Wednesday, December 4, 2013
By now, many of you may know about my life going viral about a month ago. Wow! It sure was shocking to me. It took me by great surprise. I woke up. Got dressed, and headed out the door to prepare for a day on the campaign trail. I work for Oregon United for Marriage, and for the next year I will do everything I possibly can to ensure that all TLGB people have the right to love each other and to commit to each other, and to have the Public Government publicly declare and publicly recognize the relationship announced and wedded as a marriage. Not 30 feet from my door, someone ran into me as I was crossing the street. I landed on the hood of a big white car, denting it in. OMGosh! I was nearly killed. This was a huge event. But it wouldn't last.
Just 20 minutes later, my best friend called me and asked me if I had heard about what was going on. It was Monday Morning, What could I have heard that would warrant such a call? My friend went on to explain to me that my post I had made the night before, about being so happy to be attending Church as myself, had somehow gone viral. What in the world? What was so special about me? About what I am doing. I've been attending Relief Society for 5 months, with great and fantastic support, and love, in fact, I was in the Relief Society Choir. Relief Society is a meeting for women only, in the mormon Church, during the hour the men attend Priesthood. So this Sunday I began to attend Priesthood as myself, with the close aid, advocacy, and assistance of my Branch President and Stake President, the 2 highest ranking local leaders responsible for my membership stewardship. The fact that my Stake President, who presides in leadership over 5 or 6 Wards, each of which consist of 400-600 members, had been attending the small downtown Portland Branch (not yet a Ward) each and every week since i started coming in the first of August....over 3 months straight. This SP (Stake President) had been aware of my situation since my best friend had made him aware the first of the year as I came out to my wife and daughters. We're talking an 11 month relationship. My SP contacted my then SP and Bishop in Akron, Ohio, to help and assist with certain matters. The First Presidency (Our President of the Church and his 2 counselors) has known about my situation for the same length of time. My SP stated that he had been in regular contact with them about me. This gave me great comfort, because as more time went by, that no proceedings of sanctioning or disfellowship, or even more dreadfully, excommunication, had been brought up, the more courage it gives me that they feel I am doing nothing wrong. You'd think that a lifelong devout Mormon Transsexual Woman who is attending Sacrament, Sunday School, and Relief Society, and full participation with talks, prayers, scripture reading, Family Home evening, Dinners, and activities, for 5 months, that nothing was amiss, and things would go on as is.
So getting this surprise call Monday Morning caught me flatfooted. Everyone was sprinting around me in some big media hoopla. I'm just a girl. A lonely, Mormon, woman, who is trying to make her way in a world that is just discovering her. I probably was not ready for Prime Time.....but oh crap!.....here it is! First it was CBS, then ABC, the news started contacting me, and the media frenzy had begun. there was a war between competing channels to be the first to air my story. The ABC station insisted on airing it that night, so there was no time to get to a studio for a face to face interview. It was by phone, and very awkward. Some photos were used without my permission. It was mostly done in good taste, but I think they made it seem like i chose to divorce and abandon my family in Ohio, which is not the case. i am not this kind of monster.
The next day, on Tuesday, the local Portland CBS affiliate, KATU Channel 2 invited me to the studio for an interview. My friend arranged for me to go shopping with some financial backing, and obtain an interview worthy, professional woman's attire. I was truly pampered. I went to the Macy's makeup counter for a makeover even. This outfit is what I'm wearing in last nights blog, attached to my poem, "I AM....For the Very First time". The news anchor that interviewed me for 90 minutes, on camera, has over 30 years experience, and told me I was a remarkable individual, with one of the most compelling stories he has ever seen. He said he would be greatly surprised if this doesn't go way bigger than this. The following is the link to what was aired as the lead story for the 6 O'Clock, and 11 O'Clock News.
You can pretty much just Google my name now and be led to myriad links to me being in the news and various publications. I can't even begin to keep up with it all. I started to read some of the comments, which much of it came from the Right Wing orthodox heartland (a religiosity that I never ever want to be part of, and a cliquish and clannish tribalistic brood that our former President of the Church, Gordon B. Hinlkley warned us against.), which just tore into me, and railed into me with such vile vitriol, and enmity, and diatribes that I couldn't even recognize the Faith experience they were coming from. We simply have no common frame of reference, thus we have nothing that we can talk about. I can help them to understand, but they have to be willing to hear me. I can explain to them about myself, and that I am a lifelong devout Mormon, who is worthy in every sense, including every single Temple Recommend Question., but again, they have to be willing to hear. If anyone is willing to hear, and want me to speak about something....please feel free to leave comments here, suggestions, anything....ask away. I would be very happy to enlighten you about what it's like to have lived in abject sinfulness for 46 years, and then return to arms of Jesus Christ, my true advocate and intercessor.
I am on my way to truth and light. I have a Talent, My Trans* Identity, and I'm not ashamed of it. No devil is inhabiting me making me do this. I'm letting my light so shine before the world, and spreading love, empathy, compassion, inclusion, service to others, happiness, joy, tender mercies, friendship, fellowship, brotherly and sisterly love, and vast amounts of Zion building benefiscience. I am filled with edification and lamp-oil filling opportunities all week long. Every week! I love people. No devil would allow this great love and expansion to exist on his behalf.
Today I had a real life learning experience. I had the great honor and pleasure to be in the company of what was the most beautiful woman with the sweetest countenance. She personified Christ. She lives her faith. She is a woman without guile. All the most wonderful accolades I could lay upon her with absolute truth. She has long golden curly locks of pristine hair, shimmering with refracted Portland Winter declianted sunshine. So gorgeous I doubt Miss America can hold a candle. Her eyes, oh my gosh, those beautiful green eyes staring deep into the tender mercies of her delicate and vulnerable heart and soul. Her nose, such a pefect button, showing a beauty mark of spectacular attraction. Her voice, an angels voice, with the intonations of celestial foundings. Each syllable sending my ears and heart into flushing billows of exuberance, joy and sweet happiness. Her vestments mocking me.....your not the girliest girl in the world....Ha-ha-ha-ha......She's so fine in her flowing long skirt, and pretty peacoat. Her ultra feminine, wintry princess look calls to me......you can't touch this! This is how Fem is done. Everything about her I loved. She is so very perfect.
We went for lunch together, and then she gave away a good amount to someone she thought could truly benefit. She is a God revering woman, who serves her fellow humanity. She loves others unconditionally. She acts every minute on her words and ideology. This woman is operating on a whole nutha level. She says, she's 5'1", but I think she's only 5 foot even. She says she's 95 pounds, but I think 85. She says her backpack is 40 pounds, I say 65. I loved her at first sight. Honestly. Every second I spent with her affirmed this. I had the most amazing day with her. Her story just grabs me heart. How could THIS woman possibly be homeless. You can forget everything you think you know about homeless people. It is all dead wrong....flat out. My friend has a story that just hurts my heart at it's inner emotional core. I cried all day in my heart for her. I hugged her, and smiled broadly for her. I wanted her to know I am her friend, and I am there for her. She says she hates her life, while I'm telling her I love mine for the first time in my life. i feel guilty. Guilty for thinking I have ever had even one iota of struggles or hardships. I know absolutely nothing. I ache for this woman that I just met a few hours ago. Where is she tonight? Is she safe? Are the marks on her beautiful face from abuse. I'm so worried for her. This place is full of these stories. Just open my eyes and look. I feel so blessed by this experience, living among 80 women. They are all wonderful people. They just need empowerment and enfranchisement. They just need the chance to thrive, and live their authentic lives.
I am so blessed for these two events that have left me knee deep in the hoopla. I am learning so much from being immersed in the spotlight, and being a homeless. I have no regrets at all about anything here. I have learned way too much, and met too many wonderful people to wish all that absent from my life. I have started to save from my job that is such a happy and exciting place to work, I still can't believe they pay me to do this stuff. I will be able to soon move into my own place. I will be so much stronger and wiser. I will be so much more of a complete human being. A completely Authentic Human Being. I ask myself every day, "Who in the world could possibly have it better than me?".....(my response is.)..."Nobody". Thinks march on time marches on.....into The Undiscovered Country. Things are getting better. Things are getting better every day......and I'm sitting here.....knee deep in the hoopla.
Your remarks, comments and questions are all greatly appreciated. I welcome them, and invite you to follow this blog, and participate. Friend me on facebook at:
I welcome you to join my facebook forum and group Transgender Mormons and Allies, for all people to discuss mormon culture, the transgender and transsexual and greater TLGBQ communities, and all friends and allies.....you don't have to be Mormon or trans*. The link for it is:
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
This is from a year and a half ago. I got to thinking about it today when I made a new friend/my new sister. She told me to take hold of the power of "I Am". Those 2 words hold the power of attraction. I believe it. I have always believed it. So I want to republish this poem I wrote, commemorating my belief that I truly am, I AM.
I was walking around downtown today, which I shouldn't have been doing since I am really under the whether with a bad sore throat, and I had a most unusual thing happen to me. This is something that is commonplace for cis-women. I'm experiencing many things cis women have endured all their lives. I was always aware of them, but they were never targeted toward me, because of my guileful presentation. I was called "Babe" for the first time. My mind was blown. What the?
I began to think about all the sexist language in our culture. Sure some of it is innocent enough, but everyone can discern the intonations of the intended meaning of every word, when they are spoken. That is called being literate. This was a genuine inflective. He really intended to be nice to me. Part of me really enjoyed it, while the other half of me cringed. And some of me just thought, "do you see what I see?"
So I came home and it stirred in my mind a little bit, and some thoughts for a poem started popping into my head. It's only the 2nd or 3rd poem I've ever written, so don't expect anything great.
My mind engaged in spightly contemplations
Sundry impressions forming ideations
Knock down drag out
Heartsick for cherubic adaptations
Pretending, longing, only gets me futile fruitions
Knock down drag out
Steering blindly towards dour depressions
Knock down drag out
Be veritable, be spurious, those are the elections
Nothing of this is from ones volitions
Knock down drag out
And finally I realize, just who the hell I am
Here I am, I am what I am
The delighted one, exuberant for the UN-discovered country
I am, I am
Heavenly herald breaking down the barricades of guile, lies, and falsehoods
I am, I am
Loving, empathic, and compassionate, tools of an engineer
I am, I am
Singing exultations, gloria, gloria,
Singing exultations, glory, glory
Recognitions I discern are for me
Here I am, I am who I am
I am myself...........................for the very first time!
(following is expanded edition)
I am enough
I am me
I am true
I am honest
I am me
I am enough
I AM ME
I am absent guile
I am not lying
I am me
I am enough
I am me
I am bearing true witness
I am true to God
I am me
I am enough
I am me
I am loving
I am sweet
I am kind
I am a flower
I am a bear
I am a bunny
I am a dragon
I am a mother of dragons
I am a delicate damsel
I am a warrior princess
I am an owl
I am a beaver
I am doing what is right
I am making a difference
I am happy
I am joyful
I am better than ever
I am enough
I AM ENOUGH
I AM ME
Monday, December 2, 2013
So, my divorce became final at the end of May this year, ending a 24 1/2 year Temple Marriage. We separate from each other as friends, as far as I know. I can tell you, I still love her, and that will never change. I love my three daughters, and that will never change. They remain very cold to me, and we are not currently in contact, although I want to initiate some contact this Christmas. I hope they are happy, safe, and healthy and doing well. Let me be clear about this. I did not divorce my wife, she divorced me. I did not abandon my family, they gave up on me 18 years ago when I was banished to the basement to be lonely and spider bitten, for way too long.
Having attended the last of the Lawyer/Court proceedings that I needed to be in attendance for, I packed up and left Akron, Ohio, by Greyhound bus. The bus actually took me to Cleveland first, and then a four hour layover. Then 100 miles to the southwest, the bus broke down, about 20 miles West of Akron, and nearly 8 hours later, and I still wasn't even in Columbus yet. I was praying that this was not a harbinger of things to come, and that this would be the worst it ever got on my entire 'walkabout' journey. I was starting to freak out a little bit. I was still presenting as "Bob", because I chickened out on Transitioning to full time while in Akron, because it would entail having my wife and daughters see me, and i don't think they are ready for that yet.
In Columbus, a young woman sat next to me, and we chatted all the way to Chicago. We talked openly about being transgender and transsexual. She was unusually enlightened about these things. She was so easy to talk to, and a natural candidate for being a good friend. And so she did. Now this was a more accurate harbinger of things to come.....the wonderful myriad of beautiful things to come, that has continues unabated to this day.
The next day I arrived at my good friend, Lupe's place, in Kansas City. I was still presenting as Bob, and my last photos ever taken of me presenting as male were from K.C. I had a good visit, and it was quickly on to Salt Lake City. I arrived on the Morning of May 28, 2013, at the SLC Greyhound station. I was expecting to be greeted by my friend and dear little sister, Berta. I think she got lost, as she is so adorably prone to do. I was debating as to weather or not to just duck into the Women's Room, and transition to full time, right then and there. Berta finally came and we just hugged, and I was called "Leah" for the first time in my life. Someone that only knows me as Leah, and accepts and loves me no matter how I look or present. We went on to her friends place, where she has a downtown loft.
It was there, in that downtown, SLC loft, that I transitioned to full time as my true, and natural self. The person God had always intended me to be. I was no longer in violation of the 10 Commandments (which demand that all people live their best authentic lives), BY NOT BEING A LIAR! God saw fit to make authenticity and being genuine, a top 10...."THOU SHALT NOT LIE", how can anyone misunderstand that. Not being a fake human being, not living a guileful life, God saw fit to make top ten Commandment Demands of us. Nowhere in scripture or any doctrine does it ever say, "thou shalt not be LGBT, thou shalt not be transgender, lesbian, gay bisexual or any kind of Queer Person. Nowhere does it say, "Thou shalt exclude LGBTQ People from your lives, families, churches, and from full participation in the plan of happiness. Arguably, only 3 very vague anti LGBT verses are harped on as if they were 10,000 verses, and the #1 commandment. Sorry folks, your Transphobia, and Homophobia not only DID NOT make the top 10, it's not even in the top 100, or even 1000. In fact, the Commandment to FORBID NONE TO COME UNTO ME, and participate in the plan of Happiness, is very clear and unmistakable.
So, now I was smack dab in the middle of the PRIDE Week celebration, Parade and Festival. We picked up an amazingly beautiful Transgender Mormons and Allies banner, that I marched with, in the Trans March, with several local Transgender People. It was amazing. The next day I marched not once, but twice in the main Pride Parade. The first time, we were assigned #3 or 4, marching right at the front of the Parade, with several Trans Groups, one of them my very own Transgender Mormons and Allies. I made my own sign that read, "I am a Transsexual Mormon, and all I want to do is live and participate in the Plan of Happiness". I was crying immense tears of utter joy and exhuberence, for the large throngs of people lining the streets, heavy on both sides. People clapping, people cheering, people laughing joyfully, people crying with overwhelming joy, people signing love and happiness, people mouthing the words, while holding their hands together, "We Love You", and "Thank You". People yelling out, "we Love you", and "Thank You", and on and on.. The amount of love, empathy and compassion I received here, was the most i have ever gotten anywhere. Indeed, Salt Lake City is THE GAYEST CITY IN AMERICA, meaning it just may be the friendliest of all to the people of the TLGBQ Community. And yes, that's how I roll now.....putting the T, for Transgender First. I was able to finish the parade route before the latter parts of the parade even started. The LGBT Mormons Collective, with several groups under a collective umbrella had only barely started, and I nestled myself right in there again, marching up front, with the Transgender Mormons and Allies banner, right next to Berta. What a treat to get to march twice.The cheering was the same as when I went by as the lead of the Trans portion, I got separated, while my friend, Crystal, held the other side of my banner. so the crowd seemed to love us all equally.
Right after the PRIDE Celebration, Berta and I embarked on the most amazing backcountry backpacking adventure ever. I will go into further detail in a later post. I can tease you with, Puma, Bear, Sasquatch, Cartoon bumped shin, swimming in the Virgin, chasing through other worldly Spacescape pinnacles and hoodoos, and other close encounters. What amazing fun. My favorite places in the world, can you guess where these places are?
Then my friend, Lori, from Rigby, Idaho, came down to SLC, and she took me to the Cheescake Factory, where we celebrated my 50th Birthday. Then we met up with some friends of hers and we all went to the new Star Trek movie, where i cried because Kirk became the hero, this time, sacrificing his life, for the good of the many. That was so well done, I can't even tell you. And a Trans Woman is a Bridge Officer, with at least 13 speaking parts!! Then we drove up to Rigby, where i stayed for a week, and had a speaking engagement at Ricks College, my alma matter, now going by BYU-Idaho, where my youngest daughter is a sophomore. Those young people just touched my heart, and changed my life. They gave me such inspiration and confidence. I'll have to find the recording of my 90 minute Talk, and share it with you. We also made trips to Mesa Falls, and Yellowstone National Park. Both so very beautiful.
I then got a ride from my friend and brother, Dave, in Idaho Falls, to Boise Pride. It was bright and sunny, and it was a great success. There was some tension I'll never understand, but it was a good day, and met a lot of beautiful, and wonderful people. This was one of 15 legs of my walkabout journey of self discovery. I was on vacation, for the first time in 20 years. I was enjoying myself, and I may have been aloof or oblivious to certain messages, hints, or directions. I want to let it be known that I am sorry. I apologize. My bad. Certain people I neglected to keep in contact with, regularly. I'm sorry and i apologize. In my defense, My phone was malfunctioning, and had no service, and I was without my laptop, (for about 5 months actually).
I then went back to Idaho Falls, and back to Salt Lake City, for another week. I visited more friends, got my ears pierced, was a model for eyelash extensions, and helped rebuild a house, and meeting some amazing trans women.
Next was a leg to Reno, to visit Teresa. The DOMA and California Marriage Equality rulings from the Supreme court happened while I was here, and there was an impromptu PRIDE March through downtown, I marched with my banner, as well as Fancy Transgender Mormons and Allies Flag, just as I did in Boise. We climbed the 11,637 foot Mt. Rose, which was one of the most amazing hikes ever.
I then went straight to San Francisco, but Reno delayed my bus by 6 hours, so I totally missed the Trans March, which is the largest gathering of Trans* identified people in the world....at over 50,000. No matter, I went and marched with the Lesbians. The next day I went to march in San Francisco Pride with the Mormons for Equality entry, and I got to be my own contingent, Transgender Mormons and Allies. This is a whole nutha level. 2 1/2 Million people! I wore my Pink Prom Dress with Pink Go-Go Boots. Everyone loved me. I was interviewed right in the parade by one of the local TV stations. I was asked about how I felt as a member of the Mormon Church and being transgender. I said, I loved being me. I am commanded to be my best true self, and not to be a liar. I hope to be an activist, organizer, and advocate for the trans community, and the greater TLGBQ community and those in the LDS Church. So I went on to spend the entire month of July, visiting my wonderful friend, and sister, Christina, and later, Carly, who was the very first person I met at my arrival in San Francisco. So much to write about here....worth several posts alone.
I took a side trip to Los Angeles, and Long Beach, to see my friend Perri. I had a good time visiting and enjoyed a wonderful hike up a canyon. I then went back to San Francisco, and then on to points North.
I arrived in Portland on August 2, 2013. This is my new home. Some were disappointed I didn't keep in touch and made it known in forceful and bold ways. This was a blip on the radar. NO WORRIES! It's all good. I quickly started working hard at Oregon For Marriage Equality, and amazing things have continually happened ever since.
I must tell you, one of the most remarkable things of my entire life. It has been 6 months now, since i transitioned to living full time as the woman I have known myself to be since age 4.......that's a painful 46 years of directly disobeying the 10 Commandments, and being a guilful liar, and fake human being. I have so much to recompense for. I know It is my calling and my Talent to serve all of humanity, to spread love, empathy, compassion and inclusion.....I picked my name because that is what it means. I'm letting my light so shine before the world.....i shall never bury it, hide it, or run in shame from it. I am honored and proud of who I am. For the first time in my life, I love myself. For the fist time in my life i am happy. For the first time in my life I am absent of all willful hiding, lying and guile. For the first time in my life, my salvation is no longer in jeopardy. For the first time in my life, I am making true friends, that know me and love me, and they are my sisters and brothers....and i love them with a;ll my heart. You have all saved my life.
I need to give a most special thanks to dear, Marni, my greatest and best friend in the whole world. She has saved my life at least twice, and she does countless other things that have made my life, the wonderful, successful and happy life, it is today. She took me in, when certain plans were altered. She got me to go to the courthouse to file for my name change, where they told me that just a day or two before, they started letting people file for a change of sex. YES.....THEY ASKED ME IF I WOULD LIKE TO ALSO FILE FOR A CHANGE OF SEX, AT THE SAME TIME AS NAME CHANGE. I said yes, of course I would. That was August, 6, and the court date was Friday, September 13, 2013. Are you kidding me. This was meant to be. I am a Triskadeckophile....I love the number 13, and it's repeating theme in my life. I deliberately chose, December 31, 2012, to come out to my wife and daughters, not only because it was my 14 sisters birthday, who committed suicide, and would have been 35, and i wanted to honor her, but because, then I would be finally a truthful, honest, genuine, authentic person for the entire year 2013.....which is also my 50th year on Mothers Day, May 13. So holy cow! My RE-BIRTHDAY is September 13, 2013. The judge signed the legal documents, with no other verification....no one had to vouch for my identity but myself. this is how it should be. Thank God for Oregon, and for Portland.
I used the legal documents, to begin changing over everything else, including my new Washington State Birth Certificate. I began seeing a medical doctor and having blood labs done to get baselines to begin taking hormones. How apro pose that I started taking my first dose of female hormones on October 13, 2013. My life is just so amazing now. A surprising chain of events happened recently where my life went viral, only because i posted a happy post on facebook. I had ABC, NBC, and CBS News calling me directly. I was later interviewed by several stations, and went to a local Portland studio for an interview. Parts of the 90 minute interview have aired all over America, and you can now google my name, and find links to Transsexual mormon attends LDC Church, asking for her records to be changed. That's headline news.....who knew?
I need to wrap this post up, but I want to tell you, I'm glad to be back blogging. Please follow me. Share this blog with others. Friend me on facebook, and join my forum, Transgender Mormons and Allies. Thank you for bearing with me during my lengthy absence. You wont regret it. I love you all so very much.
My name is Leahnora (Leah) Laurelei Isaak......and I-AM-A-GO-AT-THROTTLE-UP!!!