Personal stories about insight, wisdom, consciousness, and responses to the conditions of life.
This chapter was assembled in 2007, a little more than a year after Finding Voice and Community. It was addressed to the members of the Daily Kos feminist community. Given the title, I was not surprised that few people entered.
So backing up just a bit...
Towards the end of 1992 I came out to me daughter Jen and her partner Julie. It went very well. Julie hopped on to the internet and asked the members of her email list, Sappho (which at the time was the largest lesbian email list on the Net), for any assistance they might provide for Jen's father...me. I was given a couple of transgender email list names and did join one, called Transgen. It was literally a llifesaver. I had community. I had peers.
But I also joined Sappho...on January 12, 1993 and entered women only space...
Maybe I was born this way. Maybe it's a genetic mutation.
Maybe it happened when I was sitting on the dock of the bay in my hippie youth.
Maybe it happened because once upon a time it became clear that my life and my needs didn't matter to the progress of this thing we call human society and its relationship with and survival on this planet.
Which means maybe Poul Anderson is to blame.
The graphic is entitled Pencil and Wax.
From one of my readers:
I would be very much interested
in all the dynamic you and your family went through, in detail. I bet it would make for a lot of drama and sell more books because of it, if it ia published. Without that it seems a little too abstract and philosophical for me anyway. But maybe I missed some of what you have posted.
The graphic is entitled Being Different.
All righty then...
Once upon a time...
...or maybe it was twice. Come to think of it, it was definitely much more often than that.
It was, after all, all about the time. Then again, it was also about the place and the people who were there and the things that happened. So maybe I need to restart.
Once upon a spacetime, I was there. I have been an observer. In many ways I have lead a Gumpian existence. Somehow I adopted the notion that it was important for me to observe and record. If not me, who?
This chapter was written while I had taken a hiatus from Daily Kos and begun front paging at Docudharma. I published five days before Docudrama opened to the public. It was the first entry of my Friday Philosophy column.
To give some context, this essay was written in response to some folks ragging on gays who live in the closet.
I've updated it just a bit to bring it into the present.
News Flash: Joel Gray came out as gay. That's a shocker.
When I began transition, I was required to have a mental health therapist. I was given the name of Ralph Hyman in Little Rock, but he was booked up at the time, so he gave me the name of Kurt Wilhelm...although I began also attending a group therapy session with Ralph...because I would eventually have o have two therapists sign off on any surgery I might have.
I wrote the following remembrance of Kurt after he passed away.
The graphic is entitled Door.
It has been brought to my attention that many of my autobiographic series are considered just too long to read.
For those with a more limited attention span, I have a couple of past attempts at ameliorating that.
The graphic to the left is entitled Not Quite Balanced
We live in an occupied country, misunderstood;
justice will take us millions of intricate moves.
--William Stafford, from Thinking for Berky
--William Stafford, from Thinking for Berky
In the wayback, when I first began transition in 1992, we had this newfangled email thing which I hd been using, but I was using it less than efficiently. My daughter's partner persuaded me to join the Sappho email list, claiming that might be helpful to stem the tide of isolation I was beginning to feel. Sappho was a list started by a straight woman for lesbians. Shortly after I joined that list, I learned about the Transgen email list for transgender people which had been established by Julie Waters, so I joined that as well.
And I got extremely busy on those lists. I used to check the site usage for the college and found that it was not unusual to have about three quarters of the incoming email for the site headed in my direction.
About three months after I transitioned, the Mosaic web browser was released. So One could go look at the webpages available...but they were pretty sparse. By 1995 a company called GeoCities was created which allowed users to build their own websites.
I was an early adopter. I homesteaded in the WestHollywood neighborhood (number 8440). I began publishing some of my writings there...Including the diary of my last month before surgery (blogging, as it were), which I had shared with members of the Owls (Older Wiser Lesbians) email list which had been spun off of Sappho in 1994 (I was a founding member).
The piece I am sharing today was created during that period. I've dusted the mold off of it and repaired a few rips here and there. Last weekend in my Spirituality diary I posted that I was searching for my list of Life Lessons.
Found them :-)
Okay, so I've already told most of the story about how I got to be where I am...and who I am. But there is more. There is always more. It would take another lifetime to include everything.
After transitioning and surgery and all that, some of which has been told and some of which is coming soon, I failed in an attempt to move to Seattle during the last half of 1995. When I returned to Arkansas, I decided that if I couldn't choose where I lived, it was time to change the place that I lived. I got involved with PFLAG first since my daughter was a lesbian. Protecting the children should come first.
Later I became a member of the board of the Arkansas Gay and Lesbian Task Force. But first and foremost I considered myself as a PFLAG mom. Hell hath no fury life a PFLAG mom.
This was first presented at a PFLAG regional conference in Tulsa in 1998 and published shortly thereafter at my Geocities West Hollywood website. Looking around on the Google yesterday, I noticed that several people and organizations still link to it...even though I took down my site when Yahoo first claimed that my work was their intellectual property.