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by Sarah, Editor in Chief
Wow! This has been one incredibly turbulent month! I feel absolutely terrible that I haven't released the newsletter before now. Unfortunately, I've been bombarded with distractions from all directions. Among other things, my wife has lobbed some very serious and troubling warheads my way, I have been keeping a dear friend pieced together, and I've been trying to get a very young TS the help she needs without landing myself in legal hot water. Add to that that I've been dealing with several rather serious personal issues relating to gender, parenting, parentage, and family lineage. I've been about ready to climb out of my skull. Anyway, as of the date of publication, many of these crises have been nicely resolved.
This month was a rather hurried one anyway, considering The Belles' visit, WalkAmerica, Lobby Days, and Feinberg's talk. Next month promises to be a bit sleepier. I for one could certainly use the rest! I'm not sure whether we were finally able to line up a presentation this month. We're working on a Mary Kay representative to peddle her wares but don't know yet whether she can make it. Of course the Belles' presentation is a hard act to follow. We should maybe just enjoy taking a breather. It's been an intense month!
The clock flipped to 7:00 and buzzed as usual, but on this Monday morning Sam had been up since 6:00, excited about the day to come. As he shaved his legs in the shower, he pondered the events of the previous week. It was only the previous Wednesday that he met with Mr. Blanton over lunch to discuss "something important". Of course as his supervisor at the Food World grocery store, it was Blanton's job to discuss any such concerns.
Blanton was a rather intimidating character who treated everyone the same. He seemed to have learned his mannerisms from Mr. Clean on Isle 9, always towering over people with his legs apart, his arms tightly crossed, and his biceps bulging. Unlike Mr. Clean, though, he had a very sour disposition. His steely blue eyes would cut right through a person. He never blinked and never shifted his eyes. He made everyone feel like dirt just by standing there in silence, glaring. Nobody could figure out what his problem was, although the employees would frequently joke about him behind his back. Clearly, Blanton liked nobody, and nobody liked him.
It was with considerable apprehension that Sam approached Blanton only a week ago about this "important matter". With his usual "charm", Blanton glared at him in silence, grinding his teeth. Finally, he said, "Meet me at the deli at 12:10 Wednesday," and he walked away. Wednesday was of course Sam's "off" day, which was probably why Blanton chose it.
When Wednesday came, Sam was careful to be sitting in the deli by 12:00, just in case Blanton would get there early. He didn't, of course. Blanton came striding into the deli promptly at 12:10, pulled out the opposite chair, plunked down in it, and said gruffly, "OK Peters, be quick." Lauri stopped cleaning the deli display case momentarily, perking her ears.
Sam cleared his throat and began to articulate what he had rehearsed for so many weeks. He started by discussing fetal development and sexual differentiation, but Blanton was obviously not receptive, barking, "What are you saying, Peters? You're gay?" "No, Mr. Blanton," Sam replied, "I'm not. You're close, though. I do have a gender disorder. I'm transgendered." Blanton sat like a stone with his arms crossed, grinding his teeth, glaring at Sam. The veins in his neck were throbbing now. Finally, he said, "You're telling me you want to be a girl, right?" Sam replied, "Frankly I don't know. I don't think so. Still, I'm a crossdresser. That I do know." Still glaring, Blanton blurted, "So what do you want me to do about it? What's the bottom line here?" Sam sat up and declared resolutely, "I've decided to explore my feminine side for a while. I'll be coming to work Monday as 'Samantha'. You can of course continue to issue payroll checks to 'Sam Peters', but 'Sam' will not be appearing at work for some time to come. If you have any questions about this matter, you can contact Dr. Fisher, my therapist, and Ed Livingston, my attorney. Their contact information is in this letter which states my intent to return to work as Samantha." "Fine," Blanton barked angrily, "I'll have your letter put on file, but I'm not going to talk to your shrink or your attorney, and I'll be watching you very closely." Sam jotted Blanton's words on a note pad and asked coolly, "Is that a threat?" Blanton stormed away.
As Blanton disappeared from sight, Sam slouched back in his chair, emotionally drained. Lauri, who had overheard the entire exchange, sat down across from Sam with a very concerned expression. "I can't believe you stood up to him like that! Good for you!" Sam said with a sigh and a slight break in his voice, "So now you know." Lauri reached out and grasped Sam's hand, looking him squarely in the eye. "Are you OK, hon?" Sam nodded, his eyes now watering slightly. "Look," Lauri urged, "It's no big deal. OK? I won't think any less of you for it. You're a really nice guy, OK?" Sam smiled back. "Lauri, you didn't need to tell me that. I already knew you wouldn't have a problem with it. Honestly, I don't really think anyone will, except for Blanton, of course."
"Won't Blanton fire you?" Lauri pleaded. Sam smiled slightly and retorted, "Oh, he would just love to do that! Still, he can't touch me unless he can prove that my job performance has gotten bad. That would be hard to do. I've been here for almost 8 years and have always gotten excellent evaluations. I was even awarded Employee of the Year three years ago. Really, he couldn't even manage to fire Melissa or Rachel, and you know how badly Rachel's performance slacked off a year after she transitioned! No, I'm safe. Firing me would be a major civil rights violation, and Blanton knows it." Lauri smiled. "Of course you're right," she said. Lauri and Sam chatted warmly for a few minutes. As Sam was preparing to leave, Lauri hugged him. "Good luck, Samantha," she said. "You know I'm always in your corner. OK?" Sam replied, "Thanks, Lauri. I guess I'll see you Monday!" It was a very warm encounter, almost making up for Blanton's hostility.
There! Samantha's legs were nice and smooth, all ready for the big day. She was now ready to get dressed. Samantha wanted to be in top form for her debut. She didn't have much latitude in her presentation according to the company dress codes. Instead of black slacks, she could now wear a knee-length black skirt and black 1 1/2 inch pumps, and of course her red blouse could be just about anything with buttons. Although there were no company policies about makeup, Samantha resolved to be as "average" as possible, even though she had the makeup skills to really play up her appearance. After about an hour of preparation, Samantha was finally ready. She gave herself one last check in the mirror. Yes, she looked just like any other Food World employee. Samantha hesitated as she walked towards the door. It wasn't too late to change back to Sam. Still, she had known for years that this was something she had to do. Swinging her purse over her shoulder, she set out.
The drive to the store was certainly very strange. For the first time in ages, other drivers weren't trying to run Samantha off the road. In fact they went out of their way to be nice to her, leaving her room to change lanes in front of them and such. She thought to herself, "I must be pretty cute to get this sort of treatment." As Samantha neared the store, she came to a stop light, and there stopped in the car next to her was Blanton. Blanton looked over, smiled, and nodded. How strange! Samantha had never seen Blanton smile before. The light turned green, and they both drove a half block, pulling into the Food World parking lot. Samantha parked a distance from the front entrance, as per company policy, and Blanton parked in the adjacent space.
As they got out of their cars, Blanton quipped, trying to look important, "Hi. I don't think I've seen you shop at my store before. I'm Phil Blanton, the general manager." Samantha replied, "Oh, I don't shop here. I work here. I'm Samantha Peters." Crimson-faced, Blanton shouted, "Peters, you side show freak, you're fired! Get your fairy ass out of my parking lot!" Samantha closed and locked her door, put her keys in her purse, turned towards Blanton, looked him squarely in the eye, and demanded, "On what grounds have you just fired me, Mr. Blanton?" The veins in Blanton's neck started throbbing as he stormed off. Samantha shouted after him, "Please be so kind as to send me an official letter explaining the grounds for my termination." Blanton's pace quickened. Samantha rolled her eyes, sighed, got in her car, and drove home.
A few hours later, as Samantha was watching a talk show, her phone rang. It was Blanton. He asked, "May I speak to Sam Peters?" Samantha replied, "Sam doesn't exist right now. Can I take a message?" After a long pause, Blanton asked, "Is this Samantha?" "Yes it is, Mr. Peters," she replied. "Peters, why aren't you at work?" he demanded gruffly. "You fired me and told me to get my fairy ass out of your parking lot. Remember? I'm just awaiting your official letter of termination." After a much longer pause, Blanton replied, "You and I both know I can't fire you, at least until I have some excuse relating to your job performance. "On the contrary," Samantha quipped, "you did fire me, in flagrant violation of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Food World will hear from my attorney within a few days." "I did not fire you," insisted Blanton. "It's your word against mine. You have nothing in writing." Rolling her eyes, Samantha responded, "I don't need anything in writing, Mr. Blanton. Everyone in the parking lot heard you, including Lauri, Jodi, Bill, Ashten, Mark, and Kathleen. They called me an hour ago to tell me."
At last, Blanton pleaded, "What is it you want, Peters?" "I want a job, of course," she replied. Blanton grunted, "OK." "I also want some respect," she continued. "Respect how?" he asked. Samantha replied, "Well, for starters, you should not address a woman as 'Peters'. 'Miss Peters' would be far more appropriate." "OK, Miss Peters," Blanton grunted. "Finally," Samantha continued, "I don't appreciate your having called me a side show freak and your having demanded I get my fairy ass out of your parking lot. I want you to post an official letter of apology on the bulletin board in the employee lounge." Samantha heard something being smashed, after which Blanton replied, "OK, you've got the letter." "I want the letter posted before I return to work, "Samantha demanded. Blanton replied impatiently, "The letter will be posted by 5:00. Be sure you're here by 5:00 as well, or you will be fired." He hung up.
Samantha returned to Food World at her appointed time, parking in her usual space. As she walked towards the store, she received admiring glances from a few of the men passing her way. It was an odd feeling, but it was strangely affirming. Finally came the big moment. She stepped before the electric eye, the door swung open, and she planted her foot for the first time in her place of work, thinking, "This is it." She didn't really know how everyone would react to her, although she expected the best. After all, transgendered people had been considerably more visible over the past several years, and the public seemed to understand them much better now. A few more steps, and Samantha came into full view of all of her coworkers. Suddenly all eyes turned towards her, as everyone murmured. Lauri, who happened to be on break, stepped forward and walked towards Samantha, smiling and clapping her hands loudly. Almost immediately, the store erupted in applause and cheer. Lauri hugged Samantha and exclaimed, "Congratulations, hon! You're so brave, and we all want you to know we think you're simply wonderful! We saw the letter on the bulletin board. How ever did you get Blanton to apologize to you?" "He really had no choice," Samantha replied. "I had my attorney call the Food World legal department and remind them about certain points of the law. I'm sure they called Blanton and told him to 'fix' the problem in whatever way was necessary. I told him my terms, and because my terms were fair, he had no choice but to comply."
"It's amazing," said Lauri, "that someone so pretty and sweet as you could bring a monster like Blanton to his knees!" Samantha smiled. "You think I'm pretty?" Lauri touched Samantha on the forearm and said, "Sweetie, you're a knockout! I should take you out after work to Femme a Femme to show you off to my friends." Samantha smiled again. "Isn't that a lesbian bar?" Lauri looked Samantha in the eye with her hand on her hip and her head cocked to one side. "I thought you knew!" she exclaimed.
The remaining three hours of Samantha's shift were wonderful. Yes, Blanton took every opportunity to scowl at Samantha, and yes, there were two regular customers who clearly did not approve of Samantha, although they were polite about it. Nevertheless, almost all who went through Samantha's checkout line were very interested in her transformation and expressed their support. Several customers even spoke with Blanton to express how lucky they thought he was to have such an honest and forthright employee and to compliment him and his company on their accepting attitude. The day passed with many smiles, many hugs, and many brief conversations with old friends and acquaintances.
When the shift was over, Samantha went to the employee lounge area to punch out. Waiting for her there were most of her coworkers who applauded her yet again and toasted her victory with a bottle of sparkling apple cider. Then Joyce brought out a cake that had not been picked up. It originally said "Happy Birthday Rob!" but she changed the "Rob" to "Samantha". It somehow seemed appropriate, since this was Samantha's very first day. The mood was warm and festive, and laughter filled the bleak surroundings for the better part of an hour. Finally, Lauri announced, "Well, this has all been lots of fun, but Samantha and I have got to run. I'm taking her out to Femme a Femme." Amidst wolf whistles and cat calls, Samantha blushed, and her friends broke out again in laughter.
Everybody hugged and congratulated Samantha once again before Lauri dragged her away. It had been an incredible day, the beginning of a much happier existence for Samantha. No longer did she have to pretend she was something she was not. In the months to come, Samantha found peace with herself and eventually decided to transition. She and Lauri also became very close. Nobody knew whether they were anything but the best of friends, and nobody asked. After all, it was nobody else's business.... including and especially Blanton's.
Postscript: The reader is probably thinking, "On what planet could this happen?" The fact is that transgendered people currently have no specific civil rights. Blanton would be perfectly within his rights to fire Samantha for being transgendered, even if she had never intended to present as Samantha at work. In fact, he could have drafted an official letter on company letterhead telling Sam Peters that his employment is being terminated because "he" crossdresses at home. He could have even notarized the letter and delivered it via certified mail. Samantha would have no recourse under the law, because it is perfectly legal for an employer to discriminate against an employee because of that person's gender identity.
Had Blanton so desired, he could have gone so far as to murder Samantha and have been convicted simply of assault. Such was the case recently with William Palmer, a Massachusetts resident who murdered a transsexual named Chanell Pickett. The jury apparently felt the murder was understandable and justifiable, considering Pickett's "gender deception". In fact there was no deception. Palmer knew Chanell to be a transsexual, as supported by rock-solid testimony from all of the numerous witnesses. The jury's verdict indicated clearly that it is justifiable to kill a transsexual, almost irrespective of the circumstances.
Assuming Samantha had managed to survive Blanton's murder attempt, she might not have been entitled to emergency care. Such was the case for Tyra Hunter last year in Washington, DC. Tyra was struck in a hit-and-run accident and lay bleeding to death on the street. When the EMS technicians started treating her, they discovered a discrepancy between her presentation and her genitalia. They immediately discontinued treatment, laughing, joking, and calling her a "bitch". Horrified bystanders pleaded with the technicians to render aid, but to no avail. Tyra bled to death shortly thereafter. Tyra's case received a great deal of media attention. Over 2,000 people attended her funeral, and 40 gender activists from around the US protested the incident, yet the EMS technicians were never so much as reprimanded. Apparently according to the Washington DC Fire Department, there is nothing wrong with letting a transsexual die.
This sort of nonprotection under the law is very similar to what African Americans experienced only a few decades ago. However the legal consequences are now formidable for an employer firing (or refusing to hire) a person on the basis of his/her race. Murder of an African American is now considered illegal not only in theory but also in practice, and someone proven to have committed such a murder is likely to be convicted of the crime. Today when an African American is bleeding to death on a city street, that person receives the best treatment that the EMS can render. Why do African Americans now enjoy the same rights and privileges as Caucasian Americans? They were brave enough to stand up and be counted -- to educate the public as to the injustices they suffered and to demand they be given the same rights as anybody else.
The African American community succeeded; we can succeed too. Equal protection under the law can be ours. We can all live Samantha's story. We only have to be willing to make a few sacrifices. We must be willing to make ourselves visible to the public and to work for public understanding, support, and approval. When your humble Editor and Vice President stands before you to ask for volunteers to participate in a charitable event such as Walk America, someone, anyone, must actually volunteer! Someone must make that small sacrifice to spend a Sunday morning walking a few miles, building goodwill towards our community. When asked to make a monetary contribution to the March of Dimes for that event, someone besides the officers and out-of-town guests needs to contribute more than a dollar or two. Otherwise, we look pretty "cheap". When your humble Editor tries to organize an email campaign to protest the recent anti-transgender legislation in Missouri, someone, anyone, needs to spend a few idle minutes to draft an email (or at least a printed letter that I can scan and OCR). When the opportunity presents itself for us to make our voices heard in Washington, especially when through carpooling and room sharing the cost of the trip is very minimal, more than three of us (Cathy, Mary Ann, and myself) should participate.
Of course I understand the concerns of the closeted crossdresser, having been one myself. I certainly don't expect everyone to step forward into the spot light at risk of family and career. Still, are there not at least a dozen of us who participate regularly in the more public club events? Those events often involve exposure to hundreds of other people. How can participation in a social/political effort pose that much more of a risk to a person's privacy? Of course I also understand how personal or work obligations can preclude one from participation in some events. Still, not all of these events would interfere with one's normal work schedule. For instance, the Walk America event was held on a Sunday morning. Surely more than one person would be able to miss Sunday services for just a day. In my opinion, those who are able but unwilling to stand up and be counted and to make their presence known to the world have no right to public acceptance. Those able to campaign for their rights but who are unwilling to do so are not entitled to civil rights. A place in society is something that must be earned. We can't reasonably expect for it to be given to us from the generosity and goodwill of others. There has never been a better time for us to integrate into society. We can instill public awareness and gain acceptance for the human beings we are. We can campaign for equal protection under the law and ultimately win.
by Cathy Wood
It's been a busy month. Sarah, Mary Ann and I all took part in Lobby Days in Washington D.C. The open and accepting reception we all got was a wonderful indication of how far our community has come in recent years. The press didn't even bother to show up for the Monday morning "press op". Rather than a negative, I think of this as a positive sign. When transgendered lobbyists are not noteworthy enough to warrant coverage, it would seem that we are now considered fairly mainstream. The reactions of the people we encountered during our stay would also bear this out. At the small bar and grill we ate at Monday night, one of the waiters took the time to come over, sit down and ask how we were doing in our efforts. He was both concerned and interested.
I personally feel that the effort was well worth while. Every time transgendered people show themselves to be people of worth and dignity our total credibility and odds of an eventual fair deal increase. By showing ourselves in the halls of Congress as decent, respectable people we negate the claims of the religious right that we are disgusting freaks. When the people we came in contact with hear the word transgendered in the future, an image of well dressed middle aged women will now be in their minds. That is a powerful image. It's pretty hard to accept that such women don't deserve to have any civil rights.
While there is little chance of ENDA inclusion for transgendered people at this time, our chances in the future have risen considerably. We will almost surely be included in future hate crime statistics collected by the Justice Dept. I know I plan to be a part of next year's Lobby Days, and I hope to see more members of the Club there as well.
Our last Friday meeting was in concert with This Way Out, the gay/les/bi/trans group from the UU Church. There was a talk by noted author Leslie Feinberg who's books are Stone Butch Blues and Transgendered Warriors. It was very successful. There were somewhere in excess of 150 people who attended and as we know that is a fantastic turn out for something like this. Many thanks to Jackie Herkowitz, who's efforts made this a reality. Leslie Feinberg is a powerful speaker and s/he touched many many people at that event. I'd urge you to read hir books.
We have a new location for our main meetings! Sarah and I meet with the minister of a church in the short north area and they are eager to have us as a part of their organization. Members of the club will get an insert with this newsletter giving directions to the new location which also has a large fully equipped kitchen and will also be the site of this year's Christmas party. I look forward to hearing from the others what they think of this location after the meeting next week.
Well, add me to the list of those who have had a shopping trip with Sarah turn into an adventure. While Christy, Sarah and I were shopping at a thrift store (I was looking for some business suits to wear to Washington), Sarah had her purse ransacked. We thought her wallet had been stolen and the police were called. I can't believe how calm Christy was throughout the whole thing, after all, she's only been out a few times. To make a long story short, Sarah and I wound up in the back of a police car while she gave her report to the cops. We were treated with respect and dignity the whole time, but I didn't think I'd have that experience! As it turns out, Sarah's wallet had fallen out of her purse in the car and her son found it a couple of days later. Who ever was going through her purse just gave up when she didn't find a wallet, and nothing else had been taken. Shopping with Sarah: it's not just a trip. It's an adventure. Fair warning to others.
Kitten, Bob and Mitch Gross host a support group for transsexuals and their families at their home in Cleveland on the first Thursday of each month. They have a wonderfully open and supportive group of people attending and if anyone is interested in taking part in this, let me know and I'll pass on the information. Mitch is a FtM and there are several other FtM's in this group. It's my hope that we'll eventually have some of our transgendered brothers join us in the future as well.
On a personal note, many of you have been aware that I've been trying to lead a double life. Cathy most of the time, but Chuck for my customers and my daughter's college events. As of Monday, the 19th, that is no longer true. I am now Cathy full time. It had become impossible for me to continue trying to present male even a limited amount of the time. Candy and I will continue to live together as roommates, and any future events at our daughter's college I attend will only be as Cathy. The choice of whether or not I attend will be our daughter's. This is a major step in my life and I hope I can count on the continued support of my sisters in club, I'm afraid I'll need it. For those of you wondering, yes, my goal is eventual surgery.
Several of the TV members of the club have expressed fears to me of finding themselves at some point becoming transsexual. You can only answer those questions yourself, but I've been aware on some level that it was coming to this since I first joined the club. To those of you who have those fears I can only say, if you don't feel that pressure inside you to live most or all of your lives as female, stop worrying. While many transsexuals go through a state of denial which includes thinking they can deal with their feelings by just crossdressing, not all crossdressers are transsexuals in denial. There are many many more TVs than there are TSs and you need not fear just because you see some TSs coming to terms with that. We are no less sisters for the differences.
See you all soon,
by Cathy Wood
As you all know by now, Mary Ann, Sarah and I took part in the GenderPAC Lobby days in Washington DC this month. Our story begins with Sarah and me leaving from my house by car Sunday afternoon. Mary Ann had flown in from a conference she was attending for work and would arrive at the hotel before us. The drive out was relatively uneventful. In Penn. we both had to use the restrooms a couple of times and opted for the Ladies, a felony in the state of Pennsylvania had we been hassled, which we weren't. Not a surprise as Sarah and I both pass pretty well.
We arrived in Washington around 11:30 Sunday night and found the hotel without much trouble. That's when the fun started. Mary Ann had reserved the room for the three of us under her male name, but somehow they had gotten the last name wrong. When we inquired about the room it took about ten minutes just to figure out which name it was. The room clerk barely spoke English, and would not tell us the room number and when he rang up to the room, there was no answer! Sarah asked the clerk where some of the other transgendered people were, and we were surprised to learn that he didn't realize that the place was teeming with trannies! Who knows what was running through this guy's mind while confronted with two tired women trying to get the room number of this guy named Mark.
In fairness to Mary Ann, she had left instructions at the desk that we were coming and that we should be given keys and sent up as soon as we arrived, but the clerks changed shifts between then and our arrival and our clueless clerk didn't understand the instructions. Sarah and I did locate another room with some of the other trannies and were told that a number of them were at a small bar and grill a couple of blocks north of the hotel. We set off in search of Mary Ann.
At the bar and grill, we again ran into a stone wall. No one remembered a bunch of trannies at the bar! Well, some of the gals were pretty passable, but some of them wouldn't pass at midnight in a dark alley and a bunch of us together should be at least memorable. As it turns out, most of the people were at another restaurant right next to the motel, including our own Mary Ann. We returned to hotel and once again tried to get the clerk to understand that we were tired and would really like to find our room and settle in. This time the lobby was locked and we had to communicate through a pass-through hole! He refused to let us in, (I think we scared him a bit) but he did agree to call the room again. Success! This time Mary Ann was in the room and we were finally told the room number and given keys. I forgave the clerk the trouble when I heard him tell "Mark" that two young ladies were asking for him at the front desk. I haven't been called young for quite a while now. The three of us had several good laughs over that "hell of a man, Mark" and his two "young ladies" sharing "his" room!
The next morning was quite interesting as three women tried to use the same bath to get ready for the day's lobbying. Being the lowest maintenance of the three, I was naturally ready well before Mary Ann and Sarah. I proceeded to the lobby of the hotel where I met some of the other people from our group. Ann Casebeer, who was at our last meeting, was there and she introduced me to several of the others. Mariette Pathy Allen, who takes those wonderful pictures of transgendered people for Transgender/Tapestry was also part of the group as well as Alison Laing, the editor. At 7:30 the group gathered up and prepared to walk to the Metro station to take the train to the Capital, and surprise, surprise, no sign of Mary Ann and Sarah! As we started towards the station on foot, I looked back and there they were, leaving the hotel at last. They quickly caught up with us and we all proceeded to the station. "Conveniently close to the Metro Station" took on a new meaning as well as we walked and walked and walked. Finally we arrived at the station. Forty or so transgendered women in a group. It was surprising how few people seemed to notice us. Riki Wilchins gave us all a quick lesson on how to get our tickets from the machine and how to get back to the hotel and we proceeded to our destination. At the Capital we looked for the press, which had been informed of our plans and told there would be a press op at 9:00 AM. Nobody was there. We weren't newsworthy enough!
After a round of pictures of us as a group on the steps of the Capital, we split up and headed for our appointments. At this point I wondered why I wasn't nervous. Here I was in a strange city, about to talk to some of the most powerful people in our country and openly presenting as myself, a transsexual woman. Why wasn't I scared to death? Maybe it had something to do with the absolute lack of problems we had with anyone over our presentation up to that point, but still it was a bit of a surprise.
Our first appointment was with Suzanne McKenna from Senator Glenn's office. We arrived early enough to find a spot to sit and briefly go over the material. Sarah, Mary Ann and I were joined by Ann Casebeer (Bluegrass Belles) and Diane (Crossport). We were warmly welcomed and listened to. Sarah and I recounted the choice we had to make between which restroom to use in Penn. on the way out and found that we had a story that people could relate to. Very few people realize that transgendered people have to make choices like that everyday and that either choice was illegal. Nothing brings home the lack of civil rights we face quite as well as this. It was a story we learned to tell at each of our following meetings and I noticed that each time we did, the look in the people's eyes we were talking to changed from "Oh, another group to listen to" to real interest in what we had to say after that.
The rest of the day went very smoothly. We all met for lunch at the Rayburn cafeteria and then went on to our afternoon appointments. I was very glad I wore comfortable shoes. Everyone, especially the guards at the entrances to the various buildings, was polite and friendly.
Later that evening we all gathered in the Lobby of the motel and went over the day's events. We chatted among ourselves afterwards and several of us decided to go off in search of the fabled DC night life. Whatever you've heard about the night life in DC isn't true on a Monday night. After driving several laps around Dupont Circle, repeatedly running the same red light while trying to follow another car full of clueless trannies, we all landed and finally located one of the bars we had heard about. Monday night is leather night. Whooops! We fit in like pumps in a men's locker room.
Three bars later, we spotted a Latin bar and since it was Cinco de Mayo, we decided to give it a try. There weren't many people there, but they seemed happy to see us. One of the gals in our group, Vanessa, is one of the prettiest TS's I've ever seen. While several of the guys at the bar were drooling over her and I was feeling like chopped liver, a guy turned and looked at me and exclaimed "You are magnificent!". He then grabbed me by the arm, grabbed his girlfriend as well and led us both out onto the dance floor. I was in heaven. After a few minutes I quietly slipped away and Mary Ann, Sarah and I decided to return to the hotel and get some well needed rest before resuming our lobbying the next day. The evening's events weren't over yet. While driving back to the hotel, a man in a car next to us started staring and craning his neck to look at us. He would speed up, slow down and stare and stare. This went on for a couple of miles and we were no longer amused, but rather remembering the stories of bashings we had told to the people we had encountered that day! The closer we got to the hotel, the more we realized that we didn't dare pull in there until we got rid of our "admirer". Sarah did some remarkable driving and we finally lost him and returned to our room.
The next day we all went to the Capital in smaller groups and did follow ups on our calls from the day before. Once again, our reception was wonderful. At lunch I talked to Diane, who lives in Cincinnati, and she agreed to give me a ride back home since Sarah had planned to stay until the end of the week. I rode the Metro back to the hotel and then returned to the room and packed to leave. After a quick dinner alone, I returned to the hotel and hooked up with Diane and we drove home. Diane is a wonderful lady, we talked and talked all the way back. The trip seemed to fly by. I've invited her to join us sometime in the future at one of our meetings.
I won't soon forget the trip and look forward to returning next year. It was a lot of work and a lot of fun, and it was intensely satisfying. Hopefully more of you will join us next time.
by Anne Casebeer (Editor, The Bluegrass BelleView)
Trips sometimes are long, not so much because of the trip itself, but the planning of it. So it was with this one. I worked until 8:45 PM on Derby Saturday, intending to hit the highway around 6:00 AM. When I returned home, I found EMail from my partner in crime Vanessa Edwards; she could make it, and was arriving in Baltimore at 12:15 PM Sunday. I had estimated Louisville to Baltimore as being an 8-10 hour drive, so when I saw the EMail, I made the immediate decision to leave right then, and sleep be damned. Time to pump massive quantities of Diet Coke, Ale 8-1, and Diet Mountain Dew through my kidneys in search of caffeine, and play Todd Rundgren's Utopia and REM very loud. I had a minor encounter with a local West Virginia yokel at 445 AM while purchasing gasoline with No Doubt's "Tragic Kingdom" cranked, but the magic moment was that moment when the daylight broke through the clouds while I was pausing at a scenic overlook at 6:15 AM near Frostberg, MD; I celebrated the moment with a Diet Coke and the Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds". I managed to arrive in Baltimore by 9:00 AM. Breakfast, a trip to KMart and Caldor, and there we were at the airport. Vanessa was early, and we escaped the airport without incident. Vanessa is very passable, and I was (boo-hiss) in very scruffy UK sweatshirt and jeans, but the looks we got were strictly " nice couple". How little they know....
We checked into the Quality Inn College Park, and changed into more feminine attire. We attended the 4:00 PM planning meeting which started at Bentley's restaurant, then moved to the conference room at the hotel, where we met Alison Lange, Riki Anne Wilchins, Dana Priesing, and others that I'd heard of but never met.
We discussed the agenda (hate crimes reporting, ENDA introduction), and techniques the newcomers could use to get business done with our Congressional leaders. I'm impressed with Riki Anne; she's funny, aggressive, and intelligent. Dana Priesing is solid as well; I was also quite impressed with Alison Lange, who exuded the "been there done that" experience that I always try to tap into. She was encouraging, and had heard of me, which came as a surprise. I was able to meet other well-known people in the TG community, names I'd read in the Forum and authors I'd read, and they....accepted me. Even welcomed me. I am not worthy!! A bunch of us adjourned to Applebees' for a beer thereafter, and the "getting to know ya's" continued on until nearly midnight.
I joined forces with Sarah, Cathy, and Maryanne from Columbus, OH; since I'd done this before and they hadn't, I took them to my opening appointments, then went with them to the Ohio delegation. They didn't need my help, they were excellent at this and well informed. We started with Sen. Mitch McConnell, which I rescheduled for 2:00 PM Tuesday. We then proceeded to the office of Rep. Anne Northup; saw Legislative Assistant Meghan Boland again, who remembered us from our February lobbying trip and was supportive of our hate crime efforts, promised to inform the Congressperson and said she'd consider us a reliable information source. Meghan also has been to our group web site, and mine personally. We then visited the office of Sen. John Glenn, where we saw Suzanne McKenna, who was very receptive and will perform on the letter and ENDA as long as Sen. Glenn remains in DC. Rep. Deborah Pryce, OH. was next. Steven Weaver was very receptive, willing to have the Member sign on as a sponsor, very enthusiastic.
I understand that Sarah, Cathy, and Maryanne were going to go back with Dana Priesing to go further with Congressperson Pryce. on this matter, but I don't know the final results of that meeting. Sen. Mike DeWine, OH. was next, where we met with Legislative Assistant Aaron Grau; Sen. DeWine is considered conservative, despite this, the LA was willing to say that the Senator would look favorably on what we'd proposed. We then visited Rep. John Kasich's office, where we also received a fair hearing. I've followed Rep. Kasich's career with interest, because he generally represents my personal political point of view well - fiscal conservatism and common sense coupled with relative social liberalism. I believe that he and Gen. Colin Powell represent the future interests of the Republican Party better than the Pat Buchanans and Rush Limbaughs do.
Dana Priesing recommended that we visit with Rep. Dennis Kucinich, the Representative from the Cleveland area; supposedly, he's been actually using "transgender" in some speeches and statements, Truth be known, our reception was just a bit cool; I think the Congressman was a little better informed than his LA. Not hostile, mind you, but a bit diffident. Maybe we just discomforted him a bit - a group of transpeople can have that effect on the uniformed. All in all, a good days' work.
On Tuesday, I solo attacked the remainder of the local delegation, most of whom I knew would not be receptive. I was refused by Harold Rogers, Ed Whitfield, and Ron Lewis, all of KY. Diane Torrence of Cincinnati had already scheduled an appointment with Jim Bunning, which I understand didn't pan out. Wendell Ford was not worth bothering with, based on our unfriendly reception in February and his lame-duck status. Obviously, we need to give attitude adjustments at the polls to our Ky. delegation. Rep. Scotty Baesler's office did give me a welcome reception and heard me out, but were noncommittal. I then visited Rep. Lee Hamilton (IN)'s office, and they also gave me a fair hearing; I have a business in that district, and that had some weight. Sens. Bill Frist and Fred Thompson of Tennessee refused my request for a meeting, which did not surprise me.
After lunch, and a strategy meeting with Dana, I teamed up with Vanessa Edwards, and we hit some of the Texas' delegation, after making my 2:00 PM appointment with Chris Bertelli at Mitch McConnell's office, where we received a very good hearing. We proceeded to meet with Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee's office (TX), whose LA gave us a warm, encouraging reception. We took a stab at Sen. Phil Gramm's office, knowing that if we were granted a hearing it would be a major shock. My impression is that if we'd tried earlier in the day, it's possible that we would have been heard, since Vanessa is a constituent. I don't believe from what I have heard of Sen. Gramm that we would have been taken very seriously, but we were and are trying to perform an educational role, right? Sen. Gorton's (WA) LA was supportive of us as well. We then teamed up with a therapist from California that Vanessa had accompanied on Monday; he wanted a couple TG people to accompany him to the office of his local representative, the arch-conservative "Duke" Cunningham. Shannon Ware from Missouri, Vanessa, and I were only too happy to do so. I have to say that the LA was going through the motions, and rushing our California friend's presentation, and I was very much enjoying the sight of him squirming. His discomfort was very obvious.
This ended our days of lobbying, and we headed back for Union Station. Does this sound too much like work to you? Actually, it was very rewarding and quite a lot of fun. You do have to have decent knowledge of the issues involved, and it helps to have a constituency connection to the Member. That's why you team up and when you do, it helps to pick folks from a range of areas so one of you can get in the door. If you are a constituent, they pretty much must see you. This is also not an occasion for your leather mini and 4" spike heels - I wore my black suit, maroon blouse, and black Reebok running shoes-because you will be doing a bunch of walking.
This is really one of the easier things you can do cross-dressed. DC is a pretty liberal place; I stopped in Union Station and purchased a camera at an electronics shop, and the staff there treated me with the respect and solicitude any professional lady was due. Same story at a local hat shop, where I found a fancy chapeau to wear to upcoming formal occasions (can you say Be-All?)
Now, I can hear you asking why you should care about these issues, but you know the answer to that: any TG person can be a victim of a hate crime or workplace discrimination. These problems aren't specific to TS's, but the great majority of the lobbyists identified as TS, and I feel that more crossdressers should be doing this. Certainly there was nothing but camaraderie and teamwork between us, none of the TS vs. CD rivalry that too often erupts. I made the statement to Vanessa during an idle-hours conversation that I was "just a crossdresser", and she corrected me right away: "We need many more crossdressers doing this, you're as good as anyone", was her statement. Thanks, Vanessa. Thank you very much.
So, can I count on a few more of you to join me next time out? How can we expect change if we don't work to initiate it? Don't just gripe about these issues to each other or to call-in shows, contact your Congressman or Senator and make yourself heard!
[Sorry about the title! At least I didn't call it To Pee or Not to Pee or No T* Pees in Pennsylvania!]
You're watching television, and your show is interrupted by a Special Report: "In an extraordinary crime spree, a transsexual and a transvestite, both from Ohio, are traveling across the state of Pennsylvania, high on coke, knocking off ladies' toilets en route to Washington. It appears these criminals and dozens of other gender outlaws from around the country are converging on Washington, apparently with the intent of raiding Congressional offices and undermining the moral fabric of our country." As you watch in disbelief, you think to yourself, "I know these past several weeks have been difficult for Sarah and Cathy, but whatever could have possessed them to turn to a life of crime?"
The answer, I'm afraid, is that our bladders were full, and we had to relieve ourselves, which is against the law for any tranny in the great state of Pennsylvania. Cathy and I were both under the influence of drugs -- diuretics, that is. My diuretic was caffeine, which is necessary whenever I drive to keep me alert, and Cathy's diuretic was adalactone, which she must take to block testosterone and control her blood pressure. We both visited a toilet just before entering Pennsylvania, but alas, midway through the state, we both had to go. Realizing we had to engage in criminal activity, we carefully scouted out a town to plot our first crime. We drove to two different service stations where we hoped to find single occupancy toilets, but the ladies' toilets were out of order! Either they had received advanced intelligence reports and knew we were coming, or that was just what one would expect from Pennsylvania.
Cathy now about to burst and desperate to find a clean, working toilet, and I now craving for another fix of coke, we headed straight to the nearby McDonald's. How interesting that McDonald's symbol is the "golden arches". Could that be used to entice motorists in need of relief? Anyway, we plotted our crime in the parking lot. We could choose between a felony and a misdemeanor. The felony offense was to use the ladies' room, since we weren't born female. The misdemeanor offense was to use the men's room, since we weren't dressed male. We opted for the felony offense, since we thought it was far more likely we could pull it off -- and not get killed in the process. Once we went in, I approached the counter and told the proprietors I needed to score a hit of coke. That distracted them long enough for Cathy to slip into the ladies' room to commit the greater crime. I sat down at a table near the toilet and began to inhale my coke. Then Cathy emerged. She had done it, and there were no sirens in the distance. Security in this joint was obviously not up to snuff. Now realizing I probably couldn't flee the state of Pennsylvania without exploding, I decided to repeat Cathy's crime. Once I was done, I grabbed up the remaining coke, and we fled the scene.
We had just committed our first felony, and it felt good -- real good! (good to finally relieve our bladders, that is) We continued on our way down I-70, doing coke and brownies, until alas we were compelled to repeat our crime. We did, and again we weren't caught. Before long, we found ourselves in Washington, where we could find a legal place to pee. It wasn't as exciting, but it was late, and we were too tired to continue on our crime spree.
Driving back (alone) through Pennsylvania, I didn't do as much coke, so I made it farther before I was about to spill my bladder. By the time I reached Washington (PA, not DC) I could feel every bump in the road between my legs. The time was right to knock off another ladies' room. I drove up and down the streets of Washington, casing the town for my next crime scene. The berg was crawling with rednecks. It was spooky. It looked real fishy -- like trouble. Still I had to go. I finally saw the place I would hit. It was a beauty salon. What redneck would think to look there? I entered, looked for the dame who ran the joint, and pitched my plan to her. Of course she would become an accessory to a felony. "Go ahead," she said. "It's in the back -- right through those doors." It all seemed too easy.
Soon I was back on the road to Ohio, and when I crossed the state line, I was no longer carrying my illegal cargo. The last thing I would want would be to be up for a federal rap. After a couple of hours, I slipped into Columbus real cool-like, just like nothing had ever happened. Yeah, I got away with it, but I don't care to repeat it -- at least for another year.
by M. U. Krayker (Director of Redundancy, The Bluegrass BelleView)
It behooves me, as a witness who was on the scene, to report on the decadent, execrable and inexcusable behavior that your group members exhibited while attending the GenderPAC Lobbying Days May 4-7. You might wish to take punitive action against these dastardly perpetrators! Why, Sarah and Cathy couldn't even wait until arriving in the District of Columbia to commit felonies. In fact, they made a special point of stopping in Pennsylvania for the specific purpose of committing felonies, and since they did it together, they are also guilty of conspiracy! In particular, they conspired to use the restroom opposite the one of their birth gender! They are definitely Communist subversives!
Following the meetings that took place Monday night, the 5 of us, along with Angela of Allentown, PA, decided to hit the town in search of a place where we could dance or sing karaoke (which as we all know, is Japanese for "that chick can't carry a tune in a frigging bucket"). The now-infamous Crystal Club 3 committed the terrible sin of party pooping, i.e. quitting early, which caused them to miss an encounter that Angela, Vanessa, and I had in a "straight" Irish pub on Connecticut Ave. NE in Dupont Circle, called "Mr. Eagan's", where Genny, the bartender allowed us to practice our public relations and outreach skills, and dared to become our friend! How decadent indeed! Things got ever more decadent and depraved Tuesday night. We started the night with an excellent Italian dinner at a fine Italian restaurant in Bethesda, MD, then cruised to the now-infamous "Mr. Eagan's", where Shannon Ware of Missouri, Vanessa Edwards of Texas, Sarah of Ohio, and Anne Casebeer of Kentucky (by way of North Dakota) attempted to deplete the bar's stock of Murphy's Irish Stout, caused the dozen-or-so regulars to be blinded by flashbulbs, threw dangerous pointed instruments called "darts" at the walls, and listened to the subversive sounds of the Rolling Stones. After last call, this dangerous criminal element cruised the streets of our nation's capital in search of well-lit national monuments to flash. They even went in search of Billy Clinton's house, and found the lights out. It was an ungodly hour of the night when this merry band finally fell to sleep, thus preventing this working girl from arriving back to the safety of Kentucky until nearly 9:30 PM. Still, my journalistic obligation required me to cover the story at all costs!
All kidding aside, as you can see, we lobbyists didn't forget to have a good time. "Mr. Eagan's" was a happy accident; they were open, and we were thirsty and fearless. Genny couldn't have been nicer to us, and when we arrived the next night, all the regulars were either nice to us, or (in the case of George) completely incoherent. Seriously, sometimes I think we transfolk are the Almighty's idea of a little joke, and if we laugh with the world, the world will laugh with us. If we hadn't taken the first steps, look who would have missed out-we would have, and the regulars of this tavern would have missed the chance to meet us, conceited as that might sound. I could tell that most of them had never seen a transperson outside of Geraldo, and we certainly put the human face on it for them. We talked to nearly all of them about the things people talk about it in their neighborhood pubs, and I really think that by the time we left, they looked at us as relatively normal people with an interesting perspective, not as a freak show. Isn't that the idea of being out?
So, next time you're in DC, ride the Metro to the Dupont Circle station on the red line, and at the top of the steps on Connecticut Ave. NW, you will see Mr. Eagan's. Walk in, ask for Genny, tell her that Anne, Vanessa, Sarah, Shannon, and Angela sent you, order a Murphy's Irish Stout, and relax - you're among friends. Just don't try to understand a word George tries to say...
by Diana Brit
[Names have been changed for the protection of the participants.]
Not too long ago I spent a week in Chicago and, for the first time, really experienced the joy - and even a little of the fear - of being Diana in public. No, it wasn't my first experience in public. That came several months earlier at a Holiday Inn in another city. I won't bore you with the details, but one story from that trip might help others overcome the fear of public places.
The inn had a restaurant that looked to be fairly quiet, so I went to see the hostess shortly after checking in. "I am a crossdresser," I told her. "Would you or your guests object if I came down to dinner dressed in feminine attire?" She looked at me and then said, "No, that will be fine. You come whenever you are ready." Intentionally I waited until about a half hour before closing and went down to the restaurant. I was dressed tastefully: a rather plain skirt, maroon pullover, a little jewelry, flats, etc. Nothing flashy. Still I was nervous as hell.
I was shown to a table that was somewhat secluded (by my choice) and ordered dinner. My waiter, a young man, couldn't have been nicer. Obviously he had been alerted by the hostess, but still he was very gracious. What startled me, though, was when a young waitress approached my table. "May I tell you something?" she said. I expected the worst, but said "Sure." She continued, "I just wanted to tell you how nice you look." Needless to say, I was floored! She had no reason to come to my table, but she did, and I felt so very good about that. So much so that the following night I went to dinner there again - as Diana. It was wonderful.
So, Chicago wasn't Diana's debut, but it was to be a fun-packed four days as Diana and the first long-term attempt to be myself. Of course, I took way too many clothes, but I had such a good time. Before leaving I had lined up online a group of sisters who were willing to accompany a visitor out on the town. Here are some of the highlights.
First of all, you have to understand I was staying in a very crowded Hyatt Regency downtown where I knew a lot of the people at the same convention I was attending. So, getting out of the hotel and back in as Diana was of major concern. But, after scouting the joint, I realized that if I wanted to go out on the town, I had to suck it up and walk through the lobby. So....
Thursday night Jane came to the hotel to meet me in my room where we had a drink and chatted before going out to dinner. Or, at least, that was the plan. (All of the girls I met I met online and then in person for the first time.) We took a couple of pictures of each other and the two of us together, then we set off. I was nervous about getting through the lobby and out the door, but with Jane holding on to me tightly I made it without being read!
We walked about 6-7 blocks, arm in arm, to Bennigan's. The place was jammed. I told Jane, "I can't do this." She reassured me that I looked fine, so in we went. We were seated quickly, and I am glad to report we didn't get recognized (as far as I know). They have the tables very close there, but nobody gave any indication that they had read us. So, we had a very nice dinner, gabbed a lot, then walked back to the hotel and her car. We drove around, looking for a movie to see, but it was too late, so we went back to the hotel...and through the lobby and up the elevator. No problem. We sat and drank and gabbed until 3:00 AM. It was wonderful! Just a great opening evening.
Friday I had lunch with Sally, whom I would join the following day at Transformations, a TG friendly store and makeover place. After that I shopped on the Miracle Mile, trying on dresses at Marshall Fields, but didn't buy anything.
That evening I had a date with Debbie, but when she came to the hotel, she came as George - with mustache! George wanted to go dancing, so back through lobby again, etc., etc., and off we went. When we got to the our destination, it was closed. So we headed for Temptations, a transgender friendly establishment. The place was filled with lesbians, which was OK by me (I wanted to join them on the dance floor), but George was uncomfortable, so we had a couple of drinks and left. He dropped me off at the hotel and I got to my room fine.
Saturday was a busy but fun day. We drove to Transformations for 3:30 makeover with owner Rori (a wonderful human being) and my first meeting with Sue, who I had arranged to meet there. She got a makeover, too ($30), so we dressed, took pictures, had a drink or two, met other customers, and had just a great time. I bought a lovely choker and earrings that go so well with my black party dress. Sally arrived late, but she was going to be at Tri-Ess meeting, so Sue and I headed out for dinner.
The place we were going to go was jammed, so we ended up eating a quick bite at Long John Silver's, and then went to Tri-Ess meeting. About 50 girls were there. The speaker was excellent, and there was lots of food and pop, and good fellowship. Jane was there, so I was glad to see her again, and Sally came too. It was nice to see familiar faces.
Sue and I then left for the Baton Club, high-class show of beautiful female impersonators. But first she drove me back to where I had parked (near Transformations) and then I followed her to the hotel, where I had to drive up right to the main lobby entrance and check my car with the parking attendant. I gave him my last name and initial (D for Diana, of course), room number, and he never batted an eye! I jumped quickly into Sue's van and off we went again.
At Baton we had to stand in line in the street and the cold night air (it was 12:30 a.m.) blew up my dress! Brrrr! But we got in, had a good table, and really enjoyed the show. Just before 3:00 it broke, and we were back to hotel in fine shape, but very, very tired.
There is a short sequel. I was up at 7, packed and on the road to Detroit by 11:00 -- a 6 hour drive. Exhausted, I met Charlene at the Rainbow Club in Detroit. We decided it was too noisy, so we went to a very nice coffee shop that had a good but soft jazz combo. We chatted for about 2 hours, then I returned to the hotel. I had a nice quiet and early evening, for a change!
For those of you who are interested, I wore my new blonde wig the entire time. Outfits included a red wool dress with black belt and red pumps; a black and white checked jacket with velvet collar, white blouse and black slacks and flats; black slacks with colorful 3/4 overblouse, and finally black leather miniskirt with maroon wool top and black pumps (George wanted me to wear that!)
It was a fabulous trip and one that I am dying to take again. I made and met so many nice girls who were very kind to me. Yes, pictures were taken, and when I get them all in hand, I'll bring them to a meeting. For someone who was in the closet until about 6 months ago, I figure I have come a long way, baby, and I am so happy how it has all worked out.
What an unusual Mother's Day I celebrated this month! This was of course the first Mother's Day I not only didn't have a living mother but also didn't have my wife. I didn't really know what to do, as I had the boys that day (a Sunday). I had taken them shopping for token presents the day before and had intended to drop them over to be with their mother for at least a few hours. When I brought them back from church, they also had a couple more little gifts for her, which they had made in Sunday school. Unfortunately, she had called and made it clear that she did not want me to bring the boys over -- that she would celebrate Mother's Day with them on the following day. Needless to say, my boys were very disappointed, as was I.
After we returned from church, my boys explained to me that at least they got to spend Mother's Day with one of their mothers, since I'm a bit like both a father and a mother. My older son then gave me a huge hug and wished me a happy Mother's Day, and my younger son followed suit. Words can't describe how wonderful that made me feel! I am indeed very lucky to have such loving and empathetic children! Anyway, I want to pass along a belated Mother's Day wish to all of you. Whether or not anybody realizes it or cares to admit it, most of us are mothers too.
Steve Harris wrote to a list to which I subscribe, "Hi, all, Someone on Transgen is conducting a survey for academic purposes; she posted her survey (8 short-answer questions) on Transgen, but perhaps this list is not the right place for it (or maybe it is). If you're interested in taking part, you can write to her at email@example.com. Krystine describes her survey as being "on transgenderism and support (as in support groups, etc.)."
Again, a researcher needs our help, and I hope all of you will offer it. Without research, our lives will never be understood, and our problems will continue.
Last month, I ran an article about the upcoming conference in Ann Arbor, MI, "Genders, Bodies, and Borders". This conference promises to be very interesting and will be a marvelous opportunity for us to educate scholars and researchers as to the various issues we face. These people, most of whom are professors, will then impart this knowledge to their college students. I have talked with Marti Keyes about co-chairing a panel discussion with me, but unfortunately she might have a schedule conflict at that time (October 24-26). She's still a definite "maybe". Anyway, I've submitted an abstract, and we will have to wait until July to see if it is accepted. I'm reprinting it here for your information:
Transgendered individuals, including transsexuals and crossdressers, experience life from a unique perspective. Most begin as self-taught students of sexual differences, both physical and behavioral. When they have honed their presentation skills sufficiently to venture forth in public, they then experience social interactions from the vantage of the "opposite" sex, becoming keenly aware of the contrasts between male and female social roles. Learning the social roles of the opposite sex is much like learning a new language, as the student develops a mature understanding of the formalities of the social repertoire that "natives" to that sex rarely achieve. Finally, the transgendered individual is a student of societal attitudes towards those guilty of gender transgression. He/she comes to understand who is and is not likely to be understanding and tolerant, often learning that societal stereotypes do not apply. While some principles, both intuitive and counterintuitive, seem to apply broadly, tolerance usually depends on a complex and elusive dynamic between the transgendered person and others.
This panel discussion will have little scholarly content but rather will focus on the life experiences of transgendered individuals and their unique insights into gender and societal issues. The panel will be co-chaired by Sarah, a transgendered neurobiologist. Panel participants will include pre- and post-operative transsexuals, both male-to-female and female-to-male, from various professional and socioeconomic classes. The discussion will begin with a brief discussion of gender identity disorders and those who have them. Then the panel participants will each discuss some of their experiences with regard to the above issues. Finally, ample time will be given for questions from the audience. The question/answer session will arguably be the most important part of the panel discussion, as it will allow gender researchers and scholars to explore the "street wisdom" of a rather unusual and remarkable group of people.
I've discovered the greatest foundation! Remember that I have the beard from Hell, and Dermablend was the only thing that could cover it. I previously outlined a rather elaborate method for covering a heavy beard. Although it worked better than anything else I had seen, it still left something to be desired. Well, you can take that article and tear it up! Just try using Almay's Amazing Lasting Makeup. It's a hypoallergenic water-base liquid foundation with Vitamins A, C, and E, as well as an SPF-6 sunblock, that costs about $9 for a 1.25 fl. oz. bottle. It goes on very thickly, with a consistency (and smell) reminiscent of latex paint. It dries and sets in about 60 sec. One coat will cover most beards. (I take two.) From that point onward, nothing will budge the stuff. I can wear it for a full 16 hr and still have it look pretty fresh. When the makeup is new, you can even scratch your nose. (As it ages, and as skin oils penetrate it, traces of it will rub off, although not easily.) In fact, it has even survived a squirt gun fight with Cathy in my hot tub and has stood up to my peridontist's prying hands. Use baby oil (mineral oil) and then soap and water to remove it. Without the oil, not even soap and water will touch it.
Do you have "fish-belly-white" legs? Are you embarrassed to step out bare-legged in the Summer? There are a variety of sunless tanning lotions on the market. I've been using Banana Boat brand lotions, and they work pretty well. You will have a rich tan within a few hours. The tan wears off really quickly though, as it is only as deep as the most superficial layer of dead skin, which seems to wear away within a few days. The tan is maintained by applying the lotion daily after the morning shower. Another benefit of a sunless tan, by the way, is that it is very good at disguising hair. Not only does it lessen the contrast between the hair and the skin, but the sunless variety of tan is concentrated on the very surface of the skin, opaquing out any part of the hair that would otherwise show just beneath the surface of the skin.
Tights are great for giving you a neat, trim, and youthful casual look while also disguising leg hair (if you have any). Would you like the look and feel of tights during the Summer? L'eggs now makes a Summer variety of tights that are designed to breathe and to carry moisture away from the legs. They work! They appear somewhat like a cross between pantyhose and conventional microfiber tights. They cling very nicely and are very soft and silky (but not shiny). They also seem to be fairly bullet-proof. Try a pair. You'll love them!
If you like the quick tips section, please contribute something to it. Have you tried a product you really like? Have you discovered a great little trick? I'm running out of pearls of wisdom here!
Copyright © 1997 by the Crystal Club, all rights reserved. Articles and information contained in The Crystal Chronicle may be reprinted by other non-profit organizations without advanced permission, provided the author and source is cited and a copy of the issue containing the reprinted material is sent to the Crystal Club within two months of publication. The opinions or statements contained in the Crystal Chronicle are those of the authors' and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editor or the Crystal Club. Furthermore, neither the Crystal Club nor the Crystal Chronicle editor assume responsibility for any consequences resulting either directly or indirectly either from advice or from any other materials contained in this newsletter. Contributions of articles are encouraged but may be altered with the author's intent retained or may be rejected, whether solicited or not. Absolutely no sexually explicit material will be accepted or printed. Contributions may be emailed directly to the editor (for Crystal Club News Letter) or sent to the postal address below. The Crystal Club is a non-profit support group for transvestites, crossdressers, transsexuals, female impersonators, and other transgendered individuals. Spouses and significant others are welcome and are encouraged to participate. Both male-to-female and female-to-male individuals are welcome. Also, members from related organizations, helpful professionals, and approved guests are welcome when cleared through a Crystal Club elected officer. Club policies, meeting dates, locations, and fees are available on request through our address below. We will exchange newsletters with any other similar group. Send all correspondence to: The Crystal Club, P.O. Box 287, Reynoldsburg, Ohio 43068-0287. (614) 231-1368.