Saturday, July 26, 2014
In exactly one week I will be commemorating one year since I moved to Portland, Oregon. It almost coincides with me being one year since transitioning, and living full time as my true authentic self. Yes, my true self, having known this, unflinchingly, and unwavering, since age 4, is a female person. I am a Woman. I am a Girl. I am a fully under the transgender umbrella, which holds myriad identities, one of them beinng Transsexual, which I am. I identify as the opposite sex from which I was assigned at birth, and no other identity describes who I am. My gender is Lipstick Femme, which is somewhat uncommon, as a catagory. But even then, that is only a simple grouping of commonalities. Gender is very unique, and it is never duplicated. There are currently 7.2 Billion living examples of gender in the world, of which I am only one. There has never been anyone like me, isn't anyone like me right now, and never will be anyone like me. It is bothersome to me that most people conflate gender and sex. They have nothing to do with each other. Gender is between our ears. It is our sentience, our mind and our brain. Sex is between our legs, and is heavily executed as a single dichotomous binary, being female and male. In reality is far more comlicated than this black and whiting absolutism. There are at least 68 known chromosomial sexes, not the two everyone thinks there is. I'll leave it to others to go into that, but I wanted to point these things out.
Growing up, I was constantly teased and ridiculed as being a sissy. Being a tomboy is perfectly acceptable, and there are an equal number of it's opposite in the male presenting world. that is to say, being a sissy. Most of them closet it so well, they don't have to deal with being teased or beated up like I was. It was horrible. I was called femme, lezzy, faggot, and sissy, as early as grade school. Thank God my folks moved across town in my 5th grade year. No one at my new school knew or saw me wearing dresses at school, that my Kindergarted teacher adored me in, from her daily dress up times. They piled on me, wanting to make me cry, and sometimes they did. It caused me to internalize everything, and live a double life that I never told anyone about. It was deeply imbedded into my conscience, the daily nightmare I had to live. Waking up each morning, looking nothing like the pretty girl self I dreamed I was. The only solice I had was that I didn't have any external genitalia, and it gave me hope I would one day turn into the girl I knew I was. The perceptions of those kids was spot on. they knew it, I knew it, and they knew I knew I was a girl.
Those perceptions were quickly picked up on, in my new school, right off the bat. The same names, especially femme, lezzy, and sissy. By Middle School it grew to going all-in to what they thought I was....."Bobbie's going to get a sex change.....", repeated over and over in chants. I had grown to appear as though I had a thick skin, and was unflappable. I knew deep down in my heart of hearts it was true. I felt like pulling down my pants to shock the hell out of them, because they would truly see that, Yes, in fact, I was a girl, for all intents and purposes. But I had shame, a lot of it, plus, a serious battle with incontinence, that led to me being extremely guarded and secretive at all times. For P.E., I was allowed to change in a single stall, and shower seperately most days. a few times I couldn't, and that was so incredibly mortifying. several boys saw I had no external male genitalia. Some of them had hair and genitals the size of my dad's (a part time nudist, at least around the house). There was no question that I was not a boy, but I couldn't bring myself to declare I was a girl. So much pressure, from every aspect of my life, to tough it out, and be macho. I was doomed to experience the full sojourn, of this thing called boyhood.
I knew I had a big epic moment to endure. Sooner or later it just had to come. How were they going to reconcile the fact that I was beginning to develop secondary female sex characteristics. Surely I will go to a doctor one day. They will say something, and I can peacefully begin to live as the girl I knew myself to be. But my dad could provide us with no health insurance. Something about pre-existing conditions, especially for my mom, who had high blood pressure, diabetes, and was severely overweight. So no physicals came. None of us went to the doctor. I was getting quite aware that something was indeed wrong with me. I was very nurturing and caring, and loving as a child. I was well trusted as a babysitter, even at age 11 and 12. I even babysat toddlers, and changed diapers. For goodness sakes, their genitalia was pretty good sized, and I had none. I knew I was different. Weird. An Aberration. Being a hockey player for a few years, to get to play with the 12 years olds you have to get a complete physical. This was it. They would see, and I would finally be a girl, right?
Not exactly. In fact the first indication of things not working out as I had hoped, was when my mom, who had to be there, saw me, and immediately face palmed hersef, exclaiming, "Oh my God. What's wrong with him." You never want to hear that as a reaction to the sight of your crotch....no not ever, especially from your mom. The doctor brought two more doctors in, and they interrogated me. It was just the most aweful thing. I started to cry, and so did my mom. They brought nurses in, and escorted my mom out, and they put me on a table and spread my legs in stirrups, poking and prodding me. I wanted to blurt out, "But I'm a Girl!!....Please let me be a Girl!!" But I lost my voice from crying. I couldn't say it, at least not loud enough for anyone to hear. Soon after that, I was to begin a regimen of pills and cocktails that years later I learned were estrogen blockers, and mega doses of testosterone, along with other drugs. It took till my Junior year of High School for my secondary female sex characteristics to dissappear, and a complete year after High School to start male puberty. Having to endure all of High School with no discernable puberty was so painful, I can hardly believe I made it through.
Waking up every single day of my life, knowing I am a transsexual, was not easy, especially considering I was born and raised in the Mormon Church, which is hung up on an extreme version of hetero and cis normative cosmology. I went to Primary on Tuesdays, which was fun, for the most part. I always sat with the girls, and loved singing the loudest, because I loved my soprano voice. I was asked to do several solos, it was considered so pretty. Being in church skits and roadshows, I was almost always stuck, or at least I protested it that way, with playing the part of a girl. But I secretly loved it. I was in Cub Scouts and Boy s
Scouts all the way to Eagle Scouts. My dad was the Scoutmaster for a long time. I couldn't let him down and embarrass him. I had other scout leaders, whom I adored. Some of them Women, were the best ones. I had so many primary Teachers whom I adored, and remember well to this day. They have a huge roll in the person i am today. I am very grateful and thankful to them. I could not have had any better instruction.
It is just fascinating the opportunity I have been given to finally have counseling for the first time in my life. I've seen a counselor for the last 3 months, and it has been a godsend. She is helping me resolve so many of my weaknesses, and conundrums. It hasn't been easy. Either in her office or without. I have experienced not one, but two sexual assaults in the last 3 weeks. This in turn has triggered all the other times I was raped, molested and abused, and taken advantage of. This is all topped off with my Faith Transition, if that is even the right terminology. I will never make everyone happy, especially the ones I'm closest to. Here's the bottom line. My spirituality has never changed, or lessoned, in fact it has been augmented, increased, nurtured and grown into a beautiful bright light, I am letting so shine before the world. My Spirituality is neither resigned, quitting, or being excommunicated from anything. In reality, neither has my Religiosity. I have always been somewhat a-religioistic, in the sense I have never felt compelled to perpetrate my spirituality or my religion(s) onto anyone. Share yes, perpetrate no. I believe in letting all people worship, how, where, and what they may, both outside and inside the Church. I believe that D&C is the Prime Directive of the Church, and its affairs in the public sphere. I believe this directive to be unconditional bedrock doctrine, that is currently in open heresy, being openly and brazenly violated, in that, the church can never be allowed to pursue the public law codification of any matter that causes any person to go against their good conscience, or disenfranchised from the opportunity to act on their good conscience, in anything whatsoever. That is the bare minimum, the details of which can be another post.
Let me be clear. As of now, I have not given up on the Mormon Church. I am not resigning or quitting. I am a Mormon and always will be. I hold out hope that things can be changed as slow as this effort may take. I have great love and affinity for the Mormon church and many of the people in it. A good number of my best friends are Mormons, and ex-Mormons. I love them both. I intend to keep on affiliating with and loving both. I intend to affiliate with Unitarian Universalists, Pagans, Buddhists, Muslums, Jews, and the Community of Christ. Maybe others. This is what my personal revelation tells me, this is from God, not Lucifer, or a demon. My countenance has never been so happy anbd bright. No demon can privide such a thing, biut darkness and misery. My heart and soul, tells me this is true and the right path for me at this time. I am not saying goodbye to anyone, only hello to a grat many lovely, beautiful and wonderful people.
In spite of a very painful month coming to this understanding about my Religiosity, and the incredibly injurous attacks on me, sexually, in spite of myriad things coming together in confluence at the same time, housing, job, and more, I stand before you, a strong, and happy woman. I am happy to be me. I am happy and so grateful to have so much love, and support from so many friends. they have helped me move, gather belongings in consolidation, acquire furniture (a bed so far), comfort me in my time of deep distress, and play with me in times of utter joy and happiness. They have offered me a place to stay, so I wouldn't be homeless, give me food and clothing, that I may be healthy to function, given me job leads, and references, and are emergency contacts and benefactors. They have absolutely saved my life, and given me this second chance at life. I owe them everything. I would be nothing without them.
Never in my life have I been as happy and joyful as I am right now. It is all because of what has transpired and transitioned, and because of my transformation, and blossoming into the woman that I still am becoming. Each day I waken a new woman, a happier woman, a more enlightened, and transformational woman. I am so proud to be a Transsexual Woman, and be working for others that are like me, in the Transgender Umbrella, as well as thge nentire TLGBQ Community, and other social justice programs. My entire life has brought me to this point where I am sitting here typing this right now. The universe is truly unfolding as it should. Things are getting better. Things are getting better every single day. I love each and every one of you. Thank you for supporting me, and being my ally and friend.
Faithfully and Joyfully Yours,
Leahnora L. Isaak
Monday, July 21, 2014
There are so many things I need to catch everybody up on. But first of all, I need to start dealing with the thing that has caused me the most distress in my life. So here goes.
I would like to share what I posted in a group a couple nights ago, that many people are asking me about. Instead of sharing it individually with everyone, here on my blog. I want to share with all those I know. I have no secrets. No so called 'TBM' family members to hide anything from. These are my real feelings, and they are really hurting me.
Trigger Warning: I am not self inhibiting myself here. I'm pretty damned hurt, and I sure as heck am not ready to make nice. I love all my friends, be they inside, transitioning, or fully outside the church, or outside every faith altogether now. My intention is only to discuss my feelings, and no other purpose. Not to hurt anyone, least of all. Many of the things I am now revealing, is new information to a lot of you. You need to know, I'm not arriving at these feelings out of the blue. Nothing has snapped inside of me. No epiphany has been realized yet. I want to be very clear, that I cannot bear to abide this sadistic status quo for much longer. It is doing no one any good. The following is true, and is actually what has been said and done to me. Many people who are privy to this information can vouch for this. A very prominent woman in Mormon Feminist Circles, and my close friend, has witnessed some of this while the Bishop and Stake President were talking to me. She sat with me in their office.
I am noticing that although I suffered a crime of violence against me a couple weeks
ago, and it has retriggered all my past trauma of being raped, molested and abused for years, that my anxiety, depression and ill feelings caused by my faith crisis
(religiosity crisis, religious dogma struggle) far surpass everything else. I feel compelled to organize a Mormon faith that would be absent all the Salt Lake headquartered LDS Church Bull Shit, that any Liberal or reasonable person knows is inately wrong. I don't want to just leave, and go into oblivion, leaving a Mormon Church that is absent one more voice for love, empathy, compassion, inclusion, and non-judgement. Why should all the conservative GOP voting, MSDS, Mormons get to lay claim to Mormonism. They are not followers of Christ. Nothing they do is Christ-like. They are absent Faith (thinking it to be a noun, instead of the action verb it is), absent Hope (things are always so bad, always so sour, dour, scroogy, grinchy, grouchy...'My Shit Don't Stink" attitudes), and even absent Charity (The Pure Love of Christ.....if you love me, treat everyone as if they ARE me, said Jesus).
No, instead these so called, 'TBMs' spurn Charity, and readily, willfully, and proudly usurp the job of God, and place judgement on others.....and far too many of the GA approve, or acquiesce to this self divination, and anti-Christic behaviors, hegemonies, ideologies, religiosities, and dogmas. Additionally, they usurp our free agency, and the free agency of all people, by the heretical violation of our own doctrines and teachings, via the forcably co-opting of the entire population into membership of our church, by expecting them to comply with our churches doctrine, and mis-applications of our doctrines through through heinously bigoted policies.
I'm sorry for my rant. I am just a hot mess because I'm losing my religion, and I don't know what to do. I will never be atheist, and I abhor most other religiosities. I am a very spiritual person, and I need to feel a part of something. To be stripped of participating in Hometeaching and Visiting Teaching, something I have done for 39 years, and to be stripped of them coming to visit me, for the past year, is extremely painful. To be stripped of partaking of the sacrament and taking the name of Christ upon myself, or praying, speaking, or giving testimony, attending Sunday School, Relief Society or Priesthood, all for the past 7 months, is a hit to my heart. To have an SP tell me, "you pass the Temple Recommend interview, and I believe you. You are not sinning, and you are not being sanctioned or disfellowshipped, however, these things will remain in place until you repent, and renounce this last year, and recognize that you are a man, you will always be a man, and listen to me read you these verses about Korihir.........you are like Korihor. You are an Anti-Christ".....to my face! That was a religioistic murder......that really killed me.
My heart and soul is crying out in tremendous pain. What can I do? Nothing has changed in these 7 months. I attend sacrament faithfully, and do not partake, because I have been asked not to. I leave after Sacrament, after reaching out to as many people as I can, and they wisk me out of the sancuary where Sunday School, Gospel Doctrine, is held. I hang in the foyer talking to people for a while, but nothing ever comes of it. Nobody reaches back for me. None of the many other Trans people that used to come, attend anymore. A markedly fewer amount of gay and lesbian people now attend as well. This was supposed to be the most liberal ward in the entire Church. No. Not even close. It isn't even the most liberal, pro TLGBQ in Oregon.
So I am left with this conundrum. I have been told, I am not sinning, and I am not in trouble, or being sanctioned. I hold the Priesthood, and have not been asked to stop utilizing it.That's right. I am a woman who actively holds the Priesthood. Am I just supposed to be an acquiescent little patsy, and let them continue to hurt me, while nothing ever changes. They say I am living the Standards, I have full standing, yet the things they have asked of me, put me squarely in a sound proof room of invisibility, with no expectation of anyone ever visiting me from the Church, or me ever visiting them. They know they are required to love me, and I see this is hurting them, but still nothing changes. I continue to shower and pour my heart full of kindness, love, empathy and compassion upon them. It appears this is a great standoff, that I'm losing interest in. I have finally had enough of it.
This was a Life Event I posted just an hour ago:
BECAME A UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST TODAY
Today was my second time attending this downtown Portland congregation. I went with 7 Transitioning Mormon Women. It was the most awesome feeling of community and family I have ever felt. The spirit testified so strongly to me today that I could not contain all of it, and a lot of it leaked out of my eyes.
This is the right place for me right now, and I have a personal revelation and witness of this. I will still advocate for TLGBQ and Women's full standing of inclusion in all LDS Levels including Priest or Priestesshood.
The most important thing is that I am Happy, and I am very hopeful of making the world a better place. I know that I AM ENOUGH.
So I am progressing.....growing, moving forward, kicking against the pricks. I refuse to be sent down the river without a paddle, heading to the waters of endless torment, and status quo oblivion. I'm actually going to let the Chaff of my life GO! If it's not progressing forward, it is going backwards. Doubt is the family of Faith. We should not spurn doubt while embracing cynicism, pessimism, and absolutism. Just the opposite, but that's not my experience in 51 years in the Church. They are always "Things are just so bad. The world is such an awful place", we need to clique and klan up, be exclusivist and supremacist. So sour dour, scroogy, stingy, grinchy, grouchy, and most of all arrogant, and neo-pharisite. NO! I can never do that. No God I will ever care to worship ever wants such an attitude, ideology or belief system. Spurn that cynicism and pessimism, embrace doubt. My faith is growing because of that, not diminishing. I am more devout than ever, more hopeful than ever. Things are getting better every day.
To be Continued.........
All My Love,
Leahnora, Leah, Transbopeep