I March to my own Drumbeat
I'm the first of two transwoman to have an adult legal name change twice in North Carolina. It was a precedent setting case and I was the first. The case was also written about in the online Advocate Magazine and it was unprecedented.
In my blogs and vlogs I speak for myself and I want to share some information with you in order for you to get to know the real me.
I believe that there are three types of trans woman. Post-op (congruent female) Pre-op (in-congruent female) Non-op (no surgery). All three are of equal value and importance in the trans community. In other words there's no "one size fits all" approach to being trans or the way one transitions. We all matter and we all count equally.
In my gender journey (which is not the same as others' journey) I'm thankful I was able to have the medically necessary surgery to become a congruent female. Once again that's not everybody's desired path and it doesn't make them any more or less trans or female. I believe that your gender is determined by what's in between your ears not your legs. Science has proven this as well in research studies.
I also feel like my hormone replacement and Gender Reassignment Surgery should have been done decades earlier, but we lived in a very different time 55 years ago. We had different struggles and bitter disappointments, which damaged us immensely and created problems in our lives which led us in directions we may not have otherwise gone.
My generation paved the way for the current generation, just as Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera did for me and mine. So I know of which I speak, as do many others in my generation who were (and are) damaged goods. They (we) were unable to transition at an earlier age because it was unaccepted and unheard of in those days. A transwoman could get arrested for wearing woman's clothes or makeup.
We know what it's like not to have protections, especially in school. When we were trying to express ourselves we were spit on and laughed at. We were often times beat up, killed and arrested more often then today. "Conversion Therapy" and "Trans-Panic" defense was used to protect defendants and not the victims. No wonder my parents said "hell know" when I told them I wanted to be a girl in 1969. That's why I'm determined more than ever to protect what laws and protections we currently have for the younger generation.
I've been criticized for my blogs on this subject but I want to make one thing clear. Being trans is not a new thing and my generation is being forgotten and left behind by media outlets and social media. There's no gratitude for people like me who've been struggling way before parents of current trans youth were born. In many cases we're old enough to be their grandparents and parents.
One thing I have a problem with is being "muzzled" or told what transgender talking points I'm supposed to ignore or repeat in public and on social media. I'm told I can't celebrate or tell people that I'm post op transsexual or congruent female. I'm not supposed to share that? Those people can bugger off because I waited 51 years to reach my goal and achieve my happiness and I'll be dang if I'm going to keep it to myself. If you don't want surgery or take hormones that doesn't make you any less female; however, don't tell me what I can or cannot say in public. If I chose to publicly disclose information that's not harmful to anyone else, than mind your own dang business. I will shout it from the roof tops if I so choose. That doesn't make me a troublemaker or a gatekeeper it just makes me a maverick.
I want to talk about "Gate-keeping." My concern as an elder trans woman is that if we don't have some kind of checks and balances we run the risk of "De-transitioning." I was diagnosed by four different licensed transgender therapists for different reasons throughout both my transitions and everyone agreed that I had Gender Identity Dysphoria.
The Harry Benjamin and WPATH Standards of Care are there for a reason. It's to protect trans youth and their families, not hurt or discourage them. The one thing we cannot do is ignore trans youth and we need to encourage them and support them. Something I didn't get when I was their age(s).
My message is clear. Trans youth need our support. Gate-keeping can be a good thing as long as it's done with compassion and love. De-transitioning is a bunch of malarkey, because I believe once you're diagnosed as trans, you're trans for life. I de-transitioned in the mid 1990's in an attempt to purge the GID from me. It never leaves you no matter how hard you try. In my case I went through a self imposed Conversion Therapy due to pressure from my family and friends; however, I knew I wasn't being true to myself, so I re-transitioned ten years later and I never looked back.
How you choose to transition or not is yours to make. There is no one size fits all transition process and everybody's gender journey is uniquely their own. So say it loud and proud and stay in the game. Be who you are with confidence and conviction because you matter and you count. You mean something to somebody and your dreams of an authentic life (whatever that might be) will be yours. We have science on our side.
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Mom, Actress, Activist, Amateur Painter / Artist
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