out for inside the pill bottle!

The second positive result was I started taking a testosterone blocker to allow my body to sync with my immutable gender. While I do not believe one's level of testosterone affects ongoing gender identity, it does affect gender confliction. I'm happy to say my testosterone levels aptly mirror my gender and that defective ballast has been replaced. The other effects are merely icing on the cake. My body has responded nicely to treatment and I am pleased. Yet nothing can compare to the sense of tranquility I feel with the oneness of my mind and body.

Another surprising result is that I'm opening up to people in my life. No longer feeling stigmatized by this birth condition, I'm comfortable to let other know in a positive way. At the beginning of the year only two of my family members knew and near no one else in my personal life, save my transgender friends. Today its easier for me to recognize those who DON'T know with special importance on my remaining untold family members.

My job today was simply a minimum wage position to stave off total unemployment in July. One Employee of the Month in August later, it has become a full time position with a master key and an alarm code to a large national retailer.

I find myself today with less fear and hesitation than I had 12 short months ago. many new friends have been added along the way. Other friends and I have redefined our roles, some for the good, some for the better.

Hope, that reasonable expectation that better things will come to pass has found my heart, my life and my journey.


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

2 Corinthians 12:8-10

I figure the title will scare away all the Godless heathens....

8Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

I not only believe in God, I trust in Him. This very fact will alienate about 1/3 of the world's population ( the 1 billion non religionists and about 20% of the rest!)

I certainly didn't ask to be born non cisgender. Yes, not non cisvestite, not non cissexual or any other label somebody else wishes to use in order to justify their existence. I said non cisgender.

But I was.

I do not believe these feelings I have, the sort of feelings that over 90 % of the worlds population has without second thought are somehow "changeable". They are as much a part of me as any of my organs or limbs. I could attempt to "cut" them out, but in turn, would be left horribly disfigured. Scarred. Therapy only serves to offer tools for coping. Yet, if my faith is what I profess it to be, than prayer and meditation should also be employed. Because am I not seeking growth? Spiritual, mental and physical growth? Certainly I must nourish all three.

I find it increasingly difficult to identify with the vocal part of the non cisgender community. They are self-centered egotistical narcissist arrogant asses, in other words, they are I. I truly do not with to project my weaknesses upon others, nor subject others to them. Why must I have his thorn in my side? Where is the growth in this?

Trust is another word for hope, and hope is a reasonable expectation that better thing will come to pass. Do I truly trust in Him?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Pardon me, may I have the last 30 minutes of my life back?

I would like to thank for posting the podcast of The Rob, Arnie and Dawn show on KRXQ in Sacramento. I was reading all sorts of complaints about one of their shows in which Rob and Arnie were suggesting violence to children who express gender identity disorder and had not hear it myself. Thank you. Now,

Who do I see to get back the last 30 minutes of my life?

I listened to the segment, all 36 minutes of it and first of all. I need to say this. Rob and Arnie's positions on GID, while inaccurate, should not be construed as hate speech, nor should their right to express it be hindered. Their advocation that violence, or physical discipline is the solution is borderline criminal. Their intolerance for fellow host Dawn was atrocious, vile, disrespectful and adolescent. The radio station, its advertisers, and audience possess all the power necessary to regulate their comments.

I agree with very little of what was stated during that 36 minute discourse on contempt prior to investigation, yet some of it had merit. I wouldn't let either of those two men coach my children in sports, lead them in a Scout trip nor take them to a ball game with their children. It is a fact that some children act out for attention. However, for those of us who hid our gender identity, buried that innate sense of self inside of us, dealt with the struggle daily for 20, 30 or 40 years, its not a matter of attention. In fact we want no attention. Just the right to quietly live our lives, to earn a living and to be.

Is GID a mental disorder? Is it a hormonal imbalance during gestation which creates the mind to be incongruent with the body? Is it a condition created through nurture and not nature? All of these can be debated because there is yet no definitive study on what creates an individual's sense of gender and thereby their expression of it.

Yet one thing is not debatable. It exists. It's real, its overwhelming to many of us and its persistent. It doesn't go away after years of "manning up" for boys or "knowing your place" for girls.

The First Amendment gives Rob and Arnie the right to prove their ignorance. All 10 give me the right to exist.