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Friday, February 1, 2013

MY 'GO AT THROTTLE-UP YEAR', AS A PHOENIX, & Go 49ers!



So, it just occurred to me that it has been one month since I came out to my wife and daughters, on New Years Eve. So far, it has not been as freeing as I thought it would be. Probably because not much has changed. Their reactions to me were very cold, and unaccepting, and warrant me being low key and remaining cautious about any transitioning. This is with the understanding, by my wife's reaction, that I will be asked to move out immediately if I present to them as Leah. This is something I think I thought was going to happen, so I'm not so shocked about it anymore

Yesterday I saw some large envelopes in the trash, that had been opened. I picked them out to look at them and was startled to find out they were addressed to me, Leanorah-Laurelei Grace. Now they know my name for sure, but I have nothing to hide. If they want to check out all my online activity, I'm fine with that. I am kinda upset they found out like this, and even more so, that they didn't see fit to pass the mail off to me. I'm going to be careful not to sign any more petitions as Leah, at least for the time being. I'd also rather my friends address my mail as Bob, until I do move out. I enjoy actually receiving my mail, even more than the wonderful feeling of seeing my true name in print. It is so much fun receiving mail as Leah. I feel like a teenage pen pal, back in the day.

I've received some wonderful gifts in the mail I was actually able to intercept only because they were too large to fit through the slot, and they had to be brought to my side door, the one I access from my cold basement. Some beautiful prints which remind me everyday of my own beautiful soul, and my divine feminine. And, the cutest purple knit hat with a pink flower that everyone wants to kiss, and a matching scarf. I wore them to my University of Akron LGBT-Union meeting this week, and got a picture, which I made my new profile and cover photo here. I have also received the gift of some of the most wonderful phone calls from my facebook friends, whom I consider my sisters. I would be so lost without them. I know with certainty, if not for these four remarkable young women, I would have sunk into a deep despair and depression. I want to publicly acknowledge these women for the Angels and inspiration they are to me. Julia, Lori, Marni, and Bertita are awesome people that are a godsend to me. I want them to know that they mean more to me than they'll ever know. They will always be in my heart, and I am eternally grateful for them being in my life. I appreciate all my online friends. I love them all. It's the only place I actually ever get any love, so it's so easy to love them back.

So, here I am, my dishes are done. I'm embarrassed to say I let 3 weeks of dishes pile up, so it took me 3 hours to do them. I am a horrible housewife. And I'm not even working right now, so I have no excuse. I deserve some of the alienation my family gives me. But, for right now, the dishes and the housework is done, which is a great feeling. I always go for a celebratory walk after doing so much housework. I have pep and happy feet in my step. I'm smiling and happy, and I'd be pretty damn fun to hang around right now, if I had any friends. Anyway, I went out for a walk in 15 degrees with a zero wind chill. I have a nice San Francisco 49ers Starter pullover quilted winter jacket, that I am so proud to strut around in. Sure I wish it was all pink and girly, but Bob gets to have fun too. This is the first time I can smile ear to ear wearing this in 18 years! Its over 20 years old, and still in pristine condition (because I wear other 'Niner jackets when they aren't in the Super Bowl). It's a great contrast, this red jacket in the white winterscape of Northeast Ohio in mid-winter.

I was walking merrily along, and low and behold there were a group of boys throwing a football around. We're a hearty lot, us Buckeyes, and we'ff play football in any weather. I was coming toward them and started waving my arms, like my wide receiver/ tight end days, signaling I'm open for a pass. Sure enough, they obliged me, and let go a monster, hail-mary pass down the middle of the snowy street, right smack through the intersection, about 40 yards. What ensued happened all in slow motion for me. Bear in mind, I'm out of my blood pressure meds, and I need new eye glasses. It's a dark cloudy day, right near sunset, so most of the light was from the street lights. I lost the ball at its apex, and had to run up to get it, when i regained sight of it. No problem, I have an athletic resume, with 20 years of competitive ice hockey, baseball, football, soccer, lacross and baskeball. I slipped on some ice, but managed to stay upright, and 'bounce', thud-bang, the ball hit me square in the chest, deflecting straight up in the air. What followed, seemed like a clown juggling act at a circus. I danced around in the middle of an intersection trying like the dickens to haul this beautiful pass in. It was like my life depended on it. My team, the Forty-Niners will lose, if I cannot catch this pass. I must have batted the ball back up in the air half a dozen times. Then, elation! I did it! The ball was mine.

 I've never been so happy to catch a ball in all my life. Not only am I going to keep my warm body, but my team is going to win the Super Bowl, my life is going to turn around, I'm going to rise up out of this basement, like a phoenix, and I'm going to go all-in to my true self...blasting off...throttling-up, to break free of the enslaving gravitation pull of a guileful life of lies. This is my 50th Year. And it's going to be my best year ever

I face my new Bishop of my Church on the 10th. My appointment is for right after church at noon. He said to plan for at least an hour, maybe more. This is the beginning of my gauntlet I face for daring to be truthful about my identity. I plan on spending a great deal of the coming week, pouring through the science of transgender/ transsexual, and trying to put together a letter I want to read to him. I don't trust myself to get across what I want to get across, just from the top of my head, knowing I'll be emotional, and highly stressed. I would appreciate any suggestions or tips or guidance any of you would like to share with me in the comments below. I would very much appreciate your help.

I love my Church, and I want to make a difference from within the Church, as a member in good standing. I want to make it a safe place for all LGBTQIAA people. Many people may think I'm crazy for doing so, for wanting to stick around in such an unwelcoming place, when so many welcoming, loving alternative exist. Any of you who know me, know i never pick the easy way, I never go with the flow, I always "kick against the pricks". I'm a natural born outlier. In the half-full/ half-empty argument, my answer is "neither, you have the wrong size glass". Well, my Church has the wrong size policy. It's not even doctrine or dogma. It's changeable, and very doable, very actionable.

I've thought quite a lot about this in the last month. I feel a strong pull to seek full time employment in the area of LGBT and Feminist Civil Rights. I'm going to write a blog post about this, and talk about it in greater detail, but suffice to say here, my mind and heart are very much settling on this. I don't feel it is a passing phase. I have been a feminist and LGBT activist and advocate for free all my life. I doubled down last year on this, and now it's time I feel, to go All-In. *That* will be my "Go-At-Throttle-Up".

I can't wait for the big game on Sunday...Happy Days are Here Again, my friends....Go 'Niners!!

With All My Love,

Leah-Lori

13 comments:

  1. Hey you. I've just seen this and want to congratulate you are on your catch! Also, I think some careful planning-- and even imagining of different scenarios-- is a good idea. I am glad for the slow-motion of this, generally. I think thoughtless knee-jerk reaction would have been very hard to turn around.

    As I think about this, I want to remind you to get your resume together. I never know when I could make a plug for you and I want to be more ready. Also, I don't think it is unreasonable to ask the church for help because you are pretty much about to be homeless. That's a fact. You are a wanted, loved member of this church, and a child of God. You have the standing to ask for help, in my opinion.

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    1. Dear Kuato,
      Thank you for your kind remarks, and thank you so much for your friendship. Yes, I'm so glad it all got slowed down. I have so much to do next week, among them will be getting my resume together. I want to have exact plans before I ask the Church for help, but yes, I think I will be asking. I appreciate you saying I'm wanted and loved by others in the Church. Thanks for reminding me that this is true, and that there are millions of us.

      You're in my heart K, you know that. I love you.
      Leah

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  2. Leah! You are beautiful! And that hat.....;-) thank you. I'm pretty sure that the other three women you mentioned would agree with me in saying that you have given us wonderful gifts. I have learned more patience, tolerance, and love from you. I am so grateful for that. YOU ARE JUST BEAUTIFUL! That is all. :-)

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    1. Dear Lori,
      I am so indebted to you. You fill my heart with such overwhelming love and kindness that I am able to endure my current state of affairs because you help me see that tomorrow is going to be magnificent. The beauty that you see in me is real, because it is reflective of all the beauty I am inculcating into my life from you and my wonderful cadre of sassy sissies. Sisters beyond belief...or at least beyond anything I ever thought would be possible. Thank you so much for your kindness to me.

      With Love and Kindness,
      Leah-Lori

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  3. Leah,

    You are opening my mind and my heart to transgender issues, and I thank you for that. I can relate in the tiniest way because I've always identified with the male gender roles valued in this church, although I'm female. But I have never known someone who was openly transgender before and it's been a hard thing for me to understand. But I am trying. I admire your courage in coming out to your family and church leaders. I hope and pray that your new bishop is kind to you.

    Catherine Agnes

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    1. Dear Catherine,

      Thank you for sharing you thoughts with me. I'm so glad I'm helping you out in trans issues, and I'm so glad you can relate, if even in a small way. For me, I have never identified with any of the gender roles in the Church. I will be every bit as uncomfortable in Relief Society as in Priesthood, and I do not identify with this dichotomy. I believe the priesthood is available to all people, and I as a woman have utilized it righteously and successfully. I do not relish having to relinquish a piece of paper stating I have it and standing.

      I am happy to be the first openly transgender person you know. I hope I'm not the last. Sheer math says there are 3 or 4 of us in ever single Ward, not to mention 30-40 LGBT or more. We, transgender/transsexuals, exist in the Church. We, I know personally, are Bishops, Stake Presidents, Leaders that meet weekly with the First Presidency, we are everywhere in the Church. Although virtually all closeted, we are a slap in the face to our rigidity, by the mere fact that I exist. If my coming out can save but one life, just one, than my life is worth it all. I know I'm on the right track.

      Humbly Yours,

      Leah

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  4. Hey Sis! You know I am here for you, no matter what happens. I was about to write this in a email letter to you, but then I remembered your comment to Catherine, and felt prompted to share these thoughts here.

    Things to think about before you meet with your bishop:

    These days the church seems to have much more focus on actions you can choose than identities or things that you believe are innate. So, here are some choices you will probably be asked about. I doubt anyone is going to ask if you really feel like you are a woman or trangender, they are going to want to know how you will act based on that knowledge about yourself.

    Do you intend to live as Leah?

    Do you intend to take medications to help you transition?

    (My advice is to be truthful, but stick to you are only going to take medications that are prescribed by a doctor, and you do not intend to take non-prescribed medications. Bishops and Stake Presidents are fairly comfortable not being in the middle of decisions between doctors and patients, even involving abortions, these days.

    Do you intend to have surgery? When?

    (Again, if you have decided you for sure will have them, say so. Otherwise, I would stick to talking about that as a decision far in the future, to be made after you know how potential medications may impact your body and mind, and the way you think about his process.)

    We have talked a little bit about a friend of mine who has switched between genders 4 times in His (current gender) life, and that the church has not excommunicated Him because while he has had hormones that are part of his treatment (his body doesn't make either male or female hoemones in quantities that would "create a gender") his leaders have left him to figure out his own life path. I lived with him in one ward as a woman, and another ward 5 years later as a man.

    I would never tell you to lie to your leaders, but if you are not sure what the future will hold, that is a valid place to leave it.

    In your situation, your wife is important, and since the direction you are being pulled at this time, is one that your wife who is not able to see as a journey she wants to take with you, it is important to make sure that she and you have your basic needs met. I think focusing on those two things, that you have a journey, and your wife is not interested in being part of it, which means you need help in finding a way to live, you will give your leaders a reason to continue to take a slow motion approach. It may give all of you a chance to make that hard to believe "catch."

    I am in your corner, and here whenever you need me!

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    1. Dear Julia,

      Thank you so much for giving me some things to think about, when I see my Bishop next week. These are things I've thought about for 45 years, since I knew I was a girl at 4 years old. To be honest, it did't take me 45 years to come to the conclusions about myself that would answer all these questions. At 14, when my Mom asked me to walk straight home, after Dad dropped me off at school, so we could have a fun day at home together, I knew, and I knew my Mom knew. This was a mother-daughter party, even though I was 2 years into my regime of testosterone, my body was still decidedly feminine and delicate.

      We had a blast and talked about the most intimate things. She confided in me the events of my birth, and we both cried together. She held me in a way most 14 year old boys would never admit ever happened. She was a 9th grade drop out, but she was the most intelligent woman I've ever known. She was emotionally and economically abused by my dad, but she was indeed, the strongest woman I have ever known. I owe so much to her. I owe my ideology, faith, love, empathy and compassion all to her. Without her, I know for certain, I would have been a 14 year old suicide victim (2 years before my sister that committed suicide at 14 was even born).

      We watched Phil Donahue, a not by chance episode on transsexualism. The woman were amazingly beautiful, and were living valid and honest lives. My mom used this as an opportunity to talk to me about this. She told me she knew I was really a girl, and that someday in the future she felt that society would change enough for me to take the necessary steps just like the women on the show. She was only 33, and never drove and never held a job, but she was a strong independent woman who was not bullied into voting for Nixon by the Relief Society women. She was a feminist through and through. I had helped her work for President Carter, and went with her to feminist meetings. She really felt we would be more like 10 years beyond where we are now by about 1990. I blame Ronald Reagan for much of the nations damaging regressivity.

      Anyhoo...I just wanted to make the point that I knew all these answers by that tender age of 14 or 15, but that I was just too cowardly for the next 35 years to come clean with my own self. I will not make the mistake of being indecisive with my Bishop. That would be catastrophic, setting me on another 35 year path of second guessing myself. I named this blog "Go-At-Throttle-Up" for this very reason. I dang well am going for it, I'm reaching for the stars, not settling for a splash down failure. My advantage is that I know I'm not made by man, but by God. There will be no "O" ring failure, this is really happening. The gravitational pull of the safety of a comfortable guileful life, of a conforming, fake human being life, will be left behind.

      I know you know my answers to the questions you posit my Bishop will ask. I know full well their harping will be on my so called "acting on". My answer is that I have been sinfully acting on for the last 35 years at least, since my mom and I had those talks. Being Bob is the sin of guile, of being a lie, being cross dressed to the world as the male person I know I am not, and I know God knows I know. My salvation is in jeopardy if I continue any further as Bob. So yes, I will be living as Leah, that is not a choice or an act, it is the total absence of such.

      Thanks for being in my corner,
      Love,
      Leah

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    2. Sorry, I had to delete 2 paragraphs on that reply because I ran into the character limit, which i never encountered before. Suffice to say I answer yes to all your questions, and if I feel like it later, I'll elaborate.
      Leah

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  5. Dearest Leah,
    It doesn't seem too long ago I wouldn't have understood. I'm ashamed to say I would have had that knee jerk reaction the same as many that you'd encountered. Keep telling your story. Keep being you. In that, people WILL open up their hearts [as I have been able to do] and see you for what you are- an amazing, beautiful, wonderful lady. I love your bravery and authenticity. I wish you all the luck meeting with you Bishop. I wish I had some wisdom to give you, but I'm sure you'll say what you need to say to him. No matter what he says, remember God loves you just the way your are. <3

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    1. Dearest Linds,
      I want to express me deep gratitude for you sharing your thoughts with me. I am so exited to learn of those who are changing from conservative, reactionary ideologies, to more enlightened ones. To become enlightened means to admit to ones self that a previously held position was wrong, or mistaken. The fact that your heart is opening up and enlarging, swells my own heart with such love, empathy and compassion for you. I feel the love you have in your kind, gentle, loving words for me. I thank you very much for that. You give me further courage and resolve to be authentic. You reassure me that I am on the right track, and that God does love me the way I am.

      With Love and kindness,
      Leah

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  6. good luck, Leah, you gorgeous woman! And I get what Julia is saying about your upcoming Bishop's interview. Some things are just none of his business and don't feel pressured to confide *everything.* It is your deal. Not his. And I still think that you can be a member in good standing without him knowing very much. I get the feeling that you want to bravely proclaim your beautiful identity from the rooftops, and definitely go ahead and do that, but please still be wary. The bishop does not hold power over you. Keep your own power sacred and rawk on, darlin'.

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    1. Dear "Cotton",

      Thank you for the kind reassurance and advice. I can appreciate the stance of not being pressured to confide every detail. It seems I have a fine balance I need to find between confiding everything and being defensive and not forthcoming. I can see reasonable arguments to be made for both sides, and every fluid position between the two. I will think long and hard about this, and ask in prayerful contemplation. I honestly don't know for sure where I will fall in the disclosure.

      From the 100 minute conversation I had with my outgoing Bishop I know the biggest thing they see fit to harp on it the "don't go acting on your (homosexuality)". He actually read me the handbook on homosexuality, and said this applies to "you". The second biggest mode of attack will be, "why give up fighting? You've successfully fought this for 45 years, why not just try to continue fighting it?" I intend to eviscerate those attacks with the facts. I have not been a success at fighting this by any stretch of the imagination. I love my wife way too much to see her go through another 24 years of the status-quo.

      I Plan to really, really Rawk!....all the way to the top.

      Humbly with Love,

      Leah

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