Posts Tagged ‘personal

14
Feb
14

A Winter Memory

InATreeAloneThis evening I went for a walk in the snow, at dusk into the darkening night.

The world reducing to icy blue landscapes highlighted by grey shadows.

Orange house light spilling onto drifting lawns. Wooded patches reducing in detail, fading into black.

As I walked through the neighborhood, blowing sleet stinging my cheeks, icy wind whistling. I approached the edges and I remembered.

The trees.

Unbidden and in a flash, the memory that floated through my mind on the flickering shadows was of being a hidden trans girl of 12 or 13 in the little village of Marstons Mills on the sandy spit of Cape Cod.

Dressing up alone. Barricaded in my room. Bursting at my teenage seems. Desperate to be honest and out in the world. Afraid of anyone knowing.

So it was to the woods. On snowy, blustery days, much like this. The days when a timid teenage trans girl could count on all the watchful watchers staying snug and secure, away in their homes.

Carefully, in my room, I would dress underneath. A secreted skirt from stored away clothes. Stockings stolen from my mom’s dresser drawers. Whatever odd items I could acquire, awkwardly arranged.

On top of this, wet winter, cold weather clothes. Bulky layers that keep the wind out and secrets in.

I would go outside. Down the street, around the block, to the edge of the neighborhoods. To the woods by the pond.

Deep into the shadows I’d go. Just out of sight, just beyond the edges of the spilling orange light. Out through the scrub pines and the bramble.

And there I’d strip off my layers. Peeling away the winter weather androgyny. Down to the summery girl underneath.

And in those white wooded patches, snow stinging my nearly naked legs, wind biting through my too-thin dress. For a few moments I was exposed. Unhidden. Out in the world.

With only the trees for company.

I always was nervous of being caught. Or hopeful of it perhaps. Of no longer needing to hide. Of having my secret stripped away, very like those warm winter layers.

But I was clever at my lies. I was too good at hiding my secrets just beyond the edge of the woods, or in my bedroom after school.

For a few moments though, I was out of my room. Out of the house. Standing shivering in the stinging wind. Just a scared young girl, happy to be without a mask, in the shadows of the woods.

The stinging, shivering, punishing cold acceptable payment for the price I supposed I needed to pay. A manifestation of the guilt and the shame I manufactured for my imagined sins. But for all that, as well a glorious reminder of being alive. Unavoidably aware and awake to the moment.

Eventually, all too soon really, I’d begin to put the layers back on. Replace the damnable disguise. Slowly, even against the cold. Savoring the danger of being exposed. Caught out in my carefully crafted lies.

Once again, bundled up and secrets hidden, I’d trudge back out of the snowy woods. Pretend to be a boy. My secrets sufficiently safe.

The trees never told a soul.

But every so often, when the wind whips and the sleet stings. When I walk through the dusk into the darkening night. They whisper to me on the wind.

And even though I no longer hide, no longer cover my secrets in androgynous layers. Though I celebrate the woman that girl has become. The trees remember the time before.

And I do too.

SummeryGrrl

10
Dec
13

Barstool Snapshot

If you want 'top shelf' go somewhere else.Lorelei sat at the bar dreaming of past glories. Neil Young playing on the jukebox. Heart of Gold.
Harmonica blending nicely with the chatter of bar life.
She opened her ears to hear the crowd. Trying to let it all in. Distinguish voices, isolate conversations. All so she could feel connected.
The Ramones playing.
Sheena is a Punk Rocker. “So was I.” Thought Lorelei.
A 16oz, 3 dollar can of PBR sitting in front of her.
She wished desperately that someone, preferably one of the big, male bodied someones, would talk to her. Ask if they could buy her a drink.
She’d smile, say, “Of course.” Then, “Jameson’s, neat, please.”
She’d nervously play with her hair.
Not because Jane Says, but because it’s an old habit. Because despite all her vaunted confidence she doesn’t have any idea how to effectively talk to men she’s attracted to.
Typically, she’ll default to trying to make herself sound important. Talk about how many people she knows. Things she’s doing to help people. Trans stuff.
Boring herself to tears.
She won’t know how to say how nervous she is.
And she’ll blow it, like she usually does. Blame her lack of success on, “Men being scared of her.”
So she keeps drinking her PBR. The jukebox keeps spitting out tunes. And she tunes back out into the chatter of the crowd.

11
Dec
12

Help me get my beard cleared for my 40th Birthday (at the end of the world)

Shelter from the rainRecently a couple of very good friends of mine decided to start an online fundraising campaign to help me raise money to finally, finally have the procedure I have been waiting all these years to have.  A campaign called, “Friend Lorelei Feeling Fabulous At Forty”.  I am frankly in awe of the wonderfulness of my friends.  I realize I am a very lucky woman.

But, as the saying goes, “The Lord (substitute here: Friends On The Internet) helps those who help themselves.”  So I thought it was only proper to tell you all a little bit about why I’ve wanted this procedure so badly.  As well as the slightly extraordinary coincidence coinciding with my, gulp, 40th Birthday.

I’ll start with this procedure my good friends are helping to raise money for and which perhaps you, dear reader, would consider helping with.  As you have probably figured out by now by your careful powers of deduction, I am in fact a transgender woman.  And as a transgender woman, I know there’s one question I get asked more than any other.  “Have you had ‘the surgery’ yet?”  Or, as it’s sadly more often phrased, “Have you, ummmm, cut it off?”  Which I presume to be referring to SRS (or GRS or GCS or whatever the current vogue for the surgical procedure once known as a “Sex Change Operation” happens to be).

The funny thing is, realistically, this is the least of my concerns.  Very few people actually get intimate enough with me for the state of my genitalia to be a concern.  And those who do are pretty much already going to be hip enough to deal well with what they find.  And frankly, though I may get that surgery someday, it’s so far out of my reach as an independent artist and writer, that I resigned myself to the fact that it may never happen when I decided to start my transition.  Honestly too, I’m reasonably comfortable with my body.  The hormones have done wonderful things to it and everything, even my genitalia, works in exciting new ways.  I feel like a woman, I’m shaped like a woman and when I look in the mirror, I see myself now.  And I know I AM a woman.

But there is one thing.  One loathsome wretched thing that reminds me everyday that I have not always been gendered thus.  That reminds me of all those years spent trying to pretend I was a boy.  That can still knock me down and pull me out when I am feeling good about being the woman I knew myself to be.

I still have to shave everyday.

And I hate it.  Everyday I wake up and reach a hand to my face to wipe the sleep from my eyes and I feel stubble.  Scratchy stubble.

The hormones have even reduced the once fairly thick hair that covered my body to almost nothing.  Requiring increasingly less maintenance every year.  Not a lot more than any woman.  But my beard is unfazed.  I’m not even lucky enough to have alight beard.  No, it’s thick and it grows fast.  Back when I used to occasionally let it have it’s way, I could practically sneeze and find a full beard.  In all seriousness I could grow a thick, mountain man beard in around two weeks.

I was 6’4” with a full beard by the time I was a sophomore in High School.  I hated it.  When other boys were pretending to shave still-clean chins, I was trying to simply ignore the hair sprouting all over my face.  I had that first beard for at least a year and I can still remember the first time I shaved it off.  My face had physically changed in that year of rampant, testosterone-fueled puberty.  When I looked in the mirror after removing all that hair, I saw a stranger.  I literally did not recognize the face looking back at me.  It was radically different from the last time I saw it.  Though I knew reasonably that it was my own reflection, I would not connect with it again, I would not see myself again until I began my transition years later.

This pain, I share with you.

Much is rebalanced now.  I see myself in that brutal mirror.  The woman I am.  But that woman still has to spend 20 minutes everyday just scraping the fresh hair off of her face with a never-ending series of increasingly dull and unjustifiably expensive razor blades.  And it hurts like hell.

Simply LoreleiNot just emotionally either.  It is physically very painful..  Not only do I have a very heavy beard, but I have very, very sensitive skin.  And I shave much, much closer than an average man would ever bother doing.  I have to shave twice in fact to get smooth enough and invisible enough to pass muster and not have to worry about too much returning stubble by evening.  I shave first with the grain, and then re-lather to shave again, against the grain.

It is, as I said, intensely painful.  Like dragging fire across my face to begin everyday.  And there is always blood.  Often lots of it

After years of experimentation, I have discovered that I have to shave before I shower if I’m to go on with the day not looking like an extra in a zombie movie.  The only thing that stops all the blood and soothes my blazing face somewhat is a good warm shower and my face in the spray for at last a few minutes.

If I’m lucky, my face will not be too red and irritated looking when I get out.  If I’m really lucky, there won’t be some nick or cut that keeps bleeding all day.  Drying up into an ugly scab only to start bleeding again while I’m out and about.  Prompting strangers to tell me I have blood pouring down my face.  Always fun.

In point of fact, this routine adds a solid 3 hours to every morning of everyday for me.  2 hours if there’s an emergency….  I have to wait at least an hour after I wake up for the sleep swelling of my face to subside enough for me to be able to get that really clean shave I mentioned.  Shave too soon and there’s stubble half way through the day!

Then there’s the razors.  Really the only one that does the trick well enough with not too much blood and irritation is the Gillette Mach 3.  But the blades are crazy expensive!  $15 minimum for a 5 pack!  And if I use a blade more than twice, the quality degrades fast, while the pain and blood amps right up.  Gods forbid I get cocky and use a cheap disposable thing in an emergency.  We’re talking real horrorshow blood oh my droogies.

This need to shave everyday seeps into every aspect of my life.  I rarely date, because I’m afraid to go home with a man.  I’m terrified of waking up in the morning covered in stubble in a strange bed.  Or worse of having to exit quickly in the dress I had on, with an unshaven mug on the bus.

Jungle LoreleiIf I’m out at night I feel like Cinderella.  I have to get home before the stubble pokes through my makeup and I turn into a pumpkin.  Even worse, for someone who loves saying yes to adventures.  My need to shave and have a hot shower afterwards severely limits my ability to just go!  I must make sure, no matter where I rest my head, that there are shaving and showering facilities available in the morning.

Still not done though.  Because my beard is so heavy, there is a “beard blue” hue to my face that can only be hidden by careful and fairly thick makeup.  I can never just throw on a little lipstick and mascara and be done.  I have found that a little makeup, with out the beard cover and foundation, makes me look, for lack of a better description, like a bad crossdresser.

So it’s lots of makeup or none at all.  And none at all has it’s own consequences.  With none at all, you can see the slight redness and irritation from shaving and that hint of “beard blue” under the skin.  And at 6’4”, well, it’s a good thing I’m okay with being Out as trans….

And not that “passing” is all that important to me.  I know I can be a beautiful woman without having to “pass”.  But there are some days where I would like to blend in a little bit better.  When I’d like to just be read as an average, if very tall girl, out and about.

So, while GRS might be the end all and be all for other transwomen to be able to feel truly like a woman (and I do get that), for me, not having to shave, not having that daily and painful reminder would be a huge step to being able to just be me.  To be the woman I am, doing the things I do, with a lot more time to do them!

So, this is why my friends, who have heard this all first hand at one point or another, have launched this campaign to raise funds for me to finally afford to have laser clearance done on my face.  It’s not that much really if all the people I have affected with my work and my activism can pitch in a couple of bucks.  I would really appreciate it.  And it would indeed help me to do even more of what I do!  Saving the world with a clean face!!

As for saving the world….  Well, that’s why my friends have timed this around my 40th Birthday.  You see, the day I turn Forty (shudder) is December 21st, 2012.  Just a couple of weeks from now.  And as it happens, it’s also the day the Mayans predicted would be the end of the world.

And hey, maybe it is.  Or maybe it’s just the start of a new chapter.  One in which Lorelei finally gets to feel as fabulous as people often tell me I am!

So please, if you are able to, click through the link to the fundraising page below.  Spread it around to your own contacts if you feel so inclined.  It just takes a minute or two and a few dollars each from everyone who reads this to help me reach the goal of $4000.  And save my world.

I love you all!

Slainte Chugat!!!

Friend Lorelei Feeling Fabulous at Forty

17
Nov
12

Santa Monica Boulevard Through Hollwood

As I sit  here in my room in Springfield, MA, typing these words, I have tears running down my face.  It’s the week when we observe the Transgender Day Of Remembrance and I’ve just read another news story about a transgender woman who was murdered.  Honestly, I read a lot of these types of stories.  Not just this week, but all year.  I’m an activist, a speaker on transgender issues and I write a regular column (and this blog) about transgender lives and people.  These stories are always sad to me, but some very specific stories always hit me particularly hard because they bring the horror so very close to home for me.

I wouldn’t say I’m jaded, I’m not.  But you read so many stories of horror and violence and even for someone constantly reminding others that we are human, other people with lives and loves; there is a distance to the stories that necessarily desensitizes them.  An intentional distance that makes it possible sometimes to simply get through the day and do the work that needs doing.

But every so often, like just now, I read a story of violence committed against a transgender woman in Hollywood.  Specifically the strip of Santa Monica from Crescent Heights Boulevard in West Hollywood to Vermont Avenue in East Hollywood.  And it tears my heart out.

Because this was my neighborhood.  90% of my life in Hollywood was lived out against the backdrop of this very strip.

I worked, played, performed and drank at The Improv and The Second City in West Hollywood and lived for several years, first by the intersection of Highland and Santa Monica, a block or so from, what some locals refer to as, “The Tranny Taco Stand” (and the LA Gay and Lesbian Center) where Transgender Sex Workers would often congregate at night.  Then by the intersection of Santa Monica and Normandie, which roughly bracketed the other end of the stroll informally/formally designated by the LAPD as the Trans Sex Worker Strip.

I was not an average Angeleno by a lot of respects.  For one thing, besides my ethnically Irish disdain for the sun, I lived in LA for 8 years without a car.  I walked, biked and took the bus everywhere I needed to go.  I was also very good at “scamming rides”, sometimes with virtual strangers.

I did not, as many Angelenos do, see the city as a blur through the car window.  I knew it from close up, the pavement under my feet.  The people I passed by, aware of me, as I was aware of them.  I closely interacted with the city, I knew it’s smells and patterns and the other denizens.  It is how I prefer to know the world.  I’m a writer and a storyteller, I live for and actively soak up the details.

And it was also during this period that the man I was still trying to be was actively ripping apart at the seams and I finally began my own transition.  It was where I went, in a very short span, from actively repressing my gender issues to occasional cross-dresser to part-time, transitioning transwoman to “Full-Time” Me.

And so very much of that journey was so intimately tied to this strip of geography.

For one thing, I have always been fascinated by the underbelly of The City.  The red-light, sex worker districts, the ghettoes and the decaying downtowns.  The City that lives when all the “good, decent folks” have gone home to their houses in the suburbs.  The City of Night, to borrow a phrase from John Rechy.

I’ve wandered the “Combat Zone” in Boston at the very end of it’s days.  Known the darkened streets of some of Chicago’s more ill-advised neighborhoods.  Lived in a dilapidated Movie Studio at the very boundaries of New Orleans Lower 9th Ward, after Katrina.

So it should be little surprise that I was drawn to Santa Monica Boulevard running through Hollywood, like a moth to a flame.  Even before I found myself living in that area, I would walk the strip from West Hollywood to Highland late at night.  Fascinated, wanting desperately to figure a way to talk to the transwomen I saw there.  To connect with them somehow.  Or as I later discovered, really to connect with myself.

I had the oblivious attitude of a very tall, white skinned person, used to being perceived as male.  And also, a definite disregard/active neglect for my safety.  I carried so much guilt for so very long, I think sometimes I wanted to be punished, to be hurt.  To commit a sort of a “soft-suicide”.

Let me be very clear, I do not/did not actively believe there was/is anything wrong or in need of “punishment” about being trans.  And I am extremely fortunate to have been able to come out the other side of these feelings to a bright new world, physically unhurt, if a little bruised and battered psychologically.  But intellectual belief and subconscious fucked-up-edness can be two totally different things.

As I passed through my own journey, finally accepting myself, deciding to do something about it and then breaking through my own self-imposed barriers of identity, Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood was my backdrop.

I went from being a furtive tourist to a part of the landscape.  Though I had little direct interaction with these transwomen who were also living out their lives in this same geography, when I began transitioning myself, I came to greatly value the little nods of recognition.  The eye contact we would make in passing that said, “I know”. 

As I began to recognize specific people, transwomen who lived in my neighborhood, who waited for the same bus with me, those little acknowledgements where the first time I began to feel myself part of a community.  Part of a family.  These were my sisters.

I don’t want to appear to place myself all that far apart from them either.  I was not merely a tourist.  I did my own small share of sex work.  Not much, as I was always skittish of sex work and extremely fortunate to have a network of support and people who took care of me.  I never had to work the street.  I did a little as a dominatrix and mostly as a dominatrix’s assistant.  But don’t let anyone’s semantics fool you, it was sex work nonetheless.

And though I had to work through a lot of repressively puritan issues myself (I am a Yankee Girl from Cape Cod…), I have neither regret, nor shame.  It was part of my own journey and I have many friends who are proud to be sex workers and own it as their profession of choice.

I also know that, while some actively choose it, sex work is often the last option left between starvation and survival for many women, especially transgender women.  It baffles me when I hear folks in my community expressing disdain for our sex worker sisters.  When I know they know as well as I do, the massively institutional discrimination we face.  How much harder it is for us to find employment, housing and support, just to live our lives.

And I well understand the fetishization of trans bodies .  The cold looks that turn us all into sex objects, that imagines there must be an access price for our sexuality, whether we have done/are doing sex work or not.  I will readily admit, I have been guilty of the same.

But these are our sisters.  These trans women I came to noddingly know, the community of the streets.  The trans women who lived and worked in and around my old neighborhood through Hollywood, on Santa Monica Boulevard were the first to acknowledge me as ME.  They accepted me far more readily and unquestioningly, on the basis of little more than a nod and a glance, than did many more “respectable” members of our community, by whom I often felt judged.

So, this is why, when I read these stories of violence, it is the ones from my old neighborhood, East to West Hollwood; Santa Monica Boulevard; South of Sunset and North of Melrose, that are the stories that tear me apart.

Every murdered trans woman I see on the news from that area, every time I hear about another attack, I look at the picture and I think, “Did I know her?”  “Was she the woman who would smile at me when I would ride the #4 bus home from work late at night?”

These are not just stories.  Not merely news items or statistics.  These are our sisters.

There, but for nothing more than blind good luck, go I.
Here is the post I was reading when I began this piece, from the excellent blog, Planetransgender:  “LAPD Task Force Looking For The Western Transgender Murderer

03
Nov
12

My Mom, Joe Biden and I all agree, Transgender Discrimination is the ‘Civil Rights Issue of Our Time’

The Vice President of the United States of America giving my Mom a great big bear hug!

So, as many of you might know, my incredibly adorable and emotionally opinionated, old hippie Mom made quite a splash this week.  She had the chance opportunity to meet Vice President Joe Biden, who was coming out of the Democratic Party Headquarters in Sarasota Florida when he spotted my Mom’s big blue eyes and made a bee-line to her to give her a big old bear hug!  It was just serendipity that my Mom was next door at her hairdressers when VP Biden was in town.  She didn’t even know the Dem Headquarters were in that building!

But when my Mom saw the Secret Service guys and found out who they were there to protect, she put on a fresh coat of lipstick and talked her way through the checkpoints.  We’re a lot alike that way.  It’s little coincidence that I became a genuine Pageant Queen (Miss Trans New England 2009), or that I’ve got a lot of opinions myself, that I am never afraid to say and say it LOUD!  It’s just how I was raised.

The further details of this encounter are easy to find.  The last time I googled, “Biden + Transgender” the results were hovering around one and a half million, with over 600 ‘news’ hits.  Suffice it to say though that my Mom, when she had the opportunity to say a few words to the Vice President of The United States of America, spoke of her transgender daughter and the imperative need to help transgender people achieve full civil rights!

My Mom posing proudly with her blonde curly locked transgender daughter.

I know that the resulting statement from Biden that “Transgender Discrimination Is ‘The Civil Rights Issue Of Our Time’” was somewhat surprising for most of the world to hear. In fact he is not far from correct in his statement.  Though even as a trans woman whose main focus is on the struggle for FULL Transgender Equality, I would remind folks that the fight for trans rights is ultimately about a fight for Human Rights for all who are oppressed.  Even so, it was surprising for most of the world to hear the VP make such a strong statement in support of transgender people.

But it wasn’t surprising to me folks!  This is the woman who raised me!  The woman who, when I was a baby and she was asked to be the featured speaker at a Feminist Rally, angrily declined when they expressed discomfort at her male-bodied child being present (In hindsight, seriously ironic…).  This is the woman who built the house I grew up in with her own freaking hands!!  And who convinced our local Rep, Speaker Of The House, “Tip” O’Neill to help her get in the program that allowed her to do so.

My Mom standing excitedly by my side moments after I won the title of Miss Trans New England.

My Mother is a woman who has never been afraid to speak her mind.  Something she also raised me to do.  A woman who, when she has something that she cares passionately about, and there’s nothing she cares more passionately about than her transgender daughter, is very good at getting people to do what she wants.  So no, I was not surprised to hear that Joe Biden, after being drawn in by my Mom’s Irish Eyes a-Smiling, said exactly what she wanted him to say!

I have been very proud of my Mom not only for being so supportive of me and working so very hard to raise me to be the person I am today.  But also for the tireless efforts she puts in to try and be a friend and ally to the whole trans community.  And when she encounters those who are alone and rejected by their own families, she never hesitates to be as much of a surrogate family member to them as health and distance allow her to be.

Though I am an only child myself, through my Mom’s Love I have found a growing network of Brothers and Sisters (and Zisters!).  Her example reminds me constantly that we are not simply a community, we are a Family!

And yes, I’m pretty much bursting with pride that my Mom, Linda Carragher Bourne, changed the world just a little bit this week.  Proud that she made the public discourse over the issue of anti-transgender discrimination just a little bit louder by getting the man who holds the second highest office in the country to amplify the heck out of it!

And with that dear readers, I duly turn my blog over to my Mom.  Who has something she would like to say directly to all of you.  I’d strongly recommend that you listen.  Not that you have any more choice in the matter than even the Vice President of The United States!

Good Evening, Friends! Hope you’re enjoying your Friday “reprieves!”

Now. We have PRECISELY FOUR DAYS until Election Day. That’s not much at ALL.

I shall be putting together a Blog very soon, but, time is of the essence, and I shall not wait one single more minute to say what needs to be said!


Yeah. Luck was with me, this week, at the Democratic Headquarters here in Sarasota. I got to “catch the eye” of Vice President Joe Biden. I got to SAY to him, basically, “Our Transgender Population, which includes SO VERY MANY Loved Ones & Friends, is NOT reaping ANY Benefits of Constitutionally Affirmed Civil Rights, HUMAN RIGHTS!”

Biden, in turn, responded that Transgender Rights is “a (or “the,” depending on which news source you are reading; personally, I can’t exactly recall. Just being honest here, Friends.) ‘Civil Rights Issue of Our Time.” It was a wonderful moment, for me, personally, for my trans daughter, my countless number of Transgender Friends! It was also, let’s be frank, kind of adorable. The Hug. The sweetness of “it all.”

K. That’s DONE now, Friends. That’s YESTERDAY’S NEWS! I cannot stress that point ENOUGH! I was blessed with the HUGE opportunity to Speak OUT for Trans Rights. I was, apparently, “heard,” evidently agreed with.

Now. This Old Granny Rabble Rouser was lucky enough to “light the match.” However, the Community Organizer, from past days, rises up in me and SHOUTS: TIME’S AWASTIN’!!! We need ACTIONS! We need them more than EVER! We need them RIGHT NOW!

I am here PLEADING with each and every one of you to whom ANY Human Rights are held dear, most especially to those who are working day & night to achieve RIGHTS for Our Precious Transgender Population (which is MUCH larger than “folks” want t’ know!), to GET OUT THERE! TO MAKE SOME NOISE! To share YOUR STORIES! Wherever, However, with the Largest “audience” that you can REACH!!! This is CRUCIAL, Peeps!

I want EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU (yes YOU!!!) to be at YOUR Local Polling Place on this coming Tuesday, with your voices, with your willingness to share YOUR TRUTHS…and, yes, with your SIGNS! The ones that will inform EVERY SINGLE “about to vote” voter that YOUR LIVES and LIVELIHOODS ARE AT STAKE in this Election.

The SOLE possibility for Transgender Rights being ANYWHERE near supported, endorsed, at the Federal Level, lies with an Obama/Biden “Win.” There is ZERO possibility for anything but fewer rights, more violence, more untethered bullying and Hatred (Hate CRIMES! Loss of LIVES!!!) if their Republican Opponents are inducted into the Office of Presidency/Vice Presidency of OUR United States. ZERO. ZIP. NADA.

So. GET OUT THERE, Lovies! Make a NOISE! Be your SweetSWEET selves, but, BE HEARD!!! It’s, honestly, and quite tragically, Our Only Hope…

Yes. That ‘s precisely what I feel, what I (at 60) KNOW! Pretty eyes be damned. That’s simply an Old Hippie “Theater In The Streets” bit, Friends. Ya use what ya GOT. THEN! YOU ORGANIZE YOUR ASSES OFF!!!

Just. DO IT!!!

Love OUT! Fist Raised HIGH! Your Always Lin
Power To OUR People!!!! That includes ANY disenfranchised “group,” but my Heart is Specific here. I know a zillion of yours are too!!!

-Linda Carragher Bourne

Trans Rights Now!

If you’re looking for more on my Mom meeting the Vice President, check out these links to The Huffington Post, Advocate.com, my own paper, The Rainbow Times and The SF Weekly.

If you find yourself inspired to get involved in the fight for Trans Civil Rights, I strongly recommend checking out and contacting the following organizations to find out how!  The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition and the National Center for Transgender Equality.

For much more in depth information about the discrimination that transgender people face daily, I urge you to read over the results of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey performed by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

And of course, don’t forget to get out and vote for Vice President Joe Biden and his running mate for President, Barack Obama next Tuesday!!!

26
Apr
12

An encounter on the street in Any-City USA

The following exchange just happened.

A voice from behind startles me as I’m walking home from CVS around dusk.  It’s undecipherable, recognizable by tone as being a greeting or compliment of some kind.  I jump slightly, but try to hide my surprise.

“Hey.”  I say, as a youngish man neatly dressed in “urban” styled sportswear and cap, passes me on my right.

Walking in the same direction he falls into step just ahead of me.

I stand up straight.  Head high, proud.  I carefully keep my gait confident and relaxed looking.  Carefully cover up any visible nervousness.  A long-practiced routine.

Looking back at me he says, “You have pretty, long, blonde hair.”

“Thanks.”  I acknowledge cheerfully.

“Are you gay?”

“I’m… Queer.”  Why do I make that distinction?  I speak the language and I know there is no fine distinction in this version of English.

Beat.  Still walking.

“You like to dress up like a woman?”

“Actually, I am a woman.  I’m a transgender woman, I’m just a little butched up today.”

Actually, I’m not really, I’m just not all that ‘femmed’ up.  Jeans, beat-up Chucks and my long, military styled, Activist Coat.

“You like big Puerto Rican dick?”

“I have no idea actually.”

“You have a place of your own?”

“No, I live with roommates.”

Beat.  Still walking.  Still trying to seem as relaxed as possible without breaking stride.  Smiling damnit.

“You want to find a place?  Go out in the woods somewhere and suck my dick?”

I chuckle intentionally, determinedly not sounding nervous or thrown, like it’s somehow terribly amusing and charming.

“No thank you.  I appreciate the offer.  But I’ve got work to get on to.”

We go several awkward steps in silence.  While he pulls ahead slightly; I’m still not breaking my stride or changing my manner, trying to seem completely affable.

Thankfully, as we approach the actual woods, the man stops and enters an apartment building door.  I keep going.  Smiling damnit, smiling.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

This sort of thing is something that happens to me, unfortunately, fairly regularly when I go out and about in the world.  Especially in the city, though I don’t really believe it’s exclusively a city phenomenon, I just walk more in a city.  There is more opportunity to encounter strangers on the street.

It is worth noting here that I do not feel as if there is anyone to protect me, but me.  Especially when I’m out by myself.  Which is often.

I have never had strangers come to my aid.  And almost every time I’ve contacted the police for help I have either been harassed or much, much worse.

So, it’s the magic number Me and whatever tools I have at my disposal.  Which is mainly my wits and experience with all sorts of different people in all sorts of settings.

It’s a tricky situation on a number of levels.  On one level, it’s very dangerous feeling when it happens.  I’m a transgender woman, alone.  And though my size tends to give me a level of protection, it’s a double-edged sword.  My size can easily make someone feel threatened.

My experience is that the sort of person who would make comments like this on the street, tends to have some dangerous insecurities that can suddenly turn hostile.  I have to be very careful to keep everything on the level of light banter.  As a tall person, I can’t afford to show any hostility.  If I can hold it together, my height alone will make them think twice about starting something.  But hostility on my part can far too easily cause the encounter to spiral out of control into real physical violence.

Which I definitely want to avoid.

So I put on the act.  Easy-going attitude and confident, but unconcerned poise.  I never break my stride though.  And never show a real reaction.  Not a bit of nervousness or unease.  Amused but not laughing at.

Also, on another level, and this is rather a sad one.  More often than not, the only ‘positive’ attention I get from men is of this sort.  The only ones who tell me I’m pretty or who actively flirt with me, follow it up by asking if I’d like to suck their dick.

Online, they send me a picture of it.

It’s not that I think all men are like this.  I’ve met a few who are sweet and charming, and I have to believe there are some who even find me attractive.  Sadly, they have not thus far been especially forthcoming.

So there’s this weirdly mixed feeling.  I’m scared.  I’m deeply offended.  And at the same time, I’m oddly pleased that a man actually finds me pretty.

And that’s usually where I summon the smile from.  The one that keeps things light and keeps me from getting killed or ‘just’ beaten up.

The asshole gets to go home and think it’s perfectly okay to speak to a transwoman (or probably ANY woman) like that.  And I just get to go home.  Alive.

The brain blender flips on to ‘High’.   My guts churn.

02
Feb
11

Just Lorelei

Looking back at the latest posts on this here blog, I was noticing that things were getting kind of heavily political.  Which is all well and good, but is not the primary focus of this here Transproviser.  This was always meant to be a blog about a little bit of everything.

Some politics sure, and some music and if I ever get around to it, some of my thoughts on improvisation, especially as it applies to being transgender.

At it’s heart though, this is a personal blog.  A way for me to share a little bit of who I am and what I think with the world.

Today is a snow day for me.  The second in a row in fact.  So I am presented with the rare opportunity to take some of the thoughts that roll around in my head in the wee morning hours and get them down in black and white.  Turn those nagging electrical/chemical impulses into words on the page.

So if you don’t mind, I’ll just jump right into it.

You probably have figured out by now that I’m a transgender woman.  I know you’re surprised, but it’s true.  And when it comes right down to it, I’m really more specifically a transsexual woman.  It’s a little embarrassing to my radical sensibilities, but I really don’t consider myself to be genderqueer or any of those other nifty and boundary pushing identities.  I think of myself as a woman.  Simply and entirely.

I am also trans and proud of it.  It’s a valuable part of who I am and my journey in the world.  I ID as transgender to show solidarity with my brothers, sisters and others who fall all along the gender variant spectrum.  Also because I am not overly fond of the phrase “Pre-op” transsexual.

I consider myself transsexual because I am in the process of medically transitioning to my “true” gender.  I have been on HRT for several years and my body and mind have changed dramatically and wonderfully!  However, I have not yet had any surgeries and frankly don’t know if I ever will.

Certainly there are surgeries I would like to have.  I am aiming at a number of them.  I may eventually even choose to get the full “gender confirmation surgery”.

The main reason I have not gotten any of these surgeries is less radical and more pedestrian than I would like to admit.  I am an artist.  An actor and a writer and explorer of places and ideas.  Consequently I am not terribly wealthy.  These are only profitable professions for a small minority.  The rest of us do it because we have to, we are compelled.  And maybe, hopefully, someday, I will make money doing what I do.  Just not now.

So I work day jobs.  I do what I have to do to pay the rent and keep food on my table and live life as fully as I am able.

I made a choice when I decided to transition that I was going to simply let myself be the woman I had always been.  I would live as myself and take what steps I could to conform my body to that reality.

More though, I refused to wait any longer.  I would not wait for some long off day where I could afford to have all the surgeries and such that we are told are the requirement to be a “real transsexual”, “a true woman”.

I AM a woman.  I AM a transsexual.  Surgical status be damned.

So here I am.  This is why I identify as both transgender and transsexual.  I am NOT pre-op thank you very much.  I am not pre-anything.  I try as best I can to live my life in the moment.  To do and be what I can in the now.

Life for me is a journey in which the present is just as important as the destination.

So I take baby steps and make attainable goals.

And I try to pay attention to the details along the way so I can better share them with you.  Because I feel if I can share my own experience, the broad strokes as well as the little details, I can enrich the body of what is known about us.  De-mystify our trans identity a little so that other folks may realize we are not so very different.  We are people, same as anyone else, with similar loves, hates and everyday troubles and triumphs.

The same dichotomy of identities even.

I am both Lorelei Erisis, the larger than life celebrity who loves to stand on the stage and work the energy of the crowd and Lorelei who has to keep kicking her elderly orange cat off the table and trudge out in the snow to go pay the rent.

Often what you see here is Lorelei the celebrity or Lorelei the politician.

It’s Lorelei the woman that I want to talk about today.

And of course the idea of identities.

HRT has brought for me a tremendous number of changes.  It’s essentially a second puberty so that ought to be unsurprising.  But it still manages to be so.

One of the really radical changes for me has been in my sexuality.

When I was a teenager I assumed I was going to be the “gay one” in my circle of friends.  It was a lot of years before I would accept my repressed gender identity, so I took the dressing up and other side-effects of that repression as well as the fact that I was a pretty snappy dresser and a little overly fond of showtunes to mean I must be gay!

Imagine my surprise when it turned out I was really attracted to women and not so much to men!  As it turned out in fact, the only one in my little geeky-nerdy group of friends who always had a girlfriend and went through almost the entire, fairly small circle of available girls in our clique, was the “gay one”.  If only he could have come out earlier, some of the rest of us might have been able to get a date!

Eventually though I settled into an identity as bi-sexual.  But really it was more that I was particularly open-minded than that I was actually attracted to men.

I never had a lot of trouble meeting women and had a bad habit of falling passionately in love pretty easily and regularly.  Even when I began experimenting with gender pretty openly, I never had a lot of trouble.  Despite my childhood fears that my gender variance would mean I was going to end up alone and unwanted, I found quite the opposite to be true.  Quite a number of the women I dated very much liked the fact that I would do “drag” occasionally.  I even met several of them while out “en-femme” as they say.

Flash forward and I have accepted my gender variance and allowed myself to finally be myself.  Realized that the “drag” I was wearing was not the dresses and makeup, but the suits and ties!

And flooded with hormones a funny thing has happened to me.  I have fairly suddenly and a bit unexpectedly gone from theoretically attracted to men in a “yes I find that to be an attractive man” way, to “holy crap that guy is hot!” teenage-girl boy-crazy!!

Additionally, I have had the wonderful occasion in the work I do to meet a great many beautiful people with all sorts of gender identities.  Some extremely hot ones in fact!!  So I adjusted my sexual identity accordingly to consider myself to be pan-sexual.  I am attracted to people simply because I find them attractive, regardless of gender or any other factors.  And I try not to worry about it.

This has meant that socially and personally I identify as Queer.  It is an identity I am comfortable with and proud to proclaim.

But, this is a journey and so I have come to something of a crisis of identity lately.  Though I continue to identify as Queer and find myself attracted somewhat to women and others.  I find that what I want, what truly gets my heart racing, what gets me all hot and bothered, is men!  And yet, despite  my revolutionary pose, or perhaps because of it, this makes me oddly uncomfortable.  I find myself having to adjust to the idea that despite my Queer & Kinky identities, I am much more of a straight-girl than I am completely comfortable with admitting.

And I haven’t the faintest idea what to do about it.

As an Out, kink friendly transwoman, I have I can assure you, any number of men who would like to do all kinds of unmentionable things with me.  But gods forbid I should be able to find a guy who will take me out to dinner or a movie and maybe if we hit it off, go back to his place and fool around a little on the couch over a nightcap.

I haven’t even the faintest idea where to find a nice, cute guy who might be into me too.  Gay bars aren’t really any good.  Mostly they’re filled with gay boys who just want other really hot gay boys!  There simply aren’t any “tranny bars” close enough to justify a night out.  And straight bars are a tease.  I find most guys I might meet there are simply too afraid to approach a 6’4” Out transwoman in public.  Even a damned pageant queen!!  And the ones who are into me are too afraid to admit to it publically.  They’ll fuck me, but they won’t be seen with me.  Fun as that is, I just can’t get into that.

Just Lorelei

Don’t get me wrong, I love hot, dirty sex as much as the next girl.  Heck, given that I spent 5 years in a long-term relationship with a famous and notoriously dirty dominatrix, I’ve had experiences and done things that most people will only ever read or fantasize about.

But I’d really like a little vanilla-ish romance now!  I want it so badly it hurts.  I’d like to let go of being Lorelei Erisis, trans-activist for a few minutes and just fall into the arms of a beautiful, strong man.  Ideally one who is tall enough to not be dwarfed by me.  Who can see me as simply the beautiful woman I am.  Whose self-identity is strong enough to be seen with me.

I have no idea where to find him.  He’s not popped up on any of the dating sites I’ve put profiles on and if I’ve met him in real life, he hasn’t had the cojones to speak up yet.

I hope I meet him soon though because I’m ready and anxious to explore what it means to be a straight girl.  Even if it is an Out, Queer, Trans one.




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