Thoughts and Ramblings

This is a collection of thoughts that (mostly) I've had about crossdressing, society, and life. Some are in response to events or confrontations in my life. They are not particularly organized chronologically or by subject.

A Christian Transsexual? - Can a transsexual be a Christian?

There are many (including Christians) who say, or believe, that what I'm doing, that is changing sexes, is a sin. They tell me that I should be what God made me.

My response to that is, "I am" (John 1:3). God made me a transsexual for His glory. How it's all supposed to work out, I don't know. But I do believe that, somehow, I am doing His work and furthering His Kingdom on Earth.

Why, you might ask, would He do this to anyone? (Psalm 66:10-12) tells us that we will be afflicted in some way in order to "purify" us (which is a better translation of "testing"). But He also promises us a "place of abundance."

Look at it this way: Do you really appreciate being a man or woman? I doubt you even think about it most of the time. But when someone like me stands in front of you and you can see what it takes to switch, you begin to appreciate being what you are. The man suddenly given his sight surely appreciated his "gift" of sight, which most of us just take for granted.

I've also heard, "You're twisting the Bible to suit your lies." I can't guarantee that I'm not, and I do believe that is being done often, even by those so many listen to. However, I also see that the Lord wants me to speak out (Isaiah 42, esp. 6-7) to help others.

Why he chose this particular burden for me, I don't know. It's really not my concern either. It is my task to use it in a way that glorifies Him on Earth. I resisted accepting this burden (Luke 22:42-43) for most of my life. But He sent me someone (an angel) for 20 years who helped me not only find the Lord, but to mature to the point where I could help others to understand His plan.

There are many cultures on this Earth that have traditionally not only embraced transsexuals, but even revered them. These cultures believe in a Supreme Being, that is God by another name, who is both male and female. For them a transsexual is more like that Supreme Being than most of the people.

God made my soul - and it is in His image. That image is both male and female. My parents made my body - that's God's plan (Genesis 2:15).

We have all often heard the missive, "There's masculine and feminine [sides] in all of us." Scientific research (e.g. Man, Woman, Boy, Girl, Dr. John Money, et al) bears this out.

During a human's development, both before and after birth, there are numerous points where "switches" have to be thrown. If the switch doesn't get triggered, the result is feminine; if it does, the result is masculine. So the "perfect" man would have all of the switches done and the "perfect" woman would have none of them thrown. As you might guess, this, essentially, is never the case.

Additional research has discovered that there may be a genetic predisposition to sexual "abnormalities," including transsexualism. This doesn't mean that all of us with this inclination will pursue gender reassignment; it takes other influences, especially early in our childhood. And, no, I am not blaming anyone for my situation.

Some of us can deal with our burden without pursuing surgical correction; others cannot. While my angel was with me, she balanced out my life so that I did not need to pursue this goal. By the time she died, I had matured enough spiritually and psychologically to understand and accept my place in the world. I now seek my freedom from slavery (I Corinthians 7:21-22) to an ideal that is wrong for me.

"But Deuteronomy 22:5 says crossdressing is wrong." Yes, it is wrong if it is done for fraudulent purposes (such as sneaking into a harem for "hanky-panky"). But keep in mind that gender is not between the legs - it is between the ears. For me, wearing men's clothes is wrong because, in my heart (mind), I am a woman. Yet too many people want me to commit a "sin" by doing just that.

"Oh, well, you're just twisting things around to enlist others in your perversion." No, I would never encourage anyone to do what I'm doing. I will help others who I believe need that assistance (I Corinthians 1:3-4), but I will not ever try to "turn" someone. Frankly, the effort is so great that most people would never complete the process unless they were really convinced it was right for them.

The only "convincing" I want to do is to help the uneducated understand that we transsexuals are not the "spawn of the devil" nor horrible monsters out to change everyone. We really are pretty much just like everyone else. Many of us are, or would be, Christians if others wouldn't push us away. (II Corinthians 2:7)

A Crossdressers' Manifesto - written by a friend; a message for the TG community.

By K. C. Tyler

(I spent this week answering a TG questionnaire which wanted to know "what message do you have for the TG community?" After discussing my answer with her, Shari Williams pointed out that if I have a message, I also have a vehicle to proclaim it. So here is my answer, expanded. I beg forgiveness from my non-crossdresser TG friends - to use a horrible Washington-esque phrase, I'm reaching out to my "base".)

In my half-century of lifetime, I have seen a significant amount of progress in the conceptualization and perception of gender-diverse issues in the public eye. From my view at least, I've seen acceptance become relatively real for most of the Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual parts of the gender spectrum. We sit here in 2006 with an incredibly popular movie with a strong gay theme, television shows that directly deal with lesbianism, and popular personalities comfortable with admitting, even proclaiming, their homo/bisexuality. This is not the 1960's anymore, to be sure! Even the transsexual aspects of the T-community are in the first throws of acceptance, and let's hope the well-deserved Oscar nomination for Felicity Huffman's incredible performance in "Transamerica" will provide a significant boost to mass appreciation of the TS issues. But sadly, the heterosexual crossdresser community has almost no positive movement or insight. When the best that we (and I'm in this group) can point to is the brother on "The Drew Carey Show", we haven't gotten much traction. Oh well, I guess I'll grow into my old age simply regretting that some Hollywood script writer thought gay cowboys worked better than cowboys dressed as women. Maybe it'll happen someday, but alas, I will have missed it.

Bunk!

I firmly believe that the crossdressing community is blessed with an incredible wealth of talent, energy, and resources. Those I've come to know continually impress me with the gifts they have to give. What we have is the power to change our fate, but apparently not the focus of how to do it. And while I humbly submit that I am no Karl Marx, I will offer a first draft of a manifesto - a proposal of how we can bring our awesome selves to change the hearts and minds of society. This is my opinion today, but as all of you contribute ideas and energy to it, we can build this into something we can get to happen.

The way I see it, we need to work as a group to make progress on three rather broad fronts, each calling for those with an appropriate gift to take up the cause.

(1) We need Ambassadors. We need sisters who can present both a positive physical image and a mature life example to be our spokeswomen - in the media to be sure, but also in the malls and hallways of our communities. People need to see that we're not "sickos" or "freaks" but normal people, just with a gender enhancement. If you're thinking you want to go out and fool the world that you're a girl, I understand the desire to match yourself to a challenge. But most of us can't do that. If you CAN go out, we need you to go out into the world and interface with it. Talk to people - in whatever voice you have. Let them ask their questions: "So, you're NOT gay?" "Why do you want to do this?" "You have wives, families, and jobs?" The answers we give aren't as critical as the fact that we're willing to try and answer them. They don't understand any of this life we have. And yes, there are parts of it we don't understand either - but if we don't start sharing information about ourselves, the rest of the world will just sweep us under the carpet.

(2) We need Educators. We need verbally gifted sisters to write about our gender condition. And we need them to direct their writing in two directions. First, we need sisters willing to write of our own condition so that those inside the community can perhaps better understand themselves. I know that while we may all be crossdressers, but we are each unique in our motives, weaknesses, fears and joys. So it will take many voices to fill the need - but our sisterhood has some sharing to do, and blogs, columns, and e-mails can make each of feel closer to the group. Second, we need folks to write so that the outside world can better appreciate our feelings, our actions, and our attributes. Conventional communication forms can be useful here - why not an op-ed piece on crossdressing? But the upcoming generations take their information electronically, and we can reach them and teach them in spades. Let's open our world to them, and (here's the key) make them welcome. Let's write blogs for them, not just for ourselves!

(3) We need Counselors. We need to actively provide assistance for new girls who find our community and arrive with a lifetime of burdens, guilt, and questions. This is a task every last one of us has a responsibility to do. If you're reading this, then you discovered the online community somehow. You remember learning that there were others out there. You likely wandered around to find someone to help you - and maybe you found help quickly, maybe not. Every day new sisters find us - and we need to stop fussing about our own looks or vistas, and help them. Compose, cajole, comfort, characterize - make them welcome. We who are here have a collective wisdom, and we cannot let it go to waste! Whether online, in support groups, or in a "big sister" model, we need to find ways to make those who join us feel accepted, supported, and appreciated. Every sister we embrace, we empower. The more we act like a caring community, the more our acts will change lives. When all of us can embrace and carry our gender expressions without internal baggage, then we will be best prepared for developing acceptance from the world at large.

(Now, thanks to T-spouse Sunny Fields, we expand the maifesto!)

(4) We need Supporters. This community needs the support of spouses, parents, siblings, children, psychologists, neighbors, friends, teachers, etc. These supporters can provide an open ear, a shoulder to cry on, a back-up plan, a different point of view, someone to venture into public spaces with, and a whack on the head when we get off the beam. We need them to support us. But we need them to support us out in the community and world, too. These supporters could and should be invited to share their views and talents and help the community get more exposure, understanding and respect. Imagine the day when one of our ambassadors appears in the media, a beautiful t-girl sitting next to her beautiful g-girl wife. They'll ask the wife how she deals with this, and she'll say, "I'm very okay with this. I love the person and am totally loved in return. And I love being treated and honored by my spouse, love being treated kidly and gently, love having someone who can shop." That will be a powerful day, a day we will all celebrate!

(Thanks for that wisdom, Sunny - you're a great supporter of all of us!)

Okay, I open this to you all. Chime in with ideas, then find a role for yourself and get going!

We can change the world. But it is going to take we.

A Fable Of Intertwined Lives - finally a good internet story

A mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package.

"What food might this contain?" The mouse wondered - he was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap.

Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed the warning. "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!"

The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said, "Mr. Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to you but it is of no consequence to me. I cannot be bothered by it."

Then the mouse turned to the pig and told him, "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house! "

The pig sympathized, but said, "I am so very sorry, Mr. Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it. Be assured though that I will be thinking about you."

The mouse turned to the cow and said, "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!"

The cow said, "Wow, Mr. Mouse. I'm sorry for you, but it's no skin off my nose."

So, the mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected, to face the farmer's mousetrap-- alone.

That very night a sound was heard throughout the house -- like the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey.

The farmer's wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness, she did not see it was a venomous snake whose tail the trap had caught. The snake bit the farmer's wife. The farmer rushed her to the hospital and she returned home with a fever.

Everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup, so the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup's main ingredient.

But his wife's sickness continued, so friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock. To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig.

The farmer's wife did not get well; she died. So many people came for her funeral, the farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide enough meat for all of them.

The mouse looked upon it all from his crack in the wall with great sadness but there was nothing he could do.

So, the next time you hear someone is facing a problem and think it doesn't concern you, remember -- when one of us is threatened, we are all at risk.

We are all involved in this journey called life. We must keep an eye out for one another and make an extra effort to encourage one another.

EACH OF US IS A VITAL THREAD IN ANOTHER PERSON'S TAPESTRY; OUR LIVES ARE WOVEN TOGETHER FOR A REASON.

One of the best things to hold onto in this world is a friend.

A Short Letter to Politicians

If you are serving the "public," it would be wise to know who the public is. If the statistics are correct, the GLBT community makes up as much as 20% of the population. That's not an insignificant fraction, especially when you consider how many people actually vote.

Many current politicians listen far too much to the radical right, especially the Christian right. They don't make up any more of the population than the GLBTs do. But they are giving you bad, usually misinformed, advice.

If you actively work with the GLBT community and mobilize their vote, you can gain such a substantial voter base that you would be all but guaranteed a win. Add in messages that speak to their friends and family, and you could be making a great investment in the future of your career, not to mention actually serving the public!

Activist for Crossdressers - We need each other to be activists.

In a recent email I said that I don't call myself an activist. In my haste to answer, I made the same mistake too many of us make: being an "activist" is not the same as being a "militant."

According to the dictionary, activism means "a doctrine or practice that emphasizes direct vigorous action especially in support of or opposition to one side of a controversial issue."

I don't know if one would consider me to be "vigorous," but I have been known to "preach" about intolerance to us. So I guess I am an activist. I am not, however, a militant - a term which has a bit of a derogatory implication.

The only way we can achieve acceptance is through 1) numbers (and being open), 2) teaching others that we are not monsters out to enlist others or corrupt young children.

When I say "being open," I don't necessarily mean that any individual has to come out of the closet. Joining support groups, such as Tri-Ess, allows those groups to operate as a voice on our behalf, assuming you make your views known within the group.

This is the "numbers" part: the group can then say, "We represent 100 people" when dealing with lawmakers or media. When we do that, we are much more likely to be able to go to our lawmakers and get somewhere with protection from those who thrive on bigotry.

I would never encourage anyone to do what I'm doing. I will help others who I believe need that assistance, but I will not ever try to "turn" someone. Frankly, the effort is so great that most people would never complete the process unless they were really confident it was right for them.

The only convincing I want to do is to help the uneducated understand that we transgendered are not the "spawn of the devil" nor horrible monsters out to change everyone. We really are pretty much just like everyone else.

So what can even the closeted TG do? We all occasionally run into something that others don't understand. For example, jokes about TGs - let others know that you don't find those jokes amusing. You might even give a bit of information to help them understand us better. Posting on chat boards not only gives you the opportunity to share with others, but helps to refine your own thoughts about yourself.

Another thing to do is to accept each of us. If one enjoys cross-dressing, then he/she is a member of our TG community. To divide ourselves into subcultures can only weaken our community. We need each other.

And we need each other to be activists.

Am I saved?

A month ago I had the “opportunity” to confront two groups of right-wing Christians who delighted in telling me that I was an evildoer and going to Hell. Despite my profession of Christ as my Savior, they persisted in judging me simply because I am a transsexual.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) How can anyone living in this world today possibly know whether I believe? “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Who ever believes in him is not condemned, …” (John 3:17-18) There are only two people who know whether I believe or not – me and God – and God is not going to tell you because it’s none of your business.

If anyone has reason to doubt that I am saved, let him, or her, come forward with his or her personal confession of belief and share it. “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.” (Mark 16:15) “You will be witnesses … to the ends of the Earth.” (Acts 1:8) You will reach people with good news, a humble heart, and personal conviction; you will not reach them with condemnation and judgment. Indeed, your judging and condemnation put you at risk for the same.

There is a right way to correct someone: “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently.” (Galatians 6:1) Paul is not telling you to thump your Bible in someone’s face; he does not tell you to shout at people; he doesn’t tell you promise Hell. Be gentle; be spiritual; be open to the leading of the Spirit. “If you point these things out to the brothers, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus…” (I Timothy 4:6)

However, after sharing with someone else, you must also be willing to listen, “Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructors.” (Galatians 6:6) A wise teacher often learns from his/her students.

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing, and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2) Listening to the person in the pulpit every week is not enough; you must study God’s word on your own, and with others, and then meditate upon it. The Bible is not being changed any more; God must deliver His messages for today through the mouths of others.

Only God has the certain knowledge of whether I have accepted Christ. I believe I have, but I am only human, subject to human frailties and bewilderment. No one else can know. You can test me to see if I know the Word; you can assess my behavior to see if it seems Godly to you. But you cannot know whether I accept that Jesus died for me.

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10) God not only knows whether I believe, He has always known, and he has things for me to do. “…God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean.” (Acts 10:29) Your job is to instruct; it is God’s job to judge.

Am I saved? That’s between me and God.

Aren't you supposed to try?

A friend and I attend a church that another [alleged] T-girl attends. Let's call my friend Peggy and the other one Mary since both are in one of the groups I am in.

Mary doesn't seem to do much to make herself very feminine looking, yet complains that she isn't passing. She dresses rather poorly, in my humble opinion, and doesn't seem to use any makeup. She even sits with one ankle on the other knee - a very unladylike way of crossing one's legs. And, by the way, this is in the choir in front of the entire church.

One day a gay friend of Peggy's looked at her and then at Mary and, indicating Mary, asked, "Aren't you supposed to try?"

Yes, my friends, you are not only supposed to try, but it is incumbent upon you to do so. You don't have to achieve a super-model look; just do the best you can and find your own look, just like other girls do.

Whether we like it or not, we of the transgender community are still pioneers. We will be that until society accepts us. There are many pioneers before us and we enjoy increased acceptance because they bore the brunt of social ostracism.

But even as we stand upon their shoulders to enjoy what freedom we have today, we are also providing the shoulders for those to come. We must present a positive image to those around us and show that we are proud of being the girls we are, even if our "heel-time" is limited.

If we don't do our best, we appear as clowns, and that tarnishes the impression of TGs everywhere. If we look and act the best we can as women then all of us benefit and the world becomes a better place. "When you make a world tolerable for yourself, you make a world tolerable for others." (Anais Nin)

Learn to do your makeup. Learn to do your hair (even if it is a wig). Learn the mannerisms that other girls use. Learn to walk like a girl. Learn to sit like a girl. Make an effort to change the way you speak.

But also learn where the limits are. For example, I have seen T-girls start growing their hair longer. It is natural that you want to display your own real hair. Unfortunately, some T-girls rush it and go out before their hair is ready. Yes, many GGs wear short hair, but that doesn't mean a TG can. If you can't see it in the mirror, get a digital camera; ask a friend (but be prepared for the answer).

Find a few GG role models and measure your progress against them. Remember, a negative role model may be just as useful as positive ones. Look at the TGs with whom you come into contact. Do they make the grade? How do you compare to them? This is not a contest amongst TGs - it is a matter of survival for all of us.

Yes, you are supposed to try. This is not just for yourself - it's for all of us, and for those yet to come.

"Take care to get what you like or you will be forced to like what you get." (George Bernard Shaw)

Choosing Sides - Masculine or feminine?

So many of us describe ourselves as having a masculine side and a feminine side to our personalities. Some go even further and talk about the side we are not currently showing in the third person (i.e. he or she is .).

I believe this is a dangerous practice. To me this indicates less than a full acceptance of ourselves as a whole human being.

Several years ago I started consciously allowing my "feminine side" to be openly expressed when I was "en homme." As I got better at doing this I found myself becoming happier, less frequently depressed, and more open with those I cared about. That's all good.

We must learn to love and accept all of ourselves. Trying to compartmentalize our personality is a recipe for depression and disaster.

My God accepts me the way I am - as a matter of fact, as I wrote elsewhere, I believe He chose this burden for me to somehow further His kingdom on Earth.

If He can accept - and love - me this way, then I surely should be able to do the same.

It serves me little good to worry about what others may think of me. The only thing that matters is what I think of me. I choose to be me and to love all of me just the way I am.

We can't afford to choose "sides." We must be ourselves, whatever that may be and however we have to express ourselves.

A house divided against itself cannot stand. -- President Abraham Lincoln

Christmas - a thought on that time of year

This was originally a short article for our group newsletter in December of 2005.


Yes, for those who haven't noticed, it's that time of the year again. For some of us, it's a great and happy time. For others of us, it's a depressing time.

Why do so many have problems at Christmas? The medical community has a whole plethora of answers - and for some of us, they may be valid.

Certainly, there are those of us who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. This is a condition that is exacerbated by the short days and lack of outdoor activity to expose us to the sun. There are a variety of treatments, but the easiest, cheapest, and arguably the most effective is simply to get outside as much as possible with the least amount of bundling possible. Sunlight falling on your skin does wonders, both physically and emotionally.

But there are others for whom Christmas is depressing for the simple reason that society, and our families, don't understand us.

All I've ever wanted at Christmas was to be treated like the girl that I am. It has never happened. The closest I have ever had to this was the first Christmas after I had my ears pierced. I was given a very special pair of earrings from the most special person in my life. I cried for what seemed like hours.

What do the people around you really want? They may not want, or even be able, to tell you. You have to look into their heart. That's so much easier to do if your mind is open.

Sometimes all they want is a little acceptance and an open ear.

Comparing Ourselves to Others

I was recently shocked at one T-girl who compared herself to another T-girl. Now you have to understand that the first one is the one who served as the inspiration for my writing, "Aren't You Supposed to Try?"

This "girl" (perhaps I might use "gurl") uses no makeup; I've never seen her in anything remotely called feminine attire; and she doesn't seem to divest herself of masculine body movements. The second one does all of those things – she does "try."

These two girls share a common service. The first one was getting done one day and told the server, "She hardly ever speaks to me and I think it's because I am so much prettier than she is." I nearly barfed (pardon the masculine term) when I heard this.

First of all this is clearly evidence of her being out of touch with reality. Way out of touch!

Second, comparing ourselves to each other, or even a GG, is really not a great idea. This is based on some unwritten ideal of beauty and ignores the concept of "beauty is in the eye of the beholder."

I once wrote, "Look into the mirror. That is the person who most needs to confirm your beauty - and is most qualified to do so." It is important to compare yourself to what you think is beautiful – and even more important to find yourself measuring up to it.

But when you start looking outside yourself you just are not qualified. The only one who is qualified to judge your beauty in the world is a potential suitor. I will assume, simply for purposes of writing ease, that you are interested in men. It is the man's responsibility to decide if you look like what he's searching for.

Each man is different. Some like tall, some short; some like blondes, some brunettes. My nephew, for example prefers women "with more meat on their bones." (BTW, I know a lesbian with the same preference.) You are just not able to make that decision for someone else, nor should you.

Don't bother to measure yourself by others; you will always fail. Even super-models and beauty queens fall into this trap.
Do your best to be yourself. If you're a girl, be the girl you want to be. Fix the things you find lacking on whatever scale you care to use. Then find yourself to be that person.

Decisions Pre-made for Males

I wrote this several years ago in an attempt to discuss my feelings with my wife. Since that time, some of my feelings have evolved and I am more careful with how I describe myself.


I was born with a Y chromosome and that seems to have come with a set of decisions that were already made for me. Who made those decisions, when did they make them, and why should I be forced to follow them now?

Who decided that I should be emotionless? Who decided that I shouldn't know what sensuality is? Who decided that I only want to wear practical clothes made from practical fabrics and with dull colors? Who decided that I could only wear pants?

Even though I am a man, I do have emotions. I feel pain, anger, joy, sadness, envy, and desire - all the same things women feel. But the absence of a Y chromosome in women seems to have granted them the exclusive right to feel and express emotions. Why can't big boys cry? We have tear ducts; we hurt; we can even feel sympathy and empathy.

But, if you believe the media, all men are capable of feeling is lust and anger. And the only way we can express it is by violence or making fools of ourselves. Well, I'm sorry to tell you that I have never hit a woman, never raped a woman, and I don't follow them around like a puppy with my tongue hanging out. Maybe I'm not really a man?

Males (at least in the cultures with which I have some familiarity) grow up being taught that they cannot derive pleasure from their senses. Women learn to do it from an early age. Men are taught that the only way they can be pleased is to jump on a woman, do his thing, and get off as quickly as possible. Women learn to derive pleasure merely from another's presence, touch, scent, and attention, not to mention their own clothes or personal appearance.

I guess it says something negative about my manliness that I enjoy the company of another person. I enjoy their touch and touching or smelling them. I enjoy being the object of attention. And, dare I say it; I enjoy these things even more than sex. But, maybe I'm not a man.

In the last several decades, our culture has shifted from a primarily manufacturing and agricultural based work force to an information-shuffling work force. For those of us who spend our time in an office, practicality in clothing is simply not important any more. Where once one had to be careful to guard against getting one's clothes caught in heavy machinery, now it is rather rare that a computer will snag a skirt hem and chew up its wearer.

Offices are also, by and large, climate controlled, as are our homes and automobiles. We just don't spend that much time, any more, exposed to the elements. Cotton and wool just aren't the only practical fabrics now. Yet men seem to be forced to stick with these two materials, although occasionally we can try linen. Yes, I know that some men have tried silk (and loved it), but it always comes with questions about their manliness. (Yes, I have experienced the questioning.)

Men also seem to have been given a wide variety of colors to choose from: black, gray, navy, and tan, plus one more annually varying dull color, such as dark green.

Yes, we have made a few more additions to our color palette in more recent years. We can wear pink shirts now - but with some restrictions. A tie is virtually mandatory; a coat is highly recommended. Never should we wear a pink shirt alone!

A few of us have really ventured out and gotten some brightly colored Hawaiian print shirts - all cotton, of course. We love the color, but we don't particularly care for having our sanity questioned for wearing them. Yes, believe it or not, people will question a man's sanity for wearing brightly colored, patterned shirts! A woman could wear exactly the same thing, and she would just be fashionable - a man is a bit loony.

As for other fabrics, forget it. Sure we can wear silk - with more restrictions. It had better be blandly colored and tightly fitted, unless you are talking about boxer shorts. (There's a whole other subject: women wear "lingerie," men wear "underwear.") No fancy decoration, no lace, no ruffles, not even wide sleeves had better be on those shirts. And while you're at it, it would be best if you wore it with a suit!

So, who decided that I don't like colors, lace, ruffles, and flowing shapes? Not me, for certain, because I do like all of those. And they also please my sensual side. Oh, I forgot, maybe I'm not a man.

In a factory or a field, pants make some sense. In the office, there is nothing to make them any better than a skirt. I am certainly not what some would call physically well endowed, yet I am constantly being bound up, twisted, and cramped by the crotch of my pants as I sit all day. (I realize that women may not understand this problem.) For me, a skirt has to be a much more comfortable choice. We won't even go into medical discussions on reproductive health.

On those occasions when I am out of doors (and living in the South), a skirt brings a new type of comfort that even shorts don't offer - additional "air conditioning."

Sure a skirt brings with it a certain amount of vulnerability, but that's another emotional expression that men aren't supposed to enjoy. It also brings some more sensual feelings when the breeze blows or the hem brushes my legs. I love that, but then, maybe I'm not a man.

When I was young, several people criticized the way I walked - like a "sissy." So, I watched other men and the television and I learned to adopt the "gun slinger" walk, even though I've never had a .45 strapped to my hip. My peers also told me to ignore my mother's admonitions against slumping - but guess who was right?

My peers (I do use the term loosely), as I was growing up, taught me all kinds of things. I must never let anyone see me standing with a limp wrist - so why does it happen naturally? I must look at my fingernails by bending my fingers rather than stretching them out straight. And while we're on that subject, I must always keep my fingernails short and unadorned. My eyebrows should be allowed to cover my face if they choose to do so.

I could go on and on with all these decisions that were made for me, but that would be whining, which men don't do. But, maybe I'm not a man.

So, if that Y chromosome makes me a man, then why do my preferences or behaviors make me something else? Why does the accident of conception constrain my humanity? Perhaps I would be better off accepting my humanity first and my masculinity second.

And, I've finally come to the point, after 50 years, of realizing that what others think of me is immaterial. What I think of myself is what makes me who I am. I can make my own decisions, thank you. And they may not be in agreement with what is now considered traditional. I'm willing to be "different." I'm willing to not be a man.

Do I Live an Alternate Lifestyle?

I was recently accused of living an "alternate lifestyle." I’m trying to figure out what that is. Since this is a catch phrase of the Christian right, I may throw in a few Biblical references here at the risk of not having this published.

As I understand it, the Christian reactionaries seem to think that a "normal" lifestyle is a husband, a wife (who is to submit to her husband), and children.

Okay, I’m single (widowed) and never had children. I live with my elderly mother and am her primary caregiver. So I guess that’s an "alternate lifestyle."

Is there something wrong with that? The apostle Paul wrote that it’s good to be single (I Corinthians 7:8-9) and okay if I’m looking for a husband.

I believe that caring for my mother is in accordance with Biblical teachings (Exodus 20:12). I am honoring my mother. Certainly it’s a growing trend for children to become their parents’ caregivers and I have a hard time accepting that Christians oppose that.

Maybe the judgmental label that has been imposed upon me has something to do with my being a transsexual. I can (and have) give a whole sermon on that issue. (John 9:1-12, Psalm 66:10-12, John 1:3)

He presented me with a burden that He knew I could handle and use for His Glory. I was a slave to an ideal that was wrong for me, so now I seek my freedom (I Corinthians 7:21-22). I am not a "man." Yes, under "Caesar’s" law I was judged a male. But I live to serve the highest Law, which is written on my heart.

I am a woman in my heart (mind, soul, spirit). I dress as a woman and live as a woman. I speak out as a Christian (Isaiah 42:6-7). Yet other Christians shun me and refuse to follow His commands (Matthew 19:19). This is a sign of preferred ignorance and oppression – not Christian charity.

Do I live an "alternate lifestyle?" If understanding my place in God’s world and following his teaching is an "alternate lifestyle," then, yes, I do. And I’m proud of it and will not change to suit those who prefer to remain ignorant, fearful, and bigoted.

Gender 101

Let's take a brief look back over the last century: at the beginning of the 20th century we had the Women's Suffrage movement; in the mid 20th century we had Women's Lib (and I won't go onto this any more because I could write a book on it); in the last half of the 20th century we had the Civil Rights movement; now at the beginning of the 21st century we have Gay or Human Rights, to which, rightly or wrongly, we transgendered souls are trying to attach. What do they all have in common?

Our Western society, to which people of the USA belong, has a very basic tenet: a basic respect for every one of us as a human being. These movements all have in common reminding people that those who have been oppressed are human beings too. I know some people believe that respect must be earned, but that is not totally true. Western society demands the basic respect for human beings or we would be running around killing each other, as other cultures seem to do. This is not something to be earned; it may only be lost, as mass murders find out.

As part of this basic respect, one must not only practice a certain amount of "political correctness," but also live it. This means developing some sensitivity to the way people feel about certain words, phrases, or practices. However common it may be, this is not optional in our culture. Failure to observe this can have serious consequences such as loss of employment or even incarceration.

That means that total lack of basic knowledge about some things is unacceptable, yet so many go around not only demonstrating ignorance, but also practicing it (proudly). However you feel about Barney Frank, he was right about one thing: "More education is needed." For those of us in minority segments of the population, the onus of that education falls upon us. It is also imperative that we pursue our own education.

For an excellent example of proud ignorance generating total intolerance, I can point to James Dobson's "Focus on the Family" site where he demonstrates serious homo- and trans-phobia in a most un-Christian manner.

So let's begin some basic education for the TLGB community. First, sex and gender are NOT synonymous. This is probably the biggest mistake so many make, both within and without the TG community. And I may further disturb some people by suggesting that there are four components to "gender."

Biological - usually referred to as "sex." This is anatomical - male and female (mostly). I used to say genetic, but have recently learned that is not correct. I recently ran across some research papers discussing women who presented themselves to doctors complaining they were amenorrheic (not having periods). After a chromosomal survey it was discovered they were 46XY - that is, genetically male with a normal complement of chromosomes. Yet these people had been identified, treated, and lived comfortably as women. I'm still waiting for this research to have impacts within the TG research community.

Internal – how you feel and act. Inside you know that you have both masculine and feminine attributes, but most people identify with one or the other because it dominates the mix.

Orientation – who you're attracted to. The terms commonly used are homo- or hetero-sexual, and gay or straight. Most people understand the distinction even if they don't realize this is a separate component of gender.

Presentation – how you want to be seen. Amongst the terms that denote presentation are: man, woman, gentleman, and lady. "Man" and "male" are NOT the same thing, nor are "woman" and "female." If you stop and think about, you really understand that not all "females" are "ladies," even if you may still use the terms indistinctly.

In most people these four components align fairly well. But in some of us, there is a discrepancy in one or more of them. For example, I am internally feminine, orientationally (depending on your definition) heterosexual, and presentationally woman, but biologically male.

We are all familiar with effeminate men and butch women. They are examples of how biological and internal components can be out-of-sync. But I have known both who were straight. I also have known male/women who present in a more masculine (or butch) manner.

It seems that society can tolerate someone better if he/she at least adheres to the biological component. This is very short-sighted. There is a whole multi-dimensional spectrum in the world; some are easily detected, some are not. But it is this natural diversity that needs to be respected and accepted.

To put it more succinctly, some people suggest it this way: "Sex is between the legs and gender is between the ears." And, by the way, there is increasing evidence that both are genetic (as opposed to a "lifestyle choice").

When using gender terms, we must look at political correctness (sensitivity or tact) as well as true meaning. The term "real woman" is frequently used incorrectly and often engenders ill feelings. I understand the intent much of the time is to mean "genetic (or born) female," but the misuse will almost immediately turn some of us off to the point that we will no longer pay any attention to the remainder of your message.

It is true that there is currently no medical (as opposed to legal) treatment available that will render me female (46XX). I do believe, and others have agreed, that I am a "real woman." That is, my behavior and presentation are that generally expected of a female. If one says that I am not, or that I will never be, a "real woman," they have offended me and they risk my indifference, disregard, or even enmity. This is a term where sensitivity (political correctness) is quite necessary.

There are many terms (or labels) that are used to describe the range of transgender expression and several glossaries are available on the Internet (there's even one here). In general these terms were not originally intended to stratify (or rank) the community, merely to attempt to describe one's current position in the gender spectrum. When we carelessly, or intentionally, use these terms in a manner that stratifies, misplaces, denies, or intentionally offends someone, we beg retribution in some form. We must make an effort to learn, and internalize, the correct use of these terms or stop using them altogether. Ignorance is not bliss - it invites war. If you want your message heard, political correctness and education are not options but necessities.

Those who are victims of your misuse of a term may seem to have ignored it, but let me assure you, they did not. The effects of that misuse are cumulative and will eventually erupt in what may seem an irrational reaction. The only way to avoid the explosion is to not contribute to it.

As the quotation goes, "'Tis better to remain silent and be thought a fool that to open one's mouth and remove all doubt." Learn your subject and be prepared to keep learning. Otherwise you are better off remaining out of the discussion.

However, we are not many, so we need every one of us to be an ambassador and educator to some extent. Please learn about transgender issues and be prepared to disseminate that information in a positive and sensitive manner. Much more can be done at a "grass roots" level now than at the national level; we will never be able to legislate against ignorance.

Great Ideals

From time to time throughout history, a "Great Ideal" will surface. It is not always recognized at first, and is almost always slow to be adopted.

There is one great truth to all Great Ideals: Whenever a Great Ideal is used to promote oppression it is really bigotry in action.

Is it SRS or GRS?

Why we in the TG community feel a need to argue about something so trivial is beyond me. However, I have my personal opinion as well, so here it is.

I am quite happy with my gender - that is, "feminine." I am not happy with the sex that the doctor assigned me at birth - that is, "male."

All my legal identification papers, primarily my driver's license, list me as "male." They are listing my sex, not my gender (regardless of what the label in the application form says). To a large extent the legal stuff ignores my gender.

So what I want to change is all that legal identification that, to me at least, is wrong. Therefore, what I want is my sex reassigned.

Letter to Kelli - responding to another Christian on the agony of persecution.

Recently, I received the following letter from Kelli in response to my little writing on being a transsexual Christian.

Letter from Kelli

Hi.

I am Kelly in xxxx, yy (withheld for security).

I also am a believer and am not just struggling, but agonizing with this same question.

I am 48 and just a year ago came to find that, inside at least, I am more woman than man. I want with all my heart to transition, but faith, family, and finances-- the big three, are all stopping me, and I am just miserable. Maybe you can relate.

Thanks for what you wrote.

Send back if you get a free minute.

Kelly

(maybe someday, Kelli)


Letter to Kelli

I wrote back:

Hi, Kelli. It does get hard when you have so many poorly informed "Christians" out there passing judgment on someone they don't understand. I find some comfort in knowing they are wrong according to the Bible. God does love you and accepts you the way you are.

"...that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:16) - "Whosoever" mean anyone not just the people who feel they are "correct," "proper," or "acceptable." Those who do not understand that Jesus taught that diversity is acceptable to God and included all people. If Jesus could so believe in the concept of inclusivity for all that He would die for us, why cannot His church?

Faith should not be a stumbling block to transition. Would God have allowed doctors the ability to perform the surgery if He didn't want it done? No, the devil did not create that ability - God did (John 1:3).

I fully understand the family and financial roadblocks. Following my wife's death, that roadblock was removed because I don't care if the rest of my family approves (they don't, but marginally accept).

Finances were a serious impediment for me, but I believe God has solved that problem as well. I was recently informed of a small inheritance that I can claim. It is enough to have my surgery, and I have begun the process of scheduling that for May.

Remember that to "love your neighbors as your self," you must love yourself first. I forget who said it, but "the goal of life is to be able to sit in a room alone and enjoy the company." You can do it.

Love,

Nancy

Listen To Your Children - Especially At Christmas

Imagine a special little girl waking on Christmas morning. She rushes to the tree hoping to find a pretty doll or beautiful new dress.

"A train set? Must be for my brother," she says to herself.

She looks around. No doll. "Well, maybe it's wrapped up."

All the packages are wrapped in a generic paper or boy's paper. She sees nothing that look girly.

She pulls out all the packages that have that name that doesn't really suit her very well. Opening the first, she finds, "A flannel shirt? Yuck!" The next has socks, then boy's pajamas.

Absolutely nothing that says, "We know you feel like a girl." Everything says, "You were born with that thing, so you have to be a boy."

And this happens every year. Even after she tells her parents how she envied that boy who wore a dress to school because he got all his clothes dirty. Even after they caught her wearing her mother's old nightgown to bed. Even after they found some of her mother's clothes under her pillow because she didn't have a chance to sneak them back. And they certainly never noticed her tears on Christmas morning.

How can she ever enjoy Christmas?

 

Parents, listen to your children; pay attention to what they don't say, but show. It may only be a phase, but it is important to them. And if it's not just a phase, it's even more important.

Living with the Transgendered Husband/mate

At one of our Kappa Beta meetings, the topic of living with a TG spouse came up. Not all the spouses are as supportive; many can't stand it at all. But when this one started with her feelings, I asked her to write them down for this site.

[no-glossary]

Living with the Transgendered Husband/mate
Or
Thinking outside the box about who your husband/mate is

I am old enough such that I came of age just before the sexual revolution of the sixties and before the women’s liberation movement of the seventies. I was not prepared for an unconventional husband. I had a preconceived idea of the ideal husband that was just as rigid as the fifties version of the ideal woman. Husbands take out the trash at night, they wear suits to work, have short hair, no beards, mow the lawn, and they definitely don’t wear dresses.

Women of my age didn’t work after they got married; they wore dresses to work and pants only to garden. They worked as secretaries, librarians, nurses, and schoolteachers. They weren’t lawyers, doctors and businesswomen hoping to be CEOs. As the women’s lib movement has helped women break through the traditional image of the ideal woman and opened doors to us, men have had to change their ideas of the woman and move over to make room for us in the board room, in the partnership at the law firm and in the senate of the United States. Men not only have changed their attitudes to allow us this freedom to grow and express ourselves, but they have embraced a relationship with us as a partner rather than lord and master.

Then, along comes the man who enjoys cross-dressing or is transgendered and we don’t know how to deal with it. We tell the man “Okay, but keep it in the closet.” “Not around the home,” “I don’t want to see you dressed.” Well, it is a little off the beaten path for us. We weren’t brought up to think of men this way, so we deny that it could be a normal way of expressing their personality, or sexuality, and we don’t want to know about it. We think of it as perverted, or, an illness. I had to stretch my concept of who my husband was. If this has happened to you, ladies, start reading and learning about it.

Women who liked to wear pants like Katherine Hepburn were just comfortable that way. Women who wanted to work and needed to work weren’t trying to emasculate men. Who are the men who like to cross dress? Many of them are fathers and husbands who fulfill the role expected of them. Surprising, many of them have served in uniform as police or servicemen. Many of them are successful alpha males to the outside world. This is a role they play; they have been told by society and women to play it this way. It gets a little heavy sometimes to always carry the burden of problem solver, family provider, and protector. Some men do have another softer side to themselves which they can express freely when they dressing in women’s clothing. Most men don’t know why they do this. They only know that they like doing it. They have as much vanity as women in wanting to be pretty, have a nice figure, and look nice in clothes. Their style runs the whole spectrum that you find among women from the hippies, to the biker girls, to the Talbot’s woman, to the Paris Hilton. Some would have preferred to be a woman. Some feel more natural in the role of woman.

Is this normal? Throw out the idea of normal. It changes every twenty years anyway. Cross-dressing men and women, (yes, they do it, too), have been with society for four thousand years. They exist in every culture and country in the world. This is not a new phenomenon. Without support from their mates or spouses, they are often lonely and confused how to handle this issue in their lives. They all feel that it isn’t just a passing fancy, but part of their lives that they need. “She” is not going away or back into the closet. Some men have tried that and it didn’t work. “She” came back. “She” needed to be out. They are good fathers and companions and providers. They might be more understanding of the desire a woman has to shop and look her best. They might even be more understanding and take on the typical tasks around the house that some men call women’s work. How does it work in my home? I had to create space for two women to share the kitchen. This was a little hard, as I had to give up part of my domain. What I got in return was help with the dishes, cleaning the stove, shopping, and running the household. My husband still handles the repairs around the house, sometimes in heels, sometimes in sneakers. We have had to adjust the marriage some.

In accepting my husband’s alter ego or “her” as part of our lives, I have found that the conversation between the two of us has broadened. There is a deeper intimacy that we can talk about because my partner knows that I will listen and accept what ever comes to mind. It certainly makes it more interesting. In the 15 years of living with a transgendered man, we do have some ground rules.

  1. This is between us, not our extended family and children. We decided that it was hard enough for us to understand this issue. It was definitely beyond the rest of them to cope unless there was a need to know. Some issues are private in a marriage between a couple and are not the business of the rest of the family.
  2. We took a vow when we married to forsake all others and this meant that this is not an excuse to look for extra curricular activities. This does not threaten my exclusive relationship to my husband and he is not looking for sexual fulfillment outside the marriage. In some ways I have become bolder and more creative in love making to not always put the responsibility upon the man. This works for both us and actually adds variety and excitement to the marriage.
  3. I had to ask the question when “She” came into our life, “Are you a woman looking for a man or are you a woman who wants other women?” It took a little thinking on her part to answer that she was not looking for outside activity. I concluded that this was not a threat to our marriage.

Sometimes I have a girl friend to pal around with, sometimes my husband. I help her with her make up and shopping and putting together an outfit. If she was going to dress, I wanted her to be pleased with the way she looked. I have encouraged her with her hairstyles and in buying a good-looking wig. I made an appointment for her to get her make up professionally done by a make up artist so she could see herself as beautiful. I still have a husband for those times when socially I am expected to have a husband. We also have friends in the transgendered community who we both like and socialize with. I have found all the ladies very interesting, compassionate, intelligent and with a good sense of humor. Many are from service ranks, many are from the professional ranks, and many are from blue-collar ranks. We have honest conversations about the issues, not superficial bar room conversations. Some of them are church oriented and conservative some as liberal as Barney Frank.

So, ladies, as the women’s lib movement allowed us freedom to pursue who we wanted to be, don’t put men in a box. Grant these men the same freedom to express and be who they want to be. Let go of your rigid ideas of masculinity and what a husband/mate should be and embrace who they actually are. Your mate will love you dearly if you can accept, embrace, and enjoy “her.” It is a complicated issue and you do need to explore this to see where you and your mate fall into the broad spectrum of the transgendered world. But, know that some of us have been married to a transgendered person, and love our mates dearly for the person they are, and couldn’t see our life without them.

[/no-glossary]

Must Our Church Accept All People

Many churches, both local and denominational, refuse to accept that some people are worthy of worshiping with them. Some even go so far as to use portions of the Bible to justify this discrimination.

I must assume that those people are reading a different book than I do. My Holy Bible speaks of love and inclusion, not hatred and exclusivity. The most well-known verse in the Bible is John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." There is nothing in these words that excludes those who are different. It doesn’t say just males, just clergy, just members of a certain denomination, just the "right" people, or even people of a particular sexual or gender orientation. It says anyone who is willing to accept the supreme sacrifice that He made for us will be saved.

Jesus declared the two greatest commandments to be "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. ... Love your neighbor as yourself.1" Again, He gave no limitations. There must be no limits to our love.

The apostle Paul wrote to the fledgling Roman church, "…Why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.2" As John said in the verse immediately following the most famous "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world3…" Judgment is God’s job and He reserves that responsibility totally for Himself.

And yet God wants that job to be easy. In Peter’s second letter, he states that God is, "Not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.4" Again the scripture is all-inclusive. "Everyone" means just that – everyone. Who are we to second-guess God in this?

Paul further urges us to be welcoming, "…Make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way. Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.5" We must welcome all comers to our presence, and even more, be willing to share with them – and more so, be willing to learn from them as well10.

Many churches feel that letting sinners in is a bad practice, so they exclude some who they feel are sinning. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.18" If you see a sinner, why not work to "gently correct20" them, rather than condemn them to the darkness?

Many believe that those they feel are unfit for their church are visited with evils to punish them. This is not what I see in my Bible; actually it is often the believer who is tested. "For you, O God, tested* us; refined us like silver. You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. … But you brought us to a place of abundance.6" When Jesus was questioned about the sins of the man born blind7, He replied that the man was born blind not because of sins, but "that the work of God might be displayed in his life." And John, the Revelator, was told to write to the church in Smyrna that some would be put in prison to be tested. Those whose hearts have been "hardened" need not be tested – their punishment is eternal!

But those who believe in Christ and come to us must be welcomed: "Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.8" Mark Twain said, "Actions speak louder than words, just not nearly as often." We must open our doors, hearts, and minds to all who come to us. Just saying, "God loves you" is not enough; we must show them God’s love.

We often hear sports people talk of a "homefield advantage." Is that not what these visitors to our church just handed us - the homefield advantage? They are on our turf where we have all our tools around us to gently correct them, to proclaim the good news13.

Matthew quotes Jesus, "You are the light of the world. … Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.9" Each of us is the only God that many see; it is imperative that we be the best God we can be. We can do that only by knowing what He wants us to do – and then doing it.

Paul cautions us, "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing, and perfect will.10" For many of us the Bible might be, at times, confusing or difficult to understand. We must also sharpen our minds by rubbing them against others – including that outcast that many churches have rejected.

God is still speaking, but since the canon is unlikely to be amended, it is through people that He gains a voice. The gift of prophecy is more often one of correcting the Church catholic. "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says the to the churches.11" "Everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement, and comfort. … He who prophesies edifies the church.12"

Luke records one of Jesus’ worship times, "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom to the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.13"

Some of us have been lacking a mission or vision for our lives. We’re not always sure about why we’re here, or what God wants us to do. But this mission was not just for Jesus – remember, "You are the light of the world." You are a guide sent to a confused and lost world. Satan is out there preaching false truths every day, every hour. We must, just as decisively, be demonstrating God’s love and acceptance every day, every hour, every minute.

Satan is about destruction and hatred. God is about creation and love. And He can create and love through us. John’s gospel explains it well: "Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that was made.14" It doesn’t say that He snapped His fingers and everything happened. He gives us the power to create if it is within His will. And He certainly commands us to love, which is an act of creation in itself.

Once again in Revelations, Jesus declares, "I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut.15" Why do so many churches believe that they can shut the Lord’s door? Those who seek the Lord will find Him regardless of your opposition. Would it not be better then to stand at that door with a smile and ready handshake or hug? Is it not better to proclaim freedom to the prisoners, to give sight to the blind, and to release the oppressed? Perhaps in giving these, we get some in return.

Peter also suggests that living as He commands will hasten the Kingdom on Earth16. Don’t we all want that?

We are to "Go and make disciples of all nations.17" Not just a few; not just the ones we like; not just the ones that are like us. Go to all nations – that is, all people. In Luke's Gospel we see Jesus sending 70 disciples (interestingly, this was the number of nations in the world at the time). Jesus knew that some would not accept their testimony and gave comfort to those who would be rejected19 and a word of warning to us today.

"Must our church accept all people?" How dare we not?



* In Biblical times, refining a precious metal, such as silver, was a lengthy process, which began by placing the raw ore in a large kettle over a hot fire. As the metal melted, the impurities (or "dross" in the KJV) floated to the top where they could be skimmed off. "Testing" meant that the smith could lean over the molten metal and see a perfect reflection of himself.


These verse references are linked to Bible.org for your further study.

1 Mark 12:30-31

2 Romans 14:10

3 John 3:17

4 II Peter 3:9

5 Romans 14:13, 19

6 Psalm 66:10, 11, 12

7 John 9:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

8 Romans 15:7

9 Matthew 5:14, 16

10 Romans 12:2

11 Revelation 2:29

12 I Corinthians 14:4-:5

13 Luke 4:18-19

14 John 1:3

15 Revelations 3:8

16 2 Peter 3:11-12

17 Matthew 28:19

18 Romans 3:23

19 Luke 10:16

20 Galations 6:1



Further Reading

Open Letter to My Family

This letter was written by a friend who is going through many of the same problems that I am. I wish I had written it.

To My Family,

Socrates said that the unexamined life is not worth living. I agree with that and would add that the life lived that is not self-fulfilling and self-realizing is also not worth living.

As you may or may not know about me, I try to live my life as honestly, openly and self-congruously as possible. To that end I am now writing this letter, and I apologize if it's more information than you wanted but I don't know how else to talk about it.

All my life I've known that I was different somehow, perhaps different in many ways. Some differences I've been more aware of, other differences I've perhaps had some awareness of at times, but mostly they were just seriously repressed. Often I didn't really have a good understanding of what I felt and how I felt about myself, even who I was. It's only been in the last ten years or so that I've really started to deeply examine myself and come to a better understanding of who I am. And it's only been in the last couple of years that I've really started to accept who I am.

I am a transsexual; transsexualism being defined as making changes to one's body such that it more closely represents the gender identity one was born with. The gender I believe I was born with is largely female.

In my case that means I am taking female hormones which is resulting in breast growth, some redistribution of body fat, a reduction in muscle mass and other small changes. I will not be having sexual reassignment surgery. Without Terry, I might consider surgery, but without Terry's support I wouldn't have the strength or courage to do what I'm now doing. And I wouldn't even consider the possibility of losing Terry.

Being TS (transsexual) does not necessarily mean being homosexual. I never have been nor am I now at all sexually attracted to men. I love women and always have, particularly Terry.

There are no clear cut reasons or causes for transsexualism, but it's certainly not anybody's "fault." I didn't choose this and wouldn't if I had a choice. The only choice I have is in how I deal with it. I could stay unhappy, depressed, not accepting of myself, slowly self-destructing, or I could embrace being TS, live with the consequent problems and be happy with myself and my life. The more I consider it though, the more I realise how little choice I have in how I respond, either. As it is now, aside from current financial problems, this is the happiest I've been my whole life.

I am really no different from whom I've always been. My interests are basically no different. I still like to cook, still like to watch football, still like to lift weights and still hate romance novels. I am still a libertarian/anarchist. My fashion sense hasn't changed although I now have a different wardrobe and appear somewhat different. I expect that for some of you this may come as quite a shock, for others it may not be a big surprise, for a few it's something you already know. For me, at some level of consciousness, it's something I've known my whole life.

Your response and reaction to this is entirely your own. I would like love and acceptance but I expect nothing. If you choose to disown me or if I'm no longer welcome in your home or at family gatherings, then I can understand and live with that. I love you all and will continue to do so irrespective of your response. Feel free to still consider me as a male relative (father, son, brother, brother-in-law, SOB, etc) if you want. My preference would be otherwise and would be to be called Kris or Kristine. To Terry, however, I am and always will be Chris.

Terry and I are still very much in love. Here is how she feels about the whole thing:

"To put it simply: I love Chris. (To me he will always be 'Chris' because that's how I've known him for the past 36 years and it's a little too late to start calling him 'Kris.' :-)

"And loving him, I love to see him happy, and this makes him happy, therefore, it's fine with me. The only caveat I have, and I have told him so, is that I don't want him to have the reassignment surgery. I would still love him if he did, and I would support him if he chose to, but I could not stay married to him if he did, so it would necessarily change the whole dynamic of our relationship. You see, I like men, and I like sex, and that would kind of negate that aspect of our relationship.

"What I love about Chris is not the way he dresses; therefore, how he dresses makes no difference to me. What I love about him is his spirit — his soul, if you will. He is a loving, open, generous, intelligent human being who is always questioning the world to see how and where he fits into it, or doesn't. I never know what he is going to do next, and that keeps me on my toes and makes me stretch my thoughts and question my world view, something I'm not sure I would do on my own. So, I hold on tight with both hands and get whirled away on the ride of a lifetime, and I'm looking forward to many more years of ups and downs and not a few sideways feints and loop-da-loops. Life with Chris is always an adventure."

The bottom line for me is that this is important enough to me that I'm willing to lose friends and family over this. This is my life and it is I who must live the balance of it. I've lived 50 years trying to meet the expectations of others and now it's time that I live my life as I've seen it my whole life. I can't begin to tell you how hard this is for me, the implacable need to go forward and do this, and the strong desire to not hurt, disappoint, and lose those people that I love. Last night I cried myself to sleep over this.

The wonderful writer Anais Nin seems to have written just the words that explain where I'm at: "And the day came when it was more difficult to stay in the bud then it was to blossom."

I am quite willing to respond or answer questions if you'd like to call or e-mail me, however don't feel you need to respond. References and photos are available upon request. :-) Feel free to share this with whomever. I don't consider it particularly private.

--Kristine

Points to Ponder

I recently got this email in an online TG group to which I belong. I had to reply, and that reply follows this.

I've had an unusual, somewhat humorous experience this fall and thought I'd share it with you girls. I will not pretend to be as erudite as our sister Xxxx (she has a great mind and mine is worn out) but here goes none the less. This is about females, women, ladies, and girls.

I am still here in the southern Appalachian mountains. The backyard of my house is really woods and shares a boundary with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is "in the sticks." I grew up here and went to high school with Dolly Parton (she's a year younger than I). So, I'm a southern, mountain girl through and through. Earlier in the fall, some people whose families I've known for years had their annual hog day... this means killing and putting up hams, bacon, sausage, etc., smoking it and curing some in salt. Today I went back to pickup the bacon, hams, and sausage they had prepared for me.

I gotta tell you there were some rough looking mountain women there. One was smoking a cob pipe (ala Granny Clampet) and when others would finish their jobs (whatever they were doing) they would take up a banjo or dulcimer and play for the others. There was a log fire going and a sheet of steel where bacon was frying. [I have to tell you if they don't have bacon in Heaven, I'm not sure I want to go there.] Anyway, it got me to thinking about females, versus women, versus ladies, versus girls. All these females were women... but not the kind of women you usually see at the mall. I think none were ladies (I could be wrong) and all looked as though they'd left "girlhood" a long time ago.

Recently I had the opportunity to discuss our particular "persuasion" with a group of both pre-op and post-op TS folks. When they found out that I am a physician, they wanted to pick my brain about a variety of medical things. I told them I was pretty much by now incompetent... but they insisted. Anyway, during the course of the discussion one person opined as to how she couldn't wait to become a full fledged woman after her surgery in a few weeks. I opined that unless her surgery was going to replace that nasty little "Y" chromosome in some 3 or 4 trillion cells, she wasn't going to become a female... but rather a male (she would also still have a prostate and where I went to med school females still did not come with prostates) with female characteristics. That in turn brought on lots more discussion all very friendly and open.

So after that discussion and the visual sites of today, I am wondering if womanhood and femaleness are the same or if one can exist independently of the other? And what does being a lady have to do with either of these? I remember one day asking my wife if a dress I was going to wear was too tight and she said that "a dress should be tight enough so that people would know that you're a woman and fit loose enough so that they'd know you are a lady." So I wonder, is being a lady something we can all attain and is thus more of a comportment issue than a gender issue? Can we become women through surgery, HRT, etc. or none of these without being genetically female?

Well, you noticed in the beginning I referred to myself as being a "Southern, Mountain Girl"... and I love being that... a feisty girl... and sometimes a woman, sometimes a lady, unfortunately never a female, and all the time loving whatever it is that I am.

Points to ponder girls... er... ladies...

-- Angie    (name changed to protect the innocent)


Here is my response:

If I put in my 2 cents worth, you can all send me the change. So here are my opinions on this subject.

Being a lady (or gentleman) is a matter of behavior towards others. It has absolutely nothing to do with biology.

Being a woman is a matter of behavior in general. It also has absolutely nothing to do with biology.

Being a female is a matter of biology – and, by the way does not mean that one may only have two X chromosomes; there are other uncommon, but not totally rare, variations. It has nothing to do with behavior.

I suspect that all of us in our "persuasion" (as Angie called it) know females who are not ladies. We probably know females who are not women but may have to wrack our brains to figure out who they are. And we also know ladies who are not females.

Rest assured, Angie, being a mountain girl is not mutually exclusive with being a lady.

And, for the rest of us not so fortunate to live in so picturesque an environment, being a lady is also not mutually exclusive with being a bitch occasionally. That's a fact that I take great comfort in.

Nancy


I'd like to expound upon this a little more: (Hmm. Are "expound" and "little more" redundant?)

"Lady" is an honorary title bestowed upon someone to recognize the way she acts towards, and treats, others. In general, it requires one to be a woman first (see above). The same distinction also goes for "gentleman." I know gentlemen who are females and ladies who are male. The funny thing is that I don't know that many ladies who are female, nor gentlemen who are male.

"Woman" is a title, or label, you appropriate for yourself. It does not mean the way you dress. It is the way you act because of the way you see yourself. Most of us know a gay man who acts in a feminine manner; because he still sees himself as a male, he does not use the term "woman" to describe himself (we'll ignore "girl" for the moment). We may also know males who crossdress, yet you know they are not women because their self-image is obvious.

Unfortunately, "girl" is a term used in a variety of ways, some of them derogatory, some gender-indistinct. I could probably write an entire article on those uses.

Rainbow Bridge

From PetLoss.com

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.

There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable. All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.

The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together...

Author unknown

Say What You Mean - We aren't always clear in what we say.

Did you ever stop and realize that some of the things you commonly say are not really what you mean even though they are generally understood? A very common example of this is when you say "I don't think…" when what you really mean is "I [do] think … not …" For example, "I don't think Nancy is an ugly woman" really should be "I think Nancy is not an ugly woman."

What brought this on? Well, the other day, I told my sister "I love being a girl." She corrected me, without realizing it, by saying "You love being you." Well, duh!

This sort of melds with another thought I had when I read a newspaper editorial that was written by someone I'd like to smack upside the head with his own writing. He wrote about someone who was "wearing a mask" to disguise his public appearance (we are talking about an unpopular political activist). In the editorial, the author decried this practice, basically saying, if you can't be open, what's the point?

Yet, this same author, and his wife, has tried to deny me the opportunity to remove my mask in their presence.

All my life, I've had to wear a mask and pretend to be what I'm not: a man. Many people have noticed this in me and even talked a bit about it. Yet there is still incredible pressure for me to fulfill a role in society for which I am totally unfit rather than to adopt the role in which I am far more comfortable. And all of this is because of what I have come to see as a birth defect.

Why must people insist on their own comfortable [mis]understanding at the expense of my acceptance of myself? Psychologists have a rule that explains much of this: "If I do something, there is a good reason; if you do it, it is because of a character flaw." While each of us prefers our own comfort or way of doing things, we see others as having a character defect if they wish the same for themselves.

What can we do about this? Not really all that much; this is human nature. The only counter-measure is knowledge – education. We must explain our thoughts and beliefs so that they have some inkling of why we are the way we are. Once those people have heard it often enough, they begin to see it less as a character flaw and more as a fact of nature.

But it is also prudent to "pick your battles." Some people are clearly not going to be swayed until someone else is swayed first. These people are unwilling to think for themselves. Arguing with those people is just not going to work – you have to go for the people who tell them what to think.

One great example is found in the "religious" community. Many people do, or think, only what their pastor tells them; they do not read the Bible for themselves and come to their own beliefs based on that. Unfortunately, their pastors often do exactly the same, so a current belief is often based on a generations-old idea that may have been malformed to begin with. The key to fighting this battle is to find those from whom the idea originates and who may be willing to rethink the idea.

This is not easy, nor is it quick. But it is necessary for our own survival.

"I'd rather have a dead brother than a living sister" is not acceptable, yet often forced upon us. Taking one's own life is not uncommon in the transgender community; I'd be very surprised to find one of us who has not at least had those thoughts. But if you do, "they" win. I choose to not let them win.

So let me just go on record as saying, "I enjoy being a girl, and I love being me, even if you choose not to try to understand it."

Things We Can Learn from a Dog

By Rev. David James at PetRev.com

Three More Thoughts on Labels

It seems, in the TG community, that the subject of labels is frequently brought up and, almost as often, feared. Recently, in the Vanity Club emails, the subject was on labels. These writings are from other members of the Vanity Club.


Hi everyone,

I decided to complicate this whole thread. I have agreed individually with some of you that I abhor labels as a poor substitute for reasoned thought. So much for that. Now I'd like to bring up the subject of "Who" is being labeled. To keep this from becoming a thesis, I'm cutting out so much that it may read like a fractured hard drive. Oh well.

You see, there are two of us. There is "J" who wanted desperately to be a girl beginning at age 4 and matured into a successful male who had a fanatic fascination with everything female and feminine. He began wearing his sister's undies at that age and, of course, progressed to mother's things. No surprises there. About age 12 or 13 he experienced a quite significant breast development (search on gynecomastia if you're interested). Hmmmmmmm??

At an advanced age Crystal was born. He and Crystal live quite comfortably together. When one is out, the other takes a break and for all intents just doesn't exist. There is some leakage of feelings and information. He isn't at all interested any more in being in the least feminine. Has Crystal's emergence taken away the fascination? - the mystery?

Anyway, J certainly engaged in what we would describe as CD/TV activities. What is he now? What is Crystal, who feels absolutely no connection to the male gender, while knowing that she is not really a woman? Does any label fit this situation?

What I'm getting at is "Who is being labeled?" Crystal or "J?" Both? Oh my, how confusing things get.

'nuf for now

Crystal


I think Crystal brings up a fascinating aspect to this whole discussion. She really raises the issue of how our individual motives for dressing affect the label (psychological and designer, but that is probably fodder for another email at a later date.) that applies to each of us.

If why we dress is as a means to achieve sexual gratification, then some transgender monikers really don't apply. Presumably, a man, for whom crossdressing is solely a means for facilitating certain kinds of sex play, probably never entertains the notion of actually changing his permanent gender identity. That sort of person, at least to me, is a crossdresser, or even a fetishist (Not that there is anything wrong with that, to borrow the Seinfield line).

Likewise, a man who dresses primarily for social purposes - because he really enjoys being received in social settings as a woman (whether or not he may also gain sexual gratification) - but doesn't want to permanent change his gender, is probably a transvestite. And then a person who, although born with an "outie," so to speak, fervently desires an "innie," and then wears clothing of the gender he feels most honestly expresses his real gender identity, is a transsexual.

Likewise, as Crystal notes, a person who has segmented their gender expressions into two personas may also have a different transgender title applied. And, frequently, I know a lot of us use the shorthand "Tgirl" to describe ourselves because it's easier than trying to shoehorn our often complex and changing motives into a single titular construct.

In the end, I think titles are helpful in some respects and limiting in others. They can help us understand why we dress, and help others to gain a similar awareness. Unfortunately, however, to the outside world we often are all lumped under another term of art - just plain weird. I hate this pejorative stereotype, but I acknowledge it and hope, as I live my life, to contribute to changing it. Slowly, I think, society is starting to soften as it gains understanding of gender diversity. And as that happens, the titles we're given won't matter as much.

I also remember a small joke I was told by someone in a local transgender support group here in the Washington, DC area. On our first meeting, she asked me whether I thought I was a transvestite or transsexual. I told her I wasn't sure. She said that, in the group, they had a joke. "What's the difference between a transvestite and a transsexual," she asked. Playing along, I said that I didn't know. She smiled and said, "Five years, more or less. A surprising number of girls who start out dressing for purely recreational purposes jump the broom into womanhood as time goes by."

Gina Marie


Fellow girls,

That's a weird salutation, isn't it?

The discussion about labels brings to mind an article I read recently, the provenance of which I can't remember just now. It had to do with the term "label" and how that term is now of itself seen as a pejorative. To label something (other than in terms of branding or packaging) is to describe it, from an external perspective, in a short and often unflattering way. The label is then worn by the targeted party, sometimes unwittingly and often involuntarily. It's often a part of the spin world where one group is trying to get the upper hand on the other.

As an alternative to "label," the terms "name," "category," "title," "type," "group," and others each carry various weights of meaning. And their plentitude and variation suggest that what they offer, in terms of definition, identification (by ourselves and others), differentiation, stratification, etc. are valuable. I certainly recall that as a child, a teenager, and a young adult I kept looking for different T-related terms and their definitions if only as landmarks to help me determine where and how I fit in, to the T-culture in particular and the world at large.

I also remember, in an ancient nationally syndicated TV (television) appearance about our little world, having to address that categorization question. Then, one was as likely to find the term "eonist" or "transvestite" as "crossdresser" (fairly new in the early 80s) or "transgendered" (just a-borning if around at all). I disdained (and perhaps even dissed) the discussion, offering the more idealistic view that it doesn't really matter anyway, does it (in a Rodney King kind of "can't we all just get along" way). Sometimes I feel a little this way, sometimes a little that, so where does that put me, as I posed it.

Sometimes the labels are for us to use, sometimes for others. They evolve and disappear over time, as words and in their meanings, both absolute and relative.

Cheryl

Time

You may have heard before that there are two Greek words used in the Bible which are both translated as "time." The first is chronos and the second is kairos. The explanation usually given for chronos is that is the fluid dimension that we humans experience and measure with our clocks.

The second word, kairos, is often described as "the appointed time." While this is not a bad description, it is not, in my opinion at least, a complete description.

To be more complete, we need to understand that there are, in turn, two kinds of "appointed time." The first one is in reference to a prophecy. To understand this one, we need a brief trip into Physics.

We humans live in what I call a three-and-a-half dimensional universe. We all know and can easily grasp length, width and depth. And if we look at the corner of any box, we can also mostly understand how these dimensions are at right angles to each other. Time is another dimension, and is pretty much just like the three familiar ones. It is also at right angles to the other three (don't try to picture it, it will hurt your brain). However, humans only experience time in one direction (we call it forward or future).

God, on the other hand, sees and experiences time just like we experience length. He can walk backwards and forwards over time. Hence, He can see the future and the past simply by turning His head.

So when God grants someone a prophecy, He not only knows that it will happen, but, to Him has already happened. Therefore, it is incorrect to say that a prophecy "comes true" — that would mean that it might not, and that is not the case. Nor should we consider a prophecy like a promise, for promises can be broken.

A prophecy is "fulfilled" when it is manifest. And this happens at its "appointed" time, or kairos. In this case, even "appointed time" is not really correct. Perhaps "anointed time" would be more appropriate.

The second meaning for kairos is for humans. It is at this appointed time that we are called upon for an action or response. We all hope that we know what kind of response is required at such a time, and indeed God usually prepares us for that.

Okay, maybe "usually" is wrong; maybe He always prepares us, but sometimes we blind ourselves in fear or worldly cares. Such is my case at the moment.

About a year ago, I received a rather lengthy message from God about my calling. Following that, we had a lengthy discussion about it. In that discussion, there were things that I pointed out, and of course He countered. There was a word describing a Biblical "office" that I cannot bring myself to use; He agreed that we don't have to use it as long as I do the job anyway. (Did I lose or win that argument?)

In the time since this discussion, I have looked for signs of when my mission is to start. I have also looked for references in the Bible that might allay my fears or confirm my calling. To a large extent I could not find them.

In the last two Sundays, God has been hitting me over the head with a 2x4 called Pastor John. In both services, he has used Bible passages that I swear were never in the Bible before. But they speak directly to me, both allaying my fears and confirming my calling (at least that's how I feel it). And just to make sure I noticed, last week, verses that were read at my wedding and which meant a lot to both of us were read. Just to further explain the meaning of this to me, these verses have been used before as a signal to me from my late spouse (I won't go into the details, please just accept it).

Last week, John used a passage from Jeremiah that shook me to my core using my fears from that conversation with God. This week, John selected scripture by Paul that exactly matched some of the things I said to God a year ago, and which I could not find in the Bible then.

The bottom line is that I feel kairos is here for me. It has arrived. It is time. The problem is that I don't know how to respond. I believe I am willing (Isaiah 6:8), I just don't know what I should do next. My only thought at the moment is to seek help from someone else who has answered their call. Is that the correct response? I wish I knew.

 

Lord, my God, my eyes have not seen you, but my heart has. My ears have not heard you by my spirit has. Here am I, send me. Send me where you will. Fill my mouth with the words you command. Cleanse my heart with the waters and fire of your Spirit. Overcome my will with yours. Ready me with both the ferocity of your Word and the gentleness of your Love. Let me go truly in Jesus' name for your sake.

Transsexuals of the Mind: Opening Doors - without barriers most of us would prefer to live, work, and play as women

This was sent to me by a friend; she has had this in her possession for many years and has lost the name and contact information for the author. I would like to have legitimate permission to use this and post a proper attribution. I did search the web trying to locate its source, but to no avail. Please, if you wrote this, or know who did, contact me and give me that information.

Remember, I did not write this; don't blast me if you disagree with it. I am including it on this site because it does closely mirror my own thoughts and observations.

Transsexuals of the Mind: Opening Doors

Before I go anywhere with this piece I want to acknowledge that it is almost certainly going to be controversial. Bear with me. I will happily entertain correspondence, and comment and respond in time. But please just don't write, if you write at all, and say it is nonsense unless you have a constructive opinion. The second point I need to make is who and why I have come to these conclusions.

At the time of writing, I am sixty-two years of age. I have been an active crossdresser since I was ten. I am a journalist and author by profession and my training has provided me with the skills to undertake proper research and investigation. I have been working on this theory for sixteen years and have spoken with, either directly or indirectly, over three hundred crossdressers from seven countries, from every imaginable occupation and age group, and not once, but many times, so that the evidence has been built over a period of time. Thus these conclusions are not spontaneous.

I believe that all dedicated crossdressers are, at least, "transsexuals of the mind." This is to say if there were no barriers almost all of us would prefer to live, work and play as women. The relatively large numbers of mid-life transsexuals of the body support this theory but there are many other pieces of evidence.

To illustrate this assertion I am going to use what I refer to as the "Doors of Opportunity Theory." This means nothing more than the apparent reality that we, all of us, tread paths that lead… somewhere, and along these paths we find doors. Some times the doors are locked and it takes a while to find the key; and some times the doors are barred forever and we progress no further. But significantly when we do find the keys we almost always continue along these paths until we come across our own barred door, the one that absolutely precludes further progress.

Commonly, and I believe almost without exception, we would love to find a way to unbar that door if we could - and/or when we do - we will progress further.

Perhaps some examples are in order here. As children or young teens, when most of us, for whatever reasons, discovered the need to crossdress we were limited by lack of opportunity - fear of discovery, available clothing, time alone. This is when we came upon our first locked door. Forget the timing here because some of us found the key to that first door quite young and for others it remained locked for quite awhile. But eventually most of us did discover the key, opened the door and progressed along the next passageway - a very real "right of passage." This most usually happened when we moved out of the family home and began to live alone, and found ways to acquire female clothes and makeup and the time to make use of those things.

The next apparently locked door is usually brought about by one or two reasons. The first is the need to get out of the house. The second is the need to share with someone else, a girlfriend, fiancée, or wife. There are two doors here, in fact, and one or the other may be breached and lead to the next, but often the passageway between these two doors is quite short. You go out to somewhere safe at first and then perhaps somewhere a little more adventuresome. But there is another door which may preclude this adventure for some and that's the door of passability.

Thousands of CDs have the capacity to transform themselves if not into attractive women, at least into a state of acceptability. But thousands don't, and for them it may be that the door to the outside is permanently locked. And this will be as far as they go. They will remain closeted to some extent. But that does not mean that the need and the desire to go further are not present. And it is agonizing.

The other, often adjacent door, is the door to Exposure. It is equally agonizing to live this double life alone. So we, most of us try to share it, tell someone close and most commonly that is the woman we are about to marry or have already married. The key to this door is very meaningful. The level of acceptance of this revelation will often mean the door becomes fully open, ajar, or permanently or semi-permanently locked. I say semi-permanently because in many cases the key is discovered again when the relationship becomes impossible and we split. If this door is fully opened, that is to say we have found a partner who is accepting and supportive, we will progress further down the next hallway until... what? There will be another door. It would seem that about 30% to 40% of wives, SO's, or partners are agreeable to some level of crossdressing activity but far, far fewer are prepared to entertain the idea of any kind of permanent arrangement. But does that mean the idea of a next step goes away? No, it doesn't. The majority of us will accept the imposed limitations and keep to whatever agreement we have made, perhaps forever.

Here it is that we reach our conflict and my assertion that all - perhaps I will say very nearly all - of us would like to open that final door to some kind of permanent state is based on this premise. It is of no significance, really, whether we would choose to undergo SRS or not. What we are dealing with here is a state of mind.

It is very significant that the need to crossdress on a regular - more regular - basis intensifies with the aging process. What compromises we make are far easier at say 30, than they are at 50, when it seems the idea that we are running out of time becomes relevant. So that, even if the locked door remains barred and appears barred forever, and we go into denial, the desire, the need, the want to dress and live as a woman remains. Thus we are transsexuals of the mind.

I want to cite an example, and I know its only one, and we can't base a hypothesis on a single case, but it is significant and the person I am referring to is not alone. Ms. S. was closeted until the age of 37. Thereafter she was closeted within a relationship until the age of 67. When her spouse died she found the key to her final door. She has never had SRS nor even considered it, but she has not worn an item of male clothing since she opened the door, and she is now 84.

At the age of 62 the key to my final door takes three forms. One is the relationship with my spouse who is very supportive but who would not entertain the idea of permanency. The second is my work, which is in television where I have always been seen as male and could not continue to work were I to transition. The third is my family. My grandchildren would be just too confused to handle it. But if none of those barriers existed I would be transitioning tomorrow.

And from the many hours of conversations with other crossdressers I have enjoyed, or suffered, over the past thirty years, one hundred percent of them would be doing the same. Although in some cases it took a long time - often a few years - for them to make this admission. I rest my case.

Two Faces

By Bobbi Joseph

The mirror shows two faces,
Neither one is truly me.
The mirror shows two faces,
Alternating he and she.

The mirror shows two faces,
But, the real one's locked inside.
There is no mold for me to fit,
So from the world, I hide.

Quiet screaming late at night, emotions raw and stark.
Alone and hopeless, shattered shards left crying in the dark.
Perhaps I would not feel I am just one of life's disgraces,
If only once I could not see the mirror show two faces.

The mirror shows two faces,
Will I ever see just one?
Or is time to pass until i die,
My true self known by none?

The mirror shows two faces,
No solace found in faith.
A holy book my kind condemns,
With intolerance and hate.

Quiet screaming late at night, emotions raw and stark.
Alone and hopeless, shattered shards left crying in the dark.
Perhaps I would not feel I am just one of life's disgraces,
If only once I could not see the mirror show two faces.

The mirror shows two faces,
Though known by family,
Half of my self they fear to lose,
The other, fear to see.

The mirror shows two faces,
Neither one is truly me.
The mirror shows two faces,
Alternating he and she.

Quiet screaming late at night, emotions raw and stark.
Alone and hopeless, shattered shards left crying in the dark.
Perhaps I would not feel I am just one of life's disgraces,
If only once I could not see the mirror show two faces.


This was written by someone in a group that I belong to. I think it clearly shows some of our feelings early on and why it can be so difficult to move forward.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the full text of which appears here. Following this historic act the Assembly called upon all Member countries to publicize the text of the Declaration and "to cause it to be disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries or territories."

Interesting. The United States of America - the country of my citizenship - hasn't done too well in 63 years. To start with, I've never heard of this before, so we failed in just the accompanying instructions.

Eleanor Roosevelt, our First Lady, was part of the framing and passage of this Declaration. I am sure that she would be very sad to see how her own country has failed it so miserably.

Now, this declaration has 30 articles. By my count, the USA has failed in at least 12 of them:

Article 1.

Article 2.

Article 3.

Article 5.

Article 6.

Article 7.

Article 9.

Article 12.

Article 16.

  1. Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
  2. Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
  3. The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

Article 23.

  1. Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
  2. Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
  3. Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.

Article 25.

  1. Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

Article 29.

  1. Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.
  2. In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.
  3. These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Victim to Victor

This was written for the Transgender Day of Remembrance here in Charlotte.

[no-glossary]

Victim to Victor

We transgendered are often advised to "pick our battles." Many of the people whose names are read tonight didn't have that opportunity – some were killed in their own homes. It seems that sometimes the battle comes to us.

What can you do to make it a safer world for you?

What can we do to make it a safer world for all of us?

Despite the incidents that bring us here tonight, the world is a better place today because of those who have gone before. We, in a sense, stand on their shoulders. But is incumbent upon us to remember that those who are yet to come will stand on our shoulders. It is our responsibility to provide them a solid foundation and a positive model.

Peace is not the complete absence of conflict, nor is it the absence of busy-ness. Peace is being accepted for who you are, not who you have been or will be. There are pockets of peace in this world; seek them out and enjoy the feeling.

We don't have to be victims. We will win the war over time. Be positive; be proactive; be proud! Be a victor.
[/no-glossary]

What It's Like

Something that's been on my mind lately is trying to describe to the non-TG what it's like. Of course there's no real way to do that. But here's the beginning of my idea:

 

We've all had to be in really hot rooms for a while, especially here in the South. You start sweating and you can feel your energy sapped from you. It affects your ability to think and interact. It certainly makes you irritable.

So now imagine that you've been in that room day-in and day-out for years. The effects of that oppressive heat become so second-nature that you forget it was the heat that caused it; you begin to lose the ability to verbalize the original source of your depression. You learn to live with the suffering.

Then one day a small cool breeze comes in. Wow, what a relief! You want more. Suddenly you realize there are others in the room with you. Then you notice that those over there in that corner seem to be feeling more breezes. Dare you join them?

The problem is that you've come to believe that the people who put you in this room want you to stay in your corner. You don't remember why.

You take a few steps. If you don't get slapped down for this, you take a few more. All the while, it's getting cooler.

But now someone tells you to get back to your corner. Can you defy them? You start back to your corner but the heat is really bad again. You don't want to go back, but "they" told you that you had to. Maybe you don't have to go all the way back; you try stopping short.

"They" tell you that if you don't go all the way back, they won't have anything to do with you any more. Well, maybe they won't want anything to do with you any more because now they've seen you take those few steps. But your own comfort was so much better. And there are others over there.

Some of us decide that keeping "them" is less important than our own comfort, and we can meet new "they's" over there. Some of us rush too fast to get over there and pay the consequences of cooling down too quickly.

And, along the way, we begin to remember the source of our problems, but how do we deal with them? Certainly we can't look to "them" for help; "they" don't want us to get comfortable, because it makes "them" uncomfortable.

It's a different trip for each of us, and we may not need to reach all the way to that far corner. But travel we must.

What the Bible Says about Being Gay

It is interesting that there are those who choose to pick out various texts from the Torah (the Law) because they suppose that the texts support a certain form of fundamentalist bigotry that is current among the supposedly more religious element of our population. These people ignore any texts, or traditions, that would mitigate or dissolve that bigotry.

For centuries some fundamentalist Jews and Christians have taught that the Torah supported slavery, the subjugation of women to the role of mere property, the murder of women who were suspected of being witches, and now, the oppression of gays and lesbians.

Just as today’s Christian and Jewish theologians point out that the Torah NEVER EVER supported slavery, the subjugation of women or the murder of witches and sorcerers, so too will tomorrow's theologians tell us that those who were casting the first stones at gays and lesbians today “were not the true Christians (or religious Jews).” And they will be RIGHT, just as they are right when they tell us that the Crusaders who marched through Europe burning and murdering Jews “were not the true Christians” though they were being led by pious priests and bishops of the Church who were telling them that the killing of Jews was what Christ wanted of them. Today, it is hard for us to look back and tell who the "true" Christians really were. What will we see from the perspective of tomorrow?

Modern genetic science has shown that homosexuality is the natural state of being for some human beings. If that is truly the case, and I believe that it is, based upon the scientific studies posted upon the Internet by actual genetic scientists connected with prestigious universities, then it is God who is responsible for the condition of homosexuality just as it is God who is responsible for the condition of heterosexuality. To say that homosexuality is deviant behavior is to say that God made a mistake.

John 1:3 states, "Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made." So if one asks, "Does homosexuality or transsexuality exist? If so, who created it?" The answer is clear.

So let's look at some of the verses that Christians use to oppress those who are different:

Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 (essentially the same text): "Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable." The question is, is this referring to homosexuality as a form of an expression of love between two males who live in a monogamous relationship together? Or, is this referring to homosexual liaisons between men who basically are not in a committed relationship, but are just being sexually permissive? Or, is our text referring to PRIESTLY, and not to the everyday rank and file Israelite's sexual practices? Or, is the text referring to an inability of a person to control their sexual urges by telling them to "get a hold of your emotions, control your bodily functions?"

Like all indigenous peoples, the Jews were not overly concerned about male homosexuality, where two men lived together in a monogamous, sexual relationship. As a rule, it did not get any notice. The Talmud does not record a single instance of a person being brought before the Sanhedrin on the charge of homosexual activity. All Jewish authorities agree that nowhere in the Torah does it prohibit homosexual sexual acts by women.

In the 3rd century CE, the Talmud records that Rabbi Huna tried to legislate against lesbians being able to marry a High Priest but his colleagues ruled against him. They said that it was not permissible to prohibit what the Torah permits. If the Torah was referring to homosexuality in general, why would it just address only male homosexual activity and not also female homosexual activity?

Looking at the verses around this one (including the prohibition of sex during menstruation), we see references to incest and sex with animals. And if you go back to the beginning of chapter 18, God tells the Jews to not be like the people of Egypt or Canaan, where some religious practices involved same-sex intercourse as part of their rituals.

And is it really the normal homosexual practice for one man to lie with another man as though he were lying with a woman? A gay man is generally fully aware that he is with a man and does not think of, nor treat his partner, the same way.

Genesis 19:5 and Judges 19:22 are often used to amplify the prohibitions against homosexual sex, yet they clearly refer to degradation and rape, not the loving, committed relationships that God blesses. The temple male prostitutes described in I and II Kings also clearly refer to practices resembling those of Egypt and Canaan, which God had already warned them about.

The last Old Testament verse that is frequently used as a club is Deuteronmy 22:5: "A woman must not wear men's clothing, nor a man wear women's clothing, for the Lord your God detests anyone who does this." In addition to the common prohibition against cross-dressing, some denominations go so far as to forbid women from wearing pants.

The most commonly held understanding of Jewish scholars is that this, again, refers to the forbidden practices of Egypt, Canaan, and Samaria. So this is a prohibition against worshiping false idols, not cross-dressing. And certainly the largest portion of Western society has gotten beyond women wearing pants.

So now, we clobber these "clobber" verses: Virtually all Jewish scholars hold that the Jewish Law (the Torah) was not given to anyone outside the Jewish faith. It simply does not apply to Gentiles – which includes Christians.

Further, the apostle Paul seems to agree with this, as we can see, for just one example, in Romans 6:14: "For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace." Simply put, the laws of the Old Testament are for our edification, but not for us to follow.

Paul's letter to the Romans is also often used to preach against homosexuality – and even against those who support it. In chapter 1, verses 26-27, "Men committed indecent acts with other men…" Well, folks, just hold on one minute here!

Back up a few verses, to 1:21-25. He is referring to those who had known God but turned their back on Him – and began worshipping false gods. It is plain as day what those verses are referring to. And what people read as homosexuality, is really more properly described as promiscuous sex, as described earlier in the Old Testament (with which Paul was quite familiar).

There is not one verse in the Bible that condemns a committed, loving relationship between two people of any sex. There are many verses that praise that relationship. Homosexuality is not, in and of itself, a sin (Romans 14, Acts 11:9).

"But Satan made them that way." Well we can argue that too. First let's see what powers Satan has; in the book of Job, (1:12), we see that Satan could do nothing until the Lord allowed it. And then we get a very clear understanding of who created everything in John 1:3 (KJV), "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made." So if something exists, and I think you will agree that homosexuality exists, then it was made by Him, or with His agreement. As to individuals, let's see what Psalm 119: 73 has to say: "Your hands have made me and formed me..." So where does that leave us, perhaps what Peter was told applies, "Do not call anything impure that God has made clean." (Acts 11:9)

"Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead make up your mind to not put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way." (Romans 14:13). The Bible not only does not condemn homosexuality, it says that those who do are wrong and will be judged by God for doing so. "Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” (Romans 14:19)

So, let's return the well-loved book of Leviticus: "When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself for you were aliens in Egypt." (Lev 19:33-34) Discrimination is strictly forbidden.

The most well-known verse in the Bible is John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” There is nothing in these words that excludes those who are different. It doesn’t say just males, just clergy, just members of a certain denomination, just the “right” people, or even people of a particular sexual or gender orientation. God said anyone who is willing to accept the supreme sacrifice that He made for us will be saved.

Peter states that God is, “Not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (II Peter 3:9) Again the scripture is all-inclusive. “Everyone” means just that – everyone. Who are we to second-guess God in this?

 

Why Do We Use Labels?

Being in a community that is so often assaulted by labels being used in a derogatory manner, many of us despise the use of labels for any reason. But not all labels are bad.

For example, picture yourself walking into a dress store and finding a darling dress that's within your price range. You are a size 14 and the dress is labeled a size 14. Do you immediately snatch it off the rack and run to the register to buy it? No, in order to make sure it fits, you have to try it on.

Why couldn't you do that? It's because different manufacturers have different sizing standards. You can only use the labeled size as a starting point for finding what fits you.

The same goes for terms used to label people. They are useful for starting points, but are often based on individual standards and biases. The label may be used to begin psychological counseling (whether effective or not), define whether or not you belong to a group, or any of a number of other reasons. The thing we must all remember is that they are only starting points and may not fit someone very well. They should not be used to belittle someone.

In Hollywood, actors have been known to refuse roles on television because they feared success. Such success has been known to impart a stereotype, resulting in a long-term, negative impact on their career. Those stereotypes take a lot of work to overcome, but it can be done. Perhaps this is similar to the reasons people have for refusing labels.

Labels, like dress sizes, evolve over time. What they mean today may not be what they mean tomorrow. Many of us are old enough to remember when "gay" meant "happy." Did you know that the term "Methodist" (as in the church) was originally a derogatory term, but was appropriated by that church as their preferred label?

I call myself a size 14, but I have clothes in my closet that all fit me and they run from size 6 to 18. The maker of that size 6 skirt that fits quite well was obviously way off the standard in sizing. While I recognize that fact, it does make me feel good to know I'm wearing a size 6!

Likewise, I call myself a transsexual, but there are others who disagree because I have not yet had the surgery. Yet many others who have had the operation no longer consider themselves TS, but "normal."

I don't generally call myself a crossdresser, yet many others do. Certainly if one uses the definition of "a genetic male who wears women's clothes," then I am a CD. We won't even get into the legalistic definitions of homosexuality – even I totally refuse those labels.

Labels can be useful – but only as starting points. But they can also easily be abused.

As members of a community that is often assaulted by these labels, it is incumbent upon all of us to offer some education to those abusers. They speak from ignorance (often preferred), fear (that it's contagious), or prejudice (often learned from elders). Let's all do little things to help ease their misguidance. We become stronger in doing this.

Why It's So Important to Me

I think this was, unfortunately, the last "letter" I wrote to my wife before she died. She had contracted ALS (Lou Gherig's Disease) and died a few weeks after this was written.

As a background, let me explain that we had discussed what would happen to me after she passed away. She knew that dressing would once again be a big part of my life.

I realized and told her that it was pretty important to me that she accept my dressing. She had been moving that way in life but the process would not be able to complete in the normal way. I wanted/needed to know, as the one who had to remain, that I had her acceptance. She wanted to know why it was so important.


We all need to have some investment in us from those in whom we invest so much. We need those persons to bless us with their love as we bless them.

All my life I've felt as though no one could accept me as a whole human being, a worthy person. I don't have "sides" to my personality; I merely have traits that others seem to find odd and repulsive.

Of all the people who've gone through my life, none has ever been as important to me as you have. As I sang that one night, "You Are the Wind Beneath My Wings."

With you I have been more open and straightforward than with everyone else combined. As a result, you are a part of me.

Several years ago I realized how important it was to me to integrate all of me into a single human being. I've been working to integrate myself - shortcomings and all - into the real David. Since you are a part of me, it is important - perhaps critical - that I have your acceptance of the whole me.

Having you be with me dressed in women's [sic] clothes would allow me to try to gain your acceptance of my feminine attributes as well as my masculine ones. You may argue that you already accept those traits, but your fear of what they may lead to tells me that you haven't - at least not completely.

I doubt seriously that I can gain a full integration of myself in the next few months, so my part of the process will have to continue after. I know that you have made major progress over the last several years and were continuing in the right direction. I was lead to believe that you would have time to finish the process without my having to try to speed it up. Unfortunately, that option seems to have been taken from us.

I can only think of one person whose acceptance means so much to me, and that is you. Tolerance from others would be nice and make life a bit easier. But, for me, knowing that you could accept all of me is the most important gift you could ever bestow upon me.

Why Me? - the age old question we all ask.

By Pamela Jones

Pamelas Place

Editor's Note: The references to Kappa Beta and The Pink Slip are to our Tri-Ess chapter and its newsletter, to which this was originally submitted.


Recently, on one of the TG online support groups, someone said she wished "this CD thing would just go away." She said it seemed there were only two choices in life, to be who we are and be lonely, or to live a lie.

I imagine everyone reading "The Pink Slip" has come to terms with who they are in one way or another, if only by virtue of joining Kappa Beta in search of support.

I also imagine each of us has, at one time in our lives, had the wish that it would "just go away." If I think back through the mists of time, I could find such times in my own life.

Of course, we all know it won't go away. Who we are is more than something we do. This "CD, TG, TS thing" is as much a part of who we are as is the color of our eyes.

Whether we are who we are by some random roll of the genetic dice, or by virtue of environmental factors, or even a combination of the two, does not ultimately matter. What does matter is that we can arrive at the point at which we view ourselves as blessed, or gifted. This is true irrespective of one's faith. Often we say we feel trapped. In truth, we can become the most liberated people one could imagine, if only we are delighted with the people we were created to be.

It then becomes reasonable to say there is a choice aside from being lonely, or living a lie. Logic says if this is truly who we are; this inherent trait can be brought to the highest and best use. It can take time to arrive at this point in life. It often takes years of compromise and introspection.

Many of us have had some hard times along our journey, some more difficult than others. Some people like to say time heals all things. I don't believe that. I do believe time changes people, perspectives, and situations. For me, I have more appreciation of the good times in life when I reflect on the difficult times and how far my journey has taken me.

It is said you can't pretend to be something you are not. This is true, but you also cannot pretend to not be something you are. I believe only when we achieve genuine acceptance of ourselves as unique individuals with unique gifts, that we can truly accept others as they are.

This brings us to the subject of giving back to the TG community and Kappa Beta. Each of us has certain abilities. Sometimes the most valuable ability can be that of being a good listener, or providing empathy to a new visitor. It can be as simple as posting to the various online Yahoo groups that are aimed at supporting those who are isolated or depressed, often both.

Indeed, life is a journey. When we can look in the mirror and truly like the person we see, the journey can become a lot more enjoyable and the ultimate goals infinitely more reachable.