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Monday, November 26, 2012

SPIDER SOUNDS! REFLECTIONS OF A BASEMENT DWELLER

So!  I got bit on the neck by a spider the other day, and it got me thinking. This is not the first time this has happened. I seem to be getting one or two every 6 months or so. I think I got one in the previous 44 years of my life. I have lived the last 5  and 1/2 years in the basement of our house, because I don't have any of the "power" as it has been put, in our marriage. Getting to this point, where you hear the spider sounds, in a marriage is a long and slippery slope.

My wife and I met in Mansfield, Ohio in 1986. She had just come home from her 18 month LDS Mission to Southern Arizona. I had moved to Mansfield, from Bellingham, Washington in 1984, to marry my pen pal of 7 years, whom I had fallen in love with. I was 21, full of myself, and been rejected by my girlfriend of 18 months, whom I was engaged to (although the thing she loved the best about me was that I loved to wear women's clothes...she loved dressing me up, and it turned her on very much. We would often go out as a couple with me en-femme as Sally). I should have just told her, who I knew I was, a woman, for real, not just temporarily en-femme. So she spurned me, and I turned to my pen-pals. This was in a day when there really were no computers for regular people. WWU had a computer The Inter-Data 360-50, a humungouss behemoth that was as large as half a gymnasium, and with as much or lesser capacity than today's cell phone. Needless to say, computers never impressed me to the least (until now). So, I had been writing to dozens of pen-pals, all girls since I was 10 years old. At one point I had nearly 50 of them. Over the years, I got very close to 2 of them. One in Sylmar, California, and one in Mansfield , Ohio. I was writing both of them, every day, from 20-100 pages each letter. It took considerable time, but I did not date, neither did I play video games. I played Ice Hockey and worked at K-Mart and Burger King, and had pen pals. When I say every day, I literally mean every day. The mail usually took 4 days, sometimes 3, so there was always a delay. If one of us missed a day, we'd call to find out what's wrong. The letter carrier was my best friend. These were love letters, and gifts, oh were there gifts, of which my dad helped facilitate. He favored the brunette in Sylmar, whom I loved very much, but she started dating and found a boyfriend. My dad still wanted me to head down I-5 and show her I was better. I chose the safety of the one in Ohio, the blonde.

Turns out, my dad was right, I regret moving to Ohio, and should have chosen California. The first indication of trouble was when she picked me up at Cleveland Hopkins Airport and there was a little boy with her. I asked her who it was, and she replied,"this is my boyfriends little brother"...wt...?? You never wrote about having a boyfriend. She was writing me love letters and sealed them all with her lipstick kiss!  But I was bound and determined to stay anyway. I had just one suitcase to my name. I was also inactive in the Church, and had been for the last 3 years since 1980. She took me to my Church that first Sunday, and I told several people, including the Bishop, that I had moved here, and needed a ride to Church.

I never heard back from anyone from the Church, and I was moved from my motel room to a small apartment behind a store called "Odd Lots". How appropriate, knowing how odd I am. I got visits from my pen-pal's father that were not only odd, but weird, and perverted. He actually came by and showed me (tried to, I refused to watch) porn. He would grab himself, and tell me in his thick German accent, "I want you to get a hard one! I want you to get a hard one so you can F___ my daughter!" WTH? I was mortified, stunned and amazed. This was just too dang weird. He kept saying he wanted me to have sex with his daughter, so she would fall in love with me instead of her boyfriend, but he used the "f" word.  I never took his advice. I moved on with my life there, getting a job at a place called, Mom's. I made another girl friend who also worked at Mom's, but she broke up with me after a year, for not getting into bed with her.

After living in Ohio for over a year, I got a knock on my door, and it was my assigned Hometeacher!  My Hometeacher was at my door, I had not been to Church in nearly 4 years, once in the past year here in Ohio. This was a surprise. He asked if he could come in. I said sure, because I had nothing against the Church, it just was no longer a habit to go to Church. He asked me if he could take me to Church, I said absolutely. He had been given my name in his new list of assigned members, and tracked me down, having to go to the post office to find change of address cards. I had moved 3 times since attending that first Sunday. I was so amazed that someone would go to all the effort to track me down, find me, and take me to Church, and be my friend. He re-activated me, and I have 95% attendance since (27 years). I also received a testimony of Hometeaching, and have at least a 95% rate of meeting with all my families for the past 27 years.

The Mansfield Ward liked me, they wanted to marry me off, so they gave me the calling of Young Singles Group Leader. My first assignment was to plan the homecoming of a certain young woman missionary. So, we had a couple VHS movies, junk food, popcorn, ice cream, and board games. We made it a long night. She was a reserved and kind young lady. I later found out that her impression of me was that I was "Obnoxious, loud, and a know-it-all". That's not me. (but I didn't know I was interviewing for the job of husband).

Over the course of the following 18 months we got to be friends, and then close friends. We went to all the regional young singles dances in Columbus and Akron. I would dance half the dances with her, and half with as many other girls as I could get the courage to ask. I set up dates with many of them, going to concerts, Billy Joel, Fleetwood Mac, Moody Blues, Yes, Pretenders, Devo, B-52's, just as I had done for a good 8 years now.None of them came to anything. This return missionary was my stalwart, my best friend, and I didn't even know it. We went everywhere, on day trips, all over Ohio. We always held hands, I didn't know the significance of that. I just thought it was something fun to do. I had no romantic feelings for her, and my life in Ohio was coming to a close. She was from the Akron area, but she came home to Mansfield because she was a nanny for a family before and after her mission. I took my roommate with me to her place, and she gave us a big basket of prepared meals for our cross country road trip. We said our goodbyes, and told each other we wanted to attend Ricks College sometime in the future. I last set foot in Ohio in her arms, and then she was gone.

I took the most fantastical road trip, taking the whole month of September criss-crossing the country in separate cars, he in his green Opal (from Germany), and me in my Gold 75 Plymouth Valiant, 225, slat 6, having only 20,000 miles on it. We finally arrived at my folks in Bellingham, October 1, 1987. My friend lived with us for a year, while he commuted to Renton, Washington, 90 minutes away, working at Boeing. I began work on a Natural Gas Pipeline, to save money for school.

That year went by super fast, but I enjoyed the opportunity to get super close to my little sisters and my Mom. We took trips all over the Northwest. I had excess money, and my Mom never had a car and couldn't drive. It was so rewarding to have her experience things she never otherwise would have had the chance. I was the prodigal son, returning home, and leading by example. I reactivated my whole family in the Church, my Mom had never gone inactive. My folks got themselves Temple worthy for the first time, and we went to the Seattle Temple, and got sealed together forever as a family. I interviewed for attending Ricks College, my life was exiting and I had so much love and wonderment for the undiscovered county. My Bishop told me I was A-O.K for School, but that my Farrah Fawcett long blonde curly hair has got to go.  Keep in mind, I am going through severe dysphoria all this time. I accumulated huge women's wardrobes in Ohio, and now again in Bellingham. How I was reconciling all this with what I was doing is difficult to relate, because it is difficult for me to even understand. I just always prayed that God would make the changes for me, that somehow I would just wake up one day, and I would be my true self with complete Harmony, Continuity, and congruity of mind-body-heart-spirit-soul. That I would be a girl. Either that would happen or I would just grow out of it. Get married, be a father, and I wouldn't any longer feel a need for my truth to shine forth, that I could live this lie through the eternities. I just didn't know that this was the most guileful and delusional mind contortion in existence.

On my way to Rexburg, Idaho, I didn't tell anyone I was going to spend a week in Corvallis, visiting my best friend. I really wanted to do some backpacking in the Oregon Cascades, and Coast Range, before School. While driving to the trailhead, we ran into a patch of dense fog, right at the point for our turn off the mountain highway. He turned left, so slowly, the car hitting us lasted forever in my mind. I was a passenger in a 1969 Super Beatle Bug, with the windshield right in front of your face. I had no seatbelt. BANG-CRASH! So fast yet so slow. I was thrown with such velocity, the oncoming car, without headlight on, smashed 18 inches behind my seat at over 60mph, that I went clean-through the windshield and onto the pavement. I stood up, felt my head, which had become a fountain, and said,"Oh no, I'm ruining my shirt!" So I unbuttoned it, took it off, and put on a t-shirt, then sat down. An ambulance that just happened to be driving over the pass, attended to us, not 2 minuted after the accident. That chance may have saved my life. No one understood how I survived the crash. My friend fainted after seeing my skull exposed. So all this is gravy since August 15, 1988.

Jump to August 25, 1988, my first day in Rexburg, Idaho, where the campus of Ricks College (now BYU-Idaho) is. It was the Centennial Celebration Year. Yellowstone Park was on fire, and they were looking for volunteers. I signed up, and the first day was the next day, so I went to the campus computers and what do you think the first thing I did was?  That's right, I looked up that return missionary friend of mine. Sure enough, there she was. I wrote the address down and went right over there. There was lots of commotion, and coming and going at this young women's dorm apartment complex. Someone asked what I wanted, I told them the name of the person I was looking for, and she said she wasn't sure, she had just moved in. She invited me in to check out the rooms to see if I recognized anything. I said, okay. What was I thinking. Could I actually have any chance whatsoever at discerning what her stuff looked like? But there I was, with permission shuffling through girls things looking for who know what. After about 15 minutes of futility, a young woman tapped my shoulder and said, "I know (such and such). She was here for summer term, and has moved with her friend to Salinas, California. I was disappointed, but knew I would see her again, because I love traveling and road trips, and my Valiant only had 40,000 miles on it now.

The day was still young, so I took my roommate, whom I had just met, he was dressed only in a tee, shorts and flip flops, and we went for a drive. He thought we were going to drive around town to discover what was here. That was never my intention, and he complained the whole while we made it across the Snake River Plains. I was going to visit Craters of the Moon National Monument, where the astronauts trained for the first moon landings, because it most resembled the terrain, hence the name. We made it to a small town named Arco, and is the first Atomic powered city in the World. It is on the edge of Idaho National Engineering Laboratory (INEL), a Nuclear research facility. The monument is about 20 miles past Arco, so we stopped for gas at the Phillips 66 station on the left. We could have stayed on the right and gone to the Conoco station, but I didn't. I pumped my gas, and went inside for a mug refill. In those days we were all pop addicted, at a penny an ounce! We had 44 ounce refill mugs, and every station or store honored them without question. So, I hear this voice, "Bob, is that you?" from behind me. I turned around, and guess who? There she was, my return missionary! Calling to me, recognizing the back of my Willy Mays, San Francisco Giants baseball uniform. Yes, Oh Baby Yes...it most certainly was me. She hurried inside, she was at the window paying for gas from outside. She wanted to shake my hand, but I gave her the biggest hug I could. I had just been told I missed you and that you moved to Salinas, California. This was such a nice gift. My roommate was still complaining. I walked her to the car she came in. The guy was still sitting in the drivers seat. I asked her out to the Campus dance that night, and she wavered saying, "I have a boyfriend". The guy sitting in the car remarked,"oh no, you shouldn't go with him, go with this guy." Thanks bubba! You're a twit for making her pump the gas and pay, but you're a life saver to me. This guy actually changed my life. Had she not agreed to go to the dance with me, I would have married someone else. I already had one date set up, it was 2 to 1 girls.

I continued driving to the National Monument and paid the $2 entrance fee, the joker that was driving my RM around was too cheap to pay. Had he not been a cheapscate I again, would have missed her. So she got driven straight east back to the Campus 100 miles away. I went hiking on the Lava Buttes, and Ice Caves. My roommate had one heck of a time in his flip flops on those lava rocks. Having my fill of that we drove back to Rexburg and got ready for the dance. I took her to the dance, and saw her every day. Not in any of our classes, had we not met in Arco, we may never have met, since I no longer would have been looking for her. I had a backpacking class, and our big trip was  4 days in Yellowstone National Park, in mid October. We had been seeing each other for 7 weeks, and this time I caught on what holding hands really means...we were in love! And it was mutual. On that backpacking trip I had so much on my mind. I prayed intensely and earnestly for Heavenly father to give me an answer as to weather or not I should marry her. Over and over the answer was a resounding, YES!

We arrived back in town on October 17, 1988. I immediately took her to the Idaho Falls Temple, where we went for a walk around the grounds. I found an appropriate spot and got down on Both knees and proposed marriage to this Beautiful Young Woman, whom I was prepared to share the eternities with. She came back right away, with a resounding, YES! The date was set for 2 months later, December 17, at the Idaho Falls Temple. It was a whirlwind romance, and it was intense. We continued taking day trips and falling deeper in love. She was my everything. I remember on a hike east of Afton, ID into the Wyoming border, on a hike, it was before my Yellowstone hike. We had stopped at the top of a beautiful flowering meadow, like a scene from the Sound Of Music. We turned to each other and kissed. It was the most wonderful feeling I have ever had. It was at that moment she went from being me friend, to being my girlfriend. And now she was my fiance. I was the luckiest girl in the World, if I could just keep on pretending. She sees my silky pink blouse and my painted toes, my girly watch, what does she think?

On December 17, 1988, we got married, and were sealed for all time and eternity at the Idaho Falls Temple.  On the drive to our first nights stay in Southern Utah, I told her I was a cross-dresser, and that I liked to wear women's clothing, and women's underwear full time. She was puzzled at first, but she said it was okay. Not another word about it was ever uttered, until 5 years later, when commenting on my 15 rough-tote plastic crates containing my wardrobe, she said it was disgusting. We continued our wirlwind honeymoon to Bryce Canyon, Zion, Grand Canyon, Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm, California Coast Highway, San Francisco, a reception with my family in Bellingham (neither of our families could be at our wedding)in our wedding clothes. We then went back to Rexburg and unloaded all our gifts, and drove to Akron, Ohio for a reception with her family in our wedding clothes (we had three weddings), meeting them for the first time.

We were again visiting her family during our Christmas break, the following year. She was pregnant with our first, and hadn't been to any lamaz classes or anything. Christmas night her water broke, but she didn't know what that was, she just thought she peed herself, as I was in the bathroom, and she was mad at me for taking to long. She thought she peed going up the stairs. We were all stuffed and tired. She woke me up at 1 am saying, "I think we're going to have the baby tonight", I replied,"no you're not, your not due for 3 months, besides, there's a blizzard out, and our car heater stopped working". Again, at 2 am she woke me up saying, we're going to have the baby tonight." I got up and said "okay, lets do this". I called her sister to come and get us, and she came over saying "you're ruining my vacation", words that I thankfully never heard again until Hurricane Katrina, and we had an uncaring occupier of the White House. Our firstborn daughter was born December 17, 1989, nearly 3 months early. She had to go into an isolet, she was so small. School started back up on January 4, and come mid January I was getting nervous about missing so much class. I left my wife and daughter behind, with the sure knowledge they would both be okay. I went full time en-femme from the moment I left Akron, and for the month I was alone at school. I attended classes with male clothing worn over my pretty things. It was dead winter, so no one could tell. It was quite a relief to be able to be my true self uninhibited for so long. It was the only way I could cope with being without my family. My dad purchased them a plane ticket in mid February, and they returned home.

And so we were three. We continued doing everything we had done before. Backpacking, hiking, camping, sightseeing, dances, concerts and the like. Her Mom came to live with us, so she could continue to go to school. We continued in blissful happiness and contentment, graduating in June, 1990. I was in ROTC, so I drove the family to stay with her mom in Akron, while I went to Ft. Knox, Camp Challenge. Graduating from that, we went to my transfer school, Oregon State University, in Corvallis, Oregon. The next year we were pregnant again, and my Mom came to live with us to help out. Our second daughter came right on time, well maybe 1 week early. Things were progressing beautifully. We were truly happy. I was a rising star in Oregon Politics, my studies were coming along fine, and I had great positions in the State Legislature in Salem, with the Governor. There was no limit to the possibilities. Then, my whole world collapsed.

I got a call from my parents' Bishop, who informed me my sister had been shot. Which totally misdirected me into thinking someone tried to murder her. He then said she was found in her room. I asked him, was it a driveby, is there a bullet hole in the window. I could not comprehend this. He then said, no, she did this to herself. I became hysterical and denied that she could ever commit suicide. I asked him was it (sister B)? He said, No, it was (sister A). This was hell on Earth for me, this just can't be happening. I've spoken about this on previous posts, so I wont dwell on this too much here. Suffice to say, My life was changed forever as my favorite sister was dead from bullicide, a sister that was more like Mother/Daughter, than a sibling relationship.  I was a dysphoric person already, now throw this into the equation, and go years without therapy or treatment, and your life is going to spiral into a hellish situation like I have now.

You lose all sense of time. It's been 20 tears since that nightmare phone call. Thaose 20 years have basically gone by in vain. I was deeply depressed. We got conned out of over $100,000 which was our life up to that point. The Church offered me nothing, My In-Laws not only abandon me, they ostracized me. The last 20 years have been little more than a cruel joke. I have no power in our marriage, which is basically only on paper. Read my other posts, and you'll discover how we lost our intimacy and we never got it back. We never even sit close at Sacrament. Our girls are always between us. When they are not there, the gaping space is extremely uncomfortable. We don't share food or meals, and I dwell here in our basement as I have for the last 5 and 1/2 years.

I still love and adore my wife. I have never looked upon another woman with ever the slightest bit of improper feelings. I have always been faithful, and have honored our Temple Covenants, as I take them seriously. But my situation is untenable.  This situation cannot be abided for much longer. I can only take so many more spider bites, so many more sore throats and bronchial  infections from mold and dampness, down in this dark, dank depressing basement. My "girl-cave" is very pretty, and very uplifting, happy, and energetic. I have enjoyed living virtually full-time en-femme down here. They never come down to disturb me. I have free reign down here and they want me to have free reign. My middle daughter puts the TV on pause every time I come upstairs, like I am putting her life on pause, like I'm an intruder.

I came out to my oldest sister, finally, last night. She told me that she loved me, and she accepts me, and that she only wants me to be happy. She said we don't have a marriage anymore, and haven't had one for 16 years (the length of banishment from the bedroom). She says I need to recognize her cruelty for what it is. I need to start a new life. This, all my siblings have been saying for 14-15 years. Why have I not listened to them. I've wasted so much of both our lives. I lover her way too much to waste much more.

I hear spider sounds in my deafening silence, loneliness, and dysphoria. The sounds of spiders coming to bite me. No, I am not crazy, for I have awakened for the first time in two decades. I am perfectly sane, and these spider sounds are going to save my life. So thank you spider that bit me three days ago, thank you for this bump on my neck....you have awakened a sleeping Giant...a Giant who is a wonderful person, a beautiful GIRL....and to you spider, I'm the only girl in the world. So go on with your sounds and your webs and your waiting, I hear ya baby, and I'm transcending this situation before you bite me again!

Life is good, life is great! Things are getting better every day.
For my Sisters and Brother,
Love,
Leah-Laurelei


Thursday, November 22, 2012

THE SYMBIOTE and the VESSEL: THE TRANSGENDER QUAGMIRE

I have had this esoteric notion in my head for quite some time now. It may seem quite bizarre at first glance, but believe me, the more I think about it, the more plausible it seems. I'm on several forums now, several of which I have just been introduced to by remarkable friends. I was commenting on several threads, and my idea kept coming up with major relevance to what I was discussing. I didn't elaborate too much, because it wasn't my thread or place.  I'm sure you will fall into one of two camps on this. Either you will find this intriguing, or you will find it nonsense. Regardless, I hope you don't quit me over this. I only posit this as one persons hypothesis, and it is not intended to represent the views of my Church, or any Church I am aware of. Neither is it representative of any ideology of any party or community that I belong to.

But before I elaborate any further, it is Thanksgiving Night, and I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving, and let everyone know that I am grateful for so much in my life today. The Holidays are upon us and they provide a time for us to reflect on the recent past, and have we accomplished anything that we set out to do at the beginning of the year. I for one am extremely pleased at what I have accomplished, and the trail I have blazed into this undiscovered country.  I am thankful for my life, and I am thankful that I am a Transgender Woman. I am thankful I am a Transsexual Woman. I am so very thankful for my online "Electric" friends, for you accept me, love me, have empathy for me, and show so much compassion for me it touches my heart and soul so deeply, it gives me a vast reserve of courage, strength, happiness, enjoyment, and endurance. My Electric Friends ARE my real friends, because I have Electric Dreams:
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So, this is my unique, at least I have never heard of it before, idea about the nature of what constitutes harmonious human existence. We have the aspects of what makes us who we are, and here is where some of you will cry foul, but I'm asking you to withhold judgement for a moment. It is my faith belief that we have a spirit and a soul, from which I add into the mix of what makes us who we are. We have a mind, a brain, that is made up of elements that cause it either to be more female or more male. We have a heart, which is influenced by our emotions and hormones. We have a body, which usually, is genitally marked a certain sex. Most of our Earth culture, but not all, expects us each to fully comply with what the bodies genitals came with, and live our lives in inhibited confined "sex" boxes, with no accounting for discontinuity or incongruency of the elements that make us who we are. Additionally we have a spirit body and a soul, which, in my belief, were created before we came here on Earth, and are our perfect true selves. These are all important aspects of who and what we are. Of the some 110-220 Billion people that have already existed, it is a certainty that not everything lined up perfectly every time for these elements and aspects of our being. Some things fail, some things get switched around , some things get juxteposed, some things get reversed. That is not to say that anything ever goes wrong. No human being is ever wrong. A different human being is not a wrong or disordered human being. Different is just that, different. It is perfectly valid to be different, because there are no mistakes when it comes to our existence...there is no garbage!

Where I part from majority thinking is that I do not believe our essence should be beholden to our bodies. I have come to this way of thinking on myriad levels. For one, I think a fetus does not have a spirit enter it until birth. If this was not true, my Church would tell me all Abortion is murder, but instead the exact opposite is true. We believe that much abortion is unnecessary, but that none of it constituted murder, although some members would like to have it labeled such. Secondly, I have visually witnessed and received personal revelation that an advanced fetus never was a human being, and never had a spirit (this is too intimate, and macabre to elaborate further here). My mother personally accounted for more than 30 miscarriages, none of them having spirits. No, I do not have 30-40 siblings waiting for me. Stunningly, my mother is yet another witness for my reasoning, as upon her death additional information came to light which I cannot divulge here.

My sister is a source for further confirmation. Having discharged my dad's 22 cal. pistol into her head, she , being a healthy vibrant young lady, remained with a beating heart, and supposedly alive. Having rushed from Corvallis, Oregon to Bellingham, Washington and finding her in the hospital, hooked up to machines, I asked my family to leave me alone in the room with her. I prayed intently, and blessed her, laying my hands upon her, I hugged her and kissed her. I then received revelation that she was not even in the room. She was not only dead, but she had long since moved on, and my attempts to pray for her and bless her were vain and fruitless. I truly believe the spirit not only enters the body later than many people believe, but much sooner than we believe.

During our lifetimes many of our bodies are wasted or otherwise destroyed, yet we are promised resurrections to perfect bodies. All this combined is enough for me to conclude that this beholdeness to the body, this worship of the body, is not a true principle. I propose that the body is merely a vessel, that the true essence of who we are merely uses, albeit temporarily at that. The true essence of who we are is made up of our minds, which are eternal, our hearts (emotions, psyche), which are eternal, our spirit and souls, which are eternal. The Proclamation states that is GENDER (and not sex), which is of sacred divine origin, and I wholeheartedly agree. But ones temporary body does in no way dictate who or what any of the eternal aspects are. Many people are blessed with complete harmony and identity is never an issue. Others are blessed with discontinuity (seemingly dis-harmoniousness), in which the body that the eternal aspects of ourselves does not match who we really are. I liken this dichotomy to a symbiote and a vessel. We, our true selves are a symbiote (made up of our minds-hearts-spirits-souls), and are given sometimes the complete effortlessness of perfect harmony. While others, perhaps, the valiant spirits, foreordained to deal with adversity and a bold challenge, united to vessels that we may or may not have foreknowledge of being incongruent  to our true selves, a sort of divine test in the greater plan of salvation.

It should be a no-brainer that ones self identity is the most important aspect of a human beings life. We are not a bunch of autometons or lock-step, goose-step borg collective to be assimilated (although a certain American ideology machinates the living daylights out of that notion). We are unique individuals. There never was, is not and never will be anyone like you. I hope you will join me in our quest to wrestle the Earth from fools, and fight for the LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL, not just the cis-gender (those of us with harmony of symbiote to vessel) among us. I hereby propose:

A TRANSGENDER BILL OF RIGHTS:

1.) Liberty and Justice For All People will be enforced, with no exceptions.

2.) The Right of an Individual, and only the individual, to Self Identify Sex and Gender shall not be infringed. 
3.) The Right of an Individual, to openly express their sex and gender, and or orientation via all externals, including, but not limited to choice in style, fabric, color of clothing, or gender markings, shall not be infringed.
4.) The Right of an Individual, regardless of sex or gender, or expression, or orientation of sex or gender to seek employment, wherever, and whenever employment is offered or otherwise available to humans, shall not be infringed. 
5.) The Right of an Individual, regardless of sex or gender, or expression, or orientation of sex or gender to seek housing, wherever, and whenever housing is offered or otherwise available to humans, shall not be infringed.
6.) Any institution, be it governmental, private, religious or secular shall make no attempt to discriminate based on sex, gender, orientation or expression of sex or gender, otherwise said institution or entity will be stripped of any tax exempt or preferential treatment, stripped of subsidies, stripped of all initiatives, be subject to annual fines and fees in addition to taxes, and be entered into a database for all entities that discriminate, are supremacistic or otherwise bigoted.

7.) ALL LGBTQIA people are considered valid and unique individuals, the Right of any two adults to enter into marriage shall not be infringed.
8.) Any and all expressions of individuality shall be celebrated and not infringed. 
9.) The taking of the life, assault, or harassment of LGBTQIA people will constitute a Federal Hate Crime and be subject to the stiffest penalties allowable under law.
10) Bullying in all forms will not be tolerated, especially against LGBTQIA people. All schools must set up training for anti LGBTQIA bullying programs to be run. First offenses will constitute grounds for removal, be the attack physical, social, mental, or verbal. Repeat offenders will face time in detention, adults will face prison sentencing. Bullying and Bullicide will be dealt with by any and all means necessary.
11.) No Health Care, Medical, or insurance entity can deny an LGBTQIA individual, including Transgender, Transsexual individuals, the care considered necessary for gaining gender continuity confirmation, hormone treatment, or gender confirmation surgery, regardless of ability to pay, stage of transition, or ability to obtain letters from counselors.
So....that is a good start, maybe. I agree with Vice President Joe Biden, that Transgender Rights are the next Civil Rights Landmark Struggle. And we are on the winning side....things are getting better, things are getting better every day. Even President Obama, upon hugging me for the second time this Campaign, personally told me, that he is going to work hard for Transgender Rights during his second term. I believe him.

I look forward to your comments and or suggestions. Thank you for visiting, don't forget to join this blog and subscribe.

All My Love, And Thanksgiving, Happy Holidays,

Leah-Laurelei


MY BEST FRIENDS BLOG ON "WHAT SEX AM I", including my original reply

*     So! I have just been informed that my best friend is going through a nightmare right now after being maliciously outed by her oldest son. Her wonderful callings and job are now in jeapardy, and she has been informed to cease her online presence. She is the source of so much of my bravery and courage. She became my friend at a time I was very low. I have learned so much from her and I admire her greatly. I owe the existence of this blog to her. Indeed, I dedicated this blog to her, when I founded it. She is a truly remarkable woman, that I wish everyone had the pleasure of knowing her, like I do. I am a better woman because of her. I hope she will continue to remain my friend, and that she will continue to be a beacon of HOPE, and a VANGUARD of social justice and of Transgender rights, both within the LDS Church and without.  She is my Peaches, my Twin, my big Sissy, my BFF, my BGFF. I love her very much, and I don't want her to disappear.  In that vein, I wish to re-publish one or two of her posts, including my original reply to it. I hope she is okay with this, as I only do this so people know what a magnificent person she is.

         HERE IS HER POST AS IT ORIGINALLY APPEARED IN MAY OF THIS YEAR


Friday, May 25, 2012

What Sex Am I Anyway?


So, as I provided a reply the other night to Christian Taylor’s post on Causes of Transexualism, and reread the comments others had shared, it got me thinking more about my own situation, and a desire to share what I know, and what I feel, and what I don’t know as it relates to me.

My journey is not over yet, nor will it be perhaps in this life, and that is where faith comes in. I walk by faith, faith in what I do know, submissive to follow by faith when I don’t know, and striving to learn what I am able to receive. Hence the title of the blog, “Who Am I Really?” That is my journey, to learn more and to find out, if possible.

It seems like for we who are transgender persons the answers are not clear, and that strikes me now as I write it as a monumental understatement. We all want to know, we want clarity, and we need answers. I have benefitted greatly from reading the stories and feelings of those who have advanced further down this path than I have and have been able to share their understanding of their key questions.

Their answers though are theirs, and I realize mostly pertain to their situation, their make-up, and I sense we may all be a little different in our circumstances. One single answer about gender clearly doesn’t fit all individuals. As I share my feelings and insights, I do so that it may help me see it all more clearly by writing, that it may be of some benefit to the reader, but I do not presuppose that my answers are absolute or pertain at all to someone else. We each need to find the truth as it pertains to our situation. I am sure my writings can feel somewhat strident at times, and I guess they are for me and me alone, but are shared with the kindest of offerings to anyone who wishes to read.

So, let me consider my sex categorically: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.
First physical, I was born with “normal” male genitalia, although smaller than average (which makes wearing fitted woman’s jeans no problem at all J). So I was assigned “male” gender at birth.

I was pondering the whole physical sex characteristics subject a while back and got the clear impression that I needed to research chromosomal abnormalities, particularly XXY. I did and learned that 47XXY or Kleinfelter’s Syndrome, although not directly linked to Transexualism from what I have read, did ring really true to me in several ways.

From the Wikipedia article on the topic, the description of the physical traits of Kleinfelter’s at each stage of life, perfectly described me at each phase in the most stunning detail and accuracy, to the point that I was shocked at how closely, here it is:

“As babies and children, XXY males may have weaker muscles and reduced strength. As they grow older, they tend to become taller than average. They may have less muscle control and coordination than other boys their age. (I was the poster child for this description).
During puberty, the physical traits of the syndrome become more evident; because these boys do not produce as much testosterone as other boys, they have a less muscular body, less facial and body hair, and broader hips. (Again me to a tee). As teens, XXY males may have larger breasts, weaker bones, and a lower energy level than other boys.

By adulthood, XXY males look similar to males without the condition, although they are often taller. In adults, possible characteristics vary widely and include little to no signs of affectedness, a lanky, youthful build and facial appearance, or a rounded body type with some degree of gynecomastia (increased breast tissue). (I am often mistaken by my facial appearance as a male some 5 to 10 years younger than I am, and have the rounded form and increased breast tissue).

The term hypogonadism in XXY symptoms is often misinterpreted to mean "small testicles" or "small penis". In fact, it means decreased testicular hormone/endocrine function. Because of this (primary) hypogonadism, individuals will often have a low serum testosterone level but high serum follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) levels. Despite this misunderstanding of the term, however, it is true that XXY men may also have microorchidism (i.e. small testicles).” (Fortunately for me and my family I did not suffer from complete infertility which is common among those with Kleinfelter’s, I was able to father four of our five children, but I admittedly had a sex drive way below that of average males).

I noted the fact that those with Kleinfelter’s often grew taller than those in their family, and that in my case I grew far earlier than other boys. I reached my full height (almost 73”) before I was 13, and stopped cold, never growing any more. I recall my Mother pointing out that was exactly how SHE grew. Looking back it appears to me that the XX chromosomes governed the pace of my growth and early puberty, with the XY taking over only much later, just an observation on my part. (I will come back to how these physical attributes affected me emotionally in a minute).

I have no test results confirming Kleinfelter’s, but sufficient similarities to make it very plausible, and I feel contributory to my transgender self.  

Now sorry to get so detailed, but here goes. Stimulation of my nipples and breasts often causes secretion of breast milk, which I understand is not impossible for a biological male. The amazing thing early one Saturday morning was being awoken by our toddler-age granddaughter who had spent the night, as she was crying at the door to our room; I woke, and realized my shirt was wet from my right breast lactating in spontaneous response to her hungry cry. That is the closest I have come to feeling physically like a mother, and it was privately marvelous! Mind, hearing and physiology got together on that one.

One more physical cue, I read somewhere that men and women’s arms are not structured the same, if you stand and face the mirror with palms to the front, men’s arms are straight and women’s angle out some 15 degrees at the elbows, I went to the mirror upon reading that and sure enough, mine angled out. Supposedly that facilitates holding a child, etc., whichever, I do have it too, and it explains why my arm swing when I walk has always felt so uncontrollably feminine!

Now emotional, this is of course highly subjective and personal but there are a few worthwhile insights. First, I strongly feel that my physical attributes mentioned above strongly impacted how people perceived me and in turn how I learned to perceive myself (particularly my parents, as I will describe below, but of course there were many others). Second, as I described in my recent post about movies, my emotional nature is to be tenderhearted and overly sensitive, more on that in a minute.

I have thought back often on how my parents responded to the child I was and the impact of their responses from my current vantage point. My father was strong, athletic; overachieving at whatever competitive thing he did, including all sports. He worked in his younger days in a job that was heavy testosterone driven requiring brute strength. He swore, occasionally drank in excess, and made no apology for his flagrant use of pornography. He named me after himself (cross reference that sad fact against my post on “What is in a Name?”)

His often stated vision for me was that I would grow up to be just like him, start working with him in his shop as a teen and eventually partner with him in his business. (None of which ever happened).

I was so unlike him in so many ways it is too much to enumerate. I was hopelessly uncoordinated and generally uninterested in participation in sports of any kind. My sisters on the other hand were very strong and athletic, so he coached them for years, dragging me along to make me watch how much they pleased him.

I could not please him. He would take me fishing which I hated, he would fish I would sketch the landscape until it grew dark. Eventually he stopped taking me fishing, but he would go alone.

He was a hard, overt and critical man. Always a business owner, he could never keep an employee, he was too demanding, so he just did all the work himself. Even from my earliest days I can remember being tested by him at every turn, if I passed, I received his curt approval, if I failed, I witnessed his unbridled disdain. 

This sounds tough, but I do not exaggerate, he was and is the toughest person to be in a room with of anyone I have ever known.

Bottom line I could never be the man he wanted me to be, when I did things that were less than manly, there was only disapproval.

To counterbalance that difficult parent-child relationship, my dear Mother was kind and charitable to a fault, but she knew how to stand her ground against the man she married, and she knew how to protect her children, with fury if necessary. She taught me so much of what I know about being kind and helpful and giving and being willing to sacrifice.

She also taught me some other interesting things. Looking back I hear the steady drumbeat of her whispering to me (sometimes figuratively or subliminally, often verbally) that I MUST NOT be like my father.

She made sure I realized that his attitudes, his treatment of others, all his mannerisms, and even his employment were things I must not repeat, that I could and must do better. (Several others that knew my Dad well also reinforced those same sentiments). Mom gave me the courage to make my own choices and to be strong enough to be different, to go a different way and to suit what life meant to me. (Even the courage I suppose to be a transgender person and a Latter-day Saint!)

So what do I take from that? Emotionally for as long as I remember I was told to not be like the only male I was ever around in our immediate family. I spent my whole growing up years, trying not to displease my father while doing all I could to distance everything about myself from how he was. Perhaps I overreacted, but combined with the other characteristics I am describing, this strong emotional drive to not be like him, I feel contributed heavily to my predisposition to not want to be male or anything like male at all. My nurture, if you could call it that, was like a perfect storm when combined with my physical and mental make-up.

One more random emotional issue, that may have bearing, may not. My sisters were born right after me and only 13 months apart from each other, my mother suddenly found herself caring for three under three, and with a husband who had no involvement in child care. When she pushed back and demanded that there needed to be some way that I as a three year old could go outside and play so she could tend to the babies, my father’s solution (being both overly controlling and paranoid that something bad would happen to me) was to take me outside, tie one end of a rope tightly around my waist and the other end to the tree in the front yard and leave me there to play in the dirt. This began when I was three, and thankfully I have no recollection of it. (My Grandmother explained it to my wife one day when I wasn’t around). What I do remember is from about age five on I played under that tree, day after day without ever venturing to other parts of our yard; I had been well trained to obey.

My relationship with my parents while I lived in their home is just an example of how the response of others to me emotionally affected how I felt about myself.

On the brighter side I suppose it is my nature to be sensitive and tenderhearted and compassionate. These are positive emotional attributes I believe. However I have been taunted all my life from a young age for my sensitivity. In addition to the movies, any other emotional event would affect me in very powerful ways.

For example, while other boys played Army and used action figures, I would see those early TV images of the Vietnam War each night on the news and go to my room and cry myself to sleep, it was so disturbing. In fact I made quite a scene the only time I can remember in my first 12 years visiting another boy’s house, he had his army men all out and ready to play and I refused, I would not do that, we got into quite an argument over it (we were five at the time!), our mothers had to stop us, and we went home, no more going over to boy’s houses for me!

On the other hand whenever I was out of my father’s sight, I loved to play with Barbies or play dress up with my sisters, and I was always in a feminine role, never a masculine. It felt right and I never thought otherwise, but I knew not to get caught doing it.

Next, mental; maybe mental and emotional are too nearly the same to be separate categories, but I have a reason to separate them, I wanted to get the emotional stuff out of the way so I could focus on how my mind works and feels.

I feel I have the brain of a woman. I always have felt that way, but have learned that there actually are measurable structural differences. It would have been so much easier for me to think and act and like the things other boys did, or that my Dad constantly proffered. I was set in my mind that I would not do things boys did, I did not like things boys did, and I did not play rough, or break things or hurt things for the fun of doing it. I could always stop and wonder why I would do such things. I became quite defiant about it.

Rather I did my drawings, and paintings, and knitting and hook rugs, and macramé and tended flowers, and the garden, and got into photography and all kinds of crafts. I read books and daydreamed endlessly. Oh, how I loved to daydream about my future life and family and children! As a child I had constant fantasies and kept myself entertained for hours telling myself stories and pretending. It was in these activities that I felt like me, that I felt a release and felt whole and I knew the difference!

From the link in Christian’s article to the tsroadmap, it says the following: “In conclusion, transexualism is strongly associated with the neurodevelopment of the brain.”

In her post and the replies to it discussion occurs regarding the effect of DES use on expectant mothers to minimize the risk of miscarriage during the postwar timeframe and up to 1970. I was born at the time when DES was in peak use, before it began to be challenged. I have no specific record yet of it being administered to my Mom, but its use and subsequent fallout was very prevalent in the area of the country where I was born.

Apparently the use of DES also yielded a high occurrence of left handed children, as I have mentioned elsewhere I am left handed too. I have always seen my left handedness as an indication that my mind is wired differently from others, I can only imagine how very differently!

In my reply to Christian’s post, I also described how much stress my dear mother was under in at least the first and second trimesters of the pregnancy, when so much of fetal brain development occurs. It seems clear that is potentially a contributing factor as well.

Finally spiritual, this is the category that I cannot just remember and can’t put into a balance and weigh. At some future day I will know the answers, so as I said at the beginning in this I walk by faith not yet knowing.

However, consistent with the principle found in Doctrine and Covenants 130:18, “Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection”, turning it around some, because I feel that my brain is decidedly female, and the attributes (or principles of intelligence to align with the scripture) I have and am developing here will go with me into the next life, I am trusting that they will be in righteous harmony with my spirit in the next life. Or said a different way for me to be congruous I can only feel right if my spirit and mind are aligned and it is my body that is out of synch in this life.

Or said another way still, who I am IS my thoughts and feelings (all decidedly female) it is what is in my head and heart, that is who I will be when I leave this mismatched body behind through the process of temporal death.

I have often wondered how I will resurrect. I have trust in a merciful God who will make me beautiful and right in that day, with all parts congruous. I believe that will be my reward because of Jesus Christ. I know in that day it will be His will and not mine that will be done, and I would not consider debating the outcome with him. I am trying to learn to trust Him enough that I will be aligned with whatever His will is. But as I read the scriptures, it causes me to feel peace that I am on track and developing the thoughts and feelings that are right for me, and therefore I sense that I have a beautiful female spirit going through a difficult mortal challenge for a wise purpose that He understands and that someday I will too!

In conclusion, I feel like I have an intersex condition, perhaps not traditional in every sense of the definition, but to me it feels intersex none the less. I am not male or female totally, but I feel that my emotional, mental and spiritual self is female, while housed in this life in an atypical male body, that the world sees and assigns as male. In other words, I am a transgender person.

I hope that this has not been too personal, I feel like I am really way out on the limb with all this detail, but it has been so helpful to think it through and write it all down.

If you made it this far without skipping, thanks for reading! Love, Laurie.

3 comments:

  1. Wow Laurie, that's a pretty detailed post all right! You've clearly given all of this a lot of thought over the years.
    Reply
    Replies
    1. Sure enough, hopefully I didn't cross the line. However if it is food for thought, enjoy the feast!
  2. My Dear Precious Laurie,
    This was a beautiful post, even though I'm reading it 2 months later. We've only known each other less than a month, so you'd been well into this stuff by then.

    As you know by now, I relate to virtually everything you spoke about in your childhood. Massive effects the Vietnam War had on me took a toll on my emotions too. Hearing Uncle Walt every night start by saying,"Today in Saigon....." My Kindergarten techer wrote on my report cards (that I recently looked at) stated, "Bobby likes to wear dresses during pretend. He takes the girls role, and would rather play with the girls. When he draws, he is often crying, and when he draws military pictures they are sad, not patriotic. Bobby is being affected by the War in an unhealthy way, and may need help in coping. Bobby is a dreamer. Bobby is always helping and more concerned with the success of others above himself". She was telling my folks basically, "your son is actually your daughter" I still remember the kids I was helping all the time. I was a loving and nurturing little girl, that gad no care for personal success or competition.

    The fishing thing is totally the same with me. My dad always wanted to take me fishing, but I really hated it. I hated everything about it. Sitting around waiting for something to happen seemed so stupid. The gross worms and hooks, and killing animals was all very unappealing to me. Getting hooked in the fave will contribute to ones dislike of fishing as well.

    As for sports, I guess we are different. I believe strongly I am XXY chromosomed, but for different, and some similar reasons. I was small and delicate until at 14 it was decided I was going through female puberty. 7 years of poison T was administered to me to force an unnatural male puberty onto me. Even with the poison T, it took till age 19 to have male puberty.

    So, I was small and delicate in my youth. My doctor diagnosed me with a heart murmur on top of that! He said, "now Bobby, you probably come in last in your races at school...you wont be able to keep up with them........" My response was, no way, I'm the fastest and the strongest. (well maybe not strongest)I broke all the Elementary and Middle school records for the western arm hang. I played little league baseball, dreaming I was Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, or Reggie Jackson. I even had a bright red Reggie Jackson glove that I still can fit my small feminine hands into, so I still use that and nothing else. I routinely homered and won games in walk-off fashion. But my main love was hockey. Maybe inspired by a Saturday Afternoon Canadian movie about a girl who pretended to be a boy to play hockey. I grew up on the border, and visited Canada every week. Hockey games were on every day and night. I wanted to be a Prima, with the white skates and skirts. But hockey got me on the ice, and it was a true fit. It was just meant to be, to tend goal, and stop all those boys dreams of ever being a hero. Turns out I was good enough to play competitively for 19 years, but not my dream of the NHL, like Ken Dryden.

    I like how you went through all the aspects of ones self as being the proof that you are really a woman. I am convinced. You are a woman.

    Thank you for this post. There is quite a lot of helpful information here. And quite a lot of insight into your personality and the real you. Me Likey!

    Hugs and Kisses for a Dear Sissy,

    Leah-Loreli
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