I was recently asked to provide input for a piece being written in Baltimore GayLife concerning Women's History Month. I was asked who my role models were and if I knew any Sheroes (she-heroes, women regarded as heroes.) After citing several role models and women I admired and looked up to, I was informed by the author, I had be listed as a shero by someone else and if I could write a little something on it.
Humility, that ever elusive sliver of mercury, impossible to grasp and deadly to hold, has been my guide. I failed but managed this:
I’m Jenna Fischetti. I have been a facilitator of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of Baltimore and Central Maryland’s (GLCCB) Gender Identity Group since 2006. It is a peer led group for gender non conforming persons. I have been sober for 6 years. In both areas of my life, it was necessary for me to seek integrity.
For me, the moment I integrate the inner and the outer, I produce integrity. The processes for sobriety and for gender authenticity require that I take the actions (outer) so that I may live the truth (inner).
The amazing dynamic which has appeared in my life is that these lessons, these experiences transcend sobriety and gender authenticity. They apply in everyday life, to everything I do. I was just blessed with the gift of alcoholism and a gender which is free of a binary construct. Without these opportunities in my life, it is impossible to say I would have ever known real integrity.
The growth that I must go through in order to consummate my truth in all areas of my life requires that I live to be of love and serve to others. Worthy intentions indeed, yet it is imperfect in persistent practice.
Moreover, I am humbled when I am approached by peers and those outside the select recovery or transgender communities who use words like “courageous”, “inspiring” “brave”. I suspect I never gave those words a second thought before. It is because the words they use describe actions I took because of my faith in God, in my Creator. Simply put, it was a Power far greater than I.
When I let go of the notion that I alone could author change and accepted that I needed help from others, my life changed. My God works through other people. The men and women in my life who were overtaken by societal expectations of their gender, forced to deny their own truth, helped me by allowing me be of service to them. The peers imprisoned in drug and alcohol addictions, wanting to be free, yet not knowing a path, were my life rafts to safety. No, for it is most assuredly in giving that I have received. If any one ever believes I’m a SHERO, it is because they see the actions of countless others helping me along the Way.
Today there are Principles I have as Guidelines in my life. They give me strength to grow spiritually. It is my basic spiritual believe that each and every human possesses a spirit, a soul which is equal to all others and embodies the Divine. Our bodies, our minds, our gender are the diversities we utilize to touch and help each others. My experiences help you, and your experience help me. The end game is to awaken the Spirit in all of us to practice love and tolerance of others. Again, this Way is imperfect in persistent practice.