Category Archives: Uncategorized

Our Message

Our Message   I have been encouraged over the past few months because I am seeing information, interviews, advocacy and press about trans* issues in all of the media.  I recently heard a radio piece on National Public Radio, a TED Talk by model and advocate Geena Rocero, Laverne Cox’s amazing interview on The Katie Couric Show, and an article in the newspaper talking about the challenges facing trans* people.  From my local newspaper to television, major news outlets and all areas of local, state and federal government, trans* people are being seen and heard.  As an advocate for Mature Transgender people, I believe the more exposure, and the more that is known about our community and our challenges, the better for us all.

“You transgender people are everywhere.”   This was an interesting statement made to me recently.  The person went on to say he thought trans* people were something fairly new because he never heard of anyone being transgender until a few years ago and now we’re everywhere.  I assured him that trans* people are nothing new; we are just more visible than ever before.  His statements added to my encouragement.  Someone who would be more than willing to ignore most people who didn’t look, sound and think like him were seeing us.  We cannot be ignored.

The Tragic News   Becoming more visible and getting our message out is a double-edged sword.  Almost everywhere we are being seen and heard.  We are also getting the message out that we, as a community, have horrible challenges.  The most recent statistics I heard yesterday are almost two thirds of all trans* people have suffered physical, verbal and emotional abuse.  Our suicide rate is nine times the national average and in most states in the country, we have no protection in housing and employment, just because we are trans*.

Transgender Day of Remembrance   I heard recently on National Public Radio a story which mentioned our Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR).  Again, this is an under reported, yet extremely important fact of life for trans* people.  Each year a significant number of our brothers and sisters are being killed just for being trans*.  I’ve heard from so many cisgender people that they know nothing of these tragedies or our TDOR.  I tell them last year we mourned the loss of over two hundred members of our community.

The Victories   We must celebrate and revel in our victories.  Whenever a trans* youth attends their prom as their true self, that’s a victory.  When a transwoman is appointed to a high position in the Federal Government, that’s a victory.  The day Forbes Magazine announced Jennifer Pritzker as the first transgender billionaire, that is a victory.  And lastly, when the young man at the supermarket bags your groceries and says, “Thank you, ma’am.” That’s a victory!

Much Work Left To Do   We have much work to do and a long way to go.  This is the reason I rejoice when trans* people and trans* issues are brought to the attention of the public.  This is why it is important we remember our victories.  That way we can see we really are making advances.  We also must never forget those who have suffered and who we’ve lost.  So whether we are on the nightly news with the big three networks, on the cover of Forbes Magazine, we are getting the Our Message out.  Maybe you’re posting a comment on a Huffington Post article, writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper or buying produce at the farmers’ market; you, too, are getting Our Message out .  We are getting Our Message out where it belongs that we are here, we’re real, we’re not going away, we’re your neighbors, your friends, your co-workers or the transman at the barbershop getting a trim in the chair beside you.

Our Message   Get used to it, we’re here to stay.

Transgender Life – What triggers the need to dress?

Transgender Life – What triggers the need to dress?  In the last couple of weeks this topic has come up in two different discussions.  The first was with a cisgender woman friend who really wants to understand what makes us feel the way we do.  She is trying to understand what can bring on the desire to initially dress and present and then what turns that into the need to live as our real gender and undergo all that it requires to do so.  I long ago learned that if gender dysphoria is not even on someone’s radar, then it’s a concept that is very hard to describe and understand.  There were many of the usual questions about dressing, clothing, going out and the like.  The hardest of them all is “Why?”  We talked for a long time and I also told her that this isn’t something you grasp in just a few minutes.  Her next question was, “Do you feel this way all the time?”  I had to admit I don’t feel it all the time and sometimes it will wash over me like a tidal wave.  I told her that we don’t know when it will take control or what causes it, but there are times everyday when I would see something or someone and the real heart-felt desire to dress would be so strong.  Maybe the smell of a certain perfume,  a pair of shoes, looking at a well-dressed woman and the want to live life that way comes over us.  It’s very complicated and I hope she keeps asking questions and I can keep answering and also explore my motivation and feelings.

My dear friend, Charla and I were talking at lunch about a week after this first encounter and she told me that since being on hormones, she may go a significant amount of time and not feel like dressing or presenting.  She also said that her trigger is a nicely tailored business suit, stockings and heels.  She said that gets her every time and then she will spend time dressed.  I told her I would get the trigger in shoe stores or cosmetic counters and a nice dress will get my immediate attention.  Being a chip off the old block, my mother and I couldn’t pass a shoe store without a good look in the window.

I find that those who are not full time, the triggers will hit hardest.  We’ve all gone through the dreaded purge only to have the trigger get us and then we are replacing all that we trashed.  It’s a viscous cycle, to be sure.

Whatever the trigger, we don’t know when or where it will happen.  I have a girl friend who sees a leather skirt and off to the races she goes.  I find it very helpful to our cisgender friends, family members, loved ones and others, to let them know that we may not walk around 24/7/365 feeling this way, but it never goes away and the more they learn, the more we hope they accept.