This Journey Called Life

Most of the people on this planet think they are human beings,
trying to decide how best to live their life…

Most people who have ever lived, thought of themselves as human beings,
choosing to have a spiritual experience.
Or not to have a spiritual experience.

However –
in reality, we are all Spiritual beings,
who have chosen to come here,
– to the specific places we have each come –
to have a Human experience.

And, most of us,
– spiritual beings who have become Human Beings –
have taken on broken, malfunctioning human bodies, for this journey.

If we had taken on perfect bodies,
our time here as Human Beings would not have become the learning experience it needed to be.

It is as if we had chosen to drive across the vast desert,
in an old Ford Pinto, or Chevy Vega; or a rusty old Honda or Toyota…

We can limp our vehicle (our body) across the desert journey, hoping to make it all the way across
to the shaded, air conditioned oasis with the trees and the swimming pool and great buffet restaurant on the other side…
…because that is what we were promised when we set out on this Journey Called Life…


We can try to make our vehicle — our body — better for the journey….
we can make our engine better, get better tires and shock absorbers,
fix the windshield, get the A/C running, make a nicer driver’s seat,
so that the journey to the shaded, air conditioned oasis with the trees and the swimming pool and great buffet restaurant on the other side…
will at least be a more pleasant, more enjoyable ride.

That is what my life’s work over the past thirty-plus years,
this Forum Message Board, the products and formulations we sell,
are all intended to do —

….to give you, each of you who have found my vehicle repair and rebuild center,
the opportunity to make positive changes to your own vehicle, your body,
so that you can make the journey across the desert, easier and more enjoyable for yourself.

Blame Game

Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it

During the middle 1980s, Stanford University in California had a  M2F gender role transition program.

One element of the application process for the program involved sending a picture of yourself in the female role.

If this staff people overseeing the program did not judge that  you would be an appropriately beautiful female, that was one criteria for non admittance into the program.

Apparently the men running that program had decided that there were already enough ugly woman in the world.

Today it appears that this concept is reentering the male to female transgender world, and this time being directed by those few lucky enough to have become attractive females.

If we take an honest look at all the women around us every day, in every situation, we will notice that beauty, as well as not beauty, exist in all women everywhere.

Do we really want to take the position that only the beautifully passable post-operative women are allowed into the world, and that all others must remain in the closet?

Who among us has the right to play God in that decision?

Who among us has the right to judge what constitutes acceptable appearance?

The Stanford University program in the 1980s, caused many people to commit suicide.

Are we so vain today that we are willing to be responsible for those kind of suicides once again?

Over the past 15 to 20 years, leaders and activists of the transgender community have argued for the concept of civil rights based on gender identity and gender expression. And we have won those civil rights protections at many corporate and governmental levels throughout society.

Every gender identity and every gender expression, means “every”.

Corporations and government entities are not willing to understand the nuances between what some groups consider to be acceptable, and what is not acceptable, within the definition of “every”.

If “those other people” are being a problem, then it is time for those of us who consider ourselves to be leaders, to step up the plate, and to educate our own on what is acceptable.

And to stop this very destructive blame game.

Identity Politics

I grew up in an extraordinarily white-privileged world. I never really had to face any prejudice, from any perspective, until I went to Navy Boot Camp.  Other than prejudice directed at my family for being Italian, and Catholic, and prejudice directed at friends of my parents who were Jewish, and those who were Japanese, and the neighbor family who had a “mixed marriage” (white/Hispanic) at a time when many states had laws forbidding mixed marriage. And prejudice toward my best friend’s mother and “aunt” who shared a bedroom.

Eleven years in the US Navy radically changed my perspective on “identity politics”. “Sailors and Dogs Keep Off the Grass”. “Navy Wives Need Not Apply”. Etc.

In 1992, Colorado voters passed a Constitutional Amendment which said that if someone was thought to be Gay or Lesbian, that person could not file a lawsuit of any kind claiming discrimination. A person thought to be Gay or Lesbian (which meant also TG/TS) could be immediately fired from a job without recourse; and could even be accused of being Gay or Lesbian to enable being fired without recourse. In the aftermath of that event, I immersed myself into learning and understanding “identity politics”, and how it related to prejudice and discrimination.

When I was a Freshman in High School, and again in college, I quickly learned about the Seniors, the jocks, the smart kids, the social leaders, etc.  When I became a Senior, however, all I cared to know about Freshman was to wish that they would stay out of my way. For them to learn how they should relate to me.

See? – When you live at the top of the Hill, it is very easy to tell other people living below how they should think, be, act, and relate to your own world.

When you discover that where you live, is not as close to the top of the hill as you had thought, everything changes. You discover that when you are not the “lead dog”, the view never changes.

When I chose to transition to female, I entered the world of “People of Difference”.  The White, Protestant, Angelo, Male culture tends to despise People of Difference, any/every difference. Friends who came home from VietNam who were missing arms, legs, or had other disfigurations, were shunned. They were now Different, and they were forced to live “down the hill”.

Yes, America is still a melting pot, a soup kettle. But Gawd how Americans love to talk about the carrots in the soup, and it is rarely with fondness.

ALL politics is “identity politics”.

If you believe that the world “should” not be this way, you can begin by trying to convince your “Conservative” friends to stop talking about “liberals” as if we were [favorite pejorative term goes here].

Devil’s Advocate

While I do not disagree with any of the results of the recent TG/TS Discrimination Survey, …

I hold a very strong, and unpopular counter-argument …a “Devil’s Advocate” position. I think “We” — the community members with experience — are the ones who need to fix many of the problems this survey highlights.

This is not about “blaming the victim” – This is about: ”Physician, Heal Thyself”

We, the MtF community’s senior activists, have always taken a ‘laissez faire’ attitude toward how our “sisters” in this community present themselves: how they look, act, and exist, within society. A “leave them alone to live their life their own way”, attitude.

The terminology of “gender identity, gender expression” means “any” and “every” gender identity, but in particular, ANY and EVERY form of gender expression.

I have heard Trans activists say it should even protect things like a M2F TG/TS going to work in a dress, and yet being allowed to pee — in the women’s restroom, of course — standing up facing the toilet.

I have heard Trans Activists say GI/GE protections should even protect At Will, At Whim, cross-dressing at work.

We human beings live in a world where, socially, people do NOT value difference, of any kind. We live in a world where people generally do not value other people who have skin of a different color than ours, or eyes shaped differently than ours, or people who have different religious or political beliefs ….

Socially, societally, the people around us have strong tendencies to NOT see any value in other people who are very tall, or very short, or very heavy even when the cause of their being heavy is physical malfunction, and not food intake. Even the trans community itself is growing in misunderstanding and hatred toward our own who are, or who seem to be, different from the individual “me”,  based on recent blogs and postings.

And the few of us who have immersed ourselves in diversity studies and in actually performing diversity training – We Talk the Talk about how other people, all people, need to accept differences. But do we Walk the Talk, in reality? Within our own community?

How many of us have gone out of our way to introduce our trans-sisters and/or our trans-brothers. to our neighbors? To our family members? How many of the people in our trans communities have ever taken — or gone out with — a less-than-totally-passable trans person to dinner at a nice restaurant, or to meet, to be introduced to, other people in our own families?

We demand that society, corporations and government entities give us legal protections “out there”, to do things — to present self — in ways we personally are not willing to present ourselves to our own families, within our own homes.

How many of us have actually grown through, and out of, our own Shame and Paranoia issues,  to be able to be good neighbors, and friends, and relatives?

We cry out, “We cannot do that, because people pre-judge and discriminate against us”.

No, people pre-judge and discriminate against us because we cannot do that.

Why should people be proud to know us, when we seem to be SO ashamed and fearful of ourselves?

You have to prime the pump in order to get water from the well.

SNL Skit: response 1

Many friends have written to me, horrified by the skit involving transgendered people that Saturday Night Live played several days ago. Rather than keep repeating myself I’m posting my response, out loud here on my blog. I know my response will upset many of you but this is where I stand.


Really, GLAAD has, this time, been sucked into a meaningless “controversy”. Their claim is total BS. You know as well as I do,  that the overwhelming majority of M2F TG/TS women, are EXACTLY as shown in this skit.

They come to my web site, they post on my message board, they come to me for counseling and life coaching, and I KNOW that what is in this skit , is how the vast majority of this community lives on a daily basis.

This skit is and has historically been the majority of T-people who come to support group meetings all over the world. You want this kind of crap to stop, then work to get some control over how our girls think is OK to appear in public in the real world. Get ALL of our girls to stop ever wearing ball gowns and CFM high heel to the mall on Saturday afternoon, or to 7-11 at 2am in the morning. Get ALL of our girls to stop peeing standing up.

This IS how many of the girls in our community, who come to national conferences, and even support groups, appear throughout the conference. And they ALL seek a quick and painless solution to growing large breasts. You cannot deny those basic facts. It is not what you personally want to believe, but it is not wrong.

I am upset that  GLAAD and HRC were badgered to protest. Calling the SNL Skit “denigrating to transwomen”, is like calling Three Stooges movies, violent.

The reason this skit is personally painful to many people in our community, is that it clearly shows that when we advocate for ANY Gender Identity, and EVERY Gender Expression, enshrined into law and corporate policy, we lead people into being OK with coming to work and into society JUST LIKE the portrayals in this skit.

I know this is true — I have worked as a mediator for people in transition in the corporate world, for almost 20 years. Our community wildly encourages people to do FFS as a very first step into transition, we barely mention electrology as necessary… and now we cry out at portrayals of transwomen with facial hair? GEEZ!

And so this is the monster WE have created. But most of all, we have come onto the national stage with recognition as a group, and as a group we automatically become eligible for being the butt of humor from time to time.

NOW, Leave it the hell alone! The more this skit is protested, the more it will be viewed by others.

If everyone would have just STFU, only SNL’s audience would have seen it. Now, “everyone” will see it.

We continue to be the CAUSE of the problem, on SO many levels.

SNL Skit: response 2

I continue to hold the position that the SNL Skit is innocuous, and not worthy of all this wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Yes — I saw the NCTE survey results.

Yes — the numbers are horrifying.

Yes — I am one of those transsexual people who very seriously considered suicide, over a ten year stretch.

Yes — prejudice and discrimination in hiring, is a monster problem for M2F TG/TS people.

I transitioned 26 years ago (March 1985). My female resume has only *ever* gotten me one real interview, and zero jobs.

Yes — the M2F TG/TS community has a HUGE hole to dig out of. AND, the SNL Skit never was, and never will be, anything which makes those problems any worse.

I have been a very Out activist and educator for and about the TG/TS communities, and for the GLBTIQ communities, for almost 30 years. I was a VERY active part of the ICTLEP conferences for all seven years that conference went on. Out of that conference, a small group of us activists created the foundational definitions, concepts, etc., which have become the Gender Identity, Gender Expression protective language within corporations, cities, and a couple of states.

I am NOT ignorant of the overwhelming plight of this community. AND, the SNL skit never was, and never will be, anything which makes those problems any worse.

When I transitioned, my mother asked me how I intended to overcome the problems — the perceptions — created by every vaudeville comedian, who had become early television stars, of appearing in drag. Flip Wilson, Milton Berle, come immediately to mind. Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon playing women in the movie “Some Like it Hot”, Dustin Hoffman in “Tootsie”, wow – -there is a shot of reality; with single moment changes from male to undetectable, passable  female and back…

Nathan Lane’s character in “Birdcage”, Or Felicity Huffman’s character Bree in “Transamerica”, Poor pitiful feel-sorry-for-me Bree? …and SO many others.. How about the recent movie “Big Momma’s House”, with Martin Lawrence in drag. And its sequel, “Big Momma’s House, Like Father Like Son” due out shortly. Aren’t those all just “marvelous” depictions of M2F TG/TS people and the life struggles we all face?

Are we prepared to protest ALL of these movies and portrayals out of existence as well? Earlier this afternoon, TruTV’s America’s Dumbest Criminals, ran a egment showing a guy stealing underwear from a clothes line; when he was arrested, on camera, he was wearing a bra holding HUGE breast forms. Are we prepared to have GLAAD and HRC protest that bit off of YouTube, TruTV, and everywhere else it might exist?

Everyone has seen several editions of “People of WalMart” photos.. In virtually every set, is at least one photo of a very obvious guy wearing a skirt and Go-Go boots or similar. In real life, all of us have seen at least one obvious guy wearing what is virtually a prom dress, walking in the mall on a Saturday afternoon.

No, the SNL skit is nothing new, nothing to see here, move along you lookie-loos….

Yes — the people within this community have created an environment with HUGE hurdles, many of which do not need, never needed, to exist.

While we worked to try to get society and legislators to be more compassionate toward us, we allowed our people to go swimming and frolicking in the cesspool, and almost none of us object to that.  Almost none of us object to poor caricature portrayals by the people in our own community.

When we lobby for acceptance and legal protections of any Gender Expression, we enable the potential for EVERY Gender Expression. And when no one is willing to draw any kind of line in the sand for our own people, we cannot then cry when it goes badly for them, or for us.

I am NOT blaming the victim, here. I am blaming those people within our community, who should have been working all along to help, people in transition, to educate them, to make it all go easier for them.

We cannot continue to allow our people to walk the mine field, while we refuse to help them to learn how to get around the mines.

Read almost any, almost every, transgender web site,  and see comments and photos which show virtually all M2F TG/TS people trying SO very hard to portray themselves as sexy, sexual young women, regardless of their age, or their body type.

As my mother asked me 26 years ago, where do the common people get to see reasonable, rational transgender people? That question is still largely valid today. The MOST successful of us, become stealth, and *still* virtually no one else in society gets to find out that there really are reasonable rational M2F TG/TS people.

Yes — there is a problem, a HUGE problem. And it is OUR problem. It is WAY past time to stop blaming a society who’s people do not give one moment’s worth of care for ANYONE else for any reason…

… it is WAY past time to stop blaming society for all of our problems, to stop asking others to fix the problems for us, and to wake up and begin to fix our problems, ourselves.

It is up to us, the experienced leadership of this community, to take the reins and to teach our people how to do a proper transition. Now.

For many years, there was a national cartoon strip called Pogo. Its author coined a term which has become iconic in America: ”We have met the enemy, and he is us.”